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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Henrik Vibskov and Peaches in Zurich

Photographer and Hint's Zurich correspondent, PLAY, caught up with the two mavericks...

The alliances that luxury brands make can sometimes be quite odd. Take, for example, the flagship launch of premium travel agency Kuoni last week in Zurich. The event promised a panel of opinion leaders from the worlds of art, fashion, music and science, apparently to give us a glimpse into the future of luxury travel. Among them were fashion designer Henrik Vibskov and raunch-and-roll singer Peaches, and I just had to meet them.

Who is Henrik Vibskov?
A tall Scandie with big feet, long legs, a hat, an old cardigan and suspenders.

You were introduced tonight as Fashion's Pop Star.
I don’t want to be a pop star. I just do creative stuff and I don’t really care what side of the mind it comes from—whether I play music, do drawings or paint. So I am just a creative. Inspiration is something that’s always there.

Alliances between luxury brands and the creative world are popping up all over the place. Like this event tonight, which is trying to sell us a new form of premium travel. What do you make of the trend?
It’s interesting because I get to meet people from different fields. I am a businessman, but I’m not an entrepreneur or a business spotter. That’s not my field, even if I am part of it. I am more like a creative developer. I don’t think in strategies like they do here. Sometimes people ask me what my plan is. And sometimes I don't know. The plan is to have no plan. I do a hell of a lot of things. Some of them really kick off, but 90% don't. I play around, trying out different things. It’s very laissez-faire.

Do you work mostly on your own or with a design team?
I have a little creative team, but it's a small, small company. Normally I have a team of four interns from all over the world. At the moment they come from Canada, Holland, Germany, even Saudi Arabia. I am open-minded about people and their opinions. I want to know what they think? Some people really get shocked by that.

The Internet and street-style blogs have made fashion faster, more democratic and easier to access. But if everyone follows their own style then individuality becomes a uniform. Can there still be an avant-garde?
There have always been the ones looking out for what's new. Then the new gets accepted and everybody wants the same thing. It could be an iPod or a Louis Vuitton bag—anything. I think we will always have both the masses and the individual. Maybe one day we will have a super-avant-garde.

What music are you listening to right now?
I’ve been listening to a PJ Harvey track called Down by the Water. I like rock music, I have to say. I'm a big fan of Thom Yorke of Radiohead. Also the UK indie scene—the old scene and also the new scene, like Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys. A year ago I was into electronic music, but I changed. Maybe I was overloaded with electronic music.

How would you like to leave the earth?
I’ve already experienced so many strange things. I’d be fine. I’d be ready. Maybe I should build a box for myself, maybe with drumsticks? [Henrik is also a drummer in a band.] I don’t know. I would like to have some good friends around, of course. Some music, good friends, good moods, and that should make it a happy day.

And now for Peaches. I was expecting to meet a hirsute damsel-in-distress, as seen in the video for her current single, Get It. But instead she looked like a cool version of Sissi, the 19th-century Austrian Empress. As we walked out onto a fifth-floor balcony, before I could stop her, she climbed onto the balustrade and started posing. I knew right then that my interview with Peaches would be in pictures...

She put a skewer into her mouth, et voilà. "I am my own circus," she said.

"Here's another circus trick." She pulled up her hood and shook her heavy chain, like her Shake Your Dicks video.

DJing at the after-party.

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Tome After Tome

After recently returning to Berlin from busy Paris, I began to enjoy life again. That is, soaking up the sun on my balcony, grilling nori-wrapped tiger prawns and diving into fashion books. Here, my essential summer reading, starting with Lars Svendsen's "Fashion Philosophy." While those two words don't usually sit side by side, the Norwegian philosopher seems to be a secret fashionista, particularly smitten with the freedom of expression the populist art form offers, even if he admits the magic is superficial. His analysis runs from Beau Brummell and Oscar Wilde to H&M and Martin Margiela, and includes huge, almost hysterical sentences like "Fashion can be used as an indicator of the process of civilization, because an awareness of fashion indicates self-awareness." Other books on the subject include Roland Barthes' "The Fashion System" and Georg Simmel's "Philosophy of Fashion," but they're rather dated. Ulf Poschardt's "Anpassen" seems too marginal (perhaps because it's available only in German), while Jean Baudrillard's and Pierre Bourdieu's approaches are too critical. After the long death-march of classic French theory, as in fashion, all eyes could soon be on Scandinavia.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Beach Boys

