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Monday, June 30, 2008

That Was Me on the Corner

A hipster lover's delight spilled out on to the corner of Bowery and Bond Street last Thursday when Gregory Rogan hosted buddy Michael Stipe's first-ever solo art show, Relics, at his new shop. Music, art, film, fiction and fashion worlds coalesced as famous friends—Jake Paltrow, Jeff Koons, Chris Martin, Douglas Coupland—came out to support the R.E.M. frontman. But because of the tropical temperature inside the all-black store, the real party took place in front of the cream-colored cast-iron gem of a building, which was chosen, Rogan told us, "because it's where several neighborhoods meet, so it doesn't fit neatly into one box. Just like me. I am not very good as a fashion designer, I am reluctant to be an artist." He then compared the hood to Istanbul, the only city in the world to sit on two continents. So the man is not only talented, but also modest, well-traveled and poetic. We so want to hang out with him. Oh, he also professed his love for Raf Simons and Martin Margiela, two of our own favorites. Total compatibility. Yet it's different with genius musicians, whose charm doesn't always come as easily. When asked whether there was any nostalgic element to his artwork (once-important but now-obsolete artifacts such as cassette tapes, Polaroid cameras and books cast in bronze), a perfectly polite Stipe was unequivocal: "I despise nostalgia. If you listen to our work you notice I'm much more about sentimentality." Okay, my bad, can we go to Istanbul now?

Gregory Rogan and Michael Stipe

bronzed cassettes

P.S.1 curator Klaus Biesenbach & Terence Koh, Polaroid cameras, Rogan Bouwerie store

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Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 1/3

Haidee Findlay-Levin...

Stockholm Fashion Week (aka Sthlm Fashion Week) is pretty much a local event as the shows are concentrated around Berns Hotel, where I'm staying. It's the first time I have attended, curious to see what some of these emerging brands were all about. So often a label can be really cool in person, especially when worn by any one of these super good-looking Swedes, always so impeccably turned out. These clothes may also look pretty cool on a rack, especially when housed in a trendy store among other similarly cool brands. Their style is generally crisp and precise, paired down to its essential details: a great pocket, a certain turn of the collar or a zipper detail that confirms your need to hand over your cash. In short, these kinds of labels tend to work on the high street. I was here to see if these clothes could, in fact, translate to the catwalk.

My day started fairly slowly, watching the crew set up the Mercedes-Benz display as I ate my breakfast on the sundeck. As I was leaving the hotel to go meet a friend, I surprisingly ran into Malcolm McLaren, in town to give a lecture the following day. He was equally surprised to find me here, as opposed to Paris for Couture Week. We hastily made dinner plans for that night, post-shows. I ran off to meet up with photographer John Scarisbrick, a local but regular to New York, at his studio nearby, in a neighborhood that reminded me of the classic and well-tended streets of the perfectly bourgeois 16th arrondissement in Paris. He showed me his most recent shoot, filled with images of a burnt-out Swedish forest, a white-blonde model enacting dark and wonderful themes, with a distinct air of witchcraft. All pretty surprising from John, a “one fun-loving guy” who just wrapped shooting the new Diesel campaign with an equally dark and macabre approach. I was wondering if this was preparation for a style I was about to see, emerging among local designers who had also spent endless months in the dark.

On the contrary, the opening shows of the week seemed to draw more from the long summer days and midnight sun, with nary a Gothic reference. Liselotte Westerland was the first out of the gate. Her collection was filled with monochromatic satins in white, navy and aqua green, some floor-length dresses while others were so short and skimpy that they provided us with quite a lot of unnecessary information! From a runway point of view, the best pieces were the navy satin bikinis and belted bathing suits.

Next up was Agunandagirl (pronounced A Gun and a Girl), the first ever collection created by the duo Gun Franzen (designer) and Lotta Signeul (PR and communications). The name alludes to Gun and Lotta, but also to French filmmaker Jean Luc Godard's reply to the question of what makes a good film: “All you need is a Gun and a Girl." It is all meant to stand for courage, individuality and timeless beauty, which translated into an homage to none other than Grace Jones! Referencing aside, I was happy enough to hear the soundtrack of Grace Jones: Slave to the Rhythm sampled with Nina Hagen’s African Roots. There were, of course, a few hooded pieces and a sharp trouser suit that showed some promise. Best of all was a gray Montana-like, strong-shouldered dress, worn with long plum leather gloves. There was a cute denim-like overall, which was more romper suit than jumpsuit, and a little out of context. On leaving the show we were handed a leaflet of well-styled and -shot images of the collection, which had clearly benefited from subtle lighting and some retouching that a show can never provide—proving my point exactly.

The brief interludes between shows were often more entertaining. The men, naturally, enthralled me, particularly by how impeccably they dressed, showing courage with color (reflected soon after in the Whyred show). I noticed, among the more typical palette of khaki, black, navy, gray and white, men in skinny ankle-grazing lavender and bright red trousers, worn with sock-less shoes. Meanwhile, some narrow suits were worn with open leather sandals. Floppy bow ties, a la Lanvin, and flowers were pinned to the jacket lapels of young men, with short cropped or asymmetric haircuts. But really, THE accessory du jour among men, and NEVER women, were angelic-looking babies carried confidently in their arms or pushed in strollers. I counted at least five, including the man in the lavender trousers!

The strength of Whyred was again in the menswear: a variety of Members Only-style jackets worn with cropped narrow trousers and great colored thin-soled sneakers. I particularly loved a pair of turquoise sneaker boots, as well as a ribbed turtleneck in the same vibrant shade. Blazers were shown with rolled-up shorts in as many contrasting colors as American Apparel, as well in tonal shades of one color—especially effective in shades of green. I very much liked a light gray cotton parka shown with bold red trousers and loafers sans socks. The womenswear, apparently designed by a different designer, was somewhat less successful. They would have faired better had they borrowed more of the playful menswear touches, but were best with the initial printed dresses, shrunken bomber jackets, narrow and cropped pleated trousers and short jumpsuits. If only they had avoided such styling touches as the frizzy-wigged hair worn with long floaty dresses shown under cropped denim jackets.

Filippa K is the most established and successful of the Swedish brands, as was evident by the plush carpeted location (at The Arts Club) and the somewhat large turn-out of international press. I had been attending all the shows with my New York neighbor and fellow journalist Jacob Brown from V Magazine. Jacob is a regular in Stockholm, having been to Stockholm Fashion Week seven times in all. He could easily pass for a local and often slipped in a few Swedish phrases and observations, which made it all the more entertaining. We arrived late, squeezing ourselves into the last two front-row seats, which just happened to be right next to an ex-editor of mine from London. Panic! We had had a horrible falling-out many years ago and hadn’t spoken since. We were both so shocked by this inescapable situation that I became overly friendly and chatty throughout the long wait for the show to commence, as was he! The clothes on display, meanwhile, exhibited a relaxed and cool ease that was quite the opposite of my personal predicament. I saw an endless array of soft long dresses and dirndl skirts on the girls in gradations of off-white through grape to black. On the boys we saw blazers with contrast piping worn with crisp narrow trousers or rolled-up shorts, where even an un-tucked shirt looked neat and intentional.

I found it hard, however, to focus on what seemed like an endless collection of clothes for what I understood is a very short few months of summer. But then again, my own temperature was noticeably rising to match those I had felt when leaving sweltering Manhattan. I literally ran out at show's end, not only to escape my former employer, but also to meet Malcolm McLaren for dinner.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Root Beirendonck

"Explicit" was the title of Walter Van Beirendonck's spring collection, shown at Pitti Uomo in Florence—and indeed it appeared to be inspired by woods, wood nymphs and woodies. As printed on one leotard: Get Natural, Get Naked...

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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Backstage at Calvin Klein Men's

Photos by Andrew Burmeister...

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Backstage at Marni Men's

Photos by Andrew Burmeister...

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Thursday, June 26, 2008


"Who's that Gucci Girl?" asks André do Val...

Martha Streck is the flame-haired Brazilian girl who burst on the modeling scene when she stalked Gucci's fall catwalk. Then came Dior's resort '09 collection. She's currently working the runways back home in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Chatty and quick-witted, she says she only decided to work in fashion for the stamps in her passport. Want more nuggets? Keep reading...

Walking for Gucci, backstage at Alexandre Herchcovitch in São Paulo

What got you started in modeling?
I was really craving to travel, but my father wouldn't let me because I had just started law school, after studying theater. I wanted a job that would take me all over the world, so I began modeling. Problem solved.

Do you like it?
There’s a lot of girls trying to be models in my city, but I never liked the idea. Now I'm used to it, but it's not exactly what I planned for my life. I still want to finish law school.

And have you been traveling?
Yes! My first trip was to Milan in May of 2007, then London, Istanbul and Berlin. I don't have a particular destination I want to visit. I could be taken anywhere in the world and it's okay for me.

Do you bring the contents of your house with you?
Yes, I'm such a snail. I bring everything with me all the time. As a model, I don't know exactly where I’m going and how long I’m staying, so I need to be prepared for warm and cold weather. It's heavy, but useful.

Can you sleep on the plane?
I can sleep anywhere. Right after take-off, I completely knock out. I’m the person who needs to be woken up after everybody else has gotten off. And I always ask for five more minutes.

—André do Val

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Backstage at Prada Men's

Photos by Andrew Burmeister...

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Glad Grads

Buzzing with excitement, the Antwerp Academy’s graduation show this year once again delivered the goods. Shown to an international jury that included Kris Van Assche, Tim Blanks and Jefferson Hack, the fourth-year collections were truly innovative and technically accomplished. Glen Martens’ cocoon coats in luxurious fabrics and layered origami white dresses were terribly chic yet forward-looking. In menswear, Yu Fukumoto offered an irreverent take on classic tailoring, with models chasing imaginary butterflies in crisp, white shirts, impeccable cotton shorts and straw hats. Best shoes went to Yuima Nakazato, whose nude and gold leather with insane metallic heels aptly echoed the futuristic and constructed feel of his armor-like collection. Ek Thongprasert, meanwhile, had the cutest show concept, sending couples down the runway together, building his interchangeable collection around the notions of love and intimacy. His black necklaces had a surreal, Jean Cocteau-like feel, spelling out the words “Love” and “Dream” to a touched audience, who no doubt wondered if this might be the last time he—or any of these students—feels as rosy about his chosen profession.

—Philippe Pourhashemi, photos by Sonny Vandevelde

Glen Martens

Yu Fukumoto

Yuima Nakazata

Ek Thongprasert

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Loving Lanvin

For a detailed view, click on this Lanvin tribute that photographer Caroll Taveras made for us by hand using only paper—no photoshop in sight. Thanks, Caroll!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Republican Party

Last week, New York's fashionable, beautiful, moneyed and hip (and the odd lucky duck) united at Beatrice Inn to celebrate the beginning of summer, courtesy of West Coast jeans-makers Rock & Republic. LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy was on deck duty as a generous all-night open bar fueled a crowd that included gorgeous film scion Eva Amurri, jewelry designer Philip Crangi, rage-prone May Andersen and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. Le Tigre's JD Samson and Australian indie cutie Sia were by far the coolest couple in the room (and so smitten it hurt to watch), while Kirsten Dunst and Andre Balazs showed up past midnight, proving that Beatrice is still a hot boîte. Between refills and dancing to everything from the Beatles to M.I.A., we chatted with ever-sweet Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, the denim brand's art director who just finished its fall campaign featuring her brother, Vladimir...

Julia Restoin-Roitfeld, her BF Magnus Berger & R&R's Andrea Bernholtz / James Murphy

Elite model Harley Viera-Newton / May Andersen

How was it to work with your brother? Did you like bossing him around?
Ha! It's always fun to boss your brother around, but that wasn't the reason I suggested and cast him as a model. Actually, I wasn't going to use a male model unless he was someone authentic with a rock look. Vladimir seemed perfect. He's not a model anymore, but still has enough experience to do a great job, and he has the right look and attitude. I didn't have to boss him around. I just wanted him to be himself.

