Tim Blanks – a vision in Prada bananas.
Way back when I was still at university – years before I started coming to the menswear shows – I discovered the (now defunct) site men.style.com. I became a fanatical devotee – it was there that I first read Tim Blanks' reviews and marvelled at the way in which a writer could sum up a collection so succinctly in just a few paragraphs of text. About two years later I found out he was a fellow New Zealander, and I'd pinpoint that as one of the inciting incidents in my decision to pursue this writing hobby of mine as a career. I'd like to say that I didn't get starstruck the first time I met him, but that would be a bold-faced lie (I've gotten only slightly cooler over the past three years). On the final day of Paris Fashion Week, I cornered the man between the Paul Smith and Thom Browne shows to ask him a few questions for Gilt Manual. Here's what they didn't publish.
Isaac Hindin Miller: Did anybody surprise you this season?
Tim Blanks: You know, Prada did I have to say. I just absolutely loved that show. She just does it every single time. She surprised me in Fall because I didn’t like it – after Spring which I really loved – and I think it was interesting to see this collection which was so print heavy because I don’t think they realized that Spring [with its bananas and monkeys] would be so successful, and Spring next year is so print heavy. That surprised me. And I was pleasantly surprised. Massimo Piombo really lifted his offering – it was very, very strong and I just loved the Piombo story. I love a label with a story and his story is so good. You can’t beat it. And Burberry surprised me!
IHM: Did you think that Burberry looked a little bit like Karen Walker womenswear?
TB: That's an interesting thought. Everybody had a reference point for that collection.
IHM: I just kept looking at it and going, 'Wow, that looks so much like Karen Walker.'
TB: Well that is an interesting idea, but no I didn't actually think that.
IHM: What about Lanvin?
TB: I liked that Lanvin was so cinematic and it was such a wide story, I was sitting there and tooling around in my head and thinking about what I’m looking at – it’s the guy who’s maybe been in the army – they say he’s a security guard – either way, it looked like a study in consumer demographics.
IHM: And Raf Simons?
TB: I liked Raf, I thought the interesting thing about Raf was that the show for Jil Sander looked unfinished – he loves youth. Youth is his totem for what he does. The show for Jil Sander looked unfinished – the bare legged boys – they just felt like boys. And then the Raf show felt like young men. I was really pleased.
IHM: Do you write reviews on your Blackberry?
TB: Yes. Do I file on this thing? Yes. Because I was doing men’s reviews, men’s videos and women’s resort, the days were much more packed than usual. So I haven’t had a hell of a lot of time to file reviews. But the mere fact that I’ve mastered the act of filing on a Blackberry, I feel like I’m the caveman who found out how to use opposable thumbs. It could potentially change things but Nick Sullivan [fashion director of Esquire] has been coaching me in the art of the iPad with a keyboard.
IHM: How’s your typing?
TB: Oh it’s the two finger tap but I cannot do touchscreen. I just find it infuriating it just takes me so much longer.
Read my interview with Tim Blanks for Gilt Manual here.
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