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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Getting Lit

"Mr. Weinstein isn't here yet, and we all know isn't a party until Mr. Weinstein arrives. So for right now, let's all drink more champagne." That was the excellent advice given by Brooke Geahan, Accompanied Literary Society's blonde doyenne, at a reading for Tom Folsom's mafia-themed book, The Mad Ones, last night. Awaiting Harvey Weinstein, the publisher of the book and host of the soiree, was a turned-out crowd in writer chic (think tweed coats, hot-nerd glasses and rakishly swept hair), preoccupying themselves with pointed chatter, namely "Who do you write for?" After star readers Matthew Modine and Steve Buscemi finished their chapters with convincing mobster chutzpah, and after Weinstein finally arrived, Geahan concluded by telling everyone: "Now let's get lit!" She hardly even needed to add: "As in literary, of course!"

—Bee-Shyuan Chang


Tom Folsom, Steve Buscemi, Harvey Weinstein, Brooke Geahan, Matthew Modine

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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Rising in the East

Back in 2001, many would have thought it was Marjan Pejoski's swan song—literally—when the UK-based designer gained fashion infamy by creating Bjork's swan dress for the 2001 Academy Awards. Feathers were ruffled and the Macedonian all but disappeared. But Pejoski has actually nestled into a nice avant-garde niche, recently winning a New Gen sponsorship for his KTZ label, co-designed with Sasha Besovski for their Kokon To Zai store in London.

For fall, not unlike Alexander the Great, Pejoski has set his sights eastward, designing for Japanese label Dress Camp. Shown in Tokyo last week, the collection revolves around an old-timey American heiress on a kind of Grande Tour. The mood was dark and louche, with argyle onsies in gray and black, the ubiquitous leather pants, velvet jackets, long-haired coats favored by Martin Margiela and Gareth Pugh types, and enough sequins and minidresses to keep latter-day flappers flapping. The film-noir, Orient Express look was pure escapism—a flight of fancy.

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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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

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Black Magic

Karl Lagerfeld is a busy man. He's just finished his seasonal triumvirate of Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld and, this morning, Chanel, where we saw the usual paparazzi clusterfuck. This time they swarmed around Kate Moss, who remained cool and relaxed in her slick, noir tuxedo number. Black also dominated the runway, but colors soon progressed to pistachio green and then to ballerina pink. Suits were gussied up with accoutrements: lace, floppy bows and knit bowler hats—perhaps to match the new Mattress bag.


Chanel

Valentino may be retired, but the brand marches on with Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccoli at the helm. Well, sort of. Sure, they stayed true to the archives with fancy opera coats, little black dresses and expensive fox-fur trim, but where was the famous Valentino red? A shocking statement, to say the least, but considering the dismal economy, it's probably better to do as every accountant wants: avoid the red, stay in the black.


Valentino

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Greed Expectations

It's tough to beat a front row that includes Salma Hayek, Thandie Newton and an enthusiastic Beatle. Stella McCartney's early morning show was a star-studded event, and the range of hits were sure to keep 'em coming. Her manned-up blazers with thigh-high leather boots were a fashiony take on corporate greed, 80s-style. But the British designer also showed slinky lingerie-inspired dresses edged with lace, and there were always the skintight bodysuits and clingy knit dresses.


Stella McCartney

Giambattista Valli was less about Lycra and more about luxury. Who else but old money can afford peacock-feather skirts and richly patterned silks these days? Necklines ran high and hemlines low. Suddenly, all those leathered-up and sequined rocker-chic looks of the season seemed downright flimsy. The collection was serious fashion for the seriously invested.

Give them a pinch on the cheeks, Viktor & Rolf's white-faced girls looked like mannequins who had come to life. The designers flitted between geometric triangles, curtain-like ruching and curvilinear sculpting on shoulders and skirts. There were no pillows attached to the models' heads or the word NO popping out of trench coats, but after six days of shows, the crazy was just crazy enough.


