Monday, February 27, 2012

Style Muse: Dita Von Teese

One of my all-time favorite fashionable ladies is none other than the Queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese. Her fame is in an entirely different classification than that of most celebrities as she has single handedly built her rise to success in the public eye through modeling, burlesque dancing, acting, and costume designing. She has walked the runway for various haute couture shows (the ultimate act of fashion) and is considered an international fashion icon. Her love of old Hollywood and 1940s retro glamour are reflected in her style, and unlike many fashionable females in the public eye, she executes the majority of her glamour herself. She does her own makeup, dyes her own hair, refuses to ever have a stylist, and still manages to look flawless.

It’s quite difficult for me to even comprehend the stylistic perfection of Dita Von Teese . She takes glamour very very seriously, and that’s something I admire. Devotion to glamour seems to be occurring less and less in our world, which is a tragic fact to face. The uniform of our society has become a mix between either jeans and t-shirts or sweatpants and ugg boots. If that’s your style, great! Wear it proudly. However, I feel as if a certain sense of laziness has spread across civilization when it comes to fashion. The glam culture is not as prevalent amongst the masses as it once was, and I’m not ok with that. Girls who spend long hours putting themselves together each morning are looked down upon, as if it’s a waste of time and that the only reason for the excessive glamour is to impress others.

No one seems to understand the honesty behind glamour. The obsession with altering one’s appearance through the world of beauty comes across to many people as being “fake”, when in all honesty, nothing can be more real. It’s a foreign concept to most people, as we live in a day and age in which convenience and comfort are valued over everything. The idea of “let’s spend hours painting our face, molding our hair, and rebelling against the dress code of society” is simply just not understood by the majority of people anymore.

But people like Dita restore my hope in all of humanity. She understands the culture of glamour, the lifestyle of fashion. She understands reasons why I cannot stand wearing jeans, or the highly emotional tears of fashion I cried when I become an owner of Litas. She gets it. She understands the joy glamor brings to one’s life, and the importance of dedicating ourselves wholeheartedly to our own personal styles. It’s not about impressing others; it’s about nurturing the glamour that’s embedded deep within our souls and harnessing the magic that happens upon glamorizing ourselves.

Dita lives, breathes, and radiates glamour. She is unafraid to wear whatever she wants, not matter how extravagant or overdone she may appear. There is nothing more genuine than her artificial black hair and signature red lips, as Dita purely wears her soul in her style. We are what we create for ourselves, and our bodies are seen as a blank canvas to the fashionable soul. One of my favorite things about Dita is that she is always fully committed to her style, no matter if she’s in the grocery store or on the red carpet. Fashion is not just a part of her life, fashion is her life. And the individuals who lead a lifestyle of fashion are those in which I admire most in this world, as I don’t know if it’s possible for anyone else to truly understand me.

Dita Von Teese has worked hard to achieve everything she’s set her mind to and is living proof that dreams are indeed possible no matter how varied or unattainable they may seem. She isn’t the standard “cookie cutter” image of what’s considered beautiful in our society, but she’s worked hard to overcome all of that and has paved her way into being one of the most recognizable women in fashion. She reinforces the idea in me that you don’t need a reason to dress up. If you feel the need to wear a sparkly dress and heels to the grocery store, don’t hesitate for a second! Work that frozen food isle like you’re strutting down the runway for Dior and let the magic of fashion free your soul from the toxic expectations of society.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Style Your Senses

You know that person whose sweet perfume intricately invades your senses when they walk past you? That is the person I strive to be every single day of my life.

It’s no secret that I hoard bottles of perfume like a French whore. I just finished my eighth bottle of Heiress by Paris Hilton, all of my clothes are permanently covered in shimmer from the insanity that happens whenever I come in contact with my bottle of glitter filled Juicy by Juicy Couture, and I've probably gone through more bottles of Fantasy by Britney Spears than I have consumed water in my lifetime. I have also made a vow to myself to not purchase any food on campus in order to save up for a giant bottle of Play by Givenchy— the next fragrance to fall victim to my perfume whoring ways.

Without question, I have a deep addiction. Not an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or whatever the next greatest problem may be that’s featured on Celebrity Rehab-- I am addicted to glamour and my addiction to the drug of beauty seems to get deeper and deeper as the days progress. Perfume in particular is one of my biggest cravings in the whole wide world of glamour, and the need for it in my life is something I take very seriously.

Perfume is the icing on the cake of all things style. It adds another sense to fashion, allowing us to both observe and inhale an outfit. Without perfume, a live outfit in the flesh is not operating at its full potential. The clothes are just plainly there on the individual; seen, but not tasted; observed, but not felt. In order for me to connect on a deeper level with those I talk to, they have to be wearing perfume as it gives me a better sense of their style in general.

