Vogue Runway: Martine Rose Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear Review by Nick Remsen

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There’s something to be said about the sense of joyful—and not trauma-catalyzed, like in the U.S.—communal vignettes coming out of the U.K. lately. Broadscale, we all know: The marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was the spectacle of all spectacles, but it was arguably more enjoyable given the ebullient public inclusion on display (watched, in the end, by nearly 2 billion people worldwide). Tonight, for Martine Rose’s Spring show, a tiny family street located in a neighborhood called Chalk Farm had a much smaller yet fundamentally similar feeling: Rose staged her runway on a cul-de-sac called St. Leonard’s Square, and its residents were invited to sit with fashion editors and VIPs. One man parked himself in the front row, his three granddaughters giddy at his side, clutching stuffed animals and sitting on the asphalt in an awestruck huddle. Another group drank red wine in their garden, happy to let the scene play out while enjoying the last rays of a warm summer Sunday. Virgil Abloh and Luka Sabbat were there, too. It was eclectic and pleasant to witness. The same can predominantly be said of the clothes. They were—the whole experience was—“a bit of a love letter, really, to London,” said Rose.

This designer is right up at the top of menswear’s most influential (note, she has worked with Demna Gvasalia as a consultant on Balenciaga’s men’s line). And her natural élan—she’s incredibly unpretentious—seems to deliver these unicorn items that you’ve never considered, and then, suddenly, consider obsessively. For Spring, this roster ran long: DIY-style jeans with metal O-rings looped down the outer seams; denim-track pant hybrids; really good oddball outerwear like Rose’s signature doctored jackets (leopard and denim, in a vintage-store-find kind of way); and a grossly good Hawaiian shirt series.

Rose’s latest may have also been a weather vane pointing toward a more psychedelic, speedier space. A space that’s a little dirtier, in a good way. The ’90s as a trend is not new, but there was a roughened richness, a sense of unboxed nostalgia, that recalled the designer’s musical youth in particular. “The rave scene, drum and bass, U.K. garage . . .” she listed. She also tapped into something slightly earlier: ’80s-era “Wide Boy” culture, with square-toed shoes and big old leather coats. And as “The Only One I Know” by The Charlatans and “Funky Punk” by Dillinger filled the annex, beers in hand and cigarettes swinging, Rose’s intent appeared accomplished. “We’re all going through a bit of a funny time at the minute, and I think we’re in need of a bit of love.”

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Vogue Runway: Saint Laurent Spring/Summer 2019 Menswear Review by Nick Remsen

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In 1978, Yves Saint Laurent threw a party to fete the launch of his Opium fragrance. It was held on a ship docked at New York City’s South Street Seaport and featured a giant bronze Buddha and thousands of orchids flown in from Hawaii. Forty years later, on a chilly June night in 2018, Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello hosted an impressive, ultra-modernized pseudo-version of that event across the Hudson in New Jersey’s Liberty State Park to present his Spring 2019 men’s collection. In lieu of tropical lushness were thousands of square feet of shiny black gridded marble trussed 14 feet in the air (thanks to the engineering powers of Bureau Betak). In place of Nan Kempner, Truman Capote, and Cher sat Lauryn Hill and her daughter Selah Marley, Kate Moss, and Travis Scott. And while the house has adapted a certain element of super-slick provocation, at least in terms of presentation (Vaccarello’s recent Paris shows have afforded million-dollar views of a sparkling Eiffel Tower), the clothes on view tonight were what tied the generations together; they comprised a smartly pitched blend, full of references to the ’70s, but revelry-ready as ever for the late 2010s.

Vaccarello said he wanted to represent “the idea of New York, the idea of the icons of New York in the ’70s.” Parts of that were Studio 54 in verve: the diamanté shirt placket on Look 1, gold trim on a peaked double-breasted blazer a little later. But more so, it was the dive-ier Max’s Kansas City that sprung to mind—full of the sort of dirty glamour that has proven itself an immortal style, in Spring’s case with distressed denim hoodies, patchworked boots, and show-stealing high-waisted, boot-cut trousers with just a slightly amplified flare at the kick. Vaccarello noted that these were new. His accessories were also noteworthy and novel, and included boat hats (fitting given the scene, with ferries and Boston Whalers scuttling by) and tossed-on and tangled necklaces. So still indulgent and wild, but with just the right amount of polish (needed in an age where nearly nothing, even in the gloaming after-hours, goes unnoticed).

And then there was the finale—and it wasn’t just the standard lap. Far from it, actually. Every model came out artfully bathed in disco-ball silver body paint. Body glitter is usually associated nowadays with music festivals, but in the moment tonight, no such thought occurred. This was a “different interpretation of evening couture, for men, without having volume,” said Vaccarello, and indeed, the treatment lent a shine of ultra-glam masculinity that felt very on brand and also somehow . . . right. As in: sexy and now and liberated, but literally painted across the tenets of a fortified, fabulous legacy.

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Vogue Runway: Dolce & Gabbana Take Over Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room for a Dazzling Alta Sartoria Show by Nick Remsen

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“We’re looking at New York with Italian eyes,” said Dolce & Gabbana’s Domenico Dolce at a preview of the company’s Spring 2018 Alta Sartoria collection early Saturday morning. What would follow about 12 hours later at Rockefeller Center (where, just a few floors away, Cardi B was getting ready to perform on Saturday Night Live—and finally confirm her pregnancy), was the middle wedge of Dolce & Gabbana’s takeover of Gotham this weekend; on Friday, the house unveiled its latest highest-end jewelry at the New York Public Library, and on Sunday evening, it reveals Alta Moda, its uppermost womenswear component. Of Sartoria, the duo said it was not difficult to show this far away from their Milanese headquarters—they compared getting everything and everyone here to getting the whole operation to Naples (the Italian, not Floridian, city). When you have their reach, dollars, and fandom, that claim makes obtuse sense.

Dolce, and brand partner Stefano Gabbana, count excellent marketing skills among their many talents, and their Alta Sartoria presentation (clocking in at 103 looks, all walked out to the crooning of the legendary Liza Minnelli) was primarily crafted to woo VIP clients—the international ultra-spenders who alighted at Rockefeller Center’s gloriously worn-in Rainbow Room decked to the nines in their Dolce sequins and their Gabbana florals. The couturiers know that the added spectacle of an intimate salon is the hook-line-and-sinker icing on the moneymaking cake. Editors and press also know this, and happily settled into second- and third-row seats, content to let the pageant do its duty: sell.

And sell so much of it will. Dolce & Gabbana’s appeal is that it does not produce head-scratching stuff—the inspirations are literal and novel, and ages young to old can appreciate their interpretations. In last night’s case, New York motifs like the Flatiron Building, the Art Deco lines and curves of the Chrysler Building and midtown’s Fuller Building, the skyline overall, baseball and basketball, the New York Times, and more found their forms as prints on silk shirts and robes or as exquisite beading and sequins on suits and street-ier elements like tees, crewnecks, and hoodies. There’s yet further magnetism in that Dolce & Gabbana straddles the hairline-thin line of fashion and costume—they thrive just fractions to the left, on the fashion side, while still allowing the performative to cascade like diamonds from a knocked-over jewelry box, or flowers from a tipped vase. There’s a reason those clients, and celebrities including Nick Jonas, Trevor Noah, and Steve Harvey, compulsively applaud when a Louisville Slugger–style baseball bat, weightily allover studded with crystals, entered the rotunda.

This being Alta Sartoria, the most extraordinary pieces of the evening fell in the eveningwear category. Soft alligator shawl-collar jackets, an Aurelian-flowered robe over matching trousers, and razor-sharp tailcoats and suits with further crystal embellishments, in all white, all black, or all apple red, all garnered praise. Dolce and Gabbana really know how to cut a sexy-as-hell suit, even if it’s throwing off light beams more in line with a Las Vegas magic show than a New York night on the town. Minnelli, nonambulatory due to an ankle injury, mentioned over and over again that the men looked fabulous. “Oh boy, wow. He wears that when he gets up. As he should,” she said of one, sounding like she was going to faint.

