Yesterday I received official confirmation of my place at University of Massachusetts next term (woo!) and as a result my brain was in overdrive as I slept last night, dreaming up the archetypal 'American college' imagery as it lead my overwhelmed parallel self through crowds at baseball games and seas of college scarves and sweaters. So it's nicely appropriate that today I stumbled upon this old editorial from T Magazine shot by Angelo Pennetta and styled by Vanessa Traina, showing a selection of models at their respective places of education, proudly bedecked in college merchandise, peering from under baseball caps and standing on grassy quads.
I love these brilliant stills from the SS12 B Store film 'Leaving Dreamland'. While the film itself didn't dazzle me, the Patent Saints soundtrack and the Great Yarmouth film location did. I've been seduced into the idea of taking a lazy trip East to the Joyland Amusement Park and sliding into a booth and getting my fingers greasy at the chrome-clad American Family Diner.
Things on my mind: Stella McCartney Spring 2012-the tea towel patterns, the matching of sunglasses to dresses, the Mark Zuckerberg-style footwear and the chilled out baggy trousers. Transparent footwear: see these Clear Jelly Mules from eBay or a silver heeled variation at Phillip Lim 3.1 Spring 2012 (minus the model's bloody toes-ouch!) The May Peace Prevail on Earth editorial via Through A Glass Darkly, and if that takes your fancy it's worth having a look at some of the other editorials on the same site (like Here And There With Celine)
Some 'window shopping' snaps from the last month. I am aware of the irony of following a post in which I talk about how I don't want style inspiration to always go hand-in-hand with the notion of 'needing more stuff' with one full of 'oh, I want this, and I want this..' high street porn. But when the store I'm walking into contains clothes with attainable price tags, I don't feel quite as strongly. And besides, I saw the Zara jumper in the first picture, fell in love, and then put it back. Because those America funds to finance my time studying in Massachusetts from January aren't going to start themselves. So this is a liberated dream scenario, if you will. I came, I saw, I stroked and I put back. And only 10% of this post contains any shred of denial about that turn of events.. Ok, I purchased the jumper in the middle picture. From River Island! And it doesn't have an ounce of diamante on it! I really never thought anything from River Island would take my fancy but it looks rather jazzy in a primary teacher sort of way when worn with my Marks and Spencer pleated school skirt and Mens marl socks. See also the Unique Dalmatian Bomber jacket. I know I've been doing an awful lot of Topshop hankering recently but I've been completely seduced by their stock this season. Plus the jacket is made from ponyhair and mohair (a real treat for the fingers) super snug and super unattainable. "Hooray?"
I liked Lara Stone in Holland, but I loveKim Noorda in London from the Fall 2011 issue of Tank Magazine. I'm all about prop-heavy styling so the jar of apple-flavoured boiled sweets and tempting bookshop shelves are appreciated additions to Kim's day of wandering.
It's also nice to see Viktor Vauthier's photography featured in a fashion magazine, I much prefer his professional work to his personal, ironically it seems feels more relaxed, maybe because I always consider how his personal photos probably involve just as much planning, so that although they are 'off the cuff' they actually feel more contrived. When leafing through a magazine editorial there is a suspension of disbelief; you know that the clothes featured will have been painstakingly called in and steamed and ideas will have been scrapped, advertisers consulted and you know too that the model is essentially acting. Street style and personal photography blogs however are more real, usually disconnected from commercial incentive and their success lies in the honesty that they project. While I once loved personal photography sites like (the now defunct) The Skullset, or even more recently Viktor Vauthier, because they felt real, these days as with street style blogs the boundaries are more blurred. I find that sense of 'ad-hoc' photography, as something that counters the glossiness and exclusivity that once defined mainstream fashion publications harder to find because the two styles have themselves blended. Anna Della Russo dresses up to be photographed just as street style photographers are commissioned to shoot campaigns and editorials. And this merging is okay, in fact it's exciting (the Anna Della Russo part not so much, that makes me feel uncomfortable) but I feel like there needs to be more honesty about the photographs. This Viktor Vauthier editorial in Tank Magazine works for me because I know it's a commercial piece of work but sites like The Sartorialist, Garance Dore or The Facehunter aren't as believable to me anymore, particularly when the photographers plan to meet subjects in order to photograph them.
