Thursday, February 26, 2009
London Fashion Week: Man Day
Our favorites from the knitwear wunderkinds at Sibling ranged from knitted trench coats and biker jackets to leopard-spotted pieces sweaters with matching scarf and the sort of bow sweater Yves Saint Laurent used to wear.
New Power Studio's debut show lent credence to the idea that London can actually support a Man day. The all-gray conceptual collection fills the gap between Raf's spacey spring '05 collection and every teenager's Nike dependence. Together, New Power Studio and Christopher Shannon are making a convincing case for that very British love of sportswear as high fashion.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
London Fashion Week: Last but Not Least
You could say London Fashion Week's fortunes follow those of Fashion East, so good has director Lulu Kennedy's track record been. Hilariously, this season the group show was hosted by bearded tranny Johnny Woo. Of the three designers, perhaps Holly Fulton (formerly of Lanvin) stood out the most, showing a mix of armor-like, Swarovski crystal-encrusted, art-deco graphics, using a great color palette of black with mint, orange and mustard.
Blow, the PR company responsible for off-schedule collections, held a secret show that included the hardcore industrial leathers of Komakino, the Anglo-Japanese husband-and-wife team. Knitwear designer Craig Lawrence also showed. The 24-year-old only graduated last summer, but by then he had already worked for Gareth Pugh, with whom he shares KT Shillingford, the stylist behind Pam Hogg's collection. Lawrence showed his crazy, plastic, shaggy sheep-like knits on boys and girls.
The celeb-packed, MisShapes-soundtracked House of Holland show opened with Agyness Deyn, naturally, who walked to RuPaul's campy Supermodel. Holland had crimped the hair to mimic the stripes that ran through the clothes, tights and bags. In a departure from seasons past, there were a lot of smartly tailored suits for both men and women, and overall it looked surprisingly grown-up, in a color-blocking 60's way. The Tibetan lambswool coats were unbelievable.
House of Holland
The last show of the day was 26-year-old hat and mask designer Nasir Mazhar, who held a candlelit presentation at the magical St Barnabus chapel. These were pieces spanning a range of historical references, from Italian Opera to Bauhaus. And luckily for us, he likes to show his hats on near naked-models. Yum!
There being no rest for the wicked, it was straight on to a party at the Double Club, where Tilda Swinton, Kate Moss and BF Jamie Hince could be found, as well as Craig Lawrence and singer Patrick Wolf, wearing an enormous bird-like leather top. Oh, and Peaches, the singer (not Geldof!), performed a set that included a cover of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart—mental!
Labels: Agyness Deyn, Craig Lawrence, Daryoush Haj-Najafi, Fashion East, Gareth Pugh, Holly Fulton, House of Holland, Johnny Woo, Komakino, London Fashion Week, Lulu Kennedy, Nasir Mazhar, Patrick Wolf
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
And then, tragedy struck. Fred, who's the loveliest of girls, collided with a less-than-charming woman and the two were inextricably entangled in a hat-lock. We don't know the ugly details, but apparently insults (and maybe a hat) were hurled, feelings were hurt and Fred, our Cinderella, fled the scene unscathed, thankfully, but before she could get her Anna Piaggi pic!...
Katie Grand & Lucy Yeoman
Erin O'Connor, Giles Deacon
Judy Blame & Philip Treacy
Namalee Bolle & Bruno Basso, Michael Kostiff
Callum & mum
Teo, set designer Simon Costin
Labels: Anna Piaggi, Callum, Erin O'Connor, Fred Butler, Giles Deacon, Judy Blame, Katie Grand, Lucy Yeoman, Michael Kostiff, Namalee Bolle, Philip Treacy, Simon Costin, Stephen Jones, Victoria and Albert
London Fashion Week: Pam Hogg
The audience included Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, goth chanteuse legend Siouxsie Sioux and dirty self-portrait art stars Tim Noble and Sue Webster—all close friends. Gareth Pugh, who doesn't do other people's shows, was there, as was Terry de Havilland, who'd made some of the shoes, and Michael Kostiff, he of pre-punk green hair and the owner of World, the long-gone but seminal London boutique.
It-kids Alice Dellal and Daisy Lowe modeled alongside actress Jaime Winstone in multi-colored fur. The first half of the collection showcased Hogg's now signature space-age, rubberized, paneled suiting—as seen on Kylie Minogue and Siouxsie Sioux of late. The way the colors were put together, the quiffed hair, the floor-sweeping culottes, all seemed to mine that now-forgotten seam of rock 'n' roll futurism that the likes of Anthony Price, David Bowie, Roxy Music and even Malcolm McClaren fed off of. Acids and pastels were mixed with silver and gold, while skirt suits ran the 80s' Montana-Mugler spectrum of sharp, insecty tailoring. We even saw that greed-is-good, empowered-woman catwalk standard: exposed breasts. Hogg offers hedonistic alternatives to the party frock - wham bam thank you Pam.
— Daryoush Haj-Najafi
Labels: Alice Dellal, Bobby Gillespie, Daisy Lowe, Daryoush Haj-Najafi, Gareth Pugh, Jaime Winstone, London Fashion Week, Michael Kostiff, Pam Hogg, Siouxsie Sioux, Sue Webster, Terry de Havilland, Tim Noble
Monday, February 23, 2009
London Fashion Week: Giles
Reliably, Giles showed off his offbeat side with huge flying saucer-like hats by Stephen Jones (the subject of a V&A exhibit launching right after the show), a blow-up bolero jacket and spiked conical skirts. Then came a surreal interjection with no fanfare: a model dressed as some sort of furry Mohican crossed with a giant dildo.
Of course, Giles is still part of a wider industry at the mercy of trends. So there were lots of that very fresh blue-gray color that seems to be everywhere, here seen in rubbery silicone tops and patent leather. And lots of abstract prints and big fur, which Giles interestingly started halfway down the sleeves, while his take on the season's obsession with deconstruction saw exposed seams and detailing, bringing us back to that a less-processed woman. All things are relative, of course, as Giles' prices hardly allow for Earth Mother types.
London Fashion Week: Richard Nicoll
Turns out flattery will get you everywhere, because Sterling—Morissey's BFF and a herself an artist—was another of those front-rowers, wearing a billowy tunic brazenly screen-printed with one of her own images. This Charming Man played and models stomped the yard on cue, decked in Sterling's works—digital shots of bare skin, faces awash in reds and pinks, lips and hair lost in the folds—vaguely reminiscent of her Buzzcocks album covers.
Sterling proudly cooed from the sidelines like a first-time mum. In fact she literally beamed as her body-inspired prints splayed across Nicoll's impeccably stitched corsetry and suspenders, while form-fitting dresses were slashed at the thigh to reveal white skinnies and lamé leggings—all of which was greeted by rapturous applause. Nicoll, equally proud, made his way to the finale and wrung his hands to the camera flashes. He is the usurper of a new generation—and a very charming man.
London Fashion Week: Peter Jensen
As charming and oblique as one of Tove Jansson's short stories, Peter Jensen's fall '09 show was based on a nostalgic narrative he created about his Aunt Jytte, who immigrated to Greenland in the 1970s. Whereas Jensen's recent shows have fomented and distilled his brand of naïve, kooky preppy chic, this offering seemed more disparate and eclectic. Jensen watchers noticed a return to his very early collections, which were more random and less pulled together than those of late.
There were flourishes of Scandinavian chic—folksy embroidery (Jensen had taken research trips to Greenland and the Faroes) and a Nanook of the North teal-hued coat with fur-trimmed hood—but there were also elements of his cute classicism. These included a new-school Chanel-type bouclé jacket and odd touches like saggy hats, à la Durer, and a beaded cape worn over a suit.
You could have called it outsider fashion, a kind of dressing that didn't channel very obvious trends, instead embracing the innocence of times when women were not so brainwashed by fashion diktats. The artfully embroidered white leather thigh boots were reminiscent of Emily Watson's doomed attire in Breaking the Waves. They spoke of a joyous lack of rationality, cynicism and decorum.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
London Fashion Week: Christopher Kane
Kane's show started just fifteen minutes late, which in fashionland is waaaay early (ergo, the world's most nouveau fashionista, Kanye West, was left standing). The dedication to punctuality by one of London's biggest names indicates the level of professionalism at which Kane feels he needs to be operating. And while his status as yesterday's Next Big Thing is dangerous, his fall collection succeeded in elevating the designer beyond all that. He's even starting to grow out of his over-reliance on the party dress.
With the key trends already mapped out at the New York shows—most notably "classic" pieces in dark and neutral colors that supposedly everyone is going to want—Kane managed to work in his greatest strengths: cut, proportion and complexity. The result was a mixture of jackets, knitwear, tweed and lots of texture. Now there's a wardrobe change you can believe in.
Which isn't to say Kane's market doesn't have cravings. An abundance of cashmere, velvet, vinyl, geometric black detailing and a mix-and-match of metallics will quench any sartorial fixes that may crop up.
By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...
Saturday, February 21, 2009
London Fashion Week: Vivienne Westwood
Ex-Rolling Stone wife Jo Wood swaggered down the runway as a domineering headmistress in a three-piece trouser suit, her womanly shape guiding a gaggle of young, lithe models. Aptly dressed as her abiding students, they were split into a kind of school caste system. The paler of the waifs had gothy kohl eyes and hair dyed black, while goody-goody Swots practiced their pony steps in smart blazers, old-school tie-stripes and hiked-up minis (these are, of course, Westwood schoolgirls). The sporty set wore striped school scarves and unruly hair that said they smoke cigarettes in the girl's bathroom and send inappropriate notes to boys in math class.
Though a little costumey at times, the collection earned high marks by casting women not as lingerie-clad kittens, but self-assured, self-made types, with strong shapes, blood reds, leather and lots of structure, the buzzword of the week. One journalist, spying stiff, starched collars and exaggerated shoulders, turned to fellow front-rowers and purred, “Architectural, I knew it."
Part of the success lies in the fact that these sartorial nymphs were not necessarily women as they actually are, but women as we want them to be, much like Pamela Anderson, Westwood’s new muse and the face of her spring campaign—apparently because she digs her “irony." Backstage, Anderson bounced around in the same sheer blouse that made her nipples seem like saucers in Juergen Teller's print ads, billing and cooing with the orange-haired dame, saying, “Yesterday I was pornography, now I'm considered art.” Isn't it ironic?
Number (N)ine Is (N)o More
Added February 23
Here's an extra bit of info we got when we contacted Number (N)ine for confirmation: "Yes, it is true. The collection we just showed was the final. We will produce it and finish out the year with that beautiful stuff. Then at that point all stores will close. Takahiro is emotionally and physically exhausted. He is taking a break and will be back with something soon. For now we all have to stock up our favorites as they will be gone come December."
New York Fashion Week: Rad Hourani
But then, Hourani's fall '09 show was already causing quite a stir. He had refined his lexicon while expanded his vocabulary with complex layers entwined with accessories, jewelry and metallic flashes—all overseen by legendary stylist Patti Wilson, who consulted on the show. Longtime collaborator with Steven Meisel, she's been responsible for championing a unique brand of dark glamour—the perfect complement to Hourani's vision. The result was even more concentrated Hourani goodness, as he noted, once I finally reached him: “It was a continuation from the beginning, but I felt like doing more, having a bit of fun but in a slick way.”
But this hadn't solved the Bowles mystery, so at the after-party at Gold Bar, I wondered aloud to Hourani if we'd be spotting the impeccably groomed Monsieur Dapper with a new dark look. “He did come by the showroom to try on some of the collection,” Hourani answered. Even the boots? “Well, boys have gotten quite good at walking in those heels!”
Friday, February 20, 2009
Fry it Up in a Pan
Matthew (left) and Jonas (right)
New York Fashion Week: Day 8
Next up was V Man's ice-skating party. Luckily it was held at the end of Fashion Week because we witnessed one too many models and editors wiping out on the ice. Of course not one model from Eastern Europe had that problem. I was in heaven watching Bel Ami boys whizzing past—backwards.
Even drag celebs Brandy Wine and Brenda A Go-Go gave it a whirl. Brenda is from Kansas so she left Brandy in the dust. Her off-the-runway Margiela number was perfect for the rink—even Oksana Baiul would be jealous. After a couple of whirls around we hit the bar and watched as Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir took to the ice for a one-man dazzle dancing number.
Paul Sevigny, who grew up playing ice hockey, was even impressed with lil’ Johnny's moves. Later the skates came off, the booze kept flowing and the dance-a-thon began.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Girl Gone Wild
The once-ubiquitous Fashion Week hangover has become a thing of the past. We used to see it all the time: stylists nodding off with pins in hand and models swaying in heels, hunched over coffee cups. But these are different times and all the chipper faces and alert smiles in the front row betray an ominous fact, that the week is almost over and there have been far too few parties to show for it. Leave it to Erin Wasson to right this unsightly wrong with a smash fete for her Erin Wasson x RVCA label in the penthouse of Milk Studios.
The crush at the door was buzzed with anticipation. But of course Erin had more than a wine reception up her Lycra sleeve. As the elevator opened, Manhattan's well-coifed spilled out, only to be greeted by blasting Sixties' rock and garbage cans lined with hefty bags. More tailgate BBQ than snooty soiree, the order of the day was rowdy reveling, with some slutty monster-truck action thrown in—even at the bar, where the night's cocktail of choice was the good old jello shot, with jello scraped fresh from the platter.
While handily double-fisting drinks, Erin explained the mood of the collection. "The inspiration was Stevie Ray Vaughan,” she said, citing the legendary Texas-born guitarist. “It's a little bit Texas, a little bit rock'n'roll. I just wanted to pull from my Texas roots. I like a certain kind of aesthetic, so I made something for those type of girls.”
Those types of girls turned out in hordes, including fellow catwalkers Lara Stone and Coco Rocha, who, apparently not exempt from the recession, has taken on a gig as reporter for the E channel. Fellow bad-girl/DJ/artist Aurel Schmidt was also on hand, as well Alexander Wang, who I blamed for being a bad influence on Erin. “No, she's a bad influence on me!” he quickly retorted. Still swooning over the Proenza Schouler collection, Opening Ceremony's Humberto Leon and Carol Kim arrived, joining the bawdy fray alongside most of the perfume ads you've seen recently and the entire staff of Teen Vogue.
True to its claim, the collection offered rocker-babe glamour (think Uma Thurman in Hysterical Blindness), replete with Lycra, spandex, leather and even crushed velvet, which is apparently the fabric of choice for next season—a bit trashy, a bit bad and totally fun. Roiling in a flash of bulbs was a luminous Leighton Meester, aka Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, who said she's been a longtime fan of Erin's. “I love her clothes. They’re comfortable, casual but glamorous!” Would Blair approve? “I don’t think she’d approve of the cut-out spandex, but maybe she needs to have a little more fun!”
As the party wore on, rumors surfaced of an after-party involving a bucking bronco. “Yes, there will be a mechanical bull!" confirmed Erin. "And there will be a prize for the person who stays on it the longest. But it's a secret prize” Our favorite kind.
So the party reconvened at the LES bar Mason-Dixon, but not everyone cozied up the idea of riding a bull. Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte wondered what a bronco-tossing would do to one of their delicate confections, saying, “This might be too much of a rager for us.” I heartily agreed, fancying myself more of a lady. But some of the studlier attendee had no trouble keeping up, including one brave boy who, clearly wanting to impress our hostess, stripped down to his undies and rode in an impressive display of upper thigh-strength. Standing next to Lara Stone, I suggested she try next, but she declined, wanting to avoid sports-related injuries. But not Erin, who, in an oversized T-shirt and side-pony, rode the bull multiple times, beating any and all challengers, which means we may never know what that secret prize was!
