The Art of Formal Dressing!

“There’s a way of playing safe, there’s a way of using tricks and there’s the way I like to play, which is dangerously, where you’re going to take a chance on making mistakes in order to create something you haven’t created before.” – Dave Brubeck

In Jazz artist Dave Brubeck’s words perfection lies not in the art of creating Jazz, but in the nuances used to create the persona of the artist. Thus, dressing sharply greatly contributes in creating an illusion of the flawless composition. As a melting pot of African and American compositions, Jazz is the only music form that cannot be defined.

The 1920s saw a growing popularity of its evolution. The notes of trumpets, banjo, piano and guitar were accentuated by impeccable dressing of the artists. Attending a concert meant putting your best ‘Suit’ forward. As fashion and music amalgamated, the universal language of suits became tacit attire for a live Jazz performance. The infusion of technology over the years has been unsuccessful in stealing essence of a performance. It continues to remain the only form of music that is incomplete without apt formal dressing. Wearing just any suit is not acceptable, get it right and enjoy the jazz vibe.

Intimate Jazz Gathering

  • An artist seeks no flattery, besides the heartfelt applause of the connoisseurs.
  • At a live set up, opt for a formal suit with subtle details to differentiate it from the rest.
  • Opt for variations of grey and tan blazer paired with well fitted chinos or trousers.
  • Add a hint of colour with teal or blue accessories. Ditch the waist coat and focus on accessorizing the lapel with novel lapel pins.

Live Concert

  • Performing live in front of a massive audience requires preparation.
  • Convey your respect by opting for the perfect formal attire.
  • Opt for a three piece suit with five buttoned waist coat. A classic double breasted suit would also fit the bill.
  • Choose classic pinstripes with tapered trousers and woven leather shoes.
  • Cufflinks in instrumental motifs, silk tie with a matching pocket square will set you in the mood.

On a Romantic Date

  • The symphony of a Jazz getaway is an ideal set up for a romantic date.
  • Dress to compliment the music and your gorgeous partner.
  • A black or navy suit in peak lapel works best. Jazz inspired cufflink and silk ties will romanticize the attire.
  • Don’t go overboard in accessorizing, keep it simple and while enjoying the music do take a moment off to look into her eyes.

The Top 4 Fashion iPad and iPhone Apps

Trends and advice has been an occurring theme in fashion and style for a long time. For 2011, the top apps for fashion and style bring a lot of appearance and a collective expression of individual style.

Style.com App

For over 10 years, this New York based website, Style.com has been providing advice, news, and updates over the internet from thousands of photos, trends, and interactive media. Style.com’s mobile app is no different, it provides the best fashion coverage from all over the World. Style.com App comes in both
Gilt on the Go

Gilt on the Go provides fashion news away from a computer. The name says it all, it provides style advice, shopping advice and suggestions, and more on the go from the Gilt Group. Their newest version of the app includes product sharing to Facebook, Twitter, and Email, full shopping capabilities from order history and tracking and product availability and sizing charts. Available for both iPhone, iTouch, and iPad on iTunes.

ShopStyle

The ShopStyle App by Sugar Inc is truly unique. It combines multiple stores into one app bringing together a seamless integration of all the brands you love. This is fashion at your fingertips. To name a few stores, they have Nordstrom’s, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Sephora, Giorgio Armani and more. The search is very intuitive, you can view the latest products based off categories (Men, Women, Kids & Baby), Keybased Searches, Brand type, Sizes, Color, and Price.

Interview Magazine

Interview Magazine’s App is quite the trend setter. The unique imagery and use of colors alone make the app stand out, but this app gives indepth information on fashion, film, music, art, and culture combining the worlds greatest media influences packed with interviews, images, audio, and video content.

All of these iPad and iPhone Apps are free and provide the best way to keep updated in fashion and find the products you need.

Milan, Fashion Capital of Italy!

Milan is the business, fashion and design capital of Italy, with numerous fashion and trade fairs in the Rho` district of the city (previously held in the Fiera district). It is also Italy’s second largest and richest city. The city is split into 9 zones and full of beautiful architecture, lively nightlife and many museums and exhibitions. As Milan is based in the very north of Italy, Switzerland is only a short distance by train, so worth a day trip if visiting the city. The stunning scenery of Lake Como and Lake Lecco is also worth a day trip and again a very short journey by train.

Centro Storico (the historical centre) is full of life, with many things to see and do. In this area you will find the huge Piazza Duomo and Duomo Cathedral, (see above photo) the castle Castello Sforzesco, the world renowned opera house La Scala, and stunning shopping gallery, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.(see below photo). Also, just a few minutes walk away from Piazza Duomo, are Via della Spiga, and Via Montenapoleone, two of the most famous influential fashion streets possibly in the whole world. These streets are richly concentrated with fashion designers, jewellers and furriers. Every designer imaginable has a shop or two in these streets: Armani, Iceberg, Luois Vitton, Dior, Bottega Veneta, to name just a small handful. When Milan holds fashion trade fairs at numerous times of the year, these streets can be seen full of people from the fashion industry (designers, manufacturers, buyers etc) both day and night, visiting the shops and shop windows observing what new fashions ‘are in’,getting new ideas and looking at the impressive window displays..

Navigli is a lively and fashionable (canal)district (the Navigli Canal runs through Milan), where you will find many bars, cafes, live jazz concerts and antique shops. (photo below of Navigli district by night)

Brera, is a very fashionable district not far from the centre, which used to be known as the ‘artists’ quarter’, and very bohemian in it’s day, inhabited and frequented by poets and artists. It remains a very ‘in’ area today, and is a very exclusive and fashionable district, with boutique shops, ‘sophisticated bohemian’ homeware shops, bookshops, restaurants, and bars. This area is also where you can find the famous Pinacoteca di Brera, one of milan’s most fashionable art galleries, exhibiting works from many well known artists, including Rubens and Canaletto. This art gallery is housed in the 18th century palace Palazzo Brera. This area is also home to the very exclusive fashionable 10 Corso Como, which can be found along equally fashionable Corso Como (many bars and restaurants frequented by the rich and beautiful). 10 Corso Como is a shop, restaurant and bar housed in a beautiful courtyard lit up with candles and fairy lights at night, and definitely somewhere to go if you want to impresss anyone, such as business clients for a meal, or maybe a romantic date….the shop sells and exhibits luxury high fashion designer wear, jewellry, shoes and other various items. It remains open most nights with the bar and restaurants, and you are offered complimentary glasses of champagne while you browse. Brera also houses some of Milan’s famous nightclubs, frequented by models, footballers and the ‘in’ party crowd. Corso Como is an ideal place to go out at night time; you can start early with an aperitivo, move on to a restaurant, then nightclub. It is the perfect location to stay, although may be a little expensive!

St.Ambrogio is the city’s patron saint, and the Basilica of St.Ambrogio in the heart of the city, is one of the oldest churches in Milan. Every year from the 7th to 9th December it’s the patron saint’s day, and there is a lot of celebrating and events to be found throughout the city. There are many various stalls, including food stalls, music etc in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio and the surrounding area. It is the city’s most traditional festival, and a nice way to get you in the festivities spirit, at the start of the Christmas period!

Imitation of Fashion

Imitation is the behavior of one who observes and replicates another. “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” By all means, the world of fashion has been imitated by someone or something in some way or another. The key to fashion is expressing you. Finding what inspires you can help create a style that fits best with your true self. Even “the originals” of fashion have taken an idea of the world and turned it into their own. All you need is inspiration and that can be found anywhere. Art, films, travel, music or scenery can be a source of inspiration for one to adapt to and own as their self identity.

