Archive for Rag Trade

Social shoes

The canonical Explanation of Social Media, up until now, has involved donuts: on Twitter, you’d see “I’m eating a #donut,” while on LinkedIn, it’s more likely to be “My skills include donut eating.”

Now I like donuts as much as the next guy, maybe more if the next guy has an impacted sweet tooth, but I don’t write about them very much. By comparison:

The shoes, incidentally, are by Gianvito Rossi, stand 4.3 inches high, and run $1135; they’re from the ’14 Cruise collection.

Ms Mallet came to Zindigo from Neiman Marcus, where she was the senior fashion director.

(Via @PatriotsOfMars, whom you may know under another name or two.)

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It’s just a print

Given Emily Deschanel’s longstanding commitment to animal welfare and vegetarianism and such, it’s not at all surprising that she’d make an appearance for Mercy For Animals, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected this dress:

Emily Deschanel for Mercy For Animals 9-12-14

I mean, yeah, great dress, but it seems like it might suggest something contrary to the mission. (The organization’s annual gala was held Friday night at The London West Hollywood.)

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The adventures of Sophie

Once upon a time, there was a British band called “theaudience,” which was given to songs with fab titles like “A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed” and “If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young, When Can You Do It?”

Theaudience managed only the one album, back in 1998, before breaking up; lead singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, then nineteen, went on to a solo career, and has now released five albums, the most recent being Wanderlust, from which we extract the current single, “The Deer and the Wolf.”

Definitely a departure from her dance-pop days. And this came out day before yesterday:

I sort of explained Pretty Polly last summer.

This is the cover art from Wanderlust:

Cover art from Wanderlust by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Why the lapses into Cyrillic? Ellis-Bextor has said that the album is like “a soundtrack to an Eastern European film from the 1970s,” and indeed one track features a Bulgarian choir, recorded at the Bulgarian Embassy in London:

It’s not often I’ve stuffed a post into four different categories.

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Mutant Slinky

Next Wednesday, an exhibit called Killer Heels opens at the Brooklyn Museum, and this is what we should expect:

Killer Heels explores fashion’s most provocative accessory. From the high platform chopines of sixteenth-century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways and red carpets, the exhibition looks at the high-heeled shoe’s rich and varied history and its enduring place in our popular imagination.

So far, so good. Now to get right down to the real nitty-gritty:

As fashion statement, fetish object, instrument of power, and outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer, throughout the ages the high-heeled shoe has gone through many shifts in style and symbolism. Deadly sharp stilettos, architecturally inspired wedges and platforms, and a number of artfully crafted shoes that defy categorization are featured among the more than 160 historical and contemporary heels on loan from designers, from the renowned Brooklyn Museum costume collection housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and from the Bata Shoe Museum.

At least one of the shoes on exhibit defies not only categorization but recognition:

Zaha Hadid X United Nude shoe

Seriously.

The prospectus is admittedly impressive:

Guided by her 30 years of experience working with complex structural principles on all scale levels, [Zaha] Hadid has developed an innovative cantilevered system that allows the staggering 16cm (6.25 in) heel to appear completely unsupported.

The rhythmic, articulated transformation of the shoe’s composition encapsulates the seamless integration of materials, inventive engineering and highest standards of comfort. As Hadid’s most recent expression of this symbiotic association, the NOVA shoe design transcends the disciplines of fashion and architecture.

Now I’m just trying to imagine suitable accessories.

(Via InStyle.)

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At least they’re not blue

The preceding piece was taken from the New York Post, as was this one:

(Why not blue? This is why not blue.)

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Fingering the perp

If there’s a tragedy here, it’s that there’s a recognizable need for this product:

An undergraduate team at North Carolina State University might have just revolutionized your make-up drawer. The four students are working to develop a nail polish that changes color if it comes into contact with date rape drugs Rohypnol and GHB. That means that women who wear the new polish — dubbed Undercover Colors — could determine whether their drink has had an unwelcome ingredient added just by dipping in a finger.

The four-person company — all men, as it happens — has raised $100k in funding and continues to work on its product.

