15 THINGS WE LIKE CHROMATIC EASTERN PROMISES FOOD PORN WE THE PEOPLE TRENDS/ANTI TRENDS ZAMBIA TOMS PRUNES CATHERINE BABA MCQ WWW.NO15MAGAZINE.COM NO.15MAGAZINE@YAHOO.COM
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FROM EDITOR THE
The other day, I saw the most amazing pair of two-toned Italian leather shoes. Their evil was hidden by their sweet-oily smell that awakened my lust. For some unexplainable reason, I desired these shoes. When I tried them on-though two sizes too small--they were the perfect fit. I needed to have them. So I bought them. Being surrounded by so much consumerism, it’s inevitable to fall under commodity fetishism, but needless to say, it should not go excused. We too oftentimes mistake our wants for our needs. I find it very intriguing how a simple pair of shoes—-whose practical purpose is to protect-could exert so much manipulative control. It’s the idea of instant gratification that entices us. We yield so much power to these products that we’ve become their mindless drones. They control us and they can dissociate us from our cognitive states of being. They are alluring. They are satisfying. But they also are very dangerous. In this issue, we shift this power from products to people. We do love fashion and we are avid fans of clothing, but we are so much more interested in the people behind them. Though Tia Cibani (Ports 1961), and Blake Mycoskie (TOMS), are successful designers with remarkable collections, we enjoyed learning more about them rather than about their products. Just as the Federalist Papers—-no 15 in particular--pushed people to challenge the Articles of Confederation, we strive to challenge established fashion norms in order to provoke a state of awareness about our sartorial surroundings. I am very pleased to introduce No 15’s first issue. Our passion is reflected in our pages.
KEVIN NGUYEN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
5 5 5
FILMS Factory Girl Valentino The Last Emperor A Single Man The White Ribbon Pink Floyd The Wall
BOOKS A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood Alex B by Alex B Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz
MUSIC La Roux Lykke Li Broken Bells Mayer Hawthorne Miike Snow
“ Been there, done that, messed around. I’m having fun, don’t put me down. I’ll never let you sweep me off my feet” ---La Roux
“ I went to a party once, and there was a palm reader there and when she looked at my hand, she just froze. And I said to her ‘I know. My lifeline is broken. I know I won’t live past thirty.’”
C Photographer: Alice Fan Model: Chesley Tolentino Shoes from Dollhouse Dress by KVN Hair by Char Sanchez Make up by Amylynn Richardson
Photographer: Daniel Byun On Right: Shirt by Marc Jacobs On Left: Shirt by Marc Jacobs Silver Watch by Gucci Sapphire bracelet and ring by Cartier
Silk tunic by Gucci Headpiece by Itâ€™s Couture Darling
Shirt by Marc Jacobs Turban by Urban outfitters Saphire ring and bracelet by Cartier Cross necklace (worn as headpiece)by Stylists own
On Right Shirt by Prada Skirt by vintage Luggage by Louis Vuitton On Left Shirt by Pompelmous Bag by Chanel Headband by Itâ€™s Couture Darling
FOOD PORN BY LUCY CHEN
EAT WITH YOUR EYES. FOOD IN THE MODERN SENSE IS MORE THAN SUSTENANCE AND TASTE, IT IS ABOUT THE SHOW. FOOD SITES ARE NOW THE HYPE OVER THE INTERNET. AMATEUR BLOGGERS AS WELL AS PROFESSIONAL CHEFS COME TOGETHER IN A WORLD WHERE BEAUTY MEETS THE EYE. TASTESPOTTING, FOODPORNFAILY, AND FOODGAWKER ARE JUST ONE OF THE FEW SITES THAT SHOWCASE BLOGS DEDICATED TO THE ART OF PRESENTING FOOD THROUGH PHOTOS.FOOD HAS TRANSITIONED INTO THE ART WORLD.
