IS MY GEEK SHOWING? SWEATERS FOR THE CON AND BEYOND

 
OCTOBER: Cool, crisp autumn air. Pumpkin Spice lattes. The culmination of Fashion Week season…. and New York Comic Con.

Yup, October’s pretty epic. And if you’re like me, you’re really looking forward to layering. (I have quite the extensive cardigan collection)

Now then, New York Comic Con Pro Pass acquired (booya!), it’s time for outfit assembly.

What I’m about to say, some of you wont like to hear: I’m not a fan of wearing costumes. Now before you go swinging mighty Thor’s hammer my way, hear me out. The short answer: I prefer not to invest so much time and energy and cash into replicating something only to wear it a few (very specific) times. The long answer I’m saving for another post.

Now then, would it be a con without cosplay? No. Festive, costumed attendees MAKE the con. It wouldn’t be as much fun without.That being said, my approach to geeking it up? I say, invest in special pieces you will get a lot of use out of. Awesome, transitional pieces that will take you from work, to the con, to dinner. Like these. Trust me on this. Here are some great ways to keep warm, look cool (YES!) and still let your geek show, at the con and beyond!

RALPH LAUREN X DOWNTON ABBEY

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJci8b4YgGM?wmode=transparent&autohide=1&egm=0&hd=1&iv_load_policy=3&modestbranding=1&rel=0&showinfo=0&showsearch=0&w=500&h=281] I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for ages. Why the hold-up? Well, aside from a conscious decision I’ve made to spend a little less time away from social media to focus on my own collection (read: portfolio), when Ralph Lauren had debuted this fall collection, I hadn’t yet actually seen the series (!!!!) . I know, clearly you must think I’ve had no right calling myself a chic geek until this point. The fashionably geeky elite shake their heads disapprovingly.

However, having finally caught up to the rest of the world, via a little help from a friend’s Netflix account and a Hulu Plus free trail, (I am TV-less), I too have fallen in love with the fashions, the characters (BATES!), the fashions, and overlapping intrigues of the Abbey’s residents… also, the fashions.

And while I was giddy with excitement over the idea of comparing the ultimate fashion plus geekery crossover spectacular—The A-list cast is comprised of many familiar faces from other well-known series’. The Dowager Countess herself (Maggie Smith) seems almost a continuation of Smith’s Professor McGonagall from the Harry Potter films. Too, we’ve had our shouting at our screens “OMG, she’s that chick/ he’s that dude from Game of Thrones!” moments. And so on. (this a show that Vogue writers are obsessed with, you guys. Obsessed)— I found, that there wasn’t much to compare. Hear me out.

What I loved about the collection: It’s exactly what you’d expect from Ralph Lauren. What I didn’t love about the collection: ….It’s exactly what you’d expect from Ralph Lauren. I love the label. It’s known the world over for producing chic, luxurious, beautifully tailored garments. At some point or another, we’ve coveted many a timeless piece of his. But that’s just it. Those beautiful, timeless, luxurious pieces worthy of the English aristocracy will always be there (I suddenly NEED a gold cardigan). More than anything, this collection was more of just Ralph Lauren doing Ralph Lauren. Suddenly creating those pieces in tweeds, styling them with all the hats, doesn’t necessarily make it Downton Abbey.

Can we see the nods to Yorkshire? Absolutely. And I love that the inspiration goes beyond dresses to the menswear. Does it look like Lady Mary raided Matthew’s closet at the start of the show? Yes. Would Lady Sybil jump at the chance to wear ALL the pants? Yes. But I suspect a second reference is at work here too. Why? Because Ralph just can’t help himself….

Points:

  • Stage set with stunning chandelier over the runway? Check.
  • Downton Abbey theme opening the show? Check (wait, it has WORDS?!)
  • References to WWI era England? There were hunting plaids, smoking jackets, jodhpurs (albiet, in velvet)… umm… check.
  • A feather cape worthy of the Dowager Countess? Check.
  • Models gracing the runway sporting canes they could’ve borrowed from Mr. Bates?  Check.

To my knowledge, however, he only has the one. So where could the other have come from? What other fictional character could’ve said, “here, Ralph, the lady can borrow mine?” (Because, let’s be honest, the countess isn’t letting anyone touch her cane. Ever.) And this is possibly where the allusion to the second reference is made. The cloches, the bowlers, the top hats…. Yorkshire? Yeah, I see it. But what of the nods to the flapper towards the end?  Like I said, Ralph just can’t help himself. Did you see the Spring collection? The beading and Art Deco embroideries look less like a preview of Downton season 3, and more like a continuation of Spring/Summer, the Roaring Twenties and Ralph’s favorite go-to reference…. Gatsby.

Here, in a review of Spring 2012, Style.com writer Nicole Phelps, offers insight:

NEW YORK, September 15, 2011

In 1974, not long after he founded his company, Ralph Lauren designed the costumes for The Great Gatsby. They launched a mini Jazz Age trend at the time and jump-started his career. Today, with Baz Luhrmann remaking the film— are reprising the roles originally played by Robert Redford and Mia Farrow—Lauren took the opportunity to revisit the roaring twenties, half a year before the movie actually hits screens and everybody and his mother decides to “do” the decade themselves.

More like a whole year before, as Warner Bros. just announced on Monday that the film has been pushed back from it’s original Christmas release, to Summer 2013. But now, it all makes sense.

And now, something else to think about: In a fight (over a Lauren gown, of course) who would win: Lady Mary, or Daisy?

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio

JOHN GALLIANO + SHERLOCK HOLMES

A few weeks ago, May 22nd, to be precise, we celebrated the birthday of renowned author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Many of us may have been caught unawares if not for the twitter trending topic, as for some reason, Google failed to publish a themed masthead to mark the occasion, (what up, Google? You did it in ‘06). You know, because we depend on Google for absolutely everything.

To mark the occasion, I got as far as drafting this post, before partaking in a marathon viewing party of the latest films inspired by Doyle’s most notable character— and one of pop culture’s most iconic— super sleuth Sherlock Holmes. I have a confession to make, I hadn’t actually seen the Robert Downey Jr. films until then! And as they were more or less the direct inspiration for John Galliano’s Fall/Winter ‘10 menswear show, I couldn’t very well publish this mini showcase without first understanding the reference myself.

The Galliano show was broken down into three stories, or what one LA Times reviewer more fittingly named, scenes. I give you examples of the first two (the last one’s kind of a hot mess) above. The first is representative of the iconic Sherlock Holmes look, pipe, deerstalker cap and all (a design choice made by the original illustrator, Sidney Paget). Then, from Baker Street to Savile Row, it segways into the modern, well-dressed English gent. For those opposed to deerstalkers, PVC, and exaggerated dropped crotches, the more sharply tailored pieces are more for you. Lapels, ties… you may even be tempted to rock the cape!

Speaking of not understanding the reference, sure, this last guy can pull off the man corset well enough, but what’s it doing here? According to Galliano it’s meant to evoke the idea of keeping the other parts of one’s psyche suppressed. I get it, I do. After a… err…healthy debate with a close non-fashion friend, however, it seems more like an excuse for the designer to throw in some, “signature Galliano,” and less an accurate representation of anything, as Mr. OCD, junkie, “high-functioning sociopath,” Holmes…. doesn’t really suppress anything.

And if you’re excited about this post, you shouldn’t either.