Daily Posts. Colorful Ideas & Inspirations.
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In biography after biography of designer Betsey Johnson, a single word is oft-repeated: exuberant. And truly, one would be hard-pressed to find a designer more exuberant in style--or even life--philosophy than Johnson, who turned 68 last week.
With a continued focus on youth and femininity, playfulness and a lot of pink, Johnson can be counted on to liven up a runway. Today, we're taking a look into her colorful life, career and Fall 2010 collection.
Born in 1942, Johnson grew up in Wethersfield, Conn. She started dancing at an early age, and it led her to fashion: She fell in love with, and eventually started making, costumes. After graduating from Syracuse University in New York, Johnson served as a guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine in 1964; through the position she landed a job with Paraphernalia, a Manhattan boutique that brought the 1960s' mod London look--made famous by Mary Quant and Twiggy, among others--to the U.S.
Once a month, we'll be taking a look at fashion in film--characters, colors and costume design. Working together to create a believable persona, in the movies, the clothes often quite literally make the man. In the case of today's characters, they make the man (or girl) who's almost who (or where) he (or she) wants to be.
In 1939, 12-year-old Kansan Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) ran away from home to protect her beloved little dog, Toto, from certain death at the hands of Almira Gulch, a neighbor Toto had bitten. In her time away from home, Dorothy encounters a fortune teller who advises her to return home--and she attempts to do so, but is swept up, along with Toto and her family's farmhouse, in a tornado. She lands in a colorful world of bizarre characters, each with a want--courage, intelligence, heart, revenge. Dorothy's own want is simple: to get back home.
Fragrance is one of the fashion world's most complex components, and for obvious reasons. Each concoction's boldness and subtlety can make or break it--a scent has a fairly even chance of becoming an instant success or ending up in the bargain bin.
What makes a fragrance a hit hinges most on the creativity and singularity of the scent itself, but a number of other elements come into play--how a wearer's body chemistry affects the scent, how the scent mellows on its own over time, what images and moods the notes of the scent conjure in a wearer's mind.
And, according to Leffingwell & Associates, an information and service provider to flavor and fragrance industries, color can say a lot about a perfume wearer's preferences before she even spritzes it on. It makes sense, really, considering a number of fragrance families conjure colors all on their own, whether with the actual color of perfume or the colors associated with major notes.
"Color psychologists have long known that our favorite colors tell a lot about us. They’re a manifestation of our emotions and moods. Perfumers have found that the colors we prefer also allow conclusions to be drawn about our fragrance preferences," Leffingwell reports. "A woman who picks the color combination of yellow, orange, red and pale green, for example, is not only extroverted, active, optimistic and positive--she’ll also tend to prefer fresh-floral fragrance notes."
Through this month, designer Kenneth Cole is making the Gulf Coast oil spill cleanup effort a little more colorful.
During July, you can log into Cole's custom T-shirt store on Facebook to design your own Gulf Coast cleanup T-shirt for $34.95; all proceeds will go to the Kenneth Cole Foundation's AWEARNESS fund, a nonprofit entity that supports, encourages and empowers acts of service, volunteerism and social change.
Cole offers a range of AWEARNESS products promoting specific causes and general social and political awareness, the sale of which contributes to the fund or particular programs. The initiative's Web site also directs visitors to a volunteer match system, highlights activists and provides information on AWEARNESS' philanthropic events.
The Facebook store lets shoppers customize men's and women's T-shirts with Gulf- or other cause-related text and graphics; they can choose the color of the T-shirt and the color of the words and images, too.
Though its exact origins are debatable, the manicure isn't by any means a recent development--it actually dates to ancient Babylonia and Egypt. Natural substances such as sheep fat, flower petals, jewels, egg whites, beeswax and vegetable dyes all went into those age-old nail customs of the East. It's true, however, the Western world was slow to pick up the practice--until the mid-20th century, clean, bare, well-trimmed nails were the preferred look.
Today, on the other hand, the totally natural nail is arguably boring. Colorful polishes, adhesive embellishments, acrylic nails and tips, extensions, stenciling, airbrushing, sculpting and even piercing transform fingertips into tiny works of eye-catching art, celebrating both manicurists' creativity and clients' personalities.
Among more complex nail treatments on the market are Minx's nail decals, a sort of all-in-one solution for those looking for sometimes elaborate nail art in a manageable amount of time. Previously available only to salon professionals or via a salon carrying the brand, Minx decals, thanks to Sephora and OPI, are now available to anyone wanting to test out the trend.
In the sports world, fashion has to serve practical purposes-- its fabric has to be comfortable and moisture-wicking, its shapes have to be well-fitting and easy to move in, it has to meet regulations and it all has to work around or over or under protective gear.
