23 September 2007

Branding Herself...Like You'd Brand Yer Cattle

Justify Full
Remember these ads from Chanel's recent Spring/Summer campaign? I remember noting the tattoos, vaguely wondering if they were real, concluding that obviously they weren't, briefly pondering the implications of brand logos being tattooed onto bodies, and soon forgetting the whole subject.

Until, that is, I started my latest term at design school and was seated next to a 20ish girl whose hair was pulled back, revealing an identical "CC" tattoo behind her ear. "Huh," I thought, "Chanel is actually selling those temporary tattoos from the ads! Crazy--I can't believe people would actually buy those. I guess their marketing dept. really does know what it's doing." The next week, the girl still had a tat in the same place. "Wow," I thought, impressed, "Those things really last!" Well, dear reader, of course the next week I realized that Chanel has not made its fake tats available at your local Neiman's; no, no, this dedicated chick actually went further than the Chanel models and got the Chanel logo permanently, indelibly inked on her skin. She's not a tat fiend, either; the CC is the only visible mark on her body, telling the world that the very most important message she has to broadcast about herself via her sizzled skin is...Chanel. I, she is saying, AM CHANEL.

Apart from the obvious falsity of this statement, what puzzles me most is that she's not a particularly Chanel-y dresser. Her clothes come from Forever21 and Abercrombie (and I'm not even sure of that because they're just that unmemorable). The big-ass sunglasses pushing her hair back might be Chanel, but she shows no other sign of Coco & Karl's striking, powerful-woman black-&-white vibe. Perhaps her theory goes that if she's got the tattoo, she doesn't actually need the clothes to transmit the Chanel message, whatever she thinks it is. In other words, perhaps the branding has been so effective that she not only believes in the power of the double C, but believes that everyone else does, too. Heck, she may be right--in which case she's saved herself a heck of a lot of money. I prefer to believe, however, that whatever power Chanel has truly lies in the interesting clothes, which is simply what the logos hope to evoke. I dunno, though--the impact of the Ralph Lauren Polo logo is certainly stronger than the polo shirt alone (strong enough for the guy who got the polo pony tattooed on his chest...*).

*click link for article revealing that brand-branding is an actual phenomenon. Sad, or inevitable?


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17 September 2007

It Was Inevitable: Designer Yogurt


I've had a little yogurt lid tacked up on my fridge all summer that came from a yogurt I got at Harrod's in London. Not only is it called Rachel's, but the full title is "Rachel's Low Fat Natural Bio-Live Yogurt, 450g." I'm a big fan of plain low-fat yogurt (all of the above are essential: full-fat is gluey, fat-free is watery, and sugared or fake-sugared is just nasty). I'm also a big fan of the metric system (I STILL don't know how many damn pints are in a quart). Obviously, this yogurt lid is a pretty good summation of my character. But I thought it was a U.K.-only thing (those Europeans really have their mini yogurts down. I'm so jealous.), until I got a message informing me that Rachel's is not only available at my local health food store (supposedly) but also now has new trendalicious flavors:

Anyone remember my big essay on trendy beverages? Well, it looks like yogurt can now be your new portable status symbol. The proof is in the magical ingredients that are mandatory for check-me-and-my-glowing-health-out snack bling--in this case, not only tired buzzwords like green tea and chai, but woah-nelly POMEGRANATE ACAI. You know that's destined for Jessica Alba's trendsetting little paws. And if you read the fine print, this yogurt has all kinds of organisms and whatnot that will keep you forever young and also end global warming and probably get rid of herpes while it's at it. Hot damn. Get thee to thy Whole Foods, early adopters, since your iPhones have lost their cache!

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10 September 2007

The Latest Genius Idea I Didn't Think Of



I know y'all remember the Baby-Sitters Club. I think I read all of them up to about #75; at that point, I grew up a little and Ann M. Martin started to foray into wild new worlds of BSC brand extensions ("Super-Special" double-length books! A mystery spinoff series! The movie! Yes, even graphic novels! When did the woman sleep? I bet she eventually got herself a computer program that just inserted key names, Mad-Libs-style, into prefab plotlines to keep the series going.). But I'd been a big fan. I even took the time to sit down and write Ms. Martin a letter once, pqainstakingly explaining all the inaccuracies in her descriptions of Stacey's diabetes. (I received a simpering form letter in response, covered in BSC stickers and with zero mention of my letter's angry corrections.)

Anyway, my favorite thirteen-year-old bab-sitter (wow, THIRTEEN...I could hardly fathom it) was always Claudia. She was so artsy! So cool! So devil-may-care! She made her own earrings and even decorated her hi-tops with freakin' puffy paint! What a role model. Not that I wasn't creative myself--I always chose my own clothes--but I generally landed more on the fashionably questionable side (picture a little girl in pinafores and hot pink Keds) and only dreamed of being some sort of hyper-cool cross between Claudia and Clarissa [Explains It All].

But I'd forgotton those dark years of my life until I came across this most fabulous of fabulous blogs: What Claudia Wore. Kim of Amherst, MA, whoever you are: I envy you. I envy the genius you obviously possess to have come up with the idea, and I envy the power you have over legions of twentysomething female readers to conjure up memories of our reverence for Claudia's ensembles, alongside burning, burning shame at realizing how utterly horrifying said ensembles were. Thank god most of us weren't as crafty as ole Claud, or else the 80s might have been just that much worse.

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05 September 2007

Party Like It's The Frozen North

In an effort to beat the shocking, life-sucking heat wave in Los Angeles this weekend, we decided to throw a bash honoring that part of the world where it's generally very cold: Scandinavia! I'm Swedish, my friend is Norwegian, our third posse member had just been in Stockholm--et voila, a bash is born. (Also, as you may gather from my post on Swedish chic, I am utterly convinced that Sweden is the best country in the universe--and therefore also an extremely good theme for a party.) It was last-minute, on the cheap, ridiculous...a.k.a. totally great. Since the event was definitely food- and fashion-related, here's the report:

MENU: In order to be thoroughly authentic, we obviously had to forgo the grocery store and instead do a major
IKEA run. We scored Swedish meatballs, lingonberry preserves (for the meatballs, of course, since all right-minded people put fruit on their ground meat), Knackebrod (dark Scando crispbreads; apparently, the hole in the middle is traditionally made with a broom handle) with Danish cheeses and sliced cucumber, canap├ęs with peppery cream cheese & smoked salmon & caviar (swank, no?), and Swedish gingersnaps. We decided against pickled herring for obvious reasons (and also because it's just nasty). Oh yes, and let's not forget little bowls of Swedish fish (duh!) and chocolate Dalahasten (Swedish horses) (see below).

We did not serve bowls of real Swedish horses, however.
"The qualities that the North Swedish Horse possesses are energy, durability, stamina, and respectable longevity."
Ah, good old respectable longevity...which reminds me, in order to help test our guests' durability, stamina, etc., we of course had to have a big old bottle of Sweden's own Absolut (the grapefruit kind--my fave. Hey, my party!). Tasted fab with the random Scandinavian berry juice we had plus a little seltzer. Or, you know, straight from the bottle.

FASHIONHAGGEN: On the fashion front, I managed to assemble an entirely Nordic getup (thanks, H&M and my blue-and-yellow Converses). I would've worn my Cheap Monday jeans to mix up the labels a bit, but the 100-degree weather persuaded me otherwise. Others obliged with chich that would put bike-riding Norwegians to shame. We all tried to channel thoughts of Scando snow as we ate our salty, fishy foods and listened to a playlist of exclusively Nordic bands (their ratio of good bands is so unfairly high. Even their white rappers are better than ours.).

For more reasons Sweden rules, go here
. For my patented family recipe for Swedish meatballs, go here. THAT'S RIGHT, NO LINK, SUCKAS! You'll never get that secret out of me.

The real question now is: where's that last little bit of Havarti? It might go well with a little Robyn on the stereo.

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