Monthly Archives: May 2010

Mid-Age Madness?

What is it about middle age for some men that makes them want to be an exhibitionist? In the case of Marc Jacobs, we are even more puzzled. He doesn’t need the publicity. He does not  need the notoriety. And he sure does not need the money (or is he helping his brand save some?).

Mr Jacobs’s latest fragrance with the clearly unprovocative name Bang (despite the bold face in the ad) sees the designer as the body behind the fragrance. He is no stranger to showing off bare skin, especially after it was newly buffed a few years back. Despite the strategic placement of the bottle, this is still tantamount to flashing. No? Exposure is still exposure. Indecent or not, that really depends on the times and the star power of the exposed. And that, perhaps, has nothing to do with age.

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The Noisettes + Dr Martens

I really like The Noisettes. They are like hazelnut truffles on a rainy day or after a dental surgery. I have been waiting for them to release a new album since last year’s Wild Young Hearts, but the wait has, so far, been a little like anticipating the government to step down or the red-shirted to give up. Thanks to boot maker Dr Martens, there’s a delightful single to help me tide over the delay.

The single is a remake of the Buzzcocks’s (1978!) Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have)? and it’s issued in conjunction with Dr Marten’s 50th Anniversary, a celebration that started in the UK last month. It’s surprising that The Noisettes were willing to work with Doc Marts since the band members have to wear the DM boots in the promo materials (including the music videos), therefore forging an endorsement. But I am glad they did. Unlike the Buzzcocks’s original version, sung almost tunelessly against the sound of punk-rock angst, the Noisettes have given the music a similar period treatment: disco! Singer/bassist Shingai Shoniwa, with her distinctive voice, sang it as if it was an old Gloria Gaynor song. Sure, this is not the first remake. I am thinking of Nouvelle Vague’s version, but don’t we have enough of bossa nova sung with a whispery vocal?

You can check out the The Noisettes’ song at Dr Martens’s website (50.drmartens.com), together with other guests artists such as DamFunk (doing The Human League’s Thing’s That Dreams Are Made Of) and The Cinematic Orchestra (with the jazz classic Lilac Wine). The musicians and what they cover are a lot more varied than Dr Martens’s once-again popular boots.

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No Goofy Closet

Just because you’re a cartoon empire does not mean that you cannot go into the furniture business, and just because your Disney store is a very modest success among toddlers in this part of the world does not mean you have got to make a Mickey out of tables and chairs.

When I read that Disney was going into furniture, I was, like you, skeptical. I was thinking of wing-back chairs with, you guessed it, mouse ears! So it was with much relieve that Disney has collaborated with the Italian firm Cappellini to produce some fine furniture albeit still somewhat toon-town cheery. I imagine someone like Tavi Gevinson would swoon over them.

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Boat Shoes Pretending To Be Penny Loafers

If you have not had enough of collaborations, here’s another. The New York-based clothing and accessories label Vane has joined hands with shoemaker Sebago (of the Docksides fame) to produce the Vane Penny Mid I, a high-cut boat shoe that boasts a penny loafer detail (in patent leather no less!) across the toe, just after the lacing–part of a 8-style collection called, unconvincingly, “Future Heritage”.

The Vane Penny Mid I looks positively odd, and oddly traditional at the same time. Now that boat shoes are the rage, this pair will definitely appeal to those who are more anti-establishment than those who would actually wear them on a boat. I am not so sure of the white outsole, particularly when they have to touch the pavements of Bangkok rather than the deck of a pleasure craft.

Sebago shoes are rumoured to hit the shelves of Zen on 1 July. The above, unfortunately, will not be available.

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Do That Voodoo

One of the Thai labels showing at the Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX) Blueprint trade fair in Singapore last week was Second Issue by Roj Singhakul of, you guessed it, Issue. I’m not sure if this is a bridge line, as suggested by the name, but I’m clear it is not lacking in the mad-cap, unapologetic exotica by way of lands north of meung Thai that always got the uninitiated wondering if the brand is from India. The mistaken identity is compounded by the daily incense-burning in Mr Singhakul’s flagship store in Siam Square, where it has stood for more than a decade as the heart of multi-sensory assault.

Histrionics have always been part of all Issue’s showings, as if the clothes by themselves cannot command any presence on stage. This time round, Mr Singhakul took the path trodden by Gareth Pugh, Jun Takahashi and Junya Watanabe. He gloved his model’s face with printed body stocking and crowned the head with remixed millinery that was part top of totems, part Kerala’s kiridam.

Do the head wear or wrapped faces lend a historical perspective to the clothes? Or a cultural one? I saw none. Perhaps they were Mr Singhakul’s way of showing the staid Singaporeans how to style a dramatic show. Or how to obscure faces you do not want the public to see.

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