Friday, January 30, 2009

gareth pugh - autumn/winter 2009


lanvin - autumn/winter 2009


miharayasuhiro - autumn/winter 2009


ann demeulemeester - autumn/winter 2009


raf simons - autumn/winter 2009


rick owens - autumn/winter 2009


kriss van assche - autumn/winter 2009


junya watanabe - autumn/winter 2009

what is it with this theme of exploring the wilderness that has been rampant throughout the collections. this sense of rugged masculinity that has become a metaphor designers have used to reflect the fighting human spirit to prevail in difficult times. hunting and gathering are innate human instincts that we owe our very existence to and watanabe explored this cornerstone of human evolution without any typical prehistoric references. there was an adventurer spirit of frontiersmen, men that symbolizes a masculine americana and one that unsurprisingly is regurgitated by watanabe into his own melting pot of cultural references. meanings that can be interpreted as the human instinct to move and find greener pastures to braving the elements. as complex as these ideas are, they never come across as pretentiously intellectual or overtly referential. its simply what watanabe does season after season. subverting western icons with a japanese sensibility that carries no signs of confrontation. his work is understandable, obviously deliberate, and has the ability to merge its avant garde philosophies but executed in a thoroughly commercial way. as he matures as a designer, his influences become less extirpated but never losing its directional momentum. his work is becoming more about a shrinking world where fashion in the east is amalgamating with fashion from the west. and that is the legacy and contribution of the great japanese designers that paved the way for him. making watanabe the heir apparent to the japanese torch that has become one of the most influential force in almost three decades.


comme des garcons - autnmn/winter 2009

following her highly successful collaboration with highstreet retail giant H&M, revered designer rei kawakubo returned to a highly conceptual exercise of dissecting western archetypes of clothing that proved once again that while she is able to percolate her avant garde sensibilities to adapt through a mass market vehicle, she is still able to provoke and push the boundaries of fashion and subvert all the idiosyncrasies connected to it like only she can. this was, for a lack of better word, a more straightforward collection. that however didn't mean that the end result was by any means obviously generic. while it didn't have the brazen provocation as her past collections, or its shock value results, what it did have was its surprising amalgamation of wearability and conceptual idea. the suit with its tartans, animal prints, and classic british fabrication, had the right amount of flair to balance and add an interest to its rather understandable silhouette and cut. the end result became sophisticated with a heightened sense of restraint that it became somewhat sublime. even when more experimental shapes such as the skirt or full legged cropped trousers paired with schoolboy cardigans possessed and intelligence and a wit that showed a rational mind at work. there was an undeniable maturity and elegance that bellied a renegade sensibility from one of the greatest designer of all time. and despite the doom and gloom that hovers its dark hood through every social crevice, she still managed to inject a sense of humour in the collection. if a shawl lapel jacket with a tromp l'oeil print of a belt tied around the waist in a chinoiserie print isn't enough to make you smile then you should start stocking up on the valium for a miserable financial year ahead.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

givenchy - autumn/winter 2009

the silhouette and tisci's trademark gothic sensibility was as prevalent as it was for his givenchy homme debut last season, it is there where the similarities with his second menswear collection ends. last season's tinge of romanticism and fragility with the lace and fuschia mixed in with the leather and blacks were all abandoned this season. there was a decidedly more aggressive tone with this presentation where as he had done with his womenswear show in the past, tisci opened the show with a parade of black models dressed in all black and leather. a commanding opening that showed the clothes on the backs of real men and not on the rail thin models that has dominated the catwalks in recent years. it was a powerful statement that set the mood for the collection. dominated by his use of black with the occasional shot of deep brown, icy blue/white and beige, the power of tisci's vision augmented by the sharp tailoring and the sense of drama the designer is reknowned for made for one of the most impactful visual message of the show season. while last season was applauded for its aesthetic execution, it was also criticized for lacking in commercial viability. a hot pink lace shirt would look amazing for an editorial, but how convincing is that for a real consumer to buy to wear in the real world. just like with his womenswear collection for the house, tisci needs time to fully develop the givenchy man. and that lesson can only be really learned through trial and error. this season he succeeded in presenting immaculately tailored coats and jackets. would you wear said coats and jackets with cuffed shorts worn over leather lace-up leggings is however another story. a story that would probably have a different ending in the showroom for buyers and only add fuel to the tisci train that shows no sign of slowing down.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

