The Best No-Fail Outfit Combination

You know what outfit combination always looks the best? This one:

Boots (best if they’re ankle boots)

A coat that goes no longer than your knees (but preferably hits mid-thigh)

An above-knee dress/skirt.

Don’t believe me? Have a gander at the looks below (all designed by women!) to see what I mean. While the runway diversity is starkly lacking in every way, the outfit combo still holds true…

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Above: Dondup, Fall 2015

Fur coats (faux, please) always look good with this combo

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Above: Dondup, Pre-fall 2016

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Above: Josie Natori, Pre-Fall 2016

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Above: Missoni, Pre-Fall 2016

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Above: Paul & Joe, Fall 2015

Love the addition of the collar in the Paul & Joe look above

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Above: Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, Fall 2015

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Above: Tsumori Chisato, Fall 2015
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Above: Vivetta, Fall 2015

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Above: Zadig & Voltaire, Fall 2015

See? Told you fur coats look good with this look!

All pics from Vogue Runway

Homage vs. Outright Racism in Fashion: The Case of the Maison Kitsuné Pre-Fall 2016 Collection

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I’d like to make a distinction between an homage or the general idea of “taking inspiration from” versus racism and cultural appropriation in fashion.

Take the case of the recently-released Pre-Fall 2016 collection of Maison Kitsuné, a design house helmed by Gildas Loaëc. According to Vogue Runway reviewer Amy Verner, the collection is inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s film The Wind Rises:

“Maison Kitsuné’s Pre-Fall and men’s collections once again shared the same source material: Hayao Miyazaki’s film The Wind Rises. It’s a resourceful tactic that also presents well in stores, especially when couples decide they want matching Mount Fuji sweaters.”

Amazing/awesome/totally fantastic idea right? Except….no. Maison Kitsuné’s execution of this “inspiration” was laughable at best, and plain racist at worst.

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The Pre-Fall lookbook had the model of choice–a white woman–sporting bright dots of pink blush no doubt winking at both the stylized illustrations of anime and Geisha makeup whilst posing in camouflage, sweaters festooned by prints of Mt. Fuji, and even geta. She’s seen waving about the Japanese flag, flying toy airplanes with blissful naiveté, and painting pictures of apparently nothing at all.

There are two things particularly egregious about this Maison Kitsuné collection.

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First, they actually did manage to book an Asian model for their Pre-Fall 2016 Men‘s collection lookbook–so why not for the women’s lookbook? Also, as you can see, he’s not sporting caricatured makeup like the model in the woman’s lookbook.

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Secondly, we’ve seen very strong collections inspired by anime, Japanese culture, and Miyazaki’s work specifically. I suggested that the Comme des Garçons Spring ’16 collection was inspired by Howl’s Moving Castle, and there is nary a wooden sandal or grossly overused and abused Japanese art print in sight. As such, this collection is just plain l-a-z-y and kinda gross to be honest.

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The worst part is, is I actually like Maison Kitsuné designs usually. Take the look from their Fall 2014 collection above. This is pretty much what I wear every day, especially the white tights (no for real, this is actually my uniform). To add insult to injury, the Fall 2014 collection above was modeled by Yumi Lambert–who is actually of Japanese descent. So it’s not even like Maison Kitsuné could claim the ignorance of  not knowing any Japanese or Asian models….

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Really though, looking at this Maison Kitsuné collection, you can see how garrish, surface-level, and cheaply stereotypical it is compared to collections arguably based on a similar concept that are true works of art. Gildas Loaëc shame on you–quit while you’re really not ahead, and go learn from a master like Rei Kawakubo.

BONUS READING

Did the SP 16 Comme des Garçons collection remind you of Howl’s Moving Castle, Too?

Valentino’s Pre-Fall 2016 Collection Had An Uncomfortable Amount of “Borrowing”

Olympia Le-Tan’s Spring 2016 Show x Japanese Cultural Appropriation

I’m Ready for a New Conversation on Fashion & Cultural Appropriation.

 

 

All pictures from Vogue Runway here, here, and here.

 

 

 

 

Gloss over This: Grimes

 

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She loves fashion’s massive female presence. “So many amazing designers are women, and so many powerful people in the fashion industry are women. Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Rodarte–for me, especially as someone in independent music, it’s a great resource and a great thing to be collaborating because it’s pretty universally positive.”

  • Grimes in “Grimes Is Dead (Long Live Grimes” by Kaitlin Fontana in Flare Winter 2015

Gloss over This: Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson

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“I swear to you, I knew, I f-cking knew [that Amy Poehler was going to sign on to executive-produce the TV series],” Glazer says.

“I was so nervous, and we sit down, and I was like, Oh we’re just going to talk,” says Jacobson. “Then Amy pulls out a notebook and had all of these notes on every webisode.”

“Our two-minute webisodes,” says Glazer, still very obviously amazed. “And she said, ‘We’re going to make you some money.'” Snap.

It’s a story that looms large in their shared history–so much so that recounting it causes both women to burst into tears. “This is very female, and I don’t give a sh!t, I’m a woman, hear me roar,” says Glazer.

  • Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson in “Hot Dishes” by Maureen Halushak in Flare February 2016

Valentino’s Pre-Fall 2016 Collection Had An Uncomfortable Amount of “Borrowing”

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So yeaaaaaa the Pre-Fall 2016 collection for Valentino….there is a highly-uncomfortable amount of borrowing stealing from other cultures happening…

I mean, I’m happy that this design house is now helmed by a woman (Maria Grazia Chiuri is the designer, along with Pierpaolo Piccioli), but this collection is pretty rough. Vogue Runway writer Nicole Phelps notes in her review of the collection:

” Having plumbed the depths of their own Italian heritage and, most recently, explored African themes on their Spring runway, Chiuri and Piccioli merged west (New York and other bits of Americana) with the east of Japan here. The way the showroom was divided accentuated the differences. New York was irrepressibly colorful and smothered with stars, fringe, tie-dye, and the Chrysler Building kitschily picked out in metallic sequins. The Japanese section was subtler, with an emphasis on neutral hues and humble wabi-sabi embroideries of cherry blossoms, clouds, and flying birds on outerwear featuring traditional quilted linings. Bamboo prints turned up on simple long-sleeved dresses, pajama sets, and button-down and pleated skirt combos. But in fact there was a lot of cross-pollination. A karate gi got the tie-dye treatment, and Mt. Fuji mingled with red, white, and blue fireworks on a minidress and a double-face coat.”

  • emphasis mine, read the whole review by Nicole Phelps here

Very uncomfortable. “Having plumbed the depths of their own Italian heritage,” smacks of white privilege–i.e., white designers being lazy, privileged and bored by their own white cultures, they move on to go steal ideas, prints, and designs from other cultures.

I’ll say right off the bat that I’m not happy to see this hairstyle on white models:

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Yes, there was one token black model modeling for the lookbook, but token hiring practices are hardly a “get out of racism free” card in fashion. And yes, not every look is an egregious example of cultural appropriation.

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But still, there was a helluva lot of fringe, Asian-inspired prints, and even heavy borrowing from Rastafarian cultures.

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For me at least, this collection strikes out, big time. It’s lazy and uninspired. It’s the epitome of shameless stealing in couture-level design. Better luck next time, kids.

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Bonus reading: I’m Ready For A New Conversation on Cultural Appropriation.

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