Calvin and I are on vacation this week and so I be off-line until July 25th. Will return with tales of adventures and new inspirations!
Fashion and Commerce
Fashion and Technology
Fashion and Optimism
It is always tricky in the heat when you are a "layerer" like me, to construct your look in a way that allows you to remain cool and not be overdressed. So for me this summer that has meant really embracing sheers and sometimes wearing lighter pastels. I confess I like it and have been feeling rather feminine and soft as a result. I have even been flirting with some prints, plunging necklines and colors and have been keeping a much more open mind when browsing through the summer sales. I find almost like a robot I am programmed to seek out the black and white items on the rack. It is almost like the automatic pilot that takes me back and forth to work. It happens without thinking. Now I need to challenge myself, become more self-aware and expand my range. Let's see what I can pull of while remaining true to my "brand".
Accidental Icon Wears:
Lavender/grey skirt: Ann Demeulemeester, White sleeveless sheer and mesh tunic: BLK Denim, Sheer off-white cardigan: Yohji Yamamoto, Off-white shoes: Yohji Yamamoto, Sunglasses: Prada
What are your summer layering tricks?
Today I woke to the news that one of my favorite inspirational fashion icons, Alexa Chung, is starting her own fashion label. Long an admirer of her unique and understated sense of style, I find she is also witty, charming and refreshingly down to earth. I discovered this by stumbling on her amusing and fabulous book, It. In an article today in the Business of Fashion announcing the label, she honestly and openly talks about the stepping stones that led her to feel she could undertake the "feat" of starting her own label. According to the dictionary stepping stones are "an undertaking or event that helps one to make progress towards a specified goal."
On my future to-do list for Accidental Icon, in addition to editing an on-line magazine, is to work with a creative director and develop a capsule collection. Like Chung, I need to see everything that I do as a stepping stone. The culmination of 10 years of hard work, such as collaborating with brands, working as an editor at large for Vogue and being a TV host, Alexa calls the new line the "resting place" for all those experiences and ideas. A wonderful reminder that good things take time as well as humility, new learning and hard work.
So when I feel like I just do not have the energy to have one more meeting, to write one more post, to make one more appointment, answer another email or feel like things are not moving fast enough, I need to remember Alexa Chung and all the stones it took her to make the path to the exciting news I heard today. Congratulations to her!
What stepping stones do you need to traverse to get to your "resting place"?
Fashion and Art
Fashion and Technology
What’s Behind the Fashion Scene(s)
Today in the city it is very hot and I am feeling lazy and uninspired. I have a full schedule this week and next and then we are off on vacation. So for the week of July 18-24, Accidental Icon will be on break. If I know me, a change of scene will do the world of good and I will return full of new ideas, schemes and energy.
Anyway the details in this photo are more about the earrings (Paris vintage), the haircut (Jun at Tokuyama), the sunglasses (Prada) and my tote (CDG). Love them all.
So since I am feeling so uninspiring today I did a Pinterest board of Summer Uniforms for those who prefer black and white. At least there you may find some modicum of inspiration.
Which uniform would you pick and why?
When I was in high school I had to wear uniforms. We had two versions: the winter and summer uniform. Although we did not go to school in the summer, for some reason that is what it was called, although it would be more accurate to say it was a spring uniform. Usually a lighter fabric and lighter color, the skirt was a thin stripe rather than plaid. There was a cardigan instead of a wool blazer and one could wear sheer stockings rather than heavy wool socks or tights.
The challenge in the summer when you are predominately a wearer of black and white is to find clothing that supports your "style noir" so to speak but can look a little less heavy, is a little cooler and a little less formal than your usual garb. In other words you have to find your summer uniform. What can I say about these summer overalls and sheer polka dot t-shirt except that they give me the same feeling of impending freedom and lightness that I felt when the official date we could begin to wear our summer uniforms was announced.
Both the shirt and the overalls (which are actually like a romper for grown-ups) were given to me by the talented creative director of Blackblessed, AKA Flor, whose garments I have showcased here before. For those of us whose summer and winter uniforms consist mainly of black and white this designer is one of the go-tos. Just to keep us a little surprised she will sometimes throw in a dash of red as she has this summer. Lucky for us she is having her summer sale and you can get more than just one summer uniform (so you won't have to wash it every night). I have my eye on the White Bishop's Dress for a number of reasons. Can you guess what they are?
Anything catch yours?
