Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Models and Avant-Gardism (Yes, I know that isn't an actual word!)

So i'm about two weeks late in doing this post (OK, maybe three), but I suppose it's better late than never. As usual, I was invited to an event hosted by my friends over at Saint International. This time, it was their annual Fashion Face of the Caribbean finals and their Avant-Garde Designer of the Year award, and as usual, it was a whole lot of canoodling and hobnobbing and fashionizing. 

Say hi to the hopefuls!

Shantel Fitten and last year's Fashion Face winner, Ashane Rose being silly for the camera.

The celebs were out, there was plenty of hair and make-up, and most importantly, some really impressive pieces from the designers. (Present among them were Andre Rowe, Dexter Pottinger and Gregory Williams.)

Dancehall star Cecile looking all pretty

Aneita Moore, 14, 5'10", loves dancing
Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton model, Shena Moulton looking her usual chic self

Me being silly with these two; we're pretty, no?




Anywho- back to the models... They were tall, some dark, some not so much; some striking, some not so much; all young and thing as twigs.

Carl Agapit, 19, 6'3", speaks fluent French

More Shena! Aint she the prettiest thing? By the way, she was a Face of the Caribbean winner one year, too.
Between all the silliness with her, here's what she had to say about this season overseas:
(If you didn't know, she walked for Thakoon, Calvin Klein Chado Ralph Rucci, Peter Som, Ports 1961, Marc by Marc Jacobs among others in New York as well as Kenzo, Anne Valerie Hash and a few others in Paris.)

"This season was fun, I usually have fun every season, but I really enjoyed this season. I have to thank my agent with Muse, Conor Kennedy, for ensuring I had fun and was taken care of. It was too cold in Paris, hated the weather and all I had to eat was eggs and rice everyday."

Now for the designers, the part of the show I was most impressed with! Gregory Williams, my lil friend, won the Avant-Garde competition (I was notified, had to leave before the end) and I am most happy and satisfied with that. Not only was his piece BANG-ING, but, and I say this regardless of him being my friend, I really believe in this guy's talent. We talk all the time and I know his fashion icons- Rihanna, Gaga, McQueen, Viktor&Rolf- so I know for a fact where his head space is at, design- and concept-wise. So now to the piece itself.

Here he is fitting it before the event

And here is the semi-finished thing! Apparently it had more bulbs and such

The piece easily called to mind Gaga and Daphne Guinness, and while he really didn't have the time to explain to me the concept behind it, I still thought it "high" enough. Peep some more pieces from other designers below.

Designers also showed ready-to-wear pieces, too. Here's what caught my eye.

Andre Rowe opted for soft colours and relaxed fabrics

Gregory Williams worked within a chicer framework, incorporating cocktail/evening elements of simple black and white

Dexter Pottinger, as usual, was all about drama, but what I was most impressed with was this kind of toning down of his usual sensibilities- the eye-catching colour was there, the youthfulness was there, but these pieces weren't gaudy at all

 But who I was most surprised to see was Mizzzzz Yola Grey. I haven't seen her pieces on a runway in a while, so naturally, I had to have a lil pow-wow.

DW: So for those who don't know, how long have you been designing?
YG: Too long! (laughs) Since 2000...
DW: What's your take on the local fashion industry?
YG: We're fantastic! We're always making strides, always doing big things! Speaking of which, an entire collection of mine called "Forever Paradise Caribbean Wear" has been bought by the Hilton Hotel in Altamont Springs, Florida. It's a collection of beach wedding wear, versatile pieces relaxed enough to be worn at a beach wedding, but versatile enough to be worn every day after that. And I have a limited jewelry collection coming VERY soon!
DW: That's awesome! Congrats!
YG: Thank you.
DW: Tell me about the collection you're showing tonight.
YG: The pieces are all variations on the rasta culture- eye-catching colours, organic fabrics- and it's a showcase of different textures and fabrics I love working with. Fabrics for me is very important and I sometimes source them myself from UK and India- it has to be perfect! I'm also showing a little preview of some of the type of pieces available at the Hilton in Florida.
DW: I'm curious... Who's your favourite international designer right now?
YG: I really like Tracy Reese and Nicole Miller. Their pieces are very versatile, very chic, and can be dressed up and down, which is exactly what I go for with my designs.

Dexter being silly

Denise channeling McQueen S/S 2010 RTW

All in all, it was a pretty exciting show; the nervousness in the eyes of the young models made being backstage great to be. The designers, too, really stepped their game up, and again, I have to say how proud I am of Gregory Williams.
Saint International, over the years, has become synonymous with churning out fresh, interesting, reputable faces in the region and overseas, and to be honest, this year's crop indicates that that truth doesn't seem likely to change any time soon.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Karen Elson, Country-Rock Chanteuse?

It was inevitable- you can't be married to an inhumanly talented rock god and not have some of it rub off on you somehow. And for supermodel Karen Elson, that's exactly what happened.
Elson, married to White Stripes leading man, Jack White, is prepped to release her debut album sometime in May. But before you roll those eyes, peep the video above; something tells me this is more than just a vanity project for her, and the New York Times seems to agree with me.
The album, poignantly titled The Ghost Who Walks, is being produced by White, who also is featured on drums. I cannot wait.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Best of Fall/Winter 2010 RTW!

