Thursday, January 28, 2010


Let's get this straight, I am in no ways intending to venture into the realm of computer gadget journalism, but I do have feelings about the newly unveiled iPad that I think might appeal to people who don't have master's degrees in C++.

So, I've read some of the buzz. At first, as always, I was seduced by the beautiful luminescent color screen. I just can't help myself! My mind just stared swirling with scenarios of pulling out my iPad to do some very important in-the-moment blogging or something. Something that would be way too annoying to do on my puny little iPhone, but requiring a quick-draw that my Powerbook just wouldn't be able to accommodate.
You know - sitting front row at Dior for couture week in Paris, gleefully notating duchess satin whipped in to delicious swirling forms, like cotton candy or chantilly cream.

Yeah, this is a perfect moment for an iPad....

...except for the fact that there's no camera to capture the moment. Or video camera to record the way the cloth flows and folds as the model takes her pose. Apparently, there's only enough battery life to get through one 20 minute fashion show (maybe an exaggeration). Then, since there's only one imput/output port, I'd have to plug it in and wait for it to recharge before I can attach my external keyboard to finish posting.
Now, I have not abandoned all hope for the iPad. Personally, I think it's a wonderful idea, and once they give it some time on the market and really figure out how people can really used something like this, they can put together a much better product. It's got a strong skeleton, but it doesn't yet have the fluidity of their superstar gadgets like the iPod and iPhone. Right now, I see the iPad like a gorgeous sketch of an idea that has yet to be fully developed.

But, I admit, I'm a bit spoiled - I've seen some beautifully developed designs these past few days during Paris Couture week.

Givenchy showed a modern take on what I read to be a slick 1940s German caberet. Dark eyes, bright red lips, just enough embellishment to send home the showgirl reference - feathers, ruffles, gemstones. But that influence didn't dominate - Riccardo Tisci knows his audience. The collection was really about expert tailoring and beautiful draping, with sexy feminine embellishments.

 Over all, the collection seemed to tell of a high society woman, throwing her husband's Brioni tuxedo jacket over a beaded mini dress and some t-straps, and shimmying her way into a smoky jazz club in Montmartre. Wonderful!

Of course, I'm a big Dior fan, but I gave you some of my favorites from this season above.

Another collection that really spoke to me was Armani Prive. There was an obvious lunar theme that, although heavy handed at times, lent not only an ethereal quality to the fabrics, but also a type of space aged geometry to the tailoring that is refreshing for the typically more traditional house.

There were a many looks I liked! I could see these being worn equally by society ladies (black tie gowns), business women (feminine tailoring), and fashionistas (slim pants and jackets in space age fabrics). I'm adding that last suit to my fantasy wardrobe.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Important People

Every once in a while, I come across someone who I just know will make an impact on the world. It might be public or personal, but you know it's there waiting to happen.
This week, I've had the distinct pleasure to spend time with two of those people in my life - my friends Jason Roman and Chris Barnes.

I met Jason my sophomore year of college. He hit on me at the Diesel on 59th, across from Bloomingdale's. We went out a couple of times, but it never took. But I am so grateful for that - Jason has been one of my most loyal, constant, and supportive friends. And we have seen each other through a lot, even from a distance. When we first met, I was a college student fraying at the edges, and he was an attractive young man not quite sure what to do with all the talent that lay beneath his model-esque looks.

When Jason first took up acting, he immediately begun to display a focus and passion that I hadn't seen in him before. His whole being opened up - it was like he suddenly had a vocabulary with which to express himself. All of that creativity and sensitivity was suddenly illuminated. It's been one of the most joyous things for me to witness.
He and I got together on Friday evening and had a chance to catch up. It's like food for my soul to talk to him about music or movies or what our futures might bring. Spending time with him makes me feel hopeful and excited for the future - that if I stay focused, work hard, and stay true to myself I can end up where I want to be. Jason is one of those special people who you can look at and just know that he can achieve anything he wants.