Girls, you're not the only ones sweating the swimsuit. With the arrival of summer, a men's conundrum also emerges: where to find well-cut beach shorts that leave a little (or not) something to the imagination. Enter Orlebar Brown, the fashion insider's choice for the past year. Established in 2007 by photographer Adam Brown and ex-lawyer Julia Simpson, Orlebar provides simple trunks in solid colors—the everyman's choice. Because why experiment with perfection? Styles include the Setter (short shorts), Bulldog (classic mid-length), Dane (long drawstring) and Mastiff (long, loose fit). You can find Orlebar at the reliably bang-on Colette in Paris and Selfridges in London, as well as Eden Rock in St. Barths, Carlisle Bay in Antigua and the Cotton House in Mustique, which means you can handily pick up a pair on the island when you arrive. And perhaps it's a good idea to do so since Selfridges sold out in five days. Now, burn your bad old boardies, please.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

All hail summer sales...

Monday, May 26, 2008

More Seoul street style from yourboyhood...

March 31, 2008
Kim Daul (19), model

jacket _ vintage Jean Paul Gaultier
top _ Yigal Azrouël
pants _ Givenchy
shoes _ Luad
scarf _ Neil Barrett

homepage: www.iliketoforkmyself.blogspot.com

March 29, 2008
Kang Min koo (26), student & photographer

jumpsuit _ BLESS
shoes _ New Balance

homepage: www.youweresleeping.com

March 29, 2008
Kim Mi ri (24), student

coat _ vintage
cardigan _ vintage
t-shirt _ MUJI
pants _ bought in Thailand
shoes _ Comme des Garçons
bag _ vintage

March 29, 2008
Choi Soo young (25), student &
Cracker Your Wardrobe editor

coat _ mom's
sweater _ mom's
pants _ mom's
boots _ vintage at Kwangjang market
bag _ vintage at Kwangjang market

homepage: www.cyworld.com/bose69

March 29, 2008
Yoon Suk Bum (23), student

vest _ SASQUATCHfabrix.
sweatshirt _ UNIQLO
pants _ A.P.C.
shoes _ Danner
cap _ Undercover

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

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Rough Cut

photography Dirk Merten
styling Solveig Viola
model Max Vogel @ Izaio
location Berlin, Germany

scarf Reality Studio, shirt Henrik Vibskov

coat Christina Berger, leggings Tillmann Lauterbach, shoes Hugo Boss
jacket Christina Berger

jacket Christina Berger, shirt Raf Simons, pants Eric Lebon, shoes Petar Petrov
bomber jacket Christina Berger, belt stylist's own, pants Eric Lebon

scarf Awareness & Consciousness

sheepskin collar-necklace Maria Francesca Pepe, pants Raf by Raf Simons, belt vintage Balenciaga
sheepskin collar-necklace Maria Francesca Pepe, pants Ute Ploier, belt vintage Balenciaga

vest Spastor, pants Wood Wood


Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Fashion Met Music Videos

Dean Mayo Davies on the perfect harmony...

Fashion and music have had a powerful, symbiotic relationship ever since the advent of the rebel in the 50s, when wannabe James Deans could throw on a white tee, leather jacket and immerse themselves in the newly created rock & roll lifestyle. Every subculture since—Teds, Mods—has forged itself from the meld of a unifying philosophy and a fabricated identity. After all, every army needs a uniform. In the 70s, Westwood, McLaren and the Sex Pistols collided in the ultimate blow-up of youth culture, and introduced (anti-)branding to the equation. Of course, today's tribes—bubblers, moshers, indie kids, ravers et al—have the music video, where their creations can remain as untouchable, intangible, beguiling, provocative and sexy as ever. And fashion labels haven't been slow to see the potential...

