Friday, December 24, 2010


i've been a good boy this year and if santa clause was more than a myth i'm quite sure i shall wake up on christmas morning and find one of these lovely, tufted, distinguished sofas under the christmas tree. unfortunately reindeers don't fly and none of them have glowing noses so the likely hood of that ever happening is dead.
but a boy can dream. of a house with dark stained herringbone hardwood floors with thirteen foot ceilings, a brick fireplace and victorian era crown mouldings with one of these handsome badboys facing a large set of french doors opening up into a balcony overlooking something amazing.
imagine having a cuddle with henry cavill on one of these??? oh god!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


don't call it a fat suit! madame kawakubo's "lumps and bumps" collection has been remixed, revised, and revisited by all the youngbloods and old guns in the fashion world. the woman who brought her "apocalyptic chic" to paris in the early eighties proved that she can still rattle the fussiest parissiene feathers a decade and a half later. commercially it was a bust, but big ups for being a woman with balls bigger than the poofs that run this mad mad fashion circus. sometimes its not about being pretty, but not giving a fuck and being original. and no one will argue that this collection has guts and originality in spades. thirteen years later and this shit will avant all the other "avant gardes". you're pretty ace in my book rei rei!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


i'm quite sure i've made it obvious in my old posts how obsessed i am with british youth culture of the late seventies/early eighties. because let's face facts, the music and the fashion associated with the musical movements of that era pretty much rules like cash does to wu-tang (if you don't get the C.R.E.A.M. reference then you are hopelessly lame).
although musically my inclination tends to lean towards the manchester scene, fashion wise i'm all about the butch-ness of skinheads in all their working-class glory. unfortunately nowadays when someone mentions skinheads, most people just see a swastika. damn those white supremacists for hi-jacking the image of a movement that owes much of its visual identity from the influences black immigrants brought to the u.k. in the seventies. i'm not a sociology professor so i'm gonna leave touchy subjects to someone more qualified to go on about it and talk about how much i love photographer gavin watson instead. a man who grew up at the time of the original skins and who, thank god, had a camera to document it.
in his pictures all i see are kids hanging out, holding hands with their birds, drinking lager at a pub, and causing mayhem like most young people do at that age. instead of looking at the shaved heads, union jacks, and doc martens, all i see are friends being friends and boyfriends with their girlfriends. its not that much different from any of our albums on facebook.
i love the humanity in the photos. i love its naturalness, its youth, its honesty. i know its cliche to say "this photograph really captures a moment", but this is exactly what these photographs do. it makes the reality of that time so obvious. not burdened with the negative connotations the word "skinhead" is now attached to.
with the legacy of skinheads forever tainted by bigots and hate mongers, watson's photographs at least gives us a sliver of what was once was. before the word "hate" cemented itself to the culture.

p.s. yeah i know there are no black people in the pictures above, trust me there are some in his other pictures but i just couldn't find big enough images to use.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


there are certain figures that designers, photographers, stylists and everyone else who works in the wacko world of fashion considers to be a constant source of inspiration. the more eccentric, the better. the crazier, even better! and to be bisexual, jackpot!! i don't necessarily consider mexican artist frida kahlo as crazy, but i guess if you can't be bothered plucking your uni-brow then fashion people will consider it rather mental indeed. of course by doing the nasty with josephine baker any fashion faux-pas is easily forgiven.
her highly personal works clouded with symbolisms of unborn fetuses, religion, mexican paganism and social commentary does bring to mind the great surrealists of the thirties, but what sets her apart from the magrittes and dalis is her sex.
the moment you laid your eyes on any of her work, you instantly knew it was done by a woman. a woman who had so much passion it spilled onto the canvas. there was something primal about the nature her sexuality. it is at once, savagely graphic, yet loaded with emotions and naked vulnerability.
her art documented every tortured experience of her life. from her volatile marriage to diego rivera, her numerous miscarriages, and her life long injuries sustained from a horrific car accident during her teenage years, its all there. laid out in all its honest brutality.
her greatest work perhaps, was her herself. the conviction of the way she dressed, the way she decorated her head, even in the act of not grooming her now infamous brows she became one of the most powerful image of womanhood in the twentieth century.
it is that uncensored projection of woman-ness, straddling an extremely narrow line between profound beauty and intense unease that makes her forever provoking, forever inspiring.

