Friday, June 27, 2008

Hooray for Hairywood

What do you get when you combine music from a Jacques Tati film with Rapunzel and Prince Charming? If you're designing for Eley Kishimoto, you get a tower to display in Covent Garden Piazza.

The husband-and-wife team (whose helpers are above) collaborated with 6a Architects to create Hairywood, a six-metre structure embellished by a carved periscope and featuring an elevated cabin to give visitors a new look at the piazza. Hairywood is part of the larger Skin + Bones exhibition by Somerset House, and it’ll be on display until 20 July.

“Fashion and architecture are very much in bed with each other currently,” Mark Eley says. He and Wakako Kishimoto first worked with 6a two years ago at Fashion at Belsay in Northumberland, and he described this partnership as “interesting, challenging, easy, difficult, argumentative, explorative, funny and progressive.” Got that?

Eley Kishimoto tend to collaborate all across the board they've dabbled in cars, phones, music and film - so be sure to check out whatever they come up with next. Hard telling what it might be.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

John Whitledge Likes Brick Lane, Hates Manorexic-Enabling Denim Products

John Whitledge is not an Abercrombie model, although he did intern with the company once. No, he designs the California-based label Trovata, which has gained quite the following for its surfer dude-tinged prep wear since launching in 2002. He's the only remaining member of the original four-man design team, but with a $200,000 CFDA Award and Swarovski's Perry Ellis Award for Menswear on his CV, there's not much to frown about.

We caught up with John for a few minutes this week to learn a little about what makes him tick. Rack your brain and see if you can figure out the 28-year-old designer’s favourite hobby. No hints!

What are you working on right now? Any good projects coming up?
Right now, we’re finishing up our S09 collection and just beginning our Fall ’09 collection. We have a great collaboration coming up in the fall but can’t talk about it yet.

Any hints on what you’ll be making for next season?
Easy dresses, waxed-twill outerwear. Styles that make you want to take your clothes off.

If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?
Something else that allowed me to be creative, travel the world and surf! Probably a photographer.

What’s the best garment you’ve ever made?
I don’t have one specific, but I always enjoy wearing our woven shirts. I like how timeless they are, and they’re extremely comfortable.

What’s one of your favourite garments done by someone else?
Birdwell Beach Britches…best surf shorts ever.

What trend should die already?
Super-skinny jeans for manorexics

Which movie character wins your best-dressed title?
Zoolander [Ed. note: “It’s a walk-off!”]

Name someone you’ve met who’s made you star-struck.
Will Ferrell

Name your favourite…
Band on your iPod: She & Him
Film: City of God
Vacation spot: Brazil
Restaurant: All the curry restaurants on Brick Lane

What’s your biggest vice?
Wine and surfing

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Friday, June 20, 2008

The New-New Gen

London Fashion Week for spring/summer ’09 is still three months away, but the British Fashion Council has announced which up-and-coming designers will show their collections through New Gen. Henry Holland, one of the 20 selected, will present House of Holland on-schedule for the first time this year thanks to his award. Please join Agyness Deyn in congratulating him.

Designers who take home a BFC New Gen Award (sponsored by Topshop) get £5,000 to £10,000, up to three years of BFC support and free use of a central show location. Winners from past years, like Alexander McQueen and Sophia Kokosalaki, have clearly gone on to make big names for themselves.

Other winners this year include Hannah Marshall (pictured above with Holland and model Erin OConnor), Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou and Cooperative Design. Look out for them this September, and you can say you knew them when.

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(Zandra) Rhodes Scholar

Zandra Rhodes has a purse named Paris. To be specific, a purse named Paris that looks like a black stuffed dog. It’s unclear whether its namesake is the city or the Hilton sister.

But on to more important things. Miss Z was on hand for the opening of
the Fashion and Textile Museum’s new Little Black Dress exhibition, a collection of more than 60 modern and vintage frocks from designers like Christopher Kane, Dior and Biba. Ironically, Zandra was not in fact wearing an LBD to match Paris, but when you’ve made fans ranging from Freddie Mercury to Princess Diana, you wear what you want. She looked fabulous in stripes and had a huge Andrew Logan cuff that seemed like it weighed more than what many women are trying to diet off.

In between raving about Charles James (who designed her favourite dress in the exhibition and “invented the Dior look before Dior”) and reflecting on the influence of celeb mags on sales, Zandra offered a fortune cookie of wisdom to UK designers today.

“English designers stand much more chances to be the innovators,” she says. “We manage to survive and keep things going. That’s why we’re still original. We’re still an island.”

Hear that, Louise Goldin?

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

You Think You're So Heelarious

Have you ever thought to yourself, "Hey, my baby's looking a little short these days?" So have the people at It seems there are now stiletto-style crib shoes that can fit your little princess for her first six months. The £35 heels are soft and fitted with an elastic strap, and they come in six styles ranging from pink patent to leopard satin.

Childhood friends Britta Bacon and Hayden Porter design the tiny footwear to be fully functional in a crib and not hurt growing bones. (At least the babies won't need a pedicure after wearing them all day.) But would you buy heels for a girl so young, or are they better saved for the teenage years?

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Portobello for PCs

One of the city's favourite -- and most famous -- shopping spots has jumped inside your computer. Portobello Market is now on the Web, which means you can snag a new pair of earrings or a vintage cocktail dress without actually leaving your living room. attempts to get all the best of outdoor shopping (lots of styles, new designers) with none of the worst (rain, crowds that bump your bags, rain). The site marks items worn by celebrities so you can secretly copy pieces from their wardrobes and claim you had them first.

Miss the bargaining action of a real market? There's also a "Let's Trade" section for shoppers to haggle for clothes and accessories. You can put in three bids a day for one-off samples and discounted pieces. To make shopping even easier, Pret a Portobello also has trend cheat sheets to help break down summer looks.

The main question is: If you shop online, how are you supposed to get a cupcake from Hummingbird?

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