There is a downside, of course: this won’t work with rapists who use other drugs, such as strawberry daiquiris.

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Stronger than Trabants

I admit, I can’t read the model’s expression on this package:

Package of Enda brand pantyhose

It’s a look that definitely predates German reunification in 1990: these are East German tights, mit Gesäßerweiterung, which Google persists in altering just enough to mean “with vasodilation.” So: East German support hose, and why the heck not?

Back then Esda was using some mysterious fiber called “Dederon,” which turns out to be a version of Perlon/Nylon 6 that the DDR chose to name for itself. Esda’s plant in Auerbach, Saxony apparently still exists, though the company is now a part of Ergora Fashion GmbH in nearby Oberlungwitz.

Personal note: Back in the 1990s, I had a dental hygienist who looked almost exactly like this, minus the eyeroll, at least from here up: I never saw her in a dress. Which is probably just as well, since I’d probably have asked her to run away with me¹ to Germany or something.

¹ Yeah, right.

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Orange you interested?

I can almost always find a reason not to watch Fox News, though I suspect I miss out on a whole lot of gratuitous eye candy that way.

Yesterday, Harris Faulkner, one of the four female panelists on the Fox series Outnumbered — there’s one token guy in the middle — sent up this little image:

This is double, and maybe quadruple, the number of orange shoes you’re likely to see on an ostensible news program, reason enough for me to mention it here. The shoes themselves are perhaps overly pointy, though not to Rosa Klebb levels, and somebody complained about Kennedy’s little tricolor. (Incidentally, that’s not Kennedy’s Twitter account: this is.) Imagine if she’d showed us her elephant.

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Form perhaps following function

Nine West is offering a collection titled, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, “Starter Husband Hunting.” (Presumably, more advanced techniques, whatever they might be, call for different shoes.) This is part of something they call Shoe Occasions, and you’ll find this shoe in the page header:

Chillice by Nine West

This style is called “Chillice,” and it appears here in “Natural Black/Multi Pony.” I guess I’d notice that. (It’s ten bucks cheaper — $99 — in black.) The pitch:

A crisscross vamp and an adjustable ankle strap closure give our Chillice pointy toe pumps those inevitable double-takes. Padded footbed provides all-day, into-the-evening comfort. Leather or pony upper; simply mouse over your favorite color for upper information. Man-made lining and sole. Imported. 4″ high heels.

Incidentally, a member of the site staff opened up a chat window while I was snagging the picture. I should have told said staffer that it didn’t come in my size. (It does go up to 12.)

Addendum: Do you think maybe they need more than two Shoe Occasions?

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A memory left behind

Women of a certain age may relate to this:

I remember with the few friends I did have — who were kids from families that were frugal like mine — whispering furtively “lard-ass jeans” about the Jordache jeans (I think that may have been a joke on SNL?). Whispering furtively because “ass” was a bad bad bad word and we could have got in SO MUCH TROUBLE had a teacher overheard. Heh.

Actually, it went far beyond “joke on SNL”:

In 1984, Jordache Enterprises, Inc. was the designer jeans behemoth of its day, grossing about $400 million annually. Jordache had just launched a $30 million ad campaign to keep up the momentum.

That same year, two Albuquerque women, Susan Duran and Marsha Stafford, started a home-based company to market a brand of designer jeans for plus-sized women.

The two ladies were passionate about their new venture. Duran, 35 (5’8″, 190 pounds), and Stafford, 33 (5’7″, 170 pounds), had long wanted to create jeans for the amply-proportioned woman.

They considered a variety of brand names for the new company — Calvin Swine, Vidal Sowsoon, Seambusters, Buffalo Buns, Thunder Thighs. In the end, they chose Lardashe.

Jordache, of course, was not amused:

During the three-day trial, an attorney for Jordache said, “The term Lardashe, which everybody understands to be lard ass, is an offensive, insensitive term to use to apply to overweight women.” He claimed that potential customers might think Lardashe jeans were a Jordache product and could take offense… The District Court in New Mexico held, and an appeals court later affirmed, that no trademark infringement had occurred.

