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gold.jpgFinally, an Olympic medal we can all aspire to.

The gold, silver and bronze wavy trophies being passed out to the best of the best are themselves the best of the best this time. Designed by Omer Arbel, an acclaimed architect and industrial designer, and Corrine Hunt, a First Nations artist from the Raven Gwa'wina clan, of the Kwakwaka'wakw village on Vancouver Island, the shiny mementos are actually green.

As part of the Olympic organizing committee efforts on sustainablity, computer components, circuit boards, chips, cell phones and other parts and electronics castoffs were mined for their precious metals, which were then melted down to create the awards.

To take it a step further, the controversial Canadian mining company Teck Resources was tasked with extracting and retasking the metals from the used electronics.

The giant dishes of excellence turned out pretty cool, more so because of the moethods used to produce them.

Motherboard.tv

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One of the great things about the Internet is that like "Lost" conspiracy theories, it's never-ending and self-fulfilling. Case in point: charred Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen.

The photo above, submitted by a reader seeking clarification on whether it's a real action(?) figure set of Luke's post-Storm Trooper adoptive parents - It doesn't seem to be, based on this answer from Hasbro - only leads to more links and Star Wars nerdy goodness.

The fresh trauma of well-done Lars in our minds, a cheerful bit of fashion was quick to the rescue. Namely this bit of head gear sure to keep anyone but the wearer on their toes:

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No real info on why or how - or whether the screaming Tie Fighter engine noise is available in any way, but it's still quite the look. Is it a costume? A lifestyle choice? A birthmark? Sadly, the Internets provide coolness, but often no context, especially at WTFcostumes where it and the next gem of a getup were found.

At least we assume it's a getup. One thing is for sure - this can't smell any better on the inside than one of the actual Hoth beasts. Whatever the case, it's certainly the best use of tautaun since the implausibly cool sleeping bag from ThinkGeek. It started out as a prank, but the demand was such that it's now a LucasFilm-sanctioned bit of memorabilia that's way too nice to waste on children.

Thank you, Internets, for providing once again on a quiet Tuesday.

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Yes, those are deer. No, not reindeer.

The CBS Sunday Morning Show's Bill Geist did a fun piece on ugly Christmas sweaters and their increasing popularity as a part of the holiday pageantry. Sadly, there is no video proof available online, but there is still a fine Chicago angle if you're trawling for that perfectly ugly sweater for a party of family gathering.

Two of the Web providers of these horrible things are right here in the Chicago area - probably more, but these are the ones he talked to.

The site uglychristmassweaterparty.com is based in nearby Crown Point, IN, is a fine place shop for ugliness. Their promise:

For our website, we have one simple goal: connect you with some of the ugliest Christmas sweaters ever produced.

We came up with the concept for this site after scrambling around town last winter, knowing that we weren't the only people trying to track down the perfect ugly Christmas sweater.

We hope that UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com will grow as the popularity of this holiday tradition increases.

Mission accomplished! Then here in Chicago, Geist featured the uglysweaterstore site. Guess what - they have more hideous Christmas garments - and some that defy even that holiday definition. You can hook up with them via Twitter for any urgent ugly needs, it seems.

So, easy enough to get in the spirit and go ugly this holiday.

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Thank God for America and its inherent sense of entrepreneurship.

Give us lemons and we don't whine about the bitter juice. We add some high fructose corn syrup, farm production to China and profit from lemonade that's bad enough enough to make us fat and give us cancer, but too tasty to pass up.

Friends and neighbors, Balloon Boy, and his media circus parents, is our lemonade. And the story that keeps on giving, well, keeps on giving. And just in time for halloween!

Thanks to a box, a shiny balloon and some schadenfreude-fueled imagination, you, too, can be Balloon Boy for halloween (TV interview vomit optional).

There's even some helpful advice from the geniuses at Microflight that thought this up:

Now you too can enjoy all the media attention you want with Plantraco's Balloon Boy Hoax kit. A great flying saucer that is going to put a big smile on your face. Colorado flying saucers and hot air balloon hoaxes are famous these days, get on the bandwagon for trick-or-treat halloween fun and loads of laughs for everyone!

Just ring the doorbell and say "I'm supposed to be flying in there, but my dad said to stay in the box for the show!" - you are practically guaranteed to get double and triple halloween treats with this authentic and collectible Balloon Boy Flying Saucer Hoax trick costume!

Halloween has morphed into a holiday - no, holiday doesn't seem right, but go with with it - offering fun and candy for the kiddies, a chance for adults to dress up in hilarious costumes and get hammered and, of course, the opportunity to set fire to Detroit. And every year there's a transcendent, and usually nonsensical, news story that creates fodder for the grownups to play dressup.

This year we get little Falcon and the fighting Heene clan to thank for our thrills and chills.

