When in Rome

The gladiator sandals are fading away but the Roman inspiration is back in a new shape thanks to Givenchy. These buckled wingtips are both aggressive and sexy (no small challenge for a man's shoe). Thanks to Amanda at IS MENTAL for the heads up.

Art theft

You're in a creative mood and an idea comes that you feel is unique. You start working on it and you execute the idea to the best of your ability. Not too long after you are surprised and upset. The idea isn't new at all, its been done before and with a mature trained approach you aren't quite capable of. If you have ever worked in any of the arts or sciences you've probably come across this scenario more times than you'd like. I've personally designed things and seen them show up in films or on a shelf. It's frustrating.

The best you can do is make that idea your own and take it in a fresh direction. Look at it another way. Nothing's new, but anything can be made new in an updated context, or with the help of your unique personality and background. This problem frequently challenges the modern artist. Embrace your predecessors, borrow, and rob your ancestors for their greatest contributions. "Bad artists copy. Great artists steal."

And for your consideration, look for the traces of the masters found in the work of Peter Doig. I see bits of Bonnard,Monet, and Bruegel as well. What do you see?


Oh Kanye...

Mr. West is seen above in a pullover from his new line Pastelle. So far I am not impressed, I feel the same way about the piece seen above as I do those revealed in Vman a couple of months ago, and as I do about his new album. Obvious design choices are deployed in obvious ways. The 80s style colorblocking has been done better. Conspicuous logos are another demonstration of tastes lacking of sophistication.

808's and Heartbreak, West's new album, breaks from his tradition of creating catchy hip hop singles by producing what is essentially a hip hop infused pop album owes more to Peter Gabriel than perhaps any hip hop album ever. For me the stand out track is Say What You Will where this moody new wave sound comes together best. Lyrically, the album delves into emotional depths that don't suit his limited vocabulary and at times the narratives become unintentionally hilarious. When comparing his life to that of a family man he juxtaposes photos of a man's children to the rapper's cribs and his many cars. Boo-hoo. This feeling of emptiness is quickly replaced by more expected reveling in riches on other tracks, don't worry. The biggest element to weigh down the album is the nonstop autotuner usage which reminds us of the less interesting Genesis member, Phil Collins.

Kanye calls himself "the voice of our generation". Frankly, I'm not even worried about that being true. It rings as hollow as any other self-promotional statement rappers throw out casually.


The Silver Lining of the Recession

See you in hell Crocs.

Crocs Inc (CROX.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) posted a deep quarterly loss on Wednesday as sales of its colorful plastic shoes plunged and it racked up high restructuring costs, sending its shares down 37 percent in extended trade.

...In addition to crumbling U.S. consumer spending, news that Crocs can get caught in escalators and cause injuries has also hurt the company, together with the plethora of knock-off shoes in the marketplace, and a recent European Union ruling that a Crocs patent is invalid.


Caballero Samurai

Sometimes ambiguity is where its at. In this case, its somewhere comfortably between a poncho and a kimono. Another reason to love Oak.

Mood Material

Sometimes inspiration comes like lightning breaking across a quiet evening. Years ago when I watched Belle De Jour my attention went into overdrive at the introduction of Marcel played by Pierre Clementi. Here was a stylishly painted infant terrible. He was as sharp and cool as juvenile. As weak and confused as he was dangerous and careless. In some ways he was like me. At the time I was suffering physically and financially. I was living in a loft in Brooklyn with no windows and infested with vermin. I took up chainsmoking over the dinnertable with my roomates and I became almost exclusively nocturnal. I was rarely seen without my black bowler, or my black opera hat.

However, far from being dour and introspective I was passionate and restless. Marcel didn't just inspire my style he embodied my disembodied restless mood and gave it a dramatic narrative.

The power of style is the power to transform the self. The right jacket and the right tie can elevate one's self-esteem, yes. But style permeates to the inner recesses of the soul. It colors one's attitude.


Action sports

Catching up on updates today. My sister gave me a new board for my birthday and I've been breaking it in. One of the things I love about New York is the variety of styles people have in skate culture. An Adam Kimmel suit might be a bit over the top for the insane speeds these guys are going. They are practically flying around curvy roads in the hills.

Adam Kimmel presents: Claremont HD from adam kimmel on Vimeo.

