Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Designer Diary- Alexander McQueen (1969-2010)

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 01:00 0 comments
'Love looks not with the eye but with the mind', a quote from Shakespeare's A
Midsummer's Nights Dream and tattooed on the arm of the late Lee Alexander
McQueen. Perhaps a foretelling analogy in 'love looks' and the interpretation
of McQueen's art- the perfectly structured fashion, breathtaking couture and the
spectacles of his runways.

Lee Alexander McQueen, a British Fashion Designer and Couturier proclaimed
at a young age, while making dresses for his sisters, that he would become just
that. At 16 years of age he left school to pursue an apprenticeship on London's
famed Savile Row. McQueen became a master tailor, where his clients included
Prince Charles and Mikhail Gorbachev. He then joined theatrical costumiers
Angels and Bermans before travelling to Milan to work for Italian Fashion

Designer Romeo Gigli.


In 1994 McQueen pursued a position at Central St. Martins College of Art and
Design to work as a pattern cutter tutor. Instead, he was pursued to enrol in the
master's course as a student, he received his masters degree in fashion design.
McQueen's graduate collection, based on the film Taxi Driver was shown for the
 first time at the Ritz London. The collection was purchased in its entirety by
well known fashion stylist Isabella Blow.


McQueen succeeded John Galliano at Givenchy in 1996. He experienced little
success with his first couture collection actually telling Vogue in October 1997
that the collection was "crap". McQueen's designs at Givenchy were more
conservative than his independent work leaving a longing for rebellion;
Spring/Summer 1999 McQueen spray painted over the white cotton dress of
double amputee model Aimee Mullins as she made her way down the catwalk on
two carved wooden legs. McQueen's contract with Givenchy ended in March 2001.

However eccentric McQueen was accomplished; he was one of the youngest
designers to be recognized as 'British Designer of the Year'. He actually received
this honour four times between 1996 and 2003. He was awarded the CBE
(Commander of the Order of the British Empire) and named by the Council of
Fashion Designers in 2003, International Designer of the Year.


Under the labels Alexander McQueen and McQ, known for skull prints and
'bumsters'; by 2007 McQueen had boutiques in London, New York, Los Angeles,
Milan and Las Vegas. A plethora of celebrity patrons included Lady Gaga, Bjork,
 Rhianna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz. McQueen
created pieces of creativity that defied main stream fashion- going against the norm
made him a trend-setter.

Tragically on 11 February 2010 McQueen was found dead in his home. His
housekeeper found his body, hung, in his wardrobe with his favourite brown belt.
His mother had passed away nine days before from cancer, her funeral was to be
the very next day. Friends of the designer said that McQueen "was doing a lot of
drugs and was very unhappy". He had previously taken overdoses in May and
July of 2009. McQueen left a note simply saying "Look after my dogs, sorry,
I love you, Lee.”


On May 4th 2011 through to July 31st 2011 the Metropolitan Museum of Art's
Costume Institute will feature “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”. The curator
- Andrew Bolton described, to Vogue, McQueen's catwalks as “spectacles that
would leave you breathless, hovering on the edge of credulity, faintly repelled
and utterly enthralled.” The exhibition is arranged interpretively, not
chronologically. Galleries will include “The Savage Mind”, “Romantic Gothic”
and “Cabinet of Curiosities”


From madness came monumental art and through tragedy a deeper appreciation
 for his work. This Designer Diary is dedicated to Alexander McQueen- one of
the great artists of our time.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Good Girl Gone Bad

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 23:50 0 comments

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Confessions of a Glam Girl- Give Up the Prada

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 21:45 0 comments
Following my last confession I received an email from my mom filled with praise. Even though mom has a parental obligation to be my cheerleader this wasn't the case for the masses. Consider that I come from small town Canada and when friends were going off to college to become teachers and nurses (commendable careers but very much NOT for me) I wanted to pack up and move to California to shop and sell luxury consignment online. I guess you could say I chose to follow a road only walkable in this seasons latest Louboutins, which inevitably meant I passed by more than a few nay sayers. “Style is not affordable”, “Fashion is not a career”, I distinctly remember one voice even telling me to “Give up the Prada”- ummm hello I wasn't wearing Prada that day. Blah blah blah, if I had listened to everyone who told me I shouldn't do it I would still be there wishing I was here. I stopped for a minute to wonder why- why did my feet want to walk in studded ankle booties and not a comfortable mule or ballet flat? I was drawn back to her email;

