Sacai

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: Fila, Sacai X Apple, Mulberry, Mr Hare, Cartier

Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…

1. FEELING THE FILA LOVE

Fila X Urban Outfitters
So you liked and loved Gosha’s homage to 80s casuals, yes? And now you want a Fila T-shirt? I don’t blame you, that’s how these things work. My guess is Fila will find itself miraculously anointed with a halo of cool overnight. Here’s the latest Fila drop at Urban Outfitters for starters…


2. SACAI X APPLE WATCH

Sacai Apple Watch
Whether or not you like the device, you’ve got to admit Apple knows how to choose design partners on the Apple Watch. Latest to guest on its Made for Apple Watch programme is Sacai, who re-imagined the watch as a hybrid of identity bracelet mashed up with a croc embossed band.


3. MULBERRY’S MAPLE TOTE

Mulberry Maple bag
While shopping in Westfield (yep, I secretly love a mall), I tried out the Mulberry ‘Maple’ tote bag. This is what I consider ‘proper’ design, it’s a decent size, has adjustable straps and a contrasting-coloured outer pocket that can be detached and used as a clutch. The colourways are sublime, in rich classics of burgundy, royal blue and bottle green. (Buy it here.) It’s good to see Mulberry’s fortunes on the up again, with pre-tax profit of £6.2m for the year ending in March, up from £1.9m in the previous year.

4. MR HARE’S MARKDOWNS
Mr Hare women's shoes on sale
Sale season is properly upon us and Mr Hare is gifting us a load of mark-downs on his women’s shoes. Snap up a high top girls’ sneaker here.


5. CARTIER FOR MILLENNIALS

The Cartier Love bracelet has been embraced by millennials and bloggers
The Cartier Love bracelet has been adopted by celeb-obsessed millennials, even at an entry price of £4,500…

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Urban Outfitters, Apple, Mulberry, Mr Hare, unknown
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Petit Déjeuner – The Many Faces of Phyllis Wang

Part 2 of my DRG film strand, Petit Déjeuner takes us to the fashionable heart of Paris for coffee and comedy chat with my favourite raconteur…

Phyllis Wang
and I are balancing in heels on the back of her sofa, checking ourselves out in the mantelpiece mirror. We’ve just been trying on Céline shoes, talking about her comedy club, her love of Parisian life, her Asian mum and the joy of socks. She has downed her third coffee of the day. Although it’s afternoon, it’s technically breakfast time for this Taiwanese-American Parisienne, who works nights as a stand up comedienne, moonlighting as a fashion collaborator between shows. (more…)

Disco, decadence and democracy on the dance floor

Disco Bill Bernstein - New York Nightclub Xenon

Bill Berstein’s eye-opening new book documents the New York discos of the 1970s

Poor old disco! So derided, so misunderstood. But things are looking up, with a return to unashamedly feel-good dance music and a rose-tinted look back to the hedonistic sound of the 70s. Nile Rodgers arguably helped kick off the latest disco revival, first with his 2011 autobiography and next with a new generation of artists wanting his production skills on their music (hello Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams). Then came the festivals, with thousands of youngsters blissing out on old Chic tunes.

Meanwhile, 2016 sees fashion co-opting the scene, not just with Olivier Rousteing’s disco-fication of Balmain, but with Kim Jones’ Louis Vuitton SS16 catwalk glitz (Nile Rodgers did the music) and Tom Ford’s epic SS16 video featuring a Lady Gaga rendition of Chic’s I Want Your Love (watch it, it’s great…). Not to mention Sacai, whose SS16 menswear collection pays tribute to Larry Levan and the Paradise Garage club – logo included.
Sacai ss16 Paradise Garage
Sacai ss16 Paradise Garage
Louis Vuitton ss16 menswear

The sybaritic, forget-the-outside-world spirit of disco suddenly seems just the tonic for today’s uncertain political and economic landscape. And five weeks ago, a timely tome arrived called Disco, a photo book by New York photographer Bill Bernstein. Celebrating the escapist world of 1970s New York nightclubs, the making of the book is itself an interesting story.

