Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sunday Girl for a Wednesday Morning

This morning Kristin The Clothes Whisperer posted a link on Facebook to the above music video, the latest by a new pop-star in the making, Sunday Girl. Known to her friends as Jade Williams, it seems this bright young thing has a fashionista background, having worked with Kristin at Grazia magazine. OK, so that is probably the reason for the Olivia Palermo-esque styling and the slightly rah hair, but it certainly doesn't account for the sweetly-but-no-quite-innocent voice or the excellent videos (considering she designs and produces them herself!). Her latest song is called Stop Hey (above), but she has also released covers of singles by the likes of MGMT, Ke$ha and (my favourite) 80s power-ballad legend Laura Branigan.  As one commenter on Youtube wrote: "never have I heard the lyrics 'I’ll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars' sound so wholesome." And it seems, as usual, that I am well behind in my musical discoveries, since Jade has already been featured on Popjustice.  I am looking forward to seeing what she will be able to produce once now that she has the full backing of a record label...


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Saints and Sinners

J W Anderson is a Northern Irish designer I have been following for quite a while now and who has been showing his menswear on the LFW catwalks since 2007 (and has more recently branched out into gear for the girls).  I find his darkly grunge/punk fusion of 90s styles with slightly more futuristic, maximalist looks very attractive, and he fits right into the London fashion landscape along with menswear contemporaries like Katie Eary and James Long, or womenswear designer Louise Gray.  His très cool combinations of tartan, embellishment, print and metallic hardware have attracted stockists such as the quintessentially London department-store Liberty or the up-and-coming Young British Designers site, and have led to a successful collaboration with Topman.  I have been coveting this synthetic ivory ring from his Autumn/Winter collection for a few months now online, but decided it was only sensible to try it on before I loosened the purse strings (oh who am I kidding, they were only hanging together by a thread anyway!).  And so somehow I found myself in Liberty's jewellery room, slipping this bad boy onto my finger, and moments later I was happily skipping out of the store, that iconic purple bag swinging from my hand...

For those of you know me - no comments on whether I should have gone for the SINNER option instead!


Monday, 25 October 2010

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion

This weekend, Anna and I went along with Theo Peterson and Ben Freeman to see the new Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion exhibition at the Barbican Centre - a large display of designs on loan from the Kyoto Costume Institute's famous collection.  I had read about the exhibit in this article written by Colin McDowell for Phaidon, and since I am currently enjoying working my way through his Fashion Today, I thought his recommendation should be heeded.  Unfortunately, photography was not allowed inside the exhibition, so I guess my paltry descriptions will have to suffice if you can't make it down there before it closes in February (I've borrowed the SS 2011 runway photos used here for illustrative purposes from  The collection is split over two floors into cubicles delineated with pristine white sheets, and covers early works from the 80s and 90s on the lower floor with more recent collections upstairs.

Comme des Garcons (Rei Kawakubo)

Issey Miyake (Dai Fujiwara)

Being only well-versed (ha!) in the recent history of contemporary western fashion, I was hoping I would find my trip educational, and it certainly was!  Over the course of the tour, I learned about the development of modern Japanese design and its transmission to the West through the early pioneers of Rei Kawakubo at Comme des Garcons, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto.  Of course, I am familiar with these brands, but I had no idea how long they have existed, or what influence they have had on my personal style of dress.  For example, it seems that Rei and Yohji were almost single-handedly responsible for the (re-)introduction of black into the western wardrobe during the 80s, now a fashion staple and certainly the most prominent colour in my closet at the moment...  I was also surprised at how wearable some of the early collections were, especially at Comme, where draped and folded fabrics almost complemented the female form (quite shocking considering some of the distorted volumes and ragged fabrics I have got used to seeing around Dover Street Market).  As Ben suggested, they would look wonderfully striking on someone statuesque like Tilda Swinton (just like these covers she did for AnOther).  Seeing these earlier pieces, and reading about the Japanese design concepts of wabi sabi (finding beauty in imperfection, impermanence and modesty) and ma (negative space), has helped me to understand where current collections originate and allowed me to see greater beauty where before there was just disarray, or even ugliness.

Yohji Yamamoto

Undercover (Jun Takahashi)

Upstairs, along with more designs by the old guard, we found pieces by the new generation of Japanese artists like Junya Watanabe and Tao Kurihara (who both work under the Comme umbrella), Jun Takahashi of Undercover, and others such as Fumito Ganryu, Matohu, Akira Naka and Mintdesigns.  These brands, although all very different, still retain common ideas.  For example, the use of constantly innovative fabrics seems to be very important: Issey Miyake and the current creative director, Dai Fujiwara, have made origami-inspired fold-up dresses out of PET for the Pleats Please brand, or fashioned entire outfits from giant knitted tubes; Rei Kawakubo has turned overstuffed duvets into hunchbacked gowns; Jun Takahashi has wrapped his models in mylar suits like futuristic space women.  These new materials give the clothes an understated exclusivity - they are not obviously expensive and you really need to be 'in the know' to want or understand them.  This fits in with the Japanese design aesthetic being much more cerebral, as I see it, and artistically rather than commercially focused.

