Wednesday, April 29, 2009

John Galliano's Boldest Look of Fall 2009 Ready-To-Wear Explained

Though Christian Dior's Fall 2009 Ready-To-Wear collection was applauded for its myriad use of rainbow colors, rich colored suits, hobble skirts, shoes decorated with oriental motifs and the classic Lady Dior bags, there was one particular look namely the blue sheer gown exposing the rear that caused many a tongue to wag.Speculations were flying in all directions like paper planes, trying to take a wild guess on what John Galliano had really intended to communicate!!Some poked fun by stating that the dwindling economy had perhaps made Galliano suggest a look sans slip while the others persisted that he was blazing a new trail on the road to titillation!!

Jokes apart, if one tries to seriously muse on Galliano's thought process behind the look, one can see his favorite historical reference namely the Merveilleuses(for more on this refer to Understanding John Galliano) being alluded to.How so? Look at the picture below to see where he would have sourced his inspiration from!

"Ah! s'il y voyoit!" ( "Oh, What if he could see!"). Library of Congress description: "Print shows two fashionably dressed women walking on a country road and a "blind" beggar with a small dog on a leash and holding a cup and stick in right hand. The man has stepped on the skirt of one of the women causing it to tear, exposing her bare buttocks for the "blind" man to see. A satire on contemporary clothing fashions."

"Contemporary clothing fashions" refers to the fashion of 1790's(the caricature refers to 1797 to be very precise) when the Merveilleuses dressed themselves in several yards of almost transparent sheer fabric.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fashion In Flashback : Understanding John Galliano !!

John Galliano's signature collection titled "Afghanistan Repudiates Western Ideals" showcased as part of London Fashion Week's Spring/Summer 1985 collections was important not only for establishing Galliano as a fashion designer of immense talent but also for exhibiting his singularly conspicuous inspiration, traces of which can be found even in his most recent collections.Though Galliano professes the collection to be triggered by a cartoon from the 1930s showing an Afghan in native garb on the verge of stomping a classic British bowler and by a comment on an Afghan king named Amanullah, who, inspired by a visit to Savile Row, went back home and tried to force Western clothing on Afghanistan, still he uses elements from his previous collection, Les Incroyables, as a language for expressing the confusion that would have resulted from Amanullah's attempt, resulting in a fusion of the two dressing styles, the effect similar to the colonial influence of Britain felt in countries like India, where the Christian converts though religiously attend church every Sunday, still cling on their orthodox native beliefs and customs .

John Galliano essayed this "confusion" resultant from the clashing of two cultures, as different as chalk and cheese, by combining Middle Eastern-style robes, dyed saffron and a shade he named "dried blood", with traditional British pinstripe cloth to create half tailored, half draped designs, all in one garment.If the collection were viewed without any background, it might come across as an eclectic mix of clothes cut in bizarre shapes, but when viewed the right way, it brings out Galliano's ingenious ability to transform historical references to modern European sensibilities.

While it is common knowledge that Les Incroyables was John Galliano's graduation collection(shown in July 1984), what is less known is the continued influence that the Incroyables had on all his subsequent collections and more so on his next one namely "Afghanistan Repudiates Western Ideals".An understanding of this collection cannot be made without dissecting the Incroyables, who they were, what they stood for and why they were important to fashion.

The French revolution and subsequent Reign of Terror that followed i.e a period from 1789 to 1799, led to renunciation of all forms of elaborate and luxurious dressing, for fear of being executed as a sympathiser of aristocracy.The men of the period clothed themselves in long jackets and leather boots(the style borrowed from Britain) and the women in simple robes like long flowing tunics and gowns similar to one worn by ancient Greeks.

"Les Incroyables(the Incredibles) et les Merveilleuses(the Marvelous Women)" were a collective group of young people known for their outlandish ways of dressing, who rose to prominence during the period of the French Revolution after the Reign of Terror , their exaggerated and luxurious styles in response to the sober sadness that the terror had spread.They were also called "muscadins" due to the enormous quantities of musk perfume that they wore.It wasn't certain whether in dressing the way they did, they mocked the royalty for their opulence or the bourgeois for their simplicity!! This is the exact disparity that John Galliano had brought out in his "Afghanistan Repudiates Western Ideals", playfully dressing up his modern Incroyables in what he thought the Afghans(or the East) would wear to mock the West!!

The Incroyables dressed themselves in a cartoon version of the English country suit comprising of skin tight pants, extremely short vests topped with a coat made so long its wide flared tails reached the ankles. The coat sleeves were long enough to completely cover the hands and the lapels too were very large. The front of the coat was cut to look uneven when buttoned and the back was bunched in folds. The coat's collar stood up high at the back behind the head, and a huge cravat, or neck covering, was wrapped so high around the neck that it covered the chin and mouth. The Incroyables powdered their hair, which was either dressed in multiple braids or cut raggedly(like the guillotined victims), hanging long and shaggy on the sides of their heads, in a style called "dog's ears" and cropped short at the back.

John Galliano's interpretation of the Incroyables retained all the technicalities of their dress like short vest, huge coats with long sleeves, big lapels albeit each aspect executed cleverly with a modern twist, in the process making some pieces strongly quasi-androgynous in nature. Another interesting aspect of the collection is that of the pants reaching till the busts, probably emphasising the very short vests(covering just the bust) worn by the Incroyables, and hence the need for the pants to extend till the bust in order to cover the remaining area!!

The Merveilleuses (the female counterparts of the Incroyables) took inspiration from Greece(maybe because of it being the birthplace of democracy) and dressed themselves in several yards of fine fabric almost transparent, which they dampened before wearing so that the fabric clung close to their body and enhanced the "naked" look. Their hair was cropped and adorned with ostrich feathers.

This "sheer fabric-transparent look" had such a profound influence on John Galliano that it was to be repeated in many future collections of his including the latest Fall 2009 Ready-To-Wear collection.His Spring/Summer 1985 collection resurrected the Merveilleuses, making them saunter on the runways of London in white robes made transparent by dampening and dresses with "dog ears" hanging from the sides reminiscent of the Incroyables' "dog ears"(hair hanging from the sides)!!

(Below) On display are some of the clothes from Galliano's Spring/Summer 1985 collection.

John Galliano's fascination with the Incroyables and the Merveilleuses was felt even in his latest Fall 2009 Ready-To-Wear collections for men and women(a look from each collection shown below).

It can be concluded that John Galliano's Spring/Summer 1985 collection used the fashionable and rebellious dandies of the French Revolution namely the Incroyables and the Merveilleuses, to express the East-West divide(conservative versus liberal) by drawing parallels with the chasm that existed between the aristocracy and the bourgeois of 1790s France(opulence versus simplicity).

(Above) A 24 year old, young John Galliano, walks the ramp after his Spring/Summer 1985 fashion show.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

We are Two !!

I'm happy to announce the addition of a new member to Fashion, Art and Beyond's editorial team.Its my extreme honour that Arian Galilei, a high IQ, unconventional thinker and more importantly, a very keen observer of the world for over 35 years, has kindly consented to be my guest columnist.He disbelieves in fashion as much as I believe in it and unabashedly claims that "Contemporary fashion is at the nadir of creativity" and claims he can prove it. So what is he doing here? While I review each designer's work highlighting the positives in their collection, he would be the Scrooge of fashion critics, dissecting each collection to its minutest detail, bringing to surface flaws that were blind to most eyes and helping you view a designer's work from a very different perspective.Keep watching this space for Arian's convention shattering views on fashion!!


Friday, April 17, 2009

Drew Barrymore, the new Fashion Angel ?

After turning out a stunner during her movie Grey Gardens' premiere in NY, Drew Barrymore extended her good fashion sense right into the movie's premiere at Los Angeles, where she graced an Andrew Gn white dress with an elaborate bib necklace and equally big turquoise bracelet, rings and earrings.Talk about what statement jewellery can do to a simple dress!!

The only cribbing that I would do is about her shoes, the violet looks totally out of place in her detailed jewellery's color scheme.Hope she had chose a color that was part of her jewellery's color palette.


You're Beautiful...

Sharon Stone is a woman of extremes, her dress sense is either mind blowing or mind numbing but never in between.She is like the Sphinx that rises from its ashes only to get buried in it again.As long as she rises up in this manner, I don't mind her occasionally getting buried in her "eccentrically bold" dress sense!!


Partners in Crime?

How else to describe this pair? The monochrome dress trend has caught up so much with the fashion crowd that there isn't one celebrity who has not been spotted in a black and white color combination.Despite designers throwing a ton of monochrome dresses on the Spring runway, it makes me sad to see Lara Bingle end up in something as insipid as this one.And please, so we need a designer to make this dress, any corner shop tailor in any part of the world would be able to stitch together a piece each of black and white cloth and if we are good enough to listen to our grannie's cribbing, then maybe even she could make this dress for us!!

As for Justin Tranter, he should think of other ways to show off his toned lean legs and I can only pray to God with all my heart that the meggings(leggings for men) trend doesn't catch up with the vast majority of male population and is restricted to few eccentric men who think themselves cool enough to walk around in pointed heels.Otherwise imagine the many Pickwicks who would be going about their business deluding themselves of how trend savvy they are, while being entirely ignorant of the many eyesores they would be causing!! Boy, even the very thought catapults me into Antarctica!!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Michelle Obama Then and Now...

If you need proof that you get better with age then this is it! Does being the First Lady mean "Yes, you CAN " on the looks department as well?
P.S : Left photo shows Michelle Obama as a high school teenager during her prom night.


From Yes We Can to Yes We Can't

I have some serious pity for the American people, the dwindling economy has sure left them confused.During election time, they believed that anybody can be better than George Bush and especially when that "anybody" could talk non-stop all the "sweet-nothings" that they so desperately wanted to hear!!Days after the election with the economy showing no signs of recovery, they realise that there is a deep chasm between reality and fantasy, leading them to trounce their hero as a big zero!!


Drew Barrymore plays Goddess

At the Premiere of Grey Gardens, Drew Barrymore looked as if the heavens had opened up and thrown down a fairy.And however much you try to find a little something out of place, this was one occasion when everything seemed so perfectly right, just like how fairies are meant to be!!!

The netting, floral hair pin and Marcel curls while resplendent of old Hollywood charm, still didn't fail to impress!!!


Kelly serenades the African Queen !!

Kelly Osbourne is holding on to her Leopard Nocturne African Queen Clutch by Louis Vuitton as if her soul were zipped into it!! Maybe that's what you too would do if you happen to sport one of the hottest bags of the season.For the uninitiated, the clutch is part of Louis Vuitton's Spring 2009 Ready-To-Wear collection which was heavily influenced by tribal art of Africa.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Adding some dots...

Whose outfit do you find yourself in? While Jeanne's(right) looks more like a long piece of cloth like a saree cleverly wrapped around her to give the semblance of a dress, Dierdre's looks a lot more brighter and interesting.Jeanne's might not be a bad idea during recession but its Dierdre's look that's got me hooked!!


Sergeant Pepper's in town !!

First we spotted him on the runways of Spring 2009, raised our eyebrows with pleasure and had him mentally marked, to take home to our Spring closet...

Then we saw some ladies of Paris courting him and felt a mix of envy and anguish about not being able to lay his hands on him as yet...

And spotting Beyonce with him drove the final nail into our coffin of desperation...

So much so that nothing else would assuage our ego more than being the next hottie to be seen about in town with him...

Balmain Crystal-embellished canvas jacketicon

Balmain Military style denim jacket icon

All for a good night's sleep.zzzzzzz...

Image www.nytimes.c0m

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fringes, John Galliano or Alexander McQueen ?

Left:Alexander McQueen Spring 2009 Ready-To-Wear
Right:John Galliano Fall 2009 Ready-To-Wear

So whats your take? I'm too partial to John Galliano to make my choice but both the dresses are very pretty.While you have to wait for some more months for Galliano's fringed dress to hit the stores, if you are really besotted by fringes and have to do it NOW, then go the McQueen way.There is as much drama happening at the back as there is on the front in this Ombré fringed dress of McQueen's.Wondering what I'm saying? See for yourself...

Alexander McQueen Ombré fringed dress icon


In Her shoes, the Jennifer Lopez way !

Think Jennifer Lopez, think shoes with vertiginous heels !! Few other celebrities' shoes evoke as much interest as Jennifer's for hers are as stylish as they are impossible to walk in, except for the seasoned fashionistas.When one needs to be picky about what one buys these days, rethinking a thousand times whether something is really necessary, this could be the one pair of shoes that you would want to add to your shoe closet, this season.However I would prefer these shoes in a glammed up golden color to effortlessly wear with the many black or shimmery dresses that one ends up grazing the evening in.If you concur with me, then go ahead and indulge in one of the most happening shoes of this season.
Christian Louboutin Differa 140 sandalsicon


Go Green, the easy way !!

We live in green times!! Right from the grasses turning green, to our nutritionists breathing down our necks asking us to replace the beef steaks with "green" veggies, to the girl next door going green with envy every time she casts an eye on our cool outfits, to our politicians drumming the benefits of "going green"(reducing dependence on fossil fuels and replacing them with renewable sources of energy), we have to agree that there is a lot of "green" happening in our lives.If you are still not convinced about going green, here are some people who have gone that way and emerged gorgeous.So are you ready to be bitten by the green bug?

Whether its green paired with black leather or just virgin green, these ladies sure rock the color!!


Black is Funereal?

One look at these ladies and that's what crossed my mind!! Often black seems to be the panacea for avoiding any fashion faux pas on the Red Carpet.While it may be true that the color is very accommodating to skin tone and body shape especially popular for its super slimming effect, done the wrong way it can end up looking funereal like the ladies pictured here(while Anna(left) might be on her way to an ordinary funeral, Carrie might be credited with a designer's funeral, still its a funeral that both seem to be dressed up for and not for "True Blood at PlaeyFest09" that they are actually attending).The very simplicity of black necessitates it to be rendered on clothes with interesting silhouettes, sharp tailoring or clever detailing.And despite all the black beauties(implying models wearing black) seen on Spring 2009's runway it really pains a lot to see "interesting" people turn out in boring outfits maligning black.Get a stylist girls and until then, do yourselves a favor by leaving black alone!!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Simplicity Rules!!!

At least it did at the Red Carpet of the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.This red Valentino like dress designed by Angel Sanchez with gentle ruffles is all that was required to propel Taylor Swift to the top of the Best Dressed list.Do I hear the drum beats and the blowing of trumpets?


Oh so Blah!!

A round up of the ladies who didn't quite impress, at least not with their dressing at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.


Snakes on the Red Carpet!!

After doing a post on how to do nude this spring, seeing something like this on the Red Carpet is like a harsh slap on the face!! Looks like she just stepped in after promoting National Geographic Channel's "Most Venomous Snakes on Earth". Very, very gross!!!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Bipolar Dressing !!

They say there is a lull before a storm.I never understood that till today i.e till I saw Carrie Underwood at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. Just when she had managed to bring some slumber into my eyes with her Red Carpet appearance, she jerked them wide open with her "show" costume, conjuring up images of Moses' Red Sea, an ocean of blood, seething red lava, stage curtains... OK, no more rambling and here's the dress.

There just seems to be no end to fantasy dressing!!!


The Mermaid gets Showy

Kellie Pickler at the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, reminds me of a little girl making her first appearance in a school play, going around showing off her dress, look ye here's my golden shoes, my giant ring, my glittering dress!!! The dress does justice to a mermaid, hope the same can be said of Kellie too but she is spilling out of the dress too much to say that the dress justifies her!!!


Quite the opposite!!

Two ladies working the monochrome trend, with different dominating colors.Which look do you prefer? Me finds the black one strangely alluring!!


Here comes the Bride...

In these recessionary times, if the idea of splitting the bills over accommodation and sundry expenses still doesn't convince you to tie the knot then Carolina Herrera gives you plenty of other reasons why a Spring wedding might not be a bad idea after all!! "Get hitched" screams Carolina Herrera's Spring 2010 Bridal Collection!! The collection is very comprehensive in the sense that irrespective of whether you are the traditional bride who would like her bridal gown fluffed up or whether you are the modern New York city bride, who wants a bit of quirkiness added to your white dress, there never seems to be a want of choices.Go ahead and walk the aisle...