Thursday, 27 August 2009

Obsession: Marios Schwab FW09

Images from Style.com - click to see entire collection.

One of the most interesting fall/winter 2009 shows last London Fashion Week was Marios Schwab's. Reading about how Schwab had taken inspiration from 'geological expansion' (when rocks crack open under environmental stresses, sometimes revealing crystal formations and minerals) it sounded a bit dubious. Yet any such doubts were knocked aside when the clothes themselves appeared, as they were really stunning and they did capture the geological idea, but in a stylish, non-forced way.

The collection really summed up the best of contemporary London fashion: it was edgy, creative, and original, but at the same time it was never too theatrical and remained attached to reality; technically it was spot-on, with a razor sharp cut and super prints. There was that real London energy to it, but perhaps most crucial was the perfect balance between 'fashion' & 'cool' and underlying style.

Available from Browns:


At Net-a-Porter:


At Luisa via Roma:

Cool Alert: Lego Sushi

This is a slight deviation from posting about fashion to indulge our Lego obsession, and share one of the coolest things EVER, namely Lego Sushi. The man who came up with, and made, these is "Big Daddy" Nelson on Flickr, whose account showcases lots of other incredible Lego masterpieces too (the Lego birthday cake is also mind-blowing, and even if it's a bit early in the year to be thinking about them, the Lego decorated Christmas trees are amazing too).

To see the Sushi set in full, click HERE - and if you want to reproduce these anywhere please check with "Big Daddy" Nelson himself first.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Sneak Peak: Christopher Kane for Topshop & Goyard Opening

Earlier today, the New York Magazine's rather good fashion blog prematurely posted pictures of the entire Christopher Kane for Topshop collection online (tut tut) which they have since removed at Topshop's request, but not before we saw them all, so we can now join the ranks of smug fashion editors who were invited to the top secret preview in saying "it's uhhhhhmazing but we're just simply not allowed to tell you anything about it yet."

Actually, it really was good but not as uhhhhhmazing as we thought it might have been, but then again it was never going to be possible to replicate the design and detailing of Kane's incredible outfits, with their four figure price tags, on a mass market level so our expectations were probably unrealistically high. The picture above is one of the few images of the collection that's still online, so hopefully we won't get into trouble for re-posting it. The monkey print has been redone with a crocodile, which is quite a bold move given how very similar it is to his mainline (and much more expensive) prints. Everything was short and sexy, and there were lots of little studs/eyelets and mirror details. All will be revealed officially in September.

In other news, and we have 00o00 blog to thank for this, Goyard's much anticipated new store opened on Mount Street in London today, and the giant case concealing the construction site has now gone.


We can't wait to check it out, if only to bemoan the fact that we won't be able to afford anything, save perhaps a cardholder. For full details, see the Goyard website.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Cutbacks at Vogue

If, like us, you spend an alarming proportion of your waking hours (and not to mention supposed sleeping hours) online, reading fashion news sites and blogs, you'll undoubtedly have read about the cutbacks at Condé Nast, publishers of Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and others, usually reported with a thinly veiled sense of glee. The story is that Condé Nast, faced with the global recession and a print media downturn, have called in renowned (and feared) business consultants McKinsey & Co. to "develop new perspectives on optimizing [their] approach to business, growing revenues, and enhancing [their] brand assets," a large part of which is understood to involve cost cutting at every level.

Vogue, cutting costs. Perish the thought! This is undoubtedly a serious situation (nobody calls in McKinsey & Co. for fun) and we are loath to get involved in all the snide, and often, it would seem, jealous, gossip and reporting that constantly goes on about American Vogue, but what makes this situation funny - to those of us not situated in the Condé Nast building, at least - is the ungainly collision between the notoriously extravagant and detached fashion world and the 'real' world that these measures are likely to invoke. People in suits telling Voguettes to spend less. “You want to stress this to your employees, but you don’t want the scare the living daylights out of them,” a Condé Nast employee complained after an internal email announcing the measures was circulated.

We haven't a clue what's really going on, and what McKinsey's report will recommend (and indeed it's none of our business), but that hasn't stopped us from enjoying the camp spectacle of it all, as reported in the New York Observer and, probably to a lesser degree of reliability, in the New York Post. These publications and others paint an hilarious picture of Vogue trying, honestly trying, to cut costs, but only in the most fabulous of ways. The NY Post recently reported that Vogue's travel plans for the upcoming European fashion weeks would go ahead "precisely as they have always been", with no budget cuts to speak of. This will entail "brand-new Mercedes" cars booked to ferry staff between shows, "amazing dinners planned every night," and of course accommodation in only the finest hotels "A source said Wintour stays at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, while underlings are sent to the Crillon and the George V." That sounds like fashion cost cutting to us: making minions slum it in the (supremely luxurious) Crillon!

