best in show: london fashion week

the new structure (aka, the tilda swinton-as-muse) at pringle of scotland

the trench/parka hybrid at burberry prorsum

the little black shirtdress at vivienne westwood red label

the beautifully red detailing at giles deacon

leg mileage at erdem

ravenous beauty at antonio berardi

the busy prints at mary katrantzou

images by style, nymag, and elle

new york fashion week recap

i must admit that new york fashion week always, without fail, sets me up for a little disappointment, mainly due to the previous dominance of the nyc’s old guard: oscar de la renta, carolina herrera, michael kors, diane von furstenburg, donna karan, tommy hilfiger, marc jacobs, all fine in their own legendary ways, but these kids have a tendency to be meticulous and a tad too commercial. but everyone always says new york is the place to go to see emerging talent, and i truly believe that, which is mainly what keeps me glued to a laptop for a week. so i’ll skip further mention of those said designers in my recap and feature a highs and lows of new(ish) talents taking over the first of the major fashion weeks.  

LIKES

Alexander Wang

this one is a tough one to enjoy, because there has been a lot of negative feedback from his recent collection. i think some people are tired of his sportswear/rebel chic aesthetic, while others think he is just a big, fake, streetwear, model-off-duty-obsessed phoney. but those are exactly the reasons why i thoroughly enjoy him: he seems to have a big, gay old fun time dressing up his favorite models in trendy, active streetwear. i personally HATE the typical day-to-eveningwear runway presentation (jason wu *cough cough*…but more on that later) and i like that he doesn’t exactly follow that (i highly doubt the last 3 looks are fancy outing-wear). what i did love about this collection are the basic styling (minimal makeup, flat, sleek, wet hair), accessorizing (the over-the-shoulder backpacks, the mesh bandanas, which i really adore), and his playfully hardcore mish-mash of masculine (racecar jackets, mesh, leather)/feminine (floral prints) streetwear.

Chinese Models

liu wen at proenza schouler

fei fei sun opening rag & bone

ming xi closing elie tahari

first it was the brazilians, then came the russians/eastern europeans. The next wave of “in” beauty should come from none other than china, the country everyone seems to have their pretty little eye on on any kind of scale, so why not fashion as well. as more designers are marketing their clothes to the progressing country, model scouts have been asking every skinny chinese girl over 5’9” if they ever considered modeling (nearly every top agency has at least one chinese representative). on top is my current favorite model, liu wen, top 10 in models.com, current face of dolce & gabbana, ck calvin klein, and the gap, and global beauty ambassador for estee lauder. top models fei fei sun (a new fave of steven meisel and multiple editions of vogue), shu pei qin (who scored a huge contract for maybelline), ming xi, sui he, and xiao wen ju (who literally looks like a real-life anime character) have all walked in major fashion shows, scored lucrative ad campaigns, and are in heavy rotation in global magazine editorials. their presence in new york is unmistakable and hopefully this will continue in london, milan, and paris.

Designer to Watch: Edun


despite the fact that the label will forever be synonymous with bono, a man i truly dislike (he founded the label with wife ali hewson), the label has gone under a new direction with appointing sharon wauchob creative director, now in her third season. and thank goodness. sticking to a primarily african influence (where the majority of the label’s clothing is made), the label, under wauchob, has successfully avoided gimmicky african themes, and instead created looks that are not only well crafted, but marketable and wearable for women and men (i also enjoy her menswear collection).

seriously, bono, i literally can’t live with or without you.

The Cast of Rodarte

from seasoned super-vets (caroline trentini, vlada roslyakova, karlie kloss), to runway must-haves (joan smalls, frida gustavsson), and new girls to watch (opener saara sihvonen, monika sawicka, and prada girl antonia wesseloh), the rodarte line-up never ceases to inspire me.

Reed Krakoff

a beautifully structured, sharp, playfully complex collection that echoes the works of francisco costa for calvin klein and narcisco rodriguez. the suits and pants look sublimely chic and the few prints he managed to feature give the collection a surprising kick without overwhelming the looks. 

