Working for a Scarf

To any of the long-time readers of this little blog/confessional/style diary that I have here (and all of my friends), you will know what has been the driving force behind my dreams in fashion for the past five years of my life. A scarf.

Yes, it is a scarf of all things that has been the driving force behind all of my photo shoots, runways, styling, and stressful nights. But it is not just any scarf. It’s an Alexander McQueen skull scarf. McQueen, as I have discussed previously on this blog, was what showed me that fashion and style was something more than just getting dressed in the morning. That is is an outward projection of the inward being we are and are sometimes cautious to reveal. That fashion and what we wear project not only our socio-economic levels, but our dreams, insecurities, fears, and hopes for ourselves– whom we really want to be or who we see ourselves as. Fashion is more of a mixture of psychology and art than it is just clothes.

After five years of watching countless amounts of his runway videos, cutting out editorials from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar that are featuring his latest collection, and convincing my economics class to invest in his stock for our project, I finally decided I was going to purchase an Alexander McQueen scarf before the end of the summer. I picked up a second job to work evenings and early mornings– basically the only times I wasn’t interning– and started to budget every cent I had and what I would be earning in order to purchase this scarf.

To be honest, I could have purchased the scarf sooner than now. I have worked jobs where I could have bought two of his scarves in a month and still would have enough left over for some food. But it was something that I just never thought about pursuing. It was like the green light in the Great Gatsby– it was beautiful from afar but I worried it wouldn’t be as grand once it was in my hands.

But despite all of these concerns and with the positive support from my boyfriend, I decided I was going to save up every cent and buy that scarf for my semester in London (starting in late August). I subscribed to all the discount websites– that I can trust of course– and just prayed for a sale on one of those $300 scarves I had wanted since my sophomore year of high school. I worked late evenings, early mornings, multiple shifts on my “day off” (when I wasn’t at my internship), and as many weekends as I could. I would be the first to respond to the emails about an available shift and I would change any plans so I could just buy this damn scarf with my own money.

And then an email came. It came from Shop To Me and I briefly looked at my phone before going back to work. And then, like a ton of bricks, I realized in the subject line it said that wonderful name: “Alexander McQueen”. I immediately logged onto the site and saw that there was in fact a sale on McQueen scarves and that I was in reach of my dream. After looking through the five that were on sale, I finally decided on a bright orange one with gray skulls, blue and pink hummingbirds, dragonflies, and flowers scattered throughout and little flowers writing out his name in the center. I then placed an order and still didn’t believe I had done it when I got the confirmation of my order in an email. My brain just wouldn’t compute. It didn’t seem real that this item I wanted to bad for so long was going to be in my mailbox in less than a week.

I hadn’t slept the night before it came. I was up all night texting my boyfriend telling him how concerned I was– what if it didn’t feel right, the color was a bad pick, or if it wasn’t unique enough in my wardrobe? All of these thoughts and concerns raced through my brain throughout the night and I just worried about both my money and this scarf together. When I finally was able to pick up the package that afternoon I simply stared at the unopened box for a while, not quite sure what to do. I was worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations and would be a disappointment. When I got back to my apartment I decided to open it. It was wrapped in this cheap clear bag, like how I get underwear from Forever 21, and I was disappointed it wasn’t in something more elegant. That this man and his vision could just be thrown into some cheap-ass plastic bag and then into a box.

I carefully removed the scarf from the bag and box and looked at it. I was confused with the style, length and whether I could really wear it. I felt like the green light wasn’t as cool as I was expecting it to be. I stared at it a while in my room, pondering whether it really was worth it. Was an entire month of late night shifts and no sleep worth this scarf? Was it really?

I decided to just try wearing it in as many ways as I could. I was going to make this work and not give up on this scarf nor him. He had gotten me through so much before, he could help me now too. Maybe it was just time, or finding the right ways to wear it, or just me realizing money isn’t everything, but I grew into loving the scarf. I haven’t worn any of my other ones since and look forward to wearing it in London. Perhaps it wasn’t love at first sight, but I am proud of myself for finally doing it.

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What do you think? Do you have a favorite designer? Or just something you have worked very hard for and it didn’t initially live up to expectations?

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Big Move for Youtube?

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Youtube allowing topless girls?

