CONTENTS Some women volunteered, a law forced others. With a poor supply of tools and barely any mechanical support, they were clearing the cities from rubble – including steel girders and beams – using only the strength their bodies could supply. Since the rubble left over from the War was also the fundament for the reconstruction of the cities, the women had to remove any mortar from bricks by hand, using hammers and knives. All of that for a starvation wage of seventy pennies per hour, which was a poor pay even given the post-war economic circumstances. Living conditions were horrendous for all social classes and ages. The destroyed buildings were dangerous workplaces. Shortages of food meant that in some regions the daily food ration was less than seven hundred calories. What wasn’t available through food stamps was bought on the black market. But there, a pound of butter could easily cost two hundred marks (around 80 pounds sterling) and as most women couldn’t afford this, they traded what they could find. The most valuable trade-in was cigarettes. With several cartons of American cigarettes, one could even bargain for a functioning car. Everything that wasn’t toxic was eaten, like salads from stinging nettles, dandelions or daisies. On better days even Knolli-Brandy – schnapps made from sugar beet. While in Paris Christian Dior celebrated his New Look, fabrics and textiles in Germany were rather short. The dream of French couture was further away then ever, so they started producing garments from everything that could be sewed. Frequently used materials included old blankets or army uniforms – even old parachutes found on open fields were transformed into parkas. In order to protect their hair from the dust and dirt in the ruins of the cities, the headscarf became the rubble woman’s special trademark and the most significant item of the ‘rubble-woman-look’. These headscarves were worn in many different ways and even in recent times designers have tried to reinvent and recreate the look, most recently seen in Dior’s 2012 Spring collection. What else did the headscarf stand for? Has its association with the difficult post-war times prevented it from re-establishing itself in the fashion world? What are the most popular and trendy ways to wear a headscarf today and what else was the rubble woman look about? Socks’n’Sandals: Who hasn’t seen it before: the German tourist in the company of wife, kids and dog, in shirt, shorts and the unambiguous indicator of his German origin: socks and sandals. Just like the German Spießer1, this kind of footwear can look back at a long history. In fact, they are one of the oldest forms of footwear, perhaps even as old as the German taste for fashion. But, seriously, sandals have been around since ancient times. Already in the seventh century B.C. there existed a particular sandal called a crepida (lat.), which looked very much like what is today known as a gladiator sandal. The origin of the socks-and-sandals trend appeared later, though, when it was frowned upon to wear open shoes in public. Only in the 1960s was a heel added to the ancient footwear to give the classical sandal a rather feminine touch.
GERMAN CLASSICS Roswitha Schleicher Roswitha Schleicher explains there’s more to German fashion than lederhosen and Lagerfeld. Rubble Look: When World War II ended in May 1945, Germany was covered with a thick blanket of rubble and ash. Most of its cities were completely destroyed and over 3.5 million apartments lay in ruins. There were mountains of dirt with a total of 400 million cubic metres of rubble. Because many men died in the war or were still waiting for their release from captivity, the surviving women started to clean away the leftovers from the war. In this way, the image of the selfless and brave ‘rubble women’ became the heroic symbol for the backbone of the reconstruction period.
In Germany the ‘trend’ established itself so deeply that some Germans are still desperately holding onto it despite several decades of strict lecturing by fashionistas. Today this combination is unthinkable, even in the spießig country. Yet with older generations it remains a natural part of their outfits during the spring and summer season. But why? Ursula, 58, from Dusseldorf likes the practicality of it: “I prefer it to naked, dirty feet,” she says. Peter, 67, agrees with her practical approach: “It works out very well; my socks are always aired quite thoroughly.” For Helmut, 75, it’s a lifelong habit: “I’m used to it and would never walk with bare feet in sandals.” Obviously Germans are not deceiving themselves: they are conscious that socks and sandals are not acceptable together. “However, there is a bunch of fellow citizens, who like to commit this fashion sin over and over again. Even where it may harm the [German] people’s reputation: abroad,” concludes Brian Melican, an online TV-host. Fortunately, there have been some indicators that may gave the younger citizens to finally bring an end to the long-term fashion disaster: for once the embarrassment for their parents and grandparents, secondly the globalisation of the fashion industry and thirdly the high influence of the international media landscape. Yet, those who watched the runways in Paris may have noticed that Louis Vuitton and Dior chose to dig out this German favourite once again. What in Paris might already be the new trend of the season is in Germany still meeting a highly sceptical audience. Is there really hope for the German spießig society to finally discard this ancient relic of former generations or is the problem an even deeper, genetic thing, which arises with more advanced age just as the spießig attitude does?
The following consists of editorial taken from the class of 2012’s final MA projects.
1/ Roswitha Schleicher - german Classics 2 / Young Eun So - After School 3/ Laura Hawkins & Kate White - Anna Lomax 4 / Rachel McCulloch - Vicky Beamon 5/ Darcy Rive - Confessions of a Pretty Boy 6 / Anastasia Miari - A Well Kept Secret 7/ Irene Ojo-Felix - O Pioneers! 8 / Nassia Matsa - FAQ Food 9 / Li Yin Soh - Blog Standard 10 / Bojana Kozarevich - The Fifth Element 11 / Carol Acquino & William de Martigny - Nuit Noir 12 / Madeleine Goubau - The Inconspicuous Diamond 13 / Maria Fuentealba - The First Day on Earth 14 / Dyuti Mishra - Bollywood Poster Art 15 / Hannah Banks - Walker - The It List 16 / Skye-Marie Dixon - Sapphire 17 / Lily Marpaung - Sapto Djojokartiko 18 / Shomara Roosblad - Annabel Tollman 19 / Soraya Bakhtiar - The Mzungu Sisters
e dit o r ’s le t t e r In your hands, you hold a collection of features from the students who have just completed the MA Fashion Journalism course at the London College of Fashion. These are the people who hope to be the chroniclers of our time, the observers of our habits, and the dictators of our fashions and trends. Inside this newspaper, you will find articles to make you laugh and think, interviews that will excite and inform, and carefully curated photo shoots that will send tingles to your style senses. Yes, in your hands you hold an array of submissions that are as diverse, unique and creative as the people who created them. Just over fifteen months ago, I came to London and joined a class of twenty-something other fashion-loving Carrie Bradshaw types. There’s no harm in admitting what is essentially the truth – we had all seen the show and thought we could do a better job given half the chance. There we were, pens poised and minds ready for moulding, at the mercy of our teacher and the grace of our peers. This was our first step in becoming the professionals we wanted to be. As we tackled assignments and battled projects, our strengths, weaknesses, tastes and opinions were developed, and we were learning just as much about ourselves as we were about the fashion industry. The city became our classroom and our friends became our tutors. Suddenly, the course metamorphosed into something bigger than the degree award at the end of it. The Master’s final project was a creation of our own undertaking, with little limitation on the message we wanted to deliver or how we wanted to say it – it was a compass taking us in any direction that we wanted. For most of us, it became the sleeve upon which we wore our hearts. It was, and is, a tangible representation of what we had learnt, who we had become, and where we wanted to go. It encompassed high-end luxury style with lowbrow art; pretty boys with sustainable warriors; the decadently shocking with minimalist statements. We explored businesses and PR, studios and creative spaces, kitchens and closets, blogs and books, theatres and museums and boutiques. We delved into cultures and niches and trends. We spent our days and nights immersing ourselves into a piece of work that might help define who we were each becoming. We did it all for ourselves, for our own torturous enjoyment, and now, for yours too. Combining the work of writers and stylists and directors and editors, this newspaper is a collaborative effort to unite these different paths that we have all taken. We hope that there is something within these pages that interests you, or that challenges you, or that inspires you. And most importantly, we hope you enjoy The Almanac.
darcy ri ve editor-in-chief
After School Young Eun So P ho tography Ee va Ri nne Styli ng Young Eun S o M ak e- up & Hai r Oonah Ande rson Mode l Emi l y
We still find ourselves in uniform as if we did not want to admit our school days are over. Here are the school uniforms for after school. 1. Emily is wearing a vest by Anjie JiMin An. 2. Emily is wearing a shirt by Steven Tai and s pleated skirt by Anjie JiMin An. 3. Emily is wearing a shirt collar by Cos, a cotton jumper by Ralph Lauren and a blue jacket by Steven Tai. 4. Emily is wearing a navy coat with a sailor collar by Anjie JiMin An.
STUDIO VISIT: ANNA LOMAX Laura Hawkins and Kate White Anna Lomax Art director and Set Designer Anna Lomax creates bold, obscure and incredibly stylish sets and props from her colourful corner in a shared studio space at the heart of Dalston, East London. “I am a massive fan of popular culture, tacky and trashy objects and garish plastic things.”
What are you working on at the moment? I normally have a few projects on the go at once, a couple commercial and nearly always one or two personal projects. Currently I’m working towards a show called ‘Double Up’ that opens on 6th of December of this year at The Depot in Clapton. It is a group show with artists Suzanne Pettigrew and Lizzie King. You can also see some of my newest work in the Spring Summer 2013 issue of Wonderland magazine.
From small scale still life to large scale installations, Anna has worked for magazines such as Creative Review, Vice and Wonderland, plus masterminded energetic designs for Topshop, Selfridges and Becks.
