Fashion Explodes Across “Crazy Rich Asians”

Crazy Rich AsiansEvery so often a movie comes a long that is so deeply tied into the moda universe. Either it is about fashion—a documentary, satire or fiction—or it features an amazing array of costuming or haute couture. Sometimes it is the fact that real world designers are so deeply involved in the film’s look, that even though it might not be about runways, models and haute couture, audiences come to marvel at what characters are wearing. It seems the recently released “Crazy Rich Asians” features many of these fashion forward elements.

The first firm in 25 years to feature an Asian-American cast (can you guess what that last film was….look below for the answer) in CRA’s high society we see a plethora of designers vying for space and attention. Surely summer 2018 movies like “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” and “Ocean’s 8” (which has within it a heist at the Met Gala) have lots of fashion played out in them. But by all accounts “Crazy Rich Asians” has them all beat.

There are definite wardrobe choices here from specific designers that illustrate the money and class divide seen in the film. The young star of the piece, “Rachel,” played by Constance Wu, is seen in a beaded mini, a cherry red Miu Miu frock, and a Missoni dress, among other pieces. While the matriarch powerhouse (and quite scary) “Eleanor Young,” played by Michelle Yeoh, wears pieces by Versace, Valentino, a sheer Elie Saab dress and a long-sleeve Diane von Furstenberg blouse….to name but a few of her choices.

Costume designer on the film, Mary Vogt seems to have plucked all the right elements from and inspired by Kevin Kwan’s 2013 novel that the movie’s based on. She even accessorizes with jewels from across the globe and from the brand Mouawad.

One could argue that the bright colors and prints the “Peik Lin Goh” character wears (played by Awkwafina) makes for the most interesting couture in “Crazy Rich Asians.” But no matter your tastes, you will find some fashion here to your liking or interest.

“Crazy Rich Asian” is a haute couture dream.

1993’s “Joy Luck Club” was the movie made 25 years ago to feature an Asia-American cast

PrettyLittleThing…Is It?

PrettyLittleThingAn online Fox News headline this week declared that the PrettyLittleThing dress is ‘confusing Instagram.’ Is this even possible? And if so, should we care?

This “hybrid” bikini-bodycon dress started a firestorm of opinion when PTL posted pictures of its Green Metallic Asymmetric Ring Detail Bodycon Dress on their Instagram page. People lined up on either side declaring the PLT a moda masterpiece as well as a monstrosity; there was very little in-between opinion.

The dress is metallic green, with a top that more or less looks like a bikini on the left and a long-sleeve short on its right. From the waist down the dress falls to about mid thigh in a curve-hugging design. It retails for the low haute couture price of $35.

In an age where every opinion can be instantly posted, disseminated and then considered (or dismissed) it seems all one has to do is post a provocative pic across Twitter or Instagram. Or one can pose a question begging opinion and one could be on their way to infamy. The PrettyLittleThing Internet fashion brouhaha is being compared to the famous ‘blue and gold’ quandary that happened last year. This is when Caitlin McNeill from the Scottish Hebredian island of Colonsay forwarded a picture of a dress across her Tumblr page that was originally posted on the Facebook page of her friend’s mom (following so far?). Her friend’s mom, wearing this dress as mother-of-the-bride at her daughter’s wedding (the daughter being McNeill’s friend…following so far?) wanted to know what color her dress was. McNeill reposted and asked the net (or the globe): “Guys please help me – is this dress white and gold, or blue and black?”

In this instance even celebrities fired back with opinions and the ‘blue and gold,’ moment, like this PrettyLittleThing situation, was the fashion news of the week.

One wonders what’s coming for next week.

Taking a Peak At Emily Ratajkowki and #UnderneathMyDKNY

Ratajkowski #UnderneathMyDKNYAs we all know when it comes to wearing latex panties, bra, (men or women), even some basic lingerie, sometimes what one wears under ones clothes is just as important as what one wears as clothes. And when it comes to lingerie advertising for big brands, just who is wearing a famous brand’s intimates can be just as important as the intimate itself. Such is the case with Emily Ratajkowski modeling the new DKNY Fall 2018 lingerie line.

Continuing her work for the brand (Ratajkowski just appeared in DKNY’s Spring 2018 Campaign) pictures for #UnderneathMyDKNY hit the web this week. Styled by Clare Richardson with Trey Laird heading the creative input for the video and pictures, the famous busty model shows off her fantastic long limbed form in intimates that range from classic and “essential” to sexy and sporty.

