Fashion Prom Style Blog

American Eagle Outfitters has announced that their underwear and swimsuit maker Aerie will not be using using airbrushed models in its latest ad campaign – and that they aren’t sticking with the industry tradition of only showing B cups. The un-photoshopped ads show a range of bra sizes from A to DD. Brand representative Jenny Altman told Good Morning America, ”We left beauty marks, we left tattoos, what you see is really what you get with our campaign.” It gives young women a rare opportunity, she adds, to see “what girls their age really look like.” Or at least what models their age actually look like. Altman herself admits that “They are still models, they’re still gorgeous.”

So is this really a a good thing? Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, these images aren’t really challenging any beauty ideals. The models are all still thin, still light skinned, and still with conventionally beautiful faces and very European features. Adding cup-size diversity is great, but not quite the same thing as actual size diversity.

And for all the talk about the models’ “flaws” being left alone, they don’t really seem to have many. Yes, their smiles create lines on their faces – but if we’re calling that a flaw then there is something very, very wrong. Overall these images may not be photoshopped, but they are still playing into the same ideals that photoshop strives for.

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On the other hand, though, at least these images are real. As harmful as our society’s narrow definition of beauty is, it’s even more harmful when that ideal is only achievable with digital enhancement. Because when young women are told that our worth is tied to our appearance and our appearances are held to a standard that is literally impossible to achieve in real life it is a huge problem. Aerie’s ads may promote an unrealistic beauty standard, but at least it’s a possible one. When ads devolve into science fiction territory, nobody wins. Except, I guess, ad companies.

So it’s tempting to call this ad campaign a win, it really is. But the sad truth is that the only way this will truly count as a win is if it starts an industry-wide trend. One ad campaign by one company with models who are still thin and conventionally attractive isn’t going to reverse years and years and years of photoshopped images pouring into young women’s brains.

If this were the start of a move away from photoshopping, it would be something to celebrate. But it’s unlikely that it will be. In fact, American Eagle as a whole seems to still be using photoshop for their other clothing divisions. And even Aerie has made no promises that photoshopping won’t be part of its ads following this new “Aerie Real” campaign. And judging by the name, all signs point to this being more of a publicity stunt rather than a commitment to changing the way Aerie does business. In other words, they’ll probably get a lot of good press, probably turn a handy profit, and then probably go back to photoshop just like everybody else.

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پنجشنبه 26 دی 1392

John Varvatos Keeps With Tradition

نویسنده: Randall Farris   

john-varvatos

When it comes to cologne, most brands aren’t focused on old-world craftsmanship. In fact, the majority aims for the complete opposite—opting for sleek bottle designs that are more reflective of techie gadgets or sports cars to allure the manly man. John Varvatos, who recently presented his superhero-themed Fall 2014 collection, is never one to follow trends, as Kiss front man Paul Stanley explained, and is more concerned with timeless style. And the latest addition to his fragrance portfolio, Artisan Acqua, stays true to the label’s DNA and the designer’s attention to detail. The flask-like flacon was inspired by Varvatos’ personal collection of rattan bottles and the netting that surrounds the glass vessel is handwoven—making each creation unique. The eau inside, blended by perfumer Rodrigo Flores-Roux, is equally as special: A “distilled essence” of pistachio tree resin (lentinsque) is being used for the first time in this fragrance, along with top notes of angelic root, mandarin, and galbanum (the aromatic product of a Persian plant). The spicy heart contains basil, jasmine sambac, and clary sage, with moss, patchouli, and balsam fir rounding out the base. A regular on the John Varvatos runway, Jonas Kesseler serves as the face of the print campaign lensed by John Balsom. Judging by the shirtless photo above, the model embodies the “spresszatura, or effortless nonchalance,” the designer aspired to capture in this scent.

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We’re all for idiosyncratic, faux-candid ads, but Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2014 campaign featuring Miley Cyrus looking despondent is truly unprecedented. Photographed by David Sims and styled by Katie Grand, the campaign looks like the aftermath of a beachfront shindig gone horribly wrong. Cyrus stares sullenly into the distance wearing the designer’s embroidered navy jacket and crimson shorts; a second image shows the performer rocking a pair of Jacobs’ sunglasses.

