Saturday, 28 July 2012

Camouflage


It's safe to say I'm not a camouflage kind of boy.  The nylon Prada backpacks seriously test my gag reflex, the Jimmy Choo "porno" 'flage makes my skin crawl and if I have to see one more of Nick Wooster's jackets/ties/trousers/shoes...  No, I can't cope with it.  Nevertheless, something about this complex chain-camo mash up print in the McQ AW collection is winning me over.  It's Versaceesque in its snakeskin-like gaudiness yet still very distinctly McQueen.  It's camo from a distance, but close-up very much not (doing, I guess, what camouflage's supposed to do).  I'm quite disappointed the McQ offering for men isn't sticking particularly rigidly to the show I saw the women's look book isn't diverging too much from the runway.  I had my heart set on a kilt and one of those amazing military greatcoats, but a t-shirt (coming in at a rather affordable £115 for a 'designer' print) or a shirt in this pattern would console me for now.  The bomber jacket might be a step too far.

Speaking of jackets, I'm also rather keen on these three pieces below.  I'm thinking A/W is all about the bomber/varsity jacket.  If there's a contrasting fabric choice in there: BONANZA.  I've got my Qasimi option on pre-order; really hope it'll be in London when I get back into town next week!  There's a chill in the air only quilted luxury can fend off.   


Looking forward to the McQ flagship opening on Dover Street, whenever that actually happens.  Pretty sure it was planned as a Spring launch... 

UPDATE: The powers-that-be have informed me the London McQ store is now scheduled for a September launch and will be selling many of the runway pieces which didn't make it into production for sale online.  

xxx
Duck

Friday, 27 July 2012

Honest by.


I'm currently enjoying these photos I found on the Honest by. website which I came across perusing chic Belgian store Haleluja's pages.  I discovered Haleluja when I visited Brussels last year, a haven of high-end but environmentally-friendly or ethically-minded design.  Honest by. is a range they seem to have been stocking since early 2012, created by Bruno Pieters.  The company shares the entire cost breakdown of all its products, showing clearly what goes to the people who produce the garments right down to the very last button.  They have no seasons, conduct research into organic materials and the working conditions in all their factories, and choose to produce only vegetarian or vegan products.  The wool is British because apparently we now have the best welfare laws protecting farm animals.  

Bruno also invites different designers to collaborate with them, each donating 20% of their profits to a chosen charity.  On the site at the moment they have collections by the likes of Nicolas Andreas Taralis and Muriée (who I know already produce environmentally-friendly garments using water-based dyes derived from berries).  The first and second rows of images are from the Honest by Bruno Pieters collection, the last row is by Nicolas Andreas Taralis.  They are quite simple garments, made well.  Bruno clearly still gets to play around with shape and cut as he did in his own brand which closed a few years ago; I love a sweatshirt slit open from waist to pit on one side and a tight, cropped jumper.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Currently contemplating...


Last year it was the German shepherd, this season it's the band/movie t-shirt.  I'm realising I'm more a Balenciaga boy, not Givenchy.  But t-shirt or sweatshirt?  Sphinx or waves?  And do I like this more than a Raf gradient?  So many questions.  

Another question: should I be spending money on sweatshirts at all when I'm going to have to buy a work wardrobe in a couple of months? 

xxx
Duck

Images from Balenciaga.co.uk

Monday, 23 July 2012

Gradients


Top of the AW hitlist: the gradient sweatshirt. The irony that I've spent the last week debugging FORTRAN code used to calculate derivatives of energy with respect to Hamiltonian parameters, magnetic moment vectors and atomic positions is not lost on me. Finally getting everything working last night deserves a treat, no? My brain was so jammed in code-mode yesterday I couldn't even relax enough to have the glass of prosecco offered by Mother (two weeks wine-free so far). But it's not on sale yet, anywhere. I scoured the internet for a good 60 seconds looking for press shots/anything non-runway yet all I could find were these pictures taken by Hapsical backstage at the show. I think I want dark shoulders quickly fading to wine. The triple-colour effect is cool but it kind of reminds me too much of last year's dip-dyed hair; the shoulders-only dye seems more unique. Come on buyers, which'll be the first store to satiate my craving?