This clearly has family possibilities - or even cross-family if you explore the "Wife Swap" aspects.

Think the Snuggie fad is waning? Nope, it's just gone to the dogs. Literally.

Like the product of a 3 a.m. ideafest after a Snuggie pub crawl and because the good folks at Snuggie hadn't fleeced enough of us with their children's book-colored backwards robes, they've come up with the next big market full of creatures that just can't handle the responsibility and technical expertise of a blanket: your dog.

Witness the ad, filled with those little drop-kick pooches freezing their yappers off until a kindly owner swoops in with the day-glow death shroud for dogs.

OK the little dogs, maybe, you can see this on. But a golden retriever? It would be like a fur-lined humidor. And what happens when Cuddles wants to roll on that dead rat carcass when you kick him out on midnight in January?

What's next, a Snuggie for imaginary friends? Snuggies for the homeless?

How 'bout going ironic with Snuggies for sheep? But let's leave the dogs out of this, especially the little ones. They have enough self esteem issues as it is.

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gallery_main-0707_emma_watson_pantyflash_00.JPGEmma Watson was on hand to check out the London premier of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" last night when a nasty incantation blew her frock to the side, exposing her dumble-drawers.

Oops! Where's the house elf when you need to him to keep these fancy dresses in place?

The 19-year-old - yes, sleazy Internet trolls, you can look without legal ramifications, but still feel shame - quickly got a handle on things, as usual, without raising her hand with the answer. With the wardrobe malfunction secured, she braved the London weather and thousands of screaming fans to take in the sixth movie in the series.

She even went on Letterman to talk about the incident, and her relative good fortune:

When Letterman pointed out the faux-pas on "The Late Show," a blushing Emma replied: "This was a small wardrobe malfunction that happens.

"At least I'm wearing underwear," the 19-year-old star added, before hanging her head in her hands to say she's "still learning" this stuff.

More on the premier after the jump ...

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Japanese body inflation photo by John Stone

Thank goodness for our trendsetting friends in the Land of the Rising Sun, without whom Western Culture would be without such important pursuits as Pokemon, Iron Chef and dressing like Elvis. Now, the cooler-than-you kids have got something that just defies explanation, though bizarremag.com gives it a shot: Body Inflation.

And really, it puts anything our modder, club kids and hipsters can think up into a shame spiral so rapid and deep that they may actually be able to achieve time travel on the way down.

Think of it kinda like this: You can create a saline-based fake breast anywhere on your body, with huge, cartoon-like effects and shapes. And the photo above is nothing. Check here for a gallery of more of this Dunkin-Donut-inspired body sculpting trend.

After you do that - and maybe throw up just a little bit - realize that the good news is the saline injection is temporary. It apparently takes a couple hours to show up and, depending on what part of the body you inflate, and a night at the club to dissipate. So these misfortunate urban body pioneers won't be taking their cyclops foreheads to the grave. Then again, maybe they want to. It's clearly a fetishest practice geared toward a certain culture that values the aesthetic. Or, maybe just to the crowd that doesn't believe in wearing motorcycle helmets in lieu of simply making their head a saline cushion.

Whatever the case or personal preference, it's good to know there's no real risk involved.

BMEzine.com (a social site for fetishists of all types) founder Shannon Larratt tells Bizzaremag that it's nothing to take too seriously. You know, it's just fun:

"It's primarily a play activity," he says. "I think most of the time it's done on its own, rather than with other types of play. I've seen people combine it with play piercing but, on the whole, that's not something I'd recommend because of infection risks."

Yeah, there's that. There's also the EXTREME risk of looking like you have a hemorrhoid cushion growing out of your skull - or chest, arms, testicles ... well, you get the picture. All of the sudden infection sounds like the least of the risks associated with this trend.

But hey, before you think these folks might be loners or societal castoffs, think again. They have mixers:

In February Keroppy and Bizarre body mod favourite Samppa Von Cyborg held a Dolphin vs Birds night, pitching the saline enthusiasts (dolphins) against the hook suspensionists (birds). Although the techniques are radically different, they both hold the same appeal - the temporary transformation of the body. Keroppy likens the experience of suspension to bungee jumping and the infusions to scuba diving: "Inflation isn't painful, it's more of a weird sensation - but it is the act of using the body and seeking another experience. It's a bit tight. If your head gets really full, you feel a lot of pressure."

So, if you're looking to expand your horizons - and your forehead - there you go. But remember, kids, don't try this at home - just in case "never" is not an option - as there needs to be some professional involvement, apparently. But you may want to brush up on technique, helpfully broken down to Bizarremag by someone they refer to as a "body mod pioneer," and real-life cyborg, Samppa Von Clyborg:

The professional body piercer will use a saline bag, tube and needle. It works in a similar way to a hospital drip, so the bag needs to be raised above the body part picked for puffing.

