Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dying for Denim

Siki Im and Robert Geller, two of my most favorite shows last New York Fashion Week, have caused me to reconsider denim---so much so that I had my assistant run over to Uniqlo the next morning to pick up a pair of dark wash jeans for me. I haven't worn jeans since my oddly-fitting APC new cures of yesteryear, but these designers' jean offerings, both rigid and soft, typically in voluminous cuts, have got me dying for denim.

Siki Im reinvented denim stark and clean and dark; I thought it was quite inspiring.

This is how I would like to wear my jeans next spring: loose and boxy, with lots of black, and punctuated by substantial white footwear.

more denim with even more black

reconsider light washed denim, and possibly even whiskers?

a chambray shirt and a dramatic long vest

pegged dark denim legs peek out from under an architectural cocoon-like cape

Geller did denim more foppishly, in contrast to Siki Im's clean minimalism, but the result was just as strong.

an easy denim shirt over a mesh t-shirt, all layered under a soft navy blouson

a short denim jacket with cropped cuffed wide-leg denim trousers

leather pants toughen up a soft chambray shirt

easy linen-denim trousers

a denim trench with purple-blues

Siki Im photos by Sigurd Widenfalk via Siki Im
Robert Geller photos via Robert Geller

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sequins, Spots, and Self-expression

Last Saturday, I walked over the bridge to DUMBO in Brooklyn for their annual Arts Festival: a weekend-long celebration of "the best in local, national, and international art amid the breathtaking backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline". It was an exhilarating afternoon---think Fashion's Night Out, minus all the tourists; swap fashion for art, and free drinks for food trucks. Expecting that the art set would be a little more accepting than the fashion folk, I decided to wear two items in the much-maligned materials, sequins and leopard print.

Illesteva sunglasses, Junya Watanabe x Comme des Garcons shirt, Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons bracelet, Uniqlo jeans, leopard-print shoes from Lane Crawford

The sequins on this Junya Watanabe shirt seem to be oxidized and almost crumpled, and are embroidered on to the faintly printed black-and-brown batik fabric with very thin copper wire.

This horsehair and leather bracelet, on loan from Black Sheep and Prodigal Sons, has been my alternative to the multiple-layered bracelets, a.k.a. "arm parties" that abound. Sometimes the most enjoyable parties are those you rock with just one else.

Prada saffiano briefcase and leopard-print shoes from Lane Crawford. I don't seem to be getting that much wear from these shoes in today's sole du jour, the Vibram thick wedge. I find the wearable comfortable footwear to be proper dress shoes with slim all-leather soles.

Enough about about my artfully put-together outfit, let me share with you the art my eyes saw at the DUMBO Arts Fair:

sparkling walls

and twinkling rain

light boxes

and backlit black shingles

love you

and f*ck you (It rotates!)


and twilight.

photographs by Tiffany Gong and Izzy Tuason

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ugo's Jewels

I recently had the privilege to interview Italian jewelry designer Ugo Cacciatori. What was supposed to be a weekend showroom visit turned into a crash course in gemology and a lesson on how to tell stories with "sentences in silver". In our little chat, Ugo talked about his inspirations, his favorite materials, the rising price of gold and silver, and told one precious story of obsession that resonated very much with how I find myself obsessing about certain things I see, around, on particularly special people.

Tell us how you started making jewelry.

It all began by chance. I didn’t study fashion; I studied architecture. I’m more like a designer in the wider sense. I was born in Carrara, in Italy, where the white marble is from. I was born into a family of quarry owners. The respect of the material is what you will see in my collection. The silver is not plated, it is oxidized naturally with an old alchemistic system. My background is in architecture, and my mother is a scientist.

Ugo Cacciatori and Etna, the pharaoh hound, at the New York City showroom he designed

What inspires you?

The base of the collection is my childhood. That’s in everybody. If you you’re your little child awake, you’re always ready to absorb, to be surprised, to be emotional. Many people, they put it aside, because they have to go somewhere. I have to go nowhere, I just have to enjoy, in the end.

Some of my pieces are really childish. Not that they’re made out of cotton candy, or that they’re pink, but they’re childish in the sense that they are part of something in my childhood, like a pirate’s sword in a story, or a ring with powers---and when you wake up, you still have it on your finger. Materializing dreams.

hidden gem rings by Ugo Cacciatori

a ring with mobile "wings"

But everything inspires me. All my experiences are mixed together in a story and they just explode in these sentences made out of silver. To me, it’s like writing a book, and instead of writing with words, I write with silver sentences.

If I design for somebody else, they have their own story.

Do you do bespoke things too?

Yes, many.

I could only dream of having a piece custom-made by you!

I want to be more of a jewellery maison, not just an accessories line.

the skull series: a silver ring, a pendant, and the mabe pearl and silver and diamond ring that needs to be slipped on my finger someday soon

The one piece that turned me on to Ugo Cacciatori was your mabe pearl ring with skulls and diamonds, I thought it was just fantastic. How do you feel about pearls?

In the beginning, I just wanted to use mabe pearls, because it’s something that hasn’t been used for a while. And I like that you can put half and half together and make them look like one whole.

"dot" earrings made out of two mabe pearls put together

What are your favorite materials to work with, besides silver?

Silver is not my favorite material. To me, it’s like bread. It’s something that is good with everything. It’s a more alive material, it oxidizes unlike gold. It is a cheap material, but at the same time, it’s precious.

a chain bracelet with a fine floral motif, subtly studded with dark diamonds

The bracelet decides to join that morning's wrist party.

Yes, you can plate it. But then why do I see jewelry pieces that are made of “oxidized gold”?

Gold does not oxidize. What you can do with gold is that you can mix it. For example, white gold is slightly pink, it’s a beautiful material; it’s not white-white. I like to mix: silver, copper, and gold; platinum and gold; it’s more alchemistic.

In silver, I only use garnet, onyx, and citrine, and smoky quartz, and with gold, I only use 9 carat gold, the gold that was used in the Victorian age.

I love how you describe how you make jewelry as like mixing cocktails. What is your favorite drink?

I usually drink vodka straight on the rocks---rough materials! (Laughs)

Tell us about your aesthetic.

As an architect, I was against ornament. My reference architects were Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, more minimalist… At a certain point in my life, I said, I should break, I shouldn’t dwell so much on one concept. I began to tattoo my body, I began to break my cultural fixations.

This dot ring with a bluish gray mabe pearl is the perfect execution of Cacciatori's minimalist tendencies, and a simpler, more wearable alternative to that pearl and skull ring.

the same ring, set with a white pearl

Does the fashion media (magazines, blogs, etc.) play into your design?

It’s peculiar that in all these years, I don’t read any fashion magazines. I’m very happy that there are blogs nowadays, that at least they give you a more direct and real sense of what’s going on. Most of the press, the established press, is influenced by who’s buying pages, more than what’s nice or what’s new.

A vintage feathered pirate's hat is one of the many found objects that add character to the showroom. To the left, a leather jacket with silver buttons, part of the limited line of clothing to be released.

How do you deal with the rising price of gold and silver?

In eight years, it’s become ten times more expensive. I still have heavy pieces, I still create what I like. But of course, the market is less ready for expensive pieces. They’re more ready for smaller, less expensive pieces. I don’t care, I still make what I like. It’s not just for me, it’s a problem for everybody. My clients know better; they know about the prices of gold and silver rising. I don’t think it’s a matter of costs of materials. If you like something in this collection, it’s very transversal. You can find pieces that cost 300 dollars, 3 thousand, pieces that cost 30 thousand. The meanings and the concept are still the same.

Ugo Cacciatori silver hair clips

a sage shagreen wallet that is surprisingly supple due to a special sanding process

What do you feel about jewelry and men? I think American men are generally averse to jewelry, but they’re getting more and more into it. You see guys wearing more and more bracelets…

First of all, I think it’s something that’s always been there. In other cultures, men have always been wearing jewelry, it’s not even a trend. I have a memory of when I was 18, when I went to Florence to study architecture. I didn’t know Florence, and I was just wandering around and I see this beautiful church next to Ponte Vecchio and I hear some music. So I enter, everybody was silent. In front of me, there was this African man with a ring. In my culture, in my family, the only ring my father wore was a wedding ring, and not even, because when you work in a quarry, you don’t wear it because it might be dangerous with the machinery. I wasn’t used to seeing men with rings. And I see this man, super elegant, with just one chevalier ring. And I remember, the entire time during the concert at the church, I could do nothing but dream of this jewel---where the guy found it, why he was wearing it… It remained so much in me, and from then on, the jewelry I started to create was for men.

the designer Ugo Cacciatori shows off his two "everyday" rings

If there’s one piece of jewelry a man should have, what should it be?

I think, a pendant, even just hidden, that you don’t see what it is, but you understand from the chain that it’s there. A pendant is a beautiful symbol; it’s something that remains close to the heart. I think a pendant is something every man should have.

photographs by Hudson Shively

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Two rear ends, one belonging to my friend Austin, the other belonging to me, were photographed by Jak and Jil's Tommy Ton crossing the street from the Marlon Gobel show last New York Fashion Week.

Austin wears a Thom Browne jacket, Brunello Cuccinelli pants, and a Swaine Adeney Brigg bag. I'm wearing a Thom Browne jacket, Uniqlo shirt, vintage Levi's cutoffs, and my signature blue "dead nail"

Tommy---thanks for the lovely picture.

photo by Tommy Ton for GQ

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fall into Floral

floral tapestry jazz shoes by Number (N)ine

You say, how dare he call himself dandy, all dressed in black and not a bow tie on his neck? Well, with rose-sprawled tapestry and ivory satin trim on dainty jazz shoes, I therefore announce, dandy is back! To my all-black Fall ensembles, they will lend a bouquet of romance, and to my ego, equally welcome stares of confuzzlement and nods of approval.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tim Hamilton Spring 2012

For Spring/Summer 2012, Tim Hamilton collaborated with conceptual artist and friend Seth Price to create a collection that explores themes of militarism and aviation and how these affect the wide fashion-consuming audience. These were thoroughly elaborated in the Tim Hamilton X Seth Price pieces, all made out of canvas, featuring the printed liners designed in collaboration with the artist.

Tim Hamilton X Seth Price bomber jacket worn over a jumpsuit from the same series, lined in the credit card and "paychex" liners

The presentation, produced by Alex Antitch for Ace Collective, was as much an art installation as it was a fashion show. Tim Hamilton took over the old Pearl Paint shop on Lispenard Street and transformed it into a haze-filled den with dark electro blaring and violent street scenes flashing on vintage Trinitron monitors. As some of you know, or may have guessed, I've had the privilege of working for New York designer Tim Hamilton the past few months, on the press side of the business, and the Tim Hamilton Spring/Summer 2012 collection that recently showed at Fashion Week was as much my baby as it was to everyone else on the team. Dearest readers, humor me and let the doting father brag.

bold stripes on a surprisingly masculine open-necked knit

black on black on black: Tim Hamilton's rendition of the Perfecto, in black leather, with black suede sleeves and all-black hardware

the taped blue belt

and taped shoes, courtesy of Dr. Martens

the press guy in a white Tim Hamilton jumpsuit mulling over the repercussions of the printed liner

This hidden-placket double-breasted white coat, a unisex piece, could be the perfect late Spring jacket.

the semi bowl-shaped crew cut: hairspiration?

easy-icy makeup by the brilliant Deanna Melluso at Artlist

A The Dandy Project exclusive, scenes from backstage:

shooting the lookbook

getting all dolled up...

...and do-ragged

The do-rags were a technique used by the hairstylist to keep the hair flat and sleek and clean. She would style the hair, cover it in do-rags, and spray on it through the holes. I'm most definitely trying this out at home.

Nariba's look

Showtime looms-

And lights.

photographs by Hudson Shively

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