alexander mcqueen | AW2012

I’ve always loved looking at fashion “movies” on YouTube, my favourite being Rodarte’s “The Curve of Forgotten Things” featuring Elle Fanning. We often see fashion depicted in the form of video clips of runway shows, written interviews with designers and photographs of their latest collection, but the dynamic medium of movie-making is one that is both wildly effective and vastly underused. Movies are a delicious infusion of the three most common forms of “digital fashion” that I listed above; it combines elements of animated visual stimulus with various audio supplements, and can be embellished with a multitude of special effects to create an artistic explosion which illustrates a concept more effectively than any individual method. Movies add new dimensions to fashion: context being one of them. Instead of browsing through a series of runway pictures, seeing an animated display of fashion sort of places it in context within the greater scheme of things.

I recently came across AlexanderMcQueen’s A/W 2012 campaign movie, and at first I didn’t know what to think of it. described it as a “trippy fashion rave,” which sounds pretty accurate to me. Directed by David Sims and featuring Suvi Koponen, this psychedelic thrill-ride of electric hues and stop-motion style filming is certainly dizzying, to say the least. It’s unlike any other campaign Alexander McQueen has ever produced, and for a while I was tied between thinking:

1.     “Woah, look at this groundbreaking campaign! McQueen has never been so daring and extraordinary before – this is so awesome!”
2.     “I love the ideas behind this, and it’s definitely an authentic concept, but the video doesn’t really hit the spot.”
3.     “This is crap.”

I’ve attached some screen-grabs of the video, and the link to it is here, so I’ll let you judge this campaign video for yourself.

If you’re curious to know, I finally settled on an opinion regarding this video: It was utterly crap. I hate to say this because I’ll forever hold McQueen close to my heart as one of the best designers of all time, but that video really did suck. Admittedly, I haven’t had the chance to leaf through the collection itself, but as for the video, it was just disappointing – nothing more than a repeated clip of Suvi putting on and taking off a pair of metal goggles against a background of a fluorescent kaleidoscope. Kudos to Team McQueen for being adventurous and trying something new, but that video was laughably monotonous and terribly off-topic. But I still love you, Team McQueen – we all have bad days collections!

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paris - part II

 With every passing hour spent in Paris, I fall more and more in love with the beautiful, stylish city. Not only is it brimming with unbelievably fashion-forward people who seem to treat style as a religion, it’s full of the most stunning architecture and colorful heritage which I’m eager to learn more about. Coming from a concrete jungle of buildings with sleek, modern fa├žades and futuristic design, being surrounded by century-old splendor is a refreshing change I can’t express in words. 
As the pictures suggest, we visited our fair share of touristy places during our trip; Musee D'Orsay, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, check check check check. Hey, it was even Bastille Day during our visit! But even if we hadn't done all those things, I would have been perfectly happy to while away the days by simply roaming around the city, familiarizing myself with the tree-lined avenues, marveling at the overwhelming charm of Paris, and basking in the distinct French culture that the city is lathered in. While simultaneously munching on a crepe, or four. 

This summer was an exceptionally difficult one to pack for. After Paris, we’re due to go town-hopping in various parts of Bretagne for a few days, and then we’re off to Ireland for a week by the sea. I have one tiny suitcase and a weight allowance of 15kg, which I have to make do with for a whole month – including saving space to accommodate my potential overdose on retail therapy. I wanted to bring some stylish pieces to Paris, but I also wanted to dress for comfort and warmth at my other destinations. Therefore, I had to be prudent with what I packed and make sure that everything I brought could work wherever I go: be it on a boat, in a riverside caravan, at the beach, at a nice restaurant, or in one of the world’s capitals of fashion: Paris.

I kept my look simple with a lace top, a decorative necklace, my used-and-abused Longchamp bag which holds practically everything, a smart blazer to de-touristify my look and help me blend in with the Parisians*, and a pair of simple black flats for all the walking we did.

* I swear to God everyone in Paris wears blazers – men included. I’m convinced they each own different blazers to fit every type of weather condition and occasion that could possibly come their way. Blazers are definitely part of the Parisian uniform!  
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guest post: riot grrrl.

