Despite a timing snafu thanks to hosting bar Brix Tavern's DirecTV being on East Coast time (we had to wait until 10 pm for the season premiere to air for its second time), the Portland Monthly's Project Runway viewing party was well attended last night, with both Portland's prospects, Bryce Black and Becky Ross, in attendance. Things are a little different this season. Twenty designers were selected for the show, but the opening scenes had all of them re-auditioning for Heidi, Tim, and Nina, who cut five from the pack before they had even made it to the Parsons sweatshop. I have no idea what the point of that was, but it did allow for the thrill of seeing Heidi hop up and do a mock runway lap wearing Black's dramatic feather coat. Once back on the familiar track, the designers' first challenge began with a rude 5 am awakening, and marching orders to create a look using only the pajamas on their backs and one bed sheet—a good old fashioned materials-based challenge. I should say also that I've been kind of dragging my feet about the show this season. I'm tired of the same old drill and wary of the ambiguous opportunity it affords regional talents. It reminds me of a kidnapper luring hungry kids to a van with fancy candy. But the crop of designers they've got this time are pretty damn likable. Nobody jumped out as especially obnoxious or stuck up or prone to bullshitty drama (we'll see if that changes after the sleep deprivation kicks in). What's more, Tim, Heidi, and Nina all seem kinda feisty and goofy this season, as opposed to the last, which got to a point where I feel like they were always pissed off and exasperated and making weird, inconsistent calls. Maybe they got raises. Anyway, while I will always put the Portland talent first, I gotta say, I adore Bert Keeter.
I'm steeling myself in preparation for the debut this week of two more Portland contestants on the next season of Project Runway, a show many claim to have sworn off after Gretchen Jones (another Portland export) took home her controversial win. The producers, at least, can't seem to stay away from the local talent pool, though the two they've chosen, Bryce Black and Becky Ross, as recent Art Institute grads, are less ingrained in the Portland scene than the names we're used to seeing plucked. We'll start to know what to make of it on Thursday, when the first episode airs (9 pm on Lifetime). How inarguable is it that the show has jumped the shark? Have they chosen less experienced designers in order to crush the Portland winning streak? These are the questions I ask myself, and will continue to ask every Thursday night (if you'd like to spare yourself, I'll be recapping the episodes here). In the meantime, here's some homework. Watch the intro "home visits" to Ross and Bryce to get to know them a bit better, and—just as a bonus—check out one of their more interesting competitors, Anya Ayoung-Chee, a former Miss Universe Contestant (Miss Trinidad-and-Tobago) who scandalized the pageant community with a girl-boy-girl threesome sex tape. Oh my.
Clearly I'm not speaking of the modern iteration of Helmut Lang here, but of the original, the man himself, who quit a successful run in the fashion world back in 2005, much to the chagrin of minimalist dressers everywhere. Now it's being reported that Lang is going to use the last of his remaining collection (after giving many of the pieces to designers and museums who aren't going to let you wear them anyway) as materials for a series of 12 stalactite sculptures in "Make It Hard," his upcoming solo show at The Fireplace Project in East Hampton (you can pay your respects from July 22 to August 8th). Wampwamp.
We're #36 out of "40." Not that bad if number one is supposed to be the worst of the worst, but it's hard to tell since it stops at #6 (Philadelphia). It's also a remarkably inclusive list, littered with plenty of wildly creative justifications, and its suggestion that "It may be time to plan that move you've been thinking about," doesn't leave many places to move to since everyplace besides Manhattan and Los Angeles appears to be on it unless they too are somewhere below/above Philly (Seattle is #34, Detroit is #31, San Diego is #27, San Francisco is #20, Austin is #18, Atlanta is #17, New Orleans is #12, Brooklyn is #11, Miami is #9, friggin' Maui is #7). So yeah, obviously it's highly flawed. And GQ. Still I appreciated the accompanying explanation next to Portland's listing, which I assumed would just trot out the same outdated "observations."