yohji yamamoto - autumn/winter 2009

one of the strongest themes of the season is that of a savage hermit. the nomadic man who uses clothes as protection against the elements. the man who is too pre-occupied with survival that the purpose of clothes are not just mere decoration, but a necessity. clothes as a metaphor on the cycle of life is a territory that has been explored by yamamoto throughout his career. whether celebrating the joyful episodes of life or its more arduous journeys, yamamoto always manages to weave a story that compliments his aesthetic, and at the same time be conducive with whats going on in the world. while the general mood of the collections has been that of battle ready defiance, as tim blanks has brilliantly pointed out, this collection seems rather exhausted. last season he sent a model out in a suit to get the morning paper and milk. this season that man couldn't be bothered changing out of his pajamas to grab a baguette. and when he did put clothes on to venture out he couldn't care less that his jacket was inside out nor the fact that he was wearing his boxer shorts over his trousers. as pessimistic as this might sound, maybe yamamoto was the only one to have the balls to say that in all the talks about optimism and being tough during the recession, the reality is that it won't be all good. people will lose their jobs, maybe even lose their homes and have to resort to living on the streets and piling on clothes for warmth. as much its been said that in these times that fashion's purpose is to provide fantasy, maybe yamamoto is arguing that it should just as much about representing reality.


veronique branquinho - autumn/winter 2009

there has always been a quiet, and determined integrity in branquinho's vision. it never screams for attention, but with its cerebral nature manages to fill an entire room. while her work has been largely criticized for being somewhat too heavy in its intellectual execution and process, her work is not that far off from fellow belgian, and universally lauded designer martin margiela. branquinho too possesses the talent to brilliantly re-interpret old classics by giving it a twist that is both humorous, and slightly eccentric. with layered lapels that adds a graphic outline to an otherwise classic navy blazer, or a standard pinstripe version where the neck tie is suspended from either side the lapel and worn over a quilted vest. branquinho injects little details like these into her designs that lifts it away from banality into an understated elegance that with its almost austerity becomes commanding in a non aggressive way. a little too subtle for some maybe, but sometimes all you need is a small voice to perfectly elucidate your point.


ute ploier - autumn/winter 2009

presenting perhaps the most mature and sophisticated collection of her young career, designer ute ploier has ascended her house out of a luxury street wear brand into a full on luxury label that was able to show growth and maturity, but never once abandoning the youthful spirit she always manages to inject into her clothes. as with alexander mcqueen who showed a few days earlier, ploier was also inspired by the sport of boxing. throughout the collections there has been a warrior spirit permeating through the shows in paris and milan. in these challenging times designers are presenting their ideal image of a man who can fight through times of crises. gone are the ambiguous sexual innuendos and androgynous sensibilities that was one of the most influential themes of the two thousands. while ploier never really explored the androgyne idea, her past presentations had an undeniable "boyish" quality but with a vision stoically towards the future. there was never any obvious past or retro references in her work. it was always clean, modern, with a vigor and utilitarianism that had its youthful spirit planted firmly on the ground. but as it goes, when push comes to shove and times get hard even the little boy is forced to grow up quick. and ute's boys fortunately now have their grown up clothes to wear that can help present them as a man ready to tackle the real world, but never losing their fiery, virile independence.

number (n)ine - autumn/winter 2009

the banality of western ideologies on the purpose of dressing is a concept that the great japanese designers of the past has always taken into consideration. in the new millennium, designer takahiro miyashita has expanded on that idea and referenced the most ambiguous corners of society as the reference point to amalgamate the east with the west. using experiences "trapped" within the borders of the american wilderness, miyashita manipulated the scenery of alaska that he was forced to be secluded by into a collection that brimmed with references that was able to translate into a commercial endeavor. and that catalyst was his hotel room. and with that came the brocade, tassels, buttons, and blinds that was his companion during his experience at the room he became acquainted with. while those references could be interpreted in a straightforward manner by most designers, the japananese has a knack of compounding those ideas with their own flat-centric approach to design and anarchistic interpretation of western ideals into something that compounds a simplistic eastern sensibility with a western display of opulence. the dandy-fied touch of dressing with the spirit of eccentricism and grandeur tinged with an american insecurity provides one of the most introspective presentation we've seen all week. it was as if jack london ventured into the wild to meditate on the savage nature of the wilderness in really well made clothes. where clothes were layered upon each other in a nomadic sense to protect the wearer from the frigid northern winter. a far fetched idea perhaps, but one that can only be coherent on a stage as broad as paris through the eyes of an outsider looking in.


