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USOC Would Support Changing Olympic Charter To Include Sexual Orientation

UsocLast week the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated they were "fully satisfied" that Russia's anti-gay laws do not violate the Olympic Charter's anti-discrimination clauses: "IOC Chairman Jean-Claude Killy said [the IOC] lacked authority to criticize a host country’s laws if they did not specifically violate Olympic rules."

Under the header, "Fundamental Principles of Olympism," the current charter reads:"Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."

Though many, including Sir Ian McKellen, have protested that Russia's anti-gay laws violate this sixth principle of Olympism, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) has come out in favor of amending the Olympic Charter to specifically address discrimination based on sexual orientation should such a change be considered by the IOC.

USA Today reports:

"If it came to a vote of IOC (International Olympic Committee) members to eliminate any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation, I would absolutely vote yes to amend the charter," said USOC president Larry Probst, also an IOC member.

As a national governing body, the USOC doesn't have a vote, but CEO Scott Blackmun said the USOC would support a change to the charter.

BlackmunThe USOC previously condemned Russia's anti-gay laws while simultaneously urging its athletes to heed them, per the IOC's instruction. Responding to criticism that the USOC did not do enough to guide the dialogue on gay rights at Sochi, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said,

"In terms of influence, first and foremost we're a sports organization...We are not an advocacy or human rights organization but we are a part of a worldwide Olympic movement, and what we can do is advocate for change within our movement."

"We want to lead by example and advocate internally within the global Olympic community to make sure we, as a family, are doing everything we can to send the message that we don't tolerate discrimination."



Guestblogger ANDREW HARMON

Andrew Harmon has been roving among the shows at New York's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Towleroad. Harmon is the former West Coast Editor for DNR/Menswear and a contributor to Los Angeles, The Advocate and Women’s Wear Daily. Earlier this week, Harmon filed a preliminary report, which you can read here.

John-Bartlett In between shows this week, my friend Kurt and I stepped into John Bartlett’s West Village boutique under the pretext of Just looking, thanks. It was a few days after Bartlett had been hogtied in reviews by a few men’s editors, who among other things complained that the models in his dressed-up-for-the-Depression-bread-line show looked more like David Barton Gym slaves than malnourished workers subsisting on gruel and Chesterfields. (What did they expect, Bartlett goes twink? Right.)

The store was empty, less the sales clerk and Bartlett’s three-legged dog, Tiny Tim, who encouraged me to try on a down vest with wool check plaid shoulders that gave the illusion, however slight, of Bartlett beefiness. Sold. No thanks to Kurt.

But spending money one doesn’t have is clearly the ultimate vulgarity in this epoch, and if Carrie Bradshaw were still around, I imagine she’d be about as popular as Elena Ceausescu during the Romanian Revolution. So like many, my further shopping habits this year will be drib-drab at best. Thankfully, we won’t all have to go too Banana Republicky, because there are a few tight pieces to be had this week in New York, and I imagine more than one will be on the clearance rack come fall.

Stand-outs in my book:

Gilded-Age  Michael-Bastian

Gilded Age and Michael Bastian both evoked that one red-flag guy in every fraternity who can actually dress: collegiate and masculine, but you know he’s got copies of VMan  and i-D stuffed somewhere in his study carrel. I’d lose the blazer on this Gilded look and show off the fair isle cardigan sweater underneath. Perfect for parents’ weekend. Ditto the varsity jacket at Bastian.

Thom-Browne  Loden

If adequately trust-funded, he may be adding this exquisite piece from Thom Browne, who presented at his showroom Thursday in lieu of the usual runway theatrics that were shipped to Pitti Uomo last month. Even if a true Browne devotee is the sort of bristly Sartorialist addict who would never accompany you on a 1 a.m. trip to McDonald’s, the designer is living proof of Richard Martin’s axiom that fashion, however pervasive, remains an underappreciated visual art form.  

But back to knits: Despite Loden Dager’s soporific show at the General Society’s Library, the collective offered up a series of accessible, rugged cardigans, some with leather buttons that bridged the divide between bohemian and longshoreman. Earthy lavender is definitely a pop-color this season, finding its way into the label’s roomy trousers pegged at the ankle (must everyone roll their cuffs these days?).

Band-of-outsiders  Marc-by-marc

Earlier this week I left the Band of Outsiders show aglow, then wondered if it was just the sublime presentation that tricked me into submission. After a second look, I stand firm: This double-breasted blazer is about as boy chic as it gets.

I’ve only seen Marc Jacobs in person once in my life. Last March he was slouched in a high-backed leather booth at The Abbey in West Hollywood, texting and ignoring the insouciant 22-year-olds flanking him. Since then his clothes have taken on a bit of a bratty sheen for me. So it was refreshing to see pieces like this jacket at Marc by Marc Jacobs. Punched up with a colorful woven shirt, it channeled my favorite deadpan soundbyte from Kelly Cutrone: “Fashion is fun, just remember. Fashion. Is. Fun.” 

Michael-Kors  Spurr

If you’re not blinded by the orange in Michael Kors’ collection that approximates the designer’s permatan, you’ll see a fantastic wool coat in an asphalt palette that begs closer inspection. Spurr, which I mentioned in a post earlier this week, has this sublime down jacket in amber. It doesn’t appear to be very technical in its fabrication, though I could still see a fashionisto sporting it for spring skiing in Aspen.  

What to avoid? Hate to say it, but Phillip Lim 3.1’s small collection was disappointing. My neighbor Carol can work the hell out of his fantastic cropped jackets, but the men’s line is still largely inscrutable. There were a lot of interesting plaid suits this week, but Lim’s was not among them.

Robert-Geller  Robert-Geller-2

The love affair with Robert Geller hasn’t hit me yet. Clearly he has talent. No one wins GQ’s Best New Menswear Designers in America award by accident. But the show’s aesthetic  — Oscar and Bosie meet the goth kids on South Park — didn’t leave me terribly inspired. Except for this leather jacket, one of the best I’ve seen. I’m all for avant-garde, but please explain to me this subsequent model, who wore a fringed, burgundy afghan belted at the waist, like a five-year-old’s first attempt at drag in the family living room.

Earlier this week...
New York Men's Fashion Week Report: Fall 2009 Collections [tr]

(Top B&W image: Backstage at Robert Geller. Kevin Tachman for Towleroad)

(look images marcio madeira, men.style.com)

New York Men's Fashion Week Report: Fall 2009 Collections



Andrew Harmon has been roving among the shows at New York's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Towleroad. Harmon is the former West Coast Editor for DNR/Menswear and a contributor to Los Angeles, The Advocate and Women’s Wear Daily. Here's his initial report.

In an airy SoHo fashion presentation last weekend, 33 models all took turns at artful disaffection. They slouched on park benches. They loitered next to expired parking meters or ignored unfinished games of backgammon. One stood in an antique phone booth and gazed blankly at the scuffed receiver. "Probably waiting for a call from the unemployment office," the Tom Ford-clad gentleman standing next to me quipped as he snapped his gum.

Ck_2Welcome to New York Fashion Week, now a reluctant harbinger for what may be the great purge of ailing American labels.

Thom Browne’s hometown productions have been exported to Milan this season, fashion magazines continue to hemorrhage jobs, labels like Obedient Sons and Daughters have hung "Be Back in Two Years" signs on their design office doors, and an industry crowd awaits the revelatory but exits many men’s shows looking, well, Xanaxed. The accompanying music did little to quell the paranoia, what with pianists banging through Brahms cadenzas on out-of-tune uprights and shrill recordings of minimalist string quartets piped over collections destined for the Barneys New York Barker Hangar sale in Santa Monica. That’s if they make it to production.

(Calvin Klein backstage image — Models.com)

To be sure, credit is due for any label with a show-must-go-on mentality, particularly amongst the emerging set. And unlike several European designers, most here focused more on what they do best — aspirational sportswear — rather than on fuzzy social commentary. Contrast that with condescending proletarian themes at Prada and environmental clichés at Versace, which showed images of melting glaciers in a move straight out of the Edina Monsoon playbook of runway production ("Bubble, I want four huge video screens down either side of the catwalk. I want to flash up pictures of sad-but-beautiful children, happy gay couples, slogans like 'World Health!', 'No Pollution!', 'Fashion Cares!'")

KanyebandIn New York, Band of Outsiders gave us models loafing among gorgeous things. But it also gave us hope. In the past I’ve been wary of this line — not because of its exorbitance or ultra-svelte proportions (Browne’s shrunken style maxim continueth), but because for at least a year, nearly every major men’s fashion spread was strangled by its $130 skinny ties, as though creative director Scott Sternberg had some backroom dealing with a cabal of stylists.

No matter: the Hollywood agent-cum-designer’s toggle coats, wool tuxedo jackets and impeccable oxford shirts fulfill even the most elaborate French boarding school fantasy. It was a thoroughly articulated vision of how his man should dress, and it was unsullied by economic jitters. You could tell Kanye West was taking mental notes as he worked the room.

Calvinklein_2 Duckiebrown

Elsewhere, dramatic outerwear appears to be designers’ salvation. At Calvin Klein, Italo Zucchelli showed some of the best specimens in his metallic collection, including a cobalt bomber that looked like it had been molded from spacesuit scraps. Duckie Brown’s superb waxed anoraks in blaze orange outweighed the hats with globe-sized puffballs, balanced on models' heads like Rajastani women coming home from the market. I didn’t know whether to smirk or yawn.

Duckie Brown show video, AFTER THE JUMP...

Spurr2 Michael_bastian

It would be unfortunate for the economy to claim legitimate talent along with the riff-raff. Simon Spurr’s eponymous line is among the former. A Ralph Lauren alumnus, his label is just getting started. The presentation notes cited 2001: A Space Odyssey as muse, but I pictured James Bond: The Undergraduate Years. Tailored, delicate puffy jackets in amber that hit perfectly at the waist, cashmere blend peacoats and peak lapel jackets in velvet would all make Miss Moneypenny blush and fantasize. After hours, of course.

I also hold out hope for Michael Bastian. Though I could have snoozed through two-thirds of his show, the second act was what I usually loathe in men's wear but hoped to see anyways: wayward fashion. There were military jackets and oversize canvas bags, chunky knits with colorful teepees, suede peacoats with faded glory written all over them. In other words, gear destined for entitled city kids taking a cross-country trip in a VW bus that stalls somewhere along the way, someplace like Joplin, Missouri. It may have been the show’s devil-may-care styling. But it was hard not to extend a hitchhiker’s thumb in solidarity.

Video of the Duckie Brown show, AFTER THE JUMP...

(photo credits Marcio Madeira)

Continue reading "New York Men's Fashion Week Report: Fall 2009 Collections" »


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