Sunday, 30 November 2008

Exhibition: Cold War Modern at the V&A

Until 11th January 2009 there's an excellent exhibition of Cold War era design from 1945-1970 on at the V&A in London, which covers everything from furniture, to architecture, to propaganda posters and films (in 1959, to boost understanding between Russia and the USA, a Russia expo was held in America and vice versa - predictably both sides used it as a propaganda exercise to boast of their supposed technological advancement and high living standards, with the Americans even providing actors to live in the mock-up American home and to demonstrate to the Russian visitors US customs like a weekend family barbecue and a fancy white wedding) to fashion.

All this seems rather extraordinary now, almost as extraordinary as some of the high fashion from the period which is on display. The implied subtext of a lot of the design is that designers were subconsciously or otherwise craving comforting, protective design in a harsh political environment (hence the plastic 'cocoon' bubble chairs and the like), but you don't have to worry about this sort of (often dubious) assessment too much to enjoy Paco Rabanne's reflective disc dress from 1967 (top) or Pierre Cardin's 'Cosmos outfits' from 1967 (below), which is where the inspiration for a lot of the now standard sci-fi movie outfits first came from.

There's some other 60s fashion on display too, which is well worth seeing, like the dress below by British designer Stephen Willats, made of PVC sheets zipped together, and some other stuff which we couldn't get pictures of including some super-rad 'concept' clothing by Dutch jewellers Gijs Bakker and Emmy van Leersum (and you thought it was hard to remember how to spell Ann Demeulemeester..!) including an aluminium collar and some silhouette-distorting bodysuits, and some high fashion plastic chemical protection suits.

More information, including prices, opening times etc., here.
The Fashion v Sport streetwear exhibition, which we reported on in October (here), is also still on at the V&A, until 4th Jan 2009.

Jefferson Hack & Anouk Lepere's bag..

(click to enlarge)

Ever since we saw this Sartorialist pic of Jefferson Hack (co-founder and editor of Dazed & Confused, aka 'father of Kate Moss's child') and his fiancée, Belgian model Anouk Lepere, we've been thinking about their bag of choice (because we have too much time on our hands) which is a re-usable 'eco' shopper from Daunt Books (a beautiful wooden-fitted bookshop in London which specialises in travel books, but sells lots of other books too from their Marylebone shop, and few other branches), and we rather love it for a number of reasons.

Of course being Jefferson Hack and Anouk Lepere helps enormously in making a cheap canvas shopping bag look cool, but it's a perfectly nice bag anyway (with the added intellectual posturing and good taste cachet which comes with Daunt Books), and it's more appropriate (and original) than being seen with, say, a giant Chanel shopper in the current economic climate. What's more, we're always hearing that what fashion editors wear sets the pace for what everyone will be wearing in a few month's time, and this is a very accessible look which anyone can rock. And because it's Jefferson and Anouk we're paying attention, not laughing at them as we would be if they were celebrities. We also love the idea that we might run into Jefferson Hack browsing travel guides in one of their stores too. A quick rummage around here has found no Daunt bags, but we have found a Daunt bookmark (does that count?), which we've rather appropriately now put in one of Jefferson Hack's other magazines..

What, you didn't expect us to find a book to put it in did you?! This is a fashion blog after all...

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Style Snippets

1) Giuseppe Zanotti cut-out platforms:

!!!! Picture from Jak&Jil (which we’re so obsessed with it's borderline inappropriate!)

2) Miuccia Prada in London

Mrs Prada made a rare appearance in London last week for the launch of the new Double Club in Islington (yes, that’s right, Islington – is Islington now hip again?!), accompanied by her surprisingly badly dressed son (when the queen of fashion is your mother there is really no excuse). We’ve been reading a lot about the Double Club, so we'll have to go and check it out at some point.

Also at the launch was 90s model Kristen McMenemy, wearing a very dodgy dress, but working the grey hair trend we reported a while back (though we think she’s been doing it since way before then anyway - also,just to clarify, in case the lawyers come calling, we think that's just an unfortunate shadow making her legs look wide!).

Pics are from the Evening Standard Magazine (good old Standard Magazine, where would we be without our weekly does of vapid London high-society gossip?!)

3) Elle Italia by Ruven Afanador

Elle Italia isn’t a magazine we’d normally think of getting, but the latest issue boasts an exciting editorial by famous fashion photographer Ruven Afanador, which is quite creepy but at the same time not over-laboured or clichéd:

More here.

4) Temperley London Apple Bag

Tacky but LOVE. Available from Luisa via Roma. Reminds us of the now infamous custom-made Hermès Apple Holder:

If anyone wants to buy us an early Christmas present, our apples have been feeling a bit unloved and under-dressed recently...

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Don't Burst the Bubble... asking the price. We present a selection of fall's hottest shoes for girls and guys (click images to enlarge):

Clockwise from top right: Burberry Prorsum platforms, Giuseppe Zanotti tortoise shell pumps, and Balmain fringed boots all from Net-a-Porter, Gina purple sandals and Alexander McQueen pink (Barbie approved!) peep-toes both from Browns, Roger Vivier rose shoes from Luisa Via Roma, Stella McCartney platform boots from Net-a-Porter, YSL platforms from Luisa Via Roma, Roberto Cavalli lace stilettos and Alexander McQueen red leather heels both from Net-a-Porter.

