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Rihanna MET Gala 2015 dress: real fashion faux-pas?

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Rihanna MET Gala 2015 dress generated a pretty high controversy. Was it an omelette? A fashion faux-pas?

Lilzeon and VQ agree to disagree.

Lilzeon: PRO. “The proof of a new luxury made in China”

We need to stop making fun of this dress; the event is huge: MET Gala is probably one of the most influential milestone in the business of fashion. It dictates what will be trendy or not. What journalists will write about or not. Which designers will be hot or not….

Guo Pei, a story of creating a fashion culture in China

50 000 hours. That’s the amount of time that embroiderers, designers spent in assembling this dress. Yellow matching with the red carpet was a great way of highlighting one of the magic symbols of Chinese culture: fortune, luck, happiness.

And to be legit’, Guo Pei has developed for 15 years a know-how among her teams: Haute Couture did not rise in China until very recently, destroyed by an anti-consumerist policy. She made it happen through hard work and dedication. This dress is not JUST a dress: it’s a fashion manifesto.

Guo Pei has also just released her collaboration with MAC Cosmetics. Colours and tones very similar to the dress, that are going to be a massive hit in the coming months. That’s a gigantic coup.

mac cosmetics guo pei


VQ: AGAINST. “Confucius-Confusing things”

Beyond the wordplay, I think we mix problems. Is the dress beautiful? It’s a matter of taste. Is China really sublimed? Good question.

A new continent of luxury buyers

If you read BoF or that you write a Phd on “luxury + China”, you already know that the country is key for growth. You can read a nice piece about the “bling dynasty”. Luxury is a nice source of opportunities from West to East, but the other way round is not really true.

Dragon sans Tigre. Cliché racial numéro 1.
Dragon without Tiger. Racial Cliché  1.

A big misunderstanding with creative culture

At the moment, even if some Chinese designers are state-of-the-art and gifted, they cannot really challenge current brands and Western talents. First because Western brands will never accept to leave market shares as long as Chinese brands will expand thanks to their own fundings and assets, without joining LVMH or Kering. And then, “let’s be honest”, Western consumers still think that Chinese creativity is not attractive. Neither do they understand the Chinese culture. The proof: just have a look at Bieber’s ridiculous outfits.

Apparently for Hollywood beautiful people, China only means #Dragon or #Mulan. And very surprisingly this time, not any commentator mentioned a cultural-appropriation scandal. It’s ok to say so when Pharrell Williams wears a Native American item, or when WASPs try to do some hip hop. But we don’t hear much when it comes to Asian people. We will only believe in the Chinese creative influence when Kim Kardashian decides to have even more slanting eyes.

Coiffe fantaisie chinoise. Cliché racial numéro 2.
Hairstyle with Chinese …inspirations.  Racial Cliché 2.



What’s the value of Paris in fashion?

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We had a pretty interesting debate this week. As Lilzeon was chasing some opinions about a British denim brand, we had a feedback from one of our friends (who happens to work in luxury) saying that this brand is like Province vs Paris.

It was obviously intended to tackle the obsolete image of this British brand with a sarcastic shortcut. To explain that basically, this brand is no longer “desirable”.

The thing is that opposing Paris and “countryside” is a bit random. Lyon, Marseille now have a pretty strong “touch”, overpassing Paris on some fields. Think about Simon Jacquemus for instance.

But still, what is at stake is this notion of desire. Of fantasy that Paris is supposedly owning worldwide. This “desiring” is more and more challenged; recently, this approach was challenged by a Parisian who’s highly followed at the moment, Caroline de Maigret, mentioning that being Parisian is to look always “fuckable. You already know what we think about it: we hate it.

Fashion is an ever-going competition. So let’s consider Paris as if we were football journalists.

For the defenders: Paris is highly photo-likeable. You just have to check Instagram hashtag to get it. You see people proud of living there, of being part of it. En être as we say in French. Paris, it’s only 2 million inhabitants vs 8 million in London. A concentration of hype, trendsetters, trend discoverers. And Paris launched many new brands: Pigalle, Kitsuné, Brooklyn “Parle Français”. REPRESENT. Thanks to the suburbs maybe? Lacoste had to digest for 10 years its new roots before organizing parties in a streetculture hub, Citadium, close to Les Grands Boulevards.

For the midfield players, Paris identity is shaking. Were we born Parisian? Or do we become Parisian. Then, are we so welcome in Paris? Not really. The city of lights is not famous for service nor bartenders. Not to mention underground passengers, sometimes perceived as crazy dogs full of whims. And when you see Châtelet Les Halles! Parisian hate the multicoloured youth, coming straight from suburbs. While all TV producers are arranging their casting and scouting there. Châtelet les Halles is the real centre of Paris. On its right, Le Marais, known for its gay-friendly places which also starts the Bobo-land. On its left, an emptiness from Concorde or Place Vendôme to Champs Elysées, hated by the “real” Parisian. And we won’t talk about North or South: for Parisian, the world is not up and down.

For the strikers – so to conquer the world – it’s a mess. To score would require that we know who we are. In an astonishing study led by Jean-Gilles Cahn, an economist for CCI Paris, the conclusions are very clear: Paris does not know how to handle its multiple facets:

“Today, Paris as a name does not constitute a brand (…) because it lacks a strategic management dimension”


Even worse: we’ve discovered that more than “10 000 brands or websites have “Paris” in their names or directly evoke Paris (monuments, neighbourhoods,famous streets…)”. A real dissolution of Paris essence in a bunch of vague brands.

pierre cardin

It’s strange, this so Parisian trend to be both very proud of being part of Paris and to be frustrated about it.

It would be time to reimagine Paris as a cultural hub for a worldwide youth.

maison margiela margielamonday

John Galliano, maybe back on track but not freed from fashion zoo

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Remember when Suzy Menkes was lecturing us on the fact that fashion bloggers were strange animals in a strange fashion circus? And that we were bringing it down?


Because you really had to see the 100 ultra-VIPs, who were invited to see John Galliano’s come back in London for (or through shall we say!?) Maison Martin Margiela. Most of them were obviously already present when John Galliano was found guilty of anti-Semitic Paris rants few years ago. Once fired by Dior, they did not hesitate to shoot again on this “anti-Semetic drunk”.

That was the spirit of the fashion entre soi, up until  Anna Wintour decided that she had so much power that she could revert any fashion journalist mind in a minute. We’re not talking champagne thus, but really influence. And fear. Thanks to her, John Galliano was then re-accepted among a selected bunch of fashionistas. And in a certain way, imposed in the media timeline. House of Cards is not very far…Aye aye! The fact is that the circus might have accepted this come-back…but that the lion is still pacing up like a lion in a cage.

Forgiving does not mean breaking creative knees

We were personally expecting a lot from John Galliano: because he made us dream a lot with his theatrical shows; in 2000s, Galliano had already understood that fashion is not about catwalk but about entertainment. And that fashion has a very important role to play at the society level. Something highly important as he was playing his game during super models’ era.

Galliano the iconoclast did not hesitate to compare a dress made of newsprint with beggars, in an ultra cheeky way ”Some of these people are like impresarios, their coats worn over their shoulders and their hats worn at a certain angle. It’s fantastic” and to mock Parisian bourgeois of the 20s and 30s who were trying to dress like them. Hipster-bashing was born with the kid of Gibraltar.


galliano newspaper dress

So what remains from this irreverence which made him flirt with the worst? Let’s face it: we’re not convinced. The proof is that every single article or report about this collection talk about…the business context in which Maison Martin Margiela (renamed Maison Margiela between! RIP Martin!) instead of analyzing the pieces. The collection is neither Galliano, neither Margiela. It’s a conservative balance. Do we need that in fashion at the moment? After a super-flat LC:M, we wonder.

