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Archive for the ‘On Entertainment’ Category

On I for Inspiration

In On Entertainment, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Personality, On Style on August 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Inspiration.

I often felt that it’s an overused word.

So I tried to go through a day without feeling any inspiration from anywhere to do anything. Not only was it difficult to do, but I realized that life is flat without inspiration. It’s important to be receptive to avail what this world has to offer.

Often people wait around to feel inspired. That, I find, is a problem. Opening yourself up to feel inspired is an active task – not a passive one. In fact, this blog is based on the muse – to actively learn from stylish men & women.

Some days, I may find myself wanting to channel a sartorial era – other days, I’m inspired to sing, even if it’s just around the apartment or in the shower. The late Anna Piaggi and Lady Gaga are inspirations for people to express themselves freely. My mother’s paintings are each based in inspiration, as are most DIY projects.

Inspiration is a powerful motivator. Inspiration to create. Inspiration to dress a certain way. Inspiration to feel joy. Inspiration to shop. Inspiration to make a change. Inspiration to find purpose!

Meha Bhargava can find inspiration anywhere, and she shares with us some of her ways:

“People watching has always been my favorite thing to do. Other things that inspire me:

  • A healthy, intellectual conversation
  • The rain – my brain works rather smoothly then
  • Fashion magazines
  • Newspaper
  • A well lit room
  • Colors
  • Home/ Family
  • A happy vacation

There’s inspiration in the tiniest of things.”

On I For Inspiration

On I For Inspiration: To be inspired is great. To Inspire is incredible.
Meha Bhargava’s Style Inspiration

For sartorial-specific inspiration?

  • Watch a TV show like Gossip Girl, Glee, or Sex and the City. Mirror a look you like. No, I don’t mean you have to buy the same pieces the character is wearing. But look in your wardrobe – can you create a similar look? Recently, I found I’m often missing a leather jacket to create the looks I like. Finding the perfect leather jacket for the fall is a piece that could potentially pull many looks I like together – that’s inspiration I’m using to make a change in styling.
  • Watch a movie or (music) video with distinctive styling. Example – watch an Audrey Hepburn movie. Or, for example, watch something unique like Annie Hall. Pictures from Annie Hall or of Katharine Hepburn often inspire me to celebrate menswear-inspired-womenswear. For more on that, read “On Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men“.
  • Celebrities! Whether they’ve styled themselves, or have stylists doing the work, celebrities often wear creative looks pulled together by several unique pieces. For example, Brad Goreski’s got Jessica Alba wearing color every day, everywhere. Meha often feels inspired by Nicole Kidman’s perfection and by the Duchess of Cambridge for her royal, clean, and chic style sense. And I think mostly everyone who loves fashion is inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker for her eccentric style.
  • Fashion shows and magazines. Create a scrap file of the looks you love. When you’re feeling uninspired, refer to your scrapbook for looks you’ve liked – this makes dressing creatively stress-free. Pinterest, and several other web services make this easy if you don’t like paper clutter or are trying to be green!
  • Be in awe of something – anything. It will inspire you to make a change.

What are some places you could look for inspiration?

  • Nature
  • Meditation
  • Web-surfing
  • People
  • Thinking about possibilities
  • Scrapbooks
  • Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter – basically any form of social media
  • Browse through an inspirational book
  • Attend a conference with people with similar goals
  • Watch videos of keynote speakers

To be inspired is great, and to inspire is incredible. Have you felt inspired today? Have you inspired anyone today? If not, take a moment now.

AKG

On Androgyny in Fashion

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History, On Menswear, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on April 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have heard “androgyny” in various contexts, varying from a scandalous or heated discussion to casual daily use. Androgynous traits are usually asexual or are qualities attributed to the opposite sex. There is physical, psychological, and fashion-related androgyny. To be clear, my inspiration is found in androgynous fashion and styling. Some people accept the idea, whereas many are steeped in traditionalism, focused on the idea that men and women are both supposed to look certain ways that are unique and separate of each other.

A rulebook from the older days for dressing and fashion etiquette (from 1965) includes rules that sound ludicrous today.

