Male Fashion World-Builder of 2019

Something that I appreciate most in an artist is their ability to world-build. Some artists build characters and concepts around each individual single, while others focus predominately on building a singular image that reflects the essence of an album; some artists are also men. Men who, by and large, do not have, need, or utilize the same creative conceptual world-building to sell their music that many women in the entertainment industry use. These moments in their careers are generally referred to as, “eras,” because they encapsulate a moment in time. Lady Gaga is notorious for doing this and her images can be shared together to create a cohesive image around a single.

The biggest male artists today, such as Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, and Drake, are some of the most blatant examples of unexceptional male mass appeal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m crushing on Mendes as hard as the next person, but how many times can you walk down the red carpet in the same bland suit? It wasn’t always like this; the ’80s were a golden era of male experimentation with pop culture imagery. Artists like Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and bands like Kiss were unafraid to craft or play with their image for creative purposes.

Who, in 2019, can males look too for style experimentation and world-building through fashion? The answer is Lil Nas X. As an artist, Lil Nas X has left a lasting impact on the music entertainment industry beyond fashion. Creating the smash hit, “Old Town Road,” which was a mashup of country and trap music, he is the holder of the longest-reigning number-one single in Billboard history. In this Tik Tok era, it’s no wonder that pop-cultural self-satire won over the masses. The public is starving for a male artist like this.

Lil Nas X is unafraid to be bold and make campy references. His own song lyrics, “Cowboy hat from Gucci/Wrangler on my booty,” inspired a fashion collaboration with Wrangler. Wrangler’s capsule collection took elements of the song and blended it with Wrangler’s famous western aesthetic to make a line that encapsulates a moment in Lil Nas X’s career. What is more representative of an “era” than that?

Lil Nas X can normally be seen in a cowboy hat, boots, and leather jackets with fringe. Unlike many male artists who just wear suits to the red carpet, we see wildly different variations of Lil Nas X’s built world. Some of the outfits are embroidered, some bedazzled, and overall they are given significantly different designs. Lil Nas X is also unafraid to play with some forms of androgyny that many men shy away from.

I find his overall vibe to be refreshing in a sea of neutral-colored suits and unoriginality. I think many male celebrities are more inclined to experiment when other men are attempting different and original looks. Whether I like it or not, I must admit that the social media troll turned pop/country/rap star is the most exciting male artist we’ve seen take on the red carpet in a long time. A true test of his influence on fashion is whether he will create something new to be consumed by the public. Can Lil Nas X leave this cowboy aesthetic for something daring and fresh? Either way, I think it’s hard to keep him from male best-dressed lists when he’s one of the only male artists experimenting with this form of fashion imagery built entirely around a piece of his own musical work. That’s why I named him my “Fashion World Builder of 2019.”

10 Most Shocking AMA Moments

Award shows have always captured my attention. Most guys that I know watch some form of sports for entertainment, but for me, my competitive spirit comes from pop culture. At a young age, I was obsessed with celebrities. What will they wear? Who will win the award? What controversy are they creating with their performance art or fashion? These moments permanently freeze the culture of the time into place. They become a reflection of society and the conversation occurring at the time, especially after the advent of social media. In light of watching the American Music Awards last night, I thought I’d show you all 10 of the most shocking AMA moments of my lifetime.

1. Britney Spears & Justin Timberlake (2001)

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/11/130954/justin-timberlake-britney-spears-canadian-tuxedo-comment

Britney Spears is the icon of my ’90s and early 2000s childhood. Oh, and the guy beside her, Justin Timberlake, is a 2000s heartthrob. Together, they were the power couple of the decade. This AMA red carpet snapshot is so seared into the public’s minds that any mention of denim-on-denim will conjure up this image of the two. A search for “Britney Spears denim dress” alone on Google will result in 1.5 million hits. There’s something very camp about their shared look. Other celebrities, such as Katy Perry and Jake Paul, have since imitated this nostalgic design.

2. Taylor Swift (2014)

Taylor Swift showed up to the 2014 American Music Awards ready to sell the general public back its perception of her. As a celebrity, Taylor never got to experience dating out of the public eye and that left her to be unfairly scrutinized. This performance played on all of the tropes the media pushed about her ability to maintain a relationship. Instead of letting the media satirize her, she made satire of herself. This was, frankly, genius because it turned the crazy girlfriend stereotype into a joke everyone was a part of. “Blank Space” at the AMAs was one of the most exciting performances of the entire “1989” era.

