Fashion, Inspiration, Photography

Londonstagram

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I’ve been in London for the past few days, catching up with friends, going to exhibitions (The verdict on the Hollywood Costume exhibition in the V&A? Just go now, I’ll wait here for you to come back), eating my weight in curries, tacos, dim sum and pancakes and drinking an equivalent amount of toasty mulled liquids. There’s nothing you can’t mull to make it that little bit tastier (bar Bovril, I suppose).

And sherry. I do not like sherry.

Here are some Instagrammed pictures – can we take pictures any other way now? Pathetically, I’m very proud that I only took one picture of my food and that was because I wanted to remember the day my skirt became so tight that I had to buy a new pair of trousers.

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1.  Skating at Somerset House –  2.  A fashion newsagent on Wardour Street  – 3. A very creepy print from a Brick Lane curry house – 4.  Carnaby Street gets festive with The Rolling Stones – 5 – 7.  Tim Walker on show at Somerset House – 8.  The sad occupants of plastic bags at a manga shop near Leicester Square – 9.  Eyes bigger than my belly at Wahaca (the waiter said that he was proud of me for trying anyway).

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Art, The Reading List

What I did in London, told by the books I bought.


Saturday – a stroll down Portobello Road, a rummage in the market stalls, dinner at El Camion and a root through Oxfam Books for some bedside reading.

Sunday – to Leicester Square Theatre for Stewart Lee’s Carpet Remnant World (Couldn’t wait for him to come to Ireland in May).

Monday – A trip to the National Portrait Gallery, then to Chinatown for Dim Sum…

…then some shopping in Covent Garden. Go to Magma Books. Just do it.

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Fashion

Photos from my father

This past weekend I’ve been hanging out with my little brother while my parents have been in London. You know, the usual; I fed him beer, he didn’t do his homework and then I took an overdose and had to be revived with a huge adrenaline needle like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. As I woke up in the basement of that crack den, covered in blood and snot, I remember thinking, ‘Thank God for little brothers’.

I kid.  Mom, I know you’re reading this.  If you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

While my parents were in London, my Dad decided to send me a few pictures.

These pictures are from the window of Soboye Soong.  Nice, eh?  My guess is that the shoes are from Finsk.  Anyone care to confirm/correct this?

 

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Fashion, Inspiration, Photography

Backstage: Meadham Kirchoff

I’ve never been a big fan of Meadham Kirchoff.  There.  I said it.

That is, until I read the relavatory and surprising interview given by Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchoff in the most recent LOVE magazine.  Their work consumes them, a sliver of self-referential sadness, obsession and neurosis runs through their work, often projected through a decidedly Nineties lens.  Their solitary lives mean that their collections are often genre-defying flights of pure self-expression.  Oh, and they’re hardcore feminists. Read the interview if you can.  It’s well worth the twenty minutes or so to pore over it.

Now I look at their shows and think, ‘Oh. Now I understand.’ It’s probably not the best reflection on me, to be honest.

These backstage photographs of their S/S ’12 show were taken by Rachel Hardwick, a CSM student and freelance photographer who was ironically (and depressingly for those of us who can remember the Berlin wall, however fleetingly) born in the decade the Meadham Kirchoff designers draw their inspiration from. A Nineties baby taking photos of Nineties women – I like the parallel.

I think my favourite is the row of Courtneys.

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Fashion

Distilled: London Fashion Week A/W ’11

Here’s another extra super-duper, handy-dandy guide to Fashion week. Last one was New York, Milan will be posted in a few days. Here’s some of my favourite looks, with a bit of trend prediction thrown in under the guise of journalistic integrity.


from l-r
Row 1 – Deep Red – Betty Jackson, John Rocha, Saloni
Row 2 – 70’s Granny Patterns – Christopher Kane, Henry Holland, JW Anderson Woman
Row 3 – Twisted Brit Heritage – Burberry, Paul Smith, Pringle
Row 4 – Bright Pattern Clash – Jonathan Saunders, Louise Gray, Mary Katrantzou
Row 5 – Grown-up Prints – David Koma, Erdem, Jonathan Saunders
Row 6 – Bonkers Tailoring – Jaeger, Jean Pierre Braganza, Krystof Strozyna
All pics from catwalking.com

YAY TRENDS

  • Asymmetrical lapels – lapels as dresses, lapels as scarves, lapels as trousers.  We’ll be wearing lapels as bikinis next – this can only be a good thing.
  • Blue and green – the ultimate optical aquamarine colourpop.
  • Heavy materials – I there’s something I love, it’s going out with he reassuring weight of a blanket around my shoulders (actually, that might be something I need to see a psychotherapist about).
  • Sherlock Holmes coats – full length or cropped, as seen at Pringle.  All I need now is a tweed hat and a pipe.  I already have a sidekick called Dr. Watson.
NAY TRENDS
  • No… Can’t think of anything.
NOTES
Pics 4 and 5 – Who knew that Granny’s blankets would be back in fashion – and I don’t hate it…
Pic 6 – Paisley has finally been given it’s due in JW Anderson’s first womenswear collection.
Pic 8 – Paul Smith’s collection was probably my favourite catwalk show thus far – there was not one thing that I didn’t want to wear.  And the models!  Like tall, willowy versions of Daria .
Pic 18 – Off-kilter draping deserves to be all over the place come this Autumn
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Fashion

