Monthly Archives: February 2011

One For Two

Carine Roitfeld said of  Dutch newcomer Saskia de Brauw, “no one knows her”. But not for long, certainly not when the model appears on two magazine covers with the same masthead in the same month. For me, Ms Roitfeld’s swan song of a cover is the weaker of the two. I can’t make out what ‘fantaisie’ she’s referring to. The cover girl looks tripped out—there begins the fantasy?

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What Got Into James Franco?

I wanted to like both James France and Anne Hathaway; I really did. I was all for wanting the 83rd Academy Awards to not only look young, but also feel young. I was serious, until it became painfully clear way too early that it was all going to be very trying. “It’s the young and hip Oscars, ” Ms Hathaway yelped, but having two youthful stars host the show did not guarantee a program that would appeal to the YouTube tribe. And if you had to remind the audience that you were “young and hip”, you were not.

The two stars were obviously lacking in chemistry, but must they make up for the deficiency by cross-dressing, in the tradition of bad Thai sitcoms, to bring on the laughs? James Franco claimed that he put on a dress because his co-host “got to wear a tuxedo”. Could there be a lamer excuse? In a suit, James was already wooden and awkward. Could he have done better in a strapless dress? He was as compelling to watch as the rock that got him trapped under a boulder in 127 Hours! If you wanted to impersonate Marilyn Monroe (or Madonna mimicking her), at least try to look beautiful.

Mr Franco should have heeded Lady Gaga’s advice. While it was not quite the stuff of The King’s Speech, it did contain a vestige of truth: “don’t be a drag, be a queen”!

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Hey, Mr Porter

The content-driven (not merely product-heavy) brother site of Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter, is finally opened. I clicked on its homepage not without heightened anticipation. This is, after all, one of the most buzzed e-commerce sites of the past six months. And, with a smile, I was not disappointed.

Unless you’re constantly sitting next to your girlfriend when she hits Net-A-Porter, you may not know what this is all about. I am not going to explain why girls are hooked to the said site. Perhaps a peek into Mr Porter may offer some explanation. But I would say that Mr Porter is more fun than GQ.com and with stuff to buy!

It helps that the homepage itself offers very little clue that this is essentially a stop to shop. Looking like a stylish e-mag, Mr Porter draws you in, at least for now, with a feature Men of the Moment, showcasing some really not bad looking chaps. While all six of them are not movers and shakers of style, they do not appear out of place in Mr Porter. Perhaps, because they are not models, they look believable, if not likable. And that compels the reader to discover for himself elsewhere on the site what the pieces are that makes the sum of these men’s parts well assembled.

While you can obviously get to the product pages in a click, you can also do so via the merchandise features such as The Big Bucks Shoe (and why it’s worth it), which, explains, via the anatomy of the shoe, the reason for its high price. And so compelling a case they’ve put out there, you can’t help but want to look at the other recommendations before quickly clicking on the ‘Shop Now’ button. After you’ve arrived at the selected product, there’s the ‘Editor’s Tips’ that are often persuasive enough for you to free your credit card from your wallet.

I am reminded of the ill-fated Conde Nast title Cargo that closed with the May issue of 2006, just two years after its debut. Despite a lively editorial of user-friendly shopping guide and product features, it failed to lure guys into picking it up. If it had gone the online route, this could have been the outcome.

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Bao Bao Is Big

While you don’t really see many Thai women wearing the instantly recognisable clothes of Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please, the line’s graphically distinctive bag, the Bao Bao, is so popular here that you begin to wonder if it’s the hiptsers’ new Chanel 2.55. It is an interesting bag, no doubt, looking as if it might have been designed by Erno Rubik , but it is surely not a luxury bag in the tradition of the one designed by Coco herself. Yet, I have, on more than one occasion, seen Bangkok lasses teaming the Bao Bao with Ferragamo pumps!

If you, Bao bao lover, are going to Tokyo, maybe during the upcoming Songkran season, you will be thrilled to know that Issey Miyake has opened the brand’s second Elttob Tep concept store in the very swanky Ginza shopping belt. One interesting feature of the new store is its Bao Bao Bar! Here, more than just offering you the bags, it also allows you to custom-order. That means you can pick colours (three for the bag and 20 for the handles) in combinations you won’t find in boring old Bangkok!

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Wintour Soup

They’re doing a Karl on Anna while paying tribute to Andy! This T-shirt is a collaboration between art director Christoper Lee Sauvé and knitwear label Ca$hmere. Available in Lane Crawford, Hong Kong, the tee is again a reminder of what a pop icon the Vogue editor has become. It is cheekily called can-o-Wintour, but even if we imagine the can to contain chicken broth, I doubt it is soup for the soul.

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No More Wings

After introducing what could be the Cherub’s wings to Adidas sneakers and sweat tops, Jeremy Scott goes on to develop a  small collection for the brand’s sister line SLVR. The collaboration is, however, less cartoonish than his earlier effort for Adidas Originals. In fact, the SLVR pieces are very much in keeping with the line’s quiet but graphic aesthetic. Which really means no garment screams or will about to take flight! I am partial to this one slogan tee. Nothing Katherine Hamnett has not done before, but this one seems to be targeted at a particular group of fellows, no?

Adidas SLVR + Jeremy Scott ‘Tofu Guys Don’t Eat Meat’ tee is available at the Adidas SLVR store in Siam Center for 2,990 baht

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“Chinese Fashion Design Now”… In Bangkok

If the name of this exhibition sounds unlikely, it is. I know there’s a gentle nod to Orientalism these days, with Louis Vuitton’s disco-in-China look and Donatella’s revival of the Chinese fret, but for any Thai designer to claim to know what’s the state of  “Chinese Fashion Design Now” is, frankly, pompous or utterly imaginative.

The on-going photo exhibition at CentralWorld is a one-man show by photographer cum underwear designer Amat Nimitpark. So, perhaps it is not entirely the contributing designers’ fault. Clothes from the usual Thai brands (and some high-street labels) on the usual models and celebrities were shot against ornate Chinese screens, and suddenly they are a visual dissertation on “Chinese Fashion Design Now”. It’s like putting a cocktail umbrella on a chignon and call the wearer la femme chinois!

One picture stood out: a male model wearing a dudou, an ancient woman’s undergarment that literally means stomach cover. What fashion is there, Chinese or not? What design? And is it now?

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