Showing posts with label yves saint laurent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yves saint laurent. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 May 2011

L'Amour Fou (2011)

“I’ve gone through much anguish, many hells. I’ve known fear and a tremendous solitude. The deceitful friends that tranquilizers and narcotics turn out to be. The prison that depression can be and that of mental-health clinics. One day I came out of it all, dazzled but sober. Marcel Proust taught me that ‘the magnificent and pitiable family of neurotic people is the salt of the earth.’”

   I think few things explicate the psyche of a sophisticate like examining his desire for the splendid, so I am greatly looking forward to this ostensibly intimate film by Pierre Thoretton. For what the world certainly needs is a documentary about the lives and tastes of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé

   It's pretty gratifying to see that the muses - Betty Catroux, Loulou De La Falaise and Catherine Deneuve - are present and correct, as well as knowing that L'Amour Fou (“The Crazy/Mad Love”) does not shy away from acknowledging the distraught and depersonalised depths the industrious, sensitive, aesthetically-obsessed Saint Laurent could slide into, almost unbidden, whilst Bergé navigated much of his life for him

   Interspersed between the reminiscences from a 50 year love affair are moments from a confessional on the catwalk, the copious collections of objets d'art that filled the rooms of houses the world over and the delivery of said objets into the funereal hands of auctioneers (because nothing marks the passing of a life lived in connoisseurship quite like the wholesale of one's acquisitions) and then to those of that sagacious breed whose avarice and passion match those of Saint Laurent himself: collectors

   For all the attention lavished on works by Mondrian, Degas and Picasso, it's more interesting to me that there was a democratic element to the couple's assorted pretty things; Saint Laurent was apparently apt to see value in the bric a brac of a Marrakech market as he was in Chinoiserie pieces, Constantin Brancusi forms and Egyptian sculpture. And personally, an openness to the potential beauty in the affordable and the aureate is what makes such accumulative types all the more endearing

   Frankly, a production like this would always feel akin to the closing of a chapter


Thursday, 24 March 2011

A Portrait of a New Suit

It's Houndstooth Time
Right before the spring arrives to make it obsolete, that is

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Pilati Vox

   Not consistently my favourite menswear designer - but damn close at times - or even necessarily a favourite dresser - though rather skilled indeed - Stefano Pilati possesses two traits I greatly admire: thought and insight, which he expresses in this excerpt from a David Bradshaw-written feature:
I'm a man and I want to dress well, and I don't necessarily mean fashionably. I want to look my age. I'm not going to wear a f------ skirt when I'm 50, and when I have to go to a board meeting I'm not going to wear Bermudas and flip-flops or an astronaut suit with white shirt and tie! I don't consider myself privileged to dress up in a certain way because I'm a fashion designer - I just feel that I know myself enough to wear clothes that make me feel good, feel my age and somehow represent me, my history and youth, and, in a sense, the man I've become

Of course you can play with fashion, of course you can be less boring, of course you can be attractive, even seductive, and maintain your power and masculinity. Challenge yourself
-- Stefano Pilati, 2008

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Stephanie Rushton Portrait Shoot, Part Two

   Alternate angles of café culture and on-the-street photographic reportage

   I'll never sit for Norman Parkinson, but Stephanie's talent makes this as great an honour


Friday, 19 February 2010

The Stephanie Rushton Portrait Shoot, Part One

   The short version: Stephanie meets Winston at a party, photographs him, is subsequently referred to me and a breezy early evening in Mayfair becomes photographic memories for all

Monday, 18 January 2010

Relaxed Suiting

The Fifth Earl of Lichfield, Thomas Patrick John Anson, via LIFE Magazine

   Men who want to leave the suit behind when their day is done at the coalface are shortchanging themselves. Learning to adapt and procure suits for occasions and for pleasure is merely another aspect of the fun that comes with sharpening one's image. And that suits-with-trainers lark only ever worked for downtown New York New Wavers and David Tennant

   There are other options, you know:

