Makeup: Love It, Hate It, Can’t Create It

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with makeup. I love how you can transform yourself by applying a few powders and creams to your face. I love how stunning makeup can add an extra layer to a runway show. I love how so many men and women and nonbinary folks use makeup to express themselves creatively. I hate how terrible I am at it.

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Instagram star Rin (@gothfruits) always has super bright, fun makeup looks.

My complete lack of makeup abilities have been weighing on me a lot lately, especially because I follow so many beautiful, talented people who do incredible makeup on Instagram. I see their stellar looks every day and with every look I see, my desire to know how to do makeup increases. I’ll sometimes even sit in front of a mirror and smudge my face with whatever makeup I can scrounge from my own meager collection, trying to improve my nonexistent skill.

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Shoutout to my high school self who loved taking pictures at the mall and wearing eyeliner on just the bottom lid!

I attribute my utter lack of knowledge and until recently, interest, in makeup to my upbringing. As a young girl, I was not allowed to wear makeup at all. My mother finally gave in when I started high school, and at that point, all of my peers had already grown out of the awkward, terrible, I’m-still-learning-how-to-do-this phase of makeup because they had been wearing it all through middle school. So I stuck to the basics. Brown eyeliner pencil on the bottom lid, a metric ton of foundation (to cover my acne, of course) and mascara. No blush, no highlight, no contour (something that wouldn’t really become popular until later), no lipstick, and especially no eyeshadow and no eyeliner on the top lid. Ever.

Now, every time I try to do makeup, I just feel foolish and like I’m not doing anything right. And I can’t, for the life of me, figure out how to apply eyeshadow. I have no instinct for it. It just ends up looking like I have two black eyes or like I indiscriminately smudged some dirt in my eye area. It’s sad, and something I’m afraid I might not overcome.

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Instagrammer Madison Anne (@madisonnnanne) uses her artistic abilities to create masterful looks.

Another thing about makeup that I struggle with is the patriarchal aspect of it. I know that many women do it for themselves, but the concept of makeup is rooted in a place of inequality. Men are fine the way they are, while women have to plaster on an entirely new face. You may not think this still applies, but it does. In a business class I was taking last semester, the professor was giving tips on how men and women should dress for job interviews and said that women MUST wear makeup, so it looks like they put effort into their look. It shocks me that these standards are still widely accepted in our culture.

There’s also the gross concept of “taking her swimming on the first date,” because men are afraid a woman isn’t actually beautiful without makeup. Or the double standard that men want a woman who is “naturally beautiful” and doesn’t wear much makeup, but think a woman looks sick and tired if she’s wearing none at all. It’s tiresome, and at times I feel like I don’t want to play into that hand.

But I do like the art of it, as I do with fashion. And, unarguably, one of the best makeup artists in the business is Pat McGrath, who has created so many iconic looks for iconic designers over the years.

Overall, I have a very complicated relationship with the concept of makeup, and maybe I’ll just have to get over the fact that I’ll never be great at it. Or maybe I’ll put the work in and learn. Or maybe I’ll just stay the girl I’ve been forever, someone who doesn’t really care much about it and wears a bare face almost every day.

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Instagram artist, Juliana Horner (@claropsyche) creates beautiful eye art. 

In the end, it doesn’t matter what I think about makeup or what anyone else thinks. Makeup is a fun way to transform yourself temporarily and in that respect, it will always be a positive art form. Now we just need to remove all of the expectations and standards put on women attached to makeup and we’ll really be in business.

Bare and Beautiful,

Anna

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Fashion Week Favorites: Off-White

Although I was too young to really know her before she died, I am still familiar with Princess Diana, as everyone should be. She’s an iconic cultural symbol, and one that the world still mourns the loss of. It was recently the 20th anniversary of her death, and one designer set out to celebrate her style legacy.

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Princess Diana was known for being extremely elegant and fashionable. Virgil Abloh used her looks as inspiration for his collection.

Virgil Abloh of Off-White centered the entire spring/summer 2018 collection around the late princess and her off-duty looks. She was known for always being fashionable and elegant, something everyone seems to cite when criticizing or praising Kate Middleton.