* Body inflators never make their own saline solution and steer clear of tap water, due to the risk of infection.

* The needle is placed under the skin but not in a vein - or the build-up of pressure could mean exploding blood vessels all over the show.

* While it's not that dangerous, some people who've done it regularly have found their skin has permanently expanded.

* The most interesting place to inflate is the forehead, as the taut skin means the effects are extremely obvious.

* Inflatees can prod the inflated lumps to make them look more interesting.

A&E, you can't make me watch "Hammertime," no matter how many brilliant, gold-pantsed, M.C. Hammer flashmob dancers you roll into the malls of America (OK, maybe just a sneak peak based on this review).

But this dance-a-thon - yes, I know it's an ad and I don't care - is like a smile made of shimmery dance garments. You can't not smile when you watch it. Go ahead, try ... I'll wait ...

Is it effective advertising? Makes me think of Hammer, but not want to watch the show, so I suppose it's good marketing at least. But you're not supposed to want to watch the ad more than the show, are you?

And, of course, here's a look at the original Hammertime brilliance, complete with his powerful influence on the baggy pants movement of the day:

It's always nice when corporate America comes down from on high and shows the country they care about more than just our money.

They love us for our pubes, too.

Like this instructional video from Procter & Gamble that shows you how you can trim your junk with Gillette razors without performing a home vasectomy. What could be more consumer - and family - friendly than that?

So grab a razor and start some scrotal hacking. Like the video says:

"When there's no underbrush, the tree looks taller."

Check out the link for many more useful tips on how to manscape your non-dangling areas. Apparently, it's all about pleasing the ladies. Thanks, P&G!

And they have many more useful shaving tips on other areas, as well. Like this trucker hat-wearing gent who needs his back mowed. Good stuff.

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It was only a matter of time before two of the pop culture phenomenon of this young century smashed into eachother - bacon, meet iPhone; iPhone, meet bacon.

Neither of these trendy products seems like a flash in the pan - sorry - so is it any wonder they finally found a comfy niche together?

Enter a German company making felt phone cases in the form of bacon - many sizes available, including for the popular Apple Jesus phone.

Seems like one of those "act now" opportunities, though. Demand is high for this sizzling product. Sorry. Anyway, here's the really SUPER EXCITED sales pitch ...

"The Zeitgeist Case"

The Bacon Case

Dear Customers! Pls allow 20 days for delivery due to the high number of orders already placed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

The case look really lika a piece of bacon. You can feel the irregular and the illusion is perfect. Each case is different.

There ist no seam, the whole case is seamless and felted in one piece.

Shipment not EU 6€

Shipment EU 3€

I can felt the case in each size, please tell me your type of phone or anything else.

It´s absolutely trendy!!!!!

Undone -- the Snuggie song!

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Photo from Rolling Stone

We can't decide if this is adorably geeky or a hopeless sell-out. Rivers Cuomo, lead singer for the band Weezer, is so obsessed with the latest infomercial phenomenon, the Snuggie, that he's hooked up the band with its makers to create -- wait for it -- the Wuggie!

Cuomo tells Rolling Stone, "A Wuggie is basically exactly like a Snuggie, except it says Weezer on it. The people at Snuggie are doing it with us and promoting it with us. It's a totally legit Snuggie."

Our favorite reaction so far is this post: "But Phish fans are the ones who really need this, what with the epic outdoor concerts and all. Plus, they'd be Phuggies, which is a radder name."

Meanwhile, Weezer worked on their next album -- the follow-up to last year's self-titled ("Red Album") effort -- over the winter with producer Jacknife Lee (Bloc Party, Snow Patrol). They recorded "a nice pile of songs," according to the band's official blog. No release date yet.

We've had Snuggie pub crawls. Think Rivers would show up for a Wuggie pub crawl?

First Lady Michelle Obama is familiar to Americans. And so is the dress she wore Tuesday in New York, according to the New York Daily News.

During her first visit to New York as the First Lady, Mrs. Obama donned a Tracy Feith dress that she's worn before, according to the story.

The last time we saw her wearing it, was on President Obama's first full day in office. She wore the ensemble Tuesday to her U.S. UN mission talk.

New York Daily News fashion editor Amy Diluna adds:

"For evening, the First Lady changed into city-perfect cocktail attire - a stunning floor-length navy blue gown from high-end French designer Azzedine Alaia, layered with a corset from her Chicago favorite, Peter Soronen - to deliver a keynote address at the Time 100 Most Influential People Awards at Time Warner Center.

"At the podium, Obama's voice quivered with emotion as she told the crowd she never imagined she'd be a role model for girls around the globe."

Read more at www.nydailynews.com.

Tuesday:

Jan. 21, 2009:

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