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Monday, September 7, 2009

Headline Trip

Add some a tan, chest hair and a come-hither squint and Burberry’s Christopher Bailey could be England's Tom Ford—and yet not. [Times UK]

Gareth Pugh for the masses? According to an email we got today, his NY video presentation will be open to the public, proving he's nothing if not a risk-taker.

Move over Kanye West (please?), Yohji has enlisted graffiti artist MOMO to bomb a limited run of Y-3 sneakers. [The Moment]

Making Mama and Papa proud, or at least one of them, Georgina May Jagger rolls around half-clad for Hudson jeans. [Daily Beast]

Is Taylor Momsen the latest fashion victim? With bleached hair and ripped tights, the Gossip Girl starlet might be following in Lindsay’s footsteps. [Page Six]


Gareth Pugh

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Headline Trip

Living fashion legend Daphne Guinness ruminates on her collaboration with David LaChapelle—ten days of divine madness. [Starworks]

It's worse than we feared: Jesus Luz has joined the ranks of aspiring celebrity DJs. Is this a Misshapes revival? [NY Post]

A peek at Gareth Pugh’s filmic collaboration with Nick Knight from 2006. [Showstudio]

Esteban Cortazar: "proportions, balance, movement, truth" [Facebook]

Bon Marche in Paris to exhibit never-before-seen photos by Guy Bourdin, fashion's own Marquis de Sade. [WWD]


Guy Bourdin

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just In: Giles Wins ANDAM

Decided today by an international jury in Paris, Giles Deacon has won the 2009 ANDAM Award and its prize of €160,000, following fellow Brit Gareth Pugh last year. Details are scant as a press release won't be issued until tomorrow, but we do know this means he'll be showing in Paris. Congrats, Giles!

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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


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Friday, March 20, 2009

Modelizer: Agyness Deyn

After her surprise Sao Paulo Fashion Week appearance walking for Ellus last January, Agyness Deyn spared a day to shoot for Plastic Dreams, the new magazine from crazy-cool plastic shoe label Melissa, who you'll remember from their collaborations with Vivienne Westwood and Zaha Hadid. We caught up with Aggy on set...

Are you officially the new face of London fashion?
I'm always around London designers like Christopher Kane, Gareth Pugh, Jonathan Saunders and Henry Holland, who I'm really close with, so I guess I am. They're all good friends and I'm happy if we get to work together.

How often do you see the BF (Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes)?
Not much! We travel a lot. It's hard to be apart, but at least we never get fed up with each other. We're stuck together like glue when we do see each other. [Editor: um, this was before the recent breakup.]

Do you plan to take on the music business?
I've been playing music since I was sixteen. I had my own band, Lucky Knitwear, but it was just for fun. I don’t want to be a rock star.

What have you been listening to?
This band from my hometown, Manchester, called Maupa, and The Postal Service. I couldn't tell you why I like it, but I definitely recommend it.

Tried any Brazilian food yet?
I've had a lot of seafood, but I'm dying to try feijoada. I just have one day off and that's the only thing I want to do before I leave!

—André do Val


photo by Miro, styling by Dani Ueda, make-up by Robert Estevao

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hint Tip: The Convenience Store

Goodbye wire hangers, hello Eames chairs. That's how the conversation will go when the Convenience Store—the little underground boutique in London that sells hard-to-find anti-labels in a deliberately low-budget, corner-store setting—pops up and spreads out at St Martins Lane from March 19 - April 9. Finally, the Philippe Starck set can get their hands on Gareth Pugh's ventilated armor or Rick Owens' backless jumpsuits, or Bruno Pieters, Hannah Marshall and Boudicca, without leaving the swanky comfort and disco-lights glam of the hotel lobby.

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Hint Video: Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh on the Gypsy Mafia, his "pretty boy" muse Natasa Vojnovic and those old Dior Homme rumors...

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Paris Fashion Week: Day 1

By Rebecca Voight...

