click click – 23-07-14

click click — Danielle on July 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Monette and Mady by Maja Daniels 1

Monette and Mady - very stylish Parisian twins photographed by Maja Daniels, via Kevin.

Monette and Mady by Maja Daniels 2

click click – 30-06-14

click click — Danielle on June 30, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Photo by Michael Rougier

Another great photo essay from LIFE (and thanks to The Grumpy Owl again), young hipsters in 1960s Japan. Above – Yoko, 17 years old, Tokyo, 1964. Below – “Tokyo Beatles” backstage, 1964.

photo by Michael Rougier 1

Karma yes and yes -

  • Yes and Yes! – I’ve admired Sarah’s hustle on the internet for years, so it means a lot that she recognized mine too. Friends have said this a very revealing interview!
  • Standard Interviews – this Q&A was transcribed from a phone interview, which I think gives it a different quality.

click click – 02-06-13

click click — Danielle on June 2, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

ROCKSTEADY-Crew-Harlem by Janette Beckman

Discovered the work of Janette Beckman via The Grumpy Owl. Her admirable career has recorded youth culture, musicians, and protest for decades, no production, no pretension. Check out her archives of 1970s London style tribes and 1980s B-Boy scenes.

Go Hard Boys 2013 by Janette Beckman

SS14 menswear paper doll – John Varvatos and Paul Smith

paper dolls — Danielle on May 26, 2014 at 8:04 pm

male model 2 dressed

Seems like I’m finally done paper-dolling the Spring season and it all over. It’s been a busy Spring with a lot of client projects. Somehow I managed to find enough time to finish this 2D guy. His buddy has a compatible wardrobe of Tom Ford and Balmain, if you get them both they can share clothes. I’ve always wanted to do a menswear doll that allowed for a lot of layering and combinations and this is the result. Hope you enjoy his company too – he’s available as a PDF for personal usage for $15 CDN.




 male model 2 web paul smith 1 webpaul smith 2 webpaul smith 3 webpaul smith 4 webjohn varvatos 1 webjohn varvatos 2 webjohn varvatos 3 webjohn varvatos 4 web




click click – 25-04-14

click click — Danielle on April 25, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

vermibus-acid-posters-2

This German street artist, Vermibus, dissolves the faces in fashion advertisements. The effect is disconcerting and yet the images are somehow still effectively beautiful. Via fashionREDEF.

vermibus-acid-posters-1

Karma go get it -

  • Three Word Outfit -delving beyond the surface of clothing to give insight into what makes fashion tick (or tock).”
  • NOW Magazine – features me in a bit about Canadian fashion illustrators.

SS14 Menswear Paper Doll – Balmain and Tom Ford

paper dolls — Danielle on April 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

male model dressed

By request, I’ve created a pair of menswear paper dolls inspired by four SS14 menswear collections. Our first guy has a fresh Spring 2014 wardrobe of Balmain an Tom Ford for every occasion. You can purchase the high resolution PDF for $15 CDN to keep or print for personal use, to play and display.


This doll has a buddy with a compatible wardrobe of Paul Smith and John Varvatos… if you get them both they can trade clothes. One of the main reasons I enjoyed making these dolls is because I wanted to create a very modular, mixy-matchy wardrobe that would be fun to play “stylist” with. I did my best to separate each layer in each outfit. It took a long time, but the results are very satisfying. One way I’ve tried to encourage layering was designing a way for paper dolls to wear open jackets.
male model 1balmain 1balmain 2balmain 3balmain 4balmain 5tom ford 1tom ford 2tom ford 3tom ford 4



click click – 01-04-14

click click — Danielle on April 1, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Welcome to click click, the sporadic review of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

Private Birthday Party 1

Found photographs of the Kansas City drag ball culture of the 1960s from the Private Birthday Party collection, discovered via Kevin.

Private Birthday Party 2

  • Sai Sivanesan – Sai took my new sidebar photo!
  • I want – I got – Anita recorded my Silhouettes and Signals performance.
  • Queen of Clubs – I designed the cover of this German crime novel, and now it’s translated into English and being released as a free serial. The cover star is an impetuous, vivacious brunette nicknamed Pochette.
  • Bee Walker- “I am a photographer based in New York City”
  • Jason Howlett“You aim to walk into the light but instead you pass completely through it… motionlessly.”
  • Bodymap“Restore your confidence from the inside to the outside: from smile to style.”
  • Be Fabulous Daily“It feels a bit fraught to make that choice when it’s opposite the signals that make life easier, opposite the trends in our culture.”

in the words of live runway sketchers

interviews,live drawing — Danielle on March 30, 2014 at 11:04 am

Before I went to New York in January, I was writing an article about live runway sketching prompted by Jazmin Welch, a fashion student who was commissioning articles for her graduate magazine project, CONTOUR. I chose to do an adaptation of this post, a collection of notes I discovered while searching for any information on live fashion sketching. To add to the archival material, I decided to email working artists who live sketch at fashion shows and ask them questions. This research not only supported the article I wrote, but also the talk I gave at the Apple Store in Soho.

