Friday, February 17, 2012

NYFW: The Close, Close-ups

Dear Kristin,
There were some good feelings, at the end:

From Naeem Khan, perhaps my favorite show of the week.
He's just always so pretty.  The shoes: pointy, platform-free.  It will be everywhere.  And white.
There were girls in gem headbands!

This show was at times sweet-lovely and at times sweet-twee.  But it had some high highs.

And girls with kitty-cat eyeliner!

Simple face.
More details and positive thinking to come. 

J. Benny

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New York Fashion Week--Monday/Tuesday Blahs and Bestish

Dear Kristin,
I normally wouldn't even post in this kind of situation.  But not posting reads as slacking and I promised you I'd keep it up, not slack so much. Plus, you know I'm already there--NYTimes, NYMag,  I'm seeing it and saying shit aloud and Jackson is all "What?  What is it?  Are you okay?"  Because my eyebrows go slanty, I'm rolling my eyes like Marc Jacobs can see how pissed I am, stewing in open-mouth surprise.  The worst kind.  So here I am and it's up but, damn it, New York is letting me down.  A poor, poor showing.  The worst since I started paying attention seven years ago.

Let's take my typical number one, my cat's meow, 3.1 Philip Lim:

The norm at Lim's Fall 2012.  On my desktop, this was titled PhilipLim_Underwhelmed

Look, I wouldn't hate owning this outfit.  I'd appreciated it on the hanger and would wear it with some regularity.  But this is fashion week.  Philip Lim at fashion week.  He can do better than "wear it with some regularity."  So can Theyskens Theory, which I went on and on about last season:

 I titled this Theyskens_BadShoesButFine on the desktop

At least he gave us something to play with.  The shoes are terrible--for these looks and for the year 2012.  Sidenote: The platform is just beginning to look too heavy, no?  I'm not saying it's going to leave us completely.  Boot-cut jeans didn't leave us completely, the skinny just gave it a run for our money.  Sometimes the boot-cut is the right cut.  Sometimes the platform will be the right shoe.  But it will not longer be the only shoe.  Great for height, great for a dense winter ensemble, but no longer the go-to.  Are you sad?  I think I'm ready to move on.  (I would have been devastated if this were two years ago.)  Or, if not move on, transition to the simple strappy:

For the transition.  I actually wish there were less platform.  From Zara.

Or, dare I say, the simple pointy:

These aren't perfect but they're very near what I mean and cheap(ish).  Simple, point, pop.  From ASOS.

Back to NYC's Fall Fashion Week, the great disappointment: Preen did a bright, splendid job, until they didn't.  Here are the goods:

The first half!  So refreshing! A major success compared to other shows.  I will not show you the second half

The booties do not work for me, too heavy and familiar, but the styling is great otherwise.  These were four of the first fifteen looks.  Oh, I was so excited.  It promised so much (and a show's final looks do tend to be the best).  Sadly, though, the flowers and freshness fell off about halfway through.  At least we had the beginning.  Same goes for Thakoon, tied with Preen for my favorite first half since fashion week got underway:

The most me.  And the shoes!  Exactly what I mean.  Saved on desktop as Thakoon_GoodUntilBad
I also had a ton of hope for Chris Benz, often one of my everyday favorites:

Saved as: ChrisBenz_ThisMakesMeFeelAwful
 That was the worst of it.  Here was the best:

 They look so tired with their tired hair and tired makeup, their tired see-through caps.
A bad joke.  I titled the above ChrisBenz_AwfulStyling.  Which, it's self explanatory.  These girls look a wreck.  They are exhausted.  Benz was not his everyday boyish-girl cool this time around.  He was customey and not even in a little girl's fantasy tea-party way.  More like former lady of the night who grew rich from turnin' tricks and now spends the afternoons passing time in cigar lounges were she emerges hours later with skin the texture of a dried raisin.  Bad.  How much better is this?

Almost lovely.  Almost fantasy fun.
And if I could only remove the tights, then we'd really be cooking with gas.  Which is more than I can say for Marc Jacobs, the great Marc Jacobs, who yesterday gave us this:


The most wearable of his floppy pimp hats.  MarcJacobs_ComeOn
I almost stayed up until 1 AM to stream this runway.  With work the next morning.  I would have gone to be in tears (the dry, resentful kind).

So, this is fun!  Reem Acra gave us three looks to love:

One of which is a basic black shift dress.  A shift dress.  It's a pathetic showing for Reem Acra, a man who makes only stunning Oscar gowns.  Speaking of which, my favorite of the week and my girl from last year:

JennyPackham_ThankGod.  I just love the second oneBest dress of the week thus far.

