Who is Hakaan? London Fashion Week Fall / Winter 2010

>> Friday, February 19, 2010

So it's 11:30 at night here and I'm meant to be in bed so I can wake up early and go for a walk in a bid to lose some of this awful weight I've put on after my trip to Malaysia (all on my face, what do you know) but London Fashion Week is on as I type and I am so excited! It's nice to be excited about a fashion week, I feel like it's been ages since that's happened - I guess London will do that for you.

Anyway so I was in bed trying to fall asleep when my phone literally exploded with news about Hakaan, this new Turkish designer who's showing at London Fashion Week for the first time. Apparently Kate Moss was meant to be at the show, and Vogue editor exceptionelle Carine Roitfeld is rumoured to have bought up his entire collection; it's odd I was just looking at the schedule and saw that Central Saint Martin's is showing tomorrow which made me wonder if there were going to be any collections that were bought in its entirety, like Isabella Blow did with Alexander McQueen all those years ago.

Anyway so no pictures at the moment but the descriptions sound great - lots of black body con and supermodels galore. All I've got in the way of pictures is this one of him:

In which he looks super cool of course, almost like Yohji Yamamoto - when I first saw it on the London Fashion Week website for a split second I thought he was Japanese - but he's Turkish as it turns out, hurrah! I like him already.

I'm not really one for major beauty trends - I think there are only so many ways you can paint a face, after all - and there are times when I think make up artists go overboard and forget that the face is not a palette, not really - so sometimes you see stuff like this, from backstage at the Hakaan show.

Er, Natalia? Is that you? What happened to you? Seriously, anyone who would willingly do that to a gorgeous model like her and then send her out on a catwalk is a bit off to me. Still, I am determined to fall in love with the collection as soon as I see it - I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and see the pictures!

Oh and in other news, if I wasn't already enamoured enough by Naeem Khan's designs, I am now totally in love with them, in an awestruck / little girl sees a movie star in the flesh kind of way. And speaking of which, I had a really nice conversation with him over the phone a little while ago, and I'm going to put the interview up as soon as I wake up tomorrow and collect my thoughts about Khan's new collection a little bit. Because if I say anything now it'll just sound like a bunch of gibberish.


The Future of McQueen

>> Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's been exactly a week since Lee Alexander McQueen passed away and amid the general sense of shock and mourning there have been the inevitable questions about the future of the company, which was bought by the Gucci Group in 2000 with a 51% stake. Given how close his death was to Fashion Week (McQueen exhibits in Paris) it was sort of a given that his Fall / Winter collection was almost done, but there was no news on whether they would be showing.

They will be as it turns out, according to Gucci Group president Robert Polet, who made the announcement today. The fashion house will also definitely go on without the founder, although there is currently no heir apparent.

Gareth Pugh is a name that has been tossed around and frankly I think that'd be an absolutely incredible fit.

I love Pugh's work, it's so surreal and fantastic in the truest sense of the word - I think that the two shared an exquisite sense of the macabre that might translate well into McQueen's legacy.

But what a legacy that is - whoever it is that steps in has some very, very big shoes to fill.


Rodarte Go Home - Rodarte Fall / Winter 2010

I've never been a big fan of Rodarte. I thought those threadbare cobweb sweaters were heinous to look at, the sisters have always come off in media interviews less like the quirky, eccentric, nonchalant designers they try so hard to be and more like annoying, nerdy kids, and blood and guts does less to describe the themes of their collections as it does my state of mind while looking at them.

It's a harsh thing to say, I know. Maybe Rodarte caters to this niche subversive ugly-is-pretty aesthetic that I'm just not cool enough to get, but I don't care. Their clothes are often just plain ugly and that's not fashion to me. Their most recent collection did little to appease my indignation for their so-called aesthetic, based as it was on a horrifyingly fugly interpretation of their hankering for their Mexican roots. Somehow a drive from El Paso to Marfa in Texas got them thinking about their homeland, and more particularly the hazy atmosphere in what I believe is a particularly drug-addled town called Juarez in Mexico, and from that they arrived at sleepwalking as a theme.

So we have old blankety-looking garments whose mustiness I feel like I can almost smell through my computer screen, chunky layers adorned by tassels galore, and that horribly lurexy quality to the sleeves and leggings that makes my skin itch by just looking at it.

