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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cheap Ass

Skinny jeans don't die, they just get skinnier. So Cheap Monday, the Swedish brand that probably did more to popularize skinnies than anyone else, is coming to New York for one night on March 16 to peddle a new limited-edition jean that only costs $70. Apparently only 50 were made, so showing them off at a concert party with Belgian beer could get ugly...

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stockholm Fashion Week: Day 2

By Haidee Findlay-Levin...

The fashion industry in Sweden is essentially a young industry. The editors are young, the buyers are young and the designers even younger. As a result, the fashion itself is young. Designers design for their friends and their peers. They design the way they like to dress themselves.

So if the fashion is so youthful, I wondered what a student show in Stockholm would have to offer and went to see a knitwear show at the Beckmans College of Design, representing fourteen second-year students. I was pleased to see that each of them, unaffected by market demands, had an entirely different perspective. At this school, theory and experimentation are clearly valued as much as good craftsmanship.

I was particularly impressed with Heidi Nilausen's collection, called Warriors. Inspired by the merging of cultures into a global system and the extinction of ancestral traditions, she also looked at various dolls of ancient cultures. The clothes were a cohesive series of oversized and incredibly elegant macramé vests and hooded coats, all made with a natural, un-dyed yarn. She paired them with high Bolivian-style hats and caps, along with bold border-striped and draped volumes that were reminiscent of the prayer shawls of religious Jews. The idea could have easily come a little close to Disney’s It's a Wonderful World, but instead landed closer to the elegance of Ann Demeulemeester and Rick Owens.

Heidi Nilausen

I also really enjoyed Erik Annerborn’s collection, Trans Sport, which explored the concept of heterosexual transgression that occurs when men dress in women's clothing. This spring we will see women's fabrics used in menswear from Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Burberry, while Comme des Garçons offers white skirts over suits as an alternative to kilts. So although not entirely new as an idea, the outcome of this student's work was both humorous and playful. Pleated cheerleader skirts were incorporated into oversized sport sweaters and school blazers, while stripy socks and leggings keep it from looking too much like uniforms.

Fanny Ollas also threw menswear traditions and old values to the wind, instead combining Lurex, pink sequins, mohair and sheer yarns in clashes of red with pink or mauve, disregarding cowardice and embracing the courage of femininity in menswear.

I have no idea what Josefin Arnell's eyeball- and script-covered hairy monsters were meant to represent, but I was intrigued nonetheless by her fluffy, floating cocoons on sneakers and cloud-painted platform shoes.

Josefin Arnell

Maria Melinder's barcode sweater dress from her Keeping Up with the Joneses collection was probably another concept that went over my head, but one with graphic and fun results.

I was hoping to discover more of this youthful exuberance, but only found it again toward the end of the day at the Cheap Monday show. Despite the underlying reality that this collection was a new grungy take on recession dressing, there was a certain DIY quality—a welcome change from all that slick luxury stuff we have been force-fed for so long. Jeans were, of course, the highlight here, in fact the reason we were there at all. This time we saw skinnies in traditional faded black and blue, sometimes acid-washed, but always trashed, shredded, frayed or cut up. This idea was just the starting point as jeans were patched, re-paired and then patched again, with contrasting denims and unexpected fabrics such as black lace, mesh, black vinyl, silver gaffer tape and plaid. Jeans were paired with simple long, gray jackets or coats worn with blanket-sized scarves and extra-long clown shoes, which gave it a Charlie Chaplin quality. Painted cardboard top hats, guitars and traveling cases completed the effect, which was both vagabond and runaway child.

Cheap Monday

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Stockholm Fashion Week: Cheap Monday

The price-conscious folks at Cheap Monday say pigeons, ducks and foxes inspired their fall collection. That’s all well and good, but really there’s no need to make such claims. We don’t look to Cheap Monday for strokes of genius—we just want to find out what the skinny-jeans set will be wearing next season. Here’s a preview.

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