I personally thought the collection had a lot of fun shapes and colors and I loved the play between casual wear and formal wear. One of my favorite moments of this collection was the concept of the models wearing trainers (sneakers) and carrying their glass slippers, as it represented the switch between casual and formal that Princess Diana had to constantly maneuver.

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A look that was a play off the famous V-neck dress she was photographed in while dancing with John Travolta. (Photo: Luca Tombolini / Indigital.tv)

When talking about the collection, Abloh explained he was interested in the literal and figurative meaning of the Princess. “It’s the variance between imagining her living now, with me iterating on what she meant,” he said.

One trend I’ve been seeing a ton this season and that I hope to incorporate into my style: monochromatic looks. It just looks so clean and simple, playing into the more widespread trend of minimalist fashion. Off-White had a lot of these simple looks in fun pastels and graceful black.

Here are my favorite looks from the collection:

Peace and Princesses,

Anna

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My Wardrobe Favorites

Hey everyone! Although I’m very interested in the world of fashion and style, I don’t often talk about my own tastes or how I apply fashion to my own life. Well, there’s a first time for everything, and this is it!

Over the years, I’ve amassed a gigantic and eclectic wardrobe with pieces from every part of the style spectrum. I shop mainly on the sales rack or at thrift stores, as, sadly, I do not make a ton of money (yet!).

Please excuse the amateur photography and the Lady Gaga-centric decor in this part of my room. Here are just a few of my pieces that I come back to again and again:

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  1. Oversized Denim Shirt – Thrifted (Goodwill)Let’s start off simple with a classic staple: the denim shirt. I got this nice piece from my local goodwill for a couple of bucks, and it has served me well. It works as a casual, hip, urban-feeling cover up/jacket for any outfit. It’s a great layering piece since denim pretty much goes with everything. It also never goes out of style and the older and more worn it is, the cooler it looks. It’s just an all-around winner!

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  2. Grey, Ribbed Mock-Neck Top- Thrifted (Goodwill)Another thrifted basic. When I first got this shirt, I wore it allllll the time because it was so simple and versatile, there was basically no way to go wrong. It’s also flatteringly fitted, so that’s a plus as well. Although I’ve had it for years, I still find myself reaching for this top more than I do some of my others because of how reliably good it is. I just haven’t been able to go wrong with it yet!

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  3. Plaid, Peplum, Tie-back Top- ZaraThis is one I neither got at the thrift store, nor on the sale rack (an incredibly rare occurrence in my wardrobe). When I browse in Zara, I usually don’t find anything too interesting, but this caught my eye right away. I love very preppy, school uniform-esque  looks, so the plaid pattern and the cute, oversized shape drew me in. You can dress it up or down and looks great with pants or shorts. Overall, it honestly just fits my aesthetic.

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  4. Oversized Skyline Sweater- Thrifted (Goodwill)This, ladies and gentlemen, is my all-time favorite thrift find. True fact: I have received a compliment every time I have worn it. It’s like magic. What’s not to love about this piece? It’s got charm, it’s quirky, it’s unique. I just can’t believe I stumbled upon it in the men’s outerwear section at my local Goodwill. You’ll never know when you’ll strike treasure, so you should always be on the lookout! I just style this simply, and sometimes when it’s cold, wear a puffy vest over it for some extra layers and warmth.

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  5. Vintage-y, Pilgram-y, Pirate-y, Sailor-y Blouse- Thrifted (Savers)I don’t get very many opportunities to pop this sucker on (Texas is hot!), but when I do, boy it’s a look. Like I’ve said before, I really love preppy looks and this certainly falls into that category. The fun square bib collar thing has strong nautical vibes, so I feel like the long-lost romantic interest of a naval officer from the ’50s or something. All I had to do was cut the shoulder pads out and it was ready to go. I usually style it tucked into a skirt, as it is pretty long, and the long sleeves contrast really well with a shorter skirt.

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  6. Teddy Bear Coat- Thrifted (Buffalo Exchange)Now, I did pay a pretty penny for this coat, since I picked it up at Buffalo Exchange, but I’m not mad about it. The texture and color of the coat are so fun and adorable! I always feel like a stuffed animal while I’m wearing it. It is a huge statement piece, so I don’t get the opportunity to wear it often. It spices up pretty much any run-of-the-mill outfit and takes it to the next level. I would style this with a band T-shirt and ripped jeans, or even a nice dress for an extra- fancy look. Sometimes it feels great to step out of the box and get noticed!

