Monday, March 11, 2013

Taking Comfort in Looser Tailoring

 When designers talk about clothes with “raw emotion,” “desire” and “happiness,” as they have since the fall shows began a month ago, you wonder what they mean. Certainly the relaxed shapes at Stella McCartney on Monday — or at Céline, Prada and Marc Jacobs — come as a happy surprise. They are not only beautiful, they are comfortable as well.

But isn’t comfort often associated with food and home? Could the message in the roomier coats, formless sweaters and the exquisitely refined slob appeal of Miuccia Prada’s undone tweeds be: eat, enjoy! And, while you’re at it, pass the potatoes.

This is decidedly bad fashion form, a clear demerit, and I’m sure I’ve missed some higher point about the virtue of an expandable waistband. But it’s interesting to me that these are the collections, among others, that the mavens are craving. Phoebe Philo’s fluttery skirts at Céline had everyone at her show in a swoon of desire, but I thought it remarkable that Ms. Philo had engineered the skirts (and their tops) in knits — rayon, silk or wool bouclé — and without a waistband or a zipper.

You just slip them on, not unlike your sweat pants. (I’ve been told by a Céline production manager that the skirts, which will retail for about $1,350 in silk or rayon, will retain their shape.) To be sure, Ms. Philo and her team that worked with an Italian mill to develop the knit get technical bonus points for resolving the problem of a classically feminine style. In a woven fabric, it would have looked like nothing special, or new. But fashion that is life-enhancing, as much as figure-flattering, is surely something that Ms. Philo cares about.

So does Ms. McCartney. She and her mostly female design team have a completely unfettered approach that keeps her brand distinctive. For fall she shifts the mood away from the feminine prints and sinewy cocktail dresses of recent seasons toward pinstripes and dark flannels, a haberdasher’s dream — except everything is a little off-kilter.

Lapels are exaggerated or displaced, and some looks have a swag of fabric at the side that kicks out. But despite the appearance of structure, reinforced by the pinstripes, the clothes move dynamically over the body. There’s also an amusing sense that Ms. McCartney’s women have occupied men’s tailoring on their terms. If they want a looser fit, then so be it. Also strong were long knock-around dresses in gray knit with deep black lace hems and some roomy silk separates in a scarred wallpaper print. Ms. McCartney had lots of color in her prefall line, but she might have given more to the runway.

The latest addition to Giambattista Valli’s ’60s shifts and cocktail chiffon are chic parkas, mostly in creamy white. And moccasins! Chloé looked plenty comfortable, too, with its many uniformlike capes, duffle coats and jumpers, but it needed to break out of the girls’ school.

In their explicitness, Riccardo Tisci’s clothes for Givenchy can often make people feel uncomfortable, and I like that. We can stand to be discomfited. But in the largest sense, this very soulful collection was about home, returning to the influences of Mr. Tisci’s career, like religious symbolism and subcultures. But now he has a much firmer grip on the parts. He knows what he wants. And that was coolly, if not brilliantly, conveyed in new versions of his influential sweatshirts, and dark romantic paisleys interrupted by half-undone corsets taken from the torso of a biker’s jacket. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Cult horror film lacks thrills

Students whose pumpkin cravings were not satisfied by the muffins from the Blue Room certainly got their fill Friday evening. To kick off Halloween weekend, the Arkham Film Society and Malachi's cafe presented a screening of the 1988 horror flick "Pumpkinhead" in the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts.

The film's plot was original if not thrilling — teenagers accidentally kill a man's beloved son while drunkenly riding dirt bikes. The man wants revenge on the teenagers, so naturally he goes to a witch who magically connects his vengeful wishes to a giant pumpkin-headed demon. Pumpkinhead destroys each teenager until the man, disgusted by what this brutal extension of his psyche is doing, puts an end to the monster in one last gory scene.

It is easy to see how the film has garnered a cult following: It is a movie about a giant pumpkin-headed demon that hunts down annoying teenagers. But it is equally as easy to understand why the general public gave it a lukewarm reception: It is a movie about a giant pumpkin-headed demon that hunts down annoying teenagers.

The film's main problems are that it is too sad to be fun and too unrealistic to be scary. Almost all of the movie's scenes are slow-moving and darkly lit. But rather than creating an aura of suspense, they create one of gloom. The scene of the son's death is depressing, not foreboding.

That said, "Pumpkinhead" manages to entertain. The startling bursts of creepy music coupled with the main character's chilling stares of hate are enough to induce shivers, while some of the monster's scenes have enough blood to satisfy the gore-crazy.

The highlight of Friday's event though, was the half-hour trailer show preceding the film. The trailers, selected by the film society, included unsettling previews for 1970s and 1980s cult horror films such as "Three on a Meathook" and "Critters." The snapshot of each film gave viewers both a sense of the genre and the creeps.

Josh Gravel, co-founder of the Arkham Film Society, said he and a friend established the society, devoted to "cult horror and exploitation films," after helping independent local filmmakers set up screenings and working at The Rhode Island International Film Festival.

"We decided we wanted to do something on our own," Gravel, 34, said. The society's name pays tribute to Rhode Island native H.P. Lovecraft's fictional town of Arkham, a location in many of his horror and science fiction stories.

Gravel said in addition to hosting two or three events in Providence, the society also consults with smaller film festivals in the area.

This was their first event at Brown. Gravel works as a projectionist in the Granoff's auditorium. Not wanting the space to go to waste, he asked to show screenings on nights when the theater was not booked.

"Pumpkinhead" was presented in its original form on 35 mm film. "There's something warm and old-fashioned about actual film," Gravel said. "There is an advantage to seeing films with an audience. Every money shot that we remember seeing — a big part of that was also the theater experience. There's something really communal about that."

He said he also plans to screen "Night of the Hunter" on 35 mm — rather than digital — film Nov. 12 and is in talks to bring Oscar-nominated animator Bill Plympton to campus in December to show his films and speak.

For students who missed the screening but still want to enjoy themed movies before the holiday's end, Gravel recommends the 1978 "Halloween," "Trick or Treat," "Suspiria" and the 1931 "Frankenstein."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Emotional Eating Proving To Be Possible Root Cause Of Overeating

Emotional eating is a hot topic in the world of weight loss and heath. Website ShrinkYourself.com focuses on getting the root of compulsive eating by understanding the deep causes of overeating: eating for emotional comfort. This topic has been gaining a lot of press as people begin to better understand and take control of their choices in the realm of diet.
TheCleanGreenLife.com, a website curating a daily digest about clean living, also recently published another element of emotional eating. The site's daily digest posts helpful info from all over the web and encourages conversation around health related topics.
TheCleanGreenLife.com posted an article talking about curbing comfort food cravings with heathy and raw foods that actually contribute nutrition and make people feel great. One of the site's curators, Emily Gill, created the post, which is quoted below.
"This article really hit home with me the other day. We have been in the process of unpacking all of our house after moving to a new place (translate: stress) and I was struck the with a craving for cookies. I remember staring at the cookies and thinking "if I eat these, I am going to feel like garbage in a half an hour. They will make me sleepy and I will loose all my motivation to keep unpacking." And wouldn't you know it, I ate them anyway....and felt just like I expected.
This article, even though it is talking about raw food, touches on a really important idea: the emotions we associate with food. It is a constant struggle to make choices for the right reasons, no matter what you are talking about, but food is a daily exercise in understanding the direct effects of our choices. Take a read and let me know what you think.
Is There Such Thing As Comfort Eating With Raw Foods?
Comfort eating refers to the consumption of food for reasons other than nutrition or good health, and it is something that most people experience at some point in life, most often without even realizing it. Virtually any craving is, in fact, an emotional reaction which dictates us to seek out a certain type of food. When experiencing stressful, negative emotions, out primal instinct is to find a quick way of replacing them with relaxing, positive feelings.
As we live in a world where we have virtually unlimited access to more food than ever before, comfort eating seems like an easy coping mechanism. Moreover, festive items such as cookies and salty chips are marketed as recreational snacks rather than actual foods, so we learn to unconsciously identify them as such, and crave them when we are upset, angry, or simply wanting to feel good. Some research suggests that comfort eating encourages the release of serotonin - the neurotransmitter responsible for boosting our mood. This means that before we know it, we are tangled in a vicious circle where the brain rewards us for eating something that is essentially unhealthy for us. Unfortunately, this reward is short lived, while the damage done by highly processed foods can take a substantial toll on our long term health. Nonetheless, the mechanism behind emotional eating is not bad per se, as it is what we learn to consume when we get emotional that makes us less healthy, overweight, depressed or infertile in the long run...
There is a lot more great info in this article and you can read the rest over at Raw Food Health Watch"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Man beats pregnant wife over food cravings

