Thursday, June 30, 2011

#1908 The facts of life – Paris edition

Waiting for a Métro train at my local stop. Photo: Katherine Lowe

1. We all know that double-cheek-kissing-as-a-greeting is de rigueur in Paris. But that doesn't mean it's not confusing. You always kiss friends when you meet them, regardless of gender. You sometimes kiss friends of friends when you're being introduced, less often if you're a guy and they're a guy, but it still happens. You shouldn't kiss police officers, even if you're asking for directions. And – this I learned the hard way – you never, ever kiss the cleaning lady when you see her on the street. Cue extreme embarrassment for all concerned. My roommates now call me DSK.

#1907 La Crêpe (a film noir)



My days in Paris are spent writing for hours on end, visiting the occasional friend, eating crêpes and, as you'll see above, creating fine cinema. C'est la vie.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

#1906 All baseball everything

Photos: orangefoamfinger

Back in September of last year, Katherine Lowe and I flew to Sydney to shoot a couple of fashion videos for Air New Zealand. It was a pretty sweet deal with a per diem and everything – which allowed me to go and spend money on fun things like clothes and freshly pressed apple juice at the Shady Pines. One of my purchases was this baseball tee shirt from American Apparel. It cost me $34 Australian and I never wore it. At the time, we were staying in this hilarious straight-out-of-a-softcore-film hotel in Paddington, and there may or may not have been a mock-American Apparel ad campaign photo shoot that went down in which I may or may not have pretended to be one of Dov Charney's employees. Anyway, I threw it in my suitcase when I was about to walk out the door to fly to Singapore last month, and once I arrived I started wearing it and didn't take it off. I swear I've worn it at least 50% of the days I've been away. It's my jam. Sometimes you've just gotta roll up your sleeves and give things another chance. In this case, I'm glad I did.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

#1905 Summering in Paris


This is just a quick note to say that I'm not returning to New Zealand on Friday as planned. Instead, I'm spending the summer right here in Paris. (Well the next six weeks at least.) I've picked up an enormous contract that requires me to write approximately 100,000 words in the next 48 days. I ummed and aahed about what to do: return to New Zealand, in doing so lose two days flying and another five days in Singapore hanging with Sheida, or stick around here in this apartment and get the work done. Paris vs Auckland. Summer vs winter. Freshness vs jetlag. So many variables! So little time! As you can imagine, it wasn't an easy decision to make.

#1904 Hanging in Paris with my main man Usher Raymond

Photo: Dayne Johnston

Usher arrived late to Raf Simons' show on Saturday night and had to walk down the stairs – bodyguard and shawties in tow – as 500 audience members watched on. Where mortal men would have cracked under the pressure, the man handled it like a pro. (Check my video below - I reckon he made a pretty sweet entrance.) After the show, I found myself standing next to him and in a coincidentally similar moment to the same event two years ago, I threw my camera to Zambesi's Dayne Johnston to take a snap. I love it how the bouncer is contemplating whether or not my raised fingers are a weapon of some sort. Spoiler: they weren't. You might notice that Mr Raymond is rocking a head to toe Raf Simons look – perhaps Simons is a fan? With songs like this, I ask you: how could he not be?*

Monday, June 27, 2011

#1903 Thom Browne took on cabaret girls and the fat cats who loved them

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Held inside infamous Maxim's with its dark red lighting and Art Nouveau decor, Thom Browne's show opened with the theme song from Cabaret. Two boys dressed like 1920s Oriental businessmen sat onstage at a table drinking champagne and nodding greetings to guests as they arrived. The designer's theme du jour? The types of fat cats who've historically spent a lot of money on liquor and fast women at such establishments – and what a brilliantly sleazy bunch they were.

#1903 Paul Smith was an incredibly hot show

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Serving free ice creams outside your show is a bloody good call, especially when the ice cream is coconut flavoured and the most delicious tasting cold thing imaginable. Another great call: colour-blocked garments. Not looks, but actual pieces split horizontally across the middle, like an orange/navy sweater or a pair of pants with a little navy and a little petrol blue. That said, when your show venue is a former convent with no air conditioning and hot to the point where your ankles start sweating, showing anything other than board shorts and tee shirts becomes something of an incomprehensible endeavour. The coats and blazers at Paul Smith might have looked smart, but leather sleeves in this heat? Forget about it.

