Saturday, May 31, 2008

Imitates Life

We've all heard little blurbs describing one or another fashion collection as having "painterly colours". And sure, it's easy and appealing to make a dress or a coat in ochre or vermillion or cobalt. But sometimes, and artists influence in fashion is much more overt.

We all know Marc Jacobs' inspiration for his Fall 07 Louis Vuitton collection was Jan Vermeer. And as I am a fan of Vermeer, I am a fan of that collection. I would pretty much sell my firstborn for this dress (ignore the jaunty, ill-placed cap):

"Woman in Blue Reading a Letter"

But some influences are less obvious. If Mary, from Michelangelo's early "La Pieta"(which he finished at the tender age of 24!), could get up from her marble seat and walk among us, I think she would wear this Nina Ricci dress:

Manet's bartender of the "Bar at the Folies-Bergere" would gladly wear this Derek Lam dress:

And as for modern art, I can clearly see Wassily Kandinsky's influence in Givenchy's geometric puff coats:

"Multicolored Circle (Mit Buntem Kreis)" 1921

When the rest of my classmates were exhausted and frayed from constant memorization of techniques, dates and movements, my art history teacher would squawk that we needed all this because, "Art history is the centre of the universe!" And while that is a rather grandiose statement, I think it does ring true for the fashion universe. Anyone with rudimentary knowlege of art should see all eras of art running rampant in fashion. Look for it! That dress you're lusting after may be straight out of Holbein's playbook...

Friday, May 30, 2008


I've discussed the Luella Bartley spring collection briefly before. And while I certainly have no issue with the proliferation of elements of that trend (frills, leather jackets, docs, liberty prints ect.) as they're all things I love and can wear separately as well as together when this "Ghost World" craze has blown over. And it can be a bit bothersome when everyone has their own take on "the Enid look", as I suppose we all like to keep the delusion intact that we are the only one to take inspiration from a popular designer on the cheap. In the blogging world, the idea that any of your well, ideas, are completely original, is a pretense that quickly meets its end. But for the most part you can deal with that, because there's a sense of comraderie. You may be the only girl wearing geek glasses on purpose in Anytown, USA, but that girl in Everytown does it too. She gets the weird stares too. And you can bond because you're bold enough to go against the small town grain.

But I do definitely chafe against a trend when it becomes ubiquitous enough to gain direct knock-offs at a mass market department store like Topshop. i.e., this dress:

I need not remind any of you, I daresay, that you've seen this dress before. And it is a testament to me contradictory nature that if this were an American department store and I didn't have to deal with the current, dismal exchange rate, I would snap this up in a second. In any event, I shall try to post my wardrobe's take on the Enid by the end of the weekend.

The real question is: will we fashion followers embrace Luella's fall look with equal vigor? Will fashion editors be waxing poetic about "The Crucible chic" while we raid Hot Topic to approximate the look by September?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


It is one of the many cruel certainties of life that Vogue Italia is infinitely cooler (and more expensive) than American Vogue. I have only ever splurged on one issue, the only store in my city that sells it is a Barnes and Noble on the outskirts of town, so with the cost of gas buying it would actually be around twenty dollars a pop, if not more. My old Italian professor, strict adherent to fashion and all things European that she was, refused to buy it while she was here, scoffing at the fourteen-dollar price tag remarking "That's like a pair of shoes at TJ Maxx!".
photos courtesy of foto_decadent

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Full Metal Jacket

That's right kids, I'm longing for leather no longer! (sorry, I couldn't resist the alliteration value there)