1. The Kills: Last Day Of Magic

This is the forthcoming release from the London-based, chain-smoking vegans VV (aka Alison Mosshart) and Hotel (aka Jamie Hince—yes, Mr. Kate Moss, in yet another link to fashion). Jamie has explained that the vengeful lyrics are about "being in a place and wanting someone who has abandoned you to be there." Thus, the setting, naturally, is Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Obsessives will note that Alison rocks her well-worn gold Dior Homme boots from fall/winter 05, which may or may not be the reason Jamie is fighting with her (who wouldn’t commit a little bodily harm for to get their hands on those?). In a brainy blur of leopard print, literature, black, scarves, art, tailoring and drainpipe jeans, the duo's myth is built with this video. The most alluring band in the world today, surely.

2. Róisín Murphy: Let Me Know

Róisín continues her persona as post-Saturday Night Fever street diva in this track from last year's Overpowered LP, strutting into a greasy-spoon cafe in a Margiela square-shouldered cape, Corto Moteldo bag and flying-saucer hat. The genius of Róisín's creative direction is the juxtaposition of a cartoonish surrealism with a more mundane daily existence, creating a tension that doesn't take itself too seriously. You'll remember her previous video featured her on the night bus wearing a Gareth Pugh foil coat with inflatable collar, while her latest video, Movie Star, is set to feature Richard Mortimer, of BoomBox fame, and performance artist Scottee.

3. Sonic Youth: Sugar Kane

Sonic Youth played at Marc Jacobs' fall 08 show, a true fashion moment for those who were there. They banged out Jams Run Free and Kool Thing, but it's not the first time these old friends have collaborated, not even close. Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore posed in 2003 for a Juergen Teller-shot Marc Jacobs campaign, but way back in 1993 they set their Sugar Kane video in Marc's showroom, featuring his notorious Grunge collection for Perry Ellis, the stuff of fashion folklore. The clip also marks Chloë Sevigny's first appearance on film.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Comme and Get It

Comme des Garçons' temple of creative chaos, Dover Street Market, announces the opening of a one-off shopping experience at hot auctioneers Phillips de Pury (Howick Place, Victoria, London SW1). Named DOVER STREET MARKET Market, Comme pieces from fall 2004 to spring 2007 will be offered at what they're calling "stupendous prices," plus there'll be archive picks from Pierre Hardy, Raf Simons, Dior Homme, Maison Martin Margiela, Undercover, Number (N)ine, Nina Ricci, John Galliano and more.

In true democratic mode, the event is more a marathon than a race, with stock regularly replenished throughout the two-day period of Sunday, May 25 - Monday, May 26 (10 am - 7 pm). So, ahem, if you did have a heavy Saturday night at a Eurovision song contest party, you can get up late on Sunday, talk about how you're never drinking again and still make it down in time to bag some threads. Or, failing that, loiter around on your lunch break on Monday, whatever suits.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Facts of Life Ball

Kendall Herbst goes behind-the-scenes of the world's most festive cause célèbre...

An eclectic, electric mix of personalities, from red-carpet regulars Sharon Stone and Kim Cattrall to the flamboyant fringe of the fashion world, converged on Vienna this past Saturday for the 16th annual Life Ball. Having never been, I jumped at the chance to take a chartered plane from New York to the Austrian capital with a posse of celebs and press, joining thousands of others from all over the world. Our mission was the same: to raise money and awareness for the HIV/AIDS benefit—and have a few shiggles while doing it.

Agent Provocateur's Joe Corre, Linda Evangelista

Many others donated their time, like make-up artist Billy B., responsible for glossing, rouging and blotting over 170 models in an Agent Provocateur lingerie fashion show (with a little help from his team). I chatted with him as he applied fire-engine lipstick to Lily Cole, who skipped the resort shows to be here. "I had to decline last year," he lamented, "because I was working on Pink's I'm Not Dead project. I really regretted that. So I emailed the right people this year, saying I would just come along to help however I could. And they ended up putting me in charge of the whole show's make-up. The inspiration is Helmut's Newton's girls. It's very hard, very graphic, almost militant. What's sexier than that?" Cole chimed in from the make-up chair, black quilted Chanel bag strewn at her feet. "It's my first Life Ball. I decided to come because it's a good cause." What would she wear down the runway? "Oh, a big sack dress," she deadpanned, before taking a Q-tip from Billy B. and fixing her own lips. "No, no, it's Agent Provocateur, of course, so I'm in a black corset thing."

