Tuesday, July 24, 2007

okay okay

so i finally got my mac but i need to figure out how to steal signals from people because i'm broke. so until robin hood come's knockin to give me internet access, it'll be a while till i get bizzy up this hizzy. peas.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

elsa schiaparelli

the early twentieth century was dominated by women who forever changed the way women will dress. names like chanel, vionnet, gres are regarded as no less than revolutionaries who freed women from the constriction of the corset. there was one woman however who seemed to have the most fun out of all those great women. her name was elsa schiaparelli. born in rome and for a while lived in the united states, schiaparelli followed the steps of worth and became one of the non french couturiers to be established and loved by paris at the same time. in elsa's time she would probably have been galliano, gaultier, mcqueen, gareth pugh and rei kawakubo rolled into one. during a time of modesty and propriety, schiaparelli shocked the establishment by collaborating with avant garde artists such as dali and jean cocteau who's prints and illustrations she had decorated by the embroidery house of lesage into her couture collections. poiret might have been the first showman of fashion, but schiaparelli was definately its first showwoman. there are many firsts that belongs to elsa; she was the first to use shoulder pads, animal prints, and she was the first to add whimsical touches inspired by the surrealist movement. some of her most famous examples was a dali designed hat that resembled a giant high heeled shoe, and her famous desk suit with pockets made to look like drawers. although the name schiaparelli might not ocassionaly used in today's fashion verbatim, her influence resonates to many of todays designers, particularly john galliano, who has channeled elsa's creative whimsy on more than one occasion for his dior collections, with one, his spring/summer 1999 dior couture collection, directly referenced schiaparelli and coucteau's collaboration. its been a long time since a woman commanded such attention from the fashion world, i think someone within the veins of schiaparelli would breath such a burst of new air in fashion. but then again, there would be no one quite like schiaparelli.

Monday, July 16, 2007

buy me too

photo: steven meisel
models: sasha pivovarova, irinka kulikova, anabela beliskova

there might be three models in this ad campaign, but no one can argue that sasha is the star here. remember when i said that she is fucking bananas in pictures, well i mean, how can you argue with me on that one after seeing this campaign? and i think that out of all the models thats been closely associated with prada, sasha has been the one to fully embody that whole brand. although the girl that opened the last prada show irinia kulikova, and the runner up to catherine mcneil as the best new face, anabela beliskova has that same stone cold aloofness that prada fancies so much that eventually landed them this campaign, they're still no sasha. shot by steven meisel who has the talent that other great photographers have like helmut newton, avadon, and leibovitz to shoot a group shot without making it look like an elementary school class picture, then you can be guaranteed that it'll be another very busy year at the prada stores.

photo: steven meisel
model: olga sherer
i really really liked last seasons lanvin ads with jessica stam and tanya dziahileva so i had big expectations for this one, considering i was curious how they would photograph those bombast sleeves that was the biggest statement of lanving for fall. well obviously they tackled that problem by photograhing the clothes sideways. that meisel, he's one brilliant dude isn't he.

sophia kokosalaki

in an age of celebrity designers who are as famous as the guests who sits in the front row of their shows, there are those who are quietly perfecting their craft while being critically acclaimed for their extremely gifted technical abilities. these aren't designers who you would see holding hand in hand with movie stars because for these designers, their work and the perfection of their craft is at the utmost importance. one of these designers is sophia kokosalaki. apart from chado ralph rucci, there is hardly anyone else who surpasses kokosalaki's technical mastery of dressmaking. although the majority have never heard of her name, her reputation within the fashion community is so renowned that for the 2004 summer olympics in her homeland of greece, she dressed bjork in a lavish origami gown that when unfolded revealed a map of the entire world that was seen by countless millions of people. her trademark goddess dresses with the beautiful drapping and pleating are the punctuation marks to her growing business and influence. with diesel head honcho renzo rosso financially backing the brand and her recent appointment to the legendary house of vionnet, the designer who's ingenuity and supreme technical superiority is of legendary status, the time for kokosalaki is close at hand.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


fashion file said that alana zimmer was the top new model for the spring/summer '07 season and i was so not convinced at all. i mean surely suvi or iekeliene landed more runway mileage and editorials, and then i see this picture of her photographed by miles aldridge for numero and then i basically had to shut up. i'm all about sacrilegious catholic images so these pictures for me feels as good as making out with wentworth miller.

