Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy Summer Solstice 2017!

Happy Summer Solstice 2017!
The longest day of the year. Enjoy.
After today, the days grow shorter as we begin our descent into autumn...

Monday, June 19, 2017

BEAUTY: Clothing--Misc. Milano Moda Uomo SS'18

Milano Moda Uomo wrapped up today and here are some nice details that walked down runways around Milan for Spring Summer '18.

Giorgio Armani sent out some beautifully luxe coats but with a Romantic flourish from a century or so ago...the cuts are lyrical and sweeping.

A great sartorial addition to several collections was a cuffed pant leg. But not just cuffed...I mean REALLY cuffed. I saw this on denim jeans a few years ago in France but here we have it on trousers.

Dirk Bikkembergs cuffed pants:

..and I showed the DAKS collection earlier here but here it is again focusing on the cuffed hem:

...and Ferragamo got into some cuffing too...

..and even Mrs. Prada did it.


BEAUTY: Clothing--Billionaire SS'18

Milano Moda Uomo, men's clothing, Billionaire brand, blah blah blah.

Completely common, uninspired collection.

But look at the mature models who wore it. Kudos to Billionaire for casting men 50 and over! Silver is in!


BEAUTY: Clothing--Fausto Puglisi SS'18

Fausto Puglisi is new to the menswear world having previously only designed for women. But his first male outing last year for the Spring Summer '17 season as a guest designer at Pitti Uomo went well, and here we have his Spring Summer '18 collection, a lookbook during Milano Moda Uomo.

Puglisi is very dedicated to the iconography of his country, having used imagery of statues of ancient Roman and Greek gods in the past, but we see in this collection he has zeroed in on il Sole. His models are once again dripping in coral earrings and ornate medallions, necklaces, and crosses--and he has gilded the lily by adding a Rococo laurel wreath crown on each head! But there is irony in these ancient touches manifesting themselves on what is ostensibly California skater-wear. Indeed, Puglisi has a tongue-in-cheek title for this collection: "Caligula In La Jolla."

Much like his Pitti Spring Summer '17 collection which I wrote about here, I am both compelled and repelled by this collection. It's boring, unimaginative streetwear, but Puglisi's earnest dedication to the Italian motifs and the sheer homoerotic quality of it all makes me want to linger...in fact, it ends up looking a little like boxing attire (not by coincidence a pugile in Italian is a boxer!).

Oh, but I'll gladly take the coral necklaces. Yes, please.


BEAUTY: Clothing--3.1 Phillip Lim SS'18

I do love paint spattered clothing--there is something so creative and to-the-elbows-in-an-art-studio about it all. It feels visceral. And for his Spring Summer '18 collection, Phillip Lim threw a lot of paint around in the name of artists such as Ellsworth Kelly, Jackson Pollock (naturally), and Cy Twombly. I love it...and I love how, as the collection progresses, the paint is not just spattered but applied in lines to create a trompe l'oeil pin stripe effect. It reminds me of the Spring Summer 2010 Alexander McQueen collection, back when he was still with us, where he used paint to outline the edges and hems of garments to create what looked like a ragged welt, seen here.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

BEAUTY: Clothing--Etro SS'18

This year at Milano Moda Uomo, Kean Etro decided to forego a runway show and present a lookbook and clothing on mannequins and shelves at the Etro atelier on Via Spartaco. Much like his showing for last season, Winter '17-'18 collection, which relied upon 60s psychdelia and the book MOUNT ANALOGUE by René Daumal (it served as one of the source materials for Alejandro Jodorowsky's cult film "The Holy Mountain" previously here), we are back at a similar place for Spring Summer '18: Indian Summer. But not only India Indian (elephant motifs show up in this collection) but also Indian as in South American Indian, with visual references to Huichol shamanism (witness a tree frog with a South American shaman headdress). In fact, Kean Etro (who took over the men's wear branch of the brand his father Gimmo Etro started in 1968--the year, by no coincidence, of The Summer of Love!) shared some books that inspired this most recent, far-out manifestation of the Etro brand: THE MAHABHARATA, Robert M Pirsig’s LILA, a chakra manual, the histories of a Piedmont hippy commune from the late 60’s, and Ignazio Maria Gallino’s broader history of the Italian countercultural press.

