Posts Tagged ‘thinky’

Power Dressing (part one, of hopefully two)

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Sorry for the break in posting, folks.  I am trying to organise the irons I have in the fire—but hey!  Here’s another 1,300+ word post on what I consider relevant fashion issues.  Don’t worry, some of the irons in the fire are ‘lighter’ reading options for ILS.

I briefly mentioned power dressing last week, in context of scarves as accessories.  Now, power dressing—a very formalised approach to business attire that reached a peak in the mid to late 1980s—had textbooks of sorts, one both men and one for women, written in 1975 and 1977, respectively—Dress For Success and The Woman’s Dress For Success Book, both written by John T. Molloy.  He also wrote updates for each, some 15-20 years later.  Molloy’s approach was stridently research-based, as a consultant for unnamed big name corporations he’d built up seventeen years’ worth of data on clothing (nine in women’s clothing) by the time he was writing The Woman’s Dress For Success Book.  What is amazing is that this one man and his research team were part of the small group whose work snowballed into creating the look of the yuppie and, in doing so, further embedding subconscious and conscious class divisions that affect us to this day.  Here’s the opening of Molloy’s book for ladies:

This is the most important book ever written about women’s clothes because it is based on scientific research, not on opinion.

The advice in this book will help women make substantial gains in business and in their social lives.  It should also revolutionize their clothes-buying habits.

Most American women dress for failure.  I have said that before about men, and research shows that it applies equally to women.  Women dress for failure because they make three mistakes.

  1. They let the fashion industry influence their choice of business clothes.
  2. They often still view themselves mainly as sex objects.
  3. They let their socioeconomic background influence their choice of clothing.

The only reasonable alternative is for women to let science help them choose their clothes.[i]

I’m not even going to get into the paternalistic aspects of this, because using his data and word as law is something that is present in his book for guys as well (and because they’re endless and depressing).  As Molloy says himself later on in the same chapter—

It is a stark reality that men dominate the power structure—in business, in government, in education.  I am not suggesting that women dress to impress men simply because they are men.  My advice to women is based on the same principle as my advice to men: Your clothes should move you up socially and in business, not hold you back.[ii]

So, we’re going to ignore gems like “In summer women have always worn light and brightly coloured dresses to the office.  Do this only if you wish to be or remain a secretary.”[iii] and focus instead on the sea change in professional fashion Molloy encouraged with these two sentences:

There is one firm and dramatic step women can take toward professional equality with men. They can adopt a business uniform.[iv]

Illustrations from Molloy’s The Woman’s Dress For Success Book’, 1977.

Expectations of “The Man”

Based on his own numbers, Molloy began gathering his data on influential business dress in 1960.  A generally turbulent cultural time, to say the least, there was a growing relaxed attitude among youth in regards to clothing.  “The values expressed by the business suit no longer matched those of the typical college student”[v].  Though those already firmly entrenched in the business world valued the suit and the status inherent in a good suit, the new blood was rocking bright jackets and fanciful ties in their leisure and formal wear[vi] and were most probably not making the best impressions with corporate.  In his research, showing pictures and photographs of folks in different ensembles to CEOs, Molloy was most probably finding that the older men, the decision makers, wanted suits and “authoritative” looks.

Running through guides like Molloy’s was the sharp awareness of clothing’s ability to portray the wearer as someone of and with power.  Here’s one more of his gems:

At one large corporation someone asked what I thought a woman should do if the boss sent her for coffee.  My response was, “If you have to tell your boss not to send you for coffee, you must have already told him nonverbally that you were ready to go.”

I went on to say that the problem was being approached from the wrong perspective.

Women who want to be taken seriously and who want to succeed must dress in a way that says, “I am important.  I am a business professional and don’t you dare send me for coffee!”

