Friday, June 22, 2018

A Day at the Ballet Became a Dream Come True

Misty Copeland and Herman Cornejo at Swan Lake performance (photo: BalletFocus.com)


The moment I sat down in the lobby of the Metropolitan Opera House for a day at the ballet, I felt like Angie Dickinson people-watching in the film Dressed to Kill, minus the silk dress and high heels. 

Mom, my grandmother and me were there to see the 7:30pm performance of Swan Lake starring prima ballerina Misty Copeland. A chatty, nice Korean driver drove us from New Jersey to New York City. Since we arrived early at 3pm, we stat on the bench and people-watched for hours. We remarked on the very casual style patrons wore (slovenly shorts, sneakers and tank tops), but there were also the people who dressed to the nines and looked rich. One woman in a cocktail dress and carried a small shopping bag from Bergdorf Goodman, as her nine-year-old daughters wore pretty shin-length dresses, some lace, some silk. A woman who sharing the bench with us remarked “When I was growing up, the children wore the short dresses, while the grown women wore the long dresses.” The woman who said this was from Jersey too, but she looked like a New Yorker with her Lisa Stansfield pixie cut and all black top and pants. 

The dinner at the Grand Tier restaurant inside the Metropolitan Opera House was as gilded and grand as Great Gatsby’s mansion. It was a birthday for both mom and grandmother, and my mother had thought to surprise my grandmother with a slice of chocolate mousse cake with a candle perched on top. 

Once we satisfied our appetites, we got into the theater and it was packed. The people applauded after every famous number. I could tell it wasn’t there first time seeing the show. The audience frequently cheered like they were a Yankees game, which made for a great collective viewing experience. It was fitting that Swan Lake opened with Prince Siegfried’s birthday party, considering we had just come from a birthday dinner.  The sheer curtains opened slowly where we could see the lavish palace stage setting that gave the effect of a dollhouse come to life. My eyes frequently focused on the feet of the dancers. It’s always the feet I tell you where the magic happens. Thankfully, my mother got to use her gilded opera glasses I gave to her for her birthday. 

The day at the ballet felt like beautiful dream where we met different personalities in the style of movie. Life really does cinematically sometimes. Walking down the steps in front of the Metropolitan Opera House, it felt very Cinderella-like with our Korean driver driving the ice-out pumpkin coach. When we finally got back to New Jersey, I went to bed and I thought Did that really happen? The whole day proved that experience is almost always what matters the most. Ouisa Kittredge said it best in Six Degrees of Separation: it was an experience!




Virgil Abloh Plants a Hero in the Fabric of His Louis Vuitton SS19 Show

Intense red: Reagan Red or Russian Red? (photo: WWD.com)


The 5oth look of the Louis Vuitton SS19 Menswear show was an answer that changed the meaning of every look that came before and after it: it has to do with a young woman on a path to enlightenment dressed in block heels. 

The outfit that opened Virgil Abloh’s debut collection for Louis Vuitton earned its opening slot. It was a baggy suit the color of a vanilla bean ice cream with sneakers, luggage and shirt all in Cool Whip-white. The other looks that glued to my brain were a blousy stand collar shirt and pants complete with a clutch purse that looked surprisingly masculine. There was a windbreaker and snakeskin shorts that were perfect for playing Wimbledon. A bowl cut and a Peter Pan collar added the youthful energy that the baggy silhouettes started, but I couldn’t get past those green gloves. They was something so adult about them. 


The monochrome of a red shirt, gloves and bag was intense, and I wondered if the red was political, as in Reagan red or Russian red. The green gloves appeared again with a purple shirt and a clear green vinyl bag that resembled Jell-O. Then the 50th look arrived in the form of a hoodie printed with red poppy flowers and a sleeping Judy Garland in the role of Dorothy. The girl from Kansas was the hero embedded in the show’s clothing. This changed everything. 
Vanilla bean suit (photo: WWD.com)

Snow is what woke up Dorothy and her friends from their poppies sleep in The Wizard of Oz. That brought me back to the vanilla bean suit that opened the show: the white color was the snow.  The intense red was not Reagan Red, but ruby red as in ruby slippers. The black and white blur of earlier pants must have been the image of Dorothy sleeping on poppies twisted to the point of decipherability. As for those green gloves and bag, they were undoubtedly a wink to Emerald City. The bright yellow cross-body thermos on one model evoked the yellow brick road, which was the path taken by Dorothy and her friends to Emerald City. 

