If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Recently, photos have emerged on the internet of Cameron Diaz performing the role of Ms. Hannigan in the remake of Annie.  Aside from the fact that this film is completely perfect as is and does not require a remake, the thing I have the biggest problem with is the wardrobe they put Ms. Diaz in:
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Don’t those boots look a tad like Isabel Marant for H&M?
Now, overall, I’ve always have had a soft spot for Ms. Hannigan. As a villain, she is completely misunderstood. Yes, she treats those orphans horribly, but, she is giving them a place to live. It’s rather admirable this single woman is self-employed during the great Depression, bathing in gin, having her fun with Mr. Bundles. Is that not the equivalent to the 20th Century power women we all struggle to be?
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I always give a cheer when she rides in on an elephant to Daddy Warbuck’s party at the end.
My favorite part of Ms. Hannigan, obviously, is her wardrobe. She’s known for her slinky dresses and piled on jewelry, her boas and kimonos. I think it would be a rather nice homage to Carol Burnett’s original character if we dressed Cammy in a modern day slip dress and kimono. She’s still au corant, and at the same time, avoids a painful jorts/black tights situation. Let’s be honest, if you were Mr. Bundles, who would you go for? Exactly.
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All the better to hear you with!

Lately I’ve been noticing there has been a lot of buzz around multiple ear piercings. Bloggers are showing off their second hole (don’t be gross) all over Instagram, and just last week Jennifer Aniston, the woman that launched a thousand shag haircuts, got her cartilage pierced with Gucci Westman, makeup artist to the stars. I myself succumbed to the double pierce on a service trip in high school, my friend Kelly did it. I also had my cartilage, and for a brief time, my nose, which I got done in Portugal for 4 Euro. I’ve since taken out all of my piercings except my standard lobes, the OG, done at Piercing Pagoda for my tenth birthday. My facial features are somewhat dainty, particularly my ears, so I rarely wear earrings at all, but I’m not opposed to something small and tasteful (a Z perhaps?) in my still remaining second hole. However, if this is in fact the next iteration of the 90’s/early 2000’s resurgence I’m wary. Because you know what comes next: belly buttons. And that is one thing that this cruel cruel world doesn’t need to see again.

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My cartilage also had a diamond in it. I got it done on the boardwalk with a Fake ID. 

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Looks like JAlba is on board too!

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I also enjoy the bar in the second hole. Like these from Chicago-based designer Dana Rebecca!

Photos courtesy of: Instagram, Instagram, Dana Rebecca Designs

Simon Says: Checking myself into The Asylum

I recently finished Simon Doonan’s latest tome, The Asylum, Simon’s homage to the insane people that dictate what we wear. The Asylum manages to poke fun at the fashion industry through Simon’s behind-the-scenes stories and name dropping left and right while at the same time being poignant, as he reflects on fashion critics of yore, the effect of the AIDS epidemic on fashion, and how much the industry has changed. While the book does contain a lot of fashion references, Simon’s smart, David Sedaris-esque writing will capture a wide audience of reader. That, and he drops more than one Valley of the Dolls reference. #youhadmeathello

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Click here to buy

Fortunately I was able to actually say hello to Mr. Doonan himself, as he was having a book signing at Barney’s right here in Chicago.

I headed there after work, rushing to get there on time as I anticipated a line out the door. Much to my surprise, I waltzed right in, took a glass of champagne off of the silver tray, and waited in line behind three people to get my book signed. As I waited, I looked around the store, everyone was dressed in black, and I stood out like a sore thumb in my Pucci knockoff dress from Filene’s (RIP) I had specifically worn because I knew Simon’s fondness for florals and the 70’s. I guzzled the champagne that no one else was drinking and felt horribly out of place. As I contemplated sidling out the back door, it was my turn, and Simon was sitting at the table, smiling at me.

I introduced myself timidly and handed Simon my book. He looked up at me, smiled and said “that’s a groovy dress you’ve got on, Betsy”. I thanked him and took the book he signed, telling him how much I enjoyed his Slate column that day. His face lit up and he thanked me profusely, telling me how much that means to him. As I started walking away, he asked me what I did, continuing the conversation, and we chatted for a few minutes about this and that. Our conversation wasn’t particularly deep or memorable, but I will always remember the nice connection I felt with Simon, who is not only unapologetically true to himself, but is constantly imploring others to be the same.  As I left Barney’s with my signed copy of the book and my head held high, I felt a little bad for Simon, the lone flower in the sea of all black.

