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Press! Got some Canadian Love Today

I was contacted by a lovely journalist a few weeks back - Suzanne Wexler - who asked for some background from a vintage perspective on the whole one shoulder trend! I almost jumped for joy - you all know my obsession with that look!

The story came out yesterday and I just received the link. I have copied it here for you all to see! Thank you so much Suzanne! You where fabulous to speak to!


Baring arms
By SUZANNE WEXLER, Special to The Gazette

Kate Winslet at the Academy Awards in February.
Kate Winslet at the Academy Awards in February.
Photograph by: Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

The one-armed Jane - Tarzan's gal pal - is coming on strong this summer on the runways, red carpets and Winners outlets near you.

And most fellas don't like it. After the initial "Huh?'' some eyes can re-regulate to the concept - depending.

"I really hated Kate's dress at first," said Access Hollywood commentator Steve Harding about Kate Winslet's Oscar gown, a one-armed blue-grey satin Atelier Yves Saint Laurent. Eventually, he liked the dress more and more - only after he saw other starlets wearing the same style, but worse. "Kate's was the best," he said, just after the Feb. 22 Oscar ceremony.

The asymmetrical trend even puzzled some female stylists at first. "I actually wasn't the biggest fan of asymmetrical," said Montreal's Cristina Acevedo, who dressed Creature Band for this year's Juno Awards and will be styling The Stars and Broken Social Scene for their coming albums.

"I found that (asymmetrical) didn't really give any one look - classic, beautiful or edgy."

Asymmetrical tops pull the eye in all sorts of directions, from the arm to the neck and up to the face, so all that extra effort had better point our gaze somewhere worthwhile. For edgy gals, it may lead our eyes to a flower or even a turban - which is what Kate Moss wore with her silver asymmetrical mini Marc Jacobs dress to a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in May.

But ladies who can direct our eyes toward something symbolically large - like toward hope, to a baby, or a dashing new president - are the ones who've truly dazzled in asymmetrical in the last year.

Think of Michelle Obama at the Inaugural Ball in January with her white chiffon Jason Wu gown.

The new president's goofy smile said it all:

"How good looking is my wife?" a charmed Barack Obama asked the press that night. Like a moving statue - not a dinky trophy - the first lady's dignified drape swished as she danced. Her bold character, paired with that classical dress, made her the perfect embodiment of a Greek goddess.

Other memorable asymmetrical looks this year were worn by breast cancer survivor Christina Applegate at the Screen Actors Guild awards (in green) and Heidi Klum, who donned an off-the-shoulder disco silver mini dress, with a cape, to the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards in June. Her look was radiant, especially with her enormous pregnant belly.

Who looked the worst? Most would agree that Heather Graham looked ridiculous at the premiere of The Hangover in June, with the outlines of her nipples visible through a shapeless bright blue asymmetrical dress by Michelle Jonas, and a peace sign dangling around her neck.

In her book Seeing Through Clothes, art and costume historian Anne Hollander explains the significance of asymmetrical dress in paintings.

Prior to the 15th century, she says, asymmetrical dresses were worn by the suckling Mother of Christ or the fighting all-female Amazon warriors of ancient Greece. (Amazons, rumoured to have pinched off one breast for ease of combat, were always depicted in painting and sculpture with two full breasts, one that was showing and the other still covered.)

These images usually came with partial nudity - as in, the fabric slung so low that a naked breast was revealed. The woman appeared to be in motion and pre-occupied with a greater cause, which denoted "unselfconscious movement," Hollander writes, helping to conceal any erotic connotations of the breast.

However, dishevelled frocks and exposed flesh eventually took on more heated connotations, including an "emotional disarray," signalling that "unsettling events were under way," Hollander says.

Even though the asymmetrical look has been worn often through the years (think Jennifer Beals in the 1980s movie Flashdance), those who wore it before were often powerful muses - an important point to keep in mind before throwing one on.

In the modern age, the trend seems to have resurfaced from the disco dancing '70s era with designer Roy Halston.

Halston, who brought the one-armed jungle dress look and Grecian glamour gown together, boasted cocktail dresses with asymmetrical tops and skirts that swirled as you twirled. His designs were popular with Bianca Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor.

"Five years ago, you couldn't sell a one-shoulder dress if you tried," said Cherie Federau, an avid Halston collector and owner of www.ShrimptonCouture.com, a full e-commerce vintage site based outside of Toronto.

But, she says, ever since stylist Rachel Zoe and Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon were spotted everywhere in vintage Halstons - only to relaunch the label last year - the one-shoulder look was everywhere.

"Now a high-end vintage original can be $1,200 to $2,500," Federau says. Her clients include Courtney Love Cobain and the Boston Museum of Art, which just purchased a dress for their permanent collection.

Federau explains how asymmetrical Halstons won over her heart:

"The pieces actually change when they're worn on the body," she says. "They tend to be very fluid and loose and really capture the feel of the '70s - freedom, glamour, and women coming into their own after the constraints of the past era."

Another relaunched vintage brand that Federau says is doing great is Hervé Léger, which is designed by BCBG's Max Azria and his wife, Lubov.

In 2008 the couple re-launched Léger line, which was famous in the '80s and '90s for Egyptian-inspired mummy snug bandage dresses.

Azria's Hervé Léger numbers are more casual and form fitting than many of the draping goddess gowns he designs for his other labels, BCBG and Max Azria (though also more expensive). As such, they tend to attract the exercise queens of the world - probably because they're the only women who can wear them.

In fact, just a few weeks before her blue gown blunder, busty glamazon Heather Graham gleamed in a golden one-shoulder Léger at a Vegas magazine event in May. She appeared like a perfectly shiny trophy gal and a must to Vegas's wild nightlife. Her look inspired thoughts of vodka tonics and slot machines. The glitzy asymmetrical number suited her much more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love this article!

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