Gareth Pugh cranked up the smoke machine before presenting his fall collection as a short film, picking up where he left off from his wicked men's collection in January, including pointy-nail studded leathers—ouch! Pugh’s always favored balloon shapes—he once had his models walk down an inflated catwalk—and this time the puffed-up looks, as well as cropped jackets and cape-like coats, came in bronze, worn by model Natasa Vojnovic.




Gareth Pugh

Kris Van Assche sent out billowy silk jumpsuits in various shades of charcoal, as well as transparent military shirts—all of which looked lighter than air. And for the girl who can't decide whether to wear a skirt or pants, he somehow managed to combine both in one piece. A skant? Pirt? Pulotte?


Kris Van Assche

Martine Sitbon had all Paris' It-girls sitting front row for her Rue du Mail show, including the lovely Zoe Cassavetes, who's currently living in Paris. Sitbon showed flesh and cream-colored hooded jackets over leggings worn with silver foil hot pants. In fact, the collection was full of hoods and black-on-black matte and shine—tough, chic and elegant.

Prada wound up its four-city Iconoclasts series with snake-charmer Carine Roitfeld's “rethink” for Paris' Avenue Montaigne store. Roitfeld, who never goes by halves, cleared out the entire place and turned it into a reptile shelter. “I thought about the snake prints in the spring collection and based the whole thing on real versus fake,” she told me. That meant live fat snakes encased in small plexi-cages and fashionably creepy snake-print rubber flooring throughout, with green lighting that gave everybody in the room a reptilian glow. The focal point was model (and dancer) Karlie Kloss, in an up-do and snake-print unitard, who slithered around the room in a hot and bothered way.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

London Fashion Week: Last but Not Least

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

You could say London Fashion Week's fortunes follow those of Fashion East, so good has director Lulu Kennedy's track record been. Hilariously, this season the group show was hosted by bearded tranny Johnny Woo. Of the three designers, perhaps Holly Fulton (formerly of Lanvin) stood out the most, showing a mix of armor-like, Swarovski crystal-encrusted, art-deco graphics, using a great color palette of black with mint, orange and mustard.


Holly Fulton

Blow, the PR company responsible for off-schedule collections, held a secret show that included the hardcore industrial leathers of Komakino, the Anglo-Japanese husband-and-wife team. Knitwear designer Craig Lawrence also showed. The 24-year-old only graduated last summer, but by then he had already worked for Gareth Pugh, with whom he shares KT Shillingford, the stylist behind Pam Hogg's collection. Lawrence showed his crazy, plastic, shaggy sheep-like knits on boys and girls.


Craig Lawrence

The celeb-packed, MisShapes-soundtracked House of Holland show opened with Agyness Deyn, naturally, who walked to RuPaul's campy Supermodel. Holland had crimped the hair to mimic the stripes that ran through the clothes, tights and bags. In a departure from seasons past, there were a lot of smartly tailored suits for both men and women, and overall it looked surprisingly grown-up, in a color-blocking 60's way. The Tibetan lambswool coats were unbelievable.


House of Holland

The last show of the day was 26-year-old hat and mask designer Nasir Mazhar, who held a candlelit presentation at the magical St Barnabus chapel. These were pieces spanning a range of historical references, from Italian Opera to Bauhaus. And luckily for us, he likes to show his hats on near naked-models. Yum!


Nasir Mazhar

There being no rest for the wicked, it was straight on to a party at the Double Club, where Tilda Swinton, Kate Moss and BF Jamie Hince could be found, as well as Craig Lawrence and singer Patrick Wolf, wearing an enormous bird-like leather top. Oh, and Peaches, the singer (not Geldof!), performed a set that included a cover of Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart—mental!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

London Fashion Week: Pam Hogg

Some shows you report on because it's work and/or you meet shaggable people. Then there's those that excite on every fashion level, like Pam Hogg's fall collection. This is a woman who, while no spring chicken, is still very much rock 'n' roll personified - she's known to argue with her local police on the street (because she thinks they're profiling poor people).