There were two extremely successful women in the room at the time.  Both agreed with me.  And they said the reason most young women wouldn’t succeed was because they didn’t look like they wanted to succeed.[vii]

Reinforcement through style guides

Molloy wasn’t the only one aware of this.  Armloads of guides on dressing were popping up in the mid to late 1970s as part of the reaction against the “anything goes” stylings of the 1960s and in response to the influx of professional women workers who were searching for some way to get a foot up the corporate ladder.  They ranged from articles in Newsweek and women’s mags[viii] to tomes like Elegance: A Guide to Quality Menswear by Bruce Boyer, referenced oh so nicely in the time capsule American Psycho.

You’re a clod.  It’s an excellent book.  His theory remains we shouldn’t feel restricted from wearing a sweater vest with a suit,” I say.  “Did you hear me call you a clod?”

“Yeah.”

“But doesn’t he point out that a vest shouldn’t overpower the suit?”  Van Patten offers tentatively.

“Yes . . .” I’m mildly irritated that Van Patten has done his homework but asks for advice nonetheless.  I calmly continue.  “With discrete pinstripes you should wear a subdued blue or charcoal gray vest.  A plaid suit would call for a bolder vest.”

“And remember,” McDermott adds, “with a regular vest the last button should be left undone.”

I glance sharply at McDermott.  He smiles, sips his drink and then smacks his lips, satisfied.[ix]

What began as aspirational dressing and a search for a uniform was honed through the guides into as complex a set of rules as had been followed at the turn of the century.  Limitations on colours, cut, pattern, material were the heavy skeleton a person’s business wardrobe was built on.  The rules were the rules, even if they didn’t apply to you.  Research and the guides said that glasses created a stronger sense of authority[x], so one wore “non-prescription Oliver Peoples redwood-framed glasses,”[xi] or some equivalent.

Overwhelming assimilation of style

Conveniently, changes in suit fabric manufacture were making the designer suit more accessible to the common man.  In the 1970s Italian textile industries began switching from high virgin wool content to using waste wool, creating a cheaper suit fabric that “accommodated the fashion industry whereby new collections, new ideas, new colours and new patterns are presented each season.”[xii] Between 1975 and 1985 the profits of men’s ready-to-wear increased 12%, and in the 1980’s all major designer’s houses were carrying a men’s line.[xiii]

The awareness of fashion labels that began in the 1970s (with denim, funnily enough[xiv]), the availability—or seeming availability— of the clothing, “a swing back to the political right”[xv] and a money boom that had combined with credit to make everything seem possible all mixed together in a power shake that coloured the 1980s in suits and immobile hair and brand names.  You either Were or you Weren’t.  The soft steps towards blurring the class lines were halted.  Sure, one could “cross-shop”, but the objective was still to buy clothes that “come across as upper middle class.”[xvi]

Of course, when a mass of society and fashion push one way, there will be a faction pushing against, and oh dang the things that were created to be anti-suit!  Creativity and risk-taking styles are better as retaliation, and if you look, the highs of fashion and the arts are commonly seen when one side is reacting against another.  Each group spurs the other into higher and higher caricature as they refine themselves to a pure thesis.

So, I acknowledge that other things besides power dressing were going on in the 1980’s.  And it was exactly that, combined with some more worldly affairs, that left the power suit stranded on the pedestal of caricature.


[i] The Woman’s Dress For Success Book, John T. Molloy, 1977. p. 15-16

[ii] Molloy p. 32

[iii] Molloy p. 66

[iv] Molloy p. 34

[v] Fashion and Its Social Agendas, Diana Crane, 2000. p.175

[vi] http://www.blacktieguide.com/History/07.htm

[vii] Molloy p. 26-27

[viii] “One magazine ran a piece on “power dressing.”  Another reported on how women were being advised to “dress the trip to the top.”  And a third discussed how “clothes mean business,” . . . Fashion Power, Jeanette C. Lauer, Robert H. Lauer, 1981. p. 163 & 170

[ix] American Psycho, Brett Easton Ellis, 1991. p. 154-155

[x] Molloy p. 88

[xi] Ellis p. 109

[xii] Men’s Fashion in the Twentieth Century, Maria Costantino, 1997. p. 127

[xiii] Costantino p. 121-123

[xiv] Costantino p. 111

[xv] Costantino p. 127

[xvi] Molloy p. 171

Test Pattern: We’ve been here before

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

It is clear that women throughout the centuries have molded their figures into many strange and different shapes. Each seemed beautiful in its day, but most of us are inclined to think none quite so lovely as today’s.

