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Friday, July 17, 2009

Creature Feature

From our photographer friends Pamela Reed and Matthew Rader comes this classic girl-meets-monster, girl-runs-from-monster, girl-falls-in-love-with-monster, girl-rescues-monster story. Or something like that. Plus, it's animated, so be sure to click Play...

photography Reed + Rader
styling Nikki Igol
make-up Stella Kae for MAKE UP FOR EVER
hair Nelson Vercher @ de facto
model Alexandra Agoston-O'Connor @ NEXT
photo assist Layla Wrencher, Gemma Fleming
styling assist Christina Drummond


faux fur coat Sans, shirt American Apparel, hosiery Jonathan Aston, shoes Jil Sander
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coat Dolce & Gabbana, pants Dries Van Noten, shoes Jil Sander
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faux fur jumpsuit Sans
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dress & cape AF Vandevorst
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coat & dress Wunderkind, shoes Jil Sander
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cape & pants Matohu, shoes Jil Sander
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Hint Video: Paris Men's Week

Ten minutes backstage with Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Tim Hamilton, Damir Doma and Romain Kremer...



video production by Crystal Snow Films

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Dries Van Noten

Even Dries Van Noten, who has never been the flashy type, has toned it down this season. For spring, he's taken a megadose of prints and put them everywhere, from pocket scarves to thongs. The print parade works because they're quiet, often bleached out prints in muted colors, i.e. dark plaids for raincoats and faded ikats in super-thin cottons for his new three-pleat trouser. Like Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent, Van Noten is perfecting a sharp-shouldered, double-breasted jacket that's cut very close to the body, giving the wearer a delicate, gangly look, like a young man who is growing too fast.

—Rebecca Voight

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coat of Paint

photography Michelle Matiyow and Lians for LM studios
paint work Vincent Sherk
styling Rebecca Stevens
model Paulina Wycka @ Wilhelmina
make-up Andrea Duchesneau
hair Kennice for Klix @ Heidi Bashar Salon


jacket Dries Van Noten, pants Yigal Azrouel, shoes Gucci
jacket Gucci, dress Alice + Olivia, shoes Chanel



coat DKNY, dress Vera Wang, shoes Christian Louboutin


jacket Prada, dress Eryn Brinie
dress Michael Kors

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Greater Tokyo

Dries Van Noten is betting it'll take more than a little global recession to temper the Japanese lust for fashion. He’s just unveiled a multilevel flagship in the Aoyama district of Tokyo—and here's your first peek. Like its Paris counterpart, the Japanese outpost is designed as a visual dialogue with the locale and its history. But thankfully, this doesn't involve cliches like kimono displays, cherry blossoms or the leftover sets from Memoirs of a Geisha.

No stranger to exotic destinations, Dries always opts for a more restrained approach, transforming his cultural encounters in subtle yet unexpected ways. This time around, fashion's own Lawrence of Arabia has produced a stark juxtaposition, mixing lavish 17th-century European paintings against daring reinterpretations of them by contemporary Japanese artists—all in a zen, vaguely industrial backdrop. It's a new meditation on East meets West, modernity meets tradition, that’s less like The Last Samurai and more like that Bjork/Barney thing with the whales.

Oh, and of course, the clothes—tons and tons of it: women's, men's and accessories. But get a head start now. Chances are, small sizes will sell out first.

—Franklin Melendez





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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hint Video: Dries Van Noten

For his fall collection of "strange beauties," Dries Van Noten says he looked to the colors of artist Francis Bacon. And Sasha Pivovarova finally cracks a smile...

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Paris Fashion Week: Day 5

By Rebecca Voight...

Sunday began in the Jardin des Tuileries, waiting outside in a light rain while the 10 am Karl Lagerfeld show was still rehearsing inside the “Ephemere” tent at 10:15. Overheard, a conversation between two American department store execs: “Do you know how much they're charging for umbrellas at the Ritz now? Thirty euros—they used to be free!” "Well, do you get the money back when you return them?” “No.”

At least seeing fashion shows is still free. Lagerfeld’s show began with electro trio Metronomy strolling down the runway with the lead singing a snappy dirge into a vocoder. What followed were beautiful motorcycle helmet by Ruby, France's most stylish two-wheel gear purveyor. Only, in Lagerfeld’s hands, they were in fur to match square-shouldered vests and coats, some with fur sleeves. And he dipped into the Christmas tinsel to cover a jersey column dress like a band leader’s jacket, shown over Lagerfeld's familiar ankle-slit satin pants in dark gray or chocolate-brown. All this building up of luxurious materials and sport staples made for a rich warrior woman look.


Karl Lagerfeld

Dries Van Noten showed in the huge courtyard of the Lycée Carnot high school. And it's clear now he's moved on from ethnic embroideries and soft draping. His new structure is centered on a boxy, rectangular jacket which he takes through textured fabrics, snake-print and crocodile skin. He did a perfect camel trench and bathrobe coats, as well as a blouson turned into a dress. His large trousers are some of the most well-tailored in Paris and every girl sported a pair of thick-framed 50s-style sunglasses. While almost everybody in the audience was wearing black, Van Noten showed hot Moroccan colors for fall: persimmon, saffron, dusty pink and lime green.


Dries Van Noten

So, this has been a tricky, recession-deflated season, with brands scrambling to allot limited seating. The idea seems to be that since there are fewer journalists and buyers, it's best to show in a smaller venue to maintain a full house. Sonia Rykiel did the smartest thing and showed right in her Blvd Saint Germain flagship. I hung out with stylist Patti Wilson, who downed a striped bottle of Coke Light designed by Rykiel's daughter Nathalie, and we watched as models skipped around the store repeating phrases like “Under my sweater I'm nude” in English and French—with a mostly Eastern European accent. Patchwork, color-blocked ponchos, big Lurex-knitted sweaters and multicolored ruffles on hourglass black dresses were vintage 70's Sonia.

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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

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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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