Thursday, January 25, 2007

Those Weathered Satchels

I see these old or middle-aged men in airports sometimes with these weathered old satchels they carry. There is alwasy something about those men, not neccesserily stylish, but something real, their history. They are alive with history, it's in the wrinkles on their faces and in the wrinkles on their old weathered satchels. I look at them and I wonder about who they are and where they are going. If I see one on a luggage conveyor belt, I pick it out with my eyes invariably, and follow it as it makes its slow, respectable rounds. Time is imprinted on them. They are almost always light brown leather. These men have had them for years, and even though they are weathered and old, they won't exchange them for another one. It's their permanence that's worth so much more than newness. These satchels are their friends. I want one like that. I want to keep it until the day I die. It will be my companion, my mute companion, filled with experience and stories.

Jas MB

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Well, not exactly. I will write it myself, of course. What I am looking for are references, in realm of philosophy, art criticism, and fashion. In summary, I am writing about how one can judge fashion design without the influence of marketing, but soleley on the merit of the garment. I am using Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as my focal point. What I need are writings on concepts like excellence, mastery, creative difficulty, and care in any realm. I will take anything from Plato to Poincare to Palahnuik. For example, art critic Robert Hughes in his book Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America, argues against precipitation of bad contemporary art and for judging art on what he terms "elitism" (that is his term for excellency, or what Pirsig calls Quality),

It is in the nature of human beings to discriminate. We make choices and judgments every day. These choices are part of real experience. They are influenced by others, of course, but they are not fundamentally the result of a passive reaction to authority. And we know that one of the realest experiences in cultural life is that of inequality between books and musical performances and paintings and other works of art. Some things do strike us better than others - more articulate, more radiant with consciousness. We may have difficulty saying why, but the experience remains... For instance, my hobby is carpentry. I am fair at it - for an amateur... I love the tools, the smell of shavings, the rhythm of work. I know that when I look at a Hepplewhite cabinet in a museum, or a frame house in Sag Harbor, I can read it - figure its construction, appreciate its skills - better than if I had never worked wood myself. But I also know that the dead hands that made the breakfront or the porch were far better than mine; they ran finer mouldings, they knew about expansion, and their veneer didn't have bumps... People who can make such things are an elite; they have earned their right to be... Mutatis mutandis, it's the same in writing and in the visual arts [AND IN FASHION DESIGN!]. You learn to discriminate... This corresponds to experience, just as our perception and comparison of grace in the work of a basketball player or a tennis pro rise from experience. These differences of intensity, meaning, grace can't be set forth in a little catechism or a recipe-book. They can only be experienced and argued, and then seen in relation to a history that includes social history.

I am looking for strong stuff like the quote above. In asking for help, I am utilizing the Internet in its best way - as a vehicle for collective intelligence. You can simply post your recommendations as comments. Thank you.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Sample Sale Soliloquy

To go or not to go -- that is the question,
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
Uncertanties of sample sales and people
That crowd with greedy eyes the aisles
Or face the pangs of hope. To buy, to skip?
No more - and by a skip to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That dissapointment in sales is heir to. To skip, to sleep -
To rest - perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub,
For in that inaction's rest what dreams may come
When we haven't seen the stock with our own eyes?
This gives us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the scorns of crowds,
The crowded subways, the fifth floor walk-ups,
CASH ONLY signs, the dissapointment and shock
Debasement of experience and pride,
That Cloaks our shopping ways,
The insolence of stockboys, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself can gather all his strength
With bare wallet? Who would sales bear,
To grunt and sweat over remains of styles,
But that the dread of missing bargain great,
The joy of scoring, from whose sense
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than skip the sample sales that we know of?
Thus conscience does make consumers of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Not to go, is sicklied o'ver with a thought,
And enterprise of will
Fades inexorably into distant shores of mind
And loses pride and sanctions grief -- Soft you now,
The fair Hussein's creations - My nymphs, in thy orisons
Be all my scores remembered.
This soliloquy is protected by copyleft. It maybe reproduced in part or in full without my permission - however, you must link to this blog entry. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


YES! I love his womenswear, and I think his menswear should be superb. I only hope our boring New York stores will pick up the line. As reported by Diane Pernet.

Oh, and congratulations to Peter for winning the Swiss Textile award. He is a worthy designer and joins a worthy company.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bless + _Fabrics Interseason = Smart Coffee Table

Well, I hope that's not why you would buy the new books by the two German-speaking idyosincratic houses, Berlin based Bless, and Vienna based _Fabrics Interseason (not sure what's with the _, but I have noone to ask) - but they are definitely not something your lowly Amazon will have. I like the work of both houses - they are fresh and playful. It's interesting that the two books are coming out so close in time, and by two different publishers. I haven't seen either one in person, but I would love to. I think a book by The Little Red Riding Hood (yes, it's a fashion house) is due, naturally. As reported by

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


If you are looking for a good fashion book for yourself or as a present, check out Sample: 100 Fashion Designers - 010 Curators - Cuttings From Contemporary Fashion. Never mind the winding academic title - it's a wonderful, informative, and well-edited book. The curators are a bit skewed (Alexander McQueen picks only British designers, for example), but the selection is decent nonetheless. There are some cool blurbs on Carol Christian Poell, Shaun Leane, etc. It was just released in paperback, and for under $30 it's just about the best fashion book one can own. And in case you feel like splurging, I suggest the hardcover version (that's the one I own) - after all, it did not get the I.D. magazine honorable mention in graphics (2006) for nothing.

soft cover

hard cover

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