The Arts of Costume and Personal Appearance, Grace Margaret Morton, 1943. (p 234)

Later on in the chapter (Contemporary Figure Ideals), Morton lets us know that the ideal weight for five feet is 110, and approximately five pounds for each additional inch taller, “depending on the scale of the figure.” The entire chapter is very much your standard hide-the-‘bad’-work-the-‘good’ stuff of fashion books—pushing vertical movement of line for the “stout” and emphasising an “uplifted bosom and upstanding posture, with abdomen and posterior flat.”  But Morton also quotes an article from the June 1927 Ladies Home Journal:

The popular conception of beauty is wrong, because its basis is that everybody shall look like everybody else . . . Life would gain enormously in interest if women emphasized their differences from each other.

Beauty and Plain Women, Elisie Ferguson

A few good pieces

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

“If I did go out and buy a $300 coat, it would have to go with all the $10 pants I own.”

In February, Jezebel shot out a quick little note about a post on the New York Public Libraries blog.  The focus of both was a 1941 survey of the college girl’s wardrobe and the problems of high and fast consumption in fashion.  The wonderful old days were wonderful, with your standard sweater sets and three basic styles of shoes—and how about the Uniform Project and the Great American Apparel Diet and all those personal internet challenges to reduce consumption and impulse purchases, to slim and simplify our wardrobes.

In our modern day of stores that can move from concept to finished item in six weeks, fashion ‘weeks’ that feel like they run seamlessly into one another as they hop across continental bounds and piping hot trends delivered to your local rag shop every week, we are as “spoiled [sic] for choice” as Stein says.  It can sure appear anecdotally that our closets are swelling like the inflamed fatty liver of a confirmed alcoholic—especially in comparison to the 11-3.5 blouses and 13-3 street length dresses of the surveyed 1941 co-eds.

One thing that really should be noted is the highly conservative nature of wardrobe building in the 1940’s.  In Grace Margaret Morton’s 1943 book The Arts of Costume and Personal Appearance she writes, “Conservation is in keeping with the times.  Restricted consumer production has resulted in a silhouette which can be cut to advantage from limited yardage . . . As never before, this is a period which demands convertible, multiple-duty apparel, interchangeable three- and four- piece ensembles.”  Comparing today’s clothing habits to a time when patterns maximised yardage because of war rations can create a false dichotomy.

1943. Farm Security Administration –
Office of War Information Photograph Collection

Of course, having a wider range of clothing options available (or more accurately, acceptable), from pants and shorts to tank tops and sundresses, might have a part in explaining why the average young woman doesn’t spend “75% of her waking hours in the sweater skirt ensemble.”  Changes in how, where and what we can wear at work are a factor also.  Count the number of people you know who have a small, separate “work wardrobe” of suits and office wear supplemented by a double handful of casual pieces for home and a couple things for evening.  We are wearing more things for more reasons more often.

And the brands, stores and manufactures know that and love us for it.  Instead of a handful of cotton shirtwaist dresses and sweater and skirt sets for summer (as suggested by Morton), or the calculated business wardrobe of the 1980s and 90s, we wear more.  There certainly seem to be more eclectic and specific options now than there once were, but they float in a sea of mass market options.

A couple of weeks ago Jezebel again looked at our closets, this time focusing on the earth-wrecking waste of fast fashion, with its affordable options that essentially strangle the environment and starve workers.  Several options are presented, ranging from a $78 turtleneck to a $338 jacket, that attempt to answer the question “What are the choices for decently-made, competitively-priced, really cute stuff?”

But, don’t think that the inability of the average person to pay nearly eighty dollars for a turtleneck goes unnoticed.  “Fundamentally, it’s less and less the case that making ethical, sensible consumer choices is a freedom that hews to class lines. A $35 t-shirt that’s better quality than the $10 Wal-Mart version is still close enough in price that it’s attainable for most shoppers.”

