Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Denim: Meadham Kirchhoff

Images from Style.com - click to see entire collection.

Hot ticket London designers Ed Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff included some rather exciting 'sculptural,' distressed, heavily stitched denim - something which doesn't appeal to us in theory, but which we rather love here - in their spring/summer 09 collection. We particularly love the jackets, which are almost like denim armour, with their 'articulated' arms and obvious stitching:

A little bit Frankenstein-like, but in a good way. Jak&Jil snapped Caroline Issa, the publisher of Tank Magazine, wearing the top one during Paris Fashion Week:

We just think it's such an amazing statement jacket, and we love how it looks like the lower part of her arm is hanging loose, puppet like, at first glance.. subversive stuff, and all done in standard old denim (obviously made exciting here).

Pieces featured here available to buy online at Colette. For more information, see meadhamkirchhoff.com.

fashion+art: Sander Reijgers' Sex Doll Jackets

In the words of the artist/designer, Sander Reijgers:
"I customize existing tracksuit tops with parts of the blow-up dolls... these dolls are so ugly and vulgar that turning them into something beautiful has become a challenge for me. The doll is a means to convey something else... it's near-incomprehensible that people could have sex with something as ugly and lifeless as a blow-up doll. However much air you pump into it, it remains an object that can't reciprocate the feelings of lust..."

"The idea of doing something with blow-up dolls came to me after reading 'The Malady of Death' by Marguerite Duras. The main character of this novel is incapable of feelings for people, so he hires a woman hoping that sex with this woman will allow him to feel. I do the exact opposite with my work: I remove the sexual function of the dolls by turning them into a jacket or a bag. In this way, the doll can 'feel' by performing a normal day-to-day task, rather than through sex..."

"In daily life, we are bombarded through the media and advertising with images of especially female nudity to stimulate consumerism. I comment on this situation through my art, but with humour and without being too moralistic about it..."

There's something wonderfully subversive/awful about these jackets by Dutch artist/designer Sander Reijgers... we'd probably draw the line at actually wearing one, but it's a cool idea and we love how the sex doll parts give otherwise fairly mundane sportswear jackets an unexpected, subverted twist. What do you think? Cool concept, or simply too crude/shocking?

See more on his website.

Monday, 30 March 2009

New Posts Soon...

Sorry things have been a little slow on the blog front these last few days, but don't abandon us, we'll be regularly updating again very soon. We're sure you know at Jak&Jil, because Tommy Ton's hyper-chic street style blog has been THE site of the moment lately, but you may not have known that he also uploads pictures regularly (which aren't on his main site) on Lane Crawford's website, where he has a guest blog. Lane Crawford is a group of upmarket department stores in Asia, and Tommy has also shot a campaign for them, showcasing spring/summer 09 clothes in his signature 'on the street' photographic style.

While we produce some new posts here, why not check out the Lane Crawford Jak&Jil blog (here), which is where the pictures in this post are from, and the ad campaign (here).

Needle-heel Margiela zip-up boots... wow! (also worn by Carine last year, as avid Jak&Jil stalkers such as ourselves will remember...)

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Out & About: Prada Double Club and V&A Stephen Jones Hats exhibition

This weekend we did two 'fashion' things, rather belatedly, in London. On Friday night we headed over to The Prada Double Club in Islington (yes, it still exists - a reference, we suppose, that applies both to the club - it's a 'pop up' venue that opened before Christmas and will close in May - and to Islington, that quintessential hip area of the 90s which is otherwise totally off our radar these days), which is a restaurant/bar/club that is designed by contempary artist Carsten Höller and is sponsored by the Fondazione Prada, Miuccia's art establishment. And if you thought it couldn't get any more hip, you should know that the concept (in terms of decor, food, drinks, and music) is half Congolese, half Western (undoubtedly a very 'profound' concept thought up by Höller, who is better known for installing giant slides in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern), the restaurant and bar is run by Mourad Mazouz (owner of other trendy venues like Sketch and Momo* in London and Le 404/Andy Whaloo in Paris), and the club night on Fridays is run by Richard Mortimer, organiser of the infamous London fashion night Boombox and, more lately, Ponystep (a night that was in London, ended with the New Year's Eve Party where Gareth Pugh DJ-ed, our report here, and has now moved to Paris).

