Instant Gratification: Is it a fad, youth culture, or the future?

Image by Amy Henry

Image by Amy Henry

The term "instant gratification" has been thrown around a lot lately. The popular belief is that it is a generational characteristic of Millennials (born in the 1980s and 1990s who grew up with the endless possibilities of technology). I was born in the 1990s, and I must admit that I suffer from the "instant gratification syndrome". I check my cell phone incessantly, stared at social media at night awaiting comments/ likes from strangers, and feel aggravated when the internet is slow. Why is that? Is it because the virtual world is more stimulating and gratifying than reality? Are we just bored and looking for things to "click" all the time? Right now, it's taking me about an hour to right less than 1000 words because I check my email and my phone 5 times per finished sentence.

Are we lazy, entitled, narcissistic, and shallow like Joe Stein wrote here? It's only about 9-page long, I believe in you. Don't worry, he's got some very nice things to say about us, too. I wish I could only find out the origin of this stigma attached to Millennials. We do come across quite spoiled and ego-centric; we do think that we deserve more; but you know what, we also think that we can achieve more.

Only in developed countries are we paying so much attention to "the ego" (first world problems, right?) Only in the fortunate countries of where civilization is not plagued with war, terror, poverty, or diseases do I see this talk of "the ego". Let's calm down with the criticism and focus on the possibilities, the growth, the positive changes that one can incur. If there are more of us who want to work for ourselves, sure, then do that, make lives worthwhile, be your own person. If we don't respect authority and question institutions, that is because "the club" is now global, we belong to the world, to ourselves.

How does this apply to fashion, since I'm writing a fashion blog and all? The industry has changed drastically. It has commercialized, globalized, and it is ready to socialize on a much bigger scale. In the past, the end consumers are distant from the businesses and the trends that dress them. Now, we are having a conversation about US, what WE really want as consumers and business owners. Nobody needs to tell us what the trends are or where to buy clothes. We create what we want to wear and we share them, that's it.

USE YOUR BRAIN, USE YOUR EGO-DRIVEN BRAIN.

Contemplating Luxury: What are we buying? REALLY.

Dana Thomas's Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

Dana Thomas's Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

Back in 2009, I was at the peak of money-burning and brandname-hoarding status. There was always strange sense of fulfillment whenever I bought any luxury merchandise. It didn't matter if it was a bottle of perfume, a small wristwatch, or any other obviously-impractical purchases. Buying was like and expression of LOVE. Love for fashion, love for femininity, and passion for some very lofty ideals of beauty.

Along came Dana Thomas. You know that arcade game Whack-a-Mole? That happened in my head as I was reading her book. Anything that I thought I knew was getting "whacked". Badly. Take a look at the book cover again, what do fast food and fashion have to do with each other? Luxury, according to her book (more likely my memory), has grown to be an assembly line of mass production rather than an experience of any real values. Life seems a lot faster now than it has ever been. Rarely do we have time to stop and smell the roses (or just breathe, really).

My mother used to always get her clothes made and tailored by a lady who lived deep in an alley of Vietnam. It was not anything "luxurious" but the experience was in deed a luxury: time to slow down and enjoy the details, to contemplate, to get to know yourself, and feel perfectly happy. True luxury: when it is about beautifying your soul, and not a race of consumerism.

The "Made in" struggle: Why does it matter?

I have been following some discussions on the "Made in" debate. Check them out here.  For what it's worth, let's just focus on luxury brands right now. Why does it matter and what actually is the main source of concern? A product that is labeled "Made in France" or "Made in Italy" can merely mean that it was packaged and finalized in these respective countries. It does not mean that the production was done strictly in France or Italy. If you don't think that there are Chinese sweatshops in any of these countries, you are incorrect. "The Chinese — the largest nation of luxury consumers in the world — want their watches to be Swiss, their perfumes and cosmetics to be French, their cars to be German and their bags and shoes to be either Italian or French." What a curious paradox! The whole world is made in China! (excuse my use of hyperbole).

