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STYLE {WISE} + The Case for Hawaiian Shirts +

[image: fashion.grunge.style.]

Summer is at its peak, and its time to embrace the ultimate piece for the summer. . . .the Hawaiian Shirt. For some reason, this idea makes some people cringe, but over the course of this post you will see the innate beauty and wonder that is the Hawaiian Shirt.

The Case for Hawaiian Shirts really began when I was 8 years old and my mother brought home a Hawaiian shirt for me from her trip to Hawaii. I had begged her to grab me one while she was touring the islands for work. Seemed to me like the coolest thing!

It was a wicked print, nothing too crazy, pretty much an example of a classic Hawaiian shirt.

I remember my locker neighbour saying:  “Whats wrong with you?”

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?!” is what I wanted to say, but I just shrugged and laughed her aside. She didn’t even have a sense about her as she was herself wearing something completely typical of the girls in my classes around these times…

She just couldn’t appreciate it the way I did. For me, it made me feel the most ahead of the game. I was different than the rest, and that’s always a good thing. For me, there’s just no doubting a really great Hawaiian Shirt.

{Donna Reed + Montgomery Clift, “From Here to Eternity” [1953]. }

{Michael Pitt for Prada S/S 2012 by David Sims}

Lately there’s been a huge influx of Hawaiian and tropical shirts in both runway shows and magazine editorials – it seems the world is finally catching on and getting a little more in tuned with not just my drift, but the truth of the whole matter. Open up any mens fashion magazine and you will find them littered in the colourful graphics.

The case for Hawaiian and Tropical print shirts is that they are as much a classic staple in ones wardrobe as other pieces heralded as being part of our sartorial lineage.

There is plenty of mythology revolving around the the true origin of the Aloha shirt (as they are also called) that range from birth in the Philipines to the islands of Samoa. Until the early 18th century, kapa was the main currency of many islands of the South Pacific. Kapa was a simple patterned cloth found in the South Pacific made from pounding and dyeing the bark of a mulberry tree. These prints later made a splash again in the 1950s. However, it is safe to accredit much of why we still sport and wear these styles to the craftsmanship and entrepreneurial efforts of one, Musa-Shiya the Shirtmaker. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, Musa-Shiya was one of the top Japanese tailors in Honolulu, who profited from his made-to-order custom silk shirts made with colourful and bright Japanese fabrics with Western-style tailoring.

These shirts helped tourists visiting the island make that final transformation to truly being on vacation, taking it easy, and saying goodbye to the stresses of the mainland. Forget your troubles, come on be happy! Soon after other Japanese tailors were doing the same, and quickly the demand for these tailored tropical refuges only began to soar. The 1953 film, “From Here to Eternity” would pretty much seal the deal with stars such as Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, and even Frank Sinatra sporting the casual cuts of florals and tropical sunsets.

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From here on out, it pretty much has become the go-to expression of ease. Picking the right pattern is about 90% of the magic. There must be literally thousands, if not millions of different Aloha prints floating around in this world, and not all of them good. The key is equal parts colour as it is pattern – make sure both are really slamming. Compromise on this and you could really fall flat.

 

FIT would be another major point. So make sure it fits to your liking, or get it altered to fit your needs. Alteration is often the key to vintage, so if you haven’t already, be sure to check your local yellow pages for tailors or alterers in your neighbourhood. They will be happy to oblige, and you’d be surprised at how cheap it can be.

If you’re feeling a little more lax and party you may want to embrace some volume (think Sean Penn as Spicoli from Fast Times, or Johnny Depp in Fear & Loathing) or you can keep the cut classic and simple with a bit more of a tailored look to emulate classic stars like Clift, Sinatra, or Delon. Either way – you’re pretty much laughing …

{After World War II, a gradual change in aloha wear took place with the breakdown of rigid dress requirements for business attire. The business tie and jacket certainly were not comfortable in Hawaii’s summer climate. In 1946, the Honolulu Chamber of commerce appropriated $1000 to study aloha shirts and prepare suitable designs that clothing businessmen could wear.}

And just in case you’re unsure, check out our pics of style stunning inspiration that ranges from the {PAST} to {PRESENT}. So take a look, and decide your {FUTURE}…it’s calling! All year round, these shirts takes you where you want to go! It’s time to declare the Hawaiian Shirt an equally valuable piece of everyone’s wardrobe.

It’s a defining piece with the magical ability to transport us from our everyday, and for those dedicated followers of fashion these pieces are definitely gaining visibility.

This is what I’m saying!

If you don’t look back, you can never go forward!

So hopefully you appreciate this menagerie of the exotic and wild! Check out The Vintage Hawaiian Shirt for more history, and a look at the web’s most impressive collection of them! Don’t be stuck staring at your everyday checks, plaids, and plain…carry on the {TRADITION} and accelerate the past!

Make sure you also check out the E.O.F. {SHOP}!  We are stocking up more and more fashion forward pieces from our collected history so make sure to check it out!

{The Feedback and Support has been great! So thank you all!}

Also join us on FACEBOOK , TUMBLR, & TWITTER for more vintage musings from the one and only {EYE}!

Stay Style {WISE}, kids!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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E.O.F. CELEBRATES! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KATE MOSS!


1990-kate-moss-signed-up-as-a-model-in-1988-but-got-her-first-big-break-in-1990-when-she-was-used-on-the-cover-of-the-face-an-influential-uk-style-magazine.jpg

Fashion Feline. Vintage Vixen. Mystic Muse.

We celebrate all the independent states of Kate, who turned 39 today!

