Despite her youth, the new-yorker Lilah Ramzi has made a niche for herself in the competitive world of fashion blogs.Avoiding the trend of ego-blogging, “Part Nouveau” is the child of professional knowledge about fashion and a deep passion for it. She goes further than the superficiality we’ve gotten accustomed to on other blogs.
With a degree in Fashion Merchandising and a Master’s in Costume Studies, her “ladylike” style has joined the ranks of Vogue USA although she can’t reveal her duties there.
“Part Nouveau” is an original, fresh and even educational blog. Her motto is “there’s nothing new under the sun” and to this end she spends her time in libraries and museums, as well as online, in order to show us that what we see now has already been done before.
Lilah Ramzi loves anything “vintage” and she’s got a lot to bring to the table in the blogosphere. We at So Catchy! admire her unusual, academic and professional approach and not too long ago we got in touch to find out more about her.
SO CATCHY!: Define your style in one sentence.
LILAH RAMZI: As my boyfriend likes to put it: Grandma Chic.
SC!: When did you realize that you wanted to study fashion history?
LR: After completing my undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising, I found myself unable to grasp the significance of fashion, why we clothe our bodies and buy into the cult of fashion. Fashion itself is a nebulous, ill-defined phenomena, however, one can better understand his illusive force if you understand its evolution and the history of dress.
SC!: Explain the concept of “Part Nouveau”. How did you come up with the idea for it?
LR: I decided upon the blog concept and its subsequent cheeky-name after completing a similar assignment in my graduate studies. I was instructed to identify a contemporary image which referenced a past work. To my surprise, I had no difficulty whatsoever finding a comparison, coming across countless startling remakes, and thought that this was definitely a subject worthy of further exploration.
My primary reason for posting on the blog each morning is to garner greater awareness of past works that have seemingly been lost in an industry that is continuously looking forward, rather.
SC!: Do you make a living from Part Nouveau?
LR: Unfortunately, Part Nouveau is a labor of love. Without introducing a commercial “shop-the-look” component to the blog, which I hope to avoid, I don’t foresee Part Nouveau as a cash cow site any time soon.
SC!: What do you think is the secret of Part Nouveau´s success?
LR: Presently, there’s a great divide between the fashion industry and fashion academia. Many members of the fashion industry have not studied it’s past while costume scholarship seems confined to museum walls or subscription-only academic journals. I think I can attribute Part Nouveau’s success to its ability to bridge this gap. Plus, nobody can deny a side-by-side!
SC!: What is the work process at Part Nouveau. I mean, do you see a modern picture in a fashion magazine or website and start looking for the similarities? How you do it? It doesn´t seem to be an easy task…
LR: An easy task it’s not and I can attest with many bleary-eyed nights spent scanning through Vogue’s Archivtastee and museum websites on my Macbook. There’s no formula, sometimes a comparison stems from a contemporary photograph that resembles a previous work and other times, I find an old photograph looks familiar, later realizing that I have seen it’s remake. Other than a knowledge of fashion history and photography, there’s no trick of the trade I can disclose.
SC!: What do you like most about your work?
LR: I see Part Nouveau as a continuation of my graduate studies. With each post, I am researching, identifying and chronicling significant moments in history. I grow complacent if I’m not learning and Part Nouveau is the perfect remedy!
SC!: Do you consider yourself more a fashion blogger or a fashion historian?
LR: Fashion blogger has a negative connotations thus I prefer fashion historian. That being said, at 23 I realize I am many library hours away from becoming an authority on costume history. Perhaps, somewhere in the middle?
SC!: What do you prefer to do in your free time?
LR: I am a Vintage clothing enthusiast; screening classic films, antiquing for midcentury modern furniture and Part Nouveau!
SC!: Name your favorite fashion designer…
LR: It’s difficult for me to pinpoint just one designer, as I prefer an era of clothing to an individual designer’s oeuvre. If I had a time machine, I would transport myself to Paris c. 1946 and fill my wardrobe with new look creations by Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga and Jacques Faths.
SC!: Are there any young, new fashion designers you like?
LR: I’m currently crushing on Delpozo’s last SS 2013 collection. The collection pinpointed what it meant to be ladylike in our contemporary society, something I’m perpetually striving for.
SC!: Your favorite fashion blogs and websites are…
SC!: Tell us the secret to being a good fashion blogger… A word of advice…
LR: To any aspiring blogger-to-be, I’d say find your niche and do something original. Without a fresh idea, it’s nearly impossible not to get lost amongst the thousands of personal style blogs.
SC!: Your favoite place or website to shop…
LR: Everyone who knows me would be able to answer this question on my behalf: Etsy. Yes, not your obvious choice for online shopping, but several of my favorite vintage finds were “found” on etsy.
SC!: Any item or items you can´t stop wearing…
LR: A cropped sweater from the 50s: oatmeal with a brown and black pattern around the neck and hem. When paired with a pencil skirt, I feel like a Hitchcock Brunette if there ever was one (side note: the sweater was purchased on Etsy).
SC!: Where do you see yourself next? And in 10 years?
LR: So long as people read Part Nouveau, I will continue posting. That, I am sure of! And I’ll need a crystal ball for the second half of this question.
SC!: Do you dare to predict a change in the fashion blogosphere?
LR: I’ll give it a go: I would guess that fashion blogs will move away from written contact and focus on visual. Much like Instagram has replaced Facebook.
All images courtesy of Lilah Ramzi from Part Noveau. Header images by John Rawlings, Vogue June 1, 1941 and Steven Meisel, Missoni SS 2009 Campaign.
Translation by Michael Padilla