Monday, July 9, 2007

crazy for coco

holy fuck! gareth pugh, coco rocha, pat mcgrath and a fucking boombox together!! its like i just got punched in the face four times. so good so good.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

maison martin margiela

the chambre syndicale de la haute couture is one of the most prestigious governments working in the fashion industry for over a century. it is basically the body which determines what can be considered haute couture within its very strict stardards and guidelines. today there are only about ten recognized couture houses in existence. most of them revered french houses of international status such as dior or chanel. there are however some highly influential designers who work within the spirit of couture. they produce garments that are all hand made, lovingly worked and steadfastly thought about. one of those designers is martin margiela. ever since he arrived in the fashion scene during the eighties with the second wave of belgian designers following the success of the antwerp six a few years before, margiela has been one the designers who has had the most impact, and also the quietest. because his house is not one that garners explicit media attention, he and his team has, under the radar, are able to work freely to explore their avant garde ideas. his "couture" collection called artisanal are based on using found objects such as cummerbunds, ski gloves, old shoes, bow ties, or discarded canvas bags are a marvel in originality and technical ability. unquestionably one of the most intellectual of all design houses, margiela expands that intellectual approach beyond clothing design to encompass the whole image of the company. from their retail space, website, to its infamous "non label" label and shopping bags. the spirit of the house is one of moving foward and expanding bounderies that exceeds the fashion spectrum and jumps into high art without losing the purpose of what garments are made for, which are to be worn. margiela and his team might not garner the attention of the mass media, but that suits him, and the rest of us who are so enraptured by him just fine.

photo: martinmargiela.com


to celebrate the 60th anniversary of dior and at the same time pay homage to the untimely death of galliano's right hand man for twenty years steven robinson, could have ended up being schizophrenic. galliano dealt with both monumentous moments by paying homage to both by celebrating not anniversaries and deaths, but by celebrating life itself. he accomplished that by digging dip into his own spanish roots, that culture that is so celebratory of life. he started the show with the same way he started his first collection for dior a decade ago, with various interpretations of the new look. the look that catapulted dior into the highest echelons of 1940s paris. he gradually moved on to elborate gowns fitting the location, the orangerie at versailles, and the palace's mistress, marie antoinette. and with hardly a blink of an eye, extravagant flamenco dresses followed that evoked passion and something femininely raw and genetically galliano. to close the show galliano had true supermodels linda evangelista, naomi campbell, karen mulder, and shalom harlow model the most extravagant gowns seen during couture week. there is no question that galliano is the greatest showman fashion ever had and his final bows at the end of his shows is basically the outfit that ends the collection. this season he exited wearing a bull fighter's costume. here he is celebrating his heritage and celebrating life. celebrating two men who has forever changed his life.
p.s. i just realized something, a few years ago when galliano's father passed away, he too delved deep into his spanish roots to produce another much lauded couture presentation. it seems that in times of great sorrow, the spanish culture and all its vibrancy, is john's salvation.

for over twenty years, karl lagerfeld has helmed the house of chanel. and for over twenty years he has consistently managed to rejuvinate the chanel signatures by making it fit into modern life. no matter how many quilted chanel bags there are, there's always room for a new take on it season after season. for couture however, chanel remains the acme of craftmanship and elevated luxury without the gimmicky tricks of pret-a-porter. there is always a sense of weightlessness and unabashed prettiness that is able to elicit the most reaction from the audience. the front of the garment is usually the point most designers focuses on. karl did away with that and instead zoomed in on the neglected angle, the side of the body. here he commanded the passementeries of the great embroidery house of lesage and had the side angles elaborately decorated with the finest example of french decorations seen throughout the couture collections. and he didn't just stop with the embroidery, he also used feathers, and decorated layers of tull and chiffon to create a commanding profile. as always, the dresses were the ones that garnered the most applause. chanel couture dresses are the most luxuriously sublime. i hate to use the word chic, but those are exactly what those dresses are. actually that is exactly what chanel is.

few will remember hubert givenchy's architectural masterpieces he designed as a result of balenciaga's influence. fortunately, ricardo tisci not only remembers them, but it is where he channels the man's spirit. of all the couture collections in paris, there is no one doing couture quite like tisci. this is couture without the obvious traditions, you wont really find any classic couture cuts from the fifties here or elaborate embellishments. he builds clothes like sculpture, something that is not that different from the dressmakers at the various ateliers, but here he doesn't just build clothes, be appears to be striving to build monuments. there were ingenious use of drapping soft fabrics contrasted by metal corsets, or the layering of different textures to build the clothes away from the body, something that is very much in the tradition of givenchy. after a rocky start at givenchy, tisci is not only finding a dialogue between him and the old master, he is also finding his own language.

paris is well represented by gaultier, provence is unapologetically and lavishly represented by lacroix. lacroix's creations always seemed painted by the colours of southern france. however archaic all those vivid colours and patterns are, lacroix is blessed with the talent to make them all sing together with the garment. embroidery here isn't done for the sake of ornamentation. they serve as part of the dress, the way a print on a fabric acts like. the ornate dresses that demands the adulation of the arab princesses and socialites in the front row can attest to the knack he has for making clothes that women have been dreaming about since they were little girls. there are few designers right now who understands the old traditions of couture, something that a young lacroix learned when he was designing for the now defunct house of jean patou during the eighties. it was during this time, also known as one of the golden ages of couture, that lacroix nurtured his innate talent for dressmaking, perfected his art as one of the last true couturiers to have come out in the past twenty years. in a normaly somber season of darker colours, lacroix always feels like that odd warm january day. it rejuvinates and excites only a way a true french men with joi de vivre can give. and that is exactly what he does.

its hard to believe that gaultier only opened his couture atelier just ten years ago. in that ten years he has grown and progressed to fill in the empty spot left by saint laurent after he closed his couture operations with his retirement. like saint laurent, gaultier's vision is flirtatiously parisienne. there is that mix of refinement, humour, whimsy, and seduction mixed in with touches of androgony that has become a signature gaultier style. adapt those signatures into haute couture then you have a sensory overload of embroidery, precise tailoring of mutated men's uniforms that turned epaulets into extravagant fringing, and the most luxurious skins from alligator to rich furs. the gaultier signature is so original that it can get a bit redundant season after season. his take on the trench coat, the before mentioned andgrogony, and equestrian references almost becomes a cliche. but he manages by always being able to add a new perspective on those pieces. for example, this collection he sent out two beautiful trenchcoats, the first was embelished with barogue tromp l'oeil motifs with sharp shoulders, and the second one was suede with chiffon panels that can only be realized with the master hand of a true couturier. with each couture collection, gaultier is well on his way to securing his position as one of the greatest french designers of our times.

photo: style.com

Saturday, July 7, 2007

buy me

photography: david sims
models: suvi koponen, anabela belikova

okay i was kinda suprised that new comer anabela belikova was able to score one of the most influential and eagerly expected ad campaigns for its ability to launch a model's career into stratospheric level because first of all i've never heard of her, and no one knows models better than i do. and second of all, she didn't even walk that collection. but i guess this is why nicholas ghesquiere and photographer david sims are geniuses. suvi koponen's picture reminds me of queen elizabeth's potraits in the 16th century with that alabaster face. and i love the stately english library setting that matches so well with all the equestrian references in the collection and is robust enough that it can stand on its own against those kuffiyeh inspired fringed dresses. i think this is going to be my favorite ad for this season.

photography: inez van lamsweerde and vinoodh matadin
models: shalom harlow, anja rubik, freja beha
so the new fall/winter ads are out and look who lends her hotness to the new chloe ads but none other than the one who puts gisele's walk to shame, shalom harlow. this ad is a bit marni-ish like last season's which my homegirl lorie pointed out, but its shot by inez and vinoodh so i cant really find anything wrong with it. and add anja rubik and freja beha, then you basically have a perfect picture.

Sunday, July 1, 2007



for the past year margiela has been focusing on new silhouettes, particularly a stronger shoulder. here he continues that exploration but he has toned down with the exaggeration and let his brilliant tailoring do all the talking. he paired these jackets with slim trousers that recalled claude montana or even thiery mugler in the 80s. this collection was also filled with margiela's intellectual trademarks, the print on print, a touch of humour (as apparent to the lapel of a jacket turning into a scarf), and his love for a vintage feel. althought less confrontational or intellectual that his artisanal couture line, there was still a sense of a higher level of thinking here. he just doesn't design clothes simply for the sake of design for function, he is looking for a new idea, a modern idea, a new interpretation of what clothes should be and challenge what our interpretation of clothes are. he manages to achieve this without confusing his customers, but then again, you cant be a dumbass and wear margiela, it just wouldn't work.

filling hedi slimane's shoes is one gargatuan task, even if you were his right hand man for five years. that is the burden kris van assche was bestowed upon. there were moment's in his debut collection that showed promise. the sharply tailored jackets with satin lapels and inserts, the slim white shirt with the peter pan collar, and the voluminous trousers were all within the spirit of dior homme, but it somehow fell flat. there was no sense of dynamic action in the clothes. and having a stagnant presentation didn't do much to creat any sense of roaring movement. which was unfortunate because those baggy trousers with the cascading pleats would've been a sight to watch moving down a runway. slimane himself played with formality with his fall collection for dior a few seasons ago and he too toyed with the idea of volume, but here it lacked a certain type of edge. the dior of slimane had the energy and rebellion of youth and music, van assche's vision were too proper, it lacked that rakishness that had become a dior homme signature. this was van assche's first collection and it is exciting how he would take the reaction of the critics and the sales figure and see how he adapts the next season. for that we just have to stay tuned and hope that the brilliance of van assche finally crystalizes.

there were suprisingly few designers who ventured into the futuristic/tribalism vibe that has been ubiquitous for the last few seasons. all the well because it let the miharayasuhiro collection stand alone as one of the few brands who neglected the nostalgic trend of this season and sent his collection brazenly foward. this was in no sense an uber futuristic pierre cardin/robotic kind of way. it was not as much futuristic, but more about looking foward by transforming the staple men's garments by tweaking it, making the silhouette narrower, putting elastic waistbands on button down dress shirts, or layering tights under shorts. intrinsically there are a lot of options here for that would greet the consumer once he enters the store. and it has just the right amount of foward thinking that these clothes can be easily personalized by the men who bought them.

the first exits were like well dressed and colourful harry potters with those thick round frame glasses strolling about a sunny day in london town. fellow brit david hockney was apparently an influence for this collection which were apparent with those famous hockney summer candy colours. it seemed like a perfect match since paul smith himself is one of the great colourist in menswear. asides from the smith's classic colour combinations, the show was also abundant with his other trademarks, the quirky mix of prints, the british schoolboy uniform, and a very young point of view. which doesn't necessarily mean that these are clothes that are only viable to the under 35 crowd. there were a generous amounts of separates that a teenage son can steal from his father's closet. this might not have been one of those super charged shows filled with new direction or ideas, but consumers don't come to paul smith for that. his niche is to give men clothes that integrate easily into their wardrobe and brings a little colour into their lives. something that any closet, including mine, can fully appreciate.

perhaps the most charming collection to show during fashion week, lanvin took the pajama trend to its most luxurious. designer albert elbaz and his co-designer lucas ossendrijver presented a sumptuous summer collection rich with silk trousers, silk shirts, silk jackets...you get the picture. the charm came from its almost naive proportions and presentation. shirts were loosely tucked in little boy shorts with slouchy socks in patent leather shoes. the play between short and long was apparent in tunic lenght tops inside short and boxy jackets paired with those loungy pants with the silhouette usually being slim at the top and generous in the bottom. there was a sense of innocence and a sense of playfullness that is not always visible during the menswear shows. although there was that level of fun, there was definately a lux factor in effect. the fabrication first of all was obviously expensive. when it hits the stores it will have the same retail price as the womenswear collection but what differs is in its subtleties that seperates men's luxury goods, to the mass market. only a few seasons in designing for men, lanvin is slowly proving itself to be just as influential as it is for the opposite sex.

with hedi slimane's departure in the world of menswear, there is a need for a new torch bearer to represent the idealism and fowardness of youth. there is no other candidate for that position but raf simons. since his appointment as head designer for jill sander, raf simons' profile has received its much deserved exposure that was severely absent before he acquired the sander gig. simons' has already proven his master hand with minimalism for sander, and with his signature collection, he showcases his brilliant innovation. with his signature collection, deprived of any boundaries from another label's history, raf is able to create his own legacy. there are already some raf simons' trademark being established, the lean silhouette, the feeling of teengage angst in the clothes, plays with volume and proportion, and fabric technology. the latter a skill he better honed since his work with sander and its fabric suppliers. in past collections music has always been one of his main source of inspiration, this season, an unlikely character has stirred his imagination; the backpacker. although the clothes here are by no means a uniform that highschool graduates would wear while schlepping around off the beaten tracks in exotic countries, there is a sense of activeness in the clothes. from its durable high-performance fabrications, the omnipresent backpack that accessorized the looks, drawstrings on trousers to anoraks, and hiking boot inspired footwear, it's a marvel that these clothes don't appear to be genuine mountain gear, but a collection with enormous offering for daily urban life. although i found some vague similarities with last years prada men's collection with the colours and shiny synthetic fabrics, there was no doubt that this was a more rebellious and youthful collection. a collection that could not have been excetuted better by anyone else but raf simons.


as one of the last true gentleman in the fashion world, it is no wonder why stefano pilati was assigned to be the creative directior at yves saint laurent. pilati and the grand maestro who's name he now designs for have the same level of refinement, and a sincere appreciation for history, and in the case of this season, that would be art history. saint laurent famously referenced the great artists, from mondrian in the sixties, to van gogh during the eighties. this season, pilati referenced the abstract expressionist of the fifties with artists like hans hofman and jackson pollock. although his drip, paint splashed garments might be a far cry from the august couture creations of saint laurent, the similarity is in its fluidity and ease. something monsieur saint laurent was so adamant in his designs. there were also references to classic couture cuts here, particularly balenciaga's drop, rounded shoulders. its a new way for pilati to use proportion and volume, an experimentation he's been toying with since first designing for the house. one has the sense that out of all of his collection for saint laurent, this was the one that was the most closely linked to his own personal aesthetic. it felt more bohemian, but not in that ghastly california, rachel zoe type, but the bohemian in the fifties and sixties. the men who would go to marakesh and the south of france to vacation and explore. someone who knew languages and music and art and history. someone like saint laurent. someone like stefano pilati.

one rei kawakubo has enough seismic activity to send shockwaves across the fashion world, now imagine three. that was the idea she offered for her men's show. jackets, shirts, trencoats, prints, and proportions were layered three times at the top half of the body, while the bottom consisted of knee lenght shorts and trousers with an indian inspired dhoti crotch that was everywhere this season. although a comme des garcon show is sometimes almost too intellectual for a mere fashion show, it never seems didactic. kawakubo never seems to impose her ideas, rather to propose them. layering three jackets one top of each other with the first layer considerably more cropped and graded till it became regular size in the innermost might be a bit too stiffling for such warm weathers, but individually, these jackets in itself not only instigates new proportions but are quite commercial. layering has been such an important trend for the past decade that its becoming difficult to show it in a new, less generic way. kawakubo's presentation might not have been accesible in real life situations, but to look at rei's creation and only look at its commercial point of view is missing out on her artistic point of view. something that is more sublime but just as important as sales figures.

ann demeulemeester's vision of men has always been that of a romantic one. imagine a british dandy who buys beautifully made clothes by accident and nonchanlantly layers each pieces on. that is the sense i get from ann's presentation. her men are always consistent, not predictable, but suprisingly obvious every season. her trademark layering and deconstruction are still apparent. so are the asymetric cuts that has also began to envelope her prints. the familiar blacks, whites, and greys are still there but what was new this season was a little sense of humour, maybe courtesy from the dadaist movement she vaguely referenced for this collection. the dada movement could've done well with ann as their resident designer. after all they both share an underground sensibility that manages to be both avant garde and commercial. ann's clothes might appear to be quite difficult when its presented, but dissect each look and there are pieces that is so covetable its enough to make you salivate (well it certainly did that for me when i was in montreal a few months ago and i saw this ann demeulemeester asymetric striped sweater that i instantly fell in love with but unfortunately my wallet unrequited that love). i've always been a staunch supporter of ann and i think the time that more people finally recognize her for the brilliant designer that she is is too long overdue.

