Archive for June, 2009

Michael Jackson: King of Pop & Fashion Icon

June 26, 2009

As one of the most recognizable icons in music, pop culture and fashion, it’s impossible not to reflect on the influence of Michael Jackson.

The L.A. Times simply labeled Jackson as the King of Style: “Wearing one glove, Michael Jackson reached into the pop culture zeitgeist and influenced an entire generation, giving pieces as simple as military badges and a fedora an imprint that, for a time, was as powerful as his music.”

We can’t help but notice his influence in the fashion world, whether it be military jackets, sequined cropped jackets, white T’s and fedoras or the infamous white glove.

Nadja Swarovski, vice president of international communications for Swarovski, told Women’s Wear Daily that “As the King of Pop, it is only natural for him to be crowned in crystal.”

As a tribute to Jackson, we wanted to share some of our favorite photos showing is lasting impression on the fashion world.

Michael Jackson's Fashion Influence

Be sure to check out Balmain’s Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear collection, obviously inspired by the King of Pop.


Remembering a Fashion Icon: Farrah Fawcett

June 26, 2009

As a tribute to the iconic Farrah Fawcett, we thought it would be nice to share some pictures of her lasting impression in fashion. Enjoy!

The Jumpsuit

Farrah's Jumpsuit LookThe jumpsuit is making a comeback!

Topshop Unique
Topshop Unique




Pauric Sweeney’s Special Edition 16

June 26, 2009

Pauric Sweeney’s new line of handbags, the Special Edition 16 collection, caught my attention because their bright, neon color palette and geometric designs bring recall the somewhat chaotic style of the 80’s but do so in a subdued manner.

“The colors came out of my subconscious,” says Sweeney, “I am a child of the ’80s, after all.” Sweeney, who began making graphic clutches and purses in 2005, sees his “handbags as compositions as well as objects.” The Special Edition 16 collection is inspired by the avant-garde sound of composer and electronic music pioneer John Cage.

The collection features handbags composed of a mix of exotic skins (such as such as crocodile, alligator, stingray, and calfskin) cut into geometric shapes and set on backgrounds of dazzling neon colors. Featured below is one bubble-gum pink shoulder bag from the collection.

New Designer - Pauric Sweeney (Elle)

Elle sells out?

June 25, 2009
Simply Vera - L Avant Gaudy - R

Left - Simply Vera | Right - Avant Gaudy

I love Vera Wang’s line at Kohl’s, Simply Vera. The styles are rather basic, but the pieces (priced somewhat higher than the polos, mom jeans, etc. sold at Kohl’s) definitely look and feel like high-quality items. When I heard that Elle recently surpassed Vogue in advertising revenue for the first time in twenty-four years, I thought that their relatively new line at Kohl’s would be amazing.

The full name for the collection is Elle Contemporary Collection. If  we have to be reminded ever-so-subtly that what we’re buying is the latest (and if we’re shopping at Kohl’s to begin with), then how can Elle still present an image as a unified brand?

Their newsletter has grown by 800% over the past year. Retail seems like a natural next step. But the results seem…just ok to me. The colors seem off, and the clothes seem just detailed enough to pass them off as a premium product.

Are you thrilled that Elle has its own line at Kohl’s? Enraged? Indifferent?


Elle Contemporary Collection at Kohl's

Update: Apparently I’m not the only one who’s underwhelmed.

Meet the “Gaudy” Girls: Adriane

June 25, 2009

Adriane & OranginaGet to know Adriane, the Avant Gaudy blog manager and Social Media Marketing Intern.

Where are you from?
Addison, IL

What is your profession/major?
I’m majoring in Fashion Design and Journalism at Dominican University in River Forest, IL. I’ll be a senior this fall.

Personal/professional goals?
Work at a fashion magazine. Become a film costume designer. Own a chinchilla. Move to Paris. I dream big.


Favorite movies?
There’s an infinite list. And I like an odd variety of films. An Inconvenient Truth. Benny and Joon. The Boondock Saints. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Edward Scissorhands. Hocus Pocus. Legends of the Fall. Only You. Twister. And I can watch the same movie over and over again. Especially if it makes me laugh.