I couldn’t include all of the great responses in the article and talk, but Final Fashion knows no limitations. What follows is the work and words of the practicing live runway sketchers from Toronto, Montreal and New York that I corresponded with. If you also have experience and sketches too, I’d love it if you would share in the comments. I’m very curious to hear more European perspectives.

NOLCHA Fashion Week FW13 by Mara Cespon

(more…)

brow menu for Tweezerman

beauty,illustration,portfolio — Danielle on March 27, 2014 at 11:30 am

brow menu 1 web

I created illustrations for a Brow Menu used at the Tweezerman event during fashion week in Toronto. It’s not often I’m so happy with the results of a rush job, so I wanted to share it. Eyebrows are fascinating and it was a pleasure rendering them by brushstroke.

Tweezerman brow menu photo by Stefania Yarhi 1

Photos from the event by Stefania Yarhi.

brow menu 3 webTweezerman brow menu photo by Stefania Yarhi 2brow menu 2 web

silhouettes and signals

history,illustration,live drawing,thinking — Danielle on March 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm

This post is the result of my live sketching lecture, Silhouettes and Signals, performed using Paper by FiftyThree at The Drake Hotel in Toronto on March 16, 2014.

1 eight head ideal

The most essential fashion silhouette is a very specific version of the human body. The Classical ideal is about 8 heads high, and remains resilient in the face of ever-changing fashions, recurring over many millennia since ancient times. It is incredible how the eye instantly recognizes these forms as beautiful, and is drawn to them. To many, the classical ideal represents healthy, natural man, unspoiled by civilization and modern culture, a symbol of rationality. For that reason, this shape can have a sinister quality. That competitive physicality reeks of eugenics and conformity. Human beings naturally come in an incredible variety of shapes, so this rugged or graceful physical ideal excludes almost everyone. For most of us, achieving this shape would require as much effort and artifice as any dandified exaggeration.

2a beauty

Beauty is a peculiar phenomenon. We have an instant, irrational, positive reaction to symmetry and average proportions. Objectively we understand that just because a person happens to have pleasing features by accident of birth, it doesn’t mean that they are a better person, and yet we can’t help but ascribe positive characteristics to beautiful people and pay more attention to them.

3 modifications

Considering this biological instinct to favour “natural” beauty, it’s fascinating how human beings have used fashion throughout the centuries to subvert our own proportions. We will use any technological means at our disposal, whether it’s padding, scaffolding, compression, surgery, propping, binding or prosthetics. We are hungry for novelty and constantly trying to transcend beyond our physical selves, which is why the fashionable ideal often diverges so dramatically from the more conventional “natural” beauty ideal.

4 contemporary silhouettes

The current silhouette for both women and men is top-heavy – oversized jackets, muppet furs, statement sweatshirt and tunic-length shirts for men. Fashion-forward men – even hyper-masculine rappers –  are beginning to adopt skirts. When men and women’s lives are similar, so are their fashionable silhouettes. The male and female silhouette has evolved in tandem ever since the 1970s.

5 class based silhouettes

This was not the case before the masculine renunciation of fashion. In the 1500s, both male and female fashionable silhouettes diverged wildly from the natural human form and from each other, with big ruffs, tall hats, bombastic sleeves and abstract torso shapes. Back then, if you didn’t have an exaggerated silhouette it was a class-based distinction – the poor simply couldn’t afford fancy collars and lots of fabric and accessories to achieve a fashionable silhouette.

When the revolutions of Europe shifted towards democracy, men renounced fashion as a way to demonstrate the ideals of equality and the value of work, and the weight of wearing wealth literally fell upon women. This is when fashion became “feminized” as we recognize it now.

6 domestication and upholstery

The feminization of fashion led to the upholstering of women. Women’s lives became so dramatically different from men’s that their silhouette became exactly opposite. Their clothing was literally constructed as heavily as furniture, and in the 1860s skirts became so wide women couldn’t wear coats – complete domestication.

The bottom-heavy, big-skirted silhouette still exists today in the context of prom dresses and bridal gowns. Women wear this as a very formal, ultra-feminine sexual display. Covering your legs this way is coyly enticing, a “look at me, don’t look at me” game – it totally covers the lower half of your body and yet also makes the lower half of your body the biggest thing in the room.

