Thursday, 29 October 2009

Designer: Katie Eary

All backstages images from Dazed Digital.

Thanks to a super-cool fashion editor I know, last month at London Fashion Week I found myself sitting in the third row at the Topman MAN show (she was front row, just a few seats along from Tim Blanks, Jefferson Hack, Sir Philip Green and, um, Peaches Geldof and Jethro Cave). I would have been really happy to be literally just standing at the back, so the whole experience was totally surreal and rather amazing. What was also really cool was that it was like four shows in one, because as well the Topman Design collection, three young menswear designers, Christopher Shannon, J.W. Anderson and Katie Eary were given the opportunity to showcase their collections.

All the collections were really cool, and explored fresh ideas in menswear which is always interesting to see, but the one which really struck me was Katie Eary’s, a 25 year old recent graduate from the Royal College of Art. Eary showed an extraordinary collection, perhaps best described as ‘body bling’: shredded jeans sat over skin-tone leggings, printed bones and muscles and veins; t-shirts also had startling gruesome anatomical prints, and there was gold embellishment aplenty (absolutely loved the gold ribcage piece and the gold ‘bone’ sandals). There were even gold crocodile shorts and a multi-coloured fur cape.

From the description I’ve given, it probably doesn’t seem like a very edifying concept, but somehow it really worked. It was partly a young designer having fun (and thank goodness for young designers livening things up, even if they must eventually settle down and become more restrained), and it was so London with its energy and creativity, but at the same time Eary showed a strong grasp of different techniques, and was the almost literal ‘body deconstruction’ a sly dig at fashion’s recent obsession with ‘deconstructivism’?

All runway images from GQ - click to see entire collection.

Can't wait to see more from Katie Eary.. and IF ONLY I could have one of these outfits to wear for a Halloween party this weekend...I wouldn't just wear it for Halloween, mind, but also, you know, for going to the shops, for going to lectures and classes, going to the gym maybe... it would be criminal not to, the outfits are that amazing...

See more on her website.

Joan Collins Does Glamour

Joan Collins recently presented a one-off TV programme, a sort of makeover show called Joan Collins Does Glamour, for British network ITV. Although we didn’t manage to see it in full, someone has put some clips on YouTube; and despite the fact that through the 00’s the ‘makeover show’ TV format has been done to death, this really is quite good and it works, simply because Joan Collins is so funny in it and has such presence still. Someone really, really needs to give her a full series doing something like this, because she’s just perfect for it.

A few observations:

How can Joan Collins be in her mid seventies?! She honestly looks and seems at least 20 years younger, and even her hands (the usual giveaway) don’t betray her real age. Love her resolutely ‘un fashion’ and quite dated looking, but undeniably glamorous, outfit choices too.

Love that in the supermarket she thinks bananas cost 68p (about $1.10) each and that Andrex, the bathroom tissue advertised with a puppy, is actually for dogs (and what on earth is that contraption they strapped granny into?! It’s like a wheelchair attached to a shopping trolley, making the whole thing all the more surreal as they go around the supermarket together).

“I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just, um, fleece should be on sheep”

“I think you need to do a little bit more, because moisturiser is not enough”

“You’re wearing something that I would dust my silver with”

“Somebody you know just died? You look like you want to commit suicide”

“I’m on my fifth [husband]”

“I don’t quite see the point of having flesh coming out like that”

Classic! Perfect light relief for the day.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Style Snippets

1) Léonor Scherrer in Vogue Paris

Scans from Fashionising.

This rather stunning editorial features in the current (November 2009) issue of Vogue Paris. We haven’t been able to find out much about Léonor Scherrer or what she does, but what we do know is that she looks just incredible here, and has also been snapped by The Sartorialist and by Jak & Jil (below) looking amazing too. Tough, but with sex appeal, hard-edged but very classy, Scherrer’s look is the epitome of a sort of dark, very French chic. We want to know/see more… the fact that blogs haven’t picked up on her much yet (compared to, say, Carine Roitfeld, whose every sartorial choice is analysed by countless bloggers) only adds to her mysterious appeal.

2) Shop W.A.S

Shop W.A.S ( has some very cool stuff, like this skull cut-out sweater (above). It’s affordable too. This exciting t-shirt with pins down the back (which could pass off as Number(N)ine or Damir Doma) is $40, while the multi-cross necklace is $50.

The paperclip necklace is cool too, and if you can’t be bothered to do your own DIY ‘ribs cut-out’ t-shirt, they do a double-layered one for $50 too:

Click HERE to visit the store.

