Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stand Up and Deliver

              from L-R: Hamish Bowles, Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Charlotte Gainsbourg,
Salma Hayek, Francoise Henri-Pinault, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert
(photo: twitter via WWD)

How many fashion designers have enough balls to force the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld and Francois Henri-Pinault to stand throughout an entire catwalk show in the history of Paris fashion week?  
But on Thursday that all changed when Nicolas Ghesquiere, creative director of the critically acclaimed fashion house that is Balenciaga, had no choice but to make his guests stand after the black plastic benches people were sitting on cracked and collapsed, sending some fashion editors and buyers crashing to the floor. How very ironic, since the entire collection is about 'weightlessness'. Broken benches aside, guests had very little to complain about after seeing the entire Balenciaga S/S 2012 collection parade down the runway. As always, Ghesquiere never fails to impress and always exceeds people's expectations. He is always mindful of Balenciaga's heritage and is never scared to dig-up the archives and update pieces without being accused of being too reverential. His collection does not bear similarities to anything we've seen down the runway during Paris Fashion Week this season (if you've been following it, that is). It almost always never does. So even if the benches hadn't broken, guests would have stood up anyway and given Ghesquiere a standing ovation for, once again, delivering a well-made, highly- wearable collection.
“I don’t know if oversize is the right term for that type of construction,” he said. “But this famous, and for me, a very functional, concept of Cristobal is the idea of the space between the body and the fabric. The clothes float away from the body. It’s one of the big iconic things of Balenciaga. The fluidity of floating is beautiful, but it is something else. An architectural piece floating around the body is very structural. I think it’s something that Balenciaga invented.”

 The original Balenciaga hat with exaggerated downward-sloping brim circa 1967

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Expectations

There's something about Prabal Gurung's latest FW 2011 ad campaign. Titled 'Great Expectations', it's Prabal's first foray into the world of advertising. With the help of photographer Daniel Jackson and stylist Tiina Laakkonen, they shot model Julia Spencer in a series of beautiful sheer outfits in different shades of crimson and black. Romantic, whimsical and almost vampiric, it is easily one of my favourite ad campaigns from this season. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

King of the Scarlet Sole No More?

Loubi's trademark red-sole is under threat as a federal judge in Manhattan has denied the shoemaker's request to impede Yves Saint Laurent from selling red-soled shoes. The judge said Louboutin 'wouldn't likely be able to prove that its red soles deserve trademark protection'.

The judge also added, 'because in the fashion industry color serves ornamental and aesthetic functions vital to robust competition, the court finds that Louboutin is unlikely to be able to prove that its red outsole brand is entitled to trademark protection, even if it has gained enough public recognition in the market to have acquired secondary meaning'.

The people over at YSL  said that Loubi's trademark registration 'should never have been issued and can’t be enforced'. And that no designer 'should be allowed to monopolize a primary color for fashion'.

Louboutin's lacquered red- sole trademark (granted in 2008) is iconic, making his sought- after shoes instantly recognisable and famous the world over.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A bit of humidity and day-glo jewelry

On a warm and humid Hong Kong evening, my friends and I headed to OnPedder to meet Tom Binns, the jewelry designer who is famous for his mixture of elegant and tough- luxe non-conformist designs. His celebrity followers include Daisy Lowe, Daphne Guiness, Renée Zellweger and Michelle Obama. His eye-catching pieces are often featured in fashion editorials in publications such as Vogue, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, etc.  
Mr. Binns and I caught up over a few glasses of champagne (me) and vodka tonics (him). As usual, it was drinks galore as the event was hosted by OnPedder, or 'church' as me and my group of friends call it. Mr. Binns mentioned that it was his fist time in the territory and having just flown in from LA the day before- where it was slightly cooler- complained a little bit about the humidity. I sympathised. I told him if I hadn't tied my hair up in a bun, I would have had a giant afro for a head instead. I deliberately avoided asking him about his jewelry collection as he had spent a lot of time talking about it over and over to the press earlier during the day. So we talked about the colour of my dress instead, which he said 'suited my skin tone'.
'Why yes', I said, 'it's a few shades brighter than your average jaundiced footballer's wife'.
He added, 'I bet you could see it from the moon. It's like it's had a few bottles too many of radioactive St. Tropez'. He meant this in a good way. Of course. 
We talked a little bit about David Lachapelle, who was also in town that week, and discussed his pop-art take on photography. Mr. Lachapelle, by the way, has shunned life in the fast lane and now lives on an organic farm in Hawaii.
As per tradition, I played with merchandise and found a Lanvin steampunk collar sitting beautifully on the display stand. It sat beautifully on my collarbone too. It's HK$ 5,000 worth of leather and crystals. Mr. Binns noticed and said 'Hang on a minute, where did you get that from? You didn't walk in with that...' I should've really worn something by him but the last piece of Tom Binns jewelry I bought, I lost. Or gave away. So there.
OnPedder had a giant 'dark room' in the middle of the shop floor and inside was an array of Tom Binns day- glo jewelry on display. Like kryptonite, the neckpieces glowed in the dark. I nearly did, too. A few sprinkling of zinc sulfide laced with copper and I would've glowed along with the jewelry. I told you, my dress was bright.
Mr. Binns' assistant Dean, a tall and dapper Englishman, who looked like a character out of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, told me that the OnPedder team were taking them to Zuma for dinner. I asked if they had anything planned for after dinner and they both said 'no, nothing at all...', so I invited them to a party that evening. Mr. Binns looked tired and a wee bit red. His cheeks were glowing. Maybe it was a heady mix of alcohol and humidity. Needless to say, neither of them turned up to the party. Oh well, I didn't expect them to. At least I tried.

The evening ended in an underground space in the hood of Sheung Wan, where great music mixed with cool people and free vodka  And as for the dress, it fuckin' glowed all night.

With Mr. Tom Binns

Almost identical tatts

Glow-in-the-dark neckpieces

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Savage McQueen

Alexander McQueen's breath-taking creations will be exhibited in a posthumous retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum's Costume Institute, launched by this year's Met Ball on May 2. The ball attracts the biggest names in fashion and is an appropriate way of showcasing the great work of an irreplaceable genius who forever changed the world of fashion.

 'What was so incredible about him was he could do the simplest things and the most complicated things. He was a proper genius, and that is a very overused word. If he'd done art, he would have been the best; if he'd done architecture, he would have been the best'  - Daphne Guinness (Harper's Bazaar 2011)


F/W 1996

F/W 1997 'Jungle' Collection

The spray painted dress worn by Shalom Harlow
S/S 1999 

 S/S 2001 'Voss' Collection

 S/S 2001 'Voss' Collection

S/S 2001 'Voss' Collection

F/W 2003

S/S 2007

F/W 2009

S/S 2010 'Plato's Atlantis' Collection

F/W 2010

 F/W 2010

(Photographs by Sølve Sundsbø)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Burak Uyan FW 2011 Collection

Burak is back with yet another gorgeous shoe collection for the Fall/Winter season of 2011. 
As usual, his colour palette looks good enough to eat!