Two weeks ago I met with Takahira Miyashita, the Japanese fashion designer of the mens brand TAKAHIRAMIYASHITATheSoloist. Miyashita’s original brand Number (N)ine made a mark on men’s fashion during the past decade when menswear was at its height in terms of reinterpreting youth culture.
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When last year the Belgian designer Raf Simons was finally officially appointed as the creative director of Calvin Klein, the American brand known for its minimalist aesthetic, the fashion world was elated, and those of us in New York doubly so. The New York fashion scene has long been starved of creative talent of Simons’s caliber.
It seems somewhat silly to write about fashion these days, given the disgraceful political situation in the US, and I’ve probably had more conversations about the Orangutan in the Oval Office than about fashion proper over the week I spent in Paris. But, write I must, and so here are my impressions of a season that was mostly flat and that made me think that menswear is just spinning its wheels.
Five years ago, a colleague of mine told me about a young Belgian designer in New York who worked at RLX, the Ralph Lauren’s technical sportswear collection, and who was showing his first collection under his name at his apartment. I made an appointment, which got derailed by a blizzard. The designer’s name was Tim Coppens, and though we didn’t meet then, I have closely followed evolution of his work.
Yesterday the Dutch denim company G-Star RAW announced the appointment of one of our favorite conceptual designers Aitor Throup as its Executive Creative Director. The designer has been consulting for the company for some time now, presumably with enough success to warrant a full time upgrade. After initial eyebrow raising the appointment has come to make sense. While the G-Star aesthetic leaves much to be desired, it has exactly the kind of construction and fabric know-how that Throup might take advantage of in order to create something interesting outside of his previous conceptual flights of fancy, which have been both creatively mind-blowing and mind-blowingly unattainable. In any case, I am curious to see what will happen, and I would like to share with you our in-depth profile of Throup that I wrote for our print volume 4, in which Throup makes clear that he would be interested to translate his creative vision and formidable design skills into something more accessible.
This past summer a pretty girl in her twenties I know cut her shoulder-length dark hair to military grade shortness, which made her look decidedly less attractive. When I remarked on this to another friend, also in his twenties, he said without hesitation that unattractiveness has become a trend among his peers. You can also see it quite clearly in fashion, especially in the rise of brands as seemingly disparate as Hood by Air, Vetements, Gosha Rubchinskiy, and Gucci, and their calculated ugliness and awkwardness.
If I had to summarize this past menswear season, it’d be the one of plenty of good product and few good ideas. It was neither weak nor strong, pretty much in tune with what I have come to expect of fashion as of late.
Men’s fashion has been now thoroughly splintered into parts that cater to the youngsters and to the adults, and nowhere has this been more evident than at Pitti Uomo in Florence, where the bulk of the trade fair itself is devoted to traditional menswear, and where three designers that are of interest to the young were showing – Gosha Rubchinkiy, Visvim, and Raf Simons.
Thamanyah, the fashion label designed by Ahmed Abdelrahman, has been on my radar for quite a long time. There is uniqueness in Abdelrahman’s approach to taking the traditional Middle Eastern dress, making it modern, and mixing it with Western sartorial codes. In his hands a white kandora turns black and gets paired with a fine wool bomber jacket. Not only such a combination results in a new menswear silhouette, but also both the Middle Eastern and the Western staples acquire a new meaning. It is no wonder then that Thamanyah has acquired a cult following in both worlds.
Vestoj and StyleZeitgeist have teamed up in a dialogue and series of critiques of recent events in fashion media to raise more wide-reaching questions about the state of contemporary fashion media – and what that says about our industry at large. In our second installment of this collaboration, we examine the recent political faux pas of the Chanel and Louis Vuitton resort collections, and the fashion media’s sycophancy.
Each season the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (CSHC) meets to decide which guest designers get to show during the haute couture calendar in Paris. These designers, while not being formally accepted into the rarefied couture club, are considered as worthy of showing alongside the likes of Chanel and Dior. Its selection process is supposed to be rigorous and extremely selective, in order to reflect that haute couture is the pinnacle of fashion design and craftsmanship.