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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Your First Look: Bernhard Willhelm at Berlin Fashion Week

Photos by Sonny Vandevelde...











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Friday, January 30, 2009

Ponying Up

Pics from Iekeliene Stange's solo show of personal polaroids, I Like Ponies, kicking off Berlin Fashion Week. Photos by Sonny Vandevelde...







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Hint Tip: Paul Rowland

Paul Rowland kicks off New York Fashion Week with an exhibition of compelling, haunting, yet quirky portraits snapped over the past five years. More interested in process than snapping a pretty picture, the founder of Women Models traces the subtle negotiations—both in front of and behind the camera—that transform nubile bodies into icons of the beautiful and strange. Transformations, February 13-20, 12-6:00 pm, 136 10th Avenue, ground floor. Opening reception (by invitation only) is Thursday, February 12, 6-9:00 pm...

—Franklin Melendez

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 3/3

By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

After attending so many fashion shows in so many countries over the years—and I say that without bragging—it becomes very challenging to review shows in both a local and global context. Of course there will always be the standouts whose skill and ingenuity shine through—in the case of Stockholm, these were Acne and Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, and there are plenty other Swedish labels that have made the international leap. But after the dramatics of Paris, the theatrics of London and the slickness of Milan, how does one fairly assess the collections of an emerging fashion community made up of mostly young and enthusiastic talent?

I tried to ask myself what it was I hoped to see at Stockholm Fashion Week—or Fashion by Berns, as it's called—and the answer was clear: new, young street fashion. When shows hit this note, I can't ask for anything more. I got it at the aforementioned Acne collection, which has actually risen to a level all its own, as well as Cheap Monday, for its cool take on the classic jean. The show and publicity shots were styled in such a way that was fresh, fun and playful. It never took itself too seriously and there was a resourceful DIY quality that screamed youth. I left feeling satisfied; I had gotten what I came for.

But a lot of shows fell short of this for various reasons. Some never went the extra mile to really flesh out an idea or to show something unexpected, and instead showed what was not only tried and tested, but had already been on the streets for the past season or two—evidently, as the audience was already wearing it. They played it too safe! Yes, I've heard all about the recession and credit crunch, but no amount of sameness or of last year's trend is going to make me or anyone else rush out to buy it again.

Other designers struggled with their place in the market. They seemed torn between the exuberance of youth and their desire to be grown-up. Never knock youth; there's a lifetime to grow up! I don’t see the point in sacrificing that youthful enthusiasm and willingness to embrace new ideas, as witnessed at the Beckmans student show yesterday, for the sake of looking adult. Grown-up styles work fantastically well when they are expertly cut in sophisticated and sumptuous fabrics—it's all about the cloth. Without fine cloth and fine cutting, the result is dress-up, a child’s pursuit.

And finally, some clothes are great for wearing but not necessarily for showing. Certain ideas often work better as a presentation or installation, others as a video or in print. Putting clothes on models under the glare of runway floodlights is like putting your work under a very strong microscope that reveals every thread, pucker and flaw. It can also be an enormous expense. Without the right casting of models to carry your clothes and your concept, the appropriate music, make-up and hair, you could be doing yourself more of a disservice.

Some of the shows I saw today—Dagmar, Nhu Duong, A-S Davik—had all the enthusiasm and commitment of Alexander McQueen’s first show in London, but they might as well have been made from trash bags. They didn’t have his impeccable skill, an enormous sense of conviction and an even bigger dose of guts. This is what it takes! This is what made that show, even years later, so memorable. I suppose I have been spoiled.

Sweden is clearly very fair-minded and democratic. Everyone gets a chance and a great opportunity to shine. Talent is proudly nurtured, encouraged and supported—something that barely exists in other cities. And generous awards are bestowed. This is all wonderful. But what they don’t do is self-critique. This makes it too easy and safe. No boundaries are pushed, no egos are bruised and the establishment is not rocked. I probably won’t be popular for saying any of this, but maybe it takes an outsider to do it.

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Hint Tip: Chadwick Tyler

Depression-era glamour, if you can call it that, is on a lot of minds these days, including Chadwick Tyler's. For his solo show Tiberius (a name he chose for its cool Roman sound and, we assume, in reference to the fall of Rome), the Brooklyn-based photographer gathered 52 emerging and established models—i.e. Karlie Kloss, Lisa Cant, Maggie Rizer, Agnete Hegelund, Iekeliene Stange, Constance Jablonski, Victoria Wallace—to created antiquated portraits of lonely, broken beauty. This is his first gallery show, but he's made the rounds in indie mags: Tank, Qvest, Exit, Joy Quarterly, Plastique and The Last Magazine. February 10 - March 12, Honey Space, 146 11th Avenue. Opening reception is on February 10, 6-10 pm...

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 2

By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

The fashion industry in Sweden is essentially a young industry. The editors are young, the buyers are young and the designers even younger. As a result, the fashion itself is young. Designers design for their friends and their peers. They design the way they like to dress themselves.

So if the fashion is so youthful, I wondered what a student show in Stockholm would have to offer and went to see a knitwear show at the Beckmans College of Design, representing fourteen second-year students. I was pleased to see that each of them, unaffected by market demands, had an entirely different perspective. At this school, theory and experimentation are clearly valued as much as good craftsmanship.

I was particularly impressed with Heidi Nilausen's collection, called Warriors. Inspired by the merging of cultures into a global system and the extinction of ancestral traditions, she also looked at various dolls of ancient cultures. The clothes were a cohesive series of oversized and incredibly elegant macramé vests and hooded coats, all made with a natural, un-dyed yarn. She paired them with high Bolivian-style hats and caps, along with bold border-striped and draped volumes that were reminiscent of the prayer shawls of religious Jews. The idea could have easily come a little close to Disney’s It's a Wonderful World, but instead landed closer to the elegance of Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens.


Heidi Nilausen

I also really enjoyed Erik Annerborn’s collection, Trans Sport, which explored the concept of heterosexual transgression that occurs when men dress in women's clothing. This spring we will see women's fabrics used in menswear from Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Burberry, while Comme des Garçons offers white skirts over suits as an alternative to kilts. So although not entirely new as an idea, the outcome of this student's work was both humorous and playful. Pleated cheerleader skirts were incorporated into oversized sport sweaters and school blazers, while stripy socks and leggings keep it from looking too much like uniforms.

Fanny Ollas also threw menswear traditions and old values to the wind, instead combining Lurex, pink sequins, mohair and sheer yarns in clashes of red with pink or mauve, disregarding cowardice and embracing the courage of femininity in menswear.

I have no idea what Josefin Arnell's eyeball- and script-covered hairy monsters were meant to represent, but I was intrigued nonetheless by her fluffy, floating cocoons on sneakers and cloud-painted platform shoes.


Josefin Arnell

Maria Melinder's barcode sweater dress from her Keeping Up with the Joneses collection was probably another concept that went over my head, but one with graphic and fun results.

I was hoping to discover more of this youthful exuberance, but only found it again toward the end of the day at the Cheap Monday show. Despite the underlying reality that this collection was a new grungy take on recession dressing, there was a certain DIY quality—a welcome change from all that slick luxury stuff we have been force-fed for so long. Jeans were, of course, the highlight here, in fact the reason we were there at all. This time we saw skinnies in traditional faded black and blue, sometimes acid-washed, but always trashed, shredded, frayed or cut up. This idea was just the starting point as jeans were patched, re-paired and then patched again, with contrasting denims and unexpected fabrics such as black lace, mesh, black vinyl, silver gaffer tape and plaid. Jeans were paired with simple long, gray jackets or coats worn with blanket-sized scarves and extra-long clown shoes, which gave it a Charlie Chaplin quality. Painted cardboard top hats, guitars and traveling cases completed the effect, which was both vagabond and runaway child.


Cheap Monday

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 1

By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

My second visit to Stockholm for Fashion Week by Berns feels diametrically opposed to the first. I was here in the spring and happily suffered insomnia due to endless beautiful days and the midnight sun. Here I am again for the fall '09 shows, somehow suffering the insomnia again, despite very dark days that run early into long dark nights. A friend told me to pack a flashlight and slushy shoes, which I promptly ignored—evidently along with all the other incredibly well-dressed attendees at the shows.

What is striking about fashion in Stockholm is the immediacy. It seems to go from catwalk directly to the street. People actually wear the clothes and ideas that we see on the catwalk and with the same attention to detail and accessory. These clothes are not the showpieces of Paris, which are strictly for the purpose of press. Instead they are wearable and cool enough to be worn without any need for diffusion or compromise.

Shows began in the early afternoon, which gave me time to pop into the newly enlarged and refurbished Acne store and snap up one of the Acne/Lanvin denim dresses I've been waiting months to get. In fact it was a bit of an Acne day. First, I had been busily transcribing an interview I'm writing for the next issue of Acne Paper, then immediately ran into the lovely Anja Cronberg, the magazine's Features Editor, who became my show companion for the rest of the day—and dinner companion, along with two close photographer friends of mine, Martin Liddell and Fredrik Stogkvist.

Acne opted for a presentation at Millesgarden, on one of the islands on the other side of town. The artist's house was filled with old statues, among which models on pedestals were scattered. In the first room we saw the pre-fall collection, while in the main room the full fall collection for both men and women was exhibited. The pre-collection was certainly cool, with rubber-soled wedge sneakers, bold copper earrings and silver neck cuffs. I also loved the denim: over-dyed pale-green baggy jeans, rolled up and worn with a great 1950’s couture-style short-sleeved tweed coat—one of those fashion oxymorons that somehow appeal to me.


Acne men's

A young Bob Dylan, transported from 60’s America to a contemporary unidentified European metropolis, apparently inspired Acne's menswear for fall. There was the contradiction of printed velvets layered with chunky hand-knits, the odd Lurex scarf and tone-on-tone solids in shades of burgundy with plum, cobalt blue with indigo and grass green with sapphire. The style was certainly folksy, but the Bohemian look was simultaneously elegant. I particularly loved a really squashed suede hat flopped over the eye of its wearer, as well as a series of tightly crocheted hats in much the same floppy style, which pretty much hid the faces of the young boys. The square-toe boots in two-tone leather and suede came complete with one-inch wide zippers and crepe-wedge soles.

But it was seeing the women's collection that made my trip to Stockholm already worthwhile, confirming all the sensibilities I have been feeling for a while. The collection was inspired by the many visits made by Acne‘s creative director Jonny Johansson to Berlin, for its burgeoning art scene, and the flea markets of Paris' Clignancourt. The 60's look of the girls struck me as part Nico and part Joan Baez, by way of early Pierre Cardin. Old tapestry-style paisley fabrics never looked crusty but rather as if they were wound directly off the bolt into clean tubular shaped tunics and mini-skirts. Worn over clear plastic, skinny trousers looked like clear stockings tucked into mirror-heeled wedge boots and massive tapestry-wedged shoes.


Acne women's

But it was the contrast of these cool clothes worn with incredible large precious jewelry that completely took my breath away. A while back, Jonny had fallen in love with the image of an elderly man he had seen sitting in Café Flore who had proudly worn enormous rings on every finger. This led to an incredible collaboration with a German jewelry designer and artist, Michael Zobel, the father of one of the Acne designers. Each one-of-a-kind piece was enormous, from the multiple rings worn on both hands to a huge round mauve jade brooch, worn like a pin on a leather biker vest.

Among Acne's jewelry offerings was a large, low-slung circular silver pendant with a cut-out square, which was replaced with a gold bar, volcanic glass and floating obsidian. Wrist cuffs were made from hammered gold that had been melted over unpolished silver, and then combined with black diamonds and rough wood from the Sahara. Others, in rose gold and platinum were emblazoned with rough coral, aquamarine and Madagascar tourmaline. A lollypop-sized emerald on an 18-kt gold ring sat next to a flying saucer of hematite and oriental pearls. These sculptural combinations of precious stones, hard wood and metals easily looked tribal, but in Zobel’s hands, the result was more experimental 70’s modernist.

The other really impressive show of the day was Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair. The design duo are expert cutters, like no other in Stockholm—in much the same way Junya Watanabe is in Tokyo. This season they were drawn to their theatrical side. They used their 3-D technique of cutting fabric, while drawing inspiration from Picasso’s Guitar and Girl with a Mandolin, to construct outfits in a soft cubist manner. The collection opened with total black and then moved into a series of contrasting dogtooth tweeds and small checks in purples, browns and eventually beiges, resulting in an undefined color. The complexity of some of these forms, further combined with wide plissé, were clearly cubist in inspiration. While other garments, particularly men's, relied more on the loose draping and deft wrapping of fabric around the body, in the way of the artist Christo. A variety of clown-like cropped trousers, complete with baggy knees and bustle were often held up by suspenders and then combined with a jaunty hat, paisley or polka-dot bowties, handkerchiefs and the odd silk scarf. When viewed from a distance, they seemed to grow out of a shirt collar or jacket pocket to create the illusion of seamlessness.


Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair

Meanwhile, design teams such as The Local Firm tapped into a very prevalent gothic, androgynous street sensibility, where the distinction between the layering of cool men's and women's wear was hardly noticeable. Perhaps it was the recent success of the Swedish film “Let the Right One In” that has inspired this vampire sensibility, particularly evident in Carin Wester’s collection of men’s trousers, high-waisted and perfectly pleated, ending in a slightly low crotch then tapering to a cuff and stirrup that ran neatly over the shoe. These were mostly worn shirtless, with a long jacket or cardigan, exposing an almost bloodless white skin to the infinite possibilities of a long winter night in Sweden.

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Hint Postcard

Debuting a men's collection in Paris can be exhausting. So Rick Owens and Michele Lamy (here sporting a Gareth Pugh bodysuit) have done the only sensible thing and escaped to Marrakesh for a little vacay. They send you, dear Hintsters, their love...

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Hooked: Tom Ford Jeans

By Erik Rocca...

In the spirit of turning an economic frown upside down, Tom Ford is rolling out what might very well be the world's most expensive jeans, venturing into the ever-crowded denim market with two pre-washed, pre-shrunk Japanese selvedge men's styles. Exactly how much are they? $990. Per pair. And no, that's not in Zimbabwean dollars.

In a valiant attempt at understatement, the pants are discreetly marked with a straight line stitched across the back pocket and a small black tab reading either TF001 (the boot cut, modeled after Ford's personal style—chest hair optional) or TF002 (the straight leg). And for that touch of Texan taste, the front buttons are plated in 18-karat gold and the pockets are lined in silk. So that would be where the expensive part comes in.

Arriving in stores now. Available in indigo, black and white—for your inner disco baby.

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Romantic Movement

By Franklin Melendez...

This has been the talk of couture week in Paris, so it must be true—plus we've been hearing it for a little while now. Though unconfirmed, rumors abound that Olivier Theyskens will be leaving his post at Nina Ricci. We doubt anyone can hear anything over all that swishing of taffeta, but it seems the willowy young Belgian might be living up to his fashion legend, that of a romantic yet tragically doomed hero.