We assume you, like everyone, loves jeans. How many pairs do you have?
I actually don't have so many. But there is one favorite pair I've owned for more than ten years. It's a pair of rough A.P.C. jeans and I would never wash them, just dry clean so they would keep the perfect color and shape. After a while, they fit me so perfectly that it looked like they were molded onto my body. But stupidly, I decided it was time to put them in the washing machine and they lost their perfect shape and color. I still own them though. They're one of my classics that I hope to fit back into one day.

What's your favorite way to wear jeans?
Jeans are meant to be casual clothes. I used to like them only with heels because they make a better silhouette. But I also like them with a simple T-shirt or a men's shirt—nothing over-the-top. I like the boyish side of wearing denim.

What would you like to bring to Rock & Republic? Does your French background inform your work?
Rock & Republic is an L.A.-based brand, and I think it's very important for me to keep this in mind. However, I think it was important to bring the French touch, plus the New York touch, since this is where I am based. I always thought Rock & Republic was a great name and I really wanted to push the image in a tougher yet glamourous direction so that it would reflect its name better. I think it's the mix of these three very different influences that allowed us to create such a strong campaign. The team on the shoot was half Californian, with photographer Mark Segal and stylist Keegan Singh, and half European living in New York. So it was a great mix.

What are your plans for summer?
I think I will go to Ibiza in August, for the third year in a row. It will be a real retreat—no clubbing or techno music, just reading, eating and relaxing. It sounds quite boring, but I always feel the best when I return from there.

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Lacoste Analysis

Pauline Hoch goes croc hunting...

Before LACOSTE could become the world's first sports brand in the 1930s, the preppie's insignia of choice in the 80s or the kicky label it is today (thanks to designer Christophe Lemaire), performance apparel had to be invented. Which is what tennis pro René Lacoste did when he won the 1927 U.S. Open wearing an early version of the classic LACOSTE shirt: a white, short-sleeved, light-knit prototype that whisked away perspiration. Now, among its 75th anniversary celebrations this year, LACOSTE has commissioned eleven artists to create works inspired by the brand's iconic 12.12 polo and crocodile logo, each installed in a window of KaDeWe store in Berlin and available by silent auction through July 12. Here, a Q&A with René's son and LACOSTE chairman Michel Lacoste...

What are some of LACOSTE's major accomplishments in 75 years?
The LACOSTE brand came to life in 1933 with a few white polo shirts for playing tennis, evolved in a complete line of sport and sportswear apparel, and is today a global lifestyle brand with clothing, leather goods, footwear, watches, glasses, fragrances and home textiles. To our knowledge, LACOSTE was the first to affix a logo on the outside of a clothing item. This famous crocodile polo shirt really revolutionized the way tennis players dressed on the courts and took the place of the long-sleeved, starched, uncomfortable shirts used before.

What's the objective of the 1212 art collaboration?
For the last ten years, LACOSTE has contributed to charity organizations worldwide by means of local charity events and through the René Lacoste Foundation, whose purpose is to help young people benefit from the values of the sport. We ask artists, famous people, actors, musicians and singers to reinterpret the crocodile. The artworks created—photographs, everyday life objects, musical instruments, bags, dresses, etc.—are then auctioned off.

Lacoste is one of the last remaining family-owned labels. How have you resisted selling?
The economic model of the company rests on René Lacoste's idea to combine expertise. Today, the Lacoste family owns 65% of LACOSTE, which controls and coordinates licenses granted to each partner: Devanlay for clothing, Pentland for footwear, Procter & Gamble for perfumes, Samsonite for leather goods, Charmant for glasses, Movado for watches, etc. Although this model may seem ancient, it means never pretending to be what we are not. Of course that’s easier said than done.

Do you ever see the ghost of René Lacoste roaming the halls?
If by ghost you mean his values and work ethics, then yes, we see ghosts every day. René Lacoste and the crocodile are still the only and true bosses of the company. He was known for his tenacity on the tennis courts and never letting go of his prey. This is why he was nicknamed "the crocodile" by the American press. It was logical for him to “sign” the shirt he invented, so he decided to embroider his nickname on his blazer. It is hard to think of LACOSTE without this crocodile. Today, two LACOSTE products are sold every second, making it one of the most recognized brands in the world. For our customers, we think LACOSTE is an authentic brand of high-quality products that are nice to wear in the pleasant moments of our lives.

Can you give us a pleasant family moment?
There are so many, it's difficult to choose. One of them happened in connection with my sister Catherine, who was just as great a golf champion as my father was a tennis champion. She won the U.S. Ladies Open in 1967, and a few weeks later, my father was asked by a U.S. customs official if he was the father of the golf champion, whilst all our lives prior to that we had grown up being asked by the same U.S. customs officials if we were the children of René Lacoste. My father was at the same time very happy and a little peeved by that question!

—Pauline Hoch

Kassandra Becker, Anne Sofie Vistven

Igor Paasch, Peter Langer

MAROK, Tagno

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Group Therapy

Richard Mortimer's night out with the stars...

Karaoke, it seems, is the hottest thing in London right now. With the recent opening of Karaoke Box in Smithfield, and the old favorites in Soho still going strong, could there be a more perfect concept for a charity fundraiser?

Of course, Bella Freud and the committee members of HOPING charity already know this. Last year's karaoke fundraiser at Ronnie Scott's proved so successful they decided to do it again. As such, June 19 saw a dinner and benefit auction to raise funds for the HOPING Foundation for Palestinian refugees. The event was organized by Bella Freud, Karma Nabulsi, James Fox and Sudhir Hazareesingh, with the help of Mary McCartney, Laura Bailey, Jemima Khan and Dan MacMillan, among others.

