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The Disney-enabled Miley Cyrus takeover of the world is complete.  That’s right; available now at the Walmart near you will be the long-rumored line of Miley-wear, both inspired and designed by the pop sensation herself.

Surprised?  We didn’t think so.

Propelled by last month’s appearance on the cover of ELLE magazine, Miley’s transition into the fashion world mileyhas been fast-tracked.  The reason?  Probably, cynically, because the kid can sell whatever she touches.  Miley Cyrus is the Midas of Middle America.

This is not to say that her new clothing line is ugly; as far as teen rock-star garb goes, it’s actually not all bad.  Co-produced with Max Azria, venerable designer formerly of BCBG and Hervé Léger, the pieces in the Miley & Max  collection are all priced under $20, and can be mixed and matched in some creatively costumey ways.

Walmart’s website features photos of Miley in suspender shorts and a Union Jack tunic (probably the two best pieces in the line), but these items are nowhere to be purchased.  Instead, customers can put together an outfit with tie-dyed tanks ($6.00!) and Crayola-colored jeans.  A black cropped vest is cute, but zebra t-shirts with vests attached are not; hopefully as Miley’s concert tour nears, more of the fashiony items will be released.

The verdict:  the prices are great, but the pieces–at least those currently selling on Walmart’s website–aren’t necessarily allowance-worthy.

isaac-mizrahiAs if his other jobs designing for Target, Liz Claiborne, and his eponymous line weren’t enough, Isaac Mizrahi spins his recent TV stint judging Bravo’s The Fashion Show into a deal with QVC to star in a “talk show-meets-hawk show.” Followers of Mizrahi know how hilarious and captivating he can be (full disclosure:  I’ve been a huge fan since the movie Unzipped came out in ’94), so if there’s any personality who can anchor 8 hours a month on a TV station better known for its shiny product lines ending in -ique, it’s him.

On a set that is currently being built at his NYC studio, Mizrahi will sell everything from cheesecake to furniture, in between segments that see Mizrahi take questions from callers and chat about his life.  Doug Howe, chief merchandiser for QVC, recalls that he was

“…fascinated by the way Mr. Mizrahi spoke, leaping from tea patterns to sheets then rain boots. ‘We were just sitting there watching him talk, thinking, ‘My God! On air, you are going to resonate so strongly with our consumers!’ ”

But will Mizrahi’s goods for QVC sell?  The TV network is banking on it:  first-quarter sales fell 10%, and all signs point to QVC’s hope that Mizrahi will do for its bottom line what he has done with rescuing Liz Claiborne’s company from its creative and financial drought.  Despite some stumbles in his early career, Mizrahi has proven as of late that his designs–and ultimately, the Isaac Mizrahi brand–can make money.

One thing’s for sure:  I’ll be watching.  The man’s selling goat cheese cake.

photo credit:  QVC

zappos-logoAs far as breaking retail news goes, this one came out of nowhere:  in a deal that has now become public, Amazon has purchased popular online shoe and apparel company Zappos.com for around $900 million USD.  (Most of Zappos’ compensation is in Amazon stock, which makes the exact value of the the transaction hard to pin down.)

That’s a lot of sneakers.

amazon-logoRumors about the deal abound, but many spectators suspect Amazon of swallowing up their greatest competition.  Zappos has dazzled customers with its huge selection of brands, competitive pricing, friendly customer service, and what has become its signature–free, fast shipping.  The only other online retailer that comes close to hitting this mark is–you guessed it–Amazon.  Add to this Zappos’ legendary employee loyalty and zany corporate culture, and it seems like a valuable property indeed.

According to a Wall Street Journal source,

…the two companies had been in tallks for months…Amazon’s logic in the deal, this person added, was to take out its largest competitor in the apparel space. One fear was that Zappos would branch out into new categories, eventually posing a bigger threat to Amazon, which itself began solely as an online bookseller.

So let the questions begin:  this ZDNet article does a good job of parsing the issues, which include the fate of Amazon’s own shoe branch Endless.com, and the independence (or lack thereof) of Zappos’ current management, culture, and website.

Who will Amazon buy next?  Looks like they might be going on a shopping spree.

Think the intersection of fashion and politics is just about Michelle Obama’s toned arms and Hillary Clinton’s bland pantsuits?

vivienne-tam-mao-suitThen you need a history lesson:  prepare to be dazzled by lots of American flag draping and Mao wear at the FIT Museum‘s (located at 7th Ave and 27th St in NYC) new Fashion & Politics exhibition, showcasing 200 years of stylish political statements.

Among the exhibits:

…a woman’s costume, circa 1889, printed with an American flag motif, as well as Catherine Malandrino’s iconic Flag Dress, worn by numerous celebrities and socialites to express patriotism after 9/11, and then again in response to the 2008 elections. Also featured will be an “IKE” dress from the 1956 Eisenhower Campaign, a “NIXON” paper dress, and memorabilia from the historic 2008 presidential elections.

catherine-malandrino-flag-dressInteresting sidenote:  I always associate Malandrino’s dress–which can still be purchased for the tidy sum of $450–with the patriotic aftermath of 9/11, but the dress was actually designed in the spring of 2001, then relaunched this year to commemorate Obama’s inaguration and Malandrino’s 10th anniversary.

Also on display will be outfits representing Civil War women’s support of the Union and Confederacy (modeled on their male soldier counterparts), early 20th century “split skirts” that allowed women to comfortably ride bicycles, and denim jumpsuits worn by Rosie the Riveters during WWII.

And while not part of the official Fashion and Politics exhibit, Isabel Toledo’s unforgettable chartreuse design worn by First Lady Michelle Obama at 2009’s Presidential Inauguration can be viewed at the museum as well.

View local news station NY1’s  preview of the the show here, and a slideshow of the show’s design’s here.

America, are you ready for the umlaut?

Sacha Baron Cohen’s full-length skit Brüno lands on our shores today, and like many who have followed SBC’s career from the BBC to HBO to brunoBorat, I’ve snickered along with the clips that have leaked on the internet.  I’ve also felt like I’ve already seen the entire film.  (Not that this would stop me from viewing the film in the theater.  I’m not that much of a jerk.)

What amazes me about Brüno is that the world hasn’t a) tired of his fancy prancing, or b) completely caught onto his shtick yet.  From the backlash already spreading on the internet, however, it seems that Bruno might be getting too big for his tiny spandex britches.  Here’s a sampling:

From The Daily Camera:

“Bruno is a one-joke character in a one-joke movie, and it’s a joke Baron Cohen beats into the ground. He’s a flamboyantly gay Austrian fashion correspondent who repeatedly shocks people with his flamboyant gayness. The end.

In small doses — on the TV show and at the film’s high-energy start — he can be a hoot. Here, big laughs come intermittently, and the longer “Bruno” drags on, the more apparent it becomes that there’s nothing to him. He’s as vapid as the celebrity culture he’s stridently spoofing — which makes it hard to care about him.”

Anti-defamation groups are already debating whether Brüno‘s graphic humor and portrayal of gay culture does enough to torpedo homophobia.

From The Boston Herald:

“To judge this as a single movie is tough, it’s 90 minutes of single sketches, some of which hit their mark and others miss their mark and hit the community,” said Rashad Robinson of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). “Is it good for gays? Absolutely not, it’s a mixed bag.”

With reservations, Michael Musto, the gay Village Voice columnist, praised Cohen: “It’s hard to get mad at a movie that makes fun of the closet and promotes two men kissing in public as a wonderfully transgressive act of affection.”

Musto’s problem is with Bruno, a character lacking “real soul” who is “terminally superficial.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Our household owns an obnoxious amount of American Apparel t-shirts.  Granted, most of the tees are in the same style–tri-blend and boy beaters for me; gym tees and leisure shirts for my husband–which can be chalked up to the fact that we both wear fashion uniforms that can be easily replicated morning after morning, or replaced when the pieces wear out.

Obviously, we’re in a rut.

In an attempt to branch out, here are four other t-shirt resources for quality, affordable, on-trend basics:

alternative-apparel-echo-park-heather-burnout-deep-v-neckAlternative Apparel

The name is such a nudge at American Apparel that you have to laugh.  AA (the alternative one) is aiming their gaze squarely at AA’s market, taking the extra step of actually clothing their models and making their tees softer and less prone to shrinkage than their American Apparel counterparts.  Shirt for shirt, Alternative Apparel’s Echo Park Heather Burnout Deep V-Neck is so sharp and sexy that it sears the competition.  More expensive than American Apparel, but worth it.

jcrew-twisted-slub-jersey-tankJ.Crew

Regardless of whether the Crew is your style, their t-shirts–which often go on big, big sale, and can be found at their outlet locations–hold their shape and last forever.  I actually own a maroon tank top from 2001 that, hand to God, is still wearable, if it weren’t for that huge bleach stain on its front.  (I sleep in it now.  Sexy, I know.)  Try the Twisted Slub Jersey Tank and the Tissue Boyfriend V-Neck Tee.

old-navy-rib-knit-racerback-tankOld Navy

Don’t scoff; for those of us who can’t run in to a Uniqlo or H&M for a t-shirt fix, Old Navy provides a decent selection of wear-it-for-one-summer-then-toss-it basics.  At the beginning of the season, I buy a stack of white tanks, then discard them when summer shreds them to yellow, smelly pieces.

americas_basics_tight_t_shirt_scoop_neck_with_cap_sleeveHonorable Mention:  America’s Basics

While I haven’t personally worn anything from this line, their prices are certainly cheap enough to give the brand a try.  You could easily build an entire t-shirt wardrobe for around $50.

robert-pattinson-megan-foxIn a coupling that would make teenage boys and girls weep with the force of 1000 vampire tears, Megan Fox–tattooed, potty-mouthed, and recklessly hot–and Robert Pattinson–well-coiffed heartthrob and star of many an adolescent locker–are said to be, well, hooking up.

