Friday, June 29, 2007


Finally, the Paris menswear week is here. While Milan was nothing to speak about, as usual (even Dries van Noten was a let down - did he know that his collection would be mediocre? Is that why he moved it to Milan?), one of the first Paris shows, by a Japanese label Attachment, really impressed me. As a matter of fact I haven't been that impressed since Cloak's FW04 collection. Not that this collection is as original as Cloak's was. As a matter of fact those who are familiar with Rick Owens, and more niche brands such as Julius will no doubt find some connotations. However, this show was so flawlessly executed that I don't mind a little derivation.

Yesterday, I got my hands on the Attachment lookbook from the upcoming FW07 season (you can see the electronic version here)- and it's just as brilliant. Attachment is designed by Kazuyuki Kumagai who previously worked at Issey Miyake. The label is now PRed by Totem Fashion, which is definitely one of the more avant-garde fashion PR agencies (their lineup includes Raf Simons, A.F.Vandevorst and Veronique Branquinho among others). You can see the full S/S 08 collection on my forums.

Available next season at Atelier in New York City.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Prada Is NOT an Intellectual.

Everyone who follows fashion has their pet peeves, which usually arise from that infamous The Emperor's New Clothes feeling. My biggest one is Miuccia Prada's reputation as an intellectual. Even by one of my favorite journalists, Guy Trebay, who is usually an astute and sharp observer said it in today's NYT article.

I am not even too much concerned about the term "intellectual" used so frivolously. Intellectual, at least to me, does not merely mean a person whose work is cerebral, that is characterized by a determined and sometimes arduous thinking process. It means a person who either has devoted his career to, or at least by nature engaged in philosophical activity that bears some relation to the socio-political sphere through science, art, or philosophy. I actually cannot think of a single designer whom I would call an intellectual, and least of all Miuccia Prada.

Her majesty Queen of Blandness is the title I would give her, because blandness is what I see. Her empire is build on $1,000 handbags and $300 sneakers. Her runway shows are boring, and what gets into stores is even moreso. Ideas for her best shows couple of seasons ago where she used some color and embroidery to suggest "ethnic" (another term misused to death) motif have been a signature of Dries van Noten long before. It seems that it is enough to show the fashion world some dorky models and a shy "don't-praise-me" smile at the end of the show to be called an intellectual. If so, Prada has definitely succeeded.

But what about the clothes? For men what you will find in stores are basic shirts and suits not unlike those you can find at Theory. For women, an occasional dress buried among a heap of shoes and bags. Her clothes possess neither the quirkiness of Margiela nor superior quality of Jil Sander. The whole thing is one huge faux pas. The quality of her garments is inferior, her coats, for example, consistently lack ANY lining (even in the summer time a good coat will have partial lining, but in Prada's case even her heavier coats often have none). The fabrics she uses are sub-par, plenty of synthetics, and not of the high grade that Rei Kawakubo uses. So, since when did such clothes have become "cerebral" and a designer who creates them "intellectual?" Can someone tell me? In my humble opinion, the Emperor has no clothes.

Friday, June 22, 2007


NY Times reports that Jones New York sold Barneys for $825 million to Dubai. Not a bad return on investment, considering that they bought it for $400 million two and a half years ago. Hedge-funders beware - there are better places to sink your money in.

NY Times article

The clothing retailer Barneys New York, a temple to fashion that introduced Americans to Armani and $300 T-shirts, was sold today to the investment arm of the Dubai government for $825 million.

The deal for Barneys, whose founder pawned his wife’s engagement ring to start it 84 years ago, represents a trophy for the Dubai government, which has been on a buying spree in the United States, purchasing a raft of high-profile businesses and real estate, like stakes in the retailer Loehmann’s Holding and the investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners.

Barneys was sold by Jones Apparel, the struggling mid-market clothing company behind brands like Nine West and Anne Klein, which wanted to cash in on a red-hot luxury clothing market. Jones apparel, which bought Barneys in 2004 for $400 million, more than doubled its money. The agreement allows Jones to consider other offers, both for Barneys alone or the company as a whole, according to a statement from the company. Jones would have to pay a breakup fee of at least $20.6 million if it went with another suitor.... (continued)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

News: Dries van Noten will open boutiques in Tokyo and Singapore.

Leaving poor old New York in the dust, boohoo...

As reported by WWD

DRIES OPENING: Dries Van Noten is expanding his retail presence. The Belgian designer, who opened a shop on Paris' Left Bank this January, has signed deals for two new stores, in Tokyo and Singapore. The latter unit, in partnership with Club21, is expected to open in August in the Hilton Shopping Gallery. The Tokyo unit, which is scheduled to bow in March 2008 in the Minami-Aoyama district, will be a partnership with TFC. Besides Paris, Van Noten operates boutiques in Hong Kong and in his hometown of Antwerp, Belgium.

Magazine Review: Arena Homme + S/F 07 Gets It Right

Shocked? Me too. These days I pick up a menswear magazine with a sense of dread and masochistic, hopeless, semi-professional duty of keeping up with the media. I expect another glossy homo-erotic mess that (yet again) tries to address clothes by depicting lack thereof. Leave that to the gay porn industry and the Oscar Wilde Bookshop, I say; not everyone who is seriously interested in mens fashion is a Karl Lagerfeld clone. And the king (or shall i say the queen?) of menswear magazines - Arena Homme Plus - has been consistently guilty of just that.

Maybe they heard me, because the Spring/Fall 07 issue is full of editorials of men wearing clothes, and good clothes at that! One that particularly stands out is an editorial devoted to a Soviet modernist poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. It's chockful of great outfits heavy on Yohji Yamamoto and Ann Demeulemeester. Other editorials have Margiela, Junya Watanabe, and Raf Simons mixed in with the usual commercial heavy-hitters like Prada/Miu Miu and Dior Homme. And if you were excited by those crazy Raf Simons elbow length gauntlets - there are a few clear shots of those.

Another right thing AH+ editors did was featuring a lot of Fall/Winter 07 clothes. It looks like they finally realized that by the time their magazine actually rolls off the press and reaches international destinations spring sales are already in full effect. I only wish that more shots showed clothes in detail - I appreciate the artistic calling, but it should be subordinate to details in a fashion magazine.

Needless to say AH+ is still homo-erotic heavy; there is a big spread of male Barbies rolling around in John Galliano underwear, and a final spread of half-naked adolescent boys modeling bits and pieces of SS 07 collections - but, hey, I can't ask for it all.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Wall Street Gets Fancy - Round 2

As reported earlier, Wall Street is clearly in the sights of the luxury industry. I don't know what it is - either Manhattan is running out of retail space, or the recent Financial District residential boom (we even have a name now, FiDi!!!) is attracting wealthy men and their expensive women. Hermes has finally dropped their orange cardboard curtains at Downtown by Starck, so here is a preview of what the store will loolk like.

Around the corner, at 37 Wall St. we have that familiar turquoise color that, usually when found on a small box, sends every American housewife's heart racing. That's right - we are luxury.

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