Happy New York Fashion Week!

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Today marks the start of this year’s Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week! Fall 2013 collections will be making their debuts from now until February 14th. Keep up with all the latest news on the official fashion week website.

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Style Story: Veronica Sawyer and Heathers

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“Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?” And with that I fell in love with the highly quotable, hilariously irreverent 1988 film, Heathers. Heathers tells the story of Veronica Sawyer, played by the fabulous Winona Ryder, who finds herself in the cool clique at school with 3 girls who all happen to be named Heather and are all sadistic bullies. Veronica’s dislike of her friends quickly escalates once she meets J.D., the dark and dreamy new kid at school who has some violent tendencies up his overcoat sleeve. It’s one of my three favorite films of all time, it’s packed with amusing but devastating social commentary, and it features 80’s fashion at its finest.

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The most obvious aspect of fashion in Heathers to note is the use of color. Each of the three Heathers exclusively wears one certain color—red, yellow, and green—while Veronica wears shades of blue and black. Red comes to represent social power; Heather Chandler begins as red Heather and Heather Duke starts wearing red once she becomes queen bee. Chandler’s red scrunchie is passed on to Duke and is later taken by Veronica to signify the passing of power over each other. Red is also one of their school’s colors.

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Clothing is used to signify typical high school cliques. The popular girls dress in the trendy styles that haven’t aged well, but at the time were the coolest of the cool. The jocks always wear their red varsity jackets. The nerds wear less vibrant colors and giant glasses. J.D. (a.k.a. resident badass) constantly wears a long, dark overcoat and one earring. This edgy look shows that he’s completely different from Veronica’s friends (which is exactly the sort of person Veronica is looking for) but also suggests he’s probably bad news. Just look at that stringy hair. I love that J.D. is dressed as the typical bad boy but the viewer is not even ready for the progression of his character. No matter how many times I watch this movie, I’m always suckered into falling for him at the beginning and am, without fail, disgusted with myself by the end. Gets me every time.

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The clothing in Heathers is 80s to the extreme—think permed hair, unflattering button-up shirts and blazers with huge shoulder pads—but as J.D. says (in a totally different context) “the extreme always seems to make an impression.” The clothing, like the slang in Heathers is so perfect for the world in the film and so important to the story itself that as a fan of the movie, I find myself wanting to feature shout outs to it in my own wardrobe, in the same way that I often find myself quoting the dialogue. I have a red blazer (with smaller shoulder pads, I admit) that always reminds me of Heather Chandler and I have small round sunglasses that remind me of Veronica (probably because the shape of them reminds me of her unexpected-yet-awesome monocle).

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Luckily, fashion is cyclical and always updates styles from the past, so it’s completely possible to work in references to Heathers and the 80s while still remaining stylish by today’s standards. The trick is to take elements of the looks and pair them with more modern styles. A big blazer can still totally work, but it would probably translate better when worn with skinny jeans rather than a knee-length pleated skirt. It’s a fun, extra challenge to update old looks and make them your own rather than just taking looks exactly as they are. Just make sure you don’t spill that wake up cup of liquid drainer on your neo-80s outfit…

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Wednesday Wonderings: What A Character

book dress illustrationI think the thing I love most in the world is storytelling. Books, movies, tv shows, anecdotes from friends, runway shows—I love anything that tells an intriguing story. And central to storytelling are the characters the story follows. Lately I’ve been thinking about how characters I like influence the way I dress. Of course, my manner of dressing has been influenced by real people (bands I’ve liked through the years, family members, etc.), but I think fictional characters have been just as important in shaping my style.

I find myself referring to clothes by character names: my Snape boots, my Narcissa coat, my Violet Harmon dress, my Veronica Sawyer sunglasses. They’re not even things the characters are explicitly shown or mentioned wearing, they’re just things I imagine the characters would wear. I didn’t think about it, I just naturally started calling my clothes these names. I’ve realized this means that, at least to a certain extent, I dress in the style of these characters. People we respect (or maybe are just intrigued by), whether real or fictional, influence the way we think, act, and, yes, even dress. We dwell on the characters we find most captivating, we give them a space to occupy in our minds and because they’re always lurking there somewhere, they sometimes influence aspects of our lives we wouldn’t expect.

Maybe this is becoming a little too Freudian—“our favorite characters are lurking in our subconscious.” But I think it’s true that we’re shaped by what we expose ourselves to, what interests us, and what we enjoy. It’s like how a book you read growing up really sticks with you, or a speaker you went to see makes a large impression on you. We shape ourselves based on what we see in the world and who we want to be. To be honest, a lot of the characters I see popping out of my wardrobe are not the most mentally stable, respectable characters, so it’s not that these are people I want to be, exactly. But I think expressing a bit of them in my clothes is another way to think about them and explore them as characters. I don’t want to be these characters, but I want to be someone who fully engages with these characters and realizes how they’ve influenced me. So I dress myself accordingly.

