Friday, 20 April 2012


Men and beauty- what a topic. Are men supposed to be beautiful or more interesting? Who is more attractive a gentleman of 55 years with tons of money or a 19- year- old art student with the flair of a fucked- up 20th century Arthur Rimbaud?
I just started a new job as newly appointed chief fashion editor of the up-and- coming style website ( we will start posting in May- we are still in the process of creating the website). I talked with the publisher of the website,  fashion stylist Kaz Longe how we would like to create a style blog for women who are different, eccentric, fat & tall.... yet talented and still beautiful in an unconventional way.
Is it true, with Lady Gaga, Beth Dito, Adele, Lynn Yaegger everywhere and head lines like 'Le chic, c'est freak, The Rise Of Eccentric Beauty- an article in the Sunday Times Style magazine are trying to convince us all that 'being different' has become the 'new black'?
Singer Adele- the 'super-sized' super music star- it was hard to find a picture which shows her chubby beauty without the obligatory retouching diet cure administered by fashion editors for 'round' girls like Adele. I can hear the voice of  some famous high gloss mag's beauty editor screaming at the in- house graphic designer, sorry, graphic design intern, of course : 'Listen honey, make her look slim yet not Twiggy slim more Miss Piggy sweet- curvaceous-slim.. don't look at me like that- people do not want FAT! on the cover of a fashion magazine, get it!... and I do not mind fat people, whatever the others say!!!

Lynn Jaegger- contributing fashion editor  for and fashion writer for Vogue, The New York Times, The Village Voice  and some more publications- we love her humorous writing and her very own fashion sense of a Victorian porcelain doll having a lesbian affair with an 1920's flapper-she does with fashion exactly what we all should do with it-have fun! 

'The Voice'-  singer Beth Ditto- how to describe a true  fashion 'nut case'-  fat,  lesbian,  so cool it almost hurts -  and a voice that make my toes tingle...
So, I started thinking who are these freaks in men's fashion? OK, there's me of course, the fashion outsider who always struggled with his weight and who partly is proud of him being different. Yet I still sometimes go back to my old convinction that there is still a beautiful skinny 6 feet tall male model waiting and growing inside me to break through my rip cage ( like in the scene from Ridley Scott's sci- fi horror film 'Alien', except that instead of blood, sequins will splatter out of my ripped open 'man boops', or  maybe gold-pigmented violet nail varnish or...sorry, loosing the plot...and a gorgeous Francisco Lachowski ( a up-and coming male model 'eromenos') is looking cutely confused  into the shocked faces around him) who after he is freed heads straight to New York Fashion Week- to be the 'It' boy of the moment, loved and admired by all his thousands of shit cool, fuck rich fashion friends.
OK, back to reality-and back to finding the style outsiders true heroes. So, who are the pin- up boys of the men's fashion & style world who are fat, bald, chubby, small, kooky& creepy yet interesting, fun, creative and the true fashion & style geniuses with tons of character, charm and true chic! Let me introduce you to The Fashion Philosopher's inner circle of 'The Fabulous Freaks of Men's Fashion':

1. Mickey Boardman- editorial director of Paper Magazine
What did Coco Chanel say: In regards to accessories- take always away the last piece you added to your outfit- Mr Boardman have you listened- Coco just said something???

Mr Micky Boardman take on Andy Warhol's star portrait pics? Je t'aime, Mickey!
Mickey Boardman belongs to those people I really want to work with when I have made it as an stylist, I just love his humour and his style which has been described as 'alcoholic housewife'. He does not shy away to integrate women's clothes into his outfits yet more as a style choice than a life-style choice ( he is never really in complete drag). The self confessed monarchy freak loves his signature polo shirts usually adding amazing jewellery or some great sequin vest top or a cute little ladies handbag for adding a bit of fashionable spice to a otherwise proper guys top. I just admire men who can say 'yes' to their female sensibilites. In an interview with the fashion blog Scalaregia he tells us his fashion ideology: 'Fashion should always be fun ( oh, we get you Mickey-boy) and you make you feel fabulous. Why wear something you don't think it is exciting? It is not about money it is about feeling gorgeous.'... I'm clinging on your lips Mickey..