hugo by hugo boss - autumn/winter 2009

bruno pietres knife like precision on how he handled his inaugural runway presentation for hugo is so precise in its exercise of technique and thoughtfulness that it warrants accolades for being the most perfectly executed presentation during the milan/paris menswear calendar so far. granted that this collection owes a lot of its affinity with raf simons' eponymous runway show last season, what differs is that while the youthful spirit is concisely present, pieters delved into his german modernist background as the launching point of his most vocal visual display of his career. the strict bauhaus palette of red/black/white and a perfect angle that owes its corners and sense of space to an almost perfect algebraic equation is the sum that adds up to one that will undoubtedly be the most directional vision for the upcoming season. while milan was so concentrated on masculinity in the definitive sense, ergo classic tradition, paris is becoming a display of the masculine in the modernist vocabulary. taking the icons of sartorial elegance, which is deeply rooted in technique and tradition and interpreting it into something that takes its inspiration from schools that delves into manipulating historical aspects and regurgitating it into something that is unforgivably of its time, pieters has brewed a pot that mixes in old world elegance with the ethos of reality that has become the cornerstone of the modernist manifesto. consider the neckline of his suits and coats with its jutting angular peaks of matching yet condescending prints that provides an almost hallucinogenic visual point of interest that forces the eye to focus on the cut rather than the effect. where jackets are slightly slashed to perfect angle to the sweaters worn underneath bellies the conscious decision of the designer to make the audience concentrate on the abilities of the tailors constructing the garment. for a collection that is so directional in its intent and so adamant on putting its foot down on what the sensibility of this label is all about in a time when playing it safe should be the ulterior motive, designer bruno pieters is without a doubt a messiah in these tumultuous times and one that could possible be the most defining voice since hedi slimane.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

alexander mcqueen - autumn/winter 2009

alexander mcqueen has always been one of fashion's most erudite story teller. his ability of manifest such a broad romantic vision into a collection that once dissected, floods with individual pieces that are immaculately made and commercially understandable has been a talent he has mastered and perfected over the years. he has come a long way since the bumster pants of his early years and his work is now more mature and sophisticated but never once betrays the rebelliousness of his youth. there is still that macabre and gothic quality with the way he presents a collection that creates a fluid story which is usually based on a historical figure. that historical figure this season was the marquess of queensberry. the 19th century scottish nobleman who endorsed the rules that has since become the basis of the sport of modern boxing. which explained the boxing gloves and why there was a dandy vein running through the collection and was the perfect vehicle to showcase mcqueen's remarkable saville row trained tailoring. a pronounced masculinity has been one of the biggest themes during the milan calendar. with many designers showing a collection based on their idea of what the strong, modern man should look like, mcqueen takes the prize by presenting the most sartorial gladiator we've seen all week. after all it was based on a boxer. and any man who can stand inside a rink bruised, bloodied, and alone with just his bare hands as his weapon, possesses a transcendent courage very few people have.


Monday, January 19, 2009

prada - autumn/winter 2009

in times of struggle and uncertainties, the primaeval instinct of survival kicks in and it is during these times that has the capacity to bring out the best in some of us. and it certainly has for fashion's most influential harbinger miuccia prada. abandoning the idea of toying with a somewhat frail sensuality with her menswear collections which she has been experimenting with for the past few seasons, prada shifted gears and instead focused on a darker and more assertive tone with her most recent collection. that need for strength to weather the storm ahead translated into a collection with clothes that had such a pronounced masculinity. coats and jackets were double breasted to enhance the character of the men's torso in various shades of grey with wide pronounced shoulders and peaked lapels to fully accentuate the difference between the male form from the female. as the collection progressed and the clothes appeared to be rather straightforward, or too simple for a prada show, slowly different elements began to appear to add some layers to the conceptual stew miuccia cooks up season after season. leather was treated as a normal fabric used as freely as an undershirt, a jumper, or a panel on trousers that hinted on something quite savage which was only heightened even more when slowly the studs started to appear. first as a decoration that outlined the wingtips of lace-up shoes and as a detail that framed the edge of collar and eventually covering knee length coats, shirts and trousers. the combination of leather and studs however did not evoke visuals of metal headbangers from the eighties. it did however give off that same feeling of toughness. of using such decoration as a form of armor to survive the dark mood that is enveloping the world. even the casting of the models has shifted away from a look that is androgynous into something decidedly more masculine. it was as if miuccia was sending down an army strong enough to survive the difficult times. despite such complex ideas, the strength of prada is her ability to translate her intellectual point of view into something that is both commercial and directional. and that mixed in with her uncompromising vision is her greatest weapon.


