via fashiontraveler.com

... when I was asked to write an article about vintage couture recently, I remembered the fabulous little boutique that is Didier Ludot's vintage paradise in the Parisian Palais Royal.

via tripadvisor.com - Didier Ludot's little black dresses, some of them little red ones

I've known Mr. Ludot's boutique (actually it's two of them, the vintage shop and "La Petite Robe Noire", specialising in little black dresses) for a long time - when I lived in Paris I used to walk by rather frequently...

Mr. Ludot's book was published by Assouline

... and I must say that this is definitely a very, very special place for lovers of select vintage couture. It's Paris we're talking about, and that means something. So if you go fishing for some treasures by local designers, we are speaking about Chanel, Courrèges, Balenciaga. It's a litte bit like rummaging through the costume collection of the Victoria & Albert or the Metropolitan Museum - with the nice extra option of being able to purchase what you're looking at...



... in the course of my daily dose of useful art history knowledge (we're working our way through an art calendar that presents one artwork per day - and we try to guess our way through the centuries of art history), I came across the portrait of a laughing youth with wine-glass by Franz Hals - and it made me think of the infamous David Bennent as Oskar Matzerath in The Tin Drum. Do you agree? ...



... after rereading the review of Anne-Valérie Hash's fall 2010 collection on style.com, I must actually express my surprise about a very bizarre statement Nicole Phelps chose to weave into her article:

"Hash revisited the shiny technical fabric
she used for Spring to create
blousy T-shirts and accordion-pleated minis for evening.
it was a bit perplexing
to see so much sheer fabric (and exposed skin)
on a female designer's runway.

Excuse-me, but where does that lead us? That it's, as opposed to a "female designer", a "male designer's" privilege to cater to women who want to "expose their skin" or wear "sheer fabric"?

I'm aware of the stress it means to have to deliver runway reviews immediately after seeing so many shows, and that by the time a fashion critic arrives in Paris for the RTW fall collections, they've been to Paris HC, New York, London and Milan RTW - so they're probably pretty exhausted.

And yet, I suggest that certain implicit sexist clichés be avoided regardless of fatigue and exhaustion...



... we all know that the weather (at least in Vienna, but I guess in pretty many places) is spring-like, sunny and warm. Well, why would I post something about Henrik Vibskov's (moreover all too well-known) umbrellas for Quinny at such a moment?

Let me tell you - I presently feel like a dog left out in the rain. Fact is, I found out some minutes ago that I was relegated to the rank of second co-author in an article that is 100 % mine. Feels like a scene in a cheesy Hollywood film about a journalist's absurd life (okay, self-pity stop). All you magazine contributors, journalists, stylists, photographers, graphic artists out there - has anything like that ever happened to you? And how did you react? How does one react to such a thing?

Meanwhile, since the rainy and somewhat foul mood has kicked in, I'll just take the occasion and post this collage of different and very dark Hunter Boots - and I love Hunter wellingtons - that brings together the festival boot 2009 (top left), the special Jimmy Choo for Hunter Boots crocodile print version (bottom left), the brandnew model Carnaby boa (top right, probably inspired by the success of the one-off collaboration with Jimmy Cho), and the preview of Hunter's festival boot for 2010 (bottom right) - all straps and reptiles, actually.

The good thing about fashion is - it can even make you find reasons for taking to bad weather (hu?) ...




... even though someone already complained about the frequency of these animated thingies, I think fabricating them is about to turn into my favourite springtime occupation (and a good way of escaping pollen). So, this time round, Marc Jacobs and Olivier Theyskens flash the house. I say thank you to Michaela/Tschilp, who posted the Warhol video featuring Marc Jacobs that triggered the association...



Femme Maison, photographed by Andreas Waldschütz

... George, again. This time round, George and Franziska. Bezhanishvili and Fürpass, of course. Two names to remember, definitely.

Louise Bourgeois, Temper Tantrum, 2000

George sent me images of their Louise Bourgeois-inspired collection Femme Maison, which made it into the final round of the Art & Fashion competition in Bilbao (meaning that the project will be exhibited at the Guggenheim Bilbao).

Sarah Lucas, Bunny Gets Snookered, 1997

From Femme Maison via Louise Bourgeois to Sarah Lucas - it's all so close...



... in an interview with Isabel Marant published by the Austrian daily Die Presse in its supplement to the Friday March 19 edition (an interview I had the pleasure of doing) there are some passages that I would like to quote in this blog - in their original version.

When I asked Isabel (I met her on March 5, right before her show, and wasn't aware of the quotes that Grazia UK had put online two days before) about fashion and speed and the risk for smaller brands to be copied by fast-working giant retailers, this is what she told me:

"C'est très dommage [that copies are on sale before originals, sometimes] et moi, cela m'épuise énormément. Et c'est vrai qu'il y a une véritable accéleration dans la mode, et du coup c'est vrai qu'on peut être blasé de quelque chose avant même que ce soit sorti dans les magasins. On a tellement d'images à la minute même qu'on n'a plus le temps de savourer les choses. Mais c'est notre époque, et voilà."

Indeed, sometimes you can't help noticing how absurd it is that, in blogs and online magazines, we start using images from collections the minute they are shown on the runway, while the same clothes will start being sold six months later (and will only appear in print magazines at that point). There seems to be a "système à deux vitesses" at work.

Besides that, Isabel made it very clear that in fashion "c'est parti" - we're not going to get out of this new kind of logics very easily.

"Je pense qu'à partir du moment où on fait les shows pour qu'il y ait des photos, pour qu'il y ait le retour médiatique, on ne peut pas prêcher quelque chose et vouloir le contraire. C'est le paradoxe de notre business."

How right she is, i.m.h.o., Isabel. And at the same time, maybe the omnipresence of live streams and shows popping up on the internet will relegate this image-distribution aspect to the virtual world, while the real life shows will once again belong to a self-proclaimed fashion elite? With bloggers sitting at home, producing one screenshot after the other and duly feeding them into their blogs? That wouldn't take the speed out of fashion. But it would transform fashion shows into something else again - an exclusive event like the one that shows used to be in the past.

Another one of those fashion clouts indeed...




... walked through town and noticed a lot of billboards advertising the new album by Mireille Mathieu and, all of a sudden, had a flash of realization that there was a bizarre kind of resemblance with someone else ...



... "Bananas is my Business", ladies and gentlemen, absolutely so. I am, for the connoisseurs among you, referring to a documentary about the life of Brazilian (Portuguese-born, as it were) Hollywood legend Carmen Miranda.

Miranda was the first Brazilian woman who rose to worldwide stardom, albeit with a very stereotype kind of performance. The lady with the TUTTI FRUTTI HAT had opened her own hat business in Rio de Janeiro before embarking on a fabulous career as a performer and singer in Los Angeles.

When I was in Brazil, I visited the Carmen Miranda museum in Rio de Janeiro (a U.F.O.-like building planned by architect Affonso Eduardo Reidy - needless to add that he was member of Niemeyer's team at some point; architecture in Brazil without the involvement of Niemeyer is obviously an impossible thing) - it's hard enough to find it, forlorn on a traffic island - but definitely worthwhile.

For people with a combined interest in fashion and cheesy (talking from a present-day perspective, here) movie productions, that is. Carmen Miranda totally rocks, however.

How bizarre - when browsing through online auctions of 1950s collectibles, to which I admit being particularly partial, I came across this totally absurd doll - Carmen Miranda-inspired without the trace of a doubt, which reminded me of the fact that I hadn't posted the Miranda-museum yet. Strange, this blue-eyed 1950s interest in all things exotic...



... maybe I'm sometimes a bit slow in realizing things, and the death of Lee Alexander McQueen was so unexpected, and I was so busy with so many things, and on the Internet everybody was expressing their grief so incredibly fast, that only now, as things settle down a little bit, I realize what this really means for fashion aesthetics - I bought the special edition of L'Officiel hors série Alexander McQueen in Paris, and I remembered how striking it was to see this quite outstanding talent hit the fashion scene in the mid-nineties, just before I started studying literature at university and when I was still an assiduous but rather untalented student at some kind of low profile fashion college (being more of an academic type, it was wiser for me to drop out, actually), and so I really really really only now and very slowly understand that a very vital part of the whole understanding I had of fashion is about to disappear forever...




... just read the dangerously hagiographic article about Carine Roitfeld published in the lifestyle supplement of Germany's weekly newspaper Die Zeit, and also, bought (desperately late, I know, but there has been a lot of talk about it just recently in Austria as it was published in German a month or so ago) Catherine Millet's second novel "Jour de souffrance" in Paris, and was therefore induced to ask myself whether these two women, the editors-in-chief of two very renowned French magazines, two institutions of visual culture, meet and mingle, and if so, in what ways.

Catherine Millet is the infamous director of art press, of course, and she was the protagonist of a literary scandal after publishing her shockingly (or unnecessarily?) detailed sexual biography "La vie sexuelle de Catherine M." at a point when French literature was all about sex (Houellebecq, Beigbeder etc.). So here we've got the uninhibited intellectual, a f***-them-all parvenue, somehow, who - and we all know that France is very much about hierarchies and strictly regulated castes - incarnates the well-to-do artsy bonne société...

... whilst the other one, Carine Roitfeld, is the sexy looking rock'n'roll chick, the ever so hip stylist who made it to the top of VOGUE Paris, the hexagon's most important fashion magazine (and one of the most important fashion mags in the world, as for that), an apparently very likeable, "abordable", unpretentious person whose qualities a lot of people like to praise.

So, what happens when the two of them meet? The intellectual sex-maniac and the sexy fashion adviser (Roitfeld was invited by French industry minister Christian Estrosi to direct a newly founded institution for the support of French fashion talents) - do they meet at all? do they speak to each other? are they good friends? Just wondering...

NOTE: This doesn't really have anything to do with what I just wrote, but there has been a lot of bewilderment recently as to WHY Carine Roitfeld was banned from Balenciaga (I think Bryanboy almost broke down when he heard about it...) - Fashionista now claims to have the correct explanation. Is it all about Max Mara?...



... finally a fashion-free day in freezing Paris, and despite the fact that SUNDAY is not a good museum day in this overcrowded metropolis, headed off to the MUSEE MAILLOL for a change, to check out the exhibition VANITES.

It was all about the vanity motif, which means certain aesthetic compositions for the baroque period and the centuries thereafter, whilst more recent positions in art history picked up on the topic from a mereley ornamental WE LIKE TO WORK WITH SKULLS angle, which was consequently given a lot of place in the show.

Alexander McQueen fall 2010 menswear via gq.com - as we all know, the late designer liked to worked with the skull as a very central motif, too.

The mix of old and new artworks in the "les classiques" section was definitely a good idea. Very entertaining, as it reminded me of that melon carving fling I'd had just recently, Dimitri Tsykalov's fruit and vegetable carvings (apart from the watermelon featured here, there were eggplant, apple and cabbage)...




... last night after a really long day and in what felt like minus 2,000 °C, I strolled down avenue Magenta to the newly opened Sweat Shop "couderie" (great idea: rent a sewing machine for your DIY fashion, vital in Paris where the average flat size doesn't exceed the dimensions of a shoe box...) ...

... where Pelican Avenue and Kroot Juurak got into a GATE HYSTERIA frenzy. Kroot was winding and unwinding herself through layers of knitwear, daringly making her way onto a little stool...

... with her super high heels. The performance was impressive indeed, when I left I thought I was about to faint cos, arriving late, I hadn't made it INTO the performance space and watched it through the window.

Today, le ciel sur Paris is gray, so maybe that means that temperatures have gone up? ...


Radic Morger fall 2010 gueriller@s


... late this afternoon after looking for them in vain outside Bernhard Willhelm (the event was so badly organized that I couldn't believe it, I had to leave early to avoid missing an important appointment), I finally came across Radic Morger outside the Westwood - Lanvin - Margiela venue...

... with a human installation that reminded me vaguely of some Star Wars creature...

... but it was fun anyhow, and with all the street photographers around, images of this guerilla presentation will sure hit the internet with fullest might...

... my camera gave up on me again, but hey, that's what animated gif.s are for...

Brandmair fall 2010 in Paris, video presentation

... managed to hop over to Brandmair's video presentation of her fall 2010 collection at a Marais-based gallery yesterday evening.

Champagne (again!) and nibbles. And a very elegant collection with interesting details - as befits Claudia's fashion skills. Yes! ...


FLorian fall 2010

... yesterday at JTM gallery in rue Richelieu, FLorian presented his fall 2010 collection - a dark, obsessive collection bearing the very adequate title ANIMALIA.

A bunch of performers were flown in from Vienna, the performance was organised as some kind of rotating system and occupied a total of three rooms on the gallery's first floor.

We were busy watching chains and leather necklaces being attached and removed from twitching bodies while sipping champagne from crystal flutes...

Fascinating "animalesque" details like carved horns worn on a model's legs and arms conjured up a very particular atmosphere...


... in PARIS, again, finally. Har har. So what better to bring with me than a bag saying BONJOUR ÇA VA (by the way: fashion items of the kind, impossible to find in Paris, no problem at all in Tokyo given that the Japanese have a pronounced preference for t-shirts, bags, shops, cafés bearing incomprehensible inscriptions - why would that be, does anybody know?)? Let your clothes do the talking - and concentrate on, uhm, other things...



... years and years and years ago, when I spent some time in Buenos Aires (and adorable city, I don't know whether I enjoyed any other city as much as I did Buenos Aires - ANYHOW...), I ran into this really nice little shop on the first floor of Idon'trememberwhatitwas, where I bought an absolutely comfy t-shirt...

... which I still own and like for its long sleeves and cozy feel (admittedly, the overall aesthetics may be a wee little bit on the trashy side, but you know...), so just imagine how nice I found it to come across the website of the LUPAS ROPAS fashion label. Apparently, the brand still exits and is doing better than ever. Be sure to check it out, just in case Bs. As. is on your travel map (and you like wearing t-shirts, naturally). Re maravilloso...


... just wondering: *why* is it easier to get a very well-known and successful designer represented by a big Parisian PR agency for an interview than to try someone significantly less known represented by a pretentious little agency? Is it all about self-marketing?

Or is something wrong with some of the smaller PR companies?...



... when I was doing some research for an article recently, I came across fashion-designer Lilly Pulitzer (a granddaughter-in-law of Joseph Pulitzer, as it were), I mean HER WORK of course, and found it particularly entertaining...

... or shall I say rather, I didn't find this flowery & fruity Florida fashion entertaining as such, I liked the fact that Lilly got into the design verve that would become characteristic of her fashion brand when she was running her own fruit juice stand in Palm Beach and realized that she would have to COME UP WITH SOMETHING MORE COLOURFUL than what she used to wear to work in order to hide the juice stains that would inevitably show up in the course of a workday. Great, don't you agree, how a certain lifestyle (on a day to day basis) and biographical details can influence a designer's work. And isn't it almost IRONIC that the website currently advertises the launch of the brand's WHITE DRESS COLLECTION...



... an interview I did with German design kid Philip Plein was published on Friday, and I couldn't keep myself from wondering, this crystallized skull thing he's got going, is it, or isn't it a direct reference to the work of Damien Hirst?

He does have a faible for marketing gurus and self-promoting genius, Philip, so there could indeed be something to this whole "intercreativity/intertextuality" postmodern quoting thing...

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