Pre-Fall 2012

Pre-fall is generally pretty boring isn't it? I guess it's more of a business enterprise than an exercise in creativity (fun for those who can afford designer clothes and always want new things to buy, not so much fun for those of us who can only write about them). However sometimes pre-fall delivers gems because designers can be more frivolous than usual - they don't have to have the kind of 'serious' inspiration found in Spring and Autumn!

Case in point Proenza Schouler (I talk about them a fair bit don't I?): what was their inspiration for Pre-Fall '12? Sleeping bag quilting of course! The collection is pretty tiny and to be honest a lot of it was pretty meh, but they used this emerald green and dark navy that's very moody and regal so I'll show you those looks:

On the other end of the scale, Chanel delivered a pre-fall collection that was huge (78 looks) and much better than any collection Karl Lagerfeld has made in the last five years (at least). Old Karl was tired of everyone looking to China and Japan and stuff, and so being the envelope pusher that he is, did something <sarcasm>totally different<sarcasm> and looked to India of all places! I don't think he understands that the reason that fashion has focused on China lately is that they are having a huge middle-class economic boom, not because of some lame-ass cultural appropriation 'creative' reason. Lagerfeld himself has never even been to India, so insults the country by confusing their culture with douchebaggy students from 2001 who travel there to find spirituality or whatever (there were dreadlocks, it was terrible).
I guess it's kind of good then that this collection was met with some outrage! HOWEVER. It was outrage for the totally wrong reason. While the critics should have been getting all angsty about the condescending way that European/North American designers routinely borrow from, and homogenize, 'exotic' cultures, instead they were getting riled up about how extravagent the whole show and collection was. Because of the current economic situation in Europe. Because it's rude or something (totally not rude to India btw).

And so all things considered, I feel a little bit conflicted about the fact that - I really liked some of the collection. Chanel collections are always way too big for everything to be a hit, and more than half of this one was a miss, but what he got right here he got SO RIGHT. I didn't have a problem with all the extravagance (yeah yeah I'm contrary), so all those dripping jewels and gold embroidery satisfied the princess inside of me  (a lot of girls have this). A sari is far more fitting for a princess than any stupid pink taffeta. Here are the looks that are good, while bearing in mind that originally there were 78:

As a p.s. here is one look that didn't fit in with anything else, but the colours of the stripes and that navy are just so satisfying it makes me smile and sigh. Also Julia Nobis always gets the best, baddass looks.


An Ode to One's Bed

It is obvious now that when I said, over a month ago, that I was going to be "very sporadic" in my posting, I was very much lying. Not that I knew it at the time, but a lie nonetheless.

But that's ok! I'm back now! In celebration this post is about the thing that one (a.k.a. me) tends to dream about when sleeping on couches and uncomfortable trundler beds when you are overseas and have no say about where you sleep: your own bed.
One's own bed is a very special thing. You may not have spectacular linen and a fabulous mattress and a bronzed bed frame, but it is yours and it is where you rest each night and thus it is important. Beds, in my opinion, also radiate a special sort of calm. Looking at a photograph of a bed (in a bedroom, that is an essential) can be quite meditative, very peaceful. And World of Interiors, of course, produce the best, most peaceful photos of beds out.

So put on some jazz or white noise and peruse through these...


Going Away!

I'm going away! For a month exactly, so posting is going to be very sporadic. In the spirit of my departure, here is Jessica Stam by a boat. I'm not leaving on a boat, but you get the general idea.


Kelly in Japan

So Kelly Mittendorf is the new kooky girl, and usually kooky girls are immensely annoying, but luckily they usually only last one or two seasons. But Kelly Mittendorf is totally different. Sure she may have the strange, almost ugly face of a kooky girl, but if her latest editorial in Vogue Japan is anything to go by, she is way more versatile than your average oddity.
Check out her facials! Like, not her face (which is weird), but her expressions. There is variety there but she doesn't look awkward, and she's rocking some pretty awesome poses and they don't look awkward either. It's like she's been been practising in front of a mirror, and I respect a girl who swots up. But of course there's that element that can't be taught and I think she got it. 

Also, as an aside, Vogue Japan editorials are usually pretty amazing. The creative direction (not even starting to look at styling) is that much different from Vogue Japan's Western counterparts, and they do things with colour and composition that put other editorials to shame. And you can see its effectiveness here! Most of these clothes have been done to death, but now they look new again.


Just a Great Cover

Nothing really today, just this great i-D cover. I know you shouldn't judge a book by a cover, but magazines are about images so I will always buy a magazine with mediocre content if it has a good cover, and will hesitate to buy a magazine with great content if it has a truly awful cover.

These colours are amazing! The quality is so 80s! Jourdan Dunn is resplendent!

photo from Fashion Gone Rogue


Girl Crush

I have an unashamed girl crush on Emma Stone. I get genuinely excited whenever she makes a red carpet appearance and can look a those creepy sets of paparazzi photos of her for hours. She dresses so well! And sure I know I know, any movie star has a stylist but still, she has to choose a good stylist and approve her clothes right? Right?
She is also v. funny and talented and stuff, and she doesn't bullshit around being ambitious (falsely modest and "I just fell into this" actresses are the worst), so that's like girl power! I think. I am totally projecting but please allow me to do this. She has one of those crazy Taylor Swift cat-eye faces but she is still sexy too I want to be you Emma or can I be your best friend please. 

Oh boy let's look at Emma Stone in pretty clothes

And let's look at Emma Stone channeling Ferris Bueller

And let's just look at her face

So excited for Spiderman guys!


Harmony Korine/Proenza Schouler

Even though I love him to bits, have always loved him to bits and will always love him to bits, Harmony Korine is way too hip to have ever not been involved in fashion. It's always kind of cute when directors come together with labels, and often everyone ends up looking a little bit silly - the director going too commercial and lightweight and the designers coming across as a bit earnest.
But Korine never took himself too seriously (actually did he? I'm not so sure now), and his work is always random and all over the place so I think his stuff for Proenza Schouler works.

These are the stills for his 'film' for their AW'10 collection Act da Fool

And here is the video!

Korine apparently took inspiration from this Christopher Wool photo:

In interviews about it Hernandez and McCollough said they were expecting Korine to do something in New York and with skaters (before hiring him hadn't they seen anything of his after Kids?). And in other random thoughts about it, I don't know how I feel about the 'da' in the title, it's probably Korine trying to be ridiculous (or absurdist if you wanted to use a fancier word) but it sure works as ignition for youtube comment arguments.

But this is all old news! Now Korine and Proenza Schouler have a fancy new 'film' called Snowballs. I liked the old man! He really drove the narrative I thought, when it was just the two injuns there didn't seem to be much drive, much purpose.
And I don't know if this was an intentional decision, but it's interesting how the two models are white, and playing dress ups in Native American clothes - is it a comment on cultural appropriation? Is it making their 'navajo' printed clothes acceptable? Am I reading too much into this? (Probably)


Things That Were Disappointing

I'm getting the feeling that there's been a little too much... positivity around here lately. One wants to be careful with how much positiveness one dishes out, before you know it you could be happy about everything all the time and where is the fun in that? So here are the things of the SS'12 shows that were disappointing.


Please don't misunderstand me on this one. Rodarte wasn't bad, it was just disappointing. For an average designer, an average collection is good! But for amazing designers, an average collection is a huge disappointment. So that goes for every collection I talk about here - I just expected so much more.
In my post about Proenza Schouler I talked about how the collection was good because they interpreted their inspiration subtly and ingeniously. Here Rodarte, IMO, took their inspiration way too literally. Starry Night and Vase with Twelve Sunflowers printed on fifties prom dresses? Really? They could have done so much more with Van Gogh. I guess they did try to abstract things and just look at Van Gogh colours, but I think they just outright failed to find the right colours. And what did Nicole Phelps say? Something about gift stores and Starry Night mousepads. Mmmm verging a little too much on kitsch in a bad way.