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  7. Classic Reeboks- Urban OutfittersI had a long debate with myself as to whether or not I should buy these shoes when I found them on sale in Buffalo Exchange. I am so glad I decided to pony up the $36! I haven’t had them for too long but they’re already well-worn because I wear these shoes literally on the daily. They are just so versatile and go with everything! Not to mention comfortable, and also currently on-trend as everyone is starting to pick up classic Reeboks, Adidas and New Balance shoes. If you ever see some of these on sale (or heck, even full price!) I would highly recommend them!

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  8. Glitter Sock Boots- AsosHad to end things with a bang! A pop! A sizzle! These boots add so much flavor to any outfit. If I feel like something is too bland, I just pop them on and go about my day. Not to mention they are comfortable (surprisingly). I love all things glittered, sequined and shining, so when I saw glittery sock boots hitting the market, I instantly began to lust after them. I display these babies on my bookcase like they’re decor because they’re just so dang fun to look at. Not to mention they remind me of my all-time favorite musician, Lady Gaga!

These were just a few of my favorites from my huge wardrobe, so I’ll probably show off more pieces in the future and add pictures of them styled. I’m excited to get more personal with you guys, so let me know if you have any other ideas for how I can share my personal fashion journey!

To see my outfits and other random parts of my day-to-day life, follow my instagram @startorial.

Sincerely,

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Anna

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Fashion Week Favorites: Gucci

Let’s be honest, when is Gucci not one of my favorites? One of these days I’m going to get around to writing a full-length post about why I like Gucci so much, but that day is not today. Let’s talk about Spring/Summer 2018!

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Michele’s eclectic aesthetic was on full display at the show. (Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv)

Gucci used to be one of those brands that made my eyes roll into the back of my skull because it was the kind of brand that got name-dropped by rappers for street cred. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure they still do that, but now I appreciate the brand much more since its recent rebooting.

Gucci is wonderfully weird, quaintly quirky and plain ol’ iconic. Ever since Alessandro Michele took the reigns of the much-revered fashion house in 2015, they’ve been churning out season after season of fashion gold. With Michele at the helm, Gucci has grown exponentially and has become the most successful luxury brand on the market.

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This look from Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2018 show blends classic styles from the past to create a new, trendy look. (Photo: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv)

This season, Gucci is… kind of all over the place. Michele’s eclecticism exploded not only in the looks coming down the runway, which ranged from bright pink clownish bodysuits to delicate sheer dresses to music note embroidered suits, but also in the show itself, which featured a lot of vintage relics and even mummies sitting in the audience.

Michele melds together fashion from the past, present and future to create looks that seem as though they are a hybrid between extremely chic vintage and things you might find in your grandmother’s closet. It has charm. It leaves the impression that fashion really is whatever you want it to be and that fashion, forever, will always be a meshing of styles from different times, cultures and genders.

Even if you’re not a fan of the way the looks are put together, each piece works wonderfully on its own and can be incorporated into anybody’s style. After all, as Michele says, “fashion is full of little things.”

Check out my favorite looks from this collection:

Photos: Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv found at Vogue.

Glitter and Gucci,

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Anna

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Fashion Week Favorites: Juicy Couture

It’s September once again, which means that fashion weeks across the globe are presenting us with what we’ll be wearing in a few months’ time. This year, the most common threads (ha!) woven throughout the collections have been intensely bright color, prints prints prints, swimwear as street wear, and a ton of callbacks to the ’60s.

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Britney Spears in a Juicy Couture tracksuit, a style that was ubiquitous in the early 2000s. Photo: Getty Images

Surprisingly for me, Juicy Couture was one of the first collections to catch my eye this season. I was never a huge fan of the brand that was made famous by their candy-colored velour tracksuits that dominated the early 2000s.

