Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Something possessed me, and I bought the Celine fur Birkenstock-style sandals, or FURKENSTOCKS. They're not exactly beautiful, and they could hardly be less practical, and yet...
Actually, there's no deep explanation. I'm a victim of the zeitgeist, and had been itching to get my hands on some of Phoebe Philo's Celine, without doing a Kanye and wearing a blouse or doing a blogger and mincing around with a handbag. Furthermore, I've always loved a fashion gimmick (things like the £2,000 Chanel bag fashioned after a Chinese takeaway box) but normally they're confined to items of womenswear which, unlike the FURKENSTOCKS, can't be passed off as menswear even remotely. It's postmodernism and shit.
They're a bit mesmerising. I think it's all the tension in the design: the odd contrast between the clumpy sandal and the fur. Feet on fur has got to be a fetish. I took some pictures wearing them barefoot but they looked like they belonged on a "specialist" website.
Love my awful Nike tourist bag. Great for stashing meds on the go!
And speaking of Nike, the AirMax 2013's which I customised with NikeID (all in black, naturally) arrived at last:
Wearing with Rick Owens DRKSHDW cropped parka:
I'm getting more and more into slightly cyborg-y sportswear design. Really want a Nike FuelBand - for the 90s-futuristic aesthetic, not for health purposes, OBVS.
This RO jacket is one of my most worn items. I think it's FW10 season?
This sums up what I think about fashion at the moment:
Edit: also love the fur-on-top ones which Jayne (STOPITRIGHTNOW) got
Posted by Hapsical at 18:49
Wednesday, 3 April 2013
Hello! I'm back. And I've been shopping, so I have things to share.
Above: Undercover by Jun Takahashi T-shirt, Adidas sweatpants, Prada shoes.
Below: Raf Simons spring/summer 2006 bomber jacket. It's like the less extreme version of my SS03 parachute bomber.
Bottega Veneta, bitch!!!
Below: Undercover by Jun Takahashi T-shirt, Zara sweatpants, Nike Wardour Max 1 desert boots
New Bad Habit #1 -- wearing skinny sweatpants out of the house
New Bad Habit #2 -- wearing puffer vests. This one is Woolrich.
New Bad Habit #3 -- buying expensive and tacky Italian bags in sample sales. This one is Gucci:
Starck x Mikli PL0741 in black.
I tried to smile once but it hurt.
PS. I'm trying to update my Tumblr blog more frequently with angry rants
Tuesday, 5 March 2013
When Stefano Pilati took up the position of creative director at Yves Saint Laurent, the brand was haemorrhaging money (annual losses were to the tune of €70 million). Towards the end of his tenure the house was reporting profits for the first time in years, but the one business unit which had remained profitable throughout that time was the beauty and fragrance division.
Indeed, Yves Saint Laurent himself pioneered the standard business model for luxury fashion brands: show haute-couture and ready-to-wear collections on the runway, which are beyond the reach of most consumers’ pockets but capture their imagination, before offering comparatively affordable, high-volume products for regular folk to purchase: sunglasses, scarves and, most prominently, beauty products. Yves Saint Laurent dominated the designer fragrance market throughout the 1970s and 80s, with high-profile scents including Opium and Kouros, while the Touche Éclat pen-format concealer, introduced in 1991, has attained cult status: allegedly, one is sold every 10 seconds.
In short, beauty remains an extremely important product category for Yves Saint Laurent, which makes Hedi Slimane’s tenure at the house seem somewhat problematic. First, the name confusion. When Slimane was appointed creative director, he was allowed to re-name the brand “Saint Laurent (Paris)” and change the logo, but everyone was left puzzling as to what exactly the brand should be called when its press officers sent out a series of confusing and contradictory edicts regarding the naming conventions. “Yves Saint Laurent” was out, yet the “YSL” logo would remain, but the brand was always to be referred to as “Saint Laurent” (possibility with or without “Paris” on the end). It would later transpire that the uncertainty stemmed from the beauty division. The “Yves Saint Laurent” and “YSL” branding remains firmly in place for the fragrances and cosmetics, not least because a third party, L'Oréal, runs the beauty division under license, and re-branding every department store and pharmacy cosmetics counter around the world would be a herculean task.
This inconsistent naming and logo design creates a void between the fashion and beauty sides of the business. And that could be a problem, because part of the reason that consumers will spend £25 on an Yves Saint Laurent lipstick, when a non-designer one gets the job done for half the price, is because of the associations with the glamorous fashion side of the business. You see the actress in the dress on the red carpet, and buy into that fantasy at the cosmetics counter. If the two worlds drift apart, you could end up with a Paco Rabanne or Thierry Mugler type situation: undesirable fragrances found mostly in duty-free shops, with aspirational fashion collections no longer associated with the brand names to give the beauty products legitimacy.
The second problem is related to the first: can you run a profitable beauty business, which sells the concepts of glamour and luxury, when your creative director is producing angst-ridden, trashy collections characterised by teenage grunge? Other major players in the designer beauty market, like Chanel, Dior, Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani, always show collections which the ‘average’ consumer can, on some level, relate to as embodying aspirational glamour.
