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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hooked: Maison Martin Margiela

Maison Margiela's eyewear debut, L’Incognito, brought you sleek anonymity with its black-barred face redaction. Now the Maison brings you the Mono Lens, a highly evolved descendant of the classic aviator—or, perhaps more accurately, a car windshield you can strap to your face. The ultimate in retro futurism by way of Dada playfulness, the latest model also manages to reflect fall's armored mood, in its own perverse way. $495 at Oki-Ni, available in amber or gray.

—Franklin Melendez



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Friday, August 21, 2009

Headline Trip

While rumors are brewing that Haider Ackermann may be Martin Margiela's successor, sources close to the elusive Belgian insist that this is one of his elaborate hoaxes. Whatever the case, we hear the incognito king was at the Los Angeles boutique not long ago waiting on unsuspecting costumers.

The grapevine also has it that Jean Paul Gaultier’s upcoming Hermès show may be his last. Though unconfirmed, you'd be well-advised to stock up on cheeky equestrian looks, just in case. [Fashion Week Daily]

Marc Jacobs after-party + Lady Gaga = signs of economic recovery. Or last gasp? You be the judge. [The Cut]

Designers Carolyn Massey and James Long were singled out by the British Fashion Council for Topman’s NewGen Men. Previous winners include every great Brit of the last twenty years. [WWD]

Apparently Zoolander isn't enough to dissuade models from pursing the slash-actress title. Irina Lazareanu and Agyness Deyn are both heading to a multiplex near you. As a last warning, we refer you to Cindy Crawford's infamous debut. [Grazia]

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hint Gallery: A Magazine

The ninth and latest A Magazine is out, this time guest-curated by Proenza Schouler (previously Riccardo Tisci, originally Martin Margiela). And the duo isn't shy about who their influences are, at least judging from all the art and photography they filled the pages with...


Cover of Chloe Sevigny by Richard Burbridge


Eye Sore Sun Tunneling With Throbbing Penumbras by David Sherry


Double Entrance / Double Exit by Kon Trubkovich


One day at the Spiral Jetty by Florian Maier-Aichen


Untitled, 1980 (Exterior) by Jimmy DeSana



Style Noir Photography Craig McDean, Styling Karl Templer

Missy in Furs in Western Mass, March 28-29 2009 by Roe Ethridge

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hint Tip: Gotscho

In this era of conglomerate-sponsored art, French artist Gotscho is that rare breed, a stylish loose cannon whose take on fashion consumption has a decidedly sinister tinge. Gotscho has been putting clothes center stage in his installations since the 90s, through collaborations with Maison Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons, to name a few.

For this month's Carré Rive Gauche, an annual group show of 120 galleries (antiques and fine art) on Paris's Left Bank, gallerist Eric Allart turned his space over to Gotscho to show his dark and mysterious "Ladies First" series (through June 19). In one piece, fragments of silk slip through fitting-room doors as though the customer has dematerialized through the looking glass like a repentant shopaholic desperate to get out. Nearby, a silver rolling rack sports a dozen seemingly banal garment bags with a row of identical black pumps ready for transport, one atop the other. It's only on closer inspection that you find the bags have an embroidered burkha slit at eye level, and the shoes are fused together in a permanent state of travel readiness.

Which begs the question: does Gotscho love or hate la mode? "I'm on both sides. I'm eternally attracted yet always looking for an escape," he says. "I was shocked the first time I saw a woman wearing a burkha. I didn't understand how it was possible, but I wanted to say something about it diplomatically. A garment bag is for travel and shoes are for walking, so both are about movement. What you have here is the possibility of movement, but the reality of immobility."

For the upcoming couture shows in Paris, Bruno Frisoni, artistic director of French shoe house Roger Vivier, will unveil his own pair of Gotschoesque-fused footwear, for those who prefer to look at stilettos than wear them.

—Rebecca Voight


Ladies First W10 (2007), Ladies First W31 (2007)


Odalisque (2007)

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Headline Trip

  • Following Burberry last week, today it was announced that Matthew Williamson will return to London Fashion Week in September, celebrating LFW's 25th anniversary, after seven years in New York.
  • John Galliano, too, will show his Christian Dior couture collection at the Dior salon on Avenue Montaigne for the first time in ten years. [WWD]
  • Forgetting who's modeled in her collections, Vivienne Westwood asked "Who is Daisy Lowe?" at her son's art opening. But really, who can keep track? [The Sun]
  • Apparently Forbes can. They've counted down the highest paid models in the last year. Even without Victoria's Secret, Gisele scores an easy win. [Forbes]
  • What better time than retirement (yes, people, it's true) for a monograph on Maison Martin Margiela? Conceived as a work of art—with an embroidered white-linen cover, ribbon markers, twelve booklets and silver ink—it drops in October. [Rizzoli]
  • Giedre Dukauskaite, Lithuanian model and face of Prada, heads to Women agency.


