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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Maison Martin Margiela

Laurent Dombrowicz...

The man without a face but with the famous white-stitched label founded his "Maison" twenty years ago. In two decades, he and his label changed fashion in such a drastic and deep way that most young designers today describe themselves as his children. And what a birthday it was for the iconic Maison Martin Margiela on Monday; The spring show was a celebration of extreme creativity without pretension. Who else is able to present skin-tone padded overalls, a plastic-bag one-piece or wigs as a fur coat? We only hope MMM—with sunglasses and jewelry already on the market, and soon perfume—resists the need for the global domination required of its parent company, Diesel. Or, at least, it should get there in his own way. Meanwhile, we hope the Belgian will continue directing the surreal image of his namesake label. That way, trompe l’oeil, among many other triumphs, will continue to be the ticket to exciting trips to nowhere. And we love this place...

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Paris Fashion Week: Dior

Pia Catton flirts back...

Oh, those swishy little skirts at Dior! John Galliano's diaphanous and pleated silk skirts—let's be accurate and call them minis—peaked out underneath studded, belted and fitted jackets, plus a few dramatic bodices. Too bad the Met's Superheroes exhibit closed already as this collection is prime material for the power-suited Wonder Woman in all of us—at least from the waist up. Below the belt, there was more flirty thigh-skimming on Dior's runway than a college cheerleading squad. Not that long skirts can't flirt: several sheer flowing skirts offered a view to the boy-cut underoos underneath.

Galliano's tribal inspiration included the use of bright yellow, orange and blue. (And it puts Carla Bruni’s all-plum ensembles into perspective. This is a rich Dior color spectrum.) But the tribalism raises a question: how much will a Park Avenue hostess want her Dior cocktail dresses bedazzled with the same seashells from her daughter's brush with dreadlocks at spring break? Whatever, no quibbling with genius, especially when it leads to halter tops embroidered so finely that they shine like mesh. Same goes for entire coats made of python. Same goes for the sheer gown embroidered with horizontal black stripes that contrasted against the flesh to imply an animalism.

By my count, there were two pairs of pants in 45 looks, and they were painted-on black jersey. Which makes a certain amount of sense in the Galliano-for-Dior worldview. Legs are there to be seen. Makes you wonder how long the baggy, boyfriend jean trend will last. After all, ZZ Top never wrote a song about ankles.

—Pia Catton

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Nina Ricci

Haidee Findlay-Levin...

The setting of a Nina Ricci show always manages to transcend the usually mundane tent experience. The first Nina Ricci show with Olivier Theyskens at the helm was held on a magnificent winter day with a translucent pale-blue sky and leafless trees that were in such sharp relief that they looked like cutouts. For that particular show, he opened up the tent and made full use of nature's backdrop. With the addition of a fog machine, the girls looked like they had walked right out of a James Tyrrell installation. In this way, he established the delicate sensitivity of the brand.

For spring, he sectioned the venue into three long passages lined with the backs of canvas paintings to achieve an intimate atmosphere. This allowed for a close examination of the work, in this case the delicacy and beauty of his dresses. This was not a collection to be viewed on a pedestal, but on ground level and on reed-like, wafer-thin girls, each draped in an exquisite version of a single concept: a floor-length Victorian-inspired dress complete with a long train, while the front ended high above the knees. In the wrong hands, this would screamed showgirl, but not here.

The colors were painterly, shades of flesh, dusty rose, the palest of china blue and lavender organza. Each dress was like a subtly different collage, treated with fine details, thin cutaways, the lightest ruffles, the most subtle of floral prints and washes of color. There was a light-as-air hand-crocheted cardigan thrown over one dress, a mutton-sleeved white kid-leather jacket worn over another. A single pair of black trousers with a delicate leather jodhpur ruffle at the sides stood out, shown with an unlined leather riding jacket. In all, the collection was very reminiscent of Theyskens' earliest work, pre-Nina Ricci and pre-Rochas. It was as if he had decided to no longer follow the desires of a house, but those of his very own.

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Paris Fashion Week: Gareth Pugh & Bruno Pieters

There are always positives and negatives to Paris Fashion Week. This season, they've either come into balance or the very idea has become the trend. Probably the most rigorous of examples, Gareth Pugh's debut Paris show at Palais de Tokyo set the tone. After nine seasons in London, Pugh's move to Paris is the result of winning the prestigious and highly lucrative Andam award. From the glossy black and white fold-up poster invite to the Dan Flavin-like vertical lighting rods, we were prepared for extremes in black and white. And we got it. Bodies were completely covered in the two colors, from the top of the neck down to the two-toned booted wedges. Extreme Elizabethan ruffled collars were paired with skirt hems with the same scroll-like effect. Arms and legs were perfectly articulated and sculpted, while micro dresses were covered in patent-leather scales to futuristic-reptilian effect. Or like costumes for some sci-fi samurai movie; in fact Pugh's designs having already found their way into the Superheroes show at the Met. For me, the highlights were an amazing series of dresses with perfectly enhanced fish-scale protrusions down the sides of the silhouette. Light relief came in a few softer renditions in black and white chiffon and silk, both in hooded robe-like coats and collapsing curtain-ruffle dresses. The show played out like a chess set, except in this case the queens, pawns, knights, castles and even the board were all fused together.

Belgian designer Bruno Pieters, last year's Andam award winner, didn’t have chess in mind when he designed his own graphic black and white collection. Instead he dedicated his show to Pierre Cardin. Pieters traded Pugh's white lights for a black-out, which made navigating our way to our seats pretty treacherous if you didn't have one of those key-ring lights that a Japanese buyer had on hand. A very sporadic spotlight did more to obscure than enhance the impeccable tailoring and construction of these doll-sized clothes worn by doll-size girls. Pieters showed both black and white micro-mini suits of short skirts and short-sleeved square-shouldered, cropped jackets—mostly in patent raffia—complete with sleeveless turtlenecks. The square shoulder felt more reminiscent of Margiela than Cardin; on the other hand, they wouldn't have looked out of place on a 60’s Braniff stewardess. Other silhouettes in black and white silk taffeta may have been more of a nod to the old master, but their lightness proved that they were in the hands of a young pro. Our favorite suite was a little black raffia one worn by my friend Nathalie Joos, the show's casting director, who greeted us at the gate, although she could've easily joined her own line-up. She later joined me for the Nina Ricci show, where the paparazzi and bloggerazzi were already well-entrenched.

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Paris Fashion Week: the Invites

Haidee Findlay-Levin gets lost in the mail...

Arriving in Paris to full sunshine and warmth—this is true pleasure and inspires brief thoughts of learning French and moving to the French capital. But that usually dissipates toward the end of the trip, when the weather has turned and I have more than enough taxi nightmare stories.

There's a ritual I do when I come to Paris for Fashion Week. I scoop up the invites that have arrived at my hotel, assess the size of the pile and start to sort and sift threw it, separating into days. No matter how huge the heap or enthusiasm for getting invites to certain shows, it's always the missing ones that sound alarm bells, regardless of the many emails exchanged with the PR. No, I am neither going to dissect the performance of PR companies nor their ability to get an invite to me in time for the show. I will, however, focus on the positive and say I love to see my name written in beautiful calligraphy. That is, after the initial shock of seeing the word “Madame” preceding it—“Mademoiselle” would be so much kinder. It's the invites themselves that deserve attention. Not just because they give you a secret view of the designer's inspiration, but also as an art in itself.

There are large poster invites, which, although dramatic, are only useful for wallpapering bedrooms. To those of us with a certain invite-to-handbag ratio, these bold statements are a damn nuisance. I have to hand it to Anne Demeulemeester for taking this into consideration this season. Her invite arrived in the smallest of envelopes—already promising—and inside was the tiniest of black notebooks, thumbnail-size, with all the show's information reduced into those tiny pages. This is something I might even preserve for posterity. Save the trees!

There is always much anticipation of Martin Margiela's invite, arriving inevitably in a white envelope of some unusual shape, weight and size. Sometimes it comes as a long white card with a bold section letter stamped on it in bleeding red ink, but never some insulting seat allocation, causing either an immediate sense of recognition or humiliation. In the past, I have received white-painted wishbones and apples from Margiela, which have taken up residence in my whitewashed home. This time, on his 20th anniversary, the invite was a silver backstage pass complete with the numerological Margiela label. One word: cool.

On the other end of the spectrum was Christian Lacroix's very painterly invite. Beautifully printed on a textured petal-colored card, it consisted of a mélange of fluorescent paint blobs and smears overlaid with graphic black hearts and a fish-scale print. I'm getting a strong Japanese feeling in the colors, poppy design and especially the elaborate envelope with peek-a-boo cutouts. Mon cher M. Lacroix, you have piqued my interest already!

Dries Van Noten sent a very slick clear sheet of plexiglass. Should we suspect transparency in his collection or was he determined to give nothing away? Plexiglass invites, however, even when beautifully printed with white script, do add considerable weight to one's bag, as well as considerable guilt about trashing it after the show.

I love seeing the bold Givenchy name printed on the back of their envelope—such perfect, timeless design. It's also a show I have not missed since Riccardo Tisci took the reins. This season the invite design was a collage drawing that seemed to suggest a rodeo, complete with Givenchy spelled out in a cowboy's lasso.

I was eagerly awaiting Sonia Rykiel's 40th anniversary invite, a show followed by a massive party to celebrate this amazing accomplishment. I was surprised to see that on the front of the large invite was a thank you to an endless list of designers, from Alber Albaz to Ralph Lauren. What on earth was she thanking them all for? After all, every designer who's ever contemplated a striped knit should be thanking Sonia! Were they her guests of honor, her hosts for the night? Watch this space.

The only unfortunate thing with this invite—and inevitably with invites from John Galliano, Alexander McQueen and usually Martin Margiela—is an extra little card. No, it's not a special press discount card; it's a map. This usually means the show is on the outskirts of Paris, at the end of the metro line or beyond. This seldom flusters on-staff editors who just slip the little card into the gloved hand of their drivers as they slide into the leather car seat. But to freelancers, it is the ultimate test of dedication to a designer. We anticipate the likelihood of finding neither a taxi to take us there nor one to rescue us from the desolate area.

And finally, there is that sign of contemporary life, the e-vite, sometimes presaged by a save-the-date email, which gives you false hope that you will soon be proudly clutching the real thing alongside your new clutch bag, as the Sartorialist or a flood of bloggers snap your picture. But usually the “real” invite is only an e-vite, an even less seductive virtual piece of information that not only finds its way into your junk folder, but also makes you feel guilty for printing it out as the small print at the bottom asks you to Please Protect the Trees. Abiding by this desire to protect the environment could mean confronting the blank stare of a bouncer, refusing to look at the flashing e-vite on your Blackberry.

There was a time when designers sent gifts and flowers along with their invites, thanking you in advance for attending (perhaps those aforementioned editors are still receiving these grand gestures at The Ritz). There were also those embarrassing blow-up toys and gimmicky invites that scattered glitter or cookie crumbs onto your new outfit when you opened them. Thus, the best invite is a chic and well-designed little card that grants you painless entry. That said, any invite from Balenciaga, real or virtual, I take without criticism or complaint.

—Haidee Findlay-Levin

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stairway to Bless

Paris Fashion Week: Gareth Pugh

This was the first show in Paris for London's boy wonder, Gareth Pugh. And living up to Hard and Shiny, the name of his company with Michele Lamy, Pugh sent out an all black-and-white blend (black in back, white in front) of space-age and Victoriana—think Star Wars storm troopers with ruffs—worn with stockings resembling those Lagerfeld used in his Chanel collection for fall. What the 27-year-old presented in the Palais de Tokyo on Saturday was surely Pugh's most commercial and classic collection to date. He even used chiffon, in what one could interpret as an homage to the grandeur of the world capital of fashion. The runway itself was staged in the lucent second story of the Palais de Tokyo, lit up by a cloudless day shining through ceiling windows and the vertical lights that Pugh used as his only decorative element. The soundtrack was an electro version of 1988's Goodbye Horses—suitably minimal and aggressive. Lamy's squeeze, Rick Owens, was in attendance, as well as Purple's Olivier Zahm, who cheerfully videotaped the show on his mobile phone.

Text by Johannes Thumfart, photos by Rachel de Joode...

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Watch Your Back

Liz Armstrong sees the signs...

When you're on a road trip deep into this country, you know shit's getting scary when grocery stores disgust you. They offer nothing edible and, as further proof of widespread malnutrition, you see biohazard boxes in public restrooms for syringe disposal after insulin administration. This is when billboards get weirder, advertising a lucrative business owned by the likes of Dick Raper, advocating having your baby and hoarding firearms in the name of Jesus—unironically. Frightening though they may be, these are billboards of isolated, idealistic dreamers, so fascinating that you’ll even crane your neck to see around them on the other side. This is what Totalities, Chris Johanson's current installation at Deitch Projects (Soho outpost), feels like: you can't see the message until you're on the wrong side of it, looking back.

Walking through a painted patchwork wall of flesh tones, you're faced with an angular primer-gray Willy Wonka tunnel. The view at the end of it could be of nothing, or maybe a mirror? Will you get through? Yes, you will—you'll pop out into a labyrinth of billboard-style paintings made on reclaimed wood, all facing the wrong way. Any angle at which you initially approach the installation leaves you feeling like you can't see anything. Only when you get to the middle, where you face a spinning meteorite of more primer-gray ugliness and shards of mirror (death to the disco ball!), can you then turn around and face what's been in front of you the whole time. You've stepped into a metaphor and you can't get out: you have to head to the end before you can start.

On these billboards, beams of color fall off the page, and beams of color pile up like hemorrhoids in the ass of the painting. They tell us to expand and contract, or touch god and go back inside ourselves. Like signs in the heartland, they urge you to hang on to your unpopular values, you wild creature! Your dreams are yours, yours alone—keep them. Only one written missive floats by in Johanson's sea of wordless documents, a black board with gray text scrawled with the kind of shaky finger a bored kid in the back seat of the car uses on a fogged up window: “CAN YOU HEAR ME?” Yeah, I think I can. But more importantly, I think he means: CAN YOU HEAR YOURSELF?



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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hint Tip: A.P.C.

Paris Fashion Week has only just begun (we know this because Gareth Pugh's show, the new start of the week, just rocked our worlds), but if we don't tell you about A.P.C.'s closing party, we'll completely forget in a blur of air-kisses and bowl-hugs. So put this in your iCal: Friday, Oct. 3, 11:00 pm, La Régine, 75008, tunes by The Teenagers, Cosmo Vitelli, Tony Frontal and Dan & Ewan. Naturally, we can't give out the RSVP email—we'll trust you to work your magic.

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Hint Tip: Peter Saville

Speaking of Burberry, at its Madison Avenue flagship on Thursday, the label will play host to the New York launch of Peter Saville Estate 1-127 (JRP Books), the first-ever survey of the graphic designer's archives, beginning with his groundbreaking work for Factory Records in the late '70s. Also includes personal impressions of his work from artists Slater Bradley, Liam Gillick, Robert Longo, Wolfgang Tillmans, etc...

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Body English

Model Portia Freeman (@ Select) is living that kind of life. At only 20, she's walked for Louis Vuitton and Chanel, hails from a posh English family, has been romantically linked to Pete Doherty (and Daisy Lowe, in a sapphic lip-lock deserving of that other Portia) and once dated one of the Paddingtons. Oh, and she has rock star looks à la Jerry Hall. Here she is draped on a Ferrari and wearing Burberry ...

photos Julia Kennedy
styling Gemma Hayward
make-up Jo Frost
hair Claire Rothstein
location London

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Raising Hair

There's the human condition, then there's the hirsute condition. Bad hair days, hair of the dog and split ends attest to this. Sure, we have less body hair than our cave-dwelling forebears (baby-smooth creationists notwithstanding), but that doesn't mean we're not consumed by the stuff. Or consume it, as Vito Acconci does in Hair/Mouth, a video installation in which the artist eats—and gags on—a woman's hair. It's a statement about gender and desire, and just one of several hairy situations in Disentangle, a group show at Andreas Grimm gallery in New York. Meanwhile, Nayland Blake and AA Bronson (who, as the owner of an impressive Jesus beard, is practically an authority on the subject) combine the act of shaving, men, chocolate and whipped cream to homosexual effect in their video, Coat. Plenty more examples await, but don't delay. As they say, hair today, gone tomorrow—or, rather, October 30.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Helmut in Hannover

Fiona Bryson goes skin-diving...

Helmut Lang has always pushed the envelope, from using new materials and techniques in his collections to forging unique collaborations with other artists. Now, in his first solo exhibit, Alles Gleich Schwer—currently showing at the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Germany, through November 2—he explores the possibilities of surrogate skins and public versus private life, as well as folkloric mythologies such as maypole ceremonies. Curated by Neville Wakefield and Frank-Thorsten Moll, the work is what one expects from the Austrian—sleek and modern, and never giving away more than enough.

Two pieces in the show are adaptations from prior shows: Next Ever After, an objet trouvé in the form of a disco ball shown at the Journal Gallery in Brooklyn last year, and the video installation Séance de Travail 1993-1999 (pictured left), from the 1998 exhibition with longtime artist-collaborators Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois. Meanwhile, the new works in Alles Gleich Schwer comprise objects such as Three, three eagle-shaped mahogany sculptures, covered with tar on the outside yet revealing their wooden insides.

Another untitled piece consists of aged and damaged bumpers, made of rubber, steel and tar—symbolizing protection. And the signature piece, Surrogate Skin, is a mixed-media and pigment process used as the title suggests. The most impressive work is Arbor, the maypole with phallic, fetishistic connotations, cast in oak, iron, rubber and pvc, which perhaps draws on Lang's rigid upbringing in rural Austria.

The show marks a welcome return for Lang, who, since his departure from the fashion industry in 2005, has moved away from expressing himself through clothing and concentrated on art. Future projects include a collaboration with Absolut, in the creation of a virtual version of Alles Gleich Schwer (seen below), and the curation of a special project for the Deste Foundation in 2009, in addition to gallery shows in New York and London.

Surrogate Skin



Exclusive Absolut video, launching September 30

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Tokyo Street Style

photos by Rei Shito...

sweater: Horace
pants: vintage Japanese kimono

Shop staff
shirts: Ksubi
boots: United Nude

Shop staff
t-shirts: Alice McCale
parka: Insight
pants: Ksubi
boots: United Nude

Shop staff
t-shirts &pants: Ksubi

photos by Rei Shito, aka STYLE from TOKYO

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

London Street Style

By Kasia Bobula...

Yasmina Dexter, 36, sales director @ Relative PR
shirt: Spijkers & Spijkers
skirt: Preen
shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood for Belstaff

Scarlett Hull, 19, Central Saint Martins student
dress: Marc by Marc Jacobs
sister's school uniform jacket
shoes: Kurt Geiger
cardigan: Vivienne Westwood
grandmother's scarf

Yu Masui, 28, fashion writer
jacket & leggings: Miki Fukai
shirt: Uniqlo
shoes: Miharo Yasuhiro
bow: Lanvin

Julia Dunstall, 24, model @ Women
all clothes vintage

Andrew Blyszak, 23, brand manager
jacket: Michael Tapia
vintage pants
shoes: Prada
sunglasses: Cutler & Gross

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Saturday, September 20, 2008

London Fashion Week: MAN

Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

London Fashion Week concluded Friday with one of its biggest draws, MAN. In its seventh season, the Topman-backed group show spread its international wings, joining forces with Parisian store Colette, which brought French design collective Andrea Crews to the party and its conceptual Parisian take on the recycled-fashion/performance-art axis.

