Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Eccentric and the Geriatric + The Summer Boots

A couple of new blogs that have peaked my interest these past few days are going to be added to my link list.  One leaning towards the offbeat and another featuring the interesting fashions of the elderly, both reminding us that there is fashion inspiration to be found beyond the streets of the major cities during fashion week.  

Mister Mort is a street style site with an eye for the eccentric.  He gravitates towards striking, fascinating characters that march to their own beat.  

Much like this gentleman in a kaftan, turban and pearls.  Yes, pearls!  Four strands of pearls draped casually around his neck in twos make for an interesting accessory which he carries off in a manner more enigmatic than swishy.  

Artist Terence Koh in a beautifully draped deconstructed suit.  Notice the asymmetrical shirt.  The gold in his sunglasses and shoes (Dries?) richly contrast against the gray of his suit.

A man in a hat which seems to be a cross between the late 90's travesty called the fisherman's cap and the boater hat that the blogosphere has been buzzing about for a while.  

Speaking of accessories, Mister Mort shows exquisite brogues in the most perfect shades of gray and green.

Homeless-looking dude wearing the tartan plaid hunting coat and oxblood leather boots the fashion crowd is just crazy over at the moment.

Remember the days when people actually got dressed up to work, when a gentleman would not leave home on a weekday without putting on a suit and a complementary hat?  News flash: some of the people from that time are still walking the streets, and are still dressing up for the stroll.  Advanced Style puts the spotlight solely on the impeccably dressed oldies but goodies.

This gentleman sports "Gazelle" eyeglasses by Cazal, which he admits have become his trademark through the years.  

Very Raf Simons for Linda Farrow Vintage, don't you think?  (Photo from Seven New York)

I'd wear everything this fine gentleman is wearing:

The tartan plaid wool coat is amazing, something I could definitely see myself wearing a lot if I lived in a cooler climate.  The camouflage tote is LL Bean and I've got one already.  

His Rugby by Ralph Lauren color-blocked cardigan is a bold choice, but it does suit him well.  And his round spectacles!  Oh everything is perfection.

I debuted my beige suede boots by The Kooples today and dubbed them as my ideal summer boots.  They are the perfect complement to my summer palette of gauzy whites, blacks, and washed denims.

Jeans by Cheap Monday, The Kooples beige suede Santiags

The substantial heels can feel a bit wobbly to walk in at first, but there's something about cowboy boots that make you walk with a little more gaucho swagger.

A trio of pendants today: a signet ring, pliers and a key.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bring Back the Backpack + Porte Monnaie

I never thought I'd start carrying a backpack again, but I did. It was raining in Paris that day, and I snuck into American Apparel for temporary shelter. Tired of carrying stuff in my plaid wool briefcase that would heavily dig into the crook of my arm or scratch and redden my freakishly soft palms (fun fact: I have won contests because of these silken hands), I decided to get one of their inexpensive bags as an alternate.

with the bag in question, on the Spanish Steps in Rome (worn with Ray-Ban aviators, Zara long cardigan, American Apparel t-shirt, Cheap Monday jeans, Zara shoes)

I was first gravitating towards the metallic duffles, but looking over to the backpacks section, I was suddenly reminded of this post by Steve of Style Salvage, which told the heartwarming story of how his recent purchase of a leather backpack reminded him of the joys of being a backpack-toting kid again. Though still unsure about the idea of carrying a backpack, I threw caution to the wind and purchased the AA metallic backpack in smoke, even at least to give my tired arms and palms the rest they deserved.

Much like in Steve's story, I now walk with a little more spring in my step when carrying my backpack, perhaps partly owing to the fact that I'm eager to show off something so shiny on my back, and also because I of my delight at being strolling around hands-free. It's like I'm a child again, carrying my backpack on a supercool field trip to just about anywhere I wanted. Sometimes, I think it makes me almost annoyingly perky.

today: Ray-ban wayfarers, American Apparel sweatshirt and metallic school bag, Topman cobalt blue shorts, loafers from Don Quijote

Now that I look at my favorite bag of the moment, there is something quite Raf Simons for Eastpak about it. It's got the classic old-school shapes of fall 2008's backpacks

crossed with the metallic elements of spring 2009.

Boy, has Raf Simons been getting a lot of love from this blog lately.

I think fashion is slowly warming up to backpacks again. Their prevalence in the nineties gave way to the messenger bag, which I didn't really care much for, because of the way it wrinkled your clothes and awkwardly cut your body diagonally. Then the messenger was taken over by the briefcase/overnight bag which became the accessory of choice on many a Dolce and Gabbana/Gucci runway. Blame it on fashion's obsession with everything young, or simply on its cyclical fickleness, but I think backpacks are having their moment right now.

In other unrelated news, I just learned about Porte Monnaie wallets from a tweet by Oki-ni. Hand-made in London, they feature minimalist designs, interesting, modern finishes, and my one requirement in buying a wallet: a coin pocket.

The Porte Monnaie classic wallet in black (GBP 69)

Their trademark origami-style coin pockets are achieved through the "paper-like tacitility of flash spun high density polyethylene that forms the back bone of a Porte Monnaie wallet" (from Oki-ni). I'm just not sure how this style of coin pocket would work in a dark parking garage where I'm in a hurry to dispense my coins for fear of being honked at by the car next in line at the exit counter. My other top picks:

the Porte Monnaie Chalk Wallet: white with gray distress marks (GBP 69)

and the Porte Monnaie Bow Tie Wallet (GBP 69). Very thedandyproject, don't you think?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Raf Simons' Winged Wonders

Within a span of a few months, I have gone from being indifferent, to being slightly interested, to now being in awe of Raf Simons' work.  Ever a genius with abstract shapes, he creatively makes use of leather to come up with these "winged" shoes that demand a second look: a second look not of disgust, or of amusement (which is becoming easier and easier to achieve nowadays), but of appreciation for the organic beauty and the well thought out design of the pieces.  Mercury's winged footwear for today's fashion fans.

Raf Simons Spring 2009

I spotted these sculptural wonders a few months ago as they came out on the runway.

And I came across these beauties just tonight:
Raf Simons Leather Boot with Wing Detail at Browns

Though I do prefer the brogue versions, these boots are still a wonder to look at.

Too bad the boots above retail for a sweet GBP 855.00.  Had they been sold to me for 200 pesos, I would have most probably snatched them up right away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

White Pants + What Was I Thinking?

I've long been a fan of white pants, but it has been hard for me to find a pair that fit well.  See, white on the bottom is not the most flattering of colors, and it helps to have a relatively heftier fabric for structure and to hide the flaws.  Now that they're kind of on-trend, I was happy to score this great-fitting pair at H&M.

Philippine-made straw hat, Paul Smith scarf, Topman polka-dot shirt, H&M white pants, Hermes bracelet, penny loafers from Don Quijote

I love the deep, burnt orange color of the scarf and the swingy, shiny threads of silk that form the fringe.

close-up of the shirt, scarf, and hat

In other news, I took a trip to the fabric store today and bought a couple of fabrics to be made into button-down shirts:

What was I thinking??? English roses on a faint pink background in "peach-skin silk" and a black-and-white abstract square pattern in silk chiffon (don't worry, they're both washable), the sales lady must have thought I was shopping for my grandmother!  

Now to the drawing board to conjure up ideas on how to modernize and possibly butch these fabrics up a bit.  Oh to be a frustrated designer.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Accessories Review: Givenchy Men's Fall/Winter 2009

Givenchy has indeed gone a long way from the horrific licensed goods that proliferated in the nineties,

(Polos like these, sadly, were my first encounter with the brand.)

and the mediocre accessories commonly peddled in airports around the world.

Ricardo Tisci has spearheaded the fashion house's turnaround into one that is progressive, current, and most of all, relevant. A look at Givenchy's men's accessories for fall/winter 2009 proves the point.

These duffels are near-perfect to me; they tick all the boxes: roomy, unstructured, and with an option to be carried hand-held or cross-body. The front pocket is a plus, too. The blue-and-black and the black patent versions do make a statement, but the versions in all-black leather might just be the bag you'll love to use forever.

I still am quite unsure about the man-hobo; there's something in the way hobos are carried on the shoulder that comes across as awkward on a man. (In terms of form, a tote may be perceived as feminine, but the manner of carrying a tote, especially a large one, isn't very much different from carrying a piece of luggage, e.g. an overnight bag.)

These hobos though, with their interesting extra-deep shape, and the strap along the sides that may allow one to carry them knapsack-style, force me to rethink my views on hobos for men. Perhaps someday? I never say never.

I'm always on the hunt for a good pair of "statement" shoes and over the years I've learned that versatility has got to be considered in purchasing shoes as an investment, for what good is a pair of ridiculously beautiful shoes if you can only wear them with a couple of outfits in your closet?

I believe these bandage-strap and leather hybrid shoes tread the fine line between beauty and practicality: the sober colors and pretty much conventional shape make them work with a variety of different outfits, and the addition of the bandage-straps provide textural interest that would prove to be more intriguing upon close inspection (not to mention the subversive touch of BDSM). The zippered backs are a fresh touch, I've never seen them on lace-ups before.

And if you want to take the concept of "statement shoe" a little further, here are boot versions, and lace-ups in what seems to be glitter-mottled leather. They somewhat remind me of a pair of degrade-embroidered Raf Simons shoes I saw at Colette recently:

Raf Simons Spring 09 black and white embroidered laceups

The way the threads are embroidered to this effect is eerie, almost haunting, and I would've really wanted them, save for the exorbitant price of EUR 830. Sorry Ricardo, Raf beat you on this one.

Two more bags in quilted vinyl:

And a couple of pairs of clever gloves infused with details borrowed from womenswear (corsetry and fishnets):

So much to buy, so little cash. Now if I can only get to finally sell that bag...
*photos from ModeMan

Saturday, April 18, 2009

walks along the Seine

Zara trench, H&M buttondown, tailor-made flood-length pants, CDG bag, Miu Miu laceups

"An American in Paris" (1951) was one of the films I saw on the long-haul flight, and the River Seine, where the photograph above was taken, was Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron's favorite rendezvous spot.  The romance of the river endures to this day; there seemed to be more couples than singles or groups on the Seine at the several times I happened to be there.

Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron in An American in Paris*

Back to the film though, one thing that intrigued me were the trousers Gene Kelly had on most of the time: loose, wide-cuffed, and just slightly too short tailored pants.  (I was actually taken aback at first: was that the popular trouser cut of the fifties?)  For a man of his stocky build and less than model-proportions height (he was 5 ft. 7), it would have been the most unflattering silhouette for him.  But Mr. Kelly carried himself with confidence and moved snappily and with great ease that he made it all seem to work.  
*photo from Film Reference

Friday, April 17, 2009

Follow Me

And I, too, tweet.  

P.S. Twitter widget on the right.

shopping feature: DOM Christian Koban

I chanced upon DOM Christian Koban while shopping in the Marais in Paris (which I can now add to the likes of Harajuku in Tokyo, Oxford Street in London and the whole of Hong Kong as my most treasured shopping haunts).  Quite a number of chic Marais-ites were bustling in and out of the shop's decidedly dark interiors, I had to at least pop in to check it out.  

at the DOM storefront

Aptly described by my non-fashiony brother as a European Urban Outfitters without all the outfits (with more emphasis on the other fun stuff they peddle), DOM was indeed a stimulating find.  They sell everything from rubber raincoats, to collapsible market totes, to art books and music, to furniture, to the most adorable finger monsters.  

inside the DOM shop

DOM is a German brand, and outside Germany, it only has shops in Paris and Amsterdam.  It does have an interesting online shop though, where I found this clever sleeping mask:

and quite an unreadable but nonetheless cool-looking watch (?) called the "UHR Tokyoflash Pimp 2".

They've also got a creative and affordably-priced selection of jewelry too.  For the ladies,

cable-knit bangles.

I left the store with this handsome brass signet ring,

which can be described as "grandfather's ancient gold ring meets grandmother's teatime linens",

and this heather gray jersey cotton and metal chain neckpiece

which I have not yet figured out how to wear or what to wear with.  If you've any ideas, please share them by way of a comment, thanks!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dandy Details: The Cummerbund

Fairisle knit cummerbund from Burberry Fall 2009

white cummerbund with gray jeans and a head of fiery red from The Fashion Spot

I was hoping to score a great vintage cummerbund in Paris, but like the boater hat I was scouting for, I failed to find one. I do, however, intend to test-drive the cummerbund real soon!

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