I Want To Meet Her

In the process of trying to obtain contact info for hot new designer, Suzanne Rae Pelaez, for my still-to-be-created Filipino publication. When I first heard about her, I was struck by her last name –one of my brother’s closest friends’ last name is Pelaez… Suzanne Rae must be Filipina! I did a little research and found out that she was indeed born in the Philippines. She debuted her Fall 2011 collection during New York Fashion Week and was touted for her “Victorian-gone-grunge” aesthetic, using Kerouac’s On the Road and the Texas desert (mmm, so good for my nomadic cravings!) as inspiration. Personally, I’m more grunge than Victorian, but I love how mixing genres results in a unique style. While I do love the clothes (think flowy, neutral, raw fabrics), I’m smitten by Suzanne herself. I watched a couple interviews of her (here is one of them) and was drawn to her down-to-earth personality and attitude, working straight out of her home. During one part of the interview, she invites admirers of her clothing to join her for a glass of wine. Girl, if you are reading this, I will take you up on that offer! I especially love her declaration that the chunky mile-high shoes that dominate the runway the past few seasons are scary. I think so, too! I’ve had to fight the urge to jump on that bandwagon and stay true to my love for bohemian sensibilities; flat, leather strappy sandals all the way! Anyway, here is another interview done by Women Working –I totally wish I was that interviewer trying on her clothes.

Image: She’s Got Plenty

The Girl With the Ring

The search for grimey girls continues! I had a lotta fun conjuring up Mitsu aka Baby G’s backstory, but miss thang-with-the-skateboard hails from New South Wales in Australia and goes by the name of Shayna. I’m on this real bohemian, anti-pretty girl kick lately. High fashion is so saturated with this emphasis on perfection –perfect clothing, perfect styling, perfect bodies, perfect faces– and zero personality and individuality. In the words of so many fashion antidotes out there, the most “refreshing” look –at least to me– is the one that is the opposite. Hence, my search for grimey girls.

Fuck it, even though I know the model’s name, I’m gonna let my imagination run wild anyway.

It was Sunday. It always happens on a Sunday. For Shayna, that’s when her mind takes a vacation and her heart and soul run wild and free.

Apparently, the bull head ring adorning Shayna’s finger was an impromptu DIY project, created spontaneously during the shoot. The women behind Spell & The Gypsy Collective, which is where these photos are sourced from, promise a place for several of these bad-boys in their online shop. They are so gonna hear it from me if their promises are unfulfilled.

Necklace strands strewn haphazardly around her neck, tumbling blissfully down her torso. Chunky skull and quartz rings say, If I could dip my hands in the earth and leave them there to heal my weary soul, I would. (They also say, I’m a treehugger, but I’ll knock you out if I have to.) With braids clipped randomly throughout wavy locks and fur and feathers dangling everywhere…I delight in the carefree placement of her adornments, a desire I wish for my heaviest woes.

I love it when people look as though they didn’t have to even try to look as amazing as they do. The clothes off her back are all Shayna’s, and not some high-end designer’s. It gives me renewed appreciation for the DIY aesthetic and the coolest things you can do with a T-shirt.

Sources: skateboarding shoot; Love Voodoo shoot

Offbeat

An example of truly unique, balls-to-the-walls style —Stop It Right Now gets married.

I so wish I had the balls to pull off a dress like this, or at least go the non-traditional route. So bad-ass. And I dig the simplicity of the photos; none of the frills that come with most wedding pics. Hm, perhaps there’s more than one way to make something look timeless?

Stop It Right Now

As you can see, I have a few favorite blogs, most of which I determine by either how much I am attracted to their style (ie., The Glamourai) or by how much they are true to their own style regardless of what other people may say about it (ie., Stylebubble). And then there are blogs that apply to all of the above plus I’m drawn to the person herself. Well, so far there is only one.

When I first heard about Jayne from Stop It Right Now, I peeped her blog and I almost immediately felt a sort of affinity towards her grunge aesthetic. I am definitely a child of 90’s and I grew up with the whole baggy clothes-hobo look. It was weird; I didn’t really listen to Kurt Cobain, but Seventeen sure liked his clothes. I’m sure other people rock the grunge look, but I really dig how she mixed the flannels with high fashion and a slight feminine twist (anyone who wears platforms or heels and make-up is feminine to me).

Pushing through high school as a “punk /ska/skaterat,” Jayne later procured a job as a men’s apparel designer in the skateboard industry and is a tattoo-motorcycle-Mr. T enthusiast. But style-crushing and Mr. T-lovin’ aside, the person she portrays on the blog is quite down-to-earth and she is open to expressing both the model-esque and goofy sides of herself. I especially love her use of Photoshop to create silly faces or collages. It’s all in good fun. But instead of me droning on and on, I copied a few excerpts from a questionnaire she posted here and here with answers that I can really relate to. And this sounds kinda weird, but a part of me also loves her blog because we’re about the same age. Being 30, I almost feel an expectation to dress and present oneself in an adult, but still fun, way. So when I look at Jayne, I think, this is how a grown up should be dressing: comfortable yet interesting, mature and frankly, pretty bad-ass.

