A big trend right now (and one we are very excited about!) is people trading in traditional washes for brightly colored denim. From Anna Kendrick’s emerald green to Rihanna’s red, celebs from music, TV and film are all bringing out the brights for late spring!
As the heat from Coachella has finally cooled down here in LA, we took a minute to select some of our favorite looks from the weekend. As predicted, denim shorts were the big winner at the festival this year.
Images courtesy of Stylesight
One of our blogging idols, Garance Dore, also took to the festival and posted shots of some of her top looks in diary form. If you have not visited her blog, her photos always have a casual sexiness with a bit of sunshine. She is also the girlfriend of blogging royal The Sartorialist, Mr. Fashion Blogger himself! Below are some of our favorites from her selection. We hope everyone had a great time!
In the world of high fashion, lower pricepoint mashups, J. Crew has enlisted 2010 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund winner Billy Reid, along with runners-up Prabal Gurung and Eddie Borgo, to each create a capsule collection for the brand.
The three designers recently joined Anna Wintour and other members of the fashion elite at the newly renovated Fifth Avenue J. Crew shop to celebrate the forthcoming collaborations.
Gurung and Borgo have made clothing and jewelry pieces for the ladies, respectively, while seven pieces designed by Reid will be available on the men’s side. We’ll be stopping by to see the collections once they start to hit stores in May.
Peace over Violence has declared today, Wednesday April 27, as Denim Day in LA & USA. The campaign aims to raise awareness of and prevent rape and sexual assault by asking members of the community, including public officials, students and business people, to wear jeans today as a way to show their support for the cause.
The organization chose denim to make its statement because of an Italian court case from 1990, in which a 45-year-old driving instructor raped his 18-year-old student. After an initial conviction, the man was later let off by the Chief Judge of the Italian Supreme Court, who cited that the jeans she wore were so tight, that the girl had to help the rapist remove them, and therefore it must have been consensual. The women in the Italian Parliament showed their outrage for the decision by wearing jeans to work.
The website also has some astonishing statistics about sexual assault in the US and around the world. If you aren’t already wearing denim, get home during lunch and show your support!
Composer, performer and video artist Martin Messier produced this audio and light show using eight Singer sewing machines from the 1940’s. The concept connects various parts of the machines to a computer, which then outputs the sound and video elements of the orchestra. We loved that Martin was able to elicit a complex (and much more pleasing!) expression from a machine that typically only creates one note. You can be sure that walking by the sewing machines in the HABITUAL factory does not sound quite like this!
Louis Vuitton recently selected propmaker and artist Billie Achilleos to create a series of small animals using genuine Louis Vuitton leather and hardware. The animals were first presented as a window display during the opening of their Bond Street location in London, and became such a hit that they showed them again at the New York flagship. Most recently, Achilleos created an additional 4 animals using small Louis Vuitton leather goods for the brand’s AW11 press event in Paris this week. Can you find the Easter Bunny?
Walking through any boutique or department store, it is easy to see that every pair of denim is different, with variations in color, weight, pattern, stiffness and wear.
This is largely the work of specially trained denim artisans known in the industry as “wash developers”. These skilled craftsmen hand process virtually all denim in the marketplace today. Using a combination of specialized washing machines, hand held grinding tools with metal burrs, sandpaper, and a variety of (somewhat environmentally friendly) chemicals, they create, entirely by hand, what people know of as a denim “wash”.
For designers, the wash developers are one of the most crucial pieces of the denim design puzzle. They work closely with the denim designer, who communicates exactly the look and feel they are seeking for each piece. The artisans then take the constructed jeans and use their knowledge and skills to create the final product and achieve the designer’s vision. Without them, we would all be wearing raw or ‘unwashed’ denim, and everyone’s product would look pretty much the same.
Because the denim laundering process is so crucial to what we do, we took a couple of hours during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. to stop by a laundry exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. The museum has used an actual home from Ipswitch, Massachusetts to illustrate nearly 200 years of American History. As families moved in and out, the town developed into a bustling industrial center. During the late 1800s, one part of the home was occupied by an Irish immigrant named Catherine Lynch, who ran a clothing laundering business. The exhibit details the difficult process of doing laundry in the late 1800s through a number of intensive steps:
1. Soak the laundry overnight.
2. Scrub the laundry in hot lye suds. This was a physically demanding process of rubbing the linens against a wash board to remove stains and filth. Lye is a corrosive alkaline powder; while modern detergents have replaced lye with other, more effective, less harsh materials, it is still used today in oven cleaner.
3. Boil white linens and cottons.
4. Rinse the clothing.
5. Rinse again with bluing powder. Because many stains could never fully be removed from white cloth and left a grey or yellow tinge, bluing powder served as a light dye to make the cloth appear whiter, even with the stains.
6. Dip in starch and hang to dry.
7. Iron the next day.
While laundry at home in 2011 is as simple as loading a machine, pouring detergent, and pressing a button, the denim laundering process is closer to the laundering process of the 1800s, with several intensive steps to achieve the desired result.
Hailing from Southern California, Dum Dum Girls are a female quartet making waves within the indie rock music scene. We’ve seen them several times and they never fail to light up the crowd with their catchy lyrics and 60’s garage style. Much like The Hives were known for their matching slim suits on stage, the four ladies from Dum Dum Girls always wear cute black vintage dresses and sheer tights.
Here is a video of a recent performance at the Echoplex in LA.
Being based in Los Angeles, people ask us all the time, what do people wear in LA? To be honest it’s a difficult question to answer without going on and on and making people go cross eyed. With so many neighborhoods, so many distinct personalities, and so many styles, it’s difficult to sum up. Next time, we will direct them to the ongoing collection of street style photos of LA Times photographer Colin Young-Wolff. He has created an interactive map of fashion hot spots throughout the city, each telling a story about the part of town in focus and the people who live there. Have a look and you’ll think twice about calling it the worst dressed city in America.
We have a soft spot for other brands that are handmade in the US, and speaking of soft, you may have heard of, or even tried, an American-made cheese known as Humboldt Fog. Described as an elegant, soft, surface ripened cheese, Humboldt Fog is made by Cypress Grove Chevre in Arcata, CA, a small town in Northern Humboldt County. The company specializes in making small batches of handcrafted goat’s milk cheeses with as little use of mechanical equipment as possible.
The founder of Cypress Grove Chevre, Mary Keehn, started raising goats for milk in the 1970’s when nearly all goat cheese available in the states was imported from Europe. What started as an attempt to find a nutritious source of milk for her children, eventually turned into a love of making cheese. Cypress Grove cheeses have won numerous awards, most recently a Best in Class at the World Championship Cheese Contest for the Humboldt Fog.
The creative names they have chosen for cheeses such as Purple Haze, Lamb Chopper, and Bermuda Triangle give us a laugh, and we also love the fun facts on the website. Where else could we learn that a baby goat is called a kid, or that love of cheese is called ‘turophilia’? You can find Humboldt fog and other Cypress Grove Chevre cheese at local restaurants or on their online store.