Hedi Slimane Must REALLY Love the 1990s

Fashion shoots with Beck and Hanson / Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson

- New Radicals, in their 1998 one-hit wonder "Get What You Give." Considering that Hedi Slimane has already cast Beck, Courtney Love, and Marilyn Manson in recent Saint Laurent ads, is it safe to assume that HANSON will be in the next Saint Laurent ad campaign?!

Family friend a...

Family friend and local developer David Paladino also went old-school in a citrus-hued, fitted jacket from the Sixties. "I had another by her covered with raccoons and owls, but I gave it to Mitt Romney off my back since he liked it so much," Paladino said.

A disturbing image of Mitt Romney pops into my head, courtesy of WWD's report from Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau's memorial service.

New at Nordstrom Seattle - More Men's Designer

Downtown Seattle's Nordstrom has always been my secret spot for men's designer. While nordstrom.com has been amping up their men's designer selection very recently, with the additions of Rick Owens, Junya Watanabe, and Thom Browne, the flagship store in Seattle has always had a surprisingly advanced selection to choose from. Currently in-stock are collections that they aren't allowed to sell online right now, most notably Lanvin and Givenchy. Add that to a keen edit from Todd Snyder, Marni (including a beautiful leather tote that I'm drooling over), Band of Outsider and Jil Sander, and you've got yourself a smart alternative to Barneys across the street. Of course, the typical mainstays like Prada, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana are represented, but there's also a great buy from contemporary designers that are otherwise pretty hard to find. My favorites available right now include Kenzo and Zadig & Voltaire. It's definitely worth checking out, especially since they're willing to take pics and text you suggestions when you're out of town. Get to it!

My Top Ten Shows of Fall 2013

Hello again! Now that the Fall 2013 shows are just a distant memory (until they show up in the August issues of magazines), here are my top ten shows for the season:

#1 - Undercover - Jun Takahashi has been one of my favorite designers for years now, ever since I noticed the breathtaking craftsmanship and smartly subversive detailing in his Spring 2007 collection. After a rather unremarkable collaboration with Uniqlo, he's returned to the runway for his Undercover line. Anatomy detailing, such as ribcage insets on a button-up, are typical of his slightly macabre aesthetic. Men's shirt collars multipled to become dresses, without even reminding me of Viktor & Rolf, which is all the more impressive. Lingerie morphed into vests and skirts. You absolutely need to zoom into the details to fully appreciate this fine outing.

#2 - Christopher Kane – With PPR (or Kering, as it has just been renamed) as his new majority stakeholder, Kane outdid himself and put on a show that showed how he plans to spend all that new money. Extremely gratuitous plays with texture, from the most incredible furs to the unsettling finale of filament tentacles. The cool camouflage prints and brain scan embroidery were typically subversive Kane touches.

#3 - Hermès – This surprised me. Christophe Lemaire has suddenly proven himself to be a master at discreet luxury, bringing the label to places that Jean-Paul Gaultier never seemed quite able to reach. Everything is silently aching to be touched, a total meld of textiles that the rest of us can only dream of cloaking ourselves in. No American could put out something like this without falling into the trap of pastiche, but Lemaire totally hit it out of the park.

#4 - Marc Jacobs – Olafur Eliasson inspired the huge sun hanging over the circular stage. A simple, melancholy show that brought to mind his previous “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” show, but much more grown-up and less strictly nostalgic. It felt new and unexpected without gimmicky styling. A totally solid return to his roots, a palate cleanser that perfectly closed out the chaos of New York Fashion Week.

#5 - Narciso Rodriguez - It's not that Rodriguez is at all a forgotten designer, but I just feel he doesn't get as much love as I think he deserves. He consistently puts out smart clothes that still bring an artistic, subtle glamour to the daily wardrobes of working women. Any woman who's been following Raf Simons at Dior with fawning adoration, or Jil Sander's return to her label, or Akris or any of the best European designers, should definitely look into getting more Narciso into her closet.

#6 - Prada - A woman undone, and totally mysterious. I described it at the time in a text to a friend as "weird, a little disturbing, domestic, feline, sexy, a little Hitchcock, a little Wong Kar-Wai, a little aligned with Marc Jacobs!!!!" I stand by initial reaction. Also, phenomenal casting - Kirsten Owen, where have you been hiding all these years?

