Thursday, 22 November 2012

Disco Inferno

As much as the 70's gets made fun of and derided by many people, it did produce some interesting things, fashion and music wise. The music became more funky, more socially conscious and more sexually aware. Pride in all capacities were shown through and through. Discos were turning up everywhere, turning ordinary people into stars and fashion getting much more daring. Platform shoes, strappy and very high stilettos, glitter, sequins, beads, and colorful polyester that doesn't wrinkle and keeps you looking good, even though the fabric didn't breathe, so you would sweat like a whore in church. These are some of the things that define the disco era. The music would throb and the disco was the place to see and be seen. I get a lot of inspiration from the disco era, because I was child in the midst of it. I loved all of the easy glamour that disco provided. The clothes were sexy and comfortable. You can look good at any price point. It was all about fun!!! Now, it has come back in a big way in the Fall/Winter 2012 collections. Color, sequins, beading and easy, but fun glamour is on the menu, so dust off your Donna Summer records and pump it as the soundtrack when you are checking out these pieces.
Prada is turning it out with the printed trouser suit and tunic, taking a cue from the polyester suits of the day. The patterns are bold, but cut for today's woman. I love all of the tunics and the dresses over pants. Also love the suits. These are pieces that can stand alone with other things in your closet and offer a punch in a look. You can do the suit jackets with jeans or a skirt and you can do the pants with killer stilettos and a tank top. Here are a few of my favorites:
Roberto Cavalli (one of my favorite Italian designers) gave us luxury at his finest here. Wearing any of these pieces to the disco will surely get your picture taken and on your way to stardom. Fur bubble skirts, painted python with huge cat motifs, beaded t shirts. These are pieces for a girl that wants to be seen. Here are some of my favorites:
Meadham Kirchhoff really struck a candy colored chord with me with this collection. Everything was so playful and tapped into the club kid in me. Wild hair and makeup and Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" as the soundtrack pumped this party boy into overdrive and I fell in love with all of the pieces. Here are a few of my favorites:
So put on your dancing shoes and let's dance the "Last Dance"!!! Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Drag Queens: An Inspiration

Recently, I sat down and did some catching up on "RuPaul's Drag Race". Now, like any other designer, I LOVE DRAG QUEENS!!! The reason why? They are fearless and will take a chance on a look. They also can give you amazing ideas in unexpected ways. They exaggerate femininity, so their looks can be quite glamorous, (albeit overly glamorous) or quite humorous. It's all in a matter of taste and the queen executing said taste.
Most everday women would never go that far to achieve a look like these, but a lot of work goes into being a drag queen, or gender illusionist. You have to have a knowledge of fashion, makeup, hair and know how to put it all together all by yourself. You also have to know all of the tricks to create the illusion of female curves on a broad, and straight male surface. Once you've mastered that, you have to have balls (pun intended) to put it all out there for the world to see. This is when the fearless part comes in. As a big fan of drag queens of every type (pageant, bar, club, comic), I always check out their looks from head to toe. Some will buy clothes off of the rack and some will get things made for them, but some of the really good ones will make things for themselves and those are the ones that I am really drawn to. They are willing to create the looks that may be avant garde, but wearable, attention grabbing and show stopping. It's a lot of money to make all of this happen (shoes and wigs alone can eat up the money), but if you can be creative, walk in heels and do an amazing makeup job, you're halfway there.
The reason why drag queens are an inspiration for me is because they always come up with something that I may have never thought of before. It may be over the top, but there is always a way to pare it down and take it to the sellable, commercial level. The more creative ones know how to turn a cheap fabric that no one would touch into a look that would inspire a designer's next catwalk collection. I always manage to find an interesting idea that I want to expand upon in seeing drag queens. I can go through may fashion magazines, many fashion books, even watching all sorts of fashion tv, but I always get some great inspiration from drag queens.
Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Giorgio Armani- A Fan's Tribute

