Thursday, February 18, 2010

90's REDUX

how else would you show a textbook example of calvin klein's minimalist aesthetic other than having it paraded down the runway by iconic nineties models who gave minimalism a face. over the past couple of years it's been kind of gimmicky to use models from the last decade to walk for your show (ahem, tisci), but for this collection it actually made perfect sense. job well done casting director!

p.s. kristen mcmenamy's silvery grey hair is heaven.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Hosted by

dear marc,

i have to be honest, i used to really really love you, but for the past couple of seasons you've really let me down. yeah i know we can all get a little crazy and act out in weird ways and think that it's okay to put fur on clogs and have the girls on your shows look like cracked out bag ladies but the first time you did it i forgave you. even if the show was two hours late because i admired your passion to have the guts to rip clothes apart it put it back together again in a weird and fantastic way. but for someone with as much talent as you i would've figured that you wouldn't have gotten so complacent and hide behind the theatrics and styling of your own shows and be responsible for that horrendous vuitton collection last summer.
so with little expectation i must admit that you've resurrected in me my waning devotion to you with the collection you showed last night. it had everything that i loved about you in the first place. it brought me back to your first collection for vuitton with that long silhouette that wasn't distracted by big giant afros or that annoying monogram with the melancholic romanticism of your fall/winter 2005 collection. you remember, the one that was inspired by violet from the incredibles and tim burton films. and you did it with same freedom to challenge our perception of "prettiness" just like you did with your grunge collection for perry ellis. it had that real sense of intelligence and the richness of the fabrics from the velvets to the mongolian lambs was done in a way only you could have done. you made things that a lot of people would consider to be "dowdy" absolutely beautiful, and you gave it that extra something that has been missing in your work for the past couple of years, the charm that made you so endearing to us in the first place.
you can't understand how happy i am to actually be able see the clothes. to have your work stand on its own relying on just its skeleton and not the outrageous kabuki make-up and vertiginous platform shoes. it was just you, and it was the best of you.

yours truly,


Monday, February 15, 2010


i know this video has been circulating around the world wide web for the past couple of months but its my blog and i can do whatever i want in my little corner of cyber space. also i have a massive crush on drummer george barnett who also happens to be one of my favorite models obvi. so anything with him in it i'm sold! oh and i actually do quite fancy the band. top notch! quality song!


let's face facts, new york fashion week is pretty much as boring as the opening ceremony of the winter olympic games. all these acts trying to one up each other but in the end is just the same shit we've all seen before. but not done quite as well as our european counterparts. don't get me wrong there are some pretty amazing talents that are coming out of the states. with phi closing down there's still ohne titel, and every now and then marc jacobs still manages to do something actually amazing. still, i find that whole upper east side, socialite and celebrity targeted or even jacobs' mish mash dressing to be painfully dull. even alexander wang, the dude we all dick rode when he first started is starting to bore the wits out of me. but having said that i must give new york fashion week some sort of consolation because while the womenswear collections are pretty much a big dud, i was pretty impressed by how good some of the menswear collections were.
what really impressed me about the menswear collections was how they were all intrinsically american. there was nothing blatantly borrowed or adapted from european sartorial codes and the designers really dug deep into americana and what formulated the "american" aesthetic.
the utilitarian workwear references with the denims and the plaids and intarsia knitwear paired with a more relaxed form of tailoring which then contributed to a more casual disposition is the very basis of america's greatest contribution to fashion, sportswear.
and obviously since our world has gotten a lot smaller and influences crosses oceans more freely the clothes never lacked international appeal. new york is the center of the world and in the big apple you have british designers david neville and marcus wainwright at rag & bone, and swedish born patrik ervell showing at one of the biggest stages in the world. with neville and wainwright utilizing american pragmatism with british eccentricity and ervell with the clean lines of scandinavian design.
then there are designers scott sternberg at band of outsiders and phillip lim. both born on american soil and whose sensibilities are deeply rooted in the tradition of american sportswear. while there is a noticeable contrast between lim and sternberg's collections, the one common thread that they both share is the one that is at the core of american fashion, practicality. clothes that function without sacrificing any of its individuality.
now if only the womenswear collections were this interesting i wouldn't be yawning while i peruse through the collections on seriously, how many fucking cocktail dresses does one collection need.


Sunday, February 14, 2010


although creep is a japanese label founded in osaka by kiyofuki awai in 1997, the brand has been under the creative direction of toronto based designer hiroshi awai since 2008. i've lived in toronto for most of my life and i think i'm pretty decent with keeping up to date with local talents, but i have to admit that awai was one that has escaped me till very recently.
to be honest i found out about creep in a very dorky way, facebook. my homegirl karen who shot the lookbook posted a link of the shoot and it features one of my favorite models ronnie from the agency i interned for and since then i've been hooked.
i'm a sucker for the way japanese designers play with the idea of american workwear with something slightly eccentric in an english sort of way, and with my new obsession for the early eighties british casual scene and mid-nineties brit pop i can honestly live in this collection for all of next winter. and i wouldn't even care that canadian winters lasts a gajillion years. all i need is that blue duffel coat and i'll be ready to face those atrocious windchill factors.


