Leave it to fashionistas to try on new buzzwords like they’re going out of style. Whether it was our bromance with heritage brands, or the shellacking that some collaborations took, last year saw no shortage of PR-driven catchphrases and trendy terms. As with all fads, it’s time to put some to rest.
Couture: Calling something “couture” doesn’t make it hand-sewn or high class. Yet the word popped up everywhere last year, from discount Web sites to Canal Street pushcarts. It’s even uttered repeatedly on the Home Shopping Network and QVC to describe handbags, dresses and almost anything else. You can trust that the rayon and polyester cape selling for US$49.95 was not hand-stitched by petite seamstresses in a Parisian atelier.
Bespoke: A close runner-up to “couture.” Used by retailers to make their merchandise seem classier, although the items in question are not literally made to order.
Statement outfits: Does your clothing speak louder than words? That seemed to be the mantra chanted by fashion lemmings, who kept referring to attention-grabbing pieces as “statements.”
Smoldering: OK, your makeup is hot. Your outfit is hotter. You are about to combust. We get it.
Pop-up: It was the year of the pop-up store — Shiseido and AllSaints had them, as did Zimmermann swimwear in SoHo and Liberty of London for Target. Blame it on empty storefronts and skittish retailers, but the hit-and-run retail concept swept the world’s fashion capitals, to the point of losing its novelty.
Fashionista: The word has gone from describing a class of urban style-conscientious sophisticates to becoming a lazy and cheap byword for anyone with a modicum of taste. (See “hipster.”)
Collaborations: H&M and Alber Elbaz; Gap and Stella McCartney; Jason Wu (吳季剛) and TSE. Collaborations went gaga last year, making it seem as if solo designing were a thing of the past.
Concept store: Used to describe any store that deviated in the slightest from the norm, whether it was Ann Taylor’s “concept store” in the Flatiron district that featured 10 design finalists, or the OC Concept Store on Madison Avenue that sells watches and yachts. But aren’t all stores supposed to have a concept? Just checking.
Geek-chic: If geeks rule the world, it was only a matter of time before they conquered fashion. Last year, anyone who sported thick-framed glasses, cardigans and T-shirts with nerdy references was instantly labeled “geek-chic.” The hip-to-be-square term has also become a popular Twitter hashtag.
Eco-fashion: Stella McCartney made vegan platform shoes out of faux leather and cork; Michael Kors used organic cashmeres and cottons in his resort collection. Responsible design never gets old, but this term has.
DIY fashion: It’s not always necessary to knit your own mittens. And not everyone becomes a best-seller on Etsy.com. Save your sanity by going to Urban Outfitters and spending the US$8.
Heritage: Waxed Barbour jackets. Red Wing boots. Woolrich sweaters. Classic Americana ruled men’s runways last year — and the cash registers at retail behemoths like J Crew. But perhaps the only thing more played out than another lumberjack-chic man with a candy-colored ax was this word, trotted out to label the retro-trend.
Well-edited: This replaced “curated” to describe any collection chosen with a sharp eye. Stay tuned for this year’s word: culled.
Mash-up: Used to describe looks that blend multiple influences, as in, “The designer’s spring collection is a mash-up of Upper East Side girl and Harajuku girl on Valium,” or “Her aesthetic is a mash-up of East meets West.” Designers have always drawn upon their imagination and varied cultural references, so the term is superfluous.
June 29 to July 5 With women gathering rocks and men hurling them at thousands of rivaling neighbors, ritualistic stone battles were regular affairs for people living in Pingtung during the 1800s. Direct combat and use of weapons were prohibited to avoid serious injury, with the losers hosting the winners for dinner. These “guests” often acted rudely, and faced no repercussions for smashing windows or snatching their hosts’ possessions. These battles usually took place yearly, with a significant number happening every Dragon Boat Festival. The winners had rights to the losers’ banquet prepared for the festivities. Sometimes things would get out of
Taiwan’s rapid economic development between the 1950s and the 1980s is often attributed to rational planning by highly-educated and impartial technocrats. Those who look at history through blue-tinted spectacles argue that, for much of the post-war period, the government was staffed by Chinese who fled China after the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost the civil war “who had no property interests in Taiwan and no connections with a landlord class,” leaving “the KMT party-state more autonomous from societal influences than governments [elsewhere in East Asia],” writes Gaye Christoffersen in Market Economics and Political Change: Comparing China and Mexico. At the same
Certain historical statues have been disappearing in Thailand, but they are not effigies of colonialists or slave owners torn down by protesters. Instead, Thailand’s vanishing monuments celebrated leaders of the 1932 revolution that ended absolute monarchy in Thailand, who were once officially honored as national heroes and symbols of democracy. Reuters has identified at least six sites memorializing the People’s Party that led the revolution which have been removed or renamed in the past year. In most cases it is not known who took the statues down, although a military official said one was removed for new landscaping. Two army camps named after 1932
It’s impossible to write a book entirely in the Taokas language. There are only about 500 recorded words in the Aboriginal tongue, whose speakers shifted to Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) generations ago while preserving certain Taokas phrases in their speech. “When I first started recording the language around 1997, I really had to jog the memories of the elders to find anything,” says Liu Chiu-yun (劉秋雲) a member of the Taokas community and a language researcher. The Taokas last month unveiled a picture book, Osubalaki, Balalong Ramut the community’s first-ever commercial publication using the language. The lavishly illustrated book