#1902 Lanvin fed and watered us then showed some very cool colourful suits

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

I say this every season, but Lanvin sure knows how to treat a final-day-of-fashion-week audience: it’s a simple formula that includes coffee, tea, water and sweet treats – today’s were donuts and giant cookies that the assembled masses picked at daintily on paper plates (I inhaled mine – as a New Zealander, my ability to not shove food in my mouth is similar to that of an elephant’s). Our setting was the magnificent Bourse de Commerce, a building matched only in stature and light by the Grand Palais – think: enormous, round, frescoed and glass-domed with arches lining the entranceways. Perfect site for a powerful presentation, which is exactly what Lanvin delivered.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

#1901 Raf Simons went signature and delivered a classic

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Models appearing on escalators is a bit of a Raf Simons show signature, though last time it happened was a full seven years ago here in Paris. Tonight he did it again, at the beautiful-yet-imposing Credit Lyonnais headquarters in the city’s second arrondisement. After last season’s financial scare – the designer parted ways with his manufacturing partner and cancelled all buyer appointments just days before the collection was presented – a return to past favourites probably seemed like a logical plan of attack. And what better place to present them than at a European institution which had once suffered its own financial woes – and come back on top.

#1900 Kenzo made it rain bubbles on the catwalk



At the finale of Kenzo's Spring/Summer 2012 menswear presentation today, the models walked out en masse amidst a shower of bubbles. It was the children's birthday party equivalent of Burberry's real life catwalk rain shower last season, and it provoked childlike reactions from even the most jaded editors in attendance. The moment designer Antonio Marras had taken his bow, everybody rushed out to pop as many bubbles as they could without getting their clothes all sticky (you could just about see the Parisien dry cleaners rubbing their hands together in glee). Wondering how I managed to get so close to the action? Today, Kenzo gave me my first ever European front row seat. I will forever reserve a place in my heart for the letters/number combination Aa8. Look Ma, I'm on top of the world!

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#1899 Maison Martin Margiela offers its take on the Olympic uniform

Photos: HommeModel

There wasn’t a single garment at Maison Martin Margiela’s show today that didn’t have at least one little quirk or design peculiarity. The first was a fairly ordinary looking suit jacket, which when examined closely revealed a pen sticking out of an extra jetted compartment underneath the breast pocket. A bright red poncho might have been made from repurposed Adidas track pants, and a tuxedo jacket had mirrored buttons that glinted in the light. The presentation began with a film featuring the models walking very slowly towards the camera. As each one passed, the pace increased a fraction, until finally they were sprinting, the clothes a mere blur on screen.

#1898 Kenzo took vacation dressing to a whole 'nother level

Photos: HommeModel

The invitation said it all: it was an inflatable globe with a map of Hawaii on one side and a scene depicting a tiger stalking some tropical fish on the other. An origami boat sat on each seat. Beach Boys heralded the start of the show, and the Russian model Matvey Lykov walked out in an island print blazer with full-legged white pants and sandals – a metaphorical take on vacation dressing this was not. Made up like matinee idols with finger curls and bronzed cheekbones, the boys wore every conceivable summer cliché – primary blues and yellows, magentas and cyans, floral print suits, chambray, shorts, polka dots and nautical stripes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

#1897 Usher showed up at the Kris van Assche show today


Well slap my face and call me Charlie if this isn't a coincidence: last time I saw Usher Raymond (yeah, we're on first and last name basis) was on day two of the Paris menswear shows in June 2009 (photographic evidence above). Today, on day two of the 2011 menswear collections, he turned up once again (photographic evidence below). I was seated mere centimetres behind him at Kris van Assche and had I wanted to, could have reached over and tapped him on the shoulder. But I didn't. Next time though, I swear I'll show him my A-Town stomp. Oh, my, God. Yeah! Okay, that's enough non-specific Usher puns for one day. Where you at Yeezy?

#1896 Kris van Assche took on the teddy boys and won


Kris van Assche is nothing if he’s not consistent. The Belgian designer’s collections explore a similar proportion and colour palette each season, and his shows are executed precisely without excess fanfare or runway gimmick. For spring/summer 2012, van Assche looked to the teddy boys for inspiration, and found it in their polo shirt-with-suit combos, pork pie hats and creeper boots. It was insouciant summer suiting, all floppy jersey and three quarter length drop crotch pants, and it looked comfortable as hell.