Later, Sharon Stone opened the ceremony with an emotional speech, imploring the audience to fight homophobia on all fronts. "It matters if you stand up for your friend, your co-worker; it matters if you stand up for yourself," she commanded. When the applause died down, thigh-highed models pounded the runway dressed as bikers, street-walkers and other assorted dominatrices. At one point, Amanda Lepore descended from the ceiling, singing the official Life Ball song, The Life. "I love to sing," she said, "but it's a little hard because you have to remember the lyrics."

Backstage, rapper Eve cooed, "Lingerie just makes you feel good. Even if you're in sweats, if you have a cute bra or thong on underneath, you're like damn." Nearby, Lydia Hearst slipped into her outfit for the show: a wide-brimmed hat, a long blonde wig, black lacy underwear and pasties. "It's a little cold," she confessed, "But if I didn't like what I was doing, what would be the point?"

In good news for fans of sequins and glitter, I later caught up with Heatherette designer Traver Rains, who dispelled the rumors of a creative breakup with Richie Rich. "Not true, just media gossip," he sighed, adjusting his omnipresent cowboy hat. "What can you do?"

Party-goers were still filtering out at 5:30. "Best party ever!" shouted one tipsy reveler before stumbling headfirst into a bush. As his friends picked him up, he sputtered, "I'm drunk on champagne and good vibes." And so it was: good vibes, heartfelt volunteer efforts and record-setting contributions (netting the largest total to date: €1.4 million) proved once again what a ball life can be.

Lydia Hearst


Markus Schenkenberg & partiers

Terence Koh

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Karl Lagerfeld Creates an Icon

Karl Lagerfeld has spent the better part of the last five years photographing Ford model Brad Koenig for projects ranging from gallery shows to ad campaigns. But that's just the beginning. They've also rendezvoused each month to shoot Brad as any number of fictional characters and real-life icons, i.e. James Dean, Rudolph Valentino and Lieutenant Pinkerton from Madame Butterfly. Proving the shelf life of a model doesn't have to be short, Karl has now compiled those images of the Missouri native in a book, Metamorphoses of an American (Steidl), which he launched last Friday at Pace/MacGill gallery...

Photos by Jimi Celeste for Patrick McMullan

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bird Watching

Because fashion is nothing if not an allegory, new men's line Conference of Birds takes its name from a 15th-century Persian poem about a group of feathered creatures—a peacock, crane, parrot, nightingale—in search of enlightenment. We can totally see the comparison: blazers, trenches, sweaters, jeans. Designer and stylist Andrew Holden calls it nostalgically modern, a moody blend of British tailoring and American work wear. We get it...

Photos by Ryan Michael Kelly
Model Shaun Haugh

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Chanel Cruise Collection in Miami

More pics from Michel Gaubert. (See also his Jetsetera diary.)...



Karl's killer heels in action

Spotlight tanning




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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chanel Cruise Collection in Miami

Pre-show pics from by the one-and-only Michel Gaubert. (See also his Jetsetera diary.)...

Michel on the roof of the Raleigh

Chanel jewelry designer Laetitia Crahay

The famous pool at the Raleigh, where the show will take place

One of Iekeliene Stange's looks


Karl Lagerfeld's sketched invitation and Karl holding a pistol-heeled Chanel shoe

Chanel lifesaver

Michel's paint-splashed shoes

Chanel's Eagle Eye

A Hillary Clinton nutcracker one of the models picked up at a local novelty shop

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thanks, Nokia!

You may know French graphic artist Frédérique Daubal from her collaborations with colette or Palais de Tokyo. Or you may know her from her contributions to the Hint Shop—her days-of-the-week T-shirts are still our best-ever-seller (and huge in Hong Kong!). Now, Nokia has commissioned Frédérique to design their latest premium art phone, the 7900 Crystal Prism, and they ever so graciously sent one to us! We'd say we doubt Frédérique has ever had her work etched with laser technology, but we'd probably be wrong; after all, she's constantly dabbling in textiles, silkscreening, digital prints, letraset and ballpoint pen. The real question is: Why can't all marriages of art and commerce be as seamless, fetching and engaging as this?...

