Films

Sounds of summer



I have three uplifting music recs to make this summer.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the cinema for the first time in over a year and it was so worth it. (It was also pretty empty.) We saw Summer of Soul, a wonderfully observed documentary revisiting the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. Never heard of it? That’s because it was completely overshadowed by Woodstock. TV producer Hal Tulchin’s 40 hours of footage were relegated to a dusty basement for 50 years until Summer of Soul’s director Ahmir Thompson (aka Questlove) decided it was time to edit, update and air them.

Wow. Everything about it is fantastic – the clothes, the music, the performances, not to mention the emotional recollections from people who were there. Not just a music doc, it serves as a time capsule of a pivotal point in American socio-political history. Let’s just say you ain’t lived till you’ve seen the clip of Mavis Staples and Mahalia Jackson’s immense vocal power. (Nina Simone’s ‘Young, Gifted and Black’ performance comes a very close second.)

Bringing more nostalgic joy to the summer of 2021 is Gary Crowley’s second Lost ‘80s 4-CD (or double vinyl) compilation. As with his first of these curations, it spans the gamut of 1980s music genres, with new wave, pop, hip-hop and soul happily co-existing – sometimes all within the same track!

Having spent a good chunk of lockdowns one and two tuning into Tim Burgess’s Twitter Listening Parties, I’ve been very happy to revisit a few forgotten or under-appreciated 80s bands. This is the best kind of compilation, full of surprises. A couple of gems in particular – World’s Famous Supreme Team’s mellow and melodic Hey DJ, The Waitresses’ sardonic I Know What Boys Like and The Kane Gang’s ace cover of (them again) The Staple Singers’, Respect Yourself.

Finally, the next film on my list is the new Sparks documentary, ‘The Sparks Brothers’, which has just been released in UK cinemas. I’m expecting equal doses of bonkersness and brilliance from pop’s most enduring duo.

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Cannes red carpet: garconnes do it better



What is it about the Cannes red carpet that’s so much more refined than other red carpets? Don’t answer that. I think I know the answer already.

American premieres and awards are super-planned and super-commercial, all about diamonds and deals. Somehow Cannes just seems a bit cooler. Here’s the evidence; Jane Birkin and Charlotte Gainsbourg in classic garconne style – Birkin in Celine and Gainsbourg in Saint Laurent. (more…)



The ‘nouveau romance’ of Celine menswear AW21



Celine men winter 21

Chapeaus off to GQ’s Rachel Tashjian, who wrote this very astute critique of Hedi Slimane’s latest Celine menswear collection. And the brand’s overall current appeal.

“His clothing is probably the most intelligently merchandised stuff on the planet. He is making clothes to sell them, proving with every one of his choices why you need them…When you go into a Celine shop, or look at the brand’s e-commerce, you see something so clear and intelligent it might make you mad at other big fashion brands: a few perfect blazers, a leather motorcycle jacket, a leather blouson, a suede trucker jacket, and so on. All the pants are just right. The loafers, sneakers, and boots are just the kind you’re looking for when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Slimane is actually thinking about someone going into a store to buy clothing. What might they want?” (more…)



Pieter Mulier to Maison Alaïa



Pieter Mulier creative director Alaïa ss22

Some exciting news on the designer front. Pieter Mulier, the one-time secret weapon of Raf Simons (who can forget his stand out supporting role in Dior & I?) has been appointed creative director at Alaïa.

This sounds like an excellent appointment, with Mulier promising to retain Azzedine Alaïa’s “legacy of celebrating femininity and placing women at the heart of creation”, hopefully with a modern hand. I imagine Richemont will expect a big ROI with fulsome collections of clothes, accessories (and maybe even beauty?) but hopefully they can also find a way to imbue some of the slower pace Alaïa was known for with his ‘it comes when it comes’ schedules. (more…)