Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

Long Live McQueen: A Tribute to Fashion Royalty

February 22, 2010

As design after design floats across runways around the globe, the world still reels from the death of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.  It has been more than 10 days since McQueen’s untimely passing but I felt it would be appropriate to reflect upon his contributions to the fashion world.

McQueen was a pioneer in the fashion industry.  He was able to seamlessly meld tough, Gothic motifs with soft feminine elements. The effect is nothing short of ethereal.  When he exhibited his spring 2010 collection he said,  “I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian period of death where they used to take pictures of the dead.”  I remember my first encounter with Alexander McQueen’s designs in the pages of Vogue when I was about 15 years old.  The designs conjured up mental images of a trunk forgotten in an attic– the decaying lace of an old wedding gown.  Victorian.  Macabre.  Brilliant.

McQueen’ was outspoken both in his design and in his wit.  My favorite anecdote is that he famously sewed obscenities into a coat he designed for Prince Charles.  His fall 2009 collection was surrealist in nature with latex smears for a mouth and Escher-esque tessellations running across structured conical dresses.

McQueen's love for eccentricity and the bizarre shows in his fall '09 RTW collection

His most recent collection, Spring Ready-to-wear 2010,  entailed structured mini dresses, surreal shoes, snake-skin patterns, and Lady Gaga glitz.

McQueen was able to beautifully and artfully meld  fashion and technology.  Take this hologram of Kate Moss gracing the runway and stunning the audience in 2006:


This show featured an automobile robot spray-painting a model on a rotating platform

With regards to mainstream success, we can thank McQueen for low-rise jeans, skull print scarves, and Lady Gaga’s envelope-pushing fashion.

Lady Gaga in McQueen's design

In an ever-evolving industry, the fashion world will move on in the aftermath of loss.   Alexander McQueen, however, provided designs that transcend the trend.

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African Textiles

September 18, 2009

Today Garance Dore posted this photo on her street style photography blog. I’ve been seeing gorgeous bright patterns like this a lot recently, and I’m really feeling it.

For example, Suno is a clothing line by Max Osterwies made out of vintage Kenyan kangas, which are big rectangular pieces of cloth printed with bright designs and a sometimes cryptic Swahili proverb or phrase. In Kenya and Tanzania they are used as all-purpose sarongs, bundles, headwraps and baby backpacks, but Osterwies turns them into tailored jackets, skirts, dresses, and even bikinis. Kenya used to have an active garments and textiles industry, which has all but disappeared today, so it is especially nice to know that these clothes were made by local tailors and artisans for a good wage.

lesenfantssauvages

Similarly, I was at Renegade Handmade in Wicker Park awhile ago and saw some amazing skirts and bags made of vintage African textiles by the Canadian artist Les Enfants Sauvages. I also saw her booth at the Renegade Craft Fair in September. Check out her etsy shop for cool, modern shapes made of colorful African and Indian textiles like old saris.

The Obligatory Little Black Dress Post

August 21, 2009

Every fashion blogger is required by law to write a post on the little black dress. Fashionising’s article on LBDs on the runway inspired me to share Avant Gaudy’s own collection with our readers.

Avant Gaudys Third Date dress features a sweetheart neckline and velvet - perfect for fall 09.

Avant Gaudy's "Third Date" dress features a sweetheart neckline and velvet - perfect for fall 09.

Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas

Make your fall fashion debut wearing our Debutante dress.

Make your fall fashion debut wearing our Debutante dress.

This vintage Betsey Johnson dress is made of a stretch material and is very versatile.

This vintage Betsey Johnson dress is made of a stretch material and is very versatile.

A cheerleader-inspired skirt makes our Match dress perfect for day or night.

A cheerleader-inspired skirt makes our Match dress perfect for day or night.

Pair this LBD with colorful leggings and stay cozy in the fall.

Pair this LBD with colorful leggings and stay cozy in the fall.

My own little black dress is rather unoriginal – but therin lies its potential. It’s a strapless, knee-length number from Charlotte Russe, with eyelet trim and a simple ribbon belt. Not only do I change the ribbon to match every outfit, but black acts as a blank canvas. I add a cardigan most of the time, but sometimes I add a blazer or funky tights. I’d love to see how it looks with a colored crinoline underneath. For now, it looks something like this:

lbd

What about your LBD? Where did you find it? How do you accessorize it? Share your story!

Shoes!

August 20, 2009

Get ready for fall or back-to-school! Check out some of our newest vintage shoes at Avant Gaudy, including boots, heels, flats and vintage sneakers!

