London Fashion Week 2020 F/W Ready-To-Wear

Hi, Threadies! I’m back with another review of fashion week, and this week we will be focusing on London! Overall, I must say, I think London Fashion Week was pretty dismal. I was not very impressed with the designs coming down the runway, and something interesting to think about is how little major fashion labels show in London as opposed to Milan and Paris. New York also doesn’t have as many, but I’m fairly impressed with the work of many of the designers that show there. Here’s a look back at my favorite designers and designs from across the pond.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham was formerly known as a member of the Spice Girls; now she’s known as a fashion and style icon. Launching a fashion label is a big risk, and one could argue that Beckham pathed the way in 2008 for pop stars now to form their own fashion brands. Victoria Beckham is known for her minimal aesthetic, catering toward the contemporary woman. This runway was as elegant as Beckham herself, with a cute horror addition. I’m obsessed with the skeletal belts, and I think they’re a cool juxtaposition to the very preppy looking designs. The cut-outs, specifically the diamond ones in many of the clothes, are a chic way of showing some skin and a smart way of showing underlying patterns. Although Beckham’s label has been financially struggling recently, this runway showcases why she became such a household name.

Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane is known for being a creative designer, and Vogue called him “fashion’s Willy Wonka.” For this collection, he used a favorite staple of his: lots of lace. Many of the designs used triangular patterns, shapes, and graphics imposed as “the eye of God.” Kane shared that, “the triangle is the most powerful, strongest shape in nature.” Although these creations stand on their own, including powerful imagery and meaning to a collection makes it that much more enticing. It’s always refreshing to see a designer play with a concept in tangible forms. I’m obsessed with the smart use of lace meshed with the shiny fabrics of the dresses.

Burberry

I first learned of Burberry through my favorite tech company, Apple. This is because Apple is known for making tech a must-have fashion accessory, and they brought on Angela Ahrendts to sell the Apple Watch. Long story short, Ahrendts was the former CEO of Burberry, and she is largely responsible for the resurgence of the brand, loved by artists like Billie Eilish, Cara Delevingne, and, of course, the Queen of England. Famous for its checkered pattern and trench coats, Burberry is a brand that fully represents and embodies what it means to be British in a post-Brexit world.

Margaret Howell

Margaret Howell has been working in the fashion industry successfully for decades. Margaret has described her style as, “understated quality, updated modern classics.” This collection is a reflection of her self description; it is very understated and leaves only the most basic essentials. With all these brands competing to be revolutionary and innovative, there’s something comfortable about a woman who understands the basics of design and is brave enough to put just that down the runway. All of these looks have a timeliness to them that I appreciate. As this is the first time I am learning of this designer, I plan to look back and see what has led her to this point.

Temperley London

Temperley London is designed by Alice Temperley, and this collection was inspired by dance. If someone sees the correlation, please shoot me a DM on social media and explain. All that aside, I think this line really shows off a feminine sophistication. The leather jumpsuit is super cute, and I really love the decorative stitching underneath. I think designing in velvet can potentially look really cheap like Forever 21, H&M, and virtually any other fast fashion brand has shown us, but the tailoring here is an example of it done right. I really think she did a great job on this collection, and I am excited to see more from her in the future.

(All images sourced from Vogue Runway)

New York Fashion Week 2020 Fall Ready-To-Wear

Well, it’s that time of year again; it’s fashion week! There’s nothing I love to do more than watching show after show for you all so that you don’t have to. This week, we head to New York City to take a look back at all the Fall and Winter 2020 Ready-To-Wear collections. Oftentimes I find myself gravitating toward the larger fashion houses and the more well-known labels; I was pleased that many of the labels I chose as a favorite this time are new to me. I was specifically enamored with Area, which is a pretty new fashion label. You’ll notice right away that the color black was used predominately this season in many of the collections, and it goes to show that black will always be “the new black.”

Area

Area was started in 2013 by two Parson School of Design graduates, Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk. The upstart label impressively brought their brand and creations to life, and they did so all by themselves, without any investors. According to Teen Vogue, “Every bit of conventional fashion-industry wisdom would dictate that Area should fail.” This runway showcases the level of talent and exceptional tailoring they’re capable of. It’s hard for me to believe that they originally worked predominately with T-shirts and denim; they only started doing runway shows a few years ago. This runway show, in particular, had exciting designs reminiscent of both Nicola Formichetti and Alexander McQueen’s work. The feminization of suit attire and darkness has always been appealing to me and here it’s done exceptionally well. The cutouts in the suits are sexy and intentional, granting the campy designs a seriousness. I’m infatuated with this show, and I hope to see more similar designs from them in the future.

