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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Horse Power

Drinking in the afternoon is a pretty iffy pursuit, even for us, but how can you say no when the sponsor of the Manhattan Polo Classic is the champion of champers, Veuve Clicquot, and you're rubbing hats with fashion, music, media and royal elite? Besides, someone needs to toast Prince Harry's first trip to New York...

Lorenzo Martone horsing around in pleated shorts
Argentinean polo player and Ralph Lauren model hotness Nacho Figueras

Marc Jacobs might have left the skort at home, but still trotted out the heels
Marc Jacobs and a sun-phobic Madonna being completely bored by someone

No horse's gams can compete with Chloe Sevigny's
His Royal Highness made the only royal point of the match

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Q&A: Christopher Bailey

Given his fantastically glamourous job as Burberry's creative director, you might think Christopher Bailey is the type to have glitzy million-dollar condos stretching from Rio to Goa and keep a staff of well-pressed butlers, chauffeurs and vase-dusters. But no. The real Christopher Bailey, with his tousled red hair and generous smile, is a Bob-Dylan-listening, sloppy-sofa-relaxing country boy, as he told me just hours before hosting the star-studded christening of the new Burberry headquarters in New York. Which, apparently, is just part of the job...

Lee Carter: The Burberry tartan is one of the most famous trademarks in the world. What are your own trademarks, passions and fetishes?
Christopher Bailey: One of my biggest things is that I love the countryside. People don't usually associate that with a fashion designer, but it's something that's really important or me. I was brought up in the countryside. I love gardening and spending time in agricultural surroundings.

How very British of you. You're almost as British as Madonna. Do you have horses, too?
I do have horses in my field. That probably makes me a big fat cliché.

More like a thin cliché. You're quite thin.
Well, I'd like to be, but I'm drinking too much.

Welcome to the club! Burberry is such a quintessentially British brand. Are you an Anglophile?
I've never considered myself an Anglophile. I've lived all over the world. I've lived in New York, Munich, Paris, Milan for a long time. Now I'm back in the UK, which is kind of weird. I do love my roots. I do love England and its diversity, but I also love being in other cities. I'd get claustrophobic in one place. Today we're in Manhattan, tomorrow I'm in London, Saturday in Yorkshire...

What's in Yorkshire?
That's where I live. I have a home there, a little cottage.

It must be a very sweet cottage.
It is a very sweet cottage. It's also very old, from 1633. It's an old farmhouse, surrounded by fields and cows and horses.

I bet you've done it up very nicely.
Actually I just finished a huge renovation. I hope it's nice. It's very simple. I love it.

What's your taste when it comes to interiors?
I don't like things when they feel too prissy or untouchable. If you're going to have a sofa then it should be a big sloppy sofa. I like a bit of grime and dirt as well. I don't like things too spotless and perfect. The same with clothes. I want clothes to feel like you own them, not like they own you. They should be a little disheveled and broken down.

Like they have stories to tell.
Yes, exactly. I love stories and poetry.

Do you really like poetry?
I don't love poetry. [Laughs.] We have something on English TV at the moment. They're trying to promote poetry in the UK, so I'm going to start reading poetry. I think I haven't been patient enough in the past.

I know music, too, is one of your interests. And I hear you discovered One Night Only, the band that's playing at tonight's launch...
I wouldn't say I discovered them. I would love to say that. I guess I found them before they hit.

What does music mean to you and how does it play into your work?
Music is so important. I love so many different types of music, from classical to one of my favorite artists, Bob Dylan. I love Joni Mitchell, the Stones, punk, the Pistols.

I'd love to see a punk-inspired Burberry collection. What would that look like?
I'm always a little influenced by punk anyway. But I like it when you discover that it's influenced by punk rather than wearing safety pins all over.

Not that you've never done that.
Not that I've never done that.

What's the most outrageous thing you've ever worn?
I was never crazy, but I did dye my hair blue. That's not so wild.

A lot of designers pretend like they lead normal lives, but it's rarely true. What's a typical weekend like for you?
I spend a lot of time in my studio working on a gazillion things, from fragrances to new buildings to designing furniture, and of course all the collections. But I also have my life outside the office, though I'm not a party person. I like to celebrate but I prefer intimacy to big parties, so I will usually go out for dinner or cook for friends and family. I spent last weekend with my family. We just cooked, read the newspapers, drank too much.