PHOTOGRAPHER: JOHN HANACEK FOOD INCLUDE: DRY RUB CAJUN STEAK, PASTRY CUPS WITH GOAT CHEESE PESTO FILLING TOPPED WITH CREME FRAICHE, FRIED WONTON FILLED WITH CREAM CHEESE
BY CONOR FORD
People have a strange apprehension when it comes to the subject of trends. Some people avoid them at all costs, and others are more willing to experiment with them. I tend to relate with the later philosophy; but strange looks on the street and awkward cocktail parties aside, there is one element of this New Age five-letter word that everyone seems to overlook: Everything started as a trend. I would like to preface this argument with the statement that many trends are ridiculous, and that I would rather walk barefoot across the fucking Sahara desert than put on neon leg warmers. With that said, I think it is showing a huge lack of faith in people’s natural ability to do as your mother told you and “make good choices”, when you cast out a blanket statement like “DON’T FOLLOW TRENDS” (yes, I am talking to you, New York Times). After all, everything that we consider to be a classic was once a trend. The little black dress, a quilted Chanel, a man’s oxford, the jean jacket—once upon a time, they were all trends. Trends also have a tendency to unify. If you look closely enough, every people, place, religion, has its own trends. These socially accepted guidelines allow us to categorize people, which, face it, is something that we all love to
do and are generally pretty good at. Conversely, some trends even dare to show the connections between seemingly opposite groups. Case in point: when I was working in Uganda this past spring, I noticed an uncanny likeness between the drastic shoulders on the traditional dresses of the local women and those pretty little $10,000 Balmain jackets that we saw each and every editor running around Paris in last season. Now, I’m not saying that Christophe Decarnin was thinking of my new friends at the Kampala Marketplace when he was designing, but isn’t it nonetheless interesting that this seemingly insignificant trend single-handedly connected the polar opposites of the fashion world? To put it simply, some trends are good and some trends are bad. Some trends stay around till we rename them classics and some gladly fade away into the forgotten past. Regardless of your opinion regarding their benefit, you cannot deny their presence and their relative power. I mean, I’m probably not going to go out and buy the new crocodile Balmain jacket that costs as much as a Range Rover, but I can still appreciate the connections and ideas that it symbolizes—as a trend.
TRENDS BY MINA RIAZI
Do not distort daily dress into a mindless opportunity to follow trends. After all, “should” does not exist in a world stripped of both rules and regulations. Instead, with everything else individuals stress about, can’t fashion offer a fantastical way to escape? Rather than suffer painful pinches of concern about what social ladder you might climb, ask yourself whether the designers actually care. Would they rather not watch as their artistic creations flowered into opportunities to enhance individuality, rather than superficial desires to conform? I will never forget a Teen Vogue blogger’s multiparagraph response to the Spring 2009 runwa shows. Rather than attempt to unravel the complex knot of ideas and intentions driving each collection, she encouraged readers to slice one sleeve off of their dresses. This action, she declared, would help them keep up with fashion’s appetite for asymmetry. However, if you are always just keeping up, then you are never climbing up. After all, trends are sustained by the idea that they will eventually change. Therefore, the only style-scale that you can depend on to stay strong-footed is your own. For this reason, practice being your own fashion critique. Listen to yourself and acknowledge your likes and dislikes. For instance, if beet-red hues enliven your mood, consider purchasing
Y more red garments. I wear what I feel looks beautiful, for in my opinion, fashion is the PURE pursuit of one’s personal aesthetic. Unfortunately, when trends are carved into being by tabloid magazines and television shows, fashion twists into an industry nurtured by greedy capitalistic pursuits, as well as our own screaming insecurities—about whether or not our new ensemble will garner ravishing heaps of social acceptance. Therefore, rather than flutter away with the steady pull of the industry’s robust demands, anchor your style in your own personality. Over the years, though your ersonality will form and fluctuate, dive and dance, you can trust that it remains naked of hungry ploys to transform uncertainties into glittering pocket change. There are several dangers with not questioning what a blurry-faced, external power declares as the “right” or beautiful way to dress for a particular season. The greatest danger is the loss of individuality that follows such passionate reliance on another’s idea of what looks “stylish” or “fashionable.” These terms, though custom-made and personal, are approached as if they posses one, static definition. Acquire your own “right” way to dress, to think, to live. Only then can you escape the calloused hands of CONFORMITY.
In The Heart Of We see thousands of pictures every day of poverty-stricken third-world countries. Pictures of starving children, women selling their own bodies, people who literally live in the dumps of a landfill, and our first—maybe second reaction—after the shock is to say “What can we do help?” Nonetheless, most of us do little to alleviate the situation. It’s not that we are in opposition, or unsympathetic, we want to give, we want to help. And we do. We do what we can. We take the clothes that we would never wear anymore—the clothes whose fabrics are slowly deteriorating. It doesn’t matter if they’re in exceptional condition, or new with the price tag still hanging on the sleeve. BY DELIA TUNG
The fact is that we will never wear them—we don’t want them, they’re too big, they’re too small, they’re out of style. We take these clothes and donate them. We love this. We love the thought of helping others. So what if we don’t like the Christmas sweater that Uncle Al gave us? Someone else needs it. And through these small steps, we feel as though we acquire an altruistic heart. Now, this is not an article to antagonize you for doing what you can to ameliorate the world’s problems. There will be no clever plan of action that I am advocating. Instead, this is an article to give you a better understanding of the industry of second-hand clothing so you can make decisions for yourself. Now, imagine, you’re at home and you hear your sweet mother’s voice. “Clean out your closet, the clothes in there are spilling over out of your drawers!” Suddenly your mother’s voice isn’t as sweet anymore. She brings in a few trash bags, expecting them to be filled by the time you are done. And sure enough, at the end of the day, when you are finished cleaning out your closet, you have two or three trash bags filled with clothes that are out of style, too small, or just plain old. For us, this is the norm. If we have unwanted clothes, they go into trash bags to be delivered to the nearest Goodwill, whose name has been integrated into our minds as an international industry that “enhances the dignity and quality of life of individuals,
families and communities by eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their fullest potential through the power of work.” At least, that’s what it says in their mission statement. And without any doubt, we give our belongings away expecting them to be used in beneficial ways. Yet, oftentimes this is not the case. Many “charitable” nonprofit organizations sell their “free” donations to third world countries. Goodwill sells 90% of their donations (by weight) to third-world countries. The Salvation Army doesn’t even unpack 95% of their donations because they go straight to dealers who sell them to Africa. This is a multibillion-dollar industry directed by charitable multinational organizations. Does “charity” mean the sale of cheap clothing? Is this what we, as Americans, mean when we are fulfilling our duties to be a “good person”? Some of us might exclaim with enthusiasm, “Yes! We are helping by providing cheap clothes for the less fortunate.” However, the sale of secondhand clothing or cheap imports in general is harmful to a “developing” country. Aside from the fact that the industry is detrimental to the development of the economy, there are additional social consequences related to the business of secondhand clothing. I had the opportunity to speak with someone who does know: a graduate
student at UCSD finishing up her Ph D. in anthropology, Naomi Haynes. She has spent the past three years living in Kitwe, a copper mining town in the country of Zambia. Now I know what you are thinking: I had never heard of Zambia before, either. This is exactly the type of country that charitable corporations flock to, the type of “poor” developing country that is tucked away in the middle of Southern Africa. Naomi lived with a local family in Kitwe. She cut vegetables with the women, went to the market with the children, and went to church with the families every week. Her research was what she liked to call “professional hanging out … wherever people would let me go and observe and take notes, I was there.” She saw directly how the secondhand clothing industry affected families and how dependent the people of Zambia became on cheap imports instead of developing their own textile industries. The problem of secondhand clothing lies with the people. Because of these low prices, local retailers are run out of business, and thus, the local industry is destroyed one by one. A child, no more than eight or nine years old, said: “The people of Zambia are suffering … they are suffering because they don’t have any sufficient ways of producing food or making clothes. All we do is wait for food and clothes to come from the outside, and what if one day it doesn’t come?” The expense of developing a textile