That's not to say, however, athletic uniforms are totally devoid of style. On the contrary, they often involve the history of a team's country or region--maybe even of the team itself--in emblems or designs, along with a usually bold color scheme. Take, for example, the jerseys on the field at this year's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.
While the games are well underway, we're taking a look at six colorful home jerseys and their style stories.
South Africa, the home of the 2010 World Cup, is a country with an oft-turbulent history, and it's represented, in part, in the colors and symbols of the South African jersey. During apartheid, the springbok antelope was a national symbol of South Africa, as well as a mascot for many athletic teams. After apartheid ended, however, only the country's rugby team kept its springbok mascot (after intervention from then-president Nelson Mandela); now, teams are known as "Proteas," and that regional (and sometimes-controversial) flower is shown on this year's South African jersey.
Often times, when fashion is described as "architectural," the word captures a general sense--geometric shapes, stacked layers, hardness and roundness and softness. But in the case of United Nude's shoes, "architectural" is the first--and most apropos--word to use to describe the labors of love from Dutch designer (and architect) Rem D Koolhaas.
Koolhaas has said multiple times--most prominently on United Nude's Web site itself--the line began with "a broken heart." Wanting to boil architecture down to "the smallest and most vulnerable scale, that of a woman's foot," Koolhaas started United Nude with the Möbius, an openwork sandal formed from a single strip and inspired by Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe's famous Barcelona chair.
Koolhaas partnered with shoemaker Galahad Clark to bring the idea to life, and now the two have developed a full range of architecturally inspired, coolly colorful footwear. The Eamz is based on Ray and Charles Eames' famous office chair and footstool, the Stealth draws on the straight lines and style of a Stealth F117 fighter plane. Every shoe has a true architectural aspect--much like the artistic, just-opened New York flagship store.
For more, check out an interview with Koolhaas here, and below, take a look at a healthy handful of some of United Nude's offerings.
Once a month, we'll be taking a look at fashion in film--characters, colors and costume design. Working together to create a believable persona, in the movies--or in TV--the clothes often quite literally make the man. In the case of today's characters, they make the group of four women who've made a mark on the fashion world during the last decade.
Samantha Jones (Kim Cattral), Miranda Hobbes (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte York (Kristin Davis) and Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) are the central characters in question--fans followed them through six seasons of TV, where from 1998 through 2004 they trawled New York in search of love, happiness and Manolos. The girls ventured onto the big screen in 2008 for the first Sex and the City film, and last week, they emerge again for that film's sequel, Sex and the City 2.
Along for the entire ride has been costume designer Patricia Field, largely responsible for SATC's fashion effect, though she's not always admitted to trying to start trends.
This spring, it's been hard to avoid the jaunty, nautical stripes permeating the season's sartorial offerings. But while the Breton stripe is classically Parisian, its current application is decidedly American.
Today, separates make up the bulk of ready-to-wear, and they're directly drawn from sportswear, a refined-yet-relaxed fashion breed born in the U.S. and fostered from the 1930s through the 1970s. Fronted mainly by women designers, sportswear removed the strictures of European fashion from clothing to produce practical, easy pieces that were elegant without being confining. Streamlined shapes with few embellishments--breezy pants, and knitwear, simple suits, wrap dresses--reflected the kind of freedom and autonomy women of the day were claiming for themselves.
Now, sportswear is being celebrated in that most traditional sense, with an emphasis on the kind of cool, summery 1970s silhouettes designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Halston made classic. What's more, today's sportswear trend makes use of a color palette inspired by its birthplace. Red, white and blue, whether used all together or a couple at a time, make for perfectly pretty warm-weather days.
In fashion, there are certain staples that never go out of style--a pair of straight-leg jeans, a navy blazer, black heels, a little black dress.
And, of course, there's the plain white T-shirt.
It's clean and classic and something a lot of us live in, whether we wear it alone or as a layer or on a Saturday or to sleep in. In everyday style, it's a blank canvas on which we can base an ensemble. Chances are, you've transformed one to fit your personal style.
The artists behind the Project White T-shirt have transformed 31 white T-shirts into pieces of art, together making a statement about how we can both be individuals and a connected society with the clothing we wear.
Curated by Triple-Major, Project White T-shirt is a traveling art exhibition featuring deconstructed, repurposed and reimagined white T-shirts from 31 international designers. Each of the pieces in the show are being auctioned at the project's Web site; all of the auction proceeds will go to Designers Against AIDS, a nonprofit group dedicated to raising AIDS awareness in international media and toward the general public via elements from pop culture.
It's also, according to project coordinators, "an evolution": "For decades, a T-shirt has been a functional article that covers the torso. But how will it evolve? What will the process of evolution create? Project White T-Shirt challenges dominant notions of fashion and draws the connection between different forms of art. Its goal is to expand possibilities and creativity through the most basic article of clothing: the white T-shirt."
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