Modern was the name of the game at the ModeaParis: 22/4 Hommes AW15 runway show. Simple, clear design left little space for useless details, in fact, most of the garments with pullovers, sans zippers, buttons and other extra style, except, of course, for the occasional appearance of some bold fur in unexpected places.

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Fur arm warmers or neck detailing, as well as placed more traditionally on coats reminded us that clothes for the coming fall and winter seasons are not just there for decoration, they are there for warmth and fighting any frightful weather than may occur.

A prehistoric bang hits the futuristic with a hint of leopard, tying right into the fur concepts. Any of that extra styling that was non-existent in the pullovers was made up with fur overlays on the tops of traditional dress shoes. Just in case, of course, the tops of your feet need to be kept toasty.

The collection was mainly navy, with other basic clothes like white, brown, beige and the occasional subtle plaid. Above all, neat and precise tailoring helped the pieces walk the runway with ease.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Franz Kennedy.

 

This is very cool idea but the execution leaves to be desired:  Create new brand (Noir Noir); take the concept of an old Steve McQueen flight jacket (you know the one with the orange inlay reverse which easily wears wherever you go as if it is your high school jacket); take traditional French pattern in the form of classical imagery from old painting and tapestries; mix the collection into beautiful traditional Parisian couture showroom among well established and classical brands; price brand into the upmarket; – and hope for the best.

There are some things very right and very wrong with this approach.

One, at an upmarket price where your newly born T-shirt rivals a high-end Gucci or Fendi T – shirt (that’s okay because the Noir Noir shirts are really beautiful), your FINISHING (haute finition) needs to be picture perfect – or as the French say ‘impeccable’. But it was not, and the finishing on the items leaves to be desired. So fix that stitching first we would say, and let’s call this oversight a birth defect which can still be corrected.

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Two, the idea to use old medieval tapestries (the Lady with the Unicorn) and rococo painting (Fragonard and Watteau type of imagery but we’re not quite sure) as a backdrop on a flight jacket or on a cool lounge or club Tee is interesting, because it’s exciting to see the traditional and classical design making a grand comeback on the club and the party scene (these items are cool for real fancy chancy Kanye West wannabes who are looking for the latest greatest in order to impress the hoi polloi with something super-original which no one else has ever seen or heard of – like privately printed Mylon sunglasses or so).

Three, why exactly does everyone need their own new clothing line or brand new brand these days?  Victoria Beckham vêtements, Kim Kardashian perfume,  the Jay-Z clothing line.

The global hype starts to resemble something like having your own Maserati, your own Aston Martin, your own trophy wife, a trophy celebrity boyfriend (yes that is you Lewis Hamilton) – and this has sadly nothing to do with style or fashion per se any more, but everything with just claiming your own trophy brand – it’s owning a brand name in order to increase your own (brand).

So granted that we loved the Noir Noir collection (providing the stitching was better), here is the moral of the story: If you have a great idea (rococo and medieval patterns on a modern day flight jacket for men’s outer -, club, and lounge wear) do the execution of it all with as much style, precision and panache as that Watteau and Fragonard used to paint:  With a sense of brutal perfection!  For if you don’t, something will inevitably get lost in the translation – even when you hang your new collection amidst the class of a traditional Parisian showroom for haute couture.

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Franz Kennedy.

In a beautiful French aristocratic palace, we sit back to enjoy the designs of Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Bierendock. Designs, fit for a king, or perhaps…a modern-day king…or perhaps a court jester even?

Van Bierendock’s unique color palette and brazen silhouettes shout a bold and vibrant statement across a usually-quiet Parisian gallery. He lists his inspirations to be art, music and literature, ethnicity and nature.

Considering his intense color choices, I am thinking perhaps Warhol, the Sex Pistols and maybe something appropriate for the olden day ritual of book burning? Exotic ethnicity and nature in only it’s boldest form, perhaps, South East Asia or Hawaii.

His collections shows every color in the rainbow, as well as a variety of patterns and mixing prints, techniques such as patchwork and colorblocking, and unique materials not often see on the runways, such as heavy, gathered plastic. Even traditional trends make a small appearance, such as plaid or the man-cape, but of course in a futuristic, fleeting manner.

Asymmetrical sleeves, baggy pants and long trenches and button up shirts are all spotted within the collection, in various concoctions of materials quilted together.

