A mixed blog of fashion goodies
Have an idea for the Hint Blog? Email us.
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hint Tip: Alexander McQueen

Guess who's the latest to join Twitter. Alexander McQueen! (McQueenWorld) Be the first to know what's going on in his houndstooth-lined head in the run-up to the spring collection. We also hear he has big news to divulge soon, presumably on Twitter, but for now he's dealing with a "microwave head meltdown (with) sparks flying out of my brain!"

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hooked: Alexander McQueen

From the strangest of birds comes the latest and most covetable of nests, Alexander McQueen's Egg Chair. Better than the Golden, Fabergé and even Cadbury varieties, the ovum throne comes upholstered in fall's signature houndstooth tweed and accented with skull zippers and other signature McQueen hardware. Originally designed as seating for McQueen boutiques worldwide, the Egg Chair is now being released in an uber-limited run of five. Yes, five. A second series will appear just in time for Christmas. Available exclusively at Alexander McQueen boutiques, price upon request.

—Franklin Melendez



Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hint Video: NewGen Winners, 1/7

London Fashion Week is all aflutter, as it should be, about its upcoming 25th anniversary and the return of greats Brits—Burberry, Jonathan Saunders, Matthew Williamson, etc.—to its calendar, after years of showing abroad in New York, Milan or Paris.

Just as intriguing is the move from the cramped lawns of the Natural History Museum to the palatial Somerset House. Add to that the recently announced recipients of LFW's NewGen sponsorship, backed by Topshop in support of young design stars (previously won by Alexander McQueen, Giles Deacon and Christopher Kane), and you have nothing short of hysteria.

And so we—or rather, fashion observer Marko Matysik and videographer Bjørn Solarin—caught up with a few of them, as well as with Sarah Mower, journalistic legend and just-appointed Ambassador of Emerging Talent for the British Fashion Council. Without further ado, we present the first of seven videos in as many days...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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


Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hooked: Alexander McQueen

No one delivers tough girl like Alexander McQueen, but for the girl on the go, fall's hobble shoes, hubcap headgear and a face full of Leigh Bowery make-up might prove a tad, um, time-consuming. For a speedier solution, opt for his Faithful bags, distilling fall's edge into more portable, practical dimensions. Inspired by the 1968 cult classic The Girl on a Motorcycle (watch the trailer on YouTube—seriously, watch it), the bags channel a rebellious Marianne Faithfull, who ditches her hubby and hits the road in skintight black leather, like a cross between Marlon Brando and Pamela Anderson.

The tote ($2295) deconstructs the classic biker jacket, offering enough zippers, studs and buckles to keep you balanced on your chopper. But our favorite is the clutch ($895), with its matching driving glove conveniently attached. It's perfect for outrunning the authorities while keeping all those bad-girl essentials handy. At Alexander McQueen stores in July, available in classic leather and, for a bit of wanderlust, an assortment of exotic skins.

—Franklin Melendez



Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Final Thoughts

Style correspondent PLAY rounds up Paris Fashion Week...

The Mood
So yes, Paris had to tighten its belt in this nasty economic climate, which meant more presentations and fewer runway shows. But naturellement, everyone pretended they weren't personally affected. And actually, the reality for the average fashion editor is akin to Franz Kafka’s diary entry from August 2, 1914: "Germany declares war on Russia. Afternoon: swimming lessons."

Tweet a Trend
Like anyone else, I want to know what's new. But I never thought I'd be turning to my cell phone to read pedestrian chit-chat on Twitter. This was a case of the early bird getting the trend. In fact, the trend this season was Twitter.

Celebrity Fatigue
I first spotted Kanye West and entourage gatecrashing their way into Viktor & Rolf. It turned out Kanye was causing havoc everywhere. He was the new Bruno. Meanwhile, at Chanel, I almost got crushed by paparazzi surrounding Lily Allen, before swarming around Kate Moss in the front row. It left me wondering how more celebs don't end up train wrecks like Amy Winehouse.

Queen Beth
But the celebrity had to be Love cover star Beth Ditto, as if following the season's unofficial motto: It ain't over till the fat lady sings. Apparently her mission was to show the outside world that the old cliché of fashion being a gated community for diet-obsessed, humor-free folks is out of touch. Ditto's finest moment was performing with her band The Gossip at the Fendi party. I wanted to tweet: "OMGOMG!!! ditto does britney! nipplegate any sec!!"

She's Got the Look
Sometimes the best way to see where fashion is going is to follow a fashion editor. Based on my stalking of Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt and Anna Piaggi, you should think preppy, mix decades (i.e. 40s and 80s for a Casablanca-meets-Top Gun look), don double-breasted blazers (like Stella McCartney's), throw on a biker jacket and, I’m afraid to say, slip into harem pants. Key colors? Black, greige and noir tobacco, which is taking over for camel, now considered not crisis-appropriate—put that in your pipe and smoke it.