Cause for celebration—but also concern about the state of menswear—was Topman Design's easy dominance. Shouldn't someone underground be changing the game? If only more designers would follow Topman's lead. Not that there wasn't plenty of English street in Topman designer Gordon Richardson's collection, which was easily the most desirable, most wearable of the show. Proper and dandy, yet youthful and affordable—like Paris seen through a British prism—is exactly what the market demands. Just one objection: where do you buy Topman Design, a common and much repeated objection. Please, Topman, make it easier.

Best of the rest was James Long's second collection for MAN, though too many noted that, while it was great, they wouldn't wear it. Then who would? Probably someone in Primal Scream circa early 90s, and that's a compliment. James has something going on, something extraordinary, underscored by his dark-rock soundtrack, and something involving and leather shorts—always a good look but also transparent harem pants less so.

Christopher Shannon's collection was a tale of two halves, one which looked like a Kim Jones for Umbro rework (Christopher is a former assistant, after all). The other half elevated sporty suits to a minimalist luxury level, an enticing proposition. Men spend massively on coats and jackets, and the gap between their street phase and their suit phase is seriously under-served. Shannon would do well to keep his nerve.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

London Fashion Week: Danielle Scutt

Hynam Kendall...

What's all the fuss about Danielle Scutt? The press was biting at our ankles like flies to fresh meat before we'd even walked through the door, shouting, “Who's that? Is that Aggy? Is that Agyness Deyn?” to all and sundry, flashing their bulbs, with visions of scoring the front page of the Evening Standard. Ms. Deyn, you see, has been touted as a fan. But sadly, one hour and much MAC gift-bagging into it, it wasn’t Aggy, but that doesn’t stop the brouhaha surrounding Danielle's spring collection.

Unlike other mid-sized names on the London Fashion Week bill, Danielle has accumulated the same sort of hurrah usually saved for bigger names: Kane, Luella, Temperley. Breath-bated queues of overdressed art-school luvvies in vintage knits, celebrated art journalists and, gasp, fellow designers like Henry Holland, who held his budding photographer boyfriend’s well-manicured hands throughout, Fuji bottle at the ready.

“The Topshop denim line certainly put me out there and created a buzz that was not necessarily missing before, but one that wasn’t so mainstream,” Danielle acknowledged to me backstage, with a flick of her trademark wispy hair that told of nights on the lash, late bedtimes and too many cigarette breaks. She described the horror of New York Fashion Week, in which she took no spare clothes and spent the entire time in denim hotpants. Her love of denim will later become apparent with the debut of a denim catsuit. She is then on her way to assess the finishing touches to her already 45-minutes late show, presented in the grand baroque salons of the Royal College of Art.

Now for the clothes. Well, unlike some would have us believe, it's not all hype. Danielle's actually got the balls to back up the furor. Among an abundance of sheer, jackets with button detailing and open zips that draped across the shoulder dominated, as well as tapered blouses, body stockings and shawl-camisoles in transparent cobalt and peacock blue. Sunnies, rag-tied hair and orange complexion are accessible to all, but the show's pièce de résistance—an abstract orange lycra unitard—is not for the faint-of-fashion-heart. A nearby woman, seemingly a buyer with her Maybelline finger on the pulse, leaned to model-partier Pelayo and rapturously sighed, “This confirms exactly what I’ve been saying the whole of London Fashion Week, that the nipple is the new accessory.”

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London Fashion Week: Vivienne Westwood

Hynam Kendall...

When Vivienne Westwood—all five foot nothing of her—attended the London premiere of Sex and The City, made it to the 20-minute mark, then stormed out scoffing, “I thought this was supposed to be a movie about fashion,” she raised many an eyebrow in the business. Sure, her credence and reputation in the industry are as solid as the mannequins that wear her ruffled vintage-inspired pieces so well, but it gave her detractors the ammunition they needed should the London showing of her Red Label not measure up.

So was the most anticipated show of London Fashion Week the disappointment Sarah Jessica Parker and SATC's producers likely hoped for? Of course not. This is the Grande Dame of British fashion. Grays, blues and pinks blended beautifully, gold—lots of gold, just like Gucci predicted—was tempered by light-colored accessories, hats and visors were worn off the face and, yes, florals sprouted everywhere, though thankfully not in the form of Marks & Spencer picnicwear for the office midlifer. There were also suits tailored with the season’s favored boyfriend-pegged pant legs. The audacious, didactic and theatrical show got every trend right, even as the pieces fell off the lithe frames of Deyn, Chung et al.

But who cares about the clothes? Back in the world of tabloid journalism, it's the celeb quota that gets the column inches, and much like the sartorial savvy on show, Vivienne didn’t disappoint. That skinny little teenager from Harry Potter who'll soon wear Chanel with the best of them sat beside scenesters and Bob Geldoff offspring Pixie and Peaches. Erin O'Connor pulled mid-market model Mylene Class away from autograph hunters. And—in the most crucial of celeb sightings this season—a well-manned Dita Von Teese got her people to ask a journalist to move so that she may take his seat. Vivienne seems to have created the very thing she wanted all those months ago: a dramatic show about fashion.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Magazine Alert: tar

Well, not exactly a magazine. Instead, the creators of tar, a new 300-page biannual, are calling it a high-caliber art and fashion book. And despite a name rife with bad pun play, we're totally on board. The masthead heaves with biggies, i.e. Bill Powers (from Purple) as artistic director and Emma Reeves (from Another) as photo director, while the ever-important creative director is Neville Wakefield, who scored a rare editorial by Ryan McGinley for the premiere issue, set to launch at Frieze Art Fair in London before hitting newsstands in October. Other contributors include artist Julian Schnabel, who shot Benicio del Toro for the cover (your first look is below), Juergen Teller, David Sherry, Richard Prince, Terry Richardson, former Imitation of Christ designer Matt Damhave and Nate Lowman, who did the back cover, a riff on Andy Warhol's Vote McGovern poster from 1972. The idea for tar came from BlackBook founder Evanly Schindler and Maurizio Marchiori of Diesel. Oh, wait, now we get the title.

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Hint Tip: Kaiserin

Paris-based Kaiserin, a magazine for boys with problems, says the tag line, is having a New York issue release party at Envoy gallery (131 Chrystie Street) tonight from 6-8 pm. What's inside? According to the rag: "The work of renowned and emerging young artists, authors, photographers, graphic designers, typographers, illustrators and poets, all focused on one theme." That is, the theme of boys. Boys in various states of undress, boys in their natural setting, pensive boys, artistic boys, good boys doing bad things and vice versa. You get the idea.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

London Fashion Week: Christopher Kane

Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

Time to fess up. I've never worn a dress. As such, womenswear has always been a bit too abstract for me. It reads more like art, hence my love of Gareth Pugh and Balenciaga. (Some have even suggested I take fashion too seriously. Could this be why?) I also dig the celebrity aspect of fashion designers. Who hasn't asked, What would Raf do? Or argued when arranging the furniture, insisting that, no, the sofas are not too far apart because Karl Lagerfeld would have them like that?

The point is, I could well not know what I'm talking about. But I have noticed that, after Kane's first show, when he wowed the fashion world with his mix of Azzedine Alaïa references and the genuinely new, he's embraced, of all things, the circle—or scallops, according to the fashion crowd. Sometimes they're big circles, sometimes small, sometimes in leather and sometimes in cut-out paper chain style. It's his thing. And can we have moment for the gorilla face prints, with their dental close-ups? Okay, so they're not gladiator sandals, but they might just be the new skull motif.

For this reason, Kane is excellent at branding—branding recognizable from twenty paces, and that's worth big bucks in the women's game. After all, Prada's output often looks shocking six months before it becomes the norm. Kane also does not bore; each show is more of a departure than the last. But who is the Kane woman? His are clever party dresses, even envy dresses, but are they become-more-you dresses? Such questions didn't seem to matter at the show, at least judging from the oohs and aahs garnered by a layered op-art circle dress in black and nude, or the marabou-trimmed dresses, particularly firemen trousers in intense hazard orange. These were Kane at his best: girly yet sharp.

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London Fashion Week: Giles

Daryoush Haj-Najafi reports...

While Gareth Pugh is set to show in Paris this season, that hardly means London's talent pool has run dry. In fact, I'd venture to say that Giles Deacon has never, ever had a duff show—and not just because his former girlfriend, Pop editor and fashion colossus Katie Grand, works alongside him. It has to do with taste, a quality not mentioned enough in show reports. Only yesterday, Fantastic Man's Charlie Porter and I were discussing the surprising lack of taste in so many young collections, but this has never been Giles' problem. He has the stuff in spades: color, cut, everything.

Giles' spring collection yesterday reflected a shift from his modernist baroque aesthetic to his hard-edged and graphic roots, when he worked at Bottega Veneta and Dazed & Confused in the 90s. Back then, his own appearance was not dissimilar to the Pet Shop Boys' Chris Lowe at his most iconic—in fact, their videos were cited as an early influence. At one time, Giles was even a Bang & Olufsen model. Now his collections have gone from angular sophistication to the embodiment of the moneyed life you imagine his dresses dancing off to, but married with a cheery English charm, hence the happy Pac Man hats.

So that's were the show came from, then mixed with a multitude of ideas, enough to sustain some designers' entire careers. There were the new season's bright colors (not primary, not pop, maybe plastic), the full spectrum of skirt lengths, a few patent materials, clean lines and, with Prada-like contrariness, gray camouflage prints—a collection both pro and anti-commercial.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Night Vision

Stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin gets her party on...