Illustrations for Framed magazine

Textile design for Paul Smith

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Lighting Up

photography Salvatore Caputo
styling Elin Bjursell
make-up Karin Westerlund @ Calliste
hair Taniguchi Yusuké
model Hayley Magnus @ Next

layered tops Hussein Chalayan, bow Mjölk, shorts Carta e Costura
necklace Acne, jacket Junko Shimada

jacket, pants & top Sonia Rykiel, shoes & socks Rick Owens
coat Yves Saint Laurent, shoes Viktor & Rolf

shorts, tunic, vest & socks Rick Owens, bracelet KM*Rii
skirt Acne, shirt Anne Fontaine


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yohji Yamamoto Extends the Bonsai Branch

On April 24, Japan's Yohji Yamamoto presented his first annual Y’s show for his new philanthropy, Yohji Yamamoto Foundation for Peace, in Beijing, China. The objective was to generate much-needed good vibes between the former foes and foster creativity among China's rising designers. Here, images and fun facts...

  • The venue was the Ancestral Temple in the middle of the Forbidden City.

  • Among the six hundred attendees were Chinese artists Lu Zhirong, Inri, Victoria Lu, Liu Dan and—in the spirit of peace—special guests from Hong Kong.

  • One Japanese and one Chinese model walked with mostly European models. And next year, the Foundation will sponsor a Chinese model to make her Paris Fashion Week debut.

  • Also next year, the Foundation will sponsor a winning Chinese designer to enroll in fashion school in either Japan or Europe.

  • The collection consisted of 58 looks, 33 of which were auctioned off by Sotheby's to raise funds for the Foundation.

  • The closing dress of the show received the highest bid: 270,000 yuan, or $37,000.


CITIZEN:Citizen Has It All Sewn Up

You're on a serious road trip, starving, and all you keep passing are creepy-looking ma 'n' pa joints serving a menu you imagine must contain possum. Your belly's grumbling louder than a recalcitrant Hillary Clinton supporter, but you don't want to stop for fear of one innocent meal turning into nonconsensual employ as someone's gimp. Finally, you spot the jackpot: a reflective green billboard with familiar fast-food logos. Ahhh, civilization is nigh. And then your stomach sinks as you realize Taco Bell is your anchor.

Screw old-timey quirkiness; modern ubiquity is the benchmark of American comfort. Which is why wicked San Francisco gallery and e-shop CITIZEN:Citizen stitched up ten cozy patchwork quilts emblazoned with logos of 58 of this country's most iconic mass-market food chains, retailers and corporations. Handmade by Bradley Price and Joel Yatscoff, American Comfort Quilt is supposed to be a work of art, but who wouldn’t find warmth swaddled in the splendor of those who've branded America the place it is today?

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Nike—Or Both

Just in case you thought spring hadn't arrived, check out Nike's new Liberty Dunks, launched at Opening Ceremony last Tuesday. Nike designers were inspired by Liberty of London's famed floral fabrics, resulting in two limited-edition styles: Wilshire and Pepper...

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Tom Sachs' Big Cat

Mario Sorrenti documents the installation of Tom Sachs' Hello Kitty, a 21-foot-tall bronze wind-up, at Lever House...

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

This just in from Hedi Slimane. Hot on the (Converse) heels of his Musac exhibit—see Hint Blog from April 11—comes a new tome, Rock Diary. The book features contributions from legendary music scribe Vince Aletti (the first person to write about a 70's subculture called Disco), Alex Needham (the writing partner in Hedi's Rock Diary submissions to V) and Jon Savage, author of England's Dreaming, the seminal history of Punk and the Sex Pistols in a broader, socio-political context. Much like Hedi's documentation of music and youth today...

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Q&A with Simon Foxton, half of &SON—with stylist Nick Griffiths—and fashion director of i-D and Fantastic Man. Fred Perry commissioned &SON to create its seventh men's Blank Canvas collection, which is anything but blank...

For Fred Perry’s Blank Canvas project, you and Nick created four styles inspired by the camouflage of wartime British battleships, but in a pulsating fiesta of rainbow colors. How much absinthe were you on?
Well, none, to be honest. The designs are inspired by the use of dazzle camouflage from the First World War. Dazzle camouflage was inspired by cubist and vorticist painting which was in new at the time. If you have a look at the real thing, it is so out there—huge ships painted like art-deco ornaments. So strange and appealing.