Back in their prep station earlier that day, Gabbana noted: “In Italy, when somebody says something about money, we say, ‘Do you think you’re a Rockefeller?’ ” (Cue the Alta Sartoria location.) Dolce clarified: “Tonight is the new Rockefeller guy. The new dream.” To that, Minnelli’s “Money,” her hit from Cabaret, was apropos; it’s an attainable fantasy for only a very few, but in the Dolce & Gabbana ecosystem—designers, supporters, makers (a great number of which were also over from Italy)—there’s no stealth-wealth factor. The shared pulse of this particular world is: If you’ve got it, flaunt it, and wear tube-beaded slippers and a fur sweater with intarsia stars, and—why not?—a dusty pink fur officer’s coat on top for good measure. There’s a kind of magic in that confidence, and, beyond it all and because of such, New York’s lights in the background seemed to twinkle with extra vim and vigor last night.

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Vogue Runway: Exclusive: Moschino and H&M Are Collaborating—And Out in Palm Springs, Jeremy Scott Might Be Having His Best Coachella Yet by Nick Remsen

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This past Thursday, Moschino’s Jeremy Scott posted an Instagram image of himself and Lindsay Lohan from the mid-2000s, stating that it was an “annual #tbt Coachella picture.”

To those who remember—daresay cherish, definitely miss—that era, it was a combined “aww” slash “sigh” moment. In the photo, Lohan is the peak-of-her-fame starlet, a striking beauty with a golden Californian élan; Scott is the popular party boy, nightlife long being a mainstay of his singular, surreal-Pop aesthetic. It garnered a higher than average amount of likes for the designer—and, in some ways, as Scott notes, the snap represents “the good old days.” But, over a late sun-soaked lunch at the perennially scene-y Parker Palm Springs on Friday, he also mentions that a new wave of good days is back: Vogue can exclusively reveal that Moschino, the Italian label headed by Scott, is the Swedish mega-brand H&M’s newest collaboration partner. The line, called Moschino [tv] H&M, will drop on November 8; the news was announced late Saturday night, with a little help from Gigi Hadid, at Scott’s 11th annual party held around the Coachella music festival. Might we have expected a Lohan cameo, then, to bring it all full circle? “If she was here, I would’ve heard from her,” he says with a laugh.

That’s true. Scott is a designer of celebrity status; he has millions of fans, many of whom are also friends. Before lunch, Pixie Geldof and the designer Ashley Williams stopped by his house (a John Lautner original that, after this weekend, is undergoing a six-month fix-up); during lunch, one of Scott’s “way back” pals, the DJ Pedro Winter, says hello; after lunch, after parting ways, this writer is taking notes and waiting for his Uber in the lobby as a group of early-twentysomethings enter. One says: “Wait, you guys, that was Jeremy Scott.”

Therein lies the smartness—and foreseeable power—of this collaboration; even though he designs and sells clothes in the luxury sector, Scott is at his core a creator that’s not so interested in exclusivity. Of getting back to a wider reach: “I no longer do my collaboration line with Adidas, and sadly, until now, I haven’t really had another way to service the fandom,” he says. “This collaboration makes me feel like I’m able to give something again. Lots of young people love my clothes . . . and we make phone cases and little things like that, but in order to have a lewk, I love that this is now something that will be affordable.”

It’s a point often made by high-end designers with these types of linkups, but Scott’s sentiment is extra palpable; he’s literally beaming in the desert. And with the prices in Moschino [tv] H&M ranging from approximately $25 to $300, the effect is, ostensibly, the opening of the door to the party; no guest list, no velvet rope, just merrymaking with Moschino panache. The collection includes womenswear and menswear, as well as a few other as-yet-to-be-divulged components. “There’s a silver sequined parka dress,” says Scott. “Denim pieces are all twisted into something else. Puffers and jackets are reconfigured into cropped things or double-long things. There’s a sportswear-with-evening kind of feeling, like a hockey jersey with a train.” He also flags a CD print, which is “archival from Franco [Moschino]. Sometimes I reconfigure something from the history, but sometimes it’s perfect as is.”

Also, admirers of Scott’s iconic and Insta-famous biker-jacket bag, which broke the fashion Internet when it was released a few years ago, are in for a pleasant surprise: “We’re doing the tiniest biker bag ever. I love it. It could be a necklace. It could just hold a lighter, or nothing. I tried it for Moschino, but we didn’t produce it, and I was like, ‘She’s the one that gets to come back.’ ” He then adds: “I do have to be thoughtful, though, of the differences. It’s a little puzzle. How do I give you the elements and the look and the feeling of Moschino, but how do I not wreck the mother ship while doing it?”

On Saturday morning, in the retro-plush lobby of the Riviera Palm Springs, H&Mcreative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson is going over the details. “For womenswear, it’s around 45 pieces, plus accessories—in this case there are quite a lot of accessories, because he’s so good at them. Menswear is around 20 pieces, plus accessories as well.”

She then pauses. “You know, this collaboration in particular—it really is this twinkle in the eye, so to speak. The fun of fashion. There’s so much energy—it puts a smile on your face.” Scott got to that point at The Parker. “I think the biggest success I can have as a designer is for people to wear my clothes, have fun in them, take pictures and make memories in them, and to not be too precious.” If he didn’t have too much fun at Saturday night’s bash, he was planning to go see his friend Cardi B perform on Sunday—all no doubt adding up to another highlight reel in his storied Coachella history. Does he have a favorite? “Other than Lindsay being in my arms, there’s something . . . well, I’ve had so many Coachellas. This one, though, is especially exciting.”

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V MAGAZINE: V Is For Vail! by Nick Remsen

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Approaching Eagle—the Coloradan city, with a regional airport that’s just a 30 minute drive from Vail—can at first confound. Especially so in a winter that has had less than optimal snow conditions. Where is the picturesque peppered-white valley landscape? Where are the surrounding majestic peaks? From an airplane window—my window, an American Airlines 757 from Miami to be exact (and yes, there’s a direct flight from Miami to Eagle during peak seasons, marginally surprisingly), it all looked a little… well, dull. 

But that changes as you drive east, ascending gradually into the Vail region. This geography is North America’s equivalent of South America’s Southern Andes or France’s Alps; big, bold, beautiful. And, here, Vail’s promise is one of the biggest, boldest, and most beautiful—especially its gigantic back bowls, of which there are seven. It is a massive complex, and its operation is impressive; I didn’t have excellent snow conditions, but the skiing was superb, all the same. 

Though the season is nearing its end, there is still time to book a last minute spring trip, if interested. Furthermore, there’s plenty to do in Vail during the summer, including biking, hiking, fly-fishing, zip-lining and more. But no matter your preference, let this miniature V Guide to Vail serve as a reference point for whenever you may go—and take it from this “intermediate-advanced” skier, someone who has hit the slopes from Stratton to Deer Valley to Bariloche, there’s something extra charismatic about this singular, gigantic place (which, in fact, stretches six skiable miles from end to end).

Where To Stay:

The Hotel Talisa, which reopened in late 2017 after an extensive renovation and rebrand, still has that new-property gloss, but, at the same time, it’s instantly comfortable. Like a big, finished den. It must be the bones of the old place, which was known as the Vail Cascade Resort. It’s not “lodge”-like, but rather, a contemporary homage to the history of its setting, which holds an ever-gurgling creek. (“Talisa” means “beautiful water.”) Dogs are welcome on the property; guests, fresh from the brand new spa, which literally just opened last week, pad across the lobby in their robes and slippers while après-ski cookies are handed out in the living room foyer. Hotel Talisa is set to be part of Starwood’s The Luxury Collection branch; it’s its own distinct entity, and it’s worth its per night price tag. Western inspired art, including a cooly graphic carpet scheme that geometrically evokes flowing river water, rounds out the aesthetic factor. But, the best part about Hotel Talisa is that it is "ski-in, ski-out"—with a lift at its side-door, and a ticket-office and rental podium on site. Also, finally, a tip: request room 177—it’s on the ground floor, and has a cozy, railroad layout, with a separate seating area for working or, simply, resting your feet after a long day of down-hilling. 