Anna Piaggi (©PLAY)

Big Top
If designers have their say this fall, we'll be wearing plastic bags over our heads (Hussein Chalayan), bunny ears (Louis Vuitton), S&M masks (Jean Paul Gaultier) and Leigh Bowery sex-doll lips (Alexander McQueen).

Power Failure
As an early-adopter of Maison Martin Margiela's leather leggings and 80s' shoulders for fall 08, I'm all for power looks. But after witnessing editor after editor working huge shoulders and oh-so-fierce platforms, I got over it fast. It felt like Art Basel last year, when I counted 20 Louis Vuitton Richard Prince bags in under two hours.

Fur Alarm
What the heck was the idea behind the over-presence of statement fur? Was it to prove one’s immunity to chilly economic winds? Only very few got it right, like Carine Roitfeld, who strode across Tuileries park looking fit to squash the squeeze.

Carine Roitfeld (©PLAY)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Objectified

Grab an umbrella. Or, for that matter, a lampshade or birdcage. In a comical yet poignant statement about recycling, Alexander McQueen's fall looks last night were a parade of everyday objects masquerading as hats. Clever accessories aside, McQueen held back none of the drama. The dress-heavy collection bore his usual hourglass shapes and swirling floor-length, red-carpet gowns, often in magnified head-to-toe houndstooth, while the flighty red and black feathery pieces were a nice departure.




Alexander McQueen

Meanwhile, today, Hannah MacGibbon's Chloé girl seems headed back to the Left Bank. After showing conservative suits for pre-fall, MacGibbons returned to more familiar (and fun) territory. Oversize, double-breasted blazers and refined Dhoti pants could have been taken from the closets of Paris' sexy young things. And the loose, cuffed shorts with black leggings—or, in this case, thigh-highs—have been a popular fashion fete standby. Bring your own champagne.


Chloé

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your First Look: Alexander McQueen

Close-ups of the Alien-versus-Predator junk heap that formed the recycled centerpiece of Alexander McQueen's New-Look-versus-Leigh-Bowery fall collection...







Labels: ,

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.

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Gold Digging

Haidee Findlay-Levin...

One of the shiniest stars of Paris Fashion Week was shine itself. One would predict that in this current political and economic doom and gloom, designers would reflect this with something pretty sober, conservative or at the very least classic. On the contrary, designers have opted for all the glittery, excessive posturing of the 80s. And I am not just referring to a color or surface treatment; I mean this quite literally. Precious metals, to be exact.

Sophia Kokosalaki usually mines her Greek heritage for inspiration, but this time she traveled a little farther east, specifically the Middle East. Perched on the head of most of the girls was a miniature gold fez. Fabrics were mostly organza in black, beige orange and bright blue, accented with gold lamé, of course. Gold earrings swung loosely from their ears while a gold bustier peeked out from under a jacket and a gold bra could be seen under a cutaway jumpsuit. And like a moth to a flame, my eye was drawn from the fez to the feet, with their sculptural platinum heels in any number of strappy combinations.


Sophia Kokosalaki

Dries Van Noten showed a far more subtle, poetic and elegant collection, which is hard to imagine when graphics and geometry are the inspiration. Black and white grid prints on boxy shirts and jackets were followed by faded and dégradé versions in blue, saffron and sunset yellow on relaxed shifts, replacing his standard floral and ethnic prints. But once again, the metals sparkled most—first in the setting, the Palais Royal sculpture garden, where Pol Bury's giant silver ball fountains took center stage. They were the perfect connect to the bulbous necklaces and bracelets in both silver and gold, suspended on long black ribbons that fell down the back, while an ankle-grazing gold jersey skirt was paired with a crisp white shirt. Dries got my gold star not only for being one of the rare designers to give women something other than a showgirl outfit, but also for offering us a glass of tea and macaroons from Ladurée during a 12-hour day of nonstop shows.


Dries Van Noten

Sparkle came in many forms this season, not least of them crystals. Large jet or mirror crystals dripped from the shoulders of black and flesh-pink capes in Givenchy’s homage to the rodeo. Or take Bollywood to the circus and you have an understanding of Indian designer Manish Arora's recent rise and shine. Meanwhile, disco must have been on Alber Albaz’s playlist long before the girls strutted down his Lanvin runway to late 70’s soundtracks, as glittery crystals adorned large sunglasses and stiletto heels in an otherwise dark collection.

And Alexander McQueen, showman extraordinaire, sent out a veritable Noah’s Ark of creatures against a 3D video projection of a revolving earth. There were some incredible beauties, but I hate to say, this time there were some beasts. Never one for restraint, he closed the show with girls in shiny crystal-covered dresses with an imaginary deep décolleté. These looks seemed more Ice Capades than exotic. But perhaps this was his point: in order to save the earth we need to save the polar ice caps. He closed the show with an unforgettable skintight and short-sleeved catsuit, completely covered in amber crystals down to the heels—clearly, going for gold.