Do you play tennis? How would you describe the intersection between sports and fashion?
I've never played tennis in my life, but Nick is a keen badminton player. Sport has been such a major influence on fashion for at least the last forty years. As the idle rich have become increasingly body-conscious, the use of sportswear is now seen as a shorthand for health. Of course, it's a two-way street, with the catwalk or guest designer now informing most of the sports brands. Fashion and sportswear are more or less interchangeable.

Can you tell us more about &SON? What’s the mission? What projects have you got going?
&SON is a creative practice that Nick and I set up about 18 months ago. We both come from a styling background, and as we enjoy working together, we decided to create projects that would utilize our different talents and experience. It's about doing things that are creative and not just the run-of-the-mill styling jobs. We're very into collaborative projects. Apart from the Fred Perry Blank Canvas range, we have been working for some time with the Italian company Stone Island, creating a new advertising campaign for them and consulting on many other facets of their business. We are about to get started on a new major collaboration, but we can't say who yet and we're about to print a limited-edition range of T-shirts.

Would you say &SON is a reaction to drab menswear? Should men make more of a statement with what they wear?
No, don't assume that we will only be coming out with things in giddy colors and jazzy patterns. We felt that that look
was right for Fred Perry, but we can do sensible and tasteful, too. As for men making more of a statement, I'm not sure that's always such a good idea, when you see some of the statements currently being paraded. Rather than make a big statement, I'd prefer that men were a bit more thoughtful in their choices.

What role, if any, does gayness play in your designs? Is &SON the best of both worlds?
Well, I'm gay and Nick is straight, so I guess we come at it from both sides and generally find a good balance. But that's kind of too hard to answer, really, because I think what you are informs what you do in some way. I don't sit down and think: Right, I'm going to design a queer pair of pants. I just design what I like and what I think others may like.

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Monday, May 5, 2008

Cesar Padilla meets up with Tim Gunn in America's middle...

I have a place in Louisville, Kentucky, and when I was browsing through the paper on a recent visit, I read that Tim Gunn was going to make a personal appearance at a local mall. Heaven! And he would MC a Liz Claiborne fashion show at that mall. Amazing grace!! I knew I couldn't miss the engagement and the chance to see suburban women ask him fashion advice. And miss it, I didn't. Nor did I miss the a photo-op with Tim, the gift with purchase of $100 or more of Liz Claiborne. I even managed to lob a few questions of my own to reality TV's fashion guru, who was, as you can imagine, just as polite and on-message as he is on Project Runway...

Who's the Liz Claiborne woman?
The current misconception we have is that the Liz Claiborne woman who started with the company in 1976 is still the same woman. What we are finding is that, no, she is not the same woman and that her daughter and daughter's daughter are now our customers. Our goal is to trim all the excess and concentrate on a better product, a more irresistible product. It is also an effort to reposition the brand. This will be seen with the new women's collections from Isaac Mizrahi and men's from John Bartlett.

Is this an attempt by LC to put a face on a company which has had no public face for some time?
Most definitely.

Would you care to comment on this year's Project Runway winner, Christian Siriano?
He's nothing but fierce! (Laughs.) He's also the type of person you want to give a big hug and a big slap to at the same time. I truly believe he is this generation's Marc Jacobs.

How do you feel about being a gay icon?
It is a great honor, seriously.

Here were a couple of questions from the audience...

I recently lost 90 pounds and I'm going to lose 30 more. Now I have all this extra hanging flesh. What kind of blouses should I wear?
First of all, congratulations on losing 90 pounds. (Applause.) I would suggest not wearing any tops that go past your hips and you should consider wearing tops with a V-neck to take attention away from areas of excess flesh.

If you were a racehorse at the Kentucky Derby, what would your name be?
Make It Work!

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Sunday, May 4, 2008

The fourth and final installment from item idem on his SWAP collaboration with Andrea Crews collective...