Friday, June 24, 2011

#1895 Judging by the show invitation, Kenzo is taking us on a tropical voyage this summer


Kenzo's invitation just arrived on my doorstep and I reckon it's the best one I've seen all season – it's a blowup globe with a little origami ship inside. The map is zoomed in on Hawaii, so one can only assume that there's gonna be a little island flavour in the mix (though the reverse side features a tiger stalking some tropical fish, so maybe it's a pan-Pacific/Indian Ocean expedition). Just in case you were wondering, yes that is the Eiffel Tower in the background of the photo, yes this was shot on the balcony of my apartment here in Paris, yes it was the single most adventurous thing I've ever done (heights are by far and large my greatest fear), and yes they did name me Miller Hindin. But I digress... Can't wait to see the Kenzo show! It's always one of my favourites here in Paris, and it is scheduled to walk in exactly 24 hours. Let the countdown begin.

#1894 Dries van Noten designed resort-wear for fighter pilots

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

An airforce vacation seemed to be the idea behind Dries van Noten’s collection this evening, and what a thematically disparate notion it was. Half buttoned-up, half hanging-out; tricolour stripes and military ranking symbols; shorts and fisherman’s knits; trench coats and cargo jackets. It was as if the strictest adherent of military convention had been given forced-leave, but wasn’t quite able to enjoy it without retaining a sense of his rank and order. All themes aside, the clothes themselves were classic Dries van Noten – technically advanced fabrics, the richest imaginable colours and stunning patterns. Non-military men will no doubt enjoy them too, hopefully both at work and at play.

#1893 Kanye West is in the house at the Paris menswear shows


I wasn't lying the other day when I said that few things excite me more than arriving in Paris and receiving my invitations for the shows. But one of those few things is heading to the Louis Vuitton show on day one of Paris menswear and snapping away a few shots of Kanye West as he walks in the door, sits down at his seat, watches the show and then leaves at the end. What can I say? I'm a diehard fan. Today he arrived wearing a simple white tee, jeans and Louis Vuitton sneaker combo, with the most enormous Jesus piece that you've ever seen. According to Michael Hainey of GQ, West designed it in collaboration with Murakami. After the show I tried to grab Kanye for a few quick questions, but he told me he wasn't doing interviews. Pity, I was quite keen to ask him if he would be keen to feature in the Singapore Shufflin' sequel. Maybe next time.

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#1892 Kim Jones reinvented the Damier check (and triumphed) in his first Louis Vuitton collection

Photos: HommeModel

It was a cool day here in Paris, just 16 degrees when Louis Vuitton was scheduled to start. Inside the venue – a glass box atop a hill in Parc Andre Citroen – the temperatures were reaching insanity-high points. So there we were, waiting for the show to start, waiting, waiting, sweat pouring down our faces, wishing we had our own personal cooling devices, when the reason for our heated delay arrived. Kanye West – with entourage – strolled down the catwalk and sat front row and centre next to Louis Vuitton’s president. And with Mr West in the house, we could begin.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

#1891 A message to the guy at Arco Hotel in Milan


I can only imagine that the sculptor of this fine piece of art (seen outside the Salvatore Ferragamo show venue) had simply had it with that special brand of Milanese customer service. An example – when I checked out of my hotel the other morning, I stored my suitcase in the luggage locker, paid my bill, then said to the guy at reception: "Oh, hold on a second, I just need to use the bathroom." His response: "No. Only guests may use the bathroom." He wasn't joking. I had to walk down the road to the nearest McDonald's. If only I'd had a mini reproduction of this sculpture to wave in his face. Why is it that you only think about such things after the event? But now that I've got all the time in the world to come up with an appropriate response, here it is: Hey guy, you're a big stupid jerk so just shut up anyway.

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#1890 Modern-day armour for the Mugler man

Photos: HommeModel

Rick Genest aka Zombie Boy, star of last season’s Mugler re-launch, was nowhere to be found at the label’s second outing today, but a familiar face showed up in his stead: Kiwi male model Vinnie Woolston – star of countless Zambesi campaigns –repped locally by 62 Models. He was dressed in a beige suit with gold-plated headband and neckpiece – an armour of sorts – and it formed the key motif for the entire collection: literally, in metallic arm shields, and implied, in the sweaters panelled to resemble a motocross rider’s protective gear.

#1889 Kiwi male model Vinnie Woolston walked Mugler


So there I was standing next to a giant veiled statue at the Galerie de Minéralogie, watching the Mugler show, when out walked Kiwi male model Vinnie Woolston in a beige suit with gold-plated headband and neckpiece. There's nothing like seeing a compatriot on the international stage to give you a surge of nationalistic pride. After the show he told me that he's got a few more jobs lined up this week, so no doubt we'll be seeing a lot more of him in the next few days. Can I get a ka pai? GO THE KIWIS!