All looks, Raf Simons AW 2012.  Runway photos Style.com, close-ups Hapsical.

xxx
Duck

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Agnès B.


Agnès B. is one of those designers who flits in and out of my consciousness – a brand my mother used to wear when I was a child and whose pieces I've bought on occasion whenever I've happened upon one of her stores (usually France, although she did have a boutique on the High Street in Oxford which has since, unfortunately, become a Patisserie Valerie). Her collections aren't Earth-shaking nor do they spawn a multitude of high-street lookalikes, but they are generally solid, wearable clothes. Or so I thought until Joseph Larkowksy posted these photos on Instagram wearing the most amazing kilt/trouser/shirt combo. I love it. I want it. It's everything I like to project with my personal style – Scottish (kilt), statement (print on print), minimal (basic colour palette). A quick trawl of Style.com tells these weren't runway pieces, but it looks like the AW 12 collection given its use of prints/checks and skirts for men. Agnès may have a tendency to overuse the pea coat and be a tad too liberal with the Francophone touches but this collection leads me to believe I should take a gander in her stores a little more often. PLUS, I spy tights/leggings there, presumably at a less ridiculous price-point than Givenchy but higher quality than Topshop. I'm sold. And when I'm back in London, I'm definitely going to try on that kilt...

UPDATE: I have just been informed these pieces are women's Pre-Fall 12, but I want them nonetheless! 


xxx
Duck

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Bird foot

Ann Demeulemeester bird claw ring with love bird

Sales shopping is over. Finito. I closed my last browser and banned myself from looking at any more Final 70% Off! emails. I've raided LN-CC, Browns and DSM heavily and I don't need any more. There is no point looking.

Then again, I already have about £60,000 worth of imaginary shopping baskets racked up across the internet filled with full-price AW pieces. It's my porn, OK? When it's late at night and I'm done with freaking out over spreadsheets and LaTeX, I like to go through my various shopping trolleys and mentally try everything on. Over the months that follow I slowly whittle away the chaff until I've settled on a couple of key items (and brought the total price down to something less stratospheric). Unless a spanner is thrown into the works, like discovering you have secret money hidden away in your PayPal account. Thanks eBayers for finally paying up!  

Dilemma: which item to choose?  My top wish-list stars at the moment include a bottle-green mohair Dries scarf, one of the gradient sweatshirts from Raf's collection yet to début in any store so far, and these bird claws by Ann D. Available in ring- (at LN-CC) and brooch-form (Browns), they're cast in sterling silver from a real bird's foot. The detail is incredible, and the pricing is infinitely less crazy than her usual feather accessories.  When I was a kid I always wanted a budgie, but pater talked me into a pair of love-birds. Total fail – love-birds are only interested in their mates (until they peck them to death, that is) and refuse to play with you. Within a year I think I'd lost interest, but the damned things live into their teens... Now I could finally have a delicate bird's foot perched on my finger all day, without the 5am screeching and crap all down the curtains. Of course I could ask Stasie but she's always busy when I fancy some avian canoodling.

I'm sure Ann was thinking more of rooks and ravens when she designed these but I thought the blog could do with a boost of tropical colour :)

Ann Demeulemeester bird foot brooch with parrot
Ann Demeulemeester ring with budgies

Haven't purchased yet, still making up my mind...

xxx
Duck

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Thamanyah II

Thamanyah Spring Summer 2013

I find these first three images taken from Thamanyah's Spring/Summer 2013 lookbook incredibly striking.  Ahmed Abdelrahman has reinterpreted the kandora from last season in white, the clean lines and straight drape now even more dramatic.  Not sure how practical such a pristine material would be in a wailing wall type environment but that's besides the point. I like what looks like the introduction of knitwear — a slouchy white sweater worn with scarf and skirted, drop-crotch trousers.  Like a classier Boris Bidjan Saberi.  There's also a peak at a body bag in some sort of snakeskin (reminds me of the Issey Miyake MEN one for A/W but a little bit more luxe).  I want it...

