UNDER COVER — by Grace Christopolou

Silence is loud, now. Pure veritas blew away the essence of our words/moments/thoughts.

It’s the canvas portrait of a ghost. Still speaks softly, sometimes.


The last day we met Paris was cold and grey.

I wore my dress under layers of black wool – under cover charme.

All the mirrors love that dress, it looks like an avant-garde piece, but it’s not. My mother bought it for herself when I was twelve but she couldn’t manage to wear it, as she’s not the kind of woman who can wear it. She’s so sweet.

I waited patiently and then, when I turned seventeen, the time came for me to take it.

Black drapes engrave movements with drama. An early widow.

The last day we met I wore it with no respect.

I wore it with no reason, like a dogma.

Drawing the image you’ll keep of me – a pale figure/ a black dame/ a ink shadow under the grey sky.

The fabric was folded between us in our last embrace.


Now. Mirrors are asking for that dress again. I wear it like a perfume.

Fate will give me precious gifts tonight and I already chose my favourite one.

He feels my presence around him, somewhere. He holds his glass and I can read a subtle smile behind his face.

When he comes to me we both know.

Acting as the black dame, I don’t speak that much.

He says he loves my dress and I look away as he’s staring at my legs. Touching me with white fingers, he follows the paths I’ve been drawing for him.

He could never be more close that this.


I’d love to tell that I miss you. You were a perfume on my thoughts.

But there’s no absence. You’re standing there, somewhere, hating(?) pushing(?) judging(?) loving(?) ignoring(?).

You couldn’t dare to hold me the way you wanted to. And I couldn’t stop telling you about my lovers. 

It still takes a while for you to realize that a pure heart belongs to such a bitch.

You blame yourself, as I blamed you.

Under cover, hidden with black layers, truth is finally allowed to change its words.

For beauty’s sake, veritas has always a double face.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Tuesday 13 July 2010 at 12:04 PM · Permalink · Comments (0)

The Mentality of Reverse Running — by UNDERCOVER

Current ready-to-wear collections are primarily aimed at celebrities or fashion insiders. This fashion produced for the catwalk only lives in the magazines, it is totally detached from reality. This ‘unreal’ system is sustained by the fashion and marketing industry. On the other side mass-produced and cheap clothes now determine fashion trends. But is there any passion embedded in this soulless mass production of cheap garments? Promotion and marketing consume most of the money the sales of these clothes generate. Ordinary consumers are attracted to fast fashionchain stores and even form long queues outside them. Money has become the new authority, this is the new trend. Everything has become associated to money. Is this what fashion is ultimately about? What role does fashion or design play in this scenario? The reason why we at UnderCover like to pursue fashion is because we believe that fashion enriches our daily lives. Although our clothes may not be the one, they are still properly designed. We try to embed love and passion into every single item we design and produce. This is our style. It would be great if more consumers would support our philosophy of this. Our aim is to build a community of like minded people who strive with us towards a different reality where the true values of fashion matter again. Last collection’s theme was Less But Better. With our current collection we continue this philosophy whilst at the same time extending it by integrating issues of daily life. We call it UnderCover.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Tuesday 13 July 2010 at 12:03 PM · Permalink · Comments (0)

A Lament for Lost Time — by Manon Ötvös

I feel like The Marschallin, who looks into the mirror and beholds, with the most fervent of melancholy eyes, time trickle down her face. And there in this posture she is overcome with terror, and wonders in an agonizing whisper, “To where has little Resi left? I don’t see her here any longer.”

She is gone. This wide-eyed little girl that once stood in her place, she has evaporated into an aching wisp of loss, indistinguishable among the grey of history that lilts beside us. How terrible it is! That the more one tries to hold dear, the more her face twists, bends, becomes even more swiftly something insubstantial. To reach and to grab so vehemently, only to find that you destroy through distortion everything you touch, this fills the chest with the most unbearably potent of agitation.

Oh, how every dark and chokingly ink-purple turn of my spirit has been forced to ache on behalf of this irretrievability! How it impudently mourns and sobs for the loss of little Resi. How she has vanished without even being granted the entitlement to a solidly black death! A possessed white ostrich plume stands on the dresser. With the noblest sadness, The Marschallin adorns her coif with the regal feather.

These clocks, these wretched demons; just as we cast our adoringly fright-filled gaze upon them, they disintegrate and warp into all that they’re surrounded with. No matter how stoic, how eternally metronomic they persist, they seem to dissolve like burning crepe paper into thin air, curling and shrinking morbidly into themselves.
I only wish I could blame these revolting and perturbed entities. I am eternally indebted to helplessness and tireless, ceaseless guilt; because it’s the intrinsic nature of existence itself that I myself must uninterruptedly manufacture and release these ghosts into abstraction.
The immortality of these residues, this disturbs with the greatest terror of all.

Fleeting. Irreversible.

This looking glass is covered in the fingerprints of a girl that no longer exists. Even as The Marschallin, seated poised and wild-eyed at her vanity, perceives her momentary self before her very own eyes; everything vanishes in that same instant – for every solitary moment of the present has already met its death in the process of becoming.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Wednesday 16 June 2010 at 03:41 PM · Permalink · Comments (0)

Boys Beware — by Chloe Is My Alias

There is no such thing as a total wash. Even the most obviously pathetic night can take a sudden turn for the best if you have the right attitude. Luckily, attitude is something I’m never short on. 

It’s a general rule of mine to steer clear of little boys. But every now and then, someone catches my fancy and I get blindsided. I met Hot 20-Something Guy poolside at Soho House. It must have been his tortoise-shell Persol sunglasses that made me give him my number so willingly. After a week of his cryptic Hot 20-Something Guy texts, he finally figured out how to properly invite me for a drink.

Soho House was packed. As the elevator door slid open, the heat and the music hit me hard. I made my way through the throng of beautiful people out onto the roof deck, where Hot 20-Something Guy was waiting. We stood near the edge of the pool, the Manhattan skyline glistening in the background. Hot 20-Something Guy was getting less hot by the second; making small talk, taking long sips of his drink without offering to buy me one.

Taking the evening into my own hands, I headed for the bar. As I passed through the thickening crowd, I bumped into my former boss – the CEO of a prominent high fashion label. Immaculately dressed in his signature dark denim, white button-down and blazer, he kissed my cheek (proper Brit that he was) and insisted on buying my drink.

I returned to find Hot 20-Something Guy surrounded by a group of friends. After making cursory introductions, he charmingly announced that he was going in search of beer. I chatted up his very unstylish girlfriends (apparently some people still wear giant hoop earrings in earnest) in between deep drags on my Marlboro Light. A camera flashed as someone snapped my photo; I could not believe I’d donned my vintage Chanel navy matte sequined dress for this.

Just as I was about to call it a night, another attractive 20-something guy approached. A friend of Hot 20-Something Guy, this specimen was actually far cuter. Let’s call him Media Guy.

We sat on the plush couches and I couldn’t help but notice our knees gently touching as we talked. Hot 20-Something Guy was nowhere in sight – much to my relief. I placed my hand on Media Guy’s thigh while smiling and gently biting my lower lip. The conversation turned heated; I could tell he was aching to get me home, aching to slide the silk straps of my dress off my shoulders. He invited me back to his place for a nightcap; I couldn’t wait to see what he had in mind.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Tuesday 08 June 2010 at 09:58 PM · Permalink · Comments (1)

An excerpt from NAIVE — a NOVEL by Navo

    I called a male model in my office to show him an email Bruce sent me. I couldn’t forward this email so I had to call him in, for interrogation: “Can you explain this, Cory?” I asked as I moved the monitor towards him. "Bruce told me you would've booked GQ Germany if you cooperated with his artistic endeavors." Cory scratched his head looking embarrassed and upset. "Can you tell me what happened?" I asked, while reaching for the keypad to change my status on Facebook. Cory started explaining. I wasn't really paying him too much attention, but once in a while I looked at him to suggest interest. This is not the first time something like this has happened and I know exactly how to deal with a boy like him in a situation like this. I’ve heard hundreds of stories about Bruce and straight white male models saying the same things about him. Cory replied, "I was completely naked and Mr. Weiner was snapping away. He told me to close my eyes, and so I did. He came closer to me and started whispering weird stuff in my ears… like “feel the air from my mouth” and other stuff. His breath stank and he smelled like an old man who smokes too much! All of a sudden, he groped me and told me to kiss him on the lips so I could book the GQ Germany cover." Hmmm… I stopped trolling for potential male models on Facebook and looked at him, making an effort to show concern. "Well, what did you say to him?" I asked. Cory’s face registered surprise at the fact that I did not react shockingly. "Well I grabbed my clothes and walked out. I really wanted to punch him in the face, but I decide not to," said the 18-year old male model from Alabama. He had a pleading look on his face almost begging me to be his best friend and save him from this situation. "Well Cory, are you sure of what you’re saying? Are you accusing Bruce Weiner of sexual harassment?" With that, Cory's face suddenly drained of color and he slumped down on the couch beside my desk. "OK let me handle this," I went back typing away and emailed Bruce a short reply saying:

Dear Mr. Weiner,
With all due respect regarding Cory not cooperating. Would it be possible that he is straight? Could there have been any other reason for him to be uncomfortable?

