Harriet Mays Powell Reveals Today's Hottest Trends

Mays Powell:    I think probably the most exciting thing is that you can really do what you want to do and interpret it your way.  I think…  I think that sort of the big message of this century is that it’s not necessarily, you’ve got to wear beige for spring, but if you do, maybe you want to do it in a slightly more prairie ethnic way.  Maybe you want to take it the way Ralph Lauren did it and do it with a slightly Moroccan, North African vibe to it.  Maybe you want to take beige and you just want to throw it with a whole bunch of crazy things and then wrap it with a high waist, a la Marc Jacobs.  I mean, I think…  I think that’s the fun is that you can really…  if you’ve got the confidence, you can really dress and take what you want from the collections and do what you want with them and make it your own. 

Question: What makes a trend?   

Mays Powell:    You know, once an idea to, you know, keep noticing and, you know, three is a story.  So if…  we’ve a thing on our online which is, you know, threes a trend.  So if you see three of anything, it’s sort of becomes a trend or it becomes a kind of a phenomenon of some kind.  So I think when people are talking about things and you can hear that in just different dinner parties and cultural things, that becomes a kind of [IB] the culture.  Similarly, I think, fashion has got…  you know, [with] fashion tends to do opposites.  It was very dark, fall season.  It was very Goth.  There were lots of lace.  It was quite Victorian.  It was quite [IB] as the Scots would say.  Spring is much lighter, although not completely frivolous.  It’s not dark but yet, it’s quite neutral.  So fashion is a kind of more fluid, it’s less structure.  Fashion tends to do the opposite from the season after…  the season before to the next season.  So it keeps you kind of on your toes. 

Question: What makes something classic?      

Mays Powell:    You know, I think, there is a slightly eternal idea to what is good fashion.  The idea that it’s got…  it transcends a six month thing that you could have it in your life, you know, Chanel handbag, an [IB] tuxedo, you know, maybe even a classic Tom Ford [IB] dress from his collections long ago…  well long ago in fashion terms, and Gucci.  Those classic pieces that become a part of a sort of fashion vocabulary that we use, I think that’s, if I’m explaining myself, that defines good fashion.  Something that’s fashionable or, you know, gladiator sandals this summer.  You know, everyone wears sort of Bermuda shorts, gladiator sandals.  That’s fashionable.  Is that going to stay and be good fashion and be solid and be with us?  I don’t think so.  I think that’s really a fad and a trend.  I think it’s really hard to find things.  You know, a white shirt, how is that done?  How is that interpreted so that it becomes…  without being boring and trite.  How is it becomes good fashion?  Or what you do to it to elevate it, to make it now?  I think those are things that I always consider when I buy things.  If I…  I’m going to have them in my wardrobe for a long time, if it’s a [flash in a pan].  And I think it’s great to have something for six months.  Don’t spend a lot of money on it.  Wear the hell out of it, have a ball with it, you know, throw it away, give it away, give it to a friend, give it to your daughter to make dolls clothes with.  You know, don’t be precious about it.  But then I think there are things that you want to invest in like a beautiful [IB] trench coat that you want to have for years and years and years, a fabulous Chanel suit that you’re going to have for years and years.  I think those things are classics, that are, you know, [IB] leather skirt, one of his bandage dresses.  Those are things that, I think, become part of a fashion vocabulary that is eternal and not ephemeral.  And I think that’s…  I think a lot of designers would love to get to that iconic classic state.  It’s very very hard to do.

Harriet Mays Powell discusses the latest trends, who chooses, and why certain fashions last the test of time.

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Accretion disk surrounding a neutron star. Credit: NASA
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The competition between forces from protons and neutrons inside a neutron star create super-dense shapes that look like long cylinders or flat planes, referred to as "spaghetti" and "lasagna," respectively. That's also where we get the overall name of nuclear pasta.

Caplan & Horowitz/arXiv

Diagrams illustrating the different types of so-called nuclear pasta.

The researchers' computer simulations needed 2 million hours of processor time before completion, which would be, according to a press release from McGill University, "the equivalent of 250 years on a laptop with a single good GPU." Fortunately, the researchers had access to a supercomputer, although it still took a couple of years. The scientists' simulations consisted of stretching and deforming the nuclear pasta to see how it behaved and what it would take to break it.

While they were able to discover just how strong nuclear pasta seems to be, no one is holding their breath that we'll be sending out missions to mine this substance any time soon. Instead, the discovery has other significant applications.

One of the study's co-authors, Matthew Caplan, a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University, said the neutron stars would be "a hundred trillion times denser than anything on earth." Understanding what's inside them would be valuable for astronomers because now only the outer layer of such starts can be observed.

"A lot of interesting physics is going on here under extreme conditions and so understanding the physical properties of a neutron star is a way for scientists to test their theories and models," Caplan added. "With this result, many problems need to be revisited. How large a mountain can you build on a neutron star before the crust breaks and it collapses? What will it look like? And most importantly, how can astronomers observe it?"

Another possibility worth studying is that, due to its instability, nuclear pasta might generate gravitational waves. It may be possible to observe them at some point here on Earth by utilizing very sensitive equipment.

The team of scientists also included A. S. Schneider from California Institute of Technology and C. J. Horowitz from Indiana University.

Check out the study "The elasticity of nuclear pasta," published in Physical Review Letters.


How a huge, underwater wall could save melting Antarctic glaciers

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Image: NASA
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An "unthinkable" engineering project

"If [glacial geoengineering] works there then we would expect it to work on less challenging glaciers as well," the authors wrote in the study.

One approach involves using sand or gravel to build artificial mounds on the seafloor that would help support the glacier and hopefully allow it to regrow. In another strategy, an underwater wall would be built to prevent warm waters from eating away at the glacier's base.

The most effective design, according to the team's computer simulations, would be a miles-long and very tall wall, or "artificial sill," that serves as a "continuous barrier" across the length of the glacier, providing it both physical support and protection from warm waters. Although the study authors suggested this option is currently beyond any engineering feat humans have attempted, it was shown to be the most effective solution in preventing the glacier from collapsing.

Source: Wolovick et al.

An example of the proposed geoengineering project. By blocking off the warm water that would otherwise eat away at the glacier's base, further sea level rise might be preventable.

But other, more feasible options could also be effective. For example, building a smaller wall that blocks about 50% of warm water from reaching the glacier would have about a 70% chance of preventing a runaway collapse, while constructing a series of isolated, 1,000-foot-tall columns on the seafloor as supports had about a 30% chance of success.

Still, the authors note that the frigid waters of the Antarctica present unprecedently challenging conditions for such an ambitious geoengineering project. They were also sure to caution that their encouraging results shouldn't be seen as reasons to neglect other measures that would cut global emissions or otherwise combat climate change.

"There are dishonest elements of society that will try to use our research to argue against the necessity of emissions' reductions. Our research does not in any way support that interpretation," they wrote.

"The more carbon we emit, the less likely it becomes that the ice sheets will survive in the long term at anything close to their present volume."

A 2015 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine illustrates the potentially devastating effects of ice-shelf melting in western Antarctica.

"As the oceans and atmosphere warm, melting of ice shelves in key areas around the edges of the Antarctic ice sheet could trigger a runaway collapse process known as Marine Ice Sheet Instability. If this were to occur, the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) could potentially contribute 2 to 4 meters (6.5 to 13 feet) of global sea level rise within just a few centuries."