A mixed blog of fashion goodies
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Video of the highly-anticipated Fashion East alterna-show at East End's Old Truman Brewery, where the three featured designers were House of Holland (with amazing bags by Stuart Vevers), Louise Gray (a newbie who hails from Lanvin) and Noki (styled by Nicola Formichetti). Where would London Fashion Week be without 80's big-hair band references and runway-stomping drag queens?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Despite being plied with glass after martini glass of a yummy mango concoction just before Giles Deacon's equally yummy spring collection, I managed to rally my sobriety, beat back other well-wishers and dash backstage the very moment it was over. Along the way, I caught up with Stephen Jones, the ever-imaginative English milliner and longtime Giles collaborator. He said his fave hats this time around included one with a cherry on top and a spiky pink number, which reminded me of a chestnut he told me forever ago, that to wear a hat well requires, in his words, fuck-you fearlessness.

After that I wrangled Giles himself, who said his inspiration came from 4AD, the legendary record company responsible for the distinctly romantic and atmospheric, yet vaguely sinister, sound of The Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance and This Mortal Coil in the 80s—a cult for us moody types back then. I can't think of a more apt inspiration for Giles' deceptively sweet, smother-soft dresses.

Here, a backstage video moment...

Monday, September 24, 2007

More front-row views and videos from London Fashion Week...
  • We're not the types, usually, to be dazzled by couture-y notions of elegance (give us spiky stilettos and safety-pinned leather jackets any day!), but Roksanda Ilincic rok-ed us with her floor-length silk and duchess-satin diva gowns heaving exaggerated shoulder ornamentation. The show took place over breakfast, though caffeine was hardly needed at the sight of one jacket with flying buttresses for shoulders. It was very Klaus Nomi. Total eclipse!

  • Richard Nicoll's perfectly executed collection—easily one of our faves (you'll be seeing a lot of him on Hint)—hit all the clever notes: articulated and padded shoulders, dangerously diaphanous organza and tulle, little jackets with tent-like peplum that moved up and down with each step, and fabric worked into knots in the back for just the right amount of tension. Conceptual, but not too much; futuristic, but not too much; metallic, but not too much. We give it five gold stars.

  • Modernist lived up to its name with a mostly black-and-flesh color palette, randomly placed ruffles and nip-baring tops just this side of oh-please. No big risk-taking here, but do we need to wear electric-blue sequin bodysuits with Japanese cartoon sew-ons every day?

  • Not even we know very much about new designer Clare Tough (who also seemed to live up to her name). But from what we saw on her spring runway, she was clearly in a New York state of mind, sending out pieces elaborately stitched with naive-style graffiti faces, à la Basquiat, and weighted with little sculptures of the city's skyline that could have come straight from a Times Square souvenir shop.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Front-row views and videos from London Fashion Week...
  • We've always loved Deryck Walker's directional menswear. We're pleased to say the Scottish designer didn't disappoint with his off-schedule spring collection, debuting a suitably androgynous women's line with windmill-inspired aluminium-blade detailing just as self-empowering as the real thing. At times the aluminium pieces took on huge propeller-like, statement-y proportions.

  • We first brought you Basso & Brooke back in 2003, when the bad-ass print artists were making hot pads illustrated with penises and picnic blankets with ejaculation splatters. For better or worse, they've matured since then, at least judging from their perfectly polite dresses for spring, the defining feature of which were still Pucci-punchy prints, but a little more refined, this time inspired by mid-century abstract art. Hunormous hats resembling paint palettes were a standout, but if you make us talk about Issy, we're liable to get all weepy.

  • Jonathan Saunders used to make eye-crossing, Escher-like prints, but you'd never know it from his clean, geometric lines and asymmetrical color-blocking for spring—as much of a looker as he is. We especially loved his ra-ra skirts in a papery material.

  • Lots of designers try their hand at androgyny, with varying success, but Danish-born Jens Laugesen nailed it with gold lamé riffs on the tuxedo jacket and masculine, art deco-inspired column dresses, contrasted with strapless circle dresses and A-line bow-tie skirts.

  • For their part, Sinha-Stanic worked it with sold-color tunic dresses, interesting draping around the neck and shoulders and the use of an odd tile-like material with fur sticking out like grass between stone steps. Much experimentation here, and you know we're suckers for what's next.

Friday, September 21, 2007

When Gareth Met Goth

Lee Carter covers the gothic romance...

