Something to cheer you up on a blue Monday…

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Not a fashion post but some friends worked on this ad for T-Mobile. Check it out, it’s so fun!

Desperately seeking…

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I have been missing playing my old 45s recently and am actively seeking a replacement for my old Columbia portable record player. I originally bought it from APC back in the day when they had a shop in Ledbury Road but the needle conked out a while ago and we haven’t managed to find a replacement. So a new turntable is called for. Can I find one anywhere? No I can’t!

I would die for this one…(£155 already and another 2 days to go) but really I’m pining for my Columbia. Any leads?

Five fashiony things I learnt this week

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1) 15 year-old photographer Eleanor Hardwick (above) caught my eye a few months ago in a newspaper supplement. If you’re in the West country, try and stop by her exhibition at the Here Gallery in Bristol from Feb 5 – March 8.

2) Kim Gordon has collaborated with Marni to produce a watercolour print on bags and tees for the new Marni Summer Edition range.

3) Back in the day, prospective Balenciaga customers had to pay $1000 just to attend the show, whether or not they ended up buying anything. (Source: Wednesday night’s Style On Trial on BBC4 featuring the designer David Sassoon whose references to ‘model-girls’ was so sweet and endearing. UK bloggers can watch it here.)

4) There’s still plenty of mileage in the expensive super-thin T-shirt market. Newly landed at Netaporter.com is LA-based Kain – expect to see the scoop-necked, baggy-pocketed tees gracing the pages of Grazia (and the backs of Kate, Sienna et al) by April.

5) New photography book alert! Danielle Levitt’s ‘We Are Experienced’ offers up portraits of American teens from pampered princesses to high school cheerleaders via Kentucky beauty queens.

Unveiled: Dover Street Market SS09

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It was all go this afternoon at the press preview of the Dover Street Market new-season switchover. I was greeted by the beginnings of a queue of eager young BAPE types outside – surely they weren’t queuing just for the new season collections? Duh, of course not, these die-hards were here for the preview opening of the DSM piece de resistance, the Nowhere pop-up shop. Backstory: 15 years ago, friends and collaborators Nigo (A Bathing Ape) and Jun Takahashi (Undercover) opened a shop in Harajuku Tokyo called Nowhere which soon became something of a cult phenomenon. This season, Dover Street Market invites the two brands to recreate Nowhere in its basement.

This little bunker, complete with copies of the original fittings (you’ve gotta love the Japanese and their attention to detail) will sell Bathing Ape (to replace the shop in Golden Square) and Undercover for the next six months. The queue outside? Nigo is doing a book signing this evening and these afficionados had come to meet their hero. Typically, the PRs were very protective of ‘the brand’ and wouldn’t let me near with my Lumix. Tut. But PR Anoushka did let me take a snap of her natty nails!

I was intrigued as to how things will pan out queue-wise once the shop re-opens proper tomorrow. BAPE customers are known for their fanatical queuing (Nigo book signing or no) but will they be allowed to queue inside the store? Or will they be banished to the street? Either way, the DSM/Nowhere hook-up is a stroke of genius. In this climate, queuing customers is something of a rarity so to have an almost guaranteed daily queue (believe me, the bunker is tiny) of cash-rich young people is not to be sniffed at. Plus, those self same customers would be hard pushed not to want to snap up a few of the goodies elsewhere in the store. I’d say it’s win-win all round.

Dragging myself away from Nowhere, the rest of DSM looked as enticing as ever. Where to start? The Loewe handbags and jewels perched upon vintage suitcases? The mouthwatering Junya Watanabe/Trickers brogues in red and green? The decidedly unsporty Moncler jackets – not a puff in sight?




Comme menswear was a sight for winter-fatigued eyes – all colour-popping dip-dyed jeans and Joseph Albers-influenced patchwork layering. Charles Anastase’s area came complete with one of his pencil illustrations and lethal clodhopper platform shoes dangling precariously from the ceiling. Mind your heads!




Lanvin’s display on the third floor has been tricked out ‘to resemble a busy internet café/office environment, complete with desktops linked via chat.’ Believe me, this is the most glamorous internet cafe you’ll ever set eyes on. Finally, I was rather tickled to see a rail of Comme woollen thermals – longjohns included – amongst all the tees and knits. Who said Comme Des Garcons was unwearable?

Switched on

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To go with your ‘digital handbag’… the new computer cables from Lacie in a very on-trend Jonathan Saunders palette…

Quote of the day

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“We have no budget. We do what we want and throwing money out the window brings money back in through the front door. The bottom line is I don’t deal with the bottom line. The luxury in my life is I never have to think about it.”
Karl Lagerfeld

Digging the new: Retail concepts

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A few weeks ago, Susie Bubble blogged about the ace Norma Kamali service whereby you buy something online and only pay if you decide to keep it. My first thought was ‘what a great service (if a bit trusting).’ When times are tricky in retail it’s good to see someone doing something innovative to entice customers. Little did I realise the service is nothing new. Despite the doubters who scoffed, ‘what a daft idea, people will just take the piss’, it transpires the service has been operating successfully for about 8 years. Another service I read about is that of Dublin boutique, Smock (Unit 5, 20-22 Essex Street West, 8, +353 (1) 613 9000) which has recently instigated a crunch-friendly six-week deposit system to allow customers to reserve items and pay them off gradually. Saving up for things…how retro!

