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?

A Top-5 of male DNA providers…

14 Mar

… may come handy in those times when world news are slightly apocalyptic. When I ask my own gametes where should I look for a match (a question, my little shrimps, you know to be quite distinct with the question of beauty), here’s what they have to say.

Don’t expect anything fancy: DNAs are a boring bunch, always looking for the same old features Manolo (who tends to be a Platonist) think are written in the Heaven of Intelligible Ideas. Or equivalently, that’s what life wrote in my lady parts to look for in order to make babies. Which is gross.

#5: David Bowie, even better after Let’s Dance.

Beau Brummel does rock

Of course lots of rock stars are hot. But Ziggy’s in a league of his own.

#4: Vincent Cassel, anytime since La haine.

French candy

With a distinctive touch of french mauvais genre.

#3: Brad Pitt, circa Fight Club or Snatch.

Yeah, I know I'm alone on this one.

Hollywood hasn’t offered anything to top that in terms of gamete-hysteria-inducing bastard.

#2: Sean Connery, in the sixties.

So classic it hurts

Well, actually, Hollywood gave us Daniel Craig, who is hot as sh*t. But the competition is too tough here, even for the mean blond Bond.

#1: Steve McQueen, in the seventies.

The guy was even hotter than the actor. Who can top that?

You got me at the freckles, sonnyboy.

#0: Rudolf Noureev, anytime but especially circa 1965.


Nec Plus Ultra

Here we reach the point where my ladyparts literally melt. This guy is arguably the greatest dancer of the 20th century, if not the greatest ever. And he was certainly the most beautiful (yeah, here I say beautiful) XY chromosomes bearer ever. My ovaries think he was a god.

Do I see a pattern? Muscular and lean and angular faced and badass, with a great aging potential. Oh so DNA…

Inspiration for tonight…

12 Mar

… comes from Preminger’s fabulous The Moon is Blue. I know of few other movies with so much rhythm while being just a matter of dialogue. The pitch is of biblical simplicity. A young girl meets a handsome man, and they spend a rainy night together and they fall for each other. She meets the ex-, and her incredibly charming drunk of a father (David Niven). He meets her rather old school father. What makes this extremely fresh and pleasing is that she’s a kind of Voltaire’s Candide, rational and straightforward, bulldozing her way through the social conventions of the game of love.

Dawn Addams plays there the ex-, a spoiled young bitch unreasonably well dressed. I did what I could to convey this in some captures, but you really want to see this movie.

The dress

With some motion

Incredible texture

… and a coat with a veiled hat you really want to be caught dead in.

The coat

Unfortunately, the heroin is of no sartorial merit worth mentioning. She wears a kimono at some point.

Oversizing is trendy…

11 Mar

… we’ve heard plenty of this during the month. Yet, I feel oversize falls at least under two very different categories. The first is the obvious: my jacket is too big for me. Despite all the ‘subtle play with proportion’ blahblah, it seems to me this notion is just unfortunate, and will probably licence loads of disasters in the name of fashion. For instance when this will hit the streets:

Wrong. (Sorry Stella)

… I’m expecting ugliness. Because it disastrously suggests you just have to take one of your father’s jackets and you’re ready to go. Miuccia went down that road too in her last Miu Miu collection. When I first saw this


… I was all ‘oh nooo’ and internally going into my favorite rant #3541, the one about designer’s irresponsibility and the price our eyes must pay for their foolishness (I’ve been using it a lot since some crackhead fashion god decided that men pants’ length was a conventional affair, and it would be cool to cut them above the ankle. Don’t get me started on this one.). Then, almost the next look, Miuccia gave me my fashion lesson of the day. Oversizing may indeed generate a very interesting deconstruction of a fashion standard by way of proportion.

Oh. So. Right.

I stand corrected, which is seriously good. Powercoat on steroids.

A strong modernism…

9 Mar

… may no longer be a sign of a healthy society. It has been once the clearest symptom of confidence in our own values, in so far as they were projected towards a future under construction. But I fear it turns out to be now a kind of innocent passeism, a nostalgia for long gone utopias when the good life was to be sought for in Eames, Saarinen or Koenig’s architecture. It was about reading books from Salinger or Kerouac, listening to records from Coltrane, and the technological revolution was happening.

Case Study #22, Stahl House By Pierre Koenig.

In this Paris shipwreck of a fashion week, there was an insistent trend to provide the clothes to match this aesthetics and way of life. To wit: structure first, texture being just a support to it. Sculptural strength out of simplicity. Honesty. Future.

Costume National

Giambattista Valli

Case Study #8, Eames House by Ray and Charles Eames.




Richard Neutra's Kauffman House.


Costume National

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.

The Freak show is on…

3 Mar

… at Mugler. As anticipated, something rather good was on its way with Formichetti taking the reins of the slightly decaying house. And without detour he delivered everything one was entitled to expect from Gaga’s fashion coach: a show, essentially, delving some formal possibilities about post-humanity, most of which are reminiscences from the last 40 years in sci-fi. Not that any precise reference dawns as obvious, but the overall impression is that of a familiar visual code.

This is both a limit of the concept of a freaking fashion and a still interesting. The whole project revolves around the Jentschian-Freudian notion of Unheimliche: up to what point fashion may push into the realm of the uncomfortably strange? Obviously Formichetti is supposed to design pieces that will actually sell, which constrains a lot the desire to explore. This is probably why he stayed within a formal repertoire relatively smooth to the eye. Yet, it seems to me that some pieces are definitely scorers, precisely because they are both beautiful and verging on the uneasy.

The first is a beauty and the beast fusion: why choose to be the helpless blonde when you can also be the Kong?

Ear/antennae thingies are totally optional.

Notice the positively sublime necklace. I’d wear it and that coat for a lunch in a fancy restaurant anytime between November and March.

Next comes the translucent plastic skin idea. The question is how to avoid the kinky latex effect.

Beautifully sleek legs

Clearly, you don’t have to display your crotch this way, and a black shorty would have gone a long way into making this outfit a winner at the art gallery opening.

This one is chic, plain and simple. It would do marvels with the orange lips it seems no one can live without these days.

Matrix anyone?

Another great outfit out of the box. If you have a flat belly, you’re in for a smart interpretation of this nice fellow, the ax, grin and bad hairdo being as you would guess strictly optional.

Put all these workout freak's abs to shame

The last one may well be my favorite. Anatomy meets suspenders in a most natural form:

Ice Lady

The obvious tip being to avoid looking like the el-cheapo kinky nurse. Urgently ditch these absurd platforms, and slip in this wet-dream of a boot by Prada:


Then you will want to put these cute boobs of yours where they belong: inside a beautiful shell of black and white lace such as something Agent Provocateur would provide you, and under a cute gray fur top, probably along the lines of this beautiful number I pointed out earlier in Elie Tahari’s collection.

Classic boob deliciousness

The icing of it all. You want also the gloves.

Splitting Hairs (A Cruel Tale)

3 Mar

Amazed, the populace that rites attend,
Believe whate’er they cannot comprehend,
And, inly edified to learn that two
Half-hairs joined so and so (as Art can do)
Have sweeter values and a grace more fit
Than Nature’s hairs that never have been split,
Bring cates and wines for sacrificial feasts,
And sell their garments to support the priests.

Ambrose Bierce, extract from the definition of
ART in The Devil’s Dictionary.

As Art can do

She will doubtlessly be sacrificed.

Here comes my Top 10…

2 Mar

… of non-trendy yet indispensable looks from Milano Fashion Week. As you may have noticed already, I’m not that much into trends: the way I see them, they are a kind of ready-to-think. Let’s look at that in no particular order.

Flat frills meet Art Deco. Aquilano Raimondi

Aquilano Raimondi did a great work at being inspired by Rothko (even without mentioning it, the exact contrary of Albino d’Amato). But this Art Deco number with all its unpretentious sophistication, really caught my eye.

At Bottega Veneta, we find some great textures in most outfits.

Bottega Veneta does the sixties

But what killed me was the exact visual effect of some rare and delicate sushis on this top. SO exquisite.

Jackie and sushi.

Etro had lots of good things to offer. Foremost, an impeccably cut pair of trousers:

Look at that line

But technology gives also solutions for great lines. Nylon Lurex sparks the glitter-whore in me:

Max Ernst meets a primitive

Francesco Scognamiglio knows how to blow a fuse from time to time. Here, he does a Poison Ivy in Neverland:

Epic outfit

Gabriele Colangelo offers here a very personal interpretation of the trendy menswear for ladies. You’ll want to wear that for the first meeting of the board.

I want those figures on my desk in ten minutes.

Giorgio Armani and a great great floral pattern, fantastic volume and proportions.Queen-of-hearts-esque without being too obvious. Sweet.

Off with his head!

Miuccia Prada surfes the wave of her great idea of this spring: very clear and structured lines, great contrasts. She did also some remarkably fuzzy furs, but the doggy parts of the show were a series of very silly fishes scales pieces I find absolutely scandalous. Where is the nightclub worth wearing that?

While I dance the night away...

The jewel of this little collection, the piece that started it all, is this absolutely fantastically off and exactly on Tyroll-meets-disco number, a notion of the lowest probability given the trends, short, mid and long term, that Emilio Pucci pulls effortlessly in the midst of a sumptuous collection. I have a life to live in those clothes.

Yoddle chic, what beats that?