Disco Bill Bernstein book published by Reel Art Press

In 1977, Bernstein, a freelance photographer for the Village Voice, was commissioned to photograph an award presentation at Studio 54, honouring then-President Jimmy Carter’s mother Lillian for her humanitarian work. As the dinner ended and the regular clubbers started to arrive, Bernstein’s sixth sense urged him to stay a little longer. He bought ten rolls of film from a departing photographer and spent the next few hours capturing a ‘night world’ previously unknown to him, in which Wall Street suits cavorted with gay tourists and celebrities boogied with transgender revellers. “Had I been suddenly transported back to a pre-war Berlin cabaret?” a dazed Bernstein wondered. “Who were these people of the night and what was their other, real life like?”

The resulting photos were a revelation and inspired him to keep going, discovering other discos and clubs and their eclectic patrons. 1970s New York was going through a political and social change. While activists campaigned for women’s liberation, gay liberation and racial equality, these clubs were a place for marginalised New Yorkers to find acceptance and respite from everyday conflicts. The disco was a democratic hangout, whoever you happened to be.

Time passed and a publisher proposed a book commission. Bernstein and a writer would document New York’s nightlife in words and pictures, a permanent record of these underground 70s scenes, from the fabulosity of the Empire Roller Disco to the gay abandon of the Paradise Garage. Except things didn’t quite pan out as hoped…

Disco Bill Bernstein photo of Empire Roller Disco
Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan by bill berstein
Bill bernstein Paradise Garage Dance Floor 1979

It was the end of the 70s, disco music had become mainstream and there was a rock backlash, culminating in an anti-disco demo that turned into a full-blown riot. Aids had started to claim lives and the frenetic freedom of the scene was giving way to a culture of fear. There were changes at the publishing house, the original editor departed and others were less invested in the project. The book was somewhat neglected. Instead of the richly-produced publication that Bernstein had envisaged, the result was Night Dancin’, a low-production, soft back affair (which nevertheless, over time acquired its own charm, becoming something of a collectors’ item in music circles).

Disco Bill Bernstein
Disco Bill Bernstein 2
Disco Bill Bernstein 4
Bill Bernstein Disco 6

Fast forward to 2002 and a British music producer, David Hill had an idea. He owned a copy of the out-of-print Night Dancin’ and not knowing the back story, decided to track down the photographer to propose an updated version of the book. Thirteen years later, the resulting Disco, is a beautiful, large format tribute to the democracy of the dance floor, in which the focus is squarely on the everyday punters, not the rich and famous of Studio 54.

As Bernstein points out in his introduction, “the disco was a haven of acceptance and inclusion. It was much more than celebrities, drugs and music – the disco was a state of mind. For a brief period of time, discos offered a place where everyone – white, black, Hispanic, straight, LGBT, young, old, famous, or not so famous – could meet up and party without judgment or prejudice.” My favourite shots are of the young rollerskaters of the Empire Roller Disco and the glamorous barefoot groovers of Xenon (top). I’ve turned these pages a hundred times and always notice something new. While individually, the pictures are wonderful vignettes of stories within stories, as a whole, Disco serves as an uplifting symbol of unity, in which class, colour, sexuality and the rest are of little concern. For those few hours, in those long gone clubs, all that matters is the music, the dancing and the freedom. Long live the disco…

Studio 54 Disco Bill Bernstein

Disco: The Bill Bernstein Photographs (£40, Reel Art Press) is available HERE and HERE. The exhibition, Bill Berstein – Disco, is at Serena Morton II, 343-345 Ladbroke Grove, W10 until 23rd January 2016 (currently closed, reopening 11th January). Serenamorton.com

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Bill Bernstein

Retail report: Selfridges ramps up its luxury ready-to-wear with a nod to Dover Street Market

Selfridges-designer-galleries-celine

It feels like Selfridges has been tweaking its third floor Designer Galleries for ever! Finally its finished and the verdict is quite the A-Z of modern luxury fashion. In short, the Selfridges buy has been Dover Street Market-ified. (And  that sentence right there gets the award for clunkiest sentence of the year. Soz.) I still remember the third floor as it was eons ago – contemporary labels like Anglomania alongside A.P.C, Whistles and Joseph. Pffft, this is so not that. Contemporary and denim have all been shunted up to the fourth floor, leaving gleaming aisles of expensive statement-wear. Of course, I can’t actually afford any of it.

It’s a textbook exercise in taste and wealth though. (more…)