Elegant "Fuck You" Clothes

Refined taste is a long list of dislikes. The people that I admire most love their craft so much that they have a highly tuned bullshit filter. It's easy to be offended by good taste because one sees his favorite things impugned and even casual affections challenged but its healthy to be able to withstand passion and disagreement. Slavish devotion to anything is to be avoided at all cost. It leads to a blindness of the mind.

That said I think Flusser's position on wearability a bit stifling on first impression, but its not implausible. His attitude makes me homesick for New York. In the video below Flusser talks about how clueless Hollwood celebrities are about dressing and the difference between style and fashion. Enjoy.


Incentive to doubt #10,284,301

Does god exist?


Premium denim apparel vendor True Religion Apparel Inc.’s 75.6 percent leap in third-quarter profits blew past analysts’ estimates and prompted an increase in its full-year guidance.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the jeans and sportswear marketer reported net income of $15.4 million, or 64 cents a diluted share, compared with $8.8 million, or 37 cents a share, in the same year-ago period. Net sales were up 63.9 percent to $79.4 million, from $48.4 million. Analysts polled by Yahoo expected earning per share of 47 cents on sales of $65.8 million.

No, there is no god. While most retail crumbles into a fine powder, the least worthy agent in the denim market is still buoyed by the guys with the banker stripe shirts and square-toed alligators. Fuck.


The Discreet Charm of D&G

Its easy to love the little guy. The underdog excites us because though we don't share her talent we share her awkward newness. And then there are the big guys. The incumbents. Every so often the well-muscled brands that have fallen into irrelevance or worse, parody, wake up. These are the sleeping giants of fashion.

Versace got a shot in the arm a year ago from their consultant ex-Cloak maestro Alexandre Plokhov. The marriage of utility and masculine details with italian youthfulness is working. Lanvin has been incredibly impressive as of late leading the catwalks with dandified looks.

And then there are brands like D&G who are producing attractive campaings...but. Something isn't quite winning about the line yet. The silhouette is streamlined, yes. The fabrics are luxurious, yes. But there is a certain je ne se quoi lacking that could push it right over the edge. The jetset style is cool but the slickness of the materials make the line far too chilly. The advertisement campaigns are nice though.



Target & McQueen

WWD reports
Target is launching a new line called Designer Collaborations. The first partner for the new imprint will be genius fashion icon Alexander McQueen. This is change we can believe in!

Retro, Vintage, Ancient History

Lova is a young menswear design label whose name means kinship. They are one of many new houses targeting a growing group of young male professionals who have fun dressing up and whose social life requires a hint of flair. The current collection showcases a range of tailored suited up looks with a few smart details such as the hem fastening on a wool blazer. The most unusual thing about the brand is that it comes from L.A. Perhaps the old Hollywood elegance of the 50s and 60s is what they are going for. Lova is one of many current menswear designers fascinated by this era and referencing it heavily in tailoring and skinny ties.

It's no suprise that after a period of grunge and anti-fashion we would find ourselves in a decade of glamour and retro-chic. Once the iconoclasts have overstretched their case they leave the style conscious no choice but to return to the fundamentals. Fashion has always looked backwards to go forwards and sometimes with mixed results. Case in point: Bernhard Wilhelm's most confusing experiment with medieval costume. The show was a mix of theatrical costume and sometimes garish carnival. The line between the sins we love and the sins we hate is ambiguous but I believe that the weakness of the show was is that it lacked a consistent contemporary hook besides styling and color choices.

This is one of the tamer looks from the show.

Dark Chocolate

Happy People reports on this decadent, gothic confection from Douglas Little and Valerie Confections. It makes the sinfulness of chocolate a bit obvious, no? Well, it may look like the face of death but its a low calorie spectre.


And the title for best Halloween costume of 2008 goes to...

Heidi Klum

The Morning After The Night of The Living Dead

This post is a shade late for the holiday. I apologize, but yesterday was my birthday and my favorite of all official celebration day-things. No I didn't get anything special but if Santa makes off-season deliveries:

I want this absurdly cool trench by Harmon a mere 2,320 dollars. I know you live on the euro Santa so keep the conversion rate in mind...

...these shades from Cutler...

...an assorted treat bag of Rugby ties would keep me on the straight and narrowish road at least until New Years.

...and maybe a dvd of this soon to be released film:

Otto; or, Up With Dead People directed by Bruce LaBruce. Zombies + Love + Metafiction. Could be genius or a trainwreck but I've heard positive things from the grapevine. We'll see...