industry becomes too great of a cost because it is actually cheaper to let them buy our used clothes. Isn’t it funny? We pack our clothes and drop them off in the donation box, believing that we’re actually going to help some people. Yet, the real effect of our donations is the extermination of their local development. I cannot emphasize enough what an immense lack of knowledge there is in the United States about this. Naomi chuckled a little as she said, “I do know that a lot of people who are perplexed when they do travel overseas, especially into the developing world, who see people wearing a ‘I went to Disneyland’ t-shirt, and generally people don’t know where it comes from.” Ask a random person on the street what they think about secondhand clothing being delivered to Africa, and most will say, “Well, they’re poor right? So they need them.” What those random people don’t know will bewilder them beyond their wildest dreams. Africa has literally become a dumping ground for our unwanted goods. In the US, it has actually become popular to bring used clothing to developing countries. For instance, many local churches love to bring used clothing into Mexico, without the knowledge that it might just damage local textile industries. A tremendous amount of charity is dangerous for local industry. Period. It’s “a charitable project, but it’s a charitable project that undercuts local laborers” as Naomi said. You would never think of it, but the clothes that we give away have power. However as we have seen, sometimes this power is destructive. But Naomi also wanted me to see a different side of the trade. We can’t just assume that just because people in third-world countries wear our “unwanted” clothes,
amazing beauty to the way Zambians dress, but Naomi also noted that Zambians interpret the wearing of clothes differently. Zambians convey a certain individualism and uniqueness when they put on a Kurt Cobain t-shirt. And those traditional colorful African drapes which foreigners so often want to see when they visit Africa? Well, these stunning fabrics still play a role in their culture. We would never think of it, but traditional African dresses go in and out of style too. To us, an African dress just looks—well— “African.” To an African, the patterns and colors of a dress from 2004 would just look tacky. I smiled in amusement as Naomi told me about an African dress she had bought a few years back and when she wore it in front of her best friends in Zambia, they all laughed and at her and said “This won’t do!” and immediately took her to buy a new dress. Of course, fashion is about clothes. It’s synonymous everywhere around the world. The difference lies in how we approach fashion. At the moment, our culture tells us to consume as much as we can for as little as we can. In fashion, it’s called “disposable” clothing. We buy cheap clothes in order to follow trends and once the trend is over, we never pick up these clothes again. We have a culture of always having the “new thing”. We are never satisfied and because of that, we garner an endless amount of waste. The thing is, despite our discontent with our old clothes, the clothes themselves are still in good condition, and definitely not worth throwing away. And this is when we turn to secondhand clothing corporations like Salvation Army and Goodwill. Some advice? Don’t worry, I need it too. I may even need it more than you do with my shopping habits. Fortunately, Naomi had some fine advice for all of us. “If you are donating clothes, go somewhere that directly gives to shelters or local places in need. It’s always better to go smaller charities rather than leading charities. You can ask them where the clothes are going.” There are a couple of different charities that collect clothes here and in Europe and then send them straight to Africa, meaning that there is still a sale to individual traders. But the money they make from the sale of the clothes stays in the country, to be used for development projects, instead of being a profit for foreign countries. A list of organizations can be found at www.africaguide.com. At the end of my interview with Naomi, I asked her what she, herself, wanted others to know. She left me with this: “I want people to know that wherever you go, poor people are already doing the things that they need to be doing to respond to their situation. They are not sitting, wallowing in their own poverty. Nor are they waiting for things to change. The world’s poor are some of the most innovative people around, doing some really creative things with incredibly limited resources, not only to better their families, but to better their communities.” I think it’s our human nature to exude sympathy for others—to want to help those who are less fortunate than us. And like I said, I have nothing to advocate. All I have are the facts—and now you do too.
