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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rocket Men

One small step for man, one giant trek to the National History Museum to fete the newest face of Louis Vuitton's heritage campaign. Nope, not Lady Madge in tantric contortions, but a lunar twofer: astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell. Of course, there was more to celebrate than just some glossy snapshops; the party also commemorated the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, the beginning of the space race and, perhaps most importantly, the ushering in of space-age fashion. The great moment inspired the likes of André Courrèges and Paco Rabanne, who gave us a decade of graphic shapes, metallic accents, optic whites and silver galore—for this we are eternally grateful.

So the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the museum was decked out like a swinging space pad, and those in attendance took a cue from the occasion, donning their spacey best: Cassie in a sheer top and bubble skirt (in the future modesty is démodé), Estelle in a gunmetal Louis Vuitton shift and Buzz Aldrin's wife, Lois, looking like a gracefully-aged Judy Jetson. Lance Bass also made a cameo, perhaps a bit forlorn for his own dashed space trip. Here’s hoping there’ll be a seat for him at the next shuttle launch, or at the very least a bit part in the Star Trek sequel, or prequel, or whatever.

—Franklin Melendez

Buzz & Lois Aldrin, Cassie

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Louis Vuitton

Maybe it's because Marc Jacobs has been baring his tanned legs in skorts lately that Louis Vuitton studio director Paul Helbers has picked up on menswear's current bike vibe in such a big way that he dedicated the entire spring collection to New York messengers—or, as they refer to them in the show notes, "Gentlemen Papillons" (butterfly men). Nigerian singer Keziah Jones, who I discovered I'm in love with after the Yves Saint Laurent show, was back, sitting right across the runway from me and looking sublime in a T-shirt, trilby and skinny suit with contrast edging, no doubt from LV because similar models showed up for the show's finale.

This was a great collection, an about face from all that triple-ply luxury LV has specialized in up until now. It's not that these clothes are any less elegant, but they're younger, less concerned with luxe and more interested in young men in their physical prime. The standouts: taxi-cab yellow racing jackets in washed linen, rolled-cuff shorts, a Taiga leather bum bag, an ottoman nylon trench coat, anything in tricky tech fabrics, a braided straw hat with a reflective band and those keychain necklaces worn with everything—even suits.

—Rebecca Voight

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Let Them Eat Models

As if there weren't enough tasty treats on the runway, Swedish photog Therese Aldgård and prop stylist Lisa Edsälv went and baked a bunch of cupcakes in designer style. It took them three days—and no, there aren't any left...

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Greater Tokyo

Tokyo-based illustrator and Hint contributor Przemek Sobocki took these snaps at the launch of Superflat First Love, a prepubescent-inspired (we guess) collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Takashi Murakami. LV's Omotesando flagship was stuffed with Murakami-like toys, gadgets and a $33,000 handmade rug. Also on view was a special animation by Murakami, available only on Japanese mobile phone and, of course, YouTube...

Takashi Murakami & Tomoyuki Tanaka (aka Fantastic Plastic Machine), who composed the animation's soundtrack

Ako Tanaka, editor-in-chief of Numero Tokyo, and Shun Watanabe of Vogue Hommes Japan
Guillaume Davin, senior vice-president of LV, and the rug

Actor Hiroki Nirimiya and fashion designer & stylist Anthony Moynihan
Photographer & film director Mika Ninagawa and actress, singer & model Anna Tsuchiya

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Final Thoughts

Style correspondent PLAY rounds up Paris Fashion Week...

The Mood
So yes, Paris had to tighten its belt in this nasty economic climate, which meant more presentations and fewer runway shows. But naturellement, everyone pretended they weren't personally affected. And actually, the reality for the average fashion editor is akin to Franz Kafka’s diary entry from August 2, 1914: "Germany declares war on Russia. Afternoon: swimming lessons."

Tweet a Trend
Like anyone else, I want to know what's new. But I never thought I'd be turning to my cell phone to read pedestrian chit-chat on Twitter. This was a case of the early bird getting the trend. In fact, the trend this season was Twitter.

Celebrity Fatigue
I first spotted Kanye West and entourage gatecrashing their way into Viktor & Rolf. It turned out Kanye was causing havoc everywhere. He was the new Bruno. Meanwhile, at Chanel, I almost got crushed by paparazzi surrounding Lily Allen, before swarming around Kate Moss in the front row. It left me wondering how more celebs don't end up train wrecks like Amy Winehouse.

