Really interesting book about what happened to the concept of luxury fashion when a bunch of businessman decided to buy pretty much every well-known,Really interesting book about what happened to the concept of luxury fashion when a bunch of businessman decided to buy pretty much every well-known, respected fashion house in Europe and make the industry less about making beautiful things and more about making money. The parts about couture customers were especially interesting, as I always wondered who these people are and how they think. I can't even conceive of an existence where Dior flies a seamstress to my front door to make minor adjustments to my fall wardrobe. ...more
I didn't cook anything from this yet, so I can't vouch for the recipes, which are the types of hearty southern fare you'd assume Loretta Lynn would beI didn't cook anything from this yet, so I can't vouch for the recipes, which are the types of hearty southern fare you'd assume Loretta Lynn would be preparing, but there's lots of stories about her life, which make this book a really fun read even if you're not interested in cooking you up a fresh possum for dinner. Some of the stories about her early life with husband Doo are a little unsettling, partially because she was barely a teenager when they married but mainly because sometimes it seems like she's trying to put a cute and funny face on what seriously sounds like domestic abuse. Also, this book taught me that Patsy Cline loved fried rabbit to such an extent that if she found out you cooked a rabbit for dinner without inviting her over she would stop speaking to you temporarily. ...more
I have major mixed feelings about the Humans of New York project because I can never decide if Brandon Stanton is a basically decent dude trying to doI have major mixed feelings about the Humans of New York project because I can never decide if Brandon Stanton is a basically decent dude trying to document the human condition or a opportunistic mutant roaming the streets of New York searching for mentally ill homeless people and kids in wheelchairs to exploit. His work frequently feels really contrived to me, and overly sentimental in a way that cheapens a lot of the potential emotional power of his photography. ...more
I liked this follow-up to the original Advanced Style book-from-the-blog because it has personal essays by some of the women Ari Seth Cohen regularlyI liked this follow-up to the original Advanced Style book-from-the-blog because it has personal essays by some of the women Ari Seth Cohen regularly photographs (I guess I could use the word muse, but I kind of hate the concept of musedom, so I ain't using it) and I got my wish and he's gone worldwide in this edition with a trip to Japan. If there's more Advanced Style volumes in the future, I would really love to see Cohen visit even more countries. My only issue is Cohen's work frequently exists in this rarefied super rich New York City bubble, and I wish he would break out of it a little bit and do more on the street photography of people who look good without wearing Chanel head to toe, but his work is still hugely important in how it challenges people's attitudes about aging, specifically women and aging, although there are a few gentlemen in the mix. ...more
This is one of the most timeless books on style I've ever seen: everything is so classic and clean but not boring, and I loved the format with LinettThis is one of the most timeless books on style I've ever seen: everything is so classic and clean but not boring, and I loved the format with Linett photographing and interviewing her stylish friends. There's an emphasis on personal style that makes everything a lot more fun and accessible than the standard "how to dress to look young/not fat/rich" books that tend to pollute the genre. One thing I really, really loved about this book is that most of the women Linett profiles are over 30, which is a refreshing contrast to fashion books and magazines that mostly feature professional models in their early 20s. As someone who is just a few years away from 40, it's a relief to see that you can be in your 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s and still look really fresh. It's pretty cool and revolutionary to see a woman in her 70s in a fashion book. Occasionally the book gets oddly draconian about really random things like the PROPER width of pockets, which I thought was weird, but Andrea Linett has been a stylist since the 1990s, so she knows what's she talking about.
The only annoying things about this book were you could tell everyone profiled is super rich, which always feels kind of disingenuous for a style book that's supposed to be for everyone, Also, this is a complaint I have pretty much all fashion/style books: the biggest woman profiled wears maybe a size 12? There's some self congratulatory backslapping for including a PLUS SIZE MODEL!!!!, but let's be real, most plus-size models are just really, really tall women with slightly larger hips than the average model and don't actually reflect the reality of dressing for fat women who are actually fat. Another minor annoyance: I've noticed that style advice books written by authors who live in major metropolitan cities are frequently kind of clueless about the reality of life in the rest of the country and how freaking hard it is to find good tailors and shoe repair people in rural areas. Maybe it's because I do live in a pretty rural area, but on hearing about alterations my tailor (HA!) can do to make my jeans fit better I had a total "ain't nobody got time for that!" reaction. ...more
Years before she wrote her amazing autobiography My Face for the World to See and appeared as Dog Food Murderess Muffy St. Jacques in Desperate LivingYears before she wrote her amazing autobiography My Face for the World to See and appeared as Dog Food Murderess Muffy St. Jacques in Desperate Living, Liz Renay released this vanity press advice book full of bizarre photographs of her just chilling in her condo, doing man attracting things like cooking and playing the ukulele and just generally being Liz Renay. This is a crackpot celebrity advice classic (I know, 99.9% of people hearing the name Liz Renay are going to say "WHO???", but to me she is forever a STAR) in the same vein as Joan Crawford's My Way of Life and Dianne Brill's Boobs, Boys, and High Heels. The Liz Renay lifestyle of hyper-exaggerated femininity in the name of building a better man trap is frighteningly seductive in its own unique surreal, blonde bombshell fembot way.
