Then there's Miuccia Prada. After such a disappointing season, finally Ms Prada closed fashion week with an ULTRA GORGE Miu Miu collection (Tip: never ever call Miu Miu a "diffusion line/sister line" of Prada in front of Mama Miuccia. It's a defiantly upmarket French brand now.).
I'm normally not into ultra pretty clothes. Please, leopard print and cut outs are more my taste, but there's something about Miu miu that always excites me. That being ultra pretty clothes, whimsical prints, or fur collars, all the tacky,vulgar, frivolous details that i seem to hate, somehow become so "sexy" and desirable under the masterhand of Ms Miu Miu.
This season is no exception. The collection was flawless. From the detachable (?) bow collar ( that seems to be a Prada statement for the past few seasons now)
to the beautiful lace and embroideries
to the "uber ugly" shoes that sure will pop up on EVERY SINGLE EDITORIAL
and finally the beautifully executed, pure genius designs and cuts and over the top chic clothes
I'm glad Paris fashion week is finally here because London, Newyork and Milan were such big messes! Enough with long lame "inspiration explaining" excuses for ugly clothes *i'm looking at you miuccia*, I knew my tacky heart would sure be filled once Paris came.
One of the most anticipated shows in Paris over the past few seasons has got to be the "Balmain" show. I'm quite certain the moment I mention the B word, I'll have half the room of fashionistas screaming in ecstacy, while the other half would be the Chanel wearing b*$##$es gagulating.
Whether you like it or not, you've got to give props to Christopher Decarnin for ruling the fashion party crowds for almost a few years now. What I admire about him is seasons after seasons, it's a continuous process of development/evolution. The identity is always there, in the vainest, most vulgar, some might say, way of expression.
One critical factor in the success of Balmain has got to be the tremendous support from th Vogue Paris team. Carine Roitfeld put it on the fashion map, Emmanuelle Alt became the living Balmain muse. The rest is, well, history. It to me is almost like a de javu of the super powerful trio Carine Roitfeld/Tom Ford/Testino back in the 90s, early 00s, the authority of style that if you would have to be extremely oblivious to not notice had you lived in that era.
The similarities are there, though there are subtle differences. First of all is the target customer. The Tom Ford Gucci is Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, while the Balmain is, uhm, the 20yo version of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (perhaps her daughter, though would someone like that have a daughter?). Both are the kind of women that exude sexuality. They're the kind of women so vain, so dangerously provocative that the moment they walk into the room, men fire up with lust and the other women, well you know what women do when they see hot girls walking into the room, they envy subtly while calling them "sl*ts".
The second similarity is the kind of consistency in aesthetics that both designers share. Both Decarnin and Ford's designs do not change 180 degrees season after season, but would rather stay as a modified versions of the same aesthetics. Some people call it boring repetition, I say if it's the winning formula, why bother seeking for a change? Mind you, 10 years at Gucci, Tom Ford took over the fashion world with the same provocative aesthetics, and glamourised monogrammed Gucci thongs (which I did very secretly loved :P). Back to Balmain, I'm much more lustful of this season compared to the trashy military themed spring summer one. You know why? Because it combines three of my most favourite things in the world: tackiness, gold and napoleon.
Hate all you want, I say bravo Decarnin, long live the big shoulders.
I know I do watch a lot of $%#!@!%!, but every now and then I do like to indulge myself with something, ahem, meaningful. Being a bit of a, say, obsessed fan of Tom Ford, I knew I just had to see 'A single man'. I'll leave the review part for the critics, but all I can say is I've never seen a movie like that, cinematography wise. Almost every scene is flawless, breathtakingly beautiful, and screams TOMMMM FFFOOORRRDDD. The cast (I died when I saw Jon K), the settings, the conversations, the actions, the table set ups, the way Colin Firth crossed his legs, or smoked his cigarettes, and yes, the clothes, EVERYTHING was almost ... too beautiful ... Not a Hollywood movie, DEFINITELY not a gay movie, it was truly a Tom Ford movie (which I think should become a new genre).
For the Tom Ford fans, you'll die after you see it. For the non Tom Ford fans that appreciate beauty, you too will die after you see it. I certainly did.
One of my most favouritest things to do is to check out models.com to see if my favourite girls still remain in the top spots (I only have 4 Raquel, Natasha, Sasha, Anja who literally top the rankings anyway). With Raquel pretty much claiming authority at no.1 spot for the past 3 years, I almost had a heart attack when I suddenly couldn't spot her face in the top 10, but was relieved when I found her in the 'ICONS' list :D
I do think no. 13's a bit unfair considering she works much harder than ... ahem ... that MOSS girl, but anyhoo, at least she's an ICON now, and still being campaign and VogueUS/Paris favourite, it's only a matter of time 'till she's the next Linda :D.
One thing I just could not belive my eyes though was this:
Lara Stone beating both my gurls Sasha and Natasha who have been in the no.2 spots for pretty much the past 2 years, to become the number one model?! REALLY?
I personally do not have anything against Lara, but in terms of modelling history, how could she possibly beat the 9-consecutive-seasons-for-Prada Sasha, and the Gucci-girl-since-2005 Natasha? HOW? I mean Lara's not even doing New York this season, and Sasha and Natasha are stilll ruling every catwalk, working like machines! isn't modelling about hard work and longevity and not about fad of the moment?
I'm pretty certain you all would have seen enough 'R.I.P' posts about McQueen by now. While I'm tremendously disappointed by this loss of talent, it'll be an irrational thing to say I'm mourning in melancholy. What's been on my mind though, is what will happen now to the house of Lee? What options will Gucci Group (the brand Alexander McQueen is under ownership of The Gucci Group FYI) select? In my mind I could only think of 2:
1) Shut down the house of McQueen completely, make it one of those fashion houses that defines history, and wait until they find the next bright star from St Martins who owns up to the legend to revive it from the old archive (like what happened to the latest Vionnet and Halston). This seems like a wise and safe choice, since it maintains the prestige image of McQueen, and does not let the brand go down the path of licensing like Pierre Cardin, Balmain and Lanvin.
2) Keep the house alive, because, as sad as it is, the amount of $$$ they'll be making from those skull scarves and skull everything will increase exponentially from this tragic event. This, however, is not as easy as it may sound, because the pressure to instantly find someone that is skilled and brave enough to step up to the throne of the mastermind is almost impossible. One criterion is almost certain: the heir/ess MUST BE a member of the Union Jacks, and, preferrably, graduated from St Martins. I've had a few picks in mind:
a) Roksanda Ilincic certainly has a flare for drama and romance, which are two of McQueen's distinct design qualities, though Roksanda's romance is a bit too ... romantic. It doesn't have that air of darkness that certainly breathes through MCQ's collections. In short, Roksanda's more Romeo&Juliet, while McQueen's a definite MacBeth/King Lear.
b) The duo from Peter Pilotto does amazing prints and colours, which is something Mr Lee never failed to exceed, but PP's clothes are too fluid, they have too much freedom. They lack that restraint sharp tailoring that we love about Mr M's clothes.
c) Gareth Pugh seems like a perfect choice. Extravaganza? tick. Dark romance? Tick. Play with geometry? Double ticks. But where's the wearability? the ultra sharp tailoring? the constant reference to all things Brit?
d) My top pick, which I'm sure many people would find appropriate, is the uber talented Christopher Kane. The boy seems to hold most of the late McQueen's qualities. The bad boy attitude, the grungy romance, the Brit-ness, the sharp silouhette and ultimately, the ability to transform "stage" clothes to "commercial" clothes. What we've yet to see from his past shows is the exuberant drama and couture construction oozing out from every outfit. But that'll come with age, and financial support. Saying that, I doubt Mama Donatella would let him part from the Italian family, especially after sucha successful Versus presentation?
Whatever happens, I'm glad I can later tell my offspring I once lived in McQueen time. Whether the fashion house will stay or not, his legacy lives on.
So I was shopping at David Jones (which is like the Aussie version of Neiman Marcus but way worse) the other day when I saw a couple of bags that shocked my eyes from Aussie label Witchery, that I had to go online and made sure I wasn't just having a nightmare.
Lookie lookie what I found from the Witchery website:
and this .... I'm sure you all would've known what I meant by now. For those who don't, shame! and lemme present the two uber coveted bags by: Balenciaga
and Alexander Wang:
The funny thing is Witchery even bothered naming those two imitated bags, like they actually spent time designing them ?!
It's been a while since I last did a fashion pictionary/spot the designer entry, until my friend sent me this picture of little kids dressed up as big designers, and it's sooooooo cute i just had to put it up here. Can you guess them all, my little fashion family :D? (click on the pic to enlarge!)
The letters are too small, but my guess is (from left to right): Aunty Miuccia, Uncle John, Papa Albert, Grandpa Karl, Mama Donatella, I'm not sure who my sister is(Stellar McCartney maybe?), Brother Olivier Theykens.
How CUTE is the photo ehhhh??!!
If you know who the second girl on the right is, please let me know!
So a few months ago I saw this photo on thesartorialist, and was literally dumbfounded. WHO THE HELL IS THAT GUY WHO WHO WHO?
I literally wanted to stab myself because I was so jealous. WHO THE HELL wears a double breasted jacket, with a fluffy mohair (PRADA?) top, then teams it up with joggers, a beanie and a men's clutch?! and wears it with such ease and still looks so good?!
With a bit of stalking and a hint of luck, I eventually found out his name was Francesco Cominelli and he's the style assistant at Vogue Homme Internationale. Okay, that explains it. THAT, my dear, is what I call style with a capital "S", no logos in sight, no "It" bags or shoes, 100% pure Fashyon!
I'm so obsessed I'm telling you. Doesn't he look like a 21st century Steve McQueen? If all Italian men dress like that, I'mma pack my bag and fly to Florence tomorrow.
So all my friends know I used to be a true psycho fashion mag whore. I read literally everything that was on offer, from Vogue to W, Grazia to Shop til you drop, you name it, I would've read every single page of it. Though lately, properly due to the fact that I'm, ahem, not getting any younger, my health/vision/patience does not allow me to read that many magazines anymore, which means I need to be super selective, and for me to fall in love with a new magazine now, it needs to be something quite fabuleux-spectaculare' (relatively, in Dee Ha's term).
"10" magazine is one of those that made me fork out my hard earnt money (mind you, imported magazines are way too overpriced in Australia), and never have i regretted getting every issue. So to keep it short (and corny), I'll tell you 10 reasons why it became my new bible :):
1. It comes out quarterly, which means every issue is thick, with plenty of interviews, articles, editorials, well worth every penny :D.
2. You don't need to flick through 12345645743 pages of ads to get to the content, which is quite unusual for a high-end fashion magazines (Vogue US please take note?!)
3. 10's a UK publication. Call me biased or whatever, but I love all things Brit.
4. Being Brit, it has that dry humour, sarcastic kind of tone which endures through out the whole magazine, which I love.
5. Its editor is a self confessed 'shoe pig', which means every issue will have its own section of 'shoe porn'. Need I say more?
6. There's no section called 'MUST HAVE ITEMS'. It's about celebration of style, not about dictating the retail market. After all, fashion's about inspiration, not imitation.
7. The editorials credit the designers, but don't give out the prices (in ITALICS). It's a true fashion magazine, not a bloody catalogue.
8. The editors aren't afraid to tell you 3/4 leggings are bad, ripped leggings are disgusting, and jeggings are, well, ............ (please insert your own description)
9. The cover of every issue is always interesting, and not just a photo of some random celeb with a boring pose, underneath a sea of subtitles in tacky fonts.
10. My shamefully confessed lack of languages spoken limits myself to only looking at editorials of overseas magazines. So until I get around to learn some broken Italian, French or Japanese, this remains my FAV!
If you haven't heard of 10, run and get yourself a copy now! It's not a suggestion, it's a command (because fashion is all about distatorship!) !
(Don't worry, I'm not putting up anything NSFW on my blog.)
If Tommy Ton from JaknJil is famous for his 'shoe porn', then the latest f/m 10 Gucci menswear collection was 15 minutes of pure "bag porn". Clothes aside, Frida Giannini seems to get it right with the shoes and bags every season. After all, she was originally the accessories director under Tom Ford back then, which means she too was responsible for all those GG monogrammed bags flying off the shelves back in the 90s (which I admitted lusting after and gladly never got to purchase :D).
Now, until the whole movie comes out, let me introduce to you the the stars of "Gucci bag porn vol. 2010" :
1. Leopard baby got me excited ....
2. Mr Duffle made me sweat ...
3. oh Senor DOCTOR you've got to stop, this is getting too much ....
4. Monsieur Birkin-lookalike made me quiver ahhhhhhhhhh (screams ecstatically) ....
Someone please assure me it's not too late now to start saving for those babies? That maroon suede baby has got to be minnneeee (please bring it to Australia please please?!)
One thing I wonder though: Even with leather bags that good, Gucci still needs to rely on their tacky monogram canvas, isnt that a bit sad?
Cathy Horyn is one of those rare journalists that have such incredible authorities in fashion. Famous for her ruthless criticism, she's never afraid to point out things in fashion that provoke much thoughts and debates. A few weeks ago, Ms Horyn posted this on her blog (which I LOVE) about how fashion houses need to step up in terms of media/marketing:
"...Go to the sites of the most innovative labels — Prada and Balenciaga, to name two — and you find almost no appreciation for the potential of digital technology. No special films that might illuminate the creative process, no animation, no design gestures that are consistent with the contemporary spirit of these brands. Instead, what you chiefly get is a video of the last collection, some still images from an advertising campaign and, in Prada’s case, an update about its art-world projects...."
Bet chu Prada staff wet their skirts in horror after reading such thing, and, "coincidentally" for the latest F/W 2010 menswear collection, Prada leaped a mile in terms of media/PR and: 1/ decided to stream their collection LIVE to world wide audience 2/ created their own YOUTUBE channel (here), which makes it much easier to access and navigate worldwide.
Talking about the collection, there's no denial that noone does TACKY just quite like Mama Miu Miu. Watch the latest FW2010 menswear (+ womens prefall) below:
In Rachel Zoe's terms, the collection was totally BEYOND and I went BANANAS. There's a strong 90s feel in Milan collections this season, but 90s tackiness never looked so fresh. I loved:
1/ The shrunken sweaters in carious poppy colours (which i'm sure will make them gayz go crazy and fight for the size XS once they hit the stores, mark my words :P):
2/ The camouflage. Trust me I normally have camo-phobia (especially after seeing those camouflage cargo shorts that are still being sold at shops, yuk!), but those prints at Prada look sooooooo DAYUM! Have i gone insane?
Thank you Cathy, thank you Miuccia, Sorry credit card! I have 6 months to save till these hit the stores!
So all this time I thought I stayed true to Carine/God's teachings that non of the stuff you wear should have logos on them, not even a tiny weeny one (okiez maybe those GG monogrammed thongs back in the 90s did sound delish, but Tom Ford was in charge, so that was another story) until I saw these necklaces from the Lanvin menswear spring summer 2010 collection:
OH EM GEE I'm telling you. Logo crystal necklace in graffiti font and tacky hot pink? OH EM GEE! I wonder how much they cost? I've looked at all the online shops that stock Lanvin and none of them has those. OH NO!
The necklace in action:
That outfit is so flawless no?
I hope Mama Roitfeld would forgive me for this horrible sin. I promise to eat salads all year!
With consumers still refusing to buy, and fashion houses closing left right and centre, it's about time luxury companies come up with more radical marketing strategies. One of the biggest attention grabbing method is, obviously, the ad campaign. And with the current economic crisis, there's been a new trend of ad campaigns that I've noticed this season, which I may name the "the clothes sell the clothes" trend.
Back in the 90s, when everything was still tacky, whacky and wonderful, and disposable income was flowing like tsunami waves, designers concentrated on selling luxury lifestyles, trying to lure customers into buying the brand from top to toe, to complete the customers' "designer ways of living". This included:
1) excessive use of supermodels, who were THE celebrities back then. Remember this classic?
2) making a house statement. Designer houses were like cults back then. They had excessive, impulsive followers (blame Tom Ford), who would have the cash to dress themselves top to toe in, say, Gucci fur, Gucci dress, Gucci shoes, Gucci monogrammed bondage G-strings (still my favourite till this day, but ahem, that's another story)
How time has changed, 15 years down the track, and the majority of the population now can't, or refuse to, buy a top to toe deisgner outfits. With runway looks being knocked off in less than a month (Topshop anyone?), and ridiculous bi-annual price mark ups of luxury items, consumers these days are happy to wear zara, and save up for 1,2 pieces of designer items per season instead. Which makes the whole selling a lifestyle thing a bit irrelevant in this day and age. So what to do now? Cut out the models' faces, and focus on the clothes instead! Let's have a look at a few ad campaigns this season that executed this 'trend' extremely well:
1) Celine (which I cannot praise enough):
2) Lanvin :
3) Prada - which continues to be my favourite seasons after seasons:
Then, there are houses that seem to stick to the conventional ad-campaign:
Artistic value aside, what's your first reaction when you see the ad? If it's like mine, it'd be 'Raquel looks AMAZING', and not 'I love what she's wearing!'.
but they're ALMOST ALWAYS REFRESHING! Take the audacious Balenciaga spring summer 2010 ad for example:
Would you call it a conventionally gorgeous ad? No. Truth is 80-90% of Vogue readers will properly think it looks horrid and doesn't sell the clothes. But really, does Balenciaga really need ads to sell their clothes? especially when the collection was the most talked about and most featured of the season? No. What they need is controversies, which means attention, which then means $$$.
A recent post by Cathy Horyn from the New York times (here) pointed out a very obvious fact that in this day and age, fashion houses really need to step up the game in advertising and presentation of their brand image, and not just of the clothes. Long gone is the time where most fashion lovers sit at home and drool about clothes on magazines. Consumers are well informed and well travelled these days, and can easily get to try on/experience the quality of the clothes themselves. Which is why airbrushed images of clothes are doomed to fail. What's lacking now are thought provoking ads that show the brand's direction and identity and what sets them apart.
Which is why the latest BRUNO PIETERS campaign, to me, is pure genius :
Withh all that being said, can I have those Balenciaga boots PLEASE?
with a bunch of Spring Summer 2010 ad campaigns! Let's see how much effort fashion houses put in to attract some $$$ from our half-empty walllets! One of my favourite has to be this:
Though I have to say: NATALIA REALLY? despite her effort for fierce stare, I do think she's more of a Stella McCartney/Valentino kind of girl. Saying that, this is the case where "the clothes sell the models" (in those yummy prints, even Dee Ha would look good too for a campaign, lol!).
Perfect example where models sell the clothes, though, is this:
The true Sasha Fierce for H&M! Can i have that sweater please? :D It is interesting, with chain stores hiring top models and airbrushing just a click away, how do top fashion houses manage to send the true craftsmanship/quality message to the consumers?
With runway videos of course! Watch watch the Givenchy ss2010 collection here to witness the amaazingness that is Ricardo Tiscy:
Did you die? I sure did. Definitely one of my favs!