The Reason Why Carine Was Banned

Isabelle Guichot, CEO of Balenciaga was cutting the ribbon earlier today at Hong Kong’s first Balenciaga boutique opened by the Gucci Group themselves.

When she was asked about the ban Balenciaga imposes on French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, Isabelle said,

“It is the conflict of interest. They do many freelance job on the side.” And in between words Isabelle was referring to what has been on Carine’s mind and thus the clothes in the magazine are the projects that she works for on the side.

When asked whether Carine will be welcomed for the next show, Isabelle did not say for certain, but she said “we prefer journalists who are a bit…” she searched for a word and when suggested “genuine”? She nodded. Her reply probably implied that Carine will continue to be banned for the upcoming Balenciaga show scheduled later on this week.

Kiwibiwi the commented that Carine is lovely, I hope she will be welcome by Balenciaga again. And Isabelle replied, “Yes Carine is nice.”

This has put an end to the speculation over why Carine was banned from the AW 2010 runway earlier this year.

Isabelle is due to fly back tomorrow for the Balenciaga runway this Thursday/Friday night.

MONKI MONKI MONKI MADNESS

The reason why my heart just stopped, the sounds surrounding me have reduced to a blur, and the squealing noise emitted from my purse! MONKI, a company based in Sweden and is 60% owned by H&M has arrived in Hong Kong. Chic Scandinavian style ala Hel-looks etc etc is finally doable in Hong Kong without breaking the wallet. I am sooo excited! I already own an immaculate bow bracelet (in faux leather) given by my boss! Maybe, just maybe even though I have to live without Charity shops, I can still look chic! The shop will open at Langham Place on the 30th September!

Tiltillating seduction — you’ve got us teeming with raw anticipation, MR TOM FORD!

That was the latest we’ve seen of Tom Ford’s design for women. More precisely, woman, for Julianne Moore at the premier of Ford’s debut film — A Single Man.

He has privately showed his latest and first collection under his eponymous label during New York Fashion Week on the 13th September, 2010, to a select few of the industry’s most esteemed editors and stylists — such as Carine Roitfeld (French Vogue), Anna Wintour (US Vogue), Suzy Menkes (International Herald Tribune), Hilary Alexander (Daily Telegraph), Jim Shi (freelance contributor to the likes of the FT, Vogue China, V Magazine, Marie Claire). They have all signed confidentiality agreements.

Photography was banned at Tom Ford’s Madison Avenue flagship where the fashion show was staged. Everybody except Terry Richardson, Tom Ford’s turn-to photographer who takes charge of all of Tom Ford’s advertising campaigns, was allowed to snapped away like a child at a candy store. Richardson laid on the floor, spreaded out on the carpet, and clicked away senseless at a star studded cast of models. These pictures will not be released until January 2011, when the clothes are manufactured and are ready to go, in order to prevent plaigiarism.

The impressive fleet of models included Stella Tennant and Beyoncé, Julianne Moore and closing the show — Daphne Guiness who decorated her look with her own diamond jewellery.

 According to reports, Tom Ford showed every outfit there is to turn any woman into sex kittens  — the revamped Le Smoking, courtesy of his mentor Yves Saint Laurent (who never approved of Tom Ford to the degree Ford would have liked, according to Betty Catroux), structured pantsuit in black and in leopard, sheer gowns with frills, chatreuse chiffon blouse…

Beyoncé, according to Suzy Menkes, “in a silver sequined dress, sashayed toward Tom Ford… turned by the marble fireplace, where vases were filled with cherry blossoms intertwined with orchids, tossed her ample curls and revealed a hazy tease of nudity on her famous booty.” The diversity of  models that Tom Ford has used, from single ladies to yummy mummy  (Karlie Kloss to Natalia Vodianova), from skinny to curvy (Freja Beha to Beyoncé), has demonstrated Tom Ford’s confidence in satisfying every woman’s need.


Despite the hush-hush nature of the show, Hamish Bowles managed to sketch the outfits on Karen Elson and Beyoncé as seen on Vogue.com.

Only Tom Ford can bring back the exclusivity in fashion. The days when haute couture or even trendy fashion was only available for the few private eyes to see. This day and age when internet can air a show to 10,000 miles away almost instantly, this Tom Ford way of masterminding his [truly] debut collection is certainly ingenious.

He has sent the fashion world wild with delicious eagerness. Oh wow, I don’t  remember feeling so restless for a collection ever before.

Lady Gaga has laid bare the raw reality of skin and fur…

She is certainly the most thought provking popstar we have seen to date. You can see the unfurbished version of this article at the bottom. But on the train home, I realised the meat suit is so much more than just raw beef.

