30 September 2012

Spring 2013: Celine

Minimalists still haven't moved away from the hey days of Helmut Lang and Ann Dem (1994 anyone?) except to make things look abit more ill-fitting. I think this instinct is evident in the concept slide isn't it? Not only is it determinely unlike the show-stopping baroque platforms of the shoes today, they are actually the soul/sole of ugly - you can hardly call them utilitarian!

Phoebe Philo in her I-don't-need-to-be-charming-or-please-anyone mode - is it a comment on the breathless ignorance of today's fashion slave?

SPRING 2013: Hermès

The poor silk artisans - there must be some sort of labour law in France to protect them from doing such an ugly colour combi!
These colours beg the question: What's wrong with black?
For the girls who like to tinker with car engines, surely .  The capacious bag is heavy with greasy tools.

Try to think of a mitigating factor.
If you weren't disagreeable to start with, you will soon be once you wear this look.
Words fail me and then after you weep at the hair and the strange crop, you can use the tie to wipe your eyes.
Along with flooding the market with hideous Franken-bagsHermès seems completely to be determined to accelerate its downward drift by replacing Jean Paul Gaultier with Christophe Lemaire. How many seasons (one shudders, doesn't one?) has it been? Lemaire makes Gaultier look good, almost brilliant (quite a feat, really!). This season, Lemaire seems hell-bent on putting the ugliest clothes out, despite stiff competition from New Yuck. 

22 September 2012


Don't you love this? The latest Vogue Hommes cover certainly stopped me in my tracks and isn't this what a great magazine cover is supposed to do? Wouldn't you let Marlon Texeira grab you like that (and more!) and isn't Stephanie Seymour stunning? 
But domestic violence and women’s advocacy groups are up in arms over the magazine’s Terry Richardson cover. Only in America, I'm telling you. Sanctuary for Families, Safe Horizon, Equality Now, and the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women are saying that the image connotes domestic violence with sex and glamour (only in America!). The groups have reportedly written a letter to Condé Nast, protesting the promoting of choking as “a sign of passion rather than violence” and asking that the magazine be pulled from newsstands. They’ve already received some 200 signatures (but that's not that many what? You can get more just by posting pics of a handbag what?) on their online petition on Change.org backing up this request. Only in America could they not tell that this is banal fashion magazine posing and imagery and pretty tame as far as most of the magazine's intended audience is concerned. 



This should make you titter in giddy delight: it has been announced that Gong Li will star in a China-American co-production The Last Empress, as the empress dowager Cixi. This project has 'unlikely' written all over it, and I can't wait to see how ridiculously campy this will turn out to be. The plot will purportedly chronicle Cixi’s life and her complex relationships with Emperor Guang Xu (played by Datoh Michelle Yeoh, fingers crossed). I can already forsee problems because I don't think the Manchurian court dress will allow for many scenes where Gong Li can run around the vast and forbidding corridors of the Forbidden City with heaving breasts spilling from a corset and chin thrust determinedly out whilst throwing hot tea at Zhang Zi Yi in a fit of rage! Pant, pant!
Please, Seven Stars Film Studios, please also cast Ms Zhang in this movie? Let her be some hapless palace maiden or even a ninja assasin? She should be slapped with energy and violence in every scene she appears by Cixi! It will be rivetting! Remember the big-budget film Memoirs of a Geisha? This promises to be its sequel in terms of histrionics and comedy. Can't wait!
But for nowThe Last Empress is still seeking a director. This means that we can be holding our breaths forever although the film's producers are eager to get things going, hoping to shoot in October. 

Milan Madness: Spring 2013

Really? Mink coats for spring? Mink coats with floral motifs? The Richard Avedon Vogue July 1967 cover of Twiggy immediately spring-ed into my head (see right). This season, Miuccia Prada showed shapes that are classic Prada: The modest shift dresses, the pencil skirts, the robe-coats worn open over bra tops and granny pants. All these were made in duchesse satin, that stiff, smooth almost ceremonial silk, recalling the label's heritage (this fabric was the star of the label's first few seasons).

This season the styles were made fresh by Mrs Prada's take on the Japanese aesthetic. I can only hope magazines aren't going to be literal next year and shoot Memoirs of a Geisha spreads - it would be too tiresome for words. Some of the dresses featured rigid folds that echo the folds of traditional Japanese dress, with the stiffness of obis, and the geometry of orgami - all of which you can read elsewhere as critics go into overdrive, but none will say, as I do here, that the folds recall more the elaborate gift-wrapping that comes from any purchase made in a Japanese shop. The outfits look like precious parcels. The floral motifs are fairly obvious takes (the LV monogramme canvas has these ancient flower icons) and could have come straight from those half-curtains you need to flick as you enter a sushi joint, as are those tabi socks worn with sandals, embellished with bows that are pure Hello Kitty.

