One of the most intriguing aspects of fashion is its ability to transport people, whether it is to another era or another mindset. What we put on each morning can define how we feel about ourselves that day and how we want to interact with the world. Fashion allows us to mold ourselves, put on a costume, and live a fantasy. This blog is primarily about using styles and trends of the past to transport ourselves today.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to Black: Amy Winehouse, we only said Goodbye with Words

Amy Winehouse (September 1983-July 2011)
The death of the talented singer Amy Winehouse is no doubt, a tragedy.

Living on the thresholds of addiction, the 27 year old's passing came as no surprise. In fact, many wonder how she managed to live that long.

The tragedy lies, not only in her assumed, eminent, young death, but in her personal battles that underscored her music, and the loss of an overall talented woman with a signature style.

When I first heard Amy Winehouse's voice, singing on the radio, I assumed the deep and soulful voice came from a different era and I pictured a Nina Simone or Etta James to be the body behind the voice. To my surprise, the immense voice came from a petite girl whose hair probably weighed more than her body. Amy Winehouse transcended the sounds of today, channeling 1960's jazz with a signature style she owned. Her clothing and styling emulated rockabilly, punk, and vintage 60's styles with her amazing Beehive hairdo, winged eyeliner, tattoos, and clothing choices. While she was extremely thin and waif-like, her voice and style were not and she achieved big, bold statements in her sounds, hair, and fashion.

Below is my personal favorite Amy Winehouse song "Back to Black"
I love it because she captures the sorrow of losing someone in her voice and in her lyrics. Sometimes love isn't enough, and when you realize that, the emotion that once elated you, now feels like Death...
"I died a hundred times"

"Back to Black"

He left no time to regret
Kept his dick wet
With his same old safe bet
Me and my head high
And my tears dry
Get on without my guy
You went back to what you knew
So far removed from all that we went through
And I tread a troubled track
My odds are stacked
I'll go back to black

We only said good-bye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to.....

I go back to us

I love you much
It's not enough
You love blow and I love puff
And life is like a pipe
And I'm a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside

We only said goodbye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to

Black, black, black, black, black, black, black,
I go back to
I go back to

We only said good-bye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to

We only said good-bye with words
I died a hundred times
You go back to her
And I go back to black

Amy Winehouse performing in her signature retro style:
60's Beehive with rockabilly accents of a plaid headscarf and bustier with a tight leopard print skirt

While Amy was very talented, her career was also controversial.
Her addiction and reputation for partying landed her in tabloids, looking..let's say, not her best.
Known best for her song "Rehab" in which she sings about saying No to rehab sends a questionable message. 

Winehouse in a punk and rockabilly inspired gingham dress with her highly teased and Aqua-netted Beehive

Being only 27, I wonder what Amy Winehouse's life could have continued to be had she conquered her addictions. While the cause of her death is still in question, her health for her age was poor and compromised by her drugs and alcohol, and an overall unhealthy lifestyle. While I am no expert on the matter, it saddens me when substance abuse swallows a person, tipping the scale from being once recreational, to a means of survival, which in turn becomes a means to an end. I believe addiction is a symptom of an underlying problem within a person. While it can be an easily accessible coping skill for a deeply rooted issue, or something initially used socially, the end result is complicated and is hardly solved by a short time of sobriety.  In the case of Amy Winehouse, I am in no place to make speculations about the origin of her addiction, but it makes me wonder what along the way, caused this battle to be lost?

The talented and stylish Amy Winehouse
We can only say Goodbye with Words

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rock My Billy: Modern Take on the Greaser Pompadour, aka my favorite Men's Hairstyle:

John Travolta plays Danny Zuko, a classic 1950's greaser in the classic musical "Grease." (1978)
The term "greaser" stems from the amount of product that men used to style their hair, giving it a "greasy" look. Styling products have evolved into wax, pomade, or gel that gives men styling options depending on hair type. 

