Saturday, July 26, 2008

EASTPAK SPRING 2009-ON TREND STREETWEAR & THE PACKS




“BUILT TO RESIST” RAF SIMONS AND ELEY KISHIMOTO DESIGNS HIP HAULERS PLUS ON TREND FASHION+ EASTPAK’S FAMED DURABILTY



July 18th, MERCEDES-BENZ FASHION WEEK,
BEBELPLATZ, BERLIN 15:00


Words & Backstage Images, Judith Ecochard
FOH Images from ERDBEERLOUNGE


We’re outdoor enthusiasts so of course we are familiar with the brand Eastpak, now owned by clothing giant VF Company –grand daddy of Nautica, Lee®, Seven For All Mankind®, John Varvatos® too.

To break the strangle hold of its sibling-The NORTH FACE® collection-ironically a VF Company child- (just take any NYC subway in the cold weather-and that is practically all you see on riders, whether authentic or Canal Street knockoffs)…and scoop up some European street cred, Eastpak smartly collaborated with the cutting edge maestro Raf Simons for S/S 08.



Simons conjured up hip travel and urban friendly bags for the MATERIAL WORLD collection featured technically driven rumpsacks in durable materials… and fun stylish daypacks and accessories.

Sold at ‘IT’ stores like Collette in Paris, and Barneys-Simons trademark palette in poppin’ solids and graphics ("Rad Red" "Gas Blue" "Sliced Sunup" "Blog" "Varsity Grey" "Birdcage Pink")---coupled with details like wrinkled patent shine and folds-were smash hits with the fashion crowd.

With the recent addition of Mark Ely and Wakako Kishimoto (also helming the French line CACHAREL) to design fun and “optimistic” Eastpaks in a numbered LIMITED EDITION of 1000 pieces per daypack style- for their “Authentic Line” WE KNEW THE RUNWAY SHOW WOULD ROCK.

Plus, the iconic ELEY KISHIMOTO ‘FLASH’ pattern (looks like lightening bolts –Keith Haring/cartoonish black, red or royal blue covering a white background)…is instantly recognizable in that Kelly handbag Hermes way. Instant cool without the logos. YEAH.









BACK TO THE SHOW: And we really knew it would literally rock when we were backstage boppin’ to German star MIA’s (pronounced MEE AHH in Germany, not “M” “I” “A” like we do in the USA)…massive backin’ band warming up.











THE CLOTHES: We had a wonderful, wide ranging chat with the suave and seemingly relaxed Gilles Laumonier, the Vice President/General Manager for Eastpak. Based in Belgium, this fashion veteran acknowledged that conjuring up stylish separates “was a tricky exercise...because the DNA of Eastpak is one of durability and practicality.”

“It’s becoming more of a street fashion brand with the added factors of being a trendy, nice product that has to be durable and weather resistant,” Laumonier added.




“I am constantly researching fabrics that meet a lot of criteria.”





Amazingly, every textile is tested between twenty to thirty times and has to meet the same high standards that the typical Eastpak tote would…and the carryalls have a thirty-year warranty!

“We develop our own mix of fabrics---some with the feel and look of cotton but with the same durability of nylon.”



THE LOOKS: The well paced show bopped along to the latest club hits-and spouted edgy ensembles of hoodies, a black street version of board shorts, and slightly rumpled but fitted black denim-ish pants for guys. Hip hop baggy jeans were nowhere in sight T.G. OVER FOREVER we hope…

Gals got a cool pair of long plaid shorts with black logoed tee and our favorite- a capped sleeve royal blue mini dress, with bold white graphics on the front. Think Williamsburg hip perfect but not out of place on snowboarders after a day of shredding-or outfitting skate boarders done with zipping off the handrails.

Or gamers who refuse to see the sun shine.

THE SHOW: Backstage prior to the actual runway fete, we took in the models rehearsin’ their struts. Though they were instructed to walk with a fun, cheeky attitude, they probably didn’t need the lessons. The music was that good…and occasional pairings of models cavorting away- just added to the fun.

Plus the diversity of model types that could’ve been pulled from Berlin’s happening club scene--- reminded us of Daryl K’s red hot presentation on Bond Street, NYC last February…where the designer’s friends, muses and employees served as mannequins--embracing and emphasize the differences in looks and body types.

MAKEUP: With such an assortment of faces (no monolithic bland pretty forgettable skinny types here)…head makeup artist for Maybelline NYC, the charming Boris Entrup, emphasized “the dynamic individualistic great looking models.”

One girl came on her bike,” he noted… “so we let her skin shine through with no base.” Another dark haired model sported black lips and a “shine in her eyes” with dramatic black eyeliner-that worked with her neck to toes tattoos…while a striking tall blonde had sharp magenta lips on a “blank face,” achieved with the new Mineral Base products.

“Perfection is confidence in your style,” Enrup feels.

Interestingly for us, Great Lash Mascara-the pink and green tubed favorite of makeup artists worldwide…is not popular in Germany-though this country racks in sales that make it #4 for Maybelline (owned by L’Oreal).


FYI: Simons won the Elle:Fashion Star award the next evening (July 19th) at an 1000 person blowout with entertainment by Annie Lenox and Texas…and BIG NAME auteur-a barely audible Karl Langerfeld appeared to pick-up HIS lifetime achievement honor.


TAGS: EASTPACK, ELEY KISHIMOTO, RAF SIMONS