“Camp” Met Exhibition Review

It wasn’t long after the Coronavirus outbreak had affected the wider population that the Metropolitan Museum of Art took action to postpone this year’s gala. As the heartbreak for the biggest event in fashion is present, I thought that I would at least share some form conversation relating to the night in which we all love to spectate. So since I already did a review of the best looks from last year, I thought why not take a deeper look into the actual exhibition behind the big night that some of you may not have seen much about when it was around. So without anymore rambling, here are a few of my “Camp: Notes on Fashion” exhibition highlights.

The Gucci Sponsorship

Now to start of this discussion I thought it would be right to focus on the main contributors towards the show coming to life (Anna Wintour can only do so much, surprisingly) and the main sponsor for last year’s theme was in fact Gucci. As the exhibition will be made up of hundreds of delicate and often one of a kind pieces that are so rare to find, they need not just a big budget but also a big helping hand in providing a lot of relevant material, literally. Gucci has always been known for having a frivolous, hyper exaggerated flare to its designs that the fashion house suited this partnership just right.

In the past decade they have made a flying comeback into high fashion, whilst other brands of a similar position have focused on creating simple and sellable runway designs, Gucci have dared to be different and introduced a wide variety of silhouettes, patterns and textures to a new audience. They’ve made fashion desirable again, recognising the upcoming generations obsession with past decades and the unique pieces that only get diluted by other houses today, only to be diluted to just tinted water by the time these trends reach the high street.

Justice for Edda Gimnes

Now I’ve already covered some of this drama in a previous blog post when the whole thing unveiled, but since the Met Gala gave upcoming independent designer Edda Gimnes the justice she deserved, why not recap on what really happened to get her global recognition.

Edda Gimnes is a young and upcoming designer, who had graduated from the London College of Fashion in 2015. She had an interview post-graduation with Moschino, a brand that could be seen to suit her over the top flare. Sadly, she did not get what she was looking for and she was turned away, however her work didn’t go unnoticed. It was the Spring 2019 RTW collection that featured bold illustrative lines, block sharpie style colours, paired with sketched tights, all resembling the work of Gimnes. What was thought to be a great come back for Moschino after a few seasons of dull and lifeless themes, was actually completely forged.

Now how does this relate to the theme of Camp you ask? Well, a common theme that is recognised as Camp is ‘pastiche’, a word defining imitation of style or work. Another commonly associated word for Camp is irony, and the act of a well established fashion house needing to draw its ideas from a ‘nobody’ is quite ironic. So the word spread from Edda herself of this injustice, and soon the world started to recognise Jeremy Scott’s loss of touch when it came to being a true designer. Edda’s work was featured in this exhibit following her exposure and recognition, on a mannequin placed high and central to the main room of the show.

Molly Goddard’s recognition

Yes I’m talking about Molly Goddard yet again, but this time it’s necessary. I’d first like to address her absolute relevance to the exhibition. To start with in a very literal sense, her heavily gathered tulle dresses and unique silhouettes are of course as camp as you can get. Wearing 30 metres of fabric to pop to the shops in is going to make you feel like you’re wrapped in bubble wrap, whilst looking like a bright pink loofah (in a good way). Not only that, but her brand as a whole breaks away from the current monochromatic unsurprising styles of today that are the result of continuous dilution of trends over the years. She’s not trying to be anyone else, and she’s not trying to reinvent a style either, she’s looked at the fashion book and torn it apart and then rewrote it from her own perspective.

The picture that blew up on Instagram, this dress was one featured in the exhibition.

I also want to talk about it wasn’t just crucial for the Metropolitan museum to include Goddard in the Camp exhibition, but it was crucial for Goddard to receive that pedestal of recognition. There’s often a strange bridge between being an upcoming designer and being a well established fashion house, and sometimes designers can find themselves struggling to break out of that ‘small business’ title. It’s quite surprising to me how ironic it is that her pieces are just so recognisable amongst pop culture now, yet she’s still so unheard of. To be the poster outfit for Killing Eve, one of the highest achieving tv shows at the minute. To dress Rihanna of all people countless times and have some of the images be the singers most adored. Within just 5 years of her brand existing she’s been recognised by so many avenues besides the fashion industry, and I feel like the Met Gala confirmed that well deserved status that she’d already been achieving unrecognised for so long. My hero.

The iconic Björk swan dress

When the theme ‘Camp’ was announced I made a mental list of pieces or designers that I wanted to be included, and this exact dress was one of them. The Björk swan dress, designed by Marjan Pejoski from Macedonia, is one of the most outrageous red carpet looks of all time. Whilst wearing the dress to the Academy awards in 2001, the singer was seen to be mimicking ‘laying an egg’ on the red carpet. When she was asked about this in the press after all the hysteria it caused, she gave the statement “it’s just a dress”.

It’s a fact that the dress itself is something of total costume, it’s a given. However the attitude to wear it to a red carpet at a time when fashion was all about making yourself appear sexy and it was all taken a bit too seriously for what it was, it’s quite possibly the most camp piece of fashion to exist. It’s hardly anything to do with the piece itself, because that dress has been ripped off and ‘reimagined’ way more times than it should have been. It’s the total disregard for dignity and image in a time where that is all that mattered. Celebrities of that time very rarely dipped into new or unrecognised styles as individuals, fashion as a whole was commercialised to do its job. Björk’s dress was not just a fun idea, it was in fact a total mockery to pop culture at its time.

In summary, I fucking loved this exhibition. I say this with a biased opinion as the identification of the theme had made me realise how many parallels I have with it in my own style, so this theme will always have a special place in my heart. Yet, I thought that some of these highlights from the exhibition were some of the greatest overall in terms of reflecting on fashion in today’s society, so I hope that you enjoyed this or found out something new.

If you didn’t get a chance to see the exhibition whilst it was on, and you’d like to see a bit more from it, here’s a link to the page which features a virtual tour of the exhibiton. You can also find my review of last year’s gala looks here.

I’ll be back soon with more fashion chit chat.

Love,

Sophie

Rihanna’s Fenty launch with LVMH

Rihanna has became the newest partner of the LVMH franchise (the Disney of fashion in a way) meaning that her newly debuted fashion line ‘Fenty’ will have a bright future, sitting at the same table as fellow LVMH invested brands like Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.

She’s made history as the first woman to create a label with the company, and Fenty will also be the first brand in over 30 years to join the LVMH family.

Along with her singing career, lingerie line and multimillion makeup line ‘Fenty Beauty’, Rihanna’s partnership with LVMH alone will secure her brand a secure future, as well as gaining herself a good reputation within the fashion industry.

Just this week she has debuted her Fenty Maison collection, branded under the LVMH umbrella. The collection follows along with her iconic neutral colour palette that she features within all of her businesses, with particular pink and white tonal references to her Savage X Fenty line.

Rihanna’s focus on shape and structure could be seen as a reflection of fellow designer and potential friend of hers, Simon Porte Jacquemus. The two both share a desire for embracing femininity and female empowerment within their designs, yet Rihanna’s past experience with successfully designing lingerie could be a participant to this design vision.

“Women are forces of this earth. We are multifaceted, complex, vulnerable yet bulletproof, and Fenty speaks to all of our intricacies. Some days I want to be submissive, many days I’m completely in charge and most days I feel like being both … so it was imperative that we created a line versatile enough to embrace and celebrate us in that way.

The collections are easily worn together and meant to be staples in our wardrobe. I’m just hyped to see people in my clothes, man.”

– a recent statement from Rihanna.

In my personal opinion, I believe Rihanna has done exactly what she said she would. The collection is versatile yet still complimentary, and so each piece works together to create an overall aesthetic.

Her direction and vision for her collection is very prominent, and I think that her intelligent way of reimagining the standard suit or denim jacket to push the boundaries of ‘basic pieces’, whilst still being artistic yet wearable, is something that I think a lot of designers of higher status should be paying attention to.

Overall, I think this hot topic of Rihanna & LVMH is something that will continue to grow and gain success and recognition within the industry for the seasons to come. Although this collection was a simple starting point, I think that Rihanna’s creativity will provide some very exciting collections in future.

Thanks for reading,

Sophie x

Camp: Met Gala 2019 review

On the first Monday in May 2019 we were invited to spectate the New York Metropolitan Museum’s annual Gala, or more commonly know as the Met Gala. The event is held in order to raise funds for the Costume Institute at the Museum, and thus a wide range of celebrities and designers are guested to appear in extreme garments that should reflect on the chosen theme. As for this years exhibition, the theme was ‘Camp: Notes on Fashion’.

What is camp?

Camp is not simply a word that can be explained by one direct answer. By definition, camp means ‘ostentatiously and extravagantly effeminate’. Camp has been many things over the entire time of its recognition: from Louis XIV’s emphasis on fashion and interiors in the 16th century, to Oscar Wilde’s flamboyant attitude and behaviours, there are many historical references that can be used to describe camp. The word can mostly be used to refer to something as elaborate or over the top, a bit maximalist or fun, and never to be taken seriously other than the idea that something is seriously camp. In a modern day sense, people can often refer to LGBTQ+ traits as camp, particularly within the drag community. As a brief overall, camp is to be extraordinary and more than average. There is no subtlety to camp.

Some important context

The Met has titled this years theme after the 1960’s paper by Susan Gontag also titled ‘Notes on Camp’. The text describes a whole variety of possibilities for defining the word Camp, and it also recommends specific objects, plays, styles and media that could be considered as camp. If you’d like to give it a read, the link is here:

https://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/Sontag-NotesOnCamp-1964.html

The show itself

The Gala this year was an extraordinary display of pink, flowers, flamingos, bright lights and decor. From the images released so far, the many rooms on display at the exhibition have been painted in complimentary pastels tones such as pink and green, with one large room in particular displaying a wide variety of garments from small and big designers, which have been placed inside neon lit boxes.

The costume institute have branched out a lot when resourcing appropriate looks for the exhibition this year. As well as collecting pieces from past centuries, including one of Marie Antoinette’s handmaid’s dresses, they have also welcomed lesser recognised designers and pieces from more recent years. Two incredible dresses from one of my all time favourite designers, Molly Goddard, have been included into the collection due to the excessive volume within these tulle dresses, often gathered together with metres and metres of fabric inside. Another designer and also a personal favourite of mine, Edda Gimnes, has also been featured within the show, for her wacky and bold illustrative garments that really cannot be compared to anything else on the market.

Now onto the looks…

The best of the best

This category belongs to the individuals that went above and beyond for bringing their looks to life, those who went past the obvious and really looked into the idea of Camp, or just simply nailed the concept of taking everything one step further.

Ezra Miller was a celebrity that I anticipated the most for the Met Gala, and he did not disappoint, with two incredible yet very differently toned outfits, either one of them makes up for those who turned up in plain black suits. Lady Gaga followed a similar style of having multiple looks before the actual gala has even began, instead adding in an extra two looks including stripping down into some black underwear and tights and continuing to truly perform her concept. Saoirse Ronan and Florence Welch turned up in fully embellished oriental influenced pieces, with both really stepping outside their comfort zones with their own styles too. Billy Porter also stole the show for the men’s looks, arriving in a fully beaded and glistening Egyptian style outfit with gigantic wings and heavy makeup, being carried in by six men all in similar tones. Janelle Monae took inspiration from the expressionist period of art, wearing a geometric gown resembling a Picasso painting. Naomi Campbell looked incredible and sassy in a pink low cut dress with feather shawl and white lace tights, a little feature that I think completed the look. And of course, Zendaya arriving in a light up Cinderella ball gown was a great was to show both regality and pomp, as well as the exaggerated cartoon figures we have all grown up watching.

Could’ve been better

This is quite a small category for those that I expected more from, I liked the idea of but the look just didn’t work out in the end, or did actually try but it just wasn’t as good as everyone else. To start with, I’ll have to say that Harry was an incredible let down. Considering he pulls out the campest of camp outfits for every concert or interview he does, I expected a lot more. A black jumpsuit with nothing going on from the waist down is not co-host of the CAMP Met Gala appropriate. I expected at least a heavily detailed suit, a skirt even. Likewise for Ru Paul, I expected some kind of elaborate drag outfit like Aquaria at least, maybe even a double look like in the Low music video. I don’t really care for Hailey Steinfeld, however I love the Viktor and Rolf quotation tulle dresses, and I think that the hair and that headband just make the whole look seem a bit too nice, and not in a good way. As for Kendall and Kylie, yes they look incredible and have actually stuck to the theme for the first time in their lives, yet it’s nothing crazy or wowing in comparison to the other looks we’ve seen. Try better next time?

Why did you even bother showing up

This category just speaks for itself. Taron Egerton, the actor playing the iconic Elton John, turning up in a black ‘slightly shiny’ suit with a ribbon bow tie? Don’t do Elton like that. Obviously the two are separate individuals, but to be currently talked about in relation to your role as Elton, and to turn up to a Camp themed Met Gala in something you could easily wear anywhere else, not acceptable. James Charles (1.why are you here, 2. Alexander Wang WHY did you dress him) looking like he lost every item of clothing except his suitcase he hasn’t unpacked since coachella, not good enough. To be boasting on social media about how thankful you are to be invited to a met gala, and completely slap the dress code in the face? Do not call yourself ‘extra’ if you turn up to a camp Met Gala with a black smokey eye. Cody Fern, I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. The couple from Riverdale I always forget the name of, just no. Bouncer Kanye and Kim not dressing according to the theme but who’s shocked there. Oh Kris, don’t do Viktor and Rolf like that.

Honourable mentions

And last but certainly not least, some final looks that I thought were bold for the individuals themselves, fit beautifully with the theme but weren’t too overbearing, or they’re just my faves. Emma Roberts looking like a killer fairy in a Giambattista Valli ruffled tulle gown, although very similar to that of Molly Goddard. Baz Luhrmann (my favourite director) and his wife Catherine Martin, the costume designer for The Great Gatsby, one of my favourite films (also directed by Luhrmann) both looking incredible. Benedict Cumberbatch proving that camp does not have to be too intimidating for the average male, and that you can look immensely stylish whilst also being relevant to the theme. Anna Wintour looked stunning in that dress, but the feather coat is what won me over. Lili Reinhart and Cole Sprouse really trying this time, I especially admire the Marie Antoinette reference. Alessandro Michele looking AMAZING in pink. And finally, Elle Fanning providing a 60’s Twiggy style dream with silky hair and those miraculous nails.

To conclude, the Met Gala’s show this year has been my personal favourite and one that I don’t think will ever be topped for my own taste. From the colour schemes to the hosts, the outfits and the joy, to my idol Cher performing both her own hits and ABBA hits, nothing could ever compare. This year seemed to be broader in theme and as a result we got huge variety in looks, especially in comparison to last year, so at least there will definitely be a look that suits everyone.

Thank you for reading this!

Sophie x

Shrimps X Warehouse Review

Hello everyone! This warm April morning has brought us some gorgeous sunshine, a buzz for the bank holiday weekend, and also the official launch of the Shrimps X Warehouse collaboration. The basis of this collaboration is a Spring/Summer capsule collection that has all you’d ever need for your summer holiday, or even just for some warm weather day to day pieces. This partnership is a follow up from the Shrimps X Converse collaboration back at Christmas time, which offered 5 pieces that were an instant sell out. However, Shrimps have came back on a huge scale with this collection, making it even bigger and even more affordable so that a greater audience can get their hands on some pieces for the summertime.

As described on the Warehouse website:

“In 2013 Hannah Weiland founded Shrimps, celebrated clothing brand and favourite on the British fashion scene. Playful, different and deliciously nostalgic, she brings the brands unique aesthetic – and her signature doodles – to Warehouse in a capsule summer collection.”

Just as the the label says, this collection is a great dive into spring/summer fashion, in a whimsical yet wearable Shrimps manor. With a whopping 43 pieces in total, ranging from swimwear to co-ords to jewellery, there’s definitely something for everyone. Common themes of daisies and gingham are widespread across the collection, which further adds to the ‘capsule’ idea that every piece can work together and be styled in many different ways in order to keep the pieces wearable for multiple different looks. Here’s a few pieces that I thought were worth a mention…

Straight off there some heavily illustrated pieces to get us really into a summer feeling. This yellow, sea themed fabric has been featured on both a slightly puffed sleeve top (£32) and a tea dress (£49). As well as this adorable summer style, there’s also a beautiful blue underwater themed maxi dress (£55) which would look perfect on a late evening stroll on the beach.

Out of the whole collection, my favourites have to be these green gingham pieces that are in a variety of scales of gingham. Known for their iconic pearl handbags, Shrimps simply couldn’t create a summer collection without involving a large vinyl shopper bag (£32) which would be a perfect carry on bag for a summer holiday. As if that wasn’t enough gingham for one collection, they’ve also created a co-ord set made of 100% cotton in a matching top (£29) and shorts (£29) set. (There’s also a shirred Bardot style top in gingham up for grabs, with a matching bucket hat if that’s your thing).

Some final pieces that I wanted to mention were the daisy themed jewellery pieces that are great final touches to this summertime wardrobe. I think these designs are super wearable for everyday use or they would be the perfect way to finish off an outfit, especially as these pieces all compliment each other and they are the most affordable pieces of the collection. From the adorable daisy chain necklace (£40) which I’m dying to get my hands on, to the matching daisy circle earrings (£20)), these are definitely worth looking into!

Overall, I think that this collection has came at the perfect time for a Spring/Summer shop, especially if you’re looking for some cute and comfy daytime holiday pieces! You can shop the whole collection on the Warehouse website linked here:

https://www.warehouse.co.uk/gb/clothing/ware-shrimps/

Thanks again,

Sophie x

Topshop x Stranger Things collection review

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Unless for some reason you are literally stuck in a parallel universe, you would have heard that the second season of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things has finally been released. The show itself is a perfect concoction of thrilling sci-fi goodness, childhood nostalgia and of course, early 80’s fashion. I like to think of it as a modern take on the outer space, alien like obsession seen in all the movies from the time, in which Star Wars had took the baton from the moon landing of the 60’s and thus a new theme of inspiration had been introduced. The whole aesthetic of the show is pleasing to look at without the plotline. Viewers have been taking inspiration from the different styles featured in the show, whether it be Barb’s variety of patterned shirts or Lucas’ striped t-shirt and cord jacket combo, there’s a style to suit any personality.

Since the show began, companies have piled up with all kinds of merchandise that we just need to have to get our Stranger Things fix as we waited for the new season to start, whether it be t-shirts, phone cases, or even a classic lunch box. Topshop had caught on this merchandise bandwagon and in recent weeks had been teasing some form of collaboration with the hit show all over social media, even redecorating their Oxford Circus store to look just like some of the well known sets from the show. The idea of a reliable clothing brand producing items based around the entire style and entity of one of my person favourite shows had me ecstatic to say the least, as I’m sure many others were too. However I noticed my excitement over this Stranger Things themed clothing line died down once I got my first look at the collection, so here’s why.

If you haven’t had a glance at the collection yet, let me put it into perspective for you. The range features eight t-shirts, two sweatshirts, two caps, two backpacks, two lunchboxes and a book all about Barb. Now I will admit, I admire some of the designs on the t-shirts, and I like the inclusion of accessories like the backpacks, however the collection as a whole just didn’t live up to my expectations. I mean, did Topshop really need to come out with a basic black t-shirt with the logo printed on it for you to be able to get your hands on it? When I think of this type of merchandise, I think back to when Primark released a collection of t-shirts with Love Island quotes on it. Everyone has seen this merchandise done before (at cheaper prices too), whether it be on websites such as Redbubble or Amazon, a graphic tee featuring the Stranger Things logo isn’t a particularly strange sight today.

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For a brand like Topshop, a brand who typically always delivers that bit more than most other retailers, it was disappointing to see quite a limited range with very little creativity representing not just themselves, but also this widely appreciated series.  When I think of what these two businesses have in common when it comes to their clothing and costumes, I think of attention to detail and relevance. Stranger Things represented the style of the early 80’s in a universal way with it’s wide spectrum in age from the cast, catering to each of their characters individual personalities and how their style would have been categorized at the time, whether it be nerdy, preppy or more mature. When you combine these key looks and styles with Topshop’s quality and designs, you get a well reflected and well replicated collection.

What I predicted would happen when taking into consideration what Topshop already sells and takes it’s inspiration from, would be that they created a line that was based on the key outfits worn in the show, a ‘get the look’ kind of collection (which I only seen once in the whole collection with Dusten’s red blue and white cap being replicated). Think about it, this collection launched in the middle of Autumn, even a week before Halloween, whilst many people are still trying to find a Halloween costume. Even so, if you’re just looking for a good winter coat, why not get the same one as your favourite character from your favourite tv show? The time period when the show is set features all kinds of items that are trending now, in fact, the 70’s and 80’s are huge trends alone and have been for a while now, so anything you do consider purchasing is easily wearable and won’t exactly be outdated anytime soon.

To conclude, I do like some items from this Topshop x Stranger Things range as individual items, however I just believe that they had so much more potential with this collaboration and yet they repeated what many other companies had done before with Stranger Things merchandise. I like the idea of having an interest of yours printed onto an item such as a t-shirt, however I don’t see the demand for 8 variations of said t-shirt. I hope these two brands collaborate again in future to recreate something a bit more personalized to the show, rather than basic styles of merchandise.

Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I will link the collection below for you to take a look and and decide your judgement on it. Also, I finished all of season 2 within two days and I HIGHLY recommend you do the same, I loved this season and I even think it topped the first one.

Topshop x Stranger Things collaboration: http://www.topshop.com/en/tsuk/category/topshop-x-stranger-things-7095002/home?TS=1508416729886?intcmpid=CAROUSEL_WK8_TUES_STRANGER_THINGS_1