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#1888 Paris Menswear – the invitations


Few things excite me more than arriving at my apartment in Paris, walking in the door, throwing my stuff down, running to the table and tearing through the envelopes that lie waiting with my name on them. I am obsessed with show invitations – mainly because they save you having to sneak in, but also because they often give a hint of what's to come. Plus they're hugely collectible. Fun fact: I have never thrown away a show invitation – in my storage box back home there's a giant shopping bag filled with hundreds of them (one day I'll hold an exhibition or something). This season's haul has been a particularly good one – so far I've received JPG, Kris Van Assche, Mugler, Damir Doma, Thom Browne, Margiela, Lanvin, Dries Van Noten and Raf Simons. Best in show goes to Margiela – the invitation is a used Paris Metro ticket. Genius. Honourable mentions: JPG, Dries van Noten and Raf Simons. See below.

#1887 D&G went ripped, shredded and silky smooth

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Only one thing was more ripped than the denim at D&G today, and it was the boys on display. In their finale walk, all were topless and so extraordinarily pumped that it wasn’t a far stretch to imagine them doing a few quick sets of press-ups (or shots of ‘roids) before they exited backstage. Invitations came in the form of vintage print silk scarves like the ones designed by Hermes and Gucci that vintage hunters scour for at flea markets. Those scarf prints formed the basis for the entire collection – featuring on everything from a pair of shorts to a cropped blazer, a shirt to drop-crotch pants. Mixed with the aforementioned shredded denim jeans and shirts, the offering felt very Versace-of-the-90s – never so evident than in a silk bomber that will no doubt be a hipster staple come summer. With a banging soundtrack that included Prince and James Brown, D&G win the award for the most entertaining show of the week.

#1886 Gucci's gentlemen's club

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Over at Gucci, Frida Giannini took a road well travelled for the brand – the 70s – this time, young Londoners – “aristocrats, dandies, singers, noblemen and rock stars,” declared the show notes. A gentlemen’s club dressed by Savile Row tailors. Surprisingly, it manifested itself in a less formal collection than previous seasons – fewer suits than separates, plenty of open collar shirts, and blazers paneled in beige and light teal that seemed to take cues from windbreakers. Those sporty elements were scattered throughout – anoraks, red trims on pant hems and easy rubber-soled leather shoes, but the emphasis was on easy movement – pleated pants with slouchy knits and unbuttoned cardigans. The gentlemen’s club looked like a good time – never more so than in the finale evening section. It’s a winning formula: cue glitter jackets, cue the party.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

#1885 Alessandro Sartori's last tango at Z Zegna

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Z Zegna is a constant highlight of the Milan menswear week and today’s outing proved particularly significant – as Alessandro Sartori’s final collection at the brand, all eyes were on the departing Italian to see which way he’d play it. Held in the outdoor courtyard of the Zegna headquarters, a white marquee had been constructed – filled with crisp air and clean light – the perfect backdrop to what was easily the best collection of the week.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#1884 Brad Goreski made it pop on day one of Milan menswear

Photo: StreetFSN

Mr Brad Goreski was the star attraction on day one of Milan’s menswear shows, though his presence was very nearly eclipsed by that of his suit. It was current season fluro orange Jil Sander and it caused no small amount of excitement among the streetstyle-blogging masses. Everywhere he went, a trigger-happy crowd followed, and when the lights went down before each show, he stayed perfectly visible in the murk. At Burberry Prorsum he told me: “There are no limits. I decided I’d start off looking like a glow-worm and maybe I’ll tone it down a little bit later in the week.” Few men could hope to wear such a suit without looking like a giant road cone. Goreski made it seem easy.

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#1883 Hanging backstage with my mate Stefano (Gabbana)


Today was an historic day for me: my first time at a D&G show that I was actually invited to (last June I managed to sneak in backstage, but a real life invitation is so much sweeter). It all started yesterday when Yigit from the D&G digital press office (yes they have a digital specific press office, and yes it has more staff than a medium-sized New Zealand company) contacted me asking if I'd like to meet up. We decided on breakfast this morning and while dining on croissants and freshly squeezed orange juice, he asked me why I hadn't emailed to request an invitation. My response: "I've emailed Dolce&Gabbana at least five times to request show tickets over the past three years and never even received a reply. I stopped trying because I couldn't take the rejection."

