Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SOUNDSUITS



Sometimes the best approach to getting dressed is throwing on a few favorite pieces and calling it a day. This ensemble was inspired by one of my most beloved contemporary artists, Nick Cave, and it centers around my favorite color, GREEN.


Nick Cave is a contemporary artist whose work simultaneously incorporates art, fashion, costume, performance, and dance. You may remember his work from the "Monsters, Inc." spread in the September 2010 issue of American Vogue.



His Soundsuits, made of a myriad of different materials, are studies in the movement and sound made by the person wearing them. These works are beautiful as sculptures, but take on a whole new meaning when worn (often by Cave himself) during a performance.


As an African American artist, dancer, and designer from a humble background, Cave explores the intersection of culture and consumerism in his strikingly gorgeous costumes.



The Soundsuits are meant to symbolize traditional African ceremonial garb and also reference the haute couture creations of avant garde fashion.

The central theme of these works is the simultaneous isolation and insulation of culture--particularly, for Cave, of coming to terms with his African descent in American society.

Cave is currently the director of the Graduate Fashion program at the Art Institute of Chicago. You can find out more about his work at the SoundSuitShop.


The Soundsuits are so quirky and kitschy, with their bright colors and fun textures, styling an outfit around them was quite a pleasure.



I started with the funky faux fur jacket (which looks like it could have been part of a Soundsuit in a previous life) and then added a few bright accessories.



I'm wearing a faux fur jacket from F21, Obey tee, boys' thrifted Levi's 511s, a vintage silk scarf, J. Crew anklets, Lisa F. Pliner Idelle platform sandals, a vintage reptile Nicholas Reich handbag, and my Grandmother's emerald ring.


Even though they have about a 50 year age difference, I think this bag and the shoes were meant for each other--see how the green arch echoes the hue of the bag? Together at last!



[Cave images from latimesblogs.latimes.com, artuga.tumblr.com, buamai.com, hypebeast.com, palmbeachillustrated.com, and blogs.tcpalm.com, respectively.]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

GIORGIO DE CHIRICO



After a winter of being bound indoors by snow and the temptation of a few too many good books, cabin fever has started to set in. Though springtime is still two months away and it's been bitterly cold on the east coast, I've been enjoying the welcome afternoon sun outdoors.



I recently discovered this location and it immediately evoked the work of pre-Surrealist artist Giorgio de Chirico.



De Chirico (1888-1978) was an Italian painter who was a proponent of the Surrealist movement. He is credited for founding the scuola metafisica, an Italian art movement which centered on representations of the unconscious mind.



De Chirico's most well-known work comes from his metaphysical period (1909-1919), in which he depicted Nietzschean architecture, eerily devoid of figures and life. He was interested in a visual poetry where the effect of the whole is equal to more than the sum of the parts.



These haunting works were seen as early Surrealism, and artists such as Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, and René Magritte all count De Chirico's metaphysical works as inspiration.



During De Chirico's later career, he returned to a more classical style of painting, influenced by Rubens. He even went so far as to denounce modern art, yet continued to begrudgingly create "replicas" of his famous metaphysical works in order to make a living.



Despite his mid-career change of philosophy, De Chirico was responsible for influencing Surrealism, one of the most important art movements of the 20th century.



My De Chirico-inspired look centered around the archway location and I simply added tights and a coat that were reminiscent of some of the hues of the paintings.



I'm wearing a vintage coat, vintage leather patchwork belt, H&M tights, vintage Ray-Bans, Schuler & Sons leather lace-up wedges, and a purple suede Sorial handbag.




[De Chirico images from flickr.com, suite101.com, artnet.com, arcadja.com, and artnet.com, respectively.]


Thursday, January 20, 2011

CARMEN GAUDIN



For some time now, late 19th century style has been creeping into modern fashion. Long skirts, high-necked blouses, and ankle booties all call to mind the women of the fin-de-siecle. I love the femininity of the look, and I decided to try it out with contemporary pieces from my own closet.



Inspired by portraiture yet again, this outfit was born of a desire to emulate the women of the world of Toulouse-Lautrec.



A Post-Impressionist, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Monfa (1864-1901) was a well-known French painter, printmaker, and illustrator.



Though he is mostly known for his poster advertisements and scenes of French nightlife, his oeuvre includes a large number of portraits, many of lower class women.



The women he depicts were often prostitutes, since they were often the only women willing to model for artists during the time period.



The subject of the works shown here is one woman in particular, Carmen Gaudin. She was a laundress and prostitute that Toulouse-Lautrec tirelessly depicted in many different settings and media.