There was, however, one unexpected later development:

Although the ladies won, the legal battle proved to be particularly costly for Stafford. She developed an ulcer and lost 60 pounds, making her too svelte for Lardashe jeans.

She and her partner solved the problem by creating a new line of Lardashe junior sizes.

Eventually, Lardashe was wound down. Jordache survives today, although they’ve diversified into lots of other product lines, and their jeans are no longer considered even slightly iconic.

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You’ll have a ball

And apparently you don’t need to hold it up, either:

1950s advertisement for NoMend hosiery

Mayer-Beaton Corporation of Wayne, New Jersey owned this brand, which was made in a mill in Philadelphia that closed around 1955. The company still owned several brands of unmentionables after that; trademarks owned by them started to show up as Cancelled Section 8 — no declaration of continued use — in the 1980s.

I also got a CD cover out of this.

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In which Mindy projects

There’s actually no projected date for the publication of Mindy Kaling’s second book, Why Not Me? It didn’t stop her, though, from putting up some Instagrams from the photo shoot for the book cover, a couple of which I’ve borrowed, with the help of InStyle.

This first lacy thingumabob comes from Dolce & Gabbana:

Mindy Kaling in D and G

And this, with pockets yet, from 5th & Mercer:

Mindy Kaling in 5th and Mercer

If you’re not familiar with 5th & Mercer, it’s a line designed by La La Anthony, who is married to NBA star Carmelo Anthony. The shoes are all Jimmy Choos.

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There are also wardrobe adjustments

About three years ago, I posted an item about one Andrej Pejić, a rather androgynous fellow who actually looked really good in a print ad for a bra. I said at the time:

[Pejić is] arguably the prettiest six-foot-two blond(e) working the runway today. I’d argue that he sells the product remarkably well, inasmuch as it brings a figure with no actual bewbage at all up to an almost-solid B.

That figure has changed a bit since then: Pejić has added an A to her first name and has undergone sexual-reassignment surgery. Apparently this is what she always wanted:

I figured out who I was very early on — actually, at the age of 13, with the help of the Internet — so I knew that a transition, becoming a woman, was always something I needed to do. But it wasn’t possible at the time, and I put it off, and androgyny became a way of expressing my femininity without having to explain myself to people too much. Especially to my peers [who] couldn’t understand things like “trans” and gender identity. And then obviously the modeling thing came up, and I became this androgynous male model, and that was a big part of my growing up and my self-discovery. But I always kept in mind that, ultimately, my biggest dream was to be a girl. I wasn’t ready to talk about it before in a public way because I was scared that I would not be understood. I didn’t know if people would like me. But now I’m taking that step because I’m a little older — I’m 22 — and I think my story can help people. My goal is to give a human face to this struggle, and I feel like I have a responsibility.

Certainly this will make matters a bit simpler for the gatekeepers in modeling:

[W]hen I first moved to London. It was like, I’d walk into the boys’ casting, and they were like, “No … you don’t belong here.” And then at the girls’ casting, they were like, “Why are they sending us boys?” So it took time for everyone to get on board. It wasn’t all sweet sailing.

For the non-fashionista, the place you’re most likely to have seen Pejić is David Bowie’s 2013 video for “The Stars (Are Out Tonight),” the existence of which offers up two layers of irony: Bowie’s own long-ago flirtation with androgyny, circa Ziggy Stardust, and the unexpected Woman of a Certain Age appearance of Tilda Swinton, who much of the time aspires to look like Conan O’Brien. As Ray Davies once said: “It’s a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.”

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Like this stuff grows on trees or something

After World War II, DuPont, inventor of nylon, went back to vending it as a silk substitute, but a lot of wholly unrelated requests came in over the transom, and the versatile polymer was pressed (or extruded, or whatever) into service in many different forms. One of the least likely, perhaps, was Remington’s Nylon 66 rifle, with nylon stock and receiver; they sold a million of them, and heaven knows how much .22LR, in thirty years.

But in the 1950s, DuPont’s bread and butter for nylon was still the garment industry, and when they came up with new dyed versions of the fiber, well, this was the result:

DuPont institutional ad for stockings in color

(Note: This embiggens to over 1.2 MB.)

