The Wooly Mammoth: A Lagerfeld Confection

Karl Lagerfeld would stage a fashion show around an iceberg. And not just any old iceberg. One specifically transported from Scandinavia. Completed with a smattering of fur-clad models splashing through the melt.

Check out his Fall/Winter 2010 show at Paris Fashion Week for yourself:

Lagerfeld’s concept: What would Coco look like all bundled up?

Well, take your pick. There was enough fur to clothe the entire cast of ewoks from “Return of the Jedi.” And then some. But these are the chicest woodland creatures I’ve ever seen.

Though peppered with Chanel’s classic knitwear and tweedy stamp of identity, with 78 furry looks, the collection almost erred away from Ready-to-Wear and into couture territory with it’s heavy dose of conceptualism and artistry. There were fur boots, fur cuffs, fur coats, and fur pants. Fur was even woven into the classic tweedy suit.

But then there’s the kicker: It was all faux. And who would have thought? With Lagerfeld’s famously lavish taste, I supposed he’d find such substitutes far too commonplace and “cheap”. However I guess that aging eccentric is always out for a surprise.

In an recent Q&A with Vice magazine, Lagerfeld explained his views on fur:

It is farmers who are nice to the cows and the pigs and then kill them [that are] even more hypocritical than hunters. At least the hunters don’t flatter the animals. I remember when they killed the pigs when I was a child. I still hear the noise in my ears. I have to eat meat once a week because my doctor wants me to, but I prefer fish. I don’t like that people butcher animals, but I don’t like them to butcher humans either, which is apparently very popular in the world.

As for furs as a luxury item, like those in his collection (whose prices are rarely spoken aloud,) he said:

If you cannot afford it, just forget about it. Don’t use it as an investment piece to show people how rich you are. Use it like a cheap knitted thing. It’s like a big stone. Lucky you that you can have a big stone, but if it troubles you financially to have the stone, don’t have the stone.

And I suppose, however elitist or pretentious that opinion may be, Lagerfeld is quite right. A pair of all-fur Chewbacca-esque pants are hardly an investment piece to serve you through the next decade– but isn’t it simply wonderful that they do exist for that daring segment of elite who can wear them as simply what they are: an outrageous and somewhat hilarious fashion statement.


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{tap}shoe lust

This video,

Or well, the full version of “Dancer in a Daydream” that you can only watch here. Has me drooling all over myself. For a pair of patent leather, red soled, silver studded, Christian Louboutin tap shoes. [sans the tap]

Of a similar, men’s model, Tommy Ton of the Jak & Jil Blog wrote:

What do you do when these puppies grace your presence? You sell your soul to the shoe devil and make an arrangement with him to do absolutely anything you can to get your hands on the Christian Louboutin ‘Rollerball’ studded flats. I would even give up both legs for these shoes!

I’m with you Tommy, too bad not even my soul is worth that $995. And I’m far too squeamish to sell a kidney.

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Bobby’s World.

Bobby from Boston is tucked away on Thayer St., nestled deep in the South End like a hidden gem. Filled to the bursting seams with treasures from bygone years, it’s hardly a vintage store but more like a museum:  A carefully curated collection of clothing and all the finishings, with a smattering of relics from ages past peppered throughout. It’s like stepping into another world. Owner and curator Bobby Garnet has dedicated his life to tracking down rare, high-end vintage, with pieces said to date back to the 1800s. Within the organized, dimly-lit clutter  fellows will find blazers and bombers; delightfully printed bow ties and button-downs. Ladies will uncover a lovely selection of mint condition vintage dresses garnished with an assortment of perfect hats from every era and t-strap heels.

Bobby’s collection of vintage pieces (particularly those rumored to exist only in a warehouse out back)  marks a landmark location for vintage-lovers across Boston and the U.S. Famous for clothing the casts of Titanic, A Beautiful Mind and Road to Perdition, the spot has been mentioned in Travel + Leisure, Lucky Magazine and Boston Magazine.

You haven’t done Boston vintage until you’ve been to Bobby’s. So let’s put in on a Google map.

Bobby From Boston. 19 Thayer St., Boston. 617-423-9299. handicapped accessible. Hours of Operation: Tues.-Sat. 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

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Mapping things out.

It’s no secret: Web journalism is all about the visuals. Whether it’s a photograph, a video or just a silly graphic, we humans don’t seem to like the read-and-interpret approach too much these days. We prefer our information packaged up tightly into the perfect visual.

Thus is born: the map as a journalistic tool. These maps are hardly restricted to the geographic, but are constructed in a way that departs some statistical information in a way that is intended to be simply grasped and easily understood.

Specimen A:

This map is quite simple. Red states voted for John McCain in 2008. Blue states voted for Barak Obama. However, there’s a fatal flaw to this illustration: in looking at this map it appears that John McCain won the election, when in fact, Obama won by a significant margin. This map doesn’t account for population distribution (like the fact that New York is home to almost 20 million, while Montana, almost triple in size, only has a population of roughly 1 million)

So the mapmakers get a little crafty. Bringing us Specimen B:

Here, states are stretched and squashed in an attempt to make their size proportional to their population (while still making a minimal effort to keep the basic U.S. shape in tact. Blue is now, the visible majority.

I would argue that these two variations of the election map are quite informative. They make their point simply, in an easy-to-grasp way. I think they could be made even more so with the addition of a few features:  Say if you held your mouse over the state it would reveal some further facts like the actual population as well as race, gender and income distribution. And even perhaps how many counties voted red vs. blue.

