Saturday, June 30, 2012

Magazine Covergirl -- Teen Vogue: Emma Stone & Andrew Garfield (August 2012)

     The moment that I see a new issue of Teen Vogue on newsstands, I know that my copy will be arriving in the mail soon enough. It's pretty much the only magazine that I've consistently subscribed to since I was sixteen and even years later, I still get really excited when a new issue arrives (I don't think I'll ever outgrow this excitement.) The August 2012 issue features on-screen and real life lovebirds Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield in a cover story titled World Wide Web that was photographed by Josh Olins and styled by Cathy Kasterine. With the much anticipated movie The Amazing Spider-Man coming out July 3 starring the duo, the momentum of work (filming, the inevitable press tours, and movie premieres) hasn't really stopped for this couple, especially for Emma who has had a pretty busy couple of years. That same newsstand this month holds her first Vogue cover for the July 2012 issue and she also snagged June 25, 2012 cover of New York Magazine. But then again, I don't think we expect anything less from someone who recently won the Trailblazer Award at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards. I was pleasantly surprised on how moved she was by that award. 

     The setting of the cover shoot, which was shot on a Manhattan rooftop and styled to look like New York City's High Line park, definitely evokes the back-to-school feel of the issue (it is the August issue after all) with fall's crisp pieces, bright coats, bold accessories, and a lot of other props and headwear thrown into the mix including Marc Jacobs's recent creation of the so-called Dr. Seuss furry hat that was featured in his Fall 2012 runway show. Emma Stone, whose hair color constantly vary in different films, looks gorgeous as a blonde (her natural hair color) while clad in Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, and Calvin Klein Collection dresses and a bedazzled Prada coat. And with a high-school superlative theme to go along with the shoot, Andrew Garfield is looking equally dapper in tailored suits and jackets ranging from Burberry to Thom Browne. Teen Vogue voted them most likely to succeed in the issue, but I say they're cutest couple. Now only if the cover story talked more about their relationship and a little less of Ryan Gosling. 

Love, KB 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Grace Coddington for Vogue -- April, May, July 2012

"In 1969, a young woman named Pamela Rosalind Grace Coddington joined British Vogue's fashion department. Already well established as a model, Grace Coddington was gifted with an instinct that enabled her to change her look overnight, often ahead of fashion. In time, she would become creative director of the American edition of Vogue and the main producer of the Style Essay. It was she who would make the genre international and would develop its new variations. 
Coddington has been in charge of most of the magazine's Style Essays, which have become regular landmarks in the magazine's year. Coddington is considered the most experienced, knowledgeable, and innovative fashion editor working today. 'She has the eye and the instinct to know which look could inspire,' says Wintour, "and an uncanny ability to take the seed of an idea and turn it into a famous narrative . . . . She always sees fashion in terms of stories, of an amusingly romantic bent . . . . Little wonder all the photographers want to work with her: She inspires them and challenges them like no one else." 

     Ever since I was old enough to appreciate the value and worth of an issue of Vogue I've somehow established a certain custom of how I would devour the pages of a new issue. While waiting in the check-out line to purchase my new issue (because I'm not patient enough to wait for magazine subscriptions to come in the mail and somewhat distrustful of the mailing system because of lost issues in the past that never made it to my mailbox) I usually sneak a quick peek in the back of the magazine to get a glimpse of Grace Coddington's latest editorials, but still manage to contain my excitement and make it back to my desk before going through the magazine from cover to cover. This particular habit goes a little bit like this: 

1. I promptly remove all of those loose subscription cards and use them as bookmarks as I quickly flip through the entire magazine to look at the ads and editorials, while marking specific sections such as the Letter from the Editor, any interesting articles that catches my eye along the way, the cover story, and of course Grace Coddington's Style Essays in the Point of View
2. After this initial observance I backtrack to Anna Wintour's editor letter which perfectly summarizes the major themes and certain highlights of the issue. 
3. Then depending on my mood and who's on the cover I would either read the cover story and closely examine the cover spread noting the stylist and the photographer or dive right into Grace's Style Essays taking in the story of the spread and simultaneously making a mental note of all the details in each page (designer of all the pieces, shoes, jewelry, handbag, etc.
4. I would continue on to the rest of the editorials in the magazine with more precise attention this time around and then read all of the articles starting with the ones that interested me the most. 

I know it alls sounds a little crazy and a bit too meticulous, especially over a fashion magazine, but what you have to realize is that it's the images in these magazines that ultimately drive trends each season and contribute to what we see in the media, what's in our shopping malls, and finally into our closets. Fashion didn't become a multi-billion dollar business by being passive and idle. It indirectly influences all of us even if we can't afford those red-soled Christian Louboutin pumps or Karl Lagerfeld's latest recreation of a Chanel tweed jacket. 

     Most people will never appreciate the images in a fashion magazine, let alone pick up a copy of a glossy and think about the implications of its contents and how it relates to what's going on in the world like politics, health, beauty, the arts, travel, and food. But to me, a new issue of Vogue is more than just pretty pictures or pictures of unaffordable pieces of clothes and shoes on an impossibly tall, fit, and gorgeous model -- that interpretation is too literal. Aside from forecasting trends, which arguably is its main aim, is the fact that it tells a beautiful fashion narrative along the way. And that's why I love and admire Grace Coddington's work so much. 

     Her work in the pages of Vogue goes beyond showing the readers that shorts are making a huge statement this summer season, as displayed in May 2012's "Short Order" or how designers are making a lot of bold risks in recent collections by experimenting with dramatic volume, shapes, and silhouettes as outlined in July 2012's "The New Normal." Her editorials aim to tell a cohesive fashion story, but it tells it with an additive dose of fantasy, romanticism, and whimsical touch. Take April 2012's "Checking Out" featuring Kate Moss for example. On face value this Style Essay and its accompanying stories informs the reader about the upcoming renovations at the Ritz in Paris and the editors' nostalgic experiences in this famed hotel. But the spread is not just sixteen pages of pictures of an old and historic hotel in France, but rather it's filled with images of Kate Moss clad in the latest couture collections. I mean, what's more appropriate than having Kate Moss dressed in a black Chanel Haute Couture embroidered organza flower coat and pumps in the Imperial Suite where Karl Lagerfeld presented his 1996 couture collection, while simultaneously having the room littered with Chanel boxes in varying sizes??? I can't think of one. Not only do these images portray such a wondrous fantasy, it's almost a piece of art that you want to frame and hang up on the wall. It makes you feel this certain passion and beauty that you can't really put into words, or at least that's how I often feel. It's iconic for a reason. 

     Other times, some of Grace's editorials touches on current events like the new exhibit at the MET called "Impossible Conversations" in May 2012's "Talk to Her" in which the museum exhibition explores the uncanny resemblances between two designers' work, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada -- despite the fact that both are from two completely different eras (Schiaparelli during the time of Chanel in the 1920s and Miuccia with her current collections such as Prada and Miu Miu in present day.) Sometimes the magazine will even feature an actor, actress, or other artists (not to be confused with the cover story) and integrates that story with one of Grace's famous Style Essays. This particular feature usually pairs such artist with a model to tell the fashion narrative, in which this case May 2012's "Modern Times" has actor Michael Fassbender posing alongside Natalia Vodianova in fall's latest collections. Albeit, May is a summer issue and it is a little too warm and a little too early to show Fall trends (especially those Givenchy boots, but still.. *swoon), but this is the fashion industry we're talking about. In fashion, it's always about what's next and it's constantly moving forward -- I mean the Spring/Summer shows are in the fall (September Fashion Week) and the Fall/Winter shows are showcased so close to spring (February Fashion Week) for chrissakes.

