Archive for April, 2011

April 30, 2011

Read my lips (and between the lines). The royal fashion reviews are in.

Prince William: You look beautiful.

Eric Wilson: The gown was well received not merely because it was pretty — or flawless, actually. This was also a significant fashion moment because the design of the dress, the selection of its designer and even the secrecy that surrounded its preparation seemed remarkably well calculated to project a specific image about Miss Middleton. That is, she represents a new breed of the British monarchy, one that is respectful of its boundaries and traditions, but is not stuffy and off-putting to the general populace.

Hamish Bowles: I think it’s magnificent. Entirely lived up to and exceeds anyone’s expectations. It’s a traditional style, but it’s been tweaked in a nuanced way. It has great body and stiffness and architectural drama, but it’s very light and airy. … It’s perfect and highly sophisticated. A triumph.

Leila Rose: I think the dress is perfectly beautiful but somewhat uninspired. … Knowing it’s coming from Sarah Burton — and she is so enormously talented — I expected a little bit more of pushing the envelope.

Robin Givhan: In the end, the McQueen gown, designed by the house’s creative director,  Sarah Burton, and hand-sewn by the atelier, did not change Western  fashion as the world knows it. It did not alter everything that defines  modern femininity. And it did not force a reassessment of what it means  to be elegant, sophisticated or sexy. But it was a gasp-inducing,  slightly sexy gown worn by a beaming bride. It put a giddy smile on the young prince’s face and caused him to seemingly murmur: You look  fabulous. And really, what more can one expect or hope for a wedding  dress to do?

 Annabel Tollman It’s McQueen doing royal wedding. It’s not runway. But can you imagine if it had [been]? It would not have been a great start. The fashion industry would love it, but…this is not the Grand Palais. It’s Royalty. You don’t really want her turning up in look 12.

Julia Panciroli: With McQueen designing, I was wondering if there would be feathers on it, or edgier materials and embellishment. Although I didn’t like the style of Princess Diana’s gown, it was more sensational than Kate’s.

Lily Samii: The gown was nice and clean, but I wanted it to have more style. It was blah; it didn’t wow me.

Mark Badgley:  It’s the kind of gown that will stand the test of time. Not all gowns do. Any bride across the world will want to wear it. It’s got a touch of vintage, a classic 1950s ball gown, so timeless that her daughter would look gorgeous in this gown 30 years from now.

 James Mischka: She’s not taking a lot of chances with this dress, but in the best possible way.

Hubert de Givenchy: It’s a lovely thought, a nice tribute[to McQueen].

Oscar de la Renta:  She had a perfect dress, a very traditional dress for a very traditional wedding. What I liked about it was, it was not ostentatious. There was not 50 meters of train, and it was not overembroidered. It was just a very traditional dress for a ravishing girl who doesn’t need a lot.

Vera Wang: Diana’s dress had a sense of innocence, whimsy, almost storybook romance. In contrast Catherine’s gown was about way more than simply the dress. Sarah Burton channeled a new take on classicism for a modern-day bride who will one day be queen.

Tom Kolovos: A tasteful, understated and conservative dress may indeed serve as both economic and political spin. On a personal level for Catherine, a commoner, a reverential dress can signal that she intends to straddle the  fine line of ascending to the ranks of royalty without betraying her commoner lineage. We have already heard how she intends to live with Prince William without the help of any staff and even do her own cooking and laundry. The savvy Duchess of Cambridge may share more than a couturier and a milliner with Lady Gaga. She may be humming to herself  “don’t be a drag, just be a Queen,” just loud enough to drown out the noise of the spin cycle.

Karl Lagerfeld: The dress is classic and goes very well in the Westminster decor. It almost reminds me of (Queen) Elizabeth’s wedding, the royal weddings in the (19)50s. The proportion of the train is good. The lace is very pretty. I like the veil a lot.

April 30, 2011

“You look beautiful”: The Royal Wedding in pictures

Click here for a a slideshow from The Independent

April 29, 2011

The Best Dressed Royals: Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain

Queen Sofia came dressed. (Barney the Dinosaur wants to get the outfit back, including the peep toe pumps with the tinted hose.)

Her son and daughter-in law, on the other hand, came dressed to kill.

Click through the OMG! photo gallery for more pics of guests at William and Catherine’s wedding.

(Note to Elton John and Husband: Straight guys dress better these days. Shouldn’t you?)

April 29, 2011

David and Victoria Beckham rock the Royal Wedding

Photos from The Washington Post

David wore Ralph Lauren and a barely there beard.  The very pregnant Posh wore an exquisitely chic navy dress of her own design with the perfect Philip Treacy fascinator. Fashion royalty. Period.

April 29, 2011

Much Ado about Nothing: The Royal Wedding as a fashion moment. (Don’t be a drag, just be a Queen)

With all the fuss made about  the dress that Kate Middleton would wear –ok, let’s be honest, the unbearable hype form the networks–I expected some kind of wow moment.

