This has been a long time coming since the end of tests and school related palaver of the summer term. The writing itch is coming back and so are my ideas. I realise I have missed commenting on 98% of the collections, though I have to say SS14 showed the most marked response from designers to actual men’s style and dress codes in years. Raf Simons et al will receive my mini-essays later.
Online, the AW13 campaigns have premiered amongst many other tidbits that warrant sharing. Also the sales are only now coming to a close, or in other words, the best time to cop what I wanted a few months ago at prices I may actually be able to afford now. My pinterest boards have been updated while this blog hasn’t, and some of the items I might actually get like the COS shirts and knit short-sleeves or the Undercover ‘Lemones’ t-shirt.
The best overall campaign this season has to be from Prada. Everything is done to perfection. I was first astounded by the images of the AW13 menswear collection. The irreverence of the angles and actors interwove perfectly with the theme of 60s New Wave cinema in a riff on the banality of life (see the blue toy film camera held by Ezra Miller). There is something about the tonality of the colours and how they are mixed in each image that one; possesses a ‘slightly off, but definitely on’ quality and two; leads me to think it was styled by Joe McKenna.
Iris and Daniel hearked me back to the menswear SS13 campaign, focusing on eyewear. Again the absolutist styling bears the hallmark of Mr. McKenna, featured in the Spring-Summer issue of Fantastic Man, and is shot by David Sims but the playfulness of the black/white images and the sheer beauty of the sunglasses is arresting. I am agreeing totally with Iris on the first pair and the polo pairings.
Another sort of cinema, of women strong, independent and intelligent, was presented for AW13. I have to say that the campaign images look unsettlingly grubby but still good, which was kind of the point of Prada’s whole aesthetic, however this is the most recent campaign I can recall where this ethos has been so strikingly shot by Steven Meisel. The video gave me some fucking chills, with Cameron Russell’s acting, Freja’s return, Christy’s return and Amanda Murphy’s power pose. The models relaxed, self-effacing poses ooze sensuality and confidence. I remember Miuccia talking about wanting to remind people of the ‘power thorough women’ that she feels is being lost now. Job done.
It was a view take of a boy and a girl; they were suspended architectures within a space.
J.W Anderson’s first(!) organic and layered campaign contains more than is just seen with a peek at the image. For example the warm beige background is car carpet, specifically used with the bright red car door. The deconstruction of the car’s constituent elements, in the designer’s words, ‘softened the environment to give it warmth.’ This is true, and a very intelligent way of presenting such conceptual clothing. The beige is so familiar it, almost, familiarises the restricted silhouettes and idea of a “shared wardrobe.” Both the carpet and clothing material is matte, so the props and technical elements of the clothes break up what would otherwise be uninspiring images.
It feels achingly modern to look at the poses of contorted seating and nonchalant stances, enhanced by the new faces Lucan Gillespie and Oliver O’ Brien who both have a certain je ne sais quoi that I find endearing. I don’t know if it is the hair or the make up or the finish but… there’s something. He said: “I like the ambiguity; the idea of the girl being always posed on the floor and grounded, which to me makes a different silhouette, whereas the man is more of an elongated silhouette. There’s something quite interesting in terms of the proportional heights of it that balances out the balance of power in the image.”
Mr. Anderson said he wanted “to create imagery that you will remember.” Benjamin Bruno and Jamie Hawkesworth have produced images that have certainly stuck in my mind, bringing advertising closer to art. There’s something true and peaceful that I understand.
Lanvin chose an altogether different route, focusing on wildly different but all exciting personalities to fill their the ad pages of the hotly anticipated AW13 fashion magazine issues. Each man’s face is particularly pruned, with hair perfectly done and moustaches well curled. I think this is what stands out, as the clothes are good as ever, though bear the styling hallmarks of the show in which they were presented. Adverts need to be aspirational (in most cases) and Lanvin has done well in paying attention to the touches that set the most stylish men apart and condensing them into an image.
These offhand shots from Valentino are like the outtakes from a perfectly preened campaign shooting day. I think this represents the human made elements of the collection, often referred to in reviews as ‘men’s couture.’ There are very unique, like the clothes created.
Alexander Wang has always been good at producing videos accompanying each season, and AW13 yields a Confessional Series. Malgosia Bela was also the face of Mr. Wang’s last campaign and her taught energy comes through the photograph.
This editorial from METAL magazine is one that strikes on visual impact. Shot by Charlie Engman and styled by Angela Esteban Librero, the execution is key in the photographs so all of the weird and wacky angles work well. The interplay of two people in Thom Browne’s psychedelic prints are done in ways that mimic to human emotions and actions; the resting on shoulders of sadness or disappointment, the messiness of sleep and personal space, confusion, the anticipation of travel and a hinting joke to Mr. Browne’s inspirations with the flea market bag. Note I may be reading too much into the images, but it certainly is an extremely creative way of reworking the collections from one season of one (great) designer.
Two interviews to end. Jeremy Leslie, the founder of magCulture; a online base devoted to great printed magazines of the independent kind, talked with the Fantastic Men, Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom of Fantastic Man, about their magazine’s ethos and evolution over the years
Raf Simons and Peter Saville talked to Dazed Digital about the interzone, the ‘in-between space dividing design and high art, pop and modernism, fashion and music.