Thursday, June 30, 2016

on Vladimir Karaleev: a long-time love, since 2010...

While at the showroom of Vladimir Karaleev the other day, I asked him if he named his wittingly ripped-torn-shorn pieces. The Andy, the Mickey, the Sue? (Thanks, Sam!) The tug? The yank? But wait, what’s Karaleev’s trick? How does he make a rip look romantic? How does he make it look Parisienne and not partisan New Jersey? It made me begin to think of the language used to describe so many of this year’s favorites. 

Jersey, it would seem, has taken over the scene. Of course, it’s better when it’s not just jersey, but “sheer” jersey. Or if it has an uneven hem (bad seamstress) or side vents (‘cause when you’re working it can get hot). Perhaps it’s an indicator of the “democratization” of fashion jargon. In fact, many of the recent season’s fabrics and cuts have a direct relationship to the parlance of class conflict. What we are witnessing is a subtle Bruce Springsteenization of the fashion world. It’s a way of getting a little closer to the People by wearing working-class gear, cargo pants or “distressed” leather. (Though “distressed” does sound rather Jane Austen in comparison to the ordinary “stress” of Charles Dickens.) The favored jumpsuit (or, fully ironic, playsuit) is not a far cry from a gas station attendant’s overall.

And almost everything has to be “oversized” which made me refer to a recent shopping trip as an exercise in buying potato sacks with belts. Why diet anymore if there are no zippers or seams to control our cravings for cookies? You have to be rich to wear these things. Rich people eat cookies and pay someone to vacuum out the fat out of their stubby knees. 

And those purposeful wrinkles, those ordinary indicators of a pleb, what are they called? “Ruched” indicates a puckering of fabric that looks like the ruffled seam of a lettuce leaf. “Let them eat cake,” cried Marie Antoinette, and in this case, I decry, Let them eat lettuce! Give me your tired, your poor, your Salad days, so that we working plebs can find a better way of fitting into our slouchy pants. Either way you look at it, fashion jargon seems to compensate for the guilt one might feel in a world strangely absent class conflict.

-- April von Stauffenberg, 11 July 2010

Monday, June 27, 2016

Wasting Away – or rather, Waist, go away! – in Repression Era Wear (ca 2007)

(old post, still relevant, from 2007, I think)

So there’s wasted and there’s waisted, and I cannot get enough of the high-waisted looks from those shops of others’ “waste.” I’m shopping primarily secondhand these days and what could be less wasteful and more ecologically sound than hoarding what would only fill the landfill. Shopping for high-waisted pants, you see, represents the ultimate optimism and the ultimate do-gooding. What fashion signaled the end of the Great Depression? The high-waisted roaring 40s. What’s more, you don’t have to do credit crunches to fit into them. That is, your core bank account – the piggy bank – supports your addiction to these $3.99 Goodwill goodies.

Ok, so truth be told, the idea of wearing recycled pants gives me the heebeegeebees. And though it’s never been a street name that’s sounded anything less than mangy, my pant collection is pure high street, Mulackstrasse. [Leave it to Berlin to make a high street sound so gross. Mulack? Really?] It’s what I pair up with them that’s yesterday’s goods. Recently, I found three “new” tops in my new favorite shops, used, yes, vintage, no. Silk-imitation polyester tops, wash and go – at the risk of sounding like a shampoo commercial, we’re talking about more time for travel and leisure. RTW, no ifs, ands, or buts, and if someone backs into you and your cocktail, you can always convert the goodwill shirt into a holy holed Balmain by cutting the stain out. These tops deviate from the normal button-up with flattering pleats at the collar bones and blousy arms cinched at the wrist. No removal of the shoulder pads necessary, though I’m still unsure of the comeback of the Pad. All three are in hues of nude, and though it’s tempting to say that nude is the new black, it’s not. Black is the new black, red is the new black, and nude is just an interesting side dish I’ll never tire of, like mashed sweet potatoes. Furthermore, this rosy nude evokes the era of taupe. I don’t mean to digress into a diatribe on color in the midst of my push for recession-wear, but… remember that color? It’s not one of your 64 crayons, but connotes rather the tone of a lady who means business, Rosie the Riveter business. Roll-up-your-sleeves business, yes, but just let them blush to think that you’re nude while you’re doing it.

[super fun new high-waisted bikini at H&M. Talk about a trend that lasts and lasts.]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Question de jour: How much ass can one show?

I was in NYC to see an ass.  

I don’t want to be an ass in saying this, but there is a question in the air of late of how much ass to show.

If I trust my online shopping eye, apparently it’s where the thumb joint hits the thigh that is the magic spot.  

But for those of you who aren’t ready for the visual assault of the cheeks of Daisy Duke, my own experiment in hacking off the legs of five pairs of jeans should save you a bit of time. (Wow. That sounds like I have issues.) But really! Don’t use your own jeans. Get a secondhand pair on the baggy side. Think high waist Liz Claiborne, Lee, Wrangler, Bill Blass; think not of the thin boyfriend but the reality TV husband’s jeans. (But that leaves a large margin of error: think of jeans in which you can actually use the pockets, not a clown’s tumbledown trousers.) And when you’re ready to make your own “mini-short” (leave it to the French to come up with that brilliant redundancy and to make what was always plural into a singular), you’re legs will look automatically slimmer because you’ll be practically swimming in them!

Daisy Duke, by the way, wore her extreme shorts with pantyhose. 

But when it comes to shorts, to each his/her own sweet spot. Mine is at the tip of my index finger. Longer is even better, more daring. Long shorts are tres hip, and I predict that this mini-short biz will be short-lived indeed. Two weeks from now and we’ll all be wearing long-ass, gone-ass Bermudas. After all, unlike the mini-skirt of the 1960s, the mini-short is a far cry from liberal or ‘women’s lib.’ Those mini-short cutoffs are no less than dirty little neoliberals, which, frankly, is another term we should just completely give up on and call the ketchup the tomato fake-bake that it is. Neoliberal is another way of saying pseudoliberal. Ergo, these mini-shorts are pseudoliberal. (And here’s my battlecry for the millennial feminist: Take off your bra — put on your Bermudas! Less ass, higher wages!)
The onslaught of neoliberal Daisy Dukes in our midst aside, really, I did go (all the way) to NYC to see a real ass (again). At an art fair. (Not unusual, you say? Nah.) This one was that of the gallerist Daniel Newburg, the ass he once trucked down from Connecticut to put inside his gallery in 1994 because Maurizio Cattelan wanted it so. (Maurizio wanted it so again in 2016 at frieze. One can never get enough ass or repeating asses in art these days. Nietzsche calls it the eternal return.) 
The piece was called “Enter at Your Own Risk—Do Not Touch, Do Not Feed, No Smoking, No Photographs, No Dogs, Thank you.” (Hey… wait a minute. That sounds an awful like a warning label for any of a number of French mini-shorts out there!)
Other than that donkey munching on hay in a gallery, the only other thing in the room was a fancy chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The donkey made so much noise, Newburg was forced to close the show after a week. The donkey was returned to greener pastures and the gallerist hung up his hat for good and moved to London. 
In the meanwhile, Wake Me Up When September Ends. I only just remembered now what we Americans call them: short shorts. Now that’s a redundancy I can live with — small without being belittled, repetitive but meaningful too.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bloglovin/Manrepeller/H&M competition

Tallyho! Herewith my sincere wish for H&M to become the company that it wants to be: totally conscious (so that I can indulge my addiction after a self-imposed moral hiatus from shopping... going on month six!). Witness here a few pieces of H&M candy that easily hold their own against the golden slippers: H&M trend jacket, Beckham for H&M linen t-shirt, Balmain x H&M ring and green suede clutch, along with Calvin Klein vintage cutoffs and Gucci loafers.

Pagan Sunday Ritual no 1: dressing up

The fun in owning an H&M x Balmain dress:
failed Juergen Teller shots (by no means the fault of photographer Semra Sevrin)!


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Friday, June 17, 2016

Andra Dumitrasco ROCKS

Here's a teaser: hot before hot off the press, one of the fantastic dresses from the latest collection from Dumitrascu at Salbazaar. (Coming Soon in JULY!)

Salbazaar, Mulackstrasse 34, 10119 Berlin 
Website:, Facebook: sal-bazaar, Instagram: salbazaar, Tumblr:

How to be a Technoviking

Fashion Babylon NYC