No, not the wow moment that every network hack keeps telling me I really did experience. I happen to be watching ABC News with Tina Brown, Tim Gunn (now a professional fashion sycophant/ gay Stepin Fetchit lap dog for hire), Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters. So invested is ABC in the coverage of the wedding, so many on-air hours and television specials devoted to the hype,  that one could hardly expect anyone present to tell the truth about the bride: she looks OK, and nothing more.

Truth be told, sister and maid of honor Pippa provided the only wow fashion moment. And I mean WOW, as in she completely upstaged the bride!

Princess Katherine’s dress is demure, tasteful, and  reminds one of Grace Kelly’s. That, my dears, is polite chit chat for BORING. Chelsea Clinton–think about that–made for a much more beautiful bride.  Did someone as vulgarly American as Ivanka Trump not look about the same  in a modest dress for her conservative Jewish wedding? Katherine is a beautiful woman and would have looked good in a paper bag. This was a designer paper bag.

Perhaps you may not be able to fault the craftsmanship of the Alexander McQueen gown, but you can certainly fault the timidity of its vision. Speculation was that Sarah Burton, who now heads McQueen, was chosen because of the brand’s ability to balance well researched historical references with an exquisite theatrical  aesthetic.  For all the talk about what a great tribute this dress is to Mr. McQueen, he was  a man known neither for his timidity in life nor especially in his designs.

See Ms. Burton’s most recent designs for the label and then look at this dress again and then you will understand my utter disappointment.  Given the ability of the house to produce an intricate patterned bodice, the bodice  of the dress is a pure waste of the McQueen aesthetic.

I cannot speak for him–unlike the ABC anchors and the demi monde of journalists/sycophants–but I will say that for me, all of this was much ado about nothing.

But nothing may just be the point. A tasteful, understated and arguably age inappropriate dress may indeed serve both an economic and political purpose. England is going through tough economic times and a too-lavish gown might give the impression that the monarchy is out of touch with the hardships facing everyone but it. (Prince Charles doesn’t  put the toothpaste on his own toothbrush. That’s someone else’s  taxpayer funded job.)

On a personal level for Catherine, a commoner–though from  a “pull yourself up from your boot straps pushy/savvy/socially ambitious family”–a reverential, tasteful  (and  borderline matronly) dress can signal that she intends to straddle the  fine line of ascending to the ranks of royalty without betraying her commoner lineage. We have already heard how she intends to live with Prince William without the help of any staff and even do her own cooking and laundry.

It wouldn’t take much imagination to hear the palace announce that she plans on reworking this wedding dress into a housecoat.

The Duchess of Cambridge, as she will be known–according to British protocol, she will not be able to formally call herself Princess Catherine because she was not born a princess–may share more than a milliner with Lady Gaga. She may be humming to herself  “don’t be a drag, just be a Queen,” just loud enough to drown out the noise of the spin cycle.

Tom Kolovos is Editor In Chief of aControlledSubstance.


April 28, 2011

The best men’s trainer of 2011: Ralph Lauren Black Label ‘Harrison” in metalic grey

Instantly updates your wardrobe. The black sole and black back edge “driver” means the shoe always looks unscathed by daily use. Available at Neiman Marcus, $215.

April 28, 2011

The Men’s Swimsuit Issue 2011

Click on each image for more!

April 28, 2011

Why Sarah Palin isn’t funny

April 28, 2011

Master Class: The hats of John Charles Koch

A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago,  John Koch has a solid background in design and construction of fashion accessories.  For over thirty-eight years he has taught glovemaking, millinery, handbag construction as well as corsetry and box-making.  In his Chicago studio, he has fashioned jewelry by a centuries-old process of creating beads from molten glass, called lampworking, using techniques similar to those of the glass artisans of Venice.   His work has been featured in Threads Magazine and at present is creating headpieces for the ladies of the court of the Texas Rose Festival, an annual event held for the past 85 years.  He is currently in the process of writing a second book on glove making.

His has taught at  The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, University of North Texas  College of Arts and Design and The University of Wisconsin-Professional Theater Training Program, among others.

John Koch Montrose Studio, 1070 W. Berwyn Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60640.  Most hats are custom and by appointment.  Prices for the hats pictured range from $150 to $450.

April 27, 2011

What is a Fascinator? Think of it as a hat martini

Fascinating isn’t it?

Is it a hat? 

Is it a band?

It’s not so plain, so let me explain.

A fascinator may look like a small hat but is held in place by a band, clip, pin or comb. You’ve seen Princess Katherine wearing it.  Camilla wore one on her wedding day to Prince Charles. It was made by Philip Treacy, who also made the butterfly version you see here. You’ll see many more versions among the guests at the Royal wedding on Friday.

While I don’t think grand hats will catch on anytime soon in the USA, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say the fascinator is here to stay. Why? Because it is so easy to wear–even for the hat averse– and is a great way to add drama to any outfit.

The three  pictured below are custom pieces from Chicago milliner Carla Faso’s Spring 2011 collection and range in price from $250-$350.