Where To Eat and Drink:

Almresi is a great new Bavarian-inspired restaurant in Vail Village. Ironically, it has a semi-tropical vibe; jolts of color can be seen throughout the room, the bar feels pseudo-beach-like, in a way, and polychrome flowers adorn its logo. I see nothing wrong with a dash of Hawaiian-ness to an otherwise German-Austrian atmosphere. The beer, naturally, is great, and the service is impeccable. A must have—seriously, go out of your way for it—the salmon filet, which arrives wrapped in a sheet of cedar wood. It is memorably delicious. 

As far as après-ski goes, Vail’s, while prominent, seems to be more of a beer and boots-off kind of thing (as opposed to European après, which is more rosé and Gucci loafers). There’s a bit of it all, though—but, for the classics, go to The Red Lion or Pepi’s Bar.

Where To Shop:

Vail is wealthy, no doubt, and it attracts a monied clientele. Branded shops abound, but with a lot of stuff you can purchase elsewhere. For something specific to the place, go to Axel’s. This family-owned trading post makes it own clothing—of some of the finest leathers and cashmeres around—for a look that can be described as Western-relaxed-luxe-lived-in-chic. Axel’s does also carry other top-tier labels, like Kiton and Massimo Alba, but go for something made by the family. Like, perhaps, Axel’s “Argentina” blouse or its “Modena” navy blazer. (I'm thinking about ordering the latter.)

Where To Ski or Board:

The Back Bowls, over and over and over again, without question. Sun Down Bowl is full, jaw-dropping even, with nice, wide black diamonds; China Bowl has a bit easier blues for those looking for trails that are a little less steep. Another favorite: Blue Sky Basin, Vail’s highest point at 11,460 feet. Here, we like the trails named “Champagne Glade” (black diamond) and “In The Wuides” (blue square). Remember: drink a ton of water before and during your time here. Altitude sickness is a thing, but it’s amenable with H20, Tylenol for the headache, and, if desperate, portable oxygen tanks back at the hotel. Enjoy! 

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Vogue Runway: Philipp Plein Fall/Winter 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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Philipp Plein’s shtick is tired. And this is coming from a writer who generally gives the man the benefit of the doubt, and who often kind-of-sort-of likes what Plein does. Not today.

Plein’s shows (now combining women’s and men’s) start late, that’s a given, and it’s forgivable, as they turn into parties as soon as they’ve concluded. And, another given, the shows trump the clothes, always. So be it, such is his thing. But the way he executed tonight’s staging came across as so bloated and wasteful, it left more than the irritation caused by airborne flecks of plastic snow, which coated the entire floor. Here’s the general rundown: A bulldozer plowed through a gigantic wall of foil boulders, filling the room with weed smoke, whereby two snow-bikes revved around. Then Migos performed. Then a robot came out and asked people if they were wearing Philipp Plein. Then Irina Shayk emerged from a UFO. Then the robot and Irina Shayk walked around while “Fly Me to the Moon” thudded from the speakers. She didn’t look over the moon about it. Then, finally, the clothes surfaced—apocalyptic-futuristic mountain sportswear, including skis and snowboards—and everyone continued to walk around until they convened for a super awkward dance party while another musical performance ensued. It was formulaic, predicated on Plein’s own game that intends to splash but never quite does, and it was especially long. It’s time to switch it up.

However, entirely remove the performative and one was left with some savvy sections, like sneakers and bags that had moving LED banners. That was clever. Likewise, elements of the ski-and-snowboard part; bedazzled goggles, for example, fit with Plein’s more-is-more penchant. They’ll find buyers. And maybe the criticisms don’t matter, and maybe Plein is making as much money as he claims, enough to support yet another multimillion dollar production such as tonight’s. It just seems evermore dubious and cavalier and . . . it’s old.

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Vogue Runway: Band of Outsiders Fall/Winter 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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There was a happy dissonance at tonight’s unveiling of Band of Outsiders’s Fall collection, which marked creative lead Daniel Hettmann and designer Angelo van Mol’s third effort for the label.

Picture: the grand Neoclassical courtyard of Somerset House, filled with mulled cider–sipping attendees waiting under the thrum of “Jungle Boogie,” which played over the speakers. In the middle of that atrium was a skating rink (Somerset House keeps it open to the public throughout the season), which Band of Outsiders took over to host its unconventional . . . let’s say, skateway show. As more disco music kicked up, a mix of hockey players and figure skaters took to the arena in what was Hettmann and Van Mol’s best collection yet—full of idiosyncratic but wearable pieces, and well edited in terms of continuity and cohesiveness. It brought to mind all sorts of pleasant memories: skating on frozen ponds in New England as a kid; watching my dad play hockey; listening to “Brick House” on repeat in elementary school, Soul Train, the extraordinary I, Tonya. If anyone is worried about the dissonance outlined, don’t be—remember that Scott Sternberg’s BOO was recognized as having dorky East Coast prep and aspirational California surf vibes, in tandem.

Emboldened by colors self-named as Verbier Grey and Telluride Red, among others, the athletes flew by in long-john track pants, camouflage-pattern cords, shearling jackets with multi-tonal neck tabs, and what Hettman called “loosened up” suiting. Each did a little freestyle, and somehow, the clothes looked at home on the ice—adding credence to their direct winter sport (or simply wintry) inspiration (there were lots of prints of skiers and polar bears). One highlight was a collaboration with Stutterheim, the Swedish raincoat manufacturer. The piece—rubbery navy, with thin white lines banding its cuffs and angling across its hem—brought a few oohs and aahs from the crowd. And, one last point: Though the winter theme was about as direct and obvious as it could have been, Hettman and Van Mol were able to make it fun, especially so with the help of their staging. It might’ve even slightly warmed LaVona Fay Golden’s icy heart.

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Vogue Runway: Palomo Spain Spring/Summer 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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How to describe a Palomo Spain show? It is, altogether, highly intimate—akin to the largely lost practice of salon presentations—utterly mad, fearlessly proud, and, foremost, emotional. A young man who walked—wearing a periwinkle bouclé jacket with bunched Bermuda shorts and knee-high, heeled boots—evinced as much, as tears dappled his makeup during the finale.

Alejandro Gómez Palomo’s label caught the American market’s eye when the designer brought it to New York last February. Back then, he was an outlier that few had heard of locally. But soon, he started garnering attention: Who was this sensitive Spaniard who operates somewhere in the flowery ether between costume and camp, debutante and drag, and couture and cross-dressing? And, to that point about his material, questions arose: Does it even matter what the distinction is? Should a distinction be made? Putting it on the line—men in women’s clothing—sounds and reads outdated, but, such is what much of Palomo Spain does. The designer’s purpose and point, though—and this was further proven by his Spring 2018 show tonight in Madrid—is that gender binarism (or any form of self-identification therein) really doesn’t and shouldn’t matter when someone is enjoying themselves at the party. If a person who sees himself as a man wants to dress up in a Montana- or Mugler-esque suit with fuck-me boots and a red lip, let him and love it. Likewise, if a woman wants to wear this “menswear” brand—as Beyoncé did in her Instagram revelation of her new twins, now with over 10.2 million likes—she will do so fantastically.

