Saturday, January 31, 2009

Roberto Cavalli, Fall 2009 Men's

Are you from a former Soviet country? Are you an oligarch who illegally made your millions in the last few years? Do you own your own Apache helicopter? Are you dating an Estonian supermodel? More importantly, do you want to dress like her? If so, this is the label for you.

-The Scandal

D&G, Fall 2009 Men's

D&G is Dolce and Gabbana's second tier label, generally a bit sportier and more casual than the "Dolce and Gabbana" label (though this collection was looking pretty spiffy itself).

Thankfully, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana never strayed too far off the beaten path and have consistently delivered cool clothes for the past 10 years or so. For me, I analogise their popularity in the past decade with every guy who wanted to look cool to that enjoyed by Versace in the 90's.

-The Scandal

Burberry Prorsum, Fall 2009 Men's

Burberry's Prorsum line has been one of my favorite labels over the past couple years. I've picked a few items at Holts and at the flagship boutique in NYC. That being said, the much cheaper stuff from the lower end Burberry labels is usually crap and often made in China, so beware (Prorsum is usually made in Italy as far as I know).

This show was a bit disappointing, but Burberry always has the coolest coats and there were some decent ones in this show as well.

-The Scandal

Prada, Fall 2009 Men's

I always thought that Prada (men's) was one of the most over-rated brands (though I usually like their shoes and the mint-green walls in their boutiques).

The shtick in this show were the metallic studs; they were everywhere-- pants, shoes, coats, etc. I guess Miuccia went all batshit with a BeDazzler.

-The Scandal

Bottega Veneta, Fall 2009 Men's

I like the muted/neutral colours in this collection, though I confess that I usually wear bolder colours.

-The Scandal

Raf Simons, Fall 2009 Men's

As I browsed the images from this show, it started off with some pretty conventional black suits, then it all got interesting with some unconventional two-tone pieces, as shown above. There were also some stranger pieces (not shown) that were worn only on the sleeves over suits and coats.

-The Scandal

Hermès, Fall 2009 Men's

A few weeks ago, I read a comment in the Globe and Mail business section that Hermes and Loro Piana are unlikely to be affected by the economic downturn because they have a loyal following of discerning customers who are willing to pay for the luxury. I was surprised that those brands enjoy such goodwill over all the others. Then again, both brands are known to obsess over the quality of their fabrics (Hermes with skins, and LP with cashmere) and to cater to old-money customers.

Yellow is always a risky colour. It's interesting that this is a fall/winter collection, yet it still makes liberal use of that much-maligned colour. I actually have two pairs of yellow pants. You are either with me or against me.

P.S. Do you think people ever show up to the Hermes kosher bakery in North York seeking a green ostrich skin purse?

-The Scandal

Friday, January 30, 2009

Fall 2009 Men's Hugo by Hugo Boss

It's been said that you can't throw a stone without hitting a store selling Hugo Boss merchandise. Ok, maybe it hasn't been said, but it is true that Hugo Boss is widely available in pretty much every country with a shopping mall.

Generally speaking, HB doesn't excite me--the stuff usually appears kind of generic and not as well-made as other designer labels. It's really not in the same league as the Dolces and Valentinos.

A lot of the stuff is often made in Eastern European countries (such as Romania), and not in Italy. This is, of course, reflected in the price, and so the label is within the pricepoint of a larger group of people. I know a lot of young Bay street lawyers who bought a Boss suit as their first "nice" suit when they first started working after law school. I think it's a good "gateway" label to other designers.

Yet, as I like to point out, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Some of the stuff is made in Italy and made very well (and quite stylish, I might add). Hugo Boss also has so many labels, it's hard to keep track. They used to have a luxury label called "Baldessarini", but I don't think the label is still affiliated with HB. The collection shown above is the "Hugo" line which is a bit more fashion forward.

Personally, because of the sheer volume of HB clothing for sale that I have come across, I actually have acquired quite a few pieces over the years including a really good pair of tan shoes and a camelhair coat.

-The Scandal

Fall 2009 Men's Lanvin

I get the feeling that Lanvin is one of the new "it" labels for men. There seems to be quite a buzz surrounding the brand. I know The Sartorialist is a big fan. There is a certain soft luxuriousness to their clothing. I picked up a pair of pants in Barney's in New York this season, but you can also get their their stuff at Holts.

The head designer, Alber Elbaz, looks like a cartoon character--I just can't figure out which one.

-The Scandal

Best Online Shopping Fashion Websites

A lot of people are still reluctant to shop for clothes online. As for me, I've been doing it for years, with mostly positive results.

In case you're curious but hesitant here are some tips:

-choose a site with a good return policy, just in case you're dissatisfied with the product
-before you select an item, ensure that the website provides several high resolution pictures of the item from different angles
-it's always helpful if you have some idea of the fit of item, perhaps from previous experience with the brand (for example you may know that Prada shoes fit you very well)
-ensure the site ships to Canada (Although, if a site ships to the U.S., such as, I'll often have it shipped to family or friends that live in the U.S.)
Having said that here is my feedback from my experiences from a variety of sites:
Hands down my favorite site for the following reasons:
 -they feature an amazing range of haute couture brands that simply aren't available in anywhere in Canada.
-the site allows you to zoom-in in high resolution on all the items so you can really get a sense of what the item looks like up close (including women's thongs and bras ;-)
-the shipping process is quick and smooth. They also have a good return policy, pretty good prices and great sales towards the end of the season
I used to use this site quite a bit. I've had some bad experiences--mostly with counterfeit items from Asia, so I haven't used it for a while. I've also had some customs issues with some items. 
The upshot is that buying on e-bay is always a bit of a risk. Never spend more than you'd be prepared to lose in a worst-case scenario.
I've never used this site, but they do seem to have quite a bit of labels such as Gucci and Prada. I just never really liked the items I've seen for sale. Also, the prices seem to be a bit high. If I'm going to take a risk and buy something online, it better be at a significant discount to make it worthwhile.
I just discovered this site. It appears to carry a lot of high end clothing.
-The Scandal

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Christian Dior Spring 2009 Couture Collection

Galliano’s theatrical sensibility was displayed once again in the Spring 2009 Christian Dior Couture collection. The theatrical show led the viewer to an imaginary fairy tale world where the credit crunch didn’t have to reflect on a creative crunch. The main inspiration came from the Dutch painter Vermeer, particularly reminiscent of his most famous painting “The Girl with a Pearl Earring”. The colors blue, black, red and white were used as the main color palette for this season’s collection (as in the painting).


Dries Van Noten, Fall 2009 Men's

If your name is "Dries Van Noten", you are way more likely to end up as fashion designer than you are to, say, be selling insurance in New Jersey. I thought this collection was pretty cool and stood out from many of the other shows in Paris this season. The cuts were unique and interesting without being too avant-garde.

-The Scandal

Fall 2009 Men's Louis Vuitton

I've liked Louis V a lot more ever since Paul Helbers took over as the men's designer. I never liked the Marc Jacobs collections.

I thought this show was kinda nice. It featured a lot of muted grey/blue tones and cobalt blue (which seems to be big this season). As always, the bags were pretty badass.

To be honest, I don't really like shopping at LV because of their no-sale policy. Everybody likes a deal, but Louis just won't play ball. If I were to buy anything, it would likely be a bag/briefcase or maybe a pair of shoes. But enough about me.

-The Scandal

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fall 2009 Men's Dior Homme

Kris Van Assche took over from iconic Hedi Slimane a couple years ago as the lead designer for Dior Homme. He's also has an eponymous label.

It looks as if KVA got his colour palette this season from a North York Yeshiva. Ok, to be fair, there were flamboyant displays of grey. All kidding aside, there were some interesting angular cuts (which seems to be trendy these days e.g. Prada and Raf Simons). I'd be curious to get up close to those clunky shoes to see if that white strip is actually stitching.

I always liked the men's change room at the NYC midtown Dior boutique. It's got this dizzying black and white fun-house pattern.

-The Scandal

Monday, January 26, 2009

Fall 2009 Men's Galliano

From the man who brought you pirate-chic.....

The Galliano collection was very theatrical and downright weird, as it usually is. The pics above aren't really representative of the show-- I just didn't feel like posting a pic of a male model in red garters and a topcoat. Despite Galliano's over-the-top theatrics, I actually think he is a really a talented designer (whereas I wouldn't say the same about a lot of the other weirdos that are the darlings of the fashion press). You have understand his shows are just as much about entertainment as they are about practical displays of the wares.

I see his stuff for sale more and more in smaller boutiques. I think his trade-mark newsprint underwear is also becoming increasingly popular, and maybe being purposely marketed to the masses. While relatively few people can afford a $1,200 pair of pants, a lot more can splurge for a 90$ pair of underwear.

-The Scandal