Dries Van Noten: cavorting with women from my village

My collection of print skirts — not much of one, so I use the word "collection" loosely — reveals my (almost) unequivocal love for Dries Van Noten (and Marni) prints. The shimmering silks and brilliant palettes exude a refined air of self-assuredness; paired with monotone tops, the effect is a lesson in elegant sublimity. I wish they'd paid me for my plugs on twitter during the early summer months. I also use the term 'summer' very loosely.

Some sorting out... Haven't I declared this string of letters that spells "tribal" non existent. Except in the real sense of the word — ummm, the world is made of tribes of people. Say what you will — what exactly does "tribal" mean? A simpleton's catchall term reserved for describing ideas, artifacts etc from the African, South American and Asian (sometimes excluding Russia, China and Japan) continents. In its most often misused and misconstrued sense, the word is undoubtedly a lazy — and derogatory — appellation, propagated in western societies' dialogues; and because it connotes everything, it means nothing. Gimme a break, will ya?! Same thing with frigging "ethnic". Where's the Oxford dictionary committee when one needs help?!! Or to whom should I be making a complaint?!

So yes, Dries Van Noten's spring 2010 collection, a revival, if you will, of the fashion house's distinctive éclat was — and is — continually described as tribal, ethnic... [Hilary Alexander (still love her!) of the Telegraph, ventured... unusual. Oh dear...]

But if anything, my love for Van Noten continues to thrive because this darling man is finally revealing that he loves lots of chocolate in his milk. Oooh la la! I mean where else did he dream up some of the inspiration for his spring collection? Sending his models in a mix of delicious prints: an Uzbekistan cum Indian Ikat print here and there, and more auspiciously, prints that I like to think have their origin in West Africa. Prints, popularly called ankara, that women in my village/ummm... the entire of Nigeria!! have been sporting from time immemorial. And when donned like skirts, they looked suspiciously like tied wrappers. (Ask me later what that means, if you don't know. And just look at the pictures!) I mean seriously!! Love to death!! I'm not going to go off on the same tangent — as no doubt — some people will, and as happens quite frequently with Mr Van Noten and Matthew Williamson (whose ornate prints and embellishments are to die for as well). I whole-heartedly revel in the joy of wrapper-skirts from Nigeria on the runways of Paris, love. But I will say that I absolutely adore and continue look forward to celebrating fabrics from indigenous designers.

Pics from style.com

Bijoux-encrusted bisous.


Burberry Prorsum (a short letter to my cousin)

Yesterday evening, my lovely cousin signed into facebook and told me — very simply — that she wasn't going to the Burberry show/after-party with this oh so handsome male model (totally drool-worthy, no joke!!). *Cue:green-eyed, suffocating gasp* I still can't decide if I'm teed off she refused a rendezvous with Mr. model,1 or the fact that this was Bur!berry! we're talking about!!
Dear Cousin,

I've a reserved love-hate relationship for Burberry. It's complicated.2

Anyhow, not only were the front rows of the modish gleaming white tent taken hostage by young Brit VIPs natch (Emma Watson, Beckham — well she's 40 or so, no? sheesh you know I live for these people), but more importantly, Christopher Bailey managed, once again, to reinvent the trench; reaffirming the meaning of the latin word Prorsum ((ever) forward) in the brand's name. The famed trench was shorter — mini length! — in a myriad of metallic-tinged nudes and shiny sherbet pastels (not so crazy about). And it was all offered up in a most admirable openwork of draped/pleated fabrics through the garment body, which, in many instances, culminated in beautiful puckerings at the shoulders.

And the back views of the pieces... Love! love! because there's nothing worse than relegating one's aesthetics to the front of a piece only, especially when it can be replicated (to some extent) at the back. (It happens quite often for some odd reason, usu. having to do with costs I imagine!)

The mere short lengths of the trenches in glimmering stiff silks is super and terribly chic; and well, a beautifully-executed marketing maneuver that will ensure that Watson and friends can't wait for a piece of the action come spring. And me too!! I mean my love for barely-there-thigh-grazing shirts and dresses sans trousers (eeeck!) knows no bounds. Now I can experiment with chic trenches too!!