I’ve said it before and I don’t mind saying it again, we need clever ideas in retail if we are to be encouraged to keep the economy afloat. Just wheeling out same-old trends isn’t going to do it anymore. Fantastic Man magazine alerted me to the great concept of Filippa K’s Second Hand store at Hornsgatan 77 in Stockholm which works like a dress agency (take in your old Filippa K clothes and they will give you a percentage of the resale price) while the now-defunct Shop at Maison Bertaux encouraged customer loyalty with its regular 10%-off days to its mailing list customers. And why not bring over the US concept of the trunk show? Matches fashion director and buyer, Bridget Cosgrove told me recently that 3 years ago when they did a Phoebe Philo trunk show it did phenomenally well as did a Roland Mouret one. I would be well up for attending a trunk show if I knew Christophe Decarnin or Current/Elliot would be advising me in person.

Another Susie Bubble heads-up, new LA mall Space 15Twenty grabbed my attention. A clever idea by Urban Outfitters, it ‘creates the opportunity for Urban Outfitters to collaborate with creative brands we find inspiring and interesting’ according to the info on its site. Not just shops, it also comprises music, film and art experiences alongside an Urban Outfitters store which will feature one-off installations by different designers each month.

On the subject of Urban Outfitters, blogger Jennifer Z at Gemmifer reports on a fab exhibition called Swarm on the first floor of Anthropologie in the Rockefeller Center. I’d love to see more stores doing exhibitions. Dover Street Market did a Stephen Jones one, Paul Smith has done photography ones…if something brings customers to your store and promotes an artist at the same time, surely that’s a cool thing?

The branded pop-up shop is a concept touched upon by my blogging buddy Sarah Rabia at Planner No Prefix. Sarah raved about the Monocle magazine pop-up shop in Marylebone which sells a carefully curated selection of kit for the discerning Monocle reader (think limited edition Valextra notebooks and Headporter tote bags). Now I’m fantasising about a Lula shop…or Teen Vogue! I would also love to see Liberty or Selfridges give over a small area to a designer or other creative to curate with items (fragrance/books/accessories/food) of their choosing*. Miranda July would get my vote, followed by Tim Walker and Alexis Mabille.

*Updated 19th March 09… seems this may be happening at Barneys

Quote of the day

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‘One night, he [Stephen Sprouse] phoned up and said, “I’ve got a present for you. Can I drop it over?” And he came over with an “Iggy on the Cross” painting. It was fantastic. I lined the painting in black lights so it would glow and my neighbours from across the street started complaining because they could see it through the window and thought it was blasphemous. I was like, “Whatever.” And I just kept the curtains drawn from then on.’
Kate Moss remembers Stephen Sprouse in the newly published Rizzoli book

Whatever Next?

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Until I was sent a complimentary one to try out (thanks LG!), I didn’t even know what a netbook was. Now they’re bloody everywhere! I love the concept – a lightweight, compact laptop that’s easily transportable – and clearly so do many others. The latest development of the netbook is the ‘digital clutch’. (Why do marketing people think the only way to market technology to women is by giving things fluffy fashion and make-up related names? Anyone would think we can’t relate to stuff if it’s not connected in some way to the way we look. Er…GUILTY!)

Anyway, HP started it with their Vivienne Tam-designed* ‘digital clutch’. According to the blurb, it’s “a digital clutch that complements this spring’s outfits perfectly. Weighing just 1.1kg, the 10.1 inch HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition is both lightweight and ultra-portable. It also features a wrist lanyard ring so that you can carry it in your hand without it slipping to the floor.” Tres chic.

Not to be outdone, the latest Sony Vaio has an 8-inch screen and is ‘small enough to fit in many pockets’. Hmmm, I don’t know many pockets that big but you know, maybe that could be something for designers to think upon for SS2010…?

Finally, from next month, UK high street fashion retailer Next will be selling £99 ‘handbag-sized’ netbooks to appeal to women-on-the-go. Expect a brace of UK fashionistas of the Henry Holland/Giles/PPQ type to be enlisted for netbook-decorating purposes…

*Note, she didn’t design the actual computer, just the fancy floral casing.

Let’s hear it for the nice guy…

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There’s something I just like about Kanye. He gets a bad rap sometimes (LV internship furore anyone?) but deep down he’s into design so I feel an affinity. He only properly registered on my radar when I saw his house featured in Harpers Bazaar – remember?

Anyway, a friend of mine who works for Wallpaper just sent me this email:

“Our photography director hung out with Kanye at our recent shoot and we filmed him for an upcoming video story on wallpaper.com. His people said he’s avail for 10 mins tops, but he ended up hanging out and being interviewed for ages – then he invited our people to his show and offered to pay for the new Eurostar tickets so they could stay in Paris!”

Sweet no?

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