"Life can be a lot broader than that when you realize one simple thing, and that is that everything around us that we call life was made up by people who are no smarter than you, and you can build your own things, you can build your own life that other people can live in. So build a life. Don’t live one, build one."
The philosopher behind this bit o' wisdom is none other than Ashton Kutcher. I know, right?! However, in the spirit of not tossing the tool out with the crazed teen girls who wouldn't stop screaming during his surprisingly excellent acceptance speech at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards, I thought it would be fun to apply his insight to fashion.
By looking at how someone with flair to spare conceives of future fashion.
Like Australian artist and performer Onix Black, who is in her royal Cyberqueen incarnation here. "My vision is to inspire art and fashion into a new age of cyber elegance through the creation of iconic fashion and beauty images and video production," she explains. "I'm drawn to all things futuristic and I’m fascinated by beauty in all its forms. I create images that challenge concepts of beauty and fashion, that inspire progress into an age of futuristic grace, technology and style." (via)
Madonna. Catherine Zeta Jones. Jennifer Lopez. Sharon Stone. Jennifer Garner. Julia Roberts. Kate Winslet. Taylor Swift. Sarah Jessica Parker. Carrie Underwood. Mindy Kaling. J. Lo. Christina Hendricks. Taylor Swift. Katy Perry. Helen Mirren. Halle Berry. Brooke Shields. Jane Krakowski. Kate Winslet. Kelly Osbourne. Queen Latifah... Besides being gorgeous, what do these lovelies all have in common? A love of a glamorous Badgley Mischka evening dress that's a fab fit, whether you're a Hollywood award-winner, society bride, presidential daughter or one of the fabulous femme fatales that inspired Mark Badgley and James Mischka for their Fall/Winter runway collection.
"A paradox of the cool surface and the inner fire," notes Badgley. “Our style harks back to the glamorous Hollywood of the Forties," adds Mischka. As do their fine fabrics and excellent craftsmanship...which tend to be a footnote in fashion history all-too-often these days. While their designs typically include luxe touches and details, the overall silhouette is simple, streamlined and elegant - very retro glam but with fash-forward flair.
And yes, black is always a failsafe choice for evening, but it's fun to step out after dark in color, if nothing else to stand out in a sea of black-black-black. White is a surprisingly stylish choice as is bright lipstick red. I love the retro elegance and curve-flattering draping of the sapphire gown (below, far right) with its beaded overlay. And if you're ready to pull out all the style stops, shimmy into the shimmery emerald number oozing with enough va-va-voom to pretty much guarantee you'll be the belle of the holiday ball.
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in partnership with Badgley Mischka. The words and choice of dresses are mine.]
This extremely offbeat finalist in the Project Greenway competition organized by the Columbia University School of Architecture is made using pulp containing fungal spores. When you inhale, airborn bacteria is filtered out; on the exhale, the seeds in the mask are encouraged to sprout thanks to the breath's moisture and carbon dioxide. And a surprising amount of C02 gets sequestered. "An average adult weighing 154 pounds exhausts 456 liters of carbon dioxide a day," notes designer Robert Ortega. "Encapsulating this from the breath can have a significant effect on the total greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
Even cooler, once the mask takes root, it can be planted into soil. Small wonder this nifty "Green Screen" placed in the final five.
Like many artists, Belgian fashion designer Wim Bruynooghe loves his muse and even based an entired collection, called Lena, on the bond between the two. Layered between rubber are graphic elements rendered in Chinese ink which represent the memory of the muse, a kind of "cultural fossil." I simply call it beautiful.
Dutch Design Week 2013 explored the cutting edge of fashion, synthetic biology and 3D printing, with enough of the manmade in the mix to keep the looks from feeling too alien. "We tried to make it about technology and innovation, as well as handcraft," explains curator Ellen Albers of the Eindhoven shop You Are Here. They collaborated with the local Glamcult Studio on the Modebelofte 2013 Future Fashions exhibition highlighting young design talent that has worked with technologists, created experimental new materials or recycled old ones in surprising ways.
Like the piece above from the architecture-inspired "Object 12-1" collection by Majita Cop, a graduate student of Fashion Design at the Faculty of Textile Design of the University in Zagreb. The main theme of his work is "the question of identity." Question identity as it might, it immediately made me think of fashion history during the Renaissance, from the shoulder "wings" to the hip-enhancing tunic to the soft beret. Not surprisingly, the chiseled stone of the Šibenik cathedral which inspired this collection is quite old, dating from the year 153.
When designers look to the past, it always brings the chopine to mind for me. While the inspiration isn't as old as Cop's stone church, it's arguably far more colorful! In fact, chopines got so stilt-like by the 17th century that traveler John Evelyn noted in his diary of 1666 the shoes left women "half flesh, half wood." Even Shakespeare weighed in via Hamlet: "By'r lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine."
Now mind you, Santa, I'm not asking for an entire new wardrobe - more just some stylish stuff from my fave London store to spice up my sartorial side a bit. What's that? Oh, a coat - definitely...by Barbour, preferably. Some fabulous perfume from Dolce & Gabbana (plus a tube or 10 of their amaze lipstick would be lovely). And one of their bags, of course. Pardon? Yes, exactly, the snakeskin tote. A Paul Smith cardi...plus if there's any room left in your sack, some glovescarfkeychain. Huh? No, that should do nicely!