New York Fashion Week: Anna Sui
Last night I went to Anna Sui, who's a hero of mine and such a gentle, lovely woman. I adore her shows, which are like nothing else. They feel so big and theatrical and energized. I also love her aesthetic and the fact that, over the years, I've collected pieces of hers that I still wear—even a decade later. I admire her consistency, but also her ability to take what she loves and constantly reinvent it. This show was no different. I melted into her world completely, and wanted to go home and throw on patterns, colors, velvet, flowers, feathers and just be an absolute romantic magpie.
Most of my Fashion Week plans have been dashed by my consumptive, pneumonic, bubonic plague-like scourge that I can't seem to shake. I was really heartbroken to miss Thakoon. He is so sweet and his clothes make me happy—and anyone who dresses Michelle Obama is a superstar in my book. But I did hobble out to a few things I wouldn't dare miss!
One of those was Rodarte. Not just because I love Kate and Laura so much, but because their shows are truly works of art. I love the fact that those girls are so smart and pull their inspiration from places that, in the abstract, don't always make sense, but then you see the clothes and it all comes together. Their shows are also wonderful because everyone there is actually excited. There is always an air of community and happiness to see what the sisters have come up with—and this time they didn't disappoint! The show was very strong and a little Frankenstein-y, but when you saw the clothes up close, they were so intricate, delicate and painstakingly perfect yet so wearable. I felt transported to another world, like you do at the symphony or opera—when it's over you feel like you've been on a journey to far-off fantastic places.
I was meant to go to a lot of events that night, but my health and a babysitting crisis forced me to get real. The 6-9 pm time slot is no friend to a new mom, so I went over to Kim Hastreiter's place with a few girlfriends after putting my little rascal to bed. The dinner was for Diesel's Renzo Rosso. As always, Kim's apartment was aglow with a super cozy family feeling. Kim is really my art mom. She an important supporter of artists and has the most magical ability to introduce you to exactly who you should know. The place was packed: Mr. Mickey, Threeasfour, Michael Stipe, Thomas Dozol and so many other people I love—and incredible food. Kim always has something for us boring vegetarians, which I appreciate more than she will ever know.
Then we went to the Rodarte after-party. That was a real family affair too. It was at a great bar called The White Slab Palace, which, oddly, serves Aquavit. I'm Danish and don't see that a lot, probably because it tastes horrible, but it still made me happy. The party was a low-key kind of place, with great music, great conversation, a little debauchery—the perfect antidote to the normal uptight, un-fun after-party.
See, you gotta look for the silver lining. In this economic downturn Fashion Week has felt a lot less stuffy and a lot more free-wheeling and community-oriented. Times like this force us to be creative, to look for new ways of doing things and talk about things we don't normally share. This has all left me feeling really inspired and ready to create—by hook or by crook!
New York Fashion Week: Day 7
Killing time before the next event, I hit up the J.Press store and found a stellar sale. Thanks to the prepster label, my collegiate look is complete for spring, with a duck-print belt, hyper-colored plaid shirt and a smattering of silk shantung bowties.
Then I cabbed it to the National Arts Club for an art opening hosted by Patrick McDonald. The Duckie Browns were there, as was Stephen Knoll, Kenny Kenny and tie guy David Hart. After a boozy meal, we headed over to the Gramercy Park Hotel for a night cap on the roof and a peek over the hedge to see what fashion party was happening, since the host said he was were sworn to secrecy. Hoping to spot Donatella or even Kanye on the other side, I only found a bunch of garmentos at a bash for some tired label. Sigh. I guess they're the only ones who can afford a splashy party these days.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Hint Gallery: Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld
Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld & Lily Donaldson / David Mushegain & Julie Gilhart
Stefano Tonchi & Carine Roitfeld
Mario Testino, Julia Restoin-Roitfeld & Tom Sachs
Milla Jovovich, Alexander Wang & interior designer Ryan Korban
Lily Donaldson, Mario Testino & Lara Stone
Theodora Richards & PC Valmorbi (her squeeze)
Party girl Cecile Winckler & model Elyse Taylor
photos Rush Zimmerman
New York Fashion Week: Rodarte
The collection? A knock-out. Gone are Rodarte's romantic days of wispy ruffles and folksy appliqués. The new collection is unabashedly tough and forward-looking. A succession of Ghesquièrian minidresses came out paired with S&M-y boots by Nicholas Kirkwood that seemed to go all the way up to the lady business. With its crinkled fabrics and tattered leathers shot through with silver, copper and lamé, each dress was a little work of art, almost worthy of the Hiroshi Sugimoto works that hung in the same room until Saturday.
After the show, the big question—for me, at least—wasn't what Kirsten Dunst thought of it or how Milla looked so ravishing, but what mysterious attendee came and left in a gorgeous emerald-green, chauffeured Bentley? This I pondered as I, like the rest of us ordinary folk, hailed my sad little yellow cab.
Rendez-Vous, That's Who
New York Fashion Week: Day 6
I then hiked over to the tents for Max Azria. To my delight there was a box of chocolates on every seat—no YogaToes or crappy shampoos! Thank you, Max. The collection was kind of Daphne Guinness with lots of severe angles, plum colors and collar embroidery—Daphne on a dime.
Finally I took a break from fashion and headed to the Film Forum to catch the closing night of Chiara Clemente's documentary, Our City Dreams, profiling four women artists in New York City. The movie was exceptionally shot and yet another reason why I still love living up here in Yankee territory. Well done, Chiara!
