Saturday, 31 January 2009

Shiny Alert: Hapsical's Pick of Fashion Jewellery

Click image to enlarge. Clockwise from bottom left: Gold foliage necklace, Alex Monroe from Net-a-Porter; black flower ring, and gold leaves necklace, both from Asos; crystal black circle ring, Roberto Cavalli from Net-a-Porter; Lanvin necklace with bow, Balenciaga blue crystal cuff, and Dries van Noten double ball ring, all from Browns; Kenneth Jay Lane crystal cuff from Net-a-Porter; Rheanna Lingham star bracelet from Farfetch; black cocktail ring, Roberto Cavalli from Luisa via Roma; chunky necklace with ribbon, Dries van Noten from Browns; rose earrings, Asos; rose pendant, Les Bijoux de Sophie, from Farfetch; crystal earrings, bee ring, and crystal flower earrings, all from Asos.

As it's "fashion jewellery" (as opposed to 'serious' jewellery) a lot of this stuff is actually fairly affordable, in case you're feeling in need of a little winter shine..

FW09 Balmain Men's Collection

We just realised that we forgot to post this as part of our Paris men's FW09 summary, which wasn't particularly clever considering Balmain was the other menswear debut (along with Gareth Pugh) that we were all meant to be super-hyped about, but perhaps when you see the collection you will forgive us for having overlooked it..

Oh Christophe Decarnin, non, non, non.. quelle grande disappointment, quelle let-down.

Sure it's his first season doing men's so perhaps we should cut him some slack, but when the women's is so hot, so covetable, so fierce.. you really expect something more than these incredibly dull men's outifts (which you could construct entirely with American Apparel and Zara pieces), topped off with very ugly boots. Granted he must still be 'finding his feet' for designing men's collections, but you really would be forgiven for thinking that when you hold such a big design job at a red-hot Parisian fashion house you would be able to come up with something better. Why did Balmain bother launching men's? This doesn't say 'Balmain' to us, it say 'bad design trading off Balmain's name,' which is hardly a sustainable way of doing a new men's line.

It puzzles us how little this collection picks up on what makes Balmain women's so successful at the moment.. we expected there'd be much more of a rock vibe (metal studs, skinnier jeans - not ripped, stone washed, dare we say Eurotrashy, jeans that look like bad copies of DSquared2 or D&G), and that they'd have used the current hot Hedi Slimane style models, Ash Stymest and Jethro Cave, to add that excitement that is so sorely lacking. We're not sure who this collection is aimed at, or who's going to buy it (save a few label-addicts bereft of aesthetic sense), although we can safely say the greatest thrill will probably come from seeing how Balmain's infamously high prices are applied... $4,000 for a grey hoodie? $8,000 for nasty jeans? And life goes on.

Images from WWD.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Trend Alert: Jump Around

Chloé, Salvatore Ferragamo
Emilio Pucci, Giorgio Armani
Stella McCartney, Moschino

We should start by saying we dislike jumpsuits. They tend to be ugly and unflattering, even on models. But it's impossible to ignore the jumpsuit trend for spring/summer 2009: jumpsuits appeared at least once in the runway collections of nearly every big designer. It's hard to recall any other specific trend that has been so widespread. So what's going on? Are designers conspiring to make women look silly? Or is it going to be one of those trends that designers are obsessed with but which never catches on with customers? Or do we just personally dislike jumpsuits because we're not used to them, but with time our attitude towards them will soften? Are we fun-hating grumps, whose opinions have been soured further by 'flu?!

Whatever your opinion, one thing's for sure, and that's how difficult they are to pull off, as Lily Allen so aptly demonstrated recently:

Without wanting to channel all our jumpsuit hatred onto Lily, we'll just point out one thing: it makes her look huge. And really, she isn't huge. But she seems to have been prepared to suspend aesthetic sense just to get in on this trend. It will be interesting to see how many others are prepared to do the same.

Perhaps we're being unfair, given Lily had chosen the most tricky type of jumpsuit to pull off, namely the wide-legged, flared, 70s, style, while the right jumpsuit with a slimmer cut undoubtedly can flatter the right figure (even if it still does little to appease our personal tastes), but we still have concerns about the head-t0-toe colour block effect, and the fact that you'd do so much better with trousers (pants) and a top (and you wouldn't run the risk of being mistaken for a plumber or mechanic..)

