Monday, June 29, 2015

Thom Browne Spring 2016

Here’s the thing... he will never really make or design “normal” clothes but there are times he comes very close but alas this was not one of those times. Today was Klaus Nomi meets “My Geisha.” Yeah, I got it ... traditional Japanese landscape paintings, iconography  and embroideries covering  the surfaces of men’s suitings complete with rice powder white faces, Klaus lips and traditional geta and their unique socks.

Whether or not I ever like his collections is irrelevant as he can always be admired for his vivid imagination, his almost surreal quality and his precise razor sharp tailoring. For some odd reason, this collection did not look as hard edged or as impeccable as almost all of the others presentations that have come before it. Today the jackets were pulling and rippling which is disturbing. The question that comes to mind is simply ... did this look better on paper than in real life? The Thom Browne eccentricities were in full attendance from , what I’m guessing were, 3 inch cuffs topping his signature high water pants and his bracelet length sleeves but the jacket lengths have increased and are unusually elongated given his penchant for almost cropped  if not shrunken silhouettes. Then there were loads of vests and lots of flap pockets.

Honestly, this highly Johnny one note collection seemed odder than usual and even more eccentric than usual. This might be overstating the obvious but something seemed very off. To say the least, this was surely not a favorite of mine and one of the least groundbreaking on his resume.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

the sadness that is SAINT LAURENT .. SPRING MENS 2016

The reason for this review or really this editorial is to simply state that, IMHO, there should be a most wanted list for fashion designers who defame and diminish the world of fashion and the heritage brands that keep them employed. #1 public enemy on the list is the armed and extremely dangerous criminal ..  Hedi Slimane!

This man single handedly, with the help of Kering, has diminished and obliterated one of the most revered and respected names in fashion. He has designed collections that would be consistently coveted by and worthy of H&M or ZARA  which in no way reflect the heritage of the brand... no matter how he twists and turns his words in his demented mind

His decision to be the Greta Garbo of fashion, which is second to the rarely seen Galliano, may be his wisest career move as he surely has nothing to gloat about except being guilty of international grand larceny or impersonating a designer ... stealing from the so called fashion lovers and poisoning the minds of an ever fawning press. Maybe he is the Jim Jones of fashion or the Timothy McVeigh of fashion.  He has defamed the memory of one of the greatest designers of the 20th century.

So here is my question; PIERRE... how’s it feeling now? Still sitting front row watching these rags paraded in front of you under the name of the love of your life? Are you proud of what you built being reduced to merde? How’s it feeling now, monsieur? How’s it feel to see YOUR brand turned into some 20 something hippie clothes? Vous sentez-vous bien à ce sujet? As the French say  … pffffffft !

BALMAIN by Olivier Rousteing for men Spring 2016

Rarely do we get to see a men’s collection that is shown cohesively and convincingly in tandem with women’s ... let alone that one is Spring and the other is Resort. Olivier Rousteing is no flash in the pan. This is a designer who gets it! Whether you love the clothes or hate them is not the issue; the issue at hand is that this young man stands head and shoulders above so many of his professional peers… at least this is my opinion!

With all the buzz about “blurred lines” and omnisexual clothes, Monsieur Rousteing is a designer who accomplishes and proves that it can be done without looking like a tawdry drag queen in training or looking like you were playing dress up while in granny’s attic. To me ... this is quite an accomplishment given what has been paraded down the runways and lauded by a pandering press. Please understand that in no way do I think these are office wear or supermarket clothes BUT they are clothes that are DESIGNED and offered in a way that makes them quite credible within the sphere of fashion.

While Balmain in no way resembles what it once was, the reimagined brand has an identity that is easily recognizable. There is no shopping for a new client base each season, this is now a brand that builds on itself each season or in other words this is not one season of tailored suits and then the next shapeless pants and tees, Rousteing consistently and effortlessly plays his literal “flash” cards with great ease. He is not reinventing himself each season; yes the clothes are theatrical flashy, rock n roll and extravagant but that’s how Balmain has become identifiable.