His name is Blake Mycoskie. His mission is to put shoes on the feet of children in need all over the world. Few people believed he would be able to sustain a company that literally gives away half of everything created. In the four years since the inception of the revolutionary TOMS Shoes, Mycoskie has more than exceeded expectations. We were lucky enough to catch up with the man, despite his busy national tour, to pick his brain on the company he created on a utopian whim.
BY MANDY PRONZDINSKI
NO15: What originally sparked the idea for TOMS? BLAKE MYCOSKIE: While on a trip to Argentina in 2006, I met some volunteers who were conducting a shoe drive and distributing shoes in local areas. I learned that many Argentine children lacked shoes, leaving them vulnerable to injury and disease and sometimes unable to attend school. There, I came up with the idea of creating a sustainable way of giving, where I would match each shoe purchased through TOMS, with a pair given to a child in need. 15: How did you respond to people’s negative reactions to TOMS? BM: Some people thought I was crazy and told me that my One for One model wouldn’t work, but I just ignored them and kept on going! 15: Why shoes? BM: Wearing shoes prevent feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites, which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation. Many times children can’t attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don’t have shoes, they don’t go to school. If they don’t receive an education, they don’t have the opportunity to realize their potential. There is one simple solution...SHOES. 15: Why the Argentinean style? BM: While on my trip to Argentina, I noticed everyone wearing an alpargata, which is a traditional Argentine shoe, bought a pair, and found them to be really comfortable. Since the idea of TOMS came from Argentina, I thought it would be perfect to model the shoe after the traditional alpargata as well. 15: Was your attendance on the shoe drops always a part of the plan, or a fortunate opportunity born from the company’s success? BM: It’s always been a part of the plan. Going on Shoe Drops are probably the best part of TOMS. 15: How do you choose the area in which to distribute the shoes? BM: TOMS Shoes gives through trusted organizations and Shoe Drop Tours. Caring charitable organizations help TOMS distribute shoes to the children they support through their existing programs. Along with legally recognized 501(c) (3) non-profits and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), TOMS gives shoes year-round. We are able to reach more children through these trusted and established methods. TOMS Shoes partners with Friends of TOMS, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that creates and coordinates avenues for further involvement in the TOMS One for One movement. This includes Shoe Drop Tour volunteer opportunities. Learn more at www.FriendsofTOMS.org! 15: How many countries/shoe drops have taken place to date? BM: To date, TOMS has given over 400,000 pair of new shoes to children in need through our giving partners.
BY MINA RIAZI
The fashion world always receives criticism for its rich employment of wasp-waisted, too-skinny girls. In 1993, Kate Moss’ Calvin Klein Obsession ads sputtered with controversy, and recently, model Ali Michael admitted to maintaining a drastically low weight for runway shows. What remains highly disturbing, however, is that female models often resemble young boys in their topless pictures. As if breasts are a thing of the past, these models flaunt FLAT-CHESTS while they sprawl in the sand or examine their mirror-reflections. In the days of Linda Evangelista and Cindy Crawford, swelling BREASTS and thick THIGHS were beautiful. These days, runway darlings Chanel Iman and Freja Beha are several 45-degree angles meshed together to create GIRAFFElike human beings with prunes for boobs. In the context of a magazine photo-shoot, these small breasts are more than just bulbs of tissue and fat. They imply the sickly-sweet naiveté of prepubescent children, almost as if these women are not developed enough to be distinguished by their sex alone. Such pictures also exude a tragic vulnerability. A recent photo of Kate Moss depicts the model with her head tossed back, her lips parted, and her hands gripping either side of a jacket, exposing her breasts. While the model’s body language sighs with sexual undertones, her body resembles that of a young, sexually-inexperienced child. Along with her spread-leg perch on a jagged rock, Kate Moss appears submissive and sexually vulnerable, almost as if someone has forced an indentify upon her that she cannot—with her flat chest and stomach—fulfill. These pictures pull their subjects to states of gender-ambiguity, or if not ambiguity, then uncertainty. Rather than exude a DRIPPING confidence, many female models appear uncomfortable. The increasing swell of topless pictures births the idea that female models need to reveal their BOOBS in order to conquer a glossy square of magazine space. On the other hand, the disappearing breasts act plaguing the fashion world exposes that many models will fall asleep to the groan and drone of their own bellies. And who wants an army of hungry sixteen year olds equipped with stilettos? Not me.