It’s September. It’s the new season in fashion. This fall, the minimalist leather trend prevails the pages of fashion magazines. Céline popularised the leather skirts, there are leather jackets there, fur overalls there. Where do these animal skin and fur come from?

Lady Gaga has dressed the raw reality of skin and fur. If people were so adamant that being dressed in fur and skin is just fashion, that it is their right to choose an ostrich skin handbag or a croc Birkin. Then why does Lady Gaga look so wrong in an animal suit?

She has definitely made me re-think the meaning of fur and skin. I marvel at the luxurious feel of python skin. I love the soft fur of mink. I would love to own a bona fide leather hand bag. But what is the cost of making one?

Why does mink fur feel luxurious, a leather Céline dress look appropiate and chic, yet a raw beef suit is vulgar?

Now do you see the genious of Lady Gaga?

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Old version: Certainly a very talented pop star, she knows how to grab headlines and sell tickets to her shows. Her endless flamboyant dress antics today ends in a bloodshed — Jackass style. She wore a meat suit to the VMA awards and said “I was born this way”.

Grr. Style? Perhaps. Beauty? When I can’t even bear to open my eyes to look at this photo I think the meatsuit has veered off the territory of beauty (certainly) into the far away galaxy of disgusting.

It doesn’t take an animal rights activist to shout — Gaga, you have gone too far this time. Think about the starving kids in third world countries….

Earlier Lady Gaga posed nude in a beef bikini for Vogue Homme Japan.

Alexander Wang Spring Summer 2011

First reaction: stomach turns. 2 more exits, feeling a bit nausesous, “sorry, am I at an A-level textiles graduation show?” Then projectile vomit ensued until the very, very end. When the out-of-the-dustbin styles have disappeared and Taekwando and detective inspired jackets salvaged my now stomach acid laced mouth.

I have never been a huge fan of Alexander Wang. I think this show is the manifestation of why. He has always been a hit or miss. One season out of three an idea will strike him and the presentation will be good, nice and consistent. A lot of the time he has no idea what the fuck he’s doing. Even the front rowed Bill Cunningham looked quizzical, he must be asking “what the fuuuccck??”

Back to business, to sum up, Alexander Wang has returned to his college days, applying a patch of material block here, a cut out there. His inspiration was a dress from a charity bin for $5. He chopped off bits and pieces and replaced said area with juxtaposing fabrics or when he was really clueless — he simply ignored the unstylised empty space. WHAT A MESS!

[Even the shoes are fugly… College experimentation prevailed, he has cut out a Timberland boot to arrive here. I hope none of them are named after any models this time]

I am sorry, but I cannot understand how did he amass so much media attention in the first place. He struggles with ideas and yet he insists on putting out 4 collections a year (either Anna says so or to keep up with the demand from department stores).

Actually, if you squint — some of the pieces aren’t that bad. If you pick a jacket out, you wonder why didn’t it get matched to a skirt or a dress? What can I say? SACK THE STYLIST!

Prabal Gurung Spring/Summer 2011

Before we talk about the clothes, can I just say I am blown away by the shoes. If I were allowed only one item for New York Fashion Week (albeit it has merely just started), it will be these Nicolas Kirkwood for Prabal Gurung shoes.

In an interview with the US Vogue, Nicolas admitted that he has never met the Rodarte girls nor Prabal in person, the designs were forwarded to and fro via emails, et voila, Nicolas’ first runway shoes of the season — utterly brilliant. Girly and bold at the same time, it might be kitsch to say, but these shoes will go with everything. And so far, judging from the distinctly prevalent whites and monotones on the runway, these will be the investment of the season!

It might be rude to say this but the shoes have stolen the show. Have you noticed the lack of accessories on Prabal’s girls? Well, with these heels, there is no need.

In an interview that Kiwibiwi’s done with Nicolas recently, he mentioned that there will be bolts and nuts for the Rodarte runway. He will also be playing with “wax” (wax?). He will be utilising fun elements for the runway shoes that aren’t necessarily his signature, but are fun to do anyway. Nicolas is also doing shoes for the Erdem runway, focussing on Erdem’s signature prints. And now, more of these orgasmic shoes!

I am a sucker for colour blocking. So when the show opened with psychedelic clash of acidic colour — bright pink, cyan and orange — in a form fitted dress! Wow! The best thing about this dress is the thought Prabal put into the chest/collarbone patch. It gives the illusion of an elognated shoulder, making everybody a clothes horse.

He also showed a lot of trend worthy palette common at NYFW — the nudes, the whites and the yellows. Above right are two nudes apt for the office.