Best Regards,
Jason Canner


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Tuesday 08 June 2010 at 06:43 PM · Permalink · Comments (0)

When I Met the Woman Who Was Wearing the Night Before — by Brooke Taylor Aganovich

    ‘Hairport Lounge’. That's what the sign says, ‘Hairport Lounge’. The red letters on the poster entice, ‘Meet your loved ones with a new cut for only 14.99’. I don't know when my flight is but as long as this plastic bag is around my neck I don't need to worry. I keep taking it off. It makes me public property. Every time one of the pencil ladies walks past with those scarves that no one wears outside an airport, they clickety-click over to me and pick up the plastic envelope from the seat where I've put it and place it back around my neck tut-tutting, then they look at the card and look at their watch, as though taking my pulse, and move along. It says ‘Unaccompanied Minor’ on the plastic and the edge of the strap cuts into my neck. I don't want everyone knowing I'm an unaccompanied minor. The other children with their parents look at me as though I'm deformed. The free coloured crayons that come with the pack break when I try and draw.
    I take out a book I stole from my aunt, an airport book, an airport lounge book, but it's a seventies airport lounge book, an Asian invasion intrigue book, full of words like ‘ninja’, ‘shuriken’ and ‘gaijin’, not a nineties cyberpunk intrigue book. If I put the book on its back I can see where all the good bits are. It saves time. Page 32, Agent Takashi gives General Onegin a blow job at his villa in the Crimea to get secrets about the new nuclear airplane. She knows what she's doing, she's been trained. Because apparently when men are having sex they can't help talking about work, particularly the things they're not meant to talk about. So General Onegin mumbles a lot of secret codes while he's holding Agent Takashi's ears, along with the name of his ex-wife. I can feel my knob go stiff. But that all changes when I suddenly think of my aunt.

    Her house is like a museum, a homage to the seventies. Nothing has changed in there since her last husband died in 1978. Even her clothes and her dark glasses are the same. The glasses are worth seeing; these huge Pierre Cardin purple things with lenses the size and shape of television screens. Every time I'm sent to stay with her she gives me this cunning, in-the-know, smile and says “you know Isak I don't worry because the way fashion works these days I'm due to be very hip again anytime soon.” It's her lawyer that told her this, her only friend, but even he's on a payroll. I never say anything  but with an ass that could plug the hole in the ozone layer and a nose gone red from too much Lambrusco she shouldn't hold her breath. The only thing hip about her is her record collection and that only because she bought them when she was still capable of love, before her first husband fell off a speed boat in Hong Kong harbour and drowned. I'm allowed to look at them but not to touch which is sort of silly since I've been stealing them in two's and three's for several years now; first edition Rolling Stones and Hendrix. She says all that music is too loud and jumpy. There's writing on every record cover; ‘Can't wait to listen to this with you...’, ‘For ever baby...’, ‘Check this out, I cried and thought of you…’. All I'm allowed to play is Sade, Phil Collins and Julio Iglesias and really low too.
    She lives in un-musical world, and that's why she doesn't like me. I move like the notes of a sitar. There is a slight panic in her eyes when she watches me move around the apartment which I wouldn't call a home. It's more like a pyramid where everything has been displayed in preparation for the afterlife. If our civilisation was suddenly hiroshima'd and her apartment was preserved, by fallout future civilisations would think we embalmed our dead in tie-dye silk with lava lamps and lots of curved white furniture, “for traversing the heavens”;
    “—and the great big purple square eye lenses, professor?”
    “No doubt in anticipation of seeing the Divine Light, the Celestial Bodies....”