Viktor & Rolf

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Fur Helmets and Leather Bums, Oh My

While locals had the luxury of sleeping in, the fashion elite braved the Paris rain on Sunday for another kind of luxury: fur helmets! To the synthesized vocals of Oslo band Metronomy, Karl Lagerfeld's fall collection started with giant, statement-y fur hats and helmets, followed by witchy, wide-collared black dresses and jackets with the exaggerated shoulder that has been the defining Paris trend. As if to reassure the clutch-pearls set, the Kaiser came out for the finale in his trademark white-powdered coif, tanned skin and fingerless gloves.


Karl Lagerfeld

At the Carousel du Louvre, Esteban Cortazar set the mood Emanuel Ungaro with crystal chandeliers and girlish pink-orange lighting. Missing from many of the Paris shows this season, a crush of paparazzi accosted the front row before a parade of ruffled polka-dot blouses and shirred dresses came down the runway. True to the Ungaro tradition, Cortazar kept the colors bright, but updated the collection with voluminous tweaks on pleated miniskirts.

Fresh from his retrospective at the Design Museum in London, Hussein Chalayan also favored thigh-baring minis. But in Chalayan's case, girlish fun was pushed aside in favor of powerful sexual silhouettes and molded neon leather bustiers and bums, created by the studio of Patrick Whitaker and Keir Malem. As usual, Chalayan also experimented with synthetic materials such as wood sequins.


Hussein Chalayan

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Stylish Samedi

In New York, front-row celebrity seating is not to be tampered with, but the French like to keep things mysterious, such as putting Kanye West in the second row at Comme des Garçons. While we waited for an outburst, ever-contrary Rei Kawakubo sent out blankets moonlighting as parkas. Earlier in the day, her protege Junya Watanabe had similar thoughts with swirling black parka dresses and oversized collars in a Victori-goth meets space-age presentation.


Junya Watanabe

Greece-born Sophia Kokosalaki pampered guests with champagne, strawberries and chocolate. Bubbly was a perfect way to start a sunny Paris afternoon at the Jardins des Tuileries. Kokosalaki presented her signature draping as well as a collection of party-favor hits, ranging from sheer and sculptural minidresses to bedazzled rocker-chic pants and jackets.

Later in the afternoon, Colette was a madhouse. Not only were the weekend crowds milling about among the new Alexander Wang handbags, but there was a roster of events that deserved a fashion calendar in itself. Designers Emily Current and Merrit Elliot were on hand for a trunk show, and Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin were signing their new work for Stern magazine. Meanwhile, Erin Wasson for RVCA pieces were up on mannequins and the stylish Texan model herself made an appearance.

Jeremy Scott kept his show lighthearted and childlike with color, polka dots and Mickey Mouse. The Disney motif will surely spill over into his after-party tonight at Regine's.

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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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 5, 2009

Animal Attraction

It was only day two of the Paris collections and already fashion trends are trickling in. Come fall, we predict you'll be craving a pair of fur arm warmers, the kind designer Sharon Wauchob showed to a packed house that included ever-bobbed Linda Fargo of Bergdorf. Bruno Pieters liked the fur trend as well, throwing in the arm warmers among the rather serious and angsty lineup of space-age corporate workers.

Otherwise, leather is turning out to be the big winner across all the Fashion Weeks. Leather pants, deconstructured leather coats, and fabric texturized to resemble leather (like at Lutz) have been everywhere. Even romanticist Olivier Theyskens at Nina Ricci turned in a harder edge today, with little leather jackets featuring multiple silver snap closures, angular shoulders and skin-tight turtlenecks. He also showed he can cut a suit, like a particular brown silk double-breasted jacket with aggressively padded shoulders. With rumors swirling that he's already been ousted by Nina Ricci's parent company, Puig, but refuses to leave, Theyskens smartly opted to show his versatility beyond flowy on-the-bias goddess gowns. Hmmm, the Rod Blagojevich of fashion?

—Bee-Shyuan Chang

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