If the silver tinsel that rained from heaven to crown the show a success and the end of LFW (25th anniversary, hence the silver!) wasn't enough, the after-party at the brand's HQ set up mac computer stations for b.l.o.g.g.e.r.s. and writers — ummm... everyone! — to tweet and b.l.o.g. their views about the show. Hell yeah! The trend favouring b.l.o.g.g.e.r.s. (still hate that word!) in every industry continues on the upswing. I can only imagine the ingratiating frenzy. Another genius ploy... Thumbs up B Prorsum. But seriously, imagine the sheer serendipity of standing next to Carine Roitfeld, she's pretending to stare into space while looking sideways at your blog and silently confirming or revoking your pages in her mental rolodex! Yum! She'll make or break you in a few. Dear cousin that could have been you! Okay, you don't b.l.o.g! But, Mlle Roitfeld may have asked for your fbook page or something!

Yes, this tinsel trench (poor excuse for a pic, left) will be a recurring must-have silver in all fashion mags. Wicked.

How does this work in this sleeveless trench piece? Is it a wear-over-the-head kind of dress?? The thought isn't very sexy. I'd rather a secret network of folding closures. I still love it! Pics from Burberry and Style Runway

Pretty kisses.

1. Pics of this man do him no justice. I want to lick chocolate sauce off his abs. I hate chocolate sauce.
2. Burberry, like Vuitton, Gucci... the brand everyone wants to have. The thing is I love plaid and I especially love Burberry plaid because it's beige base fabric gives it a decidedly lightness (in color, that is) that Ralph Lauren's ink blue or A. McQueen's red/black cannot have. It could be this same lightness in color, drawing attention to the wearer, that makes me so sad when I see what I imagine as wads of plaid on an individual — male or female — over a certain size. I'm sorry. NO. And actually, I'm almost certain I cannot look at a man wearing a Burberry plaid shirt.

mr orwell.

And more pleasantries. *snickers*

I've been to London to see the Queen.

Speaking of, I'll get straight to the point, the stingray Orwells from Mr Hare in London (now available at Oki-ni and Dover St. mkt. Le sigh. Dover St!). I've been dying to write about these shoes; but, as my (paternal) grandma would say, "procrastination is the theft of time, and..." I'm just getting to it.

[A moment.]
I'm at a loss for words, really, to describe — adequately — how I feel about these shoes. First, my love for men's shoes is turning out to be something insane. The smile that forms in my eyes from glimpsing a most perfect pair arises somewhere deep inside me, a most visceral pleasurable ache. Painstakingly repressed, and thankfully too, my otherwise unbridled love affair for size enormous brogues and loafers causes me to pause at the men's dept. for unduly unbecoming amounts of time.1

Mr Hare, the 'shoeist', as he calls himself — I respectfully offer a silent applaud — offers a bit of insight into his thinking when it comes to this shoe; as he does with all his pieces. Each shoe is named an alias, of sorts, so the Orwell is actually Mr. Orwell. Read it.

I wonder he didn't just name this pair (Mr.) Ordell...

"The line [When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room. Accept no substitutes.] delivered by Samuel L Jackson as Ordell Robbie in the Tarrantino movie ‘Jackie Brown’ was the only sentence that came into my head every time I looked at the Orwell," he writes.
But, Orwell undoubtedly makes me think of the Animal Farm writer pen-named George Orwell, who was something of a democratic (revolutionary) socialist, if he was anything (other than a passionate writer). The possible irony. I imagine a man in these precious puppies running across a field of Lord knows what... *gasp!!*

He continues, "...Mr. Hare is of Jamaican decent and being such, my [Mr Hare's] night time shoes have always been top priority."
Of course, I'm immediately leaping to the conclusion that Jamaican men pride themselves in possessing fine pairs of dress shoes?! *slight, albeit ever reverential furrowing of the brows*
Really Mr Hare?? Forgive me, I can only imagine awful green and ochre-colored 'leathers' — and I use the word loosely — chosen — ditto! — to match the wearer's frightful summer suit! But then what do I know?! My perception stems from a rather vague recollection of scenes from "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" from another lifetime.2

