Midweek Musings

Sunday, March 1, 2015

His Way With a Flou

From this New York Times article, I learned a new word that I adore: flou. It means hazy, blowzy, and vaporific in French, but in the context of Peter Copping's debut at Oscar de la Renta this season, it means "party dress." 

There is something very special about a great little flou. Embroidered with evening memories and crafted from fancy material, a party dress in its simplest nature makes a woman feel her very best: beautiful, confident, full of life. Though I'll probably never afford an Oscar de la Renta, nor go to an event swanky enough to wear one, I appreciate the beauty and classic silhouette synonymous with with the de la Renta brand. 

Copping, who was appointed as Chief Creative Director a few short days before de la Renta passed away last October, made his debut a few weeks ago on the iconic runway. Keeping in line with the classic styling of the brand, Copping's collection is stunning. He achieves the fine line between honoring the late de la Renta's memory, but also incorporating fresh, personalized details like new necklines, sheer lace bodices and youthful jewel-toned gowns. 

I drew a few of my favorite looks from the show, including a bright rosette-sewn strapless party dress. Such a simple, fan-favorite silhouette, with the rich swirls of pinks and reds guiding the eye around the folds of fabric, makes for a perfect dress. The numerous day looks are also expertly styled, in the juxtaposition of serious pattern mixing for fall. Finally, the column dresses are really stunning and unexpected at a designer's show known for his voluminous gowns. I particularly admire the black dress with bright blooms and chalk white embroidered vines.

To learn more about the life and legacy of Oscar de la Renta, check out Oscar de la Renta: His Legendary World of Style, on view at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, now until May 3, 2015. 

{currently listening to}

but like the sun lights up the sky with a message from above /
oh, yeah, i find no other greater symbol of this love /

Original drawing ©Anna Elizabeth 2015
Images from Style.com

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Give Credit Where It's Due

I haven't been this smitten with a debut album this quickly since I first got my hands on Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album back in 2007. Not to compare this artist to Swift, but I definitely do not want to listen to anything other than Meghan Trainor's Title for a really long time. Maybe until her sophomore album breaks.

Ultimately, for a piece of art as good as this one, if I listen to it from beginning to end without skipping any songs, that is a pretty good sign. From the very beginning, Trainor's album sparks attention. Title's preface is a little acapella ditty that introduces Trainor and generally feels good in your ears. It’s sweet, knowing she is just breaking through in the music industry and breaking conventions of typical pop stars and typical sound, that she expresses that “the best part of being a singer at all / is singing to the world [her] songs” (The Best Part (Interlude)). 

Following her introduction comes a superfluity of fun, optimistic pop songs with a mixture of all the right ingredients. Trainor's harmonies and stylized vocals are stunning and melt right into your ears. Her songs make you smile in all the right moments; as a 21-year-old (and graduate of the Class of 2012...just like me!!! Hey girl!!), Trainor sings about all the perils and triumphs of being in your early twenties. As she stated in an interview, Trainor notes that these years in your life are awkward. We aren't quite adults, but we definitely aren't teenagers anymore. Finally there is an album for this exact moment in my life and I love that I can relate to it. 

Musical ingredients include clear and interesting influences. Songs like Bang Dem Sticks and Mr. Almost showcase Caribbean flair with synthesized horns and drum beats. Trainor has an uncle from Trinidad, and is apparently quite influenced by Soca and heavy-beat Caribbean music. The bouncy 1950’s doo-wop featured on tracks like the chart darling All About That Bass and my personal favorite Credit show a sophistication of musical influences and makes Trainor kind of a grown-up Andrews sister and a toned-down Amy Winehouse. Seen as a negative from some reviewers, I think Trainor’s 50’s influences on top of the reggae on top of her sassy rap verses make her sound one-of-a-kind and coincide with the artistry behind the lyrics. Take Credit, for example, the shah-do-bah-do-bah’s and rhythm take you on a journey and paint the picture that she sings about: seeing an ex with a new girl and he’s looking good because you told him to cut his hair like that, etc. Speaking of, the lyrics are modern and relevant: a bookmark in this year's culture and slang. Trainor talks like a millennial using social media speak such as “I’m all about that …” (All About That Bass) and “someone take away my phone” (3AM) and “he used to be whack” (Credit). But beyond the relatable lyrics to my generation, Trainor just has a way with words. Close Your Eyes (which according to Trainor, was the hardest to write) is lyrically smooth and gets the love-yourself-message across artistically. 

(Everybody’s born to be different / and that’s the one thing that makes us the same . . . awwwwwww) Like I’m Gonna Lose You is another lyrical gem where Trainor, accompanied by John Legend, fuses powerful melodies to lyrics like “we’ll never know when we’ll run out of time / so I’m gonna love you like I’m gonna lose you.” Beautiful.

And what makes Trainor’s lyrics all the more beautiful and poignant is the fact that she wrote or co-wrote each song on her album. And this right here, ladies and gentlemen, is the key to a fantastic album: personal relation and creation of music makes it all the more meaningful and relevant to the listener, because you are no longer connecting to a series of notes, you are connecting to a person. 

