Saturday, September 21, 2013

She's a witch

Wearing: J.W. Anderson x Topshop sweater, dad's shirt, Quirky Circus skirt and Miu Miu clogs.

The last three weeks feel like a giant grey blob attacking my creativity- so to give expression to those feelings I made a monochrome outfit which is also slightly Halloween themed. That happened to be coincidental but given that it's the end of September, it works out well. I couldn't bear not to have some sort of brooch, hair clip or accessory giving flavour to black and white vibes so I quickly glued my googly eye to my rosary. I really like how it turned out- it's like my perfect Chris Habana tribute piece with added witchy goodness/ mock religious value. I was kind of bummed though that I didn't have the Miu Miu cat clogs (which just would have been totally perfect given their association with witchcraft) but I think the wooden heels and general chunkiness makes up for it.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Dr Martens

When I think back to my most triumphant years as a teenager (granted, I only just turned 20 last week but it already feels like I'm over the hill), I think Dr Martens. They're the shoe that reflects that inevitable feeling of being invincible you get as a teenager, when your most awkward moments are behind you and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel i.e. the future version of yourself you had always hoped you would grow up to be. Or maybe that's just a reflection of how safe and impenetrable the shoes make me feel. Whether you're in bad weather, on a construction site, or on a factory floor wearing their work boots, DM's are both wildly popular, stylish and safe. If that's not a slogan you can regurgitate onto your parents when out shopping, I don't know what is.

When you first try on a great pair of Dr Martens, there's this giddy bolt of electricity that strikes you, much like other experiences that occur during teenage years, like getting your driver's license, that first kiss feeling and prom dress fairy tale moment. The memories most prone to become fuzzy and exaggerated when remembered through the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia feel dreamily closer when you first walk around in these shoes. But like being a teenager in which sneak attack menstrual cycles, bad acne days and hair dye experiments-gone-wrong  can mare the experience, you can be similarly struck down by confidence-deflating blisters and scuff marks to your new shoes. Don't worry, it's fine. You're part of the human race and I think the imperfections of wearing boots are like little badges of honor to relish in. Maybe you'll associate them with that time you sneaked out of your house, or broke curfew of went to your first rock concert.

Whether you're a teen or a crusty adult, everyone remembers (or lusts after) their first pair of Dr Martens. For me it was a pair of black leather boots with embossed flowers I begged my mother to buy for me at Myer Department Store in Melbourne one fateful day. And guess what guys, I still have them! Over several years of wear, visits to the zoo and running around the flower pattern has gradually faded into nothing, but it would make me sadder if they were pristine, if the leather had hardened and no one got to see me wear them. I'm even bringing them with me when I go on Field Geology camp next week; although I should have really bought proper hiking boots. It would seem the industrial reputation of Dr Martens and their place in urban folklore, worn by generations of English postmen has even won the respect of my cynical Scottish geology lecturer. Dr Martens is a name known around the world, instantly recognizable and even just passing someone on the street wearing Dr Martens feels like a secret handshake. Join the revolution, get blisters, have fun.

*This is a sponsored posts.
1a- Sassy Magazine, b & c- unknowns. 3b, c- unknown. 4- unknown.
5a- unknown, b- StyleLikeU X Tavi Gevinson. 6, 7, 8a, c- all unknowns. 9.
3a, 5c, 8b-
Dr Martens ‘How to Wear’ campaign X Salford University.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Alexander Wang Spring 2014

I can quietly hear the ghost of my teenage self whooping loudly and hollering at the idea of thick heeled platform shoes being cool- because when I had any social event/ dance/ debutante ball/ THING to go to my main concern was shoes. Or rather, my main phobia was attached to falling flat on my butt in front of my entire year level because I am a horrible dancer was well as uncoordinated. Well chin up! Alexander Wang have launched a series of shoes that are delightfully clunky in black leather and pristine white; the footwear equivalent to the "unsinkable" Titanic (ignoring the fact the Titanic is somewhere on the ocean floor of the Atlantic, because you really should not wear these shoes anywhere near icebergs). Oh, also I did not embarrass myself at any of the above social events. My Valedictory Dinner also went OK, I did not spear myself on my certificate or the wine glass they present each graduating year level. That was a highlight of my high school years. Anyway! I think we can all agree that the platform and heel of these shoes are Enid Coleslaw worthy and we should all wear our best-grumpy frowns, leather jackets and cat eye glasses while wearing them.

