Unordered List

Friday 29 June 2012

Mugler: Menswear and Resort 2013.

This lookbook was strikingly photographed by the head designer himself, Nicola Formichetti, and the clothes were consistently beautiful in a way that still managed to fit in with Resort season's less extravagant mood. Just like how a good album ought to be played at maximum volume, these photos should be as big as possible so you can feast your eyeballs on all that agonisingly clean-cut precision.
There's just something so clean and perfect about this collection -- I love it. The Mugler look has always involved a lot of artificial fabrics and inorganic silhouettes but since Nicola Formichetti took over, the label has taken on a far less aggressive aesthetic and begun to concentrate more on tailoring.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Spring 2013 Menswear: Versace loves you.

I love Donatella Versace. Have you ever seen the Saturday Night Live sketches where she's followed everywhere by a crowds of semi-naked male models? I'm pretty sure that's some documentary-style accuracy right there. The theme of this show was pugilism, with most of the models decked out in a selection of tacky gold outfits that fell somewhere between sexxxy gladiator costumes and a Vegas backing-dancer version of boxing robes and prizefighter belts.
pics from
Before we go any further, I just gotta break it to you: If you don't appreciate the wonders of this show then we can't be friends. It's everything that's wonderful about the horrible sections of Milan menswear design! I mean, at one end of the Milan menswear scale you get the expertly-cut three-piece suits of the type one mostly sees being worn by 60-year-old men on The Sartorialist, but at the other end we have Versace, whose eternal motto seems to be "LESS SHIRT; MORE GOLD".

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Resort 2013: Alexander McQueen, Mother of Pearl, Bibhu Mohapatra, and Roberto Cavalli.

Alexander McQueen
McQueen wins at everything again because as aways, they straight-up discarded your plebeian notions of "Resort clothing" and produced another Couture collection. Or, you know, what would be considered Couture by another designer. Because McQueen Couture usually involves a lot more antlers, brocade, and feathered crinolines.
pics from
Whatever this fabric is, it looks so much like galvanised steel that it's hard to imagine the model being able to move at all. Although the corset-belted waists were very McQueen, the chilly roboticism of the slim David Bowie suits were surprisingly distant from McQueen is usually known for.

Friday 22 June 2012

Costume design and the crew of the Prometheus.

Costume design is the point where my positive and negative feelings about Prometheus intersect. The visuals of this movie were amazing, but at the same time I'm of the opinion that almost every reference that directly connected Prometheus to Alien was handled very poorly. I've already written about how the decision to make Prometheus into a glossy sci-fi epic and attempt to overtly tie it to Alien was a mistake, and costume design was definitely one of the details that should have been used to distance Prometheus from Alien, not bring the two together.
In space, all food is brightly-coloured and comes served in Muji containers.
This interview with costume designer Janty Yates touches upon the fact that while the spacesuits in Prometheus were designed to look very different from those in Alien, the indoor/casual clothes were intentionally similar to the costumes worn by the crew of the Nostromo. Which, to me, immediately seems like a bad idea. The waking-up/breakfast scene in Prometheus is already similar enough to the one in Alien that it's a comfortably direct reference, but aside from the basic scene-setting they should have avoided any other similarities because the premise and setting of the two movies are so fundamentally different. Although the two films share the same discovery-thriller structure and pacing, the crews are different people with very different aims in mind. The Nostromo was a beat-up old mining ship, crewed by experienced blue-collar workers who treated each other with friendly, professional wariness; the Prometheus is a brand new, hugely expensive exploration vessel, crewed by academics, businesspeople, and some expert pilots and security staff. The idea of these two casts of characters looking similar makes no sense at all.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Resort 2013: Versace, Louis Vuitton, and the undead return of Juicy Couture.

Francesco Scognamiglio
Today's topic is: funsies! Which is the kind of vocabulary that regularly comes to mind when I'm writing about Resort Season. Most of the collections in this post were dominated by silliness and bright colours, ie the main themes of Resort collections the world over -- at least, when they're not dominated by bland, saleably on-trend basics.

Monday 18 June 2012

Menswear Fashion Week and the Zoolander Effect.

It's MENSWEAR FASHION WEEK! Thanks, London, for making Menswear Fashion Week into a thing that exists in real life! (Note to new readers: I love menswear. More detail on that later.)

