March 26, 2007

Watching Yohji Yamamoto play pool!




Director Wim Wenders explores issues of authenticity and reproduction briefly in his 1989 film starring the designer Yohji Yamamoto, Notebook on Cities & Clothes.
With painting, everything was simple. The original was unique, and each copy was a copy. With photography and then film it began to get complicated. The original was a negative. Without a print, it did not exist. It was just a negative. The copy was the original. But now, with the electronic and soon the digital image, there is no more negative and no more positive. The very notion of “the original” is obsolete. Everything is copy. All distinction is arbitrary.
This film “was the result of a commission from the Centre George Pompidou for a film about fashion”, which is especially fitting as authenticity and reproduction have been important themes and problems within contemporary fashion design. As Baudrillard points out in his chapter on Models and Series in The System of Objects, the perception at least is that for “clothing styles the pace of change is very rapid, and the office workers of today wear dresses derived from last season’s haute couture models”.

Ps. It's worth watching ONLY if you really love Yohji and want to see him fit clothes on models, design a collection, and talk about his fashion philosophy. It gets a little bit long at times, since it's an "experimental" sort of documentary, but still worth the $6 I paid for the DVD on Ebay!

Toronto Fashion Week Review


Izzy Camilleri

Joeffer Caoc

Zoran Dobric

Pat McDonough


Izzy Camilleri

Rudsak

Comrags

David Dixon

Lucian Matis

My favourite show of the week: Either Izzy Camilleri or Comrags. Izzy's show was hot, slick and so tightly edited in terms of colours and fabrics and theme. Beautiful to see, but not sure how many pieces I could actually wear. Joyce and Judy of Comrags showed beautiful, well-made garments for the feminist-hippie-meets-working woman in me.

Most lovely dresses: Joeffer Caoc. Now if I can only scheme to get one of his beautiful bright satin samples for Fall...

Sweetest presentation: David Dixon's outdoor campfire with hot chocolate and choir singers - and the Canadiana HBC wool blankets I got to take home!

March 22, 2007

Because Theory doesn't pay the bills...


From Women's Wear Daily
WWD to Launch Career Web Site
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
By Cate T. Corcoran
The Fairchild Fashion Group on Monday will launch fashioncareers.com, an online job site for the fashion industry.
Interesting development! I hope this will replace Hotjobs, LVMH.com, etc as a place to look for fashion openings! The only thing is...most jobs are filled before they ever get posted! So we'll see how well this does!

Image source.

March 17, 2007

Cathy Horyn and Vogue

On a recent blog post, Cathy Horyn writes:
I absolutely agree with Autre that there’s way too much focus in the fashion world on money and celebrity lifestyle, and a media functioning as the new service class is partly to blame. American Vogue has made this its bread and butter, influencing what the industry thinks. Vogue is very successful and, at the same time, it’s old and out-of-touch. The magazine has always done a credible job covering the arts and politics (thanks to Julia Reed), but even allowing for the fact that wealth is historically part of its turf, the magazine doesn’t give you a new experience consonant with the changes in American life. It gives you old business: daughters with lucky DNA in New York or L.A. If I was an entrepreneur or a creative person in Silicon Valley, or Austin, or Seattle, why would I care?
What do you think?

She's feisty, that one. I love her honesty and am curious if anything (drama) will come from this.

March 16, 2007

Swamped





Dear Readers,

Apologies for the lack of posts!! Once I hand in my 30 page paper (draft 1) on Monday, tie things up and work and prep for shoots and stories next week, finish my MA project (draft) by next Friday, and move to another country in 2 weeks I'll have more time to post.

In the meantime, some visuals from MY project. This particular shoot was styled in relation to Benjamin's "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction."

On Monday, I'll also post photos and a review of Toronto Fashion Week.

Cheers.

March 9, 2007

Back to Basics


If any of my readers out there are curious about how and why the fashion magazines work the way that they do, and are interested in reading more about the fundamental issues and production cycles of magazines, I would recommend Brian Moeran's academic article “More Than Just a Fashion Magazine” from the journal Current Sociology. I've been reading it for my thesis project and although most of the information seems obvious to me, that might just be because I'm more immersed in the fashion industry than the average glossy magazine reader! Like me, Moeran asks in his paper "What are the purposes of a fashion magazine? ," and in order to find out he very impressively conducted "more than 40 open-ended interviews with fashion magazine publishers, (feature, fashion, beauty) editors and art directors working in Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong"!!

