With fashion week in London, Milan and Paris for mens fashion this month there have been some memorable unveilings with names such as Louis Vuitton, Vetements, Dior, NILøS, Yohji Yamamoto and others. Likewise with a couple other collaborative efforts outside of fashion week such as Kith with their Godfather capsule, Ava Nirui's work with Marc Jacobs as well as more information releasing on the Dior x Nike collection.

Day 3 of Paris fashion week is where Virgil stole the show with Louis Vuitton's Fall-Winter 2020 pieces, using a heaven-inspired cloud format to reflect the feeling of being "open-minded and free, even in the formal constructs of formal menswear" as Virgil described it. It's an interesting dynamic contrary to Virgil's past two seasons that incorporated both early-2000's and overall retro elements featuring an array of vibrant, neon colours and unique accents, with his fall-winter 2020 collection we see something entirely new yet so on-brand for Virgil; he's certainly leaving a memorable imprint as artistic director, like that of Murakami.   

Another of my favourites came from Yohji Yamamoto's Fall-Winter 2020 collection, through his attentive focus on maintaining subtlety through his crazy, original approach to layering, Yohji proves himself extremely strong among his contemporaries; you can't help but feel he's telling a story through each outfit.

 

Although there were many cool ideas displayed over the recent fashion weeks, I think NILøS edge above everybody else with their latest lookbook. Expressivity and execution is intrinsic, and their fulfilment of the biotech theme centring around the fear of abusing technology within society and mankind is fvcking wild to me. With the ultra-futuristic look, with each piece displayed in the lookbook you could walk on the set of Blade Runner 2049 and look even ahead of that dystopian aesthetic...

 

We're really living in a crazy time, where so many different ideas are being explored and played at maximum volume through for example components of both meticulously tailored old-fashioned looks as well as loose visions of the future. Both high end and contemporary fashion is so interesting and exciting right now.  

fashion focus: January 2020

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DSM:

Year

of the

Rat

Dover Street Market celebrated the Lunar New Year with a capsule in affiliation with frequent friends and collaborators such as BAPE, Nike, CLOT, Cactus Flea Plant Market, Awake NY, NOAH and many more; all in theme with the zodiac 'Year of the Rat'...

Comprised of efforts from over twenty brands, the capsule offers an array of graphics holding varying retails, fabrics and garment types making this collection for everybody; there's even a water bottle.

I think the loudest contributors were BAPE, their iconic ape head with the thematic incorporation of rat ears and Chinese text makes their effort act as the signature piece. Nike are also prominent among the collaborators, keeping things quite simple with minimal flair across their graphics.

Overall I think CLOT brought the most to this capsule, offering a red silk jacket, black sweatshirt and off-white t-shirt. And by "brought the most" I mean creatively, carrying traditional cultural inspiration with their silk chore jacket inscribed with DSM and artistic motifs with further utilisation of varsity jacket cuffs making this piece wholly unique; it's about the only original contribution in the entire capsule.

It's conflicting though, it's always fun seeing brands contribute toward cultural holidays or events to see individual approaches, however when looking at the collection as an entity it does seem a little cash-grabby. Which, in addition, seems contradictory from NOAH especially, whose ethos counters the for-profit sake, and seeks to uphold an 'uncompromising' pursuit for quality, integrity, and originality; nobody is perfect I guess.

Bong Joon-Ho once again proves himself among the most talented storytellers/ filmmakers of this generation, after his decade-long departure from Korean cinema he hits it home with his new poetic masterpiece 'Parasite'. This had the highest of praise, and it still exceeded expectations. 

I hadn't seen the trailer, or synopsis, before watching 'Parasite' all I saw was the title with Bong's name attached to it; that's really all you need going into his films, I recommend knowing as little as possible. Therefore, I had no real idea of what this film would be about although the title accommodates for the presumption of a metaphor and it doesn't take long to put the pieces together as to what that metaphor is.

This economical-social class divide seems to be a common theme to build and write stories around, shown in last years' 'Burning' directed by Chang-dong Lee, as well as Bong's 2013 film 'Snowpiercer', although I hold these films of extremely high regard, Parasite translates this theme far more intuitively than the latter. The rich and poor dynamic is explored and presented in a very exciting way with this film, it doesn't just play around with the social contrast through character interactions, Bong literally puts the poor family inside the rich family's home which is totally unorthodox, and it's hilarious because while it's an unexpected string of events, it's also completely expected from his writing.

I don't want to give anything further away, but I just want to state how appreciative I am of this style of writing. Similar to that of Tarantino, adding depth and stand-out attributes to every character regardless of how much they actually matter to the overall story; this attention to detail is what makes a genius. One memorable example being the subtle mention of native American's early in the film, which thematically reprises later in the third act - with the addition of other references to America, all building to the viewer processing these scattered hints of symbolism and narrative similarity. It's mind-blowing how seamless some of these metaphors are intertwined with what first appears as surface dialogue, it's as I said a 'poetic masterpiece'.