Monday, November 8, 2010


i've been wanting to make a post about edmund dulac and kay nielsen for a while now. dulac is responsible for the first three images above, and nielsen the last three. they worked during what is called "the golden age of illustration", the belle epoque. the edwardian age when the rich were at their richest and that sense of opulence enveloped every idea.
you might be familiar with the pictures posted above. well if you haven't clued in yet the illustrations are based on popular fairy tales. now you get it huh? the first one is the princess and the pea, followed by the little mermaid and the emperor and the nightingale. the first kay nielsen illustration is my favorite fairy tale of all time, the twelve dancing princesses. it's not very popular, but who knows. disney might turn it into a full length animation feature someday complete with a soundtrack and a playstation game. i don't know what story the last two images are based on, but aren't they lovely?
if i ever have kids i will only buy them books with amazing pictures. no dora the explorer for them now way!
oooh i just had a marvelous idea. wouldn't it be top notch if dulac or nielsen were still alive and one of them (or both) illustrated all of roald dahl's books. that would've been fucking epic.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


sarah burton has the unenviable task of being the successor to one of fashion's great romanticist. alexander mcqueen's vision was so potent, his work so deeply ingrained in recent memory that it was damn near impossible to expect anything but the worst so as not to be horribly disappointed. from rumours circulating early on after his death that the house was to close, then waiting with heightened anticipation for lee's right hand woman of fifteen years debut collection, it was safe to say that worries about the future of the house was well warranted. at last we can finally breath a sigh of relief because not only did burton live up to the challenge, she managed to inject a freshness, a feminine sensibility that was often lacking in mcqueen's work that had some criticizing the much lamented designer as a misogynist. the strands that made up the mcqueen DNA were all present: the printed dresses cut from a single piece of fabric, the corseted silhouette, immaculately tailored coats with the distinct sharp mcqueen shoulders slashed to give it a softness, and of course the showstopping dresses the summarizes the pagan story underlying this collection. it's only burton's first full season as head designer, but i think its safe to say that the house that lee built is in very capable hands indeed.



the most iconic of all iconics, there is no denying that monsieur saint laurent was the man! the master of subverted sexuality that dared to cross the lines of gender, social class and race. he was by and large, the most influential force in fashion in the latter half of the twentieth century. a heavy burden on his successor's stefano pilati's shoulders, who has had as much hits as misses as of late but vindicated himself with a stunning homage to the legacy of the house. from the rich jewel tones, the androgynous sexuality, the quiet erotic perversion of unexpected exposed skin, to an almost religious attention to cut, the left bank is still money in the bank!



nothing like a proper mad galliano story to get us enraptured in an absinthe haze. and of course no galliano story is complete without its leading lady. this season it was maria lani, the saucy minx who tempted all the big shots of the twenties paris art scene and booted across the atlantic with their paintings stuffed in her luggage. perhaps galliano has finally found his archetypal heroine and it resulted to one of his strongest collections in years. cause when johnny-boy is on, he is ON! the clothes never got lost in the narrative, instead they were the script that gave life to this tale of irresistible seduction. and who better else can bring the clothes to life other than some of galliano's original muses. yasmin le bon, angela lindvall, georgina grenville, marie sophie wilson and suzanne von aichinger, oh my!! its like 1997 all over again.



after years of digging through the balenciaga archives to source out inspiration, nicolas ghesquiere went back to the place where he started his balenciaga journey, he took it back to the streets. opening with a troop of riot girls straight outta 1977 london stomping the ground in teddy boy creeper shoes, it was a reminder to all that ghesquiere hasn't been swept away by balenciaga's storied legacy and his sci-fi/techno/urban girl of the early-mid noughties is still his most powerful statement. what ghesquiere shares most with the great master during his prime in the fifties is what he is capable of bringing in 2010, being relevant, being modern with an attitude that is all his own.


