Discover more from Blackbird Spyplane
Concorde 001: Silver Slapper Watch continues
Plus: Handbags depress me, beautiful knits, great jeans, & more
Welcome to Concorde: a new creation from Blackbird Spyplane where Erin takes the lead. You could call it a women’s vertical, but the insights, intel and “cute swag information” transcend gender.
Hiii it’s me (Erin), the co-pilot behind Blackbird Spyplane. I used to work as a trend forecaster, then a magazine editor, and these days I’m a design scout. I stay behind the scenes here at the sletter, but every post you know and love has been personally vetted & blessed by yours truly.
We try to keep the BBSP fashion sensibility unisex — it’s how my style skews personally — but I wanted to create a place where I can share more of the women’s fashion I get excited about. I own lots of vintage dresses; I occasionally wear skirts and heels; I vibe out on handmade accessories that feel like mini-artworks; there’s a bunch of womenswear designers I love; and I stay on the alert for cool trends whose relevance has no gender…
So today we’re launching Concorde, dedicated to dope under-the-radar joints for our “hot lady army” — and, truly, anyone whose taste and curiosity is Mach 3+. As with Blackbird Spyplane, the name pays homage to a vibey, beautifully designed, long-defunct supersonic aircraft.
We’ll send Concorde 2x monthly. We decided to make the first edition or two free for everybody, but going forward you’ll have to be in the Blackbird Spyplane Cla$$ified Tier (which, if you aren’t already, why are you denying yourself the pleasure??) to read it.
Today we’re going to figure out why I’m feeling SILVER so much, meet a cool London-based knitter, slip into some excellent creased jeans, and more… Let’s go!
— Erin & Jonah
FIRST UP — Silver has been on our minds for a minute: we championed the cyborg-raver aesthetics of silver sneakers; we saluted the Y2K-era crinkly-silver EBTEK puffer; more recently, I was so taken with the otherworldly silver of some anchovies at Enoteca L’Antidoto in Rome that I could barely bring myself to eat them… (I managed.)
Why am I feeling silver jawns so much? Maybe it’s a reaction on my part against the vogue for dressing like a retiree on the way to the chiropractor (no shots, it’s a great look). Maybe my eyes need some zhoozhing after a couple seasons of brown and gruel-colored neutrals (which I still like and wear). Watching designers send mirror-finish clothes down the runway for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 (Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Eckhaus Latta, and Wales Bonner, to name a few) hasn’t hurt, either…
Since metallics can feel off-puttingly “fancy,” wearing silver outside of a gala context works best when you keep two styling principles in mind: (1) Find something made from rumpled, textured, or woven materials like Tyvek, nylon, and satin, and (2) pair it with something casual to buff down the glam, like a chunky sweater, vintage jeans and clogs. A good example is Björk’s outfit in the 1993 “Big Time Sensuality” video (above top right): silver Margiela slip dress, pilled-looking cropped sweater, chunky sneakers. ‘90s Margiela generally is a great reference point, along with Raf Simons’ insanely influential — quilts! balaclavas! silver! — collection for Calvin Klein Fall 2018.
I recently conducted my own swag experiment along these lines when I attended a party wearing crinkly nylon Uzi pants (elastic-waisted, so they are basically silver track pants, pictured below right) with an oversize vintage tee, big glass earrings and heels. At least 4 people told me I was the best dressed on site, and you have to figure that many others were thinking it 😉.
Here are some more silver pieces you could try incorporating into your everyday fits — holiday parties are a great place to test them out:
A. KkCo’s open-back Hus dress is made in L.A. from silver Belgian nylon-poplin, $325 here.
B. Maria La Rosa laminated socks add the perfect little flash of silver — they’re made from a silk-poly blend that’s coated so as you wear them the exterior begins to look cracked (what did I say about texture?). They’re sold out a lot of places but available here for $55 and in darker gunmetal at No. 6 for $51.
C. Pair an oversized sweater with this made-in-NYC racerback acetate dress by Nomia and you’ve got an updated take on that Björk look.