A selection of jumpsuits from Net-a-Porter:

Click to enlarge. Left to right: Chloé, Stella McCartney, Issa, 3.1 Phillip Lim, and Fendi.

Who knows, maybe we're being too harsh/grumpy? Maybe when summer finally comes they will seem more appropriate with high platforms and chunky jewellery? Oh, there's still something that really gets us about the fit though: the high waists, the ballooning fabric.. oh, please, give us skinnier fits any day, you can't be baggy and fierce, can you..?

Click to enlarge. Left to right: Chloé from Luisa via Roma, Issa from Net-a-Porter, Costume National from Luisa via Roma, and Roksanda Ilincic from Net-a-Porter.

Suppose our final counsel on the matter would be this: by all means ignore our angry ranting if you're a jumpsuit fan, and go for it (you'll be so on-trend, though don't say we didn't warn you if you attract a few laughs of derision from friends, family, and passers-by..), but if like us you're still very dubious, don't feel you need to get involved in this trend just because it's such Big News.. if in doubt avoid.. there are a plethora of better options out there anyway.

All runway pics from

Archive Moment: aw06 Prada fur helmets

For her autumn/winter 2006 collection, Miuccia Prada sent these memorable fur-covered crash helmets down the runway. We forever live in hope of seeing someone actually wearing one as they whizz around on a scooter...

We thought we might start doing the occasional post briefly looking back at interesting elements of old collections, because fashion moves so quickly such gems from the past get very quickly forgotten.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

SS09 Haute Couture

(above: detail shots at Dior)

We already looked at the Dior show (here), but now we thought it would be fun to gaze wistfully at some of the incredible creations by the other Paris couturiers. As ever, we'll give a brief summary here, and then if you want to see a collection in its entirety you can follow the links beyond Hapsical to do that. We hope you don't think that us posting runway pictures is lazy blogging: we should get back into better form soon, it's just not only have we been struck down by a winter virus but the Hapsical laptop also seems to be vaguely unwell, and internet speeds are currently akin to wading through thick treacle.

Time to escape from all this into the dream world of Haute Couture:

Christian Lacroix:

Like John Galliano, Christian Lacroix is a designer who's really in his element with Haute Couture (more so, we'd venture, than with ready-to-wear), and this season he didn't disappoint, producing a generally stunning show which more than allowed for that all-important Haute Couture dreaming and escapism. At times the shapes became a little too Flamenco dancer for our liking, but Lacroix is masterful with colour, pattern, material, cut.. and even though things seemed a little subdued compared to his normal showings, this cheered us up no end.


We found Karl Lagerfeld's exclusively monochrome (and mainly white) collection a little too precious and cold in its colouring for our liking (in some respects we feel Haute Couture is not the time to hold back and restrain your urges for colour), but we could certainly appreciate the subtle design flourishes, the craftsmanship, and the overall ethereal qualities. We do feel sure that had we actually been there, the collection would have made much more of an impact, because in photographs the details of each outfit just get lost in a sea of repetitive white.

Jean Paul Gaultier:

Jean Paul Gaultier's main concession to the credit crunch seemed to be the motif of bank note designs and patterns emblazoned on some of the outfits, which added a fun touch to a solid show.


A runway scattered with rose petals is not something you would automatically attribute to Ricardo Tisci, who is often predisposed towards a certain dark subversiveness, but the Givenchy designer proved that he has a brighter side too, with this elegant, light, flowing collection.


Drama has surrounded the house of Valentino recently since the designer himself retired only for his freshly appointed successor, Alessandra Facchinetti, to be unceremoniously sacked without explaination after just a few seasons, so this collection was perhaps lacking in what it could have been as the new (new) designers, Maria Chiuri and Pier Piccioli, are still settling in. That said, we enjoyed the overall elegance, and the slightly nostalgic feeling of very proper Italian couture, with few nods to modernity, even if it felt firmly rooted in the mid 20th century.

Armani Privé:

Although Armani's signature East-meets-West minimalist vibe was still as present as ever, the flashes of red, bright yellow, and violet were an unexpected addition to a generally successful show. It is not Armani's nature to let us enter the realm of fantasy and dream (as, say, Gallianno at Dior and Lacroix do) through his couture offerings, but that's not to say he can't still impress us with his more grounded, less embellished collections.