For the average Portlander in the city's pre-modern era—the 1980s and '90s—social convention dictated what could be worn: outdoor gear with lots of zippers; floppy sandals and thick wool socks; plaid flannel; maybe a Stetson. Anyone who tried to affect an urban look was branded a "Californian." But now, Portland, like, say, China, is no longer a traditional society and its immemorial fashions are being displaced and re-imagined as it's sucked into the vortex of style modernity. The old and the new mix freely; confused, and unencumbered by the rigid aesthetic diktats of village life (shorts + Tevas + raincoat, regardless of weather), they mate promiscuously. The result is an embarrassment of bewildering sartorial neologisms, only to be found in Portland. Under the rain and grey skies, let a thousand style follies bloom. The global and the local have spawned the Portland douche bag: True Religion jeans and rhinestone-laden shirt set off by Oregon staples—cowboy boots and a fleece. At one of the city's most New Yorkian bars, in the Ace Hotel, amid the ranks of identically plaid-shirted and black-framed hipsters, one might glimpse a fully gothed-out, red-headed woman, resplendent in a purple velvet cape and vintage Victorian dress, sitting alone eating French fries—the incongruous, the absurd—is Portland's normal.
In news we knew weeks ago, and reported here and here, the lineup of the next season of Project Runway (the premiere episode of which airs July 28 on Lifetime) has been officially announced, and it still includes the same two Portland designers we already said it did: Bryce Black and Becky Ross. I said it before and I'll say it again:
It will be interesting to see how Black and Ross fare. Previous competitors from Portland had already dug into their careers and were well known within the local scene. By contrast, Black and Ross' most high-profile appearance was at the recent Art Institute graduate show (although Black's clothing has also been used in Portland Monthly editorials).
Over the weekend a Facebook page appeared for something called the 2012 Portland Fashion & Style Awards, prompting a whole lotta "WTF?" from my friends and associates in the local industry. Upon inspection of the website, it's revealed to be a Semper Fashion production, which let's just say does not inspire a ton of confidence, nor does the fact that the HQ address is in Vancouver. This is apparently happening in January, and until then, you can, if so inclined, vote on a number of categories listed on the web site, including "best designer," "salon," "event," "lifetime achievement," etc. We'll see how this shakes out, but we're watching you PFSA... we're watching you. Behold the mission statement:
We are Portland. We are Fashion & Style. From the City of Roses, the most sustainable city in the nation, home of fashion giants Nike, Jantzen Swinwear, Pendleton Woolen Mills and 3 Project Runway Winners, comes an event who's time has come, The First Annual Portland Fashion and Style Awards. Recognizing the fashion designers, boutiques, salons, models, photographers, make up artists and stylists of the Portland Metro Area and celebrating an industry which reflects our city's artistic and entrepreneurial spirit. Join us in honoring those who help to make Portland beautiful.
I'm very sorry to say that the subject of this post is Christian Dior designer John Galliano, who is being accused of antisemitism after an incident in a Paris restaurant. He denies it, and is countering with a defamation charge, but a newly discovered video in which he says he loves Hitler, and that "people like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed." Which is going to make his denial a little bit of a tougher argument to make. Here's what's being claimed:
According to police reports, Mr Galliano told Paris University-educated Ms Bloch: ‘Dirty Jew face, you should be dead’, adding ‘shut your mouth, dirty bitch, I can’t stand your dirty whore voice.’ He then turned his anger on Mr Virgitti, who was himself protesting furiously by this time, and screamed: ‘Fucking Asian bastard, I’ll kill you!’
All of which made things a little uncomfortable for Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone, who both wore Christian Dior to last night's Oscars. It's also bad timing for Natalie Portman, who is the spokesmodel for the line's new frangrance. She wore Rodarte last night, and there is some speculation that it was a last-minute switch due to the controversy. Oh and one more thing: The people Galliano is alleged to have insulted are not even Jewish.
