For the last few days, the entire server that hosts Stylites has been blocked in China. This is not due to content on Stylites; there must be other websites on the same server that have pornography or questionable political content. Stylites is now moving to a new server and updates should start as usual within a week. Thank you for your continued support.
Ever notice that most mannequins look a bit like Barbie or He-man? A Janice Wang has come up with mannequins scans of bodies of the target consumers. Her company will offer a mix of products and service. In addition to the more accurate physiques of her models, she will tell clients exactly what shapes and sizes are needed to match the demographics where the clothing will be selling. This could be yet another advantage for ready-to-wear clothing over tailor-made.
Do keep in mind the monotony of the street scene in China just thirty years ago. This AFP piece reminds us that not only fashion has returned. Shanghai and Beijing were more or less in black in white at the start of Reform and Opening.
There are some interesting tidbits about the fashion then. In 1978, cotton was competing with grain for agricultural land. For me, a frustrating result was perfection of polyester technology. The scarcity of cotton meant, a dress shirt cost half a person’s annual rations. An entire outfit was often worth the entire family’s yearly allowance of ration coupons. Since entire shirts were such an extravagance, men would wear just the collar, a kind of bib that would be visible over a jacket or sweater.
Now Shanghai and Beijing are filled with shopping addicts who have years worth of outfits in their wardrobes. Men can buy RMB 20,000 Berlutis, shoes so lovely that a shirt is barely necessary.
Still, sometimes it seems the majority of men are still in black and white. Fellows appearing on Stylites notwithstanding, men have made less of a shocking jump than women. Though it may not be a uniform, the majority of men particularly in tier two or three cities seem to be dressed quite quite nearly identically.
Formerly a fashion designer, Kevin now devotes himself to developing fashion brands in the China market through consulting. His main efforts are focused on educating on marketing and branding, creating a hip image essential in competing with well established Western brands.
Sometimes the key to style is appropriateness; not elegance or fashion. This look is perfect for walking through winter in the hutongs. At the same time, Alice Liu looks like she just walked out of a Salvation Army with the most unique items she could dig up: a suede toggle coat and pleated jeans. A Beijinger, she has spent much of her life in London and has now returned to her hometown to make her fortune as a writer and cat breeder. In order to achieve the former, she has just taken a position at Danwei, the top English site covering Chinese media and urban life. For the latter, she is now allowing her non-spade female cat roam free in the environs of Nanluoguxiang. Interestingly, this cat herself is the product of a hutong romance between stray cats.
“About Nels Frye (费志远)” tells about me and shows how I look. There are some new updates.
Trousers are over-rated. Their dominance in the West is only since the 16th century. In China, trousers were reserved for the cavalry until the 20th. This constricting garment was favored by the ancient Persians who mocked the Greeks for being effeminate skirt wearers. Scottish historian, A. R. Burn remarked that this was “not the last time trouser-wearing men made that mistake about kilt-wearing men.” In modern times, many argue that skirts make sense for the male anatomy, if not for a Beijing winter.
The man-skirts this past Saturday bore little resemblance to Greek uniforms worn at Thermopylae or even Chaeronea. This highlander by the name of Jin could use a few more pleats in his kilt; the feeling of voluminous scottish wool swaying in the Beijing wind must be satisfying and the heaviness of the fabric prevents any Marilyn Monroe moments. Otherwise, the completeness of this outfit is inspiring and apparently it is all “Made in Scotland” and lent by someone from a clan that lays claim to this particular tartan.Designer Ivy is very cute too. Perhaps I had had a bit much to drink, because I assumed she was French. Her having just arrived back from Paris the day before saved me from total foolishness.
Next year, Stylites will organize a competition: Who has the best outfit for the holiday season? This year, this outift would be the winner. Celebrity make-up artist and stylist Li Dongtian or Tony Li, founder of nationwide Tony Studio, is sporting a Comme des Garçons (or Yohji? The skirt seems Comme) cloak. Actually I’m not sure if “cloak” is the right word as capes and cloaks are supposed to be sleeveless and this one does seem to have sleeve holes. The green stockings are masterful. On the first weekend of December, he set the bar pretty high. Are his outfits going to get better and better over the next twelve or so days? Can I get his itinerary?
Even curmudgeons who have been doubting the skirt thing must confess that this outift is original and sophisticated. The skirt on designer Xander Zhou appears to be Viktor and Rolf. Find more about Xander at Time Out and CRI.Engliish.com.
Almost no element of this outfit is strictly conventional, which makes it even more notable that the look works well. Perhaps I’m going out on a limb by lavishing praise here and maybe this fellow has just copied a runway look that I failed to notice. I do find it to be a fresh but pleasing look.
As for skirts in general, most men may not be able to achieve the pleasing results that we see here. These gentlemen are clearly addicted to fashion, have the resources needed to procure skirts expressly designed to look good on men, jobs without conventional restrictions on dress, and are slim enough to worry little about showing off their legs. The average Zhou or Joe or Nels might be awkward in these styles. Still, I hope more men choose to wear skirts in the future.
This Yves Saint Laurent motorcycle jacket from the fall/winter ’08 collection is quite a remarkable piece and I am envious of Richard, who I meet often meet at fashion parties. This jacket and several of the other ones from this collection dispense with almost every bit of construction. In a a felt-like stiff wool, this jacket is distinguished by its lack of any structuring, lining, or interfacing. It is just one layer of fabric with a minimal amount of stitching. This collection from Stefano Pilati, which used a video rather than a runway show, is my favorite from him.
Agu Anumudu is a freelance creative director who does events for China Doll Club. He was attending the Bogue event with Ai Wan, President, Founder and CEO of ChinaDoll Culture and Entertainment. Ai Wan is an actress who was described as a ”leader of the new rising creative class in Beijing” by Outlook Magazine. Having arrived recently from Nigeria, Agu quickly got in with the right set.
Jane and I seem to cross paths all the time, frequenting the same bars and parties. She always wears a hat.
Paris correspondent for Madame Figardo, Xiang Sun, who has appeared here before looking a bit Lagerfeld-like, explained that today he was dressed more in his usual style. Dressing like Lagerfeld is intended partially as flattery of a designer and friend whom he greatly admires. He also has a lot of Lagerfeld items that he received as gifts.
A bit pharaonic, this collar was created by its wearer, Sebastian Linack. An architect, he occasionally turns his skills to designing collars. The black strips can also be crossed to form a sort of X over the neck.
The other night, I ran into Londoner Emilia again – this time on the streets of Sanlitun. I love the rubik’s cube necklace. She made it herself.
Canon should use Nanluoguxiang in its ads becaues every second person there has a RMB 20,000 DSLR, even those dressed not much better than migrant laborers. Were they to invest that money in their outfits, there would be much more for Stylites to photograph. This young fellow on the other hand, brings quite a magical flair to the the occupation. Mr. Wang is a rare photographer that actually cares about his own appearance in this quirky but certainly autumnal look. I wouldn’t have thought of an almost Keffiyeh type scarf with an argyle sweater, but he seems to be pulling it off. It is a mix of the Middle East and Europe perfected on a East Asian frame. This look may not rank as high fashion or even be particularly well-matched, but I did not see anything on its level of inventiveness three years ago.