Thursday, March 5, 2015

Vintage: American Teenagers in 1950s Paris

Gordon Parks is an amazing vintage photographer (in addition to being a musician, writer, and film director) whose work deserves a proper post one day since to show the above images without proper caption is to discredit the more serious nature of many of his photographs. He had a unique photography career that managed to cover fashion photography, photo-essays with LIFE, and civil rights work. But recently I re-stumbled across his series capturing American teenagers studying in Paris and was once again taken by the striking and exuberant images. Parks often photographed his subjects in motion and unlike the more graceful and staged images typical of this period, in this series we see candid, documentary-style moments. "Wow, Quel Babes!" as the 1952 article was titled, is best appreciated with the original captions which can be found in this article. To me, one of the most notable facts in the accompanying essay and captions is for all the antiquated ideas it does present, how unchanged female teenage-dom seems. A group of girls in this series dubbed themselves the "Horrible Six" and while they are bonded by name they impose a strict set of rules for dress, diet, and behavior on one another. More here.

Outfit: Anchor's Away

While I'm a sucker for photographing nautical themed clothing by a harbor or the shore, gale-force winds are a good reason to stay more inland. Still even if the setting isn't perfectly on theme I can't resist a bit of theatrical dressing. I have no aspirations of being an actress, but sometimes it's nice to dress like a character. Today it's a modern Gene Kelly naval musical (sort of like how Shirley Maclaine saw him in What A Way To Go)--so on-the-nose nautical as to be ridiculous. Boat shoes or a sailor's rucksack would have really overdone things!

Outfit details:
old coat
Rebecca Minkoff backpack
*pictures by Thomas

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Lookbook: Book of Deer Spring 2015

One of the spring lines I'm most excited to see available for sale is Book of Deer's Country Kitchen collection. Inspired by 1950s housewives (with none of the restrictions), it's a playful collection filled with designer Eilidh Ho's delicate touches in the form of clothes pin embroidery and prints made from her handdrawn illustrations. The clothes are really lovely and appreciation for them only grows as you notice the details. Many of the pieces are in her online shop now and a few are even available at Modcloth--I know I'm buying myself at least one dress but so far I can't choose a favorite...

Outfit: Siesta

The closest thing I'm getting to a siesta these days is either a comfortable retreat beneath my blankets or a few stolen moments in an empty greenhouse that feels like summer even if the dried leaves underfoot tell of autumn. All too soon I'll be leaving the blustery green hills of Northern Ireland for the snow-covered East Coast and back to reality. It rarely feels like real life when I'm here; my visits are too short for the days to fall into routine and moments of stress or annoyance are always overwhelmed with gratitude to be with Thomas and planting a few roots. It will be hard living far away from my family, but I'm definitely ready to tie up loose ends in the States and buy that one way ticket to the Emerald Isle...

Outfit details:
Rue Gembon earrings
old jacket (similar)
vintage brooch
*pictures by Thomas

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Stylish Spaces: Retro Loft

This is probably the loveliest loft I have ever seen. I love the splashes of color, high ceilings, industrial floors, and retro home furnishings. Artist Kelly Reemsten is living in a dream home (her artwork is pretty amazing too). It's a beautiful airy space that gives her room to breathe, create, and collect. More here.

Outfit: Trendcasting

While a big trend coming out of fashion week is 70s, I'm feeling much more of a 60s vibe. Of course, fashion weeks around the world have perhaps never been more diverse and less easy to trendcast than now. Some collections are paring down, showing fewer looks and less extravagent clothes at lower price points and others are going the opposite; more looks, more embellishment, etc. While I'm certain in ten or twenty years we will be able to look back on this time and pick out some predominant styles, at the moment things seem more geared towards the individual than the mass than ever before. It's so easy to identify a photograph from the 50s or 70s based on dress--how easy will it be to indentify those taken now by the same markers? It's not that people in the past have never clinged to trends past their expiration date, but that mass fashion seems less uniform than ever before.

Outfit details:
old barrette
Oasap dress (sold out, also here)
Seychelles heels (old)
*pictures by Thomas

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