Thanks Santababy (and Harrods) - you're the best!
xo Lesley Scott
GET THE LOOK: coat - Barbour "Outlaw"; cardi - Paul by Paul Smith; ankle boots - Carvela Kurt Geiger "Spin"; fragrance - Dolce & Gabbana "Velvet Desire"; scarf, gloves & keychain - Paul Smith; degrade python tote - Dolce & Gabbana "Miss Lily" - all Harrods.com
[Note: This was written in partnership with Harrods. The words & opinions are mine.]
Savoring a luscious peach, ripened to absolute perfection. Lounging on an exotic island, bevvy in hand. Sitting behind the wheel of the Flying Spur from Bentley, relishing the feel of the hand-stitched leather seating (right), hand-carved woodwork and awesomeness of the 6-liter, 616-horsepower engine that goes 0-60 miles per hour in 4.3 seconds and can hit 200 mph.
Luxury may mean something different to everyone, but what everyone can agree on is the fact that time is involved. And lots of it.
Only after a decade's worth of study of up to 5,000 fragrance molecules will a perfumer be considered qualified to become a junior associate at a top fragrance house - add another 15 years before said perfumer is considered credible. At Hermès, the apprenticeship often starts early - as in, at home - where fathers and uncles toil away for years in leather shops before being permitted to stitch the lusted-after bags and shirts made from alligator skins retailing for just around $100,000.
Where this degree of time-intensive craftsmanship meets the finest raw materials and products - it's at this intersection that experts like Bentley's head, Christophe Georges and the US director for Krug, Carl Heline, agree defines and distinguishes luxury. "Luxury," adds Georges, "is something you cannot have easily."
But back to this $100K shirt. Whaaaaaa????!!!
It was designed by Veronique Nichanian, who has helmed menswear at Hermès'for more than 20 years and actually has the intent with designs like this tee to make them "wearable and not excessive" - a fact which kinda got overshadowed in the kerfluffle over the pricepoint. "We work a lot on the precious skins," she continues. "I love crocodile, I hate ostrich. I wanted to make a crocodile so soft and so I asked to do a special treatment. If you feel the garments we've done it feels like chiffon. We call it "crocodile chiffon" because it's really lightweight." Part of the charm of this"chiffon" croc tee, is, I think, the fact that despite the steep pricetag & endless hours of craftsmanship that went into making it, it's meant to be worn casually - sans pomp and circumstance. Which, I have to admit, is kind of cool. Fashion is often treated too defentially, too preciously - and this isn't that. Which I like. Spending on ultra-luxe items that either look a lot like their less spendy counterparts - except to someone in the know - or worn with a casual throwaway attitude is a growing trend amongst the members of the SUPREMIUM fashion tribe, the target market for items like:
- a backpack from The Row, the Olsen's higher-end line, made from Nile croc skins in collaboration with artist Damien Hirst & retailing for $55,000 (image)
- ripped-knee jeans from Balmain priced at $1,600
Here's the podcast I recorded about this - I hope you enjoy it!
Along with rich, famous & fabulous, Nicklas Bendtner can now add designer to his resume. While footballing for Arsenal is the official day job, when he's off the clock, he dabbles in making cool jewels for fashionistos. "It has always been my dream to create a jewellery collection for men," explains the handsome Dane about his stingray, silver and black-diamond pieces. "And it must - of course - be jewellery that does not look like anything else on the market."
The "Classic" collection of rings and bracelets are available in seasonal hues and are striking enough to wear out, but sufficiently sturdy to play sports in. The "Wildlife" collection (my fave), also contains necklaces and includes:
- an eagle, considered a ruler of the sky which symbolizes courage and perspective;
- a bear (power & strength);
- a cobra (craftiness & mystery);
- a whale - above (it rests in itself);
- & a lion (being a born leader).
"The jewelry has edge and attitude," continues Bendtner. "It is exclusive and unique." And is cool enough for ladies who like to borrow from the boys. "To my surprise, lots of women have shown a huge interest in our Collections." Enough so that he designed special pieces just for his feminine fans.
NOBLE by Bendtner is available in Denmark and internationally in Pacific Palisades, California.
- Lesley Scott
[Note: This was written in collaboration with NOBLE by Bendtner. The words are mine.]
Writing about the media is one way to examine the relationship between clothes and it. Another way? Wear clothing made from it. "Since 2004, I have been making "magazine clothes" which are made of old magazines," explains artist Movana Chen who shreds old magazines and then knits them into garments. "My idea is to play with deconstructing and reconstructing the shredded magazine papers, so that a certain meaning and content is given to these 'magazine clothes'." By creating "wearable art" for walking sculptures known as bodies, she dissects the way clothes and the media are related, shedding insight into our consumption of disposable commodities.
"The reconstructed paper pieces represent wishes, and are transformed into meanings about daily life. Even though the viewers might not understand those words printed on the shredded papers, the action they take in viewing implies communication, which then breaks the limitation of verbal language exchange. Through the knitting of these multi-languages hidden with the magazine papers, we learn about communication. It creates an alternative way of reading and exploring art as a
dialogue between visual language and the viewers. I beliver it is also a new approach to appreciate different cultures. My attempt is to explore the various methods to "wear" one's identity, to experiment and play with it, to create new opportunities for different cultures and identities and to begin the communication between one another."
For her ongoing “Travelling into your Bookshelf” project, she creates knitted dialogues around memories of books that have been donated to her by people from all over the world. "By exploring different cultures and the notion of chance through my knitting process, I attempt to establish relationships with the people I meet and to learn about their cultures by exploring their memories and maintaining a two-way communication. Through my knitting process with the participants, I hope to create a new way of reading that will let the viewers re-examine what human communication can be in a digitized society." (via)