Elie Saab:

The glamour quotient is always high with Elie Saab's couture collections, and although the colour range was too limited for our personal liking, we generally enjoyed the collection, with its succession of glamorous ball gowns and elegant daytime options. We also liked the fact that the collection felt very Haute Couture and very extravagant, without being too ostentatious.

All images from See full reports there.

Cool Alert: Rachel Griffin

Dutch Designer Rachel Griffin has come up with these fun tape glasses which take the idea of broken glasses taped back together to a whole new level:

We also rather like her Swing Skirt, which may be an ugly skirt, but it has ropes attached (and is sufficiently strong itself) meaning you can throw the ropes over tree branches, scaffolding or any other support you can find in the urban environment, and you have your very own portable, wearable, usable swing seat. Ingenious, non? If only she could find a way to make it look a little better..

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

SS09 Haute Couture: Christian Dior

The Haute Couture shows in Paris haven't finished yet, but before we do a recap of them all we thought we'd post about Dior by John Galliano, given that Dior is usually the Haute Couture highlight for us. The house of Dior really comes into its own with Haute Couture (and you couldn't ask for a more appropiate desinger than Galliano), and it's a time when we can forget all the bad Dior moments of the recent-past (ghastly pink monogram, J'adore t-shirts, tourists in tracksuits posing for pictures outside Dior stores, hideous moonboots..), and focus on what they do best, which is wonderfully rich and extravagant couture.

There had been much talk about whether Galliano and others would tone down their collections because of the credit crunch, but thankfully there has been scant evidence of any such nods towards austerity. Instead, Galliano talked about "our job to make people dream" which on the face of it sounds rather patronising, but given that the vast majority of us couldn't afford Haute Couture before the economic downturn (and apparently those who could before still can) there would be little joy for anyone in seeing the collections toned down.. Haute Couture has never been about practicality (or indeed reality), and for the vast majority of people it's been about fashion fantasy and in these increasingly difficult times we think that can be appreciated more than ever.

Galliano's confections were as breathtaking as ever: the show is rumoured to have cost £2 million, and some of the outfits towards the end with their ruffling and maxi-volume skirts were just incredible, even though some of them looked so rich and sugary that those Barbie birthday cakes did spring to mind..

Runway images from See full collection there.

Artist: Boo Ritson

British artist Boo Ritson daubs her subjects with paint before photographing them, giving an uncanny final effect, which is visually very fun but has darker undertones about "social masks and suffocating veneers." We love the originality of the idea, the 'pop art' vibrancy, and although we're not exactly sure what it is that's so effective (and slightly haunting) about painting people then immortalising them in photographs, it definitely does something for us.

See more here and here.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Scandinavian Designer: Ulrika Sandström

Aesthetically pure simplicity with small design twists... the Scandinavian formula gets us every time. This collection by Swedish designer Ulrika Sandström was inspired by "waitresses and old fashioned household staff," and we love how it effortlessly moves from a Balenciaga shaped dress in the first pic, to experimental Margiela style shoulders, to a simple but cute graphic t-shirt. It does lack the originality and innovation of top designer (or fashion graduate) collections, but for easily wearable, fun, yet elegant pieces, we love it.

See more on her website.

Next up is a rather lengthy summary of the Paris men's shows; if this doesn't interest Hapsical's female readers, they might instead like to check out British Vogue's hilarious guide to Milan's male models. This is partly why we love British Vogue, because you can't imagine the other Vogues (which take themselves more seriously) coming up with stuff like "One sprinkle of stubble + perfectly rippled thighs = yes please"(!) Then just scroll down here - we promise there's more good stuff further down.

Men's F/W 09 Paris: Quick Roundup

1) Gareth Pugh

We were hopping up and down with excitement as soon as we heard Gareth Pugh was going to show his first full menswear-only collection, and when the show - the last of the week in Paris - finally came he didn't disappoint. Sure some of it was similar to his women's FW08 collection (we've seen those black triangles before, when we had a strop about not being able to find any stockists), but his aesthetic translated surprisingly well onto a full men's collection, and we loved it. Rumours reported on suggest that it was his LVMH 'audition' because the French luxury goods giant might be considering booting Kris van Assche from Dior Homme (and about time that would be..) and handing the role over to Pugh. Funnily enough, this was an idea we had ages ago during one of many internet forum discussions about who should have taken over from Hedi Slimane at DH (oh the lives we lead), and we'd still be really excited if it came to anything, as long as it didn't dilute Pugh's own line.

2) Lanvin

There were some fresh shapes present Lanvin, along with a strong underlying military theme, but otherwise the collection felt a little dull. It seems a generally good collection, backed up as ever by Lanvin's luxury look and feel, but hardly befitting of the sort of optimism they were hinting at by sending a model dressed as Obama down the runway at the end of the show (which in reality probably amounted to nothing more than a publicity stunt).

3) Ann Demeulemeester

A collection which didn't do much for us personally, but should keep Demeulemeester fans happy with its brooding, dark Romanticism. We appreciate it, but don't feel any great affinity towards it.

4) Raf Simons

Perhaps mindful of the credit crunch (although we rather hope not), Raf Simons played it safe sticking close to classic tailoring. We liked the collection, but we do prefer it when Raf Simons takes bigger risks. The silhouette distortions towards the end of the show were interesting, but overall pale in comparison to the originality of his amazing SS08 and FW09 collections.

5) Comme des Garçons

Like Miuccia Prada, you can tell that Rei Kawakubo really thinks about what she designs, going through some kind of intellectual process as well as a creative one, and sometimes we understand her vision, other times not. Looking through this collection, it's not one we like, but it would seem churlish to denounce it based on our personal taste when you can tell there is substance to it, even if it's not for us. Still, there did seem to be a conflict at times between the visually pleasing and the intelligent (two variables which seemed mostly to be mutually exclusive).

6) Maison Martin Margiela

We could make neither head nor tail of this, and frankly the collection itself didn't really invite us to try any harder. There were decent pieces, but given what a sensationally talented designer Martin Margiela is (which tends to manifest itself more through his women's designs), this was a let-down.

7) Paul Smith

Over-thinking (and under-achieving) seems to have been endemic this Paris men's fashion week, so it was something of a relief to see that Sir Paul had stuck to his usual formula (of good British tailoring with his trademark 'eccentric' twists) that works well.

8) Dries van Noten

If there's just one big thing to take away from the FW09 shows, both Milan and Paris, it seems to be a return towards more traditional tailoring. It was hard to tell if Dries' exaggerated silhouettes were meant to be futuristic or nostalgic (80s? 50s?), but it seems that for several big designers the return of the power-shoulder is one of their ways of interpreting the current global condition.

9) Number (N)ine

Cut through the waffle about the collection having been inspired by a hotel room in Alaska, and you'll find another strong collection from Takahiro Miyashita, which feels as subversive as ever with its scarecrow silhouettes, but is backed up by some great details and skilful design. The runway presentation was dramatic, with the initial ornate outfits suddenly followed by 28 much more austere beige-and-black and then white-and-black outfits, although you can tell that even with the runway styling stripped away this collection will yield lots of great wearable pieces.

10) Dior Homme

Perhaps we're sometimes a little harsh about Kris van Assche at Dior Homme. There was nothing overtly offensive about this collection (save the dreaded harem/Hammer pants, of which KVA seems inexplicably fond), it just felt very commercial and rather dull. The former problem could be because LVMH likes to keep Dior Homme, a commercially lucrative line, fairly plain and accessible, but it seems Kris van Assche just never had the personality to fill Hedi Slimane's boots while carving out a fresh identity for the brand, although a certain Gareth Pugh certainly does..

11) Givenchy

It was a shame that flash of bright pink, that flicker of excitement, from Riccardo Tisci's SS09 Givenchy men's collection had been fully extinguished this time round. The overall mood was dark and sombre, which we have no problem with, and although you could see Tisci trying out some fairly innovative things, there was not much interest overall, and as Tim Blanks, at, put it: "But one was also disconcerted by a sense that it would be interesting to probe Tisci's mind, to learn if or where the men he imagines in his clothes actually exist."

12) Mihara Yasuhiro

Mihara Yasuhiro's collections have been sort of quietly simmering away for the past few seasons (at least it seems like that to us, because it's a brand we hear nothing about here and stockists in London are, as far as we know, nil), but we think there's definitely something more going on, and it would be nice if his understated, quirky elegance had more exposure here.

13) Junya Watanabe

Watanabe produced a successful collection by toying around with hunting and outdoor clothes, de-constructing and re-constructing them, and adding strong injections of colour. The design looked skilful, and the pieces well made, and even though the collection had few of the visual hallmarks of collections we generally tend towards, overall we liked it.

See all designers and full reports at
All runway images are from