Study fashion at Parsons The New School for Design in NYC

Friday, August 15, 2008

Dead Meat

You've seen slasher flicks and sensitive gay dramas. But have you seen a movie about hot young gay German zombies who crawl out from their graves, eat roadkill and have bloody orgies in abandoned buildings—all while hungering for true love? After premiering at Sundance earlier this year, Bruce LaBruce's OTTO; Or, Up With Dead People will screen in his hometown of Toronto (CIRCA Skyy Cinema) on September 12, with a after-party DJ set by the artistic pornographer and father of Queercore himself...


Wednesday, August 13, 2008


André do Val...

It was after Steven Klein's photos of him in Italian Vogue, then Steven Meisel's photos, also in Italian Vogue, followed by Numéro and Another, that the fashion world took notice of Henzo Hülle. But the more-cake-than-beef surfer and skateboarder from Espirito Santo, a little town just north of Rio de Janeiro, insists he's just a regular guy.

In Italian Vogue (left) and Key magazine

What was the worst thing that's happened to you on a shoot?
Well, once you start being a model you learn that you need to be ready for anything. Any make-up or outfit they give you is not to be ashamed of, because you don't want it to affect your personality. But there have been some funny situations, like when Steven Klein shot me for Italian Vogue in New York. I had my body all tanned by a sticky cream and I had to wear tiny swim trunks in the middle of a park. All week it had been cold and rainy, but that day it was warm and sunny, so everybody was out and about. No one wears trunks that small in real life.

What’s the funniest make-up you've ever had to wear?
It was for New York magazine. They threw sand on my face and then tried to put some make-up on. It didn’t quite work, but it was funny in the end.

Do you wear any of the designers you model? What's your personal style?
I’m a simple guy, so it depends on the occasion. In general, I wear dark jeans, a nice T-shirt and a jacket to look more fashionable. At home or at the beach I like surfer shorts and a sleeveless top.

Do you prefer to work on men's shows only, or mixed?
Both are great, but it's always more fun when there are girls with us.

Is it true you're going out with Daiane Conterato?
No, not true. I’m single and very happy.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Peggy and Poly

Liz Armstrong...

After catching my breath from a whirlwind road trip to Chicago, where some friends and I spent a weekend partying with CSS, I caught up with Kansas City's Peggy Noland, who designs costumes for the band's frontwoman, Lovefoxxx. (Peggy has also designed costumes for Ssion frontman—and half-Boy London dreamboat, half-gypsy lion tamer—Cody Critcheloe.) We met on CSS's bus, parked behind the bare-fleshed fairgrounds of Lollapalooza, munching on candy necklaces while watching the band freak out laughing and singing wild songs in Portuguese. Clear outsiders, we became instant friends...

Peggy in her store / Ssion onstage

You looked absolutely perfect throughout our trip, even in the melting hot sun, even after partying all day and night, even when harassed by frat boys, even getting champagne poured all over you. The rest of us looked like we were ridden hard and put away wet. How do you pull it off?
ColorStay make up! I swear by it! What am I going to do if they discontinue it? Shit!

Wanna tell me the basics of how you got started designing?
The path I have found is completely unexpected. I had not intended to make clothing or own a store. My major in college, after an experience working in New Delhi, was Religious Studies. Then I applied for the Peace Corps and didn't get in, and now I am here.

Um, you were on a religious path and then you found god in designing spandex jumpsuits?
(Laughs.) You know, I'm still figuring that one out, too. I had an amazing job after high school working for a clothing line in New Delhi that required me to be there by myself for extended periods of time. It's probably pretty easy to imagine why my priorities changed. All of a sudden, clothing and fashion were a very low priority for me. It’s a Third World country and here I was, this middle-class white girl making clothes. It felt sooooo trite. Honestly, I was ashamed. Long story short: as soon as I was rejected from the Peace Corps and back in Kansas City, my priorities obviously shifted once again. A retail space opened up, and I fought hard for it and got it. Then I learned how to sew. Crazy, I know. And here I am today.

Why stay in Kansas City?
I have a retail store here that I am in love with, and it completely changes every four to six months: the environment, the clothing and otherwise. The newest installation is floor-to-ceiling Polyfil. We wanted to confuse the typical idea of what retail is so we lowered the ceiling four feet—good or bad, comfortable or not. Other than my store, Kansas City is a weird place to be. I stay focused and inspired here. A community that supports its artists is hard to find, and harder to leave. If you can get here, and if you can tap into this energy, you’ll see an incredible ambition—perhaps spiraling from an angry, even jealous boredom that attracts and demands attention. When you find yourself in a city whose energy isn't particularly invested in its youth culture, you find your source of creativity is completely unique and, perhaps more importantly, unaffected.

What's the proper name of your retail store, and what’s in it? Do you actually sell garments made of that Polyfil stuff?
Oh yeah, babe! People think it's weird, or a joke, or stupid—and I guess it kind of is all of those things. The name of the store is Peggy Noland—Kansas City, although there is no name on the window.

Word on the street is you make a lot of your own prints. Is that true?
Yes ma'am! It's true!

It seems like you're into giving form to freeform materials. Is this something you do consciously?
No, I guess not, although there is an intentional sculptural element to what I do. “Soft sculpture” is a category that many of my designs fit into.

You teach at an art school?
I’ve just accepted a teaching position at the Kansas City Art Institute. I'm the Sewn Construction teacher. I'm replacing a woman who has been teaching in the Fibers department for some time now, so I have big shoes to fill. Also this year I'm collaborating with a number of artists. Of particular interest is a capsule collection with Malcolm Stewart and Bec Stupac of the Brazilian collective avaf [assume vivid astro focus]. It's an expansion of personal work for all of us, with an emphasis on the unwearable wearable.

Let’s expand on the topic of the unwearable wardrobe. What's the point? I ain't being sassy, I'm just asking questions like a journalist. How the hell would you sell this stuff? Know what I mean?
I like sass, girl! Yeah, I get what you're saying. These pieces appeal to a customer who's an art collector more than a ready-to-wear buyer. The design and price reflect that. Having a retail space in Kansas City has been challenging, but the challenge isn't finding a customer. Customers exist here, there just aren't many of them. It's been an “If you build it, they will come” experience.

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Body Shop

photos moo
make-up Veronica Chu @ Artist Group Ltd. using MAC
model Crista @ Next
location London


Friday, August 8, 2008

When Fashion Met Music Videos: PJ Harvey

Dean Mayo Davies pays tribute...

Polly Jean Harvey—aka PJ Harvey—is, simply, one of the greatest female recording artists of our generation, and one of the best live acts you'll ever witness. Aesthetically, she keeps fans on their toes (and ears), but she's by no means a pop-chameleon who feels the need to reinvent herself every six months. That philosophy all too often implies a lack of authenticity, a resistance to commit to something wholeheartedly. Whatever PJ’s custom-made style, her essence remains the same—and that’s the difference. Here, in celebration of the diminutive diva (in stature, not stage presence), three YouTube moments...

1. This Is Love

In head-to-toe bespoke Todd Lynn—complete with ultra-long fringe—PJ keeps it simple in this video (from her "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea" album of 2000). Pretty much all you see, besides her killer look, is a white room, a Fender Telecaster guitar and a confrontational declaration of euphoria from the lady herself. Come to think of it, maybe it's not so simple after all. Can you imagine anyone else making this work? As described on YouTube: "The best video ever."

2. The Whores Hustle and the Hustlers Whore

Even in a bra and PVC miniskirt, Polly Jean owns the stage. While an outfit like this is charged with provocative connotation, she remains aloof to such unseemly thoughts throughout, adding even more intensity to the live performance at Reading Festival in 2004.

3. White Chalk (performed live on BBC’s Later with Jools Holland, 11/16/2007)

After having worn everything from pink Lycra catsuits in the mid '90s to two bootleg Spice Girls T-shirts sewn together as a mini-dress, PJ played her most recent shows in austere Edwardian monochrome gowns by Annie Mochnacz (in collaboration with director/photographer Maria Mochnacz and PJ herself). It's a look that goes hand-in-hand with the purist, almost folkloric nature of her new album, White Chalk.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Punk Private Eye

More detective work from Haidee Findlay-Levin...

