My Inspiring Muses

faar_ysl_03We all have heard that behind every great designers there’s always a “MUSE” who prominently influenced and inspired designers in designing their collection. The late Yves Saint Laurent considered Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Catroux as his muses, Audrey Hepburn was the muse of Hubert de Givenchy, Sofia Coppola is known as a prominent muse to Marc Jacobs during his early career, Lady Amanda Harlech to Karl Lagerfeld, Carine Roitfeld to Tom Ford, Hayes Peebles to Hedi Slimane. Although it is also common that designers love to shift and add newest muses to their list from time to time. Remember my last post about “The Model as Muse” exhibition where models were celebrated as muses in fashion. Not only designers have their own muses, photographers, fashion editors, painters, writers, sculptors, movie directors, songwriters, even regular people just like me and you may have our very own “muse(s)”.

(left pic : Yves Saint Laurent with his muses, Loulou de la Falaise and Betty Catroux, photo courtesy of wmagazine.com)

Muses could be anyone, it doesn’t limit you to some specific people. But it seems that people tend to choose famous faces and public figures to be their muses, from models, actresses, singer, musicians, politicians, senators, athletes, astronauts, billionaires, socialites, scientists, activists, mathematicians, doctors, and to more religious ones, like the Prophet, Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama or the Pope. Ordinary people could also be someone else’s muses like, your mother, your friend’s mother, grandma, aunt, neighbor, your BFF, sister, coworker, teacher, and many many more. It is not hard to understand why people tend to look up to other people as an inspirational figure to their life. It’s part of human nature to have that special someone that we idolize, admire and give us tremendous inspirations in life.

Everyone could be someone else’s muse, from the extraordinary to the ordinary people. Myself, I always have several “muses”, not only ONE but A LOT! And my “muses” evolved from time to time. When I was younger, I was more into music. During that time I was more fascinated with ROCK STARS. Every rock bands from the 70’s, grunge/Seattle sound era, britpop, to female-fronted bands were the ones that I looked up to during my adolescent years. They’re pretty much my “muses” when growing up. One particular band that I was insanely addicted to was SUEDE (also known as the London Suede, in the States. The band had split and some of them reunited under “The Tears” which are currently on indefinite hiatus).

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SUEDE, photo courtesy of mtv.com

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SUEDE, photo courtesy of Getty images

I fantasized about moving to the UK for the sake of going to see their concerts as many as possible! I was pathetically obsessed with their music, their video clips, their lifestyle, their fashion statement, their eccentricity, their haircut ( the vidal sassoon bob haircut!), who they dated, anything associated with Suede. I even became really really picky in selecting my bf at that time *as in casting models for editorial shoots ;d, hoping that I would find a Brett Anderson (Suede’s frontman) lookalike as my lover. My fashion sense was also evolving around them. To me, the members of Suede looked like the male models on the GUCCI ad campaign styled by Carine Roitfeld during Tom Ford era.

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The Male Models on the GUCCI ad campaign during Tom Ford era, photos courtesy of : Gucci, thefashionspot forum

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Brett Anderson, SUEDE’s frontman in Aquascutum F/W 2007 for Wallpaper* magazine, photos courtesy of bottlingligthning.blogspot.com

When the “huge” coverage about rockstars dating supermodels in the late 90s came to the surface, I started to shift my muses from rockstars to models. There was this band Nancy Boy, whose frontman dated Kirsty Hume, a big model during the 90’s, David Bowie and Iman, Stephanie Seymour and Axl Rose, Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger, Naomi Campbell and Adam Clayton of U2, Caroline Murphy and Brandon Boyd of Incubus, Jaimie Rishar and Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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Top row: Donovan Leitch of Nancy Boy and Kirsty Hume, photo courtesy of zimbio and Brandon Boyd of Incubus and Caroline Murphy, photo courtesy of media-imdb

