Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Item of the Week: Fabien Ifirès Cabochon Cuff

I haven't stumbled upon an accessory designer that I was as excited about as I am for Fabien Ifirès in a long, long time. The craftsmanship is impeccable, the designs are distinct: very simple, very refined. Ifirès is a master leather craftsman, trained in saddlery (an incredibly intricate discipline) and shoemaking. He sources the leather from the finest tanneries in France, and hand-makes every single piece in his Parisian studio. 

Much of the elegance of his pieces comes from knowing exactly how leather behaves, which way it wants to curve, and the shapes it's capable of taking. It's a precision that's not surprising given Ifirès's background. 

The lookbook is pretty spectacular: just lovely. 

The cabochon cuff (£240) and few select pieces are available at ValeryDemure.com. For the rest, we'll just have to wait. 

PS. Good news: for those in Vancouver, Fabien Ifirès S/S 13 is available at KOKKO at Aberdeen Centre.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Shoe: Alexander Wang 'Lee' Chukka Boot

It's officially that awkward time of the year when it's nothing but dainty heels in stores and a foot of snow and/or rain puddles outside. While I want to post every happy new platform sandal peeking out of the darkness right now, let's not get ahead of ourselves: the real spring doesn't start until March, at least. 

Instead, here's a beautiful, minimal chukka boot by Alexander Wang, who gets better and better every season. He'll do well at Balenciaga, if he doesn't burn out from designing a million collections a year. 

$550 at Shopbop.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From the Closet: Thierry Lasry Sunglasses

Thierry Lasry makes the most exciting sunglasses at the moment. They are unmistakable in their style, with distinctive shapes and textures. I lucked out and got my 'Sexxxy' sunnies at 50% -- they would have been almost $500 full price. Score!

Obviously, there are so many things to love: the oversized wayfarer-meets-cat-eye shape, the vintage-inspired marbling effect, the gradient lens, and the refreshing lack of branding anywhere on the frame.

PS. I know I'm looking like a total mob wife in this photo, but I'm actually wearing my United Bamboo fishtail parka, so it's just an illusion.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Item of the Week: Acne 'Worthy' Button Up Shirt

I bought this shirt two weeks ago and have pretty much been living in it ever since. I've always worn men's dress shirts, but always found the sleeves were too long and bulky, while women's are usually so short and boxy. This button-up, however, is just the right compromise between the girl and boy styles. 

I love the length; I love the slinky cotton. Best button-up ever. 

$210 at Acne and LaGarconne

Friday, January 18, 2013

Catwalk Beauty: The Lower Line

3.1 Phillip Lim S/S 2013

I feel like I've been breaking the cardinal rule of makeup: applying eyeliner only to the lower lash line and not bothering with the top. I suppose it's kind of '90s (heroin chic -- ugh), but since I've been going through what is possibly the worst start to one's year, why not embrace it? Le tired chic = le tired writing. Oh well, it's the best I can do. 

Phillip Lim had a particularly charming and messy thing going on. The liner in question is NARS 'Black Moon' but I actually prefer one with just a tad bit of colour. My liner of choice has been Lise Watier's Crayon Kajal in 'Noir Bleu' -- just a little hint of indigo.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Shoe: Alica + Olivia 'Dina' Pump

I'll aways be the pump girl. Single soled and pointy is how I like them. It's a perfect shape with just about anything -- I like wearing them with white jeans. There is something about Alice + Olivia's stripes that always cheers me up. 

Remember those wicked stripers trouser Taylor Tomasi Hill wore last year? The scale of the stripe was so ballsy. 

$295 at Shopbop.

Taylor Tomasi Hill image courtesy of sukio.com.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Item of the Week: Baggu Bucket Bag

I love this little bag: it's so simple and sweet. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw it in a store, as I thought Baggu only made nylon shopping bags. (Hey, I can't be on top of everything all the time!) 

It does look a little bit like Vancouver-based Ora -- I guess I just have a soft spot for this shape. 

$140 at Baggu.com

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fashion Archives: Mainbocher Corset (1939)

Mainbocher Corset, Horst P. Horst, Vogue Paris, 1939

Most of us became familiar with this image -- or rather, the replica of this image -- from Madonna's "Vogue" video where she recreated an iconic Vogue moment from earlier in the century. Few are as iconic as Mainbocher's famous corset, photographed by Horst P. Horst back in 1939. 

Mainbocher (pronounced "Maine-Bocker") was the only American couturier at the time (still a rare achievement) and popular amongst style setters from the period, like Wallis Simpson, for whom he designed much of her wardrobe, including her famous "Wallis Blue" wedding dress and trousseau. Following the undefined, relaxed Jazz Age silhouette of the 1920s and early '30s, Mainbocher reintroduced the nipped-in waist and intricate boning back into womenswear, causing an abrupt shift in fashion.