For me it's also about always seeing the same faces on the sites, so that person becomes defined as a clothes horse rather than style being just another facet of subject. But arguably this then turns into a debate about the changing nature of street style photography; who is the subject of street style and should well dressed Fashion Editors be excluded just because they have become familiar after previous documenting? It's an internal debate that always resurfaces around the time of Fashion Week as that is when the current contrived nature of street style is at it's most apparent to me and it becomes a thread of conversation between those attending. That street style photography encourages a more entrenched 'parade' mentality isn't anything particularly new but it does feel like a backlash is in swing, both from those tired of being involved and those who, like me, want more from sites which seem preoccupied with snapping subjects for the 'it' status of their clothes. Of course capturing the zeitgeist is of great importance to many street style photographers, but it can mean that their sites become less about showcasing true flair and more about 'grabbing that lady over there to photograph her Prada brogues' as if she is part of a universal club regardless of what the rest of her outfit is like.
I find myself thinking about the nature of street style photography a lot and for me it says a lot about our approach to the way in which we consume fashion because it is very easy for the 'real style' bracket that encompasses street style it to become just as 'fantasy' orientated as magazines. Is there a difference between seeing that glorious Balenciaga dog sweater in an editorial or snapped on the street? I think I'd be more inclined to buy it if I saw it on someone 'real' but at the same time, I don't want to read street style blogs so that I can leave myself lusting after the same items featured in magazines. I read street style blogs because I want to be inspired by the clothes people wear without it going hand in hand with the notion of 'needing more stuff'. It also continues to surprise me that considering the wealth of blogs and sites across the internet, genuinely satisfying street style blogs are lacking. And the title 'Street Style' is itself increasingly confusing, because some of my favourite go-to sites like Turned Out or Closet Visit involve pre-planned shoots with subjects and therefore lumping all sites that showcase style under the one umbrella title feels too broad.
Though it's a topic that regularly pops up in my brain for mulling over, it's not something I've come to any concrete or even coherent conclusions about, just as with the nature of street style itself, it is constantly changing.
What I wore yesterday (also known as 'sneakily stealing my housemate's laptop for photobook purposes in a moment of "agh, all of my technology is crap!" madness.' She doesn't know I did this. Ashling, I love you and I will buy you a steak.)
Vintage Liz Claiborne Dalmatian shirt from Blitz London and dark denim dress from Florence.
And some renewed appreciation for Stevie Wonder's 'Living For The City' after the deceivingly enjoyable first lecture of our 'Jamestown to James Brown' module which included 8 solid minutes of musical brilliance with The O'Jays' 'Ship Ahoy', James Brown's 'Say It Loud, I'm Black and Proud' and Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers 'It Won't Be Very Long' as well as some Billie Holiday, John Coltrane and uh, Sister Sledge.
Lara Stone editorials usually focus on her wild adventures with her 'pair'. But wait, what's this, she appears to be having wild adventures with her parents in this wonderful spread. Well, sort of; she also gets distracted by pancakes and windmills and canals but who can blame her for enjoying a good old homecoming whilst doubling as a handsome guide of her hometown Mierlo, for the New York Times Travel special?
I was glad that during London Fashion Week (which I haven't really talked about yet as I'm still waiting to get my films developed) I was able to meet Hot and Cool Magazine's Alice Goddard and Theo Sion. Of course now that everything can be done remotely these days I've contributed three articles to the past two issues and exchanged lots of emails without ever having met them in person. So when I met them at Sakura for some particularly slurpy noodles it felt sort of like Blind Date (though sadly without Cilla). But it was nice to talk more about the latest magazine while-"wait, did Paul Simonon and Serena Rees just sit at the table next to us?"-trying not to gawp at the pair who were sitting side by side while working their way through an absolute banquet of sashimi (who sits side by side in a restaurant? Brilliant!)
I really like Hot and Cool and love contributing to something that I'd still be excited to read regardless of any involvement, it's refreshing and personal and pretty to look at. This issue was particularly special because I was able to interview Maya Villiger whose site Turned Out is my ideal template for a 'street style' blog and I really enjoyed learning about Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in Asta Meldal Lynge's piece 'So Modern'. The Fashion pages are as pleasing as ever (a Big Lebowski style shot of model decked in a tartan dressing gown, anyone?) and my personal favourite 'fun fact'-each of the style spreads is named after an episode of Seinfeld, Alice and Theo's favourite show.
After seeing someone at the Michael Van Der Ham show wearing the Balenciaga Dog sweater I haven't been able to shake it from my mind. Which is handy because on a scale of '1 to Realistic' it sits really cosily among those minus numbers. In more upbeat news both Monki and Cos are now selling online! Which is bloody brilliant and signals the end of the record breaking collective finger-tap while we all waited. Also on my mind are begonias (even if we are approaching the frosty delights of winter), the new daisy-coloured issue of The Gentlewoman, anything gold (foil skirts, metallic nails and in particular these gold heeled boots), marl socks and once again the need for practical bags for lugging textbooks and protection against the rain now that I'm back at University.