its been fifteen years since alexander mcqueen's debut collection, and despite all the praises and criticisms, mcqueen's renegade sensibility that fuses romance, history, violence, and macabre gothicism has produced some of the most potent visual imagery in modern fashion.
mcqueen first caught the attention of the fashion world when isabella blow, the late fashion editor with a knack of launching the careers of new designers bought mcqueen's central saint martins MA graduate collection in its entirety. in the beginning, there was a raw, aggressive, and confrontational aspect in mcqueen's work that culminated in his now infamous "highland rape" collection for autumn/winter 1995 that was based on the exploitation of scotland at the hands of the british empire. with its torn tartan plaid and ripped lace paired with his signature "bumbster" pants, mcqueen was criticized for what editors perceived to be a misogynistic treatment of the sexual violation of women. despite of all the negative publicity, or maybe because of it, the attention brought to light that underneath all the showmanship and theatricality of mcqueen's shows, there was a saville row trained master tailor who's technical abilities was far more mature for a designer who was barely in his twenties and a talent that deserved to be noticed.
around the time mcqueen launched his label, the cultural spotlight was staring to shine on london. once the city that during the early eighties gave the world john galliano, vivienne westwood, and katharine hamnett, during the late eighties/early nineties london fashion was more known for designers with outrageous theatricality and no longevity. at the tail end of the decade however, a creative spurt suddenly found the city with talents such as hussein chalayan, stella mccartney and antonio berrardi. designers who graduated from the same alma mater as mcqueen who, while tended to lean towards the avant garde, also had a contemporary relevance that brought them above being a novelty into designers with real credibility.
this time was a fertile time for mcqueen and bernard arnault, the CEO of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH took notice. he was appointed as head designer for the revered house of givenchy designing its ready to wear and couture collections. and although he first gained notoriety as fashion's enfant terrible, he showed his softer, more romantic side with his emotionally wrought collection for his signature line for spring/summer 1999 that had model shalom harlow in a dance between two robots sprayed with yellow and black paint on her ivory dress. it was so moving, and poignant that it brought people to tears. it was the collection that finally killed any doubt about this young man who proved that he was able to produce a show that was so cohesive as a whole and present it in a dramatized story that captured the theme and emotion of the collection.

while his first efforts for givenchy was received with mixed criticisms, customers eventually started warming up to mcqueen and his new take on the givenchy woman. but tensions were rising between mcqueen and LVMH and in 2001 gave the gucci group, LVMH's biggest rival, the majority stake of his eponymous label. severing his relationship with givenchy and LVMH once and for all.
under his new financial backers, his autumn/winter 2002 collection was met with resounding success. proving that he can combine his avant garde sensibilities with commercial consideration without losing the drama and theatrical presentation that is so vital to effectively communicate his point of view. having to finally answer to a big boss however presented new obstacles for mcqueen who now had to take into consideration expectations to perform commercially and finally turn a profit.
the pressure to create something that is commercially understandable affected mcqueen and his collections for autum/winter 2005 and spring/summer 2006 are the best examples of mcqueen's percolated vision. it still had his signature, but it was short on soul and personality. the two ingredients that are the most integral part of the mcqueen DNA.
but redemption wasn't far behind. for autumn/winter 2006 mcqueen unleashed a collection that was flooded with all the mcqueen trademarks. the romance, the tartan, military frogging, and the drama came in full force. every exit rich with ideas traced with mcqueen's hands that had all the emotions and bankability buyers had been waiting for. and just like shalom's legendary battle with the robots, the hologram of kate moss hovering above the ground fresh of her recent drug scandal again had a well of emotions that had people in tears. for a designer that started out his career labeled as a misogynist, no one can create a vision of feminine beauty like mcqueen can. it is at once fleeting and ethereal. a beauty that evokes the past and looks towards the future and yet be so decidedly of the moment. it is a testament to the power of fashion that lifts it from banality into something sublime. with a sensitivity and compassion that is more than enough to warrant a tear to those privileged enough to experience it first hand.


i remember the first time i ever heard about mcqueen. it was a saturday evening about 6:30 and i was still in high school doing what i usually do at around that time every saturday evening, watching fashion television.
i've never heard of the designer who was being profiled at that moment. all i remember thinking to myself was how pompous and pretentious i thought that guy was for turning his face away from the camera while he was being interviewed. at that time london was more known for being this circus in the fashion calendar where the only thing that mattered was to shock and very little else. so my first reaction to the collection with the ripped tartans and lace with the freaky contact lense was just another gimmick from another flash in the pan. and bumster pants...yeah right.
that was my first introduction to mcqueen. and while i dismissed him at first as just another attention seeker, i found myself almost helplessly attracted to his work. in many ways he was the one who introduced me to the idea that fashion doesn't have to be "pretty". it could be provocative. it can be a political statement. or a big fat middle finger to the institution. when he opened my eyes to the possibilities of fashion, it made me realized that it wasn't just this adolescent hobby, it was something i really connected with. a medium that became my passport away from the mundane suburb i grew up in and over the years it took me to some of the most amazing joyrides of my life.
through mcqueen's romantic, and renegade sensibility it enabled me to define my own aesthetic. to not be scared to be different. to dream the biggest dreams you can and wear your heart on your sleeves because it doesn't do anything covered underneath your skin.
i'm pretty sure many will remember him as fashion's enfant terrible or his memorable runway presentations. but for me he was so much more than that. and as i read threads all over the internet the most poignant thing many has said was that he was the one who gave them that connection with fashion. its not easy to be inspirational in such an uninspired world, and the world has gone much dimmer. good bye mcqueen. thank you for being brave and having the guts to do you. i just wish you had the guts to hold on a little longer.