And herein lies a problem.  I feel like a pretty high percentage of people will not, or cannot, pay ten dollars for a t-shirt, let alone $35.  It’s all well and good to save to buy an environmentally and morally responsible clothing choice whose quality may give it a longer life span.  But if someone is already in a position to consider a forty dollar skirt at Target a piece worth saving for, they’re not going to wait another $188 dollars for “a full black knitted skirt that has a sort of Alaïa feel, with its nipped ribbed waist.”

Since I have an aversion to purely anecdotal evidence, as it can easily slip into hyperbole and theory, I ran a very informal survey.  I ended up with just nine replies, folks in the mid-20s to mid-30s range, who are either unemployed, self-employed and/or solidly in the lower-middle to middle class income range; all but one currently live on the west coast.  A third are hand knitters and expressed awareness of the worth of both quality fiber content and of paying more for handmade. However, it’s a pitifully small sample, and I’d love to run this wider, because the results from just this group are telling.

Limiting the definition of “clothing” to everyday clothes and outerwear, I also allowed for clothes that were worn at least three to four times a year (which encompasses stage clothes and some formal wear). Nearly half of the group responded to the first question—“What is the most you’ve paid for a piece of everyday clothing?”—with two answers.  One number was for an uncommon purchase like a corset for stage wear (that was worn regularly off-stage as well), a perfect winter coat, or “allegedly ‘ass-tastic’” jeans; pieces that ranged from sixteen to two times the second price given.   Combining both sets of data gives a range of $30 to $150—not counting the $500 corset which, as a kind of shapewear, gets into the high and tricky ranges of support and undergarment cost more so than everyday clothing.

Asked if this price was more than they regularly pay for a piece of everyday clothing, the answer was, for seven of the nine, a resounding ‘hell yes’.  The other two did not consider their highs of $50 to be significantly more than an average purchase.  Even so, the mean price the sample group would pay was only $21, the most common amount being $10.  An exception of up to $45 when buying yarn to make something oneself was noted.

Already we can see that Sauers’ had one over on me in that folks will totally pay $10 for clothing.  My personal issues (and heavy thrift and sales rack shopping) have blurred my perspective.  Even so, a $35 t-shirt is comfortably above this sample’s average range for a piece of everyday clothing.  But what about their top limit?  Already by this point in the survey it was clear that for jeans and pieces that fit, a person’s ‘average price’ could be edged up closer to their top limit.  So, what was the most they would pay for a piece of everyday clothing?

“I swear on the life of my non-existent children, if I could find a pair of jeans that were flattering and as comfortable as all the skinny people claim jeans are, I would pay at least $100.”  And $100 is the highest price given, by two people who both cite jeans-fitting issues as the reason for so high a price.  With $54 as the average and $30 as the most common limit, we’re still well below the price of that $78 turtleneck.

Knowing that extraordinary circumstance, luck, and the desire to have at least a “few good pieces” in one’s wardrobe can expand the limits of what you’re willing to shell out, the last question I asked was what the theoretical top limit would be for a “SUPER AWESOME AMAZING PERFECT” piece of everyday clothing.  Ranging between $50 and $300 dollars, with an average of $142, every person who gave a limit over $100 stipulated they would pay that much only for something elaborate, custom or handmade.

I wish that I had thought to inquire about thrift store shopping habits directly in this survey, though I had a voluble enough sample that I was able to gather an idea that a good percentage buy used, when they can.  In her article, Sauers  mentions that “Thrift stores are green (and cheap), but hunting through their racks can be time-consuming and offer inconsistent results.”   It could be that people who prefer to pay only around $20 for a piece of clothing are willing to spend the time searching second hand.

