Hearts is the wonderful debut album from I Break Horses, see otherwise known as Maria Linden and partner Fredrik Balck. They have been compared to both Cocteau Twins and Slowdive, view but I Break Horses are so much more than a paen to shoegaze.
Wired pulses with a dreamy optimism that gradually disintegrates into an unexpected off key and there is another quiet opening for the softly softly approach of I Kill Love, Baby! Pulse aims confidently for the heart, engulfing in lush melody.
The gothic intensity of Cancer is carried throughout by chiming keys whilst Load Your Eyes favours skewed drifts of sounds and Empty Bottles swells with lush arrangement and layered vocals that gradually build in intensity. No Way Outro returns to an almost religious fervour, rattling drumbeats crescendo-ing before fading out to end.
It’s hard to break this album apart because it works so well listened to as a whole, each song playing against the previous and the next. I fervently recommend Hearts as your new soundtrack to love. Just gorgeous: out now on Bella Union.
I’m not talking lamé leggings and novelty over-sized jewellery here (although the room wasn’t short of any of that), but in a scene that’s more about the fashion than the music SMD stand out as one of the few acts who understand what the phrase ‘Rave’ actually means.
A sweaty, hands-in-the-air music industry crowd is a rare sight, and while many tried the obligatory arms folded, ‘contemplating the relevance of the sound look’, it wasn’t long before the irresistible combination of the spectacular light show and pounding, dance heavy hooks and beats had everyone moving like it was 1992.
With all the retina burning, multi-coloured strobe action and the fact that I was stuck behind a couple of six-footers, it was difficult to catch a glimpse of Misters James Ford and Jas Shaw, although it was clear from the head-bopping shadows on stage that these two were enjoying their music just as much as their sweaty disciples. As things reached their climax with the brilliant It’s the beat, there was barely a still foot to be seen and with the whole night taking on a distinctly retro air it was long before the ‘ironic’ old skool hand movements made an appearance, probably in a bid to disguise the fact that GASP, they were actually enjoying dance music. Like it or not, SMD had brought out the Bez in all of us.
This year the RCA’s Summer show combined various fields in an all-encompassing exhibition space that was both innovative and exciting to explore.
Eyjafjallajokull. How did you say that it your head? The impressive word refers to the glacier on top of the volcanic mountain (remember the ash cloud?) in Iceland. Understanding the perils of uninformed pronunciation, ordervisit this Icelandic native Eliza Newman, viagra approved wrote a little song on how to actually pronounce the word. It featured on the Al Jazeera News channel and has since become one of Al Jazeera’s most popular news pieces ever.
But there is far more to Eliza (Geirsdóttir) Newman than chuckling at our pronunciation shortcomings. She plays violin, ukelele and piano, and is also a trained opera singer. Her song; ‘Ukelele Song for You’ was one of the most popular in Iceland in 2009. The tune is about ‘attracting trouble’, ‘broken promises’ and forgiveness. With ukelele strumming and high pitched notes, it’s lighthearted in its sound, contrasting with the seriousness of the topic. This is refreshing and conjures up thoughts for me, of Blue Valentine, and the heartbreak within the love and jovial moments. The uke can be (in a touching folky way) deep! It’s a pleasure to listen to:
Previously Eliza was the lead singer of girl group, Bellatrix and the rock band, Skandinavia. Through Bellatrix, Eliza and Co. released four albums on Björk’s Bad Taste label, signing to Fierce Panda for their fourth album release. They also headlined the Carling Stage at the Reading Festival and co-headlined a tour with Coldplay. These days Eliza is a solo artist and promotes Icelandic female artists by being part of the Trubatrix movement, which encourages gigs and album releases around Iceland.
Eliza’s second album, Pie In The Sky, is out on April 4, on Lavaland Records . Watch out for my review. For now here’s a little interview with Eliza:
Could you describe your music? Its beyond words, like touching heaven with your inner ear! Or just a kind of quirky pop style sweet on top but dark underneath muhahaha!….
Do you write your own music? Yes I write all my stuff and have always done , that’s the only way to go.
What is your inspiration?
How do you feel about having one of the most popular songs in Iceland, ‘Ukulele Song For You’?
It feels great , very unexpected and a pleasant surprise. Icelandic people have good taste in music!
You play many instruments and are a trained opera singer, when did you start playing music and singing?
I started playing the violin at seven and studied that until I was 15 then I started a band and didn’t feel like practising violin any more. I started singing the day I started my first band. Never sung a note before then! Later I went on to study opera and I learned the piano, guitar and ukulele on the way.
What’s you favourite instrument, musical style? My favourite musical instrument is the harpsichord and the hurdy-gurdy, I really would like to get my hands on those two instruments to play! My favourite musical style is kind of pop rock indie opera classical hip hop and easy listening : )
Could you tell us about your former band, Bellatrix? Bellatrix was my first band, we were an all girl band and started quite young, got signed and released five albums both in Iceland on Björk‘s Bad Taste Label and later with Fierce Panda in the UK. The music developed from a punk rock sound to electro pop and we did loads of cool stuff like tour the world, headline Reading and do a tour with Coldplay. Fun and games!
What were the highlights of being in the band?
Headlining the Carling stage at Reading and Leeds Festival and travelling the world.
What about Skandinavia?
Skandinavia was my venture into heavy rock! Loads of fun. I was studying opera at the time in London and wanted to do some epic rock music inspired by opera. We recorded an album and did a UK tour and it satisfied my longing to do a heavy rock album, so that box is ticked now!
How does being a solo artist differ from being in a band?
It’s very different because as a solo artist you have to take all the responsibility which is both good and bad. You have no one to blame but yourself haha! You get more freedom to do your own thing as a solo artist but in a band you get more feedback and have to compromise sometimes, both things have their advantages. Having said that, I am very much a band person and enjoy working with others, so I would not rule out joining another band at some point.
And how is your own music different?
My music is more relaxed then the band stuff I did, I have calmed down quite a bit!
How is the new album in comparison to your last album, Empire Fall (Series 8 Records)?
The new album is more hopeful and has a lighter tone to it with ukuleles, synths and various fun instruments mixing it up. Empire fall was more minimalist and had a darker undertone.
Where do you want to go now in your career? I would like to go to Japan and play, also keep writing and finding new interesting ways of expressing myself through music, yeah and learn the hurdy-gurdy!
END. Thank you so much Eliza. Helen x
Written by Helen Martin on Monday February 7th, 2011 1:55 pm
sea of bees julie Happy Bank Holiday Amelia’s Magazine readers! If, drugs like me, you’re nursing some pretty horrific sunburn, whack on some aloe vera and retreat to the shady and cool gig venues of London for this week’s pick of the best!
Monday 25th May
First on today’s menu are Canada’s tastiest export since poutine; Women, they play their jingly-jangly post-rock tunes (imagine maypole dancing in the sunshine with Sonic Youth) at the Lexington with support from Dag För Dag and Forest.
I might just wet my pants with excitement- Wavves are playing Old Blue Last! San Diego’s finest will be playing their anarchic melodies and distorted surf punk. Keep your eyes peeled for our interview (probably a page of me gushing “why are you so awesome?”) with Wavves coming this week.
Thursday 28th May
Owen Pallett is one cool dude, not only was he in the epic Arcade Fire, he broke off and created Final Fanatsy, a deliciously structured cacophony of strings and loop pedals; like being lost in a wonderland of beautiful sound at Union Chapel.
Then we’ll be heading to the Luminaire to catch our French crushes Nelson and asking them to be our pen-pals…
I’m off to play croquet, have a good music-filled week dear readers! Be sure to comment and let me know how you enjoyed this week’s gigs
Just because you are a brave suffragette doesn’t mean that you don’t want to scrub up nicely.
As our readers know, siteAmelia’s Magazine is passionate about the role of the arts in inspiring discussions and action over Climate Change, viagra buy and always wishes to share these discoveries with you. While the message of Climate Change is a serious one, the way in which the message is conveyed need not be, and sometimes, a large dose of playfulness is needed to spread the word. This is why we are so excited about the newest venture between Lush and Climate Rush entitled Trains Not Planes. I’m sure that you all know about the loveliness of Lush, but you may not know about the actions of Climate Rush.
This is a group of people (which includes our Publisher and Editor, the eponymous Amelia, one of Climate Rush’s key members) who are deeply concerned about the issue of Climate Change, and even more concerned about the Governments “efforts” (or lack of) to tackle this emergency. Understanding that occasionally, direct and public action is needed in order to make the law makers sit up and take notice, they draw inspiration from the Suffragettes of almost one hundred years ago and show that peaceful civil disobedience can lead to positive change. Like suffragettes too, they make their protests in style; picnic blankets are laid out and tea and cake is served. Lush have evidently been inspired, because this week they too will be wearing their sashes with pride and putting on the kettle and best of all, you are invited!
The occasion is all to celebrate the aforementioned collaboration and the happy result of this union is Lush’s Chox Away soap. (£2.89 for 100g) As you may have guessed from the title, Chox Away is made up of a blend of chocolate (and smells like chocolate too), vanilla absolute, peppermint oil and sweet orange oil. I was fortunate enough to get to try some last week and I have been whipping myself up into a lather over it ever since. Anyone who has shopped at Lush will know that every one of their products are creamy delights that leaves your skin soft and smooth and this soap is no exception. I might be biased, because I get ravenous over chocolatey flavoured soaps, but this one is seriously good enough to gobble up. From this week, you can also buy it when you pop into Lush, (but try not to drive there). If you want to be treated to the spectacle of Lush Cosmetics staff dressed as Climate Suffragettes and holding picnics then go to your nearest Lush on Thursday 28th May at 12pm sharp where a tea party will be under way. As they are such a friendly bunch, feel free to sit down on the blankets that Lush will have across the floors (which will be emblazoned with the message CLIMATE CHANGE IS NO PICNIC), and while you munch on your free vegan cake, wearing a “Trains Not Planes” sash, you can find out more about the cause behind this collaboration. If you live in the London area, then Liverpool Street branch are putting an extra twist on the festivities – they will be giving out free Chox Away’s! As they have been informed that they can’t hand them out on the station concourse (because of the association with Climate Rush, which is apparently considered ‘too controversial’!) they will be on Bishopsgate concourse instead. So if you want a freebie (and who doesn’t?) then make sure that you are down there at 12pm sharp!
As you can see, the events will be lighthearted, but the underlying message is a serious one, and needs to be shared. ‘Trains Not Planes‘ is the ethos which Climate Rush and Lush are in firm agreement with. As you all know, flying is doing untold damage towards the earth. Flying releases a lot of CO2 – which is even more destructive to our environment when released at high altitudes than on the ground and this is contributing to more droughts, flooding and other catastrophic changes to our climate all over the globe, including right here in the UK.
So Lush and Climate Rush are aiming to remind the public of the benefits of train travel, especially for business, or when travelling up and down the country. As Lush says, ” The world looks better from the window of a train than it does at 30,000 feet, and if we are going to take control of run-away climate change, we need fewer runways and more use of train tracks. ” Lush subscribe to the brilliantly titled phrase “My Karma is Your Dogma“, which basically translates as take the train, cycle or walk to work! They understand Climate Rush’s grave concerns over the amount of flying that occurs around the world (and specifically in Britain; were you aware that per person, Britons emit more CO2 emissions from flying than any other people on the planet -603 kg per person per year, compared to 434 kg for Irish and 275 kg for Americans? ). So if you buy a bar of Chox Away between May 25th and May 31st, Lush will be donating all of the proceeds from the sale towards the efforts of Climate Rush in tackling this environmental emergency. Lush themselves have a policy against flying domestically and all Lush staff take the train when travelling in Britain. This is something that they would like to see other businesses implimenting.
Speaking to the Climate Rushers as they donned their sashes, I asked what they made of Chox Away, and all agreed that it gets a vote of confidence. As they explained; “Not every luxury need be a vice. Here at Climate Rush HQ we’re inordinately proud of LUSH and their commitment to Trains Not Planes. Like spending time on travel, the Chox Away experience is a fabulously indulgent way to take Climate Change seriously.” One of Climate Rush’s newest recruits, Hana Cogings declared; “Chocolate soap? Who’d have thought…..but then again, who’d have thought not so long ago that trains were the future, not planes! I’m gonna lie back and indulge!” So if you want to feel refreshed and ready to Rush, then lather up!
Meanwhile, Climate Rush will be spreading the word in the way that they know best; pedal power! If you want to come along – and all are welcome, they will be tucking their knickerbockers into their trousers and getting on their bikes in St James Square, London at 5pm on June 1st. The event is to draw attention to what will be the first night of a two day coal conference and Climate Rush will be assembling outside Chatham House where the conference will be held. It will also mark the first night of the pre-Copenhagen climate talks in Bonn, and what better way to mark this occasion than a gentle bike ride around town (where Climate Rush will be your tour guides, pointing out climate crime scenes and buildings that may be housing climate criminals). Afterwards, they too will be ending the excursion with a picnic. So see you there? We will be the ones smelling yummy, hope you will be too!
Lucy Barlow: Delicate Boundaries First Floor Projects Gallery
5 Redcliffe Gardens, prescription London SW10 9BG
Thursday to Saturday 12pm – 6 pm
All other times by appointment
To 30th May
This week is the last chance to catch the wonderfully playful exhibition at the new First Floor Projects gallery. Containing both Lucy Barlow’s previous drawings and sketches and her transition into paint on canvas, viagra the space is the living room of James Tregaskes; a unique, relaxed, cosy environment which compliments Barlow’s artwork perfectly. Stop by, have a cup of tea, and say Hi from me. Watch out for a review of this exhibition this week.
Opens 29th May until 28th June
Crimes Town Gallery, an artist’s run space presents six artists (working in various media) who are each freely interpreting the title in relation to our contemporary environment. The exhibition aims to discuss and open the debate on the possible effects of the current economical downturn on the art world, and whether we are heading for a reinvention of creativity or a starvation of possibility.
