I’m not sure what to make of the news that Maison Martin Margiela has launched a home collection. Is it selling out? I do love Margiela’s all-whitewashed utilitarian house style but ready-made and boxed up for people to buy off the rack? I thought I wanted it, but now I’m having second thoughts. (Fickle, moi?)
Even more confusingly, I find myself strangely drawn to the Diesel furniture shown at Salone in Milan last week – it’s just so un-Diesel! In fact, it’s more Margiela than Margiela!* All this interiors talk brings me neatly to a new book I browsed through in Topshop yesterday on my way to the Mywardrobe press day.
A compilation of creatives’ live-work spaces in London, Paris, Barcelona, New York, Berlin and Tokyo, it comprises the dwellings of Nicola Formichetti, Julie Verhoeven and Gary Card among many others. Conclusion? A creative is not a creative without a higgledy piggledy mound of magazines and/or books taller than Trellick Tower (guilty!), an Hermes box or ten for storage and display (I have that too!), an abundance of cheeky retro toys (yup) and a carefully considered hotch-potch of found-in-skip furniture (check!). Hang about, why the hell aren’t I in this book???
*PS: yes, I know they’re owned by the same company…
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.”
Had enough of killer heels that you can’t walk (let alone dance) in and handbags so heavy that even She-ra would have trouble lifting them? Me too. But hang in there because the totes they are a-changing. After the giant bag trend came the absurdity of the superclutch and then the even more ridiculous micro-clutch. But now designers have finally decided to give us something that we actually want: lightweight, roomy and practical bags that do a job and look good.
Mulberry’s creative director Emma Hill is at the forefront of the movement, telling Vogue, “When I pick up a bag that’s heavy when empty, I don’t want it,” and creating a line of lightweight bags for spring-summer devoid of weighty hardware. Alexander Wang’s soft-n-slouchy suede Dorothy sac (below) marries his signature laidback luxe look with a utilitarian twist – my litmus test is whether it will take a copy of Vogue as well as my umbrella, diary, sunglasses and purse without slopping out of shape like an unwieldy sack of potatoes. It passes with flying colours.
The luxury leathergoods-makers Valextra are keen to join the party. Valextra have softened the lines of their trademark bags and introduced the half-moon Namasté which weighs in at a featherweight 600g and can carry up to 15kg without putting your back out of whack. “We worked on it for months to balance it so the weight falls on your hip,” chairman Emanuele Carmiati Molina told the FT, “We threw away over 25 prototypes”. (The price is also less painful at under €1000, that’s cheap for Valextra.)
Not to be outdone, everyone’s favourite Marc Jacobs muse, Sofia Coppola has unveiled her capsule collection for Louis Vuitton consisting of predictably fuss-free day bags and classy clutches. She also rejected the first prototype for being too heavy, finally signing off a collection that is classic, chic and ultimately useful. Now to swap those plat-heels for something a little more manageable, perhaps these Sofia-for-L-V wedges for starters…
Alexander Wang, Dazed Digital, The Fashion Spot
No sooner has one caught one’s breath after the razzmatazz of fashion weeks left, right and centre does launch season begin with a zillion different shop openings, high summer previews and A/W press days. In the fortnight ahead I have another Joseph shop relaunch to attend (poor me), press days for Harvey Nichols, Paul Smith, Lulu Guinness, Swarovski, Blow PR and so on and so forth. That’s not including the flood of invitations set to arrive next week for the rest of the press days or the Fashion Business Club talk with Alexandra Shulman I’m attending on 26th March.
On Thursday night it all kicked off with the launch of the clever new pop-up shop by The Convenience Store. The Convenience Store is taking a three-week sabbatical from its home in West London (next door neighbours to Rellik vintage store to be exact) and has taken up residence in the chi-chi environs of the St Martins Lane hotel.
What caught my eye? Ooh, where to start? Wonderful shoes by Camilla Skovgaard (those are her legs and sexy shoes below. If you think they look hot, you should see her face!), raunchy Pam Hogg catsuits, T-shirts and credit-crunch-friendly mugs, sequinny sportswear by Sophie Hulme, lots of lovely Ann-Sofie Back and A.F Vandevorst and plenty of Gareth Pugh including a ventilated armour dress which one commentator was overheard unkindly referring to as looking ‘like an airconditioning unit’, meow!
Everyone was networking like crazy – I have never been given so many business cards – and bemoaning the state of the industry. It was quite nice in a way as everyone is in the same boat and not bothering to hide it. There was a good flow of champagne, much gossip and laughter and a great procession of fashiony characters including Fred Butler, a rosy vision in head-to-toe pink, Pam Hogg, Steven Rellik, various mums-of-designers and handsome blogger Pelayo with the most perfect quiff ever. Topics of conversation: Blogging, men in skirts, Twilight the movie, Starlight Express the musical, soulful house clubs, street parties, press day goody bags and the price of toothpaste. You can’t buy toothpaste at The Convenience Store but you’re in for a treat if you’re after cutting edge, collectable fashion.
The Convenience Store is at the Front Room at The St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2 from March 19th-April 9th