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Monday, March 31, 2008

Some prefer to wear fragrance as a veil; others want a coat of armor. To satisfy this need for either subtlety or strength, perfumers release their potions in different delivery systems. Diptyque just cut the ribbon on their first dabbling in the traditional art of cologne, the most delicate in perfume concentrate. The resulting three L'eaus (des Hesperides, de L'eau, de Neroli)—all more sparkling, herby versions of previously released favorites—linger just long enough to spark up witty conversation, then dash before the repartee gets too deep. My favorite is the L'eau de Neroli, which works well as a cologne—most neroli fragrances in eau de parfum concentration are way too hot and deep, over-saturated and overwrought. This one prances on my aura. $145 each at Diptyque boutiques, Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman.

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A month of London goings-on, as seen by Fred Butler...


Feb 20: Performance artist Scottee backstage at the Brit Awards after-party
Mar 11: "Giraffe" faux-fur garment by Yang Du at the Central St Martins MA graduate static showcase



Mar 13: B Store preview of the "Previous Arrangements" exhibition by Shona Heath and Tim Gutt
Mar 15: Hair stylist Lyndell Mansfield at her fantasy fancy-dress birthday party



Mar 7: The Bloomberg building lit up for the private viewing of "Art Futures 2008"


Mar 18: Maki making cloud props in our studio for a Tim Walker photo shoot

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Text and photos by PLAY, Hint's style-hunter in Zurich...

Founded by Alexander Brenninkmeijer (of European textiles giant C&A) in 2004, the German label Clemens en August combines old-fashioned craftsmanship with a unique business model. Each collection, limited to 40 minimal yet funky staples, is available for only three days at a gallery or museum on a worldwide tour of select cities, thus avoiding the expense of a shop or ad campaign. These impromptu images—with latex parkas by Clemens en August—were taken in the last pit stop of Zurich, at the Hauser & Wirth gallery. Next up is the Goethe Institute in New York (1014 Fifth Avenue @ 83rd St., March 29 - April 1), followed by Berlin, Munich and London.


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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Pics from the Rodarte party at Submercer Thursday night, celebrating the Mulleavy sisters' cover of Me magazine. Here, we have Kate Mulleavy & Patrick Li, Chloë Sevigny & Humberto Leon, and my dates (and esteemed Hint Blog contributors) Casey Spooner & Haidee Findlay-Levin. Cameras weren't allowed inside, but I remember seeing—between swigs of an otherworldly lemon-champagne elixir—the blurred faces of, and apparently chatting with, Ryan McGinley, Marcelo Krasilcic and Acne Paper's editor-in-chief Thomas Persson, who hadn't slept in two nights from simultaneous store launches in Paris and New York. Oh yeah, there was that party earlier in the night...





Photos by Kristen Somody Whalen

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Pics from last night's rockin' Converse party celebrating its 1HUND(RED) shoe series, a collaboration with 100 artists worldwide. Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore, Simian Mobile Disco and Spencer Sweeney DJ'd. In the fashion realm, there were Alexandra Richards, Richard Chai and Philip Lim. Later on, we joined up Casey Spooner and dashed over to Submercer for the Rodarte party. Pics from that on the way.


Thurston Moore & Kim Gordon, the work of art collective Rinzen


Michael Schall


Shoe wall


Spencer Sweeney & JD Samson of Le Tigre


Rostarr

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More goodness from Poland...

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If you happen to be in Poland on March 29, head up to Gdansk to celebrate the third birthday of DIK Fagazine, "the first and only artistic magazine from Central and Eastern Europe concentrated on homosexuality and masculinity," and the release of its latest issue, #6. (They'll also present their latest issue in the libraire of Palais de Tokyo, Paris, on April 4, which might be an easier option.)

5:00 pm
Wyspa Institute of Art
1/ 145 b Doki Street
Gdansk

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

You may not think it, given his penchant for pristine white spaces, but Martin Margiela loves fragrance. To prove it, he just inked a deal (using the very quill pen in this image) with L'Oréal to create a line of unconventional perfumes for fall 2009. Watch this pristine white space.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Rick Owens and Michele Lamy on the slopes of Courchavel, in the French Alps, where they bolted post-show. "We usually go somewhere right after the collection because my house-showroom is full of buyers for a week and I'm kind of fed up with fashion by then," says Rick. "Last season it was Cabourg, at the seaside hotel Proust's family used to go to." Who's the better skier? "Michele's great, I'm awful,though I'm a better snowboarder, just by a hair. But we didn't do any of that this time because it was so rainy. We just took the lifts as high as we could go."