Perhaps Yves Saint Laurent beauty is a strong enough brand in its own right, so that what Slimane does on the runway (and with the fashion business’ name and logo) is of little importance. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Fashion critics have more or less uniformly slammed his women’s and men’s Saint Laurent collections thus far, but they are apparently selling well nonetheless (whether this will still be the case when the hype regarding “Hedi’s return” dies down, remains to be seen). But if the highly lucrative beauty division comes under threat, you can be sure that Yves Saint Laurent’s owners, the PPR Group, and L'Oréal will be quick to act.
See also: The YSL Question
Posted by Hapsical at 11:31
Sunday, 3 February 2013
Two weeks ago the popular fashion blogger Pelayo Diaz posted a couple of images of himself on his blog, Kate Loves Me, posing in a David Elfin coat and toting a Celine handbag at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin. In the brief caption that accompanies the pictures, seeming to betray a fundamental misunderstanding about the memorial’s purpose, Diaz notes “the good thing is that it doesn’t make you think about the past, only the future, and that's something I love being involved with.”
A fair number of people, myself included, took exception to this post for reasons that hardly need explaining but which – having witnessed the risible “but, he posed RESPECTFULLY” defense doing the rounds – I shall outline briefly. The Holocaust Memorial (or The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in full) is a large site in central Berlin which has been set aside as a place to remember, and reflect upon, the worst atrocity in modern history. It’s there in its uncompromising form so that we do not forget the millions of victims of the Holocaust, and it acts as a reminder that we must never allow anything similar to happen again.
Everybody who visits the memorial will react to it in a slightly different way, but using it as a conduit for your own vapid self-promotion and vanity is not just wildly inappropriate, but is also downright offensive. You don’t need to have studied history, or watched Schindler’s List, or have Jewish friends (many of whom can tell you first hand the appalling ways in which their parents or grandparents were tortured and killed) to realise this. All it takes is a modicum of intelligence and decency.
You can almost sense the thought process. Here I am in Berlin (no doubt on some promotional junket paid for by a B-list mid-market brand), better do the tourist sites to get some snaps to feed my followers – perfect for showing how worldly and cultivated I am. These big concrete blocks look cool… a bit like that directional, geometric shoot in Vogue Italia with Karlie Kloss (or whoever). And apparently they’re totally deep and meaningful too. It will make a great story, how it’s all about me, and my future, and how I strive to be brave in my fight against anti-product placement legislation for blogs, and sartorial mediocrity. Boyfriend! Get 250 frames of me now. Move the camera to the left a bit, would you, my Balenciaga shoes aren’t visible enough. No, not that shot, it will never do. I don’t look nearly reflective enough. How about we try without the sunglasses? What if I relax my mouth a bit more? No that’s just not working… what about with the Celine bag to the side? Yes! Loving it! Sooo chic. Let’s scurry back to the hotel, Instagram the fruit bowl, then spend four hours Photoshopping the pictures for my blog. It’s all about ME right now. Apparently this one time some Jews died or something?
Still not seeing the problem, but sensing trouble brewing after the post went live, Diaz posted a perplexed, half-baked apology on his Facebook page (“I don't think [the images] are disrespectful or inappropriate in any way… I apologize if Ive hurt anybody’s feelings”). Many commenters on the apology post were supportive, also failing to see the problem, and painting a sad picture of fashion-obsessed youth online. Perhaps the “it’s all about ME, and my celebrity, and my personal narrative” culture among young people, which right-wing newspapers frequently bemoan, is more real and more widespread than I thought. Either way, I would have drawn a line under the incident as youthful misadventure (and hoped, optimistically perhaps, that Diaz would later spend 15 minutes on the Holocaust Wikipedia page educating himself) until another character entered the scene: Bryan Yambao.
Closer to 40 than 20 (read: old enough to know better), and a sometime presenter on the TV series America’s Next Top Model as well as a blogger at BryanBoy.com, Bryan Yambao tweeted in support of Diaz “So according to rabid PC trolls on the internet, we now shouldn’t photograph ourselves at memorials...” linking to a picture of himself, at the same memorial, staring vacantly into the distance. “I can’t stand extreme political correctness” Yambao affirmed. Listen, I’ll be the first to admit that ‘Twitter lynching’ and people over-reacting to perceived ‘offence’ online is tiresome, and sometimes a problem, but in this case it was sad to see a figure like Yambao, who is lauded by designers and fashion editors alike, attempt to dismiss a genuinely serious question as “extreme political correctness” perpetuated by “rabid PC trolls.” And how brave, and how provocative, of him to post a picture of himself at the same memorial, also looking like a brainless twat in badly-selected clothes. The defiance! The solidarity! The anarchy!
I hope that some of the respected fashion industry types, who have rushed to tell us how “outrageous” and “hilarious” Bryan Boy is, will reconsider their position. I hope that the sad Tweeters and Facebook commenters, whose profile pictures are of themselves staring blankly into cameraphones reflected back in the mirrors of public lavatories, wearing gaudy accessories and Les Plus Dorés ‘designer team’ T-shirts, who rushed to defend Diaz and Yambao with comments like “He didn't wear a swastika, he didn't do anything vulgar. So what's so disrespectful?” are representative of an uneducated minority. I hope that Pelayo and Bryan Boy’s dim little brains light up and realise that homosexuals were also murdered during the Nazi rule, making the whole thing slightly closer to home than they would imagine. It’s not just a matter of concrete blocks and some oversensitive people on the internet. There’s a bigger picture.
Posted by Hapsical at 16:49