Okay so that’s my philosophy and sentiments on the brand and its designer, so now it is onto collection! Love the take on safari jackets, the take on cargo pants, the draped jerseys for men, the tiger jackets, the lashing, the leathers and suedes, the amazing quality of labor intensive styles and how it is so consistent season after season. Granted, these are clothes that are stratospherically expensive and to my eyes these are clothes that are aspirational to devout fashion aficionados as well as those sorry victims. The difference between the two is how you wear them and why you buy them. For me, if I was many years younger I would “have to have “a few pieces to mix into my regular or “normal “wardrobe. Anyway ... 

How you judge or assess this collection depends greatly on your frame of reference, your fashion knowledge and lastly on your senses of style and adventure.

As a take away... these are clothes to either lust for or to abhor. These are not clothes that bore nor do they leave you with no opinion. After seeing what has been shown, IMHO Rousteing’s Balmain is surely in the top 10.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Berluti spring 2016

Alessandro Sartori could be aptly deemed a maestro of menswear or even a designer who holds a PhD in fashion. How absolutely refreshing to see a designer’s offering that reflects the facets of the brand which eh designs for and represents. How arcane that a brand actually has more than one point of view!

Berluti is a deft combination of trend mixed with traditional or possibly akin to a martini that is stirred and not shaken... if you catch my drift! There is over the top color there is subtlety there is the most traditional but there are NEVER trendoid absurd clothes that only function on a runway.

 The shapes and silhouettes represent the cross section of those who want and do wear a menswear label that is possibly one of the great brand extensions of the 21st century when it comes to fashion. One must be reminded that this was and still is a brand associated with shoes and now apparel. If there is credit to be given, it should be given to 2 people, one of which is the Antoine Arnault, yes an Arnault, and the designer of record … Alessandro Sartori.

Okay the spring 2016 collection is about color, variety of shapes and silhouettes and even a variety of pant lengths. Keep in mind please that you saw NO shorts here and yet it sure looked like spring to me! And lest we forget the feet! Trainers and shoes from a virtual pantone book of colors. The collection is the successful mix of trend and tradition directed by the skilled hand of this designer. Besides being a smorgasbord of color, this is a collection that offers something for everyone albeit not fashion victims.

Berluti is a brand of chic and style designed for men who want display their sartorial flair without looking like a freak of fashion and yet Berluti can be a collection designed for those who just like a more stylish take on traditional men’s clothing. The option is rare these days as most collections seem to designed for either shock value or are deadly boring and this is why Berluti stands with a select few who know who they design for rather than trying so hard as to render a costume party rather than a fashion presentation. One might even say that there is a confidence here that no matter what media attention it gets … the end result is the same... it sells!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Maison Margiela spring 2016 men's by John Galliano

Being flummoxed and befuddled cannot disguise what was presented. In a seismic shift... at least for me... Spring at Maison Margiela is almost shockingly tasteful and wearable save the pieces that are supposedly attributable to or reminiscent of the namesake designer. The question that arises is this … "am I just so disgusted and bored with what’s been show on the majority of runways that even this yawn of a collection looks good or is the collection really as good as it looks?”

Having never been a Margiela fan… ever... it is difficult to assess the collection other than on face value. The tailoring is beautifully executed, the duster coats are perfection and the precision of the suitings is worthy of any “tailored” brand BUT, the question is... “Does anyone come to Margiela for that?” in my mind, there should have been the aura of Galliano or a presence but such is not the case unless it is the tailoring that has become his signature here and not his sense of fantasy. It saddens me to even bring up Galliano as he is no longer an eponymous brand but neither has he really established his imprimatur on this brand; unless of course that’s the idea!

So... like it? … Yes! …  Love it? … No … Surprised? Yes... groundbreaking? No... But thank god it wasn’t some mad scientist’s or some student’s vision of what menswear should be! Raw edges and a few jackets tied around the waist are not exactly flourishes that leave one breathless oh ... and those sheer collage shells!