Friday, 3 July 2009

The Fierce Couple of Fashion

Giorgio Armani unveils their Autumn 2009-2010 collection with bravura images of David and Victoria Beckham.
David looking perfect as usual.

Victoria looking like she's giving Gisele a run for her money.

I love her hair and the eyes, and the heavily airbrushed skin.

What's next, a family portrait?


The Arab World: Fashion's last Frontier?

Tuesday the 29th of June, featured a back to back blog extravaganza catching up on the recent men's fashion show in Paris and how it has been strongly influenced by Arab style. Stefano Tonchi narrated on how todays generation is bombarded with news of daily events and happenings in Kabul and Baghdad. On the other hand THE Suzy Menkes writes about the romanticism of the Orient, Paris' love affair with the East and Galliano's shot of fashion bolt. Two blogs, one theme: men's fashion is Eastbound.

But is it just men's fashion that is being swept away to the Orient or is it the global economic slump that drive today's generation of designers to go East where the oil keeps flowing and the money doesn't stop pouring? Amidst current recession, Dubai is still chic and Saudi is never volatile. Is the Arab world fashion's last frontier?

Everyday, more and more high fashion brands and luxury goods store are opening their flagship stores in the Middle East specially in one particular country whose reputation as the new spending destination is as hot as its weather—Saudi Arabia. In 2008 H&M opened their first store in the country introducing a unique shopping experience perfect for such a very defined and strict culture: the “Women Only” section. Saks Fifth Avenue on the other hand, followed their success in Saudi by opening their second store in Jeddah last January--- their fifth biggest store in the whole of the Middle East. In April, Italian powerhouse Versace opened their flagship store in the same country followed by Stella Mcartney in May.

As Saudi continues to attract big fashion brands, more money is being pumped up to boost more investments and combat possible adversity of the credit crunch. Last month,, the world leading Arab portal reported on Bahrain's Investcorp 's (ex-investors of Gucci and Tiffany's ) plan “to buy stakes in home-grown Middle Eastern luxury goods companies as part of a wider plan to invest $650 million in the region in the next two years”.

Six hundred fifty million dollars! We could only hope this project will be an utmost success. And I am sure it will be. Middle East is an ocean teeming with fish and the designers are willing to thread sequined nets to catch as much as possible. Who wouldn't anyway? In a land where spending is a national pastime, I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of Princess Maha al-Sudairi's out there who would spend 15 million pounds for luxury undergarments ( and seek diplomatic asylum in Paris to flee her unpaid bills. Note: Paris as a place of exile for a shopaholic? Are you taking the piss?)

Anyway, moving on to the Orient, No one knows if the Paris' Fashion week is a faithful ode to the beauty and exoticism of Eastern culture and style or just a plain act of ass-licking to the a specific target market whose cashflow doesn't seem to end. After Christian Lacroix's bankruptcy earlier this year, designers are keeping their eyes open for million ways than one not to suffer the same tragedy. (Is till love you Mr. Lacroix even if you're skint.)

What happens to fashion if the economic crisis continues to suck us into a vortex of nothingness? Do we move with this Easterly wind? Would the Burka be the next couture? (President Sarkozy says no).

Shall President Obama turn things around , make a miracle and save us all from the pitfalls of global economic hell, will Givenchy pay him a homage and come up with an entire collection influenced by the Luoan tribe of Kenya?

Only the star that lead the 3 kings to Bethlehem knows.


Monday, 29 June 2009

The Bruno wears De La Prada

A fashion conscious future starts now and the signs are very clear. Soon enough, the world will breathe and live fashion. People will have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and I am not complaining. On the contrary, I am looking forward to a generation where Prada is President and Louboutins are the new flip flops.

Yesterday, I was checking out Youtube for Bruno trailer and stumbled upon the video of his infamous gatecrashing at Agatha Ruiz de la Prada's in 2008 Milan Fashion Week. I checked the commentaries and surprised to know that someone thought Bruno's outfit was similar to Galliano's Les Incroyables collection. Fantastico I thought. Signs of the times: Regular people who can see a fashion sense and depth even in the most conspicuous situations. I'm sure somewhere out there, a Michael Jackson fan cries not of loss of an icon but because his iconic sequined gloves will never be in vogue again.

So I digress. Now let's go back to Bruno and the havoc he created at Miss de la Prada's show. We can watch it fully, July 10 when BRUNO hits the theaters everywhere. Sidebar, it was a fact that Miss De La Prada lost her temper (who wouldn't anyway) when it happened and as the rest of us know, BRUNO was arrested by the Italian police, detained, blah , blah, blah.

Now, you might be wondering: Who on heavens is Agatha Ruiz de La Prada? Is she anyway related to THE Muccia Prada? What's her clothes like? If the Devil wears Prada, who wears Miss de la Prada? (okay, that's too much. stop.)

Again, unless you live in Spain or you are someone who memorizes the names and faces of every single designer, model, magazine, stylist, tv show and can win a back to back championship of "Who wants to be a Millionaire"-- fashion edition (I bet my money on Bryanboy at this one) then chances are you haven't heard of her at all aside of course from the tragic Bruno encounter.

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada is a Spanish designer who sits in the highest ladder of the country's fashion echelon and considered to be one of the strongest forces and pillars of Spanish fashion. How's that as for an introduction? For over three decades, she is consistent in being an award winner designer, most recent of which is the highest in Spain in the field of arts--Gold medal given by the Ministry of Culture.

Agatha is not only successful creatively but she is also a bankable businesswoman. Her empire is not confined with garments but throughout the years she has expanded as well to perfume, shoes, home, paints, accessories designing for multinational companies such as Vodafone, Citroen, Disney, Absolute Vodka not counting almost all the giant companies in Spain which had her imprint on in one way or it you got it. (She even makes stickers for Christ’s sake).

What makes her design tick? Color. Lots and lots of it. Rays, splashes, outbursts, a kaleidoscope of colors. So much color it will you vomit. Happy vomit of course. She combines these colors with patterns that will make Uncle Karl sick--stars, moon, flowers and everything that you can see in a children's day care centre. Imagine such fusion and what do you get? An eccentric blend of juvenile indulgence and class. Yes, class. And grace, if you know how to handle it. If you are a more of a Ralph Lauren type of person, this is a total shock for you. If you think Lagerfeld is a god, you will think her designs are the grave sins. And if you are Alice Olins of Times Online , you think Agatha’s hats are silly.

However, what I admire about her is how brilliantly she niched her designs in the market. No one in the world has used so much colors as she did since the invention of kaleidoscope, and it worked! It worked so much she can design a Vodka bottle with yellow stars and red dots. She can even make a million dollar car look like it's just been on Disneyland without anyone laughing. On the contrary, everyone wants to get their hands on it for a test drive.

I don't think Bruno knew whose party he gate crashed in Milan but clearly, with the press and the controversy it got, I don't think Miss De La Prada bothered at all. At the end of the day, a little bit of mayhem is always healthy especially if you make it to Perez Hilton's site the next day.

As I await for Bruno to be shown in España (not dubbed in Spanish I hope!), I am also looking forward to attend Cibeles Fashion Week and be with brilliant fashionistas who, just like the Youtube commentator, can see art through layers of random clothing stuck on a Velcro overalls.

I'm holding my breath on what Miss Agatha Ruiz de la Prada has to offer this time. The runway is her Disneyland and No, it's not Bruno nor The Devil who wears de la Prada:


photo credits: Google images and


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