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Johannes Thumfart and Rachel de Joode hustle over to Andrea Crews...

Andrea Crews is not a person, but a fashion collective with a shop and studio in Paris' red-light district of Pigalle. When describing the look, its mastermind Maroussia Rebecq was quick to let us know that the street-walkers outside would probably wear her clothes with the same conviction as the hipsters and fashion-drunk Japanese who blow through. "We do not believe in taboos," she said. "Ni maitre, ni dieu was the slogan of the French Revolution, and it's ours, too."

Befitting the anarcho-democratic, anti-authoritarian vision of the label, Maroussia herself is not a designer, but a conceptual artist who admits she has no idea how to make fashion. Instead, she gives the vaguest of instructions to her crack team, who then bang out naive-style pieces from vintage fabrics. Highlights include hoodies that transform into skirts, geometric overalls made from forgotten neon scraps and gigantic padded necklaces and rings.

A collaboration with Nike is in the works. Until then, you can find Andrea Crews at Colette in Paris and Henrik Vibskov's Copenhagen shop.





Text by Johannes Thumfart, photos by Rachel de Joode

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Photos by Munetaka Tokuyama, with Alex from VNY models...


Bless shirt / Tom Scott tank / McQ hoodie


Dior Homme shirt & Diesel jacket


vintage yak fur vest


Dior Homme shirt & vintage Givenchy jacket

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Friday, March 21, 2008

If anyone hasn't realized how cashed-up Sweden's Acne Jeans is—with stores in Scandinavia, Germany, France and the USA—holding a champagne-doused party to release the latest issue of its magazine, Acne Paper, at a place like Claridge's is all the proof one needs. The eclectic turnout included Chrissie Hynde, performance artist and writer Johnny Woo, stylist Jeanette (in £6000 Balenciaga boots!), model Liberty Ross and assorted members of London's gay mafia. British menswear high-flyer Deryk Walker (pictured here with the aforementioned Jeanette on his right) insisted I introduce him to designer Aitor Throup, he who makes girls swoon at a thousand paces and who's probably the most imaginative tailor of his generation. Fantastic men Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom were also there, always a good sign. And holding court in an opulent corner sat Jo-Ann Furniss, the fearsome editrix and creative force behind Arena Homme Plus, in an uber-talkative, stay-a-while mood—further proof that this was the place to be on this cold and rainy Wednesday night.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anh Tuan Pham reports from Barcelona...

The fall collections of 080 Barcelona Fashion opened with Txell Miras. Inspired by the concept of déjà vu, the Catalan designer presented slim silhouettes wrapped and layered in a mix of highly constructed jackets, vests, bell skirts and the current fashion staple: low-crotched MC Hammer pants. Most of the looks incorporated some manner of strap or loop that trailed behind—in a sense, déjà vu...




The next day’s most compelling collection came from Il Galantuomo, a men's label by Korean-born Gunhyo Kim, a graduate of Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Arts and a design assistant of Dries Van Noten. Inspired by Antwerp's Hasidic Jews community, Gunhyo sent out chic, tailored ensembles of suit jackets, v-neck T-shirts, long tunics and loose pants—something of a continuation of Jean Paul Gaultier’s Hasidic take a couple decades ago, yet Gunhyo’s riff was all his own...




The third and last day saw the club-kid stylings of EBP, body-rocking to New Rave—which, as I learned, is experiencing new life on the continent in a dance craze called “Tektonic.” The looks flaunted fluorescent colors, loud graphic prints and slogans to live by: “Glow in the Dark” and my personal favorite, “Don’t be so European"...


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Where we'll be in March 25: Studio B in Brooklyn, to hear Crystal Castles, Health and Esque perform (but mostly Crystal Castles)...

Street style from Seoul, South Korea, by yourboyhood...