Tao (Tao Kurihara)

Junya Watanabe

Oh, and if the fabulous artworks on show won't encouraged you to pop by, then I would strongly recommend it just to see the shop alone!  A unique collection (in London, at least) of CdG perfumes, Japanese style books, accessories and even a copy of Eley Kishimoto's WERK No 17.  I couldn't resist getting myself a little bottle of the CdG Incense Avignon perfume (which smells exactly like the inside of a fusty old church, mmm) and this cheap-n-cheerful printed ring.


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Bubo the Golden Owl

How did I not know about this owl?!  Many thanks to Glenn Belverio for bringing this to my attention


Swarovski Elements turns towards the East

After the Henry Holland launch on Tuesday night, Anna and I headed a few blocks further North to the Swarovski store opposite Liberty, where a queue of fabulously over-the-top Middle Eastern women seemed to be forming.  We believed we were heading for a private view of the recent designer collaborations making use of Swarovski Elements (we went to a similar event last year), but it turned out this was actually a celebration of the brand's use in the production of more Arabic-friendly garments, including headscarves and limb-covering all-in-ones.  The store was decorated like a glitzy harem, bedecked with shimmering white veils and photographs of über rich Middle Eastern ladies posing in their designer scarves and sunglasses.  It looked like we had stepped onto the set of Sex And The City 2.  I must say, the catering for this party was absolutely wonderful, especially since we had been so let down by the lack of fondue at Beyond The Valley.  Waiters brought us spoonfuls of spiced lamb, prawn samosas and grilled fish enjoyed by Anna, while for my tastes they offered citrus haloumi, falafel and delicious aubergine bites.  Endless quantities of champagne and alcohol-free lychee cocktails were served in silver champagne flutes.  It certainly was fun to experience the glamour of somewhere like Dubai without the need for the long-haul flight.  Other guests included Elizabeth Emanuel (designer of Princess Di's wedding frock) and the socialite illustrator, Daisy de Villeneuve.  The fashion was not quite what we had had in mind, but it was still a great night out...


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

House of Holland/Roxy Heart launch at Beyond The Valley

Last night I made the trek into town after work for two parties, the first of which was to celebrate the launch of Roxy Heart's (aka Quiksilver) latest collaboration with the Henry's House of Holland (they have also worked with other designers like Cynthia Rowley) at Beyond The Valley, just off Carnaby Street.  The HOH collection supposedly focused on skiwear, although what I saw mainly consisted of cardis, dresses, tops, and a puffy jacket that doesn't look like it would be suitable for sub-zero temperatures.  There was also a pretty hideous logo dress (I saved the photo for the end of this post...), although Henry's pop-art heart designs did work on some pieces.  You can probably guess from my tone that I wasn't particularly bowled over by what I saw. 

The party was fun though, involving mulled wine (there were rumours there was going to be fondue, although none was spotted) and DJing from the ever-fabulous Jodie Harsh.  The contrast between the bitter cold outside - it's officially winter, folks! - and the searing heat inside led to some pretty sweaty fashionista faces.  Good thing Alex from Alex Loves shielded hers from my photographic lens with a large black hat!  Anna and I decided to leave early to move on to a classier affair where the heating wasn't turned up quite so high.

Oh, and as far as I could see, Henry was a no-show.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Frieze Art Fair: Videos

That's right, I was even inspired to record some moving images at London's Frieze Art Fair.  Except I forgot my Flip at home, so these were snapped on the old iPhone, hence the crappy picture quality...


Monday, 18 October 2010

Highlights from the Frieze Art Fair

This weekend I had the chance to visit the Frieze Art Fair thanks to Liberty department store who wonderfully sent me a pair of tickets. I took the chance to catch up with my school friend Eve, who works for Q and Mojo magazines among others, and has recently found out she is moving to the très glamorous St John's Wood area (jealous!). I also bumped into Meera and Chris, and the fabulous Alex from Alex Loves. The Frieze is actually huuuge (although to be honest, a lot of it is crap) so I didn't really pay attention to all the artists' names when I was wandering around... Here I bring you a photographic display of my favourite items, sans captions.  If you know who the artist is, do let me know :) Anyway, who couldn't resist snapping a vomiting teddy-bear? Or a grapefruit on a giant wooden stick? Alien figures caballing in a park? Silver bunnies? A WALL OF VALIUM?? I could go on. Enjoy...