EDITORIALS, TRENDS + DESIGNER PROFILES
By Mark St. James - Marquis of Fashion
Have you ever inspected, fondled or wore a garment that was priced at over $25,000.00? If I narrow the parameters and eliminate fur pieces from your options, you may find it difficult to think of the last time (if ever) that you’ve come across something with such a considerable price tag. Recently, I had the privilege of getting a very close look at a Fall 2013 Balmain Ready-to-wear jacket that was by all accounts...divine. The craftsmanship that goes into a piece like this is overwhelming and all too obvious within the first glance. That every inch is encrusted in jewels and glass beads raises the jacket from common to Fabergé in about 5000 hours. And even though its mass resembles a bag of stones you’d never complain while wearing it? Not when you put it on and every eye is affixed to you like a blogger to a front row seat at fashion week. The thrill of wearing a piece like this is incomprehensible until you’ve worn something quite like it which... as I’ve mentioned above, is quite rare. Taking into account all the intricate handwork and dumbfounding exquisiteness that makes up a piece like this, is it worth it? When you consider a Kazimir Malevich painting such as the Suprematist Composition (blue rectangle over the red beam) which sold for just over 65 million or Mark Rothko’s No 1 (Royal Red and Blue) painting that recently sold for a staggering 75 million; dishing out $25,000 on a jacket seems like pocket change. Especially since the item you’re owning is a sanctioned piece of art and a piece of history created by Head Designer Olivier Rousteing of Balmain. You might even call it an investment seeing how resale on premium designer clothing is becoming more and more profitable. The mention of Malevich and Rothko is not to, in any way demean their works but rather draw a parallel between the art that these great artists produce and their relative prices. Haute Couture has always had its hands wrapped around the leash of the fashion world and dominating the runways, and rightfully so. With every centimeter designed by hand, each piece measured and cut precisely, each bead sewn on one-by-one not to mention the personalized fittings that go along with the sale of each look on the runway - shouldn’t the couturiers get to turn the head of the fashion industry in whichever direction they please? I used to think so. But since Haute Couture has decreased measurably as a subsidiary industry within fashion, Ready-to-wear brands have stepped up there game and are filling in the gap. So... who has the power now? Thankfully the “power” still resides with the buyer. They get to choose how fashion creates, what pieces are magnificent and if fashion truly is an art form. The Balmain piece I was lucky enough to try on is owned by a good friend of mine who, when asked whether they would rather spend the money on a similar piece from a Ready-to-wear brand or start shopping Couture, said “Isn’t this Couture?” And aside from countless fittings, isn’t it?
- Photographs by Tracy Grabowski - Styled by Sandra Sing Fernandes - Hair by Alexander Daniel, Chantal Girard, James Abu-Ulba for Davines - Makeup by Sylvie Desroches for Jane Iredale - Sofia / Wylie at Next Models Paris
- Photographs by Roberto Magliozzi - Styled by Sandra Sing Fernandes - Hair by Chantal Girard for Davines - Makeup by Valentina Lordanova for MUD Studio Milano, Olga Bordoni - Loredana Next Models Milan
- Photographs by Tracy Grabowski - Styled by Sandra Sing Fernandes - Hair by Sarah Cameron for Davines - Makeup by Sylvie Desroches for Jane Iredale - Natasha at Next Models Paris
Women's Footwear Trends The trend for fall/winter 2013 women’s footwear is all about nostalgia and time capsules. The 90’s continue to inspire this season’s hottest looks. Grunge returns, this time mixed with a twist of 70’s punk. The boot continues as a staple of the season, from ankle to over the knee. Chunky heels, heavy metal hardware, exotic animal prints and fur embel lishments giving them varying looks. A resurgence of 40’s style mary janes and T- strap pumps decorated embossed with fur porn poms. Modern touches, such as exposed zips, pointed toes, chunky heels, straps and buckles. Colours ran the gamut from classic black and brown, the surprise of white to a range of this season ‘s hottest hues such as teal, forest green, and oxblood. Men's Footwear Trends Mens footwear continued its evolution Classic shapes such as the lace up dress shoes the casual high top sneak and the workboot are updated with novel fabrics and colours. Metal hardware and patent finish embossed leathers added interest. Even the classic evening slipper was brought forward with animal print finishes and vivid hue, usually paired up with evening attire or a favorite smoking jacket, the modern fashion avatar will mate them his fave denim. Metal hardware and patent finish embossed leathers added interest.
