The Unknown Hipster

NY Fashion Week Fall 2010: Insulated Fashion at Moncler

Posted in Fashion by unknownhipster on February 16, 2010

One hundred or so living models were standing on a 4-story scaffolding structure installed on the golf driving range on the Hudson, wearing the latest Moncler collection.

The futuristic, neo-military opera-style installation reminded me of the aesthetic of some of the Thierry Mugler photographs campaigns from the late 80s.


The coldness was extreme, and only well-equiped Fashion people could stay on the tall balconies to study the models and confront chilly winds blowing from across the river in the New Jersey dark skies.

I was glad to wear my vintage Moncler, and a French ski team hat from Brooklyn Flea market that I had bought the previous weekend to attend the Fashion shows.

This is where I met Ricky, who was freezing, simply wearing a cordoroy jacket and his marine boat captain’s cap.

–       This is almost model cruelty, he said, alluding to the Artic endurance test unfolding on the scaffolding.

However, this was to forget the high-tech yet stylish insulation of the Moncler design (you can ski in warmth and still feel like a page from Wallpaper magazine).

–       Don’t worry, I told him, these pretty young things feel as hot as if they in a Purple fashion shoot.

Celebrating Fashion Week with a glass of hot chocolate

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Lola’s hats

Posted in Fashion by unknownhipster on January 27, 2010


This winter, I am wearing a wolf fur hat with a thriftstore sheepskin coat. Not only it is warm, this hat also conveys very well the dual nature of the humankind. Even those who identified themselves as 100% wolf always have an inner sheep deep inside of them. And beware of those who appear to be mostly sheep.

Like everything else, it’s a question of balance. But still, you can’t wear a wolfskin hat all the time. It gets smelly when exposed to too much rain, and I’ve been told it’s not good for your hair.

One recent sunny afternoon in Bushwick I was taken by my friend Corinne, who runs Mc&Co this great store in Williamsburg where I got my tote bag from, to Lola Ehrlich’s studio on the top of this industrial building with an incredible view of the distant Manhattan skyline.

Lola is the designer behind John’s distinctive hats.

There were hats of all styles, shapes, and colors hanging in bunches like grapes from the ceiling, or on racks like fruits growing on trees. There were hats on top of hat boxes, hats on suitcases, hats on stacks of second-hand books, and even hats on the floor.

It was like one of Maira Kalman’s drawing coming alive, a secret cavern where treasured hats are stashed. And they were all speaking to me, like funny characters, under no principle of certainty.

Unlike helmets, designing hats is a poetic thing. Lola’s parents were so truly bohemian that they wouldn’t allow their daughters to go to school, probably in fear of seeing them turn into squares. As a teenager Lola trained as a ballet dancer and it can be still be seen in the way she stands,  which sometimes looks like a feather balancing on top of a hat.

I wanted to pick up an orange rabbit fur hat, as an occasional substitute for the wolf fur, but without a word Lola gently handed me a brown felt fedora.

After all, I’m a self-taught hipster, and can still make mistakes.

Wearable Art

Posted in Art, Fashion by unknownhipster on October 21, 2009
The extraordinary plaided Ludwig Kuttner and Beatrix Ost contemplating a work on paper by Greg Lauren

The extraordinary plaided Ludwig Kuttner and Beatrix Ost contemplating a work on paper by Greg Lauren

It was at the Take Home a Nude benefit auction that I came accross Greg Lauren’s work: an oil-on-paper, 3-dimensional jacket with tie and shirt that stand alone in the middle of the Sotheby’s exhibition room.

Greg is outstandingly handsome for an artist – as an actor, he would never been cast to play one- but what intrigued me most was the jacket he was wearing. Something that looked like a ragged blanket with a stream cut, and scraps of paper and various material sewn onto  the fabric like a collage piece.

I went to visit him a few days later at his gallery space at the corner of Wooster and Grand. A place that I immediately identified from a distance a month ago as an upcoming Yohji store, with half opened crates, and mostly black silhouettes.

It’s also where Greg had set up his studio, surrounded by a forest of mannequins bearing his works.

On front row, from left to right: Fringe, The Marine, "the Boxer, and Superman.

On front row, from left to right: Fringe, The Marine, "the Boxer, and Superman.