The descent into Dickensian drama began in 2001 with the shuttering of his namesake label, where he toiled over corsetry for Madge at the tender age 22. This was followed by his rapturous, though brief stint at Rochas, where he spun organza into fragile suiting. After financial problems at Rochas sent him packing, Nina Ricci seemed like the long-awaited happy turn.

But it seems the top brass there has been aggressively pushing for more commercial collections to jumpstart less than stellar sales. Apparently jodhpurs and will-o'-the-wisp gowns aren't selling like they used to. But Theyskens won't budge, and why should he? Add to that a difficult fall collection—the long-short hemline combo didn't work for Demi Moore either, even at the height of the '80s—and you have a recipe for disaster when his contract is up soon.

And, we have to say it, Blake Lively at the Golden Globes didn't do anyone any favors. The Gossip Girl was virtually spilling out of her Nina Ricci strapless gown—presumably a sample that was a size (or two) on the small side. We're still waiting for final word, but in the meantime here's hoping our talented hero lives to see another day—and that our maligned heroine won't be led astray by the false assurance of stylists.

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Paris Men's Week: Walter Van Beirendonck

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

In many ways, Belgian cyber-bear Walter Van Beirendonck is a fashion prophet. His work was initially ignored by the mainstream press, then largely forgotten, but now he's fated as a demigod by anyone with aesthetic aspirations. He's also a teacher, another prophet-like quality. Then there's his bearded daddy look.

The earlier part of Van Beirendonck's fall 09 show, held at Boulevard Voltaire's Cafe Ba-Ta-Clan, consisted of mid-90s, almost Prada-like suits in brown tonics that proved he can cut. Then came metallic floral prints on trousers and extensive use of thick piping to construct hats, plus that graphic penis-equipped torso that's practically Van Beirendonck's logo. Among other retro-futurist moments were mega knitwear that looked crazy academic and a lot of burnt orange.

Most successful were the hybrid moments, like the mohair-y sparkle knits in chloroform green that looked seriously new, along with his trademark knitted hoodies and ponchos, as well as printed tees—all featuring that iconic torso with a penis or blown-up face design. Tracksuit bottoms with radar-like targets emblazoned across the bum made clear that Van Beirendonck retains his mastery of making cheek chic.


Walter Van Beirendonck

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Paris Men's Week: Maison Martin Margiela

By Rebecca Voight...

It has to be said: Martin Margiela is so full of great ideas, it's almost painful to watch. The first pain was just getting all the way to the show venue, La Maison de Métallos. The Paris cultural center is located way, way out in Paris's bohemian 11th arrondissement, which, despite the hike, is turning into a primo spot for groundbreaking fashion shows—yesterday it hosted Romain Kremer and Julius. Equipped with flashlights, Margiela's white labcoats led the audience, convened in small groups, into the theater, and there we stood as MMMs men’s collection appeared in a series of police line-ups in a narrow, glass-enclosed space. As usual, Margiela presents real clothes for men, not fashion statements.

But what seems banal at a glance is finely styled, down to the "wine stain" print shirts and “after-party” coats. As each unusual suspect came forward, one of those twangy, insincere American telemarketing voices boomed out what they were wearing. Within minutes I was laughing out loud, and it didn’t take long for the rest of the audience to lose it as well. Some of us laughed so hard we cried. Like I said, Margiela is painfully good. This season's Incognito aviator glasses, limited-edition python shoes, suede Postcard Holder vest and jeans with a subtle “rained on” look, via print and resin applications, are sterling examples of late '70s trashy dressing, as interpreted by a tongue-in-cheek maestro.




Maison Martin Margiela

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Fountain of Sonic Youth

By Franklin Melendez...

The first lady of art rock, Kim Gordon, turns her attention once more to fashion. Apparently the Sonic Youth songstress and post-punk dowager is not satisfied with rupturing eardrums with epic feedback loops or befuddling the art world with obscure rituals staged in cramped Lower East Side galleries alongside even more conceptual (oh yes, there is such a thing) chanteuses. Or maybe she just wants a breather. Whatever the case, Gordon's latest design project, Mirror/Dash, will not pick up where X Girl left off.

But first, for those of you not old enough to remember her first iconic foray into fashion, a brief history lesson: long before a pixie-cut nymphet by the name of Chloe Sevigny skateboarded away with our hearts in Kids, a raucous riot girl by the name of Kathleen Hanna romped around a Sonic Youth video in baby ringers and shrunken baseball tees emblazoned with a winking pussycat. This was the quintessential mid-'90s cool tomboy, who accessorized her Manic Panic-dyed hair with Dickies and cut-off Ben Davis—and for whom Gordon churned out an equally disaffected wardrobe.

So that was X Girl, but this is Mirror/Dash, a slightly more grown-up version. The key word here are “edgy” and “feminine." Although, if we remember our Daria episodes correctly, “edgy” is a term that’s not to be trusted. So let's just say minimal, wearable and with organic materials, featuring slouchy T-shirt dresses and smart cropped blazers. Basically, all the things you used to find at local thrift stores while ditching seventh period, but now conveniently available at Urban Outfitters (starting February 16).

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Gareth Pugh

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

Before reading any further, you need to know this about Gareth Pugh: he's not a fucking goth, at least not in the traditional slash-your-wrists sense. His weirdness lies in his search for the emotively powerful, stuff that projects strength. Take, for instance, triangles. "They're a simple, powerful shape. They fit so many of my references," he said backstage at his debut men's collection. The sharp-looking yet soft-to-the-touch metallic needles—like a furry Eraserhead—was a logical step from the triangular, he said, adding, "We went further than sci-fi for something deadly new that doesn't look like it came off a spaceship."

The show was coat heaven, as in oh-my-god-I-need-to-be-rich-right-now coats. There were quilted and knitted leather coats, lizard-skin coats, coats with armor-like shoulders and so on. Pugh only deviated from black to do chrome and gunmetal, reworking leather, metal and wool to ever greater effect. Oh, and that hair wasn't gelled down—it was tar.

Pugh has gotten so good that rumors he's about to be awarded his own Parisian house are being taken seriously by those not normally victim to such things. In less than four years he's gone from catwalk debut to showing both women's and men's Paris collections. Wow! Or rather, !WOWOW!, the name of the art collective from which he sprang.

But don't think Pugh's designs are flights of unwearable fancy either. Pugh lives the life, dressing as extremely as he creates, not just for the benefit of photographers, but also on a regular basis. His studio and flat are in an area of London known for its crack dealers, scary boozers, stolen phone un-lockers and general air of malign intent. In short, Pugh has to be pretty fierce to dress the way he does. I mean, how many times can certain men's designers say they love Bowie without one wondering just what Ziggy Stardust should look like in 2009?




Gareth Pugh

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Paris Men's Week: Dunhill

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

Lily Allen was so excited to see Kim Jones' first collection for Dunhill, she said, that she came on a private jet. And why not? Dunhill has more than a 160 shops and global name recognition, while streetwise Jones knows just how to give it his own understated twist.

Jones has said on many occasions that he feels it's his duty to present Dunhill's century-old excellence in luxury travel to the world. So yes, the show was a bit conservative, but ever-disciplined Jones did an amazing, almost subliminal reworking of the brand in expensive materials, like a duffel coat with mammoth-tooth buttons, Mongolian cashmere and rabbit fedoras—all hinting at Dunhill's older, wilder aesthetic. There were also numerous variations on the white shirt; we dug the box-pleating and poplins, as well as collarless blazers and paper-thin suiting.

Ingeniously, Jones managed to put tons of the accessories on the catwalk without sending out an army of handbags carrying male models: silver watches on key chains and tie pins, leather document cases, silver tie bars and cufflinks—even a woodgrain bag. The accessory design trend to watch? The knitted tie—Jones didn't show anything but.

Afterward, I headed to Gareth's show in the back of some rich German kid's leather-lined Range Rover. He told me he was a film student in Paris, obviously with money to burn. He offered me a cigarette—a Dunhill cigarette, naturally.


Dunhill by Kim Jones

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Fromance

Jean Paul Gaultier backstage at his fall '09 men's collection, apparently channeling Gene Wilder...

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Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 6

By Pia Catton...

Sao Paulo Fashion Week ended with an homage to the days of modeling past. Instead of a runway show, the designers of Neon sent out models two by two and had them strike poses from Paris couture houses circa 1954. But it's fair to assume that nothing this bright—the kaleidoscopic prints were trimmed in black beading—ever swanned its way down the Avenue Montaigne. And at the end of a long week, this vogue-a-thon was a welcome change.


Neon

In the category of Things That Make You Go Hmmm, several shows here incorporated the brand's sponsors in ways that wouldn't fly in New York or Paris. At Gloria Coelho, the collection (long on texture and intricate detail) was preceeded by her uniforms for Mercure hotels. And at Andre Lima, the show started with a model eating a Magnum ice cream bar at the end of the runway—holding the foil package so no shot could miss it. Crass commercialism? Maybe. But it's also a sign of an economy with some buzz and creativity. Brazil's consumer brands are trying out new ways of partnering. And they're spending money to do it. (Plus free Magnum bars—yum!)

When it's all tallied up, there must be some hefty bills from Sao Paulo Fashion Week. Just the props and set designs alone included snow machines above fake trees, plus runways lined with treadmills, balloons, sand and life-size surrealist puppets. (And everyone tells me this was tame compared to years past.) Not only that, the big denim brands spend big on top models: Gisele at Colcci, Agyness at Ellus.

But let's not overlook the designers doing an honest day's work. Alexandre Herchcovitch turned out collections for men and women that combined creativity and real life. His raincoats for men might be the hottest ticket in town, and those fur shoulder coverings on the women's suits are all about a power surge. Isabela Capeto was one of the few designers who really seemed to capture a sense of Brazil-in-winter: colorful and fully accessorized. If I had my way, I'd import Do Estilista, Huis Clos and Uma Raquel Davidowicz pronto. But for now, I'll settle for heading back to New York and ducking into the Osklen shop in Soho when I need a Brazil fix.


Isabel Capeto

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Paris Men's Week: Adam Kimmel

By Rebecca Voight...

Gerard Malanga's black-and-whites of artists, poets, musicians and general hangers-on in the late '60s Warhol orbit—Gregory Corso, Billy Name, a very young David Byrne, Patti Smith posing on the fire escape with her boyfriend Robert Mapplethorpe and Ed Hood—wouldn't be out of place in one of American designer Adam Kimmel's seasonal look books. Kimmel has been asking his downtown friends to pose since he launched his collection with shammy jumpsuits in 2002. They inspire his design and he's their label of choice.

While Kimmel isn't the show-off type, his presentation fête last Thursday night at Galerie Thadeaus Ropac in Paris, billed as a "remake" of Malanga's "screen tests" from The Factory days, drew a throng of Paris and New York artists, models, actors and fashion folk. Malanga took Kimmel's look book pictures for fall 09: Glenn O'Brien, Aaron Young, Slater Bradley, Dan Colen and the voluptuous Leelee Sobieski couldn't be more timely in American-flag long johns, boxy corduroy jackets and plenty of denim and plaid flannel.

Waris Ahluwalia, in town to present his latest bird-inspired jewelry collection during couture next week, was so busy with Leelee Sobieski and Lou Doillon that he nearly forgot he had a dinner date with Kanyé West. Waris is doing press in Europe and recently found himself interviewed for the evening news in Sweden, which reminded him that it was the first country he wanted to visit as an exchange student when he was sixteen. "My parents vetoed that right away though," he admits. "They knew why I wanted to go to Sweden and it wasn't for the culture."


Adam Kimmel with the NY Times' Cathy Horyn and i-D's Terry Jones


Adam Kimmel with Paris Vogue's Carine Roitfeld and Olivier Lalanne

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Day 1

By Rebecca Voight...

Why worry about your shrinking bank account when the really big problem is what to wear to the financial crisis? On the first day of the Paris men's shows for fall, there were enough men in plaid flannel shirts and work boots to fill all the lumber yards in Canada. Desperately seeking sartorial propriety, the boys (and girls) of menswear are determined to face hard times with New Deal grit—not unlike Dorothea Lange’s black-and-whites of migrant workers fleeing the Dust Bowl.

But while radical change is in the air, not all designers are working workwear. At Hugo by Hugo Boss, Bruno Pieters appears to have been beating the financial blues by listening to a whole lot of Kraftwerk, especially 1978's vocoder-ific “We Are the Robots." Allowing his taste for razor-sharp tailoring and dueling checks to go wild, Pieters also veered into Devo territory with Clockwork Orange overtones. The response was either love or hate; others just had to close their eyes.

Number (N)ine's Takahiro Miyashita opted to escape reality by time-traveling to the early 17th century, invoking D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers in tattered brocade frock coats, britches and grandfather shirts. I’m not sure how, but several of Miyashita's musketeers even managed to look like Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”


Number (N)ine

"When the going gets tough, just stay in bed" is what Yohji Yamamoto appeared to be saying in one of his best men’s collections in recent memory. Striped pajama sets and bathrobe coats worn with ski bonnets, oversized cardigans and leggings crumpled at the ankle like droopy socks are ideal for the laid-back, laid-off life.


Yohji Yamamoto

If Henrik Vibskov didn't stay in bed, à la Yamamoto, he only ventured as far as the hamper. The Danish designer capped the day’s shows with his “Human Laundry Service” performance at the Espace Saint Martin, one of those mysterious spiritual guidance places where people attend self-improvement seminars. I checked out a couple of their meetings, but unfortunately they weren’t doing anything seriously spiritual like channeling or flapping around on the floor. They should have seen what was going on upstairs!

Apparently the show Vibskov presented was only half of what he wanted to do because the room was too small to hold his entire Human Laundry Service apparatus, which originally involved water, of course. But he did manage to squeeze in five giant black-and-white striped treadmills manned by models dressed like surreal Tyrolean Elves. Oversized plaid shirts, bright and baggy long johns, shawls, blanket coats and candy stripe suits are for the man who combats economic adversity with joie de vivre.

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Your First Look: Hussein Chalayan

Pics from last night's launch of Hussein Chalayan's retrospective at the London Design Museum, spanning fifteen years of mystifying genius. More later...


Hussein Chalayan and his CEO, Giorgio Belloli / Erin O'Connor


New Young Pony Club's Tahita Bulmer / former supe Saffron Aldridge / Róisín Murphy


"How exactly is that made?"

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Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 5

By Pia Catton...

Raquel Zimmermann worked the space-age suits at Animale last night. Her fierce look and take-no-prisoners walk was just right for the go-go Star Trek collection. Though the palette was nude and subtle, there was nothing vulnerable in the Sydney Opera House-like shoulders.


Animale

Another Raquel—Davidowicz, she of the ultra-chic house party I mentioned yesterday—delivered her collection for Uma. It was one of the few that made me think: I want that dress—in this case a sheath with a deep-blue sculpted skirt.

Between that dress and my newly Brazilified hair, I could pass for a local. My black-brown tresses are now a soft honey-brown with sunkissed touches of blonde. It took only four hours, three processes and two weeks of hair envy, but Luciano at L'Officiel III gave me exactly what I wanted. Obrigado, Luciano!

Though I haven't had much time to dig into Sao Paulo's cultural offerings, I was able to hit a show of previously unpublished Rankin photographs, presented by the glossy shopping mall Iguatemi. The portraits included Heidi Klum giving the finger and wearing leather jeans, Kate Moss in boots (and maybe a hat, but nothing else) and Gisele on all fours covered in a digitally manipulated substance made to look like diamonds. The bulk of the show was devoted to rock stars, but the best was an extreme close-up of Mary-Kate and Ashley, somehow made to look like beautiful, mythical creatures.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Party Pooping

By Franklin Melendez...

Even before the first looks of fall '09 hit the catwalk, the economic downturn is already dampening the modicum of festiveness we've been able to cough up for New York Fashion Week—or rather, its parties. According to WWD, two of the week's better bashes—Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs—have been called off, and others are following suit, either opting for low-key, recession-appropriate dinners (snooze) or canceling post-show celebrations altogether. Based on similar grumbles we've been hearing from designers, expect more depressing news in the next three weeks.

Now, we don't mean to sulk, but isn't a good fete one of the reasons we undertake the trials and tribulations of the February schedule, braving arctic temperatures and even frostier PR hacks, not to mention unsightly delays in remote locations? If recent signs are any indication, it seems the most resounding trend for fall might very well be out of Zoolander. Let us fear the resounding words of Mugatu: "I show you the future of fashion, I give you Derelicte!"

Remember, in these trying times, the most responsible course of action might be to throw on something frivolous and wash down the hard times with a few glasses of anything sparkling and bubbly.

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Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 4

By Pia Catton...

When our car pulled up outside the home of Brazilian designer Raquel Davidowicz, the place looked and sounded like a night club on a tight cul-de-sac. A burly security guard stood in front of an opening in a flat cement wall that led to a secret garden of chic. The modernist house was surrounded by 15-foot palm trees and lush greenery—so glamorous that only a Sao Paulo fashion designer could handle it. The party, thrown for the international fashion press and attended by assorted industry types, had the kind of relaxed fancy that Hamptons hostesses dream about and New Yorkers are too neurotic to deliver on.

As the designer of the brand Uma, Raquel has her show on Thursday (watch this space), but was somehow together enough to warmly greet her 200 plus guests. Some of them milled around the pool, which glowed green under a spotlight above the roof. Many crowded around the bar, where one's champagne addiction could be sorely tested by passion-fruit caipirhinias and where even the schmoozing had a light touch. But talking about fashion seemed too work-y in a setting like this. Raquel said that the house had never been photographed for a shelter magazine, but give that about ten minutes. The bathroom counter, for instance, was loaded with about fifty Jeff Koons-esque rubber duckies in different styles.

Dinner was served in small tin boxes with napkins tied around them. Inside was tasty sauted beef and rice with vegetables, followed by chocolate mousse, truffles and a Romeo & Juliet (a fruit puree and soft cheese). The DJ played heavily from the requisite Hard Candy remixes—and to ward off hangovers, coconut water was in large supply. Despite the light rain (a constant presence in this city) a most divine time was had by all.

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Hooked: Gram x SWD

Come March, the Swedish wunderkinds at Gram add extra spring to your step with their latest collaboration, a limited range of shoes with Annika Berger. In case you've been living under your rock-star hair, the sprightly Swede is the mastermind behind SWD/Skyward, the unisex line whose techno prints and unapologetic proportions have been shocking hearts and blinding retinas far and wide. The collaboration, Gram x SWD, merges their shared experiments in surface and material with transparent soles and an artful "folder paper" imprint. The result is somewhere between Rauschenberg and roadkill—perfect for post-apocalyptic raves, day-glo fallout and walking boldly into the future. €150-190 at Gram, Doshaburi in Barcelona and Shine in Hong Kong.

—Franklin Melendez





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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 3

By Pia Catton...

There's plenty to play with in the realm of British punk-- with its mix of royality references and its 80's sex appeal. Triton did just that, and in a rather fun way, if not groundbreaking. Need a plaid bodysuit? Got it. Pouf skirt with a T-shirt? Got that, too. The show reconfirmed (as almost every show has) that the low-crotch baggy pants look is not going away any time soon.


Triton

One thing that the British punk theme allows for is a mix of the masculine and feminine. Sharp military jackets and boyfriend jackets worked well with soft skirts, but the Brazilian brands seem to stay closer to femininity, even when they're using fabrics from menswear. At 2nd Floor, there were puffy mini-skirts in materials that could have been used for a man's suit—with a layer of glittery cutouts and strings peeking out from underneath. So not so much femininity as girls going to a balloon-theme birthday party.


2nd Floor

Cavalera mixed everything from Buffalo-plaid shirts to yellow leopard-print pants to pointy rock-star shoes to dresses with ruffles from the American West. A little much when all together, but there's something there for every self-made stylist.

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Hint Tip: Antony & The Johnsons

No doubt timed with the inauguration, Antony and The Johnsons' new CD, The Crying Light, is finally out today. For the video of Epilepsy is Dancing, which also premieres today, Antony collaborated with his friends the Wachowski Brothers to create a dream sequence with just the kind of frolicking fairies, sequined wood nymphs and antlered elves you'd expect from the singing-songwriting transgender activist...

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 2

By Pia Catton...

Monday was anything but dull here at Sao Paulo Fashion Week, starting with Forum Tufi Duek, who apparently wanted to revive Madonna's horse fetish from her Confessions tour. Painted-on black leather pants and flowing capes were accented by an undercurrent of horse motifs: belts with silver bits as closures, extended ponytails and a video of horses frolicking in the background. Vamp, vamp and more vamp. And yet much of it could be worn as the straight-up New York uniform of black-on-black—without causing heart attacks.

Alexandre Herchcovitch scored highest with his pile-it-on attitude that seemed closer to a Russian aesthetic than Brazilian. Black suits and jackets had multiple fabrics on lapels and panels; some had what looked like fur caplets on top, but in fact were panels of fur at the shoulders and chest. Color was not absent, and it was topped by extreme beading. Several pieces were so heavy that in fact they appeared light; the weight of the beading made the loose shirts sway from the body and then swing back again to cling seductively to every curve.


Alexandre Herchcovitch

At Do Estilista, Marcelo Sommer seemed to be having a "Sound of Music" moment—are those dresses made out of curtains? No wait, just prints inspired by blue-and-white kitchen tile. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but in fact the prints were fantastic and many of the cuts were more velvet-rope than Home Depot. And to make it all totally incomprehensible, a row of treadmills was placed on the runway and several of the male models were made to exercise on them—even during the finale.

Hometown favorite Isabela Capeto presented layer-upon-layer of salable, feminine charm. Nothing was simple here—even a little black dress came with hundreds of tiny metallic beads.

I'm quite sure that Ronaldo Franga's collection—mostly black and white structured jackets with leggings—will delight his flock, but the show's theatrics trumped the clothes. On the runway were several six-feet tall surrealist puppets operated by Little Miss (and Mr.) Muffets. The models were elderly men and women, plus very young children. It all had something to do with oblivion, abandonment and a poem by Avaro Apocalypse. Like I said, quite a day.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sao Paulo Fashion Week: Day 1

By Pia Catton...

