Out With The Old, In With The Old

Relieving Celine of its accent above the ‘e’ is minor change compared to dropping Yves from Yves Saint Laurent, and that perhaps was the point: Hedi Slimane was not planning to reinvent the sewing needle at Celine. Instead, he brought unfinished business at YSL along


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We guessed it, and yet we were still bothered, perplexed, annoyed. It’s like the end of a romance. You know it’ll soon be over and yet when he/she is gone, you feel the pain, or anger. Hedi Slimane was not expected to expand the look Phoebe Philo left at Céline (as spelled when she was there) the way his successor at Saint Laurent, Anthony Vaccarello, continued Mr Slimane’s rock-chick-waif-groupie look. Yet, we were still dismayed. Perhaps it was the late hour of the live stream (2.45 am!), but mostly it was the annoyance of having to view his last, by-then-repetitive Saint Laurent collection all over again.

We weren’t sure but was the collection about a true singular vision? Mr Slimane is no visionary and his Celine is regrettably short-sighted. Or, was he pleasing an already sizeable fan base of an increasingly commercial rather than innovative fashion business climate? Surely there are those who have remained with Saint Laurent and those who have moved on. Or is this output of a designer that hitherto is, for the most part, one-note? This seemed like indolence at design level: he could have simply bring along the paper patterns from his previous tenure. He was at Saint Laurent for a mere four years (2012 to 2016). Sure, he not only made a huge impact to the fortunes of the house, but also promulgated the idea that luxury fashion can look like fast fashion, which may mean he did not have enough time to really conquer and rule, although divide he arguably did.

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The skinny jeans and pants that he popularised at Dior Homme still bolstering ascendancy over other silhouettes in both women’s and men’s wear (even their office clothes!) today is probably not enough. If he wants to leave a lasting legacy, there has to be a persistent aesthetic singularity to better overrun an over-shared world. When Mr Slimane took over Dior Homme in 2000, fashion editors spoke of how he “idolised” teen-ish, waifish rock musicians or such a look. Eighteen years later, at 50, his kind of idolisation could be construed as bordering on the paedophilic, yet it did not bother Mr Slimane or his supporters, including one Karl Lagerfeld, because fashion is, since the advent of pret-a-porter, about youth. He continued with Celine’s debut men’s wear the skinniness and gangliness that he first mooted 18 years ago, as if times have not changed, as if men’s taste have not altered. He even told the media that Celine men’s clothes are unisex, and women are free to buy, which harks back to the female interest in his Dior Homme. Interestingly, he didn’t say that the women’s clothes are unisex and available to men. Remember Phoebe Philo’s Celine appealed to guys, with Pharrell Williams her number one fan?

With a casting that would have the black community cry out tokenism, Mr Slimane again made sure that not only was the Caucasian face his ideal beauty, body diversity was not part of his universe. In fact, these clothes—their smallness, slimness, and shortness—were really for adolescent boys and girls: the boyishness and girlishness augmented by the skinny ties that men past a certain station in life stay clear of and the little dresses with a very fixed waist that women of a certain age normally avoid. Is Mr Slimane’s Celine the new Gap for the children of the wealthy whose numbers are rising all over the world—for certain in Asia? Or is this fashion’s own Peter Pan syndrome?

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Some members of the press have taken to justifying Mr Slimane’s design direction than saying that it is lacking in, say, newness (a bad word in fashion these days), among other things. He has proven himself to be a commercially successful designer, they reasoned. Celine, as most people know, is part of LVMH, one of the most powerful luxury conglomerates in the world, if not the most powerful. So there is fear of commercial reprisal. Or, the denial of invitation to future shows. God forbid that a fashion editor should watch live streams like the rest of us! Mr Slimane was known to take umbrage at members of the media who did not share his view or who were not keen in what he did. The relationship between the press and luxury brands has always been a complicated one, and the love-hate relationship, for a lack of better description, is mostly concealed by love, no matter how dismal or disappointing the output of the brands. Love lost, as some journalists—including prominent ones—have learnt, is not nearly recoverable.

At the end of the Celine Hedi Slimane show, there were audible screams of approval. These can’t be construed as anything but love, which means we shall see more of what may be teetering close to ennui: little dresses—black aplenty—and those, equally compact versions, with flourishes such as flounces; boyfriend jackets that, when worn over said dresses, made the latter look even shorter; biker jackets for serious rock cred; and skinny suits that, any skinnier, would be compression wear. Mr Slimane is not the least vague about where he intends to take Celine under his charge. Just because you were given a name at birth and trained to be a lady does not mean that someone, further down the road, can’t lead you astray, and make you a tramp.

Photos: (top) screen shot/Celine live stream, (catwalk) indigital.tv

Some Kind Of Wonderful

John Galliano is no longer the enfant terrible of fashion; he is no longer a media darling, and he sure is no longer a spaceman, a chieftan, or such, taking the customary bow at the end of his shows—in fact, he does not appear to the applause at all for Maison Margiela, but he sure is still uninhibited, unapologetic, and unafraid


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So many designers have stressed that they want to veer off street style and re-emphasise tailoring, but it’s John Galliano who’s really taking tailoring to places we have not quite ventured yet—a wonderland (and we mean this literally) that fires the imagination, not just churning out a perfectly-made suit. For the next season, he made us ask in wonderment: really, what more can he do to a jacket, a coat, a dress? And what will he think of next? We know he has always been a master of the tailleur—those suits he did for Dior are still unforgettable and resolutely modern. Now that he has, to us, really found his groove at Maison Margiela, and not make mad clothes for madness’ sake, as he did at the start, we find his designs compelling, even if only because they astound.

There’s a lot to unpack at Maison Margiela, but what delightful unpacking. In keeping with the house’s deconstruction legacy, Mr Galliano, in fact, not only deconstructed, he reconstructed, and, sometimes, post-constructed, also not omitting the technique known as décortiqué (meaning to shell a lobster or, in Mr Galliano’s case, shedding the carapace of the superfluous), leaving those of us fascinated by how clothes are made (or engineered, if you want to take it further) quite enthralled, and with lots to see. It wasn’t just the ideas, but how he thought of them and how he made them happen. And, how he was able to temper idiosyncrasy with exactitude. Simply put, he made our spine tingle.

