Getting Shirty

Funny that this post title hasn't cropped up before but then again, 2010 I think marks the shirtiest year I've seen since the blog started.  Shirty how so?  Be it minimalism, a pervading desire to neaten or smarten up or a sustaining influence from menswear, a buttoned up white shirt as a layering device or just tailored shirts or neat blouses in general have flooded the streets and runway and is probably more of a two way conversation between what women want to wear, what designers put out there and of course what drips down through the chain stores.  The culmination point of this shirtiness is probably Viktor & Rolf's S/S 11 'Shirt Symphony' collection, which seemed to me a surreal take on the resurgence of the white shirt.  By warping, enlarging, deconstructing, embellishing and basically thrusting all elements of the white shirt into all different directions, it became a dramatic antithesis to one's pre-conceived idea of the white shirt.  But beyond the riotous mantua-esque gowns with collars and cuffs jutting out like a Marcel Duchamp cubist painting there were simpler riffs such as the much-talked about groom's shirt with en elongated shirt tail that gets my sheep-like vote…


591712 591685


591811 591820

(Backstage photography by Morgan O'Donovan for Dazed Digital)

Romina Karamenea earlier also did her own take on the elongated shirt tail at the back albeit through a more messed-up snapper and cut-out route.  London-based Karamanea has channelled her love of sculptural clothing into the white shirt and has somewhat simplified things to allow the shirt and its widened sleeves, midriff cut-outs, wrinkled tulle overlays and sharp tailoring do all the talking. 


Then we come to a London Fashion Week newcomer Masha Ma, a Central Saint Martins graduate who in a way has elevated her almost-puritantical MA collection and lightened it to come up with this 'Icebreaker' collection influeced by an industrial building in the Meatpacking district in New York.  Shirting gets shifted around, broken apart and layered up with sheer skirts, silver foil and icy tones of peach, pale blue and grey that break up the white.  I like that there'a suggestive air of a state of undress in the way the pieces are layered over each other whilst still retaining steely primness.   


Through work, I borrowed a few Masha Ma pieces and couldn't resist playing around with it, using a Uniqlo J+ pocketed shirt as a base (it's sold out now on the website but I'm eager to try on the wool duffle that's out soon…)…


On goes Masha Ma's flat-pleated collar and a shirty pelmet…


…and then a cape-like shirt where the sleeves are built into it but allow a waft of fabric to flap around…


…and the shirtiness could have gone on…and…on… aided by Ma's creations, building it up to V&R proportions if you so wish…


Though the easiest shirty options are also out there in the form of this COS white shirt bib that has a pussy bow front (left) and this Carven Peter Pan collar silk bib (right) that Start has cleverly bought in for the growing legion of Carven-ites that I predict may grow to Wang-ite proportions. 

IMG_0256 Carvencollar

25 Replies to “Getting Shirty”

  1. Susie i have been following your blog for a few years now and i love it and even if something is not my taste i still find you so informative and interesting in some way. My question all the way from Montreal, Quebec, Canada is how do you afford a living? If its from your blogs how does that work and who pays you?
    keep it up
    Your loyal fan

  2. Robyn: It’s a combination of things really – projects that are related to the blog (though you might not see it ON the blog necessarily…) such as guest-editing things, styling jobs etc…some examples are a look book I styled for Dr Martens x Hello Kitty, or guest-editing The Shoespaper for Selfridges.
    I also write freelance and have an on-going styling gig working with the band The Ting Tings.
    I do have advertising on the blog but it’s not really the bulk of my income.
    I also have some non-fashion related projects too…
    In a nutshell it’s quite hard to describe EXACTLY what it is I do…

  3. It has been such a long time since I visited your blog for the very last time and then, I came back because it missed me so much. Your blog is fabulous and full of creativity. Keep it up 🙂

  4. oh i love basics..and if thats means white shirt..i’m in…i just got me a banana republic men’s white shirt..which looks almost like your white pocketed shirt…(without the stretchy extension of course..)could never find the perfect..whitey..but..i really love ‘romina karamenea’s’ versions….and masha ma’s collar(on you)…it looks great on you..and who would have thought ‘cape’ out of that piece of white..huh….sheer genius…
    just hope to lord there’s no ketcuhp nearby…:)

  5. susie are you the stylist for Katie (??? sorry not up-to-date with the celebs)from the Ting Tings? read it on a blog. if so congrats! might have to become a celeb grazer to see what you put her in 😛

  6. Tanya: Yes I am as well as Jules (the dude…) Fortunately, the band aren’t really into celeb appearances so you won’t see that many pics floating around…!

  7. Susie, great post. Thanks for the primer on Masha Ma–absolutely incredible clothes that I will definitely want to illustrate. I recently wrote about the spate of buttoned & collared shirts on for Spring/Summer 11 for my blog as well, but focused on the New York collections. It was insane to see how that particular trend reached every corner of the fashion world this season. Here’s the link:

  8. I love shirts, especially white shirts. They have this crisp and smart feel to it. V&R’s take is so whimsical and extravagant while Masha Ma’s take is really chic and easy to wear. really commercial. (big word for ‘sell-able’)
    Its funny that you say it’s hard to describe what it is exactly you do when that’s exactly you just did. Anyway, it seems like u have the balance of freedom and enjoying what you do. 🙂

  9. I;m absolutely in love with Masha Ma’s collection. Simple, chic , incredible and really wearable)))

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *