An All-Asian Fashion Ad to Commend

August 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

Fei Fei Sun, Shu Pei, Lui Wen, Ming Xi, and Xiao Wen Ju for Lane Crawford F/W 11

Asians are definitely having a fashion moment. V Magazine released their “Asian Issue” this past May, Givenchy staged a couture presentation for S/S 11 using only Asian models, and American Vogue published an all-Asian model editorial this past December, declaring that they’re “redefining traditional concepts of beauty.” These happenings often fall under the label of “diversifying fashion,” but they carry an insincerity as Asians consistently fail to book non-Asian themed photoshoots and runway events. Where were the Asian models in Givenchy’s latest couture show, for example? Or on the cover of Vogue?

Yesterday Hong-Kong retailer Lane Crawford released their F/W 11 ad campaign featuring a cast of exclusively Chinese models, but unlike other all-Asian campaigns or editorials, this is a breath of fresh air. It applies the for-us, by-us concept to Chinese fashion, and shows a Chinese company supporting some of the best Chinese modeling talent working today: Fei Fei Sun, Shu Pei, Lui Wen, Ming Xi, and Xiao Wen Ju.

Ballerina Tan Yuan Yuan for Lane Crawford S/S 08 (via girlspic.blogbus.com)

Film producer Fu Jia for Lane Crawford S/S 08 (via girlspic.blogbus.com)

This isn’t Lane Crawford’s first ad to feature Asians or Asian Americans. For their S/S 08 campaign titled, “The Innovators,” they photographed a number of prominent Chinese and Chinese American faces in Chinese arts and culture: ballerina Tan Yuan Yuan, actress Maggie Cheung, film producer Fu Jia, artist Terrence Koh, and model Du Juan, amongst others.

Too often Asian fashion companies use Western models in their promotions, which, as we suggested in a previous post, results from the pressure placed on these companies to cater to privileged whiteness in the global fashion market. I initially discovered Lane Crawford’s latest ad in the news section of New York Magazine. I hope one day, an ad campaign for an Asian company featuring all-Asian models won’t be worthy as news, or even celebration. It will just seem right.

Now Trending: Peek-a-boo Looks

August 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve been seeing a lot of skin around, but often under sheer fabric. Ever since the bondage-inspired looks came down the runway at Givenchy and Louis Vuitton for the F/W 11 season, women have adopted see-through numbers in mass.

Facehunter shot this woman in Reykjavik, Iceland sporting a diaphanous dress with opaque, black stripes. It recalls a skirt from the Givenchy show with a sheer window framed by panels of jaguar images. It also brings to mind a couple of sheer black shirts from Louis Vuitton.

Bondage-inspired skirt (via Facehunter)

(From left to right) Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton

Bras are also getting some attention this summer, with women exposing them under sheer mesh or lace.

Bra (via Facehunter)

And another (via Facehunter)

Chanel and Givenchy Get Catty

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Feline pheromones are in the air! Just one day after writing about the emerging jaguar-print trend, Chanel released the first image from its F/W 11 campaign featuring my favorite lesbian model Freja Beha Erichsen working a high fashion catsuit. It’s not the sexy, shiny look that one would expect. Instead, Chanel designed a more modest, perhaps homely, version that resembles a really comfortable interpretation of the cat costumes my elementary school teachers perennially wore at Halloween. I love how the beanie-turned-cat head makes Freja look like she robbed a bank as a budget-version of Catwoman.

Meow (via FashionGoneRogue)

This ad is surprising in the context of recent Chanel campaigns, which usually present mundane images of Blake Lively climbing stairs or models having a picnic. With this ad, Chanel took a more abstract approach that leaves viewers with a list of questions: Why is she dressed like a cat? Why is she in a photobooth? Is Chanel really selling that outfit? My biggest question is why its stylist Carine Roitfeld, the ex-French Vogue Editor and queen of “porn chic,” styled the sexy, rock-n-roll loving Freja so conservatively. Roitfeld is known for vice-filled photo shoots involving lots of bare breasts, cigarettes, and grease. The conservatism of this ad makes me think that there is a deeper, Freudian meaning – maybe Freja is a Furry?

Givenchy has another take on the model-as-cat look from its F/W 11 campaign featuring supermodel Naomi Campbell, sitting on what looks like a really fancy cat bed. Campbell is definitely channeling a much angrier, sexier cat than Freja, but she’s also channeling Dracula as well (Doesn’t the design over her crotch looks like a pair of fangs?). This could possibly double as an ad for True Blood.

rawr! (via NYMag)

So as predicted in yesterday’s post on jaguar prints, cats are definitely having a moment. But unexpectedly, fashion doesn’t want you to just wear cat prints, they want you to act like cats. But please don’t take this trend too seriously. We don’t want to see people looking like anything besides human.

The 5 Best Trends From Paris S/S 12

June 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

5. Skirts

Rick Owens, GIvenchy, and Yohji Yamamoto

Can men wear skirts?

This season, a handful of brands including Rick Owens, Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto, and Commes des Garcons, exclaimed, “Yes, they can!” and sent out models wearing skirts of various lengths, colors, and patterns. Yohji’s skirts were long and voluminous, in subtle red honey combs or striped prints. At Givenchy, skirts were various lengths and covered in brilliant prints of birds of paradise. At Rick Owens, skirts were floor-length, dark colored, and thick, reminding Times critic Cathy Horyn of a “mudslide taking out a few homes.

4. Reptile

Jean Paul Gaultier, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton

Wrapping another animal’s skin (or fur) around your own may be treasonous in PETA circles, but in fashion, it’s the pinnacle of luxury. Designers in Paris used an abundance of reptile in their collections last week. Louis Vuitton showed the most subtle take of the trend, using brown reptile skin to elevate an otherwise banal letterman jacket. Hermes used it for a simple zip-up summer layer. The pattern looked like untreated snake. Jean Paul Gaultier most strongly embraced the trend, sending down a head-to-toe black reptile look. It had a rock-n-roll kick, but with a wider, more relaxed silhouette.

3. Wide-Leg Trousers

Yohji Yamamoto, John Galliano, and Maison Martin Margiela

For the last few seasons, menswear silhouettes have been getting larger. I haven’t noticed this on the street necessarily, but it’s certainly been true on the runway. This season, trousers were so large they created a parachute-like effect when models walked down the runway. The billowing was sometimes a result of lighter fabrics as was the case with Yohji Yamamoto who showed a delicate collection full of silky trousers paired with tailored blazers. They had the ease of pajamas but were deepened by a feeling of history. John Galliano and Martin Margiela showed similar versions of wide leg trousers, only in stiffer fabrics.

2. Gingham

Raf Simons, Louis Vuitton, and Kenzo

Gingham is a perennial trend in menswear, but this season it was served in fresh color combinations. Raf Simons played with a slightly larger gingham print in bright orange and navy blue, putting it on t-shirts, blazers, and trenchcoats. Against the cold backdrop of mesh steel, it had a somewhat sinister effect, making me think of a fashion-conscious serial killer. Louis Vuitton’s story was about gingham in bright red and cobalt, the colors of African Masai tribes. Overall, the collection looked like the menswear addendum to Thakoon’s F/W 11 collection, which used the same color inspiration. Kenzo paired a light purple gingham with floral print. It looked a bit washed out, but pretty.

1. Colorblocking 

Raf Simons, Acne, and Victor & Rolf

Colorblocking is currently a major trend in large part due to Jil Sander’s S/S 11 collection, which showed a range of tailored items in saturated canary yellow, mandarin orange, and cobalt. The trend continues next summer, although the brights are neutralized with more browns and blacks. In his S/S 12 collection for Jil Sander, Raf Simons colorblocked brightly colored leather shirts and tanks with black pants, creating a visual shock. Acne’s collection had a slight retro influence. One look paired a bright seafoam cableknit sweater with light brown slacks, a simple brown belt, and a shirt with a contemporary take on a club collar. Viktor & Rolf’s collection was flooded with Yves Klein blue. Above, they paired a pair of Yves Klein blue pants with a diaphanous blood orange shirt. Delicious.

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