3) Designer Coke

No, not that coke, but the other coke beloved by the fashion industry, namely Coca-Cola Light (do we need to put a little R symbol here or something to avoid getting sued?) has been given the designer treatment by eight female Italian designers. Alberta Ferretti, Anna Molinari (Blumarine), Veronica Etro, Silvia Venturini (Fendi), Consuelo Castiglioni (Marni), Angela Missoni, Rossella Jardini (Moschino), and Donatella Versace have each designed a bottle, each of which will be auctioned off in Milan to raise money in support of the victims of the Abruzzo earthquake in Italy earlier this year.

Particularly like the Missoni one… it’s a shame the packaging isn’t going to be used commercially, not least because it negates the possibility of being able to have some sort of Marni drink to go with your Marni macaroons (reported on here)…

4) Judith Leiber Crystal Bags

Look, we know it’s wrong, but there’s something we find quite captivating about these Judith Leiber crystal bags… in all their sparkly glory, there’s just something rather satisfying about them, and about how they pop open so neatly. Yes, they’re on the tacky side of things, and, yes, they’re not cheap (think thousands), but sometimes you have to unleash your inner Middle Eastern billionaire-ess…

The first two are available to buy on Net-a-Porter.

5) And finally…Irony of the week/month/year?

The BlackBerry flashed… an email from Blogger, “[Hapsical] New comment on BAD: Balmain Men's hits the stores”. “You’re cheap,” a commenter called RJ asserted “and corny. These jeans are amazing. The top ones anyway. And the collection is dope.” Oh no, I thought, what fatal error of judgement have I made, which amazing jeans have I condemned, to the extent that it roused someone to leave insults on a post from seven months ago? Well, um, turns out it was these:

Truly made my day…because there’s nothing cheap and corny about them whatsoever, but the blogger who disliked them on the other hand…he’s cheap and corny as hell!

Shopping: Lanvin & Prada

Earlier this month I made a few -ahem- purchases. The first was a Lanvin hat, and I'm not going to lie but the decision was more than in part influenced by the spectacular blue box in which it came. Still, I've always been fascinated by how hats can really take outfits to another level, and make them really stylish as opposed to just stylish, and honestly I don't think I can pull it off yet, but I'm working on it.

Jeanne Lanvin actually started out as a hat maker in the 1890s, so Lanvin has a real heritage in millinery, which is now mostly restricted to the men's side of things though. Unfortunately the Lanvin men's shop had sold out of all their hats (they are apparently very popular) so I had to buy this from Harvey Nichols. The service in the men's department there is appalling, I would never recommend shopping there, and inded I will never do so again myself.

I also bought another pair of Prada shoes, which was really bad considering post the studded Pradas I vowed no more shoes (in fact, I think it was no more shopping at all)...

I'm really loving the FW09 Prada men's shoes.. these are basically really good quality traditional lace-ups with a removable trainer/sneaker tongue. Combining formal shoes with a sportswear element is very characteristic of Prada and I like the idiosyncrasy of it. I also love the rounded toe, because personally I dislike pointed toe shoes, and shoes with a blunter toe shape are surprisingly difficult to find.. I must have tried on every pair of black 'designer' shoes in London (actually looking for something cheaper than Prada, because I was originally just after a pair of black shoes to pass off as formal on a few occasions) but I couldn't find anything, until I realised what I really wanted was a version of my studded Pradas, minus the studs, and these come pretty close. There are a couple of other Prada shoes I love at the moment (there are some cool pairs with very heavy, Dr Martens type rubber roles) but there is absolutely no way I can buy more before the sales (or indeed, even with 50% off).

The Prada store tried to under-charge me by £80, and when I told the sales assistant (as it happened only because I wanted to be sure I was getting the pair I actually wanted, not another pair which I had tried on which did cost £80 less) his response was not 'thank you' but rather 'if I were you I wouldn't have said anything.' I honestly do not know what is wrong with retail staff in London.

One shop in London though, perhaps the only shop, were they really understand the value of good service is Harrods. From the sales assistants in the men's Prada store-in-store (would have bought the shoes there if they hadn't sold out - natch), to the man in the YSL women's concession, to the Food Hall staff, they are all friendly, helpful and polite.

Case in point is that I went to the Acqua di Parma counter to buy just two bar soaps (basically the cheapest thing they sell) and the woman was just so nice (she elaborately wrapped everything in Acqua di Parma tissue paper, spritzed the paper with the fragrance, put it in a yellow Acqua di Parma bag, thew in a load of samples and invited me to join the Acqua di Parma VIP Club [!]) that it honestly made my day, and I will definitely go back there... just goes to show how these little things really can make a difference.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Spring Summer 2010 Collections: Paris, Milan and London

Details at Lanvin - images from, click to see entire collection.

