12 June 2016

SPRING 2017 MENSWEAR: LONDON REVIEW

Three of the best at the on-going London shows:

J W Anderson
Whimsical, joyful and relevant in these rather depressed, cynical times - a jolt of inspiration.

Margaret Howell 
Elegant, thoughtful, desirable clothes with hidden wells of sensuality. Cuts out the social media noise instantly and suddenly you see, and think, clearly.


E Tautz
Rumpled academic meets Talking Heads - more deliciously desirable clothes that will stand the test of time.

Monday With Monet



                                                        Still Life with Meat, 1862

MAKE IT RIGHT THE SERIES - REVIEW

I hadn't planned on being hooked to Make It Right The Series (MIR), because its trailers had promised a formulaic follow-up to the hugely successful (and iconic) Love Sick The Series (LS) which ended last year (also by Thailand's Mcot Station). As predicted, MIR has hewed lazily to the boys' love genre conventions, casting a few extremely pretty boys to enact what is less of a plot than a trail of tropes: Confused Uke (Fuse) ensnaring Passionate Seme (Tee); Nerd (Book) falling for Younger Flirt (Frame); Out&Proud converting Straight-for-Now, and in these combos, throw in some third parties (in Thai, these are called "third wheels"); and then stir in a few disposable girls into a sweetly fluffy meringue of a story (MIR, like LS is adapted from a Thai online novel). 

After watching the first four episodes (subtitled in English by fans), I can assure you that the story is just as twig-thin as any of the cast's scrawny arms. It's hard not to compare MIR with LS, as the two are almost identical - I would go so far as to say that MIR is the production team's attempt at getting LS right, ironing out some of its wrinkles and creases and smoothing out the edges (for instance, they made MIR a lot more racy, with sex in Ep 1, and lots of skin - whereas LS muddled along and it wasn't till towards the end of Season 1 before Noh and Phun actually got down to business). However, because of its similar territory, MIR suffers in comparison, possibly because it comes later, and thus carries the weight of having few/no surprises/ novelties. It's obviously mining a formula (as many are doing - even the recent Chinese webseries Addiction was inspired by LS) that had proven successful - I hope that I will be proven wrong in due course with a compelling twist or two - but I'm not holding my breath.

Of course what's really working, and credit should be given where it's due, is the excellent casting as usual. The four main leads (plus quite a few more in the supporting cast) are spot-on heartbreakers (but then Thailand is like a factory that keeps churning impossibly cute boys out - I need to take out all my savings and move there pronto!) that give MIR its sparkle and life. Again, this is like LS - you don't really watch it for the plot, but for those coyly seductive moments and intense looks of longing that only the really young can carry off - that's the heavy lifting there. The rest is merely working out the various moments/situations where Peak, 16 (as Fuse), Boom, 15 (as Tee), Ohm 15 (as Frame) and Toey, 20 (as Book) these looks can dart those deadly stares into the camera or wrap their nubile limbs fetchingly around each other. For now, Tee has emerged the real star - he's like the new Captain isn't he? Tee represents a new type, very Chinese-looking with the most sculpted of noses and full juicy lips. 

I think fans are watching because MIR fills the void that LS left - it's a pale shadow of LS, but it's a familiar shadow. MIR has to make it on its own merits to matter, and to prevent any more comparisons to LS. 

11 June 2016

4 FASHION STYLES: GOOD CLOTHES, BAD CLOTHES, WELL OR BADLY WORN

Good Clothes, Bad Clothes, Well Worn, Badly Worn are four factors that can result in four possible variants of style. Who are you in this scheme of style?

1. Good Clothes Well Worn:
Attractive, well-fitted clothes worn with confidence and deliberation
eg Hillary Clinton
After a long career of failures of dress, Mrs Clinton are now well-tailored classics of simple design and strong colours. She will never look great, but she looks as good as she can possibly look.

2, Bad Clothes Well Worn:
Ill-fitting, or ugly clothes that nonetheless project the desired image. 
eg Justin Bieber
Often quite strange, borderline-trashy, badly fitting, clothes but warn with great charm and confidence, contributing rather than subtracting from, his effect. 
The President and the Strange Blue Dress/Belt

3. Good Clothes Badly Worn:
Attractive, good quality and fashionable clothes worn without sense or understanding.
eg Michelle Obama
Mysteriously acclaimed dresser, Mrs Obama has a dream wardrobe budget; Unfotunately, she's assembled some good clothes that sit uneasily on her person and her role. Her hair is increasingly desperate and she seems to harbour delusions about her actual size.

