Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Clothes From the New Y/Project x Honest By Collaboration May Not Be Transparent, But Everything Else Is

If you happen to follow Honest By’s founder Bruno Pieters on Facebook or Instagram, you’ll have seen a tantalizing image on his feeds of late: a headshot of Person Unknown with a box obscuring his/her face, and the date 19.10.17, teasing the label’s latest collaboration. So, perhaps no need for the drum roll for the big reveal, given the headline of this story already gives it away, but Glenn Martens of Y/Project is the latest designer to work with Pieters on his own project. (Yep, you likely already guessed that, given the obscured face’s tufty blonde crop and chin stubble.) Since its inception in 2009, Honest By has challenged industry thinking of where things are made, what they’re made of, and how much (usually way too much) is being charged for them; an impeccably cool and impeccably credentialed prod of the conscience, as it were.



In the case of this latest collaboration, that means a six-strong capsule of re-imagined seasonless and gender-free Y/Project pieces from the Spring and Fall 2017 collections—a trench, a striped shirt, articulated jeans, a sweatshirt/dress, a turtleneck top, and skirt-cum-pants—all of which are produced in France, with every element of their execution, fabrics, finishings, the lot, traceable back to their sources of origin. Everything also carries the GOTS tag, which means the pieces are made to the Global Organic Textile Standard. “There’s a lot of talk about sustainability these days,” Pieters said over the phone from Antwerp, where he’s based, “but it means nothing without transparency.” Everything, in other words, is naked and unafraid—including, it has to be said, the reminder of how sharp and assured Martens is as a designer, after coming off a run of stellar Y/Project shows.

“Bruno has been a mentor to me—we go way back,” says Martens, and indeed they do; Pieters tutored him while he was at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, before hiring him to consult on the European H&M offshoot Weekday, and then asking him to design the first Honest By collection, so things have gone full circle. For Martens, Pieters was a designer whose work exemplified “a level of craftsmanship we don’t find that easily in fashion today.”

Clearly those standards haven’t slackened, for this capsule doesn’t sacrifice any of the inventive detailing and interactivity typical of Y/Project—the double construction of the shirting, the detachable legs on the buccaneer denim, the broad double shoulder line on the trenchcoat. Some of the materials used for the new pieces switched, with that trench now in gabardine, not leather. The experience has also been eye-opening for Martens, fueling him to think more about his own label’s actions and accountability. “We are very much aware of where we produce, and while I wouldn’t say we are totally certified in terms of fabrics, we’re trying,” he says, listing how when he arrived at Y/Project, 80 percent of the collection was leather, while now, he says, “the only leather in the Spring 2018 collection are the shoes.”

As for Pieters, it may only be a collaboration of six pieces, but the impact of it can be far greater. “People who are interested need to be encouraged,” he says. “There aren’t a lot of role models for young designers interested in sustainability, just Stella McCartney, really, and that’s it. Glenn is still maybe more niche than that, but I think he is going to have an impact.”

Thursday, September 21, 2017

We Tag Along With Santoni’s Marco Zanini on His Summer Trip to Japan


Marco Zanini loves to travel. “As much as I long for a lazy holiday at the end of a year of exhausting work, when it’s time to plan, I get restless. I know that if I don’t feed my curiosity—moving around, exploring something new—I’ll be bored stiff after a couple of days and my mood will become intolerable!” says the creative director of Santoni. Zanini presents his second collection for the label in Milan today. After almost a year of careful, patient research, he and his boyfriend, Giuseppe, came up with a summer itinerary far-flung enough to satiate the curiosity that feeds his creative work.

The pair left for Japan at the beginning of August, avoiding the well-trod tourist route and focusing instead on a remote area north of Tokyo. “There were no Westerners, [at least] we didn’t meet any,” says the designer, who is half Italian, half Swedish. Yamagata Prefecture is four hours by bullet train from the hyperbolic urgency of Tokyo, but Zanini and Giuseppe felt worlds away. “It was really as if the time had stopped,” remembers Zanini.

Why this fascination for the Japanese countryside? “I longed for something as far away as possible from our hectic lifestyle, both mentally and physically,” he says. “I adore Japan and love everything about its lifestyle: the calmness; the humble yet hyper-sophisticated aesthetic; the art of careful, impeccable presentation. Also, being the son of a Swedish mother, I find a lot of similarities between these two cultures. They feel to me as if they were like cousins, with the same shared aesthetic values and idiosyncrasies. There’s a love for simplicity, even for severity, both in Japan and in Sweden. So, to me, Japan feels utterly exotic but also very familiar.”

Here, Zanini shares his scrapbook with Vogue.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Britney Spears and John Galliano’s Designs for Dior Inspired This Elevated Denim Label

It’s fair to say that Jerome Dahan and Noam Hanoch have denim in their genes. Dahan is a founder of Citizens of Humanity (and 7 For All Mankind) and Hanoch (who once worked under Alber Elbaz at Geoffrey Beene) was his design partner there for over 10 years. The duo is taking their obsession to the next level with Jean Atelier, a new line that brings together high-end denim and luxury ready-to-wear. The collection of jeans, skirts, blouses, jackets, and trousers starts at $425 and goes far beyond the classic five-pocket true blues, drawing on rarified fabrics from all over the globe, including French lace and selvedge denim from Japan.


“It’s a fully realized collection with its core firmly rooted in denim,” Dahan explains. “It draws inspiration from the history and heritage of blue jeans but it has a feminine aesthetic and a point of view.” There are also some pretty iconic fashion references behind it. “When we started this process, we were looking at images of Britney Spears in the ’90s and Dior pieces from Galliano’s early years at the house,” says Hanoch. “I also looked back through my design archives, all the way back to my days at Guess in the ’80s.” With designers such as Calvin Klein and Vetements riffing on classic denim tropes—overalls, western cowboy shirts, and the Texan tuxedo—on the runway, that elevated approach to the humble fabric couldn’t be better timed. And given their expertise, the cut and fit of their denim is just as exacting as you’d expect.

“We want to reach the denim aficionado who will appreciate the construction and also those who are simply attracted to the look and the feel of our fits,” says Dahan. It doesn’t hurt that he has one very stylish denim aficionado living right under their nose, namely his wife Elsa, Jean Atelier’s brand manager. A quick scroll through her Instagram reveals precisely why she’s the unofficial muse for the collection: She manages to make even the most simple pieces appear polished—skinny black jeans, cool white T-shirts, moto jackets, and yes, the occasional lace blouse and overalls. And with the full collection launching online today, mastering that easy sense of chic just got a lot easier.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hailey Baldwin Says Yes to the Bridal Slip Dress, Just In Time for Friday Night

For those staring into their closets tonight feeling less than inspired, let Hailey Baldwin show the way. The model turned up in Los Angeles last night wearing the ultimate going-out ensemble—one that could easily make the move from day to night, then back to bed again.


Baldwin stepped out in a satin slip dress by Jonathan Simkhai with barely-there shoulder straps that dipped down to reveal a daring open back. The lace detail at the bust had a bridal feel, while the midi hem was a demure, covered-up counterpoint to all that sex appeal. She decided to take a minimalist approach to her accessories: Casadei pumps in a contrasting matte hue with a silver stiletto heel lent a touch of shine after dark.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

This Is How Rihanna Does Bad Gal Festival Fashion

You can always count on Rihanna to shake things up. After the sophisticated style she sported to meet with the Macrons and the couture-filled wardrobe she chose to promote Valerian, she has once again evolved her look. Stepping out in Barbados last night, the star offered her take on logomania with a piece from the inescapable Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration. Rihanna was at her casual best, wearing a monogram-covered jean jacket with frayed denim cutoffs, combat boots, and a white Balenciaga baseball cap. By adding a gold chain and matching sunglasses, along with barely there shorts that created a “no pants” illusion, she brought new life to a fashion item that has become all too common.


Of course wearing one of the most popular collections of the moment simply isn’t enough for the bad gal. Taking things one step further, Rihanna debuted turquoise waves, tucked beneath her cap. It added another bold color to her repertoire while singlehandedly reviving the mermaid trend. Paired with the coordinating colors of her outfit and a matching neon manicure, she gave the Supreme a bold update—proof that when Rihanna sets her mind to it, there’s nothing she can’t do.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Oscars 2015: who will win best documentary?

Riveting Edward Snowden exclusive Citizenfour is the frontrunner among a crop of documentary nominees that – for once – cater more to the head rather than the heart
• Who will win best supporting actress?
Oscar documentary nominees
Clockwise from centre, Finding Vivian Maier, The Salt of the Earth, Citizenfour, Last Days in Vietnam, Virunga.
Oscar documentary nominees

With best foreign-language film having been partly reformed in recent years – more on that in a later column – best documentary is the fringe category for which the Academy most regularly takes flak. Last year’s victory for 20 Feet from Stardom (a perfectly good film) over The Act of Killing (an imperfectly great one) was a typical one: formal risk-taking rarely trumps emotional uplift, no matter how many precursor awards point in the opposite direction.
This year, however, it seems the Academy’s documentary branch has largely voted with their heads over their hearts, compiling a list low on peppy crowdpleasers and omitting the film many thought might be the sentimental favourite: Steve James’s affecting but hardly inspired Roger Ebert tribute Life Itself. Though some US critics have taken this as an affront to their own profession, they should be appeased if – as looks increasingly likely – voters side with the film that has dominated the awards circuit thus far.
That’d be Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s riveting, in-the-moment study of former CIA system administrator Edward Snowden and his fire-starting role in the National Security Agency surveillance scandal. Poitras’s connection to the material could hardly be more direct: the film-maker (a former nominee in this category for her Iraq doc My Country, My Country) was invited by Snowden himself, along with Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian’s Ewen MacAskill, to collaborate in his planned data leak, and the film that has resulted from their covert hotel-room consultations is a journalistic coup of the first order. It’s arguably a triumph of content over delivery, but that hasn’t prevented Citizenfour – which boasts Steven Soderbergh among its executive producers – taking top honours from the International Documentary Association and every major US critics’ group, or becoming easily the highest grosser of the nominees.

While Citizenfour has the topicality vote all wrapped up, Virunga is the category’s most rousing feat of contemporary activism. The first feature-length effort from the splendidly named British documentarian Orlando von Einsiedel, the film depicts the range of forces threatening the survival of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Virunga National Park, from the violent impositions of rebel military forces to the more insidiously alarming presence of British oil company SOCO International. The Academy is often sympathetic to environmentally themed documentaries – The Cove and An Inconvenient Truth both won in the last decade – and this Bafta nominee has the urgent structure of a thriller. Surprisingly, it’s the only film in the category to have also scored a nomination from the Producers’ Guild of America.
It’s been 40 years since the Academy last rewarded a documentary concerned with the Vietnam war, with the ordeal finally drawing to a close, and the wound still a fresh one on voters’ collective conscience. This doesn’t seem likely to be the year they reopen it, but Last Days in Vietnam makes a decent case for them to do so. Directed by Rory Kennedy – incidentally, the youngest daughter of outspoken Vietnam war opponent Robert F Kennedy – the film is a marvel of archival gathering, showcasing astonishing footage of Saigon’s fall that does much to contextualise America’s collective memory of the events at hand. Firsthand recollections from American and Vietnamese participants, Henry Kissinger among them, supplement this calmly reconstructed history; its slight favouring of the US experience certainly won’t harm its chances.
Two contrasting portraits of photographers made their way into the category; pundit logic dictated that only one would make the cut, but Academy voting doesn’t allow for slot-based strategy. The more widely predicted of the two actually has the lower profile: Finding Vivian Maier, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s fascinating exposure of the titular street photographer and her clandestine career. It’s a melancholy, fascinating study of artfully concealed artistry that perhaps errs a little on the side of self-conscious myth-building; some critics have questioned the moral responsibility of Maloof (the chief owner and curator of Maier’s work) to a deceased subject who clearly never wished for this level of attention. Also nominated for the Directors’ Guild award (alongside Virunga and Citizenfour) and the Bafta, it’s been popular on the festival circuit since 2013, but is probably a shade too low-key to grab the win.
A little heavier on spectacle is The Salt of the Earth, a glorious tribute to Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado that sees Wim Wenders extending his run of form in the documentary format. Co-directed with Salgado’s son Juliano, the film – winner of the Special Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes – is a more traditional effort than Wenders’ much-garlanded Pina, but no less dazzling. Beginning with Salgado’s name-making images of the Serra Pelada gold mine and expanding outwards to reflect on a larger career, Wenders hits on novel methods of demonstrating his subject’s visual fluency, even through potentially conventional talking-head passages. As a formal feat of filmmaking, it’s by far the most impressive of the five. Never acknowledged by the Academy for his narrative work, Wenders has now racked up three nominations in this category; if voters are in a lyrical mood, and fancy recognising a worthy career in the process, he could be the spoiler.

Hey where’s ... The Overnighters? Jesse Moss’s taut, tough survey of migrant oil-field workers in North Dakota inspired critical comparisons to Steinbeck in its moral weight and complexity, and cracked the Academy’s initial 15-film shortlist. It deserved to go further.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ALERT: You Have Fewer Than 3 Days to Get Your 'Love Actually' Fix

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld
Chanel can make anything—even walking barefoot through grime-y city streets—seem chic. Case in point? Karl Lagerfeld's spring 2015 campaign for the maison, starring Gisele Bündchen.

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld
Lagerfeld photographed Bündchen wandering the deserted streets of Saint Germain-des-Prés, pausing at iconic locations like...

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld
Café de Flore, a spot you'll find packed with fashion editors during Paris fashion week.

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld
and the Seine.

Photo: Karl Lagerfeld
This marks Bündchen's second campaign coup for the spring 2015 season. She's also fronting Stuart Weitzman’s spring ads.