Included here are black leggings and black bra, a white functional bra and panty set, black draw-string sweats, sports bra and robe, and a one piece ‘baby doll’ nightie.

In the video for the #UnderneathMyDKNY campaign Ratajkowski claims that “Underneath it all, I’m far from perfect.” She’d have lots of men (and women as well) disagreeing with that statement of course. Then she adds, “I’m a little crazy and like to make my own choices,” as we then see her in probably the sexiest piece in the collection, seamed see-thru leggings.

Boasting of her New York roots later on in the short clip, at the end of it all Ratajkowki claims she is “just me;” #MeToo alive and well in this new #UnderneathMyDKNY campaign.

It seems, yet again, we are getting a hefty dose of Emily Ratajkowski on the world stage. And it seems we are all rather happy about it, no matter if the woman is wearing sports wear or suits, lingerie or nothing at all even.


Dawnamatrix Designs Makes The Finals Of World of WearableArt: Once Again!

Dawnamatrix World of WearableArtWe have it on very good authority that the World of WearableArt show (WOW for short) celebrating its 30th year anniversary this year, presents the crème da crème of global alternate designers working across various mediums. We have it on very good authority, because one of the VG family, a latex designer we have known since the inception of our magazine and someone we have worked with often, Dawnamtarix Designs, has entered the WOW competition now for a 2nd year in a row and has once again made it to the finals.

The first round of judging from WOW Founder and Resident Judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Margarita Robertson, and Sam Gao brought the submitted couture down to 148 designers from 17 countries. Each year WOW receives hundreds of outfits to choose from, their only criteria: “Anything that is wearable art can find a place on the stage, as long as it is original, innovative and well executed. “

Australia has eight finalists in this year. China twelve, China, Hong Kong eleven and China, Macau one. France also managed one, as did Mexico, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, and South Korea. Spain, Germany, India and Thailand, got two finalists in. Taiwan thirteen, the UK eight and the United States fifteen. As mentioned, Dawnamatrix Designs, one of the U.S. finalists, made two final categories.

New Zealand, where the WOW show will take place (and always has) at the TSB Arena, Wellington 27 September – 14 October, sees sixty five finalists designers in this year.

This year’s 30th anniversary show will be presented as a series of six “worlds,” each with its own design provocation that designers have responded to. Along with the recurring “Avant-garde,” “Aotearoa” and “Open” sections are “Under the Microscope,” “Reflective Surfaces” and crowd-favorite, “Bizarre Bra”.

Find out more about WOW here.

And congratulations, for a 2nd year in a row, to Dawn Mostow and every one over at Dawnamatrix Designs.


Beyoncé Makes Ann Wintour’s Last Vogue?


Is nothing secret or sacred in the moda universe? It seems Huff Post just broke the story that none other than Beyoncé will be on the cover of the September’s Vogue. This issue is also rumored to be Ann Wintour’s last.

Not only will this cover feature a woman of color, Miss Bey’s photos also mark the first time a black photographer has ever shot a cover for Vogue. The man in question here, Tyler Mitchell, is a photographer Beyoncé actually ‘influenced’ the mega fashion magazine to use.

Be it in the pop music space, in fashion and certainly when the two meet, there is no mistaking super star power. Actually, according Huff Po’s source for their exclusive reveal, the mega fashion mag is contracted to give JAY-Z’s wife anything she wants. She picks the pics (and obviously who takes them) and any editorial content.

Stars certainly have been picking their stylists for shoots for years. They also can become quite enamored with specific photographers, so prefer one picture taker’s artistry over another. And we have seen time and again how certain personalities are almost always exclusively dressed by a specific designer (think Oleg Cassini linked to Jackie O’ for instance). But currently, with social media’s reach mostly, a modern celebrity can demand attention and special considerations-some would say complete surrender-by just about anyone who wants that star.

The truth to Ann Wintour stepping down after 30 years as editor? Condé Nast has repeatedly denied such a rumor, their official comment being that there is “zero truth” to the rumor. Whether the story comes from Huffington Post or a British Page Six article a year ago, it seems we won’t know for sure about the inner doings over at Vogue until those doings are done.

Meanwhile, enjoy Beyoncé on and in Vogue this September.


