It should come as no surprise that Mother Monster has finally graced the cover of American VOGUE. What is even more tantalizing is that she is on the cover of the magazine’s famous September Issue. Photographed by Mario Testino and styled by the absolutely fabulous Grace Coddington, Lady Gaga showcases her wide, and wild, array of looks. Gaga is a woman who takes more risks than anyone in our generation – at least – and knows how to mix a myriad of colours, textures, prints and materials. Thus, she has partly inspired my ELLE Style Reporter entry.
In addition to Mother Monster’s extravagant style, Malibongwe Tyilo’s “Crazy, Sexy, Cool” take on fashion in the July 2012 issue of ELLE South Africa unpacks trends that have crept into my wardrobe and now, onto my blog. It is a combination of these two incredibly stylish and confident individuals that has resulted in what I am calling ‘Bad Romance’.
Feminine, Romantic layers of chiffon and pastels have often made their way onto the runways and print campaigns of some of fashions biggest names, including the Spring/Summer 2012 collections from Louis Vuitton, Prada, and – for those of us with a thinner wallet – H&M.
And while the Romantic trend is always beautifully executed, my interpretation takes on a slightly more androgynous, edgy persona. The idea of feminine pieces being as beautiful as they are strong and independent is what ‘Bad Romance’ is all about. The confidence to mix patterns, textures and colours reflects the way women are now able to indulge in their ultimate femininity whilst simultaneously exuding strength and prowess in a masculine piece of clothing. And just like Mother Monster, The Mother City is oozing with edgy delicacy.
Like these Cape Town gems, this style is all about combining unexpected pieces and wearing your clothes before they wear you. Colour-blocking, tropical prints, peter pan collars, statement jewellery and boyfriend blazers come together in a way that expresses the duality of female fashion. High-low skirts (seen on every corner in Europe) paired with Converse high-tops; lace tops with neon and a leather jacket. It’s like mixing a floral print dress from Dolce & Gabbana’s S/S ’12 collection with an Alexander McQueen skull clutch; or more simply, your dad’s blazer with a vintage silk dress… These are the kind of risks that ‘Bad Romance’ advocates, because no-one makes a statement hiding in a beige corner.
Remember, small details can have a big impact.
There are numerous examples of women who have disregarded social rules and thrown on a fabulous garment originally designed for the opposite sex. Think of current style icons like Alexa Chung, Rita Ora, Agyness Deyn, Toya Delazy, and the always immaculate Anna Dello Russo. Or go further back to incredible women such as Katharine Hepburn, ‘Annie Hall’, Vivienne Westwood and Grace Jones. The idea is not to dress like a man, but rather to push the boundaries of gender-based fashion, and fashion in general. Wear what you feel comfortable in, because style is nothing without the confidence to pull it off. Remember, a great wardrobe doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Take some time to look through your clothes, even those ones pushed to the back of your closets and our minds. You may just rediscover something you’ve always loved, or find ways to reinvent an old piece so that it has an entirely new function in your outfit. Vintage markets, second-hand stores and clothes swaps are also easy ways to update your existing collection for a fraction of the price. Trust me, I’m a student. I know all about doing the raddest things, but on a serious budget.
Apart from the actual pieces you own, attitude is one of the key accessories in any outfit. A recent trip to Europe opened my mind to the endless possibilities fashion affords us, where it isn’t so much what or who you wear but HOW you wear it.
‘Bad Romance’ takes the idea of individuality, eccentric charm and sheer innovation and wraps it in a roll of textured, printed fabric and unexpected colours. Get in touch with your five year old self and get creative, and have some fashion play dates with your wardrobe!
All photos and outfits were shot and pieced together by me, but a huge thank you must be given to the girls involved in helping me interpret and shoot this trend. Lisa Wulfsohn and Michelle Smit, you are all rather lovely human beings.