I started the season optimistically, writing a summary for each New York SS10 show, but blogging degenerated thereafter, and I’ve come to accept that taking a similar approach for all the London, Milan and Paris shows would be impossible, so instead I’ll just pick out some highlights (and, of course, ‘lowlights’) from the season, as I present Hapsical’s Brief Guide to London, Milan and Paris Spring/Summer 2010.

1) Prada

Images from - click to see entire collection.

What better place to start, and to get some idea of the feeling of the whole season, than Prada? Miuccia Prada showed a summery and relatively upbeat collection, which opened with cropped tailoring (short jackets and un-hemmed shorts) in greys, before jewel embellishment and prints were introduced, and then more sharp tailoring in darker colours. In a typical, wonderfully quirky, Prada twist, the prints were inspired not by tropical beaches themselves, but rather by the strangely dystopian Japanese indoor beach resorts (example below, photographed by Martin Parr).

We enjoyed this collection, which had that real sense of ‘Prada cool’ to it (unsurprisingly, perhaps!) and which provided an interesting contrast between the serious tailoring and the beach-y prints.

*On the topic of Prada, can anybody explain why academics seem to like Prada Sport so much, particularly the trainers (sneakers)? Is it because Miuccia has a doctorate in political science (although I doubt most intellectual types would know/care)? Might ask my economics tutor, whose Prada shoes were distracting me from some awful algebra the other day, if I’m feeling brave…

2) Chanel

Images from - click to see entire collection.

It is impossible to deny Karl Lagerfeld’s mastery with the clothes themselves at Chanel, where he comes up trumps with a classic-Chanel-with-a-twist formula each season, but the vulgarity and tackiness of the presentation for spring/summer 2010 was such that we had to ask ourselves if Lagerfeld intended it as a parody (but of what exactly?). The models walked around a barnyard inspired set, complete with hay, in which some models had been instructed to roll. So far, plausibly a joke, and certainly a note worthy contrast between the highly polished clothes and the ‘rural’ surroundings, but when Lily Allen popped out of the floor (quite literally, we understand, on an elevated platform) to perform, the whole thing just began to resemble a desperate publicity stunt. The funny thing is that we can just imagine Lagerfeld issuing one of his infamously withering (and, of course, funny) remarks about the show, if only it had been put on by another fashion house. Still, the clothes themselves – the most important aspect of the show – were rather wonderful.

3) Lanvin

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Alber Elbaz showed a breathtaking, sumptuous collection at Lanvin, the richness and quality of which jumps right out of the screen, even though
pictures normally do little justice to collections, which of course suggests that Elbaz’s masterfully cut and draped pieces will be all the more stunning in reality. Recently, courtesy of a great friend, I was able to get up close and personal with Lanvin’s FW09 collection, at an American Express evening event at the London store. We were plied with champagne and canapés and allowed to examine the collection closely, and truly the quality and refinement of Lanvin clothing never ceases to amaze me. This SS10 collection felt like classic Yves Saint Laurent, but updated for the 21st century.

4) Alexander McQueen

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Alexander McQueen showed a stunning collection, which seemed almost enchanted and ephemeral in its beauty. It is unfortunate that discussion of the shoes, which were badly proportioned and did nothing for us, has rather dominated this collection, when it is the clothes themselves, original, sophisticated, and unbelievably well executed, which really merit the attention. It’s hard to put into words almost, but the prints, the cut… this collection was truly breathtaking and definitely had that elusive ‘wow factor’.

5) Jil Sander

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Was that strictly unnecessary embellishment we saw at Jil Sander? And were those ruffles?! For spring/summer 2010, Raf Simons softened the Jil Sander minimalism somewhat, producing a collection which was, as a result, less visually striking than in previous seasons, but successful nonetheless. Simons is not the only designer who has been softening things up, almost looking “back to the land” (only in the most strictly metaphorical sense, of course...) as Sarah Mower put it over at A result of the recession or not, it still made for an interesting new twist for Jil Sander, normally associated with a much harder-edged urban look.

6) Balenciaga

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Futurism was back at Balenciaga, where Nicolas Ghesquière showed a strong collection, with lots of interesting detailing and panelling. This was a collection that was not instinctively easy on the eye, but it was cool, it was pulled off well, and it worked.

