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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Headline Trip

  • “I wish Fashion Week for the public can be like Christmas, and maybe we'll put up green and pink lights everywhere,” said Betsey Johnson at a grim CFDA meeting concerning the fate of fashion in New York. [Observer]

  • MAN, the London men's group show, announced its spring '10 line-up: Christopher Shannon (read our Q&A), J.W. Anderson, Katie Eary and the sponsor of course, Topman Design.

  • Anouck Lepère: "Jefferson is a hero!!! My bicycle got stolen this morning, I saw it on brick lane market, and he stole it back!!!" [Facebook]

  • It's all but official: Beatrice Inn bites the dust. [Page Six]

  • The barbs are flying in response to an interview with Scott Schuman, who claims his sex with his Parisian girlfriend is so good that "hotel-room neighbours [get] pretty pissed." [Globe and Mail]

  • War is no longer a fashion inspiration. [AP]

  • Lovably nutty model Hanne Gaby Odiele owns a classic Mercedes-Benz and takes paintings from Webster Hall. [Supreme]

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    Monday, March 2, 2009

    Free Love

    Recession or not, Londoners must still be in the mood for love, at least judging from the blow-kisses and heart-hands videographer Zaiba Jabbar got when she hit the fringy shows—House of Holland, Fashion East, MAN, House of Blue Eyes, Ashish, Charlie Le Mindu—at London Fashion Week. Okay, yes, she also encouraged it. Here, a video montage to Crystal Fighters' "I Love London"—because who doesn't?...

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    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    London Fashion Week: Man Day

    When the world imagines British fashion, they think of James Bond, Savile Row, Church's brogues, Dunhill, Burberry, Barbour, Fred Perry, mods, skinheads, Sid Vicious and so on—making London's first Man Day, a day devoted to men's collections, an idea worth exploring. On the last day of the week, it started with Topman and Fashion East's MAN group show, which included J.W. Anderson, James Long and Christopher Shannon, whose matching jersey trousers and jackets might look 90s-inspired, but didn't come off as retro—the more minimalist pieces were the best.

    Christopher Shannon

    Our favorites from the knitwear wunderkinds at Sibling ranged from knitted trench coats and biker jackets to leopard-spotted pieces sweaters with matching scarf and the sort of bow sweater Yves Saint Laurent used to wear.


    New Power Studio's debut show lent credence to the idea that London can actually support a Man day. The all-gray conceptual collection fills the gap between Raf's spacey spring '05 collection and every teenager's Nike dependence. Together, New Power Studio and Christopher Shannon are making a convincing case for that very British love of sportswear as high fashion.

    —Daryoush Haj-Najafi

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    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    London Fashion Week: MAN

    Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

    London Fashion Week concluded Friday with one of its biggest draws, MAN. In its seventh season, the Topman-backed group show spread its international wings, joining forces with Parisian store Colette, which brought French design collective Andrea Crews to the party and its conceptual Parisian take on the recycled-fashion/performance-art axis.

    Cause for celebration—but also concern about the state of menswear—was Topman Design's easy dominance. Shouldn't someone underground be changing the game? If only more designers would follow Topman's lead. Not that there wasn't plenty of English street in Topman designer Gordon Richardson's collection, which was easily the most desirable, most wearable of the show. Proper and dandy, yet youthful and affordable—like Paris seen through a British prism—is exactly what the market demands. Just one objection: where do you buy Topman Design, a common and much repeated objection. Please, Topman, make it easier.

    Best of the rest was James Long's second collection for MAN, though too many noted that, while it was great, they wouldn't wear it. Then who would? Probably someone in Primal Scream circa early 90s, and that's a compliment. James has something going on, something extraordinary, underscored by his dark-rock soundtrack, and something involving and leather shorts—always a good look but also transparent harem pants less so.

    Christopher Shannon's collection was a tale of two halves, one which looked like a Kim Jones for Umbro rework (Christopher is a former assistant, after all). The other half elevated sporty suits to a minimalist luxury level, an enticing proposition. Men spend massively on coats and jackets, and the gap between their street phase and their suit phase is seriously under-served. Shannon would do well to keep his nerve.

