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Shortlist for BFC / GQ designer menswear fund 2014: Lou Dalton and Christopher Shannon on the rocks

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The British Fashion Council today announces the shortlist for the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund supported by Vertu.

Christopher Raeburn, Christopher Shannon, E. Tautz, Lou Dalton and Richard Nicoll are the happy few.

We’re really happy that Lou Dalton gets into this brilliant shortlist. Using roots, playing with history, we lover her inspiring way of doing menswear. Suits with stories, denims with culture: fashion a it should be.

Richard Nicoll (who’s also the new Jack Wills creative director) is not a newcomer: spotted several times before, multi-awarded, the designer keeps his skyrocketing pace in fashion, reinventing modernity, playing with hybrid influences, from street to preppy.

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“The shortlisted designers are testament to the extraordinary array of talent in the menswear industry in Britain right now. The current generation of British menswear designers might be the best ever, as they not only have creativity in abundance, but also a keen business sense. Our young designers know that without a solid business background, success can be tough, which is why it is so heartening to see such strong business plans from these shortlisted designers. I wish them all well.” Dylan Jones, Editor of British GQ and Chair of London Collections: Men

 

The Fund will provide one designer with a bespoke, high level mentoring support programme over a twelve month period, as well as a £150,000 grant to provide necessary infrastructure to take them to the next stage in their business and £50,000 value in kind services. The Fund is aimed at businesses that have been trading for a minimum of three years, with UK and international stockists and have graduated through the existing BFC talent support schemes or are at a similar stage in their business. The winner of the fund will be announced a week before London Collections: Men 15th – 17th June www.londoncollections.co.uk/men.

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The limits of Vogue and why Lily Allen question was right

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So yeah, fashion circus had another reason to get a grip this week. Alexandra Shulman was interviewed on BBC Radio 2, by guest presenter and singer Lily Allen.

And of course came the question about the size – of models that Vogue (and fashion magazines in general) cast on covers.

I was shocked by Alexandra Shulman’s answers; not because of the sort of business cynical attitude but because of the lack of understanding of her own business.

“People always say ‘why do you have thin models? That’s not what real people look like’ But nobody really wants to see a real person looking like a real person on the cover of Vogue (…) I think Vogue is a magazine that’s about fantasy to some extent and dreams, and an escape from real life. People don’t want to buy a magazine like Vogue to see what they see when they look in the mirror. They can do that for free.”

It’s a traditional answer from magazines that don’t want to change. But the argument is very strange: “thin” models would then generate more fantasy than other sorts of bodies? How about the dozens of actresses that are picked on Vogue’s covers? Are they all members of the thin-club. It’s also strange for a Vogue ambassador to put the responsibility on the readers: if Vogue was really THE trendsetter, THE institution, it should be able to generate change, impose new faces…and not lag…Maybe Vogue could have a look again to All Walks beyond the Catwalk that a lot of its own “Bible” editors supported?

It’s seriously misunderstanding the new usages of Vogue’s readership (average age: 33…). Let’s talk about Instagram. Instagram is all about reality and the fantasy of this reality: filters are new creative enablers. Starring people in their whole diversities, just made of more with these effects. Rising stars with very diverse bodies and styles generate more engagement than the full circulation of Vogue per month. Just to say.

I am a bit disappointed because Vogues does not surprize me anymore. Sparks of creativity are now very rare; we still find them when external contributors or new editors are scouted and are allowed to write few lines.

 

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Life is a beautiful sport with Lacoste #livebeautifully

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You know how much we love the new Lacoste. The iconic French brand is slightly becoming a cultural movement, diving into subcultures and niche inspirations. You can have a look at our last collaboration with them, featuring the famous Lacoste polo. We've been asked to promote their last video called "Life is a beautiful sport", but we've sincerely been moved by the simplicity of the story. Enjoy now:


 

Directed by Seb Edwards and produced by Wanda (I used to work with them ages ago!) and BETC France. the film is much more than a tagline, it’s a new promise from Lacoste that establishes its founding values. Lacoste’s founder, Rene Lacoste considered sport as a proof of tenacity, engagement and panache. The video shows an epic story of a first kiss and of a man overcoming his fears to show a woman he loves her… Discover yourself here.