The audience included Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie, goth chanteuse legend Siouxsie Sioux and dirty self-portrait art stars Tim Noble and Sue Webster—all close friends. Gareth Pugh, who doesn't do other people's shows, was there, as was Terry de Havilland, who'd made some of the shoes, and Michael Kostiff, he of pre-punk green hair and the owner of World, the long-gone but seminal London boutique.

It-kids Alice Dellal and Daisy Lowe modeled alongside actress Jaime Winstone in multi-colored fur. The first half of the collection showcased Hogg's now signature space-age, rubberized, paneled suiting—as seen on Kylie Minogue and Siouxsie Sioux of late. The way the colors were put together, the quiffed hair, the floor-sweeping culottes, all seemed to mine that now-forgotten seam of rock 'n' roll futurism that the likes of Anthony Price, David Bowie, Roxy Music and even Malcolm McClaren fed off of. Acids and pastels were mixed with silver and gold, while skirt suits ran the 80s' Montana-Mugler spectrum of sharp, insecty tailoring. We even saw that greed-is-good, empowered-woman catwalk standard: exposed breasts. Hogg offers hedonistic alternatives to the party frock - wham bam thank you Pam.

— Daryoush Haj-Najafi

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Muse You Can Use

A couple of weeks before he presented his first menswear collection in Paris, Gareth Pugh was busy blowing up 100 or so balloons in a tiny storeroom overlooking Tottenham Court Road, a street choked with office workers, kebab wrappers and lost international students.

As guest editor, Pugh art directed and starred in a cover shoot for Time Out's special London Fashion Week issue. His chosen photographer was Matt Irwin, his backdrop was a wall of pearly balloons and his co-star was Daphne Guinness, the half-pint Guinness heiress with a penchant for silver leggings, shock hair and diamonds as big as doorknobs.

Pugh has been a regular visitor and friend to Time Out since the magazine heralded his first show in 2005, so he was accustomed to the infamous rough-edged office block. Guinness was another matter. What would the fantastically posh eccentric/designer/filmmaker/patron of the avant-garde think of her makeshift boudoir, with its file cabinets, back issues and stale almond croissants?

She didn’t blink, of course. As the gaggle of scruffy fashion kids blew in with Pugh to unpack his spring ‘09 collection and fire up the hair straighteners, Daphne sweetly ordered a mug of builder's tea and warmed her feet on an electric heater. As most of the team chain-smoked on the roof, she happily settled into an hour or three of hair and make-up.

Pugh attracts a sort of polarized following, from the gothy young show-offs in the clubs and pubs of the East End to the effusive Parisian board members of ANDAM, who last year awarded him 150,000 recession-free euros and a slot at Paris Fashion Week. For her part, Guinness is fast-becoming recognized as an important ally to London’s creative scene, much like the late Isabella Blow (Guinness’ distant relative and friend). Little wonder that the 41-year-old was Pugh's pick for cover star.

Guinness, it turns out, is a natural. Propped up in her custom-made Christian Louboutin platforms and black-and-white armor outfit from Pugh's spring collection, she walked on set arm-in-arm with her designer friend. All smiles as she nestled in among the balloons, she was asked for her best cover star "look." Suddenly, she fixed the photographer with a pretend death-stare—to be unveiled on newsstands February 19.

—Dan Jones, Time Out London







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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hint Postcard

Debuting a men's collection in Paris can be exhausting. So Rick Owens and Michele Lamy (here sporting a Gareth Pugh bodysuit) have done the only sensible thing and escaped to Marrakesh for a little vacay. They send you, dear Hintsters, their love...

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Gareth Pugh

By Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

Before reading any further, you need to know this about Gareth Pugh: he's not a fucking goth, at least not in the traditional slash-your-wrists sense. His weirdness lies in his search for the emotively powerful, stuff that projects strength. Take, for instance, triangles. "They're a simple, powerful shape. They fit so many of my references," he said backstage at his debut men's collection. The sharp-looking yet soft-to-the-touch metallic needles—like a furry Eraserhead—was a logical step from the triangular, he said, adding, "We went further than sci-fi for something deadly new that doesn't look like it came off a spaceship."

