Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Rather Round Must-Have

I have a new obsession,
and I have to share it.

Behold The Circle Scarf, appropriate for fall or spring. This article of accessory first made an appearance on The Hills when Lo and Lauren Conrad were shopping at a local LA boutique. Now, it graces the online pages of American Apparel for a nice $28.00. The best part is –it doesn’t have to be a scarf. There are over 12 different ways to wear it. I should be sporting mine in the next 5-7 business days.

Valentino and Velvet Hangers

Girls choose their best friends
mostly based on similar interests.

In this case, that interest is fashion. In the middle of my annual family Christmas, my best friend Lindsey called to tell me about two very important events that had just happened in her life that I think are worthy to inform you of as well. The first is about fragrance. No, not one of the million celebrity names stamped on the outside of a monotonous smelling concoction-in-a-bottle. This newly discovered fragrance was a timeless Valentino. "Not his most recent scent," she said. "It’s an older one, called VALENTINO V ABSOLU”. Knowing Lindsey, and her impeccable taste, I too would recommend spritzing on a bit of V.

The other deals with the sheer beautification of your personal wardrobe.
Fashion is so much more than just clothes and accessories. Fashion is an art that must be properly displayed when worn, and safely kept when not admiring. That is why the second thing Lindsey informed me of were the rainbow assortment of velvet hangers currently on sale at TJ Max. She had been in the market for them recently to make her closet just a little bit more pleasant. After entering the store looking for something else, she walked out even happier with her bargain find. These are the kinds of things I let my best friends interrupt rare family get-togethers to inform me of. It’s amazing what a hanger can do to a girls day. And it’s amazing how much the right hanger can transform a piece of clothing into a piece of art.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Stepping Into the Industry

A few associates trying on the latest shipment of merchandise, just for kicks.

After practically drooling over the fashion industry for a year or so, I decided that it was about time I finally enter into it, on a payroll. The summer before my freshman year of college I interviewed for a job at Express in the mall. I always appreciated Express clothing for its sophistication, timely trendiness and flattering garments. Express employees work in separate zones throughout the store. I was placed in zone 3 – the fitting rooms (when not trying to allure men to purchase shirts and suits they don’t need in zone 2). Although opening up the same eight doors with the same metal key for hours on end may seem redundant, at second thought there is no better way to influence the style of customers than to tell them what does and doesn’t look good on them.

Me and my manager, Will

I still remember the best day of work I had that summer. A young, petite, very average girl came walking back to the fitting room to try on a black skirt and basic top. I asked her what she was shopping for and her response was spiteful, yet adorable. She said that her and her boyfriend had an event to go to that night, where the other attendees would be a bunch of girls she knew from high school that were never friendly to her. She said she was looking for something to make her look HOT and (thank you Christian Siriano in advance for this word) fierce. Her intent was to show the caddy little high school immersed girls that she was no longer worthy of being picked on.
It was a very plain-little-caterpillar turns into traffic-stopping-dazzling-butterfly moment.
The store manager and I spent the next hour collaboratively running throughout the store picking up top after skirt after dress trying all possibilities and trends to make this girl a knock-out. One successful purchase, and a few accessories later she was on her way to the party. I can only hope that the fashion Gods were watching down on her that night and that the girls from years past never had a reason to disrespect her again.

The shoes that worked hundreds of hours

As for Express, it was the only job my mom said I never came home complaining about. I eventually got to work in every zone in the store (although I was always fitting-room biased). I never felt such a rush than coming home from college only to work Black Friday last year. I fell in love with the chaos and the fast-paced work environment.
And, even though the weekly schedule doesn’t have my name typed onto it anymore, that doesn’t erase the experience I first had from working in the semi-corporate world of fashion at Express.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Weekend Ever

October 28, 2006
New York City; It was the experience of a lifetime. The first annual Teen Vogue Fashion University; basically a dream conference for young fashion fanatics. After sending in an application, and getting accepted, I was on my way to New York City for the first time. The weekend started off with a concert by Ok-Go held at one of the most beautiful and unique concert halls I had ever seen. Saturday was the main event - an entire day of meeting designers, editors, and other important corporate people in the fashion world. After checking in, I was sent to the Conde Nast building. Let me say that again, the Conde Nast building! Photography isn't allowed inside the building but it looks identical to the office that Miranda Priestly takes the elevator up everyday to work in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. On the elevator, each floor is labeled by magazine.

I wish I could push a button everyday that said "VOGUE" and be transported to the highest place of fashion possible.

We pressed the Teen Vogue button instead and entered the large glass doors (picture: Whitney and Lauren walking into work on
The Hills) and were seated in a conference room. My first stop of the day was with Simon Doonon - Creative Director for Barney's New York (see previous posting). Next, I met with one of the head marketing ladies in charge of, and best friends with G & P from Juicy Couture. She talked about pulling samples for celebrities and a little about how Juicy Couture has evolved. After she walked out, in walked Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief, Amy Astley followed by fashion designer Thakoon Panichgul, 2007 CFDA Award Nominee. His presentation was on the inspiration for his upcoming Spring 07 collection.

That was just the first half of my day....

I was then set loose for a lunch break. In the heart of Times Square, I independently walked across the street to a little cafe where I enjoyed a sandwich. Pure bliss. How do you make an aspiring high school student feel important?
Stick her in the middle of New York City with a schedule of appointments for the day that reads "2:00 Tiffany, 3:00 Tim Gunn".

The Tiffany presentation was an insight into the world of diamonds. What girl doesn't love that? At the end, we were each given our own silver Tiffany heart pendant necklace. Juicy Couture gave us socks (which I then lost). The final presentation of the day was keynote speaker, Tim Gunn - mentor on the popular fashion reality show Project Runway and (at the time) Director of Admissions for Parsons School of Design. He talked about what it takes to get into fashion school and the kinds of things college recruiters are looking for. As the Teen Vogue portion of the day came to an end, my mom and I decided to go on a hunt in the garment district for Mood - the fashion fabric mecca used by the designers in Project Runway. Utterly overwhelming I think is the only word to describe Mood. We walked away with a yard or so of a suede/fur mixture by Roberto Cavalli.

The last stop of the day was a nice stroll through Bryant Park - home of "the tents" for New York Fashion Week. On Sunday, Teen Vogue ended the weekend with a fashion show at Bloomingdale's and then presented us with our graduation certificates. A few footprints were left in New York that weekend, and I hope to return soon to make some more.

Look for applications for Teen Vogue University 2009 in August.

Do It Like Doonan

Meet Simon Doonan - I did
in 2006 at
Teen Vogue's Fashion University. Simon Doonan is known for his outlandish display windows as Creative Director for Barney's New York. Here he was giving students insight into his inspirations for his window designs. Doonan was one of the masterminds behind the Warhol trend a few seasons back after his iconic tribute to the artist in the Barney's windows in Winter 06. Aside from visual creations, Doonan also has a collection of books including his most recent - Eccentric Glamour.
This book is on my list of fashion must-reads. It depicts the importance of boldness in terms of personal style.
You can follow Simon's blog at Barneys.com
or visit his website. As a trendsetter, and the top man in visual merchandising, Simon Doonan is just one person in fashion you should know.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Westward Expansion

o, I'm not referring to the Oregon Trail.
*Pause for fabulous fashion moment* Designer apparel has hit the small ski town in Northern Montana where my parents reside. I was shopping over Thanksgiving break, when to my delight, I walked into a new store only to see a breathtaking display of Marc by Marc Jacobs sunglasses nicely sitting on the table in front of me. I kind of freaked out a little bit, and then asked for this pair for Christmas. Looks like there might be hope for North Dakota after all.
We'll see how nice
Santa thought I was this year.


There's No Place Like Fashion

I'm just waiting for the moment where I can click my heels, look at my dog, and say, "I don't think I'm in the Midwest anymore."

To my discontent, I uncontrollably live in the wrong region of the United States to really immerse myself in the fashion world. It's pretty hard to get more centrally located than Columbia, Missouri (Google map it).
A very blank stare eases across the faces of people in New York when they hear of a girl from the midwest that wants to do fashion. I should be frolicking in a prairie or utilizing my John Deere to best of it's ability, right?
Two words come to mind right now:

Personally, I feel that those who find a love in the fashion industry, that come from the midwest, (not to exclude people from other less fashionable regions of the US as well, i.e. North Dakota, but this is just the area where I can relate) have to work harder, and express a greater passion for not just clothes, or shoes, or bags but fashion as an entire entity in order to reach their dreams.
In no way am I arrogently saying I like fashion more than people in New York, that would be terrbile. I am simply trying to stick up for all of us midwestern fashionistas eager to catch the next red eye to NYC to satisfy our high-fashion cravings we get more frequently than BBQ.
And so the journey begins, a never ending runway of a fashion filled lifestyle.

Some Sass

’m going to go back to Diane von Furstenberg, then I promise I may or may not talk about her for a while. Fact: DvF is an amazing woman. Most fashionistas know she is the president of the CFDA aka. Council of Fashion Designers of America. She is looking great for her age, and she owns a very prestigious fashion house. DvF has been on my list of “potential future internships” ever since I knew what fashion was.
Something happened...
Whitney Port happened. Fact #2: I am a fan of the show The Hills. It is the only show I make an effort to watch every week. However, last night Whitney Port officially accepted the job at where? DVF of all places. Now, if one were to Google "Diane von Furstenberg internships" a majority of the first page of results is all about Whitney Port.
This is a classic example of how much the media influences our culture, in this instance for the worst. As if it isn't hard enough to try and land a job in our current market already, how bad is it that celebrities, along with MTV, are causing the stakes to be upped for internships that small midwestern fashion freaks such as myself have wanted for years. Shucks.

Baby Steps

It was these two looks from Diane von Furstenberg's Fall 05 collection that first opened my eyes to the world of fashion. On a very naive Google search for "fashion shows" I stumbled upon Style.com - the home of Vogue and W, and never looked back. I remember gaining an acute curiousty for what people were wearing to school, and why. These images became the first page of my now 8lb+ "fashion notebook" that never leaves my side. The aforementioned "fashion notebook" encompasses a collection of everything I find inspirational, stylish, sexy and beautiful, along with my own sketches, accomplishments and projects. It was on this day, from these pictures I realized...
I was born to work in fashion