Most people I surveyed are ‘crafty’, which can’t be a representative percentage of the population and may affect their purchasing habits.  One way that they seem to be like most of the population is that nearly all mentioned issues finding clothing that fits both their bodies and taste.  Says one,  “I could pay $6 [for] something nearly right, with decent fabric, which I can turn into something wearable… or I can pay $25 for a pair of cheaply made pants that don’t quite fit and say “BOOTY” across the ass in pink crystals and glitter paint.”  These people, with daydreams of $110 silk cardigans, don’t necessarily want the fast fashion offerings of Forever 21s.  And even when they do shop at mall and fast fashion stores, they do it out of necessity, more than convenience.  And they’re not abandoning the between-great-wars sense of wardrobe building either:

Lately I buy most of my clothing at Torrid because I am too easily annoyed digging through a department store for the one piece of plus size clothing that isn’t falling off my average-sized shoulders or down to my knees. I tend to wear my clothes until they are literally falling apart because of this and I do make repairs if I can.

Awareness of the clothing industry’s failings isn’t new.  Clinging to a false nostalgia of a simple wardrobe, filled with a few good pieces, isn’t going to help.  Disregarding the error of steering by nostalgia, the circumstances between then and now are too different, too foreign.  Choosing more ethical and quality options isn’t going to be a saving grace either, not when the divide between its cost and the average budget are still so far apart.

Speaking of things styled for the wangus—

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

There is a bit of discussion over H&M offering skirts with their menswear for Spring 2010.  It is true that somebody is always trying to introduce skirts to menswear and it is going to make the blogs titter every time.  What is new is that it’s not some fancy-pants (skirt) designer who’s most outré pieces have no chance of trickling down to department ready-to-wear copies.  This is H&M, which—for cities that are not Portland—is as solid a source for clothing as Target is in the ‘burbs.

That there is no (apparent) feature of these skirts that differentiates them from styles sold regularly to women doesn’t really matter.  These are Skirts For Men, racked next to skinny jeans and blazers in the men’s section.  There will be no need to wander over to Juniors or Ladies and parse a different department’s sizing system, practising legit-sounding reasons for being there.  More folks who shop in the men’s department will try them on.

If the experiment fails, whatever, the seed has been planted. Once a style permeates the department stores it never really goes away.  Less classy/hep joints will begin picking it up. The process will rev the feedback cycle until, like cargo pants and babydoll tees, skirts in the men’s section are always represented to some degree—though every couple of years you may have trouble finding a style you like since the world’s gone obsessed with something else for the season.

It’ll make your dick fall off

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

During a season when everybody is wearing body-obscuring layers and thick coats, I’m thinking about summer. Not, as you might guess, in a wistful manner, contrasting the sweltering day star to the icy dusk. Instead, I’m noticing how cold can be the great gender equaliser.

I’ve seen and heard comments on dating during winter, who can guess at the shape beneath that puffy parka (and more importantly, does it have tits?).

In the same vein, it’s generally agreed that summer is when the secondary sex characteristics come out. Bare chests, short shorts, the curve of the neck unobstructed by scarves and high collars.

Last summer and acquaintance bemoaned his inability (work and lifestyle related) to wear light summer dresses in the clinging wet heat. As someone who can and does wear skirts, I extended my sympathies—in the heat skirts win, less fabric, breeze access and more length variations to favour a wider range of legs and style.

It is a horrible bummer that general society inhibits people from wearing what they like if it goes against the local community’s opinion of what one should wear when presenting as a particular gender. Ladies have it easier, pants, in most cases, are totally okay.

Women in items that are clearly “menswear” have, for some time, in the western world, been accepted and embraced. ‘Cause “how hot is it when she’s wearing your shirt?” Acceptance hinges, of course, on using menswear to enhance one’s delicate, blushing femininity by contrast.

However. For ladies the world of fashion more widely spreads its legs. Nonetheless, the common female approach to menswear is couched in jealousy, only the rare lightbulb flickering on to realise that men’s closets are wonderful sources of plunder, or that an item could be considered “unisex” (and therefore okay). Why confine your taste and comfort to the dark months of winter?

Rodarte is apparently “the shit”

Friday, January 1st, 2010

I’m late on posting this, but hell, might as well finish the draft, get it out of the queue, new year and all.

Late December we went to one of the local Targets that was graced with the presence of some of Rodarte’s little capsule collection.

The situation and lighting was one where flash or no flash were equally annoying options, as far as getting clarity and detail.  These are quickie snapshots taken to get a point across.

