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Friday, July 24, 2009

Scent Folder

Celebrity-endorsed designer scents are a dime a dozen, but leave it to Nicolas Ghesquière to add a new twist to the old formula by choosing quirky screen siren Charlotte Gainsbourg as the new face of Balenciaga's soon-to-launch fragrance. The French gamine, who's been buddies with Nicolas for the better part of a decade and who's no stranger to Balenciaga's fashion advertising, can currently be seen mutilating herself into religious ecstasy in Lars von Trier's newest cinematic romp, Antichrist. Clearly, Nicolas isn't going too Hollywood anytime soon. For this very reason, the unlikely location of the fragrance's first fete had an air of mischievous irony: not Paris, but the glitzy Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, where the designer and muse are shooting the campaign.

Though the door was sealed tighter that a submarine hull, there was no shortage of start sightings, like Robin Wright Penn, glowing post-divorce, and the dude himself, Keanu Reeves. It was an odd assortment of glitterati, which ended up resembling one of those Francesco Vezzoli art installations that mock tinseltown (see Natalie Portman in the fake Greed trailer). Nicolas described the scent as very French and very strong—bien sur! Look for it at a fragrance counter near you in February.

—Franklin Melendez

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Gray Matter

When we saw these cerebral and austere shots (that took 12 days to make) from our friends at Some/Things, a Paris-based arts and fashion magazine debuting in September, we just had to post them...

photography Monika Bielskyte
styling Carlo Zollo & Monika Bielskyte
model Masha Yakovenko
location L’Eclaireur, Paris


leather jacket & top Haider Ackermann, pants Songzio, fingerless leather gloves Peachoo+Krejberg


coat Rick Owens, pants Balenciaga, necklace Peachoo+Krejberg


jacket Rick Owens, jewelry Haider Ackermann, traditional alpaca scarf from Peru


top & silk belt Haider Ackermann, "Palais Royal" knit Rick Owens, pants Songzio


leather jacket & top Rick Owens, pants & silk hoodie Haider Ackermann


top & silk belt Haider Ackermann, pants Songzio

More from Some/Things

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Never Too Old for Macaroons

Pamela Anderson, the busty 42-year-old femme fatale, pranced around Vivienne Westwood's catwalk in a tutu, proving that the notion of over-the-hill is over-the-hill. There's also been a runway revival of sorts for a couple of veteran models. Erin Wasson may have RVCA, but she also walked for Balmain, and mother of two Liya Kebede opened for Balenciaga. And let's not forget those Louis Vuitton ads with Madonna. Oh, cougars.

Otherwise, Bernhard Willhelm's collection was one part greatest hits, one part more of the same. If you haven't picked up a piecey Willhelm tartan plaid dress yet, don't worry, there are plenty more to come for fall. There were also gold, life-size banana barrettes and sheer multi-colored hoods topping an array of dip-dyed tunics and argyle knits.

Like many Paris designers, Romeo Gigli spun the idea of menswear for his first collection for Io Ipse Idem: angular shoulders on blazers, impeccable men's suiting and beautifully tailored coats, many with a swing to them that the models accentuated in their dance-like presentation. We came, we saw, we coveted. And the towers of macaroons, strawberries and kumquats were a nice touch.

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The third and last part of Haidee Findlay-Levin's tips for fall...

RUN IN CIRCLES
It wasn't just the army of beautiful lips and bowl cuts that made our hearts leap at Yves Saint Laurent; it was the sharp, powerful, 80s-reminiscent tailoring, too. But here's what separates this season’s YSL and Louis Vuitton from Claude Montana and Gianfranco Ferré: the circular cutting and the curves in the jackets and skirts. In fact, some of the tulip and pod shapes we have seen at Vuitton and elsewhere this season are more Sebilla and Romeo Gigli—also from the 80s. I also noticed a variety of peplum jackets for fall. If the jacket was fitted, for the most part it had a sharp shoulder and a nipped or peplum waist, not only at Vuitton, but also at Yohji Yamamoto (left), where the peplum jutted out over long full skirts complete with a donut-rolled waist for an even fuller hip effect.

ARM YOUR ARM
The shoulder was the focus last season. Now it's the sleeve, such as those at Costume National that wrapped around the shoulder blade and formed a pod in the back, or those at Kenzo that draped into a cocoon shape or an origami-like envelope. We also saw sleeves originating from the neckline, as well as sleeves that separate at the back of the jacket, falling into a detached cape back, as at Véronique Branquinho and Junya Watanabe. At Lanvin, attention was paid to a single mutton sleeve—a remnant of the 80s!

EMBRACE LACE
Some designers chose to embellish areas of essentially monochromatic fabrics with jet beading, feathers, ribbon, fine pleating, ruffles and pasmanterie. But there was nothing superfluous at Prada (left), where the most startling form of decoration was the heavy tablecloth lace constructed into minimal and austere silhouettes, and made further monastic by the under-layering of high-collared shirts.

GET HIGH
The strength in Dries Van Noten this season came not only from the mix of dramatic prints, but that these potentially romantic dresses were offset by a simple high collar. Givenchy showed extremely high-collared pleated blouses, made less romantic by their coupling with leather trousers and military jackets. I loved it best at Yves Saint Laurent, where paper-thin turtlenecks were shown under tunic dresses, but extended well beyond into fingerless gloves. One known to take proportion to its ultimate extreme, Martin Margiela raised the collar so high above the shoulders as to become a cowl that almost completely obscured girls' faces.

