Category Archives: Inspiration

NEED TO KNOW Designers from Festival Hyères

This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to attend Festival Hyères for my second time. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a ma-jor international fashion and photography competition that happens annually in the town of Hyères on the French Riviera (I finally escaped the rain in Paris). But an end-of-the-year student show this is not. Unless your school discovered Viktor & Rolf, Gaspard Yurkievich, Felipe Oliveira Baptista and Henrik Vibskov (to name a few) or had Yohji Yamamoto as the President of the Jury (for real). There’s a lot to talk about but right now I’m going to focus on the 10 designers featured in the fashion competition. The photos featured below are all my own and were taken at the fashion show and showroom presentations. Look for more coming soon on Fashion Snoops!

Lucas Sponchiado
Lucas Sponchiado graduated in 2011 from the École supérieure de La Cambre in Brussels and has worked with Balmain and Gaspard Yurkievitch. His collection “Out of Vacuum” is very much about metamorphosis in the sense that inspiration is taken from traditional English references and colonial India. The sheer lingerie aspect which appears on eveningwear happened entirely organically. Intricate embellishment on items like leggings make certain looks appear warrior-like while intricate pieced construction and cutouts appear on jackets. **Lucas Sponchiado is the recipient of the Public Prize from Palais du Tokyo and Villa Noailles.

Narelle Dore
Astrallian designer Narelle Dore lives in Antwerp and graduated in 2008 from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Her collection “Women at Sitting Rock” emulates a synthesis between nature, crystals and feminine energy. Her mostly handmade garments feature woven threads, crocheted lace and macrame which are only enhansed by a beautiful color palette reflected throughout the collection and even on colored hair extensions.

Daniel Hurlin
Daniel Hurlin is completing his studies at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris, and has already worked in diverse environments from Raf Simons to supermarket Tesco. Inspiration for “Perfect Blue Tamara” comes from the painter Tamara de Lempicka and the animated film Perfect Blue from Satoshi Kon. Classic menswear silhouettes are deconstructed with daring cuts (often on the backside) while highly charged prints take center stage, often as fragmented screens.

Paula Selby Avellaneda
Argentinian designer Paula Selby Avellaneda is a graduate from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and Institut Français de la Mode in Paris. The concept for her collection is based on the ability to control seasons and a resulting iceberg in Mongolia. Performance materials take center stage including plastic, rubber, quick-dry and reflective lycra. Couture-like quality remains alongside this futuristic collection with highlights including scale-like sequins and a holographic dress.

Jasmina Barshovi
Jasmina Barshovi is a graduate from HEAD in Geneva, Switzerland. Her collection “The Birds are silent” features a new sensual side to menswear, often involving transparency in the form of cotton voile and silk muslin. Shadowy prints in grey also add to the lightness of the collection. Active elements are also apparent from modified sweatshirts and tanks to must-have parkas.

Maxime Rappaz
Maxime Rappaz graduated in 2011 from HEAD in Geneva, Switzerland. This year he is currently working for Roberto Cavalli in Florence. His collection is a study in purity and takes inspiration from his own photographic research which identifies lines and monochrome surfaces. Minimalist neutral colors are enlivened with shocking neons and transparency while boxy accessories add a dose of irony on the runway. Up close, the garments feature intricate folds.

Ragne Kikas
Estonian designer Ragne Kikas is in the process of completing her university education in Hamburg. Her collection “Dress Code Defensive” takes inspiration from 15th and 16th Century armor which is translated into knitted garments. Set to an almost all-black palette, the garments are equally as striking on the body as they are close up. Intricate items are smocked, pleated and patterned bringing a truly new dimension to knitwear. **Ragne Kikas is the recipient of the Premiere Vision prize and the public prize from the city of Hyères.

Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren and Elina Laitinen
Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren and Elina Laitinen make up the design trio from Finland who met at Aalto
University of Art and Design in Helsinki. The vision for their men’s collection comes from a tribe of “urban nomads, living in a utopian society of the future”. What results is an assortment of menswear destined for a rave in acid colors and asymmetrical shapes with elements of folk craft fringe and glowsticks. All prints are produced in-house. **Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren and Elina Laitinen are the recipients of the Grand Prize of the Jury.

