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New Vision

The New Beacon Collection by Warby Parker — According to many loud voices in our culture being selfish in our choices is almost a duty or a sacred imperative. What are we to make, then, of the business strategy of companies like Warby Parker who, when you purchase a pair of their glasses, instantly sends an additional pair of glasses to someone in need? What are we to make of the ways this scandalous altruism actually adds to the allure of the product itself? Such questions are increasingly common in an era when the radical increase in interconnectedness delivered by communications technology and social media is giving rise to new and unexpected social and economic anomalies like Warby Parker. With the release of their new … [Read more...]

Medina to Prada: An Arranged Marriage

This past Sunday morning I was in Morocco, in Fez for the World Sacred Music Festival taking photographs along the way. The next day, Monday morning, I was in New York, a stop-over between flights, walking with my camera. Today, Tuesday, now, I am back home in Los Angeles, joining images together, thinking I'd be writing a framing paragraph of straightforward information about the origins of these jolts of color. I thought that this was going to be a comparison about fashion, maybe even a snarky one: a comparison between the authentic Medina quarter of Fez -- a maze of shops and residences, mosques and fountains, artisans and palaces -- and the Dover Street Market which I came upon on 30th and Lexington, where I pressed 5 and … [Read more...]

Sole Man

As we march towards the Ready To Wear Spring 2014 fashion extravaganzas, beginning in New York this September 5th and then moving to London, Milan and Paris, here is a look at one of the summer's knock out fashion exhibitions, Christian Louboutin at Toronto's Design Exchange. Christian Louboutin was working at the Folies Berger in Paris, shoeing the showgirls, when he made the acquaintance of the Princess of Monaco, who was in dire need, so the legend goes, of new shoes. Once he fitted her into a pair of his stunningly wacky heels, all the other princesses wanted some too. Sort of a reverse Cinderella story. He has always been this radical feminist’s favorite shoe designer, even though I have not a single pair of his shoes in my … [Read more...]

The Memo

RTW Fall 2013, Marni, Stella McCartney & Alexander Wang – Not the most festive of fashion seasons, but certainly lush, focused and tactile. Fall RTW 2013 was filled with a sameness of concept and a heavy hand. The memo was sent and everyone got the message. There will be coats of sloped shoulder and volume. There will be fur and huggable handbags. There will be clunky shoes and a heavy boot (women's feet were given a glorious reprieve this year!). And androgyny will be, everywhere. All very serious stuff (with the great exception of Lavin whose sense of play was in full force; Elbaz ever the wit.) While the palette feels slightly constrained, when the viewer hones in on these three collections of incredible heft they will find a … [Read more...]

Canvas and Sash – A Meet at the Met

Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Feb 26-May 27, 2013  — At first glance Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, on view at the MET through May 27th, looks less interesting than it actually is. Just in case a large-scale exhibition of great Impressionist paintings doesn’t pander enough to the tastes of the general art going public, this exhibition pairs Impressionist painting with the actual gowns and accessories worn by their sitters. What could possibly be more appealing than a show that brings together the great lifestyle portraitists of the late 19th century and the bourgeoning reputation of modern Parisian fashion? While it sounds like a vacuous blockbuster, Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity … [Read more...]

Balenciaga’s Wake Up Call

Nicolas Ghesquière Takes His Exit — On Novemeber 5, 2012 Nicolas Ghesquière took leave of his 15 year reign as creative director for the house of Balenciaga. Founded in 1918 by the Basque designer Cristobal Balenciaga, Balenciaga emerged as one of the great design establishments in the early decades of the twentieth century, and under the auspices of Ghesquière re-emerged as one of the greats of the twenty-first. Last year in San Francisco the de Young Museum mounted an extraordinary exhibition "Balenciaga and Spain" where three decades of sartorial genius were on display, tracing the designer's career as it was inspired and cultivated by Spanish traditions. In his in his introduction to the catalogue Balenciaga and Spain, Vogue's … [Read more...]

Black, White, and Narciso

RTW 2013, New York Fashion Week – Marc Jacobs Marc Jacobs was clearly the master of the change-up at this year's New York Spring 2013 Ready To Wear. Just when I was getting used to all those funny hats and ample bustlines from fall, (which made no sense too me on the runway, but by the time they made their way into their print editions I was completely sold!) he throws us a total curve ball with lean and clean lines reminiscent of a trip to Warhol's Factory where Edie Sedgwick might be holding court. A complete palette cleanser of a show and with a long silhouette executed with the cool clear directive for simplicity. The finale was represented by a series gowns and jumpsuits with exceptional and lavish geometric beading that not … [Read more...]

JPG’s Tour De Force

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, De Young Museum, Herbst Exhibition Galleries – " template="/homepages/38/d268432783/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/ngglegacy/view/gallery.php" order_by="sortorder" order_direction="ASC" returns="included" maximum_entity_count="500"]   In this first Jean Paul Gaultier retrospective, From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, one is thunderstruck by an ambiance of transgressive diversity. These collections embody a cacophony of couture beauty like none other. Sometimes dark outré matter prevails, then sometimes it's just a bit naughty, but any subject matter put to the test is always executed with artistic tour de … [Read more...]

Passionate Pastimes

Rachel Comey, Proenza Schouler and Dolce Gabbana, Spring RTW 2012 – I have to confess that the annual Spring Fashion unavailing escaped my attention this year in favor of another passionate pastime, the Major League Baseball Postseason. The excitement that lead up to the World Series and the subsequent Saint Louis batsmen last minute win, surprisingly overpowered my usual unquenchable sartorial desires. I couldn't get enough of those Cardinals delicately balanced on the bat and felt compelled not to give Rick Perry anything more to look all gloaty about. My rooting was resolute and all consuming. Then emptied, and drained of all baseball input I reached out for more, downloaded Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding and gobbled that … [Read more...]

Hit Hard

Yamamoto, Watanabe and Mikaye, Fall RTW 2011 – Magnitude. I cannot fathom the sheer force unleashed on the Northeast coast of Japan by the largest earthquake ever recorded. I am no stranger to the shakes. The Northridge earthquake of 1994 lasted 20 seconds and the fear of imminent death undermined my core sense of self. Five minutes of a 9.0 is unimaginable. There is no material preparation for the enormity of that kind of impact. There is compassion. There is today. I urge people to put aside their crisis fatigue and continue to donate to the worldwide effort to help the people of Japan sustain, recuperate and rebuild. The Red Cross operates 92 hospitals in Japan, has deployed 700 medical relief volunteers across … [Read more...]