fashion week recap: parkchoonmoo f/w 2014


To the casual observer, fashion week collections can seem like a cryptic amalgamation of anything constituting a trend. But as any devoted fashion follower knows, the plethora of aesthetics offered during fashion week are varied and even contradictory. One designer might argue for minimalism and limited aesthetics, while the next will favor a world of sartorial opulence and frivolity. The clothes shown during fashion week are generally always beautiful but the values expressed in designers’ collections can overlap or even clash. Like most fashion week admirers, I find myself swept away by many well-made garments and collections, but the lifestyle values behind the clothes ultimately polarize my opinions. The best collections make me stop and ponder not just fabrics or colors, but the way we live our lives.




Most fashion week collections seek to evoke something beyond our day-to-day world, and designers frequently cite luxurious vacations or exotic locales among their inspirations. Clubs and nightlife offer reoccurring themes, as various fashion houses try to win over the elusive downtown girl. Other brands simply try to capture the general privilege of being young and beautiful and unencumbered, with flouncy dresses and girlish prints. Few collections elicit feelings of work or serious accomplishment because fashion, during its continual chase for ecstatic uplift, typically seeks to move beyond the trivialities of 9-5 jobs or per-hour incomes. Part of the beauty of fashion, in fact, exists in its disregard for the exterior accomplishments and ego-boosters that most of us so obsessively seek. To be fashionable is to be valuable within oneself and one’s outfit, regardless of external qualifications. It takes a certain kind of designer to make work and its outputs seem not only desirable, but glamorous beyond the matter-of-fact.

The PARKCHOONMOO Fall/Winter 2014 show managed to make work glamorous, and catered to a focused, edgy, and purposeful lifestyle. The collection was markedly absent of bright colors, with blacks, whites and neutrals serving as the dominating palette. The garments themselves— beautiful, well-made and layered— looked both tough but soft, edgy but practical, and architectural but flowing. Houndstooth prints appeared at the beginning of the show, adding a trendy relevance, while lighter all-white ensembles lifted the collection to a sleek and easy elegance towards the middle of the show. Bold reds and gold touches made occasional appearances that felt appropriate and strong, rather than flashy or attention-seeking. The garments looked neither loose nor fitted, neither modest nor needlessly provocative, and short skirts were balanced with high collars or long coats. Long monochrome silhouettes, high boots and rounded coats created a chic and easy armor, capable of energizing and calming at once. The cumulative effect, piece by piece, offered practical glamour for a determined and no-frills working lifestyle. PARKCHOONMOO’s collection, with its modern finishes and structural elegance, would look best worn by a serious, hard-working but thoroughly modern woman. The collection, both limited and purposeful, evokes a lifestyle so focused and individualistic that its fashionable appeal feels easy, natural and inborn.

There are certain staples that, between the numerous designers, are continually served up during fashion week. There are always showy collections for the party girls, artistic feats for the cool kids and luxe lines for the ladies uptown. PARKCHOONMOO presents a refreshing option for the more understated but still-edgy fashion fan. For the PARKCHOONMOO woman, the line offers a worth-while alternative to the passing whims and indulgences of more light-hearted collections. As the glamour of the PARKCHOONMOO aesthetic reminds us, a self-driven and focused work-life feels not only modern but untouchably chic.

Read the original review here for Twenty6 Magazine.

(Photo credits: WWD)

Read More...

fashion week recap: lacoste f/w 2014


What, exactly, makes the cool kids cool? Cool can be hard to put into words, but you know it when you see it. Being cool is more a feeling than any one concrete attribute, and the Lacoste show, with blaring lights and a ground-shaking soundtrack, presented a collection more felt than seen.

The opening of the Lacoste show exemplified what we all wish NYC clubs would capture, despite their current state of in-authenticity: the show immediately felt epic, consuming and cool beyond the need to try. The music was baring and energetic, but too fashion-forward for a fast beat, and the soundtrack left the floor rumbling enough to set the tone. The mood felt monumental and insistent, qualities not unrelated to the admitted urgency with which we sometimes seek out the best or newest trends. The Lacoste models walked down the runway with a gliding stomp which evoked the graceful toughness that embodies so much of fashion now. Their expressions, laser-focused and intense, added to the sense of futuristic urgency that palpitated through the room.





The only thing that did not feel not urgent, however, were the clothes. The Lacoste color palette was limited, almost lazy, if “untrying” were not the hallmark of modern cool. While Lacoste is, historically, a bright and peppy French brand, this collection felt more laid-back than athletic. The models, young, pale and unfussy, were too self-assured to ever obsessively work out. The music and the models’ laissez-faire attitude, combined with easy styling and zip-up ensembles, created a sense of youthful purpose and sci-fi energy that dominated the first half of the show, until the music shifted and picked up.