One thing is certain, Walter Van Bierendock’s collections are not for the faint of heart.

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Posted by Lori Zaino and photos by Franz Kennedy.

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Wait…is that…an alien I see? It’s too blurry to tell!

One of the great things when talking about Roswell Aliens (the theme for this RYNSHU show) is that whenever you see a photograph of one it is never really clear so as to defy disbelief or truth or proof of any identity; and so it was a lucky strike of fate when the BDMOTP photographer couldn’t make it to the RYNSHU show on the last day of Paris men’s fashion week, a Sunday, when we had to struggle to make pictures with an obscure and old handheld mobile camera, an old Blackberry Curve, which means that what you see here judging from the grainy picture above MAY actually or MAY NOT have been what really appeared on the runway – you will just have to take our word for it –, whereas according to the press release the image was supposed to be a ‘Little Grey’ alien.

Well there were actually TWO aliens that appeared – or rather ‘made an appearance’, one with a white head, the other with a more humanoid color of which you can here see our second grainy picture.  They were followed in long trail by a quite extraordinary host of HUMANOIDS dressed in jacquard, lace, printed silk, cashmere, and of course leather (made from abducted animals no doubt), in a grand non-variety of colors appropriately never leaving the fourth spectrum:  Grey, grey, grey, black, ink jet black, scarab, metal, and white – except for some solid gold. One would have never imagined such a close encounter of the third kind in the heart of Paris of course, but for those of you who know Paris, if you know that the location was in the middle of the Belleville district of town, you would not have been so surprised. Where else to find Grey Aliens in Paris but in Belleville? It’s dark, it’s dank, and yes, it can be scary.

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What you cannot see in these grainy pictures however are the tube line outfits and the slim silhouette pants that the humans were wearing. And what was actually quite extraordinary and ‘alien’ in its own right besides the setting and the performance of the show were the two types of leather used to make the human costumes:  Shironameshi is a humanoid skin tight type of leather used as bandages in the Sengoku era of Japan; Kurozan is painted lacquer by hand brush on top of this humanoid skin; together they can form remarkable outfits.  RYNSHU, this designer, is not kidding for when he means alien it is alien. He loves the eccentric to the extent that it has become the signature. Zippers on buttonholes? Check. Skin-tight leathers and lacquers? Check. Aliens?  Double check.

Image Credit XEX Blog

Image Credit XEX Blog

As the show’s theme of Riddick-lacquered humanoids lead by (grey) aliens slowly paraded through the dark in front of us we realized that the press release had not been kidding:  This show was supposed to be about SPACE (sic), BLACK HOLES (surely felt like we had arrived in one), and boundless ENERGY, captured in the show’s hallmark item – the famous theorem by Albert Einstein:  E = mc square.  Perhaps that this explains why there were TWO aliens in squared and checkered outfits, and not just one.  But perhaps not.  And perhaps that this close encounter on a humid Paris Sunday in winter was really never meant to be and that somehow we had found ourselves in a quantum time lapse.  Frankly, everything looked a little bit unreal, and not just grainy.  Not surreal, as is usual in Paris.  But unreal.  Two Aliens in cashmere outfits that looked like they could have been made in Italy by Cantarelli.  A host of lacquered humanoids in style as omen forbidding & foreboding, like something out of the Chronicles of Riddick which appears right after the two suns have set (you know the drill).  Dark space in the backstage mirrors.  Radiation goggles not optional.

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Posted by Sandro Joo.

 

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BDMOTP is in Paris during fashion week at a showroom on St Germain right behind the famous eponymous church to visit ModeaParis: Carven, a brand resurrected from the past, first as a woman’s brand, and then more recently as a new brand for men, and it seems as if this simple double-syllabled brand name as well as the retro font of the name itself, conspire to introduce to us this classy & marvelous 80’s retro collection – you know, the time of Disco, the Bee Gees, John Travolta & Olivia Newton John, but then without all the hoopla and the pop culture – a time of sobering plain colors (mustard, jet black, carnelian red), plain patterns (stripes, squares), simple and plain forms (wide peak lapels, elongated ribbed turtlenecks, slim trousers), and that ubiquitous yet subversive item which managed to define an entire decade with a single stroke of sartorial genius:  Tight leather (disco) dress pants for men (here on display in the color mustard no less)!  A crime against fashion never to be repeated.