Jones Moans

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Despite the title, I don’t think you’d be hearing moans but rather yelps of delight if I got my hands on one on Dominic Jones’ super-spiky, super-shiny rings. Inspired by Art Deco shapes, yet still retaining the ‘incredibly rich punk’ image (Alice Dellal is his business partner, after all) the collection is so covetable it should be made illegal.

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I actually did have one moan – I tried on the ring above at the NEWGEN area at LFW and said, “Ooh, it’s very heavy” only to be told, “Well, that ring is mostly for editorial purposes”.  Does that mean that it’s not going into production?  Say it ain’t so Mr Jones.

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Fashion

I wish I was in London: Part eleventy million

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Photo by Gavin Watson

If you happen to be in London on the 29th of October, you could do much worse than to pop along to a party held by Vice in a super-secret venue to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martens.  Cheapy-cheap booze and free tickets, which sounds a damn sight better than my dad’s fiftieth. Click here to register for tickets.

On a side note, does anyone know why we call them Doc Martens and not ‘Doctor’ Martens?  This is the kind of unnecessary stuff that floats around my head on a Friday afternoon.

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Art, Fashion

LFW: I heart Jordan Askill

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Have you ever been blog-scooped?  You know, you sit down to write something, only to discover that one of your favourite blogs has written about it already (and, in fairness, much better)?  That happened to me last week, when I sat down to scrape some London Fashion Week photos out of my camera, only to discover that Style Bubble had done a frankly, epic post on Jordan Askill.

Askill is a Sydney native, exhibited as part of Newgen and specialises in intricately wrought jewellery that is hand-carved but drawn with the aid of computer programmes.  It’s this synthesis between past and present, traditional and technology, that has become the main point of focus in his work and, it has to be said, is nothing short of a breath of fresh air in a stuffy room of bling and intimidating knuckledusters.

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The above is from Askill’s current collection.  This cherub head pendant is roughly the size of your thumbnail, at most about the length of this line _______ (probably a little bit more if you have a high-res monitor.

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I was lucky enough to meet Askill in the Newgen tent and get some very nice compliments on the rings I was wearing.  Mercifully, I was too nervous to gush all over him (metaphorically, that is), but unfortunately not too nervous to mentally high five myself and impart on him a very long, boring story about the history of the rings and where I got each one and, and, and… I’m boring even myself now.  If you see this Jordan (and your lovely friend too), I am truly sorry.

Here are some slightly blurry close-ups of his S/S ’11 collection.  They do no justice to the craftsmanship and time taken to conceive such pieces.  It’s rare to see jewellery that displays and obvious concern with both concept and execution.  The term ‘high-concept’ really gets bandied about too often but in this case it’s true – the amount of care that goes into this is beyond the norm.  Once you hold of one these pieces in your hand you know you’re holding something precious and rare.  You’ll know that no-one is doing anything quite like Askill.

While this season is angelic, Askill has turned back to more primal influences for Spring/Summer with studies of tigers, bears and horses.  These are all derivations and meditations on a sculpture Askill did of 65 horses galloping in unison, which you can see in full on his website.  The sculpture is also fully incorporated into a series of harnesses (click on the Style Bubble post to see; I haven’t seen then anywhere else online).  The details is Amazing with a capital A, I can’t express it enough, and I come away from this post a tad uneasy as I feel like a haven’t done his work justice.  For once I can’t find the words.  Usually it’s too many words, which is also a problem.

You should probably go to his website and step into a new world (and do a bit of healthy coveting).

You could look at his JORDY diffusion line, which is a line of more accessible, but equally adorable rings and bangles.  Dibs on the hidden sapphire heart ring.

Mostly though, he just seems like a lovely person with an intelligent, artistic mind and a passion for innovation and craftsmanship.  If that doesn’t deserve to be supported, I don’t know what does.

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Fashion

Holly Fulton S/S ’11 at London Fashion Week

>Something I forgot to add to the litany of woes detailed in the previous post – I somehow managed to lose ALL of my LFW notes in a pub in Dublin while meeting some fellow bloggers.  D’oh *smacks head*.

Luckily, the lovely Lorna had my notebook, so I received it today.  Here it is in my slightly greasy, oily palm (I accidentally put my hand in some wood varnish today… don’t ask), complete with my list of LFW notes and all my careless scribblings, ready to be shaped and moulded into something coherent, which might not happen, because I am still whacked out on painkillers.