Let's talk about the new New York headquarters. It's a huge undertaking.
Yes, a labor of love. It's slightly smaller than our new London global headquarters. We designed it with the same plans, same layout, same furniture. But we do not have the big Burberry sign in London.

Neon just feels so New York.
Exactly. It's one of only six grandfathered buildings in New York where you can do that, so it's a big deal for us to be able to affect the iconic Manhattan skyline, which I love. And everyone here has a great can-do attitude. You guys are always glass half-full, whereas maybe in the UK we're a bit glass half-empty. There's always such camaraderie in New York. It's a pleasure being here.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our Favorite Things...

that French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld divulged to Thomas Persson and Jonny Johansson in the latest Acne Paper (issue 8, summer '09), which just launched in New York:

  • I am sorry Acne, but I don't wear jeans...However, I think that jeans is one of the most important items of clothing today and that is also why we have done an issue just about jeans.
  • I never wear miniskirts because they make me look older.
  • I am skinny, and all my girls are skinny. People think I weigh my girls in the office but I do not.
  • When I started doing all the Gucci campaigns with Tom Ford and Mario Testino we pushed so much and after that everyone coped it...A lot of girls started to shave their pussy in different ways after that so it really became a trend. Many artists played with the pictures too, so it was fun.
  • My dream is to be a strong Helmut Newton woman. For me this is the woman for Vogue. I never worked with Newton but I would have liked to because I love his humour and his idea of woman.
  • I think sometimes I need a psychiatrist just to understand what I did in my pictures. You know, I have been repetitive about eroticism. And knives...I hate knives.
  • Fantasy is better than real life. When I do a fashion shoot the girl is like an actress, this fantasy of who she is and what she is doing. Perhaps the reader only sees the clothes but for me everything has a meaning. I am a big dreamer.

  • (Read our Q&A with Thomas Persson circa the previous issue six month ago.)

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    Your Initials Here

    Designer logos are passé, doncha know? But sporting your own monogram? Not so much. Our Prada pals just dropped us a line to let us know that soon you can order personalized Character Tags, consisting of sliding letters attached to a strap in either leather ($110) or croc ($145). So, not only will you be your own brand (the secret behind every self-made billionaire), but locating your suitcase at baggage claim just got a lot easier.

    —Max Berlinger

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    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Let Your Mouse Say It Loud

    The great democratic experiment might never revolutionize fashion, a realm notorious for its feudal hierarchies and iron-willed tyrants, but it might add a bit of suspense to the upcoming CFDA Fashion Awards, which just announced its first Popular Vote Award. Why it's not called People's Choice, we don't know, but pitting designer against designer will let fans and followers have a say in the sacred process. Mind you, this is the same logic that let that other guy beat out Adam and that prematurely ousted a nubile Lil' Kim from dancing glory, but we're confident the fashion crowd will take their civic duties more seriously. Created in collabs with WWD, polls are open from May 27 - June 9, with the winner announced along with the others on June 15 in the big ceremony at Lincoln Center.

    Naturally, as we're on the voting panel this year, we promise to do all we can to rig the results.

    —Franklin Melendez

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    Headline Trip

  • Burberry to bring its Prorsum spring '10 runway show to London from Milan, celebrating the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week.
  • Givenchy unveils its fall '09 ad campaign, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, and Riccardo Tisci reveals he's creating tour looks for Madonna and Antony and the Johnsons. [WWD]
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg wins Best Actress in Cannes for the film Antichrist.
  • Patrick McMullan scion to star in Joel Schumacher flick about over-privileged teens. [Observer]
  • David Furnish did not kick Paris Hilton off his yacht in Cannes. [Facebook]
  • "I love Hint like a fat kid loves cake." [fan letter]

  • Givenchy, fall '09

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    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Your First Look: Sandra Backlund

    Perhaps because it's Memorial Day weekend, these Rorschach-like images of Swedish knit queen Sandra Backlund's fall '09 collection—in collaboration with Italian knitwear company Maglificio Miles—remind us of beer cozies, but for the body. As in, snug yet springy. Besides, Sandra knows how to keep it cool...

    photography Peter Gehrke @ Adamsky
    styling Naomi Itkes @ Link Details
    hair Peter Andersson @ Mikas
    make-up: Kajsa Svanberg @ Mikas
    model Tilda L @ Stockholmsgruppen
    art direction Sandberg&Timonen
    retouching Matchmill

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    Let Them Eat Models

    As if there weren't enough tasty treats on the runway, Swedish photog Therese Aldgård and prop stylist Lisa Edsälv went and baked a bunch of cupcakes in designer style. It took them three days—and no, there aren't any left...