16 September 2012

New Yuck 2013: The Horror, The Horror

3.1 Phillip Lim A very depressing and disagreeable ensemble.
Altuzarra did this patchwork aunty (amongst other horrors) - this, alas, passed for sophistication. Cannot understand.
Derek Lam used the most unflattering colours he could find and made them into the unlikeliest shapes. Why bother?

New Yuck 2013: Calvin Klein Collection

This is the best of New York: More of the signature sublime, cerebral beauty from Francisco Costa, otherwise New Yuck would indeed be nothing but YUCK. Some sort of rigour and structure was in order and this was happily delivered at Calvin Klein Collection. It's pure, genteel, softly curving without ever becoming dull. A comparison with the similar monochrome collection designed by Jason Wu would be instructive - that was at once childish and dull - not to mention completely OLD.

10 September 2012

CR Fashion Book - Carine Roitfeld's Rebirth

This week sees the launch of CR Fashion Book, the semi-annual fashion glossy that is Carine Roitfeld's comeback vehicle after leaving Vogue Paris two years ago. I can't believe it's been two years already! Two years of hating Paris Vogue - I might add. So here are the twin covers shot by Bruce Weber. There's also going to be an online version of the magazine, something to look forward to at last?
"I’m not the generation of the Internet – I’m the generation of paper magazines – but with the new site, we’re going to do CR Fashion Book online. It’s very exciting, because it will be like a diary. I hope with the Internet, it will be quicker, and like the front of the book in a classical magazine. This is something very new for me, and very exciting. It’s a new way of thinking, a new way of looking, it’s a new way of doing pictures." - Carine Roitfeld

09 September 2012


Chapter 20

If Dana Lee can’t quite recall the exact first moment when she had fallen in love with Eli Kee, then strolling hand-in-hand now, in the vast evening-lit garden of the Kee family mansion, must be a moment to remember, for she felt as if she was falling in love with Eli all over again.

Dana’s heart brimmed over with the beauty of the Kee garden. The mango and star-fruit trees were matured and formed a shadowy canopy that sighed softly in the breeze and the stone walks were lined with rare flowering shrubs. The walks all led to a Victorian (cast iron, 1861) fountain that splashed gracefully into a shallow carp pool. None of this, including the vaguely Spanish-style manor up on the slopes could mean a thing if Eli wasn’t finally by her side. How can Dana Lee’s feelings be described? From the depths of emotional turmoil after The Ice Ball, she had slowly climbed back to her sunny disposition: from the moment she heard of Bella Teo’s engagement to her old friend Adam Tan, to Eli justifying his strange behaviour, and learning about Bella’s sad early life from Eli himself, to forgiving Bella her betrayals; to Eli’s proposing to her just a moment ago, Dana felt by turns tranquil, uncertain, then joyful. In the sunshine of Eli’s embrace, Dana Lee had regained her old positivity, and most of her former confidence.
Dana was mostly relieved, and grateful even, to Bella, that for the moment, she was no longer the focus and target of gossip and speculation. The surprise news of Bella Teo’s engagement to Adam Tan was now the unceasing wonder of the entire fashion flock, and formed one of the busiest discussions on mobile data plans. Dana's intimate knowledge of the pair made it seem to her one of the most unlikely and unaccountable pairings she had ever heard, and she had witnessed quite a few in her time. How could Bella and Adam be together? By what attraction could Adam Tan be drawn to a girl like Bella? A girl whose manner he had spoken with derision and scorn, a girl proven beyond doubt to be insidious, insecure, needy and conniving? The union was beyond Dana’s comprehension.

In the depths of her heart, and in her own happiness, she wished Adam Tan well, of course. But to her mind, Adam’s choice was a complete puzzle. Eli attempted an explanation by supposing, that, perhaps, the vanity of Adam Tan’s ego, more than his heart, had been enslaved by the cunning flattery of Bella Teo quickly after Dana’s rejection of his offer. This had led to the speedy, mutually-beneficial romantic conclusion. Dana recalled Adam getting friendly with Bella not very long ago, thinking only of procuring publicity for his retail businesses. But sly little Bella Teo could, of course, would have had her own agenda in getting close to Adam. Bella always had an agenda, didn’t she? Perhaps it came from having lost her mother at a tender age?

