Monday, July 30, 2012

Fashioning History

Rejoice shoe lovers! This post will hopefully find you interested and inspired. For 'tis devoted to the elegantly sculpted and tastefully bejeweled creations of Roger Vivier - the father of the beloved stilleto heel. If you have not yet done so, make your way to the Bata Shoe Museum for it holds the treasure beyond all your imaginings - Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection Exhibit. 

While such pathos might sound slightly overboard for those less enthusiastic about shoe fashion history, this fashion designer who specialized in shoe making and worked with Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent did make some very noteworthy shoe history. Without revealing too much about the exhibit I will only point out two of my favourite styles Vivier invented. 

One - the choc heel:

Two - the comma heel:

Both of these styles are present in multiple design variations at the exhibit. 

One might argue that it is hard to shock or even simply to impress present day fashionistas who are used to the likes of Lady Gaga sporting such sights as the atrocious "heel-less heels." Vivier's slightly curved kitten heels are just not bold enough. Nevertheless, I find Vivier's innovative shapes provocative (albeit in a very lady-like fashion) yet graceful. While heel-less shoes make an immediate aggressive statement, elegance and simplicity are timeless! Plus, in my humble opinion, a true fashionista should have all of these styles in her arsenal in order to cover her full emotional spectrum: from 'kitty' to 'scratchy.'

While you do have until April 7 2013 to enjoy this exhibition, I would recommend to not procrastinate and go think "inside the shoe box" (I am referring to the architectural structure of Bata, in case you did not know). The most keen of museum-goers and fashion history-lovers might be interested in taking a look at this additional brochure outlining the Lecture and Movie Series offered at the Bata Shoe Museum in connection with this magnificent exhibit. 

“To wear dreams on one’s feet is to begin to 
give a reality to one’s dreams.”
-Roger Vivier

P.S. Oh and if you are lucky enough, on paying your admission to the museum you will receive a 2-for-1 admission to another city museum, one of which is DX - Design Exchange. Their current exhibition is even more exciting! A full report to follow. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Outfit Idea #1. Grecian Inspired.

I am very excited to share with you my outfit idea #1 (#1 on this blog that is). Yesterday one of my best friends had a birthday party after which she is embarking on a long European trip. So since I will not be seeing her for a while I wanted this night to be a memorable one. And what makes a special occasion more special other than a special outfit? 

My choice fell on a white satin dress which I made from Cynthia Rowley pattern 2178. I love the asymmetric detail on the shoulder and the slightly loose fit.

It turned out to look very Roman-inspired so I decided to go along with that theme of ancient Rome and complete the look with appropriate accessories. The interwoven straps of my heeled sandals reminisce of Grecian sandals. 

As do my gold-tone cuffs with Roman design. Nothing makes a better statement than an over-sized piece of jewelry, hence, the ring and big gold-tone disc earrings. A matching clutch with gold-tone detailing completes the look.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Sublime Beauty

Today I would like to share a find that I just happened to stumble across in the library. For those of you who do not know I work in a library and I just LOVE the randomness with which some materials land in my lap. This time around it was a book on Christopher Beane titled Flower. I have to say that I have never heard about this photographer before and I was absolutely awestruck by his photographs of flowers. The images are delicious, juicy, sexual, provocative and simply beautiful. In his photographs he shows familiar flowers like they have never been seen before. Well, take a look for your self:

These luscious flowers are bound to inspire even those among us who deem themselves least creative. I know I started sketching immediately after I opened the book. I like to pretend that I am so microscopic that I can take a dive into these fantasy 'flower-scapes' and wander their curved labyrinths losing myself in their smell and texture. What a setting for a fantasy film!

Unfortunately, there is only a small sample of good quality photographs available online and I am not able to show you more, but even here you can feel the movement of the petals that looks like the luxurious silks of an aristocratic damsel. 

Here is the famous and sensual The Tulip Weber Orgy Series #3. No comment required...

For a while, Beane was preoccupied with dead vegetation. This obsession gave birth (oxymoron intended!) to the likes of the following photograph:
I have never seen Death portrayed in such beautiful and touching light! I will definitely be on the lookout for his exhibitions just to experience the shivers go down my spine from these sublime creatures.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Colour is Power

To continue where I left off last time I would like to say that "Advanced Styl-istas'" cheerful approach to fashion is not reserved solely to old ladies. At least, in my humble opinion it should not be. There is nothing more dreary than swimming through a sea of casual greyness as you walk around the city. As Jessi Arrington, a Brooklyn designer, put it "Colour is powerful. It is almost physiologically impossible to be in a bad mood when you're wearing bright red pants!" I could not agree more. Holding that as my fashion mantra, I would like to share with you a photo of my dear friend who is anything but boring, both inside and out. 

I don't know how she combines the mind of a scientist (she works in a science lab) with the soul of an artist (she is a painter) but perhaps it is this union of her right and left brains that gives birth to such a feast of colour and play of silhouette in her outfits. Nonchalant? Yes, but also very original and expressive. A very well chosen background too by the way! Thank you for letting me share this photo - it's a treat for the eye!

The fabulous thing about self-expression through personal style is that you do not have to regularly run out and buy the latest "in" item. You can find endless ways to wear the pieces you already own through various combinations. Colours look different when juxtaposed next to different colours, a belt turns a casual dress into a classy, evening one. High heels can dress up and flats can dress down any outfit. The right piece of jewelry and accessory can diversify  your outfits and make a world of difference in your look. Stay tuned and I will show various ways of wearing the same pieces to create different looks. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In the Beginning There Was Advanced Style...

Hello Dear All!

This had to happen sooner or later. The ideas inside me have been bubbling up for a while and have reached a critical mass which my brain alone is no longer able to contain. From now on, I will be sharing them here. 

This blog is about fashion, art, ideas and all thing which I find inspirational, stimulating, disturbing, outrageous, beautiful, subversive and worth sharing. I hope some of them will provoke a discussion in which case don't be shy to leave your comments.

Why fashion? Because we cannot escape it. Because you wear it every day whether you are aware of it or not. Because it is as much a form of art and self expression as it is a plain utility and necessity of every day life. Fashion is tribal. Fashion is individual. Fashion is both ends of the spectrum and everything in between. I believe that a subject so elusive yet to obvious is bound to stimulate an engaging discussion.

I use the word 'fashion' very broadly and in no way seek to promote any particular designer. In fact, I am all for a creative approach to your wardrobe and respect any form of DIY production: designing, sewing, knitting, crocheting, re-purposing/refashioning. I do not believe that expensive clothes equates good taste or original style. I argue that one can look absolutely terrific in something inexpensive. Periodically, I will be posting my outfit ideas some of which will incorporate pieces made by yours truly.

I would like to dedicate this first post to one of my biggest inspirations not just in fashion but in life in general. That is Ari Seth Cohen's project "Advanced Style" and, more specifically his beautiful models. Cohen seeks out and photographs women of mature age who live inspired lives and are not afraid to be different and express their individuality through fashion. Their love of colour and ability to take themselves humorously is admirable.

As a matter of fact, Ari Seth Cohen's book Advanced Style came out very recently. A collection of vibrant photos of these stunning ladies, this book can serve as a great "pick-me-up" on a gloomy day. Not only do these stylish women teach us that you only have to turn to your closet to put a little spark in your day, but they also set a great example of living life to the fullest at any age! Besides, I cannot but agree with Cohen's main premise - that personal style evolves and only improves as we age! Can you think of a more positive way to look at silver-haired years?