Koto Bolofo’s clothing collection

I have been waiting for the right moment to mention photographer Koto Bolofo’s fashion collection and now seems a good time. Inspired by and utilising found objects, clothing and textiles, I discovered it on the Wonderland blog and love his description of it here:

“It has a lot of relevance to now in the sense that in this “modern” world one does not seem to be really going forward, but going forward in creating disposable art and items, here today gone today. I feel society is led into not taking their time in looking at what is really good, but rushed into what is so called “next”.

“My inspiration is created from found objects that hold memories from the past and with this I try and find a contemporary way or “switch” to bring it into the present. I could be using combinations of old and modern fabrics. For example there is a long tail coat which comes in baby blue cotton velvet. The special thing about this tail coat is the interior which has a genuine unused vintage British Union Jack which bears the face of King Edward from the thirties. This is stitched to the inside of the tail coat. There are 6 flags that I found at an antique market and were never waved by the patriotic crowds due to the fact that King Edward gave up the throne of Great Britain. Only 6 tailcoats will be made, hence making this a collectible garment. All these pieces in the collection have a story to tell and my aim is to bring this forward. My nature is that I like good design that lasts and has this respect of really understanding the word timeless.”

Check out these pictures:
Koto Bolofo clothing

Images via Wonderland and Chewing The Cud

Vintage pickings

Today has been a day of vintage treasure hunting. It started off with the discovery of Merchant Archive where I had to pick up some Bordelle bras, sunglasses and and a vintage burlesque outfit for a shoot. I knew the shop was local as I recognised the address or at least I thought I did. But when I started down the road, I realised I’d got it wrong and it was in completely the opposite direction. Anyway, after what I expected to be a five minute stroll turned into a twenty minute power-walk, I finally arrived at the shop. It was totally worth the workout. Merchant Archive stocks a beautifully-merchandised selection of vintage clothes (and accessories and homewares), mostly Victoriana to the 1940s. Sitting alongside the definitely-not-musty bias-cut gowns and theatrical beaded headpieces are contemporary collections by under-the-radar labels such as Zambesi, AM Eyewear and Tracy Neuls which, as owner Sophie Merchant points out, is important as mixing the love-worn with the new is how she and her customers dress these days. I made sure I had a proper nose round the shop – an elegant, light-filled space – while Merchant gave me her backstory and packed up my goodies. I loved her display of sunglasses atop an old library filing system and got particularly excited when I clapped eyes on a pair of honey-framed Paloma Picassos. I talked myself out of a purchase but may give them another whirl when I go back on Wednesday.

My questionable time-management meant that I was late for my next appointment at Cassie Mercantile’s vintage showroom. No matter, owner Graham Cassie was in a happy-go-lucky mood so after a capuccino and chit-chat at the next door coffee-house, he took me to his lock-up to see if there was anything worth picking out from there. Wow! Who knew there were all these precious gladrags behind those anonymous wooden doors? After picking out a Yoko Ono logo T-shirt and a woollen military hat, I pointed to a mini-mountain of denim shirts in the middle of the floor. “What’s that, an installation?” I quizzed, only half-joking. “Och no, that’s just a pile of washing!” came the reply. Jeez, even his laundry looks chic. 

Over to the showroom, where my eyes immediately darted in all directions. In the space of ten minutes I’d amassed an eclectic pile of treasure – a 1930s feather cape, African bead necklaces, more military hats, a Biba all-in-one, a velvet bolero and the most spectacular pair of Terry de Haviland platform shoes. More chat followed – Graham revealing lots of “but you can’t tell anyone” industry gossip and me listing my current favourite blogs and magazines – “What do you mean, you’ve never heard of Fantastic Man!” When I finally got home, I had a mammoth try-on session (stylists’ lesson #1 – try everything on yourself first) and had a ponder on the continued appeal of vintage. It seems that when so much of fashion these days is based on vintage anyway, it makes a lot more sense to just go straight for the old authentic stuff, especially when it’s been made to last.

AW 09 trend report – press day highlights: Calvin Klein, Matches, Hermes

It’s been non-stop this week so pardon my scrappy blogging. Highlights have been plentiful though, including the Calvin Klein classics collection sunglasses launch (yeah, I know it’s not really AW, but I like to be contrary). The nineties are officially the next decade to be plundered – these shades revisit designs that originally came out in 1992 according to the press release.

I’m all for it. Classic beatnik-esque sunglasses are a welcome break from bug-eyes and Ray-Ban wannabes as far as I”m concerned. We were also invited to pick a pair we liked which is always jolly nice. I chose these:

The goody bag was ultra-generous too – a CK tote brimming over with flip flops, bikini and CK One fragrance. (Shame they couldn’t have thrown in a wee holiday as well…)

Matches was brilliant and interesting as ever. I spotted a real-fur-that-looks-fake Helmut Lang gilet but don’t think the buyer much liked my observation which came across as ‘why buy a cheap fake when you can buy an expensive one?’. Oops.

Then there was a real fur that looked real, on the collar of an Elizabeth & James jacket.

This is essentially a classic wool blazer with a detachable fur collar/lining. Whether you like fur or not is immaterial, you can’t deny that this is functional, problem-solving design. I only wish more fashion could be as practical – I’m still waiting for someone to invent an evening dress that adjusts to your temperature (note to self: find out if Stone Island does evening dresses). Goody bag was a chocolate shoe with a £50 Matches voucher and the new Matches magazine which I always love. What I learnt: 1) Matches has a new shoe label called Mechante of London. J’adore these boots…

(Er, you can’t see them very well. Double click to enlarge – they have a sexy gold zip at the back.)

2) Joanna Sykes is the new head designer for Matches’ own label, Freda. Sykes, known for her use of sequins in unexpected places (ie sportswear), has cut a mean collection of minimalist luxe basics with the eye of a perfectionist. Good choice!

Lots of loveliness as to be expected at Hermes. Quizzed the PR about the booming popularity of mens scarves and she showed me some that are exclusive shapes for men that are easier to tie. Loved the pack of how-to-tie-your-scarf cards that were nestling in the goody bag.

Also went gaga over these: