29 December 2010

Time to Make a Change?

Sadly, it's too late for model Isabelle Caro who is gone at the age of 28. Though her death is just making the rounds today, she reportedly died in Tokyo in early November.

Why is the death of this particular model so poignant? Well, because Isabelle suffered from anorexia -- she, like so many in the fashion and entertainment industry, was the victim of a mentality that needs to stop. The mentality that to be beautiful, one must be thin.

From the early couturier houses in France, the need for a model to be thin can be documented. But there was a reason for that -- rations, manhours, expense, and the simple fact that the industry then was an 1/8 of the size it is today. Say you are starting a fashion house in the early 20th century, we've been through one war and about to enter into another one. You have little money, maybe one backer, a cramped room full of seamstresses that need pay, and, if you are a lucky, a small list of clients. Makes sense for your models to all be a size six, no? Less cloth? Less time on the machines? A quicker line to walk out to a potential buyer? Sure. I can appreciate that.

But we aren't exactly in those times now are we? And to throw in more causation, we certainly didn't have the media then that we have now. So you then throw in the Karl Lagerfeld's (who seems to be changing ever so slowly on this subject) and the Kate Moss' with their elite commentary on how important it is to be skinny and it makes the rounds to hundreds of thousands of young girls and women and you have yourself an epidemic of eating disorders, dysmorphia, obsession, body issues and low self-esteem.

Thankfully there are some in the industry that are doing things to change the perception of what makes a model, or a woman, beautiful. Those people I salute. But it's not enough. There needs to be an all out strike when fashion industry insiders take time away from the Starbucks or Grey Goose long enough to insult a 14 year-old reading Vogue in Wisconsin who then decides not to eat for a week.

Or, as in the case of Isabelle, a law needs to be passed. After losing friends to the disease and struggling with it herself, she offended the Milan fashion set in 2007 with these No Anorexia Ads:


Additionally, Isabelle was lobbying the French government to pass a law that would prohibit models from working in the fashion industry if they did not weigh enough. Her bravery, amazing. Her death, unnecessary.

Surely her passing will not be in vain and the example she was trying to set in France will resonant in the other fashion capitals. If not, I feel even more sorry for what we are doing not only to the beauty and innovation that is/was the fashion industry, but what we continue to do to our kids. And, let's face it, the adults. Afterall, we are just kids in grown-up skin.

Be healthy but most importantly, be you. That's really the most beautiful thing you can do. Let Isabelle be a reminder to us all that fighting for what you believe, standing up against antiquated principles, and embracing who you are are what make us strong and beautiful -- it's quite simply not your dress size.

kvlm





22 December 2010

Ringing in my Ears

No, this is not a post about jewelry (speaking of which, I cannot bring myself to wear more than one kind of jewelry at any one time but that is another blog for another day). This is to refresh my presence in the blogosphere and perhaps to reaffirm for myself why I maintain this site.

And how did I happen on this little nugget of enlightenment today? Well, I'd like to give my thanks to Nashville. Having moved here six months ago, I wasn't entirely sure what I was in store for. The first few months proved to be a tremendous acclimation not only for myself but my family as well. Nashville is truly unique -- in a lot of great ways and a lot of ways that make you occasionally speechless.

Well, now that I'm over the hump of adjustment and have developed my very own personal Nashville (read: outskirts and neighboring counties) filter, I can finally see the budding cultural delicacy for the trees.

Even still, I have moments where I wonder...what am I doing here? There has to be a bigger meaning to why my path kept steering itself in the direction of this city. Yes, for starters, it was the job; and certainly having family here only made the path shine a little bit brighter but, being the introspective thinker that I am, I knew there had to be greater meaning somewhere.

I don't seriously deign to think I've discovered all of my silver-Nashville-lining but I know I've discovered part of it and that is in this wonderfully encompassing, bohemian, supportive, artistic, proactive, ambitious community of designers, artists, musicians, stylists, and all-around art enthusiasts that continually find their way into my day. Have I delved in deep? No, not yet. Do I want to become a part of what will utlimately be the shift for this city to not just been seen as a country music haven? Absolutely.

I am quite blessed in my job to be around so many artists -- people I work with and who frequent our building. I've met so many singer/songwriters, artists, writers, designers...it seems like every day I find myself being inspired by what's around me. And that, my friends, is quite irreplacable.

