Friday, June 29, 2007

an american in paris

Two things make me envious about this picture:
1. It's still scarf weather in Paris.
2. In some parts of the world you can drink a beer in public without the worry of a citation.

Damn, those Europeans. They are always light-years ahead of what we're doing.

The Sartorialist has now moved onto the Paris men's shows. Check it out here.

p.s., Can I work for Tim Blanks?
The former host of Fashion File now reports for and his witty and intelligent way of thinking about and reporting on fashion, particularly mens, is something I look forward to with great excitement every season. Somehow he saw Bruce Weber and Leni Reifenstahl references and the influence of gymnastic uniforms in the Calvin Klein show. Quite simply, he's a new hero of mine.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

the moody blues

I just watched the credits roll on Jean-Pierre Melville's "Army of Shadows", to which my eyes are still absorbing like a dry sponge in desperate need for moisture. It's an compromising look at a group of morally complex anti-heroes that appears to have been washed in varying shades of blues and greens, but reduced of its brilliance. This is a world of people who hide in between allies, corners, corridors, and various other discreet haunts. The color palette is pallid and drained to the core. Shadows mask the gang of Resistance leaders who try to act as charitable apparitions, but in the end their environment is as dark and clouded as when we met them at the beginning.

Take notice of the hardened beauty that cinematographer Pierre Lhomme creates in "Army of Shadows":

This is a film that's also informed by its textures. The heavy knit winter coats, Simone Signoret's cinnamon-tinged thicket of hair, and the sand encrusted dilapidated walls of a prison cell culminate in a cinematic feast for the senses. It's an exquisitely shot film that really pops with the new transfer thanks to genius minds at the Criterion Collection.

See it.

photos courtesy of dvdbeaver and the british film institute

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

let's go little kitty kat

"Get Me Bodied"
Live on the BET Awards

How do you top your own writhing-on-the-floor routine at last years at the BET Awards? Drop it like it's hot in the only pair of $100,000 gold Balenciaga leggings.

courtesy of just jared
Yeah, uh huh. I wonder what Monsieur Ghesquiere thought of this.

not the heimlich

"The Heinrich Maneuver"
dir., E. Elias Merhige

One of the best disturbing yet appropriate payoffs in a music video that I've seen in a while.

first look: margot at the wedding

"Margot at the Wedding"
dir., Noah Baumbach

I wasn't too crazy about "The Squid and the Whale", but this looks like something Woody Allen would have made in the 80s. And yes, that's a good thing.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

my voyage to italy: pt. 4

The Sartorialist is capturing the scene at Milan Fashion Week for and I can't help but be reminded of the dapper and chic men of Florence and Rome that I saw last summer. This photo in particular is very much the definition of a the business men I'd see in my neighborhood in Florence. They would parade about during their daily siesta like the coolest of peacocks, proud and confident in their suited armor that is at once very stylish but comfortable and functional enough for them to ride their bikes to and fro. This common display of elegant and practical workwear is hard to find here in the States but in Italy you can find it at every turn.

Monday, June 25, 2007

a woman under the influence

Remember that wonderful morsel of information I had a while back about Cloak's Alexandre Plokhov lending his vision to Versace's menswear line? Well, now we can bask in its perfectly alchemic results. It is the eve of the ten year anniversary of Gianni Versace's death and it seems Donatella Versace is finally moving away from his identifiably Milanese pretty boy aesthetic progressing into a more neutral and refined definition of the Versace label. Her last womenswear collection was some of her best work and some critics even called it "minimalist." The thought of a paired down Versace may sound sacrilegious but maybe this is what Donatella has been wanting to say and do but never found her footing under the intense cloud of success hanging over her head that her brother had created. How could she betray the aesthetic that established the label? The flair and sexiness of Versace is still there, but thanks to her new partnership with Plokhov, we're seeing something fresh and exciting for the menswear label. Plokhov's New Wave punk and militaristic man of substance is giving Versace the aspiration to grow in a place where everything is not so pink and covered in Medusa heads.

Say goodbye to:

Versace, Spring 2006

Welcome looks from Spring 2008:

This look in particular reminds me of Cloak's Kraftwerk inspired Spring 2007 collection.