'You always have been one to walk (jump, run, climb) where no one else was going, especially if you were told not to and once you are there you never fail to leave your mark one way or another! When I read your articles I can't help but think of the 7 year old with Christmas ornaments dangling from her ears at the Christmas concert because she wanted Xmas earrings and I didn't think that they were appropriate for a 7 yr old. I went out and bought you some the next day! I was so dumbfounded when you walked out on stage!!!!!!! But it was only preparation for what was to come a few years later when out you came to play your flute at the recital wearing a Santa hat, army boots, and a short skirt! You were also a style setter in grade two when I found out that you had gone off to school with one gelee shoe of one color and a matching sock and another gelee shoe and sock of a different color! You were starting your own trend apparently that day. The signs were all there I guess we should have all seen it coming...'

There it was, it was fate. I'll admit that I'm less than proud at some of my early attempts at styling. Although the gelee sandals- brilliant (hey Man Repeller http://www.manrepeller.com/, remember last week's neon shoe laces? Well I see your neon shoe laces and raise you two gellee sandals with contrasting colors worn with socks!). Regardless, the early disasters were mere predictors that I was not giving up the Prada and that telling me to do so would naturally make me want it more. Have I reached the destination on this road walked in spiky platform heels? -no. Am I comfortable on the journey and know I'm not turning back? -yes. This confession- more of a thank you- regardless of parental obligation someone knew better than to take the ornaments off of my ears or the combat boots (they were military issued I might add) off of my feet, and because of that I grew up with the courage and creativity to pick the road that required you walk only in very special shoes. -xo

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Beach Hats are MAJOR!

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 22:47 0 comments

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Confessions of a Glam Girl- The Social Media Darlings I Love

Posted by Elisabeth Bass at 22:14 2 comments
A few years ago I realized I was obsessed with fashion. It may have started when my luggage was lost, never to return that I realized how much I really loved my clothes. Or it may have been when the insurance adjuster looking after the claim pointed out that she had NEVER seen such a detailed account of items, brands, color, original price, store purchased at and purchase date. Or it could have been when I started to take notice of retailers- the progressive ones that is; offering a culture in addition to an item. Regardless of the reason something captivated me and there was no turning back.

Culture is hard to explain to non fashion people. Culture is how you feel when you think of a brand. It's evident in the design and layout of the stores, the music being played, the design and content of the website, and through advertising- traditional as well as new media. Once I realized this culture existed I was done for- I had to know everything about this magical world where everyone was chic and polished. I will admit this was impossible, after all I'm a small town girl- from Canada. Designer fashion in my home town is putting on Lululemons instead of Walmart sweats to attend dinner at the local steakhouse (I'm not kidding- that really happens).

Enter the WWW world of explorer, twitter, facebook, youtube, well you get where I'm going with this. In any event the online world of social media became my connection to the real world. I fell in cyber love with everything glam. Along the way some fabulous fashion girls on the social media scene captured my heart- and hours of sleep (NYC Girls that's for you- its hard to keep up with you if I sleep later than 4am). Here's tribute to my social media darlings and why I love them:

@Moxsie (San Francisco based indie fashion shopping portal):
I first fell in love with Moxsie because of #Buyerchat. Followers have the opportunity to view online, new items that Moxsie buyers are considering. Followers are engaged by writing in and conversing with the Moxsie buyers on every item. If they love your comments they DM you Moxsie dollars (I redeemed mine for Kelsi Dagger pumps and then twitpic'd the delivered product back to Moxsie). Anyone that indulges my need to be buyer for a day has my heart. http://shop.moxsie.com/

@Bergdorfs (Bergdorf Goodman):
PR representative for Bergdorf Goodman has become my glamorous social media sister. She taught me (and thousands of others) how to do a perfect cat eye (you'd never believe where she tells you to put a line), how to properly clean my brushes, and that Shulwasoo gives you beautiful skin. #BGtutorial (@Bergdorfs) followers learn the latest beauty tricks, fashion trends, and a little bit about NYC. http://www.bergdorfgoodman.com/

Needs no introduction- captivating tweetress and queen of social media. Her bio states that she is the inside scoop on the behind the scene world of New York Fashion (will never be able to describe how useful that is to the Canadian Fashion Girl). At over 250,000 followers she has created a brand in herself. She sarcastically refers to her online status updates as 'her conscience' but ultimately does a fabulous job of engaging followers in fashion week, DKNY operations, events, award shows, and she renewed my love for Gossip Girl (#GG) and candy. http://www.dkny.com/


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