Friday, 27 January 2012

Spicebomb


The other evening I was casually sipping champagne at the Charlotte Street Hotel and catching up with other fashion bloggers I haven't seen since last year when, subito, we were kidnapped by hunky men all dressed in black, dragged across London to an abandoned parking garage, packed into an industrial lift, led into a pitch black room and then were subjected to an explosion of ridiculous proportions.  No, this was not just another Wednesday night (or the Grindr-fuelled fulfilment of some bizarre personal rape fantasy) but in fact the elaborate UK launch of Viktor & Rolf's new men's perfume, Spicebomb.  

If this is the world of Viktor & Rolf then I'm happy to pull up a chair and stay a while.  Pink peppercorn martinis and buckets of champagne served up in a grimy warehouse space, molecular gastronomy finger-food (I particularly liked the spherification of olive but nobody else seemed to be a fan...) and a glitter bomb that covered us and our drinks in red sparkles.  Yup, I could get used to this. [Stasie's note: we've actually been invited into the V&R world once before!]

Oh, and I almost forgot about the perfume!  It has a spice and muskiness that certainly marks it out as the masculine counterpart to Flowerbomb, but the almost artificial sweetness would probably be better described as (I can't believe I'm going to use this word) metrosexual (*cringe*).  This is definitely one for the gays, of which we are a fan :-)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Jean-Paul Gaultier menswear A/W 2012


Being born in the 80s but a true child of the 90s I grew up with the glamorous fashion ideal of Cindy, Naomi and Linda necking a bottle of Bolli, snorting a line of coke and climbing off their Greek shipping heirs' laps long enough to swagger and pout their way down a catwalk, keeping just enough energy to shower their chosen designer with kisses and flowers at the end of the spectacle.  Then I went to London Fashion Week and saw the reality of sexless twigs marching stony-faced to some avant-garde dance music, the whole show being over in under 5 minutes.

THANK GOD I WENT TO PARIS.  Jean-Paul Gaultier clearly had his formative years in just the right decade and, thanks to being invited to his latest menswear show, I can now say I know what a défilé should feel like.  Held in his own three-storey high salle des fêtes (that's what perfume money gets you), we drank champagne for 45 minutes before the show began and continued for a good hour afterwards.  Models brought us macarons and a German TV channel interviewed me for the national news, all as I slid deeper and deeper into a delirious stupor.  The feeling was compounded by being bumped-up to the front row.  And then the show started... 

Andrej Pejic! Tattooed abs! Models climbing the scaffolding! I may have let out an audible squeal.  Apparently everyone else picked up on the theme of the show as soon as the music began - Sherlock Holmes's Discombobulate theme track.  Unfortunately I don't watch shit movies like that but I soon caught JP's drift with the brick-prints (a 'trend', apparently), waistcoats, jauntily angled hats and sweeping capes.  The styling really tied the somewhat eclectic collection together and amongst it all I picked out some truly wonderful pieces.  The black jackets and coats with a pixelated green and silvery white tweed running through, leather highlights on cuffs and sleeves, a floor-length black fur lined gilet and a fabulous cropped tailcoat.  The swooshy, pleated black skirt was infinitely better than the JW Anderson one I was hankering after last season and has instantly shot to the top of my list for A/W 12.  And, finally, someone showed velvet/velour tops that I've been dreaming of for the past year! Oh, and they come in wine red with classic JPG sailor stripes? Who am I to argue.       

Andrej Pejic modelling for Jean-Paul Gaultier
Brick print fabric

Monday, 23 January 2012

Plastic fantastic


The word genius gets bandied about quite a lot in the fashion world and I'm not convinced it's ever justified in such a context.  But if there is one contemporary menswear designer I could even consider coming close to my definition for the term it would be Raf Simons, particularly as seen through the lens of the Jil Sander brand he currently heads.  It seems like every season Raf comes up with a singular piece of design, that extra special item that works its way deep into my subconscious and continuously nags at me for the six months after fashion week until it finally hits the stores and I am forced to reach into my ever shrinking coin purse.  Each cycle this article of lust will convince me to pay full price, right at the start of the season (the floral t-shirt in my header bar would be the perfect case in point).  It's an illness, and I've got it bad.

I've already raved about the Jil Sander Spring collection here and here.  The only decision left was whether I need the python print shoes, a python print t-shirt or one of the incredible strap-on harness bags?  I think from the photos you can tell how I chose to answer that question.  Sure it fits my iPad but AS IF I'm wasting this baby on carrying some mere electricals around.  This PVC/leather beauty would be much more suited to holding, say, show tickets (already done in Paris where I finally got my hands on it after several emails back and forth with the store), a laminated photo of Anastasia or - dare I double-dose on the plastic? - my Chris Kane squidgy clutchAnna even suggested wearing it sporran-style which kind of works as a first defence cock-block but, since it can easily be pushed aside, hardly functions effectively as a chastity belt.     