Having your own style consists of identifying who you want to be. You must first ask yourself “What inspires you?” Looking out into the world will help you to figure this out. Look to live up to things such as art, artists, movies and actresses and adapt them to your own character. Noticing details in your everyday life can be your source of inspiration. Fashion is very similar to things of the world like art, music, travel and film because it is a way of expressing your ideas, passions and culture. For example, high-end fashion designer Gucci based its entire spring 2006 ad campaign on Michelle Pfeiffer’s super chic look in the hit movie Scarface. Gucci’s inspiration was a film. The designers at Gucci were inspired by this notable film, making it into their own creation to promote their collection.

Music is also another form of inspiration. Your favorite rock star or musician’s style can be an influence for your own sense of style. Madonna and Diana Ross are both musical legends and fashion icons. Diana Ross always had her own individual style. She was always sexy and glamorous yet very sophisticated. People became inspired by Diana Ross’ unique style. She started a lot of trends due to her curves and femininity which gave inspiration to the ones who adored her. Diana’s stylish days with The Supremes even influenced the haute couture fashion designer, Coco Chanel with her classy and well-known two-piece suits. Madonna has also inspired the world in some way with winning the Fashion Icon award at the Elle Style Awards back in 2007. Madonna’s ever-changing style throughout her music career has introduced the world to re-inventing oneself. She has had so many different looks from her lacy underwear to a sex-goddess which inspires people to be a style chameleon. Changing up your look is another way to express yourself. Being inspired by such things helps create who you are and what image you want to convey to the world.

Fashion designers have also sought out artistic inspiration. “Every designer has been influenced by art, and art has been influenced by style,” Fashion Director of Elle Magazine, Nina Garcia. Art and fashion goes hand in hand. Designers are inspired by different forms of art, turning it into a fashion of their own. Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian collection was inspired by Dutch painter Piet Mondrian. Laurent’s artistic inspiration made his collection one of the most recognizable art/fashion intersections. YSL looks to other artist as well for expression of his designs. Marc Jacobs also seeks out to artists to bring new visions to his fashion designs. Art and fashion has become a standard that other designers look to for inspirations because what you wear is art.

As you can see, inspiration for style can be found almost anywhere. Once you have embraced your sources of inspiration, study it and then create as your own style. Expressing your sense of style will help build your confidence in creating your best self. Fashion comes from all over and with style you can tell the world your story. Imitation is the key, and those who do not do so create products of nothing. Find your inspiration, imitate and become fashion!

Banksy – Bristol Butcher Boy Turned Art Guerilla?

We know from sources his agent has allowed made available that Banksy came from Bristol, UK where he once had trained as a butcher. His interest in & involvement with the Bristol underground art & music scene in the 1980s however, helped lay the foundations for his ‘art-guerrilla’ paintings so ubiquitous today. He had been involved with musicians & artists such as Nick Walker & 3D (who went on to join successful band Massive Attack) in an era of collaborations & crossovers involving designers & the bands for whom they designed. Labels such as London-based Rough Trade encouraged bands to design their own sleeve art; it saved money & gave the work a ‘street’ credibility in keeping with the punk DIY ethos.

Banksy’s initial works are said to reflect the influence of French graffiti-artists Blek Le Rat & Jet Aerosol, both of whom were experimenting with the stenciling technique. Banksy’s early work could also be said to acknowledge the London Tube system campaign of stenciled political sloganeering initiated by the anarchist-punk band Crass from 1978 to 1982. Banksy himself claims his number one influence is in fact 3D, whom he describes as being ‘able to actually draw’.

The stenciling style he eventually made his own is said to have been inspired by a rubbish skip he’d been hiding in to avoid the police. He’d become aware of the skips’ serial number, admiring the neatness & expressive qualities. He soon realized that it was a faster way of working, often on the run & under threat of arrest for an act of ‘vandalism’. His distinctive approach soon became recognized throughout Bristol & London, where he had become something of a celebrity in the underground. This was boosted by his provocative anti-establishment themes using images of monkeys, policemen & protesters delivered with a fashionable cynicism & wit. These were the early days of Thatcher’s Britain after all.