The melancholic look of the ad campaign is a departure from Jacobs’ typical aesthetic, which in past seasons featured a famous face against a light-flooded backdrop. Nylon magazine noted that the ad campaign reflects the runway design for Jacobs’ Spring 2014 collection, which featured the same grungy beachfront vibe. Models sauntered down a litter-strewn, grassy catwalk complete with abstract sculptures in the background. While the motivation behind the ad campaign is clear, it doesn’t make a petulant Cyrus perched next to an unconscious-looking model any less unsettling.

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However, Cyrus’s campaign seems to be directly in line with the actress’s emotionally raw artistic efforts of late. From her controversial Wrecking Ball video to the many, many selfies on her social media accounts showing the singer in various emotional states, Cyrus has officially erased her Hannah Montana reputation in favor of a much grittier one.

The debut of her campaign for Jacobs also marks a sartorial turning point for Cyrus. The Huffington Post comments that Cyrus nabbing a campaign with a high caliber designer like Jacobs is a huge coup for the actress, especially in light of reported snubs by fashion industry leaders including Anna Wintour.

Does this mean Cyrus is the new face of edgy downtown couture? The use of clothing that doesn’t resemble a stuffed animal or a onesie seems to be a step in the right direction. It remains to be seen whether other designers will soon be clamoring to feature Cyrus in their ads, but for the moment, it appears the singer won’t stop until she’s conquered the fashion world.

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I’m soaked in sweat, balanced on one shaking leg, trying to bend at the waist, extend my other leg behind me, and lift two (tiny) dumbbells to my chest. It’s a kind of full-body jackknife move called, serenely, by the miniature blonde on my iPhone, the Single Leg Deadlift Dumbbell Row. I’m meant to repeat it for two minutes. “Fight through the fatigue,” she says cheerfully. “Step it up!”

There’s no way. Because she’s already made me do Mountain Climbers, Crazy Ivans, Squat Jumps, Flutter Kicks (I more or less sat out the Flutter Kicks), and half a dozen other circuit training exercises. The timer on my screen tells me I have seventeen minutes of workout still to come.

The big surprise about the Nike+ Training Club smartphone app—to which Nike provided a new, sleek update on New Year’s Eve—is how hard-core it is. The guided workouts range from fifteen to 45 minutes in duration, approximate sessions with a personal trainer, and are divided among four buoyantly titled categories: Get Lean, Get Toned, Get Strong, Get Focused. I’ve been using it for months, have never once ventured above the Intermediate level—and still find each session to be stagger-out-of-the-gym challenging.

“Challenging is good!” says Marie Purvis, one of the Nike specialized trainers who designed the app’s workouts. “Training outside your comfort zone is the only way to get results.”

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My wife turned me on to NTC, because she understands, as I do, that staying fit is not about discipline or mental fortitude so much as the willingness to buy in wholeheartedly to exercise fads. Liz and I have remained in reasonable shape over the last decade by dabbling in everything from novelty gym classes to niche weekend sports, and freely purchasing new gadgetry and equipment whenever the mood strikes us. Because nothing says lace-up-the-running-shoes like downloading a new GPS-equipped, calorie-burn-monitoring jogging app.

The good folks at Nike certainly have our number—given that they are already responsible for one of the all-time greatest fitness gadgets: the Nike+ Fuelband SE. Liz and I fully embraced life with Fuelbands last year, competitively compared our activity-tracking point totals at the end of every day, gave Fuelbands to friends and family as gifts, and have now put ours in drawers next to our old heart-rate monitors, Wii Fit equipment, and yoga DVDs.