Furthermore, other notable elements portrayed masterfully would be Kyung-pyo Hong's cinematography as well as Jaeil Jung's score. Bong's writing being channeled through these two elements make for some masterfully crafted sequences that leave you bewildered with what you just experienced with the addition of some laughter that follows. These elements are also used symbolically through the films subject matter and themes, which adds an extra level of substance showing how Bong is using every resource he can to tell this story to the best of his ability.

Parasite

(2019)

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Palace

Autumn

2019

We're toward the end of that yearly interim period between spring-summer and fall-winter, and Palace have just released the lookbook for their 2019 Autumn collection. 

My initial thoughts on this collection is that once again, Palace reflect their versatility as a brand through the designs, colours and fabrics they offer. They accommodate for a broad diversification of style within their follower base and it's one of the factors that continually retain their status as one of the more exciting streetwear brands today.

The images included consist of my three favourite pieces from the lookbook teaser, these alone depict powerful yet somewhat inconspicuous graphics on interesting fabrics as seen with the triferg design, allowing the pieces to be put together in a seamless yet expressive outfit. Additionally, it's preferencial but I love the incorporation of old biblical or mythological illustrations; always makes for a timeless piece. Also, I know it goes without saying, but that black panther triferg graphic is crazy and for sure going to be one of the most sought-after pieces this season, I'm just hoping it's released on hoodies and tees as well as the piece pictured in the lookbook.

With this collection there are pieces that aren't for everybody, however it doesn't necessarily mean they're objectively bad but that's to be expected in every Palace collection with the array of colours and styles there are, for example a reflective gold parka or a buttoned shirt with an all-over print of different credit cards. However, one element I find prominent about this collection is the use of light colours, providing a clean transition from the Spring-Summer season to the autumn period.

We're still yet to see everything, this was just a taste, therefore I'm sure there are more surprises to come particularly with accessories and footwear. Officially launching in-store and online August 9th.

 

See the entire lookbook here:

https://www.palaceskateboards.com/lookbook/autumn-2019/ 

Drake made one of his best decisions in years with the release of Care Package, a collection of beloved singles and loose tracks that dropped over the years. Only Drake can debut at number one and top charts with already released music... Scorpion and Views have their strengths, More Life was undoubtedly his worst, but Care Package is honestly his best project since If You're Reading This It's Too Late and Nothing Was The Same.

I consider Dreams Money Can Buy, Club Paradise, 5am in Toronto, Draft Day and 4pm in Calabasas some of Drake's all time best verses, and additionally with Free Spirit, How Bout Now, Days in the East, Trust Issues and Girls Love Beyonce, these are some of his most iconic tracks from that period between 2011 and 2015. Also, I'm thankful for the inclusion of Jodeci Freestyle with the iconic Cole feature; arguably one of Drake's strongest collaborative tracks. 

 

I'm hoping this is exactly what Drake needs in order to release another well-received project with substance, which he hasn't really done since 2015. I will say, however, in 2019 he has been making progress with the release of Omertà post-Raptors championship win, as well as his feature on Chris Brown's no guidance, his final verse on the track felt reminiscent of the Drake era reflected throughout Care Package.

It's a difficult matter, whether Drake is able to re-attain his status as the best in the game, because I feel like his best verses came at a time where there wasn't an unprecedented level of pressure from fans and critics. I mean, how exactly did Drake transition from a track like Club Paradise or 5AM in Toronto to a track like I'm Upset? The issue might be that the passion he once channeled through his music is lost with just how far he's come as an artist. I feel like the turning point occurred around the release of Views, although that project was strong thematically, there was a recognition of a lack of substance and aggression from a lot of fans.

I'm optimistic that Drake is able to bounce back from the streak of underwhelming projects, hopefully Care Package implements the correct state of mind for him to deliver what he once was continuously able to.

Listen on Apple Music here:

https://music.apple.com/gb/album/care-package/1475177816

Drake's Care Package

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Spring

Summer

2019

Like every season, to give a general overview this collection offers an array of different styles and pieces to suit different people carrying influences from pop culture as well as the world of art. With original designs from painter Josh Smith to a 'Ghost Rider' leather jacket/ pant to a silk shirt showcasing the melting clock from Salvador Dali’s 'Persistence of Memory' masterpiece; it's clear this collection is embracing diverse art mediums, even more-so than previous collections.

 

Again, I'm having the same thoughts I have with every season where there are a couple items I'd like to see that aren't there or I like part of the design for something but another element ruins it for me; for example something like a simpler yet unique denim jacket opposed to the expressive Gonz jacket displayed in the preview - Which, the more I look at it the more I want it.

My favourite piece of the collection so far is the Wolf Fleece Jacket in Black, I'm glad it made the collection as it caught my eye ever since I saw it among the leaks in January. It's very distinctive in its material choice and execution of the design, as well as being quite loud, I can imagine it incurring a somewhat-high retail cost as the polar material with this all-over design I can imagine being tricky to manufacture.

