Stylish musings with a side order of apple chunks.


Alexander McQueen... March 16th, 1969 - February 11th, 2010

So, I just found out that Alexander McQueen, one of my absolute favorite designers, was found dead today. Gregory Katz of Yahoo! News, from whom I heard the bad news, wrote his death was quite possibly a suicide provoked by the "his deep sorrow" he felt "at the death of his mother." He was only 40. He was a visionary, an innovator and a beloved part of the fashion industry. And he was also a man with emotions and needs and vitality, vitality so powerful that even through the flat screen of my computer, I can feel that life force emanating through his designs as I go through some of my archives of his much-celebrated work.

I'm not going to spare you the details about how and in what situation he was found by the ambulances yesterday, because I don't think it is fair to simply hide the lurid physical facts of any situation in favor of a glowing retrospective. Ever. But we shouldn't let his alleged suicide define him.

He was found hanging this morning at 10 a.m. by London medics in his apartment. There aren't too many details out yet, but I think this says enough. Simple and to-the-point, this statement is all that is needed. We don't need to know what he used to do it or what clues he gave to friends and colleagues that might have given them suspicions or what his final thoughts were, though we can-and probably will-speculate until we make ourselves sick.

But that is the why in which the media works. That's why I can't get myself to watch CNN or MSNBC or FOX "News" without wanting to bash my head into my TV screen; they just theorize and theorize until it turns into "President Obama is actually an agent sent from the faraway planet of Uranus to destroy the inner workings of the U.S. political system." And if I know the mainstream media well enough, and I believe I do, I can almost guess that this will be picked at and proded until the next big story pops up on their radars, the man behind the popular label all but forgotten.

It's sad, I think, that celebrities' deaths have to be defined as stories. They're more than that. They are people who deserve a hint of what we, the commoners, call regular life. Privacy and freedom from bloodthirsty pseudo-journalists trying to make a buck on tragedy. And Alexander McQueen was a person. A citizen of the world. And as a citizen of the global community, he had, and still has, a right to several fundamental rights, the least of which is the right to feel pain and happiness, misery and confusion.

Do I think he should have committed suicide? Of course not. But do I have a right to torment his family and friends by spawning delirious conjectures from a minimal, superficial knowledge, at best, of his life? Absolutely not. Because Alexander McQueen's death is not just a story that's spread like wildfire through the blogosphere. It's a travesty, a loss to the global community as well as the fashion community, and it's no doubt hurting a lot of people more than it's hurting me. I never met the man; I never had a relationship, be it professional or otherwise, with him.

It's okay to feel bad and to wonder. Believe me, the human mind is an eternally-wondering organ and therefore, there's no way to stop thoughts such as, "Hmm. I wonder what triggered him," and "Did he have anyone to talk to or to love?" They are natural. However, they become unnatural when we publish them and keep publishing them and only lose interest when some other story comes along. Think about Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami in Sri Lanka, Darfur, etc. The mainstream media gets what they have literally called "fatigue." Isn't that horrible? I'm sure the friends and families of those killed in the tsunami aren't fatigued from the stresses and horrors they still face daily. I'm sure that, even though interest has died down, the refugees from Darfur haven't forgotten the evils they have faced. And oh yeah, that Afghanistan thing? People are still dying on both sides.

We're living pretty wonderful lives if we can afford to just move on from tragedy to tragedy, not giving a second or third glance back until the anniversaries of those tragedies arrive in the form of not completely unpleasant reminders of those tragedies. And yes, Alexander McQueen was legendary in the fashion industry, but he's not going to get the coverage say, Michael Jackson got. Maybe that's a good thing. But maybe it's also a sign that the news organizations need to return to a format of straight news, unadulerated by emotion and opinion and that unsated thirst for profitable entertainment.

So I'm going to stop because I respect him. And don't get me wrong, I'm wondering as much as can be expected of a fan, but I realize that this isn't the place for speculation.

Let's take a look at his art, shall we?

Spring 2001 RTW:
He has made model Erin O'Connor look like some sort of futuristic Eva Peron.

Fall 2002 RTW:
Before there was Waldorf, there was McQueen.

Spring 2003 RTW:

I can't decide if I think she's the product of death or a dream.

Fall 2003 RTW:
Militaristic beauty at it's finest.
Spring 2004 RTW:
This whole show was a dramatic mix of theater and McQueen's godly art.