D. I’m an on-the-record appreciator of Belgian designer Sofie D’hoore, but her stuff is so pricey I haven’t brought myself to cop. E.g., her silver made-in-Italy reversible bomber jacket with a grosgrain drawcord (ahem, $2,320!).
E. Michons Marigot — a Toronto-based designer who’s collaborated with SpyFriend Nick from Small Talk Studio — nails the texture of reused aluminum foil (a good thing!) with her silver Tyvek car coat, $303 here, and bucket hat, $144 here.
MEANWHILE — Cecilie Telle is a London-based knitter who makes felted wool accessories I’ve been eyeing for a while, drawn in particular to her small round “ball bags,” which look, appealingly, like gumballs.
I checked them out in person in September at Boutique Generale in Paris — which carries Japanese ceramics, turned-wood lamps and my current favorite sock line — and was able to confirm that they are, indeed, very cute.
Frankly, bags are starting to depress me. Their lifespan is stupidly short, because they either look outmoded and/or get dirty and scuffed so quickly. What other piece do you toss on the floor everywhere you go, let rub against highly dye-transferable pieces, and still hope will look pristine in order to keep using it?
I have succumbed once or twice to the fantasy of being a Lady With a Fancy Handbag, splashing out on a couple designer ones (a Phoebe-era Céline bag is the only one I don’t regret) but, recently, I’ve mainly been using non-leather, nonsynthetic bags, which are cool because no cuties are killed in their making and because they’re often washable (true for all of Telle’s pieces).
BTW, if you’re going to wash your knits, Jonah’s knitwear-designer mom recommends Eucalan.
Telle also makes felted lambswool ponchos (above) that might wind up being my new fall layering piece — they’re like a cape, but less “A LOT.” The shape they create over shirts and dresses reminds me of a reined-in version of the silhouettes from the legendary Comme des Garçons 1997 Lumps and Bumps collection (a piece from that collection is currently for sale for $$$$ on eBay). The ponchos are available at UK store Egg or directly from Telle’s website.
Lauren Manoogian recently put out a similar piece in felted alpaca, so this poncho s**t is clearly bubbling…
ICYMI — A couple weeks ago we shouted out the soon-to-be-open Paris vintage shop of Oliver Church’s partner, Em Archives. The store is now open and offers impeccable designer women’s vintage (Issey Miyake, Jil Sander, Miu Miu). All of it can be shopped online here, with worldwide shipping.
BY THE WAY — After a couple seasons wearing wide pants, I was feeling the need to get a touch more tapered when I found a great pair of Totême jeans at Le Bon Marché. Given the weak Euro, plus VAT refund, I decided to achète. They’re a very flattering high rise with a slight drop-crotch, but what really sold me is the pintucked front crease that takes me back to my Sta-Prest Levi’s days, and the excellent carrot shape of the leg: wider up top, fully rounded at the knee and then pulled back in at the ankle. Look at that curvy side-view shape 🤌 below left.
(I still get lots of compliments on my Monica Cordera jeans, shouted out last year in our Pants Awards.)
AND FINALLY — In the Wind Goods is a small line of knits and other things handmade by Rosie Casey in Tacoma. It first caught my eye after they did an embroidery collaboration with L.A.’s Cactus Store — highly detailed living stones, Mesembs and other succulents, hand-stitched onto tees.
Rosie’s recent collection launched last month and the puff sleeve sweater in mushroom (below left) is the standout. The deadstock yarn is dyed with pomegranate rind extract and iron salts that deepen the pomegranate color, turning it to a warm grey / brown tone. H*ll yeah — reminds me of my Montessori pre-school days, dumping colors in a bucket to see what magic happens.
The pullover is vaguely reminiscent of the cable knit sweater Ottessa Moshfegh (below right) wore backstage before walking the runway for Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s FW 2022 collection: Her sheer-tights-under-jeans-plus-ecru-pumps look is deceptively advanced. (I love Moshfegh’s novel Eileen and in addition to her dark literary powers I respect her ability to get off fits.)
See you next time !! - e