Thursday, January 28, 2016

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Spotlight on Lampshading: A Glaring New Trend

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Photo: Daily Mail

Realizing that many among us may be suffering from the darkness known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) previously known as the mid-winter blues, I'd like to shed some light on a new fashion/older TV trope that I've just learned about called "lampshading". No, it's not a form of throwing shade or getting drunk and wearing a lamp shade on your head, both of which I'm embarrassed to admit, did cross my mind. I actually knew nothing about either definition but trust me, once there's a portmanteau and a hashtag, it must be illuminated since you'll be hearing about it all day.

Liza (Sutton Foster) and Josh (Nico Tortorella)

Ready to be en-"light"-ened?  In a TV show or movie, lampshading (aka lampshade hanging) is basically calling attention to the elephant in the room so that the plot can move on. It's a technique of making sure the viewer knows that the characters are self-aware; they realize that they've hit an implausible plot point. By acknowledging the improbable, the incongruent or the cliched, the hope is that the viewer will continue to suspend disbelief. I originally encountered the reference while reading a blog on the A.V. Club concerning an episode of my current favorite show ("Younger"). Liza and Josh's relationship was termed "On again off again. Classic." by Kelsey as a means of describing why the couple has been so star crossed recently. "Hanging that lampshade doesn't make the dance any less tedious, writers" the author admonished.

Kate Moss

In the fashion arena, lampshading is both more literal and visual--the manner of dress makes the wearer resemble a lamp shade by wearing high or over the knee boots and a somewhat baggy dress, over sized sweatshirt or tunic top that hits just at or slightly above the boot line.


Naturally, plenty of young celebs including Kylie, Kendall, Gigi, Zendaya, Selena and Ariana have all been recent proponents of this look. Kate (Moss) and Rihanna were two early birds, first spotted in this previously unnamed look back in 2013. The origins of lampshading may lie with sorority girls who would run about in large over sized jerseys that may have belonged to their boyfriends, which they paired with unseen shorts and flip flops. The celebrity version is much more chic and upscale yet retains its casual vibe.


I'd like to know what to call a few of the looks seen on the Paris Haute Couture runway this week. The fringe trim on a few of the pre-fall Balmain dresses and gowns definitely reminded me of a Victorian lampshade with its embroidery, beading and fringe trim.

Ballerina lampshade Giambattista Valli Haute Couture

Likewise at Giambattista Valli where many of his dresses resembled lamp shades. This pink one somehow conjures up both a tulle lampshade and Sia's wig.

Gigi Hadid

Nothing to do with lamp shades but can we get a name for the extreme torn denim which is becoming so commonplace particularly among young trendsetters? Maybe something like Chopt but for denim? At any rate, if your name is not Gigi Hadid, do not try this one at home or anywhere else. Even on the supermodel it seems borderline ridiculous to have a pair of jeans hanging open so ludicrously at the knee that they may as well be shorts.

Kristin Stewart at Sundance

While I'm not fond of the ultra torn denim look, even in its "dressed up" incarnation a la Gigi, I would normally detest it worn sloppily on Kristen. I'm actually willing to give her a pass for the mere fact that she wore tights/leggings/long johns underneath in the freezing cold of Sundance. Kudos for layering rather than lawyering up!

Next on my wish list-- a portmanteau that deals with the inevitable backlash against those tiny little mushy bites of chopped salad... #wholegreens please?

- Laurel Marcus

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