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    Friday, May 22, 2009

    Hint Tip: Seven New York

    So you wanna be all boozy and louchy this holiday weekend, crashing rooftop BBQs and waking up in strange underwear. Cool, but as you head out on beer runs, why not be a little productive and drop in at Seven New York, where a biannual sale has already started? Treat yourself to air-conditioning and 25-35% off most spring merch—yeah, we're thinking there might be a mini-mob scene. In non-sale news, Seven's latest arrivals include Raf Simons footwear, David Lindwall tees and Cassette Playa. Up next, Gareth Pugh...

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    Lady of the HOME

    What with the skintight thigh-high boots and crystal-spangled mesh minidresses that spring from her sketchpad, you wouldn’t necessarily think of Gucci creative director Frida Giannini as the tree-hugging type. Well, think again, fashion bunnies. In honor of the release of HOME, the eco-documentary directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and funded by Gucci parent company PPR, Giannini has created this limited-edition T-shirt, made from organic cotton and printed with natural dyes. The model in the pic? None other than HOME girl Giannini herself. You can pick up the $195 shirt at Gucci boutiques starting Monday.

    —Nancy MacDonell

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    Dixie Cape

    Amid rolling thunderstorms and blankets of Spanish moss, a handful of fashion's intelligentsia gathered in Savannah, Georgia, last weekend to take in the Savannah College of Art & Design’s annual senior fashion show. Among them were Ruben and Isabel Toledo (who were honored with SCAD's Lifetime Achievement Award) and Vogue’s André Leon Talley, a North Carolinian who holds an honorary Doctorate of Humanities from the Southern institution.

    I ran into André pre-show, decked out in his now-signature Obama pin (“I’ll be buried with them,” he said of his collection, which includes hundreds of First Family pins alone). Naturally I asked him about his style as a student. “I had a pale yellow, V-neck cashmere sweater—my first cashmere sweater, that my grandmother sacrificed a lot of money to pay for—and my first pair of Italian loafers.”

    André's trademark capes, apparently, didn’t enter the picture until college: “I was reading Vogue and dressing like Diana Vreeland’s pictures of Verushka dressed as Greta Garbo in [the 1933 film] Queen Christina. I went out and got myself a big cape, and then I took black silk curtain tassels and roped them around by neck with a white, pleated tuxedo shirt. I would go like that to class, with a big black hat. And I found all of this in North Carolina, by the way. I would walk around campus and people would look at me funny, but my French teachers thought it was wonderful." And there you have it, the source of André's cape craze.

    —Alisa Gould-Simon

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    Thursday, May 21, 2009

    Sumo Wrestling

    So hefty was Sumo, the behemoth Helmut Newton book published ten years ago by Taschen, that it came with its own custom-designed Philippe Starck stand. The titanic tome—edited by the photog's wife, the great June Newton—immediately became a symbol of its status-obsessed time, as requisite a display of cultivated wealth as a Poggenpohl kitchen and a high thread count. To commemorate the anniversary, the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin will show all 394 photographs beginning June 4, while the publisher is set to release a more humanely sized edition for aficionados of the late lensman's kinky glamour.

    —Suleman Anaya

    Benedikt Taschen & Helmut Newton, 2000

    Villa d'Este, Lake Como, Italy 1975

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    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Hint Tip: Burberry

    You know, there's nothing sadder than a dark neon sign, the very symbol of good times. Happily, this one will light up on May 28, along with two others just like it around the building, when Burberry launches its new Manhattan headquarters at 444 Madison Avenue, which is apparently one of only six grandfathered spots in New York where this is allowed. Naturally the christening will be followed by a party, which Christopher Bailey and CEO Angela Ahrendts will fly in for...

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    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Game On

    Reminding us there's more to being British than Posh Spice's perma-pose or Madge's faux accent, Fred Perry is celebrating its centennial in sportsmanlike style. Founded by the shrunken empire's most nimble tennis pro, Frederick John Perry, the label has been a pioneer in the world of sportswear, relentlessly cultivating that unmistakable gentlemanly pedigree (so that even if we don’t mind our Ps and Qs off the court, we can look like we do). Along the way, the label has evolved from tennis whites to full-on brand, recently enlisting fashion all-stars like Raf Simons to spruce up its image. Naturally this calls for a yearlong celebration and a special website to chronicle the festivities, show great moments from tennis history and, perhaps most importantly, peddle goodies. Our favorite so far is the limited-edition Piaggio Scooter—the perfect Mod accessory to any proper English look.

