alexander mcqueen cruise 2011

(images via fashionologie)

having recently seen sarah burton’s first complete collection for alexander mcqueen, with the rumpled menswear show she put out, we’re now treated her direction for women. 

finding inspiration with samurais and hans bellmer dolls, she said the show was about “juxtapos(ing) the pale and the delicate with the bold and armorial. It’s about a highly structured torso that gives way to a more fluid silhouette or drop waists that lead to a finned trouser or skirt.” 

meanwhile, the kids at tfs seem to approve of the collection, as does wwd and others in comment sections.  this is intriguing because it still remains to be seen how the label will perform with a certain designer now departed.  i, frankly, was expecting the remarks to be much harsher. 

that, though, would be unfair, as not only has she had one of the firmest hands in the company’s design all along, but the collection, in and of itself, is stunning.  it manages to straddle the lines of both commercial and creative, giving enough hints of the late designer without ever trying to trump his own work. 

the only thing left now will be to see how the line sells.  given that public perception of the label is up, hopefully it will go fast and she’ll be given more than that brief dalliance most are treated to in the director’s chair before being sent on their way.

having a newer, female perspective at the label could do it some good.  had the man still been around, the dress above would have boasted giant, exaggerated hips.  and there are maybe four women in the world looking for those.  say hello to the new sexy. 

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thom browne menswear spring 2011

(images via style)

just because the fall women’s runways were full of schoolgirls doesn’t mean guys can’t get in on the trend & for spring thom browne is there to remind us of just what happens when we have legions of men valiantly struggling to recapture their lost youth. 

it also, meant, apparently, that he takes custom orders for the palin kids’ tea party rally suits, such as the one above, which wouldn’t look out of place on anyone standing around primly nodding as sarah rallies on about how women need to be given a choice already & be forced to have babies. 

seriously, though the collection, which style deemed his most “commercial”, focused on taking most of the leg off his already shrunken suits, sometimes mis-matching them or pairing them with bright socks, and, occasionally, sprucing them up with little fish and other fun animals to count while you wait for your mommy to pay at the grocery store. 

the cuts, as always, were pristine, as were the selection of fabrics.  it was simply that, in most cases, unless you’re under the age of 10, you’re not going to have much use for the shorts.  (he even closed the show with a parade of tuxedos.)

maybe i’m simply missing the point of menswear, which is definitely possible, but it feels sometimes that they’re out of touch with who men are.  and that they’re not all a bunch of flashy tarts, looking to quell some interest with their bright red socks, floral prints, or embellished speedos.  yes, i know a few like that, but the vast majority like simple, beautiful tailoring and not so much lookatme!lookatme!lookatme!  but i guess that’s when we get the homeless dude thing so many of the other designers are giving us.  maybe we just can’t win.

ann demeulemeester menswear spring 2011

(images via style)

ann demeulemeester mixed it up for the s/s 2011 season, showing a preppy jockey-esque show that, for the kids who wanted something different, would be sure to satisfy and left those of us yearning for a new collection of drape-y, rockin’ rags a little miffed. 

the first half was cast in white, while the second were the looks again, always in black although sometimes done with leather.  we’ve seen a similar concept recently in brazil, with embellishments or no, but it played nicer here, stripping the idea down to color alone. 

it was an interesting juxtaposition, the drastic change evident in something as simple as color, and although i know it’s easy to argue that one finds the same thing at kmart everyday, it’s a bit different when you’re faced with the nonsense in a complete look form, rounded out with brooding models. 

as ever, the construction of the pieces was brilliant and we’ve at least got a few drooping things to make us happy, should we be the market for them.  though it’s not likely, it’s certainly possible that someone is looking for something a bit less severe from this house.  but now they’ve had a season, some dead crows are in order for next. 

the clear tip-jar heels

(image via ny mag)

although this picture has been drawing wrath from various types who want to denounce the owner of these shoes on the basis of her extreme youth, i think that’s beside the point.  (i’d like to use this opportunity to note if the lady in question were one g, everyone would be yammering about the clever use of satire here.  well.) 

anyway, i’m neither particularly acquainted with this shoe woman, nor care to be.  the only thing i need to know is that she appears to be resurrecting the courtney love look from the early nineties with less class and more ww2-era german brothel appeal.  it’s one of the better outfits i’ve seen this week.  someone buy this lady a drink. 

viktor & rolf menswear spring 2011

(images via style)

the spring 2011 menswear collection of viktor & rolf was inspired by the designers imagining “Hollywood stars holidaying in Biarritz in the forties”.  

what this meant for you & me was much of the same as what we’ve been offered all season long…pretty boys in pretty clothes, plenty of options for them, then, and a lot of hot shoes for everyone. 

in other news, if you like your outfits a little more aggressively male, you’re going to get a free pass to shop a lot cheaper come early next year.  so i suppose we all win. 

comments on recent scandals

recently there have been many burblings on topics i normally would have much to comment on, but haven’t had the will or the energy for.  namely, all the american apparel outpourings of scandalous employee restrictions and derek blasberg allegedly asking ysl to front him some cash for a party he was already compensated by style.com to cover. 

why?  i’ve asked myself.  why are these companies no one claims to like (current financial statements support this as well) and writers no one claims to read (don’t think anyone who pays him cares whether it’s quality writing or not.  we have so little good fashion journalism, we take what we can & read it anyway.) matter?  so i reasoned i would just let them go, as they don’t…not to me, at least.  by giving them attention, i’m simply acknowledging that they are, even in some tiny way, relevant.  besides, other people, especially on jezebel, have already made a lot of intelligent points on the subjects & covered what i’ve wanted to say. 

