Colin McDowell's Opinion on Bloggers & Why I (Somewhat) Agree With Him

In the most recent version of the Business of Fashion's Breakfast Club, the group discussed this past season in fashion and the return of Savage Beauty. Near the end of the discussion, the group dipped a bit off topic to consumer knowledge and influences specifically relating to the histories of brands. This was in relation to Savage Beauty and how those clothes were never really bought by anyone, nor were they made to be. In Mimma Viglezio's opinion, the market and society was different at the time  of Alexander McQueen's primal work and this wouldn't be able to pass today. But Colin McDowell believed that the market has always been the same with the same goals, but it was McQueen's pure creativity and genius that set him apart and allowed him to make clothes for no one to wear. 

In his opinion, fashion is becoming more and more not about the clothes. I have to agree with this; so much of a runway show is the styling and ambiance and guest list, and so little is the actual clothes. This also links back to the previously discussed Zoolander marketing stunt at Valentino. It's taking social media outbreaks to move people, not well crafted clothes. Also in the words of Colin McDowell, this is the fault of bloggers, and other people "who know absolutely nothing" about fashion and yet have such a big influence. (He said this with apologizes to StyleBubble blogger Susanna Lau who was seated right beside him.) When I first heard this, of course I was naturally defensive, but through both my open mind and partiality towards Colin's opinions, I thought about the topic and found light within it. 

It does make sense that people with so much influence on a industry should at least have some background knowledge, but the ignorance is part of the beauty of blogging. When you blog, you're less likely to judge with the past of a brand in mind, and you're more likely to judge based entirely off of the clothes, or product. If you ever want a truly honest opinion on something, I recommend  turning to a blog because bloggers won't sugarcoat with hopes of getting on a brand's good side or dwell on the tiny imperfections because of a deep-rooted grudge. They tell it as it is. (At least, that's how I am with my blog; I can't be totally sure with others....) When I review a collection, I look at photos of every look on Vogue or and judge based off personal opinions and interpretations. I'm definitely not at the show in person and I rarely even watch the shows online. So, yes, I may not be as educated as someone who does this professionally, but I give my honest opinion and that's all that people come to my blog for. Ultimately, people choose bloggers and make them/us so influential because we don't know all the details. It's not our fault if we become more powerful than the professionals, it's the people's for actually listening to us.

He then suggested some sort of exam for bloggers to prove that they actually know something about fashion and have the authority to report. I have to agree with this a bit because sometimes I'll be browsing the blogosphere and see a collection review that's miles away from the truth and think it shouldn't be allowed, but hey, that's the beauty of the Internet. Anything goes. If we were actually certified and professionally educated in fashion we wouldn't be blogging, we would be stealing journalist's, him himself, jobs.

From left to right: Mimma Viglezio, Imran Amed, Susanna Lau, and Colin McDowell.
The Business of Fashion's Breakfast Club discussing the fashion season that was and the return of Savage Beauty.

BoF Breakfast Club

Is a spring break, or any time off for that matter, really a spring break if one does not waste some time idly watching YouTube videos with only half their mind fully working? I think not. I'm usually very loyal to this law, but this spring break I decided to bend the rule a bit. I chose videos with a little more substance (crazy, I know) by binge watching all episodes of Business of Fashion's Breakfast Club. The BoF Breakfast Club is basically my dream lunch table. Every week, a group of fashion's most qualified individuals gather to discuss and argue current events in the fashion world, over a picture perfect breakfast. I thoroughly enjoy listening to all their opinions and insights (especially Business of Fashion columnist Colin McDowell's artful arguments) on matters I've thought about but had no one to speak with. The discussions are moderated by BoF's own Imran Amed, who keeps the group both on topic and on time. I'll admit, though, that sometimes I wish the conversation would just ramble on and on. And it could if they let it. These people are filled with so much knowledge and are so opinionated that they could create enough content for a BoF Dinner Club.

Maison Galliano

I know it's been a while since the Maison Margiela fall 2015 ready to wear show happened at the beginning of March, but I didn't get a chance to really look at it and I just watched the show on YouTube and decided to revisit it.

It seems as though John Galliano is using Maison Margiela as a blank canvas or creative outlet of sorts for distributing his own design aesthetic. While I am a strong believer of consistency and character within a brand, I don't discredit Galliano for bringing his own flare to the company. A change in aesthetic can only be expected when strong designers are hired. And not strong as in stylish and full of potential. There are a lot of strong designers out there who could easily continue and grow the Maison Margiela legacy as it is. I mean strong as in genius, influential, and reputable. That last characteristic is the most important; John Galliano is known for a certain look and he can't be expected to drop that once he joins a new house. It's true that this show was very Galliano, from the makeup to the clothes and every odd character in between, but he's creating a new future and reputation for Margiela and he shouldn't have to drop his trademark design. It shouldn't be a surprise that any house John Galliano took over would look like, well, John Galliano took over.

On the subject of the actual clothes, this is what I imagine what it's like taking a dip into John's mind or seeing the world through his eyes. If this show was his vision of the world, it was made up of two different characters, but if this was his mind, then this show was two different sides of the same character, of the same mind. Whatever they may be, contrasting personalities or entirely different people, the looks are generally classified by their makeup; the simple, black swipe over their eyes being insanity and genius (somewhat) masked for everyday life, and the wild, bird of paradise eyed and Joker lipped models portraying pure madness out in the open. I interpreted this show in two ways; the first being that each individual look makes up Galliano's head as a whole (all insane, some parts less than others), and the second being John's outlook on the world expressed through the looks (All people are a little bit odd, some just hide it better than others. The big-lipped, wild-eyed have the purest amount of insanity. John sees all of these characters in the people he observes daily.) In every group of people who look "average" on the surface, there's a few weird ones who come scuttling by in the mix.

