Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yves Saint Laurent Men S/S 09

Is androgyny the same as fickleness?

Can bravery be sensitive and sensitivity savage?

Sex is the original human nature that was man and woman and the union of the two of which the name survives but nothing else. The sexes were three because the sun, moon, and earth are three. Man was originally the child of the sun, the woman of the earth, and the man-woman of the moon, which is made of the sun and earth. (Jack Huston reads from Plato's Symposium by Aristophanes. Full runway show video below)

Does everything have a binary opposite?

With all the shades and tints and tones of gray, do blacks and whites still exist?

Male and female, light and shadow, boy and man, womb and world, tough and soft, edgy and smooth, scaly and unpredictable: soil and moon, sun and smoke.

The connection? Soft, light fabrics with masculine construction.

Watch the Yves Saint Laurent S/S 09 Men runway show video:

More than motion, videos create mood. Easier to swoon over a collection.

Images here and below from and from the video


Yves Saint Laurent Men F/W 08

Speaking of androgyny, don't you think this season's men's Muse bag looks much better than the butch women's version?

The video for fall is not as great as next spring's, but worth a watch:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Remaking an original

Remaking an original
By Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in WestEast Magazine #24: GlobalizAsian, 2008

Not for Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York, or The Aviator did Martin Scorsese win an Academy Award for Best Director. He only bagged it for The Departed, or should we say, for Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Andrew Lau and Alan Mak’s Hong Kong crime thriller Infernal Affairs.

The Departed

Infernal Affairs

Leonardo DiCaprio for Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Matt Damon for Andy Lau, Jack Nicholson for Anthony Wong, and the Irish mob for the Triad. Is this multi-Oscar-awarded movie more than just a transliteration from one language and ethnicity to another? Do the different versions of this crime thriller mean the same for Hong Kong viewers as for Massachusetts’ audiences? Whatever the considerations, nobody can deny that, in business terms, The Departed has been a successfully localized product, traded between foreign outfits for the consumption of a foreign audience. That success has literally translated to bigger box-office profits for Hollywood than for Hong Kong cinema.

Globalization has eased the processes through which film remakes are brokered. As Hollywood creates remakes of Asian films, Asian houses also retell Western stories to their local audiences. But what exactly is the difference between an Asian film with English subtitles and its Hollywood remake? Why are some Asian films less “consumable” to American audiences in their original form and why are others more favored untouched? Does the rise of martial arts movies and Asian filmmakers have anything to do with their countries’ emerging economies or merely the redirection of the US film industry?...

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"Last Samurai: Tyson Ballou in Performance" appears alongside "Remaking an original" in WestEast Magazine #24: GlobalizAsian, 2008. More of the shoot.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

On the edge of words: Maggie Cheung

Emotions brim without spilling; certain, but rarely divulging anything.

In the Mood for Love

Mood, definitely, there is much of in the movie, and love is even thicker than the damp rainy nights that test the protagonists’ resolve. The movie is about unrequited love, but not about anything shy or feeble, but about the intensity of emotions wrung tight by cramped rooms and dark corridors, the lack of expression and privacy, and the loneliness of cigarette smoke.

In the Mood for Love shows the love between a man and a woman not more in words but in the vividness of color and design of exquisite qui pao dresses, the contrast of streetlamps and empty roads, the directness of simple conversation, and the despair engraved in the couple’s faces.

Love is the theme and love is the plot, even if it is barely whispered and gazed at only obliquely. By only suggesting its theme, the movie says much about it. By dwelling and probing love’s indecision and unexpressed passion, the movie hinges you to it. It reveals things about you that only you know, since even the emotions of the characters are kept private.

There is loss, there is despair and regret, but after all of it, there is longing. Still intense, but failing, no different from the faded music that plays across like a secondary theme.

Maggie Cheung appears in WestEast Magazine #15: Hong Kong, 2005 on the cover and in numerous editorials, the one below dressed in Balenciaga as styled by Nicolas Ghesquière. She also appears through the eyes of Sarah Moon and Alber Elbaz for Lanvin.

She has been photographed by Scott Schuman in Shanghai and by dans Paris (now Garance Doré), and reappears in WestEast Magazine #24: GlobalizAsian, 2008.

Maggie Cheung speaks three languages in Clean, the movie that wins her the Palm d'Or for Best Actress. She sings.

Some more info on Maggie

Friday, July 25, 2008

How punk lost its funk

How punk lost its funk
By Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in The Philippine Star, 17 October 2007

It was only recently, 2006 spring-summer to be precise, that Vivienne Westwood released her “anti-propaganda” t-shirts, the most famous of which was the one she designed for a human rights organization. It bore the text: “I Am Not A Terrorist – Please Don’t Arrest Me”. Another statement t-shirt from her collection read: “Active Resistance to Propaganda: Culture versus Dogma”, printed with the face of Rembrandt and a baby satyr.