Clockwise from top right: Jil Sander high-tops and Lanvin suede and patent sneakers both from Luisa Via Roma, B-Store purple panel shoes (also available at Seven New York), Raf Simons high-tops from The Corner, Ann Demeulemeester purple distressed leather sneakers from Luisa Via Roma, Opening Ceremony grey suede shoes fromThe Corner, Alejandro Ingelmo metallic high-tops from Oki-Ni, Pierre Hardy suede desert boot, Puma 'pop art' sneaker *, Raf Simons heavy-sole shoe fromThe Corner.

* We love these, which look like they've come straight out of a Lichtenstein painting, and we doubt you'll find a cooler sneaker for just £45 (approx $70):

Fashion Song of the Moment...

Now that Justice have become mainstream-ish (Dior Homme even used Justice for the soundtrack at their last show, which would have been a great honour if it was still DH by Heidi Slimane, but under Kris van Asche's tacky reign at the house of Dior it was quite the opposite) we're always on the lookout for new (non-Ed Banger Records) pretentious French 'indie' artists.

This is where The Shoppings step in: they may not be the best, but from a fashion point of view you've got to love their song, Salut à toi, because it manages to name-drop almost every big fashion designer and editor. We think it's a parody of another French song, but the important question is whether it's actually possible to hate a song which (as over-simple as the lyrics are) manages to slip into the lyrics everyone from Martin Margiela to Carine Roitfeld to Kim Jones to Kate Moss to Raf Simons to (even) the Hôtel Costes in Paris (which standardly rhymes with René Lacoste), which is/was like *the* fashion hotel.

Song here
The Shoppings Myspace here

Salut à toi John Galliano
Salut à toi Rabanne Paco
Salut à toi Louis Vuitton
Salut à toi Raf Simons
Salut à toi Pierre Cardin
Salut à toi Calvin Klein
Salut à toi Yves Saint Laurent
Salut à toi Jean-Paul Gautier

Even Anna Piaggi (below) gets a mention..

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Sonia Delaunay: Fashion and Fabrics

Sonia Delaunay was married to famous early 20th century artist Robert Delaunay (both were associated with the short-lived Orphism movement), although she had a remarkable art career in her own right, which was largely centered around bold, modernist pattern design, which she sometimes transferred onto clothing with striking results.

Even if you're not obsessed with Modernism like us (by which we broadly mean 1900-1950 art, design, architecture etc.), Delaunay's designs are undeniably striking and oddly gripping. These images are from Sonia Delaunay: Fashion and Fabrics by Jacques Damase (honestly, we can keep ourselvles amused for hours on end with a few large-format design books):

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Scandinavian Designer of the Moment

Here at Hapsical we have an enduring love affair with all things Scandinavian, and our latest top Nordic designer is Helena Hörstedt (people whose names have cool dots and dashes on some letters always get bonus points) whose autumn winter collection is small and all black, but rather amazing nonetheless:

We feel a touch of Balenciaga (never a bad thing), a touch of Gareth Pugh (ditto), and lots of originality and amazing craftsmanship. See more here.

Random Design We Like Today

Mixko has some really cool stuff, and what with Christmas being a month away today (and what a thought to behold that is) it might give you some inspiration for design loving friends (don't expect much from the 'fashion' section, it's the interiors stuff where the action's at) -

This is the first way we've ever seen to make those crappy energy-saving light bulbs look good.

Pause key chair; you can get one with a personalised message instead.

Think of this t-shirt as the credit crunch solution to this Givenchy runway look.

Alright, we admit that's a pretty cheap shot at trying to justify it but we kind of like it anyway.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Spot the Difference

We were just looking through hundreds of old runway pics for an upcoming post we're considering doing, when this ss2001 collection reared its ugly head. Based on current 'looks', to which designer would you attribute this shameful, mismatched visual-assault?

Unless you were following fashion at the time, it might surprise you to know that this is Christian Dior by John Galliano circa 2001 - the same Dior by John Galliano which, although still fairly tacky, has recently been responsible for impeccable French tailoring, with a heavy dash of 50s-60s Haute Couture glamour:

It's amazing what a difference just 7 years has made, and in a way that's the point we were going to base another post on (we probably still will, with better ugly pictures for you to squirm over): it's quite extraordinary how quickly brands and collections are reinvented these days, to the extent that even collections from just four or five years ago by high fashion, cutting edge brands, like Prada and YSL, are now an embarrassment to behold because they look so hideous to the contemporary eye. Of course fashion is all about reinvention, but it's mind boggling how fast the evolution is occurring. How long do you think it will take before Galliano's most recent efforts for Dior look as unspeakably awful as the 2001 outfits do now?