Actually, I really like the look, it is exactly the right  level of female and  male  sartorial  proportions...

A sporty jacket+ sky blue polo-shirt+ 'It'-clutch= Mickey is here! 
In the same interview this wise fashion insider let's us into his ideas what true 'chic' means to him: 'Chic is confidence in yourself, wearing what you really love regardless of what the trends are- chic is being nice not cunty.'

Absolutely true words and words some fashionistas and her male counterpart should take to their heart. To become part of fashion means more than just to know your Vogue trend report by heart and have the sales person at Burberry smiling at you (since he knows how much you will spend for the last fad). Fashion is everything- fashion is art, fashion is music, fashion is the colour of a flower you just were enchanted by and a good book you just ready. To develop a true feeling for your own style, you must be able to live a 'whole' life and keep your eyes open for ideas and beauty.... thanks Mr Boardman. I'm sure we will get on brilliantly when we will meet in near future!

2. Andre Leon Talley- former editor-in-large and now contributing editor of American Vogue 
Andre in the 60's or early 70's- brought up to appreciate the simple luxuries of life like ironed  towels and  washing done by hand instead of a washing machine- thanks to his grand mother, a simple house maid. Yet she also installed in him dignity and style, attributes which helped him find his direction in fashion ( as you can see on his dignified face impression on the pic above....) 

The 21th century Renaissance man, a bon vivant, a dandy, a photographer, a fashion journalist promoter of young talent....the true 'Fashion Pope' 

Not only physically impressive, six foot seven inches, his monumental status in fashion has been achieved by surviving more than 30 years in the 'chiffon traces'  with style and grace ( and without becoming a size zero or become completely bonkers, but maybe.. hm... hi hi ha..). 
Looking always 'freakishly' amazing in his own creation of  flamboyant 'muumuus', looking like an excotic version of Holbein's Henry VIII. I'm really, really in awe of Andre. I am sure it was not at all easy growing up black, gay and big shy guy in a small town in South Carolina ( isn't the one of the worst case scenarios). He left the South to come to New York in the late 60's early 70's where his first job was being an assistant to artist Andy Warhol! From there he went to meet the person who was maybe the most important person in his life, next to his beloved Granny, who worked very hard to bring her grand child up with loads of love and despite poverty, style!
He met Diana Vreeland, during a time, when she was still working as editor-in-chief for Vogue. She helped him to find his unique voice as an fashion journalist- the mix between Southern small-town brawl and high life sophistication. 

The 70's- a decade with an almost 'disgusting' love for the excess....Andre with Lord Snowdon, photographer and first husband of the 'party  princess': Princess Margaret, the younger sister of the Queen of England. 
Dress-To-Impress- if Lagerfeld is 'The Kaiser'- than Talley is 'The Pope'
He stands for all the outsiders in 'Middle America' and the rest of Suburbia ( around the world since suburb is suburb, which means mental death for every creative mind)- youth who do not fit in and more importantly do not want to fit in. Andre shows them that if you go for your dreams with determination and open eyes, they might come true even  if in the beginning things might not look that easy. Charm paired with creativity and a good timing to be in right spot at the right time sometimes is more worth than beauty- even in fashion.
Not only his live story inspires and helps young people gaining more confidence, Andre also helps many in more practical ways. He uses his flawless connections of the 'Who is Who' of the fashion world to promote young fashion designers. Talley even branches out his help to other areas too which brought him a honorary doctorate in Humanity from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Ok, this man is fat, huge with huge drooping lips yet he learned how to dress his weaknesses and learned an important lesson in search of his very own 'fabulous you' , that is: if you can not get rid of your flaws put them on a golden pedestal for view of the whole world, this creates awe, doesn't; it? .

