The Authentic Artist Myth

My Godmother sent me this brief article on David Hockney‘s withering opinion on artists such as Damien Hirst who rely upon assistants to “do the work” — Hirst has only painted five of the 14,00 “spot paintings” in existence, and he was quoted as saying that many of his spot paintings are produced by others “because he finds it boring to do the detailed work.” …

Book Review: Japanese Fashion Designers

Japanese Fashion Designers: The Work and Influence of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo by Bonnie English Berg Publishers (2011)   Soon to delve into research of my own in the area of Japanese fashion (specifically deconstructed styles), I was delighted to sink my teeth into Bonnie English’s Japanese Fashion Designers: The Work and Influence of Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto and Rei Kawakubo. English’s …

APEC “Silly Shirts” – Inappropriate or Awesome?

I read with some interest the Times article Obama Says Forum’s Costume Photo Is Unnecessary. This refers to the tradition of the 21 members of the annual APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) forum participating in what has unfortunately been dubbed “the silly shirts photo.” Past photo-ops “have included ponchos and what looked like gowns for pregnant bridesmaids,” Jackie Calmes wrote. Frankly, I’m surprised by Calmes’ snarkiness. …

Book Review: Fashion and Music

  Fashion and Music by Janice Miller Berg Publishers (July, 2011)   Though I typically concentrate on the Everyman’s experience with clothes and fashion, it is oftentimes easier (or simply more fun) to see trends in fashion and aesthetic movements in celebrities. The melding of the physical and the lyrical is critical to music performers. Janice Miller, Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at the …

FIT Symposium 2011 Recap

FIT’s annual symposium always dovetails with their exhibit at that time, this one highlighting Daphne Guinness and her crazy / awesome style. So this year’s symposium theme was… fashion icons and insiders. At the risk of being flippant, it bored me. I feel as though an educational institution devoted to fashion should come up with something more challenging, more cutting edge, more thought provoking than …

Detectives and Gumshoes

Even with all the terrific, stylish, contemporary dramas out there, sometimes you just need to pick up an old favorite (there’s a metaphor for a comfy pair of beat up jeans somewhere in there). To wit, I’ve recently revived my Columbo viewing. Peter Falk as Columbo (1971 – 78; 1989 – 2003) is always deliberately disheveled, which he may be because he’s genuinely unconcerned with …

Steal this Style: Yippies and Political Fashions!

  I assume readers will agree that apparel can be a powerful tool of political and social dissent, such as the Communist / anarchistic subtext of Surreal fashions (see my earlier post). Costume has likewise been leveraged in political upheavals many times; for example Caroline Weber recently illuminated fashion politics in the 18th century with her tremendous What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. I’ll …

The Vulnerable Neck

In trolling through all the mountains of Fashion Week photos several seasons ago now, I stumbled upon Todd Lynn‘s Spring and Fall ready-to-wear collections for 2011. They caught my attention because, unlike the standard erogenous zones, these focused on the neck — that is, the neck was almost always covered or partially obscured. Stiff collars make heads look like they’re floating, soft furs cuddle faces, …

Collecting Clothes with a Conscience

Earlier this summer I watched the tremendous documentary Herb & Dorothy (2008) which follows a ridiculously adorable, now elderly, couple (Herb and Dorothy Vogel) who started collecting art in the ’60s and amassed one of the finest and most extensive of modern and contemporary art in the world. The twist here is this: Dorothy was a public librarian and Herb was a postal worker, subsisting …

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Available now: Punk Style by Worn Through founder, Monica Sklar, PhD. Find it at : Amazon.com, Powell's Books, or a bookseller near you.