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Funny Time of Year…

6 Jun

Beth Gibbons still is one of the few reasons it’s not entirely pointless to have a look at the pop-rock shelves…

Unfortunately, as it happens in more than few occasions, her huge musical talents do not really translate sartorially. It makes me kind of sad.

C’mon Beth, would it really be beneath you to sport a decent pair of shoes? Like these deliciously punkoid Jen Kao high wedged platform sneaker booties (!)


Punk's not quite dead. It just turned expensive.

For no better reason…

17 May

… than sheer capriccio, I decided today had to be dedicated to the infamous Antwerp Six.

The way they were, all badass

From left to right: Marina Yee, Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene. The guys rocked the 88 edition of the LFW, making fashion like there’s no tomorrow, and some of them still are quite the ass-kicking mavericks they once were.

Fugit irreparabile tempus

Now watch me as I arbitrarily single out those I find still alive:

Ann Demeulemeester. Taking goth up to real fashion, and it’s not even kitsch (it’s a miracle).

Patti Smith's league

She’s not that much into Spring and Summer stuff… fun and sun? I don’t think so.

As summery as it gets

But as I say, she does miracles. Like she takes a nurse’s pair of birkies (ie an abomination) and make them sexy.

Can you believe it? I can't.

Walter Van Beirendonck is so gay it hurts, but in a good way.

Papa Bear

He has a quite distinctive take on male aethetics, one I find refreshingly at odds with the mainstream.

The real guys

Dries Van Noten‘s face is not that interesting, and I’m not sure he lives up to the reputation of the six pack. Yet he’s good at fluid and effortless.

An acid drop on a restrained look

Like said: fluid and effortless

And this is precisely what you want to wear for a late afternoon smoke looking at the birds over the harbor.

Dear Friends…

9 May

I owe you all an apology. I’ve been extremely unwell, hence missing for an month and a half, without a warning. Some of you expressed concern, which touched me a lot. I won’t go into details, but I hope I’ll be fine now.

Anyway, let’s not stay on such a note, for as surprising as it may be, things happen even when I’m not around. I know, I can’t quite believe it myself. And what happened? I hear the sleepiest of you wonder.

Shoes happened! And especially this pair of Camilla Skovgaard:

Skovgaard FW 2011

The connection between the leather of the ankle strap and the upper material is not exceedingly virtuosic, yet it works in its brute way. But the sole geometry is really good. I’d love to try a pair and check whether function follows form here. And I love the rust. This is as close a shoe can be from the poetry of decaying cargo ships.

United Nude…

26 Mar

… does really good things when not trying to incorporate furniture references in their shoes. Witness, the absolute wonderfulness of the product of their collaboration with Iris van Herpen. It’s called Crystallization:


Another gem in the new collection, the Haiku:

Simplicity, geometry, bondage

I could totally wear that…

23 Mar

Henri-Francois Mulard, Portrait of a Woman, ca 1810

Notice the butter gloves. I hear you, my little shrimps, asking as one should always ask: “this is very well indeed, but what about the shoes?”

Donna Karan's cork and wood platform sandals

With just the right amount of exoticness to compliment the somewhat Hellenic spirit of the outfit.

In the Navy…

18 Mar

… is just where I’d like to be, sailing the deep blue waves, far away from this leaden sky and that never to come spring.

Or maybe I’ll just dream about the Flying Dutchman, listening to the wind in Wagner’s overture. Had I to meet with the dreaded Captain, I would wear the following.

First, a red striped marinière

Saint James

… and of course sailor pants…

Junya Watanabe

… striped shoes to match the top…

Tabitha Simmons

and a navy coat on top of that…



And since I’m clad for the Fliegende Holländer, here’s a classic version of one of the greatest innamoramento scenes in the whole history of Opera. Senta meets the Dutchman, he looks for redemption, she looks for a destiny, they recognize their own fate in each other… which is as good as tragic: they will soon die together.

Hans Hotter and Birgit Nilsson are arguably some of the better Wagner interprets ever, and boy one can hear it! Try at least to reach 6″30, when the entanglement of their compassion reaches a first peak. I cannot hear it without feeling the tears rise to my eyes.



The slow and irresistible process of their falling in love, the over-present marine element in the Opera, all of this by some mental association lead me to this sublime poem by D. H. Lawrence, The Elephant is Slow to Mate.

The elephant, the huge old beast,
is slow to mate;
he finds a female, they show no haste
they wait

for the sympathy in their vast shy hearts
slowly, slowly to rouse
as they loiter along the river-beds
and drink and browse

and dash in panic through the brake
of forest with the herd,
and sleep in massive silence, and wake
together, without a word.

So slowly the great hot elephant hearts
grow full of desire,
and the great beasts mate in secret at last,
hiding their fire.

Oldest they are and the wisest of beasts
so they know at last
how to wait for the loneliest of feasts
for the full repast.

They do not snatch, they do not tear;
their massive blood
moves as the moon-tides, near, more near
till they touch in flood.


That’s it for today, my little shrimps.

Joho ho hoe!


15 Mar

In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.

John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, Ch. III (1859).

That Mill was English will hardly come as a surprise to anyone. Yet, he’s perfectly right. Intolerance to eccentricity is both a sign of weakness of the people’s spirits, and of tyranny in the institutions. Examples come to mind. Anyway, let us celebrate one of fashion’s true eccentrics.

Comme des Garçons. And dots.

Vintage silk scarves ruched with black ruffles. I love the material, it’s got a tremendous vibrato, and a distinctive lingerie touch which is sexy per se. Of course, Rei Kawakubo knows that a good pair of heels will redeem any kind of sartorial eccentricity, so she won’t let that happen. She won’t let you get away from the difficult with some easy heel glam.

I would, though. I’m not yet a full blown Man Repeller. (Actually, Leandra Medine is not either: look here how she shys away at the end from full MR, changing from her sleepers to her terribly sexy pair of Proenza Schouler (waaaant)).

I would pair the dots outfit with these pumps from Dries Van Noten. The severity of the strong geometric pattern gives dignity to the otherwise frivolous sequins, on perfect par with the ruffles.

Equilateral triangles paving the plane

What would be your eccentricity’s upper limit?

It may or may not be a sign…

4 Mar

… but Sargent’s portrait of Madame X, much discussed when Manolo introduced it as a token of non-messy-layers icon, was on Peter Copping mood board when he draw Nina Riccci’s last collection.

(Did you know that Manolo?)

And let me tell you, my little shrimps that this collection kicks some serious ass. Lost in a sea of depressingly well cut goth attires that suggest that Paris’ Fashion Week is turning into a slightly upstyled version of some underground vampire flick (and if that’s not depressing, I don’t know what will be), Ricci’s collection shines as a nostalgic sospiro in very modern times.

The first look is a manifesto:

Do you see the twist?

The trendy orange is softened enough to look like a memory, but the real subversion is in the cargo pockets. Improbably nice. Does she hide a gun in this clutch?

Ophelia with Hamlet pants.

I am all for these pleated pants that are everywhere. In particular when matched with flowery girly stuff.

Nymphea depths in the skirt

Lots to love here: the belt, the shoes, and OMG the sleeeeeves…

I see dots. And Uma Thurman should definitely wear this.

Delight in disorder, and an extremely well organised disorder if you ask me.

Executive Romance

A very exact measure of power dressing into a melancholic recipe, crystal hard, silk soft. I get some faint notes of manga.

Deconstructing the tweed

Here again, a cleverly orchestrated contrast between modernism and nostalgia.

And two details (between many others) made me smile:

Exceedingly nice laced boots with fur

Remember Mademoiselle Rivière of Ingres?


Obviously, the hats were absolutely the dog’s doggy parts. Look:

A hat. In fur.

In my book…

1 Mar

… up to now, Bally rhymed with boring (which is odd when you think about it).

You would see respectable wives of antiques dealers, having made a fortune during WWII, wearing Bally in Lausanne, or the mayor of this small conservative town will drive the lady to the City, once a year, to buy Bally shoes, they are so chic and durable at the same time, that what the kind of glamour attached to the brand as I saw it.

But things change in the fashion industry. It’s been known for that.

Since ex Aquascutum designers Michael Herz and Graeme Fidler joined the Swiss brand, some adjustments were to be expected. But in all honesty, given the frantic rhythm of the fashion weeks, I wouldn’t have paid much attention if it weren’t for Miss Bubble’s keen eye… And while the clothes didn’t give me much to rave about, when I saw the pics of the shoes, my shoe-loving girl heart skipped some beats.

I had then a lovely zombie moment, like waaaaannt, (drooling) waaaannt… I guess you the feeling.

I stole Suzie’s pics to show them to you:

Mountain heights

Well, I hear you my little shrimps doing the impersonation of the Priestly : “Alpinism references for Swiss shoes… Ground. Breaking.” I have a little voice telling me that deep down inside. But a much bigger voice booming “Get thee hence, ya annoying naysayer… beautiful plus sexy kills kitsch. A well documented fact.”

Even higher

I’m seriously obsessed with these. Waaaaaaaaanttt.

As I lay…

1 Mar

… sniffing platinum salts in order to recover from the Dionysiac abuse of Swabian Riesling, and from the nerd overdose of talking three days with a handful of peeps who you know are maybe a third of the living people remotely interested in what you do and understanding it, as I lay (said I) I realize it’s been a while since I posted.

I owe you.

And while I try to cure an intoxication by another intoxication, I thought I should share with you some of the top dope of the history of music. Watch out the mystic fumes, you may begin to feel you have a soul before you know it. Here it i: Johannes Ockeghem’s Deo Gratia. 36 voices Canon (Motet, actually). This stuff is seriously good. Listen to the circling voices at the end.

And while we’re at it, why not ask ourselves some deep sartorial question. Assume you’re invited by this most refined friend, a choir director himself, for a concert of Flemish 15th century sacred music in the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent. The place is beautiful, the performance will be excellent. You need to match. But such spiritual events call for a very toned down femininity. But you wouldn’t want to look like a nun either: you’re not one, you respect them, and literalness is at best a risky business, when it’s not downright stupid.

I found exactly what I need in Missoni’s collection:

Exactly the right amount of Christianity

Of course, I wouldn’t be caught dead in this aberration of a boot. But this little pair of Thakoon would do a perfect job at keeping the whole outfit suitably in tune with loosing myself in the counterpoint subtleties of the early Flemish Renaissance.

Keeping the correct notions. Forgetting about wellies


I woud certainly add a coat. Ghent is often chilly. A discreet biblical allusion, sheep on my shoulders, and this parka trend defused by wearing it on not too soir clothes. That’s what I call being attentively inattentive to fashion trends.

Iceberg, unsheepishly