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August 1 2014

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free speech: hadley freeman on shouldering the burden of the economy

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One of the most convenient theories ever coined for both fashion and financial writers with pressing deadlines and depleting ideas is that the height of hemlines is somehow a prophetic statement about the economy. High hemlines equals high earnings; low hemlines equals low earnings. The idea that financial buoyancy would make women wish to dress like prostitutes is one that seems based more on hearsay than hard facts, but nonetheless, the theory has stuck.

For much longer, though?

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rompers, jellies, and denim: a summer sunday in williamsburg

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At the Breeders concert that Topshop co-sponsored at McCarren Park Pool yesterday, “the beat was a-bumpin’ and the girlies was hot,” to borrow a phrase from the Beastie Boys. Williamsburg lovelies drove “all the young dudes” (sorry, we’re on a song lyric binge) to distraction in hipster daywear staples like rompers, gladiator sandals, denim shorts, and vintage sundresses. Also in the trend mix? Heart-shaped sunglasses à la Sue Lyon in “Lolita” and the shoe that refuses to die, the jelly. And let’s not forget that the Billyburgettes deserve props for knowing how to dress on a dime. American Apparel, H&M, and Forever 21—or, as more mature shoppers call it, Forever 28—were all well represented. No doubt Topshop will be, too, when it opens its first U.S. outpost in Soho this fall.

Photo: Nicola Kast

where there’s smoke, there’s a tiny bejeweled ashtray

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve been noticing the re-emergence of a vintage accessory on the L.A. scene: the portable decorative ashtray. Rather than repairing outside for a smoke, nicotine lovers are discreetly puffing away indoors and hiding the evidence in their handbag-sized ashtrays. Which goes to show that if rules are going to be broken, they should be broken with style.

Photo: Linlee Allen

free speech: hadley freeman on practical (yes, practical) couture

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There’s a new trend emerging from couture fashion week and, for once, the word “new” before “trend” should be read literally. It is one so shocking, so daring, so completely surprising, and yet so totally logical that it even merits the phrase “heretofore unseen.” It is…practicality. Not, it has to be said, a word that is generally associated with couture. Couture, so the clichés usually go, is supposed to be a “laboratory” for designers, a place where they can indulge their every artistic whim without having to worry about funds and commerciality. In other words, want to show how you can make an oversize kimono accessorized with platform sandals so high they look like blocks of wood rather than shoes? You go for it, kiddo. Always dreamed of making a coat out of fox’s heads and crystals? Why the devil not?

But something is definitely changing.

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free speech: hadley freeman ponders wedding attire etiquette

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Many questions come to mind after seeing the photos from Leah Wood’s wedding to Jack Macdonald last weekend. Number one: Was Keith Richards’ Edward Scissorhands-meets-Björn Borg look wise? The answer probably depends on whether you think a pensioner in a headband looks rebellious or ridiculous. But the question that’s even more to the point is surely: Why on earth would anyone invite Kate Moss to their wedding anymore? If there’s any day on which you’d want to be the center of attention, that’s it. So why invite the woman who, deliberately or otherwise, always grabs everyone’s attention? Moss turned up to the Wood-Macdonald nuptials looking gorgeous in a full-length Chanel dress that was such a light shade of gray that it looked dangerously close to bridal and sporting the most photogenic of accessories: a rock star boyfriend in a rather fabulously anachronistic suit, and a cherubic daughter (in fur, no less). As an outfit, it beat even the formerly unbeatable white shorts suit with fedora she wore to Katy England and Bobby Gillespie’s wedding in 2006. And the fact that Moss turned up late, arriving after the bride, surely did not help Leah’s mood.

But Moss’ outfit raises the interesting conundrum of what constitutes suitable wedding-guest attire these days. At Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s wedding last month, guests were instructed to wear white, thereby overturning everything your mother told you about wedding etiquette and suggesting that Moss may not have made such an attention-seizing faux pas after all. Or perhaps not—by getting all of her guests to dress in the same color, Beyoncé not very subtly ensured that absolutely none of them would stand out. At Jenna Bush’s wedding earlier this summer, guests stuck, predictably but wisely, to the more traditional, anonymous fare (who would want to annoy the Bush clan in Texas?). But the real question is what the dress code will be at the two most anticipated if as yet unconfirmed weddings this summer: Brangelina’s and, yes, Kate Moss’, rumored to be held on the Isle of Wight in early September, supposedly at a music festival. A pregnant bombshell and the world’s leading trendsetter are not women to be trifled with. In both of those cases, I’d wager the one rule is really the only one that still stands: Don’t take attention from the bride. Or else.

Photo: Beretta/Sims/Karius /Rex USA