People who still sport Obamawear are jerks and nerds.

Posted at 11:10 AM Apr 09, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

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People who still sport Obamawear are jerks and nerds. There, I said it. How do I know this? Because I'm a jerk and a nerd and I'm wearing my "Barack, You Rock!" t-shirt today. So really by "jerks and nerds," I mean "people who can't believe it's still actually cool to wear a t-shirt with the president's face on it." I just kind of wanted to have an incendiary, sexy headline, since it seems to work so well for ladymags that promise 298,139,98357292957gajillion new sex tips that will blow his brain and give you 45-minute orgasms and cure cancer and AIDS and save all the whales.

Do you still wear your Obama t-shirt? I can understand not peeling a bumper sticker off the car--especially here in Texas, where those obnoxious "W The President" stickers mocked us mercilessly for eight years from the backs of Hummers. But wearing a t-shirt with a message is a serious fashion choice, especially since we've finally seemed to come out of a decade-long "look at my hilarious t-shirt with innuendo" coma. (Or maybe not. Sigh.) And, well, since we already elected the dude, maybe it's time to retire our Obama shirts.

Or maybe it's time to wear them with a Fashion Turban.

Fashion Turban gets into, and on top of, my head

Posted at 3:27 PM Apr 07, 2009

By Andrea Grimes


I've been poised and prepped to give Fashion Turban wearers a Rosecrans Baldwin-style ass chewing since I first saw this ridiculousness on The Sartorialist. After a bit of searching, it appears as though the Fashion Turban has been around since the olden days of some Prada line from '07. How Fashion Turban escaped my critical eye for so long, I'll never know.

Ladies, are we so desperately full of wishful thinking in this economy that we're up for wearing turbans? Fashion Turbans no less! I don't even know where irony comes in here, where to fit this between ugly glasses and Wal-Mart chic. Fact: Fashion Turbans are just plain stupid.

But to get inside the head of the Fashion Turban wearer, to really understand what would compel a woman to slap such crap upon her noggin, I knew I needed to wear Fashion Turban. So I fashioned one out of a couple of scarves. The result?

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I totally get it. Not only do I look like Miss Cleo, but I even feel like I can predict the future--and not just 'cause this is probably what I'll be wearing when I get ladycancer from all the booze intake. Fashion Turban creates fabulousness. I can imagine that wearing Fashion Turban feels the way it must have felt when Hawaiian shirts were first invented. Fashion Turban is Fun! With the capital "F!" Fashion Turban, I'm sorry I ever thought ill of you.

Is there anything more offensive than "working class" fashion?

Posted at 3:40 PM Apr 06, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

The New York Times "The Moment" fashion and design blog is officially the most offensive thing I can think of right this second. In a post early this morning, some asshole named Rosecrans Baldwin writes about how blue collar fashion is all the rage! Is it any wonder that our economy is in the state it's in when America's creative class nobility reads and writes things like this?

"No reason, though, to invoke big words like class and gender in what can just be fun-with-aesthetics."
Yes, Rosecrans, there are plenty of reasons to "invoke big words like class and gender" in your article about blue collar fashion when we're in the middle of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. I know it's hard to see me talking from your dressing room over at Barney's, but try and get a glimpse: there's nothing chic about actually having to buy your clothing at Wal-Mart because you cannot afford anything else. You call it "fun-with-aesthetics." Many people call it "having money left over to buy food."

Look, I know this was a dinky one-off blog entry about a fashion trend. But this "no reason to invoke big words" crap cannot be allowed to fly in this economic climate. Rosecrans, you could have written something about how the emergence of a now-obvious, once latent class hierarchy in America, brought on by recent economic disasters, is changing design! But no, an interesting, thoughtful exploration of that idea would have been a good reason to "invoke big words like class and gender." And as we can see, there is no reason to do that. 'Cause you said so. But hey, since newspaper jobs are totally solid right now and there's no way you could be out on the street in a couple weeks, keep talking about how totes trendy plaid flannel is.

