SEPTEMBER 2011 - The General Aesthete

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Drawn to the handsome cover and graph paper pages, I discovered my first Postalco notebook a few years ago (at Tortoise in Venice, California). I carried that notebook around for months, and it wore better than any I had kept. Postalco’s covers are made of starched and pressed cotton, the pages of boiled natural-fiber. Though the notebook looks great, the best characteristic is the paper’s finish, which is the perfect texture for writing, something that, strangely, can’t be said of most high-end journals. I’m in the habit of using Muji notebooks (the value can’t be beat) for daily notes and jotting, but reserving a Postalco for the notes I know I’ll need to refer to.

Postalco originated in Brooklyn, but is now based in Tokyo. An interest in quality paper goods, and admiration for Japanese craftsmanship led the team of Mike and Yuri Abelson to start Postalco. They work closely with the craftsmen who make their products, and the devotion to quality is obvious. In addition to paper goods, Postalco has created an impressive line of bags and paper-carrying pieces, as well as specialty items, including a covetable, refined rain cape. They’ve also produced a collection for Opening Ceremony, patterned in Sangaku, a traditional Japanese geometric puzzle.

Shown (prices may vary based on source/exchange rate): 1. Travel Wallet for Opening Ceremony, $295; 2. Jotter, $18.50; 3. Large Notebook, $24; 4. Travel Wallet $250; 5. Ruby Notebook, $20

Postalco notebooks are available in the US from Opening Ceremony or online at Kaufman Mercantile. A list of international stockists can be found here. You can see the entire collection at Postalco.

Ubi Sunt SS12

Young Swedish label Ubi Sunt is quickly becoming one of my absolute favorites. In Ubi Sunt’s S/S 2012 collection, shown at Stockholm Fashion Week, Designers Aidin Sanati and Moa Wilkman updated their restrained theme with a lighter, monochrome palette. Using fluidly draped and layered highest-quality fabrics, some of the pieces featured frayed edges, lending character without interrupting the clean form. The sophomore collection, titled Essence of Entity, is romantically pure throughout.

See the collection at: Stockholm Fashion Week
Photos: Ubi Sunt

New Look – The Ballad

Listened to this all summer, and still not sick of it. Video directed by Will Davidson.

Paper Cabas Bag by Florian Denicourt

Available at Opening Ceremony in the US, or L’Exception in France, $455.

Y-3 SS12

Yohji Yamamoto and Dirk Schönberger’s S/S 2012 Adidas Y-3 collection is a nod to the Summer Olympics that will take place in London next year. Y-3 is now in its tenth year, and the line has sort of become a genre in and of itself. Y-3 does Y-3 very well, but there isn’t much to say in terms of specifics to this collection, other than the women definitely got the more interesting end of the deal. I think Y-3 has been the very best when the inspiration reads clearly. Last year’s S/S collection may have been broad, but it was a reinvention of sorts, and offered a really strong look (also evident in F/W 11-12). Not to say it’s a bad thing, but this most recent collection’s discernible strength is that it is textbook Y-3.

See the collection at:
Photos: Monica Feudi

Duckie Brown SS12

Though New York Fashion Week had a not-entirely-impressive selection in terms of innovative menswear, a couple of shows made reasonable marks. One of my favorites was Duckie Brown’s S/S 2012 collection. Designers Daniel Silver and Steven Cox presented a rather bare, masculine collection that had a lightweight, sport-inspired tone. After showing several black and grey pieces, a notably elegant watercolor-style floral pattern was introduced. The collection felt more restrained than the F/W 11-12 showing, but both have been clear illustrations of Duckie Brown’s relevancy.

See the collection at:
Photos: Monica Feudi

Port Magazine

PORT is a recently launched men’s quarterly, that, in just three issues, has secured a solid spot amongst the best of highbrow publications, as well as a dedicated shelf in my collection. Influenced by sixties magazine style, PORT offers in-depth material presented in a very smart package. With thoroughly considered art direction, the magazine has accomplished a rare feat of coinciding its style and identity with the quality of its content. Though the approach may be old-school, or simple in format, it is a modern idea in relation to genre-similar publications, which seem to be in competition for how glossy, disposable, and pedestrian they can be. PORT shows restraint in all the right places, and it is clear that the team behind it have applied their backgrounds and design strengths to create a thoroughly polished final product.

PORT is not backed by a major publisher, allowing creative freedom in terms of content and opinion. The composition consists of a range of pieces, from essays and interviews, to short stories and perfectly arranged photography. Subjects, such as fashion, politics, technology, and the arts, cover the bases without reaching beyond the scope of reader’s interest. Contributors have included art critic Robert Hughes, Margaret Howell, Martin Amis, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jon Snow, and ex-Time editor Don Morrison, this collection speaks to the dignified voice PORT offers.

PORT is edited and art directed in London by Dan Crowe, Kuchar Swara, and Matt Willey.

Rad by Rad Hourani SS12

Rad Hourani showed his S/S 2012 RAD collection at New York Fashion Week. In lieu of presenting per season, Hourani simply produces the collections sequentially, this being #4. All RAD pieces are designed as unisex, building a transformable collection in which the layers can be interchanged, but still congruent in lines. While some were thrown by the colder feeling of this presentation, the true value of Hourani’s work is obvious in the smart lines and innovative fold placement, which result in an uninterrupted silhouette. Admitting there is some expectation of Hourani to broaden RAD’s concept, the introduction of new materials, and the use of both blue and white enlivened this straightforward collection.

See the collection at:
Photos: Rad Hourani

NYFW SS12 Womenswear

While much of New York Fashion Week was based in all-American styles, there were a few imaginative and interesting S/S 2012 presentations. Here is a rundown of my favorite womenswear collections and looks that were featured. Of the noted trends, my favorite was the number of chic pant ensembles, and though people can’t stop going crazy with the ‘androgyny’ suggestion, I think these looks worked as a great counter-balance to the sea of kitschy fifties numbers.

Above: Derek Lam used mid-century Southern California as a reference for this collection, but, very wisely, withheld from allowing it to look mid-century-inspired. Simple pieces had suggestions of intricacy, and the print selection was perfectly edited. Photos: Yannis Vlamos

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Jonathan Saunders SS12

Scottish-born designer Jonathan Saunders has built quite the reputation for his womenswear collections that feature a clean slate brought to life by bold prints and sharp jolts of color. While he has shown limited menswear, this marks his debut of a complete collection.

Saunders stuck with the basics, which he used as a canvas for his incredible geometric prints and simple color blocking. The approach to blocking, which in menswear can easily veer things toward looking disproportionate, comes off as nearly scientific. His combinations and placement draw all the attention to details, leaving no room for a second-rate cut. While Lanvin chose to go literal with the kaleidoscope inspiration, Saunders shows an extraordinary kaleidoscope print, one that evokes formality more than play. The cohesiveness of the collection is apparent, and because of the classicality of the pieces, they are capable of standing alone.

See the collection at:
Photos: Jonathan Saunders