I couldn't click through the entire collection - if I had, I might have seen some of the more passable stuff, like this:

But there was nothing inherently wearable about most of the collection - unless of course you're hoping for people to gaze at you sympathetically as they whisper to their companions about the state of public healthcare, and why oh why don't they provide better treatment for the crazies? - and I'm not saying that all fashion must always be wearable, god no - but there's no art to this. There's no real beauty in the clothes, nothing that makes the heart beat faster, or justifies their existence. There is no reason for these clothes to exist.

When considering their theme, one thing becomes apparent - the Mulleavy sisters may not have captured the ethereal dreaminess of the actual act of sleepwalking, but they have certainly put forth a collection that looks like it was made in their sleep.


The Marquess of Dreams - Marchesa Fall / Winter 2010

I know it's been a while since I've posted on here - this is mainly because I've been practically incapable of doing anything productive since I got back from Malaysia a week ago and partly because all potential subsequent posts after the last one just seemed too frivolous for me to not be a little embarassed about having them up here.

Still, New York Fashion Week has been raging forth in full force, although I must admit that I haven't followed each collection as religiously as I probably should have. Maybe it's just that nothing really inspired me, although I think it's just that Fall / Winter collections rarely do. I love winter dressing, of course - but it can be a little difficult to get excited about pictures of layers and layers of clothing, especially when you're looking at them in the midst of an unrelenting Indian heat spell.

All that changed for me after Marchesa's presentation yesterday. They're one of my favourite design houses - I love their attention to detail, the fabulous textiles they use and the sheer beauty of their clothes. Notte by Marchesa is great too, but when it comes to the stuff little girls' dreams are made of, there's very little that beats Marchesa. I am also very envious of co-founder Georgina Chapman and harbour a secret desire to be her, even if for a day - all translucent skin and flowing chestnut locks. She looks like how I want to when I'm her age, which is - early 30s? That sounds about fair.

I fell in love with the very first image I saw from the collection:

And really, could you blame me?

As the collection went on however, I grew a little confused:

What on earth's going on here? It's way too fussy, the ruffles look like they're made from the sort of material that would ignite in the heat, and thanks to the length, the dress has accomplished the seemingly insurmountable task of making a 5'11'' model look like a dumpy Eastern European woman who seems to have just emerged, judging by the look on her face, from Dracula's castle. The latter is no reflection on the dress of course, but come on, Irina Vodolozova - it's not like you've had to parade down the catwalk in those godawful heels - it's a presentation, for god's sake. If you can't just stand around looking happy (or at least ever so slightly stand-offish) for a camera then I have no hope left in modelkind.

Then of course there was this:

Once again: What on earth's going on here? This is how I imagine Christian Audigier (designer for Ed Hardy, keep up) would imagine haute couture. I like the delicacy of the print, call me a snob however but the idea of a nude tattoo bodice just doesn't appeal to me. This look also marked the first of the white patterned tights, which I still have very mixed feelings about. They seem to be a growing trend though, unfortunately.

I love this one. The pleats and jacket look like they're made out of some kind of armour, and I love the delicacy of the pattern traced onto the jacket. Beautiful!

Some of the outfits reminded me a bit of Prabal Gurung's Spring/Summer 10 collection, like this one.

It's like the dress (which was actually a top and a skirt from the Gurung's collection) Becki Newton wore recently to an Ugly Betty benefit. Especially the aesthetics of the top half:

See what I mean?

I am going absolutely insane for this dress. Even the white hose doesn't ruin it for me, which is the mark of true greatness. Honestly, this is perfection. I'm a sucker for all things black, this is true, and I love the rosettes and the perfectly sculpted silhouette and oh my god, that model's collarbones are making me a little green.

Then began the barrage of red carpet hopefuls, dresses so beautiful that I'd almost be willing to sell up and buy a ticket to Los Angeles and wait tables at a French restaurant while making lifelong friends with my boss who is kind enough to get someone to cover my shift while I sneak away to auditions (and who I will thank in my first acceptance speech at the MTV Video Movie Awards and the audience will laugh - oh, how they'll laugh!) and am finally discovered by a sleazy producer who I dislike because he leaves small tips but he's willing to bet that I'm the next big thing so what the hell and who introduces me to Michael Bay who casts me as a sexpot in his next film which catapults me to starletdom JUST so I can wear one of these creations on the red carpet. Because honestly, if the whole world isn't looking on in awe while you strut these beauties down the red carpet, you may as well be wearing them by yourself in your bathroom as you brush your teeth before you go to bed with your cats. These dresses are all or nothing dresses.

The sheerness on the last one does seem a bit unnecessary, making it my least favourite of all the gowns from this collection - still, if someone held a gun to my head and forced me to wear this, I can't say I'd refuse, even if I don't really like dresses that can't make up their mind - saucy or sophisticated? Actually, it's the perfect little starlet's dress, come to think of it.

The more I look at this collection, the more I feel like this is the perfect party collection for every budding young starlet - there's something here for all her needs. There are the red carpet dresses, of course, which we've just seen.

Then there are the clothes that would fit so well into a budding actress' quotidian wardrobe. This, for example, would be perfect for an autumn fundraiser lunch. The skirt is one of the few examples of feathers not going horribly wrong, because it's been paired with that sharp jacket in a richer, darker colour.

This reminds me a little too much of Balmain over the last couple of seasons (while I loved it at first, that whole 80s power-partygirl thing got a bit old a bit fast) but it's the perfect look for a fun, casusal red carpet event. It's the sort of dress that almost expects its wearer to stumble out of the place five hours later, hair ever so askew (the stylists at Marchesa seem to agree), cigarette in hand, bouncers / leery boyfriends in tow. The model's even got the pouty expression of self-entitlement down pat.

Similar event, although perhaps slightly less boozey. The CDFA awards perhaps? No better way to prove your fashion savvy than by mixing a heady cocktail of trends together. Ruffles? Check! Muted colours? Check! White lederhosen? Check!

Dinner with friends at a pap-infested restaurant. I love it.

The jewel that crowned the presentation, however, was this gorgeous dress, all origami and ruffles (which should technically spell disaster, but it so doesn't), a dress I can imagine someone like Cameron Diaz or Diane Kruger wearing while the Fug Girls have a field day trying to think of fresh table napkin jokes. I don't care though: this is sheer glory.

When I grow up, I will wear Marchesa, even if I'm not famous. I'll put red carpeting in a strip down my bedroom if I have to.


Of Ghosts and Demons - Goodbye Alexander McQueen

>> Saturday, February 13, 2010

I found out about Alexander McQueen passing away on my way home day before yesterday via a text message from a friend. It's now been two days and I'm still a little shocked at the turn of events.

I always held Alexander McQueen's work in such high regard. It went without saying, always, that he was one of contemporary fashion's true visionaries; nobody every really questioned that his work would go down in the annals of fashion history, the stuff of textbooks and fashion courses for decades to come. It's just such a damn shame that he died so very young. Creativity is only secondary to happiness of course, in my eyes anyway - better to live a life of contentment than to suffer a tortured soul (I am not unaware that by this logic we wouldn't have some of the world's best artists to speak of) - but there was so much iconic talent waiting to see the light of day, and all of a sudden it's just - gone.

Most of all, it's very sad to think of how tortured one must be to be to willingly end their own life. Wherever he is, I hope that he is happy, and the fashion world thanks him for the body of work he left behind and will never truly forget him - in that sense, he has achieved what every artist dreams of.

I guess my first reaction to the news sums it up better than this post can:

"I am so sad to hear about the passing of Alexander McQueen. He was among the few designers whose creations struck and immediate and intangible chord and it's sad to think of all the productions in the waiting room that we'll now never see - it's only fashion, but it's still art. If only tortured souls weren't so synonymous with exceptional creativity..."

Rest in peace Alexander McQueen.


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About this Blog

I've loved fashion for as long as I can remember, so it only makes sense that I write for a fashion magazine. I find however that the experience of working in the industry is quite different from appreciating it from afar. That's why I chose to be a travel writer (I chronicle some of my travel experiences here) while staying at the magazine, albeit focusing more on the lifestyle aspects of the job. This means that I must find another outlet for all my sartorial web crawling - et voila! Monyet in Pearls was born.

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