Beyoncé’s publicity helped, but even without it, Palomo Spain was growing on its own—and Spring demonstrated that Palomo can move, not always perfectly but certainly with narrative clout, within the niche that he’s opened. The theme this season was "Hotel Palomo," which took over Madrid’s actual Hotel Wellington. Postcards accompanying the show notes featured lobby-art drawings by Jordi Labanda—the kind of fabulous cue that what was to follow was going to be decadent and delirious in the way that only a hotel can make you feel (the transience, the secrets, the potentially suggestive eye-contacts, and the resultant one-night stands). And definitely tawdry.

What resulted was a borderline Wes Andersonian, sometimes Prada-ish romp through a once-grand old inn, its ghosts still looking for sex and trouble, its devastatingly beautiful twin bellmen swinging their keys provocatively. There was a towel series; Jacob Bixenman wore a one-shouldered toga while another model yawned in a headpiece mimicking the terry swans that honeymooners sometimes find on their beds. Robes transitioned to twinsets, which then moved to long dresses—some with metallic patinas—to blazers, flamenco ruffles, and loads of illusion gowns. (Worth noting: Much of Palomo’s fabrics are vintage and the designer and his team know how to work them—everything looked very well made.) Rossy de Palma danced in a sultry wrap dress lined in thick, dusty feathers—a glorious vision of a more glorious time. Perhaps it was fitting that Lindsay Lohan sat front row. Though not of the same era, she was the queen of her zeitgeist, and that Palomo was able to communicate a kind of perverse nostalgia (or possibly even upbeat sadness) through all of this variety and vividness—and then surround it with yet more of it—was impressive.

The final outcome was something that also sparked thoughts of The Shining; Poconos’ love motels with martini-glass hot tubs; and the girls (or boys) who didn’t quite get to debut at the Crillon and had to settle for their own, less elite (but no less glam, in the end) rungs on the social ladder. With his storytelling capabilities—and his openness and bravery, really—Palomo stands pretty much in his own corner of fashion right now. Even if you write his work off as costume or kitsch, there are at least guts and struggle and heart stacked deep behind that surface. Watch him closely.

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Vogue Runway: Brandon Maxwell Spring/Summer 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

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What Brandon Maxwell does well, he does very well. His heart—and it’s a big heart—is 100% invested in what he does, and he celebrates not only the beauty of the women he dresses, but also the camaraderie. He eats pizza with his models before his shows. He spends as much time with his mother and his sisters as he can. And, through that, he listens.

Spring was his best collection to date. Maxwell’s label is still young, and in the year and a half or so since he’s been in stores, his codes have been somewhat predictable—formal, evening, luxe-but-clean glam, the works. Spring shifted that. There was far more color, significantly more day or cocktail wear—the perfect crisp white button-down, fabulous with a capital F animal costume earrings made in collaboration with a jewelry line called Lunch at the Ritz by Zander Elliot, and even denim, which Maxwell originally swore to George Cortina, his stylist, that he’d never do (you can take the boy out of Texas…). But perhaps most importantly, there was a buoyancy that enlivened the low-lit chambers of New York’s famed Doubles Club beneath the Sherry-Netherland. The point: Maxwell is the happiest he’s ever been, he said backstage after the show. “In the past six months, I’ve enjoyed my life for the first time as an adult,” he added.

An emotional rollercoaster brought him to that place; after last season, his grandmother passed away unexpectedly, but two weeks later, he got engaged. The down-and-up of that dual experience catalyzed a kind of come-to-peace moment. “Maybe I am never going to be that ‘big thing,’ but I can be that big thing to myself,” Maxwell said.

And creatively, clear-headedly, he blossomed—formality remained to a degree, but variance emerged. Gigi Hadid opened the show in a belted pink blazer and cigarette jeans (cigarette and bootleg shapes are Maxwell’s best-selling trousers—it made sense to do them in denim)—it was Dallas-chic in the best way. The show progressed with a primary color-centric palette, mixed with pale pinks and signature noirs and whites, along pin-tucked and flirty dresses, or pleated gowns—sportive on top and flowing in the skirt. Maxwell offered embroidered suits, low-cut dresses, flared-sleeve jumpers, vaporous angora sweaters, and more. Basically, something for every woman, or at least every woman who likes to dress up, get her hair done and wear her lipstick bright (another source of inspiration—this was the image upon which Maxwell “was raised.”) “I wanted to give something that our customer could wear to work, or to her friend’s house on the weekend,” he said.

At show’s end, a platinum haired Karlie Kloss exited in a ball-skirt with an equine-motif brocade. I Instagrammed it, and within a few minutes, a friend messaged back saying “I want to re-do my wedding, and I want to wear what Karlie’s wearing.” Insta-validation, from the public itself, in near real time.

Optimism and improved mental health served Maxwell to great effect tonight, and the evening had an added bonus: to help contribute to Hurricane Harvey’s repair funds in his home state, the designer auctioned off two tickets for guests to attend his show, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Houston Food Bank. The warmth of that gesture, plus the strong lineup, amplified Spring into something fuller. “The most honest thing to say,” Maxwell said, “is that my life has become more colorful. I will go home tonight and I am going to be very happy.” Well-deserved, sir.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Condé Nast Traveler: What To Wear In Hawaii by Nick Remsen

   Getting There.

Getting There.

   On The Beach.

On The Beach.

   A Night On The Town.

A Night On The Town.

Though they unfolded in London, Paris, Florence, and Milan, the menswear shows for Spring/Summer 2018 had a common place in mind: Hawaii. Ermanno Scervino had graphic intarsia palm trees on sweaters, and Craig Green had geometric palms, birds, and mountains on capes. At Louis Vuitton, Kim Jones gave us a techno-fied version of the typical floral Hawaiian shirt, while Demna Gvasalia gave us the same at Balenciaga, but in a most everyday way.

The thing is, there’s a big difference between Hawaii-inspired style and what to actually wear in, say, Honolulu. You don’t wear a Hawaiian shirt in Hawaii. Rather, the look is an off-hand beach-chic—an aesthetic that mirrors the cosmopolitan place Honolulu has evolved to be in recent years. (Yes, there’s much more than Cheesecake Factories and throngs of sunburned tourists on Waikiki Beach.)

With that in mind, we put together a mini-style guide for three newsy (or just plain nice) scenarios regarding Honolulu. Check out our tips, below.

To view on Condé Nast Traveler, click here

Vogue.com: Fiji’s Coral Coast Promises a Glimpse at Local Life—And Unspoiled, Breathtaking Nature by Nick Remsen

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There are reasons to visit Fiji, I’ve learned, beyond the postcard-ready beach vignettes and the sun-soaked appeal usually associated with the tropics (these aspects, as travelers know, can be found in locations much closer to the U.S. than the Fijian Islands, which are some 10-plus hours by plane from Los Angeles).

First and foremost, it’s the people. Fijians are disarmingly and memorably kind, which took me a bit by surprise, especially coming from New York and double especially coming from a country where frustration and exasperation seem to tick upward by the day if not hour. In Fiji, most everyone greets you with a whole-hearted “bula!,” which is a phrase that essentially means “hello!” but that can also be interchangeably used as “cheers” or to mark other moments of ebullient expression. Get used to saying “bula,” because you will say it a hundred or more times if and when you visit.

There’s also a palpable, emotional sense of pride one gets in talking with Fijians; driving through Sigatoka, a town on the southern side of Viti Levu, Fiji’s “main” island that holds both its capital, Suva, and its largest international point of entry, Nadi (pronounced “Nandi”), our driver remarked on the area’s high concentration of talented rugby players. He then went on to pause, before saying, reverently, that Fiji had won its first ever medal at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro—gold, in, of course, rugby. That day was declared a national holiday in Fiji.