     However these images make you feel and whatever your philosophy is on the subject of fashion and trends, if you have learned anything new at all or even felt a little something while getting lost in one of Grace Coddington's famous editorials and features, I personally think, that that speaks volumes as to the impact of this iconic magazine and perhaps Grace. It can be easily argued that all of this is very melodramatic. But I'd much rather be dramatic and passionate about something that's meaning to me than not. Keyword: me. 

Love, KB

April 2012: Checking Out
Fashionable guests recall the glory and glamour of the storied Ritz Paris, which, before closing its doors for renovation, hosts Kate Moss in haute couture one last time. 
Photographed by Tim Walker

May 2012: Modern Times
The utilitarian city wardrobe gets an artistic reimagining (and a dash of 1920s utopia) on model Natalia Vodianova and actor Michael Fassbender. 
Photographed by Craig McDean

May 2012: Talk to Her
The Costume Institute's spring blockbuster exhibition, "Impossible Conversations," explores the striking parallels between Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada. 
Photographed by Steven Meisel

May 2012: Short Order
With mercury rising, so too hemlines, as shorts are fast becoming a city wardrobe staple. 
Photographed by Steven Meisel

July 2012: The New Normal
Sarah Mower makes sense of fall's outsize shapes, outrageous volumes, and over-the-top attitude. 
Photographed by David Sims

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fashion Ad Campaign Obsession: Mulberry Fall/Winter 2012

     Regardless on how you feel about fashion, I think we all can come to the same consensus that it's fueled by equal parts of art, fantasy, imagination, creativity, talent, and storytelling. When I was a little girl, there was nothing more magical than make believe and fantasy. I think that as we get older, those who lose sight of that unknowingly (or not) lose a little bit of themselves, I mean isn't adulthood serious enough? I thrived on the Disney classic movies and books like Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, the Chronicles of Narnia, and the magical world that JK Rowling created in the Harry Potter series -- basically anything that was impossible made possible via the TV screen and book pages. So you can only imagine my utter delight at the new Mulberry Fall 2012 ad campaign inspired by creative director, Emma Hillwith the themes of dark fairy tales and fantasy travels as set in the Blackheath Forrest in Surrey, Englad (uhm hello, Number 4 Privet Drive Little Whinging, Surrey, anyone?) 

     The ad campaign, which was photographed by Tim Walker and I'm sure will start appearing in August glossies, was said to be inspired by a hybrid of the Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales and the Muppets. That at least explains all the furriness. It features the young American model Lindsey Wixson clad with looks from Mullberry's F/W 2012 collection and of course complete with the highly coveted Del Rey (yes, actually re-named after the singer Lana Del Rey after she was spotted carrying it around so much) Maisie, and Alexa bags (yes, that Alexa Chung) in an array of embellished, earth tones, and even a punchy orange hue. Ronnie Cooke Newhouse, who directed the campaign with her company House + Holme, said that setting is supposed to be an "interpretation of fears and dreams," which was also made to life by this idea that the photographer, Tim Walker, had when he was a little boy of wanting to monsters in the woods.

     How unbelievably chic is that monochromatic orange ensemble with the matching orange Maisie bag?? I'm usually not a big fan of the color but the cut of that skirt and the bold details of the bodice is absolutely gorgeous. I love tops with longer and modest sleeves. But with that fashion gush said, I can definitely see the Grimm's Fairy Tales reference and a little bit of the Muppets, but the monsters in the background reminds me more of the furry creatures in the 2009 film, Where the Wild Things Are. It's a beautiful and playful concept that definitely ventures to our childhood fantastical psyches and a great reminder that fashion is and always will have this kind of imagination of playful fantasy and romanticism. After all, aren't all inspirations for the new collections every season derived from some kind of image, a particular fantasy, that a designer develops in his or her head? An ad campaign is just another medium, another step further, of illustrating that image and conveying the story to the masses. 

Love, KB