Friday, November 30, 2012

Stolen Girlfriends Club: 'Hello Country, Goodbye Nightclub' collection

As much as it pains me to say it (and much to the displeasure of my mother) I have to admit that New Zealand designers are so much better than Australians; Stolen Girlfriends exemplifies a gritty edginess in this humble runway more akin to a well lit basement and a row of endless green liquor bottles in the hand of every attendee. But I love this grunge home ground of the collection; it transforms the floral patterned shirts and brightly coloured motifs to a whole other dimension. Also might I say the male models for this are a lot, a lot cuter than the ones I saw at Melbourne Fashion week at the start of this year but then again I’ll say that about just about any guy wearing Dr Martens boots and a cute haircut. Also- having a collection made so close to my own country the collection balances different pieces such as light weight anoraks which may still be relevant even during Summer. There’s a practical undertone about these pieces but the design is simply fantastic and wild. This is the very reason I have been in love with this label for four years now, ever since I got into fashion and I don’t see this beautiful relationship ending anytime soon.

Pressing forward the collection came to life in a stark white but underdone setting and I really enjoyed the menswear collection as well. If I don’t quite make it to the Big Day Out and get my hand on some fantastic athletic themed merchandise then I’ll be picking up that basketball singlet and wearing it every time I’m in the stadium (I work as a basketball referee…) when I’m off duty and scoring hopefully as a favour to my boyfriend “coming out of retirement”. Put mildly, the singlet gives me Goosebumps and I love it so much- it makes me want to wear slime green pants with black buckle cyberpunk boots and awkward pastel lipstick. While it’s true I have my own basketball singlet that I wore to death between the ages of ten and sixteen, it’s still just a bit too local and not offensive enough to put some young ones into shock. I could always sweetly argue that the W.T.F stands for the Wisconsin Tourism Federation but it’s been far too long since I’ve watched or listened to American interviews to pull off a convincing accent. Sneering is probably the best response when questioned about fashion and then hastily running off. Maybe the best… 

Now ladies and gentlemen, the statement motif of the season: If you thought the Givenchy panther and orchid combination was groundbreaking, then you haven’t seen anything yet because at the centre of that t-shirt is a flamingo being strangled by a tree python and illuminated from behind by lightning. It’s all very punk rock and could easily belong to my brother’s collection of band t-shirts but there’s a more aesthetic purpose to this design then advertising a musical group. Also- it’s not often you see a design take up the entirety of a t-shirt and fully utilise that wide expanse of black cotton so it’s a breath of fresh air to see some sense in the Stolen Girlfriends Club design. Since grade school we were told to tie our jumpers around our waists so that we wouldn’t loose them in amongst all the hype of running around and swinging on monkey bars, but I love the addition of the mustard orange jumper around the waist. It combines three colours I was dying to bring together the other day; orange, pink and green in a tropical coloured fanfare which looks even more striking on a lumbering, tall male model dressed mainly in black. 

At the moment I’m looking for the perfect leather jacket to act as a blank canvas of motorcycle gang goodness which will then allow me to buy a feminist floral banner patch from Etsy with the simple bold word “clitoris” written on it. While this peplum vest is certainly a little more structured and feminine then I had allowed to fit in my criteria there’s still a gorgeous thread of what I’m looking for in the wide lapel for brooches, chunky silver zipper and it would make for a great overcoat for vintage knitted sweaters… I don’t know I just consider it offensive when leather is worn with buttons because it’s not tough and ugh it’s a waist of perfectly good leather. This though has potential and I’m beginning to appreciate the vast dimensions of opportunity that patterns can textures can slip through those leather armholes. If I weren’t so thoroughly satisfied by a big bowl of vegetarian noodles I would be salivating over romanticising over the leather vest. Peplums are also all the rage at the moment so it’s a nice relevant touch to the end of yet another busy year for blogging. 

I’m no smoking red head ready to recreate a pin-up calendar or anything scandalous like that- so I daresay that a bold bright poppy red/ burnt 1960s orange shirt will do little to enhance any natural attributes of my own but I dig the bold patterns being driven hard in this particular outfit as well as simple leather black boots added as the finishing touches. I’m sure mum or dad would probably comment on the shirt at least in that they had something similar when they were in the 1970s or whatever and I’ll howl with pain because I can’t find any of these outstanding era pieces in their wardrobes now and possibly justify the purchase of a very expensive new floral shirt. I most commonly wear floral prints with plain skinny jeans which I am considering turfing from my plain of existence since they are almost as bad as a hooded jumper- I can’t tear myself from wearing it them over and over again. At least with flare pants and leggings it challenges people’s perceptions of what is cool and what the young kids are into (despite the fact I’m turning twenty next year- oh gosh where are my false teeth and walking stick…). 