But it boils down to more than that. I met a man named Solo, who works for the Nanuku Auberge Resort, located a couple of kilometers past Sigatoka en route to Suva, on Viti Levu’s southern Coral Coast. He spoke with excitement and gusto of what Fiji is becoming, of what its potential may be, after the country reinstated democratic practices in 2014 (eight years before that, a military coup had seized control of Fiji’s government). Begrudgingly but with a twinkle in his eye, he mentioned foreign investments, a growing global interest and presence on the island, and, I think, he secretly felt excited about it. Yet then again, as we drove to Suva one day, he spoke not of infrastructure and industry but of kava roots and tarot leaves and the red earth that you can see in cutaways in the distance, or the beautiful African tulip tree flowers that pepper the landscape. Once you learn these blooms are actually invasive, it’s a reminder of the perils that small island nations face. Solo, among others, was not happy about President Trump’s stance on climate change.

And all of the above isn’t to say that the people necessarily override the natural splendor of Fiji; rather, they enhance it. If you can find them, there are lagoons so thick with coconut palms and mangrove roots and climbing vines and wild orchids that you’d think you were in a time long extinct, the time when the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman first crashed upon Fiji’s teeming reefs. Starfish are the color of warm skies at midnight; sea snakes, banded in silver and shimmering black, wriggle towards the soft cyan sea. As Solo said, at the end of the day, “Fiji is, you know, the heart of the Pacific.”

Here, a photo guide, lensed by the Mexico City–based photographer Marco Bochicchio, of Viti Levu and its Coral Coast area.

To view on Vogue.com, click here

VOGUE RUNWAY: Gosha Rubchinskiy Spring/Summer 2018 Review by Nick Remsen

January in Kaliningrad this was not. Despite being, geographically, a mere 513 miles to the northeast, this was far, far from the westernmost Russian city where Moscow-born Gosha Rubchinskiy showed his Fall 2017 collection. St. Petersburg in summer’s ascent is sublime: Surging rivers ribbon their way through the old streets, the teal-and-gold livery of the Winter Palace gleams under a sun that scarcely sets, and lilacs pierce the open-air paths of Isaakievskaya Ploshchad. It is fantastical in scale, library thick in lore, and crisp despite the humidity from the nearby Gulf of Finland—enough to partially cure, say, the hangover of a red-eye haul from New York to Helsinki followed by a cramped puddle jump to Pulkovo Airport.

Of course, St. Petersburg is a city with much greater and grander a history than Kaliningrad. Rubchinskiy was particularly interested in its somewhat more recent legacies of two divergent categories: football and electronica. Regarding football, it is acknowledged that soccer first took hold in Russia via St. Petersburg. During the late 19th century, British merchants began to popularize the sport here. It was the Brits who founded Russia’s very first football association, the St. Petersburg Football Club, in 1879. The Russians followed in 1897 with their own official debut group: the Kruzhok Liubiteley Sporta, or, translated, the “Circle of Sport Lovers.” Fast-forward 121 years, and Russia will be hosting the 21st FIFA World Cup in 2018. The event has inspired Rubchinskiy to bring his collection home and ink a collaboration partnership with Adidas, which debuted in Kaliningrad and carried on this evening in St. Petersburg. Next season will also be shown in Russia, in a yet-to-be-decided city—though, the designer admits, it won’t be Moscow.

As for electronica, Rubchinskiy is an ardent fan of Timur Novikov, the artist and Warholian peterburzhec credited with creating the first Russian rave just before the USSR’s collapse. Tonight’s show venue—the Communication Workers’ House of Culture on Bolshaya Morskaya Ulitsa—reportedly hosted St. Petersburg’s first-ever such event in 1989. Rubchinskiy picked the spot to invoke the “ghosts” of revelers past—an especially freewheeling, experimental crowd partying deep into the fading (and post-) Soviet night. “Football, music, nightlife, fashion—all help to unite people,” said Rubchinskiy, borderline reverentially, of his broader thinking.

The clothes, self-described as a “mix of sportswear with a nightclub rave feeling,” managed to blend Rubchinskiy’s fountainheads effectively; this collection had significant range and guaranteed general appeal, despite its subtly (but specifically) anthemic notes to its host city. This is the designer’s most valuable strength: He has, more acutely of late but throughout his nine-year career (yes, he’s been in business that long), used Russia as source material but given it a salable, globally naïf lean. Just don’t call it the “Eastern Bloc look,” anymore (more on this in a moment).

Rubchinskiy unveiled yet another collaboration, this time with Burberry, to pay respects to the football “heritage” the British instituted so very long ago. (This aspect also further added to the more tailored and dressier elements that first surfaced last season.) Burberry’s Christopher Bailey sat smiling in the front row. The best in the series was a bichrome trench, half khaki and half black, with the house’s signature tawny plaid lining its collar; perfectly Burberry, perfectly Gosha. The Adidas linkup provided full kits, ready for the pitch, replete with shin guard socks as well as strappy new sneakers. And the clubbier pieces included acid-bright tops with sicko sicko ’90s iconography and motifs (including a great reworking of Rubchinskiy’s name in Cyrillic), hot pink track pants, barely there tanks, and even a flak vest with room for a water bottle—for when morning inevitably rolls around but the party is still going. There were also hats made by Stephen Jones for Burberry for Rubchinskiy, including a baseball cap, as well as a collaboration with Retrosuperfuture on throwback shades. (Sometimes one couldn’t tell the difference between the main line and a collaborative branch—not that that’s a bad thing, as all of it looked good together.) Laughing, Rubchinskiy said: “There’s a lot of collaborating, but it all tells the story.”

A story that was, at the end of the white night, pretty damn convincing. This was an energized Rubchinskiy—maybe even optimistic—and while it meandered from direct sportswear to mismatched striped or plaid suiting (sometimes with a smart double-belt styling trick), it felt confident and it felt current. Yes, the raving bits were based on a post-Soviet headspace, but generally, the Rubchinskiy look is now something a bit less nail-on-the-head and a bit more freewheeling: Kids will be kids, no matter where they are in the world, and if they want to wear neon track pants and a batwing hoodie, they’re going to say fuck off if you tell them otherwise. And that’s, essentially, the message: There was a lot of spunk and grit—pride, really—in this collection, and it was well earned.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here. 

VOGUE.COM: Sugar High–Moschino and Candy Crush Are Launching a Capsule Collection at Coachella by Nick Remsen

Even if you haven’t downloaded Candy Crush Saga, you’ve no doubt heard of it. The five-year-old game, played mainly via its app on smartphones and tablets, has had over 1 trillion rounds completed since its launch in 2012. 198 billion rounds of Candy Crush were played in 2016. Broken down, that figure is equal to just about everyone on the planet playing the game 28 times in one year alone. And if games were viewed in the same spheres as the Kylie Jenners and Selena Gomezes of the world, Candy Crush would be in good company: it has almost 80 million likes on social media.

Leave it to Jeremy Scott, then, to partner with the phenomenon on a capsule collection for Moschino that will be introduced this weekend at Coachella, the annual music festival in Indio, California. (Scott is the creative director of Moschino, as well as the founder of an eponymous line which, sidenote, turns 20 this September.) Scott has long proven his sixth sense for highly attuned pop culture divination, having partnered with Google and buddied up with megawatt stars like Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, for various costumes and red carpet appearances. Scott’s aesthetic is unashamedly mainstream. He’s reimagined a Snickers logo on a dress, for example, and recreated a Transformers battle scene on a suit; he’s even channeled the arguably sinister undertones of ’60s and ’70s–era TV dinners— from a time when families were affixed to the boob tube, not individual iPhones. Say what you will, but there’s a molten kind of genius beneath the spotlit and sugar-bombed aesthetics of his work.

While there isn't really a notable subtext to the Moschino x Candy Crush collection—a capsule of his-and-hers swimwear, plus a backpack—there’s certainly a savviness to recognizing collaborative opportunities beyond the expected. “It’s a very cool thing,” says Yonna Ingolf, narrative designer for the Candy Crush program. “It’s the first time we’re partnering with high fashion. It felt like a natural step for us. Jeremy’s mind is very ‘candy.’” Scott agrees. “I think almost everyone plays, right? It’s kind of off the charts,” he says. “My mom and my nephew… they both play it. It’s for everyone.”