“It is disrespectful and unwise to deviate from the norm of those around you. It is not polite to stray from the costume worn by your date. If he is in street clothes, you are to wear a day dress or a dressmaker’s suit. […] You must always compliment your man.” “Mules, open-toed shoes, and ankle straps are in poor taste at all times.”

The writer and followers of this book would probably end up in shock if they ended up in any kind of gathering, party, restaurant, or department store today.

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Considering that these were the rules, consider how nonsensical the idea of finding pieces in “your man’s” wardrobe would be. Performers like David Bowie, Boy George, Prince, Grace Jones, Marlene Dietrich, and Annie Lennox challenged the norms back in the 1970s and cross-dressing continued to become more elaborate through the 1980s. Leonardo DiCaprio wore the ‘skinny’ look in the 90s, resulting in a fad known as “Leo Mania”. Marilyn Manson wore female clothing and PVC suits that made him seem genderless. These entertainers started trends so that men and women could think outside of conventional styling and start to explore where they felt at home outside of the limitation of their own department at the store. In high fashion, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent became pioneers by encouraging women to dress in a minimalistic manner, freeing them from the bind of corsets and stockings. In 1966, YSL created the “Le Smoking” tuxedo, the first of its kind for women. Now, fashion on the street was changing and women were freer to find and wear what they liked most.

There is considerable societal redefinition of traditional gender fashion norms today due to the popularity of these artistes and the trickle-down effect of high fashion. Menswear inspired womenswear (and visa versa) has become commonplace: boyfriend blazers, boyfriend jeans, oxfords, and more.

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling
Disclaimer: All pictures are sourced - not mine.

Experimenting with androgynous fashion doesn’t mean you have to dress like David Bowie when he performed. But it’s certainly inspiring, isn’t it? See Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall” or Cate Blanchett in “The Aviator”. Remember Katherine Hepburn? As current style inspiration, we have Ellen Degeneres, Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss, and Diane Keaton to look to. These ‘celebrities’ incorporate menswear pieces into everyday dressing all the time. In the next post, we’ll talk about how they borrow from the boys. Arshia inspires me to learn to borrow from the boys, and experiment to define our individual style further.

AKG

On Friendship with Soumya Parker

In On Entertainment, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Personality, On Style on March 3, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Entertainment shows and movies have central themes – surgery, lawyers, criminal justice, diagnostic medicine, newsrooms, the white house, romance, relationships, etc. Whatever it may be about, the theme that endears the characters to the audience is that of friendship. It’s always interesting to see how different characters with completely different backgrounds and personalities become friends.

In Sex and the City, the Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda were practically soulmates. Grey’s Anatomy has Meredith and Christina – they are each other’s “person” for better and for worse. Seinfeld, How I Met Your Mother, and Friends have been based around these friendships. Even entertainment not based in the real world – such as Harry Potter and Toy Story is incomplete without the unbreakable triumphant friendships. There’s Harry, Ron, & Hermione; Buzz and Woody; Jerry and George.

The world always needs true friends – most of us either want to find or cherish (Read: should cherish) “our person/people”. In both the reel life, and in reality, there is often someone who truly rejoices in other’s happiness. I find that person in Soumya Parker. If and when anything good happens to the people around her, you can count on her to be happy for them – to multiply their excitement. “I love your latest post!”…or…”Did you hear about her amazing project?!”…or…”Yay! She got a new job!”…or…”My brother is such a genius!”

People who know Soumya Parker will agree that it’s common to hear her say things like these. Miss Soumya Parker inspires me to delight in the success and joyful moments of those around me. She’s been an incredible support for me in everything I’ve done, and I hope she knows that she is appreciated beyond words.

Maybe you too, should feel inspired, to reach out to the people you love, and let them know how excited you are for them and their achievement(s). Be truly happy for your loved ones – this is a great component of real personality, and style.

AKG

On the Bullet Bra

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History on February 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I always thought that the conical bra came from Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna of the 80s. I was intrigued when I found that he was inspired by the “Bullet” bra – a highly structured conically pointed bra that was popular back in the 1940s. Also known as the “Torpedo” bra, it was designed for maximum projection – it was used for the ‘Sweater Girl’ image, the image of a busty, voluminous, ‘girl next door’ whose clothes accentuated her enhanced curves. The outer and under wires were prominent in these clothes – this bra actually has history.

