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There’s been quite a few amazing designer retrospectives as of late: YSL, Vionnet, Yohji Yamamoto, the 30 Years of Japanese design at the Barbican in London, the new Alexander McQueen… And now Madame Grés. Or Alix as she was known at the start of her career.

Its on at the Musée Bourdelle, near the Tour Montparnasse in Paris till July.

I was actually there on Monday with some friends but stupidly forgot that this was Paris and some museums are shut then. Ah, well, you live and learn! It looks amazing from the pictures I’ve seen. Apparently Madame Grés always wanted to be a sculptress hence the poetic display of 80 pieces of her incredibly draped dresses and minimalist sheathes amongst the grecian sculptures at the museum. In my opinion she did achieve her goal, sculpting out of cloth these intricate forms. Like Madeleine Vionnet she was a trailblazer that liberated women from the restrictive corset and she is probably the only couturier of her time you could still wear today and not look like you were wearing “vintage”. Master class. Can’t wait to see it!

Madame Grés:

“La Couture à L’Oeuvre”

Musée Bourdelle

16 rue Antoine Bourdelle

75015 PARIS

image above, Irving Penn, Inventive Paris Clothes 1909-1939 [The Viking Press, 1977]

 


Circa 1993 there was one album that no fashion show, elegant soirée, discerning music head, chill out lounge from Brighton to Ibiza wouldn’t beg, borrow or steal from — the legendary K&D Sessions by Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister. This double disc “tome” of an album contained remixes of songs by Bone Thugs ‘n” Harmony through to Lamb and it achieved that Holy Grail of music by producing versions that were arguably equal to and that sometimes surpassed the originals. I own two copies, having worn the first one out . They sit next to other 90s gems such as DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing and Aim’s Cold Water Music. The K&D Sessions put paid to the idea that trip-hop/ lounge music/ chill out was nothing but muzak for the chi-chi dinner parties of the middle-aged middle class. This was as refined and absolute as music got. Nearly 20 years on and it still sounds as fresh as it did back then.

 

Don’t you just love record shops? Disque Records on Chapel Market in Islington, London (sadly closed down like a hundred other indies.) Browsing the racks and coming across something you’ve always wanted but never got round to buying. Or that rare/ out of circulation album you’d been trying to get your stinky paws on. Or just something unexpected that takes your fancy… Last year I was in a similar store in Italy, similarly now closed, browsing the racks, making a selection as was my tradition whenever I was in that neck of the woods. It was then that I came across this_

 

WHOA!!! If I’d been sitting down I would have fallen off my chair! Knees turned to jelly, mouth dried out, eyelashes flicked overdrive. G-Stone MASTER SERIES No 1: Peter Kruder Private Collection. I’d already mentally reached for my credit card, rushed back to my hotel room and popped this bad boy into my MacBook before even picking up said disc. That unwavering is my trust for the Kruder /Dorfmeister/ Huber ability to deliver first class every time. [Together Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber form TOSCA,  another genius sonic partnership.]

The disc promised to be a selection of tracks that Peter Kruder would play you if you were a guest in his home. I mean, how sexy does that sound? This was going to be an esoteric, eccentric melange of sounds. A treat! And indeed it was. From the opening track, Talk Talk’s The Rainbow, to the vocal masterpiece by Rokia Traore that closes the compilation it was a slightly strange but nevertheless engaging experience. There’s that phrase when a designer shows a collection so directional that it “changes your eye”, as The New York Times’ Cathy Horyn is so fond of saying. Well this album “changes your ear”.

Other than being a wonderful collection of songs that defy easy categorisation, it comes beautifully presented in a box. Each track has its accompanying square postcard with a note about why it was chosen and an image shot by Peter Kruder himself. Jammy bastard, he’s also a great photographer as well_


images by Peter Kruder.

 

 

NEXT UP_

Kruder’s other half, Richard Dorfmeister, fights back with his own selection of music for the second in the G-Stone Master Series. I’ve already seen the playlist on their website. This is GONNA BE GOOD. Opening track, Vladimir Cosma’s Promenade Sentimentale from  the soundtrack to Jean-Jaques Beineix’s 1981 film, Diva, is a Satie-esque riff of dreamy, loopy piano notes. You can read my piece on the film by clicking >> HERE.

The album’s out on the 31st of March and you can download it then on SOUL SEDUCTION or hunt down the disc version. Or both, like I’ll be doing. Absolutely worth every centime, nickel or dime.

 

www.g-stoned.com

 

 



 

There’s that scruffy art school vibe about him. Well, he did study at Goldsmiths in London. He kind of makes that pudding bowl-y haircut work. Not too much hair gel, a little unkempt, a bit overgrown. The crumpled shirts. Nothing particularly unique in the style stakes but its more often than not about attitude rather than just the clothes.

And then  there’s that voice. Soulful, growly and so expressive yet balanced with a delicateness that makes you hang on to every word. His self-titled debut album is one of those rare albums that come along once in a while that don’t leave you feeling short-changed at the end of it. James somehow makes high concept and mainstream work so effortlessly. If you haven’t bought or downloaded the album then you should. You wont regret it. It’s a beautiful listen_

 

 

 

I haven’t done a post on music in ages so I thought I’d share some of the albums that are currently working my B&W P5s overtime!

PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake — The new Kate Bush?

Radiohead’s The King of Limbs — Another great moodpiece.

Hiroshi Fujiwara’s In Dub With Luv — His albums are so bloody rare so I pounced on this when I saw it in Colette.

James Blake — Perfect dreamy electro. Bet this makes it to most of those “Album of the Year” lists.

Dave Aju’ s Open Wide — I just can’t stop listening to First Love. Sexy, deep electro house.

Sandra Bernhard’s Excuses for Bad Behavior, Part 1

— Hard to believe but she’s got quite some pipes on her! Her rendition of You Make Me Feel ( Mighty Real) featured in Isaac Mizrahi’s Unzipped. Amazing cover. Guilty Pleasure? ABSOLUTELY.

 

The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman by SPARKS. (2009)

Prada used “Garbo Sings” as the soundtrack to their Winter womenswear show. Its weird, dramatic and haunting. Bit of a challenging album to listen to so it suits the Prada aesthetic to a T.

 

 

The show season’s nearly over, not without a whiff of scandal, drunken proclamations and talk of ominous place-shiftings at a high level… The clothes almost seem like an afterthought. Anyway, zees eez not zee playhss for shameless gossip.

Its been an odd season. I’m not sure how I feel about most of the shows. A lot of them inspired a feeling of blahhhh, more than anything else. I think to myself, how would that look all in black? Or will the world be a sadder place if so and so collection never existed? Shops need to be filled, I guess.

I’m still on the fence with Celine although I’m usually a big fan of Ms Philo’s work. The obvious bête noire was the woodgrain. Yes, it recalled Rodarte but that wasn’t my problem with the three or so looks. They felt out of place somehow and what woman in her right mind wants to  look like a coffee table or worse, Grandma Hickey’s crockery cupboard? Best left in a dowager duchess’ bedsit… Anyway with Celine the clothes are much better appreciated in the flesh. Lots of complex details not that apparent from an  image. They’re just bang on the money. Hell, I want to buy them and I’m no lady, no siree…

I really like this outfit, the pink ensemble. I’m a sucker for a good shirt, as you may well know, and a perfectly cut pair of trousers. If I was a girl I’d be lusting after this. Its a very simple look but one that’s harder to pull off than it initially seems. Imagine the frowns of disapproval or envious looks you’d draw if you wore this say to a summer wedding? No chintzy florals. Sort of a latter day page girl, if that makes any sense. SCANDALO!

I like how Ms Philo toys with the idea of masculine and feminine in such an economical and direct way. HEAD ON. And yet with such subtlety. Three shades of pink for a Tom Boy. And a fierce pair of heels. Perfect