31 August 2010

Beloved Baptiste!

Another day, another Karl Lagerfeld shoot with Beloved Baptiste (V Mag). This time, yet another silly romp through the 1970s when Aunty Karla was still young and greasy.

Keep It Together, Madge!

I don't think Madge has ever done a photo or video shoot where her knees were entirely together - it's like a ghastly joke. Everytime she sees a camera, her knees flail apart (I suppose in the same supernatural way that clothes fall off Evandro Soldati, etc). Someone please send her the memo: This pose is neither shocking, nor erotic, nor particularly outrageous anymore (and please tell Our Lady of the Crazies while you're at it!).

Corinne Day (1965 - 2010)

Corinne Day, the 'grunge' fashion photographer passed away last Friday, August 27, following a battle with brain cancer. Ms Day was a self-taught photographer and is best known for bringing a candid, documentary feel to fashion image making in the early 1990s. Her most renowned works were depictions of Kate Moss throughout her career.

Really Ga Ga

I think our Lady of the Crazies has really taken her status as a gay icon too much to heart. Now she wants to be a man, and has created a persona for Vogue Hommes Japan (they will publish anything, apparently, as long as it is white) called Joe Calderone. Of course, like everything else she does, this is mere dress-up. Not convincing as a female, she's just as unconvincing as a male (I've seen Linda E do much better, amd even Christy!). All she really proves in these pictures is that she's just not very pretty, and in the end, not terribly interesting or creative. Pictures, Nick Knight.

30 August 2010


I like it. R really, really likes it.
Sandcastle, directed by Boo Junfeng in his debut feature-length film, is a coming-of-age movie about a Singapore boy, En, age 18. That just about sums it up. But. It's alot more as well, thoughtful, felt and immediately engaging. The reviews so far emphasize the political commentary that is brought in by En’s discovery that his dead father was an activist in Singapore in the 1960s, but thankfully, this does not define the movie. What moved me was the movie's simple telling of En's getting to know his family, the nature of family bonds, the passage of life. Joshua Tan, the lead actor, really carried the movie in a mature, understated performance. En's relationship with his Chinese neighbour was the weakest link, and felt perfunctory and unconvinced. The art direction wasn't overwhelming, and didn't make Singapore either overly exotic nor pretty, but dignified and realistic. It feels fresh. It looks fresh. For this I'm grateful.
Oh, and the dragonflies. I think that the dragonflies completely lifted the movie into importance.
There are now two new talents to watch and this is exciting.

The Evergreen Classic: Transformation of the Qipao

Something to see in Hongkong: Hong Kong Museum of History special exhibition The Evergreen Classic: Transformation of the Qipao (on till September 13). Showcasing some 280 qipao, this exhibition illustrates the origins of the qipao and its transformation between the 1920s and 1960s. Despite retirement in the late 1960s from its role as daily garment for women, the qipao continued to exist in many different ways. This exhibition analyses how the qipao has constructed a cultural symbol from a piece of clothing.Photographs show Manchu women during the mid to late Qing dynasty in gowns that reflect the time. Loose, straight cut and with wide sleeves, the long gowns fall to their ankles. Embellishments and details were especially important in Qing dynasty attire. The gown of the period often featured complicated patterns with the body, collar, cuffs and front-flap adorned with extravagant embroidery.The early qipao of the 1920s has a loose body with straight cut, reminiscent of the long Manchurian gown. Yet, like other clothing worn daily, the hemline of the skirt has been shortened to the heels.1963: Bai Guang, the troubled diva (above). 1983: Maggie Cheung, in a look she wish you never to see!...And that's me when I go downstairs to buy wanton soup! Hey Tony!

28 August 2010

He Said She Said

"Considered a little less strictly, Camp is either completely naive or else wholly conscious (when one plays at being campy)...In naïve, or pure, Camp, the essential element is seriousness, a seriousness that fails. Of course, not all seriousness that fails can be redeemed as Camp. Only that which has the proper mixture of the exaggerated, the fantastic, the passionate, and the naïve." - Susan Sontag, Notes on Camp, 1964.Arlene Dahl's 1950s list of DOs and DON'Ts should qualify nicely. Well, why don't you...?

Khaki and Beige and Camel

This is the colour of the earthy moment in fashion. Heart.Cabat Bag: I've come to associate Bottega Veneta with this taupe-khaki. It has a rumpled, un-glitzy luxury.Celine Boot: Many labels sent out all-beige collections for fall, including my favourite Chloe.Vogue Italia September: Prada coat of course (with matching dog). Another picture to add to the unfortunately titled book Dogs In Vogue. I'm sure the humour is completely unintended.Chanel Nail Colour in Particuliere, which is like a mushroom soup colour - this kills me. I can't bear to feature the trio of khaki varnishes (yes, they are so nice) they launched for Fashion Night Out because they are for Fashion Night Out!Daria: In fast fashion khaki.Beige: There is a 2008 perfume in their Les Exclusif line but the original (which the new one in no way resembles) was from 1940. Of course Chanel was there first, as always!

27 August 2010

Postcard: Crete

"Dear D, 40 degrees celsius here on my last day in dusty village on Crete. Sweaty but calm. Lots of fresh seafood and sweet kopi. Been writing alot. Read some Austen to my nieces today. reminded me of you and your holiday postcards. Hope you are well. Uncle C"

He Said She Said: Scandal

"Please can you explain to me what the secret of this actress is meant to be? I would really like to know why she has been so esteemed for so many years. She has nothing. Absolutely nothing! Compared with her, Isabelle Adjani is great even if she's totally nuts. Or Fanny Ardant - she is magnificent, extremely impressive. But Juliette Binoche? What has she ever had going for her?" - Gerard Depardieu, 61. Ms Binoche has an Oscar, and Mr Depardieu, alas, does not.


With New York Fashion Week only a week away, I think it timely to look at an era when American fashion had some sort of meaning.

Visite Privee

Francois Halard, one of my favourite photographers, has a new book called Visite Privee. I first discovered his work in Vogue. In this book are complied shots from his archive of 11 artists and their working environments: Cy Twombly, Julian Schnabel, Jean-Charles Blais, Carlo Mollino, Richard Avedon, Paul Cezanne, Rita Ackerman, Ahn Duong, Miquel Barcelo, Robert Rauschenberg and James Brown. These are bookended with personal shots of Mr Halard's house in Arles.

26 August 2010

24 August 2010

Old Places

I spent alot of last night tucked up in bed, with a cup of rose tea, watching the re-telecast of Royston Tan's (executive producer) feature-length documentary Old Places on TV. It's been ages since I've sat through any TV programme, and I think it commendable and elegantly made, if ever too slightly glossy for my taste.
"I think I’m better at telling Singapore stories. I feel for all the little things and that kind of feelings you cannot have in any other place. I try and shoot in other countries, and I don’t have that kind of connection. For example, we had a project in China. I realised whatever I was absorbing, I was always the third party. So you are almost seeing things from out of the picture. But when I’m shooting in Singapore, I’m inside the picture. There’s a lot of attachment." - Royston Tan

With background commentary featuring the voices of Singaporeans recalling their memories of the disappearing places in Singapore as the scenes of 46 locations unfold and track in composedly, it records, in oral history tradition, a lost Singapore. The voices were, literally, phoned-in. It's a laudable effort, intelligent and thoughtful; It's a record that someone had to make, and I'm glad that it's Royston Tan. I've long admired Mr Tan's work for capturing, and romanticising, the idea of Singapore (in a few interesting films), as no Singaporean director has been able (or perhaps, been willing) to do. This documentary fits his ouevre perfectly and has a special 'rightness'. It's like a Dick Lee pop song made lushly visual, isn't it?And yet, I wasn't moved. It feels controlled, and cool, and art directed to whithin an inch of its life. All the unruly things, the unpretty, the conflicting, the dark depths have been cropped and scripted out, and so all that makes a landmark meaningful are missing. It's picture postcard perfect.
I like postcards; But they too, are a thing of the past.
Directed by Royston Tan, Victric Thng and Eva Tang.

Paris Under My Skin

Another day, another Vogue Paris (September) preview: This one is a beauty story disguised as tribute to Paris and features quintessential Parisian makeup artist Tom Pecheaux and products from Estee Lauder on French model Constance Jablonski (also a Lauder face). By Carine Roitfeld with Inez & Vinoodh.

23 August 2010


Polaroid by André Kertesz (1894 – 1985)

Tuesday Transvestism

Carine Roitfeld and Mert & Marcus and the art of androgyny in September's Vogue Paris.