A FOUR-MONTH pregnant woman was punched and kicked by her husband after she asked him to look for two types of “rare” food in the middle of the night.
Harian Metro reported that the woman, aged 28, had developed a craving for various types of delicacies and fruits which were difficult to find.
Previously, the husband, in his 30s, had obliged her requests but this time his emotions got the better of him and he lost his temper.
In the latest incident on Tuesday, the woman again pestered her husband to look for buah kelur and lempuk durian when he returned to their house in Bandar Baru Sentul from work at 11pm.
“The husband blew his top and scolded his wife.
“The couple argued for a good 20 minutes before he lost control of his anger and started punching and kicking his wife,” a source said.
The wife contacted a friend to send her to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital for a check-up before lodging a police report.
Sentul OCPD Asst Comm Zakaria Pagan confirmed the incident, adding that an investigation would be carried out.
> The daily also highlighted a freak incident where a four-year-old boy was mowed down in front of his house by a neighbour's car.
The boy, Muaz Hakimi Mohd Faizal, who had been riding his bicycle died on the spot from serious head injuries during the 5.30pm incident in Taman Klang Perdana, Sementa, Kapar.
The victim's mother, Che Wan Nor Al Fatihah Che Wan Othman, 26, said she was closing the gate of her house while carrying her second son, aged six months, in her arms during the tragedy.
“I heard the sound of a loud bump' and when I turned round, saw my eldest son lying on the road.
“I could only scream my heart out upon seeing him motionless and covered in blood,” she said.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Festival cure for cravings

If it's made of chocolate, it will likely be found at the annual Chocolate Festival, slated to take place March 5 at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.
Designed to satisfy the sweet tooth, the annual event is sponsored by Rehoboth Beach Main Street and the Friends of the Rehoboth Beach Public Library. It will feature cookies, brownies, pies, cheesecakes, candy and more.
Eager bakers begin to drop off their goods at 7 a.m. the day of the event, and the doors open to the public at 11:30 a.m.
Janette Clavette of Harbeson has been a judge for 20 years and looks forward to the event every year.
"It's a tough job, but somebody has to do it," she said. "It's a great event. There is chocolate in the air, and that's enough to give you a high."
Along with the baking contest and tastings, there are a variety of other activities at the festival, said Jenny Barger, executive director of RBMS.
"We're going to have Rehoboth Cooperative Preschool here providing kid activities, and we currently have seven vendors with more to come," she said.
Barger said she's always excited to see the baking contest entries.
"We definitely have a big mixture of entries," she said. "We have a lot of downtown restaurants, which is my personal favorite, and many residents."
Kathy Pasqualini, owner of Pasqualini's Bakery, has taken home six grand prize awards and 15 to 18 ribbons.
"We attempt to make different things every year," she said. "One year we made a sweet ravioli with chocolate dough filled with sweet ricotta cheese. After we boiled them, we drizzled them with white and dark chocolate. That was a popular one."
Barger encourages attendees to arrive early as the event is scheduled to end at 3:30 p.m., or when the chocolate runs out.
"And we have run out of chocolate before," she said.