September 28, 2011

A Bit of Nostalgia

Illustrated by Jean-Philippe Delhomme

From left: Bridget Foley (Women's Wear Daily), Cathy Horyn (The New York Times), Hilary Alexander (The Daily Telegraph), Suzy Menkes (International Herald Tribune), Guy Trebay (The New York Times) and Robin Givhan (Newsweek/The Daily Beast

Hope everyone is having a good week. September flew by and there's so much to update you all on. September truly is one of my favorite months- there's that back to school feeling (regardless of whether you're in school), the idea of starting anew, and of course, New York Fashion Week. Needless to say, September will always be the start of the new year for me. But back to fashion week. There's so much attention placed on the collections that  it can be difficult to put looks into context. 

I think Scott Schuman said it best, "shows aren't something that should make you feel bad about not being able to afford what you're seeing, or not looking like a model. Instead, they should just be pure inspiration for color, silhouette, genre, pattern matching..." When I attend a show and begin to think about it on a personal level, these are the things I consider. The collections are a means of getting inspired in the same way that literature, fine art, New York and ballet inspire me. 

Which brings me to another point- I miss the dying art of fashion criticism. There's something about reading an insightful review of a show. There's a piece of me that feels nostalgic for a review where the writer has had a chance to do a studio visit after the show. It's implausible to think that the majority of writers today are reviewing collections without having the chance to look at the construction up close and feel the clothes. True fashion criticism puts clothing into a larger context. A good review speaks to history, culture, the economy and mores of a society.

PS- We all know I adore a good fashion illustration and Jean-Philippe Delhomme's are simply divine. 


  1. You speak my mind - I was just admiring Giorgio Armani's spring collection, and I was inspired by it, even though I'm not about to blow my monthly salary on an Armani jacket or dress. The lines and shapes made me think of soft breezes and inspired to pick my clothes a little more carefully today.

    I even agree with Scott Schuman and I often find him (though not his photos) annoying, haha.

    Great post!

  2. Beautiful post. You summed up the reason why I still buy magazines in the age of the blog - few people reporting on fashion can offer the kind of depth that a Hamish Bowles or a Sally Singer can.

  3. I've been out of university for two years now but I still get a craving to buy note books and new pens every late august. Hey, office desks need pens and note books too!

    I love to read the reviews of collections on sites like Although I love fashion blogs they often only post photos of the things that they liked - I love to read about the dislikes as well - and they often don't have the history and background to judge a collection based on more than the initial first impression given by a a runway photo. A bit of depth is always nice.

  4. lin- It’s all about getting inspired. I think a lot of people are intimidated by fashion. It can seem so out of reach to a lot of people. I like that the true fashion critics are relating the collections to something bigger than “I would wear this” or making lists of items to purchase. That’s why I struggle with blogs sometimes- many times there’s no context. Of course we all make lists of items we like, but I really want to think about proportion, shapes, lines, color combinations etc. I find those things so interesting.
    I love that you were inspired by the Armani show. You really got a sense of the woman he had in mind while designing the collection. My favorite collections are the ones where you get a sense of who the designer has in mind, what she does, how she spends her time etc. etc. Needless to say I love looking at a designer’s inspiration board.

    I thought Scott Schuman articulated this idea really well, but of course I know exactly what you mean. He can take a magical picture. I think I miss his early work- when there were magical pictures and his wonderful tips and knowledge of menswear. At that time no one else was writing about cuffs and that sort of thing.

    Ammu- Thank you. I still believe in magazines in the age of the blog too. It’s absurd that so many magazines/newspapers didn’t send staff to Europe for the collections, but claim that they want more fashion coverage.

    You’re so right about Hamish Bowles and Sally Singer. I love that Sally Singer’s west coast upbringing and authenticity always shines through in her writing.

  5. Maja Piraja- I'll always love school supplies. It really is the best thing ever. I'm such a nerd at heart:) I love picking out pens and notebooks for the office too:)

    The reviews on are always top notch. I love my fashion and style blogs, but I agree with you there isn't always a knowledge of history or the background to really offer a critique. To me, it's always interesting to look at the larger themes that develop after all of the shows have wrapped.

    I'm always curious to see what people don't like. At the same time, I'm sensitive to how challenging it must be for a designer and always try to find something that I think worked well.

