Currently viewing the category: "Thought Pieces"

Friends: how many of us have them? by Lucas Tyson

(Editors note:Whodini may have some input on this)

I had an easy time making friends in college. Relating to others came naturally because we were all thrust into the similar circumstance of a brand new environment that we had to learn together, along with an abundance of free time to socialize. I finished school and still made friends, but they came at a considerably slower rate. Less free time, more stress. Over time the closest of my college friends began to leave New York, and my social life began to disintegrate. This was extremely troubling, because let’s face it, when you’re drinking alone at noon on a Sunday, it’s not called “brunch” it’s called “a drinking problem.”

After much introspection I realized the reason I wasn’t acquiring friends was internal: I was waiting for people to find me instead of pursuing them on my own. If you’re reading this you may be experiencing the same things. There is a method to making friends that works for me, and I’ve broken it down into four parts to ease the process for you. Click through to see what they are..

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Photo of LeeAnet Noble (Dance Choreographer) via Into the Gloss

Reaction to the Rick Owens Spring/Summer womenswear 2014 show in Paris has been swift and divisive. In the presentation Rick eschewed the use of traditional models and instead assembled a team of step dancers recruited from US sororities. With the lack of racial diversity on fashion week runways  making headlines in the lead-up to New York fashion week, many fashion commentators have cited Rick’s casting choices as a reaction to this. Rick Owens may have wanted to make a statement, but I believe it for personal one, not a political one. He cast the show the way he did because that’s he wanted to do creatively. Rick Owen’s motives for casting the show the way he did should not come under attack, instead we should praise him for having the courage to exercise his creative license. At a time when most fashion shows are forgotten about the day after, Rick Owens was able to make a meaningful statement AND a fun spectacle. No small feat at a time when most editors spend half the show on the phones.

May I remind you that this is the same Rick who selected an Estonian metal band Winny Puhh to play at his Spring/Summer 2014 men’s show . This is the same Rick Owens who listens to Katie got Bandz on the regular. Rick Owens has always been known to go his own way and this season he was able to present a vision that is pretty much the polar opposite of what’s considered desirable in the fashion industry. The presentation was not exploitative but honest to his headspace in 2013. There’s an strong theme of tribalism found in Rick’s body of work so it’s not surprising that he would find inspiration in the energy of American step teams. Those who deride this collection as mere PR trolling are missing the point (ironically they may be trolling for attention themselves through their accusations). Rick spent months preparing for this show and the production would have doubtless been countless times easier if he just cast through a modeling agency. The show’s dance captain and choreographer LeeAnet Noble made this statement about how sorority stepping what caught Rick’s attention on Into The Gloss.

“I have been stepping for most of my life—I was in the show Stomp on Broadway and I had done a show before with one of Rick [Owens]’s producers. Rick had seen some videos online of sorority stepping. Women steppers are hard. When they came out with stepping in sororities, they embodied the intensity and togetherness that the men’s groups had previously shown, the sisterhood. And when Rick saw the clips, he thought that their intensity embodied the vicious pieces, strong materials, and colors in his collection.

For an industry that’s supposed to be driven by creativity, there’s a surprising lack of it on each season’s runways and shop selves. Instead of original ideas , we get overworked designers rushing to put out more of the same. The same (mostly-white) models, walking down the same runways, with  similar clothes based off the same trends. Stylists also, are repressed in their creative output with many companies putting strict restorations on just how their clothes can be worn (many labels will won’t allow stylists to deviate from the runway looks). I won’t even get into how ads for high-fashion labels all look the same.

I emphasize with the the pressure that comes with the unrelenting fashion calendar and the constant push for higher sale numbers from investors but as Rick showed with his Spring/Summer 2014, there’s always a different way to do things. You can choose to market your brand differently. You can choose to to cast your show as you please. You can choose to skip out a fashion week presentation entirely. Rick should be applauded for expressing his vision in such an unexpected way. With the passing of Alexander McQueen and the downfall of John Galliano, Rick Owens is one of the last few showmen in the industry.  The shocking thing  shouldn’t be that Rick Owens did something groundbreaking this fashion month, it’s that no other designer even tried to.

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$91,500 Hermes Crocodile T-shirt

“You get what you pay for” is a common idiom the world over. Fashion is a commodity based industry and the perception of ‘value’ or ‘exclusivity’ is one of the most effective selling points for designer products.  The most expensive items and brands are given a halo effect through the exclusionary impact of price. If you can’t afford to play the game, you can’t shouldn’t take part at all.