Still, The Gilded Age of Condé Nast is Over, the headline of an article in the New York Observer declared a fortnight ago, before proceeding to spell out the details of some of the arduous cutbacks that have been made, with only the mildest hint of gloating. Graydon Carter, the very grand editor of Vanity Fair, was apparently sighted in the (Frank Gehry–designed) cafeteria for the first time, "milling around uncomfortably with the commoners." In said cafeteria, shrimp has vanished from the salad bar. Complementary Fiji Water has turned into Poland Spring which has in turn (horrors) degenerated into a tap water for employees policy. The free Orangina is no more. “Going to the spa is no longer a form of client entertainment.” Flower deliverymen no longer clog the elevators on monday mornings, taking fresh bouquets to editors' desks. As the article goes on to say, "A culture of paranoia has taken over. What all these things add up to is a hefty emotional toll on staffers: Is this what they signed up for?" And this only covers the cutbacks at Condé Nast in New York. Has anyone spared a thought for the Vogue Paris staffers, whose office coffee machine has apparently been removed to save cash? (Although the seemingly endless office supply of Balmain outfits to wear to fashion week seems to have remained intact..)

Oh, tough world.

Oddbox: Bless Fur-Patch Sweater Jacket

Is anyone else getting that 'SO wrong it's almost right' feeling about these Bless hoodies with their muddle of fur patches all over? Love a bit of fashion oddness on mondays to set us up for the week.

Bless is a hip Berlin brand, and these pieces are available from Colette for €1245 each.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Shopping Selection: Men's FW09 - 1

Click image to enlarge. Clockwise from top right: Richard James pocket square from Colette, Common Projects x Moscot sunglasses from Oki-Ni, Prada studded wallet from Bergdorf Goodman, Lanvin hat from Aloha Rag, A.P.C military officer's jacket, Ann Demeulemeester high collar shirt from Browns, Maison Martin Margiela 'empty' watch wrist band and Raf Simons x Eastpak messenger bag, both from Oki-Ni. Hermès navy blue cashmere scarf, Diptyque Philosykos Eau de Toilette from Space NK, Lanvin gloves from Colette, Maison Martin Margiela high-tops from Barneys, Comme des Garçons tote bag and Lanvin slim fit trousers/pants, both from Colette. Jil Sander shoes from Oki-Ni, Paul Smith socks and Bottega Veneta metal card holder, both socks from Matches. Alexander McQueen navy blue suit from Browns, Raf Simons tailored shirt from Oki-Ni, Hermès cube pattern tie, and A.P.C checked 'pajama' shirt.

Just a selection of men's fall/winter 2009 stuff that's available to buy online now that we liked. We'll do women's too, and different selections of stuff as the season progresses and more things become available. And don't worry, unlike on most blogs which 'recommend' products in online stores, we don't cash in as a result... Hapsical is a non-commercial entity at the moment.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Cool Alert: The Counterfeit Crochet Project

Thanks to Mandi Lennard's blog on the Colette website, we were recently reminded about something that we'd meant to blog about for a long time, namely The Counterfeit Crochet Project, which is funny and cool. In the words of the project founder:

"I am a visual artist based in San Francisco and have a long interest in issues of piracy and bootlegging as they apply to today's globalized economy, and have created sculptural works and installations based on this topic.

In 2006 I created a website soliciting crocheters to join me in hand-counterfeiting designer handbags: Fendi, Gucci, Chanel, Prada, etc. Participants troll the internet and choose a design that they particularly covet, working off of low-resolution jpgs which they download. The final results may or may not bear resemblance to the originals, which is an interesting part of the translation.

The resulting counterfeits are both homages and lumpy mutations. Crochet is considered a lowly medium, and the limitations imposed by trying to create detail with yarn takes advantage of the individual maker's ingenuity and problem-solving skills.

I am also interested in how this project parallels and diverges from contemporary capitalist factory production and distribution channels.

As a collaboration it parallels the idea of "outsourcing" labor, but also adds a democratic and perhaps anarchic level of creativity--within the basic framework, participants have taken liberties with their translations, changing colors, adding materials (cardboard, hot glue, etc.) to suit their needs.

Makers are encouraged to keep and wear their bags, in an attempt to insert strange variants into the stream of commerce and consumption. I ask for people to send me snapshots of their items to share with others.

This is an ongoing global project, with makers from all over the world...In 2007 the project travelled to Manila, Beijing, and Istanbul for exhibitions and counterfeiting workshops."


There is something of an irony that we're praising this on a blog dedicated to the glossy fashion world which Counterfeit Crochet gently mocks, but we just love the idea and feel there's no point taking everything to do with fashion too seriously. And how much more fun is a knitted logo-ed bag than the ubiquitous real thing?

See more on the project's website, counterfeitchic.org, including crochet patterns and other DIY hints:

Uncool Alert: "Can I Speak to Mr Dior Please" T-Shirt

We were going to make this an "Oddbox" post but then we realised this t-shirt isn't so much odd as it is just down right bad. Dior Homme has always been a notably commercial high fashion brand, selling lots of very wearable, accessibly designed and fairly plain jeans, jackets, t-shirts, and shirts, along with tailoring and of course a whole host of logo-ed shoes and accessories. Under Hedi Slimane, you didn't notice this fact so much because of the edgy aesthetic he was pushing on the runway (it balanced out the many 'bread and butter' staples they sell, and indeed added a certain legitimacy to it all - a bit like how the extravagant spectacle of the Haute Couture shows help justify in our minds comparatively lower value and plainer purchases from the same brands, like sunglasses and fragrances). Slimane also seemed to have a stronger grip on the whole operation, meaning even among the range of more sellable pieces ill-conceived moments like the above did not occur.

Aside from the fact that the print looks horribly executed and somewhat distorted, like someone having difficulties with Word Art in Microsoft Office (they should have taken a lesson in print from Henry Holland - if only the ship for oversize slogan t-shirt revival hadn't left about a year ago), we just don't get it. And for £135 too... we think Monsieur Dior would like to have a quiet word from beyond the grave with whoever was responsible for this, PLEASE.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Trend Alert: Thick Rubber Soles

Top row to bottom row, from left to right: Jil Sander boots from My Theresa, Stella McCartney boots from Net-a-Porter, Prada Sport ankle boots from Saks; Marc by Marc Jacobs blue lace-ups from Luisa via Roma, Prada heels from Saks, and See by Chloé boots from Shopbop; Prada platform heels from Saks, Topshop buckle wedges, and Topshop lace-up wedges; Miu Miu boots from My Theresa, Acne trainers/sneakers, and Clarks ankle boots. Background image source here.

A mini trend we've noticed developing for fall/winter 2009 is thick rubber soles and heels on women's shoes. The style, which is like a high fashion take on the thick rubber soles often found on Clarks Originals shoes, was most prominently seen in the FW09 collections on the runway at Prada (below). Since it often seems to be the way in fashion that we all follow where Miuccia goes, other brands including Stella McCartney, Marc by Marc Jacobs and See by Chloé have already got in on the action. Several designers also used a lace-up desert boot style with the rubber soles, further hinting at the Clarks connection.

We have a feeling this is a trend we'll be seeing more of as the season progresses.

Images from Style.com - click to see the entire Prada AW09 collection.

In the Mountains

Ice cream at 6,500 feet above sea level:
The scenery where we are staying in Austria is stunning, it's all very fresh and healthy, the people are friendly, the food is much better than you might expect, everything is very clean and quaint (again, almost to a toy town degree), it's a great getaway from the madness of London, but... the fashion! Oh, the fashion! In a sense, it's silly to pass comment, since we didn't go expecting it to be 'fashion,' and nowhere in the world would you expect to find a fashion scene in a fairly rural mountainous area (unless you include shiny designer ski gear, but that hardly counts), and there are moments in our lives when we switch off the fashion thing.

But all that said, we've been finding the fashion here so funny (and surreal) we had to post something. Almost everyone is decked out in either hardcore outdoor sports gear (think unholy amounts of Lycra, hiking boots and sandals with thick socks, backpacks, crinkly waterproof jackets...), even if they're just going for a gentle stroll around the lake, or in variations of traditional Austrian dress with lederhosen for the men and dirndl dresses for the women, seemingly worn non-ironically and, for the most part, not just for the benefit of tourists. We've noticed quite a few men with shaved legs, perhaps because guys here don't shy away from the dreaded micro shorts (typically worn with a t-shirt tucked in, along with the ubiquitous hiking boots with pulled-up socks, backpack and big belt with a camera bag attached). At times, it's not difficult to see where the inspiration for some of Brüno's more stereotypical kitschy-camp looks came from. All this is excluding the wealthy Arab tourists (who also seem keen on the place, along with Munich) who add another style dimension. The women work a look which will be familiar to anyone who has frequented Harrods on a weekday afternoon, which consists of full, black religious covering, accessorised with huge designer sunglasses, the latest logo-ed Fendi, Gucci or Louis Vuitton bag, and sparkly shoes peeping out at the bottom.

Think of these as the Jak & Jil shots of the great outdoors...

Adding to this bizarre fashion mix, and making it even weirder, is the fact that the clothes shops which don't sell outdoors or traditonal clothes seem to favour a sort of 90s Moschino / Absolutely Fabulous meets Euro tacky look:

Kitsch wellies:
We keep thinking of Raf Simons' amazing spring/summer 2008 collection, with its wonderful references to the European outdoors-y hiker-tourist look (a look which we're sure is strong in Mr Simons' native Belgium too), but done in a youth way which fitted perfectly with the whole feeling and mood at the time (something Raf Simons particularly excels at). The techno fabrics, the toggles, the waterproofs and big knits, the reworked hiking boots and sandals, the micro shorts, the giant backpacks... it was all beautifully tailored, and was possibly a metaphor for a young man's 'journey' in life with its connotations of travel, but also it was really quite humourous, something we've only come to appreciate now having seen the 'real' look so much in the Austrian Alps.

Images from Men.Style.com - click to see entire collection.

If only we'd brought these with us..!

We do realise that the fashion we've observed in the mountains is not representitive of Austrian style as a whole.. we've heard that Vienna is quite a 'fashion' place now, and we'd love to check it out some other time.