Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Damir Doma's Red Remix

Red is not my favorite color to wear. From the cliche of the vampy red dress which often results to the detriment of the person attempting to pull it off, to the image of the freshly highlighted, doused-in-perfume self-obsessed jock perfectly embodied by this look below, red articles of clothing just don't strike me as elegant or subtly sexy.

Dolce and Gabbana Spring 2004 opening look. I hate to admit it, but I used to adore this collection to bits. I speak to you today, a changed man.

Which is why Damir Doma's inclusion of red in his Spring 2010 collection, in the form of several all-red looks, mind you, is both surprising and impressive.

Damir Doma Spring 2010. Seeing this look against the all-blacks and all-whites in the collection was heart-stoppingly haunting.

How he took one of the most potentially trashy colors and spun them into looks that are iconically Damir Doma: quietly elegant, androgynous, enigmatic even, is a stroke of genius. The go-to colors for designers with "dark" sensibilities would usually be black and gray, lately, some white and beige, but never have I seen red used to this effect, and in this abundance. With red being the color of blood, and its association with murder, and vampires, I wonder why not a lot of the dark designers make use of crimson tones in their collections. (On a side note, has anyone seen the series True Blood? It's intensely delightful!)

Here are more photos from the rouge runway:

Though I admit a lot of the pieces might not be very wearable in real life, I can totally see myself wearing this drapey one-button shorts suit, with a shirt in the same tomato hue for contrast.

The fabric textures and varying degrees of sheen played beautifully against the catwalk lighting.


The generous cuts and soft flow of the fabric played a huge role in reinventing red.

runway images via The Fashionisto
backstage/detail shots via Dazed Digital

P.S. To the lovely Sabrina of Professionally Trendy, thanks for the shout-out. It's nice to see this blog inspires the girls, too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saluting Style Salvage

Long before men's fashion blogs starting sprouting like mushrooms all over the blogosphere, there was Style Salvage. With pretty much the same low-fi-charming layout before as it has now, blue background and text, adorably hasty collages, it stands the test of time as numbers of the mushroom-blogs cease to be updated mere months after inception, bringing fresh material, earnest insight, and inspirational ideas to its followers. A few days ago, they celebrated their second birthday.

a vintage tennis-inspired collage on the blog

Not to say that Style Salvage is old, in fact they're anything but. Having followed the blog for quite a while, I could say it is their unique approach to fashion, which I greatly agree with, that has got me hooked on to the blog: an eye for new design talent, a penchant for quality and tailoring, the occasional easy DIY projects, and a general openness to creativity and self-expression (as opposed to the teachy-preachy authoritative tone of many mainstream magazines). Allow me to share with you my little chat with Steve and EJ of Style Salvage.

Steve, currently residing in London, wearing his new tortoiseshell specs

the lovely EJ (aka Eliza), from Manchester, in one of her rare photographic appearances. As you can see, EJ is clearly not a man...

Tell us about Style Salvage. Who are Steve and EJ? Why the name “Style Salvage”? Why do you blog?
Steve: We are just two friends who met at University and became the bestest of friends. A large percentage of my student loan was spent clothes shopping and EJ was a constant fixture, picking out things from the racks and forcing me to try them on. My initial wavering was usual broken down and I walked away with a bag full of items. After Uni, we spent so much of our time talking about men's style and rather than limit these chats to the frequent email tennis (at work), we decided to make it a little more public so we could get invite people's contributions.
EJ: It's true that I bully Steve on shopping trips. You will also see us racing through shops, trying find the nicest thing before the other person does (I am more focused though, so I always win, ha!).
Style Salvage really came from the idea that no outfit is so bad that something positive can't be taken from it. It's about finding that positive and learning something from it. I try and live by the 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all' rule when it comes to blogging!

the post that made me reconsider the backpack

Style Salvage has been there long before there were menswear fashion blogs, long before I even knew of the existence of fashion blogs! Tell us how it was like back then, and how it felt like starting up Style Salvage.
EJ: Though it feels like it, the blog's not quite yet two years old. In that time we've seen blogs (and magazines!) come and go. Although Style Salvage felt like somewhat of natural progression for us, it was scary putting those words out there for everyone to see!
Steve: It feels a little weird to be considered as old hands in the blogging game. It is true though that there were far less menswear style/fashion blogs out there when we kicked off Style Salvage and it has been nice to discover new ones along the way. We've always wanted the blog to be a discussion, initially between the two of us and then bringing in the outside world. It might be tad sad to admit but it was exciting starting out, neither of us had done anything like this before. When we had people reading and commenting it felt so good and it is quite easy to become addicted to blogging...if allowed to it can consume all free time!

