Regular readers might have noticed that it has been six months now since our last 'Magazine In The Spotlight' post but this is not want of trying. I have been frequently and somewhat furiously finger flick my way through the racks at my local newsagents but instead have been nonchalantly flicking through them before placing them back only to walk glumly out empty handed. To be honest my heart is longing for the next installment of Fantastic Man and all other forms of printed men's style journalism pales in comparison. Fortunately, it isn't all doom and gloom though as we stumbled across a fine specimen of a gentleman's magazine, Dapper Dan. I found myself in the Parisian sunshine for two glorious days this week but with my return train trip home looming I needed to source reading material. I found myself drawn to the always busy and bustling Colette and thankfully discovered the ideal travel companion. Dapper Dan is a men's fashion and philosophy bi-annual edited by Nicholas Georgiou and Vassilis Kardis and backed up by a team of talented contributors including one of my favourite bloggers, Filep Motwary.
We believe that a man’s style is something that derives from his own personality, not from ephemeral “trends”. We enjoy opinionated men. Men with a sense of purpose and a soul. Smart, intelligent and creative; Men with ideas and ideology. Men who are their own men, who don’t fit others’ standards. Dapper Dan Manifesto
Spring/Summer 10 sees the first issue of Dapper Dan. The title might be found lacking for some but the contents more than make up for this notion as the pages entertained me for my entire Eurostar journey home and I am still eager to flick through those pages the morning after. Aesthetically it is difficult not to think of the obvious influences of Fantastic Man but this is no bad thing, the magazine simply doffs its cap to one of the solitary beacons of men's style journalism. The content is undoubtedly its own and the first issue proves to be a wonderful read. The articles are varied enough to keep even the most wandering of minds focused and inspired. Your eyes are drawn to Reiner Zimmick's illustrated book Drummers of Dreams, the next moment you are reading a Filep Motwary interview with Juergen Teller, the next learning about the self proclaimed multimedia in a box magazine Aspen, quickly followed by the work of Marc Le Bihan before being treated to a number of strong editorials...
The highlight of them all has to be a spread that uses clothes that date back to the early part of the Edo period in seventeenth century Japan. The garments are made out of paper using two methods, shifu and kamiko. Alongside the images the article explains the history of these breathtaking pieces. Shifu clothes are made out of paper that is cut in to thin strips, twisted in to strips, twisted in to compact threads and then woven in "fabric." The process was developed by the impoverished rural population of the fourteenth century but it was not long before the upper classes noticed this textile and the Japanese warrior elite, the Samurai, refined the technique further.
The almost forgotten history of this unusual textile was rediscovered by ATOPOS while the organisation was researching for its 2007 exhibition, RRRIPP!! Paper Fashion. To look at the garments know it blows my mind to contemplate the avante-garde nature of these four hundred year old designs. They should make us consider anew the possibilities of raw materials, eco design and contemporary haute couture. We can undoubtedly move forward by researching further in to the histories of diverse cultures and by rethinking even the most basic materials that surround us today.
The Kamiko cape would have been worn by porters to cover the parcels on their back. It fans out to cover large packages, while the back bears the emblem of the patron.
Filep Motwary pops up again to interview one of the shining lights of men's fashion design, Damir Doma. Doma is a designer following his own path, refusing to follow trends and instead carves out the shape of a new kind of man. Under Raf Simons' mentorship, Doma was encouraged to develop an intensely personal vision of masculinity; for him, fashion design is a means of exploring the fragile nature of the body. He showed his first menswear collection in 2007 and has just unveiled his first womenswear line this week in Paris. He concedes that his eponymous label has never really aimed for commercial success, for him it is a 'huge art project.' This art project has certainly proven to be a success and I'm looking forward to watch this designer develop of both fronts.
An editorial accompanied the Damir Doma interview.
Regular readers will know that I am a huge fanboy of Lucas Ossendrijver so I was pleased to read an interview with the visionary behind Lanvin's menswear. He has managed to maintain an outsiders' perspective on fashion despite being at the forefront of the industry so I strive to learn more about the man. "Fashion can be a means of escape, to be somebody else or simply a way to dream. At Lanvin we try to be as open - as non-exclusive - as possible. For me, Lanvin is first and foremost a state of mind. I want our men's stores to be seen as a luxury supermarket, with a bit of everything for everyone, no matter their body type."
An editorial accompanied the Lucas Ossendrijver interview, all clothes Lanvin of course.
During the last twelve months (if not longer now) there have been a number of ominous grey clouds hovering over an industry struggling against an economic downturn induced advertising slump and a general state of publishing soul searching. When a new publication like Dapper Dan is released it restores your faith in printed media. The magazine is currently only available in Paris but global stockists are expected very soon so you shouldn't have to wait too long before getting your grubby mitts on your own copy. If you simply can't wait, take my advice and order online at Colette.