Tom Ford SS12
Just as it was last season, Tom Ford‘s presentation for Spring/Summer 2012 was top secret. We’re talking camera-less, tweet-less top secret.

Nonetheless, someone – Candice Swanepoel, allegedly – figured out a way to snap the collection and now the image above is likely to be the closest we get to the collection until 2012. That, and the reviews of a few high-profile attendees:

Hamish Bowles, Vogue: Amongst the hourglass silhouettes and powerfully sensual effects beloved of Ford fans since his work at Gucci in the nineties, there was a thread of Pre-Raphaelite romanticism in embroidered peasant blouses (of the type Matisse loved to paint), and even frothy, Renaissance-sleeved dresses that evoked the work of the great sixties and seventies London designer Ossie Clark.

Cathy Horyn, New York Times: Mr. Ford’s show was thoroughly Tom Ford in its sex appeal and silhouette — tigress hair, smoky eyes, glossy lips, taut skirts and strappy high heels. The collection was loaded up with great day clothes, including loosely laced Moroccan blouses, fringed skirts and some simple but gorgeous dresses with ruching or a belt at the waist and a bubbled hem. A number of outfits also had corsets blended into the tone of the blouse. Equally strong were his evening option of slinky black pants—more like a ski pant—with a simple chiffon T-shirt coated with feathers at the front.

Lisa Armstrong, Daily Telegraph: Mesh, marabou, raffia fringing, a candlewick effect which suggested long hours at the hand embroiderers, plaited satin ribbons – these were just some of the techniques applied onto those hourglass silhouettes. Throw in bosoms, cupped in cantilevered chiffon, checks and some snakeskin skirts and it could have all looked a bit much.

Jess Cartner-Morley, The Guardian: I’m going to come straight out with it. Deep breath: I didn’t think Tom Ford’s show was all that. Not that it was awful, by any means, but despite the beautiful tailoring and the immaculate execution it fell a little flat. It felt too self-referential. Too many frills and too few new ideas. There were gorgeous, curvy, super vamp dresses that I loved, but the flouncy peasant blouses and corset belts seemed like a Guilty Pleasures version of Tom Ford.

Lady Gaga V
Lady Gaga‘s latest column for V Magazine is causing quite a stir. Though I advise a read-through of the entire article (quoted below), the jist of the issue (that journalists and bloggers alike are having) is the defamation of the New York Times’ esteemed fashion critic, Cathy Horyn.

Horyn’s blog, and her writing in general, has never set out to be peaches-and-cream. She is tough, and has certainly offered up a Gaga dig or two in recent years, but has never – as Gaga’s column suggests – been a gossiping source of negativity.

Cathy Horyn is a fashion critic. It is literally her job to offer her perspective. The very nature of fashion shows, ads, promotions, and the like suggests that designers are opening themselves up to comments, reviews and criticism. She does her job in a straightforward, interesting and bologna-less matter. To have Gaga compare Cathy to a the Tavi Gevinsons of the world only hinders her initial argument, as we are now at an age where bloggers and journalists each have a valid point and position in the industry. There is room for everyone.

Stefani Germanotta (aka Lady Gaga) is an intelligent woman, and I have been a fan since ‘the beginning’. This, however, was a negative and – at times – nonsensical argument (to call yourself “Twitter Queen” and then express gratitude for those who “care not for hierarchy or position”?). I only hope that she steers clear of these groundless rants in the future, as her creative and positive commentary is much more interesting.

Lady Gaga for V 73

Date: September 2011

Re: Extreme Critic Fundamentalism

From: M†SS. GAGA

To: Stephen gan

Copy to:

Ms. Vreeland
Haus of Gaga
Nicola Formichetti
V Collective
Little Monsters
The World
Art Historians
Cathy Horyn

Doesn’t the integrity of the critic become compromised when their writings are consistently plagued with negativity? When the public is no longer surprised or excited by the unpredictability of the writer, but rather has grown to expect the same cynicism from the same cynic? When we can predict the same predictable review from the same predictable reviewer? Accomplished creators of fashion and music have a visceral effect on the world, which is consequently why they are publicly distinguished. So why do so many notable critics seem so impervious to the emotion of the work? Why such indifference? Does intellectualism replace feeling? It’s so easy to say something is bad. It’s so easy to write, “One star, hated it, worst show of the season.” It’s much more challenging to reckon with and analyze a work. It requires research, but maybe no one does their research anymore. So my question, V readers, is this: when does the critique or review become insult and not insight? Injury and not intellect?