Can you imagine journalists from all the big magazines actually sitting down in 2001 and writing good stuff about that collection? By current standards you actually marvel at the audacity of Galliano to present such a collection to a room full of fashion press and buyers, except of course it's all relative and it wasn't so dreadfully wrong at the time. The pace at which fashion's moving is such that we hardly notice we've all moved on (though that may all change as the economic climate darkens and we can ill afford the fast changeover culture of fashion consumption) until we see a photo of ourselves or a magazine from just a few years ago, which seems in our minds quite recent, but suddenly looks hideously dated, and there's almost now a 'dead' area of fashion history: periods of history up to and including the 80s are heavily referenced in fashion today but, with a few exceptions, we don't look back much to the time after that.

We think this definitely merits further investigation because it's all very confusing (a Chanel suit from the 50s can still be the height of chic, a shoulder-padded suit from the 80s can be fashionable in an ironic way, yet a Prada suit from just 2005 is wrong, wrong, wrong).

Oddbox: House of Holland Bag

Another week brings another Oddbox candidate: the €1160 (that’s approx £988) House of Holland furry ‘thing’. How can you put something by lovely Henry in Oddbox, we hear you cry. Well, the main problem is that we're not exactly sure what it is. A friend thinks it could be one of those Scottish bags that are worn over kilts (not sure what they're called.. where's our inner Scot when we need it?), and indeed she may well be onto something. Our issue though is the price, given how small it is, and the fact that coloured fur and feathers together don't exactly agree with us. Coloured fur is always a danger zone, but it doesn’t have to end in disaster. Brightly coloured feathers are risky, but not impossible to pull off. Coloured fur, a bag, blue, yellow feathers, and shiny gold hardware combined is, however, not our ideal combo. Sorry Henry! We loved the electric purple tartan from that collection, though.

Awww, wouldn't it make a cute low-maintenance pet though?

Available from Colette.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Somewhere we wanna go..

Here at Hapsical we have a list of shops around the world that we want to go to because, um, we're cool like that, and high up on this list is Bettina (don't be put off by the granny name) in Athens, Greece. Until we knew about Bettina for some reason we had this prejudiced idea that Greek fashion would be all flashy and tacky, dripping with Versace and Gucci, but if Bettina's anything to go by, this couldn't be further from the truth. They sell an unbelievably cool range of brands for men and women, including Jeremy Scott, Opening Ceremony, Bruno Pieters, Nicholas Kirkwood, Raf Simons, Kokon to Zai, April 77, threeASFOUR, Junya Watanabe...

We first got to know about Bettina because it was one of only four places which sold some elusive 'runway prototype' Raf Simons shoes we were seeking (though we didn't actually buy them from them in the end), and the cool website and amazing list of brands caught our attention. The website is actually one of the coolest websites we've ever seen for a shop, and they've done amazing editorial-ish photos of the products, which is way beyond what most shops do (top picture, and below):

Until we can get to Athens to check it out, we're waiting for their online store to open. In the meantime, check out their website anyway (and no, sadly they're not paying us or giving is freebies, we just love 'em anyway).

Perfumes: The Guide

Perfumes: The Guide, a new book by husband and wife team fragrance experts Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, sounds like the sort of unwanted Christmas present you might get, but in actual fact it’s super super, and we really recommend it. Look up over a thousand different perfumes and find a short review (often hilariously harsh, but always spot-on) of each, in addition to some introduction stuff about fragrances in general. It’s great fun, and you’ll spend hours looking up every fragrance you and your partner, friends, family, pets (yes, it happens) etc. have ever worn. What’s more, it looks stylish enough to have on the coffee table (the UK cover we’re talking: the USA one looks more commercial), even though the authors are totally non-elitist about the fragrances they’ll review: they’ll dip down to the level of the celebrity fragrances, which surprisingly aren't always the ones with the lowest ratings.

Some priceless extracts (all these got just one or two stars):

Almost Bare (Bobbi Brown) “Hissy bleached-bones fresh floral, likely just what the brief asked for. Smells like the latex backing on new carpet.”

Beat (Rimmel) “At last, we have commercially available in the West the powerful passionfruit odor of which all clean bathrooms in Southeast Asia reek, I assume because it encourages visitors to leave quickly. Exceptionally repulsive, even considered solely against other airheaded fruity florals.”

Amazing Grace (Philosophy) “A dull, generic, cutesy-pie, pink, frilly, itsy-bitsy floral thing, mysteriously accompanied by the words “how you climb up the mountain is just as important as how you climb down the mountain.” The effect of that gnomic pronouncement is somewhat blunted by the nearby list of ingredients: “benzyl salicylate, benzophenone, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, amyl cinnamal, benzyl alcohol, butylphenylmethylpropional, citronellol, geraniol, hexylcinnamal, hydroxycitronellal, hydroxy methylpentyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, limonene.” In short, a muguet.”

Rouge (Christian Lacroix) “Remember the scene in the movie Heathers in which Winona Ryder’s character proposes making another character vomit by serving her a mixture of milk and orange juice? That’s the top note here: a small, sad, grapefruit-flavored version of the grand Gucci Rush. Resolves into a mild woody rose of no great distinction.”

More info here.

And while we're on perfumes, how cool is the new limited-edition Issey Miyake fragrance bottle, originally designed 20 years ago by Shiro Kuramata, a design partner of Miyake, who has since died - it's a sphere contained within a glass cube, and only recently has the technology become available to produce it.