3. Ariana Grande (2016)

Ariana Grande is undoubtedly one of the biggest pop stars of the end of the decade. As a result, she is subjected to a higher level of observation. Many noticed at the 2016 AMAs that she appeared to be a much darker complexion than what many are used to seeing her as. This brought up questions of appropriation and many wondered if Ariana was blackfishing in order to sell her image and music. I found this image personally shocking as someone who watched “Victorious” and especially questionable when compared with her images done for Vogue around that time. Socially, we are more invested in having these kinds of conversations, and I believe this moment will remain a part of any future discussion on this subject for years to come. Thread Magazine, in fact, did a piece about this in our February 2019 issue on page 176 below.

If you’re more of a visual person, below is a video discussing the topic:

4. Lady Gaga (2009)

https://neonlimelight.com/2009/11/23/lady-gaga-wows-with-2009-american-music-awards-performance/

Lady Gaga, the queen of shock value and spectacle, appeared on stage in an electronic skeletal bondage suit paired with matching heels. 2009 was the year of Lady Gaga, and she was inescapable. The bar for pop cultural performance art was raised to a level not seen since artists such as Madonna, David Bowie, and Michael Jackson were in their prime. She started off by performing a highly choreographed version of “Bad Romance” and ended the performance singing on a fire-lit piano covered in broken glass. This is my 3-pointer, this is my scored goal, and this is my Super Bowl.

5. Kesha (2010)

https://www.eonline.com/news/1094961/see-the-wildest-american-music-awards-fashion-looks-to-ever-hit-the-red-carpet#photo-667006

Kesha showed up to the AMAs with a mohawk, studded eyebrows, and wearing a dress made from VHS tape strands. Honestly, need I say more? Although it was not uncommon during this year for the party girl to show up on red carpets in mundane objects and glitter, it was still shocking to see a celebrity pay little mind to the formality of a red carpet. Kesha was never afraid to be the outcast.

6. Katy Perry (2013)

Whenever I know Katy Perry is going to be performing somewhere, I slightly cringe. For the past couple of years Katy has been a huge cultural vulture and overall problematic pop girl. There’s a fine line between cultural appreciation and appropriation but it’s especially hard to make a case for Katy Perry, especially with a line in her song, “This is How We Do,” that says, “Getting our nails done all Japanesey.” This outfit alone raises questions of appropriation, and many were confused and/or bothered by the corresponding performance.

7. Lady Gaga (2013)

Lady Gaga makes my list for a second time for arriving on the red carpet in a horse made and held up by her team, Haus of Gaga. Although her style is toned down, as she wore a beautiful Versace dress similar to the one she wore in Versace’s campaign that year, her entrance is as grand as can be. These are the moments that I enjoy the most.

8. Adam Lambert (2009)

This is the performance that I truly believe halted Adam Lambert’s career. At the time, Adam had a couple of fairly successful singles. America was willing to accept a glammed up male pop star but unwilling to accept male on male sexual performative music. Adam Lambert made out with not only the male bondage-wrapped dancers but also the females. I believe the nail in the coffin was the simulation of oral sex between him and one of the male dancers. Adam Lambert really didn’t hit the radio in any meaningful way for years after this performance. It was probably one of the most shocking displays ever televised.

9. Selena Gomez (2014)

Selena Gomez seems to have never really gotten over Justin Bieber. The on-again-off-again couple has dated here and there for most of the decade. To this very day she is still releasing music about their relationship. During this particular AMAs performance, she was vulnerable in way we had never seen her. She sang her song, “The Heart Wants What it Wants,” a song obviously about Justin Bieber. It was shocking for me to see her cry on stage and to be that vulnerable in such a public way.

