I feel that I should dedicate at least one post to the amazing and irreplaceable Alexander McQueen. As I am sure most of you know, the King of Avant Garde took his own life in February in the wake of his mother's death. Although he was wildly successful, both commercially and critically, he struggled in his personal life. I do not want to focus on that for this post, though. I would rather celebrate his substantial achievements. The most amazing thing about McQueen in my opinion was his ability to create amazing avante garde pieces that manage to look equally stunning on and off the runway. Theatrical, couture-esque clothing are often completely unwearable, but McQueen made all his pieces accessible. His last complete collection for Spring/Summer 2010, was the widely applauded "Plato's Atlantis."
A look from "Platos Atlantis"
The models were made up to look like mythical creatures
emerging from the sea. Lady Gaga debuted her hit song Bad
Romance at his show and made his "Armadillo" shoes all the
rage. The collection was inspired by McQueen's love of scuba diving.
McQueen learned his impeccable tailoring skills working on London's Savile Row. While here it is rumoured that he was making a jacket for Prince Charles, and he scrawled "I am a c**t" in drafting chalk, on the inside of the lining. He later studied at Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in London, and his entire graduation collection was bought by the influential sylist Isabella Blow. She soon became his muse. He went on to become the designer for Givenchy, succeeding John Galliano. He eventually left in 2001, claiming that his contract with the fashion house was "constraining his creativity."
The "Armadillo" and sea creature shoes
Where McQueen truly shone was on the runway for his own collections. Known as England's reining bad boy of fashion, McQueen has never shied away from controversy, rather he seemed to revel in it. Always presenting a spectacle of fantasy and otherworldliness, his shows have never disappointed. In 1992, he sent the models out with half their bums exposed, unleashing the low-rise pants trend. This is the one thing he brought to fashion that I do not thank him for. For Fall 1995, his "Highland Rape" collection, featuring tartan, had models in varying degrees of torn disarray, representing the havoc that was once brought upon Scotland by England. For Spring 2003 he recreated a shipwreck; for Spring 2005 it was a human chess game. Fall 2009 was houndstooth, clown lipstick and umbrella hats. He intentionally did not feature any looks that were new, rather everything was inspired by something that had come before. This was a social comment on the recession facing the world and what he saw as our inability to move forward. For his Fall 2006 show, "Widows of Culloden" he sent an eerily beautiful hologram of Kate Moss in a rippling gown down the runway.
Kate Moss as a hologram, Fall 2006
This collection hearkened back to the "Highland Rape" collection, with the models looking like Lady Macbeths plucked out of a cold castle, wearing antlers that could have been wall hangings as headdresses. McQueen's last collection for Fall 2010 was never fully finished, and sadly was not shown on the runway. The collection was called "Majestic" and it is nothing short of another dazzling array of fantasies. Inspired by monarchs, the collection featured lots of gold brocade, red velvet and black thigh-high boots. No matter what was inspiring Mr. McQueen, he never failed to inspire all of us.
Camilla Belle, showing the wearability of McQueen's clothing,
in two looks from Spring 2009.
Alexander McQueen has won the British Fashion Designer of the Year award four times. I think (and hope) that he will go down in fashion history as one of the best designers of the 21st century, for giving us what fashion should be: fantasy.
Two look from "Majestic" Fall 2010
Alexander McQueen bids the fashion world goodbye forever at his last runway show for Spring 2010.
Rest in Peace, we love you. Xoxoxo.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The key to looking expensive in cheap clothing, is to remember that it's all in the fabrics and the details. Avoid polyester at all costs. Even if you think it looks fine when you buy it (which it probably doesn't), as soon as you wear it once it will be covered in pills. Try to stay away from synthetic materials altogether. Look for fabrics such as cotton, silk, wool, or cashmere or a blend. Also check that jackets and skirts have linings, this not only elevates the garment, but it will prevent skirts from riding up or being see-through.
Keep an eye out for the details on clothes. Covered buttons, exposed metal zippers, pockets, satin or leather trim, lace details or little gathers all make garments more interesting and seem like they are more expensive. Beware of nylon zippers, exposed ones look terrible and be careful with hidden ones as well because they tend to break more easily than metal ones.
Cheap shoes are generally something I don't reccommend. Even you are spending less money be sure that they are genuine leather. Sorry to all the vegans out there; faux leather can look good, but it going to cost you, try Stella McCartney. The other unfortunate thing about cheap shoes is that they tend to be quite painful. Bloody toes are a fashion don't.
Do not wear any clothes that are torn, stained, too big or too small, faded, unravelling, missing buttons, or stretched out. This makes it look like you pulled your outfit out of a dumpster, and you can't get much cheaper than that. One would think that this was a given, but from what I have observed in the world around me it is not.
Some great places to find cheap, but expensive-looking clothes are H&M, Zara and Forever 21. Zara is great for super-trendy, right off the runway pieces. Forever 21 is good for cute dresses, cardigans, and fun tops. I have included pictures of a bow tee shirt, a black strapless dress and a floral shift dress (which I own, and I love it; it was about $35). The spring Garden Collection from H&M has some great feminine pieces at great prices. I have a picture of the awesome red flower applique jacket ($70). I'm so sad that the colour was all wrong on me. The floral bustier is really cute, too. The pale pink dress (about $35) is really pretty and tight enough that it can be worn under a skirt as a top. I have gotten many compliments on it, and one lady even said it looked like Valentino! What could be better than that?
Friday, April 23, 2010
For my first real entry I wanted to explain the meaning behind the name of my blog. For the uneducated, Versailles is the palace just outside of Paris where Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France, lived. Marie Antoinette was one of the world's first fashion icons. She is one of my ultimate idols. Marie Antoinette was known for her extravagent tastes in fashion, and for squandering the country's money on clothes, parties and gambling. If you're going to be squandering money, I really cannot think of anything better to squander it on.
Apparently the Queen had a servant whose only job was to take care of her vast shoe collection. Personally, I commend her for providing someone with a job. Another somewhat awesome diva move on the part of Marie Antoinette was the rumour that she refused to use the court hairdresser, and instead spent more money to get a more fashionable sylist to power her wig.
The Queen and her husband the King were both popular subjects in the tabloids of the time. Marie Antoinette was spashed over the pages because of her fashion addiction and her supposed sluttiness. Her husband on the other hand, found his way into the rags as well, being accused of being weak leader and possibly a homosexual. It was rumoured that Marie Antoinette found the idea of sex with her husband repulsive. I'm going to assume that she got nice and tipsy before comsummating the marriage. Supposedly the king was only interested in hunting. What good is a gay husband if he is more interested in hunting than your shoe collection?
I commend Marie Antoinette for having the guts to be herself amidst intense scutiny. I admire her for finding ways to enjoy herself, despite being stuck in a loveless marriage. Tragically, Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, was beheaded during the French Revolution. This led to the end of the oppressive monarchy, and so in a way, her life was sacrificed for the greater good of France. Marie Antoinette, Queen of France died on October 16, 1793. On the same day, 193 years later, I was born.