As I suspected, the controversy surrounding Malcolm McLaren and Simon Easton [first reported here in April, then again in July] has really blown up in the press, with furious attacks from Malcolm McLaren against alleged con artist Simon Easton, followed by equally vitriolic and somewhat inconsistent retaliations. There is not only the matter of Seditionaries' provenance and punk's legacy, but huge sums of money have exchanged hands in the selling of these artifacts, threats of legal action have been hurled and now established institutions such as Sotheby’s, Christie's and the Met appear concerned with the authenticity of their collections. For the sake of simplicity, I thought it best to actually show you the differences between authentic McLaren/Westwood pieces from the '70s and fakes sold to Damien Hirst by Easton, or loaned to him for consideration, alongside notes from McLaren himself. These photos are all from Hirst's office. (By the way, if you're as intrigued by all of this as much as we are, Paul Gorman is an established authority on this period and these clothes. Check out his very informative blog.)

Click images to enlarge...

This Anarchy Shirt is a 1960's vintage Wemblex shirt that McLaren & Westwood customized. When McLaren couldn't personally wear out the lot of 50 vintage shirts they'd bought, they decided to customize the remaining 30-40 shirts and sell them in their store at 430 Kings Road. The result was called the "Anarchy Shirt" because the slogans refer to the Anarchist movements in Europe. McLaren was a student during the 1968 French student revolts, which framed his critique.

- The cut is short and square.
- The collar is rounded and has a pin through it, a popular style in the 60s.
- Parts of the shirt have been turned inside out, showing the interior pinstripe print only on the collar, shoulders, facing, cuff and bottom edging of the shirt as a key element McLaren & Westwood created was to make clothes look "wrong." The rest of the shirt is plain.
- The label is a faded original Seditionaries label.
- The color is reddish.
- The patch is a portrait of Karl Marx. Only his portrait was ever used because McLaren and Westwood liked his beard, and because he was a writer of ideas, and not a politician. It was his book that started the Socialist and workers movements in the 19th Century. He also lived in London at one point.
- Slogans are all written in neat handwriting using a twig on dyed patches which had not fully dried. All slogans refer to the Anarchist movement, i.e. "A bas de Coca Cola" (popular French anti-American graffiti), "Only Anarchists are Pretty" and "Buenaventura Durruti and the Black Hand Gang" (anarchists in the Spanish Civil War).
- Buttons have been replaced with simple studs.
- Stenciling on sleeve is in small type.
- Stripes and washes of color are hand-painted onto the shirt.
- The back of shirt does not have patches or other detailing, only simple washes of color.

- This shirt has the wrong spelling in the slogan. It says "Buanoven... durutti..." instead of "Buenaventura Durutti"
- It has poor handwriting
- The colors and buttons are wrong.
- The label is not white with black type.
- The slogan "God Save the Queen" was never used on this shirt, which had nothing to do with the Sex Pistols.
- Says McLaren: "We never put anything on the back. There's nothing more gross than that! The shirt was never meant to be a sandwich board. We didn't treat people like that. There were, believe it or not, even within the punk anti-fashion aesthetic, a certain sartorial elegance. So much on the original was considered, whereas this is a mishmash."

- This has the wrong color completely, and it has no stripes.
- The cut is different.
- The collar is pointed, not round.
- It has epaulettes and strange black buttons.
- The slogan is wrong. "Fuck the Rich Up the Arse" was a slogan used on the Oliver Twist Dickens T-shirts, but never on the Anarchy shirt, which was connected to anarchic movements in Spain, France and elsewhere.
- The patch has the portrait of the wrong man, Lenin.

- McLaren calls this shirt "absurd." He & Westwood never made any prints with American Express. It was not a card that was so common at the time. Also, the cut of shirt is totally contemporary.

Finally, here are more recent developments...
- Westwood and her son with McLaren, Joe Corre, have given their support in stopping Easton's activities.
- In an email from Damien Hirst to McLaren, Murray Fenton was confused with Murray Blewett, a former Westwood employee. Fenton, who openly manufactures reproductions, believes that some of the shirts that were bought from him were tampered with and, unbeknownst to him, passed off as authentic. Murray Fenton is not, in any way, in cahoots with Simon Easton.
- Testimony has come to light from someone who bought a fake from Easton online, argued with him about its authenticity and eventually got his money back, but not before concluding Easton is ignorant of the subject. Another person bought an alleged fake from Easton and is still waiting to be reimbursed. Meanwhile, he has sent the item to a London reporter.
- Paul Gorman, a major authority on Seditionaries, has looked at the Hirst clothes and testified they are all fakes.
- Examples from the Met exhibit Anglomania are said to be potentially fake. The Met has been contacted and said they will investigate.
- Someone at the vintage store Resurrection had a bad run-in with Easton, apparently considering doing an exhibit of his "collection" until it was realized the clothes were fake.
- Easton keeps pretending there are clothes McLaren doesn't know about because of licenses, etc. Sure, St. Marks place is filled with fakes, but that is not what Easton is selling to collectors and museums. In his postings on eBay, he claims the clothes to be not only "original" and "circa 1977" but that he is the only dealer "affiliated" with McLaren, the only dealer who has sold to the Met, and the only dealer to have his clothes photographed in Vogue.

And so the saga continues....

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

No Vacancy

Douglas Keeves, who famously Unzipped Isaac Mizrahi thirteen years ago, is still as smarty-pants as ever. The exhibitionist opened up to Lee Carter about his latest documentary, Hotel Gramercy Park, in which he exposes the drama surrounding New York's notoriously bohemian, family-owned luxury lodge recently snapped up by Ian Schrager...

Hotel Gramercy Park is a little like watching The Shining. What madness did you see while making it, and how possessed did you become?
The last days of the old hotel were eerie and sad. I wasn't chased by anyone with a hatchet—that came later—but neighbors practically came after Ian with pitchforks, axes and torches.

During your introduction of the film at the Tribeca Film Festival, you said you felt squeamish when you screened the finished product to Ian, who features prominently. But I don't remember any scenes where he comes across badly. What was it you were afraid of?
Ian is one obsessive and meticulous guy. And he is very mindful of how he is portrayed. I worried about his portrayal and how he would like the film itself. He had never let anyone near him in this way and he completely trusted us. I wanted it to be honest. After following his process for a year, I had become quite fond of him and very much in awe of his passion and dedication. He loves design. He could have cut corners and saved a truckload of money. Instead, he tweaked and re-tweaked every square inch. I'd say, "Ian, that's nuts. Nobody's going to notice." And without so much as a smile, he'd shoot back: "I would. I'd notice."

Serendipitously, I met Max Weissberg [grandson of former owner Herbert Weissberg] the day after I saw the film. He told me that some truly scandalous stuff was left out. Can you reveal anything now that didn't make the cut? No need to name names—unless you want to, of course.
We didn't leave anything scandalous out except for the sex, drugs and murder. The film was initially more hard-hitting, but it felt too dark and heavy.

Obviously, in your documentaries, the goal is to capture people as they really are. Have you ever had to tell someone not to act for the camera?
Everyone's different when you show up with a camera and crew. The best thing is to spend a lot of time with people. Eventually you become part of the furniture and people go back to their lives and and back to being themselves. That's one reason that docs take so much time. There's a seriously heavy acclamation period. It's once you break through that things start to get interesting.

Your other documentaries include Unzipped and Seamless. Why the move away from fashion?
For me, the fashion world was like Alice Through the Looking Glass—a weird, silly, mysterious place. Above all, beautiful. Most films on fashion only scratch the surface. I'll always feel I am an outsider and certainly never cool enough, but I do get it. In a good film, you try to look beyond the obvious. Unzipped was about the creative process, and Seamless about the heartbreaking, nail-biting business of fashion. Gramercy is about a changing world and who gets left behind. Fundamentally, they're all character-driven stories. I work just as easily outside of fashion as I do in it.

