Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Goodbye Lycra, Hello Cycle Chic!

Here we go again!
Today’s London Telegraph has an article called “Goodbye Lycra, Hello Street Cred” about how urban cycling is no longer just a pastime for jocked-out sportos but an Officially Cool mode of transpo for fashionistas.

Hm … sounds strangely familiar to an article I just wrote for Textile View magazine called “Cycle Chic!”

But here's the rub: The Telegraph cites as evidence of this “trend” the new, limited edition, eight-gear bicycle soon to come from Chanel (about $12,000 US), and the Emporio Armani Bianchi from 05.

Um, I’m sorry, but when did Chanel or Armani ever equal street cred?!? (I’m envisioning a pack of bike messengers kicking the couture crap out of a Chanel bicycle, Romper Stomper style, while a waify Euro-model stands off to the side wailing for help).

The bottom line: Expensive designer labels are never, ever hip. They are faddish, unlike cycling, and fun but only indicative of a person’s paycheck, not their sense of style. Check out the simple, sexy-tough style of my neighbor in the photo above (an outtake from “Cycle Chic”) and her beautiful streamlined bike—that she built herself. Now that's street cred, people!

Stay tuned for “Cycle Chic”—the real story about cycling street cred—in the upcoming issue of Textile View!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Seattle Bride Fashion … upcoming

Yesterday we wrapped the latest fashion shoot for the upcoming issue of Seattle Bride Magazine and, as usual, it’s going to be stunning! Of course, I can’t show any real pictures (the above shot depicts the aftermath...) or reveal any details, but let’s just say that the 10th anniversary issue (on newsstands January 2008) is going to be unforgettable!

Laundry Art

For roughly the past 10 years in the building where I live, an anonymous donor has contributed to the Laundry Room Art Gallery, covertly supplying shrink-wrapped vintage magazine advertisements and images to the collection of tenant-crafted paintings, charcoal drawings and (framed!) dryer-lint collages.

The magazine images are smartly chosen, cheeky and ironic. Mid-20th century movie stars hawk cigarettes, booze or Jantzen bathing suits and politically incorrect ads depict housewives as airheads and white men as strapping breadwinners. Every month or so, five or six new images mysteriously replace the old, creating rotating, in-house gallery shows.

This morning, this Life magazine page (above) celebrating Edie Sedgwick and her famous black tights accompanied the usual fray. I've seen this page before—everyone has—but what struck me is how timeless her style is. I adored these pictures when I discovered Edie as a pre-teen (I can't bring myself to use "tween") in the early 80s and love looking at them just as much now.

Why is her style so timeless? I think, hands down, it’s the DIY factor she employs from head to toe. She didn't invent the micro-miniskirt, the blonde cropped pixie-cut or opaque tights, but she restyled them to match her impish personality. It's a self-crafted look akin to those in “Grey Gardens" and "Times Square."

The bottom line is that is will always be cooler to make a dress from the parlor drapes, à la Scarlett O'Hara. But the DIY m.o. is missing with today's celebrities, and in most streetwear. Even today’s teenagers are label-obsessed. And if the young ("youthquakers," in Edie's day) can’t introduce a return to inventive, homemade dressing, who will?