diana vreeland: the vogue years

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there has always been air of dignified mystery around diana vreeland. a certain je ne sais quoi of how she turned a simple society magazine into the raison d’etre of the fashion publishing industry.

well now, thanks to her adoring grandson, alexander vreeland, part of her veil has been lifted through the new book diana vreeland memos: the vogue years. the book – a collection of over 250 personal correspondence pieces – is a fashion-fueled journey of creativity, prescience and an unwavering dedication to originality.

perhaps what is more interesting, is that the memos give detailed insight into how a she managed both creatives and the creative process.  notes to richard avedon, cecil beaton, cristobal balenciaga, coco chanel illustrate the nuance with which she operated, delicately cajoling these luminaries into producing some of their best, most illuminating work.

her notes share hints of that special sauce, that ideal formula, the one all we aspiring editors, wannabe game-changers, and deprived fashion writers crave to hold in our back pockets. she seemed to understand that perfect balance between sass and entitlement, between inspiration and execution, and through it all getting exactly what she wanted.

some may see it as ennobled coffee table book, though those who look more deeply (and you know, don’t mind following in vreeland’s footsteps) will see it is a guide for greatness.

be frisky, be direct, be original. be diana.

 

target x peter pilotto

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just because philip lim hitting target this weekend was not quite enough of a fashion stir, target keeps the punches coming with yet another beyond delightful collaboration: peter pilotto. a widely known british designer duo, pilotto is going to bring their bright, multi-graphic prints to the fast fashion catwalks (and target aisle ways) in the form of women’s apparel, accessories and swimwear…all under $60.

but wait, there’s more… (i know you are thinking how could this possibly get any better. it does.). target, never one to shy away from completely outdoing itself, has elevated the collaboration by partnering with net-a-porter to sell a small, “curated assortment” of the collection.

well hello international cache (and we are not just talking canada people).

this move only further solidifies that fashion – and not just fashion, but great designer fashion – is no longer reserved for the socialite and editrix elite, but is becoming more and more about the every woman (and man).

i mean, if net-a-porter thinks so, well then it MUST be true.

see the brand’s video announcement here.

saint laurent films

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we all knew hedi slimane would rattle the couture-coiffed cage of the yves saint laurent-cum-saint laurent house.

he raised eyebrows, though didn’t disappoint, with his last collection, so it comes as no surprise his debut film for the house marries whimsy with some serious fashion angst.Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 4.52.40 PM

model lida fox lithely moves about a barren warehouse clad in full (well kind of) leather and hedi’s new ballet flats, while an eerily melodic tune adds a graceful underlying narrative.

a very different YSL than we used to know, but with a video like this, it makes it easy to fall in love all over again.

watch it here.

the dreslyn

Screen Shot 2013-08-25 at 6.20.11 PMcoming from new york and still considering myself very much a new yorker (once a new yorker, always a new yorker, right? don’t answer that.) i adore delivery.

groceries, wine, chinese food, insomnia cookies…and designer duds.

yes, you read correctly – designer clothes that are delivered right to your door. (i mean…let’s talk about dream world.)

what once was reserved for the stylishly elite of manhattan, has finally made its way to la la land in the form of the dreslyn.

brainchild of fashion world veteran brooke taylor-corcia, the dreslyn is a west coast dream featuring a bevy of enviable brands, killer editorial and lust-worthy home goods (why, yes i would like a set of brandished tea lights thank you). i like to think of it as net-a-porter’s younger, spunkier little sister.

and did i mention they do delivery?

i mean, if that doesn’t have you then i just don’t know what will…

go. shop. do delivery.

a collection: the kooples do it better than you

Screen shot 2013-03-05 at 12.46.47 PMfashion films tend to be banal and self-important. fifteen seconds in you’re yawning and wondering what you are going to eat for dinner tonight (or if you ‘re really in fashion, you’re wondering what you’ll drink for dinner).

however sometimes,  something original, delightful and sexy comes along and you realize there are some people /brands doing fashion videos right.

and of course, they are french. (rude)

the kooples. they are one of the premiere hipster boutiques to line parisian streets. they are cool personified. chic brought to life. and have every bit of that french je ne sais quoi that you could wish for and more.

and so do their videos.

instead of having moody models prance through well-hedged gardens or overly stylized actresses awkwardly waltz through sound stages, the kooples took reality and showed us it’s sexy side.

four couples. four videos. all different stages of a relationship. all romantic.

and unbelievably well dressed in an array of kooples clothing.

each couple is chicer and more handsome than the next (which begs the question why i have not received my phone call yet. double rude). the videos are brief and beautiful, telling romance’s story through sly giggles, broad smiles and of course a well-coiffed elegance as only the french can do.

emulate, admire, enjoy.