The show was coat heaven, as in oh-my-god-I-need-to-be-rich-right-now coats. There were quilted and knitted leather coats, lizard-skin coats, coats with armor-like shoulders and so on. Pugh only deviated from black to do chrome and gunmetal, reworking leather, metal and wool to ever greater effect. Oh, and that hair wasn't gelled down—it was tar.

Pugh has gotten so good that rumors he's about to be awarded his own Parisian house are being taken seriously by those not normally victim to such things. In less than four years he's gone from catwalk debut to showing both women's and men's Paris collections. Wow! Or rather, !WOWOW!, the name of the art collective from which he sprang.

But don't think Pugh's designs are flights of unwearable fancy either. Pugh lives the life, dressing as extremely as he creates, not just for the benefit of photographers, but also on a regular basis. His studio and flat are in an area of London known for its crack dealers, scary boozers, stolen phone un-lockers and general air of malign intent. In short, Pugh has to be pretty fierce to dress the way he does. I mean, how many times can certain men's designers say they love Bowie without one wondering just what Ziggy Stardust should look like in 2009?




Gareth Pugh

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nose Candy

Other than the venom-green walls of the elevator, color was scarce among the fashion set that gathered at the New Museum for the launch of Six Scents. Otherwise, with the olfactory collaboration between Seven New York, perfume factory Symrise and designers Gareth Pugh, Bernhard Willhelm, Preen, Jeremy Scott, Cosmic Wonder and Alexandre Herchcovitch wafting through the space, it might have been sensory overdose.

Let's just state for the record that the fragrances smell great. For his own take, I tracked down Seven's Joseph Quartana, who curated the designer list. Mostly he seemed relieved to have finally finished the store's first foray into the esoteric world of molecules, calling the project a "cherry-popper." Okay, and how has the response to the eaux de toilette been so far? The early winners are Preen and Gareth Pugh, who happened to be hosting the soiree, so I asked him what his favorite smell in the world was and if it had inspired his creation. His response was touchingly disarming: "Yes, that would be the smell of my boyfriend Carson's hair." Aww.

I then caught up with my old friend and downtown habitué Sophia Lamar, looking fantastic in an aubergine frock and shredded shoes of her own creation (now that's a positive recessionist measure). I asked her if she had a signature scent. Of course she does; she's forever been wearing Alexandra de Markoff perfume oil, which she mixes with Cacharel Pour Homme—you know, for that androgynous touch.

—Suleman Anaya


As Four's Gabi & Joseph Quartana


Gareth Pugh & Carson


The MisShapes

photos Eddie Newton/Stylesightings.com

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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lighting Up

'Tis the season to be neon, at least judging from Gareth Pugh's Christmas tree installation in the Topshop flagship at Oxford Circus. Standing over nine feet tall, and with sixty white neon tubes, the tree brings together tradition and modernity in a way that "suits the mood at the moment," he says. "We are all looking to a brighter future." But wait, how come no gifts underneath?

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Hint Tip: Six Scents

The New Museum has it going on. Hot on the heels of their Elizabeth Peyton opening reception, where Marc Jacobs couldn't keep his hands off new squeeze Lorenzo Martone (and who can blame him?), comes the launch of Six Scents. We know you pored over our latest Beauty Duty, but just in case, Six Scents is the perfume collaboration between the scent masters at Symrise and six designers chosen by Seven New York. For the first in the annual partnership, the designers are Bernhard Willhelm, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Cosmic Wonder, Jeremy Scott, Preen and Gareth Pugh, who has hosting duties for the night...

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Hint Gallery: Halloween

Stylist Stevie Westgarth's Britney Spears-themed Halloween party in London. Polaroids by Bella Howard...


Gareth Pugh (center)


Nicola Formichetti


Tank's Xerxes Cook (left) & i-D's Erika Kurihara (right)


The Popettes

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Monday, October 27, 2008

In a Flash

It seems their last pop-up restaurant, The Reindeer (read our review of the launch party), and their lasting claim to fame, Bistrotheque, aren't enough for Pablo Flack and David Waddington. The haute-restaurateurs are set to open their latest gallery-like eatery, Flash, located within GSK Contemporary, a large-scale, cutting-edge exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in the heart of London.

Open for only 80 days beginning November 1, Flash is described, rather cryptically, as a room-within-a-room. Meaning—unlike the flashy decor of The Reindeer, with its forty snow-covered fir trees—the interior design will consist of crates used to ship works of art. On display will be specially commissioned pieces by artists Alexis Teplin and Simon Popper, a coat of armor by Gareth Pugh, a Swarovski chandelier by Giles Deacon and porcelain dishes made in collaboration between artist Will Broome and Wedgwood.


A rendering of Flash's dining room


Will Broome for Wedgwood

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Gareth Pugh & Bruno Pieters

There are always positives and negatives to Paris Fashion Week. This season, they've either come into balance or the very idea has become the trend. Probably the most rigorous of examples, Gareth Pugh's debut Paris show at Palais de Tokyo set the tone. After nine seasons in London, Pugh's move to Paris is the result of winning the prestigious and highly lucrative Andam award. From the glossy black and white fold-up poster invite to the Dan Flavin-like vertical lighting rods, we were prepared for extremes in black and white. And we got it. Bodies were completely covered in the two colors, from the top of the neck down to the two-toned booted wedges. Extreme Elizabethan ruffled collars were paired with skirt hems with the same scroll-like effect. Arms and legs were perfectly articulated and sculpted, while micro dresses were covered in patent-leather scales to futuristic-reptilian effect. Or like costumes for some sci-fi samurai movie; in fact Pugh's designs having already found their way into the Superheroes show at the Met. For me, the highlights were an amazing series of dresses with perfectly enhanced fish-scale protrusions down the sides of the silhouette. Light relief came in a few softer renditions in black and white chiffon and silk, both in hooded robe-like coats and collapsing curtain-ruffle dresses. The show played out like a chess set, except in this case the queens, pawns, knights, castles and even the board were all fused together.



Belgian designer Bruno Pieters, last year's Andam award winner, didn’t have chess in mind when he designed his own graphic black and white collection. Instead he dedicated his show to Pierre Cardin. Pieters traded Pugh's white lights for a black-out, which made navigating our way to our seats pretty treacherous if you didn't have one of those key-ring lights that a Japanese buyer had on hand. A very sporadic spotlight did more to obscure than enhance the impeccable tailoring and construction of these doll-sized clothes worn by doll-size girls. Pieters showed both black and white micro-mini suits of short skirts and short-sleeved square-shouldered, cropped jackets—mostly in patent raffia—complete with sleeveless turtlenecks. The square shoulder felt more reminiscent of Margiela than Cardin; on the other hand, they wouldn't have looked out of place on a 60’s Braniff stewardess. Other silhouettes in black and white silk taffeta may have been more of a nod to the old master, but their lightness proved that they were in the hands of a young pro. Our favorite suite was a little black raffia one worn by my friend Nathalie Joos, the show's casting director, who greeted us at the gate, although she could've easily joined her own line-up. She later joined me for the Nina Ricci show, where the paparazzi and bloggerazzi were already well-entrenched.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Gareth Pugh

This was the first show in Paris for London's boy wonder, Gareth Pugh. And living up to Hard and Shiny, the name of his company with Michele Lamy, Pugh sent out an all black-and-white blend (black in back, white in front) of space-age and Victoriana—think Star Wars storm troopers with ruffs—worn with stockings resembling those Lagerfeld used in his Chanel collection for fall. What the 27-year-old presented in the Palais de Tokyo on Saturday was surely Pugh's most commercial and classic collection to date. He even used chiffon, in what one could interpret as an homage to the grandeur of the world capital of fashion. The runway itself was staged in the lucent second story of the Palais de Tokyo, lit up by a cloudless day shining through ceiling windows and the vertical lights that Pugh used as his only decorative element. The soundtrack was an electro version of 1988's Goodbye Horses—suitably minimal and aggressive. Lamy's squeeze, Rick Owens, was in attendance, as well as Purple's Olivier Zahm, who cheerfully videotaped the show on his mobile phone.