Did you know at the time you were making Unzipped what a moment that Isaac Mizrahi show would be?
It was crazy. Nobody wanted the crane or the camera on the runway. It just wasn't done, but I kept asking and begging. During the show we shoved a Super 8 camera into Shalom's hand, to take it up a notch. It definitely was a moment. Linda, Kate, Cindy, Nikki, Naomi and even Carla Bruni and Padma Lakshmi all whipped up a perfect storm.

It's been thirteen years since Unzipped. These days Isaac is having a welcome comeback. Have you kept in touch with him?
I just worked with Isaac the other day for the first time in many, many years. And in all honesty, he is so fucking good—a documentarian's wet dream.

Do you miss the supermodel era? Without the benefit of hindsight, what era do you think we're in now?
It's difficult not to be nostalgic. Whenever you look back, things were seemingly simpler. Our culture has exploded exponentially and everybody is getting their fifteen minutes. Categories that delineate people, trends and events are irreversibly blurred. It's exciting and daunting. It can be trashy, but what of it? Personally, I love Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. We all need to loosen up and stop pointing fingers.

Out of all the people in your films, including yourself, who's been the biggest diva?
Take your pick. They are all divas, but not all the time. It can make things incredibly difficult. But this is fashion, what else would you expect and what else would you want? As far as I'm concerned, Naomi for president.

What's next for you?
I'm working on a TV series with a network and I'm happy to say it's way not a piece of crap. Stay tuned.

Here's the trailer, exclusively for Hint...

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Banding Together

Liz Armstrong and gang go on the road...

Recently two friends and I planned to spend Lollapalooza weekend in Chicago partying with CSS, the enthusiastic alterna-jam dance band from Brazil, and then hightail it back home to New York by Sunday night. Of course we took our sweet-ass time getting there. We stopped in a rundown mining town outside Pittsburgh for a night, then spent another at my parents’ house in the Windy City, soaking in their rave-style hot tub equipped with a 16-color light show as Lykke Li blasted through the surround-sound system.

Finally, on Friday, we arrived at Lollapalooza, with its immense fairgrounds bursting at the seams with ladies in bikini tops and shady characters (aka potential new friends) rolling joints in the bushes. We tiptoed into the CSS bus and, lo and behold, there was my soul-twin Cody Critcheloe, the wizard behind the hi-NRG prop-punk band SSION, sitting next to the fantastic Miss Peggy Noland, costume designer for CSS, Ssion and Tilly and the Wall. Peggy—who's the subject of my next blog, a Q&A—calls everyone "babe" because she really thinks everyone is one. There's a genuine smile on her face at all times, and she keeps her hair styled in an immaculately wild bouffant. Though she'd forgotten her own clothes on her bed in Kansas City, at least she remembered to bring a stash of costumes for CSS's Lovefoxxx, which she had stuffed into a dirty canvas bag and decorated with a dollar sign, like she'd just robbed a bank and decided to carry around the evidence.

Lovefoxxx rummaged through the selection and pulled out body leotard after body leotard, one a metallic silver with polyester vines and flowers dangling off the neckline like some kind of glamorous Swamp Thing, another a burgundy crushed-velvet number with a Holly Hobby-esque doll on the rump like a pervy bustle. She settled on the most outrageous of the offerings, a bright red outfit entwined with a garish garland of purple and yellow flowers, which came with a matching halo. Suddenly everyone in the band burst into a crazy Brazilian song about a guy who needs bread and tea.

Before Lovefoxxx got dressed, we all hit the press tent for free booze, pizza and some desperately needed armpit fanning. (Okay, no one provided that last service except ourselves.) Renata, creator and star of the video for “Left Behind” (the first single off CSS's new CD) and also the band's backup dancer for the weekend, strolled up wearing the exact same neon tunic as Lovefoxxx. Oops! Most stars would freak the hell out, point a finger and dismiss the duplicate, but not in this case. They simply stomped around the fairgrounds together.

From then on, the weekend was a nonstop memory-in-the-making, the kind of weekend you can't process until after it's done and you look at the photos, thinking, “When did that happen?” We danced our brains out, sang Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” at karaoke, partied on abandoned train tracks, shopped for cowgirl gear (watch out for my new fall look—yeehaw!), enjoyed a limo ride courtesy of a club where CSS was DJing and danced some more while ripping up posters and throwing them in the air like confetti.

Around 3 am on Saturday, we called it quits. We looked like we'd been hanging out in a hamster cage, covered in bits of paper stuck to our bodies with champagne. Into the car we went and, like total badasses, headed home straight from the party. We took a small break around 7 am, found a cheap motel in our new favorite town of Elkhart, Indiana (where the McDonald's has a fancy fireplace and leopard-print window treatment) and crashed for exactly three hours because one of us had the scientific notion that any more or less than that would mess with our biorhythms. So we set the alarm, made ourselves rise from the dead and got back in the car. It was total tweaker town in that vehicle, I tell ya. We talked about everything, just to stay awake. Nothing was safe or sacred. Good thing there was no recording device, except for my camera with a dwindling battery...

Dancing at Lollapalooza / Lovefoxxx checking out costumes

Lovefoxxx and Luiza onstage at Lollapalooza / Carol DJing

Lovefoxxx and Luiza in the limo / Heading home

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

After School Special

Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm is where they grow Sweden's designers of tomorrow. Here's an early look at the young seedlings (Swedelings?)...

photos Oskar Gyllenswärd
styling Hanna Kisch
make-up/hair Lady Oscar
styling ass'ts Signe Siemsen, Sara Litzén

glasses Björn Bryngelsson (2008 graduate), vest and pants Emelie Ljunggren (2008 graduate)
overalls and belt Cecilia Hummel (2008 graduate)

dress Nhu Duong (2008 graduate), bodysuit Catharina Götherström (2009 graduate)

vest Emelie Ljungren (2008 graduate), shorts Kischn'Krantz
jacket Anders Berggren (2009 graduate), pants Hope, gloves Catharina Götherström (2009 graduate)

dress Alma Ekman (2009 graduate), hat Hattbaren, mask Nhu Duong (2008 graduate)
leotard and hat with cloth E. Kellner

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tokyo Street Style

Photos by Rei Shito...

jumpsuit: Nozomi Ishiguro
backpack: Marc Jacobs

Hair stylist
pants: Maison Martin Margiela
boots: Véronique Branquinho

Office worker
dress: Undercover
bag: Corto Moltedo

top and overalls: Goocy

Hair stylist
shirt: vintage
denim: Levi's
shoes: Red Wing

photos by Rei Shito, aka STYLE from TOKYO

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Sour Kraut

Last year they published In Clouded Shrouds, a book—or fanzine, rather—of drawings by Devendra Banhart and poems by Dana Kline. Now No 6, the little concept boutique in Little Italy, is back with Kauzchensteig 10, a book of satirical collages by Jim Drain. The Miami-based artist (and former member of Forcefield collective) spent two months living on the outskirts of Berlin to create these images mocking consumer culture...

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Corn Beef

Because we can never get enough camp (and if you're reading this, you're the same), we present the most heelarious specimens from Inside/Outside (powerHouse books, $150), a two-volume book of 1950's beefcake photos by the legendary Bruce of Los Angeles, complete with a DVD with twelve of his films and text by The New Yorker's Vince Aletti. Despite the corniness, Bruce is a gay icon said to have influenced the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, Herb Ritts and that other Bruce, Bruce Weber (we want to see his male nudes!). By the way, can you spot The Factory's Joe Dallesandro?...

