Original Article: Out-of-Hand Observations 2: Fashion Camouflage
Ever seen something which demanded you to almost instinctively look twice? Sometimes so quickly that the neck gives a jerk that follows after the eyeballs have absorbed a phenomenal sighting?
As I have pointed out before, the world feeds your eyes. Daily.
With the gracious and positive reception of my Out of Hand Observations 1, I felt it apt to continue in the series to document more sightings from our world. Thus, behold Out of Hand Observations 2. Shoes return as a prominent feature here, accompanied by many, many food inspired accessories, which strangely sometimes incorporate real food into the design; as if Gaga's meaty catwalk trailed by bacteria, odor and frowns was not enough! And just so us guys have equality in the fashion world, there are a few guy-only trends that manage to make it to the observational list.
Named fashion camouflage, the list entails a plethora of imagery that deceives the eyes. With a major chunk of inspirations for fashion, ranging from food to recyclables to asymmetric geometry to 3D sans glasses to vintage gadgets, it is still a comprehensive set of friendly or faux-pas items, depending on your point of view.
Why have ladies shoes been so prominent on the Part 1 of this observational series, and why do they again entertain with such prominence on this list too? Perhaps since women spend way too long selecting them and way too little time wearing them (or the same pair at least) - a quick supply and demand shows that this means there will always be a surplus of shoes. Although ladies may be interested in knowing that its not exactly the first thing us guys notice… sometimes not noticed at all. However, if the shoe is quirky, it will capture our undivided attention - though this may not always be called for! In line with this fact is British architect Julian Hakes' new pair of shoes, which are like a piece of art, made from a virtually single piece of material, and to top it off, are soleless! Despite a catchy name of Mojito shoe and the tremendous viral hype that surrounded the launch, which is where I took note of this single-piece functional accessory, the soleless feature alone can possibly give rise to the sales of foot scrubs and foot lotion, despite claims of this being an ergonomic and comfortable shoe. Now we may not understand the infatuation of women to their shoes, but surely no lady would want the delicate middle of her foot sole peeking out and flirting with the likes of sand, tarmac, cement and mud, would she?
Horse Hooves for Women
PETA may cry out loud at this, and the sound on a wooden floor would definitely spring one's memory or associations into a barnyard. To be inspired by animal instinct is one thing. To use animals in the creation of fashion is an abominable but sadly practiced thing. But to actually create a shoe that looks like the hoof of a horse is a jaw dropping sight indeed. Perhaps inspired by Narnia's fawns, it was in fact strange to see this paired with what were definitely not furry harem pants, but a dress! A trendy exhibit takes credit for this showcase, though it is easy to imagine a nymph sporting these - with what attire remains a mystery. A quick touch-phone search revealed the designer to be a German artist, Iris Schieferstein, known for her ornate, quirky, conceptual and always interesting designs, usually always using dead animals as a source of inspiration, giving death a new face.
Retro Corded Iphone
No, this is not the first generation Iphone, which we may be tempted to call vintage already. This is actually an Iphone dock that looks like a classic phone. One can simply embed the Iphone into it, and use the classic spiral corded receiver to talk. This prevents the use of a cellphone with so-called harmful radiation, and yet one can cleverly still claim that they are still in fact using an Iphone! As looks can deceive, this phone has syncing, charging, and USB facilities, making me gape at the deceptive marvel of this device. Do not blame me for immediately wondering whether the robin in a nearby tree was a robotic artifact or not. Designer Scott Freeland has christened it the iRetrofone Steampunk, which while a logically fitting name, comes across as rather a mouthful for something so uniquely creative and practical, if not a step back in applicability. But it definitely had me flocking to Etsy for a sight and price quote.
Iphone App Chocolates
The Iphone probably wins accolades for literally churning out new industries, product categories and inspirations just by its existence! Continuing the quirky phone trend is a creation that mixes tech with chocolate. This is one that I have actually seen, albeit not tasted due to unmentionable reasons. This one twists the senses of sight, touch and feel on multiple levels. Decadent French chocolate looks like an (inflated) Iphone and even arrives packaged as one! Shipped from France and available via Etsy again, this one arrives as the app icons molded into individual chocolates. Admittedly the accuracy and vividness of the colors and icons is truly remarkable. The chocolates are organic, with fair trade cocoa, with fancy claims of being sunlight resistant, shake resistant, and forgiving of warm hand temperatures - making me wonder how the frill claims are made possible sans preservatives. True to my chocolate fanatic roots and obsessions, I found that the shell is made of dark chocolate cocoa butter, and the chocolate insertions include caramel seasalt, almonds, hazlenuts, coffee and ganache. Despite finding this quirky, it is perhaps the most manageable item on the faux-pas list, depending on one's appetite for gourmet high tech chocolate at the given price. It is a perfect fashion tribute, and a great gift for valentines, or the surprising but highly applicable other holiday that it has been redesigned for: mothers day!
Inedible Croissant Shoes
The food obsession does not end. And it becomes particularly intriguing when applied to women's heels, boggling the minds to no end. Lipstick heels was intriguing, ice cream cone pumps were strange, but at least only printed on the shoes. Here, they take on a world of their own by forming the shape of a very edible looking croissant, getting the toasty color just perfect. Masaya Kushino shows her penchant for designing quirky shoes once again, and this time they do not look rodent trodden, yet the dash of furry fuzz gives it her signature style. Plus the heel and accessories make it seem more comfortable and walkable, less of a tripping hazard like some previously documented works.
Quirky Guys Trousers
With the majority of men sporting pleated trousers or flat fronts, slowly embracing skinnies and flares, it is difficult to find something fundamentally stylish and path breaking in the category. Referred to by a good (and fashionable) friend, I came across Indian designer Jessie S's work, who has come up with enviable looking menswear. To a certain degree, while it is on the lines of contemporary fashion and much more wearable than what graces fashion weeks seasons after seasons, it does retain an element of funk that differentiates the trousers from others on the market. Whilst retailers like Topman have been on the edge for daring to come up with sexy, stylish guys wear, Jessie S. goes a step further by including fly buttons on the outside (a provocative but interesting tactic that definitely catches the eye and downs it in an attractive, if not awkward position), or a non-functional looking zipper that transforms skinny into harem on a pair of tartan trousers, like a bettered upgrade of strange trend of carrot fit pants. Every day wear? Perhaps not. But eye catching party wear. Most definitely!
Men's Recycled Puffy Jewelry
Mens jewelry has been in style for a while. While an overdose is considered bling, cool accessorizing of belt buckles, pendants, large watches can be extended into others like stud rings, chunk bracelets, etc. And this is why the name of mens puffy jewelry attracted me at the onset. With puff rhyming with buff, it seems the creators wanted to capitalize on a spunky trend. The outcome though leaves much to be desired. With fabric jewelery, if one may call it that, inspired by what looks like a linen line, the risk of sloppily spilling something on it comes to mind. Plus the lack of sturdiness can be an issue, compared to the metal counterparts that hold themselves in place more dependably on sea breeze fronts and windy rides. Made by brand Take Your Clothes Off, while one may pride its 100% recycled characteristic, akin to the responsibility mindset, one must wonder if it is really worth it.
Imagine a ring so ornate, beyond any diamond crusted ruby circled glitz, that it looks almost good enough to eat… or at least to serve. Toss the 3D glasses away as these rings actually come to life! Having spotted a tea version on a friend, my curiosity drove me to check out Japanese brand Souzou creations, who have developed a concept of floating rings, which depict food servings, either on a detailed plate, or in the process of being served - like beer being poured into a mug, curry on what looks like eggs. The details beg to be looked at over and over again, like a teapot plus tea plus a snack in matching colors, or the wonton box with perfectly textured noodles, or the taco with sauce and greens and mustard with a beer and a lemon! Supposedly durably for the length of the fad, these are complete eyeball grabbers.
Definitely a romantic idea, I thought, when I saw these on acquaintances at a cocktail. A unique way to celebrate a special day and a lifetime with a personalized, unmatched piece of jewelry. But the Hardy Boys and detective reading mind in me could not help but wonder the safety with having fingerprints on a ring, and my sleuth mind seemed to overpower the romanticism that this concept was supposed to evoke. The rings come in varieties where the fingerprints are on the inside, thus hidden from the world - which makes it to my like list - and very prominently on the exterior, sometimes obtrusively large - making it to my dislike list. Perhaps the stone jewelery obsesser in me prefers something slightly more glam, and the gold digger would love to see these in gold. Yet, Brent and Jessica Williams have innovatively created a concept which is romantic, applicable, and related to the emotional (and financial) peak of one's life (or so one would hope) - a wedding. For this alone, these rings can be foreseen to do splendidly as a quirky, but adaptable fashion accessory business.
Edible Wedding Dress Cake
Weddings are probably best enjoyed for their food and fashion. For me, in that particular order. (And yes, so that I do not dissolve in guilt, I also enjoy them for the love and adoration and happiness that I feel for the couple!). But this is why I was not too surprised to see that an edible wedding dress cake had been constructed for a wedding, referred to by my updates of Yahoo Shine, who thankfully have published several of my works over and over too! However, on seeing the cake cut and the model in action, I couldn't help but agree with bystanders and commentators. What if she shed her red locks on it? A feeling of a skinny hair slithering down your tongue as you string it out is disgusting for those who have been through the trauma. This model was probably enclosed in a casing around her legs and had the cake constructed around it, for I cannot imagine frosted legs, or perhaps I can, but practically cannot imagine the gigantic cake baked with her in it. And then there is the heat, sweat and bacterial odor could be a problem if she stood still for longer time periods. Thankfully the cake was not fleshy pink or bony white, but a mosaic of squares in different colors, forgiving viewers of meaty associations. It still looks rather strange, for I can imagine slicing a piece off of her dress, with her steel blue eyes gazing at me almost cursingly (perhaps), or having a conversation with this radiant lady while I chew her bodice off, bit by bit. Although some may squirm, the concept itself gives rise to countless creative extensions that can tie food and fashion together passionately.
The sequel to the insightful Out of Hand Observations 1 deviates slightly from its predecessor's theme, and includes inspiration from various products and industries. Some items clearly do not look like they belong to a fashionable accessory, food or clothing; and are rather camouflaged, keeping in line with the article title. This fact alone is commendable, since I truly believe that a silo mentality is not the path to creative freedom, nor the key to popularity and consequential financial success. Although not all inspirations result in great outcomes, the sightings are always inventive and shareable, and eventually probably useful too. Either way, these products must be lauded for their creativity; accepting them as a part of your personal life (and wardrobe or dresser or countertop) is a choice which depends on where in the out-of-hand scale you stand.
Until the next chronicle, keep your eyes open. The world is bloating with surprises. Eat through them with your eyes.
Bit by bit. Bite by bite.