However, I don’t think incorporating these more detailed variables into the map itself is very effective, take Specimen C, for example, which is a cartogram of votes by county with different shades of red, blue and purple representing varying percentages of votes:

To me, interpreting a map of this nature is simply not intuitive. I think a more effective route to expressing more complex statistic would be spelling them out in a box to the side or that pops up with a click on any individual state. I would argue that only the most simple concepts should be represented in the actual physical map.

In other news: I can’t wait for this patriotic tie-dye pattern to hit the runway. I think it’s going to be huge for Spring 2011.

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New Brahmin

One Boston-based source of new media that I’ve had my eye on is New Brahmin a style blog started by local stylist and journalist Liana Peterson documenting trends and news stories of the fashion world at large with a particular focus on the style savvies of Boston.

I don’t know how many times I’ve found myself hankering for some better blog coverage of the Bostonian world of fashion– it seems literally every great style blog is out of New York, or simply an an account of personal style. But this one looks like it actually might meet popular demand, after working out a kink or two.

So while this blog certainly has a ways to go, I’d like to talk with some of the founders about what inspired them to fill this void, what struggles they’ve faced and how they are using Twitter, photo, video, and any other forms of multimedia to document fashion from the Bostonian perspective, at last.

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some Tweet deals

I live for days like today– that first warm burst of spring.  And it even seemed to come a little early this year. Finally, a chance to go tight-less, coat-less and boot-less, breaking out whimsical florals, sandals and sundresses. So, like most, I thought what better day to hit Newbury and its surrounding cobble-y streets to scout out some deals on springtime wears. [Or heavily marked-down winter leftovers].

I decided to document my deal-hunting trek with my brand spankin’ new Twitter account. Though I’m not generally one for texting as I walk [mostly due to severe clumsiness] I found that tweeting to my account on my Blackberry with short updates was really pretty simple.

My first stop was the Tannery on Boylston– not the giant new one, but the smaller store further toward the Common– my roomate was on a quest for rainboots and we’d heard they had some great sales. Sure enough, they did:  50% off a large selection of colorful wellies brought most price tags down to an affordable $35.

Stepping outside from the Tannery I noticed an adorable old man selling bouquets of flowers for just $2 a pop. Generally this sort of character tends to blend in to the landscape, but the sea of glistening petals on such a bright and beautiful day seemed just fantastic and quite deserving of a tiny tweet.

Onto Newbury we stopped in Victoria’s Secret, offering a steal with seven panties for $25. Then H&M, whose men’s and women’s blazers were all marked $15 off. Breezing through the Prudential Center Ann Taylor even offered some great discounts. [And while the name does make me itch of mom-ness, some of their sundresses are really quite darling.]

Our last stop was LF on Newbury for probably the best sale of all– it’s the only mark-down they have all year and is basically a cleanse to rid the store of any lingering garments from previous seasons; preparing for incoming spring looks. The entire place [minus a small part in the back where spring has already began to move in] is 60% off or over. Making what is usually rather overpriced spot, really quite affordable.

Though I didn’t find any must-haves today it was probably best– I should really pinch more pennies. But I think that my deal tweets might provide aide to other shoppers around the city. [well, if I had any followers, that is…]

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Tweet Tweet

I always thought Twitter was pretty lame. First, it sounds like the name of a pastel plastic children’s toy. Second, what can you really say in 140 characters?? Well, just this once I’ve decided to give technological innovation a chance. Not to say I’m any kind of aspiring Twitter Monster, tweeting to the world my thoughts on breakfast lunch and dinner. In fact, I haven’t even technically tweeted anything of my own just yet. But amassing a list of folks to follow was one of the most informative things I’ve done recently in the realm of social media. And I’ve already been able to gather a significant sense of what’s going on in art and fashion simply through a feed of short tweets.

The first twitterers I went after to follow were in association with blogs [mostly those art and fashion related, listed on my Blogroll] that I already follow, like, WWD, Lost at E Minor, Tavi Gevinson from Style Rookie and Good

Then, I looked up some of my favorite thrifting spots: The Garment District, Poor Little Rich Girl and Dame Vintage– sure enough, they too have Twitter accounts that update followers on the latest treasures coming into their shops.

Finally, I’d heard the New York Times had a few great style-related blogs, so when I stopped to check them out I found that they’ve compiled an accompanying list of some of the best fashion reporters, stylists and bloggers on Twitter. Twitter users can simply follow the entire list, providing easy access to some of the best fashion tweeting around. Some accounts from the list that I particularly like are The Moment: When Style Meets Culture, Joe Zee, the Creative Director for Elle Magazine and The Thread.

What I’ve found is most essential in creative a useful Twitter account is strategic linking. If there are no links in a post, there’s really no purpose, unless you really care about the individual’s thoughts in particular. But a great link can bring the Twitter post into a larger world of social media.

Some interesting things I’ve stumbled upon through strategic linking in today’s Twitter endeavors alone:

Lost at E Minor tweeted about this adorable blog called A Tiny Art Director, where Bill Zeman draws and blogs bizarre creatures straight from his daughter’s brain. GOOD tweeted that urban beekeeping is now legal in New York City. And Poor Little Rich Girl has a fresh selection of ’40s pumps in size 7 and 8.

Keeping informed on all fronts isn’t so hard after all.

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