ZBspoke

A Few Words on Fashion

Category: Uncategorized

And Today’s Issue is Skirted, by Kanye West

Kanye West is not known for being timid—at Hurricane relief drives or anywhere. 

Taking the mic last night for musical rather than conversational purposes, West nonetheless managed to shock the viewers of the 12-12-12 Concert—which benefited Hurricane Sandy relief efforts—by appearing on stage in a hoodie, a leather skirt, and leather leggings.

  0-Kanye-Wests-12-12-12-Hurricane-Sandy-Benefit-Concert-Pyrex-Religion-Hoodie

 

My first thought (vocalized): “What is Kanye wearing?”

Second: “Didn’t I see the Man Repeller wearing a very similar outfit last year?”

Third (also vocalized): “I actually kind of like this.”

And a lingering thought: Is this actually shocking? Sure, it’s not the norm for Western men to wear skirts, but it’s not unheard, and in a world that is becoming increasingly less gender-biased, in a society in which the ditching of gender-specific anything is becoming more and more popular, does it matter if West wears a skirt? If women can wear pants, why can’t men wear skirts?

Clearly Kanye is trying to be edgy/artistic/trendy/whatever. For me, it was just the latter—the ‘whatever’—mixed with a bit of the third.

Perhaps my quick acceptance and dismissal of Kanye’s Sandy look is a peculiarity of my generation, or maybe it’s a hangover from a liberal arts education (thumbs up for the Caravaggio hoodie, K!) heavy in the reading of Judith Butler. Whatever the reason, I can’t acknowledge Kanye as a trendsetter. Although he certainly has us talking, he didn’t start the dialogue—that wouldn’t be like him. Kanye’s an interjector, an exclamation point, and, following Roger Daltrey’s bare chested number, a much welcomed dose of Givenchy. 

Final question: Was it a [w]rap skirt Kanye wore??

Ho ho ho…you know I can’t resist a pun.

Z

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Video of the Week: Lana Sings the Blues

One time, a few years ago, I made the mistake of shopping at H&M watching David Lynch’s Blue Velvet straight through, first thing in the morning, alone. When I say morning, I mean it was dawn-thirty in an old house in New Orleans and no one was awake but me. The spook factor was through the roof, which, unlike some of my former residences, was thankfully fully patched and leak-proof. Trust me, the intrusion of water into your living room and the subsequent ceiling damage it causes—ex. bits of it falling on your head—is considerably worse than any Pabst-swilling, sociopathic Roy Orbison fan stealing your baby and husband. Or maybe it’s not, but it’s still pretty bad.

Such was how I originally considered Lana del Rey: pretty bad. It was nighttime, I was alone in a house in Houston—this one built in the current century—and someone ambushed my inbox with a clip of Video Games. I want to use some Frank Booth language to describe my initial feelings towards the video, but I’m too much of a lady to speak like that (in public, anyway).

Both videos—the Games and the full-length feature mentioned above—left me more than a little disturbed, but both have come, in time, to be cherished, preferred pieces of my personal pop culture portfolio. From Blue Velvet to Blue Jeans, Lynch and Lana got me good.

…And that’s about as far as this argument can be extended. The parallels here are flimsy and drawn only for the purpose of introducing the baffling new H&M ad, which is in-and-of-itself a dubious piece of film.

The commercial, which debuted last Wednesday, presents the somewhat unceremonious and dimly-lit union of the internet chanteuse modeling H&M’s fall line and random Lynchian imagery. Its references are not even all from Blue Velvet, and I’m fairly certain Lynch was an unwilling groom. The clip is unsettling but not in a cerebral way, although del Rey’s cover of the film’s title song is good. Watch:

 

 

New York State of Mind

Thinking big in a small space: easier done in Manhattan than when trying to pack to get there, which I what I’m attempting for the coming weekend. Four days, three nights, two dinners, one brunch and myriad other activities, each necessitating outfits at varying levels of formality; all must fit into a carry-on. I am refusing the $25 checked bag fee–those are funds better allocated towards a post-plane bellini at Cipriani.

