06 March 2009

Gareth Pugh - Halloween or the New "Addams Family" Wardrobe?

Gareth Pugh

More Costume Horrors!

Another Brit working in Paris, creating more and more Costumes, passing as Fashion. Is there something in the Thames? Regardless of the technical expertise and craftsmanship in his work, they remain Costumes and nothing more. Why not show us your talent Mr. Pugh, in what you can create for real people? Fantasy belongs on-stage at a theatre, not the runway. Yet, it is to be expected, what with the seemingly endless "celebration" accorded the Costumes of John Galliano at Christian Dior. I suppose, M. Arnault will place Mr. Pugh at yet another Haute Couture House, or revive one, just for him. What a BORE! Where are the genuinely talented Designers and genuine Couturiers?

Gareth Pugh - Autumn Winter - 2006

Could this be any more "Cousin Itt"?

Gareth Pugh - To Date - 2006 - 2009

International Herald Tribune

Fashion master or mentor? An agonizing choice for young talents
By Suzy Menkes

Thursday, 5th March, 2009

PARIS: Stretching, floating, spreading like ectoplasm or retreating into an oval shape -Gareth Pugh's collection was a screen full of inspiration. The clothes were unmistakably his dramatic and graphic vision; but the diamond patterns, sun-ray pleats, inserts of studs and even the model's floating ponytail slowly spread and then evaporated.

After a dramatic menswear runway show a month ago, the 27-year-old British designer took his collection to video, offering an intuitive expression of his world. And on the first day of the Paris autumn/winter 2009 season, he chose a different, off-the-runway approach.
"I wanted to express what we wanted to do with the collection," Pugh says. "Even if it did look more like a long perfume ad!"

When - and surely it is not "if" - this hyper-talented designer builds his brand, he will produce fragrance, handbags, makeup or even home furnishings. But for that he will need big money. And like all start-up designers in their 20s, he is faced with an agonizing choice: master or mentor?

Since he graduated from Central Saint Martin's fashion school in London in 2003, Pugh has been taken under the wing of the designer Rick Owens and his partner, Michele Lamy. Although Pugh's first collections were more show biz than business - making it as costumes for Kylie Minogue's tour - his extreme club clothes, with their inflated shapes and checkerboard patterns, have been turned into a buck.

"We sell the clothes - we really do," Julie Gilhart, design director of Barneys New York, said after congratulating the designer and making a showroom appointment to see the clothes.

But it is no secret that Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, sponsored Pugh's menswear show in Paris in January and that his people have their eyes on this designer. Asking for anonymity, a person familiar with the situation said that, after Karl Lagerfeld advised Arnault to scoop up Pugh as a major creative talent, the LVMH team approached Pugh and Lamy.

"LVMH is a very big company with lots of people, and they saw something in me that they wanted to bring out," Pugh says, adding that he is extremely happy with the Rick Owens collaboration and wants to "tread water" in these difficult times, having the confidence in himself "that I am going to get to a certain level." Asked if he would ever join the corporate club, Pugh replied: "If someone came along and it was right - never say never."

It has been 25 years since Lagerfeld joined Chanel, setting in motion the idea that, to reinvent themselves, famous old houses had to tap fresh designers. Since then, high fashion has swallowed dozens of burgeoning talents - most famously John Galliano, firstly at Givenchy and ultimately at Dior. But also Alexander McQueen, also first at Givenchy (owned by LVMH) and then at the corporate rival PPR, where the designer has his own line.

Any fashionista could chant a litany of these two-prong careers, those who are working for a big house and also for themselves, kicking off with the famous collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs and embracing the more recent fashion hookups, as when Riccardo Tisci gave up his own Italian label to design for Givenchy.

Now that the economic climate is rougher than ever for fledgling fashion companies, it is a brave designer who would turn down the corporate blandishments.Kris Van Asscheis a case in point. On Wednesday, the Belgian-born designer sent out a poetic collection of masculine/feminine clothes, illuminated with metallic torques and bangles. Mannish tailoring, like wrap coats or a four-pocket jacket, layered over soft gaucho pants (slightly too many of them) made for a good and wearable collection.

This latest play on the man/woman theme expressed - not least in the program notes that quoted the French poetBaudelaire's "Les Fleurs du mal" - an elegiac romance. And it could not be more different from Van Assche's other day job at Dior Homme, which gives him the finances to keep alive his own men's and women's lines.

