Pages

Monday, March 28, 2011

FFR?

Every once in awhile, I feel compelled to write an entry about stuff that I see and, like a gag reflex, makes me think, “For freakin’ real?”  Usually it’s an image, occasionally it’s a post.  Today, I’m going to share both.  Maybe you won't make an ishy face like I made, but maybe I’m just getting old fast.

Here are some flummox-worthy finds...

This email from retailer Singer 22, which sells trendy threads and shows celebrities sporting said threads, is what gagged me to write this post.  I hadn't even seen the actual image yet.  I simply scanned my Inbox and came to a screeching halt when I saw the subject line.  While all it touted was the brand's name, it was WTF enough for me:

Fairgound Bunny Gets Nailed.  Eh?!  Wha???  Yep, I kid you not:




Their latest obsession.  And they want it to be yours, too!  I'm going to have to pass that plate on down the table.  I'm on a diet.  Trying to cut back on things that make me look like...  well, that.

More options for you to look like a bun-bun who wants (and apparently got) plenty of action:






Um.  Looks a LOT like the trend that both Singer 22 and Revolve were peddling last Fall...  Spirithoods!  Say it with me (and the models) - RAWRRR!!!





Really?  Those pants?  And really?  That top?  Not even commenting on the hood...





Don't forget the "paws!"






This email from Barneys gave me a shuddering pause as well.  I know fashion and art often produce  images meant to provoke and even disturb, which is fine.  It just weirded me out a little.  You can probably think up multiple storylines, but they all seem to include "bank robbery" and end with "jail uniforms."





I've designated this news about Abercrombie & Fitch selling push-up bras to elementary-aged girls as my runner-up to first prize for FFR.  I stumbled across this article thanks to the women at Threadbared (again, boy they aren't missing a beat).  They reposted from the original source, which comes from Racked.com, a site I need to explore more.

If that's the runner up, you ask, then who's the lucky winner?  Why, here is the image upon which I bestow that sketchy crown:




Whuzzat?  Why...  it's a RAT.  A sweet, furry, ginornous rat.  In the windows of the NYC Skechers store.  This snap of Cuddlekins comes courtesy of my weekly Fashion Alert e-newsletter.  The unexpected display-crasher was spotted by a passer-by, who took the photo and sent it on to Gawker, which was picked up by Racked (again), which was picked up by Fashion Alert/The Cut - phew.  While you read more, I will reminisce briefly about waiting for the Red Line back home...  Sweet memories of watching the subway rats scurrying around the tracks, down in the depths of the Clark & Division El stop.  Makes me all warm and (cough) fuzzy.

Hmmm...

You know, the more I think about it, Mr. Whiskers may need to share its status of FFR royalty with today's weather.  April starts this week.  But Mother Nature sure as heck didn't get that memo:

video



There's a somewhat perverse pleasure in hearing those poor birdies chirping away as the snow falls steadily.  Silly birds, you thought it was Spring!  HA-ha!  Coupled with a low tonight of 17 degrees (Fahrenheit), it may as well be December all over again.

Well, then!  Since we're feeling so Christmas-y, here's the video I promised you last week:






'Tis the season!  For flippin' real :)


Images:
Fairground Bunny Got Nailed pix - Singer 22
Spirithoods - Singer 22, Revolve
Junya Watanabe pic - Barneys
Skechers rat - Gawker.com
Snow video - own
Christmas Laser Cats - You Tube

Monday, March 21, 2011

Japan Aid, Part 2

So, I wasn't sure whether to talk about something new and shiny and upbeat, or if I should continue to update you about retailers pitching in to help Japan.  Since I've continued to notice additional emails and Facebook postings dealing with the latter, I decided we can have one more entry dedicated to sobering events that bring out something good.  Something in which the commercial goes beyond pure commerce (even if briefly).

As I thought, more companies have used email and social media to give a shout-out to Japan and link to various charities for donation-giving over the past week.

Private sales site Gilt Groupe has placed a banner at the top of their website encouraging their members to donate.  They've also posted to Facebook:





Kate Spade took advantage of their Facebook platform to do likewise:


I'll be curious to see what their tote bag looks like and how much it drives sales.  I am a fan of those sophisticated, preppy-urbane clothes and accessories!


Taking place on March 18th, Forever 21 stated that it would donate 100% of all its sales on that day towards aid for Japan.  This news comes courtesy of The Cut, a weekly e-newsletter full of oft-amusing snippets of all things fashion.

The retail family known as the Gap, Inc. (which includes Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta as its relatives) has made sure to show they want to help out.

The authors of the blog Threadbared (which approaches fashion and its politics from the minority perspective) provide links to check out as well.  They also posted a link on their Facebook site to an article by Rachel Lamb on the Luxury Daily website, which discusses how the luxury retail industry is participating in the cause.

While you're visiting Threadbared's page, be sure to browse through their writings - interesting and thoughtful articles.

Ueber-entertainer Lady Gaga has designed a wristband to support aid efforts.  While I'm not a big fan of her music (mostly because I live under a rock when it comes to Top 40 music and don't know her tunes, not because I dislike her), she's smartly taken advantage of her fame to advocate for this cause.  Here's a link straight to her online store (which for sure marks the first time I've ever logged into her site!).  And here's a picture of said wristband:




Even United Airlines jumped into the action.

Overall, it sounds like there is some tenuous reason for hope.  Of course, the situation is still a very fragile one, and things change constantly.  But I truly wish conditions will only improve and that, over time, the rebuilding and healing can begin.

On a more positive note..  I had wanted to post a really hilarious You Tube clip after my first Japan post.  I figured after all the depressing news, we could all use a great laugh.  Then I got busy, and it slipped.  Also, although it's done in a totally silly fashion, the end does flash a nuclear bomb mushroom cloud.  Since one of the main concerns with Japan's current state deals with its nuclear reactors, I decided to play it safe and abstain from sticking those things in the same post (OK, granted, a slightly different situation).  So...  it'll be in the next one.  I promise the video is all light-hearted, geeky and fun.  You don't believe me?  Umm...

Engineers + Cats + Christmas music** = Hilarity

In closing, have you seen one of your favorite retailers extending wishes of hope and aid?  Is there one that really surprised you?  United Airlines kinda took me by surprise, but honestly, there's no reason it's odd.  I'd love to hear of any companies/designers/retailers that you admire who are offering assistance.  Or one who caught your eye unexpectedly.

Wishing you a happy, silly week (cats and engineers optional),
Maggie



** - Yes, Christmas music.  Because, hey...  where I live, we are expecting snow and temperatures in the teens this week.  Mother Nature apparently doesn't care that April is near, so why should I?  As far as I'm concerned, 'tis the season, dammit :)


Images:  Facebook snapshots - my own, Lady Gaga's wristband - Lady Gaga website

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Keeping Japan In Our Thoughts

It has only been a handful of days since a record-setting earthquake and tsunami devastated parts of Japan and affected many other countries (sheesh, devastated seems like a gross understatement when you consider the sheer loss of life and damage).  When you see each new image and read every breaking story, it’s only natural that things like a blog dedicated to shopping feel pretty frivolous.

When I first read about the disaster, I immediately checked in on a good friend and a few other friends who have connections there.  Thankfully, they and their loved ones are OK.  Big sigh of relief.

The news is still very recent and constantly developing.  In a sad and downright scary way.  Nuclear meltdowns?  Radiation sickness?  Millions of people without heat, water and food?  Estimates of 10,000+ casualties?  Makes you feel helpless, and sad.  Very, very sad.

Fortunately, besides the regular players who come to bat in times of crisis (like the Red Cross**, Doctors Without Borders, and many other countries’ governments and volunteers), some retailers are already responding.  While you can argue that the help comes via sales, I've seen those who are using their networks to encourage their subscribers and fans to take action.

Initially, I did a Google search to get information about any retailers supporting relief to Japan, but it didn’t turn up anything besides reports on business in general being affected by the earthquake and tsunami.  So I turned to Facebook, that insane behemoth of all things networky and social.  I’ve “liked” a number of my favorite retailers, and I hoped I’d find some good stuff.  Which I did!

Threadless, of whom you already know I’m a big fan, has launched a t-shirt design competition to benefit Japan.  As their webpage states, 100% of the net proceeds will go to the American Red Cross's effort to aid Japan's victims.  Here are a couple of designs so far:






To learn more, vote, or even submit your own design, click here.


My favorite department store, Nordstrom, posted on their Facebook page as well, asking people to send a text and donate to the Red Cross:





Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus (which my mom and a couple others like to refer to as "Needless Mark-Up", heh) did likewise on their Facebook page:



Tory Burch joined the action as well.  Check out her blog entry here on her website.

Other designers who gave mention on their Facebook pages include Poketo and Trina Turk. I'm sure there are additional designers, stores and shopaholics who are Facebooking, Tweeting or just plain emailing their support.
If you are interested in donating to the relief fund but leery of scams and unsure of who all is out there, I recommend this site:  Charity Navigator.

I'm sure there will be more outpourings of support, both emotional and financial, over the next weeks, months, and year.  I'd be surprised if a celebrity-studded fundraiser doesn't happen in the near future.  In the meantime, I can only hope that all those who are injured, displaced and grieving receive aid, food and counseling very soon.  I'll be sending off a donation this week.  Even if you can't afford to donate, feel free to send along the above information to whomever you think would like to help out.

Hugs to everyone tonight,
Maggie




**While I have not done a lot of digging behind the controversy, mention of the Red Cross has brought up charges of questionable percentages of donations actually reaching victims.  I think this argument happens with other charities, and it’s not my intention to delve into the claims.  I thank all legitimate organizations for their help to those affected in Japan and all other disasters, from headline-grabbers like Hurrican Katrina to smaller but no less important events around the world.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Putting the Cart Before the Horse

So, I’ve been a no-show at ballet class lately.  After the very first day of the new session, in which I attended two back-to-back classes (on pretty much an empty stomach), I have been MIA.  The crappy weather is partly to blame (who really wants to venture out in subzero temps and icy streets on a Saturday afternoon when they could stay snuggled in bed).  Really, though, I’m just plain lazy.  Browsing the latest fashion emails is a lot more appealing (and easy) than trekking downtown to plié and relevé for 90 minutes (or in the case of that January day, closer to 150 minutes).

Also, I was somewhat deterred when the instructor at that class asked how many people had seen the just-released Black Swan.  As the first class of the winter session, the room was packed – maybe 40 students crowded into a room that works better with 20 bodies.  Probably close to 90% of their hands shot in the air when asked about the movie.  Ugh…  I missed the nights of the smaller group; faces that, over the year of being in Becky’s class, had become familiar and even welcoming.  Katie, the dancer who kindly offered to sew the straps on my slippers.  Dave, the older guy who was in better shape than me (and always seemed to end up to my right in our unofficial weekly spots at the barre).  And a woman who’s name I’ve sadly forgotten (Corinna?), but who encouraged me on day one to stick with the class, even though I was whining about being a newbie.  It was comforting to see her in that room over the weeks and months.

But!  I must return.  I’ve told myself I shall be back when the spring session commences, which is in a couple of weeks.  A mere 14-ish days.  One reason is that I truly enjoy the class.  Like I said in an earlier post, ballet is my yoga.  I love it.  Even if I’m not very good at it.  I focus and yet I relax.

Another reason is that I just saw Giselle, a classic ballet (and, admittedly, one I’d never heard of before my friends asked me if I wanted to see it).  Performed by the local Metropolitan Ballet, the cast includes both local professional dancers and students from the associated school.  It also boasts an amazing Russian dancer who now serves as school director.  I enjoyed the overall performance and paid close attention to all the footwork – it gave me a newfound appreciation for all the exercises we did in class and the sheer difficulty of many moves.

The third reason?  Dang it, those blasted, seductive pointe shoes.  Yes, of course, it's the shoes.  The whole impetus behind starting ballet (besides helping me kick and punch things) was the ridiculous, six year-old "I'm a princess" urge to be on pointe eventually (funny, since I was a tomboy growing up).  Oh, the graceful lines of the legs – the gorgeous arch (that I don’t have and never will, damn you biology!).  Hell, I’d probably walk around work in pointe shoes if I could get away with it.  I did rock that Benetton sweater recently after all…

It shouldn't be surprising then, that I thoroughly enjoy browsing online for pointe shoes.  Of course, this is a total joke.  Cart before the horse, as they say.  I haven’t even taken pointe yet.  I need to complete another round of basic ballet before I can even move on to an advanced beginning class.  You know, the advanced beginning class that is also offered in conjunction with beginning pointe.

I’ve even found some possible shoes, courtesy of Discount Dance (a site fellow students recommended).  These are the Aspiration by Bloch, a company dedicated to dancers.






Bloch is pretty awesome.  They've branched into the commercial shoe world and now offer ballet slippers for the street, like pretty much everyone else is doing these days.  I own these guys and adore them, both nabbed on Revolve.com.

From the website:





For realz (love the cute packaging):














They're called the Giselle.  Go figure.

Anyway...  back to pointe shoes.  Never mind that in reality I need to shop in a real store and get fitted for the correct pointe shoe.  Or that I still need to take more classes to shop for these babies.  Or that maybe, even after another class, my teacher will deem me unfit for beginning pointe.

Why the hell am I so obsessed with shoving my feet into little satin shoes that are supposed to totally eff up your feet anyway?  As an artist, maybe it’s the admiration of the line of the body.  As someone who likes to kick, maybe it’s the power, strength and focus needed to be up on your toes.  And as someone who loves to dance (like no one’s watching), maybe it’s just the pure enjoyment of a new kind of expression.  Cue the cheesy music.  Oh wait, it’s already seeping into my brain from the headphones.  No, really, it is.  I recently downloaded the soundtrack from Somewhere in Time.  Silence from the peanut gallery already!  I like it J

Even as winter laughs at the calendar (it snowed yesterday, it’s supposed to snow later this week and again next week…), spring is approaching.  And so is my next shot at getting a little closer to those satin shoes.



Image credits:

Bloch Aspiration pointe shoe:  Discount Dance
Bloch Giselle formal image:  Revolve.com
Remainder of Bloch images:  own