Does the idea of underage workers laboring over your handbags in a Chinese sweatshop bother you? As much as the fact that we're spending $1000 for a pair of shoes? The truth of the matter is, your choice as a consumer has little to do with a manufacturer's ethics (I welcome comments on this). The same thing goes for brand owners, sometimes, you just need to get things done. Nobody is paying the bills but you.

Speaking about Toulula specifically, we depend a lot on our vendors and the best that we can do is to choose them wisely. In all honesty, when faced with the question "Where does your merchandise come from?", I can only say that some are from China, some are from South America, and sometimes your guess is as good as mine. We focus first, and foremost, on product quality and customer excellence. The rest is subjected to change.

The system is in motion. You gotta pay to play.

Toulula + Style Mafia

Photography: Tawfick Espriella 

 Model: Modesta with  Wilhelmina Models Miami 

Beauty: Javier Martinez

Art Direction/Styling/Set Design: Simonett Pereira

Toulula welcomes our very first Style Mafia collection. Inspired by the avant-garde (think COMME des GARÇONS) and incubated under the Miami sun, Style Mafia is truly unpredictable, experimental, and genuinely original.

Enjoy the Collection!

In the spirit of Independence Day: Reflecting Spring, Awaiting Fall

Balmain Pre-Fall 2015

Balmain Pre-Fall 2015

Most of us, at least in the U.S., are celebrating Independence Day. Elsewhere, fall has already begun. Like fall, slightly nostalgic of the summer sun yet ecstatic for some tender romance, the fashion world is blooming with a 70s flair. Above is the Balmain Pre-Fall 2015 campaign with a tremendous amount of bold florals, flared trousers, higher waistline adorned with a statement belt. Released in January 2015, during the heat of France's Charlie Hebdo shooting, this is Oliver Rousting's declaration of artistic freedom.

Balmain Fall 2015

Balmain Fall 2015

Isabel Marant Spring/ Summer 2015

Isabel Marant Spring/ Summer 2015

Above, we see some spring/ summer trends resonating throughout fall/winter: pleating, shine, lots of textures, structures, lace, and prints. See more below.

Alexander McQueen Fall 2015

Givenchy Fall 2015

Givenchy Fall 2015

Yes, I intentionally post RED everywhere due to personal bias. Most importantly, however, it is a beautiful choice that has transitioned gracefully from summer into fall. Layer up, pay attention to that waistline, elongate your silhouette and boom, you are now in fall.

Alexander McQueen Fall 2015

Alexander McQueen Fall 2015

Purchasing Luxury: Necessity, Vanity, or simply Insanity

If you have had those moments where the dilemma is just so ironic, you want to kick yourself, read on. "So, do I pay rent or buy these beautiful [insert your item of desired that's oh-so-unreasonably-priced]?" First world problem, right? Well, call it what you may. At the core foundation of human behaviors, we are social animals who have very specific needs. What might be the cause of these needs? Let's take a look at the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs below (bear with me, I'm not nerd-ing out on you, promise). When your needs at a certain level are satisfied, you, as a social animal, will seek to satisfy the next level. It is not a one-way street to fulfillment, which thus explains the frustration-regression principle.

I am not proclaiming that such hierarchy is the ultimate truth of life. It is, however, a very nice system to build an understanding of your human behaviors. Let me, at least, say this: be happy that you are thinking about purchasing handbags and shoes because you are probably not starving, dehydrating, or living on the streets. 

So what do your needs of handbags and fancy shoes say about you?

That you are, indeed, a human being whose needs are partially fulfilled. Are you buying yourself a gift? Are you buying out of boredom? Maybe you are going on a fancy date. Whatever reasons that might be, DIG DEEPER. It's not because you are weak, vain, or a woman. It's because you are a human being and also a work in progress. Do not let anyone, no matter who they are, tell you otherwise.

Keep working on yourself.

And look very beautiful doing it! Why not?

 

Cleo Sullivan ft. Mischka Aoki and Bonnie Young

Cleo Sullivan feels like a lucid dream, at least his works do. There are no boundaries between his subjects and their surroundings. The children, they are blended, submerged, and forever captured in another world. Poetry or wicked fantasy?