Who knows if this is true; and for the purposes of a fashion blog, who really cares?  The real story here is in the clothes.

On her recent publicity tour for her summer blockbuster Transformers:  Revenge of the Fallen, Fox made appearances in luscious red lips, hourglassed fuschia frocks, and leggy, backless evening gowns.  Translation:  I have a smokin’ bod.  Na na na na boo boo.

Robert Pattinson, on the other hand, often sports the uniform of a louche man-about-town:  slim suits, high hair, the sly look of a man-boy on the prowl.  The star of the Twilight franchise rocks a self-professed “expensive but disheveled” look, which often results in an outfit of all-black.  Translation:  don’t look at me.  But hey:  why aren’t you looking?

Are these two rising style stars compatible?  While Pattinson channels a certain under-the-radar Hollywood glam–think Clooney, not dandy–Fox is working the Angelina Jolie-via-Jennifer Lopez look.  Sound combustible?  That’s because this pairing probably is.

michael-jackson-crotchSince Michael Jackson’s untimely death last week, MJ fashion retrospectives have been popping up like daisies on headstones.  Which is a good thing:  the man was a style and music icon, and this part of his legacy should be celebrated.

But why read about the man and his myth when you can walk around dressed like him?  After all, that’s what uber-fan and long-time MJ friend Corey Feldman did upon hearing of Jackson’s death.  80’s fashion has definitely experienced a resurgence as of late, but in a post-Michael Jackson world, even wearing your gold thong on the outside of your pants is fair game.  Right, Lady GaGa?

So if you want to look like the King of Pop, minus the kid dangling off the balcony, try these three easy pieces:

michael-jackson-stageAviator Sunglasses

Faithful to his mirrored look until the end, Michael Jackson almost singlehandedly popularized aviators in the early 1980’s.  (To properly credit another cultural touchstone of the 80s, I’m sure the movie Top Gun didn’t hurt aviator sales either.)

Statement Jacket

Sequined or lamé, military or leather, the man understood the power of a dramatic topper.  Often thrown over nothing but a simple black t-shirt or white button-down, the jackets proclaimed flash, while expressing at the same time an understanding of the fact that fashion is nothing but layers that can be peeled off to reveal a basic human core.

The Glove

In lieu of explanation (does this really need any?), I’ll leave you with an anecdote:  after learning of MJ’s death, all the doctors and nurses at our local hospital wore one glove.  The solo glove was Michael Jackson’s universal signifier; what it signified, like much of Michael Jackson’s life, we’ll never be sure.

Farrah-FawcettRIP, Farrah:  at the young age of 62, style icon Fawcett passed away today after a long battle with cancer.  Besides the family, friends, and film legacy she leaves behind, there will be her eternal status as a style icon.  And oh, the fashion…

Let’s start with her hair.  As a child born of the 70s, I remember our tiny black-and-white TV broadcasting the hit show “Charlie’s Angels”  (way past my bedtime, of course).  Although the picture wasn’t even in color, Farrah’s hair seemed to glow; as big as the top half of the screen, her highlighted wings were a character of their own.  A few years later, I whined to my mother that I hated my own blonde locks, and wanted glorious brown hair like Brooke Shields.  Repressing a gasp, she replied, “Honey, you have Farrah hair.  Be happy.”

On to her clothes:  she wore tight, silky jumpsuits; t-shirts without bras; fitted, high-waisted, not-mom jeans; and infamously, a red bathing suit that dads around the world wished they could pin up on their bedroom wall.  (There’s a reason why the Baywatch girls ran around the beach in red one-pieces.)  Photos of her outfits would slide almost seamlessly into today’s fashion magazines.  We can see now that what seemed like trends spawned by a hit TV series ended up being timeless.

So here’s to you, Farrah:  may our memories of you always be as smiling and golden as the pictures.

federerReigning king of men’s tennis Roger Federer (sorry Nadal, but you’re down for the count) sparkled on the court yesterday, and not just because of his easy disposal of Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu in straight sets.

The formerly demure Federer, who has worn a preppy, cream blazer and grandpa cardigan to Wimbledon in previous years, donned an outfit worthy of a diva disco queen:  all white, punctuated by gold lamé Nike swooshes, including a waistcoat edged in gold.  Accented by a huge man bag with gold ends that looked, as The Times noted, like a “giant wrapped luxury chocolate.”  All this, topped by what the Telegraph called a “military-safari-raver” jacket.

Asked to explain (justify?) his look, Federer stated that he “went for a modern military look; hope people like it.”  As for their part, Nike, who clothes Federer, said his outfit was “more contemporary” while “still retaining the stylistic cues which make him stand out from the other players.”

And stand out he did:  between the epaulettes, gleaming zipper, and “RF” monograms, Golden General Federer took spectators’ breath away before his first swing of the racket.  Sports that wear uniforms, take heed:  you should be so lucky.

Photo courtesy of Getty