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tee Party

This Saturday, Printed Matter is having its third annual One Size Fits All: Artists' T-Shirt Summer Blow Out, a bonanza of ironic, cynical, glow-in-the-dark, slogany, political and otherwise experimental tees by the likes of Larry Clark, Ryan McGinness, Jack Pierson, Scott Hug and Ryan Foerster, who made this fine specimen (ranging in price from $20 to $100). Tee-off begins at 11 am, followed by a party at 3:30, with nibblies provided by Sweet Tooth of the Tiger, a self-proclaimed "renegade bake-sale collective." Then, at 5 pm, K8 Hardy—publisher of FASHIONFASHION magazine—will stage a 50s-era catwalk show...


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Liquid Diet

You learned all about Fabien Baron's new book of photos, Liquid Light, in our Hinterview with the graphics guru, branding visionary, creative director extraordinaire and multitasking myth-maker. Now, finally, it's published and ready to fly off Steidl's virtual shelves...


Monday, July 28, 2008

The Punk Plot Thickens

Haidee Findlay-Levin puts her detective hat back on...

In the first week of July, about three months after I posted a blog on this website concerning the selling of fake Seditionaries clothing, originally made by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, I got a note from the editor saying that the suspected con artist, Simon Easton, had at last responded to his attempts to get his side of the story prior to publication. Naturally, Mr. Easton was none too pleased with what I had uncovered, and put out his own statement in an attempt to discredit me, my writing, my academic credentials, my knowledge of fashion history and what had gone down in general. But what I wrote was a story told to me by Malcolm McLaren himself. No one likes the messenger, however, and I had clearly touched a nerve.

We wanted to post the response from Mr. Easton, but we also wanted to get a response from Malcolm (or Damien Hirst, who also claims he was a victim of the con), confirming the facts of the story that I had been told. I decided to send Malcolm the response and to keep him informed. Away on a project, he responded a couple of weeks later, furious and eager to justify and confirm the story, absolutely.

In the interim, I learned that eBay had removed Mr. Easton’s listings and warned customers against any further transactions with him. I also received email exchanges between Malcolm and Damien regarding the matter, in addition to a series of emails between Malcolm and Rizzoli. It seems that Mr. Easton, who had self-published a book on Seditionaries that carried a foreword by Malcolm, had apparently pitched the book to the reputable book publisher, which was about to republish it, or a form of it, and possibly had an exhibition in the works as well. Malcolm was furious that Mr. Easton, whom he says misled him into writing the foreword for a book that he now believed was 80% fake, was further using his name to establish himself as an authority and important collector of original Seditionaries. Malcolm was also surprised that Rizzoli, along with himself, Damien, a slew of vintage dealers, and even auction houses and museums, had apparently been duped by Mr. Easton, whom Malcolm feels is not only discrediting the provenance of the original work, but also profiting from it.

Malcolm contacted Damien to discuss the matter further. He recalled being shown at least three garbage bags of clothes that Damien bought directly from Mr. Easton, as well as from Sotheby’s—all fake, according to Malcolm. He was first alarmed by the sheer quantity of it. How could so much of the stuff still exist, considering these were originally 50's and 60's clothes found in thrift stores and then personally customized by Malcolm and Vivienne out of their bathroom and kitchen with rudimentary and experimental techniques involving stamps, bleach, ink and potato cuts borrowed from their child. These pieces were never part of a large-scale operation, nor were they couture gowns to be preserved for eternity; they were clothes made and worn by punks, most likely to the bitter end.

This was reiterated to me again last weekend by Malcolm himself. Mr. Easton claims that this was not the case, and that many more clothes were made after Malcolm separated from Vivienne, and sold for many years at Boy London, a store on Carnaby Street. While this is certainly true, and I remember them well, these clothes were distinctly different from the originals and they all carried the Boy London label rather than the Seditionaries label. To Malcolm, not only were the labels cause for alarm, but the fabrics, thread and ink were noticeably different from those used in the 70s. Then there was Malcolm’s impression that the questionable pieces seemed to be by the hand of more than one person.

In Mr. Easton’s press release, he claims that he is not being sued by Damien Hirst, but that he is suing the artist. Yet in the email exchange between Malcolm and Damien, it's clear that although Damien had set out to sue Mr. Easton, he was advised to drop the case by his lawyers, concerned that they in fact had no case without Vivienne’s testimony. By withdrawing, under British law, Damien is under an automatic gag order and won't be able to bring the case to court again. Malcolm, on the other hand, is determined to retain the provenance of a legacy created by himself and Vivienne Westwood, as well as stop anyone who attempts to rewrite their history.

Over the last few days, I have seen and spoken to Malcolm several times and he is taking the matter very seriously. He has left no stone unturned in putting an end to Mr. Easton’s operation. He has contacted various members of the press, notifying them of the alleged scam. He says he has also contacted the Met (which has had dealings with Mr. Easton in the past, verified in a New York Times article prior to the Anglomania show), the V&A (which Malcolm believes owns several fakes) and other institutions and auction houses. Further, he has recently found several people who say they were approached by Mr. Easton to help make alleged fakes, one of whom agreed to be involved, one who did not, but who still has the relevant correspondence.

Only yesterday Malcolm received a call from Christie's requesting that he come in, at their expense, to verify the 80 or so pieces that are about go on the block in an upcoming auction. It was their feeling that as a result of the frenzy to separate the authentic from the inauthentic that original pieces could become among the most important and valuable examples of wearable art to date.

So what started off in my first blog as a colorful yet disturbing story of intrigue has had quite the snowball effect. By the end of the week, I'm sure all the gray areas will be fleshed out as more people come forward. I imagine I won’t be the only person absorbed with this scandal, nor the only one writing about it. To date, counterfeits and appropriations have become part of a huge crime syndicate, some say even larger than the drug trade. Ironically, there is a degree of anarchy here: new punks defacing original punk artifacts, allegedly conning the public and public institutions in the process. You heard it here first.

Simon Easton's response, criticizing me, my article and all the information therein...

Press Release – March 2008
Haidee Findlay-Levin article in “Hint Mag”

An ill informed, factually incorrect and badly written article has appeared under the by-line of Haidee Findlay-Levin on Hint Mag, an internet based fashion-gossip website.

The author of the article refers to ‘SEX & Seditionaries’ the book and has obviously mixed it up with a Japanese book produced by Jun Takahashi which is also referred to in the article. Findlay-Levin describes the cover artwork of ‘SEX & Seditionaries’ as featuring a series of pornographic playing cards. However, this is in fact the cover artwork of the Japanese book. A simple visit to a reputable book shop, by Ms Findlay-Levin, to inspect a copy of ‘SEX & Seditionaries’ would have provided her with a better understanding of the subject and the artwork of the book she purports to criticise in her misguided article.

Regardless of Malcom McLaren’s alleged comments about the ‘SEX & Seditionaries’ book it should be noted that McLaren only agreed to write the introduction to this book after he had viewed over 100 images that were to be included within it. Only once he’d seen the books contents and artwork did he happily agree to write for it.

Ms Findlay-Levin’s article states: “After all, there weren’t many of these clothes made in the first place”. Again this shows her total lack of knowledge on the subject and the way Westwood & McLaren operated in that period. Punk, as a fashion movement, as opposed to the music, lasted from around 1975 to 1980. In addition Westwood and McLaren still produced Seditionaries clothing to order after their shop closed down in 1979, and for a year or so these clothes were also sold through BOY on the King’s Road with a ‘Seditionaries’ label attached. To include the above quote is not only misleading, it is mischievous. After all even McLaren acknowledges he doesn’t know how many of the clothes were produced, and for much of the period he was touring in the USA with the Sex Pistols. Westwood and McLaren were living very separate lives for most of the period.

Again, Ms Findlay-Levin’s scurrilous suggestion: “that the fingerprints of someone young” (the author is 45, indeed went to Central St Martins to get his degree, and has not been back for nearly twenty five years) “and perhaps not one person” is inflammatory. To suggest that someone (anyone) can, at will, enter St Martins and order a few T-shirts from the students shows no understanding of academic life – perhaps this is what Ms Findlay-Levin’s past and suspect journalistic piece are sadly lacking!

Finally, on the article, Ms Findlay-Levin states that calls to the author of ‘SEX & Seditionaries’ have not be returned. I have spoken to the author and he assures me that he has never heard of or ever been approached by Ms Findlay-Levin.