Text by Johannes Thumfart, photos by Rachel de Joode...





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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Giggles with Gareth Pugh and Gang

Gareth holding court in a toga, Richard Mortimer perfecting the burqa, Dazed and Confused's Katie Shillingford nearly breaking a leg, Seven's Joseph Quartana seeing porn in statuary and everyone holding poses in the "gothic garden," one of the many nooks of the sprawling estate where we were staying. These were just some of the boozy shenanigans that happened after Cassette Playa's show in Florence for Pitti Uomo...

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Fashion Met Music Videos

Dean Mayo Davies on the perfect harmony...

Fashion and music have had a powerful, symbiotic relationship ever since the advent of the rebel in the 50s, when wannabe James Deans could throw on a white tee, leather jacket and immerse themselves in the newly created rock & roll lifestyle. Every subculture since—Teds, Mods—has forged itself from the meld of a unifying philosophy and a fabricated identity. After all, every army needs a uniform. In the 70s, Westwood, McLaren and the Sex Pistols collided in the ultimate blow-up of youth culture, and introduced (anti-)branding to the equation. Of course, today's tribes—bubblers, moshers, indie kids, ravers et al—have the music video, where their creations can remain as untouchable, intangible, beguiling, provocative and sexy as ever. And fashion labels haven't been slow to see the potential...


1. The Kills: Last Day Of Magic

This is the forthcoming release from the London-based, chain-smoking vegans VV (aka Alison Mosshart) and Hotel (aka Jamie Hince—yes, Mr. Kate Moss, in yet another link to fashion). Jamie has explained that the vengeful lyrics are about "being in a place and wanting someone who has abandoned you to be there." Thus, the setting, naturally, is Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Obsessives will note that Alison rocks her well-worn gold Dior Homme boots from fall/winter 05, which may or may not be the reason Jamie is fighting with her (who wouldn’t commit a little bodily harm for to get their hands on those?). In a brainy blur of leopard print, literature, black, scarves, art, tailoring and drainpipe jeans, the duo's myth is built with this video. The most alluring band in the world today, surely.




2. Róisín Murphy: Let Me Know

Róisín continues her persona as post-Saturday Night Fever street diva in this track from last year's Overpowered LP, strutting into a greasy-spoon cafe in a Margiela square-shouldered cape, Corto Moteldo bag and flying-saucer hat. The genius of Róisín's creative direction is the juxtaposition of a cartoonish surrealism with a more mundane daily existence, creating a tension that doesn't take itself too seriously. You'll remember her previous video featured her on the night bus wearing a Gareth Pugh foil coat with inflatable collar, while her latest video, Movie Star, is set to feature Richard Mortimer, of BoomBox fame, and performance artist Scottee.




3. Sonic Youth: Sugar Kane

Sonic Youth played at Marc Jacobs' fall 08 show, a true fashion moment for those who were there. They banged out Jams Run Free and Kool Thing, but it's not the first time these old friends have collaborated, not even close. Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore posed in 2003 for a Juergen Teller-shot Marc Jacobs campaign, but way back in 1993 they set their Sugar Kane video in Marc's showroom, featuring his notorious Grunge collection for Perry Ellis, the stuff of fashion folklore. The clip also marks Chloë Sevigny's first appearance on film.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Haidee Findlay-Levin makes a surprise stop in London...

I arrived toward the end of London Fashion Week with no plans of being here for the occasion. Hint Blog readers will know of my longstanding visa woes, and so a summons by U.S. immigration to attend my green card interview in London on the 19th of February—my birthday—was an event not to be missed. It was an invitation harder to get than any Fashion Week show, in fact one that transcends fashion altogether and was almost four years in the making. I was informed to arrive four days in advance, not for some welcoming cocktail party or a dinner to apologize for the long wait, but in time to attend a medical exam, after which an assortment of vaccinations would be all I could expect to find in a goody bag.

