The director Gus Van Sant is one of those creators synonymous with the youth culture of the 90s, when the fringes hit the mainstream. The Drugstore Cowboy (ok, it came out in ‘89, but you know what I mean) and especially My Own Private Idaho (’91) made him more than an instant cult figure. And if his later releases like Gerry, Last Days, and Paranoid Park, did not seem as impactful, perhaps it’s because the youth culture that changed and not the man.
It is hard to believe that that the perennially young Japanese label UNDERCOVER turned 25 last year. As part of the anniversary, the publisher Rizzoli is releasing a 256-page book on the brand ($65). It is the first comprehensive overview of UNDERCOVER’s body of work and the first book on the brand available in the West (if you can find it, hunt down the fantastic “The Shepherd,” which documented UNDERCOVER’s first Parisian shows.)
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.
Aaaah, the Smiths! As a late convert I cannot claim allegiance to the good old formative days when meat was murder and the queen was dead. But, the more I listen to the Smiths as of late the more their music overtakes my consciousness.
I did not know that one of the most impressive modern buildings is in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, until I saw its photo in This Brutal World (Phaidon, $49.95). The jaw-dropping structure is a testament to the human aspirations and follies. If architecture, like art, should reflect our world, the still-unfinished (inside) Ryugyong Hotel is it.
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.
It is hard to believe that it will soon be ten years since I started my first venture www.stylezeitgeist.com, a forum platform for discussing avant-garde and artisanal fashion. It is equally hard to believe that StyleZeitgeist magazine, which began as its extension, but has took on a life all of its own, will turn five.
The new fashion exhibit Manus x Machina at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York explores the relationship between fashion made by hand and by machine. One of its sub themes is the marriage of the most traditional handwork couture methods and the most advanced technological methods of clothes-making. Amongst its selection are seven dresses by the Dutch designer Iris van Herpen, who stands peerless in doing just that.
There is a depth to her work that results in garments that are often called “otherworldly” or “futuristic,” though van Herpen will be the first to tell you that she sees them firmly rooted in reality. Another misconception, perpetuated by the fashion media that runs after trendy stories and by the general media that runs after sensationalist ones, is that van Herpen’s work centers on 3D printing. In reality, her work traverses a wide variety of techniques and materials in service only to two things; to give free reign to van Herpen’s imagination, and to transcend fashion itself.