By Mark St. James - Marquis of Fashion
The world of street style has been growing at an exponential rate ever since Fashion Photographer Bill Cunningham published his candid shots of Greta Garbo in the New York Times back in 1978. What made those images different from a million other paparazzi shots, was that Bill had no idea it was Greta Garbo; he took the photo because of his appreciation of her style and was genuinely interested in the way her coat draped handsomely on her body. Bill Cunningham is not only a very successful columnist at the New York Times but his career was also made into a film in 2010. Richard Press decided to produce “Bill Cunningham New York” to showcase Bill as the founding father of the “street style” genre. Now, a photo of a woman in Mexico with a multi coloured poncho can go viral in hours and drive millions of hits a day across the internet. The smallest detail can be seen as beautiful or bizarre but the choice is in the eye of the photographer whether a look is interpreted as fashion or faux pas. Everyone is a graduate of the police academy of fashion when it comes to street style because, it’s encouraged. The only difference between watching people on the street and scrolling through piles of jpegs is that screaming out “That’s Nasty!” is really only acceptable in the comments of a blog. It is through street style that people can enhance their style diction and increase their appetite for new inventive ways to tie a turban or wrap a sarong. But aside from expressing your inner voyeuristic tendencies why are people so obsessed with street style? When a photo is taken of a model on the runway, you get to see a slice of what the designer feels is stylish for a particular season. From the hair, make-up, clothes, accessories, nail polish, runway, backdrop, and model, the image that is finally taken of the collection is so contrived that nothing is outside of what the designer had in mind when electing what you should see. Street style is a culmination of everything that is happening in the world at that moment (because the backdrop is the street in all its spontaneity) and the model is 100% untouched by another stylist or fashion enthusiast. This means that every person on the street is dressed the way they are because they chose to dress that way. And when a look really comes together and shines, the credit can go to that individual because they artfully crafted their look and knowingly or unknowingly inducted themselves into a world where the flick of a scarf in the wind or the properly placed glossy neon belt inspires someone thousands of kilometres away. Of course street style wouldn’t be what it is today without some of the front-liners who championed their DSLR’s and took advantage of the www. platform. Scott Schuman from The Sartorialist and Tommy Ton from Jak and Jill hit the scene with an eye for style and a passion for exposure. Not through traditional means but by means of their blogs which reach thousands of people a day and do their part to enhance the mainframe of personal style. When a street style photographer asks to take a quick shot of you, it’s flattering and exciting. You may be a little self conscious due to your lack of modelling experience or ever-so-slightly dusty patent leather wingtips; but at the end of the day the photog (Photography Blogger) chose you to be a page in their book titled people watching. Once upon a time people would sit on a patio and soak in the tragic and tremendous looks that happened across their paths, at times, the pickings would be slim while others there’d be more eye candy than a machine twirling glistening pulled taffy. Why take the gamble of waiting for gold to walk by when you can see the best of the best from Paris, New York, and London at the click of a button? This is what street style is, a compendium of where fashion has come from, where it’s going, and who’s wearing what.
By João Paulo Nunes
For his Autumn/Winter 2013 menswear collection, French fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier decided to reinterpret traditional menswear by deconstructing conventional sartorial tropes through an amalgamation process. The end result was an extremely accomplished collection of original designs that still allowed for very flattering masculine silhouettes. Using fabrics such as luxurious wools and leather in a palette of black, grey, white, camel, red and emerald, Gaultier created a range of successful garments that included oversized raincoats with dropped shoulders, suits that juxtaposed paneled fabrics, thick knitwear, long leather gloves and high-waisted pleated pants. However, it was the witty deconstruction of menswear that fused tradition with experimentation that caught our attention at Phabrik. This was particularly effective in suit blazers that came cropped or reinvented in shapes that conjured bomber jackets, pinstripe trousers with pleated skirt applications, jumpsuit suits, cropped shirts, and stunning belted overcoats with leather applications that blended traditional overcoat shapes with those of biker jackets.
By João Paulo Nunes
Brazilian beachwear label Blue Man unveiled its Spring/Summer 2014 collection in the lush and luxurious surroundings of Palácio São Clemente in the Botafogo neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro during Fashion Rio on 16 April 2013. The venue for the runway show, a palace that was built in the eighteenth century as the residency of a Portuguese aristocratic family and now houses the Portuguese consulate, is a veritable majestic example of the Tropical Baroque aesthetic and a most adroit setting for Blue Man’s seductive collection. Under the creative direction of Thomaz and Sharon Azulay (whose father David Azulay founded the label in the early 1970s by selling the original – and now iconic – side-tied bikini), the collection explored the combination of typically Brazilian fauna and flora with Baroque ornaments found in Portuguese tiles and palace architecture as a reflection of the historical period when the Portuguese court settled in Brazil to escape the Napoleonic invasions and made Rio de Janeiro the capital of the empire. The result achieved by Blue Man was an exciting range of swimwear, beachwear, footwear and accessories in bright colours and detailed patterns that, while combining Rio urban beach culture and historical references, will undoubtedly prove to become popular when they hit the stores later in the year. For Spring/Summer 2014, Blue Man promises fluid pieces in transparent silk for lounging on the beach or by the pool that contrast with structured shoulder and waist lines in bathing suits, shirts and dresses. The influence of Hawaiian surf prints and the brand’s seminal relaxed approach to swimwear can be noticed in frayed denim bikinis and in bodysuits with vivid colours and patterns. And to anchor the lighter fabrics and cheerful designs, Lycra, denim and neoprene provide a successful balance to a collection that had the audience delirious and looking forward to another hot Rio Summer.