Posts tagged with fashion
Frank Ocean Goes Polaroid for Band of Outsiders
This story was published in partnership with The Daily Beast.
Frank Ocean has officially gone high fashion. He’s the face of Band of Outsiders’s Spring/ Summer 2013 campaign, which was released in a series of Polaroids on Wednesday. In the photographs, which were shot by the brand’s designer, Scott Sternberg, Ocean wears several looks from the collection.
In one picture, Ocean reclines in a tuxedo on a park bench in Downtown Los Angeles; in another he lies listlessly on a grass lawn — in a third, he sits in a poncho on a cement stoop. And Ocean looks good in the clothes: afterall, he wore a yellow Band of Outsiders suit onstage during his performance at the Grammys last month.
Ocean joins a long line of stars that have appeared in campaigns for the brand. The painter Ed Ruscha rode a motorcycle in a campaign last year – and Michelle Williams, Kirsten Dunst, Andrew Garfield and Amy Adams have all made cameos in Sternberg’s now-famous Polaroid campaigns in the past.
The Fall 2012 campaign featured Josh Brolin as a modern cowboy. At the time, Sternberg told us that there would only be two more Polaroid campaigns, and that afterwards he would publish a book of them. “It’s time to close the chapter on the Polaroids,” he told us. “It’s time to evolve.”
Fatshion Bloggers Make Plus-Size Chic
This story was produced in partnership with The Daily Beast.
Short of having a bucket of blood dumped over your head at prom, few things compare to the humiliation of being the only customer browsing the racks of an overpriced lingerie store and hearing the painfully chic saleswoman — who’d begrudgingly buzzed you in — loudly proclaim, “I wish people would realize we don’t stock sizes larger than a medium.”
Anyone who’s ever attempted to shop at a schmancy boutique in a body that’s larger than a size 10 already knows that buying big-girl garb requires a skin that’s nearly as thick as your waistline. Fat-loathing is the last acceptable prejudice, and nowhere is that more pronounced than in the world of fashion.
“I have a genuine hatred reserved for cut-out shoulders, drawstring waists, loud prints, cargo pants, waterfall cardigans and hanky hems,” says 28-year-old British blogger Lauren Ding. “It’s so difficult to find something that is not only my style, but that fits well.”
Which may account for the recent explosion of so-called “fatshion” blogging — the tag used by hordes of plus-size bloggers who are melding the two worlds. Until recently, fashion blogging had been the domain of straight-sized women. But sick of being ignored by fashion mags and relegated to sack dresses with screeching prints, a growing number of women — unapologetically plump, and tired of being treated like third-class citizens — are taking their musings online. They post OOTDs (outfits of the day) and ruminate on body positivity. Many of them, as a backdrop to skinny models storming the runways of New York Fashion Week, have started calling this month “Fatshion February” — and are blogging aggressively in its honor.
Nail Art as Activism
This story was produced as part of a content partnership with The Daily Beast.
Last May, at a high school in a small town just north of Winnipeg, Canada, a teenage girl came out as gay. When a group of bullies began taunting her, calling her “weird,” 20 students came to her defense. “We all decided to paint our nails rainbow to show our support,” says Nikki, 14. “We told the people bullying her that it’s so mean and wrong.”
Now, every month, Nikki and her friends continue to paint their nails rainbow as a show of solidarity. When other students have come out as gay, they know they’ve got a gang of defenders to back them up. “We’re like a big support group,” Nikki says.
Remember when neon nails were all the rage, plastered on the pages of every fashion glossy? Back then, it may have been little more than a chic fashion accessory. And yet today, the idea of intricate, complex, even meaningful nail art has taken on a life of its own.
Over the past three years, the nail art phenom has launched fan clubs and DIY communities all over the country. It has carved a niche in the fashion industry, with beauty editors paying as much attention to elaborate runway nail designs as they do to hair and makeup. (Chanel recently sent models down the runway with geometric, two-tone manicures.) It’s found celebrity endorsers, and prompted legitimate gallery shows (as well as sparked debate over whether nails can be a form of “fine art”). And even in a recession, nail art seems to be thriving: Nail care in U.S. department stores generated nearly $30 million over the first 10 months of this year, a 54% increase from the previous year, according to the NPD Group, a company that tracks cosmetic trends.
Dozens of salons now offer resident nail artists — a career that, only a few years ago, nobody believed existed. “I really kind of found my dream job,” says Brooklyn nail artist Fleury Rose, a fine art student turned nail artist who operates out of a salon called Tomahawk.
Nail art may seem like a new phenom — but it actually can be traced back centuries, when the Chinese were using enamel on their fingers to give their nails a pink finish. In the 90s, hip-hop artists like Missy Elliot and Lil’ Kim started sporting airbrushed and pierced nails; Lil’ Kim had a set with dollar bills encased in acrylic. And yet, more recently, it’s celebrities like Zooey Deschanel, Lady Gaga, and Beyoncé who are perpetuating the trend with the mainstream (Deschanel’s “tuxedo nails” at the 2012 Golden Globes went viral), while Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj both have their own nail polish lines. Even Michelle Obama’s nail choice — the greige nail polish she wore during her DNC speech — was enough to spark commentary from Pulitzer prize-winning politicos.
But it’s on the web where nail art has truly exploded. A quick Google search of “nail art” will yield subcultures within subcultures on Tumblr, YouTube, and other social-sharing forums: fingertips adorned with the iconic Les Misérables logo, book jackets of literary classics, miniature versions of Georgia O’Keefe and Warhol paintings, or colors and symbols to combat bullying or raise awareness against domestic violence. And let’s not forget political nail art.
The designs are an ocular feast, so much that they’ve inspired a “nail porn” hashtag on Instagram, and nearly 2,000 posts a day under the “nail art” tag on Tumblr.
If that weren’t enough, nail art will soon get its own anthropological dig — by way of a Kickstarter-funded documentary called NAILgasm debuting in February 2013. The film features interviews with leading nail stylists, independent nail artists, beauty editors, and nail-art aficionados around the world. Director Ayla Montgomery says she was first exposed to nail art on Tumblr (she regularly posts to her own page).
“People used to be kind of afraid of nail art or thought it was tacky, but now it’s become culturally acceptable,” says Montgomery, 27. “The Internet has created its own micro-community of people who don’t really know each, but they know each other’s nails,” she adds.
A tipping point may not be long off — ever heard of nail art fatigue? — with a trend that’s so ubiquitous it’s almost become a popular joke. “It’s kind of like when slap bracelets were all the rage, and then you could find one at any Walgreens and it wasn’t so cool anymore,” says Molly McAleer, who conceived the daily nail art feature on the entertainment website Hello Giggles, of which she’s a founder. Rose, meanwhile, says she’s recently seen an influx of men into her salon — requesting things like Jaws nails or intricate campfire scenes.
Intense? Sure. And yet it’s precisely that kind of community that inspires much of the work of Chicago-based nail artist Carlos “Dzine” Rolon. Last year, he recreated the salon his mother ran out of their living room when he was a child as an exhibition during Art Basel in Miami.
“I wanted to recreate that atmosphere in which people came to the house and chit-chatted and got to know each other,” he said, recalling how Tilda Swinton came into the salon and got nail art by Regina, whom he scouted from a low-income suburb of Miami. “These are the people who are so talented but aren’t always discovered.”
Dzine published a book in tandem with the exhibition, Nailed, which traces the history of nail art around the world, from Ming dynasty China to urban American communities in the mid-to-late 20th century.
“Regardless of how mainstream nail art has become, it’s always dictated a form of social class and social status,” he said. “People right now are just acknowledging the pop culture aspect of it. But what’s more interesting is how communities form around nail art, and it becomes part of their identity.”
Even, it seems, among young female activists. In October, during National Bullying Awareness Month, 24-year-old Casey Danton garnered thousands of followers on Instagram after nail polish mogul Leah Anne Rowe posted a picture of the woman’s “No H8” nails on her Facebook page. Danton then started a blog, “Dull Like Glitter: Saving the World One Nail at a Time,” where she posts pictures of her own nails along with tutorials on how to do it.
Feminist activist and organizer Shelby Knox, 26, has used nail art to spread the word about her causes, both on her Tumblr and in public. When Knox spoke at Brockport University earlier this year, days after a female student was murdered by her boyfriend, she painted the Brockport “B” in the school’s colors on her thumb and left the rest of her digits purple in support of Domestic Violence awareness. Her nails got more attention online than they did on campus, but Knox said students who noticed her nail art understood it as a modern feminist’s way of quietly honoring the young woman’s death and highlighting the impact of domestic violence.
“One of the reasons nail art is interesting is that it’s a conversation starter,” says Knox. “People ask you how you did it or what it means.”
And its meaning, as it turns out, can be as complex as the designs themselves.
The Creators of NYC: Leather Craftsmen Billykirk
Josh Wool spent a decade as an executive chef, opening restaurants across the south. But all that changed in 2010, when the carpal tunnel in his hands meant he could no longer work. To keep from going stir crazy, he picked up a camera and found his next calling. Two years, thousands of portraits, and a move to New York later, Wool is documenting the people who inspire him on a daily basis. Welcome to Creators of NYC.
A simple, well-worn leather watch strap was the catalyst for brothers Kirk and Chris Bray to start a business. In the last decade they took an idea and built it into a thriving leather goods company called Billykirk, recently transplanted from LA. Their focus is on craftsmanship and quality, and it shows in their products. I first met the duo at the Pop-Up Flea Market in Chelsea, and they invited me out to their workshop just across the river.
Billykirk is making hard goods meant to stand the test of time, in an age where everything is disposable. What’s your philosophy on that?
Chris Bray: At a certain point you start to think about a product’s worth. Saving money versus an item’s longevity becomes questioned. I think we would all agree that, on the surface, saving money makes sense. However, peel back the onion and one quickly realizes that while you may get that initial satisfaction of saving a buck on a cheap suit or frying pan, that suit or frying pan will inevitably have a short life.
Trapped in the Tumblr Closet: Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith is the sartorially stupendous songstress who’s already taken Britain by storm. London-born and equipped with degrees in theater directing and contemporary dance, she was once a magician’s assistant, and then a burlesque singer. No longer. These days, Faith makes music for the masses, infusing contemporary pop sounds with throwback components like gospel choirs and orchestral strings. And the word has spread: Her first (and thus far, only) album went platinum on the UK charts, and her popularity brought her to the Olympics’ opening ceremony last summer (she notoriously carried the torch in red stilettos). But Faith hasn’t quite caught on in the U.S.
Yet. Her second album, Fall to Grace, drops on December 4. America, get ready.
Trapped in the Tumblr Closet: Fuck Yeah Menswear
Dudes: Do you slumber in made-to-measure, monogrammed jammies? Do you coif your beard to match those of your pals, and wear limited edition Ray-Bans at night? Do you saunter down the sidewalk sporting the requisite I-don’t-give-a-shit scowl, ready, willing (and desperately yearning) for lurking street photographers to shove their DSLRs in your face? If so, a round of applause. You, my friend, are Crispy.
A Crispy Gentleman, that is.
What makes a gentleman Crispy? If you believe the creators of Fuck Yeah Menswear, the satirical men’s fashion blog, the answer is simple: it’s steaze (that’s style + ease). And now, rest assured, there’s an easy way to do it — via the blog’s 256-page book of the same name, in which founders (and self-proclaimed Crispy Gentlemen) Kevin Burrows and Lawrence Schlossman have compiled the sartorial secrets of the Crisp Life for all and any aspiring CGs. “Most guys are not living to the fullest capacity of their unstoppability, of their unfuckwithable-ness,” Lawrence admonishes. In other words: Give a shit but pretend you don’t. Or you know, do, but don’t. We think?