I need: shoes for night, shoes for day (walkable, both), blouses, shirts, a jacket, a sweater, a skirt, tights or leggings, a handbag for day, a handbag for night, and a rain trench since the forecast shows 66 degrees–that’s practically arctic for my Southern blood–and a 40% chance of rain. If there’s anything more detestable than being cold and wet, it’s being poorly dressed to boot. And boots are out of the question since we’re dealing with a cabin-sized suitcase.

Heels are warranted, but they’ll have to be somewhat substantial; I’ll need my toes covered and I can’t walk far in stilettos. So I’ve chosen a chunky YSL-looking (they’re actually Dolce Vita) pair in grey and black suede with gold piping and an ankle strap. The heel is thick; they go with everything and I’ll probably wear them to dinner once or twice.

This is step one in today’s prudent packing lesson: make sure everything is coordinated and can be worn more than once, but never reuse an outfit; that’s boring, folks. It helps to stick to a certain color palette, and also to make a list of what you’re doing and where (wear?).

Color-wise I’m doing greys, blues, and blacks for the clothes…

…and adding a P.O.C (pop of color!) with accessories.

One of my favorite modes of P.O.C.-ing? Lipstick. MWAH!

In addition to the heels, I’m packing a pair of black smoking slippers and I might throw in my white Converse, since I know it’s going to rain.

For that reason I’m also taking my rain-trench, which I’ll probably wear on the plane over my  pullover, which, unworn, assumes the most space of any one item.

Also wearing in transit: My jeans. Yep, I’m only taking the one garment. Don’t look at me like I’m an unlaundered child of the gutter; I said one garment, not one pair. Huh?

MY JEANS ARE REVERSABLE!! Haha!

These clever pants are made by Bleulab and they are AWESOME for traveling. I acquired them earlier this year; I think they’ve gone on just about every trip I’ve taken since.

So what’s left? Makeup, shampoo, face wash, and jewelry, all of which I will put in travel sized-containters (they sell them at the drugstore) and will likely put in my purse—black, pictured above with the blues and greys and is itself the size of a small suitcase—so as to ease the screening process at security. Flying from one major US airport to another major US airport does not a fun time with the TSA make.

And here we have it: all four days, three nights, and a couple of extras just for good measure all fit into my little bag, and I still have space for acquisitions!

xx

Z

Video of the Week: Coco vs. Coco

Supermodel Coco Rocha has now been twenty-four for exactly one week now—let me know how it is Coco, I’ll be joining you in exactly one month, eek!—and has had her new White House Black Market spot on the air for the same period of time. It’s cute, watch it here:

Did you know that Rocha was discovered at an Irish River Dancing competition? Truth. And OK so that’s kind of nerdy, but also kind of cool. Hidden talents, ya know?

And why do I know all these intimate biographical things about Miss Rocha? Because I grew up in the era of the Supermodel and only grew into a 5’5” frame so it’s like my bone marrow soaks up this knowledge it needs to grow but won’t use because my bone structure is stunted. It’s a particular affliction certain little girls of the early 90s must bear. It’s really a terrible thing and can cause a lot of stress on the joints; River Dancing is simply out of the question.

Z

White Noise

Labor Day has come and Labor Day has gone. Summer is [socially] fini, though technically we’ve got nine more days til the start of fall. But with so many autumn shindigs a-comin’, ie fall outfit ops, who has time to mourn the dog days past?

Now that we’ve had a full ten days to grieve, let’s just go ahead and address the big white elephant in the room: can one enrobe oneself in said animal’s skin tone past the first weekend of this month?

In short, oui.

Firstly, if we’re going to be all posh and bothered about this rule, let’s make sure we’re being correct as well: historically, the rule applies to shoes only, and that includes soles. Especially soles. Now think about who made this rule (we’ll get to that nonsense shortly but continue to consider for the time being that those who penned it are, and always will be, the utmost authority on les règles de la mode) and let us consider why this rule was made: if Labor Day is the end of summer, socially speaking, then all summertime activities cease and desist til the Day of our Savior’s Rising in the Spring. Until then, the tennis rackets and their accompanying footwear are shelved and the sailboats with their requisite white-soled boat shoes are docked.  So if you’re not out sailing you should begin saying farewell to your Sperry’s and promise you’ll see them again next year.

