Our award for the best Japanese avant-garde animated dolls goes to...


...Undercover designer Jun Takahashi. (Who else?) GILApple, an animated short featuring Takahashi's homemade dolls, was one of several entries in last week's Shaded View on Fashion Film Festival, overseen by capital-F fashion blogger Diane Pernet. Popcorn flicks these flicks ain't, but where else could you see—in addition to the dolls—Steven Klein bloody up supermodel Lara Stone (in Fiction Noir) or the life of Rick Owens in 1:17 minutes (pictured, in Nick Knight's A Portrait of Rick Owens)? Owens himself dropped by the fest to present awards to the winning films, excerpts of which you can see over at DailyMotion. It should tide you over for outré arthouse—at least until Spider-Man 4. (And as for Takahashi, he officially went home empty-handed—GILApple screened out of competition.)

Photo: Nick Knight/Courtesy of A Shaded View on Fashion Film
Tags: Fashion, Media

What to wear with your blacked-out Rolex, Balmain tees, and Air Yeezys

Good luck finding the clothes in stores now or anytime soon—debut date and even season are still heartily TBD—but Kanye West's first Pastelle lookbook shots have just hit the Web. (They're likely authentic; the man himself has worn some of the pieces pictured to his various concerts/awards shows/internships.) The next big things, per the West fashion forecast: more varsity jackets (nattily done in mixed leather and wool with metallic accents), bright colors, and, curiously, tigers. Check out the streetwear blog SwaggerDap for more.

PLUS: Check out West's 10 Essentials.

Photo: swaggerdap.com
Tags: Fashion, Media

Weekend comes early

Their new album, Contra, won't be out until 2010, but the boat-shoe revivalists of Vampire Weekend are starting the ramp-up early: The first single, "Horchata," is now available for free download from the band's Web site. (You can also listen below.) What can you expect? For the most part, more of the same—world-beat bop melody, Ezra Koenig's occasionally too-cute-by-half lyrics (e.g., rhyming "horchata" with "balaclava")—but, well, that still sounds pretty good. Love it or hate it, let's go ahead and call it the first legit xylophone jam of the season. Get it now, before the "dive" bars wear it out.

Photo: Steven Brahms
Tags: Media

xx hits the spot

I've always believed that creativity tends to flourish within limits (three chords and the truth, etc., etc.). With that in mind, a recommendation: Download the debut album from a London-based group called the xx. Sure, you could argue whether four 20-year-olds, three of whom reportedly still live with their parents, are really all that familiar with the Truth, but these kids definitely have the three-chord part—or at least the synth-and-drum-machine-enhanced version of the three-chord part—down. Their sound evokes everything from Radiohead to modern R&B to (if I can remember all the way back to high school) New Order, and their mastery of songcraft—well, on about five of six of the tracks—is very promising. The overall effect is a little melancholic, and also a little sexual, and if not quite danceable, these are definitely the songs of someone who danced up a storm the night before. I'd be surprised if the name of the band had anything to do with ecstasy—they tend to call it "E" over there, anyway—but these are definitely songs for a comedown, whether pharmacological or fiscal.

Photo: Owen Richards
Tags: Media

La fete le Fooding


"We know that New York is the best city in the world," says Alexandre Cammas, founder of the Parisian dining-guide-cum-advocacy-group Le Fooding. For good eating—and a good party—we've got no argument. NYC's dining scene boasts Momofuku's David Chang, Minetta Tavern's Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, WD-50's Wylie Dufresne, and Daniel Boulud. All of them—and more—will be cooking over the course of Le Fooding's first-ever U.S. event, Le Fooding d'Amour Paris-New York, which begins tonight at P.S. 1. In the spirit of internationalism, they'll be joined by some less-familiar names from Paris: William Ledeuil from Ze Kitchen Galerie, Stéphane Jégo from L'Ami Jean, Inaki Aizpitarte from Le Chateaubriand. (Again, just a selection.) Because man does not live by bread (and meat) alone, there's more: cocktails courtesy of the guys from Dutch Kills and Le Plaza Athénée; DJ sets from Paul Sevigny, André, and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. If the whole thing sounds more like a heavy night on the town than a white-napkin dinner, that's no accident. Le Fooding's express mission is to shake up the traditional, hidebound world of French dining—to celebrate creative young talent and bring the party to the table. (Hence the neologistic name: "food" + "feeling.") "Paris was very sleepy," Cammas says. "You [still] see all the service"—the proper tablecloths, the dusty formality—"à la française. Maybe New York is fed up with that." At last night's preview dinner at Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House, Chang held court at a table of chefs as they were serenaded by an electric accordionist with a light-up instrument—Piaf on acid. Toward the end of the night, Boulud ambled out to say hello and found himself wearing an elaborately constructed balloon-animal hat. Maybe it was anti-service. Or maybe it was all the Veuve Clicquot.