Forgive the icky flash photo, I really didn't have time to fuss over it. My struggle with the leather jacket has been long and hard. I've wanted one since the beginning of the year. Normally, I'm against such blatant obsession with a trend, but I realized that it was a warm, practical way to edge out my rather femme wardrobe of empire dresses and chiffon miniskirts. When I knew I was travelling to NYC which can grow a bit chilly at night, my search came to a head. It had to be inexpensive, and it didn't have to be leather. In fact, I would prefer non-leather as I've always had an issue with leather being an animal product. I looked in every store imaginable, all the mall stores stocked were cutesy bell-sleeved cropped jackets. Not warm. Not practical. Target only had Ziggy Stardust-esque metallic jackets leftover from fall. An interesting concept, but not exactly a "go with everything" peice. I looked online, everywhere possible, no dice for under a hundred dollars. Thrift store jackets were of red, Michael Jackson variety. I had pretty much given up on finding one and begrudgingly settled on a plain black anorak, when today, in TJ Maxx, I literally stumbled over this jacket. It had fallen off the rack. It was in my size. And it was twenty dollars.

God does love me! I proceeded to do an embarrassing jig of happiness and promptly took it home. It's slightly short in the torso, but whatever, I can work around that. And I do have some pangs of guilt from buying real leather, but I rationalized that I would wear it so much, the cow's life would not be in vain. Though, even I have to admit, there is something very ironic about a hippie in recycled bamboo and rubber tire shoes wearing a leather jacket.

Monday, May 26, 2008


Let me preface this by saying, I heart Nylon magazine something fierce. When I don't have the ridiculous amount of money to splash out on foreign mags like Vogue Italia, Lula, Numero ect, it gives me a much needed breath of air from Vogue's static editorials and elitist articles. But seriously Nylon, WTF?!I know you're not the edgy, underground zine you once were. I get that. I get that some of your article (like those written by a certain, serpentine It girl) are kind of throwaways. And I still love you anyways because occasionally you can pull out a fab photospread and regain your pulse long enough to sense a trend before it hits. And I'm also aware that a joint issue with Myspace of all things, is going to be rife with selling out-masquerading-as-hipness. Honestly, I understand...

But Scarlett freaking Johansson?! Sincerely? That's the best you can come up with for a music issue? If I asked her to, would she even know to play that guitar she's wrapped around? And while I have no doubt her Tom Waits cover album is at least passable from the actresses as singers perspective, a proper subject for a music issue she IS NOT. And all of your "up and coming" bands I heard about, and promptly became bored of, around six months ago. Beth Ditto is supposed to strike me as fresh and interesting? Know your readership! "New and exciting" to the average American Idol fan, is hardly so much to me, or anyone like me. And as for the fashion---there was none, essentially. Not one visually interesting editorial to keep me optimistic until next month. So there, Nylon. I dare you---suprise me.

photos courtesy of

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Next week, I am planning a trip to the grande dame, the can't-miss of all American cities:

NYC!!! Or, as my fellow children of conversion affectionately call it, Jew York. It's been a long time since I've been, I was so small I don't particularly remember it, so I am absolutely ecstatic. The fashion, the culture, just all of it. I have never been one for small places (thus why I bristle so fiercely against my current residence of roughly 300k population) and NYC has been my naive, romantic dream since I was a preteen in the verdant, soggy forests of Oregon. I already have quite an extensive itenerary: The Met, MoMA, Neue ect. (I am an art nerd of epic and legendary preoccupations). The food: Lombardi's Pizza (I am lucky enough to have fallen into a small pocket of the Italian community here, so I'm used to the pizza, but regardless, I'm told the pizza of NY is not something that can be replicated). And of course, lower east side food deli food. My poor papa insists he hasn't had a pastrami sandwich made by one of God's people since the 90's, and I am jonesing for a good knish. Brighton Beach, so I can brush up on my Russian. And last but not least, schools. NYU and Columbia University, as I am hoping to transfer schools next fall.

This being said: I only have a week to see as much as possible, and I don't want to spend hours wandering aimless and disoriented in Manhattan due to the sheer sensory overload I shall no doubt encounter. So, those of you that have lived there or have experience with the Big Apple, divulge your secrets! What are some must-do things while there? What are some overrated tourist activities I should definitely skip? Where are the best places to shop, particularly for fashion steals? So much to contemplate, so please, help me out here!

Friday, May 23, 2008


My last post is an indicator of things to come on this blog. Intellectuals Read Vogue, Too, not even a month yet out of its infancy, is metamorphosing into a beeeautiful butterfly. I love fashion and all, and there will still be plenty of ultima moda posts, but frankly, I find all fashion all the time a little boring. I love other fashion blogs, and I totally respect the kind of discipline it takes to post multiple times a day, to constantly come up with new outfits and have the presence of mind to remember to phograph all your new purchases and make magazine scans. I simply don't have the juice, or the extra time, for that kind of thing.
Every time I'd sit down at the keyboard, I'd find myself wanting to make a post about a book I just read or what happened to me yesterday more than my desire for gladiator sandals. I have many different interests, most of them fickle, and I should be able to write about what takes my imagination captive at that particular moment in time, and was very frustrated with the limitations of my subject matter. Then I realised, "Wait a second...this is MY blog!". And I can write whatever I want in it. So, are the few of you who are actually reading this cool with IRVT's makeover, or will you be tuning out and turning off? Opinions, please!
Postscript- Yes, I'm keeping the name, unless of course, you can come up with a better one.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Soundtrack of Your Life

My most recent music purchase:

I think I'm finally understanding why they use Broken Social Scene on so many different movie soundtracks, in fact, they are used almost exclusively on "The Tracey Fragments" a movie I'm still dying to see.

Broken Social Scene doesn't have the most poetic, articulate lyrics or fabulously original arrangements. They won't necessarily become through the passage of time one of those bands that influences other great bands, or one of those bands you absolutely have to "discover" in high school if you have any indie credibility whatsover. Like their fellow soundtrack favourites Aphex Twin, they are more apt to capture an atmosphere than to take on a defined subject in their music. But in my opinion, their ability to put the frenetic mood of a romp through the city or of youth angst making out in a backroom, or dancing it out at a party, is above reprieve. Their music never seems to have a defined subject matter. In fact, you can rarely seem to grasp what the hell they're even singing about, but their slithering backbeats are returned with crunching dissonance, and it serves as a suprisingly good substitute to the headrush of the moments they so desperately try to soundtrack in celluloid adventures. This is the music you want playing in the backround when you do anything dangerous or exciting, riding a motorcycle, making out in the car for the first time, sneaking into a club. No one would accuse Broken Social Scene of becoming the next Velvet Underground, but they do what few artists can: use a beat and a few whispered lyrics to crystallise time.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Could be the most consistent adjective for Target's GO International line after the rise of the Luella Bartley diffusion line (I STILL want that green tartan dress). It usually goes one of two ways: Either the design concepts are good, and the fit is absolutely bizzarre and random (my Libertine dress is ridiculously tight in the chest and huge everywhere else, I swim in my size XS Jovovich-Hawk tunic). Or the product is unwearable and nowhere as appealing as the hype around the designer, such as Proenza Schouler's blah efforts, or Erin Featherston's heart-motif-crazed pajama, party wares.
If I think about it, much to my chagrin, anything bought from the GO International line would qualify as a misguided impulse buy. The Libertine dress is beautiful, and now that I think about it, it would go wonderfully with the cocktail hat I mentioned in an earlier post. But the fit makes it impossible to wear. I still haven't figured out how to wear my too long to be a top but too short to be dress Jovovich Hawk peice without the cream and black chevrons evoking that misguided, mod obsessed fad of two years ago. My Libertine blouse makes me look like a crazed air stewardess. The one and only item I've gotten any real wear out of it a navy and gray Proenza cardigan, it's not ridiculously attractive or avant garde, but it is comfy. In other words, Target needs to fix a few major kinks in it's line, get consistent sizing. It also lacks consistant quality. A Temperley leather jacket struck me as sumptuous and downright Italian, but their silk items look like they'll start to fray within roughly two wears. And finally, pricing. The idea of a thirty dollar dress from Target is hard to swallow, but doable if I feel the quality is up to par. The idea of a one-hundred dollar jacket such as the leather Temperley, no matter how decadent it appears, is something something I cannot reconcile with buying from the same place I get six dollar sushi and chocolate soymilk, especially when it's too tight in the shoulders and short in the torso.

