UnTotal Look

>> Firstly, I apologise if the blog comes off looking like there's been a deliberate Dior takeover this week.  Nothing sinister I can assure you.  I had those haute couture pictures sitting on the desktop for a while and spring is finally in bloom so up they went.  Next Saturday, I'm also very fortunate to be attending the Dior Cruise show in Monaco and they very kindly offered out pieces from their S/S 13 collection to wear for the occasion – something that I'd normally object to in most instances (I inexplicably can't shake that cheeseball feeling of wearing clothes by the designer of the show you're attending) but I felt so much love for that first Raf Simons for Dior ready-to-wear collection that it would have been churlish to say no.  The sun will be out.  The heady optimism of that graphically precise collection will suit the climate.  Even if I don't necessarily do the clothes justice.  

What I do object to though is the idea of the prescribed total look.  Head-to-toe brand adulation.  Straight forward runway ensemble replication, from the clothes to the shoes to the bag.  I'm waiting for Business of Fashion or the like, to do some sort of expos√© on the number of editorials in magazines that have to comply with brands' imposing rules on shooting total looks – as in everything on one page belonging to one brand – without any other brands mixed in, so that the obligations of advertiser credits are fully met.  It's something that strikes me as a sad state of affairs when you see limitations being imposed on talented stylists.  Without pointing fingers at specific brands (and it has to be said, different rules apply at different publications), it's a restriction that has become increasingly militant in print media in recent years.  

It's a bit more of a wild wild West here in blogland where shoots aren't formal and advertiser credits aren't in existence (yet).  It could be that Dior may not want their clothes polluted with my shadypairings but what strikes me as interesting with Raf Simons' new verve for Dior, is the mixability potential of the clothes and so with a few of the options that they sent over on loan, I had a jolly time playing around with them.  The colours of this particular collection almost beg for extra layers and contrasts to be thrown in with them.  Whilst Dior ready-to-wear is still largely only available from Dior's own boutiques, its repositioning with its wholesale business at multi-brand boutiques means that it sheds an entirely different light on the brand.  Both 10 Corso Como in Milan and colette in Paris hosted pop-up shop events to fete the Dior S/S 13 collection, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe Dior ready-to-wear has rarely ever had an ecommerce presence (there are currently S/S 13 pieces available on colette) – that in itself already makes Dior feel more tangible (note, I say tangible, not accessbible – the prices are WELL up there).  That desire to mix the clothes in amongst a new generation of customers will only increase.  Why shouldn't the clothes sit next to the likes of Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha and even Simons' old employer Jil Sander?  Hell, throw some Nike, Topshop and Whistles in there whilst we're at it.           

Therefore come next week at the Dior Cruise show, it's highly unlikely that I'll look like a Dior goody-two-shoes, perked and poised with head-to-toe Dior.  I ain't ever gonna be no show-pony.  Despite the idea of a total look feeling like a dated power-dressing concept, leftover from the 1980s or early 90s, it seems we've not quite moved passed it, especially when there are a growing number of show ponies (celebrities, actresses from China etc) still very much eager to don a total look and clothes are lent out to stylists with strict conditions.  That idea just doesn't reflect the way we actually dress and how our wardrobes are composed in reality.  I'll be curious to see whether total look sensibility seeps into fashion blog culture just as blogs increasingly adopt practises of print media.  My wardrobe sensibility will be fighting it with persistence though if it does because frankly, where's the fun in head-to-toe anything?





IMG_9696-5Dior S/S 13 lace and mesh strapless top worn with Jonathan Saunders geometric top, Miu Miu skirt, Karen Walker sunglasses, Christopher Kane clutch and Six London shoes





IMG_9742-11Dior S/S 13 silk embroidered dress worn with Whistles denim and mohair knit worn as a skirt, & Other Stories neoprene visor and Christopher Kane brocade sandals






Dior S/S 13 knit dress worn with Simone Rocha lace skirt, J Brand x Christopher Kane jacket, Nike Flyknit trainers

28 Replies to “UnTotal Look”

  1. How about head-to-toe unbranded look? That’s what I spot all the time. I think this post is a great message. And what cool fashion. YOu put together an outfit like no one’s business.

