RICK OWENS : a tone poem to the women's fall line

for a man to do both genders so well,
it's kind of amazing.
rick's early adopters were women who understood how to take his more extreme work,
mix it into their wardrobes,
and use the edge to individuate, not isolate, themselves.
now, with his work in fur,
there's a "ball it up and go" quality that his leathers had,
yet a luxe quality that is new.
it's modern, yet old world.

realize i just wallowed in the fur and leather end of his line,
while there is so much more to it.
but i think there is a subversion to working proudly in the medium
that speaks to him clearly as a personality.
these are pieces not for show,
but to be handled,
taken out to challenge the environment and the world.
i loves me some fuzzy pretty things.


RICK OWENS : a tone poem to the men's line for fall

rick is one of those designers whose wares are best seen on the human body.
actually, best WORN personally,
you have to understand how the clothing moves yet fits like armor,
is sculpted, even in his tees and knits,
to absorb you and support you at the same time.
his new york store puts out a beautiful online lookbook every season,
and i thought it would be nice to share the beauty.

even the casting is on point.
tonally it is neither too edgy, too poetic, or trying too hard.
it, much like his work,
simply IS.



wrapping up this cross-gender shopping excursion for the week,
i really was hit by three images more than any other
that are influencing my personal style.


the first was from the BALMAIN runway,
when the designer, christophe decarnin, took his bow.

i've come to realize that the designers who really own their personal visions
are also the ones who dress, regardless of gender,
true to that vision.
so, decarnin's denim and shrunken leather and boots all were twisted versions
of what he shows for women.
they reminded me of my college years,
when adorned pants and jackets were objects of lust and late night sewing sessions
(thank you karen for the rose covered jeans and tequila)
and the sexy freedom of the unwashed torn jean.
the next was,
of course,
my personal god,
rick owens:

i mean, talk about owning an aesthetic.
i would live in his clothing if i could,
the pieces i have are worn on every set i walk onto,
and feel like armor and elitism and nonchalance and edge
rolled into lambskin and sheer cotton.
plus, love the hair and big guns, big boy.

and then, this exit by the model of the moment,
iris strubegger.
it was lean, it was givenchy, it was sleek,
and barring the sandals,
was something i would wear every day.
plus, the evangelista tribute hair rocks.

of course all that sleekness warred with my more elaborate tendencies,
as this moment in the dries van noten show showed.
no place to wear it,
but would wear it to the grocery store if i owned it.
there you have it.
party in balmain,
shoot in rick owens,
groceries in dries.


IF I WERE A GIRL : CHANEL, of all things . . .

chanel has long struggled with the fact that it is viewed as an "older" brand,
suitable for a certain chic woman of a certain age
with a certain income to afford it.
this spring show we saw a lighter,
insouicant chanel.
and thanks to kaiser karl,
a host of ideas about how to make fashion,
true, high end fashion,
desirable even as it is wearable.
not an easy feat.
but, here is what i would buy from chanel:

this cardigan is so cool, i'd wear it even as a boy.
seriously, karl, gimme.

ditto for the leather topper.
makes the dress younger,
makes the patterned tights cooler.

i don't know.  i love a slouchy pant and a tiny jacket.
even a tiny tweedy fey jacket.

then there was the whole bell skirt thing.
i liked.
and i began to see how the layers of texture and craftsmanship
made all the neutrals interesting.

and this, it's like a post modern punk chanel girl
out to run this town tonight.
rihanna, take note.
take these notes:
1) neutrals, again, better with texture and details.  think nubby and linen and texture.
2) black balances and grounds everything here.
3) a little bejeweled wheat hair adornment really helps kick an outfit up a level.



this guy,
he kind of rocks.
he's a little bit lanvin,
a little bit rick owens,
and for me to say that is like a blessing from the pope in red shoes on a sunday.
he followed the military/safari theme that popped up,
but kept it light, sensual, and sexy.
i'd buy these:

military meets the Met

a little halston meets a little dust

reminds me a little of early dries (van noten.  google it.)
looks like you could wear it to bed.

ok, i'd wear this just for you guys.
because you've been so nice.
watch this man to go on to impressive things.


IF I WERE A GIRL : CELINE, and why it matters again.

follow me here.
there is a designer named phoebe philo.
she used to design under stella mccartney (yes, THAT mccartney)
at a label called chloe.
big success.  launched stella into her own line.
then phoebe took over and a funny thing happened.
chloe got even better.
then one thing led to another, she left to raise her child.
women mourned.
who would make the cool, but goes with everything clothing they loved.
now, phoebe is back,
at a label called celine (CHUH-LEAN).
and in her first collection, she nailed every spring trend,
and made it work in a way women will want to wear,
not just look at on blogs.
this is your label to understand spring,
this is what I would buy from celine
were i a girl:

this opening look combines leather, black (the spring secondary color), short, minimal.
it's a home run.

no, she (i) won't wear it like this.
but the white shirt is timeless and amazing,
and the skirt is too cool (leather trim.  sigh.)
worn with a tee, it's perfect.

the lacquered black mattelasse (dimensional pattern) coat
will last until you wear it out.

same with the dress.

a little fashion forward,
but every woman wants a piece in their wardrobe
that makes their girlfriends go
"damn. that's cool. and she pulls it off."
guys should learn from this.

and, done.
learn from this the following things:
1) black and white and beige are best when teamed with unexpected texture, color, or silhouette.
2) one strange piece sets the others in your closet into contrast, and elevates opinion of you.
3) phoebe philo is fun to say out loud.


IF I WERE A GIRL : shut up, you know what i mean . . .

not to belabor an obvious fact,
but paris fashion week just wrapped up,
and my inner fashion whore kind of went rampant this season.
often i have bemoaned the fact that men's fashion is so torpid and stale,
and tim has thanked god that i'm not a woman,
(for obvious reasons, yes),
because the budget for shoes alone would screw us in a month.
looking at spring was fascinating though.
you saw designers struggling across a spectrum on how to SELL,
and how to EXPRESS.
but sticking with the point of this blog,
here's what we can learn from women:
1) stick to the neutrals this spring.
the runways were awash with neutral colors, with more beige than a sandstorm,
and with black used as an "accent" more than as a statement.
and when it wasn't beige, it was gray.
retailers are going to struggle with this, as sales floors will look horrid in a wave of beige,
even if it is on trend.
look for "new neutrals" in every editorial spread.
dread it.
but wear it.
2)  the classics made a comeback.
chanel was hugely youthful and inspirational.
ysl carved out modernism and pushed forward.
phoebe philo was back at celine, and nailed it.
the old guard proved why they are timeless.
3) lindsay lohan is not a designer.
enough said.
4) for women, short is the new long.  still.
5) on the beauty front, natural looking makeup is IN.  eyebrows are OUT.
i have no idea.  you figure that one out on your own.
6) the label to name drop if you want to appear in the know,
or at least turn a woman's head,
think dusty military looks with chain mail accents,
everything skin tight, battered, and sexy.
from there, it's GIVENCHY,
for black and white, geometric prints, and sophisticated draping.
bu for the truly elite,
it's still LANVIN.
with a show that pushed the most beautiful dresses and accessories
into another stratosphere with beading, beading, and color.
the next few days, i'm shopping the girl's side of the aisle,
to keep you and your eye on guard
for when your girlfriend sits down and expects a compliment this spring.


some tips on dressing for yourself (margiela, panerai, hermes. . . it's not cheap, kids) -

i'm probably as sick as you are with all the "self-help" guru crap out there for men.
seriously, who gives a fuck about how to tie a windsor knot
(i can google that, thank you.)
or whether denim is officially "over"
(yes.  but not dead.)
or why men CAN use a face cream and still be men
(someone shoot me.  or ryan seacrest.)
how about we just have some fun with this,
and not be afraid.
for instance,
i dress for myself
(obvious, landis)
and here's what i'm licking up these days:
this martin margiela cardigan.  the ONLY sweater i need this fall.
i have a navy one from last year, it's flawless, 
part blazer, all knit,
compliment magnet,
thoughtless fashion.
the pants rock too.
someday if i make crazy cash
(that i don't sink into investments, property, or stupidly expensive sweaters)
i will buy this limited edition panerai.
the "california" dial speaks to me.
it says
"your life is less without me".
i never said fashion was kind.
anything hermes.
they are having a moment again in menswear.
watch for the resurgence.
alright, this scarf, losange, in particular.
i wouldn't call it a steal.
but it would complete me.
coveting the attitude of this guy in richard haines' sketch.
though richard is a friend,
he has yet to send me this attitude.
this delicious lanvin suit.
i have no place to wear such a colored suit.
but for this suit,
i will create an event.
wasn't that more fun than reading about why you should wear stripes this fall?
you are welcome.


what we can learn from women - anna della russo

this is an "icons of style" post in the making,
but anna is first, in a field where fashion is critical to her survival.
not husband hunting.
not envy-inducing.
she is the fashion director of Vogue Nippon, 
and they take their fashion deadly seriously.
we can learn from her that a fearless approach to fashion,
that wearing what one loves
(here's the key with anna)
one wants to wear it . . .
well darlings, that makes all the difference in the world.
(bright red lanvin coctail dress, mid-day, paris fashion week.)


florals? for spring? shocker.

while florals for spring 
are as predictable as a magazine cover stating:
what's happened in menswear with florals for next spring is rather interesting:
now, granted, 
these are martin margiela and alexis mabille,
but the addition of crochet to leather or sneakers,
and lace cut out of cloth and left raw,
makes florals seem tenable again.
of course you didn't believe me about legging under shorts, 
and look where that left you on the sartorial "know how" scale.



we should seek to age with grace, 
our style appropriate but youthful,
and our vices firmly intact.


underfoot, fabien baron -

design in a man's life should be omnipresent.
every detail counts.
so while we often explore clothing here,
we're going to talk about rugs now.
fabien baron is a legendary graphic designer.
calvin klein ads?
perfume bottles?
Bazaar magazine under liz tilberis?
so when he designs rugs, 
you have to expect that perfect blend of minimal flourish,
maximum impact,
and sensitive color palette.
the gradations are achieved from gradual addition or subtraction of hundreds of tones,
not dyeing.
we have only been able to afford one great rug in our home,
but it makes all the difference in the world.
it somehow adds motion and life to an otherwise calm collection of furnishings: