Posts Tagged 'st. andrew’s'

fashion, it is irrelevant

I am putting off Chinese homework, diagramming the uses of my building, reskimming S,M,L,XL (a canonical architecture book), scanning for thesis because I just received The Sartorialist by Scott Schumann. It is the first compilation of his work as a street style photographer and it is a bible, treasure chest, a gem, an encyclopedia, a wunderkabinett of style . Too many cheesy words come to mind.

I discovered The Sartorialist the summer after freshman year in college and it has since held my absolute loyalty and respect. Within the first week of discovery, I had gone through 2 years worth of the blog’s archives. There was some inexplicable magic in Schumann’s photographs that revealed the thoughtfulness and true skill with which these people dressed, but also conveyed, somehow, that good style was easily within reach. I remember thinking “Of course, I can do this too”. Over the course of the summer, I went from being superficially interested in fashion to completely being fascinated by the details and grammar of style.

Studying the diverse range of Schumann’s photos gave me a language with which to understand style. Suddenly  I realized that a good outfit which I previously understood as a lucky, magical set of matching clothing, could be dissected into the choice of proportions, choice of fabric/texture, and choice of color (there is much more variety than you think). Schumann’s work has been and still is one of the greatest influences on my ever changing ideas about ‘good style’. The magnitude of his influence is up there with St. Andrew’s preppiness, a handful of fantastically and individualistically dressed friends and the T style magazine.

Despite my complete admiration for his work, I do have some criticism. After two years of following the blog,  I find the proportions and silhouettes he captures too repetitive  and his photos compositionally look too much the same. Ironically, someone who does these two things very well is his girlfriend, Garance Dore, who constantly shocks me with the beauty of her images. What Schumann does consistently well, and better than any other blog, is capturing the texture of clothing. It’s obvious that he is obsessed with it and if you look closely enough, his blog is an encyclopedia of matching textures, contrasting textures, unexpected textures, everything textured.

Below is a few excerpts from Schumann’s book of my favorite ‘texture’ photos. (Sorry for the terrible quality. In fact, I’m not sure you can see any texture at all. This will be fixed later.)

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Giorgio Armani. To pull of monotone is all about getting the weight of the materials right.

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(Right) Rubber, cotton, knit, tweed, silk, canvas. He's got it all.

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(Right) This is probably my favorite. I love the lightness of the shirt dress in contrast with the kind of bag I would normally categorize as a 'winter' bag. It's perfect because the thick texture of the bag makes her shirt seem even more weightless.

A soft, fitting cotton/synthetic turtleneck with an extremely structured skirt. It's unexpected and beautiful.

(Left)A soft, fitting cotton/synthetic turtleneck with an extremely structured skirt. It's unexpected and beautiful.

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(Right) A heavy jacket with smooth light + pajama looking pants.

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(Right) Denim vest and tweed jacket? That is daring. And corduroy pants on top of that!

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omg. fashion.

beginning-copyI first stepped foot in the “high fashion” world when I read the New York Times fashion magazine in 6th grad (hence my enduring loyalty that magazine). While I religiously cut out ads and editorials from the nytimes, the images of glamourous, look-at-me fashion world conflicted with the reality of living in the bronx as a 12 year old and spending 2 hours a day on a subway by yourself to school. In the city, clothing is camouflage. Dark colors, baggy pants and sweaters hide you from unwarranted attention and comments. On top of that, Old Navy and JCpenny were the most expensive clothing I ever got.

So you can imagine my shock and initial recoil when I first stepped onto the front lawn at St. Andrew’s for class pictures before my first Wednesday night dinner and was surrounded by a sea of pastels a la Lily Pulitzer and all sorts of vibrant colors. Not just the girls, but the guys too in their nantucket red pants, and/or their seersucker jakcets (I was wearing some black skirt and brown shirt. fashion faux pas? maybe and just as a side note, St. Andrew’s is a prep boarding school but completely unique among boarding schools, thanks to all wonderful headmaster Tad Roach.) In any case, I did not hold out with my dark colors for long. I eventually gave in to the sundressy, casual preppy, rolled up jeans, and mesh shorts with polo look that I still love.

Previous to inmexico, I kept a blogspot as a private-ish journal documenting my evolving thoughts on fashion, style, fashionable people etc. It was a receptacle for images of fashionable people and fashion week that inspired me as a I slowly ventured out of my jeans, sweatshirt, and rainbows comfort zone. Designers like Nicholas Ghesquiere (Balenciaga), Francisco Costa (Calvin Klein), Oliver Theyskens (Rochas), Veronica Etro and photographer Scott Schumann (The Sartorialist) were frequently mentioned on that blog and have become the foundations of how I understand the fit, proportions, and possibilities of clothing.

The importance and place for fashion in my life is still unclear to me. It seems to me that I spend way too much time thinking about it, talking about it, looking at it, and buying it for it to just be nothing. It is still a dream/far off fantasy to work for a fashion magazine at some point in my life. Hmmmm. Maybe.

[photocredits: style.com, vanity fair, vogue, nytimes, blue crush, papparazzi]

fresh air

Where I’d rather be than cold, grey Boston:

by the seaside in australia  /   http://pruned.blogspot.com/2008/12/rosa-barba-prize-2-ocean-pools-of.html

or

the front lawn /  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZu1iWm_DJQ&feature=related

or

just anywhere I can be outside and barefoot


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