 

The bags this season are unquestionably a step up from the 2018 Fall/ Winter season, there is also more on offer including an organiser pouch, tote backpack, utility pouch and leather waist/ shoulder pouch. Typically they will have the two core colours, black and red, with two new colours and for this season they opted for a khaki green colour as well as a light, washed teal colour with the addition of a forest camouflage only available in some silhouettes. Regarding design, the bags consist of a jacquard logo pattern all over which adds an extra layer to the overall product; something I feel has been missing from previous seasons.

The real prize in this collection is the accessories. There are so many various types of products that serve all types of purposes and I really would love to see the creative direction behind how Supreme bring these crazy ideas to reality. Notable items include a Porcelaine Cupid Figurine, a camouflage hammock, a Bialetti Moka, band-aids, a hot-wheels toy car, water blaster, an aluminium water bottle, slippers, an air freshener in the shape of a crown, a snorkel set, pool cue and last but not least a full exclusive drum-set with symbols in collaboration with Pearl and Zildjian.

Kith and Versace can be regarded somewhat as a legendary moment in the world of fashion, transcending stepping-stones for both brands. This collection represents Versace's first-ever streetwear collaboration, likewise with this being the initial entry into high-end ready-to-wear fashion for Kith. It's also the first time in history that the iconic Medusa logo has been reimagined.

Split into two separate campaigns, with Bella Hadid sporting the women's collection and Lucky Blue Smith styling the men's collection, both collections offer gold-drenched flashy pieces sure to catch the eye of many. The women's collection consists of a diverse range of pieces, notable items include lavish fur coats, plush silk robes and denim. The men's collection offers stylistic variables ranging from dressy to streetwear looks, with eye-catching pieces such as the camel hair topcoat and velour puffer.

While this collaboration may be a legendary moment, and I personally like the pieces offered by this collection, it may hurt the brand of Versace more-so than benefit it. Many are saying the underlying influence here was the collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme in 2017, and that the like-no-other communal reaction and extraordinary level of hype could somewhat be revitalised by Versace and Kith working on a collaborative project; unfortunately Versace aren't Louis Vuitton and Kith aren't Supreme.

 

As creative director, I think Donatella is aiming to tap in to the younger audiences which may not entirely be a bad idea. With a rise in interest into high-end fashion as we've seen with young music artists promoting Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Versace have almost taken a back seat. Additionally with the streetwear industry essentially defining young fashion, Donatella's move here is risky yet could prove successful.

Kith do seem almost transparent in the collection besides the simple use of their name and their signature box-logo seen within the reimagined Medusa logo; after reviewing both campaigns it's like 90% Versace and 10% Kith.

What I love most about this collaboration is, as previously mentioned, the stylistic variables. The base goal in a collaborative project like this is to execute both streetwear and high-end ready-to-wear fashion which I feel they've done quite well transitioning from hoodies to denim jackets to velour puffers and fur coats.

Kith

&

Versace

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

"Critique is so limiting and emotionally draining. I've always wanted to do something long-form, beyond opinion... Dip my toe into an exploration of origin and essence. A metamorphose of spirit into reality. "

Velvet Buzzsaw is the second collaboration between Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal, first being Nightcrawler which was a masterpiece. So initially, just those two names together enticed me. The trailer opens depicting Gyllenhaal as some type of obsessive perfectionist which I imagine goes hand-in-hand with the profession of an art critic, so I knew that this would be another masterful performance from him; I wasn't wrong.

 

I very-much enjoyed this film. The acting is unquestionably faultless, Gilroy created another immersive film-world like he did with Nightcrawler; it reminded me a lot of Nocturnal Animals, another film centred around art with Gyllenhaal. The thematic use of art as a medium of danger and emotional manipulation is executed perfectly. 

There were, however, a couple faults I had with this film. First being that Gyllenhaal was almost not the protagonist, he kind of fades in with the secondary characters throughout and it feels as though there is no stand-out character which in my opinion didn't work. For the film to shine and you have Gyllenhaal in your cast, the film must revolve entirely around him; this may sound selfish but it is true in the case of the majority of his filmography. The other fault being that this film, in my opinion, would have worked better just as a psychological thriller. This film dances across a fine line of horror and psychological thriller to the point where it can't make its mind up on what it is. Removing certain horror elements and rewriting a couple plot-points to keep this strictly a psychological thriller would certainly improve the reception this film; take Gyllenhaal's 2013 film with Villenueuve 'Enemy' as an example, it carries horror elements however the film sustains it's genre-consistency throughout.

These faults don't take away from its many shades of ingenuity, there are countless elements that you won't catch upon first viewing both in-shot and metaphorically which are astoundingly well written; particularly focusing on what each death holds a representation of. One last aspect worth mentioning without spoiling the film, the title 'Velvet Buzzsaw' is actually a very intelligent oxymoron, more-so than just a hollow name, it offers a sense of soft luxury yet the simultaneous feeling of sharp, dangerous and deadly; this speaks a lot to the character of Rhodora.

 

Velvet Buzzsaw is definitely worth watching.