Thursday, 30 June 2011

Interview with Sibling!

While I was in Paris I took the opportunity to visit some of the showrooms and in particular I got a preview of hot London knitwear label Sibling's collection for Spring/Summer 2012!  Now containing pieces for both women and men, the S/S12 range is inspired by all the fun of the fairground.  My fave item? Definitely the ironic "Where's me jumper?" t-shirt!

But that's not all! I also got an exclusive interview with one third of Sibling, Cozette McCreery.  So, here we go:

A&D: What was the inspiration behind the precollection that you were
showing in Paris?

Well it was sort-of pre collection SISTER by SIBLING and full on SIBLING. We didn't really describe the SISTER by SIBLING offer as pre as it's more of a LOOK we are going to launch this soon, you know, gauge some interest (which was fucking amazing by the way - apologies for swearing!) WE did the same with SIBLING in 2008 by having a small party to showcase what we were up to: et voila as they say in London's East End.

We were inspired by chips, hot dogs, fun fairs, candy floss, carousel horses, dodgems, waltzers, love, bit of hate. A place called Fun City filled with sunshine and boys and girls having a laugh.

A&D: Why have you decided this is the time to move into womenswear?

Because Cozette is sick of buyers hounding her at her SIBLING sales appointments which is a more than good enough reason. Haha. We are joking but actually not much.

Actually we felt that it was about time to offer the men's line to women rather than them nicking their feller's sweaters.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Paris Fashion Week: Rynshu

What can I saw about Rynshu's Spring/Summer 2012 show in the basement of the Maison des Métallos?  Well, what Jess described as 'the Japanese Balmain' lived up to its reputation for Hollywood-style bling and celebrity status with a collection that also launched Rynshu's new collaboration with, the main man in the Black Eyed Peas.  In fact, the Will himself walked the runway as the final model (video below).  It's clear from previous seasons this isn't exactly my kind of brand, but you know, let's accentuate the positive.  There was a fantastic grey and black circular print (as if giant fag ends had been repeatedly stubbed out on the garments) that came on trousers, shorts and even an entire suit, and reminded me of the skull-print that Comme des Garcons did for SS11.  I also liked a crystal encrusted cream jacket which was perhaps a little flashier than I'd normally go for but then again I'm currently planning what to wear to a friend's wedding ('never upstage the bride, never upstage the bride' being my current mantra...).  However, like last season, I just don't understand why Rynshu continues to show womenswear during men's week - especially because it is not his design forte!  If you want to look like an incredibly rich hooker then...


Strange coming across pictures of yourself on Japanese website ChangeFashion, particularly when they were snapped at the relaunch of Guts for Garters which the site doesn't seem to mention at all! Those of you who actually read Japanese may be able to correct me on that one though... Anyhoo, here I am with makeup artiste Stephanie G-M (powder blue hair!) and musician Rebekah Dobbins (who also models).  Fun times!


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Paris Fashion Week: Ann Demeulemeester

Ann Demeulemeester produced the most beautiful show I saw during fashion week, which was quite a bonus given that it was the first time I was invited to attend one of her presentations!  Standing ticket in hand, I patiently queued with the hordes of Japanese Demeulemeester fans (and DressMeBest's Jess Wu) listening to the extremely talented PRs from Michele Montagne switch rapidly between fluent English. French and Japanese - certainly the most gifted and efficient press officers I've come across so far - until finally I could enter the Couvent des Cordeliers and take my place standing on the carpet of sand that filled the entire cloistered hallway.  The models marched out to the sound of whistling winds like nomadic travellers striding off into the dessert.  Lighter than her usual collections but no less romantic in its way, Ann focussed on detailed layering of cotton, linen and silks in black, white, sand and nude.  Many looks were finished with fabric corsages or transparent tulle veils edged with fine black sequins which draped around the calves.  The location, the soundtrack and the clothes were wondrous, and I saw many, many pieces which will please both die-hard Demeulemeester lovers and bring new converts into the fold.    

Paris Fashion Week: Songzio

The invitation to the Songzio S/S 2012 show came inscribed with a poem:

The two clocks show different times.  Both wrong.  One is slow.  Instead of telling the time, the other seems to point to where I stand.  I relate to it as twigs to the wind.  
Wind and twigs. 