March 06, 2008
Jean Hong, Gap Kids senior graphic designer

place: Chungdam-dong, Kangnam-gu

coat _ Bernhard Willhelm
jacket _ Yohji Yamamoto
shoes _ Dries Van Noten
scarf _ Henrik Vibskov
bag _ Ivan Grundahl




February 13, 2008
Kim Young Bin (28), tattoist

place: Chungdam-dong, Kangnam-gu

cardigan _ vintage
shirt _ Under Wood
jeans _ no brand
shoes _ mont blanc
bag _ Bernhard Willhelm
necklace _ bought at toy market
keychain dolls _ Happy Meal by McDonald's

homepage: www.cyworld.com/punkjunk




February 13, 2008
Seo Ki Won (23), Korean Army

place: Chungdam-dong, Kangnam-gu

coat _ vintage
hooded jacket _ Raf Simons
knit _ German Army
pants _ UNIQLO
shoes _ Dr. Martens

homepage: www.cyworld.com/nanna86




February 08, 2008
Kim Soon Do (20), student

place: Jongno 1(il)-ga, Jongno-gu

trenchcoat _ Viktor & Rolf for H&M
cardigan _ ELOQ
sweater _ UNIQLO
pants _ UNIQLO
shoes _ Y-3
bag _ Y'saccs

homepage: www.cyworld.com/bymotive




February 01, 2008
Han Sang hyuk (37), creative director of
BON

place: Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam-gu

all clothes _ BON

homepage: www.brokenseven.com/blog/szabo


photographs by Hong Sukwoo, a.k.a. yourboyhood.com

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Pics from the glittering opening party in Hong Kong of the Chanel Mobile Art Container, a collaboration between Karl Lagerfeld, starchitect Zaha Hadid and artists Sophie Calle, Stephen Shore, Yoko Ono and the like, who used the house's signature quilted bag as their inspiration. The cream of Hong Kong and Euro stars Anna Mouglalis and Diane Kruger turned out for the launch. From here, the group show will tour major world cities until 2010...






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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Slava Mogutin—artist, writer and the first Russian to be granted asylum in the U.S. as a result of homophobic persecution—is back with another book of deliciously raunchy photos, NYC Go-Go, this time exposing the (shaved and/or pierced) underbelly of gay nightlife in New York City, with an essay by Bruce Benderson. Pre-order it now at Powerhouse publishers.




Thursday, March 13, 2008

The third and last part of Haidee Findlay-Levin's tips for fall...

RUN IN CIRCLES
It wasn't just the army of beautiful lips and bowl cuts that made our hearts leap at Yves Saint Laurent; it was the sharp, powerful, 80s-reminiscent tailoring, too. But here's what separates this season’s YSL and Louis Vuitton from Claude Montana and Gianfranco Ferré: the circular cutting and the curves in the jackets and skirts. In fact, some of the tulip and pod shapes we have seen at Vuitton and elsewhere this season are more Sebilla and Romeo Gigli—also from the 80s. I also noticed a variety of peplum jackets for fall. If the jacket was fitted, for the most part it had a sharp shoulder and a nipped or peplum waist, not only at Vuitton, but also at Yohji Yamamoto (left), where the peplum jutted out over long full skirts complete with a donut-rolled waist for an even fuller hip effect.

ARM YOUR ARM
The shoulder was the focus last season. Now it's the sleeve, such as those at Costume National that wrapped around the shoulder blade and formed a pod in the back, or those at Kenzo that draped into a cocoon shape or an origami-like envelope. We also saw sleeves originating from the neckline, as well as sleeves that separate at the back of the jacket, falling into a detached cape back, as at Véronique Branquinho and Junya Watanabe. At Lanvin, attention was paid to a single mutton sleeve—a remnant of the 80s!

EMBRACE LACE
Some designers chose to embellish areas of essentially monochromatic fabrics with jet beading, feathers, ribbon, fine pleating, ruffles and pasmanterie. But there was nothing superfluous at Prada (left), where the most startling form of decoration was the heavy tablecloth lace constructed into minimal and austere silhouettes, and made further monastic by the under-layering of high-collared shirts.

GET HIGH
The strength in Dries Van Noten this season came not only from the mix of dramatic prints, but that these potentially romantic dresses were offset by a simple high collar. Givenchy showed extremely high-collared pleated blouses, made less romantic by their coupling with leather trousers and military jackets. I loved it best at Yves Saint Laurent, where paper-thin turtlenecks were shown under tunic dresses, but extended well beyond into fingerless gloves. One known to take proportion to its ultimate extreme, Martin Margiela raised the collar so high above the shoulders as to become a cowl that almost completely obscured girls' faces.

