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Freshness Week in Review: 1/16/2011 1/22/2011

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It's pretty obvious what the overall theme was this week: shows - both runway and buyer's events. From Pitti Uomo in Florence, to Paris Fashion Week, to Bread and Butter in Berlin, and Agenda and (capsule), in our own New York City, which had artistic direction by Dr. Romenelli, who released an inspired Chuck Taylor. The first Green Hornet collaboration, with the PHANTACi and New Balance collaboration released this week, along with a full Bape women's line - inspired, but a bit confusing. Plus, MCM splashed onto the blogs with a capsule collection done with Phenomenon, which would do Lady Gaga proud. Other fashion news on the higher-concept end was the Junya Watanabe MAN preview of the Spring/Summer 2011 collection. And the one-time soccer hooligan staple Stone Island proved it's reinvention doubly over this week with two amazing new jackets, while in other soccer news, Nike announced it's project for the French Football Federation, with a full Sportswear collection and on-pitch kit for the national team. Nike also released a capsule collection inspired by Steven Alan, who got quite a bit of free rein with the sneakers. It was another big KAWS week too, starting with the release of his Companion as interpreted by Robert Lazzarrini, and ending with the release of his lightbulb project for the Standard Hotel. Also in art news, we had a preview of the Damian Hirst exhibit at the Gagosian in Hong Kong. And finally, while some people might be (and others definitely are) sick of the Destroyer jacket, there was news on that front this week too, most notably the video of Edison Chen creating his own at the Nike Stadium. Get the full edit of anything you might have missed this week after the jump.

Junya Watanabe COMME des GARÇONS MAN Spring/Summer 2011 Collection | Preview


There is a lot of high style still being processed after the Pitti show and Paris Fashion Week - and a great place for the highlights is Juncture Mag. However, one designer who bridges the streetwear and runway worlds with the best of them, Rei Kawabuko, got Freshness coverage this week. The theme of Rei's Comme des Garcons MAN collection for the coming Spring season is defined by the collaborators - Levi's and Mackintosh. These collaborations have been hits in the past, notably the re-engineered Levi's released last fall. This line is a bit more toned down, and places the classic lines over the alchemy.

» Junya Watanabe COMME des GARÇONS MAN Spring/Summer 2011 Collection | Preview


Dr. Romanelli "Beetle Bailey" x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star


On the street side of the shows, visitors to the (capsule) show got a look at the recreated Camp Swampy - Dr. Romanelli's vehicle for interpreting Americana through the classic syndicated cartoon Beetle Bailey. In addition to the installation, Romanelli undertook what is second footwear project with Converse - a Chuck Taylor that works in the vintage military style that is a Romanelli strong suit.

» Dr. Romanelli "Beetle Bailey" x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star


PHANTACi x Green Hornet Capsule Collection


The Green Hornet movie is as good a candidate as any superhero movie for sneaker collaborations. But one collaboration we knew was likely was something involving PHANTACi. The Taiwan sneaker boutique is co-owned by Jay Chou, who co-stars as Seth Rogen's sidekick in 2011 remake of The Green Hornet. While the New Balance MT580 is a very limited release, fans might have a better chance to get a hold of some of the accompanying apparel, which includes t-shirts, raglan shirts, hoodies, trucker caps and baseball caps.

» PHANTACi x New Balance MT580 Green Hornet | Detailed Look
» PHANTACi x Green Hornet Capsule Collection | Preview


MCM by PHENOMEMON Capsule Collection


Easily the most flamboyant item of the week was the capsule collection created by Phenomenon and Mode Creation Munich. It's a rare German-Japanese collaboration, and it's way over the top. The leather rider's style motorcycle jacket might be the most reserved piece - with just a hint of cheetah fur - but the bags are intense, with armor-like gold plating covering cheetah fur. Definitely not everyday pieces, but a perfect way to inject some craziness into the rotation.

» MCM by PHENOMEMON Capsule Collection

Stone Island Reflective Jacket
Stone Island Shadow Project Gore-Tex Stealth Jacket


Stone Island has undertaken a brand transformation that is now virtually complete. The brand was once a badge of British football hooligans, and was part of the standard uniform on "the terraces." While Stone Island can't (and shouldn't) deny this history, it's now more synonymous with boutiques like The-Glade and FIRMAMENT. This week we saw two examples of what the brand does best: hidden technical details, and the use of textiles that push the limits. First was the Gore-Tex Stealth Jacket, with a relatively minimal outer layer, concealing a second fully featured utility layer complete with pockets, straps, etc. Second was the Reflective Jacket, which amazingly is made of a fabric that includes 47% glass fibers. Available in a number of colors that evoke the early space suits, but cut in a modern technical jacket silhouette. Both great examples of forward thinking apparel.