BONUS: there's some clumsy retouching of Liz Renay's body in some of the photographs that I have a strange psychic tinfoil feeling feeling she did herself, and it's touching to me that someone as astoundingly self-aggrandizing as Liz Renay had body image insecurities. ...more
I was stoked when I found this book in a random antique store because when I was a teenager in the 90s (EEK!) Mimi Pond did these totally amazing cartI was stoked when I found this book in a random antique store because when I was a teenager in the 90s (EEK!) Mimi Pond did these totally amazing cartoons for Seventeen magazine that were the main reason I continued to buy Seventeen magazine even when Sassy existed. I love Mimi Pond's art, but this collection of earlier cartoons delves into some pretty crusty comedy tropes like women be shoppin', men are dumb and only think about sex, and it's hard for a single girl living in the big city to find the real love. It kind of comes off as CATHY with more feminism and also penis jokes, which is probably really awesome, actually, but I'm not a big fan of that AMIRITE, LADIES?!?!!? style of humor, so to me it was more interesting to see Mimi Pond's art and writing style developing and less about laffin' at the universal lady experiences.
Also, could someone at Fantagraphics Books or Drawn and Quarterly or something please do a Mimi Pond for Seventeen omnibus? ...more
This was a bumpy ride. Lena Dunham seems to suffer from that rich kid all grown up cluelessness that frequently leads her to say really tone-deaf, oblThis was a bumpy ride. Lena Dunham seems to suffer from that rich kid all grown up cluelessness that frequently leads her to say really tone-deaf, oblivious, classist, racist things that make people hate her ass and yet it's kind of incredible that a woman in her 20s has produced/directed/written her own TV show in an industry notorious for not being interested in women's perspectives and voices. But, and there is a but: because she is so young, there's a lot of mining of her childhood and college years in this collection of humorous autobiographical essays, and while she's undeniably talented, it takes some truly Herculean writing skills to make the wacky bullshit you did in college readable, and she doesn't quite pull it off. Also, whoever let her put her food diary in this thing should be suspended from work without pay temporarily for inflicting that torture on the masses.
BONUS: The nostalgic kid's book style illustrations by Joana Avillez are really adorable, and make this thing a lot less intolerable than it actually is.
Angela Bowie has always been one of my favorite rock star wives: her androgynous beauty made her a perfect match for David Bowie in his Ziggy StardustAngela Bowie has always been one of my favorite rock star wives: her androgynous beauty made her a perfect match for David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane phase. Two beautiful lanky space aliens in Kasai Yamamoto fashions just seems like the real love. But this book reveals a really weird, detached, almost clinical relationship with just a few sparks of true romance stretched out over a decade. Also, I expected that a book written by a famous rock star's ex-wife would be super salacious, but this is mostly just petty, and the tone is frequently super defensive and grouchy. Like, I know some Bowie fans hate Angela Bowie's ass, and maybe that's where the defensiveness is coming from, but I WAS ON HER SIDE before I read this hot mess. The laissez faire attitude towards rock stars fooling around with teenagers made me really uncomfortable, too. I wish we as a society could stop making excuses for grown men with guitars sleeping with fifteen year old girls and boys just because they wrote some really great songs.
BONUS: as a David Bowie-free interlude between chapters, Angela Bowie writes of the time she witnessed a dance off between James Brown and George Clinton that climaxed with a competition to see who could do the most splits, and it's glorious. ...more
I have this weird fascination with SARK, so I always buy her books when I find them in thrift stores. I think a lot of women are really thirsty for moI have this weird fascination with SARK, so I always buy her books when I find them in thrift stores. I think a lot of women are really thirsty for more joy and creativity and escaping the drudgery created by capitalism and the patriarchy, and this thirst has created this whole industry of vaguely Bohemian lifestyle gurus encouraging women to dance in the rain and eat mangoes naked and also sign up for their workshop on dancing in the rain and eating mangoes naked. Monetizing people's emotional desperation is COOL! (I also think this is the cause of all that Red Hat Society business that was popular during the 90s heyday of SARK--are you ready to subscribe to my newsletter yet?)