Because he's been in exile for so long, it only makes sense for his first couple collections for a new house to be classically Galliano to remind the world of his talent and taste before conforming a bit more to the character of the brand.

Photos via

Spain: The Food

I'm sure you're all tired of my Spain posts by now (I know I am), but I promise this is the last one. And maybe the most important one because this post is all about the food. Whenever I travel, I always keep food in mind and try to experience as much of it as I can. (No chain restaurants or fast food!) 

I do not recommend Spain at all to vegetarians. It would be torture. Chorizo, jamón ibérico, salchichon, I don't think I had one meal without meat (with the exception being breakfast which consisted of a simple bread and butter todo los días.) My favorite meal was a chorizo bocadillo at a tiny cafe in the plaza mayor of Salamanca. Very simple, just meat on bread, but very delicious. My favorite drink had to be the hot chocolate. American hot chocolate is sweet and watery, but this was chocolatey and thick, like a slightly liquified pudding. The only decent vegetarian meal I had was tortilla española, which is a thick, fried omelet with potatoes. 

The one thing I didn't like about the dining in Spain was the beverage situation. On the first day, my friends and I went out for lunch at a cafe and ordered waters. Keep in mind that this was the very first day and our Spanish wasn't that experienced. When we got the bill, the most expensive item was water for seventeen euros! The bill was split between six or seven of us so it wasn't that much, but it's still a ridiculous amount to pay for water. Whenever we dined again we made sure to clearly order tap water not bottled.

These are actually legs of sheep or cows; note the still attached hooves on top.

Spain: On Foot

As you probably know, I was in Spain this past week and took an unhealthy amount of photos. To avoid overwhelming, or boring, you, I decided to distribute the photos in different posts. Earlier, I published all the photos of the roads and from the roads, appropriately titled Spain: On the Road. Now, I bring to you all the photos I took on foot whilst traveling through Spain.

This is the Peña de Francia mountain range. You can't see it in the photo, but the hills stretch out as far as your eyes can see and then some. I love the ghostly shadows mountains in the background.

At the top of the mountain is a church and some other ancient structures, among them a number of caves and tunnels like this one.

All around the edges and walls of the mountain were these tiny spikes and crossed circles labeled with the name of a city. Looking through the circle and lining the spike up with the center of the cross showed you the location of the city.

I found this branch of greenery on top of the mountain and decided to carry it around with me because there were no trees anywhere in sight so that meant it must've been special. In retrospect, it was probably some type of decoration for the church.

The stained glass windows in the mountain church were so old that they were chunks of colored, clear stones with cement in between, instead of depicting a literal scene.

I went up to the windows and felt them since there were no guards or teachers and they carried a majestic aura that seemed to call me to them. They were cool and smooth and cut with ridges and facets that allowed the light to pass through in the most beautiful way.

This is a rose that someone left on a statue of the Virgin Mary. The only people who live there are four monks but the mountain attracts a number of devoted visitors.

I don't think I've ever seen as many different shades of orange than on the house tops of Spain.

Almost every street was picture perfect; I felt like I was cheating when taking photos because I didn't have to seek out the beauty. It was in plain sight.

I love how average buildings blend into grand castles.

This one is a bit out of focus (it was sunny and I couldn't really tell what I was taking a photo of), but I think I like it better like that. It adds to the character.

We would be walking along the humbly beautiful streets and then suddenly a spire would come into view, eventually turning into an entire, grand cathedral.

Crosses and dates are legible on top of some of the doorways. They date back to the Spanish Inquisition.

This is the town dog, Zoofus, with the Zoo sounding more like Thoo because of the accent. He followed me around because he smelled the chorizo I had in my backpack.

This is an odd statue for one who doesn't know the context, like me when I first saw it and before I recognized what was actually going on in the statue.

There's so much complexity to this; you could stare at it for hours and not see all of the details. 

One detail I did get to notice was the astronaut in the ivy, something I'm certain did not exist at the time of this cathedral's construction.

I love the atmosphere in old churches and cathedrals: a gentle and silent awe and mesmerization. 

This is the back of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Not the front, but the back.

The water really was this green, but not in a disgusting way. It was a clean green.

This is another side of the Royal Palace. In fact, there was a parking lot right below the stairs in the photo, but the question of how the cars got up the stairs to the sides of the palace still stands.

This is the front of the palace. This photo was taken with my phone through the gate.

La Plaza Mayor in Madrid. It was funny to see all the silly street vendors and entertainers in such a impressive environment.

La Plaza Mayor in Salamanca. Even though it's a smaller plaza and less known, I actually prefer it to Madrid's.

The plaza at night. Just as it starts to get dark, the lights dazzle on producing a united ooohhh  from the crowd.

The courtyard at my school. I took Spanish classes for about four hours during 4 days but it didn't seem like that much at all. I much prefer them to my usual classes....

 This is some of the art found on the streets of Salamanca. I really wish I photographed more of it; it was so beautiful. There was art almost everywhere, a nice contrast to the old architecture.

Up Next: the final installment of my travels to Spain, and possibly the most important, The Food.