"spencer tweedy is a photographical genius" -spencer's suggestion for this title

Rodarte for Target longsleeve (FTC disclosure: I received clothes and compensation from Target for my collaboration with Rodarte for Target.) Vintage leather dress. Thrifted purse.

This amazing photo (Film! Unedited! Like the good ole days when I wasn't alive!) was taken by Spencer when we drove to his cottage with our buddies and his family, only to have very little time at the cottage itself. Too many Culver's stops. And Wal-Mart, where we all took a completely non-awkward family portrait. Golly, we may be just about the handsomest family in all the land. Also at Wal-Mart, Dana and I bought Spencer a hot pink maternity shirt that said "Mama needs a time-out," complete with an illustration of a martini glass. I think he secretly hates it because he still hasn't worn it out, but is afraid to tell me in case it hurts my feelings or insults my maternity wear sensibilities.

Kinderwhore Britney

Pop just released their Fall 2010 issue's covers, which feature a veil-clad, seductively-posed Britney Spears in a flowerbed, shot by Todd Cole with artwork by Takashi Murakami.
They're tacky and gaudy and kitschy and not unlike teen Japanese magazines, and that's the point, and I love it. And she's wearing Rodarte, which sounds so out of context, but makes so much sense visually. Apparently they got Murakami first, and he had this idea of a Japanese schoolgirl vibe, so they then contacted Spears as a result of that. She really is perfect, not only for her young face and blonde hair, but because of her place in pop culture. Using her turned the idea into a real story, and I don't think many other fashion magazines could pull that off.

Unless you've lived in a cave your entire life, and unless you ever wanted to or not, you know The Britney Chronicles pretty well, and one of the most fascinating sides to her product is as a prime example of the ways in which culture builds up celebrities only to tear them down. One commenter on The Fashion Spot compared this to the sacrificing of virgins (and that's before we even get into her virginal-but-sexy image as a teen pop star,) and then linked it to how young, pure, and bride-like she looks in the covers. She's wearing a veil, and bright pink lipstick, and giving that innocent, plastic smile. The cartoons and backpack alone give it all away. It is, in many ways, imitating the way she was sold and perceived when she herself was a teenage girl, but something is different now. Maybe that she's 28 years old.

Many people have noted how much she looks like Courtney Love here, who popularized the Kinderwhore style in the early 90's, dressing in babydoll dresses and Mary-Janes with smeared makeup, messy hair, and baby barrettes. A grown woman following all the requirements of the "female ideal" as dictated by American culture is shocking and disturbing when she ends up bearing a striking resemblance to a little girl. The irony, whether intentional or not, says a lot about how our culture fetishizes young girls, and 20 years later the concept still has its place. Think about how many fashion magazines persist with images of 15 year-old waifs as a point of aspiration for women. And how creepy is it that the American public demands to be so informed on Miley Cyrus's sex life? And yet, it is the public itself that could be to blame for her recent "slutty" behavior -- girls are surrounded with images that tell them their bodies and sexuality are the only factors in their self-worth, so when it comes to trying to establish their identity as a woman, that's what they turn to. It is pretty much written in the How To Grow Up: Teen Girl Pop Star Edition handbook for Cyrus-types to do the same, and Britney Spears is the perfect example.
In 1999, she appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone with a David LaChapelle-lensed spread featuring her in settings such as her childhood bedroom or with props like a hot pink bicycle, wicker basket and all. The teenage aesthetic makes it easy to compare this spread with Pop's, but Spears was 17 when these photos were taken, making the erotic images more Lolita than Kinderwhore in concept. Courtney Love herself once said that it doesn't make sense for actual teenage girls to dress in that little girl style, since they're not too far from the age it satirizes in its message. In fact, concerns questioning the motives behind citing Seiji Matsuyama, whose manga has raised controversy for its depictions of underage characters, as an inspiration for the spread have already come up, but I would say that what Pop did is Kinderwhore-like commentary on that image more than it is playing into it. She's grown up. These covers shock us because, even though this is how we've been used to seeing Britney Spears throughout her entire career, she's finally the one to comment on our culture's disturbing obsession with her.