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Issey Miyake menswear A/W 2012

Issey Miyake menswear AW 2012 in Paris

It was such an honour to be invited to Paris to see the latest Issey Miyake menswear collection, as well as the main reason I capitulated and booked the Eurostar when I really should have been working.  You know I've written about the brand several times, I've bought pieces when I can afford them, and I've pretty much worshipped at this iconic Japanese stalwart for many a year (although not perhaps as fervently as Brandon Acton Bond!).  While other fashion houses often veer off in new directions with each head designer, Issey has stayed true to its original ethos even under the new creative leadership of a four-man design team.  But that's not to say the Issey Miyake man isn't evolving; Issey's certainly still relevant and chic in that kooky, easy-going way it always has been.

I have to admit I wasn't really a fan of the sportier options on show - was that a pair of jeans?! - but I realise I'm probably not the typical menswear customer and there were still lots of reinterpretations of house classics for me to enjoy.  The jackets came out top, either with a tartan that bled into black (kind of like what Shaun Samson has been doing in London since his CSM graduation) or with graded and washed-out stripes in red or blue.  There was an awesome red poncho that would look INSANE dashing around Mayfair and some black plastic polygonal gilets and jackets that were beautiful though, I'm guessing, a tad uncomfortable.  Given my current accessories obsession it's also not surprising that my favourite piece of the lot was a simple black bag worn over one shoulder and slung across the chest.  There's just something about practical accessories worn in unexpected locations that's really getting me going right now...     

Friday, 20 January 2012

Mama Mia!

Wearing Acne Paris sweatshirt in Mama Shelter

Helloooo people, sorry for not posting here in a while but if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you'll know that I've been on a whirlwind two-day trip to Paris for men's week.  I wasn't intending to go at all - The Thesis is calling - but then Issey Miyake invited me for the third time and I just couldn't say no again...  And after all it's Paris, who could resist?

I just got home last night, pretty much exhausted since I managed to really pack it in (5 shows, 1 shopping trip, 3 meals, 1 museum, and countless glasses of rosé champagne) so I'll try to get my show photos up ASAP - some of them are incredible! But I had to start with my amazing residence for the night - was it really just one night? - the so-trendy-it's-killing-me party hotel Mama Shelter.  While not exactly in the nicest area (I was convinced a man near Gambetta metro station was going to stab me for my fur handbag walking back at night), the Philippe Starck converted parking garage is chic and outrageous in the most hipster of ways.  Blacked-out carpets, polished concrete walls and seriously low-level lighting make it the perfect place to get up to naughtiness at night, as if I ever would :-)  The bedside lights are hidden inside playful cartoon masks, the bathroom products are Kiehl's, the ground floor hosts what is apparently the IT place to dine in Paris - I've never seen somewhere that busy on a Wednesday night.  It might have something to do with the male model waiters.  Mama Shelter has also converted me to the wonder of Apple TVs; a television, radio, computer and shop all rolled into one.  They even come with an iTunes stuffed with free movies (including an XXX version of Friends) and a camera to take your photos in bed (WARNING: these also get displayed in the bar downstairs - use with caution).  

I may have only been there for one night but I think I definitely took advantage of all the facilities when my school friend Claire came over for dinner.  And I'm planning on coming back very, very soon...    

Carrie Bradshaw on an Apple TV
Liberty fur scarf and Neil Barrett leather and wool coat

In top photo I'm wearing an Acne 'Paris' sweatshirt, Club Monaco shirt, Odyn Vovk grey trousers.  Later I'm wearing a copper neoprene t-shirt by Giuseppe Virgone.  The random selection of accessories include by Jas MB fur handbag, a Christopher Kane 'Aqua' clutch, a tinsel headband by John Rocha.  The last photo shows my Liberty faux fur scarf and the Neil Barrett winter coat.   

xxx
Duck

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Belated


I realise I'm completely failing at my New Year's resolution to blog less frequently - I'm meant to be down to one post a week at this point - but since I've come back to London so much has been going on that I felt the need to blog again.  I'm still in that rush to catch up with everyone I haven't seen for three weeks and I managed to kill two birds (*ouch*) with one stone on Sunday when we celebrated Anna's 26th birthday with lunch at The Delaunay (have the borscht, I dare you!).  We may also have continued to celebrate "lunch" at Automat.  And at a shisha bar somewhere in Mayfair.  And at Novikov.  Oops. 