P.S. She also owns a pair of these crazy Ann Sofie-Back drippy sunglasses that are so amazing. I scoured the internet for them but since they’re pretty much out-of-season, they’re sold out. Argghhh!

 

What got you interested in fashion/who’s your fashion inspiration?
My grandmother and mother were both adept with sewing and knitting and taught me both at a very early age. That’s what got me into the construction aspect of clothes. In high school, I was a weirdo punk/ska/skaterat kid that wanted to dress crazy so I used my rudimentary skills to make myself tutus and dresses out of smurf print bedsheets. I guess that was the actual starting point of me getting into “fashion” before actually being exposed to designers and trends. I just wanted to be different and dressing outlandishly was my outlet. People who know what they like and really commit to it inspire me more than anything. It’s not about racing to get the hottest new item or competing with everyone else, it’s about knowing yourself and what you’re comfortable in.

What is a current trend that you hate and want to set on fire?
Not really a trend, but I can’t stand inconsistency in the way people dress. It comes off as a lack of self awareness. Not to say you can’t have different styles on different days, but there should be an underlying “you” through every look. Some people are extreme boho one day, biker the next, then demure, one day sexy, and on “off” days grunge. Too much trend is never a good thing. Find your identity!
What’s your fashion faux pas and what’s your fashion DOs?
DON’T always have to look “pretty”
DO dress comfortably – literally or figuratively

How do you stay involved with the fashion world, outside of blogging?
I don’t. I hate talking about fashion or being around fashion people. Clearly, I love fashion, but it doesn’t rule my world. It probably also has something to do with the fact that I’m not a very social person. Also, too much exposure sometimes taints your views. I like being inspired by other things and applying those to the way I look at fashion.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the need to keep up with fashion or just to stay looking so great? If so, any tips as to how to get out of that funk? I know I get caught in that feeling often -especially because I work for minimum wage.
I never feel overwhelmed. I’m in my early 30s now, so I left all those feelings in my 20s! You just have to stop caring at some point. Always trying to keep up with people or trends is going to result in a confused style and a tired you. It’s not a competition, no one’s rating you. Do what you feel and make no apologies. Don’t be fooled, I don’t look great all the time, or even half the time! And never ever let your wallet dictate your style. Make do with what you have – that’s where creativity is key. This is where you separate yourself from the pack.

What universally inspires you? I don’t mean a hobby, or even a deep interest…but a passion that runs deeper than your physical being. What is that passion for you?
I have a deep deep appreciation and admiration for people who have their wits about them. Sharp people that are on it. There’s nothing worse than people that aren’t paying attention and sort of glide through life in a haze. I just want to snap my fingers at them wake up! People that catch all the details and take care of business inspire me to be better and work harder.

What is your favorite quote?
“I don’t hate people, I just feel better when they’re not around.” -Bukowski

Amerykah the Beautiful

There’s a reason why Erykah Badu is the inspiration for a lot of what I do. From being grounded and creative to fierce and political, she’s got plenty. Her latest compilation of brilliance, The New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh, dropped March 30…and landed herself charges for the music video accompanying the track, Window Seat. In one take, the video records Erykah stripping down bare infront of unsuspecting tourists and mimics getting shot at the Dealey Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Watch the magic here:

Here she is performing with The Roots on Jimmy Fallon.

Window Seat to a Black Woman’s Soul, illustrates Makeda Crane’s perspective that Erykah is commenting on the abuse and exploitation of Black woman’s bodies, a sentiment that all women can relate to on some level. She writes, “My hope is that in some small way Erykah’s bold move would be the beginning of a new moment in history where black women define black womanhood and sexuality for themselves, free from history’s grip on their backside.” For Filipinas, there is a history of sex tours, of surviving the abusive hands of their own men, of being perceived by Westerners as passive, nurturing yet sexual creatures. If Erykah and her stripdown was meant to represent evolution and change, then the mock shooting can be interpreted as others trying to eliminate or shut down positive change. As Erykah puts it,

[Group think!] They play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs, ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become. Afraid to respect the individual. A single person within a circumstance can move to change, to love herself, to evolve.

I love her socio-political nature! KFK and I found this cool performance of her decked out in the most gigantic Afro imaginable, the stage was alive with Beatnik elements –spoken word, bongos, and hand-held electronic sound effect systems as she pumped the air with her fist and declared in Black Panther style, “Hip hop is bigger than the government!”

And just for kicks, because this is where my love for Erykah began, a classic:

Baduizm at its finest, indeed.

A Gypset Romance

There was a time when I wanted to live like a nomad. Travel from town to town, country to country, living out of a vintage Volkswagon van and off the land. Although a civilized life offers comfort and luxuries, it often feels stifling and restrained. A nomad could enjoy the freedom of the open road and sleeping under the stars.

I’ve nurtured that fantasy for as long as I can remember, imagining costumes for the journey throughout the three decades I’ve been alive including eras and looks from the days of grunge, boho and the 70’s. Anything that encompasses loose, flowy fabrics and vintage patterns.