We need to mention – again – this good old Kanye West. Maison Margiela did an amazing collaboration with the “5th Element” of the new fashion loop of influence for his Tour:

Whereas it’s no longer just a trend to repeat that since 2011, fashion appears in the street, then street feeds fashion design, it’s like if the Fashion Circus Establishment still prefers to focus on fallen faces of another century than highlighting current outsiders. Or maybe they just don’t get them.

Print press is at the very core of this fashion embargo: pop culture is no longer just a gimmick but the essence of fashion and design.


how to be parisian wherever you are

To Be Parisian is to be “Fuckable”, really???

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You’ve probably read some interviews of Caroline de Maigret this week, who’s promoting her new book “How to be a Parisian”. It’s already a best-seller, apparently surfing on this French “je ne sais quoi” that seems to attract American women. According to CdM, to be Parisian involves to look always “fuckable“.   In, the argument is highly explicit:

“always be fuckable. When standing in line at the bakery on Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night or even picking the kids up from school. You never know”


One month today and still a Best Seller in the US thanks to all of you! Thank you all for your amazing support and kind words. Much love from the 4 of us! ❤️❤️❤️@howtobeparisian

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We could start by condemning the women’s objectification: we’re not really sure that judging a woman’s style through her capability to get a d*** (to keep the same semantics) is, indeed, relevant. And we’re surprized that not many journalists or bloggers reacted before on that matter. But we do thank Amazon customers’ reviews who did this job.

We could also be very angry against why haven’t they called other Parisian women to balance this quote and get a better sense of what a Parisian woman might be (if ever there’s ONE Parisian woman who could summarize the diversity of the French capital…)? We could also ask them if they’re not fed up with a book which takes Joséphine Baker, Marie-Antoinette or Romy Schneider as examples of foreigners who suddenly became supposed-Parisian myths (hum hum)…but no mention of modern icons of femininity or inspiring women. Except if CdM wants to keep all for her and considers herself as the heir of la Parisienne. We could also ask them if they’re not bored to always take the same clichés: do you seriously think that all Parisian listen to jazz at St Germain, drink a glass of Pinot Noir, are free but in love. And on and on…

It’s an intellectual snacking; as a lot of fashion advertising films are at the moment: we can’t recall how many times we’ve seen the same two bridges in Paris displaying the exact same sort of Parisienne without any spark of genius. In this book, no mention about hip hop or street culture: is South Pigalle (SoPi) really where Parisian trends do emerge?

We could be provocative and ambiguous like Karl Lagerfeld faux feminism can be when it comes to women, suddenly declaring that CdM is right in promoting this unique asset of women: her beauty and her charms. But it would be very mediocre, and another attempt to attract publicity by trolling.

Let’s really ask THE question: to be fuckable means to be fucked by someone, right? And this “fuckability” can’t rely on which cream or powder a woman picks, as the book tries to suggest.

The American woman could teach many lessons to this “fuckable Parisian”: when it comes to fusing sex, social status and life choices, we tend to respect more Mindy Kaling or Beyoncé than another style guru. This Parisianism has very strong problems when it comes to creativity; shall we repeat that the last fashion week was mostly saved by…American designers? This non-existing Parisian face no longer interests a lot of consumers…except the publisher of Nutella recipes (yes, for real). We told you it was all about snacking.

On the other hand, Alicia Florrick, the Games of Thrones women, Amy Dune (Rosamund Pike): they all represent a new femininity which inspire us.

Are we angry against CdM? Not at all; her book is like a chocolate bar, you know you indulge yourself with too much calories in too many layers. Style snacking is a business that works, and when it does work, it deserves some interest. But we dream about new feminine books to represent a better idea of Paris beyond the Seine river.


How to Learn French with Camille Rowe: the reason why fashion should still love France

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Camille Rowe Pourcheresse was our hit-IT-heat-HIP girl in 2012 when our “friends” from fashion magazines were describing her body as “untypical” …Fashion history proved we were right as we now see everywhere a celebration of the diversity of women bodies. Anorexic shooting are now the realy “untypical”.