when a designer shows a religious ornament as an accesory to his/her collection it is usally critically panned by critics (eg: gaultier's hassidic collection, dolce and gabanna's printed virgin mary shirts), takahiro miyashita's collection with crosses slung across the body, however, was not offensive. it actually rather accentuated the apocalyptic and monastic feel of the clothes. despite all the dark, sombre colours that is unusual for a spring collection, the clothes were fluid and light that gave it a sense of optimism. there were a lot of references to the grunge movement here, not only in the nirvana filled soundtrack of the show, but also its use of layering. something the fashion world fully embraced since marc jacobs designed his notoriously famous grunge collection for perry ellis in the 90s. in miyashita's hands however, one can see the deep and authentic affection he has for cobain. the clothes were layered in a sense that it was there to protect, the cross near to him to be closer to something divine. takahiro might not have been thinking too much or at all about being close to the higher powers, but his shows definately feels like a religious experience.

its fascinatingly ironic that no one can dig deep into western costumes much more than the japanese. i guess it takes someone that can step out of the box to fully look at western clothes in all its perspectives and reinterpret them in a totally different way, yet similar at the same time. and few can match watanabe's talent when it comes to that. from transforming athletic track suits to saville row worthy jackets, to robert deniro's taxi driver meets british teddy boys, watanabe's cross cultural references can only be rivalved by fashion's other great alchemist, galliano. for spring/summer there was a sense of romantic colonial england in the air. there were visions of english schoolboy in boarding schools in kenya during the turn of the 20th century. it was rugged and charming at the same time, achieved by processing his fabrics to give them an aged look. there were also madras, argyles and liberty prints in candy colours that complimented the neutral khakis that were so abundant in this collection. sometimes it takes an outsider to make us realize the good things we have forgotten in ourselves. thank god the japanese are in paris to keep on reminding us that.

there is no denying that van assche is a gifted young designer. his years as assistant to hedi slimane at dior homme and his ultimate succesion of him, would of course create great expectations to build up. at first he started out extremely promising with his debut collection and the subsequent ones that followed immediately after. for the past couple of seasons however it seems that one of menswears new brightest stars had been losing some of his shine. the problem is that it feels like he's trying to step out too much of slimane's shadow. trying to prove himself to quickly and not letting himself evolve as a designer organically. from slimane, van assche developed an affair to present a modern man, a different, romantic take of masculinity. there are good ideas that have been coming out from him, like his take on volume, of release and tension, its just his execution that sometimes falls flat. his oversized shirts underneath narrow two button jackets doesn't compliment each garment, nor do the ones with sleeves verging on poetic proportions tucked into perfectly cut trousers that eclipses the brilliance of the latter. when he does get it right though, he gets it right all the way. he produces some of the most well constructed jackets and waistcoats that are becoming his tradmark. he has all the tools to build one of menswear most influential brands, he just needs to find the right blueprint.

if there is one thing to not describe john galliano is inocuous. one of fashions great provocateurs has always managed to work up our emotions through his shows. but he normally does this with his mad cap mix of cultural references and never really politics. so it was kind of suprising that out of all the designers influenced by the global climate of wars that it would be galliano to be the one to not just use it as a reference, but show it unapologetically for what it has become, part of popular culture that is joked about on late night talk shows or parodied into cartoons like south park. maybe fidel castro, huey p. newton, mad max, or osama bin laden might not be the first choice as fashion maverics, however they're personas are iconic. these men has such distinct aesthetics that a raised fist instantly reminds us of the black panther movement, or a green army hat a symbol of the cuban revolution. however controversial these ideas are, galliano is now at a point in his career where he is no longer looked at as a social pariah, but rather a cultural messiah. one has to reminds itself of how galliano shows his collection, the set and accesories are just visual supplement to provide an atmosphere to the clothes. because really, would middle eastern terrorists really fight in the desert in luxuriously tailored suits with sheen or bejeweled trousers? cut out all the distracting appendages and there are clothes here made for any men. and to wear galliano, that might even take bigger balls than carrying an ak-47.

yohji yamamoto's shows has always been almost bi-polar each season. one season he could be eruptiously joyful and the next, despairingly bleak, but they are always dressed like gentlemen. the theme of war has had strong affects on the collections, both in men and in women. but in menswear, which is heavily influenced with the preciseness and decorum of the military uniform, its easy to walk the thin line of being too literal. one of the great achievements of the japanese designers is their acute ability to fragment western archetypes and build it back together not as a historical object, but as a part of the modern verbatim. it does not become costume, but rather something contemporary and useable. the inspiration for this collection is a soldier's return home from his tour of duty. the beginning was obviously black and blatantly severe and confrontational with strictly cut jackets and trousers in stiffer fabrics slashed with graphic red. as the show progresses the mood changes into new volumes, lighter fabrics and the colours turn from black to navy to beiges to whites. if there is one thing about yohji it is his ability to design beautiful clothes and his optimistic resolve despite the dire situations he gets his ideas from.


