Thursday, January 26, 2012

Profiles in Fashion: Marc Jacobs

Branscomb, Leslie Wolf. Profiles in Fashion: Marc Jacobs. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 2011. Print.

My Thoughts
Why do people follow this inane nut? Now that I have read his story, I will not be so impressed with his label. He is credited for making the grunge look fashionable. Strike one. He is a drug addict. Strike two. He makes absurd comments that make him seem humble (or at least are trying to) when they just scream for attention. Strike three.

One example is when he describes a "dumb blouse." "'I love a blouse that's dumb. I love to use the word "dumb." It's not knowing, and the word "blouse" is so out of fashion that I love it: a blouse that's dumb'" (qtd. in Branscomb 87). What is he saying? Yeah, I don't know either.

An amusing note about Marc Jacobs' awards is that of the Parsons award. He only received it because Tom Ford quit Gucci right before the awards were given. One requirement of receiving the award is to be employed. There isn't a Tom Ford book in this series, but I would read it if there was.

One thing I'm learning about reading this series Profiles in Fashion is that many designers don't even work for their own label anymore. Very interesting. Only one more to read: Vera Wang.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Profiles in Fashion: Isaac Mizrahi

Petrillo, Lisa. Profiles in Fashion: Isaac Mizrahi. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds Publishing, 2011. Print.

My Thoughts
I found it interesting to read about this person who, to me, just "hit" the market, only to learn that he's actually been in the fashion business since the 1980s! This book was just a scratch on the surface of his life and didn't really include much about his designs (a disappointment). I also didn't think the pictures, they seemed relevant, but also space fillers (for example, there's a picture of "tailoring tools" and two pages later, a different picture of the same thing). (pages 20 & 22). The pictures also repeat in the book.

There is also a printing error because page 73 begins mid-sentence.

The book mentions a documentary made that follows Mizrahi as he tries to prepare for a fashion show. "Though fifteen years old, the file remains so popular it is still widely available...It is considered among the best movies about fashion ever made" (Petrillo 39). Hmmm....I can't buy it from my book vendor. How popular is it really?

I learned a little about how is Isaac Mizrahi, but I'm disappointed that I didn't get a feel for his designs. I would not recommend this book to others unless they are desperate for a source.


Hopkins, Ellen. Glass. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007. Print.

My Thoughts
Oh my! Kristina/Bree's story continues as she spirals more and more out of control because of meth. I did learn that there are other names for meth (glitter, sugar, ice and glass) (Hopkins 145). I didn't know that the title of the book was a reference to the drug. D'uh!

I want to SCREAM at this girl, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" You are throwing your life away because of some high you get? You are making bad decisions because you can't stay sober? Your family (at least your mom and step dad) care for you more than anything,and you push them away for drugs? What about your son? How is he supposed to build a relationship with the most important person of his life when YOU AREN'T THERE? My heart aches for this girl and her mother. I imagine what I would do given the same circumstances. I'm not sure (and I hope I don't ever learn) how I would deal with this. SPOILER ALERT: I was so happy when she finally got busted and so mad to learn of her new pregnancy.

Hopkins definitely has me on this ride because I've already picked up the third book of the trilogy (entitled Fallout). I know that not everything ends happily ever after, but I hope for my sake Kristina wins the war, and Bree is put out of her life for good in the next book. I don't know how much more I can read and how much more I can connect to a fictional character. Thankfully, I am learning a something through a book instead of my own or a close family member's experiences.

Hopkins's writing is engaging and memorable. I'm not sure if I will start another of her series or not. Part of me wants to because of the realness of the material and part of me doesn't want to feed my brain anymore about sitauations that I don't live.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

People in the News: Johnny Depp

Grabowski, John. People in the News: Johnny Depp. Detroit: Lucent Books, 2011. Print.

My Thoughts
This was written for a middle school reader. The author "dummies" down the vocabulary or inserts simplistic definitions for words or concepts. Overall, the book was interesting, and I did learn some about Johnny Depp. I also, through the text, recalled some of the "news" stories that followed Depp like his being arrested for swinging a bat at some photographers or his very public romance with Winona Ryder.

One thing I found interesting was why and how he created the character of Jack Sparrow. According to Grabowski, Depp "based his characterization of Captain Jack Sparrow on Keith Richards" and Pepe Le Pew (Grabowski 70). Perhaps this explains why I could hardly make out what was being said in the third movie!

Another thing I didn't know about Depp was that he played in the Nightmare on Elm Street movies as well as Platoon. I've seen almost all of Johnny Depp's movies (at least the movies released in the United States), and he usually plays some odd ball character. I think that's why I really like him. He's not afraid to take risks.

The book does contain many pictures of Depp over the years (although all since he began acting)and insert boxes of related information.

Post script: The week I read this book, People magazine had the same cover picture as the book reporting that Johnny and his girlfriend were breaking up. Strange coincidence!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Profiles in Fashion: Jimmy Choo

Sapet, Kerrily. Profiles in Fashion: Jimmy Choo. Greensboro, NC: Morgan Reynolds, 2011.

My Thoughts
It was interesting to read how a poor shoemaker from Malaysia could become such a coveted status symbol. I didn't realize that Jimmy Choo actually hand made each pair. As I read this, I considered ordering a pair for myself, until I learned that most of these shoes start at $500 and go up in price. Perhaps the hand-made aspect makes them worth that money, but I can think of SO many other things that $500 could do for me and my family.

An interesting fact that I didn't know was the history of the shoe. At first, they were purely utilitarian. Then shoes evolved into status symbols. People actually had such high heels that they required two people next to them to help them walk. RIDICULOUS! Jimmy Choo's philosophy is that shoes can look gorgeous and feel good, too. It shouldn't be a chore to walk around in them. He claims that four inch heels are the optimum height for balance and posture and this height has become his signature style.

Like most people in fashion, the demand for the product begins to consume the maker's time. Jimmy Choo wanted his brand to expand, so he partnered with Tamara Yeardye to help. She worked the business end of the partnership and he designed and made the shoes. This partnership did not have the same goals, so in 2001, Jimmy sold "his portion of the Jimmy Choo Ltd. to concentrate on his couture business" (Sapet 101).

As I will probably never own a real pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, I enjoyed reading about how they were made, who buys them (Princess Diana was one of the first high profile clients) and how humble Choo seems to be in spite of his recognitions.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thirteen Reasons Why

Asher, Jay. Thirteen Reasons Why: A Novel. New York: Razor Bill, 2007. Print.

My Thoughts
This book is about a girl who commits suicide, but before she does, she records her reasons why on 13 tapes and instructs the listeners of the tapes to pass them along to the next person. In the tapes, she explains what these listeners did or didn't do that helped her make the decision to end her life. The listener we hear the story from is named Clay. When his story comes up, Hannah explains that really, he shouldn't be on the tapes, but he needs to know how all of these other people and events shaped her decision.

This is a powerful book. It really makes the reader think about how a small comment or action (or even lack of words and actions) can affect others. I think Asher's message to the reader is you just never know what others are going through and how you affect them. Very powerful message.

UPDATE June 27, 2013
I taught this novel to my Upward Bound students. I thought it would take us the full 4 weeks. My students DEVOURED this book! It spoke to them on many levels. We all know the people on the tapes; the names & gender might be different. I'm so glad for the opportunity to reread this book and share it with teens. They got it, and we didn't have to pick it apart for that to happen.