I spent part of my childhood in New York City and I would love to go again one day. I don’t know if it will happen in quite the style pictured and described in New York Through a Fashion Eye by the amazing Megan Hess. But this is another box-of-chocolates book that I loved perusing. The sense of fun and excitement hopefully anyone has when visiting New York leaps off the pages and the book is essentially a result of what most of us would do (albeit with a different budget and other goals) when going on a trip: make an itinerary.
There are plenty of fantastic places mentioned I’m itching to see myself: the New York Public Library (memories), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, High Line. And if I do receive a sudden cash windfall that makes me curious about all the designer shops listed in the book, at least I’m prepared. Until then, I’ll enjoy the fun illustrations and reminisce about some happy years.
Another gorgeous book by the talented Megan Hess, the next one I read after The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments in Fashion. It is about fashion I will most likely never be able to afford, nor need to afford, but it is beautifully, captivatingly illustrated, and written with attention to detail, while still being absorbing and amusing at the same time.
Once again, the illustrations remove some of the sense of unattainability and aloofness when you see photos or videos of the designs, instead bringing to life that which is actually inspiring or entertaining: colours, lines, shapes, humour, combinations, prints. They can also be looked at again and again, whenever and whereever you like, no networking or money spending required.
Italian fashion gives you permission to play, to fall in love and to dress as if life were always utterly glamorous.
To catch a thief must be one of the most stylish movies in the history of Hollywood. Alfred Hitchcock’s romance mystery depicts Grace Kelly in ten costumes, each more beautiful than the last. My favourite, however, is this flowing, draped blue gown by Edith Head. The dress, inspires by Dior’s ‘New Look’, features a gathered skirt and variegated chiffon swathes, and was worn with a matching clutch, white open-toe sandals and a floaty blue stole.
Yes! Megan Hess said it. I have also loved that dress the moment I first set eyes on it in my teens and it is one of the reasons why I still hanker after light-blue frocks. This is one of the many enjoyable moments had while reading The Dress: 100 Iconic Moments in Fashion, that “my” dress made the list happiness, as well as discovering numerous delicious tidbits and trivia about 99 other gowns from the 20th and 21st centuries. Sounds grand, doesn’t it?
The book is lovely to hold in your hands, with it’s gold framing against black and white on the cover, and gold page tips, like a gift ready to be unwrapped again and again. It’s divided into sections covering specific dresses within them – designers, female icons, weddings (with another shout-out to Grace Kelly), music, film and the Oscars. For me the film chapter was especially fun to read, as I recognized many dresses that had also caught my eye in various movies, or got curious about others, especially in older movies I hadn’t seen. But the best part is that the book is not simply about the dresses themselves. In a warm and engaging style, Megan Hess shows with a few well-chosen sentences, just like the strokes in her gorgeous fashion illustrations, the women who gave life to the dresses by wearing them and putting them in the context of a memorable occasion.
The illustrations themselves give the whole representation a different quality then photos do, because while many stories, names and gowns might be instantly familiar, or conjure up specific real-life or cinematic images, removing them slightly from being documented, and illustrating instead makes it all just a tad more magical and imaginative. I may never afford any of the outfits in this book, but I loved the creative approach to showing the potential and the power a dress holds simply for ourselves, whatever dress it is.
Posing in the centenary issue, she looks happy, spunky and lovely. “I always liked keeping myself looking quite decent, even if I wasn’t going out. I try to keep the standards up.” Watching the film about her photoshoot, I can’t help blinking back a tear, removing myself for a second from the uplifting, positive message and serious thoughts the video provokes.
In my mind’s eye I see my Granny, dilligently applying her pearly red lipstick with a slightly trembling hand, even during the years when her eyesight had almost completely disappeared. I remember how happy she was about the fabulously cut flower-patterned summer dress my mother had given her as a present from a family trip we had taken, when she could still see. I remember posing with her and my siblings at my grandparents’ home shortly after, on a summer afternoon, all of us with happy lipstick smiles and wearing flower-print dresses to match.
So besides saying kudos to (a hopefully ongoing) diversity in the ages represented among fashion models, kudos as well to not making it an issue and simply showing women, people living their lives and having interesting experiences. We have friends our own age, we have siblings, cousins, maybe nephews and nieces. We have aquaintances, colleagues. We also have mothers, aunts, grandmothers and women in our lives who have been at this longer than we have, and who have a history and a whole land of memory to share. I would love to see more of those women in the media throwing on a bright coat or a funky scarf of their choosing and smiling at what they see in the mirror, or on a screen.
It’s an immediate mood booster. Prints are fun and an easy way to add pep to an outfit choice, especially with a dress – slip it over your head and you’re done.
You can wear them both in the summer and in colder weather. Add a cardigan that picks up on one of the colours of your print (black and navy blue also work in most cases), some tights or leggings and voilà – no additional shopping required.
If you’re not sure about accessories, the aforementioned matching up or successfully contrasting with one of the colours of your print is a good solution, or simply stick with some minimalist earrings – the dress will do the rest.
So say yes to the dress and check out the styling example in this friendly video by one of ASOS’ stylists:
Or in this slightly older, but still current video by The Outnet.com (also good tips if you’re wearing the dress on a night out):
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