Books on Fashion

Fashion. It’s everywhere isn’t it? On the runways, in the magazines and newspapers, on the television, in the shops and out there in the clubs, malls, high streets and beaches. But have you never wondered why such a ubiquitous industry never seems to be the subject of serious research and study? I don’t mean just articles on what types of clothes are the best for your particular body shape; I mean an in-depth look or study into how the industry works? This seems odd given that there are hundreds of books and media material about other industries, from renewable energy to becoming a chef.
But there are some books out there that have done more than just scratch the surface of a multi-billion global industry that surely touches all our lives in some way. One of the oldest is called “The Fashion System” by Frenchman Roland Barthes, published during the height of the swinging sixties and flower-power in 1967. He used the language of fashion- mostly drawn from fashion magazines (no internet or World Wide Web then!) as a case study to analyse a system of signs, not linguistically based. It was not a great sensation- it was mixed with patchy reviews, some reviewers thought the work and its subject frivolous while others recognised his attempt at engagement with the everyday and what would now be called “the street scene”. At its heart was his theory that fashion is a complex code determined by very many social cues, and it produces not just clothing or an image of women, but an abstract notion of ‘fashion’ itself. Be warned though, it’s a little dated- and that’s not surprising for a book written nearly five decades ago.
A much more interesting read is “Fetish: Fashion, Sex & Power” by Valerie Steele. As you may guess by the title, this book explores the S&M trend that now and then comes up strong on the runways with lace and leather corsets from Balmain and Pucci and considersa deeper psychological significance being at play here. It looks at subcultures and their origins and even mentions my favourite actress Diana Rigg (currently in Game of Thrones) when she dressed in a leather cat suit as Emma peel in the 1960s’ hit TV show “The Avengers”. The book uses interviews, case studies, and anecdotes, and traces a shift in attitudes towards sexuality to the extent that even modest middle-aged women will consider leather studded stilettos and outfits that would in the past be declared racy or super-sexy.
Colin McDowell’s “The Literary Companion to Fashion” is an entertaining and well-written journey that explores the role of dress in popular literature. As one of the world’s foremost fashion historians, you would expect detail and depth. McDowell’s source materials span over 400 years and includes snippets of literary classic books from Ovid, Malcolm X, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, Jean Genet, and Bret Easton Ellis to name a few. McDowell draws out the roles that fashion played at the times the works were written, particularly in terms of power and maintaining or developing social class hierarchies.
Finally “Adorned in Dreams:Fashion & Modernity” by Elizabeth Wilson in which she explores and analyses the use of fashion as a subversive statement. For example think flower-power fashion and anti-war/peace movements in the 1960s, or the punk movement which combined music, fashion and attitude. The section on David Beckham and the evolution of the era of the metrosexual is particularly insightful. Well worth a read- but we need more in-depth books on the fashion industry please!