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Small wonder then that when the decade was over that people tried to put the lid on it as soon as possible, but when you closely look at the style of the font of the letters in the word Carven above, what comes to mind again and again is not only the simplicity, the functionality, and the plainness of the decade, but also its inimitable style:  For this is the time when the first ‘urban’ of the seventies is moving toward the ‘cosmopolitan’ of the eighties, and in the details of the collection we see embroidered and printed thus on the sweaters and the shirts the simple motifs of the very first global tech icons – cassette tape recorder players, old TV sets, and of course this great grandfather of the iPod, the Sony Walkman.

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For those of you not old enough to remember when navy blue still looked like grey, when brown was mustard, and when carmine or crimson was still carnelian, when your shawl lapel had a peak, your pants were tight whether short or long, and when stale-looking longer or well-combed hair was not a crime (yes people used to carry combs as strange as that may sound today), and when people were not yet defined by their luxury accessories or their technological gadgets, there DID exist among us a real neo-urban romanticism, aye a longing even today still, for the simplicity and simple functionality of life the way it was back in the 80’s.

A Carven Press image

A Carven Press image

And Carven hits this feeling & concept right on the nail with their sleek new menswear collection:  Brilliantly retro for a new age and a new century the recent past has all of a sudden become distant yet present in its style when we watch the carefully thought out Carven tailoring & design here behind the old church of St Germain.  Retro materials like soft wools, mohair, and alpaca – lines and stripes out of sync – the softer faded colors, the lack of spectrum – the accentuated lengths of the coats and the colors and the sleeves – and aye, those pants, those very tight pants – those shockingly very tight leather pants – for men, the ones you don’t take home to mother – because they were supposed to have died with Rick James those pants (look it up) – or so BDMOTP thought, until we discovered this marvelous eighties retro collection in full color, in slim fit, and in full leather gear.

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Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Franz Kennedy.

Comte Robert de Montesquiou leaving the room as in a contemporary artist rendering by Delius

Comte Robert de Montesquiou leaving the room as in a contemporary artist rendering by Delius

Et voici! As would behoove a self-respecting global men’s fashion power blog, BDMOTP presents to you the man who inspired Oscar Wilde to write Portrait of Dorian Gray  who may very well have inspired Michael Jackson to become the gloved one AND have a squeaky little voice, who inspired Karl Lagerfeld to take Choupette as his most beloved icon pet, who was an example for the reveries of Marcel Proust in the persona of Baron de Charlus in A la Recherche du Temps Perdu and who most notoriously was the hidden subject–if not indeed the exact copy and model – of Karl Joris Huysmans’ deliciously poisonous and forbidden book A Rebours (Against the Grain) in which an improbable character called Des Esseintes is immortalized as the prototype godfather of all dandies for all time, a particular and eccentric man who celebrates an extravagant lifestyle of pleasure and beauty in complete solitude yet surrounded by the most outrageous & extraordinary home furnishings, decorations, and accessories.

But not yet many know that this gentleman was not fiction but actually existed, and that his name was Marie Joseph Robert Anatole de Montesquiou–Fézensac, better known as the Marquis Robert de Montesquiou, and that, perhaps mysteriously, two famous portraits of the man himself are still hanging in museums today one in New York (the Frick) and one in Paris (Quai d’Orsay) so as to silently witness and attest to his continuous private importance to the world of style for men even in our information age 125 years later.

Thus the following BDMOTP interview is a fictionalized version of a meeting with one very real vampire of men’s style and fashion – and an icon for the ages.

portrait of Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, Comte de Montesquiou-Fézensac by Whistler

portrait of Marie Joseph Robert Anatole, Comte de Montesquiou-Fézensac by Whistler

BDMOTP:  Hello Robert, thank you for granting us this special occasion for a brief interview. First off, are you the best dressed man on the planet?

Robert de M. (squeaks a little and twitches and takes off one white glove laying it across his knee while folding his legs gently, then tips his moustache and giggles, but never answers the question and sighs deeply): Umm..

BDMOTP:  If you had lived today Robert, would we be able to find you on Facebook?

