Saturday, January 20, 2018

An Anniversary Of The Absurd

"Even the humblest, most industrious citizen is expected to be an ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and triumph, regardless of his own suffering. In other words the mentality appropriate to a state of war. And being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival...

To forget any fact that has become inconvenient, tell deliberate lies, and then draw the truth back from oblivion just so long as it's needed, all this is necessary to safeguard the infallibility of the Party."

--1984 BY GEORGE ORWELL, adapted by Michael Gene Sullivan

Friday, January 19, 2018

BEAUTY: Clothing--Yohji Yamamoto

Now here is where things get good: the Paris leg of fashion season!

Yohji Yamamoto's FW 18-19 collection at Paris Fashion Week was business as usual, but what a glorious business it is. The Yamamoto aesthetic is one of East and West elements combined into a future/retro, sometimes Romantic sensibility. On display are Yamamoto classics like very wide-cut and flowing trousers, loose tunics, skirts, and coats with an abundance of fabric to gather and hang. It is a unique, artistic silhouette. In addition, there is an interesting ecclesiastical feeling to some of the pieces in this collection--one-shouldered tops and a splash of red invoke Buddhist monks while long, buttoned cassocks in black recall priests.

BEAUTY: Clothing--Boris Bidjan Saberi

Apparently Boris Bidjan Saberi has a passion for winter sports (he previously showed a collection based on ice climbing here) so his FW 18-19 collection at Paris Fashion Week was about skiing and snowboarding with the associated accoutrement attached to models' backs. But the silhouette was not frat-house-ski-week--it was Saberi's usual, angular, architectural, apocalyptic sensibility with quilted aprons, wraps, and enveloping coats.

And the shoe selection is fantastic! Take a look at the all permutations of boots (ski boots, wellies, a cross between a Chelsea boot and a trainer) on display below!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BEAUTY: Clothing--Misc. Milano Moda Uomo

Milano Moda Uomo wrapped up and offerings, like London Fashion Week Men's, were a little on the sparse side. There were lots of new names which in and of itself is not a bad thing at all, but the entire crop seemed a bit dry.

Which is a segue into Fendi's FW 18-19 collection where the weather forecast was clearly WET! I love the Fendi boots, and the suit whose jacket and overjacket were made from water resistant material...and the Fendi-rendered kitschy umbrella hat was light and kooky.

I liked a pair of hair-on-hide boots by Alessandro Dell’Acqua for No. 21, shown with an otherwise unremarkable Texas/United States Midwest-inspired FW 18-19 collection at Milano Moda Uomo.

BEAUTY: Clothing--Giorgio Armani

What a lovely Fall-Winter '18-'19 collection Giorgio Armani presented at Milano Moda Uomo. As I said earlier in another post for Armani Exchange, Giorgio Armani has nothing to prove. At 83 years old, he has been a successful designer for nearly half a century, with a a personal fortune of $8.1 billion as of 2017. And while I am sure he alone does not design each and every single garment (even young designers have a team of people to flesh out ideas), his fingerprint continues to be evident. Clean lined and impeccably tailored, Armani's sensibility is about luxe fabrics and the way a garment hangs. And while such attention to tailoring can--and usually does in the hands of Armani--invoke a timeless sense with clothing feeling like they could come from different eras, this stunning collection specifically references a kind of by-gone, romanticized masculinity from World War I soldiers and World War II air pilots to Edwardian Polar explorers to a kind of Gatsby-esque, masterful ease (tuxedos with swoon-worthy shawl collars!). Please click on the photos to study each look--each one might seem simple at first glance, but notice the cuts and details, all in fine wool, cashmere, silk, leather, (faux) shearling, velvet, and jacquard. Notice the size of lapels and the stance (button placement) of a jacket, notice the pocket placement, notice the width of trousers, and notice the volume of overcoats. And just take a gander at the gorgeous combat boots (both calf and ankle height!) and shoes that appear to have spats. Spats! It all appeals to my love of historical references in clothing.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

BEAUTY: Clothing--Yoshio Kubo

Press information about Yoshio Kubo's Fall-Winter '18-'19 collection at Milano Moda Uomo all speak about an airplane incident on Mount Everest. But some report that the collection was inspired by an emergency landing on Mount Everest with Kubo in the plane while others say the collection was inspired by an imaginary plane crash. Either way, Kubo survives to put together a collection that references mountain trekking and Nepalese and Tibetan patterns but in a very conceptual way. The mesh overcoats with frayed edges are clearly not meant to be worn in serious weather conditions but speak in an oblique, subliminal way to the lightness of snow and clouds and ice. It's a wonderful fabric to use to invoke a certain essence--and Kubo's website mission statement even says, "I want to pursue patterns and details that have never been seen." Flowing Asian robes (some almost kimono-like) and ethnic patterns are beautiful, as are the parachutes some models carried billowing behind them. It makes me wonder if Kubo's inspirational plane crash--whether real or imagined--supposes that the occupants perished and this (after)life on Mount Everest is a diaphanous echo of reality.

Monday, January 15, 2018

BEAUTY: Clothing--Isabel Benenato

The Milanese leg of fashion season is in full swing and here we go...

Italian designer Isabel Benenato has nurtured her nine-year-old brand in the Tuscan city of Lucca, far from the Milan fashion epicenter, and won the notice of the Italian Fashion Chamber, which invited her to Milan Fashion Week. For her FW 18-19 menswear debut at Milano Moda Uomo, she showed a deceptively simple collection of easy, loose pieces inspired by planets,although how that inspiration translated into flowing shapes is something only she needs to know. The resulting wraps and capes and trailing scarves and blankets and shawls and generously cut trousers and voluminous shirts and lax coats are actually quite stunning, and dare I say it, romantic. There is a sense in this collection that pleases me in a visceral way. It reminds me of the flow-y, romantic looks Anne Demeulemeester created when she helmed her eponymous brand. Benanato herself said, "There is this sense of being wrapped. Of silence. Of relaxing." I am looking forward to seeing a lot more from this obviously talented designer.

BEAUTY: Clothing--Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani showed a collection that was chock-a-block full of insanely luxurious materials and finishes--AS USUAL--but with a hint of what might have been a concept or inspiration. Of course Armani doesn't need a concept or inspiration, having reinvented menswear some 40 years ago with looser cut suits and a luxe, almost louche sense of jet-set-ability. But take a look at the first few looks Emporio Armani sent down the runway for the FW 18-19 collection at Milano Moda Uomo and tell me if you think, like I do, of the rebel X-wing fighter pilots from the "Star Wars" films (except in black instead of their signature orange)...especially with the large laser-outlined EA eagle on the walls at the back of the runway...

But the fighter helmets disappeared quickly and what followed was a collection of sumptuous velvets, silky knits, and jacquards--please do click on the photos to take a closer look at the textures. Tailoring is always foremost in an Armani collection and jackets are cut here a little tighter at the shoulders and cropped a little shorter than usual. I like that silhouette. Trousers also had a tweak with a higher hem but this was no Thom Browne trouser, since the voluminous cut of the pant itself made it a different statement. Emporio Armani and Armani collections often have a tiny historical detail as well, and what caught my eye in this collection is a cinched and buttoned cuff on a pair of trousers, sixth row down, first photo. Fur lined shoes are also worth noting not only for their panache but also because they utilize faux-fur. In 2016, Armani took a fur-free pledge, stating, "Technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposition that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals."

Rebel X-Wing Fighter Pilot