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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Number (N)ine Is (N)o More

Today we received a letter (an actual letter, so you know it's serious) from Number (N)ine. It started with this quote: "When you're finished changing, you're finished." You guessed it: the Tokyo-based, Paris-showing men's label launched 12 years ago by Takahiro Miyashita is closing. The fall '09 collection—portentously called A Closed Feeling—was the last. Miyashita will exit the group, which has already begun disbanding, and "the brand as we know it will come to an end." The letter goes on to say "Over the last decade, Number (N)ine evolved, always forging ahead with a unique and potent vision, to emerge as one of the leading brands of Japan." We agree with the sentiment. Number (N)ine will be missed.

Added February 23
Here's an extra bit of info we got when we contacted Number (N)ine for confirmation: "Yes, it is true. The collection we just showed was the final. We will produce it and finish out the year with that beautiful stuff. Then at that point all stores will close. Takahiro is emotionally and physically exhausted. He is taking a break and will be back with something soon. For now we all have to stock up our favorites as they will be gone come December."

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Paris Men's Week: Day 1

By Rebecca Voight...

Why worry about your shrinking bank account when the really big problem is what to wear to the financial crisis? On the first day of the Paris men's shows for fall, there were enough men in plaid flannel shirts and work boots to fill all the lumber yards in Canada. Desperately seeking sartorial propriety, the boys (and girls) of menswear are determined to face hard times with New Deal grit—not unlike Dorothea Lange’s black-and-whites of migrant workers fleeing the Dust Bowl.

But while radical change is in the air, not all designers are working workwear. At Hugo by Hugo Boss, Bruno Pieters appears to have been beating the financial blues by listening to a whole lot of Kraftwerk, especially 1978's vocoder-ific “We Are the Robots." Allowing his taste for razor-sharp tailoring and dueling checks to go wild, Pieters also veered into Devo territory with Clockwork Orange overtones. The response was either love or hate; others just had to close their eyes.

Number (N)ine's Takahiro Miyashita opted to escape reality by time-traveling to the early 17th century, invoking D'Artagnan and the Three Musketeers in tattered brocade frock coats, britches and grandfather shirts. I’m not sure how, but several of Miyashita's musketeers even managed to look like Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone's “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”


Number (N)ine

"When the going gets tough, just stay in bed" is what Yohji Yamamoto appeared to be saying in one of his best men’s collections in recent memory. Striped pajama sets and bathrobe coats worn with ski bonnets, oversized cardigans and leggings crumpled at the ankle like droopy socks are ideal for the laid-back, laid-off life.


Yohji Yamamoto

If Henrik Vibskov didn't stay in bed, à la Yamamoto, he only ventured as far as the hamper. The Danish designer capped the day’s shows with his “Human Laundry Service” performance at the Espace Saint Martin, one of those mysterious spiritual guidance places where people attend self-improvement seminars. I checked out a couple of their meetings, but unfortunately they weren’t doing anything seriously spiritual like channeling or flapping around on the floor. They should have seen what was going on upstairs!

Apparently the show Vibskov presented was only half of what he wanted to do because the room was too small to hold his entire Human Laundry Service apparatus, which originally involved water, of course. But he did manage to squeeze in five giant black-and-white striped treadmills manned by models dressed like surreal Tyrolean Elves. Oversized plaid shirts, bright and baggy long johns, shawls, blanket coats and candy stripe suits are for the man who combats economic adversity with joie de vivre.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hint Tip: Ace Hotel

Back in February we learned, and immediately spilled the beans to you, that Portland's cheap-but-chic, grunge-observant Ace Hotel (we know such things because we recently stayed there on a trip to the sprawling Nike campus) had plans to open smack in the middle of New York City. Now we're hearing the new space, in midtown at 29th & Broadway, will finally launch February 1, just in time for Fashion Week.

Some of the signature anti-glam things you'll find: a restaurant by the owners of the Spotted Pig, an old-timey barbershop, a gym with vintage equipment, Smeg refrigerators (from the time people called them ice boxes) in half the rooms and views of the Empire State Building. Apparently the place is full of history—until recently there was even a boxing ring in the basement. And even though they're all about cheap rooms, they want you to know they have rock star suites, too. You know, just in case.

(By the way, in a related tip, the elk-emblazoned wool blankets on the seats of Number (N)ine's Northwest-inspired fall collection, made in collaboration with Ace, will arrive soon.)





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