Now I must get in my Emily Post post. Front-row people should not use Blackberries during a collection. I could write a thousand blind items about all the rude socialites and even editors clacking away in their seats. I’m sure whoever you are texting can wait till a show is finished. Life will go on. Promise.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
It's two down and two to go. For a series aptly called The Iconoclasts, Miuccia Prada picked four fashion editors—W’s Alex White, Katie Grand from the soon-to-be-legendary Love, Olivier Rizzo (who styles for V, VMAN, Another and Arena Homme Plus) and French Vogue’s editrix Carine Roitfeld—and asked them to “rethink” Prada stores in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
This week Alex White invaded New York’s Soho store, while London’s Old Bond Street Prada was turned into a skate park by Katie Grand. The lowdown: White went heavily for liquid Lycra leopard-spot and snakeskin stockings in a red-light district mood, while she left Prada’s spring pumps in a delectable, chaotic heap. She also worked Mickey Mouse ears into hats and put a few of Prada's mannequins in white blindfolds—a signature touch?
Meanwhile, Grand—along with David Sims—installed a plywood skateboard ramp in the Old Bond Street store. Presumably shoppers will bring their decks and forego those dangerous six-inch platforms that sent a few pretties tumbling during the last show. "I wanted to do a film with David Sims and we talked about having a girl dancing," says Grand, reached on a shoot the day after the London launch party. "We only had 2½ weeks and David was on vacation in Costa Rica, so we worked it out over a few desperate email conversations. Eventually he said he wanted to have girls skateboarding so we looked for models who knew how. But then I thought about Prada's display mannequins. They're so beautiful, so we put them on the ramp."
Now back to Love. After a sneak preview at London's Dover Street Market and Harvey Nichols, Grand's new Condé Nast fashion mag will hit newsstands on Thursday, but for the moment she doesn't even have any copies left in her office. After several Valentine's launch soirées, she says she planning a bigger bash a bit later at Harvey Nicks. Love's first issue features ladies and gents who "don't have model-like dimensions," says Grand, who put a sumptuous, nearly nude Beth Ditto on the cover. Iggy Pop—who Grand points out "is a women's sample size"—and the statuesque Anjelica Huston appear inside.
Prada New York, rethought by Alex White
Prada London, rethought by Katie Grand
New York Fashion Week: Day 5
After moseying around the presentation for a bit, I noticed a trend with several well-heeled editors: limping. Seems that sky-high heels are taking their toll. I asked one if she could switch them out for more sensible shoes in her bag. "Hell, no! They look too good." "But darling, you're limping." "Champagne dulls the pain!" That's hardcore.
I was off to check out Michael Bastian, but someone's assistant gave me the wrong address and I ended up in the projects! So I thought it would be amusing to see Marco Hall, whose muse is Andre J, the bearded drag wonder who wore his looks on a French Vogue cover. Well, Mr. Hall needs to be a bit friendlier with the sewing machine, and where the hell was Andre? Club diva Lady Fag closed the show to a round of applause.
Finally I ran over to the opening of the new Diesel flagship in the old Gucci space on 5th Avenue and 55th Street. The space wasn't as fun as the old Diesel on Lexington, but the tableau vivant in the window was highly entertaining. Downtown denizens Patrick McDonald, Kenny Kenny, Richie Rich and Sultana sat around a table, eating delicacies from Le Cirque. Needless to say that caused quite a stir on 5th Avenue, aka Recession Row.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Boys Will Be Boys
While on the subject of communion with male spirits, Tim Hamilton presented his fall collection on Sunday at the lofty Lehmann Maupin Gallery. For several seasons now, Hamilton has been crafting his signature menswear just below the radar, but always attracting the attention of those in the know. Of course, a platter of teen hunks never hurts either. Assembled on risers, the boys provided swoon-worthy hangers for Hamilton's beautifully crafted, luxurious staples, which were a little like Doctor Zhivago crossed with Tom of Finland.
Livelier than the usual runway affair, the boys actually seemed to be enjoying themselves. Many pouted, grinding to the music, with beer in hand. But before the Sunday buffet could turn into after-hours peep show, I headed backstage to reach the notoriously camera-shy designer. “There’s some early 20th-century points of departure,” he noted. “Vienna in the 20s, painterly knits, dramatic topcoats.”
The presentation spilled into the evening and much of it spilled over into the notorious Club Sandwhich just a few doors down at Norwood House. With four floors of pounding music, the notorious French fete resembled something like a fashion circuit party. With Sylvester thumping in the background, I felt the primeval urge to take off my T-shirt and tuck it into a hanky-adorned back pocket—an urge I didn't act on. Partiers included Alexander Wang (with most of the Elle team), Marc Jacobs and his stud-muffin boyfriend Lorenzo Martone—who, I must admit, I wouldn't mind seeing shirtless and waving a glow stick.
New York Fashion Week: Jeremy Laing
I sat directly behind a comely yet disconcertingly composed twelve-year-old, clad in purple tights, flippy skirt, boucle jacket and yes, even a satin hair ribbon. Perched in Jeremy Laing's front row with other social jewels, the prep-school princess kept cozy company with top editors, including Teen Vogue's Aya Kanai and most of the Harper’s Bazaar team crammed into a tight little corner. Annoying, yes, but her diminutiveness allowed me full view. Then there was the glittery support of Jeremy's friends (and fellow Canadians) artist Terrence Koh, cocooned in nubbly black, and legendary queer radical daddy, AA Bronson, in signature ZZ Top beard.
As for the collection, it was nothing short of exquisite, an incisive exploration of architectural shapes, fabric innovation and modern adornment. There were some re-imaginings of previous interests, such as minerals and crystal shapes, which were translated into bold proportions and lush treatments, such as a strong-shouldered coated wool coat that glistened unctuously like a faceted piece of fresh coal. It was as if Laing were re-channeling some of that initial spirit that made him such a talent to watch in the first place.
Wanting to delay the trek down nine flights of stairs after the show, I caught up with Mr. Bronson, to ask his thoughts on the collection: "Well, we’re friends of Jeremy’s, and we enjoyed the show immensely! We don't get invited to that many shows. But it's funny—when we're in Paris, we actually get invited to many more!” They have better taste, I assured him, before inquiring about current projects: "Right now I'm working on a seance called Invocations of the Queer Spirits, which is gonna happen on Governor’s Island. It's an old 18th-century stone prison that’s basically a big graveyard. It was an all-male prison which has seen a lot of action.” And that, pretty much says it all.
New York Fashion Week: Day 4
The crowd then crammed the 1 train and headed uptown to see Tim Hamilton's show (or Tammy, as he's known to his sassy editor friends) at Lehmann Maupin gallery. Like Robert Geller, he was inspired by old Vienna, and the textiles and cuts were right up this editor's alley.
We popped by the Topman party at Bungalow 8 (yay for grilled cheese!) before heading to the much-hyped (by yours truly) Club Sandwich at Norwood. As expected, the party was a showdown with diamond-bedazzled drag queens and Paris club kids twirling away and smoking up a storm. But I was most happy to finally meet the Birkin bag fanatic Bryan Boy, who was holding court on the second floor. After gyrating till 5 am, a massage was needed the next day.
Club Sandwich crew
And now for your blindy. Which bespectacled men’s editor pretended to dance with me, only to swivel around me and cut in line at the bar?
Sunday, February 15, 2009
New York Fashion Week: Erin Fetherston
Let me preface this by saying that I've been plagued by walking pneumonia this winter, so everything I see is filtered through a lens of antibiotics, cold medication and some good old-fashioned consumption. But neither hell nor high water could keep me away from Erin's show, so I rallied and gathered some other Citizens Band ladies and trotted on over.
Erin said she was really excited about this show, but nothing could have prepared me for just how wonderful it was—the whimsy, girlish fantasy and so much more. The music began with the sound of a music box, and it was as if we were transported to some magical fairytale. Russian dolls and ballerinas appeared in layered, vintage-like skirts and sleeves poufed in just the right places, while models who looked a little like soldiers marched past in pants that were cool and cigarette-y. Some of the tutu dresses, in rich and warm colors, made me itch for toe shoes.
The make-up was the perfect Biba-esque 70s does the 30s and the hair was so incredible with big bows, crimped buns and huge tall hats. And there were animal masks covered in glitter that truly made me swoon.
Okay, I know this all sounds super girly, but I promise you, the collection had an elegence and sexiness that I haven't seen from Erin. The girls were like the Russian émigrés in one of my favorite books, Beauty In Exhile—theatrical, cultured, dramatic yet grounded, confident and smart. I sat with my gal posse and we bounced up and down and clapped, oooohing and aaaahing. I know we'll go to sleep dreaming of the magic we saw and where we can wear it.
The after-party was in the oh-so-beautiful Rose Room at the Gramery Hotel, which, on its own, is so cozily gorgeous, but tonight it was swaying and tipping its hat to Erin. And that is the beauty of Erin; she really makes people happy. Her light is infectious!
New York Fashion Week: Day 3
We also saw some major fashion yesterday. For her VPL line, former stylist and old-skool Boy Bar door gal Victoria Bartlett showed a drag-a-rific collection of sheer and body-hugging pieces, including one dress with a back made out of hair. Unbeweavable! There were also accessories resembling rocks wrapped in jersey.
Spurr was, well, classic Simon Spurr. This editor was hot for one particularly modern black tweed suit that he'll wear for eons.
Loden Dager was another hot-to-trot show, held in the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, the perfect setting for the workwear-inspired collection—in cashmere!
Finally it was a drive-by to Elise Overland to cringe at the models in impossibly high trannie pumps and gobs of loaned Alexander Calder jewelry before a quiet dinner at La Bottega, where the entire Club Sandwich crew was dining and prepping for Sunday night's blow-out at Norwood.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Your First Look: Alexander Wang
We're With the Bland
What is Bland? According to the press release, it's a “fantastic experiment in modification and restraint that reveals a dynamic meta-aesthetic that is only desirable via adjective-heavy tropes, run-on sentences and compounded German vocabulary.” We might translate this semi-serious, semiotic code by saying Bland is one of those amorphous fashion-art hybrids with an enviably cool following from the moment of inception, which makes its actual content seem almost negligible.
The brainchild of Teddy, longstanding charter member of the Deitch Projects tribe, the line debuted last year at the Wooster space with a another art-heavy presentation involving mannequins, an all-black palette and conceptual pantomime-dance. The line offered some cleverly tailored jumpsuits and beautifully draped tops—a promising first presentation that took a turn to the macabre this time, maybe as an homage to its host Terrence Koh and his gallery space, ASS (Asia Song Society).
