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Reading Renzo Rosso‘s, founder of the Diesel brand, interview in last week’s the Observer Fashion Special got me thinking about designer denim. In particular, the pre-aged, pre-ripped type. Rosso waxes lyrical about how he kickstarted the destroyed denim trend over 30 years ago. He “made holes, imperfections, variations, idiosyncrasies that suggested history, character, past lives.” Natch. Over 30 years of really terrible denim ensued. You know, the kind with bleached track marks over the back leg that ladies of a certain spatial dimension, who should really know better, love to wear. Look At Me Denim.©

The same supplement also profiled Tamburlaine Gorst, a menswear designer who also likes to take a pair of scissors and the odd pumice stone to a garment. Interestingly, Sally Brampton’s rather insightful piece in the current Intelligent Life magazine, paints a different picture – or should that be, rips a different 5 pocket? – on the Diesel Effect. I really recommend getting a copy of the magazine. Ms Brampton compares different consumer market levels to decide who is the best at a high, low and medium fashion – London, Paris or Milan? On Diesel, her 17 year old daughter comments: “Boring… What’s creative about jeans that cost £150… none of my mates would wear it, but I’m trying to be kind so I’ll give it 5 (out of 10.)” Ouch. I wonder what Mr. Rosso, the out-spoken, would have to say about the response of the youth to his self-proclaimed brand of cool?

“Designer Denim” bugs me. I find this idea of pre-ageing and all the, albeit mind-boggling industrious processes, fake. I like my denim quite simple. A good quality cloth, 5 pockets and a slim-ish cut with narrow cuffs. In classic colours. Indigo, grey and occasionally black. Fashionable utilitarianism is a bit oxymoronic. Why bother? The beauty of denim is that it ages the more you wear it. It takes on its own character and flaws as time goes by. Each time-faded rip should tell a story. A true story and not one prefabricated by some underpaid worker in India or Turkey that will probably die of lung cancer due to all the microscopic fibres inhaled. Not that I am in anyway implying this about the Diesel brand. I know nothing of where or how they produce their denim but I’d like to think that they would ensure the best conditions for their workers. It’s a matter of personal taste. One man’s acid wash is another man’s poison, and all the rest. I just find the concept symptomatic of the world we live in. A sort of inherent laziness. The quick blue fix jumped over the lazy slog. Who cares about authenticity?! As if!

The pair you see photographed here are over 12 years old. They’re by G-Star and were a dark indigo when I got them. Over time they’ve faded to azure and I’ve ripped and patched them as was needed. Crotch falling to bits? Why not rip off a back pocket and stitch it in? Pocket bag full of holes? My solution was to hand-stitch what was left of them directly onto the outside. As they shrunk with each wash I seemed to grow consecutively wider. I once had a 28inch waist? Really? The slits on the pockets was my desperate attempt to give me a little breathing space over the thigh area and perhaps a few more months of wear. Ingenious, no? Marvel at my creativity! This is the real deal. No sand-blasting, no clever washing, scrubbing techniques. Just a knackered pair of jeans that I was inseparable from for many a happy, slimmer year. There is NO WAY that they are ever going to fit me again. I think I’ll frame them. Le Fat Noir. Adios.

Listen carefully_

© images above, copyright Le Fist Noir. If you so happen to think: nice idea, I’ll rip ’em off, then DON’T. Ask nicely and I might let you have the original. For a fair price. Believe me, I’ll find out and you really don’t want to go there. Really.

A doorway I came across today. Love the retro typeface, how the different blues contrast with each other, the colour of door and the yellow of the text. Also love the graphic quality the metal grid lends and the dynamic between the resulting rectilinear forms, the yellow dots and curviness of the typeface. Its almost as if the whole thing was plotted on graph paper_

Doesn’t that deep blue scream Yves Klein?

Yves Klein: Blue Cup, 2006

And all those lines Mondrian?

The blue shirt I bought yesterday has got me feeling, well, blue. I love flying – one of my favourite things. It brings out the seven year old in me who saw the clouds from above for the first time and decided he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up. Well things have changed quite a bit since then but my love of flying hasn’t. I fly quite regularly and always have my camera at hand, photographing the shapeshifting clouds and smoke trails left by other planes. Anyway, messed around with a few of said photos. Ah, all that blue…

It was the night flight from Houston. Almost perfect visibility. You could see the lights from all the little Texas towns far below. And I was sitting next to a fifty-year old woman who had never been on a plane before. And her son had sent her a ticket and said:
“Mom, you’ve raised ten kids; it’s time you got on a plane.”

And she was sitting in a window seat staring out and she kept talking about the Big Dipper and that Little Dipper and pointing; and suddenly I realized that she thought we were in outer space looking down at the stars. And I said:

” You know, I think those lights down there are the lights from little towns.”

Laurie Anderson_The Night Flight From Houston


Jil Sander for Uniqlo

Model_ Iselin Steiro
Photographer_ David Sims
Joe McKenna

Went to the Uniqlo store this afternoon to check out the new collaboration with Jil Sander for spring-summer 2010: +J. The first thing I noticed was that it wasn’t the mad frenzy that usually follows these sort of launches: Kate Moss for Topshop, the H&M link-ups. It was, well, quite civilzed. I kind of liked that. Clearly displayed product. Light, airy store. You got the feeling that anyone who made it to the store was there because they were genuinely curious or just happened to be there. Perfect.

Now for the clothes. This was the first drop so the whole collection wasn’t in-store just yet. What was there I liked a lot. It seemed more Jil than the first outing, more confident, more streamlined without getting too high-brow. Lots of immaculately cut tailoring and sportswear-inspired pieces in technical fabrics. Nothing to scare the horses but the essence of Jil Sander has always been about subtlety and the absolute.

There were loads of fine details and I got the sense that on closer inspection a lot of the clothes would reveal clever, luxe touches. I was really impressed with the seam finishes. A standout piece for me was a cropped woman’s blazer in a cobalt-y nylon that had the feel of a silk duchesse. The sleeves were slightly curved in that über masculine way. It would look so chic paired with anything really. Winner.

I walked away with a perfect, perfect shirt in what I can best describe as overdyed techno chambray but in actual fact it was 100% cotton. I just know I’m going to wear and wear that shirt. It’s going to look great with my new black Kenzo blazer and washed out grey jeans. Sharp.

My only reservation would be that I’d like to see more modern decorative treatments, especially in the womenswear. Yes, I know its Uniqlo but it all veers a little bit too much towards the minimal. Expressive gestures a la Jil wouldn’t go amiss…

Oh, my shirt only cost £29.99. Will definitely be stocking up on some more pieces. Bargain. In fact, nothing in the entire range costs more than a 100 quid. We like!

Also like the logo: U + J

Click here to go to the_

Women Management blog for a piece on the shoot

+J Uniqlo website and

press release