Special thanks to the entire StyleLikeU team for the terrific feature! What an honor. So far, the reactions have been nothing but great. So surreal since it’s usually me interviewing others. Look for updates this week on Smoke & Mirrors for more clothing credits and behind-the-scenes pics. View the entire post here and make a comment MF!
Come wintertime, I wake up in myFjällräven bubble jacket. No, it’s not because I love hip-hop. It was given to me by my dad when I went to college as a sort-of global warming survival tactic. It’s double-down, crazy comfy, and the best quality known to man. He had it since he was in high school in Sweden and it lasted ’til now, so, you know it ain’t no North Face. The historic brand started as a hiking company selling tents and rucksacks. They’ve been gaining attention in the states ever since selling their backpacks at Opening Ceremony. Now, they’ve opened their first flagship stateside (located at 262 Mott Street) and it’s like a little slice of home. You’ve got to see it to believe it.
photos courtesy of (top) fjallraven & (bottom) freshness mag
Edit. In honor of this month’s Smoke & Mirrorsfeature in ELLE magazine (p. 340, December ’09), “MH.edits” dissects the outfit I styled exclusively for the shoot as done in the “fashion focus” posts. So glad I had the opportunity to style myself – as myself! Having access to the unlimited racks of designer duds was a total dream come true. You’ll usually find me with a scarf somewhere on my person, so, when I was asked to assemble a look that included at least one Hermes scarf, I was set. Inspired by years of watching my favorite musicians incorporate scarves into their personal styles, my look was prompted by memories of Steven Tyler’s scarved mic stand, Janet Jackson’s handkerchief (from the “Alright” video), Mozart, Keith Richards, Prince, and Axl Rose’s headband. It was all about celebrating my love for music and fashion – which is what S&M‘s all about. The result’s a combination of hard and soft, masculine and feminine, today and yesterday. An homage to rock & roll. Thanks again to everyone at ELLE for coining me a “tastemaker” and making the whole experience so enjoyable. Such an honor. (Cheers to my fellow featured bloggy baby, Krystal, at whatisrealityanyway)
1 Hermes polka dot silk scarf (worn as headband)
2 Corpus velvet motorcycle jacket
3 Ralph Lauren Collection silk organza blouse
4 Hermes silver collier ring
5 The Row french grey leather leggings
6 Hermes metallic brocade scarf (worn as handkerchief)
7 Chloe suede lace-up booties
It’s most certainly my Scandinavian heritage that’s harvested my love for clogs. I’ve grown to incorporate the pointy-toed elf shoes into some of my most unorthodox looks. The connotations of clogs stateside are somewhat pejorative. Most see Crocs, Berkeley lesbians, Heidi and gardeners as clog’s only friends. For Spring ’10, Chanel opted for clog’s mainland farm look, adding a wooden heel to a leather-topped mule for the fashion set. Brazilian plastic shoemaker, Melissa, has created my favorite rendition of the classic footwear to date, in collaboration with designer Edson Matsuo (worn in photo). It seems like it’s finally time to let your inner gnome thrive!
Chanel / Spring 2010 / Paris Fashion Week Melissa Clog by Edson Matsuo
Capes are the shit. They always have been. Always will be. That is – if you know how to fly (which I do). Why else would you wear one really? Every superhero has one, the Papa rocks one, the Count, and look – so does Irina in Dazed! (They all fly as hell) I’m telling you, try one sometime and you’ll be glad you did.
I’ve had the opportunity to explore my infatuation with historic men’s costume, but never had the chance to examine my biting interest in knightswear. Tough, tactile, and anonymous: knight’s stand as fashion’s great gatekeeper. The armored one holds an untouchable appeal, a sense of mystery enforced by such faceless authority. Playing with this anonymity provides for a studied layer to everyday dress that’s sharply literal and paused in time. Watching the tin man play an inspiring role in last season’s fashion artillery shows just how Ackermann and Pugh feel the same.
I’m starting a new post series that reflects on my personal style influences, entitled ‘fashion focus.’ I promise once I’m fully moved into my new apartment I will have the August edition of mh.edits up. In the meantime, for the first post of the series, it’s my love for plaid explained. No, it doesn’t come from anything grunge-inspired or hipster (hell, I was listening to Janet in ’93 not Alice in Chains), it’s pieces from my whimsical tween love affair with Larisa Oleynik or better known to SNICK viewers as Alex Mack from The Secret World of Alex Mack. She was cute, had killer style (and if I remember correctly an amazing hat collection), along with the fact that she could morph into that weird silver CGI goop whenever she had to escape from her crush or the scientists that were chasing her. But when I think of Alex, it’s her affinity for the checked flannel that I remember most. She’d accompany any overall or backwards cap with an open plaid buttondown, either tied upon her waist or sizes too large, slouched atop her tee. It’s the root of my endearment for the pattern that so often ends up on my back.