I'm not sure if this a translation from the Korean because I can't find the original piece online.  Oblique, however, as that reference is, the concept of duality it describes ran throughout the collection, as did Songzio's continued focus on his idea of 'aspiration' and the lightness of a 'Spring breeze'.  This breeze was positively tangible (and such a relief given the baking heat outside) as crisp white linen and black wild cotton gently billowed around the models, whose heads were slicked back with what looked like yellow poster paint.  Despite a monochromatic colour choice there was a distinct lightness of touch here and even the heavier, more typically 'Winter' items such as a floor-length belted coat seemed oddly appropriate.  I take my hat off to the stylist, as the floral corsages really managed to lift the entire collection.  I think the grey linen jacket finished with contrasting black leather panels (see above photo) was my favourite item - so unassumingly chic!  I had never attended a Songzio show before but I certainly hope to see the designer's work again in the future - simple, yet beautifully done!  

Monday, 27 June 2011

Paris Fashion Week: 22/4

Düsseldorf-based designer Stephanie Hahn is the woman behind the semi-unisex brand 22/4 (i.e. 2+2=4, get it?) who presented her collection in Paris this weekend.  Represented by RelativeMO, it was a lush affair with a DJ, flowing champagne and a pretty sweet buffet running all day.  But let's not get distracted from the clothes which is of course why I was there :-)  Although she studied womenswear design, Stephanie is much more excited by the cuts and proportions of menswear, and so she starts each collection with looks for the boys and then adapts them slightly to suit the frame of a girl (this year she is also working on a range of dresses for the first time).  Her SS12 menswear collection is inspired by the concept of the global village and her own travels through India and China.  Breton tops, sleeveless tunics, sandals and drawstring trousers all reference elements from around the world and the colour palette picks up on spices tasted, chalk cliffs admired and a deep naval blue.  The total look isn't really my style but I wouldn't mind getting my grubby mitts on those striped tops or a double-breasted jacket with contrasting sleeves.  22/4 is currently only stocked in Germany in independent boutiques like Ela in Düsseldorf, but perhaps that will be changing soon...

Paris Fashion Week: Henrik Vibskov

Henrik Vibskov always puts on a show, and this time he didn't disappoint (in that respect), creating a rotating four-room building in the middle of the usual lycée he uses, with the models climbing through doorways to get around the catwalk.  Sometimes, however, when a designer puts so much effort into his presentation it's a sign that he's trying to distract from the weaknesses of his collection, or that actually he's not really taking the whole 'fashion thing' that seriously.  In this case I tend to lean towards the latter judgement - the collection was not poor, but it felt like Henrik hadn't really made that much of an effort.  If you look back at previous shows, it seems like there hasn't been sartorial progression over the past year, he just keeps churning out the same looks (carrot-shaped and dropped-crotch trouser + loose cardi + bizarre spectacles = Vibskov staple).  And that's fine for his large and devoted fan-base, but I feel you need to bring something new to the table every so often to justify having a place on-schedule at fashion week.  To give credit where it's due, his strength does lie in his distinctly Scandinavian complex knits and prints, of which there were several, and the man knows how to cut an artistically drapey jacket (I especially liked those in grey wool with oversized lapels).  But somehow I was just left wishing for more.  Perhaps I just don't really get Vibskov's total artistic vision.  I guess I'm not hipster enough for him.

Paris Fashion Week: Qasimi Homme

I'm home, I've semi recovered (aka I lay in bed for an extra two hours this morning whilst stuffing my face from my 15-piece box of Ladurée macaroons) and now it's time to upload everything from my burnt-out memory card.  Doing things in a bit of a wrong order today, but I just had to blog about Qasimi Homme first even though it was my last show of the weekend because IT WAS SO FREAKING AMAZING!!  The shaded, breezy outdoor pavilion at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie was a welcome relief after the sweltering basement venues we'd suffered through all day (it well over 30 degrees outside) and provided the perfect location for the designer to show us his new collection based on (as the show notes go) 'protests, rebels, raiding palaces, Baroque, destruction, mutiny'.  Incredibly topical, especially given Khalid's Middle Eastern background, confident and hypermasculine terrorists/freedom fighters (given your point of view) stormed the catwalk wearing razor-sharp short suits accessorised with military boots, berets and pops of neon socks.  Some guys even obscured their identity with ominous face masks.  You could picture the crumbling elegance of ruined Arabic palaces as Baroque curlicues wound their way across fantastic prints on shirts, suits and masks - this is what I've been waiting to see from the likes of McQueen or Versace! Maroon suede biker jackets and vests were to-die-for as was a version in black laser cut leather.  Khalid also cleverly introduced a range of accessories and I think many young gents would covet those overstuffed manbags.  