Bottom row: Axl Rose of Guns n’ Roses and Stephanie Seymour, photo courtesy of LIFE, hannesfashionblog.com and  Anthony Kiedis of RHCP and Jaimie Rishar, photo courtesy of whodatedwho.com

edfb1a2s7mg2m72aI also developed a huge obsession towards one of Hollywood IT-girl in the 90’s, Winona Ryder (although, she’s known more today for her infamous shop-lifting incident). I watched all of her movies, reading her interviews everywhere, I even collected all magazines with Ms. Ryder on the cover, cropped my hair to bob and then chopped it really short the way she had it on her movie, Reality Bites. (left pic : Winona Ryder on the Vogue Dec’ 1996 cover, photo courtesy of Vogue, whodatedwho.com)

Of course, I had some embarrassing “muse moment” in the past which I am kind of ashamed to admit: it’s my teenage crush to New Kids On The Block, idolizing all the cast of Saved by The Bell and Beverly Hills 90201, the Swedish duo Roxette and the mellow rock band Extreme :D How could we forget the infamous Brenda, Kelly, and Donna haircut in BH 90210 or the casts of Melrose Place ? I’m sure any FDers who grew up watching the late Aaron Spelling‘s soap operas would remember our pathetic obsession!

Looking back at my earliest “muses”, it seemed to be an unhealthy obsession. But, I didn’t regret anything. I was young at that time, and trying to discover myself, to make a statement, a point of view and to be different. It was part of my living timeline, what nourished me to what I become.

When I took a plunge into fashion as a career, my “fashion muses” were more scattered around female icons in fashion, music, art and movies, from Jane Birkin & her two daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, Brigitte Bardot, Katharine HepburnClaudia Cardinale, Patti Smith, Marianne Faithfull,  to renowned editors like Grace Coddington and Carine Roitfeld, (and I guess, every Paris Voguette editors =P).

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IT-couple of the late 60s, Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, photo courtesy of  keepfeeling.wordpress.com

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Brigitte Bardot, collage courtesy of Discotheque Confusion

One of the great thing living in the Big Apple is having a rare opportunity to run into everyone, not only famous people but also people from different social background, nationalities_countries you’ve never heard of, cultures, religions, etcAnd not too long ago, I’ve encountered one of my many fashion muses in the subway station while going home from work. She’s one inspiring editor of all time, whose works have been sources of inspirations to everyone who pursue fashion styling. I definitely looked up to her during my styling days in the past. My heart stopped beating the minute I saw her, I could feel the adrenaline rush run in my veins. No one around me seemed to recognize her, (well most New Yorkers seem to care less about celebrities anyway) but it was definitely my lucky night! I ran into her and chatted briefly about anything I could think of, while we went down the escalator together. Meeting her has convinced me to keep on reaching for higher goals, it was an unforgettable experience which would stay forever in my heart.

Today, I’m not in touch anymore with up-to-date music, many new bands with new music genre surfacing and sadly, I’m stuck with oldies music. Many newcomer models that I lost count and easily forgot. Hollywood stars and young socialites become fashion icons thanks to their fame, wealth and celebrity stylists.

But one thing for sure, my muses have largely evolved from those mentioned above, to everyday people I meet on the street, hard-working people who struggle and work hard to achieve their dreams, people from different cultures, religions and background, including you, FDers. You have given me tremendous inspirations, enrich my soul both in personal and professional levels. As I’ve been M.I.A for a while due to some new projects, this post is hopefully not the last one in FD, but I would like to sincerely thank each and everyone of YOU for a great journey! It’s been one helluva ride =)

Sources & images courtesy of: suede.co.uk, getty images, the fashion spot forum, Gucci, bottlinglightning.blogspot.com, mtv.com, zimbio, LIFE, hannesfashionblog.com, media-imdb, whodatedwho.com, music.ninemsn.com.au, vogue, essential.onsugar.com, wikipedia.org, brigittebardot.org, janebirkin.net, nymag.com, discothequeconfusion.blogspot.com, keepfeeling.wordpress.com, sassybella.com, rdujour.com, williamwest.blogspot.com, wmagazine.com