Guess the Influence: Prada Edition

Every once in a while, I feel like I know what influenced a particular designer when they dreamed up a collection. I don’t know what it is (maybe it’s magic!), but there’s some rush in my brain of intuition, prior knowledge and…well, magic, that delivers the formula for clothes.

I’m 100% sure I’m wrong about the Prada Spring/Summer 2011 collection that showed last week. I’m not sure I care, especially because I can’t say I like the clothes. And though I haven’t done any research into Miuccia’s actual influences, here are the ones I dreamed up for her:

  • Baroque Architecture, especially the gold wrought stuff that was everywhere (which is kind of a given)
  • Mexican Art That Includes Monkeys (of which Frida Kahlo was the best example I could find)
  • Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett’s day at the beach
  • Proenza Schouler’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection
  • Leg-o-Mutton sleeves
  • Christopher Walken in a Hawaiian shirt*

Mix it all together, and voila: Prada Spring/Summer 2011! Maybe it really is magic.

*I don’t know where Chris Walken came from, either. He just popped in my head while I was watching the show. If he took a lady friend to the beach, she would probably wear this collection.

After That the Dark

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

— “Crossing the Bar,” Alfred Lord Tennyson.



McQueen in the Wild

It’s so cool to see one of my favorite McQueen dresses on a real person (although I think Ashley Olsen is so tiny she actually counts a Sprite or a Fairy–or maybe her sister is the Sprite and she’s the Fairy; I don’t know). She’s stunning. One of my favorite things about McQueen is that as fantastical as his designs get, they’re still wearable, at least on some level. Certainly it would take a woman who could pull off clothes with some level of drama, but McQueen clothes never reach the levels of ridiculosity that are reached by, say, Galliano.

But what’s even cooler is the fact that I recognize this dress. I’ve been tooling around these here fashion parts for about three years now, and can no longer claim newbie ignorance, but I still haven’t been able to grasp how people can look at a photo of a girl in a dress and say “Oh yeah, that’s Prada Spring ’02” or “That’s look 29 from the latest Marc Jacobs collection, duh.” Those people probably pore devoted over during fashion month, and siphon off every detail down to the makeup. Unfortunately (or not), I don’t have the attention span for that. I’m lucky if I make it through a few of my favorites– Prada, McQueen, Rodarte, Zac Posen, Ann Demeulemeester– and a couple of the buzzed-about designers of the season, and I tend to remember the theme and feel of the collection more than the specific details. I know that I’ll never be That Fashion Girl; my brain’s not built like that. But this, the fact that I recognize this dress (from the collection that got me into fashion, no less), means I’ve learned something; that I know, perhaps, more than I think. And that’s pretty neat.

At the very least, I know enough to wonder if Ashley could have pulled off a variation of the antlers that were shown with the dress, rather than the commenters over at Just Jared who are busy criticizing her choice of lipstick.

So, dear reader, when did you first realize you’ve arrived in the fashion world?

Rodarte for Target!

If you’ve read this blog before, I’ve established that I admire the Rodarte sisters. They’re smart and have an interesting aesthetic, even though I wouldn’t wear most of the clothes because they’re, y’know, impractical. So when I heard about their line for Target, I was this close from setting up a “Rodarte for Target” google search as my homepage. Because a line for Target means two things: potential wearability, and the possibility that I’ll be able to afford something.

Well, NYMag somehow got their hands on the lookbook (I don’t believe it when they say it’s the entire thing–it’s missing the black lace halter dress and the nude lace dress that looks like a nightie, and I recall a lot more on the racks in the leaked preview material, and YES I AM OBSESSED, OKAY?), and I’m still excited. I’m considering this line my own personal reward for slogging through my first quarter of graduate school, which hasn’t been my favorite thing ever.

I don’t understand why they would decide to put in pieces like the denim jacket. I already have one that I got on sale at the Gap, and I’d rather buy one that I know is quality over one from Target, even if it has the Rodarte label. Target has a good price/quality ratio, but it’s not high enough for something that’s supposed to be as durable as a denim jacket. Although, the denim adds an element of toughness to all the lace and froth, and heaven forbid a designer make a collection these days that isn’t all about being edgy.

But questions aside, I am looking forward to seeing this in the store. I want to try on the frothy dresses and especially that blue tulle skirt. The tights are fun, and for some reason I really like the idea of nude-colored knee-high socks (maybe it has something to do with my short legs). The lace and sequins and fun of this collection outweigh nearly everything else. And I can’t wait!

A.McQueen, Pt. 1

I adore Alexander McQueen. His fall/winter 2006 collection was my gateway drug to fashion (he made me like plaid!). I don’t really know how to say this without sounding pretentious, but I think we’re very similar in how we view things–both very romantic and very cynical. Most of all, I like how he presents¬† wearable clothes in unpredictable ways, which is why he’s one of the only designers I mark on my calendar during fashion week. I’m always excited for his shows.

His fall/winter 2009 collection, though? Made me ill. I had never really understood how clothes could create a mood until I flipped through last spring–the combination of garish, unnatural makeup and harsh clothes made me feel physically repulsed. The show created a scary, disconcerting feeling that I, and nearly everybody else it seems, wasn’t prepared for.

Of course, all this reflected in reviews–how he’s doing a retrospective, or reflecting on the state of the economy, blah blah blah. Whatever. What got me was all the buzz about “porn star lips,” “sex doll lips”…stop. What? No.

Porn star lipstick with the pale skin and those clothes? Doesn’t add up. The scifi geek in me knew what was up. Alexander McQueen discovered Firefly. The trash on the set and hats, the grotesque silhouettes, the disfiguring makeup, it all adds up to one thing: Reavers.

I see what you did there, Mr McQueen. You can’t fool me–trying to pass off your closet scifi habit on weird fashion fetishes. You didn’t think anyone else would notice? Psh.

Clearly, there is one lesson to be learned here (and from this post): Fashionistas need to watch more scifi.

[Images courtesy of and]

Doctor Who, meet Dune

Looks like Angela Missoni was watching a little too much science fiction when she was designing this season. The Fourth Doctor’s scarf and the desert robes of the Fremen (from Frank Herbert’s Dune) are major pieces in Missoni FW 09. Hey, I’m not complaining– more science fiction for everybody!