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He offered tailoring that was raw, feminine, and against the rules. There were jackets with Watteau back (a personal favourite); shell tops with tromp l’œil (the Latin grapheme ‘œ’ itself evocative of Mr Galliano’s visual ligatures) blazer front (including stitching that suggests tailor’s chalk marks); a bodysuit, unfastened at the crotch, that looked like it was cut out of a jacket (with racer back, no less!); outer wear with sleeve treatment that seemed to house the arms inside like a cape, but with openings above the elbow that allowed the arms to hang outside, (which then would change the silhouette of the garment!) if desired. And the quirky details, such as upper arms with cut-outs that flop like Mickey’s ears (does his flop?) and from the rear looked like lantern sleeves. We’re not done unpacking, not even half-way through.

Even when he was ‘good’—in dressmaking terms, conventional, ‘regular’ outer wear, including the swing coat, the car coat, the trench, and even le smoking, were not only precisely cut (and just rightly oversized), but also the epitome of perfection. The surprisingly few dresses—no bias-cut splendour so associated with Mr Galliano—was sufficiently off-beat without crossing into unwearable or hobo territory, with one lace shift left raw-edged and worn under a shower-curtain twin with Rabannesque, linked harlequin squares. The plastic a see-through that sees through nothing except the delicate layering inside that is unexpectedly even more covered up, and in a version for men, too.

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The collection is, of course, gender-fluid—a recurrent theme in Paris this season. Although not quite as outlandish (men in dresses is, frankly, not eyebrow-raising any more), it points to an earlier time (mainly ’80s), when, in London especially, hedonistic fashion indulgences saw no gender divide. Boy George, despite the gender-specific first and second names, emerged from this period to raves by not restraining himself to conventions of dress. Mr Galliano himself alluded to the clubbing days of his student years, when the impresario/stylist/nightclub promoter of the day was the headlining Australian Leigh Bowery (1961—1994), whose “polysexual”, as he called it, club Taboo was where sexually-ambivalent clothing set the clubbers apart. The wacky, if not outrageous, looks later went borderline mainstream through publications such as the now defunct The Face, in which Mr Bowery has styled its pages and appeared as gender-, even creature-, indeterminate—an amalgam of cultures, photographed by Nick Knight.

The gender-undefined styles of Mr Bowery and his cohorts impacted Mr Galliano, who lived through, absorbed, and enjoyed this era of fashion mayhem. Like Leigh Bowery (also a fashion designer, but of significantly less profound stature), he is an astute gatherer of not just cultural mismatch, but visual discordance, who could use fashion to express something about society at large. Like many other designers, there’s cultural commentary (no one just makes clothes anymore) in this one. In the pre-show screening of a black-and-white video (projected almost all-around on the walls), Mr Galliano had six women—the “mutinists”—talk about individualism, with Willow Smith urging all to “Create the rules, then break them”. John Galliano has long stopped breaking rules since he has broken most, if not all, of them; he now makes his very own.

Photos: indigital.tv

Different City, Same Shtick

Gucci is slowly moving into one-trick-many-dresses pony territory. Even in Paris


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You know what they say about familiarity. Yet, Gucci fears not the familiar. Nor, the similar. How does contempt—or boredom—not breed in such same-same-ness? The genius of Gucci is not in generating new designs (although, to be fair, there are new ideas, a live bird among them), but to put those styles already deeply adored by fans in a new setting, better still a different city: Paris, where the fashion world is centred and obsessively watched. And in a nightclub of the past housed in a theatre of the past: Le Palace, where the Parisienne fashion set of the late ’70s, including Karl Lagerfeld; his rival, the late Yves Saint Laurent; as well as Kenzo, partied like their New York counterparts did in Studio 54.

Of course, Alessandro Michele is the master conjurer of the past. You think only Marc Jacobs brings back Yves Saint Laurent? Think again. Mr Michele does it better, and more crazily, more irreverently, as if a hobo has found a discarded trove of YSLs and decided to wear the finds to party at the most decadent club in town because tomorrow is the end of the world. And, true to form, Mr Michele let the geeks and the nerds of every era get their moment too, revenge being the best fashion statement because tomorrow is the end of Instagram. And wasn’t there also a riff on Issey Miyake? Or Chanel, as envisioned by Franco Moschino?

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Mr Michele is also the master impresario of the theatre of fashion. Clothes these days are nothing if there’s no setting, no context, or as they say, story line. Inside a former dance club reputed to be a temple of debauchery, it wasn’t enough to offer the ghosts of the past, an obscure indie film was projected on the walls. Show notes, as reported, included the bio of as-little-known Italian experimental theatre practitioners (the late) Leo de Berardinis and Perla Peragallo, referred to as the Dioscuri (twin brothers of Greek mythology) of Italian “theatre of contradiction”. For seekers of meaning, this veneer of intellectual depth not only explained the opposing forces of the clothes (such as men wearing knickers), but also supported the image of Alessandro Michele as thinker, one who can put Jane Birkin and Dolly Parton on the same stage.

This is not all fluff, in other words, never mind if majority of the women who buy the handbags or shoes probably do not care about the references; this is what makes Gucci refreshing. It is the invisible sidebars that give reason to its singular visual language. When that lingo sounds repetitive or trite, there’s always the far more interesting slang of artifice. When an outfit looks like it has appeared before, add a cockatoo. When Sikh turbans have served their useful controversy, return to the banality of beauty-queen tiaras or the play version. If you like heads, and (3-D printed?) human likeness is no longer shocking, go for Mickey’s—cuteness unusually immune to backlash. If only Mr Michele had lived in Bangkok, he would have known that Thai brands such as Kloset and Senada have resorted to such devices for years!

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To appreciate Gucci, we were repeatedly told, is to not nitpick about this and that, but to let these and those be. It appeared to us that Mr Michele designs with one endgame in mind: the show, which, in part, borrowed from Cirque du Soleil. The clothes by themselves wouldn’t be enough because, sans wacky pairings and the nerdy models who wear them, they were just vintage-looking garments fashioned to be lurid, and just not disco-era-lurid, but a gaudiness that maybe only Lynn Yaeger can pull off. Oftentimes, they are quite basic garments on their own, in nicer fabrics and rather enchanting prints. This is beyond Warholian. Mr Michele and his team are more adept at twisting what is standalone ordinariness into something extraordinary by the use of colour—for example, that garish green often seen in silk satin, or by additions such as codpieces to the otherwise unspectacular pants for men. The point is, those trousers will make the sale, but you need an external genital pouch to make the news.