“I guess I like colourful things because they make me feel happy - same as wearing colourful clothes - If I’m wearing all grey or black I would avoid me, I’m probably in a bad mood!”
Examples of her bold and uninhibited imagination can be found in the project ‘Heroes’, which saw the formation of Totem Poles dedicated to the pop art creations of Andy Warhol and the abstract mind set of Kandinsky, her personal heroes. Odd and unashamedly adventurous, Anna constructs art that will easily challenge the viewer. ‘The Future of Celebrity’ commissioned by Viewpoint magazine is evocative of her own distinctive take on modern culture. Mannequins are cleverly used as an imitation of artificial celebrity culture, and can be found today occupying a corner of Anna’s studio, lending a slight obscurity to the charm of her space. Her love of popular culture inspires many of her projects, allowing her to play with tacky and often trashy objects, turning them into something unique and artistic. Undoubtedly it is the allure of the abstract and bizarre that attracts people to Anna’s work. Filled with extraordinary objects collected from personal projects and commissions, Anna’s workspace is a collectors dream. From china dogs to garish masks and plenty of signature sparkle in between, each object tells a story of the fun and energy Anna puts into every project. Not afraid to get her hands dirty, the studio has seen the far-reaching visions of Anna’s creative mind come to life. To the shared studio space, Anna brings a visual sensation. With her pound shop finds, Ebay steals, and salvaged junk she cleverly works with movement, scale and colour to create extraordinary sets and scenes that are a vivid reflection of her creative entity. We enjoyed rummaging through Anna’s collection of fascinating objects whilst chatting about her trademark style, the shared workspace and her enviable Ebay skills. Describe the style of your working environment. Anna Lomax: Busy, communal and often fairly messy! We have been here for two years and it is pretty much most of our second homes as we spend a lot of time here. We gave it a lick of paint and built matching desks after eighteen months of being here. Before that we had pretty much just used what we could find off the street. It looks a bit more professional these days. But it’s a proper working environment everyone in here likes to get their hands dirty we are not just a desk based design studio. I collect a lot of stuff though work and often use the communal space for big and sometimes messy jobs, so I often get a bit of stick for being a hoarder from the others. I got the big old haberdashery cabinet earlier this year to try and contain my stuff a bit. We are based in Dalston which is great for me because of all the pound shops. It’s a lot like the area where I grew up in South London so that’s why I like it here. We also have a lot of friends in the surrounding studios - I find it comforting when you are pulling an all nighter for a deadline that there are other lights on and you know others are doing the same.
What are the benefits of working in a shared space? I share with ten other people but we all know each other, some of us were in the same class at Brighton University, then everyone else came here through friends, so we all know each other pretty well. Although we all work as individuals we often share contacts, knowledge and sometimes even collaborate on jobs and personal projects as everyone has a different skill set so it can be pretty handy. Bold colour is such a huge part of your work, is it something you like to bring to each project as an extension of your personal style? I am a massive fan of popular culture, tacky and trashy objects and garish plastic things. These are all really colourful things but colour is not something I think about specifically when I’m working on a project. It just happens. It can be a very good tool to evoke certain feelings of association or nostalgia which is something that happens naturally. I guess I like colourful things because they make me feel happy - same as wearing colourful clothes - If I’m wearing all grey or black I would avoid me, I’m probably in a bad mood! Your workspace is quite chaotic, how do you organise all of your props and equipment? Errr yes organization is not something that comes naturally to me. I have a place for most things - one shelf for tools, one for stuff I don’t know where to put. There are boxes for wadding and wood offcuts, as well as drawers on my desk for receipts. It might look like chaos but for me it’s pretty organized. I have my big old haberdashery unit that houses all my materials, which I found on Ebay after three years of searching for one I could afford. They are normally so expensive but I snapped this one up at a third of what it should have been as the seller was new to Ebay, they had their listing all wrong. I had been using gross plastic ones from Argos before. It was so worth it as now everything has a draw rather than winding up all jumbled together and it’s a nice thing to look at. Where do you source your props from? All over the place, I always have my eyes open. For instance I found this brilliant five-foot neon light next to the bins near my house and it is now in my kitchen. I spend a lot of time on Ebay deep in really weird searches, as well as going to car boot sales and a few shops that you’d really have to twist my arm for me to tell you about. How does your workspace differ to your living space? Not much different to be honest. I live in a big warehouse up the road from here but like to keep work away from home as otherwise I would become a bit of a weirdo and never get out. My house is where I keep my treasured props and things from various jobs, and stuff I have collected. It’s got some pretty funny stuff in there. I have a collection of fairground bits and a selection of light up props/sign/letters; my flat mates never know what I’m going to drag home next. It’s pretty chilled out at home though as I only share with 3 others so a lot less comings and goings compared to the studio.
What is your favourite possession? Oh gosh that’s hard. I have a favourite thing in every category of my collections and I have a few collections! I have a set of Jean Coctaux Limoges plates I got in a junk shop in New York for $25, which I love and then found out they were worth about £500. Clothes wise it would have to be my Moschino jacket collection. I also adore a present I was given when I left my job at Topshop - some old balustrades from a Waltzer fun-fair ride, they say no thrills no spills and it’s fantastic. They started my collection of fun-fair related things including a big light up letter A that is from an old ride of Blackpool pier (best place in the UK). Also I have quite a lot of gold, but my most treasured bit is a 1970 gold and onyx sovereign ring my boyfriend gave me for my birthday three years ago, I never take it off. The list goes on and on really!
Vicky Beamon Rachel McCulloch
have customers from teenagers to 80 year old women. There aren’t any boundaries”. One look at their list of clients and it’s clear to see that boundaries aren’t a thing known to Erickson Beamon. Angelina Jolie, Beyonce, Chloe Seivigny, Elizabeth Taylor, Kate Moss, Nicole Kidman... even Lil Kim wears Erickson Beamon. Few brands can maintain this kind of universal appeal and aspirational quality, which brings us back to the fantasy element of their work and the inescapable fact that everybody has fantasies, whether they are the First Lady or international pop stars. “We make things that people want to dress up in, to live the fantasy.” Sitting in Vicki’s office surrounded by jewells, suddenly this fantasy seems very real. Vicki and Karen have experienced some of the most iconic movements of the late Twentieth century, so when it comes to fantasies, they are definitely in the know. “Karen and I grew up in Studio 54, which was a totally decadent time in New York. Erickson Beamon really arose from that era, which I would say is the second most decadent time in the Twentieth century, after the nineteen twenties.” Studio 54 is such an iconic period that now seems like it must have been more fiction than fact. Rumours, myths and urban legends have spouted from those rooms that will probably never be clarified. We asked Vicki to tell us some stories. “Well I guess I could tell you some stories, but I won’t! I was there though when Bianca Jagger came in on the white horse. Being there really gave you a taste and passion for life.”
