Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Apology Letter to Raf Simons + Philippine Fashion Week Style Spotting

Dear Mr. Raf Simons,

You knock my socks off.  I really dig your work, each individual piece that you churn out reaffirms my love for fashion that got me into it from the start.
clothes and footwear, all by Raf Simons (photo from The Fashionisto)

But, sigh, not only are your pieces on the really pricey side, they are nowhere to be purchased in the city where I currently reside.

Raf Simons waistcoat, GBP 450 at Browns

One thing that is accessible to me, however, is a tailor.  I printed out photos of the vest from all angles, and guiltily asked my tailor to copy them to the dot.  

Raf Simons himself.  A kind-looking fellow, isn't he?

Dearest Raf, because you seem like a really nice guy, I would like to apologize for knocking you off.  

the abstract neck vest in question

Rest assured that when the funds make themselves available to me, I shall purchase a piece from your label as an act of reparation.


P.S.  This is me, by the way:

vintage Ray-Ban drifter sunglasses, tailor-made abstract neck vest, H&M t-shirt, Casio watch, Topman wool shorts, random dark gray socks, Erotokritos sandals

This got me thinking though, if I can't stand the sight of counterfeit LV handbags and cheap Y-3 knockoff apparel, how can I be wearing an almost exact replica of a vest by Raf Simons?  In matters of inspiration and imitation in fashion, where must one draw the line?

In other news, a futile attempt at street style photography, my picks at yesterday's Philippine Fashion Week Holiday 2009 shows:

I love the epaulettes on her blouse made out of black iridescent feathers.  This lovely lady sitting at the front row caught my eye even as I was in the last row, I just had to approach her get her photograph.  Outfit by Jerome Ang (Please correct me if I'm wrong.), photo by Andrew Borlongan

Dark jerseys in varying shades of black are fool-proof cool.  (edit: knit wrap top + Ann Demeulemeester stripe knit top, Hugo Boss pants, Longchamp bag, Converse shoes.)  One of my favorite Filipino designers, Don Protasio.  

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Dandy Project Interview Series: The Lego Boy in Raf Simons

Style stalking: if you're reading this blog, you're probably guilty of it. I know I am. Originally coined by Style Salvage, the term pertains to act of closely (sometimes obsessively) following another person's sartorial choices and the execution thereof. Style stalking, coupled with the breadth and diversity of the Internet, means that if you're sick of ogling the same old cool kids in your neighborhood, you now have an entire and perpetually expanding library of cool kids to admire, take inspiration from, or blow up into antimatter with your envious stares. 

the boys of Les Mistons, French cinema's most mischievous stalkers

As a new segment on The Dandy Project, I am going to interview my most favorite style-stalkees, asking them the questions I've been dying to ask. Tired of the ditzy old "tag five of your Blogger friends" questionnaires that float about the blogosphere, I made it a point to make this interview series something different, tailor-made to the interviewees, and upbeat as well. Each of these style-stalkees inspires me in a different way, and I sought to explore that and share it with you, much loved readers. See, not only am I a frustrated designer, or stylist, I am a frustrated journalist as well. 

Today, The Dandy Project interviews Galahad J of Hapsical, a fashion blogger and student from London.  I had long been a fan of his DIY Lego projects and his enviable wardrobe of Raf Simons, so when he agreed to be interviewed, you can imagine how stoked I was.

Galahad, as photographed by the Facehunter

You know me, I like a healthy dose of crazy in fashion, but rarely do I see someone who succeeds in doing an overdose of crazy.  Readers, meet the boy who wrote the book on experimental.

The Dandy Project:
Tell us about your blog Hapsical.  Why the skew towards womenswear (despite you being a guy)?  When writing on Hapsical, you always use "we" when speaking in the 
first person.  Do you have a co-writer/editor for the blog? 

Galahad: My issue with menswear is that often it just doesn't convey the creativity, fun, and fantasy that women's fashion does, and those are the sorts of areas I like to explore with my blog.  

a collage of flowery frocks and accessories on Galahad's blog Hapsical

Sure there are lots of stylish guys and there's lots of interesting stuff going on in men's fashion, but in terms of blogging, it just appeals to me less.  The fact that I'm a guy actually makes it harder to blog about men's fashion because I find it quite difficult to even consider menswear that I wouldn't wear myself, and the reason I don't just discuss my own approach to fashion (aside from the fact that what I like is very limited) is that I never wanted Hapsical to be a personal blog.

That's also why I write it as 'we' when, in fact, ‘we’ is just me… it's so my blog remains about a general love of fashion, not about my personal life.  The 'we' also makes it sound slightly more professional! 

TDP: Why do you blog?

G: I blog because I love fashion, and I like to spread the love.  Even if I wasn't blogging I'd probably be keeping some kind of visual record of current things that I like, or which have inspired me, in fashion, so my reasoning is why not make it public in blog formand share it with others too. 

TDP: What is London style to you? 

G: London style is all about originality and non-conformity.  

A bowtie made out of Lego blocks, a New Year's Eve party invite as a pocket square

We don't have 'natural' style like people in Paris or Milan, and our style is not as polished as New Yorkers', but there is so much more creativity and so much more energy.  In London almost anything goes which I think is wonderful.  

Lighten up, it's just fashion!  Waterproof Prada hat

You go to, say, Paris and you'll see many more chic and elegant people than in London, but it's all rather safe and predictable.  Even the cool kids in Paris have this air of tasteful respectability to them. 

TDP: Describe your style using three animals. 

G: Hmm, I'd have to say unusual like a giant panda, bright like a parrot, and, of course, cool as a polar bear  - hahaha, worst reply ever!  (at least I resisted saying fierce like a tiger, though..) 

Bright primaries are his best friends.  Meanwhile, I need more Raf Simons in my life.

TDP: What do you wear on the plane? 

G: I have a pair of grey Cheap Monday jeans and a striped Paul Smith sweater that I always seem to wear on planes - no idea why.  People often seem to get worked up about what to wear for flying, but my view is that it's just a flight and it doesn't matter (Still there are those who want to make sure they'd leave behind a well dressed corpseshould the worst happen, and I can kind of understand that!) 

TDP: Splurge on?  

Futuristic shoes are one of his trademarks.  Collage of men's futuristic footwear on Hapsical.

G: Shoes.  Cheap shoes = bad news.

TDP: Skimp on?  

G: Jeans---so overrated.

TDP: You’ve gained some fame around the blogosphere as Lego boy with your homemade Lego jewelry (genius, by the way).  Tell us about it.  How long do you intend to keep this up?  Anything new cooking? 

Galahad's DIY Lego house.  Shirt and sandals by Raf Simons.

G: I've got a few new Lego projects underway; I think it's about time for something new.  It's just a matter of finding the time to make something, and getting round to buying some more pieces.  I've got loads of childhood Lego but inexplicably quite a lot of it has chew marks on (wonder how that happened…) which means I'm now a fairly frequent customer at  We have super-amazing French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to thank for my Lego obsession, not, contrary to what lots of people think, Marc by Marc Jacobs/Dee and Ricky's very limited Lego attempts, which pale in comparison to Castelbajac's Lego-covered New Era caps.

TDP: Everything tastes better with ______ on it?  

G: Lanvin (written)

Paul Smith shirt in the most sumptuous floral pattern

G: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me, and all the best with your blog and (very cool) DIY projects in the future!

Galahad on Lookbook
Galahad on Blogger

Sunday, May 24, 2009

DIY: The Multi-colored Whistle Necklace

Making its rounds about the menswear blogosphere a few days ago, this multi-colored whistle necklace by Phenomenon (available for a rather hefty price of 86 USD at caught my eye.   I thought to myself, pfft, I can so make that.

whistle necklace by Phenomenon

So I did.  I purchased five whistles at the toy store and strung them through a silver ball chain lying around the house, most probably from an unused ID card.  Total cost: USD 5.50.  

whistle necklace by The Dandy Project

There were only four colors available in plastic, so I had to settle for a silver one in the center.  It kind of makes it my own though, don't you think?

Here it is worn:

vintage bowler hat, shirt by Comme des Garcons PLAY, DIY whistle necklace, Casio calculator watch, tailor-made black skinnies, Swear patent jazz shoes

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stussy Sunnies + Interviewed

Spotted at Greyone Social today, the most perfect Clubmaster-type sunglasses: Stussy Coltranes in milk (white).

I put the white frames on and I turn into an avant-garde architect-in-training from Tokyo in Manila for a site inspection.

While I was searching for photos of the Stussy Coltranes, I stumbled upon these Stussy x Hiroshi Fujiwara sunglasses, which echo the classic wayfarer silhouette, but with a more rounded shape:

First RVCA, now Stussy, these skater/surfer brands are starting to bleep on my radar.  

I got interviewed by the darling Freya of Agent Dreamer a couple of days ago.  Check out the interview here.  She makes me sound so insightful, I love it.

EDIT:  The interview, for your reading enjoyment.

What made you start The Dandy Project?
I had been posting outfits on The Fashion Spot for quite some time then, but I needed a venue to discuss my views on fashion and style at length. I wanted to go deeper into the subject, and I wanted a space to call my own. Also, my friend 
Michelle who started her blog before I did inspired me to start a blog.

What is your favourite? Typical or Atypical?
I'd take atypical any given day, it's just more fun to be different. I think people should wear whatever makes them happy, even if it isn't what others believe is beautiful. That's why I'm so against makeover shows that turn people into the typical mall-styled clones. Oftentimes, the "before" looks have much more character and depth than the made-over looks.

Your favourite quote regarding fashion?
"Win or lose, we go shopping after the election!"---Imelda Marcos

Style icons (online, offline, celebrity, anyone)?
There must be a new one for me every week. It's mostly stylish people I see on the street, especially when I travel. At the top of my list now are the Londoners and the Japanese. People watching is one of my all-time hobbies.

What is your shopping mantra?
If it feels right, go for it!

You draw inspiration from...?
from the runway, to street style, to films, to magazines, to my friends, to just random thoughts inside my head.

Favourite designers, if any?
I'm currently harboring a liking for Dries Van Noten and Raf Simons. I also have a thing for cool mid-range designers such as APC, Opening Ceremony, and The Kooples, all great designs without the ridiculous prices. Eairth by Melissa Dizon, a Filipino designer, is something worth looking out for. Other designers would be Martin Margiela, Junya Watanabe for CDG, Lucas Ossendrijver for Lanvin, Nicholas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga, Stefano Pilati for YSL, Ann Demeulemeester and Miuccia Prada.

Current songs on your playlist?
I Don't Feel Like Dancing by The Scissor Sisters, Standing in the Way of Control by The Gossip, the soundtrack to Jersey Boys, Dis-lui Non by Francoise Hardy, and Kanye West.

You have been lately posting photos wearing your own designs. What is your advice for people who are trying to find their style?
I'd say experiment, experiment, experiment. It's the only way you'll find what you really love, what speaks of who you are. If you come to make some bad decisions along the way, that only means funny pictures to look back at. And take pictures of what you wear, even if just for personal reference. You can track down your progress through the months. You will also see more clearly what works for you and what doesn't, somehow the camera is much more objective than the mirror.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Amazing Technicolor Garment-in-the-making

Fabric stores have a way of not letting you go home without something in tow.  Today, it was this stunning plaid silk in the most vivid jewel tones of sapphire, blue-green, and fuchsia.

Originally purchased towards the fabrication of a pair of pleated shorts, that plan was aborted once I mocked-up the fabric onto myself: folding it like shorts, and looking in the mirror.  The fabric was not only very colorful, it was also iridescent; I could not bear to wear it as a pair of shorts lest I elicit stares for all the wrong reasons.

I thought it best to turn the fabric into a shirt, and while in the shower I thought of paring it down with touches of black, especially up top, as I have a problem with having so much saturated color next to my face.  I quickly drew up this [substandard] sketch with my hair still dripping wet, fearful that the idea of the shirt would escape me:

The shirt will have a black collar, black short sleeves, a black yoke that extends to the front (halfway through the height of the armhole), and two small black patch pockets to echo all the black happening above.  The white part is where all the plaid silk goes.  Here's hoping the shirt doesn't come out looking like a joke.  If you don't hear about this ever again, you'll know what happened.