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    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    MAN Hour

    Daryoush Haj-Najafi...

    MAN, the Topman-backed group show and one of few genuine must-sees at London Fashion Week, is launching a range of tees and bags designed by those appearing in MAN's forthcoming show in September: Hans Madsen, leather specialist James Long and hotly tipped sportswear tailor Christopher Shannon. MAN has even gained a French contingent with fashion and art collective Andrea Crews, chosen by Colette proprietress Sarah.

    The launch party, Brit Disco, took place during Paris men's week at Rive Gauche club, a massive improvement over the usual Le Baron, where I once witnessed Gareth Pugh get booted for making out in the toilet. London DJs Disco Bloodbath provided the tunes, disco being the musical micro-trend of the summer, especially of the Italo and Cosmic varieties. The air was hot with impossibly twink-like fashion editors and talk of new appointments, such as Dazed & Confused's Nicola Formichetti's new title of fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan. He sat with Arena Homme Plus' Jo-Ann Furniss and V newbie Jay Massacret, while on the dance floor, throwing mad shapes, was Charlie Porter, new deputy editor of Fantastic Man and now i-D. His boss at Fan Man, Gert Jonkers, said of Romain Kremer's men's show earlier that evening: "Helmet Lang, new rave." While it wasn't meant enthusiastically, it should have been, as it cleverly summed up the Clockwork Orange-referencing, codpiece-featuring collection. Meanwhile, in queue for a smoke, rumors of an upcoming Teen V bounced around.

    Also in the house was Seven New York's Joseph Quartana and former Lindberg designer and model-cum-DJ David Lindwall, who managed to bag a Seven order for his conspiracy-theory tees earlier that day, joining Dover Street Market. At the end of the night, Cassette Playa's Carri Mundane—yet another Seven favorite—introduced me to Kanye West's ever-present front-row pals and Paris Fashion Week sensations Don C and Taz Arnold whose style was described by the New York Times' Cathy Horyn as "fascinating" and "cubist." His TI$A solo project's infectious, Ice Cube sampling, new release Vote Obama. Don C declared my Justice tee, "Fresh to Death," making my night. They then left to go to a strip club with Carri, who told them they should definitely check out Bernhard Willhelm's show come Sunday. They did, with Kanye in tow, so if he's sporting medieval tights in his next video, you'll know why.

    Fantastic Man's Jop van Bennekom & Gert Jonkers, Carri Mundane of Cassette Playa
    photos by Debbie Bragg

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    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    London Fashion Week: MAN

    Daryoush Haj-Najafi reports...

    First, a disclosure. This correspondent is on MAN's panel, which also includes i-D editor Ben Reardon, Dazed & Confused fashion director Nicola Formichetti and, for the first time, the mega-talented fashion writer and party animal Tim Blanks. As you may know, Tim is a menswear authority and pens the men's reports for Style.com. His brainstorm with the rest of the MAN panel was as energetic as any previous MAN meeting, but as you just can't argue with Tim (he's too knowledgeable!), this season saw three fresh names—James Long, Kesh, Hans Christian Madsen—in the line-up with Topman.

    Of James Long, a graduate of the Royal College of Art, and his incredibly complicated leathers and sheepskins, British GQ's Charlie Porter (another panelist) says, "The commitment and effort put into James' collection was just extraordinary, which makes it even worse that his whole collection was stolen later that night. Hopefully the industry can rally around him, because he deserves the support." Kesh's aesthetic, meanwhile, could be described as Pharrell's Billionaire Boys Club designed by Bernhard Willhelm—the difference being that Kesh is a women, who, by the way, is the subject of a BBC documentary currently in the works.

    Lulu Kennedy, director of Fashion East and MAN, was also enthusiastic, saying (while trying on James' designs backstage), "I'm in love with this show. And most of the models." Yes, let's not forget the models. Her favorite? Ryan (of D1 agency), a platinum-haired boxer on the English team and—you knew this was coming—a total knock-out.

    James Long (images 1 & 2), Kesh (3 & 4)...

    Hans Christian Madsen (1 & 2), Topman (3 & 4)...

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