NTC, however, is holding strong as motivator du jour. Since its launch in 2011, the free app has apparently had ten million downloads, but it still feels pretty underground to me. I’ve gotten a lot of curious looks at my local gym as I prop my iPhone on a towel to watch the tiny blonde demonstrate how to do, say, Ski Jump to Cross Back Lunge. The new version has an attractive redesign and several much-appreciated improvements (customization options, a preview function, the ability to download and discard individual workouts, a few seconds between exercises to grab dumbbells or that medicine ball). It includes four-week programs, and new sessions from athletes like snowboarder Silje Norendal and tennis pro Maria Sharapova, who writes in that she relies on the app when she goes on vacation: “after so many months of training with a fitness coach next to me, it’s nice to change it up.” Sharapova’s contribution is a fifteen-minute killer called New Year’s Crush. Here’s to making those resolutions stick.

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سه شنبه 10 دی 1392

five make-up trends we loved in 2013

نویسنده: Randall Farris   طبقه بندی: Beauty، 

Smoky eye

This dramatic eye look has been popular since more than a year and doesn’t seem to be dying out anytime soon. The key to nailing a smoky eye is not just choosing the right shades of colour but blending them well. Priya Kapur, make-up expert says, one important tip when trying a smoky eye is to make your eyes the focal point, and wear a neutral lipstick or lip gloss. She adds, ‘Choose your colour — charcoal and greys are the most popular, but brown, violet, or even greens work. Next, apply a primer or concealer, an eyeliner on the upper and lower lash line which should then be smudged, followed by a darker colour of eyeshadow on the eyelid, blending it up toward the brow bone. Apply a lighter or sheer colour on the brow bone and blend well, finishing with some coats of mascara.’

Coloured liner

While hues were bright for the lips, emerald greens, turquoise, pink and purple dominated the eyes in the first half of the year. Vibrant hues on the lids break the monotony of the normal blacks and greys. Subhash Shinde, make-up artist says, ‘Women want to experiment with something new. Neon colour eye shadows as eye liner looks quite stylish. Apply this a little outside your eyes as it will make them look bigger and attractive.’

make-up trends

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Luminous, finished skin

Aside from the facial features, attention was also drawn to the skin. A luminous dewy skin look was seen on the runways of Isabel Marant, Chloé and Stella McCartney. Celina Rajamanickam, make-up artist, Jean-Claude Biguine salon & Spa, says this trend has been showcased by designers like Sabyasachi too. ‘You can see a natural radiant base with almost the least amount of blush, sophisticated eye lining while keeping the eye shadow minimal or nude and emphasising more on the lips with bold colour. This can be achieved by applying a liquid foundation mixed with a pearly illuminator. Match the foundation to your skin tone instead of going for a lighter one and remember to keep the coverage light. Also blend. Using the right brushes is just as crucial as the products and techniques.’

Bright lips

Vivid pops of orange and coral were noticed on the runway of the New York Fashion Week. While summer saw many attention-grabbing hues, fall too saw deep raspberry and intense wine shades. Bollywood make-up artist, Subhash Shinde says, ‘Actresses like Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone have made bold lip colours popular in India. A good idea is to put some shimmery lip gloss or transparent gloss over a bold colour lipstick to give it a glamorous touch.’

Bold Brows

This year women world over gave their tweezers a rest as bushy brows made a comeback. The natural look dominated the runways with models like Cara Delevingne going bold. Those who are not naturally blessed with great growth can always fill in their brows. Explains Priya, ‘A well-groomed brow has the amazing ability to frame your face and transform your features, but often, the feature gets overlooked and over-tweezed! Just by taming a few stray hairs and filling in the sparse areas, full brows instantly give your face a more symmetrical appearance with a slight liberated edge. Always go one shade lighter than your natural hair colour.’

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پنجشنبه 5 دی 1392

Élan's Sultanate bridal collection unveiled at Labels

نویسنده: Randall Farris   

Friday evening at Labels saw the launch of Élan’s latest collection. The owner of the multi-brand store Zahir Rahimtoola said on the occasion, “Almost four years ago, the day we launched Sania Maskatiya’s Chamaak collection in our store, we also launched Khadijah Shah’s Élan, and I must say, both designers have grown over the years.”

About Shah, he says, “She is really the mascot of Labels, she is part of everything we do. Also as a retailer, I have seen her inventory and I’ve seen her at a consistent level as a designer.”

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On this particular evening, Shah brought forward a line that consisted of a bridal collection called Sultanate and her luxury prêt collection, which consisted of 45 outfits. By evening, only 10 of these remained.