Mr Michele is also a proponent of the anti-fit. This is not the oversized look that has dominate catwalks for quite a few years now. Take look 2, for example, the sailor-dress, which really looked too big because, we guess, it’s meant to be vintage-y, so it won’t flatter the body—you’d have to look like you just left the Salvation Army without trying on your purchases, overwhelmed by the low prices of the finds. Or the shirt of look 25 (worn with pencil skirt—a combo already proposed this past season by Balenciaga and executed with far more refinement), which looked like you wore not your father’s, but your grandfather’s shirt during moments of desperation, like when you’re stuck in a farmhouse after coming in from really bad weather and there’s a slasher out there. Yes, we, too, see the stories, even if inelegantly told.

Photos: Gucci

So This Is It?

Could DSM’s announcement of Gosha Rubchinskiy’s “final delivery” be confirmation that the designer who made Cyrillic text and the country’s skate aesthetic cool is putting an end to his label? Or, is this merely the last drop for the autumn/winter collection?


Gosha AW 2018

By Ray Zhang

In April this year, Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy announced via Instagram that his eponymous label will cease to exist “as you know it”. The brand further elaborated that “there will be no more seasonal collections”. Fans were hopeful: no more seasonal collections does not mean a complete halt—Mr Rubchinskiy could do ‘projects’ in limited runs, which would increase the brand’s desirability. Mr Rubchinskiy also told Hypebeast at the opening of DSM Beijing that he “is a bit tired doing season-to-season collections.” He also said, during Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi in May, that “Every idea has a time and what I wanted to express, I expressed it.” An extended sabbatical is not unreasonable.

Still, the announcement is sad because if he should stop, it would be at a time when the discerning street-style consumer is beginning to appreciate his brand more. Those who have no love for the over-hyped nothingness of Supreme and Off-White see Gosha Rubchinskiy as a designer with a true and clear design vision, and a voice that is articulate. This is a designer who wears authenticity like a badge, and not as token salute. It was he who channeled sporty geekiness into fashionable threads way before Gucci’s Tenebaums uncool cool. And he looked no further than his native Russia, not quite the next Korea, but still with enough faraway exception and artistic nous to be compelling.

It could be considered a smart move to not tether your name to street wear, now, for many a passport to fame. But Mr Rubchinskiy isn’t distancing himself from a category that gave him his start. Reportedly, his immediate plan is to grow Paccbet, a casual, skate-centric line he started with his skate pals and some artists. There’s even going to be a skate shop in Moscow—the “coolest” in the city, according to the designer.

If Mr Rubchinskiy is moving towards being Russia’s first global luxury brand, it may be strategically advantageous to take a break to re-position. It was reported that Gosha Rubchinskiy is supported by Comme des Garçons (including production and distribution). The brand’s closure would not have made business sense, but, according to a Business of Fashion report, CDG claimed to be in collaboration with Mr Rubchinskiy, project-based, for the next couple of years or so. They emphasised that they “want to find new a way to make and sell products.”

The fickleness of fashion is notorious. Maybe it’s wise that Gosha Rubchinskiy is getting out while he’s hot.

Photo: Dover Street Market

Burberry’s New Jumble

Riccardo Tisci told The Guardian that he wanted his version of Burberry to “celebrate eclecticism”. Does that mean anything goes?


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The show was basically split into two parts, or maybe three, for both the men’s and the women’s collections, suggesting that designer Riccardo Tisci wishes to cater to more than one group of customers: those moneyed individuals who see Burberry as a traditional brand and still desire to buy traditional styles, those indefatigable influencers who hope to acquire ‘statement’ pieces, and those who have red carpets to walk on. That means catering to a broad base, which is already there, as evidenced by the reportedly close to USD3 billion annual sales, as well as creating a Burberry that is less tied to its English roots. Or, at least the Englishness that Christopher Bailey had once so seductively evinced.

In fact, to us, the new Burberry emanates a rather Italian aesthetic, Roman even—sunray skirts (or trench coat if inclement weather) for prancing at the Piazza Navona and vaguely street style for the rest, hanging out in Piazza Trilussa. To be sure, we weren’t hoping at that late hour of the live stream for anything that would bring back Mr Bailey’s Bloomsbury brio (or sorcery since many women were under its spell for quite a while) and we’re glad there was no return, but there was something lacking in its glorification of a British house.

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Sure, the Burberry check was there (as well as the stripes); the unmissable trenchcoats too, but these seemed like products taken from the shop floor to supplement otherwise incomplete merchandising rather than design-led garments destined for a direction-setting runway. Otherwise it would be hard to explain the pussy-bow blouses, even in the house tartan; pencil and bubble shirts; a baby-doll dress that looked oddly drab; blazer-skirt combos that wouldn’t be out of place in the confines of Marks & Spencer. Perhaps, Riccardo Tisci was doing Brit style after all.

Some people are thrilled that Mr Tisci is “bringing back elegance”. It’s a strange elegance, if you can call it that. Proper, too, especially in the first half. It was, as if Mr Tisci was deliberately going against the grain of the surge of street style, like so many designers are now doing, rejecting, as a matter of course, the ‘ugly’ too. That this should be the track he chose to take is not surprising, but that he should put out such kosher designs that’s reminiscent of one-time office wear is. Perhaps Mr Tisci is tired of dressing the likes of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, conspicuously missing in the front row of the show?

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Just as we thought the now-uncommon prim will dominate, Mr Tisci ditched the Town and Country look for something more in keeping with what he was known for at Givenchy: clothes, although not “darkly romantic”—the favourite description among the media and KOLs, that his followers would definitely wear. These had a whiff of the sporty, the military, and the punk, all calculated to appeal to a generation that grew up through Mr Tisci’s Givenchy years (2005—2017). So, if you want accent sleeves, you got accent sleeves; even cold shoulder, yes, those cold shoulders you see around you that won’t go away. There was even a Virgil Abloh moment, three letters on a T-shirt that read COW, in case you did not know that the top was paired with a skirt of bovine print.

It may be a little severe to say that the most anticipated show of London Fashion Week turned out to be disappointing, but a let down it was even if the failure to fulfill our expectations was partly of our own making. We had hoped that Riccardo Tisci would go to London to place Burberry in a leadership role, the way Christopher Bailey had during the brand’s heydays. It would not, at present, be that.

Photos: Burberry

Fluff And Puff

New York’s favourite son did what he does best: to those designers he loves, he paid homage, exaggerated to the hilt


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Marc Jacobs, what have we said about you that we have not already said? Seventies—check; Yves Saint Laurent—check; Comme des Garçons—check. Especially YSL and CDG—check, check. As a follower of SOTD said to us recently, “Marc’s two gods: Yves and Rei”. So it’s no surprise that the runway of the spring/summer 2019 collection was again the altar in honour of his two idols. It is not clear if Mr Jacobs communes with them alone, or together with those who admires him, but it is certain he is not vague about who he worships. Non-believers be damned.