Featured up top is the Bonnie Young campaign, which is then followed by a combination of both Bonnie Young and Mischka Aoki. Bonnie Young is an American designer and former Senior Creative Director of Donna Karan Collection. She founded Bonnie Young in 2006 and opened her first store in 2007. Mischka Aoki is an Australian powerhouse for children's haute couture founded in 2009. The brand has since adorned the famed and privileged circle internationally.

There cannot possibly be a better way to illustrate extravagance and perfection of craftsmanship. The FW15 Mischka Aoki collection (seen above) is a narrative of the Greek mythology Judgement of Paris. Paris of Troy, the Shepherd Prince could not judge any to be the fairest of goddesses. Beauty was then to be shared and treasured by those who are gifted with it.

Beauty and innocence are hard to defined, especially when it comes to children.  In the age of technology and pop culture, we're constantly stimulated. Our identities are constantly challenged. What does it really mean to be beautiful? What doest it really mean to protect your child's innocence? With brands like Mischka Aoki and Bonnie Young, the lines are slightly blurred between the art and prodigal consumerism. Choices are, as always, personal and subject to change.

Just something to ponder upon. Enjoy the week ahead!

Alessandro Michele: Gucci's New Affair

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The Bohemians are back, everyone; and Alessandro Michele is Gucci's John Lennon. In the image above, you can see a Gucci Campaign in the 90s (left and middle), then now in 2015. The silhouettes have softened a lot; and while that masculine edge is still there, it feels a lot more mellow and romantic. Makes me want to pop open a bottle of Napa Cabernet. Yea, you heard me right. American wine to an Italian romance. There are many kinds of romance, you know. A slow walk with wind in your hair or a daredevil ride on a bike—they're all worth it. The new collection feels like that slow walk, maybe with comic books, and a boombox (honestly).

Above is the man himself, Alessandro Michele. “It’s not easy to live now,” he says. “I think we need to dream. So I wanted to present an idea of something romantic, in dream time—like in a movie.” And dream he did. Quirky old-lady-inspired pink lace with big earrings and glasses. He's simply having a lot of fun. All the boys are dipped in florals with disheveled, long hair. I told you—bohemians, hippies, dreamers, lovers—they're all back. 

Romance is overstated and undervalued. Whatever that means to you. Have a wondrous weekend!

Credits

1. Top right and bottom left: Photography by Jamie Hawkesworth as seen in Vogue July, 2015.

2. Bottom middle and right: Backstage at Gucci SS16. Photography by Virginia Arcaro

 

The Concept behind Toulula

A Parisian man once said "Women no longer exist, all that's left are the boys created by Chanel." There is some truth to that. We, at Toulula, believe in the freedom that she imposed upon her women. Femininity got shooed from frills to stripes, from dresses to trousers, from colors to black. "Colors are impossible," she stated. "These women, I am going to put them in goddamned black." Next time you put on your "little black dress", know that you're wearing Chanel, with or without the label. Don't forget the stripes! Taking inspiration from military uniform, Chanel iconized the striped jersey and nautical look. Some might now refer to these details as "preppy". Sorry, Chanel came first.

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Above is Chanel in her nautical-style flared trousers and yachting cap. Yes, she's wearing pearls with those too. If you're bored with all the stripes, think again, they're actually quite dramatic. Chanel designed costumes for the theatre as well. Below is her design for The Blue Train, a 1924 pantomime ballet.

Well, what does all of this have to do with Toulula? 

As you can see, we have nautical influence and stripes in our brand design. Inspired by timeless and dynamic femininity, specifically Chanel, Toulula aims to celebrate classic femininity with a twist of modern drama. With Toulula, you can always find vintage fashion pieces that never go out of style, slices of history that define our present, modern trends, and most importantly, a good price!

Credits

1. Far left:  Styling by Damian Foxe. Photographs by Gustavo Zylbersztajn. Cotton mesh jacket by Chanel. Lycra swimsuit by Tommy Hilfiger. Gold, sapphire and iolite earrings by Silvia Furmanovich

2. Other images as presented in Mademoiselle: Coco Chanel and the Pulse of History by Garelick, R. K. (2014).