You are wonderfully prolific. Where do you get the material for all those posts? (not to mention the patience to write them all!)
Steve: Wow, thanks. I wouldn't say we were that prolific. We certainly weren't initially but posts have become more frequent over the last year. We try and inject some personality and discussion in to every aspect of menswear and only write about things that really interest us. In terms of material, of course we spend a great deal of time online reading other blogs, online magazines etc but most of my material comes from magazine editorials, articles and films. We love being inspired by things which have nothing to do with collections or shoots and we try and look everywhere for inspiration.

collages of looks from the recent fashion week in London

What is London style to you? What is Manchester style to you?
EJ: I would say that (for men at least) Manchester style is sharp haircuts, sideburns... retro and casual but not sloppy. It doesn't really seem fashion driven, which I really like!
Steve: London style is difficult to pin down. In general it is more fashion conscious but there are undoubtedly street styles which influence the collections and that is what I love about London. Different areas have an overriding style aesthetic, that said the look of the moment can be broken down as follows; stripey tshirt or check shirt worn with straight cut jeans (rolled up), bare ankles and boat shoes...London is overcome with this look now that the sun has come out.

Steve's infamous denim top. I personally like it a lot!

Describe your personal style using three literary works. (books, magazines, poems, short stories, songs, limericks, you name it!)
Steve: Oh good question...so hard to think of three though. I am particularly enamoured with Sebastian Flyte from Brideshead Revisited at the moment but have to admit that this has more to do with watching it on screen as opposed to reading Waugh's novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray seems particularly resonant the older I get. Lastly, the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner because I am loving sailor looks at the moment and find myself constantly drawn to blue stripes (ha!)...a bit of a weak link but I did say that this was a tough question!

My most favorite DIY project on Style Salvage, the Burberry-inspired double cardigan:

1. cut up the sleeves of an old cardigan
2. delicately attach the cut cardi to the inside of another
3. rock it Chris Bailey style!

EJ: This question is too hard! I can only think of one answer: Alice through the Looking Glass as I look like I've gotten dressed while half asleep/dreaming (which is normally the case on a week day).
What is the next big thing in fashion?
Steve: In recent years we've seen an increased support for graduate talent and I think this will only get stronger. Fingers crossed that emerging talent will be allowed to blossom to its full potential with the launch of a number of additional initiatives and e-commerce platforms.
EJ: In reality, I couldn't say. In my fantasy world, it's men (not boys) with better haircuts wearing wide legged trousers.

Name three pairs of shoes you can’t live without.
EJ: Adidas, adidas, adidas! All other shoes cut my feet up. It's sad but it's true. I am a hostage to my trainers. I would steal Steve's blue Lanvins if I could though- I always stomp around in them when I get the chance.

One might be quick to put Style Salvage in a box and think of it as a male Style Bubble (Steve, in fact, is dating the renowned kooky-fabulous Susie Lau of Style Bubble.), but although elements of Susie's personal style is evident in Steve's, as can be seen in the chunky scarf he wears, Steve lends a solid point-of-view on fashion that is 100% his own.

Steve: Firstly, Lanvin Hi tops which were a present from Susie because they make me feel special every time I wear them. Secondly, my suede bstore lace ups which get better and better with age. Last but not least, leather boots bought from a Lanvin sample sale in Paris. I was a little strapped for cash at the time and so rather than get the Eurostar I spent six hours on the coach but these beauties made it all worth it.
Steve in the sample sale Lanvins

EJ, out of curiosity, why do you maintain a menswear blog despite the fact that you are female? Any womenswear blogs you have that you’re keeping from us?
EJ: I'm just more interested in the way men dress I suppose. I like the subtlties and luxe nature of a lot of men's styles in particular. I'm a bit obsessed with the 'rules' of men's fashion- what is and isn't acceptable/masculinity and clothing/how things should supposedly be worn- and how people break those rules or comply to them stylishly. I'm also just not that interested in women's fashion and I honestly don't think anyone would be interested in hearing about the way I dress! No secret blogs, though I do like reading womenswear blogs (especially Kingdom of Style, The Coveted, Some Girls Wander) and find the women on Garance Dore so inspiring- they have such beautiful hair!.

Splurge on _______, skimp on _________?
EJ: Splurge on moisturiser (ew, that sounds filthy), skimp on hair gel. Seriously.
Steve: Splurge on the things you really need, skimp on the things you don't.

The government is giving away two thousand dollars to spend on fashion-related items only. What will you buy?
Steve: A bespoke suit. I have my own fund which is growing quite nicely but I'm pretty impatient so this would help no end!

Steve in Opening Ceremony X Uniqlo and the Lanvin trainers

EJ: Coats and dresses. I have very little self control when it comes to coats... I've had to stop looking at them in shops! Being a southerner living up North, I'm not used to the colder weather so wear them most of the year.

Everything tastes better with _______ on it.
EJ: Salt. I love salt a bit too much.
Steve: I would have to say salt as well, with an honorable mention to sugar which ran a close second. Whoever answers cheese to this question is no friend of mine.

EJ in a delightfully dandy DIY moustache glove

(editor's note: The interview took place a few weeks ago, hence the interviewees speak of Style Salvage as barely two years old. They have turned two since then.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

DIY: The Paint-Splattered Laceups

Today I decided to give a plain old pair of brown lace-up shoes a new lease on life by showering it with a thunderstorm of colorful acrylic paints.  I was inspired by this picture of a pair of Alexander McQueen Spring 2010 shoes,

of which I spoke to twitter buddies Steve and Mat about replicating at home with an old pair of shoes and some paints (or more like they were talking amongst themselves and I went on to beat them to their idea, thanks guys hahaha).

McQueen Spring 2010, aka nearly the only Milan collection that mattered, was inspired by a painter's wardrobe.  See the same shoes in this look.

I already had in mind the perfect pair of shoes for this project.

the "before": plain brown leather shoes from French Connection

So I took a quick trip to the art supplies shop and went straight for the primary-colored paints, as I imagined they'd make for a nice pop-art graphic accent to my wardrobe of blacks and whites.  The basic primary colors weren't available, but I was still quite happy with the pseudo-primary colors I came home with: a saturated ochre yellow, ruby red with just a little hit of rose, and a brilliant cobalt blue.  I started by literally splattering some paint with my fingers to form odd shapes, I quite liked this yellow triple-tadpole shape I formed:

I then used a variety of paint-application techniques to build on the pattern: paint-brushing, dabbing on with gloves, swirling ribbons of paint from a height, and smudging colors together with my fingers, it was therapeutic!

A dewey sneak peek at the finished product.  Notice the texture of the paint, it's real as can be!

As a personal touch, I decided to paint the heels white to provide a clean, crisp contrast to all the chaos going on up top.  I was really pleased with the result.

There's something about the juxtaposition of a formal shoe and the messy paint splatters that makes it very charming.  I reckon it wouldn't be quite as quirky if I paint-splattered a pair of sneakers.

Now, what to wear, what to wear, what to wear them with?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Silvery Studs on Satin Slippers

Christian Louboutin for 3.1 Phillip Lim studded satin slippers

Phillip Lim updates the simultaneously geriatric and effeminate men's satin slippers by coating the uppers in round, pointed silver studs.  Add a sturdier sole and a slight heel, and they're good enough for out-of-bedroom action.

In pale sage green, they're a delightful contrast of tough and delicate, 

and in black, they're dangerously versatile!

It's fascinating how metal studs, in this high a concentration, lose the hard edge they'd normally have in smaller quantities, and instead just add on another layer of shimmer to the satin.

I didn't know these were made by Louboutin.  Does this mean the soles are red too?

runway photos from men.style.com
others via ninjadoodles
EDIT: The shoes aren't mine, they're from a photo tweeted by a friend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The New Bohemian

Robbie Spencer, Dazed and Confused menswear fashion editor, strikes again. You might recall me gushing over what he wore to the last wave of shows a few months ago. With these two new photos of him by Jak and Jil's Tommy Ton, taken at Milan fashion week, he reaffirms his penchant for exaggerated neck detailing with this red pearl-embroidered Lanvin t-shirt.

Prints and textures really float my boat nowadays, and the effortlessly eclectic (though intentional, I'm sure) mix of the ludicrously red beading, navy plaid, brown knit, khaki trousers and carpet bag is just enthralling. It seems as if he took elements from different parts of the world, different occupations, even different genders, and patched them together into a look that is neither boring nor flat. The imperfectly slicked back hair perfectly treads the line between polished and casual.

And anyone who can take a Gucci bag and make it this covetable is a fashion hero in my book.

photos via Jak and Jil

Monday, June 22, 2009

Internships at Dean and Trent

Dean and Trent, purveyor of great locally-made basics (I have worn quite a few on this blog.) is hosting internships.  If you're in Manila and interested, e-mail your resumes to deanandtrent@gmail.com

The Frustrated Designer III: The Technicolor Silk Surf Shirt

Remember this shirt I sketched up a few weeks ago,

upon the purchase of this multi-colored plaid silk?

After weeks upon weeks of waiting, delays, and more than a few trips back to the tailor for revisions, the shirt is done.  It took quite a while to tweak the piece into what I had originally envisioned it to be, first because of some fit problems, and second because of styling problems---a couple which proved hair-pullingly disconcerting.  The sewer in charge of my shirt originally attached what I could only describe as a limp, pointed, flat, modified peter pan collar on to the shirt which rendered it beyond unwearable, even for a woman in her mid-fifties.  (Although my less-than-professional sketch might be partly to blame for this.)  He also attached glittery green buttons to the plaid part of the shirt, perhaps in an effort to make the buttons less conspicuous.  I shall spare you the horrors of a photograph, words are grotesque enough.  

So here is the finished product, faithful to my original design:

the sketch incarnate

But, after a healthy amount of looking in the mirror and trying it on with my clothes, the shirt was just appearing overly cartoony owing to the presence of the two black pockets in front.  So snip, snip, they were gone in a matter of minutes.

minus the cartoony pockets

In the end, the shirt didn't exude that much of a Dries vibe as I had intended it to; rather, it felt more like a surfey, beachy top, albeit a slightly more luxe one because of the fabric.  Its slight resemblance to this Quiksilver x Takashi Kumagai shirt reinforces that idea.  Building on the surfey theme then, off I went to my brother's room then to snatch his frogskins!  Here it is worn:

Oakley frogskins, DIY whistle necklace, cotton+silk shirt designed by me, Greyhound jeans, Muji plimsolls

Sometimes I wonder why I put myself through all this trouble, this last project was a couple of sighs short of being a serious pain in the tush.  But when I get to thinking how I'm the only one in the entire blogosphere, or the entire world for that matter, with such a piece, I say, to the fabric store we go!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Of Jumpsuits and Hawaiian-Print Jersey Rayon Suits: Discovering Tim Soar

I learned of the existence of a certain designer Tim Soar just a few moments ago via a post on Style Salvage.  I was inexplicably drawn to this particular ensemble:

a three-button suit in Hawaiian-print jersey washed rayon, worn by the designer himself.  I suppose my enchantment could be explained the presence of three things in this suit: the outlandish print, the comfortable jersey fabric, and the fact that it was a suit, complete with buttons and a lapel.  This is easily my dumbest impulse want ever.

Still high from my suit-crush, I went on to look up the designer and his collections.  To my eye-popping amusement, I found an unusually high concentration of things that I love:


Though I admit the wide-legged linen jumpsuit to the left might look better on a lady, I could think of tens of ways I could wear that grayish blue stonewashed wonder on the right.

Doc Martens

belted long coats

Side note, on which model would it be better to showcase a long boxy coat belted at the waist than on fashionably manorexic Ash Stymest?  I swear, he is such an effective model.

odd prints 

The naked lady turtleneck takes the concept of the snuggly sweater to a whole different level.

and oddly shaped trousers galore!

Tim Soar is everything that I respond to in menswear nowadays: fresh talent, experimental fabrics and silhouettes, a joyful outlook, clean tailoring, all while managing to retain a semblance of wearability.  Why oh why is it that I had heard of his sartorial genius just now?  

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