Phantom Thread’s other worldly appeal

By taking a cue from this movie, we might give more thought to the details and standards by which we conduct our affairs and find ourselves uncompromising in where these convictions lead us.  We may in turn be surprised how our life might unfold when guided by a sense of what is beautiful and not, what is right and wrong, just and unjust.

Couture season is upon us and that's a good thing

Quite plainly couture is one of the few traditions of human craftsmanship that remains impossible to “hack” or otherwise “disrupt” by the tech industries insistence to migrate our lives from the analog world to that of the screen.  Ready to wear, by virtue of its accessibility experiences all of the volatility of the market, trends and the capriciousness of its consumers.  Vastly out of reach from all of this, couture remains largely untouched by market forces which would otherwise determine its fate.  The quality, merit and sophisticated design principles that are required in fashioning couture are worth our attention even if it its ends are ultimately non-utilitarian.

Have we lost another creative director to the philistines? Dissecting the Dries Van Noten/ Puig deal.

The deal might not prove to be so detrimental after all, yet it doesn’t diminish the sneaking notion that we are living in a time where cultivated thoughtfulness is losing its pull for more tasteless—dare I say—populist ideals. The designer who can keep his or her house afloat without sacrificing the integrity of his or vision is a boon for all of us concerned with good design.


Reminiscing on the legacy of Kate Spade 

She towed the line between multiple aesthetics: preppy with a girlish tilt, serious careerist with a bit of whimsy, an uptown penchant for glamour with a downtown propensity for daring. In stark contrast from the entrepreneurs who look out and seek to replicate what is already in the world, Kate Spade demonstrated an ability to envision and invent an entire world all her own—one in which whose story is told through the medium of dress. Such originality is a mark of any true designer or artist.  

Zadie Smith wears Prada well

Miuccia Prada.  We love her. She seems to be the only designer who can flout conventionally pretty attire and yet somehow still be entirely commercially marketable.  We adore her quirky color palette, the zany curvature of her heels which have become her trademark along with her low-slung slouchy disproportionate silhouettes—an architectural anomaly that still manages to flatter the female form. It is part of the juxtaposed appeal of Prada, a world where eccentricities do not diminish the fact of being bona-fide power-player of an adult. 

On sleeves and social change: thoughts on the royal wedding

I warmed to my distaste of the dress, even watched it transform into a sort of fascination. I realized that the cause of my initial disappointment was rooted in increasingly petrified notions of pomp and circumstance, fairy tales, femininity, romance and glamour.  I am glad Markle rather shook us out of our comfort zones with such an austere choice.  It made the endeavor a very earthly, human affair rather than the inflated illusions of grandeur that royal weddings generally promote.  As Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times wrote, it was a dress for a person, not a princess.  

The problem with investment pieces

The investment piece is as much a political statement as it is an aesthetic choice, one rooted in quality and minimalism over garishness and disposability. And yet the very practical snag inherent in this line of thinking often manifests itself with a closet full of pieces that are no longer wearable for one reason or another.

The banality of generalizations

We cannot glaze over these facts apathetically or else we risk it manifesting in our culture in other ways—in say, the tolerance for non-truths, in the numbing of our sophisticated sensibilities and in the dulling of our once keen sensitivities to the vagaries of reality. 

Is there hope in Instagram for fashion?

Because fashion in truth is an intimate subject.  To get a glimpse of one’s clothing is also to peer into the life of the person wearing it—to behold the pills that gather from years of wear on an old sweater, or to catch the scent of another on a rumpled tee-shirt is an oddly intimate act. 

A closet of one's own

Sometimes, we are enamored and taken by an object’s perfection on its own, such as a painting or photograph.  But clothing is different.  We are moved to adopt such pieces into our own closet when it synthesizes with us. Only when its color, cut, fabric and other various attributes harmonize in a way that reaffirms who we believe ourselves to be "on the inside", or how we want to be known "on the outside", are we moved to integrate it as apart of our permanent collection.

Nina Ricci's girl of the early morning hours

n fall/winter 2016, as much as he made this woman a real possibility, at the same time, he fashioned something of an apparition. The resultant combination of ordinariness and ephemerality was striking. Even his inky grey/blue color palette—colors deriving from the earth itself—enshroud her in an other-worldly aura.

Fashion as reformation

On the other hand, the stuff of beauty and goodness is born from reason and calculation.  It is culture which refines our nature, shaping us into civilized, moral beings.  If nature is—to put it politely—the voice of our self-interest, culture (plus philosophy) can give guidance to how best to handle the moral dilemmas with which we are faced in life.  

But who are we really?

At some point, we have to confront ourselves: we have to choose a side; we have to define who we are. We are left with no choice but to construct an identity, just as we are left with no choice but to pull something out of the closet in the morning.  And importantly, we have to take it on, incorporate it in word and deed (or dress) right here in our real lives.