Miscellaneous Movie Festival Outfits

Before, I used to post outfits from various underground manteau stores, such as this famous photo showing off bright poncho coats from Poosh Designs.

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However, now, since these websites no longer disappear at will and have become too numerous, it’s much easier to find such unique styles and to enjoy all they have to offer. I think I will create a post filled with nothing but links to those sites instead….so watch out for that in the near future.

Another source of cool styles used to be some movie festivals, such as the famous Hafez Prize, which yielded a total of two posts in 2014 (1, 2) showcasing some amazing manteaus which made some idiots seethe with envy and hatred. The next two photos also elicited the same reaction, although I am not 100% sure if they are from 2015’s Hafez Prize show or from a similar movie festival ceremony…therefore, this means I must post them!

This yellow manteau with black flower appliques was hated for two reasons: a) the leggings and high heels are fitted and stylish, and b) the yellow color was dubbed “screaming”. Makes me wonder what those haters do if they see dandelions on the ground…do they stomp on them because the yellow color is “screaming”?

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This short white jacket over a long black coat or dress is an awesome new frontier in manteau style, and I applaud this girl for it!

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The Metamorphosis of a Coat

So….the articles are back! First, in 2013, The Atlantic Wire published a piece on underground manteau labels, focusing specifically on Poosh, and the infamous Azadeh Moaveni fills in her part. Let us say this: she is a bit more reasonable than before, but she still makes a lot of strange generalizations that are not, shall we say, what this blog is trying to portray! First, let us read what the Atlantic Wire has to say.
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The Fascinating Fashion Evolution of Iran’s State-Imposed Modesty Garments [Let me also preface this by saying that I HATE the “M” word when it’s applied to clothing because it is a mental quality, NOT a quality that is expressed through clothing, and many of my new fashion styles I invented are, in fact, deconstructions and reconstructions of “modest” clothes]

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[I will not have identifying information on who is in this photo…you never know, or actually, you DO know what watches blogs like mine. And by the way, this outfit is beautiful but features two things that are slightly tasteless in my opinion- stirrup leggings and Toms-style canvas shoes! However, the green bracelet is stunning, and I actually have a blue one like this. ]

Elspeth Reeve Jul 9, 2013

Fashion is not just frivolous consumerism, because what we wear is a statement about who we are — Ann Taylor pantsuits mean one thing, sweatshorts with words on the butt mean a different thing. It is harder to make that statement when you’re working with state-imposed modesty garments. That’s what the women of Iran are working with. The Iranian Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry sets standards for fashion — the sleeve length, cut and fit of women’s clothes, the style of men’s haircuts. But Iran Wire’s Azadeh Moaveni explains how Iranian designer Farnaz Abdoli has turned the state-required cloaks into fashion.

For her company Poosh, Abdoli’s clothes look more casual and bohemian. She uses little floral prints you might see on dresses in Brooklyn. [BK, I throw it up!] “Though her designs are often technically compatible with state dress codes, long and flowing with proper sleeves, they are still innovative, combining folds and dress, abaas and shalwar kameez, dresses and smocks, in fresh interpretations of what can be deemed permissible,” Moaveni writes. Even so, Abdoli’s spring collection was attacked by Bultan News [affiliated with the Ministry of Torture…uhh, Intelligence] as “the spring prostitution campaign.” [To read my post about that particular instance, click here. Some history follows below, and this will be reiterated in Moaveni’s actual article, on which I will comment].

In Iran, women’s clothes have been a political issue since before the revolution in 1979. Back in the first half of the 20th century, women’s clothes showed great variety: rural women wore a floral chador, secular and wealthier women wore Western clothes, and “the black chador was mainly worn in big cities by traditional and ultra-orthodox religious women.” In the 1970s, things got more complicated: The manteau only emerged in the 1970s as a political statement by young, educated women, many devoted to leftist or modern Islamist ideals. But after 1979, when the revolutionary government sought to impose black chador on all Iranian women, the meaning of both chador and manteau were transformed. In the early 1980s, a spectrum of women who might have looked nothing like each other on a pre-1979 street began to embrace the manteau as a compromise……..

In 1996, women looked a little different:
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[This is the precursor to manteau style of today- white long coats and backpacks with KURT COBAIN!!!!! Back in those days, wearing these was not just a fad- it was truly an act of rebellion. These girls could have been arrested and beaten just for that, and yet THEY STILL DID IT!]