but still, it seems, there’s one problem i haven’t seen covered.  many people, whether they are mounting arguments in defense or no seem to reason, “other people do it, so what is the problem?”  and this is a comment i cannot abide.  let’s break it down, as these are different cases.

with american apparel the problem is largely with the dress codes & policing employee’s personal hygiene/looks.  (i’m not going to address anything which seems to be hearsay here, although it any of those allegations are true…)  yes, it is true many companies enforce some sort of a dress code, usually to make sure employees are neat & well-groomed.  fine.  however, the problem herein is largely in the way this particular company attempts to enforce the dress code, such as telling employees that glasses frames must be updated (although perhaps not everyone has the cash to buy a new pair, particularly as they’re working retail & not earning much) and that they may have no visible body art (never mind that it’s fairly certain the core american apparel customer doesn’t mind or already has tattoos/piercings.  and if that one doesn’t work, most high fashion models do.  tattoos are visible on the chanel runway, as they are on many designer brands, none of which seem to mind, even if they’re a more sophisticated label.)

furthermore, when people try to advance the argument, “if you don’t like it, don’t work there”, i’m very frustrated.  as someone who has been forced by circumstance on more than one occasion to hold a retail job, it’s not always that easy.  sometimes you simply need the money & it doesn’t help that so many of these companies feel they can tell you what (or what not) to put on your skin & look in your urine before they decide you’re capable of running a cash register.  i’ve shopped at am apparel on various occasions in the past & sincerely do not remember what the employees looked like.  because i don’t care.  because they have nothing to do with either me or my life and certainly nothing to do with whether the company carries type of pants i’m attempting to locate for that evening.  however, they can be nice/helpful.  this is sincerely more important at this level of the game than whether i might find them “offensive” (or whatever they’re going for) by the sight of a gauge or presence of liquid foundation. 

it is frankly very frustrating to have people (ahem, ny mag, ahem) announce that a job-seeker should just go look for other employment, particularly at more interesting stores such as patricia field.  yes, i’m sure we’d all of us love to work there, or some random vintage store or boutique where we’re treated like family, but not all of us have the option.  first of all, there is competition for those jobs, as people know how much better it would be than working for american apparel, in pay if not just in perks.  additionally, there aren’t as many companies like that around as there are am aps & abercrombies & american eagles, which is all the more reason those companies need to change.  it’s not just about a dress code, it’s about not policing the lives of your employees, whom are being  paid less-than-living wages, anyway.  but instead, despite being treated as less than an adult, one has to make that low-paying job the center of the universe.  and remember that journalists are hunched about, waiting to hear gossip at nearby foodcourt tables.  to some extent, surely a dress code is reasonable.  but to strip away any pretense of employees’ personality is just ridiculous, particularly as in this case, american apparel is calling out minor issues that few would notice, anyway.  and probably offending customers with their stringent stance on how employees (and thereby the ideal ‘american apparel person’) should look. 

then there is the matter of blasberg.  many people, including the biased fashionista, have defended him, alleging that getting some type of compensation for editorial coverage is merely part of the game.  maybe it is, and maybe it’s not…i don’t really know, as in my professional writing career, i’ve never been advanced anything.  (although i should add here that once, when working for a retailer, a particular company gave me two free pairs of shoes.  although i wasn’t partial to the styles, i was so flattered i’ve since looked fondly on that manufacturer.  it’s human nature, i think, to repay a “kindness” with “kindness”, remembering those who do you favors more fondly than those who don’t.  whatever you want to say about being impartial, it’s harder when you’re in that situation.)  but the question still remains: just because it may be done, is it right?

to put it as fucking bluntly as possible, no.  and i think that’s a fallacious argument, merely put forward by the disaffected or those who are afraid their perks may be revoked in the midst of such a scandal.  and even is blasberg is called out, will it continue?  probably.  and will it still have been worth it, this blood sacrifice?  hell yes.  one might argue that there is political corruption in any organization or industry, with whipping-boys dragged out from time to time to be made example of.  certainly this doesn’t clean up the entire practice, but at least the people can feel there is some semblance of integrity, that no one can flagrantly disobey the rules without paying some price for it. 

and if blasberg is left alone, with everything hushed up, how will we be affected?  i believe we’ll all shuffle away, mutterings continuing to haunt him for years, with each of us becoming just a little more cynical, a little more suspicious, feelling like the divide between “us and them”, or those who have power in the fashion industry, is just a little bit greater, that they are so insulated nothing save an actual crime can dethrone them.  no lives will be wrecked, and probably, style.com will only lose a few readers.  but will it advance the cause of fashion as a legitimate industry?  no.  will it help fashion journalism to rise in the ranks of society’s estimation of “good” writing?  i hardly need to answer that. 

i believe if we let these companies go with any mere “that’s how the world works”, we’re not only hurting the industry, we’re hurting ourselves.  we’re not allowing ourselves the thought that we deserve better, that we deserve journalists who don’t, essentially, lie to us, or companies who blatantly discriminate.  this is our world.  we can shape it.  but not if we just dismiss those things that make us angry, telling ourselves we can’t find anything better.  we can.  the revolution is now.