I thought the subliminal message stitching was the highlight of the collection, although there has already been serious hype around the 'Parental Advisory' sweater dubbed the new street style piece ( undoubtedly every factory in China will be replicating in the next few months). But that seemed to lack three-dimensional depth and didn't really demonstrate any bewildering techniques when it came to texture or printing whereas the 'Alexander Wang' white text on black seemed to be so-the perfect step between futuristic fashion and the present. It meshed with the art installation vibes and precise engineering of the white pipes in the background of the runway but kept with the simple school girl aesthetic that inspired Wang in the first place. I can already imagine a legion of girls in their bedrooms cutting away and reinventing old school uniform with ribbon-like suspender braces, long loose sleeved crop blouses and chunky orthopedic shoes. But they'll miss that crucial key step of minute detail on the pleats of their skirts, which keeps this piece exclusive within the realm of fashion circle socialites. And it's that application of new technology together with fashion that creates a cool fusion of practicality and style, signature to Alexander Wang; on the top of his game.

Finally the viewer was left with a lust for modern lederhosen, sauerkraut and Ikea furniture (seriously, am I the only one reminded of their couch after the last three outfits?) provided by chic leather punctuated again by strategic shapes to spell out Alexander Wang all over again. Those European comparisons may be a slight over-exaggeration but it just feels like this approach to the fabric and technique are too clever to come from anywhere else other than Sweden. Also you seldom find leather pants in any other country unless you include the abandoned pairs lurking in thrift stores (there is at least one lonely pair that was abandoned when the wearer could no longer pull them off). I think what's really fun about this design though is shameless self-promotion, which every brand is guilt of, has also been combined with ventilation resulting in cool clothing that hopefully will not sweat too much in Summer. Don't get me wrong, I love sunny weather but Summer in Australia + global warming can be tough when you also want to wear cute clothing. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Preen Spring 2014

If you could do me a favor and listen to 'Tessellate' by Alt-J that would make what I'm about to say so much more poignant and witty. Not because I think I have a particularly wonderful taste in music but just because I have a punny sense of humour and like torturing you all. In his 2014 collection for Spring,Thornton Bregazzi unleashed both explosions of colour packaged in minimalist slip dresses and pastel tones in sharp silhouettes with the chic addition of sneaky metal buckle straps more suited to backpacks and handbags. I obviously found the geometry and romance of triangles to be the most engrossing factor of the collection but I also enjoyed the toned down minimalism of refreshing dresses suited for spring worn with invisible perspex sandals. The contrast of clean lines and simple design made the hot pink hues and general artistic flair of colourful pieces even more startling. But you know, it's the startling books and films that are the most eye-opening and leave a longer impression on the viewer and although the comparison may be a bit crass I think the same can be said for fashion.

I feel like if they were to remake the Clueless movie, but they can't because Brittany Murphy is an irreplaceable gem and we miss her dearly; it would be a crime to exclude this dress with spaghetti straps, leathery texture and overall pink gleam. I happen to own a pair of marabou feather earrings that would look lovely with that generally Valley Girl aesthetic, or just generally if you own a fluffy pen or some jelly sandals for poolside couture. Or if a girl is getting robbed on the street in a sketchy neighbourhood will her main complaint about the scenario be: a.) lying on the ground is icky or b.) carjacking isn't a nice thing. I happen to prefer the aquatic fantasy/ fluffy pen with diary idea mainly because it's Spring, all I want to do these days is journal/ collage and make art and I have developed an obsession over tiles arranged in outdoor poles, water fountains and bathrooms. It's just kind of nice to see everything in such a neat little order and it makes me ~nostalgic~ over Summer and eating ice cream without feeling like my guts hate me and instead enjoying gooey pink falvoured residue on all my clothes.

I've finally faced facts; I am not a famous fashion blogger getting invited to sit front row at New York Fashion Week and I cannot justify spending hundreds of dollars on a skirt or top. I am, in fact a simple science student but I am also someone who does want to be creative and have good intentions. What's even better is that I know someone who had a sewing machine and have enough technical abilities to make patchwork as long as I concentrate and do not try to multi task watching popular HBO series, which tends to result in me getting confused and muddled. So when I don't have assignments constantly sucking up my energy like some demonic paper towel from hell I would like to try to recreate this palette of pink, blue and yellow in a skirt of my own, or if all else fails I can make a cushion (because you can't go wrong with making a giant square!). And it gives me enough time to run around thrift stores in my local area locating squares of fabric suitable for a Frankenstein-esque project of textile prolific proportions.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Chris Habana SS 2009

Chris Habana came to my attention long, long ago when I was reading Style Rookie. I was totally oblivious at the time, but it was the start of some sort of new, crazy fangirl obsession that would take months to manifest. In a portrait taken in her hometown of Oak Park, Chicago, Illinois; Tavi Gevinson smiles while wearing two flower crowns and a glass eye/ pink-crystal statement necklace in an outfit inspired by the weird, pastel tackiness of Los Angeles. I always loved that necklace, but at the time I assumed it to be the work of goth jewellery goddesses like Pamela Love or Delfina Delettrez. And I didn't investigate it or give it a second thought. But within the last week I have felt anxious and inquisitive, wanting to seek out the nostalgic photographs of old that inspired me to blog two years ago. So I wanted to reread and investigate the matter further. And boy, am I glad and blown away by the secret universe I found through my computer screen. 

The mystery dream piece I'm talking about was designed by Chris Habana and can I just say, this guy is prolific on sooo many levels. He makes creates and crafts a collection as good as or better than professional clothing designers for each new season and has been active since 2008, which makes me feel nostalgic over Style Rookie all over again *crying*. There's a unique theme or motif embodied in each collection of jewellery, but an unmistakable presence of Habana's own being in each new release. In celebration of warmer weather I wanted to discuss Chris Habana's campaign for Summer/Spring of 2009: and ode to palm tree boardwalks, skate ramps, gothic surf punk, novel neon colours and religion. While it does not contain my fantasy necklace there's a great range of technique, good luck charms and I was completely won over with the photography.

The use of colour was artfully constrained in a less is more approach, but when metal was splashed in enamel it seemed to imitate bleached-stained clothing or overly tacky die dye. These cross necklaces were in a league of their own though. It seems like, they could be made by any hopelessly romantic school girl or girl scout during the heat of Summer camp given enough time and craft supplies of embroidery thread and shredded material. And yet, when you look closer there's a world of careful geometry or just precise pattern making that yields something vibrant but organised. The interwoven metal links, spikes and charms are a professional touch to what would otherwise be a simple design reminiscent of every hardware store bungee chord that ever existed, and I'm glad there's small hints of intricacy and detail to explore in these pieces. They're not like common pieces of jewellery found at the stall of every Sunday market stall but have different dimensions to them up close. And that shimmer and sense of wonder can be felt in everything that is good- whether it's a music video, or book, or fictional character. I spend my time hunting for that elusive charm in inanimate objects and maybe that is weird but that shouldn't discount its importance.

As an Australian, I have encountered many shark tooth, surfboard and general beach aesthetic necklaces at every marketplace, jewellery stall in the mall and around the necks' of adolescents on the street. They've always quietly been in the background; like static to an old TV and generally white-washing everything it touches and lending their cliche touch to my entire world. And it was never really a scene I got into or celebrated either. But I can now safely say that with the addition of  severed fingers and fish hooks I can now enjoy what was a tired backdrop of ocean scenery in a more gory and graphic way- catering to my own sense of dark whimsy. That sounds bleak, but I think for a colour as vibrant and happy as orange; you know, Pina Colados on the beach, getting caught in the rain etc. dark reinvention is kind of a welcome contrast against the bright glean of black gun metal finished pendants and charms. And who's to say you can't enjoy both Pina Colados with Chris Habana jewellery? It's pretty unlikely but hey it could be a fun angle to work over for a new campaign or whatever.

While it seems just about every underground prog designer (Chronicles of Never, Nick Von K, Turn Me on Design, Deadly Ponies... need I go on?) has tried to reinvent the classic motifs of crosses, skulls and bones I really like the oil slick sheen finish of Chris Habana. I've also had a recent fetish for cool earrings finally realising I can exploit my tiny ear lobes as prime slices of fashion real estate when it comes to preciously coiled or crafted dangling decorations. That may sound a little wrong but I now find it fun to wear pretty earrings, rather than laborsome to go through the effort of changing from one pair to another. I also spent perhaps one hundred dollars on earrings in the last month so... that might be why. BUT I'M IN THE MOOD TO GIVE MORE OF MY CASH AWAY. Well not give, it's more like an exchange. You make me look cool and I give you my money. Yeah alright. Those crucifix earrings are to die for though, just because I love collecting little silver crosses when I need to feel closer to embodying The Virgin Suicides tragedy mystique or spiritually intense. Typically I am attracted to patterns, prints and my jewellery has to include some sort of motif or good luck charm. That's just how I operate, it's how I've always operated and I am a sucker for the Chris Habana niche market. And I like it.

*photographs by Chris Habana, styling by Erickson Liongson, models: Joel and Leah.
** I know the format is ugly- shut up.