But if you’re in the Bahamas or Florida, or even if you’re even just down in Galveston, can’t you be out on the water well into December? But of course you can, and your boat deck needn’t be scuffed up just for fashion’s sake, and honestly, though boating may conjure up all sorts of Jackie O-on-Aristotle’s-yacht-type style fantasies, the truth of the matter is boating is not a glamour-driven sport. And so we begin to see the cracks in this allegedly unsinkable No-White-After-Labor-Day decree.

I’m reminded of a photo I saw several years ago on the Sartorialist’s blog:

http://www.thesartorialist.com/photos/on-the-street-white-jeans-for-fall-paris/

She’s walking through the Tuileries in November and looks perfectly seasonable. This is actually one of my all-time favorite outfits, and incidentally the one that prompted my acquisition of these Frye engineer boots shortly thereafter.

I currently have my eye on a black pair of OTK boots—I think these may finally be The Ones—and I do believe they’d look more than a little spiffy with a pair of white skinny jeans and black moto jacket, an idea inspired by the Tuileries muse. Per the Rule, I can’t wear that because white is now so passé. But if I wait until after Easter, my boots will be too.

Labor Day is a strictly American holiday but puh-lease; since when do we in America decide the world’s sartorial standards? Though the CFDA would likely disagree, “We the People” are not the international authority on how to dress. Though no one’s chic like a French girl is, I think the photo above proves layering and accented juxtaposition can transition any color, any garment, and anyone into Fall. If the Tuileries girl can do white jeans and make it seem appropriate, I can do them too. But let’s forget appropriateness; that’s not something I’d ever hear a French girl worrying about. And if French girls aren’t the standard, who is?

So let’s put color aside and consider cloth instead. Linen, seersucker, Madras and the like do not do well into early October. Garments in these fabrications should be put away when a chill hits the air, mostly because they’re just non-functional at that point. We need suede, and wool, fur, and—my favorite—leather. But again, if you’re a college kid in the SEC, by all means wear your seersucker to that Saturday morning tailgate. It’s 100% appropriate as long as the weather permits.

The issue then is not whether you wear the color white, but how you wear it. White jeans and boots with a dark color top? How clever! Hearing your silk blouse crying limply from its hanger? Layer with a turtleneck and take it out on the town. Still want to wear your platform sandals into fall? Put some opaque tights underneath. Love your jean shorts like you’re a Never Nude? Do the same thing. Kate Moss does. All the time.

White denim shorts + black opaque tights + boots + a turtleneck and blouse?  Do not mind if I do!

boots: Frye. shorts: 7 for All Mankind. sweater: Helmut Lang. blouse: Equipment. That’s right. It’s a sweater UNDER a blouse!

See you again tomorrow September; I’ll be dressed and ready.

Z–

 

All I Want For Autumn Is…

 My two front teeth A pair of thesethis (in Frenzy), and thigh-high, over-the-knee flat boots.

Not a lot to ask, is it? Oh no. This is where one finds oneself harshly in the wrong. Frenzy is already sold out and boots are the hardest thing in the world to shop for.

Since c. winter 2009, I’ve been going completely crazy for a pair in the over-the-knee style but, fearing the imprudence of a possible one-season trend spend—I’m a [half] WASP: we make wardrobe investments—my guilt (blame that on my other half) staid me. Last year, in true Wasp-y Yuletide-y spirit, I attempted to cheat the eye and spare expenses by pairing a black thigh high sock with my black vintage Guccis (hand-me-down riding boots from my Episcopalian mother, duh). It looked somewhat foolish, more Hot Topic than Haute Hippie.

2012 shall be the year this nonsense stops. What with the Mayan Armagedon etc. occurring this winter, it may be the. last. chance., and we wouldn’t want our knees to be poorly dressed when the world ends, now would we? Indeed not. Ergo, Ima get on* a pair of thigh-high boots and say to the world: who cares where you’re from or the culture that bore you; It’s all about where you’re going and how fabulous you look when you arrive. 