High fashion was never built to be inclusive or democratic; in fact the exact opposite was true. Fashion was an insider culture with it’s own set of aesthetics, values, and lifestyle. Legendary couture houses such as Chanel or Dior were built to accomodate the tastes and needs of an aristocratic class. The idea of luxury has been since been re-packaged and commodified ; ensuring that any major city the world over will have it’s pick of Louis Vuitton, Gucci or Prada. Historic couture houses became huge global brands. Large holding companies the likes of LVMH, Disel Kering (formally PPR) and OTB have mastered the formula of branding and selling luxury. They continue to dominate by hiring talented creative to give the design credibility all while spreading the word through celebrity endorsements, worldwide PR campaigns, and huge advertising budgets.

Read the full article after the jump

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Believe it or not we have reached our 200th post here at Third Looks. A heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who has contributed, supported or simply enjoyed this blog since it’s humble beginnings over a year ago. I couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate this milestone than presenting this comprehensive Maison Martin Margiela Reference Guide. A friend of mine is a Margiela devotee and has spent ample time and effort putting together this hefty reference guide on all things Maison Martin Margiela.

The Maison Martin Margiela Reference Guide

Information about Martin Margiela, and Maison Martin Margiela, is everywhere, but a proper reference does not exist.  With respect to Martin Margiela’s clear wishes to remain anonymous, and his continued silence after his retirement, I have omitted most personal information about him.  This is a long read meant as a reference, not an article.  If you are coming in totally blind, feel free to read the following short articles to get oriented:

Background – A summary from a Margiela expert.
Background – Vogue UK, a brief timeline.
Culture/Marketing – Cult of Invisibility Part 1 and Part 2.

Click through the jump for the Reference Guide

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It’s the middle of Paris Fashion Week and runway shows are going up on NOWFASHION like fashionably delayed clockwork. Thousands of blog posts, tweets, forum discussions will be posted today reflecting on Hedi’s first collection under the re-vamped YSL (ahem Saint Laurent Paris) label. Countless new items will be hung onto retail shelves online and uploaded digitally on a myriad of online shops.

It’s no surprise that fashion has an obsession with newness. The fashion industry is about capturing the energy and excitement of new designers, new trends and new designs.  In a 2011 cover story in Fantastic Man Raf Simons states “I want new, new, new” in reference to his design output. It’s not often when anyone stops and asks the question “Is fashion’s obsession with newness healthy?”  The answer is not black or white but I feel that this is a question worth asking.

Somewhere along the line the coverage and pace of the fashion industry accelerated to a breakneck pace. Luxury brands and fashion houses have thrived off of creating business through a culture of  “It Bag” and “Designer of the Moment “worship. Nowhere is this climate more evident than outside the runway shows in Milan, Paris, London and New York where a parade of perfectly groomed and pea-cocked men and women pose for an army of streetstyle photographers.  The number one rule to abide by if you want to be snapped for digital eternity: BE ON TREND.

As we dive head first into this strange new world I feel it is the responsibility of the gatekeepers of fashion to not just feed our appetite for what’s new, but to deliver appropriate context and reflection on what has come before. If there were just one blog post about a designer’s archive for every one hundred about a new fall coat consumers would be more knowledgeable and passionate about their purchases. High fashion is an industry that relies on image and frivolous consumption for it’s profits; but the best selling point of all is great design.

I see much more reflection of past works among film or music critics. Film critics like Robert Ebert routinely go back and review older films. Music publications frequently print pieces that reflect on discographies by artists who are dead or retired. There is no reason that fashion media can’t hold itself to a higher standard and follow these examples.

By looking back at past collections , critics can shed new light on a designer’s body of work or re-visit the cultural impact of a particular collection. From a consumer perspective, a shopper may not find their dream leather jacket on the designer floor at Barneys, but they may discover what they truly want through a decade old editorial. The signal-to-noise ratio in the fashion media is worse than it has ever been and it’s hurting innovation in the industry. The press would be doing a service to the entire fashion community if it spent less time obsessing on newest and just a little more effort researching the past. Highlighting truly GREAT design is a  responsibility that fashion critics , magazines and blogs should take on whether those designs are brand NEW or years OLD.

 In an interview last week with WWD , Yohji Yamamoto states:

“We are losing those young people because we have too much information by media, especially [through computers]. We can see everything at the same time, so already they are spoiled too much. So when we have talk sessions with young designers or students, I tell them: “Be bright. Your eyes have become dirty.”

The Internet and the pace of information it provides is here to stay. The best way to refresh our ‘dirty’ eyes may be to take a break from the new from time to time.

By Rocky Li