That being said, I was understandably wary of the Rogan for Target line. It was part of my New Year's resolution to stop buying crap without considering how it fits with the rest of my wardrobe, and though I have regrettably strayed, (geek glasses, dr. martens, bizzarre vintage purchases), I am trying to be more conscious of what I spend, and how I spend it. Luckily, Rogen supplied me with one of my natural deterrents: Animal prints. In any form; brightly coloured, abstract, natural, I despise them all. So about three quarters of the line was out the window right there. I did feel I needed to purchase at least one thing. I am a hippie, and was taken in by the eco-friendly appeal. So I finally settled on a teal, space-dyed t shirt that appeared comfy and had cute side buttons of the sleeves.
Not exactly Marc Jacobs. At this point, it would take that sort of miraculous designer coup, "Marc Jacobs for Target", to make me what to buy the ill-fitting hype Target is selling.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Living Well

I have my graduation impending. Well, not my graduation, technically. It would have been my graduation, had I stayed at the academy and not dropped out to sojourn back to Oregon and graduate a year and a half early. And while I liked my school well enough, I despised roughly eighty-percent of its inhabitants. But one of my oldest friends is graduating and I have to go. This being said, I want to show up pretty. Jealous-making pretty. Yes, a little backhanded I know, but I can't help myself. I have about a week to find something, and a very paltry budget of about eighty dollars. It's being held in a church, so obviously nothing too tarty, but something that still illustrates that I'm finally out of those godforsaken awkward adolescent years. If I had unlimited cash, my choice would be this Mulberry dress:

Edgy, and I certainly would not have to worry about another girl wearing the exact same thing. But at a bracing £695 british pounds, roughly 1,360 American dollars at the current exchange rate, it falls, as much of my most coveted clothes do, in the "pffffft! you wish..." category. So, what's your advice? How does one dress for a graduation on a budget, without reverting back to some tired ruffled sundress, or yawn-worthy LBD?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Unlikely Hero

The other day when I spoke of film characters with inspirational style, I forgot one very important one:

Angelina Jolie in "Hackers"! Where I was infatuated with little Natalie Portman and her frenchie haircut, my sister Iris loved Angelina's widow's peak pixie in "Hackers" she decided to cut her long black locks in the same manner. She had fostered this delusion that it would be a good fit because she resembles Angelina. It wasn't, and she doesn't. I think Angelina (aka "Acid Burn") in that Gen-X delight that was "Hackers", would definately wear this jacket:It's so loud and tacky and 90's! Very raver, very Acid Burn. And I, like Susie Bubble, am slightly ashamed that I would snap it up in a second, had I those kinds of funds. And because she is a child of the urban warriors period, Acid Burn would pair the jacket with something totally clashing, like this skirt.

my much sought-after chloe boots, to top off the tech soldier vibe:

A black neoprene tank, some miscellaneous tribal jewelry like these bracelets

and last but not least, some blue lipstick:

Et voila, you are Acid Burn! Now go teach those seedy corporate capitalists who's boss!

Photos courtesy of, Elle UK (via Style Bubble),,,

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lazy Daisy

What is it with guys? I have been wearing Marc Jacobs "Daisy" perfume for six months completely unnoticed by both sexes. Yet, suddenly, in the past few weeks, gay and straight, stranger and friend, professor and clerk all alike have mustered up what I should consider the considerable nerve to say "I have no idea what you're wearing but you smell absolutely awesome!". It happened twice just tonight at the bookstore! I too, am quite fond of the smell, even though it's gotten poor reviews for being top simple. It is a sweet, breezy sort of violet scent I think very much appropriate for a girl of my age. I fully admit that my nose is not sophisticated enough to yet enjoy more complex smells. I also admit that I originally bought it for it's bottle.

Doesn't it fill you with inescapable joy just looking at it? Those big, cheery rubber Takashi Murikami daisies are the most brilliant marketing move they could have possibly made. I like the smell, but I wouldn't have found it nearly so persuasive without those enoromous, shiny daisies staring up at me, and I'm sure many were caught in the same adorable trap. I am instantly cheered every time I open my armoire to use it, and oh, don't get me started on the bizzare satisfaction I get from the champagne cork-like pop sound the cap makes when I remove it....

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fit to be Untied

Some days you just want getting dressed to be easy. No superfluous accessories, no complicated layering or fancy, constricting fabric....But you can't quite bring yourself to look like the average slob in a Steve and Barry's sweatshirt either. This is where a simple cotton dress can be indispensible, practical and above all, comfy. Yesterday, Saturday's nasty storms had brought a volley of decidedly un-Southern brisk winds and I just couldn't suppress the desire to stretch out on a patch of grass in the park and watch clouds. This outfit began with several peices of jewelry, suctioned-on skinny jeans and wobbly heels. But by noon I just HAD to break out, and I rather prefer it like this, don't you?

Forgive the "trying to keep my dress from blowing up" pose. I am not Marylin Monroe.

Dress: Volcom Hat: Urban Outfitters

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hats Off

Gosh, it's been a while since I've posted. A nasty habit for a newbie trying to get her blog off the ground! *slaps wrist*

I am a hat girl. They suit me. They suit anyone I think. Find one that suits you, throw it on in the morning and it doesn't really matter what you're wearing from the neck down, it automatically looks as if you gave a damn when you were getting dressed that morning. I have berets in many colours and fabrics, a bowler hat or two, even the ocassional elaborate headband (coming in a later post), a newsboy, a jockey cap. I am an equal opportunity lover of headwear, and seeing as the wretchedly hot and sunny climate I currently inhabit does not really allow for my preffered, wooly knit caps, I have been looking for a summer replacement. More to the point, I already have one.

When I first laid eyes on this cap in Urban Outfitters catalogue, I knew it had to become mine. The gilded rose elegantly perched atop a velvet cocktail hat--how could I resist? And thanks to my very generous mother, I didn't have to. It became a secret shame however....I have never worn it. Christmas has come and gone, yet it sits, untouched, in its little hatbox. I simply never knew how to go about wearing it. Hair up or down? Would up look too old fashioned? Would down look too messy? All of my normal clothes seemed simply too casual and disheveled in the face of this glamorous little gem, none of my occasions worthy. But the thought of it sitting alone, in the dark, the gold losing its lustre, breaks my heart. So let's hear it---how would you wear it?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lust in the Movies

Ever since Luella debuted her spring line of quirky liberty floral dresses paired with geek glasses and bat prints, an overlooked movie by the name of "Ghost World" has been pulled from relative obscurity.

I have long adored Ghost World and the self-indulgent, misanthropic antics and retro/punk styling of Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (a pre-Lost in Translation Scarlett Johannson).

So of course, I loved Luella's collection on principal. It's an adorable mix of tough (leather jackets, lace up boots) sweet (ruffles and florals) and quirky (cotton candy hair, cat eye masks). But it has become oversaturated in most fashion circles. And while I am eager to try my hand at my version of the look (however long it takes the rural southeast to become aware of liberty prints, pfft, good luck), it is time to find new inspiration. The first place my mind went was 1994's "Leon", known stateside as "The Professional". Indeed, young Matilda's style perfectly reflects the early 90's redux currently going on. Cut-offs with tights, stompy boots, layering and, yikes, even crop tops. People, ever since that movie came out, have told me of my resemblance to Natalie Portman. They're clearly delusional, but emulating the style of Matilda is something I can really get behind.

