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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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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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Friday, March 6, 2009

Paris Fashion Week: Day 3

By Rebecca Voight...

Romeo Gigli, the designer who made stole draping and the erased shoulder his own in the early 90s, is back after a long hiatus, which began in 2004 when he slipped away from his own label. In January, his Io Ipse Idem line—which roughly translates as "always the same me, but never quite the same"—made its debut at Paris' fall men's shows. This time he brought the women's collection to the Espace Topographique de l'Art in the Marais, in a presentation he choreographed himself. Partnered with Catherine Vautrin (a former LVMH executive who worked closely with Marc Jacobs) and Luciano Donatelli (previously with Zegna and now working on the brand's production) and backed by IP Spa, Gigli is set.

And the clothes? Ever the romantic, Gigli brought back his cocoon coats, but lighter than before, as well as narrow scrunched-up, stretch-jersey skirts and fur stoles to throw over your shoulder for dress-up. And the best pieces of all were a series of jackets with backs cut out like stained glass—his saturated colors look like no one else's.


Io Ipse Idem

For Issey Miyake, two pairs of karate champions were put on the runway to test the strength of the house’s latest A-POC (A Piece of Cloth) collection—and there wasn’t a tear anywhere. The line is increasingly turning its attention to Japanese tradition and construction. All-over pleats are a Miyake classic, but its current designer Dai Fujiwara put the pleats in strategic places this season, to give the clothes bounce.


Issey Miyake

Yohji Yamamoto, also a black belt in karate, has started a new partnership with Salvatore Ferragamo and he wasn’t quiet about it at the show. Every model sported a pair of flaming red bottines with the usual Yamamoto flowing jackets and coats over floor-grazing skirts. The result was a fire-and-ice mix, which was oddly fitting in these times when no one seems to know just how to move forward.


Yohji Yamamoto

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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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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Yohji Yamamoto Extends the Bonsai Branch

On April 24, Japan's Yohji Yamamoto presented his first annual Y’s show for his new philanthropy, Yohji Yamamoto Foundation for Peace, in Beijing, China. The objective was to generate much-needed good vibes between the former foes and foster creativity among China's rising designers. Here, images and fun facts...

  • The venue was the Ancestral Temple in the middle of the Forbidden City.

  • Among the six hundred attendees were Chinese artists Lu Zhirong, Inri, Victoria Lu, Liu Dan and—in the spirit of peace—special guests from Hong Kong.

  • One Japanese and one Chinese model walked with mostly European models. And next year, the Foundation will sponsor a Chinese model to make her Paris Fashion Week debut.

  • Also next year, the Foundation will sponsor a winning Chinese designer to enroll in fashion school in either Japan or Europe.

  • The collection consisted of 58 looks, 33 of which were auctioned off by Sotheby's to raise funds for the Foundation.

  • The closing dress of the show received the highest bid: 270,000 yuan, or $37,000.






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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Despite the stuffy nature of all things bridal, London avant-milliner Misa Harada created a wedding-inspired collection of hats for Yohji Yamamoto's spring debut of Y's Red Label, designed by Michiko Suzuki. Here's how it went down, in her own words...

"Yohji's new Red Label designer, Michiko Suzuki, watched a documentary about me on Japanese TV and was apparently fascinated with my work. I got a call from Y's people last summer and was invited to Paris for a meeting. It all happened just like that!"

"The concept of the collection, called Just Married, was to take masculine hat forms and translate them into feminine ones, adding a touch of haute couture. Yohji's team gave me complete freedom over my designs, which was lovely."

"I am here to introduce the fun of wearing hats. My hats are totally wearable and never just for occasions. My hats are cut and applied with techniques of couture, but manufactured so that they're affordable. I like to fill in the gap in the millinery market—it's neither high street nor couture."

"I got into millinery totally by accident. I came to London in 1987 to follow my love of English music and the London fashion scene, and ended up studying fashion. During my fashion degree, we were given a millinery tutorial by Mrs. Shirley Hex. She was teaching Philip Treacy at the Royal College of Art at the time, and encouraged me to apply to RCA, which I did. She completely made me fall in love with the art of millinery."

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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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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This just in from Adidas. For today's New York store launch, Y-3 introduces a limited-edition shoe (50 pairs only) made from the Japanese denim found in Yohji Yamamoto's atelier. The unisex shoe, called Nice to Meet You, retails for $500 and is available only at the new Y-3 store (317 West 13th Street, NYC)....

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