Until things get sorted out, Christian Dior has suspended him.
First the good news: I was just introduced to the music of nine-year-old Lyrikkal, and in particular her tribute to the flyest colors for princesses of the playground, which are pinkandpurplepinkandpurplepinkandpurple, obviously:
The "bad" news is that the old battle cry against American Apparel ads has been raised again. Judge away for yourself: It's NSFW and after the cut.
If you've ever fantasized that if you just had the right bone structure you could be living in a luxury loft and jetting around the world on a near-constant basis, well... you're right, you can. But the recent lawsuit filed by Polish supermodel Anna Jagodzinska against her agency, Next (the details of which you can read here) involves the disclosure of some outstanding payments from everyone from Vogue to H&M. And perhaps it's not entirely surprising given the whole "state of the print industry," but jesus Vogue is cheap. FRENCH Vogue, even. (Everything is fancier and more expensive in France, FYI.) $125? That they still haven't paid since April? Shit. Anna Wintour makes $2 million. On the flip, H&M "pays" (albeit with nine- (and counting) month delay), $60k!
Looks like Portland retail is getting organized:
be. (to be a part of) Portland’s collaborative success and unique experience.
be .Portland is a network of Portland's finest specialty apparel boutiques that have come together to create a collaborative unique shopping experience.
be. Portland has been retail-wrangled by Portland Fashion Week through its continued commitment to keep Portland. Moving Fashion. Forward!
be. Portland FOLLOWERS will receive NUMEROUS BENEFITS throughout the year:
1) be. in the “know” on upcoming in-store shopping events, promotions, and city events in Portland that are fashion-ABLE.
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3) provided access to Portland's bonafide high-fashion boutiques-all in one place.
4) obtain exclusive be. Portland promotional offers from participating boutiques.
4) Get advanced and promotional offers to high-production fashion events, like Portland Fashion Week.
5) The chance to support and share your favorite local specialty stores and designers.
To put Portland on the map as a shopping destination for its unique shopping experience, compelling independent designer collections and fulfill Portland's own fashionista's apparel desires.
be. Portland participants include:
Anne Bocci Boutique
7824 Southwest Capitol Highway
1100 Northwest Glisan Street
1323 Northwest Irving Street
Mabel & Zora
748 NW 11th Ave
3418 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
2400 East Burnside Street
1015 Southwest Washington Street
1022A Northwest Johnson Street
124 Northwest Lovejoy Street
MORE JOINING DAILY!
ARE YOU FROM OUTSIDE PORTLAND?
Please contact us for information on our exclusive shopping-travel package! Portland is a compelling destination for shopping and entertainment for the day, a weekend getaway or just experience Portland from our point-of-veiw. * paying NO SALES-TAX while shopping for your unique looks in a fun, green, mobile and affordable city with a renowned restaurant scene.
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I just "liked" them on Facebook. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of it.
Looks like fashion woke up on the good humored side of the bed this morning, with two videos going viral (via buzzfeed). In ascending order of amusement, first here's Lauren Conrad tellin' it like it is about "fashion f*** ups" like kitten heels and men in denim cutoffs:
Now for the adorable (and completely accurate) child-reenactment of a Project Runway episode (apologies in advance for the annoying ninja intro):
Holy hotness, why must the best looking men be gay??? Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter he's WAY out of my league. And honestly the song isn't horrible, sounds like Gaga to me. I wonder if we'll start hearing it here in the States?
As David mentioned yesterday, the new Gap logo is boring and stupid and dumb and stupid.
The rest of the internet unanimously agreed, causing Gap to furiously backpedal on their Facebook page.
Thanks for everyone’s input on the new logo! We’ve had the same logo for 20+ years, and this is just one of the things we’re changing. We know this logo created a lot of buzz and we’re thrilled to see passionate debates unfolding! So much so we’re asking you to share your designs. We love our version, but we’d like to see other ideas. Stay tuned for details in the next few days on this crowd sourcing project.