Although I was not there to witness the construction and allure of the clothes in person, the ideas that come from these pieces makes me willing to follow in this new pursuit of Donatella's and Alexandre's.

century club

The American Film Institute has just revealed their newly edited list of the best 100 American films of all time to commemorate the tenth anniversary of their initial list. The first list was released around the time I'd just discovered film and I remember my mother would take me to Blockbuster and we would cross off at least two a time and I would gorge on the supposed finest in American cinema. Well, my tastes and knowledge of cinema has significantly evolved since that formative period and looking at the list of the eighty or so films that I eventually saw, I'm perplexed by the absence of some notable films that are just as deserving and powerful as the ones included. The criteria for inclusion is rather vague, but you wonder if nominated films like "Shrek" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" are films that have some weight and timeless resonance. I'm not sure I want my generation of film to be remembered for an ogre. These lists are often meant for discussion and frustration, so I'll begin with films that should have been on the first list:

Five films that should have made the cut:
1. "Badlands", dir. Terrence Malick
A dreamy and somber riff on bandits as heroes, teenage love, and the Old West--true American cornerstones.
2. "Nashville", dir. Robert Altman
Yes, "MASH" is good but Altman had a better run in the 70s with "McCabe & Mrs. Miller", "The Long Goodbye", "The California Split", but he was at his most articulate on the American mosaic in this masterpiece.
3. "Dog Day Afternoon", dir. Sidney Lumet
My favorite Pacino performance and a great movie about New York in the late 70s in all of its filth, sweat, and heat.
4. "Shadows", dir. John Cassavetes
American independent cinema at its finest and a more relevant look at interracial love than Hepburn and Poitier could have ever touched.
5. Any Hal Ashby film from the 70s.
Ashby's oeuvre in the 70s is always hideously overlooked. His peak period was poignant, moving, and peppered with a dash of rebellion. They're films that really speak about something but do it with humor and true sense of humanity.

Thanks to Wikipedia, you can look at a comparison chart of films that made it this time and the films that were removed.

I'm curious why more modern films don't make the list. Perhaps there's that old tension that exists in art between what is perceived as older is better and newer as less significant. Not so, I think. If this argument is to be made, then I don't know if some of the new choices justify the revisions. Do "Toy Story" and "The Sixth Sense" reveal something us as a culture?

Here are five films of the past decade or so that should have made the list:
In no particular order...
"Election", dir. Alexander Payne
Tracey Flick is the embodiment of the new overachiever that I not only went to high school with but in a way has become the new expectation for students across the country. We've always been told that if you work hard it will pay off, but what happens when the football player becomes the new golden god at school? Payne is deft in his observation of high school nowadays and Reese Witherspoon has never been this good since.

"Boogie Nights", dir. Paul Thomas Anderson
It's pastiche cinema at its finest. Touches of Scorsese, Altman, and "I Am Cuba" are all over this brilliant film about the American Dream in all of its porn-soaked glory.

"Lost in Translation", dir. Sofia Coppola
My personal favorite American film of the past five years, this film is as close to perfect as a filmmaker can get. Sofia Coppola confidently expresses her depth and cinema knowledge in this quiet masterpiece. It's funny, relevant to a young generation of people who are not sure who they want to be, and crafted with an ease and capable hand.

"Brokeback Mountain", dir. Ang Lee
In the new millennium cowboys fornicate in tents and kiss hard around corners so their wives won't catch them in their secret passion. A beautifully directed, written, acted, and edited film, this is the film that will be forever be remembered as an exceptional piece of film and not the "gay cowboy" movie.

"25th Hour", dir. Spike Lee
This may not be a perfect film but not only does it allow for one of the best actors of the past decade to shine (Edward Norton needs an Oscar!), but Lee dares to go where no other filmmaker would go after Sept. 11. His New York is still fraught with racial complexities but now an emptiness pervades a part of the city and an uncertainty about life after 9/11 is palpable.

Are there any you think should be included?

surf's up!

It's only been the first few days of Milan fashion week and already a trend has reared its fleeting little head. Surfwear has captured the disparate but iconoclastic minds of Alexander McQueen, Giorgio Armani, and Christopher Bailey for Burberry Prorsum. I'm not sure I'm going to follow this one, but it is a valid source of inspiration for the modern man who wants his clothes functional, adaptable to his environment, and ingrained with a sense of security and long lasting quality. It may seem like a stretch but that's exactly what you want out of swimwear and fits what we should desire from clothes in general.