I've suffered from writers block for many years now -- off and on -- and if there is such a thing as a creative block, I'm pretty sure I've suffered from that as well. But maybe it wasn't so much about what I could or couldn't do but more about where I was or where I wasn't. Not to say that my previous residence didn't have its very own distinctive creative vibe but it was never one that I fit into rightly.

So...this is a fashion blog, where's the fashion in this post? Well I've just stumbled across a post on elle.com celebrating some of the popular hotspots in Nashville for just the thing I've been talking about. Nashville also recently announced their nationally recognized and corporate sponsored Spring Fashion Week. And I say, it's about time!


Will these things pacify that artists' nature that's starving within me, you know the one you repress time and time again because of those things we know and love that people call "grown-up responsibilities?" No. Not entirely. But I certainly hear, ringing in my ears, this line which has followed me around for many years: "go confidently in the direction of your dreams; live the life you've imagined!"

best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy and successful new year! may it be all that you wish it to be!

xoxo,

kvlm

10 November 2010

Met Costume Exhibition: 2011

The news broke today that New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's annual costume exhibition will highlight the legacy of the late Alexander McQueen. Given the universal adoration for not only McQueen's design aesthetic but also for the designer personally, I imagine this will be one of the most well attended exhibits the Costume Institute will ever have. Like going to see a Pollock restrospective, reverant in the knowledge a brilliant mind was taken from the art world before its time, the McQeen exhibit will no doubt inspire us and move us. His death, a shock that will take years for the industry to overcome.

Lee McQueen was certainly one of my favorite designers. His flare for dramatic, voluminous, historically punctuated, and terribly sexy -- and terribly sought after -- fashions hold their place rock steady in the history of costume, the history of the industry, the history of the UK, and the history of art. There aren't enough words for those who followed his climb to the hierarchy of the fashion world to express the impact he had.

As such, I've put together this (albeit) small restrospective of some of my favorite McQueen moments and motifs. I'm sure these will be plentiful over the next year, especially after the exhibit opens in May. Until then...McQueen:
















xoxo,
kvlm

06 October 2010

French Vogue Turns 90 and American Fashion Puts Me to Sleep

Let me sum up paragraph one in one sentence: I'm ages behind writing blah blah blah.

Ok, so we cleared that bit up. Sorry for the fashion hiatus, I am sure some of you have just been sitting around wondering...where is that kvlm?? How dare she leave us hanging at the edge of the fashion pinnacle that is Spring 2011 Ready to Wear? I mean really...the world needs to know what's going on on those runways.

Or not. Yes, I'm behind. Does it matter? No, not really. Not when we have heightened security encompassing the whole of Europe while the fashion set frolic around Paris as if it's 1927.

I've got this mad OCD issue that only allows me to peruse the runway shows as they hit the press in the order that they occur. If I deter from that, something snaps in my brain. So while Paris is in fact turning out some beautiful things even as we speak, I'm barely through New York's Fashion Week let alone London or Milan.

I'm gonna wrap New York fashion week up for ya though -- get used to these things: white, ethereal frocks, orange sun soaked textiles, and our continued attempt at "fashion forward" thinking otherwise known as deconstructed minimalism (zzzzzzzzzzz). Honestly, it was one extreme or the other. But then when is it not? I know it makes me a horrible American to say this but AMERICAN FASHION IS SO BORING (with the exception of a handful of designers). I mean really...we either need to get out more or get thee to a library. It's unimaginative and uninteresting. PLUS...is there a reason we have to have 198,000 runway shows in one week's time as opposed to the 40 the other cities have? Oh, right, because we are a land of more is better. Right.

I say we scale New York Fashion Week back to those designers that really set trends, have a solid reputation, and realistically break open the proverbial box, and sprinkle that with a healthy does of newbies. All of these other shows that seem like maybe they only occur for the sake of a few or at the want of someone's grossly over-funded semi-imaginative thought processes could be housed either the week before or the week after. But then I'm not in charge...so...moving on.

So, yes, I prefer Parisian fashions. Who doesn't? They are colorful, sexy, charming, witty and wildly unique. What I love even more is when you toss Parisian fashion with a little masquerade and you get a culmination of the elite fashion set looking either perfect or perfectly inane. Behold La Bal Masque (du French) Vogue:



(HRH) Carine Roitfeld, Editor Extraordinaire, rocking a chic 1960's cat woman look:



And with Jean Paul Gaultier:


Gisele Bundchen. We have a rule about Gisele. Her name should always be said very quickly and with a German accent. It hasn't quite taken on verb form in the household yet but I fear it will. And she's Brazilian. Go figure.