As a natural born hoarder of fragrances, I’ve realized that not all scents work equally on everyone. For example, my mom likes really exotic and musky tones in fragrances such as YSL’s Opium and Tova by Tova Borgnine. Me on the other hand, I enjoy perfumes that are so God damn sugary sweet to the point in which it may make others want to vomit. If my mom and I were to switch perfume collections, our lives would be a disaster. Our particular tastes in how we flavor our style each day with perfume is extremely different, and switching fragrances would be like switching clothes. There’s nothing wrong with the clothes she wears—her style is very much her own and I appreciate her freedom in fashion, but I would never wear any of what she wears, just as she would never wear any of what I wear and the same thing goes for perfume.

Everyone’s style is different, and perfume is a strong aspect of style. Our styles are unique and should reflect who we are deep inside. It’s important to find which fragrances work for you and then stick with them. You want to find a perfume that you can feel absorbing into your skin and awakening your soul as soon as you spray it on-- something that lights up your senses and makes you feel alive. Perfume is the last ingredient added to my outfit each morning, as no ensemble is complete without a delicious spritz of whatever scent I’m feeling on any given day. It takes me to the next level in fashion, allowing me to taste, feel, and beautifully lose myself in the dark pit of glamour that's embedded in my soul.

My plea for all of you is to remember that your outfit is not finished without perfume. It’s the spark of magic within your style and the aura that surrounds you. Without it you’re always going to be one step behind, and just as Coco Chanel once said, “A women who doesn't wear perfume has no future.”

Until then, check out some perfume ads:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Long Live McQueen

It’s been two years since British fashion designer Alexander McQueen tragically took his own life. His death came as a hard hitting blow to the fashion world, as McQueen was one of fashions greatest royalties. As the anniversary of his death passed last week, I feel it’s necessary to reflect back on his career as one of the greatest fashion designers of all time.

McQueen was head designer for Givenchy from 1996-2001 and then went on to create his own self-titled brand where he worked up until the time of his death. From the very beginning of his career in fashion, McQueen quickly made a name for himself. He carved out his own unique space in the world of fashion and received high praise from critics.

From the shipwreck theme of his Spring 2003 RTW Collection to the March 2010 show that featured his very last creations, McQueen was a star. His bravery to design straight from his soul, no matter how strange or unusual was something that deeply resonated with like-minded individuals all around the world. Each and every creation proved what a talented and innovative being he truly was. He always had a way of advancing fashion so far into the future that there was never a chance for time to catch up with it.

McQueen wasn’t afraid to dive into peculiar territory with his creations, as he took inspiration from insects, snakes, and extraterrestrial creatures for the strangely fashionable “Plato’s Atlantis” Spring 2010 collection.

For his Fall 2006 RTW collection, McQueen ended the show with one of the most mind-blowing theatrics fashion has ever seen. A revolving white hologram of Kate Moss magically appeared out of the darkness as eerie violins accompanied the floating woman’s godly movements. To call it a scene from a dream would be an understatement. In that moment, the whole world had turned into the most beautiful fantasy. All senses of reality had been washed away, and we were living in the fantasy of McQueen.

McQueen was one of the most progressive minds of our generation and his legacy will live on forever. His fashion was freedom, as he took us to a world that was entirely his own and allowed us to escape into the depths of his dark and beautiful imagination.  His world was that of enchantment and it’s truly tragic how his demons ended up winning in the end.

In honor of the brilliant mind that was Alexander McQueen, here are some of my favorite designs of his throughout the years.
“The world needs fantasy, not reality. We have enough reality today.” - Alexander McQueen

Givenchy-- Spring/Summer 1997

Givenchy-- Fall/Winter 1998
"The Oyster Dress"-- Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2003

Alexander McQueen-- Spring 2003

Alexander McQueen-- Spring/Summer 2005

Alexander McQueen-- Spring/Summer 2008
Alexander McQueen-- Fall/Winter 2009
Alexander McQueen-- Fall 2009 shoes
Alexander McQueen-- Spring/Summer 2008

Alexander McQueen-- Spring/Summer 2008

"Plato's Atlantis" Shoes. Alexander McQueen-- Spring/Summer 2010

"Plato's Atlantis" Alexander Mcqueen-- Spring/Summer 2010

"Plato's Atlantis" Alexander Mcqueen-- Spring/Summer 2010
"Plato's Atlantis" Alexander Mcqueen-- Spring/Summer 2010

Alexander McQueen SS 2010 heel in comparison to a normal heel.

Lady Gaga in Alexander Mcqueen at the 2010 MTV VMAs

Daphne Guinness wearing Alexander McQueen in 2009

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fashion Liberation

I was born with glitter in my veins and sequins in my brain. It was a rare sight for me to have been seen in something other than fluffy dresses or neon colored leggings when I was a little girl. I treated each day as a new adventure in fashion and surrounded myself with all things glamorous. My parents were very open minded in allowing me to express myself through acts of fashion and were very encouraging in letting me pick out my own clothes to wear to school, no matter how unmatched or ridiculous my choices may have been. I was completely free in my fashion, which made me feel like I could do anything I wanted to in the world. I put all of my energy into the my clothing choices and even though I just was a small child, I knew that I didn't want to dress like anyone else. I was a strange, unique little kid who's mind was orbiting around another planet in a faraway galaxy. In other words, much like I am today. However, It's been a long journey for my fashion obsessed soul, as I've ran into a few struggles when it comes to maintaining me freedom in fashion.