Sao Paulo Fashion Week opened with a day of extreme variety. Early on the roster was Osklen, which I've been looking forward to since I stumbled into his shop in Soho. Backstage before the show, Brazilian model Drielly Oliveira adjusted the fake dreadlocks woven into her hair and quickly summed up the appeal of Oskar Metsavaht's popular brand: "It's street style. It's easy to wear."

This collection, in particular, will be just that. Much of it was made from thick gray fleece. And although there was one classic PE department sweatshirt, the design kept it all far away from the locker room. Long dresses had full exaggerated skirts and several mini-skirts were cut with undulating ruffles—both had plenty of swish. A men's suit cut in an athletic-looking fabric could give Casual Friday a new lease on life.

But design was only half the story. Metsavaht has used his massive popularity for good by creating the Instituto e (E-Institute), which bestows an environmental seal of approval to fabrics made with sustainable methods. To get the seal, the production must be eco-friendly and do some variation of social good. Five e-fabrics were used in the collection, including vegetal leather, which is made from a natural latex extracted from rubber trees. The production employs rubber trappers and no toxins are used in the process. So how does it look? In the show, a stiff and sculptural raincoat was made from the stuff. Upon closer inspection backstage, the fabric felt pretty much like thin rubber. More interesting was the feel of a skirt made from coated fleece, which was so soft you could use it as a blanket.

As for those fake dreads, all the models (male and female) wore them, as well as nerd glasses that made them all look like booksmart Rastafarians.


Osklen

But the mood changed drastically at Mario Queiroz. This men's designer took up heraldic motifs: repeated crests were printed on oversized hoodies and plaid capes were draped across the shoulders. But the best part was the beefcake factor. A bare-chested, long-haired warrior king strode the runway wearing pants, a leather helmet and leather straps holding his shoulder armor in place. Braveheart in Brazil? Yum.

For Cori, Dudu Bertholini and Rita Comparato (who also design bathing suits and more for Neon) turned out a chic and sophisticated collection. Though it was decidedly "Brazil"—a little too much use of colorful leather stripes—it was well-tailored and not boring.

The day ended with Gisele swishing her hips down the runway for Colcci and its skinny jeans. Gisele's shape is just as outrageous as it appears in photos, so why did someone add a fluffy mini-train of black tulle to the back of her jeans? Way to block the view, Colcci.


Colcci

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Remix You Can Believe In

Hot off the presses, this inauguration-edition music video of Adam Freeland's remix of Daft Punk's "Aerodynamic" made us chortle into our Irish coffee this morning—er, afternoon. Nothing says fresh start like stop-motion toy art and the letters O-B-A-M-A delivered in a speak 'n' spell robo-voice. Say it. You are correct!...

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Crosshairs

Some of our favorite things, together at last: Steven Meisel, Joey Ramone, black on black, cross-dressing, gobs of hair...

photography Stefan Milev
styling Masha Bolsakova
hair & make-up Gregor Makris
models Florian @ Larapixie, Zuzana @ ANC
location Stuttgart, Germany



satin blazer H&M, jeans Cheap Monday
oversized shirt Bless, leggings H&M


tank dress Humanoid, cardigan Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair
suit H&M


corset D&G, jeans Cheap Monday
cardigan Costume National, leggings H&M

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Better Off

Men's designers with fall collections to show in Milan and Paris this week would tell you otherwise, but we stand behind Canadian artist Zachari Logan when he asks: Pants, who needs 'em? That's the question he poses in The Myth of Pants, his latest show of drawings at Paris' Galerie Jeanroch Dard.

Depicting his own body—on life-size canvases, no less—he explore his fascination with "bravado, heroism, narcissism and stereotypic masculine portrayals." If you ask us, it's a little like Tom of Finland and the Stetson Man about to hook up on Brokeback Mountain.

Oh, in case you're wondering where exactly in Canada Zachari is from, it's a town called Saskatoon in the middle of Saskatchewan, where apparently they wear Huskies tees and not much else. Mush!...

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Goodbye, Rio. Hello, Sao Paulo!

By Pia Catton...

Between the coxinha (chicken croquettes) and fresh acai (the anti-oxidant super fruit), Rio isn't a bad place to nurse a hangover. The beach, however, is. So off I headed to the leafy, bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Though I was informed repeatedly that I faced certain mugging, I felt safe in knowing I was meeting a local, a friend of a friend of a friend who lives in the area—nothing like three degrees of separation. Nothing bad happened.

Santa Teresa, once a haven for aristocrats, has crumbling buildings, decorative wrought iron and cobblestone streets that give it a French Quarter feel. We popped into the museum dedicated to Raimundo Otoni Castro Maya, an art collector who built a modernist house overlooking the city. The best of the art was neither the minor Picasso nor the Modigliani, but the 500 scenes (displayed in drawers) of early 19th-century Rio de Janeiro painted by the Frenchman Jean Baptiste de Debret. The lithographs served as snapshots of the New World for the folks back in Paris. And judging from these images, Rio has always been as bustling, fast and exotic as it is today.


Jean Baptiste de Debret

After a restorative lunch of feijoada, the traditional Brazilian black-bean stew, I headed back to the tents of Fashion Rio, where I learned two things: I had to depart at 5 am for my 8 am flight to Sao Paulo and "You can't leave Rio without going out to samba!" As it's impossible to argue with a Carioca celebrating her birthday at a samba club, a merry crew was duly rounded up. We made our way to a rustic club, Antiqua Sappore, in the neighborhood of Lapa, where the drinks are about $3 and the samba band keeps going all night. I had a full body sweat going all night, too, but I did make my flight.

Within hours I landed in Sao Paulo, had a quick nap at the hotel and feasted on another round of feijoada. This one was along the Praca Benedito Calixto, a park with a fantastic flea market on Saturdays. Prices are low, and the variety is enticing. Handmade scarves and jewelry range from 5 to 25 Real, but the remnants of technologies past—brightly colored telephones, a purple refrigerator and what must have been the first television in South America—are the more amusing attractions. Silver, too, was in large supply. So if you need that extra place setting, hop on a flight to Sao Paulo. As for fashion, stay tuned. First, another nap.


Flea market

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Fashion Rio: Day 5

By Pia Catton...

The Juliana Jabour after-party had it all. Aside from adorable Brazilian guys making strawberry caipirinhas, there was an endless supply of champagne, poured by waiters who were more intrepid than hot. They muscled their way onto the dance floor to make sure every glass in the house was full. So, as you can imagine, the place was raining men, unlike many a New York party. The ratio of men to women was at least 2 to 1, which should have made everyone giddy, but which instead led to the longest game of gay-or-straight in the history of Fashion Rio. Muscles, bracelets and well-groomed hair are standard issue for the male Carioca. But ultimately, the straight-guy clothing trifecta —T-shirt, jeans and Pumas—is a giveaway.

Jabour's collection reflected the party in a way: modern, dark, fun and romantic. Strapless party dresses were balanced by tight jeans and intarsia sweaters in abstract designs.


Juliana Jabour

But of all the natural wonders that Jabour's party had to offer, there was one that was very unwelcome: a fire. What started as a little flame wound up consuming a curtain and started to burn the plastic of an air conditioner. The smell and smoke were enough to kill a normal party, but not this one. Crowds shifted from the buffet to the dance floor, people who couldn't find a seat earlier now enjoyed the 19th-century chaise lounges and those eager waiters made their rounds through the smoke.