It had all started during World War II, when there was this idea that bras and girdles were protective, and companies often strictly enforced that workers wear bras for 3 main reasons: good taste, anatomical support, and morale. Lizabeth Scott, an actress of the 40s and 50s, remembered also for her sultry voice, was the pinnacle of the lovely Sweater girl – the camera loved her. She had a unique quality – the audience would know what her character is thinking of feeling just be seeing her – no words necessary. Of course, the conical bra became more and more wearable and was featured through many ads. Late 40s/Early 50s fashion. The postwar boom in the economy thereafter obviously saw changes in fabric, padding, colors, and more – fashions changed, and the conical bra was left behind for more comfort and a natural look.

bullet bra - 50s

Bullet Bra, as seen in the 40s and 50s

In the 80s, Madonna brought the conical bra back – and since then, there have been many interpretations of this fashion style. Featured below is the series of sketches of the costumes that Jean Paul Gaultier designed for Madonna for her Blonde Ambition Tour  in 1990 – all with the trademark of the conical bra.

Jean Paul Gaultier's sketches for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour

Jean Paul Gaultier's sketches for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 1990 - feat. the conical bra

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 1990 - feat. the conical bra

Rihanna by Zac Posen - Grammy Awards 2008

Rihanna by Zac Posen - Grammy Awards 2008 - reinterpretation of the conical bra

While Zac Posen for Rihanna at 2008 Grammy Awards wasn’t nearly as severe as Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna at the Blonde Ambition Tour, it makes it more obvious that the ‘bullet’ bra is certainly inspiring, and here to stay. It’ll be interesting to see how stylists and style icons reintrepret and recreate the ‘bullet bra’ in the future. Perhaps, this may be an idea for your Halloween costume this year, or maybe this style will be seen in more street fashion? Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this piece of history as much as I did.

AKG

On R.I.P. Whitney Houston

In On 80s Fashion, On Entertainment, On Style on February 13, 2012 at 5:27 am

There are many reasons to mourn the passing of the regal Whitney Houston, one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Her self-titled debut album (released in 1985) sold 25 million copies worldwide. Since then, she released seven albums and three film soundtracks. Sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide. Winner of six Grammys. Earned 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards and two Emmy Awards. Who knew what she was going to bring us next?

She IS an inspiration; her music moves millions. Close your eyes. Listen to a ballad start slow, build into what some call “a cheesy smooth-pop flourish”, go down a few octaves only to come back to an unbelievably high note, and maybe belt out an amazing ending with her. That is the real reason to mourn her loss.

I feature here, my favorites: “One Moment in Time” and “I Will Always Love You”.

Seriously. Turn the music up. Any of the others even. “Greatest Love of All”, “So Emotional”, “Count on Me”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”…the list goes on. Sing along with her, sway with her, even if you’re off-tone and singing through your nose on the song’s peak notes. You may feel an incredible shift.

Many of her songs were about friendship, love, freedom – about believing, dreaming, and achieving. This month, remind yourself of why you love you. Dream. Believe in yourself. Walk with your head high.

Much could be said about her style. She was a true diva – her fashion epitomized 80’s glam, complete with the big shoulders, big hair, and glittery sequins. Her shoulders shrunk as fashion changed, but her glamorous style and big hair never did.

But I will remember Whitney Houston more for her fearless style than for her glitz. She was stylish because she was never afraid to be her ridiculously vocally gifted and talented self. In a time when the industry was judging her for cold technique, she brought ballads to a crescendo that tug at your soul.

Oh, R.I.P. Whitney Houston – your stirring music, your unforgettable style – you will live in our hearts forever.

AKG

On the Great Debate

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Style on January 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

No, I’m not talking about what came first – the chicken or the egg – or about how the universe was created. I’m talking about Colors vs. Neutrals.

Everyone has a list of staples. Every designer, stylist, celebrity, and/or stylish individual talks about how one can never have enough black dresses, nude or black pumps, diamond studs, etc. (I’m still working on my list.)