A more direct approach at Alexander McQueen

An electric blue jacket that could double as a wetsuit at Burberry

Beach ready sportswear at Empirio Armani

Does this mean boogie boards are the "it" accessory of the season?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

la dolce vita

D&G Fall/Winter 2007

I normally do not appreciate the hypersexual-futuristic-robot theme in the current Dolce & Gabbana advertisements, but I have to admit that I like this new spectacle for their fall/winter line. Sharp tuxedos paired with a mad dash of blood red. That's glamour and a smart ad for a brand that is nothing but unrestrained sex.

Click here for more.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

summer time

"Summer Madness"
Kool and the Gang
live on "Soul Train"

This must be added to the summer playlist. This gem of a video has been on repeat for all of its 70s nostalgia and afroed infectiousness. Oh, and I need some sunglasses like the guy on the keyboard.

Friday, June 22, 2007

my voyage to italy: pt. 3

"Everything in Its Right Place (Live)"

Radiohead was for all the cool kids in high school, so naturally I had no appreciation for them. However, "Kid A" was eventually shoved down my throat and what a mighty helping of ambient-electro-post-"OK Computer" despair and beauty. I loved every inch of that album and in a way it become a contemporary version of Bowie's "Low" for my generation. It was illusive, dreamy, and unrelenting in its dark tones and airy-techno textures.

I consumed so much of their music catalog that I found myself bloated and uninterested in their recent work. However, I reconnected with Radiohead on the plane ride to Italy. It was a night flight to Milan that was nerve racking but thrilling as it was my first plane ride ever. I fell asleep with my iPod on shuffle and woke up to "Everything in Its Right Place", a live version from an album one of my best friends from college loaned to me a few months prior. The hum of Thom Yorke's moody voice and chilly synthesizers were a welcomed addition to waking up to the rising grapefruit-hued sun that peaked through the blanket of clouds and expansive Atlantic Ocean. I listened to this album non-stop when I got to Italy and it became my security blanket of sorts. It was an ideal beginning to my imminent journey into a foreign but attractive territory.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

short cuts

courtesy of just jared

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel in Oslo, Norway

There are three things I do not believe in: Tapered anything (with the exception of a subtle taper on skinny jeans), sweatpants, and denim shorts. And who do we spot half way around the world with the hot young actress who is envious of Scarlett and Natalie? Come on JT, denim shorts? Really?? We all have our days, but never, and I repeat never, should a style icon wear denim shorts and think it's okay. I guess after all that praise, it's only natural to have a slip up now and then, but I hope this never, and I repeat never, happens again.

buttoned up

courtesy of

Richard Chai at the party
feting the "Women of Fashion" feature on their website

Thank you Richard Chai for making my choice to button all the way up this summer (particularly in plaid and of the short sleeve variety) look appropriate but inspired and spot on.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

a tribute: a stylish dad

photo courtesy of justjared

3 things:
1. I want that hat. Marc Jacobs makes one very similar that is only $12, but they're only available in Marc by Marc Jacobs stores and the circumference is 22 inches, which sadly my noggin exceeds.
2. I want those sunglasses.
3. I hope I am only half as stylish as Mr. Pitt when I become a dad toting around my adopted African baby.

first look: there will be blood

"There Will Be Blood"
dir., Paul Thomas Anderson

Have you been wondering whatever happened to one of the most promising American filmmakers from the late 90s? Well, it has only been five years since Paul Thomas Anderson's last film, the underrated oddball romance "Punch Drunk Love", but in between then and now he had a baby with "Saturday Night Live"'s Maya Rudolph and became a trusted apprentice of sorts to Robert Altman, who wrote it into his contract for "A Prarie Home Companion" that if his health were to fail him during the production Anderson had creative control on set. Above is the unofficial trailer for his newest film that has been a labor of love for some time and looks to be taking Anderson in a newer, bigger direction.

My appreciation for Anderson's work extends back to my early teens. I have vivid memories of seeing "Boogie Nights" in the eighth grade and think it was smarter and funnier than some pornfest that I'd expected it to be. I staunchly defended the bizarre three hour epic "Magnolia" to friends and family who thought it was nothing more than indulgent excess with no point. His work inspired me and exposed me to all sorts of cinema that inspired him. His major influences of Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman jumped out at me but it was done in a personal and fresh approach. Altman has since died since Anderson's last film and Scorsese is latched on to DiCaprio these days, so maybe we have Anderson to look at as the cinematic voice of someone who understands the American dream, the complex mosaic of everyday life, and the faith of transcendence and progression in the self.