Alexander McQueen

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Alexander McQueen

Laurent Dombrowicz...

Despite his Buddhist beliefs, Alexander McQueen doesn't appear to be an optimist. At least not judging from his spring collection, which was all about unnatural shapes and disturbing alien-like forms—a kind of cyborg couture. The catwalk looked like Noah's Arc, with its tableau of stuffed taxidermy animals set against a giant replica of a spinning planet earth. The collection started with a woody trompe l’oeil on amazing frocks, then corsets with embroideries and prints of frozen roses. Kaleidoscope is the word for other prints recalling the Rorschach test. Sequined overalls closed the grand opus, followed by McQueen himself in a disconcerting red-eyed rabbit outfit.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Part two of stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin's tips for fall...

FACE THE DARKNESS
Okay, I know I said earlier that color is back for fall. And it is, but so is black. Stop your groaning—the black dress never looked better. It was skillfully laser-cut at Balenciaga (left), skimmed the body at Sophia Kokosalaki and draped to the floor at Junya Watanabe. It was in divine Spanish lace at Givenchy and heavy tablecloth lace at Prada. The opening dress at Alexander McQueen, made from layers and layers of soft tulle, was reminiscent of a black crow, though it was hardly the only exquisitely gothic dress in the collection. The mohair-lace dress stretched over layers of tulle, like one of Degas’ ballerinas in silhouette, was especially to-die-for. But perhaps the most exquisite black dresses walked Lanvin's runway; my two favorites were a wet-look wrap dress and a one-shouldered silk satin shift with a heavy fur cuff on its one side.

GET A BLACK EYE
Brace yourself for black eyes this fall. And I'm not talking gobs of Amy Winehouse eyeliner, no matter how well she sang at the Fendi store launch party during Paris Fashion Week. I'm talking kohl eyes, the classic kind found at Givenchy, as well as the perfect cat eyes at Balenciaga. (When replicating, please don’t get carried away like one recent fashion show attendee who not only completely painted his face white—yes, he's male—but dons a Shirley Temple wig.) Blackened eyes do require a nude or beige mouth, like the kind found at Rick Owens, but if you have to have a layer on your lips, go all the way with ink-black glossy lips like those at Yves Saint Laurent.

FADE TO GRAY
If goth isn’t your thing, choose from the endless permutations of gray seen on the runways: slate, charcoal, heather, lilac and mauve. Junya Watanabe (left) committed fully to a collection of no-color to illustrate his deft cutting and draping, taking it so far as to completely wrap the girls' heads and faces in sheer gray fabric with mini-boxes piled high on their heads, to sculptural effect.

RIDE THE PONY
With the severity of cut this season, and the attention paid to minimalism and the back, the only hair to wear is a ponytail. Not the high, Blonde Ambition version, but a simple ponytail worn on the side and secured at the nape of the neck. Miu Miu even showed the ponytail peeking out of neoprene swim caps. The only other acceptable version would be a small knot or chignon, also worn low and tight. So no more Barbie hair or updos. And please no more big Oscar hair—ever!

TURN LOOSE
This has been one of the most creative seasons for pants in ages, with designers really experimenting with fullness. The best baggy pants came from Louis Vuitton, especially when slightly drop-waisted and pleated. Those in shiny black leather with a slightly pegged leg were absolutely stunning, reminiscent of that Grace Jones/Thierry Mugler/Claude Montana era. My other favorites were over at Yves Saint Laurent, shown slightly cropped and higher in the waist. Haider Ackermann pushed his baggy pants high above the knee, like puffy shorts worn over leather leggings. There were Houri trousers in velvet devoré, as well as printed chiffon versions, at John Galliano, and narrow gray flannel pant-skirts at Junya Watanabe, which ended in an extremely low crotch. Meanwhile, at both Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, pants were skinny, black and high-wasted and mostly in leather or brocade. Maison Martin Margiela went super-sexy and offered leather pants complete with zippers snaking up the back of the leg like seamed stockings. And how can we ignore his other offering, the asymmetric one-legged bodysuit in a multitude of prints?

DROP YOUR SKIRTS
I know it seems passé to talk skirt lengths in this day and age, but here it is: skirt lengths will definitely drop. I'm not talking red-carpet gowns here, but floor-grazing, skinny column dresses at Sophia Kokosalaki, which save their intricate detail for the collar. There was also the black dress that opened her show, seemingly suspended by a single diagonal strap and falling well below the knee. Dries Van Noten, too, showed high-necked column dresses that ended mid-calf, just short of ankle socks and heavy strappy sandals. At Louis Vuitton there were some knee-length bell skirts, but it was all about ballerina-length dirndls that stood away from the hips, while at Lanvin (left) the length was kept just above the knee with sexy and tight hobble skirts made up of bands of horizontal ribbon.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,