Lily McMenamy isn't conventionally beautiful and you couldn't even call her photogenic, but I'd want to hire her if I worked as a casting director or a photographer. From her weird performance for Marc Jacobs' Fall 2013 campaign to the Terry Richardson-lensed Purple Fashion cover above (for the publication's twentieth issue), her work is consistently striking, disturbing and a little inspiring.
Posing in a loose, broken arabesque, wearing Celine and super-red lipstick, McMenamy's jaw hangs open in an expression of naïveté, like she's a holy fool. There's nothing sexual or explicit about that photograph, despite the porny production values (Richardson and Purple Fashion editor-in-chief Olivier Zahm share a rec room sensibility) and the unfurled, acrobatic pose. I don't even like Terry Richardson (or his buddy Zahm), but I still love this cover.
Ah, right, the quote in the headline comes from tFS forum user Urban Stylin. In the forums, the image produced a number of diverse responses such as, "Good god…" (lelaid) or, "Lily proves that nepotism is still hard at work" (lunabella) and even, "gross" (LagerfeldBoy). What can I say? I'm a contrarian.
Last season, Oscar de la Renta hosted two fashion week shows at his West 42nd Street studio to accommodate over six hundred invited guests. This year, it's not happening. Suddenly all squirrelly about how his supersized runway schedule might inconvenience colleagues eager to book some of his models for their own shows (“I hate to inconvenience other people, as I hope other people wouldn’t want to inconvenience me."), the designer is changing course.
For the upcoming September 10th show, de la Renta's label will stage only one runway presentation and limit the guest list to just 350 invitees. Echoing a sentiment which has been gaining momentum ever since Suzy Menkes published her "Circus of Fashion" editorial earlier this year (criticizing street style culture at fashion week), de la Renta tells WWD he is hoping to exclude the “huge crowds of people with no direct connection to the clothes.”
"When you do megashows, it loses the reason of why we’re showing [...] It’s important for [certain industry professionals] to look at the clothes and see them. They shouldn’t have to go through 30,000 people, and 10,000 who are trying to take pictures of all of those people who are totally unrelated to the clothes. [...] Why have 20 million people with zero connection to the clothes?”
Today, runway shows are more about generating global publicity for a brand than showing clothes to buyers and editors (there's another, more recent Menkes editorial on that subject, too). That's why highly-produced, stadium style shows have become so ubiquitous. WWD writes that de la Renta will restrict his guest list only to those with a "legitimate professional purpose" — who would that even be? I'd guess that people will be paying very close attention to the designer's downsized runway show; maybe not to the clothes, but to who's who in the audience.
Oscar de la Renta Editing List of NYFW Invitees [WWD]
It's the first day of the US Open and based on these 2012 photos, Anna Wintour is probably pleased. [Fashionologie]
Here's a 16-item packing list for New York Fashion Week. Because it's almost upon us. [FabSugar]
Sometimes I like to rub my face with CC cream. [BellaSugar]
This Halloween, why not dress like Kim Kardashian? I mean, why, why, why? [SheFinds]
Or you can dress like Nancy Drew every day. [DetectiveWorkIsAlwaysInStyle via Buzzfeed]
Twelve burning questions about New York Fashion Week, including Citi Bike's status as an 'it' accessory. [Style.com]
Because comparing high-end designer items to their lower-priced mass market counterparts is a never-ending source of amusement, now there's an app for that, obviously. The mobile game Fashion Eye (free in the iTunes store) asks players to compare clothing items and guess which is more expensive. Players compete with each other for virtual "lattes," which function as currency within the game, and $50 gift cards (to win a gift card, you have to play over 100 rounds for at least ten days straight).
Fashion Eye was reportedly developed by an Israeli startup called Fashioholic, which aims to create so-called "serious games" (a category which refers to games with a primary purpose other than entertainment) that act as a marketing platform for fashion brands. Miss Selfridge, for example, popped up repeatedly when I played, leading me to wonder whether the British high street retailer had paid for placement.
But is Fashion Eye an effective way to advertise a brand? Although repetition is a powerful ad technique and many mass market retailers would presumably consider it a boon to have their styles linked to high-end labels, the gameplay itself implies it's possible, even desirable, to be able to consistently distinguish between designer items and fast fashion copycats. Will that really convert gamers into shoppers?
Related: Designer Knockoffs: Is Zara Copying Celine or Is Everyone Copying Everyone?
French actress Léa Seydoux's Jalouse September cover, photographed by Juergen Teller, is bound to be controversial (if I had to guess). I love it. It reminds me of the opening lyric in the Kate Nash song, Mouthwash: "This is my face / Covered in freckles / With the occasional spot and some veins."
(Full disclosure: I'm currently wearing Seydoux's exact facial expression and sitting slumped over in my desk chair listening to the aforementioned Kate Nash song, so perhaps I'm overidentifying. Being in bed, lounging around, looking unpresentable — those are all things I believe in with my very core.)
I guess it's easier to show your sloppiest, sleepiest face when you're an unequivocally gorgeous blonde-haired, blue-eyed French sex kitten, and yet, I don't give a sheet. If the world wants to make grumpy, frumpy and lethargic the look for fall, I won't complain. That's a trend I would happily follow to its grave.
Pops of scarlet red, houndstooth and statement necklaces are the leading trends in Express' Fall/Winter 2013 collection. How do I know? Because on a hot and sticky summer day, I was munching on mince pies and sipping warming winter cocktails at their preview event.
We all know Express as the go-to-get-everything store for a reasonable price, whether it be workday essentials, an "I just want to look cute" outfit or a sparkly party dress. The latter most definitely dominates the new line as the store is kicking up its holiday offerings with sequins and faux fur galore. Snoods graced most of the mannequins, while handbags and shoes were bejewelled in studs and bling. But about those shoes… did you know that Express' designer, Deborah Castle, hails from Toronto and studied at Ryerson? Pretty neat huh?
Also catching my eye at the event was Express' vast array of statement necklaces, which range from $20 to $80. I can understand the higher price on some as they weighed their coinage in metal and jewels, making them the perfect piece to jazz up a plain dress or tee. Oh, and let's not forget the guys, who this season can look forward to Chuck Bass bow ties, beanies and thick cable knit scarves. I'll let you peruse some photos of the upcoming styles that will be hitting stores within the coming month, but let me know what you think of the new threads in the comments section below.