Hosiery manufacturers rushed to take advantage of the new colors, just in time for the Sixties.

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Arch nemeses

Once upon a time, there was a guest on David Letterman’s show — don’t remember if it was on NBC or CBS — who was billed as having the perfect foot, the standard by which shoemakers judge their lasts. I remember very little about her except her size, which was either a 6 or a 6½, decidedly smaller than average, and I speak as someone who (for a short time) dated a woman who wore a size 4.

Shoemakers are having to spend more on materials today, it appears:

U.S. shoe makers including Stuart Weitzman and Cole Haan report average sizes are creeping up. And retailers are watching the extended-size market carefully. Nordstrom has seen strong sales of larger sizes, says Anne Egan, national merchandise manager for salon shoes. It has held special in-store events for extended-size customers, including women who wear up to a size 14 and men who wear up to a size 20. Long Tall Sally, a U.K.-based apparel and footwear retailer that gets almost half its sales from North America, sells the most shoes in U.S. sizes 12 and 13, says Chief Executive Andrew Shapin. Size 15, added earlier this year, now makes up 10% of its footwear business.

I’m hoping this means that a men’s size 14 will soon be common enough to stock in places that don’t routinely charge me three figures a pair — and then I think of Shaquille O’Neal, always reported as size 22, who now claims to wear a 23. (And truth be told, I might be a candidate for 15s now, or at least an additional E on my 14s.)

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The advantage of transparency

The Shoe Girl, a favorite around these parts, informed her vast audience that “Clearly, these are sexy shoes.” I, of course, took a look:

Clear Manolos from Saks

Doing due diligence, I asked her about them; said she, they were Manolo Blahniks from Saks.

I didn’t see them among the current Manolos (166 styles!) on the Saks Web site, but she never said they were new; for all I know, they’d been sitting in her closet for ages and were recently unearthed. They appear to be part of his long-running Chaos range, which typically sells for $725.

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Say yes to Z Dress

I might be excessively impressed by this, largely because I have no idea how difficult to live with it might be, but what I can see, I sort of like:

Z Dress Lookbook from Anastasia on Vimeo.

Then again, I used to own a couple of reversible ties. If you must judge me, judge me for that.

(Seen here.)

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Faye accompli

Faye Emerson, born on this date in 1917, sticks in my mind because she did all manner of television in the 1950s: variety shows, game shows, you name it. Of course, she didn’t start out that way: in the 1940s she was on the Warner Bros. studio payroll, and while she never made it up to the A-list, she was pretty much always working, and pretty much always pretty:

Faye Emerson, starlet

Curiously, while I was out looking for additional photos, I encountered this phenomenon:

Faye Emerson wardrobe malfunction

This 1950 clip, once you get past the Pepsi promotion, illustrates how such a thing could be possible in that sanitary age:

Bonus: Steve Allen in his late twenties.

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Like a Bosphorus

I usually don’t bother to show you jeans advertising, especially Turkish jeans advertising, but one thing led to another, and besides, it’s in Istanbul, which remains one of my favorite cities despite the fact that I haven’t been there in nearly forty years.

Anyway, this is the spot:

The chap is named Francisco Lachowski, as un-Turkish a name as you’re likely to find in beautiful downtown Byzantium, but it was, I must admit, the young lady who caught my eye: Serenay Sarıkaya, twenty-three today, first runner-up in the 2010 Miss Turkey pageant, representing Ankara, the capital. (She was born in Antalya.) Before I saw the TV spot, I saw this still, which someone apparently snagged from a Flash piece:

Serenay Sarıkaya for Mavi Jeans

What prompted all this, actually, was happening upon a reference to Mavi Jeans, a Turkish denim brand: “Mavi” being the Turkish word for “blue,” I got a bit giggly for a moment, and maybe more so when I found their American storefront — which is built on a Tumblr blog.

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As if some day their Prince might come

“Wonderful,” sniffed McGehee. “Designer metatarsals.”

