For the premiere of StyleBoston’s third season, I partnered with an all-star team to bring you what I consider to be one of the best Fashion Forward features to date: a behind-the-scenes look at our Fall 2011 editorial shoot.
I’ll admit, as a whole this F/W season was wildly underwhelming for me. Throughout the shows in February, it seemed as though designers were reacting to continued buyer hesitation by pushing aside designs that could or would have felt new and fresh. Instead, in concert they gave us collections that not only pandered to the last-standing dollar, but also diluted, with their severe safeness, the very essence of the brands which designers were scrambling to save from financial woes. Gone were the idiosyncratic signatures of each designer–the differences that distinguish one brand from another–and in their stead was a mild sea of sameness. The waves advanced but never broke, and if they ever reached the shore, well, I must have missed them from where I was standing.
As a result of this conciliatory consensus among designers, the editorial pages of America’s major fashion tomes–Vogue, Elle, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and the rest of their ilk–were chock full of predictable features hailing the neoclassicist revival as the next best thing since the no-carb diet. “Finally, designers have come back to reality and created sensible collections that every woman, in every city, in every country, of every shape, of every age, can wear!” Never mind that no fewer than twenty designers brought you nearly the same pencil skirt silhouette. Never mind that you most likely already own that very silhouette and have for over a decade. These are clothes you can buy, said the editors. And though seeing that tired phrase over and over again definitely annoyed me, I could hardly blame them. After all, designers lose money when their more outlandish pieces don’t sell and their retailers scale back their seasonal buys. Designers losing money = designers having smaller advertising budgets = designers spending fewer advertising dollars with America’s paragons of print. Either way, it was clear: the buzzword of the season was buy buy buy buy buy, and it was repeated ad nauseum.
My word was somewhat different: bored.
Of course, I enjoy a somewhat rare position: we at styleboston maintain a pretty strict separation between our sponsors and our editorial coverage, so I’m not beholden to tell you to buy buy buy buy buy whatever’s sitting on the racks at your nearest boutique or department store. That, frankly, just isn’t my thing. If you already have it, you probably don’t need another, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, you don’t actually need any of this. But fashion, at its best, is an incredible form of escapism, a bit of fantasy that you can put on and take off as you see fit. By my estimation, when a design hits that mark, it’s always a worthy investment.
All that in mind, the team and I selected our favorites from the Fall 2011 season for this feature. That labels like Comme des Garçons and Proenza Schouler made it onto that list is to be expected, but there were certainly a few surprises, too: a diaphanous cocktail dress from Christian Siriano, for example. The designer himself dubbed the tulle confection the “ChaCha” dress because of the way the skirt floats and sways away from the body as you move, and frankly, who could resist a dress that makes you want to dance until you drop? I mean, damn, even I was tempted to purchase the thing, and I don’t wear dresses (they don’t fit) and I hate dancing (because I can’t dance).
All kidding aside, I hope you’ll take a few moments to peruse the feature, Cosas Oscuras, and maybe, just maybe, remember that while fashion is a serious industry, it is not serious business. Consider some of fashion’s most historic moments… In 1947, Christian Dior rebelled against post-World-War-II fabric restrictions by using over 20 yards in a single silhouette. It was a perfectly pedantic whim, but in the process he débuted the revolutionary New Look. Yves Saint Laurent fantasized about a modern power woman, slick and in control. That fantasy manifested itself as the Le Smoking tuxedo. It was the first clear foray into menswear as womenswear, territory designers are still mining for inspiration to this very day. Or Savage Beauty, the Met’s Alexander McQueen retrospective, which not only drew record crowds, but was then extended, then sold over 20,000 new memberships as people vied to skip the four-hour lines. When it finally closed, the museum could hardly meet demand. In short, a little fantasy goes a long way.
And for those who wonder at my admittedly pretentious title, Cosas Oscuras, I’ll come clean: the phrase was plucked from one of my favorite lines of Pablo Neruda’s verse, “Te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras…” I won’t bother translating it because, hey, this is the digital age. You, like me, have google.
So take it in, love it, hate it, burn it (difficult through a computer screen, but I admire persistence!). And, as always, please feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section.
Any of my friends can tell you, I love a good cocktail ring. I wear one nearly every day. But much as I plead, most of my ‘practical’ friends cite one reason for not getting in on the fun: cocktail rings usually pack quite a punch in the profile department. While I obviously don’t have any trouble wearing a ring that could accidentally knock a glass off a table when I walk by, I understand some of you may not be as willing, so I offer this AMAZING ring from Lady Grey as the best of both worlds!
Yes, it has a low, comfortable profile, but with its unique double-layered design, staggered geometric shapes, and–my very favorite aspect–its hand-applied, gradient patina finish, it’s anything but understated.
GET IT HERE.
or take in a selection of Lady Grey locally at:
60 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
P | (612) 262 6100
THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY ONLY!
Meet David Chum, the designer behind Selahdor, and be among the first to shop this Boston-based label’s latest collection. The designer himself is on hand for personal fittings, and if you’ve seen him on either our recently-aired segment on the launch of Emerging Designer Fund or his feature a few months back, you know he’s one charming fellow. He’ll be preselling the A|W 2011 collection, and selling a selection of samples from previous seasons.
The trunk show is part of LOUIS‘ Exposure Series. Designed to be like an open-air market at the store, the series also features, each weekend, a dynamic mix of designers/artists/artisans.
Nick Wooster, inimitable Men’s Fashion Director for both Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, is coming to Boston this Thursday (details to follow tomorrow) for a presentation at Neiman Marcus Copley. I’m happy to say I have the opportunity to interview the gentleman before the presentation for a segment for StyleBoston. Could not be more excited.
The past week was a maelstrom, to say the least. In the midst of all this work (thrilling as it may be), I often forget to take the time to enjoy the community in which I work. To that end, last Thursday Brigid and I clawed our way out of the office and made it a point to attend Louis‘ (swoooooooooon) blogger fête, and then dashed off to the Ballet for the opening of Elo Experience.
Such an evening reminds me that there is a wealth of incredible, committed talent in this city: from Debi Greenberg and the always-endearing Maria Fei of Louis, who not only, obviously, know what they’re doing but also, of greater importance, are both passionate and precise in their vision, to the spellbinding chemistry of Boston Ballet’s most recent work. There is so much to be enjoyed here.
So get out and enjoy it.
Pedro Lourenço is Fashion’s newest prodigy. He is twenty years old.
Yes, the Brazilian designer was born into a fashion dynasty; yes, his parents own the factory in which his predominantly-leather, razor-sharp take on contemporary tailoring is produced; yes, he is all of those things that a new designer, who, incidentally, shows in Paris, ought to be. Namely: young, handsome, of certain means, and impossibly, unimpeachably, precise.
That said, what matters most, what has brought the likes of Francisco Costa to his shows, is far simpler: his clothes are incredibly, incredibly good. Swoon-worthy, even.
And you can find them here in Boston. At Louis, of course. A fun fact: while his work is all-but-unanimously praised, Louis is one of only a handful of retailers, internationally, to actually stock it.
Debi Greenberg, I heart you.
EDITOR AT LARGE
CHIEF FASHION CORRESPONDENT
Anna Paula Goncalves
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