Time was, I wouldn't expect some brainless fashionista at the NYT to be sensitive to issues about class and economy and income and luxury excess. I understand that people who believe that things like great design and couture clothing and $5000 handbags are important need a little sandbox to play in while the rest of the world keeps things chugging along. And even now, I think asking said brainless fashionistas to really explore issues of class would probably be a stretch, since taking fashion seriously eats up more brain cells than a decade on ecstasy. But my god, can we not make the effort?

Comic-loving girls can now wear their heroes on their ... lips?

Posted at 4:00 PM Mar 26, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Batman is the definitive sex-symbol superhero for this Heartless Doll. Tragic. Tight black suit. Awesome toys. I have long wanted to put my lips alllllllll over him. Too bad for me, the comic empire releasing a line of comic-themed cosmetics is Marvel, not DC, so I'll have to learn to lick Spider-Man instead. Ugh, lame.

The girlie line of comic-themed items includes lip gloss, BFF necklaces and baby-tees, all in predictably cute packaging. I'm prepared to accept that as either silly pandering or reasonable marketing. What I'm not prepared to accept is this quote from Women's Wear Daily:

"Since our core customer has always been guys, we need to be very careful when we introduce female product so that we don't alienate our core," said Paul Gitter, president of consumer products, North America, for Marvel Entertainment Inc. "What we have found through testing is that we haven't alienated them, which gives us the OK to move forward with female product."
Forgive me, but how is Spider-Man lip gloss going to alienate Comic Book Guy? Does he even know what lip gloss is? Are Captain America purses on dude's radar? Some of my closest friends are comic book nerds (really! I'm not a racist! ... errrrr...) and I can't imagine any of them eschewing their love for X-men because they feel "alienated" by women in tight T-shirts featuring Wolverine.

SXSW fashion WINs and FAILs

Posted at 12:00 PM Mar 20, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

As promised, I have braved downtown Austin over the past couple of days looking for the finest fashion WINs and FAILs to be found here at the SXSW music festival. My diligent research has resulted in a quickie slideshow brought to you by the Houston Press.

Clickety click to see the worst of the FAILs and the best of the WINs.

Millinery making a comeback?

Posted at 1:56 PM Mar 13, 2009

By Sharon Steel

Michelle Obama wasn't the only one making a serious fashion statement at Inauguration. Remember Aretha Franklin's grey fur felt hat, which was trimmed with a gigantic, rhinestone-bedazzled bow? Today, the Times notes that the hat's creator, Luke Song, has been inundated with requests for the spring version of "the Aretha Hat." Demand has only increased since Franklin announced she'd be donating her original to the Smithsonian. Song will be designing a $179 variation of her model for public sale, and he's already received 5,000 orders!

Either this magical hat-man is just a tried-and-true realist or truly believes decorative headgear doesn't have a chance in hell of going mainstream again (Chanel iPod helmets, holler?). He goes so far as to call millinery, a trade which he fell into by accident, a "dead art." And yet his specialty business is absolutely booming in the midst of a recession.  We're not surprised that the Aretha Hat recently caught the eye of Queen Elizabeth, though she has yet to place an order. As for Song, his dream is to get one of his hats on Mobama's First Lady head. If that happened, there'd be no question of millinery's official comeback.

Attention, recessionistas: designer cardboard kicks and photo-jewelry now available

Posted at 12:38 PM Mar 11, 2009

By Sharon Steel


Our jaw just about hit the floor when Refinery 29 pointed us to Seattle-based artist Michael Leavitt's cardboard pop art sneakers, which are modeled after classic Converse and Dunks. There's also a hot pink stiletto and feminine cowboy boot, for those of you who prefer your paper footwear with a heel. The wearable pieces of art will debut in a solo "Cardboard Shoe Show" exhibit at Fuse Gallery in New York City at the end of the month. No word on the price, but oh, what wouldn't we give for a pair of those Chucks? (We'd have to make sure never to rock 'em in the rain, though...that'd be a pulpy disaster, to say the least.)

