31.3.11

MAKE PANDAS, MAKE LOVE... NOT WAR

This was made by a new comedian that I saw last night. It was Paul Sweeney’s first hour-long show… a hilarious combination of acoustic guitar, soprano comedy singing and tickle-your-funny-bones stories about finding the perfect woman. He also has an impressive quiff. One to watch…? (and watch this vid—poor panda, funny film).




29.3.11

FROM CHILD'S PLAY TO PLAYBOY

London, get ready for the return of the original Playboy and his floppy-eared females.  Having been closed since 1981 (much to the delight of many feminists) Hugh Hefner is re-opening his exclusive ‘fun club’ in London’s Mayfair at the beginning of June. Spread over two floors, the club will include a cocktail bar, a casino, a restaurant and a myriad of bunnies.  


Looking at the cinematic imagery from the 60’ and 70’s, I don’t think they will be able to—nor should they try to—recreate the old aura or style, and I’m not sure how often the likes of Sir Michael Caine or Jack Nicholson will be frequenting the new place. But there's one thing I am sure of, it will be a rabbit hatch full of fun!


26.3.11

DREAM HOUSE?

My inner child is gutted I didn't live in this house growing up...


House designed in Nakameguro by Level Architects
Photos by Shinichi Tanaka / Level Architects


BRANDS, BANDS, ARTISTS AND SOME QUITE LOVELY PACKAGING

So you’re a brand and your product is fairly nice, but it isn’t something that gets itself onto that ‘I must own that product’ list. So what do you do? One option to is to collaborate with somebody who can inject some creativity, desirability and some just-plain-beautifulness into your product.

Obviously it isn’t as simple as that, and the artist, designer or musician a brand partners with has to fit; emotionally and aesthetically. But when it works, there can be magnificent results. Two faves are:

1. San Pellegrino and Missoni; a very clever combination of Missoni's stripes and Pellegrino's iconic and elegant glass label design; even as a brand consultant you can be fooled into thinking that San Pellegrino is all the more about sophisticated, Italian design
2. Coca-Cola and Matthew Williamson; three stunning glass bottle designs that still sell on Ebay for surprising amounts (well done Exposure!)

Here are some others that we like:


HOLEY MOLEY ME OH MY...

As we walked into the Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros gig at The Old Vic Tunnels, the first thing we were greeted by was a strangely dressed lady welcoming us to Mars. So things had started as they were meant to go on. This was much more than a gig—acrobats and dancers were hanging from the ceiling, and eerily moving from one room to next. A giant sun shone from one end of the venue, and a giant moon from the other. And just to make it all a little bit more weird… there was a ‘Wild West’ theme thrown into the Mars mix—so we were ordering drinks from a ‘saloon bar’ in the Old Vic Tunnels (naturally).


The Magnetic Zeros came on stage a few hours after we arrived—and they were amazing! Alex Ebert rocking his Jesus-like presence very nicely, and Jade Castrinos looking crazily, endearingly so happy, she was almost oblivious to anyone else in the room. Ending on ‘Home’, this definitely goes into my top 5 gigs of all time.


I’m hoping that there are more and more of these ‘more than just music’ gigs – bringing art, dance, music and film all under one roof seems like a very cool way for people to experience something different.






1.3.11

THE CD MAY BE DYING, BUT...

I’m really interested in where we are heading with music experiences. MP3s, MP4s, pod-casts, free-downloads, YouTube and many other digital music touchpoints means the CD has been on its way out for some time. But vinyl sales are on the rise… people can’t get enough of them. Why? To me, it seems to be for two reasons: Firstly, DJs and music-makers know that by making their album in vinyl, they’re still pretty special (anyone can make a MP3, no?). Secondly, like it or not, we are living in a world (well, us Londoners are) where we drool at the sight of anything that reminds us of a time where things were simpler, things that are old-school and low-fi. There’s nothing quite like a playing a vinyl record is there? And how can we forget about what turns a musical experience into a beautiful thing? Album covers—and there’s no better way to give them the pride of place that the best deserve, than on a vinyl sleeve. So in ode to that, here are some of my favourite album covers: some old, some new, some big, some small.




BURBERRY PRORSUM LIVE

Monday 21st February 2011, Piccadilly Circus, London

Experientially, the live show was interesting to witness and fun to be a part of, but not exemplary. The lack of music was deafening; and as can be expected with technology, there were sticky moments where models froze but overall, the F/W collection held its own amongst the big-buck Piccadilly ads.

Christopher Bailey’s coat heavy collection was rich and colourful, starting with block colour with military timings, tartan and ending with monochrome. Although totally different to his previous collection, his experimentation with silhouette and shape still had Burberry written all over it and the clothing was distinctive and desirable, I just wish there were more of it!