Maybe I'm reading too much into things that may not even be there, but I tend to overanalyze anyway. This is kind of a rare happening, though. It's not often that fashion magazines offer up a cover that elicits such questions, or could take aspects of society we try to pass off as "the way things are" and shine a light on how creepy it all really is.

Edit: This article includes more analogies between the covers and the notorious Matsuyama work and might be of interest to you if you too are so intrigued by the ideas here. I highly doubt Britney Spears was "bamboozled" into this, though -- like I said, she's older now, and probably knows what she's doing.

Photos: Pop covers, RS cover, RS bedroom.

How much would you pay me to enter the dance contest?

Ah, yes, it is that time of year.

Two weeks from today, September 10th, I am live-tweeting and blogging Fashion's Night Out for Barneys and will also be at the store and going around a bit. You should stop by and say hi! And also ask me questions on Barneys' Facebook and Twitter, because I will be answering them the night of. And if all those gorgeous ladies in the clip above aren't enough to sell you the idea, how can you say no to a charming face like this?

(Available scanner + boredom.)
Hope to see you there!

guess what i use as a beanbag chair? a raisin.

I am still without camera and tried scanning my outfit but after hours spent trying to curl myself up to fit within the scanning frame, I decided I should scan my school folder collages for inspiration instead. Ignore those weird duct tape-looking marks, they're just cracks from when I attempted lying in fetal position on our printer.
Also these are arranged as if they'd been scanned as whole, so the collages on the right are the covers.

Back cover: Natasha Poly in Proenza Schouler in T magazine, space photo from National Geographic. Front: Julianne Moore in A Single Man, mask girl from a W from a couple years ago, National Geographic space photos, the Ronettes, a photo from 1969 from an anniversary issue of Time, and a Chinese candy wrapper.
FUN FACT: When I got that issue of Time, I recognized those sunglasses immediately -- they'd been at my Pop shoot, from the vintage store Decades. I like to pretend they're the same pair, but even though they're probably not, it's a crazy coincidence.

Back: Easy Rider poster, John Lennon/Yellow Submarine postcard, Barbie, Twiggy, Jane Fonda on the cover of Playboy, a random postcard, and Prince Charles on an old issue of Time. Front: Peter Max for T.

Back: Raquel Zimmerman in Proenza Schouler in Vogue US, Frida Kahlo, random postcard wrapping paper, and random butterfly. The background for the front is from a Tracey Emin article in Vogue UK, and the little images are (clockwise from top left): Rodarte AW10, owl clock from Sear's catalog from the 80's, vintage Salvatore Ferragamo shoe, gardening tools from Vogue US, Sasha Pivovarova in Vogue US, Rodarte AW10 twice, and Stevie Nicks.

Back: Salvador Dali, Japanese eraser packaging, Alexander McQueen's 90's bumster, I Dream of Jeannie, Comme des Garcons AW07, Grease trading card I stole from my sister, Lady Gaga, random stationary. Front: Goldie Glitters in Vice, phone from 80's Sear's catalog, Dree Hemingway in Valentino's SS10 campaign, ticket from something I did in Japan, and Lily Donaldson in Louis Vuitton in Vogue Nippon.

Things I Learned in High School: Day One

The best way to tell someone to stop bullying is to be really cool, like, "Hey bro, what's up with that?" Rapping helps to get in touch with the kidz.

I wondered why a middle aged man (who was wearing sunglasses that were eerily similar to a pair I had at age four that had in the corner of one lens a tiny photo of Taz, actually) was throwing things at our grade as we sat in the bleachers. LEARNING STATUS: Answer never found.

Some boys reach a certain age in which they are convinced they invented anarchy, poor hygiene, and Kurt Cobain.

...And I have reached the age in which I am too often under the incorrect impression that I am wise enough to make that kind of observation.

If you, as a short person, want to get anywhere in the halls, you must push and shove. PUSH AND SHOVE.

It's great when you don't want to see someone, and they don't want to see you, so you can ignore one another in the halls on a mutual basis.

Ella and I greatly resemble Jane and Daria at lunch.

High school is fun, so far.

(No photos today, as I am currently barren of a camera. But I hate a post without visuals, so do enjoy the theme song of possibly the greatest television show about high school ever. Then get into an angry Internet debate in the comments about what is actually the greatest show, then watch me get all, "Guys, this Internet Fight of yours is so high school!" and I shall revel in how I can now say that and have a sliver of an idea of what I'm talking about.)


