So Jean-Paul Gaultier is out at Hermes and Christophe Lemaire is in. I can’t wait to see what Lemaire does, I think he did a brilliant job at Lacoste. Here’s a glimpse of accessories from Gaultier’s final Autumn-Winter collection for Hermes (Lemaire’s first collection will be AW11)…
The Constance in pink satin – my favourite
There was also a super-elegant long black cashmere and leather scarf with pockets (but annoying, the photo has gone walkies). Just the thing for covering up a minimalist black tie outfit and storing a Marlboro Light or two for those inevitable outdoor fag breaks
“As a designer, you make the clothes and put them out there and then they have to exist on their own. I learned long ago that people would come backstage after my show and tell me what was going on, and I should not bother with correcting them, because what really mattered was their experience. Once clothes are in a shop, it really doesn’t matter what a designer was thinking; it doesn’t make a coat a better coat because it was inspired by turn-of-the-century England”
Marc Jacobs in the FT
When I mentioned the opening of the Louis Vuitton UK flagship to D (aka Mr Disneyrollergirl) on Tuesday, he didn’t hide his disdain. “I’ve seen it. I passed it yesterday, it looks like something out of Dubai airport via Stanstead. Deeply tacky,” was his damning assessment. He may have curled his lip.
The Louis Vuitton Maison is the most expensive luxury goods shop ever opened in London. Yves Carcelle, worldwide boss of the brand won’t put a figure on it but speculative guesses suggest at least £30million was spent on this temple to consumerism. And yes, it does score high on the glitz-o-meter. This 1500 square meter space boasts a watch shop, a sunglasses shop, a lit-up glass staircase and an entire wall of vintage suitcases – and that’s just a wee part of the ground floor. To highlight Vuitton’s relationship with contemporary art, there are priceless artworks by the likes of Gilbert & George, Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons. For the opening, Brit artist Michael Landy has been commissioned to create a mad sculpture that draws doodles and cuts up credit cards. All around are dotted mini piles of art tomes and there is even an art bookshop in the middle of the first floor (but sadly an embargo meant no photos).
Next to the bookshop is a small exhibition space which currently houses a Katie Grand-curated arrangement of mannequins wearing a ‘greatest hits’ mish-mash of Marc Jacobs for Vuitton outfits, complete with bags on their heads, ho ho! Actually, the fun factor is the best bit about the store. “I said, ‘I’d like to make a store that when you went in you wouldn’t mind spending half a day in there, rather than getting the bag and getting out’,” architect Peter Marino told the Evening Standard. “If people are nice enough to come in, you owe them a good time. Why go shopping if it’s not fun, glamorous, different?” By the way, the store design is all Marino’s work, Marc Jacobs doesn’t get involved in shop-fits.
From the humorous Louis Vuitton planets orbiting an area devoted to logo hair clips and bangles, to the mechanical sliding shelves that play peekaboo with handbags and scarves, to Murakami’s martian sculpture, there are plenty of playful elements that bring a bit of wit to the serious business of luxury. They certainly help to make luxury accessible, as do the offer of affordable knick knacks from keyrings, to sunglasses, to a £5 George Orwell paperback sold in the ‘librarie’. The store opens tomorrow. Tacky or not, the customers are sure to flock.
The wall of vintage trunks
The plastic planets
Takashi Murakami’s Kiki
At the ‘bag bar’, these cubes slide from left to right in a playful puzzle
More sliding panels in the scarf area
A wall of animal-print scarves, a work of art in themselves
Flower-lined monogrammed wallets
Naturally, the floor is logo-ed
Ugh, let’s not talk about these…
The Katie Grand exhibition
Sofia Coppola for Louis Vuitton
The Michael Landy sculpture
A console table laden with art books in the lift lobby
Vintage furnishings throughout
Yep, a piano in the shoe department. Of course!
I had to delete my bookshop photos but I found this one on a blog. There are all manner of art and photography books including some of my favourite artists – Elizabeth Peyton, Martin Parr, Bridget Riley, Tim Noble and Sue Webster
UPDATE: Watch the sliding wall in action!
I love fashion and I love books, so I’m champing at the bit at the idea of the newly poshed-up Louis Vuitton store in New Bond Street which opens this week. It has been conceived as ‘the home of a collector who loves only the best and most rare’, according to the Daily Telegraph. One of its star features will be a “librairie” of select British contemporary art books and bespoke commissions by the likes of Anish Kapoor, Chris Ofili and Gary Hume.
Marc Jacobs is something of a bibliophile. In addition to a well-curated fashion-art-photography book section in his South Audley Street Marc by Marc Jacobs store, there’s a Marc Jacobs bookstore pencilled to open later this year in New York’s West Village. (The name? Duh, Bookmarc of course.)
