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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No Runway In The Sky

One of the greatest fallacies in the past few years is the idea that people can’t be shocked anymore. Well, probably not by dullard careerist rock stars and bullshit cartoony painters (“Obey” my ass), but the fashion world still has a way of getting people’s panties in a bunch, and that’s where the action is.

Andrej Pejic is a 21-year old model who looks more like Deborah Harry than George Clooney, and it’s bugging even the most liberal fashion fans. Why? Because he models womens wear just as well as menswear. And he hasn’t had surgery or other cosmetic enhancements done. In Andrej’s case, the best woman for the job is a man.

As you can see Pejic looks more rock & roll than anything in years, so whether he’s fronting a woman’s dress or Bowie-T.Rex glammage he looks positively hypnotic. When he’s not looking like an ultra-cool rock star he’s upsetting fashionistas by modeling outfits like a see-through wedding dress for Jean-Paul Gaultier’s collection during Paris Fashion Week. He was also a top model for Marc by Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2011 campaign, and also walked down the runway for Jeremy Scott, who really gets around.

Other modeling episodes in recent months have included a magazine cover banned from Barnes & Noble for posing in a see-through dress (no joke) and posing in a Marilyn Monroe tribute that’s more convincing than that Michelle Williams travesty. Another gender-bending feather in his cap was his work in the advertising campaign for Dutch retailer HEMA wearing red dresses and women’s lingerie. Not bad for a war baby born during the Bosnia-Herzegovina massacre.

Andrej Pejic is signed to DNA Model Management (New York), and is registered at 10 other agencies in each country. The Talented Mr. Pejic is ranked at Number 18 in the Top 50 Male Models on websitemodels.com. Well done!


Another cure to the female model cliché blues is the amazing Ranya Mordanova. Coming from the Russian Federation, she looks Asian as she does European, creating an otherworldly quality in everything she wears. If anybody looks sci-fi, it’s her. The art of presenting fashion isn't only dependent on designers and photographers, but also on intriguing models like Pejic and Mordanova to sell them.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

House Of A Thousand Mysteries

In 1995, former Mystery Science Theater host Joel Hodgson had a program called “TV Wheel” which featured a weird skit about a guy called Vick Lawston who manically plugged a magic/joke shop catalog. There was also a freaky chimp puppet called Pumpernickel who screamed all through the skit. To many younger viewers it was absolute dementia, but to the Baby Boomer dudes out there it was a fresh breath of nostalgia.

Because there really was a guy called Vick Lawston who advertised his magic catalogue in the back of comic books in the 1960’s, and, yes indeed, he had a crazy monkey mascot called Pumpernickel. The catalog was called “The House of A Thousand Mysteries” and it was the coolest book you could ever own. Even if you didn’t have enough money for the magic tricks or joke shop pranks, just the bitchen illustrations in the book were worth the price of the damn thing.

Vick Lawston’s magic shop operated out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and his catalog (50 cents – cheap) was jam packed full of tricks and pranks, at least ten per page, and this thing ran for close to 175 pages. While the cover of my catalog has a 1966 copyright date a lot of the photos of Vic and drawings in general look a lot closer to the Forties.

The catalog could be enjoyed as a stand-alone book with its depiction of rubbery men with faces like jackals either fighting baldness or obesity, while all the magicians depicted inside were unbelievably handsome, dashing and/or sensually exotic. All magician’s assistants were stunningly sexy goddesses of erotic pulchritude, but before Mom could accuse us of viewing smut, Lawston would toss in Pumpernickel to keep it all clean and boyish (hyuk!).

Many of the magic tricks sound like names of punk bands: Magic Producto Box, Ghost Card Trick, Enchanted Cards, St. Peter’s Lesson, The Obedient Silks, and Razor Blade Trick, to name a few. Sounds like the line-up at CBGB’s in 1976!

“House of 1000 Mysteries” was completely aimed at little boys, focusing on the two things they love the most: magic tricks and monkeys. The only thing I ended up ordering from the catalog was a book called “Houdini On Magic” by Walter B. Gibson. “Houdini On Magic” was a compilation of manuals written by the great magician on various tricks, escape routines, and his thoughts on the whole séance and spiritualism racket. If the name Walter B. Gibson sounds familiar, it’s because he was also known as Maxwell Grant, author of the legendary “Shadow” pulp series.

While I don’t purport to be an expert on magic and probably never wanted to be a serious magician I couldn’t forestall the seduction of mystery and saucy humor Vick Lawston presented to us feverish kids in the Sixties, and for that he’ll always be enamored as trash-culture titan extraordinaire, monkeys and magic and all.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Comme des Garcons Fall/Winter 2012 Paris Fashion Week

Even before it takes time to have the post-Christmas blues it’s time for fashion’s major designers to present their latest collections at Milan and Paris Fashion Week, which both showed last month. All the poop on Milan Fashion Week zoomed right by, but it’s never too late to give you the full skinny on Paris Fashion Week.

Before I go any further, I need to give credit to The Fashionisto, a great mens fashion website, for reporting all the amazing highlights at Paris Fashion Week. If you’d like to see more from them, here’s their URL: http://thefashionisto.com/

While many designers showed their collections at Paris Fashion Week, I personally enjoyed six designers in particular that I thought were the most outstanding. I liked the collections from Hermes, Agnes B (who knew?), Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Dries Van Noten, and Kris Van Assche. My favorite one and the most idiosyncratically rock & roll was Japan’s own Comme des Garcons.

The Comme des Garcons Fall/Winter 2012 collection was resplendent in bizarre punk Edwardian waistcoats of clashing plaids, polka dots, occasionally draped in waist coats, capes and pleated skirts. Designer Rei Kawakubo forsakes the dandyism of a Galliano or Westwood by investing a more hard-boiled glam/punk appearance to her models, all the way down to Keith Richards/Ron Wood/Jeff Beck wigs.

While the other designers showed sartorial elegance with printed fabrics from Dries Van Noten, brilliant tailoring as usual from Saint Laurent and soft leather outerwear (Hermes doing what they do best), CDG knocked me out the most this season. Wouldn't it be great to see a band dressed like this for a change?