7 abstinence and bifurcation

Of course long skirts, negating the split between the legs, is traditionally a symbol of chastity. That’s why you only ever see men wearing them in the context of religions that uphold the idea of abstinence.

8 bondage and bieber

The current youthful silhouette, embodied most recognizably by Justin Bieber, has a very long torso and short little legs. It’s a look that evokes bondage and prison culture, which is interesting to consider in terms of the attitude of contemporary youth. It’s also very sexual – the pants come pre-dropped – but the sexuality is deviant, indulgent, and nihilistic. The way the legs are bound limits the gait of young men – the essence is “why bother? Might as well get our rocks off now, there’s no future worth running towards.”

9 twiggy helter skelter

Contrast that with the youth of the 1960s exemplified by the model Twiggy. The broad gait and short skirts are also extremely sexual but the sexuality is more promiscuous and conventional by 21st century standards. The attitude is, as the Beatles sang, helter-skelter. It’s youth on uppers, youth on speed. The essence is essentially optimistic – kids are striding forward into a space-age future. A far cry from Bieber-style bondage, this silhouette says “go for it, we are free and the possibilities are unlimited.”

10 I V A

Ever since the 1970s, the standard silhouette has been pretty close to the most minimal simplification of the human form – as upright animals, our most essential symbol is the letter I. Sure, it varies a bit – getting a bit bottom-heavy in the 1970s and 1990s, and more top-heavy in the 1980s. This is a very broad generalization, but I think it holds up: top heavy silhouettes are more conservative, bottom heavy silhouettes are more liberal. Think about it – if you’re dressing for a job interview you’re more likely to go top-heavy – it’s more structured, authoritative, formal. A bottom heavy silhouette allows itself to be pulled by gravity – it’s more laissez-faire, permissive, and relaxed – better for a house party.

11 trapeze to tuxedo

Up until the 1970s, female silhouettes diverged dramatically from menswear – but Yves Saint Laurent changed all of that. His first collection for Dior after the death of Christian Dior was an abstract shape – the Trapeze silhouette. But now we remember YSL for the Tuxedo, most iconically in that Helmut Newton photograph. It’s an androgynous silhouette about sexual liberation – but it’s also about liberation from the old fashion system, liberation from the idea of designer as dictator.

12 1800s skirt shapes

In the 1800s, silhouettes shifted each decade – skirts were like domes in the 1860s, like trumpets in the 1870s, and had bustles so big in the 1880s that there was a popular joke about balancing a tea service on them. This constantly shape-shifting kept women constantly updating their wardrobes – wearing an 1860s crinoline in the 1870s was simply not done if you wanted to belong in fashionable society.

When Christian Dior launched his business in 1947, he wanted to bring back the glory days of French fashion authority after the setbacks of World War Two. He did this by creating new, exciting shapes each season, just as Worth had done in his glory days. It was a very nationalistic, authoritarian and capitalist business model that worked like fossil fuel for re-establishing French fashion industry in the 1950s.

13 H line Y line A line

In 1954 and 1955, Dior did three lines inspired by letter forms. In 1954, the H-line was straight up and down. In 1955 the Y line was top-heavy, and the A line was bottom-heavy. Dior was a publicity-savvy designer and perhaps it’s no coincidence that these letters matched the weapons of mass destruction at the time – this resulted in some very topical fashion headlines.

“Alphabetizing” women’s bodies is no longer seen as a positive thing. The young people of YSL’s generation didn’t buy it, and Saint Laurent responded by flipping the designer model on it’s head, and instead of dictating “lines” to his clientele, he was inspired by the lives of the fashionable women he knew and the way they dressed.

14 S line V line

If alphabetization was introduced by a Western designer today, it would certainly be heavily criticized as a patriarchal, oppressive categorization of women’s bodies. But in South Korea, alphabetization is currently a popular sales tool – hyper-feminine S-lines and V-lines are used to sell body products and health food. This kind of rigid classification of the female form according to abstract shapes only flies in conservative societies with rigid definitions of beauty ideals. In Europe and North America, where we are seeing increasing social and sexual fluidity and softer definitions of beauty ideals, grading people by letter seems anachronistic.

15 raf vs hedi

Considering the reversal of design philosophies, it’s interesting to consider that the houses of Dior and Saint Laurent continue to uphold opposing silhouettes to this day. Raf Simon’s Dior features a recurring X-shape, a modernist simplification of Dior’s hyper-feminine silhouettes. Meanwhile, Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent Paris continues the tradition a minimalist, long androgynous line.