She has released a paper, no less, with the text as its title, which expresses her frustration over contemporary culture and what she feels are its inadequacies. (In a previous interview*, Westwood declared, “Our culture is stagnant.”)

Sounds like pretty heavy stuff from the designer who began her fashion career dressing and inspiring the influential punk rock band Sex Pistols.

Well-established and commercial, yet still widely regarded as the deviant designer of London, Vivienne Westwood has very strong ideas on culture and on subversion—the very essence of the punk movement that made her famous. She declares at the end of her paper, “This word subversive, which people brag about like it’s an accolade—well, subversion means bringing down society, undermining the society.”

But was this premise ever achieved by the band that she helped bring to iconic status? Or even earnestly worked towards? At the onset, one may say that the initial progressiveness of the group and of the movement itself may have given the idea of subversion, of genuine rebellion. But as the ideology was forgotten by the attitude, it didn’t take long for the progressive attitude to wear away from the music, and for the wild abandon of the music to finally disassociate itself from punk’s last remnant, in whatever permutation: its fashion...

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*Interview published in Arena Homme Plus #25: Post Pop, 2006

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Face Hunter: Yvan Rodic

myspace, some info, GQ: Face Hunter does New York Fashion Week

Old-school Olaf

From The Sartorialist and Face Hunter. One image had the name as title. Sounds just right.

Emo-ncipated or Emo-nstipated: Kiko Escora

Sometimes chains can weigh you down.

Photos by Jujiin Samonte and Cecile Van Straten

Much ado about bling

Much ado about bling
By Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in The Philippine Star, 9 November 2007

The fashion world still hasn’t gotten over its mania over gold, stimulated by Comme des Garçons’ 2007 Homme Plus spring/summer collection. Entitled “Golden Boy”, it flashed gold in shirts, shorts, jeans, shoes, hats and belts. A year after, collections still had remnants of its reign. Such is the influence of Rei Kawakubo, who became famous in the ‘70s by making black the color of fashion, when she defiantly decided to make gold the new black.

In a previous interview*, Kawakubo mentioned the Catholic Church, Dubai, shopping malls with marble floors, and teapots as references. She remarked that gold for her meant “medals, money, religion, authority and power”, and expounded: “It is very rare, and because of that, has come to denote richness, and then because of that power and authority and of desire and ambition and ultimately success, and Hollywood and the Olympics…”

It was gold’s depth of meaning that interested Kawakubo, its multiplicity of connotations. She deployed the color for its significance to society, but not to pay homage; like all great visionaries, she utilized the element to turn it into something else...

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*Interview published in Arena Homme Plus #27: Dreamworld, 2007. Jewelry photographed using phone camera.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Posted by Scott Schuman and Yvan Rodic, months apart. Who is she?

Bloggers' style icon: Irina Lazareanu

In Paris and Berlin by The Sartorialist and Stil in Berlin

Bloggers' eye: Jacques Shu

By Scott Schuman and Yvan Rodic in Paris

Seen at the shows

Is it what he eats or the air he breathes? Who is he?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trashy pop chic: Jujiin Samonte

Changes shape at will, a tropical bohemian.

More of Jujiin

The Jazz Age

No other period approaches both the greatness and the impermanence of the Jazz Age as today, when technology has reached another peak, creativity flows freely from unhampered individualism, and society thrives on technological developments. When all these seem other than impermanent and unstable.

The Jazz Age
By Miguel Paolo Celestial
Published in WestEast Magazine #19: Entertain Us, 2006

New York—the Art Deco city of skyscrapers and dazzling lobbies, theaters, jazz bars, restaurants, and stylish gates and towers—awakens slowly, deeply, from industrial and mechanical dreams, or perhaps from vivid fantasies of its dark and eclectic past.

It awakens, and the Empire State Building tantalizes at dawn: a rousing giant, a beacon, which only a few hours before was moored like a ship to the dark.

Perhaps New York, under its melting blanket of haze, was dreaming of a great American ferment, way back between the end of the first world war and the onset of the depression, when the stock market soared, modernism captured every remaining territory, and technology climbed like fresh sap through industry.

Perhaps New York was remembering the beginning of one of the great ages of its progress, when mornings like this emerged like Miles Davis’ “In a Silent Way”—against electric guitar and piano, bass, and floating dreams: the sun of a smokeless skyline like the face of a loved one gazing, singing softly with a voice still as the ray of a single soprano sax...

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Erratum: "Madeleine Viviene" should have read "Madeleine Vionnet"

Dramatic editorials styled by Giovanna Battaglia