Sunday, June 29, 2008

Comme des Garçons Menswear Spring 2009

Rei has brought the heat this season as this collection is absolutely a dream. There are so many patterns going on, so many different layers and dimensions of complexity yet it is not sloppy or goofy looking at all. There are many skirts in the collection, and you hardly notice because of the pretty masculine styling of the show. The pants underneath the shorts and skirts look really great. The jackets and blazers are absolutely amazing as well. Very wearable but with so much of Rei’s signature charm and extreme attention to detail. The look I chose to feature above the collage, I chose because it sums up my feelings on the whole collection in one look; impeccable styling and layering, the mixture of extremely different prints which provide so much depth and complexity, the pants under the long, layered skirts, everything. Well done, I’d say. It’s an incredibly wearable collection for CDG but I also think it’s still very thoughtful toward her male market and not patronizingly feminine for the sake of it… like some of the other collections this season.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Richard Chai Menswear Spring 2009

I didn’t realize Mr. Chai was showing in Paris this season but I am thrilled he has and I love this collection! Everything about it is great, there is so much good in it that it’s hard to choose where to begin. As seen in the first photo above the collage, the model to the left of Richard Chai has on this divine white shirt and there are a few other similar ones here and there throughout the collection… I think those were my favorite pieces. The button downs are also superb and have really subtle yet intriguing details. I love the overall textures and the fabrics used; the mixture of textiles really makes the collection dynamic amongst it’s mostly subdued color palette. The pants are simply hot… the cut of them are so nice and I love how they’re rolled up and provide just the right amount of volume to create these lovely silhouettes in this collection. One of my other favorite pieces is the long cardigan which I may even consider getting in the future. It’s pretty much the ideal over sized cardigan, all the way down to the buttons. The styling is really exceptional in this showing as well, I thought… just good all around!

Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme Spring 2009

A really marvelous collection from Yohji this season. His choice of models speaks volumes and the clothing conveys something quite well: that Yohji designs for the realistic man. These looks are practical, comfortable, loose fitting yet incredibly stylish and above all they are wearable on such a dramatic age scale. Young men will look handsome in these clothes and older men will look distinguished. There are seasonal trends sprinkled throughout such as the lace, a small amount of color blocking, et al, but for the most part, this collection seems blatantly driven toward extreme wearability and most importantly, the looks are classic. Not only classic Yohji designs but classic in the sense that they are timeless pieces as well. The look I featured above the collage, however, was without a doubt my favorite, design-wise. The asymmetrical jacket is impeccable. We all know Yohji is the master of asymmetry, but typically we see it from him in a much more unkempt and exaggerated way… but here, it is so well tailored and the proportions are just amazing. An overall A+ from me. In short, this is a collection of effortlessly complex clothing, made for the uniquely average man.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alexander McQueen Menswear Spring 2009

It’s that time of the year already! Menswear fashion week is upon us… well, Milan’s anyhow. I am eagerly awaiting Paris’ as always but I was pleasantly surprised with McQueen’s Milan showing yesterday. I wasn’t sure what to expect after last year’s collection, which was a veritable train wreck of polar bears, wild west hobo-ness, tartan and to top it all off, literally, greasy looking ancient Roman style hairdo’s. I am not sure if my attraction to this collection has more to do with relief than actually loving it, but either way, it’s definitely got many high points for me.

I think it’s very similar to Prada menswear of last season, in using the nude tones very prominently. However, where as Miuccia used the nude as entire pieces, McQueen seems to use it here to play up and distort the silhouette a bit and as more of an accent to create interesting shapes. The gradient effects are also wonderful, I love the men’s and women’s looks which have it; really interesting line patterns. I also adore the use of metallics. They are used as accents and I think the fluidity or smoke-like patterns they seem to flow in are really nice as well as the lining of the blazers with a bold metallic.

It’s as close as we’ve gotten in a while to a streamlined, wearable and most importantly: appealing collection since about S/S07 from McQueen. I don’t love everything but I think he surely deserves some credit for this one.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Antonio Marras Menswear Spring 2009

What a gorgeous and thoughtful collection; there is so much to admire. Kicking things off was an array of great blazers and spectacular pants styled to perfection with great vests, waistcoats, ties and tops which are perfectly layered. The cut on the trousers is fantastic… just the right amount of taper, but also just roomy enough to look comfortable and move with ease. The details of this collection are surprising and amazing, if you look hard enough. I’d love to see individual pieces – there seem to be so many! They are all individual yet the collection is really cohesive. Things like the floral vest worn under a blazer, as shown in the photo above, are really lovely to me; I love to see bits of flora mixed with predominantly masculine pieces.

The button down shirts at the end of the show are another story entirely, and a beautiful one at that. If I were a man, I’d probably buy about 5 of them. They remind me of minimalist collages except done on fabric. The construction of, execution and overall effect are something to be admired alone… then you take in account how individual these button downs are and it takes them to another level. The carefully placed ruching and colors as well as the compositions as a whole make these tops so very interesting.

Overall this collection is just wonderful, for me. This is the type of things I like to see in menswear; unusual, yet wearable beauty. The details are staggering here… from the divine floral headpiece to the stitching, to the precise mixture of pastels and neutrals amidst the colorful floral accents… this is a definite highlight of this week in Milan for me.

Monday, June 2, 2008

RIP Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent had been in seclusion for the past few years due to a long-term illness. He passed away yesterday, June 1st, in his home in Paris at the age of 71. I was, like many, a great fan of him and his work, so it is sad to say goodbye. He was one of fashion’s great innovators, boundary pushers and unique personalities but his work, influence and legacy will without a doubt live on and may he rest in peace.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Hand Stitch by Naoki Takizawa Fall 2008

Where to begin with this one? Aside from the fact that the clothing is nothing short of stunning, this line is truly unique and all hats should be off to Naoki for this. Hand Stitch is a line which has many innovative concepts and principals. I always love when a designer designs beyond simply aesthetics and takes the whole craft to another level. Naoki has been on a veritable path to finding himself in recent times and I hope this collection truly brought him some satisfaction as it’s incredible and there is so much more there than meets the eye.

Amongst the beautiful clothing and silhouettes, there is much going on. On some of the white and off-white “feather” pieces, the feather patterns are actually hand drawn with a metal brush, which has long been used for the art of kimono painting… the painted on fabric then has a sheer layer of fabric over it as a protective element. The craftsmanship is incredible here in this collection, all the way from the stitching techniques, to the innovative textiles used and there was just as much attention paid to the inside of all of the garments as was on the exterior.

I am a firm supporter of conceptual designers such as Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto, who thrive on designing truly special pieces and who pay attention to every detail; to the parts of the garments that no one but the owner will ever see or get to experience. For example, Rick Owens lines his jackets with luxurious fabrics, simply so the woman experiences a pleasure when putting on the garment. And Yohji, who pays just as much attention to the backs of his creations as the front because he believes the spine is where your spirit lies and that the back should never be ignored. Designers like this have a vision which extends far beyond the initial aesthetics and who dive deeper into pushing the limits of what fashion is really about. This collection by Naoki is another great example of these types of principals and I just adore it.