>> If you had to choose 150 tip top luminaries in fashion, art, music and photography the list wouldn't and shouldn't really include me. Yet here I am, along with Phil Oh of Street Peeper, on the walls of colette as Darcel takes over with 150 portraits to celebrate colette's 15th anniversary, all Darcelised, as per what you see on Darcel Disappoints. I may have taken the top knot and milked it to death but at the very least, it's given Craig Redman (the illustrator behind Darcel) the easy task of Darceling me. Every print is available for EUR150 and the full exhibition is at the colette store until 31st March. I plan on getting ones of myself, Phil and Tommy Ton and hang them up as a trio in my living room, just so I can make future Lau-babies giggle. "Look, that's your grandmother as a black one-eyed blob! How funny – har-e-har-e-har!"
Another malaise that develops when I arrive in Milan along with shopping up a storm and exclaiming "Ciao" and "Arriverderci!" really loudly on the phone with a Dolmio Italian accent, is that I also become a bit of a bag n' shoe hag. I'm already a on a upper scale of being a shoe obsessive but I'm not yet on that vocal level where at a department store shoe floor, you hear people saying things like "I die for those Louboutins!" or "I'm literally dying over those stilettos." Well, you know how I feel about dying over fashion and after reading this article about the mis-use of the word "literally", I'm trying to curb that nasty habit too. As for bags, I've always been less convinced about getting lots
In Milan, whilst I stop short of dying over shoes and bags, I am confronted with a helluva lot of them. Milan isn't necessarily about doing back to back, hour-to-hour shows but about filling the time in between doing appointments with the many Italian leather accessories and shoe brands that pepper the scene. Therefore, here's a little round up of the bags and shoes that made me utter brain dead statements of zero consequence: "Fabulous!" "How gorge is that?" "O.M.G! That is ceeeeuuuuuute!"
This isn't the new A/W 12-3 collection for Pollini but the shoe and accessories label helmed by Nicholas Kirkwood opened on Via della Spiga during Milan Fashion Week, in line with the reinvigoration of the brand. Out with lady-lady heels with zero identity and in with a balance between Kirkwood's aesthetic, a touch of quirk and the classicism of Pollini. ASOS have a selection of the new S/S 12 styles including these role sole flatform lace-ups. The store also have all the colourful Louise Gray S/S 12 sandal styles that will add a plastic pop to the feet. With juicy colour in mind, Pollini have collaborated with Cutler & Gross on a few pairs of sunnies.
I've done a few bits and bobs with Furla's very successful Candy bag, which has dragged the Italian brand out of annonymity for the younger consumer and lured them into the stores with promises of great smelling plastic bags in tempting shades. For the new A/W 12-3, they've focused on a new bag shape called the "Furla and I" – a cavernous tote that is completely reversible and takes the inside pocket of a bag and smacks it on the outside. I had a fun time taking the bag and squishing it up and flipping it back into shape. The bags were revealed/concealed in an installation by the Bologna-based performance artist Sissi, who has collaborated with Furla before.
The Candy bag hasn't completely disappeared though as they continue to work them in a multitude of opal fruits colours.
I actually quite liked the proposition of these more structured bags that come in these bowling or doctor bag shapes.
I was fascinated by Sissi's outfit, which she made herself. I know people tout that old chestnut about dressing for themselves and treating their body as though it were a canvas, but for Sissi, that really is the case. As opposed to transforming herself Cindy Sherman-style with the aid of make-up and costume, she creates abstract and unconventional garments that reflect her artistic statements. Her closet would definitely be an interesting one to delve into.
It's pretty much a given that I was absolutely floored by Luca Guadagnino's I Am Love and so I had to stop by Sergio Rossi's A/W 12-3 presentation, which premiered a short film by Guadagnino, featuring the model Diane Dondoe in sexed-up Sergio Rossi attire. It's a short and seductive trip through Rossi's surprisingly aggressive use of animal skins, which are rampant this season that makes a sexless limp like myself wonder what it feels like to be covered in skins and stalk about topless in sharp-as-a-tack heels.
Elsewhere in the collection, it's an abundance of croc, alligator and snakeskin that are veer towards a barbaric use of animal skins. It's a continuation of designer Francesco Russo's "Skin to Skin" pre-occupation where bodices and breastplates link up with armour-like footwear.
I've not gone into thigh-high boot territory yet but these Sergio Rossi forest green ones are somewhat tempting. I'd try them on in a store for funsies just to double check whether I am indeed a thigh-high-boot kinda gal. I'm guessing the answer will be negative but it's worth a try anyhow.