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Where’s the velour? A trendy tracksuit from their new collection that plays into the prominent athleisure trend without relying on Juicy Couture’s old calling card. Photo: Juicy Couture

For a while, it seemed like they had disappeared off the fashion map, as the tracksuits, their main calling card, lost their appeal. But over the past couple of years, they’ve slowly been climbing back up to the land of the relevant and let me tell you folks, I am here for it.

Their Spring/Summer 2018 collection introduced some whimsical, preppy looks that would be at home at a cinematic, fantastical game of croquet. It also nodded to its iconic suit, without it being the focus of the show.

Overall, the collection photographed beautifully and the mood of the setting (a lush rooftop party) only served to emphasize and highlight the dreamy, rich, high-class vibes of the collection.

My favorite look was the all white one with the poofy dress, which reminded me of an old petticoat. The crispness and fancifulness of the look immediately caught my attention and sucked me into the rest of the collection, which didn’t disappoint.

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My personal favorite from the collection. Such a fun and crisp look with just enough whimsy to suck me into the rest of the stellar collection. Photo: Juicy Couture

The best part of the collection is that Juicy Couture is relatively affordable compared to most of the other designers showing this month, so you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on their wares in the coming months (better start saving for that white dress now…).

For now, I’m totally stealing the white shoes white crew socks combo.

Joy and Juicy Couture,

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Anna

Check out some of my other favorite looks from the Juicy Couture Spring/Summer 2018 collection below. What’s your favorite look? Leave a comment and let me know!

All images found on the Vogue website.

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First Day of the Rest of My Semester

Well, it’s that time of year again. College students everywhere are soaking up their last drops of summer and waving goodbye to whatever freedom they felt they had while packing up and getting in cars and driving or flying to wherever their colleges/universities may be. For me, I am saying goodbye to the last summer I will ever have as a student. After I graduate in spring, I’ll be an actual bonafide adult that doesn’t get to pretend that responsibility doesn’t exist when class isn’t in session. Sure, I’ve had internships, but that’s not the same as a 9-5 job for which you are paid a modest salary.

Anyways, as the days draw closer and closer to my graduation,  I feel more and more pressure to finally decide what I want to do with my life. Because everyone has been asking that since I was like sixteen, right? So what do you want to do with your life?

I still don’t know.

I’m currently studying public relations and I’m just not sure I want to do this kind of thing for the rest of my life. And that’s okay, isn’t it? What we choose to study for four years during our youth shouldn’t determine our life course, should it?

Sometimes I feel like it does and I feel a little discouraged. I want to work in fashion, but maybe PR isn’t my thing. So what’s left for me? I can’t sew, can’t model and don’t have the experience or skills to do photography or photo editing. I know that’s not all there is in the industry but those are the most visible jobs and also the hardest to get.

This semester is throwing me into all new situations, though. I am working as a learning assistant for one of my PR professors, who is letting me be the main editor and content curator for our class blog. I am going to apply to work at the university-run fashion magazine. I’m going to start looking for actual fashion internships. Maybe these things will actually lead to some sort of ignition of passion. Maybe not. I guess either way, it will be an enlightening experience.

Here’s to hoping that this semester will bring some revelations and maybe help me determine what the next steps in my life will be. For now, goodnight. Because I have to be up really early for my job that starts at 8am. Wish me luck!

Hopefully Yours,

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Anna

Fashion Moment: Skate Culture & YSL Stiletto Roller Skates

I recently visited my local roller rink for the first time in a couple of years and for the first time ever on adult-only night.

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From my last visit to the rink. Yes, I was sweaty, but everyone was. I also love that classic neon look that most rinks have.

Normally, roller rinks are jam-packed with families and children who tumble in front of you and crowd the rink with the roller skating version of bowling bumpers (these strange PVC pipe contraptions that look like walkers with wheels on the bottom) and it becomes hard, at times, to fully enjoy the experience and truly let go.

But the rink becomes something else entirely on adult-only night, a place for experienced skaters to come and let loose without being worried about bowling over any youngsters that may fall within their path. And, as I noticed, it becomes a medium for self expression in the form of skating style and wardrobe choices.

As an outsider to the sport, I didn’t think that roller skating still had a strong place in today’s culture. I always envisioned the height of skating to be either the ’50s, where buxom women were skating their way through diners with a trays of malts and fries, or the ’70s, when roller disco clubs were the place to be, with everyone in shiny halter tops and flashy bell bottoms.