Skull and Bones, $35

Bow Leg, $25

Vtg. Marshalls, $20

Vtg. Nikes, $58

Fall 2009 Fashion Guide

August 20, 2009

Must Have Items:

  • Big Leather Tote
  • Neon Jewelry
  • Long Boots
  • Vintage Little Black Dress
  • Neutral Overcoat
  • Leather Jacket
  • Acid wash jeans

What’s big this season? 
Layers! The look this season is all about topping on those accessories to create a fresh, sophisticated look.  Start with a long tank or tee, top it with a hipster blazer, throw on some eye-popping jewelry with a headband and you’ll look on-the-go stylish. 

What’s one item everyone must have? 
A pair of boots.  Leather or suede, the material doesn’t matter; neither does the style.  Boots with buckles and layers include much of what this season’s look is all about.  In a perfect world, I’d recommend you have a pair of scrunched black suede boots to wear on a trendy night out on the town, and a pair of brown leather boots to wear for a simple daytime look. Boots can make an outfit happen. 

What should you keep in the closet? 
This season, I’d keep those UGG boots everyone has in the closet.  The new vintage trend is all about individuality and expressing oneself.  If you want to follow these fall trends, you need to dig a little deeper and search harder for what’s out there.  Instead of going to the same department store every year for clothes and shoes, try going to a thrift store – you never know what you may find. 

What is the inspiration of the fall 2009 trends? 
I think a lot of the fall 2009 trends are vintaged inspired.  Trends seem to be going for a casual, edgy look, which vintage is completely capable of.  However, it does depend on your style.  Here are a few chic trends I’ll elaborate on, so choose which fits your personality the best:

Edgy Biker Chic: Acid washed or dark skinny jeans, paired with a graphic tee and layered with a leather jacket. This look is vintage inspired from the 70s for a free spirited soul with lots of charisma. 

Edgy Biker Chic- Rachel Bilson

Log Cabin Chic:  This look is designed for anyone looking for a down-to-earth, laid back style this fall.  Plaid shirts, boyfriend jeans, and a pair of retro sneakers and a bandana will make this outfit have a personality of its own. 

Log Cabin Chic- Kristen Stewart

Girly Chic: Colors, ruffles, pleated skirts- this 50s inspired look is simply adorable.  Find a pleated skirt and pair it with black tights, a ruffled moth-colored top and a headband and it’ll look cute and attention seeking for all the right reasons. 
 

Girly Chic- Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester)

So if you haven’t already, get started on shopping for this season’s trends.  Don’t forget to start in your closet.

Why Vintage?

August 20, 2009

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While our customers know that vintage = a one of a kind link to the past and to current trends, we do tend to get this question a lot. Shrimpton Couture explains:

Vintage fashion is a strange landscape. Depending on the current trend, usually defined by who is wearing what, vintage is either flaunted as being hip and up to the minute (isn’t that ironic!) or it’s quiet and below the surface without fan fare. But it’s always there.

Die-hard vintage girls like me buy and wear vintage with little regard for what the current trends happen to be. There are tons of girls out there who are active hunters for vintage treasures regardless of the current cool factor. But I am also surprised at how many people I meet who know nothing about vintage, the designers, the labels, and these people are often in the fashion industry. Where have they been?

I actually find people can be dismissive of fashion in general and I know that any of you who are reading this and work in this industry know of what I speak. I know you have had those same blank looks thrown at you when you say you are in fashion. It’s an industry associated with frippery and youth, rather then what is has really become, which is an industry of public companies and exchanges; profit and loss statements and very, very valuable clothing in certain sectors of it. Though vintage has perhaps not gone the route of becoming a publicly traded venture, trust me when I say that in certain parts of it, the clothes are also very, very, valuable.

So if their is a moral in today’s column its that despite what anyone else thinks or their reaction to it, you just have to forge ahead and do what you love, even if it seems to go against the norm, even if it’s just a little niche of a thing to do, even if people think you are odd. I am the first to admit it’s a strange little world I inhabit but its one that I would not give up even if every person I met from here on in thought me odd. In fact, it might even inspire me to tell you a great truth – that don’t you find the people who don’t quite fit in are usually the most compelling?

While we disagree that vintage fashionistas must ignore current trends, Shrimpton Couture sums up our fahion philosophy rather well: unless you want a cookie-cutter look, vintage is the only way to go.

“Just Take Off My Red Shoes, Put Them On and Your Dream’ll Come True”

August 18, 2009

Every weekday morning, I walk by the dog run in Madison Square Park on the way to the subway.  Sometimes I see office workers from the nearby financial firms practicing tai chi, sometimes I see a man walking his cat, and sometimes I see country music bands setting up for a mid-morning concert.  But I was unprepared for the chihuahua and his red running sneakers.

The pup and his owner ran by too fast for me to whip out my camera, but I think I’ve located the source of his sneakers.  They looked sort of like this:

Now, I realize that dogs have been wearing shoes since at least Legally Blonde.  Especially in New York, this is none too shocking.  However, seeing red running shoes on a speeding canine confirmed a suspicion I’ve had ever since I started noticing flocks of really well-groomed men strolling in Central Park with bright red sneakers.  Most similar to the amazing dog sneakers?  This pair of Prada running shoes, made for the America’s Cup:

Prada running shoes

At a moment when the recession seems like it might never be over, florescent red shoes lighten the mood of even the most jaded Manhattanite.  With more muted colors for fall, red shoes are the ideal way to add a punch of color to a staid outfit, and to remember that even when the economy is tanking, we can still have fun.

For those without a Prada-sized budget or an adorable puppy with delicate feet, I found these great red wedges and two-toned pointy heels at Avant Gaudy: 

Lipstick, $58Spades, $48

Title from “The Red Shoes” by Kate Bush.

California Vintage: Hillcrest, San Diego

August 17, 2009

San Diego is unique as a California city, lacking the pretension of LA and the cold fog of San Francisco. Still, the laid-back nature and temperate climate are only part of why I love it here so much. To me, San Diego is a vintage city, always drawing on its past to create a unique and eclectic future. Maybe I just like my city like I like my closet.

There is something to be said about each neighborhood and borough within San Diego, but the one I keep coming back to is Hillcrest. This is where I find the best food, theatre, and people…and shopping. From the premier vintage at Wear It Again Sam to the fantastic thrifitng at Flashbacks, the thoroughfare of Fifth Avenue represents the best in California style, and San Diego attitude.

Hillcrest, San Diego

Anything goes here. Style is an experiment in the bold, and the attempt is appreciated as much as the result:

Frocks and leggings are good, a trapeze dress is better. A closet staple since the ’60s, their simple silhouettes make them a perfect day-to-night…even better for beach to city.

Shorts are a necessity for the sunny summer days, and can be dressed up, dressed down, or completely customized. A classic casual with a t-shirt or tunic, and a cropped jacket for a bit of texture. Sandals are nice, and so are heels, but I’ve been told they work best as a team; along with big, colorful accessories.

It’s not that any of this is unique, it’s the way it all comes together. Colors and textures take president over cut and silhouette, and more often than not, too much is just about right. The fashion I find in Hillcrest represents the best of what the neighborhood has to offer: diversity, a willingness to stand out, and the perfect mixture between casual and vibrant.

That’s my preview into the best San Diego has to offer. More to come as I begin writing for Avant Gaudy. I’m excited to see what’s to come!

Immersed Within on Fedoras

August 17, 2009

immersedwithinheader

One of the great triumphs of last summer my life was when I convinced my boyfriend to purchase a vintage-esque fedora at Target. While I do like the look of menswear on women, it’s not something I wear too often. Carly of Immersed Within shows us how.

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Village Style

August 16, 2009

The last place I visited on my annual trip to New York City was the Village, my absolute favorite neighborhood. Why do I love it so much?
 
1. Really really good pizza (John’s Pizza—you have to get the house salad and the meatballs in addition to the pizza, they are delicious!).
2. Washington Square Park—I love watching people walk around with their dogs.
3. The fashion, of course.
 
Plaid was everywhere. Shirts, dresses, headbands, even on a pair of leggings. And it wasn’t your normal red and black checkered print. I saw more teals and purples than reds and whites. My favorite plaid outfit was a long purple and black plaid shirt with rolled up sleeves, shiny black leggings, and a thin black belt. Oh, and of course, you can’t forget the Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses (I saw them on literally everyone there). I love this look because it is so trendy, but very easy to replicate.

Purple Plaid
I also saw a lot of ruffles, something I’ve seen Louis Vuitton incorporate in his fall runway shows.
 
Louis Vuitton Fall 2009 Ready-to-Wear
 
Ruffles are such a fun, easy, and affordable trend that even the fashion-challenged can pull off. It is now one of my staples in my closet.

Ruffles

Ruffles by sophie1632 featuring Forever21

A majority of the outfits I saw there were much looser silhouettes than anywhere else. Boho frocks with unique patterns and long necklaces were common.

Jazzy, $40

I also saw jumpsuits—a trend I thought would never be popular. I was wrong. This one from Avant Gaudy looks almost exactly like the few I saw around in New York.

Lazy Romp, $58

I think Village style is all about looking good without trying too hard. To me, everything seems a little more relaxed and comfortable, which leaves room for more unique, individual styles to shine through. I could tell that a person that loves vintage clothing would fit perfectly in the Village.