Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday: She's With the Band

Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous

Known for hanging around (and having sex with) famous men, the groupie, aka band aid, is something of a lost character, a seductive, often sloppy creature out a bygone era, what would seem to be rock 'n' roll myth. A sexist situation? Of course. But let's put that aside for the moment, if only for the sake of glamorizing a past we are all likely too young to fully grasp.

Their true heyday: the late sixties to late seventies, when the music was fresh, roaring, raucous, and pulse-quickening. Their loves: lavish hotel rooms, a freewheeling life on the move (sure to get old fast for less hearty types) and fringes, drugs both hard and soft, a high degree of shock value, lots of attention. Their purpose: to provide all the comforts and benefits of a girlfriend and none of the nagging annoyance inevitably delivered in the package of a "real" relationship. Their style: whether copping goods from their stage-swaggering guys or inversely, inspiring their looks, it was as wild and uninhibited as their hijinks, at once referencing and personifying glam rock, pre-grunge, tomboy grit, bad-girl edge, stereotypical "slut," and disheveled appeal.

Here, a selection of those who could hang with the best of them (or worst of them, depending on how you look at it):

Lori Maddox
Her Guys: Jimmy Page, David Bowie

Sable Starr
Her Guys: Iggy Pop, Jimmy Page, David Bowie, allegedly others

Bebe Buell
Her Guys: Steven Tyler, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, John Taylor, Todd Rundgren, Mick Jagger

Pamela Des Barres
Her Guys: Jim Morrison, Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Keith Moon, Nick St. Nicholas, Gram Parsons

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Need Now: Comme des Garçons Play Breton Striped T-Shirt

The Piece: Trust Comme des Garçons Play to put an offbeat and yes, playful spin on an iconic wardrobe staple. This all-cotton crew-neck T-shirt, as seen on Frida Gustavsson and Diane Kruger (below), features a vaguely boxy fit and lightly cropped long sleeves for a modern update on the timeless Breton striped shirt. 

The Backstory: On March 27th, 1858, the Act of France introduced the striped Breton shirt as we still know it today. Originally known as marinière or matelot, the navy and white-striped knitted shirt was the uniform for all navy seamen in Brittany. The bold pattern was easy to spot on the waves, and it featured precisely 21 stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories.
By 1889, it was manufactured by Bretagne, Tricots Saint James, and towards the close of the 19th century, it became popular with Breton workers because it was so easy and practical.

The Evolution: Out with the Belle Epoque and in with beachy sportswear: In 1917, the inimitable Coco Chanel (above, left), inspired by the glamorous seaside resort city of Deauville in Normandy (where she frequently vacationed with her lover, Boy Capel, and opened her second boutique), made the shirt fashionable by introducing it in her nautical collection. She paired it with long, flared trousers, and the look projected a sunny, south-of-France breed of ease. By the 1930s, women in the know were sporting it with cravats, blazers, and shorts.

The Outcome: From Rebel Without a Cause to the French New Wave and far beyond, the shirt's been worn by Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Edie Sedgwick, James Dean, Pablo Picasso, Jean Seberg, and Audrey Hepburn, as well as '80s-era Madonna and much-copied women in the 2000s, like Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Emmanuelle Alt, and Ulyana Sergeenko. 

Above: Brigitte Bardot, Edie Sedgwick, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, Jean Seberg, Madonna; below: Kate Moss, Alexa Chung, Emmanuelle Alt, Ulyana Sergeenko


The shirt has also been reinterpreted by the houses of Balmain, Meadham Kirchhoff, Clements Ribeiro, Junya Watanabe, and of course, Jean-Paul Gaultier (who has also made it a signature of his personal look) and reimagined in countless nautical-themed (and sometimes naughty) fashion editorials. 

Below: Looks out of the Balmain Fall 2009, Jean-Paul Gaultier Spring 2013, Clements Ribeiro Spring 2010, Meadham Kirchhoff Fall 2009, and Junya Watanabe Spring 2011 Menswear collections; miscellaneous editorials

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Muses: Embrace the Heat

Tips for Embracing the Heat: Take a plunge, ditch pants, don't curse the morning after, commit to white, escape to the grass, shred your denim...From white-sky morning, into the night. Find the air and suck it in, chest open, pushed into light.

Texture matters: denim is thick and rumpled, cotton fragile, lace yanked thin, colors scalding-hot or air-conditioner cool, shades over-saturated or bleached into oblivion, leather coarse and scaly, patterns clashed and disregarded