I can comment, with some authority, on the claims made by Ms Findlay-Levin in her article about Damien Hirst. I took Mr Hirst to law, NOT the other way around. This can be substantiated by simply referring to the official UK Court records. Further, I am happy, on request, to supply my solicitor’s contact details to collaborate these facts.

No further comment will be entered into with regard to this article.

Email from Malcolm McLaren to myself following Mr. Easton's response...

Dear Haidee,

This is my response to your recently posted blog about Simon Easton and the Damien Hirst affair. I have subsequently investigated this myself as I personally feel so upset as to what has happened. I am presently writing a new letter to ... those in the media that I know...

I would like very much for you to post my responses so far which I am forwarding you.

Talk to you tonight. Best regards, Malcolm

Statement from Mr. Easton regarding his removal from eBay...

Dear Customers,

I turned on my computer this morning to discover that eBay had suspended my trading account and end all my listings. All they bothered to send me is a standard email which does not clarify what it is that I did wrong so I'm confused.

I fail to understand why nobody at that company bothered to email me first or even pick up the phone - obviously is easier to react like Nazi.

What angers me most is that I have discovered that they have contacted everyone I have sold to in the past and told them not to pay for goods as 'its possible I may not complete the transaction' - obviously I am now a thief! All of you that I have traded with know full well I do my best to offer a good service and I really do not appreciate being treated by a faceless hostile business like I'm an axe murderer.

I'd like to tell eBay to stick their company where the sun don't shine, but obviously trading on eBay is the easiest way to do business with people all round the World.

I shall do my best to get myself 'un-supended' or I may just open another account.

I am very sorry if eBay has alarmed you in any way with their overreaction and immature behaviour...

best wishes,

Letter from Malcolm McLaren to Rizzoli...

From: Office of Malcolm McLaren
Date: July 26, 2008 6:03:01 PM EDT

It has come to my notice that you are intending to publish a book by Mr. Simon A Easton on the Sex and Seditionaries clothing that I designed with Vivienne Westwood back in the 70s. If you go ahead, I insist first of all that you withdraw my name and my essay from such a book. Mr. Easton does not have the right to use this essay beyond the self-published limited edition already released in the UK. I request a confirmation in writing from you regarding this. If I do not hear back from you by close of next Tuesday, July 29, I shall have no alternative but to gain legal advice and then decide on what action to take against both Rizzoli and Simon Easton.

I enclose a letter for your information that I have written to Damien Hirst (the artist) today. It is a shocking indictment of the malpractices of Mr. Simon A Easton and indeed the contents of this book you intend to publish bear that out. John McWhinnie, a book dealer I know that you are aware of, recently told me how Rizzoli were informed by Simon Easton that he won a lawsuit against Damien Hirst. This is entirely untrue.

I would find it remarkable that a publisher of such repute as Rizzoli would publish such a book after knowing all the real and genuine facts. It is your moral duty to inform the public, not misinform.

If you wish to contact me further, don't hesitate to call me as I am in NY until August 1

And finally, emails between Malcolm McLaren and Damien Hirst...

Hi Damien,

I am in New York presently. That little fraud, Simon Easton has raised his ugly head again. I am shocked and confused by the allegations that have come to me via John McWhinnie, a rare book dealer who has been asked to give a party for and on behalf of Simon Easton and his book to be soon published by Rizzoli. A book, I understand and have seen, that contains much of the clothing sold to you. Clothing we both know that pretends to be work and designs by yours truly in partnership with Vivienne Westwood at the time. I am simply furious about this. But I would like to know, did he sue you? Did he win? Was it a question that he demanded these fake clothes back and in turn, you demanded your money back? And is that what he is saying by the fact that he won a lawsuit against you? Can you throw more light on this? I want to take this up with Rizzoli but I need the facts. Bless you. Hope you are well wherever you are.


Dear Damien

We will certainly not stop until this man is thoroughly exposed as nothing less than a crook. I am at present sending out to all the press that I know to pick up the story.

It is extraordinary to think that a gagging order has been placed on you whilst this rogue has been allowed to continue to ply his trade and rob people of thousands. Not just collectors, but museums, auction houses, shops, and deceive even major and reputable art publishing houses. If that is how the UK justice system works, let's blow it up.

Yes, I think your legal team are an absolute disgrace and you should fire every single one of them. I have never ever thought any English lawyer is worth tuppence. They are cavalier, and never do their job properly.

But we will pick up the fight! That, you can rest assured. You should though, whatever the legal courts say, talk off the record to Tracy Emin asap. and get the message to Vivienne, because it is a thorough disgrace. Don't let these bastards in the UK justice system grind you down. They never did it to me. And I don't believe they should ever do it to someone like yourself.

Best as ever,

Malcolm, yeah I feel really really bad about it, unfortunately my legal team handled it in the wrong way and fucked it up for me, he didn't sue me at all, but your email pretty much spells out what's been going on, I will send you all the clothes if you like, and ill get my office to send you the names and contact addresses of steve at relic and the woman who helps with sothebys, also murry who works with vivian knows simon easton as he used to share a flat with him and he has stuff to say about him. Its a shocking story this business and the balls of the guy coming to you to write something, mental, I hope you work it out man, I'm sorry i can't help you more as my case collapsed as I said and I'm bound by a court agreement to leave it alone but good luck.

HI Damien,
I just received a note from the writer on the Hint blog and Easton's press release. He is obviously used to writing this garbage defending his wares. The style is clear. First and foremost, I was not happy to write for the book because of the jpegs he sent me but because of the other writers who were contributing like Jon Savage, Ted Polhemus. He did send some jpegs of the clothes but they could hardly be used as serious reference as they were tiny images with artwork graphics all over them. I didn't give it much thought at the time and only when I looked at the book, did I realize the truth.

Furthermore, he is trying to create a murky situation between 1979 when Seditionaries closed down and another rather sleazy store on the King's Road called Boy who were for a while trying to copy the clothes and use the label, Seditionaries. That, to the best of my knowledge, and I was still living in London and working with Vivienne for the next 4 years is entirely untrue. However, Vivienne did do things sometimes without my knowledge. But the important point to understand is that clothes made by McLaren/Westwood for their shops ended in 1979. He is trying to pretend that is not true, giving him some loophole in pretense that these clothes may be part of thousands sold through Boy. One thing is clear, the clothes sold to you were clothes made yesterday.

Now we have also discovered that he was an art student at St. Martin's. so we are getting closer to how these clothes were made. But what is really worrisome for me is, the final statement that he took you to law. What does he mean? He certainly doesn't say he won. That is for sure. Which is contrary of course to what he told Rizzoli. Can you let me know more about this fact?

I would much appreciate it.


Malcolm, I've asked my office to send you everything on monday, I took him to court and when I realised that even with your help I wouldn't be able to prove that the clothes were fake I reached an out of court agreement with him which is legally binding that I could never accuse him again of producing fakes and could never say that the clothes I bought from him were fake. I will send you all the clothes and whatever else you want, one of the guys who recognisaed some of the clothes as being made by him was an old punk called debdon, I paid his taxi fare to come in and see me, and he openly copies the clothes and sells em on camden market as copies, another guy came down from sheffield and he's called murray fenton he makes seditionaries copies too and has some originals and is a big fan and he had a story that punkpistol comissioned him to make copies that he then sold as real, ill get my office to give you everything we've got on monday baby.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pink Lady

Speaking (or thinking) or pink, check out these photos of mini-colette—a bare-bones temporary version of the store (at 23 Place du Marché Saint-Honoré, through August 23) while the famed flagship undergoes renovations—taken for us by colette's Guillaume Salmon...

And here are some pics of the renovation itself...


Friday, July 25, 2008

Daft Pink

Cesar Padilla plugs Victoria's PINK Secret...

