Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shopping : Paranormal Activity

French magazine
  I already told you about my aliens-inspired aunt. I have also a cousin who locks herself in each time there is an eclipse or a change of year. We all have those persons in our circle who believe in supernatural events, who throw salt behind the shoulder, who are mystical or superstitious. I am agnostic, I have a black cat and I don't believe in poltergeists and chupacabras. But, lately, I was quite unlucky, you know these days were the car broke down, you have to walk under the rain without your umbrella, you catch a cold and everything goes wrong. So, I guess than having a little something against a potential "evil eye" can't be bad. You can chose something simple, such as Kate Moss and her necklace with a horseshoe, but here is a little supernatural shopping guide ...
Helmut Lang at Matches £165
 If you believe in life after death and that good spirits could help you, you can go for ghost-print t-shirts, such as tops by Helmut Lang and Rick Owens. You would also need a good Ouija board.
Les Chiffoniers at Shopbob $560 - Shroud of Turin
 For centuries, Christians have believed in the power of the relics. I guess than leggings inspired by the Shroud of Turin are better than reducted heads or bones of a saint. But if you like bones, I advice you to read my articles on Vanitas. Plus Givenchy t-shirts at Louisaviaroma and the jewellery designer Corpus Christi.
Ann-Sofie Back for Topshop £45 - photo Eric Lafforgue, all rights reserved
 If you are not christian, I guess that voodoo and black magic can be useful too. Paint yourself with protection symbols or buy this mysterious top by Ann-Sofie Back for Topshop. You can also buy voodoo dolls and clothes inspired by them at Complete your attire with a star hat by Justin Smith Esq.
Lito Karakostanoglou at Galerie BSL, price on demand
 But perhaps something older could be more efficient. In Ancient Egypt, the scarab was a strong protector and always worn as an amulet. Jewellery creator Lito Karakostanoglou offers us a lot of these little bugs. If you hate insects, you can always turn yourself toward the power of the Daisy Jewellery chakra charm bracelets : or to Peruvian inspired charm by Nadka.
Albion Triketry by Pete Doherty - DimePiece collar $40 t-shirt $32 - Urban Outfitters 12 euros
 But every movie about supernatural and evil forces have taught you that the best weapon was the cross. Pete Doherty might have been influenced by his former girlfriend Kate, as he has launched a collection of crosses. Ideal for exorcisms.
Truly Madly Deeply 12 euros
But if bad luck still follows you, you can always cheek her with a survivor attitude : to Hell and back ! The important thing is to believe in your good star, isn't it ?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spotlight : The Great Circus of Ruth Hogben

 You've already read about Ruth Hogben on this blog (see my article "A Future without Catwalks"). A full article on this artist sounds pretty obvious after my yesterday's philosophical thinking on body and fashion.

Ruth Hogben wanted to be a photographer at first, and she had the luck to become the assistant of one of the contemporary top dogs of this art, the famous Nick Knight. One day, while the master was shooting model Lily Donaldson, Hogben decided to use the photoshoot to make a short video. Interested, Knight decided to encourage his pupil in the way of fashion video, and they repeated the experience, within the framework of the website SHOWstudio.
Ruth Hogben
 The duo have then worked for all the rising stars of fashion and design industry : Alexander McQueen, Lady Gaga, Phillipe Starck ... While Knight was shooting designers Rick Owens for magazine Arena Homme (2009), or Martin Margiela's strange hair clothes ( Make up your mind, 2008), his assistant built an impressive self career of fashion filmmaker. For Punk's heir Agent Provocateur, she created a serie of video entitled like a song of Billy Idol, White Wedding (2008)with kitsch and burlesque collages of Kate Moss in lingerie. More than clothes, what fascinates her the most is the body, the aestheticism and eroticism of its movement, as Buttock proves it. A whole video dedicated to this specific body part with a tribute to burlesque and SM, which seems to have escaped from a bobo documentary from Franco-German channel Arte. Not really my cup of tea though.

Gareth Pugh A/W 2009
 What I admire the most in Ruth's work are her more "personal" videos ( understand without the visible influence of Nick Knight ), especially the ones she did for designers Pheobe Philo for Celine and Gareth Pugh. Perfect (2010), her video for Celine, focuses on the discreet elegance of the brand and the sensual body language of the model in a succession of peaceful portaits which delicate light reminds us of Renaissance's paintings. But with Pugh, the filmmaker reaches her height. The unusual shapes and the materials used by the British genius create a genuine alchemy with Hogben's fascination with movement and light.
Gareth Pugh Pitti Immagine 2011
Insensate (2008) is a modern version of Shakespeare's suicide scene of Ophelia. Water, and liquids in general, are a recurring tool in Hogben's videos. For this one, she told us a dark tale, mixing mythology, vampiric imagery and horror movies ( listen to the music ). She starts playing with the Chiaroscuro, a technique used in painting and photography to accentuate the silhouettes. It's a game of shadows, of light and of darkness : the videos are either too dark or too bright, and as Pugh's clothes, often in graphic black and white. The only notable explosion of colours in Hogben's filmography are Frieze (2009), an acid trip in a pop and country music (!) universe, and Untitled (2009), which might have inspired singer Kesha.
Joie de Vivre
But aside her use of classical arts ( painting and classic sculpture ), she seems extremely influenced by burlesque, circus and fun fairs. It is clearly visible in Clown (2009), where model Carmen Kass plays a strange creature, mix of Commedia dell'Arte, of Moulin Rouge's dancer and of prostitute ( the video starts with the words "Dark Annie" which refer to Annie Chapman, a victim of Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper ). In Joie de Vivre (2010), she pictures model Raquel Zimmerman ( who, really, is of all the best parties ) as a sinistrous Marylin Monroe and as a dark gogo dancer. Everything is dark, especially the not-so-visible-but-latent humour. In her latest videos for Pugh, the models are puppets with broken joints, dancing robots, hula hoop players, actors of Kabuki theatre or even women cut by a digital magician. 
Rick Owens
Ruth Hogben's universe has also to do with contemporary ballets, danced on intense electro music ( often made by Lukid ), with the inflatable capes of Gareth Pugh as tutu. The models are moon-walking on the screen, alone or multiplied ( a good way to be sure the dancers will always be synchronized ! ) and offer to the viewer images of a breathtaking beauty.  This beauty remains in the recent video for Gareth Pugh 2011's collection, but one cannot but notice that the artist doesn't renew herself a lot. The effects are the same, the movements too. Take a look at those two images, extracted from her 2009 and 2011's movies. Very similar, isn't it ?
Gareth Pugh 2009 and 2011
But considering that Ruth Hogben is still young and that her career is already impressive, I guess that her talent will find many new forms in the future, and even if her last video is nothing new, I am still an admirer of her sense of aesthetism and her phantasmagoria. Few are able to do such gorgeous fashion ( and artistic ! ) videos and to make Gareth Pugh's clothes more desirable and fantastic than they already are.
 All images are Ruth Hogben and SHOWstudio all rights reserved.
Gareth Pugh Pitti 2011 and Clown

Thursday, January 20, 2011

IFB's Links a la Mode

links a la mode

"I have confidence that spring will come again, Besides which you see I have confidence in me"

Edited by Florrie Clarke of Intrinsically Florrie
Within this week's links I kept noticing a resounding honestly in the heartfelt posts. When we blog or choose an outfit we are putting ourselves out there for all to judge, and it's not surprising that doing the activity can have an affect on our confidence for better or for worse, especially when feedback starts coming in.
There's also been a sense of rebellion in the air: from the emergence of the punk style to controversy over Vogue, and in the week that saw the spectacle which is the Golden Globes rises a questioning of what the red carpet is all about.

Links à la Mode: January 20th

  • A la Modest Drawing inspiration from Kabukis, Rainbow Brite, Ladytron, and Padmé Amidala while on Tatooine
  • Antares: Alfa Scorpii Fashion without mercy: do I have to choose between fashion and my beliefs?
  • By Anika Who gets to label me and my worth? I do! An honest account from this curvy fashionista who fiercely supports all of our rights to label, embrace and love our fashionable selves, what ever our size.
  • City of Glitter To Cover-up or Not To Cover-up? A post exploring foundation and its role in our self-esteem.
  • Crimson Rosella Blogging: A Self-confidence booster?
  • Depict This The challenge of wearing vintage clothing in the real world
  • Elle Enchanted My take on what bloggers need to consider before accepting a sponsor.
  • Fashezine Inspired by Jennine Jacob's post on how fashion blogs will evolve in 2011, I thought I'd try my hand at a video.
  • Fashion Limbo Online Christmas Shopping, the Aftermath - on lost packages, refunds and independent retailers.
  • Fuyume The demise of the kimono industry.
  • Fish Monkey's Writing Stuff Why I don't think that red carpets have any relevance to fashion.
  • Independent Fashion Bloggers: 5 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Yourself
  • Intrinsically Florrie The fashion show that's made me impatient for summer.
  • Karma-Style Blog Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj have 'FoF' - Fearlessness of Fashion. Do you?
  • My Heart Blogged Falling head over flats. My flats collections, and why you don't see me wearing heels.
  • Scarlet Letter Style Why is the fashion world so critical? I have an idea on how to fix it
  • The Column of Samantha Tyler Of Punks and their influence on Fashion
  • The Fashion Pawn The fourth part of The B.O.B Series discusses all "About You:" Tips for your About You Page.
  • The-Loud Mouth Sometimes, garbage piles up: Fashion blogging isn't just a hobby. For some, it can be an emotional release.
  • The Taxonomy Of My Wardrobe Three Strikes Vogue - You're Out! Three examples of how the fashion bible is inexcusably out of touch with readers and losing relevance in today's world
  • The Simply Luxorious Life Why Not . . . Create Your Own Signature Style?

Decoding : Sex and other fashion considerations

Raquel Zimmerman in 2009
 If we could sum up fashion with only one word, a word that would explain at the same time its existence and its gist, I think that the word body would be satisfying. No flesh, no bones = no clothes. And yet, body is something Fashion is always trying to hide the reality, as clothes hide the skin. It's a scandal each time creators or photographers reveal the body of a female model. But a naked woman in a fashion magazine, what it is ? Sex, art or a joke ? Indeed, how bare skin could sell clothes ? Some stylists have found the antidote to this problem : they added a naked man next to the dressed woman. But still. The sex disturbs. But sex is intimately related to fashion. We choose our style depending on our sex and on the sex we want to seduce. Reductive ? Yes, especially for the heads of marketing. If we didn't have a sex, we could buy more clothes. No more choice between menswear and womenswear, but an infinity of possibilities. And here enters androgyny. The concept exists in the industry for a while, but at the beginning, it was mainly a deliberate transgression from designers and stylists who liked their tea with a bit of provocation. Among them is Jean-Paul Gaultier. Already in 2009, he has stricken our imagination with his A/W 2009 campaign which was showing two different versions of model Raquel Zimmerman. Stunning.
Andrej Pejic and Martin Cohn
 But, in June 2010, he struck harder. In the catwalk, a tall and seducive blond is walking, her ciggy carelessly lit in her hand. She looks at the public with arrogance. But this blond beauty, who is showing the designer's latest womenswear collection, is not a woman. It is Andrej Pejic, a 18 years old Aussie boy. We must say that Andrej is working a lot on his androgynous look : long hair, ambiguous clothes and girly pout. He could fool the jury of Miss World for sure. Same with the porcelain doll's face of Martin Cohn, who is now one of the most booked male models and who recently have reached the rank of It boy. Men are stripping, but their bodies are not sexed at all. They met the ancient Greece ideal : effeminate posture, children's innocent faces and invisible genitals. Long-past, the male body seems to be made for womanhood. In ancient theatre, the actors could easily play the part of a girl and in opera, castrato were more celebrated than female singers. We can find more easily men who cross-dress rather than women. But if it is easier for them to slip on our clothes, then, perhaps the female models should start to worry. Male models can parade for both collections, but can female models do the same ?
Tilda Swinton and Lady Gaga
 Probably, but it is not certain. Nowadays, models look more like fragile little girls rather than strong little boys. Some already have embraced the boyish trend, such as Agyness Deyn and Freja Beha Erichsen, but most of their female colleagues balk at cutting their long sylph hair. In other professions, some are less cautious. In cinema, actresses have cross-dressed for a long time : Sarah Bernhardt in L'Aiglon, Jeanne Moreau in Jules and Jim, Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria, Barbara Streisand in Yentl, Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love, Hilary Swank for Boys don't cry and more recently, we have to remember the stunning performance of Cate Blanchett as rocker Bob Dylan. If actors cross-dress for comedy ( Some like it Hot, Mrs Doubtfire, Hairspray ), actresses have always drama roles. There is something melancholic in seeing a woman dressed as a man. See the famous pictures of Lady Gaga for Vogue Japan. No smile, but solemnity. The feminists will protest, but it looks like women can't easily be men. To my knowledge, Tilda Swinton is the only one woman who can brag to do campaigns for both womenswear and menswear at Pringle of Scotland. With her unusual look and her boyish style, she can easily be mistaken for a man.
David Bowie, Brian Molko and Miyavi
 Then, men still have the advantage here. But for our defense, it is just because they have a leg up. Men started to work on their androgynous look in the 70s. It is something usual in the music industry. We can't do an article about androgyny without mentioning David Bowie. Many other singers have played with their ambiguity, such as Brian Molko, the singer of rock band Placebo. But when it comes to Japan, it is a real institution : Visual Kei, a specific kind of rock, have very strict codes of appearances, and fan girls are worshiping singers and musicians with feminine appearances. The roots of this trend date back to Kabuki theatre. Theatre, Music, Cinema, Fashion : it is a permanent loop and the trend of androgyny is not going to disappear. Ancient Greece's philosopher Plato thought that, at the beginning of the world, there were no male nor female. We were one, and the gods decided to cut us in two distinct sexes in order to have peace. An idea that facinates so much we can't get rid of it, and even, in our modern world, eager of novelties, starts to establish itself as the new norm.
Gisele Bundchen for Balenciaga and Ben Grimes for Grazia Magazine
 So, in the future, will we ask ourselves "To be sexed or not to be ?". Science-fiction promised us cold creatures in androgynous jumpsuits. Are we going to sacrify the dresses to the suits forever ? Some brands already started to launch collections wearable by both men and women, such as Acne and The Kooples. In many new campaigns and photoshots, models are masculine. With the increase of women at the head of fashion houses and magazines, is it a sign of power ? Or is erasing sex a way to have more sex ? Bisexuality is staying discreet but some defend it as the It sexuality. I don't think there is an It sexuality, as I think that there is not one sexuality. And not one fashion either. Because the human being is not only one thing. There always will be aestheticism and free will. Two other words that can also perfectly describe fashion ...
Model of Danielle Scutt Womenswear A/W 2010 collection
Third Sex ( 3eme Sexe )

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tribute : Once O'punk a Time

