Jean genius

Levis invited me to their ‘new fits’ presentation last week. They launch in June and I don’t have pics but it’s all good. I liked their 471 higher wait skinny jeans. They’re not an extreme ‘fashion’ high waist but just sit on the natural waistline, yet since we’re so used to hipsters it’s a style that looks new. The super-sophisticated dense black wash was my favourite. Then there’s the 770 bow leg jean. It looks vastly better on the body than on the hanger and the idea is it’s cut to deliberately scrunch up at the hem. But the standout pieces for me were the dresses. Yes, Levi’s is stepping away from the jeans –woo hoo! These cool babies launch in August so keep your eyes peeled.

Exceedingly good

So you think Kipling is all naff bags with a sad monkey keyring? No way Jose, ex-Celine designer Isabelle Cheron is now on board as creative director so next season is all about satin-nylon holdalls a la Longchamp and printed velvet Le Sportsac stylee. Kipling’s growing up and I’m behind them 100%! (PS Did you know the monkeys all have names and are named after the staff who work there…?)

Ooh controversial…

Simon Doonan, Creative Director of Barneys, New York has been quoted in the UK press as saying Kate Moss is “a working class slag from a crap town, like me.” Cue defensive counter-quotes from a Croydon Council bod (“Croydon is a vibrant place to live with great shopping”) and TopShop’s optimistically misguided PR (“I think he is trying to say that Kate is playing to her strengths and can appeal to the masses”). Well, it doesn’t really matter does it? As Kate knows more than anyone, all publicity is good publicity. Say what the hell you like, it’s all more kerching for Croydon Kate.

Young Americans

I was invited to a preview this morning of the V & A’s New York Fashion Now exhibition which opens tomorrow. It celebrates the new names that have emerged in American fashion in the five-year period from 1999-2004. I have to say it’s not the most dynamic exhibition. It’s in the smaller gallery and all the exhibits are behind glass. Some film footage, designers sketches or even exciting music could have been employed to give it more drama but it’s all very clean, stark and simple.

Alongside the likes of Proenza Schouler, Behnaz Sarafpour and Zac Posen are lesser known labels like Mary Ping (great name!)and Costello Tagliapietra (breathtaking drapy jersey gowns). Some of the terminology confused me though. Designers are grouped in sections called things like Sportswear Chic, Atelier and Avant-garde. OK, ‘avant-garde’ I get but I’m sorry, how can you call Derek Lam and Proenza Schouler ‘sportswear’? I know US sportswear isn’t the same as UK sportswear (to us sportswear is a shell suit, to them it’s smart separates) but this is luxury dressing at its most formal!

It was interesting to see representation by Cloak and Miguel Adrover, two brilliantly original but short-lived labels that didn’t survive the post 9/11 economic downturn. If you’re a fashion student or really into the US fashion scene this is worth a look. If not, get the accompanying book New York Fashion written by the curator Sonnet Stanfill. It goes into more depth than the exhibition and is a great deal more visually satisfying.
New York Fashion Now, 17 April – 2 September 2007, FREE