What I'm Listening To: Arcade Fire- Reflektor

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The band Arcade Fire recently released the first single from their upcoming album of their upcoming album (to be released on October 29), both called "Reflektor". My first reaction was "they've changed their sound again", this time drawing influence from some dance pop acts such as Daft Punk. Time will tell if the band has branched out too far with this album and alienated their fans or if fans will stick around for the ride. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think and if you're thirsty for more, you can catch them on SNL tonight.

Capes, Masks & Tights Sketchbook: Part I

Friday, September 27, 2013
Today my latest sketchbook for the Art House Co-op's The Sketchbook Project is visiting my hometown, Wichita, Kansas at Wichita State University's Ulrich Museum. My fifth sketchbook for the co-op, titled "Capes, Masks & Tights" is embarking on a four city tour of the same name which will also travel to Santa Fe, New Mexico (September 29 @ The Santa Fe Art Institute); Boulder, Colorado (October 1 @NoBo Arts District); and Brooklyn, New York (October 11-13 @The Brooklyn Art Library). Sticking with the theme, I drew influences from my hometown, vintage comic books, pop culture, and my comic book heros- R. Crumb, Dan Clowes and Craig Thompson. If you're able to catch the tour the call number for my sketchbook is 220.5-8. And if you can't catch the tour, I've posted the first 7 pages of my sketchbook below.

Links to my previous sketchbooks:

The 2013 Sketchbook Project Untitled (blog or art house)
The Sketchbook Project: Limited Edition Untitled (blog or art house)
The 2012 Sketchbook Project Transatlantic (art house)
The 2010 Sketchbook Project My Life in a Yellow Submarine (blog or art house)

My cover page was inspired by the Capes, Masks, and Tights promotional graphic (seen here). I used sumi ink and black ink pen to recreate the image. I recently received an e-mail informing me that the tour dates and locations have been changed and while the sketchbook is touring in Wichita right now, it will be embarking to New Albany, IN, Columbus, OH and Pittsburgh, PA next.
Page 1

To me, no vintage comic book would be complete without a Charles Atlas ad, so I Modge Podged one into my sketchbook. The page on the right was inspired by a page in Avengers Issue 1.5- a later released spoof issue released in 1999.
Page 2-3

On the left I dedicated my sketchbook "To my fellow Wichitans and fellow comic book nerds everywhere." The page on the right was inspired by this YouTube video.
Page 4-5

The top left illustration is from an illustration I saw at the Holburne Museum in Bath. I decided to update the illustration for the "Kim Kardiashion age". The drawing on the left was inspired by some headlines I read about online on the BBC.
Page 6-7

Fall 2013 Target Favorites

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Hi all! I feel like I'm a bit late to the Phillip Lim for Target party, but it's not for lack of trying. Like many, I'd marked the Phillip Lim release date on my calender weeks in advance and was hoping my UK timezone would be advantageous to viewing the collection online before the USA woke up. But when I hopped online at 9am my time, 3am EST, I found that the web site was down...ALL DAY. In the past I wouldn't sweat it and I'd just browse the collection at one of the Target stores in the suburbs, but now that I'm in the UK there are NO Target stores to visit. But if there WAS a Target store in my area, these are the pieces I'd be checking out.
3.1 Philip Lim for Target

I've also been crushing on several pieces from Target's regular clothing and home decor brands. Right now Target is having a buy one get one 50% off sale on shoes and handbags plus they offer free shipping over $50 so it's an excellent time to shop til you drop. Check out my wishlist. 
Fall 2013 Target Favorites

Merona petite blazer, £22 / Merona, £17 / Merona, £19 / Mossimo ankle zip pants, £17 / Mossimo pants, £16 / Ankle booties, £22 / Post earrings, £4.99 / Wall art, £16 / Oblong throw pillow, £9.54 / White owl lamp, £22 / Nate Berkus home decor, £16 / Threshold™ Fox Figural : Target, £25

Did you pick up any pieces from the Phillip Lim collection? What are you crushing on this fall? Let me know in the comments below.

Previously On Project Runway: Season 12, Episode 9

Thursday, September 19, 2013
Aka. Let's Do Brunch

Previously on Project Runway the designers were treated to a nice afternoon brunch where Tim informed the designers that they would be creating a day-to-night look for the modern Southern woman. It was pretty apparent that most of the designers had no idea what a woman from the South wears as many either created gowns (think: Scarlett O'Hara) or gravitated towards picnic blanket plaid. The winning look(s) would be sold at Belk. Let's take a look at the designs:


In the workroom Justin had planned on using black fabric with his corral fabric. Lucky for him, he listened to Tim's advise to ditch the black or risk his outfit becoming Haloweeny. The result was a nice dress that fit the brief, but didn't stand out.
Helen's gown was more suited for night-time than for the day. I could maybe imagine a modern southern woman wearing this to a charity ball. I could also maybe see this hanging on the clearance rack at a fancy gown store. It wasn't really my cup of tea.
I thought Alexandria was going to end up in the bottom this week. She seemed rather lost in the workroom this week and I thought her asymmetrical neckline and handkerchief hem looked rather sloppy. I guess the judges felt it was more modern than some of the other looks.

Alexander's dress was my favorite of the top 3 despite having used a plaid print and handkerchief hem. I rather liked the plaid print that he chose and thought his top fit well and you could easily take this dress from day to night. He was kept safe.
Kate's dress was my second favorite. I thought her dress could easily be worn by many different people. However, I'm not too keen on the color orange. Kate was safe this week.
I wasn't a huge fan of the plaid print that Bradon chose, but I will admit that he used the fabric in an interesting way. Bradon was selected as the winner this week.


In a rather strange twist, the judges believed that the bottom 3 designers didn't understand the brief (a likely story considering that Dom's mother from New Orleans inspired her look, and Ken if from Atlanta in the South) and they decided to ask the bottom 3 designers to select a helper and return to the workroom for an hour to re-do their looks.

Dom wanted to show the designers that she could make something without a print. However, she should have stuck to what she does best because her first look was forgettable.
Dom #1
When Dom returned to the workroom, she decided to utilize her discarded print fabric to create a while new dress. The judges liked her second look so much that they decided to sell this look at Belk too.
Dom #2
Ken set out to win this challenge, but ended up making a purple high-low maxi dress that either looked like an evening dress or a night gown depending on who you ask. Either way is was pretty boring.
Ken #1
In the workroom, Ken altered his dress from evening wear to club wear. I thought his altered skirt was too short and looked rough around the edges. I thought Ken would be sent home, but the judges kept him safe to pout another day.
Ken #2
Jeremy's printed dress and jacket were too "old lady".
Jeremy #1
The judges commended Jeremy's second look as his most modern look to date. But his look was also rather simple compared to the other looks and Jeremy was out.
Jeremy #2
With 5 episodes left my top 3 picks are Dom, Kate and either Alexandria or Bradon and I think Ken's days are numbered. Did you catch this week's episode of Project Runway? Did you agree with the judges decisions? Who are your top 3 picks and whose going home next? Let me know in the comments below.

What I'm Listening To: Ylivis- The Fox

Saturday, September 14, 2013
Brace yourself for some ridiculousness. Please don't take this seriously.

This week I'm listening to a song from Norway that has gone viral and attempts to answer the question 'what does the fox say'? Personally, I'm pretty sure the fox yips like a dog, but the brother's Ylivisaker have a few other ideas. Give the song a listen and try not to get it stuck in your head.

Previously on Project Runway: Season 12, Episodes 7 and 8

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Episode 7 
aka OMG Shoes!

Previously on Project Runway the designers traveled to the Marie- Claire headquarters where they met Tim Gunn and Marie Claire's Editor-in-Chief, Anne Fulenwide. The designers were invited to invade the Marie Claire closet and select a pair of shoes to inspire their next outfit. The catch was that each of the designers (except for previous episode winner, Alexandria) had to participate in a fashion quiz in order to determine their shoe picking order. Miranda appeared to know nothing about fashion and had to pick last, but she still got the shoes that she wanted.

When the designers when to Mood, both Miranda and Alexander bought plaid with the idea that they would create a plaid pant, so there was a faceoff between the plaid pants in the workroom. Let's take a look at the designs:


Karen's dress was a little too matchy-matchy with the shoes and her jacket looked boxy and ill fitting. She was lucky to be safe.
I thought Kate's outfit was a little boring for such a sleak, surrealistic shoe. She could have let her imagination run wild with blue hair, lobster hats, big collars, the whole bit! Le sigh!
Dom also fell victim to the matchy-matchy virus. While I thought her color blocking pattern was interesting, I felt that the all-over quilting on the dress made it look too heavy.

In the face-off of the plaid pants, I think Alexander's skinny version was the winner. However, his top looked like it came from the wallpaper/ dollar store/ food market challenge.
Justin redeemed himself someone after being outted the previous episode and saved by Tim Gunn. His edgy black outfit helped his bold printed pumps stand out, but I was afraid that his model might pop out of the bustier.

Alexandria got to select her shoes first and she chose these fierce thigh high gladiator (bondage) sandals and then decided to soften them up a bit with a slinkly little black dress with lace. In my opinon, this was the best, but Zac Posen called it pedestrian (say what!?).
I liked the fabric that Ken chose for his outfit and thought his look complimented the shoes well, although the skirt was rather short.
I thought that Helen's dress and cape was rather boring and matronly, but the judges went wild for it (especially the cape). I don't really understand why, but Helen was awarded the win this week.

I thought that Bradon's look this week was going to be his swan song with all of the air-time he got this week. He also fell victim to matchy-matchy and the technique that he used on his top made his outfit appear overworked and matronly. I think Bradon's back catalogue kept him safe this week.
Jeremy selected a pair of Pretty Woman boots and then totally went there! While his cable knit chiffon technique was interesting in theory, in person it looks like something from the clearance rack. He was lucky to be safe this week.
Miranda's cropped top reared it's ugly head again today. This time it was paired with a pair of high waisted plaid pants that came off more granny than cool. With the added Amy Winehouse styleing it was the kiss of death for Miranda and she was sent home.
Episode 8
aka Let's Get Physical

Previously on Project Runway Tim Gunn arrived at the designer's hotel in full referee gear and woke up the designers to take them on a field day. After participating in an obstacle course (a three-legged race, tire run, wheel barrel and flag grab), Heidi and Tim asked the designers to help Heidi design an outfit for her New Balance collection. Since Justin and Dom won the Field Day challenges, they got first picks of fabric and got an extra hour in the workroom.

There was a bit of drama in the workroom this week after Helen pulled Tim asside and asked if she could use the New Balance example outfit to model her design's fit after. When Ken asked what Helen had asked Tim and Helen responded coyly, Ken got pissed and Helen sought out Tim to smooth things over. After a talk with Tim, Helen and Ken hugged and made up and hopefully that's the end of it.

This week also saw the return of Michael Kors (albeit as a guest judge). Oh how I miss Michal Kors!

Let's take a look at the designs:


I loved how Bradon used the neon green fabric as piping to make his look really stand out. I thought his look was much more worthy of the top three than Alexander's and the two should have swapped positions.
I normally love the black and red combination, but Dom's look was rather boring and forgettable this week. Kudos for making a jacket with the outfit though.
I liked the asymmetrical zipper on Justin's jacket, but his shorts were rather 'cheeky' and should have had a bit more length to them.
I understood that Jeremy wanted to stand out from the heard of black pants by creating this purple pair, but he needed to add some design flair if he wanted to be on top. His outfit looked like something I could purchase at Target.

Kate was inspired by her motocross driving brother and created an interesting look with piping, thumb holes and a back zipper that can change the silhouette. I did wish that the jacket was a bit longer (to cover the bum). I thought Kate should have been the winner, but the judges were already in love with another outfit.
Alexander's look was well constructed but it didn't really strike me down the runway. I think the judges gave him a lot of credit for being a costume designer that could sew active wear. I'm glad he's safe.
Personally, I thought Helen's look was the least gym worthy, but the judges called this look "Stevie Nicks goes to the gym" and the second Nina Garcia started placing orders for the jacket, we could tell that Helen was going to be the winner.


Ken's look was pretty generic and the multiple back straps made it look like his model was wearing five bras. Although it was boring, it was safe.
Did someone forget to tell Alexandria that Michal Kors was judging this episode and Michael Kors does not like "poopy pants"?  This week Alexandria tried to bring back her glamping look, but as the judges pointed out, it wasn't practical for any sport and only Heidi liked the look. The judges were split on if they liked the slashes Alexandria added to the tank top, but at least she created a cool, mesh backed jacket.
At first Karen gravitated towards the neon green fabric, but when Heidi visited the word room and told her that her neon sports bra was looking alien, Karen scrapped it and created a sweatshirt and sweat capris from the scraps. I got a little peeved when the model complained about feeling uncomfortable in the outfit to the judges. Who feels uncomfortable in sweats!? Even obese folks wear sweats! Would you feel more comfortable in a corset!? Anyways, Karen's look was admittedly not very fashion-forward and she was out this week.
Well, I foresaw that Miranda and Karen's days were numbered and I was right. Did you catch these two episodes of Project Runway? Who do you think will be out next? I think Jeremy, Justin and Alexander need to step up their games. Did you agree with the judges picks? Let me know in the comments below.

New York Fashion Week: Spring 2014

Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The weather outside is starting to feel more and more like Fall everyday, but in New York City Spring has sprung. The Spring 2014 fashion collections are debuting at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week (NYFW) and while I may be an ocean away, I can catch all of the action through Twitter, Instagram, and photos and videos from the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week website. Check out some of my favorite collections below.

Emerson by Jackie Frasier-Swan

Emerson by Jackie Frasier-Swan embodies the powerful, free-spirited woman with an eccentric side. For this collection Frasier-Swan imagined "a group of punk rock kids crashed a private garden on the Upper East Side where the Ramones were playing a secret show" which was made visible with her use of contrasting fabric pitting punk rock stripes up against floral prints. I'm particularly in love with all of her black and white pieces.

Alon Livne'

While Alon Livne' may not be a household name in the U.S. (yet), Livne' is Israel's foremost fashion designer. His beautiful collection was edgy and futuristic with sculptural details and pops of 80s inspired color. I want to take home the swim suit on the right and wear it all Summer! 

Side Note: Does anyone else think that the gold and white outfit looks like She-ra's outfit? Awesome! 

Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff's colorful casual collection with a Latin American vibe apparently had a lot of buzz this week, not just for the clothes but for it's debut on Snapchat and the performance by Janelle Monae. I loved that all of the models were styled with Frida Kahlo hair and the clothes made me want to vacation at a resort in Mexico, but I could so see myself wearing the yellow skirt outfit anytime.

Nicole Miller
Nicole Miller's collection referenced, 'in part, gardens, mazes, chandeliers and shattered mirrors, as if a rowdy group trespassed the gardens of Versailles to break into the famed palace.' Like Emerson's collection, Miller also used a contrast of floral prints and carefully placed stripes to create a collection that felt very punk rock meets art deco. And the model with the green hair was my absolute favorite!

Have you been following NYFW? Which collections have been your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

This post has been submitted as an entry to IFB Project #112: NYFW Favorites 
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