Oh, and it's premiering at the Venice Film Festival this fall. Judging by that trailer I can see it being a major contender.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

sunglasses and mojito required

It's still in the works but my summer playlist is as follows:

Justice, "Phantom pt. II"
Justin Timberlake, "Lovestoned/I Think She Knows"
Kanye West, "Stronger"
Amerie, "Some Like It"
Three 6 Mafia, "Poppin' My Collar"
Death from Above 1979, "Sexy Results (MSTRKRFT Edition)"
MSTRKRFT, "Easy Love"
Stardust, "Club Soda (Remix)"
LCD Soundystem, "Get Innocuous (Geek Chic's Harm-Free Retouch)"
New Order, "The Perfect Kiss"
Girl Talk, "Minute by Minute"
Bjork, "Innocence"
The Go! Team, "Grip Like a Vice"
Interpol, "The Heinrich Maneuver"
Lily Allen, "Nan You're a Window Shopper"
Feist, "Sea Lion (Chromeo Remix)"
Fujiya & Miyagi, "Collarbone"
Sly & The Family Stone, "If You Want Me to Stay"
Charlotte Gainsbourg, "Set Yourself on Fire"
Jackie and Roy, "Samba Triste"
The Zombies, "She's Not There"

It should be ideal for lounging around a pool or late night soirees.

Did I forget something?

broken english

"Broken English"
dir., Zoe Cassavetes

The daughter of Hollywood royalty and member of the New York thirtysomething hipster crowd steps out and makes her feature debut with "Broken English." It's getting mostly positive reviews, but I'm interested to see what she is made of and has to say. I've been missing a solid Parker Posey movie and I'm eager to see her chemistry with a guy who I last saw in a movie where he played a gay fashion photographer with a death wish. Looks promising.

paris, je t'aime

"Paris, Je T'aime" is an uneven, but charming collection of cinematic vignettes that are fun to watch but never really amount to a whole that is greater than its parts. However, I don't think that's the point. It's an enticing homage to a city where in its sprawling urbanscape, love is omnipotent. The Olivier Assayas (starring a hazy but stunning Maggie Gyllenhaal), Alexander Payne, and Gus Van Sant segments stand out most, but I can't get the Tom Tykwer piece out of my head. The issue of time that has become a Tykwer preoccupation adds a dash of surprise and romance to the brief seven or so minutes we get to watch a couple meet, fall in love, and everything else. Enjoy.

"Faubourg Saint-Denis"
dir, Tom Tykwer

Monday, June 18, 2007

my voyage to italy: pt. 2

One of the most exquisitely styled movies is also one of the most underrated movies of the past decade. Anthony Minghella's take on the seductive and illusory world of Tom Ripley in "The Talented Ripley" made a great impression on me upon its initial release. I remember being really excited about the generation of actors in the film, who at that point hadn't quite cemented their style and cinematic iconography quite yet. The film sumptuously shot on locations in Rome, Venice, and the sultry coasts of Italy presented a certain exoticism about the country. It's almost Italy as you want it to be--inviting, oozing with sensuality, and deliciously full of vitality and vigor. Watching a tawny Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law lounge on a posh beach on the Amalfi coast makes you want to jump through the screen and join them. Nights spent at smoky cafes and days spent on boats drinking Campari and swimming contributed to my burgeoning interest in Italy. It's an idealized and romanticized look at a country long ago but an attractive and convincing one nonetheless. "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is definitely part of my memories and reasons for venturing to a land where everyone looks dipped in gold and revels in a life of leisure and comfort.

The Talented Mr. Ripley
directed by Anthony Minghella, 1999

Does style like this exist anymore?

a tribute: bear grylls

photo courtesy of

Bear Grylls, the star of Discovery Channel's "Man vs. Wild", is a true man in the sense that he is a passionate participant of the world and fascinated by basic things such as survival, instincts, and exploration. His fascination doesn't make him a Neanderthal bonehead, but rather a man filled with a sense of adventure and a lack of pretension. His intelligence is useful and relevant in a world that could soon endure serious problems with vast migration and environmental breakdown. How are we to cope? Eat a zebra carcass. Grylls's show informs us of how to survive in extreme environments and endure the harshest terrains but also appreciate the wide ranging pragmaticism that exists in nature. He remains composed and calm throughout his global treks but human when he shows his desperation to be with his wife and children in moments of imminent peril.

