November 5, 2014 by
I’m back to my all-black look, having gone astray somewhat with colours recently, a foray I’m quite keen to continue with. However black has always been a source of comfort, something I believe all my fellow black-clad, Rick/Ann/Yohji-loving soldiers would concur with. I think I can safely assume that black on the whole allows us to remain anonymous, to disappear into the crowd or hide in our own safe mental space. And I have always taken that for granted. Until one day when I asked an innocuous question to a group of people. Given the same coat from Rick Owens, one in all black, the other black and white, my fashion-inclined friends agreed that the latter was more conspicuous. When I asked another friend who has little interest in fashion, he felt that the all-black spoke louder, an opinion that threw me off guard. Have we then, in our attempt to stay hidden in our blackness, become more prominent? While I reckon we should reconsider the way we think of black vis-à-vis the rest of the world, there is no need for anyone to abandon their favourite colour. But let us not delude ourselves in thinking that we are ever more hidden amongst the crowds.
Wearing some old hat; Issey Miyake Haat coat; DIY vest; Tricot Comme des Garçons wide-legged trousers which I’ve had professionally tapered; Damir Doma Falka creepers
Blackness aside, I would like to highlight another piece of garment from Issey Miyake, this time from one of his numerous sub-labels – HaaT. Just to recap from my previous post on Issey Miyake , the HaaT line is a mashup of modern technology with traditional textile craftsmanship which results in garments of artisanal qualities.
Like many of Issey Miyake’s creations, this coat is rather airy considering its length and material. Everything about the coat oozes subtlety, from the light texture that reflects light off its blackness, the curve towards the bottom, to the slight cocoon-like silhouette. These light touches allow for major layering fun while avoiding being overwrought.
To get the apocalyptic gunslinger look, one should don a wide brimmed hat and a high-necked wraparound of some sort. The higher the neckline, the more mystery you exude. Rather like preserving your chastity by keeping the ankles covered à la Victorian ladies. You can of course make a similar draped vest as mine, first featured here, inspired by Mika. Various styles of shoes would complement the look quite nicely, such examples include a pair of thick-soled Dr. Martens derbies, Underground creepers, or crepe-soled Grensons. With the outerwear and trousers I have taken the liberty to show a selection found from good old eBay.
- Comme des Garçons Homme Black Wool Coat size M – from $150
- Lumen et Umbra Linen Coat with Split Vent Sz 48 – $429
- Issey Miyake Long Coat Size 3 – $325
- Comme des Garçons Homme Plus coat size M – $700
- Yohji Yamamoto Pants size 2 – $154
- Comme des Garçons Homme Plus Wool Pants size S from $90
- Comme des Garçons Homme Wide Pants Size S $89
- Comme des Garçons Homme Deux Pants Size S – $89
- Comme des Garçons Homme Pleated Wool Pants Size S – $99.9
- Vintage 50′s Brocade Opera Coat – $119.99
- Vintage Swing Coat – $67.50
- Josie Natori Coat with Lace Hem – $79.99
- Comme des Garçons Tricot A-Line Coat size M from $148
- Yohji Yamamoto Wool Drop Crotch Trousers Size 1 – $198
- Comme des Garçons Wool Trousers size M from $195.99
There are of course plenty of other garments suitable to re-create this look, but the key points to watch out for is the flare of the coat, the taper of the trousers, and the high neckline. Most importantly, your trousers must have roomy pockets to hide your hands for maximum coolness, and that way your coat too will drift even higher in motion . I hope these suggestions have been useful in some ways. Till next time.
Category: Shopping, Wear
October 23, 2014 by
Just a quick post to thank you guys for the thoughtful comments you’ve left on various posts. I will get to them as soon as real life gets less busy for me. In the meantime, here’s something more relaxed from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall/Winter 2006 collection – one of my personal favourites of his – in which he celebrates the beauty of decollétage.
Wearing Yohji Yamamoto tweed jacket; Claudia Ligari wool trousers; Damir Doma creepers.
Tags: Claudia Ligari, Damir Doma, Yohji Yamamoto Category: Wear
October 3, 2014 by
I went out for a rather lavish dinner in town, having had the pleasure to be chauffeured to and fro by a good friend of mine. I don’t usually speak about the context of my outfits but I am making an exception this time. This was simply due to one thought that popped up in my head as I was passing a very pleasant evening. “The internet will not believe that I wore this outfit”, I murmured to my friend.
I know many of you are aware that I live in the tropics and hence do not have much opportunities to wear thick clothing. Several contributing factors on that evening allowed me to do so. One being optimal layering – the dress I wore underneath is sleeveless and very thin, so much so that if I were to wear nipple tapes they could be seen (yikes!). It’s also important the the coat I was wearing is extremely oversized, hence allowing for air circulation (wow can’t believe I said that about a Rick outerwear!). Two – I was constantly spending my time in air-conditioned environments in the evening. Three – and I always stress this time and time again, my body is highly acclimatised to heat (hence dealing very poorly in the cold, which I had spoken about here), especially my feet which have no problem being covered in boots and never seeing daylight when I’m outside.
On numerous occasions, inaccurate assumptions have been made about the lifestyles, environments and bodily functions of people on the internet. Hence sometimes I find myself having to explain about my abilities to wear the clothes I am showcasing on this blog sporadically. While I am okay with doing this, I am more concerned with my regular readers who have to read the same explanations over and over. To you, my dear internet friends, I do apologise. But sometimes I must do what is necessary to keep up with the so-called integrity and ‘authenticity’ of this blog (what is authenticity in the fashion blogging context anyway?!).
It also raises another fascinating subject in my head. How much of what bloggers wear in real life is influenced by the need to present their outfits on the blog? Has the need for staying true to one’s defined style portrayed on a blog put a parameter around what should/shouldn’t be worn in real life? For some reason authenticity is such an issue for many bloggers’ audience that time and time again when famous bloggers are spotted in real life, readers express disappointment that their outfits in ‘real life’ aren’t accurate representations of their virtual image. This issue is still at its infancy in my head. Perhaps as time goes by I can formulate it better. Of course I would, really, really, reaaaaally love to hear your thoughts on this and have a further discussion so I can actually write something substantial on this topic. Your observations, personal experiences, anecdotes, theory about other bloggers… Anything! You’re more than welcome to remain anonymous too.
Tags: Rick Owens Category: Musing, Wear
September 22, 2014 by
Here’s another attempt to drum up some hype for Issey Miyake. The (niched) fashion blogsphere and tumblr are consistently filled to the brim with Rick Owens and Comme des Garçons, while male avant-garde fashion worshippers never fail to show their loyalty to Yohji Yamamoto in various fashion forums, strutting around in oversized bulbous pleated trousers and even larger overcoats reminiscent of the Forties . Meanwhile, Issey Miyake is left in the lurch, barely surfacing once in a while when the subjects of Japanese fashion history and fashion technology are broached.
While most of Issey Miyake’s Pleats Please garments are cut in a fuss-free pattern to fit and move with the body, once in a while this sub-label produces gravity-defying, architectural works. This dress, for example, moves beautifully in motion, especially as I was sauntering around Tokyo in the transitional summer/autumn weather. It bounces and flutters in the wind while retaining part of its structure, and combined with the shimmery surface they create the semblance of a mesmerising yet slightly monstrous liquid substance.
I did not realise how many diffusion lines Issey Miyake actually has until I was in Japan. Prior to my trip I knew about a few of them aside from the mainline and Pleats Please, such as:
- Fête: a more sculptural version of Pleats Please, which has now been merged into the mainline since 2009
- A-POC (A Piece of Cloth): No longer a line per se since mid-2000, it has now become a manufacturing method which is incorporated into the Pleats Please line, using computer technology to create clothing from a single piece of thread in a single process
- HaaT: classic Issey Miyake garments such as oversized coats focusing on textile treatment with artisanal qualities
- me Issey Miyake: shirts produced in colourful prints and patterns with pleated textures that differ from the Pleats Please line, again there is a focus on technology and innovation for this line
- Bao Bao: Bags in tiled pattern
Then I discovered the Homme Plissé line for men, well when I say men there’s nothing to stop the ladies from wearing them, as I’ve found out personally how well the coats fit me. It’s a combined effort by the Issey Miyake Men design team with the Reality Lab team (which I will come to later). Basically the line is reminiscent of Pleats Please for men made out of sturdy waterproof techno fabrics. Photos of Homme Plissé items in store can be found here and here. I wish I had taken some photos in the store, as well as a particularly fascinating pleated cocoon coat from the EDGE series that I tried, but I was just too shy about it. So here are a couple of photos of the exact coat I’ve tried in grey. The fabric itself is rather difficult to describe. It has the characteristics of rubber with the texture of suede, extremely lightweight and certainly feels waterproof. Best of all it’s able to retain its beautiful pleats and silhouette.
Another notable line which I came across was 132.5 Issey Miyake. The designs are conceived with a computer scientist with the use of mathematical algorithm, and what was remarkable about the clothing was that they can all be folded flat like origami. Personally I am not too much of a fan of this line but it was most strikingly clever, what with all the calculative design and production methods which reminded me of how Tool carefully incorporates awkward time signatures in their music.
In short, all the lines that focus on textile innovations and productions (Homme Plissé, 132.5 Issey Miyake, Bao Bao etc) are the brainchild of Miyake’s Reality Lab, which also happens to be the name of one of the stores in Tokyo. The list of brands I have mentioned are by no means exhaustive, as yours truly is unable to keep up with all of them.
The sheer level of modern technology that Issey Miyake consistently relies on in its creations is certainly almost unmatched by most other luxury labels. Admittedly it may also be one of the reasons why it’s so difficult to keep up with the line. It seems like most of the capital has been sunk into research and development, instead of generating buzz to keep the consumers constantly informed of its presence. Having too many diffusion lines also may not help their cause. Not only are they spreading themselves too thin, most people will not be able to keep up with the various offerings. And when consumers get confused with too many options, they usually end up not being able to make up their mind, hence hampering the purchasing process altogether.
With that said, I hope this short article has shed some light on the tremendously fascinating clothing that Issey Miyake has to offer. The best part is, out of the three most esteemed Japanese labels, Issey Miyake tends to be the most affordable one, especially for the equally beautiful diffusion lines. The Homme Plissé coat that I tried in Tokyo cost a little over five hundred ‘Murican dollars, AND it’s actually very practical as it is a waterproof garment. Compared to Yohji’s jackets which on average is always above four figures, many of Issey Miyake’s items can be considered chump change.
Tags: Issey Miyake Category: Designer Talk, Musing, Wear
September 15, 2014 by
Wearing Comme des Garcons SHIRT FW2009; Claudia Ligari trousers; Rick Owens geobaskets
Comme des Garçons SHIRT is, you guessed it, a line for shirts made primarily for men, alongside various easily palatable accessories such as belts and sneakers. The main selling points of the shirts are the quirky prints and graphic elements that make typical oxford shirts less boring. One can argue it’s not much more than a money-making machine à la CdG’s Play line, but I can appreciate some of the creativity that goes into many of these shirts, so much so that I bought a couple of them. I can’t say that everything’s a gem, but there have been notable printed shirts released in the past. It helps that there have been eye-catching campaigns done in the past that cemented its brand image.
Tags: Claudia Ligari, Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens Category: Designer Talk, Wear
September 2, 2014 by
Biker jackets, specifically the double rider, has become a ubiquitous garment in fashion. It is exemplified by the asymmetrical placement of the main zipper, wide lapels with snap buttons and a pocket flap on one side. Another name it often goes by would be the Perfecto. The jacket was first released by Irving Schott of Schott NYC back in 1928, but its popularity was only cemented in the 50s after it was worn by the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean in their respective movies, both with rebellious undertones (Automobiles! Penis! POWWAAHHHHHH!!!).
Wearing Junya Watanabe FW2007 jacket, Comme des Garçons SS2004 skirt, Rick Owens turbo boots
Fast forward almost a century later, every other designer has made some rendition of the Perfecto, from Rick Owens, Margiela, Undercover, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, to all the high street stores you can ever think of. No complaints there since it’s my favourite type of garment. However in my opinion the best interpretations have always been done by Junya Watanabe. As a designer, Watanabe isn’t as widely recognised as Rei Kawakubo, but he is a meister in his own right. On the mens side, he is mostly known for his interpretations of Americana workwear, with plenty of checks and patchworks. For womens however, his works are far more varied. The central themes of his collections tend to revolve around masterful drapery, patchwork denim, reconstructions of military garments, reinterpreted tailored garments such as the trench, and the prevalence of various forms of motorcycle jackets. Conceptually he doesn’t push the envelope as far as Kawakubo, consequently making his runway clothes more wearable yet no less visually arresting.
Watanabe first started working for Comme des Garçons as a pattern maker in 1984, before being promoted to chief designer of the Tricot line three years later. He established his own line in 1993 assisted by another Comme des Garçons protegé Chitose Abe who now helms Sacai. There is not much online evidence of his works before the turn of the millenium, but I can safely say that he first started pushing his biker jackets aggressively from Fall/Winter 2007 onwards.
As a designer, Watanabe is far more interested in manipulating synthetics. With the exception of Fall/Winter 2011 in which he sent down plenty of outerwear in genuine leather, his jackets are mostly made of PVC or PVC-coated cotton. In the Fall/Winter 2007 collection, he showcased a few versions of ‘faux leather’, such as the one soft thin one I’m wearing in this post, or a tough one that closely resemble goatskin, which you can see here. Similar versions made their appearance again in the Spring/Summer 2014 show. Such was the significance of his biker jackets that they were reproduced in leather for the collaboration with Spanish leather maison Loewe. For his Spring/Summer 2012 and Fall/Winter 2014 collections, he juxtaposed feminine frou frou onto the traditionally masculine Perfecto, blurring the line between gendered clothing (cues gender and body politics).
It is his fixation with biker jackets that drew my attention to Junya Watanabe’s works. As an avid collector of this particular garment, one can’t help but to appreciate the intricacies and innovation that are needed to re-invent them. Large maisons like Balenciaga continue to churn out the same iteration every season, with little to no variations in design (change in zipper colour doesn’t count!), simply because it’s their best selling garment and can continue to ride on its popularity to survive. Wearing Watanabe’s complicated jackets do take some mental investment because they are so in your face. Mental in the sense that one has to have the ability to ignore the stares from strangers, the same kind that would be given to anyone who suddenly bursts into song and dance in the subway. Whatever your tolerance to outré clothing is, Watanabe’s works deserve more recognition than what he’s currently receiving.
Tags: Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Rick Owens Category: Designer Talk, Wear