The designer was particularly smitten with the game's retro, puffy-loop font, which has been recreated to spell out “Moschino” and screened over a grid of confectionery characters, similar to how the matrix might appear in the program. And Scott wanted to keep it relatively straightforward: “We’ve got swimsuits, because, everyone’s going to be in a pool at one point or another at Coachella, or it’s going to be so hot you wish you were in a pool.” Pragmatic. We like it.

The designer—who is in the process of updating a recently-purchased John Lautner home in Palm Springs, near the Coachella site—adds that he “was a little heartbroken about Beyoncé” dropping out of the festival’s lineup. “I was actually halfway mesmerized, like, how is she going to pull this off with the twins all up in there?!” But even so, Coachella will be his vacation time before getting back on the road. Afterwards, he’ll head to Milan to get ready for Moschino’s next menswear show, and then back to New York for the Met Gala in early May. We're sure, given his track record, that he'll keep the sugar high going.

To view on Vogue.com, click here.

Vogue Runway: Palomo Spain: “The Most Amazing, Beautiful, Decadent, Evil Thing” at the New York Men’s Shows by Nick Remsen

Twenty-four hours before Alejandro Gómez Palomo’s Palomo Spain show, Nicola Formichetti—arguably one of the industry’s most clued-in, youth culture–glancing arbiters—told me, “You can’t miss it.”

Then, five minutes before the runway lights dimmed, the expectations compounded. Bryan Grey Yambao, my seatmate, leaned over and said, “This is so fashion,” referring to the crowd, which included singer Troye Sivan (wearing Palomo Spain’s pink velvet trousers), photographer Ryan McGinley, and model Hari Nef. (A “fashion” crowd isn’t usually the case at a New York menswear show.)

And as the first look walked out, a man to my right said out loud in pure exhilaration: “Gender! So last season!”

What would result lived up to and, in fact, beyond the hype—and it was a privilege to witness. Not a moment too soon, and somehow fitting for the final day of the menswear loop, Palomo sent out a lavish and over-the-top collection that, at its core, gave a bejeweled and feather-trimmed middle finger to the unaccepting and the regressive. How fabulously timely.

“It’s about the sexual self,” said the emotional designer backstage, cheeks streaked with lipstick smudges. “There are boys looking for other boys—seducing and being seduced. Some are virgins and you can only look at them.” Each of his models was male, but wearing clothes that might traditionally be categorized as female—though, in his book and increasingly so around the industry, clothes are clothes and can be worn by anyone.

Model Marc Sebastian Faiella opened the show, sauntering out in an electro-blue pseudo-blazer with the shoulders widely removed. Others would wear: a flamenco-inflected minidress with thigh-high laced boots; a tailored coatdress with queenly feather quill embroidery on the chest; and a possibly bridal look of white briefs, white corset, and white marabou-trimmed cape. McGinley’s boyfriend, Marc Domingo, sported what can only be classified as an Erdem-esque doll dress in flowery brocade.

At first glance, it might be easy to label Palomo’s clothes as couture-inspired costume—perhaps drag, or even post-drag, with a bit more design than dash. Yet however you see them, it’s tough to argue that they weren’t uplifting. More than one person remarked that he or she hadn’t left a show feeling so good in so long. Nef gushed to the designer: “That was the most amazing, beautiful, decadent, evilthing I’ve ever seen!” Palomo started his line for Spring 2015 after graduating from the London College of Fashion, but has remained, for the most part, under the radar. That has now changed, with a collection and a moment that put a glittering cherry atop New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: La Perla Fall/Winter 2017 REVIEW by Nick Remsen

For her second season as creative director of La Perla, Julia Haart envisaged the artistic interpretation of British gardens across six chambers of a British manor. So, expressionistic flora, by function of room. “It’s really this concept of nature redefined by people,” said Haart. “And I chose English gardens because they are more of a riot compared to, say, manicured French gardens. That’s what I am thinking about: I don’t like people telling me what to do or where to go. I want to wear what I want, when I want, how I want. It’s all about the freedom.”

That she used the word “riot” was telling: Haart’s La Perla is confident, often over-the-top, consciously indecorous and all the more noteworthy for it. She is presumably catering to those women that might tune into the Victoria’s Secret show (as it happens, a number of her Fall cast are also Angels), but would never actually buy Victoria’s Secret—all La Perla, all the way. Also notable, Haart says, “I am creating this specialized world where ready-to-wear and lingerie meld together—our clothes come in dress sizes, but also cup sizes.”

Naomi Campbell, bathed under ultraviolet ambient light, opened the show in a navy stretch silk slip dress patched with black lace parts, and a floral macramé-embroidered tweed overcoat. She was in the “Study”—the tweed, followed by tailored wool pieces, vaguely connoted academic practice. That set the tone for a sprawling lineup, which, as one behaves in one’s own abode, appeared in varying states of dress and undress. Haart’s “Terrace” section was her best, in which hothouse florals and leaves were worked onto little negligees and rompers. Model Lineisy Montero’s outfit—a fitted micro slip dress with a built-in bra and a panoply of Crayola-bright blooms—was the collection’s top look. (Her spider jewel-embellished mules were also cute, in a costume-y way). Haart’s exploration would conclude in the “Foyer,” with Kendall Jenner shutting down the installation in a metallic gold lace gown, replete with elaborate embroidery.

If Haart’s focus veered away from her core inspiration, it was forgivable in that she offered a lotto take in. And even though differing tastes will prefer different parts of this collection, the unifier among them—cleverly realized by the designer—is a penchant for that bold-willed freedom mentioned above.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here

Vogue Runway: Palm Angels Fall/Winter 2017 Review by Nick Remsen

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Picture this: A Wall Street guy gets fired, or rather, gets so angry with the system, he quits the game and decamps to Southern California. And through the weed smoke and sunny lethargy of it all, he finds that his new life doesn’t totally wipe out his old demons. He’s still mad with corporate everywhere. Occupy Venice Beach.

Such was the message behind Francesco Ragazzi’s latest Palm Angels collection. The 2-year-old brand, which is based in Milan but showed here for the first time this evening, has been snowballing in popularity in the hype-fueled, hazy world of fashion merch. Troye Sivan wore a Spring Palm Angels “rainbow” hoodie last year to much social media fanfare; in Milan last night, Ragazzi did a surprise drop of free sweatshirts. “Two minutes,” he said, for 200 pieces to fly off the trucks. (Those revealed his new logo, a caution-sign triangle with a palm tree, as per.)

And before naysayers bemoan yet-another-streetwear brand, remember that Ragazzi knows his proverbial shit: The man started Palm Angels after photographing a book of the same name around skateboarding culture in Los Angeles. What he does is convincing, if not downright compelling.

Fall had lots of ska-era flares on logo-stamped pants, or denim. Hardware, either Old English P’s or A’s, swung from zipped-all-the-way-up tops. Bloodshot eyes stared ahead from behind narrow sunglasses with unforgiving Croakies. There were subtle nods to the old banker’s life, too, like gold buttons traditionally reserved for navy blazers, only this time on a fuzzy plaid topcoat. Rasta-striped shirts, giant text lines across the shoulders, stoner dad hats, and cool cross-body bags rounded out Ragazzi’s defense—and, even if it’s not everybody’s preferred strain, one can’t help but to smile at the audacity and the draw of his Angels.

To view on Vogue Runway, click here. 