4. Bad Clothes Badly Worn:
Ill-fitting, ugly, poor quality clothes worn without care or taste.
eg Madonna. 
There is no shame in this category when you mean to be in it, but Madonna doesn't. 


20 January 2016

MIN THITIPAT POOKBOONCHERD (Part 2)

In which H shares a few choice TIDBITS ABOUT MIN
1. 
    Kimmon: Min unfollowed Kimmon on social media around May 2015, after their Sing For Nepal concert. There was a long text post on Twitter (I don’t understand Thai), which I’m guessing ended things, not in a pretty way.
I don’t know what happened between them, but after this “breakup”, Min never attended any event with Kim alone again. Just think how close they were back in those early Freshy Camp days.

2.   Min only agreed to go on the Lovesick On Tour gig to Udon (with Buff4) with Na’s company.
3.   Around November, Min also unfollowed Alone (on social media). Alone was this guy that took care of Min and Oat, and drove them to the set, took them home, basically a chaperone. I consider this surprising, since they pretty much went everywhere together for months.


4.   So after the MinOat fanmeet, after the end of Lovesick, the only person from that whole thing Min kept in touch with is Na. And Oat. Min still seemed OK with Oat, replying to each other’s Tweets, and they hung out together at Christmas eve. 

18 January 2016

THE STRANGENESS OF MIN THITIPAT POOKBOONCHERD

MinOat, the ship that sunk, isn't going anywhere
Notes on MinOat, Namin, and the strange ongoing discussion with H on this mysterious boy actor.

Born June 19, 2000, Min is quite a strange young man. 

Unlike his peers in the world of Thai lakorn, he keeps his distance on social media. There are very few clues as to what he’s really like in real life.
D: I first fell in love with Mick, the character Min plays in Lovesick The Series Season 2. Three of four episodes in, Mick came to supersede every other character in the series for me. It made me want to see him in real life – and so I went to the fanmeet in Bangkok, my first ever. This was the MinOat fanmeet, where they gave out the MinOat 2016 calendar. 
Oat is another teen actor from the series.
I was very disappointed at seeing Min. He seemed aloof, cold and distant, so much so that his personal beauty, unaided by the terrible styling, couldn’t hold me in the too-cold theatrette, and I made off halfway through the strained performance.
In December, I went back to Bangkok for the Lovesick final concert Lovesick Love Actually. This time round, I found Min to be much improved. But he seems nice and cheerful only with Nanoob Napian Permsombat (November 14 1995), who plays Mick’s sweetheart (for lack of a better word) Ohm in the series. They seemed close, in body language and verbally, with fans after the concert ended.
Min is rather special in many ways; Sometimes he seems troubled even.

H: From what I saw online, Min looked more vibrant than Oat at MinOat, and he took the lead and was proactive throughout the concert and fanmeet.  Oat seemed sheepish, less confident.
To be honest, I’m glad to hear that Min is only cheerful around Na. I didn’t really ship NaMin until their “secret” date in October. That was way after Lovesick ended its run and after the MinOat Fanmeet, which by the way was a huge discouragement to OhmMick shippers.
Min hung around with Na more and more, and he’s changed quite a bit since then. Min and Na didn’t start out this close, not even when the series was airing. I don’t know what happened, but something must have happened right then, around October.

17 January 2016

HE SAID SHE SAID: It would be mortifying...