Dion Lee

When I see, “ready-to-wear” fashion collections, I often think, “by who”? Fashion is generally designed for digital aristocrats flaunting designs we only see if they can be cheaply reproduced by Forever 21. What I find most compelling about this show, is its blend of attainability and foresight. Dion Lee showcased androgynous designs that were worn both by men and women, and to me, they appear to understand where the fashion market is headed. I genuinely think that these outfits are cool and that many Gen Z and millennials alike would be into this futuristic nostalgia. I believe we are at a tipping point of androgynous fashion taking over the bland styling choices of male celebrities. This line incorporates elements of bondage, jewelry-woven designs, and cutouts in a one-size-fits-all package that the general public should eat up one day.

Michael Kors

Honestly, putting Michael Kors in one of my favorite collections of the F/W 2020 was a little excruciating for me. I just have never really liked the brand; it’s simplistic, boring, uninspiring, and, let’s be honest, it doesn’t really have a single memorable and culturally beloved look. I once dated a guy that used to say, “Michael Kors, middle class.” I think nothing is more representative of the brand than it’s multiple shelves in T.J. Maxx. However, I have decided to put my beef with the designer aside and give credit where it’s due. This collection, although safe, is well designed, beautiful, and extremely wearable. Inspired by the countryside and jockey scene, it utilizes plaid and paisley. Michael Kors may not be designing for the future and he may not be particularly innovating, but he sure knows how to design beautiful clothes.

Zimmermann

I first learned of Zimmermann in 2018 while working as the PR Chief for Thread. It was our female pick for Runway Realway! Nicky Zimmerman is known for her bohemian flair and feminine details. This show was inspired by lucky charms and fortune-telling. It was as whimsical as it sounds; it maintains a fall witchy-ness while still being playful and fun. The purple used through the whole collection is beautiful, and I’m obsessed with the ribbon ties, boots, and scarves. Zimmerman captures a Stevie Nicks vibe that will always have cultural relevance. Check out our story on her 2018 collection on page 18 below.

Naeem Khan

Welcome to the capital of Panem, and may the odds be ever in your favor. This collection is dazzling, lavish, exuberant, and excessive in all the right ways. Inspired by the spirit of New York, Khan created a runway show to capture the spirit of America. The dresses are sheer and hand-embroidered with regal colors like purple, gold, and silver. Not shown are the American stars and stripes outfits. The headpieces the models wore reminded me of fireworks, which is a strong symbol of American independence. Although I know the intention of the designer was to celebrate America, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the “Hunger Games” series. There’s something so perfectly unintentional of portraying America as disconnected from the bourgeois as well as the harsh realities and political uncertainty of the lower and middle class. However, all that aside, it was a beautiful collection.

Brandon Maxwell

Brandon Maxwell is widely known as Lady Gaga’s current fashion director, taking over for Nicola Formichetti in 2012. After starting his ready-to-wear label in 2015, he’s come quite a long way since. I really enjoy how simple and minimal many of his designs are. It’s clear that he is very talented at tailoring, and all the clothes seem to fit like a glove. I think the very sheer fabrics are quite beautiful and draped impeccably. This whole collection was very elegant for such a young, much-awarded designer; I certainly hope to see him step up his game in future collections.

LaQuan Smith

LaQuan Smith’s show was all about confidence. So far I have yet to see a reflective black jacket look vogue. Turning this material into boots was genius. They look super trendy, and the designs are all revealing and somewhat risqué. Everything about this collection screamed sexy and unabashed. The see-through tops, the light reflecting low cut pants, and the leotards had the audience in a fever. I particularly loved this designer’s ability to turn widely used garments into something new by cutting them.

These were my favorite picks from New York Fashion Week’s F/W Ready-to-Wear 2020 runway collections. Next week we will go across the pond and take a look at London Fashion Week.

(All images sourced from Vogue Runway)

Oscars 2020

The Oscars are a celebration of cinematography and exceptional acting; it’s a very serious, formal award show. As a result, the fashion at the event reflects the gravity of such importance. Celebrities show up to be seen as professional entertainers who deserve to be in attendance with the most renowned directors, actors, and musicians. Below, I have compiled a list of the outfits that I liked the most and the ones that I really did not care much for.