For example, although we as bloggers might enjoy speed in reporting events and trends, the article explains the production cycle of magazines, and why the year is split into March for Spring fashions and September for fall trends.
Although there have been indications in recent years that the traditional two-season fashion system is giving way to more fluid, continuous production schedules attuned to consumer demands and the technological ability to supply them, the spring/summer and autumn/winter seasonal distribution of clothing remains very important for fashion magazines on a number of related accounts, both cultural and economic. First, it imposes order on a potentially chaotic mass of clothing that needs to be shown and described to magazine audiences. At present, readers are more or less reassured by the fixed seasonal boundaries within which trend changes take place. Second, that very order is an essential part of magazines’ production processes since, without it, they would be obliged to forego their current fixed annual structure of issues and devote far more time and energy to the planning of more content-varied monthly editions. This would make it difficult for a magazine title to maintain a regular monthly publication schedule on the basis of its existing personnel and financial resources. Third, it structures conveniently the solicitation of advertising material, which itself forms the financial base influencing a publisher’s decision to launch, maintain or cease publication of a particular title. (729)
It can be a bit dry to read, but hey, if you are curious...

Edit: I wrote to the author to say that I thought his paper was very useful for my project...and he wrote back! I'll have to go look for that Fashion Theory article now!
F.y.i. I've also written on Vogue in a special issue of Fashion Theory last year, in case you haven't come across my piece. What with all the cultural studies people nowadays fascinated by reception (with just the occasional -- and futile -- attempt to look at production), I seem to be the only one interested in the economy/culture clash in the study of women's magazines. I'm trying to finish a book on the subject, but have decided -- at my ripe age -- that I'm going to write something more or less in the style of the magazines themselves... and to hell with academic writing!

March 8, 2007

Demographics


Hey guys! I know I don't have a ton of readers yet, but if you can take 5 seconds to fill out the survey at right we'd really appreciate it!!

Also, next week is Toronto Fashion Week. So be on the look out for updates from me on great collections and front row photos! I know it's not as exciting as Paris or London, but it's what we have so we might as well embrace it!

March 7, 2007

Hyperreal


Jean Baudrillard is dead at 77! For those of you not familiar with Simulation and Simulacra and such writings that are so pertinent to Cultural Studies scholars, the New York Times writes:
The French critic and provocateur Jean Baudrillard, whose theories about consumer culture and the manufactured nature of reality were intensely discussed both in rarefied philosophical circles and in blockbuster movies like “The Matrix,” died yesterday in Paris. He was 77.
Most well-known for his writings on the importance of the sign, Disney World, and the futility of fighting the system, Baudrillard also, at one point in Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign (1981) brilliantly noted that:
Fashion embodies a compromise between the need to innovate and the other need to change nothing in the fundamental order. It is this that characterizes `modern' societies. Thus it results in a game of change.
Ps. Artwork is by Barbara Kruger.

March 3, 2007

Forget the LBD






Why wear a little black dress of any sort when you could wear something little and cute and architecturally interesting from Hussein Chalayan's amazing but wearable fall collection? I've had a soft spot for him ever since I saw that table that turns into a dress - but I think he's really matured as a designer in the last few years. Now he walks the line much better between commerce and art.

Photos

March 1, 2007

The Role of the Museum

I just read about "New York Fashion Now," an upcoming exhibit at the V&A museum, on Fashionista.com. On their website, the exhibit is described as:
'New York Fashion Now' will showcase clothes and accessories from a range of New York's emerging fashion talent. The display will feature twenty dynamic young design labels (most of them launched within the past three to seven years) such as Zac Posen, Maggie Norris, Thom Brown, Mary Ping and Derek Lam. It will chart the contributions each has made to the changing face of the fashion industry in one of the world's most powerful fashion capitals. Outfits will include elegant sportswear, new menswear, expressions of craft, avant-garde design and examples of the synergy between celebrity and fashion.
The show runs from April 17 to 23 Sept of this year, and admission is free.

For some reason, shows like this really bother me. I don't know how much is curating something worthwhile, and how much it is about copying the Met and having "blockbuster" shows that increase attendance. For me, not be an academic snob, museum exhibitions should be somehow more special than something that could've been put together on the sales floor at Barneys, except that the pieces are several seasons apart. Geography aside, the focus of seems broad to me, the choices of designers bizarre (What about Proenza? Should I know who Mary Ping is?), and I am not sure how the curator(s) will spin their research into something MORE than "a bunch of pretty clothes from NY designers."