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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fond Farewell and New Beginnings.




Follower and readers,

It’s been a tumultuous few months since I blogged last.  

As one week turned into one month, I soon found myself having not blogged in nigh on six months – a strange and puzzling situation for someone who has blogged almost consistently with six years.

I considered stopping; however, I am not sure what is about blogging and those who indulge in it, but it is nearly impossible to cease completely once you begin: once a blogger, always a blogger?

After a lot of thinking and experimentation, I have finally established a new blog over on Wordpress. I am not sure what the purpose of this blog is yet, and needless to mention, it is still in the very early stages of development, but hopefully, it will allow for a greater sense of freedom. A lot of the content will probably be very similar to here – fashion mood boards, film inspiration, art, opinion pieces – but I suppose, most importantly, it won’t solely be about fashion (although there'll be a nice dash definitely). If that sounds like something you’d be interested in reading, please join me at Fragments (kathrynoregan.wordpress.com).

Finally, thank you to everyone who has read She’s in Vogue over the years. It has been more fun than I ever could have imagined.

- Kat.

Friday, May 17, 2013

rose-tinted sunglasses


I woke up this morning and it was sunny. I didn't have any immediate deadlines, and things felt a tiny bit alright in the world again. Putting aside all worries and end-of-term anxieties for the moment, perhaps, we can all take a breather and think of summer for a moment at least. I am not particularly soppy about summer. Usually my summers are marred by endless bouts of self-doubt and worry, but that's a whole other story. On a purely superficial level, it's kind of nice just to be able to slip out doors sans tights with a light jacket as opposed to layers of scarves and rolls of jumpers and coat. Of course, even that is idyllic here in Ireland, but right now, I want to be a tiny bit positive for even the shortest period. 
 Staz Lindes shot by Ryan Kenny at Coachella, see the rest here

Oyster magazine's shoots and editorials are so damn summary that it's hard not feel precisely that...summery. You know, California-summery: frolicking around the beach wearing bright patterns and crazy sunglasses with impossibly good-looking, sun-kissed friends. One can dream. This Staz Lindes at Coachella shoot by Ryan Kenny caught my eye for similar reasons. Pinafore, white jeans, smatterings of floral, brogues, baseball cap, denim jacket, funky sunglasses and crop tops - it's pretty much the perfect 1990s meets 2010s wardrobe. And all the better for that sunny, sunny setting. 

'Feeling summery' is one of those elusive things, impossible to pin-down. Is it the smell of sun cream? Or eating an ice-cream with the hot sun beating against your skin? Is it those aforementioned bare legs and sundresses? Sand in your shoes, even? Munching salads al fresco? Bright nights? Wandering around cobbled streets somewhere in Europe? Music festivals and consuming alcohol at horrifically early hours? Sandals and painted toenails? Picnics and aimless drives with friends? 

Summer is a sweet, intangible blend of all those things. It is the most nostalgic of seasons. Like Christmas, summer is eternally tinged with childhood, when summers felt so long and warm and happy. With every summer we long for, we are yearning for something of childhood too. Yearning for that aimlessness, those guilt-free languid days, and that perennial happiness. 

[Ideally I would share some of my own childhood photographs of glorious family holidays, but alas, some snaps from last year's summer holiday will have to do...]

Murcia. 
Rustic terracotta facade. 
As night moves into dawn at a music festival.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

different takes and different times: on the outfit post

(in lieu of an actual outfit post...)

I have not posted an outfit in a long time, months even.  I mostly stopped out of pragmatic purposes – my camera broke, and that was that. But that’s not the whole story.

The ‘outfit post’ has always been a difficult thing for me to come to terms with.  On the one hand, outfit posts, when done well, guarantee a strong readership, or at the very least, earn you a few more regular visitors; after all people are inherently nosy, and seeing what someone else is wearing on a daily/weekly basis is somehow immensely interesting. Needless to mention, I love seeing what my favourite bloggers are wearing, and am especially delighted when a irregular ‘outfit-poster’ does just that, providing one of those ‘this is what I am wearing today’ posts. A lot of my style inspiration comes via the swift and sensational medium of the outfit post phenomenon. Outfit posts are great, except of course, when I am the one doing them.

Indeed, on the opposite side of the coin, I could not seem to reconcile my own misgivings about outfit posting and their undeniable popularity. Even on my own meagre blog, outfit posts were always popular, and for a while, I really enjoyed doing them.

Then what happened?

I am not quite sure when, but that festering doubt at the back of mind took over, and I felt silly, vacuous and vain – all the criticisms thrown at ‘fashion bloggers’ from outsiders – for partaking in such an asinine activity.  But even more so, I felt insecure.  I have never felt like a particularly fashionable person, never mind trendy, and even less so outrageous or original. I sort of felt that no one really needs to see what I am wearing, of all people. Furthermore, I was on edge. Paranoia struck in. I became obsessed that people might think that I thought I was this extremely stylish/fashionable person; a thought which made me cringe.

What is more, all this came tangled up in my natural style progression. I am no longer eighteen and enjoy wearing quite frankly ludicrous outfits. Fashion changed for me. When I was younger, fashion was about frivolity and being wacky, and throwing the kitchen sink at it, so to speak. Now, I kind of feel just OK and nice in a jumper and jeans. I still like to have little references going on in my head – mostly (young) Paul Weller, being a character in a Woody Allen film, and some style idea I picked up from a favourite blog – but it’s just more simple these days.  Back then, fashion was always about being original, and while, I still hold firmly onto that belief, I feel I can do that in a more subtle way now.

But. And there’s a big but.  This post would have finished just like that if it wasn't by sheer coincidence that my friend Michele and I went on my blog last night (simultaneously over Skype. Technology. Wha.) and looked back over all my old outfit posts. Then this initial post took an unexpected turn. Browsing through all those old pictures, I felt deeply saddened at what had been, suddenly seeing those outfit posts (as bad as some of them were...) not to be about vanity, but to be about creativity and even more so, personal enjoyment. I realised then that those outfit posts were not for any readers (as few of you as there might be), but entirely for myself as selfish as that may seem.

In short, outfit posting is about archiving* not really about ‘Oh look how trendy I am!’, or ‘Look at all my new shit!’, but it can act as a record of how you might change over time. In summation, I realised it is something I want to return to, quashing those doubts and insecurities, and return to enjoying and documenting outfits for the sake of memory, and for the sake of personal pleasure.

*If you haven't done so already check out this post from Tavi on archiving and memories. Sublime stuff. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

'Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night'.

 Some screencaptures from the superb All about Eve (1950).

Margo Channing (Bette Davis): 'Some people know me, I wish I did. I wish someone would tell me about me.
Karen (Celeste Holm): 'You're Margo. Just Margo...'
Margo: 'What is that? Besides something spelt out in light bulbs, I mean. Besides something called a temperment which consists mostly of swooping about on a broomstick and screaming at the top of my voice. Infants behave the way I do, you know. They carry on and misbehave. They'd get drunk if they knew how, when they can't get what they want. When they feel unwanted, insecure or unloved.'

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

hey, hey you wanna play?

Ever since Grimes became a household name (around this time last year or thereabouts?), I have absolutely fallen for her, her music, her style and pretty much everything she stands for (do check out her tumblr post published yesterday where she posits powerful feminist values on the way in which she is regularly undermined due to her dual status as a woman, and a successful musician). Browsing through her tumblr then, I was alerted to this playful and rather wacky yet beautiful editorial from style.com that captures something of Claire Boucher's unique and ethereal essence ('ethereal' is over-used in a Grimean context, I know...but there is no other word for her strange sparkle...). While the editorial may somewhat accentuate Boucher's childlike/nymphish quality - consider the stuffed toys, teacup and pensive adolescent staring-out-window mode - it does so in such a way that is by no means nauseating, sweet, sexualized or saccharine. Rather, I would argue that it's all just a bit plain weird, emphasizing her ungroomed but pretty androgyny and indeed, penchant for weirdness and random junk. And is it just me, but am I seeing a little bit of Ziggy Stardust going on here? Lighting bolt make-up, zingy orange hair, ice-blue eyeshadow and jumpsuits...















Images via style.com


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

snap happy?

For the past several months, I have lived in a flat without internet connection. I won't lie and say it's due to a conscious effort to spend less time on the internet on my part, or some participation in the slow web movement. Rather, it's for money saving reasons and proximity to internet services provided by my university. However, this means two things: firstly, the internet is largely used for (or supposedly used for), shock horror, educational purposes. This means that when I arrive in college on any given day, I should be (note: should be) browsing JStor, making notes from 'educational websites' (cough not Wikipedia. But probably Wikipedia...) and emailing lecturers. Yet, this tends to morph into mindlessly checking facebook, and/or updating my cover photo (any one else think that the cover photo is perhaps FB's greatest feature...No? Just me then...), and looking at random pinterests/tumblrs for you know, research purposes. And secondly, my lack of internet access has by all means resulted in limited blogging in recent months. Living without the internet, or rather a less readily available internet connection, means less time for coming up with things to post about. There is just less time for finding new blogs, writing things based on posts from other blogs or creating a plump image bank in which to delve into for post-generating purposes. In general, these past few months have seen me fall out of the fashion blog loop, only getting a chance to read blogs in sporadic bursts.

This afternoon (when I should have been using the internet for those aforementioned 'educational' purposes) I had a nice peruse over at the always excellent, and actually quite educational, The Licentiate, and came across this gem, Take My Picture, a short documentary film on the nature of street style photography featuring Tim Blanks, Tommy Ton, and Susie Lau et al.

Take My Picture takes a much needed, critical look at the street style explosion, examining fashion-week hysteria and the quite frankly bizarre phenomenon of dressing just to be photographed. A must see, especially for let us say, the more cynical fashion enthusiast...

Monday, April 15, 2013

sunshine and showers

While I am studying I tend to make little lists of things on course readings/photocopies/notebooks etc: food shopping lists, clothes that my wardrobe (apparently) requires, and things that I should blog. Between the stacks of books, and the piles and piles of paper, and numerous A4 pads, however, these little lists get misplaced: lost somewhere, only to be found several weeks/months later by which time they have slipped into irrelevancy. 

While these images were scribbled on some such list, and have only surfaced now, I hope they have not become irrelevant yet.  It may be a particularly rainy/dreary April day here in Cork, but hopefully these might assist in cheering one up just a little bit...

As long-time readers/long-suffering friends/family may know, there are few things style-wise that I appreciate more than people of a certain age dressing sharply...and...wacky sunglasses. Imagine my delight then, stumbling across Karen Walker's latest sunglasses collection. Enormous, rainbow, cartoon shades modelled by the ridiculously fabulous (not a word I use in general, mind you...) ladies of Advanced Style. Needless to mention, there was a lot of delight. 

My own personal love/hate relationship with the dictates of the fashion industry has a good deal to do with its infuriating ageism. Without this spinning off into a diatribe, let's just admire the vibrancy of these ladies and the glamour and zest for life that they exude.

And of course, hooray for cateye sunglasses. That's just a given really.







Wednesday, April 10, 2013

but i never wave bye-bye


(1) So I haven't blogged in a month - a lengthy absence for even a tardy blogger such as I. However, I've been busy: finishing up classes, catching up with friends, eating, crying and doing lots of complaining. Although those last three activities were predominantly essay-induced, saying that...I'd pretty much complain over a slice of cake/cup of tea/instant noodles/copious pints any time. Ya. But finishing up an MA is tough. The essays are so much longer, and so much more involved...and it's sort of painful...but hopefully it will be worthwhile...?
However, I digress. This photograph is by a German fashion photographer known as Yva. Never heard of her? Well she took photos for magazines such as Die Dame during the Weimar years, and Helmut Newton was one of her students. I've popped this photograph in here, because I just wrote a whole lot of words on women's legs in Weimar Germany... Oh dear. But hey, this is a pretty picture.
(2) Grimes being lovely with her pink-tinged hair and zig-zag, Ziggy Stardust shoes.
(3) I rarely condone grown women dressing like little girls. But heck, pinafores are just nice. (even if I did wear one in primary school...)
(4) I have feeling there might be a lot of Weimar-era stuff appearing on here, but who doesn't wish they could have Louise Brooks' hairdo just once in their lives? I like this screen shot though (from Pandora's Box). And it's even been theorised about (see Patrice Petro...if you're so inclined...) But it's cool, because it is about a woman just sitting back and enjoying a fashion magazine for her own pleasure and enjoyment.
(5) & (6) St. Vincent AKA Annie Clark has been newly elected as curly-haired icon. Why can't my curls look as nice as hers? Why? Dammit. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

photobooth

Gillian Wearing, Self-portrait at seventeen years old, 2003, Chromogenic colour print. 
via MoMA


This; well this is great. Wearing assumes a guise as her seventeen year old self taken when she was in fact thirty in her family series. 

"This is the final image of me at 17 years old, based on a photo-booth image from the early 80s. I look very self-conscious (which I was) but also very aware of my image. I had taken the photo just to look at how I looked that day, a bit of boredom and a bit of vanity. I took one large colour image and four small black and white. Because in the 80s you could have a choice of four or one image, I can’t imagine what the single image was for, unless like me it was just to make a portrait of yourself. I am wearing the clothes I wore as an office junior, I was a new romantic but had to suppress that look for my day job. I was lucky to find the orange curtain, which is an authentic photo-booth curtain – I was told it was the last one the company had, and I don't think the company that ran these booths exists any more." - Gillian  Wearing, via the Guardian

On a more superficial level, I kind of just really really like her look in this image too - the tousled, flicked, and parted 80s hair, the crisp white shirt and pinafore, and the pale pink glisten of sullen lips. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

on fashion photography

Years of perusing fashion magazines has taught me that fashion photography can be (a) rather boring, or (b) so impossibly heart-racingly gorgeous that it leaves some sort of mark indelibly. Unfortunately - largely due too much airbrushing, too many personality-less models, too many plain white, or (shudder) beige backgrounds, too much 'sophisticated' clothing... all of which leave me cold - fashion photography generally (in mainstream publications anyway) falls into the former category.
But then there are those times, albeit rare, when you stumble across something completely by chance, or flick the next page of that fat monthly glossy, only to discover something that does make that mark. That makes you fall in love. And while I implore you to forgive my romanticism, certain photographs (yes, even fashion) possess the ability to do just that, and not, in a purely consumerist, 'I want that' sort of way. But in a way, that purposefully speaks through a language of beauty in order to create this vision of an otherworld that you cannot and will not forget.

Of course, I digress. I did in fact, stumble across something utterly by chance this evening that made that aforementioned mark. A set of images featuring Rodarte's designs through the past decade or so, shot by none other than art photographer Nan Goldin. While I don't really think I need to say too much about the photographs - they are exquisite -, it is the perfect pairing of Rodarte's devastating designs (devastating in their delicacy, beauty, and power) caught through Goldin's subculture-tuned, phenomenally edgy eye.
Somehow they just get each other.