  6. Wow...that is a BEAUTIFUL illustration :)

  7. I really agree with what you and Scott say about fashion shows. That's why even though I am now a thorough trad gal through and through I still have very soft spot for Lacroix! And I know what you mean about fashion criticism nowadays because I am so sick of people just fawning over the new collections and not offering a single unique/interest observation or comment on blogs. Sure I think it's great that there is still a tremendous need for true fashion criticism by all the Menkes and Horyns of the world, the total lack of perspective and intelligent conversation about fashion otherwise on the blogosphere leaves a lot to be desired still. I know everyone of us has a real job/occupation in IRL keeping us super busy already but it would be fab if there were just more bloggers, like you Lindsay, to offer more interesting discussions like this post here in the future.

  8. Just a note to say I really enjoy the discussion on this blog - the comments always make me think. It's funny, I was noting that same fan-boy/fan-girl attitude, pointed out by Joy and Maja on so many blogs recently. Add to that the fact that several bloggers get free products from the big brands and it essentially compromises anything they have to say. It's worrying - how on earth are new designers supposed to be noticed when bigger brands can basically buy space on blogs by giving out swag? I have always appreciated US Vogue for giving space to up and comers - in the magazine and through the CFDA awards.

  9. Rebekka Seale- Such a beautiful illustration. His fashion illustrations are my favorites. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a coffee table fashion illustration book or an exhibition in the near future.

    Joy- I had been thinking about this post for a while. Then I saw a resurgence of posts on how fashion and “style blogs” make people feel bad about not being able to purchase certain things. I couldn’t help but think “that’s not what the collections are about.” It’s about getting inspired, evoking a mood and being able to translate that into real life. Oftentimes, I think bloggers look at a collection too literally. I love the idea of a trad girl loving Lacroix.

    There’s a lot of fawning over the newness and an inability to offer unique or insightful commentary. For me it comes back to the idea that you have to know the past and understand the basics to be able to put your own spin on things. I admire designers who are able to incorporate history and the past into something that feels fresh.

    I think part of the reason why I started my blog was because I just couldn’t find blogs that offered the commentary and perspective I was looking for. I also strongly feel that there is a way to talk about fashion in an intelligent way.

    It brightens my day to know that you enjoy the discussion on this blog. That’s such a wonderful compliment, so thank you.

  10. Ammu- Thank you! Thank you! That's good to hear. It's hard to know if people enjoy posts like this. You can't help but notice that these posts don't garner as many comments, so I think a lot of bloggers shy away from posts like this.

    You bring up such a good point about free stuff. The worst is when bloggers accept free products but don't make it clear. At that point it becomes an integrity issue and you're right- everything you say becomes compromised. For some brands it makes sense to align with bloggers, but sometimes these partnerships can be perplexing. I think partnerships need to be well thought out and organic.

    This spring I started receiving emails from brands, which is amusing because my blog is so different from the blogs that brands typically seek out. I was/still am a bit caught off guard on that front.

    I feel very strongly about supporting new designers. A new designer faces more than enough challenges without having to compete with bigger brands. You are so right about the strength of US Vogue and New York Fashion Week. I know a lot of people think US Vogue and New York Fashion Week are "too commercial" but no one does more for new designers when it comes to placement, funding, opportunities etc. In New York it's possible for a new designer to show at a time when editors will attend a show, whereas Paris Fashion Week doesn't make that possible and the result is editors don't see the show or call in a re-see and the clothes aren't placed in the magazine or stores.

  11. well written with many very good points. fashion, and the way it is consumed, is fast changing.

  12. I love your blog
    Would you like to follow each other :-)???

  13. the nyanzi report-Thank you!

    You are right on the forefront of all of the changes- so exciting.

    Francesca Della Valle- Thank you! That's so sweet to hear.

  14. I agree with Scott, for me fashion shows are all about inspiration, they give me new perspective to look on things I already own. I love the art of fashion but I also love the utility of it. And I also love good criticism. I'm not interested in descriptions, I can see photos myself, and I'm not interested in excited ravings for nothing, I'm interested in professional reviews. Unfortunately, there are so few of them lately. There's even a feeling that people are just afraid to speak their minds, but also I've noticed that when somebody finally says what she/he thinks they're called 'bitches'. It's so wrong!

  15. Great points. Glad I found your blog.

  16. Ginta- Fashion shows are great for getting new perspective and rounding out one's views on personal style. It's hard not to get inspired. I must say I'm guilty of raving when I get excited (haha). I can't help it. Professionalism is important. I find that a lot of times people will say "that's ugly" or "I don't like that" and it just sounds very juvenile. I want to hear about the good and the bad in an objective professional manner.

    People are afraid to speak their minds. Certain designers have even banned journalists for unfavorable reviews. It just breeds a culture where no one says anything critical. I prefer to focus on the good, but the reality is everything can't be good or nothing would be.

    Alyssa- Thank you and WELCOME!