Fall 2004 RTW:
Even if that season wasn't one of his best, it still produced this glorious, Narnia-esqe piece that remains one of my favorites.

Spring 2005 RTW:
Whimsy with a twist of lime.
Fall 2005 RTW:
This collection proved that he had a bit of a monopoly on a little virtue called versatility.

Spring 2006 RTW:
Every collection he created is just so... unique. Different from everything and anything.
Fall 2006 RTW:
The attention to detail he showed in all of his work, like this piece Raquel Zimmerman wore, rivaled his innovative genius for best quality.

Spring 2007 RTW:
And just when you think he can't go any further, he does in spades. 
Spring 2008 RTW:
Shall I compare thee to everything I want in my life?

Fall 2008 RTW:
Looking at this collection made me want to watch Ever After.
Resort 2009:
His Resort '09 collection was a short but sweet example of his technical skills as well as his creative ones.

Spring 2009 RTW:
A hint of what was to come? I like what I see...
Resort 2010:
His penultimate collection: menswear on acid!
Spring 2010 RTW:
Words cannot describe this. I guess the one good thing about this whole situation is that he went out on a high. Goodbye, Mr. McQueen. You'll be missed.


New layout, do you like it?

Anyway, this isn't really an editorial, but I figured I would give you a little sampling of my favorites from the S/S 10 couture shows so far. Not that I'm there to actually experience the magic, but whatever.

Armani had me singing the theme from Sailor Moon. The lunar motif was pretty, though.

Didn't see to much that I liked from Dior, but this was a nice one. Makes me want to go back into the Golden Age of Hollywood.

The eye makeup is so distracting, but the collection was nice nevertheless.

Marni/McQueen Valentino...? Wait, what? Were the new designers high when they did this? Not all of it is bad, but it's NOT Valentino.


Words cannot describe how I feel about Elie Saab's collection. So, so ethereal and gorgeous. I'm in absolute awe. And I want it all. ALL.

Images courtesy of Modelcouture and



links a la mode

A Touch of Frivolity

Edited by Retro Chick It’s been a long time since pay day and this weeks Links à la Mode brings a touch of much needed frivolity as we crawl into the second month of a new decade. Idiosyncratic Style takes Scooby Doo’s Velma as her style inspiration, Dirty Hems is inspired by dolls houses and Ode to Awe shows off her leopard print nails. Want something for nothing? A few Goody Gumdrops has an Aspinall of London bag to giveaway and Retro Chick (that’s me!) has 2 Valentine goodie bags to giveaway worth over £100 each. We’ve also got some great designer interviews and some practical advice.
On a more sober note there’s some timely tips from Sway, Sway, Sway! on how you can continue to donate to Haiti without getting scammed, Shoe Daydreams discusses Tanya Golds “Why I hate Fashion” article and Ventures of Jenn shares her opinions on the body image debate.
Bring on February!
Note from Editor : Please be sure to check out the IFB Conference at NYFW : Evolving Influence

Links à la Mode: January 28th

  • 39th and broadway – 5 Questions To Ask Before Beginning a Career in Fashion
  • A Few Goody GumDrops – A Few Goody Gumdrops and Aspinal of London are Giving away an ever-so chic and sophisticated beige patterned skin clutch!
  • Analogue Chic – Looking good while doing stuff – braving the weather and the commute with a sense of style.
  • Bonne Vie – Invest in Quality Denim; featuring How-To Tips from Denim Debutante
  • Cafe Fashionista – Style Secrets: Cowboy Boots Made Classy
  • Cindy Whitehead –  The Modern Snow Bunny
  • Denim Debutante – Aeropostale Gives Back with Teens for Jeans Campaign
  • dirty hems. – In the Dollhouse – Miniature inspiration and a teeny resulting DIY
  • Dramatis Personae – a feature & interview with the designer behind i am dorkas
  • Fasshonaburu – I challenge myself to follow my own dress code regulations in order to wow up my day to day ensembles.
  • fête à fête – Clarins debuts first certified organic beauty soap
  • Idiosyncratic Style – Inspired by the sartorially underrated Velma Dinkley.
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers – IFB Presents : Evolving Influence Conference NYFW 2010
  • kaKofonie Of si(gh)lenS – Interview with Janeane Marie Ceccanti
  • Ode to Awe –        I review Minx Nails, plus my glamourous Russian Garnet cocktail ring
  • Oranges and Apples – Vintage teenage hair inspiration
  • Retro Chick – Valentines Day is on it’s way and Retro Chick has 2 goodie bags worth over £100 each to give away to help you celebrate!
  • Shoe Daydreams – Fashion Influences (?)
  • Style Eyes Fashion Blog – I have avoided eco and ethical fashion in the past because of the price but I have just discovered it is affordable and stylish.
  • Style Symmetry – How to Choose Items at a Clothing Swap Party
  • Sway Sway Away! – A passionate plea from a member of the global community to her fashionable brothers and sister: help Haiti!
  • THE COVETED – Suzy Menkes, Facehunter, LeMads & The Coveted talk about fashion blogs
  • ventures of jenn – on body issues