My question is something I’ve wondered for over a year now, and have yet to answer. Suppose someone is buying her first dress –  the first dress in her wardrobe. One would recommend that she buys an investment style – such as a sheath dress, an A line, or a cocktail dress, depending on her lifestyle and purpose. Something lacy, blingy, or an evening gown would limit the number of wears that she would get – and would probably not be a cost-effective recommendation.

This is where my question arises. Why should I recommend someone to invest in a black dress over investing in a solid red or blue sheath dress? The color, which would be decided upon based on her coloring, would be an investment that would help her stand out. If she accessorized a simple silhouette well, she could wear it to the office, an event, a cocktail party, an art gallery, a luncheon, and/or to brunch. A color may even be the beginning of the creation of her signature look.

Zooey Deschanel wears a red dress multiple times in the show, The New Girl, to many different places. Nina Ricci talks about how the “little white dress” should also be one of the staples in a closet in her book, “The One Hundred.”

My two staple trench coats are in a beautiful red, and a lovely pink. I get compliments for them every time I wear them out without fail. I’m thankful my mother recommended we buy them instead of the typical khaki and black trench coats. This is not to denigrate neutrals. I would be the last person to do that, since underneath the colorful trench coat I’m usually wearing all black, or at least mostly neutrals. Obviously, a wardrobe is going to have a mix of both, colors and neutrals. But the question about the list, and the investment dress remains.

And the great debate continues.

AKG

On the Keyword, “Incorporate”

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Style on January 18, 2012 at 1:18 am

All stylists wax poetic about “being true to oneself”. Until last year, I was so confused. What do they mean?!

Would there be some sort of instant connection I’d feel with certain clothing in my wardrobe?  I absolutely despise when friends or writers make negative comments/judgments about other people’s street style. It never made sense to me why people feel that they can declare someone’s choice of clothing (unless it’s an event) “wrong”. Doesn’t everyone have a different definition of ‘style’? Carrie Bradshaw with a belt across her bare belly is suddenly ‘stylish’, but the girl across the room wearing the green paisley peplum dress is “so off”? Geez.

Living in New York City and now in Boston, I’ve dressed only for myself. I wear what I want, when I want. If I look funny when I look back at myself at the end of the day (and believe me this still happens every once in a while), I just start over the next day. Live and learn, right? When I’m not feeling great, I try to brighten up with a piece I like. If not, I go with whatever brings me most comfort. When I’m feeling great, I reach for the vivid colors, funky accessories, and fun prints. Yesterday, I even bought beautiful printed bedding.

(It makes my room so happy. Blue Jamaica by Ralph Lauren – from Marshalls)

Developing style takes time. When you have time to plan for a day/an event, try something new. I’ll sometimes try grey tartan pants, or accessorize with un-AKG things, like yellow armadillo shoe earrings from Lady Gaga’s holiday workshop at Barney’s, New York (upcoming post about that). When there’s no time, however, like when something unexpected comes up, I quickly go to the pieces that I love. The pieces that I know will work.

To look fabulous, like you spent an hour when you really just spent 10 minutes, collect these pieces! It’ll take time, but bookmark in your mind what made you feel like a million bucks. Value what your innate style has to say, and tweak it based on what you learn. From fashion, or anything, incorporate what fits you and your personality – not the other way around. 

Trust me; this will go a long way. You may need to copy several styles before you find the ones that fit you best. I still make tear-sheets and print out pictures when I like what someone wore. But don’t follow blindly. The keyword here is to “incorporate”.

Maybe those stylists are on to something after all..

AKG

On the Evolution of Personal Style

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Style on November 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Prepare to laugh, and perhaps enjoy yourselves. Because I have decided that I’d like to share a secret with you all today.

Due to my background in medicine, I was never much interested in fashion or design until my second year at NIFT. In my first semester at fashion school, I learned that my mom’s red Burberry raincoat was actually a renowned classic. And that the bag she was excited about that she had to coerce me to carry was Dior’s iconic saddle.

I was, quite literally, fashion-stupid.

I spent the next few years religiously soaking up information about fashion and style from classes, books, experience, shopping, and the people/friends around me.