For more on Burberry see Fashion, Time & Technology

WE HEART HEDI SLIMANE

Beautiful, beautiful, black and white photography. Capturing a moment in time. A selection of some of our faves.





SWEET JESUS

Ok. Men might be smartening up. Dandyism is going to be big. But that hasn’t stopped me from noticing how many men are starting to look like JESUS these days?! This is a good thing from my perspective (and I’m not talking about anything religious). Long Live the beard, Long Live men wearing dishevelled clothes, Long Live men with long hair that needs a good brush.


EL GUINCHO, BOMBAY


A delightfully quirky, sexually charged vid that “explores the cosmos in the ship of the imagination.” Beautifully eclectic.



Directed by Nicolás Méndez

MAN ABOUT TOWN


Calling all Grandfathers… lock away your old school shaving kits, cravats and Brylcreem, there is a new wave of gentlemen in town. In major cities across the Western world we are witnessing the revival of the gentleMAN; a refined, dandy chap who is merging his youth with grandfatherly elegance and timeless male values.

Influenced by Madmen or not, these guys are embracing a more traditional, sartorial style of dress, ditching their Braun’s for a masculine beard or a trip to a traditional barbershop.


Images right to left: Style images from The Sartorialist | Gum, Contemporary Barbershop New York | Barber & Brooks, Stockholm

Brands and retailers are already all over this trend. Murdock’s recently opened its second of three barbershops in Liberty and Ted Baker has opened ‘Ted’s Grooming Rooms’. Old Spice and French Connection are also on board, waving goodbye to the metrosexual male of the last decade and celebrating the real men of today.


THE UNION CHAPEL, ISLINGTON

I’d never been to the Union Chapel in Islington until 2 weeks ago, and then went twice in as many weeks. First, I was there for 5x15. 5x15 is based on a beautifully simple concept: an eclectic mix of speakers from all walks of life speak to an audience (not so eclectic, it was in Islington after all), for 15 minutes each. The evening’s speakers included Janet Street-Porter, Judith Kerr and Amy Chau, who talked about everything from pyramid-shaped food, to parenting Chinese-style. It was a great experience, but as you would expect, pretty sober.
What then, would a gig be like when I come back next week? Which brings me onto my second trip to The Union Chapel. (Naively), I was imaging something quite different to the week before: I thought the candles and listeners sitting in pews might be replaced by an at-least standing semi-raucous crowd. But the candles were still there, and the listeners were still sitting. Alexander Ebert supported The Bees, and both were amazing. Could this be a new way of listening to music? Probably not. But you should get yourself down there for a gig anyway.




BEAUTIFUL BASICS

DESTINATION UNKNOWN


FASHION, TIME & TECHNOLOGY

It’s official; the fashion industry has finally caught up with the rest of the world on the technology front, using new technologies and moving image to bring clothes to life beyond the static. New interactive and motion-based methods of display are definitely making the industry more exciting but depending on which side of the creative, commercial fence you sit, it’s hard to decide whether the negatives outweigh the positives.

Various houses and high street brands are experimenting with technology to better communicate collections. Richard Nicoll presented each of Cerruti’s SS11 looks in static form and on an iPad to encourage interaction whilst in Paris, H&M have replaced their generic poster campaigns with floor to ceiling LED screens.


 
It has to be said, one of the great benefits of technology and fashion coming together is movement. After all, clothes are made for the body so unsurprisingly they look best in motion. SHOWstudio and Nick Knight have been creating beautifully conceptual fashion films for years and we are now seeing this medium trickle into the mainstream. The big boys are slowly joining the fashion film massive!  Below is an interesting example of an interactive film (use the keys to control the film) from SHOWstudio.  It’s not the most beautiful film but definitely proves that moving image & sound can be so much more impactful than stills.


As engaging as film is, designer are going way beyond producing simple films to communicate a collection. Over 40 designers are streaming shows and backstage content live across the world during the fashion period, and Burberry have gone one step further with their Retail Theatre, a forum where you can not only view the collection as it glides down the runway, but also buy it on the spot and receive your order within 7 weeks.  This new immediacy is revolutionary for the industry however it’s undeniable that it dispels the mystic, magic and anticipation of the traditional fashion cycle.

Naturally some designers (most famously Tom Ford) have revolted against live streaming and interactivity.  Ford chose to show his SS11 collection to an intimate crowd at a private location, only unveiling it three months later.  It’s clear that Ford very much believes in the reveal, he ‘doesn’t understand why everyone needs to see the collection online the day after the show’ however its going to take more than Mr Ford alone to hold off hyperseasonal selling (straight off the catwalk into the shops) with the likes of Net-s-Porter and Burberry racing ahead.