My Childhood Nightmare, The Puffer Coat, Is The Trending Outerwear Piece for Winter

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Originally Published by Novella Magazine

2016 has been a strange year, no doubt about it. To top it off and make the year even odder, a formerly categorized fashion faux pasthe puffer coat, is still the definitively trending outwear piece for FW16. I would like to say I am making this up, but it was seen on countless FW16 runways, endless street style shots, and Vogue.com has written about the trend three times (here, here, and here). Oof. And Marques Almeida wants you to wear in it in XXL.

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Photos: Vogue

Of course, the practicality is tempting, it’s like a wearing a sleeping bag, and adds to the list of practical trends. Like sneakers and hoodies, puffers have seamlessly transitioned from “fashion don’t” to ultimate cool item. But I can’t help but remember the traumas associated with the puffer.

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Photo: Jsledge

What comes to mind when you think of puffer coats? The 90s hip hop scene? Feeling like Randy from A Christmas Story? Princess Di on the slopes? Perhaps, like me, your associations with puffers are more personal. I think of my childhood in the 90s and the countless times I would slyly leave the home in my glossy pink jacket and somehow wind up having to wear an undershirt, snow pants, and…a puffer coat. Parental echoes of, “Trust me, you’ll thank me later.” Pondering the puffer makes me recall Halloween night 1998 (aged 5) when I was given the choice to wear my parka (what I called a puffer coat) on top of my costume or under my costume and I chose the latter thinking that I had to show my costume off. The result was a much bulkier, inflated version of the princess I had hoped to be.

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Photos: Vogue

Back to 2016, when the puffer is hot, hot, hot and the question of flattery comes to mind. Does this coat look good on people other than street style stars or models? Will I knock someone over riding the subway in my XXL puffer and not even feel it? Is wearing it off-the-shoulder à la Vetements completely useless? (Yes.) Should I buy a gold one from Uniqlo or should I hit up a thrift store and buy a huge one formerly used by a dad in Hamilton?

No doubt this trend comes with a lot of questions, but the big one remains: will you wear one this winter?

Tilda Swinton, Dior, A Bigger Splash

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Photo: Sandro Kopp

I don’t have too much to say about this collaboration between Luca Guadagnino and Raf Simons for the film A Bigger Splash because its perfection has rendered me speechless. But I’ll give the gist of it: Queen Tilda Swinton plays a (Bowie-esque) rock star recuperating in paradise Pantelleria, Italy wearing custom and vintage Dior so…you get me? Do you get why I am having difficulty articulating just how wonderful this artistic gift is? Just, look.

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Photo: Sandro Kopp
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Photo: Sandro Kopp
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Photo: Sandro Kopp

From her elegant twist knot beach cover, to her straw sandals, to her white pant suit for attending a traditional island festival, to the blessed white skirt with her drop back black blouse, I just…have no words. Perfection. THIS is art.

Oh. And Ralph Fiennes dances to “Emotional Rescue.”

Ears, Meet Neck

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Edie Sedgwick once said, “I’ll have to put more earrings on. I bet that someone could analyze me and tell my condition by my earrings.” She lived a pretty fabulous and bonkers lifestyle but one thing she got so right was her style. And goodness me, the woman could wear a pair of earring. The way she wore her earrings is just PHENOMENAL. Look!

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Her oversized, “chandelier” earrings are so elegant. Though wearing exact replicas of Edie’s might cause permanent ear stretching (not advised), I love the recent trend of long earrings.

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I especially love pairing long earrings with a high neckline. Last night, Cate Blanchett, style Queen, wore a gorgeous pair with a high neckline in the front and a low line in the back. This is gorgeous. The lines are stunning. She rules.

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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 09: Cate Blanchett arrives ahead of the 5th AACTA Awards Presented by Presto at The Star on December 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images for AFI)

The handiest bit about this type of earring is that it pairs very well with my penchant of wearing turtlenecks all winter long. I’ll definitely be picking up this pair of  Zara earrings for the holiday season. A timeless look I love.

 

Images: Zara, Getty, Google

The Best Quotes from Fran Lebowitz’s Interview with Elle Magazine

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The woman is a legend of style as much as she is legendary for her writing. With her style perfected for years and years, she shared some of her sartorial wisdom with Elle Magazine and, of course, it was amazing.

Here are some of her best quotes:

“I feel very strongly that almost the entire city has copied my glasses.”

“People care more about trends now than they do about style. They get so wrapped up in what’s happening that they forget how to dress, and they never learn who they are because they never learn how to take care of anything.”

“If it comes from the ’60s I never wore it.”

“What’s the point of being young if you’re not going to make new things, I wonder? It’s their job to innovate. That’s the entire point.”

“Not everyone in New York looks great, but you have a higher chance.”

“Of course, more people should wear overcoats than those damned down jackets. Please. Are you skiing, or are you walking across the street? If you’re not an arctic explorer, dress like a human being.”

“I was a great dancer. Not as great as Michael Jackson, but good.”

“Can you imagine if women tried as hard as drag queens? We’d be a much more attractive culture. I wouldn’t have to give out so many yoga pants citations.”

“I don’t feel that inside of Hillary Clinton there’s a Jane Birkin waiting to get out.”

You must respect her honesty. In her own words, Fran is always right because she is never fair.

Image: Elle Magazine

Lessons from Alexa Chung’s Vogue Video Series

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Originally posted on the Stylekick Blog

“If you believe in yourself, you can work in Fashion”- Olivier Rousteing

With the number of fashion blogs and social media personalities emerging in the past few years, the idea of breaking into a career in fashion can seem daunting. The competition is high and the likeliness of succeeding seems very small as a result.

One of the most recently successful careers in this new era of the fashion industry is Alexa Chung’s. Chung managed to make her way to the top of fashion elite by simply being herself. It therefore seems appropriate that British Vogue chose her as a vessel of knowledge for the rest of us to find out how to find that level of success. In her series for Vogue, The Future of Fashion, she gains industry access to fashion’s most valuable resources and successful industry figures to give us insight on how to get there.

We learn that the very thing that makes breaking into fashion scary, which is the fashion’s expansion through digital media, is also what makes it that much more accessible. Chung digs up a number of careers that are less notable, but just as integral, than being a fashion designer or journalist. These jobs include fashion forecasting, fashion buying, styling, social media branding, and, of course, blogging.

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In her interviews with fashion fixtures and budding talents, Chung also focuses on the renaissance of youth among fashion designers. Simon Porte Jacquemus, Christopher Kane, Henry Holland, Molly Goddard, and Oliver Rousteing are among the emerging designers Chung highlights in her series. Their main common feature is that they mark the shift toward progression, rather than tradition, as markers of quality in fashion production.

Both Christopher Kane and Simon Porte Jacquemus use themselves as examples of how talent and determination can be legitimate entry points into the industry, rather than elite connections. Kane attributes much of his success to the nature of U.K. universities. Because post-secondary education is free in the U.K., it equalizes the playing field; affording a proper education is not the issue, talent is. Jacquemus is an even more extreme case. Confident in his designs, but unable to afford a show space at Paris Fashion Week, he staged a protest show outside a PFW venue, demanding an equal chance to showcase his material, despite coming from “nowhere.” Due to social media attention, he specifically cites Tumblr, and Jacquemus’s call to action, the world noticed his formidable designs. The designers’ shows are now among the most anticipated shows in the industry.

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We can regard the newly global nature of the fashion industry as scary, because it is. Chung’s series points out that this can also be a challenge that will push originality out of those determined enough to face it, as we’ve already begun to see. Online shows, presentations, and engaged models sharing their backstage experience on social media are just a few ways in which the presentation of clothes has changed. And that’s just one part of the fashion industry. Social media gives direct access to the lives, thoughts, and streams of communication of our fashion idols.

And finally, the most encouraging bit, is that the emerging talent in the post-tech era of fashion prove that fashion does not have to exist in a bubble; fashion can be an agent of positive change. Rousteing celebrates diversity and positive body image at Balmain. Jacquemus explores his honest self through his shows, stimulating discussions of mental health through his collections. Molly Goddard showed us that family and friendships are as valuable as industry connections: Goddard’s mother’s staged her show and Goddard’s friends modelled her dresses, which produced a novel approach to showing clothes.

Thank-you, Alexa Chung and British Vogue, for producing this series, which gave us access to some of fashion’s most brilliant minds, broadened our thinking about fashion careers, and gave more substance to the industry. Looking forward to Season 2!

Click here to watch The Future of Fashion with Alexa Chung

Feature Image: @chungalexa on Instagram

Images: Vogue

The Body Language of a Fabulous Woman

Diana Vreeland is so iconic as a legend in fashion history that it feels silly to describe her. What else can you say other than she is the most elegant, inventive, and unique fashion editor in history?  When I watched “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel,” the recently released documentary that traces her life and career, I was ready to be inspired. And, not surprisingly, I was. I was entranced by footage of her talking, more specifically the way she talked with her hands. She would wave her hands around in such dignified, slow manner: her polished nails extending her already long, thin fingers, with her white cuffs on either wrist framing her gestures. Beyond the film’s exploration of the stories, characters, parties, achievements, and general fabulousness surrounding the life of Diana Vreeland, I could not help but be fascinated by the way she moved her hands.

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If you look at photos and footage of Mrs. Vreeland, you can see how practiced she is in using her hands in a way that almost seems like a lost art. The film shows us how she admired the ballet from a young age, learned dance in school, and danced her way through the 1920’s, so the musicality of her hand gestures come from an engrained part of her youth.

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Her movements reflect her essential value: don’t be boring. They reflect a nostalgic era in fashion where glamour and creativity boomed. At the same time, Vreeland believed that “life is artifice.” In a sense she used something that seems so natural, the way she moved her hands, to curate her image as a powerful, glamourous woman. She understood how such a small detail could contribute a great deal to how people perceived her. I admire that so much.