Eventually, the lights did go up—a sad moment indeed. The gang hopped over to the slick Fasano hotel, where models routinely roam the stark, modern interior. And thanks to them, all the ladies (even the journos) got to skip the 100 Real cover charge. Fasano has that intense sort of modernism that can make anything and everything seem ten times cooler than it actually is—even the journos.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Fashion Rio: Day 4

By Pia Catton...

They do breed 'em tall here. Tall, thin and beautiful—so much so that Brazil could legitimately claim models as a main export. With so many Brazilian models in their own country for Fashion Rio, it might as well be Old Home week. The line-up at Cantão—one of the more fun and energetic shows—brought together a Brazilian beauty-fest: Isabeli Fontana, Aline Weber, Daiane Conterato, Ana Claudia Michaels, Bruna Tenorio and Gracie Carvalino. Of course, there's buzz on all of them: Ana Claudia is back—from the '90s—and looking good; Isabeli is here, period; Aline also opened the Printing show; Daiane and Bruna are as bewitching as ever; and Gracie is in rapid ascendance.


Cantão

Why is it that Brazilians dominate the runways? Sure, it's in the mix of cultures—German, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch—but there's more to it than just genes. "To be a great model, it's not enough to be pretty," says Vogue Brazil's fashion editor Maria Prata, who shoots Brazilian models almost exclusively for the magazine. "Brazilian people have an allure that people all over the world recognize. They're easy-going. You have to always be in a good mood."

For a model, it's usually a quick step from Vogue Brazil to the international scene. But when Fashion Rio calls, these girls toss their quilted Chanel bags on their shoulders and strap in on the first flight home. After all, they've got the beach and parties at The Week, plus they are the envy of every little girl in the country.

And now, a moment for personal style. In the same way that French women can tie a scarf just so, Brazilian women have a way of making the maxi-dress and an armful of bangles look utterly natural. When New York women try it, the whole thing just looks too misplaced, too Long Island. I thought about trying it out down here, but why be a poser?

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Your First Look: Hedi Slimane

Times New Roman

photos Roberta Nitsos
styling Molaroid Solomon
set designer Nicolas Zavaliaris
make-up Abi @ CLM
hair Bianca Tuovi @ CLM
models Gavin Jones @ Models1, Ulysse De Gregorio @ Storm
location London


sweater Christopher Kane / hat, trousers & sandals Kenzo


shorts James Long / sandals Lanvin / fishnet top One of a Kind


all James Long


shirt Kenzo / shorts & headpiece Jonathan Anderson

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Your First Look: Miu Miu

You knew it was coming, now here it is: Katie Holmes in Miu Miu's spring campaign, shot in New York by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. With a Fellini-esque quality, the image speaks to the deeper complexity of the Miu Miu woman, or at least that what the press release says, along with something about Holmes' charisma. We'll just stick with the Fellini reference...

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Fashion Rio: Day 3

By Pia Catton...

Designers have been hot and bothered for the jumpsuit lately, making it an unlikely staple of collections in New York and Paris. Here, too, the adult onesie is on the runway and on the streets, but the shape is somehow more attractive in Rio. Cavendish, a popular Brazilian brand, showed strapless jumpsuits with pants that mimicked the wide-hip and tapered leg shape that's been going around. The cut is flattering and sexy, rather than look-I'm-wearing-a-jumpsuit. So if you've got to wear a jumpsuit, please, make it Brazilian.


Cavendish

One non-fashion high point of the day was a visit to the Roberto Burle Marx exhibit at the historic Paco Imperial, which, like many structures that once housed royalty, has been turned into an exhibition space. Marx is the artist who created the design for the beachfront sidewalk that runs along Rio's Avenida Atlantica. The squiggles and wavy shapes laid in Portugese tile are a pure example of form and function, landmark public art that thousands of people use every day. Sidewalks, though, were the least of it. His landscape design has been used for parks and public spaces all over the world, including Miami's Biscayne Boulevard, as well as hundreds of residential projects. The exhibit celebrated his 100th birthday and showed the extreme range of his output: large and small scale paintings, ceramics, jewelry and textiles—definitely worth getting off the beach for.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sole-Searching

By Franklin Melendez...

It is a universal truth that Christian Louboutin's signature red soles have become the must-have heels of sole-less social creatures everywhere. From Lauren Davis to Blair Waldorf, nary a gossip girl around town would forego that extra skip in her step, courtesy of a crimson flash. But these are dire times—so dire that the line between fact and fiction is blurred. Take Gossip Girl's own economic meltdowns in season two. Money laundering? Bad investments? Phoney companies? Escapes from the FBI? The fate of the Archibalds could easily be ripped from real headlines.

Still, the master cobbler isn't letting a few Dow downturns tarnish his style. Take his new Manhattan showroom, engineered by glitzy studio 212box—which also design his stores—completed on an extreme budget. If "extreme budget" and Louboutin seem like an unlikely pairing, it goes to show that desperate times call for resourcefulness. With found and collected objects used for décor, from a collection of leaves gathered in Cairo to salvaged stained-glass panels from old JFK terminals, the space provides an eclectic setting for Louboutin's sumptuous offerings—a juxtaposition of high and low, rustic and charming. Like when Nate squats at his parent's foreclosed manse.



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Fashion Rio: Day 2

By Pia Catton...

It all seemed so matter-of-fact when they told us the Redley show would be "in another part of town." That other neck of the woods turned out to be the actual woods of Tijuca, a 32-square-kilometer rainforest that also happens to be the largest urban forest in the world.


Redley

Tijuca contains the enormous statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks Rio. On this particular day, the forest also held about 500 fashion-goers. The four-designer team behind Redley opted to present its collection with models walking down a gently sloping stretch of road that cuts through the dense greenery. The show was called for 11 am, a time when sunlight is both dappled and beaming through the leaves, though a fog machine and music were added for ambiance, just in case.

As for the clothes, if you liked what they were wearing in that last Star Wars film, there's plenty here for you. It seems incongruous that a crunchy-sexy brand should make a collection with a military-of-the-future look, but that's what happens when you put sharp cotton jackets and gray pants with combat boots. Several knit dresses and leaf-print fabrics lightened the mood, but really, it was all about the forest. The icing on the nature cake was how perfectly our get-away was organized, so a big shout-out to the cheery walkie-talkie-wielding gals from the Brazilian Textile and Apparel Industry Association (ABIT), the group hosting us international press. And nothing makes me love Brazilian textiles like a van that's waiting and ready to roll.

Actually, designer Mara Mac also makes me happy about textiles, though I'm not sure where she finds them. Her collection, shown later in the day, was a veritable tea route that connected the fabric and designs of China, India and beyond. Models walked between huge mounds of green tea placed on a red lacquer runway, as sheer printed fabric evoked both the East and the Provencal countryside. Several pieces in a gray fabric looked just right for a long flight. But only first class would do for pants cut this chic.


Mara Mac

The best audience of the day was, by a long shot, at jeans brand TNG. Why? As a possible Backstreet Boy—who turned out to be soap opera star Caua Reymond—appeared on the runway, swaggering and flexing, his claque of adoring fans exploded. He beamed at them (a section of rowdy young boys who, if I had to guess, won some sort of contest for their seats) with a charm that seemed indigenous. Brazilian model Giane Albertoni and hot local newscaster Mariana Weiker also gave the show star power, but it was Reymond who made the kiddies lose it.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Catch Phrase If You Can

When we introduced you to Christopher Sauvé's "Save Anna" T-shirts last month, we had no idea the cottage industry it would become, with Seven New York scooping them up and press coverage across the board. There was even a ringtone with Anna's voice that made the rounds. Now Chris, New York's own Henry Holland in the making, has come out with his next tee, this time in tribute to Rachel Zoe. We love it, but can someone please make a ringtone of her sniveling assistant Brad? "The stress of putting stars in dresses is freaking me out!" ...