Jewelry designer Tom Binns is also whipping up some witty new pieces with the economic collapse in mind. According to Stylefile, his latest collection, called "Get Real," is made from photographs of rings, necklaces, earrings, and watches ripped from glossy magazines:

"Now you can get your diamonds, emeralds, and shit," says the famously plain-spoken Irish-born designer. Safety pin closures add to the punk rock vibe, as do the $125 price tags. The jewelry arrives at Colette tomorrow.
An amusing idea, but we're not about to fork over a hundo and change for a pictorial rendering of an emerald, no siree. Especially when we could pay $18 for a rad Etsy bacon bracelet, made from a process very similar to Binns'.

[Image via Michael Leavitt]

The Keiser does iPod helmets

Posted at 6:13 AM Mar 11, 2009

By Sharon Steel

The Lagerfeld-ification of the world continues! Karl Lagerfeld debuted a line of helmets at his Paris fashion show over the weekend, and if the some of images aren't ridiculous enough, we just heard his mink-covered headgear came with built-in iPod speakers. Because you'd just look awkward and uncouth wearing that thing with white earbuds. Quelle horror!

French luxury helmet maker Les Atliers Ruby and Apple collaborated on the giant fur scooter helmets, and Luxist notes that they are, hilariously enough, road legal. They also feature full carbon fiber shells and ultra-soft burgundy nappa lambskin linings. "Now everyone is on scooters, even chic women, so we had to do the helmet," the Kaiser told the Canadian Press.

Oh, Karl. Well! At least we know exactly what you'll be accessorizing with while you're whizzing around Damrosch Park atop a Chanel Segway.

Beth Ditto, fashion virgin

Posted at 3:22 PM Mar 10, 2009

By Sharon Steel

Over the weekend, the Times' resident fashion diarist Guy Trebay interviewed Beth Ditto, lead singer of the Gossip, at a gilt-ornamented hotel suite in Paris with views of the Louvre. Today he brings us his profile of the punk performer -- a rising name in the fashion industry who is also a ball of entertaining and intriguing contradictions. Like calling herself "a big prude" after posing nude for Condé Nast UK's new magazine Love.

There's an ongoing push-pull between Ditto's punk roots and what seems to be her unconscious desire to gain entree into a world that has been notoriously unaccepting of anyone who doesn't measure up to the perfect female form.

Suddenly, though, everyone wants Ditto. Up until recently, she has refused offers to take free clothes from designers, sit in the front row at fashion shows next to Kanye West and Pink, hob-knob with Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld, or participate in super-glamorous photo-shoots:

"From the punk perspective, doing things like coming to Paris and going to all the fashion shows would be the downfall of your art," Ditto told the Times. "Punk can be very dogmatic and judgmental."
The Love cover, however, has ushered in a new era for Ditto. As Katie Grand wrote in her editor's letter, Ditto is an iconic figure who says the wrong things, looks the wrong way, and is an iconic figure without a 25-inch waist. So while Trebay seems positively delighted to report that Paris has "seduced" Ditto, whom he dubs a "fashion virgin," that Kate Moss is now her BFF, that she finally met Karl (who uttered some "fat-phobic" remarks), and that she's singing a secret, exclusive set for Fendi at a VIP room, we're still looking forward to the new perspective she'll bring. Fashion is just as dogmatic and judgmental as punk, and that gives Ditto a significant edge: she already knows that rules apply, and then, quite suddenly, they don't. The fashion industry needs people like her, and, luckily, she doesn't need to sleep in a squat or live off one packet of ramen a week to speak her mind.

Only on Etsy: Bacon bracelets

Posted at 3:00 PM Mar 03, 2009

By Sharon Steel


I Heart Daily dropped a salty breakfast treat in our inbox the other day when they highlighted Diffraction, an eclectic jewelery line by Beth Cumming. Her Etsy collection features handmade pieces based around her photographs, which are transferred to thick plastic, then hand-shaped, sealed and wired. We're kind of in kitsch-love with Cumming's bacon bracelet, lovingly cradled in between a carton of eggs above. People will either be jealous or hungry when they look at it, and that's a win-win when it comes to accessorizing the Heartless Doll way."I love looking at the intricacies of the otherwise ordinary," Beth told I Heart Daily. "There is beauty everywhere if you just look. And as for the bacon bracelet, let's face it, nothing beats bacon."