  2. I don’t know if we aren’t already seeing the “total look” phenomenon in blogging…I think it’s manifested itself in the PR-ing of blog content, brands plugging themselves through “personal” style bloggers who are in it for a free outfit. I think it comes from that same place that limits the talented stylist who has to comply with a brand’s credits demands – it’s just restrictions on people’s creative energies. What you’ve done here is so fresh and so inspiring – and, importantly, so honest – that I feel like I’m seeing these clothes for the first time! I particularly love the third outfit. As someone who’s trying to figure out how to “scale”, so to speak, and how to get brands he loves to know he exists (!!) I think seeing a post like this really grants some perspective on doing collaborations well. Too often it seems bloggers are just in the pocket of whatever the next company is that reaches out to them and the freshness of the styles we’re constantly seeing suffers accordingly. Thanks for being open about your collaboration and for just doing you (as always!)

  3. You’re right – this is something we’re already seeing. And I think there are personal bloggers out there who are perhaps so flattered to be asked to wear pieces by brands that they feel a “total look, total devotion” strategy is the way to go.
    I also think holding out for working with brands (either on an editorial or commercial level) where the blogger actually has synergy with is really important. So like you said, as you’re trying to “scale” up your content, it’s much better to end up with content that feels appropriate for the blog rather than where the brand looks like it’s plonked on there out of nowhere.
    Just to verify though, this isn’t necessarily a “collaboration” – Dior merely lent me the clothes as I’m picking out an outfit for their Cruise show next week in Monaco. I’m not working with them or for them on a commercial level. Sorry to nit pick – I do do proper collaborations with brands but it isn’t so on this occasion with Dior.

  4. Then why aren’t you as upfront about the collaborations that you do do as you are in this case? There’s a complete lack of transparency in the world of fashion blogging. Way too many paid for ads masquerade as “advice” and that’s one of the reasons, why so many fashion bloggers (even those with significant amount of recognition), are practically indistinguishable from one another. There are plenty of “show ponies” in the fashion blogosphere (you, of course, are excluded from that list).

  5. What instances would you cite where I’m not upfront. It may be a case of wording or readers missing where I state the specifics. I think the last commercial bit of activity here was a FCUK advertorial (tied to a banner) where I said at the bottom of the post, that it was a commercially-tied post.
    There are very hazy lines though. For instance when I posted about styling the Oxford Circus H&M store, that wasn’t an obligation from the end client (H&M) – my job was to style the mannequins and attend the launch event. I think in that instance, it’s quite clear that I’m posting about a paid-gig which I was proud of. But the post itself wasn’t commercially tied if you see what I mean?
    I would say I try to be as transparent as possible but in all honesty, any collaborations that I do tend to be offline rather then live online anyway… or they don’t involve money at all so in which case, I wouldn’t classify it as a “collaboration”.
    I think there’s a danger where bloggers engage in editorial activities with brands and readers are quick to judge that there’s a commercial tie involved and that isn’t often the case. Sometimes it is pure editorial.

  6. Love the glasses & the bright colors. Love from CANADA! 😀 – There seems to be something different about your poses.. How tall are you??

  7. Wow! I never really look at Ready To Wear (even though I only own Straight from the Thrift Shop XD) shows. Couture is my favorite. But these outfits look really interesting. I love what Simons has done. Dior kind of moved too far away from what Christian Dior actually did. But Raf has brought back those A lines, hourglasses, and hats. It would be so awesome if we could bring back the pill box hat. Am I the only one who would still wear one?
    I also love how he can bring his own ideas to this famous house, without making straying from the traditions of the house. That’s always fascinated me, when another designer takes over. Sarah Burton and Raf Simons have to my favorite. Sarah has a clear style, with the light fabrics and deep but slightly pastel colors. Awesome post!

  8. First of all, I have to give you credit for actually replying to annoying twats like me, instead of just deleting the comment. As for the instances I was referring to earlier, I wasn’t taking about advertorial posts dedicated to one brand. I was talking about the sleek in-between mentions, which often times, are seemingly commercial-free and make it difficult to distinguish between what’s genuine and what’s not (speaking generally, not specifically about your blog).

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