Tag Archives: style

Dust Bowl Chic

by Sally Applin

I like to speculate on what the next big fashion trends are going to be and I have to say this time I figure that we’re going to be revisiting the dust bowl. 1930’s depression era colors, styles, patterns. Minimal jewelry, longer hair (cheaper to maintain), natural fabrics. Worn looking shoes, maybe with different tones in the toe and back and perhaps laces and hooks will come back. 

The trend could come from the Great Depression–the obvious choice. However, with Global Warming, parts of the planet are going to be hotter, drier and dustier.

Trend: hot, dry, depression = retro clothing and styling of hot dry depressed times.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.

Trading Down

by Sally Applin

I think there is a trend undercurrent going on. I’m in it though, so it makes it more difficult to write about. Its also on the cusp, so not quite yet defined.

It goes something like this:

It feels, at least here in Silcon Valley, that there is some sort of _shift_ happening. I noticed it when I was out of the country for a month or so earlier in the year. Its this transition–from bags being given out at the store, to bags that one brings to reuse; from high end luxury cars, to small gas saving vehicles; from opulence to reduction.

In the New York Times today there was an article on one of the women who had been a founder of the Kate Spade line of fashion merchandise. The company was subsequently sold, and this person is now semi-retired, living with her three or so kids in a 4 million dollar New York townhouse. What is interesting about it, is the return to ruin of her style. She covered her antique sofas in white muslin and invited her children and their friends to draw on them–she painted dried twigs and strung them with Christmas lights to make lighting for her main rooms and used very cheap sconces from a local shop for her stairway lighting. Stacked vintage luggage serves as a bedside table. Her whole home seemed to be decorated in, and functioning as a “reuse, recycle” sort of home, not the showpiece architect designed sample of perfection, which so many aspire to, and which she herself lived in with her husband (now-divorced) several years prior.

Another article, also in the Times, focused on how even those with private jets are “sharing” them with friends, as one would share a taxi ride uptown.

Okay, admittedly these are very high-end examples.

To put my finger on it, it seems that priorities are shifting which in turn are changing some internal values. The economy has got to be a factor, but its also as if the neighborhood collectively woke up one morning and decided that they had entirely too many possessions and weren’t being smart about how they were using what they had.

Trend: not sure what it is, but it feels like there is some sort of values resorting going on…

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.


by Sally Applin

Am I the only person who has noticed that the design on the back pocket of Victoria Beckham jeans is actually the Scientology star logo?

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.


by Sally Applin

John Malkovich is selling clothing.This, in itself is not news, but its interesting for several reasons:

  1. as an actor, he’s not affiliated with the garment industry,
  2. he hasn’t been on many best dressed lists, and
  3. he tends to fly under the radar, even as an actor, and he doesn’t seem to be part of that trend of appealing to the young people

In general, it seems epidemic as a trend: actors, singers, and other celebrities getting involved in licensing/designing/manufacturing/and otherwise imprinting “their” particular stamp on clothing and other “wares.”

What gives this time? Why Malkovich?

In a way, aging celebrities, like other smart business types, are looking for ways to increase their longevity in the marketplace though extending their “brand.” In other words, they bank on the idea that “if you like the celebrity, you’ll love the: clothing, drink, shoes,” etc…

So, do you, buy it? Let’s get back to JM. His clothing has a tweedy English, yet hip-to-NYC vibe, at kind of high prices, but seemingly good quality fabrics–or at least they look that way in the photos. The tees at $49 bucks, seem to be the worst value, but perhaps the sweaters or berets offer better quality. For $2000, custom suits are available.

The real key here for 52 year old Malkovich is how well he can get the boomers to identify with him. They are aging to be sure, and they have a _lot_ of money, which they spend. There is much effort in this website to create John Malkovich as a lifestyle brand. You can have the John Malkovich “Uncle Kimono” brand Personal Sylist dress you. Their ad? “Mid-life clothing crisis? Let our Personal Stylist help dress you.” Nuff said. That’s a boomer call to clothe if I’ve ever heard one.

But wait, there’s more!

“Uncle Kimono” is only one brand under the Mrs. Mudd umbrella, which includes “Providing services ranging from trend forecasting, to graphic design, branding, to fashion film production and clothing design.”

We are invited to “Get a glimpse of tomorrow’s life.”

With the fashion veterans Francesco and Thommaso Rulli joining JM at the helm, there is a wonder where this brand is going to lead. As a outside trend observer, I’m going to wait and see, but I’m skeptical. Malkovich is an actor. Its not that he doesn’t have a chance in the market, but Malkovich isn’t a strong brand. No matter what muscle is behind him, as CEO, he’s going to need more to convince me as a someone who studies brands and trends, that he is qualified for the role of heading a branding and trend company.

That said, as a clothing brand, perhaps individual consumers will feel that they too, can have the “mark of Malkovich” and be the sinister cool guy who gets away with it. If it works.

Good luck to him and Mrs. Mudd.

©2008-2014 Sally A. Applin. All rights reserved.