7) Marios Schwab

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Rising London star (and newly appointed creative director of Halston) Marios Schwab upset some critics with his triple layering concept, which admittedly may not be the best idea fashion has ever seen, but we enjoyed his SS10 collection, which opened with an extraordinary meringue like confection, and closed with a triple layered outfit, with a jewel encrusted grey sheer top, over a pleated black peplum, over ruched blue floor length skirt, cut provocatively high up one leg. The collection was edgy but beautiful, the silhouettes worked well, and we liked the draping.

8) Junya Watanabe

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Although not as strong as his incredible fall/winter 2009 collection, Junya Watanabe hit us with another strong collection, characterised by sharp cut and well deployed creativity. The monochrome colour pallet made for a sharp statement, but the collection never felt too harsh or severe, instead having quite a serene beauty to it.

9) Yves Saint Laurent

Images from - click to see entire collection.

What this Yves Saint Laurent collection lacked in contiguity (a cutesy appliqué strawberry print quickly gave way to Pilati’s staple Helmut Newton-esque leather-y bondage strapped subversion) it made up for in flair of execution, because it was really well done. Or were the strawberries (which also appeared as earrings and much smaller on another print) all part of the subversion, a sexually charged symbol perhaps? Chic subversion is something which Stefano Pilati does well, but that’s not to overlook the elegance, good taste and good cut which ran through this collection.

10) Christopher Kane

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Star of London, darling of the fashion elite, sell-out Topshop collaborator, protégé of Donatella Versace… we have no idea how Christopher Kane handles the pressure to produce amazing collections season after season, while seemingly remaining so calm and grounded but, however he does it, he did it again for spring/summer 2010. At first glance the collection, with its pastel hues, frothy net and gingham check, was very pretty, but there was unquestionably an edge, a perversion almost with the unforgiving slashed cut-outs. Indeed, Kane claimed religious cults and the film version of Lolita had inspired the collection which will, of course, be top of the wish list of every cool ‘It girl’ come next spring.

11) Balmain

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Another collection bound to be in high demand from the famous and glamorous next spring was Christophe Decarnin’s latest rendition of the new Balmain look. The similarity ends there, however: whereas Kane’s collection was characterised by a quiet intelligence, originality and creativity, Decarnin’s Balmain was as flashy, unoriginal and frankly crass as ever. You would have been forgiven for thinking that some of the models were on their way to evening jobs as waitresses in a particularly naff themed casino (Grecian perhaps, with the awkward collision which occurred several times between draping and cheap-looking metallic material?)

12) Miu Miu

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Before we’d even seen this collection, we knew we’d be in for a treat when we read on that Miuccia Prada had been “questioning innocence, questioning youth,” because what Prada does so well at Miu Miu is presenting pretty, feminine clothes, with a real edge – often added by a sexual undercurrent – all bound together by that Prada creativity and coolness, which is so hard to define. The innocent seeming cat, dog, bird (and, um, naked figure) prints were played out well against the close cut tailoring, while the towering platforms, sheer panels, and jewel embellishment added edge and contrasted well to the shirt collars and other elements of more traditional tailoring.

13) Comme des Garçons

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Rei Kawakubo presented a typically edgy and enigmatic Comme des Garçons collection, which captured her characteristic intellectualism and quirkiness and made it work in ‘reality’ (as close to ‘reality’ as a Comme mainline collection can ever be) thanks to the spot-on cut and construction.

14) Marni

Images from - click to see entire collection.

A sort of slightly dishevelled bohemian chic characterised the Marni SS10 collection, which may not have expounded many new ideas for the house, but was largely a strong rendition of the Marni look for next spring. Relaxed tailoring and fairly loose fitting layers in muted hues contrasted to strong, graphic prints; overall this collection felt chic, in a quietly confident way.

And as a little Marni tie-in, fans of designer macaroons (and fans of far-reaching branding) will be delighted to hear that Ladurée will be selling special edition Marni macaroons from December… we’ll have to wait until then to see what exactly makes a macaroon ‘Marni’…

15) Dries Van Noten

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Dries Van Noten showed a beautiful collection which was full of strong visual references from the rich, ethnic prints. The collection may not have been exactly groundbreaking, but sometimes it’s worth letting the obsession with the new go, especially when the results of a tried-and-tested formula are as pleasing as these. The confidence and style with which Van Noten pulls off strong prints and colours is indeed something to behold, and overall this collection had a real old school elegance and beauty to it.

What do you think about these collections? Agree/disagree?

Lots, lots more to come both about the SS10 collections and about other stuff too... I'll post as soon as I can.