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Images via Amazon, Pinterest. 

Ultra-Suede and Studio 54: Halston

A few weeks ago, I watched the documentary Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston  on Netflix. While the film itself is OK–the director is  just awful, I could not help but get swept up in the total glamour of Halston, as well as New York in the 70’s.

Halston was one of the first American designers that Europe began to take seriously.  He invented the shirtwaist dress, eschewing the more structured, stuffy outfits women were wearing (think of the suits women in the 60’s used to wear), eventually leading the way for DVF to debut her iconic wrap dress that still remains her signature today.

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An Ultrasuede Halston shirtwaist dress.

Image courtesy of metmuseum.org

Halston grew up in Iowa, heading to IU for college then studying at the Art Institute right here in Chi-town. He began his fashion career as a milliner, creating Jackie O’s infamous pillbox hat. Soon, he moved on to clothes.

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Jackie in Halston                                                                                                                          Image courtesy of http://peggyoberlininteriors.com/blog

Already having created a name for himself among the social set, Halston quickly became the go-to for dressing celebs and the upper crust of New York. He soon became the toast of the town, known for his entourage of beautiful women (Halstonettes) that included Angelica Huston and Pat Cleveland, hanging out at Studio 54 with Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, the Jaggers, the list goes on.

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NYE 1978 at Studio 54. Halston (second on left) with Biana Jagger, Liza, Andy         Photo c/o: http://www.lilyandlamb.com

Halston expanded his empire into fragrances (complete with Elsa Peretti designed bottles), accessories, and even carpeting. Eventually he even did a collection for JC Penney, making him the first designer to partner with a store to create an affordable line for the masses.

Sadly, Halston got caught up in the party lifestyle, which eventually led to his demise, a common aftermath of the NYC party scene in the late 70’s. While I believe the mega-glamour of this time is unfortunately a thing of the past, you can still channel the effortlessly chic Halston look today. An homage to one of the greatest American fashion designers, and a cheers to an era of excess.

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Halston Heritage classic black dress / Michael Antonio ankle strap high heel sandals / Kate Spade purse / Elsa Peretti jewelry

Don’t be surprised if you see me making an entrance at someone’s wedding in this getup. 

The Return of Zang

I’m baaaaack! To my dear family and friends, thanks for noting my blogging absence. It means so much to me that you even take the time to read this in the first place. You all continue to bowl me over with your support. With that said, I’m giving it another go.

I’ve thought a lot over the past month about what it is I want to come out of all this. The reason I started this blog is because I like to write, I like fashion, and if thousands of other people can do it, well heck, so can I. I soon became caught up in the marketing aspect of blogging, social media strategies, marketing, gaining followers, etc. It became a chore, I wasn’t posting based on inspiration, I was posting because my editorial calendar was telling me to. It isn’t fair to me, who is doing this as a creative outlet, and it isn’t fair to you, the reader, to spend your time reading half assed posts.

So I’m throwing all that out the window. Cheers to the new and improved, Zang Blogs.

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No one likes posts without photos, so here is one of me at an art show in the Loop back in September. Happy?

Tiki Time: Three Dots and a Dash

Last week I finally went and checked out Three Dots and a Dash, the new tiki bar from Paul McGee and the Lettuce Entertain You fellas. It had a great atmosphere, the drinks were delicious, and at the moment there is nothing else like it in Chicago. McGee and co are harkening back to the time when tiki bars were uber popular, and they are definitely successful in bringing back the trend.

Piquing my interest in popular things of yore, I researched a little bit about the origin of tiki bars. Don the Beachcomber was the first to set up shop in LA in 1934, Trader Vic’s followed after (RIP Trader Vic’s in the Palmer House). At the time, air and boat travel had become more affordable, and interest in exotic cultures became widespread. Hence, tiki bars became a big hit. But, more importantly, what were people wearing?

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Image from www.what-i-found.blogspot.com

I spy a peplum! I normally have mixed feelings about peplums, but I think the McQueen below executes them well. The dress also features an empire waist and billowy sleeves, another big trend in 1934.

Alexander McQueen Peplum Detail Dress


The dress above is currently sold out (and if you are even reading my blog chances are you aren’t the type who has $1,200 for a dress). Ones also featuring 1934 trends here and here.