One free pass, Rodarte, you have until AW'12...

Meadham Kirchoff

I was disappointed because it was too literal too? I guess that's a strange thing to say because Meadham Kirchoff's genius is taking more abstract ideas and making them literal. Maybe girlishness wasn't abstract enough this time around. Or you know what, maybe I JUST DIDN'T LIKE THE WAY IT LOOKED (you can see my Art History study and analytical skills are serving me well here)
I have to admit I like it a little bit more the more I look at it, but I still dub it a disappointment.


Ugh go away bright colour. You and your simplicity have no place at Marni.

Lanvin/Yves Saint Laurent

What is wrong with everyone?? Can't they see this is all really ugly?? WHAT THE HELL PEOPLE

Ok I've calmed down a bit. The problem with Lanvin is that all the models looked uncomfortable, and I would hazard a guess that the proportions in those clothes would make a normal person's body look terrible - they look terrible enough on the models. I know fashion isn't about always about beauty, but Lanvin has a responsibility in making women look good!
And Yves Saint Laurent could have been good, I wouldn't know because I just can't see past the colour combinations.

Totally hilarious anecdote: I was watching The September Issue with my mum, and when Stefano Pilati
comes on and Anna Wintour asks how he is and he's all "ehhh not that great actually, no?" (you don't do that outside of France man, outside of France you are "good thank you" at all times), my mum was all "I do not like this man he's whiny and a sycophant". So now whenever I see an Yves Saint Laurent collection all I can think is "a whiny sycophant created this" - kills it a little bit.

Hey but do you like how this post is not really that negative. It's actually kind of nice "I have too much faith in you designers"

photos from vogue.com


Areez Katki

Areez Katki is a designer from New Zealand who knits unique pieces from wool and, geez anything that you can knit basically. Off the top of my head some of the stranger materials he's used include something to do with nettles and bungy-cord. Usually he creates pieces that verge on wearable objects, but this season he made a collection more like ready-to-wear. But he hasn't compromised at all by making things wearable and this is my favourite work of his by a landslide - the combination of that orange-red, black, cream and blue is so clean, the colours seem to vibrate against each other.
Photography by Oliver Rose


Paris SS'12 - Alexander McQueen

I was reading a review of the Alexander McQueen show a couple of days ago, and came across something like "In Sarah Burton's third outing at McQueen..." and I had to do a double take. Wait really? This is seriously only Burton's third show? I counted off on my fingers: pagan goddess; bondage in white; and this! Sea monsters/godesses! Time sure does move strangely. It feels like Burton's been at the helm forever but only this time last year she debuted. It's safe to say that she's defied everyone's expectations by carrying on so magnificently. You could argue that it has worked so well because Burton spent so long as McQueen's right hand (wo)man, but take just one look at how Bill Gaytten is doing at Dior and you know that that kind of background doesn't guarantee success.

Well once again this was one of those shows where the runway shots don't do it justice. What does do a little more justice are the detail shots, and what does a little more justice than that are the videos. Although I can't even imagine what it would be like witnessing it in the flesh. (But let's not weep over that, according to Cathy Horyn in the video below, it's ok that I don't get invited to shows!).
It matters a little more than usual not being able to see the clothes move though, because movement is what moved this collection into the extraordinary. When the models walked, the skirts looked like sea anemones undulating in the water. Like there was serious undulation going on. How on earth could you orchestrate that? Is Sarah Burton a scientist? Wut?? Every review mentions this, but heck it's with good reason: the ruffles were hand massaged. And I don't have the vocabulary yet to describe the construction of the clothes, but I will say this: I thought the beginning of this video was actually filmed underwater.

Diving for McQueen on Nowness.com.

And now I'm just going to go overboard and not exercise much editing control.