Last week I was asked by a designer for Victoria Secret's PINK line—a home run for the company, cited in WWD as one of the most visited brands on MySpace—where he could find cool inspiration in Los Angeles. My response? "I won't tell you, but I'll show you." A few calls to his travel agent later and off we were for two days in my hometown, with the bonus that I was to attend PINKAPALOOZA, a genius traveling publicity event held this time at the Santa Monica Pier, complete with 3000 TEAM PINK "coeds" and a live performance by Fallout Boy.

I love wearing the color, so when I first saw the pink facelift the Pier had been given, a wicked smile came across my face—pink floor, pink ferris wheel, pink photo booth. It was crazy, everything had been painted pink.

For those unfamiliar with TEAM PINK, it takes its iconography from the sports graphics of universities, focusing on a coed lifestyle with lots of pajama parties, pillow fights and frothy dreams of milk-white all-American boys. I love that. I want the team captain. Yeah bitch, and I'll fight you for it, too.

At TEAM PINK there was a silly rivalry between USC and UCLA, as cheerleaders from both teams circled the thousands of wholesome Jessica Simpson types and busted out their best rah-rahs. The only self-important moment came when Fallout Boy was finishing up their press conference and photo shoot. When it came time to exit and make their way backstage for their performance, Ashlee Simpson, clutching the hand of her hair-rock husband Pete Wentz, ducked in with her free hand shielding her face from paparazzi. Only, there was no paparazzi around.

Anyway, after one Fallout Boy song, I realized what I already knew, these guys weren't for me. I made my way off the Pier and headed home to L.A.'s East Side.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


André do Val cuts to the chase...

After gracing the cover of Brazilian Vogue too many times to count, Barbara Berger appeared on the runway of Givenchy's last couture show as a stripy version Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner. The next day the Blonde Runner walked for Jean Paul Gaultier. Did we mention she radically cut her hair recently?

Did you have butterflies in your stomach before your first show?
I always have butterflies before a show, especially if a like the brand. At Givenchy I got tense even at the fitting, because it is something I always dreamt of! The backstage was really warm and the air-conditioning was not fully working. But just before I reached the catwalk I remember Riccardo Tisci grabbing my hand and saying, “I know it’s really hot inside this outfit, but think it's worth it because you look gorgeous!” After that the butterflies were all gone. Jean Paul Gaultier is a very witty person. He makes you feel like the most beautiful woman on earth.

Where would you wear the looks you wore in the show?
Givenchy’s boots were adorable, as well as the coats. Good for the winter. And I'd wear the Gaultier dress to a fancy party because of the back cleavage.

Who decided you should have a haircut?
It was Ford agency in New York, together with Ford Brazil. Their fault! I needed something to make me look different and the haircut was perfect for that. The only thing I asked was that it not be ordinary. The first week I felt weird, especially going through old pictures. I couldn’t believe! I even kept a bunch of hair that got cut, but then I threw it away. What could a possibly do with that?

But did it help get work? And boys?
For some clients it was a shock. Some didn’t even recognize me before I said my name. In Brazil they never thought I would actually do it, but I think they liked it. About the boys, I think they prefer long hair, especially in Brazil, where the ideal woman is sexy and gorgeous. But I don’t mind. My boyfriend loves it and that is what truly matters.

What's next for you?
I’m in New York and still don’t know how is it going to be. I’m going to Paris to work and in August my family will come to spend holiday with me. I can’t wait!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Going Under

You had to know it was only a matter of time until Acne wanted to cover your behind (not that you have bucne or anything). Behold the debut of their retro men's line of briefs, boxers, tees, tanks and pajamas...

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Garden State

Your first look at Hussein Chalayan's new shop-in-shop at Dover Street Market, a collaboration with British design firm Block Architecture. Intended to be permanent, the space "was based on being in a garden," says Hussein, "an interplay of indoors and outdoors." Five looks exclusive to Dover, together with key pieces from the fall '08 collection, are available for purchase or perusal. Either way, take time to stop and smell the racks...

Photos by Morgan O'Donovan/Diamond Rodgers

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Thank God It's Friday the 13th

On July 16, a night of art, music and fashion called Into the Woods, held at the stunning Kronprinzenpalais (Crown Prince Palace), kicked off Berlin Fashion Week. And it was the underground event of this season, a place for fashion that functions differently. The idea came from the art-meets-fashion platform Friday the 13th, who wanted to create a serene and thoughtful place for the exchange of ideas. They assembled a mix of sculpture, installations, photography and music from international artists that included Tal R, Jan Scharrelmann, Patricia Urquiola for Rosenthal and Julieta Aranda, whose explosions of sand within the confines of a plexiglas box was particularly amazing. A sound backdrop by musician Mathias Modica of Gomma Records accompanied the display, while the lawns of the Kronprinzenpalais were the setting for Jan Scharrelmannʼs vast sculptures and Markus Keibelʼs broken glass installation. Live acts included Richard Clouston, Nathan Gregory, Wilkins and Fetish, who played till the wee hours.

—Fiona Bryson, photos by Thomas Eigenheiten

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tokyo Street Style

photos by Rei Shito...

She's the owner of this shop
one-piece dress: Keisuke Kanda

She is a student
top: vintage
skirt: vintage
belt: vintage
tights: LABREA
bracelet: Louis Vuitton

He is a hairdresser
jacket: vintage
inner: I&I
pants: I&I
glasses: MOSCOT
bracelet: Louis Vuitton

He's a model and vintage shop staff
cap: Takashi Kondo
pants: Uniqlo

He's a designer
pants: Ralph Lauren
glasses: CAZAL
shoes: Cole Haan

She is a student
We don't know what labels she's wearing, but we love her style!

photos by Rei Shito a.k.a STYLE from TOKYO

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Sniffing Glue

Hint friends Gerrit Uittenbogaard and Natasja Martens of the Dutch label G+N have come up with an ingenious way to hold jeans together: glue. That's right, no stitching. Seams are held together only with glue, which comes in a variety of colors for extra statement. And naturally, their limited-edition Gluejeans—which will launch Amsterdam Fashion Week on July 19—are completely handmade in the Netherlands. In fact, so pragmatic are Gerrit and Natasja that they make their own muesli. That is so Dutch!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Drawn Together

Up next at The Journal Gallery, new drawings by Brooklyn-based artist Eddie Martinez, who's previously shown at Deitch Projects and Peres Projects...


Puff Piece

Rick Owens walks us through the fog feature of his new New York store before heading over to Mr. Chow for a celebration dinner...

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Monday, July 14, 2008

You've Got The Look

Last Wednesday, Topman launched its newest line, The Look Presents, at London's swanky Tramp club, one of London's longest-running celeb hangouts where Peter Sellers, Joan Collins and Liza Minnelli held wedding receptions. And while Amanda Lear's Fashion Pack might have always smiled in limousines, I arrived with designer/filmmaker/DJ Pam Hogg via the 38 bus. (I've spied Kate Moss' latest fling and The Kills' guitarist Jamie Hince on that particular route, so no apologies.) Maybe people were staring at Pam's peach hair or perhaps they remember her from her early '90's semi-household name, appearing on prime-time talk shows, but they were definitely staring.

The Look Presents was inspired by Paul Gorman's gripping book The Look, a chronological record of each of London's key stores since the '50s and their respective links to the music business and wider undergound culture of that period—so good it should be required reading in schools. For anyone seriously interested in fashion, youth culture and/or music, the book is impossible to put down. For its The Look Presents series, Topman will collaborate with Antony Price's Priceless on a capsule collection of suits, coats and ties, as well as Wonder Workshop on tattoo and animal-printed T-shirts and Nigel Waymouth, of '60's cult store Granny Takes A Trip. Price, who hails from the theater business, found fame designing for the likes of David Bowie, Steve Strange and Duran Duran, as well as styling Roxy Music's record sleeves and Lou Reed's Transformer.