(click image to view videos)

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oh, slim darling

on this cold, blustery morning, i find it absolutely ridiculous to work and entirely acceptable to dive into a slim aarons photograph. his work is truly brilliant, imaginative and oozes luxury from every shadow and flash of light.

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his life work spans from decorated war photographer (purple heart anyone?) to “photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places.” like, let’s just talk about life dream.

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he effortlessly captured the 60s in all its hedonist glory (i suppose it’s not hard when you solely work with attractive people, hedonism and beauty go together like bread and butter…hence why i belong). he made hollywood, seem like hollywood.  palatial pools, never-ending beaches, doe-eyed woman clad in chic bikinis and silk robes. it’s a luxury wanton’s fantasy. and i want a part in all of it.

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even if that means settling for his coffee table book or a print hanging on my bedroom wall.

oh, slim darling…take me away.

furniture by karl

Imagedear uncle karl has done it again…

he is expanding his aesthetic empire once more (thank god, because i know i was getting restless about what else karl would be doing…chanel, his line, dove chocolate bars, and diet coke is just not enough).

so of course he went to the only thing left he hasn’t touched yet… furniture.

partnering with cassina, karl darling photographed the avant garde collection in his loads of spare time. as he says in the behind-the-scenes video, “i have less than a second to find a graphic composition.”

it is every bit of ridiculousness as one could imagine. he even kept his sunglasses on. true karl. true brillance.

enjoy.

fashion as fine art

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annie leibovitz’s “alice in wonderland” – vogue, 2003

art versus fashion. fashion versus art. a question of the ages. an argument as old as david and goliath.

ok, well not quite, but as art and fashion become increasingly more democratic, the two titans of aesthetic industry seem to be crossing paths more than ever.

while schaparelli might have started the conversation and designers such as hussein chalayan have kept it going, it is not until the past decade – with exhibits such as mcqueen at the met and a louis vuitton/marc jacobs retrospective at les arts decoratifs in paris – that art has truly given fashion a much-deserved spotlight. thus angling the designer’s cultural perception far more toward artiste than garmento.

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irving penn’s “harlequin dress” 1950

however now, a whole new medium comes to light. not from stitches and revolutionary draping, but in the form of the fashion photograph.

case and point? a lecture at this weekend’s annual photo la exhibit in santa monica, lead by vogue’s director of photography, ivan shaw. while 40 galleries from around the country showcased snapshots of time, emotion and experience, a panel of the industry’s foremost imageologists (this may or may not be a made up word) waxed poetic about the changes in fashion photography and the commodification of the editorial image.

according to the panel it is not so much that the fashion photograph of yesteryear didn’t meet the standards – just look at any shot from herb ritts, irving penn or lillian bassman – but rather, it seems as if one day the common man (and by common man i mean the overly wealthy, i-dont-know-where-to-spend-my-money collector) woke up, opened his wife’s vogue (most likely annie leibovitz’s alice in wonderland story – because if you are unmoved by that, you probably don’t have a soul) and decided “hey, this looks neat, i will call it art and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on it.”

true

steven meisel’s “a walk in paris”

why this notion took so many years for the collecting community to catch on to and the art world to support is beyond me. annie leibovitz, the proverbial moses of the group, has inconspicuously and quite possibly subconsciously, been shepherding this movement since her days of whoopie in a white tub. she might not have said it out loud, but you knew – this is a statement, this is art.

however, the panel gave a more likely and less romanticized reason as to this newfound art-world acceptance – the fashion photographers of today, are not just one-dimensional camera clickers, but aesthetic wunderkinds with a list of never-ending talents – lagerfled, tom ford, hedi slimane, poster boy geniuses of the slasher (i.e. designer/photographer/direct/writer) generation.