Studio 54 was her schoolroom, she invented chandelier earrings and the likes of Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga are her clients. Vicki Beamon, co-founder of ‘baubles and bangles empire’ Erickson Beamon, doesn’t do things by halves. “I always say, jewellery is such a personal, sentimental choice. In that way, dressing is an intellectual part of what you’re trying to say about yourself, whereas the jewellery you put on is more of an emotional statement. That’s what we try to provide at Erickson Beamon; a dress up fantasy.” Fantasy is the key word over at Erickson Beamon, from their beginnings to the incredible pieces they create. Vicki Beamon and Karen Erickson came upon jewellery design while working on a friend’s runway collection in the early eighties, happening to recognise the need for jewellery in the collection and sewing beads on to suede. What came next is surely the thing of fantasies; Vogue coverage, celebrity followers and collaborations with some of the most discerning, elite fashion designers around. Almost 30 years later (Erickson Beamon celebrates it’s 30th birthday next year), the dream continues. In 1985 Vicki moved to London to head up the European side of the business, first in Camden and now in Belgravia. In the basement, studios and work rooms are filled with iridescent, shimmering jewels being intricately placed to create wearable works of art. The ground floor and opening fascia is the shop – a cosy room that feels like walking in to a treasure chest. And the top floor, Vicki’s office, is like a dream centre full of visual and tactile stimulation; shelves of jewellery, stacks of books, vintage furniture, masks, photographs and even a party invitation-come-sculpture that takes pride of place on her desk. Despite the 3,000 mile working distance, Vicki and Karen manage to make things work: “Spiritually I often am in tune with the right thing at the right time and Karen is very like that also. We are very intuitive – we go back and forth, making things that really work together even if we don’t see what each other are making.” It’s not just emotionally that they are able to make the most of the distance. As a business it works too. “In England, jewellery doesn’t seem to go out of fashion. I think people aren’t so much slaves to the runway. When it is a minimalist time in fashion, New York really embraces that whereas here, even during the minimalist time in the mid nineties –John Galliano was making big necklaces here and we did the big chandelier earrings. In England, no matter what people do, they want some kind of adornment.” But who is this Erickson Beamon woman? Fearless enough to ignore the guidance of the runway, stylish enough to carry off a Swarovski encrusted choker? “Our woman is ageless. That’s what I’m most proud of. It’s so much more about the mind of the customers than the age. It’s a woman that has a great sense of her own style; we
Their ‘Deca-dance’ collection embodied fantastical, dream like qualities of the time they have lived, and the original decadent time – that of the twenties. A ‘dark, sensual’ collection, Vicki and Karen used their own experience as well as Jazz Age inspiration to create the collection: “The Jazz age has always been a reference to me. I love the music, the look – but its about taking that and making a modern twist on it to keep that decadence going. Erickson Beamon is about drama and the jazz age is one of the most dramatic periods of all time – it works.” One of their main starting points was Weimar Berlin, a period of excess, indulgence and sexual experimentation in 1920’s and 1930’s Berlin, highlighted by a cabaret act and underground culture enjoyed by the likes of Ernest Hemmingway and Marlene Deitrich. “When you read about Weimar Berlin and that period, you realise that anything you think goes on now was going on back then too, believe me. Nothing is new!” The parallels of the twenties that Erickson Beamon admires and the eighties that they experienced are not lost on Vicki: “It was about the softness of the dresses and the total freedom, the whole pre war freedom, before everything got dark again. The time of Studio 54 in New York and Taboo in London was so decadent, and pre dated AIDS, so its as if the decadence always precedes the fall.” Each of their collections starts with pinpointing an inspiration. With ‘Deca-dance’ it was about “that mood, that drama of life” in the twenties. But generally, g or something in a film. Even the mood of a film can start it off.” Vicki can find inspiration from any source: “All of a sudden something will catch my eye, it can be in architecture or art or a painting; even colours in a paintin Often though, it is the women in the films that inspire her: “I love Tennessee Williams so I go back to those themes for Blanche DuBois or even Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly Last Summer so my inspirations often come from old movies that involve strong women.” Whatever that mood, movie or starting point is, Vicki and Karen make it work: together. “That’s where our intuition kicks in. We get the right vibe at the same time and fit the mood into the fantasy.” As well as an astounding client list, Erickson Beamon collaborates with runway designers each season to give collections the essential finishing touch, pleasingly replicating their foundations but on the world’s stage. “I loved working with Raf Simons on Jil Sander a year ago, that was an amazing experience and he is a joy to work with.” It’s not just the big names but the emerging designers that Vicki works with or finds inspiration from: “English designers are always full of inspiration for me. Maria Graschvogel, Richard Nicoll, Erdem. It’s never been better for clothing designers in the UK, there are so many people now that you really need to watch. Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Peter Pilotto, Mary Kantrantzou – England is so important. Plus I’m kind of a style.com addict.” Lorelei Lee of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has a revelation when in she is in Paris: “I really think a girl looks quite pretty when she is covered all over in diamateys [sic]!”. Is that something Erickson Beamon would agree with? “I absolutely agree with that! Everybody loves that - they can’t get enough of the crystals. We covered a chair, walls, Karen has done mannequins covered all over in crystals too. We cover everything in crystal. We cover the world in crystal!”. Well sparkle on, ladies.
Confessions of a Pretty Boy Darcy Rive Illustration: Joseph Turvey I am most certainly not the first ‘pretty boy’ who has attempted to chronicle his endeavours through this life, nor will I be the last. But I may try to be the most honest and upfront about my triumphs and misadventures when trying to live a life of ‘grace, glamour and gumption’ – as difficult as that might prove to be. The term ‘pretty boy’ is currently under reconstruction, having had as many meaning and associations as Madonna had had image reinventions (or secret surgeries if you believe everything you read). The connotations of the term ‘pretty boy’ has meant something different to each generation that has used it. For the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, the pretty boy was the epitome of beauty. Nubile, full of untapped potential and sexually empowered, the pretty boy was revered as an icon of godly generosity upon a human being. Not a bad position to be in by all accounts. As the world fell into the Dark Ages, the pretty boy refused to diminish his sparkle, and delighted in the furs, velvets and glittering jewels that were popular of the era. A pretty boy’s attraction to and appreciation of the beautiful is as inherent to his being as his DNA, and in a period when shoulders were big and codpieces were bigger, the pretty boy held reign. In fact, when it came to decadence and glamour, the pretty boy was having his seven tier, glitter icing cake and eating it with a gold plated, Mother-of-Pearl embellished fork too, right up until the French Revolution. As poor Louis and Marie lost their heads, the pretty boy lost his resplendent place in society. As the people joined together in ‘Equality, Liberty and Fraternity’, the once-revered persona of the pretty boy became the reviled epitome of everything that had led to the revolution. And then the Great Masculine Renunciation happened, and all men lost their right entirely to be considered beautiful and were forced to be nothing more than useful. This is no way for the pretty boy to live. For every boring and constricting social action, there is an equal and glamorous pretty boy reaction. In the face of sober clothing and even more sobering lifestyles, enter the Dandies, the Beaux, the Macaronis and the Romantics. See them adorn themselves in lace and velvet and diamonds, and read poetry and bask in art and gallivant around town until the sun comes up. See how their perfectly styled heads fall over their Italian leather heels in love with abandon and without restraint. This is the life of the pretty boy. In the last century alone, the social perception of the pretty boy has swung back and forth like a pendulum on a clock. He’s been bullied and abused as effeminate, and idolised by the 70s disco scene and the explosion of 90s boy bands. He has been pushed to the periphery of society by the 80s action heroes and revived by the rise of the metrosexual at the start of the new millennium. But now it is time for new pretty boy to take his place. And I want to be right up there with him. Here I am, trying to direct
my life down the manicured path of the pretty boy. If it’s my yellow brick road, I’m not in search of a brain, a heart and a dash of courage – I’m looking for grace, glamour and gumption. As I get ready for a night out, as I’m defining my otherwise unruly locks and creating temporary cheekbones with strategically applied bronzer, I mutter under my breath ‘What would Audrey do?”. Oh, Audrey. Ms Hepburn epitomised elegance and that is what the pretty boy also aims to do. Sipping my first cocktail, I think ‘Yes, this is what Audrey would do’ and I’m pleased with myself. For doing such a good job at mimicking the grace of Audrey, I naturally reward myself with another cocktail. By the fourth cocktail, I resemble something more like Lindsay Lohan in the days when she accessorised with a house arrest ankle bracelet, and by the time I’m queuing outside McDonald’s at 5am, I am more akin to Britney Spears in the shaved head/umbrella wielding days. Whenever I go on a night out, I leave the house like Audrey Hepburn and I return like Courtney Love. To say that I need to work on my grace is a gross understatement. And when it comes to glamour, it seems that I have a champagne lifestyle with a lemonade budget, and I’m talking about the store brand lemonade here, not even the fancy Schwepps stuff. Alas, like the many pretty boys before me such as Beau Brummel and Oscar Wilde, my finances appear to be uncooperative with the demands on my social life. I want shopping on Bond Street and I’m instead faced with the hoards of tourists that cram the aisles of Primark and TopMan on Oxford Street. Woe is me. Glamour does not come with a budget, so until I win the lottery/marry up/sell my organs on EBay, I shall have to stop sipping the Prosecco and politely request a refreshing tap water please… Now gumption, there’s something I think I might have. I might be on to a winner there. Because you can’t tell me that wearing gold sequin short shorts for a friend’s birthday party that was held in a heterosexual bar that stank of testosterone and Lynx doesn’t require some degree of gumption. And my efforts did not go unnoticed – as I exited the toilets, a man came up to me and said ‘You’ve got some balls’ and handed me two Ping-Pong balls. Whether he was holding onto them simply to make that pun or he had just come from table tennis practice, the fact remains that he is right: I do have balls – and in those short shorts, he could probably see them. My journey to where I want to be isn’t as easy as clicking my heels together three times and waking up as the pretty boy I want to be. It’s going to take time and a little bit of gumption, but if I take small and graceful steps, who knows, I might just find myself doing something wonderfully fabulous somewhere utterly glamorous. I’ll see you all in Emerald City…
A Well Kept Secret Anastasia Miari Kate Moss, Colleen Atwood and Stella McCartney know it’s there. Few others do. Based in a picturesque cottage community in Devon are Mark and Cleo Butterfield, owners of C20 Vintage, the largest private collection of vintage clothing in the whole of Europe. A clothing devotee, Cleo has been collecting pieces since her teens. Living in a squat in Broadway Market in the sixties, she refused to wear Biba and Ossie Clark, opting instead for lengthy thirties dresses. This need to own distinct pieces has remained with her well into her sixties; every item she sources for the collection has to be quality, labelled vintage wear. It’s no surprise that the couple are precious over what they sell and who they hire to. Boasting an extensive array of original period pieces dating back to the Edwardian period, this collection is priceless. “There was no point having money, because money was useless to me – but clothes were really good,” Cleo explains. “I always wore old” – she roots out photographs from a kitchen drawer as we tuck into a selection of cheeses and freshly cut salad from the garden. Faded Polaroid pictures of a girl with wild hair and bare feet wearing sparkling dresses are spread across the dining table. “What it was about, was not buying into conforming,” she says. Over forty years later, her philosophy remains the same. Cleo buys to please herself. Far from its humble beginnings, the C20 collection is now a world away from that squat in East London. The couple upped sticks from the city in 2003 and moved to the countryside, keeping their business exclusive and intimate. Despite being used in a number of big-screen productions recently, the clothes are rarely used as costume. The location of the business in Devon means that it’s only those dedicated to finding something truly unique that will travel to C20 to source it. It’s true that much of the business relies on visits from fashion designers. A ream of high profile names have stopped by the Butterfield’s cottage for tea and a chat, wanting to pick their brains on patterns, styles and period. What is surprising is that the business is so well known to those in the fashion industry but is rarely referenced by those working in film and television. “For at least maybe thirteen years, we’d moved out of the film industry,” Mark says, sipping at his tea and chomping on a clotted cream biscuit. The sun’s out and we’ve moved to sit in the garden for the interview. The sound of running water can be heard over cocks crowing in the distance. Cleo chimes in and explains old-time costume designer Vangie Harrison was the first person ever to hire from her, dropping in to see Cleo and her bin bags full of clothes at her Broadway Market squat. As the old adage goes, a job begets a job. Cleo’s collection was on the big screen in a matter of years after the realisation dawned that she could make a living off her hobby. Her clothes were used as costume in Sidney Lumet’s Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and Bernardo Bertolucci’s iconic film The Last Emperor (1987). Over the years though, budget and time constraints paired with C20’s relocation out of London, meant that the company moved away from costume and into the more commercial fashion industry. “It’s only the old guard that knows us now – the younger costume designers just haven’t heard of us,” Cleo insists.