#7 - Céline - Phoebe Philo, along with Claire Waight Keller at Chloé and Stella McCartney, make up the trio of fantastic female designers living in London and showing in Paris. Philo, however, is at the front of the pack, showing yet another desirable collection of modern staples, full of real sensibility without a hint of vulgarity. It's about as far from this season's Saint Laurent woman as one can get, and for that we are all eternally grateful.

#8 - Balenciaga – Alexander Wang’s debut was small but strong, with painted, crackled marbling on the runway, repeated everywhere from the shoes to the furs. A brand new identity for Balenciaga's accessories will absolutely silence those who questioned his appointment to the storied house, while those beautifully sculpted coats are sure to fly out the door.

#9 - Proenza Schouler - The Proenza Schouler boys not only brought Sasha Pivovarova back to the runway (can you believe she didn't even walk Prada?), but they finally seem to be getting a good grip on the slightly older, slightly less "downtown" customer, the woman who is their real bread-and-butter customer. Between their savoir-faire with accessories (including a new shoe licensing deal with Iris, the same people behind shoes for Jil Sander, Ann Demeulemeester, Marc Jacobs, Chloé, and Rodarte) and their more sophisticated aesthetic, they're really aiming to have (yet another) breakout year.

#10 - Gareth Pugh - Impossibly beautiful, incredibly dramatic coats, from white to black with an interlude of deep blue. Branch-embroidered white coats at the opening are sure to sell. The finale lineup of showpieces crafted from garbage bags, densely connected to resemble hedges, reminded me of Alexander McQueen's Horn of Plenty collection in the best way. Rich, romantic, with the perfect balance between dark and light.

Honorable Mentions:

- Jil Sander - Strong, rigorous silhouettes, some real best-selling pieces for sure

- Derek Lam - Perfect American sportswear, totally effortless

- Dior by Raf Simons - Lovely as usual, but where were all the black models?

- Givenchy - Cool sweatshirts, as usual, but also surprisingly, deeply emotional

- Jason Wu - Hitting his mark every time, with plenty of mature, unexpected sex appeal[gallery ids="575,568,570,571,572,573,567,576,574,569"]

All photos via style.com

Answer Time!

So, no guesses? Here are the answers: - The defunct sweater line that was partially named for Moby was Anthony + Mo. Don't ask.

- Roberto Cavalli did NOT say 5. “I have a minimum of 50 pairs of jeans-all Dior Homme!” He of course said that all 50 pairs are Roberto Cavalli. Only Karl Lagerfeld owns that many Dior Homme jeans.

- Before Tomas Maier came on board, none other than Giles Deacon was at the helm of Bottega Veneta, producing a rather...interesting...collection of leather goods and apparel that have been completely forgotten by everybody in fashion.

I'll be posting more soon, stay tuned!

Quiz Time 2!

It's time for another quiz! This time, I was inspired by Peter Lindbergh's gorgeous new ad campaign for Bottega Veneta's spring collection: Before Tomas Maier completely revived the line, what designer tried his or her hand as creative director, only to flame out by going absolutely monogram-logo crazy? Remember, the brand's tagline used to be "when your own initials are enough," so emblazoning everything with a BV logo was clearly a poor choice.

A Day in the Life of Roberto Cavalli

One of Harper's Bazaar's most revealing features is a monthly spotlight on 24 hours in the life of a designer. Past subjects have included Vera Wang and Peter Dundas, but this month's treat comes courtesy of Roberto Cavalli. Let's have another quiz - which one of the following is NOT a quote from the Italian designer: 1. "I used to have a small tiger and a monkey but not anymore. The monkey was mean."

2. "I never, never wear pajamas in my life. I always feel I cannot sleep when I am dressed. I have to be naked."

3. "I don't go to work naked."

4. "Cavalli panties, something zebra, leopard. Very tight."

5. "I have a minimum of 50 pairs of jeans-all Dior Homme!"

6. "Everything that is design, everything that is part of my collections, comes from my heart, my mind, my stomach."

Leave your guess in the comments, if you'd like.

Quiz Time!

In honor of being convinced that I saw Michael Stipe and Moby's love-child on the subway today, here's a little trivia question: what defunct men's sweater line derived part of its name from the one and only Moby himself?

Happy New Year!

I'm back after a short hiatus! Get ready for my take on the Pre-Fall 2013 shows (already, can you believe it?), men's Fall 2013 in London, and the couture from Paris later this month. In the meantime, some quick news:- Doo-Ri Chung, who has dressed everyone from Michelle Obama to the impulse set at Macy's, has just been named the new creative director at LA-based Vince. If you ever saw her in the documentary 'Seamless' (an absolute must-watch for aspiring designers), then you know how damn hard she's worked to get where she is today. Bravo! - Vogue.com has a guide to shopping Brooklyn, because the new season of 'Girls' premieres on Sunday. It feels like they're covering a transatlantic country when they talk about Brooklyn at this point. Even GOOP tried harder. - Speaking of Brooklyn, Intermix, fresh off its acquisition by Gap, plans on opening a store somewhere in the borough. I mean, it's obviously going to be Williamburg or Cobble Hill near Barneys Co-op, with a faint chance of going into Dumbo. Any guesses where?

The Most Fantastic Tee Under $25

Kanye West and I have something in common. Despite the fact that he is a multi-platinum recording artist with a taste for curvy women and Riccardo Tisci on speed dial and I am...not remotely any of those things...we do have one common interest - T by Alexander Wang t-shirts. They're amazing! Fantastic! So, so easy! I especially adore the pilly t-shirts, because they never look like they're getting old, no matter how old and ratty they get. It was meant to look that way! They come in a blend of rayon and silk, so they drape just perfectly in that slouchy way. Unfortunately, at $90 a piece, I, unlike Kanye, can hardly afford to wear one every day. everlane t-shirt

Fortunately, the fantastic folks at Everlane have whipped up a batch of t-shirts in the most perfect shades and the smart cut that's hard to find. The Ryan tees, the best of the bunch, are unfortunately only available for women at this time, but they come in the most fantastic rayon jersey that I've ever felt in a shirt priced under $60. In fact, these lovely things are impressively only $20 for a tank and $25 for a t-shirt, all with a flattering deep scoop neck. For only $15, their cotton tees are an absolute steal, and also come in wardrobe-ready colors. Check them out at Everlane.

Shopbop Launching Menswear - An Analysis

Are men ready for Shopbop? Shopbop sure hopes so. The online retailer is looking for a Divisional Merchandise Manager for Menswear, and confirmed the launch on Twitter. What brands are they looking for? It's anybody's guess at this point, but Fashionologie has some great ideas. Let's break it down. Who's the competition? 

Online-only retailers that cater specifically to men, like Mr. Porter, are few and far between, especially after Gilt Groupe closed down their full-priced men's site, Park & Bond. Net-a-Porter, sister site to Mr. Porter, caters to a somewhat older, more affluent customer than Shopbop currently does. Net-a-Porter and Mr. Porter both have a strong emphasis on designer in their editorial features and merchandising, with a scattering of contemporary (and an assortment of J. Crew pieces) to lower the entry price point for basics. Conversely, Shopbop has a predominantly contemporary slant with an assortment of designer items, mostly in accessories. I expect the new menswear site to also have a heavy contemporary focus with a smaller assortment of designer key items (think sunglasses, shoes, wallets). The new site should skew younger and be significantly more affordably than Mr. Porter.

Specialty stores with a strong online presence like Azalea in San Francisco or Revolve Clothing are definitely in the same game in terms of price point and merchandising. This is a big player coming to the market that the specialty stores should be cautious of, especially because none have the buying and logistics heft behind them that Amazon provides for Shopbop.

There should be healthy competition from department stores, who have been stepping up their designer and contemporary game for men, especially Bloomingdale's, as well as Saks and  Nordstrom. These three department stores I predict will have the most merchandising overlap with Shopbop. They cater to men who have an awareness of fashion and trend, and are comfortably incorporating key items into their wardrobes every season, but are unlikely to look for brands like Givenchy or Lanvin. Beyond that, Neiman-Marcus' men's department is more staid and Barneys' is more advanced than what Shopbop will probably carry.

What brands will they carry? 

