Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Coats II, the Remix

Dear Kristin,
It's easy to make assumptions in the colder months.  This is why summer is so hard for me.  There's no cheating, no covering up.  Winter has its perks.  Obviously splendid coat = invisible splendid outfit beneath.  Shopping about town, a quick coffee at Ninth Street, a movie date in a dark theater.  Just slip on the coat and remember not to remove it.  And wear underwear.

Warning: the Donna Karan on the left requires pants.  Next up is Victoria Beckham, Derek Lam, another Victoria Beckham.  The coats, bags, and tight leather trousers were my favorites from her this year. 

J. Benny

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Pretty Dress is Like a Pretty Dress*

Dear Kristin,
That is to say, Ms. P knows pretty:

Jenny Packham.  Not among my brightest stars - as she was last spring - but these are still mighty pretty.  The last is a touch like a dressy gown version of an Erdem I once loved.  An old flame made new.
J. Benny

P.S. *A pretty girl is like a pretty girl.

Derek Lam in the Details

Dear Kristin,
Derek Lam started strong and ended stronger.  The final third looked something like this:

But four of the last thirteen looks

Sold.  But it's not my favorite collection.  It was strong from start to finish, but it wasn't altogether fresh.  The final thirteen, classic.  Surprising classics, not repetitive classics.  Which, by the way, was not a problem during the first half of the show either.  All the looks read like new classics, but not all of them felt as complex/detailed/present as they might.  I don't mean busy, just refreshing.  They were timeless, but not quite hard working enough.  Just good looking clothes.  Which is nice!  But not great!  If they'd all come down as well considered as the last chunk, this might have been The Show.  But thirteen does not a show make.  Accessories, though, can nearly make a show.  And these Lam provided to splendid effect throughout:


J. Benny

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yesterday's Goods

Dear Kristin,


Monique Lhuillier.  Best dress yet.


My deep love of Altuzarra continues.


And a new Prabal Gurung fondness blooms.  Click to enlarge!  All photos from


Best coats yet.  From left: two  Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, Prabal Gurung

That is all for now.

J. Benny

P.S.  Except to say that, besides those two coats from him, I had a really hard time believing Alexander Wang's recent collection. There was a hot ski instructor vibe toward the middle that I thought fun, though impractical, and I almost bought into a dark burgundy leather mini with nearly invisible tribal* print detail, but ultimately couldn't.  It felt ready for Kate Bosworth, and while I love Kate Bosworth and wish I dressed like her every day, she's but one type of girl.  The very tiny downtown starlet kind.  And that feels like a niche group to me.  I actually enjoyed the tribal shapes in general, except that they often came down the run way looking like this:

I can't.
*Tribal looking, but not actually tribal.  Actually stadium seating maps.  So, okay, that's cool.  Also, how much do I love that he picked up on my WHITE POINTY PUMPS thing.  I love it so much, because we know it really is going to be a thing now. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Can she see me?

Dear Kristin,

J. Benny

Still Waiting on Spring 2012

Dear Kristin,

If we'd started Suno's Spring 2012 show with this look, I might have fallen in love:

Suno Spring 2012.  All runway photos from

In the past, I've found myself attracted to their prints in a kind of distant fangirl way.  Fan being the key word, I guess.  I'm a fan, meaning I love, but from a distance.  They were simply too loud for me to wear myself.  I'm sure I'd flip if I passed a gal on the street wearing all Suno, but I couldn't myself.  And, yet, I've been feelin' louder prints lately.  And Peter Som showed a floral pantsuit that almost shouted to be seen - and I'd absolutely wear it.  Today, tomorrow, to bed:

I enjoyed the electricity at Peter Som.  My favorite was a slightly boxy crop top over a waist hugging, floor length skirt.  Slit to there, Mediterranean  blue.  The colors were magic, the Charlotte Olympia heeled loafers both day & night, and the shapes were newish and largely flattering.  There is a fine line, though, between sweetly boxy and linebacker shoulders.  That third look, I'm afraid, is perhaps a little too close to crossing it.  But, as separates,  yes please.
Maybe my fashion wants are changing (they are) or maybe it's that Som's pantsuit matched.  Much of what Suno is known for is mismatch, and while it was there in this collection, it was tempered.  It didn't shout, but I kind of wish it had.  That yellow wrap dress was the brightest spot for me, a little lemon - actually as sunny as the collection got - and a robe to boot.  Because I think I'm developing a thing for robes:

Costello Tagliapeitra.  My notes were these:  1.  Satin!  So much like a fifties robe my Grandma MJ once owned, but shorter and flirtier and superbly tailored.  Something about the arms, the tight, pushed up sleeves, makes it lunch to dinner appropriate.  2.  Draping, draping everywhere.  And those white shoes.  3.  How is hangs.  4.  Pop!
Only disappointment: though not featured above, the theme was "City Flowers" and, sadly, I found most of the florals rather dusty, too much mothball.
And, oddly, white shoes.  Even pointy white shoes.  Ah, the circle of life!  So we meat again pointy shoes!  Remember how we loved them once, ten years ago?  And now I own not one pair of truly sharp edged shoes (almond toed, but not sharp toed), which means I'll need to purchase a pair, which is exactly what they want.  "They" being The Man.  Or men: Mr. Costello and Mr. Tagliapeitra.  Love them and their white shoes.  Here's another pair of great whites:

Photos from  The two on the left are both Prabal Gurung with white Manolo Blahniks.  The street wear jacket is L'Agence, which I hunger for, with nude Jean-Michel Cazabat, and the last is Chanel with those Manolos.

Jason Wu was lovely, but largely disappointing after last spring's spectacular showing:

I actually love these, the pink especially.  But last year there was this spark, some happy innovation, the new classics.  And this year.  Well, I had that exact chartreuse dress in mind for my trip to France.  Granted, I couldn't find it anywhere.  But if I can dream it, Jason Wu should have to dream it better.  Because he is better.  The shoes and general styling, though - a touch of welcome danger. 

I know.  It's pretty!  But I expected so much more.  I was also a bit let down by The Row, though they did feature a robe and had a show stopper of a show stopper.  There final piece, pictured on the right, is gorgeous:

Everything else in the collection reminded me too much vanilla incense and cleanses and haute yoga and Orientalism.  And the layers the Olson ladies are known for, especially off the runway, felt forced here.  Like they were afraid of just hitting one or two notes at a time, rather than layer upon layer.  As if we might be bored with the samey colors and textures.  Maybe, but I doubt it.  I wanted something simpler, I think.  Their final piece hit just two notes and it was a winner.  And I certainly could have lived without the scaly pants creeping out from under that robe/nightgown at left, though I do love me some scales and am certain they're striking on their own.  On their own. 

Another disappointment not wholly disappointing:

Definitely a step up from last spring's collection, which I almost hated.  Which is why I didn't go into it here, on Make Me Happy.  Because it did not make me happy.  And although I'm not exactly smitten with Rag & Bone's newest collection, I do feel like we're getting back to good here.  Maybe even great.  At the very least, it reminds me of greatness (a tiny drop of Proenza Schouler Spring 2011, perhaps).

Speaking of reminders!  My favorite collection thus far is a bit copy cat, a bit catnip. I can't put it better than wantable, buyable, right now.  The odd thing is, outside of Celine and Rodarte red (though they can't really copyright a whole color), I can't quite recall what it is they're copying.  I feel it in the colors and sizes and shapes, even in pattern - but for all my searching, I can't find the original source.  I'm not sure if that's because I don't have the proper internet search tools, or if, instead, the collection is a new classic.  It feels older, but isn't.  Little groundbreaking, but fresh enough to feel fresh, and classic enough to remind me of something, something:

 Great Interpretations. 
Can this be as good as it gets?  A collection that feels like a brilliant rehash, even if it's not? Stay tuned, my dear Kristin.

J. Benny

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Follow, the Look

Dear Kristin,
I asked, "how much new music?"  
You said, "all of it."  
Instead, two songs.  Only the best for my girl:

 Coincidentally from Brighton

Thanks, Metronomy!  Speaking of looks!  New York fashion week has just begun, meaning the internet's fashion month has just begun.  It's a little bit like fortune telling, our first basic taste of Spring, 2012:

The early prediction I liked best.  Jenni Kayne, Spring 2012.  Pictures from
It's not going to change your world, this one.  But we must start slow, ready ourselves for the more complicated stuff.  This is the way fashion week works.  The first day, always, I'm worried.  I like what I see above, but I'm not moved, my heart is not raining Jenny confetti. But it will.  Faith!  In the meantime, this is my favorite from Thursday*, a collection from Jenni Kayne that's uncomplicated and very wantable and a swell introduction to slightly rethinking things.  Tweaking.  Longer lengths, an upright posture, that hint of slouchiness.  Jason Wu stuff, no?  Soft structure with a playful, almost boyish lean.  Only this time it's not your actual boyfriend's blazer, it's your mom's.  I'm not sure I need my pants to swallow my shoes, but I do like the late nineties, Manolo Blahnik/Carrie Bradshaw look of those silver sandals in the middle.  I want a pair in red.

And how.

J. Benny

*Thursday at 6 pm EST.  I am off to bed, thank you.