 One of the things I’ve been really obsessed with, and am still obsessed with, is the Riot Grrrl feminist music movement of the 90s. During this movement, some of my favorite bands to ever walk the face of earth were started, such as Bikini Kill, Hole, Bratmobile, and Huggy Bear. Bands like these weren’t singing about parties or broken hearts, they were singing about feminism, girl (or should I say, grrrl) power, and strength. They wanted their songs to inspire women and girls to be strong and brave and independent. They wanted their music to empower girls to be themselves and live for themselves, rather than dressing to please their peers and conforming to the standards they didn’t agree with. This was the start of a new wave of feminism, a wave that, in my opinion, is still being ridden even in this generation.

I think Riot Grrrl is really important. I feel like a lot of people thought it was just a fad in the 90s, but because of the Internet, cool people and zines, it has really stuck around. I'm really thankful for blogging, because without it I probably wouldn't have developed a sense of personal style or as much confidence as I have today, or any understanding of feminism or what Riot Grrrl is or who Courtney and Kathleen are. I get really frustrated with those people who are like, "You can't mix feminism and fashion!" because it just shows they know NOTHING ABOUT FEMINISM. 

I definitely acknowledge that people can have different opinions when it comes to defining stuff, but sometimes I feel like people just try to form opinions about topics they aren't familiar with, which just gets annoying. Isn't feminism supposed to encourage girls/women to be comfortable with who they are, and do what makes THEM happy? Hasn't feminism always kind of been like that? Even when the first wave feminists just tried to avoid conforming in all aspects of life, I feel like the underlying foundation of it all was not just to obviously obtain more rights and respect for women, but to also eventually get to this point where women could do what they wanted and what made them happy, without being objectified or judged or labeled or criticized. So these annoying people are all like, "Boo you! Being a feminist and liking fashion and caring about clothes! You fake feminist, go away!" Um, Jake, you butt hole (if you get the reference, I love you) you are stupid. You are clearly the one who isn't a feminist.

I'm a feminist because I'm awesome, and I am who I am and I don't try to change who I am. I think anyone can be a feminist as long as they are unapologetically themselves. I definitely sometimes obsess over embarrassing myself in public and scold myself for being so socially inept, but at the same time, at the end of the day I'm just like "screw it, this is me and I like it" and I think that's important. Being insecure is fine; you can be insecure. I'm insecure. Humans are insecure. But you/girls/people just need to also understand that being you is okay, and I think if a person/women/girl can understand that, even if they are still struggling to be themselves instead of conforming for the approval of others, than they are a feminist.
PS: ALL GENDERS (and all those who don't specify their gender, I forget what it's called) are feminists! Boyz can be feminists! What ho, it's awesome! I think if everyone in the world were a feminist, we wouldn't need feminism in the first place.
Thanks to Eva from Style Wandering for this post - check out her blog here!
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paris - part I

After an exhausting three weeks in the mountains (read about it here!), I barely had a week of R&R back in my own bed before I was off again to Paris! The transatlantic flight was exhausting, but as soon as we left Charles De Gaulle Airport we were absolutely stunned by how beautiful the city was - even from the window of our Airport Shuttle Bus. 

There wasn't a single modern, glassy skyscraper in sight; every building we saw was authentically designed with unique floral patterns engraved in the faded stone fronts; each structure oozing with culture and history. Rows of dainty cafes lined the narrow cobblestone streets, each filled with Parisian women in leather boots and tailored trenchcoats, with their elegant, manicured fingers wrapped around warm lattes. Tree-lined avenues greeted us at every corner, each punctuated with wooden park benches occupied by lovebirds - young and old. Even the streetlamps looked so romantic, even though it was broad daylight. Within minutes of entering the city, I had come to a definite conclusion: The movies were right - Paris is really the city of love. 