Le Fooding d'Amour Paris-New York, September 25 and 26, P.S. 1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, (718) 784-2084, ps1.org; tickets, $30 to $60, available at the door; lefoodingdamour.com

Photo: lefooding.com
Tags: Drink, Media

200 reasons to see Sam Haskins' retrospective

Take it from Tommy: "Sam has a refreshing sense of fun in his photography, and manages to capture the balance of a woman's inner and outer beauty." Both types of beauty (especially the outer kind) are on view in Fashion Etcetera, Sam Haskins' Hilfiger-sponsored, 200-piece retrospective at NYC's Milk Gallery, but especially the outer kind. The designer has been an admirer since the sixties, when Haskins' artful, irreverent nudes—like the sly-eyed Gill from Five Girls (above), or the iconic Cowboy Kate, which featured the titular (heh) Wild West-styled Kate often naked but for her gun holster and accompanying pony—brought the South African photographer to fame. The 200-piece exhibition, which is accompanied by a special-edition hardcover sold in Tommy stores, strikes a nice balance between his more recent fashion work (for the likes of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar) and the swinging-sixties cheesecake stuff (call it the etcetera). And it's a show that almost wasn't: Haskins, 82, suffered a stroke just hours before the opening, but we're happy to report he's recovering nicely and hasn't let a minor setback like that keep him from attending to the details. "Even in the emergency room, he was issuing instructions about the lighting in the gallery," his son Ludwig reports.
Sam Haskins: Fashion Etcetera runs through October 26 at Milk Gallery, 450 W. 15th St., NYC, (212) 645-2797, milkstudios.com; special-edition hardcover catalog, $100, available at Tommy Hilfiger stores and tommy.com

Photos: Sam Haskins

And meanwhile, on Savile Row...

Much of the action in London yesterday was at MANday, where the city's most forward-thinking exhibited their Spring collections. But the august suit makers of Savile Row were showing their wares, too. Over at The Q, Michael Williams calls out the Spring 2010 video presentation by E. Tautz, the historic (and occasionally Churchill-frequented) house revived of late by dapper tailor Patrick Grant. No popcorn for yesterday's debut screening, as you might expect—the flick was shown to editors and buyers with a proper English cup of tea. You can have a look (with or without the tea) below.

Tags: Fashion, Media

Where Richard, Olafur, Murakami, and Marc meet


In the spirit of full disclosure (and getting it out of the way): Yes, Rizzoli's mammoth new Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion and Architecture has a lot of handbags in it. Keep reading anyway. The encyclopedia (it's alphabetized) of the brand's collaborations with artists, architects, and other designers goes far deeper than just purse projects and testifies to the house's long-standing support of the arts. LV has deep pockets and good taste; it can make the kind of offers not many can refuse. ("If this works, I can retire," Richard Prince tells Glenn O'Brien of his 2008 collaboration with creative director Marc Jacobs on show invitations, installations, and an enormously popular line of, well, bags; one of his acrylics pictured, left.) The book catalogs all of these projects, which include store design and merchandising (by Jun Aoki, Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández) and limited-edition product designs (by Murakami, Prince, Stephen Sprouse, Zaha Hadid, Rei Kawakubo, and on and on). Each project is lavishly illustrated and accompanied by an essay (O'Brien's on Prince and Sprouse are alone just about worth the price of admission). And while there's a hagiographic tinge to the whole, we might just as well call it giving credit where credit is due. It's hard not to be glad that Vuitton supports the artists, designers, and architects it does, especially when few seem inclined to either half-ass their contributions or rest on their laurels after cashing their checks. Take Prince's project. It worked. (The bags sold out.) He didn't retire.
$85, available today at Rizzoli stores and rizzoliusa.com and at Louis Vuitton boutiques; for locations, visit louisvuitton.com

Photo: © Louis Vuitton: Art, Fashion, and Architecture, Rizzoli New York, 2009.
Tags: Fashion, Media

Steven Alan: The Movie

The designer-retailer added a new credential to his resume this week: executive producer. Alan debuted his Spring 2010 collection with a video—starring DJ and actor-around-town Matt Creed and the comely Liane Balaban—that takes the clothes out for an idyllic weekend in the country. Keep an eye out for the man himself in a cameo around the 5:30 mark—all this, and an actor, too.

Tags: Fashion, Media

One More Thing...

When you're a stylish band beloved (and occasionally deplored) for spearheading the preppy-rock movement, what do you put on the cover of your forthcoming album? A cute girl in an RL polo, of course.

Photo: Courtesy of XL Records
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