  • Giedre Dukauskaite

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    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Hooked: Ruby & Maison Martin Margiela

    Leave it to the French to transform a dowdy safety precaution, the bike helmet, into a coveted accessory. Since 1996, Ruby has been keeping fashionable noggins cozy and cushioned with its slick line of Jet Helmets. Now the culprit behind dreaded helmet hair has been reinvented into a vision straight out of Speed Racer (the original, not the crappy remake), with the added bonus that it can withstand a high-impact collision. Can you say that about your Speedy bag or gladiator sandals?

    For its latest venture, Ruby has enlisted the help of Maison Maison Margiela, which is apparently feeling extra frisky in the wake of its twentieth anniversary celebration. The result is a limited-edition carbon shell painted in Margiela's inimitable Meudon White (that familiar white coat over boots, jeans, jackets, etc. that you've doled out big bucks for), which Margiela and his studio elves at rue St. Maur have scribbled with their tiny signatures for a sublime graffiti effect. The Ruby & Maison Martin Margiela helmet promises to make your flash down the road that much more dashing. Limited to 600, available in Paris at Colette.

    —Franklin Melendez

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    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Hint Tip: Maison Martin Margiela

    This came to us through Facebook, which is exactly what we'd expect from the culty Belgian brand. MMM is having a sample sale in Paris (chez Adèle Sand, 13 Rue Jean Beausire, +33 (0) 140299324) on the dates below. Wig coat, here we come! ...

    Wednesday, April 29, 11-9
    Thursday, April 30, 11-7
    Friday, May 1, 11-7
    Saturday, May 2, 12-7



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    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Paris Men's Week: Maison Martin Margiela

    By Rebecca Voight...

    It has to be said: Martin Margiela is so full of great ideas, it's almost painful to watch. The first pain was just getting all the way to the show venue, La Maison de Métallos. The Paris cultural center is located way, way out in Paris's bohemian 11th arrondissement, which, despite the hike, is turning into a primo spot for groundbreaking fashion shows—yesterday it hosted Romain Kremer and Julius. Equipped with flashlights, Margiela's white labcoats led the audience, convened in small groups, into the theater, and there we stood as MMMs men’s collection appeared in a series of police line-ups in a narrow, glass-enclosed space. As usual, Margiela presents real clothes for men, not fashion statements.

    But what seems banal at a glance is finely styled, down to the "wine stain" print shirts and “after-party” coats. As each unusual suspect came forward, one of those twangy, insincere American telemarketing voices boomed out what they were wearing. Within minutes I was laughing out loud, and it didn’t take long for the rest of the audience to lose it as well. Some of us laughed so hard we cried. Like I said, Margiela is painfully good. This season's Incognito aviator glasses, limited-edition python shoes, suede Postcard Holder vest and jeans with a subtle “rained on” look, via print and resin applications, are sterling examples of late '70s trashy dressing, as interpreted by a tongue-in-cheek maestro.




    Maison Martin Margiela

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    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    Hint Tip: Maison Martin Margiela

    In what promises to be the sample sale of all sample sales, Maison Martin Margiela will hold one of its rare ventes privées at its Paris location from November 12-15. We suggest printing out and taking this handy tip sheet with you...

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    Thursday, October 2, 2008

    Paris Fashion Week: Maison Martin Margiela

    Haidee Findlay-Levin...

    When I read the article in the Herald Tribune the morning of Martin Margiela's 20th anniversary show, that this might be his last and that he was looking for a successor, I considered my own resignation from fashion. Although my departure wouldn't be nearly as dramatic or significant, if someone as inspired and inspiring as Margiela had nothing left to say, I found it hard to imagine carrying on.

    After all, how can one individual—although he only refers collectively to his Maison—come up with so many original ideas twice yearly? He is a fish that swims upstream, one of the few designers who always does things his way, whether the rest of the industry comes around to his way of thinking or not, right down to his AIDS charity T-shirt that he consistently sells even if the fight against AIDS itself has slipped out of fashion.

    Even the setting of his shows have set precedents. He has shown in the back of a pub, on buses, in dilapidated buildings and on top of tables in a dance hall. Perhaps the most genius of all was the simultaneous staging of a show in several countries, requiring no travel at all as we simultaneously witnessed the same experience. His idea long preceded live internet simulcasts.