What's even better is that instead of focusing on nostalgia, Lacoste makes a celebration of the NOW. That's good because  Lacoste can then become our preferred baggage instead of focusing on its past. Exciting

The film displays a wonderful tribute to everyday unexpected encounters: the mights and magics of people falling in love, the transformation of a street which suddenly becomes a theatre for extraordinary  random people.

In that case, “Life is a beautiful sport”

 

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Adidas Skateboarding Copa Jersey: cultural preparation for World Cup in Brazil

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That’s another genius move by Adidas; few months before World Cup (yes, THE World Cup), the brand decided to engage skateboarders all over the planet. The guys wear a Skate Copa jersey which matches local deck brands. And it rocks.

Benny Fairfax with Palace for England, Lucas Puig with Cliché for France, Mark Gonzales with Krooked for the USA, Raul Navarro with Western Edition for Spain, Rodrigo TX with DGK for Brazil and Lem Villemin with Cliché for Germany.

It’s pretty smart for Adidas as “soccer” (yes, in the US, you guys call it SOCCER, come on :p ) is not yet #1 sport in the US whereas skateboard is a massive business. It’s also very original as it creates strong ties between universes that use to not communicate. Things have changed with street football performers but still…

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Brooklyn We Go Hard (BWGH) Hermosa Spring/Summer 14 collection

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We’ve been following BWGH for few months now; launched in 2010, the brand provides a very dense cultural universe, thanks to its young photographers crew, the multiplication of great collaborations and the publication of bi-yearly magazines. With Hermosa, the Parisian duet David Obadia and Nelson Hassan dive into a positive nostalgia, taking back the codes of surfers and riders of the 70s. As explained, the “surfographers” were born on a beach called HermosaThe fabrics come from Japan, Scotland and Italy. Wearing BWGH is already a journey.

 

 

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SIMONGAO: “It’s all about confidence, all about the language you want to tell to people”

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Chinese designer Simon Gao was definitely one of the biggest sensations this year at London Fashion Week AW14. The show was packed and it was trending in social networks. SIMONGAO won the Mercedes-Benz China Young Fashion Award, 2013, which is one of the reasons why we had a chance to attend his show in London.

His collection shows a very “zen” attitude: colors are mostly playing with shades of greys, whites and blacks, with blue or brown fantasies. SIMONGAO played in a very subtle way with materials: draping and folding embrace dresses; belts and accessories might refer to a modern Geisha; this oriental inheritance matches with contemporary “street” influences we can see in London or NYC: models were walking with New Balance sneakers.

“I’ve done some research for different civilizations. I mixed them together to make Urban Chic.”

It was basically the best of Opening Ceremony machine without a too aggressive fuss: Beyoncé was not in the air (vs all the other shows I’ve attended) and Simon Gao was suggesting a more balanced vision of “women”.

“I want SIMONGAO girls to do sports, to experience different lives, to meet different cultures, to eat different foods, and run an optimistic attitude for life. It’s all about confidence, all about the language you want to tell to people.”

We had a chance to catch up backstage with the rising talent; discover more about Simon Gao now:

 

Film by Flavie Trichet Lespagnol
Photos by Lilzeon

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Shopping Trends for Spring with Jules B: Go All Yoncé

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We can’t say we have not been swept away by Queen Bey’s latest releases. From Drunk in Love through Yoncé to the Partition video, we have been in awe of the feminine statement she puts out there. And it inspired us this quite strong hip hop inspired look shopped at Jules B, a cool store carrying some of the most trendy contemporary brands. Bear with us and get sophisticatedly nasty.

Start with this rare pick and the best deal we’ve seen so far this week. A Carven jacquard dress, with a slight animalistic trait (leopard inspired). The oversize bow hanging above cleavage is the killer detail.

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Make it city-wise, tame the beast with a very sharp sports jacket by Helmut Lang. When Kanye styles up Kim, she looks better, now trust us. We’re Kimyeing you up if you feel up to it. This jacket is safe but singular: gloss is the new bling.