Best Dressed

Natalie Portman in Dior Haute Couture
Brie Larson in Celine
Kim Kardashian West in Alexander McQueen
Scarlett Johansson in Oscar de la Renta
Billie Eilish in Gucci
Janelle Monáe in Ralph Lauren
Rooney Mara in Alexander McQueen

Worst Dressed

Kristen Wiig
Lucy Boynton in Chanel
Diane Warren
Olivia Colman in Stella McCartney
Laura Dern in Armani
Maya Rudolph
Margaret Qualley in Chanel

All images from the red carpet are sourced from Vogue, and all images from the after-party are sourced from Vanity Fair.

Grammys Fashion 2020

The Grammys red carpet was full of personality this year. After combing through many images of our favorite celebrities, I selected a few of my favorite designs and, of course, a few of my least favorite designs as well. I was really pleased with the effort the men put into this red carpet.

Best Dressed

Dua Lipa in Alexander Wang

Let’s start with “Dula Peep” who looked absolutely stunning in this two-piece ensemble. I think she looks incredible! It perfectly encapsulates ’90s minimalism. However, I wish they would have done something similar with her makeup, which screams more ’80s to me. I’m extremely excited for the release of her upcoming album, “Future Nostalgia,” which from the sounds of the singles is going to be very ’70s and ’80s inspired.

J.I.D in a RichFresh

J.I.D is an artist that I hadn’t heard of until now, but after this look, I’ll be sure to pay more attention. I think this outfit is layered in such intentional ways. It brings in elements of streetwear while maintaining the sophistication expected at the Grammys. This is a simple idea to spice up a bland male red carpet, and I hope to see more of this in the future.

Bebe Rexha in Christian Cowan

I’ve always enjoyed it when more masculine pieces are feminized and vice versa. There are so many elements to this outfit that could have gone horribly wrong and yet Bebe Rexha makes them all work. The beaded design element added to her cleavage really pulls the whole design together and turns a simple wide pant and suit into something more interesting. I only wish they wouldn’t have carried the beaded design unto her neck.

Lil Nas X in Versace

I struggle to put into words how much of a serve this was. I’m looking at my computer and internally screaming “YASSSSSSSS.” Lil Nas X is a trailblazer for queer people of color and is unafraid to take fashion risks even at an event as important as this one. This is classic, bold, and Versace. It’s extravagant, it’s tastefully camp, it’s sexy, and the details are impeccable.

Ariana Grande in Giambattista Valli

It was looking to be a big night for Ariana Grande, who was nominated for several awards that she unfortunately lost to Billie Eilish. However, she looked stunning in this beautiful gray tulle dress. I love how large it is for someone as tiny as her, and I feel that this is truly the most sophisticated she has ever looked on a red carpet. The only thing that I strongly dislike about this look is the silk gloves because they appear a little tacky to me.

Chrissy Teigen in Yanina Couture and John Legend in Alexander McQueen

Chrissy Teigen always looks stunning, and this award show was no exception. I love the color, I love the shoulders, and I love the neck plunge. I only wish that we were given a higher leg slit. John Legend is wearing a piece from my favorite fashion house, Alexander McQueen. I appreciate his willingness to take a risk, and I think that it looks great on him. I enjoy the asymmetrical design and twist on a men’s suit.

Shawn Mendes in Louis Vuitton

Shawn Mendes always wears the same look but changes the color and I eat it up every time. Whatever he wears is always a perfect fit, and in a sea of boring tired male looks, the bar is so low that every time I see Shawn Mendes in his signature twist on the male red carpet look he ends up on my best-dressed list. Will I learn my lesson? Find out by reading my next red carpet blog.

Worst Dressed

Nikita Dragun

YouTubers for a long time have been trying to make the case that they too belong in the ranks of those in the established entertainment industry. Nothing is more the anthesis of that case than this horrendous outfit worn by YouTuber Nikita Dragun. I do not understand why she was even invited to this event. She doesn’t even make music! Where to begin with this? The open-toed rainbow platform heels and the tacky dustrag-looking fur scarf were an interesting choice. I can live with the dress, but all of it together is just a no.

Joy Villa

Joy Villa attends these events every year and the only thing I know about her is that she wears Trump dresses. Despite the waves her dresses have made on social media, no one knows who she is, let alone that she makes music. The sad thing about this dress being in the”worst dressed” category is that this dress is actually one of her better choices. This looks like a nurse’s outfit that she sewed into a pro-acquittal dress. The handbag is equally distasteful. Everything about this dress is screaming for attention and is trying to make a point that she’s made so many times; no one cares. Nothing with the word Trump written on it has ever been more than tacky. Below are some of her previous choices:

Heidi Klum in Dundas

I cannot believe Project Runway icon Heidi Klum showed up looking like she just got off of a cruise ship. Don’t get me wrong, Heidi looks good in anything you put her in, and this would be extravagant loungewear, but if I could picture her lying at home in it then it will never be a Grammys red carpet moment. It’s lazy, it’s uninspiring, and you know, really, what more can you say than that?

Joe Jonas in Ermenegildo Zegna XXX and Sophie Turner in Louis Vuitton

I find both of their outfits to be extremely offensive. You are at the GRAMMYS, not your eighth grade formal. Both of their outfits look extremely cheap and tacky, and the patterns are just not it. I hate the color coordination, I hate the separates they paired, and I hate it all.

Billy Porter in Custom Baja East

I want to start off by saying that I love Billy Porter with all of my heart. He is extremely important to the queer community and me, but I just refuse to praise him for solely pushing gender boundaries. I love androgyny in fashion, but not when it’s campy in a bad way. The fit of this outfit is questionable, the fringe is so cheap that it looks like party streamers, and the track at the inner part of his hat is ugly. I appreciate Billy for at least pushing the envelope for men on the red carpet but this, for me, is trying to make tacky glamorous, and I know from his past fashion attempts that he is capable of so much more.

Lana Del Rey in Dillards

Lana Del Rey in Dillards is really all that needs to be said about this dress. Kudos to her for looking so elegant in something so drab, though.

These were my picks for the best and worst dressed of the 2020 Grammys. Let me know who should have made your list and if you disagreed with any of my choices. Have a good rest of your week, Threadies!

(All photos not labeled are sourced from Vogue and Getty Images)

Golden Globes 2020: Best and Worst Dressed

Award season is in full swing and luckily for all of you, I’m judgmental. This is a past time of mine that I have enjoyed with my mother and sisters: judging dresses the price of my college education. I hope that puts into perspective how little anything I say should be taken to offense on the behalf of the celebrities we love. However, I do take this responsibility of judging the best and worst dressed celebrities very seriously. So, below are my picks for the best and worst dressed.

Best Dressed

1:

Ansel Elgort in Tom Ford

2:

Lucy Boynton in Louis Vuitton

3:

Kat Graham in Georges Hobeika

4:

Christopher Abbott in Dolce & Gabbana

5:

Jennifer Aniston in Dior Haute Couture

6:

Joey King in Iris Van Herpen

7:

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Ralph & Russo

Worst Dressed

1:

Kerry Washington in Altuzarra

2:

Margot Robbie in Chanel

3:

Natasha Lyonne in custom Moschino Couture 

4:

Billy Porter with an Emm Kuo clutch in Jimmy Choo shoes

5:

Awkwafina in Dior Haute Couture

6: Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan in Celine

7:

Sacha Baron Cohen in Dolce & Gabbana

If I’m being honest, the worst dressed list could have been far longer. Overall I was pretty disappointed with many of the looks that came down the red carpet. Several outfits were either in poor taste or were extremely ill-fitting, but I stand by my picks for the best and worst dressed of the Golden Globe Awards. What are yours?

All images were sourced from Vogue.

A Decade of Gaga

I thought it was only fitting to discuss the fashion world-builder of the decade, Lady Gaga. In my last blog post, I talked about how many female artists showcase their musical singles and albums through eras of expression that correlate with their art at the moment. No one has mastered this more than the provocative pop chameleon herself, Lady Gaga. Below, I break down her, “eras” by album and further show how some of this world-building was extended to singles.

The Fame

“The Fame” was an album about the desire to live through the lens of opulent fantasy. Before it was even released, Gaga stated that she used to, “walk down the street like… a fucking star.” This era of music was about showing the world an artistic representation of what Gaga wanted the public to believe; what we do know now is that she was indeed a star. Often obscuring her face with large sunglasses and keeping an element of mystery, this album was a self-fulling prophecy, and everyone wanted to know who Gaga was. There are clear references in her style to her time spent dancing and singing in clubs of the lower east side of New York. She often portrayed herself as an untouchable alien outcast in the pop world, once ruled by stars who were crafted to be American sweethearts. Gaga pushed the envelope by wearing geometric dresses, disco bras, and referencing artists like Micheal Jackson, Grace Jones, and David Bowie in her styling. She also used objects that are now strongly coordinated with her singles, like the disco stick and iPod sunglasses. This era most strongly defines how we see Gaga; the blonde hair and bangs instantly conjure recognition of her persona.