Returning to the mannequin theme, the result this season was less mime convention, more lost reels from Silence of the Lambs. It played out like the fashion-week fantasy of Jame Gumb, aka Buffalo Bill, replete with studding, corsetry, rivets and hardware. The effect was brought to full-force when descending into the cavernous basement of ASS, which, needless to say, has witnessed its share of debauchery.
When asked about how the collaboration came about, Terence and Teddy were a bit at a loss. Teddy: “Well, it just…happened. Suddenly we thought we’d be here.” Terence: “It sort of...just happened…and then we were making vanilla milkshakes.” Fair enough.
Of course, all the cerebral gloom and doom was no match for the revelers, who included Deitch Projects director Kathy Grayson, artist Aurel Smidt and most of the cast of Butt. It made for a good thumping party, which the city quickly took note of, sending over a fire inspector before the night was over.
photos Maz Redpath
New York Fashion Week: Day 2
Highlights from the day were Duckie Brown and David Delfin's shows, where it was all about proportion—very Balenciaga for boys.
CFDA/GQ award winner Robert Geller was a fave, the inspiration being turn-of-the-century Viennese imperial fops. Right up my ascot.
Victor Glemaud and Camilla Staerk joined forces for a dual fashion show, which was top drawer. Hot boys in knits and sassy ladies in flowy gowns.
Wrapping up the day, I took a gander at the McQ for Target collection, which had fashion mavens disrobing on the spot, trying on tops, dresses and tees.
Finally, ever notice how people drone on about how tired they are from Fashion Week, then end up in your face at 4 am at an after-party? That was us last night, at Vic and Cam's after-party, where all the most amusing people landed: Vogue's Lauren Santo Domingo and Meredith Melling Burke, Philip Crangi, Kate Lanphear of Elle and KCD's Adam Shapiro. Then someone bought shots and I was done.
Now for blind item goodness. Which gossip editor just lost loads of weight and sashayed into the tents wearing an outfit he couldn’t fit into for ten years, only to realize hours later that his fly was agape?
Friday, February 13, 2009
New York Fashion Week: Day 1
It was also a day of international male debuts, most notably Jurgen Oeltjenbruns, who returned to the American menswear scene with a well-tailored collection inspired by cold-weather uniforms. Those Germans always know how to keep toasty.
Next was the debut women's line from Bibhu Mohapatra, formerly of J. Mendel and originally from India. A highlight from the collection was a hand-loomed peacock feather coat that this dandy wanted to rip off the model and strut out the door with. Vogue's Lauren Santo Domingo did the styling, resulting in a calm and cool 20s' sensibility.
Finally, former Bill Blass designer Prabal Gurung sent out a stunning collection that turned out the ladies in the house—as well as some of the menz, who were giving snaps and "Gurl betta wurk!" shout-outs. One of them, our fave drag queen Brandy Wine, was the first to speak to Prabal when Bill Blass folded, telling him to keep the momentum going and launch his own line. Ta da!
Dinner was supposed to be a break from the fashion pack, but when Linda Wells and Jon Bon Jovi rolled into The Little Owl, all eyes were on the center table.
Oh, and you heard it hear first. Kesner, New York's swankest new men's store, will be carrying Westwood Man for fall, the only place in the U.S. to carry the line. Here's hoping the recession has lifted by September!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Hooked: Lanvin Strassée
Men at Work
The first person I got a moment with was nominee Robert Geller, wearing a stunning bronze bow-tie pin. His father, meandering around the collection, was excited to tell me that even he, generations older than the models, could pull off some of the pieces. Well, if Dad approves, you're in like Flynn, right?
Next up was Andre 3000, who I didn't recognize because he was running around sans chapeau. He had nothing but great things to say when asked about his nomination, though he was a little chagrined at having to be stuck in the showroom presenting the line all week instead of gallivanting to the shows. Gotta sell, baby!
Now for a little blind-item fun. Which accessories designer, who had the sleeves of his blazer pushed up à la Miami Vice, did I say “Hi, Don Johnson” to, to which he retorted, “No, it's Westwood!”?
Robert Geller, Andre 3000
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Hint Tip: Damir Doma
Muse You Can Use
As guest editor, Pugh art directed and starred in a cover shoot for Time Out's special London Fashion Week issue. His chosen photographer was Matt Irwin, his backdrop was a wall of pearly balloons and his co-star was Daphne Guinness, the half-pint Guinness heiress with a penchant for silver leggings, shock hair and diamonds as big as doorknobs.
Pugh has been a regular visitor and friend to Time Out since the magazine heralded his first show in 2005, so he was accustomed to the infamous rough-edged office block. Guinness was another matter. What would the fantastically posh eccentric/designer/filmmaker/patron of the avant-garde think of her makeshift boudoir, with its file cabinets, back issues and stale almond croissants?
She didn’t blink, of course. As the gaggle of scruffy fashion kids blew in with Pugh to unpack his spring ‘09 collection and fire up the hair straighteners, Daphne sweetly ordered a mug of builder's tea and warmed her feet on an electric heater. As most of the team chain-smoked on the roof, she happily settled into an hour or three of hair and make-up.