You know, this kind of sounds like the Gap is embarrassed they paid a lot of money for a shitty design, and now they want another one… from us… for FREE. But hey, I'm all for "crowd sourcing," so here's my design.
That'll be $20 million, please. (Hat tips to the Crap Logo Yourself generator!)
I'm not ashamed to admit the degree to which the riot grrrl look influenced my style, beginning in junior high but rippling well beyond. To this day I still have a weak spot for mary janes, for example, though it's been year's since I've been enthusiastic about a run in my stockings. She may not have originated it (Kat Bjelland is said to have beat her to it, though it's a look riddled with references), but I don't think anyone can really argue that she didn't nail the ripped lace/crooked/tiara/red lips/baby barrette thing better than anyone. And though it's been since The People vs. Larry Flynt since I've paid her artistic output any mind, I can't help look at a blog like What Courtney Wore Today. At first glance it looks like something she cooked up herself (the writing is way too uninteresting for that to be the case, though), but she does cooperate with the site, sending them in photos of her daily wardrobe changes. Her new all-designer, all-the-time looks are less groundbreaking than the tatters of yore, but troubles aside I have to admit I still agree with many of her selection choices, particularly in comparison to your average cookie-cut celeb.
Unconfirmed rumors are flying around town (including readers who've written in to ask if we know, not to mention local industry people speculating from the bar stool) that Gretchen Jones of MothLove is one of the competing designers on the upcoming season of Project Runway, debuting Thursday July 29 on Lifetime. That makes the fourth apparel designer to grace the runway patrolled by Heidi Klum and her merry band of fashion insiders. AND it means another upcoming series of Project Runway wrap-ups here on Blogtown!
Hopefully you've all seen the illuminating and surprisingly amusing The September Issue. The maker of that film, RJ Cutler, has posted another two-part doc on Facebook, documenting preparations for the Paul Poiret tribute event of 2007. Oh the joys of event planning. it's worth a watch. Part one here, part two there.
Last night marked the finale of this season of Project Runway, with our adopted homeboy Seth Aaron competing as one of the three finalists as they presented their final collections at New York Fashion Week. It was splashed all around the internets at the time it was filmed, but it's worth taking a gander at the complete video:
Find out what happened (if you don't already know), here.
Like many, many people who keep an eye on the fashion world, I regularly check in with Garance Doré. The blogger (queen to street fashion blog king The Sartorialist, as ridiculously perfect as that is) is fun to follow because of her access and her photos, but her writing routinely irks me as especially silly, shallow, and flip. Maybe something's lost in the translation, but somehow I doubt it. For some reason I think my breaking point was a February post titled "Blown Away," in which she had just gotten "the Brazilian Blow Out," but when I went back to re-read it and pick out a quote to use as an example I found that it didn't really bother me at all... So anyway, what I mean is that I'm no Garance defender, but I was skeptical about the flack she's getting for her recent comments on the plus sized model presence in the mainstream fashion world. "Fashion Blogger Garance Dore Attacks Plus-Size Trend as Unhealthy, Unflattering" runs the inflammatory headline on StyleList , fashion clothes, but what she actually said first was, "It should not be such a big deal to show women with different bodies, but sometimes it's treated like a bit of joke, or for shock, like the plus-size models on the runway in the UK fashion week."
She may have had a point, if you look at this image is from a Gaultier show in 2006, though she was taken to be referring to Mark Fast, who embedded larger models within his show without making nearly as much to-do about it:
And then she had to go and say that, ""It's not such a good thing to show plus-size because it's not really physically healthy and not always flattering to fashion." Oh dear lord. Wasn't she paying attention during Round 1: The Size Zero Model debates?
And then there were three.