    And so she's careful when I'm there. As if, in each of my movements, sound has already broken everything. The phrase “don't touch that Isak” hangs from her lips like a nicotine tattoo ready to fall off at any moment. I don't blame her because once I apparently did try and break everything. It's one of those family stories that I was too young to remember. Left alone in the apartment for a few minutes I got bored, so the story goes, and took an American football out of the closet and started to kick it all over the place like I was a two legged flipper on a pinball machine. I couldn't have broken that much because the place is still stuffed, unless as Plato insists, everything in this world is a copy taken from the ideal, and my aunt, bless her discretion, has a catalog of the infinite from which she can order replacements. But anyway, the story goes that when they found me I was hysterical, just laughing all crazy like and scoring field goals all over the place. The doctor was called and they gave me a shot.
    So I suppose she has some reason to be nervous, especially since, knowing I like music she must find it curious that I will often not bother playing the music she likes. I prefer to attend the music of silence than confirm the world with Phil Collins. Wouldn't you, in a house where the sofa has a plastic cover on it? “Easier to clean,” she says. But when you sit on it it makes this terrible crunching sound. I don't think my aunt hears it though it scares the hell out of me. I can't help it, I always think of a dancing skeleton, the crunchiness being the sound his bones make when they touch.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Thursday 20 May 2010 at 01:08 PM · Permalink · Comments (0)

Paris Epic, Epic Paris — by Kate Grasso

Sometimes a sentence can be understood only if it is read at the right tempo. (Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, p.57)

spending most of our time seeing to be seen;
seen to be scene-ing
but are we audacious?
are we
with our naked eyes, lewd
filthy naked
are we
we are

terrasse-ing for the sake of terrasse-ing
is not terrasse-ing
at all

(they could talk, then agree with themselves.)

stuck in dainty glooms
may we be,
maybe we
may we

visually arresting,
and may we be guilty,
and susceptible to contagions
(hey-uh, if she came into the room every man's prick would hit the ceiling)
melange it up
pitter patter pitter POP
burn it burn it burn it HOT
quel ancestral phobia is this?
  spending most of our time
are we
may we
affect the effect of ____

and a very limited mot-palette we have,
have we

we, we have,
so we,
we, we,

I am:
offended by sad-jeaned whores.

 the new idealists manifesto: things are looking up
the stopwatch in the spotlight; tick tick STOP
(not even a demoted ally in this city can't
find a complement or at least a witness
at least a witness
not trilling

and I'm somewhat ambiguous)
and this thrashing this pushing paris i'm so tired now
bear witness, you
yes, you- at least bear that

can I say something true here? true
say it
there is something about the way people articulate themselves on parisian streets
that floods out reality.  that supersedes the usual walkway current:
not just people going, or coming, arriving or departing,
 but people expectant of
a significant and valuable interruption.

Legs scissor and feet point and angle themselves as if perpetually perched over one inch of sky.
Floating, flow.

 Everyone nurses a break-out plan.

  it's just
I want collaboration

I want to be a witness to composition, COMPOSITION

of it
perpetually ex post facto

and blowing out the words, smiles which bloom

into the riotous lights of Paris!; It's A Kind Of Death.

I was not born a paris-darling.

" 'Good things are being said and publishers' hopes are high,' he wrote Albert Murray in February, two months before publication, ' but I'm playing it cool with my stomach pitching a bitch and my dream life most embarrassing.' "
intro, Invisible Man

Author! Author!
I am a sponge, mid-soak.
Introduce yourself:


self-consciousness: a gait bow-legged enough to be mistaken for walking in a constant stream of apologetic curtsies



a morning, magnetic. a call-and-response.
and the whole morning was blown! wide! open!


erotica, from the stamen onwards, virtuosos of petalruption

(ylang! ylang, POP!)

be still now, we're almost done.
here is a moment of silence in between, a sort of palette cleanser for the non-food digestibles of a day



One fine February day I was paris-ing
and smoke, ing
in the office courtyard
and the air
was marshy and mild,

Suddenly! Seagulls!


