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My Spirit Animal Shows Up At NYFW: Designer Alexander Wang’s Niece, Aila

September 14th, 2012 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

I generally do not like excessively well-dressed children. Clarification: I generally do not like the parents of excessively well-dressed children, specifically their inability to keep their desperate aspirational spooge from spilling over onto their offspring in such an obvious way.

Don’t get me wrong. I like excessively well-dressed people. Grown-ups who have had a say in the matter of what they’re wearing (and have actually paid for what they’re wearing, too). And I do like cute kids’ clothes, I really do, and I don’t think a kid has to dress like Sesame Street just vomited on them, but when the way a child dresses starts to veer into “chic” or “cool” or what fashion people call “style,” I’m out. (Same goes for rock t-shirts on babies. Stop it with the Metallica and Beastie Boys and David Bowie shirts, all of you.)

So imagine my surprise when I saw pictures of designer Alexander Wang’s niece, Aila Wang, at this year’s New York Fashion Week, and found myself wondering if this 4 year-old wasn’t some kind of sartorial chosen one? Or, at the very least, my spirit animal:

Maybe it’s because she’s Asian and a total muffin, regardless of what she’s wearing. Maybe it’s because I want her entire outfit head-to-toe (Nike Free Runs with a python dress designed by her uncle?! Genius.) I don’t know. I’m so confused right now.

[via Buzzfeed]

[ElleUK.com: Was Liberty Ross or little Aila Wang the woman of the Alexander Wang show?]

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Katy Perry At The AMAs: If It’s Asian, It Must Be Geisha

November 22nd, 2011 | 14 comments | Posted by Jen

Katy Perry wore a gown printed with East Asian calligraphy to Sunday’s American Music Awards, which garnered her all kinds of comparisons to a “geisha.” HuffPo and Celebuzz called her look “geisha-inspired,” the SF Chronicle called it “glam geisha,” My Fashion Life put their thang down, flipped it and reversed it to “geisha glam,” and another site said the dress was in the style of “Memoirs of a Geisha.”

Ever see a geisha with her boobs pushed up under her chin? Didn't think so

Only problem is, the Vivienne Westwood-designed gown Perry wore has nothing to do with geishas, and was actually “inspired” by a Chinese flower painting. The calligraphy on the dress Perry wore is Chinese, not Japanese. The dress is from Westwood’s Spring 2012 Gold Label collection, which drew from “Chinese calligraphy, Mao jackets, Berber dress, and 17th century corsets as influences.”

This isn’t the first time Katy Perry wore something Asian-looking that writers lazily labeled “geisha.” Back in August, Perry attended the VMAs carrying a parasol, dressed in an Atelier Versace cheongsam mini, which was also dubbed “geisha-inspired.” The cheongsam, however, is Chinese. Perry’s look was lifted directly from 1920′s-30′s Shanghai, a look immortalized later in the 20th century by home decor posters printed from vintage Chinese ads:

Continue reading Katy Perry At The AMAs: If It’s Asian, It Must Be Geisha

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Forever 21 And Its “Oriental Girl” Necklace

November 4th, 2011 | 6 comments | Posted by Jen

Forever 21 committed another “Allergic to Algebra”-type gaffe this week when fashion bloggers discovered the Korean American-owned company was selling an “Oriental Girl” necklace.

For anyone hoping to buy an Oriental Girl on the cheap–only one dolla fifty!–you should know that the item has been pulled, or it’s “out of stock,” as the Forever 21 website now states.

When the Forever 21 “Allergic to Algebra” shirt came out, I had to wonder what kind of Asians would sell such a dumbed-down, regressive and ultimately cynical product to the masses. Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Forever 21 And Its “Oriental Girl” Necklace

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! Eye-Taping Is So Candy-Ass

September 9th, 2011 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Last week, a YouTube video surfaced of former plus-size model Crystal Renn–no stranger to controversy vis-à-vis physical transformation–taping her eyes back in what appeared to be an attempt to look Asian during a Vogue Nippon photo shoot.

While Refinery 29 wondered if eye-taping wasn’t akin to blackface, a disturbing phenomenon that’s reared its ugly head in recent photo shoots, Renn tried to clear things up this week in an interview with Jezebel, maintaining that eye-taping is a model trick frequently used to achieve a “straight brow” (as opposed to an Asian eye):

No one told me at the shoot to tape. It is something that I often do to add to the look of the character if I feel that the look makes sense, and often I suggest it. I have very heavy brows, and they’re more curved than straight, and sometimes when you’re doing a character it might require more of a straight brow. Which sounds like such a small detail, but it can completely transform the face. Lots of actresses do this, models do this — I don’t know how willing models usually are to do it, or if other people suggest it, but I am willing, and I even bring [tape] it in my own kit.

Even though Renn seems sincere, since eye-taping was employed for so many years as a way to make white actors look Asian–in the place of actually hiring Asians–I’m not sure it can ever escape its racist connotations. In fact, in the same interview with Renn, Jezebel points out that eye-taping isn’t even a thing of the past.

So what’s a would-be eye-taper to do?

