Unordered List

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Saturday afternoon links post: X-Men cosplayers, 19th century Russian ballgowns, Tim Gunn discussing Star Trek costumes, and more.

Halloween! The number of "sexy" costumes I saw last night was truly mindblowing. I love them. I have very little respect for shop-bought sexy-nurse or sexy-cop costumes, but when someone goes all out and makes a sexy NyanCat or sexy male Sailor Moon outfit, well, I can only respect that shit. Personally, I was Sexy King Charles II. (ie... my embroidered pantaloons and a feathered headpiece thing, because I was too lazy to actually buy or make a proper costume) If only I'd had a camera with me. (N.B. This year the sexy female Where's Waldos far outstripped the male ones. Is this evidence of the hipster takeover of youth culture?) Anyway, I suspect a lot of you are currently still lurking in bed hiding from the sleet and/or nursing a Halloween hangover. Here are some links of stuff!

Madonna and her daughter in a funny video about her new Material Girl clothing campaign. Why can't she point this sense of humour at her terrible new movie? I mean, first of all it's called "W.E." which I immediately translate as "What. Ever." rather than, well... "Wallis/Edward? It's not totally clear to me what "W.E." is really supposed to stand for. But apparently it's so abysmal that people were laughing out loud during screenings, which makes me wish that Madonna would just release it as-is instead of re-editing it to make it "better" (ie, presumably more boring). It could be the new "The Room"!

The dresses of Tsarina Alexandra Romanova at How To Be A Retronaut.

Spider-Man themed swing dancers! (And more links beyond the jump.)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New style crush: Nolan Ross in REVEEEENNNGGE.

Following multiple recommendations from The Oncoming Hope, I watched the first episode of Revenge. And then I promptly watched the other four episodes, because it's freaking awesome. It's like a cross between Gossip Girl and Veronica Mars, with the protagonist -- Emily -- seeking REVEEEENNNGE (this in fact is the correct pronunciation of the title -- for best effect, drawl it with the confidence and malicious delight of the truly evil) on the super-rich beautiful people who got her father framed as a treasonous terrorist. There are endless dastardly takedowns and almost every scene involves terrifying society matriarchs smiling charmingly while secretly wishing each other a painful death, but it quite never tips over into the preposterousness of Gossip Girl because the protagonist is so wonderfully dead-eyed and machiavellian. But I'm not here to tell you about the many ways the heroine of REVEEEENNNGE Count-Of-Monte-Cristo's her way around the Hamptons. I'm here to talk about NOLAN ROSS.

Nolan Ross is the only person on the show who knows about Emily's revenge plan. He's a dotcom billionaire with no friends, unlimited funds and free time at his disposal, and a serendipitous desire to help Emily ruin the lives of the rich and evil. He's a very entertaining character, and has marvellously awful dress sense. The rest of the costumes on Revenge are fairly run-of-the-mill "rich attractive people go to social galas" outfits as seen in Gossip Girl, Dirty Sexy Money, etc, but Nolan's costumes are a magnificent ode to candy colours and popped collars.
This is what he looks like when he first appears on the show. My immediate assumption was, "this character is evidently going to be an unbearable caricature", since he's wearing a captain's hat at a marina, despite the fact that he can't sail and doesn't own a boat. He has tiny whales embroidered onto his trousers, and I suspect that the belt may well be somehow nautical in theme. But you know what? He's actually brilliant. He doesn't fall under the tired stereotype of "computer nerd with no social skills" that plagues so many google-detective "hacker" characters on TV -- in fact, he often expresses far more genuine emotion than most of the other characters in the show.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2012.