There are so many designers that I love and get inspiration from. Each designer has something that totally inspires me to take things to the next level, and some also teach me how to pull it back. This designer has been my FAVORITE designer for as long as I can remember. His name is Giorgio Armani. My love for Giorgio Armani came from the Richard Gere/Lauren Hutton movie "American Gigilo". Richard's character, Julian (a high paid escort) only wore the finest clothes and Armani was a staple in his closet. In the opening scene, Julian is taking shirts that are neatly folded out of a drawer and tosses them on the bed. The shirts are in pastel and neutral colors and inside of the collar, you see the Giorgio Armani label. I was really young when I saw that movie, but that image stays in my mind whenever I think of Giorgio Armani. This was a feat he did five years after starting his label. He not only made Julian fashion forward and start the trend of Italian dressing in the States, he also got a huge boost of sales from it because wives, and girlfriends wanted to dress their husbands or boyfriends like Julian in the movie, and to look like Julian, you had to get Armani.
Giorgio Armani was born on July 11th, 1934 in Piancenza, Italy, a small city north of Milan. He was the second of three children. He wasn't a very good student in school, but he managed to get through it. He got his first job at La Rinascente, a department store in Milan. After working there for a bit, he got a job at Cerruti for six years becoming a fabric connoisseur in the process. With no formal fashion training and already 37, he set up his own label in 1975, with the help of his personal and professional business partner, Sergio Galeotti. The piece that started it all and is a mainstay in any collection is the deconstructed jacket, a jacket that was stripped of the lining and padding and became looser and more fluid. The early pieces were in neutral colors (brown, grey, beige, cream, greige (a combination of grey and beige)) and they were lighter. Elegance was no longer stuffy and casual, easy Italian style became all the rage in the States. Although there are many Italian brands out there (Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Pucci, Prada), they are all so different from Armani. Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Roberto Cavalli are very rock and roll, with studs, chiffon and plunging necklines. Pucci is wildly patterned and looks amazing on the beach or on the yacht. Prada is more arty, yet trendy. Armani is all about the same things when he started: clean lines, sharp tailoring, wearable and luxurious. No Armani piece has ever gone out of style. He doesn't stray too far away fro what works because to him, there's no need to. These pics are from the Spring Summer 2013 collection- womenswear.
While all of the other companies are owned by bigger corporations, Giorgio owns his company 100%. The secret to having longevity: He says that you must have clarity in your vision and he has that in spades. His company has been at the top for 37 years and now at 78, he shows no signs of slowing down. I hope to have my fashion line lasting like his. Here are some pics from his Spring Summer 2013 collection- menswear.
Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Belstaff: A Heritage Brand Steps Into Today

Anyone who rides a motorcycle knows that although Harley Davidson is the preferred motorcycle of choice, Belstaff is the preferred outerwear to ride that bike. I'm loving that this 88 year old company is stepping into the apparel market aggressively. It has always been a luxury leathers company and it still is, but now there will be a fashion side to go with it. With Ewan MacGregor wearing the jackets on his many motorcycle outings and in the advertising, you can bet that this company is making sure it hits all the marks.
Belstaff is an English luxury outerwear brand founded in 1924 in Longton, Staffordshire. Their main claim to fame was creating all weather jackets for motorcyclists and being the first company to use waxed cotton. They also created gloves and goggles for the burgeoning aviation market. In the 1980's, Belstaff branched out to include golf wear. The 1990's were tough on them and they had to close a couple of factories, making the output much smaller and more exclusive. In June 2011, Belstaff was acquired by the Labelux Group and the are working hard and aggressively to transform the brand. Bally is also owned by the Labelux Group. Belstaff had a show during Fashion Week in New York, making sure that New Yorkers know who they are. The inspiration for the womens collection was vintage luggage and the romanticism of travel. Spring 2013 never looked so good. Here are a few shots from the show.
The menswear collections were shown in Italy. They are determined that you know their name. Luxury Personified!!!!
Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Antonio Lopez & Juan Eugene Ramos: A Tribute

