Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Michael Kors fall 2021

Well... one might say this is the great American comeback! Mr. Kors  has  returned to what made him a lauded and applauded designer.... slick, tailored, simple, minimalist, ageless clothes with its roots in American sportwear. This collection is in stark contrast to those of ...........well.... the past 10 or 20 years when the sweetheart of fashion media thought he wanted to be Michael the trend driven!

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Yes, some will yawn and say what’s new here ...... what’s new is that these are clothes meant to be worn not just to be looked at and they are timeless and do not require an instruction book on how to wear nor do they require any blah blah blah ... this is Kors at his core and his finest. They are a reminder of what was with a tweak here and there.

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Yes, the media will fawn and carry on about the spectacle of it all but when you’re a billionaire you can create spectacles. Just ask Monsieur Arnault! This is a collection that   conjures the idea that we will all have some sort of normalcy to return to once this pandemic dark era has passed.

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I say BRAVO to Michael for having the good sense to return to clothes that can and will sell even to clients who swore they’d never wear Kors. Less is more here and it works flawlessly!

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Celine fall 2021

 WAITING ... PEOPLE DO IT ALL THE TIME!

And so, we wait for the explosive collection of one of the most over hyped, over exposed, over rated under achiever of fashion and the only sound you will hear is a resounding THUD!

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You can be a generic practically invisible fashion victim and since no one will ask “Oh, who are you wearing? “you can just wear a billboard, a sandwich sign or just announce to anyone you speak to it’s HEDI... my guess is the reaction will be ...   OH!... while they are thinking this stupid bitch paid all that money to look like that!

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No one need him to show clothes that are a cross between H&M, Forever 21 and Goodwill and yet the brilliant uneducated shameful fashion media will rave.... it speaks to the hypocrisy of the media as well as the power of the almighty dollar because it surely isn’t speaking to fashion or style!

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PS... this is the unedited collection!

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Some might remember that  byline for Celine which was  “un nom un style”  and now it is “un nom et pas de style”

meet Kevin Hoover...it's raining men!

Instagram and Facebook have opened doors for me that lead to some of the most creative people that I have ever run across during my decades in the fashion business but what is exciting is that these creatives are not only in the fashion business, Case in point is Kevin Hoover who is a photographer who quite literally celebrates the male form/ male pulchritude or let’s just say well-built handsome men who are not your typical man on the street once their clothes disappear.

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His term “gatekeeper” is so accurate as I had a very similar instance where I posted a photo of a fully clad Kate moss and the minute, I clicked share, I was told I was in violation which didn’t sit well with me. I have 2 Instagram accounts, long story, but not being satisfied with the first refusal of the “gatekeepers” decision I went immediately and reposted to the second account without a peep from then and later in the day posted it to the original account without any issue.

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Since Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook have these monitors, so to speak, the problem is the inconsistency of their so-called purity regulations or community standards.  Why are woman’s nipple grounds for violation and not men’s nipples, why is a painted or hyper realistically drawn or painted erection more acceptable than a photo? It’s frustrating, erratic. illogical and frankly ridiculous when there is so much porn online and so many images on those sites that actually are in violation of their own rules.

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Anyway, I decided to speak to a few of the “artists” who are most in the sights of these “police” and ask them about their work and their experiences on social media so that brings us to the very talented Kevin Hoover who will now tell us about his work, his history and run ins with the so-called” gatekeeper” of social media......

Jeffrey Felner: How would you say the internet and social media, especially Instagram, have affected the world of photography as to how far you can push the envelope?

Kevin Hoover: Social media and the internet are a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that you are able to almost effortlessly connect with people you might never have had the chance to meet. The curse is that the “gatekeepers” of these platforms create rules, regulations & restrictions which they enforce arbitrarily. I’ve had photographs removed from Instagram because you could see a glimpse of a guy’s pubic hair. Keep in mind, if a model is a hairy guy and you can’t really tell where the hair on his abs ends and the pubes began. I’ve seen pictures of women where you can see everything but the entrance to their vagina and that doesn’t violate their terms of service except for “nipplegate” which is almost immediately deemed a violation. Of course, you can’t get anyone on the phone to dispute the issue. Many of us independent contractors use social media to promote our business and when our images, or even worse, our accounts get disabled, it effects our livelihood.

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 JF: Much has been written about creatives who have a signature look; would you say you have one? Want one? … and how would you best describe your work?

KH: People tell me they can see an image and know it’s mine before they see the watermark. They say they can tell by how I use light. I like the idea of my work being recognizable in that way. It means that people are paying attention and have connected with what I do. There is a great amount of self-gratification in that.

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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?

KH: I’d have to have 6 or I couldn’t do it at all. Photographers George Hurrell, Victor Skrebneski, Francesco Scavullo, and Rebecca Blake, make-up artist, Joey Mills and British Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful. It would be a dinner to say thank you for inspiring me in more ways than I can count. 

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JF: You celebrate the male body; how did you arrive at that subject and why have you stayed with it?

KH: I’ve wanted to be a photographer since I was a sophomore in high school, but my dream was to move to New York and be a fashion photographer. Specifically, women’s fashion. Shooting the male form hadn’t even crossed my mind but the Universe had different ideas. After I finished college, I worked one soul sucking office job after another and then worse ... soul sucking retail. From retail, I started working in the music industry. I fell back into photography accidentally, thanks to a friend who asked me to come with him to a photo shoot to keep him company. The shoot was with two guys in swimwear for flyers to promote a beach event my friend was hosting.  The photographer had an extra camera sitting there and it was literally calling me to pick it up. I asked him if it was ok if I shot some behind the scenes stuff and promised to stay out of his way. He said, “sure.” When my friend saw all the images from the shoot, he picked mine. That lit the spark. At the same time, social media was exploding and I started seeing images by Rick Day, Thomas Synnamon, Mark Henderson and several others and it clicked for me; you can shoot men and the images can be stylish and beautiful. The rest is as they say, history.

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JF: How do you go about selecting your subjects?  Are there certain criteria you enforce? Do the magazines impose any specific requirements from you as to model, location etc. or do you get free rein? While we are on the subject... does anyone pay anymore or has that become a thing of the past and what’s your feeling about it?

KH: It depends on the project. If I’m shooting for my PROVOCATION book series of erotic male nudes, I ask that the models be comfortable with nudity and having them published. I prefer the freedom to let the Muse take us wherever. If someone books me for a shoot, we go wherever they want to go. With that said, I don’t take on a shoot if I don’t see something in the subject that I can capture. Money isn’t a motivating factor for me.  When a magazine commissions a layout, their criteria tend to be in regards to the number of images, size of the images, wardrobe, and other technical aspects. The rest is usually up to the photographer. Some publications still pay. So many people approach you talking about “exposure” but clearly if you found me, I am already exposed! While money isn’t a motivator for me, if people are buying your magazine, then I say you can pay me for the content you “ordered.”

https://www.instagram.com/kevindhoover/

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Richard Vyse.. the liberated artist

With the advent of social media, blogs, online magazines, influencers and fans only options, it’s surely not easy to be a recognizable force of nature and even more rare to have the credentials to actually back up one’s fame or recognition. Richard Vyse has experienced the best of both worlds, meaning the pre-internet days as well as the present and much to his credit, his work is as well-known now as it was then.

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What has always struck me about Richard’s work is his use of color and his celebration of the male form whether it be just a face or an entire body. Speaking from experience there is no greater gratification than to feel free in one’s chosen endeavors and to be recognized for one’s oeuvre... past and present.

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What baffles me about the present times is the so-called rules and regulations that make one image acceptable and another not.... a man’s nipple is fine but a woman’s nipple can exile you to internet “Siberia”. Richard has skirted these issues by offering interpretations rather than photographic likenesses of the “banishable” body parts of his subjects which is part of what makes his work such a stand out. Personally, I am extremely attracted to his use of color, variety of talents and by his past as a fashion illustrator before newspapers ran photos of clothing. Take note that he has even been able to transform the past of what was fashion illustration and bring it into the 21st century.

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It’s a pleasure to see his smorgasbord of talents served up to us mere mortals on a daily basis and so personally relatable when you reach the stage of life when there are no deadlines, no musts and the only line on your to do list is to please yourself.

So, no more blather from me here is Richard Vyse up close and personal....

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Jeffrey Felner: Much has been written about creatives who have a signature look; would you say you have one? Want one? … and how would you best describe your work?

Richard Vyse: As a fashion illustrator I created different signature looks to reflect the client’s requirements. Now, I focus entirely on the erotic celebration and exploration of the male form. The look of my art changes depending on the medium that is in use. I create in ballpoint pen, china marker, prismacolor pencils and acrylics which have become my “tools of the trade” signatures. My signature looks then it comes to the actual finished piece itself is the contour line which tells the story of the look and shapes of the body; it is foremost about the line!

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 JF: How would you say the internet has affected the world of online art as far as acceptability for public viewing?

RV: The internet is my gallery, studio and portfolio for selling my art internationally. Instagram has expanded my ability to have my work viewed internationally but pieces deemed too salacious or graphic porno will be taken down and repeat offenders run the risk of being banned. I have had no problem so far even though I do show erections but only solo figures. My art is not confrontational but more of a celebration of the beauty of a man. Instagram accounts for about 60% of my sales with Facebook and gay art sites at 25% each. Websites and galleries do get the traffic and reach as many internationally as the Internet. I also sell on Saatchi Art but it is the internet that expanded my viewership and sales exponentially.

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 JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?

RV: Dinner with friends would be first choice but it would certainly be an interesting evening with Oprah, Barack Obama, Barbra Streisand, David Hockney and the Dali Lama... and if I could turn back time...  Joan Rivers, Oscar Wilde, Picasso, Michael Jackson and Audrey Hepburn. Think about that dinner conversation!

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 JF: What would you say has been the most rewarding era of your career since you have worked in so many mediums?

RV: NOW...as I am free to draw or paint as I please and let my imagination take over after years of crushing deadlines and delivering fashion artwork with meticulous specifications. Now I can create whatever I want and whenever I want, which is usually every day. It is a source of self-gratification to sell art internationally when there is so much out there whether it be good or bad. In addition, I get to enjoy seeing my art featured in international gay art magazines like Mascular -UK, Juturna-Germany, Character-France, Noisy Rain-Mexico and Advocate-USA.

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

St John fall 2021

"This season, St. John creative director Zoe Turner focused on reinventing tweed. The label is well known for prim suits in the material, but Turner imbued the house signature with a youthful airiness. “As much as it is about offering what we all know and love about St. John, it really is now time to push the collection forward” Turner said.... spoken like a totally undedicated and self-involved designer who has not one iota of a clue as to what made the brand a juggernaut in the 80’s and it sure as fuck wasn’t tweed!

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Anyone who knows anything about fashion history knows that St John was a machine loomed knit that copied/imitated the “Chanel” style and it was that Nancy Reagan/ADOLFO like suit that made then Greys famous and rich.

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But of course, we have reviewers who can’t remember what they saw last week and have less of an interest as to the reality of what the DNA of the brand in its original incarnation was all about.

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 George Sharp was the only designer who took the stigma of that knit suit (NOT TWEED) and turned the brand in a chic lady’s choice for her everyday wardrobe at affordable prices but then again, if it was salable that didn’t suit, pun intended, the fashion media or the powers that be.... here’s a little clue... this pile won’t be making headlines or front pages for any number of reasons, which to be honest, I don’t care to further enumerate.  Look for yourself... what blows your skirt up here.... where is there any continuity and the tweed they show looks like an H&M version of CHANEL ...woo hooo!

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As I read earlier, the internet and amazon can’t fix fashion............ designers with knowledge and creativity will fix it and keep it going but sadly they are not the ones that get the spot light!

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Friday, April 9, 2021

BERLUTI fall 2021

Here’s the thing about Berluti, from the start, it went from somewhat boring business like to slick, chic and excessively rich looking for men who truly appreciated timeless but fashionable clothes. Alessandro Sartori, in my opinion was the one who set the tone and held it tightly but always finding a way for the collection to morph and evolve. Haider’s reign was short and a bit more forgettable, if not a mismatch, but now we have Kris Van Assche who has jolted the collection in a way that is disturbing...at least on first glance!

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The tailoring is there, the fine line between evolution and revolution is there but that seems to happen because of the styling and not the clothes. For instance, look at the shoes, look at the bucket hats, look at the combination of pieces and those fashion nuances such as ankle gripping pants and high-water hems, draping hems and the color palette!

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I see this as a collection of pieces and not a collection to be worn as shown. Despite the blah blah blah, there are some beautiful pieces that retain the original DNA of the brand that can be worn with any of the pieces that came from 9 years of Berluti.

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No, I don’t harbor any illusions that this could ever be a mass appeal brand firstly because of its price and then secondly for all the reasons listed above but it holds my eye and makes me wonder about the direction that Van Assche will take.

Monday, March 29, 2021

KENZO FALL 2021

 “Fashion seems so complicated now. I couldn’t do it.” To Kenzo, fashion had to come from the heart rather than the market department. “Intuition is a banned word at fashion houses these days. It’s as if there’s no space for it.

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And the proof is now laid out before you! Kenzo and his Jungle Jap was one of those collections that brought a smile to your face as well as great classic pieces that would become timeless. Look at it now!


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Yes, those models should be running. Running away from whatever, this is supposed to be as it surely has no signature, no DNA and certainly no reason to own it or want it.


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How sad to take the names that made fashion fashionable and turn them into generic fast fashion looking rags at high fashion prices to be worn who knows where and who knows why.


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I’m finding that the longer I live, the less I understand about what is shown and mortified by what reviewers write all in the quest for an ad dollar or because of the power of the mother company. Fashion has a glorious past which is being erased more and more each season and it saddens me greatly that uneducated people write reviews on fashion who are no more than lackies who regurgitate press releases and make sure not to rock the boat no matter how heinous the collection.


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Rant over!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Ralph Lauren SPRING 2021 ... see it now ... buy it now

Ralph, as the lone ranger, continues on his show it and buy it in his stores. Some say, including myself at times, that Ralph is repetitive or boring, but there is not one single designer who has managed to tweak and massage his brand’s DNA better than Mr. Lauren... yet its never really boring and never unwearable.

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As you can see, he is well aware of the state of this pandemic world we live in and offers clothes that hopefully within in a few months women will be wearing to go out to lunch, perhaps to some one’s home for dinner or even possibly to a social event while observing all the protocols that have been put in place and continue to change day by day,

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I think I’d like to say that this collection displays a facet of the brand that we rarely see and that is minimalism. No muss, no fuss, very little ornamentation or decoration; just simple beautiful clothes for women of all ages that serve a multitude of purposes and occasions that lie ahead.... hopefully.

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Maybe we can call it Ralph Light, but no matter what you call it, it’s slick, lean, clean, refined and just as much at home in in NYC, Malibu, Beverly Hills, Paris, Milan or Tokyo. To me that is something that few other designers can claim. He designed intelligently, realistically and most of all fashionably!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Raf Simons fall 2021

“The collection is about things I love—things I have always loved, that are always there in every collection, in the processes behind it, and the clothes.”... guess who?

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In other words, the collection is about generic, boring, been there done that clothes ant and make the most jaded fashionphile fight from falling asleep.

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Why on earth he is lauded as a great designer let alone a designer at all is way beyond my scope of comprehension, the only thing I find somewhat appealing about the collection is the palette since I’m not impressed by oversized white shirts, another puffer, sweaters with sleeves down to your knees or some oversized tunic.

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Miuccia, he is all yours the two of you can tell each other how great you are and try to convince the world of that .... as   for me, ...I find you both over rated, over hyped and most of all coma inducing despite all the blah blah blah that surrounds every single collection.