Sunday, November 9, 2008

REVIEW: All About Influence

If someone uttered the words "coffee" and "Olsen" in a sentence, one image would appear in most minds: a raggedy-looking (yet oh so chic) Mary-Kate or Ashley donning oversized sunglasses and carrying a coffee cup wider in circumference than one of the sisters' own limbs. The twins' signature paparazzi shot became Starbucks' best advertisement, but MK&A recently introduced a new kind of coffee to the world--a coffee table book, Influence, about the creative geniuses who most inspired the twin moguls' own lives. 

Celebrity branding has reached overkill--the famous have given the world books, perfume, shoes, toys, even dishware. Most consumers struggle to find anything genuine in branded products and often see these products as pure monetary incentive for the names behind it all. However, Influence offers quite a different story. The collection of intimate and thought-provoking interviews with 21 of the sisters' most admired creative thinkers feels authentic and fresh. It reads intimate and appears constructed with savvy and smarts (clearly a project sparked by passion, not money). 

Within the pages of Influence, MK&A personally conducted the interviews in addition to writing full-page introductions for each inspirational subject. The book includes superstars in the worlds of fashion, art, and design including Peter Lindbergh, Karl Lagerfeld, Diane von Furstenberg, Terry Richardson, and Lauren Hutton. Each influencer's section contains a collage-like compilation of personal and commercial photographs and examples of the creator's works. The book's inside covers feature a plastering of Polaroids of the twins posing with their interview subjects.

Considered two of the world's most influential young figures themselves, the twins are magicians of style, constantly breaking conventional rules and staying true to their ideas despite harsh criticism. But fans looking to get their Olsen fix will be disappointed. Yes, two sections of the book are dedicated to the sisters (each names the other as a major life influence--big surprise there), but the book is not about them. Instead, it takes the reader on a journey with some of the most forward-thinking creators of our culture, people whose thought processes seem both wacky and genius at the same time and force readers to view life from an upside-down point of view. If you've ever dreamed of being a fly on the wall in Lagerfeld's Parisian couture house or in a club listening in on the conversations of fashion heiress, Margherita Missoni, Influence provides the next best thing. You'll laugh, you'll scratch your head, you might even cry-but most of all, you will be inspired. 

REVIEW: Swatch Dogs and Diet Coke Heads

The cult classic Heathers pushed the teen movies to a new limit by parodying teen suicide and caricaturing bulimia. This scathing satire of a film poked fun at the John Hugh’s teen movies (we’re talking to you Breakfast Club) and offered the audience an outrageous look at high-school dramatics. Laced with catty dialogue and fashion so bad, it’s good, Heathers works as a stylistic gem. Along with killer instincts, Winona Ryder’s character Veronica Sawyer also wore a fabulous ‘80s wardrobe. Unlike the ‘Swatch dogs and Diet Coke heads’ who comprised the popular Heathers, Veronica’s style was so very. With a classy fedora and sexy black jumper, which no doubt inspired American Apparel, Veronica wore some trend-setting duds. She also created effortless beauty: her scarlet lips looked royal against her porcelain completion and raven hair. The Heathers ruled the school in a ridiculous display shoulder pads and polyester. Their pastel double-breasted blazers (in plaid and paisley) embodied the eighties excess. Teased bouffants with day-glo scrunchies came to exemplify bad taste. But whether you laughed at the politically incorrect humor or recoiled at the gauche display, you have to admit Heathers pushes (and redefines) fashion boundaries. Bad-boy beaux J.D (a.k.a. Christian Slater) said it best: “The extreme always seems to make an impression.”