Friday, October 15, 2010


who better carry minimalist pioneer jil sander's torch than the man responsible for bringing the clean aesthetic back to the forefront years before phoebe philo was a baby momma and no one wore celine. floor length peplumed skirts time traveled us back to fifties balenciaga, while plain white t-shirts and techno anoraks were pure utilitarian nineties. two decades and two schools mashed-up into something very much right now! proving once again that perennial underdog raf simons consistently delivers a massive (and this season, a surprisingly colourful) knock-out punch.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010


josephine baker leaves paris for south america, gets a humble job at a banana plantation and ends up in argentina where she learns to dance the tango. how does that impossible story become a prada collection? it has the energy of jazz, the colours of south america, the uniforms of blue collar workers, and the erotic charge of tango. simple innit? what's not simple is how madame miuccia made all those absurd references work cohesively with one another. it's almost like obviously you would pair a banana print skirt and a striped smock in the brightest of colours with basket weave tango shoes and bug eye goggles to shield your eyes from the sun. and if that wasn't enough just walk around with a giant sombrero obviously. if everyone was as smart as miuccia, the world would be a more intelligently put together place and we would've been spared of uggs and juicy couture.



what do you get when you take the tie-dyes and liberty prints from the hippies of '67 and mash it with the baggy acid house rave scene of '89? j.w. anderson's summer of love 2011 of course! tripped out boho boys with petals growing out of their shoes will walk all over your heart. and if that isn't enough, he'll just hypnotize you with psychadelic embroideries on his t-shirt and then offer you one of the thousands of little flowers printed on his shirt. i expect your seratonin levels to sky rocket come spring full of hugs and make-out sessions.


Sunday, October 3, 2010


the thing i love most about london fashion is how much the city supports its young designers. there's fashion fringe, vauxhall fashion scout, and of course the grand daddy of them all, fashion east. you know this shit is legit when gareth pugh, richard nicoll, jonathan saudners and louise goldin all made their debut here. with three designers with their own very different aesthetic, from the grunge minimalism of heikki sallonen, to felicity brown's ruffle explosion, and finally the complex tailoring of simone rocha, there was just as much diversity as it had creativity. i wish fashion east could be like a franchise and set one up here in toronto. because like i've said many many many times, the toronto fashion industry is fucking brutal.



remember the london era of westwood, bodymap, pam hogg, and leigh bowery? when it was all about being mental and rebellion. well thank god for meadhamm and kirchhoff for continuing the tradition of english eccentricity. its good that london has developed a reputation for not just being a breeding ground of creative talents, but to also have a commercial viability, but i found the past london fashion week to be missing a bit of punch. christopher kane doing lady-like, wtf? at least medhamm kirchhoff played on all the qualities that people regard as feminine such as chiffon and lace and interpret it in a brilliantly psycho and cartoonish way. i'm sure there were loads of japanese gosu roris creaming under their bustle skirts when they saw this collection. even though i love the resurgence of minimalism, i can totally appreciate an explosion of madness from these two designers who still has balls to do whatever the fuck they want. kudos!


Monday, September 27, 2010


you might've noticed that lately i've been quite obsessed with interior design. when i was jobless i spent loads of time coming up with projects to pimp out my house. now that i'm finally employed and have a paycheque, i've become even more obsessed with my house. i've even finally settled on which couch to buy. that's like the most grown-up thing i'm going to buy to date! the couch is based on fifties danish modern design with clean lines and a wooden frame. cause it's pretty obvious that my aesthetic tends to lean towards that direction. which is why i was so surprised to go mental over the eighties, california tackiness of mary katrantzou's prints. it's like watching those gaudy mansions from beverly hills walking towards you in high heels. but that's the brilliance of katarantzou. how she manipulates images with the help of digital technology to come to life in fabrics. whether inspired by vintage perfume bottles or in this case exuberant, over the top interiors of million dollar mansions, she finds a way to relate it to the female form. as much as i applaud her ingenious way of using prints, i'm kinda curious to see how she would handle clothes that doesn't rely on their graphic punch. then again who knows, next season she might base her whole prints on something bat shit crazy like battle scenes from lord of the rings and it'll be fucking amazing and i'll be eating my words. so i'll just shut up.


pardon me for being bitten with a little bit of hometown pride, but its not everyday that i can use the words canadian, fashion, and proud in one sentence. if you've ever had the unfortunate experience of mistakenly clicking on a link that directed you to toronto fashion WEAK then you'd understand what i'm talking about. thank god for designers like erdem who can vindicate some of the unsung talents who are in an unfortunate position to be stuck in a city that considers contestants of project runway to be the highlight of canadian fashion. but enough of the bitterness. it doesn't bode well with erdem's saccharine disposition and ridiculously charming dresses. my friends are always rather surprised that i have taken a liking to erdem's hyper feminine sensibility, but it's not the lace and the florals and the little girl naivete that characterizes his clothes that i have developed an affinity for, its how he uses old couture cuts and techniques that really intrigues me. every time i go to the room the first thing i go to is the erdem rack just so i can touch the fabrics, salivate over the hand embroidery and be wowed by the construction of the garments. i also can't help but notice something perverse about his clothes. not that i'm a dirty perv or anything, but there's something really naughty about a shift mini-dress worn over a lace button down shirt with a white peter pan collar. i'm sure there's about few dozen manga comic books in japan dedicated entirely to that fetish. think about it, if sailor moon had shit loads of money to buy clothes she'd totally be wearing erdem.


Sunday, September 26, 2010


calvin klein holds a very special place in my heart. as a teenager in the nineties (i'm betraying my age here folks), i witnessed first hand how his minimalist vision defined the decade. as much as i loved galliano and mcqueen's theatricality and drama back in the day, the purity of calvin klein's work and its quiet confidence tantalized me. it's like looking at a massive rothko painting. there isn't much on the canvas, but the balance achieved within the frame and thought behind the work projects a powerful image. and i'm glad that klein's successor francisco costa is capable of producing the same grand statement without the glitter and sparkles. yes the balmain girl with the tight slutty dress might get the most attention. but like all sluts, they eventually get boring. but a calvin klein girl, even though she's wearing a white pleated, long sleeved, mid-ankle length jersey dress is like light entering a room. it weighs nothing, but it fills up the space. and that is the kinda bird guys are intimidated by. and we all know that when it comes to boys, intimidation is the most effective aphrodisiac. cause boys are dumb.



i'll be the first to admit that i'm not the biggest rodarte fan. seriously, those webby knitwear that they've been doing for a million season in a row got tired really really fast. and i found a lot of their reference points to be sort of, pretentious. let's be honest, when the mulleavy sisters talked about mexican border towns, and ghosts, and missing women assumed to have been murder and rape victims as the main source of inspiration for their last collection, don't tell me you weren't rolling your eyes. my main problem with them is that their inspiration is so different every season, yet the collections always look the same. i'm all for a slow evolution if the integrity of the house is being solidified, but with rodarte i just found it stagnant and boringly redundant. so you can only imagine how hard i bitched slap myself across the face when i first saw this collection. there was not a cob-web knit in sight. there's still that magical element that is inherent to the brand, but all that tailoring gave it a border to contain all those ideas. and their influence, the redwood forests of northern california was actually visible in the wood panel prints on the garments. and the models looked like tripped out wood nymphs with beach babe golden tans. who knew rodarte had it in them to make models pretty and not scary looking?


Sunday, September 5, 2010

( - - - - - - - - - - - - - )

dear blog,

sorry if i've been ignoring you, but summer is winding down and i had to take advantage of the outdoors and all the fun times public drinking in the afternoon is able to provide. i'll give you a cuddle soon i promise.

yours truly,

Saturday, August 21, 2010


first off i would just like to say that i looooove roisin murphy's voice. it pretty much ranks up there alongside beth gibbons of portishead and billie holiday. then again she is a huge northern soul fan, as testified by her busting some crazy dance moves on this video. i reckon she probably grew up listening to motown which explains where she got that smooth, buttery, soulful voice of hers. anyways, i want to go to a northern soul party and learn how to do twirls, high-kicks, splits, one hand dips and sweat twenty pounds away. minus those extra-wide leg raver pants of course. unless i'm getting down with tom hughes on the dance floor. then i really wouldn't give a fuck what i was wearing cause i'm probably gonna end up tearing it all off anyways.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


i was in tenth grade when i first developed my sincere love affair with art. i have my art teacher ms. root to thank for that. she wasn't just my teacher, she was a dear friend.
when i was little i was always drawing, and making things with whatever i could find. never really thought about art since i was just a kid living in manila and manila isn't really a cultural arts center of the world. but i was always amazed by painted pictures. i didn't really connect anything important with it, i just knew i liked it. that all changed when i was sixteen living in toronto and i saw the barnes collection at the AGO.
dr. albert barnes was notorious for shielding his collection from the rapidly growing art market. he didn't believe art was a commodity or an investment to be considered for its profitability in the future. its real value was never how much it was worth, but how much it means. as a result he built his own foundation which housed some of the most important works of early modern art and started a school to teach students the real value of art.
according to his will, his collection was never to leave its home in merion, about four miles away from philadelphia. the collection should also never be reproduced for he believed that it stole the integrity of the work and that the barnes foundation was first and foremost a school and not a museum. not a tourist attraction.
dr. barnes passed away in 1951, and over the years his beloved building which housed his collection fell into disrepair. lacking the money to fund the much needed renovation, the trustees made the controversial choice to tour the collection around the world and allow the works to be printed to add more revenue to feed the work in the building.
toronto was one of the only six cities where the tour was to stop. so obviously my much beloved eccentric art teacher was all a buzz with excitement. for a good month all we did was study the collection. it was during those lessons that i got to know renoir, monet, matisse, soutine, and modigliani among countless others. i understood how these pictures, pretty by today's standards, were so revolting back then. how the courage and talents of all these artists changed art and inadvertently, changed how we see everything else.
when the day finally arrived for our day long field trip we waited with the thousands of others in line. you were only allowed an hour to view the collection, and with so much to look at, we were all planning our course of action. that however was a failed attempt. the minute we walked in we were greeted by renoir's la-sortie du conservatoire and to see something you've been studying in books for a month in person, it literally stops you in your tracks. i can still remember going from one room to the next. the first time i stared at gauguin's monsieur lou lou. i just stood there, wondering what ever happened to that little boy. and at the very end to see matisse's joy of life, not to sound corny, i kinda had to hold the tears back.
i grew up a lot that day. my eyes were never the same again. till now, i compare every exhibit i go to with that day. i look for the same feelings, i look for the same sense of awe. i look for my younger self. the one un-tinted by the biases that comes with age.
a few weeks ago i watched this documentary called "the art of the steal". its about the barnes foundation. in the winter of 2011, against the wishes and will of dr. barnes, the entire collection (which has been recently valued at a staggering 23 billion dollars) is to be ripped off its home in merion and moved to a new museum in the heart of philadephia under the premise that with the new gallery the collection will be admired by millions more people (and obviously bring revenue and attention to the city that ridiculed dr. barnes and his collection when he was alive). unfortunately, for ninety percent of those people who will walk through the doors of the new museum, it will just be another destination to check off their tourist map. they'll never feel the way my sixteen year self old felt.