Apparently Virgil Abloh thinks that we need to wake up and continue the journey to Emerald City aka a better world, as well as watch The Wizard of Oz. Count me in for doing both. 


Blousy shirt & clutch purse (photo: WWD.com)

The yellow thermos (photo: WWD.com)
Green "Jell-O" bag & more green gloves (photo: WWD.com)

Peter Pan collar & green gloves (photo: WWD.com)

The Hero appears (photo: WWD.com)


Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Liam Hodges Spring 2019 Menswear Show Made Me Hungry

Bon Appetit! Bay-beh (photo: Patrick Michael Hughes)


After seeing a pair of dice and the words “crapping out” both embroidered on shirts and socks at the Liam Hodges SS19 show, I couldn’t help thinking of Noni Malone the lead character from the film Showgirls (1995). I could see Noni stuffing her face with a cheeseburger and ketchup-drenched French fries. I’m licking my lips as I type this, by the way. 

The models in the Liam Hodges SS19 portrayed men who lacked self-awareness and were hungry for attention, just like Noni. The first model to walk the runway wore a mullet, camo and sunburned skin. He looked like he hunted for fun and might have voted for Donald Trump. I was stereotyping, but it was my first thought. I looked at his face closer and I saw Sean Penn’s surfer character in the film The Fast Times of Ridgemont High, especially with his sunburned face. 

I continued to feel the heat as an olive-skinned model in a chenille sweater and shorts containing a calming Tiffany blue the same color as the turquoise ocean in the Virgin Islands. With a layer of sweat on his skin, he didn’t look expensive at all, except for those fabulous honey-toned tinted sunglasses. I saw a Bizzy Bone from Bone Thugs-N-Harmony lookalike looking fly in a pink-accented color blocked duster. Then there was the guy with the satin bomber jacket and satin gym shorts showing off legs that should be insured Tina Turner-style. 

Turquoise Paradise (credit: WWD.com)


The looks that spoke to me had one common thread: soft femininity intertwined with the flashy athleticism of the clothing. There was one look that I’ve yet to mention that pulled the whole show together. A model with the face of Jesus Christ wore a polo shirt, tailored Hawaiian shorts and a plastic bib like the ones given at seafood restaurants. The polo shirt was no ordinary polo shirt, but was printed with images of police sketches adding a sense of danger to the shirt. The bib was printed with a lobster as if he had just devoured a lobster. Then there were those Christian crosses mixed into the Hawaiian flowers on his shorts. Did I say he looked like Jesus?! Last but not least, there were those socks embroidered with dice and the words “crapping out.” Past stop: seafood restaurant. Next stop: slot machines. 

Lobster & Jesus (credit: WWD.com)

The Mullet (credit: WWD.com)



Thursday, June 14, 2018

Resort 2019: Versace’s First Ladies


(Photo: Vogue.com)
Donatella Versace recently released the Versace Resort 2019 look book and in the seventh photo I saw Michelle Obama and Melania Trump in the same body. This was definitely a Twilight Zone feeling.

It may be Twilight Zone-ish, but it’s not dark. When I scanned the collection of Crayon-hued outfits, one word came to mind: mothers. There’s something exciting about being a mother that makes women from all walks of life—from movie stars to schoolteachers—want to activate their maternal side. Ideally a mom wants to make her child’s life better and watching that child grow like a flower is the greatest reward. 

Michelle Obama and Melania Trump are both mothers and both have attained the title of First Lady of the United States. What made me think of Michelle Obama and Melania Trump was a model wearing a houndstooth-patterned cardigan and a gingham pencil skirt. U.S. First Ladies didn’t wear this down-to-earth style until Michelle Obama moved into the White House. Melania tends to wear high fashion with an avant-garde slant, but when she needs to look more casual she throws on a cardigan, slacks and ballet flats. I wonder where she got that notion. 

The looks from Versace Resort 2018 that spoke to me the most were the ones I could imagine everyday women wearing. There’s what I would call a miniskirt dress (really a shirt and dress) with majestic gigot sleeves and printed with twin horse heads and cherubs. With this the model wears legging boots that I doubt the everyday woman would wear, but all that woman has to do is wear bare legs and ballet flats or flip-flops. Even the movie Clueless factors into the fashion in a look consisting of a cardigan, a pleated miniskirt and high-heel legging boots. Stylish suburbia is what these clothes will create. 