My final S/S 2012 Fashion Week post! I'm now taking suggestions as to what I should write about after this. Ben-Seven suggested the theme of "top five movies, judging by costumes", which sounds damn near impossible because there are just so many choices. Although the #1 movie I saw this week was the Three Musketeers, which went something like this: 25% Orlando Bloom and Milla Jovovich gleefully over-acting at one another, 25% WTF airships, 25% D'Artagnan being unbearable, and 25% OMG THOSE DOUBLET & HOSE ARE AMAZING. Unfortunately, I think most of this film's audience were pre-teens and their parents who took the opportunity to nap for two hours in the cinema, so the internet is yet to provide me with the hi-res screencaps I've come to expect thanks to my recent cinematic diet of superhero movies with intense fanbases. Anyway, if you have any particular fashion-blogging requests, comment/message me! :)

McQueen wasn't as dazzling as last season, but this show definitely stretched the limits of "Ready To Wear". With this level of intricate beadwork, stitching and lace, Alexander McQueen is almost filling the gap left by the financial dissolution of Christian Lacroix last year.
Glam Batgirl.
This season, McQueen combines extreme feminity with monstrousness. Sarah Burton seems to have included fewer animalistic influences in this show than can be seen in some of McQueen's own later collections, but the masks and headdresses still lend an air of the sinister. Alexander McQueen designs have always been brilliant when it comes to evoking aggression without resorting to an appearance of masculinity.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Haider Ackermann, Spring 2012

Haider Ackermann's Fall 2011 line was one of the standout shows of last season, in other words damn near impossible to live up to. However, the Spring 2012 show came quite close. Ackermann designs seem they'd feel like wearing stupidly expensive pyjamas, unusually comfortable-looking for catwalk fashion without going anywhere near the sportswear/t-shirt comfort offered by Alexander Wang. All the colours glow subtly as if from within, with none of the harsh seasonal colour-blocking of Jil Sander or springtime prints of Prada. Ackermann shows take place in the half-dark, so the jewel tones of the shirts and dresses aren't washed out by harsh lighting. The clothes drape luxuriously, they're adjustable to a variety of body shapes, they're adult... and they have the Tilda Swinton stamp of approval. SWINTON!

This collection was more androgynous than last season's, but aside from that it almost seemed like a watered-down version of the Fall 2011 line rather than a development. A lot of the jacket/blouse combinations -- although brilliant -- could have been taken directly from last season, and I wasn't very keen on the filmy, transluscent gowns. It's safe to say that I want every single pair of shoes, though.
I love a good paisley pattern.
Ackermann really knows how to make non-skinny trousers. Right now highstreet shops are flooded with a plethora of highly unflattering "harem pants" (I put this in disparaging inverted commas because a TRUE harem pant should look like Princess Jasmine's from Disney's Aladdin, not a hideous saggy-crotch monstrosity that makes the wearer look like they've rapidly deflated by about 20 inches around the thighs and hips), but this season Ackermann has has managed to produce trousers that pleasingly combine elements from pyjamas, real harem pants, and the traditional tailored suit.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

More from Fashion Week: Vivienne Westwood, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Tsumori Chisato

Vivienne Westwood

I have a lot of time for Westwood because she very obviously makes clothes for herself. It's silly to expect all designers to wear their own label, but I do sometimes get a little tired of seeing amazing collections being acknowledged at the end with a sheepish bow from someone wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. There's something to be said for creators who visibly value their own product. Betsey Johnson, for example. And Galliano to a certain extent, although towards the end he had definitely entered self-parody territory. (Some, of course, have their own uniform: LAGERFELD.)

Pictures from
The platform shoes were a delight, and pure vintage Westwood. The draped, messy robes and experimentation with rag-like fabrics plus were more 21st century, but still unmistakably Westwood. See, that's one of the many advantages of making clothes for yourself! Instant brand recognition. Almost every aspect of the styling in this show made the models look like shades of Viv herself.  
Three very plausible options for Helena Bonham Carter's next red carpet outfit.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

CHANEL: Karl Lagerfeld, Lord of the Sea addresses the proletariat via harp and conch-shell.

I don't actually like Chanel very much, but I sure as hell love Karl Lagerfeld. He's like the Chuck Norris of fashion, in the purest pop-culture sense that you probably don't want to hear his opinions on politics or society but he's sure as hell a crazy crazy badass. The eternal question is, is Karl Lagerfeld taking the piss? Answer: Never. OR: Always. Possibly both. Because he's Karl Lagerfeld. He's known for saying things like "I have no human feelings," and "If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy. Don’t say 'one shouldn’t do that' - that is bourgeois." He does not operate by normal human rules.

In characteristically overblown style, Lagerfeld's Chanel Spring 2012 show involved a vast array of expensive paraphernalia, including but not limited to: a set designed around the theme "under the sea" (but in pure snow white, because colours are gauche), Florence Welch rising out of a giant half-shell to sing during the show, Lagerfeld playing (or perhaps just posing beside) a snow-white harp, and models toting giant iridescent conch-shells. Lagerfeld spits upon the recession. He can't see it through his sunglasses, which are treated so as to only show the rich, the thin, and the monochromatic. The thing that makes Lagerfeld a great designer rather than a mere attention seeker, though, is that while loves nothing more than to make a spectacle of both himself and his catwalk shows, the clothes themselves are the precise opposite of loud.

I'm glad they really hammered home the Under The Sea message, because the sparkly-clean whiteness of the set-design was almost overwhelmingly reminiscent of ice and snow. In close-up shots where Florence Welch and her seashell have been cropped out and all you can see is white dresses and white backdrop, it's hard not to be reminded of all those idiotic "wintry" magazine editorials where a model in a bikini and a fur stole lies supine on an ice-floe while glowering sexily at a snow-leopard or fir tree.

Photos from
"Vanity is the healthiest thing in life"-- Karl Lagerfeld

Monday, 10 October 2011

Paris Spring/Summer 2012: Paco Rabanne, Issey Miyake, and Jean Paul Gaultier

This will be a post requiring minimal typing, as I managed to burn two of my fingers sometime around 4am on Sunday morning while on my way out of Glasgow's premiere shitty goth club. A sad cautionary tale to today's youth, indeed. So: pictures.

Paco Rabanne

If the metallic/iridescent look of some of these outfits looks familiar, it's for good reason: the new head designer at Paco Rabanne is Manish Arora, of my first post regarding Thor-themed couture.

1970s glasswear with eyeholes = the best kind of satellite dish/hat?
pics from, btw.
Do you know what I love? Scales. And armour. And clothing that looks like scales or armour. OK, I'm not gonna front: this was an excuse to post a picture of a Silurian. Note to anyone who doesn't watch Doctor Who and therefore doesn't know what a Silurian is: look at your life, look at your choices!

Paco Rabanne; Silurian; Paco Rabanne. AWESOME; AWESOME; AWESOME.

Speaking of Silurians, check out this super-awesome 19th-century Japanese print-style fanart of Madame Vastra and Jenny battling cybermen!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Chinese steampunk action movie; superhero costumes; beautiful menswear; Julia Roberts, Evil Queen; catwalk makeup.

  •  A new black-and-white silent film, set in the jazz age: The Artist (via The Oncoming Hope).
  • Another thing sent to me on Twitter: Jugend und Tolheit, a 1913 film about a woman who crossdresses and joins the army in order to be close to the man she loves. Ffff, I want to see this!
  • BEAUTIFUL NONSENSE: Lily Collins and Julia Roberts as Snow White and the Evil Queen. These gowns are perfectly cartoonish. Also, is that one of Giles Deacon's Spring/Summer 2012 swan hats?
  • Model-Morphosis. Photos of models with a slider to see their faces before and after catwalk makeup has been applied. I was actually surprised to see how little makeup they often seem to be wearing!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Paris shows: Yohji Yamamoto, Stella McCartney, Rick Owens, and more.

Yohji Yamamoto

Thanks to Gwen Stefani, I can't see the name Yohji Yamamoto without thinking of the next lyric: "...hanging with the locals" from her somewhat entertaining, somewhat racially suspect Japan-themed solo album. With that out of the way, I can say: Yamamoto is reliably brilliant. He more or less ignores trends and goes on with what he does best: using vast quantities of fabric to swathe models of either gender in charcoal-scribble approximations of suits and ballgowns.

(All other pics are from

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Gareth Pugh and Thierry Mugler: Who needs trends when you're an intergalactic bug-queen?

