Ashish, Spring/Summer 2010

Saturday, February 27, 2010

(Thanks to My Fashion Life for the image)

Though it’s probably narrow-minded, my ultimate decision on every collection I see depends on whether or not I would wear many of the pieces shown. A collection can have complete creative integrity and brilliant design behind it, and I will be satisfied. But I will be electrified, thrilled, and eager if a collection can combine these things with actual wear ability.

On that note, I've been seeing what’s new from London-based designer Ashish Gupta. He’s a designer that I respect creatively, but not necessarily a man that always makes things I would wear. I checked out his Spring/Summer 2010 collection this morning. Its essentially Ashish – kitschy, bizarrely proportioned, globally minded. And to his deserved credit, essential Ashish is fabulous (and on a side note, I very much enjoy the website design).

What I love: Map dresses/shirts (11, 14). Sequined soccer shorts (16), sequined biker jacket (32).

What I kinda like: The Warhol influence (all over).

What I feel ambivalent about: Slogans on shirts (7, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23). Fanny packs (12, 20, 27), Universal symbols (6, 8, 9, 28, 29, 30).

What I don’t like: Pastel on black (all over). Spiky, shoulder-padded, stonewashed jean jackets. (1, 34: Dear GOD help me.)

The use of tropical flowers and parrots as backgrounds acts as a nod to spring/summer collections in general. The giant universal symbols (Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Nike logo, peace sign) take Ashish’s kitsch out of the construction, and places it on top of the clothes themselves, freeing up the construction to be whatever it wants…which I…almost like. Still, I have to say that the things I like about this collection can’t outweigh the things I dislike. It feels like Ashish has extracted all the elements of Spring/Summer from the clothes (blooming nature, whimsy, broken-down, un-buttoned relaxation), squished them into symbols, and put those symbols on top of clothes that look like January to me. It’s admittedly clever, but doesn’t really grab me.

Though I have been consistently satisfied with his work over the past couple of years, none of his collections have thrilled me like his Spring/Summer 2007. I would happily don every piece of that one, with highlights including looks 2, 3, 10, 15, 24, 26, 28, 31, and 33. I know I can’t go back, but I’d love to see the references back in the construction, instead of having them gang up and confront me as a giant, glittery Mona Lisa.

All in all, I’m content. But I’m not over the moon.

I'd Be Safe and Warm if I was in LA.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Today’s wee gem is brought to you by a place that has inspired more good old fashioned longing than any other place I know – California.

“California Dreamin’” by the Mamas and the Papas has always been a favorite of mine, particularly since a fateful road trip there in the summer of 2007. I recently came in contact with another version – it weaves together the beauty of the state with the pain of leaving it even more than the original. I heard it at the IFC Theater in Manhattan last week, during a screening of an equally painful and poetic film – Andrea Arnold's “Fish Tank”. Dirty, beautiful. Recommended to anyone with a strong stomach.

I give you “California Dreamin’”, as performed by Bobby Womack.

March Vogue - Free Association

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

(Thanks to Just Jared for the image)

Like many other fashion-lovers out there, I anticipate the arrival of March Vogue like a kid anticipates Christmas morning. I've been particularly excited for this year's Spring issue, as it heralds the slow-extinction process of the leather-bound, aggressive, witchy-dominatrix aesthetic that has prevailed over the past couple of years. It's not that I can't appreciate the style - I'm simply bored of it. (More thoughts on that later.)

While looking through the ad pages, I noticed that my brain was doing a bizarro free-association excersize (whycan'tIeverspellthewordexerciseproperly). As each brand name went by, I said out loud the first words that came to my mind. Some were logical, some were not. But here’s some highlights:

Fendi: "Playboy Mansion". (Thank you, Sex and the City – in episode 44 Samantha buys a fake Fendi and accuses a Bunny at the Playboy Mansion of stealing it)

Gucci: "Tom Ford". (Though he hasn’t worked for Gucci since 2004, I still immediately think of the Gucci of the late 90s. Ford resurrected the brand and brought it to what remains its most iconic moment. By the way, I hear his directorial debut A Single Man is incredible – check out miss Danielle’s review here)

Louis Vuitton: "Spicy Sandals". (No deep connections here – I just cannot get enough of these gorgeous shoes)

Dior: "Miss Dior Cherie". (Sofia Coppola’s ad campaign featuring Maryna Linchuk floating over Paris under a bunch of balloons was too lovely)

Banana Republic: "IWantEverythingFromThisStoreAndNotJustBecauseIWorkHere".

Dolce & Gabana: "McCollough & Hernandez". (Totally unrelated except that they are two teams of two talented men whose names sound adorable together. I wonder how each team would react to this clumping.)

Girogio Armani: "Armani. Only." (Vagina Monologues quote.)

Hermes: "Her-meeees". (I pronounced Hermes Her-meeeees until I was about fifteen.)

Yves Saint Laurent: "Good LORD what is Natalia Vodianova doing with her face?!?!" (Can’t find a link – tragedy because trust me, it is frightening and incredible.)

St. John: "Angelina Jolie". (Hiring this woman as their spokesmodel was a brilliant move – I, an ordinary consumer, wasn’t particularly aware of the brand before she began appearing in their ad campaigns in early 2006. The hauntingly gorgeous and talented Karen Elson will no doubt be a worthy second act.)

Burberry: "Military". (The trench coat with the brand’s classic patterned lining is still one of my biggest, most visceral in-my-closet dreams.)

DVF (Diane vonFurstenberg): tie between "Andy Warhol" and "Wrap Dresses". (Warhol’s portraits of her are unforgettable. I also must regrettably say that though vonFurstenberg’s wrap dress is rumored to work on every woman’s shape, I cannot make it work on mine. Sigh.)

Michael Kors: “Pretty Ladies on Yachts!” (Thank you, Fug Girls, for one of my favorite fugs ever)

BCBG Max Azria: “Prom dresses for Rich Suburban Princesses.” (Ouch, I’m sorry Max Azria, but that is truthfully what came into my head. I really do think you’re incredibly talented.)

Tommy Hilfiger: “Boats and Streets.” (Anybody remember the Tommy-Hilfiger-Is-a-Racist debacle? What a mess that was.)

Ralph Lauren: “Riverboat Cowboys.” (I always think of their store at the foot of Aspen Mountain when I think of the brand, it fits so well into the Colorado lifestyle. I sort of imagine that everyone who lives in Colorado wears Ralph Lauren.)

Via Spiga: “One of the Best Coat Purchases I’ve Ever Made”.

Valentino: “The Last Emperor”. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and am thoroughly terrified of and infatuated with dear Valentino.

What’s the moral of the exer-szxqughsajdfsadf-cise? Not sure, but the results are moderately amusing. Pick up Vogue’s March Issue soon if you haven't – though I have yet to make it past the ads, I know the rest of it won’t disappoint.

Maiden Voyage!

Dear Universe,

I've been inspired by the blogs of respected thinkers and dear friends lately, and so I've decided to begin a blog of my own. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what it'll be about - I'm thinking of it as "Things that Inspire Me". Based upon my interests, that will likely be music, fashion, design, food, film...all things artistic, I guess. Expect rants, raves, general wonderings.

So, coming direct from my modem to yours, the thoughts of a 22-year old Chicagoan obsessed with beautiful things!

I'm not stupid enough to claim that my opinions are always fully informed or bulletproof. So if you have an idea, a question, kudos, complaints, any beef at all - feel free to leave it in the comments.

Cheers to new adventures!