The big thing that’s not everyday about these Versace Resort 2019 clothes is the price tag, which is a bit of a shame. It would be fun seeing women in my suburban neighborhood wear these clothes while they push strollers, work a 9-to-5-office job or walk the boardwalk during summer. Women are not just one thing: they can raise a child; they can work and still be there for their child and live a fun full life. They also can be First Ladies, even if they’re the First Ladies of their households.
Push the kids in the stroller. (Photo: Vogue.com)
Clueless style (Photo: Vogue.com)



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Maartje Verhoef’s More Than a Model, She’s Protection

Maartje Verhoef(center) in American Vogue 


Calmness is a quality seen in CEO’S, presidents, mothers and royalty. When a person has this quality, people feel like everything will be all right because this person will protect them. Calmness is the key to fashion model Maartje Verhoef’s success. 

I was flipping through the pages of a 2015 issue of New York Magazine and a Prada
ad featured Verhoef with a Prada purse hanging from the crook of her arm like if Regina George wore business casualwear. She stood in the middle of two girls as one of them looked at her for guidance.  I turned the page and there was Maartje Verhoef in a Valentino ad again appearing with two other female models and again slaying them with her superiority. All I can say is Mother Maartje! 

She’s only 20 years old, yet the Dutch beauty has quietly become one of the highest-paid models. She’s opened and closed for almost every major designer and she’s had seasons where she walked the most shows out of any model. Clearly top designers like Miuccia Prada saw how she effortlessly exudes wealth, which sells the clothes perfectly. 

In a word, Maartje Verhoef is a boss. Her knack for exuding effortless confidence must be more than acting. I think she lives her life like a boss who cares for her family and friends instead of always being cared for. I call that having maternal instincts. Even Anna Wintour has noticed Verhoef’s appeal since she featured her frequently in the pages of American Vogue. A shrewd businesswoman like Wintour knows that her female readers will feel the strong presence of a model like Verhoef and model themselves after her, no pun intended. Of course, women have been doing this for years. It’s why the fashion industry is a billion dollar industry. 

This might sound like hyperbole, but CEO’s, mothers and royalty read fashion magazines and there’s a good chance they’ve seen Maartje and thought, “I want to go out and buy that Valentino dress because that model looks the way I want to look and the way that I want to feel.” 

No wonder Maartje is ranked as one of the “Money” girls on Models.com. 





Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Ariana Grande’s New Jam Makes Me Want to Mosh




Ariana Grande debuted her new song “The Light is Coming” from her upcoming album Sweetener a few days ago and it made me want to start moshing—as in a mosh pit.   

I was watching Ariana’s performance on YouTube and after she mouthed the words to Nicki Minaj’s feature on “The Light is Coming,” she chants “the light is coming to bring back everything the darkness stole” as if trying to perform an exorcism. Then that beat comes 45 seconds in and it sounds dark and bouncy simultaneously. Images of people moshing suddenly entered my brain. The song’s producer Pharrell Williams apparently never forgot his skater roots. In fact, he never forgot his early 2000’s roots with the Neptunes. 

Now we’ve gotten to the root of why I have such an affinity for Ariana. No other pop star in this modern era evokes early 2000s pop music like Ariana. “The Light is Coming” sounds like something Kelis would have sung on her first album in 1999. She also can belt out notes with Christina Aguilera clarity.  

In her futuristic Jetsons dress and the high-pitched ponytail she snatched from Britney Spears’s kitschy Martian queen in her “Oops…I Did it Again” music video, Ariana Grande cut a queenly path across the Wango Tango stage flanked by her male dancers (specifically a fierce and fabulous dancer with the endearing bowl cut). Ariana has hits and shows signs of being a future icon (Her distinctive ponytail is one of the reasons why). She’s a pop princess who wants to become a pop queen. And I think she may very well do it. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: Acne Studios Fall 2018 Gets Hot like Soup




The Acne Fall 2018 Menswear show made me hungry for soup and some of it made me think of an old Janet Jackson video. Watch the above the video to find out more.

Look at the photos below to see the runway looks I'm referring to.


The Beautiful Blonde
Tomato Soup!
Shirtless with futuristic purple ooze pants.

Sliver of Skin.