Sunday, July 29, 2012

Global Fashionista

Ermanno Scervino for Azerbaijan Republic, via Vogue UK
From Vogue UK's "Fashion Olympics" image gallery

Fashion. Sports. Politics. These aren't colleagues frequently seen partying together. Typically thought of as isolated to their own domains, I saw the convergence of these fields at the same time and in the same space, shared by representatives of the entire world. What is more, the Olympics Opening Ceremony is a microcosm of sociopolitical dynamisms in the global community. In other words, the Olympics showcases the trends--norms, what is acceptable, global relationships--of the times and, while overtly focusing on the art of athleticism and competition, is of much greater salience and importance in regards to its more covert or ancillary messages.

My perception is that the typical individual in the United States is interested in what he or she is interested in and has limited exposure to information outside of a few specific areas. Interests are probably clustered based on demographics to some extent. However, for Kim Kardashian to have over 15.5 million followers on Twitter and the United Nations to have less than 1 million followers, I'm assuming that this interest in pop culture and neglect of a wider world culture probably spans multiple demographics. How frequently is someone who just bought a jersey for his or her favorite sport team aware of the trends from the most recent fashion week as well as each's economic impact? How frequently is someone who considers fashion to be hobby aware of and involved in local, state, or federal government and policies? How many people who watch the Olympics consciously think about its significance as the only ongoing international event without a political purpose that encourages cooperation and respect, defining the global community in a way unlike anything else? The Olympics is a phenomenal opportunity to take a more holistic perspective at the "working" of the world.

Why does a holistic perspective of the working of the world matter? I once told someone I was dating that I have a fashion & lifestyle blog. He made a comment that judged anyone who is interested in fashion as superficial and not interested in the welfare of others. Generally, that may be true; The Devil Wears Prada might be stereotypical, but it may also originate from a grain of truth. However, fashion and altruism don't have to be mutually exclusive. Being aware of broader issues and global trends as well as developing the skills to interact in a global community is part of the grooming necessary for pursuing a role with a greater purpose and being successful in that role--however you define success. This awareness and these skills are necessary in any discipline or area of interest.

Some people may not respect high fashion as worthy of an investment of time or resources, let alone appreciate it as an art. However, fashion can't be ignored as having an economic impact, which ushers it into the sociopolitical arena. Whether it's the designers or fashions donned by Michelle Obama, the Queen, or Kate Middleton--J. Mendel, peach pleats, and Christopher Kane--or the widespread attention to Ralph Lauren's uniforms due to being manufactured in China, the overlap of politics and fashion at the Olympics is a relevant and visible example of the interactions among different arenas and the global community.

The dearth of jobs available, outsourcing, and poor economy are arguably the focus of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Ralph Lauren's decision to manufacture the Olympic uniforms overseas is consistent with general practices in the Unites States. However, it has definitely created an uproar. Maybe this was perfect timing. Maybe this will incite a change. Hopefully, designers and manufacturers will learn from this. Maybe the United States needed a wake-up call on an international stage to slap us in the face.

Ralph Lauren has contributed much by way of philanthropic activities throughout his career. RL's decision to manufacture clothes in China is common in the United States; it could be expected. There is a difference between expectations, what we think will happen, and standards, what we think should happen. Frequently, people confuse them, which can lead to great discontent. Ralph Lauren's overseas manufacturing should have been expected considering the current widespread practices in the United States. However, this does not change the standard--a standard that may have been forgotten or pushed aside. Sometimes, there seems to be a great disparity in the U.S. between what is commonly practiced and what our standards are. Is our standard to be current on the whereabouts of Kim Kardashian and ignorant to sociopolitical happenings?

Regardless of your interests or career field, you play a role in something larger. Find that connection and educate yourself--be aware. Recognize common practice, and compare it to standards. There is always the opportunity for learning and acting responsively and responsibly in any domain: fashion, sports, politics, or other.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Well Bred

Well Bred

Well Bred by SugarSpiceStyle

Although the items in this set speak for themselves, I'm obliged to offer a few background notes. First, Kiki de Montparnasse is the cream of the crop when it comes to lingerie, right alongside Agent Provocateur and La Perla. Kiki de Montparnasse's designs, always original and classy, range from sophisticated to lascivious; take a look at the Cage Gown and French Lesson Panties

This ring from H. Stern's Highlight Stars collection is one of my all-time favorite finest of fine jewelry pieces. H. Stern uses white gold, yellow gold, diamonds, and precious and semi-precious gemstones in his collections to create designs that are bold and classic. H. Stern has collaborated with Diane von Furstenberg for a collection, which features this diamond bracelet Sutra as its shining star.