It was a turnout of epic proportions, with entertainment royalty—i.e. Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed and Nick Cave—out to support the cause in one way or another. Some sang, while others weren't so brave. Those not grabbing the mic dug deep into their wallets to place bids on once-in-a-lifetime renditions of their karaoke favorites. Setting the tone was Lulu, singing her classic hit Shout, accompanied by Jools Holland on piano and backing vocals from Gwyneth Paltrow, Sam Taylor-Wood, Donna Air and Sharleen Spiteri. Jarvis Cocker gave a rousing interpretation of the classic My Sherona, while Gwyneth's cover of Killing Me Softly managed to pull in £45,000! With the likes of Stella McCartney, Daphne Guinness, Mario Testino, Alice Dellal, Guido, Hedi Slimane and Souxie Soux all showing up to support the cause, the event now looks set to become an annual highlight on the social calendar.

—Richard Mortimer

Bella Freud & Lily Cole

Daphne Guinness, Mario Testino & David Furnish

David Williams & Jarvis Cocker
Jools Holland, Bruce Forsythe, Lulu, Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, Jeff Beck & Sharleen Spiteri

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Friday, June 20, 2008


Since forever ago, we've been hanging out with Chiara Clemente and Waris (the BF and a Hint regular), hearing bits of bobs about her first feature documentary, Our City Dreams, for which she followed the lives of five women artists—Nancy Spero, Marina Abromovic, Kiki Smith, Ghada Amer, Swoon—who call New York home. (Chiara has also been busy working with Richard Tuttle and Mario Sorrenti on a short film for the first W Art Issue.) Now we're happy to say the film is finally here, screening last week at Art Basel Switzerland. We spoke with the filmmaker herself...

Dorothea Jaffe, Waris and Chiara Clemente. Photo by Waris, jewelry by House of Waris

What's the funniest anecdote from making Our City Dreams?
There were a lot of memorable moments as I traveled around the world with these artists, but some of the funniest may be in Cairo with Ghada Amer. We wanted to film the magnificent pyramids of Giza and somehow found ourselves, my director of photography, the trainer and all of our equipment speeding across the desert on a camel, holding on for dear life. There was also the time my director of photography and I nearly got arrested for filming on the streets of Cairo. I am happy to report we did not see the inside of a prison during this shoot.

Have you known these artists your whole life? Were they your friends before they were your subjects?
My relationship with each artist was different. The film was inspired by my first visit to Ghada Amer's studio, where for several hours she opened up about her work and life to me. Kiki Smith I knew and always have loved her work. Swoon I had to track down. She's a street artist and not the easiest to find, so I put my best tracker, Waris, on the case. I really had to woo all the artists into letting me into their lives and spaces, and capturing it all on film.

Who was the easiest and who was the most challenging artist to document?
They all presented different challenges. Some took longer to warm up to me and let me in, others it was more immediate. Kiki's real name is Chiara, she has lots of curly hair and grew up with an artist father—all these connections always made me feel close to her.

Do you think you could have made the same film without your family's background in art?
I was brought up with art all around me: growing up in my father's studio, learning to walk around his paintings, my mother's feasts bringing together all their friends. It’s who I am and cannot separate the two. I have a great respect for someone trying to tell their story, and that's what I'm doing now, telling a story. The film is the story of a woman trying to make it as an artist in this great city of ours.

You spent a lot of time in India. Is that where you met the one-and-only Waris?
I spent time in India when I was a child, every year till I was seven. Funnily enough, I didn't meet Waris there. He's a Northern boy, I'm a Southern gal and it's a big country. We met in Rome while he was filming Life Aquatic.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Viktor & Rolf Play with Dolls

Dean Mayo Davies gets an early peek...

Their fall 2008 catwalk show protested "No!" but we say “Yes!” to Viktor & Rolf. And so does London’s Barbican, where a retrospective of the Dutch duo's work opens tomorrow. The House of Viktor & Rolf—curated by Jane Alison and designed by Dutch architect and art historian Siebe Tettero, who also designed the infamous upside-down Viktor & Rolf shop in Milan—charts fifteen years of the fashion world's Gilbert & George, the first time an exhibition has been devoted to the pair in the UK.

Instead of the standard gallery show with clothes positioned vacuously on lifeless mannequins, V&R have remade everything in miniature, showcasing their greatest hits on two-foot-tall dolls—part pageant, part Bride of Chucky. Highlights include pieces from their Atomic Bomb collection (1998-1999), in all its mushroom-cloud provocation, and Russian Doll (1999–2000), in which they dressed Maggie Rizer layer by layer until she was left gasping underneath 70 kilos of couture—a work of performance art as much as it was a spectacular fashion show. Yet the holy grail for hardcore fans are pieces from 1996’s infamous Launch collection, as well as the notorious fake perfume and a mock ad campaign.

Having worked together since their graduation from Arnhem Academy in 1992, Viktor & Rolf's journey has been a beguiling, bewitching one. Their haute couture collection in January 1998, when they hijacked the Paris fashion calendar, evolved over the next four seasons into a ready-to-wear collection based entirely on cornea-popping cut-ups of the American flag. For those who feared production would strip away their sheen, the answer was immediate: success need not mean selling out.

With the benefit of hindsight, their oblique yet charming concepts seem to come naturally to them, even in recent shows, most notably fall 2007, in which each model wore her own personal lighting rig with speakers. This is how Viktor & Rolf roll. Their idiosyncratic vision goes a long way in explaining an H&M collection, two fragrances and that upside-down boutique in Milan’s golden quadrangle. No ticking of boxes here. Now, Horsting (Viktor) and Snoeren (Rolf) have warped the exhibition template.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Raf Housing

Jil Sander heads downtown, and Haidee Findlay-Levin was there...

Before long you'll be hearing the names Jil and Howard thrown together like some sordid tabloid tale. Of course I'm referring to Jil of Jil Sander, whose slick downtown outpost launched last week on Howard Street. A block from Opening Ceremony and a stone's throw from the New Museum, this corner (at Crosby) is my favorite part of Manhattan. Every morning I walk to yoga along these streets, safely away from Canal Street mayhem and the overcrowded sidewalks of Soho, aka Slowho.