THINK BIG
Indulge in vast and unapologetic explosions of costume jewelry for fall. What we saw were statement pieces that were more sculptural than sweet or sentimental. Balenciaga contrasted latex and severe cuts with diamanté-encrusted collars, while the collars and cuffs at Yves Saint Laurent (left) consisted of Pace Rabanne-like chain mail with enormous crystal studs. At Louis Vuitton, the soft pastel palette was punctuated with heavy metal chokers and huge brooches. Lanvin ran with the trend and showed enormous Deco-geometric, mirror-glass pendants and wrist cuffs. This new form of armor added a needed toughness to clean silhouettes. The combination of heavy jewelry with extreme shoes could mean your chiropractor will be your new best friend.

TAKE A DIP
There weren’t a lot of overtly sporty references this season, so it's safe to say you can burn your velour Juicy Couture tracksuits—and please do, if you haven't already. But there was a prevalence of scuba references. Miu Miu shook off its naughty baby-doll reputation and showed a series of dark satin scuba suits complete with Esther Williams-like swim caps. Or sometimes the scuba suit morphed into a tunic dress with bright-colored cycling shorts and sports tops peeking through laser-cut, abstract versions of lace. The addition of sequins made for a wet look that worked perfectly with the scuba references Balenciaga introduced so magnificently last season. Even Rick Owens discarded his more familiar draping and embraced open zippers that circled the legs like a scuba suit that was being slowly peeled off. Upcoming Olympics aside, the news that Hussein Chalayan is the newly appointed creative director at Puma may signal a sportier trend for him next season, as well as all those he influences.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dean Mayo Davies does the London art thing...

It's exhibition overload in London at the moment. We're inundated with enough brilliant art and design shows to fill several weekends off. They won't be around for long, so the message here is: pull a sick day and catch ‘em while you can.

First up is avant-garde serial spotter Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro’s N1 space. Fifty creepy, germ-like works on canvas are on view, but as always it's her interactive installations that really shine. Infinity Mirrored Room–Love Forever is a freestanding mirrored room in which a series of colored light bulbs flash their way to boundlessness. Upstairs, Dots Obsession–Infinity Mirrored Room is a yellow inflatable structure containing smaller yellow inflatables and again mirrored to oblivion in a mind-melting trip of anxiety. A version of her famous Narcissus Garden is even installed out back in Regents Canal. You really would be dotty (sorry) to miss it. Until March 20.

Literally next door, at Parasol Unit, is Darren Almond's Fire Under Snow. British artist Almond's work deals with themes of time, memory, human labor and exploitation. A highlight of the exhibition is the film installation In The Between (left), shown in a vacuous, dark room over three screens. Filmed on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the piece is a stirring clash of cultures, spiritually and industrially, from a troubled nation. Also check out the brutal photographs of Siberian dead tree forests in Night + Fog. Until March 30.

From there, hop across to Shoreditch’s young Seventeen Gallery on Kingsland Road. Chow down on an exhibit of Les Blank's revered film Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, in which the German new-wave director does exactly that. Until March 22.

Then head west to W1 for a show by Jenny Holzer at Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers. Bizarrely, as Holzer in London is a pretty rare occurrence, this one seems to have slipped under the radar. She ranks high on my list of faves, so this exhibit really is a must-see, if I can speak for everyone. In Detained, the artist has made a study of declassified U.S. government documents relating to the Iraq War. Several "handprint" paintings depict American soldiers who are accused of crimes in the Middle East, and there's also a piece called Torso, in which a ribcage of ten semicircular LEDs relays information from statements and investigation reports regarding the accused soldiers. Heavy and uniquely Holzer, it confronts the mechanics of politics and war, revealing the suffering of the individual. Until March 15.

