Monday, December 29, 2008

RIP Charlotte Charles

I am filled with woe. My favourite show currently on television, Pushing Daisies, has been cancelled! It was a brief, delightful trip, and I think a show destined, (much like "Arrested Development" and "My So-Called Life") to go down with fans as abrupt ending you never really get over.

Starring Lee Pace and Anna Freil as star crossed lovers, the story centers around Ned, a piemaker who touches things and brings them back to life. The catch being that he must touch them again within sixty seconds, or something within the vicinity will die as well, and once he does touch them, they're dead, for good. When he finds that his long-lost childhood crush, Lonely Tourist, Charlotte Charles, whose father Ned had inadvertently killed in their youth, is now a young beekeeper who has met her untimely end at the hands of a plastic smiley face bag and a shiny-shoed murderer, he simply cannot bear to bring himself to touch her again. This means that he gets to be reunited with his soulmate, at the price of well, never touching her again (though they do find some creative and strangely, not at all kinky, solutions to this). Together with private investigator Emerson Cod and scorned waitress Olive Snook, they solve mysteries and murders, such as that of a woman driving an eco-friendly car powered by dandelions, all while making pastries.

It is a hilarious, heartwarming program with the kind of fantastical imagery you might expect from Tim Burton's more optimistically-minded cousin, shot through with turn of the century charm and a spectacular play of contrast colours (someone went to art school), calling to mind both the poetic dynamism of European renaissance art, and the charm of American folk and modern, such as the subjects of Edward Hopper and subtlety of Jasper Johns. It's quirky, without trying too hard, unlike many other "indie" ventures in television. It's sweet, without wallowing in preciosity, philosophical, without rolling around in existentialism all the live long day (*coughHousecough*). In short, in a television landscape dominated by crime dramas and vapid guilty pleasures, it was and is brilliant.

Style wise, they're all fascinating and calculated characters. But my favourite remains Charlotte "Chuck" Charles.

Usually seen in her signature red and a variety of hokey wigs and babushka scarves to hide her identity, her style is retro without being overbearing. It's a mix of 50's tea dresses, 60's babydolls and 70's boots and minis combos, with some modern twists like high waisted tulip skirts thrown in, her wardrobe allows you to never put a "realistic" timeline or date on the show, adding to the fantastical appeal.

Postscript- Dear readers, I am in need of more probing from you! If I am to do a Q&A that's remotely satisfying or revelatory, I really do need a wider berth of questions from all of you, so go ahead, lay them on me. If you would prefer to keep it private/anonymous, feel free to email me. My address is in the sidebar. Thanks!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the legend of sleepy hollow

The entire city has been immersed in fog and mist for days now, and I would be an absolutely negligent blogger if I didn't seize upon this advantageous atmosphere...

I am new to the world of wearing a tablecloth as a skirt, so it's not nearly so artfully done as Tavi's or Belle's. I do need to take care with it, as it was my maternal grandmother's handmade tablecloth from the 20's. We don't use it, but if anything were to happen to it, my mother would cry and cry and cry. Then disown me.

The blouse is Forever21, which we just recently got locally. Sadly I will be returning it as my bust is, well, busting out all over. Sigh.

I know a lot of bloggers have been doing this, but I figured it would be a good time to do a Q&A, tis the season and all. So, if you please, either by comment or email, ask me a question, any question you want (within reason) and I'll answer it in a post. Also, I'm taking a kind of informal poll: would you prefer it answered through a normal post, or through a vlog?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm sticking with you, cause I'm made out of glue...

After an argument with a friend about the nature and definition of being "thin" in society, and how that definition has evolved, I have begun to give a lot of thought to the nature of the waist.