Vivienne Westwood
 You've asked for more History articles, you will have more. Some would say that punks are not History, but I consider History everything that influences our present society, and it is strongly the case with the punk movement. Now, a punk is basically ( in the mind of most people ) a person who is wearing a dyed mohawk or is clad in black. Time to destroy these popular clichés. Don't try to make me believe that Jared Leto and Taylor Momsen are punks ... Being punk has little to do with mercantile attention seekers. Of course, there is no law and no thruth about being punk, but there are always douchebags to pretend the contrary.
The word punk is a very old one : Shakespeare used it to describe prostitutes, and in 20th century it was mainly used in prisons, some says as a very offensive term. In the late 60s, the word has been placed side by side with rock to describe a different type of garage rock. It was then detached again, by the music magazine "Punk". And everything begun.
David Bowie - Joe Strummer - British TV presenter Bill Grundy - Johnny Rotten - Malcolm McLaren - Smutty of the Rockats - Andy Warhol - Sid Vicious - Vivienne Westwood - background Kings Road with Sex ( )
 Contrary to another popular belief, the Punk movement begun in the United States, in the beginning of the 70s. Artist Andy Warhol was gathering many trendy newyorkers in his Factory, where was born a community of free-thinkers, artists and musicians of a new kind. Among them were Patti Smith, the Velvet Underground, Television, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Debbie Harry and Blondie, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, all performing at the famous club CBGB. Fashion, at the time, was inspired by the Mods, rockers who dressed with bikers' clothes and wore mullets. Soon, the band The New York Dolls, and his singer Johnny Thunders, developped a different way to dress, with girl clothes worn by men. The show "Pork", created by Andy Warhol, had also an huge impact on the world of entertainment, especially on one special artist : David Bowie. The British singer came back to his country with a brand new style inspired by what he saw in New York. His character of Ziggy Stardust launched the Glam movement, but also influenced many teenagers. But he was not the only one to have been amazed by this new trend, coming from the other side of the Atlantic.
In 1972, a British couple decided to open a shop on Kings Road, to sell clothes inspired by the early punks : Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood. The shop, called "Let it Rock", became a real success and soon evolved in a new concept, called "Sex" in 1974. The same year, in the same shop, McLaren created his own punk band, the famous Sex Pistols. The band, composed of singer Johnny Rotten, guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook and bassist Glen Matlock, was not exactly a professional band. Most of them were beginners, and they clearly didn't give a damn about the whole thing, but they soon catched up the eyes of the public. The 1st December 1976, the band and some of his fans appeared on the Today Show, hosted by Bill Grundy. The TV show was broadcasted live and everyone on the set was drunk, including Grundy himself. It was seen by a lot of people around the country and the behaviour of the punks shocked them a lot, especially for their several use of five letter words ... It would be quite banal now, but at the time, it was really outrageous and it seriously launched the career of the Sex Pistols.
The punks were invading UK. The fans soon became rockers too, and most of the main bands of the Music History were created then : The Clash, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Cure ( which later created the Gothic movement ), Generation X, The Buzzcocks, The Cramps, The Damned, ... and later, Joy Division. London became the center of the punk world, and even the early actors of New York settled in the capital of England. But too much provocation and chaos soon led the punks to decline. Sid Vicious replaced Matlock in the Sex Pistols and he drove the band to its end, with the blessings of McLaren, who was counting on the junkie's provocations for his marketing. Some says McLaren was a genius, but I'd rather think he was an opportunist. Nothing new !
The Sex Pistols went to USA, they clashed. Sid killed his girlfriend Nancy, died of an overdose of heroin and the Punk died of an overdose of trash. Born in the USA, died in the USA, it sounded natural. Broken in many different pieces, the movement evolved : the 80s saw the rise of the gothics, Johnny Rotten helped the expansion of the reggae, Joy Division represented the post-punk hope and open the way to the alternative rock, and The Exploited created the wave of the "crest punks", those rockers with enormous mohawks. "Punk's not dead" was their main slogan, but Punk as it used to be was definitely part of the past.
Gaye Advert - Cherry Vanilla - Siouxsie Sioux - Debbie Juvenile - Nancy Spungen - Debby Harry - Nina Hagen - Sue Catwoman - made by Sam Tyler, background Mirror article on the Sex Pistols
 But if Punk had an huge impact on Music, it also had the same effect on lifestyle and fashion. The Punk movement was a liberation for the young people of the world, tired of a restricted life, and inspired by the Hippy movement and French 1968's revolution. The women saw an opportunity to show that they can be something else than just perfect housewives, and so, many of them left their marks on the movement. These icons were mainly from the Bromley Contingent, a group of friends coming from the borough of Bromley in London. Among them were Siouxsie Sioux, but also Jordan, the famous clerck of shop Sex, Debbie Juvenile, Linda Ashby, a dominatrix whose flat in St James became the HQ of the punks, Tracie O'Keefe, Sharon, ... The Pistols followers were mainly art students from St Martin's. They saw in the Punk movement a new way to express their passion, and also to live it up. Drugs and sex were their main interests, sometimes far behind music and fashion. It was the case for unfamous Nancy Spungen, Vicious' girlfriend, who was just a degenerate. But, fortunately, all the punk girls were not that empty, and some of them have had a great impact on modern girls, thanks to their independance and their style.
Bondage Suit by Sex - Sweater by Seditionaries - Top by Vivienne Westwood - Outfit by Let it Rock - Bondage boots by Seditionaries - Shirt by Sex - Shop sign of Sex - Self made badge
 Of course, fashion is one important point of the punks, and this is mainly a fashion blog, so I'm going to develop it more. As most of punks were artists, students and generally coming from a modest background, their clothes were often handmade. They launched the "Do It Yourself" movement. The shirts were customized with patches, safety pins, badges, prints and other accessories such as chains and armbands, modeled after the Punk itself, which was described by John Savage as pre-existing youth cultures stuck together with safety pins.
 Punks main idea was to provocate the right-thinking society so they stole a lot to the skinheads and the sadomasochists. Indeed, most of the t-shirts bore swastikas, anti-catholic slogans and sexual contents. They were not racist at all, just little idiots who thought they were funny using such outrageous symbols. They didn't care about politics, but they were rebelling against English government. Anarchy was an extreme point of view, so they adopted it and sprinkled some designs of the anarchist "A" on their clothes, as well as pictures of Karl Marx and of the Queen ( see the famous Pistols "God save the Queen" ). Quite an odd mix, but as long as it looked outrageous, it was considered as great.
Bondage was also something important in the punks' attires. Their taste for leather and rubberwear was borrowed to the SM and homosexual communities, which they helped a lot. Bondage was the only thing dark in the punk fashion, which was more colourful than believed. Sid Vicious was the only one at the beginning to wear leather jackets and jeans, as the punks main clothes were surprisingly ... sweaters. It's true ! A look at contemporary pictures will convince you : striped, multicouloured and often destroyed, the sweater is everywhere. The women wore ripped leggings. Tartan, ties, tape and garbage bags were at the programme too ...
Most of the punks' clothes were made by themselves, but Vivienne Westwood soon revealed her talents of designer and she created most of the clothes of her shops "Let it Rock", "Sex" and later "Seditionaries". Other shops were opened on Kings Road but were less famous, and sometimes more considered as tourists' shops. Let's quote Acne and Boys, of stylist Helen Robinson.
No mohawk for the early punks : Sue Catwoman was the only one with a weird hairdo, Linda Ashby was skinhead and Sid has got spiky hairs, but most of the time it was short for men and long for women, sometimes dyed, always dirty. Extreme make-up and body art, even for men, was common, the trends of piercings and tattoos mainly started in the 80s.
Agyness Deyn - "Punk" by Tim Flash - Kate Moss in Isabel Marant - Danielle Scutt AW 2010 - Nana - Dimepiece Bondage t-shirt - Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander for W Magazine
And now, what the punk's heritage ? Vivienne Westwood is one of the most famous designers in the Industry. Other designers were inspired by punks : Jean-Paul Gaultier for example, or Danielle Scutt to name a few. T-shirts reminding of those of "Sex" have spread, such as the "Bondage Boy" t-shirt of brand Dimepiece. And the sweaters ! Those of Isabel Marant look like the exact replicas of those of Siouxsie or Johnny Rotten ... Kate Moss, the face of the brand and godmother of sons of Clash member Paul Simonon, one of the most famous punk bands, is a modern punk girl, and when in couple with rocker Pete Doherty, they were said to look a lot like Sid and Nancy. Hopefully, Kate didn't end like her lookalike ... Punks are also often saw in fashion photography and in fictions, such as in the Japanese manga Nana, where the heroine wears Vivienne Westwood clothes and the hero looks like Sid Vicious. The character of Lisbeth Salander, created by author Stieg Larsson has got a punk look too.
Punk came back in trends at the beginning of the 21th century. Before, the only admirers of the movement were people who lived it or some old fashioned teenagers who prefered old rock to hip hop and techno. I was among those kids, and even if my punk years are far behind me, I have to admit that they still influence my sense of fashion and of arts. "Once a punk, always a punk" I guess ... We all belong to the Blank Generation now.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fashion : Markus Lupfer, in the Road of Success