What kind of music do you like? What bands are you listening to?
I honestly don’t like a certain type of music. I’ve become addicted to film and TV soundtracks. I love anything Alexanda Patsavas chooses for TV/movies (The O.C, Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men, Rescue Me, Gossip Girl, Twilight). Because of her, I’m currently addicted to Kings of Leon, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Muse, Manchester Orchestra, The Virgins and MGMT. And I love 90s techno and dance music because it makes me laugh and remember my childhood.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Paris. For sure. I lived there for four weeks last summer and I’m desperate to go back. I could spend everyday sitting at a cafe, eating chocolate crepes.

Adriane at a her favorite cafe in Paris

Can’t live without?

Guilty pleasure?
The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I became addicted and watched all the episodes in one day.

What web sites do you have to check everyday?
Facebook.  And I must confess, Perez Hilton. He always knows everything first. I knew about the Christian Bale rant before it was cool. And I’ve become addicted to too many fashion blogs now I wouldn’t know where to start. 

Favorite Animal?
Chinchillas. They’re like rabbits with mouse ears. They’re amazing.

Favorite Designer?
Elie Saab. Always pretty. And Isaac Mizrahi. Because he makes me laugh.

Favorite magazine?
Vogue. And Entertainment Weekly. I never throw a good magazine away. So I’ve got quite the collection hiding underneath my bed.

Favorite clothing item/accessory that you own?
My black ballerina flats that I wore out beyond repair. I never wear them anymore but I refuse to get rid of them.

How would you describe your personal style?
In the moment – I tend to go through phases. I’m in a phase right now where I love to wear purple and gray and anything with ruffles or pleats.
Comfortable – I wear jeans and flats whenever I can.
Classic – I tend to not take risks. And when in doubt, I wear black or white.

One thing you’ll never wear?
Turtlenecks. I feel claustrophobic.

Style icon?
Blair Waldorf. I wish I went to high school on the Upper East Side. And I wish I dressed like that when I was in high school.

Blair Waldorf

Most recent purchase?
Headbands. Lots of them. With ridiculously large bows. And when I’m rich, I’m investing in a headband from Jennifer Behr.

Do you have any style rules or advice?
Wear whatever makes you happy. And make sure it fits you well.

Favorite Quote?
I love Oscar Wilde.
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
“Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
“Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”

From our customers: Why I wear vintage

June 25, 2009

T-shirt 1984

Submitted by an anonymous Avant Gaudy customer.

“When I put on vintage clothes I feel the worn-in spots another body has made and feel connected to this mystery person.  The smells of their life still linger and become combined with mine as I wear something they once loved.  Vintage clothing allows me to become a new person and link me to humanity.

When I try to shop for new clothes I pass through store after store of boring, lifeless collections that seem the same as the ones from years before.  Used items come with way more personality than something new ever could.  When I find a dress or pair of boots that I know has been loved I’m glad that I have the chance to love it too.  These items remind me that clothing is more than just something to cover your body; it should express, and can even change, how you feel.  When putting on my big comfy sweater to veg out with friends or my lipstick red stilettos to pick me up when I’m feeling down, I feel comfort in the fact that someone before me has done this too.”

Why do you wear vintage? We’d love to hear your comments!

Classy Closet

June 24, 2009

When I landed the internship here at Avant Gaudy in late April, I could not be any more excited—or more nervous! I was thrilled that I was going to have the chance to help a business incorporate social media into their marketing strategies. As geeky as it sounds, I love learning about all things having to do with social networking. I’m good at it and I felt comfortable with it. Fashion, on the other hand, was something that I did not feel so confident about. Don’t get me wrong, I think (hope?) that I have a good sense of style, but I am by no means what you would refer to as a “fashionista.” Still, I’ve always been intrigued by fashion, and when I accepted the position, I was determined to jump right into it with an open mind and learn as much about the industry as possible.