Fashion and Art
So many people have asked where I got the "summer floral" shirt I wore on the post earlier this week. So remember when I did my post on sample sales? Well look what I found at the bottom of the box at a BLK Denim sample sale. Next step was trying it for size and to make sure the print was not too overwhelming for me.
For a fraction, and I mean a fraction of the original retail price I got myself a floral I could bear wearing and have been waiting to break it out. For me the fun is digging deep into those boxes and finding something wonderful. So those are the details on what I am wearing this week.
So I tried to expand my horizons and see what other summer florals might be interesting and might lead to some experimentation and posted them on my Pinterest board: Accidental Icon Sort of Loves Summer Florals.
Did you ever find something wonderful to wear at the bottom of a box?
Summer is here and everywhere you look there are roses and florals. Given that I am someone who rarely, if ever, wears florals or prints for that matter, the question becomes how can I participate in this summer ritual and stay true to me? So I gave myself that challenge and have to say the shirt I found is sheer, somewhat transparent and a delight to wear. Along with some pants given to me by Eileen Fisher, which I have been wearing all the time because of the high level of comfort and ease, I think this falls within the minimalist criteria that makes me still feel like me.
These days I am always on the lookout for new independent fashion magazines, especially because of my in-between time, and found Lone Wolf tucked away under several others. I decided to purchase the magazine for three reasons: the cover, the fact that it is published in Canada (Calvin and I will be visiting Toronto soon) and the quote on the back, "Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep".
Interestingly the theme of this issue is authenticity. What makes you feel like you. There is a selection of wonderful essays; including one by Simone de Beauvoir on the intersection of power, love and authenticity and clever photos and graphics. What I found especially compelling was the editor's letter. She suggests that the experience of authenticity is a very personal one, different for different people. However, the essence is that one becomes transparent in their emotions, they present as simple and unadorned and that it is enough to be "just you". She then goes on to confess that despite calling herself Editor-in-Chief, that she actually does almost all of the tasks that make the magazine happen but did not want to reveal it for fear it would make her magazine not look "big" enough. In making this confession she in fact reveals herself to be an exceptionally multi-talented, hard-working and creative person.
So here's my authenticity confession. Even though I was inspired by a feature in WSJ Magazine on summer florals and started this post by referencing that theme, this picture is not really about fashion. After a weekend of being the "responsible adults" in a house full of my teenaged nephews, niece and many of their friends, Calvin and I were too tired to go out shooting and I was not feeling up to being iconic. So not bothering to get changed or dressed up, I threw on some lipstick and sunglasses and we crossed the hall to our stairway to get "something". So here you have me: simple, almost unadorned, transparent, just me.
What's your personal version of authenticity?
The Future of Fashion
I have been spending much of the last couple of days doing research in the morning and going out wandering in the afternoon. I gave myself the pleasure of only focusing on Accidental Icon this week. There are some things I need to learn and do to make the evolution happen. In my wanderings I have also been visiting various sample and summer sales and enjoying the pleasure of just being around, and touching, beautiful garments. My favorite store, Dover Street Market, is having all the spring and summer lines on sale at 50% off and shortly will go to 70%. Today I bought a companion piece to this apron and can't wait to style the two pieces together.
I have written about this store, actually it is more like an experience, but what I have not talked about are all the talented people that work there. Many of them now know me and I them. Young designers, painters, photographers, fashion merchandizers, and stylists they all have interesting stories to tell and I can easily end up spending hours there as I did today. The conversations usually start by me admiring something they are wearing or they compliment me on my style or a particular garment I am wearing. Today a young painter asked to take a photo of my Ann Demeulemeester skirt as it was the exact combination of pink, purple and grey tones creating a lovely pastel that he was looking to re-create. He is also currently designing a fashion line with his brother. As the conversation unfolds it turns out he also uses performance art to engage people in difficult conversations and works with not-for-profits to do so. So we had a wonderful discussion of fashion, art, social welfare and justice. We made a date to have tea and continue the conversation. Our conversation revealed multiple intersections.
Let's just say this was an exercise in connecting all our dots. It was the kind of far ranging conversation I would expect to have in my university and don't often have in this era of specialization. What might it say about the nature of things that I am having the conversations of my academic dreams in Rei Kawakubo's "temple of fashion", Dover Street Market?
Accidental Icon Wears:
White Oversized Lawn Shirt: Haider Ackermann, Polka Dot Apron: CDG, Black Trousers: Eileen Fisher, Black Leather Sandals: Elie Tahari.
