Fashion and social media have an intimate relationship: from bloggers storming the front row at fashion shows, to taste influencers being sponsored by premier league brands, to designers documenting their design processes through the new medium of instantly-shared
Launching this week the very particularly-titled SOON IS NOW TheInstaPaper-#edit2 is a publication that aims to bridge the gap between traditional and digital media working with fifteen artists who are engaged in documenting their world through instant photography. Included in the fifteen are Humberto Leon from the talent-sourcing New York based global boutique Opening Ceremony and London artist and ‘contemporary shaman’ Matthew Stone, whose work regularly features in high-end fashion publications such as GQ Style.
The book is based entirely on Instagram photos, documenting the “instant” visual movement by turning it into a collectable, desirable physical presence. The project is masterminded by art director Francisco Salvado, founder of design studio Soon Is Now and Interactive Art Director at AnOtherMag.com. The book will be available online at theinstapaper.com and at selected London bookstores.
Potentially more difficult to lay your hands on is the new limited-edition book celebrating the 10th anniversary of Yohji Yamamoto’s collaboraion with adidas: 10 Years of Y-3, featuring images from fashion shows, ad campaigns and clothing to illustrate the uniquely longstanding collaboration between the legendary designer and the sportswear brand; fusing Yamamoto’s darkly creative vision wih the technical possibilities of sports attire. The book will be gifted to to loyal fans and will not be available for sale. Look out for 10 Years of Y-3 on display at Y-3 boutiques, preview it online or see if that taste influencer you know has a copy to share.
Just released are these ‘shoppable videos’ styled by Sharpened Lead favourites Kit Neale and Charlie Casely-Hayford produced in collaboration with Dazed and Confused magazine and featuring clothing by Italian menswear brand Antony Morato.
I’m quite blown away by the technology (provided by wireWax) – the next logical step on from those shoppable tabloid stories, but applied to the visions of of Kit and Charlie, actually something quite beautiful. Film is definitely evolving as an obvious vehicle for fashion stories, not only is it visually clear but there’s the engrossing, involving quality of the moving image to invite you in.
The film styled by Charlie, features a solitary character exploring the city while lost in a musical reverie. Ever understated, Charlie had this to say about his approach to the styling: “The layering was loosely based on a traveller, a nomad. There was a slight punk undertone but we didn’t want to overplay it.”
In brilliant contrast, the film styled by Kit is studo-based, offering the ideal platform to explore the inventiveness of Kit Neale, complete with a set designed by him and featuring collaged multiple exposures replicating the controlled chaos of his print work.
Bravo, all involved for bringing together cutting edge technology with two of the brightest sparks in the London menswear maelstrom.
The Charlie Casely-Hayford styled film is here:
And the Kit Neale one is here:
On Friday, the exhibition Hello My Name is Paul Smith opened at The Design Museum on London’s South Bank and I was lucky enough to be there. A press release I’d seen showed images of the creative chaos of Smith’s office, apparently moved wholesale into the stark focus of The Design Museum’s white space, consisting of countless inspirational objects, art works and bits of stuff. Aside from this, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would there be actual clothes? Or, being The Design Museum, would there be a contrary focus on Paul Smith’s non-fashion work: from vehicles to furniture and other objects? As it turns out, his fashion work is reviewed as a whole: from the origins of Smith’s’ global business in a single, modest Nottingham shop space, to the scale of operations involved in his Paris catwalk shows, to the individuality of his global stores, and to me, the most interesting aspect of all: the rationale for his approach to design; his inspirations, working methods and obsessions. I found this exhibition to be very digestible – given the length of Smith’s career, this could have been a bloated showcase, full of unnecessary detail and with the essence of the story lost in the telling (as, I have to admit, I found some of the curation of the David Bowie exhibition earlier this year). Instead, the story here is told with the same economy of detail and flair for simplicity that you can hear the man himself espousing as a design ethic, in the quite brilliant audio piece being broadcast in the central space.