How do you fault such aesthetic conviction? You can’t. If we can have idols, why not he? From his collection for Perry Ellis in 1988 to the present, Mr Jacobs has always played fanboy, not a shy one cheering soundlessly at the sides, but an ebullient ringmaster who can pile on the spectacle. And he did not pull back with the current collection, celebrating the excesses of the designers he loves with even more fulsomeness. Some people called the collection a “feast for the eyes”, but have the eyes not feasted enough? Or, is fashion only fashion when it allows one to feast on it?

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To be sure, Mr Jacobs can offer a smorgasbord. Even if it’s a mash-up that the Italians can outdo, he holds his own by depending less on the unnecessarily weird or the outright geeky or the matriarch-gone-mad. Mr Jacobs, after Louis Vuitton, is in post-French couture state of mind. In addition, he stays true to his identity as a club kid; he susses out and absorbs what he sees in a crowd or in the crowded recesses of his mind, then works them into his clothes by mixing the contents abstracted from different sources the way a DJ would mix his edits, tapping from classical music to even folk songs for a borderless ‘bootleg’ that can be intoxicating for those who dig such overlay and overplay.

And it was with this exuberance, not any vestige of originality, that Mr Jacobs was able to fascinate. And the overwrought result this season, for many fashion types, was no less able to captivate. This is all the more remarkable because Marc Jacobs has not scored favourably with consumers this past years. So perceptible were his lost of cachet—first hinted at by none other than LVMH’s CEO Bernard Arnault last year when he he told investors that he was “more concerned about Marc Jacobs than the US president”—that The New York Times ran an article entitled “How Marc Jacobs Fell Out of Fashion”, noting that “the label is turning out clothes and accessories that lack a compelling point of view”. Mr Jacobs point of view has always been through the lens of something focused on the past, as well as his tenure in a Paris fashion house.

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So march he does to his own beat of a certain vintage. At the risk of repeating ourselves, Mr Jacobs revisited the early years of Yves Saint Laurent and the latter of Comme des Garçons. The sharp-eyed may see Chanel—Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel from the late ’80s—tossed in for good measure. And those oversized rosettes? Maybe Emmanual Ungaro? For sure, YSL’s jackets were there and CDG’s body-obscuring poufs too. Even if one day these two brands become irrelevant, there will always be Mr Jacobs reminding us of their greatness, of their impact on him, and the theatrics he has bought to an otherwise staid New York Fashion Week.

This is amusing (nerve-wracking sometimes), and no one revives as entertainingly and consistently as Mr Jacobs. However, despite all that he has put into the splendorous outfits—and there is considerable effort, we should say—Mr Jacobs has not been able to generate what in America is known as the X factor. These clothes can create visual impact, but they don’t get us, as Diana Vreeland said of Cristobal Balenciaga, “madly infatuated”.

Photos: Marc Jacobs

Finally, Plucked From The Jaws Of Americana?

Even with enough snark on the shark by now, can a film not exactly known as the height of cinematic arts truly bring back the thrill Calvin Klein once arguably offered? 


Joke? Tease? Irony? After putting the images and motifs of American culture to frequent use, Raf Simons’s fascination with America—the pop, the kitsch, the dark—has lost much if its initial cleverness, even charm. Is the US still delivering so much cultural punch to Mr Simons that the best way to deliver his vision of Calvin Klein, once, perhaps ironically, a purveyor of European sophistication, is to exploit the obvious signifiers of how America had caught the popular imagination of the world?

As diagnostician of Calvin Klein’s one-time design and branding troubles, Mr Simons has been consistent in tapping into the vast repository of the images of American life—not necessarily meaningful—installed in the imagination of our mind or those from the outside who see the US as the land of the free and of greatness, weather that greatness has waned or not. He has incorporated the art of Andy Warhol, a long-gone artist, into the jeans lines; used the brand’s recognisable name/font as box logo; and re-imagined the Western (cowboy) shirt as fashion article of the highest order that even the FLOTUS couldn’t resist.

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Thankfully, that shirt did not appear in the spring/summer collection, but something else did, something as unconnected to a higher form of anything: the 1975 film Jaws. And not as clothing more compelling than T-shirt and tank tops, on which the not-scary-anymore great white shark in attack mode appeared, as seen in the movie poster. Using marketing visuals is an extension of Mr Simons’s own line: Remember last season’s Peter Saville-designed New Order album covers? (Mr Saville also redesigned the Calvin Klein logo.) Mr Simons had admitted that Jaws was a film that had somehow impacted him. And it is now the inspiration behind the latest looks, sporting not only the image that those old enough will remember, but also including ideas built around the effect of a shark attack.

That means pleated skirts with front portions lobbed off as if the titular character of Jaws had enjoyed a big bite of them, crushed or crumpled fabric treatment that could have been the result of emerging from the terror, and even hair that looks like the aftermath of struggle-swimming to safety. If you need more, there are those skirts or hip-wrappers (?) that were supposed to look like the upper part of scuba wear peeled down to the waist after use. If only James Bond had thought of it too, he would not need to abandon his scuba wear on the beach as he always does. Are these seaside terror ideas commentaries on the predatory tendencies of the American presidency (and indeed America)? Or, might this be fashion that the FLOTUS could use to win the attention of her Shark Week-loving husband?

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Jaws was not the only film that informed Mr Simons. There was also 1967’s The Graduate, which explained the ridiculous presence of mortarboards and pseudo-academic regalia that, frankly, look out of place in a non-academic setting, conceived without wit to include a forbidding sea and the hint of spilled blood. The thing is, some of us are tired by repeated references to American anything: the Wild West, pop art, and even those civic heroes, such as the hi-vis get-ups of last season’s prairie-lasses-who raided-the-fire-station duds. So much so that we now find what the media calls “American vernacular” so tiring that even vaguely interesting add-ons such as those fringed sashes/shawls with an indeterminate print that could have been (again) blood, looked, past the third time, ho-hum.

