Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I'm definitely still riding on an ambitious high after meeting with Wake's own Dr. Ian Taplin, sociology professor by day, North American editor of the Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management by night. (Baller? Check.) So there exists an entire professional academic work dedicated to the field I love. Call me a "fashion dork" as I was already titled in the fourth grade (precocious, no?), but after spending the majority of my afternoon writing a strategic management plan for a company selling sensors (it actually pains me), I was beyond excited to engross myself in research papers like "The relationships of fashion leadership, fashion magazine content and loyalty tendency" and "Indian consumers' brand equity toward US and local apparel brand".

Yes, I'm serious. Stuff like this is real and I could not be happier. Sure, there's the creative aspect of fashion which is perhaps the first to come to mind, but there also exists this entire psychological/operational side that the majority of those who claim to "love clothing" tends to overlook. That's the difference between fashion esoterics and the non. Or maybe, just the difference between business majors and the non. Basically, I love my life.

This being said, it's rare to find individuals that so truly personify fashion itself. You can dress up and paint a man or woman however you'd like, but if that individual doesn't exude fashion, chances are, he or she never will. The aura of conveying personal style and sophistication is something that simply can't be forced-- the more nonchalant, the better. One of these It Girls is the always-lovely Camilla Belle. I've pretty much had a girl crush on her ever since she played adorable Sydney in Rip Girls, and it is now possible that she's one of the most gorgeous women alive. Belle is the perfect spokesmodel for Vera Wang's Princess, and I love how literally everything she wears plays up her distinct dark features and adds to her sultry mystique. Taking a cue from Zoolander, the question is, does she know how really, really ridiculously good-looking she is? There's one thing I know for sure-- if I were Camilla Belle, I would never get tired of looking in the mirror. Like ever.


Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Holly Golightly: the most classically classic woman of all time

Oversized shades, a perfect updo and that stunning open-back Givenchy LBD. The image of UES socialite Holly Golightly eating a pastry and gazing into the windows of Tiffany & Co. at 6 AM is more ubiquitous around college apartment living rooms than silly bandz are on the wrists of elementary school kids. I wholeheartedly understand and agree that Audrey Hepburn has become a cultural fashion icon personifying all elements of class, luxury and good taste, but if only the girls who share such a so-called adoration for her clothing would just adopt her practices of dressing, instead of just jumping on the bandwagon by tacking her image up on the wall...

Besides being breathtakingly beautiful in every way possible, Hepburn as Golightly epitomizes New York City high society and the beneficial significance of sartorial perfection. Her outfits accurately translate the character's emotion-- all-time highs as well as pitfalls-- and I could only dream that my wardrobe was as incredible as hers. Even when performing a hauntingly soothing rendition of "Moon River" on the fire escape in a simple cotton top and headscarf, Hepburn looks amazing, giving a new meaning to the recycled term "casual luxury". Perhaps my favorite look of the entire film is the cream one-shouldered toga frock she donned as the hostess of a banging apartment soiree (the cops were called-- Audrey knows how to rage). Not only was this dress considered darling in the sixties, but it could easily be worn in today's context and be just as fashionably powerful.

I say this time and time again, but fit and form were clearly much more of a priority to people in earlier decades than now, as these concepts are executed moreso in this movie than can be found anywhere else. This totally doesn't have to be the case, but why have we as dressers in the 2000's become so damn lazy? Instead of always looking pressed and polished like the hunky gentleman George Peppard, guys now seem to  just throw on whatever's clean, then wonder why the hell girls aren't flocking after them. Similarly, girls resort to purchasing blah garments created of subpar fabrics that "work", or ridiculously-priced items stamped all over with designer logos, but don't flatter them in the least and contribute nothing to the style pool. Bo-ring. 

I'm not saying tailored tweed suits and shift dresses emphasizing clean lines are the solution to every single occasion today, but people, please clean yourselves up. If everyone simply honored this understanding of fit and dressed with as much flair as the characters in Breakfast at Tiffany's did, the world would just be such a better place. There would be no more trashy colorblocked elastic-waist dresses, heinous crochet-neck babydoll tops (undoubtedly paired with so-boring J. Crew shorts) or flimsy floral sundresses that were probably constructed for less than a dollar. When I'm baller, I really am going to make it a point to save the world.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Level 23

I’ll be frank and I think you’ll agree— the last thing I’d call Winston-Salem would be a playground for fashion. With a grand total of two (TWO!) appealing boutiques, local shopping distractions are basically nonexistent. No Kitson or Olive and Bette’s here, which is probably a blessing in disguise considering our workload… but I digress.

Today’s adventure led me to Level 23, Winston’s newest retail addition. Housing oft-coveted brands like Ella Moss and Splendid along with denim staple Adriano Goldschmied, I recognized the path owner Angela Pereira wanted to forge and was curious about what else she had to offer. Upon my entrance, I caught a glimpse of swingy cotton tunics, bright empire-waist sundresses and of course, a denim wall. It wasn’t until I paused to browse piece-by-piece that I was able to set aside the store’s most interesting items for scrutiny.
 Puff Sleeve Top
Maj, $94

Jean Shorts
1921, $90

Bani Skirt
Yana K, $130

Cocoon Top
Maj, $127

 Boyfriend Short
AJ Jeans, $90

 Laser-cut Dress
Maj, $105

The clothes were fun, but perhaps the highlight of my trip was discovering that someone else shared our philosophy on Wake fashion. Tending the cash wrap, another Wake senior articulated her frustration over how blah style is on campus. “I just feel like a lot of girls at Wake wear this uniform that consists of J. Crew, Tory Burch and 7 For All Mankind," she said. "I’d say 70% of my closet is made up of clothes that are preppy and classic because it’s what I wear here, but the other 30% is very different stuff. I wish I could wear funky scarves and get dressed up more… and I don’t mean sundresses."

Well said. So while it’s undeniable that this town kind of has a long way to go in terms of competing with the global fashion capitals, I commend Level 23 for stepping outside the preppy bubble to foster these unique LA brands, as well as the mindset that personal style shouldn’t be confined to boundaries defined by a single design aesthetic.

Cross-posted HERE.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Redefining classic

As a 16-year-old, I was a pretty smart cookie. Besides managing to sneak out to New York City every single weekend (as well as getting home in time for dinner Sunday night and being bright-eyed and polished for class the next morning), I just knew Aimee Cho was onto something with her line, Gryphon. I first stumbled upon the genius collection of trenchcoats while browsing a Bloomindale's mailer and fell in love with the crisp, clean lines, the top-quality fabric and the entire idea of totally reinventing the trench. What a reformed concept-- borrowing a brute soldier's staple item, tweaking and upgrading it a bit, and turning it into a young lady's very own fashion statement.

Now, if only their models weren't so incredibly lame. Frankly, with some of these ridiculous poses, they'd be better suited baking a pie for the new neighbors than doing these pieces justice. Just saying.

Wince-inducing models aside, Gryphon is a now household name among those who appreciate the best of the best. Practical, sophisticated and fun, a Gryphon trench multitasks with ease. Capitalizing upon unexpected detail and playful touches, Gryphon does a fabulous job of keeping our interest and remind us the importance of a structured (oh, and useful) piece of outerwear, as well as branching out to other categories... I want just about every pair of sequined shorts they've designed, nbd. I'm so excited for the day I can finally add the perfect Gryphon trench to my wardrobe. It's been a long time coming, and as much as I knew Cho would eventually make it big with her line, obviously part of me wanted it to remain my little secret. Yes, story of my life. But who ever said selfish was all that bad?

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Asian fusion

So I haven't seen Tarantino's "Kill Bill", but I will never forget when the Tower Hill lunch ladies told me how much I resembled Gogo Yubari, the baby-faced little killer in plaid mini. So. Asian. That aside, I find it striking how many comparisons have been drawn over the past week between the cult film and Vera Wang's Spring 2011 line. Though Wang is Chinese, I've never once noticed an overtly cultural vibe in her pieces. It seems this collection gives a nod to her heritage in ways nobody would ever imagine. Instead of channeling the more-expected 1940's-era Hollywood glamour à la vintage Shanghai ad models (think Westernized cheongsams, immaculate finger curls for the glossiest of black hair, and blood-red matte lipstick), Wang opted for the path less traveled, highlighting ethnic pieces like "Obi belts, Chinese wrap peasant pants, kimono blouses [and] Geisha gal dresses"... interesting to say the least. And I don't mean this in a good way. I mean this in a great way.


Referring to her program notes, this "fusion of East meets West" allowed Wang to play up the drama while maintaining her signature ever-so-romantic style. Besides the occasional citrus tones of silky tangerine and butterscotch, the pieces were rather dark for a spring collection. How could the immensely talented woman responsible for designing some of the world's most elegant bridal pieces also be the creative genius behind these avant-garde looks just bursting with attitude? Now as cliché and blissfully ignorant as this sounds (honestly, this is something a true WP-trying-not-to-be-a-WP would say), I could fully sense an alignment between her use of shiny floral-printed satins and the costumes I envision when reading Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. The same goes for the drapey silk top paired with that iconic red skirt. Brilliant, and pushing the boundaries for anything and everything that would be expected from her.

The light falls just perfectly on the interplay of fabrics Wang chose to combine throughout the show-- a palette comprised of silks, satins and sheers. I'm a huge fan of the models' voluminous, airy hairstyles comparable to the mod beehives of the sixties. Love it. In short, Vera Wang proved her ability to add yet another dimension to her design experience already bursting at the seams (seriously, no pun intended): a master of channeling and executing inspiration to create a truly successful finished product and final presentation.

Here's to you, fashion. Cheers.