For assistance with connecting your dots, see my Pinterest Board: Accidental Icon Loves Connecting the Dots
So I have been conspiring with some young creatives on two editorials that will absolutely take me far from the comfort zone, yet I hope still be me/not me. I have also been in conversation with you my readers about the potential evolution from blog to magazine. I am deliriously excited about all of these things. However in the meantime I have to keep putting out content when I do not feel particularly motivated. I am motivated to do something new, not so motivated to keep doing the same thing, if you know what I mean. I have a good case of the in-betweens.
The in-betweens are good and not so good. They are good if you can hold on and keep doing what you need to until you get to the other side. The state of not knowing usually can produce some spectacular stuff if you can hang with it long enough. Not so good when you feel stale, empty and boring and almost don't do what you have committed to. Like when you try to see your way through and there is a solid door in-between where you are and where you want to go. It is like being hungry all the time without satisfaction no matter what you eat (which I am right now).
The in-betweens are also good because it is a time you can give yourself permission to immerse yourself in new learning; participating in events that engage all of your senses. Find novel things to do that will stimulate you without having an agenda or identified outcomes. To just fill yourself up with experiences that combine haphazardly with your DNA, your memory, your unconscious and your physiology causing you to become aware of what the English and Cultural Studies professor and psychoanalyst, Christopher Bollas, calls your "unthought knowns". I love that phrase. It means that we are full of ideas that have been conveyed to us throughout life through action, rather than thinking and are part of our unconscious, but are fabulous ideas nonetheless if we find out how to retrieve them. In the same work, Being a Character, Bollas suggests we all have an idiom for our own life and self and that healthy adults continue to develop it uniquely by always looking out for objects of interest to transact with. He calls these objects, "evocatively nourishing". Is that phrase not just delicious?
So I have a list of exhibits to attend, like the one at MOMA on Japanese architects and their individual approach but collective vision of Japanese culture and one on Uniforms at FIT. I have some great books to read, like, The Future of Fashion is Now, Contagion and The Essentials of Fabulous. I discovered a series of French films shown for free in various parks to be viewed on blankets with picnic dinners. Some greenmarkets to visit for fresh produce and flowers and of course a trip or two. So perhaps my choice of an apron to wear this weekend was just a manifestation of one of my "unthought knowns" and my hunger will wane when I treat myself to some "evocative nourishment". I hope dark chocolate is part of it too.
What are some other suggestions that may "evocatively nourish" this summer?
Fashion and Technology
Fashion and Design
Fashion and Art
Slowly but surely I am crossing off outstanding items and details that remain from last semester for both of my "jobs". There are still some small things in life that must remain on my shoulders but at least some parts can now be exposed and warmed by the sun. I feel lighter. As you know I have given myself some challenges this summer and as I near the second anniversary of this project called Accidental Icon, I can feel an evolution coming on, nothing sudden, more like a slow reveal. Sort of like the dress I am wearing as a top.
I think my end goal is some form of on-line magazine but I want to move towards that slowly and organically, almost without a plan as I have done with this blog. Perhaps start with the addition of a different kind of monthly feature. Collaborate more. The essence will remain the same: using fashion as the entry point to thinking about life, culture, design, art, history and technology. A minimalist design in look and orientation. In a recent interview when someone asked what fashion meant to me, I realized that it is as important to me as language in that it provides a different way for me to express very complex ideas and identities. It allows my body to speak. So whatever emerges it will be using fashion as the language through which we can have many conversations.
So that being said, I invite you to help me think this through as you have enriched my experience through your many thoughtful, full of cultural complexity and at times humorous commentary. I challenge you to pose questions to me and us that make us take a different view of how this can develop. When discussing this over coffee with the lovely Korean designer friend I have been pictured with on this blog, the question was posed, "What would an on-line magazine look like if Yohji Yamamamoto was the editor?" That question has given me hours of reflection and inspiration.
I can't wait to hear what you have to say. Knowing you are with me on this takes even a little more off my shoulders.