Looking back, I can say with certainty that we accomplished our mission with SWAP, to express ideas and images through a combination of media: a pop-up shop, a window display, products, performances and blogs. SWAP even appeared in the Fashion Scoops section of Women's Wear Daily, featuring the final state as a window installation at colette. Yet, ironically, these successes might have unraveled the entire SWAP enterprise, because that same window was taken down a day early, following a polite request from Louis Vuitton, who apparently didn't like our reappropriation of their bags.

Far from an attack on Louis Vuitton's image or logotype, the SWAP project was merely an attempt to share ideas through art and fashion. For the six of its seven scheduled days, the window was extremely popular, drawing reactions of all kinds. I remember Andie MacDowell passing by and taking pictures with her mobile phone, while a few minutes later, an elderly woman denounced the window as very ugly. Personally, I am never that interested in good versus bad; I am more focused on the background noise and the intensity of reactions, whatever they may be. I believe this is what the artistic endeavor is all about, to provoke vivid emotions and engender new ways of thinking. Still, despite the early dismantling, Hint remains a fantastic window to express how pleasantly surprised I am to attract Louis Vuitton's attention with our humble project, yet also disappointed that passersby couldn't enjoy SWAP on the last day.

I'd like to thank all the actors and partners of the SWAP project for their generous participation, especially Sarah from colette, whose positive attitude and affection for experimentation is a model for us all. SWAP will be back!

Photos by Baudouin

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Despite the stuffy nature of all things bridal, London avant-milliner Misa Harada created a wedding-inspired collection of hats for Yohji Yamamoto's spring debut of Y's Red Label, designed by Michiko Suzuki. Here's how it went down, in her own words...

"Yohji's new Red Label designer, Michiko Suzuki, watched a documentary about me on Japanese TV and was apparently fascinated with my work. I got a call from Y's people last summer and was invited to Paris for a meeting. It all happened just like that!"

"The concept of the collection, called Just Married, was to take masculine hat forms and translate them into feminine ones, adding a touch of haute couture. Yohji's team gave me complete freedom over my designs, which was lovely."

"I am here to introduce the fun of wearing hats. My hats are totally wearable and never just for occasions. My hats are cut and applied with techniques of couture, but manufactured so that they're affordable. I like to fill in the gap in the millinery market—it's neither high street nor couture."

"I got into millinery totally by accident. I came to London in 1987 to follow my love of English music and the London fashion scene, and ended up studying fashion. During my fashion degree, we were given a millinery tutorial by Mrs. Shirley Hex. She was teaching Philip Treacy at the Royal College of Art at the time, and encouraged me to apply to RCA, which I did. She completely made me fall in love with the art of millinery."

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin hits Saturday@Phillips...

When I received an invitation from my friend Cynthia Leung, Phillips de Pury’s new press officer, to preview an auction called Saturday@Phillips, my interest was piqued. Not only was it aimed at a young audience, but it was also breaking new ground in the auction world with the introduction of a Contemporary Fashion category. Curious, I flipped through the glossy catalog, which featured tastemakers Irina Lazareanu (uber-cool model/singer) and Simon Hammerstein (of The Box cabaret). Clearly, this was going to be a different kind of auction.

The catalog also confirmed the art was not going to disappoint. There were your typically auction-worthy works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, but also a beautiful C-print by the man of the moment, Richard Prince, estimated between $6000 and $8000. Just as dangerous was a great woodcut by Alex Katz, of whom I have always been a big fan. Things got especially interesting when I turned a page and saw a Larry Clark bookplate of provocative portraits, estimated at a mere $800-$1200. I was starting to feel the pull, the desire to fight to the end for something I didn’t plan on buying. What with all the paintings by Lisa Yuskavage and Karen Kilimnik, I could feel my temperature rising—and this was just the catalog. I felt like one of those old-timey housewives on a Sears mailing list.

I took a deep breath and leafed a bit more, in search of more photography, another weakness of mine. There were some Nan Goldens, a non-naked picture by Robert Mapplethorpe (of a tree) and a great Tierney Gearon, whose work I could imagine living with. I was amused to see a shot I remembered well from L’Uomo Vogue, by Steven Meisel, of a boy in his underwear lying on a carpet in front of a wood-paneled wall. Was this not Calvin Klein's controversial kiddie-porn ad removed from Times Square? Similar, at any rate, and a steal at a maximum estimate of $1200.