MEN'S FALL/WINTER 2016 REVIEW: ELEGANCE AND PUNK

Vivienne Westwood: Brilliant and inspired
Burberry Prorsum has, like clockwork, been turning up efficiently brilliant collections for so long that it nettles when its latest showed unispired looks that looked terribly mehanical - just the usual outerwear cut a little roomier. Compare this with the amazingly inspired Vivienne Westwood collection and you will see what I mean instantly. "Androgynous" doesn't even begin to describe the teagown and cardi aesthetics - this collection had balls (literally in the phallic pendants) and ballgowns and yet looked juicily, boldy, swaggeringly sexy, and very very British, with the kind of haphazard, modern sexuality that is embodied by an episode of Cucumber. Every piece is irresistible. More unlikey beauty came from Calvin Klein Collection - not just from the gilded denim or the silken tailoring but from the exaggerated puffa blousons and coats with the hood/halo - whoever would have thought? But that's what we look at in fashion isn't it? This discovery of beauty in some new way - in this case hoodies with a Renaissance effect. 
Prada made me slow and stop for a good look at the collars, key danglies, straps and patched on plackets, pockets, cuffs and collars. Very beautiful motley stuff, poetic and practical - how does she do it year after year? There's some recall of the printed tunic silk shirts from Dolce&Gabbana but taken in a much less literal way and given subtle magic. Beautiful/dowdy (always done so well by Mrs Prada) plaid things.
The fabrics were singing at Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, some very elegant songs. Very elegant stuff that would seem revolutionary if you haven't seen a Dries Van Noten collection. And we do want a revolution from Stefano Pilati, not more subdued, extreme elegance. For these difficult times, a bolder, punkier attitude is called for, don't you think? Just look at Alexander Mcqueen if you can't decide - very beautiful everything, but only the punkish, slightly violent looks register - everything else looks coldly immaculate and harmless. Because we have Pilati/Zegna-ish elegance at E Tautz too, with that interesting 80s inflection. And then at Bottega Veneta, a rumpled version of this elegance, where the plaidy-tweedy ones stole the show - dowdy made so desirable and new it makes one giddy for a weekend in Balmoral with a thermos of good tea.
Checks and Plaids at Bottega Veneta
       

07 January 2016

BIEBER THE BEAUTIFUL




Justin Bieber, 21, is not only talented, he's a great beauty. Bieber is also really, truly stylish - his fashion feels unforced, uncontrived and authentic, a complete antithesis of Kanye West for example, if you need a reference.

06 January 2016

HE SAID SHE SAID: THE CAT'S MEOW

 “I have often thought that in my next life, I would like to come back as Choupette, (Karla Lagerfeld’s) extremely beautiful and bourgeois cat, who has two maids, a chef, a personal hairdresser and many diamond necklaces.” - Anna Wintour

GAME OF THRONES: THE FASHION EDITION

Alber Elbaz by Irving Penn
What is Lanvin be without Alber Elbaz? The designer’s peremptory and abrupt, and now acrimonious exit from Lanvin last November capped a year of dramatic changes in the world of fashion. 

Designer musical chairs are hardly new in fashion; But 2015’s edition seemed evidence of a trend of dumbing down to the masses, a trend that will shape the way we look at fashion for many years to come. Not all the new queens on fashion’s thrones sit comfortably. You can see that in Alexander Wang’s lacklustre three-year stint at Balenciaga – you can see everyone's palpable relief at not having to witness the products of Wang's struggles. One "cool downtown party" collection is enough and ought to be contained in downtown New Yuck, where it belongs. That sort of thing hardly sits comfortably at the Paris Collections, and can hardly be expected to replace Nicolas Ghesquière's work at Balenciaga. 

Ghesquière had spent 15 years reviving the nearly century-old Balenciaga before he moved on to Louis Vuitton to replace Marc Jacobs. His experiments here are also strangely both over-thought and underwhelming. 

Now there are two more mediacore collections to add to the general ugliness of what's out there.

Lanvin Pre Fall designed by Chemena Kamali and Lucio Finale
In 2015, the world woke up to the Gucci drama of an accessories designer, Alessandro Michele, replacing Frida Gianini as creative director. While many of Gianini’s collections during her seven year tenure at the helm of the label left critics scratching their heads and searching for polite euphemisms, although of course, when she succeeded the iconic Tom Ford (who truly revolutionised fashion for the Noughties), she was lauded with enough corporate praise to sink all criticism. Gianini was hailed as a second coming of sorts and beatified as a fashion saint, becoming thinner, blonder and altered beyond recognition towards the end of her reign. Now Michele is being thusly lauded too, for basically doing some pretty things, and some pretty commercial things, which in the end simply looks like a luxed up version of the hipster trend for all things vintage, a trend already a few years old, with a Wes Anderson aesthetic. It's a sort of Gucci version of the Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent 'strategy' - give them what they already want - just better made, and priced to appropriately. Note: Lanvin's first collection (Pre Fall 2016) not by Elbaz looks like Michele's Gucci doesn't it? 

And all that is par for the course - after all it's ready-to-wear - but what of a storied couture house like Dior? After Raf Simons stepped down last November, no successor has been announced till today, even though Spring Couture shows are looming. Hopefully they are taking their time to field a visionary creator, and not some gloriefied handbag designer-with-a-proven-sales-record to dumb down fashion even further. 

Hopefully they will appoint Elbaz - he surely fits the bill.