The Most Fun in Years

The Most Fun in Years

Best Looks From the 2018 Oscars Red Carpet, from Adam Rippon to Agnès Varga.

Viola Davis, Adam Rippon, Agnes Varda. Photo: Getty Images

Coming off an awards season defined by all-black fashion protests, it was no surprise that the 2018 Oscars red carpet seemed vibrant in comparison.

But there was something else in the air. The actors, directors, presenters, and Olympians like Adam Rippon weren’t just wearing color — they had a sense of humor with their wardrobe choices. They showed some style, not just fashion. And in addition to new, young faces, those over 70 also showed how it’s done. As a result, the red carpet was the most fun it’s been in years.

Honestly, there were so many good looks it was hard to choose the standouts. Below, our attempt to rank the best, worst, and weirdest looks from the 90th Academy Awards.

Best Harness: Adam Rippon

The Olympic skater with perfect brows wore a Moschino suit by Jeremy Scott with “cold shoulder” detailing. We give this leather daddy a ten-out-of-ten.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Best-Looking Cast: Black Panther

Winston Duke looked dapper in Etro, Lupta Nyong’o beamed in Atelier Versace, and Danai Gurira oozed elegance in Gabriela Hearst. Chadwick Boseman (not pictured) also killed it in Givenchy couture. Wakanda forever!

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Most Goop-y: Saoirse Ronan

There was so much blah blush on the red carpet this year, but Saoirse Ronan rose above the rest. As the internet dutifully pointed out, her Calvin Klein gown was reminiscent of Gwenyth Paltrow’s 1999 Oscars dress by Ralph Lauren.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Turt: Maya Rudolph

We’re way past first-date turtlenecks; we want to marry this Valentino look.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Hottest Hot Pink: Viola Davis

We’d like to bottle up this stunning Michael Kors look and highlight important documents with it.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Pussy Bow: Nicole Kidman

[Claps oddly for Armani Privé.]

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Best Repeat: Rita Moreno

The 86-year-old actress wore the same dress she wore to the 1962 Oscars, when she won for her starring role in West Side Story. Translation: she’s still got it.

Photo: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

Best Newcomer: Beanie Feldstein

Will you go to prom with us, too?

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Sleeve: St. Vincent

Who needs a date when you have f-a-s-h-i-o-n!!! This pouffy Saint Laurent sleeve definitely needs its own seat.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Most Regal: Tiffany Haddish

The Girls Trip actress honored her late father’s wishes by wearing an authentic Eritrean princess dress.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Best Lads: Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer

Berluti, Berluti, Berluti. Armani. Armani. Armani.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Shirt Most Likely to Make Us Cry: James Ivory

The Call Me by Your Name screenwriter made us relive that scene all over again by wearing Timothée Chalamet’s sad face on his shirt.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Best Color: Greta Gerwig

The Lady Bird actress brought some Sacramento sunshine to the red carpet in Rodarte.

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Most Iconic: Agnès Varda

The 89-year-old feminist filmmaker and style icon wore a full silk Gucci set, proving that the Italian brand isn’t just for millennials.

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

This article appeared first in The Cut.

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Coach Put Up Cool Murals All Over New York City

A mural by WhIsBe. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach
As Coach designer Stuart Vevers continues to court millennials’ affection, the brand is also branching out into street art. Some of the most well-known street artists in New York have turned Coach’s signature “C” print into murals. The project, which spans New York’s five boroughs, includes work by Bisco Smith, Crash, DAIN, TriHumph, and WhIsBe. The interlocking Cs are turned into subversive touches on murals — like sanctioned Dapper Dan pieces.

This isn’t the first time fashion has merged with street art. GucciGhost graffitied the brand’s flagship store in New York in 2016 and just last month Sonia Rykiel turned the facade of their store into a collaborative mural that looked like a bookshelf, where passersby could add their favorite titles, or just draw over it. Coach’s rainbow of Cs is reminiscent of your favorite bags from 2005 — just reimagined for the Instagram age. See some of the murals below, along with a map of where to find each piece, in case you want to pose for the ‘gram.

By GIZ. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach

By Thomas Allen. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach

By SUCH + DAIN. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach

By The Drif. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach

A mural by WhIsBe. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach

As Coach designer Stuart Vevers continues to court millennials’ affection, the brand is also branching out into street art. Some of the most well-known street artists in New York have turned Coach’s signature “C” print into murals. The project, which spans New York’s five boroughs, includes work by Bisco Smith, Crash, DAIN, TriHumph, and WhIsBe. The interlocking Cs are turned into subversive touches on murals — like sanctioned Dapper Dan pieces.

This isn’t the first time fashion has merged with street art. GucciGhost graffitied the brand’s flagship store in New York in 2016 and just last month Sonia Rykiel turned the facade of their store into a collaborative mural that looked like a bookshelf, where passersby could add their favorite titles, or just draw over it. Coach’s rainbow of Cs is reminiscent of your favorite bags from 2005 — just reimagined for the Instagram age. See some of the murals below, along with a map of where to find each piece, in case you want to pose for the ‘gram.

By GIZ. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach
By Thomas Allen. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach
By The Drif. Photo: Courtesy of Francesca Beltran/ Courtesy of Coach
From Sneakerheads to Art Collectors

From Sneakerheads to Art Collectors

It was a damp Tuesday evening in London, but they waited down the block and around the corner to get in, mostly young men, mostly in sneakers, at least one with a Supreme bag.

It wasn’t a so-called product drop. It was an opening at the Gagosian Gallery. “We have never had a lineup around the block to get into an exhibition,” said Nick Simunovic, the director at Gagosian Hong Kong.

Mr. Murakami made a smiling flower character; Mr. Abloh built a greenhouse around it. Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times

The occasion was the opening of “Future History,” a collaborative exhibition by Virgil Abloh, the American designer behind Off-White, and Takashi Murakami, the Japanese fine artist whose menagerie of adorable cartoon monsters have become pop totems (and the guest stars on a best-selling line of Louis Vuitton accessories).

Each man is a hero of the “hypebeast” community, and they came together last year at ComplexCon, the annual convention at which hypebeasts swarm. Mr. Abloh and Mr. Murakami had set up a silk-screen station to create T-shirts together and were mobbed.

“I never knew sneakerheads,” Mr. Murakami said of his first time at ComplexCon. “I said, ‘What is happening?’ I am walking around this convention, and everyone knows my face.” He imitated the fanboys he encountered in a gasp: “‘Oh my God, Takashi Murakami, oh my God, oh my God!’” Then he giggled in disbelief: “What?

The collaborators made a limited-edition T-shirt for the exhibition. Flo Kohl

ComplexCon had led here to Gagosian, the gallery that represents Mr. Murakami, for which, over the course of about two and a half months, he and Mr. Abloh collaborated on paintings and sculptures. Mr. Murakami made a large sculpture of one of his smiling flower characters; Mr. Abloh built a greenhouse around it. Mr. Abloh requested a screen print of an image from a 17th-century self-portrait by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; Mr. Murakami screened the mouselike ears of his character Mr. DOB on top.

“Truth be told, I don’t go into these things knowing if they’ll work,” Mr. Abloh said.

The day before, Mr. Abloh, in T-shirt and camouflage pants, and Mr. Murakami, in baggy sweats and Off-White Nikes, had installed the show and discussed their working process.

“My position is, he’s the master, I’m the labor,” Mr. Murakami said. They had come together each with their own thoughts and bounced them off each other, and developed ideas quickly.

“From the idea to do the show to what some of these first pieces would be was, maybe, two minutes,” Mr. Abloh said. Both men’s icons are instantly recognizable in each piece — Mr. Abloh’s ever-present air quotes, Mr. Murakami’s characters — but here they’re presented as co-signed artworks, even if Mr. Abloh’s usual media are clothes and shoes.

“When I’m designing a shoe, I’m employing ideas from art, everything I’ve seen, and it’s manifesting itself in a shoe,” he said. “Why not cement them in serious art pieces? That’s what these four walls do, more than a retail store.” He paused at a sculpture of a Murakami character rising off a base made from an Off-White logo mark. “I could see this in a retail space,” he said. “I could also see it in a home of a billionaire.”

It could well end up in one. Even before the exhibition’s opening, half of the pieces had been sold. “The feedback and results have been incredible,” said Mr. Simunovic, the gallery’s liaison to Mr. Murakami. “We sold a painting today, for example, to a 21-year-old who had never worked with the gallery before.” The gallery does not disclose artwork pricing.

A screen print of an image from a 17th-century self-portrait by Gian Lorenzo Bernini from the Abloh and Murakami collaboration. Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times

For Mr. Abloh, part of the project’s appeal was bringing his dedicated fan base into contact with the new horizons of the art world. In 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago will stage the first museum retrospective of his work. “It’s generational,” he said. “I was born in 1980. I always thought that us buying a rare Supreme shirt is like buying a print for a previous generation.”

Mr. Abloh and Mr. Murakami did design an edition of 400 T-shirts to be sold on the Gagosian website, which will be finished by hand as an entry-level offering; they quickly sold out. But none were for sale the night of the opening, and the lines formed anyway. (Many of those waiting were hoping that the artists would sign their sneakers and shuffled around the gallery, once they were finally let in, in socks.)

Mr. Murakami, who between the installation and the opening had traded his hygienic face mask (he had a slight cold) for one fashioned out of a Nike sneaker, one of Mr. Abloh’s signature zip ties and a bit of camouflage print from his Louis Vuitton collaboration, seemed delighted. He sneaked out of the gallery to take selfies with those waiting. (“How’s the population in London of sneakerheads?” he had wondered in all seriousness the day before. “I really want to welcome the new audience.”)

“The world moves as fast as Instagram scrolls,” Mr. Abloh said. “What excites me more is the physical. I think that will be rewarding. That’s my barometer: Is the piece done? Is it good enough? Is it worthy of someone’s time?”

Outside, they were still waiting. Even Mr. Martin, the marine. “I’m not going to get in,” he said, with admirable even temper. There was over an hour to go. Luckily, the exhibition remains up through April 7.

How Bedeutungsschwanger Is It?

How Bedeutungsschwanger Is It?

New York Fashion Week finally came to life Tuesday evening in the shadow of the valley of — well, not death exactly. More like a post-apocalyptic prairie seen through a B-movie lens. Toto, what happened to Kansas?
Raf Simons buried it under 50,000 gallons of popcorn.
Or, to be fair, he buried the floor of the American Stock Exchange building under 50,000 gallons of popcorn, trucked in for a wackadoodle Calvin Klein show. It piled up in drifts around the weathered sides of four skeletal barns hung with blood red Sterling Ruby mop heads and papered with spectral black and white Warhol reproductions. It was crushed under the shoes of guests, so little motes of popcorn dust blew through the air. They landed on the coats and skirts and hair of Michael B. Jordan and Nicole Kidman and Millie Bobby Brown (among many other famous people), making everyone look as though they had an unfortunate case of dandruff or had wandered into a Food Channel version of nuclear winter.
Then a model in a bright orange hazmat suit and waders appeared. Let’s rephrase: Welcome to the pop-calypse.
Since he arrived at the brand that bluejeans and minimalism built, Mr. Simons, who is from Belgium, has been fixated on defining his own brand of twisted Americana, largely built on the twin pillars of Laura Ingalls Wilder and “On the Road” (the Netflix versions) — after the rot set in. This season he took it even further, with women in giant tweed coats over sweeping lawn skirts and men in sweater vests that looked more like life vests over skinny suits and shirts buttoned tight to the neck. Everyone wore knit Fair Isle balaclavas and often big firefighters’ gloves in silver foil, which also was used in false-front A-line cocktail dresses trimmed in white lace that turned into camper-blanket sheaths at the back.
Also the two-tone cowboy shirts and placket trousers that Mr. Simons has used in every collection since his Calvin debut, and skinny striped sweaters and sweaters with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner knit in, plus apron dresses with nothing underneath, so the breasts were exposed (a strange segue into Naughty Nellie from the general store). Quilting squares were pieced onto crisp white shirts and reworked as bias-cut chiffon evening gowns. The effect was all very survivalist. Simon & Garfunkle’s “Sound of Silence” played in the background. So did “California Dreamin’ ” by The Mamas & The Papas.
It was both a reductionist view of the country’s most accessible myths and also stomach-churningly right. That’s where we are now: drowning in a sea of puffed corn kernels and empty calories, appropriating the appropriators.

AMERICANA IN TRUMPLAND

AMERICANA IN TRUMPLAND

Why Are Fashion Designers so Obsessed With America Right Now?

Today, no matter where we come from, we’re all a bit American. Coca-Cola, Nike and Disney, blue denim, cowboys and roadside motels: these references are ingrained in the way people think, feel and consume worldwide. The references are universal and instantly recognizable, which makes them perfect working material for fashion brands.

Americana influences popped up in many SS18 collections, and they were overwhelmingly present in the recent FW18 men’s shows.

In Milan, Bella Hadid opened the Dsquared2 show wearing a denim shirt and red-and-black check cowboy jacket. An array of cowboy hats, string ties, studded leather trousers and belts with huge buckles followed. In blue LED lights, it was not Americana of the prairies, but Americana of the mall, which celebrated big money, reality TV and shameless consumption. The Dsquared2 collection was the tip of the iceberg in fashion’s current obsession with the cultural codes and myths of the USA. Whether it’s American tragedy, American horror story or American dream, everyone wants a piece.