There were dresses and bikinis and printed tees too, but I picked a couple of pieces that seemed best representative. I could not find the tights they made, which are pretty much just large pattern lace and I know Leg Avenue makes a variation in a thigh high.  All images link to Flickr pages that have more info.

Anyway, the piece I liked the most wasn’t even available online:

An inch longer and I would have got it

Quality-wise, if you like Target’s house brands (Mossimo Supply Co. and Merona, specifically), then you’ll have no problem with these pieces.  I personally am totally a fan of them, and found nothing wrong with all the little tulle/lingerie/lace fabric and treatment, nor the cardigans.

A couple pieces though, were victims of design and circumstance:

Oh, c'mon now

The tulle that works so well on the skirts comes off as itchy, snaggy and badly draped here.  Online reviews at Target say the fabric is as itchy as it looks and that the bows are not tacked, so they come undone and don’t go back very well.

It's kind of a meh piece anyhow

Well, it’s printed, so the inside remains white.  This is always a problem with prints, they might have been better off using a mustardy-yellow lace and printing black on it.  Inside felt scratchy,hung like crap—but that might have been a combination of the fabric and any residual size.

I wish they were carrying the socks they show in the looks. Closest equivalents at Sock Dreams are the Textured Stripe Knee High and fishnets over beige stockings, both raw-topped (cut the crotch top of the tights off so they’re just legs).

Overall I am remaining sceptically hopeful for Gaultier’s line, though it sounds like it is coming from a similar approach to what McQueen did—referencing “women and pop culture” instead of those things that made us love the designers in the first place.

We are all of us spacemen

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

A month or so ago my co-workers and I travelled up to Seattle for an event.  The car we took was the newest vechicle I’ve ever been in and the inside looked like a spaceship.  Well, really, what the current present regards as a spaceship, which reality falls a touch short of.

I off-handedly noted that car design was tending towards a super-future look to give us the feeling of personal space vehicles that our past predicted and future denies us.  We can’t have the future so we’re creating a façade around our everyday objects in an attempt to placate our desires.

The past several seasons (and what has been popping up in between) is tending in the same direction.  Though some designers have always “looked ahead”, today’s idea of tomorrow is permeating through collections in ever more obvious ways.  And I’m not even looking at shoes and accessories, because I’m not trying to draft a thesis paper here, just pointing a couple things out.

I can’t pretend to know why, and I will ignore the obvious fall backs, like escapism to a time and space of ready cash to drop on the latest couple-thou frock.  Everybody says stuff like that and, on average, everybody is wrong.

Emma and Jane
I’m just sayin’ is all.

The retro-future aspects of some of the looks is like a one-two punch—pulling nostalgia from a past that wasn’t to a future that probably won’t.  But, I mean, the future is now, right?  We’re looking at Resort: 2010 (thankfully not designed by one, though pity not the other).  The cycle of retro-retro and futuretasma is congealing into a present of structure and shiny that just won’t be denied.

Go go go

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

I am, honestly, going to write about the last couple of fashion weeks beyond where you can get the legwear.  Today though, I’m gonna be all timely and shit.  Let’s set it up.

Last year I nearly pissed myself with joy when I discovered Target’s Go International line.  This was because they had a capsule line by Jovovich-Hawk, who I love inexplicably.  I then promptly fell in love with a couple of pieces, waited until the line was 75% off and bought a dress.  Because I am like that.

Anyhow, in November of last year, it was announced that Target was starting this new thing, Designer Collaborations—and that it was kicking off with Alexander McQueen.  By February, a fuller version of the looks popped up.  It was understandably toned down—inspired by Leila Moss, who is called a “90s Brit Rocker” (though her band doesn’t seem to extend that far back), the skinny pants paired with bulkier tops made sense.  Also, you know, Target, logical price point, design for all.

I was, and am, pretty stoked for this.  Beyond my love and respect for some designers, I don’t froth at the mouth about labels.  But I am interested in this “Design for All” thing, as it hints at a truly post-modern future for fashion.