Mr Simons did have a way with dresses—mainly the shift, vaguely ’50s (more so with the admittedly lovely pointy-toed heels), adequately avant-garde, and, some, sweetly printed. This the kind of femininity Mr Simons excels in, and it would have worked successfully without the dispensable holsters/harnesses that looked a little too late, post-Virgil Abloh @ Louis Vuitton anyway. Europeans, we understand, love America possibly for the same reasons Americans love Europe, or going to head European houses. But Tom Ford, making a name for himself at Gucci, did not try to be too European. Why has Raf Simons utterly succumbed to the America of popular taste? Or is the renamed and extra long Calvin Klein 205W39NYC a reflection of what American fashion will become: superfluous?

Photos: top: Calvin Klein/YouTube, runway: indigital.tv

Neat Little Pouch-Bag

Dignis Borsa

While we buy all sorts of bags to carry our stuff, we do not often buy one for specific things that we carry in those bags. Sure, we have a wallet for cash and card (even those are redundant now that so many prefer Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayLah, and other e-payment conveniences), but for the other bag inhabitants such as smartphones, power banks, or the handy USB speaker, we leave them either in a sad case, or stark naked.

A recent encounter with this Dignis ‘Borsa’ pouch-bag for digital audio players (DAP) set us thinking that everything that we place in our bag can be clothed, not just to project them from the battering we put them through in the confines of our bag, but also for better organisation and easy retrieval.

The thing is, the ‘Borsa’ does not have to be used for housing DAPs only. It’s ideal for portable external drives, pocket projectors, charging cases of wireless buds, or any digital device (even smartphones, if yours is small enough) that requires padded protection in a handsome bag. Within the bag is a felt-like case with drawstrings that can tighten the opening. The bag itself comes with a detachable leather hand strap and, in the rear, a leather belt loop that works like a carabiner.

Dignis is a Korean brand that’s known for their handmade leather cases for DAPs from makers such as Fiio and Sony. The ‘Borsa’ is unusual because it’s not designed for any specific make of DAPs and has a silhouette that gives no indication of its intended use, which, like a camera bag that does not look like a camera bag (so as to deter would-be gadget thieves), is a disguise for safer travel or commute. All in all, a nifty little armour for your digital toys.

Dignis ‘Borsa’ pouch-bag, from SGD85, is available at Zeppelin & Co, Sim Lim Square. Photo: Chin Boh Kay

Foreign Invasion

Within the past ten months, three non-native sneaker stores opened on our shores, placing local players visibly on the edge. Looks like there may be no fighting back


Three sneaker stores

By Ray Zhang

What happened to once-major sneaker retailers such as Royal Sporting House (RHS) and World of Sports (WOS)? I found myself asking that question while standing in front of the newly opened JD Sports in ION Orchard. The dazzling store front was enough to hold me mesmerised, kicking resistance out of the way. A few doors down, RHS barely caught my eye. So what happened? To those two local stores, I mean. Nothing. Is nothing the reason why I have not visited either for a very long time? Or have some places merely receded into a corner even memory can’t reach?

Since November last year, three retailers from overseas have opened here: AW Lab, JD Sports, and Foot Locker. Despite the new players, it did not appear to me that two of our biggest sporting goods retailers, RHS and WOS, upped their game to take on the new, alluring trio. Did they not know that the competition would be fierce? When I said “nothing”, I meant no part of anything trending, no share of the unique, no trace of the stimulating. In fact, on all fronts, the merchandising and marketing hush in both stores have been deafening.

When Italy’s AW Lab opened in Suntec City last November, local sneakerheads had a foretaste of what was to come: breadth in merchandising, colour to cop not usually seen here, and releases that are not much later than those launched in Europe, which prompted one influencer-looking onlooker, shod in Nike Air VaporMax ‘Triple Black’, at the store’s launch event in the same month, to say that “AW Lab is a wet dream”!

RSHA quiet royal Sporting House at ION Orchard

When, if ever, was the last time any local retailer of sports gear enjoyed being described in such an orgiastic term? Maybe when the massive Stadium opened in basement two of Ngee Ann City some time in the now-forgotten mid-’90s. Conceived by Royal Sporting House, Stadium was a draw because it was huge (an expanse now occupied by Guardian’s flagship), and it stocked, I remember, a rather staggering selection of merchandise with a breadth that was rather rare in Singapore at the time when sports megastores were unheard of.

According to a media coverage at that time “Stadium encapsulates the crossover of sports and golf into the realm of fashion and lifestyle…” I am not sure if “into the realm of fashion” ever truly materialised, but I am certain the streetwear trend did not catch on with them as staying true to serving the needs of sports people specifically was the crux. In doing so, they did not sense consumers’ unrequited wants. Stadium languished, and finally shuttered just as the popularity of sneakers began its steady, indomitable climb.

Large or fairly large stores have, of course, not vanished entirely. There is Royal Sporting House in 313@Orchard and Intersports—owned by Sportslink—in Queensway Shopping Centre. But what kind of stores have these become, or not become? The said RSH store is now, for a good part, a sale outlet, so is Intersports. Sure, there is a market for a general sporting goods shop with a section assigned with stocks that need to be disposed quickly and cheaply, but could there not be, at the same time, by the same retailers, an alternative space that is merchandised with something more desirable, more synonymous with lifestyle kicks?

WOS P1World of Sports, buzz-lite, at Paragon

To be fair, RSH did try. In May 2016, they opened The Social Foot, a boutique space (now numbering two) conceived to give the impression of an indie retailer such as the 15-year-old Leftfoot and the 12-year-old Limited Edt (perhaps currently too big for the ‘indie’ tag, given that under parent company Sports Fashion, there are nine stores island-wide). But The Social Foot is nothing like its predecessors. While it carries some limited editions, it is, to me, not trend-focused and not exactly screaming niche appeal. It won’t be a sneakerhead haven since a large number of the merchandise is regular and are regularly found in the regular RSHs.

Some people do not consider Royal Sporting House local any more since it is now partly owned by the Al-Futtaim Group, the Dubai-based, multi-business conglomerate that is also the proprietor of Robinsons Department Store. Still, RSH is very much a part of our retail history even when it was first established in Jakarta in 1935. It has been commended for finally making a foray into the specialty store business with The Social Foot, but it has, as some footwear buyers noted, “not done enough to prep for the arrival of the big boys”. Ironically, Limited Edt has gone into RSH’s original business model, by opening, in May 2016, a more general sneaker store, Underground—a misnomer given that this is where one finds less coveted shoes or those that won’t garner a queue. It is not a store that could be kin to London’s much-followed Foot Patrol, a name of a former sneaker secret address that JD Sports bought in 2008.