#1882 A message for Richard Kavanagh, with love from Milan


Kiwi hairdresser Richard Kavanagh tweeted me a couple of days ago to say that he couldn't make the Milan menswear shows due to a conflicting booking. So today when I arrived backstage at D&G (more on that later) I grabbed the big boss dog Guido for a quick shot to show Richard that we're still thinking of him in his absence. And here it is: For Richard Kavanagh, with love from Milan. Wish you were here!

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Monday, June 20, 2011

#1881 Rebecca Kamm is the new editor of NO Magazine


NO Magazine has appointed Rebecca Kamm as its new editor, taking over from Melinda Williams who recently left to take up the dual role of deputy chief editor of Surface Asia and Dwell Asia. Kamm is a Melbourne-based Kiwi who regularly contributes to Sunday and most recently worked as the assistant editor for The Victorian Writer. According to NO publisher Fraser McGregor, "Melinda's departure left us with big shoes to fill. Delaney and I had worked with Melinda since Pavement days so we were very much a tight little family... [but] Rebecca's a smart cookie and well in tune with our vision for NO Mag and its progression into the future." If that progression includes more of the six-degrees-of-separation links between each interview subject, I'd be fascinated to hear some of her ideas – it must be an absolute nightmare keeping that one fresh. But seeing as she's a Sunday features writer I have no doubts that she'll rise to the occasion (judging by the extraordinarily high calibre of the weekly's other contributors). Best of luck to Kamm in the role, and to Williams at Surface.

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#1880 Prince Pelayo and Bryan Boy wore matching green Prada lurex to the Prada show


You know that moment when you've gotten all dressed up to go out and you walk into the party and some other bastard is wearing the exact same outfit as you? Bloggers Prince Pelayo and Bryan Boy do – today at Prada, they both showed up in matching green lurex Prada tops and platform creeper brogues. Always the good sports, the two laughed, threw their arms around each other and posed for photographs. To be fair to the both of them though, you were more likely to stand out in the crowd if you weren't wearing something from Prada's Spring/Summer or brand new Fall collections. Who knew emerald lurex or bright yellow bananas would be such a hit? Oh yeah that's right, Miuccia Prada did.

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#1879 Prada sent a fairytale rainbow explosion down the catwalk

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

Cast your mind back to that scene in Zoolander where Mugatu turns to his Derelicte show audience and delivers the unforgettable line: “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!” So it was at Prada this afternoon, where the lady of the hour delivered a collection that was brilliant in its sheer excess – the freakier it got, the more the crowd lapped it up. Bear in mind that this is the woman who has managed to persuade fans the world over to wear bananas, monkeys, lurex and multi-clash-coloured platform-brogue-moccasin-creepers in the past two seasons alone. This time around, Miuccia Prada threw everything in the mix, including the dress-up box, Grandpa’s closet, the pro-shop and the kitchen sink.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#1878 Take it to the church!


As of last night I'd just about given up any hope of receiving a Prada invite – the show is this afternoon and all my other tickets turned up a couple of days ago. But the stars aligned, and at about 6:30am a courier dropped this off at hotel reception. Welcome to the good life (now throw your hands up in the sky).

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#1877 The Jil Sander collection was so high-tech you might need an instruction manual to figure it out

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

The crowd at Jil Sander this afternoon overflowed off the catwalk, out over the bleachers, past the cheap seats and beyond the photographers’ pit meaning that those of us who erred on the side of lateness were forced to view the show from behind a veritable sea of heads (not to mention enormous zoom lenses). Tommy Ton stood nearby and shot the models through two mens' occasionally crooked elbows, though he didn’t seem to miss a beat.

#1876 Ermenegildo Zegna – just add super yacht

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde

For something a little more classic, Ermenegildo Zegna showed a collection of refined summer suits in washed out shades of earthy pumice, robin’s egg blue and teal. Crinkly cotton blazers mixed with white linen pants; tone-on-tone seersucker tees with lightest-weight trench coats. Italians take elegance to a whole ‘nother level, so believe me when I tell you: There is no better look for a casual jaunt on your super yacht than a cotton double breasted jacket with a primrose pink shirt. You would be forgiven for leaving the tie at home – temperatures can run quite high in these parts.