If you’re in the market for a nice fash-art-photog bookshop experience in London, may I also recommend:
Claire de Rouen: The go-to store for an obscure or rare find as well as more of-the-moment books. Secreted on the first floor of The Soho Original Bookshop in Charing Cross Road, it has a cosy, in-the-know feel about it without being the least bit pretentious (did I just contradict myself there?). Now that Boders is gone, it’s one of the best places to find elusive, international fashion mags.
Waterstone’s, Piccadilly: The art-fashion bit has moved from the 5th floor to the ground floor but it’s still a lovely, genteel browsing experience. Why not buy a book and spend an hour in the 5th floor cafe perusing it?
Idea Books at Dover Street Market (pictured): Are you insanely rich? Do you love 80s new-wave imagery, 80s Andy Warhol and 80s Fiorucci-esque graphics? Then don’t miss Idea Books at Dover Street Market. The books are all vintage, sourced by Angela Hill and cost a bomb. But if you can afford it, they’re worth it.
The Shop at Bluebird: The books are arranged haphazardly in a colossal bookcase that takes up an entire wall. The beauty in browsing here is you really feel like you have stumbled upon something and if you don’t get it now, you may miss your chance. Clever. If you go before 31st May you can also catch the Rag & Bone pop-up shop.
Liberty: Quite a small book department but oh what a pleasant one! Sit on the giant squashy sofa by the window while you page through lavish coffee table tomes. Don’t nod off.
What’s your favourite bookshop?
I found my perfect red lipstick! After a couple of years of dithering over whether to embrace a red lip or not, I decided to succumb. But how to achieve the right red? First I tried to revisit Revlon’s Love That Red which was my mum’s signature red and then mine in the 90s. It somehow looked too severe and didn’t even suit my skin tone anymore. Then I hankered after an Armani matt-looking red but was too intimidated to try one out. Pathetic. Next, I was seduced by Tom Ford’s super-
expensiveluxurious new line of lipsticks. Interestingly, there isn’t a ‘true’ red in the collection, you have to go pinky or orangy. But the consultant did say I have ‘good lips’.
And then I was offered a make-up lesson by my blog (and real life) buddy, Make-up Mistress. Well duh, who would turn that down? I decided I wanted a Tina Chow minimalist monochrome face – something that could be called a ‘casual red’ to wear in the daytime with jeans. Not too matt, not gloopy and not sheer. And definitely no lipliner.
Make-up Mistress prepped my face with Givenchy Skin Drink Mat followed by concealer around the eyes and some really light foundation applied with a brush. I usually use By Terry Light-Expert Foundation so I can carry on using that. She then went straight for the lips, explaining that if you’re doing a statement lip it’s best to tackle it first so that you can work out what other make-up is needed to balance it afterwards.
As much as I’d hoped for a luxe lipstick (I’m a self-confessed packaging whore), the Dior was no-go (too pink) as were most of the other expensive options. The hero product was one I’d never heard of – Vixen by GloMinerals. Makeup Mistress applied it with a brush but didn’t go all the way to the edges of my lips. This keeps the look soft-looking and informal. It’s also important not to overload the brush, much better to apply a little at a time and if you do use too much, use a cotton bud around the edges. Top tip indeed.
I wanted to know why she hadn’t used balm on my lips. Apparently, you shouldn’t apply lip balm directly before lipstick as the colour will just slide off. Kind of makes sense. But you can use lip balm if you allow some time for it to sink in before doing the lipstick. Better than lip balm, she recommended Clinique’s Repairwear Intensive Lip Treatment, after a few days you won’t need lip balm at all.
Typically, GloMinerals is not easily available so I will have to hunt it out online. And as Makeup Mistress advised, I will be buying several as you can guarantee one thing, once you have found your hero product, it will get discontinued.
[Pic: Tina Chow by Andy Warhol]
Reading this week’s announcement that Joanna Sykes has been appointed design director at Aquascutum made me very happy indeed. Not only is Sykes a sweet and modest person, she is also an outstanding designer and a perfect fit for Aquascutum. Known for her fuss-free silhouettes and flattering tailoring, she has been tapped to take Aquascutum to new heights following the departure of Michael Herz and Graeme Fildler to Bally. Sykes’ appointment highlights the attention on female British designers creating high-quality, enduring clothes for women of all ages to wear in an everyday context (ref: Hannah McGibbon at Chloe, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Margaret Howell, Stella McCartney).
This to me is luxury. For some, luxury means expensive, rare or extravagant. For me it’s something beautiful and useful that is made to last. (Examples off the top of my head: My Hermès Medor watch, Church’s shoes and Helmut Lang blazer). The timely appreciation of nineties minimalism is about more than a pared-down silhouette. It’s about fine fabrics, a great cut and fit and the ease of throwing on clothes that trascend situations and can be forgotten about once you’re in them. As gorgeous as the current crop of bodycon cocktail dresses are, they don’t have a place in my life. But perfect-cut cigarette pants? Tailored jackets in soft fabrics? Tummy-skimming tops in neutral palettes? More please.
[Pics: Joanna Sykes ss10)