    —Franklin Melendez

    Raf Simons for Fred Perry

    Fred Perry Piaggio Scooter

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    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Freak Show

    Lions and tigers...er, patterns and colors and armor, oh my! Illustrations by Kuanth

    dress Christopher Kane
    dress Chanel, hat John Galliano, shoes (orange) Lanvin, shoes (yellow) Pierre Hardy, boots Bruno Frisoni

    dress & shoes Alexander McQueen, hat Dior
    dress & shoes Balmain, tights Jean Paul Gaultier

    dress Basso & Brooke
    dress Gareth Pugh

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    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    Hooked: Be@rbrick

    Not much time left to see the three larger-than-life Be@rbrick figures installed in the windows of Dover Street Market, temporarily transforming the shopping mecca into a conceptual animal preserve. Part of Comme des Garçons' ongoing collaboration with the iconic Japanese toymaker MedicomToy, the ursine display embodies the new Black line, preppy basics embossed with the Be@rbrick silhouette—which pretty much amounts to Comme's Play line, but with anthropomorphized bears. An adorable assortment of T-shirts, sweatshirts, button-downs and the like will tempt even the most discerning of tastes (we'll resist the obvious Goldilocks reference here). But our favorite from the bountiful menagerie are the charm keychains, which feature the cuddly critters in colorful metals. More portable than the seven-foot variety, they let you take your toys with you wherever you go.

    —Franklin Melendez

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    Safe Deposit Box

    No one knows better than fashion's finest that charity is always in vogue. To prove it, some of the world's most stylish celebs from fashion, music and entertainment have partnered with megabrand H&M and Designers Against AIDS to create Fashion Against AIDS, a special-edition series of T-shirts celebrating sex—of the safe variety. High-wattage names like Dita von Teese, Yoko Ono, Estelle, N.E.R.D, Roisin Murphy, Katy Perry and Cyndi Lauper lent their time and talent to help design these frisky creations that serve as a reminder to keep your wits about you when enjoying life's carnal pleasures. The best thing about the 80s-inspired slogan tees? Twenty-five percent of the campaign sales will be donated to projects promoting HIV/AIDS awareness. Fashion and charity aren't mutually exclusive, and we adore anything that says it loud and proud. Available in nearly 1000 H&M stores in 30 countries beginning May 28.

    —Max Berlinger

    Dita von Teese, Cyndi Lauper

    Roisin Murphy, Yelle

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    Friday, May 15, 2009

    Hint Postcard

    What the Kremlin is going on in Moscow? It's unseasonably hot, and Stephen Jones and Henry Holland are carrying on like a couple of pre-revolutionary czarinas. It turns out there's this "25-year-old gay cherub from Calcutta and occasional transvestite," according to the London Sunday Times, who flew a bunch of Brits over on a kind of cultural exchange. What's been learned so far? For the Russians, it's that not everyone likes to drink themselves silly in the afternoon, having to go out for bottled water to serve at lunch. "Five liters," says Stephen, "for a hundred people in 85-degree heat!" Which might explain why William Orbit (of Madonna's Ray of Light fame) was a no-show at a talk he was supposed to give. Someone send a search party.

    Henry Holland & Stephen Jones

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    Hint Tip: Vive la Fête

    Our pals Danny Mommens and Els Pynoo at Vive la Fête are coming out with a new album, Disque D'Or, on June 8. And this time they're widening their electro-crash oeuvre to include punk and traditional French chansons. Who knows, there may even be some mooing and cock-a-doodle-dooing from their farm animals. That's right, they have a farm, in Belgium. Here's a preview...

    "Everybody Hates Me"

    By the way, because he couldn't find any he liked in stores, Danny has designed the black shirt he wears above and seen below on Els. They're unisex, which means, if you're a guy, you have to be pretty skinny. €80 (plus shipping) by email...