I came across a profile for Siena Fleming, who is neither a nomad nor a hybrid of the grunge-boho-70’s variety. But I find her style ecclectic and refreshing enough to evoke a sense of freedom and a devil-may-care attitude. And I’m not gonna lie, but I’m proud of my Asian/part-Asian sisters.

Pretty girl. I love how she curls the ends of her hair like that!

A walk on the wild side. If I were nomad-ing around town, I'd love to glam it up with all that leopard. Diva! And can someone tell me where I can find a headdress like hers? It's inspired me to rummage through my jewlery boxes for something to double as appropriate headwear.

Why can't I look this ethereal in a white sundress? There is something to be said about being able to "carry off" a look.

Body ink. Hers says "I am my own" in Russian. I'm contemplating getting a huge mural on my back, but I'm not sure what of yet. To me, the perfect tattoo would make the perfect accessory to someone's personal look.

The tapestries and wall hangings reflect Siena's Manchurian heritage (she's also part European).

A glamour shot of her mother. Apparently they are really close.

My recent fascination with all things “ethnic” is inspiring me to purchase a book called Gypset Style, but I always have to check myself to make sure I’m not appropriating something culturally significant in a disrespectful way. The book only got 4 reviews, but one of the negative ones pointed out that the book exploits the racism and poverty that Gypsies experience. And I’ll be the first to admit that I do have the “privileged, jet-setting, fashion magazine” fatansy of the Gypsy “lifestyle.” (Hey, I don’t live in a bubble.)

I do wonder how fashion designers reconcile using inspiration from cultural sources and doing it with respect for the very culture they’re acquiring it from. I figure there’s a difference between completely taking an entire outfit and using it in a manner that offends the original purpose of it (like using a qipao, or cheongsam, to dress a porn star) and incorporating structural elements from the article of clothing into their own design (like using mandarin collars on tuxedos). I remember being irritated when Gwen Stefani first came out with the Harajuku Girls and basically used them as her travelling minstrel show.

On that note, I’m gonna hold off on purchasing the book. I have to feel comfortable in what I’m wearing.

The Glamourai

I’ve been soaking up fashion blogs like sponges, literally starting at the very first post and reading each entry until the most current one. (Maybe that’s why I can’t keep up with my own blogging, hmmm…) If I find myself intrigued after the first few posts, I consider the blog “chosen” and I make it my priority to read the blog like I’m studying for a board exam. And I’m not joking! I’m learning so much!

Ever since I started reading The Sartorialist, I’ve loved reading articles on people who speak intelligently about fashion. I was never one who bought into the trends or used them to define who I am. While I love trends, I only subscribe to the ones that actually fit my persona. I have much respect for bloggers like StyleBubble and now The Glamourai who know their style and know exactly they want to dress themselves, a place where I want to be in my stylistic journey.

Fur, gray, major scarf action. Need I say more?

The Glamourai is a new fave.  Her daily “costumes,” as she calls them, are eye candy. According to an interview she did with Supermelon, she describes herself as “a young lady who likes to dress like an eccentric 80-year-old.” LOVE IT. Her style icons are Iris Apfel and Edie Beale, two eccentric 80-year-old women whose styles remind me of young girls playing dress-up, but actually end up looking pretty awesome. That was validating to read for me, a woman who has been trying to justify her fascination with tapestry bags reminiscent of that eccentric 80-year old.

Iris Apfel - love the jewelry, love the colors, love the glasses.

Edie Beale - reminds me that I still want a fur coat.

 I remember being frustrated when I first started reading her blog. Not at her, but at myself for not being as solidified in my own sense of style. I feel like I’m still exploring with my limits and learning how to trust my style instincts, whereas she stays looking so gorgeous and put together in all of her pics!

Red, black and white - my office is decorated in these colors. I especially love how she mixes patterns and it ends up looking neatly chaotic. It's a skill I hope to acquire some day. There's something satisfying about being able to contain madness. "Decadent, but never undone. I love mixing prints, colors, textures, volume, eras… but always in a way that isn’t overwhelming to the eye. It is exacting, but never precise, and completely dependent on my mood."

A woman after my own heart. I long to find a giant bib necklace in my favorite metals to grace my torso.

Jewelry-making is more her forte, but The Glamourai also finds pleasure in reconstructing kimonos into her trademark Glamourwraps (see picture above). She played around with tops by cutting out the shoulders and I guess the trend transferred over to her love of kimonos. I’m in the market for one of these bad girls…once I have $350 to spare.

Notice the cut-out shoulders and glamourai sensibility.

Apparently, you can wear the Glamourwraps in many different ways. Again, a stylist who speaks my language. I covet pieces that can be worn multiple ways. When clothes spark my creativity like that, I can't help but swoon.

The Glamourai rockin' the kimono love. Did I mention I want an obi belt?

I envy her ability to wear that weird concotion of leafy material and look unbelievably cool. One of these days...

Another example of The Glamourai's creative genius. Reconstructing a dowdy skirt into a sexy display of leg action. Love how it mimicks her hair.

The Glamourai Flapper done to perfection. Ringing in 2010 the only way a Glamourai can.

If only studying can always be this fun.

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