Well, apparently yes– for now. In the recent music video for the song “Thinking About You” by Calvin Harris and Ayah Marar, there is an actress whom is seen topless– fully exposed breasts and butt for almost a full minute– and there are other scenes of more taboo relationships (women with other women, stripping down to only underwear for another woman, an orgy, and teenagers literally fighting over a girl). And then there is the Justin Timberlake video “Tunnel Vision,” which features completely naked women. While both of these videos are not demeaning women nor objectifying them by exposing them– I find this to be more tasteful than some of the skimpy outfits they make women wear in other videos– this is a huge step forward for youtube and music videos.

While images and videos like this have been commonly accepted in Europe for years, in the US we are rather use to covering women up (maybe not in the classiest manner, but their nipples and crotch are relatively covered, right?). Rather than taking the videos down when they premiered, Youtube moved them to Vevo, their video partner, and now simply have a warning for parents before the video starts. Now, does this mean that more music videos will feature female nudity (or, oh my, male nudity?!?!), I can’t say. But does this make me happy to see? Yes, that we aren’t being such a prudish country that obviously enjoys sexual images (watch any television show, let’s be honest here), but likes to keep the reality of it hidden away. Let me be frank– we all need to grow up a little and be more honest about what really goes on between the sheets.

What do you think of this move for Youtube? Do you agree with it, or do you think these videos should be censored?

  • (“Thinking About You (Explicit)” by Calvin Harris ft. Ayah Marar)
  • (“Tunnel Vision (Explicit)” by Justin Timberlake)

Photo of the Month: May

Photo of the Month: May

Well, currently popular culture is swarming with 1920s fashion and references due to the release of the highly expected film, The Great Gatsby. Rather than picking one of the many current editorials of 1920s inspired fashion, I wanted to pay tribute to fashion history. Despite my upkeep of current trends and styles, I am a huge lover of fashion history. I am usually reading a biography on a designer (Chanel is one of my favorites to read about) or an era and how fashion impacted it.

This particular image is from the Vogue’s March issue of 1922. The cover is drawn by Georges Lepape (1887 – 1971), who was a big fashion illustrator from France. His career was at its peak from 1912 to 1925. He was also the first illustrator to introduce movement to images– he would draw models walking in and out of the image.

Vogue was the leading fashion magazine at the time and worked with such artists as Lepape and Salvador Dali. They showed both European and American fashions and showed the epitomization and wealth and desires of the era.

What do you think of the photo? Do you have a recommendation for June? And what do you think of all the 1920s fashion?

Fashion Photo of the Month: March

Fashion Photo of the Month: March

With Easter this month and the recent Pope’s resignation, this image seemed fitting for this month. The photo was done by Ben Trovato and features a model in a black outfit, a ring of flowers in her hair, and leaning against a black cross.

Now whether people will respond positively or not to this image (and so everyone is clear, I was raised Catholic but currently am a “casual Christian”) has yet to be seen, but I hope everyone can respect the artistic nature of this photo.

What do you think of the image? Do you like it or not? And do you have a recommendation for April’s photo?

Nick Knight Takes on “Flora”

Nick Knight, the famous fashion photographer and director, has now approached painting with his collection known simply as “Flora.” The various paintings are of flowers that seem to be melting in with their environments in dream-like sweeps. The colors bleed together and create an odd mixture of beauty and disturbance in the viewer. While the images are beautiful, there is something not quite right about them– yet, you cannot quite figure out what it is exactly.

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Knight has released the images in a book, entitled Flora appropriately, of 15 images he has slowly been working on since 1993. He also released the paintings/prints in an exhibition at the Bruton Place (and yes, I realized that the exhibit is over, but I noticed that only recently his images have been gaining momentum in popular culture). Here is the excerpt from the website http://showstudio.com/shop/exhibition/nick_knight_flora:

11 OCTOBER 2012 – 21 DECEMBER 2012

Nick Knight: Flora

For his first limited edition portfolio, Nick Knight has chosen to release 15 images from his acclaimed publication ‘Flora’. The prints, representative of the arresting diversity in botany that Knight found so exciting when he first gained access to the herbarium in 1993, will be showcased for the first time in our Bruton Place headquarters in London’s Mayfair.

Knight became known over the decades for his edgy, yet beautiful photographs, which have been featured in Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Elle to name a few. He is also known for being the main photographer of model Kate Moss and filmed a majority of the runway videos for Alexander McQueen’s fashion shows.

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What do you think of Knight’s paintings? And what is your favorite type of art that Knight does?

Movie Review: Les Miserables

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I have secretly been wanting to play Eponine in a production of Les Miserables for a few years now– and this has yet to happen, but I was extremely excited to go to my local theatre and see the movie-musical adaptation of this beloved story.