Still, C20 has been rediscovered of late. 2012 saw the vintage suppliers lend costume to Madonna’s directorial debut, W.E, BBC period drama, Parade’s End and Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, designed by costuming wizard Colleen Atwood. Known as ‘the Ossie Clark’ people, the Butterfields were recommended to Colleen for their extensive collection of sixties regalia. It becomes obvious why this is when we have a rummage through the stacks of vintage in the ever-expanding storage space. Crammed from floor to ceiling, two enormous sheds are filled with boxes, and in those boxes are stacks upon stacks of clothes. The sixties collection spans an entire wall but Cleo explains that the most valuable pieces from this era are kept on a different site. This isn’t the whole lot. It’s a fraction of the total sum. It’s overwhelming – that desire to rummage, touch and try on. Kate Moss was exactly the same when she visited, apparently. Flown in by Helicopter, the supermodel paid the Butterfields a visit to source inspiration for her Topshop collection. “She was in the boxes, trying things on – this woman who’s worn only the best was getting excited about my clothes,” says Cleo. And Moss isn’t the only fashion A-lister to have sought inspiration from these threads. Stella McCartney, Katy England, Phoebe Philo and Kate Phelan are just a selection of C20’s celebrity fashion following. What is it about this place that lures the fashion pack away from the big smoke? Aside from the picture-book cottages and postcard-perfect view of endless green valleys, the Butterfield’s vintage collection is unique. “Our stuff is completely fresh. I never let anybody alter it – it’s all perfect,” Cleo insists. Committed to the clothes, the pair refuses to people please. Mark emphasizes that every item bought, is one they like. They go for standout pieces. Vivienne Westwood polka dots, silver Biba shifts, ruffles, lace and prints – “I never bought insignificant, bland clothes,” affirms Cleo as she pulls examples out of boxes. This is a history lesson – a geography one too. It appears that even on their travels, the Butterfields are on the lookout for the next item. They pull out their ‘ethnic’ box and in we dive, trying on embroidered Peruvian gilets and colourful kaftans. They know where each item is, and they use no cataloguing system. It’s all very old school, which adds to the Butterfields’ charm. They clearly do this out of love – it’s like being in Mr Ben’s costume shop – there’s so much here and they want to play dress up with it all. From lamp-shaped mini-crinis to slightly more austere thirties dresses, the collection spans over a century of fashion trends – and it’s all in excellent nick.
The distinct details and intricacies of the garments provide inspiration for designers that have seen it all. Quality vintage speaks of a time before fast fashion, when clothes were made to last and the finer details were given a higher priority. “It’s a nightmare to keep churning this fashion out all the time – it’s like a hamster wheel,” says Mark. We’re laughing but he’s touched on an interesting point. “People haven’t got the luxury to wait for inspiration anymore,” he adds. Lucky for the Butterfields, fashion designers can take inspiration from their impressive array of detailed pieces. Ironically, they come all the way out here for vintage clothing, in order to find something new. Costume buyers and designers on the other hand, can trust that C20 will have authentic period pieces. Sometimes, a reworking of the same old pattern from the worn-out Janet Arnold book just doesn’t quite cut it. “I’m really passionate about keeping the past and saving it for the future,” says Cleo as she closes the door on the clothes store. This philosophy has resulted in a time capsule of quality garments. Vintage is not the word. Connotations of mothballs, fusty denims and teastains are attached to that word. C20 is home to a history of contemporary Western fashion dating back one hundred years. It’s an archive of beautiful clothing that tells a story about the period in which it was made. The collection may be a train-ride away but C20 Vintage is a font of inspiration. Costume buyers and designers will value the Butterfields for their expertise on fashion in a range of eras meanwhile fashion designers can go there to tap into long-forgotten trends. If period specific is what you’re after, the Butterfield’s will have the answer.
O PIONEERS! P ho to gr aphy- Danny Baldwin Fashio n- Ir ene O jo - Felix M o dels- R acq uel @ D1 Edith @ Str ik e M o del M anagem ent ‘All the past we leave behind, We debouch upon a newer mightier world, varied world, Fresh and strong the world we seize, world of labor and the march, Pioneers! O pioneers!’ Walt Whitman
Look upon the new pioneers of denim, reclaiming the most beloved material to ensure a longer, brighter future. From jeans to shirts and everything in between, the denim evolution is upon us…
FAQ Food Nassia Matsa
Blog Standard Li Yin Soh Journalist Lee Yin Soh, reveals how her MA dissertation made her reappraise the significance of print’s poor relative - and suggests we should too.
My research explored the myth and cultural identities that went into the making of fashion bloggers and their personas as I was chiefly interested in how fashion bloggers become popular and the effect this had on their personalities reflected by the personas they created online. These are not necessarily virtual personas as much, as virtual persona would imply the creation of some sort of game avatar. Yet whatever bloggers write, tweet and post about themselves goes into creating this persona. The dissertation involved research that encompassed all aspects of studying fashion blogging but also looked at fashion blogging from an angle that was hitherto not really given emphasis in academic culture. Academics typically dismiss fashion as unimportant and frivolous for serious study, so to study fashion blogs, products of hobbyists, was unprecedented – also because fashion blogs are a fairly recent phenomenon. Agnès Rocamora at the London College of Fashion has been one of the key research figures researching into fashion blogging. Her paper, ‘Personal Fashion Blog: Scenes and Mirrors in Digital Self-Portraits’, published in the journal Fashion Theory in 2011, looks at identity creation through blogging. But Rocamora is by no means the only person to have written academic pieces on fashion blogging. There are several researchers including Minh-Ha T. Pham from Cornell University who have done so. Pham’s paper, titled ‘Blog Ambition: Fashion, Feelings, and the Political Economy of the Digital Raced Body’, delves into the fashion blogging scene from a socio-cultural and ethnically defined perspective. Pham explores the key topics within discourses of blogging and identity such as feelings of inclusion and exclusion, ambition, social awareness and the idea of democracy that seems to be so deeply imbedded in the subject of fashion blogging. Evidently, fashion blogging itself has become more than just a trend that reflects the democratizing ability of the internet. But is fashion blogging democratic? Can we see it purely in those terms? These are some of the important questions raised in various discussions including my own dissertation.
Fashion blogs are largely seen as a democratizing tool that has helped to ‘liberate’ the fashion industry in the sense that they have allowed fashion publishing to become easily accessible. Unlike fashion magazines, fashion blogs are free, allowing them to be widely accessible and within the reach of a large majority of the developed and developing worlds. Consumer magazines and fashion blogs are not necessarily in direct competition with each other all the time but the advertising revenues for the top fashion blogs can surpass that of some independent magazines and advertising budgets. Fashion brands these days readily include fashion blogs in their spending, as top blogger Scott Schuman once boasted: ‘my [online] audience is so much larger than everybody else’s that advertisers, well at least American Apparel, told me that I am not in their internet budget. My order is so big and they have to pay so much that I am actually in their magazine budget’ (Schuman to The-Talks, 2011). Fashion blogs have become a major part of the industry as they are certainly too difficult to ignore. Yet acceptance of their becoming a part of the industry has not been easy, and bloggers are still not seen as a part of it by every member within the fashion industry.
Learning about fashion blogging also forces one to acknowledge that fashion blogging is an exciting topic to pursue in itself because blogging is still an evolving medium, and I mean this in various senses. It is still evolving because blogging tools are evolving, and it is still evolving because fashion itself is still evolving. The people behind these blogs have changing roles in the industry and this ‘cross-pollinating’ effect from the change in roles reflects itself in these blogs that record fashion ‘as it happens’. The mixing of the people and their roles - editors appearing on blogs and bloggers appearing on (top) fashion magazines, editors becoming bloggers and bloggers becoming editors - are really part of the norm these days.