The beaded, embellished jackets are fantastic as are the great paisley espadrilles (crossed with a desert boot!) but the real stars of each Etro collection are the prints in rich, earthy, heady colors.

Click on this film still below to see a fun, short, very atmospheric video of the collection with a fantastic soundtrack.

And in case you're grooving on the neo-psychedelic soundtrack to this video as much as I am, here is a magical live performance of the song, "Noodles For Breakfast," by the band Plastic Made Sofa.


BEAUTY: Clothing--DAKS SS'18

I have said it before and I still mean it: Filippo Scuffi, Creative Director at DAKS, really knows how to work a theme. Just take a look at the last Spring Summer '17 collection, which riffed on shapes and colors of the Indian Subcontinent, here (in the world of fashion, of course, this means this collection is current although it was introduced last year at this time). So for inspiration for this year's Spring Summer '18 collection at Milano Moda Uomo, Scuffi piggy-backed on last season's Winter '16-'17 collection seen here. Winter was all about a wonky, re-proportioned vision of the classic English Businessman, bustling about in The City, circa 1955 by way of the future. It was a fun, interesting, imaginative collection.

Well, why mess with a good thing when you're on a roll? Here we see another version of the classic Englishman...this one circa 1890 to, oh, perhaps about 1918...Scuffi gives us a delightful parade of Englishmen punting at Cambridge on the River Cam or perhaps at a regatta. And why not? The house has the credentials to back it up: founded in 1894, the house has a royal warrant of appointment to HRH Queen Elizabeth II, a royal warrant of appointment to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip, the Queen's husband), and a royal warrant of appointment to HRH the Duke of Wales (their son Charles). Is that enough for ya (wink, wink)?

On the surface, this is less about the concept of fashion and much more about the concept of costume. Which is fine by me. Clothing can and should be an opportunity for expression in any form. And at its essence, all clothing is costume--what we choose to wear every day is a costume for who we want to be, who we believe we are, and who we want others to think we are. No matter what you put on, you can't escape that. Even the folks who don't "dress  up," or who profess to hate "fashion" wear a costume dedicated to that attitude. If your subtext is, "My clothing has no message, I don't follow 'fashion,' it's just something to wear," then that is your costume...and you've probably chosen pieces that stand in opposition to what you believe "fashion" to be. You make a choice even when you don't choose (as with everything in life).

But back to this season's DAKS: I love the flat boater hats, the cream pinstripes, and the intarsia crests on sweaters. But look at these outfits with a deconstructing eye: any one of these pieces can work as a separate, on its own with other, more modern garments. I mean, the jackets are fun (especially the leather ones) and the waistcoats are great (over a worn tee shirt and jeans would be superb), but I would love to have any one of these beautiful, wide-legged, flowing trousers--they could pair with a tailored silk shirt or even a more casual, loose denim shirt!

And I must mention two delightful details from this show. I commend DAKS for 1) hiring mature models as well as young ones (these silver foxes are just gorgeous), and for 2) instructing the models to smile and make eye contact with the audience and to have a good time, while greeting fellow models like old friends. So refreshing to see smiles on the runway!

In fact, the professional punters who take tourists on guided trips on the River Cam today still wear such clothing!



...our hearts ache for you. It just keeps coming...and it must stop.

BEAUTY: Clothing--Emporio Armani SS'18

Milano Moda Uomo is officially underway and I think we are going to be seeing a lot more politically motivated messages this seasom. But for now, Giorgio Armani, master of simplistic luxurious elegance, gives us a respite from the grind of the world. His Emporio Armani label went out on a bit of a limb with a Spring Summer '18 collection that, while still effortlessly sleek and, well, Armani, shows some of the fashion forward silhouettes we have been seeing in other designers for many seasons now. EA looked to Japan for inspiration and the stunning results feel almost like a collection from Yohji Yamamoto. Boxy jackets reminiscent of kimonos featured jacquard prints of subtle koi and cherry blossoms. Cargo pants are made from extremely lightweight habotai, a type of traditional Japanese silk. My favorite part is the beautiful shorts-skirt hybrid that clearly owes much to the Japanese hakama pant. The entire collection is unexpected and ravishing, full of Armani details from the West and gorgeous Japanese details from the East--please do take the time to click on and enlarge the photos below to see these details closer, it's worth it.