Les Miserables is the story of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), who was imprisoned for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister and nephew, and his search for redemption and hopes of escaping his past. He is helped by a Bishop Myriel (Colm Wilkinson– theatre nerd fact: Wilkinson was the first actor to play Valjean in the London production in 1985), who provides him with the money to begin a new life,  and moves to Montreuil where he assumes the pseudonym Madeleine and creates a manufacturing business and becomes the mayor of the town. While Valjean is trying to desperately to recreate his life and redeem himself, the police officer Javert (Russell Crowe) is constantly chasing after him and hopes to re-imprison Valjean.

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Meanwhile, one of Valjean’s employees, Fantine (Anne Hathaway), is fired from her job for being in a fight that was not her fault, and is forced to being a prostitute in order to pay for her child Cosette’s (Amanda Seyfried) care at the Thenadrier’s (Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter) inn. (WARNING! SPOILERS!) When Fantine dies, her daughter Cosette is rescued by Valjean, who swore to Fantine that he would protect her daughter, and raised by him. The story then jumps to 1832, when Cosette is a young woman and she lives with Valjean in Paris as college students are protesting against the monarchy. It is one revolutionary, Marius (Eddie Redmayne) who is friends with Eponine (Samantha Barks; who was raised with Cosette and is the daughter of the Thenadriers) and falls for Cosette. The story then shows Valjean’s acceptance of Cosette growing up and his role in the small revolution.

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This film was absolutely stunning. I loved almost everything about it– the cinematography, the acting, and the music. Now, this movie is one you either love or hate– there is no in-between on this film, to be honest– because of the style. Not only does this film include all 49 songs in the musical, but added a new one (called “Suddenly”). Furthermore, the shots in this film are very “artsy” and focus on the actors’ faces a majority of the time. I loved that this film had some elements in the novel that are not always in the stage production. (WARNING! SPOILERS!) Such as when Fantine has her hair cut off and some of her teeth pulled; when Valjean and Cosette are on the run from Javert outside of the wall of Paris; and that Javert’s back is broken and that is what kills him when he commits suicide.

Another thing that is amazing about this film is that all of the songs were sung live, which is why the songs are not as glossy and perfect as movie-musicals typically are. By far, the best singers were Hathaway, Jackman, and Redmayne– I cried during “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” and am still listening to it.

Overall, it is a very unique film and I think everyone should see it at some point before the Academy Awards, where this film will sweep the ceremony.

Now, while I loved this film so much, there were some things I did not love. Such as the transitions between scenes are very abrupt and have little connecting them and the end did not have Eponine in it until the group number, unlike the play version. And finally, Russell Crowe is the “weak link” in this film– he does not have a horrible voice (he is no where near as painful as Bronson in Mama Mia!) but in group numbers his voice sticks out painfully and seems worse when compared to other actors, especially Jackman. After watching this film, I think Hathaway and Jackman will walk away with Oscars– and Redmayne needs to be nominated at a minimum.

Les Miserables was first a novel written by French political exile Victor Hugo, who also wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and was published in 1862 (although Hugo began working on the novel in 1845). The unabridged copy of the novel, which I own and have read, is 1,463 pages long (see photo below of my copy). The novel is fantastically written and leaves an enormous impact on the reader in regards to the unique characters and details of France’s history after the Revolution, which is not as discussed in history classes and documentaries. If you really want to dedicate yourself to a novel for a few months that encompases both amazing characters and interesting history, then Les Miserables is for you.

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Les Miserables became a musical in 1980 in France and was then transformed in 1985 by Cameron Macintosh, who created the iconic version of this play. There was also a movie version in 1998, which starred Liam Nesson, but it focused on the novel alone and had a difficult time condensing it all into one film without removing characters or events. And there was a miniseries for television that was released in 2000, but once again focused strictly on Hugo’s novel and had difficult time condensing.

My Grade: 9.9/10

What do you think of Les Miserables? Have you seen the film, play, or read the book? And do you think it will win anything from the Academy?

The Best Movies, Songs, Designers, Photos, and Movie Trailers of 2012?

In January Trend will do its first “Best of…” and needs you to make some nominations! What do you think was the best movie? Who had the best song? Who had the best photograph? The best movie trailer (the film doesn’t have to be out this year to count, just the trailer)? And which designer had the best collections or trends? And which television show, whether totally new or had a new season, was the best?

Please nominate your favorites in the comments section for an official vote in December!