Attending one night of adult-only skating completely obliterated this belief from my mind. The roller skating subculture is so vibrant and alive, I was inspired by the passion diversity I saw there. Some women fully embraced the spirit of the sport and wore color-coordinated outfits with short shorts and crop tops, or gave a nod to the classic style with extreme bell bottoms. Some guys broke free from normal conventions of male style and wore short denim cutoffs. I saw custom skates, people with rented skates, skates of all colors, shapes, sizes and price ranges.

My friend, who regularly attends adult-only skate night, explained that these skaters are usually the best of the best, and that most of the regulars know each other. It was truly a community that I had no idea existed. My friend also explained to me the different types of skating, there was jam skating, rhythm skating, speed skating and something she and her dad dubbed “gospel” skating, where people skated slowly and rhythmically in a group.

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Beyonce in her “Blow” music video that incorporated a lot of skating and skating style. If you haven’t seen it, I highly suggest you do. Great song, even better video.

It was fascinating. I had just as much fun watching the patrons and their skating, style and interactions as I did actually skating (or in my case, blading, because I grew up on roller blades). By the end of the night, I found myself incredibly invigorated to be around these people in their natural element and even wanted to become one of them.

I also fell in love with the skate aesthetic. There is something inherently exciting, sexy, romantic and just plain cool  about somebody on roller skates. Beyonce’s “Blow” music video immediately comes to mind. Just the image of a skate imparts a sense of freedom and possibility, as the movement is more effortless than other forms of transportation like walking or biking.

That’s why I was excited to see Yves Saint Laurent’s recent take on the roller skate, which I ran into coincidentally while surfing the web a day or two after going skating.

Although they actually look like the physical embodiment of a broken ankle, they have that energetic vibe that the skating scenes of the past and present evoke. They also play into YSL and Saint Laurent’s new, edgier vibe.

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That heel! YSL’s daring stiletto roller skates. They seem just romantic and badass enough to want to risk my ankle bones. Would you give them a go?

Would you wear these death wishes? For around $2000, you can. I might put them on just to see how impractical they are. But hey, I’ll be the first one to say that fashion isn’t always about wearability. It’s art, and these beauties would probably be best as display pieces.

Let me know if you’d like me to explore more aspects and avenues of skate fashions, I’d be happy to get lost down that rabbit hole!

Check out more of the skates below.

Love and Lace-up Roller Skates,

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Anna

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Brands I Love: Area NYC

In a world where most of us are scrolling through dashboards on various social media sites several times per day (or at least once), it has become a challenge for brands to cut through the “clutter” and leave a lasting impression. And although I am completely inundated with ads and photographs of fashion lines and editorials daily, one brand manages to catch my attention and stop my scroll dead in its tracks every time: Area NYC.

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From the Area NYC spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear collection. One of the reasons I love this brand is their distinctive photography that portrays women as goddesses and power-creatures. 

Since it’s a small, up-and-coming brand, you may not have heard of it, but it’s been turning heads in the industry with its 90s aesthetics and trash-to-treasure chic vibes, one that started because Piotrek Panszczyk, one half of Area’s designing duo, borrowed leftover fabrics from the graduate collection of Beckett Fogg, the other half. The two met while studying for their masters at Parsons School of Design and founded a brand together to escape losing themselves in other labels.

The borrowed fabric, an embossed leather, started a tradition that is central to the label’s aesthetic and has been utilized in every line since. Along with fabrics, the duo also recycles trends, resurrecting 90s styles and 70s disco looks, making them cool again.

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Fogg (right) and Panszczyk (left). Photo from the Area NYC website.

Besides the obvious appeal of the trendy, glamorous 70s clubwear-inspired looks (the name “Area” even pays homage to a famous 70s disco club), the brand is always beautifully photographed. Dreamy, sparkling and divine. the models look almost alien, with never-ending limbs and perfectly smooth hair. This aesthetic probably comes from the designers’ belief in portraying women as goddesses and power-creatures, beautiful, otherworldly and overall, in-control.

