Friday, October 31, 2014

Grace Jones: Style Icon

This Friday, we're musing about Cedella Marley's style icon Grace Jones. So often did her attire border on the theatrics, we just can't help but to be inspired by her bold take on clothing. Grace is an artist in every sense of the word, not simply relying on the words she sang to shine through a performance, but setting the scene with eye catching and unique looks. While modeling in the late 70s, it was apparent that Grace was so much more than just a beautiful woman and she embraced the New Wave movement in the 80s wholeheartedly. 
What set Grace apart from Flock of Seagulls and Cars, was her ability to craft a store into a song, with a rising arc and tension that breathed new life into the Pop genre.

This ability weave complexity into a melody is also reflected in her music videos, one of which earned her a Grammy nod. The queen of androgyny, has inspired many a musician to follow in her footsteps, the most obvious of which being Lady Gaga, who shares Jones's affinity for grandeur. She is also an inspiration to fellow Jamaican artist, Cedella Marley. We love to see the similarities between the two stylish ladies, who both love leather, metallics and looks that make them stand out from the crowd. 




Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#WCW: Coco & Breezy

With the way the world works today, it's easy to become the next "new" thing with a juggernaut of social media influence behind you. Twin sisters, Corianna and Brianna, or Coco and Breezy as their brand is called, are definitely a testament to that; but what makes their brand of sunglasses outshine the competition are their delightfully eclectic style and cutting edge design. So often does one assume that the key to a good outfit is by putting your best foot forward rather than focusing on your face; in the world of accessories, glasses usually fall flat. Coco and Breezy are artists, first and foremost--a quality that is reflected in the construction of each piece they create. With sunnies that border on the sleek futuristic industrialism that is apparent in their personal styles, and t-shirts printed with chaotic designs that evoke the look of a Basquiat, these ladies have carved out a niche for themselves in the fashion universe. 
From their humble roots in the sleepy suburbs of Minnesota, the designers were always interested in how style shaped the world around them. They would craft homemade clothing out of old bed sheets and make designs with crayons, always in sync with each other's creative ambitions. They created a name for themselves, as fashion outsiders while visiting New York in 2009, launching their style blog and producing a handful of original designs. Unlike most blogger-turned-designers, Coco and Breezy had a fresh new perspective to offer the world, that was more about creating trends than following them. This understanding of art and design became an instant success and they've been experiencing Cinderella-like popularity ever since. With collaborations with fashion house's like MILLY, most recently for this past NYFW, and the stamp of approval from powerhouse celebs like Beyonce and Lady Gaga, this simple brand of eyewear is on its way to taking over the way we see street-style.

Monday, October 27, 2014

House of DVF

Much like the title of her newly released memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, Diane von Furstenberg is a woman we'd like to become. This month spells out big things for the fashion legend, with her book hitting the shelves and a new reality show set to premier this Sunday, November 2nd. While this isn't her first stint with the small screen, her new show House of DVF, is a journey that centers entirely around her global brand as it chronicles 8 young hopefuls as they vie against each other for the chance to represent the DVF fashion house. 
The DVF brand, known almost entirely for the iconic wrap dress--which very recently celebrated it's 40th birthday and had a brief retrospective exhibit at MOMA--is a decidedly feminist fashion house. The brand got it's start in the early 70s after Diane married a German prince and rose to prominence in New York's social scene. Always a headstrong woman, she decided to make a name and a career for herself without relying entirely on her husband's fortune. After receiving a rave review from then Vogue  editor Diana Vreeland, the DVF became an iconic fixture in the world of fashion. The wrap dress represented a soft femininity, with it's curve hugging simplicity, and easy, comfort fit. Her dresses were unlike anything seen on the market at the time, all of which dressed women to appeal to a male gaze; Diane's genius was in the effortlessness of each design. Here at BBLA, we happen to feature tons of DVF dresses! While her fashion house is taking a step into the 21st century with the new TV show, we're looking forward to watching her classic take on timeless style.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Remembering Oscar De La Renta

It has been said, that the true measure of someone's life can be weighed in how long they remain embedded in the conscious memory after their death; in that respect, Oscar De la Renta will be made immortal. A pioneer in the fashion industry that sprung from his natural ability to draw and love of the female form, De la Renta happened to get his start by chance. It speaks to the nature of pure, raw talent, how a boy from a wealthy family in the Dominican Republic was plucked from obscurity just by sketching a few dresses to make extra money while he went to art school.
As fashion people, we know that clothing is so much more than what we put on our bodies, it is art, it is our living expression and no artist has perhaps embodied that sentiment even more. From old Hollywood glamour in the 60s when he got his start, to most recently crafting the wedding dress for the new Ms. Clooney, De la Renta's career spans decades of starlets and prominent socialites. His knack for grandeur created a niche for the standards of couture we see in the likes of Galliano, Mugler, and the late McQueen; being simultaneously over the top and exhilarating, while still subtle and posh. To say that the Fashion universe lost a legend, would be redundant as his legacy lives on in the dresses he created, in the starlets he clothed, and in the charitable works he endeavored. 

At 82 years old, Oscar De la Renta lived a long and incredible life. Take a look back at some of our favorite moments.

"The only realities in life are that you are born, and that you die. We always think we are going to live forever. The dying aspect we will never accept. The one thing about having this kind of warning is how you appreciate every single day of life."


Written by Kiani

Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Fall Reading List

Fall is made for reading. There is something about the longer nights and cooler air that is fit for bundling up in blankets and losing yourself in a good book. It's very easy to forget the comfort of reading; of crinkling pages and underlining your favorite parts, or even the smell of books. Even I, a self-professed bibliophile, finds it hard to put in in the time to devote to someone else's world. But this season, I'm dedicating all my nights to a book. While the obvious choice for somber October evenings would be some collection of stories by Edgar Allen Poe or a chilling thriller by Stephen King, sometimes, you need a little more substance to hold you over. 

Rookie: Yearbook Three

There's not much that say about Tavi Gevinson that hasn't been already. After coming on the scene at the tender age of thirteen with her now defunct blog, thestylerookie, Tavi has been a force to be reckoned with. It was clear back in 2010 that she was a girl with ambition, fast forward to the present and she can now call herself an actress, model, and--of course--a writer. Set to be released October 21st, comes the third installment of a series of companion works to her website RookieMag. This reads less as story and more as an encyclopedia. Rookie: Yearbook is filled with stories from her celebrity style icons and DIY tutorials from Tavi and her fellow teenage writers that contribute to the website. If you're in the mood for a little teen angst, a little bit of advice on those embarrassing moments from high school and how they relate to your adult life, and a little bit of tips on how to emulate the style of  your favorite Wes Anderson character, pic up a copy. This is one book you won't want in digital.

NOT That Kind of Girl

While Girls creator, Lena Dunham boldly proclaims to be "Not that Kind of Girl", in the title of her book, as you read it you start to get an idea of exactly the type of girl she is. While her art, sometimes imitates life, Dunham's character on the show is a stark contrast from the shy, seldomly quirky, and over-analytic person she actually is. Consider this a book for the feminists of the millennium, while Dunham chronicles her tussles with scale and pervy bosses, always coming out of it with her head held high, if not
with a few battle scars. 

Women in Clothes

Imagine sitting in a room with yourself and six hundred of your closet gal pals, talking about your favorite clothing. While that isn't much of stretch for the imagination, that is exactly what Women in Clothes, brings to the table. It's an anthology of collected works and essays from women around the world, from the famous, to the girl-next-door, about clothing and how it shapes the worlds around them. As fashion people, we know that the clothes on our back are more than just what they appear, each article has a story behind it, or a memory stitched in the lining--fashion is, after all, living art. This book is filled with the behind-the-scenes scoops on a red carpet look and the story behind a wedding dress as a part in an arranged marriage.

Gone Girl

Before you head to the movies to watch Ben Affleck in his latest role, you've got to pick up this thriller. It's one part "film noir", one part psychological trip as a small town in Missouri is turned upside down when local Amy Dune goes missing. Her husband Nick is the prime suspect as his marriage comes under fire by snooping reporters and nightmarish in-laws. This is a tale about infidelity, love, and loss all set in a picturesque town with a seedier side. It's Twin Peaks, minus all of the supernatural, with writing that keep on the edge of your comfiest chair.