Must Read Links

A generous handful of must read links for your long Easter weekend.
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☛ I picked up 2 vintage berets last month, but I’ve totally stalled out on how to wear them. Retro Chick comes to the rescue with 3 Ways to Wear a Beret.

☛ Salvatore Ferragamo threw a beautiful fête at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. Dita Von Teese, Devon Aoki, and Marissa Mayer were in attendance. Sadly, my invitation was lost in the mail? Via Women’s Wear Daily.

☛ A 1908 vision of women’s liberation. Scary back then. Awesome to our eyes. Bonus: free fudge. Via The Appendix.

☛ I have this ongoing project: cleaning out my closet. It’s kinda become my second hobby. Turns out I’m really good at buying clothes and not wearing them. If you’re anything like me, look for these 9 signs you shouldn’t buy that item of clothing you’re trying to talk yourself into buying. Via XO Jane

☛ Helmets are cute and all, but they are one of the least important cycling safety measures, according to British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman. Via Road.cc

☛ Vanity Fair at its best: a juicy long read all about Hollywood’s Top Stylists. “Are the top Hollywood stylists cold-eyed deal-makers, or vulnerable freelancers, dependent on the whims of designers and stars? ” Via Vanity Fair.com

☛ Now that the weather is warming up, you’re probably thinking about how to transition out of your winter-cycling wardrobe. Shaye has illustrated thoughts she would like to share with you. Via Simple Recipes for Disaster

☛ Best friends Katy and Katie tackle this dubious Anthropologie hack. “I hate word hack. I hate it.” Definitely a must watch, but be prepared to cackle like a crazy lady. Via Just the Tips

Getting Ready for the London Tweed Run

Photos by Kelly Miller

Kelly and her young man have already started marshal training for this year’s London Tweed Run, to be held on May 17.

Shini Park at the London Tweed Run 2013

Sadly, last year’s co-organizer Jacqui Shannon isn’t managing the ride this time, due to her full-time employment. (I mean, she’s probably not sad about having a job. Congrats, Jacqui!)

Miss Jeni Yesterday at the London Tweed Run 2013

Lucky for us, Kelly will be documenting the ride from the stoker position of a tweed-covered tandem bicycle. Can’t wait to see more shots like these!

At the London Tweed Run 2013

Oh hey, so, Vivienne Westwood Rides a Bike

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“Hey, Viv!” She’s read the gospel (she wrote it), and she knows that cycling in heels is The Only Way.  

Grande dame Vivienne Westwood (DBE) in her own designs, photographed by Alasdair McLellan for The Gentlewoman, Issue no. 9, Spring and Summer 2014.

They say you should never meet your heroes.

Impossibly mammoth expectations, coupled with the inevitable bumbling awkwardness of it all converge into a monster that will forever haunt you, an experience you’ll relive time and again both in your own head and aloud with others.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, David Bowie encounters, and general declarations of Bowie-hero-love seem, to this writer at least, cited more often in the press than any other.  Marilyn Manson once said something along the lines of meeting Mr. Stardust, a personal hero, “He complemented my suit, and I felt like a little schoolboy.” There was artist Dawn Kasper’s brush-with-Bowie experience (read ’til pg. 3) at the 2012 Whitney Biennial.  And painter Elizabeth Peyton spoke of Bowie and his accompanying 2013 V&A retrospective, “…I thought the tone of the show echoed how we all feel about him – total love and gratitude for his existence.” (The Gentlewoman, Issue no. 8, Autumn and Winter 2013)

Cue Vivienne Westwood.  I have never met the woman per se, but the first thing I did when I moved to London was buy tickets to hear her speak at an event late 2012.  And it totally effed with my head.

Total love and gratitude for her existence is a sentiment I could get down with.

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Vivienne Westwood, off the bike. And effing with my head. An expert model of her own designs. #Winning 

Total love and gratitude is something I felt when, as a fashion design student at FIT with @bikepretty, I saw an exhibit devoted to her footwear designs in Italy, circa 2007.

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Footwear from the exhibit.  Naomi Campbell, watch out. 

Total love and gratitude is something I feel every time I scour ebay for secondhand castoffs of her designs, my heart swelling with every poorly-photographed asymmetrical seam, every oddball corset, every wonky tartan jacket that graces my search results, their many peplum hems draped just so.  In short, I’ve always looked up to the woman.  After that event however, I feared my opinion forever changed.