What is a POMPADOUR?
A Pompadour is a hairstyle traditionally created by "teasing" or "ratting" hair, which is brushing the hair towards the root instead of away from the root. This creates the frizz and volume essential to a well heighted pomp. Oftentimes, a section of the hair, such as the very front, is section off in order to remain smooth and cover the hair that is teased. This creates a smooth, yet volumized look. Most men's pompadours rely heavily on styling pomades or waxes since traditionally their hair is shorter than women's leaving less to tease. 

Danny's hairstyle is the CLASSIC Greaser pomp, complete with the comb in his back pocket, which he whips out frequently in the film. Greasers were a subculture that came about in the 1950s that rebelled and deviated from tradition.  The subculture originated from the working class and is often iconic of  the stereotypical "bad boy" who smokes, rides a motorcycle, is involved with a gang, like rock 'n' roll (which was not considered mainstream or appropriate) and is promiscuous or painted to be sexually appealing.

His infamous quiff is not only his signature, but a trendsetting style that swept through the late 1980's and early 90's

Morrissey-singer/songwriter for the The Smiths (debuting in1986)
When the band broke up, Morrissey continued as a solo singer and still performs today.
Morrissey's hair emulated the 1950's greaser (as will be shown below) but gave the appearance of being less scultped, veering away from the classic Greaser with the comb in his back pocket and giving way to a more tousled, hap hazard and melancholic, yet intentional look.
Pompadours range in height, here Morrissey's is pleasantly tall

DKNY Fall 2010
A more relaxed and simple pompadour that is Morrissey inspired
Alexander McQueen 2008
Beach Boy mixed with Rockabilly inspiration
Duckie Brown Fall 2010
An 80's inspired Flat top Pomp

Patrik Evrell Fall 2010
Slightly electrocuted with great volume
Versace Spring 2011

Moschino Spring 2011
Amazing and fun Elvis Presley/Vegas inspired collection

John Cryer is Duckie in "Pretty in Pink" (1986) shown here with costar Molly Ringwald
Duckie's pomp has more front interest than the Danny Zuko, with the hair on the crown pulled and styled forward rather than volumized upwards as in the Morrissey Pomp. 

Duckie's Do has smooth sides, an essential to the traditional Pompadour. This style utilizes natural wave in the hair, rather than coercing it to be straight, as will be shown further below.

Bottega Veneta Fall 2010
Extreme Duckie Pomp channeling the 1980's

Bottega Veneta Fall 2010
I love the glasses as well.
Bottega Veneta Fall 2010

Bottega Veneta Fall 2010
The hair is definitely as important as the clothes

Johnny Depp as Cry-Baby Walker in "Cry Baby" (1990)
A fun Rockabilly inspired movie that doesn't take itself too seriously.
I love it because it mocks the 1950's social problems, it's funny, and of course.. he gets the girl!

Depp's Pompadour is also very classic and slick, with less wave than the previous pomps.

Bottega Veneta Fall 2010
An example of a simplified, straightforward pomp
Bottega Veneta Fall 2010
Slick, volumized with smooth sides and not a hair out of place= perfection

The Original King- Elvis Presley, rockabilly icon
Elvis needs no introduction, this 1950's/60's legend has an elegant pomp that is well crafted and manicured with a swirl

Bottega Veneta Fall 2010
Elvis inspired Pomp

James Dean, actor of the rockabilly era and his classic Pomp
James Dean defined the "bad boy greaser" look with his white t-shirt, jeans, leather jacket, and cigarettes
His films include  "Rebel without a Cause," "Giant," and "East of Eden."

Duckie Brown Fall 2010
Slightly disheveled James Dean look
Moschino Spring 2011
Moschino Spring 2011
Moschino Spring 2011

Johnny Cash- legendary Country Singer
His pomp looks more lightweight than the "greased" down or thick pomps so far

Moschino Spring 2011

Moschino Spring 2011

Versace Spring 2011
Channeled Rockabilly Style, not only with Hair, but with style accents, such as plaid 
Versace Spring 2011
With a Rockabilly inspiration, the designers created a
"Stray Cats version of the Versace man." review

Versace Spring 2011
Leather, Tattoos, full Hair, and earrings- classic Rocker
Versace Spring 2011
This look is more 80's with the print of the shirt and acid wash jeans, but the Hair is 50's