Entering the store for the launch, however, I felt completely removed from its location and context. The white-marbled space is split between a kind of exhibit area on street level—with a row of Grecian-like mannequins dressed in equally sculptural dresses—and the floor above, with more familiar racks and dressing rooms. The bilevel set-up allows customers to first absorb themselves in the world of Jil Sander, to ponder construction and contemplate design. In the back of the store, a wall of oversized, mirrored vertical blinds was opening and closing, alternating between reflections of the store's white walls and the fashion crowd's dark palette. Occasionally it would catch a bright color, like publicist Sylvie Picquet-Damesme from PR Consulting, who was wearing one of this season's Jil dresses in a fantastic shock-pink.

The art references don’t stop at the first floor. You then ascend a marble staircase to the second floor, complete with marble banister, where Jil Sander's creative director Raf Simons has collaborated with artist Germaine Kruip to create unusual fitting rooms with sides that close to form a four-sided, mirrored experience. That’s a lot of personal information to take in a state of undress. Personally, I'm quite happy being oblivious to my back side!

Julie Gilhart & Raf Simons, Germaine Kruip & Sylvie-Plicquet-Damesme, Ingrid Sischy & Sandy Brandt

Now, we've long known Jil Sander stands for impeccable quality and refinement, and we collectively exhaled a sigh of relief when Raf Simons took the helm (let's just pretend it was a short blip between Jil's departure and Raf's appearance), so I was very happy to see and speak to Raf himself, who I have known for years. We originally met in Paris when I was sourcing young designers for an Italian leatherwear project, Ruffo Research, for which I was creative director. In a smoky bistro, we talked art and fashion with his then girlfriend and budding designer Véronique Branquinho. Neither had worked outside of Antwerp until I proposed they collaborate with Ruffo (Raf on men's and Véronique on women's), which resulted in two definitive collections. It was the only collaboration they ever did together, and it preceded the idea of pairing designers with bigger brands—in this case, two in one.

Raf is a lot more on his plate these days, of course, but he told me he's figured out a way to focus on Jil while staying committed to his signature line (soon to have its own stores in Tokyo and Osaka). He does so by alternating weeks: one week in Milan, followed by a week in Antwerp and so on—with weekends spent in Antwerp. He said it's an easy commute, though it reminded me of a traveling man with a lover at each stop. Naturally I asked him if this was the case. "Absolutely not!" he replied, adamant that his schedule left no time for a relationship—besides those he already has with his two lines.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

More Seoul street style from yourboyhood...

May 21, 2008
Lee Hye Mee (27), fashion designer of erynbrinie

jacket _ Comme des Garçons
pants _ Topshop
shoes _ Ann Demeulemeester
sunglasses _ Chanel
bag _ Lanvin

homepage: www.beu.kr

May 21, 2008
You Seung bo (22), musician

jacket _ vintage
t-shirt _ reworked Army Surplus
pants _ vintage
shoes _ Converse
bag _ Chanel
hat _ CA4LA
necklace _ Maze

homepage: www.cyworld.com/parasite

April 20, 2008
Cory (24), teacher

t-shirt _ American Apparel
skirt _ vintage
boots _ vintage
necklace _ Surface to Air
sunglasses _ vintage
bag _ vintage

homepage: www.myspace/my_cococo

May 18, 2008
Mun Chul (22), student
shirt _ vintage
pants _ UNIQLO
shoes _ bought at Itaewon
suspenders _ bought in elementary school

homepage: www.cyworld.com/rollypong

May 30, 2008
Yang madame (18), student

overall _ Bobson
shirt _ reworked vintage
shoes _ Converse
hat _ vintage from the Czech Republic

homepage: http://cafe.naver.com/vintageshelter

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

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bush Babies

photography Michal Martychowiec
styling Andrej Skok
hair Sofia Sjoo using Bumble and bumble
make-up Lan using MAC
models Tim (Premier), Megan (Premier), Tomas M (Models 1)
location London, England

Megan: top Kenzo, jacket & skirt Jens Laugesen, shoes Tata Naka / Tim: jumpsuit Spastor, hooded vest Juun J, boots John Galliano
Tomas: jacket Cerruti, transparent raincoat Tata Naka, pants Juun J, necklace & bag: Swarovski for Jonathan Saunders, shoes Lanvin

Tomas: shirt Kenzo Homme, pants Dior Homme, jacket Gaspard Yurkievich, glasses Paul Smith / Megan: white shirt Juun J, jacket Calvin Klein, pants Cerruti, glasses Paul Smith, shoes Swear / Tim: black shirt Cerruti, glasses Paul Smith

Tomas: leather jacket Gaspard Yurkievich, necklace Florian / Megan: shirt Dior, jacket Jean-Pierre Braganza, pants Antipodium, shoes Nicholas Kirkwood for Louise Goldin
Tomas: transparent shirt & white silk shirt Deryck Walker, T-shirt Ground Zero, pants Cerruti, necklace Swarovski for Christopher Kane, shoes Dior Homme

Megan: dress Calvin Klein, necklace Florian, shoes Sonia Rykiel / Tomas: black top & headpiece Levi Palmer, shirt Y-3, leggings Ground Zero, vest & boots John Galliano, shorts Steve J & Yoni P

Megan: shirt Sonia Rykiel Homme, jacket Calvin Klein, pants John Galliano, belt Swarovski, snake necklace Jacey Withers, shoes Swear / Tomas: shirt Levi Palmer, jacket Ground Zero, pants Gaspard Yurkievich
Tim: knit Nodody, vest Ground Zero, pants Dior Homme, purple necklace: Swarovski for Christopher Kane, pendant necklace Swarovski for Jonathan Saunders, silver sneakers Swear / Megan: chain detail top Spastor, bolero top Jens Laugesen, shoulder piece Levi Palmer, shorts Jean-Pierre Braganza

Tim: shirt & cardigan Kenzo Homme, vest Matthew Harding, pants Makin Ma, shoes Swear / Megan: shirt Dior, jacket Jens Laugesen, pants Antipodium, shoes Nicholas Kirkwood for Louise Goldin
Tim: shirt Kenzo Homme, jacket Levi Palmer, leggings Miki Fukai / Tomas: shirt Levi Palmer, raincoat Spastor


Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Beautiful Purple

Stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin, ever in black, on her second favorite color...