 To be honest, I wasn't really a fan of Markus Lupfer's work at the beginning : yes, his sweaters were fun and original, but to the say the least, they were mainly ... well, sweaters : not exactly something feminine and elegant. But when I discovered his Resort and Summer 2011's collections, I was genuinely awed by the evolution. From humour and nonconformism, Markus has transcended his clothes into a real ready to wear level, and he is now playing in the big league.
The German born designer juggles with the codes in those two collections. Lightness seems to be his main idea, with soft material, sometimes transparent, and there is preciosity in the details : pearls, flounces, fringes.
 But still, there is harshness in the details, something fiercier than just some white skirts and cute cardigans. There, it is a wild stroke of dark blue paint, here a belt a bit rebellious, also some taunting lips or a girafe which cheeks you, showing that the designer didn't lose his sense of humour. Markus Lupfer also turned a slogan t-shirt into something really posh, almost Parisian : Sinner or Saint, you choose your side, full stop. The use of those religious concepts can be directly linked to his colleague J.W. Anderson's rings Saint and Assassin. But the only thing that could kill you in Lupfer's world is desire. Indeed, his collections are extreamely desirable. Of course, with those rainy, windy and cold days, you are in trance each time you are seeing summer clothes, but there is something more here.
Markus Lupfer has succeeded in creating the perfect basics such as the above dresses. The colours too are perfectly chosen. The dark blue first, in light strokes it is sensual and acute, in total look it is strong and elegant, a perfect answer to black. I have a personal crush for the fourth sweater dress in the first picture : it is at the same time casual and very attractive. The old-fashioned prints reminds of Alexander McQueen's recents collections, without the grandmother's tapestry effect.
Nude is here too, spiced up with interesting textures and gold. Here again, the use of the classic leopard print is regenerated into something new and fresh. The skirt in the girafe's outfit is gorgeous with its small pompoms.
Also, the first Men's collection of Markus has to be emphasized : it is punkish and promising. It is certain : Markus Lupfer is one of the great vintages of year 2011. I think it would be sharp to put him in your shopping list ...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Trend : This is What I Call Summer

A priori, the fashionistas who follow this blog may not have a faint idea of who John Simm, Philip Glenister and Marc Warren are. You usually don't find them in the pages of fashion magazines. They were recently featured on GQ mag, so perhaps your boyfriend or brother would know them better. The last time those three brilliant English actors were in the same fiction, it was State of Play by Paul Abbott, and it was pure genius. So I was pretty thrilled when I've learned that they will re-enlist for a new Sky fiction, which was also a dark humor thriller. Everyting I was waiting for. But, you would ask 'how is that related to fashion ?' And then, I will answer : because the guy who directed the promos already made that before :

"Model Eaten By Shark" David LaChapelle
Yes, the provocative, twisted, sexy, most famous fashion photographer David LaChapelle. Yes, the one who usually shot Lady Gaga, Naomi Campbell, Alexander McQueen and Uma Thurman. I don't know who got this brilliant idea at Sky, but kuddos. The result is a serie of short videos in the classic plastic mood of the master, with a sexy model, a cut foot, Tony Blair, guns and loads of humour noir. Aesthetic and fun, everything you're expecting from LaChapelle and the perfect antidote to the boring campaign of Louis Vuitton Resort 2011. I like my fashion better with a twist of madness ...
This also heralds a great success for Mad Dogs, the Sky serie, a sort of Very Bad Things with an English flavour ... A comedy that will certainly raise the temperature of the Spring ( in UK first and hopefully in Europe and USA after ).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spotlight : The many arts of Jordan Askill