Seeing all this in a catalog was clearly not the point, so I went along to the preview just days before the auction. I walked around the carefully curated rooms and noticed a strong Japanese influence, with pieces by Takashi Murakami, Yoshitomo Nara (whose sculpture sold for four times its estimate) and the more obscure Aya Takano. There were also bondage and semi-nude photographs by Nobuyoshi Araki. Most interesting of all, and what made this auction so unusual, was the large selection of toys—mostly Japanese. The last time I was in Tokyo, I was introduced by my client, Naoki Takazawa, to the obsessive Otaku culture of anime collecting. Even then I was amazed at the hundreds and thousands of dollars some of these art toys could fetch. Here, there were Two Pink Twins, a Darth Vader companion and Dada Rah—all made by Kaws for Medicom Toys. Yet the highlight and rarest of Kaws' toys was Dissected (pictured here), which looked like a tribute to Damien Hirst. I also loved the action-figure set from Daft Punk, complete with Hedi Slimane-designed leather outfits. The detail was extraordinary, down to the very last zipper and belt buckle. I was later told that the actual auction price for this was an astounding $3125.

One of the central concepts of Saturday@Phillips is the introduction of contemporary fashion and jewelry, with each piece specially and exclusively designed for the auction. Electric Feathers, designed by Leana Zuniga, is the first featured line. I have to be honest here and say that there are few designers I haven't heard of, but this is one of them. At the preview, I was introduced to Leana by Phoebe Stephens, the Fashion Specialist at Phillips. (What a job title.) Almost on cue, a friend of the designer appeared wearing an Electric Feathers dress made from purple-washed raw silk. Most of the pieces were convertible in some way. Some were tunics or ponchos that could be worn as coats or dresses. Others were in silk ikat or woven cotton, and had tubular straps attached to them that could be maneuvered in different ways to turn a skirt into a mini-dress or vice versa. There was an earthy, handcrafted quality to the clothes, reminding me a bit of 70’s Koos van den Acker or old Plantation by Issey Miyake, minus the volumes. Leana previously had a store in Alphabet City, so the aesthetic started to fall into place.

Saturday finally rolled around, and while I had to miss the morning action, I wanted to make the 2:00 to see some of the aforementioned art go on the block. But mostly, and for curiosity's sake, I wanted to see the outcome of the toys and clothes. I promised myself that my wallet would stay tucked away in my bag and my hands firmly planted in my lap. For me, this would be window shopping only, despite the welcome rush that accompanies an auction (and which is quite different from a memory I have fighting with Jill Stuart over a dress in a vintage store—she won). I noticed one excessively tanned, blonde woman with a bandanna, whose orange arm went up for almost everything, but particularly for the Japanese art and toys. (At one point I raised my arm to adjust my glasses, when, in a fit of panic that it could be misread, I dropped my hand and sank in my chair like a child caught talking in class.) By the time the clothes were up, the room had unfortunately thinned out, and I was worried the Electric Feathers pieces wouldn't do well. Yet there seemed to be someone pretty interested on the phone, bidding against the orange woman on the floor. In the end, the most expensive piece, a handmade chain-mail vest, went for $938, while the majority of dresses went for a minimum of $250. This all seemed reasonable to me.

After the auction, I asked Phoebe if she were disappointed with some of the results, but she insisted she was not. A good percentage had sold, she said, and some at really good prices. She assured me that Electric Feathers would become more collectible, especially since it would soon be stocked at Dover Street Market. Besides, this was the first of its kind, and just like those long-gone thrift store finds, it was paving the way to a whole new shopping experience. I left the auction relieved I had survived unscathed, but with a head still buzzing with adrenalin and thoughts of lost opportunities.

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Have we ever mentioned our total obsession with Belgian accessories designer Natalia Brilli? We can't get enough of her black leather-covered watches, skateboards and clam shells. It's dark, it's glam, it's conceptual—we're all over it. And it was only three years ago that she struck out on her own, after two years as head accessories designer under Olivier Theyskens at Rochas. Then came the Andam award and orders from Barneys New York, Maria Luisa in Paris and Park in Vienna, among other top stores. Here's what you can expect for fall...

Photos by Thomas Lillo

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