When I was in junior high, all the girls in my class were reading Seventeen, Teen People, and various other magazines catered towards young adolescent females. Like any other awkward middle school kid, the only thing on my mind was fitting in with my peers. Middle school is a strange time in one’s life—it’s the departure from childhood and the first of many years in one’s development towards adulthood. For me, it was probably the worst stage of my life. I was incredibly shy and a complete social outcast. The level if immaturity around me was at an all-time high, I didn’t have any true friends, I was a major band geek, and I was very insecure. I had absolutely no bravery to be myself so I did my best to blend in with those around me. I had lived for fashion as a child, but since no one in my class seemed to be very fashionable, I convinced myself that it wasn’t important anymore.

The general style for girls in my class was athletic footwear, sweatshirts, and jeans.  Even though that kind of attire was truly not my taste, being like everyone else had suddenly become the most important thing in the world to me, so that too became my style. 

As I made the transition from eighth grade to high school, I was still afraid to venture off the path of normality and be my true self. I had just turned 14 and felt as if I didn’t fit in anywhere. But it was one day in my freshmen year of high school that changed my entire growing up experience, and it was all thanks to my mom. She ordered me a subscription to InStyle Magazine. She had picked me up from school that day, handed me the magazine, and I began to carelessly flip through the pages as we were driving home. It took a few minutes before I realized that this magazine was nothing like anything I had ever seen before.

We arrived home, and I immediately went to my room to study the magazine a bit more carefully. Every page was filled with pictures and articles of high end fashion. Living in a town with a population of 500 people, the pictures I flipped through in my magazine were definitely not something I was used to seeing at all. The designers, the models, the heels, the pictures from the various fashion weeks—it was like I had discovered a whole new world that’s sole purpose at that moment was to save me. I was used to Seventeen and Teen People where the pages were filled with pictures of teenage girls and tips on extremely terrible topics like “how to make your crush like you” or “prom fashion”—things I thought I should care about, but really didn’t. I had become so preoccupied with trying to fit in with those around me that I had completely lost all traces of who I was deep inside. I don’t know how or why my mom had gotten me a subscription to InStyle, but it was just what I needed at that time in my life. It made me realize how unhappy and lonely I was. I was trying too hard to fit in with people who didn’t care about me and had sacrificed my entire sense of self in the process. The magazine brought my true love back into my life; fashion.  It opened my eyes to the world around me and allowed me to understand that the most important thing in the world was being myself. It was weird, it was my own sense of fashion, and it was me. From that moment on I began to rediscover myself. I made new friends, found my own style, and was learning to be more confident in myself and not be ashamed of the things I was interested in.

It wasn’t until my senior year of high school in which I had finally discovered and accepted my true identity. I spend all of my time surrounding myself with various fashion magazines, art, and music. I was never invited, nor had I felt a desire to go to any high school parties. The idea to try and fit in with my peers was far gone, and I was happy with myself. The girl who used to be afraid to express herself in fashion was now showing up in leopard printed leggings with stiletto heels to first period English. I’m positive that all the other kids in their signature jeans and sneakers thought I had lost my mind, and they were right. I had lost my mind; I had lost it in fashion, as that was right where it belonged.  

Fashion has always existed deep within my soul. As I look back on the years of my life in which I struggled with my own identity, I realize how confused I was without fashion at the surface of my daily life. I’ve found my freedom in fashion. It’s how I express myself, it’s the world I live in, and it's what pumps through my veins. Fashion is essential for my very existence. If someone told me I was never allowed to enjoy fashion, think about fashion, or execute my own personal style ever again, I wouldn’t want to live.  I would much rather die than live in a world in which the very core of my existence does not exist.  

From the runways of Paris Fashion week to the pictures in Vogue, fashion brings me to life.  It’s a fantasy, and the fantasy of fashion has become my reality. I think it’s important to start this blog with a reflection on my struggles in finding my identity in fashion rather than the easy roads that have led me there.  Struggles build character and give us a deeper appreciation for the things in our lives. Fashion takes courage, and some people go their whole lives without possessing the courage to fully execute their true visions of fashion, and that breaks my heart.

If there’s anything I want to accomplish with this blog, it’s to allow people to free themselves through fashion. Weather that be through the actual clothes they wear, the magazines they read, or the styles they admire, fashion is an unlimited realm of freedom and expression that we all deserve in our lives. It’s important to note that style is the single most significant factor in fashion. We’re all unique beings with our own sense of what we consider beautiful in fashion. The only rule is to wear what you love and possess the confidence to freely express yourself through your own personal style, as you don't need the approval of anyone else but yourself.