Early Tuesday evening I reluctantly dragged my overheated self uptown to John McWhinnie/Glenn Horowitz gallery and bookstore, probably my favorite in the city, for the launch of Purple Anthology (Rizzoli), celebrating fifteen years of Purple magazine. Was it the oppressive weather and the anticipation of a smallish space that was making me so sluggish? Or was it the reality that fifteen fashion years had pretty much shot by?

Purple captured a moment in the 90s by linking art and fashion in a very particular way. It's not that the two worlds hadn't co-existed before (Andy Warhol merged them brilliantly), but this time editors Olivier Zahm and Elein Fleiss commissioned art photographers to shoot fashion, achieving a uniquely raw and spontaneous aesthetic. Artists such as Corinne Day, Mark Borthwick, Juergen Teller, Jack Pierson, Richard Prince, Marcelo Krasilcic and Richard Kern shaped and defined their photographic vocabulary within these fashion pages. The covers, meanwhile, broke all the rules of market research. Wolfgang Tillmans' image of a man peering between a woman's naked legs, Vivianne Sassen's blindfolded figure and Vincent Gallo in a Balenciaga dress, shot by Terry Richardson, are just a few of the standouts.

Purple wasn't just one magazine, but several. Purple Prose celebrated the intelligently written word. Alongside often crude and certainly un-retouched images were essays penned by the likes of Bruce Benderson, Glenn O’Brien, Kim Gordon, Jutta Koether and Gary Indiana, as well as the editors themselves. And then, of course, there was Purple Sexe. I have always been attracted to the provocative, and had secretly been planning to do my own magazine that combined fashion and sex in a brutally honest approach to eroticism. But when I first set eyes on Purple Sexe, my personal project instantly seemed redundant. No need to compete, just to participate.

The magazine had such an impact on the industry and fashion photography itself that it inspired an army of point-and-shoot photographers to pick up their snap cameras. But more than this, it provided a showcase for more experimental designers Martin Margiela, Bless, Lutz, Maria Cornejo and Susan Cianciolo, who I remember styling for a shoot with Marcelo Krasilcic. Naturally backlit, she sat on a windowsill in his Chinatown studio, cradling his cat who had walked into the shot. There were also Japanese favorites, such as Comme des Garçons and Junya Watanabe. Initially, Purple seemed free of advertiser dictates, incorporating them like a special guest invited to come play with the cool crowd. Things have changed considerably over the years, and it's now the advertiser that seems to host the party.

Arriving to the Purple Anthology launch, I was surprised not to see the usual suspects. Soon enough though, Glenn O’Brien, photogs Mark Borthwick and Maciek Kobielski, and artist Hope Atherton—perfectly accessorized in fantastic enormous rings—popped in, along with designer Elise Overland, whose forearm-long armbands were an equally impressive commitment to accessorizing. I ran into fellow stylists Keeghan Singh, Christopher Niquet and Masha Orlov, whose oversized Ksubi T-shirt dress seemed like a cool solution to heat-wave dressing. I chatted to picture editor and curator Emma Reeves, Abrams' Eva Prinz, DAP's Alex Galan, Anthony Petrilose of Empire Books, who also collaborates with Rizzoli. The notoriously affectionate Olivier Zahm, too, showed up, followed by many a pretty girl.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

For the Nail Files

Following its perfumed nail polish with Bernhard Willhelm a couple of months ago, presumed to be a world's first, Uslu Airlines has just come out with three new colors, inspired by the designer's fall '08 collection, available at Colette...

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kitsuné Sale


Monday, June 9, 2008

Chanel and Dover, Together at Last

Chanel has dropped in at Dover Street Market, complete with a hut-like boutique, a cardboard Eiffel Tower and life-sized Karl cutouts—ironic, considering the flesh version is possibly the most animated man in fashion. Spread across five of DSM’s six floors is a wide array of ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes from the Paris-Londres Metiers d'Arts collection, as well as edits of iconic Chanel pieces and a few limited-editions, too. Coco herself once said, “Fashion is not simply a matter of clothes. Fashion is in the air, born upon the wind. One intuits it.” Those words will ring true again on June 25, when the Parisian powerhouse packs up and only the memory of the temporary takeover will remain...

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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Arm Wrestling

photography Red De Leon
styling James Worthington DeMolet
make-up Hung Vanngo
hair Ramona Esbach
model Thayssee @ Supreme
location New York, USA

jacket Toga, skirt Pow Wow, bags Chanel, Moschino & NYLO
vest Purple, skirt & belt Marc Jacobs, white top Patrik Rzepski, bags Chanel, Y-3 & Jane Bolinger

dress Sinha Stanic, bags Alexander Wang & Marni
bra Marc Jacobs, dress DKNY, belt Véronique Branquinho, bags Y-3

dress Prada, striped top Proenza Schouler, bags DKNY, Y-3 & Jane Bolinger
dress Miu Miu, bags Jane Bolinger & NYLO, vintage mask


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Grey Gardens, Now With More Color

Little Edie may have died in 2002, but our (and John Galliano's) obsession with her never could. This fall, Powerhouse Books will come out with "Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens: A Life in Pictures"—basically a collection of photos, letters, drawings and such recovered from the albums and scrap books she kept for decades. Endearing, hilarious and a little heartbreaking, it just might tide us over until HBO airs its Grey Gardens remake, starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lang. Friend of the family Peter Beard wrote the foreword, excerpted here...

"Remembering back to the Beales' saga in the summer of '72, there was never an even-slightly-dull moment for all those afternoons and evenings. The middle of Gold Coast Lane—a primordial overgrowth of nature itself, a jungley bush of leaves and vines—boasted the abandoned-looking house they called Grey Gardens. Throw in a troop of raccoons and around fifty-two cats (when they weren’t having a die-off), and there you have the last stronghold of the Beales. Lots of eccentricity and individuality inside and out. Genuinely genius-like personalities ran a rebellious, boycotting household that had just evolved along slowly. From what I’ve heard, it had been since the 1938 hurricane that they were ever more resentful of the goings-on outside. Rebels with a cause, Edie and Edie Beale: over the years, alone together, one-on-one, no one else, since the 1938 storm, all locked up in that house, considering it a better deal than what was going on outside.