I think that this power duo has a unique vision and aesthetic and has a great future ahead of them in the industry. I’ll be sure to keep watch, savoring their artistry and photography and maybe pinning a few of their luscious shots to my wall. I’m exited to see what else they churn out in the future!

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A sexy, embossed-leather jumpsuit. This is one of my favorite photos of theirs because the woman exudes confidence and mysteriousness. From their Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear collection.

Here are some of my favorite looks from their various collections:

 

Glitter and Goddesses,

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Anna

Fashion as Fantasy

What is the point of fashion? A lot of people who are not in the know about fashion will ask this question. My heart shrivels a bit every time I hear “who would ever war that?” That’s almost like asking “who would ever look at that?” to a painting. It’s a ridiculous notion.

I’ve explained one too many times that it’s not about marketability or wearability or what you like. It doesn’t have to look at home on the stiff mannequins that occupy mall windows. It’s about way more than those practical things. It’s about art. It’s about fantasy.

What got me into fashion to begin with was the editorial shoots and how I saw entire lives in the pictures. As a natural storyteller, the shoots are like fodder for my hungry imagination. I wonder who the woman is, why she is in that place, where she will end up next. A world is built around outfits and makeup and set, which is an impressive feat for the photographers, models and creative directors involved.

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Where was she going? Who was she meeting? What kind of life was she waiting for? What became of her after this moment?                               PHOTOGRAPHER: CASS BIRD
MODELS: ANDREEA DIACONU, OTHILIA SIMON
STYLING: VÉRONIQUE DIDRY
HAIR: TAMARA McNAUGHTON
MAKE UP: FRANK B

So, I fell in love.

Over time, my love evolved into a love of clothing, because there were stories there, too. I ask, what kind of girl would wear this? In my movie universe I imagine who I could be if I was wearing a certain piece and I gravitate toward things I feel exert an idea of a personality or express some kind of inexpressible feeling.

Now, I almost can’t imagine not seeing clothes in this way. I can’t understand those that just put something on because they have to. I can’t understand owning a wardrobe devoid of any story pieces that have bits of art and soul sewn into the seams.

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What kind of character would wear these clothes? Why? What feeling does it portray? Do you want to be her? (Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2017)

Without clothes, I feel I would not tell the complete story of myself. And I absolutely believe that fashion is an art form just as valid as any other. So I implore people to stop asking who would ever wear a piece and start looking for the story within it, the story that the designer, no doubt, conjured in their mind and painstakingly brought to life through clothes. After all, the clothes come first, then the editorials. So, they must provide some inspiration, hold some power over the observer, or they wouldn’t be the star of the show.

 

Artfully Yours,

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Anna

Acne Vulgaris is Making its Fashion Debut

When you think of beauty and style, a face full of acne is not exactly what comes to mind. Or is it?

Moto Guo, a Malaysian designer, made his Milan Fashion Week debut with a menswear collection full of soft frills, pastels, schoolboy charm and… acne. In a girlish, whimsical collection that already stood out among the strong focus on business looks, the makeup choices just served to further highlight the quirky charms of this collection.

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Acne as a makeup look at Moto Guo’s Spring/Summer 2017 menswear collection.

Real talk for a minute: As a person who has suffered with acne since the onset of my young adulthood, I actually really appreciate someone highlighting this look on the runway. Most of us want to ignore acne, want to cover it, revile it, are made fun of for it. But, for just a singular show, a mere moment, it was trendy and glamorous and people actually looked at it.

I hate how much stigma acne has because it’s SO common. We go throughout our lives hating our own faces because it doesn’t live up to society’s blemish-free standards. So, even if it was just one show, and even though most people may not have even liked it, acne had a moment and people saw it and acknowledged it.

I can only hope that acne continues to gain more exposure so that we might begin to stop the stigma and the low self confidence attached to it. /End rant.

Anyways, aside from the interesting choice to use acne as a *look*, I also absolutely love Moto Guo’s aesthetic and childish whimsy infused with this collection. Soft colors, oversized silhouettes and fun prints definitely bring this collection to life and help it stand out among the sea of traditional menswear. Thanks Moto Guo!

Here are a few of my favorite looks from the show:

Check out the rest of the collection.

Peace and… Pimples,

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Anna