A surprise hit of the week for me came from SW1, the new high end line of shoes and accessories by Stuart Weitzman. You say Stuart Weitzman and I think of uninteresting shoes for the everywoman that are reasonably priced. SW1 however comes under the creative direction of Alvaro Gonzalez and concentrate on high end materials paired with statement making design. In particular, the art deco inspired collection features resin heels replicating traditional Italian stone inlay techniques. These more decorative styles are contrasted with simpler 1920s style suede courts. The bags are also quite lovely with combination lock detailing, 3-D shell front made to look like a turtle and chain straps made up of leather links.
Nicola Formichetti is probably one of the most pro-internet people I know in fashion. He was one of the first editors that I knew of to get his own blogspot blog, eschewing a cold portfolio site and instead, uploading all his shoots and unpublished extras straight away. Then he got stuck into Twitter and now he's recently launched his own Tumblr collaboration involving a lot of pandas, which is fine by me given that I imagine everyone's face to morph into a panda bear at some point or another.
It's therefore no surprise that as creative director of Mugler, he instigated live streaming the shows and now he goes one step further to live stream Mugler's atelier from today (starting at 1pm CET) up until the show. This is definitely an unprecedented development in live streaming/preview activities concerning shows. It reminds me when SHOWstudio used to livestream their offices and I'd haphazardly log on every now and again to see a fairly quiet office. Except there will be a lot of hub-a-hub going on – off the cuff interviews with Formichetti, interviews with bloggers that will be dropping by the studio throughout today and tomorrow as well as access to Nicola's assistant who will answer questions on Twitter via the hashtag #askprince (actually there are a shit ton of hashtags concerning the Mugler show – #Mugler #formichetti #MuglerLive as well as the handles @muglerlive@formichetti so TwitLonger may be a neccessity).
One could argue that opening up the atelier to this level of intrusion and access ruins the mystery but then again perhaps Mugler could be the shining beacon of an exception. I very much doubt any other brand would ever be as gung ho about this amount of public participation in the run up to the show which leaves Formichetti to get all up with Instagram, Pinterest or any other social media phenomenon as an early adoptor.
In any case, this will be an interesting fashion n' web experiment to witness and I'll be dropping by the Mugler atelier tonight around 7ish CET to check it all out. You'll see me on the stream below, grilling Formichetti about panda bears and of course the new Mugler collection‚Ä¶
>> I'm well aware of the outfit filler onslaught going on here but I'm merely updating the peeps who follow me on Twitter on the mini discounted Balenciaga haul I got into when I was in Milan. The truth is, Milan is my most easy going week of all. It's the one where I'm not bogged down with writing for other people nor do I have to go traipsing around seeing advertiser after advertiser in an appointment haul. What then happens is that I turn into a Sophie Kinsella type character and start hounding people about information on discounts, outlet stores and wander about town with a giant phone (yes, I'm stuck on the Samsung Galaxy Note, and yes, it does make me look a little like that character from Trigger Happy TV), looking up addresses and come back to the hotel laden with bags. I had an outer body experience of looking down on this dippy, ditzy self when a journalist was interviewing me back in New York about how I shop and I got really excited talking about the wonders of Yoox, eBay, Battersea car boot sale and vintage shopping at Alfie's, more so than when people ask me about what I think about the trends of the season (most ridiculous on the spot question this season thus far FYI is "Why do I think French women are so chic and can we got the look of chic French women?" – errr…). My eyes literally light up as I natter on about spending two hours looking at things on Yoox and combing through the Opening Ceremony sale. It's a malaise that I'm well aware of but don't seem to be able to curb, so long as I'm obsessed with the idea of NOT paying top dollar/pound/euro for anything I buy.
This outfit is therefore the result of the side of me that turns into a candy floss piece of shopping fluff. When you're wrenching out Balenciaga pre-fall outside, whilst loudly exclaiming how much discount I got off as though you had haggled a cheap piece of meat at the butchers, you know that the dizzie shopping bug has well and truly rotted its way through. I'm simultaneously ashamed and pleased that I bagged these pre-fall 2011 quilted trousers that have William Morris-esque florals running up and down them, a plasticised white skirt from the S/S 11 collection and a Balenciaga menswear cable knit jumper that looks like it has been hit with a dose of grey ash. I'm laying the blame with Avril Mair from British Elle and Caroline Issa from Tank magazine as they pointed me to the sources of the items, which were th D Magazine store and the 10 Corso Como outlet shop. Just a few more addresses to add to the ever bulging shopping directory I carry in my head to enthuse about in future airy fairy interviews.
(Balenciaga sweater and trousers worn with a tired face, my off-duty glasses and some lovely Pollini flatform sandals)