I'm neither here nor there about her ensemble (although I'd like that mask, please...I am sure it would go over really well at our neighborhood Publix). What strikes me is how ridiculously thin she is. Maybe she should have spent the money she spent on her frock on an all you can eat buffet. I prefer my Gisele with curves, thank you very much. If I need to cut a window out of my car, I'll call a professional. I don't need Gisele's shoulder blade or clavicle to do it for me.

And speaking of skinny...Anna Dello Russo, Editor at Large for Vogue Japan. I kind of love her. She might be my current fashion hero. And I don't know what's going on with this hat but I do know if anyone can wear this, it's her.



Diane von Furstenberg obviously went to the same milliner. Of course, Diane can do no wrong, either, and that lovely bloke on her arm, Zac Posen, looks eerily like he wandered out of a Dracula film for this shindig. Not that there is a thing in the world wrong with that (is it just me or has Zac been skipping dessert?)



All hail Dita Von Teese.



She's magnifique! Always. Adore her, adore her, adore her.

But then there was a lot to adore. It's Paris, it's fashion, it's divine, it's everything you want your fashion to be. But there's always got to be a couple of people who maybe read the invitation wrong or had some sort of fashion catastrophe immediately proceeding said ball. In this case, those people are Karolina Kurkova, Kate Moss and Tyra Banks.


When you Google Karolina Kurkova, one would think Victoria's Secret would be the first thing to pop up. But, yeah, no. It's "Karolina Kurkova Weight"...the untold secrets of her weight problem. Folks, if she has a weight problem then I, and many that I know, must be prepping for our roles in Shamu's show down at Sea World. She's gorgeous and curvy -- in all the right spots (though not in this shot...she obviously needs to hit up that buffet as well). Really, you people need to watch Mad Men and get on with the clue that stick insect/no curves is NOT sexy. It's boring. And kind of scary.

But then so is this ensemble. It's like Batman ate Big Bird. Or similar. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be scared of her, ask her to protect me, or put her in the oven with carrots. It's very confusing. Much like her "weight problem."


I'm no Kate Moss fan. I never have been, never will be. Sure, I get the appeal and the whole "look at me, I'm a waif" thing but the whole "doing drugs when you are a single parent" thing...yeah, that I cannot support in any facet. I don't care if she's in an orange jumpsuit at county or in a orange Lacroix at the Place de Vendome. Call me old-fashioned.

And this photo is such a great example of that sort of reckless Kate we all know and are tired of hearing about. How she still lands campaigns is beyond me because she looks a hair away from a spoon and a candle in some dark hotel room with a Billie Holiday record skipping in the background. There are just so many other interesting people in fashion. Please put Kate in rehab and let's all agree to move on.


Let me first disclaim that I am a huge fan of the TyTy (or Tyra as she is known to the outer circle). I don't always agree with what goes down on her shows, but I like that she is doing something to transform the way people see "pretty." However, throwing a fishnet over your punim and mixing that with soft-Bob Mackie is not a look I can get behind. She looks like she went swimming and got her face caught in a tuna net. And in a last ditch effort to draw attention away from her aquatic faux pas, she hit up the costume rejects from the made-for-tv-movie, Merlin.

Dear Tyra, you are friends with Andre. Please consult.

So tomorrow...ok, maybe not tomorrow, but soon...I promise highlights from the runways. There is much to share but so much to not bother you (or anyone) with. Sadly. Of course Vogue (American, French, Japanese....) may beg to differ that point but they are just selling you magazines and, well, I'm not selling you a thing.

xoxo,
kvlm

26 August 2010

G-d I Love Gareth Pugh

and Raquel Zimmerman...


07 July 2010

Tourture

A first on FPS: I'm about to rip on a show. I kind of have a golden rule about ripping on a designer's show (karma, respect, etc.) and try hard though I may to keep my (sometimes negative) thoughts to myself, I can't hold it in on this one any longer. I hated the Valentino show. Ok, maybe I am partial to the genius of the "ancient regime" (though I don't really consider it so ancient) but I have tried for several collections now to like what Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri put out and it's just not happening.

This collection is reported to be marketed to the Twilight set (really? Valentino? really? Twilight? Did the earth just spin off its axis?) and a spin on the dark side of first love. Well I can tell you my feelings are dark, I do not love it and I can be silent no more.

We'll hit a few I did like first (there were maybe six total):

I like the these first two looks because they incorporate classic Valentino elements with a fashion forward design. The third one is a romantic spin on being trapped, obviously a throwback to the dark side of first love. It looks ready for a museum show and that I like. Well, honestly, it looks like a dress form from the 1800's and that I can get behind.



Ok, so much I hate about this. 1) the fit. Maybe the models came back from a weekend bender and no longer fit the clothes. 2) the cut...ok, yes, classic couture lines, blah blah blah but I'm pretty sure I saw look 2 at my high school prom or, in the very least, at Talbots. 3) look 3 looks like the mini-dress-hooker-version of Nanny McPhee's ensemble before she turned into the beautiful Emma Thompson. But then they kind of all 3 look like sad dolls dressed by an evil, homicidal sociopath of a child in need of meds.



I think the first one was probably a lot more interesting on paper than it is in real life. It looks like she got attacked in the floral department at the grocery. Or had some kind of collision with the model in look 3 (maybe that is, in fact, the bird that once was flitting about in model 3's cage). The 2nd looks like coffee filters gone wrong, or, for a history of costume reference, ruff's gone wild. There just aren't enough words for look 3. There are a dozen other designers I could name that this would not surprise me to see come down their runway but Valentino is usually not known for the avant garde. So park it.


Ok...look 1 here looks like it came straight out of a design school workshop. Le snooze. But looks 2 and 3 are just killing me with their overeager youthfulness which really just looks like a cutesy version of a mourning frock and the cabaret version of a vicar's dress (picture if you will a vicar doing "Big Spender" during a G-d fearing Sunday sermon). What of these things don't go together? Ahem.

Does the dark side of first love also come with no concept of reason, proportion, style or sex appeal? Because I remember my first love and it was more like rainbows and puppy dogs, not some back room of an abbey role play. Actually, no, my first love revolved around depressing poetry and song lyrics (thank you, Robert Smith) but still...I never resembled a puritan, vicar, or recently exhumed historical figure.




Again with the vicar. I can't control it, it's just what it reminds me of..."careful there, Vicar..." Oy. The 2nd look is one part hefty, one part jiffy pop. Or maybe more than one party jiffy because is it just me or does that small yellow-ish detail look exactly like popcorn? And then that bodice, which was repetitive (redundant?) on this runway that was obviously made for the breasts of a pre-teen and fashioned out of bandage from a first aid kit. Did someone have an incident over a jiffy pop and movie night and find inspiration? Methinks so. The 3rd look almost had me, and would have sustained me, if it weren't for that unsightly pink bow that is terribly off center. She's more like the ghost of first love -- roaming the halls of some decaying mansion waiting for any man to enter so she can choke him to death with that little pink bow screaming the name "Valentino" all the while.

Too harsh?

Sigh. It's so very sad to feel this way about a line no longer designed by its inventor whom I completely adore. No one wants to dislike the next generation but I can't seem to help myself feel completely unsatisfied by the offerings of these two. I find that the accessories (the shoes, the gloves) tend to catch my favored attention more so than anything else they design -- mais oui! They were the accessories designers before be given this post after Monsieur Valentino's retirement! And it shows. And I sleep. And I wait for someone to take their place who will honor the name that is Valentino. Because this? This ain't doin' it.

xoxo,
kvlm


05 July 2010

Earth Laughs in Flowers

To quote a bit of Emerson for your Monday evening pleasure. Though not to be overly sentimental, but I'm feeling more poetic about fashion today than usual following my first tour through The Frist Center for the Visual Art's Golden Age of Couture exhibit (accompanied by the more prominent stream of Emerson's words in my life following the arrival of my goddaughter Emerson). To top it all off, the couture shows have started in Paris and if I give myself reason enough (which honestly doesn't take much), I get all dreamy and moon-eyed at the very thought of couture.

Ok, let's be honest -- I almost cried, I think I squealed and I came very close to begging for more time at the exhibit on Saturday. For those of you who know the trail of fashion history, specifically couture, you know the very real role that the "New Look" played in setting off a spiral of creativity, evolution and overall economic impact of the fashion industry on the rest of the world. It is simply legendary. And to this we all owe Christian Dior a massive debt of gratitude. He will always be my favorite designer, favorite house, favorite everything. To stand in front of the Bar suit, nothing separating me from it but museum grade plexiglass, will turn into one of those redefining moments in my life. It's no different than the first time I stood in front of a Pollock at the Phillip's Collection or when I finally got to see The Arnolfini Marriage by van Eyck at the National Gallery in London or even walking through the sculpture garden at the Louvre or the endless hours I stood in the Pre-Raphaelite wing of The Tate. It was breathtaking, moving and invigorating. I stood still, trying to memorize every seam line -- finally giving up because somewhere you know such perfection can never be reinterpreted let alone replicated. Dior, you are my hero.

And so the reigning King Supreme of Couture, John Galliano, showed his Dior Fall Couture Collection in Paris today and it was if the whole world had suddenly come alive with Dior on its breath like the wind in the night. Obviously inspired by flowers, Galliano as usual took his vision to a completely untouchable and ethereal level. Theatrics not withstanding, the skill it takes to bring a simple flower to life, the eye for detail (right down to the florist-wrap headpieces) is not at all unlike art. For anyone who has ever thought there is no art in fashion, I dare them to argue that when it comes to the House of Dior...now or then.










Time to stop and smell the flowers.

xoxo,
kvlm

photos style.com

29 June 2010

O. M. M.

That's short for Oh My Marc! If there was any doubt in anyone's mind (though I don't know how that is remotely possible) that Marc Jacobs is not an absolute master of his craft, then the Louis Vuitton F/W 2010 ad campaign will put that straight to rest.

This one ad campaign essentially captures absolutely every detail I love about fashion PLUS (girl crush) the exquisite Karen Elson, Christy Turlington, and Natalia Vodianova shot by Steven Meisel...well they rock it like no one else could.

Behold...









And people wonder why I call him "My Heaven Known as Marc Jacobs..."

26 June 2010

Why...

yes, yes I would like some Prada Chandelier shoes, thank you!


20 June 2010

Final Resort 2011 Review

Remember when I said that Marc Jacob's Resort 2011 Collection was my favorite? Well, I might be torn...ever so slightly. Stella McCartney is a close second if not a definitive tie. Her collection was a breathtaking, beautiful, tailored mixture of patisserie colors, garden motifs, and sugary confections. Every piece so slim and exact, leaving no room for a pouf or anything frou-frou...mind you, I usually love the frou-frou but there is something so clean about her design that it's quite seducing.

My other tops from this final round of review are Yves Saint Laurent (love the colors), Zac Posen (which showed like a fairy tale dream),Rag + Bone (who I want to wear every day) and Versace (the color palette and shoes at Versace were wearing me out!). I also loved Reem Acra because, well, I'm female and I love the dreaminess of an evening gown, but also because it felt like a Pre-Raphaelite painting, an Egyptian goddess, a Maxfield Parrish and a Roman Empress come to life. So basically full on romanticism.

I also really loved Preen, Proenza Schouler and Rachel Roy. But then I had affection for all of these for very different reasons...

Click on images to enlarge


Stella McCartney


Stella McCartney



Zac Posen



Yves Saint Laurent



Yigal Azrouel
The shape of this pant is oh so very popular



Versace
Oh, the shoes...!!!



Vera Wang
A different twist on the shape of that pant



Vena Cava



Tory Burch
The aesthetic of TB is usually not my own,
but I like the Indian inspiration and layering!



The Row
I'm still adjusting to the Olsen's minimalist design approach



Thakoon
Described as "a Parisian in Africa"



Suno
The jumpsuit is here to stay (at least for awhile)
I like the playful take on Suno's



Sonia Rykiel
French nostalgia. Does it get any better?



Roksanda Ilincic
Modern draping with vintage detail
Tres chic!



Richard Nicoll




Richard Chai Love



Reem Acra



Reed Krakoff
If I'm going to wear leather,
I'll take it buttery please



Rag + Bone
The boots, the colors, the cuts...want
Want it bad



Rachel Roy
Adore, adore, adore
The orange trouser is divine!



Proenza Schouler
This entire collection was exquisitely done



Preen



Ports 1961
Loving the fall on the blue sheath



Peter Jensen
A Peter Jensen show is like watching a kids book come to life
Look past the distraction and the pieces are impeccable


That's it until fall as far as collections go! And given this humidity, I'll take fall tomorrow, please, with a pumpkin on top.

xoxo,
kvlm

images style.com