Five years later, it’s a thing:

“It didn’t help that my feet were a huge size eight, which meant shoes looked ungainly, and my second and third toes were longer than my big toes. I would squeeze my feet into shoes two sizes smaller, so my toes were always sore and covered in corns. I knew I was making my feet look even worse, but I couldn’t bear to wear big, ugly shoes. Because I work in the beauty industry, I spend all day looking at people’s feet, which made me even more unhappy with my own.”

So Paulina, 30, hit upon a drastic solution: so-called “Cinderella surgery”, a range of controversial new cosmetic procedures that alter the shape and size of a woman’s feet to improve their appearance.

Paulina being British, she’d wear a size 10 over here, which doesn’t strike me as huge. (Then again, my daughter wears a 10, so perhaps I’ve had time to adjust, and besides, most quotidian footwear is offered in at least 5 through 10 inclusive.)

The British Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society would like you to know that they don’t endorse this sort of thing for “purely cosmetic reasons.” And I can’t imagine any shoes so utterly wonderful that you’d pay a price far exceeding any reasonable shoe price — Paulina said she forked over £4500 — to be able to wear them.

Which, come to think of it, makes the “Cinderella” name kind of silly; she was the one who actually could wear the slipper proffered by the Prince. Then again, if it really fit, why did it slip off her foot when she was making her midnight escape?

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Now pay attention, dirndl

Amazingly, Say Yes to the Dress has run for ten seasons on TLC. I haven’t watched much of it, but I suspect there were moments when someone might have said No, though they may not have made it into the final edit.

There are, of course, other things one might say to a dress:

3. “Why don’t you have any pockets?”

10. “That is an unreasonable place to put a zipper.”

13. “It’s freezing. Please stop exposing so much of my skin. I feel like you’re doing this on purpose. It’s at least a little passive-aggressive. Your fabric is so sheer! What are you even made of, whispers?”

“No,” it turns out, is number 15.

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Proper post-Soviet flats

A Russian lawmaker is pushing a measure which would ban high heels anywhere in the Russian Federation:

Oleg Mikheyev, a lawmaker with the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, says high heels, as well as trainers, ballet flats and men’s loafers, are bad for people’s health, and it’s time to take action, the Agence France-Presse reported.

“Footwear should have heels that are two to four centimeters high, five centimeters high at the most,” Mr. Mikheyev said in a proposal to the Customs Union, which also includes ex-Soviet states Belarus and Kazakhstan, AFP reported.

“The harmful effects of wearing extremely high heels and flat shoes have now been recognized by experts of the entire world,” it read. “It’s necessary to change this trend.”

Ninotchka, pick up on line two, please.

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Seams to me

Socks are not exactly mysterious — I put on a pair at least six days a week — but every now and then I notice that they’re not perfectly lined up. It doesn’t really matter, except for that little area between trouser hemline and shoe top, and probably not there either, but I do get exercised over such things.

Which makes me wonder how in the world women were able to put up with seamed stockings. One answer, circa 1953:

Larkwood hosiery ad from 1953

But seams were on the way out, what with the arrival of circular knitting machines, which had existed since the 1930s but were not perfected until after World War II.

Chadbourn, the Charlotte-based manufacturer of Larkwood, wound up also owning the Hudson brand.

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Not your mom’s shoes

Something called the 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society Gala took place at New York’s Central Park Zoo, and Chelsea Clinton, somewhere around 16 weeks pregnant, put in a vaguely Kardashianesque appearance:

Chelsea Clinton at 2014 Wildlife Conservation Society Gala, New York

This prompted some Smitty snark:

We’ll let Dustbury review the footwear, but how about the trou? As Obama’s fundamental transformation of our country continues to move us off that pesky Constitution and pave the way for Rule By Overlords, it’s important that the peasantry be afforded at least the hope of distraction by fashion.

As Her Majesty uncoils from her torpor and prepares for residence in the Oval Throneroom, the peasants can be pleased at the style on display by the underpaid, pauper princess.

I should be so underpaid. Maybe then I, like Chelsea, could afford shoes with a four-figure price tag. (I do well to be able to buy — occasionally — something in the low three figures.)