3. Antony Hegarty- singer and song writer, transvestite and performance artist

Antony- a modern venus or just a freak of nature? 

Antony and The Johnsons- the big break came in 2006- for their album I Am A Bird Now, they won the prestigious Mercury price. In the end individualism and  creativity won....
OK, with Andre Leonard Talley I must confess I already reached almost the dead end with the 'ugly' guys working directly in fashion, except maybe a few designers are left, yet since fashion and performing arts are very close relatives, I thought I cheat a bit and introduce you to Anthony Hegarty- if he needs to be introduced. Although he is not a sinful exotic (and skinny) Lea T nor an androgynous- perfect ( and even more skinny) Andre Pejic, he vowed the music world and the fashion crowd with his amazing voice and his 'bjoerk-esque' way of dressing. Born in the UK but later he moved with his parents to the USA, he already founded a performance group at school and worked many years in underground bars and theatre spaces as singer, writer and performer of late night theatre.

His performance is strongly influenced by the years he worked in gay progressive theatre before slowly developing his singer career
I love his way of dressing, I think he looks like classical Greek actors might  have looked like 600 BC ( without the obligatory masks they all must wear during a theatre performance) while performing the great theatrical playwrights from the Aniquity like Euripides or Aeschylus. As a true brilliant performer you just can feel the fragility of his soul. His draped loose dresses just enhance his ethereal beauty even more- neither man nor woman, Antony combines both- the' beauty' and the 'beast' in a true artistic manner. J'adore....

4.Igor Dewe- fashion performance artist, shoe artist and createur of fashion films

I will not say anything yet, you must watch the video first and than you will understand....

I can already hear some whispers from the sceptical fashion fanatic: '... at least he is not fat...', OK, that is true is not fat, one point less on the fashion crime scala, yet he is anything else- completely bonkers, poor, a fanatic, an exhibitionist, a masochist, disgusting, sexually .... so qui est-ce, Igor Rewe?
He is like a true magic unicorn, maybe the first and last of his kind- can you see him having sex with him? OK, we can accept one apology, this Fashion Dervish is French...maybe an overload of too intellectual- too serious- to 'arty- farty' French dramas in his youth?
Yet, whatever you think of him, he is brave and unique! Beauty lies in the eye of the spectator, doesn't it?

All Igor's shoe creations are self made from the most unusal materials like fruit, sand from the beach and  like in the photo from old food tin boxes- yes just in the act of creation we come close to god- in this case, Igor  is a true prophet of God, Fashion and, even if you would like to discuss this point, of beauty.

Forget McQueen's Armadillo shoes- Igor Drewe's African horn creation is the true killer heel! 

I think in the case of Igor, it is not that interesting where he comes from, what his plans are, commercially viable or not, Igor, for me is about going forward, taking the ugly or unused into something narratively beautiful. It is fashion yet it is art. Igor Dewe's art/ fashion is about exploring the limits, the fugaciousness of the being, to make sense from the senseless. His fashion creations are transcending the useful and logic- they are a phantasm not mend to last longer than the film they are made for.

Thanks for taking the time to share my thoughts with you!

Raj, The Fashion Philosopher

Thursday, 12 April 2012


Lately during one of creative 'brainstorming nights' I fell over a couple of fashion videos on you tube. I watched them already last year, like Gareth Pugh's S/S 2011 fashion presentation, yet somehow I did not get it, back than.  Yet this time round it was different, I was transfixed to the screen and felt this strange 'Heureka' moment when you have the feeling you really see something for the first time yet it actually has been dangling in front of you for some time already. And to be honest,I think a lot of fashionistas and fashionistos are not really getting this 'developing' art form which will grow rapidly in the next years, if I can trust my fashion instincts.

