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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.

Lately the runways are fuming with “smoking” models, literally “smoking” on the runways

kate moss

One can see the super-thin models walking in the buff and emanating a “puff” from their perfectly matte or super-glossed pout, depending whether you are at Yves Saint Laurent or Gucci.

lady gaga

I was a bit astounded and bewildered,as I thought to myself, unbeknownst to me, did the Surgeon General revise the much touted cigarette warning?  My query was quickly answered in the negative by the omniscient Google.

melbourne fashion week

Then why am I seeing models running rampant on the slicked runways with a cigarette dangling from their lips?  From Kate Moss for Louis Vuitton Fall 2011 to Lady Gaga for Mugler show.  Melbourne fashion week had models dressed as “women of luxury” with billowing swirls of smoke rising between their delicate lacquered fingers in a smoky salon environment.  Cult blogger Bryanboy is seen flaunting a drag from his ciggy.

bryanboy

The most likely reason is that the fashion industry is in a perpetual quest of the next “it” concept; the next “unparalleled” runway show and the next “shock inspiring” campaign.  What better way to grab the attention of the consumer than using a prop that is synonymous with notoriety.  A prop that can be the subject of much heated debates and is counter-cultural.  It truly can be called the “it” prop.  (Disclaimer:  I am not promoting (or not) cigarettes, but merely analyzing the wide use of cigarette as a prop on runways.)

 Another reason for using cigarettes as props is because fashion is cyclical.  It is like karma, it is bound to come back.  Flares come back, platforms come back, and even big padded shoulders have made a come-back.  So, why not cigarettes.  This season there has been a surge of the 70s.  Gucci, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford all have hustled down to the 70s and brought back ideas for their respective lines.  And what could be more synonymous with the 70s than smoking. 

 So, in summary, without making this blog political or for that matter medical by weighing in on the pros and cons (well, mostly cons) of smoking, it is fair to say that the fashion industry is always on the abyss to find ways to “shock.”  Sooner or later, we all run out of shock ideas and  revert back in time to re-visit old ideas and re-package them.  

What will we see next…a model rolling a marijuana joint while walking in Eiffel tower-esque Pierre Hardy heels!!  Now that will be trippy, no I mean it in the most literal sense!

Androgynous-having both female and male characteristics. Being neither distinguishably masculine nor feminine, as in dress, appearance, or behavior. (Thefreedictionary.com)

 

Usually the term androgynous is loosely used to describe a woman-most of the times to describe a sexy woman wearing masculine clothing or with short hair. At times used in the wrong context to describe a lesbian.

I have never heard a man being described as androgynous. If a male possesses certain female characteristics, people jump to the conclusion that he is gay, which is wrong!!

We all are familiar with the term yin and yang. In Chinese philosophy it is used to describe polar or contrary forces that are interconnected and interdependent. In fact, in Hinduism Ardhanarishvara is an androgynous deity composing of a synthesis of male and female energies.

All of us whether male or female have the yin and yang characteristics in us. That is where women get their strength and men their gentleness. Can you imagine a female sans the male traits…gosh she would be so whiny. In the same vein, can you imagine a man who is an epitome of muscle and masculinity ALL the time….gosh that would be so primitive!!

Earlier, I had written a blog on female androgyny as related to fashion. So to fairly balance the yin and yang, today is the turn of the males.

Androgyny in men is nothing new. For centuries men have been wearing jewelry, had their ears and noses pierced and put kohl in their eyes. In fact Ancient Egyptian kings have been buried in the mummies with kilos of jewelry to adorn them in multiple after lives.

Indian Maharajas wore statement pieces starting from the embellishments in their turbans to earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, toe rings and anklets. Roman emperors have been known to wear jewelry.

 

 

 

 

What about the rappers and hip hop artists of modern day? A rapper whose songs are littered with profanities and innuendos of violence (masculine traits for the most part) will not forego a chance to wear “bling” anywhere and everywhere!! The MO’ THE BETTA!! Don’t you think it is a way of exploring his female side?

The Chanel 2011 runway fashion show is an example of male androgyny. You can see a male model sashaying down the runway wearing a beautiful statement necklace strategically placed against his smooth hairless chest. A piece bold and dramatic enough that a fashion-timid woman would think twice before wearing!

 

 

Fashion truly blurs the lines between men and women. The ad campaign of Marc Jacobs had a man wearing a dress and mind you, it is quite an eye-catching ad! In fact, Marc Jacobs has admitted to wearing dresses and has worn a skirt with his hairy legs.

 

Bloggers like BryanBoy walk around in heels, toting a woman’s purse and wears the latest MiuMiu dresses. He aspires to acquire the crab-claws six inch Alexander McQueen heels.

Now even though nature has bestowed upon us humans both the male and female characteristics, I am not saying that all males will be overtly comfortable with such fashion. The run of the mill male will stick to his faded jeans/shorts and t-shirt or khaki pants and checkered shirt.

As stylish, fashion forward thinking audience such as the ones I have, don’t you guys think it is worth getting in touch with your female side? Who doesn’t want to look good, irrespective of the gender? How about taking baby steps you Alfa Males and starting with a colorful fitted shirt paired with some cool velvet loafers. If you are daring don a hat!! Wear a cool, musky cologne. Trust me it will make a great difference in your style, sex and confidence quotient.

Magnanni shoes, Neimanmarcus.com

Etro Neimanmarcus.com