12 April 2015

Feminism, Fashion and the Future: Dior SS15 Haute Couture Show Review

Figure 1: Dior Spring/Summer 2015 Collection, designed by Raf Simons and shown at Paris Fashion week.

Figure 2: Dior 1954 ‘New Look’ Dress. The ‘New Look’ dress put Dior on the map, after having been founded in 1947.

Figure 3: Photograph of ‘New Look’ suit
 Designed by Christian Dior
 Photographed by John French
London, England
V&A John French archive

Dior’s Spring/Summer 2015 collection stood out from the rest. In comparison to the splatter of metal and floral feminism that made up the Chanel show, or the musical, glittery and colourful extravaganza that was Jean Paul Gaultiers last Ready-To-Wear show; Dior’s collection brought a touch of taste, minimalism and serenity to the otherwise chaotic Paris fashion week.

Raf Simons was inspired by three themes. Both traditional men and women’s dress from the Belle Époque, the idea of the future, and the notion of the ‘Modern’ woman and what that meant. I believe Raf Simons achieved all three; his collection embodies a fresh take on 18th century royal French attire; with traditional details such as dark thick calf leather, richly dyed silk jacquards, and swaggering bishop sleeves- yet with the twist of being free and unrestrictive. This is where the futuristic aspect weaves in; in the past when designers revisit 18th century, the soft and feminine silhouettes they create, in reality, are anything but.

Raf Simons believes the definition of a modern woman is a woman that’s free; which chimes in beautifully with the chorus of feminism seen at Paris Fashion week. An example of Raf’s Vision of a free Modern woman is Emma Watson. Because of her, Dior’s cheer for feminism was not only seen on the runways, but also in the U.N. At the launch of her HeForShe campaign, as if on cue, wore Dior.

But has Dior always been an advocate? Of course, Christian Dior and the brand have always been devoted women’s strive for beauty and glamour, but have they always been devoted to women’s strive for rights?

Women spent the duration of WW2 adapting to more powerful professions, left behind by their husbands, fathers, and brothers. In 1945, when the war was over, and the men were back, women were sent back to mother and cook. This is reflected in the spring 1947 New Look (see Figure 2, 3). With masculinity, came power; Dior’s New Look brought about a feminine silhouette that came at the cost of a corset. With no masculine silhouette, no more masculine rights- this meant a drain of power for women.

Dior has evolved; and the 2015 Collection just shows how far they have come. A similar silhouette to the New Look can be seen, however the crucial difference is that this female silhouette is no longer restricted: she is free.

Even the details scream a free woman, no longer restricted by stereotypes of a woman; the sharp cut lines, boy shorts, clinical white, knee length, the shocking colours and harsh bodices; versus the soft eyelets, embroidery, the flowing fabrics, waist definition, exposed backs and the pastel pinks and blues: all facilitate the overall look of a feminine yet androgynous woman with power emanating from her head to heels.

This juxtaposition of man and woman, Dior then and Dior now, fashion in the past and future, all culminate to represent what Raf Simons vision of the Modern Dior woman, as well as represent how she came to be.

-Josephine Vermilye

8 April 2015

Three Summery Ways to Wear Plaits!

For most of us girls who skii, plaits are the only option.
Pigtails, braids, ponytails, loose? Not an option.
Plaits are bound at the ends (no hairband headaches when stuck under your helmet), go straight down either side of your head, keep your ears warm!!, minimise Post-Skii-Helmet-Removal frizz and fuzz, and whats more look super cute/cool at lunch time or Apres-Skii!

Now I'm a very lazy girl. But that's not always a bad thing.
Long hair is as much of a nuisance in the winter as in the summer.
So I undo my plaits pre-shower and redo my plaits post shower.

From this I have developed two key 'styles' (more like side effects).
The first is 'The Slept in, Messy Plaits' which give them an edge.
The second is the 'Polished Perfect Partially Wet Hair Plaits' which give them a sleeker look.
Both of which feature in these three looks.
My essential and reoccurring hairstyle of messy to clean plaits while on this most recent skii trip to Aspen, Colorado!

From upper left to bottom right: 1. Clean plaits! 2. Messy plaits (but mums plaits are clean)
3. Messy in a skii lift mid skii 4. Clean plaits along with apres skii root beer float
 5. fresh on the slopes with clean plaits 6. and finally last day messy sweaty plaits.
With skii season wrapping, I've been testing different ways to wear plaits so I can seamlessly segway them from winter to summer. These are the three styles i'm most looking forward to wearing them with. So without further ado...

Feminine Yet Hardball Street Style Look

The messy feminine plaits soften the harsh colours, graphics, chain and overall hardball street-ness.

Top and bottom: Feminine plaits on top, pink Chanel flats on bottom, and street in-between.

Moschino SS15 Jumper: Barbie Inspired Collection

 Christian Dior three Chain Necklace: Borrowed from mum.

These were my favourite jeans until they got ruined.
The trick for safety pin DIY Jeans is to mix up the sizes of the pins. 
Essential: Make sure you get at least TWO of these XL Retro Saftey Pins.

(Seriously check it out. Such good prices.)

Vintage Earrings brought a different retro aspect to the outfit.
But big earrings, of any kind: clip on, vintage, one on one side, are very in this summer.

Whatever your views of Iggy Azalea (can she sing? Has she had plastic surgery? Is that really what an Australian accent sounds like?)  It's undeniable that her fashion sense, just like her impressively pear shaped figure has had a large impact. 
To put it bluntly, she has taken rap and the traditional black culture that surrounds it, and repackaged it in a white.. Australian way. Like it, Love it, or Hate it... the female gangster look is... in?

The Half 'Teenager-at-a-Festival', Half 'Middle-Aged-Mother' Look

Middle Aged Mother                 v.s.                   Festival Teenager
A classy, vintage, Louis Vuitton Bag - but it's a backpack. With a foxtail on it.
Loose fitting, unripped, monochrome dyed, practical jeans - paired with a tummy exposing crop top.
Classic refined smoking slippers - with fat diamond encrusted gold heel. oh. and leopard print.
Elegant vintage gold and black clip on earrings - with fun cool club master sunglasses
but..  Plaits   -    Plaits 
This one can go both ways!

See why I insist on sleeping in my plaits? Soft, whispey, feminine, and most certainly effortless!

LV saying hello.

 My leopard print shoes, Louis Vuitton backpack + Foxy, and hair all match colour scheme, tying the outfit together from top to bottom.

I've admiringly dubbed these shoes my Las Vegas shoes, because I wore them the first time I visited. They scream faux-luxe, tackiness, Hugh Hefner, arrogance, flashiness, and bling bling. 
But that's why I love them!

Plaits are also fun because they lure innocent people into a false sense of security... 
when in reality... I could take them down in a fight...

 Louis Sitting Pretty. 
(Who I got for a pretty fee too! From the same Second Hand Store as my Chanel shoes!)

Navajo, New Mexico, Yellow.
Plaits + Native American inspired look = Can't go wrong.
Turquoise, tassels, brown leather and lace; all make up the traits that are inspired by Navajo women.


Can you paint with all the colours of the wind? Pocahontas moment.

Gorgeous suede skirt with (cow) ivory beading, and such beautiful tassels.

American Indian turquoise and and silver from the Navajo tribe in New Mexico.

Navajo Princess!

Here is a good place to pause. 

My grandparents live in New Mexico; so it's a place I hold dear to heart.
The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American governed territory, that straddles part of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. It is the largest plot of land owned by any Native American Tribe. 
I tend to think of America as a whole; with all the stereotypical traits of New Yorkers, Texans, Floridians (lived with them!), Bostonians (Studied with them!) as miniature american cultures.
But Native American culture is so much bigger, richer, because its older than all of those miniature cultures. It's so un-american (considering all the traits I associate with the adjective american)

That is why many draw so much inspiration from the Navajo tribe alone; it's a huge culture.
With its own language, food, and of course way of dressing. Unfortunately it's adapted and modernised today due to globalisation (like everywhere else in the world), but there is a wealth of tradition and records to admire. The reason I brought this up is because although Navajo culture does still exist today, it does not exist happily. Many problems burden the nation, but predominantly it's coal mining 'curse' (as this documentary dubs it).

This is the trailer for the Vice documentary. The documentary itself is only 15 minutes long. If this interests you, it's interesting to watch and learn about. At the end of this year I'm donating to The National Parks and Conservation Association which has a great plan to reduce pollution of this coal-fired power plant that is causing so many health issues. 
You can too- if you wanted- if that was something you were interested in. Click on the link above!

For this last look I cleaned up my plaits a bit. 
Just this once...

I hope you all enjoy! If you are inspired by any of these ideas you know I'd love to see! You can post them in to comments of this post on Rogue Gone Vogue's Facebook page!

Happy belated Easter! -J xxx