to really see the commercial viability of the intellectual stew miucca presents is to see her menswear collections. she is one of the few designers out there who actually uses the same vocabulary for the men and women she designs for. there is a sense of continuity in the ideas, references and the execution. for this season, she showed an abundance of exquisitely tailored pieces. jackets were one button and cut rackishly slim and paired with trousers that were narrow through the leg with a little flair at the hem. while the collective consciousness outside of the fashion spectrum usually affiliates prada with avant garde tendencies, here she showed her prowess for extremely covetable pieces that, although a little off center with their whimsy (knitted leggings anyone?), has a commercial sensibility that can be personalized by any consumer to fit into their existing wardrobe. however she does deliver her endearing sense of humour, especially in the middle of the program when she reinterpreted her lauded "geek chic" aesthetic with the printed fabrics that seemed to be textured but were actually woven. and she mixed these fabrics up with plaids, stripes, and vintage 70s graphics to provide a visual to the opposite end of the same idea. there was a sense of purpose to the clothes she sent out. it seemed like it was a longing for new ideas, but also to be inspired with the old ones. and who better provide us with new ideas but ms. prada herself. after all, her old ideas have influenced how the world puts on clothes today.

the winds of change has been creating a welcoming breeze at the house of versace lately. perhaps realizing the genius of hiring christopher kane as a design consultant for the women's collection, donatella decided that a new vision was also needed for the men's line. and who better help steer the house into a new direction but none other than alexadre plokhov from the sorely lamented new york based brand cloak. right from the first exit one had a sense that this is a new vision for the house. in the past, the versace man was always depicted as a highly sensual, baroque man with expensive taste that wasn't afraid to show it off. now with plokhov's influence, the versace man appears to have picked up dostoyevsky and are looking at military uniforms as opposed to 18th century rococo tapestries, and has muted down with obviously opulent taste with something a little more sophisticated. the clothes were stricter, more angular, as opposed to the usual fluid spring/summer versace silhouette. to better visualize this idea, versace showed some extremely well tailored jackets, with many of them one buttoned (which seems to be a big trend in milan this season) and asymetric coats and jackets, some cut in the most supple leathers. also the colours were muted, a lot of greys, sand and soft blues punched in with some vivid red to bring life to the clothes. its very intriguing to see how the men's line for the house will evolve with plokhov on board and how the traditional versace clientelle would react to it. but in my opinion, those clientelle would probably need a bigger closet now because there are a lot more versace clothes to fill it with.

there are only a few designers who have had a colossus impact on the house that they design for. even fewer still are designers who's vision fully takes control of a brand started by its original namesake. raf simons belongs to the latter. as influential and loved as jill sander was, it seems that it took someone like raf simons to fully bring the brand to the destination started by sander. the fluidity of raf's evolution in the house has delivered collections that only four seasons in, has already garnered unanimous applause from the fashion world and became one of the most influential designers working today. this show was a text book example of the perfect spring/summer wardrobe. it was light, easy and kept with the brand's tradition of minimalism. the fabric was light and translucent which lent itself to ingenious use of layering and airy-ness. there were also a generous selection of relaxed trousers that even though provided a contrast to raf's usual slim silhouette, was perfectly cohesive through the collection. with a muted palette of grays, beiges, off whites accented with sudden explotions of brick reds, hunter greens, and rusty oranges the clothes are guaranteed commercial success. it was only a few years ago that raf simons was on the verge of closing down shop, but with his resilience and uncompromising vision, he is now one of the new shining stars who's body of work continues to inspire and evolve.