#1875 Burberry's modern day magpies


Last season, Burberry made it rain on the runway – and not in that cash money, hip hop video kind of way. Real-life water showered down on the models as they did their finale walk, creating one of the greatest spectacles ever seen on a catwalk. This time around the presentation was served straight up – but it was obviously a considered choice.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

#1874 Bryan Boy goes shopping



I'm not one for sight-seeing, dining out or discovering new neighbourhoods – when I go to a city, the thing that does it for me is self-made traditions. In Milan, I fly into Malpensa, catch the Cadorna Express, take the no. 27 tram to Ungheria, walk into my hotel on via 22 Marzo, chat with the owners, then go upstairs and knock on two doors; one belonging to Australian backstage photographer Sonny Vandevelde and the other to international blogging sensation Bryan Boy. It's as close to a familial experience as I get while overseas. After saying our hellos yesterday, Bryan and I left the hotel for via Montenapoleone so that he could pick up a few new pieces before the shows. Our destination – Prada. It would seem he's one of the privileged few who can really pull off the Fall/Winter collection with its lurex and sparkles and look bloody good in the process. Next stop, Church's, where he picked up a pair of shoes to complete the look. Hanging out with Bryan Boy – never not a good time.

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#1873 The obligatory Milan shot


So here we are then: Milan, Italy – city of fashion, furniture, Family and one Silvio Berlusconi. It doesn't have the refinement of Paris or the hustle of New York, but there's something about hot Latin nights with a whisper of seedy intent that makes Milan an exciting city to visit in summer. Milan can also claim to be one of the few places in the world where the men are more visually captivating than their fairer halves. And with that in mind, the menswear shows begin tomorrow morning with Ermenegildo Zegna. I can't hardly wait.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

#1872 Milanese Men – a short film



There's something about Milanese men, whether they're strolling down the street, waiting for a tram, riding a bicycle, smoking a cigarette or watching the world go by. They come in many varieties: harried businessmen, portly workers, smooth playboys, buttoned-up academics or whimsical romantics, and each is as fascinating as the other. I filmed a few that passed by as I rode the no. 27 tram from Cadorna to Ungheria. Divertanosi. PREGO!

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#1871 Pity I'm not at Pitti (again)

Photos: Tommy Ton for GQ

Every June for the past three years I've arrived in Milan, checked into my hotel, marvelled at the extreme heat, showered, changed, flipped open my computer and gazed longingly at the street style shots coming out of Pitti Uomo; then kicked myself for packing x, y and z instead of a, b and c, or for not owning something that I really should own (like a cream cotton suit). This season is no exception, and like always, the attendees' personal wardrobes serve as the very best in real-life men's fashion inspiration. As you'll see in the photos below, these aren't models looking this good, they're normal-bodied men – some tall and thin; many short, stocky and old enough to be the catwalk boys' grandfathers. This is menswear as it should be – double breasted blazers, vintage-look sacky cotton sports coats, cuffed denim and tons of 'tude. For the record, this post was brought to you by the colours blue, green and cream; and the letters F, M and L.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

#1870 This is not a polo shirt by Band of Outsiders (except it actually is)

Photos: orangefoamfinger

I'm not in Florence right now watching Scott Sternberg present his Band of Outsiders show at Pitti Uomo which will no doubt be a roaring success, the event of the season, and the best thing that's happened to menswear in a long, long time. I'm at Kuala Lumpur airport using free internet and waiting for my flight to take me to Charles de Gaulle for a six hour stopover before Easyjet shoots me to Milan. Consolation prize: I got to try on a whole bunch of Band of Outsiders This is not a polo shirt polo shirts at Surrender the other day, an experience that I found both covetous and immensely enjoyable.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#1869 Singapore Shufflin'



Hot on the heels of Sheida Hancock's directorial debut (Monsoon Dance Party), comes an orangefoamfinger/Isaac Likes film collaboration... Singapore Shufflin'. Every day we shufflin'.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#1868 A tale of sheer shirts and too-tight pants

Photos: Orange Foam Finger

About a year ago, I put a pair of super-skinny Raf Simons pants on lay-by at Zambesi, then went overseas and forgot all about them. While I was in Paris I got a phone call to say that I'd gone way over the allotted payment period, so the moment I arrived back in NZ I picked up the pants and paid the balance in full. I took them home and tried them on and came to the unfortunate realisation that they were far too tight. The next day I sheepishly exchanged them for a bunch of shirts, including this short sleeve sheer cotton voile beauty from the Spring/Summer 2010 collection. I wore it out for the first time today and now I'm quite pleased that the Raf pants were too tight. It's my new favourite. I think the moral of the story is: every fat ass has a silver lining.

