Environmental group Extinction Rebellion stop traffic during London Fashion Week.

 

BREAKING NEWS: Environmental group Extinction Rebellion stop traffic during London Fashion Week. The group carried banners and signs while wearing grass coats outside Victoria Beckham’s Fall 2019 collection.

References

Read, Bridget. “Climate Change Protests Disrupt London Fashion Week.” Vogue. 18 February 2019, https://www.vogue.com/article/london-fashion-week-climate-change-protests-extinction-rebellion-photos.

Figures

Klink, Immo. 3/14. Vogue, https://www.vogue.com/article/london-fashion-week-climate-change-protests-extinction-rebellion-photos.

Klink, Immo. 9/14. Vogue, https://www.vogue.com/article/london-fashion-week-climate-change-protests-extinction-rebellion-photos.

 

A Funny Look

 

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Image via H&M

 

Next time you’re laughing at the latest Netflix comedy special or binging your favorite comedian-hosted baking show, take a look at what the funny person is wearing. Comedians are gaining a more prominent presence in our media than ever thanks to streaming, podcasting, and even Oscar nominations. As a result, comedians are channeling their inner Joan Rivers and creating signature looks that are as memorable as their comedy style.

Some of the most well-known comedians choose unique stylings to give their personas an extra touch. Nicole Byer, rising star and host of the super popular Netflix cooking show Nailed It, blends glamour and quirk with her body-positive outfits while Aziz Ansari always pleases the crowd in crisp suits. Casual approaches to dressing are also well-represented. This is seen with Britain’s The Great Sewing Bee host Joe Lycett, who prefers simple sweaters, and comedy icon Whoopi Goldberg who sticks to casual comfort in muted tones. Even funnyman Conan O’Brien has changed up his once ultra-formal suit to a jacket and jean outfit to give a relaxed feel for his revised television show.

A Simple, Yet Funny, Uniform

Just as it takes time for a comedian to form their jokes, their signature look isn’t going always ready for the main stage. Burgeoning comedian Eric Farley opts to wear what he calls “the stand-up comedian uniform,” which is a combination of T-shirt, jeans, and a hoodie. The outfit gives upcoming comedians a comfortable option while honing their craft, and as Eric says, “it’s simple, you don’t have to think about it that much.” Think of it like the ‘Silicon Valley uniform,’ it avoids intimidation by appearing approachable and at ease. “You want to be relatable. The key to being funny on stage is to have people relate to what you’re talking about.”

As they find success, some comedians stick to the ultra-casual look. Others build their celebrity and change their wardrobes to set themselves from the crowd. “When you’re a stand-up comedian you want to be authentic, you want to be who you are. So what better way to be who you than wear what you wear.”

Social Media Praises Shrill’s Stylish Costumes

The Hulu Hit Show Proves That Any Size Can Be Fabulous

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Image Via @shrillhulu

Shrill is a derogatory term to characterize a woman with an opinion. It is a sexist phrase used to disregard a woman’s voice and her opinion. Although it has historically been a word women hate, they are now embracing it. Through a hit television show on Hulu by the same name, women are now reappropriating this hateful term. Shrill has garnered online praise for its honest view on the life of a woman who finds her self-worth. The show preaches body confidence with no apologies.

Another aspect of this show that has women tweeting its praises is the portrayal of plus-size clothing worn on female characters. Thousands of social media posts are discussing the show’s costumes, which portrays its characters in stylish outfits that fit and flatter their bodies, while also appearing super stylish. “Shrill should start a fashion line,” tweeted one fan, while another wrote, “Someone give #amandaneedham (Shrill’s costume designer) her own fashion line.”

Main character Annie, played by Aidy Bryant, sports a combination of comfy separates and sparkly dresses that pair wonderfully with brown heeled clogs. Lolly Adefope, played by Lolly Adefope, is Annie’s best friend and roommate who has a fabulous wardrobe of bright colors and geometric prints. “…has anyone put together a list of the fashions Annie and Fran are wearing?” muses one Shrill fan. “Especially Fran?”

These digital responses echos a not too uncommon issue present in plus-size fashion. In an article for Refinery29, it was revealed that the costumes had to be custom-made due to the lack of stylish options. “…how sad that all her fashion had to be made from scratch…I have $$$$ to spend on clothes but the clothes in my size are butt ugly or nonexistent,” explains a Shrill fan on Twitter. Although in a fictional world, even a plus-size woman’s wardrobe faces harsh realities.

Despite this bleak outlook, chic options are starting to spring up. Anthropologie recently released a plus-size line called A+, and Kohl’s has EVRI, which dresses women 14W-30W. It seems that there may be hope on the horizon and it looks a little Shrill.