    I remember my introduction to his clothes, that blank white label and its curious four white stitches. On one of my first fashion trips to Paris, I saw a series of clothes in a store—it might have been L’Eclaireur on Rue Rossier—and I loved each and every piece. But they had no name, no identity; they were completely anonymous. From that point on I not only used Margiela for styling jobs, but also consistently bought and wore that white label, even when friends had grown tired of his anti-aesthetic.

    I was drawn not only to the intelligence of the clothes, but to Margiela's humor and sense of irony. I also identified with the dark side of his work, which, while often macabre, can also be witty and silly. Margiela is one of the few designers who works through a concept over two seasons, sometimes even three, until he has completely explored and developed the idea, often revisiting it at an even later date. At his 10th anniversary show he presented exact pieces from the previous decade, but re-dyed them in a single color, showing the longevity of their design and how an old idea can be repackaged as new. Despite all his influence—acknowledged by Rei Kawakubo, Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto and Marc Jacobs among others—his clothes are so ahead of the game that they remain essentially timeless.

    Now looking back at two decades, this latest show began with a single large shadow cast over the runway and then opened with a singe girl in a white lab coat dress, followed by a series of looks that entered from both sides of the runway. A screen-printed scarf dress referred to his screen-printing collection, with its sequin dresses and knit sweaters that had been screened onto silk tank dresses. This time it was like a carbon rubbing on jeans and an oversized jean jacket.

    Accessories were as clever as ever, including shoes that were either too large or small, with a heel falling short of the foot or the strap extended well past the ankle but held in place with elastic. A red bag evolved and eventually draped right over the bodysuit like a cape. Newest to his repertoire is fine jewelry, which appeared as an oversized link chain on a model whose head peeked out of an oversized velvet jewelry box as the rest of the body fell out of the spotlight.

    As usual the models remained anonymous, in bodysuits and masks. There is nothing misogynistic here, just that the clothes should speak for themselves. Playing with this concept, sometimes he put a dark-skinned girl in a huge blonde afro and a white girl in a huge black afro, both of which completely covered the face. Margiela has always had a love for hair and wigs, creating vests and jackets out of the inside netting of wigs, as well as fur hats in the shape of mullets. This time wigs not only hid the face of the girls, but also cascaded as full capes.

    All birthday parties deserve a party dress and cake, and Margiela closed his show with two enormous party dresses, taking his familiar play on oversized volumes to extremes. Then a huge screen-printed garment in the shape of a tiered cake walked down the runway with the legs of two girls peeking out. When the curtain rose, Margiela was, as usual, nowhere to be seen as large silver confetti (oversized, of course) fell from above, models took their finale walk (this time with faces exposed) with the Maison team (in their customary white lab coats) and even a brass band took to the runway.

    Happy Birthday, Martin! Here's to many more.





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    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Paris Fashion Week: Maison Martin Margiela

    Laurent Dombrowicz...

    The man without a face but with the famous white-stitched label founded his "Maison" twenty years ago. In two decades, he and his label changed fashion in such a drastic and deep way that most young designers today describe themselves as his children. And what a birthday it was for the iconic Maison Martin Margiela on Monday; The spring show was a celebration of extreme creativity without pretension. Who else is able to present skin-tone padded overalls, a plastic-bag one-piece or wigs as a fur coat? We only hope MMM—with sunglasses and jewelry already on the market, and soon perfume—resists the need for the global domination required of its parent company, Diesel. Or, at least, it should get there in his own way. Meanwhile, we hope the Belgian will continue directing the surreal image of his namesake label. That way, trompe l’oeil, among many other triumphs, will continue to be the ticket to exciting trips to nowhere. And we love this place...

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    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Hint Tip: Maison Martin Margiela

    From Maison Martin Margiela...

    • WHAT: “AIDS T-SHIRT” / “T-SHIRT SIDA” — ONE COLOUR WITH CONTRASTED TEXT EACH SEASON. A PERCENTAGE OF THE SALES OF THIS T-SHIRT IS GIVEN TO THE ASSOCIATION “AIDES” FRANCE.
    • WHY: “THERE IS MORE ACTION TO BE DONE TO FIGHT AIDS THAN TO WEAR THIS T-SHIRT BUT IT’S A GOOD START.”
    • WHEN: FIRST CREATED FOR A/W 1993/4 & EVERY SEASON SINCE.
    • WHERE: CREATED IN PARIS. MADE IN ITALY. SOLD AROUND THE WORLD. WORN TOUCHING THE HEART.

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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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    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    You may not think it, given his penchant for pristine white spaces, but Martin Margiela loves fragrance. To prove it, he just inked a deal (using the very quill pen in this image) with L'Oréal to create a line of unconventional perfumes for fall 2009. Watch this pristine white space.

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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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