THINK BIG
Indulge in vast and unapologetic explosions of costume jewelry for fall. What we saw were statement pieces that were more sculptural than sweet or sentimental. Balenciaga contrasted latex and severe cuts with diamanté-encrusted collars, while the collars and cuffs at Yves Saint Laurent (left) consisted of Pace Rabanne-like chain mail with enormous crystal studs. At Louis Vuitton, the soft pastel palette was punctuated with heavy metal chokers and huge brooches. Lanvin ran with the trend and showed enormous Deco-geometric, mirror-glass pendants and wrist cuffs. This new form of armor added a needed toughness to clean silhouettes. The combination of heavy jewelry with extreme shoes could mean your chiropractor will be your new best friend.

TAKE A DIP
There weren’t a lot of overtly sporty references this season, so it's safe to say you can burn your velour Juicy Couture tracksuits—and please do, if you haven't already. But there was a prevalence of scuba references. Miu Miu shook off its naughty baby-doll reputation and showed a series of dark satin scuba suits complete with Esther Williams-like swim caps. Or sometimes the scuba suit morphed into a tunic dress with bright-colored cycling shorts and sports tops peeking through laser-cut, abstract versions of lace. The addition of sequins made for a wet look that worked perfectly with the scuba references Balenciaga introduced so magnificently last season. Even Rick Owens discarded his more familiar draping and embraced open zippers that circled the legs like a scuba suit that was being slowly peeled off. Upcoming Olympics aside, the news that Hussein Chalayan is the newly appointed creative director at Puma may signal a sportier trend for him next season, as well as all those he influences.

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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.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

Fall tips from stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin (part one of three)...

GO SAVAGE
Everywhere I looked at the fall collections I saw fur, leather, skins and hides—from black fur stoles and cuffs at Lanvin to a tunic covered in camouflage tails at Louis Vuitton and a massive fur cardigan coat from Ann Demeulemeester. The prefurred color is blue from Dries Van Noten (left) or Anne Valérie Hash, but if blue isn't your thing, look no further than Marni for a dusty-pink cropped chubby. Exotic furs not for you? You can still discover your inner beast with Mongolian sheepskin sleeves from Toga or a lavender Mongolian sheepskin jacket from Ann Demeulemeester, as well as crocodile-skin dresses at Zucca and leather-front dresses and jackets at Yohji Yamamoto with the hide's raw edges still intact. Feathers, too, stalked the runways, starting with an asymmetric collar trimmed with the lightest of ostrich plumes at Haider Ackermann and ending with a slightly tougher black ostrich-feather skirt from Christian Lacroix. Meanwhile, pony skin was a favorite at Anne Valérie Hash, superbly cut into body-skimming turtlenecks and a jumpsuit variation.

GIVE IN TO COLOR
It's all about pastels for fall. My sights are set on mint green and powder blue cashmere, molten wool and duchess satin at Louis Vuitton. Choose from an exquisite bell-shaped blue skirt, a magnificently tailored jacket with perfectly rounded edges, a liquid silk blouse or a full-on, floor-length, positively regal evening gown, if you have the occasion for it. Marc Jacobs' own line, too, was full of the softest pastels. Vanessa Bruno, meanwhile, showed a variety of pastels in full Mongolian sheepskin hats combed out and looking like a well-conditioned punk hairdo. But best from her were the palest of antique pink and sage green marabou chubbies, the color and lightness of a butterfly's wings.

MAKE IT MOHAIR
Bundle up in hand-knit ruffled capelets and shrugs from Tao Comme des Garçons (left) in vivid shades of pink and violet, while contrasting them with blue mohair bloomers. Or keep it neutral in natural or black and wear one of her cake-layered cable dresses. If volumes of ruffles and cables aren't for you, indulge your punk side with the designer's multicolored mohair knit/silk-backed tunic tops or dresses. That is, if you haven't already indulged in Rodarte's wonderful colored mohair knit tops and bell skirts. Don’t stop until you have their mohair open-knit stockings, the best hosiery moment of the season.

SHOE AND TELL
Laddered mohair stockings wouldn't be complete without those white or rose gold studded and spiked high heels that Christian Louboutin designed for Rodarte. They can do damage! But the next wonder of the world might just be the black leather heelless thigh-highs from Antonio Berardi, a sexy homage to artist Alan Jones, whose glass tabletops rested on the back of a girl on all fours—perhaps a safer way to wear them! I was a little surprised that Louis Vuitton showed such dangerously high wedges after last season’s more reasonable winklepicker inspiration. But on closer examination, I realized there was a sliver of light passing through some of them and that there were, in fact, skinny skyscraper in the heels. Fantastic! I also loved the strength and sculptural quality in the Brancusi-looking white heels at Miu Miu. Especially when worn in sharp contrast to the minimal clothes of the collection, they could really be one of the key accessories of fall.

CLUTCH IT
If you're more about bags than shoes, make it a clutch. I'm not just talking evening bag clutches, but huge leather envelopes from Dries Van Noten worn throughout the day. Although not as large as the house's oversized collars, Maison Martin Margiela also showed a massive clutches (left), as did Véronique Leroy in both her own collection and Leonard. These clutches, of course, were fantastic printed versions.

MIX YOUR MESSAGES
The intricately printed latex dresses at Balenciaga are another way to satisfy your fetishistic side—and without dressing, predictably, in all black. Dries Van Noten's continuation of vivid and bold floral prints was big hit, particularly the pod-sleeved column dresses, although his abstract print trouser suits were also spectacular. If you prefer tiny rather than bold prints, you can't ignore his floor-length Fortuny-pleated dresses or the high-necked cap-sleeved dress completely covered in tiny printed ruffles.

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