“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” Again With Fashion And Song

Mamma Mia! Here We Go AgainIs it possible a movie can resurrect a long-dead music trend and inspire fashion all at the same time? This seems to be the case with “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.”

Premiering only a week ago, this sequel to a movie which was based on a smash musical play, based on the songs of ABBA, seems to be lighting up the box office. It also seems to be heading a nostalgia wave for 70’s disco costume haute couture as well as, dance-disco pop.

One might remember (or have hoped to forget) the sartorial specifics of the 70’s, for those taking to the dancefloor or even for those not. Flared jeans (which at last report are seeing a 232 % online search increase from last year) platform shoes, sparkle patches and add-ons, metallic blazers, and white boots are presently all the rage.

Michele Clapton, the film’s costume designer, may very well have created a Frankenstein here that might bring us all these styles of old to the end of the summer…of even beyond.

A good percentage of the audience enjoying “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” are experiencing these fashions and even ABBA’s music for the first time. As is true of moda always, from alternative fashion to mainstream wardrobe pieces, what passed once (or even twice) though the cultural does see a resurgence. It’s no wonder young people are taking to these fashions as if they were something new, given the popularity of this movie and how it is cutting through the culture.

For this movie specifically, it is the anticipated reveal of the big dance and song numbers, complete with the big, bright and completely fantastical costumes the characters wear emulating ABBA’s on-stage wardrobe that sets things completely over-the-top. Not that anyone will be wearing these specific outfits out and about, but their inclusion in the film sets the tone of past disco magic and sparkly times nobody seems to want to end.

Who Owns Bert Stern?

marilyn-monroe--bert-sternWhat would any of us be, especially here at Von Gutenberg, without photography? The ever-widening possibilities of where and how to show one’s work, the overall advances in the field, the behind-the-scenes art of models, make-up and hair people, the scrumptious feast of visual delights we are treated to seeing alternate couture writ large; for us, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. For the widow of famous photographer Bert Stern, pictures could be worth a whole lot more.

In 1962 Bert Stern, a New York-based commercial photographer of art and fashion       visited Marilyn Monroe at the Bel-Air Hotel. There he took a series of pictures of the sexy movie star, in what has become known as the “Last Sitting.” These pictures, published in Vogue mere weeks after M.M.’s death, arguably put Bert Stern on the cultural map. Just this week, a U.S. District Judge found that Stern’s widow, Shannah Launmeister Stern, is the rightful owner to the copyright of these infamous photographs. Considered in the law as the judge interpreted it, “successors of interest,” which is what Stern’s widow here is, by default, she gets ownership of the work.

Why the question of ownership of these pictures are important now is that two of Stern’s ex-assistants, twins Lisa and Lynette Lavender, claim their boss never had the copyright in the first place. They claim that Stern took his photos in a ‘work for hire’ agreement. Adding to this, the Lavender ladies claim their ex-boss actually gave them permission to reproduce the prints just before he died. And Lisa and Lynette did just that selling their reproductions on eBay, to which Shannah Launmeister Stern, has raised her objection, bringing the matter into court.

As any fashion photographer, filmmaker, writer should be aware, just because someone is hired under a supposed work for hire agreement, doesn’t make the work, work for hire. There is a statutory definition of the term that must be met and very often in the small wording of a contract this is not spelled out to the letter of the law.

Who knows which way this case will turn, but it could have repercussions for creators of work from here on in.

Espy Fashion and Comic-Con Cosplay

Comic-Con International in San DiegoWorld cup fever and Wimbledon just ending, sports are still (and pretty much are always) on the minds of our worldwide culture…and so is fashion What better way to see the blend of both then from what was just presented at the just passed 2018 2018 Espy Awards. And hot on the heels of this sport celebrating the world of cosplay gets a shot-in-the-arm this week with the start of Comic-Con International in San Diego.

From gold medalists wearing elegant white gowns (Aly Raisman in particular) to Chadwick Boseman in his own white duds from Virgil Abloh’s debut Louis Vuitton collection, the stars were out for the Espy’s in high style. Adam Rippon sported skinny black pants, white tux shirt and a white jacket with embroidered shoulders and sleeves. And Danica Patrick showed off lots of leg in one-shoulder LBD with gold buttons.

On the fantasy fashion front, the stars were out in just as stunning wear sporting cosplay at Comic-Con, 2018.

