As I was putting on my make-up, I was reminded of my childhood days of coloring in color books.  It is the same concept.  Arrays of colorful pencils are used.  There is a wide use of electrifying colors from vibrant fuchsia to smoky green to petunia pink.  The coloring rules are the same too.  Stay between the lines, blend the colors, don’t over-color.

Fashion is like child’s play.  True, it is a multi-billion dollar industry and run by mega corporations.  Intimidating abbreviations are used such as CEOs, CFOs, COOs to describe titles of very important people.  Serious terms such as stocks, IPO offerings, listings on the NASDAQ are used to gauge the worth of a company.  Board meetings are held behind intimidating mahogany double doors where board members sit around tables that are longer than the train of Kate Middleton’s McQueen gown.

Shiny silver haired men and women attend the meetings wearing Savile Row tailored pin-striped cashmere suits; .walking with a determined and purposeful stride in their John Lobb loafers and Jimmy Choo heels and toting Birkin bags with such ease and comfort that one would think that the proverbial “born with a silver spoon” was replaced by “born with a Birkin bag.”

Despite all the gravity and sternness there is a silly, delicious, lighthearted playful side to fashion.  One possibly cannot take fashion seriously.  In fact, if you do take fashion seriously it ceases to be fashion as the laxity of creativity is lost.  It becomes regimented and constrained.  Rules restrict creativity.

To be truly creative the adult inhibitions need to be curtailed.  True fashion icons or for that matter even designers, embrace the child in them.  They have fun with fashion without inhibitions.  In fact, multiple fashion campaigns and advertisements appeal to the child within us by depicting a comic book, mischievous, even cartoonish element.

Givenchy’s “Cat” cap for a measly $2,124 is a purrrfect example.  I was so drawn to its devilish charm that was almost on the verge of cashing out my IRA until NPR’s analysis on the state of fast dwindling economy acted like an allergic reaction to cat dander, thereby deterring me from cashing out my nest egg.  The Givenchy cap intrigues the child in us and plays on the age-old clichés of the black cat, naughty cat and maybe even the superstitious cat.


Fashion legend Iris Apfel who is 90 years old continues to wear the grandma oversized glasses with her designer duds and the overload of clunky jewelry.  She reminds me of the animated series Daria- smart, acerbic and eccentric.

Kim Kardashian is a perfect example of Betty Boop with the ample buxom and the oh-so long fluttering lashes.  Except, Kim’s are most likely courtesy of Shu Uemura!

Bryan Boy ups the Aladdin factor with harem pants.  Instead of a rope tied around the waist, he uses the Hermes belt.  If you can give a plug to a product while embracing the child in you, why not!

The Row designer looks innocently delicious with the Heidi style braid.

How can one forget Minnie Mouse and her contribution to fashion at large.  Between the polka dots and the head piece her contribution is unmatched.  Marc Jacobs ad campaign featuring Helena Bonham Carter is a distorted, gnarly, modern homage to Minnie Mouse.


The sartorial Carine Roitfield’s French sensibilities of fashion noir are similar to Elvira’s.


 And the hot Rooney Mara who will bring to life Stieg Larsson’s nail biting thriller is a Dora gone wild!  Very wild!

And finally the style icon herself, Anna Dello Russo, whose mantra appears to be fashion without boundaries.  She changes her looks faster than a chameleon.  Here she is lovable as the animated Dalmatian with the black and white dots and the burst of red.


So, have fun with fashion.  Forego boundaries and rules.  Play with fashion and release the child in you.

  • Lovely and colorful post; specially when you mention Iris Apfel one of my all times fashion influences!
    For me fashion is an expression of my moods, my feelings, the activities that I’m doing or the places and the people that I’m with.
    I enjoy dressing for myself and having fun and being quite loud with all of my bracelets, bangles and a pile of necklaces.
    Have a great week,

  • Albert:

    Wonderful idea, fantastically illustrated. Sometimes adulthood tugs on you and makes you act or dress a certain way. Next thing you know you’re wearing all black and you’re about as fashionable as a shadow. Great image selection, Ambu. I like comparing them, the cut of Rooney Mara’s and Dora’s hair, Iris Apfel and Daria both caught exiting the scene. Bravissima!

  • Bravo, I loved reading this… I often see resemblance between life and fashion compared to child’s play and fancy the child within myself of course. :) Those who take fashion too seriously should take a mere step backward and remember that adults often learn from children. I remember a professor talking about an assignment, stating in class, “that’s great, but now break it down so that a child could understand.”

    Why? perhaps, it’s the innocence of children that allows them to often see things for what they are without the overly analytic “trimmings” per se. A child sees the simplicity in the complexity that WE often create, or get all too lost in. A child knows how to have fun, they’re not constrained, which may sometime help the industry. Fashion: Playful creative express!

    As for the cap? well, let’s just make our own cat cap! lol

    Enjoy your weekend dear. -xx

  • Oh fun!!! I adore all the comparisons you have here. I completely agree, fashion should be fun! I hate all these silly rules and following trends it is so restrictive to take these things so seriously. I love fashion when there is a lot of whimsy and winks.

    And wholly moly! I can’t believe that hat is over $2000!

  • OMG I too am now obsessed with the Givenchy hat, you are so good and disciplined. Loved all of the examples you gave of real people and the cartoons. My personal favorite is Bryan Boy with the Hermes belt instead of the rope belt. LOL

  • Bere:

    This is probably my favorite post of yours so far Ambu!!! Yes, Fashion is 100% a ‘room for play’ which is what makes is so beautiful, precious and the ideal place for the manifestation of artistic sensibilities. That Givenchy hat is sooooo cute!! And I must admit I have a serious crush on Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. It’s truly mind-blowing, how Fashion can open so many doors, blurring the boundaries between the ‘real’ and the imaginary, all in a playful way. Cheers!!! xx

  • I always want to meet Iris Apfel and finally I had the chance when I was in Paris..
    She didn’t give a fuck about me (hahahaha).. but she was nice at least..
    lee x

  • Super post. Beautifully rendered. Great photo comparisions – great comparisons to cartoon characters.
    Yes, yes, yes. Fashion is made to be fun, outgrageous and reflective of the our personal selves. (Unless you’re Buddhist and there is no self – haha).
    Our garments can either open us up like a deep breath or close us into a tight, tiny space where imagination is lost because we dress to follow rules. Fashion or more precisely dress codes are part of the Judeo/Christian denial of sexuality. Think juicy then think dry.
    And what’s the the story with men’s suits, Saville Row or Barney’s Boys Town – and the tie, endlessly stroked – hmmm, while cutting off your air supply and closing down that important chakra.
    Fly like a bird.

  • Lovely post! If fashion wasn’t fun, I wouldn’t be interested! It is my creative outlet that inspires me to share my creativity through blogging. I love that you can “put on” different personas or change others perception simply by what you wear or don’t wear.

  • I WANT that hat! I would be laughed at, but I’d be strutting my stuff. :)

  • You are SPOT ON about each one of them. Great observation!!!

    ∞ © ∞

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