The most effective looks are often understated. Sure, collections like Alexander McQueen’s last
- gold-speckled and baroque - impact us emotionally; but the glitz and manicured perfection of runways, thankfully, don’t rule our everyday (where would one actually a wear a coat made out of lacquered gold feathers?).
A practical interpretation of runway extravagance arrives every season in accents. This fall, we see gold-plated buttons dotting silk blouses (DVF), dramatic capes trimmed into waist-defining jackets (Mason’s), and spools of lace tamed into a shift dress (Malene Birger) -- all of which can be found at a Mark Shale store. Regardless of the season, ornate fashions work best when they’re edited into wearable expressions of our own personalities. And, this style of minimal eccentricity is worn well by musician Annie Clark, the voice and songwriter of St. Vincent
Like her style, Clark’s voice is modest but confident. Guitar riffs, tambourine chimes, clarinet breakdowns, and synthesizers appear across Strange Mercy, St. Vincent’s latest full-length release, but never encroach on her singing or bog down the songs. Clark composes with a steady hand, and uses instrumentals to accent her voice. She embraces her femininity on the record, when she’s crooning that she can’t be undressed in “Dilettante”-- a song that stands out for its understated but unyielding nature.
Her femininity is offset by an edge - or vice-versa. A lot of the album is about fear, and, in places, it’s difficult to tell if she’s struggling with it or causing it. In the propulsive pop single, “Surgeon,” she balances beauty and darkness in its refrain, and builds it from an entry in Marilyn Monroe’s diary. “Best finest surgeon/come cut me open,” she sings. Crafting her music and style with a familiarity, Clark uses classic structures and influences as blueprints, but never sacrifices her originality.
Annie Clark has an elegant simplicity, but a toughness that rises to the surface - and reminds us of Danish designer Malene Birger. “Queen of Fashion in Copenhagen,” a title she received from MTV Europe, Malene Birger isn’t radically changing fashion, but she is injecting new life into it with eccentric accents on re-imagined classics. Transforming a boxy tweed jacket with gold studs and zippers, a pleated blouse with a Vitamin-C orange hue, or a flesh-toned shell with a deco arrangement of emerald-cut rhinestones, Malene is a runway designer whose architecture and forward sensibilities are already appropriate for both the office and catching a show.
Listen to "Dilettante" and "Surgeon" below.
-- Marissa Muller, Marketing Coordinator