The dinner launch was filled with those who feature in the book, including social columnist and BFF-to-the-stars Nicky Haslam, seminal style commentator Peter York, former Playboy bunny Pippa Brooks, Michael Kostiff (whose store World has been revived at Dover Street Market) and Steven Philip of Rellik, every London fashion editor's favorite vintage store. Press included's braniac Tim Blanks (talking about the apocalypse, 2012, India and China), The Telegraph's Claire Richardson, Arena's Andrew Davis, Arena Homme Plus' Luke Day and Man About Town's Way Perry. Also present were amazing old-school drag queen Lady Bunny and Kevin Rowland of '80's music group Dexy's Midnight Runners, who penned an essay for The Look on suedeheads, as well as Kylie Minogue's best friend and B*boy underwear designer William Baker. Meanwhile, Topshop's billionaire owner Philip Green sat at the head table with Price, whose most famous customer, Bryan Ferry, hung off his every word.

Peter York and friend, Andrew Davis and Tim Blanks

Antony Price and Bryan Ferry

Lady Bunny and Steven Philip

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Giggles with Gareth Pugh and Gang

Gareth holding court in a toga, Richard Mortimer perfecting the burqa, Dazed and Confused's Katie Shillingford nearly breaking a leg, Seven's Joseph Quartana seeing porn in statuary and everyone holding poses in the "gothic garden," one of the many nooks of the sprawling estate where we were staying. These were just some of the boozy shenanigans that happened after Cassette Playa's show in Florence for Pitti Uomo...

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Get Your Sneak On

Sneakers are common yet complex inhabitants of our closets. While they may never become as indispensable as universally flattering denim, or displace formal eveningwear for anyone except Lily Allen, sneakers still retain their foothold as a highly functional, coveted cross-cultural shoe. And it can be a canvas for technological and artistic creativity. "It's often the search for better athletic performance that defines the way a sneaker looks," explains Nathan Gale, the head of London's Intercity design firm and author of Art & Sole (Laurence King Publishing), showcasing more than five hundred collaborations between graffiti artists, painters, graphic designers and sneaker innovators. The book was produced as an archive of rare running shoes whose ancestry might be the everyday athletic shoe, but whose cross-breeding endows them with a precious, privileged cult standing among sneaker junkies. "These are not always shoes you can find in your local sneaker store," he tells us. "To find them, you have to be knowledgeable, dedicated (i.e. camping out in line) and usually well-connected."

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Let Your Eyes Do the Talking

Really, what's the point of false eyelashes that are meant to look natural? All that time, patience and theatricality wasted on subtlety? No. Give me a tiara of hair for my eyelids, something fantastical, surreal and too expensive for your run-of-the-mill drag queen in a slime-green bob. Give me a set of Viktor & Rolf’s new babies, any of the three styles, all made for Shu Uemura. Swirl is a thick and luscious pair that nearly looks like a second hairstyle, calling to mind the elegant, elongated swoop of a pheasant’s tail. Wing looks like Dadaist paperclips, or the loopy fringe on the hand towels in a cheesecake starlet’s powder room. Rhombus—the arty version of the junkiest drugstore lashes that give an altogether too-alert and unnatural appearance—reveal a gold embossed harlequin pattern only visible when demurely lower your eyes. Inspired by Marcel Marceau, the recently deceased French mime, they make it so you don't have to say a word to get your point across. $170 per pair, at colette.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hedi Heads to Tokyo



André do Val grills Daiane Conterato...

Ever since walking in Prada’s fall '06 show in Milan, Daiane Conterato has worked with Steven Meisel, Steven Klein, Juergen Teller, David Sims, Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin for the best rags around—think Italian Vogue, French Vogue and Numero. She's known for her angular face and stick figure, but Daiane insists she's the queen of the barbecue. We guess that makes sense, considering she's from Porto Alegre, Brazil, land of bloody meat and gauchos...

Backstage at Neon, Alexandre Herchcovitch and Redley during São Paulo Fashion Week

Did you manage to have some days off before fashion season?
Thank goodness for that. It was lovely. I spent a month at home with my family. That was exactly what I needed. And I ate so much. That was before Rio and São Paulo fashion weeks in June, right before I go to New York for the castings and everything starts again.

So you have been eating a lot, huh?
I always do! I love barbecues. My father does it really well. I really stuff myself with meat and potato salad and all that mayo that goes with it.

Is there something you don’t eat?
Don’t ask me to eat tomato salad. I don't mind healthy food, it's just that I hate raw tomatoes.

Have you found any fancy foreigners to go out with in your travels?
I think I still prefer Brazilians. They are tender and careful. And I don’t have very much time to go out with boys anyway.

Who do you go out with then?
Mostly my friends are gay, so I normally go with them to gay clubs to dance. It's better because I can actually have fun and relax, and the boys don't stalk me.

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Greater Tokyo

Branding artist item idem (aka Cyril Duval) pays tribute to a master...

Yuichi Yoshii is my hero. The young-at-heart creative director of Tokyo's glam-metal retail temple Loveless, as well as the now-defunct Celux store (Louis Vuitton's private VIP salon in Omotesando), has always pushed the limits of Tokyo's shopping scene, at least since I moved here in 2004. I will always remember how enthusiastic he was when, as the freshly appointed fashion director of Tokion Japan, I proposed that I move my office into the Loveless shop window for an entire week. In the performance-art stunt, called THE WRONG OFFICE, I would go about my regular work with my team while also acting as a human advertisement for the magazine. I assembled a giant tableau, which amounted to an organized mess of papers, and it became a huge street success months before Karl Lagerfeld installed his office full of books in a similar project for Paris's Printemps department store.

After almost four years of brilliant creative direction for Loveless, Yoshii san is on the move again, with THE CONTEMPORARY FIX. Using guerrilla vocabulary, he destroyed his former (and popular) Aoyama restaurant, Pariya, keeping only the excavated foundations and adding metal structures from construction sites to create the very raw aesthetic of the new shop. It will change monthly and host various ephemeral projects.

It was a pure satisfaction, but not a surprise, to discover that the first guest in THE CONTEMPORARY FIX's program was renowned Japanese brand Mastermind, notorious for its cultivation of punk sensibilities within a high-fashion environment— their skull-and-crossbones logo appears on almost all of their products. Mastermind finally had their first flagship in Tokyo, if only temporary. On display are all their luxury items, from gold-coated Bearbricks ten times their size to an amazing logo-emblazoned motorbike, the ultimate must-have for wannabe-bosozoku, or Japanese Hell's Angels.

I can't wait to see what else Yoshii san has in store, in terms of both curation and retail design. I can't think of anyone else who's contributed as much to the constant rejuvenation of Tokyo's retail scene, except for Rei Kawakubo, of course, with her experimental space on Kotto Dori in Aoyama that I have seen evolve from colette meets Comme des Garcons (which I helped set up) to Dover Street Market Tokyo. And now comes news of her exciting joint venture with Louis Vuitton, launching in September. Clearly Tokyo is still the world's retail design laboratory.

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 3/3

Haidee Findlay-Levin...

This is beginning to feel like one long day, with a few naps thrown in! I overslept and missed the morning event, whatever it was. Instead I had breakfast with Fritz from Another Man and, between us, managed to have quite a critics pow wow. I tried to get some work done before heading off for an early lunch with my friend and photographer Martina Hoogland–Ivanow. She lives in Stockholm's Old Town, although we shared an apartment when I first moved to New York, and will be my host for the rest of the week. She looked great and glowing, which she attributed to swimming and saunas (I immediately signed up for both!) but as the conversation progressed, it was evident that she had that glow from being seriously in love.

We made our way back to Berns Hotel, where I was meeting Ben Gorham, a friend of the creative director/editor of Fantastic Man, one of the publications I contribute to. Ben works for a company called Byredo and develops fragrances, candles and beauty products that I had already had the pleasure of experiencing in my room and all over the hotel. [Read Hint's write-up in Beauty Duty.] He was in the process of developing a fragrance for a particular international men’s magazine, which will apparently have its own fantastic scent shortly. Ben is a bit of a Renaissance Man, not only running Byredo, but also injecting new energy into an old and long-forgotten Swedish bespoke men’s label.