Paris, a winter


how to: optimistic urbanity, or, the OPTIC POP!

sadly, my skin's got a shitty cost-per-wear complex, so trompe l'oeil everyone, trompe the l-o-e-i-l
Main Entry: creation
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: all living things
Synonyms: cosmos, life, living world, macrocosm, macrocosmos, megacosm, nature, totality, universe, world
Antonyms: death

stretched past capacity, unable to bear
at war, at war
with more than you: I
but with the sleepy female I.D and its complimentary body response,
the organic habit
surrender-burn desire
This is what I revoke when I raise rigid
Tremendous! in culpability, responsibility
and I allow lobe-divide, and negate spaces-inbetween

I am going to show you something.
very ugly, with the prudence afforded to:
an answer to sincerity theft
In violence ripped above human love domains
no romance but red red roped
everything, anything, is sour in motion

How do I begin? Probably not like that, but there it is and well, here we are, begun. I'm stuck on a loop, cyberspace comrades, I'm stuck on a strange, wailing technicolor time loop and things keep cycling back at me in new disguises, just different enough to keep my eyes in perpetual half-tic. Clever ones, but I am cleverer. The Eagles Hotel California sung by the thai man on Ko Chang, everything's slightly off color and off note and it is perfect, divine, how it was supposed to be sung all along then the couple next to me on the metro, the ups and downs of this sing song fran fucking cais. Toujours etrangere and an etrangere toujours. The steps along this route which follow one another automaton style alternately weigh me down like a bag of bricks. Clunk clunk pavement. Everything and anything equal parts simple and complex. Yes, no, right, wrong, it did, it didn't, it will, it won't. I get this, I don't. I can, I can’t.

(some consequences are quiet)

(quiet and carnivorous)

This just poses a slew of questions, doesn't it? Uproots a whole closetful of guilt about the crime of intellectual adaptation?

adaptation in general

So here we are Sunday, we're intellectually adapting. bringing back some concepts into life alive living.
amplifying quiet consequences.

parislife began.
Nominate a question to peel off the answer,
seasonless fruit
speak full of
the ripeness of
The Seine As My The River Styx.

paris est situe a 48 degres de latitude nord, et ici

sunlight so bright it burns out the world to a film noir; yes, yes sir,
this is Godard's Paris, again, and LOUDER! GODARD’S PARIS

we all have eyes for
subject to
CLUSTER phobia!

THIS was A Journey not measured in miles,
but in patience.
did i touch you? did I heal,


because the Art of Storytelling
is only

the telling and tellings in between
of the


what I pray about when I not-pray into sidewalk store-windows;

to be, just for a moment:
speaking as an act of bursting with a MIND, MINDS in the state of
with another, a-hum with grey matter back and forths,
noticing not noticing the unnatural attention to fingers on tables or
eyes on the nothings
to write with a hand floating and carefree, or tortured enough to take those sharp turns
eyes mind or brain
and we will chime-chime chime chariot frenzy,
and we will un-close and
decide existence as a pre-frontal fix
(where are you?)

That is the hum of a human train,
coucou, these
vernal migratory movements,
this is longing, this is the Artfully Waning Eye
this is the pitch of tenderness at a low hum, whir
and a machine man click whir broke and out came decay
oops, silly, rot
either the insatiable flatness of this city
either the personal decry 'fatigue!'
either or not




(Unfortunately, Paradise Was Beautiful.)

paradise we are, to paradise returning

there is a slow emerging theme;
one I console,
It is

always strange, always home

paradise we are, to paradise returning

Always Strange, Always Home



Proposed by Dandyakuza on Wednesday 19 May 2010 at 10:44 AM · Permalink · Comments (1)