This New York Fashion Week felt like the longest ever. And no wonder. When you do the math, it was actually ten days of wall-to-wall shows, all colliding with endless parties like bumper cars. There was no soft landing. For me, it began last Wednesday with show prep for two collections, followed by an exhibition by photographer Jesse Frohman at the Soho Grand. With so much happening day and night, I thought it best to break the week down into my highlights (the parties) and, in a following blog, lowlights (most of the shows)...

Sept. 4
I rushed with Vogue's Mark Holgate from an event at Christie's to catch the opening of curator Valerie Steele's Gothic exhibit at FIT. Although I consider myself pretty gothic, I had chosen to wear an elegant draped back evening dress-cum-jumpsuit by Martin Margiela, leaving my pointy shoulders for another night. Many of the guests really went all out with black taffeta dresses, brocade coats and even wigs, though I wasn't entirely sure whether some of them were dressed for the occasion or this was their daily attire. A distinctly musty odor of resurrected clothing wafted around the room, noticed by more than just myself—proof that these clothes were very much loved by their original owners. The show itself was really wonderfully done, featuring themes such as Night, Cage, Ruined Castle and Laboratory, where fashion “monsters” were born. Some of the best examples were by goth favorites Alexander McQueen, Riccardo Tischi of Givenchy, Rick Owens, Hussein Chalayan and Anne Demeulemeester, all of whom revisit the theme in many of their collections. The show certainly deserves a second visit and should be on the to-do list of any aspiring designer, stylist or night-crawler.

I then gathered the troops, which now included Hint's Lee Carter and Aric Chen, as well as knitwear designer Tom Scott, and headed for the Interview party at Andre Balazs' anticipated new hotel, The Standard. We walked the red carpet that led us along a construction site (complete with orange caution tape), through an incomplete kitchen (hey, if La Esquina can do it), into a boarded-up elevator and up to the raw space on the 18th floor. In the company of Lauren Hutton, the journey felt somewhat auspicious. Everyone was overwhelmed by the near-360-degree view of New York. Spectacular! The unfinished space was cool to look at, but not at this temperature. As the who's who of the fashion and art worlds rubbed moist shoulders, all anyone could talk about was not the newly designed and relaunched magazine, but the searing heat. Adding fuel to the fire, there was plenty of hot Asian nibblies and alcohol to sustain the crowd of models, photographers and designers, which included Donna Karan, Maria Cornejo and Victoria Bartlett of VPL, not to mention the magazine's new editorial directors Glenn O'Brien and Fabien Baron (seen here with PR guru Karla Otto). The highlight of my evening was a performance by The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, with Kembra Pfahler and her girls performing in little more than colored body paint and enormous black wigs. They added to the New York feel, and they were certainly an appropriate nod to Andy Warhol and his original Interview. Our evening ended at Beatrice Inn for the birthday party of Chiara Clemente, graciously hosted by her boyfriend, actor and jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia. It seemed like many of the guests had rolled over from the previous party but were determined to kick up their heels and dance the first night of Fashion Week away. As I said, there was no soft landing.

Sept. 6
After a nightmare of a day, running from show to show in a torrent of rain like drowned rats, we decided to hang out and have some real fun with Alexander Wang at his after-party. The underground garage-like venue in a Tribeca alley felt particularly unpretentious and old-school. The bright raw venue was filled with a lot of gorgeous kids and models really getting into the music. On the invite there was a promise of a special guest, but nothing prepared me for the appearance of none other than Foxxy Brown, who was not only celebrating Alexander's collection, but also her birthday. From a tiny and low platform that barely cut through the crowd, she rapped and rapped, throwing the crowd into a frenzy. The energy was incredible. And she was clearly enjoying herself as much as we were, and promised to stay all night. That wasn’t exactly the case, but she certainly went beyond her required number of songs, dressed in a hot pink Wang dress. When I asked an elated Alex how he had managed to get her, he nonchalantly told me that he just put it out there and she responded. Judging by his show response and instant popularity, despite his young age, this kid is pretty good at doing just that. As the Alexander Wang party was nearing a close, we took our already weary feet around the corner to Santos for the United Bamboo/Journal magazine party. It was so dark that running into friends was usually a result of stepping on their feet or backing into them on an over-crowded dance floor. For music we were treated to Lizzy Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance, definitely a highlight. We never left the dance floor and we were soon joined by friends Magda Berliner, jewelry designer Philip Crangi, Felix Burricter from Pin-Up and photographers KT Auleta, Guy Aroch and Chris Clinton. They were all still at it when we rolled out well after 3 am and a little too tired to finish the evening at the Submercer for the Threeasfour after-party.

Sept. 7
The week belonged to Calvin Klein. Firstly, the company’s 40th anniversary celebration took place on the High Line, one of the most eagerly anticipated public spaces to open in New York in decades. The night could not have been more perfect, especially considering the downpour the day before, as the remains of hurricane Hanna tore through the city. The organizers of the reported $5 million event must have been chewing off their fingertips while pleading with Mother Nature to spare them. Their prayers were answered, and we managed to enjoy a piece of New York City history that not only looked fresh and clean but also smelled deliciously fragrant, thanks to the 7000 white roses that were planted along the sides. We entered through a temporary installation by minimalist architect John Pawson, who also designed the Calvin Klein flagship on Madison—so pure that it inspired commissions for monasteries and churches. The majority of my evening was spent outside on the High Line, suspended above the city on this magical flying carpet of white roses. The crowd was, of course, star-studded, from a fully clothed Eva Mendez, Djimon Hounsou, Brook Shields (appropriately in jeans) and Calvin Klein model Gabriel Aubrey to Halle Berry, Claire Danes, Kevin Bacon and Naomi Watts. Everyone was pretty much dressed in a minimalist color scheme of black, gray or white, mimicking the structure, as I had suspected. I chose to wear a vintage Hardy Amies long dress in tangerine. Photographer and original sartorialist Bill Cunningham, who never ceases to impress me, not only knew who the British designer from the 50s and 60s was, but also knew that he had been the designer to the Queen. I felt like one myself that night.

We had already all been escorted out of the dark and notorious Beatrice Inn by a bevy of fireman who closed down the clearly over-crowded Purple party. While some chose to hide in the kitchen until the coast was clear, most of us moved on to Club Sandwich at The Norwood. Club Sandwich is traditionally the closing party of Paris Fashion Week, and usually filled with fashion editors, fashionistas and models finally allowed to kick up their heels and let their hair down. The fact that the night was transported to New York, during the middle of the week, only created more buzz. The Norwood was an ideal venue for this party, a decadent townhouse with many rooms to fill with under-dressed strippers, over-dressed drag queens and extremely well-dressed queens. I caught up with many friends from London and Paris, and managed a long chat with old chum Alistair Mackie from Another Man before he and his boyfriend took to the stage for a striptease with the extravagantly dressed stylist Catherine Baba between them—a sandwich! After a few flings on the dance floor with Lee Carter, Hamish Bowles of Vogue and Armand Limnander of T, I retreated to an adorable little roof garden with British photographer Lawrence Passera to cool off. Men's fragrance was soon the topic of conversation as my friend, writer Adriano Sack, showed his other skills as a "nose," surprising Lawrence by identifying his rare scent.

Sept. 11
The V party was a highlight, but certainly not because it was held at the Mini Rooftop, a nightmarish location all week—in fact this choice of location could easily have reduced it to a lowlight. Despite the two-floor party space and open roof deck, the ridiculous 150-person capacity door policy was a total headache for a magazine that has many more than 150 friends and contributors. The real party took place downstairs on the street as many guests and even staff, including Brian Molloy and fashion editor Jay Massacret, were unable to enter. I waited at the front for nearly an hour, along with photographers Ellen von Unwerth, Marcelo Krasilcic and Todd Cole. Models were the DJs for the night, but even Natasha Poly and Shannon Glick were having a tough time at the door. When Lykke Li arrived with her band and entourage, there was near pandemonium. Visionaire editor James Kaliardos came downstairs several times to hand-pluck his guests. Thus, I made it up, along with stylist and friend John Hullem and a few of the aforementioned photographers. Although the party was on the street, I was glad I went up as I was eager to see the band. I had previously met Swedish singer Lykke Li at Stockholm Fashion Week in July. She did not disappoint.

Sept. 12
Although we all limped to the end of the week, with feet full of blisters from shoes too high or too tight, Costume National's closing party was a truly special treat. The fete was in honor of photographer and director Steven Sebring, who'd devoted the last ten years to making a documentary about Patti Smith. Not only were they both present, but Patti actually performed a few chosen songs mere feet from me. It was an incredible and emotional performance, though it was odd seeing her perform in a brightly lit store full of people more eager to indulge in wine, canapés and chatter. I felt pretty embarrassed by some people's behavior, but once I was up front with fellow diehards Ryan McGinley (who constantly hugged me in disbelief), Magda Berliner, Carla Wachtveitl from Yohji Yamamoto and Tania Ruhnke from KCD, I was fully transported. Patti's voice rang true, authentic and unchanged by the years. Her style was equally timeless and as directional as any of this week's shows. She wore Costume National men's pants, an Ann Demeulemeeester shirt and leather boots, a skinny tie and a plastic-wrapped toothbrush from Duane Reade peeking out of a jacket pocket!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

In Technicolor

When London calls, you hear it. At the start of London Fashion Week, we take a look back at the loudest and most colorful of recent happenings, courtesy of prop stylist and color freak Fred Butler...

Stylist & set designer Alex Cunningham's birthday party

Designer and Chloé consultant Alistair Carr
Men's designer Chris Shannon's inspiration for his MAN show

Sigur Rós drummer Orri Páll Dýrason at their London concert, in a crown I made for him

Bishi in concert at the Viktor & Rolf exhibition at Barbican Gallery
Maki Lou Lou in the studio making lantern props for a shoot

Stylist Kim Howells & photographer Fumi Nagasaka in my studio

Uniqlo flagship store installation by Andy MacGregor
Stylist & designer Nova Dando at the Jean-Charles de Castelbajac store launch

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Hint Tip: Deitch Projects

Deitch Projects celebrates the launch of two new books:
- NEST by Dash Snow and Dan Colen
- Beautalism by Kembra Pfahler

Monday, September 15, 6 - 9 pm
Santos Party House
100 Lafayette St.
NYC 10013

Doors open at 6 pm
The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black goes on at 7 pm
Cheeseburger at 8 pm
Dance party from 9 pm - late

This book documents the infamous NEST exhibition by artists Dash Snow and Dan Colen, where they turned Deitch Projects into a giant hamster nest. Along with many downtown artists in their community, Dash and Dan filled the space with over 3000 shredded phone books, and then in multiple overnight celebrations, destroyed the gallery to create a complex performance piece and earthwork. With paint poles speared into the wall, bottles protruding from hacked-up sheet rock, and a pummeling of enormous wine, pee, and paint spit-balls stuck to the walls, it seems a great deal took place during these night-into-mornings.

This is artist Kembra Pfahler’s first book in her amazing thirty-year underground New York City art career. Cataloging her recent projects for the 2008 Whitney Biennial, which included a huge rock show in the Park Avenue Armory, this book also features her most notorious body art performances and shocking “sewn Vagina” and “wall of vagina” pieces. Numerous full-bleed photos capture the making of the Biennial artworks, the preparation for her live show, the performance itself, and the aftermath.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Modelizer: Hanne Gaby Odiele

On a slow day of New York shows, Hint's backstage photographer, Sonny Vandevelde, spent an afternoon with Belgian model Hanne Gaby Odiele (Women)—waiting, rushing, getting lost, frolicking and waiting some more...

Wincing from a sprained wrist (from two weeks ago) backstage at the Bryant Park tents
Hanne with friend and sometime roommate Kasia Struss

Hanging out after Proenza Schouler with model Rachel Clark
Hanne on the subway, going to a fitting

Looking for the address
Grateful for directions

Getting a quick hot dog
Grossed out by the quick hot dog

Fooling around while waiting at the fitting

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Benjamin Cho

Franklin Melendez asks, What about your friends?...

If there's a lesson to be learned from Benjamin Cho, it's the answer to that proverbial riddle, posed in antiquity by mystic trio TLC: “What about your friends? Will they stand their ground? Will they be lowdown?” On Tuesday night, that answer rang loud and clear. Of course, as a pillar of the old New Downtown, Cho has always counted on his loyal brotherhood of worn out flannels, faded skinnies and jaunty trilbies to litter the front row. So much so that naysayers have begun to grumble that perhaps the biggest attraction is around the runway, rather than on it. Believe what you will, but during the hour-long delay it proved a welcome distraction—and a true test of friendship. As expected, the Altman was jam-packed with Ben's loyal following, those trusty regulars who have trekked over the years to venues high and night, heeding Morrissey’s crooning like the call of tribal drums. This is also where the cross-pollination between the worlds of art and fashion is at its richest. It is the best of times—or the worst of times, depending on who you ask. But chances are, you too, my friend, have danced the night away, listless and sullen, rubbing elbows with a few artsy celebs (Chloe Sevigny) or celeb-y artists (Ryan McGinley, Dan Colen, Terrence Koh).

During the wait, there was ample time to appreciate some new added twists, such as the ubiquitous starlet date. Leigh Lezark of the MisShapes knows the secret to a good ensemble is a major accessory, and she chose to offset her sassy number with brooding actor Max Minghella, who made the considerable journey from Columbia University for the festivities. Downtown poster boy Nate Lowman settled for half of the Olsen duo, bringing along a wide-eyed Mary Kate, who perched in her seat like a dispossessed sprite. The entire crew hobnobbed backstage before the show with Ryan McGinley. The makeshift VIP lounge was guarded by a somewhat confused security guard, who seemed unsure as to what this rag-tag group of human photo-ops needed guarding from in the first place. The social scene was aflutter, and no one blinked when, an hour and change past the scheduled time, the lights finally dimmed and the show began.

The show featured a series of Cho signatures—a hit parade, if you will, of shift dresses and eccentric embellishments, including a nod to the macramé treatment that catapulted Cho into the spotlight in the first place. It was an intriguing summary of past efforts, but on the whole not great news, at least judging from the unenthusiastic crowd, who, afterwards, packed in backstage for the post-show meet and greet. There was Ben, beaming, triumphant, surrounded by Leigh, Nate, Mary Kate and now Max—the Mrs. Dalloway of the Lower East Side. I too congratulated Ben on another great effort, and was for a moment struck by a vision of a future yet to come: the downtown bunch living out their twilight years together in a pastel Miami house, frolicking, zany, golden—and never forgetting to thank each other for being a friend.

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Banks' Statement

Daryoush Haj Najafi on artist Banks Violette...

Coincidentally, Maureen Paley's gallery in London is right next door to her Turner prize-winning artist Wolfgang Tillmans' pad, although he was absent tonight. Which, anyway, was Banks Violette's night. And the uber-tattooed, Gary Oldman lookalike didn't disappoint, wowing the crowds with his hologram installation of the galloping TriStar Pictures horse. Taking it in was Fantastic Man's Jop Van Bennekom (and boyfriend), who told me all about his soap opera due to air any day now on American Apparel's Viva-Radio. They then chatted with music writer and Hedi Slimane's favored collaborator Alex Needham. Meanwhile, in the upstairs gallery, my accomplices—DJs Hanna Hanra and The Lovely Jonjo, looking a little like Children of the Corn—bumped into Useless magazine's Conrad Ventur, Tate Modern curators Stuart Comer, Catherine Wood and Sheena Wagstaff, as well as the International Herald Tribune's Alice Rawsthorn, in spiky padded shoulders.

In his work, Banks explores teenage angst, alienation, Death Metal, ritual murder and suicide, producing simple yet dark and spooky pieces. (In that sense, the horse is a departure.) But as good as Banks is, Maureen is an almost equal attraction. The art of parties, whether clubs or gallery openings, is a difficult one. Get it wrong and you end up with the vapidness of your average clipboard joint, but get it right and you have a place where minds meet. Maureen is brilliant at it; she makes it seem effortless. She's really curious and generous with her time, and can practically read talent in a hairdo. She also has a fantastic beehive and amazing shoes—Yves Saint Laurent, to be exact. She's hot, and that's coming from an XY kind of a guy.

Later, the party moved on to the Hix Oyster & Chop House for a carnivorous feast. Smoking outside was legendary Factory Records art director and all-around nice guy Peter Saville. I told him he's a hero of mine and bowed to him in a Wayne's World, I'm-not-worthy sort of a way, which he seemed to appreciate.

Banks Violette & Tony Sylvester

DJs Hanna Hanra & The Lovely Jonjo

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Friday, September 12, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Thom Browne & Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Suleman Anaya is entertained and educated...

The day after Roger Federer won the U.S. Open, it seemed tennis had been on the mind of Thom Browne all along. For his spring collection, a grassy mini-court was planted in the Exit Art space on Tenth Avenue, and the Grand Slam theme was everywhere, from the racquet prints seen throughout to the overgrown ball-boy looks that opened the show. About that show: It's hard to wrap one's head around a Browne collection. Is it entertaining? Endlessly. You chuckle, gasp and oooh. Is it the future of menswear? That's trickier and a little disturbing to answer. While it's hard to imagine anyone other than a handful of fashion-obsessed gay men showing up to work in any of Thom's getups, it's refreshing to see a designer live out his outlandish fantasies when nearly everyone else plays it safe. And that subversive undercurrent we have come to appreciate from the designer prevailed again this season, in touches like white-painted toenails and trousers worn hip-hop style with perky boxer-clad bums. The pièce de résistance? Well, there were a couple. A peplumed silver suit with a tutu-esque petticoat made from oodles of tulle certainly qualifies, a kind of descendant of Nicolas Ghesquière's fall '06 collection for Balenciaga. And of course the finale wedding dress that by now everyone's heard about. Bizarrely, this finale was set to Richard Strauss' bombastic Zarathustra, which then faded into the title song from the Sound of Music. Okay, so the hills are alive, but why is it that you always leave a Thom Browne show feeling horny and confused?

On the other end of the spectrum, stimulating minds rather than loins, was yesterday's Slow and Steady Wins the Race presentation at Saatchi & Saatchi gallery. In a week where, for half of the shows, you might as well have checked your brains at the door, you can count on S&SWTR founder and designer Mary Ping to deliver something cerebral. This time, she collaborated with young local architecture firm Bureau V to create an installation called Perfume Counter / Department Store / Wedding Dress. The result, sort of a stripped down proto-Barneys, is worth the trek to Hudson Street near Houston—the opening reception was a high-point way to end my fashion week. The installation's booths showcase a summary of the label's seven years with highlights from all the collections to date, including sunglasses, tuxedo jackets, shoes and even housewares, all priced—as always with Slow & Steady—at a symbolic $100. I fell in love with the perfume counter, filled with 100 exquisite and rare vintage perfume bottles that Mary has collected, some of them found on eBay. I got a personal tour of the "store" from the designer, cute as ever in a cream Margiela blazer that made my mouth water (the two share a penchant for de- and re-constructing garments). She told me about the exhaustive research that went into the creation of a wedding dress on display, also—unbelievably—priced at $100 and stunning in its simplicity. She also lamented the New York Public Library's limited holdings when it comes to the anthropological history of bridalwear (Martha Stewart-type tomes, on the other hand, are plentiful) and how, in medieval times, brides wore blue because it was the color of purity. Who knew? I left the gallery enlightened, and it was hard not to think that Thom's man-bride had been a mere tease compared to Mary's intellectual hand-job.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Screen Saver, Part I

Cesar Padilla, owner of Cherry vintage store, pops a few questions to Emmy nominated costume designer John Dunn...

Having a vintage clothing business in New York City has afforded me the privilege of working with many creative and talented people. Over the next few months, I will be conducting a series of interviews with costume designers from the worlds of film and television. First up is John Dunn, whom I met when we worked on The Notorious Bettie Page. I've since had the pleasure of supplying clothes to him for Factory Girl, I'm Not There and the pilot of Mad Men, the show for which he's currently nominated for an Emmy...

The cast of Mad Men

Let's start with the basics. What was your first film?
New York Stories, directed by Martin Scorcese and starring Nick Nolte and Roseanna Arquette.

What was the first outfit you ever made?
I was in the first grade and my teacher, Sister Mary Joseph Ignatius, had a class contest. Each of us had to make an outfit for the Virgin Mary on her holy day. Most of the kids made things out of crêpe paper and foil. I went home at lunch and picked an armload of flowers from our lilac bush. I fashioned a spectacular robe and crown out of them.

Who have you most liked dressing?
Gretchen Moll as Bettie Page. Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan and Heath Ledger as Robbie in I'm Not There. David Bowie as Andy Warhol in Basquiat. Guy Pierce as Andy Warhol in Factory Girl. My favorite films ever are The Women (the 1939 version), Doctor Zhivago and Bonnie and Clyde.

I'm Not There

What's your dream film?
Javier Bardem and Cate Blanchett, directed by Todd Haynes.

Typically, what's your biggest challenge?
Convincing film directors to add dream ballets to the script.

What was your worst experience?
It's one of my life goals to never work in Shreveport, Louisiana, ever again.

Your most embarrassing moment?
Stabbing an A-list actress in her butt with a huge safety pin when I was adjusting her pregnancy padding on our first fitting. No regrets, though. Except not having a trust fund.

Now, darling, what was your worst drama queen moment?
How dare you? Don't ever, ever ask me that question again.

Lee and I love it when a bulbous cockhead is visible through pants. Was it your idea to make Seth Rogen's trousers such a prominent feature in Pineapple Express? I'd like to think that was your expert tailoring.
We weren't even thinking about that! We spent countless hours fitting that suit so it would look like a cheap suit that Seth's character had stolen from his uncle's closet.

Do you sew?
Yes, but don't tell anyone.

What sewing machine do you use?
One that someone else is operating. I'm pretty lousy, but when forced at gunpoint to sew, I'm almost passable on a vintage Singer Featherweight. They're indestructible and unstoppable.

Where were you when you heard that you were nominated for an Emmy?
One of my closest friends called me at six in the morning while I was in my bathroom upchucking some bad shellfish. I instantly felt much better.

What are you wearing to the Emmys?
It's a black tie event and Mad Men is set in 1960 New York, so I'm going in a vintage tux à la Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Hess Natur by Miguel Adrover

The environment strikes back, observes Franklin Melendez...

As I reported recently in Shoptart, the eco-friendly German line Hess Natur has enlisted the talent of Miguel Adrover, the Spanish style maverick who shook up the New York fashion scene in the mid-90s with his globally minded antics. Despite a lengthy hiatus, the wunderkind is back—less kind, but still wunder—in fighting form. And if the presentation at Matthew Marks gallery was any indication, I mean this literally. Armed with a giant lily pad, the Majorcan began running around the installation of giant totems covered with webby recycled wool dresses. It wasn’t exactly clear if this was part of the grand plan or a case of too much pre-celebration. Either way, the partnership will involve much more than a spiritual communion with Gaya and the other Earth spirits. Sure, the commotion shook some leaves and scattered a few guests (I spotted stylist J.J. Ferrer inching towards the escape routes), but it brought home the point that Miguel is wild for the environment. When approached for comment, Miguel simply smiled and enveloped me in crushing bear hug. If I needed explaining, the writing on the wall said it all: “The protective arms of nature embraces us with gifts of life. It is in our hand to return that affection.”

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Hint's model editor Joseph Tenni has a quickie Q&A with Elettra Wiedemann, who, besides spokesmodeling for Lancôme, also happens to be the daughter of Isabella Rossellini, a brainiac who's getting her master's at the London College of Economics and the founder of the JustOneFrickinDay charity...

What is your favorite thing about modeling?
The characters I meet and get to hang out with.

Least favorite?
The TSA at the airport and incessant annoucements during a flight. I've never once seen anyone buy duty free on board, so stop talking about it!

What is something about you that people would be surprised to learn?
Um, that I wanted to be a vet, but couldn't handle the idea of putting a family pet down or failing the test and becoming a meatpacker. So I studied international relations instead.

What's your favorite place to visit and why?
My house in the country. Because it's beautiful and quiet and full of dogs.

Describe your style.
Comfortable and probably not as elegant as it should be.

What's on your iPod?
Lots of music and Family Guy episodes.

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Hint Tip: Maison Martin Margiela

From Maison Martin Margiela...



New York Fashion Week: Karen Walker

Franklin Melendez gives you food for thought...

The big news at Karen Walker? Healthy beauty, glowing cheeks and soft peach tones. Here, the requisite greige attack was reinvented in all sorts of delectable hues, from pudding to custards and creams. The rich choices perfectly accentuated Walker’s light voluminous confections: ruffled tent dresses with a slightly 60's flair—somewhere between The Stepford Wives and Lolita. But perhaps the biggest news of all was that, despite all the moaning and groaning, the overblown weight debates and much-maligned return of the waifs, it turns models do eat. A lot. So the best treat, along with Karen's sugary sweets, was a glimpse of our favorite gazelles grazing the horn of plenty between hair and make-up. Ikeleine munched on chips, the Russian beauties stuck to grapes and regular Coke (not diet, can you handle?) and Du Huan braved a whole Reuben sandwich. Gorge-ous! I left the show elated.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Spooner-Fed, Part II

Guest blogger Casey Spooner...

You never know where the day will take you and yesterday was no exception. It was a beautiful day in the city and I spent way too much time on the phone, but much of it was in the park by the and in the sun. Did anyone else see those fighter jets fly over? The picture-perfect weather and the fighter jets really brought back memories of 9/11. And I had a terrible thought, if the Republicans really wanted to get McCain in office, all they need to do is stage another terrorist attack on American soil in between now and election day.

Now on to Fashion Week. I started my evening at my friend Mona's show, A Detacher. She made my first costume for Fischerspooner back in the day. It was a very elegant show and it was good to see old friends and beautiful, well-made clothes. Mariko Mori, Threeasfour and Cindy Greene from Libertine were all there. Then I raced down to the Speigeltent for a Boucheron event that included a private performance of the show Desire. I am sad to say that even though the acrobats were great and very skilled, the entire production added up to a rather dull affair. But I was just killing time until the main event of the evening, and probably of the week...

With the Marc Jacobs show normally running an hour or two late, I decided to go on the early side, an hour after the scheduled show time. But I didn't get the memo! The show started twenty minutes after show time and I was met with a legion of security thugs laughing at my late ass. Super fashion bummer. I shrugged it off and headed to Marc's after-party at the Greenwich Hotel, but it was a fucking zombie scene of hungry revelers. I tried to hustle in the back but lost interest. I decided to just enjoy myself and go to Mr. Chow's for a snack and beverage at the bar. But for some strange reason they would not seat me at that bar, only at a table. This irked me and I wandered out into the lovely evening where I ran into Jake Shears on the street. I ended up hanging out at his house, coveting his new sofa, having great conversation and drinking Campari until 3 am. Sorry I didn't make it, fashion, but thanks for the invite.

—Casey Spooner

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New York Fashion Week: Marc Jacobs

Suleman Anaya...

Just when your blasé self thinks you're done with New York Fashion Week, that nothing can make you care anymore, Marc Jacobs manages to bring out that childlike excitement you felt at your first fashion show (for me, a Marc show sometime during the reign of Brazilian models). Granted, it's hard not to fall for the outsize pageantry, the hulking concrete carcass of the Armory and the surreal experience of brushing knees with airbrushed humans—allegedly real blood runs through them—with names like Lopez and Lakshmi. Then there's the music. Marc goes for grand tunes that would be corny coming from anyone else: Pachelbel's canon and Ravel's Bolero in recent seasons and, last night, the brassy swoon of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. But none of the over-the-top circumstances would matter if the clothes weren't strange, smart, new and, let's just say it, gorgeous. Again.

This season it appeared as if his imagination had gone to China and back by way of the Wild West, as prairie blouses with pagoda shoulders emerged on the runway on top of bustled skirts that looked like upside-down garbage bags, all brilliantly tied together like some oriental binding technique. (Said runway, by the way, was a clever maze of mirrors conceived by set designer and regular Marc collaborator Stefan Beckman.) All those wrapped layers, yards of lurex and silk in deep iridescent colors made me think of candy, or jewels—maybe candyjewels. Accessories, as usual, bordered on deranged; look for bathing caps on the streets of Tokyo come March. Bottom line is, for ten minutes, Marc had me in fashion nirvana. And in an instant, even the silly nicotine, gym-obsessed antics described in that recent New Yorker profile were forgiven. Marc is a genius, so let him be ridiculously muscled and pretend to be tacky if that's what makes him happy these days.

Once I regained my composure, I headed backstage with the adorable John Cameron Mitchell and his scrumptious buddy, film star Michael Pitt. I asked John, who knows a thing or two about gender-bending, which of the 53 looks he'd pick to crossdress in. He said he doesn't do drag anymore, but that he'd probably choose a billowy yellow and blue summer dress that both he and Pitt loved. Really? It made me think of a silly German animated series for kids called Biene Maya—or Maya the Bee. But John loved it because the colors were the same as the Swedish flag and because he likes "solids and geometry." Who knew the man who gave us the delicious riot of Hedwig is secretly a sucker for order? Pitt just nodded in tacit straight-guy (and tipsy) approval.

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New York Fashion Week: Patrik Ervell

Franklin Melendez goes skin-deep...

Wistfully, I abandoned my luxurious repose in the newly temperate weather yesterday to arrive early at Patrik Ervell's show and capture the backstage scene. Now, it is a truth universally accepted that when it comes to streamlined menswear, Ervell is unrivaled. He spins outerwear with Protestant precision: austere without being ascetic, designy without being ostentatious. It's a complete ethos that infuses every detail.

As I entered the dressing area, it became evident this extends not only to his collections, but to anything and anyone surrounding it. Everywhere I looked there were obscenely pretty boys in the bloom of youth, with eyes like stars, pouts like petals. It was a model bouquet that would have sent Goethe and young Werther into effusive hysterics. With enough chiseled cheekbones to start a quarry, they reclined pastorally, contemplating their photogenic life tragedies: lost high-school textbooks, broken skateboards, late express buses. Uri, a poignantly lithe Ukranian urchin (via the Bronx), shared his woes riding the M22. I yearned to compose a sonnet in his honor and strum out its melancholy notes on a lute. After mistaking yet another assistant for a moody model, I came to realize even the stage help is picturesque, as are the photographers, dressers, make-up artists and so on. I seem to remember a passage in Plato about this, something in The Symposium about a fabled plane of ideal forms.

I wandered to the front for a breath of fresh air and stumbled into Zachary from Opening Ceremony, who was still basking in the afterglow of the Alexander Wang after-party: "Foxxy brown was there! This was me, and this was her!” (I played the part of Foxxy in the reenactment). I continued to make the rounds and ran into Felix Burrichter from Pin-Up, who was looking poetically hung-over for undisclosed reasons. “I'd rather not discuss it, but you know…” I do indeed. Aya Kanai from Teen Vogue was looking like a pin-up gal herself. She was considering ditching the rest of the shows that day and heading over to Deitch Projects in Long Island City. As the show wrapped up in its dreamy haze of shoegazer music, I crossed paths with designer Mary Ping. How did you like the show, I asked. “It was lovely as usual!” she said. “And it was the strongest casting of the season!” Looking around, I couldn't help but agree.

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Monday, September 8, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Robert Geller

Robert Geller showed his softer side with an incredibly relevant collection that managed to touch on all the season’s key trends, while still refining a distinctive voice. Rock 'n' roll nostalgia? Check. Slouchy, early-Armani tailoring? Check. Soft pleating? Check. Greige palette? Check. The crowd itself embodied this romance, a musical wanderlust of sorts, kind of like Bob Dylan transitioning from folk to rocker. In attendance were Ryan and Chuck from The Cast (the latter in his signature curls, the former in Axel head band), Richard Chai and enough cute, slender boys to give the backstage changing room a run for its money.

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Guest blogger Casey Spooner takes a break from Fischerspooner to take in the sights and sounds of Fashion Week...

I haven't been the most fashionable New Yorker this week. Maybe I'm jaded. Maybe I'm smarter. Maybe a little of both. I came off a challenging performance and last-minute whirlwind trip to Italy. It sounds glamourous (and it is), but it is also rather taxing. And of course I threw in a secret live show at Santos Party House the day after our return, to kick off Fashion Week.

That same evening I was planning on swinging by the Interview party at the new Standard Hotel. I was excited about seeing the amazing building and I'm a big fan of the new Interview. I love the redesign, and the editorial and fashion content is a vast improvement. Bravo! The current Kate Moss cover is great, and don't even get me started on the print job! The metallic paper is kicking my ass. (I'm a geek for good production value.) But, alas, the soundcheck ran late and I needed a meal, so I was not to attend. But we had fun at Santos doing a few songs and staying up way too late.

The next day I had to sleep in and later opted for a viewing of HAIR at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. I highly suggest seeing anything in that amazing space. Saturday I had every intention of going to the Loden Dager and Threeasfour shows, but I just couldn't get out of bed until 3 pm, then I had to go to the studio to start a two-week recording/writing session. So I bailed on everything fashion, started composing a new song, grabbed a meal at the corner Japanese cafe and fell asleep in my clothes that night.

After sleeping for no fewer than ten hours, I woke up yesterday feeling refreshed and ready to try it all again. And this time I actually made it to something. First was the Y-3 show. I'm a major fan of Y-3 and I have a real weakness for freaky sportswear. One of my favorite shops in the world is La Maison de Santé in Brussels. They have the best knee braces and weird therapeutic sports-related paraphernalia. Of course I'm a slut for Y-3 sneakers, always, and there was one black man-skirt with hightops that looked great.

Last night was all about Calvin Klein's 40th anniversary party at the Highline park. Talk about production values! It was incredible, like a spaceship of a Fire Island beach house had landed at the corner of 30th Street and 10th Avenue. The entrance was gigantic with a huge video billboard, and the spectacle continued every step of the way. Inside you're struck by a MoMA-esque interior filled with very modern-looking people and black-clad, perfectly sculpted muscle-boy waiters. Off to the right and down the hall was a James Turrell sculpture—and it was beautiful, a luminous rectangle of blue in a darkened room. Initially I thought it was a video projection of blue light, but soon I realized we cast no shadows as we gathered around.

Up the giant staircase and out the back, the party spilled onto the renovated Highline railway—and my jaw remained dropped. Past the initial glut of fabulous people, a promenade was constructed that ran all the way from 10th to 11th Avenue, lined with thousands of long-stem white roses. The fragrance was intoxicating and the decadence was impressive. But wait, there's more. After hanging out with Mike Furey and Tom Napack from the band Dangerous Muse, I bumped into Martha Stewart and told her that she's our Warhol, upon which she wanted her picture taken with us.

—Casey Spooner

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

New York Fashion Week: Threeasfour

Deep math makes flames and the sun is a fractal that exploded on Threeasfour leggings. The perfect, odd shapes of nature—the theme Gabi, Adi and Ange have been obsessing about since forever, for this collection more literally than ever—sidled up more beguilingly than you'd expect. Gone are their blatant sci-fi asymmetrical vagina references, replaced by such creatures as a stingray, represented as flaps on soft skirts and shorts that wrapped around the hips, as if wing-like pockets were pulled out and tied at the coccyx. They showed us the sea as we mythologize it: gentle at sunrise, softly fluttering with arresting bits of strangeness as the tide subsides. As such, in their collection, Threeasfour spiraled silk around the body like a shell, flattened jellyfish bibs on dresses and fastened actual shells onto leather. And at the end, Aphrodite rose from a metaphorical cushion of foam—or rather, the taupe and white ensembles that preceded her—wearing a dress of tinkling capiz-shell discs.

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New York Fashion Week: Elise Overland

Franklin Melendez braves the elements...

The scene at the Elise Overland presentation in Chelsea resembled the beginning of a big-budget, lavishly styled disaster movie—complete with lithe, precariously heeled refugees in flimsy, water-soaked dresses and editorially disheveled hair. Turns out it was simply the exiting crowd from Alexander Wang's show, myself included, caught in the monsoon that suddenly overtook most of the Eastern seaboard, apparently oblivious to our fashionable duties. We huddled together in a large industrial entryway like hideous wretches, when suddenly Ken Downing, fashion director of Neiman Marcus, ducked in from the downpour and complimented me on my decision to wear high-waters. “A bare leg doesn't get soaked!” he says by way of fashion proclamation, glimpsing at his own water-logged jeans. But like a true pro, he simply ran his finger through his hair and, with a new wet look, forged ahead. Finally the door opened and we groaned in.

The collection, presented as a rotating tableaux vivant (a dying artform!), was a welcome reminder of other climates—modern nomads imagined in washed silks and fine leathers resembling silk. Ever-present greige was reinvented once again, this time in desert hues and dusty sorbet tones. There was also a romantic rock vibe, courtesy of Lennon-like sunglasses (also a bit like that Ab Fab episode where Edie and Patsy remember their foggy days in Morocco, but I digress). “My point of departure was a trip to Marrakech, the Sahara and India,” Elise told me. “The cool desert hues inspired me. The silk was also much more my mood these days, more so than a tiny, girly dress. I still love my leathers, but I treat them so they are thinner than most fabrics.” The trip itself was quite an affair to remember, taken with pals Hope Atherton, whose latest paintings reflect a similar peachy-sandy mood, and Justin Giunta of Subversive jewelry, whose presentation on Wednesday will reveal the extent of the desert jaunt. Later I shared a cab with Justin en route to the tents and inquired about the mystical journey. “You’ll have to see it!" he blasted. "And besides, I have to blog about it myself.”

—Franklin Melendez

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Boat People

Liz Armstrong is moved...

A floating Gypsy-like caravan carrying four precarious pyramids of junk reecently docked on the Hudson for our viewing pleasure. Piles and piles of beautiful refuse—ornate wooden curlicues, ferris-wheel spokes, colorful swings—slowly drifted up to the 70th Street riverfront, linked together by ropes and pirate planks.

