Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dunhill’s Going Uphill

This afternoon, a magazine editor was waxing lyrical to me how good Dunhill’s new collection looks and, at the same time, lamenting how bad the buy for the Bangkok store is.

I took a peek at the Dunhill boutique in Gaysorn. It’s not a big shop and what’s inside is dismal. I am not sure if the main ready-to-wear is available in the Siam Paragon store, but its conspicuous absence here is regrettable since they are much to be desired. What’s hung on the racks are sad looking polos, suits, and a couple of shirts.

But Dunhill isn’t supposed to look like this. With the appointment of Kim Jones as creative director, this quintessential British brand has taken on a distinctly sleeker presence while maintaining its heritage sensibility. I am especially keen on this T-shirt (above), now available online at Forward. The upper-body red block and the stripes give the tee a sense of  indie-pop, something Mika might have worn as he sings, “relax, take it easy”.

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CDG Opens!

It is due to be unveiled tomorrow, but this evening, the new Comme des Garcons store at Erawan opened its doors, fronted by a sign that says “Private”, to select customers. Inside, the interior is classic CDG: stripped-to-the-bare essentials, raw concrete floor, modular blocks of display units; all composed in a largely white space with whispers of blond wood. The utilitarian, almost monastic, clearly anti-luxury setting is the ideal backdrop for the sculptural, multi-layered, multi-patterned clothes. Alas, this a woman’s store with intriguing pieces that will be alluring to mostly the intrepid (CDG Homme Plus and Shirt are still available at Club 21 Men). Guys will find only the Play line, which is now so widely knocked off and so popular among the wrong social set that it has become an embarrassing  dent on CDG’s so-far impeccable product and collaboration mix. The smiley-heart–all starry-eyed,  perpetually beaming at you–has become sickening.

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Lookate For Amat

You can put the mother in the model, but you can’t take the model out of the mother. Methinee (Lookate) Kingpayome, newly-minted mom, has been able to combine motherhood with modeling, even if it means appearing scantily-clad with her offspring. In other words, “don’t count me out yet!” Ms Kingpayome took to the catwalk this evening with her indifferent son, no doubt starting the baby young. You would have thought that she might consider retirement now that junior needs mommy more than the catwalk needs her, but there she was, in the glare of the spotlight, putting on a smile that indicated comeback beauty queen pleasure.

Dressed in a T-shirt and hip-hugging trunks, she and her son were parading in Zen Department Store for Amat, a men’s underwear brand designed by Amat Nimitpark, a photographer-turn-fashion editor, who is installed at the publication Image. The eponymous line comprises underpants that has less to do with modesty than dispensing with it. So many styles were fashioned with such tiny pieces of fabric or the sheerest of cloth that one wonders why anyone would bother designing these underpants at all. Fashion shows have become so much a part of Thai popular culture that briefs and boxers deserve their own displays too, in a drastic nosedive of fashion, and ultimately, social standards. Titillation is the currency of the shows and the audience soaked it up with glee. These days you do mainly two things for pleasure: oogle or Google.

After the finale, Mr Nimitpark appeared on the catwalk to take his bow, mimicking the ritual of a traditional ready-to-wear show. As he stood triumphantly there, receiving bouquets from admirers, shoppers were looking out from parapets and escalators, gaping at the near-naked models, swiftly making my dismay facetious, my moan meek.

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Fave Pic | Karl’s Boy

Baptiste Giabiconi, Karl Lagerfeld’s amusing muse, has appeared on catwalks, in books and films, mostly playing variations of his sweet-sexy, cool-calm, young self. That is until now. Mr Giabiconi appears on the cover of L’Officiel Homme China and, in the fashion spread within, channels pop music’s recognisable icons as diverse as glam-rocker David Bowie (above), Frank Sinatra, Jim Morrison, and, er, Lady Gaga, who really looks like a Pinkerton as failed pop geisha!

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Desirable Denim Dresses

With denim and chambray the fabrics of choice this summer, eyes are on designers who are able to give these humblest of cloths shapes that are flattering and, dare I say, elegant. After what was shown at Chloe and Jean Paul Gaultier, I was beginning to wonder if anyone could breathe new life into the fabric Levi’s has made a modern staple. So it was with delight when the results of the collaboration between Lanvin and Acne were released recently. Denim has never looked so smashing. The dresses, in particular stood out, all with the sensual qualities that Alber Elbaz has introduced to Lanvin, and the shapes, the assymetry, the ruching!

They’re simply the best.

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Split Personality

These boating-inspired shoes stood out like the proverbial sore thumb (or toe?) among the track and court sneakers. More so when you consider the removable kiltie–that fringed tongue under the lacing. From the side, Onitsuka Tiger’s Carrack looks like a docksider, but from the front, it could be a golf shoe! Personality conflict aside, they really look good with chinos.

Onitsuka Tiger Carrack is available at Central Chidlom for 4,900 baht.

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The Lone Ranger

The most unlikely new brand to debut in Bangkok appears in the most unlikely of places: Central Chidlom. At our city’s landmark department store, currently introducing two “luxury” zones (another story altogether, later), the French independent designer Gaspard Yurkievich’s second line Y has quietly found its way to the 4th floor, surrounded by clearly not like-minded neighbours such as Harley Davidson and G200.

Mr Yurkievich (left) is a fine designer but his clothes are not exactly of the same aesthetic that defines Central Chidlom’s sense of “luxury”. In fact, he is not a staple in the mainstream press’s coverage of fashion, which may mean that not many Thais have heard of him. The appeal is, therefore, uncertain, especially if we consider the fact that when it comes to dressing, many Thais prefer conspicuous expression.

I am not saying that Mr Yurkievich’s clothes are uninteresting, but he does tend to err on the side of the minimal. Not a bad thing of course. The details in, say, the shirts are more in the proportion and the finishing than in the surface treatment such as prints, appliques and embroidery. In this way, Mr Yukievich is a modernist, much like Veronique Branquinho and Kris Van Assche.

It must, therefore, be quite a gambol for the distributor Meticulous Co Ltd (the people behind the Thai shirt line Meticulous) to introduce Y to Thailand. But in doing so and in stocking the line at Central Chidlom, they are offering hope that there are discerning consumers who are willing to put good design above brand popularity. And Central Chidlom’s acceptance of a label that is largely untested here shows that they do not fear taking the route less travelled. On a floor filled with the usual menswear suspects, Gaspard Yurkievich stands out.

Gaspard Yurkievich is available at Luxe Men, level 4, Central Chidlom

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