But perhaps being slightly stoned is no bad thing, especially when considering Holly Fulton’s collection.  Don’t get me wrong.  Hallucinogens are used in some religious ceremonies to commune with a higher power and her collection is operating on a higher plane. Or, to quote my favourite stoner Jeff Spicoli (Lebowski doesn’t even get a look in), “Awesome, totally awesome! All right, Hamilton!”

I was lucky enough to have a good sift through Fulton’s current season in The Topshop NEWGEN area and her stuff is amazing, appealing on a sensory level of colour and tactility that made me want to rip everything off the rails and sleep in a big ol’ pile of Swarovski-studded fur clutches, acetate collars and snakeskin shift dresses.  Spring/Summer is no different.

Fulton has stayed true to her Art Deco leanings and has firmly established an identity that would make anyone worth their fashion chops know one of her pieces from a hundred paces.  Yet her clothing doesn’t just look good in teeny catwalk pictures, it looks even better close up.

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Last season, she introduced fur trimmings and this season she has progressed yet again on the trimming front.  This looks like raffia or maybe hair (or more fur, even.  If you know what it is, please let me know) and it’s placed in a flirty way, horizontally across the hips, thighs and hem.  The lines of the clothing are very sixties resort, and remind me a bit of the film oldie Gidget, in which a oh-so-sassy teen goes to the beach with her family and learns to surf.

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Oh, perforated leather.  Has it ever been done so well?  I ended up spending minutes poring over the patterns of perfectly popped out circles on several Fulton garments, so much so that I thought that I was going into a trance.  The best thing about looking at these dresses close up is realising that the patterns that Fulton uses aren’t abstract at all but are very concrete things.  Last season it was the telephone that kept popping up in garments (a serious instrument of the technology and status obsessed 30’s Deco elite).  This season it’s the martini glass, as seen in the pic of the dress above, on the right.

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That’s not to say that there’s no progression in terms of design, because it’s evident that Fulton is thinking of what her next sartorial move might be – to stick or stray away from the Art Deco influence?  These dresses are beautiful, but remind me of the cartoonish motifs of JC de Castelbajac or the sparkly-sequinned goodness of Ashish, which is ironic when you consider that those two labels have pretty much stuck fast to the same design vision and ethos since Day 1.

What do you think of Ms Fulton?

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Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 23/09/10

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It’s commonly thought that the world of fashion is a closed shop. Or at least it was up until 2007 or so, when blogging started to gain a foothold in the hearts and minds of fashion PRs. Fashion houses started to realise that they could get reams of free publicity and add to their cachet of cool by sending off new items to bloggers, who would style, shoot and publicise their wares, totally gratis and with a minimum of effort for said fashion house.
Blogging has been a phenomenon that has shaped and democratised the world of fashion beyond all expectations. Now, fashion shows can be streamed online, literally bringing New York to your home (and you don’t even have to change out of your PJs, let alone try to figure out the complicated subway system).
One of the happier effects of the trickle-down effect of blog influence is the willingness to offer bloggers a coveted media pass to various events, the Big Daddy being a Fashion Week. There are four main fashion weeks, which take place consecutively, twice a year, in New York, London, Milan and Paris. Yours truly was lucky enough to snag a pass to London Fashion Week.
Five years ago, you would have had to wait until next March to see pictures taken the year before. Now it’s instant. The media is saturated. And yet, fashion is still a closed shop. By that I don’t mean that it’s elitist, or populated by superficial and shallow people (even though it is, to an extent). I mean that Fashion Week is literally like wandering around a shop where the tills are closed. You can touch, but you can’t buy.
A bit more explaining is necessary. London Fashion Week is a double-edged blade. The first blow is dealt by an endless litany of fashion shows that drug the mind with images of so many beautiful girls wearing beautiful clothes, all strutting through the mind’s eye (or conversely, if they fall over in eleven-inch heels, on the cover of The Sun).
The second blade, the fatal blow is the Exhibition. Stalls, manned in some cases by the designers themselves, are weighed down with luxury goods, which you are encouraged to poke, prod and take pictures of. Everything is beautiful and there are no distasteful things such as price tags to distract you from your aesthetic overload.  And yet, I felt as if I was window shopping. Every time a PR came over and asked if they could help, I would nervously trill, “Just looking!”, as if they were trying to foist a massive, unwise, financially crippling sale upon me and then scuttle away like a crab with a bad credit rating.
This would inevitably result in odd looks. After hearing too many of my protestations, one woman said to me, “We know you’re just looking. We’re all looking”.
It was humiliating at the time, but on reflection it makes sense. The Exhibition is a great leveller. From Vogue editor to blogger alike; in the closed shop of fashion, at least all of us are window shopping.
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