Inspiration…

December 13, 2006

…has finally found me. This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting New York City for the first time. For me, this was huge. All my life since moving to the US, I’ve been surrounded by images in film, television and magazines of life in New York. One of my favorite movies growing up was “Thoroughly Modern Millie“, starring Julie Andrews as a girl trying to make in the city in the Roaring 20′s. There’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“, which needs no explanation. There’s “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York“. Stop laughing. Now. Then “You’ve Got Mail“, “Autumn in New York“, “Serendipity“…you get the point.

More influential perhaps, has been MTV. You don’t understand…I lived and breathed this station as early as age 7. At night, I would watch “Real World” behind my mother’s back when she wasn’t look My obsession was Todd Oldham’sHouse of Style“, which may very well have sparked my deep-rooted interest in fashion as it relates to pop culture. I watched with fascination as he browsed through vintage stores in New York City, picking out eclectic pieces to adorn the walls of hip 20-somethings.

You see where this is going. Now that I was in DC I knew that sooner or later I would get my chance to go. So, I always had really high hopes of my first visit to the city, and I knew it had to be magical. And it was. Completely. After consulting with my wonderful friend and fellow traveler, I bought my first ticket to New York less than 24 hours before pulling out of Union Station.

Since moving to DC, I’ve been baraged by people that get a sense of my interests about not only visiting but living and working in the city. They say I belong there. Now, I understood why. The fact that within the first hour of walking down 5th Ave or Broadway and I saw about 30 girls dressed just like me, even down to the print on my scarf, was just a minor detail. Every person that I had a chance to meet and interact with had something so special to them. Whether it be their reason for coming to New York or what they do with their time there, it was so inspirational. I saw the passion in their eyes, their willingness to do whatever it takes to make it in the city that they love so much.

dsc00800.JPG

The historic neighborhoods, vibrant cultures, unique architecture, funky shops and cafe’s, crowds of tourists…I could go on forever. New York City has something that touches the soul, and I could feel it.

Fall is my favorite season in the fashion world. I always look forward to flipping through the 400+ page Vogue and Elle fall fashion issues and perusing the pages of plum, forest green and deep espresso colors for the season. This year, however, the vibrant colors were lacking. While still present as accents, they have been replaced with shades of cool black and gray. Could the negative feeling in the air following the five year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy be the cause of this?

Well, that sure is what fashion writers have been discussing lately. Susan D’Amato, a writer for the Washington Post, wrote about the ability of fashion to reflect a particular cultural moment. She quotes Claire Brooks of Model People, Inc., who says that it “represents a new mood in the U.S. which has been fermenting since 9/11 tragedy.” She continues with Americans being “‘agonizingly reflective about their global reputations as ‘uber consumers.’” Is that really what it is though? D’Amato goes on to discussing trend forecasts which echo the staggering consumer confidence as well asthe continuous war with Iraq, and thus we see the subsequent response of designers creating “dark clothes for the dark times.”

Attempting to signify a shift from “style to sex appeal”, revealing and over the top look-at-me threads of celebrity princesses are being pushed to the back of the closet in exchange for a more subtle and chic look. Especially in cities like NYC and D.C., this urban chic look is especially prominent. Even the cover of DCStyle magazine has a model donning a form-fitting gray sweater dress, just one example of their featured “gorgeous gray goodies.”

So at first, I was intrigued by this connection drawn between the more reserved black and gray shades with the post 9/11 sentiment. I decided to explore it further to see if others were writing about this. Come to find out, the fall fashion issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine not only has gray as the “best dressed” shade for the season (which comes as no surprise), but also features a perplexing article called the “New Power Dressing” in which we see a different take mood-reflecting style.

Here, it goes one step further ahead of the dreary mood theory. They state that the gray tones and sleek shapes are reminiscent of medieval armor, and they are “channeling the spirit of the warrior woman.” These military references convey how fashion is choosing to react to the fourth year of involvement in the Iraqi war. The style thus represents a desire for protection and armor, “armored chic.” How about that? Do you think that our more supposed somber period is mirrored in our choice of clothing? Or does the seasonal trend just happen to fall in line with this solemn moment in time?

 

Vintage, ohh the pleasure

October 5, 2006

It’s my new pleasure. I feel it is something you have to learn to love and grow to truly appreciate. Fashion magazines have always emphasized the treasures that are just a hidden clothing rack away when shopping for vintage goods. Maybe it’s my location that has sparked this new interest, but I’m embracing it. Growing up in suburbia, you would be hard pressed to find anything nicer than Polo brand threads among the faded and over-sized t-shirts toppling over each other. It was also significantly harder to to pull off any retro look.

Metropolitan D.C, however, is a different atmosphere. The more style-conscious environment fosters a more daring and fashion forward community. Dupont Circle is a fabulous location to test this out. There, we find Secondi, a hip consignment boutique just north of the Circle. The friendly staff do their best to help you sift through racks and shelves to locate a Tahari suit, Jimmy Choo’s, or a Marc Jacobs top. Whether your budget is Prada or Steve Madden, Ann Taylor or Banana Republic, Secondi is an awesome find.

Vintage

Live from Muleh

September 22, 2006

Eclectic beats spin, drinks flow and the light dim to signal the start of “Dress Responsibly”, the launch of the style Look Book for Fashion Fights Poverty. We are here at Muleh, a funky interior design and fashion boutique in the heart of DC’s hip U Street Corridor. The place is abound with models, designers, and true fashionistas hoping to get their first glimpse of the designs to be seen in the October show. Muleh was a fabulous choice of venue, for unique art on the walls, cleverly arranged furniture and rows of stylish threads really fare well for such a chic event. Behind me, photos of the models from the Look Book flash on a bare wall. In front of me, models dressed in black take names at the door and hand out promotions while leading guests to enjoy the alcohol and hors d’oeuvres as well as great fashion finds.

It’s so wonderful and refreshing to see that this kind of environment is embraced in DC. Goes to show that people are embracing to potential of this city to be a true fashion conscious capital.

This fall, I have the pleasure of joining a fabulous crew of designers, publicists, models, event planners, fashionistas, and humanitarians in helping out the UN’s Fashion Fights Poverty campaign. The fashion show, scheduled for Oct. 27 in DC, features stylish designs of high quality organic products that have been fairly traded, free from sweat shop labor and are intended to raise funds and build awareness of issues stemming from global poverty.

Fashion Fights Poverty

Fashion Fights Poverty (FFP) is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for projects and initiatives which pursue creative, effective and sustainable means of global poverty. We provide a forum for dialogue and partnerships between development organizations, civic groups and the fashion community.

FFP believes that the industries of fashion, textiles and design offer unique and effective opportunities for designers, craftsmen and consumers alike to contribute to the alleviation of Poverty through trade, skill-building and community empowerment.

Not only have my hours volunteering been filled with flows of laughter and creativity, it has been a true inspiration to see the dedication put forth by these amazing people for such a worthy cause. Please, join me in checking out the Fashion Fights Poverty campaign Web site as well as www.beadforlife.com, our main beneficiary that supports impoverished women in Uganda in their beautiful beadmaking in the fight to eradicate poverty across the globe.

View the Fashion Fights Poverty 2006 myspace page here.

Quoi?

September 19, 2006

For those in vogue with British fashion, you would recognize the name of this high end lingerie brand endorsed by Kate Moss. In French, it means “inciting agent”. According to Wikipedia, “a person who secretly disrupts a group’s activities from within the group…typically representing the interests of another group”.

Mais pour moi? Pure intrigue. The concept of representing an idea, a belief, a movement, or what have you, yet keeping one’s true thoughts to a whisper sparks my imagination and invokes my insatiable curiosity. Lucky for me (and you), I now have venue in which I can share these evocative discoveries, and see what you, dear reader, have to say about them.

 Welcome, and enjoy…

Hello world!

September 19, 2006

art, fashion, culture, politics…pick your poison and don’t forget to share…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.