I came from Kenya, a Mecca of the looming over-population horrors, into the summer-rush of the famous Hamptons. From the wasteland of “Starvo” to gluttonous consumer-ville; from the middle of 30,000 starving pachyderms, and the carcasses of rhinos and elephants (you could smell them from the airplane), to a summer sweltering mare’s nest of Bloomingdales and Macy’s relocated from Palm Beach. Right in the middle of it all, on the Gold Coast itself, were the two debonair die-hards. I have to rush to say again that every single visit with Edie and Edie was every bit as interesting as anything I enjoyed in my wildlife years of East Africa: rhino-gorings, elephant-tramplings, leopards and baboons fighting, wild dogs hunting, spitting cobras, centipedes and scorpions, whatever.

A quarter of a century of greeting cards on the mantelpiece—birthdays and holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter cards addressed to each other, jammed all around the dilapidated fireplace, under the cracked and broken ceiling. Many with a cat’s face (or once an opossum), peering down Chas Adams-style. Life without running water. Two hundred bags of cat shit in the cellar (personally carried out by William vanden Heuvel and myself). A musty world like Dagoretti corner in the slums, just beyond Nairobi swamp, and beyond belief. Every square inch in magnificent disrepair, and these two elegant and above-it-all creatures lounging around in all of it. Young Edie probably posing or performing, Aunt Edie muttering Oscar Wilde-like sarcasms—probably about how the town of East Hampton had somehow decided to go down the urban-migration-drain (“loss of rural integrity”, etc...), with a mushrooming catastrophe of H.L. Mencken-esque tin-god “bureaucraps”—all kinds of Kafka S&M dogma, and loads of it."

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Boudicca's New Haute Tote

Available at Boudicca...


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent Remembered

D. Matthews recalls a lifelong infatuation...

Like countless other “sensitive” American boys, I spent my youth avoiding football games, physical labor and math. Dusty rural boredom was my lot, typical male gender expectations my daily torture. I wanted something else from life, but had no idea what it was.

Until I found Yves.

I was 11 when I first heard of him. I don't remember how, but I know the world changed the moment it happened, and it would never look the same again. Yves Saint Laurent would become my education, my hero and, for the next decade, the best friend I never met.

He fascinated me for the way he seemed to live at the very heights of civilized Parisian life. He and his friends were so sophisticated. He seemed to embody his influences—they became him. He absorbed Picasso, Proust, Cocteau. He contained it all. He was Ludwig of Bavaria. He was Catherine Deneuve. He was Ingres. When he drew a dress inspired by Vermeer, Vermeer suddenly seemed to live again.

For several years I studied Saint Laurent almost every day, in one way or another. I was all about Yves, all the time. I wrote to him and dreamed of a response, which never came. I called Helene de Ludinghausen, directrice of couture, from my little home in rural Northern California and begged for copies of show videos, but was turned down (granted, it was pre-Internet, pre-Fashion TV, and the images were tightly guarded to prevent people from copying his designs.) A former model of his kept me enthralled by descriptions of his atelier. I bought Vogue patterns of his designs and taught myself to sew. In French class I took the name “Yves,” and was astonished when everyone laughed, thinking it was a woman’s name. For me there was no Eve, there was only Yves. Only Yves.

My master plan was to attend the Chambre Syndicale, get a job at YSL, become his protégé and eventually take over at Dior, as he had. The typical dream of so many aspiring fashion designers, right? Alas, it was not to be.

My favorite collection of his—everyone has a favorite—was the spring '90 couture, shown in January of that year, just a month after leaving Paris' Clinique Labrouste (there, reportedly, to recuperate from a broken arm.) He seemed reborn, and he had lost 35 pounds. He described himself as a new person emerging from “six years of hell.” Women’s Wear Daily photographed him in his Rue de Babylone apartment in front of a stunning new purchase: a tapestry called “The Adoration,” by Sir Edward Burne-Jones.

The collection was a vibrant homage to his major influences, with dresses directly referencing Silvana Mangano, Rita Hayworth, Maria Callas and Marilyn Monroe. My favorite was the short, spunky, black minidress he designed for Zizi Jeanmaire, who was seated in the audience. At the end of the show Paloma Picasso and Nan Kempner had tears streaming down their faces.

It was an exciting collection for an exciting, transitional moment—the beginning of the end of the 20th Century. Ivana Trump, newly divorced from The Donald, wore a piece from the collection in her “revenge makeover” photo shoot for Vogue. The dress, inspired by Balenciaga, was cut to capture the air and float ever so lightly around the body. This was Saint Laurent pulling back the curtains and letting in the sunshine.

But illness and addiction were too much for him. This last great burst of energy and clarity would soon dissipate. His collections of 1990, including the gorgeously dramatic work he unveiled in July of that year, would mark his last really important contributions to fashion.

So what are we left with, now that he is gone? Clothing, sketches, runway images? All of those are very important, and we should be so grateful to Pierre Bergé for safeguarding all of it and more at their Foundation. But for me, the importance of all that is how it leads to Yves himself. The only Yves.

Questing, uneasy, he tried to find his way in life through the study of art and creation of beauty. We don’t know whether he ever healed whatever troubled him. But it seems his journey did transform, for the good, the lives of all who truly cared. Through his art we witnessed life uplifted by the flight of a taffeta ruffle, the seductive slip of bias satin—always created from the heart.

