Monday, 26 March 2012

A weekend of little things

It's funny how illness can strike you down so quickly.  On Thursday evening everything seemed to be going so well - I finished my work up with enough time to check out the Varg press evening (more on that later), catch the launch of Selling Sex at SHOWstudio (including Ruth Hogben's Fuck Me featuring Karlie Kloss) and accompany Nisha to a performance by controversial Chilean poet Cecilia Vicuña.  But by the time I got back to the manse, the lurgy had struck me down. Sneezing, coughing, working my way through a family pack of Kleenex Balsam, that was to be my weekend.  None of the work I had planned got done - which means extra coding for me this week! - and most of the time was spent slumped in front of the TV nursing a mug of extra-strength Lemsip.

It's time like these when it's just the little things getting you through.  Like the delivery of a very large box from Mr Porter containing the very small Balenciaga card holder I ordered with the voucher from the party last week.  So chic, I finally have somewhere to store my two credit cards and my Oyster rather than shoving them into the pockets of whatever I happen to be wearing.  Other little snippets of pleasure came from an ill-advised trip to the Tate Modern.  I really should have stayed in bed but the sunny weather, and the fact that I had prepaid my ticket, tempted me out to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition.  I really liked her earliest works, the detailed paintings and collages of alien or undersea worlds, as well as the full-scale installations (had to get a postcard of the Infinity Room because photography was frowned upon).  Her more recent paintings, however, looked rather crude and derivative.  Well, she is 83.  Anyway, by the time I made it to the exit I thought I was going to die and had to take to my bed when I returned.  

Today I'm still feeling rather sniffly but I have to keep a stiff upper lip and get on with work.  I just hope I don't look too sickly for Hugh's CSI (that's Charming Social Introductions) tomorrow.  I've got my Crest Whitestrips on while I type...   


Monday, 12 March 2012

James Long A/W 2012

I'm ashamed (am I?) to say that James Long was practically the only thing I liked about menswear day in London.  I feel apprehensive writing this, I want to support British designers yadda yadda yadda [NB desperate attempt to avoid internet backlash], but I think going to Paris for fashion week the past few seasons has kind of spoiled me for London.  While there are many world-class womenswear designers here (Christopher Kane, Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders, Louise Gray, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem, the list goes on...) I just don't feel the same way about menswear, despite the press releases the BFC likes to ram down our throats on a regular basis.  Most of the stuff on the official schedule would be considered filler if it were shown during women's week and don't even get me started on the quality of the off-schedule shows I saw...

This is why James Long's show was so refreshing, even if the total look isn't my personal style.  I don't pretend to have any expertise in fashion design - I'm a physicist for God's sake - but I approach this here blog as a consumer.  I go to the shows to be inspired and see what I want to buy, and then document it here.  James makes stuff I could see myself buying.  Really good quality looking knits, leather jackets, coats and bags displayed in a professional, no-nonsense kind of show.  It's slick and it's also no wonder that James is now showing womenswear as part of Fashion East.  There are still interesting 'London' design quirks - red patent trousers, oversized accessories - but everything looks a lot more luxurious and desirable than much of the student pap people rave about.  For me that is the point of high-end fashion: the perfectly balanced combination of escapist fantasy, artistic design and bloody good quality fabrication.  Only one question remains.  Why isn't James showing his textured mohairs and quilted leathers in Milan?  I can see a collection like this fitting in very nicely there.    

Friday, 9 March 2012

John Rocha A/W 2012

I was lucky to make it to John Rocha's show.  Maybe it's because I moved house between last season and this - actually I moved right in the middle of fashion week, though that's another drama - but somehow my show ticket never winged its way into my letterbox.  I guess the tight security protecting our mailboxes from the violent riffraff of West London might have been the problem.  In any case I had assumed I didn't have a ticket so was caught off guard when the PRs DM'ed to say my invitation was waiting for me backstage.  I believe it was roughly one hour before showtime and I was lounging in my bedroom in a state of undress usually reserved for my infrequent 'house guests', as I've taken to calling them.  Twenty minutes later I was panicking in the back of an Addison Lee, desperately willing my hair to dry.  "Fashion week, then?", asked the driver.

Man, I'm glad I made it there on time!  Although again John didn't show menswear (the store manager told me this will continue for at least the next few seasons #sadface), I felt like this was one of his strongest collections in a while.  The first few voluminous looks in crinkly black paper worried me slightly that this would be a copycat collection (copying his former self, naturally) but then suddenly everything felt fresher and much more modern.  Skin-tight, sheer, sleeveless tube dresses appeared, decorated with lace-filled cut outs or panels of coloured silk (colours!).  Embroidered flowers grew up and over the bust of one dress while panels of fur exploded from the sides adding texture to what would otherwise be a see-through skirt.  This second half of the collection was sexier, younger and very much now.  I wonder if seeing his daughter Simone's success has re-inspired his own work?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Autumnal obsession - Damir Doma

You may have seen me wearing a few Damir Doma pieces on this here blog - just a few mind, because they tend to be pretty pricey - but it looks like my Doma coverage is about to sky-rocket if I can find some way to afford his AW collection.  While he's always gone for a draped, nomadic look, next season Damir has taken it to another level.  The styles I love fall into two categories; the draped, beaded and caped outfits (above) make me want to go on a road trip through a desert at night, cosseted inside my layers of fur throws, while the black and grey chimney sweep/biker boy hybrids (below) are more suited to the urban roamer inside me.  FFS, he even has me wanting to wear hats, usually a Duck no-no!  Someone needs to instate Damir at one of the big houses pronto so he can play even more with these new levels of luxury. 

Who am I going to have to bump off to get myself a wardrobe like this?


Monday, 5 March 2012


If the Fashion East MAN show were a competition then the clear winners would be Agi & Sam whose fusion of trad menswear suiting with modern printing techniques lit up the Royal Opera House catwalk.  Maybe not everyone can pull off a Seurat painted three-piece suit but hopefully the more daring gent can work a vibrant tartan jacket into his wardrobe.  Anyway, how could I not love Agi & Sam when they showed an entire DUCK PRINTED outfit?! The only downside: I'm so bored of designers using "interesting" (i.e. old, beaten up, homeless looking) models.  Stasie likes a pretty boy.

Astrid Andersen definitely went for models more pleasing to the eye, if somewhat thuggish.  The clothes, on the other hand, weren't quite what I was looking for.  Oversized, fur trimmed puffa jackets layered over beefcake muscles and 90s Nike reject shell suits were contrasted with netting vests, denim jackets and crop tops.  I couldn't tell if Astrid was dressing a dandy pimp or his team of South London rent boys.  At least someone finally showed some velvet/velour menswear for me! I'll skip the track pants but a silver velour sweatshirt would come in very handy this winter.