School starts soon and I cannot fathom how I will suddenly get used to getting dressed before 1 PM or doing any physical work in gym. The most I've done this summer is lifting this heavy container of magazine clippings I have. It's a terrible obsession, and whenever I flip through a magazine I know I'm not going to keep whole, I think that every photo could come in handy at some point, and as a result I have way more random photos than I could ever use. I have done a bit in this journal my sister made me, though, and thought I'd scan because they're just the tangible versions of Photoshop moodboards I was gonna make anyway. Also, I sound so dead and boring today because scanners hate me.

Left: Dresses from National Geographic, Lara Stone in Vogue US. Right: American Graffiti, Stella McCartney SS10, Christopher Kane SS10, Brigitte Bardot, Kane again, and a snippet from a Sear's catalogue from the 80's.

Mmmm, bugs. That man used to work at our local farmers' market and would hand out these postcards of him shot by Avedon.

John Lennon, lanterns from a photo from Bazaar, Rodarte Fall 2010, Iekeliene Stange, dreamcatcher, and Jil Sander shoe. I don't remember where the seafoam ring and girl in the ground photos are from, so let me know if you know!

Salvador Dali in Balenciaga Fall 2010. That astronomy photo is from a 70's issue of National Geographic, the Dali photo is from the Fall 2008 issue of T (have you seen the new issue? ISN'T IT SO GOOD?) and the pants and shoes are Balenciaga. The glitter is from a birthday party I went to at Club Libby Lu in 4th grade. You heard right. And no, I don't know why I still have it.
THIS is how I want to dress this fall. Left: Grace Coddington and a kitty, Prada shoe/sock combo, Marc Jacobs Fall 2010, Miu Miu coat, Marc again, and Annie Hall. Right: Manhattan, Hanne Gaby Odiele in Prada in Vogue Nippon, Margot Tenenbaum, Sonia Rykiel jacket, young Marianne Faithfull, and something from the March 2010 issue of T.

nancy needs to calm down

I watched Kids and The Craft these past couple days and I think they may have played a part when I put together this one, unconsciously:
Excuse the facial expression. Smiling makes me look like a Justin Bieber catbutt, and a straight face makes me look like a frumpy troll. It is a lose-lose situation, Justin Bieber Catbutt vs. Frumpy Troll. But I have maybe just thought of the greatest WWE match to ever take place?
Things that "Justin Bieber Catbutt & Frumpy Troll" could be:
-greatest wrestling match ever
-love affair of the century
-the title of a Haruki Murakami novel, if it had one more pop culture reference
PIL pun sweatshirt (cropped a bit by me so it would meet the highwaisted jeans perfectly) from the wonderful Lyz and Josh at Obesity & Speed, hand-me-down Nikes, and Proenza Schouler + J Brand jeans. I guess those are all my idea of "cool." The witchy bag from the folks at Hayden-Harnett is kinda The Craft-y. It makes me really hope I find a group of witches once high school starts in LESS THAN A WEEK, GAH. We had orientation yesterday and I was lost and confused. The year hasn't started yet and I have ALREADY angered security guards and teachers. Which is where the one comforting thing about Kids can be found -- at least I'm not that bad, right, ha ha? Ha?
But I suppose I am not very weird, either:

Enid speaks the truth. These shoes got me way too much cool cred in gym class this year.
The overly kind Proenza Schouler boys, who are maybe Santa Claus, sent over these Proenza Schouler + J Brand highwaisted jeans. They are AWESOME. They make me like wearing pants. The graffiti jeans were one of my favorite parts of their Fall collection because they added a more (and I hate this word, because it sounds like something my dad would say before following up with a desperate, "Am I hip with it??") street element to the other clothes that were more sweet and schoolgirl-like. Also, I will bet you anything that Teen Vogue will have some kind of DIY once these hit stores. Also, these pictures don't totally capture the colors -- the blue is a bit more purple.

