Archive – March 2007, during trip to Paris

Nanluoguxiang [ edit ]

March 30 2007 (03:14:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

I’m sure you all noticed but Beijing’s lone tolerable stretch of turf made it into the NYT. I’ve met the guy who wrote this. This and 798 are the two spots in Beijing.

Back-Street Beijing By MIKE MEYER

As the city prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Beijing‘s historic lanes, or hutongs, are disappearing in a dust cloud of new construction. But South Gong and Drum Lane (Nan Luoguxiang) is an exception. Near the central lakes, the 700-year-old hutong is a bit of authentic bohemia in an otherwise Starbucks-saturated central city.

One of the lane’s pioneers, Pass By Bar (No. 108; 011-86-10-8403-8004), was opened in 1999 by Xiao Biar, whose shaved head and Coke-bottle specs make him instantly recognizable on his bar-stool perch. The original local clientele has given way to affluent Chinese and foreign hipsters drawn to the open courtyard seating and the soundtrack of Tibetan drums. Pass By’s success has spawned a sequel, the posh Pass By Restaurant (1) (No. 114; 011-86-10-6400-6868; entrees $10 to $15), which serves salads, fresh fish and perhaps the capital’s only veal piccata.

As a planned showcase for the Games, the lane was repaved last year with gray bricks, and storefronts were ordered repainted — with one xception, the hulking concrete Central Academy of Drama (2) (No. 39; 011-86-10-6403-5626), which stages nighttime performances. (Check the signs, posted in English.) Take in the youthful scene at the nameless (and phoneless) restaurant (3) opposite the school’s gate, where students congregate over bowls of hand-pulled noodles. Though there are dozens of newer restaurants and bars, two stalwarts continue to impress. Drum and Gong (4) (No. 102; 011-86-10-8402-4729; entrees $3 to $10) serves spicy Sichuan-style dishes, and across the lane, Here Cafe (5) (No. 97; 011-86-10-8401-4246) has plush sofas, freshly ground coffee and free Wi-Fi.

Unlike on the hutongs surrounding the central lake district, you won’t find tchotchkes like cloisonné eggs and stuffed Olympic mascots for sale here. Plastered T-Shirts (6) (No. 61; 011-86-10-1348-884-8855) specializes in tees with the logos of Beijing’s taxis and subway, and Yanjing beer. Also check out Minzu Feng (No. 56; 011-86-10-8205-0226) for folk-inspired women’s clothing and Jmax (No. 17-4; 011-86-134-6666-2024) for handmade silver necklaces.

Architecture buffs should head 100 yards east on Juer Hutong (Chrysanthemum Lane) to see its World Habitat Award-winning housing project, which used modern materials to reproduce traditional courtyard living. Though Beijing’s lanes are being replaced by car-friendly streets and high-rises, the design was praised locally, staking a claim for responsible development in a 21st-century city.

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Street Fashion: Trend Spotters [ edit ]

March 30 2007 (01:43:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

Thanks to John Kramer for sending me this piece. Trend spotting would be a great job. I wonder if high waisted jeans will be in for men.

Spotting the Next Hoodie

Fashion Increasingly Relies
On Trends From the Streets;
Spying Raccoon Hats in
SoHo

By VANESSA O’CONNELL
March 29, 2007; Page D1

Standing near a cluster of bars at the corner of Red River and East 6th streets in Austin, Texas, earlier this month, Helen Job grew anxious about denim. She had spent four days in the hip college town, trying to determine whether a new look was catching on.

After seeing mostly skinny jeans, which she believes are on their way out, Ms. Job finally spotted a young woman in a T-shirt and high-waisted, straight-legged jeans. The sighting was further confirmation of a trend her colleagues at Worth Global Style Network had already documented on the streets of Scandinavia, Europe and Japan and in stores in Paris and London. “Give it about six weeks,” she said, “and all the New York stores will have them in the windows.”