What Asians have been doing for decades to achieve a, ahem, “curved brow.”

Yes, I mean eyelid surgery, but reverse-engineered:

Crystal Renn + Liu Wen = CRYSTAL WENN

Extreme, sure. Though people will be too awed by the commitment this sort of body modificasian requires to ever think it’s racist. And it may be expensive, but think of the money one could save over a lifetime on tape!

Or, you know, Vogue Nippon could just hire an Asian model with a naturally “straight brow” the next time and avoid this sticky situation altogether.

[Refinery 29: Is Taping Your Eyes To Look Asian The New Blackface?]
[Jezebel: Crystal Renn Wasn’t Trying To ‘Look Asian’ In That Eye Tape Shoot]

Special thanks to Helen for creating “Crystal Wenn”!

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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! British Vogue Isn’t Racist, It Just Thinks We All Look Alike

June 17th, 2011 | 1 comment | Posted by Jen

In December, American Vogue decreed that Asian models are all the rage. Six months later, British Vogue is saying the same thing in its June 2011 issue with Alexa Chung on the cover. (See what they did there? Asians, Asians, everywhere!) This is great and all–that Asians have become the new It Bag–but in hailing the so-called “rise of the Asian model,” British Vogue incorrectly identified Liu Wen, first Asian model to walk in a Victoria’s Secret show and be a face for Estee Lauder, as her Chinese compatriot Du Juan, first Asian model to appear on the cover of French Vogue.

Jezebel pointed out that this case of Mistasian Identity was uncovered the same day that Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! British Vogue Isn’t Racist, It Just Thinks We All Look Alike

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J’Adore No More: Dior Fires Galliano For Anti-Semitic, Racist Remarks

March 1st, 2011 | 1 comment | Posted by Jen

And in other news about People Who Are Not Charlie Sheen Saying Crazy Things That Piss Off Their Employers, Dior has fired John Galliano as its head designer after a video surfaced Monday of Galliano telling a group of French and Italian women–whom he presumed were Jewish–that he loved Hitler and that their ancestors would have been “fucking gassed.”

Galliano’s firing came on the heels of his suspension from the fashion house last week over a similar but separate incident in the same Paris bar where the video was taken, in which he allegedly insulted French couple Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgiti, telling Bloch she had a “dirty Jewish face” and Virgiti, who’s of Asian descent, that he was a “fucking Asian bastard” before threatening to kill him. Bloch and Virgiti eventually called police to the bar, where Galliano, who was inebriated, was arrested.

(Neither Bloch nor the women Galliano addresses in the video are, in fact, Jewish.)

Inglourious Asian Basterds: Dior's heavily-criticized Shanghai Dreams ad campaign from 2010

What’s interesting about all this is how the fashion world circled the wagons around Continue reading J’Adore No More: Dior Fires Galliano For Anti-Semitic, Racist Remarks

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Vogue Magazine: Asian Women Are Beautiful (Finally)!

November 16th, 2010 | 11 comments | Posted by Jen

The December issue of American Vogue has a fashion story on a “new crop” of Asian models–never mind that most of them have been around for several years–who are, quoth the lady mag, “redefining traditional concepts of beauty.”

Which raises the question, “traditional concepts of beauty” where, exactly? Because there are plenty of places in the world where, traditionally speaking, Asian women have long been considered beautiful. Like in, um, Asia, for example? Even in Western countries, Asian beauty, for lack of a more specific term, isn’t a new concept (although, granted, sometimes, it’s a creepy, fetishy one.)

And since that covers 3/4 of the world’s population, what’s left?

Vogue magazine, that’s what.

Let’s think about this for a second: American Vogue has never featured an Asian model on its cover in its 40-plus years of featuring models on its cover (unless you count Blasian Naomi Campbell). American Vogue also has a dismal track record when it comes to featuring non-white models in general. So, by featuring a “new” crop of Asian models in its pages, American Vogue is “redefining traditional concepts of beauty” held by…American Vogue.

That’s enough self-referentiality to make an Asian chick’s fauxhawk spin right off of her suddenly-pretty head.

[via Daily Intel]

Thanks, Jasmine!

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We All Look Alike? Well If You Say So, Let’s Get A Drink

September 15th, 2010 | 5 comments | Posted by Diana

I used my sister’s California drivers license as a fake ID from age 14 to 20. She’s eight years older, four inches shorter, and about 20 pounds lighter than me. I remember using the faker in Vegas with a mouthful of braces to win $160 in blackjack, during high school to get into 21+ shows, and all through college to stock my liquid-soaked house parties with coconut-flavored rum and Wild Turkey. Look, if the person checking my face was too dumb to tell us apart, who was I to point out their inadequacies? And for crying out loud, if a Parrot Bay and Wild Turkey purchase isn’t a dead giveaway of total underage-ness, I don’t know what is.

Is benefiting from some dork thinking all Asians look alike wrong? I don’t know. Do I care? Eh, not really.