France as a brand is trying hard to redefine itself. We don’t have the American Dream, our myths and stories are moral, political. Not made for business per se.

Our know-how, our French Touch might be recognized worldwide, but who can really support this vision today? Most of the time, France is associated to a sort of Lost Paradise: Coco Chanel, Marie-Antoinette, Brigitte Bardot, even Carine Roitfeld…aren’t they from the past? Can they really root France in a contemporaneity?

That’s probably what Camille Rowe achieved in her French lesson: playing with clichés about the Frenchie (yes, in London, most of the guys think that our ladies are bipolar!), and suggesting a new interpretation…

A reconciliation of a sweet arrogance with an ultra-feminine power. A woman one might only desire, therefore respect.

As we like to be right, we believe far more in the Made in French instead of focusing on Made in France. France is a spirit before being a body. Camille Rowe proves once again that our French singularity is in this mix between a very physical attractiveness which empowers a captivating personality.

We love this sparkling Parisian woman: she’s evasive and so free. The best way to communicate about a French brand these days is not to tag it or qualify through the fact the brand is actually French. We need to leave the brand express its creativity. The most intriguing, disturbing, bizarre designers are the real French. A French brand should try to love complicated attitudes; French brands should maybe dive in absurdity. French brands should trouble its customers. That’s probably the only difference now of what French brands can bring on the table against every pop brand machine with a too clever, too simple speech. A French brand should be desired, should be tough to get.

Oh and Made in French don’t care about borders and territories: Camille is an American icon and / or French. Do we care?

Vive la République



Shopping Trends for Spring with Jules B: Go All Yoncé

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We can’t say we have not been swept away by Queen Bey’s latest releases. From Drunk in Love through Yoncé to the Partition video, we have been in awe of the feminine statement she puts out there. And it inspired us this quite strong hip hop inspired look shopped at Jules B, a cool store carrying some of the most trendy contemporary brands. Bear with us and get sophisticatedly nasty.

Start with this rare pick and the best deal we’ve seen so far this week. A Carven jacquard dress, with a slight animalistic trait (leopard inspired). The oversize bow hanging above cleavage is the killer detail.


Make it city-wise, tame the beast with a very sharp sports jacket by Helmut Lang. When Kanye styles up Kim, she looks better, now trust us. We’re Kimyeing you up if you feel up to it. This jacket is safe but singular: gloss is the new bling.


Touch it up with your street cred insurance: an Alexander Wang white IT-Bag. Pebbles on the bottom, start there and now you’re here (says Drake).


Now the shoes and the street is yours. But hear this. Our wags love when we shop for them, but we have failed with shoe choices on a couple occasions lately so this is it. We’re a bit shy on it for a while. But you can shop great styles like this one. To go Yoncé or not. Love yo!

Post written in collaboration with Jules B.

repertoire fashion

Shopping trends for Spring with REPERTOIRE: undergrounge and Steve McQueen

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So the fashion weeks are about to be over. As it’s always good to envision what’s going to happen at the end of the year, it’s even better to be able to shop what is now available.

Here’s a shopping bag we’ve conceived with Repertoire, a cool independent retailer who opened its first stores over 15 years ago in Southern England.

Barbour is on track with few pieces, that are tributes to Steve McQueen; he entered The Greenhorn Enduro, a rigorous 500-mile motorcycle race across California’s challenging mountains and blisteringly hot Mojave desert, in 1963. The new new man (read GQ brilliant debate) is in need of icons; deeper characters seem to be the new hype. And we’re happy with that

Patrizia Pepe is a an Italian brand founded in 1993. You don’t necessarily find it easily in the UK whereas the positioning and materials are great. With their new “Undergrounge” project, we bet that you’re  going to pay attention to this chic brand.

We like this scarf that you can find on Repertoire. A great accessory which will add a tremendous effect to your favorite knitwear.