Spring/Summer seems like more of a departure than this Autumn/Winter (last three sections), where the skirts, shirts and kandoras feel a lot more like what was available in the SS12 collection.  Some of the button placement seems a bit excessive to me, but I love that coat whose tails can be twisted round to the back.  It adds such a graceful 3D element to what otherwise is a straight up/down silhouette.  Talk about chic to the next lev.

When I mentioned Thamanyah before I bemoaned the exceedingly high price-point.  I imagine these pieces will be equally expensive, but it's good to know I can afford the odd item or two when LN-CC sales time comes around.  Anyone fancy taking me on a Middle Eastern holiday?  It'll be like SATC2 but with three times the number of Lawrence Of My Labia jokes...



Wednesday, 18 July 2012

DAKS


I've written before about my fascination with the Nordic countries.  I love the beauty of the Norwegian fjords, that crazy, insular spirit of Iceland or the North Sea bleakness of the Faroes.  Sometimes I forget that Scotland could be counted as a Nordic land but recently I've been obsessively reading about the pre- and post-Viking histories of Orkney, Shetland and the north coast.  In winter there's this unifying cold, white/grey, expanse.  Somehow it infiltrates the people.  Yet there is also abundant fertility and a great sense of history, a connection by the sea.  When I'm at home I do feel like I'm more Northern; England feels distinctly more continental-Germanic to me in its attitudes.  I really want to travel more in Scandinavia once I've finished and explore all the places I've read about, especially Iceland.  I almost feel like I could live there, if I could figure out what I want to do.  I should probably start with discovering the North closer to home...        

These photos are taken from DAKS A/W men's and women's collections, set amongst imagery of the places I want to visit.  Really I'd like to dress like a Hiberno-Ice-Queen, draped in cream wool as I march through the heather (OK, you can be the prim Scottish widow).  But I'll settle for a gentleman's Fair Isle.  If you strip away the house check and the work suits (I know, they have to be commercial), there are some really beautiful ideas in these collections.

There's a personal history here too.  My grandfather had all his work suits made by DAKS, and I also got my first jacket from their Munich store a few years ago.  I'm starting to realise that if I decide to leave academia I may have to start dressing rather more conservatively [:(].  I really need to start finding work wear brands such as this that I can connect with more than just a boring suit. 

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Anna Jewsbury


I decided to continue the series of photos focusing on friends in high places I started with Alexxsia (otherwise known as ARGH Michael's been doctoring pictures of me again).  This has absolutely nothing to do with my parents' continued presence in the house discouraging me from whipping out the garments I'm not supposed to have bought with the money I'm supposed to be saving (as would be required for a new outfit post).  Nope.

Today let's take a detailed look at Anna Jewsbury for at least...45 seconds?  Founder of Eva London jewellery, half Filipina, 100% Yorkshire lass, fellow former Corpuscle, Maths-&-Philosopher, Bermondsey resident, Anna introduced me to living my life every day to the most ridiculous level possible.  This usually starts with a glass of Harvey's Bristol Cream and ends with bleach in our eyes.  I believe she also kick started my desire for high-end goods.  So basically, without Anna's influence, I'd be rich.     

Monday, 16 July 2012

Qasimi dungaree


A while ago I said I thought the statement graphic t-shirt was as close as menswear comes to the dress – one piece you can throw on which instantly makes an outfit.  I was wrong and Qasimi Homme has shown me the way; that one simple, statement piece is clearly....the dungaree.  Yup.  I can't quite believe I'm writing it but Qasimi is making me like dungarees (are we allowed to say 'play suit' for men? sounds rather more back room than intended).  I wanna get all Osh Kosh B'Gosh on myself for spring/summer 2013 in a slouchy all-black number.  I'd probably wear a 'couture' white tee (COS, not Sander) underneath and pull my Trunky behind me to the library accessorise with a nice clutch.  

Oh Qasimi dungaree, will you be at the preorders night? And will I order you before my autumn/winter shipload has even arrived? This is the voice of an addict talking.  

xxx
Duck

Friday, 13 July 2012

Sleeping Beauty - Y Project SS 2013


Yohan Serfaty certainly knows how to put on a presentation.  Inside a large building on the rue de Turenne, Yohan had arranged his models clad in the SS 2013 Y Project collection on camp beds, their feet bound with greying strips of fabric and their eyes shielded with leather masks.  I kept thinking of the hospital scenes in Im Westen nichts Neues (Advanced Higher German FTW).  We could wander amongst the beds, get a good look at the clothes up-close, and generally fondle the models appreciate their beauty at first hand.  Later, once the music began, the models 'awoke' from their slumber one-by-one and walked towards the waiting photographers.

As for the collection, Yohan likes to evolve things slowly from season to season.  The layers of wool and leather reminded me a lot of AW 2012 (and only a few sleeveless tunics seem to imply this was a spring showing) but ZOMG! those silver and leather hand strappings were amazing.  They have definitely jumped to the front of my accessories wish list.    

Thursday, 12 July 2012

D E N A from the block



Why haven't I heard of D E N A before? Maybe it's because I never go to clubs, listen to the radio or read music magazines... Oh well.  Discovered her (also seems to be going as 'D E N A from the block') while looking for iron second-moment interatomic potentials.  Not quite sure how that search led me to YouTube but I can't complain because I've fallen in love with these three songs I've been able to find so far.  The look/artistry is a bit Dalston/MIA for me but I like the real lack of artifice and what appears to be a genuine awkwardness.  Her opening expression on Cash, Diamond Rings, Swimming Pools is priceless.  It's all pretty easy to listen to with a strong rhythm; this could easily become my London soundtrack for the next few months here...


Christopher Shannon SS 2013


I'm sick. I've been working so hard lately, getting up at 6.30am to code, plotting graphs on trains, desperately scribbling away at my thesis, that it could be discovering my supervisors don't think I've produced a big pile of crap meant my body has relaxed and succumbed to whatever bacterium the state of constant stress was fighting off. Or it could all be down to a certain Irish plastic surgeon. In any case, I've spent most of the morning trying to catch up on sleep and vitamins, hoping that I can be back to full health by tomorrow. I've set myself the simple task of coding a few Embedded Atom Method models for the afternoon. Shouldn't be too taxing...

Still, I need something stimulating to get me through the day. Beyond coffee and the usual, I'm surrounding myself with bright colours to keep my spirits up. Particularly these photos I took at Christopher Shannon's SS show a few weeks back. There's a Mexican fiesta going on with this sportswear right down (up?) to the piñata-inspired headpieces. It may never be warm enough to dress like this in Britain but who says I can't crank the heating up to 'blistering' and get loco in my living room?

*cough*

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Alexxsia Elizabeth


I love, love, love these photos I took of Lexxi a few weeks ago when it was briefly summertime.  A writer, a stylist, a blogger, an occasional photographer and the original Girl With A Pearl Breb, Alexxsia Elizabeth is so freaking chic...  I'm glad her career's really taking off!  It's also slightly saddening that now we're so busy we get to see less of each other :(

Now, where's my morning beer...?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Paper Bag


Need it. Want it. Have to have it. Maybe I can afford it in paper and cry when my lunch seeps through the bottom?

xxx
Duck

Product short from Mr Porter, runway images from Style.com.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Pride



The ridiculous monsoon rain struck again while I was watching the pride parade yesterday*, forcing me to take shelter in some of the nearby shops.  I may have got lost in Dover Street Market for two hours. Some of the sales are down to 75% off now...  So I celebrated pride in my own little way, by buying myself a little happy. 

(For those of you wondering, I also celebrated it in the more traditional sense later in the evening.)

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Jean-Paul Gaultier SS 2013


I'm really into statement necklaces, colour blocking, sheer, negative heels, big shoulders, fashion turbans – but I'm not trying to be political.

Jean-Paul Gaultier showed us kilt/culotte hybrids for men, so you know I'm happy a bunny. I might not be so down with the turbans but I'm taking it they were more for styling purposes (the collection is loosely based around “India”). The belted tuxedo looks were draped beautifully and so luxurious, although they'd need a lot of altering since we're not all 6ft7 like the models in their platform shoes... My love for horizontal stripes waxes and wanes like any good gay boy's but Jean-Paul may have kick-started the romantic feelings again with a finely ribbed sweater version of his sailor classic.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

New kicks

Kris van Assche black hi tops

You might think I'm saying 'kicks' here to be all American (which I get mistaken for a lot) but I'm not, I'm trying to be all Canadian (which I'm also not) like Kevin Naulls. Kicks is a word I imagine he'd say and we're internet-betrothed so I need to start acclimatising for my life in the country that gave the world such wonders as sexy Mounties, and, errr, maple trees?

Anyhoo (also Canadaspeak, TV leads me to believe), these new trainers were one of the sales bargains I snapped up in a pre-fashion week haze. June and December seem to be the months I do my major splurging due to the preponderance of online shopping bonanzas. I never can resist the words "50% off Kris van Assche".  For once in my life I did actually need these – the only 'casual' shoes I own are Converse. And please don't tell me these look like Converse. They have a zip up the back. Totally different.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Issey Miyake SS 2013


Before the Issey Miyake show the London PR promised a big surprise or two and we were not disappointed, with models bursting onto the catwalk space on bikes and Mr Miyake himself watching the proceedings via Skype in the corner of the studio.

Many Miyake shows seem to be about symmetry. The lines of a deep V painted onto a pleated top, its folds delicate origami. The careful balance between black and white, punctuated with bold red and neon yellow. The Rorschach-like effect of traditional shibori.

A lot of the pieces had a sporty feel with funnel-necked jackets made of utility fabrics and fabulously swooshy, oversized ponchos. The finale comprised of garments made entirely from paper treated so they remain both waterproof and washable. Mr Miyake worked with the design team personally on this section.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Baartmans and Siegel SS 2013


Mr Baartmans and Ms Siegel were shrewd in their venue choice this season, being as it was directly opposite the Hospital Club, the main hub for the menswear shows.  A large hangar area, I'd never been to a show there before, and it allowed them to construct a long podium used for the presentation – something like a static travelator, updated with a new model every few minutes.

The clothes were just as luxe as we've come to expect from Baartmans and Siegel. Intricate knits, suits textured with a glistening 'scale' and statement accessories like the humungous pale blue croc-skin bag. The styling may not be to my taste – silk scarves, visors and tucked-in tops scream gay golfing holiday a little too loudly – but there were many individual pieces to lust after.  Just need someone to invite me to the Prom so I can wear that powder blue suit...

Monday, 2 July 2012

Louis Vuitton SS 2013


My attendance at Louis Vuitton's spring/summer show was rather last-minute (along with Disney Roller Girl and The Very Simon G) but certainly appreciated – it was the first time I got to see Marc Jacobs in the flesh! The experience was both interesting and sweaty; could people start air conditioning show venues, puh-lease?

Aquatic scenes were projected on LED screens behind and on top of the catwalk. The collection fused old-world traveller glamour with modern sportwear (and I mean active sports, not a casual jacket). Three models in skin-tight neoprene were probably the highlight of my day...

Marc Jacobs front row at Louis Vuitton