Doesn't look Anna look wonderful in her bejewelled John Rocha dress?  I'm not jealous at all...  It's my 26th in three months' time and I still have no idea what to do for it, though I did just receive a 25% off voucher from St Martin's Lane.  Repeat? 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Compensation

La Rosee du Chateau Kefraya
This Christmas period was meant to be spent in the hustle and bustle of Istanbul - though sadly not for Istancool - on holiday with my parents.  I was meant to see New Year in with an exquisite Turkish vegetarian meal and a firework display on the roof of our hotel looking out across the Topkapı Palace.  Alas, it was never to be...  After Father got an illness which meant he couldn't fly the week before Christmas we reluctantly had to cancel the entire trip.  So, Mother and I started looking for things to do in and around Glasgow to compensate, so to speak, for our holiday being taken away from us so suddenly.  

It was my idea to try out 21212 in Edinburgh, a relatively new restaurant which received its first Michelin star in 2009 and the founder, Paul Kitching, was recently named best chef in Scotland.  I wasn't intending to blog about this but the photos of our dishes came out so well I just had to share them (all taken using the new 50mm f1.4 lens I got for Christmas!).  

The waitress was very happy to manipulate the menu somewhat to take into account Mother's and my vegetarian predilections.  We had a winter vegetable soup, an exotic mushroom risotto, a medley of vegetables with goat cheese, the extensive cheeseboard and a glazed egg custard.  Nothing, however, was as simple as the names would suggest.  The soup came as a composition of differently flavoured sauces and foams, decorated with dehydrated vegetables exploding with flavour.  The risotto had a Madeira glaze on the side, parmesan and fennel seed crisps and a tiny cube of omelette hidden in the centre.  Each of the vegetables had been cooked individually and nestled amongst them were chestnuts, cranberries and the juiciest olives.  Dehydrated tomato crisps may be my new favourite thing...  Even the glazed custard was layered on top of apple-strudel-tasting mincemeat and was accompanied by popcorn, crisps and a very flavoursome foam (quite an achievement).  Even the wine was delicious - a bottle of La Rosée du Château Kefraya 2009 from Lebanon.

It was truly one of the best meals I've had in ages (even after Zurich) and certainly made up a great deal for missing out on my Winter break... But after this and a fortnight of surviving off Terry's chocolate oranges and Curly Wurlies, I think it might just be time to go back on the dairy-free diet.  Or worse - the dreaded #LiquidDiet!       

21212 exotic mushroom risotto with crisp
21212 winter vegetable soup with dried vegetables
21212 selection of vegetables with goats cheese
21212 glazed egg custard with mincemeat, popcorn and a foam
Nespresso coffee and chocolate truffles at 21212
IPhone in Richard Weston quartz cover with train ticket
xxx
Duck

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Schhhhpring


I must have been at home way too long this holiday because all I can think about is the weather, and whether the lack of a proper frost and the persistent downpour will mean the crocuses and snowdrops will bloom too early, or too late...  Parents!  Anyway, today is the first day in weeks that the sun is actually shining in Glasgow, I've been left on my own for a whole 5 hours and something miraculous has transpired - I've realised that Spring is on its merry way!  Screw the fashion blogger parodies - I just don't care anymore - I'm celebrating the oncoming Springtime with photos I took this morning of orchids in the living room (couldn't get any peonies on such short notice) and a thorough ogling of the Issey Miyake menswear Spring collection.

Just like the selection of flowers, the collection is mostly neutral but punctuated with vibrant and unexpected colourful highs.  While different every season, Issey always manages to maintain that carefree feeling which is perfectly suited to Spring and Summer.  It's that I just jumped out of the shower and threw this buttonless linen jacket on kind of look, the way I always hope I'll feel and constantly fall short of.  Can someone please send me a colour-blocked (*groan*) shirt?  I really think it will help me achieve my effortless goal.  And while we're at it I'll take the tessellated harem pants?  I tried on similar ones in a more luxurious winter fabric last season and they were gorgeous, I just wasn't quite sure how to fit them into my wardrobe at the time.

Spring is full of new beginnings and I feel like I'm standing right on the brink of something...  I'm at the cusp of my DPhil, waiting to tumble down the other side into viva-dom, careers, *gasp* relationships.  Could Issey make a better wardrobe for this phase in my life?   


Of course it wouldn't be Spring without Chloe mispronouncing her way through the OED...


xxx
Duck