Thursday, 23 June 2011

THE NEW NORMALITY

The popular fashion blogger, Bryan Boy, demonstrates his crazy credentials in a Margiela fur hat (image via Street Peeper).

It's funny how on-trend it is to look crazy - freaky, even - preferably while protesting 'but I'm SO normal.' Blame it on Lady Gaga, Anna Dello Russo, or countless fashion bloggers, but looking vaguely 'normal' is not the order of the day. Whether it's skyscraper-high platform shoes, neon-coloured hair, or giant pieces of fruit perched atop the head, the message is clear: the wackier the better.

Lady Gaga, who is the most prolific crazy dresser, and who has spawned the greatest number of imitators, takes things a step further, celebrating being a 'freak' as an empowering means of self-realization and expression, and perhaps even a tool for social activism. She refers to her fans as "little monsters," and often greets photographers with a 'monster claw' hand gesture to emphasise the point. The appeal of turning self-perceived 'oddness' into something to celebrate (with the sartorial flourishes to match) is hard to deny.

Looking the part isn't necessarily enough, though. Witness Lady Gaga's utterly cryptic ramblings in her column in V Magazine, or the proud proclamation by the most chic of bloggers, Jane Aldridge, that she keeps plastic animal figurines in her bag for now apparent reason, alongside her wallet and make-up. If ever there was a moment to live by the mantra le freak, c'est chic, it's now.

Perhaps we are witnessing the natural filtering of outlandish '00s night club fashion (as documented in Ognyan Yordanov's recent book) into the mainstream, as fast-fashion retailers provide ample options for wacky dressing at affordable prices, while almost any suburban hair saloon can now fit its clientele with a hot pink hair piece, shaped like a bow. Perhaps it's a reaction against an increasingly globalised and homogenized culture.

The desire to stand apart, however, and to look intentionally offbeat and outlandish, is centuries old, certainly pre-dating Lady Gaga and her fans. What I think is notable, though, is how enthusiastically the 'crazy' look and stance has been accepted - and even adopted - by the mainstream, and is no longer the preserve of a relatively small group, who would in the past have been categorised as 'eccentrics'.

The inevitable question is that if wacky is becoming prominent in the mainstream, is it soon going to be necessary to be 'normal' in order to be crazy. Or if crazy is just a fashion trend, does this mean it has already lost all meaning anyway? In many respects, the most shocking outfit that Lady Gaga could wear would be a pair of jeans, sneakers and a T-shirt. The downside is that making an effort to look decidedly 'normal' is never going to be as fun as pulling on the mismatched prints and turquoise wig. In the current climate, though, it would be deliciously subversive.

Fashion editor Anna Dello Russo has become renowned online and in the fashion media for her outlandish outfits, and decidedly unconventional approach to dressing.

As Lady Gaga (L) demonstrates, practicality should never come between you and your bonkers look, while the rapper Nicki Minaj (R), in common with other popular musicians like Katy Perry and Rihanna, shows that Lady Gaga does not have a monopoly on outlandish dressing.

Along with Anna Dello Russo, and equally adored by fashion bloogers, Daphne Guinness is the other fashion industry stalwart for freaky dressing.

The zeitgeist-y blogger Bip Ling is not one to let the trend pass by.

From Thierry Mugler SS12 menswear (L) to Prada FW11 womenswear (R), the aesthetic is running in parallel on the runways of Paris and Milan (images via Style.com)

As usual I have asked more questions than I have answered. I'm not trying to come down in favour of, or against, the 'crazy' movement: I'm more interested in thinking about it than in reaching some sort of moral judgement. Perhaps I'm wrong about the whole thing, and this is nothing new. What's your take on it?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

HOLOGRAPHIC GAP BAG


We were having a clear out at home when this amazing Gap Kids bag, which was once my brother's, surfaced. With its two holographic panels of frogs and insects (and surprisingly chic colour and shape) it must be one of the coolest things Gap has ever made! I haven't worn it out yet, but we're definitely not getting rid of it. I think it might be just the thing to go with my holographic-finish Raf Simons high tops from FW07:

Sunday, 19 June 2011

MOST WANTED

My MOST WANTED list of (nearly) impossible-to-get-hold-of things.

Above, Raf Simons spring/summer 2003 bomber jacket. Below, Raf Simons spring/summer 2006 bomber, with amazing hood:

Raf Simons SS02 sweater:

Raf Simons SS08 sandals:

Raf Simons SS03 blazer:

Raf Simons SS07 vest:

Raf Simons FW08 shoes:

Raf Simons FW02 latex 'over T-shirt':

Margiela Artisinal FW06 ski-glove jacket:

Rick Owens two-tone leather jacket:

Undercover FW10 shoes:

Jil Sandder FW08 marble print shirt:

Walter Van Beirendonck face bag from 1998:

Miu Miu cyborg gloves:

Prada x Rem Koolhaas print T-shirts from 2007:

Prada SS11 shoes, not put into production:

Prada's ugly-but-amazing SS07 shoes:

Prada FW07 mohair:

Prada FW07 'gradient' shoes:

And so the perpetual eBay and Yahoo Auctions Japan search continues...

Saturday, 11 June 2011

DUST MAGAZINE

DUST is a new London-based magazine. Ordinarily the thought of (yet) another new magazine would do little to excite me, when the world is awash with identikit 'cool' new publications with no real point of view, but DUST is different.

The fact that it is full of pictures of angst-ridden youths, photographed against crushingly mundane backdrops, means it is right up my street, but somehow there's more to it that that. I don't know anything about the team behind DUST, but the sense of emotion which it conjures up is extraordinary. It's an aggressive magazine. Each page jumps right out at you. It's very uncompromising, and I've never come across a magazine quite like it before. The icing on the cake is that it's beautifully printed on matt paper, and has strong typography. Let me tell you, it is worth every penny of the £15 cover price.

CLICK ALL IMAGES TO ENLARGE

dustmagazine.com