Accidental Icon Wears:
Poplin Off-the Shoulder Dress: Tibi, Black polished cotton pants: Y's, Sandals: Charles Jourdan, Silver Hoop Earrings: Robert Lee Morris, Necklace: Efva Attling, Bag: St. Laurent, Sunglasses: Miu Miu
If you want to know how to take more "off your shoulders" see my Pinterest Board, Accidental Icon Loves Shoulders
Sometime almost two years ago while on one of our urban rambles, Calvin and I discovered a small but exquisite jewelry store on the edges of the Meatpacking District. The jewelry, both silver and gold, was both sculptural and whimsical. The silver and goldsmith had written a thought that went with each piece and one of them caught Calvin’s eye. So a few weeks later on the occasion of our anniversary I received a lovely necklace named “Twosome” which I am wearing above. The piece was nspired by the thought, "One ring is square and one ring is round, like two people with unique personalities that complement each other and become a stronger unit." I was so taken by the piece and the sentiment that I did some research on the jeweler and thought perhaps at some time I would write a post about her and her work.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago and in the funny way the Instagram universe works, I started to notice someone named Efva Attling was liking my pictures and leaving comments. The name was familiar and when I clicked on the profile I soon realized it was the artist who had designed my necklace and whose story had so captivated me. After she initiated some communicating back and forth I had the great pleasure of meeting her in person during one of her trips to New York. Tall, blond, beautiful, open, talented, full of life, natural, inquisitive, spontaneous and creative, Efva was to my surprise, as curious about me as I was about her. Our conversation ranged from re-invention to marriage to music to design and I told her my anniversary story.
A week later I received an invitation to a special press event in her New York store and she surprised me with an anniversary gift for this year, a bottle of her new perfume; Butterflies. The bottle, exquisitely designed was topped with sculptural butterflies, referencing one of her jewelry collections with the same name. I was told I was the only one in this country who possessed it. It felt like a secret had been shared. It was in this moment I realized her most remarkable characteristic: she has the capacity to make those around her feel extraordinary and unique. Whether it was through her jewelry that becomes more precious and valuable through the addition of her thoughts and words, or her generous and thoughtful gesture, or both, I left feeling a little more special than usual. This jeweler is a jewel herself.
If you are in New York be sure to visit her lovely store at 36 Little W. 12th Street. If you can't visit in person make a visit to Efva's site, it has something for everyone.
Is there something that catches your fancy?
Fashion and Art
Fashion Collections Resort 2017
Social Media and Design
I am a lover of shoes. I do like some height as contrary to what my photos may sometimes suggest I am rather short. When traveling comfort and balance are imperative as I may find myself in a situation where I am lugging my luggage up some stairs or hoisting it into the overhead compartment on a plane. These shoes are not only cool, unique and modern they are also amazingly comfortable. These were a Dover Street Market find and one reason among the many that makes me love that place is because I am always finding out about new designers. These shoes are by a Chinese designer, Xiao Li. Born in China and educated in London, she also designs clothing characterized by billowing silhouettes in lovely pastels. Since there was so much interest in the shoes I thought I's offer a closer look.
Last week I was on my way to Chicago for three days to participate in an annual meeting related to one of my social welfare activities, in this case child welfare. Generally you are holed up in a hotel near the airport for the entire time, usually starting at 7:30 AM and lasting all day. Fortunately this particular meeting is a favorite. I love the people I have met from all across the country through this project and I always feel excited to see them and catch up in person.
It is challenging to know what to pack as the temperature can be variable inside and outside of the hotel. Usually the room we meet in gets very cold so a jacket is always a must. Since we are in the room a long time comfort is also a requirement. This year my clothing choice was made easier as I had been sent this beautiful tropical wool suit by Zady. Zady is an e-commerce site that seeks to support sustainable design and promote transparency in the fashion industry.
Not just an e-commerce site, Zady tells stories. It tells you the story of where your clothes come from and how they got to you. It tells you stories about the history of the piece, the textiles it is made of and the place of the garment in fashion history. You get so much more than just the price when you click on a garment you like. As an example follow this link to find out about my navy blazer. So for those of us who like to "think" about fashion, Zady is the perfect supplemental reading.
Some of you may know that along with my student intern, I produced a sustainable fashion show and panel at my university last semester. Spending time with designers and others in the fashion industry committed to this goal was an enlightening experience. Although many of my clothes are recycled and I knew something about sustainable fashion, I was particularly interested in hearing how it was being used as a vehicle to address social welfare; not only through the focus on the environment but I also discovered that sustainable fashion was being used as a tool for the alleviation of poverty for women and children, for the achievement of fair wages and healthy working conditions and as a movement to preserve and support local craftspeople and artisans. Somehow it felt really right to wear my navy suit from Zady to a meeting where the goal of everyone attending is to improve the well-being and life chances of children and families. I had also been thinking I wanted to try some navy for the summer to relieve a bit of the black and I think it suits me, no pun intended.
Do you think about the implications of the clothes you wear?
Fashion and Art