Steven Tai
Canadian Steven Tai recently completed his studies at Central Saint Martin, and has already worked as an assistant for Bless, Viktor & Rolf and Stella McCartney. His collection is destined for bookworms with classical elements including button-down blouses met with exaggerated round waistbands that appear as sculptural appendages. Master craftsmanship comes through best with piles of fabrics that emulate stacks of books. **Steven Tai is the recipient of the Chloe Prize (more on that later)!

Kim Choong-Wilkins
Kim Choong-Wilkins is a graduate of the Royal College of Art and resides in London. His menswear collection “Dystopia” is defined as the opposite of Utopia and features a twist on classics, such as argyle patterns reinterpreted in metallic studs. Science fiction reference also makes an appearance with plastic overlays and chainmail knits.

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Destination: Spring 12 Menswear

Of all the places to go in Spring 12, designers in Milan and Paris fall generally in two camps: cultural escapes or beachy locales. Of course these destinations are divided into several expressions, positioned far far away or just maybe right in your backyard. Here’s a glimpse of my favorite travel-centric themes from Milan and Paris. Dive into these and many more on Fashion Snoops.

GLOBE TROTTER. Perhaps the furthest geographical theme, Globe Trotter takes an abundance of various cultural references for a rich look. D&G does it best, fashioning an entire collection based on silk scarves.

D&G, Acne, Etro, Canali, D&G

SAFARI HOLIDAY. Luxury brands stick to a given commercial winner with a safari inspired theme. As I mentioned during runway, the safari jacket is a key takeaway.

YSL, Corneliani, Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo

RIVIERA. And now onwards to beach destination. Designers in both Milan and Paris escape to the Mediterranean with some beautiful ink blue and white patterns and tidy blazers. Side note: there’s also a strong nautical current in the air, with all the classic seafarer references in tow.

Etro, Kenzo, Z Zegna, Etro, Agnes B

HAWAIIAN TROPICS. Set to an island breeze (and frozen drink in hand), tropical patterns whisk designers away this season. Of note is Givenchy’s bird-of-paradise motif, which I’m sure we’ll see more of (hint: S12 womenswear).

Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo

BLUE HAWAII. Here’s a Hawaii that’s slightly less tropical and more campy. Prada is the major force that reflects the Elvis film of the 60s which bares the same name. Part golf inspired and part Americana, cheeky Hawaiian prints take on an ultra bright color spectrum.

Prada, Enrico Coveri, Prada, Prada, Moschino

MALIBU. Welcome to the Hotel California. Fashion Snoops insiders will know that we forecasted a California theme in the not-so-distant past. In Paris both Wooyoungmi and Adam Kimmel referenced a laid-back SoCal lifestyle with subtle surf references.

Wooyoungmi, Adam Kimmel, Wooyoungmi, Wooyoungmi, Wooyoungmi

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Filed under Designer, Inspiration, Key Items, Prints & Patterns, Runway, Themes

Band of Outsiders presents West Side Story

I say “presents” for a reason. This Band of Outsiders collection not only marks our first show of the Spring 12 menswear season, but it was in fact A SHOW, with the theme of West Side Story. Selected as the guest designer of the Pitti Uomo tradeshow in Florence, creative director Scott Sternberg showed not 1, but 4 collections – starting with menswear S12 but also including the lines This is Not a Polo Shirt (men’s casual S12), Boy (women’s resort) and Girl (diffusion resort). But getting back to the guys, the West Side Story themed collection was every last bit Americana, inclusive of prep elements and varsity jackets, with an array of pop brights thrown in for good measure. You’ve just got to SEE the show below, if not for the clothes, for the choreography!

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Ermenegildo Zegna’s 3-D Fashion Show

Fashion has had its moments of 3D in the past (heck there’s also been 4-D), however up until now no one worked with James Lima (you know, of Avatar fame) on a fashion show. Although they say it’s the first 3-D fashion show, I believe Burberry had that title in February 10. NEVERTHELESS, the effect at Zegna looked pretty interesting.. as in I’m sure no model has ever appeared to have walked from the Great Wall of China onto a runway. The China connection was a celebration of Zegna’s 20th year of business in China. While the reference wasn’t reflected in excess on the surface, silky shirts, uniform jackets and utility belts nodded modestly to the Chinese Revolution.