Jayne Wrightsman’s Dazzling Style

The American Philanthropist Was A Fashion Icon to High Society

 

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

American arts benefactor and philanthropist Jayne Wrightsman passed away on April 20, 2019. An often private presence on the New York social scene, Jayne and her husband Charles Bierer Wrightsman helped develop the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s French Decorative Arts wing (Wrightsman Galleries) through extremely generous donations (Vanamee, 2019). They have been dubbed the museum’s “most important benefactors (Baetjer, 2019).

Another element of the former model’s persona that dazzled American society was her personal style and in particular, her jewelry collection. “What really struck me about her taste was how educated it was while not being overly academic,” said the head of Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels Auctions in New York Catharine Becket to Vanity Fair (Vanamee, 2019). Some examples of her jewelry collection can be seen in a 2012 Sotheby’s auction that garnered millions of dollars. Included were collections of pearls, diamonds, a 17th-century emerald rosary, and a mid-19th-century diamond bow brooch worn by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II (Vanamee, 2019; “Magnificent Jewels from the Collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman,” 2012). These jewels display Jayne’s taste for dazzling pieces in classic and referential shapes. “Everything was beautiful, but she had broad cultural interests,” says Becket (Vanamee, 2019).

Like the fine art and decorative arts that the Wrightsmans’ donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a portion of Jayne’s wardrobe has been given to the Met’s Costume Institute. Included is a collection of gowns, evening separates, and accessories that showcase her signature style.

The fashion’s Jayne wore blended classic shapes with visual texture and bright colors. “Her clothes, which were incredibly well tailored, served as a blank canvas on which to hang jewels,” said Becket (Vanamee, 2019).

During Jayne’s early beginnings in the 1960s social scene, she wore fashionable gowns that blended classic shapes with ornate details. As she got older, her clothing continued to incorporate eye-catching detail, but with a streamlined silhouette.

A famous example of Jayne’s personal style is seen in a famous 1966 Cecil Beaton photograph of Jayne posing at her home on Fifth Avenue (Bowles, 2019). She is wearing a 1965 Balenciaga quarter-sleeved gown that is accessorized with feathers and a silk ribbon waist tie. The photograph has been so inspiring that it was the basis for a 2010 Steven Meisel photoshoot featuring model Amber Valletta (Wintour) and will be featured in the Costume Institute’s upcoming exhibition, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (Bowles, 2019).

Jayne’s early style is seen in another photograph she is posing in front of a Georges de la Tour painting entitled “The Penitent Magdalen” and wearing a white Middle Eastern-inspired Balenciaga coat (Vanamee, 2019). Both in this photograph and the Beaton piece, Jayne is wearing clothing that blends fashion trends with a touch of cultural influence. She would continue this theme in her wardrobe years later, with for example, a 2000 ensemble made with a colorful ikat print and simple green trousers. As with her taste in jewelry, she chose pieces that went beyond a trendy fad. Her appearance was a statement that initiated conversation and thought.

To learn more about Jayne Wrightsman and her contribution to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, visit the Charles and Jayne Wrightsman and The Metropolitan Museum of Art page.

References

Baetjer, Katharine. “Jayne Wrightsman (1919–2019).” The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 23 April 2019, https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/now-at-the-met/2019/jayne-wrightsman-in-memoriam.

Bowles, Hamish. “Hamish Bowles Remembers Jayne Wrightsman, Esteemed Arts Connoisseur and Legendary Hostess.” Vogue. 24 April 2019, https://www.vogue.com/article/jayne-wrightsman-tribute-hamish-bowles.

“Magnificent Jewels from the Collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman.” Sotheby’s. 05 December 2012, http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2012/magnificent-jewels-from-the-collection-of-mrs-charles-wrightsman-n08925.html.

Talley, Andre Leon. “Talking Fashion: Couture.” Vogue Oct 01 1989: 480. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2019 .

Talley, Andre Leon. “Talking Fashion: Vogue’s Spring Spree.” Vogue Apr 01 1990: 414,414, 415, 416. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2019.

Vanamee, Norman. “Jayne Wrightsman’s Jewelry Collection Was the Stuff of Legend.” Town & Country. 25 April 2019, https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/jewelry-and-watches/a27259640/jayne-wrightsman-jewelry-collection/.

Wintour, Anna. “Editor’s Letter: Letter from the Editor: All the Right Roles.” Vogue May 01 2010: 78,78, 84, 86. ProQuest. Web. 22 Apr. 2019 .

From Maharani to Schiaparelli Muse: Princess Karam of Kapurthala

 

Figure 1

“BEAUTIFUL PRINCESS KARAM OF KAPURTHALA IN REBOUX’S TANGERINE VELVET HEAD-DRESS AND MAINBOCHER’S SILVER FOX CAPE” by André Durst (©Condé Nast)

Imagine you’re a princess from a far-off land who hobnobs with fashion icons, wears haute couture and is always decked out in opulent jewels. This was a reality for Princess Karam of Kapurthala. 