I have been wearing chokers, as a "signature" off and on since the second grade. But it always annoyed me that I can never find that particular one. God knows, I've looked high and low, but no dice. Anyone who has met me can tell you I'm quite attatched to my long locks, but I've always secretly desired that edgy, francophile bob of Matilda's, ah, if only I had the nerve. I have most of the elements needed to recreate Matilda's look without being too costumey, and it's something I would like to attempt:

Pictures courtesy of and

Monday, May 5, 2008

Funhouse Mirror

As I woefully surveyed my last post, I noticed just how stumpy and compact I looked in my photographs, perhaps ten pounds heavier and a few inches shorter than I in fact am. It's not my outfit, as a general rule all black is slimming. It's not my shoes. Granted, flat ankle boots are probably not the most elongating choice for a girl of my stature. Today I investigated and found I was just shooting at a poor angle (I don't own a tripod so I balanced in on a gate), and poor photography in general. But the day before I was rather depressed about it. After years of yo-yo-ing from being thin and hungry to curvy and overeating, I thought I had struck a balance but these pictures made me consider otherwise. I ate steamed veggies for dinner. It was an overreaction, but it made me think how many of our fashion choices are based on self-perception of our own attractiveness. When I feel prettier or skinnier, I wear my craziest, most expiremental outfits, but as soon as I start feeling down I retreat back to a t shirt and jean. We often talk of being beautiful enough to "pull it off". But what has more merit, pulling something off because you're genetically gifted, or simply because you're confident? Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Sunday, May 4, 2008


All black for a sunny day. Got to try out the new boots, I didn't really know what to pair with them so I just went beatnik. They're cute, but they make my legs a little stumpy which unnerves me. I'm 5'3"1/2, and I'm not one of those girls that manages to look taller than they are, I can't really afford to have my legs delineated. But I'll make them work, I think they might actually be more flattering with a bare leg and hiking socks, and I think I might spring for a miniskirt/shorter shorts to lengthen my legs. Clearly, I have more expiramenting to do.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Cool Shoeshine

Sometimes, with a fashion fixation in general, will come an obsession with a single item. An obsession that seemingly comes from nowhere, and no matter how impractical or trendy the item might be, it won't leave well enough alone until you have it, or an approximation thereof, in your materialistic little paws. For me, this item is the Dr. Martens combat boot.

Isn't it glorious? The smooth, curving lines of the supple black leather, the overt masculinity that is covertly alluring when attatched to a pretty girl. I would be tempted to trace my infatuation back to a fateful day in spring when I first crossed paths with these clunky heeled chloe boots:

It's inexplicable. Every point of logic demands that I be repulsed by these high-fashion Frankensteins. But I adore them more than every graceful stiletto Christian Louboutin has ever made. But my true obsession began much further back, over a decade ago in fact. Let us all recall to 1997. Grunge was gasping its last breaths, but my older sister Iris (a true Gen-X fashion victim) was still faithfully in her steel-toed doc martens. My mother found them clunky, manly and simply hideous, and would scoff every time Iris would show up to dinner in her scuffs leather laces and not the staid crepe pumps she had bought for her. This only served to cement my sister's disdain for her new stepmother and strengthen my rebellious inclination as a seven year old for the anarchy of a man's workboot.

But years have passed, and docs have come back in fashion. It girl Cory Kennedy (ala the Cobrasnake) is even their model for the ads. And they have grown expensive. A hundred and twenty dollars, while affordable in the shoe world, is a lot to ask from a broke college student. And were I requesting feminine sandals or practical leather riding boots from my mother, she might grant my request. But not for these, her most despised of footwear. What is a girl to do but to spring for cheap knockoffs? These, on sale at delia's for $29:

But I will soldier past my dissapointment and make them work. I have to turn down the cuff (they were described as ankle boots, but I think they would only reach the ankles of Gisele Bundchen) But I fear I will have to go shopping to procure want I most want to wear with them. What do I wear with them besides the obvious? A miniskirt? Denim cutoffs ala Camille of Childhood Flames? I am not nearly so lithe and it makes me nervous. Ideas, pretty please!