Now on to Chelsea, and the new European headquarters of the auction house Phillips de Pury, where a sale called SATURDAY@PHILLIPS will take place on March 15, billed as an affordable—though undoubtedly it won't be—sale of contemporary art, design, jewelry and photographs. A jaw-dropping selection of pieces will go under the hammer, including photographs by Araki, Wolfgang Tillmans, Thomas Demand, Nan Goldin, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Jeff Wall, as well as sculptures and canvases by Takashi Murakami and work by Keith Haring, Basquiat and Warhol, whose Souper Dress from 1960—a mini-dress repeat-printed with Campbell's soup cans—is just crying out for a pair of sky-high Pierre Hardy heels. It's what Warhol would've wanted. And I haven't even mentioned the furniture yet. All I'll say is my birthday is coming up soon. I’ve been very good, so if someone wants to buy me Peter Shire’s Brazilia table (1981) and the Gala lamp by the recently deceased Ettore Sottsass, I’ll graciously accept. Until March 15.
Acne is on a roll. We mentioned the debut New York store in Shoptart (Paris is next). Now comes a jeans collaboration with Fantastic Man: the Gentleman's Jeans, created for a "mature man of work and leisure" and seen here on Fan Man's own Jop van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers. Available at Colette in Paris, select Acne Studios and, soon, the Acne shop online.

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Part two of stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin's tips for fall...

FACE THE DARKNESS
Okay, I know I said earlier that color is back for fall. And it is, but so is black. Stop your groaning—the black dress never looked better. It was skillfully laser-cut at Balenciaga (left), skimmed the body at Sophia Kokosalaki and draped to the floor at Junya Watanabe. It was in divine Spanish lace at Givenchy and heavy tablecloth lace at Prada. The opening dress at Alexander McQueen, made from layers and layers of soft tulle, was reminiscent of a black crow, though it was hardly the only exquisitely gothic dress in the collection. The mohair-lace dress stretched over layers of tulle, like one of Degas’ ballerinas in silhouette, was especially to-die-for. But perhaps the most exquisite black dresses walked Lanvin's runway; my two favorites were a wet-look wrap dress and a one-shouldered silk satin shift with a heavy fur cuff on its one side.

GET A BLACK EYE
Brace yourself for black eyes this fall. And I'm not talking gobs of Amy Winehouse eyeliner, no matter how well she sang at the Fendi store launch party during Paris Fashion Week. I'm talking kohl eyes, the classic kind found at Givenchy, as well as the perfect cat eyes at Balenciaga. (When replicating, please don’t get carried away like one recent fashion show attendee who not only completely painted his face white—yes, he's male—but dons a Shirley Temple wig.) Blackened eyes do require a nude or beige mouth, like the kind found at Rick Owens, but if you have to have a layer on your lips, go all the way with ink-black glossy lips like those at Yves Saint Laurent.

FADE TO GRAY
If goth isn’t your thing, choose from the endless permutations of gray seen on the runways: slate, charcoal, heather, lilac and mauve. Junya Watanabe (left) committed fully to a collection of no-color to illustrate his deft cutting and draping, taking it so far as to completely wrap the girls' heads and faces in sheer gray fabric with mini-boxes piled high on their heads, to sculptural effect.

RIDE THE PONY
With the severity of cut this season, and the attention paid to minimalism and the back, the only hair to wear is a ponytail. Not the high, Blonde Ambition version, but a simple ponytail worn on the side and secured at the nape of the neck. Miu Miu even showed the ponytail peeking out of neoprene swim caps. The only other acceptable version would be a small knot or chignon, also worn low and tight. So no more Barbie hair or updos. And please no more big Oscar hair—ever!

TURN LOOSE
This has been one of the most creative seasons for pants in ages, with designers really experimenting with fullness. The best baggy pants came from Louis Vuitton, especially when slightly drop-waisted and pleated. Those in shiny black leather with a slightly pegged leg were absolutely stunning, reminiscent of that Grace Jones/Thierry Mugler/Claude Montana era. My other favorites were over at Yves Saint Laurent, shown slightly cropped and higher in the waist. Haider Ackermann pushed his baggy pants high above the knee, like puffy shorts worn over leather leggings. There were Houri trousers in velvet devoré, as well as printed chiffon versions, at John Galliano, and narrow gray flannel pant-skirts at Junya Watanabe, which ended in an extremely low crotch. Meanwhile, at both Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, pants were skinny, black and high-wasted and mostly in leather or brocade. Maison Martin Margiela went super-sexy and offered leather pants complete with zippers snaking up the back of the leg like seamed stockings. And how can we ignore his other offering, the asymmetric one-legged bodysuit in a multitude of prints?