Becuase I wouldn't be a good marketer if I didn't briefly mention her social media creds, Trainor has a fun Twitter and Instagram that I've been stalking perusing and staying up-to-date with her tour and chart successes. She also has a public Snapchat you can follow and send her Snaps (full disclosure: I am her Snapchat friend.), which is interesting considering Snapchat just released new content features and reportedly wants to get musicians on board. Finally, in one of my favorite promo schemes and just great artistry, Trainor covered a variety of songs for different press tours and radio visits in her own bouncy style, accompanying herself on her ukulele. My personal favorite is her cover of 5 Seconds of Summer's Don't Stop (below), but I also love her Shake It Off and Stay With Me covers.

I can't wait to see what Trainor does next, but until then, Meghan Trainor, know you have a giant new fan. Also, if you feel like bringing your Bass Tour to Atlanta, I would be very happy. Consider it?! 

{currently listening to}

Image from Billboard.com

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Inspiration & Impulse Buys

There is nothing quite like spending a day looking at other people's old junk that gets all kinds of right hemisphere artistic expressions spinning in your head. A more fashionable term, thrifting or even scouring vintage is certainly more appropriate for this particular shopping excursion, because I was accompanied by my mom (my favorite shopping partner) and we had a grand old time sorting through 1800's silver tea services, old architectural drawings and all kinds of beautiful and repurposed crafts at Scott's Antique Market in Atlanta. 

My favorite purchase from the excursion was a warm plaid wool cape from the 1960's-1970's. Further proof that a big part of my personal style is firmly rooted in this decade, I basically played dress up in this woman's stall (Terri Bilderback, L-3 in the South Building at Scott's) and so did my mom because she got the scarf and a horn bangle (see above). Wearing vintage is one of my favorite ways to pay tribute to my favorite decades of fashion, especially because I am so inspired by the history of dressing and fashionable women from all decades of American fashion. 

This excursion taught me in particular that a coat of some sort is a great vintage investment because it will last for decades more and it will never go out of style. At Scott's there were many varieties besides Terri's vintage capes. I spotted fun leopard swing coats and wool coats of many warm colors. Besides the personal purchase, I snapped a few iPhone pictures of some inspiring and interesting displays seen throughout Scott's. If you ever get the chance to wander the stalls of these two warehouses (set up at the second weekend of each month), definitely do, if only for a bit of creative juice. 

(1) Mom & I enjoying Scott's 
(2) Gallery of fun art for sale (can you spot the ballerinas?!) 
(3) Vintage rug decorating someone's stall
(4) 1800's silver tea sets, repurposed nautical light fixtures like something Captain Nemo would use
(5) Stained glass window renderings (people frame these! stunning!!)
(6) Old Christie's brochures for a future art patron (me?!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Happy Sounds

Happy Sounds :)

I've always been attracted to music from another era, particularly the era of disco. The era of the Jacksons. The era of Watergate and the fight for women's' rights and the protest against the Vietnam War. The era of the bellbottom. Pop songs were bubblier in the 1970's. "Happy Sounds :)" is the name of my Jackson 5 playlist, because every time I hear tiny little 8-year old Michael Jackson sing about love, something just feels right in the world. Listening to that playlist on the way to class, I feel like I'm more aware of how beautiful sunlight is as it shines through the leaves on North Campus, creating a mosaic of dappled light, how happy bees are buzzing around my head, and just how wonderful life is in general. If that's not the point of a feel-good song, I don't know what is.

Beyond the Jacksons, I particularly love Earth, Wind, and Fire's funk sound, all serious guitar licks and spunky melodies. Earth, Wind, and Fire is what I imagine my entrance song might be into a disco club. The Supremes will always hold a special place in my heart (my mom's favorite album) and after seeing Jersey Boys this summer, I am obsessed with The Four Season's 1975 album Who Loves You. Chicago is also a favorite as is Donna Summer and of course, the inimitable Stevie Wonder. For when I'm walking with a particular skip to my step or am just in the mood for a full fledged, sweaty, hair flinging, feet stomping dance party, here are my favorite disco-era songs:

Who Loves You - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder
Come and Get Your Love - Redbone
I Want You Back - Jackson 5
Saturday in the Park - Chicago
Baby Love - The Supremes
Shining Star - Earth, Wind, and Fire
Hooked on a Feeling - Blue Swede
Bad Girls - Donna Summer
December, 1963 (Oh What a Night) - Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
The Love You Save - Jackson 5

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

So Many Feels

I have several confessions to make. This was the first time I watched the Super Bowl all the way through, beginning to end, with no interruptions and no copping out for watching the instant replays and ads I missed on YouTube. And it was awesome. In an age of superfluous digital technology at our fingertips, I was reminded how refreshing a live show is. You don't know how it will end or how people will react.

Ok confession #2: I did evoke actual tears at some of the commercials (silent tears, but nevertheless actual waterworks were involved). Between Dove and Coca-Cola and McDonalds and Budweiser, I was just a pool of feel-good happiness. It's amazing to think that advertisements reflect so much about the feelings and sentiments and culture in the moment of time which they air. If you think about it, each Super Bowl ad is like a little time capsule for that time, displaying what makes people laugh and cry and of course, buy at each point in history.

So, in order to rank the feels on some kind of contorted, non-expert scale, I took notes during real time and I will summarize and share them now: the real winners in my book of #SB49.