A grizzled seafarer hopped from boat to boat with a lantern as his guide, rousing sleeping inhabitants curled up on decks and tucked in improbable nooks. They ascended stairs and ramps to the top of their boats. I counted at least 33 of them, in particular a cutie in 70's gym shorts (not the ones from American Apparel, but the thrift kind, most likely previously worn by a pervert), her perfect ass peeking out. Underneath them she'd layered shredded tights, a low-cut teal leotard with one shoulder dangling off, lumberjack suspenders, plus combat boots. You want to see style, here it is. They were all dressed ridiculously to some extent, and they looked fantastic—the most beautiful people I've seen in a long time.

“There’s no place for you,” the seafarer cried from a podium made of rusted scraps of metal. “I’m terribly sorry, but there’s no place for you.” Then he waxed lyrical for a while about the urge to head for the sea, the causality for which is starved, scorched and overcrowded land with zero opportunity for refertilization. When he finished, others took the podium with equally poetic, partially real soliloquies about the boats and their origins, how long they’ve been on the water and how they pass the time. Back on the dock, where we'd all gathered to watch the spectacle, Dark Dark Dark, a New York/Minneapolis band that sounds as if it came from yonder back in time, provided musical accompaniment suitable for a Venetian cantina or Parisian speakeasy.

The whole thing was masterminded by New York-based artist Swoon, who, among other projects promoting self-sustainability and interaction with one's immediate environment, headed a flotilla of barges made from found stuff down the Mississippi for two consecutive summers. Called Miss Rockaway, the migration started in Minnesota and was supposed to make it to New Orleans, but right around St. Louis the river began to branch in an erratic and volatile way, so most of the captains decided the expedition should end there.

Swoon regrouped those crews and others to assemble four boats, all powered with engines that leave minimal damage in their wake, all elaborately and entirely constructed from reclaimed materials, to cruise around the upper New York area. Unlike Miss Rockaway, Switchback Sea, as this project is named, exists mainly as a vehicle for performance.

A suave-looking gent in a silver suit rolled up in a little speedboat. He was welcomed aboard, given a grubby T-shirt in exchange for his jacket and handed a hunk of bread. The allegories delivered from the podium resumed, building upon their self-created mythology. Are they descendants from criminals? Or free thinkers with no place left to go? Regardless, it was clear they care a great deal about one another, as they sort of picked at one another like monkeys, teased, gathered in small circles to chat, smoked cigs and stared out at the water, curling up together. And they care just as much for their vessels, breaking into frequent pantomime to shine and repair them.

Suddenly everyone went bananas. The suit did something wrong, the trust was broken and a madcap chase involving a hula-hoop ensued. They captured the man, marched him to the highest point of all the ships, stripped him of his shirt, and decorated him with war paint and a headdress. He rolled up the legs of his pants, revealing mismatched socks and red-laced boots. Aha! An anarchist. Now transformed, he’s gone to Croatan, too.

Then the scholar of the boat delivered his speech, a bone-dry pontification about joining the river crew as an intellectual pursuit, going into great detail about his extensive note-taking and theories about who comprises the crew. Meanwhile, the crew—who’d been nothing less than absolutely attentive and respectful of all the other speakers—became restless, braying like donkeys, razzing him. It's obvious his character is there to comment on the nature of cold observation—how dull and clueless it can be, how overintellectualization of art drains its potential for beauty and surprise. I realized I was taking notes as he was talking; I was playing the same role he was. Shamed, I put my notepad and camera away. It was time to just watch instead of drawing conclusions.

Without my recording devices at hand, the rest of the performance took on special importance. This existed just for me (and, okay, everyone else watching, but my memory of it would be my own) and for that reason I’m not going to recount some of the best parts here. Some things really shouldn’t be documented; they should be experienced. So go for yourself, or don't. There’s a party for the project at the new Deitch outpost at 4-40 44th Drive in Long Island City, from 6 to 9 pm tonight.

Midway through I’d made a pact—yes, a serious one—with myself to only pursue joy from this point on. By the time the boats went dark I was openly crying. As if cosmically cued to make the moment more cinematic, a bushy-browed old man waddled up next to me and grumbled, “To me, this is irresponsible and pointless, even if it's fun. Do I see myself doing it? No. But I'm envious that they are.” Why be envious? These people made a choice, the same choice available to anyone on that dock, to create their own homes out of nothing and shape reality for themselves. That’s actually the most responsible, meaningful thing you could ever do with your life. At the beginning of the performance the band encouraged the audience to not only turn off our cell phones, but to throw them in the river. If it weren’t for the polluting aspect, I would have.

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Colette Me Count the Ways

Last night's dinner launch of colette x GAP, now open at 54th St and Fifth Ave...

Andre & Sarah, Jen Brill & Terry Richardson

Julia Restoin-Roitfeld & Magnus Berger, Michel Ouellet & Stephanie Carta

Stephanie Carta & Olivier Zahm, front door


Setting Your RVCA

Erin Wasson's a smart lass who knows that when people go to a fashion presentation in the Lower East Side, one where the ratio of models (and former models who've smoked their way to early retirement) to civilians is skewed toward the former, there’s no point in putting on a runway show. Instead, for the launch of Erin Wasson x RVCA, she hung up giant posters of herself wearing her designs for the skatewear brand—or rather, of her basically spilling out of her designs, not that I'm complaining one bit—and threw a party so nuts that within the first hour a bunch of guests got stuck in the elevator and had to be axed out. (Or at least that’s what the friendly fireman wielding the enormous chopping tool told me.) We did see one look put to the test, the one Erin was wearing all night. In lace-up, low-waist, flare-leg jeans and beach-girl cotton tank that scooped up right at the small of her back, revealing a total lack of a tramp stamp, she swayed on the dance floor to a rapt audience. It was as close to a live show as we got. Only one person dared approach what felt like her sacred space, but that didn’t stop a cheeky spirit from copping a feel when it seemed no one but a friend was looking.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Horror of Horrors

The best part about the Interview party last night was The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, a goth-camp band fronted by the one-and-only Kembra Pfahler. We had never actually seen one of her legendary shows, but we won't soon forget it. (Watch for yourself; it gets especially interesting around three-quarters the way through.) Afterwards, we all talked about how deliciously subversive New York used to be...

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Hint Tip: Yves Saint Laurent

Today: relative calm. Tomorrow: Saint Laurent mania, as more than half a million copies of the third installment of designer Stefano Pilati's so-called manifesto are handed out on the streets of New York, Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Intended to give the haute house a more democratic sheen, the manifesto consists of a 20-page booklet containing all the images from its fall 2008 ad campaign, featuring the irrepressible Naomi Campbell as the ideal YSL woman, photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. The first 5000 copies handed out in each city will also come in a collectible limited-edition cotton tote designed by Stefano himself. Even if you miss out on the giveaway, the manifesto and a short film will launch simultaneously on Ysl.com...

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Up to Speed

Adam Kimmel has just put up the first video on his site. Directed by Ari Marcopoulos and produced by Neville Wakefield, the short film follows Noah Sakamoto and Patrick Rizzo as they skate down a street in Claremont at warp speed, sometimes inches from oncoming traffic—all while wearing suits from Adam's new collection. "The second time around they go even faster," Adam tells us, "passing each other at 65 mph."

(Also check out Adam's video of his brother, Alexei Hay, playing bass.)

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Behind the Bamboo Curtain

From United Bamboo's fitting yesterday...

model Jennifer (Ford), stylist Havana Laffitte

hair stylist Hirofumi Kera and UB designer Miho Aoki

make-up artist Dick Page


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


We have no idea what's happened to the Berliner Dom except that it's a light installation by artist Jaybo (aka Monk). It looks like something out of Fantasia, but isn't, we think...


Hint Tip: Kitsuné

After the Interview party tomorrow night, head down to Kitsuné Maison Night at Santos. From 10 pm to 4 am, the fun-loving Parisian music/fashion label will have Fischerspooner, Guns'n'Bombs and Gildas & Masaya DJ, and HeartsRevolution perform live. Get tix here.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

War of the Roses

Here's a hint of what Alexandre Herchcovitch has in store for his New York show on September 6. The theme, according to Ale, is the intersection between politically troubled regions of the world and the uniforms of the Western forces that invaded them—a way of using fashion to promote liberty, compassion, love and equal rights for all humanity...

Ana Claudia Michels

Bruna Tenorio


Scratching Post

Who hasn't engaged in malapropism, the confusion of similar sounding words? For those of the stupid variety, it's accidental; for those in the ironic set, sport. Here at Hint, we're constantly switching up words and falling down in spasmodic, unattractive laughter. And apparently, Japanese-born, New York-based artist Tam Ochiai falls (down with us) into the latter camp. For Tiam O'Shian IV, his fifth and latest solo show at Team Gallery in Chinatown, he makes use of the similarity between his own name and that of an actual prize-winning Siamese cat born in 1899. Over the last two years, he's channeled the cat's spirit to create 70 drawings and two large sculptures scratched up by real cats at play. The random, silly, perfectly pre-Fashion Week exhibit launches today at 6:00 pm and runs through October 4.

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Monday, September 1, 2008


By now you know all about Yourboyhood (aka Hong Sukwoo, buyer at Daily Projects boutique in Seoul) and his snaps of Seoul street style for Hint. It seems South Korean labels Ha:RTOCRYON and Yokoe are also taken with the Seoul street scene, though in a totally different way. They're joining forces to present a collection inspired by Hong's photos of grumpy, slouchy, traditionally dressed seniors. Because old-timers are just, well, funny.

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Tokyo Street Style

Photos by Rei Shito...

cap, t-shirts & cut-offs: Hayato Kikuchi
ring: Number (N)ine

Hair stylist
jacket & pants: Nozomi Ishiguro

dress: Theatre Products
bag: Yoshiko
shoes: Nike

all: Galaabend

Shop staff
scarf & pants: Nozomi Ishiguro

photos by Rei Shito, aka STYLE from TOKYO

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