10. Jonas Brothers (2007)

In 2007, like everyone else, I was crushing hard on the Jonas Brothers. I’m sorry Kevin, but I specifically loved Nick and Joe. At the time, “SOS” was a big Disney hit song, and I was excited to see them perform somewhere other than on Disney Channel. This was before I stanned Lady Gaga, so I really had nothing else to look forward to. My heart raced as I watched the glass shatter and reveal all three guys. Then, suddenly, Joe tripped, fell, and cut his hand! However, he didn’t miss a beat and performed through it all. Meanwhile, I was sitting there jealous of all the women grabbing at Joe and thinking about how I’d put my Boy Scout training to use, to wrap up his hand. Can you believe it took me until college to fully realize I was gay? P.S. I like Nick now.

My K-Beauty Routine

During the last semester of my senior year, I stumbled across an approach to skincare known simply as K-beauty. Just like the “K” in K-pop, it represents the influence Koreans have in the wildly expanding industry of skincare. This abbreviated word represents a celebrated subculture of products and methods of obtaining flawless skin. I got sucked into video after video explaining some fascinating Korean beauty methods.

https://hypebae.com/2019/8/top-korean-beauty-skincare-trends-glass-skin-peach-and-lily-founder-alicia-yoon-interview

Although I cannot live without my Korean beauty routine now, before I even started this routine I began switching many of the products I used to organic and natural alternatives. My skin has always been extremely sensitive, and changing the products I use to exclude fragrances, dyes, and chemicals has helped a lot. To discover many of the products I use and the current K-beauty skin brand I stand by, I used an app called EWG Healthy Living, which is used by the queen of everything natural, Kourtney Kardashian. This app allows you to scan any product you’re thinking of purchasing, and it gives it a “clean” or “dirty” rating. The closer the rating is to 0, the cleaner the product is. Whamisa is the K-beauty brand I use for my routine, and it carries the EWG stamp of approval! I understand the world of K-beauty is a deep dive and that the products I use may not work for you, so I recommend watching Glow Recipe’s YouTube videos to learn the basics and discover other K-beauty products.

Whamisa’s products have changed my life, and you can trust me when I say that because unlike your favorite influencers, I’m not being paid to say it. The packaging of these miracle workers is aesthetically pleasing, and I’m obsessed with the simplicity of them. Although these products are as clean as can be, they give off a smell of flowers which is never a downside for something you’ll be putting on yourself daily. Below you’ll find my K-beauty skincare routine.

My Routine

Step 1: Oil Cleanser

Cleansing oil is ideal for removing makeup, sunscreen, or anything else you may have gotten on your face before you start your routine. I personally love using this to remove sunscreen off of my face before using my gentle gel cleanser.

Step 2: Gentle Foam Cleanser

This cleanser has the most pleasing smell, and it’s ideal for those with sensitive skin like me. Cleansers remove any leftover dirt, debris, or bacteria left after using your oil cleanser. Make sure that you wash off all of the product and that you’re not using a towel to dry your face. To avoid accidentally getting leftover bacteria on your skin, follow the K-beauty way and let your skin air dry.

Step 3: pH Balancing Toner

While my skin is still a little damp, I move on to my favorite step: toner. This toner, just like the cleanser, has an incredible smell. It’s important not to skip this step because it brings your pH balance back to a healthy level. Healthy skin has a pH balance of 5.5, which is just enough acidity for your skin to resist harmful bacteria. I follow the K-beauty, 7-step method. For this method, you layer and pat toner into your skin seven times. This gets your skin ready to absorb your moisturizer.

Step 4: Moisturizer

Moisturizer is a key step in any skincare routine; it keeps your skin from getting dry. Although it’s easy to assume that dry skin would help your acne disappear, it generally does far more harm. When your skin is dry, not only does it look unhealthy but to compensate for the lack of oil your skin will produce an overabundance of it, which will only lead to more acne. You need very little to get the job done with this moisturizer.

Step 5: Facial Oil

Facial oil is a great way to get your skin the vitamins, nutrients, and healthy oil it needs. I like to use small amounts of this right before bed so that it absorbs into my skin as it heals for the night.

I love these products, and I hope that if you decide to try them, you’ll love them too. I attached the Whamisa U.K. store to all the listed links below the products, however, you can buy many of these products on Amazon and sometimes through GlowRecipe.com’s website. K-beauty is exciting, and there are so many other techniques you can learn to obtain glowing, luminous, and flawless skin the K-beauty way. I personally stand 100% behind Korean beauty. To be transparent, the only product not pictured is my Dead Sea mud face mask. It’s not K-beauty, but it clears my skin of all of its impurities every Sunday. Let me know what you think of K-beauty!

