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)…

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.”

Ten Fashion Essentials

I used to impugn her for wearing only catwalk looks. Only recently (shameful) did I find out that she styled those looks.  So whatever she wears off the catwalk, she owns that style. Undeniably one of the greatest stylists of our time, here are her ten fashion essentials. Well said indeed.

THE TEN ESSENTIALS

Anna Dello Russo, editor-at-large, creative consultant, Vogue Nippon

“My life is not basic, it is fashionable!”

1. My collection of jewelry
It’s the only personal touch of my style because I just wear catwalk outfits. Flashy jewels personalize your style.

2. My 4000 pair of shoes
Accessories lift spirits. When you don’t feel like getting dressedit means that you are depressed. You need a fashion shower!

3. My YSL nail polish
La laque, vernis à ongles, longue tenue. Number 1 RED, laque chinois for spring. Number 2 RED, intense blood for winter. Number 9 RED-ORANGE, ‘70 for summer.

4. My head pieces
Because nothing succeeds like excess!

5. My swim-kit of Speedo/Comme des Garçons bathing suit,
Speedo/Comme des Garçons cap and mirrored plastic goggles

I swim everyday. Diving in the water means lot to me – to refresh my thoughts,
wash my paranoia, translate my jump into the void, quash my fears.
I love to jump into new experiences with humbleness and devotion.

6. My mattress for Ashtanga yoga
Yoga is my philosophy of life. What do fashion and yoga have in common?
They both are the language of the unconscious.

7. My country house called Villa Villa Colle
I grow bio-organic food, drink fresh water, and live a sunny upbringing…
Perfect to start my endless summer!

8. My Blackberry for twittering everyday
During the fashion weeks, share your love for the shows on Twitter as much as you can.

9. My favorite book “A Wonderful Life” by Slims Aarons
A visionary heaven to live!

10. My love Cucciolina!

– From Self Service Magazine

Anna Dello Russo’s blog here.

Sexy, Strong and Care Free – Guilty Brotherhood.

While I was sorting the lookbooks in the fashion cupboard, a little catalogue fell from the shelf. It was as if god wanted me to read it. The clothes were striking, very strong and sexy. They are a combination of rock and roll and curiously, serenity. It helps when you’ve got a model who has an enviable body, a very expressive face and a palpable attitude. The eye-catching  clothes – strong and soft at the same time – have schoepentoetered my curiosity.

But try to sequester information about the brand. Aside from the little bits and bobs on variuos blogs that are ripped off from the French brand’s website, not much at all. This is deliberate. Guilty Brotherhood’s designer, a young Parisian called Kevork Kiledjian, created the label 2 years ago. The designer has lived in New York for a few years in the 1990, hanging out with Cypress Hill. He was travelling a lot during this time –  New York, LA and Asia – and it was around this time when he created his first label called Triiad, selling chic streetware, in Paris.

Every bit the rebel he is, the glamourous creations are crafted by a man who has never attended formal art school. But the design juice runs in the family blood – Kevork’s father was a couturier for Lanvin in the 1950s.  As a designer, Kevork draws references from architecture, films and the urban lifestyle.

The clothes – hard-edged, with an undercurrent of elegance; one can possibly draw reference to Yves Saint Laurent’s masculine tailoring, Balmain’s reinvented man-eater style as well as DVF’s Upper East Side casual chic. So is it any wonder that it has already accumulated a celebrity following? Kate Moss, Nicolas Roberts and Doutzen Kroes were spotted in Guilty Brotherhood. The brand boasts Abbey Lee Kershaw on their Spring Summer 2010 campaign. Not to mention the numerous coverage in Vogue Paris, V magazine, Numéro…  Not bad for a brand which is only two years old, and hasn’t even had their a first catwalk yet! But fret not, more glamour is to come, Guilty Brotherhood has already put a catwalk on their agenda and it is likely to be in October this year.

Whether or not this catwalk will happen in Paris – the brand’s birthplace; or New York – where the company’s headquarters locates, remains to be seen. Although it is likely and wise for Guilty Brotherhood to debut in the fashion capital of Europe.

Expect some serious world domination by Guilty Brotherhood. From day one, Kevork Kiledjian has been planning and treading a carefully planned route for the brand to expand. The lack of online and offline information originally has built some intense mysteriousness about the brand. When Guilty Brotherhood’s website launched in August in 2009, the site looked so professional, glamourous and grown up that it is hard to believe the clothes were only available at carefully selected locations. Initially, to get your mitts on these clothes you have only 5 stores to choose from. These privileged places include the USA (Los Angeles for celebrity following and New York for some serious big spenders), France (Paris and Rodez)  and Hong Kong. The fleet of stockists now extend to South America in Domenican Republic and Australia. Now the brand is the Arctic and the Antarctica short of collecting their presence across seven continents.

Guilty Brotherhood’s flagship store is expected to open in 2011 in Paris on Rue Saint Honore. Anything less than spectacular will not be associated with the label. Hence the multistorey store is designed by – none the other – Jean Nouvel, whose bulky and impressive portfolio has led him to an architecture Oscar, the ‘Pritzker Prize’

So much for the intro. Indeed with such a meteroric rise of a label in such a short time span does not happen everyday, a bit of a rambling is needed to emphasise the bravura of all this. So, so much for the clothes eh? But to put it in Kevork’s own words, they want people to ‘see the clothes for themselves’. If the tactic of hush-hushing their press/online presence was to limit any damage bad critics may cause, the tactic may just as well not exist in the first place. Because the clothes do speak for themselves. And without further ado, I’ll let you see them. From AW09/10 to current season SS10.

Oscars Oscars! All the best gowns!

I stayed up all night tweeting the who wears what (@kiwibiwi) and waiting for the moment for Kathryn Bigelow to beat ex-husband James Cameron’s ridiculously budgeted (and yet a massisive failure) so called ‘film of the year’.

Firstly, the gowns did not disappoint, many wore Haute Couture straight off the season’s Paris runway. Namely Zoe Sadana (my favourite Givenchy’s final exit, seen on Natalia Vodianova) and J.Lo, Hilary Swank and Amanda Seyfried’s choice of the Moon collection of Armani Prive. It is exhilarating to know I have red-carpet taste!

Carey Mulligan triumphed in her impeccable bejeweled Prada. The cut complimented her blonde short hair so well and you have to applaud her sensibility in wearing a pair of comfy satin platformed-stiletto. Negotiating the never ending red-carpet in a pair of 5 inch Louboutin can prove a disastrous move that will end up breaking your feet in half… Another Hollywood classics, Cameron Diaz ‘the Body’ donned a Oscar De La Renta beige gown that took my breath away.

Another round of applaud goes to Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren. The ever elegant Hollywood veterans dressed extremely respectably and lacked no glamour. There are the proves that women can grow old graciously; radiance doesn’t come with Botox, but confidence and admirable attitudes. These two are the most grounded Hollywood actresses. Definitely a different generation.

Varying degrees of success came about as stars chose Atlier (or just) Versace. Mariah Carey isn’t particularly known for her good fashion sense. The blue frock on the red carpet is what most would suggest a far to safe option. But whatever floats the pop queen’s boat. And rumour has it she is hiding a bump? Are you sure that is a baby bump or she’s just a little…bloated? The winner in Versace has to be Demi Moore! Does this woman ever grow old? Ashton Kutcher is indeed a very lucky man although he was not seen at Oscars last night. Where does Demi’s shoes come from? The satin complimented the chiffon so well. The red-carpet veteran has bags of experience behind her, so what do we expect? A fashion faux pas? Elizabeth Banks also scored top marks in a somewhat similar dress to Demi albeit in a different shade.

I was also most thrilled to hear Sandy Powell has won best costume for The Young Victoria, which has become one of my most favourite film with the gorgeous Emily Blunt playing the 19th century British heroic monarchy. The costumes were absolutelybeautiful – the gowns, the undergarments (lace numbers), the 19th century casual wear… Even the men’s costumes were breathtaking – definitely inspiring. Maybe next season for a 19th century men’s style’s revival?

Sandy Powell and Nicole Ritchie, both fashion fanatics, did not go for the safe red-carpet option. The rather unusual colour and ‘low-key’ 20s clingy numbers nonetheless were refreshing from the largely conservative albeit beautiful dresses. Retro rules!

Please tolerate my mild digression: nothing beats seeing Avatar scooping home three gongs less than Kathryn’s far more superior flick. The Hurt Locker rendered me heart-attacks from beginning to the end, I was clutching my heart, covering my eyes and the film is indeed a thriller through and through. Kathryn Bigelow chose a safe and elegant grey frock embellished with heart-shaped beads. Tina Fey’s Michael Kor evening gown is another safe but dazzling number, comfortable to wear and no worries about fashion disaster. Oprah took cue from Phoebe Philo’s recent runway success and donning ‘navy is the new black’?

Lastly. How can we forget about the men? Gerard Butler… we prefer you all tucked up in a tux…no more flashing of the flabbing tummy. Tom Ford accessoried with Camilla, Coco Chanel’s favourite flower. Jeremy Runner, in The Hurt Locker.

The Return of the 60s

Seen on the runway, the lovingly missed 60s has seen return on the streets already. The sepia palette is embraced by street strutters world wide. Trousers are loosely fitted and are cropped slightly above the ankle.

Waistlines are worn high, cinched by colourful belts to add a Teenies’ touch. Hair are best worn ginger; lips gothic brown. The Queen’s silk scarves work as accessories; a simple knot round the neck or as a turban to break off the wind.

Zara took cue and mannequins in maroon, chocolate and dark beige are already posing on their shop windows. Clogs are unmissable this season, a trend started by Vivienne Westwood, Chanel… The clogs have since repeatedly seen on catwalks such as Marco de Vincenzo etc. Another excuse to visit Holland then? A nice tone-down touch if going full out on clog is too out there – a pair of leather Birkenstock or suede open-toe wedges. LoveClogs.co.uk does a lovely array of comfortable clogs in a variety of colours and fabrics from £36.

To quote Dita Von Teese, you have to live and breathe your style. Just looking 60s will not suffice. Try to learn from the 60s secreteriats. Light a fag, sprinkle with 21st century’s attitude, blow the smoke in your boss’s face. Tell him ‘I’m not retyping the document, my Olivetti is running out of ink’. Go to the kitchen, make a cup of tea with the hot water from a steel thermos, drink with jade coloured china.

Clock out at the machine, look at your Tissot watch with brown leather strap. Time for a Whisky. You throw on your cashmere cardigan, put down your black rimmed plastic spectacles. You strut out of the door in a pair of 1-inch Bally court shoes. You turn and airkiss your boss, delicatedly announce with your gothic brown lips, ‘see you next Monday.’

Megan Fox in Wonderland Special Issue

In an honest interview with Wonderland, the iconic show stopping beauty confessed that she has borderline personality and is a potential schizophrenic. Regardless of her mental status, this woman is a knock-out.

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There’s no denying Mariano Vivanco made the eye-wateringly delicious Fox into a good old clothes horse. To read Megan’s interview prelude, visit http://www.wonderlandmagazine.com/features/megan_fox/.

Photograher: Marian Vivanco for the 4th anniversary issue of Wonderland. On sale 3th Sep.

Brandon Flowers for the Guardian

If you have already seen the originals from the Guardian interview, I apologise. These pictures are simply too stunning to not archive due to obvious reasons.

Brandon wore suits from Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Jean Paul Gaultier.

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Photograher: Frederike Helwig

Dita Von Teese

I have recentlybecome obsessed with Dita Von Teese. Not the mannish type, of course.

Hollywood Palladium

Not a lot of women can feel so at ease with their own sexuality. Von Teese succeeds in understanding her appeal completely and is not afraid to exhibit it in a classy way.

The Hollywood Palladium

To some, the beginning of a career of an 18 year old girl in a strip club seems demeaning and derogatory. To Von Teese, she did not flow along with the current. She has her own imagination and belief of what she sees it (seduction) should be. It is not the business she is interested in. It is the art of seduction that captures her heart. It is about graduating something vulgar into something almost as captivating as Audrey Hepburn.

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She did not stop at perfecting the smile, did not stop at the perfect steps in a burlesque show. She incorporated her work into her life philosophy, into her daily life. She has not the husky voice that men find mystery and seductive. She has not the out-in-the open, Jordan type sexuality. She entices by her presence. She entices by arousing anticipation with her subtlety – her looks and her words – the way she speaks it. She chooses to live in the sexiest era, the post war glamour of the 1940s. Out of the three cars she owns, two of which are vintage – one comes from the 1940s, another the 70s.

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I admire of her genuine personality and being completely at ease with who she is, and lives the life she believes in.

I heart Lily Allen

Ever since her Smile days, in her full length princessy dresses with wonky sneakers. I’ve loved her styles. Even more so now she’s matured into a true fashion starlette.

Lily being styled for Chanel's AW09 handbag campaign. Pic from grazia.com

Lily being styled for Chanel's AW09 Coccoon bag campaign.


Feburary issue of Interview. Lily wars a Loewe mask. Oh I love her.

Feburary issue of Interview. Lily wars a Loewe mask. Oh I love her.

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Here’s Lily’s interview with the Times. This interview best portraits Lily’s personality and her take at fashion and all. Read it!

Here’s Lily’s reaction to a bag given to her from Gucci:

“Allen heaves the bag out of its packaging, takes one look at its gaudy detailing and, instead of squealing with girlie delight, wrinkles her little button nose and laughs in mock horror. “It’s so heavy,” she says; then adds, “It’s soooo Sarah Harding”, referring to the brash, blonde Girls Aloud member, before delivering her final, damning verdict: “It’s f***ing vile.”

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/fashion/article1657080.ece