I’m thinking of posting in the future about some specific characters I’ve noticed traces of in my wardrobe. While this is more of a personal musing post, these will be more “Style Icons” type posts with a lot of pictures and some explanation of how they’ve influenced me. But now, classes have started, so off to do some homework! Happy Wednesday.

Note: The image is not mine, but I found it on Tumblr and am not sure who to credit.

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Golden Globes 2013: Fashion Favorites

It’s a little late at this point, but I figured I’d hop on the bandwagon and post some of my favorite looks from this year’s Golden Globes!

I’ve heard mixed reviews about Lucy Liu’s Carolina Herrera dress, but I loved this whole look. The fitted top was flattering, the print was girly but bold, the hair complemented the springy gown perfectly. Simple earrings let the dress speak for itself.

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Amy Adams looked beautiful in this Marchesa gown. There were a lot of muted tones on the red carpet, but this blush-colored gown was my favorite. This look is all about the details: the subtle texture of the top, the thin ribbon at the waist, the simple jewelry and the glam hair add up to one of my favorite looks of the night.

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There were many ladies looking lovely in black. Julianne Moore looked classy in black and white Tom Ford and Kate Hudson looked stunning in a plunging Alexander McQueen dress with gold details. My favorite use of McQueen, however, goes to Nicole Kidman. I love the bee details from this Spring 2013 line and the cutouts keep this dress daring. I’m not sure I love the bracelets with this look, but I’ll let it slide because I love the dress so much.

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Helen Mirren also had a beautiful black dress, this one by Badgley Mischka. I love the details down the arm, as well as the perfect earrings and clutch.

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Finally, while perhaps not the best dressed on the red carpet, I have to give a shout out to Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton, my favorite hollywood couple. I’m curious as to what happened to Burton’s arm, but despite being in a sling, he still manages to look classy. I will defend Helena Bonham Carter to the ends of the earth; I love that her outfits are always so entirely her. These two just look so perfect together with their matching disheveled hair and sunglasses. They may look out of place next to some of the other guests of the evening, but they complement each other perfectly.

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Mario Testino at the Museum of Fine Arts

ImageHello! It’s been a while. I’ve returned safely to the states and have been enjoying a nice little break with my family before heading back to school in a week. Hopefully now that I’m back from Paris I’ll have more time to write…I’ve made it a New Year’s resolution to post at least once a week! So now, on to fashion news…

Massive images of models, sports stars, musicians, actors and royalty currently cover the walls of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a part of the exhibition on famed fashion photographer, Mario Testino. The exhibition began in October and I’d been hoping to fit in a visit while I’m home, but as I’ve started working and still have a lot of preparing to do before I return to school, it’s not looking like it’s going to happen. However, everything I’ve seen published about it looks promising and a friend of mine went and claims it’s very well done. The exhibition actually has two parts: In Your Face focuses on Testino’s fashion and celebrity photography and British Royal Portraits displays his work with the Royal Family, including photos of Prince William, Kate Middleton, and Princess Diana. This is Testino’s first U.S. exhibition. In Your Face is on display until February 3rd and British Royal Portraits is on view until June 16th. If anyone goes to see it, let me know so I can live vicariously through you!

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Holiday Cheer at Paris Department Stores!

It’s unbelievable, but two weeks from today I’ll be leaving France and heading home. I’ll miss Paris, but I’m extremely excited to get back to the states to see my family and friends for the holidays. I’ve been terrible about posting this semester, and what will probably happen is I’ll get home for winter break and post about all my travels after the fact simply because I’ll have more time once the semester ends!

Yesterday, I went to two of the largest department stores in Paris, Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, to catch a glimpse of the holiday windows that I had heard were a must-see. The Havre-Caumartin metro stop has an exit that lets out right in front of Printemps. It’s very convenient, but be prepared for crowds! As soon as you step out of the metro, you’re in the crowds moving about to see all the displays.

Printemps had windows by Dior and Galeries Lafayette had displays by Louis Vuitton. Many featured moving puppets and all featured beautiful clothes! I preferred the Dior windows, which featured plenty of holiday sparkle and glam to the Louis Vuitton windows, whose LV-wearing ostriches, penguins and polar bears were a little too strange for me. (The first three photos are Dior and the fourth and fifth are LV.)

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I also had the chance to explore inside Galeries Lafayette. It has floors and floors of high-end clothing; it’s overwhelming. The highlight is definitely the dome ceiling over the perfume kiosks. The ceiling is beautiful and you can see balconies of the higher levels and, best of all, they currently have a giant Christmas tree set up right in the center. I’ve been looking for a red beret for a while (I feel it’s almost mandatory to return from France with a beret) and I found a perfect one (NOT by a designer brand…by Galeries Lafayette’s own brand) that I had to pick up. Now even when I return home I will feel très parisien!

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What’s Hot and What’s Not…in a 1960’s Asylum

I’ve been loving season 2 of American Horror Story; it’s more serious than season 1, but also seems more cohesive and put-together so far and I’m excited to see where it goes. I’m also a sucker for behind the scenes footage and costume design, so enjoy this video about the costumes for the show!

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