Some form of stays (boning or structuring of an undergarment made to modify the shape of the torso) or waist cincher, has ostensibly existed since 1000 B.C., but the rudimentary form of stays we associate with the corset came into fashion around the 15th century.
These laced all the way to the hip, and along with thick petticoats and the fashionable square neckline, was meant to emphasize the bust, an elongated torso and a "handspan" waist. Take Queen Elizabeth I in her teen years for example:

The corset grew more constricting as the skirt grew wider, until we come to the late 18th century, a time in which panniers grew so wide, hair so tall and waists so narrow, that clothing truly became a pageant of the ridiculous
Cases of misformed organs and cracked ribs run rampant among women looking to shave off that extra half inch with rigid metal and whalbone busks. To those of you who think that the eating disorder is a modern incarnation of a modern fixation, think again.

Clearly a backlash was coming. After the French Revolution and during the early Romantic period, fashion experienced what is known as the Regency period. A time that favoured dresses of simple silk and chiffon in pale colours with puffed or narrow leg-of-mutton sleeves and empire waists. Corsets were less restrictive, with less boning and looser lacing. This is where we usually get our visual references for Jane Austen herioines.

During the 20th century, the cycles of rejecting and embracing the waist by equal turns came even faster. During the twenties, lanky, slender figures with flat, broad waists and small breast became all the rage, to best acessorize the new acreage of skin being shown off in backless gowns and short skirts.

While the 40's reverted back to the nipped in waist and full skirt...

The 60's were all about "the sack" the "tent", the trapeze and shift dresses

The 90's was all about a small waist emphasized by a crop top, high waists, or a combination thereof.

By the time we moved into the present decade, things were really moving at hyperspeed. First there was the lowslung belt, made to emphasize low-rise jeans and jutting hipbones:

Then the belt got wider and were worn in bright patent colours at the waist (the local girls still love this one)

More recently was this nasty business of the resurge of sixties proportions. As you can imagine, it was hell for anyone of an hourglass or pear-shaped bodytype or simply a very petite stature. I don't think I bought any blouses or dresses for over a year, just because I didn't feel like wearing a belt with everything I own to avoid looking like a sad sack or a five year old.

Now we're coming out of "bodycon". The resurgence of an 80's trend, largely responsible for the revival of Herve Leger's bandage dresses, it was hailed as "the anti-trapeze", and as a celebration of healthier figure and womanly curves. The problem with this concept is that stretchy, spandex materials are not very flattering on "curves" not unless they have been methodically pilates-toned or Godgiven.

I suppose my complaint of the treatment of the waist in recent fashion is that it leaves no other flexibility for a body that's not naturally slender to exist in a flattering and fashion forward member. We constantly find ourselves buying things we're not comfortable in and constantly trying to work our bodies around them, rather than the other way around.Unlike fashions of the past, which emphasized simply using fashion to tweak your own physique into the favoured proportion, the only options left to be best served by trapezes, drop waists and body cons is simply to be tall, and barring that, to be as thin as possible. Even now, we are not safe, as the 90's crop top is finding favour with edgier souls than myself. In a lot of ways it's even more unforgiving than essentially wrapping your torso in spandex, there is no place for stomachs to hide. Better start doing those crunches, now, rather than later...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cold Snapped.

Outfit I wore yesterday. Not that avant garde, but I think I should get major credit for the fact that it's finals week and I'm not in sweats. I bought this dress from urban outfitters, but the cheapskates didn't include a slip and I'm having quite a time trying to find one, so until then I'm wearing it as a pseudo skirt. I got it basically for free (with some store credit I forgot I had), I feel bad for the poor suckers who paid the full seventy dollars for it. But I'm excited to have some florals in my wardrobe for the first time since 6th grade.

I got these shoes from the fine people at Solestruck. I know I'm only the billionth blogger to talk them up, but really, these shoes are gorgeous and walkable, and the sale assistants are absurdly sweet. And okay, I admit these didn't make it more than ten minutes at school during this soggy, foggy weather (which my dad refers to as "Oregon, without the benefit of being in Oregon"), but I don't weeble wobble in them like most heels. Palsy stamp of approval!