I realized that fashion isn’t baseless. Still, fashion and its “rules” still eluded me. Even today, I question the existence of these so-called “rules”. I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to make their own rules to a certain extent. There’s such a variance that there is no concrete definition of what’s fashionable, or stylish, or ‘classy’.

Victoria Beckham’s taste is different from Edith Head, who is different from Blake Lively, who is different from Patricia Fields, who is different from everyone else. And yet, these are all stylish women who style themselves and others very well. And the men. Have you seen the constant reinvention that is Andre Benjamin, and how different he is from George Clooney, who is different from Tom Ford? And what about the variation geographically? What’s ‘elegant’ in Paris will not be be as perfectlly ‘elegant’ for Los Angeles.

It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

Anyway, the secret? Have you ever taken a look at celebrities’ style evolution? Ever seen witnessed how wrong many well-dressed people today can be – even when on the red carpet? Take a look.

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I took an immense amount of comfort in seeing the style evolution of celebrities. People seem to be most glamorous in their early 30s. That’s when they figure out what really works for them. I was 18 when I thought this, at the beginning of my second year in fashion school.

I figured I have time to experiment. If Anne Hathaway, Eva Longoria, and Tyra Banks could look like that and decide to wear those dresses, I’m only human.

That’s the secret.

So what if I paired the wrong shoes with the wrong tshirt? Or looked completely laughable because I matched my green shoes to a blue bag? Trial-and-error was the only way I’d learn. And people had looked funnier in the past, on-camera! Obviously, even the Greats have had their questionable days.

My friends could tell you stories for hours (but they won’t because they’re good friends) about my more than questionable fashion choices. So far I’ve decided that I like the word ‘classy’ more than ‘experimental’, and have slowly found myself becoming more and more so. This “secret”, this decision I made has helped me immensely in slowly, but surely, finding my style. I hope it might help you.

AKG

On Nonsense in the Name of ‘Fashion’

In On Entertainment on November 20, 2011 at 4:06 am

Is it just me, or has entertainment gotten more risqué with time?

I feel that in searching for clothes (or lack thereof), effects, and moves to ‘thrill’ the audience, entertainers have forgotten that there are boundaries. In this world where there is very little boundary, Lady Gaga, whilst only half dressed, holds children at a promotional event at Best Buy, and Rihanna appears naked on Esquire (nothing new for Esquire covers) covered in seaweed. Since when is being covered in seaweed sexy?!


^ (Btw, this is the happier video where Rihanna’s actually more woman than object.)

I understand that ‘being yourself’ is important, and that freedom is the goal. But how much is too much? I can’t find it in myself to blame the entertainers while on stage, because they want to sell to a tough audience. But I do feel there is a problem with the “anything to garner audience attention” approach.

And the problem is the effect that this kind of media is having on the generation. The Olsen twins used to make news, and we thought “look what too much fame and money do at a young age”. But they made news for eating disorders! Not for nudity and inappropriate gestures on stage. The Olsen twins didn’t even always go shopping for their own clothes (even for their nights on the red carpets) until they were 16 or 17. They sometimes used to wear the same thing in different colors. They’ve actually become successful now. And rightly so…

Need I mention the current “teen sensations” and their public appearances?

Miley Cyrus was dancing with a pole wearing leather barely-somethings and gracing the covers of magazines seemingly only draped in a sheet. Taylor Momsen is wearing black leather garters and holding guns. Selena Gomez, who is the most decent of them all, is also performing wearing the barely minimal and seen wrapped around the Bieber at the beach.

These are our teen icons?

Where is the differentiation between teenagers and adults?! What happened to that boundary? Has it disappeared also, in the name of ‘fashion’? Does anyone even want to fathom what these teens might do in future performances and appearances?

But you know…It’s become acceptable, because it’s “fashionable”. Read: It’s what all the cool kids are doing. It’s become “fashionable” for kids to wear heels and use iPads before they can walk. It’s become “fashionable” for 18-month-old boys to recite Lady Gaga song lyrics before they can read. It’s become “fashionable” for people to do many things that I can with certainty say are not healthy.

And the most troublesome fact is: It is what it is, and there is only so much you can do about it.

AKG

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