Thursday, September 30, 2010

Investigative Report #3 : You Copy-Cat, You!

Isabel Marant Fall 2010

Balmain S/S 2011

One time not so long ago, we did like the deluxe hippie garb Balmain's Christophe Decarnin was churning out, then came Balmainia. And with that hype also came the supposed news that orders would sell out once they hit the shops. Well, we live in New York City and see recognizable high-fashion all over the place on a daily basis and have yet to see any Balmain, anywhere. Good friends of ours in the retail world have also told us that those $2,500 shredded t-shirts are indeed a hard sell, and oddly enough, the men's line is said to be selling better than the women's.

So for Spring/Summer 2011 you can imagine the disappointment we felt when we noticed that the ideas and attitude at Balmain had an uncanny similarity to Isabel Marant's Fall/Winter 2010 collection. Same silhouette, same girl, except we prefer Marant's more elegant version. Only further proving how much more realistic we think it is for a woman to design for a woman this day & age.

Isabel Marant Fall 2010

Balmain S/S 2011

Most Wanted: Balenciaga's S/S 2011 Monk Straps

Flat shoes at Balenciaga? What? Yup, it's for real and Spring/Summer 2011's sci-fi iridescent variations on monk-strap trainers & brogues are unlike anything we've ever seen before and make us wish they were available much sooner than next spring.

Best of Milan Spring 2011

From Milan, don't expect studies on conservative minimalism, yet relish in the talent of some of the city's major talents & their bravado when it comes to going for the bold. For Spring/Summer 2011, striking colorways & prints, intellectual takes on femininity and superior craftsmanship made for an alluring mix of modernity that played on mundane ideas of the past for statements that are achingly modern. Here's a look at our favorites:

Prada(and above)

After Fall's bosom-buddy "balconette" dresses(which we can't imagine being easy to wear), Miuccia Prada delivered one of the season's best collections yet. Beautifully cut Japanese cotton suits that looked almost molded came in intense hues styled with bold contrasting fox fur stoles opened her show and the collection went on to elicit countless references while keeping in tow with contemporary fashion's need for a cleaner aesthetic and relaxed shapes. Only Miuccia can combine almost banal influences like Josephine Baker, 17th century Baroque prints, uniform dressing, stripes, tango shoes, and cherubs to create a collection that's bold but never too much. Dream pieces from this collection include a Baroque printed striped scuba shaped top, scroll molded sunglasses, striped crepe sole platform brogues and some of the striped separates with pie-crust collars.

Jil Sander

So many things come to mind when looking at Raf Simon's blockbuster collection for Jil Sander Spring 2011. For one, he is the right man for the job(in case you hadn't noticed before), for another, this may have been his best collection at the house ever. Why? Because it's clear that after five years, Simons is confident enough to take the house codes in a new direction while continuing to cater to it's most ardent fans. Now he can make both sides of the fashion world happy and that he did with a collection that took what Isaac Mizrahi did with evening wear in the early 90's(juxtaposing old-world couture notions with uniform pieces such as a denim jacket), mixing it with a hyper color palette that could rival Yves Saint Laurent's and his own knack for what you could call intense techno-couture. He opened with a passage of vivid variations on maxi skirts with attached white tee's that made a strong case for minimalism having the ability to make a big impact. He moved on to maxi parachute dresses, some in optical contrasting stripes, followed by a series of origami folded pieces(ones that could make Helmut Lang proud), and layered jackets, three at a time, all contrasting, all ultra-thin, over today's ubiquitous skinny pant. While the pieces retain the house's requisite codes for clean, cool sportswear, Simons may have just upped Jil Sander's status quo exponentially.

Antonio Marras

We love what Antonio Marras has been doing at Kenzo and so we naturally love what he does at his own eponymous line. For Spring 2011, he continued to display his deft hand at creating updated variations on the luxury minded arty/hippie girl aesthetic that he has mastered. Spring's muted palette of spices and khaki's, over blown floral prints, and billowy, relaxed shapes were generous updates to his well-versed perspective.

Bottega Veneta

Each season we find ourselves gravitating to a few pieces from Bottega Veneta, yet never an entire collection until we saw Spring 2011. Here, contrasting embroidered sack dresses with a chiffon midriff, soft, tonally decorated a-line dresses and sleek leather separates had an appeal that was less about delivering on the hype of the urban warrior at the height of minimalism's return and more about creating a collection that could take those now mundane notions to a heritage level with wondrous execution and that sometimes elusive gift of good taste.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

V Play DJ: Vnyc's Playlist

Since discovering what an RCA cord does and being as obsessive as we can be over music, one of us has been using YouTube to make play lists as you can add & delete music from millions of choices and create play lists within seconds. Our first play list is one we've been listening to all summer while working away and clocks in at over 2 hours. Like our shop, it covers a broad range of what we like best, from songs we find nostalgic about to no/new wave, new-rave, o.g & current hip-hop, grunge, party anthems, punk and so much more. And it's source's vary from Frederic Sanchez's bad-ass runway mixes to classic videos & live performances. Enjoy!

Listen to Vnyc's Daily Play List

Channeling Dries Van Noten S/S 2011 at Vnyc

Dries Van Noten Spring 2011
We consider Dries Van Noten to be one of today's best designers when it comes to pragmatic sportswear and his opening look for Spring 2011 happens to have an uncanny resemblance to our 80's-era Yohji Yamamoto double-breasted jacket. Both share a confident ease and relaxed fit, and both are destined to give you a whole lot of coverage for season's to come. Lucky for you, ours is Yohji, a season early, from the private collection of New Wave icon Aimee Mann and is only $326.

80's Double Breasted Yohji Yamamoto Boyfriend Jacket-$326

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Best of London Spring 2011

At the London shows you can always expect a generous helping of ingenuity & energy and many of our favorites did not disappoint for Spring 2011. They made a strong case on the need for new with collections that stand on their own while touching on the season's varied trends from Peter Pan collared school girl dressing to artfully ladylike to clean yet conceptual minimalism. London's promising young talents are growing up and their work is only getting more confident in realization. Here's a look at our favorite shows.

Meadham Kirchoff(and above)

What can we say, we are fond of the 90's, whether it's grunge-era, body-con or minimalism and we love what the boys at Meadham Kirchoff mulled from the decade for Spring 2011. Demonic kewpie dolls on acid mixed with a vivid sense of pop colors and a dark, romantic edge marked it one of the season's most cleverly fun shows to date. Their propositions may look as avant-garde as you can get, but their deceptive genius is in how many ultra-femme pieces you can pull apart from each look. Ruffled skirts, lace inserts, shocking neon brights mixed with muted violets, graphic tunics, bell shaped blouses and Peter Pan collars came together to offer a fresh take on the romantic side of Spring dressing.

Charles Anastase

We love the Charles Anastase girl's louche 70's French nerdiness and Spring's collection gave us a lot to indulge in with it's Peter Pan collared sheer blouses and midi length shirt dresses. It had just the right amount of studied sweetness, prissy Parisian formality and brainy sexiness without being too-cool, making it one of the best collections for girls under 30 this season.


You can always expect an appropriate amount of femininity packaged in an Erdem collection mixed into contemporary shapes for a look that's as easy on the eye as it is on the wear. Spring's notes included a bold palette of painterly botanical hues, lace, digital prints, maxi lengths and Peter Pan collars for looks that could look just as good on royalty as they could on a 20-something.

Peter Pilotto

While it hasn't really mastered a recognizable signature, Peter Pilotto is in possession of the ability to keep on churning out modern sportswear unlike anything you've ever seen before without having to sacrifice on taste. Spring's mix of pajama dressing, subdued military, color blocking, sci-fi knits and origami folds made for a collection that was heavy on wearable options.

Richard Nicoll

At his own namesake label and Cerruti, Richard Nicoll continues to prove that he's mastered a minimal approach to clean, graphic sportswear for a confident woman. At his own label, he mixed his signature sheer knits & chiffon separates with patent finished pieces for a look that was strong & perverse yet full of pieces you could easily incorporate into an everyday wardrobe. Midi trumpet skirts, sheer layers, a juxtaposition of ultra-lightweight lengths and a passage of soothing ice-cream colors made it a winning effort.

Required Visit: AnotherAfrica

AnotherAfrica has to be one of the most beautiful & well-executed sites online dedicated to the beauty, people and journeys of Africa. It is "A contemporary vision of Africans, Africa and those related to the continent and its peoples in the areas of culture, art, fashion, architecture, design, music, photography and more…" And so inspiring to visit...

Check it out at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Best of New York Spring 2011

We've been doing a lot of whining at the pace and scale of fashion in this day and age of globalism and an unsteady economy. Fashion today has become a world-wide beast, it's everywhere, and isn't that a good thing? Shouldn't this mean we are all sitting at home with a closet full of the best we can buy? Okay well, that is possible, but we think it's coming at a great cost in the long run. Most importantly, there is too much fashion too fast. Fashion is now rotating on a two month scale and frankly, by the time the items hit the shelves, we cannot even remember them. There was a time when we could spot something a mile away and tell you it's label. Today, we look at the calenders each season and cannot pronounce half of the names on it, and now you can supposedly buy "fashion" on the Home Shopping Network & at J.Crew. This was not possible ten years ago and it's hardly the case today. People are confusing each other by trying to claim everything as fashion. And while globalism has given everyone at least one brand they can identify with, at this point, nothing new can possibly keep on coming at you in that now idyllic speed in which it once did. Fear not, we aren't saying High Fashion has been obliterated, it's just that it's more about escaping the mundane and monotonous than ever. Last month Tom Ford made a bold move and denied his show's photos to go live before the end of December, when they will actually be available for purchase.

For us, we take Ford's intentions as more of an open call not only to let the fashion world know it needs to slow down and let people digest a season, but to also return high fashion to that distinct level of luxurious elusiveness, importance, dignity and exclusivity it once held.

And all of the above is exactly why it's important for us to look back at Spring 2011's collections. It gives us a chance to look through the banalities and over-population of fashion today to find out what's best out there, because good stuff is and will always be out there, you just have to concentrate a little more, leave your A.D.D at the door and do your homework. Here's a look at what we thought were New York's most influential collections for next Spring.

Marc Jacobs Collection(and above)

Marc Jacobs has taken his fans down almost every sartorial road possible, from the too good to the very, very bad, his collections have become as polarizing to fashion folk as Lady Gagga has become to music afficienados. Another thing you could say the two have in common is how bad they want you to know they love fashion. The thing is, lucky for us, Marc Jacob's may have his ups & downs, but every now & then, he can still put on one hell of a good show. Two factors can make a good Marc Jacob's collection, one is when he returns to the mousy Sofia Coppola girl that he initially seduced the world with, the other being when he can use his flair for fashion history to come up with a well executed mix-in-match of the best from the past. For Spring 2011, an explosion of 70's inspired sexuality was sponsored in part by Jody Foster(Taxi Driver), Guy Bourdin, Catherine Baba, Yves Saint Laurent, Missoni and Sonia Rykiel. The thing is, Jacob's doesn't really have to make these themes his own, it's more that he has orchestrated a winning combination of what we may have already loved. And for Spring 2011, we liked the story he told. Sure we like our nerdy Marc Jacob's of the past with his mouse shoes, bobby socks and dolly dresses, but we also liked every look from his exotic scrapbook of the best of the 70's. Beyond the weight of the 70's, the color palette, the make-up, the clothes, the hair, perfection is the major thing that comes to our minds.


The quirky Mulleavy sisters behind Rodarte have built a considerable following with breathtaking sci-fi couture quality options that place them in an entirely different arena stateside. They do what they want with such conviction and stand apart with such indifference, we for one, can't look at the craftsmanship and ethereal wizardry of each past collection without thinking that at this point, it's a no-brainer that they are gifted designers and have moved well past the "young" detractor. Problem is, while they do what they do obviously well, many of the pieces have had such a one-of-a-kind heirloom appeal to them in the past that they almost seemed unapproachable. Well, the sisters delivered on that memo for Spring 2011 with a collection that was supposedly inspired by the interiors of the house they grew up in. This concept gave the duo a treasure trove of endearing prints to showcase, from a selection of wood-paneling prints to frothy ming vase inspired embroideries. Yet its genius factor came from its pieces patterns and silhouettes, making it their most wearable ever. Dotted high-waisted pants, layered skirts, cut-outs galore, are sure to lift the appeal of the label without overshadowing the distinct level of execution & the viewpoint these designers have made their own.

3.1 Phillip Lim

Phillip Lim, one of the only designers in New York that seemed to want to contemplate today's so-called need for minimalism, delivered another 100% viable, wearable and value-packed collection for Spring. Lim continues to tackle the everyday needs of the real-world girl with his accessibly priced 3.1 range. He managed to take the idea of layering aprons(a much copied notion this season now that everyone is looting the archives of minimalism's wunderkind Helmut Lang), mix it with optical grid pin-tucking, buttery leather, sheer chiffon and an oyster palette of nudes for a look that was enviably lightweight and airy. Here, his practical approach to the idea of layering with a mind set on the sometimes clinical sterility of minimalism is destined to give a lot of women a whole lot of options. We for one, can't wait to get our hands on his taupe leather apron and wear one of his sheer chiffon layers juxtaposed under a thick cable-knit sweater.

Jasun Wu

Thanks to Michelle Obama and his impeccably crafted, ladylike collections, Jason Wu is one young designer that has quickly risen in rank by offering a fresh alternative for the gentrified ladies who lunch. And now that those ladies go-to stand-by's Oscar De La Renta & Carolina Herrera's collections have become increasingly aged in repertoire and modernity, Wu's Spring 2011 collection puts him in a considerable position. His recent outing was a clean approach to glamorous hallmarks of celebrated sartorial moments of the past, all executed with a confident restraint. To put it simply, Jason Wu has exceptional taste when it comes to ageless American sportswear, reinterpreting some of fashion's finest moments and the need for easy dressing with a crisp elegance. And he proved his commitment even further with the kind of pieces every woman will always need. His fluid wide-leg high-waisted pleated pants, short suits with boyfriend jackets in delicate tonal damask and plaid, a-line coat-dresses, sheer pin tucked & lace-worked big bow blouses could look good on just about anyone and are destined to bring him new fans where it really matters, on the sales floor.

Donna Karan

Donna Karan has always marched to her own beat and is one of the few women out there making clothes for other women. It says so proudly in her ads, and we for one, understand the importance of this in this day & age of aggressive body-con, studded leather and heels that were once reserved for ladies of the night. In fact, much of fashion has become so lurid, so beyond sex, that we continue to find the pragmatism of Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo & Karan appealing. And it's not just that it's all real-world and no play, it's because these women have the basic advantage of knowing what they want to wear. From them, no matter what aesthetic road they travel, you can expect approachable luxury and an intense desirability in the ease of translation. So it came as a surprise that amidst all of the commotion around fashion's return to minimalism, Donna Karan celebrated her 25th anniversary with a collection that was everything but minimal and high on understated, artful glamor. No need to look back at those "Five Easy Pieces" that made Karan a household name in the 80's, for Spring 2011, she turned the page on American sportswear and offered what you could call wearable couture. A palette of soothing sand tones was highlighted with raw yet soft paper-bag crumpled fabrications with a masterful sensual lightness to them. A passage of tea-stained floral prints came as a novel yet welcome surprise from Karan, as did much of the collections major ideas. But at this point Karan doesn't have much to gamble, she's more than proven that no matter where her sartorial mind goes, she's always going to deliver relaxed, organic shapes that are easy on the fuss factor & the eye.