I’m going to propose a term to describe this movement in critical journalism: Extreme Critic Fundamentalism. I define this term as instilling fear in the hopes and dreams of young inventors in order to establish an echelon of tastemakers. There is a difference between getting a B- in Biology with a series of poignant red marks from your teacher and being given a spanking with a ruler by an old nun. The former we can learn from, while the latter is just painful. The artist is the general and captain of his or her artistic ship, always ready and willing to take the first blow and drown if an iceberg is hit. But in reviews, should critics not reveal all the scientific, mathematical, and pertinent information to explain why the Titanic could not withstand the blow, or why other cruise ships were successful?

* The temperature of the water.
* The construction of the ship.
* The weight of the cargo.
* The number of passengers.
* The disorganization of the crew.

Where my argument leads is to the perspective space of art, which is subjective and not ultimately rooted in mathematics or physics. Is it not even more critical for fashion and art critics to be profusely informed not only in art history but in the subliminal? The public operates with the assumption that critics are experts in their respective fields. But are they? Does every critic have the soul to really receive a work in the transcendental sense? The out-of-body experience of art?

In the age of the Internet, when collections and performances are so accessible to the public and anyone can post a review on Facebook or Twitter, shouldn’t columnists and reviewers, such as Cathy Horyn, employ a more modern and forward approach to criticism, one that separates them from the average individual at home on their laptop? The public is certainly not stupid, and as Twitter queen, I can testify that the range of artistic and brilliant intellectuals I hear from on a daily basis is staggering and inspiring. In the year 2011, everyone is posting reviews. So how does someone like Ms. Horyn separate herself from the online pack? The reality of today’s media is that there are no echelons, and if they’re not careful, the most astute and educated journalists can be reduced to gossipers, while a 14-year-old who doesn’t even have a high school locker yet can master social media engines and, incidentally, generate a specific, well-thought-out, debatable opinion about fashion and music that is then considered by 200 million people on Twitter. Take Tavi Gevinson. She’s 15, and Rodarte created an entire project inspired by her. Her site is I adore her, and her prodigious and well-written blog is the future of journalism. The paparazzi has similarly been usurped by the camera-toting everyman. That magical moment of the movie star posing in front of the Metropolitan Museum is no longer so magical. Now everyone has a fucking cell phone and can take that same fucking picture.

Why do we harp on the predictability of the infamous fashion critic? The predictability of the most notoriously harsh critics who continue writing their notoriously harsh reviews? Why give the elephant in the room a peanut if it has already snapped its trunk at you? That peanut was dead on arrival. To be fair,
Ms. Horyn, the more critical question to ask is: when did the pretense of fashion become more important than its influence on a generation? Why have we decided that one person’s opinion matters more than anyone else’s? Of all the legendary designers I have been blessed to work with, the greatest discovery has been their kindness and their lack of pretense. They care not for hierarchy or position. They are so good, and so precise, that all that matters to them while they’re pinning their perfectly customized garment to my body is the way it makes me feel. Perhaps the pretension belongs in formaldehyde. And the hierarchy is embalmed — for us all to remember nostalgically, and honor that it once was modern, but is now irrelevant. Peanut.

Arizona Muse Freja Erichsen

  • Arizona Muse (my beloved mom model) and Freja Beha Erichsen (rumoured lesbiana modelizer) are dating! An hour-by-hour annotated itinerary from Joann Pailey – Elle’s Market Editor – quietly noted that everyone was talking about it during the Chanel couture show. Here’s to dreams of a fantastic couture wedding in New York.
  • The lovely Bip Ling is the new face of Forever 21! Launching in the Oxford St this week (don’t worry, I’m there for the launch!), the USA megabrand enlisted the British beauty to bring some international love to their fast fashion empire.
    Justin Bieber Vanity Fair

  • Justin Bieber‘s cover of Vanity Fair has only sold 246,000 copies, making it the worst-selling issue since July 1999. Ironically, the cover’s tagline reads, “Is this the adorable, inescapable face of 2011?”
  • Olivia Palermo is becoming a fashion blogger! At Giambattista Valli‘s debut couture show, Olivia told WWD that her blog will feature style advice and will launch midsummer.
  • “I was only used to dressing models and skinny kids and I turned up and it was, like, three fat guys. I just left. That was the last time I tried to work with fat people. I think one of them was Ali G’s brother. It was so ghetto.” – Nicola Formichetti sticks his foot in his mouth.
  • Reem Acra has created a capsule collection exclusively for the Shopbop! Set to debut tomorrow, the collection features both her eveningwear and wedding masterpieces that we have all come to love.
  • No kind words were offered in regards to Dior’s Fall 2011 Couture collection. With longtime Galliano assistant Bill Gaytten now at the head of the eponymous label, the seemingly clown-inspired collection was – punningly – a joke. In the words of The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn, “I like Mr. Gaytten. He’s a sweetheart, but he is not a designer.”
    Matthieu Blazy Margiela