But, all this is to say... I've summed it up quite nicely: All I want for Christmas to be on the arm of the man (naturally over 6'1, loves) sporting a pair of these shoes. Me in minimal clothing, naturally3, and what-would-be a revamped pair of this season's Balenciaga (slitted) booties (perhaps with the upper in matching stingray! umm yay!!) and the heel, a gleaming brownish steel materializing as part of the outer sole encasing bits of the rubber platform. I could make you a picture on illustrator and photoshop. I might try. Go over to at style.com and drool over this season's 'ciagas, I beg of you.

Double sugar kisses on each cheek and hugs.
It's been too long!!

1. Occasionally, I've become an incongruous feature at the men's shoe dept. So of course, the sales people must make an already awkward situation just a tad more painful. "Would you like any help, Miss?" "Are you looking for a gift? For your boyfriend, perhaps?" I just need said bf to materialize and make an honest woman out of me as I continue to lie to these poor souls... "Why yes! I'm looking for something for my bf, I'll let you know if I need any help, thank you" How else could I explain my presence??
2. I've become a cynical, condescending American, when I am much better suited as an international woman of mystery. I must return to London ASAP!
3. I wouldn't want to detract from the lovely awesomeness of his/our shoes!!


chic simplicity life lesson #99: b is for bold-colored blazer

For reasons completely unidentified ― and really, inconsequential whatever they'd be ― I want a cherry red blazer. I've been admiring these two pieces for the past month or so. You might say there's nothing incredibly remarkable about either blazer, especially to warrant their RRPs. True. But doesn't the cherry brightness just make you cheery.

I've resolved to keep an eye out for Rag & Bone's piece, pictured right, (Browns) (and Neiman's, Bergdorf's, and Barneys, in store) once it's sale season (which, by the way, you'd think folks would be smart enough to start sales much earlier this year! People are hardly buying anything! Sheesh!!). The blazer by DSquared (Luisa Via Roma) seems very well cut. But it's got a cropped back vent ― striking detail, yes, but not one I particularly like; I'd thought about extending it with a similar fabric in black, if I ever got the jacket. Perhaps more importantly, at almost thirteen hundred dollars the jacket is over twice the price of the Rag & Bone piece!! So I'm biding my time. I've also been on staple blazer territories, JCrew and Ralph Lauren; nothing in just plain red (yet! keeping my fingers crossed.)

Cherry kisses.


a little pep in your step (boys)!

As I contemplated what'd recently caught my eye in men's fashions ― but, never really taken root in my consciousness because, well, I'm not shopping for any men! ― I exhausted my brain recalling some of the most inspiring and innovative contemporary brands/names I'd heard floating around. An hour, two crosswords and a slice of quiche later...
Nope, nothing.

You see, for 'it' to have even the slightest bit of flair for the typical gentleman, (true, even when dressing women) one has got to take one's cues, very frequently, from brazen, avant-garde designers who aren't afraid to go to extremes. Most certainly, you'll find a striking detail to make your own from the designer's seemingly Gordian, or ― *ahem* crazy absurd ― runway pieces, for instance. And yes, of its on accord, my mind was running amok with selfish desires to recreate such (essentially) male details/pieces to fit myself as a woman.

It was in this despairingly distracted state that I thought of love potion Number (N)ine. And thank the Lord for men.style.com, because I couldn't remember the designer's name, Takahiro Miyashita. Now, I know not very men ― actually, I can't even think of a single male friend ― that would look favorably at Miyashita's ensembles, well, as they appeared on the runway (pics, men.style.com). And I get it. You really don't want to look like a bleach-blond Juliette Gréco channeling a disconcerted, hallucinating Renaissance androgyne sans paint brush (this spring, left pic) or Ali Baba's step-son, reincarnated, and still running from the sharia police (fall collection). I don't want you to either.