Side note, here's my sister and I debuting our new sneakers, courtesy of Theodore's Huge Shoe Price Cut.  Now that was one honest-to-goodness sale, Manila should definitely have more sales of that kind.  

silver mid-top Common Projects on her (so jealous) and black patent Swear Grants on me

Monday, May 18, 2009

Well-executed Classics + Timex Is Back

I was alerted by Alphabetical on the existence of quite a few well-executed classics on the J. Crew website. With the situation being that I'm making the move to a rather conservative, preppy city in a few months, I thought it might be best to revisit the classic side of me and temporarily put on hold the relative weirdness I've been displaying on this blog for the past few months. (Truth be told, wearing classics is great and satisfying in real life, but somehow it translates into a total snoozefest when broadcasted over the blogosphere.)

J. Crew tote in canvas - Totes are no longer the girly bags they used to be a couple of years ago. The snap closure and the optional gussets are a plus.

J. Crew tote in rubber - for the rainy days. I like the black+brown combination.

Globe-trotter Centenary 21" trolley case in sour lemon - Perfection. Practical, classy, not at all bling-bling-trashy. No need to tag your luggages with the most obscure ribbons, you'll know it's yours the moment it steps on to the carousel.

I know this color combination of sour yellow and beige straps is exclusive to J. Crew (as well as black+beige and beige+beige), but I can't help but be concerned about what the fact that Globetrotter luggage is sold off the J. Crew site does to the Globetrotter brand. Somehow the traditional English luggage maker loses some of its old-world mystique when its wares are peddled on such a prevalent retail outlet on the Internet, no less.

Selima Optique for J. Crew Rivington glasses - The two nails on each temple nicely punctuate the timeless shape.

Selima Optique for J. Crew Menrad glasses - (from the women's section) This pair would look great with tinted lenses.

Formal Accessories
Chambray white-tipped pocket square - If I could have one pocket square besides plain white, it would be this. Imagine how great this would look with a summer suit.

Sterling silver i.d. bracelet - Originally shunned for its dirty-old-man connotations, I'm willing to give it another chance.

Timex military watch - from the J. Crew website: "We joined forces with Timex to design this military-inspired watch - an icon from the 40s, back from the archives (and only available here)." Burberry did something similar a few years back, but it just wasn't quite believable with the Burberry logo etched on it. This watch is minimalism perfected, and sold at quite a reasonable price.

My delight with this Timex military watch prompted me to share with you a series of Timex watches I regret not having bought a piece of when I saw it in Selfriges, London last month. The minimalist Timex 80 watch was just recently re-released in a whole slew of colors.

Yummy shades, though it's my liking for the black that pervades.

Gold and silver, distant cousins of my Casios

They also came up with a special edition which comes with an matte-finish elasticated bracelet...

In burgundy, it's something else.

And in the special edition, slightly reddish gold, it's quite classy.

...and the coolest case. All Timex 80 watches available at Oki-ni.

The problem with classics though, there's way too many of them to acquire, perhaps even for one lifetime.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Frustrated Designer Part 2: The Chiffon Shirt

There was another fabric that I bought together with the floral silk that I turned into a shirt, one that is arguably harder to work with than the pink rose-laden fabric.  Yes, I did buy a couple of yards of black and white square-print chiffon to make into a button-down shirt.  If the floral silk risked going into grandmotherly territory, there was a serious possibility my chiffon shirt would look like a tacky aunt's blouse.  Aware of the risk, I knew that on the design front, slightly more input would have to come from me this time. 

I had the collar done in black for visual contrast, and had it made more structured to stand up to the light flowiness of the chiffon.  It was also my idea to have two front pockets placed, in an effort to minimize diaphanousness in the area where pockets go, in order to eliminate the need for an undershirt, which could take away from the drape and lightness of the shirt.  Here it is worn:

Plotting my next sartorial schemes...  Ray-Ban Wayfarers, chiffon shirt designed by me, Casio calculator watch, tailor-made pants, black patent Dr. Martens

close-up of the shoes

On a hot and humid day, nothing beats wearing a chiffon shirt that weighs next to nothing.

Square is the new round, tortoise is the new black

I received an e-mail today from one of the designers of Zanzan Eyewear, Gareth Townshend, introducing me to his sunglass line and suggesting that I feature it on The Dandy Project.  Frankly, I'm immensely flattered that anyone would think this blog would be worth featuring any products on, but he asked nicely and the goods are great so I say ask and you shall receive.

Handmade in France using Carl Zeiss lenses and designed in England, each style is strictly limited to a hundred pairs.  

The Zanzan Black Rio

The strong square shape of the Black Rio model really caught my eye, a sharp contrast to the ultra-round styles that have been fascinating me recently but are already rapidly becoming pedestrian despite me not even getting a pair yet.  In ebony-colored frames with tortoiseshell arms, they provide just the right balance of modernity and retro charm.  

The Zanzan Rubirosa

A close runner-up would be the Rubirosa, their own take on the Wayfarer, albeit a little more square.  Again, in speckled tortoise, the shades become that much more sumptuous.  

Things that inspire designers Gareth Townshend and Megan Trimble are the sub-cultural style elites of the 60s and early 70s - the Dolce Vita style of the Italian Beatniks, the cinematic élan of the French New Wave, psychedelic samba collectives in the Rio de Janeiro foothills and the 'beautiful and damned' in Yves Saint Laurent's Paris---quite a sexy mood board, I imagine, but I do think the products clearly and beautifully exude the spirit of their inspiration.

Zanzan was recently featured on Dazed Digital and you can purchase a pair in e-store   

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I Heart (Window-shopping at) Opening Ceremony

The Opening Ceremony Online Store is now up and running, as I discovered a couple of days ago.  It carries an impressively extensive selection of brands (including the house label Opening Ceremony, Comme des Garcons, Edifice, Lad Musician, Porter, and United Bamboo), many of which I have not seen being sold online before.  The online store also boasts a light, breezy interface that makes window-shopping such a joy.  

Upon clicking into the men's section of the e-boutique, I was pleasantly surprised to see a familiar face from The Fashion Spot's What are you wearing today? forum.  Jimmy Jimeno, or Interceptor as he is known on the thread, is apparently the face of the Opening Ceremony online store, and rightfully so: the guy has got impeccable style; he has both the built and the attitude to carry off looks with such coolness.  Oh and he is Filipino, too.

A jewel of a brand that the new online store had caused me to discover would be Soe, a "Tokyo-based design house known for its post-modern fashion".  They offer fresh takes on the long-sleeved button-down shirt using texture, contrast, and just the right amount of restraint to keep the clothes from becoming cheap and gimmicky.

Soe shirt in gauzy cotton with contrast trim in black lace

Soe shirt with semi-sheer dots

Soe shirt 023 "features an array of metal studs that lose their hard edge when scattered almost chaotically".  Poetic.

Other picks:

typewriter color jacket by Edifice

the collar snaps off into a hood

safari-print jacket by Haversack

floral shorts by Pegleg NYC for Opening Ceremony in a pattern that closely resembles my "grandmother shirt"

Though I do appreciate a well thought out editorial spread, there is a special place in my heart for excellently-styled look books and catalogs.  There's something about having to work within the limits of being commercial that squeezes out the talent from the stylists and forces them to come up with looks that are wearably awesome.  All the modelled looks are beautifully styled, really, but here are a few that stood out for me:

Opening Ceremony: happy and quintesentially New York

Can someone ID these boots?  EDIT: The boots are Opening Ceremony SS09, and retail for USD 400.  Thank you to Anonymous and Editor for the info.  

Band of Outsiders
Check out the mustard socks!
In the spirit of this post, I decided to wear my new Opening Ceremony x Uniqlo button-down shirt:

(And new haircut, too!) Opening Ceremony x Uniqlo pink plaid buttondown, Casio calculator watch, Greyhound jeans with elastic cuffs, Greyhound boat shoes

Just unearthed these boat shoes circa 2005-2006.  White shoes are so back, don't you agree?

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