And in 2005:

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[Now here’s a familiar vintage 2005 manteau sight, complete with bright lime green color, cut-off jeans, and backless slippers!]

Moaveni writes that 15 years ago, her aunt took her to the bazaar to buy a big black manteau (cloak). “I felt like crying, in fact I probably did cry, when putting it on. I was young and wanted to look pretty. At least not as though I had been erased by a giant piece of black cloth.” Her aunt said there were no other options. But Abdoli’s designs show “just how much Iran has changed in the past 15 years, moving away from that old bazaar of homogeneity.”
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So, now for the Moaveni piece de résistance. There were photos that accompanied the article in slideshow form, but I have interspersed them throughout the text instead.

The Metamorphosis of a Cloak
09.07.2013
Azadeh Moaveni

I remember 15 years ago in Iran, there was no such thing as manteau showrooms, manteau fashion shows, or manteau order forms on Facebook. {There was no Facebook either for that matter!] There were only the big, mass market shops in Haft-e Tir Square that sold long, loose manteau, or private seamstresses who would sew you an attractive manteau for a fairly large amount of money. My aunt took me one day to Haft-e Tir [the most central part of Tehran, the “downtown”] and made me buy a long black manteau with ugly plastic buttons. I felt like crying, in fact I probably did cry, when putting it on. I was young and wanted to look pretty. At least not as though I had been erased by a giant piece of black cloth. “There’s nothing else,” she told me, and we walked out with that manteau. She bought me a piroshki [that is a yummy pie with ground beef inside] to cheer me up, and I remember thinking, why not, there was room for me and a 100 piroshkis under there anyway.

That Haft-e Tir day came to mind recently when I encountered the spring collection of Poosh, by the talented young designer Farnaz Abdoli. The clothes were startling, somehow elegant, edgy and Eastern all at once, and clearly intended for trouble-free wear on the streets of Iran. I was curious to know who was behind these styles, which were so boldly re-imagining the manteau and the sort of clothes that could be worn within its confines. For me, the designs underscored just how much Iran has changed in the past 15 years, moving away from that old bazaar of homogeneity — back when looking different was either highly time consuming or highly expensive — toward a new and mainstream vitality in women’s dress.

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[On the right, you can see a flowery dress manteau being worn with a mid-length red skirt. It’s rare to see this sort of style, and it looks like a dress extender.]

At the heart of this transformation is a single garment: the manteau, whose evolution from the drab smocks of Haft-e Tir to the height of today’s fashion tells us a broader story about women in Iran and the possibilities for change. The manteau, though an imposed garment, is proving remarkably flexible to change.

Of the movement underway in today’s Iran, Abdoli’s line of street fashion is the most innovative and stylistically ambitious. Coming to fashion from the world of graphic design, which she studied at arts college and then university, Abdoli brings an attention to visual art and formal composition to her work. Her designs employ a visual language and convey a whole sensibility — whimsical, often literary and playful — that her fans also enjoy following on Facebook.

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In the 2000s, when she started working in Tehran in her early twenties, she decided to pursue a line of street style, a casual, more bohemian look that to date had been absent in Iran. “People kept telling me I was putting my finger on a sensitive spot, that I’d create trouble for myself, but I was keen to see where it could lead,” she says, with a slight laugh.

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[The wood-handled bag is very nice, but oh, those stirrup leggings….that has to go.]

Though her designs are often technically compatible with state dress codes, long and flowing with proper sleeves, they are still innovative, combining folds and dress, abaas and shalwar kameez, dresses and smocks, in fresh interpretations of what can be deemed permissible. She struggled in naming her first collection, eager to avoid the term manteau, which her designs decidedly were not, and settled upon the term “street clothes.” [“You’re an industry chick, I’m an in-the-street chick!”]

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Women reacted skeptically, demanding on Facebook whether her clothes were really wearable, and her page became a forum to discuss these concerns. “There was some dogma involved, people were looking at the clothes through their own mental framework,” she says. “But I pushed them to think about why it couldn’t be worn, I asked them, ‘if it’s long, it’s comfortable, what’s the problem?’” She realized in the end that women were worried about drawing attention to themselves for looking different. In her two shops in Tehran, she describes how women eyed what others were buying, and took their cues. “Slowly people realized they could wear it without trouble, a sort of collective courage emerged.”

