Lucille Ball, Style Icon… In Spite of Herself

This recent August 6 would have been Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday (1911 – 1989), and crowds of impersonators showed up to celebrate in her hometown, Buffalo, NY. There were polka dot dresses, garish red curly wigs, and red lipsticked lips galore in attempts to emulate the comedienne: Though this ensemble became iconic for the woman (even in black and white, her garish, dyed red hair …

Codes of Dress: Inclusionary or Exclusionary?

As most fashion historians (and, I would wager, even most non-fashion historians) accept, clothing is a clear way of identifying oneself as part of a culture, a sub-culture, a tribe. Most of the time, we think of these tribes as unifying, identifying people who listen to similar music, hang out in similar venues, perhaps come from a specific culture or adopting a particular way of …

Hair Textiles and Gaga

We all know Gaga loves her wigs, but she also dabbles with clothes that resemble wigs, as with this LaVer dress she recently wore to a taping of The View:   Gaga on The View, May 2011 LaVer couture hair dress, 2010 collection Since medieval times, locks of hair have been given to lovers as amulets, and the Victorians wove hair of the deceased into …

Mixing and Matching Men

A couple months ago I found myself in Phillie for a family event and I was delighted, not only to spend time with my awesome extended family, but to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Always a favorite of mine (I think they’ve corned the Duchamp market), they also happened to have multiple fashion exhibits up. I’ll skip over the Capucci: Art into Fashion, which …

The Monetary Value of Fashion

As Monica previously mentioned, the auction of Debbie Reynolds’ extensive Hollywood costume collection was (not surprisingly) a smashing success, in that it set new new highs for what collectors would pay for literal fabric of Hollywood history. Items that have been reported on most have included: $4.6 million for Marilyn Monroe’s white subway dress from The Seven Year Itch (1955): $3.7 million for Audrey Hepburn’s …

Mature Models: An Oxymoron?

After the Huffington Post informed me Carmen Dell’Orefice, Oldest Working Model, Turns 80, I crinkled my nose, wondering why this is headline news, and furthermore, why a Huffington author would lead the story with “An 80-year-old model sounds like a fashion oxymoron”? In fact, it doesn’t sound like an oxymoron to me at all, but perhaps that’s because I’m familiar with the history of fluctuating …

Flamenco Fashion!

  I have recently become addicted (as in, I watch it every couple of days. Perhaps on repeat.) to Anna Calvi’s simple but mesmerizing video Blackout: Though this particular video spends much time grazing Ms. Calvi’s chiseled jawline and lingering on her sensuous, down-turned red mouth (all of which I heartily approve of!), you unfortunately don’t get a concrete taste of her distinctive style, as …

Shoe Factories and Lost Opportunities

Though I don’t generally think of myself as a shoe fetishist, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Fluevogs. In their latest e-newsletter was a video of a Fluevog shoe being made (I must add the disclaimer that though I truly love Fluevogs, I truly hate the style in this particular vignette): I have loved seeing the process of how things are …

Symposium Recap: Authenticity in Yale’s “Urban Catwalk”

It was excitement and ultimate delight that I attended (and presented at) Yale’s “The Urban Catwalk” conference this past weekend. Though ostensibly the theme was street fashion, as with most conferences, this topic was expounded upon by a wide range of scholars from vastly different fields (performance studies, French history, literature, communications, etc.). More even than “street” or even “public space,” the concepts of “authenticity” …

Sebastian Smith, Fashion Photographer

I met this perfectly lovely — and dapper (he often wears a hat) — young man about a year ago at one of our favorite galleries, Chair and the Maiden. With more than a whiff of Helmut Newton, Sebastian Smith has managed to make a career of his passion: fashion photography. I picked his brain on balancing his career with his aesthetics, and his thoughts …

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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.