The Fame Monster

“The Fame Monster” was created and influenced by Gaga’s time spent touring eastern Europe. The album’s songs cover her fears of sex, money, love, addiction, and more. Although in the last era she generally had very tanned skin, in this one she has a very pale complexion paired with bold red lips and heavy brows. This is my favorite Lady Gaga era. I am extremely nostalgic over the vampiric looks used to further the music she was creating. During this time, Gaga only refines and builds upon her craft of world-building around her art. In this era, we see platinum blonde and yellow dyed hair paired with elements of bondage. Gaga, a friend of Alexander McQueen, hones in on the art of appearing both powerful and scary but also sexy at the same time.

Bad Romance

Telephone

Alejandro

Born This Way Era

“Born This Way” was an album with heavy metal and rock influences blended into ’80s pop. This album covers a variety of controversial topics like immigration, feminism, LGBTQ rights, and more through in-your-face visuals. This is an extremely dark era influenced heavily by inspirations and collaborators of Gaga, such as Mugler, Steven Klein, and Nick Knight. The “Born This Way” era is known for prosthetics. Gaga used prosthetic makeup to appear as an alien depicted in the “Born This Way” music video. During this time, Gaga often wore religion-inspired outfits and a number of colored wigs, the most popular of the era being her Cruella de Vil inspired hair mashup and teal colored wigs. Gaga used biker culture as an inspiration for many of the outfits she wears during this time. Although Gaga has always worn high heels, she doubles down on their height and freakish designs. Something I love most about this era is the extreme eye makeup designs. No longer afraid to push pop musical fashion to jarring extremes, this era begins with the now infamous meat dress.

Born This Way

Judas

Marry The Night

Edge of Glory

Yoü and I

ARTPOP ERA

“ARTPOP” is in all caps for a reason; it’s a hard, colorful EDM album that pulls on a number of cultural references. This era is about avant-garde art, drawing on Picasso, Jeff Koons, Da Vinci, and performance artist Marina Abramovich’s work. As a result, this era is filled with characters and wig transformations. Notably, “ARTPOP” is known for the Aphrodite wig and character, as well as the canvas face paint. It’s one of the most exciting eras in Gaga’s career and one that is given the least amount of credit for her showmanship.

APPLAUSE

VENUS

Cheek to Cheek Era

The “Cheek to Cheek” era was one of refinement. It still draws on artists of the past like Cher with the curly wig but also draws on more timeless designs. Singing with someone over double her age, I believe it was important for her to match the significance of collaborating with a legend like Tony Bennett. During this era, she presented the Gaga persona in her wardrobe with her accessories. She wore a lot of studded colored eyebrows along with sequined dresses and large fur coats. True to Gaga’s roots during this time she would wear heavy metal shirts in public when there was nothing being promoted.

Joanne Era

The Joanne Era was a complete strip back of the persona of Gaga. This country, pop, rock, and folk album showed the world a toned down Gaga. She wore minimal makeup and traded her heels for boots. There was an over-emphasis on the all-American style with a lot of denim, cowboy hats, and lace. This era was nice to see from a long-term fan’s perspective because Gaga was literally working herself to death but at the same time, I did mourn and miss the extravagance and art she created in past works.

Perfect Illusion

Million Reasons

A Star is Born Era

“A Star is Born” was Lady Gaga’s chance to show the world that she was serious about acting and could fit in easily with any other A-list artist. Many of the looks in this era seem to be inspired by old Hollywood glamor. The look she wore to the Oscars is actually inspired by Audrey Hepburn and the diamond necklace that was last around Gaga’s neck was also last worn by the icon. I think this era shows how versatile Gaga is and how far her style evolution has come and can still go.

Met Gala 2019

What’s Next?

After this decade what else can Gaga wear? This decade has been filled with outfits that have delighted, horrified, and shocked the public. Gaga said it best, “When you think you know what ‘Lady Gaga’ is I want to remind you that you don’t.” Will she continue down the route of stripped-back minimalism or will she return to the avant-garde pop chameleon that she once was. I for one certainly hope at some point it’s the latter.

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.

———————————————————————————————————–

All images were sourced from Vogue Runway.