YSL, circa 1969

Also from LIFE, The Beatles take Japan. And Lennon probably didn't need to ask anyone if it was acceptable to sport a muted pink suit

Etro, via the NY Times; the label has entirely defined itself through uncompromising flamboyance, sharp cuts and playful patterning

Etro for summer. There's only one element I'd not wear

The post-colonial African hipster look revived for the NY Times. Suits by Viktor & Rolf (l) and Dries Van Noten (r)

   Let's face it; the mods, suedeheads and peacocks were deriving much enjoyment from their appropriation of traditional dress codes and the results thereof. It's all over Patrick Lichfield's face up above; he's bold, but not over the top, able to enjoy his appearance without being self conscious about it. Given what parades up and down today's metro paving, it's only out of the ordinary because sartorialism is the current incarnation of iconoclasm. Having said that, it still takes a brave or uncaring man to wear a hat crown as large as his face

Mick Jagger and Mary Whitehouse. Really

The 1971 wedding of Mick and Bianca Jagger. His suit was from Nutter's of Savile Row; at this time, the pattern was cut by master tailor Edward Sexton. His shirt was created by Deborah & Clare of Beauchamp Place. The photograph is, of course, by Patrick Lichfield, via The Independent

   It's been well documented that I achieve a more informal look the same way other likeminds do; my shirt and tie combinations could only really be seen at parties or in a creative office. Anyone who really thinks bold ensembles are de rigueur in a conservative professional environment is an idiot or has befriended one too many wide boys. But going the other way and playing the colour field down doesn't harm a suit's out-of-the-office cachet:

Knit tie, green pocket square, striped cardigan; relaxed in more of a cosy sense than a creative one, but also perfectly felicitous for a dressy occasion

   Rather than simply thinking "It's not for me" or "I'm not (delete as appropriate) cool/rich/famous/handsome/slender/crazy enough to pull this off," you simply have to remember that menswear is about the details. For every exuberant pattern, there must be a balancing act performed by the cut; it must, of course, fit exceptionally well. Don't compound the potential shock factor of a statement fabric with offbeat tailoring decisions (unless it's a shorts suit, which is a topic for a future time). Stick with two buttons in a single breasted or go double in a 6x4 configuration. Rather than standard padded shoulders, why not try roped shoulders and/or lightly padded natural shoulders. Retain a well shaped silhouette with subtle buttons. Let the fabric do the shouting

   If anyone would like a place to start, I can think of nowhere better than Dashing Tweeds. Their Exploded Houndstooth design has previously appeared on this column. I do like this Foulkesian 3-piece tailored from one of their cloths by Savile Row's Davies & Son:

   A final thought: don't neglect the outerwear

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Fall To Earth - Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche A/W 2008 (A Look Back)

   On rare occasion, people e-mail me regarding the designer reviews I occasionally do and some of them like to ask why I do them at all, citing reasons such as a disconnect from my or their aesthetics, quibbles with the designs, a minor grievance with the styling, skinny models. You know, serious stuff

   I know where they're coming from, but it must be said that classicism should not involve an ignorance of fashion. Everything changes - even menswear - and it's a passion of mine to look for the good amongst all the mutables. Your father's 1980s suiting is not your own 2009 look because fashion and common sense reasoned that oversized shoulders and chests were nothing short of unbecoming and lacking in refinement and sleekness (though I readily note that most of my suits are from the 1980s and buck many of the cliches of the time with nary a care). Over this year, I've noted that older gentlemen, some of whom read this column, are appreciative of my ensembles, but frankly, those outfits would be worthy of no one's attention if I wasn't able to take inspiration from more than the history books or my father's wardrobe

   Still, if there's one thing I'm unashamedly fond of, it's exhuming a particular past and bringing it back to life. So it is with Stefano Pilati's YSL Rive Gauche collection of la dernier automne et hiver, which ran with menswear designs that were seeded in the same decades that the House first came to prominence under its not forgotten founder; the 1960s and 1970s. Retro-modern is an awful, hackneyed label, but it's an easy shorthand that does partially describe these garments and the ethos behind them. Thankfully, I swallowed a dictionary once, so I'm certain more erudite vocabulary shall be forthcoming, perhaps somewhere in the final paragraph. And even if the clothes are now a year in the past, 'tis the season for old inspirations

   Totally swank and utterly energetic, the collection and presentation succeeded in evoking a time that, if not necessarily better dressed, was certainly more sartorially attuned to days and nights of luxe, glamour, fantasy and awe. Capably memorialising an era in which men dressed to get away from it all; to feel like stars, Pilati's creations seemed attuned to a particularly louche but elegant and creative spirit. This feeling was instantly encapsulated by the Thin White Duke stylings of fitted jackets with sweeping lapels and the floor sweeping lengths of Oxford Bags that comprised the suiting and immediately let onlookers discern where Pilati's heart was at

   One of the core values of 1960s and 70s tailoring was about accentuating of the male form, expressing this ideal through grand and form fitting cutting. Pilati modified this vision for the days of now through a classically autumnal colour palette, a lack of flaring (in reality, the wide dress trousers are cut more or less straight), an emphasis on fine, if not ultra-luxurious materials and a pinch of the psychedelia and pure glam that characterise his source material. The coupling of this restraint with a more generalised reference to two distinctive decades distinguishes the collection from the similar regenerative nostalgia produced by Tom Ford, whose boldness of colour and slim cut trousers only somewhat apply here

   It's actually the use of colours that proves to be one of this collection's secret strengths. Much of the outerwear took on this aspect, being proffered in apple green, pale salmon, peach, electric blue and yellow, and all of it to a particularly natural effect. Rather than a garment that used colour to shock, what actually resulted were pieces that were very well constructed and realised and which so happened to be made in colours less rarely seen on most men's outer garments. As an extra mark of characterisation, the selection of fabrics for pieces such as motorcycle jackets tended towards the unexpected such as wool felt. The most unanticipated item of all was the hybrid of an overcoat, a cardigan and the classic opera cloak that made me curious as to how many besides myself would covet it.

   The earlier citing of Tom Ford as a comparison point is key beyond the obvious connections to the House of YSL, the fondness for the 1970s and both lines having their production handled by Zegna. Superficially, one could present arguments as to why the two collections could not co-exist during the same season, but there are clear differences in vision as well as nuances. Ford's styling is quintessentially Nutter's of Savile Row, with particular attention to the shoulder and chest in a manner that is almost brash. These tics, combined with nipped waists and fuller sleeves tend to make for a more British affair that is then infused with colours and fabrics that are halfway between patrician heritage and old Hollywood. Pilati's, by contrast, is softer, a touch more relaxed and beguilingly playful. Physical examination of the jackets also revealed that they were rather lightly structured and softly tailored, in a manner that befits an Italian designer and the legacy of continental tailoring. It's no small gift to make such heavier and warmer wools handle and wear almost as lightly as summer cloths - such attention goes a long way in promoting desirable clothing

   Pilati's flights of fancy are at their best when they take direction from his own "Last of the International Playboys" dandified aesthetic; seemingly, he's one of the last men on earth who upholds a somewhat Romantic ideal in his manner of dress and deportment. Favouring cropped trousers, silk scarves, loafers and rollnecks, he embodies a now rare classical style of discreet glamour, often with nods to the open shirts, slim dress trousers and high heeled boots that adorned young men in the 1960s. Therefore, his best work tends to manifest when it contains references to his own manner of mode, which in turn can anchor imaginative flights of fancy such as a blazer cut to mimic a cardigan and military cuff dress trousers:

   Some time ago, I designated a past Junya collection as my ideal summer aesthetic. It would be more than safe to say that this is mine for winter. It motivated me to purchase a rollneck and the two pairs of trousers I own from it are easily amongst the best in my rotation, well made for preening and dancing. And it reminds me that sometimes the thrill of dressing to enjoy one's nightlife is reward enough. So, that was YSL's A/W 2008 - a collection to make any lounge lizard put a little more grace and swagger in his step

   Laisser les bon temps rouler