After dumping our bags at our conveniently located hotel (on a quiet backstreet of Champs Elysees!), we instantly roamed the nearby streets and acquainted ourselves with the nearest coffee shop - Paul. Food always tastes best when it's made close to home, and Pain au Chocolat has never tasted better!

Apologies for the fluctuations in image quality; I'm using pictures from my digital camera as well as my mom's DSLR, so some images will be of better quality than others. 
2 more Paris posts are coming your way soon!

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ladakh 2012 - eighteen days at altitude.

I still can't believe that less than a week ago I was at an altitude of 6000m in the Himalayan Mountain region, taking ice cold river showers and sleeping in tents and wearing the most unfashionable hiking gear you will ever see. Now I'm back, safe and sound in the comfort of my own home (back at sea level - no more altitude sickness!), with hot running water on demand, lovely home cooked food and all the luxury of high speed internet. From the 17th of June till the 7th of July, I was lucky enough to travel all the way to the sprawling mountains of India along with 50-60 other people in my grade. We did a huge variety of things and it was one of the best trips I've ever taken. Here's a little bit about what we did:
1. Lamdon School Homestay
pictures of lamdon school by isabel
Our school has a very close relationship with Lamdon School, the best school in all of Ladakh. With the financial help of our school, Lamdon School has grown from a tiny establishment with a few hundred students to a multi-building campus with an impressive student body of 1800, not to mention the 9 additional satellite campuses of Lamdon School that have been opened around the Ladakh region. Our relationship with Lamdon has always proved to be mutually beneficial in the form of an age-old tradition: the 2 night Homestay. 

My best friend Isabel and I partnered up for this leg of the journey, and we packed our bags  for an experience we'd never forget - yet we knew nothing about. We were posted off to go live with a local Ladakhi family; the family of a Lamdon student! It was such an exciting opportunity and I don't think I've ever been fed so much in my life. We lived in their small but absolutely beautiful house, and our Lamdon buddy Sonam was the loveliest girl ever (see a picture of her AMAZING room below!).

(from left to right): Sonam's mom, Isabel, Sonam, Stanzin (Sonam's sister), and Sonam's cousin

9 Day Markha Valley Trek
At the top of Ganda La Pass (5800m in altitude!), marveling at the priceless view (and taking our shirts off....?!)

view from the trek on day 1 - we had NO idea what we were in for.

on one of the practice hikes around leh, ladakh's capital

one of the beautiful inland lakes, up about 4000m in altitude!

isabel and i having hot chocolate in our tent on day 2 - a freezing morning!

 one of the many stunning views we had - check out those snowcapped peaks!

 kim and i lookin' fly!

 the view that i woke up to (literally; this picture was taken from inside my tent!) on the morning of day 5.

ganda la pass

isabel and i before the trek on day 2!

The 9-day trek through various parts of the Indus Valley and the Markha Valley was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. It required not only a huge amount of physical agility and fitness, but a phenomenal amount of psychological strength. Believe me when I say this: Life during those 9 days became so much easier when I realised that putting a smile on my face and having a positive attitude was half the battle won. We walked for up to 12 hours each day, completely unaware of the weather circumstances we'd have to face on any given day. Ladakhi weather is truly bipolar; it could hail for an hour, stay sunny for lunchtime and then rain until dusk (which it did), and we'd have to be prepared to deal with such huge weather extremes. We walked up mountains and then down again, rolled up our pants to cross rivers (I'm guilty of taking the easy way out and piggybacking some of my larger guy friends!), and in a certain extreme circumstance, we even got down on our asses and slid down a fatal vertical slope. At the end of it, we were all in serious need of a good scrub in a hot shower, a huge meal and a proper bed - and thankfully, that's exactly what we got. 

Being away from the city and all it's superficial distractions for 18 days was more cleansing and refreshing than I ever imagined. To strip our lives down to the bare minimum and only use/take what we really need left all of us a great deal more humble, more content, and more appreciative of the immense luxuries that are readily available to us at home. I never thought I'd say that not showering for 9 days straight would be beneficial in any way, but I learned so much during our time in Ladakh and the memories I made there will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Hope everyone's having a beautiful summer!

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