Of course, if wearing pork parts as embellishment isn't quite your thing, check out her vegetarian-friendly Who You Callin Kiwi Ring and Zesty Cuff Links, or the tree-hugging Heart Leaf Drop Earrings.

Oscar looks: belts, shoulder-straps, and shiny suits

Posted at 11:32 AM Feb 23, 2009

By Sharon Steel

We found ourselves, for the most part, pleasantly entertained by the Oscar's re-tooled ceremony last night. Especially the supporting/best actress tributes, which were quite personal and affecting, when we remembered to listen and not shout about the fashion. (The men's were rather meh.) What follows are our top dresses, biggest befuddlements, and three looks that made us wish Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear would show up, snap their fingers, and fix things.

The Good:

Favorite dresses! Our top three goes to Natalie Portman for her rose-pink Rodarte, Penelope Cruz's fairy-tale vintage Pierre Balmain, and Anne Hathaway (she sings!) in Armani Privé.

Someone call Jason Wu! Best Actress winner Kate Winslet was in Yves Saint Laurent, Slumdog Millionaire's Freida Pinto looked fetching in a cerulean blue John Galliano, and Marisa Tomei wrapped herself up in Versace. They all rocked the one-shoulder-strap gown, reminiscent of MObama's feather-white Inaguration ball dress.

Evan Rachel Wood can look gorgeously goth even in an all-ivory Elie Saab. Her face is basically from another time, no?

Read more Oscar looks: belts,... >>

WWWWD: The Onion of Fashion Week has arrived!

Posted at 6:29 AM Feb 20, 2009

By Sharon Steel


We're nearing the final stretch. People's feet hurt. They're tired of Recessionista woes, of the usual crowds, and of trying to determine whether this Fashion Week was the industry's saving grace or merely another depressing benchmark on the recessions' time-table. So, really, there's no better time than now for the arrival of a newly launched publication entitled Worldwide Womenswear Digest, or WWWWD. The mysterious WWD spoof -- so far, no word on who's behind it -- was emailed to a host of editors yesterday evening. Among the treasures within:

-Shoes Are Back!
"It's hard to imagine why they left," pondered André Leon Talley. "But I'm glad...I'm very glad they're back."

-Exclusive: Gossip Girl Actually Donatella Versace
"I can smell a bitch." --Leighton Meester

-Authoritative Cathy Horyn Blog Impossible To Disagree With, No Matter How Hard You Try
"Control groups that haven't read the blog seem to adopt Cathy's opinion as soon as a laptop is introduced within a 500-mile radius."

-Beauty Breakthrough WOW! Seven-Tiered Makeup Compact Revolutionizes the Face

-Industry Job Listings
Chic Bitches For Hire

And oh, ever so much more. Download the full, fantastic PDF here, courtesy of New York Magazine. Hopefully the teaser ad for Vouge, "the glossy, stuck-up sister of WWWWD" means business. February Fashion Week hasn't even wrapped, and we already can't wait for September.

Fashion Week makes it work

Posted at 11:46 AM Feb 18, 2009

By Sharon Steel

The mood at Fashion Week appears to have shifted considerably since its opening days. The critics are agog over Marc Jacobs' '80s renaissance, Hervé Léger's cut-out dresses (regardless of the falls) pleased many, and Rodarte's gorgeous decay-meets-romance look won us over immediately. The Times' Cathy Horyn has been doling out well-earned praise, too, we're happy to see: she liked the "adorable trompe l'oeil knits" at Preen.

So it made sense that at Diane von Furstenberg, nobody was settling down, and the atmosphere crackled with pre-recession spirit. Tim Gunn took a moment to tell the Observer that this was just the injection of hope the industry required:

"We need this!" said Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn, glancing around the tent at Bryant Park. "We need people feeling 'up' this week! People were speculating that it was going to be, oh, you know, down and recalibrated to be like the economy. But that makes it sound as if we're all supposed to don this monastic attire and lead a nun's existence, and, like, why? This is fashion."
Wise, wise man. Yes, in spite of economic woes, insiders are rallying, musing that if this isn't a fantastic time for retail sales, it will be a fantastic time to make art. Grace Coddington of Vogue noted that the industry lives in a fantasy, anyway, giving everyone a reason to press the reset button and start all over, after this week. (Fashion New Year in February? We like.) And Elle's Anne Slowey uses the crappy Dow as an excuse to regress, not unlike Marc Jacobs, back to a New York that hasn't existed in twenty-some years:

"I can't help but remember what it was like when I moved here, in the early '80s, and no one had any money. We were making outfits out of flower pots and garbage bins to go out to Area at night, but you saw some of the most expressive, wonderful things on the streets. They went for it, and I'm a big advocate of that--the crazier, the better."

With any luck, by spring, our favorite street-style blogs will be teeming with images of people in flower pots instead of on vintage bikes. We'll be watching for it.


The best Fashion Week pratfalls

Posted at 6:33 AM Feb 18, 2009

By Sharon Steel

There were a couple of notable falls during Hervé Léger on Sunday, which inspired TatianaTheAnonymousModel, over at Jezebel, to pull together an inspiring YouTube collection of model slips, runway mishaps, and near-misses.

There's an understandably shiny coat of shame covering some of the models faces after they absolutely eat it on the catwalk, making a couple of the clips more than a little cringe-inducing and painful to watch. (Still, we cannot turn away.) The best of the sups laughed it off: We liked Jessica Stam even more after she broke into a sheepish grin, gave a toss of the hair, and strutted back from whence she came after biting the dust at Chloé three years ago. There's also some great, dry-ice commentary from Hilary Alexander of The Daily Telegraph: "The shape of the shoe and the fear in the model's eyes made it quite difficult to concentrate on the clothes," she notes of the insane footwear delegated to the girls at Prada's SS09 show. "You cannot have young girls falling onto concrete," adds Alexander. "Their careers could be over in a nanosecond if they broke an ankle!"

This explains Maria Cornejo's wise choice to put all her girls in flats a couple of days ago. Fierce but comfortable. We approve.


Michelle Obama isn't at Fashion Week, but her social secretary is!

Posted at 3:38 PM Feb 17, 2009

By Sharon Steel

As late as Friday, designers were still wondering, hoping, praying, letting sub-textual "I'm not begging but actually, I kind of am!" quotes drop to the press in order to express their wish that Michelle Obama would turn up at the tents and bail out the fashion industry. Well, she isn't here. But Desirée Rogers, the White House social secretary, is.

Yesterday, Rogers scored a front-row seat at Carolina Herrera. ("I do like her work, but this collection was very different from what I have seen in the past. I particularly liked the dresses for daytime that were a classic silhouette, but had a bell sleeve and were a little shorter, just below the knee. Those are easier to wear than the long ballgowns," she told WWD.) She also hit Thakoon and Donna Karan, where, at the latter, she was given a prime front-row seat next to Anna Wintour.  Michelle's presence would have trumped the Ashley Dupré/Yigal Azrouël/Kelly Cutrone debacle, which seemed like the biggest attendance gaffe thus far, but Rogers' appearance certainly doesn't hurt First Family PR. At Thakooon, she even stole a moment to embrace Ikram Goldman, owner of Chicago boutique Ikram and the interview-shy woman considered to be Michelle's unofficial stylist.

Rogers jetted back to D.C. this morning, as she's due for preparations for one of the first big social functions of the Obama White House, the Governors' Ball. Is it possible Michelle will sweep onto the dance floor swathed in something fresh off the runway? Does this mean Rogers or Goldman get priority for gowns over Rachel Zoe? We die.

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