Feature and Op-Ed articles

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The Last Conspiracy

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.

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Fashion Week Ramblings, F/W 2015

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.

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Betony Vernon

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.

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Op-Ed: Blame the Audience

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.”

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A Few Words With: Gerhard Steidl

One quiet morning in New York I met with the legendary German publisher Gerhard Steidl in the lobby of the Mercer Hotel in SoHo. Steidl is the last of the Mohicans in the world of print – a fiercely independent publisher who has maintained complete control and ownership of his house for over forty years. His art and photo books with the likes of Robert Frank and Bruce Davidson are revered as the best in the business. He also publishes literature in German, including books by the Nobel prize winners Günter Grass and Halldór Laxness.

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A Few Words With: John Skelton of LN-CC

In only a couple of years of its existence, LN-CC, the London multiple-brand boutique has gone from an open secret of the fashion cognoscenti to a major player whose business model is quickly being imitated by other shops. John Skelton, the store’s co-founder and creative director, has played a major role in its meteoric rise. I recently caught up with him in London to talk shop…

In Conversation With: Filep Motwary, Part I

Dear readers,

I met Filep Motwary almost a year ago. Filep is a costume designer, photographer, and fashion features editor for Dapper Dan magazine. He founded  Un nouVeau iDEAL in 2006. We have corresponded regularly since, sharing our views on fashion. We finally realized that we should share our insights with the larger audience in our respective publications. Below is our first conversation, conducted via Skype.