Alexander McQueen's suicide last week came as a shock to me. I was a massive fan of his designs and will miss the left-field thinking, way-out designs, theatrical displays and humour he brought to the fashion world. Once you hear about the death of his mother the week before, remember Isabella Bow's suicide last year, and read any of the many other opinion pieces in any given paper the surprise will diminish, but the loss is no smaller.
Ignorant neigh sayers and fashion haters may have used the occasion to shout abuse about him having deserved it simply for having worked in fashion, and all sorts of conspiracy theories have started crawling out of the woodwork. For example, in the Beeb's Six ways Alexander McQueen changed fashion you'll see someone has commented, "Why no mention of the enormous amount of satanic symbolism in his designs?" as if it were one of the most significant things he had done.
Intrigued enough to see what evidence there was of this a quick google led my inevitably to the Lada Ga Ga forum, catalyst of some of the most whacked out celebrity conspiracies theories on the net. There we find out that by using a pentagram on the runway and his use of chess pieces in his chess themed show (how else?) shows "satanic Illuminati symbolism everywhere. I'm not saying he was mind controlled or programmed but he was definitely into the occult."
It sounds like bollocks to me but I know I loved his work. The two videos above are great examples of his work although I'd also urge you to (re)watch his robotic work and engineering, this retrospective, and his Bjork video. I'm sure we will still be feeling his influence for years to come.
What sort of man wears mantyhose? "Skinny trousers for men are everywhere. But how many will take the trend for figure-hugging legwear one step beyond, and wear tights? We road-test the look." The video is well worth a watch for the reactions. And this is nothing like as eye-catching at the man tights from We Love Colors
Audio slideshow: Art and politics in China "As China marks the 60th anniversary of Communist rule, Katie Hill, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese Art at the University of Westminster in London, looks at how art has moved from the realm of propaganda to the international marketplace."
Dark Nostalgia "A new tome by design correspondent Eva Hagberg, Dark Nostalgia coins a nickname for the cozy vintage trend in interiors." Click through for some great interior images.
Fisheye gives new route to perfect images "A fisheye lens proposed over a century ago can produce perfectly focused images without using any exotic "negative refractive index" materials, a physicist in the UK has calculated."
Fine Waters: Comprehensive Resource of Bottled Water of the World Etiquette for Drinking Temperature: "Serving all waters at the same temperature, letís say 55 degrees Fahrenheit, will nicely show their differences. A slight increase in temperature will have a calming effect on waters with larger, louder bubbles. In general, the colder the water, the more focused it will be.Water can be served at almost any temperature, but knowing how to manipulate temperature will allow you to better pair the waters with food and establish a true epicurean dialogue." Or you could serve it ice cold and some people like to serve it at 100 degrees C with an infusion of leaves. [thanks Jules]
Woman walking through the city centre today wearing odd crocs, ffs. As if wearing crocs isn't bad enough, as if buying TWO PAIRS of the fucking things isn't reason enough to have someone committed, she decided to go out wearing one yellow one and one orange one.
"These boots by Adbusters are made from hemp and used car tyres. They are supposed to resemble Converse All- Stars, yet are trade- mark free. Selling over twenty-five thousand pairs, the campaign strives to undermine the premise that global business' sometimes require the use of sweatshops through necessity."
It was also pointed out to me, after making my cardboard pinhole camera from Magma, that Urban Outfitters also sale them, although not the same model. They have a nice range of Lomos and related goodies too.
But somehow it rankles with me how stylishly it's all dressed up.
You may have seen the World of Harajuku Lovers Fragrance ads around on bus stops and such recently. Whenever I see these the imagery and the colour palette make me think of Burtie Basset and Dr Who's lazy unimaginative Happiness Patrol villain. Like so...
"A housewife who posed as a teenage boy to send hostile emails to a neighbour's daughter was found guilty yesterday of several minor charges related to the "cyber-bullying" that prompted the girl's suicide.
"The case made legal history because it revolved around charges that Ms Drew lied on the fake MySpace profile, violating the site's terms of service which require users to provide "truthful and accurate" registration information.
"Ms Drew had throughout the trial denied that she was using her computer when the fateful, final message to Megan was sent. While she knew of the existence of "Josh Evans", she claimed the hostile emails were sent by her daughter, Sarah, and several friends."
Yes, that's right. Blame your own daughter. Nice one. RIP
"Frank Nuovo cradles in his palm what is, if not the world's most costly mobile phone, then perhaps its most elegantly conceived. It's the Vertu Boucheron 150, designed by Nuovo himself, a dapper, serious Californian whose passion for his product is entirely unapologetic. Formerly head of design at Nokia, he is the founder and chief designer of Vertu, the world's leading maker of luxury mobile phones."
"The fossilised remains of an ancient reptile that lived 220 million years ago may have solved the puzzle of how the turtle got its shell and, in the process, cleared up one of the most enduring mysteries of animal evolution.
"The latest discovery, made by palaeontologists excavating in China's fossil-rich province of Guizhou, shows that the shell of the turtle evolved from bony growths that expanded from the spine and ribs, rather than the merging of bony plates found in the skin of some reptiles."
I was reading someone else's Metro over their shoulder on the bus last night when this photo caught my eye. I love the way the pedals at the front make it look like some dancer is in the middle of some extreme noise improvisation performance. In fact, it's just Katy Perry having a wardrobe malfunction near a guitarist, but I prefer the noise idea. Maybe she consider it as a back up career.
"Knickers made from bamboo and soy have been launched as part of an eco-friendly underwear collection. Designer Joanna Ketterer [of Luva Huva]said the garments are super soft and 'not only beautiful but ethically sound'. The fabric for the lingerie is made from the pulp of bamboo grass which resembles unspun cotton and can be woven and dyed."
Rights, here's another fashion observation I can't get my head around. Firstly, I saw a girl on the bus last week who was wearing a fashionably distressed denim mini-skirt OVER a pair of jeans. I dismissed this as a freak occurrence until Monday, when I saw someone walking through the centre wearing a pair of mid-thigh blue denim shorts over a pair of black drain-pipe jeans. This should not be allowed.
Walker is famed for his very British, Alice-in-Wonderland aesthetic. He has shot Erin OíConnor as a goose, Lily Cole as a peacock girl standing awkwardly on a mantelpiece in a dilapidated mansion, a redcoated Otis Ferry crammed into a tiny room with a pack of beagles.
'A lot of people get confused when they see this image. They think it was done by computer, but we actually took pigment powder, mixed it with talc to get the right ice-cream pastel colours, and brushed it into the cats. ... they were so vain they loved it. ... There wasn't enough light to do the picture indoors - but, by a fluke, all the cats seemed to gravitate to this clematis at the bottom of some steps. I didn't arrange them. This is just what the cats did, and they all pretty much stayed where they were throughout. So it's actually quite a naturalistic portrait - apart from the colour.'
Oobject's Guide to Anechoic Chamber Architecture "In this kind of space, no one can hear you scream. Anechoic chambers use spiked walls to eliminate echoes, the end result might literally sound dull but the visual effect can be stunning, such as at the enormous anechoic hangar. Vote for your faves."
"There is nothing not to love at Oobject's Guide to Anechoic Chamber Architecture. Above is AFJ International's tank-sized chamber, and the Auditory Localization Facility is a person-sized loudspeaker-filled geodesic sphere packing a generous punch of awesome. Less high-minded readers might also enjoy Nick Knight's rather splendid fashion/audio crossover The Sound of Clothes, which includes several not entirely SFW videos."
When did recycled fashion ever look so good? "FLOCK was set up by Poppy Pitt, and joining the project shortly after its conception was Lucy Ibrahim. Together their aim is to create events that are brimming with glamour, great design and sound ethics.
Our aim is to create a strong, exciting and innovative fashion show that marries style and ethics seamlessly and without compromise.
We are based in Bristol and feel that that it is a great place to both launch your label or expand an existing one. Bristol is teeming with ethically conscious consumers that care about fashion and the future.
Bristol is a stong hold of independant and ethical businesses, and we feel it is the perfect place to base our promotions company, put on shows and bring our designers together.
We are holding our first fashion show as FLOCK [on 8th March at the Attic], it will be an exciting show with a range of emerging and more established designers from around the UK."