The specialty store—usually smaller and has more in common, in fact, with Foot Patrol than JD Sports—became more important and influential when in December 2016, it was announced that Nike would no longer supply to “small” retailers—i.e., according to analysts, mom-and-pop businesses with indiscriminate merchandise mix and nothing-to-be-desired visual merchandising, such as those once seen in fairly large numbers in Peninsula Shopping Centre on Coleman Street—from January 2017. The news was a blow to the those players who had been operating unchanged for decades (and also those, I suspect, without a smart-looking space), and sneaker haunts such as Peninsula Shopping Centre (including its neighbour Peninsula Plaza) and Queensway Shopping Centre, already affected by customers shopping online, suffered under the weight of Nike’s unexpected decision.

What happened to sneaker haunt Queensway Shopping Centre? 

Queensway SC

Queensway Shopping Centre, opened in 1976, was once the place to go for your sneakers. It was not only where sneakerheads go, it was a place the entire family went. The main draw? The sheer variety since there were more than a dozen stores on the first floor alone. But I suspect most people went because of the price. It was only here at Queensway that you would be offered a discount of up to 30 percent on most merchandise (and 40 percent for older shoes). The lower price was also touted on guide books published in Japan and China, and was a major lure for tourists from these countries.

Last Saturday, I visited Queensway for the first time after three years. Upon entering the building from the side of Queensway and Alexandra Road intersection, I did not see people throng the place; only the smell of laksa pervaded. But what truly took me by surprise was the fewer number of sneaker shops. Many of those that remained have been refurbished to look a little smarter and less cluttered, but the merchandise selection did not match up. There were no in-demand shoes to be had other than those at Limited Edt and the Nike React Element 55 found in their sister store, Underground.

Queensway Shopping Centre used to be able to keep me interested in it shops for hours. This time, in less than 30 minutes, I was set to leave. There seems to be more optical stores than usual, with quite a few offering quick service such as that of Ownsday. People were more attracted to specialist stores that sell badminton and tennis racquets and offer attendant services than what the other sporting equipment stores were selling. The only shop that caught my attention was Bonkers Link (on the second floor), which sells outdoor brands such as Gregory, Mystery Ranch, Mammut, and the odd Helly Hansen. Queensway, amid changing sneaker retail landscape and the very real threat of e-shop competition, has lost its winning streak.

The Social Foot P1Royal Sporting House’s sub-brand The Social Foot at Suntec City

As “small” retailer is not clearly defined, I am not sure who Nike is truly targeting when it limited its distribution, or why. As I walked around the major malls and sneaker haunts to try to understand the situation, it looked to me that once-popular “small” but indie-looking retailers too are visibly lacking in their Nike offerings, such as Dot Lifestyle Concept Store, part of the property developer Link (THM) Group, as well as Star 360, of the Star 360 Group, owner of the orthopedic footwear brand MBT. Do they share the same fate as those of mom-and-pop shops? Or is this a sort of consolidating on Nike’s part as they open more of their own mono-brand stores? Or, perhaps, in my own conspiracy-theorist state of mind, Nike assisting “big” retailers in minimising competition and product saturation? If JD Sports intends to “conquer the world”, as the chain told the British press recently, it makes sense for Nike to streamline its distribution to support the conquerors of the trade.

One thing’s apparent, as the small players cater less to those who care about the newest drops, stores such as JD Sports can dominate. But, as I noticed, some indie-leaning retailers or specialist stores are reacting. One of JD Sport’s closest neighbours at ION Orchard, Seek (an SG enterprise established in 2015, and in less than three years expanded to Indonesia and Thailand), upped the ante by stocking desirable shoes in not-oft seen colours, such as those of their selection of Nike Air Max 270, well ahead of the UK store’s much-anticipated opening. Competition, as they often say, is good for consumers.

Uncommon styles and unique colours are doubtlessly important in sneaker retail and the new players are well equipped to stock “Only At” options in their respective stores. At the JD Sports opening last month, the over-attendance of influencers was met with reminders that the company has set aside part of their European stocks—“Western European exclusives”—for their SG stores and as such, local sneakerheads need not wait till they are overseas to cop what they desire. A staff at Foot Locker said something similar when I was there: “We are part of Foot Locker Europe, so we carry styles that only we get.” If all the new entrants are tapping from their European wholesale distributors, they may be ignoring those who like American and Japanese exclusives. Should we urge Kith in the US and Atmos in Japan to watch developments here?


Apart from product exclusives, something else makes shopping at the three new stores more appealing: service—affable, high-spirited service. At AW Lab in Suntec City, a staffer was effusive when it came to the qualities of Nike Air Max 270, telling me it’s “one of the most comfortable shoes in the store”, and explained the importance of a good fit after I asked to try a pair that was a mere half-size too large for me. When I subsequently said I’d think about it, he said cheerfully, “Sure, no problem. Come back any time.” While succumbing to the hunkiness of Puma’s Desert Thunder at JD Sports in ION Orchard, a sales guy urged me to try the both the available colours, but when he could not find either in my size, he asked me to leave my contact number so that I can be notified if stocks are replenished. Over at Foot Locker in Century Square, one sales chap in Yeezy 500 approached me to see if there was anything I needed. When I pointed to his shoes, he said with a knowing smile that they were not available in the store and suggested I try an online re-seller. His colleague, a boyish lass, who later revealed that she recently bought a Balenciaga Triple S, quickly recommended the Nike M2K Tekno because she thought the “latest dad shoe will look cool” on me.

Such friendly service, whether spontaneous or the result of effective training, makes one’s will weak and wallet ready. Conversely, at Limited Edt Vault and the sibling Chamber in MBS, where I am guilty of gravitating towards, the service is always not forthcoming, and is, at best, indifferent. A friend once said to me that those who visit Limited Edt “know their stuff” and what they want, and the store’s sales people see no need to go beyond getting customers’ desired size. I have never spoken to the staff about their attitude, but based on the consistent lack of salesmanship, it is not unreasonable to assume that that could be the case.

With multi-label stores Dot almost relieved of a major brand—Nike—and Sportslink closing outlets—the latest, the branch in Tampines One “moving out” possibly in defeat, since AW Lab has opened across the mall, one floor down—it appears that foreign retailers are poised to tempt many of us to part with substantial money by creating senses-awakening spaces in which equally arousing merchandise take their spot. My journey through trending sneakers’ happy hunting grounds did not include the French store Decathlon, Hong Kong mega-retailer Peddar on Scott’s sneaker section, and Robinsons at Heeren’s strong sports department. Within a week, I visited the three stores below and sensed what many sneakers fans have already experience: the kick among the kicks.

