11 March 2011

Going Solo

Takahiro Miyashita

 The Soloist
Spring/Summer 2011

Sometimes a collection comes along that entirely changes the way you think about fashion.  The Autumn/Winter 2009 collection from Number (N)ine, the last before the label was shuttered, is for me one of the most beautiful collections shown in past decade of menswear.  Whether it was fashion, costume, theatrics - or covered all three - it was for me a triumph of design and presentation.  It encapsulated a feeling of perfect romanticism, and escapism (?), that I yearn for when dressing.  Dress can be used to create something entirely at odds with reality, and yet it is when the balance between reality and fantasy is finely struck that something both beautiful and wearable is found.  Dissected and drawn apart there were a number of pieces I found myself hypnotized by.  Indeed if anybody should so happen to have any of the shirts or brocaded blazers (preferably in purple) in a size 1 or 2 for sale, please do get in touch.

In that collection I saw from Takahiro Miyashita a fully realized idea that I had not seen before in Number (N)ine, so I was sad to discover that it was to be the last collection.  But my, what a way to finish.  As such you can imagine my excitement when it was announced last year that Miyashita would be returning with a personal label entitled The Soloist. Boy did he deliver.  The styling of the last Number (N)ine collection did not particularly lend itself to everyday wear to say the least.  There was an opulence and romance that created a special moment - a feeling that would be blunted if the looks were forced into the ordinary through everyday wear.  The Soloist picks up that thread from the last collection and weaves it into a beautiful tapestry of wearability and casual elegance.  I particularly love the feeling of the lookbook with its gentle meandering and sense of fantasy.    

My wardrobe as of late has been exemplified, out of both necessity and personal choice, by a blunt minimalism.  Having now only three pairs of trousers and three sweaters (it was until last week only two) on rotation there is an immediate sense of functionality and a need for versatility.  There has been a focus on shape, fit and texture.  However the main drive is to have a wardrobe comprised only of pieces I love - I do not want to settle with what is easy or simply available.  I find that my wardrobe is currently comprised of three colours - black, grey and dusty pink - albeit with concessions made with an array of colourful socks, as well as a collection of floral handkerchiefs.  It is a solid starting point, however now I would like to slowly build a better wardrobe, that is both highly edited yet truly reflective of me (if indeed that can ever be achieved).  I think all wardrobes are by their nature a constantly evolving collection, however that is not to say that it need be shed every six months.  I have for example recently made the addition of Helmut Lang from the late '90s - a decade on and still being worn and loved.

There are two strands I find myself picking up now that I have chosen to truly try to focus my gaze - a dark minimalism and a faded romanticism.  Both are things I find in the work of my favourite designers, and I suppose they are my favourite designers exactly because they capture something in their clothing that is me.  You can wear a garment and somehow you just seem to know the designer and they seem to know you.  It is that connection I look for, and indeed one I find only with a select few.  That is not to say I will buy anything from a favoured designer regardless, because you have to judge every piece on its individual merits, including fit, quality, construction and aesthetic amongst others.  However there are certainly those few designers who I will naturally gravitate towards.  The world of fashion is driven by images, and yet perhaps paradoxically that connection can only be found in the intimacy of wearing.  I am entranced by the images Miyashita conjures with his clothing, and it is that which draws me to wanting to find and wear pieces from the last Number (N)ine collection and from The Soloist.

The hunt is on.



  1. if only we could all take photos like that

  2. I love the shoes in this. I like the idea of being prepared for the road.

  3. Great commentary. All the best on the wardrobe.

  4. I completely and absolutely agree with only having pieces in your wardobe you love. I think so many people have this idea that they'll take what they can get and end up with a crop of useless, ill-fitting or overly trend clothes that get pushed to the back of their closet. (Which was me at one point).

    I love what Number (Nine) did in terms of styling. I did find a sense of escapism inward towards individuality was the driving theme in this collection.

    Also, you can tell when you put on a sweater or a pair of trousers or even underwear, which designers suit you best...it's love at first fitting.

    Hope all is well!


  5. COOL. you never cease to amaze me with the incredible male fashion you post about. i'm really glad that you've been posting regularly lately! i missed your blog (:

  6. I'm joining you on this hunt. Building a wardrobe is an artform.

  7. so inspired


  8. sooo cool (and so weird). perfect combo. (: i love the three colors you've been wearing! dusty pink is the best kind.

  9. I love the last two pics especially!

    Hope you're feeling better :)