She ignored the moderator’s questions, choosing instead to speak about topics that she found more interesting, which included everything from saving the environment to making disparaging comments about her own design team – “They just copy designs from my archive” – or, my favorite – “They spend all their wages on childcare, which doesn’t make any sense to me.  Why not just quit work and stay home with the children?” Maybe you should pay them more, I thought. She proclaimed herself less interested in her line, and in fashion, than ever.  All artists today are crap. No one has any sense of history. And here’s my charity that you should all donate to, we’re saving the rainforest and it’s Really Important.

Several people got up and left the room.  My boyfriend cast a pained look at me and whispered, “Mais…elle est folle!” (he’s French) and said he’d wait for me in the lobby. I remained in my seat until the bitter end, and left feeling cheated, a bit dejected.  Folle, indeed.

Was this really the woman behind all those whimsically anarchic fashions of my dreams?  She seemed so graceless and arrogant.

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*Sigh.* Ms. Westwood on the cover of The Gentlewoman, issue no. 9, Spring and Summer 2014. 

In the intervening time since, I have often parsed the many alarming diatribes that surfaced that evening- and so it was with mixed feelings that I saw her as the cover choice for the latest issue of The Gentlewoman,* my favorite magazine.  I now take my Westwood with a grain of salt, thankyouverymuch.

But as I read through the interview, I found myself chuckling, gradually recognizing in Deborah Orr’s words what had eluded me those many months prior. The interview- *spoiler alert* – nearly mirrors my above experience.  Living through it again was like a cheerful slap in the face:

Vivienne Westwood is a punk! One of the originals!  And what could be more punk  than doing whatever the bloody hell you want?  E.g., subverting international press opportunities and public speaking events to serve as a platform for something you think the world really needs to hear about!

As Orr points out, Vivienne’s life and career “are already well documented, and she doesn’t need the publicity,” further noting “Westwood is not without arrogance, but that’s OK, because her high opinion of herself is backed up by her achievements, the mark she’s made on the world.”

Mmmm don’t get me wrong.  I don’t need to go hear her speak again.  But I will continue to stalk her work on ebay.  And ok Viv, you got me: that shot on the bike, in your own designs, in your own heels, with that plucky, smug environmentalist’s smile on your face, and at age 72 to boot?  That’s pretty punk rock, too.  Something to aspire to.

#BikeWestwood, I think I’m into it.

Turns out the Dame Commander even sent a model down the runway on a bike back in F/W 12. Check out these internet (#bikewestwood) diamonds:

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Vivienne Westwood’s F/W 12 runway show, Paris. Looks like she needs a seat adjustment, and the rest of us need some metallic silver opera gloves.

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Viv & model in a blurry campaign shot.  Anyone know what season this is?

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Stripes & stripes, a winning combination. Circa 2011.

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In London, January 2013, at a press conference to ban ecocide.

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With husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, at the 2009 film premiere of “The Age of Stupid.” She rode her bike down the red carpet, and in what looks to be an asymmetrical peg-skirted dress, no less.  So take that.

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*The Gentlewoman is a brilliant biannual publication that is probably the only fashion magazine worth reading, or anyhow, the only one that is refreshingly manageable to keep up with. They once put Inez van Lamsweerde on the cover in a fake beard. ‘Nuff said.

Must Read Links

A woman rides a bikes near a mural on San Francisco's Valencia Street Winter biking continues to fascinate me. Fortunately there is no shortage of fashionable ladies making it happen in snowy climes. I am in awe. Via Eleanor’s

As a dedicated vintage-picker, this is my dream weekend getaway. All the best stuff is in small towns, don’t you know? Via The New York Times

Professional cheerleaders are beautiful, athletic, and hardworking. They are also shockingly underpaid. Fortunately these so-called sweater monkeys are fighting back.Via The Atlantic

Even though I’m working on a handbag, I found myself completely identifying with the unexpected struggles of this budding plus-size clothing designer. Via xoJane

I’m also a devotee of that big vintage shop in the sky cloud. But it’s not heaven, it’s eBay. Here are 15 tips for buying clothes on the auction behemoth. Via Beauty Valued

I’ve never been a fan of Coach, the ubiquitous American handbag label. But I’m super-excited about the brand’s revamp under designer Stuart Vevers. Via Bag Snob

Just by reading this post, I feel like I’m on my way to joining the ranks of Isabella Blow, Grace Coddington, Carine Roitfeld, and Jane Birkin. Okay, maybe not, but I’m ultra-inspired to develop my signature look with this in-depth how-to. Via Into Mind

Lying Panther doesn’t even use a real picture of himself on his online dating Amazon profile. Via Amazon.com

In honor of the Winter Olympics, Laura Jacobs profiles the astonishingly commercial career of Sonja Henie, the original  figure skating superstar. Via Vanity Fair