-Blake 🙂

A Look Back at Milan Fashion Week

Although Paris Fashion Week’s Spring Ready-to-Wear 2020 was filled with beautiful designs, I wanted to take a look at the Italian designers in Milan who generally are known for more vibrant and eccentric designs. I’m happy to say that I was in no way disappointed. Below you’ll find, as always, a collection of my favorite shows and designs.

Moschino

Moschino has a history of cultural satire starting with Franco Moschino, its creator. Moschino created fashion shows such as Fun Fur in 1989. For that show, he stitched together teddy bears to make fur coats that mocked the fashion industry’s use of furs in designs. Whether literal or figurative, Moschino is a brand not afraid to reference popular culture. Jeremy Scott, the current creative director, has kept this up, and he was inspired by Picasso for this collection. All of the designs were hand-painted before being digitized into print, and they have apparent design correlations with Picasso. I truly love this collection’s creativity, originality, and Scott’s reference to Picasso’s mastery in a new and exciting way.

Above are two of Picasso’s paintings. The Harlequin is pictured on the left, and the Old Guitarist is pictured on the right. In the Middle is Bella Hadid wearing a fashion piece clearly inspired by these two paintings.

Versace

As someone who loves Versace, its creator, its history, and its legacy, I feel that nothing is more intrinsic to its story than a collection based on ’90s fashion. This show was a celebration of its roots and its explosive imprint on the fashion world at the start of the 21st century. In the year 2000, Jennifer Lopez wore a jungle-print dress that plunged past her navel on the Grammys red carpet. The general public was so in awe with the dress that they overwhelmed Google’s servers searching for it, which later inspired Google to create what is now known as Google Images. Vogue writer Nicole Phelps said, “You could argue it was the end of fashion as an insular industry and the start of fashion as entertainment.” Donatella Versace partnered with Google to introduce an updated version of the dress on the cusp of a new decade, 2020. It was refreshing to see a toned down Versace that only placed emphasis on its claim to the fashion world.

Donatella Versace & Jennifer Lopez tell the story of the Green Dress

Gucci

What is a Gucci collection without controversy? The fashion house has a long history of stirring up provocation. So, it’s only fitting that this collection opened with a statement. Designer Alessandro Michele, feeling alienated by the success of Gucci that he formulated, sent out 21 models dressed in straitjackets. A plight that all successful artists face is the trap of their own works’ cultural popularity, and Michele said, “I’m afraid of getting bored.” However, this opening was seen as offensive to some, like model Ayesha Tan-Jones, who wore “Mental health is not fashion” on her raised hands. Despite the controversy, this collection was filled with beautifully sewn vintage designs that referenced the ’70s, elements of BDSM, and utilized the popular current trend of color blocking.

Above are the straitjackets that were used in the opening of the show. On the right is model, Ayesha Tan-Jones, who protested the design.

FILA

The last brand that I imagined to see on the runway was FILA. I must say there is something exciting about seeing a brand that I can actually afford on the runway. Creative directors Antonino Ingrasciotta and Joseph Graesel, who joined FILA last year, did an amazing job with this maritime-inspired collection. I think that the pieces were beautiful, and they found a harmonious balance between representing the brand as is and elevating it to an acceptable standard for an event like Fashion Week.

Boss

Boss put on one of the cleanest, sharpest shows I have seen in a long while from a runway. I was impressed by the minimalist design and could easily see how this particular show was a love letter to New York City. Chief brand officer Ingo Wilts told Vogue, “The pattern that runs through the collection was inspired by an early morning walk I took through Hudson Yards early in the summer. The sun was just rising and the colors, especially the blues, were mirrored in all the buildings there.”

Missoni

As winter approaches, it’s always nice to find collections that show masterful layering. I really enjoyed the designer’s inspiration for the collection. She simply wanted to make a show based on the idea that a couple, at times, share pieces of their wardrobe. Although the idea is simple, it’s wholesome. I’m living for the vision Angela Missoni carried out.

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All images were sourced from Vogue Runway.