The Marc Jacobs sunglasses are from Louise and I added them because I like imagining that this outfit's character has one pair of sunglasses they just pair with everything. They don't totally go but it's nice to set things off. Speaking of Marc, I stopped in the Chicago store the other day and the people were so cool. Normally boutique employees are snooty or mad if you try stuff on without buying anything, but these people actually said, "Well it's still fun to try stuff on!" after I whined to Ella and her sister about how close yet so far this gorgeous wool skirt was. The clothes are SO nice in real life. I think one of the biggest critiques the fall collection got in the blogosphere was simplicity, so I will tell you right now, the details and quality are too special and amazing.

Other things about the store:
-Smelled the new perfume -- oh, sorry dudes, cologne -- called BANG. Kind of forgettable? I started thinking about how to describe it moments after smelling it and already couldn't remember what it was like. I think it just smelled a lot like cologne.
-More about the employees: one woman asked what I got at Borders after seeing my bag, and we talked about Industrie magazine (which is SO GOOD and will get its own post.) She recognized me, but from a friend's Facebook photos, so I don't think they were being friendly because they knew about my blog.

If you read this whole thing, you are very patient.

fashion film winners

The A Shaded View on Fashion Film contest has closed, and I chose my winner:

It speaks for itself, but I'll explain my choice a bit: It's wonderfully sensory. The schoolhouse (church? either way, creepy) felt suffocating and the outside like fresh air, and the clothes are to credit for this along with the music, camera angles, and acting. All of this matters, because fashion itself is about more than clothes. The context of a dreary schoolhouse doesn't make the white dresses glamorous or anything, but they give them a lot of character. It's not an advertisement anyways, but if it was, I'd be more intrigued by that idea than one about showing how cute they are. I also like that it creates both a mood and a story.

Diane Pernet, my fellow judge, chose this fun Hedi Slimane tribute:

Thanks to everyone who submitted their work -- it was so hard to choose but I really enjoyed watching them all!

resort part five

I thought I was done with Resort, and it's sort of pointless to write about now, but these last few are just too good.

Proenza Schouler
UM, are you there Jah, it's me Ras Trent?! No? Maybe? Well, if he was more stylish. But the Proenza Ras Trent still reads Judy Blume, because there are such good cutesy touches to these looks, like the collar peeking out from a sweater and what look like friendship bracelets. The rest of the collection is less stoner-y, but these were my favorites. Don't judge me.

Christopher Kane

I gave Kane a way hard time last resort season for not taking an idea as interesting as pictures of bomb testings in 1950's America to a more conceptual level, but I have fully converted to his ways with photos (resort collections aren't supposed to be conceptual anyways. Lighten up, June 2010-era self!) Nebula prints have been done before, but the shapes add a lot. I like the weird punk-fairy vibes at the top-right, and the space-hippie vibes second from the left on the bottom, and the safari-astronomer vibes to the right of the space-hippie vibes. Vibes, man. Vibes.
Also the fluffy shoes. I would sit in a giant swivelly chair and pet them, if I owned them. Plus they help to differentiate the idea of nebula prints from something futuristic or natural; they're wonderfully tacky and feel sorta Clueless (Dionne, maybe Ambular, not Cher.)

Alexander McQueen

A resort collection that is designed to sell isn't the one to use to evaluate Sarah Burton's new job as creative director at McQueen, but it still excites me for the direction in which she's taking the label. I won't be disappointed if the coat in the bottom left is any kind of indication; the shape is one McQueen never really touched, but the symmetrical embroidery calls to mind a number of prints from his previous collections.

I am always up for a really awesome photo print as in the cases of Christopher Kane or Risto Bimbiloski, but it's also cool when optical illusions are created with weaving or embroidering or stitching or what have you, as is the case here. I like the idea of wearing something that looks kinda magical from far away but whose individual threads are each visible up close. The bangles ruined some of the looks for me but I don't care because I've been hypnotized by those pants, top left.

The Complications of a Swan Song: Alexander McQueen Fall 2010

I’ve tried to avoid writing about Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2010 collection for a while now. I felt upon first seeing it that it would be best to let it sit with me before finding and voicing my thoughts. At the time, I couldn’t look at it as a collection, period, not long after his suicide.

It is now half a year later, and I don’t feel any differently. His death is something that I, like many people, still can’t believe. It’s simply not real to me; I can’t wrap my head around it, and I probably never will. So I have to wonder: is it possible to look at these clothes without considering the circumstances under which they were shown? I say that I waited because I wanted to see the collection as something that walks by itself. But I’m not sure that I can do so without seeing a dreary shadow following closely behind.