Last night, I hung out with my good friend Chris Barnes. He and I met in high school - at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. There he was a senior classical saxophonist; I was a freshman ballet dancer. Chris is one of the most talented people I know. Now he is focused on jazz music and tabla (an Indian percussion instrument), and I have to say, when I heard his senior recital at Rutgers in December, I had the chills.
Since we both live in Jersey City met up at our local haunt, White Star. It must have been some kind of theme night, because they were playing every indie rock album from 2004-2005: Postal Service, Muse, Beck, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand. It was total high school nostalgia!
Chris' character is of the highest caliber; he is kind, understanding, loyal. We talk about high school, and it's not just reminiscing - It's a whole exchange of thought...and it's a gift for me to be able to process such important moments in my life with someone who has experienced them as well.
There are few people I've met who are as dedicated to their craft as Chris. That has been such an example to me in so many parts of my life. Chris will succeed at anything he chooses to focus on, of that I'm absolutely sure.

I am so blessed to have so many people like Chris and Jason in my life. Although, I admit it's really difficult to do them any justice in words alone.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's Raining Men

I've totally been slacking on my posts about the menswear shows in Milan, and now Paris. I don't know how Tim Blanks does it! (Let me just whine and moan a bit here......why in the world would they have the men's shows on, but have the reviews It's completely counter intuitive. I suppose they're guessing it's actually women who read the real reviews, and men are happy enough with the sloppy rundowns they've labeled "The Vibe" on the collections face page? Somehow I know Josh Peskowitz is behind this logic.)

Nonetheless, I've discovered a few more things about the menswear collections thus far that I would like to share with you:

Not to get to self - referential here, but it seems that I was right about Milan this season - it was all about The Man (with the exception of Prada, which I will get to later).

Who knew a bloody face could be so sexy? The tough guy, hockey player's night out theme definitely presented itself as one of the more successful uptown/downtown mash-ups I've seen from Dean and Dan. The suit jackets and oxfords were worn with enough disdain to really make the believably authentic - I often find that Dsquared's attempts to accomplish an effortless cool such as this comes off with about as much authenticity as one of the kids from Bravo's NYC Prep having their driver drop them off at CBGB for the night. Of course, this is Dsquared's target audience, because we all know, no roadie for any indie rock band can afford to spend $4 g's on a pair of pre-distressed leather pants. Either way, I think they struck the right balance with this collection, and at least until I see the twins prance out together in the last frame, I am willing to suspend my belief and trust that these models actually are pro hockey players heading to a club for the evening.

Sorry guys, you lost me there.

Apparently, rough-and-tumble also struck a chord with Jean Paul Gautier in Paris. His boxing match themed collection sent out some interesting takes on gym clothes accessorized by bloody post-match style cuts and bruises.
Just when I start to think fashion has lost some of its fun, I remember that this guy can truly put on a show.

Note the padded shoulder details - again, this is menswear catching up to the shoulder trend that has dominated women's clothing in the past few seasons. I love the futuristic look of this jacket - cropped, minimal, with a sense of utility implied by the padding on the shoulders.

Chic sweatpants?!?! Frankly, I never thought it would happen. This look changes my mind - I could see myself in a pair of grey drawstring sweats, slim in the hips with a bit of flare at the bottom of the leg, tucked into my tassel boots, with a slim cut blazer on top. Hmmmm.
The double breasted blazer in sweatshirt fleece over some slim jeans could be a cool look as well. Let me try a couple of these out and get some pictures up.

Justin Bobby, anyone?

JPG himself got into theme with some battle scars.


Well, remember all that jibba-jabba about Fall 2010 being about a reaffirmed masculinity?
..... those are some tasty words.

If Milan is a motorcycle riding, playboy bachelor, then Paris is a well-heeled creative/intellectual with a serious girlfriend.

Let me begin to illustrate my point with Louis Vuitton.
Of course we expect luxe fabrics and expert tailoring from this house, but there was a certain woman's touch this season that gave me fresh eyes for the collection.

I'm not sure what the inset is on the waist, but this nipped in silhouette could look even more beautiful and sensual on a woman.

I LOVE the shoulder detail here. Once again, I believe we're seeing a women's wear influence in the use of this detail. It's interesting, I started playing with this type of transition across the chest and shoulders in my own sketchbooks several months ago. I was thinking of a woman rising out of a pool of water - that sensual moment when her head and shoulders emerge, but the rest of her body is still hidden. It's lovely to see it executed with such elegance in men's clothing (also the construction of the shoulder on the 2 coats with leather is so masterfully done - you hardly see the seam at the cap of the shoulder, which really lends itself to this illusion of rising out of water.)

The knit shawl collar on this jacket is a welcome surprise. I love the idea of wearing a tailored piece with as much ease as a cardigan. Does it come in my size???
I could see any of these pieces on a woman - effortlessly worn with style and elegance. It's refreshing to see such sharply tailored clothing styled with ease - movement in the shirting, the pants tucked into the socks (This tailored trouser with ribbed cuff is something we've seen on the Lanvin runway fall 2008 - I feel this season the timing is better, no doubt because Lanvin eased us into the idea of it). It's both pulled together and personal. It tells of a man who is completely comfortable in himself, confident in his clothing - not trying to fit into a mould of prescribed costume.

Even these shoes are on trend for what's going on in women's footwear. It has that clog-style wooden base with nail head construction and the still-going-strong hiker boot look - slap a stacked heel on it and you'd have them flying out of the Saks shoe floor.

All in all, I think this Louis Vuitton collection is one of my favorites of the season.

Another collection that his on this feminine/masculine theme is Yves Saint Laurent.

The tasseled sash on the jacket and coat is chic, fresh, and wearable enough to actually see hanging on racks come September. It's also very feminine - tailored and sexy, not unlike the styles presented on the Balenciaga runway for Fall 2009. The pleated tail shirt would look great on a woman - as a tunic, with semi-sheer tights and pumps, or ankle boots.

There were a couple of mis-steps:

I don't now any man, who wears men's clothing at least, who would be a fan of tweed opera length gloves. On the other hand (no pun intended), sign me up! Also, as strange as it looks here, a catsuit in menswear fabrics- low cut, nipped at the waist, cropped leg - could be a great alternative to the traditional pants suit for a woman. Just a thought.

I'm a big Rick Owens fan. His clothing is so innovative and modern - you could throw on one of his jackets over your regular old jeans and t get up, and you're the epitome of futuristic cool.
His most recent collection is no exception.

I believe he has redefined the modern silhouette. Tight shoulder, long, flowing hem and, slim leg and sleeve. It's all about creating this sense of length - the high collars elongate the neck, longer jackets stretch the torso, boots lengthen the ankles and legs. This is the best argument made for a longer suit jacket - this one is tunic like in length, and layered over that long sweater, it transforms the proportions of the wearer. Imagine that with a dark jean and high heel ankle boots and a large hobo bag on a woman.....*sigh.*
That asymetric jacket in the center is heavenly- from the way it folds, I'm guessing it's shearling. It looks absolutely buttery. This could also look great with a dark harem pant tucked into boots - you'd get a very interesting silhouette, slim and tailored at the shoulders, long torso, a bit of volume around the ankles.

Prada seemed to be the only Italian show to break the uber-masculine mould.

Sharply tailored pieces, with more than a dash of 60's London flare. The jacket and coat look as if they could have been cut from a cotton moleskin, which gives is a very polished shape. There's a charm in the flared trouser, paired with the chunky ribbed sweaters, that look as if they could have been borrowed from the girlfriend. That hot pink one might be a hard sell at that length, but if it hit at the hip and was worn under that nicely cut black jacket, I could see it being worn by an arty 9-5er, maybe an architect or graphic designer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thom Browne - from Kitsch to........Cool?????

Now, it's no secret that I'm not a huge Thom Browne fan (and it's not because he wouldn't say hello to me at the factory). Although his influence on fashion in the past decades is unmistakable (hello, I wore my jeans cuffed today), when it comes to flipping through his collections, I often don't get his whole vision. Tim Blanks has been the only fashion writer who has been able to help me look at Browne's work as a satirical, intellectual study, as opposed to just some gangly hipster boys in clothes too small.

But wait... what's this.......

Baggy Pants??? Actual Long Sleeves????
It's amazing what a hem length can do. I would be thrilled to wear any of these pieces, especially on the slopes. Those corduroy cargo pants - totally border style. I wonder if corduroy could be made waterproof...? And that grey coat in the center image - so cool. You could wear that with jeans around the city. And there are so few Thom Browne clothes out there that can be worn with anything other than Thom Browne.

What I like most about this collection is an actual blend of utility and style. In past collections, the utility has been implied and in nearly every instance negated by the style (a transparent plastic onesie, styled to look like a suit?). I am a fan of the yellow pants with built in knee padding - I could have made good use of those last time I went snowboarding! Admittedly, Thom's work for Moncler demands a higher level of functionality, being that it is an athletic wear company and all. Nonetheless, I'm proud of Thom for turning out his most consistent, coherent, and downright cool collection yet.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oops...I lied.....

So I guess Tim Blanks is still around.
I found a truncated version of his usual review on, of all places.

Of the shows he reviewed, he and I agree quite throughly, with one exception - I am actually a big fan of the use of brass military buttons as embellishment on the sleeve of a beautiful navy trench and in place of epaulettes on a sweater (Burberry Prorsum). Tim thought otherwise: "The odd fashion flop—those brass buttons used as epaulettes on a sweater, for instance—could be forgiven in the light of the master class in precise military-influenced tailoring that Bailey gave us."

That's ok, Tim .....I'm just glad to see he isn't gone after all!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Men are Back in Town

Note the absence of "boys." Looks like little guys are out of luck this season - it's all about real man muscle for Fall 2010.

I just started checking out the Milan menswear shows on, and wow - what a departure from the tiny, mod boy of the past few seasons. (By the way, what the heck happened to the collection reviews????? They seemed to be replaced by a pretty lame summary of the company's history called "The Brief." What happened to Tim Blanks?!?! He's the only critic I've read who had anything resembling an intelligent perspective on Thom Browne. But I digress....)

I have to say I welcome this swing of the pendulum. I am all about a strong, more substantial male silhouette; I don't know a single woman who wants her arm candy to look slimmer than her.
First off - Dolce and Gabbana. Now, they have always been big proponents of an unabashedly masculine aesthetic, but their style as shown the Fall 2010 collection couldn't have been more well timed. Their typically large shoulder look surprisingly fresh. I'm also glad to see the longer suit jacket - It is still slimming, but better proportioned and I imagine that it would be more forgiving on different body shapes.

It's the same silhouette they do season after season, but some how for Fall 2010 this looks especially fresh - how do they do it?!

The length is right, the shoulder is well fit, the armhole is not too tight, so the sleeve is a bit fuller at the upper arm. I could do without the spagetti thin lapels, but I'll guess that what ends up on the rack will be less extreme. I also love the way this fabric is hanging - it looks as if it could be a hard finish felted cloth (especially the first one), or something very tightly woven. Softer folds, no wrinkles. The way a jacket cut from neoprene might look.....which is a great idea! Maybe I'll try that myself.

I'm not often a big fan of the double pleat, but in this fabric it's quite chic - I wish I had a pair. Wearing this really means making a sartorial choice, a deliberate style statement. Almost as chic as the single inverted pleat trousers Josh is fond of. :)

Even Jil Sander is embracing this fuller shoulder silhouette:

Yeah, it's a puffer jacket, but the sloping shoulder says it all. Notice the fuller upper sleeve on the suit jacket - this is not at all what we've been seeing the past few seasons!

And you know it's a big deal if Burberry Prorsum - flag bearers of the mod slim suited movement - embraces the fuller silhouette trend as well.

Full shoulder, nipped waist, longer hem. Even the boots are more rounded, less shaped. Everything has gotten softer around the edges.

And these are just so cool.......Making embellishment masculine. I love that Christopher Bailey can continually think of new ways to reemphasize Burberry's military history. The gold buttons as epaulettes - Brilliant! (And further emphasis on the shoulders as well - this is definitely a theme! The guys couldn't let women have all the fun....they're finding different ways to catch up to the shoulder trend that has been dominating women's wear for the past few seasons.)

Also on my radar - Costume National! I admit, at first I clicked right through the collection. But then something caught my eye - there are some amazing textural things going on here. Again a softness around edges - I can't emphasize enough what a departure this is from the past few seasons! - a slightly fuller silhouette, longer hems.
But what makes this collection stand out is the mash up of textures:

Ombre felting?!?!?!?! I could be making that up, but this is what it looks like to me. And the basket weave felted onto the suiting wool - wonderful. Surprising, textural, unexpected. I can imagine the feel of the suit in the center picture - smooth gabardine, seeming to grow fuzz as you slide your hand down the jacket. Like moss growing on a rock. All of the sudden the grey 3 piece suit is modern, fresh, and a little bit rock and roll.

The different materials are so well integrated into these coats that it becomes purely a textural study. They are chic and modern, and the insets add interest as opposed to being distracting.
I can see the coat in the center being incredibly wearable with a number of different outfits - anything from jeans and boots, to a navy suit. The fit, combination of fabrics and unique color could instantly modernize any look. Do they make it in my size??????

I'll keep checking out the shows!