Last night's episode of Project Runway was the Tim Gunn house-call episode, in which our neighbor to the north, Seth Aaron, welcomed him to his Vancouver home by way of trampoline. You may need to watch this video twice. Once just to take in that especially alarming hairdo, and then again to concentrate on what he says:
Yeah yeah yeah, he's doing fine. The real nitty gritty was the standoff between Jay and Mila, who had to show three looks each from their Fashion Week collections, and one of them got the boot. See who said goodbye after the break.
Priorities, people. Just weeks after the great unpleasantness at an H & M in France, a bunch of London hipsters lost their minds over cheap gold lamé leggings. Organizers were not prepared for the crowd of 2,000+ that showed up to American Apparel's rummage sale this weekend. Scotland Yard was dispatched to keep order. That didn't go smoothly either:
You've got to hand to the Brits; they really are well mannered. At around the 58 second mark you see a man who does not appear to be a police officer helping to subdue a rowdy shopper with a most unfortunate haircut.
Full story over at Telegraph UK.
Things did not go well for Seth Aaron on last night's Project Runway episode, where he got nailed for being too boring:
One might contend that it is in fact the producers of the show who are getting too boring, with yet another make-a-dress-for-Heidi-Klum challenge. And yet, they still haven't done a maternity challenge? What the what? My complete Wrap-Up is over on yonder Blogtown.
DoveLewis is gearing up for their annual Boutiques Unleashed benefit fashion show (participating boutiques: Black Wagon, Finn Mens’ Clothing, Garnish Apparel, Lizard Lounge, Mabel & Zora, Mercantile, Meringue Boutique, Phlox, Physical Element, Pin-Me Apparel, Polliwog, Say Say Boutique, All for Paws, Bentley B, D'tails Dog Salon, Hip Hound, Klees Designs, LexiDog Boutique & Social Club, Salty's Dog and Cat Shop, Top of the Food Chain) on April 9 at the Tiffany Center (1410 SW Morrison). (By the way, DoveLewis, thank you so much for taking the dying cat I found on my jog last summer and presumably giving him a comfortable, dignified ending. I took care of the part where someone cries over him.) Every year they have a "mystery model" walk the runway—in past years it's been a llama and a goat, and this year it's "Miss Mollee Muffin." And, this mystery critter will be outfitted by our own adopted Vancouver Project Runway contestant Seth Aaron Henderson! Yeah yeah, it's cheesy, but I don't care. DoveLewis does good work and it's generous of Seth Aaron to donate his time to the cause. Support the animals and go!
Plus-sized models have had quite a bit of publicity as of late, and are generally applauded for their role in propping up the self-esteem of the vast majority of human females who do not have the genetic specifications dictated by the fashion industry and popular media in general. Except, recent studies show that their actual effect on women's psyches isn't very positive either. Via The Frisky:
According to the researchers, larger women feel better about themselves when ads don’t include any models at all, average-sized ladies actually have lower self-esteem after looking at ads with plus-sized models rather than uber-skinny ones, and thin folk prefer the traditional tiny models. The study did, however, come up with one icky way bigger models can be used to actually influence product sales: ” ... if a normal-size woman sees moderately heavy images in ads for weight-loss products, she might feel overweight and be more inclined to buy a diet plan or gym membership.” This is basically saying ads could use plus-sized models to make women feel bad enough about themselves that they want to spend more money on gym memberships and diet products.
I agree that it doesn't matter what size a beautiful woman is. If someone looks great (and to most people that doesn't necessitate "size 0" status), and you have crappy self-esteem, that's going to exacerbate it. What we should focus on is turning those feelings into motivation. Gym memberships aren't such a bad idea.
The fact that the judges gave high praise to this technically proficient but utterly silly look from Seth Aaron on last night's episode of Project Runway is just another sign that they are living on a completely different planet. Still, congratulations to Seth Aaron on making it through another challenge. My complete wrap-up is up over on Blogtown now.
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