The Year of the Orchid

Are you wearing Radiant Orchid this year? No? Well according to fashionistas and Pantone, you should be! Colour experts Pantone decided at the end of last year that the colour of the year for 2014 was going to be a modern, captivating shade of purple called Radiant Orchid. Quick go check your wardrobe and see if you have that colour anywhere there! If you come across something that is Emerald, then, I have to say, that is so last year darling: Pantone’s 2013 colour of the year was Emerald!
Do you want to know how they arrived at Emerald last year and Radiant Orchid this year? Here is the thinking: Emerald served as a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity, appropriate for 2013 as the seeds of economic recovery were seen to be growing stronger. In contrast, Radiant Orchid reaches across the Pantone colour wheel to intrigue the eye and spark the imagination. It’s an invitation to innovation- the vibrancyencourages expanded creativity and originality, which is (and always should be) increasingly valued in today’s society. Radiant orchid can best be described as a rich fusion of bright and enchanting fuchsia, purple, and a subtle pink injection as an undertone. If Pantone are to be believed it inspires in the wearer (and those around) confidence, joy, love and health, as you are drawn in by its beguiling charm.
But of course, the colour of the year is not all about clothes. We have seen it everywhere- soft furnishings, cameras, key-rings, pendants, ear-rings, lightshades, in fact everything apart from automobiles. It’s just a shade too vibrant for car manufacturers to licence the colour- although personally, I’d have liked to seen it adopted by the Mercedes Formula 1 Team this year- better than that boring old silver colour they used last year and this. Pantone have their own proposals for how it could be worn:
“This multi-faceted hue is seductive when combined with red and pairs well with its sister shades of lavender, purple and pink, which provides an assortment of lipstick and blush options. Radiant Orchid’s exuberance also acts as a brilliant finishing touch to nails.”
Not everyone agrees. Some fashion commentators have said that the colour is three decades out of date- it would have been fine for the mid 1980s to accompany Prince’s Purple Rain period and Cyndi Lauper’s kooky lipstick.
So who are Pantone anyway?Pantone began as a commercial printing company in the 1950s. In 1956, they hired Lawrence Herbert who used his chemistry knowledge to systematize and simplify the company’s stock of pigments and production of coloured inks. He subsequently purchased the company’s technological assets from his employers and renamed them “Pantone”.
The company’s primary products include the Pantone Guides, which consist of a large number of small (approximately 6×2 inches or 15×5 cm) thin cardboard sheets, printed on one side with a series of related colour swatches and then bound into a small “fan deck”.
The idea behind the colour matching system is to allow designers to “colour match” specific colours when a design enters production stage, regardless of the equipment used to produce the colour. This system has been widely adopted by graphic designers and reproduction and printing houses. Some complaint that it has become a monopoly by stealth!
Pantone colours are described by their allocated number. For example in January 2003, the Scottish Parliament debated a petition to refer to the blue in the Scottish flag as “Pantone 300” in order to ensure consistency and standardisation whenever the flag was reproduced on paper etc.

A Short Piece on Shorts

Shorts. They look great on ladies no matter whether they are skin-tight distressed denim or cotton-rich 1950’s throwbacks. But on blokes. Oh dear. There is a perilously thin line to be trod between acceptable and excruciating. While a pair of below the knee camo shorts for splashing around in Ibiza is ok, they make you look like a douchebag in Piccadilly Circus.
Do you remember that back in the 1970s fashion designers tried to introduce a new breed of suit. Quality material, quality stitching, good colours, charcoal, black, navy, cream and pin-stripe… but with short trousers. I think they sold three sets in the next two months before they were withdrawn. The thing is that blokes can look like right royal pillocks in shorts. Doesn’t matter if you are Adonis-like or spend five days a week at the gym. A hairy leg is a hairy leg. And if you have foot wear with the shorts- disaster! Socks? Sandals? Brogues? No- maybe some crocs or flip-flops. But then again- this is a country where rain is more likely than sunshine, so you’re already betting against the odds by wearing shorts.
Ok. Let’s try to help. You are a grown man, not a schoolboy and so there is straight away a danger that you will look like you are trying to turn back the clock to your long and distant past. You have got to be forthright and firm and not look guilty about walking around in public with half a trouser-leg missing.
I would go for khaki or camo or navy blue cargo-type shorts in cotton that finish either just above or just below the knee. Match with a tee or a shirt in a heavier fabric of a different colour. As a man, never ever wear shorts in light blue or denim unless you want to pull a guy or are doing it for a bet. The more pockets the shorts have, the better. Pockets hint at grenades, guns, a Taser, girls telephone numbers, and of course you only really have a hanky, a wallet, your phone and car keys there, but that’s your secret.
Next up- do you iron your shorts or have them looking creased and crumpled? Tricky. A light ironing will do the job. But please no razor-sharp creases. Don’t go for shorts that are too tight. You may be able to get away with skinny jeans if you are under 18 and well fit, but skinny shorts? Think again. Also the opposite will have people guffawing if you pass them in a breeze, like a mini galleon in full sail. Flap somewhere else.
Did I say don’t wear denim shorts? The only denim shorts you can get away with are jet black denim shorts with rivets and pockets. They may look ok when matched with designer trainers and a bright rock-group vest. On a beach. Abroad. And during the day, not of an evening.
Socks. No. If you must have something on your tootsies, then have those invisible mini socks. Shoe-wise you can go for pumps, canvas deck shoes or something similar. Nothing leather. No Doctor Martens. And no sandals. Ever!