There isn't much on cable television that is worth a gander, but his show is not to be missed. The new season just started on Friday and new episodes will air every Friday at 9:00 pm.

A classic Grylls moment:

Learn more about Grylls here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

i think she knows

Ok, Justin. I have to confess that I hold you in a high sartorial regard. Icon is a strong word, but it does rear its head when I think of your impressive and envious style. I steal from you left and right. Your stylist Joe Zee is quite arguably the greatest things that ever happened to you. Remember those denim suits and other ridiculous getups you used to wear? Yeah, I do too. Zee now outfits you in the most sharply tailored suits and natty vests. However, I will not forgive the girls-basketball-coachesque shiny jackets you have been sporting during your European "Shrek" promotional tour. No, no, and more no.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

photos courtesy of popsugar and justjared

You get it right all the time, so I will let it pass because you show up in Madrid and you restore my faith in your youthful, sporty, lean style. You also get kudos for looking like you and Cammy are mature adults who can make a public appearance after your breakup and eventual hookups with Jessica Biel and that creepy guy who does magic.

Oh, and you could give Antonio Joe's phone number? Thanks.

And while we're at, I like the new video for "Lovestoned/I Think She Knows", which in my humble opinion is one of the most underrated tracks on "Futuresex/Lovesounds", and it's a shame that it's the official UK single and us Americans have to take "Summer Love" without a video. I don't love it, but it's something different from the indulgent mistakes the last three videos have been. I understand "Cry Me a River" was the last truly great music video of our generation, but that doesn't mean you can slow up on the creative genius. Look at Madonna. You would think she's yesterday's news but then she shows up in a video with a body like a 20-year-old and dry humps a stereo. Genius.

"Lovestoned/I Think She Knows"
Justin Timberlake
dir., Robert Hales

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

my voyage to italy

"La Dolce Vita"
dir., Federico Fellini

It has been a full year since my first abroad experience. It's almost impossible not to label it life-changing like many young and impressionable minds so often describe it in their romanticized travel journals and tales they will eventually tell their families and friends upon arrival home. The sights and sounds of Italy will never leave me. The pace of Florence in the evening; the still allies of Venice; and the hot ball of bustling power that is Rome have become part of me. My eyes were wide and open to every moment I had the distinct pleasure to consume for the five weeks I spent in that gorgeous country.

Perhaps film fascinates me because of its ability to transport and show you a world outside of your window. I had never been on a commercial aircraft or across the United States border prior to June of last year. Shocking, I know. My destination was clear and had been set since my eyes first laid on the beautiful and damned world of Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita." Anita Ekberg splashing about in the Trevi Fountain while a seemingly stolid and enchanted Marcello Mastroianni handsomely gazed from afar spoke to me. Something about that moment between a vacuous movie star and her mesmerized tabloid journalist was unreal but visceral and tangible. I had to see this place in the flesh so that it wasn't the fleeting fantasy so many forgettable films had been before. I did see it and as I wiped the sweat off my damp brow from the pulsating heat of Rome, I turned the corner it hit me like a pile of cinder blocks. The air cleared and the heat seemed less sultry. There it was, I thought. There it was. The feeling of a life goal accomplished is indescribable. For a brief and dreamy moment I could hear the echo of Ekberg's voice calling me closer but desperately hoping that in fact it wasn't all a dream, and luckily it wasn't.

Trevi Fountain, July 2006

Monday, June 11, 2007

writer's block: before sunset

"Before Sunset"
dir., Richard Linklater
wri., Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, and Richard Linklater

*This is the first part in a series of films I'll tackle that demonstrate the weight and magic of words.

Somewhere in Paris a man and a woman share a cab. They're a little bit more gaunt and weathered since we last saw them almost ten years ago conversing and canoodling in another picturesque European metropolis. Age has not only added a wrinkle here and there to their pre-Real World faces, but it has also let them down, enlightened them, and made them just as confused and in awe of each other since their initial serendipitous meeting. This scene from Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" is written with such naturalism and intelligence that not only do you feel and understand the heartbreak of lives never fully realized but also the vocalization of adults wanting to embrace themselves and each other. You would think Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy were lovers in real life with the scene's organically conversational tone, but it's their deft chemistry and ease with each other that instills the scene with a tenderness and plausibility. They're a convincing pair that fits just so as we watch them feed off their emotional ebb and flow. Delpy is especially mesmerizing in the scene with her mature and nuanced portrait of a woman grappling for her purpose and place in the world that is further complicated by her fractured relationships with the opposite sex. Her ability to articulate her feelings in a fragmented, honest, and true way makes her a full bodied woman and accessible human being.

