Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beautifully Banal

Artist Christian Robert-Tissot. image from his online portfolio.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mental as Anything

After recently having my first full-blown critique of my collection-in-progress I recieved one main piece of advice from all present- "Go Mental". Everything needs to be bigger, more intense, more ruined, more everything just more MENTAL. This is amazing to hear (as was pointed out to me, once I get into the real world I'll never hear those words again) but also an incredibly scary at the same time. People don't just go crazy with design because it's so hard to do well- there is a fine line between an insane mess of fashion and just a big old mess. Those who do manage to do it well are few and far between.

That said, if there's one time to try insanity it's now, so in that spirit have a look at The Books kooky film clip for Cold Freezin Night. The best part about this song is that the samples of kids voices saying these outrageous things came off "Talkboy" cassette tapes that the band found in second-hand stores. Talkboys are childrens tape recorders, letting them record whatever their heart desires, including sibling fights and death threats. For more background on the song (like how they got that hectic percussion in the background) and the rest of the album check out The Books daily blog.

the Books - A Cold Freezin' Night from Paul de Jong / Nick Zammuto on Vimeo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Delinquent Children

An array of clashing checks, waistcoat jumpsuits and punk style t-shirts greet the visitor to A Child of the Jago, the conceptual retail brainchild of Joseph Corre (the man behind Agent Provocateur) and Simon "Barnzley" Armitage. They describe the label as "a child of the street. The destitute and illegitimate progeny of a hopelessly rundown environment". To be honest I didn't really get that feeling when I first entered the store, but perhaps it was something to do with the fact that it only sold menswear so I was wrong-footed from the start. In fact it wasn't until I was about to leave that a gentleman in suspenders, a top hat and a single leather driving glove recommended I visit the downstairs area.

What I found down there was a veritable Victorian dungeon of delights, complete with dim lighting and a slightly musty smell. My eyes slowly grew accustomed to the gloom, revealing a mad mix of antique furniture, clothing and other random objects with no discernable use.

Metal rails hidden in bare brick nooks proffered patched-up french cavalry uniforms and Edwardian nightdresses. A faded british flag poked out from a plumage of ostrich feathers and Dickensian top hats. Three battered helmets sat atop an old radiator, and while I peered through one of the racks I was entirely surprised by the fact that behind the clothes there was yet another hidden room, almost entirely in darkness yet I could make out a torn chaise lounge covered in a victorian ball gown and an indeterminate number of muddy army boots.

A lamp constructed out of a Hells Angels prosthetic leg.

So often these concept stores come across too contrived, too insincere or too precious. A Child of the Jago was none of these things. The store had an amazing atmosphere but also had the goods to back it up (legitimate antiques rather than the junk which passes for vintage these days) which makes all the difference in terms of authenticity. I know some John Galliano disciples who would die to see this so if you're lucky enough to live in London, go visit it now, and if not do the next best thing and check out the website.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

East London Scene

Amazing colours and I loved the fact that the sign says "STEEL TOE BOOTS. No More. No Less."

Friday, July 16, 2010

What Would Martin Margiela Do?

This is a question I sometimes like to ask myself if I come across a particularly difficult design problem. The answer is always, undoubtably, "something amazing".

I was lucky enough to visit to the Maison Martin Margiela '20' exhibition in Somerset House a couple of weeks ago. As an exhibition I was really struck at how it completely and utterly reflected the foundations of the brand. It was organised around sections devoted to trompe l'oeil, paint, destruction, silhouette and re-invention, all of which are signature design tools of the house. However, these elements also controlled the way the pieces were exhibited- canvas sheets with large empty hallways printed on them provided a doorway for visitors, who walked through to the see the real hallway and the exhibits. Another room was strewn with white confetti and large furniture draped in white cotton which faced three walls covered in television screens, all different sizes, shapes and from different eras. In the middle of the next room are some leftover bags of confetti.

The most fashionable caravan I've ever seen.

Garments from the XXXL collection, including the mannequin used in their development.

XXXL Accessories.

Plans for the development of each Margiela store- paint chips, interior sketches and notes.

It comes across as a mis-matched celebration of imperfection which Margiela has become known for. Just as Margiela rejects the impenetrability of the "fashion house" and brings the construction and flaws of a garment to the fore, the exhibition is self-referencing (there is a life-size foam cut-out of everyone involved in it's creation) and highlights the behind-the-scenes of the house. So instead of it being an exhibition about Maison Martin Margiela, you get the feeling that they've constructed a part of the Maison in London and we're just allowed to wander through it for a while. Which is exactly how it should be.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Taking Inventory

While in London I was fortunate enough to meet two of the guys behind the amazing Inventory magazine. Word on the street is Rei Kawakubo herself has it express posted to her as soon as it's released. Not bad after only two issues.

Inventory has an extremely focused aesthetic which is perhaps why they've found such a cult following so quickly. Mix classic, relaxed menswear with quirky streetstyle sensibilities and watch the magic happen. Flicking through the online features I also found this piece on the new collection for Japanese brand Visvim (see below), which a friend told me about recently (what did I say a few weeks ago? No man is an island indeed...). Read about it here. All images by Ryan Willms of Inventory.

The magazine itself is available through Incu in Sydney and Melbourne, or check out the website.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ahem... Excuse Me...

...for my absence these past few weeks. I was lucky enough to be set loose in London and was rather too busy enjoying everything that amazing city has to offer to find time to sit myself in front of a computer. That said, I have now discovered a whole load more inspiration to share so stay tuned!

Being London, creativity turned up in the most unexpected places, such as this Strawberry Shortcake wallpaper lining the bathroom walls in The Breakfast Club cafe in Hoxton. Love it!