Delphine Arnault, daughter of the founder and an executive at LVMH, was sitting front row. "I've always liked young designers - I find it super interesting, and, anyway, Kris works for us," Arnault said.

As the first generation of the "two-prong" designers reaches maturity, it is easy to see what has happened. Although Jacobs has recently (after an open clash with LVMH) grown his own brand, it is still light years short of the Louis Vuitton sales numbers. The Galliano brand is puny compared with Dior, and the collapse of Ittierre, Galliano's Italian manufacturer, will put thebrakes on any hope of rapid expansion.

Even Lagerfeld himself, gallantly still putting his own label on the Paris runway, knows that his name will forever be dwarfed by that of Chanel, into which he has poured his creative talent for 25 years.

To those who love fashion, there seems something not only unjust but even indecent about feeding young talents to the old lions. There should be some alternative. As Gilhart says, the way that the Japanese company Comme des Garçons has mentored first Junya Watanabe and then Tao, letting them grow slowly but surely, is as good an example as Owens and Pugh.

"I don't know what will happen in the future to small designers - or even to big ones," says Maria Luisa Pomaillou, who has taken on a second day job herself. While keeping her Paris boutiques where she has encouraged new talent, she is now preparing to install the same spirit for the revamped Printemps store.

"Whatever happens in the current situation," Pomaillou says, "we need those creative minds."

Suzy Menkes is fashion editor at the International Herald Tribune.

Gareth Pugh

The Collection referenced in the above article.

Menswear – Ready-to-Wear Collection – Autumn Winter – 2009

Rick Owens – Mentor to Gareth Pugh

Menswear – Autumn Winter – 2009

Kris Van Assche – Also mentioned in the above article

Menswear – Autumn Winter – 2009

04 March 2009

Menswear - Ready-to-Wear Collections - Spring Summer - 2009

Unlike the plethora of excellent options available to Men of Style in the Autumn Winter 2009 Collections, Spring Summer is a virtual nightmare, lacking direction and quality in almost all of the collections. Designers appeared uninspired or worse substituting elements which simply do not belong on the male form. Infusing Menswear with traditionally Womenswear details will not cause a mad-dash by men to the shops. Pseudo-bustiers, strapless shirts (or is that, in fact, a woman's blouse, for men? ALEXANDER MCQUEEN), color-blocking (JIL SANDER), and the tedious continued advancement of the "manskirt" (PRADA) do not look good on a man, period. Most horrible of all was GIORGIO ARMANI with his dreadful "King and I" shorts, which look good on no one, man nor woman, regardless of the season. Mr. Armani offered such misses not once, but twice. In his EMPORIO ARMANI Spring Summer 2009 Collection he revisited the Women's theme, by offering a re-interpretation of 19th century Women's bloomers, for Men! I would like to view Mr. Armani himself wearing such ridiculous attire, before attempting to encourage great numbers of Men doing so. Men, generally don't wish to wear ruffles on anything but a tuxedo shirt and even then would choose and prefer another option.

I am afraid my list of "The Best" of the Menswear Ready-to-Wear Spring Summer 2009 Collections will be short, while The Worst, will be considerably longer.

Alexander McQueen (3)

Jil Sander

Prada and the Manskirt (5)

Giorgio Armani's "King and I" shorts.

The Best

Ermenegildo Zegna

Salvatore Ferragamo

Giorgio Armani – Without the “King and I” Shorts.

Louis Vuitton

Not normally an admirer of Marc Jacobs in the least, but this Collection for the most part was quite good for him.

John Varvatos


The Worst

Jil Sander


Clearly, she was designing for Women, and forgot.

Emporio Armani

A few good pieces, and I mean, a few. Overall, a hodge-podge of designs which should have remained on paper, especially, the "Bloomers" for Men.

Roberto Cavalli

Take out insurance for all the tumbles you will be taking in those pants!

Dolce & Gabbana

A few good pieces, but overall, a huge miss. Invest instead in their Autumn Winter 2009 Collection.

Their website is currently one of the best and may be found here:


Bottega Veneta

Calvin Klein

A few good pieces, but overall, no thanks.

A couple of suits for Google Earth?

Dries Van Noten

Some good ideas, but those ghastly prints.


Labored over this one, for a bit. A few excellent suits; some good pants, and good color palette, but forget the rest.


Boring with a noticeable lack of quality.

02 March 2009

Menswear - Ready-to-Wear Collections - Autumn Winter - 2009

The Autumn Winter - 2009 - Menswear Ready - to - Wear Collections offer some of the very best options for Men commencing with what I view as the Top Seven. Not usually an admirer of either Dolce & Gabbana or Calvin Klein, but for next Autumn Winter, these Collections were marvelous. My only complaint, one I have made repeatedly is the ruinous line created by all of those buckled pant legs. With all of the good tailoring found in these clothes, why oh why must pant legs buckle over the shoe. It is a tiresome and unfinished look.

The Best...

Dolce & Gabbana

Sublime. Sumptuous. Luxurious. Elegant. I can't heap enough adjectives and praise upon this collection. It doesn't get any better than this in Ready-to-Wear. If you possess the body and the means, acquire every piece.

Giorgio Armani

Calvin Klein


Adore this Collection. My only criticism is of Ms. Prada herself. Women of her age, height, and weight, should not wear skirts above the knee, and if, they must, they should never appear in public without hose!

Jil Sander

Dries Van Noten


24 February 2009

2009 Academy Award Fashion

The Best

Ann Hathaway

Natalie Portman

Marisa Tomei

Evan Rachel Wood
Alicia Keys
The Worst
She mugged a sofa, a really ugly

Meryl StreepThere is simply no excuse, for
dressing this badly. Are there
no mirrors in Connecticut or
California? Why can Ms. Streep
not find someone who can
design and dress her for these
very public events?

Kate Winslet
Ms. Winslet, as usual, a horror.

Nicole KidmanLooking like a plucked chicken
is now the height of style?

Melissa George
It didn't work for "Barbie" why
does Dolce & Gabbana
think it would work
for a real woman? Where's
the dress which goes
over the foundation garment?

Tilda Swinton
This is so ugly on so
many levels.

Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt
Anyone for black
candles at

Miley Cyrus in her knock-off

The original Christian Dior
ballgown from
1949 - 1950

Penelope Cruz

It may be vintage
Pierre Balmain, but it looks
too, too
"Gone with the Wind"
without the hoop.

Haute Couture - Spring Summer - 2009

With the ever-dwindling number of Houses of Haute Couture showing collections, it remains sad to view what was once the best option for dressing the International Woman of Style reduced to the current offerings. It appears to me, that those presenting, with three (3) exceptions, remain committed to the destruction, rather than the advancement, of Haute Couture.

Alexis Mabille - He should focus more upon his work for Women, as they appear quite a second thought, not to mention uninspired and rather ugly. His Men's work appears to be his primary interest, and while intriguing, the client base for such creations, is exceedingly limited.

Armani Prive - An unusual collection. Powerful, yet, perhaps, too powerful? I can not make-up my mind about this collection. I like it and I don't.

Chanel - M. Lagerfeld always delivers creations which may actually be ordered and worn. My only disappointment with this collection is the above-the-knee obsession.
Most women's knees are not attractive, so why not drop to below the knee? As presented, it appears too little girlish and not at all for a sophisticated Woman of Style.

Christian Dior - As usual, an enormous BORE, from the Costumier posing as a Couturier. For far too long, John Galliano presents one endless parade of nothing but Costumes, for that never-ending fantasy life of his mind. I for one have loathed his creations from the first and am tired of viewing these horrors. He is not a genius, nor is this "Art for Art's Sake". No genuine Woman of Syle wears such creations. I wish M. Arnault would focus on the Haute Couture in appreciation of the Woman of Style instead of all these absurd creations which may sell a Dior lipstick or accessory, but are at the very least hard on the eyes. Perhaps, both M. Galliano and M. Arnault should be forced to wear these creations themselves, prior to their presentation and realize the dire maneuverability issue any one would face in attempting to wear such absurdities.

Christian Lacroix - A master of color. Yet, another horrible collection.

Elie Saab - A rather good collection, generally, and one of the few that is actually wearable.

Givenchy - A Nightmare. How I miss the talented M. Hubert de Givenchy. He must be heartsick to see what has become of his House. First, forced out by M. Arnault to make room for the grotesque that is John Galliano, then a parade of equally non-talented temporary "stylists". I share your anguish M. Givenchy!

Jean Paul Gaultier - Yet, another Costumier posing as a Couturier. He needs to cease thinking of Madonna, as even she doesn't think of herself as an upstairs maid.

Valentino - Marvelous and Wearable.

Alexis Mabille

Armani Prive


Christian Dior

Christian Lacroix

Elie Saab


Jean Paul Gaultier


22 February 2009

21 February 2009

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James Mont (1904 – 1974)

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James Mont Furnishings