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Poosh’s latest spring collection provoked an outcry in conservative websites earlier this year, when the site Bultan News attacked it as “the spring prostitution campaign”, accusing Abdoli of offending morality in a fashion plot coordinated by “outside elements.” Outraged comments on the site cried for the “intervention of the clerics,” and lamented the lack of ‘”gheyrat’ in northern Tehran, viewed as the locale for such sartorial transgression. The furor spread over Facebook, and Abdoli says what was intended as a work of fashion originality within the restrictions was interpreted as taboo breaking, an offense to people’s morality that she never intended. [I personally would INTEND to offend their morality because these people NEED to be offended, but that is just me, and my blog already offends them!!!]

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“I wear these clothes, my sister wears them, and we need to feel secure when we’re walking down the street together,” she says. That dignity of not being harassed, either by morality police or even ordinary citizens, is central to her work. If anything, her collections are remarkable for their promotion of a more down to earth look, with a noticeable absence of any logo or designer accessories, and models who are minimally made up by Iranian standards. If she is pushing the boundary of what constitutes a manteau, she’s doing so with less sexualized images of women, and a reminder that simplicity is also beautiful. [Sexualization is in the eye of the beholder. The way I wear manteau style outfits makes them THE most sexual item I have ever worn. That’s all I have to say, and come on, tell me the outfits below, especially the one on the left, are NOT modern or sexy!!!]

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If Abdoli is experimenting with how far the manteau can pushed, there’s also a boom in designers working successfully around its traditional form. Many young manteau designers say the atmosphere today is open enough to encourage both inspiration and real entrepreneurship. They say demand is high, reflecting a wider market for manteau — a distinctly modern, Iranian garment — than any time in recent history. [And a global garment at the same time, Western and Eastern, with such a vibrant, strong, and yes, I have to say it, SEXUAL message!]

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If clothes are a marker of how a society experiences change, then the rise of the manteau reflects just how dramatically Iranian society and values have been transformed in the past forty years. Until the 1970s, women in Iran dressed with great variation and mainly according to social background: rural women and those in smaller cities favoured chador chit or floral chador , less religious urban middle-to-upper class women wore Westernized clothing, while the black chador was mainly worn in big cities by traditional and ultra-orthodox religious women.

The manteau only emerged in the 1970s as a political statement by young, educated women, many devoted to leftist or modern Islamist ideals. [Oh jeez, so now manteaus are affiliated with Communists??? This is why Moaveni is ridiculous to me – no matter what some people invent, manteau started out as a EUROPEAN trench coat. Plain and simple.]. But after 1979, when the revolutionary government sought to impose black chador on all Iranian women, the meaning of both chador and manteau were transformed. In the early 1980s, a spectrum of women who might have looked nothing like each other on a pre-1979 street began to embrace the manteau as a compromise. [The only religion of the outfit below is one of loving modern life!]

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Even for religious women, says the scholar Ziba Mir-Hosseini, the chador declined as the superior form of hejab hejab-e bartar, as society began to equate black chador with extremist-political-state Islam. “The hejab as protest started up again, with women choosing themselves what to wear, with individual tastes,” she says. “The chador’s message became hezbollahi, and the manteau’s message became modern, reformist Islam.”

These shifts mean that the manteau today is performing multiple duties: the shared dress of secular women who wear hejab only because it’s legally required, [mainly it’s this duty] to religiously observant women from traditional families. In between are the multitudes of women who are slightly religious, who dance at mixed family parties and have boyfriends, but fast during Ramadan and wouldn’t call themselves secular.[but they are secular because they do not impose their religious identity on any others through a state framework! Moaveni once again contradicts herself!] These women require clothes that reflect that mixed identity, and for them, the fashion manteau revolution is an acknowledgement of their very existence.

Some manteau designers, like Ava Farsad {Could this be a typo? There is a manteau company called Ava Farsar] and Elnaz Asl, work imaginatively with textile and cut, while staying within the confines of what society agrees is a manteau. Asl describes an open climate where there is high demand and ease of work, and an Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry approved Group for Iranian Dress Designers. Three of her pieces were featured in the fashion show of the Fajr Film Festival. She describes customers who shop in her showroom with husbands who advise them on sleeve length and openness of a collar: “In design, I don’t accept any limitations, the customer picks and according to her choices, we start to limit the manteau.”

Farsad works with bright colors and a fresh range of textiles, but follows the officially approved manteau’s conventions of length and cut. She’s keen to develop her brand and operate on a large scale for a wide market of customers. She doesn’t do catwalks, and many of her clients are veiled women looking for manteau they can work at the workplace and in private settings. “I don’t like working underground, I don’t want any headache,” she says.