Halfway through the show, while maintaining intensity, the music switched from futuristic depths to the feel of summer beach pop on drugs. The lights brightened but the environment became only more intense, and the models walking down the runway began to hide smirks or delight behind serious pressed lips… the kind of hidden smiles that reveal that the straight-faced, unemotive cool kids among us might in fact, underneath tough façades, be having the time of their lives. Globalization and today's economic environments have made the overt glamour and showiness of the early aughts feel out of place, but as the Lacoste show with its laid-back attire advanced: the kids are having fun nonetheless.

While the show’s soundtrack and the models’ stance may have been intense, nothing by Lacoste should ever feel too heavy. The brand’s athletic roots require a certain sunny optimism— and so it was the very practical trendiness of the clothes that provided uplift and relief. The largely monochrome collection, which included light jackets, easy sweaters, trainers and unassuming prints, will perfectly augment the wardrobe of an easy-going NYC kid. This Fall/Winter 2014 show by Lacoste presented not a ground-breaking collection but rather an appropriate one. It fits into the rhythm of youthful fashion today, seizing onto the current preference for athletic touches, which has presented Lacoste with the opportunity to make itself young and fresh again. The Lacoste brand is doing what so many brands have done over the years in a process of continual reinvention: catering to a new crowd in order to again render itself timeless. For older members in the audience, Lacoste polos and logos of yesteryear have already established the brand within our consciousness. For younger generations, however, Lacoste is asserting itself, upgrading the attitude around its design-house athleticism with a new feel of untrying cool, so that the freshest batch of kids can take up the Lacoste brand into their jargon of relevance, too.

Read the original review here for Twenty6 Magazine.

(Photo credits: Style.com)

Read More...

fashion week recap: ruffian f/w 2014


There are two kinds of people who seem to dominate fashion: those who live for nostalgia and those who cringe at the thought of, even for a second, looking back. As such, fashion collections tend to be either active or reactive, as they seek to either promote singularly new aesthetics or dig up and re-embellish old ones. The Ruffian Fall/Winter 2014 collection, however, did a little bit of both.

The Ruffian show started somber but elegant, as models marched out against a subtly evocative but simple emerald-lit backdrop. The show began with relatively little fanfare, considering the theatrics that other NYC fashion shows sometimes promote. The lighting was bright and straightforward, and the clothes, colorful and in full view, were the focus.





At first look, the clothes appeared girlish and luxurious, harking back to bygone eras and the kinds of color palettes that a film like Anna Karenina, in its most recent 35 mm incarnation, might evoke. The clothes were marked by voluminous, feminine silhouettes, flourished collars and enviable, decorative shoes. The show’s lineup was a mixture of somewhat playful, doll-like silhouettes and almost austere, all-black ones, creating a combination that spoke, alternately seriously and frivolously, of the opulence and luxury of earlier times. There were light, full skirts, ribbon-tied waists and pouffed-out shoulders. These elements, taken alone, might sound more appropriate for China dolls than modern NYC ladies. Subtle details and styling, however, kept the collection relevant and in check.

The models’ hair was slicked back and their faces were painted with dark, almost harsh lipstick. Under the bright lights, despite their feminine frocks, the models took on expressions that seemed serious in a grown-up way. The overall effect served as a reminder that these clothes, like the women who wear them, are representative of a world of legacies. Stories of opulence, luxury and prosperity decorate our collective cultural pasts. Living in New York City, most of us are fortunate enough to experience reminders of this opulence regularly, as inhabitants of a prosperous city, and even those of us on limited budgets can wander into the Plaza Hotel now and then. Yet, even there, we cannot escape the realities of our newly interconnected world, where economic and social realities seem ever-present in our global consciousness. The Ruffian Fall/Winter 2014 woman, in all of her glamour, must know this. Thus, she is ladylike but somber, luxurious in shocking colors and ornate prints, yet somehow still serious and restrained. Luxury in today’s world, after all, would be outdated were it not self-aware.

It feels strange to call a collection like this restrained, yet after voluminous, this was the first word that came to mind. Restraint was found not so much in the silhouettes or fabrics as in the details themselves. Collars and all-black pieces dotted what could have otherwise been a light-hearted collection. Restraint existed, too, in the models' attitudes. The Ruffian girls did not pretend to be any happier than they were, and this is precisely why the collection, both opulent and sober, felt like a sigh of relief or even admittance.

The Ruffian girl may wear colorful clothes, but her attitude is up-to-date and informed. We live in a world where beautiful frocks like these exist, and yet where not everyone gets to wear them. Rather than delight in her privilege with the glitz and glam of more ostentatious brands, the Ruffian girl knows that it is better to be self-aware and thought-out. There is a timelessness to the Ruffian collection— a sense that things have always been good at times and bad at times— and that luxury, in its many forms, has persisted throughout.

Read the original review here for Twenty6 Magazine.

(Photo credits: Style.com)

Read More...

**model of the moment: doutzen kroes


Every design reveals a meaning or an attitude, even if unintentionally, for every design is tied by its very existence to the reality for which it was created. Thus, having good style requires both attitude and raw aesthetic appeal, for the beauty of the clothes must function within the reality of our individual lives. Similarly, the appeal of a good model more often results from an attitude than from her appearance or aesthetic alone. Among the countless models strutting down the runways or appearing for casting calls, there is no shortage of cut-and-dry beauty. The attitude of a model, much like the formation of a design, reveals the reality in which she herself chooses to exist.

For the modern woman, there are so many attitudes from which to chose, both in life and in our wardrobes, as evidenced by the multitude and variety of designs that fashion designers send down the runway each season. From the edgy-cool antics of Alexander Wang to the enduring "low-key collegiate funk" of Marc by Marc Jacobs (Style.com), at the heart of any style exists not just a look but a way of life, and the options are seemingly endless. Gone are the days when women (or men for that matter) must play out some limited persona. If the late 60's were free-spirited, or the early 90's rebellious, then today every attitude seems to be available at once. Style and attitude today are less a pervasive generational obligation and more a personal choice. Among the prepsters or beach babes or high-fashion goths, one attitude stands out to me of late. Let's call it modern elegance, or grace and composure viewed under a fresh light.

As the poster-girl for such a movement, I've selected Doutzen Kroes, a long-standing Victoria's Secret model, but nonetheless, a woman combining a rather nice attitude with her stellar looks. In a world of glossy self-promotion and exhaustive PR efforts, Doutzen Kroes is gracious in her honesty and composed in the most serene way. She's one of the few models to acknowledge the guilt she feels about her unique and inordinately paid job, while nevertheless admitting to possess an unquenchable desire to beat out the competition in her quest to rise to the top. She'll admit to a real-life workout routine, the tiresome pace of fashion week work hours, and the frustration of back-to-back fittings. She willingly acknowledges, similarly, travel and opportunity as amazing benefits in an exclusive and rarefied field of occupation. In other words, Doutzen is a real human being, vulnerable to the trials and tribulations that other more glamorous models may choose, in their own interviews, to omit. With Doutzen honesty never comes across as crass or rude, offering a reminder that an open conversation does not have to be a defensive one.

Upholding elegance does not mean to denigrate, by comparison, the delightfully rocker appeal of Kate Moss or the sweetly original girlishness of Lindsey Wixson. Elegance today is simply another alternative, a choice made in a world of seemingly endless possibilities. Modern elegance exists separate from the ironic or rebellious, but it is by no means a condemnation of such. I once read an article describing a girl as being "so classy you could take her anywhere." Doutzen Kroes, with her gracious attitude and breathtaking beauty, perfectly embodies this ideal. You can imagine her being composed, graceful, and elegant, no matter the scene. Doutzen's showcard...



I love that Doutzen Kroes, who grew up in the Netherlands, submitted her own photos to a local modeling agency. Most successful models are recruited by modeling scouts, but there's something to be said for knowing what you want and going for it.

Early Calvin Klein ads...



Doutzen Kroes has appaeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and Elle, and has starred in campaigns for Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Tiffany's. In 2005, Doutzen was named model of the year by Vogue.com readers, and in 2007, she was selected by US Vogue as one of the world's next top models. While she got her start modeling for Victoria's Secret, her editorial work has made Doutzen an interesting model beyond the world of swimwear and lingerie alone.

Editorials...

In Elle France September 2012, photographed Alex Cayley...




In MUSE Fall 2011, photographed by Lachlan Bailey...






On the cover of Numéro China December 2011, photographed by Tiziano Magni...


This is my favorite Doutzen editorial by far... in Harper's Bazaar US March 2012, photographed by Daniel Jackson...









In Elle Russia June 2012, photographed by Thiemo Sander...







In Vogue Paris October 2012, photographed by Inez and Vinoodh...









In Vogue Netherlands December 2012, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier...




On the cover of Vogue Korea March 2013, photographed by Daniele Duella and Iango Henzi...


On the cover of Vogue Nippon April 2013, photographed by Mikael Jansson...


A few personal style pics from red carpet events...





With model Coco Rocha...


A brief interview...


P.S. Get more Doutzen Kroes on Twitter and Instagram.

(Photo credits: Fashion Gone Rogue, The Fashion Spot, SUPERMODELS, DNA Model Management, Beauty Sweet Spot, Coco Rocha's Twitter, Source Unknown)

Read More...