» Stone Island Reflective Jacket

» Stone Island Shadow Project Gore-Tex Stealth Jacket

Nike Introduces The New French Football Kit


Picking up on the soccer theme was Nike's big release this week, of an official uniform for the French national team, and a big collection of Sportswear apparel. As we mentioned in our coverage of the gear, French soccer has a bit of a black eye after the 2010 FIFA World Cup - the team was the source of a series of embarrassing incidents, both related to pre-game practices and off the field scandals. So the new uniforms might represent a new start for the team. Nike did an interesting job working in some formal wear design cues, such as a full collar with a pearlised button, and a tuxedo-inspired stripe running up the side of the jerseys. The Sportswear collection is solid, if not too inspired; Nike played it fairly safe by basing it around some NSW staples like the M-65 and Destroyer jackets. Of course there is a commercial to kick things off, featuring amateur and professional players at some iconic French football venues.

» Nike Introduces The New French Football Kit
» Nike Sportswear x French Football Federation

Steven Alan x Nike Sportswear Collection


Another Nike story this week was the Steve Alan collaboration. Nike has obviously brought in many, many, designers from outside the company's ranks, but few have gotten as much leeway to tweak the brand's sneakers. Nike tends to present shoes to collaborators as a canvas, on which various materials and colors can be used. With the Steven Alan collection, there are actual structural changes; nothing drastic, but the lace locks and eyelets are noticeable. The collection is comprised of the Air Zoom Magma, Air Zoom Toki, Talache Low, and Air Zoom Lava Dome; check them all out here.

» Steven Alan x Nike Sportswear Collection

BAPE Ladies Spring/Summer 2011 Collection Lookbook


The BAPE women's collection for Spring/Summer 2011 represents the fullest offering to date for women from the seminal streetwear brand. The collection moves beyond the hoodies and graphic shirts, to leggings, dresses, and skirts. Some of the offerings are bit awkward: take an empire-waisted skirt, and add an all-over BAPE print, and the results are strained. But there are some hits in the more casual offerings; the leggings and sweatshirts are a perfect blend of workout wear inspired street clothes. The collection is rounded out by staple pieces like gingham shirts and cardigans.

» BAPE Ladies Spring/Summer 2011 Collection Lookbook

Damien Hirst Forgotten Promises Exhibition in Hong Kong | Preview


Things have cooled down just a bit for Damien Hirst, since his apex in September 2008, when the "Beautiful Inside My Head Forever" Sotheby's auction raised $199 million at the top of the market. But Hirst, (and his team of 130 people in 7 studios) isn't idle; his latest exhibit at the Gagosian in Hong Kong opened this week. Any Hirst show needs an element of controversy, which is provided in large part here by "For Heaven's Sake." The piece (pictured above) is based on his iconic diamond-encrusted skull, but based on the skull of an infant. Hirst was on hand for a press preview of the show, which showed the artist in a informal mood, and highlighted the depth and range of work on display.

» Damien Hirst Forgotten Promises Exhibition in Hong Kong | Preview


Nike Stadium MFG Features Edison Chen Destroyer Jacket | Video


The streetwear world might just want to get used to the idea that the Destroyer Jacket is going to keep on coming. There are dozens and dozens of special or celebrity/athlete themed editions, and Nike is definitely milking the jacket for all it's worth. To be fair, it is an extremely nice jacket, classically inspired with the perfect amount of contemporary style, and it is very well made. This week we saw a video of Edison Chen visiting the Nike Stadium on Bowery, where he created his own version of the jacket, which not surprisingly had a CLOT theme. The jacket is great - they all are - but the video was a fun look into the customization and creation process, which is something that relatively few people get to see.

» Nike Stadium MFG Features Edison Chen Destroyer Jacket | Video


Standard Hotel x KAWS Limited Edition XX Light Bulbs | Detailed Look


Finally, it was another big week for KAWS, who is charging into 2011. First was the release of his Companion figure as reinterpreted by Robert Lazzarini; which of course sold out in minutes. The main story though, was the release of his lightbulb designed for the Standard Hotel. The pieces are 3 Watt soft glow bulbs, with the filament shaped into the KAWS "X X" logo. KAWS wanted to design something that could be found in any hotel room, and the project did evoke some criticism for being totally outside the scope of his previous street art - but that is the point. The bulbs come in three colors, and were limited to 1000 sets of 3 bulbs. They took a bit longer to sell out than the Companion piece, but did sell out completely within a few days.

» Standard Hotel x KAWS Limited Edition XX Light Bulbs | Detailed Look