Referring to Carmen in a letter written to his mother, Toulouse-Lautrec gushed that he was "painting a woman whose hair is absolute gold".



One of the most striking things about these images, for me, is Toulouse-Lautrec's use of light and dark.



The way many of the portraits utilize such a high value for her face and hair makes everything else around her seem dim and dingy. I tried to emulate this in my own images, by shooting in the slanting shadows of late afternoon.



For my emulation of Toulouse-Lautrec's portraits, I wore what I would consider to be a modern-day interpretation of something Carmen might have worn.
I'm wearing a Tibi blouse, Chanel silk skirt, Miriam Haskell necklace, BCBG booties, and metallic leather Lauren Merkin clutch.



[Toulouse-Lautrec images from raymondpronk.workpress.com, mardelplatadaily.com.ar, mystudios.com, danielmaidman.blogspot.com, and frammentiarte.it, respectively.]

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

DAYTIME SEQUINS



In addition to wearing unseasonably bright colors, working party clothes into my everyday wardrobe is another way I try to keep midwinter looks fresh. This blouse is a piece I thrifted for $1 (possibly the best dollar I ever spent) and a gloomy midweek day ended up being the perfect time for its debut.



The jewel tones and glistening sequins of the blouse call to mind the work one of my favorite artists, Gustav Klimt.



An Austrian painter, Klimt (1862-1918) is widely known for his allegorical works which are influenced by ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Minoan culture. He was also inspired by Byzantine and Japanese art, all of which are evidenced in his paintings.



Klimt's work features beautifully stylized designs in coexistence with rendered forms which achieve a near otherworldly effect.


Some of Klimt's most beautiful works are portrait paintings of women. The gold Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer has been the subject of much scrutiny due to its repatriation after being looted by the Nazis during World War II (as detailed in the book and film The Rape of Europa).



Klimt's most famous prodigy was Egon Schiele (discussed here and here) and his effect is notable in many of Schiele's works.



In order to tone down the densely sequined blouse for daytime wear, I paired it with a few preppy staples like a chambray shirt and riding boots.



I'm wearing a vintage sequined blouse, thrifted men's button-down, Uniqlo jeans, Tory Burch boots, and a Lauren Merkin suede clutch. Following is a detail shot of the blouse.



Check out my dear friend Candace's lovely piece on blogging as a creative outlet.
Many thanks to Garrett for nominating me for both a Shorty Award in Fashion and Best Fashion Blog 2011 on About.com!
Also, thank you to Daphne for including me in her Stylish Fashion Blogger award.



[Klimt images from filmplus.org, ricci-art.net, toptenz.net, and normanadams.org, respectively.]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BAKER OVERSTREET



As previously discussed, although it's the coldest time of the year on the East Coast, I can't help but look forward to spring. As an attempt to stave off the winter blahs, I've been wearing some of the brightest colors I can (so far evidenced here and here).


Hence, I was delighted to find out (somewhat late) that it's Rainbow Tights Week in the blogging world!


I decided to go for a tribal look, pairing my favorite Windjammer tights (last worn here) with pieces inspired by one of my favorite contemporary artists, Baker Overstreet.


Overstreet is a relatively young artist that I first encountered at his Follies exhibition in New York at Fredericks & Freiser. I was immediately enamored of the large scale works, which function as tableaux of color and shape.


Overstreet completed an MFA at Yale in 2006, and his work has steadily gained popularity over the past 5 years.


He was recently included in the "Abstract America" show at Saatchi Gallery in London, which solidified his international presence.


Overstreet's bold, colorful works are clearly inspired by primitivism and a tribal aesthetic. It is interesting to note the way he creates depth in the otherwise flat works by the placement of contrasting colors.


Overstreet's most recent work has moved into performance art, with his alter-ego June Fagley as the star. His paintings still play an important role in his performance art, acting as advertisements for the show.


For this outfit, I combined a few of the brightest colors from Overstreet's paintings with an amazing embroidered vest that was a recent thrift find.


I'm wearing a vintage Mexican wool vest, vintage leather skirt, Zehana Outfitters turtleneck, Topshop tights, Jeffrey Campbell boots, and a necklace that was a gift from Greece (Thanks, Kris!).


Many thanks to Angel.Pearls for the Stylish Blogger award nomination!


[Overstreet images from enantiomorphic.blogspot.com, artnet.com, contemporaryartlinks.blogspot.com, avigupta.com, and saatchi-gallery.co.uj, respectively.]