Amazing to see her beauty has not faded a bit since she first appeared on this iconic cover of THE FACE Magazine in 1990!

In fact, it is her unique beauty that stood apart then, and still stands apart to this very day, which is why she is already a legend at not even 40.

We expect this real life Wonder Woman will continue breaking ground for the next 39 years to come.

Kate_Moss-David_Sims

“You lie, in faith; for you are call’d plain Kate,
And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst;
But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom
Kate of Kate Hall, my super-dainty Kate,
For dainties are all Kates, and therefore, Kate,
Take this of me, Kate of my consolation;
Hearing thy mildness praised in every town,
Thy virtues spoke of, and thy beauty sounded,
Yet not so deeply as to thee belongs,
Myself am moved to woo thee for my wife.”

– William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew.

Kate Moss Innocence Lost

So once again, Happy Birthday, Kate!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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Balenciaga: A Man For All Seasons . . .

Portrait of Alexander Wang by Sebastian Kim (styleexaminer)

{Alexander Wang by Sebastien Kim}

It was announced on the 3rd of December that the high fashion label Balenciaga had appointed Alexander Wang as the new creative director of the historical and revolutionary brand.

Chief executive of the brand, Isabelle Guichot cites Wang’s “modernity and his individual and cosmopolitan vision of design” as just some of the reasons for bringing the 28 year old Taiwanese, California bred, New York based designer on board to steer Balenciaga into the future.

Cristobal Balenciaga Portrait Black and White

Born in the town of Basque on January 21, 1895 to a seamstress mother, Cristobal Balenciaga quickly began his fashion career as a tailor’s apprentice, and by his teens was catapulted to Madrid by Marchioness de Casa Torres, a local noblewoman who saw potential in the young Balenciaga to become a great designer.

He is known as one of the only couturiers in history to possess the artistry and talent to design, cut, and sew his creations. He opened his first boutique in 1919 in the city of San Sebastien, and was forced to Paris in 1937 by the out brink of the Spanish Civil War. There on Avenue George V, Balenciaga opened his house of couture.

Balenciaga Evening Gown 1939

designer-cristobal-balenciaga-and-harper-s-bazaar-editor-in-chief-carmel-snow_

It wouldn’t be until after the war, and into the 1950s that the designer would take his biggest leaps, revolutionizing the shape and form of the woman’s silhouette, and become notable for his unique and modern designs. Often sculptural and completely transformational, Balenciaga’s creations were, and are still, regarded as masterworks in the worlds of haute couture, modern design, and even art.

Balenciaga  Barrel Suit  1951Museo-Cristobal-Balenciaga

cristobal balenciaga - a man for all seasons

Balenciaga would eventually retire from his craft at the age of 74, and in 1968 closed down all houses in Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris. Several designers who had the opportunity to work under the famed auteur of fashion went on to open their own successful and now legendary fashion houses including Hubert De Givenchy, Oscar De La Renta, and Emanuel Ungaro to name a few.

young givenchy + oscar de la renta

{Young Hubert De Givenchy (left) & Oscar De La Renta (right)}

Actress Kristen Stewart and designer Nicolas Ghesquiere

{Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Ghesquiere}

[Courtesy of The Guardian]

It wasn’t until 1997, under the hand of Nicholas Ghesquiere, that Balenciaga became again known as one of the highest and most elite of labels in the fashion world. Like Balenciaga himself, Ghesquiere was self-taught and immediately caught the attention of the media and celebrities with fresh reinterpretations of Balenciaga’s already revolutionary classics such as the sack dress, and semi-fitted jackets.

One of our personal favourites from Ghesquiere’s reign at Balenciaga was delivered on the cusp of threats to fire Ghesquiere by the Gucci Group if the line was unsuccessful within the year 2007.

david sims fall 2007 - balenciaga 1

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david sims fall 2007 - balenciaga 5

{Campaign Images for Fall/Winter 2007 by David Sims}

His Fall/Winter 2007 ladies wear collection is an opus to the urban woman. A cultured woman, in the academic sense, as well as the worldly sense. With some careful consideration to tailoring and fit, and the use of eclectic accessories and prints, Ghesquiere breathed new life to the idea of the Preppy female, and blended tailored traditions with the melting pot of our society. Credit Ghesquiere and his F/W 2007 collection for that “World Traveller” look that we have consistently seen on the runway and magazines since.

sacred order 1

Though his run is over with Balenciaga, Ghesquiere has plans to start his very own fashion house under his own name; a long overdue and much deserved step up for the 41 year old Belgian born designer.

Balenciaga-fall-winter-2012-2013-first-menswear-ad-campaign

{Fall/Winter 2012-2013 Menswear Campaign}

So, all we have to do now is wait and see what Alexander Wang has to offer. Since the incarnation of his brand upon dropping out of design school, his line has been heralded by both fashion’s elite and a new generation of fashion lovers looking for something fresher, darker, younger, edgier, cooler. . .

Wang has taken many cues from fashion’s past to successfully reinvent them into modern and sexy new looks for today. One of the best examples of this would most definitely have to be Wang’s ode to athleticism in his Spring/Summer 2010 collection that had him reinventing everything from the gym short to the sweat shirt into sexy, sophisticated, and beautifully dangerous new pieces.

wangtomboy2010

If this is any indication of the type of innovation and ingenuity we might expect from Alexander Wang upon his first presentation for Balenciaga in the coming months, then we can not wait to see what is coming next; next for Wang, and next for Cristobal Balenciaga and the long lineage of raw talent and exquisite artistry that he has established.

Ab imo pectore,

{theEye}

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