Piggybacking on aNew York Times article last year, which dubiously reported that "among young Parisians, there is currently no greater praise for cuisine than 'très Brooklyn,' a term* that signifies a particularly cool combination of informality, creativity and quality," Vogue's newest issue includes a ten-page editorial trumpeting "New York's Left Bank" called "Bonjour, Brooklyn."
The lead copy: "Models, writers, actors, and artists have been flocking to New York's Left Bank for its destination restaurants, bustling farmers' markets, Parisian-style parks, and passionate dedication to l'art de vie. Welcome to the new bohemian chic."
The borough is much larger and more diverse than Vogue gives it credit for, but then no one would expect the fashion glossy to spend much time fawning over neighborhoods like Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach, Bay Ridge (home to many different immigrant communities) or Bed-Stuy, Flatbush, East New York (which are quite poor and predominantly Black and Hispanic). The photos really are adorable but still. Rent's already so damn high and the effects of gentrification so devastating that it really would be better for everyone if Vogue would just keep out.
(Kudos though, for representing some of Brooklyn's diversity by tapping two non-white models, Aoki and Dunn.)
You can check out the spread in Vogue's August Issue and via the Forums.
The battle over whether or not men should wear shorts (or as the Boston Globe called it, "shortsgate") has been raging ever since designer Tom Ford outlined his five commandments for being a modern gentleman to AnOther Magazine in March 2011. His comments were fairly reasonable and frankly, nothing more than a matter of his professional opinion — "A man should never wear shorts in the city. Flip-flops and shorts in the city are never appropriate. Shorts should only be worn on the tennis court or on the beach." — but ever since then, "Whither men's shorts?" has been a conversation that just won't end.
The most recent contribution to this fascinating and important debate: The only slightly hyperbolic polemic "Wear Your Shorts Proudly, Men," which was published on Gawker yesterday evening with the caption, "To refuse to wear shorts marks you as a fool."
I guess. Do the extra few inches of fabric in pants really make such a big difference? Are some people's calves really sensitive to heat? Are boys just babies? Women are better at ignoring arbitrary fashion rules (to be fair, we have more rules to contend with and hence, thicker skin; we also have more choices about what to wear). Not long ago, fashion editor Anna Dello Russo laid out some of her own rigid guidelines for women's attire: "If you’re not that important, you cannot be wearing sunglasses inside," she said; also, "I prefer to go barefoot rather than wear cheap shoes." Obviously, we cherish and adore every sweet word ADR has ever said, but we're not going to throw away our Urban Outfitters flats just because some fancy lady wrote a list.
Anti-shortsers: Here's a little perspective on where your tyrannical position will lead. Today the Telegraph posted a video reporting on a shorts ban (really) at a school in Wales, which has driven schoolboys to wearing skirts both in protest and to keep cool in the heatwave. Personally, I greatly enjoy the male skirt, but I suspect that shorts opponents may feel differently and should be fully informed if they want to continue along on their crusade.
The last time Claire Danes appeared on the front of Vogue was in July 1998. Back then, she was barely 20; the photo taken by Steven Meisel shows the actress bright-eyed and smiling, truly blooming in the grass. The image couldn't be more at odds with her latest Annie Leibovitz-lensed August 2013 cover (it's the annual "Age Issue") which (playing on Danes' lead role in the show, Homeland) shows a severe, dour woman gazing back at us. For this I blame Vogue — not the actress — whose famously bad perspective on aging is all over this cover, from the hard-bitten expression (that is not the face of a woman who is enjoying her Vogue cover shoot) to the airbrushed Land Before Time backdrop. No one chooses to get older, but people do get to decide whether they want to be miserable. (Things don't, unfortunately, improve in the accompanying editorial, which reimagines "famous" scenes from Homeland, but styled with designer clothing.)
Other things worth pointing out:
The "Fall Looks for Everyone (With a Little Help From Daft Punk)" story most likely features Karlie Kloss (the model was seen taking photos with the French music duo on the streets of NYC a couple months ago), but probably doesn't answer the question: Isn't there someone better suited to giving American women fashion advice than Daft Punk?
I'm also greatly anticipating "Brooklyn Chic — the Girls, the Dresses, the Food." I love all those things, so surely Vogue's unique perspective will enrich my future experiences sampling the lost borough's superlative souvenirs.
Last the week, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund announced the nominees for this year’s award, which gives young labels a chance at winning $300,000 (or $100,000 for two runners-up) plus mentoring from industry heavyweights.
One brand up for the prize this year is Tome, helmed by two ex-Aussies now based in NYC. Sure, it’s been 15 years since Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin met at the University of Technology Sydney, and they’re bona fide New Yorkers now. But it does raise the question: Why doesn’t something like the CFDA exist in Australia?
Actually, the question was probably raised last month when Lisa Ho shut up shop because of soaring debts. And again a couple of weeks ago when Kirrily Johnson, who appeared to be one of Australian fashion’s brightest stars, put her brand into voluntary administration. Johnston cites the global financial crisis, high rents and manufacturing issues as contributing to massive debts – though hers weren’t quite as high as the $11 million owed by Ho.
10 Magazine editor (formerly of Harper’s Bazaar) Alison Veness-McGourty told The Guardian last week that Australia needs to create a central governing body (at the moment we have the Australian Fashion Council, but as the article points out, funding and international development aren’t its main focuses) similar to the CFDA or the British Fashion Council. “The government needs to put more money into the fashion industry, it’s as simple as that.”
But nothing is ever really that simple. A big part of the problem could be the overseas perception of local fashion. Tome found success branding itself as an NYC label. Dion Leeand Sass & Bide are two more brands who have found success on the international stage. But they've both managed to sell shares in their brand for what are believed to be rather large amounts. Cuerecently bought part of Dion Lee for an undisclosed sum; In 2011 Sass & Bide sold 65% of its brand to Myer for a reported $42.5 million. They also both skip Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia to show in London and New York instead. When you’re trying to grow a label beyond its home country, that’s necessary. Showing at the season-teetering mess that is MBFWA can just suck up funds best allocated elsewhere.
Another problem could be the massive influx of overseas chains. In Sydney especially, it seems there’s a Zara, Topshop or H&M popping up every other weekend. And if we spent a tenth as much on local brands as we do on ASOS, the industry might be in better shape.
Maybe part of the solution is to revise MBFWA and spend government money convincing the Northern Hemisphere that Australian fashion isn’t just swimsuits and Ugg boots. Until then, best of luck to Tome – and a sad farewell to Lisa Ho and Kirrily Johnston.
Animating the same multiple personality concept which was featured in the magazine campaign, the newly released video version shows Campbell playing six imaginary versions of herself. The short clip features menswear (not modeled by Campbell) and voice-over narration (I'm fairly certain it's actually Campbell speaking — or else Lanvin went out of its way to hire a British voice actress — but I've reached out to the label to confirm). The voice-over component is a charming, original touch, making this the latest in Lanvin's series of standout campaign videos.
The film was shot by Steven Meisel, with creative direction by Ronnie Newhouse and Stephen Wolstenholme of House + Holme. Together, the creative team has been executing Lanvin's stunning ad work for several seasons, including the label's Fall 2011 dancing video (which went viral) and last year's real people campaign.