Tuesday, May 27, 2008

dancing with demi-gods

holy shit. its only tuesday and these dudes make me want to go ape shit like its a friday long weekend. yes i know this album has been out for a couple of months but since i lost my i-pod (tears) and my mac crashed on me (more tears), i've been living in music limbo. you know how depressing it is going to work and all u hear is the same shit over and over again. although i must say i kinda enjoy the r n' b i usually won't listen or admit to listening to. k fine i admit liking keyshia cole's "let you go", it's brings out the high school in me. but back to topic, yeah, these cats are swinging by my area code in a couple of weeks. its only a dj set but i might have to bring a towel cause i'mma go happy feet like a penguin all up on that dancefloor.

calvin klein - resort 2009

after last fall's exercise in disciplined form and structure, francisco costa loosened up quite a bit for the resort collection he designed for calvin klein. although the "pleats please" mantra of issey miyake was the most obvious thread that ran throughout the collection, it wasn't the only japanese influence that was present. while many will remember calvin klein as the undisputed master of minimalism, very few recognize the similarity klein shared with other japanese greats like kawakubo or yamamoto. with these designers, klein also challenged traditional concepts of tailoring and the idea of american sports wear. when klein first debuted a more somber silhouette which consisted of knee length skirts and boxier jackets paired with black oxfords in the mid nineties, it escaped a lot of people that that aesthetic shared a lot with the trademarks of contemporary japanese designers. and it seems that costa, who has proven that he is the right man, and maybe the only man to helm the legendary house has picked up on that. asides from the pleated one-shoulder dresses, there were asymmetric jackets with over-lapping lapels or panels of fabric paired with high waisted (obviously) pleated pants that tapered slightly just above the ankle. and to drive the eastern influence home, costa showed a couple of sleeveless tops with exaggerated pagoda shoulders that gave the effect of a slimmer waist line but still providing a commanding silhouette. despite all the strong tailoring that costa presented, this is a resort collection after all and the runway was filled with light weight toga inspired dresses printed in soft silvery snake skin printed in slightly shiny fabrics to catch the sun wherever the people who buy resort are vacationing at. to have such a charmed life to travel when us mere mortals are freezing in sub-zero temperatures requires charmed clothes. and with this collection, costa provided that.

photo: style.com

Sunday, May 25, 2008

dry season

w magazine: june 2008
photographer: craig mcdean
creative director: alex white
models: abbey lee, elsa sylvan, heidi mount

w magazine is hit or miss. certain months the editorials are amazing, and the following month could be so boring its like watching an episode of corner gas. this month however kinda threw me off because this fucking editorial is so bonkers but its basically the only one. well there is one with charleze theron but she also bores the living shit outta me so we won't even bother talking about her. i like her better looking like a monster than just another hollywood blonde. but whatevs. i ranked abbey lee as the number one new comer for fall/winter 2008 and i'm glad to see she's living up to that position. she looks pretty fucking rad in these set of pics. and i love the whole mad max/blade runner vibe running through the shoot. and i'll be honest and say that i never paid that much attention to elsa and heidi, but i think after this i'm going to have to add an asterisk beside their name on my mental directory of models. i'm really tempted to buy this issue because these pictures are amazing and its only like five bucks but, i think i'll just wait a few months from now when i can buy it at a used magazine store for a dollar.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the real red, white, and blue

french vogue: june/july 2008
photographer: mario testino
creative director: carine roitfeld
model: noemie lenoir

considering that gay paris was the creative force during the twenties and as a result had one of the most forward thinking approach of any city in the entire world, it would be the place were black americans flocked to to escape the terrible racial experience in the united states. paris became a city that embraced jazz and its human embodiment that was josephine baker. the freedom of movement and the pure, rawnest of the music escaped through the limbs of baker. while america never considered black to be beautiful, in france she became a sex symbol and was called "the black venus", "the black pearl", or simply as "la baker". although racisim in france was by no means absent, it was, and still is one of the most open minded centers in the world. it was on french vogue where naomi campbell snatched her first vogue cover and not so long ago, a whole issue was devoted to ethiopian model liya kebede. and now the magazine is celebrating one of its own daughters. although noemie lenoir isn't the most popular model on the planet, she is without a doubt one of the most striking faces. combine her feline angles, with her own oozing sexuality and the mysterious "je ne sais quoi" that french women have, and her allure is irresistible. i don't want to seem like i don't appreciate this awesome cover, but it would have been so much better is noemie shared the cover with that other bodacious sista chrystelle saint louis agustine. i would have had a heart attack. but a good one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

shoulda' known bettah

a couple of posts ago i lamented about the direction the (less)popular television show fashion file was headed towards. but after having a discussion by someone who actually works for the company i've realized what i've kinda speculated all along. just like most media that is handled today where popular opinion sways opposed to intellectual propriety, the show has ended up at the same boat. could i really blame this new direction when popular culture right now is so based on celebrity culture that even old fashion institutions such as american vogue, or harper's bazaar have devoted the past few years to put actors and reality t.v. stars as the face of their monthly publication. what was reserved to models and fashion entities is now devoted to media persons using the magazine as a vehicle to promote their new endeavors by being on the cover. although i still think that mainella isn't as equipped as tim blanks in the realm of fashion history or criticism, maybe he actually isn't that horrible. just like most public figures today, he could merely be a puppet pulled by strings by the powers that be that owns and produces fashion file. besides to jump on the bandwagon this late on the game has resulted in alienating the ones who reserved half an hour each week for the show and they can't possibly attract new viewers since the stupid half of the population have been watching entertainment tonight and reading the national enquirer for the past few years. ten years ago fashion file had the perfect ingredient of balancing the uber seriousness of CNN's style with elsa klensch with the annoying, trying too hard approach of jeanne becker. i personally learned a lot by following tim blanks and his analytical observation of the fashion world. with him gone, i kinda feel sorry for the generation that have vapid things to listen to.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

backpack nostalgia

slug is fucking ridiculous. he is perhaps one of the best humans ever made. when i get home later i am going to dig all my old atmosphere records and freestyle infront of the mirror and pretend to be amazing.