I'm eager to see these characters in another nine years with the hope that they are as compelling, engaging, and most importantly, articulate adults with something to say.

littlest things

"Littlest Things"
Lily Allen
dir., Nima Nourizadeh

Remember Lady Sovereign? Yeah, me neither. Amy Winehouse? The beehive is too distracting. Joss Stone? The pink tights ruined it for me.

There is an abundance of young female artists with varying influences coming out England right now and to me the one that stands apart from her peers is the lovely Lily Allen. She talks shit about pop stars, got kicked out of school for being a blow job queen, and Karl Lagerfeld is a fan, and not in that I'm-only-friends-with-Lohan-because-she-stalks-me-on-my-Blackberry sort of way. Her album, "Alright Still", is breezy, light pop music with a great voice and sunny sensibility that doesn't try to be something it's not. "Littlest Things" is one of my favorite songs from the album and the video doesn't disappoint. Allen usually ascribes to the Dunks and vintage look, but in this video she's a 50's New Wave goddess.

Oh yeah, and she has a song about her grandmother that borrows from 50 Cent's "Window Shopper." You gotta love her, right?

the choice is hers

I was going to go more in to depth about what I found most interesting about Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up", but The New York Times beat me to it.

It's something to think about.

summer breeze

Two recent purchases that fill me (and my closet) with pure contentment:
1. Gap Silver Stripe Shirt

2. Trovata Water T-Shirt in Riptide Blue
(click for detail)

Both shirts are lightweight cotton, comfortable beyond belief, cut to fit me just right, and were purchased on sale. How can you resist the essential fabric of the summer when it's affordable and feels like it was made just for you?

Friday, June 8, 2007

the voice speaks

I could dedicate a whole blog to the allure and genius of Catherine Deneuve, but I will limit my gushing affection to the first of many entries. I can't really articulate what it is about Deneuve that makes her so unique and so special other than her obvious looks, but I always find myself so enraptured by her screen presence. You can watch her face for hours and not feel short changed or guilty. She's isn't a sex bomb in a grotesque way nor is she is a waif. She isn't a cold Hitchcockian blonde nor is she a girl-woman blow up doll of a blonde. She is her own woman and own star that manages to imbue her characters with empathy and a classic appeal. Her visage is especially important in her early work in Roman Polanski's "Repulsion", Jacques Demy's "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", and Luis Bunuel's "Belle De Jour". Those films she is trapped and punished by her beauty, but somehow she is never the simpering victim. What does this have to do with anything? An NPR interview that allowed her to purr into my earphones.

I urge you to listen to this incredible interview on NPR with Deneuve in which she talks about her career, her family, and wearing perfume in the countryside. Listening to her voice so closely makes you want her to take a drag from her cigarette and say something really French and naughty in your ear.

And this is one of my favorite Deneuve moments from "Repulsion." It's a deeply internal psychological film that doesn't treat Deneuve with heaps of dialogue, but rather a chance to show her range as an actress and watch a woman on the verge of a breakdown. Her genteel beauty is as stunning as her ascent in madness.

She is the definition of French cool.

watch out mk and ash

Apparently Philip Lim is not a fan of the Olsens or Diddy.

p.s., What do we think of Derek Lam's new eyewear?

They're a little too big for his face but I appreciate their silliness and hip to be square style.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

the man wears prada

Spending $14.99 on Vogue Hommes International was totally worth it when my eyes came across this brilliant editorial shot by Mario Testino and styled by Carine Roitfield. Using the "it" accessory of the season for women, the satin Prada turban, and the jewel tones from the same collection that became the colors of the season, on a man to evoke a dark and masculine vision of a glam Ali Baba is something to behold. GQ would never think of something this subversive.

Neo Smoking by Mario Testino

courtesy of the fashion spot

the pathos of the man-boy

I'm still formulating an opinion on Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up", but I will say my initial response was laughter and uncomfortable wincing, which I think is the point. I think Apatow is getting at really interesting themes of what it means to be a man right now in a culture of compulsive male heterosexuality where ideas about women, sex, relationships, and a man's general purpose and place in the world are entirely skewed and effected by video games, post-college slackerdom, and movies centered around male friendships ("American Pie", "Swingers", "Wedding Crashers", etc.). His comedy is bleak but true and nonjudgmental. I think he's a filmmaker to watch with his vulgar bite and specific point of view that at times is a funny as it is shrewd and heartbreaking.