neil barrett - autumn/winter 2009

since showing his signature line in milan, it's almost been expected for neil barrett to show a collection based on a sense of uniforms. from bikers, to military, ski wear, to formal attire, he is a designer more known with working within the diameters of a particular "look" and re-interpreting it with his signature tailoring. this season however saw the designer experimenting not just with silhouettes and cut, but rather the actual appearance of the garment. where asymmetrical panelings became the focal point on coats and jackets, and his trademark vest came out as a bib complete with collars and pocket vents worn underneath. he also reworked his signature use of leather using a fabric normally associated with outerwear and transformed it into lightweight cardigans and into a sweater with an embossed cable-knit pattern. and if that wasn't a departure enough he also experimented with proportions. offering a more squared and cropped jacket paired with hip slung trousers that ranged from slim fitting to something a bit more generous and a couple inspired by the dhoti pants of india. although many are already pointing out similarities with the great avant garde japanese designers, this was very much a neil barrett collection. it had the same youthful spirit and attention to detail that has garnered him legions of fans. and while the direction of this collection is brand new territory, it had just the right amount of fashion and functionality that would not alienate his old customers, but will guarantee earn him loads of new ones.


gianfranco ferré - autumn/winter 2009

this season marks the debut of designers tommaso aquilano and roberto rimond as menswear designers for the house of gianfranco ferré. after their critically acclaimed womenswear presentation presented last september, expectations were high and many were curious to see how they can merge the identity of gianfranco ferré's male vision with their own conceptions. while the late gianfranco ferré was an immensely talented designer, in his later years his work was criticized as being too heavy-handed. stuck in a place that couldn't seem to escape the opulence of the eighties and adapt to the demands of contemporary times. as with their womenswear presentation, aquilano and rimond attempted to focus instead on streamlining the architectural sensibility that has been synonymous with the brand. using a controlled sense of volume that showed a discipline and a modernity that gave the house a much needed breath of fresh air. for this presentation the focus was on the silhouette produced by razor sharp tailoring. particularly with narrow peaking shoulders on 3/4 length coats or cropped jackets that fell just below the hips in shiny fabrics which resulted in a look that could be described as "baroque futurism". there is still that sense of drama and grandeur that is part of the DNA of the house. and while some looks faltered when the designers lost control of the overwhelming volume of the knits paired with massive scarves, and paired with a fuller leg trouser which didn't help anchor the volume at top, the attempts the designers are making in modernizing such a legendary house is quite convincing. while the collection wasn't as cohesive as the womenswear presentation, it still had enough substance and strengths to keep everyone guessing on how the two new designers will continue to reinvent the ferré man.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

burberry prorsum - autumn/winter 2009

christopher bailey has always been a purveyor of the general mood of a particular season. his collection for burberry that showed on the first day on the menswear calendar was the first real statement of what will eventually summarize what the autumn/winter 2009 collection is all about. and that is something robust in its masculinity, but without any sense of over exaggeration. there is a sense of work in the clothes. a struggle that in many ways has always been what ultimately defines a man. however luxurious the fabrication or workmanship, in true bailey form it was humbled by giving it a finish that evoked something lived in and worked in. less polish and more reality. it had the endearing quality that has attracted consumers all across the globe. and like always bailey referenced the britain of the past. edwardian touches like undershirts that tied around the neck was freely mixed in with post-war make do approach to dressing and worked with the house's iconic plaid. the success of bailey and his work at burberry is his ability to channel influence through the common man and translate it to something sublime and universally understandable that makes him fashion's modern day arthur miller. no one ever feels alienated in the burberry world because there is a humanity in the clothes. a humanity that owes its soul to the talents of christopher bailey.