And while I'm on the subject of clothes recycling, here's a picture of Helena Bonham Carter modelling an outfit from her Pantaloonie "refurbishing" line:
ndeur shoe graf on etsy.com ("your place to buy and sell all things handmade")
"I AM NOW PAINTING CANVAS SNEAKERS WITH ANY DESIGN YOU CHOOSE! Hello hello, I am Mathieu Missiaen. My brand is NDEUR; I paint canvas, walls, anything and everything. My designs are street, modern, fun and will make your shoes a work of art. Together we will change the way the world thinks of fashion. You can see more of my work at www.myspace.com/ndeurr." [found in outofhand magaize]
Jeremy Paxman, the Newsnight anchor famous for grilling cabinet ministers and airing his robust opinions on subjects as diverse as the future of broadcasting and the latest entries in Who's Who, has now voiced his dissatisfaction on another matter of importance to the nation: Marks & Spencer underpants.
The broadcaster is so concerned about the declining standards of men's underwear that he has written to Sir Stuart Rose, the chief executive of M&S, detailing his "anxiety" about its gussets, which he said no longer offered "adequate support".
"Like very large numbers of men in this country, I have always bought my socks and pants at Marks & Sparks," he wrote. "I've noticed that something very troubling has happened. There's no other way to put this. Their pants no longer provide adequate support. When I've discussed this with friends and acquaintances it has revealed widespread gusset anxiety. I do feel that someone should take up this mighty battle.
I have to say I'm with him on this, on two counts: 1. I also buy my underwear in Mark's and its quality has been declining over the years, and 2. It gets the word 'gusset' in the broadsheets.
Takashi Murakami is probably best known for his Manga related work. "[His] style, called Superflat, is characterized by flat planes of color and graphic images involving a character style derived from anime and manga. Superflat is an artistic style that comments on otaku lifestyle and subculture, as well as consumerism and sexual fetishism. Social commentary is nothing new, nor is appropriation of mass media or popular culture." [source wikipedia]
Murakami - Army of Mushrooms
Which reminds me. I bought the recent Pop magazine because I was intrigued by the article about creating mushrooms out of designer clothes with similar sounding names. eg Shitake Versace:
The UKmediaareapplauding the fashion industry's announcement for London Fashion Week that under 16yo models will be banned and that models will have to prove that they don't have an eating disorder.
Itís the lamest cop out solution the industry thought it could get away with. All they have done is shift the burden of dealing with it onto the models themselves rather than deal with it sensibility but not picking stick thin models.
As Bob Carlos Clarke put it, "the female fashion editors have colluded in the demise of their own sex by going along with the ludicrous charade of supermodels. Fashion poses a far greater threat to modern woman than pornography, with its wild demands that she conform to that freakish body shape."
Looking over someone's shoulder on the bus last week I spotted this picture in the Metro, so obviously decided to grab a copy and find out what it was doing in there.
Who would wear shoes like that and not have the sense to put on black nail varnish? Fucking amateurs.
The text from almost full page article is here: The height of fashion turns 500. It would seem that the near full page article is justified merely by a press release from Shoe Express claiming that high heels are around about 500 years old, give or take, so have produced these beauties above to celebrate. Sounds pretty tenuous to me, and I very much doubt I'll see anyone walking around in those, but it's a nice picture none the less. So here's some more free publicity for them.
If you browse the online shop it's best to search by Photographer rather than Keyword btw, as the images don't seem to be tagged very well. Love the way you can order prints of pretty much every image.
"...the only magazine in the world, which acts as a completely unbiased photography gallery, open to both emerging and established artists, and making affordable art available to all."
"JAPAN ISSUE RE-PRINT Our Japan issue went on-sale worldwide on March 1st and sold out in record time, as a biannual we make every effort to maintain at least a 5 month presence in stores, so we have decided to capitalize on the popularity of this issue by re-printing and re-distributing in the UK later this month across all key and major outlets. The re-print will feature the international cover version which was previously only available outside the UK so this is your chance to get both versions of our best issue to date."
"SOLD OUT ONLINE - NOW AVAILABLE ONLY IN SHOPS"
Found this in Boarders (£6.99) in the week. Stunning material. All fans on Japan, Fruits, fetish, fashion and just plane good photography should get this.
I've mentioned before my fascination with the strange juxtaposition of seeing someone riding a bike in high heels. You have to applaud the dedication to the cause of heel wearing when they are used in such inappropriate circumstances. Here's another example found by Mrs P in a magazine, along with a public health warning about the possible side effects of cycling.
[Sorry about the white space. I added that so flickr would centralise the thumbnail on the photo without cropping the text.]