I LIKE THESE ALSO

the row’s understated maturity

the small amount of menswear at zero + maria cornejo

the cool and happy calm ming xi gives during the zaniness of fashion week

the cast of calvin klein. don’t expect diversity here - just a bunch of blue-eyed beauties.

DISLIKES

Jason Wu

i posted my response to his collection on the fashion spot forum but i’ll post what i wrote on here also, for emphasis on how much i don’t really care for his designs.

is it cute and adorable? of course.

is it a bore and utterly commercial? of course.

i think those are the reasons i never really cared for jason wu. there’s not much to talk about with his designs because his designs have already been talked about through other designers (and they usually do it better). i understand he plays it safe because it’s a rough economy and he needs to keep his business afloat, but without an edge or just a drop of originality, i just don’t see him as a significant designer.

Read more: the Fashion Spot - View Single Post - Jason Wu S/S 2012 New York http://forums.thefashionspot.com/showpost.php?p=9609933&postcount=20#ixzz1Y3UMIRcI

he plays on the “daywear to eveningwear to the last looks simply HAVE to be fantastic gowns!” a little too seriously. sure, he made michelle obama look good, but then again, she can wear avril lavigne’s line, abbey dawn, and still look like a million bucks.

Street Style Overkill

i get it, i’m inspired by street style. and i appreciate the revolutionary trend in fashion and generally enjoy everyone’s own individual style, mainly because i still feel like i’m not comfortable with my own, but for the love of god, lighten up on the models, famed trend and jetsetters, and the it kids, and just let them get to the next show.

Project Runway

like the current season, this overall final collections as a whole gets a “i question your taste level” rating. i won’t post pictures, but i will say that some were decent (i enjoyed victor’s playful sex appeal), while others were predictable (bert and anya…sorry girl) to all over the place in a not so appealing way (anthony ryan and joshua m.). my money is on oliver, the fragile lad who takes his sweet time, but when push comes to shove, can tailor you a little happy.

Monique Lhuiller

unfortunately, i feel as if this collection felt a little too mismatched: the shapes are a little herve leger, the evening wear a little lanvin, a little balenciaga, a little dolce & gabbana, with a couple of cheap looking minimalist looks in between. an odd, incohesive collection.

CLOSING LOOK

Marc Jacobs


i know i said i wasn’t going to mention marc jacobs, and i wasn’t planning on it, but with all the recent talk about the possibility of taking over for dior, the most highly anticipated show in new york can’t go unnoticed, even to a novice fashion writer like myself. many people (including myself) saw a striking resemblance to last season’s gorgeous prada collection (as well as prada’s fall/winter 2007 collection), which is fine, fashion is recycled and copied, but i couldn’t get the fabric and materials (the clear plastic in particular) out of my head. unlike prada, my biggest critique is that this collection lacks a certain comfort, that the shapes he created seemed (like the plastic) forced upon in order to create a decade-influenced collection, something jacobs is notorious for. i’ll let it go, however, because i understand that that level of uncomfortableness could be from the dior move rumors, but one can definitely feel it in this collection. the things i enjoyed were the basics: those comfy sweaters, the buttoned shirt(dresses), the overall adorable styling of the collection.

runway photos are from style.com

top 10 collections 2006-2010

in this first of many top 10 lists (i’m crazy about lists), i decided to compile a list of my favorite designer collections of the past 5 years. why 5, you ask? originally i had wanted to compile the list from 2000-2009, but after extensive research of the designers throughout the decade, i had twice as much to consider (both spring/summer and fall/winter collections per year - i’m not even looking at couture, pre-fall or resort collections). plus, when i came up with a list of 20-25, a great majority selected were from 2006 and onward. it’s not that the collections from 2000-2005 were bad (i had some picks from 2005, and designers such as comme des garcons, hussein chalayan, and alexander mcqueen were really fantastic from the early half of the aughts), i just thought there were more risk-taking, more diversity (in designers, models, etc.), and better runway presentations in the second half of the decade to last year. so here are my picks:

10. Dior S/S 06

at its worst, john galliano’s “nude collection” could be seen as more of a blueprint for an actual collection: “nude” colors that are more like dress slips or the rough draft of the incomplete ensemble, sheer tops too vulgar to be worn out in public, the lingering inspiration of his F/W 2005 couture collection. at its best, what we saw was a grand spectacle of a runway show (the tribal music, the long, slope-like runway, the bright lights), a mixed bag of lace, organza, leather in the form of dresses, trench coats, and (appropriately) underwear, and massive commercial appeal. but what i appreciated most about this collection is galliano’s understated maturity: never one of my personal favorite designers (his sense of showmanship in his designs is applauded, but i think a lot of his work comes off gimmicky or too costumey), this collection was a wonderful contrast to the often over-the-top collections he’s shown throughout the decade. professionally and personally, this was the eye of the shit-storm he created.

9. Lanvin F/W 09

alber elbaz is one of those designers whom i can enjoy and appreciate one season and then just be utterly bored with the next. i mean, honestly how much draping, flowy dress designing, and head wrapping can one do? but when i think of lanvin, i think of sophisticated parisian style, and this collection modernly embraced the spirit of jeanne lanvin.

8. Stella McCartney F/W 07


skeptic: really, raoul? you picked this show to be in your top 10?

raoul: well, stella mccartney has always been one of my favorite designers because i thoroughly enjoy what she believes in.

skeptic: but bear patterns and knit rompers?

raoul: i see the bear print as a cute little way to poke fun at the fact that her restrictions on use of fur and leather in her designs sometimes gets criticism from the fashion elite (i.e. rich sea hags).

skeptic: i just don’t find this innovative enough to land in your top 10.

raoul: well, goddamnit, think outside the box. stella is innovative because she uses alternatives to leather and fur and is a trendsetter to eco-friendly fashion. she is great with construction and is well aware of her clientele. plus, her designs are youthful, extremely playful, and luxe. and just look at that pink!

skeptic: oh, ok.

an equally impressive alternative: Stella McCartney’s S/S 07 collection (no one does rompers like stella)

7. Celine S/S 10


ok, so maybe the skirts are a little too short, but there is something in the way phoebe philo designs them as if to say “so what if my skirt is short, take me seriously!” ms. philo is whom i call fashion’s anti-misogynist, the woman whom i hope when asked about her designs, would never give a dumb, cliched response such as “classy, sexy, feminine, strong” or some shit like that (because they obviously are!). ok fine, she has mentioned strong in interviews before, but in actuality, i’m sure this superbeing has other priorities such as raising a family to even care about “taking fashion to the next level”. what she does is create confident, modern looks that are accessible, versatile, and now. she’s well-respected because she’s not an elitist, she’s the definition of stylishly practical. 

an equally impressive alternative: Jil Sander’s S/S 07 collection

6. Marni S/S 07


i love consuelo castiglioni. to me, she is arguably one of maybe two designers (the other being miuccia prada) whose own personal style clearly epitomizes the look of her own clientele. she is confident in the idea that you are your own muse, and this collection for marni is the best argument for this theory. a complex, contradictory designer, this collection as a whole were both artful and geometrical, with cuts and lengths that are unconventional, yet looks that are extremely comfortable and no less lacking sex appeal. the shapes are mondrian-esque, the prints reminiscent of cy twombly or richard prince (who commissioned some of the prints in the show). a designer not for the every woman, the smart, quirky odd girl has found her place among skinny leather rebels and it-girl glamour-pusses.

5. Balenciaga F/W 07

i would honestly have put this collection in my top three (nicolas ghesquiere is arguably my favorite designer…or at least top two, but more on that later), but i had a hard time deciding placement (or whether or not there should have been); so in fairness, i put this wonderful collection in my top five. the prints were worldly, from africa to mexico to south america to india and beyond, and the beginning looks (the academic blazers, skinny khakis, and tribal neck scarves) are widely influential over the past five years. even that sleazeball steve madden copied from this collection (remember the lawsuit over the awesome lego shoes?). with a rad runway presentation that included some of my favorite models and with music that started with led zeppelin, took a breather with klaxons, and ended spectacularly with bloc party, this was one of my favorite runway show ever. did i mention the lego shoes!?

4. Marc Jacobs F/W 07


he cites a lot of influences for this collection (hopper, bertolucci, the 70s, etc.) but marc jacobs designs in a way that reflects his own personal mood. he mentioned loneliness and restraint, but i see nostalgia (he often does decade-influence) and maturity. the precise runway presentation (56 models in front of a giant door) and his showmanship in his runways and his designs and cuts were all classic marc. but it’s the brilliant use of color (the opening look on olga scherer had that lovely shade of orange), cute and cleaver detailing (the hand/cigarette satin print on jourdan dunn, the cute duckie pins!), and his wonderful use of accessories (hats! belts! gloves!) that makes him one of the most popular and risky designers in new york.

3. Alexander McQueen S/S 07

a little edwardian, a little victorian, all alexander. i could go on about the beautiful romanticism involved in every single look of the collection, or the importance of the historical references, or the precise details and tailoring, or mcqueen’s magnificent theatrics in each runway show he did, but really, i just want to youtube the runway show over and over again.

2. Prada F/W 06


when i look at a collection, i always think about consumption and whether or not the clothes are wearable. so, i can say (without embarrassment) that if i was a female and had to choose which collection i would wear, it would most likely be this collection. i can also say that as a male who had to pick one designer to wear for life, it would be hands-down prada. this collection appeals to me because not only is the whole austere theme hard-edged and foward-thinking, but, to put it in the silliest way possible, the clothes really are cute! miuccia knows each season how to push people’s buttons or turn them on, and whether you like it or not, the end result is always worth talking about.

1. Balenciaga S/S 07


2007 has been my favorite year so far in fashion, and balenciaga to me dominated that year, and many seasons before and after. his work always seems to pique my interest, and in terms of concept and innovation, this show has been my personal favorite. what some might deem too literal (the shooting-range eyewear, the robotic nature of the presentation, those metallic leggings!), i see it more constructive or even deconstructive (the androgynous shape, the pieces that are accessible as individual pieces - the jackets, the shirtdresses). what i also love is the ad campaign, photographed by david sims and featuring coco rocha as a fashionable robocop in the middle of a rather dreary suburbia. the ads say it all: in the midst of dead weeds and the boring emptiness lies the future, serious, bold, and alive.

an equally impressive alternative: Balenciaga’s S/S 06 and F/W 06 collections

(campaign images from livejournal; runway images from style.com)

Jewelry Photoshoot Part 3

Part 3 in this story was shot on a lovely spring evening at Ann’s apartment. The view from her apartment was pretty neat, so we were able to use a little bit of the city nightlife as our background. If only I were a real fashion photographer…sigh.

By the way, Meghan will soon be selling a lot of these pieces (as well as earrings and button rings) on etsy.com so be sure to check them out!

Jewelry Photoshoot Part 2

Some of my favorite jewelry pieces are in this set, including the elephant necklace.

Jewelry Photoshoot Part 1

This jewelry story is to show my good friend Meghan Warkentin’s jewelry pieces, in which she cleverly named Meg’s Vintage Baubles, re-purposed and re-imagined jewelry. I served as the fashion photographer/assistant stylist, Meghan styled the story, and our friend Ann served as our fantastic model. Ann was such a trooper and had a great sense of her body and movement. I had a lot of fun as the amateur photographer, despite the fact that it merely involved toying around with camera angles, backgrounds, and direction. It may not be Paris Vogue (maybe leaning more towards Nylon Magazine), but I’m extremely proud of all of our efforts - and the pictures, as well as Meghan’s beautiful jewelry, turned out fantastic.

This is part one of three in this jewelry story. I will post the others very soon.

so i decided to start a blog. i decided that this is how i’m going to end my severe writer’s block. but this will also be a style and culture blog, covering my own personal style or inspired looks from others, my personal views on music (to satisfy my other love, which is music journalism), DIY projects, and everything in between.

i guess stylistically i still haven’t found my own groove (both in terms of my writing style and personal fashion style), so i figured i can look back on what i’ve posted on here and think how shitty i looked that day or how amateur my writing was (and is).

ok.