There are some things that bypass the style and taste sections of my brain and go straight to whichever lobe gets excited by Captain Kirk dialogue or any film that includes swing-dancing. Which isn't to say that my love of gothy spacesuit/bug outfits is totally uncritical -- it's just not always rational or on-trend.

Thierry Mugler and Gareth Pugh: both labels I approve of for their habit of making things that look like they belong in an overbudgeted Philip K. Dick adaptation. Mugler is more established, now run by Nicola Formichetti (known for his work with Lady Gaga, although her only appearance this season was in a rather pointless video) but most famous for Thierry's own dramatic corset designs. Pugh is a young English designer, computer-literate enough -- unlike much of the fashion world -- to publicise his collections online using stylish videos like this rather than waiting for magazines to publish catwalk photos two months later. Which is a good thing, since his designs often need to be seen in motion to be properly appreciated, and may not appeal to the middle-aged fashion buyer market courted by, say, Chanel or Valentino.

This is probably obvious already, but I adore Gareth Pugh. Past works include: inflatable plastic-foil capes (N.B. watch that video, it's brilliant), black-and-white evil chessboard outfits, and a whole myriad of post-apocalyptic warrior/mutant/dominatrix costumes.

(All full-length images from

Monday, 3 October 2011

Viktor & Rolf, Spring 2012 RTW

I'm inclined to like Viktor & Rolf because they have a playful and innovative attitude towards structure, they don't shy away from trouser-suits, and Tilda Swinton permitted them to clothe her perfect form. However, their latest show was a disappointment, and not only in the sense that it strayed from expectations of the Viktor & Rolf aesthetic.

Rich, upholstery-style fabric and enormous, childish stitching: two great tastes that tastes great together? No. (Also, it's arguable that enormous, childish stitching is even a great taste. I think Vivienne Westwood  or Prada could probably pull it off, though.)

(all pics from

Sunday, 2 October 2011


For as long as I remember, my local arthouse cinema has been running what appears to be a never-ending LGBT film festival of dismal-looking movies about oppressed teenagers or Eastern Europeans declaiming tearfully at one another before suffering a tragicand/or dissatisfying end. But today I noticed an ad for this movie:

Stories about stylish and dangerous-looking people in suits are an immediate draw for me, but on top of this I found out that Gigola...
  1. Is set in 1960s Paris.
  2. It about a suit-wearing lesbian gigolo (I'm not 100% clear on the logistics of this, but I hope that it involves at least some implausible Shakespearean gender-bending).
  3. Mostly takes place in what looks like the cabaret bar from Victor/Victoria, although admittedly most cabaret bars look the same.
  4. Contains some kind of gambling/gun-crime related subplot.
  5. Includes hand-kissing. (How can something that seems so suave in fiction almost always be so creepy in real life? Tragic.)

Guys, Gigola will have to be pretty awful for me not to love it. I tend not to like fiction about sex-work, since it's usually either weirdly romanticised (WTF, Pretty Woman?) or depressing, but this movie looks just unrealistic enough to brilliant. Although let's face it, I'm mainly in it for the costumes.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday afternoon videos.

Fashions of AD 2000 (from the perspective of the 1930s)

"... another designer goes so far as to believe that skirts will disappear entirely!"

I love retrofuturistic shit. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow? I have seen it three times (conservative estimate). But you know what? This isn't even retrofuturistic. Instead of some artist's impression of New York where all the dogs are wearing spacesuits and the nuclear family travels to work in a streamlined monorail car, these fashion predictions are actually kind of accurate.  Shoes with cantilevered heels? Hello, Lady Gaga! I saw a girl wearing a highstreet version of these yesterday!

Pop-up fashion show, 1950s style

Finally. A way to keep my fringe fresh and bouncy when I go swimming with the gals!

The solution to bikini season.

If everyone still wore things like this to the beach, not only would they probably look better, but there would also be way fewer of those crazy-making "get your summer bikini body in just three weeks of intense juice-fasting and daily sit-ups!" articles. I'm not saying everyone should be more modest or anything like that... but I'd definitely prefer to wear one of those bathing costumes from the beginning of the video to a string bikini.

Maybe not all this elasticated girdle stuff, though. :/