So, what is the purpose of fashion blogging? Is it an outlet for creative self-expression? A tool for promoting political values (of democracy for example)? A key publishing platform for the dissemination of information on fashion? Another outlet for fashion enthusiasts to explore? It is all of the above, but our attempts to define and sometimes constrict something that is so new will always have repercussions and limitations. Just as how historical studies are changed by the addition of a newly learnt fact sometimes. I do feel that fashion blogging has progressed from becoming something that was first dismissed as unimportant, to becoming part of mainstream culture and now worthy of academic research. That said, fashion blogging is still a hobby to many and its popularity means that for every blog that is validated as legitimate by the industry, there is another which is much less so. Those who have changed the fashion publishing game today - including Tavi Gevinson, Imran Amed, Susanna Lau, Garance Doré, Scott Schuman and Tommy Ton - are the fashion stars who are ultimately part myth, part reality. I think their appeal lies in our knowing that we could somehow be them or relate to them at least, and yet they were one step ahead of the game, intuitively sensing what would be the next big thing and that blogging would take off. For me, fashion bloggers also represent an inherent contradictoriness that will continue to intrigue and delight the public, whether they are seen as spectacles, muses or pioneers. They continue to bring alive the story of fashion and make it as wonderful and real to the rest of the world as it is to those who live and breathe it.
5TH ELEMENT Bojana Kozarevich
NUIT NOIR Carol Acquino and William de Martigny
There are summer perfumes and there are winter perfumes. And “noir” perfumes – a grander way of saying “oriental scents” – are winter-perfect. Warm, floral, exotic and a little bit racy, moody noirs come into their element now that the clocks have gone black and the temperatures have plummeted. Here we spotlight five noirs spicing up this winter. There are no marks out of ten simply because perfumes are so very personal. Chanel Coco Noir – £75 for 50ml, Harvey Nichols Chanel describes this new scent as “like the black velvet of a famous Venetian craftsman who dyed his cloth in successive layers to bring radiance out of the darkness”. Which is an elaborate way of saying it’s richly layered, it’s intense. Musky sandal, vetiver, franckincense and patchouli are the base notes, but rounded off with sweetness and light grapefruit, pink peppercorn, geranium leaf. Sophisticated and sexy, black, to put it in the words of Coco Chanel, “has it all”. Givenchy Dahlia Noir – £42 for 30ml, House of Fraser The first fragrance from Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci – aka the master of dark romance – is a surprisingly girly affair, thanks to its floral and fruity top notes including rose, mandarin, iris and mimosa. Soft, elegant and intoxicating without crossing the line into fruity punch territory, Dahlia Noir is ideal for day.
Estée Lauder Sensuous Noir – £47 for 50ml, Harrods The darker, sexier version of Estée Lauder’s Sensuous is the olfactory equivalent of a cashmere jumper: it feels great on the skin. Creamy vanilla, honey and amber serve as base, while rose black pepper and sensual jasmine hit up the top notes. An effortlessly pleasing blend which works for all occasions. Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir – £38 for 30ml, www.jomalone.co.uk Inspired by the “sensuality of a daring red dress”, Jo Malone’s noir is a suitably spicy affair of pink pepper, clove and woods. As its name suggests, pomegranate is the key note, although rich raspberry and plum add to the aromatic, fruity blend. Agent Provocateur Pétale Noir – £49 for 50ml, www.agentprovocateur.com Not exactly subtle, but that’s to be expected from the purveyors of naughty lingerie. This powerful floral is loaded with all kinds of flowers and fruit – magnolia, violet leaves, hyacinth, flower stem accord, water lily, bergamot, mandarin – and beefed up with full-bodied vetiver, leather, musk, tobacco leaf, patchouli and amber. Seduction bottled.
Estée Lauder Sensuous Noir
Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir
Agent Provocateur Pétale Noir
The Inconspicuous Diamond Madeleine Goubau Diamonds tainted by bloodshed and political uncertainty may no longer be a girl’s best friend. Unless, says Madeleine Goubau they’re from Canada. From Leonardo Di Caprio’s blockbuster to Naomi Campbell’s embroilment in the Charles Taylor trial, it seems that the stones have lost their sparkle and instead become synonymous with corruption. One man, however, is seeking to restore the diamond to its former glory; that is, the diamond encased in snow and ice, and hidden in the far north. Pierre Leblanc is the President of the Canadian Diamond Consultants, as well as working as an architect for the Canadian Voluntary Code of Conduct for the Authentication of Canadian Diamond Claims, meaning that he is one of the most influential figures heading up an annual $2 billion dollar business. Few people know that Canada is in fact the third largest diamond producer in the world, but that, more importantly, each precious stone produced is entirely ethical, and Pierre Leblanc is ensuring that it stays that way. Madeleine Goubau speaks to him to find out exactly what it is about Canadian diamonds that’s shining so brightly… What distinguishes the Canadian diamonds from others? There is not a single controversy associated with the Canadian diamond. Child employment is obviously not an issue which effects Canada, but more than this the native nations from the Far North have benefitted a lot from the industry. The communities surrounding the mines get royalties, the companies themselves have provided training to the aborigines, and the employment rates have consequently increased massively in those areas. The local rural communities hold a strong affinity with their surrounding landscape. How did they react to the implementation of mining in their regions? Actually very well, as there was not much to worry about. The diamond mines are the cleanest of all mining. Diamonds can be extracted by crushing the kimberlite, a process which does not require any chemical or toxic products. The only thing that changed was the amount of traffic in those areas and the emanations of carbon dioxide generated by diesel machineries, but the mines are located miles away from settlements so the impact is extremely low.
Chanel Coco Noir
Givenchy Dahlia Noir
In 2002, the industry provided itself with a voluntary code of conduct. How strictly is it followed given that it is not compulsory? The industry follows it religiously because it is part of its trademark and it adds value to the diamonds. Furthermore, on top of that code, there are thousands of federal laws governing the industry, and those related to the environment are the strictest ones in the world. For instance, when the Dialik mine
in the Northwest Territories got its license for using the water from the De Gras Lake, the document stipulating the rules was 104 pages long. At the end of the process, the water returned to the lake was purer than the rainwater. Is every step of production carried out in Canada? At the beginning, the industry really tried to keep everything in the country. But because of the high wages, many cutting and polishing factories went bankrupt. Nowadays, there are only four left in the whole country. Thus, more than ninety percent of the cutting and polishing is done in India. Some of the contracts also go to China, but the diamond industry follows the process very closely, choosing its partners carefully to ensure the customer can be provided with a seal of ethical approval. Is the Canadian diamond more expensive because of its ethical production? It used to be a lot more expensive. When the industry started in the beginning of the 2000’s the Canadian diamond would sell for twenty-five percent more than a regular diamond of the same quality. By paying more, customers would get a certificate outlining the whole journey of the diamond; from the mine, to the cutting, to the polishing, to the store, and ultimately the guarantee of its ethical value. Nowadays, demand for traceable diamonds is greater so retailers can afford to sell the Canadian diamond for only ten percent more, or even at the same price, knowing that they will sell faster and in a larger quantity. Buying ethical often means compromising on the aesthetic or quality. Are the Canadian diamonds as beautiful and pure as others? In every mine, you will find diamonds of a very high level of quality, and others which are only good for industrial use. However, on the international market, the average price of a raw diamond is $90 for one carat, while the Canadian diamond mostly sells for $125 to $130 for one carat. So from this point of view, you could say that Canadian diamonds are generally of a better quality. Canada is not necessarily synonymous with luxury; do you think its native diamonds have suffered as a result of the country’s lesser known reputation? No, Never. From the very beginning, buyers have been enthusiastic about the Canadian diamond. Not only because of its ethical value, but also because it was seen as being quite exotic. The Far North and its wide empty spaces, ice cliffs and wild animals… that all feeds the imagination and contributes to the Canadian diamond’s general image. However, it is true that the awareness of Canadian diamond production has not yet infiltrated popular culture. That is probably because it is still a very young industry, but it will grow. More than $100 million is invested every year in research of new kimberlite deposits, and there are already many new projects on the table.
