I seem to have amassed a great wardrobe of coats over the last few years. I literally have one for every possible occasion, from my day-to-night Burberry trench, to my masculine APC overcoat, to my slouchy Maje coat that lends itself so well to throwing over layers due to its easy cocoon shape (shame all the buttons fell off). Then there are the jackets. An Anya Hindmarch double-breasted navy one that is very Grace Kelly with its curved collar and slightly A-line shape – just right for chilly spring days worn with turn-up jeans, an off-white sock and a loafer (yes, just the one). The Ralph Lauren boys blazer that still looks as good as new despite being my go-to smart day jacket for the past three years. And the new indigo Levi’s denim jacket that I bought to wear with matching 571s – yes I’m doing double denim, shoot me now!
Anyway, all this is purely a preamble to talk about the new Lavenham collection which I previewed a couple of weeks ago. Lavenham is a British heritage brand, big in Japan apparently, where they don’t sell Barbour, so they wear these. Its heritage is actually horse blankets but the Suffolk-based company has been making quilted coats for Jean Touitou’s APC and is now developing into the fashion market. And how. The womens collection has just launched this season with its first drop at Harvey Nichols. Harvey Nichols has its own exclusive colourways including Liberty-print lining to make it even more English and heritage-y.
My favourite hands-down hybrid trend of AW10 so far (and you know how I love a hybrid trend) is Beatrix Ong’s equestrian biker boot. Yep, it has the elegance of a riding boot with just a soupcon of masculinity with the buckles and rugged sole. This is reminding me of Prada nineteen ninety-something. Black sleeveless dress, bare legs, rugged riding boots and mysterious-girl sunglasses. I can do that.
“If you gave me 10 pairs of Manolos, I would sell them on eBay. I don’t care about high heels; I don’t care about dresses. I would even go so far as to say they are ugly.”
La Roux’s Elly Jackson
After many years under the radar, having sold his hugely influential Stussy brand, Shawn Stussy is back with a new venture. All the hot boys in my social circle had a Stussy-logo’ed something-or-other in their possession back in the early 90s. Stussy crossed all the subculture borders of its time from surfer dudes, to grunge kids to punks to the hip hop crowd. Everyone wanted to be in the international ‘Stussy tribes’.
Now those early-90s boys have grown up, they still have an eye for a well-cut tee but maybe don’t want the jazzy graphics. S/Double Studio is Shawn Stussy’s new baby which comprises an online shop, Shawn’s blog and a ‘coming soon’ gallery. It all feels decidedly small-scale, personal and non-corporate. Can Shawn Stussy do it a second time?
[International Stussy Tribe pic: RockPopFashion.com]
Supersweet Shop will be stocking them from September but have the ss10 collection in now.
What I did today…
1) Took a trip down memory lane at the Moschino AW10 press day. I customised a jacket with two ‘purse pockets’ when I was at school. It looked a lot like this:
2) Hyperventilated all over this poor leather Moschino jacket
3) Admired the Radley AW10 shoes at the Yellow Door press day. I hear that Rae Jones has had a hand in the design
4) Found out that Radley has done a bag collab with Harris Tweed for AW10. Sadly no pic though.
5) Found out that Nigel Cabourne has done a bag collab with Harris Tweed for AW10. Pic:
6) Overheard a PR at the Starworks press day telling a journalist that Antony Price believes ‘no-one these days is interested in his designs’. Pffft – how wrong he is!
8) Counted three black silk flying suits in one day (at Alice by Alice Temperley, Edun and Acne). That makes it a trend, right?
9) Pondered over some new hybrid trends. Biker jodhpurs and jodhpur chinos anyone?
How about a skegging? (‘Skegging‘ is totally an official term)
10) Got the urge to rummage in my haberdashery drawer to decorate skinny lapels with charms and buttons a la Bolongaro Trevor
11) Discovered that Acne is to open its four-floor London store in Dover Street in July
Last week I blogged about the heritage of Dr Martens. This week, the heritage baton gets passed to Levi’s. I was treated to a pre-opening store tour of the refurbed Regent Street flagship a couple of weeks ago and the main message seems to be… Levi’s is keepin’ it real.