My guess is that there will be some overlap with Shopbop. Any big brand that also has a men's line, like Vince, T by Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone, will likely show up. Taking a quick look over Shopbop's designer list, this could also include brands like Opening Ceremony, Vince, Acne, A.P.C., Theory, and James Perse. There's likely to be a strong denim component, probably basics from 7 for All Mankind, J Brand and Joe's Jeans, plus trendier items from Rag & Bone and BLK DNM. I'm not sure what designer brands will be the first to sign up, but I think their chances for Maison Martin Margiela, Viktor & Rolf, and Yigal Azrouel are good, considering they're already carried in women's. I expect the merchandising to be fairly core at first, with a certain amount of trendier items to showcase on the front page.

Will they succeed?

Most men aren't really familiar with Shopbop, but that's probably the least of their worries. With Amazon (which owns Bop LLC) on their side, they could surely launch a heavy marketing campaign. The Shopbop buyers are already established and they could buy deep and at their usual discount for brands they already buy. They have the warehouse and logistics prowess and the ability to invest heavily without expecting an immediate return on investment. International customers could be accommodated from the start. And, really, the competition is still sparse at this point. I give them more than a fighting chance, a better chance than Park & Bond, as long as they can build a strong brand and convince men who might otherwise be turned off by a brand they associate with their sisters, girlfriends, and female peers. If they can pull it off as well as Mr. Porter, I'll be a loyal shopper. At least, during sale season.

Listen - Neon Indian - Polish Girl

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo6ZaCTqxwM?rel=0] Neon Indian essentially dominated my playlist for the entire summer that I first moved to New York in 2010. Between "Deadbeat Summer," "Should Have Taken Acid with You," "Terminally Chill," and "Ephemeral Artery," there were more of the songs that Slate would count as summer strut songs than any other album I've heard since. Since that summer, they slowly faded from my memory, until I heard "Polish Girl" playing earlier this year. I forgot about it all summer, but it's zoomed back into my Spotify starred playlist.

Flashback - J. Crew's 1989 Ad Campaign

J. Crew's current ads are full of colorful Italian cashmeres and handsome men in handsome tweeds. But twenty-three years ago? Life was definitely simpler. J. Crew's summer 1989 ad campaign consisted solely of a woman in a clean, white one-piece, with a wisp of white organza tied around her ponytail, plus a coupon to mail in for their 100-page catalog. Not an Austrian crystal bangle nor a leopard print haircalf satchel in sight.

Who Will Replace Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga?

With Nicolas Ghesquière turning his resignation letter at Balenciaga after 16 years as creative director, PPR has some mighty shoes to fill. Ghesquière has been monstrously influential over the past 12 years especially, reigning at the upper echelons of the fashion industry with only a few others in the same class (essentially Miuccia, Marc, Alber and Phoebe...). Who might be under consideration? Nobody's saying much, but here are some thoughts on some early frontrunners: Pedro Lourenço - The young Brazilian rising star has something of an early Proenza Schouler buzz around him (except without the whole Barneys buying their first collection part). Like Ghesquière, Lourenço has shown a deft hand with leather, although his first collections have sometimes tiptoed a little too closely to straight pastiche. With time, he could certainly court the hyper-cool, futurism-devoted Balenciaga woman (and I say woman because a Balenciaga "girl" could never afford the collection). I would say that the fact that he hasn't developed too strong of a brand name and a reputation works in his favor. He could continue in the same reinvented DNA in a similar way that Olivier Rouesting took over for Christophe Decarnin at Balmain, or he could totally reinvent the wheel one for Balenciaga more time. I think he'd be a fine choice, if a little green.

Olivier Theyskens - An interesting choice, and somebody who is obviously proven himself capable of satisfying both the technical rigor and retailer-conscious requirements for the job. Through his stints at Rochas and Nina Ricci, we saw his ability to revive couture legacies while still defining his own codes for the houses. His work for Theyskens' Theory is well-praised, and I get the sense he doesn't feel ready to end that relationship. It would certainly be a sad loss for New York fashion. If there's any weakness, it's his questionable record creating a viable accessories identity. I say, while definitely a very good option, he'll stay in New York with his sleek Meatpacking office and handsome new haircut.

Any of the myriad young London designers - None of them seem like a great fit at first glance, most being either too gothic or too fresh on the market. More established London designers like Jonathan Saunders, Giles Deacon and Erdem Moralioglu either have tried their hand at taking over a house (see Giles' short-lived stint at Emanuel Ungaro or Saunders at Pollini) or are already rumored to be in the running elsewhere (Erdem's name is being bandied about for the Schiaparelli revival). Christopher Kane is already firmly in line for the top job at Versace. Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson and Mary Katrantzou don't seem right design-wise, and the massive responsibility of reporting to the brass at PPR seems to be out of the league for most other young London talents.

Alexander Wang - His is another name that often comes up any time a big design position opens up. Ambitions of modernism and smart experimentation with new textiles are definitely his biggest assets, but he doesn't seem to have a desire spread himself thin - when would he have time to throw his infamous parties? New York is absolutely his city. He's as essential as Jay-Z. Keep him here.

Joseph Altuzarra - He's shown some blockbuster collections in recent seasons, and he's starting to get a feel for the retailers' (and customers') insane demands. However, his fledgling label seems like the perfect place for him at the moment - why stop now? He does have experience in Paris at Givenchy, and a home base there, considering that his father is the head of Goldman Sachs' French operation. Yes, stranger things have happened, like the unexpected but totally amazing hiring of Humberto Leon and Carol Lim at Kenzo (they're really knocking it out of the park with that one). But balancing the Balenciaga job with his own label could be a recipe for disaster, so I say keep chugging along and come back in 5 years.

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez - The Proenza Schouler boys come closer than other New York label to the design ethos that would make sense at Balenciaga. Ten years in the making, their label has grown to realize that you can't just please cool downtown girls - they just don't have the funds for anything more than a PS1. They've learned the invaluable lesson that your ready-to-wear has to please real women with real money. Between their massively successful track record with accessories, and a full decade at the top of the game, this choice seems strangely...right. Their names were on the short list for the job at Dior, so clearly some top execs think they're ready for the big time. They've got my vote!

Must Read - Bon Magazine

There are a handful of magazine stores in New York that stock essentially every fashion publication an industry insider would even consider leafing through. Around the World across from Bryant Park is probably the best, but I have a soft spot for Universal News Cafe at 23rd between 5th and 6th in Chelsea and Casa Magazines at 8th Ave and W 12th St in the West Village. Most of the non-Hearst or non-Condé Nast magazines seem to priced somewhere between $15 and $35, which is troubling for anyone who can't expense it on their company card.

As a cash-strapped fashion intern, hungry for a fresh point of view but without the means to fund an addiction, I discovered Bon. Originally a quarterly Swedish publication, as far as I can tell, it is also published as a biannual International edition in English, for Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. The most attractive quality to me at the time (besides the beautiful paper quality and clean cover layout with gold foil printing) was the low, low price of $8.99. Magazines are terrific, because no matter where you buy them, from Duane Reade to the airport, the price is never marked up.

What's inside? This season there's a thoughtful interview with Carol Lim and Humberto Leon of Opening Ceremony and Kenzo, explaining their obsession with shopping malls growing up. There's an investigation of fashion's love of David Lynch, his moody eeriness a seemingly perfect fit for many designers, some younger than his movies. The interview was an especially good read after watching his role in the late-night talk show wars three-episode arc on "Louie."

The best part of every issue is The Style Council, a roundtable discussion with noted fashion journalists and industry insiders with a far more intelligent hunch than anything you'll read in a mainstream fashion magazine. Vanessa Friedman, Bonnie Morrison, Amy Odell, and Sara Ziff answered questions from Bon's Editor-at-Large Madelaine Levy about the worrying state of the New York collections (they lack originality and knock off Balenciaga), the stubbornness with which the industry avoids improving work conditions for models, and the tricky relationship between IPOs, luxury, and creativity. My favorite excerpt:

Madelaine: Where do you see written fashion journalism going?

Amy: I know where I would like to see it go. I love a good fashion review; I'd just love to see more honesty and transparency. Reviewing a fashion show is not like reviewing a restaurant. You can't always say what you really think. Many people can't review honestly because of the advertisers.

Painfully true. Go and get your copy now! The damn magazine store always sells out before I remember to go in!

Check out Bon's website at http://bon.se/