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    Thursday, May 14, 2009

    Awkward Bound

    Go west this spring with prairie prints, dusty hobo overalls and your most ill-fitting Sunday best.

    photography & styling Louis Park
    art director Ann Kim
    make-up Iwa Park using Mac Pro
    hair Kunio Kohzaki using Therapi
    models Jessica @ Select, Amber @ Select,
    Roma @ Select, Chris T @ Premier, Patrick @ Storm
    location London, England
    thanks Neo2

    left: top Paul Smith, pants Form / middle: sweater Fred Perry, pants Qasimi / right: scarf H&M, top Fred Perry, pants Edward Sexton
    left: top Fred Perry, coat Eley Kishimoto, belt Beyond Retro, bangles H&M / shirt Adidas Originals, trench Burberry Prorsum, jacket Qasimi

    left: shirt & jacket Merc, vest Vivienne Westwood, pants Diesel, tie Paul Smith / middle: dress Eley Kishimoto / right: dress SteveJ&YoniP
    left: shirt Paul Smith, jacket Prada, pants Merc, bow tie Beyond Retro / top Fred Perry, trench Prada, hat Beyond Retro, necklace Burberry Prorsum

    left: top Luella / right: dress Vivienne Westwood

    polo Fred Perry, dress Reem, blazer Y-3
    left: dress Paul Smith, cardigan Fred Perry, shoes Beyond Retro / middle: scarf & apron Beyond Retro, dress Vivienne Westwood, shoes Paul Smith / right: shirt Merc, track pants Adidas Originals, overalls Diesel, shoes Beyond Retro

    jacket Qasimi, shoes Prada, bow tie Paul Smith
    left: shirt Paul Smith, top Fred Perry, outside top Y-3, pants Merc, hat Paul Smith / right: polo & t-shirt Prada, top shirt Merc, pants Fred Perry, belts Beyond Retro

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    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Accessory to Murder

    The contents of some handbags are quite mysterious, but are they worthy of a movie? If it's a Dior bag, then probably so. The company has been taunting us with this Lady Dior viral trailer, sending us cryptic tweets on a par with Cold War spy communiqués: "Remember this secret number: N°751B43" and "Someone is trying to unscrew the lock on the door." It's a kind of whodunnit nouveau-noir thriller with steamy close-ups of Dior pumps, a gunshot and some somewhat gratuitous bondage, all of which revolve around what may or may not be inside Marion Cotillard's bag. (It's directed by Olivier Dahan, her director in La Vie en Rose.) We wish we could know right now what, exactly, is in that damn bag, but with all the cinematic gestures in fragrance marketing right now, we're thinking it's a perfume. Maybe. Whatever it is, it's sure to be killer when the full six and a half minutes are finally released on May 20.

    —Liz Armstrong

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    Bad, Bad Hair Day

    Funny story. At the International Center for Photography's 25th Annual Infinity Awards last night, when Annie Leibovitz went onstage to collect her Lifetime Achievement Award from presenter Gloria Steinem, she opened with an anecdote about shooting Lily Tomlin for the cover of feminist magazine Ms., recalling how she'd pulled hair out of her brush and put it in Tomlin's armpit. The editorial board at the time didn't appreciate the visual commentary on feminism and pulled the image, but last night everyone was laughing. So there.

    By the way, the award for Applied/Fashion/Advertising Photography went to Tim Walker, the UK-based photog who's worked for everyone from British and Italian Vogue to Vanity Fair and Dover Street Market. Interestingly, Walker used to assist Richard Avedon, who's the subject of the ICP's next show, Avedon Fashion, launching tomorrow night and open to the public on Friday. Go, because you can never have enough Avedon in your life. (Also read our Q&A with ICP co-curator Vince Aletti last month)...

    Gloria Steinem & Annie Leibovitz

    by Tim Walker

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    Monday, May 11, 2009

    Scent of a Man

    By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

    I realize my taste in fragrance is not very commercial or mainstream. I know this from my first unofficial experience reviewing a new scent. Early in my fashion career, I happened to be in Paris at a casual lunch with friends who worked for Azzedine Alaïa. Also at the lunch was their friend and designer, Thierry Mugler. I was mid-conversation when someone passed a small unlabeled vial under my nose to smell. I took one whiff, grimaced at the sickly sweet smell and exclaimed, “Ooh, that's disgusting. It smells like candy.” A silence descended on the table. The unlabeled fragrance was the prototype for Thierry Mugler’s Angel, now among the best-selling fragrances in the world.

    My first experience with Byredo fragrances was entirely different. It was during my stay at the Berns Hotel in Stockholm, where the subtle scent of a Byredo candle permeated the hotel in the best possible way, and is now permanently attached to my memory of the city. Memory seems inseparable from the experience of scent and was a constant source of inspiration for Ben Gorham, founder of Byredo, as he created his new gentleman's fragrance in collaboration with the editors of Fantastic Man, Jop Van Bennekom and Gert Jonkers.