Monday, June 13, 2011

#1867 The facts of life – Singapore edition

The MICA – my favourite building in Singapore. Photo: Orange Foam Finger

1. Singapore is nicknamed Fine City because everything is illegal here. 16 strokes of the cane for graffiti, the death penalty for drugs, $500 for peeing in public. To test the theory, Sheida and I conducted a scientific experiment: we jaywalked while chewing gum and holding hands (all of which are criminal offenses in Singapore). The result: a few raised eyebrows, but otherwise nothing. Like I said, rules only apply to other people.

#1866 What's in store at Surrender


Singapore is good for all sorts of reasons – perennial heat, friendly locals, incredible buildings, cheap taxis, strange smells emanating from grates beneath your feet – but I wasn't expecting too much in the way of boutique shopping. "It's mall-city," I was told. "Miles and miles of malls stretching as far as the eye can see, and guess what's behind the malls? More malls. Underneath the malls? Underground malls... And a few thousand food courts." I was given just one store tip – from Leon Vince at Fabric – that Surrender in the Raffles Hotel Arcade was a must see. So I went. And he was right.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

#1865 Sports Illustrated – Swimsuit Edition

Photos: Mrs Orange Foam Finger

Nothing on this planet beats a good rain swim, and today in Singapore, ish got wet. Real wet. Like next level monsoon, thunder bolts and lightning, very very frightening indeed wet. It gave Sheida and I a good opportunity to bust out our gym-worked bodies, and our mid-thigh swimming trunks – if you haven't already heard, mid-thigh swimming trunks trump knee-length board shorts every time, and they're your best bet for looking like Jude Law. (Mine are from Penguin Original on Melrose Ave in LA, Sheida's are by Parke and Ronen from Barneys New York.) In other news, I think I need a tan.

#1864 Sampling the Singaporean cuisine



I tried what I assumed to be the Singaporean equivalent of hot and sour soup today. It didn't go well – 10 hours later, I still can't feel my mouth. Luckily, another Singaporean specialty was on hand to quench the burn: ice cold bubble tea. Fun fact – did you know that here in Singapore you can get your bubble tea in six different sugar options? 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% and 120%, the latter being something like four tablespoons-full. I chose the sugar-free option, because obviously I'm sweet enough already. Tomorrow I'm going to try something completely different, like home-delivered McDonald's. God damn it I love this city.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

#1863 Thugged Out Since Cub Scouts goes worldwide


Singapore is a good time. It's never not 30 degrees here – no matter what time of day, come rain, shine or thunderstorm. My city exploration to date has taken me to a couple of food courts the size of rugby fields – where I sampled the local hot and sour soup and destroyed any hope of ever tasting food again – and to one of the many lounge chairs dotting the edge of Sheida's lagoon-style infinity pool. Life is sweet. For those of you in New Zealand, the green-eyed monster in me is raring its ugly head that ya'll get to watch the debut episode of New Zealand's Next Top Model Cycle 3 live on TV, while I have to wait for the on-demand version the next day. Enjoy it, and look out for Rosanagh – she's my number one pick. And just so you know, we only have about six Thugged Out Since Cub Scouts sweaters/tees left in stock, so if you're still keen, step into my store. HOLLA!

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#1862 Journey to the Orange Foam Finger



My best good friend Sheida went travelling late last year, then moved to Singapore with his wife Allison who – besides being really beautiful and really cool – is a highly paid lawyer. In between composing his masters thesis in forensic science, enjoying life as a house husband and lying poolside, he's been writing a fun blog about life in Singapore named Orange Foam Finger. Why? Because everywhere he goes, he takes his giant Orange Foam Finger. Marathons – Orange Foam Finger. Vietnam – Orange Foam Finger. The mall – Orange Foam Finger. We've been separated for nine months. I was very excited to see him. Guess what he brought along with him to greet me at Changi Airport. Check it out above.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

#1861 Ka Kite Ano Auckland!

