Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ways of Seeing

Each Stockholm Fashion Week, a Mercedes-Benz Young Fashion Industry Award is given to a young designer, with the prize being funding for their next fashion show, which will also be presented as part of the next SFW. Out of over a hundred applicants, six finalists were chosen to present a capsule collection.

While Klara Sjons Nilsson didn't win the award, her collection was one of my favorites presented. A recent Beckmans graduate, Nilsson showed a clean, crisp collection of classic shapes that were then altered to give the viewer the effect of a double-vision of sorts. Nilsson states, "I have examined how we relate to the two-dimensional reality. How we interpret images by using our visual archives. By interpreting this two-dimensional world and my thoughts surrounding it I have created my collection – my parallel world." The collection appeared to take the clothes of a sophisticated, well dressed lady, and refract them through the lens of distorted memory, resulting in new, striking shapes and silhouettes that were altogether more interesting than their original counterparts. It's definitely a very interesting concept that I would love to see explored further.


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Monday, August 30, 2010


Country house outfit! Truly Madly Deeply dress, YSL belt, Alexander Wang sunglasses, Vivienne Westwood x Melissa shoes

I actually didn't go to Sweden to attend Stockholm Fashion Week, but to hang out with all of the faraway friends and family that I never get to see. No trip to Stockholm would be complete without a good old-fashioned trip to the archipelago, and since we arrived in August, it was the perfect time for a crayfish party. After Gabi was done with her show, and fashion week was over, we all packed our bags and headed out to Tobias's country house in Blido to eat some crayfish and drink schnapps. His house is actually more of a small family compound of little houses, all built by his father from salvaged wood and materials scrapped from other demolished houses, and constantly is a work in progress. Since the last time I've been there, they've already added another room, as well as a tiny playhouse for the kids.

Once we got there, they boys started cooking immediately. During fashion week, Susie Bubble and Phil from Street Peeper asked me what people in Stockholm ate, since it was evident that there is shortage of affordable, delicious restaurant options outside of fast food. I told them that everybody in Sweden cooks, and cooks really well, or at least everyone I know. The first night we got there, we had a barbecue with a pork roast, mackerel, and shrimp and vegetable skewers. The second night was all about the crayfish, which was accompanied by two Västerbotten Pies, salad, schnapps, and loud Swedish drinking songs.

After the meal, we played a game of very uncoordinated game of mafia, went for a chilly midnight swim (I watched), and had an all-night dance party on the porch. I actually didn't take too many pictures because by the time the actual party started, everyone involved was pretty much obliterated, and it would be quite unkind to show them (or myself) in that state. Here are some of the photos I can show, as well as some Swedish music from my new favorite, Jonathan Johansson.


Glass fishing floats

This room was built from salvaged doors, which still have their numbers on them

Oskar built a gigantic bonfire

Tobias picked some of the potatoes from his garden in the backyard

Newly picked potatoes for dinner!

Plenty of beer and tons of crayfish

Jonathan Johansson- En hand i himlen


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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scandinavian Hot Nights

My favorite look, a melon colored knit party dress with contrasting colored shoulders.

For Stockholm Fashion Week, the ladies of Dagmar put on a perfectly relaxed presentation in the courtyard of their office building, magically creating an environment that felt more like balmy Rio de Janeiro--the city that they were inspired by--than drizzly Stockholm. To simulate the warmth of Rio in Sweden, they lit a fire, served fruit skewers and mojitos, and had a live Brazilian band playing while models lounged in wicker furniture surrounded by parrots. Since Dagmar already presented in Amsterdam, the show was pretty low-key, with only a few looks modeled, and the rest of the collection hung on clothing lines above the crowd. Dagmar specializes in knits--of both the chunky sweater and the cut and sew variety, and this season's highlights included a heavy knit black and gold cardigan that looked like a blazer, and a knit bright melon-colored party dress with contrasting colored shoulders. The other highlight was watching the slightly nutso parrots creeping about and trying to chew on the models' hair--apparently they have an inexplicable attraction to tons of hairspray.

A gorgeous silk evening dress with frill details on the side

Live music

My awesome show companions, Travis of Convent, and his boyfriend Patrik.

The majority of the collection hung on a clothes line above the party, including some of Dagmar's amazing knit sweaters

A silk top with knit trousers.

Hairspray loving parrots


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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Quiet Is The New Loud

Photographs my own, and courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Stockholm.

One of my favorite shows to see at Stockholm Fashion Week was the Swedish School of Textiles graduate collection show. Twelve different students presented their collections of six looks each, and each designer provided an fresh new perspective, freed from the restraints of commercial viability. Of course, I can't show them all at once, but I will show the highlights bit by bit.

One standout was Elin Klevmar's collection Efterklang/Reverberation, which featured beautifully draped asymmetrical silhouettes, rendered in light, muted shades of dusty rose, sand, stone, and concrete. Asymmetrical pants and skirts were popular throughout the entire graduate show, and Klevmar sent out a pair of trousers with one leg voluminously larger than the other, as well as a skirt that was half maxi, half knee-length. What I appreciated most about the collection was the subtlety of the details that required further inspection from every angle, and the gorgeous flow and movement of the fabric, and the alteration of the silhouette shapes when the models walked. Each piece managed to be unique, while exercising a sense of minimalist restraint that made the collection elegant, beautiful, and entirely wearable.


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Precocious Debut

My favorite piece of the collection, the gloved gold-wire fabric dress.