Here’s a few things I learned/had confirmed about Paul Smith from the exhibition:
1. He’s a collector. The walls of the gallery space when you walk in are covered in framed works of art, including pieces by major artists such as Hockney and Warhol, but its clear that they are chosen (like the random paraphernalia he also hoards) for what they represent to him, and not just for their monetary value. While there are certain themes (humour, a love of trippy, psychedelic imagery), as a whole, it’s quite dizzying.
2. He loves colour. From the individual garments selected from his many collections to the wall of literally thousands of differently-hued buttons, to the super-high-res video installation documenting his recent Paris runway show, featuring eye-popping acid pinks, vivid embroidery and pattern, inspired, it seems by a visit to Rajasthan, colour pops from every surface.
3. He loves photography. In another voiceover segment, he decribes the camera as his ‘notepad’, and photography is clearly something he is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about. Not only are there many works of photography he owns on display, but there are examples of Smith’s own very accomplished work on show too.
4. He is keen to credit his wife, Pauline’s influence. Originally a fashion tutor, she took a young Smith over to Paris along with her students to attend couture shows and their hotel room in that city later became their first showroom. The exhibition includes some of Pauline’s sketches for an early Paul Smith collection.
5. He loves to travel. The fact that Smith travels extensively is perhaps not so surprising, given the scale of his global business, but it’s also clear that the purpose of travel for him is at least partly for inspiration. He may only visit a place for 24 hours, he says (again in voiceover) but he will do more than most people would within that space of time. Street markets are a particular inspiration, clearly evident from the magpie-like passion for collecting colour and details from around the world, seen throughout the exhibition.
Spaces relevant to the story of Paul Smith, designer, are recreated throughout the exhibition: the first Nottingham shop, the famous Paris hotel room/showroom, the installation art-like visual cacophony of his recreated office space. And then, as I turn a corner, he is suddenly there in person; being interviewed by Japanese visitors in an actual working office space, his PA to his right, working away at managing his busy life. The interview is clearly audible, and as we bystanders look on in charmed awe, Paul Smith recounts aspects of his design ethos (it’s important to really ‘look’, which means ‘to absorb’) and the pleasure he gets from mentoring young talent, like young London designers Agi & Sam.
As the interview concludes, Smith greets the lookers-on, and as an excited school group passes through, he comes out from behind the counter to sign autographs, shake hands and answer questions, to the delight of both teachers and kids. The designer is also in his element, taking time to pose for photographs with whomever asks. My final realisation about Paul Smith is that this element of his being really present is what makes him so unique. A global brand he may be, but the touch, the ideas and the personality of Paul Smith runs through every aspect of that brand. He is the antithesis of the household name designer who is absent in all but name. That and the desirability and visual punch of his work, right up to the very present, makes his talent quite rare and this exhibition one I can’t recommmend highly enough.
Last week the schedule for the next London Collections: Men in January was announced, making it clear which designers will show and when, as design studios across the capital prepare to spend the Christmas break feverishly completing collections for the menswear showcase.
January’s schedule features some fixtures, like Lou Dalton, a designer moving to the next level who will once again present the first show of the London season, but there are also some interesting and exciting additions to the line-up like father-son partnership Casely-Hayford and Swedish brand Common. London’s globabl status as a capital of fashion innovation is reflected in initiatives like Fashion East and NewGen Men, both of which provide a platform and much-needed support for young menswear designers. As LC:M matures and develops as an event, the career trajectory of young designers through such schemes is evident, with talent like Agi & Sam and print prodigy Kit Neale graduating through the ranks to produce ever-more polished runway shows and presentations.
Increasingly well attended by overseas press and buyers (with some American buyers even relinquishing their misty-eyed notions of Paris to come here instead), LC:M is proof that what London offers above other fashion capitals is variety. From ‘establishment’ events at locations like Savile Row or Lord’s (often Downing Street or Clarence House endorsed) to anarchic, gender-blurring presentations verging on performance art, London’s menswear programme brings all the style tribes together, for a few days at least.