{This is an Ava Farsar manteau below from sometime in 2011-2013…could this be the same designer?]
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What struck me the most in reporting this piece was that all of the designers I spoke to were excited and inspired by their work, and viewed the restrictions they faced as creative challenges rather than an inhibition. Perhaps they had to say that when talking to a journalist, but I felt they were sincere. Abdoli, for example, chose herself not to head to Milan or Paris at the start of her career; she saw those places as saturated, and wanted the challenge of producing effective, wearable designs in Iran.

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Everyone agreed that the terrible economy was affecting their businesses to a certain degree, with materials growing more expensive and clients who previously bought five manteau a year now down to perhaps just two.

They all said that they wore their own designs on the streets of Iran without hassle, though Abdoli was honest on this point: “These aren’t clothes for going to the supermarket or the vegetable seller or taking a walk in Park Mellat. [BUT THEY ARE- and thousands of photos on this site prove it!] Some people want to hit 150 targets with just one arrow.” Perhaps that desire is actually for something broader that has yet to come: the ability to wear the same clothes in every corner of one’s city, a life in which that is possible.

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[These poncho manteaus, paired with gorgeous patterned leggings, are some of the best Poosh styles I have seen yet. And yes, Poosh does have some newer collections, and I will post those at some point!]

Poosh Designs 2012-13 Preview- They Hate When I’m On….

Ahh, spring…the time when manteau fashions become the hottest ever and the time when manteau haters emerge from their slumber in full force with invective, threats, and crackdowns galore. While the last stage has not been reached yet, the first two are in full force right now. A manteau hater mouthpiece published an invective-filled piece on one of those underground manteau fashion labels (similar to Aida Rahimi Collection, which I posted a while back) called Poosh Designs. The funny thing is that I was planning to post Poosh Designs anyway, in my underground fashion series (I still have 6 more labels to post, including Manto Galleria, Deja Vu Designs, Donya Collection, Roya Collection, and 2 brand new ones called La Neige and Le Papillon, plus brand new 2013 styles from Aida Rahimi Collection..and these are NOT ALL that there is!). Well, it seems that “they” found out about Poosh Designs and immediately trashed it under the name…and I kid you not..”Promoting Prostitution!”. ROFLMAO……I just have two comments to the man who wrote this shit: 1) So you ADMIT that you would pay money to have sex with a woman in a glamorous, sexy manteau outfit, whom you are supposed to hate and curse? I KNEW IT- all you haters are too busy pleasuring yourselves to my blog and to our style! Sad, sick little people! The funny thing is most of us would hold it down for you, if you weren’t such assholes! and 2) When I go out in my manteau style fitted tunics, I have never gotten any propositions. My fiance likes them, though, because of how fitted and meaningful they are!

The photos below are the photos selected by the haters as the most “vile” in their eyes, so I posted them just to show what kind of gorgeous, glamorous, inventive manteau styles make them seethe and make us proud.

There are two dress manteaus (the beige one I can see as especially sexy, as it is fitted to the body’s curves well and is worn as a dress over leggings/thick tights) and one open yellow coat worn with harem pants! These styles are from Poosh Designs’ summer 2012 line.

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Fall 2012 Color Knits line features this assortment of bright tunics worn over thick tights, leggings, or skinny vinyl pants- HOTNESS!

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Brand new spring 2013 Poosh fashions feature a little black dress with an open flower printed tunic with contrasting bright edging- hot look! Plus, look at those scarves- they are made to look like multiple pieces of fabric knotted together!

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Another spring 2013 look features a watercolor-printed trench coat, black leggings, canvas slip-on shoes, and a gorgeous ombre scarf. This is such a familiar, urban style to me- how can it elicit violent reactions? Note that Poosh published its models’ and photographers’ names on some photos. I have removed them because I will not put these people’s lives in jeopardy- I know the haters read my blog for sure…

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This winter 2012 coat from Poosh’s Fast Forward line elicits the familiar hater reaction for two reasons- it’s short (with an asymmetrically cut hem) and it’s bright red. Anyone else sick of the same ol’ same ol’ idiocy? I thought so….

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And for good measure, the haters also threw in this close-up from a “Student Manteau Expose Spectacular” they did back in 2011, showing off a gorgeous hairstyle with a rhinestone flower pin fully exposed with pride! Gotta love the throwbacks!

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This is just a little preview…you will see more Poosh Designs very soon!