But, let's look a little closely at the brilliance of a series of shoes Miyashita showed for this spring season. The uppers are actually made from heavy rich jacquard, the kind normally used in curtains, yep drapery! Have you seen anything like it?? I haven't, and I think it's charming. I mean, seriously, worn with a pair of your usual (ho-hum *chuckle* plain) linen shorts/trousers or sport coat/blazer ensemble say for spring, it's bound to give you a little more oomph in your step. I'd totally do a double take!! Really, let's think about it: I'm not asking you to go crazy because you'd still be in your regular (more or less presentable) clothes; your shoes would just be a little more special. *smile* (at Number (N)ine, Brownsfashion)

So I decided to search out more of such interesting (proper) shoes (brogues, oxfords etc. wait, there are only three?! shoe options for you poor, poor men!). I found some, nothing more in jacquard like I was hoping.

I showed the Martin Margiela's confetti sneakers (I h.a.t.e. sneakers), but compare it to the proper shoes (of which I'm now a huge! fan) and which I could only find on darling site, LuxuryCulture. It's exquisite decadence. The confetti pieces on both the sneakers and the proper shoes ― I think these are derbies, I can't tell the difference ― are supposed to fall off with time, carrying on the uniqueness of the shoes. Gosh I'm in love. (with shoes I can't even own! or can I?)

Top: Raf Simons, Colette Paris; Middle: Gucci, Saks, Neiman's, Gucci; Bottom: Sneakers: MMM, Brownsfashion, or Eluxury.

Big kisses.


le smoking

I have this thing: a love for women ― no, no men this time, just women ― smoking in fashion eds. I know, I know... whatever. And you know, it's really a complex concept that measures, very carefully, the chicness factor and (usually) sex appeal of the entire spread.

I don't feel like writing or I'd go into detail. Maybe sometime later, when I forget completely that I sat through Larry King interviewing Joan Rivers' face the other night. No, I still don't know what they were talking about. I couldn't think, much less move my hands to change the channel, I was just paralyzed, in awe of the wonder that is Ms Rivers' bust (sculpture, that is). Both puns intended. Anyway, Kate Moss in this studded Balmain jackie got me thinking... Yes, she's a badd! ass! and I'd so steal that jacket from her. (No, I don't smoke, let's not talk ethics, just enjoy the pics) I think I want to do a spread just like hers. Now.Tom Ford gets an honorary mention. Haha. You know I love this man!

Kiss. Kiss. Don't get too close, I don't wanna smell the ciggie on your breath. Thanks.


mlle roitfeld: cnn

Bonjour tout le monde.
Oui, c'est Mlle Roitfeld! Je paresse ...pense à son éclat parisien.
CNN Video: Carine Roitfeld

La fin.
Tu ceci appele une entrée ?!! Shame haha


soft iridescence (and a djebellah i'm crazy for) from sophie theallet

It's the airiness of the overlaid, silk chiffons in her spring pieces; each layer, a single color ― primarily ― emerging softly, shimmering into a mellow iridescence. It's what struck me about Sophie Théallet's first showing at NY fashwk last September. Then, add a smattering of floral: subdued, and yet, eye-catching, eye-pleasing.

Pics: Style.com, Top: Spring. Bottom: Fall.

Just as I sat musing about the Native American influences in Théallet's fall collection (on her (seemingly) bohemian flair), I reverted to that djellabah piece from her spring collection. How perfectly chic! And what if I could wear it both 'as is' and as a djellabah-mini, of sorts; the two bottom tiers a removable piece?? I'm serious. Brilliant, no?? And at least I'd have two pieces for the pricey one.

Yes, she did use all black models for her spring show debut last September. Frankly, I'm amazed; as I did not know there were that many black models in my great America.
No, she was not making a political statement, she'd said. The colors just looked better on brown skin.
― No, I don't believe the former (statement) one bit. (Okay, a 95% degree certainty.)
― Duhhh?!!! re the latter notion. I think you'd be hard pressed to find colors that didn't look much better on brown skin.

PS. Her spring pieces debuted on Eluxe just about the same time the fall collections started showing. Pretty fast huh?? Well, she did spend ten years at Alaïa.

Beaucoup de bisous!