30 June 2010

He Said She Said

"Why not seize the pleasure at once, how often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparations." - Jane Austen

YSL Fall Ad

Men's Spring 2011: Top 5 Paris

There's such a lot to love (as usual) in Paris, but the clear winner for me is Lanvin. Nothing really matters after that.

1. Lanvin: Words fail me.

2. Yohji Yamamoto: Because it's lyrical, romantic, pretty without being drag and I think for once, surprisingly light-hearted.

3. Yves Saint Laurent: Because no one else seems to like it!

4. Hermes: So faultlessly correct. It appeals to the Virgo in me. I love being morally superior and this collection would make anyone morally superior.

5. Dior: Because again, no one seems to like it, although it is wonderfully accomplished, perfectly gauged, plainly beautiful. I love the Chinese inflections, the wrap tops, the kungfu pants and the fluid draping. And I like the way Kris Van Assche is steering Dior Homme away from the prison of that narrow definition that Hedi Slimane had created.
Number 6 is Raf Simons for me.
And my fave model this season is Philipp Beirbaum: It's the Austrian thing. Plus the neck.

28 June 2010

Men's Spring 2011: Lanvin

The more I look at other collections, trying to define that certain something lacking in this season's showings, the more I keep coming back to Lanvin. The supposedly 'rugged' premise of of this collection was merely the starting point for Lucas Ossendrijver and Alber Elbaz to send out clothes that were radically elegant, keenly felt and thoroughly thought-out. I don't think any other collection was worked on quite so minutely, or was processed and digested with such conviction - yes, including the skulls and skirts collection at Comme des Garcons. CdG was merely systematic. Lanvin is the clear winner for me this season, for its definition of where mens fashion is going, for finding new ways to be elegant, for an intelligence that never feels cold, because it has heart and passion. Just looking at the cloud-patterned checked jacquard knocks everything else I've seen right out of my head.PS Isn;t it great style.com has started to name the male models? Now I can identify every fiercely scowling new blonde that whizzes by!

Lanvin Fall Ads

27 June 2010

Men's Spring 2011: YSL

I feel compelled to say that Stefano Pilati's slight collection isn't as dull or as much of a head scratcher as some critics have deemed it to be. It surely isn't Mr Pilati at his most energetic or inspired but the looks are thought-provoking nonetheless. I like that no apparent effort seems to have gone to make anything obviously 'attractive'; Instead, the entire uncontrived thing seems to be an intellectual exercise, anti commercial, anti hype, quite dry and quietly quite fabulous. The pallete is refined, subtle. And those fez-things perched on the head? I think Mr Saint Laurent used to send them out throughout his career.

Weekend Reading List

You know, it's been more than a couple of years since I've been in Bangkok (if you know Singaporeans, you'll know how truly unusual this is), what with the city's recent anti government protests turning violent and curfew being imposed, and with things still in a state of confusion, I'd become quite nostalgic for those fun days and crazy Bangkok nights, and so when I cam across this novel Siam: The Woman Who Shot a Man by Lily Tuck, I picked it up and have been reading this pretty much non-stop. It's a simple read and I think Ms Tucker is attempting Arundhoti Roi (and not quite getting there) but it's an entertaining account of Thailand in the 1960s, though very much from an outsider perspective, which I guess is how we all experience the city. As often as we visit the city and think we 'know' it, we actually don't. The novel is also about this woman's obsession with Jim Thompson, and his mysterious disappearance into the jungle. I guess you can read this as a metaphor. I think it's unintended.
I'm also reading Colm Toibin's collection of short works Mothers and Sons, and intend to take it with me when I go to Manila during the week - I'm particularly close to my mother and I'm quite worried that the stories might be disturbing - one craves the light and escapist on trips abroad. I do, anyway.

H, in her last legs at this particular job, gave me summer's number of The Economist's Intelligent Life, and I have to say this magazine is full of stories that interest me. The cover story is a longish read on David Hockney; He's an iPad convert and makes drawings on this gadget, did you know? Another feature is on the Italian art of 'stone painting' - one of those mind-bogglingly intricate crafts that amaze me. I remember being fascinated by those paintings made into tables and consoles in a museum in Florence and thinking it would drive me crazy if I had to work on something so seemingly impossible. Yes, I'm one of those that look at modern art installations as insubstantial gimmicks requiring zero skill. I don't get it. I don't really care. Further in the book there's a feature on the style of Graham Greene, Kriston Scott Thomas's career (I love Ms Scott Thomas), book reviews, Marienbad, New Delhi etc.Go look at it, it's a good magazine, a less glitzy British version of Vanity Fair if you will.
The 1909 photo (top) is of Mark Twain reading in bed, possibly my favourite activity.

26 June 2010

Marilyn As Marlene

The Beauty and the Original (in The Blue Angel).

Men's Spring 2011: Hermès

Let's go shopping shall we?
Hermès is once again faultlessly elegant, and completely French. I want it all. Véronique Nichanian has got it down pat, and because the Hermès quality is so evidently, so proudly, superior, her work never seems merely, glibly, commercial. There is no sense of the formulaic here, although no big trend statements are ever made, no grand creative gestures. I guess just the gleaming perfection seems exciting in itself, so there is no need for hyperbolic design statements. I've long been a fan of their Pierre Hardy sandals and this season makes me sigh out loud (SOL)!

Men's Spring 2011: Raf Simons

A solid collection that had more ideas per exit than the entire collection Raf Simons presented for Jil Sander, which in comparison now, retrospectively, seems thin, very much a one-trick pony. I like the perverse contrast of the strictly conventional (the crispness of the white shirtings, the black tie, the sharp collar, the traditional oxfords, the combed hair) juxtaposed with the quietly crazy (the sailor pants with ballgown volume, the sleeveless, the glossy (plastic?) scrubs, the unexpected colours, the unironical proposal of feminine clothes). This collection is like a bookend to the one (has anyone noticed this?) presented by Prada, with many similar themes, including the reference to utility wear, the volume, the strictness, and the rythmn. The one thing I still don't like - the exaggerated zipper pulls. Mr Simons has done this before, and yet the gimmick still jars. Otherwise, an inspiring, substantial collection to take away for the season.

24 June 2010


This lovely Dior Homme advertorial appeared in METAL #20, shot by Sarah Moon, with art direction by Kris Van Assche. The models are Adrien Sahores, Aleksandrs Rusinovs and Oleg Antosik. The video below from 1993 is Ms Moon, talking about her work, sounding like a poem, really quite astonishing.