Pugh attracts a sort of polarized following, from the gothy young show-offs in the clubs and pubs of the East End to the effusive Parisian board members of ANDAM, who last year awarded him 150,000 recession-free euros and a slot at Paris Fashion Week. For her part, Guinness is fast-becoming recognized as an important ally to London’s creative scene, much like the late Isabella Blow (Guinness’ distant relative and friend). Little wonder that the 41-year-old was Pugh's pick for cover star.
Guinness, it turns out, is a natural. Propped up in her custom-made Christian Louboutin platforms and black-and-white armor outfit from Pugh's spring collection, she walked on set arm-in-arm with her designer friend. All smiles as she nestled in among the balloons, she was asked for her best cover star "look." Suddenly, she fixed the photographer with a pretend death-stare—to be unveiled on newsstands February 19.
—Dan Jones, Time Out London
Hint Tip: Pleasure Principle
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Prada Hit Parade
More than glorified window dressing, The Iconoclasts will showcase individual interpretations of Prada's spring '09 collection, with its lush metallics and platforms worth the tumble. The project, to be fully documented on its website, will kick off with W's Alex White transforming the Soho boutique (2/13), followed by Love's Katie Grand in London (2/13) and Oliver Rizzo in Milan (2/25), culminating with Carine Roitfeld's triumphant conversion of the Avenue Montaigne store in Paris (3/5). These are your icons, folks.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Hint Tip: Skye Nicolas
New York Fashion Week: Alexandre Herchcovitch
Isabeli Fontana in the first look
Photos Rafael Assef, styling Maurizio Ianes
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Keeping It Fresh
styling Pholoso Selebogo
model Lars Parschke
cape Bernhard Willhelm, jacket Arienne Birchler, vintage vest & necklace
t-shirt See by Chloé, jacket & pants Lars Paschke, backpack Eastpak by Raf Simons
jeans Patrick Mohr, backpack Lars Parschke, belt Dries Van Noten, vintage necklace
shirt Christian Wijnants, coat Stephan Schneider, vintage necklace
Labels: photo shoot
New York Fashion Week: Rad Hourani
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Kuczynska is part of a new generation of designers taking Polish design in a fresh, progressive direction. And part of her appeal is that her aesthetic vision encompasses more than just clothes. Working together with photographer Szymon Roginski and producer-cum-DJ Sharif Zawideh, she constructs a mini-universe that, in addition to her collections, brings together campaigns, logo, lookbooks and show soundtracks.
For fall/winter ’09, she's taken her collection on the road. First stop, Berlin's emerging showroom showcase for young designers, projektGALERIE. After that, a round of showroom appointments in Paris, then her runway show in Warsaw. Keep an eye out for her designs in coming months—if all goes according to plan, they might be coming to a city near you.
By Sameer Reddy. Photos and assemblages by Szymon Roginski and Kasia Korzeniecka...
Catchphrase If You Can
Labels: blind item
Friday, February 6, 2009
Hint Tip: Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld
Thursday, February 5, 2009
True Hollywood Story
Somewhere between the two lies fashion's current sovereign, Stefano Pilati, whose reign at Yves Saint Laurent is renewed each season not just by a fresh collection, but by his very own Manifesto, which captures the line's current essence in an easy, portable format. So what's his latest decree? YSL goes full-on Hollywood with an Amazonian Claudia Shaffer (in banana pants and sequins), resplendent under the glare of the California sun and that ubiquitous hillside sign. It's stark, brazen and savagely glamorous—the stuff of silver-screen dreams, with a little David Lynch thrown in.
Shot by Inez & Vinoodh, this season’s Manifesto will be released to the masses on the streets of Paris, London, Milan, Tokyo and, of course, New York on February 14. A limited number will be distributed in exclusive YSL totes with a USB port downloaded with exclusive video footage. Is this the ushering in of a glorious style revolution?
Monday, February 2, 2009
Bernhard Willhelm at Berlin Fashion Week
Berlin Fashion Week—with its five-day marathon of shows, parties, after-parties and after-after-parties—is now over. The consensus? That it sparkled less than its previous four seasons. Nevertheless, here are two highlights.
The one show everyone was looking forward to also caused the biggest surprise. While waiting outside Postbahnhof club for Bernhard Willhelm's collection, a rumor spread through the crowd that it wouldn't be a regular runway show. Indeed Willhelm decided to hold one of his large-scale tableaux vivants. With the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympics as the inspiration, his fall 2009 men's collection was both fashion-forward and nostalgic. Models hammed it up inside a miniature Eiffel Tower, a giant dinosaur skeleton and other sculptures, as Bernhard himself posed and gave interviews. His first show in Berlin was the ultimate winter wonderland.
The young duo of Alexandra Fischer-Roehler and Johanna Kühl, better known as Kaviar Gauche, also came up with a surprise. Their models were all but naked, wearing only flesh-colored underwear and extra-long hair extensions. After all, why distract from the cult accessory label's signature shell-shaped bags and long-fringed necklaces?
Rendez-Vous, That's Who
That's why we at Hint are proud to be the media sponsor of its New York debut during Fashion Week, showcasing over 70 our fave men's and women's lines from the U.S. and abroad: Henrik Vibskov, Rogan, Christian Wijnants, Nice Collective, April 77, Surface to Air and special guest Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Also on display will be an exhibit by photographer Martine Mulder. More info to come, stay tuned.
Rendez-Vous, the Altman Building, 138 W. 18th St., Feb 20-22, 10:30 am - 7:30 pm