I’m digging the whole knitter hot pants/ knitted skirt phenomena gripping the fashion world at the moment simply because it encapsulates everything I guess developing countries hate about the first world: decadence and something totally impractical but whatever these people run under the license of art and stuff and they don’t need no rulebook to apply themselves to or follow. This skirt in particular has a colour scheme and stripe thickness that reminds me of a friend’s sombrero. Odd thing to say but a lot of my friends work in a Mexican fast food restaurant and one even went to far as to buy a taco costume so there’s a lot of free spirited fun I sense in this skirt. I know I already lavished attention on the mens’ selection and colours but this skirt may just be my favourite pick from the ladies’ section given that Stolen Girlfriends Club aren’t incredibly elusive to buy on the Internet and have moderate prices for poor university students. Printed leggings could dress them up in Winter and with that colour combination you may even get away with wearing these to a beach party. Now that’s what I call value. 

The campaign for this collection was even more moody and youth centric than the runway presentation with mean statement tattoos on male models, edgy acronym slogans and loose black cardigans. You know me, I love things that are different and make bold statements and for something as visually pleasing in the form of local fashion that is a rare gem and something worthy of praise and notoriety. Within this collection there’s such a great focus on the model taking up the whole shot and I love the idea that these photographs could have been taken anywhere the sun sets visibly and the warm tones really did go nicely with bedraggled and grizzly hair like a miniature Hagrid the gamekeeper of grounds and keys at Hogwarts. You can’t tell from this shot alone but his hair is dipped in bright blue as well making it even more dark and inky. It was a worthwhile decision since it was far different from the colour palette used within the collection itself and shifted the spotlight from fashion being solely on females to a male perspective. It definitely worked in the favour of this particular release campaign. 

Basketball singlets and anoraks? Yes please! I’ve been sorting through old clothes and stuff to make way for a whole vintage wardrobe and of course I can’t give away my old uniform because of the sentimental value to it but what could I wear with it? That’s the great thing about blogging and the Internet: if you can’t come up with an outfit solution someone else will have and their only a click away from discovery. I’ve also been thinking of a DIY solution to the plain anorak/ army jacket dilemma and I think that my old singlet would look pretty rad with that article of clothing with or without a white dusty desert for mood setting. I was really blown away by the extent to which the collection was intertwined with its background and story- I can’t wait to see this replace more bland studio backdrops that add very little to the clothes themselves in terms of character. 
Imitating some of the world’s prestigious designers Stolen Girlfriends Club have thought to have the final seal of approval put on their shirts; in case you missed it there’s a metal shield on the back of this particular floral creation. The sad thing about having long hair is that it often drowns out the glorious, finer details of dresses and tops but it does make for a neat curtain when securing tied halter necks or whatever. As soon as I master putting my hair into a beehive then I’ll be sure to show off expensive and luxuriant details of tops like this or just show off more colour in all its decadence. 

Just when I thought I had safely left the clutches of the humble sweatshirt to something a bit more structure, silken and less slobbish (no offense) this bad boy sucks me back in and I’m back on the saddle. I would probably do many a bad and evil thing to fit snugly into that amazing jumper but I’m still happy to scope out simple vintage cat designs from another time and for a fraction of the price. I’m getting better at enforcing my policy of “only buy it at a big price if it’s one of a kind” and fighting temptation that the fashion world so often presents to me but I am very tempted to make an exception for this devilishly good piece. I could wear it to work, wear it to a rock concert and at one stage I would even try and wear it as pyjamas because I can tell I would want it everywhere with me but at the same time a harsh Australian Summer lends very little opportunities to do so. I liked it better when the weather was cold and I could layer to my heart’s content rather than having the sanction of practicality imposed on my style and outfit posts once more. 

The New Zealand team cleverly used neon signs to address the title of the collection and the minimal coverage of the garments- the garments have that simplistic and minimalist feel but there is an underground grittiness I can feed off of when viewing anoraks as well as combat boots more suited to youth in England. All in all, I loved the collection and just about everything involved. Surprisingly the models were brilliant, the runway and photo shoot both had this personal but night club/ after party vibe to it and there was a great unity amongst every component. I haven’t seen that in any collection that I can remember and that was the big clincher: seeing something so well thought out gives me motivation to get my life sorted in aesthetic beauty but since that would be an ongoing project I daresay it’s a bit more complicated…

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