My 2019 Playlist

Photo from https://www.apple.com/apple-music/

2019 has been a year filled with incredible music. As we’re nearing the end of the year and getting closer to the start of a new decade, it’s been a trend on Twitter to share your top 50 songs from the last 10 years. I thought I’d simplify that and share with you a collection of my favorite 2019 tracks, which, by the way, are predominately and unapologetically pop.

1) Gone by Charli XCX

“I feel so unstable, fucking hate these people
How they’re making me feel lately
They’re making me weird baby”

2) Don’t Go Changing by Aly & AJ

“Just don’t go changing on me, babe
Physical healing
Why don’t we dance away your fear of love?”

3) Yours by Greyson Chance

“No matter who I’m with, it’s you that I adore
If you’re not sure, baby I’m yours”

4) I’m So Tired… by Lauv

“Strangers
Killing my lonely nights with strangers
And when they leave, I go back to our song, I hold on”

5) Mothers Daughter by Miley Cyrus

“Oh my God, she got the power
Oh, look at her, she got the power”

6) Sweet but Psycho by Ava Max

“Oh, she’s sweet but a psycho
A little bit psycho
At night she’s screamin’
I’m-ma-ma-ma out my mind”

7) We Appreciate Power by Grimes

“People like to say that we’re insane
But AI will reward us when it reigns
Pledge allegiance to the world’s most powerful computer”

8) Enjoy Your Life by Marina

“sit back and enjoy your problems
(Oh) you don’t always have to solve them
(Yeah) ’cause your worst days, they are over
So enjoy your life”

9) Cellophane by FKA Twigs

“And I, just want to feel you’re there
And I don’t want to have to share our love
I try, but I get overwhelmed”

10) Cinnamon Girl by Lana Del Rey

“There’s things I wanna say to you
But I’ll just let you live
Like if you hold me without hurting me
You’ll be the first who ever did”

11) L.Y.T.L.M by Selena Gomez

“I needed to lose you to find me
This dancing was killing me softly
I needed to hate you to love me, yeah”

12) Needy by Ariana Grande

“And I can be needy
Way too damn needy
I can be needy
Tell me how good it feels to be needed”

13) Science by Allie X

“Sink beneath the surface while
Reaching for the stars
The world is out of focus like
All the passing cars”

14) Hot Girl bummer by Blackbear

“Fuck you, and you, and you
I hate your friends and they hate me too
I’m through, I’m through, I’m through
This that hot girl bummer anthem”

15) Shut Up by Greyson Chance

“I’m sweating bullets, nervous that you’ll push away
And when your eyes catch mine, I know I talk too much
So give me your two lips and baby, I’ll shut up”

16) Cruel Summer Taylor Swift

“Oh, it’s new
The shape of your body, it’s blue
The feeling I’ve got
And it’s ooh, whoa oh
It’s a cruel summer”

17) Official by Charli XCX

“Look at us
Isn’t it obvious?
Is it so dangerous?
Is it so complicated?”

18) Violence by Grimes

“I am like, begging for you baby
Makes you wanna party
Wanna break up
Baby, it’s violence, violence”

19) Rules by Doja Cat

“Look at me like I’m alien
Bitch, I’m fucking reptilian”

20) E.W.N by Kanye West

“Life too short, go spoil yourself
Feel that feel, enjoy yourself ’cause
We have everything we need”

21) You Need To Calm Down by Taylor Swift

“You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace
And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate
‘Cause shade never made anybody less gay”

22) Born Without a Heart by Faouzia

“I don’t really care, and I never will
That’s the way I am, such a bitter pill
I don’t really care, how much silence kills
That’s the way I am”

23) Icy by Kim Petras

“So numb, I don’t feel it inside me
So dumb, I believed you really liked me
‘Cause of you, now my heart is so icy”

24) Never Really Over by Katy Perry

“Thought we kissed goodbye
Thought we meant this time was the last
But I guess it’s never really over
Thought we drew the line
Right through you and I
Can’t keep going back
I guess it’s never really over, hey”

25) Look At Her Now by Selena Gomez

“Of course she was sad
But now she’s glad she dodged a bullet (Mm)
Took a few years to soak up the tears
But look at her now”

Honorable Mention:

On A Roll by Ashley O

“Hey, yeah, whoa-ho, I’m on a roll
Ridin’ so high, achieving my goals
Hey, yeah, whoa-ho, I’m on a roll
Ridin’ so high, achieving my goals”

As I’ve made clear above, women ruled my playlist in 2019; I’m a sucker for the pop girls. Let me know what you thought of my picks and who I should have included or snubbed. Hopefully, I introduced you to some music to bop to throughout your week.