AW Lab

AW Lab P1.jpg

AW Lab’s genesis is rather complex because it appears to me to be of rather mixed parentage. The store is part of the Bata Group (yes, that flagship store in Peninsula Plaza). Bata itself was born in Czechoslovakia and is now headquartered in Switzerland. AW Lab operates out of Italy as part of Compar S.p.A—a company that offers franchising opportunities for the Bata brand. Still following?

AW Lab debuted in Asia in Suntec City in November last year. And a second store in Tampines One has since opened. To me, it’s the cheeriest of the three foreign brands, with its marketing tagline Play With Style emblazoned in fluorescent clarity across one wall rather on point. My first encounter with AW Lab was three years ago, on Via Torino in Milan, where the store is just a hop from Duomo di Milano. I was hoping to cop a pair of Diadora, but was so overwhelmed by the selection of Nikes that I succumbed to the latter. At the Suntec City opening, I was feeling a little nostalgic.

Being the smallest store(s) among the three, AW Lab is less able to give a sense of constant newness (yes, pre-requisite in this business even when you are barely a year old) since there is a cap to what can be done in the limited space. Still, they are able to downplay that drawback by giving prominence to trending sneakers such as the Adidas Falcon. Its product highlights are often IG-ready, crucial to the ready-to-shoot shoppers.

Foot Locker

Foot Locker P1

The newest entrant, Foot Locker, is from the US, but according to a staffer at their first store on our shores (sited at Century Square), this is part of Foot Locker Europe’s expansion to (SE) Asia. Much of the exclusive merchandise are, therefore, sourced from their Euro-distributors. Foot Locker is so prominent in Europe that sometimes. it’s on the same street as AW Lab. The Foot Locker I remember from my visits to New York and San Francisco many years back was a chain store that was more neigbourhood shop than sneakerhead headquarters. To be sure, the store’s flagship in New York’s Herald Square is massive: close to 10,000 square feet of what may be considered sneaker porn.

So I was delighted when I visited Foot Locker three days after they opened here to see a handsome store that is the least congested among the newcomers. So well spaced it is that shopping here is truly a comfortable affair, even on usually crowded weekends, even when there are baby strollers around. Just as appealing (and thoughtful) is the adequate bench seating and the generous room around it that makes the trying on of shoes (or the taking of a shoe-fie) painless.

There’s even a wall full of Nikes, not surprising considering that in the US, it is reported that the Swoosh constitutes “70 percent of their total products”, no doubt a delight to fans of the Air Max or Air Force One. But Foot Locker is careful to balance their selection of footwear, adding to the popular Nikes those trending styles from the likes of Puma (RS-O DX Sega!), Fila (Disruptor II!), and, of course, Adidas (Yung 96!), including an impressive selection for women.

JD Sports

JD Sports P1

Born in England, JD Sports in Singapore is, in fact, the first overseas gamble of the UK/Malaysia joint venture JD Sports Fashion Sdn Bhd. There are already close to ten stores in Malaysia after the first opened in Subang Jaya’s Sunway Pyramid in 2016.  We are only now seeing our second after the first opened in Jurong Point in May. Better late than never, I’d say, in accordance to the sentiment of sneakerheads who must always get what they desire.

JD Sports, confidently (some say cockily) calls themself “undisputed” and the “King of Sneakers”, both powerful claims that have placed them in good stead. Now that they have bought the American chain Finish Line, JD Sports is set on world domination. But not so long ago, the store that is now touted as UK’s number one sports retailer was not as eye-catching as it is today. When I visited London way before Brexit, JD Sports didn’t look significantly different from their rival Sports Direct—both sort of warehouse-style businesses that reminded me of now-defunct The Sports Authority (except in Japan where it still exists and is known as Sports Authority).

Now that they’re the King, they have shed their earlier, somewhat grassroots-turned-chav image for something that befits a global retailer. At their massive, tourist magnet of a store on London’s Oxford Street, JD Sports is mega and bright. On the first floor where all the sneakers that matter beckon, it’s such a well-stocked and dazzling expanse that The Strip in Las Vegas would be proud to have them, but up on the second level, it reminded me of the JD Sports of yore: messy and bewildering.

In fact, the Singapore flagship in ION Orchard is a coruscating example of retail design that heightens the shopping experience. It draws you from across the atrium and from the upper floors. Inside, it is packed with merchandise, but not in an overwhelming way. This is a veritable candy store for sneaker fans. And all the unmissable shoes that your friends told you they saw here—startling number of Air Maxes, for example—play a welcome role right in front. Based on the number of people I’ve seen in ION Orchard with the striking yellow plastic bag, JD Sport is, at least for now, a must-stop.

Photos: Galerie Gombak

Add The Subtitles, Subtract the Subtleties

It maybe cinematic, but is it poetic? And what happened to show, not tell?


Dior ad AW 2018 P1

This is trite. Plainly, simply, painfully trite. This isn’t some IG post with inane comments by a KOL who can’t conceal her daftness; this is a Dior autumn/winter 2018 ad with needless, vapid, whatever-for captions. As you see, the above photograph communicates a hyperbolic message: “Women who don’t cry should be outlawed.” What’s with the Billy the Kid language? Sure, we know designer Maria Grazia Chiuri is predisposed to proclamations, not susceptible to subtleties, and the face of feminism in fashion (“we should all be feminist”), but can this ad escape overkill, if not oversell?

We have deliberately chosen this photo without the Dior logo because we know that you may think it is a Gucci ad, and we don’t blame you. That look, those glasses, the Seventies vibe: they have been done before. Gucci fans know it, and we’re sure you do too, Dior. Let’s not go the imitation-as-flattery route. Let’s not track the bring-a-breath-of-fresh-air-to-the-crusty-hallowed-halls-of-the-couture-house (as one follower of SOTD sarcastically offered) path. Let’s not.

Dior ad AW 2018 P2

This season’s campaign is said to be inspired by the French New Wave cinema of the ’60s, which could mean that it’s conceived for the Netflix generation or fans of Girlboss. IG-style photos with pointless text is, perhaps, to encourage perfunctory approval from those whose idea of communicative flair is influenced by social-media. Cinema as source of inspiration for advertising campaigns is nothing new, but the absence of a true vision in these Dior images is dismal and a huge let down, especially when their ad campaigns were once shot to thrill by Nick Knight.