    How do you capture the essence of a magazine in a fragrance? Jonkers describes the experience as "super virtual" and the process "like walking around in the dark, looking for the light switch." Perhaps that's why, at its Paris launch this spring, the scent could be experienced by sniffing a blindfolded man. But as I was not in Paris for this particularly evocative inauguration, they sent me an elegantly packaged bottle to sample it myself. Like the magazine, it has an old-fashioned quality reminiscent of Tabac and Old Spice, yet with a lingering aroma that's very modern. In the end, the result is a super normal fragrance with a lovely edge. As Jonkers puts it: "It's as inclusively niche as the magazine itself.”

    Fantastic Man Eau de Cologne, $195 for 100 ml at Byredo

    Read Hint's first review of Byredo in Beauty Duty.

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    New Designer Alert: Valerj Pobega

    Leave it to an Italian signora to take a don't and tease it into a do. Inspired by 80s' big-hair god Axl Rose, that's exactly what Rome-turned-L.A. designer Valerj Pobega did for spring. (Although it could have been a lot worse.) But while elements of rock are present in the abundance of black, smoky transparent layers, distressed leathers and stage-worthy sex appeal, the craftsmanship is done with such Italian skill and fine silk tulle that it makes one wonder if Axl would approve (and hope he doesn't).

    But the Guns N' Roses frontman is just the latest pop-culture icon Pobega has pulled off the shelf for inspiration. Louise Brooks and Edie Sedgwick have previously filled that role—and headstrong Pobega falls hard for each of them, adjusting her hair, make-up and style to fit whatever her current obsession may be. So even though she's not originally a Southlander, Pobega is at least one reason you shouldn’t completely avoid L.A. fashion.

    photos/text Christina von Messling

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    Saturday, May 9, 2009

    Bohaning Up

    Christian Dior has remained one of the most enduring names in modern fashion since his first collection in 1947, in which he reversed the codes of femininity with his famous New Look. Upon his death ten years later, a gifted teenager—perhaps too gifted—took the reins: Yves Saint Laurent. A remarkable shift occurred, but Saint Laurent didn't last long before he exited in a brouhaha involving the army, a broken promise, a lawsuit and another designer by the name of Marc Bohan.

    Dior's new star couturier, Bohan remained at the helm for the next 28 years before the arrival of Gianfranco Ferré and John Galliano. A new exhibit at Musée Christian Dior (that's right, he has his own museum) in Grandville, Normandy, showcases Bohan's contributions to Dior over three decades, from the classic elegance of the 1960s, through the bohemian chic of the 70s, to the baroque extravagance of the 80s—and of course his famous collaborations with photographer Dominique Issermann. Through September 20, 2009.

    —Laurent Dombrowicz

    photo by Dominique Issermann

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    Friday, May 8, 2009

    Goss Dressing

    The scandalous world of Manhattan’s elite is heading straight for Target in what might be Gossip Girl’s best plot twist yet (at least, in its erratic sophomore season, which is drawing to a painfully awkward close—Poppy Lifton, really?). For the second installment of its Designer Collaboration series (following Alexander McQueen), the egalitarian retailer has enlisted perennial flower child Anna Sui to whip up a capsule collection based on the show's four female leads.

    Expect lots of flirty, baby-doll printed frocks worthy of raccoon-eyed Jenny and Boho diehard Serena. You'll have to stretch your imagination a little when it comes to Park Avenue maven Lady Waldorf, and we're not quite sure of the fourth, but we're keeping our fingers crossed it'll be Chuck Bass—who's already proved he can look dashing in purple, velvet and other Sui signatures.

    In a rollercoaster ride that has seen us through the highs of Jenny’s fashion whirlwind to the lows of a Bernie Madoff-inspired scandal, we're hoping this retail stint will reset the show's priorities to what really matters: fashion. Otherwise, we'd just watch Rachel Maddow. Hits stores nationwide September 13.

    —Franklin Melendez

    Anna Sui, fall 09

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    Stage Bedfellows

    Viktor & Rolf know a few things about putting on a show (recall the all-Shalom virtual runway experience for spring 09, the models made to look like statuary for fall 09, or any of untold theatrics over the years). Now, after catching the stage bug designing costumes for a Robert Wilson production in 2004, the duo is once again lending their dramatic flair to the avant-garde director-playwright's staging of Carl Maria von Weber's romantic opera “Der Freischutz” (The Freeshooter) on May 30 and June 1 at Germany's largest and most famed opera house, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden.