Robert (giggles a little more and then taps his cane on the floor):  I always enjoy my pleasures privately, and I have few friends– also I do not like to share, I rather like to keep things for myself and treasure them and admire them alone.  Thus, as a proven butterfly, I need not many friends, because I have flowers, many beautiful things and flowers – and their colors and shapes inspire me to flutter on, and on, and move from one to the next.  If you can find them, flowers are always there for all to see, so there is absolutely no need to put them on Facebook.  Ah, the smell, I love the smell of roses, I close my eyes and they are there …

BDMOTP:  The French bourgeoisie in your lifetime had quickly condemned you as ‘un esthète au goût souvent discutable’ (an aesthete of frequently questionable taste) but the English speaking public of today really loves your style and your manners. What is your message to our readers?

Robert de M. (pouts and touches his moustache):  That every good conversation starts with a pose. And that in order to strike a proper pose, one always needs a personal style as well as particular manners.

The art of how to strike a proper pose, undoubtedly inspiring Oscar Wilde

The art of how to strike a proper pose, undoubtedly inspiring Oscar Wilde

BDMOTP:  What is it with the white gloves?

Robert de M.:  You don’t like them?  They are my favorites. Chamois – leather. Antelope. So soft!

BDMOTP:  We love your Persian cat Robert.  Today we have a fashion icon with a very famous Persian cat whose name is Choupette (the cat of Karl Lagerfeld). How do you feel about it that 100 years later people – famous people in the world of style even – are still copying your ideas and your manners?

Robert de M. (cackles and giggles and crosses his legs carefully and sits up straight):  I love my cat! She is my darling. She is NOT an accessory!

Robert holding his Persian cat, inspiring Karl Lagerfeld one century later

Robert holding his Persian cat, inspiring Karl Lagerfeld one century later

BDMOTP: But Robert the ugly rumor is that you once had a pet tortoise at your private residence and that you painted its shell gold and then it died (according to the account of French author Mallarmé who visited your house). But we did some research and we don’t believe you ever did what Huysmans wrote about Des Esseintes that he had gemstones encrusted in a turtle’s shell. You would not do this kind of thing would you now?  In today’s world this does not go off very well–to say the least. A tortoise is not an accessory.

Robert de M. (starts to cry and sniff a little): I am sorry, I am sorry I should have never painted the shell of my tortoise in gold – it is true–but I swear I never encrusted my tortoise with gemstones–this is pure fiction.  My notoriety must have gotten ahead of my reputation.

BDMOTP:  Robert, you talk about your notoriety as if it is a good thing?

Robert de M. (twitches his head and tips his hat up a little bit, then puts his cane between his legs, and looks indignantly ahead and purses his lips): Excuse me! I used to be a successful stockbroker, with an excellent reputation, and now that I have become a well-known esthete and dandy, and a legend, I cannot discuss my own notoriety? And just because I now know how to strike a proper pose whenever and wherever it does not suit society at large, I have become ‘notorious’? Does this frighten you? I tell you that a good notoriety and a little scandal here and there has always been the spice of life in style and fashion, in the same way as taking risks and speculations have always been the key to success in business and finance. If a man is no longer willing or able to risk his reputation every day the moment when he wakes up, then he will never go again in style! And people will forget him. Dixit.

Robert de M. suddenly gets up quickly and angrily holding up his head up and slightly backward without looking or saying goodbye stodgily taps twice with his cane on the floor and leaves the room carefully closing the door behind him. We have no time to thank him and are left wondering about many things, with a large list of questions left unanswered and a feeling of uneasiness.

Comte Robert de Montesquiou leaving the room as in a contemporary artist rendering by Delius

Comte Robert de Montesquiou leaving the room as in a contemporary artist rendering by Delius

Posted by Sandro Joo.

If no one else can help, and if you are in any kind of trouble, and IF you can find them, maybe .... you can hire the A-team

« If no one else can help, and if you are in any kind of trouble, and IF you can find them, maybe …. you can hire the A-team »

This is old theme quote of the eighties TV show classic The A-Team. It handsomely applies to finding and doing an interview with the Sapeurs from the Congo, the world’s most mysterious and perhaps most famous group of dedicates to men’s fashion – the Dandies from Brazzaville / Kinshasha, the twin city of the Congos.

For from deep in the heart of Africa (this is where Joseph Conrad’s famous story ‘Heart of Darkness (1899)’ commences) – the Congo River separating two large republics and two large cities on a mass of land the size of the contingent USA, here comes to our globalized world a mysterious & powerful force in the form of an extraordinary love for men’s fashion par excellence: La Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes (SAPE), aka the Society for Elegant People and Ambianceurs in English – or in short – the Sapeurs (pronounced ‘the sappehrs’).

Made famous by Guinness most recently, yet hard to locate either on the map or in cyberspace, and lost in a world of francophony where all is ambiguous and nothing is ever clear, it is still largely unknown today what drives and motivates this powerful force of style for men.  But BDMOTP will make an attempt to explain by hand of the following interview.

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Tradition & Style meeting Post-Modernism: Ben Moukacha, Majesty, Gentleman, Terminator, & Yann Colère in front of the Centre Pompidou in Paris

BDMOTP is meeting with Ben ‘le Sapelogue’ Moukacha and Chardel Matsanga who are part of a group of Sapeurs called Les Sapelogues de Paris.  It appears that Sapeurs both at home in the Congo and abroad come in different chapters, different forms of organization, different fiefdoms, and in different schools of thought even.  If this were feudal Europe there would be kings, counts, knights and barons among the Sapeurs, all feuding, each have organized their own chapters, their own groups, with each chapter or group having its own beliefs on style for men and the meaning & essence thereof. 

We discover that Ben is the founder and creator of a SAPE school of style & thought which is called La Sapelogie de France; and Mr Matsanga is the President thereof.  Our meeting is in front of the Gare du Nord, Paris, outside on the terrace of a Brasserie called ‘1925’ (ambiance is everything and the twenties style interior decorations add to the conversation) and BDMOTP quickly learns the following in summary over coffee and soft drinks:

  • Each group of Sapeurs has a distinct code of style known only by the group
  • Each group has a distinct code of ethics known only by the group
  • Part of the code is knowing how to organize & select colors in dress for men, and no man should wear more than three different colors at once
  • Part of the code is knowing how to walk or stand or pose, in other words a man’s gait is highly important when it comes to style (this particular skill is called ‘diatance’ in local Congolese dialect)
  • Style, in men, is a spirit – ‘un état d’esprit’ in French – a mindset or state of mind in English
  • Teamwork is highly important in that when men go out together, they go out DRESSED as a TEAM – in complementary colors for instance – and NOT as individuals (take that hipsters)
  • Style & beauty are an expression of tolerance and freedom:  There is no better way to fight poverty, war, and misery than with beauty & style – ‘c’est une mission extrordinaire’ – a form of missionary zeal if you like
  • Most sapeurs or sapelogues, are known by their singular nicknames as if they were Brazilian footballers:  Gentleman (the one who speaks English), Terminator, 007 (aka James Bond), the King (le Roi), Destiny (Destin), Dandy, Majesty (Majesté), Colère, and the BDMOTP favorite who goes by the name of GPS, are some examples
  • A sapeur or sapelogue succeeds in his ‘métier’ (craft) when he successfully is able to create a persona – ‘un personnage’– and is able to integrate his persona into the team

In a closing question we still ask who would qualify in America to become part of an A-team of Sapeurs, and the answer is immediate and without hesitation:  Sean Combs ‘P Diddy’ Puff Daddy, of course, as the other one mentioned is ‘Lord’ Scott Disick.

Ghislain de Claize, Ambianceur aka as 007, or James Bond

Ghislain de Claize, Ambianceur aka as 007, or James Bond

In this brief notice, it’s truly an honor for BDMOTP to be able to present to you the Dandies of the Congo, and in particular the chapter we interviewed called les Sapelogues de Paris, and we would like to thank Ben Moukacha and Chardel Matsanga for a short but powerful interview hoping that perhaps we will be able to be back in October to do a more extensive (video) interview in Bordeaux during the semi-annual festival of the Sapeurs in France.

The most important thing we have learned today is – please take note – that style for men can be a force of life and a force for good, and has the power to change our world – by creating an ambiance of pleasure, beauty, and harmony for all.

With many thanks to our friends from the Congo, the Sapeurs!

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A still shot from the famous Guinness Sapeurs commercial

Voila an interview bonus:  A small pearl from the Code of the Sapelogues – the fourth commandment of Sapelogie – for you to ponder and reflect upon:

‘Les voies de la Sapelogie sont impénétrable a tous qui ne connaissent pas la règle de trois, la trilogie des couleurs achevees et inachevees (the ways of Sapelogy are impenetrable to all who don’t know the rule of three, the trilogy of colors attained and unattained).’ 