The thing is, Dior has, to some of us, lost its leadership role as it aims for commercial blah instead of creative high. Throw in the in-your-face social messages and the evangelical effect is one of distaste. There is nothing wrong with raising awareness or kindle empowerment, but mixing the messages with the selling of clothes by a bunch of models who look like they don’t really care is unauthentic and disingenuous.

Gucci ad AW 2016 P1Gucci autumn/winter 2016 shot by Glen Luchford in Tokyo. Photo: Gucci

Perhaps what’s truly annoying is that the captioning idea, too, has appeared in Gucci ads, specifically for the autumn/winter 2016 season. Lensed by Glen Luchford, the images were shot in Tokyo and came with captions to give them an aural setting. It’s a neat trick as the photos of the bustling city were able to delight the eyes, but not captivate the ears. Moreover, Alessandro Michele has on more than one occasion approached the art direction cinematically. To help the viewer gain more depth into his brand of visual communication descriptively is totally understandable.

Perhaps this is Dior’s cinéma vérité, with its own natural action, its own real dialogue. But, as we often hear people say, “It’s only a movie”, maybe we should just tell ourselves, it’s only a fashion ad.

Photos: Dior

The Trouble One Has To Go Through

Three years after the first Adidas Yeezy was launched, many are still desperate to cop a pair, but more amazingly, people are willing to go to honestly ridiculous lengths imposed by retailers to secure the shoe


Yeezy 700 ballot notice

By Shu Xie

I have never queued for anything—not even food—except once at the A&E to see a doctor when my father was seriously ill. I don’t even queue for a movie ticket now that we can comfortably buy one online. Queueing, however, is what many people are willing to do even for non-essentials such as a pair of sneakers. Okay, I get it, that’s part of the appeal and, indeed, culture of streetwear. But have things reached such an absurd state that we need to queue for an opportunity to get in line?

At the launch of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 700—a shoe of indeterminate attractiveness—this weekend, those interested will need to queue for “a chance to purchase”, as stated by the apparent sole seller, Limited Edt (LE) Vault at 313@Orchard. This chance involves getting in line to place an e-ballot at an interactive screen set in the premise of the store during specified times. What happened to the Adidas Confirmed app?

Surprising to me, and frankly, restrictive, is that in order to even get in line, one has to appear—“MUST”, as spelled out by LE Vault, and, yes, in full caps—at the site in “Adidas (Originals or performance is fine) footwear ONLY” before one is allowed to participate in the ballot! If the church no longer dictates what the congregation wears to mass these days, why is a business owner setting a footwear dress code for shoppers at its store?

It is possible, of course, that LE Vault has a cozy relationship with Adidas and it wants only Adidas fans to cop the Yeezy. Or, it’s attempting to strengthen the marketing muscle of Adidas in order get into the shoe maker’s good books. Either way, such a restriction is shortsighted as it arbitrary omits non-Adidas wearers as potential customers.

As if insisting that yet-to-buy customers walking in wear a specified shoe brand isn’t enough, registrants for the e-ballot are required to “provide non hotmail (sic), outlook or live email address”! Okay, this is not quite comprehensible and too much to digest. I quickly walked away, my non-performance Adilette following sheepishly along.

Photos: Zhao Xiangji

The Anger Club

Between being fashion icons and excelling in the job they do, some stars are prone to fits of anger that are neither stylish nor professional. Two of them made news within days last week, proving, again, ours today is a culture of rage, as much as outrage


Cardi B & Serena WilliamsPhotos: (left) FilmMagic, (right) USA Today

From the front row, by the side of the hottest Asian leading man to charging at Nicki Minaj, Cardi B wasted no time in becoming New York Fashion Week’s star to dodge. From new motherhood to on-court melt-down, Serena Williams spared no effort in making sure everyone knew who was not to be messed with. Both women giving vent to intense anger—the former with a shoe and the latter with a racquet—in full view of onlookers and spectators show that rage in the presence of a crowd is no longer considered shameful. Perhaps more disappointing, for some of us, is that we do not expect such unbridled violation of public decency from stars that are not only at the top of their game, but are also faces of fashion.

As we have said before, how well one dresses is no indication of how well one will react or hold back in the presence of a perceived attack. Even if one is in a swanky place such as The Plaza Hotel or a renowned sports venue such as the Arthur Ashe Stadium, one is not reflecting one’s propensity to staying calm when confronted with what is thought to be an affront to one’s motherhood, femininity, gender, or race. Anger hides under the most expensive threads and lurks in the swankiest grounds, waiting to burst like a ripped seam.

Fashion is a form of self-expression, but expressing oneself through clothes is no longer enough. Clothes are too silent however loud they may be. Moreover, dress is no longer part of decorum, just as control is less and less part of public persona. Cardi B is considered one of the best dressed hip-hop stars, with The Telegraph touting her as “a fashion icon of our times”, yet she saw fit to lurch at Nicki Minaj at a fashion event where bad temper is usually held in check so as not to ruin hours of getting dressed. Serena Williams not only appeared on the cover of American Vogue (twice!) and in the music video of Beyoncé, she has her own fashion line, prompting The Guardian to call her their “kind of fashion icon”, yet she didn’t think twice before screaming and pointing an accusing figure at an umpire on duty. Different icons, same sort of temper.

Bruce Lee once said, “A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” But these days a fool does not emerge from rage. Instead, a hero/heroine does. Fans of Cardi B would not say she over did it, with model Tess Holliday saying, “I can’t blame Cardi tho” and others encouraging her to stand up for herself. Serena William’s US Open flare-up had Billie Jean King tweeting a suggestion that the former was merely being “enotional”. After the game, Serena Williams claimed that she was, in fact, “fighting for women’s rights and women’s equality and for all kinds of stuff”. When the day was done, the outburst was overshadowed by issues of skin colour and the sex of the angered. Indecorous, bathetic behaviour was upstaged by charges of unfair treatment and persistent racism and sexism. Who remembers the rage anymore?

While Serena Williams’s catsuit and tutu have brought fashion to the tennis court, and forced fans of the game, as well as officials of tennis associations to rethink what is acceptable in competition, her outburst has not encouraged many to consider what behaviour is up to mark in sports that value fair play as much as attitude that is considered sporting. It is not wrong of Serena Williams to raise those issues that she has raised, but could she have not done so in calmer, more measured ways, after the game? In the US, where discussions on race is divisive, anger shines a spotlight on the issues at hand and those outside the stadium. The thing is, if you can be disrespectful to umpires in the court of sports, can you, too, be disrespectful to judges in the court of law? Anger, as it goes, may win after all. Welcome to the club!