The next few months, I paid a little bit more attention to all things fashion. I checked out a few fashion communities, blogs, etc. I found a lot of cool stuff, but by far, my favorite thing was an article that I found in an article featured in the Chicago Tribune the day before the internship started (how convenient!)

The article was about a fashion show for Classy Closet, the product of entrepreneur Emanuel Wilder. Classy Closet is located in Evanston, IL and sells secondhand designer clothing at very affordable prices. I read the article and immediately noticed the similarities between Classy Closet and Avant Gaudy. Of course, we’re not exactly the same; Classy Closet specializes is designer clothing, while Avant Gaudy focuses on vintage clothing. Still, it was very cool to see that another company with similar ideas—finding fashion treasures in unlikely places.

Classy Closet Fashion Show

Model walks the runway during the Classy Closet fashion show (Source:

Lemon AID: Beat the Heat!

June 24, 2009

Summer is officially in full swing…and so is this darned hot weather!  Unfortunately, as my apartment is lacking the luxury of air-conditioning, I am left to swelter.  To me though, something that can give me succur during a blistering day is a tall, cool glass of lemonade.  Beat the heat with cute citrus-inspired niceties ‘n knickknacks!

  1. Lemon Lip Gloss– to perfect your pucker, use this zingy lemon lip cream from C.O. Bigelow.CO Bigelow Lemon Lip Cream
  2. Citrus-Striped Party Dress– Stay cool in this darling vintage frock from Avant GaudyAvant Gaudy Dress
  3. Perfect Lemonade Recipe– Wet your whistle with a refreshing glass of lemonade SuperStock_1612R-16135

Gather:  1 cup sugar, 1 cup water (for simple syrup), 4-6  lemons, 3-4 cups cold water (to dilute).


  1. Make simple syrup by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved completely.
  2. While the sugar is dissolving, use a juicer to extract the juice from 4-6 lemons, enough for one cup of juice.
  3. Add the juice and sugar water to a pitcher. Add 3-4 cups of cold water to taste.


   4.  Bejeweled Cubes– I was so pumped when I came across these ice-cube trays on  Even your beverages can be glamorous with these ice cubes inspired by precious stones!


Stay posted and stay cool!!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

June 23, 2009
Hopefully by now, you’ve seen the newly-released photos from Tim Burton’s Alice in WonderlandIf not, here’s a sneak peek of Anne Hathaway as The White Queen:

The White Queen

If you don’t feel like waiting until March 2010 to see the live-action/3-D reimagining of the Lewis Carrol fairytale, just look to the runways and the stores to create your own wonderland wardrobe in muted shades of blue, grey, cream and pink. Look to vintage-inspired details and jewelry and for embellished accents, focus on layered ruffles, flowers and bows.
Down the Rabbit Hole

Rose Earrings (Urban Outfitters), Gold Flower Bracelet (Urban Outfitters), Grey Satin Headband (Forever 21), Grey Pumps (Gianmarco Lorenzi), Blue Ruffle Dress (, Pink Layered Top (, High-Waisted Shorts (, Pearl Flower Necklace (SOHO Hearts), Gold Flats (Anthropologie), Pocket Watch Necklace (Urban Outfitters), Embellished Clutch (, Tea Cup Ring (Lunarra Star Jewelry), "Drink Me" Necklace (Alidra Alic jewelry)

Morning Musings by Anna

June 23, 2009

This weekend while shopping (let me rephrase that: wishing I had money to shop) I stumbled across the work of fashion designer Ivan Grundahl.  This Danish designer is a master at turning darks and neutrals into surprisingly feminine clothing.  Architectural pleating, billowy sleeves, and random rouching all combine to give the clothes an edgy yet delicate sort of feel.    

Ivan Grundahl

It’s amazing sometimes how the simple act of looking can be equated to breathing.   

In spite of the rather steep price tag for Grundahl’s stuff,  I think its easy to replicate the look in vintage-wear for a fraction of the price.  Take Avant Gaudy’s spin on the look:

Avant Gaudy