Considering all that, we went with high expectations. We'd even checked the party pictures uploaded on their website from previous friday nights (which incidentally - if you can stomach any more 'hip' references - are taken by Alistair Allen, the coolest party photographer in London, whose site, DirtyDirtyDancing.com, documented the scene at the aforementioned Boombox and Ponystep nights), and it looked like the cool/creative/odd East London scene were Double Club converts in these difficult post-Ponystep days. So you can imagine our surprise when the overriding scene last friday was people old enough to be our parents dancing shamelessly (shamefully?) on the dance floor, many with shoes cast aside to allow for maximum moves. They seemed mostly to be people who had eaten in the restaurant and were then reliving their youth on the dancefloor, and indeed why shouldn't they, it's just the impression we got is that in previous weeks later on the scene got a little younger (we stayed until about 2am, and with the exception of a few people things didn't improve much).

It later transpired that the problem was that Ponystep was on in Paris this weekend, meaning that most of the crowd we'd hoped would be there had deferred there by Eurostar. It's a shame, because the venue was fun (despite its pretentious concept) and it would have been so much fun with the 'right' crowd. We might try returning another friday night, but it also looked like a cool place for a daytime meal/cocktails (although vodka + mixer = £5.65, only made somewhat more excusable because of the fact that 50% of profits go to a Congolese women's charity). Oh, and we saw someone who we're at least 90% sure was Lisa "I dated George Clooney" Snowdon, host of Britain's Next Top Model... an odd night overall, not too bad really, but not quite what we had expected/hoped for.

We also finally got round to visiting Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones at the Victoria & Albert Museum, which was a hugely enjoyable exhibition of hats both designed by Stephen Jones himself and hats by other designers and from the past chosen by him to be displayed. Centred around a mock-up of Jones' workshop, the exhibition consisted pretty much solely of amazing hats which made it very fun to look around, and elicited plenty of gasps and 'wow's from us. There were hats from the 18th Century, Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano hats, Dior New Look era hats, hats from 1960s Balenciaga, spectacular hats by Jones himself of course... unfortunately the V&A do not allow photography and they refuse to sell good postcards so we can hardly give you a feel for the exhibition, but it is really good and if you're in London we definitely recommend you go. It's on until 31st May 2009, see more information here.

Luckily Diane Pernet, of A Shaded View, took some pictures on the opening night:

These photos really don't convey what a fabulous exhibition it is, but you can see in the top picture Hussein Chalayan's wooden 'pod' hat from 1999, and an amazing vintage Balenciaga spiral cream coloured hat. In the bottom image, the hat with the attached dead fox and bird is from a Galliano Dior Haute couture collection from around 2000 (can't remember exactly).. we'd LOVE to see how it looked on the runway, and indeed what the rest of the collection looked like, if we could find pictures... Our only criticism of the exhibition is that it would have benefited from some photos of people wearing some of the hats included because we were very curious to see how some of the designs, particularly the more radical ones, would look other than on a plastic stand.

Interesting video interview with the wonderful Stephen Jones (as well as his own amazing brand -here, he's worked with designers including Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano for Dior, Comme des Garçons, and Marc Jacobs):

* Do any Londoners remember the 'pop up' branch of Momo that used to be in Selfridges in women's Superbrands (now replaced with a stupid mozarella bar)? We used to love it SO much, there was something so fun about sitting on awkward little stools in a 'trendy' mock-up Moroccan souk café, right in front of the glossy mini-stores of Balenciaga, Marni, Stella McCartney... it was the best spot for people-watching and because it was pre smoking ban days there was this rather fabulous Moroccan style tent full of cushions where people could smoke Sisha..

Friday, 27 March 2009

Lanvin Love

As today marked the opening of the Lanvin women's store in London on Mount Street (alongside Marc Jacobs, Christian Louboutin and Balenciaga), also complementing the Lanvin men's store on Savile Row, we thought we'd dedicate a post to a little Lanvin loving, specifically Alber Elbaz's lovely ss09 collection.

The new Mount Street store - images from fashionindie.com.

Image of Alber Elbaz from Style.com

Not only does Alber Elbaz come across as being a really nice guy, he also designs incredibly well for Lanvin (not that we needed to tell you that), coming up with a perfect balance between design, wearability, elegance and luxury each season, that fits perfectly with Lanvin's image. At a time when nearly everyone is trying to be 'avante-garde' or subversive or 'thought provoking,' there's something very comforting about the way that Elbaz consistently designs soft, wearable, collections that really 'respect' women (Elbaz isn't a size fascist, he doesn't truss his models up in uncomfortable bondage gear or awkward concept clothing, and he doesn't send them out in lethal heels). When we think of Lanvin, aside from luxurious, the word that really springs to mind is lovely. That's not to label Lanvin as dull and passive (remember those much imitated conical spiked heels that everyone was clamouring for a few seasons ago?), but rather to praise Elbaz's thoughtful approach to fashion, which we love within its context (of course it would get dull if all designers worked that way, but for Lanvin it's perfect).

Images from Style.com - click to see entire collection.

There is of course the issue that as much as we can go on about how Elbaz really understands what a lot of women want to wear and designs accordingly, Lanvin's clothes are, to put not to fine a point on it, not cheap, and only a small number can actually afford them. Still, because of the way more affordable brands look to high fashion for inspiration (or sometimes downright copying), it's likely those without a Lanvin budget (the majority of people) can benefit indirectly from the way Elbaz promotes wearable, stylish, and good quality clothes. There is also something quite 'friendly' about Lanvin's luxury, compared to brands like Chanel and Tom Ford (incidentally Elbaz was creative director at Yves Saint Laurent before Tom Ford bought the house in 2000 and forced him out in order to instate himself) which seem to have a more aggressively luxurious, pretentious, almost snobbish edge. We can't speak for the new London store yet, but is it a coincidence that both the Paris stores and the London men's store feel much less intimidating than other designer stores (even those of less luxurious brands) and have helpful staff with no better-than-you attitude, quite a miracle by Paris standards? The key, both with the clothes and the stores, seems to be that Elbaz really knows how to make the customer (even the non-buying customer) feel good, which is probably why we could go on and on praising Lanvin, and which will be a factor that should help Lanvin whether the recession, despite their prices and luxurious image.

Images from Style.com - click to see more of Lanvin SS09.

We love the beauty and richness of the SS09 collection which comes from the voluminous (but elegant) draping, the rich fabrics and textures, the jewel colours, the restrained crystal embellishment..

Lanvin, 128 Mount Street, London W1K 3NU. Tel: +44 (0) 207 49 11 839

Lego Alert: Sabrina Goh

Regular Hapsical readers will know about our slight Lego obsession, so naturally were excited to discover Singapore-based Malaysian designer Sabrina Goh's use of Lego in her SS09 collection.

See more on the website for her brand, Elohim.

Related posts:

Lego Street Art
JC de Castelbajac / DIY Lego Accessories

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Shoes: Futuristic Geometry

Clockwise from top right: Jil Sander cut-away platforms, available at Luisa via Roma; Proenza Schouler slingbacks and Fendi mesh sandals, both from Colette; Stella McCartney mesh sandals and Alexander McQueen slingbacks, both from Net-a-Porter; Maison Martin Margiela cut-away heels and Balenciaga gladiator sandals, both from Browns; Roger Vivier 'kite' sandals, from Colette; Pierre Hardy slingbacks; Balenciaga slingbacks; Yves Saint Laurent cage pumps, from Colette; Pierre Hardy platform sandals; Gareth Pugh wedges from Colette; blue Fendi sandals from Net-a-Porter; grey Balenciaga platform sandals, available at Browns.

We can never resist 'gemoetric' design with a slightly futurist edge, especially when applied to shoes...