It's been hard for me to focus...

I love fashion. I love the beauty of the art and the photography and glamor and even the rough, dark cracks underneath the glitsy mask the industry wears. However, I also have a passion for the world and its affairs as well as its people and their welfare. It's a strange dichotomy: loving the personal pleasure I find in fashion and wanting nothing more than to get my hands dirty and help people who don't have the means to go to Fashion Week or subscribe to Vogue or know who I'm referring to when I say Coco, Sasha, Abbey Lee, Anja, Natalia and Freja.

I'm going to give you a number, and hopefully you will understand what I'm feeling.


That's a big number. Very, very big. Not quite a quarter of a million, but a substantial figure nonetheless. It's how many people were murdered in the genocide in Darfur by 2006. It's how many people died in the combined nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. It's how many children die in just over a week due to poverty alone, says UNICEF.

And now, it's the estimated number of deaths caused by the Haitian earthquake and subsequent aftershock, cited by the EU.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. According to the CIA's World Factbook, the 2008 estimated GDP per capita was $1,300. Add another zero, multiply that value by 3.5, and you've got the United States GDP.

Granted, the U.S. is a larger and more powerful nation that doesn't get savaged by natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes very often, so it is bound to be more wealthy, but it still makes me cringe to compare the statistics.

I remember I was at this peace conference in November 2008 (and this past November, too) called the Global Youth Forum, a program held by the humanitarian organization People to People International. The day before we arrived in Denver to talk about education and its connection to poverty, a school in Haiti collapsed in a hurricane. 90 people died, and many more were injured. I just remember being absolutely blown away by the idea that these people who wanted to learn and had the opportunity to do so lost that opportunity with a flash of lightning, the hammering rain and swift winds that in the U.S., might have caused moderate damage at the worst.

And now these people have nothing. And those 90 lives might not equal 200,000, but they still hit me as hard.

And I'm annoyed that I can't attend Fashion Week and that I missed out on the open casting for Hair on Broadway and that I don't have a source of real income. Seems kinda ridiculous, no?

I'm writing this, not because I want to scold anyone or say that one passion is more important than any other, but because I want this artistic, creative, clever community to funnel that creativity into this cause.

And there are people who have.

For example, there is the organization Fashion Delivers. FD was created "on September 15, 2006, with only a three day notice" by "thirty fashion industry leaders... to figure out how the industry could provide relief to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita." In that year alone, they raised $4.6 million worth of products which were then given to victims.

This is their mission statement: "The mission of Fashion Delivers Charitable Foundation, Inc. is to unify the men’s and women’s apparel and home industries to donate new product in order to aid victims of disasters and individuals in need throughout the year."

Since its inception, Fashion Delivers has raised a total of $30 million worth of products. That's pretty amazing.

If you want to help contribute to FD, you can donate money through or, call the number on their website or ship apparel/check for a monetary donation to the address below.

112 West 34th St., #1133
New York, NY 10120

Another charity site I found was a bit different. At CafePress' Haiti Earthquake Relief Effort, you can buy tee-shirts, sweatshirts and other products. The proceeds will go to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and therefore to Haitian relief.

Target will donate $500,000 to the American Red Cross. Walmart's giving a large sum to the cause as well.

Rice and Beans Vintage will donate $10 for every item purchased to the Red Cross. This really piqued my interest, considering how much I love vintage!

American designer John Bartlett donated 10% of all proceeds over the previous weekend to the Red Cross.