America is the epicenter of mass culture. Its culture and aesthetics have been copied and reproduced so widely and so badly that they are rarely considered high brow — which makes them highly relevant in an era when bad taste makes good fashion.

But in fact, it’s not always the case, and one of the most poignant examples of the trend is exactly the opposite. Raf Simons’s work for Calvin Klein is built entirely on visual tropes of U.S. culture, with its shiny surface and underlying darkness. Simons’ collections for the brand featured modernist versions of sheriff shirts, blood-stained cowboy boots and plastic coats, which simultaneously channeled Twin Peaks, American Psycho, and plastic-wrapped couches. The designer also tapped into the history of violence in American art and film, by using prints of Andy Warhol’s “Knives,” “The Ambulance Disaster” and “The Electric Chair,” and of Dennis Hopper counterculture classic Easy Rider.

Eva Al Desnudo / Highsnobiety

Simons’ Americana is refined, controlled and handsome, much like American Psycho protagonist Patrick Bateman, but his designs hit a nerve when the first lady Melania Trump appeared wearing one of CK’s red Western shirts. It was like the pop culture snake biting its own tail: Raf’s creations in the midst of the real-life political horror that inspired them. Back in the 20th century, the U.S. gave us the first televised war in Vietnam— and now we’re all living under the threat of wars started via Twitter. Right now, global politics are impossible to ignore, and contemporary fashion has picked up the agenda.

With its endless variety of tropes and references, the Americana aesthetics offer endless possibilities for different stories. Palm Angels showed a mixture of rough punk aesthetics and the American Midwest, completed with spiked balaclavas, tartan and Grant Wood’s cult painting American Gothic. In its SS18 womenswear collection, Versace had black leather cowboy outfits with golden studs and chains, straight out of an ’80s NYC fetish club.

N21 had shirts printed with a picture of a red motel sign against bright blue skies. Cow-and-red-floral jackets popped up at Marques Almeida, and Ashleigh Williams combined cowboy hats with hoodies and bomber jackets. Astrid Andersen created a young, urban version of a midnight cowboy, complete with puffer jackets and loose-filling tartan trousers. Dries Van Noten’s take was perhaps the most subtle and romantic, with aesthetics of the Western movies coming through in shirt collars, seams and snakeskin boots.

Eva Al Desnudo / Highsnobiety

Translated into clothes, the Americana aesthetic is built on pre-existing stereotypes, and goes in line with fashion’s obsession with national identities and the nature of the local in an increasingly global world.

Gosha Rubchinskiy got the whole world hyped about post-Soviet cool, with tracksuits, football scarfs, cryptic messages in Cyrillic and underground Russian raves. In search of a rejuvenated look, Burberry tapped into the history of British photography and got Blondey McCoy posing in a classic beige check trench coat.

The journeys designers embark on — either to Moscow’s tower block estates, Britain’s bleak countryside or a highway in Arizona — are never about real places, but ideas of places, about looking for identity in politically challenging circumstances. It’s essential to question what it means to grow up in Russia under Putin, to be British after Brexit, or to be American in the era of Trump. And do these categories even make sense in a world where nationalities are gradually and irreversibly receding?

Americana works because it’s universal. The American Dream is a quest for freedom, success and love — and the spectacular downfall they could bring.

But today, the image of the all-white nuclear family is falling apart, and we need new images to stand behind. Young Thug toying with the aesthetics in the video for “My Family Don’t Matter“; and A$AP Mob, Kelela and Solange starring in Calvin Klein’s denim campaign are just a couple of expressions of what it means to be American today.

It’s obvious that the Americana obsession has some dark undertones, both on and off the runway. In recent years, films like American Honey, Tangerine and The Florida Project painted a luminescent picture of America’s underbelly, with forgotten youth and invisible inhabitants of roadside motels. Contemporary art is also on it: Cali Thornhill Dewitt’s 29 Flags project rewrote the most horrific murders in U.S. history on American flags; photographer Jim Krantz put one of his cowboy photos on a Supreme jacket, and French artist The Kid got famous through making sinister life-like sculptures of American teenagers.

Kanye also chipped in: the zine for his Calabasas collection was a portrait of a new American frontier, an ultimate Californian non-place somewhere behind a nondescript gas station in LA.

In the end, fashion’s current obsession with Americana is multi-faceted. It’s a search for new national identity, a restless game of cultural references, and a reaction to news-infused paranoia. Fashion has a new way of being political, and it’s turning our fears and doubts into products.

With the Doomsday Clock ticking away, we can only hope that we’re not commodifying our own end.

This article appeared in highsnobiety.com. Words by Anastasiia Fedorova