    We saw some early snaps of the fairytale-like outfits, and let's just say they’re classic over-the-top V&R. Some performers will be enveloped in what amounts to a huge bouquet of silk and satin flowers tied with a giant ribbon, while others will appear as lightning bolts, festooned in red and orange Swarovski crystals, of which almost a million are used in total. Apparently there are dirndls and lederhosen in the mix, too. If only Shalom could have smuggled them into the Met Ball.

    —Katie Hintz

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    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    Out of the Blue

    Tired of going green? Try blue. Spearheaded by Julie Gilhart, Barneys New York has joined forces with Elle to create Project Blue, a shop-for-charity initiative to benefit the clean-water advocacy group Oceana.

    Eight designers—including Rodarte, Stella McCartney, Versace and Alexander Wang—were given a pile of old donated denim to play with. From this mass of acid-washed, mom-jean rejects, they were asked to create totally new garments, to be auctioned off on eBay.

    The results, which aren't the patchwork-denim Franken-frights you might expect, range from a tailored dress from Bottega Veneta to Rogan's long-sleeved hooded dress. The bidding has started (Ann Demeulemeester is currently fetching $135, which won't last) and continues through May 10.

    —Pia Catton

    Versace, Rogan, Rodarte

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    Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    Going In Seine

    Monday night we skipped the Met Ball and headed straight to the after-parties. This year the après-musée hotspot was the chicest catacomb in town, the Mercer Hotel's underground SubMercer bar, where Rodarte held its fine and raucous post-ball soirée. As the open bar flowed freely, Kirsten Dunst, Brooke Shields, Coco Rocha, Marisa Tomei and Francesco Vezzoli, among other influential and/or genetically gifted guests, danced, drank and caroused late into the night.

    We'll remember many exchanges from the Mulleavy sisters' fantastic little fête, but none so much as this nugget from Olivier Theyskens: "The parties tonight are great, but they don't compare to three days ago, when I sat by the Seine on my own and smoked cigarillos. It's my favorite thing in the world. I smoke this brand La Paz—they're cheap but it's what I always buy. And then, I peed into the Seine. It's the best thing I did all week." On that strangely sexy note we left the increasingly steamy basement boîte. Just in time, too, as we barely missed Kiefer Sutherland's crazy headbutting tantrum.

    —Suleman Anaya

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    A Stella Performance

    By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

    Giving in to the suppressed urge for retail therapy, I popped into Barneys New York yesterday for Stella McCartney's trunk show, which gave me a chance to see the collection up close. Better still, Stella was there in person for a Q&A with the wonderfully witty Simon Doonan.

    I knew Stella from my early styling days in London. I remember being at her precious jewel box of a studio in Notting Hill (when Phoebe Philo was still her assistant) at the moment Madonna's office called for the first time. I was amazed that the potentially blasé daughter of a Beatle could be excited by celebrity.

    Stella is now, incredibly, a mother of three and running her own international clothing, accessory and beauty empire, plus designing a collaboration with Adidas. When Simon asked if she would like to do menswear, she answered with a resounding yes. Why not? She trained, post-Central Saint Martins, with a bespoke tailor who worked under the notorious Tommy Nutter. Suiting has been a part of her signature since her student days, even before her tenure at Chloé.

    Now, as everyone knows, Stella is a lifelong vegetarian and promotes a cruelty-free ethos in her personal and professional lives. Although she passes no judgment on others, she is well-known for her staunch opposition to leather, designing all her accessories—shoes, bags, belts, etc.—in alternative materials. For this, she has drawn a lot of respect in an industry that loves all things animal: leather, exotic skins, fur and so on.

    So, right then, just as I was thinking about her noble aversion to animal-made products, it happened. It. You know! I, a fellow vegetarian, unwittingly made the ultimate Stella faux pas by wearing not only the fairly forgivable leather boots and a leather bag, but also my Acne leather tunic complete with a jumbo leather and metal Tuareg [North African] necklace! I listened uneasily as she spoke about her affection for the jumpsuit, desperate to crawl into and disappear in one of them. But I rallied, hid part of my outfit under my short coat and I went to say hello, for old times' sake. And in true Stella form, she put (visible) judgment aside and was all compliments on my appearance.