The print goes back as early as August when Associated Press went to his studio for an interview. The print was on a painted bit of paper hanging on the wall. LOVE the cape. (See below for alternative views)

Generally a VERY good collection for a one year old brand. I’d wear everything to be honest. Prabal does brilliantly from casuals to workwear, tea dresses to dinner dresses.

Let’s hope he is not going to turn into another Jason Wu or Alexander Wang (money minded to the point they have forgotten what is the meaning of excitement and thrill)…

Dior Shanghai Ads Caused a Stir

I DON’T THINK THESE ADS CONDONE RACISM. BUT RATHER THEY PLAY INTO A RACIAL STEREOTYPE WHICH IS AN EASY WAY OF ADVERTISING. Good taste or bad taste? Neither. It is laziness.

Firstly I’d like to point out that for the past few seasons, I’ve made it known repeatedly that I’m not exactly fond of Mr Galliano’s repetition in a lot of his recent collections: haute couture looked like pret-a-porter; autumn winter played like spring summer; year 2009 looked like year 1950, so on and so forth.

I used to be Galliano’s fan, a fervent fan for his ingenious designs, something jaunty and out of the blue which really, really moved the fashion world to the edge of their seats.

So for Galliano to repeatedly disappoint many of his fans, I remember asking, “has he lost it”?

Secondly, I dismissed “lazy designs”  as a cause for his design repetitions. I pointed my fingers to a bunch of money-minded people in the boardroom — who wanted to sell as much clothes by doing as little as possible.

When Galliano showed in Shanghai, he said something along the lines that “what’s the point of showing Chinese influence on Chinese territory”, that he wanted to bring Paris to China, bring House of Dior to China.

I originally thought: if Lagerfeld could take the time to incorporate Chinese influence in his Beijing collection and made it a brilliant French show, made the clothes completely modern and still retained that Chanel flair, why couldn’t Galliano do it?

I also remember thinking distinctly that: what could Galliano be so occupied with right now that he couldn’t take time to read a book, walk a street in Shanghai or even watch some old videos of China?

But yeah, I thought at the time: sure, a beatnik, playful, functional and colourful collection that was easy on the eye and the body would sell like a dream, one of the prime concerns for couture houses in the time of an economic downturn.

But I knew better. It was laziness; and the advert is a joke which Galliano or the House of Dior is playing on us. Having spent so much time at university in London, and even though at the time of his study there weren’t that many Chinese students, he knew and still knows the sensitivity between races. Having been in his current post for so long, he knows where is market is.

He knows that Dior sells in China. And in the same mentality like Mr Jacobs for Louis Vuitton, he knows that whatever he puts out, whatever he markets, whatever comes out of the runway of LV and in this case Dior, whether the products are good or bad, beautiful or ugly, people will still buy it. Similarly, an ad, however poor taste, will be swallowed and digested without question.

Galliano knows the symbolism which these photographs represent. At the first glance of this , one immediately acknowledges the presence of the white lady. Then one sees that she is standing amid a crowd of people. A crowd of people — singular. A unity. As a background. The third thing you see is their uniform cut-and-paste faces — they are identical, expressionless and above all — rigid.

We will call this genious marketing — “wear Dior, and you’ll stand out from the mundane crowd”. Only if the marketing department weren’t that lazy and instead put a Shu Pei or Tao in place of the white lady. Then can they escape the accusation of being racist.

But if you think about this: it takes meetings and debates to decide on a fastening on a dress, how can a mistake like this ad escaped any notice?

So the last question is: has our buying habit encouraged the luxury business’ laziness? Do they think that with effortless effort they can still escape the squinty eyes of the fashion world or of the international public, in the name of “keeping the house alive”? Or is Dior sending the Chinese a message?

Exclusive Interview with Anna Dello Russo

She emerged from a bustling room, behind a dense crowd of shoveling assistants and stylists. What I first saw was a giant pair of cherries, and then her toned arms, and then her face. I thought she was involved in a photoshoot — afterall, a rigid lace corset which is barely enough to cover your derriere isn’t exactly your average 3pm outfit. But Anna Dello Russo isn’t your average woman. She is the number one stylist in the world, one of the most recognisable faces in fashion, proud owner of 6000 pair of shoes which require an apartment to display.

“I am wearing Dolce & Gabbana today,” Anna speaks slowly and clearly in English, with a slight Italian twang, “and the shoes are Manolo.” Last time we checked, she had 6000 pairs, mostly heels, but there was a pair of white glitter mary jane flat too. How far has her shoe wardrobe advanced since then? She hesitates, and says, “I have lost count. But I am a collector of fashion you know. Everything in my apartment is archived and catalogued. I display my shoes.”

Anna says she doesn’t collect any vintage pieces, but rather she documents the fashion from our living memory. And since she styles many catwalks and adverts for the world’s biggest fashion brands, does it mean that she gets her collector’s items for free?

And then her friend Sarah Rutson, Lane Crawford’s fashion director of 15 years, a face that is commonly seen on blogs such as Chictopia and Sartorialist, appears at the door and Anna shrieks elegantly, “where are those shoes?” She is referring to the pair of black Yves Saint Laurent suede heels. She had tried them on earlier and she needs to buy them. “It’s a pair of 7 and a half. 7 and a half.”

Sarah told us that during fashion week, Anna told her that “I am envious of your job. I only ever do photoshoots and I’d really love to style some customers. Maybe we can trade positions one day!” And here is Anna. She is here for two days, giving styling advice for some private customers (first a banker mum from Credit Suisse; then a Beijing client dressed in Pucci and carried a Hermes Birkin, who flew down especially for the session) at Lane Crawford’s Platinum Suite, overlooking the Victoria Harbour.

Anna styled while she answered my questions, “when I am not busy, throw a question at me!” She taught the banker mum how to wear this season’s chicest look — a round neck knitted jumper on a wool A-line skirt. The lady emerged from the fitting room, and stared at her reflection. Her expression was quizzical. Afterall, bankers are a conservative lot. A jumper is perhaps too Alexander Wang for a Chanel kind of girl. And such is the difference between styling a shoot and styling real people. The functionality associated with clothes isn’t an element at the top of Anna’s equation.

Anna went into her fitting room, came back out and asked, “Where’s the thin belt?” Her voice sent assistants scrambling around the room, “Never lose a moment! Fashion is a moment!” And indeed it is, fashion is ephemeral according to Karl Lagerfeld, and one has to constantly evolve with fashion in order to stay on top. Anna takes this concept to the extreme — she wears clothes off the catwalk. Soon after a look has stormed down the runway, it will be Anna’s next outfit.

When the lady tries on the clothes and Anna has a free moment, I ask Anna to explain what does she mean when she writes on her blog, “I don’t want to be cool, I want to be fashion”?

“You know, people don’t dress up nowadays. Everybody tries to be cool. For example, Kate Moss. She is an adorable girl. She is cool. She wears t-shirts and jeans. But I am born fashion. I love fashion, I love clothes, I love brands. There’s nothing vulgar about it.” Anna is unapologetic about dressing up. And indeed why should she? She has impeccable taste, her style influences millions worldwide. She has got the figure to flaunt it, so why not?

Anna keeps fit by swimming and practising yoga everyday. “If I work in Milan then I walk my dog, Cicciolina.” How about her makeup routine? “I have a flexible body. My body is really good for clothes. But I never wear makeup because I have an androgynous face. If I wear make up I look like a tranvestite. For skincare I use La Mer, and nail varnish YSL.”

Indeed her body is perfect. She looks much fitter than on photographs — she somehow looks thinner in real life, but she is definitely not a waif. She looks healthy. Her proportion is perfect. Although she hunches when she stands, her shoulders are straight and her legs are firm and toned. She has a befreckled back, perhaps evidence of a lot of sunning in Portofino?

“I used to holiday with him every year. But this year we only spent a couple of weekends together.” Anna is referring to Stefano Gabbana, whom she says without a hint of hesitation that he is her best friend in fashion. Is it any wonder? Earlier this year, Stefano twitted Anna’s photo via his account. It was the back of Anna descending some steps in the background of an azzaro sea. And most of the time Anna can be spotted in Dolce & Gabbana outfits, two seasons ahead of time. Does she style the boys’ show as well?

“I never speak about the shows I styled. The designers should be given the right spotlight. I used to style many many shows, but now I am more selective. Maybe only once or twice a season.”

Anna says her proudest moment in fashion is during fashion week because “it is like the Olympics. You prepare for it before. You get into shape. And during fashion week you see the results of what you have worked so hard for. And you know September is the most important week in fashion, and it is also the best issue for my magazine, Japan Vogue.”

The creative director and consultant for Vogue Japan works from Milan, and travels to Japan twice a year. According to Vogue Japan’s fashion market director Saori Masuda, “Anna creates the look for the Vogue girl, and is in charge of the whole feel of the magazine. Anna follows the photoshoot for Vogue Japan in Milan.” Saori is writing an article about Anna for Vogue Japan, which will be out in late November. “Anna is very friendly. She is very direct with what she wants. She is very inspirational.”

It has been rumoured that Anna puts fashion before men. The fact that she is never snapped with any straight male companion has fueled the rumour. So what is her view on men? “I can only say that don’t overdress when you go out with men. They don’t like it. They don’t like excessive. But of course I love men. I think gay men with fashion, [she makes a perfetto gesture], but straight men… But I love men, of course.”