Blake 🙂

Paris Fashion Week

Hi, all! As I mentioned in my last blog, I LOVE FASHION WEEK! So, I decided to watch all of Paris Fashion Week so that you don’t have to. There were so many incredible designs for the 2020 Spring season, and it’s always exciting to see the ready-to-wear designs that will trickle into fast fashion houses like Forever 21 and H&M next year. I know that watching all of these shows can be overwhelming, so below you’ll find some of my favorite shows and designs. I hope this blog inspires you to take a look for yourself.

Alexander McQueen

Alexander Mcqueen’s label was once theatrical horror couture, but it is now grown up and refined. The brand maintains impeccably tailored suits, lacework, and a touch of leather. This show was truly one of my favorites of the week. Some of the lace, tulle, and organza worn down the runway were upcycled from previous shows. As if there weren’t enough reasons to love this collection before they prioritized sheer sustainability! Designer Sarah Burton was inspired to do the intricate stitching by a group known as The Stitch School that teaches young boys and girls how to stitch.

Chanel

Chanel is a true Parisian label through and through. The influence of Paris is clear in the details, with the show even taking place on what appears to be a rooftop. I really loved the pleated jeans and tweed suits. It’s evident that the fashion brand Coco Chanel built lives on in her image. One of the most exciting parts of the show was when one of the women in the audience wearing her own tweed, Chanel-inspired outfit crashed the runway. It was amusing to watch security try to figure out who the imposter was among all of the models.

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent was the first brand to create a ready-to-wear line in the 1960s. So it’s only fitting to see such a strong collection from these fashion innovators. I really enjoyed the color palette in this collection, especially the blues. To me, this show gives off a certain rockstar quality, with the women appearing both bold and demure while slaying the runway in Saint Laurent staples. This show took place opposite the Eiffel Tower, and Vogue called it an “open-air-spectacle,” further cementing the idea of giving the public access to luxury fashion. The show finished with the legendary Naomi Campbell, which is always a treat.

Mugler

Mugler is one of my favorite fashion labels, and they’re always creating distinctive, interesting pieces to accentuate unabashedly powerful women. Worn by stars like Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Cardi B, the brand is more relevant than ever. Something I enjoyed about this collection was how similar a few of the pieces were to Thierry Mugler’s own work. Bella Hadid particularly showcases this above. It was exciting to see a new take on male suits and shiny, sheer fabric. All of the pieces consistently complement the collection as a whole, which is always incredible to see.

Rahul Mishra

Rahul Mishra is a designer I had never heard of until I saw this show. Many of the pieces were handmade, and according to Vogue, “some of them required more than 3,400 hours.” While looking at this collection, I can’t help but think of a “Devil Wears Prada” quote: “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” Although the idea of using flowers for spring is nothing new, what’s wrong with a spring staple? The embroidery on all of the pieces was incredible. The level of detail shows through on the bottom left picture, where the flowers start small, emerging from the center into larger, full-grown ones. Overall, I really enjoyed this take on a classic Spring collection.

Maison Margiela

I really loved this collection. I’ve always enjoyed the influence of military designs on fashion, and I own a number of military-inspired jackets myself. This collection clearly invokes the 1930s, which is a decade seared into the collective culture. I think the punky, knee-high boots are sick, and they’re all the more fitting as the designer, John Galliano is British. According to Vogue, this collection is a big middle finger to Brexit, as it emphasizes the great things that both the French and British accomplish together.

Givenchy

Givenchy is an iconic staple of Parisian fashion. I personally enjoy the minimalism of this collection. I think the denim skirt is an interesting and pretty idea that I haven’t yet seen, and I particularly enjoy the bottom left print. This designer was inspired by the boyish minimalism of ’90s NYC.

Balenciaga

This collection had some very interesting ideas. I enjoyed the large coats, and I love a shoulder pad look. Clearly, this collection is inspired by the ’80s, and I think that was a particularly bold decade. Overall, it was a refreshing differentiator.