Among the big question of “Is Star Wars broken?” tweeted and heard among the faithful in San Diego this first week, there were as much homemade designs of costumes as bespoke picks.  The celebrities came out for this first week too in their latex, spandex, PVC and rubber. And as usual they as much enjoy dressing up as the fact that they are able to often walk the convention floor anonymously.

For the “Breaking Bad” Anniversary panel, it was less a celebrity as it was his off-spring that was dressed. Aaron Paul dressed his baby girl Story Annabelle in the famous meth-lab yellow duds made infamous from the show. Shaq left the full suit at home and went with just a superman shirt, while Serena Williams(someone as comfortable at the Espy’s) was in a PJ Superman onesie. Paris Hilton went as Supergirl. Lots of Wonder Women were on hand; Jen Selter in a sexy W.W. bikini, Sofie Vergara sporting the more traditional suit. And the Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo was in a spongy green costume of his famous alter ego, while John Barrowman dressed up as glitzy Captain America.

There will be more to report from Comic-Con International in San Diego as it continues for another week still. But the haute couture from the Espy’s and the cosplay of Comic Con really does delight in its different but wonder ways.

Rami Malek Trips High Style in the Official Trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian-Rhapsody-Movie-Trailer-Freddie-Mercury-MovieIn the onslaught of too many images, so much music, and celebrities created daily at the drop of a hat we tend to forget when it wasn’t so easy to marry style with fashion with music with influence. Or at least when one had to work harder than just putting a new picture up on Instagram daily or ‘dropping’ their latest video. But there was a time when hard work, perseverance, and a fair amount of talent could land one onto the main global stage where one might stay if one worked at it, got some good luck…and was talented. We are reminded of this mix of opportunity, meets talent bolstered by hard work in the Official Trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody, released just this week.

Rami Malek plays Queen front man, dearly departed Freddie Mercury. Freddy was a flamboyant character as much known to prance across stage in an open-chest leotard as don a leather jacket, tight blue jeans and leather cap. Pretty much living his proclivities to the fore, here was a man who took the full breath of what his band was about, exploiting sound, image, fashion and stage persona to extremes hardly realized by the liked of a Lady Gaga even.

The criticism on this movie (which no one has yet seen, so it is a wonder how people can critic it fairly?) Is that there will be certain elements of Freddie Mercury’s life that might be overlooked. The man died of complication from AIDS in 1991, so there ahs been speculation over how far into his life Bohemian Rhapsody will go and how much it will show of the man’s last years. Still, when one watches the trailer and one spins round YouTube to catch a Queen video or even listen to their music, one can clearly understand the talents of Mr. Mercury and his bandmates and come to realize that here we had the solid balance of music, fashion, quick-wit styles and panache that comes along very rarely in our culture.

And this is what we truly hope this movie celebrates…as it damn well should.

Mary Queen of Scots Couture Rocks

Mary Queen Of ScotsAs any couture lifestyler is well aware, right up there with cosplay (something we touched on a few blogs back), period wardrobe dress-up is all the rage at cons, events and even private parties. Steampunk, a mixture of both stylings, wears well with us of the latex brigade and with the popularity of shows like “Downton Abbey” and “Game of Thrones” even, plenty of people tune into shows and movies, log onto websites, as much for following plotlines as for drooling over vintage couture.

The trailer for Mary Queen of Scots was released this week. Starring Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan, the promise we get of fantastic period costuming for this film is sure to interest us all.

Robbie stars as one of King Henry VIII’s daughters, Queen Elizabeth, and Ronan her younger cousin, Mary Stuart. The actual history here is that Mary Stuart threatened Elizabeth’s throne after returning to Scotland post her husband’s death. Both ladies as much try to wield their power…as try to stay alive under Henry who was very fond of taking his lady’s heads.

“A friendship that became a rivalry” as the film title scrolling across the trailer describes the relationship between the two ladies.

The couture revealed in the trailer (see here) is nothing less than spectacular. High flowing blue dresses spread high on the neck, ruffled collars more like neck braces, corseted gowns pushing women’s attributes nearly to their necks, military uniforms for gentleman, plus flowing capes for both genders. There is even a spectacular scary shot of Margot Robbie in full white face, hair circling like a flaming bonnet around her head in the quite severe get-up of full queen couture.

Who knows if any of what we see here will make the grade for Halloween 2018, but Mary Queen of Scots arrives in December.