I left New York during a blizzard that resulted in a three-hour delay at the airport—not something one wants to add to a red-eye flight. A few more hours on the tarmac meant I would get into London dangerously late for my appointment with the embassy-designated doctors. I literally had three minutes to drop off my bags and change into serious attire. I chose a baggy pantsuit, which I hoped would give me an air of, well, suitability to own a green card. It was almost balmy in London. In the eight years I lived here, I don’t remember too many days like this, so much so it was making me nostalgic. I fantasized about throwing in the towel, refusing the green card and moving straight back here.

Once I was done with the tests and vaccinations, I pulled myself together and rushed eastward to Gareth Pugh's show. It was running almost as fashionably late as my American Airlines flight, but I made it in time, so I wasn’t complaining. In addition to every London club kid and club kid wannabe, I saw my New York next-door neighbor, artist Terence Koh, and his entourage of pretty young boys, a host of international fashion-show regulars and Michele Lamy, wife and muse of Rick Owens, both ardent Gareth supporters.

The show was not entirely surprising, and a very visible continuation of his previous collections. That said, I had to admire the craftsmanship: origami-like patent leather dresses and coats, plus some garments constructed entirely out of industrial zippers, creating a samurai effect. A couple of pieces were made completely from safety pins, and although neither concept is new, Gareth managed to make it his own. Remember Junya Watanabe's beautiful spring collection full of mostly gold zippers? And we all know the safety pin extends further back than Versace and Elizabeth Hurley. I was, however, mesmerized by the emerald green Swarovski-crystal tights on model Anouck Lepère's fantastic legs, only to be told by Seven's Joseph Quartana that they would retail at more than $6000. And that was just for the stockings, not the fantastic legs. At that, I turned my attention to the gravity-defying shoes that the girls wore down the seemingly endless warehouse runway, strutting to the sounds of original glam-rocker Gary Glitter (now locked away in prison—no, not by the fashion police, but for his bad behavior with young boys).

The audience was filled with heavily made-up faces—and it wasn’t the girls I'm referring to. Boys with pan-stick and raccoon eyes might just signal London's move from New Rave to Goth. Please, not so soon! While Gareth’s clothes were entirely black (except for the silver of pins and zippers), the model's faces were white with blue-shaded eyes and lips. The show make-up, by the fantastically talented Alex Box, must have sent those boys running to the powder room for a touch-up.

Only a few weeks ago I was in London to work with Alex and Eugene Souleman (one of London’s finest hair stylists) on a couple shoots for i-D, Showstudio and MUSE. Alex turned out the make-up, shot after shot, each face its own new canvas. One of my favorites was a girl with duck-egg blue hair, a completely blue face and a blue and pink floral Dries Van Noten dress. A modern “Blue Lady” like that of the master of kitsch, painter Vladimir Tretchikoff. I guess its effect was still resonating with Alex by the time of Gareth's collection.

I left the show with Anouck and her boyfriend Jefferson Hack, editor-in-chief of Another, to celebrate her 29th birthday. After a brief detour home for a remarkably quick make-up and costume change (into a fantastic peekaboo vintage velvet dress), we set off for an opulent private club in the West End where Jefferson planned a dinner party for Anouck and some of her friends. Though apparently only organized the day before, it was wonderfully decadent, especially considering it fell between a bunch of Fashion Week parties and the famous “tea party” he was hosting the next day. Jefferson is a wonderful host, who managed to take special care of Anouck while still making the rounds to each of his guests.

As the birthday evening rolled into Valentine's Day, the party moved to Sophisticats, a misleading name for a stripper bar where even pasties and G-strings seemed excessive. Besides the obvious things one observes when presented with a lap dance, I couldn’t help but notice how flexible the girls were and completely comfortable in their own skin. I vowed to return to my regime of yoga and pilates when this endless traveling was over, but I won't be trading in my YSL platforms for those plexi-heel stripper shoes anytime soon.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

London Fashion Week: The Block

Racing to House of Holland, it became clear that the day was going to be an intense one. Why? Two words: The Block, a track of the East End where each of the designers in publicist Mandi Lennard's stable would show within trotting distance of each other. Even more convenient, a bar-equipped contraption called the Moet Tour Bus would be available to zip people from venue to venue should their stiletto-shod feet give out. It was going to be a bubbly ride.