Lastly, the item in this set I started with was Mary Katrantzou's Peony Porcelain Horse Print Silk Skirt. What a fabulous print! When styling an outfit that has an item that demands such attention, it is best to start with the loudest piece first and build your outfit around it so all of the pieces work in harmony. 

Givenchy leather high heels

Matthew Williamson studded handbag
$1,545 -

Lanvin cross jewelry

H. Stern

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nefertiti nails

My nails, diagonal cut with gold nail art: Illamasqua Stance with gold leaf

Metal leaf is a fab way to add unique texture and shine to your tips. For this manicure, I used metal leaf from the craft store, but there is also metal leaf specifically for nail art. Metal leaf comes in copper, simulation gold, gold (available in different karats), sterling, simulation silver, or multicolored. The Beauty Department

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Love Pamela Love

sterling tribal spike ring by Pamela Love, Browns about 495 USD
Pamela Love is bringing a new aesthetic to jewelry. Her inspiration by nature and science, religion, and the American Southwest coupled with her skilled craftsmanship and use of a novel variety of quality materials yields pieces with a special feel that are timeless. Recognized as a standout in her domain, she has been nominated for a CFDA award and has collaborated with designers Marchesa and Zac Posen, the retailer TopShop, and the HBO series True Blood. Not only does Pamela Love create covetable jewelry, she does so with a conscience, attending to sustainability and ethical production methods as well as promoting the ASPCA.

You can truly appreciate the richness of Pamela's designs by reading her Journal. Its contents reflect a mind with a thirst for knowledge, a need for discovery, and an appreciation of the world. Her journal is just as noteworthy as her jewelry, and I'd recommend to it anyone; it's truly like a museum. I must also comment on her writing, which has a rare flow and character. Pamela Love's skills extend far beyond creating jewelry. She is truly an artist in the greatest sense of the word, and metal and jewels are only her outlet.

Projections of the World of 1950 in 1925, Pamela Love's Journal

Friday, July 6, 2012

Nail Wardrobe

Nail Wardrobe

Nail Wardrobe by sugarspicestyle featuring Custom Nail Decals

I'm so excited to present this collection of nail goodies! The DIY Nails custom nail decals are the crown jewels of this compilation! DIY Nails will turn (almost) any picture or words you send her into your own custom nail decals. Send her a picture of your pet (or Karl Lagerfeld's, Choupette), your favorite logo, anything you can think of, and get ready to rock it on your tips! Although DIY Nails is in the UK, she offers worldwide shipping. The kitty decals pictured above are also available for purchase.

I've included two mini nail polish sets, one by Deborah Lippmann and one by Essie. These are perfect for gifting! (And, yes, of course you can gift yourself!) Have the world in the palm of your hands with this DL Run the World (Girls) set of mini brights, available at Bloomingdale's for $45. Deborah Lippmann is much loved since her products are not tested on animals and are non-toxic; the polishes are 3-free, which means they are free of the chemicals toluene, formaldehyde, and DBP. (Bloomingdale's is offering a $5 beauty gift with any beauty purchase over $100). 

The Essie 4 pack features the minis of several of the Summer 2012 shades: Bikini So Teeny (sparkling blue), Mojito Madness (green), Fear or Desire (orange), and Off the Shoulder (pink). This set is $17 and is available at Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, both of which have free shipping (use code JULYFS at checkout if buying from NM). Essie polishes are also 3-free and are not tested on animals (however, Essie's parent company, L'Oreal, does perform animal testing). 

Face Stockholm teamed up with J.Crew for a limited edition collection of polishes for summer. This shade, Tulle Time, is a no-fail, year-round classic. Face Stockholm is a Swedish brand, and their stores are fabulous! Although their products are available throughout the U.S., there are only three Face Stockholm stores in the States--all in NYC. Face Stockholm does not test on animals, and they are also 3-free (but identify their 3-free as excluding DPT instead of DBP).

Urban Outfitters sells the above pictured nail stencils by Nail Fraud to make creating shapes for nail art way easier than relying on one's free-hand abilities. These stencils include 8 shapes: butterflies, hearts, crosses, birds, stars, lightening bolts, flowers, and skulls & cross bones. Alphabet stencils are also available, making lettering on your nails a cinch! Unfortunately, I have not tried these adhesive stencils and there are no product reviews, so these might be a bit of a gamble for $10, but they could definitely be worth it!

Essie mini nail polish

Nail care

J Crew nail polish

Jack Wills manicure tool

Nail care