High Style Sunday

The Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection

Last one hundred years have produced many prominent designers. Without their marks on the fashion world, collections would have been undoubtedly duller.  I went to see the show and was devastated, feeling that no matter what I design or how I stylish myself and others, I would just be following gingerly their steps.

Seeking the same altered sense of consciousness, please visit:

100 34th Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94121

Rosekrans Court, Special Exhibition Galleries 20B-F

Fashion in the 20th century features influences of clothing from world cultures. So let’s have a look!

-Callot Soeurs’ evening wear have ostensible oriental influence. You look at the dresss and immediately you will think of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. Their exotic detail must be very appealing to the eye of European audience in the early 20st century. I think Callot Soeurs’ oriental-inspired wear are not her most fine or extravagant works——some of her silk dresses are epitomes of lushness and finess. Nevertheless, these avant garde pieces resembling Indian dhoti pants are the evidence of an artist’s boundless creativity.

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-Carolyn Schnurer’s use of exotic colors took Paris by storm when her collection was introduced. Look at the Sari-inspired sun dress from 1950 and the accompanying bathing suit from 1961. So artistically authentic! Yet so aesthetically culturally dependent. The indulgent use of brilliant colors and gold threads and geometrical patterns gives new life and ways of interpretation to the traditional Indian clothing.

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-Africa was clearly something Sally Victor had in mind when she designed this hat that resembles the hair braids worn by the Africans.

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The list goes on. How Elsa Schiaparelli designed evening ensembles that were inspired by Spanish and Mexican toreadors’ suit. How Gibert Adrian pieced his works together in the same way the Housa peoples in Africa did theirs. Those designers turned the design areas upside down with their pioneering efforts in finding something new and their acute appreciation for things that are inherently beautiful, from their own cultures or not.

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Wayne Goss’s CONTOUR AND HIGHLIGHT LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN STEP BY STEP

I like Wayne Goss’s CONTOUR AND HIGHLIGHT LIKE KIM KARDASHIAN STEP BY STEP. I think the 6-minute or so video is a great example of how best to achieve beauty video result with minimal use of new media!

Nowadays when you hear the combination of new media, you visualize yourself being bombarded by a variety of links, sites, fancy interfaces that care more about self publicizing than getting useful information across. New media is good, but excessive use of them is not. I like it when the frame freezes and several arrows are hand painted to highlight the parts on the faces that the artist has in mind, but I don’t particularly enjoy trails of colorful short videos, photos, voiceovers, screenshots and etc. inserted to just make something appear more “new mediaish”.

But not Wayne Goss. To me the Wayne Gross video is insightful for its form as well as the content. The look he worked on, as its introduction on Youtube goes, is inspired by Kim Karshashian in Glamour magazine, as of intended to pay tribute to traditional print media. Of course any internet content without its tangible counterpart may seem a little unsubstantial. The internet is science; magazines are its application. The characteristic of the video that strikes me most is that the make artist’s voice-over is dubbed rather than recorded simultaneously recorded with the make process. This seems a trivial detail but is actually not.

This approach allows the model to make faces while the artist speaks matter-of-factly the importance of don’t think contouring is scary. You can see the model is talking while the artist is also talking. Though the model’s voice is muted and you keep wondering what she is talking about.

Oh. I am a bit carried away. Allowing models to make faces isn’t THE reason to explain why I like the video. But the effect is. What I mean is, by having a voiceover that is not entirely synchronized with the image, Wayne Goss gives his audience an unexpected feeling that they are being shown things rather than taught things. The viewers can afford to be carried away themselves for a while, appreciating the magic of foundations and the prettiness of the face making model while hearing the Goss’ lovely British accent.

Well maybe maybe it’s all because of the accent, not the clear frames the video offers, or the “No amount of makeup can mask an ugly heart” adage by Kevyn Aucoin one can find at the opening of the video, not even the little box that pops up occasionally at the lower right corner to better illustrate the same process from a different angel or for a different mode, or some out takes in the end of the video of the artist and the model gossiping that makes me like the video.

I don’t care if he is gay.

Interviewed Eva Yan

I interviewed Eva Yan, an Academy graduate who studied oil painting and now works in Shanghai. I interviewed her because she is a very stylish person whose outfit never fails to attract my attention. The interview was conducted through  emails in Chinese. The following is my translation.

How does it feel living in Shanghai after five years in San Francisco?

Well for me it’s the same. You can still get delicious bagels and Thai noodles here.

Any thing you really miss in San Fransisco?  Favorite spots you used to like to check out when you had a free moment?

I had this obsession with Macy’s window displays. I used to go there and looked at the decorations and mannequins. Quaintly it had a soothing effect on me. Something about fashion but more than fashion.

Now where do you go when you want to be artistically or fashionably inspired? 

I work now at a gallery, selling paintings and making suggestions to the curator on whether to buy a piece or not. For me the best opportunities to get ideas of what they are wearing these days are opening receptions.

Is the trend very different in Shanghai?

From what I have seen I think people in Shanghai always dress up only on special occasions. They have their best suits and dresses they wear on museum-going, gallery-going, fancy restaurant-going days. There isn’t that much latest trend to speak of as they only have those few carefully-chosen pieces.

The Chinese trend is of a very different kind. I was really amazed one day by an dark fuchsia embroiled chi-pao the curator’s wife worn at an auction in the Peninsula Hotel. She brought with her a vibe that was impossible for runway collections to bring but jumped out at me as the most attractive person present. People here don’t follow latest trends or pieces as closely as we do in San Fransisco. They just have a unique way of fashion expression.

As far as personal style goes, I think you have a knack for always getting the right clothes. What’s your secret? 

Haha. Always getting the dresses right is not easy. The only principle I have is be true to oneself. Of course I read all kinds of fashion blogs and websites but I never allow myself to be conveniently influenced. Follow trends if you like them but never let yourself be carried away.

Any pieces you particularly hate seeing people wear these days? I still remember the time when you were very ready to share with me dressing styles or collections that seem to you are, to put it mildly, “unbelievable”? 

Well recently I do have complaints to make: Karl Lagerfeld and his cat Choupette. It’s one thing to be fun and another thing to be living off one’s past gains. Seriously a series of purses with cartoon cats on them is fashion for 6th graders. And each of the purse sells for over 200 dollars. It’s crazy. And some young women I met in the gallery I can tell really thought their new handbags were very eye-catching. Well they were, but no in the way they wanted them to be.

There are many people that are going to be so offended that you said that. 

Well fashion is a very personal thing. I don’t comment on people’s dressing style with the sole intention to insult. But I do want to add a new perspective. Whenever famous designers come with a new collection, people hail in what looks to me like rehearsed, collaborated unison. My ideas are unconventional, all I ask is that readers keep an open mind.

And I guess living in a new city also brings you new perspectives?

Absolutely. I have already got used to seeing people walking on the streets at 11 o’clock in morning in their pajamas. Was a shock to me. Totally new insight. But the curious thing is that I don’t get mad at those pj wearers the same way I am with Choupette carriers. I think being plain is more laudable than being pretentious.

You have a keen eye for things.

For the beautiful and unfortunately also for the ghastly.

You should open your own fashion blog. Your insights will make wonderful fodder. 

I might open one to keep it as a diary but definitely not a place for people to fight with one another to decide whether Gucci’s latest collection is heaven or hell.

my bio

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My name is Tang, Jiaying I come from Beijing, China. When I was a child I enjoyed staring at passers-by’s clothes on the street and guessed about their jobs and lives. Later I decided to turn this idiosyncrasy of mine to a career. Now in China fashion stylist as a profession is not well established. This gives me more freedom and room to create and to try new styles. Blogging is a powerful tool. I want to usemy blog to publicize my works on personal styling, my dressing philosophy and myself as a fashion stylist. I will blog about fashion trends including street fashion trend, runaway trend and beauty (make up & hair). Part of my blog will be devoted to editorial photo shoot and product styling I enjoy.