jil sander - autumn/winter 2009

raf simons is unarguably one of the most influential designers in the menswear arena. his ability to elucidate a concept with such precision and discipline has made his work at the venerable house of jil sander one of the most consistently directional forces in fashion. while last season was an exercise in severity with slim silhouettes and sharp angles, this season saw simons experimenting with severity in a different form. one of raf's strengths is his ability to manipulate the form of the male figure and for this collection his experimentation with the form took him to a shape that normally belonged to the female of the species. the hourglass. jackets were cut with wide slopping shoulders which tapered in to accent a raised waist and gently rolled down past the hips that ended up, as with all of raf's collections, something architectural, futuristic, vaguely familiar, yet excitingly modern. while this new shape the designer is proposing might not be the most commercially viable to a mass market especially in these troubled economic times, the house of jil sander under the direction of simons has become a house for a very specialized consumer. it is for the man who understands and appreciates the attention to cut, the fabrication, and the intellect behind the decision to propose such ideas. in raf's work there is the sincerity and passion about his chosen craft that is so apparent that one might not particularly adapt to his proposals, but nevertheless admire the unyielding force of the designers convictions and the vision to constantly look to the future.


les hommes - autumn/winter 2009

the label, conceived by designers tom notte and bart vandebosch who met while students at antwerp's prestigious royal academy of fine arts has many of the traits that is pervasive to houses that are helmed by a duo rather than an individual. there is a sense of tension where two ideas collide and in effect produce a collection that is at once cohesive, but other times appears to be somewhat schizophrenic, but rarely losing control. the cohesive part of this collection probably owes much to the sensibility of many belgian designers to channel youthful angst and melancholy and use rigorous formal technique to produce a collection that owes most of its strength to its superb tailoring. where jackets came with slanted pleats that echoes the shape of the body to provide a strong graphic interest or in the form of a basket weave to give another visual dimension to an otherwise wardrobe staple. but where it comes short is when the designers attempt to over dramatize their vision with stylistic touches like with elizabethan collars and headbands that was not conducive to the personality of the clothes. a small miss-step perhaps, but given the young age of this fledgling label it is easy to forgive and forget such minor things when the talent presented is so obvious.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

bird of paradise

flair: january 2009
photographer: jean-françois campos
stylist: natalie brewster
model: rachel clark (supreme)

i love the fact that the first editorial of the new year that totally floored me came from a magazine that i must admit do not pay that much attention to or came courtesy of a stylist i've never heard of and a model that i've always rooted for. although flair doesn't get as much shine as vogue italia or numero it does every now and then produce some of the dopest spreads by a monthly publication (case in point the tara gill editorial from a few months ago). another good thing about flair is that in the absence of superstar top girls, they still manage to come out with this bangin' ass editorial starring the criminally underated rachel clark. i remember this girl having so much hype a year ago and even making it on the list of top fifty models on and being a regular at harper's bazaar but then all of a sudden she dropped outta the radar. which really annoys me because there are so many lame ass, expressionless girls nabbing all these ad campaigns and fashion spreads in all the big magazines and knowing that my homegirl rachel can do a hella lot better. this girl is so dynamic infront of the camera that i can never look at that jil sander fringe dress in any other way. its fucking ridiculous how good she moves infront of the camera. can you really see someone like karlie kloss (i don't mean to hate i just think she's ranked way too high on being able to pull off all that feather and fringe? well the fall/winter 09 shows is only a few months away and with supreme's insanely amazing show package and this story to add to her book, i am praying to god that this girl finally gets her just dues.

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008: a year in review

first off, my apologies for not posting for the past couple of weeks. the holiday season usually involves loads of drinking and as a consequence, my regular sundays off have been spent like a vegetable in front of the 'puter watching such great hits as willow, thundercats, and the harry potter series. and last week-end, after chowing down some grub at china town in the wee hours of the mornin', my mate accidentally poked my eye and as a result it was hella swollen and was too sensitive to the abrasive glare of the computer screen (and the tele for that matter). but now i am back and although my opinion doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, here are my two cents anyways.
as i was doing my research and watching hours of videos of the past year on youtube and, the one word that was ubiquitous from every major fashion editor's mouth was "optimism". the economy is undoubtedly the most concerning issue of the past year and even though the stock market crash didn't actually happen till the spring/summer 2009 presentations, it has been a topic that has been at the forefront of everyone's mind for quite some time. considering that the fashion industry is one that is based on, for lack of a better word, frivolous pursuits, it would seem to be the obvious industry that would feel the initial brunt of penny pinching consumers. but from couture's ostentatious flights of fancy, to pret-a-porter's sky rocketing price tags, to the towering heights of today's "it" shoes, not only does fashion seem to be challenging the heavy hood of the recession, its doing it through sexed-up, vamped-up, rolled-out, blinged-out, no need to apologize beauty. sometimes at the sake of practicality. but for fashion to turn its back on its real purpose, which is to augment its wearer's beauty, and follow the path of sobriety to match the economic climate is to abandon the service that designers provide. to look at something beautiful, resplendent, and optimistically defiant in these troubled times, even if it is only in a dress.