DROP YOUR SKIRTS
I know it seems passé to talk skirt lengths in this day and age, but here it is: skirt lengths will definitely drop. I'm not talking red-carpet gowns here, but floor-grazing, skinny column dresses at Sophia Kokosalaki, which save their intricate detail for the collar. There was also the black dress that opened her show, seemingly suspended by a single diagonal strap and falling well below the knee. Dries Van Noten, too, showed high-necked column dresses that ended mid-calf, just short of ankle socks and heavy strappy sandals. At Louis Vuitton there were some knee-length bell skirts, but it was all about ballerina-length dirndls that stood away from the hips, while at Lanvin (left) the length was kept just above the knee with sexy and tight hobble skirts made up of bands of horizontal ribbon.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Backstage pics of never-shy Iekeliene Stange...

At Bruno Pieters, John Galliano...


At Véronique Branquinho, Sonia Rykiel...


Photos by Sonny Vandevelde

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Fall tips from stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin (part one of three)...

GO SAVAGE
Everywhere I looked at the fall collections I saw fur, leather, skins and hides—from black fur stoles and cuffs at Lanvin to a tunic covered in camouflage tails at Louis Vuitton and a massive fur cardigan coat from Ann Demeulemeester. The prefurred color is blue from Dries Van Noten (left) or Anne Valérie Hash, but if blue isn't your thing, look no further than Marni for a dusty-pink cropped chubby. Exotic furs not for you? You can still discover your inner beast with Mongolian sheepskin sleeves from Toga or a lavender Mongolian sheepskin jacket from Ann Demeulemeester, as well as crocodile-skin dresses at Zucca and leather-front dresses and jackets at Yohji Yamamoto with the hide's raw edges still intact. Feathers, too, stalked the runways, starting with an asymmetric collar trimmed with the lightest of ostrich plumes at Haider Ackermann and ending with a slightly tougher black ostrich-feather skirt from Christian Lacroix. Meanwhile, pony skin was a favorite at Anne Valérie Hash, superbly cut into body-skimming turtlenecks and a jumpsuit variation.

GIVE IN TO COLOR
It's all about pastels for fall. My sights are set on mint green and powder blue cashmere, molten wool and duchess satin at Louis Vuitton. Choose from an exquisite bell-shaped blue skirt, a magnificently tailored jacket with perfectly rounded edges, a liquid silk blouse or a full-on, floor-length, positively regal evening gown, if you have the occasion for it. Marc Jacobs' own line, too, was full of the softest pastels. Vanessa Bruno, meanwhile, showed a variety of pastels in full Mongolian sheepskin hats combed out and looking like a well-conditioned punk hairdo. But best from her were the palest of antique pink and sage green marabou chubbies, the color and lightness of a butterfly's wings.

MAKE IT MOHAIR
Bundle up in hand-knit ruffled capelets and shrugs from Tao Comme des Garçons (left) in vivid shades of pink and violet, while contrasting them with blue mohair bloomers. Or keep it neutral in natural or black and wear one of her cake-layered cable dresses. If volumes of ruffles and cables aren't for you, indulge your punk side with the designer's multicolored mohair knit/silk-backed tunic tops or dresses. That is, if you haven't already indulged in Rodarte's wonderful colored mohair knit tops and bell skirts. Don’t stop until you have their mohair open-knit stockings, the best hosiery moment of the season.

SHOE AND TELL
Laddered mohair stockings wouldn't be complete without those white or rose gold studded and spiked high heels that Christian Louboutin designed for Rodarte. They can do damage! But the next wonder of the world might just be the black leather heelless thigh-highs from Antonio Berardi, a sexy homage to artist Alan Jones, whose glass tabletops rested on the back of a girl on all fours—perhaps a safer way to wear them! I was a little surprised that Louis Vuitton showed such dangerously high wedges after last season’s more reasonable winklepicker inspiration. But on closer examination, I realized there was a sliver of light passing through some of them and that there were, in fact, skinny skyscraper in the heels. Fantastic! I also loved the strength and sculptural quality in the Brancusi-looking white heels at Miu Miu. Especially when worn in sharp contrast to the minimal clothes of the collection, they could really be one of the key accessories of fall.

CLUTCH IT
If you're more about bags than shoes, make it a clutch. I'm not just talking evening bag clutches, but huge leather envelopes from Dries Van Noten worn throughout the day. Although not as large as the house's oversized collars, Maison Martin Margiela also showed a massive clutches (left), as did Véronique Leroy in both her own collection and Leonard. These clutches, of course, were fantastic printed versions.