christopher bailey has always been intensely loyal to the history of the brand he designs for. his ingenious take on modernizing the burberry archives has always been his winning ticket. his most recent collection however was the most "un-burberry" he has ever done. the reason for this is because for once he derived an inspiration from a world that is so far removed from the burberrian tradition, surfing. although many of the inspiration derived from the sport like the scuba, and neoprene pieces were more obvious, it was the spirit of the surfer counter culture idea that created the most intriguing part of the collection. the burberry trench was still there, but this time in fluoro colours like fire engine reds and turquoise blues from surfer wetsuits. tshirts with paillettes to resemble diving gear which shone as if just coming out of the water. because of the relaxed vibe of surf culture, there wasn't that much of that strict burberry dandyism image that has been so prevailent with bailey's collection in the past. the clothes had a slouchy elegance about them, as if the men who would wear this clothes are so pre-occupied with enjoying life that it breathes life to everything they do and wear. but with these clothes on your back, how can you not enjoy life a little bit better?

apparently its surf's up in milan this season as alexander mcqueen, alongside christopher bailey at burberry, showed a collection inspired by the sport of surfing. while as bailey's interpretation of surfing was derived from the surfers in whitby in north england, mcqueen's surfers were from the birthplace of surf culture itself, california, to be more precise, california in the 80s. if john hughes ever made a movie of californian surf culture during the 80s at the height of molly ringwald's fame, mcqueen would've been the costume designer and this would've been the clothes. alexander mcqueen is not only of the great showmans in fashion, he is also one of its most intellectually subversive. he is one of the great proposers of ideas and direction. this is perhaps one of the most exhuberant collection i have ever seen from him. there were colours, happy polka dot and flower prints, a relaxed silhouette and impecably tailored jackets. new wave-ish coats were cut boxier and fuller at the back to lend some movement and ease, and paired with trousers and shorts that were fuller at the leg and pleated to create motion. but to add contrast to this mcqueen added elements of 50's rockabilly with dark raw slim jeans, lumberjack plaids, and bad boy stride from the models which created an interesting tention. this collection was probably one of mcqueen's most commercial collection to date, and he did this without having to sacrifice his ideas and still continued to provoke.

some of the most enduring and iconic images of american youth has been captured by bruce webber. this season italo zucchelli used those images and showed one of the most masculine and virile collection of the season. there were no gangly, waifishly thin models here. the models were reminiscent of the male models of the 80s and even the current ones webber himself photographs for his ads for abercrombie and fitch, and even the ones he photographed for the infamous calvin klein ads he shot in miami during the 80s, athletic and were a picture of health and beauty. inspired by weber's photographs of the u.s. olympic team in '84, the clothes had an athletic spirit infused to them. there were fine knits and woven tops that clung close to the body like high performance tops of gymnasts. even the most luxurious of leather pants had ribbed cuffs at the hem similar to those of sweat pants. business wear was also injected with a light hearted athleticism, not by design or fabrication, but by colour. there were light sorbet colours paired with browns, beiges and greys. although i don't really see anyone running to the store to grab a pair of thos white bicycle shorts, this was still one of the most focused and direct collections from milan.

its refreshing to see someone like consuelo castiglioni inject some charm and wit to menswear. her clothes, although simple at first glance, posseses the same quality of whimsy that has garnered her devout following in womenswear. what i love about marni is that her clothes have this boyish, uniform quality that is so endearing. and when you pair that with immaculate tailoring and stand out accesories, there is no way to go wrong. the collection was a sort of english schoolboy meets russian serf meets meets duran duran. although that may sound incongruous, it works in castiglioni's hands because there is a sense of sincerity in her design. she appropriates those influences by taking its most basic similarities and layers them together and to tie if off, she adds little quirky touches like hood necklaces, or a new elbow lenght sleeve that felt new and modern. the success of this house is consuelo's own unique vision, a vision that is starting to spread wider than her periphery and into a wider audience.


i'll be first to admit that i am not the biggest fan of the trademark missoni zig-zagging knits, but i absolutely adored this collection. what i found so amusing with this presentation is the delicious sense of colour combinations. it was as if every colour from fruits were knitted into cardigans, sweaters, vests and woven into tshirts with charming graphics of ocean wildlife like octopusses and whales. there was something so naively youthful and wonderful about the clothes. it took us to places of being near the ocean and just having fun and enjoying and living the summer. to fully do that we have to be comfortable, so missoni offered shorts of varying lenghts from ones that came as high as the thigh, to bermuda lenghts. their trademark knits were light and perfect for summer nights while trousers had a fuller leg to add on to the relaxed feel of the clothes, just the perfect thing to wear rolled up and feeling the sand between our toes.

photo: men.style.com