  • Maison Martin Margiela‘s new designer was announced without being announced. Matthieu Blazy simply updated his LinkedIn. Welcome to the internet.
  • Illamasqua, the British makeup brand, has just started up a collaboration with Leverton & Sons…the funeral directors. According to Illamasqua’s blog, ‘to wear the most fabulous makeup applied by a professionally trained makeup artist for your final journey is the ultimate statement of celebration‘, and any Londoner who agrees can fork out £500 for said statement.
    Anna Wintour Legion dHonneur

  • French president Nicolas Sarkozy gave Anna Wintour a Legion d’Honneur award in front of a crowd that consisted of Bernard Arnault, Karl Lagerfeld, Stefano Pilati, Donatella Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Alber Elbaz, Franca Sozzani, Riccardo Tisci, and more. She also wore Chanel Couture that had walked the runway the previous evening. Green eyes getting greener, here.
  • Feather Extensions

    Jennifer Love Hewitt

    – Everyone from Hilary Duff, to Jennifer Love Hewitt, to Steven Tyler, to Ke$ha, to Selena Gomez seem to be sporting feather hair extensions. Unfortunately, the trend seems to be stripping fisherman supply shops of their fly-fishing stock. The ‘hackles’ used to create the extensions have quickly hit shortage status. Don’t mess with the fishermen, fashionistas. Before you know it, your Omega-3 supply will disappear!

    – At the Dior Homme show on Saturday, LVMH chief Bernard Arnault told fashion journalist Cathy Horyn that John Galliano would definitely not be working for LVMH in the future. Regarding Galliano’s arrest, Arnault said “he didn’t have the simple politeness to contact me.” Designer Bill Gaytten will oversee the Christian Dior couture collection for now – a decision that is fueling takeover speculation.

    Beyoncé bought – well, her assistant bought25 pairs of designer shoes as a 25th birthday present for her sister Solange. Adopt me, Bey?

    Marc Jacobs Crossdressing
    – Want to see Marc Jacobs cross-dress in Katie Grand‘s collection of Marc Jacobs threads? Click here.

    Tommy Hilfiger is one of the “high net worth” individuals Morgan Stanley recruited to invest in Michael Kors‘ half-a-billion-dollar global expansion. The 25-percent stake in Kors’ company was an easy decision for Hilfiger, who said “anybody would be crazy not to invest in it. Michael Kors is the next major global player in my eyes.”

    London to New York Jet
    – This is going to revolutionize Fashion Week! British firm HyperMach recently revealed plans for their “SonicStar aircraft” – a ridiculously fast jet that would reduce the flying time from London to New York to two hours. Bonus points for implementing an engine that will reduce fuel consumption. Unfortunately, the project won’t be completed until 2025, so we’ll have to sit through another 22 seasons or so of flight-scheduling insanity.

    Kim Kardashian is having her wedding dress custom-made by Vera Wang. Due to the wordly importance of the occasion (ahem), she is making staff at Vera’s studio sign a strict confidentiality agreement.

    Gwenyth Paltrow was spotted having a meal with Sir Philip Green in London. The only way this makes sense? A collaboration with Topshop. I mean, she is a country singer, actress, blogger, mom, cook and more – why not a fashion designer, too? Fingers crossed!

    Lady Gaga Tumblr
    Lady Gaga got a Tumblr. It’s called Amen Fashion, and it’s addictive.

    Tom Ford Leaked Show Photos
    Wait a second, wasn’t everyone at the Tom Ford show supposed to sign a nondisclosure agreement? Naughty fashionistas. Thanks to some anonymous contract breakers, we now have leaked images of everyone’s head shot before the show – from Julianne Moore to Beyonce to Daphne Guinness to Lauren Hutton – they are all accounted for.

    Since the gates have now opened, Cathy Horyn has also posted photos she snapped while at the show on the New York Times website. See them all below! View Post