Post written in collaboration with Repertoire.

miu miu women's club

Eye Surgery Versus Contact Lenses – What Is The Best Long-Term Option?

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Anyone fed up with wearing glasses day-in, day-out, or changing their contacts on a daily basis has probably considered eye surgery. Laser eye surgery isn’t suitable for everyone though, and the only other option is continuous-wear contacts, which can be worn for up to 30 days.

With both eye surgery and contact lenses offering good vision without the hassle, which is the best long term option?

Quality of vision

It has been proven that eye surgery and extended use contacts offer good or excellent vision for the right person. However, with your own vision changing over time, it’s worth considering which is best in the long run.

Laser eye surgery has advanced in recent years, with most patients benefitting from 20/20 vision. There will be a handful of people that find they have to wear reading glasses occasionally in the future, but this is often an unavoidable aspect of old-age.

As contact lenses are only worn for 30 days, it’s very easy to change the prescription in the event of your vision changing. However, it’s likely that you will still have to wear glasses to read.


Contact lenses and eye surgery are both very safe for most people, but there are some risks to consider with both. First up, laser eye surgery can cause dry eyes or glare, but continuous wear contact lenses carry a risk of eye infection.

A few years ago, one of the world’s top eye doctors claimed that contact lenses were more likely to lead to a loss of vision over time than laser eye surgery.


The cost of laser eye surgery does vary depending on the clinic, the type of procedure and so on, but in general, you can expect to pay between £1,000 and £1,800 per eye.

Although it may initially seem costly, when compared to the long-term cost of continuous wear contact lenses, it more affordable. One set of 30-day contacts is around £40 so £480 a year or £4,800 over a decade.

When choosing between the two, you’ll have to ask yourself a number of questions, such as whether you need the flexibility of surgery, which carries the highest risk for you and whether you are willing to pay more in the long run, rather than a larger fee upfront. Don’t forget there are often payment plans available to make laser eye surgery more affordable.

Before making any sudden decisions, it is important that you find out more about laser eye surgery and continuous contact lenses. There are pros and cons to both, so it’s worth discussing your needs with a specialist.


coeur preppy 2

Peter Jeun Ho Tsang (coeur): “be experimental with your style “

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We met Peter Jeun Ho Tsang during a pop up event in Shoreditch. His deep understanding and curiosity for all things fashion and ethos is very pleasant. We had a chance to catch up to ask him few questions about his fascinating brand (and not only because it’s a French name), coeur.

Hi Peter! You mention that the coeur signature silk is woven at one of England’s finest and oldest fabric mills dating back to the 18th century. How did you spot this factory?

This was the starting point for coeur and how the entire brand developed. It was through a design collaborative project that I was undertaking with a fellow menswear designer that I found this factory in Sudbury, Suffolk which has been around since the 18th century. I instantly fell in love with the craft of silk weaving and it’s just developed from there. We are actually launching a film early next year showcasing the factory and coeur products being hand made in England.

coeur preppy

A lot of rising stars (I think about Oliver Proudlock from Made in Chelsea) wears your pieces: what’s the story you tell them?

I always tell them the ethos of brand. We are currently seeing the menswear grow, as well becoming a lot more diverse. coeur is the lifestyle brand for the modern dandy – the reemergence of the gentleman that really cares about the way he dresses and takes care of himself. This always resonates with the celebrities that wear my clothing … as my designs somewhat show off their flair and flamboyant side. One of the pieces that Olympic Gymnast Louis Smith wore actually featured in a press piece entitled ‘The Power Blazer’ which I thought was really befitting for the coeur style and philosophy.

There’s a pink desert in your last lookbook scenery: where was it shot?

That was shot out in Dubai, that was then dusted with magic to turn the sand pink. Shot by a great photography studio – the results show off coeur’s colorful side.

Menswear is becoming more and more sophisticated; what would you recommend to a man who wants to discover fashion? What should be the very first step?