Showing on the runway for the first time together in January, father and son partnership Casely-Hayford epitomise London’s colourful fashion history. While Charlie is currently the striking face about town of the brand, his father Joe is no stranger to runway shows, having been one of the city’s most cherished menswear designers since the ’80s. Charlie had this to say about the build up to their first show together:
‘Prepping for our debut show in January has been an interesting experience. For my father his first show was in the 80′s and for me this is my first show in London. A lot of our experiences as father and son designers play out like this and allow us to interact with and interpret things very differently – this dynamic is at the core of the brand’s DNA. The purposeful disparity always creates an interesting aesthetic.’
Personally, I’m very excited to see what the pair deliver on the runway, their unique fusion of tailoring with streetwear motifs and generation-crossing aesthetics is always surprising and impeccably realised.
Right now, young designers like Kit Neale, reknowned for his colourful prints, are bringing word of London’s buoyant menswear scene to a global audience via collaborations with the likes of Opening Ceremony, the talent-sourcing New York based store. Currently, Kit’s Tutti Frutti prints are on sale at the Opening Ceremony pop-up within Selfridges. Another Opening Ceremony collaborator is Lou Dalton, whose second OC collaboration features sportswear with exposed zip details and logos inspired by the film Local Hero. A real LC:M success story, it’s a measure of Lou’s recent success that her sporty tailoring can already be found at Liberty, Harvey Nichols and Dover Street Market and other high-end outlets overseas.
For those interested in what men can wear, LC:M offers an intense immersion into the many different spheres of men’s fashion and I look forward to reporting back from some of the most visually striking events in the New Year. In the meantime, the prospect of facing the ever-expanding army of street style photographers with a Christmas paunch, might mean a few less mince pies for this writer.
A sweatshirt from Lou Dalton’s second collaboration with Opening Ceremony:
One of Kit Neale’s Tutti Frutti designs for the OC pop-up at Selfridges:
English shoemaker Grenson has brought it’s ‘Lab’,complete with white-coated assistants, to the men’s shoe department at Liberty, in response to demand following the highly acclaimed shoe-design lab for women at the department store last year. If any further proof were needed that the appetite for men’s shoes has already caught up with women’s (I for one don’t need convincing) this might be it.
Displayed across a suitably stark white counter, the Lab lets you choose from soles, laces, eyelets and of course, the leathers for your dream shoes. While there’s the freedom to make a self-identifed pig’s ear of it should you wish, classy examples are on display to guide your eye towards wise combinations and luxurious pairings (I have my eye on the black leather and suede brogues with chunky black soles they had on display) and the helpful assistants are at hand to guide you through your choices.
Manufacture of your hand-made-in-England lovelies (starting from £380) would take 14 weeks, a long time yes, but imagine the anticipation when opening the box containing your design for the first time? Custom made trainers got the ball rolling in the sense of making bespoke accessible, but once you’ve got access to the fine materials and techniques within the heritage of a fine shoemaker why not design yourself a longer lasting statement of personal style? I loved the childish sense of play handling the swatches and thinking of the endless possible colour contrasts and texture combinations.
But you’ll need to be fast: the G-Lab closes this Sunday (3 November).
Sharpened Lead favourite, Marwood has collaborated with fellow English aesthetes Cherchbi on a travel bag for men, bringing a sense of timeless luxury and well-considered manufacture to a very practical item. Lined in a waterproof version of Marwood’s staircase silk jacquard, the bag itself is constructed from Herdwyck wool tweed, edged with saddle leather and featuring a sturdy-looking zip. The full collaborative set includes two Marwood-designed ties; one a bow. It’s refreshing to see a collaboration uniting two brands which are such great reflections of one another – Marwood’s fine art approach to accessories meeting Cherchbi’s use of the finest natural raw materials: wool, leathers and high-end fastenings. In fashion terms, the word collaboration these days usually refers to high-street names or faded giants cashing in on the ‘cool’ factor of younger, edgier designers, here you get the sense of loftier minds thinking alike.
The set of travel case, tie and bow tie is priced at £375. Individually the items are £240 for the travel case, £105 for the tie and £80 for the bow tie. All items are currently available on www.cherchbi.com and soon on www.marwoodlondon.co.uk.
Previous posts on Marwood: