Archive for the ‘style’ Category
Upper: Full grain brown waxhide leather.
Lining: Heavy, 100% cotton duck with leather facings at eyestays, back, and top.
Outsole: Oil-resistant Neoprene with with interior-tempered steel shank from heel to ball for maximum support.
More menswear love. Yesterday I went shopping for my boo and had the best of times in a little store called French Trotters on Rue Vieille du Temple, which carries among other brands Acne, Rocky Mountain Featherbed, and Our Legacy. While I was there I ran across not only the spectacular limited-edition Quoddy boots they carried last season, made specially for the brand by request of the manager of the Parisian French Trotters boutique, but also the above Indy Boots by American shoemaker Alden.
The company is based in New England, something I think the French find sort of mythical and charming, and this boot, the 405, was named the Indy after Harrison Ford wore them in the Indiana Jones movies. Whether or not that’s particularly appealing they’re stunning, with that lovely heaviness boots have when you hold them in the palm of your hand and try to hold balance with them as they seem to shift their weight back and forth from heel to ball. I think they’d look great with most things from this collection and almost anything at all on Nerd Boyfriend, my other obsession.
So even though I know I’ll make a beeline for the store as soon as I pull my hundreds of bags off the luggage thing at the airport in NYC, I’m going to go ahead and say now while I’m safely in Paris that I think Opening Ceremony tries too hard. Describing itself as “a multifaceted environment comprised of retail spaces, showroom, and gallery that establishes a new international creative forum in downtown Manhattan,” it kind of makes me want to pull a rug out from under a platform-Mary-Jane-sporting Chloe Sevigny and roll her up in it, even if it did tie the room together. Getting Sofia Coppola to direct a short film, starring Jason Schwartzman and Kirsten Dunst decked out in your clothing and imitating Nouvelle Vague movies seems a little trop – like someone wrote down a list of Hip Things in his Moleskine and is checking them off with one of those clothes-slide-off-the-naked-woman-while-you-write pens. (Worse, I think the Opening Ceremony short may have inspired the uber-annoying version done by Steven Alan to promote their summer collection. So many rolling eyes.)
Furthermore, as much as I buy into it late at night sitting in my room on the internet, I also think it’s kind of bullshit for stores to have blogs. Case in point Brooklyn Industries, which is lame anyway, but which gets lamer when they suggest that we all read their blog and find out about Gwen, the manager of their Williamsburg store, whose inspirations are apparently Neil Young, Hunter S. Thompson and Ken Kesey, and who is currently drinking acai juice. Opening Ceremony’s blog is like a big ad disguised as street fashion and art news. It’s like the fashion marketing equivalent of the Ovaltine scene in A Christmas Story. I think the whole thing is at once gaudy and condescending – let’s just understand each other, you put clothes on the racks, I’ll spend money I shouldn’t on them, and we’ll both go home happy. Please, people at OC and other stores for the Young and Hip, don’t feel a pressure to occupy every stratum of my life. When I want a blog on art and fashion I’ll go here or here. When I want to see a movie I’ll just go here, it’s fine. When I want to look at impossibly goodlooking people wearing terrific clothes and probably being photographed just outside my window, I’ll go here or here. For music, these people are holding it down.
And just to prove how over it I am, I’ll still tell anyone that will listen about that time I met Chloe Sevigny in the bathroom at Film Forum.
“I do not know where it comes from but many people carry this legendary concept that somebody on a high wire should not and cannot look down, because then they will instantly lose balance. …As I discovered the wire and as I practiced it, I discovered that it is beautiful to look down. …by looking down, you savor the taste of the void. It gives you terror, but it also gives you strength. It gives you the knowledge that you are mastering the void you imposed on yourself by walking in thin air. Thus, plunging your eyes into the abyss, looking down, is the wire walker’s affirmation.” -Philippe Petit
Erik Satie – Gnossienne n°1
The other day I came across an article about the release of the upcoming biopic Man On Wire, documenting Philippe Petit’s incredible 1974 walk across the wire he had “illegally rigged between the Twin Towers. With only a balancing pole and no form of security he spent forty-five minutes dancing gracefully across the immense void, 1,350 feet above the earth. (Acne Paper)” I remembered then that I’d sleepily encountered a lengthy interview with the same man in Acne Paper‘s issue on elegance, and I went back to read it. “I became a theatrical wire-walker, somebody looking for elegance,” Petit says in the interview. “There is nothing more simple and elegant than a beautiful walk on a high wire.” The whole issue covers elegance in different forms, from Alber Elbaz‘s new romanticism for Lanvin to sculpture by Terence Koh. It got me to thinking about how to define elegance, discretely: while Paper picked out a good number of things I would call elegant for one reason or another, I still came away from it wondering how to tie all of them together to pinpoint what lies at the heart of elegance itself.
To help answer my question I first took my usual approach and looked up the word, finding that “elegance” originated in the late 15th century, was used to describe a person “dressing tastefully,” and has its roots in the Latin elegans, elegant-, related to eligere – choose, select (also related: “elect”). I thought this was curious because of the frequency with which we pair the word “elegance” with “innate,” to imply that it cannot be learned, but is instead so attractive for its air of deep-rooted naturalness. Next I consulted one of the most elegant people I know, my piano teacher Christophe Buren. He answered in his usual sincere way, standing very straight in the foyer of his house with his head slightly forward, eyes concentrated and with fingers pressed together at the tips that left each other only to make illustrative arcs in the air from time to time, at the level of his waist. He said that he thought elegance could not be learned, and took care to distinguish a qualitative difference between politeness and truly elegant graciousness. He concluded that it was something one knew and understood with all of one’s being; that the true meaning of elegance lay in harmony and in a unity between interior and exterior. Elegance as lack of veneer.
It seems that when one senses that one is looking at something truly elegant, it is because one is seeing a consonance between the inner and the outer – a melodiousness of being indicating that what lies within and without have tuned themselves perfectly to each other. Elegance in any form is a tunefulness of intention and realization, of impulse and action, that embodies a certain courageous honesty of the soul that cannot be learned or practiced. There is elegance of gesture, of writing, of speech, of curve and of line; of design, of hospitality, of ambition and of intent, and of execution. There is elegance in childhood and in the best of old age. In language, elegance can be a certain precision – a streamlined style in which no words are wasted and each one chosen rich with meaning and satisfying for its accuracy. With this definition, understanding elegance suddenly reminded me of gazing into the Mediterranean Sea on a calm day: even at depths of fifty feet or more, you can see straight down to the stones at the bottom, which seem to lie only a few yards below. The soul of an elegant thing is almost alarmingly close to the surface, but not two-dimensional for its honesty: one senses its great depth and, as one often does around such things, feels almost blinded by its candor.
There is elegance in anything that can view itself clearly and move deliberately towards this horizon; our pleasure in viewing it comes from being in the presence of a realized desire; of the mastery of the void between the inner and the outer.
“All the soarings of my mind begin in my blood.” -RMR
Acne Ahawi Dress | Shirtdress with folded collar & rolled-up sleeves
I’ve decided to start a little section dedicated entirely to showing you pieces of clothing and other objects, portable by hand or body, that I like. I’ll try to keep this from becoming the overwhelming subject matter of the entire blog – it’s a legitimate risk.
Today’s is the Acne Ahawi dress, which is a wonder of tailoring the likes of which I’ve never slipped into before: a glorious heavy cotton, with several swatches in subtly-different weaves, a neckline of perfectly-tucked folds with rich amounts of excess fabric, pre-rolled sleeves to just below the elbows, and a length suitable for wear over slim dark jeans or alone, in summer. I like the simplicity of the white and black versions best. Can’t wait to wear it with a hat and sandals.
“Hidden Harvest main filosophy is natural growed fabrics and and personal identity.”
Sly & the Family Stone – Everyday People
So WordPress won’t let me do the snazzy things I want to when I try to post all of “micmac” into one post, so it’s split into two…:
It’s a pity for me that I have no reason to shop for men’s clothes – the Annie Hall thing is trop, let’s be honest, and even though I love a good buttondown to lie around the house in, I prefer those borrowed to bought. Nonetheless, I like nothing more than a well-fitting pair of men’s pants, tailored so that just a bit of ankle shows above a heavy leather shoe; a shirt with a collar that sits just right; a good wide wale to make me weak in the knees…. So as Part II of My Opinions On Sartorialism for Men, begun with HixSept’s collection Derive-Drift, here is Our Legacy‘s spring collection Hidden Harvest (this would seem more pretentious and annoying to me if it weren’t endearing Swedes who made all these clothes – part of the charm in my mind is imagining their healthy blond heads bent over work benches, cobbling perfect leather shoes and feeding thick enduring fabrics into Husqvarna Viking sewing machines late into the sunny Stockholm nighttime). Also it’s adorable how they’ve laid all the clothes out like that so carefully, the way I used to in Catholic school the night before rare days that we got to ditch our uniforms and wear whatever we wanted (stressssss!).
photo by: Hanneli Mustaparta
So France is obvs famous for its couture – Dior, Chanel, Lanvin, Gaultier… – but what’s really intimidating about Parisian girls is their absolutely effortless chic, so different from the involved and sometimes over-the-top style of Barcelona, London, or Rome. The girls in this picture embody the simplicity of style I’ve come to admire so much here: a navy sweater (that she might have picked up at a vintage shop in the Marais or at Agnès B.) with sleeves rolled up over grey leather, a worn-in Barbour jacket, a clean wide-brimmed black hat contrasting with her undone, air-dried waves, natural face, casually-chipping dark nails.
It’s a little tougher to pull off this bedheadedly feminine sexiness as a girl with a crop, so I’m left to shoot for a sort of androgynous, Tao-Okamoto-like charm.