Still, this is a pretty standard, as distinguished from custom couture, Christian Louboutin peep-toe pump:

Close-up of Chelsea Clinton's shoes

And, unlike some of her ostensible Hollywood peers, she seems to have gotten close to the right size. I’ll give her a B-plus, knocking off a couple of points for that weird blue stuff on her toes. As for the trou: like I said, Kardashianesque, although Kimmie always creates the illusion that she’s had something — collagen, helium, Oreo Double Stuf — injected into her seat, something one simply does not look for behind a Clinton. Besides, there’s the question of whether leggings actually qualify as pants.

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I think I wear a 666

Neil Kramer sees a sign, and it changes his life:

List of Levi's jeans

What if I tried every single style Levi’s jean, making note of which jeans made my ass look the best, and then wrote about it in my first “fashion and lifestyle” post for middle-aged men, inspiring a whole generation to look to me as their sartorial guru? Who knows — by next year, I could be in a YouTube advertisement on the E-train, next to the fifteen year old YouTube stars?

And so he did, and at the link you can see him in every single one.

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Some spring in your step

Are these “the most comfortable heels ever”?

Kinetic Traces by Silvia Fado Moreno

Here’s the pitch:

[T]here’s a new heel in the works that looks pretty spectacular, and promises to break many of the negative shoe stereotypes that I hold dear. They’re equipped with hydraulic springs and shock absorbing rubber balls, so that you literally feel like you’re walking on air.

The Kinetic Traces collection by London College of Fashion alum Silvia Fado Moreno offers intriguing looking shoes with all of the support that we need to walk healthier. Every step is cushioned by springy heel technology, designed to ease foot pain, and minimize the feeling of walking in heels. And did I mention how cool they look? Seriously. These are totally the shoes of the future. Judy Jetson would probably wear them daily.

Far be it from me to frown at Judy Jetson. (The style you see is not, I assure you, the only one under development.)

And this statement from the designer caught my eye: “The mechanism can be bespoke according to bodyweight.” Variable, um, load-carrying capacity? I’m impressed.

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Huge hugeness

This is startling for a couple of reasons:

Inga Eiriksdottir began modeling in her native Iceland when she was just 14 years old. But as her body changed, the modeling industry didn’t change along with her. Although she had appeared in campaigns for brands like Dolce & Gabbana and Max Mara and had worked with esteemed fashion photographers including Patrick Demarchelier and Steven Meisel, her agency, Ford Models, switched her over to its plus-size division when she was 21 years old. The 5’10” Eiriksdottir was a size 6 at the time, having started her career as a size 2. Though she saw other models taking extreme measures to stay thin, Eiriksdottir, who is also a trained yoga teacher, refused to put her body through unhealthy regimens in order to be superskinny.

From the Department of Syntactic Quibbles: Icelanders don’t have surnames. This is Inga, who is the daughter of Eirik.

But I have to wonder: what color is the sky in a world where size 6 — size six, fercrissake — is deemed “plus”?

(Via this Dan McLaughlin tweet.)

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Vans are waiting

Oh, I’m sorry. Unless you’re British, it’s “Vans is waiting”:

The Hello Kitty x Vans summer 2014 collection has arrived! Vans.com says that this collection is:

“Inspired by Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary and graphics from the 70’s, the Vans x Hello Kitty Authentic is a simple low top, lace up with a durable printed canvas upper, metal eyelets, Vans flag label and Vans original Waffle Outsole.”

Of course, if you want something slightly less low and slightly less Authentic, we recommend the SK8-Hi Slim:

Vans SK8-Hi Slim Hello Kitty Edition

These will run you $70; the non-high-tops are about $15 less and are distinctly less subtle in appearance.

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Plum delight

How did I miss this? Angie Harmon, at the Academy of Country Music Awards in April, in a delightfully tiny Roberto Cavalli:

Angie Harmon at 49th ACM Awards

The usual question — Rizzoli or red carpet? — remains tantalizingly unanswered.

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Just slightly cut away

Announcements like this do get my attention:

This is similar to the existing Louboutin “Impera” shoe, although Impera was done up in gold-colored leather. I think I like this better. The heel height seems to be the same: 100 mm. And I give thanks that no one on my gift list has expressed a desire for these. (Impera, before it sold out, went for a cool $1295.)

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