The various style paper jackets and coats evoked the remains of an abandonned house, where clothes left hanging have been dried in the shape of the wearers who have long ago vanished. Upon closer inspection, some pieces have a darker, battered and stepped-over texture, with faded comics colors slightly appearing from underneath, as if they had been unearthed from a junkyard.

In a general way our clothes determine us, and will survive long after: no matter if it’s a dude’s long gone plaid shirt from Uniqlo or a guitar hero’s leather fringed jacket.

Only a very few of us has the power to influence their own clothes.

Greg wearing the Mistake Jacket

Greg wearing the Mistake Jacket

Greg also does real jackets that can be worn. But they are more like art pieces that can be worn. There is a “Paris jacket” with sewn-on torn euro bills. Or the “Mistake jacket” with the Mistake explanation hand-written inside on a piece of paper. I’m not obsessed by practical details, but I brought this up to Greg: How do you clean them? You can’t. You don’t bring an art piece to the cleaner, or wash it yourself. You keep it as it is.

I like the idea of never cleaning the fabric, so it gets even more personalized by  stains and time. Like a hipster.

jacket_light

Street watch

Posted in Fashion by unknownhipster on June 9, 2009

 

I saw this dude at a Paper Magazine's party earlyer in the season. It seems to me this look really catches the moment.

I saw this dude at the Paper Magazine party recently. To me, this look really captures the moment.

 

This spring, herds of dudes are hitting the streets in tight short pants. I carefully studied the look, and it seems the more untanned the legs, the tighter and darker the short pants.When I say “untanned”, I mean the legs should look like they have been forgotten in the CBGB basement for 25 years, and a sales assistant at John Varvatos just excavated them from under piles of shoe boxes.  It’s a smart urban look, good enough to attend civilized events and great for cycling at night if you’ve got no rear light. 

 

Post-winter, or neo-Punk?

The untanned leg

 

A tall scary dog always enhanced a bland look

A tall scary dog is a great style addition

 

And my own interpretation of the summerish look: 

 

For a more personal touch, I pair my black tight short pants with an all American preppy look

For a more personal touch, I pair my black tight short pants with an all American preppy look

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Karl’s little advice

Posted in Celebrities, Fashion by unknownhipster on May 25, 2009

 

Learning from Karl

Learning from Karl

Karl and I are the most opposite human beings one could imagine. But I often find myself closer to him than what I’d thought, and it’s not only megalomania. Besides that, I have an history with Karl. Back in the 90’s, I was once assigned by the underground magazine «The Clamped Oyster» (it had disappeared since, outpowered by glossies like among others, Purple) to report from Karl’s studio at the house of Chanel. I assisted to the last fitting before the show, in the very heart of the sanctuary, where Karl was reviewing and giving the last touch to his models, surrounded by collaborators, muses and advisers, such as Victoire de Castellane, Amanda Harlech who had left her horses for the day, and some of the world most prestigious magazines editors in chief. Everybody was so serious, the only fellow with who I could share a momentory friendship was Michel Gaubert, the soon to be World famous DJ, who modestly show me a cassette tape on which, the night before, he had laid down musics for the show: « a little of Mozart, a little of something else ». I should have been thrilled to be where no one’s never allowed, and in a sense I was –although I would have prefered to witness Allen Ginsberg reading « Howl » for the first time, or being 2nd camera assistant on Jean-Luc Godard’s « One + One », not to mention being an intern at the Factory in its glorious days – but somehow, I couldn’t concentrate on the action, distracted by Camille Miceli, the PR of the time, who in high boots, mini skirt and tight tee-shirt was asking me if I needed anything. I was hynotised, unaware that one day she would pose in her nude for Paradis, Thomas Lenthal’s magazine, who on his side was to become Victoire de Castellane’s husband. Back at the rehearsal, Philip Treacy, the great hat designer was graciously slouching in his casual clothes, while I had stupidly trade my worn out jeans and thrift store plaid shirts for what I believed to be more adapted to Couture, and had pulled off a boxy navy power suit, paired with a red tie. The red tie was the mistake, and when I was finally introduced to Karl, it was to hear « Oh, I thought you were the security man, looking after the jewelry ! ». One would have been vexated to death (and well, I can’t say I wasn’t) ! But I survived to understand I had been gifted with the most exclusive style advice ever (it’s okay, I’m glad to share it with you now).

So whenever I come accross a Karl’s interview, I read it, meticulously ! There’s always a lot to learn from. The most rescent one I read was in the May issue of Interview Magazine, where asked by model Sigrid Agren what would be his advice on how to become a supermodel, he replys :

Lagerfeld :(…) You want to know what the real secret is ?

Agren : Tell me.

Lagerfeld : It’s not being perfect.

Mutual influence

Mutual influence

Australia, part 2

Posted in Fashion by unknownhipster on May 12, 2009

 

Garance and Scott

Garance and Scott

 

On my last day, I couldn’t find Linlee, but spotted  Scott and Garance on the pier and walked by them several times, trying to capture their attention, hoping they will stop me for my genuine style. In my whereabouts the previous day, I had found a great charity shop, really inexpensive, from which I had bought some interesting items: an almost never worn pair of pea green shoes, a 3 buttons plaid jacket, and shades (I’m a night owl, and the Australian daylight is too bright for me ) reminescent of those popularized by Olivier Zahm. I was wearing all my buys at once, and feeling strongly appealing to the occasional Street-Fashion blogger ! But somehow, this great look failed to catch their eyes. Maybe they had seen to much over the week? or just wanted to relax? or reflect on the true meaning of Life, versus the seductions of Appearance ? I took it as a lesson in humbleness, or as we French hispters put it: une vraie leçon d’humilité. In despair, I  handed over my camera to a random tourist, asking him to photograph me. The result was outstanding. Of course, he worked under my directions, but one have to admit, this man should be a photographer!

 

Who said plaid didn't work with plaid?

Who said plaid didn't work with plaid?

Australia, part 1

Posted in Fashion by unknownhipster on May 6, 2009
Me, in Sydney

Me, in Sydney

You were picturing me in NY, strolling up and down the Bowery, masterminding some new blowing-out posts, or simply lounging in my pad, listening to my favorite old tapes ( Uneven Dusk:” The rehearsals”)… But, guess what? I’m in Australia for the Fashion Week! Storming Sydney in the company of  most famous bloggers  Scott and Garance!  To be honnest, I was reluctant to go, for fair of the long-haul flight, but the P.R. people insisted so much, I had to submit. I mean, they were desesperate to see me hanging around in their very special city.      

 

On my way to Sydney

On my way to Sydney

My asking for up-grade to First was declined, and I ended up in coach with basket-ball players celebrating upon their return.In top of beers, one of the dudes seated behind me might have been taking an acid instead of sleeping pills, as he kept pushing my seat all the way, enabling me to concentrate on Art Forum.      

Amazing long blond hair

Amazing long blond hair

Here, girls are mostly like everywhere else, with the same oversized hand-bags that can be seen worldwide in major cities. But this one had amazing long blond hair. I thought it could make an interesting picture, and asked if I could document her hair. And here is the thing about Sydney: people are really nice and unpretentious. She said yes with a big smile.    

All-over tattoos give this man a distinguished style

All-over tattoos give this gentleman a distinguished style

I was much intrigued by this man, thinking he was an aborigen shaman, while in fact, he is a tatoo artist. He owns a wonderful little shop in the outskirt of town. For those interested, anyone coming on behalfe of The Unknown Hipster will get a complimentary 4,5 X 6 inches “mad skull with wings” anywhere on his back.    

Brillant emerging talent

Brillant emerging talent

I couldn’t enter the big shows, since it was too crowded and I have no patience. I sometimes stayed outside to hear the soundtrack. Not always worth it,  they have top quality tents here, so thick and strong, most are sound proof. Scouting the less established, I discovered some really interesting designers, like this one above.    

A fascinating elegance

A gorgeous ensemble

I met this person at sunset by the Opera house. I was astonished by her elegance – look how fabulously tailored is the hat! and the oh-so well choosen orange of the soft plastic bag!.. – and politly asked this woman what was her position in the Fashion world, assuming she was famous. She started screaming at me and throwing things. I had to run back to my hotel in an emergency. The next morning, I met Scott by the breakfast-buffet and asked him if he had ever spotted the strange woman, but he didn’t  know anything about her, and replied in his wit that she was probably invisible to anybody else than me.      

Beautiful rainbow!

Beautiful rainbow!