The First Day on Earth Maria Fuentealba
The It List Hannah Banks-Walker
Patience is a virtue, so they say. One which, in the fashion world, rewards with Birkins, beauty products and Balmain jeans. Wait long enough and such bounty shall be yours; that is, if your name is on the list. Waiting lists can instil both anticipation and frustration, but more than that, they are inadvertently promoting shopping habits which suggest that luxury fashion has the potential to sustain the future…
Bollywood Poster Art Dyuti Mishra
Perhaps the most kitschy aspect of Bollywood, by definition and otherwise, is the poster art. Bollywood poster art has had a long legacy in the country before the industry collapsed to modernization and digital printing. It was every bit as influential and important as any other form of art in the country and denying it that status would not be doing it justice. While hand-painted hoardings are not unique to the country, poster art remains for the most part unparalleled even today. A lot of it has to do with the subject matter itself - the world of Bollywood is a dreamland, there’s no denying. There are only happy endings in the land of Bollywood and if the premise of whole industry was to be summed up in one word, it would be ‘aspiration’. Bollywood films are utopic in their approach and play by every hackneyed rule in the book. Love will conquer all, traditions will always prevail and the good will always win over the evil, even in this age of cynicism. They do not call it the Bollywood Dream without reason. What died with the advent of digital printing in India was a lot more than just a business. An entire art form was made redundant overnight as Photoshop replaced fine art. Artists were dispossessed of their livelihood but this had a far deeper impact. The death of the handpainted poster marked the death of Bollywood art and plunged the once prolific industry it into oblivion. Hinesh Jethwani, the founder and owner of Indian Hippy and a Bollywood art connoisseur took upon himself the challenge to rehabilitate the last of these artists and bring back the lost art. A visit to his quaint store in Mumbai was like taking a walk back into time. His colossal collection of posters dating back to the 1940s is a treasure trove and can actually be assembled to serve as a visual timeline of the evolution of poster art though the ages. At first glance, it all seems like a kitschy Technicolor dream that Bollywood has concocted—loud colours, bold typefaces, over the top dramatics et al. But as Jethwani proceeds to explain the history and context behind this, the fairy-tale unfurls. Every hand-painted Bollywood poster had a story behind it, it is not merely a medium of advertising like the present day hoardings. The essence of the film, the whole 180 minutes worth of Bollywood Dream, is captured on one poster. The poster artist is the creator of the Bollywood Dream, according to Jethwani. If Amitabh Bachchan was hailed the “angry young man” in the 70s, it was because the artist’s brushstrokes rendered his image so. The choice of colours, style it has been painted in and the characters that become the subject of the art are not incidental, the thought process behind it can be astounding. The original poster was painted on canvas by leading artists and was then replicated on paper and later on billboards everywhere. What made Bollywood art kitsch was not the subject matter or the use of bright colours; it was this process of replication. The core of high art lies in its originality, which is always lost in imitation. The original posters back in the 1950s and 60s were entirely hand painted. Renowned artists like Diwakar Karkare, Pandit
Ramkumar Sharma and Rahatali Gala, who were sought after by every film producer and given complete creative liberty made a prototype, which was then replicated throughout the country. While a struggling poster artist would work for eight hours straight back in the 1970s and earn a meagre Rs 2.50, Diwakar and likes were known to have demanded about Rs 50,000 or more per poster; a sum producers were willing to pay gladly. Such was the faith the producers had in the artists that for his 1978 movie Satyam Shivam Sundaram, producer Raj Kapoor is known to have approached Diwakar and handed him the assignment without so much as discussing the details or the concept, giving the artist absolute creative freedom. Just as Bollywood adheres to its rulebook, the industry of Bollywood art played by its own unique set of laws too. Certain actors were more popular than the others in some regions and this factor determined their prominence on the poster. Brush strokes determined the character of the actor - long, softer brush strokes were used for women and the good guys, short and strong strokes to denote anger. Colours were used to convey the role the actor played - villains and antagonists were painted in warm shades of red and orange while the protagonists and heroes were painted in shades of green and blue to denote the divine, as is the longstanding tradition in Indian art. A combination of these rules on brush strokes and colours resulted in creating the iconic image of Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay, the “angry young man”. However, the industry saw a slump as new techniques like cut-pasting and pop art were introduced in the late 70s and 80s and finally met its decline in the early 90s with the introduction of digital printing which reduced the time invested in the process substantially. Almost two decades later, Jethwani rounded up the few remaining artists from all parts of Mumbai to create Indian Hippy, an initiative to bring back this lost art form. Jethwani works together with these artists to create customized Bollywood posters and other memorabilia like hand-painted images on old vinyl records.
Popular worldwide, Indian Hippy works as a madeto-order company where artists work on photographs provided by the client to turn them into hand-painted posters of their favourite Bollywood movie. Although he holds this form of art in the highest regard, he says he doesn’t really mind when people refer to it as kitsch as long as they value the effort behind each poster. The lost art is in the midst of a revival. Recent Bollywood releases like The Dirty Picture, Gangs of Wasseypur and Rowdy Rathore have tried to emulate the kitschy quality of the hand-painted poster. Another initiative in Mumbai has taken on the task of transforming the backdrop of Bollywood’s native city. Called the Bollywood Art Project, graphic designer Ranjit Dahiya is taking graffiti to a whole new level by painting the walls around the famous Mehboob studio with iconic Bollywood posters and visuals. Dahiya has the whole of Mumbai talking while he is slowly but surely changing the way the city looks - one wall at a time. Call it kitsch or high art, the once dead industry of Bollywood art is finding its footing again thanks to the humble efforts of Jethwani, Dahiya and other patrons. The profound effect that Hindi cinema has had on a nation cannot be ignored.
The waiting list. Fashion’s ultimate tool to ensure that in today’s widely accessible age, exclusivity and desire can simultaneously remain intact. What can compare to the thrill of watching your name move up that list, reaching ever closer to the ultimate reward for your patience? Well, hopefully quite a lot. But the point is that although perhaps not as prolific as they once were, waiting lists are still tantalising passionate shoppers with their promise of a luxury item guaranteed to propel them to ‘It’ status; or at least ensure that they are the envy of their friends for a good week or so. The great lists have also proved to be an ingenious marketing tool, almost deifying luxury items and inciting rampant craving in even the most placid of individuals. Take the Hermes Birkin: an iconic handbag which has steadfastly remained popular for decades. Before 2010, the Birkin had waiting lists of up to six years and was a regular subject of conversation across popular culture (see: Samantha in Sex and the City as Lucy Liu’s PR embroiled in Birkin-gate). More recently, the Prada Bowling bag from the Spring/Summer collection of 2000 ignited waiting list mania, as did the Balenciaga Lariat bag of 2001, the £1000 Balmain skinny ripped jeans, and moving into the era of the blogger, Isabel Marant’s array of wedge trainers will always rack up a long list of hopeful names. Even Sisley’s charitable Sisleya Global Anti-Age cream inspired around 2,500 people to join its waiting list upon its launch in America. Whilst the phenomenon of such lists could be seen as indicative of the great lengths which consumers will go to in order to buy into a particular lifestyle or brand, the fundamental concept behind them actually promotes a less rapid pace of fashion consumption. The very notion of spending the time to wait for one beautifully crafted item to add to a sartorial collection clashes entirely with the transience of contemporary fashion and its trends. The most consistently successful waiting list items tend to be more conservative in their design, as they embody the very essence of longevity and everlasting desire; the idea of inheriting luxury items through time lends sentimentality to individual statement pieces. They need to be more than a fleeting trend and represent a timeless appeal and elegance, as seen in handbags like the Birkin, the Kelly or even a YSL Muse. Although the prices are less accessible, surely an investment piece which lasts forever is more appealing than a host of imitations which ultimately end their lives in land-fill? As Burak Cakmak, a former director of the Gucci Group says, ‘Traditionally the ways in which luxury items have been produced- using natural, high quality and often locally sourced materials that are then transformed by the precise craftsmanship of skilled artisans- have had a relatively low impact on the environment in comparison to that of the mass market.’ Of course, luxury fashion has had to learn to keep up with the mass market of late, particularly with the rise in high street fashion and its impressive ability to churn out catwalk copies faster than you can say Prada, but generally, the factor which enables the luxury market to exert a lower impact is that elusive concept we grapple with on an everyday basis: time. Much of the allure of luxury fashion lies in the design process itself; to invoke Karl Marx- who would most certainly have been appalled at the very thought of a waiting list, particularly for a handbag- it does seem pertinent that the value of an item is equal to the amount of time which has been invested into its production. It reportedly takes 12 hours to make a Loewe Amazona bag, 18 hours to make an Hermes Kelly bag, whilst expert artisans slave over a Birkin for two full days with a resulting cost ranging from £6,000 to £100,000, depending on the materials used. For most people, the Birkin remains an unaffordable luxury, waiting list or not, but the principle remains valid. Couture may be the ultimate example of this; couture buyers are a very small proportion of the population with immense wealth, but are arguably buying into one of the most sustainable forms of fashion. The beauty in the romance of a new dress is never felt so strongly as when looking upon a couture creation; from the hands of the ateliers comes a crafted masterpiece with each individual stitch symbolic of the skill and passion involved in the design and production of such a garment. Couture allows us to return to the soul of fashion, with its inaccessibility only enhancing its drama, rendering it more of a visual inspiration and a reminder of the capabilities of quality, bespoke design. Yves Saint Laurent’s epic couture creations, for example, translated into Le Smoking- a jacket which is entirely pragmatic for a woman’s wardrobe and yet retains all the glamour and mystique perpetuated by the couture collections. Couture acts as the ultimate unobtainable indulgence within fashion, but it is simultaneously the slowest form of consumption; bespoke designs are painstakingly given life by skilled couturiers using the finest fabrics of the highest quality. It could be seen as an inspiration for the rest of the luxury industry, globally worth approximately £77 billion, and arguably it does (whether inadvertently or not) encourage a decelerated form of fashion consumption. For an industry which trades in aspiration, the greatest asset to fashion and its future could lie in the purveyors of aspiration themselves: the luxury fashion houses. The fundamental premise of luxury supports the idea that fashion should not be hungrily consumed and subsequently spat out to leave harmful and unnecessary consequences; it is an art, requiring skill, innovation and most of all, time. Fashion can, and should, allow for luxury and beauty without disregard for the greater perspective.