I’ve been wearing leggings for some time now – I remember the first time I wore them in high school to gasps and hallway awe. It’s 2009 and they’re still an integral part of my wardrobe. Finally, there’s less stigma surrounding men in anything ‘tight’ due largely to the skinny jean trend. In tandem, men’s leggings have garnered attention within fashion circles based upon Givenchy’s recent menswear collections. I see leggings as tight pants fit for both sexes. Many disagree and see them only as undergarments for women, but I find leggings to be an elemental piece of body conscious dressing. Always an extremist; garments are either tight or falling off me. And that’s just how I like ’em. There are no ‘in-betweens’ – proportions are important in differentiating from the norm and establishing one’s individuality. To think that men haven’t worn anything that close to the body since the 1800’s is stunning. Honestly, what will it take for men to go back to tights a la Robin Hood? The man without fear of shape or size. The man who’s not afraid of skimp or stare. It’s that certain embrace of one’s own that’s so inspiring. Everyone is made to look different and it seems, due to today’s homogenization and singularity in dress, there’s no room to express anything more than what’s emblazoned on a t-shirt.
Identity is something that’s attained. Part present, part past, it is piece-by-piece a tell-tale to one’s experiences and longings, inspirations and limits. For myself, I see leggings as a derivative of my childhood fondness for Dickens and Twain. Their lead male characters always rose from rags to riches in twig-legged bottoms. It’s something that’s stayed with me from the time I played Artful Dodger in Oliver!; the strong-willed little pickpocket with a Cockney accent. From beggars to royals, streets to kingdoms, chicken-legged looks were something they both shared. The most fantastic characters I remember were mini yet magical. The top-heavy silhouettes from Prince and the Pauper have had a lasting impact on my personal style. The story’s also probably the very thing that influenced my love for mixing high and low – think Givenchy (Prince) and disintegrated tee (Pauper). See above and below for le visual hints.
I’ve been intrigued by round-frame sunnies since I watched Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act when I was a little boy. I remember begging my mother to buy me a pair from the local Rite Aid. She got me red ones that I still have. A decade and a half later…
…they’re back — this time on my female counterpart, Miss Olsen. So, again (as she once did for the Wayfarer), she’s brought back another vintage frame, this time, the round-frame Windsor. Not to start a war (because I, of course, have massive respect for her and admit sharing similar stylistic influences – beggars, rockers, stoners, etc.); but hell, I wore the ones my mom got me back junior year (’07). It wasn’t that I felt a trend churning; it was the simple fact that I had been home for Thanksgiving and my mom rekindled the flame when she found them in storage. Peep the pic of my mom and I below. Since then, it’s been much easier to find the babies all over town due to Mary-Kate’s heavy retail influence. To date I have 10 pair. The New York Timesis hella late.
Presently, they’re still my favorite sunglasses. They fit my face better than most frames do. My favorite pairs are in black and yellow.
You should probably read this post while listening to someone who reminds me of a mini-modern-Mozart…The-Dream. Just imagine the 5’8″ composer hovering over his skyscraping organ as if he were in an Austrian opera house beating it up like gorilla.
There’s something that’s always caught me about 18th century (and prior) men’s dress. It’s probably the fact that “macaroni” fashions were more peacock than pasta, in that they’d incorporate, as a rule, much more extravagance than their female counterparts. Heels, stockings, jewelry and wigs, were among the uniform for the upper class 1700’s male who considered it critical to exemplify status. Viewing these heavily adorned males beside powerful men today is somewhat of a joke: Mozart could pass as Dita Von Teese for all its worth. Found in 1984’s Amadeus, the men’s costuming can be seen as a sort of competitive exploitation of wealth and virility. How funny it is to see how things have changed to become what they are today… If anything, I’d say men don’t have the sort of fun women do with fashion presently in that they have their limitations set so strongly by society.
If I had to say which style I’ve been most inspired by, I would have to give it to Amadeus. My obsession with ruffled collars, top-heavy silhouettes, puffy shirts and ringed fingers, big hair and organ sounds, has its root in my 5th grade music class. We learned of Beethoven and Mozart, while all I could focus on was their impeccable sense of style. They seemed to understand what it was to dress for statement and self-identity. Nowadays, the formulaic man’s dress constricts any expression except fear from being outwardly portrayed. To think, there was a time when men got glee from challenging any sense of homogeneity in fashion is still exciting to me. Below, you’ll find a photo from my trip to the Victoria & Albert Museum in London last summer, where I found what I hope to look like in forty-plus years. Beneath it is a photo showing how to modernize the Rococo-era aesthetic with a ruffly shirt, torn jeans, and high shoes. The hair helps.