So it is out today and is not heart-stopping—there are a lot of basics, one or two good pieces and something that makes your brain hurt.  And Blythe is involved somehow.  Nonetheless, there is a touch of the future in there.

And I am probably going to buy these when they are, inevitably, on clearance.

Grinding in probability

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Personally, I adore watching designers try to reinvent the mid-1980s—I am fond of the look for a multitude of reasons.  To be more precise, it’s more that era’s take on the future of design that I truly love.  Science & speculative fiction’s relationship with fashion is something that just about anybody is aware of by now.  The ability to not be bounded by tradition and/or possibility is (finally) really spilling over into the most commonplace venues.  This, in turn, widens the skies for the truly expansive ideas.

During this beautiful dreaming, comparatively simple jewellery and accessories seem to be popular.  Maybe it’s the portability and modular aspects, the general un-scariness of it.  It’s such a gateway though, I mean—there’s such a short jump from sweet lovey ideas to slightly invasive useful tools to implanting things and gently pushing the definition of humanity.  But let’s not prod that interesting beast with a stick right now.  What we’re looking at here are accessories, gadgets and usefulness.  Or non-usefulness.  It depends on your definition.

TotalRecall_nails

Social networking sites, for instance.  The internet and how we use it in general.   An MIT student group have made this thing, it projects information and “virtual gadgets” into what they charmingly call the “tactile world.” Bonus: you can interact with it.

In the tactile world, we use our five senses to take in information about our environment and respond to it, Maes explained. But a lot of the information that helps us understand and respond to the world doesn’t come from these senses. Instead, it comes from computers and the internet. Maes’ goal is to harness  computers to feed us information in an organic fashion, like our existing senses . . . When he encounters someone at a party, the system projects a cloud of words on the person’s body to provide more information about him — his blog URL, the name of his company, his likes and interests.

Talking about this with a friend, her first thought went to implants.  My first thought went to accessories. Because really, how boss would that be?

The future will not take away my gaudy accessories.

I mean, really.

I have a definite vision of the future and it involves holograms, dammit.

Design and tech are starting to go steady and I like it.  Secretly because I am a huge nerd.

tags

Hot and bothered

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

We all have different tastes.  This is awesome, it’s one of those boss aspects of humanity.  So I find it interesting to compare the different opinions floating about, with NSFW links, natch.  Take the campaign for Wode perfume.

wode_campaign

The reaction at Coilhouse, in October of 2008, where I first heard about it:

Perhaps half-dreaming before my daily dose of caffeine, I was whisked away to another time, where countless mermaids were enslaved and sacrificed for a wicked queen. Something of a Countess Bathory, she soaked in their cobalt tears to gain a mystical quality that made her irresistible in every way. With each bath, her skin would glow an opalescent blue, her voice would hypnotize and her eyes would leave you breathless. Alas, the magical effects of the tear potion were short lived and the slaughtering of mermaids went on until none remained on Earth.

The reaction at Jezebel, January 2009:

We thought we’d found the most offensive ad in the world. But the new WODE perfume (which, inexplicably, turns skin blue) gives it a definite run for its money. Slashing women’s throats? Hott.

During that week, it regularly came across my GReader from various friends’ shared items.

It often seems that especially in fashion photography is one person’s trigger another’s turn-on.  Whether as possibly calculated programmes to gain attention or just because they seem to be wired that way, photographers pushing definitions (of taste, boundaries, etc.) is something that turns up a lot, especially regarding dominance/submission.  With what can feel like a cold war going on, it’s nice to see self-aware reflections, even about pretty blatant stuff, like Klein’s work for French Vogue:

klein_frenchvouge_spiked

From Tatiana the Anonymous Model, on Jezebel:

This is like a nightmare, come to life inside a magazine, and it’s some of the most moving work I’ve seen from Klein in years. I’m transfixed and appalled and exhilarated and exquisitely, perfectly disturbed, all at once. Like any art form, I suppose it’s not the role of fashion to make anyone comfortable. Luckily it’s almost the end of the day; I need a drink after all that.

I’m sure lots of people do, for a rainbow of reasons.