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Touch it up with your street cred insurance: an Alexander Wang white IT-Bag. Pebbles on the bottom, start there and now you’re here (says Drake).

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Now the shoes and the street is yours. But hear this. Our wags love when we shop for them, but we have failed with shoe choices on a couple occasions lately so this is it. We’re a bit shy on it for a while. But you can shop great styles like this one. To go Yoncé or not. Love yo!

Post written in collaboration with Jules B.

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Shopping trends for Spring with REPERTOIRE: undergrounge and Steve McQueen

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So the fashion weeks are about to be over. As it’s always good to envision what’s going to happen at the end of the year, it’s even better to be able to shop what is now available.

Here’s a shopping bag we’ve conceived with Repertoire, a cool independent retailer who opened its first stores over 15 years ago in Southern England.

Barbour is on track with few pieces, that are tributes to Steve McQueen; he entered The Greenhorn Enduro, a rigorous 500-mile motorcycle race across California’s challenging mountains and blisteringly hot Mojave desert, in 1963. The new new man (read GQ brilliant debate) is in need of icons; deeper characters seem to be the new hype. And we’re happy with that

Patrizia Pepe is a an Italian brand founded in 1993. You don’t necessarily find it easily in the UK whereas the positioning and materials are great. With their new “Undergrounge” project, we bet that you’re  going to pay attention to this chic brand.

We like this scarf that you can find on Repertoire. A great accessory which will add a tremendous effect to your favorite knitwear.

Post written in collaboration with Repertoire.

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London Fashion Week AW14 – Under the Spotlight

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It’s the fashion event that you must pencil into your calendar – of course it’s London Fashion Week. From Somerset House to Kensington Gardens, the streets were filled with fashion bloggers, journalists, socialites and the press who were all fortunate enough to get the first peek at the latest collections – I happened to be one of those lucky few!

On Monday, I set off to the beautiful Somerset House and saw the latest line by M&S who are aiming to bring out the ‘Best of British’. The scene was a simple, minimalist background with a ladder, chair and desk – an unusual set, but it did bring out the best of its 60’s-esque bold coloured swing coats and shift dresses.

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I later went to a dim lit, carpeted car park behind Selfridges to see the latest line by Erdem, which was my favourite of the day. Erdem illustrated a mix of contrasting textures such as patent leather on crochet with subdued splashes of gold, grey and scarlet. To put it simply like The Fash Pack have quoted, it was ‘the type of collection that dreams are made of.’  With a revamped version of Heart of Glass by Blondie, the scene was buzzing with an edgy femininity. Simply amazing.

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With the spotlights shining on their scraped-back hair, David Koma was the final show of the day. His collection highlighted bold purples and dark greys, with the clothes structured in sharp cuts and finishes. Again, it was a very minimalist, bright lighted scene to emphasise what Koma had to display.

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There is nothing quite like being a part of the camera flashes and loud voices. David Koma and M&S both displayed lovely collections, but the aura was exactly how I imagined a fashion show to be, therefore I wasn’t taken aback. However, Erdem was the stand-out as its unpretentious setting was revamped into an electrifying setting – it was just a shame that it was over so quickly.

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TOPSHOP Unique AW14: the tomboy wanting to be pretty

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Oops, Topshop did it again. Yesterday, the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall was hosting another interesting performance of the 50 years old brand. And the design of the show is very similar to the essence of TOPSHOP: few rows downstairs with happy few (including me haha) and upstairs, a crowd of fans with smartphones ready to shoot, basically on a bridge.

The collection is going to work: a mix of tailoring fabrics and mohair; a lot of street influence (MIA was attending the show) and less an attempt to copy big designers (last year, some observers mentioned the fact that the catwalk presented a collection which was not really what Topshop is about: this year, this “mistake” is not here). Tattoo motifs try to challenge flowers; and the quality of materials is definitely here.

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The soundtrack was all about female power. Beyoncé’s very own who runs the world? GIRLS  was of course buzzing (as usual). As Topshop declared, this season is all about the girl (…) the soft girl wanting to be tough, the tomboy wanting to be pretty.

Oversize clothes were not the only originality: more formal suits were in the show but with a twist of blueish motifs.

 

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