Emma Watson: From Hogwarts Hermione Heroine to Fashion Icon

Emma Watson sprung to our consciousness-at-large as Hermione Granger in the film adaptations of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series of books. But, like many before her, she has successfully managed to make that transition across to become a watched style icon as well; and it is always good to have two strings to your bow.
Emma turned heads a few weeks ago at the world-renown Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where she turned heads wearing a candy pink Narciso Rodriguez outfit and nude sandals. The Tribeca Film Festival is the film festival that was founded in 2002 by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, reportedly in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre and the consequent loss of vitality in the Tribeca neighbourhood in Lower Manhattan. It has a noble mission:
“To enable the international film community and the general public to experience the power of film by redefining the film festival experience.”
So how did Emma make the transition from sidekick conjuror to style icon?
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson (to give her full name) was cast as Hermione at the age of nine, having, remarkably, previously acted only in school plays. She went on to star in all eight Harry Potter films, alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. Her work on the Harry Potter series has earned her several awards and (it is estimated) more than £10 million.
The modelling? She made her modelling debut for Burberry’s autumn/winter campaign in 2009. She also appeared in Burberry’s 2010 Spring/Summer.She received an estimated six-figure fee for this. Emma continued her involvement in fashion advertising when she announced she had been chosen as the face of Lancôme in March 2011. Just three years later in October 2013, she was voted Sexiest Female Movie Star in a worldwide poll conducted by the infamous and influential movie magazine- Empire magazine. The next year in May 2014, BuzzFeed dubbed her the “most flawless woman of the decade”. That would have the fashion houses continuing to queue up to lure her to their sides.
But Emma’s involvement with fashion is more than a flirt or a financial fiesta. In September 2009, she declared her involvement with People Tree, a Fair Trade fashion brand. She worked as an unpaid creative advisor for People Tree to produce a spring line of clothing, which was released in February 2010. She freely admitted that competition to develop, represent and market the range was almost non-existent but she did it because:
“Fashion is a great way to empower people and give them skills; rather than give cash to charity you can help people by buying the clothes they make and supporting things they take pride in. I think young people like me are becoming increasingly aware of the humanitarian issues surrounding fast fashion and want to make good choices but there aren’t many options out there.”
She’s also on record as having said that in some her previous red carpet appearances she has displayed what some may call a rather naïve approach to fashion, but that she is proud to have been herself, and worn what she thought she liked and looked good in and not what other people thought.

Our Favourite Style Secrets From The Stylists Themselves

Stylists like to create the impression that the clothes they put their clients and themselves in are all high fashion and highly expensive items. But their real talents lie in finding items of clothing that are really stylish but aren’t going to make a major dent on your bank balance. Here we are taking a look at some of the top stylist’s fashion secrets and trends that are actually shoppable.

Shop In The Men’s Section
If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in the women’s section then perhaps you have to cross that line into menswear. Wearing your boyfriend’s jeans or shirt are particularly big trends this season and you might even find that it is a great place to shop for accessories too, especially if you are looking for something a little oversized than the usual petite women’s accessories.

Embrace Multiple Prints
Often people become overwhelmed when they start to mix and match several prints but don’t worry about the consequences and don’t hold back. One of the best places to experiment with this style is at festivals as the majority of people will be in a good mood or out of their mind and you’ll be able to see how your outfit goes down in public.

Wait For The Sales
Usually when we see something new and shiny the desire to buy it becomes overwhelming. How many of us have tricked ourselves into believing our lives would be complete as long as we had a piece of clothing or a new bag. Unless the item you are literally looking at is the last one in stock and the end of the line, we’d suggest taking your time making the decision and even waiting till the sales happen. This way you will not only make a more educated decision and could save yourself some big buck too.