MIX YOUR MESSAGES
The intricately printed latex dresses at Balenciaga are another way to satisfy your fetishistic side—and without dressing, predictably, in all black. Dries Van Noten's continuation of vivid and bold floral prints was big hit, particularly the pod-sleeved column dresses, although his abstract print trouser suits were also spectacular. If you prefer tiny rather than bold prints, you can't ignore his floor-length Fortuny-pleated dresses or the high-necked cap-sleeved dress completely covered in tiny printed ruffles.

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Ever since we shared a bender with him years ago, we've been hooked on the computer-generated nymphs, erotic Bambi-meets-Barbie antics and shaved Star Wars shenanigans of Dutch illustrator Faiyaz Jafri. But not all of his wank-worthy work comes straight out of a pubescent boy's wet dream; he can do commercial, too. His clients include IBM and Coca Cola, as well as Rolling Stone, Numéro and the New York Times Magazine, while his images for the Guinness Extra Cold campaign earned him a 2002 D&AD Silver Award for outstanding illustration in advertising. In 2006, the Fubon Art Foundation in Taiwan commissioned him to make larger-than-life sculptures, resulting in the erection of his virtual 3D visions in actual 3D form. Here, some of Faiyaz's unpublished recent illos...



Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hedi Slimane photographed Kate Moss last month in London for the French daily Libération, coming out this Saturday, March 8. A sneak peek...

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Vive la Fête's Danny Mommens and Els Pynoo on hols in the Caribbean last month (the flower-bra girl is a local fan)...



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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The final chapter in stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin's green card saga...

Birthdays are great if they're someone else's. If mine, I enter a three-month tailspin leading up to it. From the end of the previous year, through the holidays, through Valentine’s day (otherwise known as Singles Awareness Day!), right up to the fateful day in late February is like a mini Vesuvius waiting to go off. So many resolutions not met, so many expectations not fulfilled.

And this birthday had particular significance: the day of my final U.S. green card interview in London. I had built this whole fantasy around it, as if some big hand would come down and wave away the years of aggravation and frustration, the years of standing in long embassy and immigration lines and the mountains of paperwork and those endless letters of recommendation. Perhaps most importantly, this might finally be the end of being called an "alien," which has to be a psyche-bruiser.

I didn't want to be late and it was my birthday, so I treated myself to a cab rather than endure the intense squeeze of a rush-hour tube. A familiar route, yet something was up. The usual line at the embassy was not snaking around the usual path. Barricades had been put up and I realized the massive crowd congregating on the opposite side was a mass of agitated visa applicants. I soon discovered the source of the discontent: there was a power failure at the embassy and ALL appointments had been canceled! Nowhere else in London but here. Mercury was clearly not out of retrograde.

My heart sank as I realized the implications. I had flown all this way and had been couch-surfing at a friend's place for days, disrupting both her life and mine. I had turned down work. I had arranged a birthday/green card celebration, a gathering of old and new friends now all too familiar with my ordeal, despite my commitment to ignore such celebrations. And all in anticipation of this one event that was no longer taking place. What are the chances of something like this happening? One in a thousand, one in two thousand? The chances of something like this happening to me? Inevitable.

"Go home and relax" was the advice offered by an officer. Relax?! How could I possibly relax when a time bomb had just been flung in my direction? Where exactly was home anyway? I have been in the wilderness for years, an alien for heaven's sake, waiting to have more than a place of employment, waiting to be given permission to stay.

Not sure what to do with myself, I slumped away resolved to redo my passport picture for the umpteenth time. This had to be the irrational calm before the storm, the weird behavior of someone who was about to lose control in a big way. I handed over another 12 pounds (for the fourth time) and the photographer handed me another set of pictures. I dared to look at them and saw the stress and anger so clearly visible in my face, so much so that I realized I looked like an assassin. Certainly not the look that one is trying to achieve for this ten-year travel document.

As I made my way back to base, the utter disappointment, the anticlimax and sheer bad luck I had experienced over the past few months—my Haidee Karma—began to hit me. By the time my friend asked how it went, I had already broken down into a blubbering mess, my earth shattered, and there was just no stopping it. There were offers of tea, suggestions of a walk in the park. My friend was at a loss. Finally, I opted for Hyde Park and walked laps and laps around Diana's pond in the cold, letting off steam and contemplating jumping in. Well-wishers and blasts-from-the-past called, texted and emailed me with birthday wishes and to congratulate me on my long-awaited green card achievement. There were even a few invitations to celebratory tea and cake at Maison Bertaux or Patisserie Valerie. Unlike me to turn such an offer down, I ignored the lot. With nothing to celebrate, I canceled my own celebration that night, and eventually went with some close friends to Lounge Lover in the East End for commiseration instead. This non-drinker even resorted to a glass of sake. An anesthetic was really what I was looking for.