From its industrial factory-replica refit to its new name for its denim experts – ‘drapers’ and ‘artisans’, Levi’s has realised that its customers respect its roots and is capitalising on that. OK, the ‘artisans’ moniker is a wee bit pretentious but I’m prepared to let that go. For a while, Levi’s was guilty of trying too hard to compete with the Diesels of this world but – guess what? – Levi’s isn’t about ‘sexy’, it’s about utilitarianism and authenticity. Thankfully, it is now properly embracing its workwear heritage and amen to that. A particular highlight of the flagship store (along with the visible warehouse dedicated to 501s) is a 90-something-year-old pair of Levi’s on display in the basement. Unearthed from a mine in the Mojave Desert, I ask you, how many other denim brands can boast one of these?
When I previewed the SS10 collection six months ago, I was overjoyed to see so many old favourites. Hello classic denim jacket sans faux-faded patches! Hello western plaid shirt! Hello straight-out-of-CBGBs leather biker jacket! The Guardian recently reported that Levi’s will never be cool again but I disagree. Acne may be popular with fashionistas and Uniqlo with the downtown hipster set but Levi’s has its incredible heritage and that makes it relevant again (BTW, ‘relevance’, like ‘heritage’ is a key word being bandied about right now). Its latest campaign is also a bit of a looker. As a lifelong supporter I may be biased, but I think Levi’s is ready to have it’s moment once more.
How glad am I that I made it to the Malick Sidibé exhibition before it ends on Friday (16th April)!* The show of black and white portraits starts with a display of pictures cut out from contact sheets, one of the highlights of the exhibition.
Sidibé started taking pictures of local Malian merrymakers in 1960 when Mali became independent from France. They had just discovered luxury shops and western fashion and would dress up to the nines to have their outfits documented. Everything was about fashion and style, from the record sleeves they held in front of them to the way they held their cigarettes.
Sidibé would trawl from one trendy club to another all night snapping his subjects and then print in his lab until the morning. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the clubbers would stop by to see the results and generally hang out. They would also pose at ‘Studio Malick’ for more formal portraits. The loveliest part of this story is that to this day, Sidibé’s studio is still set up and the locals continue to stop by for a photo session. If you get the chance, do hurry to the exhibition this week (133 Oxford Gardens, W10, 07979 422000, 11am-6pm, firstname.lastname@example.org).
[Bottom two pictures from Italian Vogue. Double click to enlarge]
News just in from Ebay.
“eBay.co.uk has been monitoring the sales of Sam Cam [Samantha Cameron to non-UK readers] and Sarah Brown-related fashions, as they head on the campaign trail. So far, we’re seeing sales of Mrs Cameron’s simple, tailored favourites soaring (sales of ponchos have increased by 56% since she sported one), while Sarah Brown’s more ‘mumsy’ style dropping.”
So now you know.
Oh man! I have spent the last two weeks researching the shift from uber-high heels to clogs, flats and kitten heels and I’m almost all shoe-ed out. Almost. Here’s a new take on the statement high-heel backlash. Beverly Hills designer Dana Davis has taken her own need for a beautiful-yet-comfortable high heel and turned it into a business. So it can be done!
Davis’ shoes create a delicate balance between the first and fifth metatarsals and the heel to ease the pressure on the foot but crucially, the designs are works of beauty. The feelgood benefits are an added bonus for those who routinely put fashion before function. Er, that’ll be most of us then. As she claims of her 4.5 inch heel plat-heels, “You can wear them to an event and still walk home.”
All her high heels have an integrated platform as well as a cushioned orthotic footbed and customized arch supports. Thankfully, they do away with the current vogue for fetishy pin heels and have more of a ’40s Hollywood aesthetic with straight, slim heels, T-straps and D’orsay cutaways. I think she might be onto something.