Friday, March 31, 2017

Dirk Bikkembergs F/W Menswear: Simple Soldier Suits

Second look of the show (CREDIT:

The second look of the Dirk Bikkembergs Fall/Winter Menswear show established why the simple soldier suit was the star of the show. It was the true opening look for me.

There was dark brown hair and a dark boxy suit. There was milk-white skin and feline eyes. All those words describe Noomi Rapace’s antihero in Brian De Palma’s film Passion. Her character Isabelle wears boxy black suits as a creative genius at an advertising agency in Germany.

Isabelle in boxy suit (credit:

Masculinity and minimalism is the core of her look and it is the core of the Dirk Bikkenbergs show. De Palma described Isabelle as a “soldier,” and it’s the soldier style that ruled at Dirk Bikkenbergs. The choice of boots to go with the jean-like trousers is casual and rugged. There are no dainty dandies here.

The virile athleticism continues with a high-neck zip top layered under a sharkskin suit. The color contrasting lapels and welt pockets are straight out of the 1950s.  Overall, Elvis in his prime comes to mind.

Isabelle in funnel neck military coat (credit:

The funnel neck collar appeared often throughout the collection, and no better than it did on tan double-breasted jacket. Isabelle wore a coat with a similar collar that’s undeniably military-influenced. The collar is artfully left half-open to reveal the tangerine leather dress shirt underneath.

As the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. That explains the fact that the second to last look of the show is a tan version of the second look of the show. It’s symmetry at its best.   

1950s-inspired suit (credit:

Funnel neck coat (credit:

Second to last look (credit:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

We're the Kids in America: Photo of model ASCHE is clever commentary

A recent photo of artist ASCHE

Like bacon frying on the skillet, the above Instagram photo of     Artist ASCHE is percolating with American energy. The American flag graphics on the t-shirt and underwear are overtly American. The words “Los Angeles California” project the film Clueless into my mind, as the Muffs’s grunge-y version of the 80s anthem “Kids in America" plays. Drive your white jeeps to the mall, y’all.

The 1980s influence continues as ASCHE strikes a B-boy stance that rappers LL Cool J and Run DMC used in the 1980s, as well as Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg in his iconic Calvin Klein underwear ads from the early 90s (who was a rapper at the time).

The photo serves as commentary on American masculinity. The facial bruises are evidence of physical violence, perhaps from a bar brawl or a fight club. The sun-kissed skin and muscles evoke the beach and the gym. That’s the stuff of male pinups, as is ASCHE’s swirling quotation-mark hair. Images of a young Tom Cruise dancing in tight-y-whitey briefs in the film Risky Business slide into the mind.

Those briefs speak of much more than Tom Cruise. The fact that the briefs are worn over the blue jeans conveys the power of the private becoming public. It’s not a time to be silent in America’s current political landscape. The jeans’ top button is undone and signaling undress, but the briefs bind the jeans. It’s not a time for sex.

It’s a time to be tough and to use muscle in every way, shape or form.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Mouth, Face and Mind: Maureen Dowd's words are boss in new Trump op-ed

Mouth, Face and Mind

In Maureen Dowd’s latest New York Times op-ed, she uses adjectives and nouns that evoke Donald Trump’s big mouth. It’s oral. She constantly uses the words consume, howling, spewing and devour. That’s the word devour as in “hungrily devour his own presidency.” She also mentioned a snake that “eats its own tail” and “octopuses” that “consume their own arms.”

Trump eating.

That’s quite violent, right? Dowd goes on to create imagery of mirrors and glass all in reference to Trump’s reflective psyche. The phrases “infinity mirror room of Trump’s mind” and “mirror rooms” obviously use the word “mirror,” but it’s a clever, subtle way to refer to vanity. Can’t you picture Trump looking at his himself in a hand mirror? He would hold it with a small hand adorned with Adele-worthy talons, just like the Evil Queen from “Snow White.”

Dowd’s intensely expressive language takes a violent turn when she continues the mirror/glass theme by creating this sentence: “so many shards of gossip swirl in his head.” The sentence conjures an image of broken glass from a mirror plastered with cracked images of famous faces.  The broken glass then slashes Trump’s brain like a kitchen knife to a slab of ground beef. At the end of the op-ed, Dowd describes Trump’s world as a “cracked-mirror world.”

The masterful alliteration in the op-ed is no surprise, since Maureen Dowd is the alliteration queen. She even gives Trump’s style of shaking hands a name called “surprise shoulder squeeze.”

One of my favorite moments in the article is when Dowd describes Trump's tweets as “transcendentally nutty.” It made me think of Shirley MacLaine singing “I’m Here” in the film Postcards from the Edge.

Maureen Dowd writes down her words

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Models Pack their Brown Bag Lunches for Acne Studios FW 2017 Menswear

Salmon mohair sweater from Acne Studios FW 2017 Menswear

It’s lunchtime at the office cafeteria. The assortment of managers and employees were ready to eat in style wearing designer Jonny Johansson’s Acne Studio Fall 2017 collection. Note the brown bag lunches and the newspapers rolled up under a man’s arm. In reality, those items are satchels, not lunches packed by the man, the girlfriend/wife or boyfriend/husband.

The headband on the opening model sings the notes of the ballerinos from Bottega Veneta’s Spring 2015 Men’s show.

The long hair and literal rose-colored glasses breathed of the 1970s. The mohair sweater was the color of salmon. The man held his brown bag lunch like Princess Diana used to hold her clutch purse.

Dressed all in camel brown, a man emanated swagger with his moody, Veronica Lake hair. The sporty pullover was injected with a dose of drama thanks to the expansive turndown collar. A Karl Lagerfeld version of this collar turned up on the opening ballerino.

The Mod turtlenecks and large, tinted-lens shades radiated with Audrey Hepburn’s glamorous take on the Mod style in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. One of these Mod businessmen even wore Tiffany blue-framed shades as his legs formed scissors.

The shadowed silhouettes of the men stood stark on the walls and full of as much psychological weight as Peter Pan’s shadow.