Things I like include old jeans, scratch-and-sniff cards, and raspberries. Things I don’t like include washing my pants and the smell my pants get after I don’t wash them for a long time.
Looks like there’s a solution. Think they make a size for me?
text by Sofie Mikhaylova
Was YSL a feminist?
This was a question that I’d never before considered relevant, let alone taken the time to ponder. Yet, when I went to see Laurent Cotta speak at the Bata Shoe Museum on a rainy Wednesday, he chose to focus on the relevance of YSL’s designs, his personal history, and his creative inspirations. Laurent Cotta is a Parisian fashion and art historian and has lectured on the influence of Yves Saint Laurent across Europe and North America since 2004. By the end of my short but thorough education, I had a new understanding of what YSL meant to fashion, historically and today.
In my mind, the name Yves Saint Laurent had always brought about a sort of fancy, unattainable feeling, a classic idea of a long-ago perfected look that is still constantly referenced and adored today. Few self-proclaimed fashion lovers are unaware of YSL’s contribution to the fashion world, and some, like Cotta, have even dedicated their lives to studying his personal history.
YSL started out in the mid-1950s as the young assistant of Christian Dior. Year after year, more of his designs were selected to be in the haute couture shows and, in 1958, after Dior’s death, he succeeded him as Head of House. Although newspapers hailed his 1958 collection as having “saved France,” his 1960 beatnik-inspired spring/summer collection was not well received by the public. The House felt his liberal use of leather and alligator-skin motorcycle jackets mixed with thin, feminine sweaters were a misrepresentation of Dior. This misstep led to his dismissal. One year later, YSL and his partner, Pierre Bergé, started their own house of couture, and just like that, the famed Yves Saint Laurent brand was born. YSL created a simple look accessible to both men and women, believing both genders could dress the same if they adhered to classic designs. As an example, he even posed in his own fashion shoots dressed in a similar way to his sister. A supporter of women’s liberation, YSL’s philosophy demanded that outfits be practical and easy to wear. He explored androgyny throughout his career, especially towards the late ’60s, when he famously took to creating tuxedo-style looks for women.
Zelda Kaplan, New York socialite and eccentric, died on February 15 at the age of 95. The staple in New York’s art and club society was well-known for her outfits and her personality. After travelling around Africa and Asia after her second divorce (speaking to women in villages about birth control and female genital mutilation), she returned to New York with multitudes of African prints purchased directly from the weavers. She turned these into matching outfits ensembles, and was never seen in New York’s club district without her printed dress and matching tall hat.
Zelda was an enigma; she became famous for just being herself. She could out-party kids who were a third of her age, and didn’t care what people would have thought of her. She often stayed at clubs until they closed for the night, before making exits just as smooth as her entrances.
She was more than just her eccentric reputation; she was the passionate old woman with the spirit of a 20-year-old, the character of a philanthropist, and the nature of a true artiste.
Goodbye, Zelda Kaplan. The world will be a little less exuberant without you.
text by Sofie Mikhaylova
When I first heard the word, I thought it meant some kind of talking, as in, “He bespoke of the movie,” or, “I bespoke the truth.”
Needless to say, that’s not what it meant. At least not fully.
After some relentless online digging, I found the real meaning of the word, along with some interesting history.
Did you know?
The word “bespoke” actually means custom-made, in reference to things of any kind, specialized to the buyer’s preference. It is the opposite of ready-made. When applied to fashion, however, the term bespoke is only used for men’s suits and clothing, making it a parallel to the women’s haute couture label of individually cut and designed garments.
Why should I care?
Unlike haute couture, bespoke is not a protected label. This upset a lot of men in fashion, especially tailors, so the Savile Row Bespoke Association was set up in 2004 to protect the integrity of the art of tailoring in London’s West End. In 2006, the Savile Row Bespoke became a label, established for simple identification of suits and garments made specifically on Savile Row (and surrounding streets). So while bespoke is not a protected label, the Savile Row Bespoke Association has made itself a trademarked brand, and is working towards making bespoke clothing protected, so that it can be the male fashion equivalent to women’s haute couture. However, they haven’t been successful in achieving that goal yet, which is probably why not that many people today know what it means, or even that it exists.