I narrowed it down to four.  I loved that she forced me to narrow it.  I can't go on and on, the way I did for her Spring 2011.  I'm too dispirited.  But it's really pretty and something like that jumpsuit could happen to me one day.  The others are gala gowns and I'd need an adult prom to make that happen.

The upside: At least we're not going to have to buy anything for next fall.

The downside:  Maybe I'm out of touch, no longer hip with the now, an adult.

Mini-conclusion: I can't believe how boring this week has been, even outlandish Marc Jacobs was its own kind of snooze.  It makes me wonder what the last six months in New York have been like--what's happened since I left?  Somehow, bad fashion week makes me miss it even more.  I need to come home, walk Avenue A, eat a hot bagel, keep warm beneath a giant floppy pimp hat.

J. Benny

P.S.  The Row: was so aged.  Old former hippy turned incense burning socialite.  (Old but not in an Advanced Style way.)  The Olsens can do much better.

Rodarte: was nothing special, mostly meh.  "Meh" and Rodarte do not belong in the same sentence.  And, yet, this is where we are.  Lainey liked the handprint dress.  I will never wear a handprint dress.  I will never want to.  I'll never even wish I were the type of girl to want to.  It's at once too odd and too easy, too preschool, too expected. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

sharon van etten has a new cd with many good songs

Dear Kristin,
This is my favorite:

 From Tramp

On first and second listen.  By the tenth listen, I may have new opinions.  And isn't that often the way--you hear a song on the tenth listen you never quite heard during the first nine, a buried song.  Because you were listening for the brightest songs, but the brightest aren't always the most resilient or right.  Still, a good start, no?  Give it a go on Spotify.  What's your first favorite?

J. Benny

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fashion Week: socks, lady detectives, kneecap boots, shiny

Dear Kristin,
It always looks a bit bleak at the beginning, but at least there are warm socks and heeled stomping boots.  At least there are semi-structured coats:

Victoria Beckham, good at coats.  I'll begin copying the socks tomorrow.  It may take two pairs.

The kind that do all the hard work of a good outfit, while what's underneath is essentially thermal underwear or jeans if you're feeling ambitious.

There were also, thank god, lady detectives:

Or is it lady criminals?  Lady killers? Spicy. Ruffian, Fall 2012.

And Alexander Wang's at-the-kneecap boots. 

Will not make ladylike leg-crossing easy.

Though the over-the-knee version is still alive and (!) kicking.  Which you were a bit nervous about, given a recent pair on your Want List, but which you need not be nervous about:

Altuzarra, Fall 2012

There's also been a great deal of blue + black:

Rebecca Taylor, Fall 2012.
Which shouldn't really register as a thing, because they're just colors, everyday colors, but it's definitely going to be a thing. 

And, finally, Wes Gordon:

Wes Gordon, Fall 2012.  How do you feel about mullet hemlines?  I'm giving the above a pass. 
Yes, our Wes Gordon has returned to form!  He somewhat let us (you, me) down last season, but--with a few notable (furry) exceptions--he was wonderful this time around.  I don't think he's going to shakeup the fashion world or speak to whatever the season's trends may be (except perhaps a gold thing I've noticed taking shape), but the gem tones are beautiful and I can see myself in those teal pajamas with the white robe-coat.  Which is more that I can say for most of what's been walking down the runway.  Which sounds mean, but it's early yet and not enough designers are walking PJs down the runway. 

J. Benny

Friday, February 10, 2012

Creatures of the Wind, just keepin' you posted

Dear Kristin,

Creatures of the Wind 2012.  Top three.
90s grunge-goth sensibilities, subtly tailored, not at all messy. Shiny, lacquered, leathered and a bit adult jester.  Also a whiff of dandy in there.  Plus, hints of my favorite Marc Jacobs, old school and new.

Favorite of the buchn: An acid leather A-line midi skirt paired with a slouchy grey knit?  Big yes.

J. Benny

Rachel Comey Highlight, Fall 2012

Dear Kristin,

Shiny.  And polkadotted.

Is a thing I want to do. 

J. Benny

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

We Used to Love Her

Dear Charlotte,
It's been awhile, but there's still a fondness there:

She's a Frenchy

I remember when you met her in LA in someone's rundown backyard--possibly your own rundown backyard--and you told her you loved her and her songs and she was like "oh."  But it was a nice "oh," yes? I really hope it was a nice "oh."

J. Benny

P.S.  Do you think that first love is the I'll Kill Her love?  Time-wise, it makes sense.  That songs about three years old, tack on a few months for getting over it enough to write a personal song and then distribute said personal song.  Four years.  I want to be her mom and tell her she's got her whole life ahead of her.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Quick SAGs, Bests and Tilda Swinton

Dear Jamie,
I know you thought the SAGs were a sartorial improvement on the Globes.  I think I, however, feel equally ambivalent toward both.  Of course, it didn't help that the SAGs lacked this shining star:

Apparently, he's retiring.  Uggie, star of The Artist, as he appeared at the 2012 Golden Globes.
But at least there were three redheads:

Firecrackers, no?
They, for better or for worse, helped keep things interesting.  I say "for better" because they were all stunning from the neck up.  For worse because, again, I want more from Jessica Chastain.  The dress just didn't quite flatter, though the candy blue color was divine.  Emma ensemble-dressed, again, which I understand.  Begrudgingly.  She was not dressing for my attention; she was just showing up to support her larger film and have fun with people she likes.  Spiral candy cane earrings and 1950s Alexander McQueen prom is fun, after all. At least Jayma Mays--one redhead the Globes lacked--really took things up a notch with a train and padded shoulders and mounds of sequin.

And she was not entirely alone in the taking-things-up-a-notch department:
Emilia Clarke in Chanel; Jayma Mays in Reem Acra; Alec Baldwin in his best Jack Donaghy (and Ermenegildo Zegna)
Rose Byrne in Elie Saab Haute Couture; Judy Greer in Collette Dinnigan; Viola Davis in Marchesa

My favorites.  Obviously.  Because look at Rose Byrne in that jumpsuit!  She makes the SAGs better than the Globes.  She and Emilia Clark (from Game of Thrones, have you tried it?  I tried it, for hours and hours, but no) in Chanel.  Take Byrne and the Chanel out?  I'm not sure.  Viola was glowing and Judy Greer has never looked better, but the other two were tied as my favorite ladies. 

But I also think, and I almost hate myself for saying this, that the impact of these two looks were somewhat dulled by the expectations I had for the wearer.  What I mean is: Byrne is always about this interesting to me and I had no expectations for Emilia Clark.  I wasn't familiar with Emilia Clark.  So she's a beautiful girl in a beautiful dress.  Thankfully, she has a classic Botecelli beauty, so I don't feel like I'm looking at a Chanel runway model, but, still, there's very little context.  And I don't know that the dress is big enough, brilliant enough, to transcend my need for context.  Does that makes sense?  If Emma Stone wore it, I'd be floored.  I almost said "if Michelle Williams wore it, I'd be floored," but I'm not so sure I would.  It would be typical for her--she loves the monochrome--and she'd be missing Emilia's dark hair, which is in great contrast with the white bodice. 

But Michelle did surprise me:

One note.  A red note.

She wore red!  And died her shoes to match!  (Nooo!)  Despite the color, she did not move me.  Now I'm starting to wonder if she can move me.  She has:

  2006 Oscars, Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams in Vera Wang
But maybe that's not what she's about anymore.  Maybe that;s good.  Maybe I need to move on from that Michelle in that dress.  (It was, in her present-day-self's defense, one of the best Oscar looks in the last fifteen years and, therefore, almost impossible to follow up, let alone improve upon.)

Digression: Another great Oscar lady in yellow:

I just like yellow.  Cate Blanchett at the 2005 Oscars in Valentino.  Photo from InStyle.
And we're back to the SAGs:

The 2010 SAGs!  Diane Kruger in Jason Wu.  Yellow + red lippy = Win
And we're back to the 2012 SAGs versus 2012 Globes sartorial smackdown.

There's also the fact that Tilda Swinton didn't quite bring it:

Tilda Swinton in Lanvin. Looking normal, not Swintonian, in something Angelina Jolie might wear.
Because she was not this:

Bowie coiffure, green eyes, pink lips, metal blazer.  Tilda Swinton at the 2012 Oscars in Haider Ackermann.

So we had Rose Byrne and The Chanel, but we lost Uggie and Tilda at her Bowie best.  We did gain a good redhead, but we lost Nicole Kidman.  Wash?  Oh, but Jessica Chastain wore color and their was a bejeweled couture jumpsuit.  So, sure, I'll give it to the SAGs.  You were right.  You are always right

J. Benny