Speaking to Shah, one gets to know that she holds a degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics and used to tag along with her mother Anila Shah, who had her own stitching business. Shah once made something for her mother’s avid clients. She recalls, “People liked it so much that they started placing orders, and from then onwards, there was no looking back — it all caught up from there. It grew and today, you can see where the label is.”

“Talent is inborn, there is no doubt about that, but it is essential to get to know the technical skills, so I went up to Central St Martins for a few courses to get better accustomed with the technique of it all,” Shah says. Her outfits are exceedingly expensive. “I won’t say we are not expensive, yes we are, but we need to balance it out by giving quality stuff. I don’t compromise on quality. These are real pearls and Swarovski crystals, which you see on the fabric. I do try to cater to all price points when I customise an outfit for someone.”

In her Sultanate bridal collection, there was surprisingly not a trace of traditional red. Rather, the collection comprised light beige and grey hues. The subtle colours are a break from both norm and tradition, says Shah. “Personally, I gravitate towards a colour palette that is ethereal; the light feel you get from this combination is nowhere else to be found.” Taking her cues from international designers like Elie Saab and Vera Wang, she says, “I try to venture into colours sometimes, for my customised outfits, but not for my capsule collections.”

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About her luxury prêt, Shah says, “These are not overly complicated silhouettes. It is an elegant and subtle line. It is straight, understated and there are elements that cater to a market consisting of anyone between the ages of 30 and 50 years. One should feel comfortable wearing it, it shouldn’t be overly edgy. Elegance suits everyone.”

Shah says, “While I was coming to Karachi, I thought my bridals wouldn’t sell, but I still wanted Karachiities to at least view these. However, I was utterly wrong. People have ended up placing orders here. That’s great.”

Shah is now in the process of opening her first flagship store in Lahore Galleria, which is still under construction. So why did it take so long for her to do so? “It takes a while to open your own store. Today, we are at a level where we can. It should be open by February or March 2014. After that, we will see if we want to start off with another [store] in Karachi.”

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دوشنبه 2 دی 1392

Truly, madly, Dali: How fashion got surreal

نویسنده: Randall Farris   

Come February 2014, an unusual Salvador Dali piece will be offered for auction at Christie’s London. Which in itself is an unusual thing to read on the fashion pages. But the Dali painting in question, estimated to fetch £1-1.5m, takes fashion as its central theme. In fact, it was commissioned for Vogue’s October 1943 issue, in which the master surrealist immortalised a selection of high fashion accoutrements – a bejewelled brooch, an empty glove – in a typical Dalinian landscape.

“The idea of disguising oneself was only the consequence of the traumatic experience of birth,” mused Dali, a highfalutin justification for his amalgamations of haute couture and high art. That even included installations in the windows of American department store Bonwit Teller, in 1939. Dali ended up falling through a window, clutching a bathtub, in a fit of indignation when an artistically naked mannequin was dressed by the store in a neat tweed suit.

One doubts intellectual musing on the traumatic experience of birth were part of the thought processes of fashion’s leading lights this season – but nevertheless, distinctly surreal styles were a mainstay of the autumn/winter catwalks. Mary Katrantzou’s prints silhouetted bowler-hatted figures straight out of a Magritte. The artist’s signature blue skies also formed a catwalk backdrop for Raf Simons’ Dior’s show, inspired in part by Monsieur Dior’s aborted career as a gallerist for artists including Dali. Hence the Jean Cocteau-ish embroidered hands and eyelashes scampering across georgette gowns, and the Luis Buñuel-inspired eyes peering out from otherwise-innocuous floral prints. Those eyes cropped up at Kenzo, too, as the new logo on the label’s signature sweatshirts as well as motifs studding everything from knee-length coats and thigh-high boots to the models fingers and ear lobes.

Delfina Delettrez fine jewellery

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Those bijoux are the work of Delfina Delettrez, who has taken those surreally displaced peepers as her design leitmotif. They stare out in enamel, diamonds or pearls from her eponymous jewellery collection, as well as the gems she designs for houses including Kenzo and Fendi – where, for spring, they’re in silver with crystal eyelashes. “I love the destabilising effect,” Delettrez says of the eyes she dangles from ear lobes or pins to lapels. “I love everything that destabilises, disorientates you. These are eyes, but they’re also earrings... I guess it was as Schiaparelli did with the shoe hat – it’s all about the contestualizzare [context].”

Elsa Schiaparelli was, of course, the ultimate fashion surrealist. Coco Chanel dismissed her as “that Italian artist who makes dresses”, but in fact she didn’t need to be an artist. She enlisted everyone from Marcel Vertes to Jean Cocteau to design embroideries and fabric prints, but her most fruitful collaboration was with Dali himself, inspiring Schiap (as she was known to her friends) to stud a jacket with lip-shaped buttons reminiscent of his Mae West sofa – the same actress’s naked torso formed the bottle for her perfume, titled “Shocking”.

To shock was a key aim of both Schiaparelli and the surrealists. But she had, perhaps, a better grasp of the commercial realities of haute couture: although she collaborated with Dali in 1937 to decorate an evening dress adorned with a larger-than-life lobster – an homage to Dali’s Aphrodisiac Telephone, created a year before – Schiap scuppered the artist’s plan to plaster the frock with real mayonnaise.

Delfina Delettrez fine jewellery

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Schiaparelli is possibly the fuse for this explosion of stylish surrealism. Her work was the subject of a major retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art last summer, while this July saw the revival of the label bearing her name.

The label’s owner, Diego Della Valle, tapped Christian Lacroix to create the first Schiaparelli collection since 1954, shown during Paris haute couture week. It was typically Schiap, packed with house signatures: jewelled pins shaped like insects perched on peplums, and crustaceans balanced on heads. The former designer of Rochas, Marco Zanini, has taken up the reigns, showing his first collection in January.

Surrealism is a seasonal flirtation for many designers – at the moment, it’s a trend, which by its very nature is transitory. However, as Dali so obliquely implied, there’s more than a passing relationship between the spheres of surrealism and style. Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld’s 1970s work was heavily inspired by surrealism.

Lagerfeld‘s first Chanel collection featured a dress adorned with a trompe l’oeil embroidery of jewellery that would have had arch-rivals Coco and Elsa spinning in their respective graves. More recently, Lagerfeld reinvented the Chanel paper carrier in luxury leather as a four-figure tote bag for spring 2009. It’s as perfect a surreal object as Dali’s crabby phone.

Maybe the undeniable and continual parallels result from the simple fact that surrealism, as an artistic movement, became a fashion. By the mid-Thirties, a decade after the publication of André Breton’s first surrealist manifesto, everything from advertising design to interior décor had been influenced by the movement. And with their obsessions with sexuality, gender, and dream vs reality, surrealist artists found fashion an ideal bedfellow. Hence the fact that, alongside Schiaparelli’s collaborations, surreal artists dabbled in fashion off their own bats: there are mannequins by Joan Miro and André Masson, ballet costumes by Giorgio de Chirico, while Meret Oppenheim’s oeuvre is populated with fashion-infused objets, such as her fur-smothered tea-cup, or high-heel shoes trussed and dressed like a turkey. Man Ray’s photographs could adorn a gallery, or an issue of Vogue, as could Dali’s obscure landscapes.

In all honesty, it’s difficult to dress surreal for real life. Most of us don’t want to perch a lobster or a shoe on our head, however stylish. But a quirky button or a witty graphic on the front of a shirt is a nod to the artistic bent of designers this season.

As in Schiaparelli’s time, however, fashion’s current flirtation with surrealism is best served with accessories: Dior’s Cocteauean graphics scroll across silk scarves and embroidered slippers and boots, while a Delettrez earring or brooch fashioned to resemble eyes, lips or even a bejewelled bug is a conversation-starter rather than a loud attention-grabber.

“I call it ice-breaker pieces, like conversation pieces,” says Delettrez herself.

I’d just advise steering well clear of Dali’s Hellmann’s-as-haute-couture approach to dressing for dinner.

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