BY CONOR FORD AND LIZ KIM
She flâneurs through Paris with a cigarette in her bangle-clad hand and a perfectly wrapped turban on her head. Call her and her answering machine will greet you with a slurred “daaarling,” please her and expect a prolonged “j’adorrre” in return. Invite her to your party: not only will she show up fashionably on time (on her watch), but also pass time on the dance floor as she beats the sun to morning. To her, last names don’t exist as she refers to her comrade “Stefano,” as in Yves Saint Laurent’s current Creative Director Stefano Pilati. She’ll wear a fur coat in late spring and then convince you that you’re cold. Australian by birth, Paris has all but adopted her and she couldn’t be more at home. Catherine Baba is currently the Queen of Paris Fashion and she orchestrates her rule perched high above the city on a pair of the newest YSL
tributes. Catherine is a stylist by trade, although she refuses to be categorized. By her own definition, her job means “evoking a language from a style that exists and taking it further.” Regardless, she has worked for the big boys of the fashion industry, including Chanel, Givenchy, and Balmain, and her editorials have appeared numerous times in the pages of Ten Magazine, Dazed & Confused, and international editions of Vogue. Despite the prestige associated with her level of work, there is surprisingly little known about the lady herself. Whether or not this unrequited love is intended, it makes Catherine all the more desirable, yet obtainable, in our imagination. However, the information that is available includes merely recounts of her countless escapades down the Left Bank, i.e. she was once at a party feeling a tad
underdressed so she simply unhooked the chandelier from the ceiling, wore it as a hat, and proceeded to DJ the party for the rest of the night! There is one thing that we cannot deny: her personal style is unsurpassed. Catherine Baba has absolutely mastered the art of the mix. Whether it’s a vintage Kimono draped in a red fur coat or six-inch green eel-skin pumps pedaling an antique bicycle, Catherine’s surreality is a fabulous combustion of flawless Parisienne style and old-world Hollywood glamour. No matter what she is wearing, Catherine Baba makes it her own; she doesn’t try, she just is. The most alluring part about this woman is that her style is effortless. The equally fashionable Diane Pernet has dubbed Catherine “the most stylish woman in Paris,” and all we can do is agree. En general, we love Catherine.
L.A. fashion week feels nonchalant and grungy. The gangs of spider-legged, skinny girls are at first intimidating. Slowly, as the evening thaws and conversation begins, we discover a different side to their aggressive style.Unlike their leather, metal-heavy outfits, they are casual and carefree. There’s something definite that we love about Los Angeles. The vibe we feel from the streets and the people are so natural and relaxed. We can see this reflected in all of the designers’ pieces. Although many heavily resemble existing trends, there are a few lines that seek to push boundaries. Our favorite collections
from the week belong to Skin Graft, Isabel Lu, Post’Age, and Fremont. While still holding onto their own distinct aesthetics, all embody the L.A born contemporary style that we appreciate. Isabel Lu sexes up granny underwear by switching to skin-tight and adding tights that reveal more than they conceal while Skin Graft exposes the beauty in the beast with fabrics made from hair, fur, and matte leather. Overall, L.A. fashion week was very impressive. The west coast fashion capital did not fail to showcase remarkable work and promising new talent.
BY MATT LANGEWIESCHE
At a young age, my father taught me a philosophy, what he claimed were the essentials in life and liked to call the “three Ss” – shitting, showering, and shaving. Although Tia Cibani, creative director and founder of Ports 1961 surely does the above on a regular basis, I find sophistication, simplicity, and success to be more relevant words. Cibani is talented, surprisingly smart, and incredibly humane – exceptional traits in a fashion world full of pretentious, self-righteous pricks. But this is not a rant about how amazing Tia is, nor one about how full of shit the fashion world is. Instead I am here to share my thoughts on Ports 1961 and their Winter 2010 Fashion Show in Bryant Park. Ports 1961 is an emerging name. It is relatively small – with a staff composed of three designers, a trickle of PR representatives, a photographer, and several other employees, most of whose jobs are still unknown to me. Upon entering their design studio, I was greeted by a very friendly, effeminate man who quickly showed me around. The office is fairly small, perhaps 1,500 square feet, with a kitchen, and a terrace overlooking the Hudson River. While there, I was surrounded by somewhat apathetic models, stressed designers, daft artists. Yup, I told myself, this is fashion week in New York City. I decided to smoke a cigarette on the snow-painted balcony, but to leave soon thereafter; I did not want to bother any of the engrossed staff. I made my way outside, and walked several avenues back to the apartment where I was staying. What I always notice whilst walking in Manhattan is how well people dress. And I’m not only referring to the few people that make it into the Sartorialist, or what is considered fashionable from a professional sylist’s point of view. The gangsters, the nostaligic 40yearoldexhighschoolfootballplayers, the preps, the nerdy scholars – they all look proper. I think that one of the most stylish things a person can do is dress like who they are. Not try to mask their identities with current bullshit trends. Fashion is after all, an art; and as an art, it is subjective. While there are people who undeniably dress poorly, there is no concrete equation for successful fashion. And elitism is in this case close-minded. I woke up the next day around noon, and made my way to Bryant Park for the show. After waiting a while in line and an extensive debate with several brainless security officers, I was suddenly backstage. Half of the room was filled with hair and makeup experts working on the again, apathetic looking models. I could tell that everyone was stressed, but not excessively – they were ready. As I pushed my way towards the stage, I saw Cibani being interviewed by what I estimated as a dozen people. I uttered a polite hello to a few Ports workers I had met the previous day and headed towards the seats. I was lucky enough to sit in the second row, surrounded by ostentatious fashionistas, a few significant names, and several insignificant celebrities. It took a while, but the lights finally dimmed. The first thing that entices me is the music. It is beautiful – powerful yet soothing – starting with a sort of heavy bass, indie-rock sounding song. Immediately, a model sporting a beautifully designed freesia mesh knit dress and epaulette coat struts along the runway. I am hooked. Nothing is risqué, yet somehow everything is sexy. Cibani used a palette of white, grey, black, dark blue, and the occasional (but beautiful) tobacco to create organic ensembles that were amazingly modern. Everything flowed perfectly and looked comfortable and wearable. I had favorites and there were certain things I was not crazy about, but every single outfit was chic. Overall, the show was technically perfect. It evoked awe and I’m fairly certain that even the assholes of the industry got chills. Ports 1961 is a paragon of simplistic elegance, and I completely endorse buying their clothing. I’m just bummed that they don’t make anything for men.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD/EARLY LIFE. WHEN DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO WORK IN FASHION? I knew I wanted to work in fashion from my early teens. I used to play this game with my girlfriend where we would go into Kmart and select for each other a range of items. We would challenge each other by selecting what we thought were the ugliest garments and then go to the dressing room where each one would have to make the most of her items by cinching and tucking to make the overall look modern and cool. This would usually be a two hour session on the weekend. HOW AND WHEN DID PORTS 1961 START? Ports1961 began when I wanted to create a collection that is an expression of my personal aesthetic. After working for the company for ten years on another collection called “Ports International” I wanted to venture out and challenge myself with a collection that maintained the integrity of what the original brand stood for but give it a current look and feel. It all started back in 1961 as Ports International and then I did the revamp in 2004. WHAT IS PORTS 1961 ABOUT? Fashion is a sort of art and all art has some sort of underlying message. WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE? Ports1961’s constant message has been: GLOBAL SOUL, URBAN SPIRIT. The idea behind this simple message is that this collection represents an all embracing, globally aware, currently relevant individual living a modern/urban life. WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR JOB AT PORTS 1961? I am the Creative Director at Ports1961. I lead a design team to create a collection with each season (3 seasons per year). I also have a hand in the branding as well as the look and feel of the stores. I worked closely with the architects who created the new store concept to ensure that the environment in which the product is housed reflects the philosophy of the brand. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU DESIGN CLOTHING FOR? I think that I design for a woman of many ages, modern, urban and global. HOW DO YOU THINK THE SHOW WENT? IT WAS CERTAINLY VERY CROWDED! I think that the show was great! From a behind the scenes perspective, I felt like we were organized, the models looked great. We started more or less on time, and I felt happy and content with the message we sent out into the universe. THE COLORS AT THE SHOW WERE INTERESTING – THEY WERE BANAL, BUT VERY RICH AND SOPHISTICATED.WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION? The inspiration was the tension between nature and technology. The colors were derived from an old world theme of hearty and earthy textures. Time honored details of rustic wool in classic check patterns were contrasted by rubbery/ scientific finishes on hems and along the seams. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY TO ALL OF THE ASPIRING, STRUGGLING DESIGNERS OUT THERE? I think that going your gut and not second guessing yourself is the best advice. Represent yourself honestly and you will always be consistent and eventually, find your groove. Oh, and over-night success takes 10 years!
1969-2010 BY MINA RIAZI
Alexander McQueen crafted a world gushing with magical beauty. Never simply about the tangible garments but also about the stories they unlocked, his fashion shows swept us through a rich torrent of emotionsâ€”from nostalgia to happiness. With each artistic creation, Alexander McQueen unraveled fantastical stories. We remember that his Fall 2008 collection glimmered with the tale of a fluffy-haired princess who lived in an ancient elm tree. Though embellished with sumptuous silks and gleaming with dazzling diamonds, the princess was quite alone. Similarly, Alexander McQueenâ€™s life nearly bursts with its many accomplishments: He won British Designer of the Year four times between 1996 and 2003; in 2003, the Council of Fashion Designers named McQueen International Designer of the Year. Nevertheless, his collections always murmured with an emotional fragility, a deeply-rooted melancholy that lingered below the ravishing surface. Alexander McQueen will forever hold a most valuable place in the world of fashion. His ideas, and his unique executions of them, whirled the waters of a world that sometimes relies too much on stagnancy. We will always lament the absence of his peculiar mind and his cyclonic energy. After all, if one designer inspired us to dream, it was always Alexander McQueen.
KEVIN NGUYEN editor-in-chief
MEGHAN CHATRATH managing editor
CONOR FORD creative director
LUCY CHEN layout editor
ANDREW HSIEH copy editor
DELIA TUNG events coordinator
LIZ KIM marketing director
ALICE FAN photographer
CRYSTAL SHEI photographer
MINA RIAZI staff writer
MANDY PRONZDINSKI staff writer
MATT LANGEWIESCHE staff writer
THINGS WE LIKE http://thecia.com.au/ reviews/v/images/valentinothe-last-emperor-7.jpg http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/stylephile/Valentino_The_Last_Emperor_Documentary.jpg http://www.austinchronicle. com/binary/37fb/FactoryGirl. jpg http://www.sofacinema.co.uk/ guardian/ http://chrishanaka.files. wordpress.com/2009/04/la_roux_ quicksand-3jpeg.jpg TRENDS/ANTI TRENDS http://www.isaaclikes. com/2010/02/1099-tavi-gevinson-child-blogger.html http://stylefrizz.com/img/ daria-werbowy-balmain-vogueus-may-09.jpg CATHERINE BABA www.jakandkil.com http://www.facebook.com/group. php?gid=57080379974&ref=ts (Catherine Baba facebook group) PRUNES http://www.eforu.com/gallery/ katemoss/gallery1.html http://www.herfamedgoodlooks. com/hfgl/Jessica%20Stam/editorials/index_3.htm