The fact is, this was the collection Alexander McQueen was in the process of creating before he killed himself. We would find meaning in anything that had been sent down the runway. After working on this post for an hour, with lots of backspacing and rethinking, and having only two complete paragraphs, I’m still not sure of the best way to evaluate these photos. So much is missing -- the setting he would have preferred, the looks he would have envisioned for the models, and even a number of garments, some deemed inappropriate to show as they were demon-themed. I guess the only thing to do is feel it out. This collection deserves more than to be simplified into an analysis that disregards the story around it, but I don't think I'm the person for that job.

This has been said before, but the collection did sum up Alexander McQueen’s many years of design perfectly. There was wit in the way the image of a feather wing shaped an arm, and emotion in the white half-wrinkled, half-pleated fabric that covered one back. Through beautiful prints, familiar images -- the kinds that come to mind when you think of old paintings in museums -- were shaped to his liking and given another dimension, something McQueen always did with colloquial beauty. The colors were royal -- blood red, white, black, gold, and silver, with green and purple making appearances only in the form of jagged jewels. Poetic insect-like draping and folds balanced out intricate beading and embroidery to create stories within fabrics. A statuesque woman in one dress weeps with a white crow over her shoulder and a hand to her chest.

As always, you look at it and just think about how amazing it is that a human made this.

And that’s about all I can say. I won’t go digging for meaning. It might just be impossible for me to separate the many layers that glide along the floor in the form of a gown from the many layers of the dreary shadow that follows.
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Enlarge to see the looks, though I recommend clicking here for high quality.

we can have real fun

I am trying to enjoy the last of these summer days. Meanwhile, enjoy some Prada lips, First Kiss stories, and Bratmobile.

writing this post was just so exhausting that i can't even think of a good title. and it took me seven minutes to write this one.

This is the kind of outfit that literally falls apart as you walk. It is a pain in the ass, and like, the way the pink dress at the bottom is going way too low is really bothering me right now, but at the same time, these heavily layered outfits that I have to constantly fix and aren't the most flattering are still my comfort zone. Dressing this way is such a great shield and I can't wait until it's not infinity degrees so I can get back in the overdressing every day zone.

So the references here: this Japanese street style photo, this cigarette carton, this girl's pink hair and cat and pink dress with cats on it, Ouija boards, this creepy cat, and CL's dress and pink fairy guitar strap on a seafoam green guitar. I guess like...fairy incense-smelling witch satanic cat hippie granny? Sounds about good to me.

Oh, this is random, but my talk at IdeaCity from back in June is now up. I'm afraid to watch it but if you're interested, it's here. I wrote about it a while ago, here.

And now the longest outfit credit list/breakdown ever:

This brooch used to be my grandma's and was added because it kind of reminds me of that cigarette carton. Same with the vintage bolero. The pearl necklace, which also used to be my grandma's, is for the sake of the granny vibe, and the Forever 21 feather necklace is for the hippie.

T-shirt is from the folks at Blood is the New Black. Satanic kitty! That sounds like an awful band name, but is not bad in t-shirt form. It was a bit too oversized for my liking so I cut a bit off the bottom.

This hairclip Monsoon Accessorize sent me is to counter the feather necklace and the colors are right. This coin purse thingy is from a family friend from a market and I added the ribbon.

The mint green shirt is a hand-me-down, added for Courtney's guitar. That off-white pleated dress is a gift from Fred Flare and is one of the only simple things I can wear without guilt because it's just so prettyyyy. Added with Courtney's dress in mind. The bow skirt is a gift from the ladies at Polly Sue's Vintage, added because its colors sort of tie in all the other ones in the outfit, and for the layering proportions. The print is kind of rad with the clogs, too. The pink mermaid-ish dress is vintage.

Miu Miu clogs from Bergdorf Goodman, added for the hippie vibe, the colors, and to counter the illustration from the bow skirt. I can't remember where this horn bracelet is from but I added it to make the outfit more gritty and less saccharine. The watch, like all my watches, doesn't work, and I got it at a local store when I was little.

That was so exhausting that I'm going to use it as an excuse to do nothing for the rest of the day.