By 2002 Banksy’s ‘Existencillism’ exhibition had successfully debuted in Los Angeles at the city’s 33.3 Gallery. In 2003 his ‘Turf War’ exhibition caused outrage among Animal Rights activists. The exhibition featured a large warehouse full of animals that had been painted on. The RSPCA had ruled that the exhibition was in no way cruel or unsuitable for the animals, but this did nothing to quell the outrage. One activist is said to have chained herself to the entrance gates. All great publicity for an artist who uses controversy as both his subject & inspiration. His ‘Elephant In A Room’ caused a similar stir, featuring a live elephant in the warehouse which had been painted on & draped with fabrics. The idea was to draw attention to world poverty, the elephant in the room so to speak. Banksy also staged warehouse exhibitions at the Alexandria in Sydney which was attended by 1500 visitors. One of his most poignant & controversial exhibits was a series of provocative images painted on the Israeli West Bank Wall in 2005.

He then began a new series of paintings he described as subverted. What this meant was that the theme or pictorial meaning of a classical work could be interpreted in terms of contemporary times. His ‘subversion’ of Monet’s ‘Water Lily Garden’ includes the depiction of urban litter, pollution & a submerged shopping trolley to replace the idyllic, genteel imagery of the original. It was shown along with twelve other similar works at a 12-day exhibition in Westbourne Grove, London in 2005.

In 2007 a new record was set for the sale of ‘Space Girl & Bird’ which sold for £288,000; far in excess of the reserve price set by Bonhams Of London, the art auctioneers overseeing its’ sale. The same year Banksy won the award for Art’s Greatest Living Briton. True to his status as anarchist/art-guerrilla, he never showed up to collect it. He has always preferred anonymity. This didn’t harm his commercial appeal. By the end of 2007, most of the catalogue managed by Bonhams had more than doubled its’ reserve price

It should be remembered that the original street paintings – actual photographs, Banksy t shirts or Banksy clothing – are never sold directly by Banksy himself. These are handled by art auctioneers who attempt to sell them ‘on location’; leaving the problem of their removal with the successful bidder. This bizarre approach is best described in his film ‘Exit Through The Gift Shop’ which was billed as ‘the world’s first street-art disaster movie’.

It made its debut at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival & was released the same year in the UK. In 2011 it was nominated for the Academy Award For Best Documentary

The dispute as to whether his work constitutes art or vandalism remains an element of his appeal & modus operandi; befitting his reputation as anti-celebrity/establishment political activist & art-guerrilla. There can surely be no doubt that his outsider-style has raised many issues that the mainstream media often chooses to ignore these days; whether it be poverty, globalism, the excesses of capitalism or plain political stupidity. Banksy remains true to his political & artistic grass-roots; beautifying otherwise ugly urban environments while jarring the public conscience.

So who is he? Like Spider-Man he seems to protect his secret identity. There is an alleged photo of him that is said to have been taken in Jamaica at the Two-Culture Clash Project. Another photo taken by a member of the public purports to show him in Bethnal Green, London where he can be seen at work atop scaffolding. The photo is lent some credence by Tower Hamlets Council’s decision to seek to remove all Banksy works, deeming them to be graffiti.

Such pictures have led to speculation that his name is Robert Gunningham, a Bristol-born man educated at Bristol Cathedral Choir School, who is said to be ‘extremely talented at art’. This same man is known to have moved to a flat in Hackney, London about the same time as Banksy’s paintings began appearing in the area. Banksy’s agent is somewhat enigmatic about this, neither denying nor affirming whether there is any truth in the speculation. Banksy himself, speaking via his website says:

“I am unable to comment on who may or who may not be Banksy, but anyone described as ‘being good at drawing’ doesn’t sound like Banksy to me”