From the very beginning of the pulsating soundtrack I loved every element of this show, taking us from the Arab Spring to the student protests of London, with a brief layover in a hot and sticky Berlin nightclub.  It felt fresh and youthful, like the aggressive glory days of Raf Simons.  Now, where did I put my credit card...   

Sunday, 26 June 2011

JP at Henrik Vibskov

Spotted my old fashion week buddy JP outside the Henrik Vibskov show (more on that later when I get back to my fully functioning laptop) rocking a black and white look of folds and drapery. Fabulous as ever... From the Philippines, JP has a blog, an online store and I'm pretty sure he designs too. Jack of all trades, you might say!


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Can you say Gi-ven-chy?

It had to be done. You're only in Paris once (every 6 months). Necklace by Eddie Borgo from the Colette sale, t-shirt by Givenchy from the kind-of-secret Givenchy sale. :-)

Paris Fashion Week: Julius

I've never been invited to a Julius show before so I was excited to see what it was like and, in particular, how it might differ from the similar pseudogothic brands on the market. Held in the Maison des Métallos, the room was pitch black, the seating slanted and the music pulsating and incessantly gloomy. All this might lend itself to the perfect show if only the designer had actually restricted himself to Spring/Summer wear. In the uniform palette of black, occasionally spiced up by the appearance of grey, Julius sent look after look of excellent body-conscious leathers (his trademark), with zips and nips and tucks in all the right places. Leather, however, is not exactly summerwear, and given that it was 25 degrees outside we all noticed this. I'm not saying many of the pieces weren't beautiful, but they weren't season-appropriate. And neither were they much different from what we've seen before...

The nod to summer came from ripped and slashed leather bandages which took the term "crop top" to another level. Extremely sexy, both on men and women (yes, Julius shows womenswear during menswear week, to his own commercial detriment), although I'm not sure how commercial any of these items were. God I hope the people that buy them have six-pack abs! We'll gloss over the abhorrent reoccurrence of 90s-style cargo pants, but I do wonder why Julius isn't encouraged to move into pastures new. Those designers we most associate with this dark look - Gareth, Rick, Ann - are more and more infusing their collections with bright colours or shimmering sequins, and it makes you question why Julius seems so stuck in this rut...

Paris Fashion Week: Vier5 Fashion Department

The German Vier5 collective is making a stand against mass-market clothing companies and the industrial nature of corporate fashion design by producing small, hand-made collections each season which also include unique, one-off items. Everything about the the designers in the Fashion Department is singular, including their choice of show location (outside a tiny café where passers-by could stop and watch) and invitation (which features a rejection letter one member received after applying to work for Helmut Lang). This kind of art-minded attitude does lead to a somewhat disjointed collection, but there are many individual pieces I could pick out that would be both wearable and fabulous. I liked the polka dots (which reminds me - I need to check if Louise Gray designs in my size [obese]) and the use of metallic copper, but the absolute highlight was a quilted hot-pink bag. You know they say accessories sell, and if these guys do want to go down the capitalist route then perhaps making more of these bad boys might be a good starting point...

Friday, 24 June 2011

Oh no I didn't...

The secret upside of going to men's fashion week that nobody wants to tell you is that the Paris sales coincide with it. So everyone turns up to the shows wearing "in season" looks, but actually they rushed down to Rue Saint-Honoré that morning to pick them up at 50% off. If only this could happen before the media storm that is womenswear week...

Anyway, today I discovered it's not just the department stores and private boutiques with sales - the individual luxury stores have them too, they just don't advertise them so as not to devalue their own brand. I happened to find something incredibly exciting in Givenchy this afternoon, and something almost equally as fabulous in Colette. But I'm a bitch, so you're gonna have to wait until tomorrow to see what I got!!


It all looks like bollocks so it must be worth something!