If you were to put Mad Max, mountains of leather, ripped mini-skirts, plush white mice, Judy Blame jewelry, metal spikes, black Swarovski crystals, Michael Jackson (circa Bad) and one giant glittery cube for a head into a very large blender and press frappé, what you'd get is Gareth Pugh's spring collection—in all its deth-glam glory.

To a typically packed and cheering London crowd earlier in the week, Gareth sent out aggressive extremes in proportion and scale—i.e. crystal-encrusted epaulets the size of paniers, tight biker sleeves lined with a leather-and-buckle fringe resembling a saddle, and a hooded leather men's coat that had been sliced and worked into dangling pieces, like floor-length leather dreadlocks.

Gareth's shows have never been for the faint of heart, this one especially so, with none of the camp humor of previous collections. This was hard-core industrial goth. And yet, even if you're not a horsehair-wearing dominatrix, there were ample pieces one might say were wearable—even delicate—among the fifteen total looks.

Click the video below for front-row footage, backstage chats with Gareth and Judy, and a few seconds of Agyness Deyn bar-dancing at the afterparty at BoomBox...

MAN Power

Daryoush Haj-Najafi goes where the boys are...

For the MAN group show (the brother event of Fashion East), Aitor Throup showed a video and presentation of sculptural pieces based on Jazz instruments linking with hurricane Katrina, the death of New Orleans and a protection theme. In the vein of Hussein Chalayan, Aitor is a highly conceptual designer and a stupendously good tailor—his suits are actually desirable, think sober McQueen— and show great promise. The success of Aitor’s collaborations with CP Company and Umbro bode well; for now however as a standalone designer he lacks purpose. An Aitor deodorant would never make sense.

A Kim Jones deodorant would make sense—surely megabrand style expansion into underwear, jeans and sunglasses can't be far off. For MAN, Jones managed to bring high-fashion to this new diffusion KJ line, a cut above the less daring likes of Armani Jeans and Polo, yet classic enough for the pub. A great success.

Designer Carri Munden decided to build the psychedelic-meets-rough message of her Cassette Playa label (pictured above left) with Brit rappers Man Like Me and JME on the runway—no they haven’t hurt their legs, that limping is just how ghetto Brits walk. No one is better at British street tuff casting than Munden and her stylist, Thom Murphy, who share an optimism in youth culture. Munden has said many times Cassette Playa is a tribal thing; which concerns less the symbolism she raids from the past and more the idea of defining a gang.

Topman Design (above right) closed MAN with its slick and aspirational line, which is now producing the kind of must-have hits Topshop have been offering the fairer sex for years, mostly the suiting and coats. I want one. A few more sparks would have been nice, but overall the aesthetic w

Fashion East: House of Holland, Louise Gray and Noki House of Sustainability

Dean Mayo Davies gets the message(s) at Fashion East...

In case you don't know the score, for spring, Henry Holland got inspired by early nineties pics of Axl Rose and Stephanie Seymour to produce his first full House of Holland collection. Flicking a V-for-victory with the clothes his fans are craving for, Holland also flicks a V-for-F-off to high-street chains across Britain that have been ‘inspired’ by his work.

Consisting of patent biker jackets, studs, bright colors and crazy dyes, the collection was indeed Axl, but on acid. Skintight jeans interspersed with stretch panelling hit the spot as did the bags (by Stuart Vevers) and shoes (by newcomer Atalanta Weber). Who needs words when you’ve got action? Though Holland, ever the man of humour, clearly couldn’t resist a tongue-in-cheek reference to his roots, pasting hyper-scale letters (’T’, ‘E’, ‘A’, ‘L’) on the front of pieces. It was a textbook lesson in how to move on but not move away from yourself.

Louise Gray is my favorite new name on the schedule. With her simply-shaped dresses—variations of shifts and t-shirt dresses—her work is not, in fact, simplicity of experience. With looks often multi-layered and her ephemeral appliqué at first a little challenging, Gray succeeds with an eye for color as prominent as her eye for shiny things (think of her as a tastemaking magpie). Run the gauntlet and it's a proposition that pays off. Ask Fashion East’s goddess (and Hint contributor) Lulu Kennedy, who worked a Gray dress at The Hours’ gig at the Prada store recently (scroll down to read her report).

If we've learned anything from these bright lights, it's that it’s gonna be a colorful Summer 2008. Except where Noki is concerned, that is. With a collection that is ‘Green’ in terms of recycling and sustainability, his work is very much dark at the core. With slashed, overworked and oversized second-hand T-shirts as the uniform, the hair was the most inspiring I’ve seen on the runway this week.

Not for one second am I suggesting you cobble together an orange afro with blonde, black and whatever-the-hell-color-you-want extensions, but maybe you could take a leaf out of Noki’s book and sew some bits on your t-shirt. This was ‘Green’ as grotesque, and in a world where sustainability means political points and a soul lobotomy, it was all the better for it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Sweet Dreams

Daryoush Haj-Najafi in dreamland...

On Monday, London-based Norwegian menswear talent Siv Stoldal didn't put on a show, but instead hosted a presentation at Savile Row's B-Store. In some ways Siv Stoldal is an almost collaborative effort between the designer and Thom Murphy, who helps edit the beautifully esoteric Stoldal into something more commercially powerful.

The dream-like presentation, with its in-the-round and in-the-dark bedroom of boys in bunk beds above a pool of water, is further proof of Stoldal and Murphy's sometime collaborative genius. There you were, in the very intimate surroundings of a bedroom, near enough to touch the models wearing Siv Stodahl's designs, asleep in their dream reality. Never had I come across a presentation that managed to come across as romantic and otherworldly at once, while still being all about the tailored, conceptual, earthy and sporty Siv Stoldal male.

Other names spotted on my flying visit: Gordon Richardson (the debonair design director of Topman, Topshop's brother organisation and sponsor of London Fashion Week's MAN), Tokion fashion director Jay Massacret and London's hottest PR, Mandi Lennard.

Images Edmonds + Rodgers

Boom Boom Boom Boom, I Want You In My Room

Dean Mayo Davies reports...

London’s alt-social hub BoomBox hosted the official afterparty for Gareth Pugh on Sunday night. Due to the special, unusual nature of the shindig (namely, Fashion Week), a line longer than you could imagine built up round Hoxton Square, with much jostling and hollering from glittered up guys ‘n' gals all-too-eager to get inside. I myself waited in line for nearly an hour and a half before Lee Carter came to my rescue (with Seven New York’s Joseph Quartana) and got my heroine (publicist Mandi Lennard, wearing an amazing black Pugh coat) to let me in. Mandi wanted my grand entrance to happen via a security guard lifting me over the barrier, but BoomBox hero Nuno, working the door with Cozette (who looked incredible in a Gareth dress) was having none of that, recommending I upturn the nearest (full) trashcan and climb over on top of it. I (in)elegantly did, to much cheering from my friends waiting in the club.

Once inside, with vodka ‘n’ mixers all round, we made our way to the main room where a certain Miss Kylie Minogue (another playa in Pugh, a slashed leather minidress) spun the discs, including in her set Madonna (great reaction) and Girls Aloud (tore the roof off). The crowd lapped up every minute. For proof, you only had to look on top of the bar, where mmm-mannequin Agyness Deyn worked it out during a dance-a-thon with club kid Kabir, who is also the senior fashion editor of Drama magazine. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t pop any more, the Daily Telegraph’s iconic fashion director Hilary Alexander snaked her way through the crowd with camera in tow, capturing the most extreme looks for her new Telegraph TV project. As one excited reveller shouted on her way out: “Hilary for President!”

Also in attendence were (deep breath) Pam Hogg, Roisin Murphy, Alison Mosshart of The Kills, William Baker and Danielle Scutt, amongst Gareth himself, the regulars and all the freshly imported, transcontinental well-wishers.

With a hazy, brilliant night had by all, I couldn’t help but echo the sentiments of the new Britney tune, currently caning it out East (London): Gimme gimme more, gimme more, gimme gimme MORE!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Fantastic Men

London's Daryoush Haj-Najafi reports...

Pictures Princess Julia

I saw London performance artist James, aka Jeanette, with newly bleached eyebrows at yesterday's Fantastic Man magazine launch at Bistrotheque, whose owner, David Waddington, and boyfriend appeared naked and bumming in a recent issue of Butt. With AnotherMan Fashion Director Alister Mackie and cute photographer Benjamin Alexander Huseby, James grumbled, "It's political, darling. I was wearing Leigh Bowery, and these Italian muscle Marys kept going on and on, saying, 'I find it so offensive, how could you wear that. Don't they know their history? The Swastikas are the other way round. It's a 4000-year-old religious symbol, for fuck's sake!" Then conversation turned to imagining a contrary secret glamour fetish, involving going home and making yourself look amazing in the mirror and not telling anyone about it, surrounding yourself in gold and getting hard over those Louis Vuitton shoes with the huge crystal soles and heels.

Other entertainment included British GQ's Charlie Porter being amazed by the pen I forgot I'd left behind my ear. He went as far as to take a photo for his blog. But I've done that since I worked in a Chinese supermarket in my school days. It's quite normal amongst the working class; where else would one keep one's pen, if you don't work behind a desk?

Cassette Playa collaborator Thom Murphy showed off his Siv Stoldal, another show he styles and consults on, flashing illuminated kickers. Fashion authorities Tim Blanks, Wolfgang Tillsman, i-D fashion director Simon Foxton, Miuccia Prada starchitect Rem Koolhaas, celebrity cub Julian the Bear and, of course, Fantastic Man founders Gert and Jop where all in attendance—all proof the men's mag really knows its constituency. Most were either in shorts-and-blazer combos or Berlinesque shaved heads. Has a magazine noted by every editor who matters been this in tune with the times since Wallpaper's heyday in the 90s?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Carbon Neutral

Lee Carter reports...

Francisco Costa once told me, "I always think about how smartly Calvin built his company. I don't want to change that. I don't want customers to think differently about the label. I try always to keep the original aura, but at times what I do is more Calvin, at times less Calvin." For spring, it could have been Calvin himself—circa 1995—judging from the hyper-modern yet timeless, controlled yet weightless, bold yet ethereal sheath dresses, bodysuits and layered silk pieces with a subtle graphite pattern made, perhaps, to look like city grime.

For me, Calvin Klein is the Switzerland of the fashion map—independent, high-altitude, apolitical and without wont to encroach on other labels' territory. Unbiased bias, if you will. And there was no doubt neutrality was the name of the game for spring, from the muted carbon color palette (including incredible degradé) to the minimal cuts and shapes that were neither feminine nor masculine, down to the shoes, futuristic suede Greek sandals or men's boat shoes transformed into massive wedges. One stand-out piece that summed up the nonpartisan mood was a pair of dusty pink slacks with a halter that came out near the end. This was, and has always been, a singular vision—classic Calvin.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Boys Wonder

Bring out the violin, says Cator Sparks, because of all the events each fashion week, he looks forward to seeing friends' shows the most, among them Robert Geller (Sep. 8) and Tim Hamilton (Sep. 9)...

I knew Robbie long before he was half of Cloak. He went to Rhode Island School of Design, where I dashed out one weekend and, ahem, got in drag for a friend's fashion show. Robbie would always help me hobble off the runway and even got my haggard ass a drink. This first show for his new label is called Beuys Don't Cry, referring to the German artist Joseph Beuys. Robbie was inspired by the sober tones of Germany juxtaposed with the bright colors of sunny California's skate culture. I concluded from the mad snapping of Iphones and pocket cameras that the collection was a success. I was especially fond of the neon yellow skinny jeans and the gray fitted blazer. The models were super fun too. My favorite was the gangly longhaired boy with a Colonel Sanders bow tie.

Tim Hamilton is a relatively new friend. About a year ago, sassy stylist Sam Spector told me I simply must meet this amazing new menswear designer. I called him up, met him at his gorgeous bachelor pad and we got along like two bears at Eagle bar. His presentation was held in a 5th floor warehouse space that was a tad tepid. Who knew there would be a heat wave during fashion week? Thank god for the Peroni beer or I would of passed out—and not in the good way. Models, who lined the back wall on two tiers, were styled to perfection in porkpie hats, deep V tees, foppish bow ties and tailored shorts. As CFDA'er Lisa Smilor exclaimed, "I love Tim! He makes something for everyone!" Tim, how about a royal blue calf skin flight jacket pour moi?

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Whole Prada Love

We were elated to see Fashion East's (and Hint contributor) Lulu Kennedy at the Prada party on Friday night. The girl's a hoot. Since she sat next to Damien Hirst for The Hours concert (and mouthed all the words), who better to blog about it?...

I arrived at the Prada store (what an awesome venue for a gig!) just as the band were about to go on and had to sweet-talk my way past security guards who had already roped off the stage area. I looked up into the sea of faces and spotted Damien Hirst looking rather like a kid sent to the naughty step for timeout. He cracked a cheeky grin and beckoned me to go sit with him—not that easy climbing through a vertical wave of people, especially in my skintight dress made by new uber-hot UK designer Louise Gray. I had no option but to squeeze through lots of famousheads—oops, sorry, Vincent Gallo, Steve Tyler, Amber Valletta, Diane Kruger—before plonking myself down next to "El Presidente," as I like to call Damien. “A'right, lass?” he yelled. Couldn't be better.

Seconds later, The Hours went onstage to a nice fat NYC welcome, launching straight into their hit, Ali in the Jungle. The floor beneath me shook as the crowd stomped along to the beat. Damien, who is best mates with the lead singer, Ant, kept a running commentary of nonsense, daft faces, nudges and hilarious abstractions. A beautiful girl nearby had smuggled a bottle of champagne, which she insisted on sharing with me. Insisted!

It was loads of fun and over too soon, only five songs. Afterwards, I had a fun chat about underwear with Nick Graham of Joe Boxer while whirling around on the dance floor to James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem. Then we split for the Tribeca Grand Hotel fashion week party, which was awash with beautiful cool kids. Everyone was there—Seven New York, The MisShapes, Kitsuné, Hint and a gang of my mates from London's BoomBox. I love New York!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Tidbits from Felix Burrichter, editor of hot new architecture mag PIN-UP...

On Saturday afternoon, despite a case of vertigo (not fashion-week related!) and spending most of my weekend in bed, I made it out to the presentation of my friends at Loden Dager at Cueto Projects in Chelsea. The Loden Dager foursome— Matthew Sandager, Alex Galan, Oliver Helden and Paul Marlow—were among the first to appear in PIN-UP (they outfitted architect Jürgen Mayer H. for one of our first photo shoots) and their Ivy League/Left Bank pieces have made their way into many a closet, including mine.

Throngs of guests swilling Henriot champagne greeted me downstairs. It turns out people had spilled onto the street because the AC broke on the third floor, where the band The Great Lakes were strumming away in the heat. The likes of architect Charles Renfro, artist Pia Dehne and Hint’s very own art critic Aric Chen (with designer Tom Scott) looked like they’d been rocking the night away at CBGB—drenched shirts, sweaty hair and all. Fairing slightly better were Ellen von Unwerth, Barneys VP Wanda Colon, T's Bruce Pask, photographer Paul Graham and artists Adam Helmes and Aaron Young.

The clothes, as worn by the band (nice idea, although somehow you were afraid to look too closely—models are more approachable, I guess), looked great—inspired by the WPA (Works Progress Administration) of the federal government during the Great Depression, with sloppy hats, worn-out sweaters, suit vests and the label's trademark casual shirts in pale blues, greens and white. Also there: Loden Dager's cute new in-house model, Joakim Andreasson (whose day job is press director of HL-Art), looking impeccable in black shorts and lace-up boots—get your copy of the spring look book now!

Later, on my way to Mary Ping’s Slow and Steady Wins the Race pop-up store at the Moscot Eyewear boutique on Delancey St. (open until September 13th, though the courteous doorman, Mary's dad, was for tonight only), I stopped by Harris Lieberman gallery to check out the opening of Karl Haendel's solo show. His obsessive large-scale pencil works drew the attention of a more-art-than-fashion crowd, including famously selective New York Times art critic Roberta Smith. Also on hand was BUTT's Michael Bullock, who told me that he and Karl used to be roommates but that, much to Michael’s chagrin, Karl is straight.

The night came to an early close (for me at least) at the Creative Time-sponsored barbecue, also on Delancey, where the lady of the grill would freak out at anyone's polite request for a hamburger (“for volunteers only!”). In one corner Jeffrey Deitch held court at a table with Kenny Scharf (who we hear is in New York for two months to prepare a show at Paul Kasmin gallery), while Slava Mogutin did the same at the opposite end of the rooftop. Since this was the official Art Parade after-party, people were talking about Turner Prize-nominee Mike Nelson’s installation at Essex Market (also on Delancey!), which, in Aric's words, was ”like the twilight-zone version of a road trip gone bad” (he still recommends it to everyone). Nelson himself avoided the party crowd and hamburger shortage altogether and headed to Brown on Hester Street for a quiet dinner, while the tween art-fashion crowd at the makeshift ground-floor disco started rocking out to oldies by Deee Lite.

Objets Rodarte

Lee Carter reports...

A wet thing happened on the way to Rodarte yesterday. On a busy W. 22nd street, Y-3, showing after Rodarte, was getting an early start with a little water play—one of the themes of its spring collection (Marco! Yohji!)—and connected its runway and backstage, on opposite sides of the street, with a wall of water cascading from the rusty old Highline above. And not in a soothing face-spritz way, but in a gushing sky-opens-up way. And of course, to reach Rodarte, one had to cross it, which is exactly what Cathy Horyn, Julie Gilhart and I did, huddled under a single dinky umbrella thriftily provided by Y-3 staff. Yet apparently only my left elbow was covered because I emerged on the other side utterly drenched, as if I had gone through an automatic car wash, but without the car. This, after I narrowly escaped a water balloon hurled at me just minutes before, presumably a random act of rascality—unless there's more to Y-3's water play than meets the eye.

The unexpected shower came in handy when I finally arrived at Rodarte, a sauna so sweltering that people were splashing their faces with bottled water. And, oddly enough, water was again one of the themes for the Mulleavy sisters, at least judging from any of the flowy, wavy-cut chiffon/organza/tulle dresses, some with trains, as well as blue ombré jackets and skirts. (I was reminded how, in a Hint interview I did with Kate and Laura not long ago, they said they wanted to be beach bums when they were young.) Once again, the stunning collection was taken to dreamy, intricate extremes, with jolts of pink hair and studded punk heels (Rodarte for Christian Louboutin). Although this time, Laura told me backstage, they were inspired by a recent trip to Japan, as well as Spirited Away, the Oscar-winning anime film about a girl who gets lost in a fantasy world—very magical, very Alice in Wonderland, very Rodarte.

A minute's look at the sights and sounds...

Laurie Pike, our L.A. buddy and Style Director of Los Angeles magazine, ruminates on the Ralph Lauren show...

The Ralph Lauren show—two consecutive ones, to accommodate all the press and buyers—took place Saturday evening at the Conservancy Garden on 105th Street and Fifth Avenue. I took the subway to 103rd Street, and as I walked to the show at my appointed time I marveled, not for the first time, that so few fashion shows guests take the MTA. They would rather spend more time and money sitting in a town car. I walked through projects, or what looked like projects—nice ones, with trimmed grass surrounding brick buildings and kids playing basketball—on my way to the large tent in Central Park.

For a minute after arrival I thought I was at a Chanel show, since everyone was in conservative black and white. A woman in an embossed silver Native Americanesque belt (instead of a necklace with interlocking Cs) reminded me otherwise. Champagne and caviar were served by cater-waiters who looked like Polo models. The first song that played as models walked out in the horse race-inspired show had words something like this: “Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino, Prada…boring. Cocaine, heroin….boring.” That song, by The Pierces, and all the music coordinated by Ralph's son suggested that the decade-long obsession with luxe has imploded. (It had nothing to do with the clothes, which were in fact luxurious: frou frou floral gowns, silk cocktail dresses that Dior does better, '30s silhouettes, and best of all, menswear-looking vests and suits Ralph nails every time, plus some bright color-blocked jockey silk blouses and dresses that looked like Hermès after a whirl in an electroclash blender.)

After the show I took the subway to Cubana Café in Soho. There was one person from the show on the train with me (you can tell who they are). At the restaurant, a bartender told me that some young girl has told the New York Post that “fashion week is so last season.” Everyone is over it, he said. Could a revolution be brewing, I wondered as I viewed images of Cuba on the walls through my cloudy mojito. Could young people reject luxe and go green—not Vanity Fair green but for real green? A customer in a faux vintage T-shirt said she's over New York. It's so expensive, she said. I perked up. She never goes out any more, she said, adding, “I just I bought a house in L.A.”

- Laurie Pike

Friday, September 7, 2007

Nothing Gets Between Me and My Lobster Rolls

Due to scheduling weirdness, Hint could only spend minutes at the 25th anniversary party of Calvin Klein underwear and the launch of its Steel underwear line on Wednesday night, so we asked Casey Spooner to do the blog honors. We knew that, even in the midst of wrapping up Fischerspooner's next album, he'd make time for near-naked caged man flesh...

It's back to school! And the Calvin Klein party really felt like the official kick-off of Fashion Week. Damn those people know how to throw a party and it was EXACTLY what I hoped for. Lots of hot Greek god-like models doing their best Vanessa Beecroft imitations in a white cube high above a white room. It was our own little Mount Olympus.

I arrived with Adam Dugas and Bob Colacello, who gave us all the dirt on Calvin back in the heyday and how people like Donna Karan, Halston and Calvin licensed their names. But my focus was, naturally, on what I was wearing: a full Calvin Klein collection look from Italo Zucchelli, which consisted of a plastic jacket, see-through shoes and lycra swim pants. They loved it on the subway and that's all that really matters.

As we walked in I spotted Kimora Lee Simmons (yuck!) "trying it." We did NOT speak. Once inside, before I could even mutter "perfection" at the undies-clad models in a pose-a-thon, we were surround by friends and cohorts not seen for months. Danielle Levitt flew by, while Diego Garcia and I exchanged and wink and a nod. Mel Ottenburg, Terry Richardson and Kaji quickly followed, then Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny. And that was all in the first five minutes. We were also stopped in our tracks by the awesome snacks. I've had my share of bad party catering and it's usually the same lame fare. But the lobster rolls and cupcakes were nice and much needed after a little too much champagne.

Adam and I finally broke away from the crowd for a full lap around the party. There was a great video montage of CK underwear ads over the years. We soon saw Zaldy, Dimitri and Miguel Villalobos, but I was on the hunt for Italo as I wanted him to see that I had the balls to wear his designs. I headed for the VIP area but it looked cramped and not so fun. Slava, Brian and I watched the model switch, which was like a changing-of-the-guard and definitely the best part of the entire event. A trap door flipped open and an animal trainer flagged the models down to exit their vitrine on high. We discussed the nature of sex and the erotic. Slava, not a fan of the sterile and plastic, advocated something more earthy and sordid. I couldn't help but be struck by how slight and ungodly the models turned out to be once they were pattering through the crowd barefoot, but still, I wouldn't be opposed to Mounting their Olympus.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Repetto Performance

Cator Sparks party-hops...

Apparently every scruffster in New York City is simply wild about jazz shoes. Who knew? Last night hundreds of them showed up at Earnest Sewn's store on Washington Street to celebrate the opening of Repetto's temporary store-within-a-store.

Since 1947 Repetto has been creating ballet flats for the Opera Garnier in Paris and thin-soled dance shoes sported by the likes of Brigitte Bardot and Serge Gainsbourg. This collection was no different, though it did have a few Busby Berkeley-worthy showgirl heels.

The soiree was hosted by my favorite chic Sikh, Waris, who just flew in from his movie premiere in Venice, as well as Jessica Stam and Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, who I never managed to see among the throngs. But I did get a chance to chat with one of Earnest's main men, Carlos, who secured the Repetto gig. The reason behind the partnership? “We feel that Repetto stays true to their heritage and we like to consider ourselves a heritage brand as well. I love that everything is handmade in Paris! It just made sense for them to be here."

What didn't make sense was the bar running dry before the end of the night. Boo.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Drag Force

Lee Carter dashes backstage...

For spring, androgyny took on new meaning for Alexandre Herchcovitch, Brazil's premier provocateur who often dons wigs and boobs. I know this personally because I've partied with him at la Festa da Peruca (the Wig Party) in Sao Paulo, where, in fact, he got his start dressing drag queens. Today, however, at his women's collection, he went the other direction. "My team and I did a lot of research in old tuxedo rental shops in Sao Paulo," he told me backstage. "We transformed, for example, a bow tie into a full dress and deconstructed a tuxedo to become a jumpsuit. We wanted to play with clichés and exaggerate them as much as possible." Accessories were just as strong; men's wingtip shoes were given high heels while crisp shirt collars and black silk lapels appeared as necklaces. The only thing missing were Marlene Dietrich's pencil-arched brows.

Speaking of falling in love again, I caught up with Agyness Deyn backstage (though, oddly, she wasn't modeling, but sat front row). I mentioned how, the night before, I saw her entering the Tribeca Grand as I was leaving, but was too far to say a proper hello. Without pausing a beat, she explained how she's wearing the same pink dress as the night before (I didn't even notice) because she had a bender, crashed at a friend's place and just didn't make it back to her pad. No need to explain, darling, I know EXACTLY how it is—and I'll be doing just that when I hit London next week.

Thinner spills Arlene's Grocery

A couple of weeks ago we checked out a band called Thinner at Arlene's Grocery. Here's a video clip, with a few words from Adam Kimmel, who was there with us and whose brother, Alexei Hay, plays bass in the band...

This is Thinner's first show. Sacrificing catchy feel good rhythms for poetic expression, Thinner sounds awesome. It's real and—although the vocals aren't as clear in this video as they are live or on their upcoming LP—the words are hauntingly beautiful. And the solo guitar is ridiculously good. The singer, Rishad Mistri, delivers a song inspired by an old Indian folk tune known as Raga. He's reworked it and put his own words to it, producing, he says, "a lullaby for someone who loses someone to suicide." Also in the group are Zeke Zima on guitar (right), Jesse Murphy on the other guitar, David Frawley on drums and Alexei Hay on bass. I've heard them before and the shit just gets better and better. The name keeps changing so be on the lookout for Rishad and the band.

Une Journée à Paris

Cator Sparks reports...

Last night, Fashion Week kicked off with a Louis XIV-worthy fete. To celebrate their 100th year in the bling bizness, Van Cleef & Arpels transformed the dingy Hammerstein Ballroom into a swish Parisian lounge, playing host to an array of fashion folk and jewelry junkies. Though the room evoked Julia Roberts' wedding in Steel Magnolias—i.e. more "blush-and-bashful" than chic boite in the 7th—it was lovely all the same.

I got there at 7pm on the dot because I read that Lee Radziwill would be a host and I didn’t want to miss a second of her regal beanstalk of a presence. I cruised the crowd but saw no sign of her yet. Sigh. After a champagne or two I was escorted into a gerbil-like maze of diamonds and dames, tableaux vivants of what seemed to be underage Russian socialites wearing mounds of Van Cleef gems. My favorite was the Zip Paris Princesse necklace. Doesn’t that sound like a trannie name?

I ran out with milliner Rod Keenan for a smoke when a massive SUV rolled up next to us and a mass of photographers pushed me to the side. This is it! Here comes Lee! The door swung open and a flurry of black lace floated out of the car. Alas, it was an Olsen. Dashed hopes.

Inside I bumped into Patrick McDonald and—omg—he is with Lee! I rushed up to speak to her and she turned around and cooed, “Well Hello!” Hold on, that’s not Lee, its Julie Newmar! I forgot Patrick told me he would be escorting her to all the shows this week. She wore a billowing white dress of her own design and her hair was whipped into a cotton-candy-like updo. We had the most bizarre and amusing conversation that went something like this:

Cator: Having a good time, gorgeous?
Julie: Oh, yes! We don’t have anything this grand in L.A. Well, we do have Universal but they don’t throw parties. Well, at least not anymore.
Cator: I have to say you are a vision tonight. How elegant, glowing and ethereal you look!
Julie: Well, thank you. That compliment could only come from a Southern boy. Where are you from, darling?
Cator: Atlanta, Georgia ma'am. A real Southern Peach!
Julie: Oh, really? Where are your peaches?

With that, I point to my posterior and without missing a beat she give one cheek a firm squeeze and declares, “Nice Peaches, kid!” Julie Newmar squeezed my ass. Heaven!

I then headed to the back to mingle with Brandy Wine and Brenda Go-Go, who had been stuck outside because the space was at capacity. Before I could finish fawning over their getups, the music started blaring again and out trotted ten Lido showgirls! Tatters twirling, boas flying and heels kicking, they did two numbers that left Brandy and Brenda shaking in their heels with excitement. Next up were the Plastiscines, who roared on for too long. Finally, DJ Pedro Winter from Paris bounded up to the turntable and got the crowd swinging and spilling.

During a quick potty break, I ran into Tinsley Mortimer and her adorable sister Dabney, who, curls flying and giggles exploding, were running out to another event. I love them. Then I heard that I missed not only Lee, but also Marisa Berenson, Demi Moore, Eve and a gaggle of other celebs. Not that celeb-sighting is top of my list, but don't we all like to catch a glimpse now and then?

By this time I was fairly schnozzled and a bit blue that I hadn't seen Lee. Where did she go? How did I miss her? But before a tear could well up, Ms. Newmar glided by, gave me a kiss on the cheek and a quick pat on the ass, and bid adieu. Oh Julie, thanks for everything!

THECAST of characters

Chicly Red sums up...

Last night's menswear presentation by THECAST at St. Mark's church in the East Village was a veritable who's who and what's what in Cali-cum-NYC cool. In attendance, aside from every bold-faced and skinny-legged scenester, were Daniel Jackson of Surface to Air, Chris Bollen of V, Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos (formerly of Trovata), as well as Ryan Turner's (half of THECAST) mom, who seemed to be channeling Gena Rowlands—in the best way. Fueled by Red Bull and libations, the raucous crowd let out whoops and hollers when the models appeared on the runway floor in tuxes and wicked cool leather pants and jackets. Organized by the always lovely Audrey Gingras of Archetype showroom, festivities immediately commenced post-show with performances by The Parlor Mob, followed by The Preacher and The Knife, as well as DJs Ivan Sunshine of the band Vietnam (early models for THECAST) and John Paul Jones. The night then quickly turned into worship of a decidedly different, debauched sort.
Hello and welcome to Hint's new blog. Let the froth and filth begin.