As Mercury finally passed through retrograde, I gathered my courage to return to the source of my misery, the U.S. Embassy, to see what could be done. The next day looked more promising, as endless lines of people made their way through the cattle barricades. After much resistance, they honored my canceled appointment and finally granted me my much-anticipated interview. I was stuck there forever, due to the previous day’s backlog, presenting everything from birth certificates to marriage and divorce certificates, even police reports from all the countries I have previously lived in.

But ultimately, I was granted immigrant approval. My passport would be returned within five working days by courier, hopefully in time to see the latter half of Paris Fashion Week. Sure enough, a Darth Vader-looking character, fully-kitted in black leather and helmet, appeared at my door one early morning. His face and hands completely concealed, he handed me a black sealed bag complete with my passport and a mysterious sealed yellow envelope which was to be handed to immigration when I entered the U.S. Pretty weird, but whatever. I was now, finally, officially, triumphantly a Resident Alien, not just any alien!

I had been warned by my lawyer not to be alarmed when coming through immigration with my sealed package. I would be taken to a back room that might be strewn with people in handcuffs. But after the fetish references at Paris Fashion Week (yes, I went), I could have handled whips. My passage through the last stage of this endless event was pretty uneventful actually: a signature, a fingerprint and I was waved through and told that my precious card would be in the mail. In the next room, however, my agent, who was on the same flight, was in tears! They wanted to deport her back to the UK for problems with her visa. I suddenly felt like I had passed the baton onto someone else. But five hours later she was released into the U.S., thankfully!

Later, the reality of my success really sunk in when my mother told me, with my newfound green-card status, I was finally eligible for marriage. What a concept! It was only then that the realization hit, this alien finally had a place to call home.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cesar Padilla talks about sex...

I have to admit I was a bit skeptical about attending the Sex Workers' Art Show this week. Like my man said, "I thought the show was going to be an exercise in 'my pussy, my father, my pain.'" Instead, what I saw was a fascinating perspective on the industry through cabaret, burlesque, spoken word and film—created and performed by members of the industry to dispel the myth that sex workers are good for/at only one thing.

To a packed house at Fuzion nightclub in Louisville, Kentucky, this was the show's final performance on the tour, a controversial six-week run that saw several clashes with university administrations and heavy-handed, right-wing factions. (Check out creator and performer Annie Oakley's confrontation with that tired-ass conservative motormouth Laura Ingraham on the hideous O'Reilly Factor.)

It's always seemed to me there would be a lot of humor in the real world of the sex trade. And the performers here know this to be true. Asian-American dominatrix Keva I Lee's interactive performance was pure genius, a reenactment of an absurd yet real encounter. Prior to her entrance, an audience member volunteered to play the slave. They then emerge together, with the slave on a dog chain, and proceed to hilariously demystify a real rendezvous in which a client asks her to humiliate him in her native tongue. "Native tongue?" she wonders aloud onstage, followed by a raunchy approximation of "I want that pretty yellow purse." The client wouldn't know the difference, right?

Other acts included Dirty Martini and her can-can-like homage to the stripper scene in The Graduate and Erin Markey's rousing tale of transforming into her alter ego Bridget, courtesy of St. Bridget. The show isn't for everyone, naturally, but if you have an open mind and you get the chance, GO!


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Johannes Thumfart reporting...

Next to the rue Saint-Honoré and its somewhat outworn charm, c.neeon presented hyper-geometric camouflage prints in autumnal colors of gray, orange and green. Although the Berlin design duo has designed for global brands Topshop and Mango, they also know how to think locally, creating all their textiles in the German province of Thuringia, while the kaleidoscopic carpets in the presentation were made in conjunction with Vorwerk, a beloved interior design company that can be be found in nearly every German living room. The overall vibe: a yoga instructor who's tripped out on acid and comes down with natural-smoked black tea—throbbing and soothing at the same time.

photos by Rachel de Joode



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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Backstage beauty at Bernhard Willhelm...




Photos by Sonny Vandevelde

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