3.1 Phillip Lim Fall 2012
His collection looks very 90's to me with a modern edge
3.1 Phillip Lim Fall 2012
The straight, almost flat top hair with chunky sweaters
His inspiration came from skaters of Huntington Beach
Johnny Iuzzini of Top Chef Just Desserts
Clearly has the Rockabilly style, from the white T, jeans, a chain, Pomp, and of course Tattoos
Johnny Iuzzini- The only reason I watch that show

Moschino Spring 2011
Modern Rockabilly with a Johnny Iuzzini Pomp

While the traditional Rockabilly Pompadour is a statement style, variations on the theme have also proven statement worthy and have a place in the modern fashion world.
So Guys, grab your grease and Pomp it up!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pat Benatar: Style in Spandex- before American Apparel made it Trendy

Pat Benatar in a striking teal and black one shoulder  spandex suit with a cuff

This Post is a Pat Benatar vs. American Apparel showdown
I posted pictures of Benatar in her amazing spandex costumes from the 70's/80's and found an American Apparel ad that is selling similar items in 2011.

The singer was born Patricia Andrzejewski on January 10, 1953 in Brooklyn, NY,
taking the name "Benatar" from her first husband and high school sweetheart, Dennis Benatar, whom she married in 1971. The talented Pat felt unsettled in her domestic life as a wife and bank teller and jumped at the chance to join a small cabaret club that played in Richmond. She later divorced her husband and continued advancing in her career as a performer. Her career spans the late 70's, 80's, 90's, and 2000's (however you say that.)
American Apparel's one shoulder knit dress
American Apparel is a contemporary company that sells a wide variety of stretch garments in staple colors often emulating vintage styles. While I think their ads are very creative, they are also very provocative and overtly sexual in their nature. I could write a blog simply about their ads, but today I am just relating their products to Pat Benatar's style.

Pat Benatar wearing a red fringed t-shirt/studded belt and leggings

Her career began to take flight when she met guitarist Neil Giraldo, who became her second husband and shaped her into the amazing singer she is today.
American Apparel's ad for Leggings- similar to Pat's

Benatar's bold make-up also became a signature style to accompany her bold songs
Above she is wearing a simple black and white striped t-shirt
American Apparel's simple striped tee

Her classic and most well known song: "Love is a Battlefield" released in 1983
Her look here reminds me of Madonna with the messy hair, layers of clothing that are mismatched:
Lacy tights, shiny shoes, denim jacket, t-shirt, and chunky accessories with gloves contrasting the feminine and masculine, as well as looking slightly like she has been through a battle.
American Apparel's ad for a lace bodysuit

Pat in her striped top and skin-tight black "leather" leggings
American Apparel's version of the black "leather" legging

Pat in black tights, a rouched leotard and the recurring studded belt with a blazer
In addition to "Love is a Battlefield," she is also known for "Heartbreaker," "Hit me with your best shot,"  and "Treat me Right."

American Apparel's ad for Leotards
Everyone needs a purple zebra print bodysuit...with a red belt.
So sassy Pat Benatar

Wow- that's my caption

American Apparel's ad for high waisted pants, but I also chose this ad for the zebra print leotard underneath them

Pat in a 1980's gold 3/4 sleeve leotard with tights

American Apparel's version of the gold suit.
This ad is in black and white, but that leotard is gold I promise

The album "In the Heat of the Night" was released in 1977
A younger Pat wears an almost backless leotard and high waisted pants
American Apparel's version of the almost backless top turned into a swimsuit

Crazy electrocuted hair, and oversize sweatshirt and tights!!!
Need I say more?

I love this picture because it is so elegant.
It's hard to tell what is going on with that dress, but I'm guessing its spandex and short.
The one sleeve and choppy neckline really makes it unique.
The four time Grammy winning singer continues performing today, and while I have not seen many pictures of her costumes as of late,  to me she is always a style icon of the 80's.

American Apparel's very tight, very sexy, is she even wearing anything...Dress.