Eugene Rabkin is the founder of stylezeitgeist.com. He has contributed articles on fashion and culture to The Business of Fashion, Vogue Russia, Buro247, the Haaretz Daily Newspaper, and other publications. He has taught critical writing and fashion writing courses at Parsons the New School for Design.

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten: The Man Who Played with Color

On the recent evening during the men’s show of the Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, a crowd bustled outside the show venue, the small Musee Bourdelle, tucked away in a side street near Montparnasse train station in Paris. Outside, the desperate hangers-on were held back by the implacable PR watchdogs, while inside the buyers and the press were trying to squeeze into the tiny Great Hall, where the most prominent statues of Antoine Bourdelle, who was one of the most prolific student’s of Rodin, stood.

William Klein “YES” at the International Center of Photography

The new William Klein exhibit at the International Center of Photography in New York is called simply, “YES.” Why the affirmative title is unclear, except that, yes, you should go see the exhibit of one of the main figures of contemporary photography.

This was my first visit to the ICP’s new location, which moved down to the Lower East Side just before the pandemic hit pause on all in-person viewing and relegated us to the faux world of virtual exhibits (a ridiculous proposition if you have really thought about what it means to look at art). The two-floor space accommodated 300 of Klein’s works organized by chapter into a fairly straightforward, mostly chronological arrangement. This seems like a lot, but given Klein’s prodigious output it actually leaves you wanting more, as each chapter feels like an appetizer and not an entree.

In America: An Anthology of Fashion at the Met Museum

The paramount question, perhaps the only question that can be put to any work of art, or any exhibit of works of art, is whether it succeeds or fails. It is hard to answer that question with regards to the new exhibit by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, titled In America: An Anthology of Fashion. The reason for this ambivalence lies in defining what fashion is, and since there is no more agreed upon definition, the answer is largely left to the viewer, and thus you will get a review of this particular viewer guided by his particular definitions.

Let the Death of Experiential Shopping Be Its Rebirth

Fashion has a tendency to suffer from collective amnesia. Trendy but questionable concepts tend to die a quiet death in order to free the industry from embarrassment of unfulfilled promises. One of these silent casualties is “experiential shopping.” The term came in vogue earlier in the last decade when the fashion industry decided that customers wanted more from stores than a convenient location, a cool interior, an assortment of desirable product, and great customer service. The specter of e-commerce was brandished before retail executives that spurred them into a do-or-die frenzy. Lounges, live events, interactive art, virtual reality changing rooms, digital mirrors were touted as remedies for failing brick-and-mortar retail. Needless to say, only retail conglomerates and corporate brands with deep pockets could afford to invest in such expensive toys.

Fashion Comes for Books

In his 1967 classic critique of late capitalist society, “Society of the Spectacle,” the French philosopher Guy Debord posited that the West has reached a new stage of relations between commodities and people. Whereas before the laboring classes were alienated by capitalism from the product of their labor, now they were also alienated by it from their entire lives, from their surroundings, and most importantly from each other. He posited that during early capitalism the process of alienation occurred only during the workday. Once the factory lights were out the worker could at least go home and engage in his or her communal life. Now, however, leisure time became completely monopolized by what he called “the spectacle,” a mode of life in which fetishization of commodities has “moved the focus of existence… from having to appearing.” If that sounds like Instagram to you, you are not wrong.

Op-Ed: Fed Up With Fashion? Try This.

“The real issue is that in the fashion business, it’s almost against the law to tell the truth, and anyone who steps behind the silk curtain to show how raw the business is can expect a rough time. Designers go to grotesque lengths to exaggerate their concepts to the press. And the press is just as guilty when it swallows the bait and spews forth huge headlines. The self-importance of our profession is appalling.”

So wrote John Fairchild in his 1989 biography, Chic Savages (quoted in Teri Agins’s book, The End of Fashion). Fairchild being the publisher and editor-in-chief of the Women’s Wear Daily for decades, I see no reason not to believe him. Another reason not to believe him is that over the past ten years I have increasingly come to feel the same.

Revisit the Undercover x Evangelion Collection

The time has finally come for the much awaited Undercover x Evangelion collection to drop in stores, and we decided to revisit the exclusive interview Jun Takahashi kindly gave to us surrounding this collection after the March show. We are carrying the drop at ANT/DOTE. You can purchase the collection on our web store – we ship worldwide – or visit our store in Atlanta.