80s fashion

Red and Blue Velvet: Berlin

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Last summer my partner Lee and I spent six weeks in Europe: one week in Prague and five weeks in Berlin. Lee was on an official artist residency through a gallery called TACT and I was on an unofficial artist residency, beginning an impromptu performance series in photoautomat booths around the city. We stayed at a lovely AirBnB apartment in Friedrichshain, an area of former East Berlin that has rapidly gentrified.

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I spent a lot of time walking up and down Warschauer Straße, a long street that intersects with Karl Marx Allee, and includes Warschauer Brucke (Warschauer bridge). I would often go for early morning or late afternoon runs up Warschauer Straße, over Warschauer Brucke, and along the Berlin Wall. One evening, Lee and I stumbled upon a pop-up vintage shop on Warschauer Str., where everything in the store was 1€, 2€, or, at most, 5€. This store — not ostentatious, pretentious, or over-priced — was a residual reminder of ‘the golden age’ of post-1989 Berlin: when artists, writers, intellectuals, anarchists, and radicals flocked to Berlin in the early 1990s to realize their respective utopias.

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I purchased this long vintage dress for the shocking price of 2. I love the length of this dress — how it reaches down to the floor — and how it drapes over my shoulders. I’ve noticed a trend this summer towards off the shoulder tops, particularly the 1970s bohemian-style off the shoulder shirts. I am wearing a nude colored bandeau bra under this dress. My lipstick shade is the somewhat unfortunately named ‘Flat Out Fabulous’ by MAC. What I love about this lipstick and this dress is the eccentric mixing of shades of red and blue. Residing in the purple-pink spectrum, the lipstick is quite 80s/90s: a refreshing matte re-imagining of the lipstick shades that my mother wore when she was my age. The dress appears to be navy blue velvet (or black) in some lights, and purple red velvet in others: it soon becomes clear that there are two shades of velvet intermixed into a single dress.

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This necklace is a treasure I came upon at a thrift store in Vancouver. I keep it on a dress form in my apartment, as a piece of wearable decorative craft. I have no idea when or where this item originated: it appears to combine elements of Egyptian jewelry with 1960s flower power.

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Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.
http://www.laurenfournier.net

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)

What’s Your Sign?: Astrological Wear

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I’m an Aquarius. This means many things. I am said to be assertive and independent, inventive and original, opinionated and idealistic, flamboyant and unpredictable. I tend toward the intellectual, a trait that resonates as I work toward completing my doctoral degree in critical theory. It is also said that Aquarians are ‘cool’ and ‘detached’ — that they intellectualize their emotions rather than feeling them firsthand. I’m not sure if I identify with this exactly, but I do appreciate the role that astrology can play in providing a schematic for us to conceptualize our own personality patterns and how we relate to other signs.

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I’ve been reading up more on my astrological sign lately, as I tap back into my interests in lunar phases, solstices, and paganism. Even though I live in a congested city center, in the largest and most densely populated city in Canada, I still long to live my life in a way that is grounded in the earth and the natural cycles governing our planet. As I read more about Aquarius, I learn that there are certain scents — anise star, lavender, rose, and pine — that might be <<lucky>> for me. One source describes my sign’s mantra as “I evolve and encompass all humanity” — a mantra which rings true as I reflect on my life decisions that have lead me to an open place that is fundamentally in flux. Indeed, “The Aquarius ego is said to be the most precarious in the zodiac, probably because Aquarius is the sign of non-conformity” (Astrology.com). The long dark blue and white button down dress with moon imagery featured here is one of my most-loved clothing items. I feel utterly myself when I wear it. I have worn it over a simple black dress, as featured here, as well as over jeans or black pants. I have also worn it with the buttons done up.

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I bought this dress in 2013 from Chosen Vintage on Queen West Street in Toronto. This was the summer of “SEAPUNK,” and I found myself listening to the seapunk band Ultrademon’s album on repeat. Their track “Chatroom for Enya” is one of my favorites (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=653RlZ6_lSc). This dress is adaptable: it could be thrown over a bathing suit for a day at the beach, and could then be matched with a pair of combat boots and a choker necklace at night for a show at one of your local music venues. Here, I am wearing the dress with a crystal-bullet-shell necklace that my sister bought for me from Victoire in Ottawa. The platform sandals featured are from Trippen’s summer 2014 line, purchased at their outlet store in Berlin last summer.

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Here I am wearing a short black dress in an astrological pattern, with a matching head wrap. This dress, which I found at Value Village in Seattle, used to come down to my mid-calf. I decided to cut off the bottom section and make a head scarf and a neck scarf with the pieces of fabric. I often bring this head-wrap with me when I am riding my bicycle in the summertime. I find that, if I have ‘helmet hair’ when I take my helmet off, I can wrap this scarf around my head and my ‘messy hair’ is concealed. I often get compliments when I wear this head-wrap, and it has become one of my most often worn clothing items.

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I am by no means an astrological fatalist, but simply see astrological signs as symbols and guideposts — as a tool to help us make sense of our place in the world, how we relate to other people, and what kinds of personality habits we tend towards. When I adorn myself in moon and astrological imagery — as I do in the outfits featured here — I feel a sense of connectedness to a kind of nature-magic that, even if it is imaginative or illusory, is nonetheless powerful.
Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.
http://www.laurenfournier.net

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)

Clowning Around with Onesies

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Remember playing dress-up as a kid? My sister and I would go through this antique chest in our basement filled with my mother’s clothing items that she no longer wore — dresses with shoulder pads, large glasses without their frames, lycra body suits. We’d cover our little bodies with different fabrics, textures, cuts, and colours — wearing whatever configuration suited our mood that afternoon.

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Once we were dressed, it was performance time. I would put a song on the CD-player from one of the few albums that my parents owned — The Proclaimers or the soundtrack to My Best Friend’s Wedding — and my sister and I would put on a dance show in front of my parents and whoever else might have been at our home that day. My sister would run as fast as her three year-old body could around our oval coffee-table, while six year-old me would mouth the words to every song, providing accompanying arm movements and expressive hip shakes for emphasis. As we grew up, my sister and I continued to play dress-up — albeit in a not-always-consensual way. She would take an item from my closet and I’d take an item from hers, both hoping that the other person wouldn’t notice the other wearing it at high-school that day. The (blessing and) curse of wearing the same size as your sister.

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Since moving to Toronto, I’ve found myself dressing more conservatively than I did when I lived in Vancouver and Regina. Nowadays, I tend towards black on black on black, with little colour or pattern deviation. This is starting to change, as I rediscover some of the fascinating items hidden in my own closet. Take this stylish black pant suit-style onesie that ties up in the front. When paired with a floppy black hat and witchy boots, you get an outfit circa Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice (1988). Since summer is quickly approaching, I’ve decided to wear the onesie pant suit with my Trippen platform sandals, wonderfully eccentric and surprisingly walkable shoes from the Trippen outlet in Berlin.

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I found this black and white polka dot onesie at Little Miss Vintage on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Somehow, I feel both classically glamorous and comfortably clownish in this outfit. Wearing this makes me feel a bit like Marilyn Monroe, especially when I wear it with bright red lips. I love that the top of this onesie is a tube top — a style which I anticipate will experience a resurgence this summer as the 1990s continue to inform the latest fashion, makeup, and design trends.

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This grey onesie is my personal favorite. The fabric — 100% rayon — feels phenomenal on my body. I found it at Community Thrift and Vintage in Vancouver’s gastown, a store with excellent selection that also functions as a Social Enterprise initiative in which all profits go towards PHS Community Services Society in the Downtown Eastside. For those of you in the Vancouver area, donations are accepted at the Community Unisex shop located at 41 West Cordova (http://www.communitythriftandvintage.ca).

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Wearing each of these onesies reminds me of how much fun it can be to play dress up in our everyday lives. I encourage each of you to play around with clothing items that you might not typically wear … it can be a lot of fun, and you’ll be building character in the process.

Thanks for tuning in!  Until next time — Lauren ☾

 

Lauren Fournier is an artist and writer currently based in Toronto.
She is working on her PhD in feminist theory and performance art at York University.
http://www.laurenfournier.net

Photography credits: Lee Henderson (www.noattainment.com)