I get inspired by so many things; art, music, movies, television, books, even magazines and blogs. Not too long ago, I came across a fashion photograph of Grace Jones as a candy bar in V Magazine (the issue with Nicole Kidman on the cover-V79 Fall 2012). It immediately transported me back to my childhood and the first time I saw it. I couldn't remember the magazine, but I do remember where I saw it. It was in 1979 and my mom was in a salon getting her hair done. I was sitting in the chair, with a stack of fashion magazines. As I was flipping through them, I was stunned by the picture. Not only was it the first time that I was enamored by Grace Jones (since then I made it a point to find as much as I can on her), but the whole concept of the photo took me to another place. It was one of those kinds of photos that you would want to have on your wall (I REALLY wanted it, Mother was not having it) and yet no one would get it. This was one of the many keys that opened the door to the glamorous world of fashion for me.
This photo came from a visionary, unlike any other. An amazing illustrator that could find the beauty anywhere and make the world see it. Whether he drew it, or photographed it, he brought it to life in the beautiful people that he knew. He discovered quite a few very interesting models and they became known in the beginning as Antonio's Girls.
His name is Antonio Lopez and his collaborator and close friend, Juan Eugene Ramos.
Antonio Lopez was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico on February 11th, 1943. His mother was a seamstress and his father, a mannequin maker. He moved to New York at the age of 7 and grew up in the Bronx. To keep her son off of the streets, his mother had him draw flowers for her embroideries and they encouraged his talent for drawing. Although, he thought he would be a dancer when he was a teenager, he realized that drawing was his first love and his parents influenced him to apply his artistic talents to fashion, so he attended the High School of Art & Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. While attending F.I.T., he began an internship at Women's Wear Daily. He eventually left school when he was offered a full time position there. After that, he went to work for the New York Times. His main collaborator was Juan Eugene Ramos. Juan was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico on January 4, 1942. At the age of 6, he migrated to New York with his two younger siblings. After graduating from Seward Park High School, he went to Fashion Institute of Technology. While there, he met and formed a lifelong friendship and collaborating partner in art and business with Antonio Lopez. While Antonio was more the creative, Juan was more of the business guy. He was also a creative, providing research, inspiration, and organization. Juan was instrumental in arranging for Antonio to give lectures and workshops to teach all that he knew to the next generation. The two, suave and handsome Puerto Ricans moved to Paris in 1969 and they lived in Karl Lagerfeld's Paris apartment (Karl was designing for Celine at this time) and they stayed there until the mid 1970's.
Eija Vehka Aho, Juan Ramos, Jacques de Bascher, Karl Lagerfeld, and Antonio Lopez.
Antonio and Juan discovered a few of the amazing models of the time. They discovered Jerry Hall (whom Antonio was engaged to for a short time), Grace Jones, Jessica Lange (who was studying mime in Paris at the time), Tina Chow, Paloma Picasso (who was a jewelry designer as well), Tina Chow, Pat Cleveland (an eccentric model, more well known as one of Halston's Girls) and fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham.
Antonio and Juan were all about beauty and fun and they were so full of life!!! Antonio's illustrations were always fun and glamorous. He did ad campaigns for Valentino and Missoni and portfolios for many different men's magazines.
It was always about fashion, music, fun and art and a mixture of high and low. Everything was about being unique, being different, standing out and being fashionable. This was the fashion world that I was drawn to whenever I would see his illustrations or photos in the magazines. His work took him all over the world.
Sadly, Antonio passed away from AIDS at the age of 44 on March 17, 1987. Juan also passed away from AIDS in 1995 on November 2. He was 53. When the two of them passed on, they passed on in the midst of other artists like Tommy Nutter, Robert Mapplethorpe, Keith Haring, but like each of them they left a legacy that only a few know about. Although many may not remember or many from that time are gone, I remember all that they have done like it was yesterday because they were the ones that brought the fashion world to me and they created the world that I've always wanted to be a part of; night clubs, amazing fashion, fun, and tons of amazing talent. That was the world that made sense to me!!!
In September there was a book released with a lot of published and unpublished illustrations or photos. The book is called: Antonio Lopez: Fashion, Art, Sex & Disco. The clover looks amazing and I can't wait to get this book into my hands. Check it out if you can!!!! I know I will!!!!
Stay fashionable and sexy!!!!!