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Alexander Wang Autumn-Winter 2012

Тhere is nothing more fascinating to me than a concept of “Armour-esque” fashion right now. Yes, I always admired strong fabrics, simple cut and a sense of mystery some clothing brings; both visual and psychological. Yes, I habitually looked at Rick Owens or Gareth Pugh collections with great appreciation. Even so, could I ever completely relate to them? The answer is no. However, in the last few months my perspectives seem to have shifted. When and where did it start?

My best guess is that it kicked off this February in Hong Kong. After spending several weeks in hot and steamy Singapore, Hong Kong practically felt as good as Siberia. After thorough inspection of my suitcase I realised  that AA shirt and a wind jacket were the only “winter” items I was blessed with. Thus, as a matter of emergency I stormed to the lift; sixteen floors down and there I was – in the middle of Hong Kong’s major shopping district (Causeway Bay).

Usually I tend to stay away from big shopping malls – they simply wear me out. Be that as it may, there was no time to be hypocritical. Besides, Sogo was right there and it looked fairly cosy. After wondering for some time I came across a tiny section nicely tucked away somewhere on the second floor. It takes me exactly three seconds to scan the place (an ability that comes with time and practice) and decide whether I should linger for a further scrutinisation. One, two, th… Bang!

A sharp-looking fitted black jacket caught my eye. It was of heavy fabric and had a tall collar that covered the neck up to the jaw line precisely. Two sets or metal buttons were lined up in militaristic style. The jacket was designed by the small Japanese brand I do not remember the name of unfortunately. I tied my hair in the knot, put it on and lifted the collar. No mirror reflection was necessary. The feelings encountered in those short seconds were enough to be sure that I found something truly special. I paid for it and hurried to get out of the shopping centre. It was Friday night and knowing that I would not be able to rest in any case (sleep is generally unattainable in HK) I decided to take a walk down to Central District. A catch up with some friends over drinks was long anticipated. Plus, my newly acquired “armour” had to be tested.

I must admit that never before clothes had the same sensation for me. Yes, it was not particularly delicate item. At the same time, neither did it feel defeminising. On a contrary, in the reflections of window displays I passed by (catching a glimpse of now and then) it appeared elegant and chic. Most importantly, the sense of “protection” it gave me was supreme. Could I take any stare, any remark, any situation? In fact, it felt like I could even take a bullet if I had to.

In a half an hour walk I really started to comprehend something I only had a mere awareness of before. I realised that one can know fashion, one can love fashion, one can consume it as violently as he wishes. However, a hundred items of plain beauty or shallow attractiveness will never match up to a single piece that will impact you in a way I mentioned above. This significance may well be found in a designer’s piece or on the second floor of Sogo department store (like it happened that evening). The price tag or a label attached have no exceptional meaning here.  What does is the fact that it will help you to get from point A to B in life with your chin up, your posture straightened and your trod fierce and assured. Now that is the best possible “war” attire one can obtain and it is priceless. [Below are some visual references from current fashion designers and their recent collections]

Left: Yves Saint Laurent AW12 Right: Givenchy Haute Couture AW12

Balmain RTW AW12

Left: Rick Owens Fall 2012 Right: Maison Martin Margiela Fall 2012

Holding Shot Image Credits @Tokyo Dandy Catwalk&Detail Image Credits @Style.com

Couple of weeks ago the world saw the release of the first trailer for Keira Knightley‘s latest period film in which she takes a role of Leo Tolstoy‘s most renowned and troubled heroine, Anna KareninaThe film is directed by Joe Wright (AtonementPride & Prejudice). As for the rest of the leading cast, we have Jude Law as cuckold Alexei Karenin, Aaron Johnson as charming seducer Court Vronsky and Matthew Macfadyen as Anna‘s brother Oblonsky.

To be frank, it happens to be quite hard to evaluate foreign attempts to personate Russian characters. My Russian origins often lead me to the situations where my judgment focus suddenly gets all hazy.  That is why I wanted to skip on voicing my initial thoughts before I actually saw the full-length movie. Yet, as you can see I finally decided otherwise. Pushing ruthlessness and patriotism aside I promise to be as fair as I can allow myself to be.

Keira’s substantial experience in period cinema makes me want to believe she did well in giving justice to the complex character of Anna Karenina. However, it is also safe to acknowledge that this is, no doubt, the most ambitious part of her career. On top of everything, we are talking about one of the world’s greatest literary masterpieces. In this situation you can never be skeptical enough, can you?

Two and a half minutes of the snippet show that this time Joe Wright has taken exceedingly theatrical approach in visualisation of the novel. Decorative settings of Russian architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries, fancy ball-rooms, theatre stages and of course rich looking costumes so far appear so refined and glamorous. I can almost catch an aesthetic inspired by Baz Luhrmann‘s Moulin Rouge. This on its own can be an exciting and at the same time extremely dangerous prospect. Can anyone beat Luhrmann at his own game? Is theatrical allure and decorative vision of Tolstoy exactly what I should be expecting from the film? Here comes the alarming moment when I stumble into feeling “pessimistic in advance”.

Well let’s not be hasty. Full and elaborate review will have to wait until the film hits the screens in autumn this year. The world premier of the movie will take place in London on the 7th of September.