Queen Beth
But the celebrity had to be Love cover star Beth Ditto, as if following the season's unofficial motto: It ain't over till the fat lady sings. Apparently her mission was to show the outside world that the old cliché of fashion being a gated community for diet-obsessed, humor-free folks is out of touch. Ditto's finest moment was performing with her band The Gossip at the Fendi party. I wanted to tweet: "OMGOMG!!! ditto does britney! nipplegate any sec!!"

She's Got the Look
Sometimes the best way to see where fashion is going is to follow a fashion editor. Based on my stalking of Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuelle Alt and Anna Piaggi, you should think preppy, mix decades (i.e. 40s and 80s for a Casablanca-meets-Top Gun look), don double-breasted blazers (like Stella McCartney's), throw on a biker jacket and, I’m afraid to say, slip into harem pants. Key colors? Black, greige and noir tobacco, which is taking over for camel, now considered not crisis-appropriate—put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Anna Piaggi (©PLAY)

Big Top
If designers have their say this fall, we'll be wearing plastic bags over our heads (Hussein Chalayan), bunny ears (Louis Vuitton), S&M masks (Jean Paul Gaultier) and Leigh Bowery sex-doll lips (Alexander McQueen).

Power Failure
As an early-adopter of Maison Martin Margiela's leather leggings and 80s' shoulders for fall 08, I'm all for power looks. But after witnessing editor after editor working huge shoulders and oh-so-fierce platforms, I got over it fast. It felt like Art Basel last year, when I counted 20 Louis Vuitton Richard Prince bags in under two hours.

Fur Alarm
What the heck was the idea behind the over-presence of statement fur? Was it to prove one’s immunity to chilly economic winds? Only very few got it right, like Carine Roitfeld, who strode across Tuileries park looking fit to squash the squeeze.

Carine Roitfeld (©PLAY)

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Friday, January 9, 2009


So, yeah, the latest New Year's resolution we've obliterated is to be more punctual. We arrived late to all three of Louis Vuitton's shindigs on Thursday to celebrate its new Stephen Sprouse collection. And the worst thing is we don't even have a lame excuse.

First we were late to the LV store on Greene St. (where we did catch Marc and Lorenzo being extra-super-duper-frisky as they ran around from guest to guest giggling like girls). Then we were late to the "Rock on Mars" exhibit at Deitch Projects around the corner (where we overheard our new favorite line, delivered in perfect deadpan to the clueless door girl: "Marc Jacobs would vomit in your face if he knew you were making us wait out here.") And then late again to Bowery Ballroom (where Debbie Harry went onstage pretty much on time for her four-song set.) Foiled again!

But we promise, dear readers, to do better. And now, a few enlightening words about Stephen from Mauricio Padilha, co-author of The Stephen Sprouse Book, out this month from Rizzoli...

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Your First Look: Stephen Sprouse

Way back in the primordial ooze known as the 80s, designer Stephen Sprouse started out as an assistant to Halston, made art with fellow freaks at Andy Warhol's Factory, designed stage outfits for his friend Debbie Harry and ultimately opened a store of his very own. But it's possible that he's more sought-after now, posthumously, than ever before.

Taking stock, there's that photo-stuffed new book from Rizzoli that everyone is talking about (how major does Steven Meisel look?). Marc Jacobs, too, has followed up his 2001 Louis Vuitton collaboration with Sprouse with a new line of limited-edition accessories, launching this week with parties at Vuitton's Soho store, Deitch Projects and Bowery Ballroom. Bags, shoes, wallets, macs, cell phones and skateboards all get the graffiti treatment.

Now comes word that the latest issue of Le Book is "dressed" by Sprouse, the latest in a long line of collaborators that includes Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent and Azzedine Alaïa. We haven't the foggiest idea how the collaboration took place, since it's been five years since his passing, but there's no question Sprouse's neon-punk aesthetic makes for an eye-popping design—such as the rose motif on the cover, an image he achieved through photocopying and sent as thank-you cards to friends...

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Comme-ing Soon

The time is finally near. Next week, to celebrate thirty years in Japan, Louis Vuitton will open a three-month-long pop-up shop in the Comme des Garçons store in Omotesando, Tokyo. (Anyone interested in the Japanese obsession with LV absolutely has to read Deluxe by Dana Thomas.) These are our two faves from Rei Kawakubo's six limited-edition "party" bags, as she calls them, using the classic LV monogram—how much are you loving the kawaii animal charms, by the way? Bags are available by in-person order only (i.e. no telephone or Internet orders) and delivered to their chosen Louis Vuitton store several months later...

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Friday, March 7, 2008

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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