Eli Kee’s invitation to visit his family home came with an important errand. His main purpose was to ask Dana to marry him in the dearest setting he could think of – his own family grounds. And considering that he was inexperienced in such an emotional task, Eli needed the comforting familiarity and encouragement of all he held important – and the fresh air helped, of course. Eli addressed her with affection and tenderness, and Dana Lee was overcome by her own happiness, said ‘Yes’.

Later, Dana, her mother and Eli sat down for dinner at eight o'clock in Dana’s home, only about four hours after Eli’s return from Bangkok. But though exhausted, he had happily secured Dana’s forgiveness. By coffee, Eli had gained Mrs Tina Lee's absolute approval, and was one of the happiest of men. His situation was made completely joyful because for once, he could boast of professional achievement – his album launch had been deemed a success, and his pride in this raised his confidence immeasurably. There was still a long way to go of course, and many mountains to scale but he had made a start, and now longer hid in the shadows of this family fortune. His heart and head were now free to be filled with Dana Lee only, and if any couple could live happily ever after, that couple would be the future Mr and Mrs Kee.

04 September 2012


Starting January 1, 2013, Stefano Pilati will be at Ermenegildo Zegna, as head of design for the brand's menswear lines, as well as creative director for Agnona, the house's women's ready-to-wear and accessories line. Mr Pilati was the brilliant, if troubled, head designer at Yves Saint Laurent post Tom Ford (since 2004); His Fall 2012 collection, shown in Paris last March, was his last for that label. 
His first collections for Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona will be shown in June 2013.

03 September 2012


Before the scene of Dana Lee's reunion with Eli Kee, we must allow for one last little cream tea with every girl's best friend - Ritchie, her hairdresser of 20 years. Dana Lee and Ritchie are having a traditional tea at a hotel tearoom in the heart of town. Every once in a while, a girl must be allowed her traditional cream tea, with all its sugary comforts, and surely Dana Lee deserved a hot, freshly-baked scone with with all its rich condiments more than most, having just emerged from the emotional rollercoaster ride of her life. Some sugar was in order, some caffeine and some butter too.
Sunk deeply into a nest of needlepoint pillows, some embroidered with saucy adages (“The first cup is strong like life; the second is sweet like love; and the third is bitter like death.”, for example.) Ritchie suddenly said in his clotted cream voice: “I suppose, D-D-Dana, you know darling, that the little b-b-bitch Bella Teo has announced her engagement?”
Dana Lee, who was then buttering a scone with a heavy silver knife gave a violent start, and lowered her signature dark glasses, asking “and which little bird told you this Ritch? Will this never end? Will Bella's doings dog me for the rest of my days? Can no cream tea treat be spared her nonsense?” Dana found she had inevitably heaped her pastry morsel too high with strawberry preserve, but decided to eat it nevertheless.
“I saw Bella Teo just now at the s-s-salon; I must say she looked radiantly h-h-happy, and announced ‘I need a brand new look because I’m going to get married’. So, I made free to wish her j-j-joy. Of c-c-course she enquired after you, and young Eli Kee. Bitch said: ‘Please send Dana my b-b-best c-c-compliments, and my fiance’s’. Such a p-p-pair my dear! Their best c-c-compliments! And how sorry they were they had no time to see y-y-you personally to make the announcement; but they were in such a g-g-great hurry to go to London. But, however, when they c-c-come back, they will make sure t-t-tell to you, p-p-personally.
“She had to go to London to make w-w-wedding dress, you know. Nothing from good old h-h-home will d-d-do for our little bitch!”
Dana, taking a sip of her very milky earl grey: “Cut the suspense Sister Ritchie. Coyness doesn't really become a man wearing three Chanel chain belts and studded leather jeans! Who is Bella engaged to? Out with it, Ritchie dear!”
Ritchie, refilling Dana's cup from a heavy silver pot: “He’s very a-a-affable, very c-c-civil, and very, very r-r-rich,” said Ritchie. “And he came to the salon with her.”
Dana, adding two lumps of sugar with mini silver tongs: “You saw him?”
Ritchie, adding hot milk from a silver jar: “Bella the Bitch was like the cat that swallowed the proverbial c-c-cream. And wouldn't you be thusly contented to be engaged to Adam T-T-Tan?”
Dana Lee almost dropped her cup of tea; Had the tea been in a private setting, indeed the cup and saucer would have dropped.
Dana Lee signalled to Ritchie that she didn’t need to hear anything more. Not now, anyway.