Ms. Job is one of the fashion industry’s secret weapons. As U.S. editor of WGSN, a fashion-consulting service, she is one of a growing number of third-party researchers who go out into the streets to get an early look at emerging styles and to find out where young people are shopping. A competing service, Doneger Group, has increased the number of employees dedicated to so-called trend spotting by 50% to 120 people in the past five years. The 30-year-old Ms. Job even teaches a class on trend spotting to fashion-merchandising students at Parsons The New School for Design.

The role of trend spotters — sometimes also called cool hunters — has grown in importance as the fashion cycle has speeded up. Desperate for an edge in a lackluster market, apparel makers and retailers increasingly are seeking help in quickly sorting through competing trends. Trend spotters can help mass merchandisers figure out which nascent trends from chic boutiques or even thrift stores might be hot sellers on a wider scale.

Street style has become an important source of inspiration for retailers eager to lure shoppers with a taste for “fast fashion” at chains like H&M and Zara. Many chains have their own in-house trend spotters. Store inventory is also turning over more quickly, as retailers strive to refresh the merchandise on their racks. At Nordstrom Inc., for instance, inventory turned over 5.06 times last year, compared with 3.7 times in 2001.

These consultants work in different ways, but many produce slick, periodic reports — often focused on key looks, such as accessories — which they sell to mass retailers, apparel manufacturers and designers. Ms. Job says her photos are used by clients such as Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Polo Ralph Lauren.

Many trend spotters focus almost entirely on young people on the theory that they have an impact on the broader fashion scene. “A lot of the people we buy from are the people who are interpreting the street trends, they are just doing it at a higher-level quality,” says Julie Gilhart, fashion director at Barneys New York.

“There is the longstanding debate of what influences what. Does the street influence high fashion or does fashion influence the street?” says Michael Macko, vice president for men’s fashion at Saks Fifth Avenue. He for one, is “always fascinated” by street fashion.

The recent rise of the men’s all-over-print hoodie, or hooded jacket, shows how street trends spread. The Japanese urban streetwear chain A Bathing Ape helped push the look into the U.S. from Tokyo acouple of seasons ago, prompting small retailers like

Union in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, Barneys Co-op and Internet stores such as Hypebeast and Karmaloop to start selling their own versions. Soon, print hoodies were showing up in hip magazines such as Complex and Nylon and hip-hop videos. Over the past six months, more mainstream designers and apparel makers picked up the style, which is now widely available.

Equally important to identifying trends, is figuring out when they are over. Tim Bess, the 41-year-old menswear street-style guru for fashion consultancy Doneger Group, studies men ages 18 to 26. Sometimes he brings along the young woman who works as his assistant to help break the ice.

On Saturday, he roamed the streets of SoHo and Harlem in New York. He chatted briefly with several sharply dressed kids, two of whom wore printed hoodies, and checked the window displays of influential boutiques. His conclusion: The printed hoodie trend still has legs, but won’t last much longer. Some guys on the street had already moved on to a more “cleaned up” look of solid shirts and jeans with little or no detailing.

Another sign: Mr. Bess spotted a printed hoodie on a scruffy middle-aged man walking by. “You can tell when a trend sort of moves on,” he said. “When you start seeing people who shouldn’t be wearing a certain brand or look, that’s when it’s over.”

In SoHo, Mr. Bess stopped to chat with a group of about 10 young men in vintage 1980s garb, including big gold chains. Mr. Bess has worked with these men before, bringing them into his office to pose for one of his street reports. Calling themselves the “Retro Kids,” they say they try to promote 1980s style. “It’s easy to start something new,” said one man in the group, Ladaz Marshall, age 20. “Anybody can do it.”

Up in Harlem, Mr. Bess admired the outfit of one young shopper, Xavier “Ozve” Peña, age 19. Mr. Peña was wearing slim-cut jeans and a Kidrobot all-over-print hoodie. “What are your favorite Web sites?” asked Mr. Bess. “Do you go to Karmaloop?” The young man said he got his jeans at a New York outpost of the Japanese chain Uniqlo.

For next year, Mr. Bess predicts a shift to a ’90s grunge style. Some boutiques, he noted, have begun carrying plaid and flannel shirts.