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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fashion Rio: Day 1

By Pia Catton...

It's Fashion Week in Rio de Janeiro (Fashion Rio) and it's already clear that the Cariocas have their own splashy way of doing things. On the banks of the Marina da Gloria (a large bay with a view of the massive Sugarloaf mountain with the Jesus statue), the city's fashion industry has set up a campus of tents that makes Bryant Park look like a shoe box. In addition to tents for the runway shows, there is a tent just for looking out onto the palm-tree-dotted harbor. It's the kind of set up that makes you want to declare residence.

And let's just pause to acknowledge one clever sponsor. Nivea has outfitted the men's and women's restrooms with not only soap and three kinds of hand lotion, but spray deodorant. And hell yes, I'm using it. It's 95 degrees here. But then again, sweating isn't something one has to apologize for in Rio. Mainly because no one apologizes for anything bodily here, not sweat, cellulite, body hair, spare tires, love handles—all of which was in full evidence on Ipanema Beach today, a Sunday in the middle of summer below the equator. The crush of humanity enjoying the waters provided plenty of people-watching, in not much clothing.

Sunday's few shows included Santa Ephigênia, a label so beloved by socialites that the well-dressed ladies of Rio packed the house and took up all the seats reserved for press. Entirely forgivable, though, as designers Marco Maia and Luciano Canale sent out an edgy but polished collection. Boxy, constructed jackets fell away from the body, and tapered pants seemed right on point. The metallic paillette dresses aren't going to be setting any new trends, but the collection was evidence that fashion here is thriving. Day 1 at Fashion Rio and things are looking good.


Santa Ephigênia

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Keeping Up with Stephen Jones

Because you asked, here's a progress report on friend and milliner (and Hinterview subject) Stephen Jones, who has a major retrospective coming up at London's Victoria & Albert museum, timed to coincide with London Fashion Week. Considering he supplies the hats (usually large, complicated, highly festooned concoctions) for a half dozen labels each season—i.e. Marc Jacobs, John Galliano, Giles—that means he's busier than a one-legged stripper, to use a drag colloquialism we know he'd appreciate.

But first up, he's working on the hats for Dior's pre-fall collection next Thursday, as well as Dior's couture show later this month. He says the latter haven't been drawn up yet, just abstracted, which we think means wish-listed. But even before Couture Week comes Men's Week, and Stephen has Galliano Homme, Walter Van Beirendonck and Comme des Garçons booked, plus a surprise. Well, yes, a surprise, but it's the designer's first foray into menswear, so we'll give you two guesses who it could be.

Stephen's own fall collection, called Albertopolis (Queen Victoria's nickname for South Kensington), mirrors the 300 or so hats of his V&A exhibit. The concept is a reinterpretation of past hats for today, including those inspired by Schiaparelli and geometry to familiar pieces worn by Madonna, Boy George and other slebs. It's Stephen's world; we just live in it.

photo by Justine

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Oops!

So, yeah, the latest New Year's resolution we've obliterated is to be more punctual. We arrived late to all three of Louis Vuitton's shindigs on Thursday to celebrate its new Stephen Sprouse collection. And the worst thing is we don't even have a lame excuse.

First we were late to the LV store on Greene St. (where we did catch Marc and Lorenzo being extra-super-duper-frisky as they ran around from guest to guest giggling like girls). Then we were late to the "Rock on Mars" exhibit at Deitch Projects around the corner (where we overheard our new favorite line, delivered in perfect deadpan to the clueless door girl: "Marc Jacobs would vomit in your face if he knew you were making us wait out here.") And then late again to Bowery Ballroom (where Debbie Harry went onstage pretty much on time for her four-song set.) Foiled again!

But we promise, dear readers, to do better. And now, a few enlightening words about Stephen from Mauricio Padilha, co-author of The Stephen Sprouse Book, out this month from Rizzoli...









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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Hooked: Hussein Chalayan

If you find yourself in a 70s chrome 'n' wood mood this February, Hussein Chalayan has a shoe for you—a tan leather mule, to be exact. It reminds us of our family station wagon (sans grape juice stains), which makes sense since speed, and the inevitable crash that goes along with it, was the theme of his spring collection. Hussein, how do you always get inside our heads? $1100, exclusively at Opening Ceremony in NY and LA.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Who Has the Ringtone?

We first brought you graphic designer Christopher Sauvé's "Save Anna" illustration last month. The idea, he said, was to "make a T-shirt, bumper sticker, Facebook profile photo or poster." Now comes the ringtone...

Anna Ringtone MP3

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hint Tip: Dover Street Market

Regular Hintsters will know we're not exactly fond of publicizing sales. (They're everywhere and the discount is usually meager. Besides, who wants to be reminded how wankerish they've been for paying super-inflated prices?) But Dover Street Market's last sale of the season—January 7-13, before they close and reopen with spring deliveries—is a must. We're talking 70% off. Only on selected items—poo!—so it's something of a gamble. But still, get thee to Dover. Run, fly, roller skate—pole vault, if you have to!

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Your First Look: Stephen Sprouse

Way back in the primordial ooze known as the 80s, designer Stephen Sprouse started out as an assistant to Halston, made art with fellow freaks at Andy Warhol's Factory, designed stage outfits for his friend Debbie Harry and ultimately opened a store of his very own. But it's possible that he's more sought-after now, posthumously, than ever before.

Taking stock, there's that photo-stuffed new book from Rizzoli that everyone is talking about (how major does Steven Meisel look?). Marc Jacobs, too, has followed up his 2001 Louis Vuitton collaboration with Sprouse with a new line of limited-edition accessories, launching this week with parties at Vuitton's Soho store, Deitch Projects and Bowery Ballroom. Bags, shoes, wallets, macs, cell phones and skateboards all get the graffiti treatment.

Now comes word that the latest issue of Le Book is "dressed" by Sprouse, the latest in a long line of collaborators that includes Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Azzedine Alaïa. We haven't the foggiest idea how the collaboration took place, since it's been five years since his passing, but there's no question Sprouse's neon-punk aesthetic makes for an eye-popping design—such as the rose motif on the cover, an image he achieved through photocopying and sent as thank-you cards to friends...



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Monday, January 5, 2009

Hint Tip: Kaiserin

We've introduced you to Kaiserin, the Paris-based "magazine for boys with problems." Now the boys are back for more. Celebrating their fifth/latest issue and its theme of L’Outside, Kaiserin editors Arnaud-Pierre Fourtané and Didier Fitan have curated Hors Les Murs (Outside The Walls), a photo exhibit at Exile Gallery in Berlin featuring the homoerotic work Santiago Reyes, Slava Mogutin and the late Al Baltrop's notorious Pier series. If this is what it means to have problems, we don't ever want to be cured ...

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Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tokyo Street Style

photos by Rei Shito...


pants: Maison Martin Margiela
jacket: vintage



suit: GalaabenD
belt, bag & shoes: YSL
glasses: Cazar



(left)
sweater & pants: John Lawrence Sullivan
shoes: UGG

(right)
dress: Goocy
shoes: Yuks



pants & jacket: Jeremy Scott
shoes: UGG



(left, Jeremy Scott)
jacket: vintage
shirts: vintage Versace
pants: Ksubi
shoes: Adidas Originals x Jeremy Scott

(right)
hat: H&M
coat: vintage
bag: Jeremy Scott
shoes: Fr. Martine


photos by Rei Shito, aka STYLE from TOKYO

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