Sapphire Skye-Marie Dixon
With her bright red hair and roots in edgy Dalston, you’d be forgiven for thinking Sapphire would be somewhat of an exhibitionist. Yet forget the stereotype of pretentious hipster that her Hackney address and station at uber cool salon Bleach presents, Sapphire is indeed one of the most wholesome and down-to-earth people I know. Whilst our first meeting was in discussion over dipdyes and how to create the next ‘it’ look, dig a little deeper and this girl can really offer some food for thought. Sapphire is definitely one who has carved her own path. Unsure as to what to do at 17, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her father and undertook a degree in journalism and screenwriting. Always interested in the creative process underpinning film it seemed a logical step, yet by the time of graduation she had lost all passion for the subject. With a desire to work in the creative industries, she opted for fashion wholesale and despite climbing the ladder well, after two years she just wasn’t feeling that either. Whilst other’s may have stuck it out, too scared to leave a well paid office job, Sapphire excels in seeking out fulfilling experiences. At 23 she gave it all up and went back to college to train as a hairdresser. Minimum wage and back at the bottom, but surprisingly unfazed. And it appears that this time she really has found her calling. Not only did she rise to senior stylist within a year of graduation, but now finds herself regularly attending the coiffures’ of a number of high profile personalities. With her feet firmly placed within Bleach, an infamous East London hot spot specialising in the weird and wonderful, expect this star to rise. Who inspires you in your day-today life? I don’t have any particular heroes; it’s just the people around me. There’s no-one in my life that has a typically conservative job. Everyone I know seems to be quite creative whether it’s in fashion, art, music, film, photography. That’s pretty much all the company I keep. Everyone I know is very creative so I guess that reflects through my life. You want to be inspired in life, so why not have talented, amazing friends if you can? Your hair is an obvious focal point of your look. Has it always been so conspicuous? I only started wearing my hair down when I was 23. I was always so self-conscious of it before then. But I decided that this is the hair that I have, and if I don’t embrace it then what I am going to do? That was part of what drew me to hairdressing; I wanted to be great at curly hair so I could provide for people like me who had struggled for so long.
It really speaks for itself now. Its like a homing beacon, I can never be inconspicuous. My personal style as a result is quite basic. I pretty much wear black, white or grey. Quite boring really, but because of my hair I can’t wear a lot of colour, otherwise I just look a bit mad. It’s like wearing an accessory constantly. I don’t have to dress up too much. I can wear something basic and with this hair it’s enough. I don’t have to worry about wearing fancy clothes or jewellery. Would you say you have a personal philosophy by which you live your life? I guess my personal philosophy is what I’ve done throughout my life. Just change whatever doesn’t work for you. I like to think that if you have the means and you’re not happy then you can just start again and do whatever you want.
You’ve got to have some sort of drive and motivation but you don’t have to be a crazy person. Just bit-by-bit you change what doesn’t work for you. I think that’s really important. People who moan about their jobs, I don’t want to hear it. That’s what I used to do, I would moan about my job and it got to the point where I could just continue moaning or change and do something else and not moan anymore. Often money is something that holds people back. People don’t want to spend their savings on more education, but it can make the difference between success and failure. I mean what else is that money going to go towards, mine wasn’t enough for a deposit on a flat, but if it can provide for a career change then why not? What can we expect to see from you next? I don’t have any defined plans for the future. I’m really interested in trying to make a book about curly hair. A type of a stylebook or a guide on how to look after curly hair. It’s all hazy at the moment, no definite dates or anything but it will happen. It’s a project I’m collaborating on with a friend, so hopefully in the next two years we’ll see something come out. And personal? I’m not sure. Probably stay in Hackney forever. I absolutely love it here. London? London’s probably the most inspirational place I’ve been. It’s a city that I feel, I thrive off it. I haven’t been to many cities, but none of the one’s I’ve visited have beaten London. Berlin has got a great atmosphere around it but I wouldn’t want to live there and I’ve never been to New York. Everyone says it’s very similar to London but then at the same time it’s so far away. London is home. My family aren’t far away and there’s so much you can do here.
Where I live in Dalston, it’s busy five minutes around the corner, but my little bit with my garden, right opposite the church is so still. On a Sunday you’ll stand outside and you’d have no idea you were in the middle of Hackney. It’s just so beautiful here. I love it and I don’t think I’m ever going to leave. I’ve definitely never travelled anywhere and thought, ‘this could be home’. I’m too much of a homebody. London is home to me. Do you want to leave a mark on the world? I’m not sure what kind of mark I’d want to leave. I don’t want fame. I don’t want to be someone you read about in magazines, that’s not for me. I just want to be good at what I do. Hopefully I’ll leave some sort of legacy. Not necessarily anything really outrageous. One of my dreams was to have my own salon someday, so maybe something like that. Or perhaps with my book? Maybe I can help girls with curly hair, who were like me a few years ago and didn’t know what to do with it. Maybe I will be someone, or a name that people think of in relation to ‘curly hair’. Maybe they’ll say “Sapphire, she might know something about it”. That would be something I’d like to leave. A sort of legacy like that.
Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar Indonesia
ANNABEL TOLLMAN Shomara Roosblad “Clothes can change how you experience the world and how the world experiences you.”
Annabel took her very first steps towards her current job by studying fashion at Central Saint Martins, London’s renowned fashion school, which nurtured the careers of many industry heavyweights, such as Hamish Bowles, Alexandra Shulman and the late Alexander McQueen, to name but a few. After graduation she started interning at the Daily Telegraph Magazine, followed by a move to Wallpaper* magazine , whose founder, Tyler Brûlé, Annabel knew, and who asked her to come on board. Although she currently has a successful career as a stylist, this was not something that Annabel initially aspired to. She got the ball rolling during a fashion shoot where she met Scarlett Johansson. The two clicked and the rest is history. Before the successful career there was the young Annabel, who spent her childhood between Surrey, UK, and Upstate New York. She was raised in an academic environment with no style examples around her. “I grew up without a television or dolls. Fashion was seen as a privilege,” she says. This got the young Annabel into reading, which developed an active imagination in which there was a place for fashion. “A lot of my early style influences come from literature centered around proper English ladies who became my style icons, such as the writer Nancy Mitford and the character Elizabeth Bennet.” However, the stylist also loves both the glamour of Elizabeth Taylor and the casualness of Brigitte Bardot – she believes it is impossible to have only one style icon.
SAPTO DJOJOKARTIKO Lily Marpaung “It’s a designer’s task to direct fashion to a more advanced level.
Knowing who her style icons are makes it only natural that she describes her personal style today with the words ‘glamour’, ‘vintage’ and ‘bombshell’. Annabel is a firm believer of letting physicality dictate one’s style. This means that everything must count, from the shape of the body to the color of the hair. As a true bombshell, you will see Annabel wearing feminine pieces, such as pencil skirts and dresses, paired with Repetto flats or Manolo Blahnik BB pumps topped with a biker jacket and a beat-up Kelly bag. But more important is what goes beneath, like a good bra, which is something she regards as a must-have.
He also should inspire people to wear his clothing and trigger the growth of retail industries.” LCF graduate and fashion editor of Indonesian Harper’s Bazaar Lily Marpaung, talks to leading Indonesian designer Sapto Djojokaritiko. Harper’s Bazaar (HB): What was your first experience with fashion? Sapto Djojokartiko (SD): I have always loved sketching. When I was a teenager I religiously read fashion magazines, although they were the local ones. Whenever I found fashion editorials that I like I would create a drawing based on the pictures. At the age of 15, I saw a sketch by Sebastian Gunawan, published in a magazine that really wowed. Then I promised myself that one day I would be able to do it as good as him. Additionaly, I was born in a family with a business in the shoe industry. It also sparked my interest to explore fashion even further. HB: You won Best Pattern Maker from ESMOD. How was your time at school? SD: Because I have a strong yearning to become a designer, I prepared all the funding by working in a garment company. From that company I received a full scholarship to study at ESMOD. Actually, the process to attain that award was pretty funny. At school I was a bit ‘naughty’ and I considered drafting patterns was not too important because I wanted to focus on design. At some point, I almost got kicked out of school for being such a rebel and it forced to start paying more attention to pattern making. Finally, I fell in love with pattern making. It’s probably because I’m very precise when it comes to measurements. HB: What is your signature style? SD: I love history. You can see that my work always employs a touch of culture that I convey in a more modern perspective. I’m also very fond of textures and lace is one of them. Moreover, I’ve been exploring the delicate material for quite some time too. HB: Do you have a special strategy to use tradition on your designs yet make it look new? SD: Appreciating Indonesian arts and culture should be done more than just by using traditional fabric and turn it into modern dress. As a designer, you have to challenge and challenge your creative ego. There are other things about Indonesia waiting to be discovered, such as folklore or legends and architecture. An example is by taking inspiration from Indonesian traditional building and translates it into fabric using crochet. The result is a highly textured material then I took a photo of it and use the picture as print.
HB: What kind of woman you’d like to dress? SD: Mature women who want to look sexy but without exposing their sensuality. These women don’t vulgarity in their dictionary. Just look at the lace skirt that I design! I create it using transparent material covered with pieces of lace that have been arranged in such a way as to cover vital area of one’s body. That skirt will give a subtle preview of skin without showing it too much.
While working as a stylist, her personal style has evolved but her work is also affected by her own taste. “IShe amstarted convinced it isindustry all partas of personal you work on naturally out in thethat fashion what she calls agrowth. ‘mag girl’.What Today, however, Annabel Tollman is influences for her work she started working the likes Hollywood – Scar-a certain you, butknown the way you doasitaisstylist. alsoBefore affected by your own for style. It is of thehersame thingclientele as reading lett Johansson, Shakira, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Mariah Carey, Liv Tyler, and others – she was the book or listening to specific music. Everything you do influences every part,” says the tastemaker. This fashion director at Interview Magazine. explains why the old Hollywood aesthetic plays such a particular part in her work. From a young age Annabel herand verycreating first steps glamour towards her current job studying fashion at Central Saint Martins, Annabel lovedtook films images. Thebystylist believes that personal style is something London’s renowned fashion school, which nurtured the careers of many industry heavyweights, such as that needs time to grow and that it can be defined after the age of thirty. However, this doesn’t mean Hamish Bowles, Alexandra Shulman and the late Alexander McQueen, to name but a few. After graduathat some ofinterning personal style aren’t present in thefollowed early years. tionaspects she started at the Daily Telegraph Magazine, by a move to Wallpaper* magazine ,
HB: You recently launched a ready-to-wear line. How was the process? SD: Ready-to-wear is all about industry. I want to go up a level from a bespoke designer into ready-towear designer. I know that in this line of work I need to compromise and sacrifice a part of my fashion idealism. For my collections I always use a lot of details that are can only be done by hand, which is impossible to do for ready-to-wear clothes, so I have find a way to minimize that process. Now my new big ‘homework’ is to market my ready-to-wear collection.
whose founder, Tyler Brûlé, Annabel knew, and who asked her to come on board. Although she currently has a successful as a stylist, this was not something that Annabel aspired to. She the The infatuation that career Annabel has had with old glamour since initially her childhood hasgot resulted in real ball rolling during a fashion shoot where she met Scarlett Johansson. The two clicked and the rest is hisHollywood moments during her career. “The first time Scarlett [Johansson] went to the Golden Globes tory.
HB: Why is it a great deal of homework? SD: A designer’s job doesn’t stop at making clothes but also at making sure that the designs sell. Therefore I need to develop a good marketing department for my label. I don’t want that after I successfully produced a lot of clothes, they actually only sit in my boutique waiting for people to buy them. I also believe that a designer should be an expert in creating easily digested attire whilst still being creative. HB: What do you mean by easy to digest? SD: Fashion designers should be aware that the clothes that walk down the runway don’t have to be exactly the same as the ones worn by their customers. On stage we have to present the collection in such elaborative way to make them more attractive. But when people look at each piece, those items have to look chic and sophisticated. This is what I mean by marketable collection. There’s a balance between wearbility and drama so people can decide to immediately buy them yet media still have interesting things to discuss after the show. Furthermore, I think a fashion show is not just a place to show off our skills but also a showground where we can make people want to get their hands on our clothes.
“I consider my work as a form of love for the rich culture of my country.”
“Fashion has to touch you.” She started out in the fashion industry as what she calls a ‘mag girl’. Today, however, Annabel Tollman is known for her work as a stylist. Before she started working for the likes of her Hollywood clientele – Scarlett Johansson, Shakira, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Mariah Carey, Liv Tyler, and others – she was the fashion director at Interview Magazine.
and was ready to walk the red carpet in this beautiful dress felt as if my little sister went to a prom. It was such a proud moment,” says Annabel. But the stylist experienced more of these ‘pinch me moments’. For example, when she was shooting with Karl Lagerfeld and when she attended one of the first Alexander McQueen shows in Paris that lifted her spirits. Or seeing a photo come to life while working with photographer Bruce Weber. “Fashion has to touch you,” Annabel believes. And it was not just during such career-defining moments that fashion moved Annabel. A more personal moment was when she was fourteen years old and in Topshop trying on a dress from the Pepsi & Shirlie capsule collection (Wham! background singers in the 80s). “I realized that I had a woman’s body and looked like the girls in the magazines I loved so much.” The way that the glamour queen fell in love with fashion, through imagination, might be the answer to why she is such a successful stylist. “When I am styling [my clients] it is about more than just the dress. It is about image, about who they are and about making a statement.” The fact that Annabel works with pop culture icons makes her an important figure in bringing a certain look to a huge audience. The stylist is aware of this and believes that a photo of a girl who is too thin can be detrimental to the audience. “In that case I will bring the pictures of a photo shoot back.” However, a girl in a sexy dress is not a bad thing in her eyes. To Annabel, fashion is about dreams, about imagining a better version of yourself, a different life – about believing that whatever you can dream about, you can become. “Clothes can change how you experience the world and how the world experiences you,” she says. Annabel still has her own little moments when she escapes the real world with fashion, like when she goes out to borrow jewelry for her clients. “I put on a tiara and imagine wearing it with a sweatshirt one day.” It’s obvious that her imagination is still alive...
Muzungu Sisters: An Ongoing & Inspiring Travel Tale
price” for the work. Together, the traveling sisters have concocted an impressive list of contacts as well as a brand breathing social responsibility. Having studied anthropology in London, Alikhani, originally from Iranian heritage but born in Cyprus, began interning at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to support those seeking a better future. “I realized that it was the human rights aspect of NGO work that interested me,” she says. Alikhani met Santo Domingo through her brother, while at university, and the two founded the brand together later on. At the time, Santo Domingo, who is of Brazilian-Colombian origin, was studying fine arts. “Although I do not consider myself an artist, I am stimulated by art and need to surround myself by artists and creative people,” she says. When asked what inspires her, Santo Domingo claims that it’s all the cultures she has ever encountered. “Local crafts and music from all the countries I have visited in my childhood have had a big influence on me,” she adds, recalling her first trip as a child to Morocco, where she discovered musicians and artists from all over the world at the famous Fez Festival. Both Santo Domingo and Alikhani were privileged to travel from a young age, but their trips were never fueled by fashion. “Muzungu Sisters was the natural result of these travels, rather than the reason for us to travel,” claims Alikhani. Coming from such distinctive backgrounds and upbringing, they merged their passions into an online retail portal to cast a light over the unique artistry unearthed throughout the world. Aside from their website, which caters to any shopper’s needs almost instantly, the Muzungu Sisters also showcase their brand and host trunk shows in several countries. “We do pop-up shops in different cities allowing our ‘shop’ to travel all over the world, in the same way that our pieces come from all over,” says Alikhani. With their online portal promoting fair trade, the fashion godmothers-slash-globetrotters have not only founded a sustainable brand, but stand as models of an ongoing and inspiring travel tale. And with the growing awareness of ethical behavior, Santo Domingo and Alikhani have been giving back to those who need it the most. Through their travels, they have uncovered endless possibilities and wake up every morning knowing that they have done something good in this, sometimes selfish, world. While walking the streets of New York, Paris or Sao Paulo, remember next time that traveling is much more than just the sights you see, the locals you meet and the typical dishes you taste. It’s the bits and pieces you bring back home that change the way people see the world and live in it, just like the traveling sisters. Shop their collection of global artistry at www.muzungusisters.motillo.com and experience the world in your closet.
When Tatiana Santo Domingo and Dana Alikhani, founders of Muzungu Sisters, visit far-flung destinations, they not only discover lands influenced by years of history, but also feed their inspiration, and ultimately our closets. Ever since they founded the brand Muzungu Sisters in 2009, Santo Domingo and Alikhani have been trotting around the globe to bring a touch of the world back to our wardrobes. From crossing over Northern Argentinian villages to strolling through rice paddies in Bali, they uncover unknown craftsmen’s gems and support sustainability by selling the traditional products of local artisans. Instead of relying on a boutique to sell their own designs in London (where they are headquartered), Santo Domingo and Alikhani unite their discoveries via an online platform. No need to walk through little towns and raid local souks anymore. Muzungu Sisters has all that you’ve been looking for during your travels – and it’s just a click away. From crochet clutches crafted in Brazil to alpaca boleros produced in Peru, you’ll feel transported to faraway places while you’re wearing their findings, even when you’re cooped up in your London office on the twenty-second floor. Muzungu originates from the Swahili word, meaning traveler, and no name could better encapsulate the essence of Muzungu Sisters. So far, Alikhani and Santo
Domingo have traveled together to Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, India and Morocco and have Laos and Vietnam pinpointed as their next destinations. Before visiting a new country, they research the local crafts and art techniques of the region. Once abroad, they rely on the expertise of local craftsmen and meet with artisans to discuss possibilities and sometimes to customize orders. When asked how they choose the handcrafted products of local artisans, Alikhani replies, “If we’d want to wear it, then we buy it.” Now here is a fashion brand that is not merely influenced by the latest trends. It’s not because black is in fashion, or burgundy or dark green, that the Muzungu sisters will adopt the colors of the seasons. “Although we both take an interest in fashion, we appreciate timeless, unique items with a story behind them rather than trends of the moment,” states Alikhani. “We assess the quality of the craftsmanship and see how rare the item is,” she adds. Always wanting to know the underlining story of each product, Alikhani explains that they want to ensure that the artisan is paid a “fair market
T he A lm a na c M a ga z i n e With thanks to the MA Fashion Journalism class 2011 - 2012. Wishing you all the best of luck in everything you do. With special thanks to Andrew Tucker, Darcy Rive and Lisa Gellender for all their hard work in creating The Almanac.
Final year work of 2012 graduates from the London Colllege of Fashion's MA Fashion Journalism course.
Published on Feb 27, 2013
Final year work of 2012 graduates from the London Colllege of Fashion's MA Fashion Journalism course.