that being said, the rise is still a slow one, and while herb ritts and avedon are finally getting their day at getty, the collecting community has only just began to dip their big toes in the editorial pond. just think for the price of $83,000 you can get your own steven meisel’s “a walk in paris” to hang in the foyer. from what i hear that’s a real steal in the art world…

cruise me the right way

going on a carnival cruise is a lot like going to vegas.

there are a lot of people in all shapes and sizes, eating all sorts of foods that turn them into larger shapes and sizes (myself included), gambling, yard-long drinks in varying shades of azule, too-tight dresses with too many sequins (i may or may not have also fallen into this category. no judging please), toddling toddlers, pimply teenagers, and crocs. lots of crocs.

of course it didn’t used to be like this, or so i am told.

not that long ago, when crocs were still reserved for doctors and chefs (and even then they are questionable), cruising – on any ship – was the highest form of luxury.

staterooms appointed in the finest linens. four-course three-hour meals with white-gloved garçons, and ten-piece orchestras.

naturally once we docked i found it absolutely necessary to research if some such cruises still existed. they do. and instead of a cuddly towel animal at the end of your bed, it’s a bottle of dom perignon or a massage therapist named sven (and sometimes even both).

well naturally it is now my singular life goal to go on one-such (or many such) cruiseships, beginning with the below (future husband take notes)…

seabourn sojourn – an 11,400 sq-ft spa? i think yes. and maybe some more yes. some suites even feature solariums. i don’t even know what i do with a solarium, but i know i want one. and like most seaborns the menu in the avant-garde designed restaurant is curated by foodie darling, charlie palmer. can you say yum?
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the paul gauguin it sails where gauguin painted. if that isn’t pretentious enough for you, know that the ship is tailor-made for the shallow waters of french polynesia, so you can get your snorkel on without having to worry about those banal tender boats which are so déclassé. finished snorkeling?  enjoy some butler service (yes i did say another round of beluga), or sun tan on one of their seven decks. going topless is about the only thing you can’t do on this ship. pity.
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river queen – okay so it is a river boat, but i assure you huck finn and jim never found themselves on anything like this. with an art deco flair and a sheet count that far exceeds the number of guest rooms, the ship puts some of europe’s finest hotels to shame. and to make the deal even sweeter they offer complimentary bicycles and nordic walking sticks for any excursion. i mean really, who can say no to a nordic walking stick.riverqueen

and last but not least, which apparently can not be called a cruise ship, but rather a a residential yacht, is ms the world.

the expression the world on a string comes to mind as the world is constantly at sea, stopping for 2-5 days at ports as diverse as baffin island (a game of golf on the tundra anyone?) and as close as santa barbara (probably considered the applebees of their visits). twelve marble-encased stories are devoted to 250 full-time residents. the yacht boasts a movie theater, a spa, 6 restaurants, a grocery store, library, a learning annex, and of course residences that are double the size of my current apartment.mstheworld

but before you start counting your scheckles keep in the mind the ms world has a strict financial policy – residents must be worth at least $5 million dollars to be considered (rude) and monthly dues hover around $20,000 (double rude).

well, clearly that is out of my budget range for at least another 6 years. until then you can find me on carnival cruise ships, i’ll be the one happily sipping champagne out of a plastic mug and playing spot-the-mullet.

cheers.

a collection: cathy daley

due to work i have had unexpectedly and quite happily had to take a deep dive into the art world. one quickly learns that art, in it’s many forms, is a rabbit hole. you can’t simply start with one artists or genre, and let that be. one painter begets another, which begets another gallery, which begets another genre, and so forth. and before you know it four hours have flown by, you still feel you know absolutely nothing, and your boss is asking where the document is that you promised him three hours ago.

oops.

though you are now rushing to finish said document and have irritated your boss, there is consolation in the fact you probably found some incredible new artist,  a little discovery that you can treasure, put as the background to your iPhone and someday showcase in your house.

today my consolation prize is cathy daley.

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reigning from toronto, cathy has been exhibiting since 1980 and remains a canadian tour-de-force, with her work taking up residence in some of the country’s most renowned institutions.

i am not going to pretend i know the sure-to-be femininst-heavy symbolism behind her oil pastel tutus and protruding can-can legs, but i do know they are filled with wit and loads of satire, and even if i don’t know quite what that satire is, i know i like it. and would probably also like what it stands for.

until them, enjoy and yes, cathy’s untitled legs now grace my iphone background. whatever, i know.

(all images from cathy daley’s website.)