Archives for category: opinion

By the time you read this post, someone will have tried to convince you that there is a new minimalism. Whoever this person is, they are a liar and should not be trusted in any capacity. Minimalism never went away and the new minimalism looks suspiciously like the old version; case in point, this season when every other designer is attempting homage to the days when Helmut Lang, Calvin Klein and Jil Sander were actually helming their respective labels. All this millennial redux isn’t a bad thing as our appetite for simple, elegant clothes is never quite sated, but for those of who lived through the decade, the nostalgia can feel just a little too early. After all, there are women who still have their original camel coats tucked safely in storage, do they really need the new Celine variant?

The answer is of course, yes. There is still something appealing about the K.I.S.S. ethos of pared down design, be it fashion, art or even in the stripped down designs of publications like Gentlewoman and Dapper Dan. Whether or not women are ready dress like austere models seen on catwalks, they retain their interest in simplicity. Beneath the severity of minimalism lies a utilitarian spirit; Stella McCartney’s faux leather separates may look sleek, but they are also cut to flatter, accented by functional flat shoes and in season defying neutrals – same goes for the slouchy new offerings at Bottega, or even Philo’s heralded creations. Is it any wonder then that we keep hearing about the rebirth of minimalism season after season? The spin might be getting old, but the clothes keep working.

Balenciaga F/W 2010

Celine in Vogue Nippon, July 2010
John McLaughlin,

Bottega Veneta Resort 2011
Bottega Veneta, Bazaar June/July 2010

Kitty Kraus, Untitled 2006

Stella McCartney F/W 2010

Margiela in Vogue US, 2001

Jil Sander S/S 2002

*Intro image | The Row F/W 2010 by Jak & Jil

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The there is a great deal of buzz surrounding the new Givenchy campaign, due to its early release (summer hasn’t even started and already we get a fall campaign, further proof that the 24/7 fashion cycle thrives on immediacy) but also due to the fact that it prominently features a transgendered person amongst its lineup of beauties. For all fashion’s proclamations of inclusiveness and acceptance, you’d be hard pressed to find examples of trans individuals in editorials and campaigns. Fashion flirts with androgyny on a daily basis, it flaunts sexual imagery whenever it can, but only rarely does it touch on something legitimately topical. Benetton

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There are some pieces that you just don’t like, fashion is subjective and for every item that makes you go “oooh” there are at least two that leave you cold. A smart stylist understands this, more than that, a smart stylist will actually make you reconsider those derided items and could possibly even sway your opinions. Marie-Amelie Sauve is just that kind of stylist and her latest work for Vogue had me actively examining a few ensembles I loathed on the runway.

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The internet is buzzing with the news that art director Raul Martinez, is returning to Vogue : while Martinez’s post has yet to be explicitly defined, the change represents a potential shift in the overall appearance of  Vogue : good art direction is difficult to define, yet we know it when we see it. As important as photography, model selection and writing are, the impact of art direction is always felt. The moment I heard news of Martinez’ appointment I thought back to his (and Kate Betts’) brief tenure at Harper’s Bazaar and the bold creative direction they brought to the magazine.

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Stella Tennant & Amber Valleta by Irving Penn

Like many people one of my earliest fashion memories comes courtesy of Irving Penn. Back in the day when exquisite imported magazines were little more than a twinkle in my eye, I purchased an issue of Vogue for 25 cents at a local flea market. Granted, this was not my first issue of Vogue but it is the one I remember best of all thanks to Penn’s expressive black and white portraits of Shalom Harlow, Stella Tennant, Amber Valleta & Kirsty Hume.

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Arabesque Influences in VMan

Whether on purpose or inadvertently, fashion is always crossing the fine line between homage and cultural appropriation. It is not uncommon for designers to mine the historical for inspiration but what happens when something inherently linked to traditions becomes a trend? In recent months the high fashion love affair with all things Arab has reached critical mass, thanks in no small part to Riccardo Tisci’s continuous cross-cultural references at Givenchy. Looking at the pages of fashion bibles from Vogue Italia to V and on the runways during the recent couture and menswear showings the trend was even more evident.
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The Orion Nebula as seen by Hubbel

With the phrase ‘space, the final frontier’ suddenly back on the cultural radar its interesting to look at the ways in which space remains inscrutable and inspiring. Some of the most memorable visuals in JJ Abrams’ savvy retooling of the Star Trek franchise have almost nothing todo with plot development. The majestic way in which the director presents space is truly spellbinding. Drawing from the best sci-fi source material – hints of 2001: A Space Odyssey‘s symphonic vision of the galaxy abound – Abrams & co. craft a space that crackles with energy while remaining a void. Whether it is the way the sound fades out each time the enterprise crew descends into space’s bleakness or the stunning lens flares and flashing lights that echo the brilliance of flickering stars and swirling nebulas – space has never seemed quite so comely as it does in Abrams’ frontier.
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