The Boy Who Wore His Heart on His Sleeve — by Susannah Breslin

She had been waiting forever, it seemed, for a boy like this one, who wore his heart on his sleeve. Now, here he was, sitting across from her in this dimly lit restaurant, his arm on the table. The exposed, bloody organ was attached to his sleeve with what appeared to be a safety pin. Across the table, he was looking at her expectantly, his head cocked slightly to the left, like a dog listening for a sound only he could hear, the right side of his mouth pulling up slightly, as if he was unsure what she was thinking. Judging by the tangle of threads unraveling around the gaping hole in his blue sweater where his heart should have been, he had carved himself open to retrieve it. On his sleeve, the heart was shaking and shuddering, straining against the pin’s grasp. They had found each other on an online dating site three days previous and met for the first time 17 minutes ago. Now, here he was, looking eager and hopeful, and it was up to her to figure out what was she supposed to do next. She looked at the boy uncertainly and tried to hurry up and decide what she was going to do about this boy and his still-beating heart before the angry waitress returned and demanded to take their order. Is it too late? she said. The boy’s face dropped. Late? he said. Too late to put it back? She nodded her head at the heart. Oh, the boy said, looking down at it. Slowly, the blood was seeping into his napkin. Soon, it would spill off the table and pool on the floor, making a mess. I don’t know, he said. The boy had no idea if he could singlehandedly un-pin his heart, stuff it back into his chest, and darn up the sweater in such a way that no one would ever know that he had stood in his kitchen in the fading light and removed his heart from his chest with a serrated steak knife, all for a woman whom he had yet to meet, a glowing collection of pixels that was her smiling out at him from the computer screen. It was too late to pull his arm off the table and put it in his lap. She would know what he was doing, and he would bleed all over his trousers. From somewhere behind him, he could hear the hard clanging of pots in the kitchen, the frantic barking of the chef, the buzz of other couples in love cooing at one another in the candlelight. Shit, he said, under his breath but loud enough that the girl would hear it. All of a sudden, he decided he had had enough. He reached over with his left hand and unfastened the safety pin holding his heart to his sleeve. Here, he said, taking his heart in his right hand. Standing up slightly, he leaned across the table and deposited the heart on the plate in front of the girl sitting across from him. The girl poked at the heart with her fork. Interesting, she said, sounding like a forensic pathologist. He had no idea what she meant by that, but he knew at that moment that if she would continue saying things like this while stabbing at his heart with the tiny tines of the silver fork in her hand, he could be with her and stay happy forever. In that moment, it seemed anything was possible.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Saturday 08 May 2010 at 08:18 PM · Permalink · Comments (5)

Ralph Rucci — By Alexander Aubry

As a fashion writer and editor I often wonder how detached the fashion world has become in terms of connecting to people. Not just with consumers, but with designers, assistants, editors, publicists and a multitude of individuals who make up this complex (though often misunderstood) business. A designer after all is a human being (no matter how famous). Yet it is easy to become detached in an era when editors have become brands, anonymous bloggers are increasingly shaping public opinion and designers are broadcasting their shows in real time across the web.

Weeks before the Fall 2010 collections in New York, I received an intriguing invitation from Ralph Rucci. That season, the designer had decided to shift his show away from the tents in Bryant Park to his Soho studio. At a time when fashion shows resemble Broadway productions or are going digital altogether, Rucci’s intimate version of a 21st century salon presentation could be considered subversive.

Models walked inches away from a tightly packed audience of faithful customers (Deeda Blair,  Joy Bianchi), industry heavy weights (Cathy Horyn of the NY Times, Vogue’s Hamish Bowles), and the unexpected celebrities (Patti Smith), all sandwiched between the designer’s friends and family. So close were the girls that guests could hear the swish of a skirt or the rustle of feathers on a jacket as they walked by (slowly).

The big rub of course was that I couldn’t make it to his show due to scheduling conflicts in Chicago. But when I emailed Rucci to let him know I wouldn’t be able to attend, the unexpected happened… he asked me to stop by his studio two days later to walk me through the entire collection from start to exit.

That a designer of his caliber would take the time out of his busy day (and a weekend no less) to open his door to someone who is relatively new to this business was mind boggling to me. But this is a man who actually loves his craft so much that it seeps through his every pore. Unlike some designers who fumble through interviews or speak obscurely about inspirations, I’ve never encountered anyone as articulate as he. He is able to bring the craft of dressmaking to life, and is so open about sharing that enthusiasm with those who appreciate what he does.

When I arrived at his studio the floor was still covered in the same watery vinyl used for his show. The entire collection hung along racks in the order in which they had appeared on the runway. He held each one from its hanger and explained the materials and construction; turning them inside out. There were wool jersey dresses that had been tucked, pleated, rusched and then applied with frayed pieces of taffeta to evoke smashed computer chips; reflecting craft and technology merging together, but in a very subtle way. There was a jacket composed of three layers of tulle that had pieces of cashmere nestled in-between.

One mind boggling stunner was a fur coat made from pieces of black-dyed sable that had been cut on the bias and then meticulously stitched between 3” woven strips of horse hair. (When was the last time you heard of a designer employing horse hair?) It was the lightest fur coat I had ever held in my hands; the strips of fur appeared to float on the body when worn.

The technique that generated that particular coat or any of the aforementioned pieces, took years of trail and error in order to achieve those affects. We’re always talking about modern dressing, and I think that notion sometimes gets confused with trends or the kind of over-styling that one sees at shows. But modernity today is also about a sense of ease and versatility in dressing. Similar to a designer like Alaia who is constantly refining ideas and techniques, what’s refreshing about Rucci’s clothes is that you want to luxuriate in them, not necessarily make a fashion statement one season and then throw them away. These are clothes to live in (and be pleasantly surprised).