I can’t say it enough, but in Swedish fashion, the focus seems very much a male domain. They have a solid grip on the concept of functionalism and refined the art of paring down design to its absolute essentials. There is a great courage of color, and they seem unafraid of wearing a bold primary or anything pink or purple. The only downside is that everything becomes quite two-dimensional and flat, with little surface texture or depth of tone.

My impression of the shows that I've seen so far this week, in general, has been that designers seem very much in the moment. People on the street are already wearing what was shown on the catwalk and sometimes in more creative or flamboyant ways. If all these clothes are for next summer, and there is still a long, long winter to get through, I get a sense that should I return in a year, everyone would be still looking and dressing exactly the same. I know menswear tends to move forward only in increments, but here there is already a forward-looking commitment to fashion among men, who seemed to fall into three distinct tribes: the squeaky-clean and posh prep who could have stepped out of a Boston college; a more modern version of that, with narrow chinos, shrunken jackets and a dash of dandy; and finally, a graphic 80's Berlin-like street style. Transcending gender was a palette of black, white and gray, spray-on skinny jeans and men's shoes. This style was especially prevalent in the collection of The Local Firm. The androgynous aesthetic was complemented with German punk music and shirtless male models, whose chests were painted with the same script that cropped up as a print on shorts that were shown over pushed-up leggings.

Other than this predominantly androgynous tribe, I saw very few women with distinctive personal style and even less of a direction on the catwalk. When you strip womenswear of its right to provoke and distill it to its absolute function, little substance or emotion are left. It was as if the street, and in this case I mean high street, was directly influencing the catwalk and not the other way around. This was my reaction to shows like Cheap Monday, the closing show of the day, and a collection that really functions best on the actual street, not the runway, even if the backdrop was of a street sprayed with graffiti. Granted there were some cool ripped jeans and denim finishes—over-bleached was my favorite of these—but this, along with their recent infusion of H&M money, was not sufficient to satisfy an audience already saturated with jeans.

I was looking forward to Minimarket, a completely women's collection designed by a pair of twins and their older sister. I was hoping a collection just focusing on girls would fair better. Granted, it was a cute collection of mostly tiny dresses—I'm talking micro-minis that should not be worn unless you own the most perfect pair of 16-year-old legs—and high-waisted mini-skirts. There were some neat shirts and blouses and the odd tailored trouser suit, but for the most part it was one silhouette. They showed bold blocks of primary color with a series of intricate tucks or a kind of smocking that added a little more surface to otherwise flat cotton. Then this capsule of styles was repeated, but this time in a taffeta, I suppose as eveningwear.

Relief from this sense of sameness came from Carin Wester's collection, shown in a park and open to the public. The music was the first clue as to where we were going, evoking images of Sylvia Kristel, the Dutch actress most famous for her soft-core title role in the 70's French film Emmanuelle. The casting was completely different to the army of skinny youths that had moved from show to show, but was a more unusual casting of atypical-looking boys from Marion Vain agency. They sometimes wore two pairs of glasses, one on top of the other, to quite bazaar effect—even for me, the world's biggest eyewear enthusiast! And the girls, in a variety of heights and sizes, were from a new Swedish agency called Kids of Tomorrow, which, according to my photographer friends, is apparently doing quite well here. Their hair was perfectly rolled with ringlets, while the lips were an obscenely bright red. There were traditional granny-floral high-neck blouses, but mixed with stretch-lace body suits, fingerless gloves and ankle socks. One of the British girls next to me commented that it was everything she wanted growing up, but her mother wouldn't let her wear. It was very much reveal and conceal, alternating between provocative nude jersey stockings with white garter belts and full-sleeved dresses in shades of peach and purple, both short and long. It reminded me not only of Swedish porn, but also of those hippie films showing Swedes hanging out in Goa or Majorca. The boys wore baggy trousers and long “grandpa” shirts in the same floral print, while there were also a lot of long over-shirts worn with a series of drop crotch knit trousers, which could also have been a sweater worn upside down. There were long cardigans, and finally, not only a sense of texture but also a most welcome sense of humor! Carin made my day.

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Alexis Mabille Takes Another Bow

and Rebecca Voight is tongue-tied...

Alexis Mabille, he of the wacky bow ties, is officially the Bright Young Thing of Paris couture, so anointed by's Sarah Mower. She didn't write about his collection when it made its debut at the spring couture last January. (Click here for Hint's coverage.) But Mabille mania has gained steam since. Bzzzzzz. Luckily, the International Herald Tribune's Suzy Menkes and Women's Wear Daily have been on to this upstart from day one.

Mabille said he was inspired by his dream of the ideal co-ed academy, but those expecting mad schoolgirls and boys were surprised. Elegance prevailed. And despite his penchant for delirious accessories, he's turning out to be a refreshingly clean and simple designer when it comes to womenswear. For men, it's another story. If Little Lord Fauntleroy were alive today, he'd be thrilled with those curvy suits and jackets in Easter yellow and baby blue. But this is a look very few men can pull off.

Mabille turned dress shirts into evening columns in black with a white piqué bib-front. And he made a simply scandalous statement with a silk sheath that turned out to be nothing but nude tulle in the back. The most beautiful piece of flesh-tone embroidered silk was left to speak for itself in a simple shell top. Ditto the embroidered pants covered with embroidered tropical flowers. Several dresses with box-pleat skirts in odd pinks and royal blue looked intriguingly off-kilter, and he had fun with lace in peek-a-boo undersea blue. All these simple pieces were a great backdrop to accessories like satin pumps with matching bows running up the back and silver belts that looked like they'd been made from grandmother's dismantled tea set.

—Rebecca Voight

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MAN Hour

Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

MAN, the Topman-backed group show and one of few genuine must-sees at London Fashion Week, is launching a range of tees and bags designed by those appearing in MAN's forthcoming show in September: Hans Madsen, leather specialist James Long and hotly tipped sportswear tailor Christopher Shannon. MAN has even gained a French contingent with fashion and art collective Andrea Crews, chosen by Colette proprietress Sarah.

The launch party, Brit Disco, took place during Paris men's week at Rive Gauche club, a massive improvement over the usual Le Baron, where I once witnessed Gareth Pugh get booted for making out in the toilet. London DJs Disco Bloodbath provided the tunes, disco being the musical micro-trend of the summer, especially of the Italo and Cosmic varieties. The air was hot with impossibly twink-like fashion editors and talk of new appointments, such as Dazed & Confused's Nicola Formichetti's new title of fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan. He sat with Arena Homme Plus' Jo-Ann Furniss and V newbie Jay Massacret, while on the dance floor, throwing mad shapes, was Charlie Porter, new deputy editor of Fantastic Man and now i-D. His boss at Fan Man, Gert Jonkers, said of Romain Kremer's men's show earlier that evening: "Helmet Lang, new rave." While it wasn't meant enthusiastically, it should have been, as it cleverly summed up the Clockwork Orange-referencing, codpiece-featuring collection. Meanwhile, in queue for a smoke, rumors of an upcoming Teen V bounced around.

Also in the house was Seven New York's Joseph Quartana and former Lindberg designer and model-cum-DJ David Lindwall, who managed to bag a Seven order for his conspiracy-theory tees earlier that day, joining Dover Street Market. At the end of the night, Cassette Playa's Carri Mundane—yet another Seven favorite—introduced me to Kanye West's ever-present front-row pals and Paris Fashion Week sensations Don C and Taz Arnold whose style was described by the New York Times' Cathy Horyn as "fascinating" and "cubist." His TI$A solo project's infectious, Ice Cube sampling, new release Vote Obama. Don C declared my Justice tee, "Fresh to Death," making my night. They then left to go to a strip club with Carri, who told them they should definitely check out Bernhard Willhelm's show come Sunday. They did, with Kanye in tow, so if he's sporting medieval tights in his next video, you'll know why.

Fantastic Man's Jop van Bennekom & Gert Jonkers, Carri Mundane of Cassette Playa
photos by Debbie Bragg

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