It’s getting tougher to figure out where to find fashionable folks. In the 1970s and 1980s, trend spotters trawled the boutiques of St. Tropez, France, after the Paris fashion shows, in search of emerging labels. Some still swear by the French resort when it comes to resort or cruise wear.

But trendy neighborhoods are constantly shifting today. Trend spotters now attend rock music festivals in Denmark and Scotland, and trek off to Colombia, Brazil and Istanbul. Barbara Fields, who runs her own trend-spotting firm, travels monthly to the streets of London, Barcelona, Tokyo or Seoul, and says lately one of her best tactics has been taking photos of young people on the streets of the Harajuku district in Tokyo. Based on what she’s seen there, she believes fur-trimmed hooded athletic jackets will be an emerging trend for fall, along with wide-leg pants with a diameter of 24 inches to 33 inches, among other styles.

Janine Blain, head of Doneger Group’s Los Angeles office, meanwhile, recently began dividing up her presentations according to where the photos were shot: Third Street in Los Angeles or Malibu/Santa Monica, for example. She sees a movement away from “girly” styles to an “alpha male” look of structured women’s jackets and pants in menswear fabrics.

This week, WGSN’s Ms. Job sorted through more than 400 pictures she took in Austin, putting together groupings of three to six shots that illustrate a trend for her “trend flashes” — short reports that she will produce once a week for the next three weeks. In addition to high-waisted jeans, which she has noticed since at an H&M store in New York, she plans to focus on Ray-Ban Wayfarer-style sunglasses and the trapper-style raccoon hat that several young women were wearing.

Comments

>Based on what she’s seen there, she believes fur->trimmed hooded athletic jackets will be an emerging >trend for fall, That is last year’s style in Japan IIRC I wonder where the originality is coming from as it seems that often this idea of finding new trends is rather circular, with US designers copying Japanese designs that were themselves inspired by UK/US/French fashion…
Posted by Pescatore on 04/02/2007 04:10:29 AM

I think there is a certain dearth of originality in the world of fashion. Do you think it is a field that requires originality? Or perhaps any originality in it must emerge from the street.
Posted by stylites on 04/02/2007 05:38:13 AM

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Special Offer [ edit ]

March 16 2007 (09:02:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

We are pleased to announce a special offer for this Saturday (March 17) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and welcome (or beckon) the arrival of spring. We are also extending the offer to Sunday (March 18). With the coming of warmer weather, it will be time to shed that cashmere cardigan. The article of clothing most on display in spring and summer will be your shirt.

Consequently, on these two days we will present a complimentary custom dress shirt with any order of a suit made from our selection of British fabrics. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience the superior fit and quality of a Senli and Frye shirt. We are delighted to make it in the style that you like, whether it be Dior Homme, Saville Row, or the Great Gatsby. If you or any of your friends have been waiting to order the perfect suit – the best Beijing has to offer – this would be the time to come to our shop. British fabric is our speciality and we have one of the most extensive selections of it in Beijing. Prices for suits made from our British fabrics range from RMB 2,500 to 7,800 for men and 2,000 to 6,000 for women. Materials are 100% wools (s100-s150), cashmere/wool blends, cashmere/wool/mink blends, and Scottish tweeds (in wool or wool/cashmere blends). At each pricepoint, there is a wide range of choices in terms of weights, patterns, weaves, and colors. Please contact me at 13910092410 if you would like to schedule an appointment. (0) Comments | Post Comment

Tomorrow, free coffee in the country of China [ edit ]

March 15 2007 (03:25:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

This is good timing. Hopefully it will help them revive their image after that poopoostorm following the complaints on the Forbidden City location.

As an American, I am very proud that we export premium coffee culture to the world through this chain with its high standards of service, quality, and cleanliness. It gives the global urban middle class a quiet and comfy place to chat about the latest art films, sketch interior design ideas, or even conclude a major acquisition.

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This is my life [ edit ]

March 12 2007 (12:23:00) US/Pacific ( 2 views )

My two favorite songs for the last few weeks have been Eartha Kitt’s “This is my life” and Shirley Bassey’s “This is my life”. These are two very different songs depicting life, presumably in the Seventies.

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