Listen to this interview on npr with Apatow and his neo-Dustin Hoffman (circa "The Graduate" in all of his unconventional leading man glory), as Newsweek so effusively put it, Seth Rogen.

A lengthy feature on Apatow in the New York Times is also worth checking out.

And Slate offers a refreshing perspective on "Knocked Up" that wonders if Apatow's films are not entirely as insightful about women as they are about men.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

ms. rowland

"Like This"
Kelly Rowland feat. Eve
dir., Mike Ruiz

I really wanted to like this song and video. I was always partial to the spunk and individuality Kelly Rowland expressed during her weave free days of Destiny's Child. Now, she has piled on the weave and got an Amerie leftover. Polow Da Don is somewhat responsible for this and to his credit he may provide Fergie and Ciara with the jams, but those songs seemed tailored to their style and vocal capabilities, where as I was hoping Ms. Rowland would burst out onto the contemporary pop/r&b scene with something she's been dying to say and really show us what she's made of since her DC3 days ended when Beyonce wanted to be the 21st century Diana Ross. Although the song's chorus is catchy, it sounds like it's coming from some overly-produced drone who isn't certain who she is or what she wants to be. The Eve guest appearance seems like an after thought that doesn't have the same punch or relevance as some of her other and better collaborations. As for the video, I'm not sure what she's conveying. We've always known you're hot Kelly, so showing up in a towel at the beginning offers us nothing new. The straddling the chair bit while covered in body glitter seems like something Beyonce would have done on the last album. And don't even get me started on the bizarre Photoshop filter effects at the end or the odd surveillance camera that pops up randomly throughout the video. It's a worthy effort Ms. Rowland, but I expect more out of you and let's hope, similar to your former group mate, that the second single and video will provide us the ray of pop sunniness that we've been waiting from you.

the other sister

Ashley Olsen, in The Row
at the CFDA Awards

courtesy of oh no they didn't

I've never really had a thing for the Olsens sisters until recently when it seemed that they have left behind their anorexia and boho chic days behind them and forged ahead with a new sophisticated and sultry look to match their growing maturity. Although Mary-Kate can be predictably found with unwashed hair and draped in some swishy robe of a gown or tights paired with an expensive Balenciaga shoe, it's Ashely that has really caught my eye. She's been showing more skin and poise in very grown up looking Chanel, Calvin Klein, and pieces from her own collection, The Row. Say what you will about her diminutive frame or her dubious endeavors in film and television, this is a young, healthy-looking woman who is a self-made, and very profitable, entrepreneur who knows how to wear clothes and can look more sexy and intelligent than her rehab bound contemporaries.

eye candy of the week: doutzen kroes


your bottom lip blows my mind.


Monday, June 4, 2007

sippin' on bacardi

i love mojitos, but i cringe every time this commercial interrupts my daily intake of cable and reality-based television. bacardi's latest spot for mojitos reminds me of that bizarre slow-motion trance dance sequence in the "matrix" movie, and not in a good way. a mojito is such a refreshing and sexy drink that you would think bacardi would come up with something a little more creative and daring. it's beyond cliche to see a liquor commercial with toned and plastic-looking models engaging in a social environment with their cocktails in tow. perhaps it's the miami club theme that really bothers me. i also hate the music and wiggle dance i think they want us dopey consumers to begin practicing in the clubs. well, bacardi not only do i not enjoy your commercial, i think you're "mojito dance" is stupid and has nothing to do with the drink.

where are all the decent commercials?

the cardigan

courtesy of the fashion spot

the mtv movie awards were such a bore, but i must say that i did admire john krasinski's casual award show look. i don't know much about him other than he's co-starring in george clooney's directorial follow-up to "good night, & good luck" and he dated rashida jones (more reason to be envious of him), but i do know that if i were to go to the mtv movie awards i would make an attempt to look comfortable and relaxed but polished and together, much like mr. krasinski does here. i haven't seen too many male celebrities embrace the cardigan in all of its practical and stylish glory, but jim from "the office" gets it without looking overly styled or geeky. oh, and it doesn't hurt that his co-star in his new film, "license to wed", mandy moore looks unbelievably hot in her shockingly fuchsia cocktail dress that compliments her womanly curves. snaps to the both of them.