 Jordan Askill is not just a sculptor. He's not just a brother. He's not just a jewellery designer either. Because Jordan Askill deserves more than one label. Even his name on the new NEWGEN's list is not enough to describe the huge talent which this Aussie artist possesses.
After earning his stripes in his hometown of Sydney, working at Ksubi and on many other projects such as costumes for a dance company, the third Askill brother flew to Paris, which is unfortunately a passage obligé for the young designers.
 There, Jordan Askill worked 3 years for the prestigious Dior Hommes. But soon, the young artist decided to play by his own rules. At the same time sculptor and designer, Jordan created a singular universe where you can meet the gods of your childhood, plastic knights and horses, head of boy dolls, all floating in a different weightlessness. His creations share a unique poetry, a mix of melancholy and passion. Static or in a latent movement, the sculptures and the jewels remind us our former toys, which we've imagined they could move when we weren't looking.
Costume for Sydney-based dance company "Are we that we are"
 This idea of motion is also developped by the artist with his brothers, directors Daniel and Lorin, in short films, video installations, commercials and more. But there is no risk that Jordan would spread himself too thin. He is heading toward a precise goal, motivated by a special energy. The artist perfectly masters the techniques of the past and the present, and seems determined to used them for the art of the future.
If you wish to encourage this newcomer in the world of fashion, you can find some pieces on the website of French retailer I guess that with an helping hand of NEWGEN, we will hear more about Jordan Askill in the future : why not a desirable collection at Topshop ?
This year I have decided to back my articles with mood songs. Horses of Patti Smith looked like an obvious choice for this one, perhaps not only because of the title but also the odd energy.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fashion : Reading the Stars with Christopher Kane

 The beginning of a year is always the time to talk about astrology and horoscopes.

Raise your hand if you like to read those pages in the magazines. I do, I'm not ashamed of it. But I don't believe in it at all. One example : ever since they predict that I will get a job, I think I should be CEO by now ... I guess my aunt would tell me that it's because the aliens are interfering with the waves. Yes, I have that type of aunt, which may explain the fact I am such a sceptic.
I can't get this 2012's thing either. So, apparently, we are all going to die next year because the Mayas told so. Okay. Knowing that most of these guys thought that earth was flat, I guess we can consider them as highly reliable ...
I don't know what designer Christopher Kane think about all this ( maybe we should ask him, after all his opinion is worth thousand of Mayas, as far as I know ), but what is certain is that his Resort 2011 collection is genuinely stellar. Along allowing you to show off at your Astronomy Club or to consider a career of guru, the whole collection is so adorable you can wear it on many occasions, casual or party. Proof is Carey Mulligan wore one of the dresses at a premiere : this gal has got flair for sure, but I can't help thinking that a Star wearing stars is a bit redundant ...
My immediate thought when first contemplating Kane's nebulae prints was for Nut, the Egyptian mythology's goddess, not the dried fruit ( yes I have that kind of thought, that's why I was called an alien in high-school; don't tell that to my aunt ). Nut is the goddess of the sky, and is often pictured as a women covered with a night sky. The Egyptians didn't predict the end of the world for next year so, for me, they are much cooler. It's not necessary to be an ancient goddess to wear the fascinating silk clothes of Christopher Kane, but you will definitely feel superior. It's not neccessary to add more, the clothes are perfect.
Unfortunately, even if I just had a substantial income ( which my horoscope forgot to mention ), my chance to buy a piece of that collection is pretty much as feasible as a trip to the moon. Here's the dilemma : if we are all going to die next year, we'd better enjoy 2011 and do everything we want, including a HUGE shopping ! But if it happens that we are still here in January 1st of 2013, it is our bank account which would have a HUGE problem ... I think that I've just found the "IT subject of conversation" of the year : "What are you going to wear for Apocalypse ?" I guess that answering Christopher Kane is definitely appropriate.

Oh, and don't forget to make a wish, a shooting star ( Etoile filante, the title of that song of German electro music band Neo Filigrante ) is passing :

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Be prepared ...

DimePiece inspired my new header
Welcome back ! Year 2011 is starting very well for me, and I hope for you too ... As you can see, the blog has got a brand new look, edgier and darker. That goes with my dark sense of humour  : you've asked for it in my poll, then you will be delighted ... I was also very happy to see that you asked for more Decoding and History. I was a bit afraid that the intellectual twist of this blog was putting readers off, but it looks like there still are persons who know and like to read out there ... And that's good news ! Plus, as you can see the new design allow a better readability.
I hope that in 2011 I will be able to interest you as much ( and perhaps more ! ) than in 2010. The casual stuff ( see the different themes on the side bar ) will stay, but I hope to add more exciting content, and also hope to see an increasing participation in my comments ...
So, are you ready ???