the revolution will not be televised

there is this idea running amok these days that fashion is an institution for those who are unlearned and superficial. five years ago the fashion community had a beacon in the form of tim blanks to articulate ideas of fashion and merge the intellectual with the commercial. these days however, since blanks left his position as host of fashion file, one of the loudest voice to represent high fashion to mass media has fallen on unequipped hands. popular culture has already segregated the fashion community into the realm of circuit house, and queer eye for the straight guy mentality. granted that fashion is populated with men who are curved rather than straight as an arrow, it wouldn't have hurt if the business was publicly represented in a form of a weekly television show by a man who can balance popular culture by having something intelligent to say. to watch an episode of fashion file today hosted by adrien mainella is like watching a super gay version of access hollywood. would tim blanks have devoted a whole segment to kiera knightley's red carpet history? would he have even thought that celebrities are worth mentioning or even be a topic worth devoting five mintutes to? and would someone as intelligent as tim blanks actually rank a d-squared collection as one of the top five collections of the season? i don't know about you, but for me fashion is always going to be a reflection of ideas bubbling in the collective cauldron of consciousness. something that executes the ideas of people subversively. this is how i see it, tim blanks is the ghesquiere and mainella is the heatherette. good for show, but totally missing in substance. and just like heatherette, i hope mainella goes bankrupt soon so that he can get replaced with someone worthy of carrying tim blanks' legacy so that he/she can continue to inspire all the future nicholas formichettis and carine roitfelds in the world.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

pump the jam

dazed and confused: may 2008
photographer: laurence passera
stylist: nicola formichetti
model: kevin (dancer)

i'm a big fan of nicola formichetti and i love the movement in this series. and i actually like how the guy they used actually looks like a model. so this dude is a tecktonick dancer from france. for those of you who don't know, tecktonick is kinda like the french version of the soulja boy dance here on our side of the atlantic. but a million times gayer. if i could describe the dance it reminds me of the footwork from breakheads and junglists back in the day mixed in with vogueing. it's pretty ridonkculous and entertaining to watch but i'm not sure if the popularity of this dance will spill over stateside. in my opinion its the last breath of the whole nu rave thing that swept across europe a couple of years ago. i'm also pretty biased...i don't think any dance is better than krumping. if you've ever seen david lachapelle's documentary "rize", then you'll know exactly what i mean. what you're about to see below is from one of the dopest talents every to come out of france, yelle, and her insanely bonkers video "a cause des garcons".

Saturday, May 10, 2008

riot in belgium


ann demeulemeester, dirk van saene, dirk bikkembergs

marina yee, dries van noten, walter van beirendonck

in 1988 a group of guerilla designers from antwerp, belgium rented a truck and with their designs drove to london for fashion week to have the chance to show international buyers their designs. their work was so forward thinking that even in avant garde london it became a resounding success. they were heralded as the most important designers since the japanese first showed in paris almost a decade before. that impact of that trip gave birth to the legend of what is now known as the "antwerp six". consisting of designers that all graduated from the now famed royal acadamy of fine arts under the tutelage of linda lopa. the original six consisted of designers ann demeulemeester, dirk van saene, dirk bikkembergs, marinya yee, dries van noten, and walter van beirendonck. despite sharing the same academic process and nationality, these six designers had very different points of view when it came to the execution of their designs. while ann favoured the deconstructed aesthetic, van noten was highly influenced by ethnic form of dress, while van beirendonck was inspired by a cartoonish futurism. not only did these six designers propel themselves in the fashion limelight, they were also responsible for making the world take notice of the bergeoning talents belgium had to offer. the renegade spirit of these courageous designers to show their underground sensibility in the height of the opulent eighties made them icons in the fashion world. examples of being able to do what you strongly believe in and succeeding at it. if anything, that courage and conviction is what made these six designers so legendary. twenty years later these designers are still steadfastly following their own voice, never once betraying the courage they showed all those years ago.


raf simons, bruno pieters, kris van assche, haider ackermann

olivier theyskens, martin margiela, a.f. vandervorst, veronique branquinho

while it must be hard to live up to one of fashion's most endearing fairy tale story, the road that was paved by the antwerp six has allowed other belgian designers to become some of the most influential voices in fashion today. most notably the infamously reclusive martin margiela who was originally supposed to be part of the six but after a brief association left the group. raf simons has become the new herald of minimalism and is one of the most influential voices in menswear. also in the menswear arena is kriss van assche. the designer who succeeded hedi slimane at dior homme and also helms his own eponymous label. and one of fashion's favorite media darlings, olivier theyskens. the designer famously rejuvenated the house of rochas and who now works his magic at nina ricci. his gothic take on romanticism has managed to seduced event he most ardent fashion critics. and then there are designers like haider ackermann, veronique branquinho, bruno pietres, and filip arickx and an vandevorst, the design team of up and coming label a.f. vandervorst. relatively new designers who are quietly making their mark with their unique personal visions. with a population of only 10.5 million, basically just over the population of metropolitan new york city, how is it that such a small country is able to turn out so many great designers? the answer lies in the system that nurtures and promotes designers through institutions like the royal academy. there is a genuine interest in the success of its future ambassadors in the international arena. as a result, the originality of the designer is fostered and combine that with lessons on high technique and execution, then you end up with ingredients that is hard to beat. countries trying to break into the international scene should look at belgium as a text book example of what to do. ahem...canada.