And there's even more. Way, way more. The editor of the Fashionably Independent, Daniel Saynt, is truly a saint [cue rim shot]. He has gotten designers Marc Jacobs, Adam Lippes of ADAM, Nicole Miller and Tia Cibani of Ports 1961 to donate seats to their New York Fashion Week shows for Haiti. "All this week we’ve been contacting designers, asking for contributions and the fashion community has not failed to once again show itself as and industry with heart," Saynt wrote in an entry. "Giving up a seat at fashion week is nothing compared to the efforts being made by millions of individuals to make some change in an area that is suffering so greatly."

But on the contrary, Mr. Saynt. It's a large step toward helping our brothers and sisters in Haiti. Those tickets are going to raise a lot of funds for Heal Haiti. They will be up for auction on CharityBuzz starting February 1st, so keep your eyes and browsers open!

Also on CharityBuzz are the celebs. Of course, the much-publicized celebrity telethon for Hope for Haiti Now was last night. Hope for Haiti Now, a group in partnership with MTV, promises that "100% of funds raised will go towards relief efforts in Haiti and there are NO backend costs. Additionally, the Entertainment Industry Foundation has waived all administrative fees." All donations go to support groups like the Red Cross, UNICEF, the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Yele Haiti and Stand with Haiti, to name a few. The benefit hosted by George Clooney last night raised at least $57 million for the cause.

The glamor and the glitz can be yours. Remember that glorious beaded Gucci gown House star Olivia Wilde wore to the Golden Globes? Well, she's auctioning it off through Artists for Peace and Justice. Why can't I be rich? Other beautiful people donating their clothing and accessories include Meryl Streep, Amy Poehler, Gerard Butler, Liv Tyler, Lady Gaga and Gisele Bundchen.

Now, I want to say this: if you have the means, please donate in some way. Here's a list of some other places to which you can donate without being caught in scams, because there have been a number of reported (and unreported, I'm sure) scammers "taking donations for Haiti."

Food for the Poor is an organization that, according to their website, "ministers to spiritually renew impoverished people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Established in 1982 as a 501(c)(3) corporation, our goals are to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children we serve. Food For The Poor raises funds and provides direct relief assistance to the poor, usually by purchasing specifically requested materials and distributing them through the churches and charity organizations already operating in areas of need."

Cross International "locates needy church-based ministries serving the poor and distributes material aid through their existing programs."

CARE is accepting donations, too. CARE "is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. We place special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives."

Finally, the American Red Cross and its hundreds of volunteers are working tirelessly to help the Haitians, along with UNICEF.

What these people need are advocates who will stand by them and help them rebuild their lives. And maybe this tragedy can spawn miracles. Maybe the world will come together for a broken, beaten nation of broken, beaten people that truly needs all of the world's help.

In the words of Haitian Wyclef Jean: "Earthquake, we see the earth shake, but the soul of the Haitian people will never break!"

I don't have a lot of money of my own, but I am going to pledge to donate $10 a week for the next month to this cause. That's only $40, but it's something. I'm also going to see how I can volunteer my time, be it at my school or in my community. I just want to do as much as possible.

I've made this badge for people to use if they want to show their support:

Take a moment to be thankful for all of the luxuries you have. Smile a bit, hug your families, call your friends. Because you never know when you could suddenly be incapable of those actions we take for granted each day.

Images courtesy of Modelcouture, CNN, Reuters for Yahoo! and Fashion Delivers. Information and statistics from UNICEF, The World Factbook and Coalition for Darfur.


It's only been 11 days, and I'm already loving 2010!

Because of these:

From Vogue Germany Feb. 2010:  Toni Garm

How beautiful is this? I am in love with that gorgeous dress. I want it. Now. *Hears God's laughter.*


This shoot has such a Great Gatsby feel to it. Luxurious and rich. Caitie approves!

From Numero #109: Abbey Lee Kershaw

Abbey, I love you.

From Russh Australia Jan. 2010: Erin Heatherton and Jacquelyn Jablonski

I'm feeling the photography skills here. Beautiful and retro.

For Vogue Nippon Feb. 2010: Bregje Heinen



And there's more, but I don't feel like filling my entire page with beautiful, artsy, sexy photos of women better looking than I'll ever be.

Images courtesy of Modelcouture.
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