Christopher Shannon
So, I freely admit that I hate all coverage of "trends", but I'm already starting to notice that at Menswear Fashion Week, bright pink clothes are what I believe is generally known as A Thing. There is a lot of bright pink going on, is what I am saying. I think I can get behind pink shoes as A Thing for men to use to liven up their otherwise boring-ass wardrobes, but something tells me that the pink skirts-made-from-ties are not as likely to catch on.
Whenever I post about menswear I get people commenting all, "LOLLLL, that outfit is so terrible. What were they thinking??" which, you know, is sometimes a good point? But not always. Because when we look at menswear and think "LOLLLL", we're experiencing what I call the Zoolander Effect. In the (awesome) movie Zoolander, the main source of comedy is the idea that the fashion industry is ridiculous, and that the male-oriented fashion industry is extra-ridiculous. I mean, could you make a similar movie about a female supermodel? No! Because even though every womenswear trend in existence is objectively preposterous, we’re so used to it that we don’t even notice any more! Whereas when a man makes a living by looking sexy or outrageous, he's a clown.

Sunday 17 June 2012

Resort 2013: Alexander Wang, Peter Pilotto, Zac Posen, and more.

Alexander Wang
I wonder if Alexander Wang ever just feels too cool and has to have a little sit-down? OK, I kid, but this is the same guy who last year was lauded hither and yon for making the most ~magical~ plain white t-shirt in all of Fashionland, and is consistently successful every single season with a selection of designs that are basically the minimalist android equivalent of sweatpants and hoodies. This season: blocky black-and-white boots to go along with a whole collection of simple monochromatic outfits, all modeled in the coldest and most kidnappy of basements.
Hipster Snape Eveningwear is my fave, so this dress immediately gets my vote. I'm also rather curious as to how one gets in and out of it. Does it... unwrap? No matter. None of us are rich enough to ever try it on, anyway.

Friday 15 June 2012

Prometheus and the fannish mindset: Plotholes Aren't Everything.

Before I start in on the costume reviews, I have a postscript to add to my earlier criticism of this film. Thanks to many of the reasons I mentioned in that post, fans of the original Alien movies have reacted harshly to Prometheus, leading to things like this video by Red Letter Media going viral in a textbook example of fandom's desire to pick everything apart. This isn't going to be one of those times when someone's all, "Stop overthinking everything and ruining everyone's fun!" because that would be blatant hypocrisy ony my part, but I do have one caveat with regards to this kind of list-all-the-faults criticism: It works for literally any movie.
The things about fandom is that we're obsessive, and when something we love jumps the shark, that obsession often turns to the dark side. I understand it, this desire to dissect and rebuild; it's why fanfiction exists. (And fantasy football*, which is pretty much just fanfiction for people who like to delude themselves that they aren't geeks.) Not to mention the zillions of words of blog posts and magazine articles and, at this point, probably books fans have written to try and explain how and why the Star Wars prequels came to be so terrible. I'm often surprised by how non-fannish people can "like" a TV show or movie but only think about it for the couple of hours they're actually watching it -- I mean, why wouldn't you want to Wikipedia all the actors in Stargate: Atlantis and/or write agonisingly detailed reviews of all the costumes in the Avengers franchise? But of course, that dark side I mentioned earlier (ie, the side that leads some people to think that fans are "crazy") means that once you focus the laserbeam of your nerd energy on something you hate, it's super easy to let that can of worms explode in your face, and from then on it's a slippery slope down to Youtube-comment flamewars.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Prometheus: Proof that epic sci-fi doesn't belong in the Alien franchise.

Previously: Disturbing viral marketing for Prometheus: Happy birthday David, from Weyland Industries.

My feelings about Prometheus are very mixed. As a grown-up sci-fi blockbuster movie, it was excellent, albeit a little cumbersome at times, but as a prequel to Alien it really didn't seem to know what it was doing. The pre-movie marketing included a lot of extra information on the extended universe -- a timeline of Weyland Industries' technological developments; background on Michael Fassbender's android character David; an in-character TED lecture from the fictional billionaire Peter Weyland -- but the film itself included very little of that worldbuilding, and not in the sparsely-written, isolated sense of Alien. Compared to the fast-paced thriller tone of the film as a whole, the reoccuring themes of religious belief and creationism seemed clumsy and out-of-place.
I feel like Prometheus must be a very different film to people who have no previous experience of the Alien franchise. Aside from the handful of lines that were objectively clunky, my main problem with this film lies in the way it relates to the Alien franchise, particularly Alien itself. Each of the Alien movies is different: The first is a slow-build horror movie, the second is a military adventure story, the third (in addition to being a total mess) is an action thriller set in a prison, and Alien Resurrection is a sci-fi blockbuster. The one theme that all four of these movies share is that shadowy, distant corporations control the characters' lives without them knowing it, and are happy to kill the worker ants in the name of profit. They tried to include this theme in Prometheus, but in terms of internal consistency within the premise of the mission (to explore an alien moon for signs of life) it didn't make a hell of a lot of sense.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Resort 2013: J. Mendel, Balenciaga, Givenchy, and The Row (AKA the continuing mystery of the Olsen Twins).

Previously: A Beginner's Guide to Resort Season: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Lanvin, and more.

J. Mendel
These translucent bandage-skirt dresses have been very popular recently, particularly on the red carpet, and mostly I think they look sort of terrible. Usually they tend to be coloured in either beige or black, with opaque areas around the hips that make the wearer look like they've put on granny panties and an underskirt but forgotten the rest of their outfit. HOWEVER. This season's J Mendel has (I think) managed to carry off the ethereal look, if only in the context of this photoshoot.
There's something delicate enough around the bodice and the general draping of this dress that makes it look like a ballet costume as opposed to the weird mess of net curtain that usually occurs with this kind of dress.

Friday 8 June 2012

A Beginner's Guide to Resort Season: Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Lanvin, and more.

I know most of you guys are here for the superheroes, but I gotta be what I gotta be, and sometimes that means posting about mediocre high-end fashion. Right now we're in the middle of Resort/Cruise season which, as you may have noticed from the name, is an imaginary season. In the world of Game Of Thrones, seasons take years to change, meaning that the characters get years to practise the best way to portentiously say "Winter. Is. Coming." In Fashion Land, Resort/Cruise season is the time between Spring and Summer when you swan around various luxury locations while wearing £3000 sunglasses and doing things that are way, way classier than watching Game Of Thrones. The purpose of Resort/Cruise season is to sell designer clothes to these rich people so they have something new to wear on their yacht. This year's Chanel show was pretty good, but by and large the attitude of most major fashion houses to Resort/Cruise season seems to be: "Someone's gonna buy this shit, so let's just print out some bikinis and knee-length skirts and go to the bar, YOLO."
Chris Benz. (All photos from
One of the A+ things about Resort season is the hilariously lacklustre photoshoots. Even during Couture season some designers choose to exhibit using photoshoots instead of live shows, but usually that's either for aesthetic reasons or because they can't afford decent placement at Fashion Week. During Resort season, however, pretty much everyone whose name isn't Lagerfeld exhibits solely via lookbooks. And those lookbooks, as you may be able to tell from the above photo, can be kind of... dodgy. For one thing, the monochrome photo of palm trees looks like something you'd see hanging up in a coffee shop, and it's held up by bullclips. Secondly, the lighting is edging dangerously close to "we shot this in my garage". 

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Chanel: Cruise 2013 at Versailles.

Previously: See the Chanel tag for further reports on Karl Lagerfeld's forays into a variety of intriguing design themes that usually boil down to "I'm stupendously rich."

Karl Lagerfeld and the court of Versailles -- to be honest, I can't believe this hadn't happened before. Lagerfeld, with his ever-present chalk-white ponytail, aura of eccentric aristocracy, and conscious detachment from the everyday wants and needs of the proles, couldn't fit in any better if he tried.
Studio photos from Chanel's lookbook; show photos from
This being Chanel, the eighteenth-century French influences only went so far. For all that Lagerfeld adores extravagance when it comes to showmanship, he still adheres to the relatively sedate and conservative Chanel ethos. While this show was rather more cheeky and street-cool than many recent Chanel collections, it was mostly restricted to a calming colour palette of fondant-like pastels in Chanel-favoured fabrics.

Monday 4 June 2012

Snow White & The Huntsman: The prince doesn't get the girl; the girl gets the kingdom.

Previously: Snow White & The Huntsman: How to tell a fairy story.

Thanks to last week's new releases, my Charlize Theron viewing history is now all the way up to three films total. (The first was Aeon Flux, which, yeah, ask me about that sometime. It's the worst.) I won't be posting a review of Prometheus until it's been out for a little longer, but the one thing I will say is that if you're planning on seeing it, you should read this (non-spoilery) warning first. Following the advice therein will, I think, improve your Prometheus experience.
I was very excited about Snow White & The Huntsman because the marketing was so gosh-darned appealing (surprisingly so, considering the content and audience) and I am of the opinion that Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron should be the next Bogart and Bacall. Unfortunately, SWATH was nowhere near as good as I expected, dragging on longer than it should have done and including several completely superfluous characters. In some respects it succeeded (ie, visual effects and Awesome Ladies, both of which featured prominently in the trailer) but the end result was an action movie that could've done with more action, and a drama that needed tighter drama.