This past January during the men’s fashion week in Paris I, as is my habit, visited the showroom of forme d’expression. The label, which recently celebrated its tenth year anniversary, is designed by Koeun Park, who quietly works in Perugia, Italy on her men’s and women’s collections.
Feature and Op-Ed articles
Everyone who goes through his formative years in a certain decade considers it the golden age. Obviously, the 90s were the best decade ever.
But let’s go beyond facetiousness. In terms of cultural production it is obvious that every decade has the good and the bad. What is more interesting is how much of the good and how much of the bad the zeitgeist of every decade produces, and what gets to hit the mainstream. Why 90s matter is that it was the decade when culture, and fashion as part of culture, took the last stand before succumbing to pure, unapologetic commerce.
New York – From the numerous editorial reports underscoring the end of the fashion season in Paris one of the leitmotifs was the lack of originality on designers’ part.
Paris is usually the cherry on the cake in terms of creativity, a critic’s reward for having to sit through the commercial blandness of New York’s shows, the campy antics of London’s, and the vulgar luxury of Milan’s. Not this time, at least according to Angelo Flaccavento and Robin Givhan, two of the most powerful fashion commentators.
If you find yourself in Munich, Germany, you might visit the Nymphenburg Palace, which was built in 1679. But you could easily miss one of its hidden treasures, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, which has been producing porcelain wares since 1747.
The manufactory still belongs to the Bavarian crown. Although calling it a manufactory is misleading, because today the word implies mechanized production on industrial scale.
These days when fashion increasingly seems to be on one continuous treadmill, it is becoming increasingly difficult to slow things down, to approach craftsmanship with care that a well-made product demands.
On a recent journey towards the historic ateliers of The Last Conspiracy, a Denmark-based footwear company, tucked away on a hillside just outside Porto, the second largest city in Portugal, I got a glimpse into how things can still be made the traditional way. The story of Roald Nore, a creative nomad and the brand’s founder, begins with his desire to make something genuine and lasting.
Photographer: Wenjun Liang; Stylist: Christine de Lassus @ Art Department; Hair: Shinya Nakagawa; Makeup: Kuma for MAC cosmetics; Photo Assistant: Kyle May; Assistant Stylist: Ella Cepeda
Let me get something out of the way – though my writing is critical more often than not, I don’t particularly enjoy blasting fashion. So, it is with a certain elation I would like to report that this past men’s fashion week in Paris was one of the strongest I’ve seen in a while.
For me it began last Wednesday night when Haider Ackermann presented his most convincing collection yet. Everything seemed to coalesce – from the muted but rich color palette to lush fabrics to nonchalant styling. It was presented at the Galleria museum, and the presentation and the clothes were just the right shade of decadence, a fantasy world of the rich and idle whose saving grace is impeccable education and impeccable manners.
As the singer P.J. Harvey prepares to record her new album, we decided to publish this slightly abridged version of the article about Harvey’s last album, Let England Shake, and about her friendship with Ann Demeulemeester and Patrick Robyn.
Last week Betony Vernon, the Paris-based jewelry designer, relaunched her collection of jewelry that double as instruments of sexual pleasure, at Dover Street Market in New York.
Though Vernon makes fine jewelry as well, her reputation comes from those of her products that are the stuff of sexual fantasy. Or, in the world according to Vernon, sexual reality.
In 1992 when Vernon launched a jewelry collection called Sado-Chic, she knew she hit a nerve. The sexually charged collection was based on pieces that connect to each other. The emotional and physical connection of lovers was now manifested in silver rings and chains.
This weekend The New York Times published an Op-Ed article by Vanessa Freedman, the paper’s fashion director, in which she bemoaned the contemporary culture phenomenon called the “new mediocre.” She gave instance after instance, beginning with fashion and extending it to other areas, of mediocrity as the new normal. This, she said, is the marker of the zeitgeist. As far as fashion goes, she wrote, “The reason for that feeling of déjà vu I had as I sat through fashion show after fashion show during the last ready-to-wear season and saw yet more ‘reinventions’ and ‘homages’ to 1960s rock chick dresses and 1970s flared trousers, 1980s power jackets and 1920s flapper frocks, and wondered, ‘How do I explain this lack of new ideas among so many extremely talented designers?’ The new mediocre.”