16 hyperfertile figure

The hyper-fertile feminine silhouette is a lot like the Classical beauty ideal – it provokes an automatic reaction in almost everyone. When the hyper-fertile silhouette is in fashion, as it was in the 1860s and the 1950s, women’s lives tend to be dictated by their biological functions. This hourglass shape is a boon to those who have it and want it, and a bane to everyone else. Celebrities who have this figure have to deal with a much higher level of scrutiny and criticism than famous people with more fashionably slim figures. Perfectly intelligent, seemingly rational people – myself included – are somehow transfixed by Kim Kardashian’s ass. I think it’s a misplaced biological instinct to ensure the survival of the species. Once upon a time, our next generation depended on the sexual functionality of a few hyper-fertile females, and therefore their sexual status was of the highest concern for all members of society. In a world populated by 7 billion, this attitude is ludicrous, and yet we can’t help ourselves. That’s why having a body of this type is a mixed blessing.

17 futurist jumpsuit

Speaking of 7 billion, another anti-fashion silhouette that is fun to consider is the idea of Normcore. Nothing illustrates the breakdown of silhouette-based symbolism better. All silhouettes now are layered with contradictory meanings, and the media environment is so dispersed, there’s no way a single look could ever have the impact of Dior’s 1947 “Bar” ensemble. The subversion of the idea of “normal” is very timely in the light of questioning the value of beauty ideals.

Still, it is a manifesto-based trend and as such is reactionary against the fundamental precept of fashion – that we wear clothing in order to appear better than other people. It reminds me of the Italian Futurist movement, which also proposed an anti-fashion silhouette – T-shaped jumpsuits – as a way of liberating humanity from the tyranny of trends. This kind of attitude can only be taken seriously by the very young and idealistic – everyone else has acquiesced to the inevitability of our animal instincts over-riding our intellectual ability to reject fashion. Ultimately, no academic manifesto has ever successfully launched a lasting trend.

18 tall hats big hair

The most straightforward way to use fashion to appear better than other people is to use fashion to look taller. Even in modern society, tall people enjoy all sorts of economic and sexual advantages – CEOs are statistically taller (and still referred to as “chiefs”) which shows that we really haven’t progressed much from more tribal societies where the largest man was often chief by default. Historically, people have increased their height with tall hats. Pointed hats indicate a direct connection with the divine – sort of an “I’m With Stupid” shirt for Godliness – like a steeple on a church. Abraham Lincoln, already a tall man, wore a very tall top hat. This made him stand out very visibly as a an obvious leader in the early days of photography.

Tall hair is also an option – think of the towering hairstyles of the Rococo or the hairspray-held bangs of the 1980s. Big hair, pretty obviously, is about big head and big egos – think “let them eat cake”, or “the me decade”.

19 heels and trainers

Now that people don’t wear tall hats or big hair as much, they get their extra status from tall shoes, which over the past decade have been getting ever taller. However, even the most fashionable people have a limit to the angle they can endure. High heels offer status at the price of mobility, and we’ve just entered a reactionary period. Designers like Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld have been offering couture trainers and flat-footed creepers, and suddenly short – and the ability to walk – seems far more elegant than tall.

20 bauhaus ballet

It can seem like every silhouette ever has already been tried, but the avant-garde have pushed the boundaries of possibility, simplifying and abstracting the human form until it is barely recognizable. The Bauhaus ballet in the 1920s had geometric, playful costumes that made the dancers seem more like toys, and modern artists like David Bowie and Leigh Bowery have built fabulous costumes that push the human form to extremes.

21 dress meets body

In 1996, Rei Kawakubo designed a collection for Comme des Garcons called “Dress Meets Body; Body Meets Dress”. She padded her models in unexpected, asymmetrical areas – like the side of the neck, or the thigh. The fashion media was horrified. We’re not used to seeing non-symmetrical silhouettes and our instinctual reaction to them is to read them as disease. It’s still a very provocative collection to look at because you can feel inside yourself the friction between your animalistic revulsion and your intellectual ability to recognize a novel form of beauty.

22 untried silhouettes

There is really so much that hasn’t been tried in terms of altering our shapes, so many letters of the alphabet yet to be drawn. Asymmetry especially hasn’t been deeply explored – appearing inhuman is in some situations an advantage – such as when you want to avoid being recognized by surveillance technology. With access to ever-lighter materials and rapidly evolving visual technology, future silhouettes could diverge wildly from what we’ve tried so far. What is so incredible about fashion is how it liberates us from our biological fate to be born in the shape of a human – in fact, we can be anything we can imagine.

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