Gawker reported this morning that three Japanese Lolitas (image above is not them) crashed Tom Ford’s ultra-secret, 100-seat fashion week party Monday night (just one bash, according to a tipster, of many among “the hottest parties all around town.”) Clad in platforms and pinafores, the trio gained entry by saying that one of them was Vogue Nippon editor-in-chief Mitsuko Watanabe, whose photo is to the right (One can only infer that Watanabe rarely, if ever, rocks her homeland’s esoteric, dirty-little-girl street style).

Unfortunately for the imposter and her party pals, Watanabe had already arrived and was seated in her, er, seat. The jig was quickly up and the girls were sent on their merry way. But the coup did happen–success for the Japanese Lolita tricksters! Can you blame them for trying? And succeeding?

Look, if the hoighty-toighty party list weilders are too stupid to tell them apart…

[via Gawker]
[Styleite: Japanese Trio Crashes Tom Ford's Private Show]

Continue reading We All Look Alike? Well If You Say So, Let’s Get A Drink

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Alexa Chung For Madewell Has Arrived!

September 9th, 2010 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Gals. If you’re into what “trend forecaster” Nina Stotler calls the “quirky coquette” look that seems to be everywherrre this fall and is, as Stotler says, “currently embodied by young stars like Alexa Chung”–who’s our kind of babe–you can buy it for a reasonable-ish price at Madewell, J. Crew’s younger sister store, which launched their Alexa Chung for Madewell line today.

(And, no, this isn’t a sponsored post, although Madewell really should pay me for this shit and also Diana for being a walking advert–and a hot one at that–for their jeggings, which she wore when we appeared on the cover of Hyphen.)

Since I couldn’t sleep last night, I ended up scouting out the collection early and buying this top instead:

Continue reading Alexa Chung For Madewell Has Arrived!

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Cuz Every Girl’s Crazy Bout A Sharp-Dressed (Homeless) Man

March 10th, 2010 | 11 comments | Posted by Jen

Dude. I thought this particular brand of wackness was only indigenous to Los Angeles–where a schizophrenic homeless man a few years back inspired a line of clothing with the cringiest of names, “Crazy Robertson”–but apparently the U.S. does export some shit to China.

A mentally ill homeless man in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, has become an instant fashion icon in his country after an amateur photog took his picture and posted it on the internet. He’s been nicknamed “Brother Sharp” and, according to China Daily, his “rugged style” is now being copied by the “pampered post-90s generation.”

The Chinese aren’t the only ones interested in Brother Sharp’s “style.” BlackBook had this to say about him in “Actual [my italics] Homeless Man Inspiring Fashion in China”:

Whether it’s the nonchalance, the layering, or the dabbling in women’s wear, homeless attire has become bizzarly [sic] enticing to hipster Millenials. After all, if there’s one thing fashion and hipsters both adore: it’s irony mixed with just a bit of shock and awe. Besides, isn’t homeless chic really just the epitome of inconspicuous shopping? Seems right up the alley of another exhausted reference: the recession.

Um, ewww, and, um, gross.

This story does have a silver lining, however. Because of the stir “Brother Sharp”–real name, Cheng Guorong–has created in China, he’s been reunited with his family, who lost touch with him back in 2003. Hopefully he’ll now get the care he needs, even if it’s at the expense–god forbid–of fashion.

[China Daily: 'Most handsome' vagabond wins cult following through the cyberspace]
[China Daily: Brother Sharp returns home]
[BlackBook: Actual Homeless Man Inspiring Fashion in China]

Thanks, Irwin!

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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Patrick Li

November 30th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Name: Patrick Li

Age: 41

Occupation: Art Director, Graphic Designer, Creative Director and Principal of the branding firm Li, Inc.


Patrick Li, Packaging Your Sartorial Experience

Patrick Li, Packaging Your Sartorial Experience



Known for: Integrating the inscrutable design aesthetic of your favorite amazian fashion designers (from Alexander Wang to Philip Lim to Jason Wu) into the strangely-important little pieces–like label tags and gift boxes.

The NYTimes did a fascinating profile of Li over the weekend, in which he is depicted as both a design and communication genius. In the article, Rodarte co-designer Kate Mulleavy explains Li’s gift: “I would describe Patrick’s work as like distilling something to the purest form”–likely why the boldest and most complex of the fashion world flock to him when trying to determine their season’s essence.

We fancy ourselves a bit complex… now, all we have to do is see if he’ll redesign the DISGRASIAN logo in exchange for both of our first-born. And maybe a nice bottle of scotch.

[NYT: The Graphic Designer Patrick Li Translates Fashion From Silk To Paper]

Source

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File Under Weird Oedipal Shit: Sean Lennon as Yoko

September 2nd, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Freudian analysts could have a field day with this Terry Richardson shot taken from the Fall/Winter 2009-2010 issue of French mag Purple Fashion, which has Sean Lennon posing as his mother Yoko in a re-creation of that famous Rolling Stone cover of his parents:


To review: Sean is posing as his mother Yoko…in a re-creation of an intimate moment between his parents…captured in one of the most iconic rock portraits of all time…that was taken on the same day his father was murdered.


Hmm. Sounds a little bit like Oedipus Rex updated as an arty porno.

[via Trend Hunter]

Source

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