The Guardian just published a gloss on a recent academic paper titled, "Is it Cool to Be Fashionable? The Instabilities of Fashion and Cool," which was presented by Dr. Vanessa Brown, a senior lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, at an academic conference in September.
The paper (which you can read here) aims to understand how two elusive pop cultural concepts, the cool and the fashionable, relate to each other. Brown argues that although "cool" is central and relevant the fashionable (and more broadly, to modern society as a whole), the idea of "cool" is antagonistic to the fashionable, and it even "depends on opposition to it." To put it more simply: fashion wants to be cool, but cool doesn't want to be fashionable.
In large part, this is related to the dynamics of fashion trends, which originate outside of the mainstream (either at the top of social hierarchy or through subcultures) before being picked up by the dominant culture. Brown writes:
"We speak of ‘slaves to fashion’ and ‘fashion victims’. Fashion magazines implore their readers to ‘steal’ celebrity ‘style’. This notion has something in common with … what is sometimes known as the ‘trickle-down effect’, which sees fashion as a manifestation of the social hierarchy, in which those ‘underneath’ copy those ‘above’, justified purely on the basis that this is the style of the class above, as opposed to any other potential criteria…This is often visualised as a simple fashion wave, where a small number of privileged innovators participate at the beginning, gradually swelling to include most of society, at which point a new wave begins.
Understanding fashion in this way makes it almost impossible for anyone but those at the very top (or leading edge, or the avant-garde) to be considered cool, for the simple reason that the rest will always be running to catch up."
Additionally, Brown notes that in the process of trickling down, the "aesthetics of cool" often become diluted, which results in the loss of their original appeal. For example, consider punk style, as it evolved from CBGBs to Hot Topic and the Met Ball — and was neutered in the process.
The Guardian also cites a 1990 paper which, in its efforts to quantify cool, suggested that it occurs "12-18 months ahead of the mainstream."
[Is it Cool to be Fashionable? The Instabilities of Fashion and Cool via The Guardian]
Lead Google Glass designer Isabelle Olsson has transformed the wearable tech. Today, the tech company introduced four new stylish perscription frames, which will be priced at $250 each. Two sunglass frames (at $150) will also be available. Google Glass is still in beta and has not yet launched to the public. [InStyle, FastCompany]
In other tech news, former Burberry CEO and current head of Apple retail, Angela Ahrendts, will be named 'Dame' by the British Empire. [Vogue UK]
Zooey Deschanel has teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger on a a capsule collection of cutesy, retro-inspired dresses. The range — called To Tommy, From Zooey — will retail at Macy's this Spring. [WWD]
Skype released the trailer for its upcoming "interactive media experience" with Victoria Beckham. Ohmygaaaah. [FabSugar]
We approve of this DIY decorated Mason jar (for storing beauty products). [BellaSugar]
If you don't support real fur, are you sending the wrong message by wearing lookalike faux? [xoJane]
NYC design label Prabal Gurung may be on the verge of launching menswear. [GQ]
She wasn’t nominated for anything, but Nicole Trunfio made sure she was remembered for something at the 2014 Grammy Awards. The Australian model showed up to stand by her man, literally, wearing what proved to be the red carpet’s two most prevalent gown trends – heavy metals and artfully exposed skin.
The 70s-inspired dress, from London-based designer Nicholas Oakwell’s couture line, has a lot going on with its billowing sleeves, paneled metallic fabric, gaping body and thick metallic belt. Though apparently that ain’t no thang when you have legs the length of most people’s entire bodies. If “boho luxe” wasn’t the cringiest phrase in existence, we’d probably use it here.
Nicole has her own line of jewelry, Trunfio Jewels, but chose pieces from Jacqui Aish for the occasion. And luckily, her boyfriend Gary Clark Jr. wasn’t totally overshadowed, walking away with the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Other Antipodean winners included noted sunglass head Alex Perry, who had one of his tangerine creations worn by Giuliana Rancic, and Lorde, who teamed her questionable ink manicure with a tailored white button-down and wide-legged trousers.
Image: Vs Magazine
Vs. Magazine has released a preview of its six cover Spring 2014 Issue, featuring models Christy Turlington, Soo Joo Park, Helena Christensen and actors Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac), Julianne Moore. The issue was guest edited by Christensen and carries the theme "Better" — the word is printed across each one of the six covers.
Image: Vs Magazine
Better than what? After we asked the publication for further clarification, a spokesperson provided the following explanation: "The issue is focusing on talents that do it better — one way or another — within their field (fashion, film, art, photography, architecture, etc). It has Helena Christensen as guest editor and inside interviews include David Lynch, Christy Turlington, Nicola Formichetti, Bjarke Ingels, David LaChapelle, Stacy Martin, Mary Ellen Mark and many more. It also has a charitable component in the sense that it will end up as an exhibition in March where all proceeds will be donated to various charitable causes that Helena Christensen and the magazine have decided." So there you have it. Finally, a magazine commits to showing us the best of people.
Vogue Brazil's February 2014 Issue makes (by my count) eight Vogue covers for famous facemaker Cara Delevingne (even nine, if you include her appearance on the front of Miss Vogue's June 2013 debut issue).
Photographed by regular Vogue Brazil collaborator Jacques Dequeker, the British model poses with sleek, wavy hair side-parted across her face, her formidable eyebrow raised. As Bertrando3 points out in the forums, in this photo, Delevingne looks a lot like Jerry Hall.
Fashion credits go to Brazilian label BO.BÔ bourgeois.bohême for the sequined cerulean minidress.
Maurie and Eve are dropping it down for Autumn 2014, and by ‘it’ we mean the crotch. Denim’s most controversial style isn’t being lifted this year at least, it seems, but these are less Bieber and a bit more structured.
We’ll have to wait and see how those play out on people who aren’t Alexandra Agoston, but the Sydney-based brand has plenty of offerings sure to court universal approval. Boxy denim jackets continue the oversized ode to the 80s, and in the non-denim department are tees and tops cropped in all the right places. They’ll probably look just as good with above-the-bellybutton waistbands too but think of it as an incentive not to cancel your gym membership.
For a hint of glamour, check out the velvet sequins on the bomber styles and the basics in luxurious Italian neoprene (yep, that’s still around too). Those relaxed silk silhouettes and midi length dresses the Maurie & Eve ladies do so well are back with daring mesh inserts.
The obvious benefit of all that cropping and slashing is that you don’t really have to wait until winter to wear most of the pieces. Though when it does actually get cold, there’s also a selection of luxe knitwear to layer as you will. High five to that.
Also, when did people stop hanging out in empty skate parks? Let’s make this a thing again too.