ANYWAY, despite my exxxtreme cynicism in the last paragraph, I actually am feeling a lot of what SARK says about inspiration and creativity in this book. There's a part where she talks about making yourself into a radiant soul so you can spread your radiance to others, and I was feeling it. I love the idea that by being your best personal self, you empower others to be their best possible self. She also debunks a lot of the weirdness women feel about being openly woman and alone in public--there's a lot to be said about encouraging women not to be afraid to simply exist and take up space, and I know this sounds ridiculous, but if I had a dollar for every time I heard an adult grown-ass woman express dismay over going to a restaurant or a movie theater alone I would be pretty rich, so right on to SARK for encouraging women to just go out and do shit by themselves.
But, and there is a but: I am so not into this inner child business. I want to be a radiant soul. I want to be creative and see art and hear music and not be a mere cog in the capitalist machine, but I do not want to build a damn blanket fort or have a damn tea party. This book gave me spiritual whiplash because one minute I would be like "this is really profound" and the next minute I would be like "OH HELL NO!" I get that some people find placating the inner child really spiritual and healing, but I love being a grown-up, so I find it hard to relate. ...more
A hybrid travel journal/slice of life zine compilation with really cute illustrations and great photographs. I have to admit I kind of resent these peA hybrid travel journal/slice of life zine compilation with really cute illustrations and great photographs. I have to admit I kind of resent these people who someone manage to make a living out of being starry eyed dreamers who hike the canyons and spend their days contemplating wildflowers and stardust. More power to those who do, though.
There was some misguided bohemian nonsense about wanting to live in a tipi that gave me some pukey clueless white person wearing a feathered headdress to Coachella type vibes, but that's my only legit complaint. ...more
I'm an extremely prolific journal writer, but I've frequently used my journals as a place to do a lot of navel gazing, self-pitying, whining, and geneI'm an extremely prolific journal writer, but I've frequently used my journals as a place to do a lot of navel gazing, self-pitying, whining, and generally spiritually toxic behavior. One of my goals for 2016 was to have a less neurotic relationship with my journaling (if that's not a real verb then it SHOULD BE), so when this tiny little how to book on journal writing turned up in a bag of donations at the library where I work, it seemed like a really cosmic coincidence.
Overall this book is pretty inspiring in that Dan Price encourages would be journalists to treat their journal as a place to record their observations, good moments with friends & family, and focusing more on the outside world and not so much on the incomprehensible darkness in your twisted, bitter soul and your fears of aging and dying alone and unloved, but occasionally I would find his unfettered positive attitude kind of annoying and disingenuous, since obviously not all of us get to be professional bohemian artists who live in a yurt in the beautiful countryside and make a living out of drawing dandelion fluff and moonbeams. Maybe if I did focus on dandelion fluff and moonbeams I wouldn't be so crabby, though, so point taken, Dan Price.
BONUS: there's a recipe for chocolate chip cookies made with yogurt and almond extract instead of vanilla in this book, and it sounds really amazing. ...more
I bought this coffee table type book of photographs of hardcore denim enthusiasts because it was remaindered on Amazon and super cheap, and also becauI bought this coffee table type book of photographs of hardcore denim enthusiasts because it was remaindered on Amazon and super cheap, and also because I keep compulsively buying really weird misshapen denim shirts and jackets and skirts at thrift stores and wanted inspiration on how to style them. This book is more about artisanal and antique denim and less about some oddball 80s abomination someone found on Family Day at the Salvation Army for a 1.99, so it didn't really help me with my style quandary, but holy cow there's some ridiculously good looking, well-dressed dudes in this book, so I liked it anyway.
This book compiles a project by the feminist collective Two Girls Working where they went around the United States photographing and interviewing womeThis book compiles a project by the feminist collective Two Girls Working where they went around the United States photographing and interviewing women and girls from all walks of life about the clothing that made them feel powerful. When I got this book in the mail and flipped through it, I was kind of unimpressed--the project started in the mid-aughts, so I found a lot of the outfits a little dated, and since the focus was on the average woman (if such a thing exists), some of the clothes were kind of blah. But when I actually started reading it, I found the profiles really compelling, and I totally got into it. Another aspect of this project/book that I loved was that in some profiles, the authors revisited a woman they interviewed two or three years later, and she would talk about what changed in her life, how her style of dress was influenced by these changes. It gave the book an emotional depth you rarely see in books about clothing. ...more