Vogue Runway: Gosha Rubchinskiy Fall/Winter 2017 Review by Nick Remsen

GOSHA

Tucked on the southeastern toe of the Baltic Sea sits the Kaliningrad Oblast—a Russian exclave that doesn’t actually touch Russia Major; similar, say, to Alaska’s geographic relationship with the continental United States. To Kaliningrad’s north and east lies Lithuania; to the south, Poland. From near its namesake city, two “spits” of land span outward, flanking the dark Baltic like some kind of defensive anemone. This place was known as German (or East Prussian) Konigsberg, before July 4, 1946, when Stalin made it into the USSR (The Red Army had taken Konigsberg from Nazi Germany during WWII.) It was renamed for the Soviet president Mikhail Ivanovich Kalinin, who reportedly never stepped foot in the region. It’s where philosopher Immanuel Kant is buried. It’s where the current Russian president, Vladimir Putin, redeployed nuclear-capable arms last October (Kaliningrad, given its unique location and governance, has often been observed with tension by both “the West” and Moscow). And it’s where, today, Gosha Rubchinskiy showed his very strong Fall 2017 collection, which included a brand-new collaboration with Adidas.

Before the why, the how, and the what: Around noon, a select group of Russian and international editors was taken to a site called the Mariners’ House of Culture. The room therein, with faded blue velvet chairs (mine might’ve had a cigarette burn in it) and gold and white drapery, exhibited the sort of spare irreverence for which Rubchinskiy has become famous. As the show started, the soundtrack—from lost-era speakers stationed at both ends of the catwalk—discharged voice-overs in Russian. It became clear that as each model made his lap, it was he who was speaking.

“It’s a portrait of Russia now,” said Rubchinskiy of the monologues and the casting. Each mannequin hailed from somewhere in the federation, from Kaliningrad local to Siberia, thousands of miles to the east. “It’s a real way to show the country to an international audience. Some boys say, ‘I don’t know what to do in my life; I am just chilling and I have fun and I have skateboard.’ Others say, ‘I want to be an army service agent.’ Another says he wants to write a book.” Rubchinskiy’s friend and collaborator on the audio, a Moscow-based DJ named Buttechno, admitted a more ominous testimony: “One boy said he doesn’t want to die before he’s 25.”

If the models represented a cross-section of the country, that’s also a good way to describe the clothes. “We try to put some unexpected parts in, not only cool, streetwear things,” said Rubchinskiy. That was welcome. The designer played with the tailoring he introduced last season by layering it into the sportif kick he was feeling, courtesy of Adidas. The show opened with a loose-sleeved button-down shirt worn with a square-knit tie and skinny-belted trousers—it was about as polished as he has ever done. There was a smart double-breasted gray pin-striped suit, ditto a military-olive shirt and pants, offset with a pale blue cinch. The outerwear options were among the strongest he's offered, and the newsboy caps, by Stephen Jones, were fresh.

And the Adidas collaboration, with pieces emblazoned with Football in Cyrillic and which includes two new sneaker models, will satiate hype-beasts. “Adidas is very natural for Gosha,” said Rubchinskiy. “The brand is very popular in Russia; it’s a very Russian image—this man in his tracksuit.” The move is savvy; the partnership will last into 2018, when Russia hosts the World Cup. Rubles will flow.

In the end, the very best looks struck notes from both arenas—see faded quarter-zips and wide-collar polo shirts together, or an excellent denim bomber jacket with a dashing, daresay dressy, scarf tied round the neck. This was Rubchinskiy’s evolution of the streetwear riot he helped to incite—a conceit that looks familiar, but one that also reveals a broader scope and a more modern sense of wardrobe inclusiveness and cunning. It was intelligent.

Lastly, if one was wondering as to any sort of geopolitical commentary about doing a fashion show in Russia today amid the U.S.’s election-hacking accusations and President-elect Trump’s is-it-or-isn’t-it cozy relationship with Putin, the answer is . . . sort of. When pressed as to his opinion on the matter, Rubchinskiy said: “Look . . . come and see Russia. Not only on the Internet, not only in the paper. See what’s really happening in the cities . . . come and have your own opinion.” And as for his and his peer group’s feelings about Trump? “It’s interesting . . . I like the strong character. He’s a strong character—not a boring, random person. It’s interesting. Let’s see.”

To view on Vogue Runway, click here. 

Vogue.com: Pro Surfer, Model, and Hawaii Native Koa Smith Shares His Guide to Oahu by Nick Remsen

KOA_VOGUE

On Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii, designer fashion isn’t really a topic of conversation. Fair enough. This is surf country. The Guccis and the Louis Vuittons are all comfortably nested down on Kalakaua Avenue or at Ala Moana Center, an hour’s drive south in Honolulu. Up here, all you need is a swimsuit, really. Shoes optional; sunscreen recommended.

So it’s borderline discordant—but excitingly so, for someone constantly seeking the sartorial—when Koa Smith, the striking 21-year-old professional surfer and model, says: “Yeah, I shot a campaign for Alexander Wang last year, and I became pretty good friends with Steven Klein, who photographed it.” Oh, okay. That’s very . . . well, not many people can say that. I don’t know Klein and I’ve spoken with Wang only a few times, and the fashion business is my day-to-day. The exchange is made all the more unexpected by the fact that Smith is sitting at the Sunrise Shack—a Crayola-yellow snack stand he opened recently with his two older brothers, Alex and Travis—wearing a Hurley T-shirt and hat and a wire-wrapped crystal necklace, clearly very much in his element, as mentally distanced from the fashion establishment as he is geographically. The wind is cutting and the waves, breaking barely 100 yards in front of us, rattle the picnic table.

Therein lies, like so many unlikely links these days, a social media–born connection: “They randomly hit me up,” says Smith. “I have no idea how they found me. . . . It was on Instagram, I think, and I was in Indo.” (That’s Indonesia.) “Afterward, Steven suggested entering the VMAN/Ford modeling competition.” (VMAN, the magazine, and Ford, the agency, host an annual search for new faces.) He ended up winning 2015’s contest and is now signed with Ford. That two fashion-world icons would take notice of Smith isn’t hugely surprising—the industry has long drawn inspiration from surf culture (see recent Saint Laurent and Thom Browne collections), and this particular surfer is very good-looking. What is a bit remarkable to consider, though, is that Smith is both the kind of multi-hyphenate professional that millennials are so damn good at being, and a product, really, of global street casting (very much still the du jour thing for cool designers). Essentially, he is blessed on all fronts.

Smith is also: not insignificant on YouTube (a self-shot GoPro video shows the surfer slicing through a 27-second long barrel in Namibia’s Skeleton Bay), a reality TV show participant (The Runner, from Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, of all people, with brother Travis), and now a food vendor. Ford lets his surfing take the front seat over his modeling requirements. “They’ll call and say there’s something happening, but I’ll say I’m in France, or wherever,” he says. “They’re really free with me. I am more focused on the surfing side.” Though Kauai—the Hawaiian island north of Oahu—is home, he spends winters residing in and competing on the North Shore. Here, Smith sounds off on Oahu’s charms—from gasoline-strength mai tais to what he says is “the most nowhere-else-like-it beach in the world.”

On food . . .
Pupukea Grill, right over by Shark’s Cove, is my favorite place to eat on the island. They have this coconut quinoa curry with spicy ahi poke in it . . . and acai bowls. It’s hard to drive past it without getting both.

On nightclubbing . . .
I like to go to the Addiction at the Modern in Honolulu. That’s a once-a-month blowout, for sure. Living up here on the North Shore, there’s pretty much nothing to do but surf, and so once in a while it’s like, Okay, I need a break. So I head down to Waikiki and check out for a couple of days. I go into full tourist mode, even though I am from Hawaii.

On booze . . .
My favorite Hawaiian cocktail has to be a mai tai. You’ll have one, your memory will get a little fuzzy, and then you’ll be hungover an hour later. Hard to resist! At Haleiwa Joe’s in Haleiwa, they have this drink called an Outside Double Up and it’s in a fishbowl. I think it’s four mai tais in one. It never ends well. 