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    Attire Satire

    If you missed the Met Ball and care to know what that was on Madonna's head or how much lace had to die to make Mary-Kate's dress, then go to, oh, just about any fashion website. If, on the other hand, you missed the Met Ball and don't have a burning desire to know the red-carpet ins and outs, then WWWWD will give you all the news that wasn't. That's because it's a fake fashion trade paper, but a hilariously wicked fake fashion trade paper, in the way The Daily Show skewers politicians—which might explain why WWWWD's logo is a backward CNN logo. And like CNN, they even have a Tweet feed (but very, very fake), with status updates like "BetseyJohnson: dropping 3rd hit of acid 2nite! drugz r so weak these dayz" and "MTESTINO: @gwenyth's place. blaming my farts on apple. must quit cheese." Not even Andre's capes are safe from video parody.

    WWWWD used to be online, but it's a biweekly e-newsletter only now, so sign up on the site. Here's hoping there's still a sense of humor in fashionland...

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    Monday, May 4, 2009

    Theyskens to Halston, Revisited

    Suspense is building over our scoop last month that Olivier Theyskens, following his early departure from Nina Ricci, seems to be headed to Halston. Now, according to today's WWD, it appears that Anna Wintour has been playing matchmaker: "Halston is looking for a new creative director, and one name being bandied about for the gig is none other than Olivier Theyskens. According to sources, Vogue’s Anna Wintour is keen to find Theyskens, who recently exited Nina Ricci, a job in New York, and she is said to have been lobbying to get him installed at Halston. Over the past few months, the iconic brand has been putting its feelers out, and sources said it was at one point looking at Narciso Rodriguez and at London-based designer Marios Schwab to succeed Marco Zanini, who left the company last year after two seasons as creative director of the revived line. Halston executives said no decision has been made on a new creative director." Of course, nothing is written in stone yet, but just imagine Theyskens spinning his gold right here in New York. Heaven!

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    Missing Persons

    If Miss California's gay-unfriendly remarks ruffled your feathers, take a gander at London's Alternative Miss World, where imagination is encouraged and differences celebrated. Here, eccentric artist Andrew Logan, who began the event thirty-something years ago, ruled the roost Saturday night. Co-hosting with Ruby Wax, he lived up to the theme of The Elements with a Bauhaus-like outfit designed by Zandra Rhodes. Earth, air, water, fire—I was in my element! Music was supplied by The Irrepressibles, who had all been styled in cosmic costumes, à la Bladerunner meets the Triadic Ballet.

    The majority of the twenty contestants had clearly spent the better part of the last few months constructing their insane outfits and choreographing their entrances and routines. It was a riot. Each one was as outrageous as the next. The size and complexity of the presentations escalated throughout the three rounds: daywear, swimwear and eveningwear. And yes, an interview, quality entertainment in the sense that none of the misses offered any kind of coherent enlightenment. Ruby showed no mercy.

    By the end of the night my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much, and I can only imagine the fun that went on in the judges' huddle, which included Tim Curry, Julian Clary, Molly Parkin, Zandra Rhodes and Jonny Woo. But the most uplifting aspect of Alternative Miss World was the participation of so many generations. One contestant was eight months pregnant while another was probably on the the agenda from the inaugural contest in 1972.

    text/photos by Fred Butler

    Award Ceremony

    Miss Bubbles of Hope

    Miss Trailer Trash, Little Miss Sustainable

    Miss No Signs of Any Civilisation Whatsoever

    Judges Zandra Rhodes and Jonny Woo, Mademoiselle Sea-Sea-Sur Mer

    Miss Fancy Chance (the winner)

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    Friday, May 1, 2009

    Hint Tip: Kembra Pfahler

    The last time we saw performance artist Kembra Pfahler, she was onstage, naked (save for a big black wig and head-to-toe blue body paint), upside-down and spread-eagle, while the other body-painted girls in her mock-goth band The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black took turns smashing eggs into her, um, voluptuous horror. It was more camp and fun than it sounds, but a dark message of female brutality does permeate Kembra's shows and her sardonic lyrics—as her new book documents all too vividly. Published by Deitch Projects, Beautalism chronicles the three decades of her irreverent career, up to her gobsmacking 2008 Whitney Biennial performance. It's pretty amazing stuff. So we're crossing our fingers (and legs) that Kembra might, just might, do a ditty at the launch party for Beautalism, which will also inaugurate a yearlong bookstore, ARTBOOK at X, between D.A.P. Books and the curators at X-Initiative. 548 West 22nd Street (the old Dia space), May 16, 5-7 pm...

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