That is one of the things I appreciate about Ralph, this couture savoir-faire that comes naturally to him. He knows of all the great Paris couture workshops and legendary Swiss fabric manufacturers such as Abraham (many of whom are no longer in existence). Towards the end of the rack he lifted a dress made out of what appeared to be knotted and rusched chiffon that created a tiered ruffle effect. Rucci explained it was actually done by a Paris embroiderer.

As he continued to pull pieces off the rack, it occurred to me that there wasn’t a single fabric, detail or feather that hadn’t been touched by human hands. I asked him how he could possibly call this ready-to-wear when it was at a couture level. He just smiled and confidently said “this is ready-to-wear, this isn’t couture it is a New Beginning."

When I visited Ralph’s atelier I got a strong sense of what the garment district must have been like at one point in time. His entire collection is literally produced in house, down to the last feather applied to a diaphanous evening gown. In this case it’s the garment district under one roof, yet it’s also a family composed of people who have been with him since the beginning. These include some very talented Russian seamstresses who head his different ateliers (for both tailoring and dressmaking, though I believe he has two that specialize in flou).

When I used to research couture houses, it wasn’t just the clothes that fascinated me, but the culture that surrounded such places and the people they attracted. It was an important element of the creative process and one could argue an essential part of a house’s heritage and DNA. You look at the house St. Laurent built with its mix of artists and muses from Paloma Picasso, to Lou Lou de la Falaise, Betty Catroux and even Zizi Jamaire and you’re instantly transported to another era. Ralph is no different in the sense that he’s incredibly cultivated when it comes to art and culture (both high and low) and you notice that in the people he surrounds himself with.

One of my favorite moments at his studio was when he pulled a streamlined caftan off the rack that he had designed specifically for his long time friend Elsa Peretti and decided to include in his fall line up. I love the fact there is a sort of history and emotional connection to his clothes (something that’s lacking in many ways today). Peretti and Ralph do share a lot in common in terms of design sensibilities, one that strives to be timeless and modern. (In his office one will find the famous portrait of Peretti in Play Boy bunny ears taken by Helmut Newton).

All of this is important to consider because fashion seems to be going through a period of much soul searching; one that not only includes notions of craft but also how to make an emotional (and human) connection through design. As I got onto the freight elevator after my visit, he gave me the kindest words of encouragement; something I will never forget.

A day later I went to the Cooper Hewitt Museum to see an exhibit titled “Design USA: Contemporary Innovation,”  which features outstanding examples of contemporary American architecture, landscape design, interior design, product design, communication design and fashion. Amongst this roster of talented individuals Rucci was one of a handful of fashion designers to have made the cut.

It hit me at that moment, as we sit here trying to define what luxury and modern fashion should be, maybe at the end of the day it’s not so much about labels, as it is about the actual act of creating and fabricating it. It’s the process of creation that may be the true measure of what modern fashion means today.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Friday 07 May 2010 at 01:44 AM · Permalink · Comments (1)

Vintage Vixen — by Mara Zampariolo

- PART 1/


Today I modeled for Baptiste Viry's SS 2010 lookbook. Baptiste is talented, French, dark and tall. And no, he's not even gay.

I've only realized this by the fifth meeting, making a huge ass of myself in front of the client (him).

He designs mens accessories for women, so he picked a boyish looking model to pose for him. He eventually realized my biceps looked trannylicious on film, so he's asked the photographer to airbrush the shit outta me.

I totally dig the result.

Baptiste's work has been featured on ELLE and other magazines, and I was lucky enough to get paid to wear his stuff while tossing half naked on the floor, as the photographer gently rubbed dust on my face.

- PART 2/


The Top Models from the Nineties are back. Claudia is back; Eva is back; Helena is back; Naomi, like herpes, just won't go away.

Back in the Nineties, I was no top model, but you know what?

I remember my tragic first steps in the modeling industry, and I might as well share these with you, if you don't mind.

I was 16 in 1996 (I'll spare you the maths: I'm 30 now), and my mother invited a friend over for dinner. A  fashion photographer, Giorgio. He was dark, tall, and not even gay. And he was the first man besides my father to tell me that I looked hot.

How could I forget?

I reached my final height at age 12 (5' 8,5" /1,75 mt.), but my feet decided to grow faster; at the time when usually girls borrow their mother's pumps and look all cute because they cannot walk in them, I could actually borrow my uncle's shoes, and go hiking.

My mother didn't wear heels anyway, but she looked amazing.

I remember the look on the face of men when she'd enter a room. An all-Italian beauty with long, black, curly hair and hazelnut eyes, whose delicate features were covered in freckles, and whose voluptuous body gave the shape of an hourglass to any potato sack she'd wear.

As for me, I'd give the shape of a potato sack to anything she'd buy me.

The worst part is, she'd purchase mini-me versions of her own wardrobe, so I got to see exactly how much worse I made anything she owned look.

I asked her one day: "Mom? Why does this skirt look all droopy on me?" She looked past her book and she just whispered softly "'Because you have no hips, sweet pie."

I tried to make my hips fuller by pulling them apart with my bare hands.

Despite doing so, the largest part of my body were still my knees.

Back then, I looked like a homeless person for as long as I can remember.

My mother would buy me clothes that were too big for me "So you get to wear them longer," and I'd wear the same pair of pants until it got so short I looked like Pinocchio.

She used to braid my hair, and it actually looked cute for an hour or so. Then my thin hair would turn into a gipsy-esque do, which would have been the perfect look for asking random people for their spare change.

If I got to sleep at my fathers', he wouldn't undo my braids, so the following day I'd just go back to school with the same hairdo. My teacher gave me a comb one day.

She probably thought my parents couldn't afford one.

Then, one day in the summer of 1996, Giorgio said that I should start modeling.

Everyone laughed their heads off.

The following day, mother took me to an agency in Milan.

At Riccardo Gay, they got me waiting amongst heavenly creatures that were talking on their cell phone—which weighted more than themselves by then—looking glamorously bored.

I tried to emulate them.

I knew for sure how to look bored—hours of Latin verbs conjugation became suddenly of some use—but I couldn't grasp the fashion in it.

Pouting while applying lipstick, while crossing and un-crossing long legs, while whining on the phone, whilewhile pointing at a picture... I've never been that multitasking, so I just sank in the sofa and tried my best to look glamorously bored until a gay, tanorexic guy came to pick me up and bring me into a dark room.

Next thing I knew, he was measuring my ass with a tailor's  tape. He told my mom that I had to lose weight on my hips and buttock, if I ever wanted to start modeling.

flipping through a gossip magazine, So it turns out my hips did grow somewhere between age 12 and 16, and  I wish I knew the darn day they hit the right size, 'cuz there must have been one, right?!

- PART 3/


To make a long story short, I lost some weight and got myself an agency in Milan. My main booker was Ricciarda, an old, skinny lady whose only gods were Skinny, Skinnier and She Should Start Smoking, She'd Lose Some Weight.

She'd only eat bread-crumbs at lunch, so the girls nick named her Roach-arda.

The other booker was Gandhi, a gay guy who'd show us videos of top models to teach us the catwalk. He'd always fast-forward on Claudia Schiffers' part, because she walked like....

- "... a drunken milkmaid at the Oktoberfest."

- "... The Mafia's given her some concrete shoes."

- "... the runway is covered in ants, and she bet with Naomi she can crush'em all."

- "... Catwalk is actually intended for cats."

My modeling career never took off for a few different reasons, and by a few different reasons I mean I invested on a degree instead of a nosejob.

Thirteen years later I am indeed a PhD, my nose grew bigger (but that doesn't cost a penny) and I keep getting modeling jobs out of nowhere!

Back in 1998 nobody saw avant-garde when looking at me, but a chick with deep inset eyes, broad shoulders and an Italian nose.

In 2010 I still have the same face, and on top of this I am kinda old BUT NOW with a half shaved skull and a pair of studded Docs I have unique features, my body is androgynous and f**ck it, let's just face it: my nose will keep growing until I pass.

Nevertheless, I am now getting paid to wear Margiela's!

I'm currently wearing their latest runway collection, which includes 100% latex blouses, floating waistline pants, wolf fur coats and other amenities, and I intend to write a post on the life of us girls at the showroom.

They have a tradition of wild casting, and by wild casting I mean picking up from the street trannies, rockstars, punks and half-eaten bags of Cheesy Poofs.

But most of us are just punks.


Proposed by Dandyakuza on Wednesday 05 May 2010 at 02:34 AM · Permalink · Comments (0)