Eugene Rabkin is the founder of He has contributed articles on fashion and culture to The Business of Fashion, Vogue Russia, Buro247, the Haaretz Daily Newspaper, and other publications. He has taught critical writing and fashion writing courses at Parsons the New School for Design.


“Jun is the only designer from the Ura-Hara scene who knows that true creation comes from and with pain,” Hirakawa


TOKYO – The offices of Undercover, the cult Japanese fashion brand, are located in the maze of the Upper Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo. Undercover occupies the entire building, whose front is a repurposed shipping container that floats above ground, a window cut into its front end. On a recent visit in March, just after the end of Tokyo Fashion Week, I found the brand’s operations spilling out in front of the office, where boxes bearing the Undercover logo lay on the ground, its signature motorcycle jackets that retail for thousands of dollars spilling out of them. A middle-aged man with long silver hair wearing a coach’s jacket that said “Undercover Records” on the back milled around the boxes.

Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion at the Met Museum

The 220 artifacts for Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion, the latest exhibit by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan museum of art in New York, opening to the public this Friday, were drawn from its archives with the stated aim of “reviving [their] sensory capacities.” After all, clothes are not just for looking at; they are tactile objects, and they smell. Or so the exhibit tried to remind us, in a rather clumsy way, by jumping through some snazzy scientific hoops that I doubt an average exhibit visitor will care about. In real life the olfactory experience of clothes has to do more with their wearer, that ineffable familiar smell of your lover, for example, an experience diametrically opposed to what was offered, the smell of dead, disembodied clothes. To their credit, Andrew Bolton, the head curator of the Institute, and his staff, are well aware of this, but their attempts at resuscitating the sartorial corpses felt forced.

Op-Ed: The Avant-Garde Post Mortem

When I founded StyleZeitgeist in 2006, my aim was to build a forum for people who genuinely love fashion as a creative discipline that speaks to a wider culture. I did not mean for it to solely concentrate on the fashion that I loved, the forward-thinking, boundary-pushing, one connected to youth culture, especially music, especially of the goth / industrial / postpunk-tinged kind. But it kind of morphed into that, because it attracted like-minded people. And so StyleZeitgeist became a hub for what’s come to be called the avant-garde – the truly IYKYK stuff, a fashion subculture.

Notes on Alessandro Michele’s Valentino Appointment

Today Valentino announced that it hired Gucci’s erstwhile creative director Alessandro Michele to lead its storied house. The appointment came just days after its current designer, Pierpaolo Piccioli was let go. 

This is a curious case. Usually, big guns are brought in to fix something, but Valentino did not seem to be broken, though “seem” is a key operating word here. Just like Michele, Piccioli is a talented designer and one of fashion’s darlings – his collections are universally lauded. And Valentino’s sales seem fine. In 2022, according to Reuters, it had revenues of 1.42 billion euros, 10% higher than its sales in 2021, which in turn were 15% above the year prior. On the strength of these numbers, Kering bought a 30% stake in Valentino from Mayhoola, a Qatar government investment fund that also owns Balmain, with an option to acquire the entire company by 2028. 

Notes on Paris Fashion Week — Men’s A/W’24

Paris met us with rain and a general sense of misery, with Parisians grousing about the upcoming summer Olympics. The cold weather did put a damper on things for the first few days, or maybe it’s just me developing a lack of tolerance for bouncing around Paris like a ping-pong ball. I love fashion shows, but they seem to be less fun with each season. The sense of community is often gone, with too many celebs, influencers, hangers-on, and stans making everything feel like a circus amped to the highest degree.

Op-Ed: What the FarFetch and the Matches Deals Really Mean

Last week marked not but two major fashion e-commerce deals, in which FarFetch and Matches found new owners. FarFetch was bought by Coupang, aka the Amazon of South Korea, and Matches was bought by Frasers, a large British mass market retailer. Both deals were an embarrassment for the luxury e-tailers, valuing them at a fraction of what they were worth not so long ago. In essence, they were rescue operations. This prompted a slew of reflections from the fashion commentariat about the death of luxury e-commerce. This is wishful thinking, of course, but the two deals mark a good time to reflect on what’s going on in the retail segment of the fashion industry.