Yes, yes, I am actually in Paris right now, smack bang in the middle of Paris Fashion Week madness and my own self-induced shopping nightmare(/heaven). I probably should be posting my show photos right now but I'm sure you've all heard enough of my opinions for this moment in time, especially if you've been following my Tweets and my Tumblr. Anyway, last night I went to the Goldsmiths fine art graduate shows - not quite my usual scene (I saw enough pretentious wankers to last me a lifetime) - but I went to support my friend Meera Chauhan. I don't want you to think I'm biased here, but I did actually like her work which was a video installation set inside a box painted the perfect shade of Yauatcha blue. Featuring clips she filmed of waves in the North Sea, butter melting (which looks ridiculously similar to bubbling lava) and a distraught woman crying, all overlayed with Meera's own voice and a soundtrack she composed, her piece is quite difficult to pin down in terms of artistic message but it is very beautiful and entrancing. I can't say the same for the other stuff I saw, most of which was a load of old bollocks. So, I'm just going to show photos of Meera's work here (again, not biased...haha) except for the final picture I snapped (artist drunkenly unknown) because it looks suspiciously similar to some prints Raf Simons did a few years ago. And I know this, because I managed to get my hands on one of them at the special LN-CC sale recently!

I tried to get Meera to pose for a picture but she was resistant, despite her fabulous outfit of Marni plastic coat thrown over a Pleats Please crinkled blouse in a blue matching her box.

Normal fashion week service will resume shortly :-)

Michael xxx

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Packing, packing, packing

Eeek I have now left Oxford and am in London staying with Anna until extremely early Friday morning (*sigh*) when I set off for Paris Fashion Week! I have lots of fun planned for the weekend, but last night was spent very stressfully arranging possible outfits... As you can see from the photos I've gone for lots of prints! I've also finally worked out how to upload photos and blog posts from my iPad (not as easy as you think!) so I should be able to make little posts about my adventures as I go, although I'll save detailed reviews and full-on photograph onslaught for when I return :-)

À bientôt,


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Jil Sander up-close

I was just watching this full-length video of the SS2012 Jil Sander show I raved about the other day and was struck by several things I hadn't gleaned from the runway photos (apart from how bad some of the guys are at walking in a straight line...).  First of all, I really hadn't spotted the amazing shoes.  Not so much the classic black brogues Raf offered but the crazy python skin (print?) boots and shoes in electric colours like orange or green!  The green pair will most certainly be winging their way onto my shopping list for next season.  I also loved the bags, which you really don't have to wear strung across your chest like a terrifying (yet fashion-conscious) automaton.  A blue and green zip-up clutch caught my eye in particular, printed in its own abstract and overly pixellated  take on the python skin.  I feel it kind of resembles those cult mochillas by the Proenza boys, no?  Unless my eyes are deceiving me I believe I also saw some darker versions of last season's acetate market bag (another one for the shopping list), although I can't find a close up picture.  Finally, I just wanted to highlight how textured and chunky those gorgeous knits are - not quite summer material but highly covetable nonetheless.


P.S. Photos from

Monday, 20 June 2011

Versace Prints!

Just this morning TeamChutzpah and I were discussing how we'd love to see Versace return to its 80s and 90s heyday of prints when BAM! there it is, Donatella's reinterpretation of the house classics filtering through my twitterfeed.  It's not exactly what I was hoping for - I'm still holding out for some crazy silk shirts - but it's a step in the right direction for me!  And you know 'Stasie would enjoy swanning around her bachelor pad in a Versace dressing gown :-) Now we just have to convince Donatella to bump Christopher Kane up from the Versus collections and let him go wild with the formerly trashtastic prints we know he loves...

BREAKING NEWS: H&M has announced its latest designer collaboration with none other than Versace! There's going to be menswear, womenswear and home pieces - all in vintage Versace prints, colour, leather and studding.  Since I'm moving house this summer I know where I'll be going to redecorate!

P.S. Photos from the very fabulous which streams them practically live!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Jil Sander SS 2012

I fear with each passing year that Vogue's Tim Blanks is becoming ever more bitter - how else could you explain his distaste for the modern celebration of youth that is Raf Simon's latest collection for Jil Sander?  Admittedly it wasn't what I was expecting to see when I first nervously flicked on my app and it did come as a shock compared to the vibrant brights of the past two seasons (which have significantly influenced my own style of dress this summer).  But if you take a closer look, all of Raf's signature elements for Jil Sander are there: the boxy t-shirts, softly-cut jackets and eye-popping prints.  Things might have taken a darker turn (particularly for a Spring collection) but everything pulsated with energy and momentum rather than being dreary or drab.  On my wishlist?  A shiny t-shirt, a speckled crochet top and absolutely one of those amazing clutches-cum-iPad cases that strap on with a futuristic harness.  Looks like Jil Sander will be producing most of my outfits next year then...


P.S. Photos from