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Story & Interview by Sandro Joo.

Photos (including caption) from the collection of Ben Moukacha (except the lead and closing picture).

 

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“vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas”

The explosive French translation of the title of this capstone piece would read ‘Les Hommes en Dentelle’ and for anyone with even a faint or flawed knowledge of French it would be immediately clear that each and all connotations with what ‘dentelle’ stands for is normally always associated with that which what is universally known as being 100 % feminine. But not in this case, as BDMOTP boldly presents to you “Men in Lace”, a first collection by young Parisian créateur / designer Maxime Ephritikhine.

It has nothing to do with gender equality, or genderless-ness for that matter, that today, in 2014, men also CAN wear lace, and feel comfortable with sensuality, lightness, fairness, touch, and transparency–naye, it has something to do with vanity, and with the fact, that only vanity, can make a shallow man proud, an old man young again, and a dirty man feel clean. Such is the power of vanity, also in man, or especially in man perhaps, because rarely does man feel he was born with natural beauty!

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Soft you now, the fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remember’d.—

(Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1)

It was therefore a true discovery and a phantom delight when BDMOTP was privileged enough to attend a runway show outside the Louvre in Paris last month covering the graduation ceremony for one of Paris’ famous fashion schools – Mod’Art – and when by chance among a host of collections for women there was a single one being shown for men: The new and first collection of young designer Maxime Ephritikhine, his final graduation project walking the Paris runways.

And of course MEN IN LACE being a strange & bold idea to present to a global audience–which could only come from the cold and time worn streets of Paris, BDMOTP took the chance to interview this very promising ‘créateur’ and while asking for pictures of which you can here see and read the rather marvelous result.

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Our approach was to ask Maxime about his concept and his idea, so here is the creator’s statement on his first collection – a portrait of the artist in his very own words:

This first collection is theatrical ; it is an illustration of vanity. The clothes are part of the wardrobe of some baroque personalities who have lost everything. They roam in a very dark forest in the cold winter with what is left and what they used to have. They may have lost their influence and their wealth but something magnificent still remains in them, they have a theatrical attitude as if they didn’t want to let go of their rich past. It’s the translation of an opposition, of the vanity of life.

In this collection, garments are for the most part natural because this is a guarantee of a high level of quality and also because nature is one of the most important sources of inspiration. So it is important in a world where everything is going and moving so fast to keep something that reminds us where we are from and where we belong. Silk in many different aspects, cotton, wool, viscose are the main materials. For this collection Black and White are the main ‘colours’, they illustrate the conflicts, opposition and the ambiguity of the collection. On one side we have light and purity illustrated with multiples shades of white going from very optical, to ghost white, ivory and white smoke. On the other side we have shadows, the dark, roughness and dirt illustrated with many different shades of black like midnight black, licorice, onyx and jet.”

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On the runway Maxime’s work had something that reminded of ‘Games of Thrones’ and we asked him about it afterwards, and he confirmed the style of his collection to be one that belongs to a world of dreams, a realm of fantasy, to the abode of undifferentiated consciousness still – Ladies & Gentlemen: The Abode of MEN IN LACE.

A privilege of women, now made available for men!

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This is so very Game of Thrones

Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Leon Fernando and Xiafeng Wang.

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Image credit: Jonathan Saunders Facebook page

The rue de Lappe in Paris is very colorful and vibrant dirty old cobblestone street in the Bastille quarters near the Boulevard St Anthoine and therefore it was no surprise during this Paris fashion week to find hidden in the old alley’s darker interiors a showroom featuring the Scottish textile print master of the colors of the rainbow:  The marvellous collections of Jonathan Saunders.

Usually well featured in New York and London it was thus nice to be able to see the Jonathan Saunders AW14 collection in Paris during fashion week where normally you would only be able to find a product outlet for the grand brand at Printemps Haussman.

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Image Credit: Filippo Fior

Jonathan Saunders is well known for architectural style (called clean-form) colors printed on different textiles and indeed this the coming fall winter collection was more colorful than one would dare to imagine or hope in Paris where in winter almost everyone is only dressed in black or grey, or maybe brown. This type of collection would certainly perk up Parisian streets in winter should men only for once dare to wear more colors than women and buy Jonathan Saunders in addition to their collection of socks and underwear by Paul Smith.

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One could perhaps imagine the dark experiences of the créateur from the misty Scottish highlands turned around into blazing and various colors on the various ends of the spectrum so as to brighten short days – all produced and meted out in patterned and engineered pieces of prints on textile, so as to give form and content and meaning to gloomy days. The perfect measure for a dark and forboding winter to come if you want to brighten things up.

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For winter and fall 2014, thus, Jonathan Saunders brings us far from the Scottish highlands the light fantastic – the Aurora Borealis descending from above in multi-colors – and printed on your coat, your jacket your scarf, your sweater in mutliple checkered patterns, squares, lines, rectangles – and by golly why not – Coco Chanel windows.

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Image credit: Filippo Fior

Posted by Sandro Joo.

persol714SMlimitededition

SM stands, of course, for Steve MQueen who made this blue lens pair of shades instantly classic in the 1968 ONE-LINER classic movie The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Faye Dunaway and the man himself, who, as adventurous lovers often do in film, tries to pull off a heist and escape riding off into the sunset never to be seen or heard of again.  And to remain incognito, surely, and in good style, a good pair of shades will help as an indispensable accessory, because, as the script reads:

“We’re in this together.”

Steve McQueen wearing Folding P 714’s

Steve McQueen wearing Folding P 714’s

Persol (per il sole = for the sun), today owned by Luxottica, who also owns Ray Ban, and who today is the world’s numero uno maker of sunglasses, decided to bring back this sixties GEM in the form of a Limited Edition aptly called Steve McQueen geared for a contemporary audience and customized for today’s demanding global style-hungry hipster-proletariat – and also for YOU –, because admit it brother, we ALL want to look cool and handsome these days.

SONY DSC

And please take it from BDMOTP that right now no pair of sunglasses is better equipped for contemporary fast and exclusive living than the P 714 SM LE.  The blue shade of lens is exclusive and special, and the frame comes in classic Havana both tortoise and amber as well as black, but the feature with the “wow” factor which is not only highly impressive from a standpoint of technology but also from a practical perspective, is that this pair of sunglasses is FOLDABLE. It folds! It is a folding pair of sunglasses.  Yes, you read that right, it can be folded up, and nicely be put back into the in – or outside pocket of your dress jacket in a very small case, so that no one will ever know that just one minute before you were trying to go incognito.  It’s discrete, it’s clever, it’s cool, and it is grand in its conception.

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint trying to remain incognito in Hitchcock’s 1959 ‘North by Northwest’

Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint trying to remain incognito in Hitchcock’s 1959 ‘North by Northwest’

In fact, the 714 model is a more developed and evolved version of the famous Persol 649 S from a decade earlier in the fifties when it had originally been developed for tram drivers in Turin, Italy, protecting them from dust of sandy roads hitting their eyes.  The 714 is thus the foldable version (yes practical and handy) of the 649 and both these sets of magic sunglasses reached a larger public almost immediately since conception through the movies.

The 649 is created in 1957 and when Marcello Mastroianni wears them in Divorce Italian Style’by Pietro Germi from 1961, the name of this all-time classic accessory had already been made famous when Cary Grant desperately is trying to remain INCOGNITO on a train by wearing his sunglasses and by wearing them well and in style in Alfed Hitchcock’s North by Northwest from 1959. And so as any movie director without a stylist would know: One good pair of shades on one good actor at one right moment makes for a classic image!

Persol-714-Sunglasses-blue-lenses

And this is why perhaps the Folding P 714 Steve McQueen Limited Edition is not only brand-able by the name of an actor, but also by the name of a film itself: The Thomas Crown Affair Edition.

BDMOTP can do that exercise too!  Take very cool accessory from several decades ago and find film in which it first appears.  Come up with a new and improved customized version of same classic item. Chose well known charismatic actor who wears/wore item really well in film. Use both name of actor and name of film. For final touch, select classic one-liner or discourse by said actor in same film while wearing the item, and gently change key words.  Repeat, repeat again, then fade with image on smile of actor’s female counterpart (from The Thomas Crown Affair):

« Let’s start with the money. »

« Well I don’t have it. »

« But what would you do if you did ? »

++++++++++++++++++++++

« Let’s start with the shades. »

« Well I don’t have them. »

« But what would you do if you did ? »

Posted by Sandro Joo.

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