 

*Feel free to laugh at my incredibly clever little pun. It’s not like I didn’t take that straight from Miss Congeniality, which if you’ve never seen (seriously though, why haven’t you seen it you’ve had well over a decade by now since it’s release) you should probably just quit reading this right now and get yo’self to netflix before December comes ‘round and you can never watch movies ever again ever. The world is ending, got it?

Buuut since it’s only August and still pushing 100 temp-wise, I have ample some time to [ful]fill my shoes mission. Stay tuned for thrilling updates.

In the meantime, enjoy these Givenchy feet coverings—I’m not sure they can be called shoes: 

Everytime I look at these I giggle. They look like yak feet, if the yak were shorn and maybe had gout.

The general consensus from the style crowd seems to be that these are super stylish; I think they’re super stupid and I’m just not going to waver on that. Sorry Ricky.* 

*That’s Tisci, for those of  you no smarter than yaks and yak-like footwear. 

 Also on my wishlist for fall: leather. Leather everything. I would bathe in leather soap bubbles and sleep in leather pjs if such things were manufactured. I LOVE LEATHER.

 

And the hoarding has already begun (courtesy of Kelly Wearstler and the August super-sales):

 

 

On a side note, I highly encourage the googling of “pictures of yaks” for brief and meaningless amusement.

 

bisou bisou,

Z

Accoutrements, Part 1

It’s Monday. I don’t work today [at my real job]. In retail we don’t have normal weekends so whenever I’m home during the week and everyone’s gone from my building (dorm?) I feel like I’m playing hooky from class. What better way to do so than play dress-up! Here are a few of my favorite things, though, unlike the Hammerstein and Rogers song, they’re more likely to give nightmares than quell them.

The antique store where I bought this bracelet is now shuttered, but there are tons of them up and down Magazine street, significantly less pricey than those on Royal in the French Quarter. Also amazing: the two junk shops on Dauphine & Royal in the Bywater. Treasure hunting is a favorite pastime.

Visited a friend in LA several weeks ago and found this Coyote tooth earring at Necromance on Melrose. They source their materials and craft the items themselves; this one was the among the tamest of their wares which included a fetal skeleton c. 1900, earrings made out of badger toes (purchased by my friend, see pic below), jewelry from beetles and butterflies and peacock feathers, jewelry from human bones (yes, really!), and all sorts of other bizarre and macabre items.

The coyote tooth is a solo piece; I usually wear a stud of some sort in the other ear.

And now, the piece de resistance, the thing that fills me with glee by the sheer knowledge that it resides in my closet: my Alexander McQueen silk scarf. I purchased this several years ago from Net-A-Porter, and it was one of the best things I ever did for my wardrobe. My version is gray and black, but the scarves come in an array of colors.

Skulls can be scary, but I like the playfulness and versatility of this design, especially in silk. It accompanies any outfit for any occasion and the gray is season-less: ladies’ luncheon, job interview, brunch with the girls, nails with mum, on your head at the beach, through airport security (because it’s lightweight for travel, doesn’t wrinkle, and says to the TSA: DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH ME, I’M HARDCORE) movie date, dinner date, grocery shopping in cutoffs, dog-walking in cutoffs, sampling sweets at Araya…the point has been driven.

Alternatively, you can wear it around your apartment on your day off with your Nike shorts and ratty old college tee while you blog about the item in question. Trust, you’ll feel 1,000,000,000 times more chic.

Speaking of millions and skulls and stuff, here’s what I did yesterday on my other day off (I got two in a row this week!). The Houston Museum of Natural Science just unveiled their new Hall of Paleontology. IT IS SO COOL. And I’m not even that geeky. No, really, I’m not…

It’s like “HAYYY Look at me WERK.” Replace that atlatl with a telephone and you’ve got the beginning of Naomi Campbell’s bloodline right there.

Bisou bisou,

Z