it's been three years since ricardo tisci has been appointed as the successor at the house built by legendary designer hubert givenchy. a relative unknown when he landed the prestigious job, tisci's ascent as the savior of the venerable house did not fully manifest itself until his watershed collection for fall/winter 2008. inspired by religious south american iconographies, tisci managed to capture the romantic ideal of the label, but infused it with his own gothic sensibility and rock and roll edge. it resulted in one of the most influential collections of the year. spawning countless high street knock-offs and thrusting the young designer as one of the most influential voices in fashion. it might not be a coincidence that religion played such a vital role with this collection. after the house had become somewhat of a revolving door for designers who found it difficult to balance their own vision with the legacy of the house, tisci's gaining confidence is nothing short of divine intervention. he followed his critically lauded womenswear presentation a few months later with his first menswear collection for the house that became one of the most directional collection of the season. proving that not only is he a highly talented designer, but one who is worthy of carrying the givenchy torch. it took a while for tisci to finally find his footing, but the house has seemed to have finally found a rightful heir.


the past year can be remembered as a year when designers took themes and concepts to the extreme. pushing and developing ideas to its limit and in the process forcing us to take a second look at things that we wouldn't normally associate with fashion that has a directional objective. case in point, and the one who is famous for taking the banal into the sublime is miuccia prada. for her fall/winter 2008 collection, prada based her entire collection on lace. a fabric that has no connotations with modernity but in prada's intellectually adept hands, not only did she managed to use a fabric she has no natural affinity for with phenomenal results, she also, as only miuccia knows how, to manage to turn something "ugly" into something desirable. and for the first time in quite a while, prada managed to steal the "most used shoe for a fashion editorial" title from balenciaga with her surreal ruffled leather concoctions whose arabesque lines balanced out the austerity, and razor sharp quality of the clothes. it is her drive to challenge herself by tackling and using things she has no inherent affection for that inevitably challenges our own perception of fashion and eventually she, as always, manages changes our mind.
and in the realm of menswear, belgian designer raf simons is one of the few menswear designer that is really challenging the traditional sartorial rules that has governed the male species for hundreds of years. what is surprising is that he is accomplishing this daunting task by using what has been the cornerstone of the male wardrobe to begin with, tailoring. with this age old tool, simons has managed to give a new form to menswear. taking it not so far away from slimane's still influential silhouette, but defining it. making the lines sharper and stronger and more linear by experimenting with proportions and toying with the idea of a controlled sense of volume. in many ways raf simons brought back the idea of minimalism with his own eponymous label and with his work at jil sander. this however is not like the minimalism of the nineties. it doesn't posses the sterile quality of the previous decade. simons' work is goverened by an intellectual mind rationally at work. where every pattern, every cut is done with surgeon like precision but avoids losing its soul by using the energy of youth as its consumate inspiration.


the issue of race has been one of fashion's not so dirty little secret for years. the lack of representation by models of colour on the major catwalks has been an issue openly addressed by naomi campbell, and model agent bethann hardison. however, for the most part been largely ignored by not only designers, but the editors of top fashion magazines. in july, fashion's most influential monthly bible vogue italia devoted a whole issue entirely to models of african descent all photographed by fashion's top image maker steven meisel. the magazine sold out accross the globe within hours and conde nast promptly hurried to have forty thousand more issued re-printed. finally breaking the long standing belief in magazine publishing that black models on the cover do not push sales. but the real milestone of this landmark issue is not the amount of issues sold, it is at the base about representation. that beauty is not inclusive to sixteen year old eastern european models, or brazilian bombshells, or the american girl next door. the scope that defines beauty is also present in the ebony of alek wek's skin, or in liya kebede's regal air. from beverly johnson becoming the first black woman on the cover of american vogue to this vogue italia edition, models of colour on fashion editorials, runways, and ad campaigns are few and far between. and only time will tell if this watershed edition has any resonance.