While I saw plenty of shows at Stockholm Fashion Week, the first one I want to write about is the last one that I actually saw. I'm so far behind time wise, chronology doesn't really matter at this point. In terms of importance, Gabriella Loeb's show was certainly the highlight of my week, mainly because Gabi is one of my closest friends. I might have mentioned it before, but Gabi accompanied me on my first trip to Stockholm a few years ago, and ended up meeting and marrying one of Jimmy's best friends. While we've both ended up doing our fair share of flying back and forth between New York and Stockholm, she's landed in Sweden rather permanently. And while we both find ourselves complaining about how boring Stockholm is, the lack of distractions has served her rather well, as she's been able to give her undivided attention to starting her own line.

For Gabi's first collection, she presented five couture dresses that demonstrate her love for minute details, intense hand-stitching, and laborious craftsmanship. While each piece has an avant-garde edge in their design details, they still reflect her background in traditional high-end dress making. Gabi used to work making patterns at Dennis Basso, and she's certainly one of the most skilled seamstresses I've ever met (along with her doll making counterpart, bestie, and fellow Basso-alum, Andrew Yang). She's entirely devoted to the process of making clothes, and many of the fabrics were hand-altered to create customized textures or patterns, with each piece taking months to create. Luckily, she had the help of our friend Aapo, who acted as her trusty intern, and picked up some incredible hand-sewing skills along the way. While the photographs I took can hardly do the work justice, I hope they at least give a sense of the details and the beautiful workmanship involved. Congratulations Gabi, I can't wait to see the next collection!

Gabi made this dress after honing her glove-making skills when she was commissioned to make three different sets of opera gloves for an advertisement.

Gabi hand-crinkled the gold-wire fabric herself

Gabi created the checkered pattern of the woven fabric by individually pulling the strings out one by one.

A cocktail dress with vintage feather trim

Gabi's been building on her asymmetrical ruching applications, which appear in many of her other pieces, and in her artwork

While the pictures hardly do justice, this cropped jacket with an asymmetrical ruffle detail in the back is one of my favorites.

Gabi, wearing a hand-me-down dress from her Mom, Comme des Garcon boots, and a Moschino belt.


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Back From Outer Space

Hanging out in the Fish-packing district of Reykjavic. Jacket made by my Mom, VPL sweater, Gestuz pants, Collina Strada bag, Alexander McQueen scarf, Slow and Steady Wins the Race Sunglasses, Vivienne Westwood x Melissa shoes.

Two whole weeks without blogging! I feel terrible. It really wasn't meant to be that way. I brought my computer, my camera, all my assorted plugs and converters and wires. Of course, when we got our little apartment, there was no internet, and no open Wi-Fi to mooch off. In fact, there was pretty much no free Wi-Fi anywhere, and let's be honest, I was just too lazy to lug my laptop anywhere while I was on vacation. I did however take plenty of pictures, especially of Stockholm Fashion Week, and I will start posting them shortly.

The first stop on our trip was Reykjavik, Iceland, which was sort of like being on the moon, if the moon had a lot of bars, and really hard-partying people. I've been to a lot of cities, and hosted many parties, and I don't think I've ever been to a place where people acted so drunkenly debauched. The first person we saw when we got there very late on Thursday night was a man wearing nothing but his briefs walking down the street, even though it was 50 F and raining. The second person we saw was a barefoot woman drunkenly attempting to crawl up the stairs to her own house. When she failed to do so, Jimmy and I asked if she needed help, but she claimed that she was fine, and decided to go to sleep on the steps. I think that provided an appropriate introduction to Reykjavik nightlife.

While the highlight of our short stay was hanging out at Boston and Bakkus with all the lovely and super-friendly locals (and the non-highlight being the horrible, hungover flight to Stockholm the next day), we did manage to fit in some non-alcohol related entertainment in. It was a must to stop by one of the hot springs, and we ate the most wonderful seven-course meal at Dill Restaurant. I really wish we had more time to spend to see the rest of Iceland, I definitely plan on going back soon.

Jimmy, looking very much like a serial killer, on the main drag

The old church, which was across the street from where we stayed.


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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Throwing Shapes

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm heading to Stockholm (with a quick stop in Reykjavik), where I'm looking forward to attending my first Stockholm Fashion Week. I'm mainly excited because unlike New York Fashion Week, the majority of designers who are presenting contemporary, forward-thinking designers who produce clothing I want to wear. Sometimes I worry that New York doesn't provide the most fostering environment for young, independent designers, since the industry tends to favor more commercial fashion, and focus on the bottom line. Therefore I'm always extra excited to hear from other local independent labels forging their way in New York.

Shape Shiftr
is one such brand. Formed in 2009 by Maine natives J'aime Lizotte and Meghan Lavery, the line is focused on exploring design forms through geometry, and the ladies refer to themselves as "2 Triangles" (which obviously sounds so much better than "partners"). The current Fall collection was inspired by Ancient Egypt, mysticism, and "the mysteriousness in cryptic codes of hieroglyphs and things like alchemy and freemasonry." J'aime and Meghan also admit to being influenced by the current 90's grunge trend, which they themselves have taken to wearing. Nonetheless, even though they work with a style from the past, they give each piece a decidedly contemporary spin. The designers are concerned with how silhouettes and shapes can change from different angles and perspectives, and through layering different materials. In other words, even though the references are there in the crushed velvet and the baby doll shapes, nobody is going to mistake these looks for something you found on a vintage dig. You can find Shape Shiftr at Pixie Market and Nasty Gal.


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