With last season's Axl & Stephanie leather à gogo collection, Henry Holland deftly moved from slogan tees to tailored clothing, but without forsaking the unique irreverence that has made the House of Holland a home for many of his bright young fans. Literally. For fall, Henry took the tartan kilt, stuck a pin through its nose and put a tab on its tongue in a retina-burning show that, as one onlooker observed, launched Henry as Britain's Jeremy Scott.

I then hotfooted it from Great Eastern Street to Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery for Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East show, featuring Noki, David David (staging his first catwalk show) and my favorite young Londoner, Louise Gray. Noki punched us in the face with a serious bass soundtrack and heaps of fuck-off attitude in another warrior take on recycling (his line, NHS, is short for Noki House of Sustainability). But here, the ethical on parade wasn't Bono's wife "designing" organic yet boring, overpriced day dresses; it was a slow swagger, killer stares and menacing fashion-art hybrids. It was “f-i-e-r-c-e,” as Wonderland magazine's Kit kept telling me, especially when Skin walked out in a crochet and leather pouffy white floor-length wonder. Erin O’Connor, beaming from the front row, looked like she was having as great a time as we were.

Turning sportswear on its head, artist-turned-designer David Saunders of David David distilled his familiar op-art patterns into a collection revolving around outerwear. Highlights included a three-piece look (T-shirt, padded jacket and pants) in his signature triangular dark-cherry print, an Yves Klein-reminiscent blue rubber mackintosh and hiking bags with a sports bottle and coordinated David David blanket.

Lancôme Colour and Texture Award winner Louise Gray continued her soulful journey, in this, her second consecutive Fashion East season. Clever though naïve appliquéd shift dresses, suspenders and her brilliant eye for color were here, as was, for the first time, a selection of all-black looks and tailoring in the form of ankle-length pants. A black coat with colored pockets will surely get her on the backs of new clients. Needless to say I loved it all, yet again.

After a quick chat in the lobby of ANdAZ hotel with Caryn Franklin (i-D alumna and a legend from the BBC's The Clothes Show), it was time for Roksanda Ilincic. Known for her clean, crisp femininity and precious dresses, Roksanda said she was inspired this season by a recent trip to Brazil. Thus her colors were richer and even tastier, and their application was acute in a collection with a breadth of sculptural, sometimes voluminous shapes. Like so many designers this season, she also included fantastic fur.

A quick swig of water and it was back to Brick Lane for Gareth Pugh, where the queue was already building. I bumped into Seven’s Joseph Quartana and his glamorous wife Sophie Na. To say I was slightly jealous of Joe's Raf Simons coat would be an understatement, not only for its gorgeously lacquered black sheen, but because in my oh-the-weather-will-be-great-today haste, I had on only a T-shirt and a neon green hoodie from Hedi Slimane's "Luster" Dior Homme collection.

Oh right, Gareth Pugh. Like Noki, the vibe was fierce and warrior-like, but that's where the similarity ended. This was a different world, a world where The Wizard of Oz meets Predator. Coco Rocha opened, robotic in white facepaint and blue lipstick, wearing a highly structured silver dress that was actually made from zippers. Yes, zippers. It was stunningly executed, as was the second zipper look, this time cut as a jacket with a kick-away waist and the same huge, capped shoulders. The later looks managed to wow as much as the first, with hundreds of black leather triangles sewn into squares and contorted into cubist-like volumes. The Block, indeed!


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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brits (and non-Brits who show in London) at Noovo: Gareth Pugh, Patrik Söderstam, Boudicca, Peter Pilotto and new Cacharel designers Eley Kishimoto. Guess which one got borracho off his ass one night, threatened a couple of burly Spanish bouncers and was subsequently pummeled on the street?

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