Team Birkenstocks With Leather
Birkenstocks might not have been the coolest footwear over the years but now they are finally having their time. To create a chic and casual look try teaming a pair of them with leather – a jacket or trousers.

Statement Sunglasses
A lot of people wear sunglasses to hide away their hung-over or puffy eyes but lets not forget that sunglasses are a fashion accessory and can be a great way to make a style statement. So don’t just choose another pair of sunglasses that will make you blend into the crowd and instead opt for more of a statement pair.

Wardrobes Are For Clothes You Love, Not Like
How many of us have infinite wardrobe space or a purse to match our spending desires? Not many that’s for sure. Therefore when you are buying clothes it is pretty important to buy clothes you love rather than those you simply just like or have settled with. Yes we’d like to bring home everything from a shop but if you fill up your wardrobe with average clothes then you aren’t going to have a good time getting ready.

Find Health And Mind Rejuvenation At Best Day Spa In Chennai

Stress and anxiety have become common parts of our lives these days. We find immense work pressure and haphazard scheduling in our professional sector. That leads to problems in personal lives too, as we cannot give adequate time to family members or partner or kids. To get the finest relief from stress and anxiety, few relaxing as well as rejuvenating sessions at the Best Day Spa in Chennai is recommended. Different spa centers offer different kinds of traditional as well as contemporary body massaging sessions. Dry spa means spa sessions without involvement of essential oil and water. This type of spa is based on fragrance therapies. Natural fragrances of fresh herbs, spices and flowers bring relaxation for mind as well body.
Undergoing a few sessions at the Best Day Spa in Chennai will rejuvenate your mind as well as body. Stress or anxiety will be healed, and idleness of body will fade out. You shall find yourself to be mental positive as well as focused and at the same time physically strong as well energetic. Missing happiness will get back into your life. Boredom shall be omitted, as you shall start feeling rejuvenated as well as relaxed. Dry spa is highly recommended for everyone, irrespective of age and gender.

Technology Behind Memory Foam Mattress

Among all the mattresses, memory foam mattress is the top rate mattress. During the last twenty years the memory foam mattress has transformed from a highly priced product which was a novelty to an easily affordable mattress. This also has gained popularity during the recent times. This was possible due to the revolution that has taken place in the field of comfort and technology. Visco elastic memory foam was the beginning of memory foam mattresses. The present day memory foam was slowly developed from this. A memory foam mattress was originally designed in order to deflect the effects that occur due to the gravitational pull. They were initially used for the products that were used by astronauts. Later on realizing the commercial scope of the material it was produced and released for public use. These mattresses have distinct use. They offer pressure point relief. Using this material in the mattress is known to support the back and the spine alignment of a person. They are also known to prevent pain from occurring and are also helpful in relieving the pain that is already being experienced. Using a memory foam mattress, one can sleep in different positions as they see comfortable.

Busting Stress With Ayurvedic Massaging At Massage Center In Pondicherry

Pondicherry, famous Indian beach town, is famous for many reasons. It has some exotic as well as pristine beaches, nestling perfectly amidst scenic natural surroundings. The place is perfect for a relaxing vacation with spouse, partner and family members. Most importantly, you can add more calmness and energetic charms to your trip to this beach town by opting for the services at massage center in Pondicherry.

Traditional Ayurvedic massaging is the hidden treasure of India, and this treasure is nourished as well as nurtured at Pondicherry. With physical massaging, you can be benefitted in different ways. Mainly, massaging is considered as highly stress killing agent, as relaxes your nerve and bring calmness to your mind. It aims to normalize blood flow throughout the body. As a result, you shall feel more energized.

Stress is a part and parcel of modern living or lifestyle. Tremendous work load, troubles in maintaining personal relationships and competition with others are considered as main reasons behind stress body as well as mind. Stress leads to various physical complications. From digestive malfunction to heart diseases, stress has the gravest impact on our body.

To release stress and to gain back positive or energetic frame of mind as well as body, you need to undergo massage center in Pondicherry.