while lara stone, and mathias lauridsen aren't exactly new to the modeling world, 2008 did see these two genetically blessed humans seem omnipresent on all the major runways and glossies. lara stone, the dutch sensation who have bewitched everyone from ricardo tisci to carine roitfeld (who is so enamoured by stone that she is dedicating the whole entire february 2009 edition of french vogue to the model) has managed to, with, her more buxom figure, basically bumrush the size zero girls outta the water. with her bleached eyebrow, gap-tooth pout, and her womanly "curves", lara is representing a more healthy ideal body in an industry that has recently come under fire for promoting an unhealthy body image when the standard modeling size has gone down from a size 4 to a size 0. she also has that awkward manner of walking the catwalks that made her a runway sensation. walking on over sixty shows during the last round of collections. with the lara stone edition of french vogue right around the corner, 2009 might just be even bigger for the dutch sex-pot.
mathias first made a name for himself a few years ago when he was personally chosen by jil sander to be the face of the brand when she returned as its creative director. while he was never short of work the following years, 2008 saw him land an extremely lucrative ad for gucci fragrance pour homme, and campaigns for missoni, givenchy, hugo boss, and swedish retail giant h&m. he has also become a regular fixture on directional magazines such as AnOtherMan and v-man and has been parked on the number one position of top male models on for the better part of the year. charismatic and polite, this great dane will go down in history as one of the most successful male model of his generation.


"it" bags has become a plague in the fashion world for the past few years. stealing the spotlight from the actual clothes, these instant status symbols has overshadowed actual collections for their instantly recognizable logos, celebrity associations and highly publicized designer/artist collaborations. the accessory of choice to emerge out of 2008 is one that is fetishized above all others, the shoe. the past year saw the shoe reach almost ridiculously vertiginous heights. whether it came as a platform, a stiletto, or a wedge, the shoes designers sent out the past year could rival any frank gehry monument. perhaps the sudden shift from bags to shoes could simply be explained by people becoming bored of the "it" bag craze. it wasn't bound to last because bags does not carry any sexual overtones. shoes however is a different story. and no matter how high the heels get or how difficult and impractical they would be to walk in, a woman would never sacrifice heels for comfort and risk losing that wink of subverted sexuality.


like the mythical bird who rose from the ashes, andy warhol's once seminal monthly magazine has over the years lost some of its brilliant luster but experienced a triumphant re-birth towards the end of 2008. released at the end of summer, the re-launched edition of interview magazine for september under the new editorial direction of fabien baron and glenn o'brien with a brand new layout, touched on provocative topics that harkened a new golden age for what used to be one of the most influential voices in monthly publication. a renewed focus on the arts, highly conceptual fashion editorials, and a focus on the city and its inhabitants that was integral to the spirit of the magazine has made interview magazine in just a few months suddenly become a power player in the world of visual communication. its only been four issues since the magazine has been relaunched and 2009 will prove to be a banner for this magazine.


okay nicola formichetti also has my vote as stylist of the year with his ridonkulous editorials for dazed and confused, vogues homme japan, and for AnOtherMan. the latter with which in my opinion he has produced some of the dopes shit my eyes have ever seen. i dig editorials that has a story and is not stuck within the box of a studio space. and boy did this dude not only come outta the box, he filled a whole mountain range with some of the most insanely amazing fashion spread the world has ever seen. this was a perfect marriage of concept, fashion, and execution. it would've been very easy for the clothes to get lost inside all those ideas, but mr. formichetti and photographer norbert schoerner managed to find that synergy that instead of exploding into one big hot mess, resulted in bar none the best editorial of the year. this might even make it to my top five of all time, actually it does. if you don't believe me just click here to see the whole thing. and if you still don't think its that gravy then you can go eat a dick.

well boys and girls, thats what i thought about 2008. will it go down as one of the most memorable fashion years for me. i doubt it. not to say that there were no good fashion that came out of it. i'm sure there were. what i would remember about this year has nothing to do about fashion. i met some really good friends this year and we started 2009 with some of my oldest and dearest friends being silly and dancing in my best friend's living room to lil' wayne having so much fun and not realizing that we totally missed the countdown. i guess what i'm trying to say is that i'm glad i'm not gonna remember 2008 as the year prada made a whole collection out of lace, but as a year that i met people that i pray to god i will always know for the rest of my life. and although i am extremely thankful for having met those people i am also greatly sadden by losing someone i've never met, but has been one of the biggest inspirations in my life. here's to you yves.

Blog Archive