Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Verses on Varsity

There are few fashion items now hotter in menswear than varsity jackets. They are ubiquitous (which is a fancy way of saying they're everywhere).

Thankfully, this is one trend of which I approve.

 Once relegated  to varsity high school and college teams members such as Big Moose, the varsity jacket turned chic a few years ago as it made it's way into the lineup of several haute couture labels such as Bottega Veneta.

Do bear in mind that a Bottega veneta varsity jacket is something like the equivalent of Dom Perignon brand cola--yet strangely, it works.

I suspect that there are a few reasons why the jacket has taken off so successfully. Firstly, the style is attractive to hip-hop/street and hipster style sensibilities alike. The hip-hop guys like it because it appeals to both their team-like (posse) sensibilities as well their general affinity for sportswear, such as jerseys and ballcaps.

I suspect the hipster types are attracted to the ironic or nostalgic element evoked by the jackets. You won't see them wearing a Gucci  varsity jacket, but you may very well see them in a jacket plucked from an obscure Iowa high school.

Personally, I think I am partial  to the vintage jackets, and if you don't mind sifting through musty used clothing stores, you can probably score a pretty cool find.

-The Scandal

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rising hemlines

I remember over a half decade ago my brother passed by a lineup of people waiting to get into a trendy nightclub in New York and referred to them as a bunch of "lemmings" as a result of the fact that they were all wearing trucker hats, which was then the costume de rigueur for that crowd.

I'm always a fan of checking out the galleries posted by GQ "street-style" photographer Tommy Ton, especially in and around  fashion week. In his most recent gallery shot outside New York fashion week, I was struck at how uniform these supposed fashion renegades actually looked.  There is some irony that their collective quest for individualism actually exposes a  group-think mentality.

If there is one trend in particular that was nearly ubiquitous, it was the rising hemline in men's pants, be they dress pants, casual pants or jeans. Sometimes the pants were rolled up, sometimes not, but in almost every case, they "boldly" flouted the rules taught to us by generations of tailors and men's magazines.

So where did this trend come from? In reality, hemlines have been rising for years. Men's designer Thom Browne can definitely be credited with contributing to the trend. His extremely high-hemmed and shin-bearing  pants have always been one his quirky trade-marks, and he's been mainstream for over five years now.

Another influence has been the particular cuff style favoured by uber-cool fashionistas in Milan and  made famous by the Sartorialist. Here is a photo of one of the the Sartorialist's favourite middle-aged muse, Lino, owner of the  Al Bazar men's boutique in Milan.

As you can see, the pants are cut a bit higher so that there is no "break" in the pants as you would see in a traditional hemline where the cuff hits the shoe. The cuff is also wider than a traditional men's cuff. This style is definitely more subtle that Thom Browne's, but it is definitely noticeable.

All of this is to say that rising hemlines have been in the air for some years now, and there are undoubtedly other sources for the trend, apart from the two I identified above.

So what's my opinion on trend? I've actually admired (and tried to emulate) the Milan cuff style for some time now, and I suppose the other styles shown above can be interesting if done properly, but I think the images above show that this style has all the hallmarks of a fad that one should with approach with some caution.

-The Scandal

Friday, September 9, 2011

Best Dressed City in Canada?

Guess which Canadian was named Best Dressed by the September 2011 edition of GQ?

*drum roll*


That's gotta smart to many Montrealers who undoubtedly consider their city to be the most stylish and best dressed. Some Montrealers still cling to this dated stereotype that Hogtown is still a  dull, whistle-while-you-work WASP-y city with little to offer other than a job at CIBC.

Montreal has historically, unquestionably been the style Capital of Canada, but times have changed. Toronto long ago surpassed Canada as the centre of finance and commerce, but it's only been in the last 20 years that Toronto has begun to surpass Toronto in artistic and cultural output and in particular, the world of style and design. Just witness the popularity of the Toronto International Film Festival, the construction of landmark public buildings (such as the ROM and opera house), the ascendancy of Toronto-based fashion designers, etc.

As an aside, the article recommends several Toronto clothing shops and restaurants which were obviously taken from an earlier travel article on Toronto from it's sister Conde Nast publication (which I also reported on).

-The a

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tweezers: The Good and the Bad

Over the past two years, I have been noticing a trend on the runways; more specifically, on models. This fall season in particular, it has become all too apparent that thicker brows are back in style. Magazines and style sites have been promoting the darker and thicker brow to all fashionistas. I say: Finally! It's about time!!! My worst pet peeve when it comes to beauty has always been over-plucked brows. It actually sometimes saddens me to see how some girls literally butcher their brows to thin little lines that they pencil in (yuck). Even worse, permanently tattooed brows have become all too trendy for those who plucked everything out. 

My brow obsession originated in my high school art class when I had a project due on drawing different eyes. As I began to draw and analyze what makes the eyes and the face symmetrical, I slowly realized that the brow had a big part to play in "framing" the face. As a result, I decided to compile a few examples as to why I think brows play such an important role and somehow are considered the most unessential part of the face.

In my opinion, aside from contouring the face, eyebrows that look natural and untouched give an appearance of freshness and youth. 

In a Vogue interview, Natalia Vadianova credited her grandmother for keeping her from plucking her eyebrows when she was a teenager. As a result, many agents loved her unique look - especially her brows.

I mean, seriously, can we picture Brooke Shields in The Blue Lagoon with thin little brows? No, I didn't think so either.

I am not saying that brows should not be plucked at all. It is very important to groom them; but one should always know the limit or else.............

...you might end up looking like these clowns.

As for the males reading this post, just pluck out the uni brow BUT (and I mean it) don't try to give your brows an arch or a contour unless you are in the running to be on a Jersey Shore episode. You have no business devoting too much attention to that area on your face. Unless you want to resemble "Jake" down here.

- Marichka

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Most Definitely Not Born That Way

K, I really don't know anything about women's makeup or other beauty techniques. I can really only speak from a guy's common sense perspective.

As we all know, one cannot sift through the news without stumbling on some headline on Lady Gag Lady Gaga (and I do hate to add to the pile of stuff about her).

The latest headline: Lady Gaga in a photoshoot without makeup!

"Boy, this is gonna be juicy!", I thought.

The photo shoot depicts LGG looking more beautiful than ever.

Who knew that beneath her theatrical makeup, LGG actually had the features of a Nordic beauty?

Obviously, this is nonsense; Here are some images I googled of the Lady without makeup.

To be fair, these images are also deceptively atrocious, and I don't mean to pick on Gaga. I suspect that her her "true" appearance probably lies somewhere in the middle. However, I find the promise of a makeup-less photo shoot to be completely deceiving when the photographer uses other photographic technical wizardry to make the subject appear more beautiful than she is.

There is no point in shamelessly promoting a no-makeup photo shoot, only to enhance the photo through other techniques (such as unnatural poses, creative lighting, and airbrushing).  The entire premise of a no-makeup shoot is to allow the viewer to get a more realistic perception of what the subject would look like in her natural condition. Sadly, this seems to be part of an unfortunate current trend within the publishing world.

Thou hast betrayed me for the last time, Judas.

-The Scandal

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ralph's Rave Reviews

Ralph Lauren has launched its Black Label Denim campaign to include atrociously baggy jeans. Not even this model (who sports an uncanny  resemblance Christian Bale) can pull it off. I really wonder what Ralph was thinking.

Maybe he was influenced by those absurd Raver pants from the 90's and early 2000's?


That said, in recent years, YSL Rive Gauche has busted out some pretty baggy pants.

However, I can sooner see the aesthetic merit to loose fitting dress pants than I can with denim.

-The Scandal