Elie Saab

Last but not least, Elie Saab. There honestly was not a single bad look in this collection. All of these pieces were beautiful, and it made it extremely difficult to choose five pieces to display. I look forward to seeing more of this labels’ work in the future, and I was delighted to see the diverse choice of models.

Thank you for joining me this week in taking a look at Paris Fashion Week through my eyes. I hope you enjoyed the Spring 2020 ready-to-wear looks as much as I did. If you’re interested in learning where to easily access these kinds of shows check out Vogue Runway, where all these photos are sourced from. I look forward to more blogs like this in the future!

-Blake <3

Fashion History: Alexander McQueen

As a lover of fashion, there’s nothing that excites me more than this time of year. Fashion designers new and old show off their collections every week in all of the major fashion cities in the world. This week, in particular, belongs to Paris, which is exhibiting one of my favorite fashion houses, Alexander Mcqueen, tonight at 8 p.m.! You can bet that I will be in virtual attendance. Although there is something to be said for the label’s current design work, it certainly pales in comparison to the theatrics of its former self. I cannot help but reminisce on the creative controversy it once invoked. Words like provocative, lewd, misogynistic, absurd, disturbing, and sickening were all used by the press to describe former head designer Lee Alexander McQueen’s work. Through his showmanship and talent, McQueen riveted audiences at the turn of the century. He specifically captured my attention when I learned that he collaborated and designed for my idol, Lady Gaga. Although his time in the fashion world was cut short due to suicide, his legacy and mark in fashion live on. Here’s a look back at some of the shows that made McQueen a cult figure in the fashion world. 

1) Highland Rape 1992

In McQueen’s Words

“[This collection] was a shout against English designers . . . doing flamboyant Scottish clothes. My father’s family originates from the Isle of Skye, and I’d studied the history of the Scottish upheavals and the Clearances. People were so unintelligent they thought this was about women being raped—yet Highland Rape was about England’s rape of Scotland.” – from Vogue

This collection showcases the beauty of vulnerability. Considered one of his most controversial shows, it’s also one of his most personal. McQueen himself was a victim of sexual assault and this collection, in turn, feels almost autobiographical. Never shying away from darkness, he portrayed through metaphor a historical event he found deeply disturbing and personal. Throughout the show, you’ll find Scottish prints as well as incredible lacework. Not many fashion designers can claim they developed a silhouette but within this show is a design referred to as, “bumsters,” an invention that led to the low-rise jean trend of the ’90s. Although highly misunderstood at the time, it now stands as a testament to McQueen’s unabashed theatrical talent.

2) La Poupée 1997

La Poupée, or “The Doll,” was a fashion show that heavily focused on the constraints of the fashion world and the human body. The idea behind fashion is to emphasize or overexaggerate parts of the human body. Mcqueen was inspired by an artist named Hans Bellmer, who was known to chop up dolls and rearrange them into new creations. To me, this show represents how otherworldly fashion design can be. It represents how models are dolls for the fashion designer, and they can be transformed in front of the public in the designer’s eyes. Particularly, in this show, McQueen portrays this with a number of metal constraints that inhibited the models from appearing or walking normally.

3) No.13 1999

For me, this is one of the greatest fashion shows of all time. It’s full of beautifully tailored pieces that are serene and harmonic. The music is very calming and the turntables make the models appear like fashion ballerinas in a music box. Many of the designs feature a McQueen favorite: lace. However, he also experimented with many materials like wood. The show took a drastic turn in the finale; this is a performance that ever since has become a cultural staple that is referenced in many shows, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

4) VOSS 2001

Presented in a glass cube with an asylum feel, Alexander Mcqueen again does the unnerving and unthinkable. Before the show starts, all of the journalists and attendants were forced to stare at their own reflection. This encouraged the audience to self-examine themselves and created a self-conscious, hyper-aware feeling. When the lights came on, it was clear that the models are unable to see out of the box. McQueen challenged a number of fashion norms by presenting models with taxidermy attached to them and bloodred luxury ostrich feathers on a dress. When the show seemed to have come to an end, it was shocking to see the glass fall to present a naked pregnant woman surrounded by moths. No matter what confusion McQueen’s work may stir in me, there’s nothing I respect more in a designer or showman than invoking emotion, understood or not.

