31 January 2012

Horns and Heads

Eiko Ishioka's headdresses for the movie The Fall.

28 January 2012

Eiko Ishioka (1938 - 2012)

The inspiring Eiko Ishioka, art director and costume designer, died on 26 January at 73. Ms Ishioka, a designer who brought an eerie, sensual surrealism to film and theater, album covers, the 2008 Olympics (above) and Cirque du Soleil, in the process earning an Oscar, a Grammy and various other honours, died of pancreatic cancer in Tokyo.Her aesthetics married East and West — she lived Manhattan for many years. An Oscar winner for Bram Stoker's Dracula, Ms Ishioka also costumed The Fall (2006), an adventure fantasy, and Immortals (2011), a tale of ancient Greece.The young Ishioka began her career in the advertising division of the cosmetics giant Shiseido. She opened her own design company in the early 1970s, with clients like Parco, for whom she created her iconic advertising works for more than a decade. For instance, she created a Parco commercial in which, over a minute and a half, Faye Dunaway wordlessly peels and eats an egg. I've posted this commercial before.She also designed costumes for Grace Jones’s 2009 tourin 2009 and directed Bjork’s music video Cocoon. Her books include Eiko by Eiko(1983) and Eiko on Stage(2000

27 January 2012

Weekend Reading List

Isn't this a nice cover? It's designed by Megan Wilson and pictures a detail of a dress from the V&A. On the subject of reading, I'm still struggling with P D James's (91) Death Comes to Pemberly - it's been three weeks since I bought the book in a swoop of joy (a cross of Pride and Prejudice with a crime thriller), but oh dear, it's so ploddingly dull. I'm puzzled by this book's glowing reviews. This is hardly Austen's style - there's no irony, no wit and no sparkle. Poor Elizabeth Bennet has lost all her spirit.

Spring 2012 Couture: Valentino

Even though lots of people are reporting that this collection references Marie Antoinette's bucolic fantasy milkmaid frocks. I think it's fairly obvious that the starting point references that pseudo-French queen Jackie O. I mean Jackie Onassis, and not Jackie Kennedy, for the two are quite different in style. To be more specific, it references the Valentino dress that she wore to marry Aristotle Onassis in 1968. The flats are a clue, as are the sleeves and the short skirts. Having said that, Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri's (quite a mouthful huh?) collection is my favourite of the season. The lightness of touch in the lace, organza, and filigree, smocking, and embroidery that felt graceful, and modern.You only need to look at Chanel this season (it references the 1960s too, which is useful) to know what I mean. I usually fall down foaming at Aunty Karla's couture, but this collection feels rigid and heavy and quite, quite old.

26 January 2012

To Work Filigree by Candlelight

“I am glad,” said Lady Middleton to Lucy, “you are not going to finish poor little Annamaria’s basket this evening; for I am sure it must hurt your eyes to work filigree by candlelight. And we will make the dear little love some amends for her disappointment to-morrow, and then I hope she will not much mind it.”
This hint was enough, Lucy recollected herself instantly and replied, “Indeed you are very much mistaken, Lady Middleton; I am only waiting to know whether you can make your party without me, or I should have been at my filigree already. I would not disappoint the little angel for all the world: and if you want me at the card-table now, I am resolved to finish the basket after supper.”
“You are very good, I hope it won’t hurt your eyes–will you ring the bell for some working candles? My poor little girl would be sadly disappointed, I know, if the basket was not finished tomorrow, for though I told her it certainly would not, I am sure she depends upon having it done.”
Lucy directly drew her work table near her and reseated herself with an alacrity and cheerfulness which seemed to infer that she could taste no greater delight than in making a filigree basket for a spoilt child."
- Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen

Men's Fall 2012: Brief Notes

1. Balmain has ‘fast fashion’ written all over its banality. The entire thing is humourlessly dull, and completely vulgar, which is the opposite of luxury.
2. Comme des Garçons's Manga Prince has all the whimsical creativity of Howl’s Moving Castle. It's hardly Joan Jet (as one important critic noted - has she never been to Japan?), and only cartoon gothic.
3. Lovely paisley puffa and the very oddly joyous collection by Kean Etro. Some of it looks heavy, but then it’s Fall after all.
4. Dries Van Noten is nice but not at his usual high standard. Fine interpretation of the print story.
5. Givenchy looks like it was styled entirely from a Factory Outlet and will soon appear at a Top Shop bargain bin. A couple of cute glittery white shirts, hardly new, and nothing inspiring.
6. Jean Paul Gaultier – don’t waste the three minutes clicking through this.
7. I like Dolce & Gabanna: It's straight out of a Visconti film (I'm thinking The Leopard) and curiously, it's not so very different from the theatre that Prada is doing.
8. Gucci was quite good, perhaps one of their best in recent memory (and I'm talking the last five years at least).
9. I loved Missoni for all the same reasons that I love Bottega Veneta - because I always do.
10. Insane for the first half of Rick Owens. Perfect proportions. And then the costumes came out.
11. Total refinement of proportion, volume and colours at Lanvin. Simplly perfect.
12. Hermès is effortless, unforced yet never boring; More than its women's collection, the men's truly says all there is to say about what the house represents.

24 January 2012

Year of the Dragon: Ariane Koizumi

This is Ariane Koizumi, in a 1989 photo by Peter Lindbergh.
Ms Koizumi, a native New Yorker of Dutch and Japanese parentage, was discovered by Steven Meisel (Meisel's picture of her below) and was a supermodel, before the term was coined, and joined the long list of models who never quite made a successful transition to films. She starred in one movie, Year of the Dragon, which came out in 1985, at the height of her fame as a model. Directed by Michael Cimino, starring Mickey Rourke and John Lone, the Chinese Mafia film didn't exactly break racial stereotypes. The screenplay was written by Cimino and Oliver Stone. In the movie Ms Ariane played a Chinese-American television reporter, Tracy Tzu.
There was Sayoko, Tina Chow and then Ariane.
Ms Koizumi made Jenny Shimizu possible.

Mid Week Self Pic

Taiwan actor Eddie Peng.
For WaWa Blake.

23 January 2012

Super Nude

Our very own Singaporean photographer Leslie Kee is holding a 'solo exhibition' (couldn't resist that) and starting the dragon year with a bang (oh dear). The Super Nude Series Photo Exhibition is on until the 28th of January, at the Hiromi Yoshii Gallery in Ropongi. The exhibition sees Kee's progress into his metier: a series of limited edition (1,000) publications called Super. This particular one celebrates model (and erstwhile Abercrombie Singapore topless greeter - see super below) Takuya Nakamura. Only in Japan, I'm telling you. The unpretentious pictures get more exciting after this and enquiring minds can see the range at http://thinkcount.blogspot.com/ an excellent blog by Max (I'm sorry to be so prim but there you go), where I first came across this juicy bit. No more of that fashion rubbish, thank god!There are others in this hopefully on-going series. Skye Tan, are you taking notes? Mr Nakamura was right here in Orchard Road!

He Said She Said: Pillow Talk

"Money is the root of all evil and women must have roots" - Pillow
(Click on the picture - the pillow really does say that)

22 January 2012

Jon Jon Linda Turlington

And let me tell you this: Jon Jon is Linda and Christy in drag. There was always something completely asexual about Jon Jon's beauty for me - but you see, it was the same sort of androgyny as Linda's and Christy's beauty. Jon Jon is the final flower of Peter Lindbergh's vision of beauty from the 1990s. We love you Mr Lindbergh! How I miss your early, early days at Vogue Italia.Linda!Christy!