Also known as the Maharani of Kapurthala, the Princess built a reputation in the mid-to-late 1930s for blending Western couture with South Asian saris and opulent jewels. She may have also been one of the first faces of Indian descent to grace the pages of Vogue and partake in Western high society.

Princess Karam was born in 1915 to the Kumaon royal family. At the age of 13, she was married to Maharajkumar Karimjit Singh, the son of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of the House of Kapurthala, a Punjabi royal house. The affluence of Princess Karam’s in-laws provided a life that allowed for travel and the enjoyments of upper-class society life, no matter the location. This wealth also allowed the Princess to purchase saris and Parisian-made haute couture, which at 19 years old, she wore well.

The couple arrived in Paris in 1934 and instantly made a scene for her eye-catching saris. “I prefer them to be georgette or mousseline de soie, because when made of these materials, they hang well and give one a better line,” Karam explained to Vogue in 1935. “..I generally wear them in bright colours at all important functions” (“Beauty In India Ncess Karam Of Kapurthala,” 1935, pg. 72) (1). Princess Karam also attracted attention for wearing Mainbocher, Suzy, Madame Gres, and Schiaparelli with jewels that were sourced from India and reset by Cartier (“As Seen by Him: Forever England,” 1934, pg. 94) (2).

Princess Karam’s style was often featured in the pages of prominent American publications, including American and British Vogue, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar. A clothing piece that garnered so much attention that it was incorporated into a Vogue photo shoot was an evening wrap made with dark brown gauze with pale pink gardenias placed under ruffles. According to the Vogue article “Features: Two London Successes,” Princess Karam wore the piece over a silver or pale pink sari and accessorized it with strings of pearls (1934, pg. 56)(3). In 1939, she was described by The New York Times (1939) as “evoking memories of Racine’s Phedre ” in a draped Madame Gres white jersey gown with a knee-length cape attached to the shoulders (p. 49) (4). Wraps were a way she could add a “semi-European touch” to her South Asian wardrobe (“As Seen by Him: Forever England,” 1934, pg. 94) (5).

Aside from Vogue, Princess Karam’s personal style inspired Elsa Schiaparelli. The designer incorporated sari-like evening gowns, dresses with harem pants, and long lame scarves for her 1935 collection. On being the source for one of the leading designers of the decade, Princess Karam exclaimed, “I was thrilled to see that some of the dressmakers were actually inspired for their new models this year by some of the saris I wore in the summer of 1934” (“Beauty In India Ncess Karam Of Kapurthala Karam, Princess,” 1935, p. 72) (6).

Figure 2

“PRINCESS KARAM OF KAPURTHALA, WHOSE EXTRAORDINARY BEAUTY HAS MADE HER A CONTINENTAL LEGEND” by Cecil Beaton (©Condé Nast)

Princess Karam was often placed on ‘best-dressed’ lists and was even used as a promotional tool. She found herself as one of twelve stylish women to attend a presentation on healthy eating by Hollywood dietician Dr. D. H. B. Hauser and is said to be the inspiration for Ira Gershwin’s Maharanee (At the Night Races in Paris) in The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.

According to a 1934 Vogue article, Princess Karam’s appearance was shaped by the influence of her husband. “Prince Karam, who has a great deal of taste in women’s clothes, has taken his beautiful wife in hand and made her into one of the best-turned-out women in Europe to-day. He sits with her at Antoine’s while she has her hair done, and at Paquin’s while she is being fitted” (“As Seen by Him: Forever England,” 1934, p. 94) (7). It’s not determined whether the Maharaja was the sole influence of Princess Karam’s appearance or was one of the many hands that helped shape her appearance.

The couple returned to India before the beginning of World War II, raised their children, and she passed away in 2002. As like in Paris, Princess Karam became a style icon in India for her saris, opulent jewelry, and social standing. Although she lived her life as a wife and mother, she was also a style icon who introduced Indian fashion to Parisian society.

Resources

(1) Beauty In India Ncess Karam Of Kapurthala Karam, Princess. Vogue; New York Vol. 86, Iss. 1, (Jul 1, 1935): 72.
(2) As Seen by Him: Forever England Vogue; New York Vol. 84, Iss. 5, (Sep 1, 1934): 94.
(3) Features: Two London Successes Vogue; New York Vol. 84, Iss. 5, (Sep 1, 1934): 56.
(4) Costume Ball Forecasts Fall Elegance (1939, July 23). The New York Times, p. 49.
(5) As Seen by Him: Forever England Vogue; New York Vol. 84, Iss. 5, (Sep 1, 1934): 94.
(6) Beauty In India Ncess Karam Of Kapurthala Karam, Princess. Vogue; New York Vol. 86, Iss. 1, (Jul 1, 1935): 72.
(7) As Seen by Him: Forever England Vogue; New York Vol. 84, Iss. 5, (Sep 1, 1934): 94.