The corset (which is actually soft pink) and its Victorian dreaminess made a perfect march for Horst, who, like many photographers in his day, was heavily influenced by Surrealism. The model, staged almost like a marble statue with heroic strength, is juxtaposed with the softness of the corset's delicate lacing, thus highlighting the sense of touch.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Shoe: Madewell 'Bobbie' Oxford

This feature will no longer be called "Shoe Wednesdays" as sometimes I can't keep up with my own schedule. Let's just go with "Shoe!"

I seem to be bookmarking oxfords in this beige-y (I no longer refer to it as "nude" as it is, well, politically incorrect) colour lately. There are these amazing Common Project wingtip creepers, and these spectacular Sessun platform oxfords. And there are these much, much more affordable and very classic 'Bobbie' oxfords from good old Madewell. I love patent leather -- there is so much of it in my closet -- I guess I like having shiny feet. 

Would go great with those Phillip Lim leather pants.

$165 at Madewell

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Item of the Week: 3.1 Phillip Lim Leather Sweatpant

I didn't think I needed leather sweatpants in my life, until I met these in Seattle last November. At the time, they were an unaffordable $1350 and now that are slightly less unaffordable at $945. I never got behind the sweatpant with heel look, but these are leather (or "leatha!" said in Joan Cusack Working Girl voice), so a whole different animal. 

They are perfect, non? The comfort of sweatpants, paired with sex that is leather. 

$945 at Shopbop (size 6 only) and Totokaelo (all sizes)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fashion Archives: Walter Albini

Walter Albini F/W 1971, ready-to-wear

If reading Grace Coddington's memoir taught me anything, it is how easily a fashion name can be forgotten. It makes me sad, but fashion moves pretty fast and some names get left behind in the process. At least some of the current designers on the daily press roster won't be talked about four decades from now, and I wonder which ones they'll be. 

How many of you recognize the name Walter Albini? Grace Coddington referred to him as "the other most fashionable designer of the day" when alluding to the early '70s (the other one being Yves Saint Laurent). So why does no one ever talk about him? It's not like he wasn't groundbreaking, because he certainly was. He was just as prolific as Karl Lagerfeld, and in many ways, two steps ahead of the game. Except that he had the bad luck of passing away shortly after his 40th birthday. (What's fascinating is that the details of his death are never referenced nor revealed, by biographers or friends, which says something about the respect for privacy our society once had.)

Walter Albini, photographed by Gian Paolo Barbieri

Born in 1941 in northern Italy, Albini attended Istituto d’Arte, Disegno e Moda in Turin, as the only male student admitted an all-girls school, and graduated with a degree in fashion design in 1960. In 1965, after five years in Paris, he returned to Italy as a designer for Krizia, where he remained for three years (interestingly, Karl Lagerfeld was also working there at the time). In 1968, he presented his own line, compromised of sixteen elegant suits, half of which were black and called "the windows," and the other half, which were all beige, was called "the wives." 

Walter Albini for Etro, Vogue Italia, April 1971, photographed by Walter Albini

Vogue Italia, October 1973, photographed by Barry Lategan

Aside from being an extremely talented and bright designer, Albini had many firsts in the fashion world. He was the first to photograph his own collections, something Karl Lagerfeld is well known for now. He was the first to use music during his runway presentations in lieu of the announcer. He was the first to initiate a series of innovative reforms in fashion that responded to the changing modern market, allowing the designer to break free from the anonymity of the world of ready-to-wear production. In many ways, he developed the full circle of ready-to-wear production, from manufacturing to design to marketing. His 1971 collection is officially considered the birth of pret-à-porter. The collection, compromised of day wear, evening wear, outerwear, shoes, and accessories including hats and jewellery, was designed by Albini in collaboration with well-known producers from each field, also making him the first to launch the now-popular fashion collaborations. He would label these "Walter Albini for..." followed by the name of the manufacturer.

S/S 1977 Walter Albini adveristment, Vogue Paris, photographed by Maria Vittoria Corradi

F/W 1978 campaign, photographed by Maria Vittoria Corradi

Albini's work graced the pages of every important fashion magazine at the time. Together with his contemporary Yves Saint Laurent, he championed the woman in a men's suit, though we now tend to only refer to the Le Smoking. So why is it that no one knows his name? 

Walter Albini and His Times: All Power to the Imagination

Two years ago, Maria Luisa Frisa and Stefano Tonchi wrote a retrospective, Walter Albini and His Times: All Power to the Imagination, and the designer's work has slowly been creeping up on various fashion blogs. But it just doesn't seem like enough.