Friday, November 28, 2008

San Francisco Street - Long Lost Photos

Images by Vanguard - San Francisco

Life has been crazy as my time has been consumed with another (much bigger and top secret) fashion project that I’m hoping to be able to share with you all soon. Completely neglecting a blog, however, I would not; menswear eye candy may come less frequently but never will it stop.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Runway - Marni: Fall 2008

I was very excited to see the layering that Marni created for this fall as, similar to the Thom Brown show, it explored new men’s proportions. Unfortunately, although Thom Brown’s show was perhaps a bit costumey, it may be more relevant than Marni. This is because Marni relied on cropped turtlenecks which sadly harkens back to an age of mid-rift baring Shania Twain. Instances like this make me wish fashion wasn’t so closely tied to perception (this would also allow me to wear all those sweaters people confuse as my Jedi costume). At least we can learn something from the Marni show – men would look really good as 90’s country divas…oh, and a line directly below the chest is a great place to divide men’s silhouettes when longer torso proportions are in use.

Repeat an idea much?

Ok, at least the pieces below can be worn by the every day man; add these to my wish list.

Monday, November 10, 2008

San Francisco Street - Tony Transforms!

Images by Vanguard - San Francisco

As if my fashion-crush on Tony wasn’t already completely set in stone. Not only do I see him wander into a party in an amazing coat of his own design, but it then transforms into three more heart-wrenchingly amazing jackets.

I would drink a bottle of Paraquat weed killer (à la Isabella Blow) right now if Tony promised to make my funeral outfit.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Runway - Thom Browne: Fall 2008

Normally I would be considered much less than a fan of Thom Browne. Although he helped usher in suit shorts, which I avidly support, in most cases his clothing appears stiff, contrived, and either overly restrained or not restrained enough. His Fall 2008 show, however, completely changed the way I view his work.

For many, the show was seen as the circus it was themed after. How it should be viewed, however, is a study on how the male body can be divided and broken apart into new proportions and a statement on today’s male gender issues.

Mainly, Browne introduced a high-waisted, traditionally-styled men’s slack paired with a cropped jacket. Oddly enough, this idea actually creates a much more flattering and stately appearance than typical suits. Above, the shorts provide the outfit with a bit of a bounce. Below, the emphasized contrast and the long pant give it a stiff and heavy appearance while the exposed ankles maintain a sense of movement. In both cases, the placement of pocket flaps on the pants is incredibly important to maintain a sense of the waist’s true location. The repetition of these flaps onto the jacket help to ensure that the cropped top will be viewed as squared off and masculine.

Above we again see a flood pant. The exposed ankle prevents the wearer from feeling too grounded, communicating at a simple level a sense of awareness and quick response. The diagonal lines of argyle help to emphasize this point. The way which the plaid shirt flares out helps to balance the fantastic caplet, which would otherwise make the outfit look a bit top heavy and clumsy. Also, pointy hats are always fun.

In all of these outfits strong allusions to the archetypical men’s outfit – the suit – are made through fabric, form, and detail. This allows Browne to take much larger creative liberties while playing with male proportions. I doubt that his explorations would have been so successful had he ditched this strong connection to traditional menswear.

Outside of proportions, I love Browne’s continuing discussion on men’s gender issues. This show rather literally demonstrated the constraint of men. The above piece can be viewed either as a man who is too tied up in his own masculinity to achieve a full expression of himself or, the reverse, a man who is too tied up by today’s hatred of masculinity to achieve full expression of himself. Obviously, this show hit right on cue with the exploration of Vanguard.

Lastly, I thought I’d leave you with a quote by Thom Browne that was stolen from This, again, shows the extreme relevancy of Browne to the goals of Vanguard.

"I don't know what the future of men's fashion will be like. I just hope that everyone does their own thing… Because that is what I'm going to do."

Monday, November 3, 2008

San Francisco Street - Meet Houman

Images by Vanguard - San Francisco

Meeting new, innovate men is always a huge inspiration for me. This week, Houman was visiting from New York. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Harput’s Market afterparty for the Arts of Fashion week. Luckily we hit it off and spent the entire next afternoon loitering in bus stops and hitting up nearly every thrift store between the Mission and SoMa. This naturally resulted in me producing two very heavy bags (but happily spending under $40). Houman was even so friendly to assist me in dragging a dresser down the block. Thank god.

What I find particularly motivating about Houman’s style is that every detail has been thought out and altered in some way. Whereas I usually recommend layering edgy pieces among a foundation of basics (with the intent of finding a way to balance strong expression and at least a little social acceptability), Houman goes all out – just f***ing owning it, no questions asked. The key here seems to be to question everything for every garment. Not only is the fit of each item pushed, but the details too. Notice the off-white blouse. Designed, to be skewed at the bottom, it also features shoulder pads, unusual buttons and collar, while also being a fabric not traditionally used in menswear. This idea of questioning everything is used throughout, allowing no single piece to beacon towards the ordinary: the fit of the pants are altered, the shoes are ridiculously amazing, his jacket creates unique proportions, and even the wrap he wears over the jacket maintains a dramatic sense.

One thing I found particularly interesting while shopping with Houman was when he made a brief statement about how he avoids studying trend and prefers developing his own personal style outside of it. This is something I think a lot about. Many people try to avoid trend, but trend has such implications in both fashion and culture - whether you are an underground avant-guardian or a mainstream mall shopper - that I wonder if it is truly possible for anyone to move themselves outside of it. It does remind me, however, of Walter Van Beirendonck who commonly states that his priority is developing his own artistic style, and how that means sometimes being in style and sometimes being out of style. Granted, I think Houman was talking about smaller trend specifics while Van Beirendonck was looking at the larger picture, but I wanted somewhere to bring this topic up.

Meeting guys like Houman reminds me that pushing your fashion expression is a job that is never finished: everyone keeps growing, maturing, and changing and suddenly there is a new style bar to reach…it also reminds me that I have a lot of shopping to do.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

San Francisco Street - Halloween

Images by Vanguard - San Francisco

It appears that there is even a way for those in the vanguard to dress for Halloween. The above costume is both intellectual and striking. The subject is dressed as a character from his favorite artist’s work. His chosen influence, Günter Brus, is a Viennese Actionist artist known for portraying ideas of self-mutilation. This is definitely a costume worth explaining to every drunken asshole and was by far the most creative of what could be seen on the streets of San Francisco this year.

Does that ink stream look like a cross between Raf Simons for Jil Sanders suits and the YSL ink splatter knits to anyone else?