Gareth Pugh S/S11 video presentation: music by Mathew Stone & directed by Ruth Hogben

As fate is crossing the Fashion Philosopher's path during the same couple of days lately ( me, suddenly being drawn to fashion short films and trailers- it all happend around two weeks ago, by chance I also watched an inteview with fashion all-round worker ( I say worker since she is just so hard working for fashion in so many areas of style) Diane Pernet from the blog A Shaded View Of Fashion talking about how she has always been interested taking fashion into film and also she things that this way of presenting fashion is absolutely underrated.

Actually sometimes I am surprised how old fashioned and even boring many people who work in fashion are, usually not in the way of dressing, no, their attitude towards mixing fashion with new mediums like digital films, videos and even animation are stupendously conservative very often! They want to keep  fashion runway shows as the main way to present the new seasons, yet I think using film and video opens up endless possibilities to present collections in  new & fresh ways- laptops, ipads, digital mobile phones and ever more advanced developments in entertainment technology will be the new digital catwalks. I  think it just feels fresh and modern to take fashion through film into the digital age. And of course, for the future which might see plane ticket prices sky rocketing, when oil is running out and we all will be forced staying connected through internet and working more and more from home.... yet I do not want to bore you with my tendency to bring politics into my fashion posts all the time! Yet this thought is to be considered, how our way of working will change in the next 30 years...

'Iris' - An Exclusive Fashion Film: directed by Barnaby Roper & model Iris Strubergger  featuring looks from Miu Mius, Celine, Soo Ri, Genevieve Jones and many more....

Yet before going back to visionary Mrs Penet, I would just quickly show you one of the first 'fashion films' around- maybe the film who started this art form- the French quirky 60's comedy 'Qui etes-vous Polly Maggoo?' ('Who Are You, Polly Maggoo') (1966).

This cute fashion film ( or film about fashion- depends from which view point you watch the film) directed by William Klein is a satirical take on the fashion world and its excesses in the 1960's, at time where fashion really started not only to express your status and age yet actually developed into a way of expressing your personality and individuality. This film catches perfectly the Zeitgeist of the 'Swinging Sixties' with all its futuristic aesthetics and it naive trust into a better 'Sci- Fi' world to come! The story is rather simple since this comedy is not a about a deep intellectual plot more about the a glimpse into this amazing period of timePolly is a model who tells about her experiences when she is interviewed by a television crew in this offbeat satirical comedy. She dreams of a life with prince charming while contending with the lecherous advances of a whole string of men who constantly hit on her and a fashion magazine editor, modelled of course on nobody else than on the famous Vogue editor of the time Diane Vreeland, making her life a living hell! 

Rodarte S/S12- 'Soliloquy 88' video presentation: fashion film by Jason Last& Jame Rubiano 

42 years after 'Qui etes-vous Polly Maggoo?', in September 2008 during Paris Fashion Week, visionary all-round style genius Diana Pernet launched ASVOFF ( A Shaded View On Fashion Film)- the first annual festival celebrating the successful merging of fashion and film. Created as a 3 day event at the national museum of Paris, Jeu de Paume, ASVOFF showcases feature films, documentaries, conferences, performances and installations, actually all these mediums showing fashion away from its traditional way of depicting fashion through the one dimensional medium of 'still' photography.

Yet energetic Pernet has not only been satisfied in creating this important festival and prize competition, no, she has also taken the event travelling the globe and showcasing the incredible work of the most talented, creative famous and not-yet-famous artists to every corner of the world from the Guggenheim Bilbao to Seoul, from Scope Art Fair in New York to Riga and Moscow.... By combining style, fashion, beauty and film Pernet's ASVOFF has brought together names like Steven Klein, Chris Cunningham, Chloe Sevigny, Yves Saint Laurent, Nick Knight, Ruth Hogben, Georgie Greville and many more, maybe creative professionals who might not have worked together in a more conventional way.

Have I opened you eyes now or are they 'still wide shut' like mine used to be? Have a look on you tube and once you have started watching these amazing fashion videos you will get hooked to them like me.

The Fashion Philosopher