Esprit Dior Tokyo 2015

You'll get the same feeling when looking through the press images: girls that'll probably be found roaming the streets of Tokyo, a century from now. And if you've never been to Tokyo, google it. It's probably not what you'd expect from the capital of Japan. It's almost been a decade since I've been, and I've forgotten how modern it was; which is why I searched for images and that made me realise how Tokyo is sort of like the New York City of Far East.

I was attracted to how women live their lives besides special occasions
— Raf Simons in an interview after the show (Dior.com)

It wasn't a collection inspired by the past nor traditions. Raf Simons focused on utility. Rather than the (very much overused) 'chic' as expected in ready-to-wear, this collection was more contemporary, cool and futuristic. Simons wanted the clothes to be worn 'outdoors' which, in fashion language, I would interpret as on the streets. From the doll-eye-eyeliner makeup to sequined turtlenecks, it's not a collection for everyone. But since when was Dior made for everyone. The half-sneaker-half-stiletto that was featured last year in the AW14 shows, adorned by some and loathed by others. It's clearly more towards the former as the same style has returned to the catwalk for this season in a more adventurous, knee-high length.

Why Tokyo? Simons took interest in the liberty of fashion. The metropolitan city is not a city of one style. In fact, Tokyo is a city that sets trends. It is Dior's first fashion show in Japan but not the first in Asia, following the SS14 Haute Couture show in Hong Kong exactly a year ago. Luxury fashion brands have been on the move to show their collections in unique locations e.g Dior Cruise show in Brooklyn, Chanel Cruise show in Dubai and, more recently, Chanel Metier D'Art in Salzburg. The show was set in the Ryogkoku Kokugikan sumo stadium, followed by a celebratory after-party.  

It's unexpected. It's very Dior. 

Acne Studios Men's Fall/Winter 2015

The colours may not be strikingly feminine but the cuts are. Printed scarves read "woman power" and "radical feminist". It's not the first time the topic of feminism has been introduced to high fashion (e.g. the runway protest at Chanel's SS15 ready-to-wear show). There's a lot of what men would call 'comfortable clothing': football hooligan inspired scarves, donkey jackets, tweed suits. Then there's the combination of oversized knitwear, thick-soled shoe, mixed with a touch of femininity with the addition of leggings and earrings. Either you don't get it or you find it interesting.

Rather than the former, take a double-take. There's certainly more Jonny Johansson, the creative director and co-founder of Acne Studios, wants to say. We live in a world where men are scared of women's clothing, and yet, when we twist that around, women embrace men's clothing. In films, for example, there's always that scene of a girl who wakes up the next morning to make breakfast in a guy's shirt. In fact in reality, girls actually would go shopping for oversized t-shirts. What's the fear all about? I've slowly evolved to become more accepting (to see men wearing women's pieces). Truth is, why should menswear always be restricted? My point here is not to make clothing unisex, nor am I saying Marc Jacob's choice to wear a skirt is 'right'; but that people should be allowed to do what their want. What exactly is 'right'? When I find myself asking others' opinions while purchasing items, the more other people dislike (or even hate) an item, the more I want it. 

It's not simply a juxtaposition of tailoring and sportswear, but a juxtaposition of 'manly' football hooligans and, put bluntly, feminine influences. It could simply be a meeting point for these two distinct styles, or even a mock to the stereotypical man who 'has to be a football supporter' and not spend 400 pounds on 'just shoes'. In the press release, the idea is clear.

I wanted to explore what it means to feel masculine, and fit into what we understand as men’s style.
— Jonny Johansson, Creative Director

From the way the models are posing for this lookbook, the theme of this collection is distinct. It's not a drag-show or anything like it, but rather an exploration into what Johansson thought men would be comfortable in and a further exploration of the modern man's style; a style quite different from the typical Acne Sutdios' audience but worth exploring as Johansson did. Go gender equality.

All pictures were taken with permission from Acne Studios.

To be continued…#tbc

LC:M

I've been living in this coat over the past two months. Here are a few snaps, taken by my friend Jose on the morning after my 13 hour flight from Hong Kong, of my Topman total look I wore for the Topman Design show back in January. This month and a bit has flown by. Winter is nearly gone and Spring is here (sort of, meteorologically). It's been a bitingly cold Winter where I've learnt that nothing wraps up warm like a nice thick wool coat, and that after Vancouver and London chills, Hong Kong winters are feeble. I've spent the beginning of this month catching up on outdated magazine subscriptions, ready-to-wear shows, KPOP and I just had my first large Domino's of the year all to myself. I'm still very hungry.

There's also a few things Topman does well. In fact, more than a few. Coats and blazers aside, I've been wearing these 'stand collar' shirts for two reasons: to avoid wearing a tie (at all circumstances) and to look formal without wearing a tie. It's such a simple way to add a touch of style, while avoiding distraction from too many collars. There's been periods of sunshine here and there (no, I'm not English yet) and a few signs are telling me Spring is here. I'm also looking forward to returning home to Hong Kong at the end of the month to appreciate Spring, as I know it. 

:: Outfit details (me)::

Coat - Topman

Blazer - Topman

Shirt - Topman

Shoes - Topman

Sunglasses - Spitfire

 

To be continued…#tbc

Colour Me Happy (River Island x James Long)

It's no surprise that I like collaborations. The designer, James Long, graduated from the Royal College of Art in London back in 2007 where he debuted his own collection at London Fashion Week's MAN show in the same year. The River Island Design Forum has brought something new to the table; working alongside British Fashion Council has allowed the young and 'up and coming' designers of London now have the ability to create limited edition pieces. There's a demand, or even a market, for this because London (compared to the other fashion week cities) is much younger and there's much more emerging talent. Collaborations, like so, offer good quality pieces which have a lot of creativity put into them, making it more widely available to the public and those on a tighter budget at a fraction of what the designer's original collection would cost. For this season, James Long has designed a menswear collection, while Jean-Pierre Braganza has designed a collection for women. 

There's not a lot of options to choose in the 10-piece collection but it isn't the design forum's intention to design a big collection. These so-called capsule collections allow the designer to share there inspiration in an explosive sort of way, while the consumers get to enjoy one or two pieces, rather than an excessive wardrobe. The mix of 'leather', kaleidoscope colour palette and the sunglasses are all part of James Long's trademark; the hyper-tech fabrics and pop colours echoed Long's previous collections, especially the SS15 collection where a lot of the inspiration came from the colourful streets of Ibiza. Like any other sportswear collection, it's almost too easy now to expect a good mix of polyester, nylon and neoprene. But the various fabrics and distinct colours have made this collection stand out from any odd collaboration. It's the closest I've ever gotten to a technicolor dreamcoat. The rich colours can really make one re-think before stepping out of the house... but if you're up for good fun, why not. Because some gloomy days just call for this rich injection of colour.

(I've sadly missed James Long's AW15 show but I'm very much looking forward to what the designer has to offer in SS16 in June.)

Bomber jacket - River Island x James Long

Sweatshirt - River Island x James Long

Joggers - Zara

Shoes - Maison Martin Margiela x h&m

 

To be continued… #tbc