—D. Matthews

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Earnest Sewn's Crush

It was a teen dream last week at Earnest Sewn's Meatpacking flagship for the opening of Ruffian's shrine to their pubescent muse. In celebration of the label's collaboration with the denim brand, designers Brian Wolk and Claude Morais transformed the back room into a mish-mash of Jonas Brothers cutouts, copies of Sassy, Mallomars, one curiously empty hamster cage and two closets bursting with their schoolgirl-gone-bad collection. And gone bad she had. The bedside was scattered not with textbooks and Dear God, It's Me Margaret, but with opened condoms, ripped-up Playboys and nose candy. “We think it is an extraordinary visual interpretation of our fictional muse," the duo said at the launch party. "[Interior designer] Anne Koch has the unique ability to create a mise en scène you experience as a whole, but also in the details and secrets you discover." Partygoers, sipping on ginger beer, spilled out into the main store, while three fresh-off-the-boat sailors joined in the festivities—and the mise en scène was complete.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

We're With The Citizen's Band

Lee Carter goes to gem class...

The name may sound like something out of Paris Is Burning, but when the House of Lavande goes voguing, it's the real Vogue—and Harper's Bazaar, Vanity Fair et al. Not that drag queens wouldn't kill (and sometimes did) for the reworked vintage Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Hermès and Elsa Schiaparelli couture jewelry of the Palm Beach-based line, which made its New York debut last week at Bobo restaurant in the West Village. The dinner bash, thrown by Kate Schelter, brought out gaggles of TV-ready fashion editors, jetlagged socialites, liquored-up media hawks and those people you see all the time but have no clue who they are until you chance upon them later on PatrickMcMullan.com. And us. We'll spare you our own boozy moments and just relate a nice chat we had with Sarah Sophie Flicker, who hosted the swanky soiree with Karen Elson, both dripping in Lavande's rejuvenated jewels. If you're not familiar, Sarah co-founded the cabaret act The Citizen's Band, in which the two sprites perform...

Sarah Sophie Flicker, Sarah & Karen Elson, Erin Fetherston

Melissa Bent of Rivington Arms, Sam Hammerstein, Lucy Sykes & Euan Rellie

That's a pretty impressive headpiece you have on. Is it Lavande?
Yes, but actually it's a necklace.

Do you always wear jewelry on your head?
I think that you ought to wear jewelry in whatever manner tickles your fancy. Right in this room, there are jewels worn with T-shirts, jewels worn with evening dresses, necklaces as headdresses, era-mixing. There are many, many ways you can play with sparkles!

Are you a vintage vixen? Do you scour the shops?
It is a huge inspiration in my work and a very glamorous way to recycle. I spent some formative years in San Francisco, in what I consider the heyday of vintage shopping, with stores like Wasteland and New Government. It was a magical time, when people created outlandish but beautiful characters for themselves—Victorian fairies floating down Haight St. and such. We were so spoiled in San Francisco; now vintage is so outrageously expensive. So, I don't do much vintage store scouring anymore. Luckily I have a great collection of falling-to-pieces vintage from my San Francisco salad days!

How did you and Karen meet?
Ooohhh, my lovely Karen! We remember meeting for the first time ages and ages ago in New York, on the night she won VH1's Model of the Year. I was visiting from San Francisco, and I remember wearing some loopy vintage get-up and feeling really out of sorts with all these fancy people in expensive and beautiful outfits. Suddenly, out of the chaos, Karen grabbed me and said, "You look like a fairy." And I suppose it was love after that! You know, we are just incredibly like-minded, love the same things and both care a lot about politics and family. As I get older, I realize that the universe just sort of pushes us in the direction of people who we ought to know.

Can you explain The Citizen's Band to Hintsters?
My friend Jorjee and I had been dreaming of a political cabaret theater group for years. We both moved from California to New York and found that New York is such an incredibly supportive city for the arts. After the second Bush election (if you want to call the first one an election—I love you Al Gore!), we were so saddened and fed up that we got a great group together and had our first Citizen's Band show in November of 2004. Karen was in from the start and is one of the most gifted singers and performers I know.

How does it work?
Basically, The Citizen's Band uses history to understand where we are now. We deal with all the issues of today—the war, the economy, immigration, healthcare, the environment—but in an entertaining and unique way. There are approximately 25 of us and the shows exist in a fantastic never-never-land hovering somewhere between 1890 and 1945. We take historical songs and tell the story of today. It's amazing to find lyrics from 1913 that seem as though they could have been written yesterday. There are original songs, too, and we all have characters and a narrative. It is super-dreamy and magical and non-dogmatic. There are two of us who do aerial work, as well as a contortionist.

It sounds like a hoot. You probably have a lot of great stories.
Oh, yes. One hilarious time was when three of us were pregnant, but I insisted on not changing my character or performance. I was singing this racy song from the '20s called "I Wanna Be Bad" and we all did a striptease, but it was tame. During one performance, an older man in the audience cried out, "Half of those strippers are pregnant!"

What's next for The Citizen's Band?
We're working on our new show, called The Panic Is On. We all end up in a ballroom bomb shelter and have to find hope and meaning in this crazy world. We are super excited about the election and are gearing up for a Citizen's Band bonanza in the late summer. All our show dates are on our website.

You're also a filmmaker. What are you currently working on?
I have a production company called the Belles of the Black Diamond Field with my directing partner Maximilla Lukacs. We make very feminine films dealing with all the topics close to our hearts. The film we're working on now is about the decision to become a parent and first-time parenthood. Yelena Yemchuk, one of my favorite photographers, is shooting it and I'm very excited. Our films are very personal and dreamy and surrealistic. We love the idea of taking the parts of our lives that are the most vulnerable and scary, and exploring them in our films.

So you do all that and you're a trapeze artist? Have you ever had a scary mid-air moment?
Well, I am lucky enough to work with Chelsea Bacon, who I consider one of the greatest aerialists in the world. She is such a fantastic teacher, friend and collaborator that I haven't had any scary mid-air moments, other than my own clumsy ones! I don't go very high up either; I leave that to Chelsea. What I do is more like aerial ballet. I was very serious about ballet as a girl so I use all that I remember from my training up in the air now. I just love it, it is the most free you can feel.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hedi Slimane's Rock Diary

If you're in New York this Friday, tattoo this in your Rock Diary...