5) Plato’s Atlantis 2010

McQueen’s show was live-streamed at the beginning of the decade and it shot through the cultural landscape of the developing web. Featuring gigantic infamous heels, bold prints, and futuristic designs, this show inadvertently is tied in closely with the rise of Lady Gaga. Bad Romance first premiered at the finale of the show, and it was written specifically with the runway in mind (walk, walk fashion baby, work it move that b**** crazy”). Many of the pieces in this show ended up in the music video for Bad Romance and cemented a long-lasting collaboration between McQueen and Gaga. This shows McQueen’s willingness to take fashion to extremes; beauty is not always comfortable.

Below are photos of McQueen’s clothes from the show on Gaga in the Bad Romance music video:

As you can see, McQueen left a void in the fashion world. He was a designer that understood how to make darkness, tragedy, and horror beautiful. Fashion is a theatrical presentation, and being able to convey something larger than clothes is an art that should be more exercised. I hope you enjoyed a look back at some of the shows that made Alexander Mcqueen one of the most renowned and respected designers of all time. And I hope you all enjoy the show tonight!

VSCO Girl Fashion

As September comes to an end, I couldn’t help but notice how warm it feels for the start of fall. Every morning I wake up and stare at all of the cute jackets and sweaters that I can’t wear, and it kills me. I’m sure you’re feeling the same way looking at your scarves, boots, and, of course, oversized long sleeve t-shirts. As we all try to cope with the 80-degree weather by buying cold pumpkin spice lattes and smelling autumn candles, I’m here to offer an impactful alternative option that will hopefully guarantee not losing “spooky season” to climate change. Have you thought of becoming a VSCO girl? Here are some environmentally friendly accessories we all shouldn’t live without…

https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/style/what-is-a-vsco-girl-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-genz-trend-sweeping-the-internet-a4241431.html

No, I don’t mean buying 30 scrunchies. What I mean is adopting eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your carbon footprint. The average American wastes 156 water bottles a year, which is not nearly as cute as this limited-edition Hydro Flask. You don’t have one? Weird, I personally don’t go anywhere without mine.

https://www.hydroflask.com/24-shave-ice-limited-edition/color,maitai,a,92,o,341

Saving the environment is in, and single-use plastic is out! VSCO girls are eco-friendly trend-setters who know that every mundane object is a chance to stunt. I love an environmental haul. It’s 2019, and we cannot be caught without our metal reusable straws, especially considering the fact that the U.S. alone wastes 500 million straws a year. I recommend getting a Final Straw 2.0. It comes in a cute case that can be used as a keychain to let everyone else know they’re not on your level. #SaveTheTurtles

Personally, I don’t wear too much makeup, but I will not step foot out of my apartment without having my brows done. I’m sure we’ve all been there, and sometimes we apply a little too much. There’s only so much that a VSCO filter can hide, so naturally, I clean up my brows with a Q-tip. I cannot tell you how many I personally throw out in a year, but that can all come to an end after this. The Last Swab is a reusable makeup swab for all of your makeup mishaps. So next time you find yourself saying, “and I- oooppp,” as you lose control of your brow pencil, you can clean it up with this environmentally friendly accessory.

While you’re snatching up polaroid cameras, scrunchies, and large t-shirts, I suggest using a cute oversized shopping bag made of long-lasting material, so you never have to be seen with a plastic bag again. Check out Colony Co. to snatch up this biodegradable, vegan-friendly, waxed canvas bag. 

Lastly, if you truly cannot resist the pull of VSCO fashion, at the very least buy durable scrunchies that will stand the test of time. I don’t have enough hair to put up, but I have rocked shared scrunchies on my arms in the past. VSCO girls share scrunchies; they don’t throw them away. Check out the Gimme Scrunchy… I’m sure JoJo Siwa can take the hit in sales. Gimme Scrunchy claims to sell bands that will not break as well. 

Going green is fashion-forward. These examples may come straight from an internet meme, however, I have spent the past couple of hot September days wondering, “if we all were more like VSCO girls would I be able to wear my crewneck Thread sweater today?” Who’s to say for sure, but I’m willing to find out.

Photo from https://thetab.com/uk/2019/09/06/vsco-girl-quiz-124174