I would say be experimental with your style and not to be afraid of colour or mixing different textures and garment styles together. For me, it’s about the tiny details and the way a gentleman puts those finishing touches to his outfit such as a pocket square, or the way he grooms his hair – or moustache since it is Movember.

What can we wish you?

If you could grant me a wish, then I would spread the knowledge of gentlemanly dressing to all the men in world.

take courage

Is fashion a victim of media?

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That’s a question we ask ourselves every two weeks: what if the media model of fashion was actually destroying fashion?

In fashion, journalists don’t publicly criticize institutions

Whereas for films, literature, theater or music, critics are very intense and deeply argue on the value of a creation, we very rarely read that a collection is bad or pointless. Who (except Cathy Horyn, an American woman, not an European one…) did criticize Heidi Slimane during the last seasons? Which major is going to explain to the whole world why Terry Richardson is just a joke, a marketing gimmick? Fashion sometimes wants to become an art majeur. And there are reasons for that: Chalayan, undiscovered talents in Asia, there are people who are real artists. But because fashion media seem to be stuck with Saint Wintour and Athena Roitfeld, fashion cannot become Art. The genius of art can only appear when strong oppositions rise. Zola had his Dreyfus; Damien Hirst generates strong debates. We should have this crystallization of passion and ideas. But it’s not the case, because fash’ world is in a vicious circle.

In fashion, brands and stakeholders do not hesitate to pick up the phone to make us shut up

In France, where we write on a popular blog, some brands called us because they were not happy with some of our posts. Our inbox is frequently filled with insults and threats. If fashion brands are not ok with a negative share of voice, they just stop the media buy pipeline. In fashion, there are very few counter powers. There’s a famous word in France which says that we arrange fashion weeks for less than 1,500 people. It’s not wrong. And this concentration of attention is not very safe, a fortiori for brands themselves. If you don’t want to solve the reasons why bloggers or journalists are not happy with a specific product or collection, you can reduce the digital footprints we are going to generate. But you won’t be able to do the same with your customers. If you want to sell premium, you need to be premium in all the layers of your relationships.

In fashion, there’s now internet…

The reduction of time and the explosion of borders between bloggers and journalists are big news for brands. It’s a big opportunity to set up a revolution in the way influencers, consumers and brands work together. But it’s also a very conservative battlefield. Suzy Menkes’ Circus of Fashion spotted all these bizarre wannabe wandering around catwalks, while fashion journalists set up a confusion between promotional activities and professional abnegation. That’s a shame that we bloggers copy the bad habits of these “professionals”. We must keep our right to say when we don’t like a piece or an attitude. Otherwise, our detractors will be right forever. We will only remain a bunch of superficial, excessive, meaningless people.

In fashion, retailers are far beyond media

While media maintain a stupid distance with their readers, hesitating between an aspiration for luxury and an exclusiveness which only satisfies 2 PR agencies, retailers have understood for a long time that they need to make their customers the true heroes. If customers buy, it means that they validate the idea. If they don’t buy, the idea is not validated. In this new check & balance fashion system, retailers accept criticisms. If it doesn’t work, let’s try again. But how many fashion and luxury brands are really ready to resist and manage online consumers, who declare that they’re not happy with a product? Look at electronics: it’s not one but millions of consumers who go on forum and set up the new rules of consumption? In fashion, it’s like if the word “No” does not exist. We adore, we love, we can’t wait for the next collection of Mister BS, even if we’ll never buy THAT. But it seems like saying no, thank you, is not an acceptable cultural habit.

Jimmy Kimmel, who’s not a newbie, plays with that. If you attack fashion, it’s easy, no one will pay attention. But if you attack a cross-practices creative icon like Kanye West, you need to be ready to argue, ripost, well set up a real conversation. As usual, for the microcosm, a debate between Kimmel (3 million followers on Twitter) and West (10 million followers on Twitter) is not worth to write an article in the fashion columns.

How could they get their backstage access otherwise?