On athletics, other than surfing . . .
There’s an old war bunker up in the hills above Sunset Beach Elementary School. It’s about a 10-minute hike, and it’s pretty vertical, but it’s incredible to watch the sunset from there. Also, I used to do more free diving and scuba—it’s good on the North Shore in the summer, when the waves have died down—but I kind of had a bunch of shark encounters in a row. One time, it was with a 15-foot tiger shark and her baby, and the water was murky. That freaked me out. But now sharks don’t bother me. I am on good terms with them. 

On the best beach in Hawaii, if not the world . . .
[Without hesitation] Pipeline, for sure. I’ve been coming to Oahu since I was 9, and for a while I think I took it for granted. When you see how big the waves are and how close they are to the beach, there’s nowhere else in the world like it. It’s insane. You can basically see people’s faces as they’re dropping into the waves. Also, when you get a good wave, the whole beach erupts. It’s like an arena.

On Chanel . . .
They do make surfboards! I don’t think anyone rides them, but they sure do hang them up.

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V: BEN JONES ON HIS ART BASEL INSTALLATION FOR ADIDAS by Nick Remsen

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The Miami Marine Stadium is one of those oddball Magic City relics that lives on, despite the area’s constant development. Located on the Rickenbacker Causeway—en route to tony Key Biscayne—this strange brutalist arena, now a hulk of humidity-stained concrete, is where skate kids break onto the roof to smoke weed, where vandals have left myriad graffiti tags, and where, last night, adidas hosted a major Art Basel blowout to fete a gigantic commissioned piece by the artist Ben Jones. (Jones created a video installation of lo-fi, repeated nineties-esque graphics that was subsequently projected against the Stadium’s vaulted overhangs.)

The day before, in buzzing Wynwood—the arts neighborhood in midtown Miami—Jones said: “The static electricity in the air, the color, it’s real. Being here is definitely a thing.” The testament ended up aligning nicely with his concept—one could feel a kinetic throb in the space as his piece aired above. “Things are different now, though,” he added. “My first time at Basel, we drove down for a project that Jeffrey Deitch was doing. We had a car full of cardboard and house paint. I think we slept in the exhibition space.”

Said difference is palpable amongst Basel-goers who have seen the show morph from small and insular and mildly branded to gigantic and popular and commercially saturated. But adidas’s involvement was smart this time around; they pulled off something fresh with the project, and even though the Stadium is a fair hike from the beach, it was worth it.

The event also served to kickstart a greater company campaign around adidas’s EQT product line, new merchandise of which drops in January. They did introduce a limited edition Art Basel edition sneaker, which they released in a series of public giveaways on Wednesday night. It also featured a panel moderated by System Magazine with Jones, model and activist Adwoa Aboah, and rapper Pusha-T, who later performed.

But Jones’s work was the star of the night. “There was this great idea to look at a body of work and design language from the nineties, the original era of EQT,” he said. (The EQT line first came out during the decade, and was an exercise in paired-back restraint—the minimum needed for maximum impact.) “adidas really had a strict manifesto of purpose and of function,” Jones continued. “When you look at it now, it was ahead of its time.”

So how did that manifest in his video? “I indulged in the technology of the era. As an artist I always kind of default to working with early computer graphics, those primitive, bad computer programs.” And where did it most correlate with adidas’s aesthetic ethos? “It comes down to limitations. Sometimes, limitations are a great way to define purpose.” 

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Vogue.com: Madonna and Bulgari—Along With Ariana Grande, Leonardo DiCaprio, Dave Chappelle—Party in Miami for Raising Malawi by Nick Remsen

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“I’m going to tell you an interesting correlation between Britney Spears and . . . Donald Trump,” said Madonna in Miami last night. “I’ve had intimacy with both.” (The crowd inhaled sharply.) “You saw the kiss with Britney—historic moment. What you don’t know is that I’ve slept in Donald’s bed. But he wasn’t in that bed. He wasn’t anywhere near that bed. I was just doing a photo shoot in Palm Beach. For a Versace campaign. In his house. And let me tell you, the sheets were not 100 percent Egyptian cotton.”

The Material Girl was as insurrectionary and unpredictable as ever, but damn, was it surreal to see her in such an intimate setting. Madonna was in town for a one-off night of music, “mischief,” and auctioneering, all to benefit her foundation,Raising Malawi, which supports orphans and children in the African country where her adopted son David was born. It was likely Art Basel Miami’s hottest (and most expensive) ticket—an over-the-top evening to remember, rendered with support from Bulgari.

Let’s go through this chronologically, because there’s a lot to cover. The night started at 9:00 p.m. with cocktails in the Faena Forum, the new OMA-designed building that is part of the Argentine hospitality company’s growing Miami Beach complex. Its sunken gallery space was flanked by the possibly personal, or associated, art that Madge would soon be selling off (alongside the night’s official auctioneer, Paddle8’s Alexander Gilkes). There were: Tracey Emin’s artwork and photographs by Mert and Marcus and an angular Ai Weiwei sculpture. At 9:55 p.m. sharp, an announcement signaled the beginning of dinner.

Guests entered a room that’d been treated to look like a carnival—Madonna’s version, ostensibly, of clowning around. The meal had a circus-y theme, too, with sushi, popcorn, and French fries. James Corden, the night’s MC, quickly took the stage. “The closest thing to a cultural event in Miami is when Pitbull does a promotional concert for Sprite,” he said, roasting the Magic City to polite laughs. He introduced Dr. Eric Borgstein, a surgeon in Malawi who works with Madonna, and who’d flown in for the fundraiser. Borgstein noted that while the evening was all in good fun, it was important to remember that the average Malawian lives on less than $2 a day.

Next up to the podium was David, Madonna’s son. “Hi,” he said, taking a deep breath. “I realize now that I was one of the lucky ones. My mother found medicine for me, and that medicine saved me.” When he was adopted, David was under the care of an 8-year-old girl at an orphanage—his biological mother died during childbirth. 

David then introduced M herself. There were audible gasps in the audience—there she was, in full court-jester regalia, commanding and confident as always. “In case any of you don’t know about me, I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself. I’m from Detroit. I travel a lot. I like music.” The room went wild.

The night’s most entertaining segment came during the auction. Gilkes and Madonna make for quite a team: he the charming Brit; she the abrasive icon. The crowd’s VIPs all got involved. Over a Jeremy Scott–designed dress—modeled onstage by Ariana Grande—Madge sweet-talked with Sean Penn to drive up the bidding. “I’ll marry you again. Please.” Grande herself then bid $150,000. Penn ended up winning, but suggested, “Ariana, come over and wear it any time.” Karolina Kurkova sported a Bulgari serpent necklace that went for $180,000—she kissed Madonna goodbye, and, afterward, admitted that she “didn’t think [she’d] kiss a girl” that night. Regarding a Jacob & Co. watch, Madge said: “Brett Ratner, are you here? Fucking buy this watch.” David Blaine ate glass. Leonardo DiCaprio watched on, pensively. Chris Rock brought the big laughs. Dave Chappelle said: “We’re giving you a goddamn chance to ball for humanity.” And that’s only a fraction of the shenanigans.

When all was said and done, Madonna finally took the stage around 1:00 a.m. for an hour-long performance. She performed a cover of Britney Spears’s “Toxic,” along with her own megahits, like “Don’t Tell Me,” “Express Yourself,” and more. She thanked everyone—and even auctioned off the chair she was sitting on, for $10,000, and a selfie, to a man from New Zealand.

And though it was entirely wild and indulgent and almost hard to believe, the night exceeded expectations. More than $7 million was raised for Raising Malawi. To echo Chappelle, Miami turned up to ball for mankind, and Mo proved, once again, she’s still the queen. “The most controversial thing I’ve done,” she concluded, “is stick around for 34 fucking years. And I’ll be here for another 34 fucking more!” 

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