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Filed under Designer, Film, Inspiration, Runway, Technology

When Body Surface Triumphs Over Fashion

This week, Cathy Horyn of the New York Times wrote an excellent article that addressed “a feeling that you are on multiple channels and not understanding anything clearly, as a condition of modern life.” The article quotes fashion photographer Daniel Sannwald on many accounts, who claims that fashion has nothing to say right now, and Cathy connects that with our re-visit of sexuality and gender crossovers in fashion editorials and ads.

In the article, Nicola Formichetti, new creative director for Thierry Mugler (and Lady Gaga stylist), called Rick Genest, a guy he found on Facebook and is tattooed as a skeleton, his muse. “Rico,” as he is known, will be modeling in Formichetti’s first collection for Thierry Mugler on January 19th.


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Patterning the Streets: Joie Reinstein

Of all the street blogs out there, this one – Pattern-Recognition Posterous – stands apart with an inquisitive voice and depth of real ground-up trendspotting. As in you’re going to want to follow it RIGHT NOW.

As of September, Joie Reinstein, whom I had met over a year ago when I spoke to her class at Parson’s, embarked upon a journey titled Radicant Fashion: An Exploration Around the World in 120 Days. She has already conquered New York City, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Next on her list is Fukuoka, Los Angeles, Rio and Sao Paulo. But like I said, this isn’t just any street style blog. Joie seeks to bridge connections between the cities she visits and fashion trends from the ground-up, and answer questions such as, “Does something a guy wears in Rio affect a girl’s outfit in the Lower East Side of New York?” Interviews with local designers and influencers are also featured.

Here are some of my favorite excerpts from her inspirational project so far. Everything below (and much, much more) can be found at Pattern-Recognition Posterous.

PARIS: “Qui se ressemble s’assemble,” as in birds of a feather flock together. I could attest to this, especially as far as teens are concerned.

LONDON: 60s Jane Birkin or Rockabilly New Wave Mod?

COPENHAGEN: Print and texture mash up, PLUS interview with Rene Gurskov, creator of Rene Gurskov Men.

BEIJING: Matchy-matchy couples, interview with the designer behind local brand LiangSanshi (including insight on “The (Alexander) Wang Effect”).


SHANGHAI: Street style inspired by the nature of OSPOP footwear, *PROUDLY MADE IN CHINA*.

HONG KONG: The Wang Influence continues, best-dressed dudes and interview with blogger Joey Ma.

TOKYO: Dandy or Varsity Candy?

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Filed under Brands, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Street

A Moment of Glunge

This week at Fashion Snoops, we’re presenting the seasonal themes for Spring 12 menswear. While there is a lot to talk about and the main headline grabbers gravitate towards the athletic, nautical and military or safari inspired, one of my personal favorites of the season is GLUNGE.

What? Glunge. It’s a new-ish term being used to describe the mash-up of grunge and glam rock. See below.

They hybrid mix is part Kurt Cobain grunge factor, and part glam rock which has always been the signature of say, Rick Owens. What I think is interesting about it is that a lot of New York designers got into it including Nicholas K, Buckler, Duckie Brown and Mik Cire by Eric Kim. The look is definitely dark and moody with a color palette that is exactly that, and emphasis is placed on loose layered silhouettes. Here are some more examples.

Buckler, Spring 11

Duckie Brown, Spring 11

Miharayasuhiro, Spring 11

Nicholas K, Spring 11

Rick Owens, Spring 11

Rick Owens, Spring 11

While it is true that some like Rick Owens have cultivated a dark and edgy gothic look to become a signature brand aesthetic, I do find it intriguing that a number of New York collections have gravitated towards Glunge which otherwise we really didn’t see in the European collections. It’s interesting that it’s happening right now because we are coming off of heritage everything which was generally a crisp and clean look and Glunge is the total opposite. It just feels new, and right. I think it will speak loudest to the young men’s market and be driven by dropped crotch pants, draped jersey knits and hoods. And if that doesn’t suit, there will surely be no shortage of bermuda shorts out there.

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