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New Glamour In Your Life_

I came across these the other day, a series of photographs of Chanel packaging and cosmetic campaigns from the 20s through 50s. With Peter Phillips’ animation of Chanel cosmetics hot off zee press it seems quite timely to go back to the original Design Classics.

More so tan (sic) the clothes the graphic identity of Chanel never seems to date. Drool.

 

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A while back I did a couple of posts that thinly disguised my hatred for the PLAGUE OF PLAID that had infested menswear. OK, that sounds a bit pompous and high-fallutin’. I still stand firm. Well, sort off… I’ve been drawn as of late to the geometrically patterned chemise but I’m leaning towards gingham as opposed to plaid. Thus, I don’t feel such a hypocrite.

Its that slight feeling of spring in the air that gets one thinking about the summer ahead — lovely rumpled shirts, sleeves rolled up past elbow, collar undone in a lopsided fashion. I do give good shirt, I must say. So its rather worrying that I live so close FRENCH TROTTERS on rue Vielle du Temple. Its one of those little local shops that has been garnering a lot of interest in magazines such as Monocle. Cool, lifestyle-y and low-key. A shop for men. No loud music. Something cool and hum-inducing on the sound system. But not too cool. Cute assistants – eye candy a prerequisite to a good shop session; oils up an otherwise reluctant carte bleue. Its pretty much all a guy needs in one space.

They stock brands such as Oliver Spencer, Margaret Howell, ACNE, A.P.C., Universal Works and Visvim. Great menswear staples. Good selection of accessories and shoes. Sweet little nothings like The Hill Side squared-off neckties — these really do perk up a “Look”. And luxe perfume brand Byredo. Smell Bal d’Afrique or Gipsy Water and DIE. So you see why this is so disconcerting. I don’t shop much and when I do I’m quick and precise. Go in for the kill. I never try anything on. I just need to check the lengths of sleeves –I’m over 6ft tall. And the width of shirts and jackets — my fondess for a tipple or two has left me, shall we say, portly, round the abdominal region. Hey ho, I’ll die satisfied, I guess!

image: The Selby

Anyway, back to plaid, sorry, gingham. I’ve always loved chef’s whites. I like all things culinary, really. But CHEFS ARE COOL. The slouchy trews, the aprons, white shirts. Its a utilitarian look that’s soft around the edges. Perfect. And this summer I’m drawn toward pattern. Not stripes. Bit off those. And definitely not Plaid. But gingham… Its simplicity and monochromatic nature make it such a winner. And not too micro, either.  2cm squares are about the right proportion. Present but not in your face. I’m gonna be rocking a few of those come summer. The blue and white Oliver Spencer  just bristles with the promise of a great summer to come. What fun we shall have, my dear, what fun.

image: Garance Dore


image: The Sartorialist

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WWW:FRENCHTROTTERS.FR

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

If you’ve been down Hoxton Street  [quickly becoming the new Redchurch Street — more on that later]  then you’ve probably seen her. Dark hair, zingy, colour-loaded outfits usually including at least one  shade of neon, accessorised with a smile and sometimes her infectious laughter.

Shiba Huizer always makes me smile. We got to know each other whilst I helped my friend set up his shop, The Willow, last year.

Shiba also, always, carries her big camera around with her. At first I thought she was some sort of street style blogger. It turns out that she was in fact completing her final year as a Masters photography student at University of Arts London. Shiba is also Dutch. That could explain her fondness for florals!

Anyway, she just facebooked me about winning the Best in Class Award at her graduation show and the images you see here are proof that Ms Huizer is a name we’ll be hearing more of in the future. A lot more.

These images were shot in the Caribbean and they just blow me away. You could draw comparisons with fellow Dutchwoman Viviane Sassen’s “FLAMBOYA” series but I think that would be selling Ms Huizer short. Similar subject matter, yes, but  what I get from Shiba’s work is a distinct sensuality and a wry eye. There’s a sense of campy fun no doubt  but her approach to colour, light and the grace of her subjects makes the images warm and just a pleasure to look at. Well done Shiba! Love it.


www.showtimearts.co.uk


 

I’m sure I’ve raised a few looks recently as I snapped away at pavements. For some reason I’m turned on by plastic. Not in a sexual, deviant kind of way! Nothing wrong with that, mind you… Inspiration can come from anywhere but I’m not even sure that I’m inspired by these images. Intrigued may be a better word.

There’s something about the texture and shapes of these discarded bunches of plastic and industrial wrapping that have drawn me as of late. There’s been a lot of synthetic around recently. Balenciaga’s last two collections have really pushed the idea. And let’s not forget the weird Noah’s Ark goes to Shanghai Louis Vuitton summer collection. This is different, somehow. Its more about context and contrast. Organic shapes crafted out of the synthetic. Free-form. Not sure what it all means yet but I’m already joining dots with Guy Bourdin’s photograph of Yves Saint Laurent’s collection in the September 1976 issue of Paris Vogue.

Who know’s where this will lead. Or maybe its a summary of the season to come. Maybe its just plain weird and repulsive. F*ck knows.

Its been a year already. The Willow Shoreditch, an unbelievably beautiful shop in Hoxton, London, owned by one of  my closest friends, is a year old today. What I love the most is the attention to detail in everything he does. Nothing is over-worked and everything comes beautifully packaged. Apart from flowers, The Willow does great salad boxes feshly prepped each morning, super-tasty cakes and seriously good coffee. And let’s not forget the one off objects, unusual vases and special collaborations with graphic designers, artists and photographers. Definitely worth checking out.

92 HOXTON STREET, LONDON

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Forgot about this one. I took it in a nightclub/ theatre in the Pigalle. It was at a BBB [Black, Blanc, Beur] party.  Can’t remember the actual name of the club. Anyway, BBB keeps changing location every week, Its held now at a club off the ChampsÉlysées.

Anyhow, had a crazy Vodka-infused night there a few weekends ago. Verdict on new location: Nah. Or maybe I’m just getting too old for this sort of thing.