Clockwise from top right: Raf Simons high tops, available at Colette; Kris van Assche high tops, from The Corner; Dr. Martens x Raf Simons sandals, blue Jil Sander sandals, and Bernhard Willhelm red detail high tops, all from Oki-Ni; Pierre Hardy grey high tops; silver Raf Simons high tops, from Oki-Ni; Dior Homme high tops from eLuxury; Marc Jacobs blue and white high tops, from The Corner; Raf Simons panel sandals and Maison Martin Margiela yellow high tops, both from Oki-Ni; Balenciaga black boots.

Cool Alert: Anna ter Haar's 'melting' sunglasses

Dutch product designer Anna ter Haar designed these rather cool 'melting' dripping effect sunglasses for Klavers van Engelen's FW08 collection.

See more of Anna ter Haar's (non-fashion) work on her website.

A.P.C. SS09

Images from apc.fr - click to see entire collection and to shop online.

It's interesting how if you were describing an outfit from the A.P.C SS09 women's collection to someone (chunky sandals.. thick socks.. mannish jacket.. even a shirt and tie) it would all sound rather dowdy and awkward, but somehow A.P.C manages to infuse it all with their trademark brand of cool, and nearly everything ends up looking impeccable in that very laid back, French sort of way. We love the casual elegance, and overall it just really works... they even came up with a jumpsuit that we don't hate! To boot, it's (relatively) affordable yet still exclusive feeling, and even if you don't want to do the full on slightly androgynous look (which admittedly won't work for everyone, however effortless their models make it look), each collection provides a range of good quality basic pieces with myriad ways to be incorporated into your existing wardrobe.

Men's is good news too:

Images from apc.fr - click to see entire collection and to shop online.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Obsession: SS09 Alexander McQueen Prints

Images from Style.com - click to see entire collection.

There are several aspects of Alexander McQueen's SS09 collection, like some distinctly odd shoes, that we're not sure about, but we simply love the spectacular multi coloured 'diamond' prints which he applied to leggings, dresses, and jackets. The prints looks good both from a distance and close up, while their sharp, geometric lines keep them feeling sharp as opposed to frumpy (although granted only the super-slim will be able to pull off the unforgiving patterned leggings). There's something very McQueen about the audacity of the head-to-toe print outfits, while the sharply cut tailoring and the quality and depth of the print really make them work.

A selection of the pieces available:

All available at Net-a-Porter, except the blue leggings which are from Browns.

The prints are reminiscent of colourful geometric crystal formations, although McQueen couldn't resist slipping in some of his favourite, signature skulls too (if you look closely you can pick them out in a few of the above pieces), perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to Damien Hirst's infamous £50 million diamond skull, a 'cultural' emblem of the era of excess that is now fading fast. Perhaps you can read some sort of message along those lines into this collection, despite how extravagant the prints look (and how hefty the price tags of the print pieces are).

The prints seem to us to be both futuristic and at the same time, with their sharp, symmetrical geometric nature, redolent of futurist designs, and graphic design from the 20s and 30s, with a sort of 'brave new world' attitude:

Photography: Hedi Slimane for AnOther Man Magazine

Although we're trying to curb our addiction to Hedi Slimane's photography, we thought we'd post this series of photos which he's done for the current issue of AnOther Man magazine, because they're really cool (though what isn't in Slimane land?), and we never knew those 'sausage balloons,' the ones that slightly creepy magicians at children's parties make dogs and giraffes and other animals from, could look so high fashion. Here we also like the colour shots just as much as the signature Slimane black and white.

You can see the full series, along with tons more good stuff, in the current issue of AnOther Man, the cool bi-annual men's fashion and culture magazine published by the Dazed Group. Look out for the spring/summer 09 issue (below) on news stands now, or click to view a free digital version of the magazine - how amazing is that?! The issue contains (amongst other things) features on Sonic Youth frontman, Thurston Moore, and singer Patrick Wolf, a fascinating piece on Raf Simons' first collection, photography by Sølve Sundsbø, and of course lots and lots of fashion in the enclosed 64 page Style Guide.