Raf Simons F/W 2011/12. Photo: Katherine Lowe

In precisely three hours and 45 minutes, I'm flying away from New Zealand, winter and the daily routine. Here's the plan: six nights in Singapore where I'll be catching up with my best good friend Sheida, lying poolside in an attempt to gain a little colour before I head up to Europe and sampling coffee in a plastic bag. Next stop Milan for the menswear shows, then Paris for the menswear shows, then back to Singapore, then home. This time around I'm writing my daily recaps for the NZ Herald as per usual, but I'm also going to be running around for Gilt Manual on the ground at the shows. One last thing: if Kanye is there, I will find him. Next stop, Singapore. Holla!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#1860 What's in store at R&G

Photos: Katherine Lowe

I don't know about you, but my childhood memories of Rodd and Gunn include trips to the mall, shopping with Dad, polo shirts with little dogs embroidered on the front and middle-aged female shop assistants. In recent years, I've entered the store on a handful of occasions – always when Dad has been in town – and my reaction has been a consistent one: it's not for me, I'm too young, I don't own a Land Rover. Fast forward to last week, and I was strolling through Newmarket on a sunny afternoon when I walked past the R&G flagship store on Osborne Street. Seeing as I'd blogged about its High Street sister store the week before, I figured I'd better go and check it out for myself.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

#1859 Model turned booker Marama Nicholas now owns Clyne and Nova

Photo: Clyne

Congratulations are in order to Marama Nicholas, who just this morning announced that he has acquired both Clyne Model Management and Nova Models from previous owner Kim Larking. A highly successful male model himself, Nicholas (pictured above) was a 90s face and body guy who made a mint internationally working the circuits, and who, as legend has it, was once confirmed for a multi-million dollar fragrance contract but had to be released due to sustaining a broken nose while playing rugby.

Monday, June 6, 2011

#1858 Little Brother's duffel coat is worthy of the hype

Photos: Katherine Lowe

Introducing the most hyped jacket of the season: Little Brother's now famous camel duffel coat (this bad boy has gotten more local press than a shamed All Black). I've had mine for about five weeks now, and I've gotta say all the attention is well deserved – you're unlikely to find a better looking winter jacket for $399 NZD. My one caveat is that the sleeves are too tight to fit a blazer and a sweater underneath, and while you might not need all those layers here in Auckland, that may be a deal breaker for gentlemen in colder climes. For everyone else, I say go buy the jacket. It's a classic piece that will last a long while. If the slim fit concerns you, go one size up – I'm wearing a small but the medium still fit; the extra small fits a size eight girl.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

#1857 The facts of life – personal philosophies edition

Photo: Hip Hop NC

1. The bigger the hair, the closer to God.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

#1856 The Cambridge Satchel Company Batchel in review

Photos: Katherine Lowe

It's been a month since I was given the Cambridge Satchel Company Batchel, and I now feel qualified to give it a proper review. This is a bag that I've been coveting for a very, very long time, and it improves my day every time I carry it down the street. So in terms of mental health boosting properties, this bad boy gets a ten out of ten. But let's get scientific for a minute: As you can see, the leather is thick, rigid and unforgiving as all hell – I reckon you could just about kill somebody with this thing if you swung it hard enough. My hypothesis – a Batchel will outlive its owner. It's surprisingly roomy too – I can fit my 13 inch MacBook, Canon G11, sunglasses case and wallet inside without too much difficulty, but I wouldn't recommend carrying that much around unless you're not afraid of back injury.

#1855 Good as Gold has moved down the road into a three level treehouse

Photos: supplied

Wellington institution Good as Gold has officially closed its doors for the last time at its original Victoria Street location, and opened its doors for the first time at its brand spanking new space – just five doors down the road. Now located on the corner of Manners and Victoria Streets, the new Good as Gold store is bigger – and therefore better – than ever before: the entire shop was designed to resemble a three storey treehouse; macrocarpa was used throughout (just like the fence posts on a Kiwi farm); the changing rooms look like Scandinavian saunas; and some of the shelving units are attached to ladders that I reckon you could climb up if nobody was looking. Fun for the whole family! Speaking of which, the new space was designed by proprietor Ruben Bryant in collaboration with his dad, architect Ken Bryant. If you're in Wellington, get in there immediately. If you're not, you can always browse the goods online.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

#1854 The birthday present I bought myself came in a Mark McNairy shoebox


I turned 27 on Friday last week, and to celebrate the occasion, I did something I very rarely do: went shopping. It had been a while since I'd set foot in Fabric on High Street, and the selection of goods was excellent – Margaret Howell cotton double breasted blazers, Simon Miller jeans, Isabel Marant for the ladies, Engineered Garments for the boys, and Mark McNairy New Amsterdam shoes for me. I've been obsessed with McNairys ever since Lawrence posted these Loden Green Suede Longwings on his online store in a size range that precluded purchases from smaller-footed gentlemen like myself. Fabric carried them in an eight – it was time to taste the forbidden fruit.

Here's how it went down.