Sooooo!! The collections are done, the designers have all posited their ideas and the consumers are now left in a tizzy as to what to buy. So where does that leave people like me- the ones who blog and style? To sift through everything, of course! Here's the results of my sifting- ladies and gents, stylites and stylistas, here are my ten fave collections from New York, London, Milan and Paris.

10. Marc Jacobs

Something has to be said about the way Jacobs thinks. For last season, he threw everything from 5 inch afro wigs to fur-tasseled loafers on his models for his and Louis Vuitton's labels. The celebs, ranging from Victoria Beckham to Gaga all ate it up. This season, he banned all celebs from the front-row and backstage at his show, and one look at the collection tells us why, or at least reveals the direction Jacobs has now gone in- he's tired of the hype of the industry, it seems; tired of the celebrity culture and glitz. By going back to a very pure place, at least aesthetically, MJ, this season, gave us his most sober collection, and possibly his most beautiful and wearable in a looooong time.

9. Dolce & Gabbana

Here are two more flashy designers who went the sober route for Fall. I didn't get a chance to blog the collection on its own, but when I saw it, I was amazed by how chic it was. I would have said something like this- "By using lace, velvet and some polka-dots, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana punctuated their awesome clothes with lots of joi de vivre and plenty of Sicilian/Parisian sexy swagger!" Two thumbs waaaay up, guys!

8. Valentino

Fashion writers and editors have not been very kind to Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri these past few seasons, but you know what? In fashion, that's how you get your chops- ask Riccardo Tisci. Or maybe they haven't even been reading reviews of their Summer RTW and couture 2010 shows and just decided that they won't mess up the formula that is causing ingénues like Chloë Sevigny to wear their clothes on red carpets. Whatever explanation you want to believe, this was a gorgeous collection. Just wait till next Oscar season and see!

7. Sass and Bide didn't even bother with a review, but that doesn't undermine the importance of this collection this season. Thematically, these guys were THE stick-to-it guys this side of D&G, and the styling?? MY WORD- just the right amount of trimming, the right amount of gold accents here and there, and I love how some looks juxtaposed minimalism and trendy layering at the same time, too! With lots of lace, macramé and jersey, these pieces should be fun to layer and put together with other pieces and outerwear.

6. Burberry Prorsum

Building on the brand's penchant for military-esque jackets, and his own ideas of ruching from last season, designer Christopher Bailey gave us plenty of shearling, sheepskin and fur this season. He added plenty of volume to the silhouette by way of some splendid jackets (it's gonna be hard to choose just one, I possibly couldn't) and even some sexual heat by way of thigh-high boots in sleek reptile leather.

5. Gareth Pugh

I like Gareth Pugh for his ideas, but I completely understand that some people won't like him because his ideas may be too arch, or his clothes may not be wearable enough. Well, naysayers, may I direct you to Pugh's latest set of pieces? On the left, we have cashmere wool coats, while if you look to your right, you'll see a sexy LBD. Pugh is still a romantic at heart, so he hasn't really gone commercial, but for this fall, i'm envisioning plenty mileage from some of these angular coats.

4. Elie Saab

Like Valentino, Elie Saab injected his RTW collection with a little couture sensibility to wondrous results. By focusing on black with colour here and there, the collection was pretty without being cloying, feminine and grown-up, without being frumpy, sexy without being gaudy. In one simple word, it was perfect.

3. Lanvin

For fall, Lanvin went dark. Not dark in any traditional sense, but style-wise, the pieces (even hair and make-up) were a bit moodier than the cock-tail stuff we're used to from Mr. Elbaz. Of the collection, said "For Fall, he walked a knife edge, balanced between rigorously architectural urban simplicity and explosively fierce embellishment, sourced somewhere in African tribalism." I couldn't have put it any better myself.

2. Balenciaga

Shapes within shapes, unusual fabric hybrids, even more unusual sources of inspiration- all in a day's work for Mr. Nicolas Ghesquière. The clothes were geometric, collaged, stiff yet rounded, and composed of zones of matte and shine, with some looking like industrial foam and fur shaved into quilting, while others resembled the texture of formica. Ghesquière has an amazing penchant for pushing fashion into heretofore unseen, brave and challenging directions, and with this collection, most other designers have now been left in the past.

1. Alexander McQueen

The collection was only 16 pieces long, but OH-EM-GEEEE!! I dunno if McQueen's talents were human, but this man was the best designer around, and this collection proves why. His attention to detail was flawless, and only eclipsed by his tailoring. The collection had a poetic, medieval beauty that dealt with religious iconography and of course, his own personal demons. Word is, McQueen had ordered fabric that translated digital photographs of paintings of high-church angels and Bosch demons into hand-loomed jacquards. The result? Not so much clothes, but pieces of art.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Balenciaga Fall/Winter 2010: Accessories

Here's a close-up look of the accessories from Balenciaga's recent collection which I still can't get enough of.

The shoes were gooooooooor-GEEE-ous!!! Loved the heel detail- reminds me of children's wooden building blocks and mathematical cubes.

I was also reminded of milk boxes and cardboard shipping cartons. Bottom line: Nicolas Ghesquière is a genius!