Sherrie Levine Simon Lee Gallery
12 Berkeley Street
London W1J 8DT
Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 6.00pm
Saturday: 11.00am to 4.00pm
29th May – 31st July
“I consider myself a still-life artist, with the bookplate as my subject. I want to make pictures that maintain their reference to the bookplates. And I want my pictures to have a material presence that is as interesting as, but quite different from, the originals.” Sherrie Levine.
American artist Levine showcasing new work including poetry and postcards.
Tal R- Armes de Chine Victoria Miro Gallery
16 Wharf Road
London N1 7RW
Tuesday – Saturday 10.00am-6.00pm
Monday by appointment.
until 25th July
Danish artist Tal R explains “armes de chine refers to a classic manual about weapons from ancient China. These objects, which once had a very specific and practical purpose, now several hundred years later seem completely abstract. Like a long lost slang…” With not a single piece attached to a wall and instead all pieces suspended or installed across the floor of the gallery’s main space, this will prove to be a very unique exhibition indeed. Expect everything from lost scouts, wrong fruits, embarrassed old uncles and melted minimal ice cream., taking forms of sculptures, paintings and work on paper.
Tues – Sat, 10am – 6pm Sun, 12 – 5pm
Until 24 July
Photo by: Jeremy Deller, Veterans Day Parade, 2002 Video installtion, Courtesy Art: Concept, Paris
Featuring: Francis Alÿs, Fiona Banner, Jeremy Deller, Thomas Hirschhorn, Rachel Hovnanian, Teresa Hubbard / Alexander Birchler, William Kentridge, Michèle Magema, Annette Messager, Amy O’Neill and Hiraki Sawa.
A ‘parade’ is usually a festive occasion for which people dress up in extravagant costumes and create elaborate and highly structured artefacts, while a ‘procession’ is more often an organised group of people proceeding in a formal or ceremonial manner, often with a religious or political connotation. The exhibition will feature works by twelve UK-based and international artists who take their inspiration from the traditional meanings of ‘parades’ and ‘processions’, creating works that epitomise the social and political context of our time. The resulting works, ranging from sculpture to installation, films and videos, are powerful forms of expression that address issues of history, culture, identity and politics.
Closed Mondays & Bank Holidays
Until 28th June
A solo exhibition by London-based Danish artist Michael Raedecker includes new paintings and a selection from the last 5 years. He uses a unique combination of thread and paint to create his atmospheric paintings. They derive from and also reinvent different genres from the history of art including still lifes, landscapes, ruins and flower paintings.
In the new work, Raedecker references flowers, washing, cakes, table-cloths, sheets, lace, food and houses. These domestic topics and the decorative associations of needlework create a friction with the fetishistic nature of these paintings.
Struggling with your latest sock project? Not sure about how to turn that darned heel? Or are you simply mystified by all those little needles and simply wouldn’t know where to start? If so, this week’s sock surgery may be just what you need. The experienced sock knitters will be happy to share their sock expertise with anyone who needs it.
The act of shopping can be a divisive experience, check normally somewhere along gender lines, but I would be prepared to bet that most people have at least once been betrayed by the deceitful mythologisation of shopping as ‘retail therapy’. Shopping can be hardcore, hideous megabitch – when it makes that imperceptible shift it can morph into the seventh circle of hell of escalators, crowds, queues, bags and blisters.
Is it wrong to want a little romance and daydream in shopping? I don’t want to shunted in and spat out, I want to be nurtured and seduced until I buy lots of nice things I don’t really need. Hurwundeki on Commercial Street in Shoreditch seems to understand this. Quirky, stocked full of antiques and things like vintage clogs and bow ties, it totally eschews style over utility, has softly lit stone archways filled with clothes and changing rooms with tall heavy curtains and stone busts inside.
Stocking vintage, new designers and their own label, it has become something of an empire for its Korean owner Ki, and Thursday sees the launch of a new venture at the bottom of Cambridge Heath Road. It’s a shop-cum-café-cum-playground, but this is no family Little Chef: featuring a beautifully crafted playground that manages to fuse function and fairytale, it’s a sanctuary for local families wishing to visit and enjoy it for its varying facets. It seems a hugely positive venture for the Hackney community, as well as building on the idea that shopping doesn’t have to be a stressy, hellish mess. I spoke to Ki ahead of its launch this Thursday.
At the beginning when you set up Hurwundeki what was your aim in terms of the shopping experience?
Actually I have always been a hairdresser, when I moved to England, I was working for Vidal Sassoon before opening my Hair Salon in Spitalfields. I began to cultivate my taste for vintage via the interior of the Salon. I started to sell vintage items within the space, and subsequently opened a vintage boutique; and later launched the Hurwundeki line of clothes. The aim was to provide a shopping experience that customers remember, providing clothes that are classic, yet have a twist, in beautiful settings made up of artefacts that may have once been frowned upon. This has generated our own unique clientele.
I always remembered it after the first time I visited as it was simply such a nice space to be in.
Why thank you.
In terms of designers you stock, what are you criterias? Who is your
In terms of the Huruwndeki label, the clothes have to be classic, which means that they’re versatile. They have to have a twist, like in the pattern of the construction has been slightly toyed to give an edgy look. The price has to be affordable. We have our own niche, and for fashion, we are actually fashionable.
In terms of the service, we offer our customers award winning coffee, at very reasonable prices. The settings are out of this world, somewhere quirky, yet mellow enough to relax in.
Generally our customers are not just one type, we appeal to a variety of clientele because different facets of our company attract more to different kinds of people.
With regard to your new venture in Hackney, what was it that inspired you to
set it up? Anything in particular? Were there any other similar places that you could use as a blueprint?
Well it was originally our headquarters. And before that it was used by the car lot next door. We relocated, offices, but I had a feeling about the space, and developed a vision for it.
I like the idea that you emphasised the functional aspect of it all too – where did you manage to pull all your playground pieces from? They’re definitely striking walking down Hackney Road.
Some of the pieces where from our Commercial St boutique and some from our warehouse, that had been sourced by myself.
What has the response been from the local community? Have you had particular
support or endorsement from anyone?
Everyone loves it. The local community think it’s about time something like this happened. We’re getting great feedback.
What are your plans beyond this?
To keep expanding, never being satisfied to standstill, if you’re not going forward, then you’re moving backwards.
Ki seems to have maximised the shopping experience by tapping into people’s lifestyles; not just the lone shopper with only themselves to carry, but the family unit too. I think it’s a creative vision that really riffs off people’s needs, and that’s definitely on the money.
Hurwundeki Cafe launches this Thursday, May 28th.
Returning this year after a triumphant 2008 which saw it scoop ‘best small festival’ at the festival awards, link The Secret Garden Party once more stands out like a painted lady amongst the cabbage whites of this summer’s festival line-ups. For those not in the know, no rx the non-profit festival takes a distinct lest field approach to it’s competitors. This year’s main additions for example are the science and explorer camps, which are hosting science and human rights related talks and debates. Full marks have to be given for their decision to retain the capacity at a relatively small six and a half thousand, refusing to bow to commercial sponsorship. Rather then working to promote beer branding or mobile phones, the organisers instead look to promote ideas, creativity and having a good time that’s not to nature’s expense.
Set amongst ten acres of landscaped garden, meandering around a river and surrounding a lake, there’s much more going on here then just music. Aside from the talks and discussions, I feel I can safely state without too much research that this is the only British festival that lists skinny dipping, bubble-wrap popping and twilight maypole dancing as activities. Also instead of the usual £4 burgers, festival goers have the likes of hog roast and home made falafel to choose from, amongst the other organic foods on offer. Then once the bands are finished, rather then attempting to drink as many cheap lagers as possible or sleep while all around you are doing so, you can instead go see a dj in a tree or go relax in a hot tub.
The Twilight Sad are all over it, reeling in plaudits from all and sundry, both here and over the pond. They deserve it too. Singer James Graham just sounds so damn Scottish, and we all know that that is just cool. They also manage to sound like most of the best bits of most of the best bands out Scotland in the last twenty years. They manage the detached, half-drunk commentary of Arab Strap’s Aidan Moffat, the sheer massiveness of Mogwai and the angry forlorn cries of Biffy Clyro… without even a hint of The Proclaimers or Shamen.
You are currently on a very extensive tour: what prompted the decision to do such a big tour?
The best way to promote an album is to get out there and play it to as many people as possible. We’ve done more extensive tours than this in the past, so we know we have it in us. It can be hard work, but also a lot of fun. I guess we must be a pretty good live band as we’ve always had the ability to win over an audience. We’ve been playing together for 6 years, and it feels like we continue to improve as a band.
You pride yourself on being “fiercely independent” – which was one of the things that first attracted you to me. Why do you think it is so important to take control of your own destiny?
I think it comes naturally to us now. You can sit and wait to be discovered, or you can get out and make the first steps on your own. Pretty soon the second and third steps will become obvious too. Coming from Leeds has helped in this respect, with bands before us making a success on their own terms. It showed us the way.
Why has it taken so long to get your second album finished? What have you been up to?
The main reason for this record taking so long to be released is that our label Beggars Banquet ceased to exist. We spent some time talking to other labels, but decided that we would be best served to release it ourselves. All of this took a lot of time. We also spent a while developing a new sound for the record.
You made the album through an innovative pledge system. Can you tell us a bit more about this process? Pledge Music is a website which facilitates fan funding of an album. We set ourselves a monetary target for what we needed in order to set up our own record label and release the album. We came up with a number of incentives for people to Pledge on, signed copies of the album, hand illustrated lyrics books, access all areas passes to gigs etc. The key thing about the Pledge system over some other fan funding initiatives is that no money exchanges hands until the target is reached and the album is guaranteed to be released. We were also keen to offer people value for money. The response we got when we went live completely blew us away. We weren’t entirely sure if anyone cared about us anymore, but we reached our target in about 24 hours and over 800 people went on to put their hard earned money into an album they hadn’t heard.
Has it been hard to do everything yourself? what are the hardest things about this approach and what are the most rewarding?
It has been hard work. It’s been a steep learning curve to release our record on our own label, and that has been the most difficult thing. Not knowing exactly what steps to take to get it into shops. I also feel as if there is some sort of stigma in releasing a record on your own label. Some people seem to perceive releasing a record via the more traditional record company route as a mark of quality control, and that fan funding bypasses that. For me it is a much more democratic model. If there is an appetite for a record then it will get produced whether or not one or two money men at a record label think they can make some money out of it. It is extremely rewarding to see the album in record shops all across Europe, and to know that it is down to our hard work and the faith of our fans.
What is current single A Father’s Son about?
It is about population pressure. I don’t want to say too much as I’m keen for people to draw their own conclusions, but the record as a whole is looking at the future for the human race. I did a fair bit of research into the science of climate change, and took my inspiration from that.
Where was the video shot? It looks cold. And who is the kid?!
It was shot on the North Yorkshire coast around Saltburn. To be honest we didn’t have a great deal to do with the video. It was done by a company called Progress Films. We’d been admiring their work for a little while so trusted them to do a good job. They sent a few treatments over to us, we made some tweaks and then left them to it. We were pleased with the result.
You released a solo album last year (which I haven’t heard) – how did this go down? and how does promoting a solo album fit in with promoting a group album too – is he supporting the band on tour?!
I’ve been asked about this a few times. This was an April Fool’s joke by our fan site: www.thisgreenandpleasantland.com. I think it says that it includes a Britney Spears cover. I have as yet, not done a Britney Spears cover! *the cheek!*
How did you choose support for your tour, and in particular Napoleon IIIrd of whom I am a big fan too?
Well it is as simple as us being big fans of his too. We were very pleased that he could do it. He actually went to the same school as Guy and I did in Evesham, Worcestershire. We didn’t really know him back then as we were in different years, but we recognised him when we got to Leeds. It’s a small world.
You lost a band member in Ashley Dean, do you think you might work with him on any new videos? Are the rest of you involved in other creative projects too? and if so what?
I would never say never. We’re still in touch with Ashley and its great to see him doing so well with his videos. Guy has taken on the graphic design for I LIKE TRAINS now.
You seem to have become slightly less introspective in new album He Who Saw The Deep, and are looking to the future rather than the past. What prompted this change of perspective?
It was just a desire to keep challenging ourselves, to keep things fresh and exciting. We didn’t want to make the same album twice. For the first 4 or so years as a band we worked hard to create an identity. With HWSTD we took all of that and turned it on its head. We’re happy that it still sounds like an I LIKE TRAINS record, and it has given confidence to continue developing and evolving.
You released a free download just before xmas – a cover of Wham’s Last Christmas. Why did you decide to cover this song? And did you have trouble keeping a straight face whilst you were recording it? I imagine it might have been a bit hard to do in a po-faced manner!!
It was fun. Again something we almost certainly wouldn’t have done 3 years ago. We were asked to contribute something to the Leeds Music Scene advent calendar. It was a few days before December so we knocked the cover out very quickly. We chose it because underneath all the sleigh bells and fake tan there was a certain darkness. We had a great reaction from it.
Where are you now? and how is the European leg faring… any highlights so far?
We are somewhere between Milano and Ravenna dodging some flamboyant Italian traffic! The tour has been fantastic, exceeding our expectations. There seems to be a certain momentum for the record in Europe, and an appetite for I LIKE TRAINS that we haven’t really had on previous trips. The highlight for me was the Botanique in Brussels. A sold out show at one of our favourite venues in the world. Everything seemed to come together for that gig.
Why should people come and see you on tour when you reach the UK?
That’s not really for me to say, but we can promise to give it our all and thousands of people across mainland Europe would probably back me up on this one.
Having picked up my two Stag and Dagger press passes, ampoule two booze vouchers and a free lighter – yeah! – my first port of call on the circuit got off to an inauspicious start when I cashed in my free drink ticket, order to be presented with a *small* bottle of Becks. Not even a pint! Better not to bother with a free drink at all, me thinks.
Taking these photos permanently damaged my ears.
We were at the Macbeth to see psychedelic rock band Teeth of the Sea, who’s tunes I had been listening to on myspace earlier. They provided a howling start to the evening’s entertainment, and left me wishing that I had remembered ear plugs (again). Most of the punters sensibly lingered close to the back of the bar but I took a step too close to the speakers for a photo and blew my eardrums right out with the very first band of the night.
The Macbeth by Tim Adey.
My conclusion? Bands like this are best enjoyed in the privacy of one’s own home… where I can safely choose whether I want to suffer from permanent tinnitus in exchange for the momentary pleasure/pain inflicted by an insanely loud wall of noise.
Next up were a band that I discovered a few months ago when I heard their catchy single Icarus on 6Music. White Hinterland are a boy and girl from the hipster end of Portland, Oregon. Framed by candles he fiddled around with knobs and a *trendy* old school cassette player on an Indian carpet. She played uke and keys in turn, all the time nimbly leaping on and off her loop machine in bare feet, all the better to create rich textures with her mellifluous vocals.
The Video for Amsterdam by White Hinterland.
They ended on a real highlight of the evening: a soulful minimalist cover of Justin Timberlake’s My Love, though this youtube version doesn’t do it justice. Shamefully I didn’t recognise it, but I was soon put to rights.
There was a strange character there. I think he was chanelling the Joker.
Then it was time for fun part of the evening number one: Use Stag and Dagger map to find next venue. And instead miss most of next band due to extremely crap over-simplified map which ensured that we followed the wrong trajectory into deepest darkest Hoxton. By the time we made it to the very traditional east end pub The Stag’s Head – which still retains it’s curved glass rack above the bar and numerous nooks and crannies of the kind that every trendy bar rips out as soon as they can – we were just in time for one last song from Little Death, and to marvel at the extremely cute and leggy bassist, always a surprise in a predominantly male indie band I find.
We stayed on to watch Baby Monster half an hour later, straight out of LA via some white zinc facepaint. Two men making love to their keyboards: this was pure Erasure for 2010, and an unexpected highlight of the night. By now I was thoroughly bemused by the Stag and Dagger crowd; a few indie kids swamped by townies out on the lash, more interested in ogling short-skirted blondes than serious beard stroking.
We dashed back to The Legion in Old Street via the shrine to school girl Agnes, now reduced to a depressing pile of wilted flowers. Ironically I was to be within yards of another random shooting in London Fields only the next day. Thems the breaks in Hackney these days.
The Legion has been enlarged and *improved* since I regularly used to attend Jen and Mikes’ Hot Breath karaoke nights. Oh wowser, this was Shoreditch central on a Friday night indeed. Let the fun part of the evening number two commence: I pushed my way past the pissed idiots lunging cross-eyed for my boobs to wait near at the front for The Radio Dept, a Swedish band that I have liked for many years. After half an hour of jostling and beer spillage as men crashed towards the ill placed toilet behind the stage I was more than ready to leave. The DJ played a series of high energy tracks whilst The Radio Dept looked stressed as they fiddled with their instruments on stage.
Eventually the crowd began baying for the band, but as I looked around the bar I thought “You know what, I reckon about ten people in this room even know who The Radio Dept are; the rest don’t give a shit so long as they can get twatted and pull.” An unfair appraisal? As a young friend of mine commented “It’s just like my usual Friday night out: except today I’ve had to pay £20 for the pleasure.” With an abrupt disregard for the music due to follow him the DJ cut his rave tune for The Radio Dept, but within moments I had decided that the sound was so incredibly bad that I had to leave: it was just too depressing to hear such incredible music massacred. So, The Legion has widened its area to encompass more drinkers and more dollar, but doesn’t ensure decent sound for its bands. Shameful.
Instead we went on down to the rave in the grimy environs of Hearn Street Car Park. We stayed briefly, enough for me to realise that we only listen and enjoy industrial music for fun because most of us don’t have to work in noisy conditions in our post-industrial society. Those who do would surely think us mad.
The Stag and Dagger, in summary? I think this year’s attendance may have been affected by the huge queues of last year that prevented people from getting in to watch the bands they came to see. In their place we had a bunch of drunken city twats. I’m sure there were many more hidden gems to unearth on the eclectic Stag and Dagger line up, but frankly I’d pay good money to stay away from the Shoreditch hordes. I guess I should have known better. It’s an ambitious concept that champions some excellent little known bands, but the organisers can’t control the crowds who choose to come. I don’t think I’d bother going to the Stag and Dagger again: for value for money and comfort I would recommend that you simply pick a good line up of bands in one venue on any day of the week.
Folk singer songwriter Maz O’Connor releases the first single from her much hailed album This Willowed Light accompanied by a beautiful animated video by fellow folk star Marry Waterson. I asked Maz to tell me a bit more about the project.
I found the song in The Full English Collection, which was being put online by the English Folk Dance and Song Society for public access while I was a BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellow with them last year. It’s an English version of the well-known American folk song The Silver Dagger, but I’d never heard anyone sing these particular words before. I’ve given the words a new tune, too.
Marry Waterson was recommended to me by a friend. I had a look at her stuff and I thought her quirky style and beautiful animation would work really well with the song, as its production is a bit unusual, using harmonium, trumpet and wine glasses…
I love what she’s come up with: she really pays attention to bringing out the story, and as that’s what catches my attention in songs, I’m really glad her video might bring the narrative out more clearly for listeners/viewers.
Waterson says that “It was a lovely project to work on with Maz, fusing together the traditional and contemporary feel of the song together with the visual style… I was taken with the imagery in this song, as soon as I heard it I could see the animation unfolding. I suggested we fashion the girl in the video to resemble Maz and made her a dress using the Willow pattern to tie in with the album.”
To celebrate the release of her album Maz O’Connor played an internet gig from her London living room, singing ancient songs alongside her own compositions via the wonders of technology to fans as far flung as the US. This Willowed Light by Maz O’Connor was released earlier this week on Wild Sound Recordings.
So London Fashion Week is officially in full swing. It couldn’t have kicked off with a nicer day on Sunday as fashion folk of all shapes and sizes donned their finest and turned up at the various venues around the capital to see what’s in store for Spring/Summer 2009. Of course Team Amelia couldn’t possibly miss out on the chance of spotting new talent, medicaltry so putting all thoughts of Sunday roast firmly to the back of our mind, more about we joined the rest of the fashion community at some of the weeks opening shows.
Now in day 4, price my highlights would have to be the eccentric desert tribe meets punk-rocker collection presented by Horace; a breathtaking show by Quasimi which opened with a dancing violin playing duo and ended with a couture clad Erin O’connor; an exotic Hawaiian themed collection from Antoni and Alison complete with beach scenery, deck chairs and complimentary coconuts, and finally the beautifully detailed range of sculptured metallic shift dresses, oversized caps and two-piece suits from Bernard Chandran.
According to this weeks reoccurring trends, delicate pastels and neutral shades are set to dominate our wardrobes next summer alongside layered ruffles on just about everything. Don’t bother to ditch your gladiator and patent heels too fast because it looks like eccentric heels are set to stay for another season.
That’s all for now, but keep checking the website for detailed reports and pictures from each of the each of the shows.
Musicians at Qasimi show
Finale at Qasimi show
We should have seen the nipples coming, viagra order really. After all, we were greeted on the door by the most exciting clipboard wielder I’ve ever laid eyes on. A taste of what was to be expected…he checked our names off the list showing not one sign of embarrassment over his outfit (nor should he! He was fabulous, dahling), an ensemble that consisted of Russian army hat atop blue hair and teeny shorts held up by Union jack braces. And nothing on top. So, if we had had our wits about us, we should have known that nipples would be on the menu for the night.
We were, of course, at the Under/Current Magazine launch at Cafe OTO in Dalston. All the cool kids were in attendance (tired of heading West for Fashion Week, presumably) with many guys rocking the Giles Deacon/Terry Richardson big glasses look. There were some not so cool ones, too; we were rather put off by a guy who’s jacket was covered in dead foxes – not big, not clever. Still, we averted our eyes by taking a sneak peek at the first, ‘Dynasty’ issue of the new arts and fashion magazine. After taking in the beautiful cover shot by Babette Pauthier we had a good flick through. It’s a lovely size (30cm x 23cm, to be exact), full of avante garde fashion photography and I’m sure it’s set to become a firm favourite of mag junkies like myself. Lot’s of pictures, not so many words – just the way I likes ‘em.
On to these nipples then. As we watched a few members of Cleckhuddersfax setting up, we noticed a rather foppish guy step on the scene and begin disrobing. ‘How alarming! Would there soon be nudity?’ we whispered amongst ourselves. Alas, no, as we soon realised that this was the lead singer, rather than some strange streaker, and he was only taking off his top layers to reveal his official stage outfit. Suitably under-dressed, and giving us no time to prepare ourselves, Cleckhuddersfax got stuck in.
Cleckhuddersfax describe themselves as sounding like ‘Fake-Prog Musique Con-cretin’ on their myspace page. Erm… yep, it’s actually a fairly good description. From the looks of the band (excepting the lead singer, of course) long hair and beards had led us to believe that things would be getting pretty old school rock, and we were not disapointed. Cleckhuddersfax also have a bit of that mental operatic thing going on, which did feel pretty prog, but on top of this there’s keyboards and voice warping devices a-plenty.
Cleckhuddersfax make the most alarming noises; it’s as if Wyld Stallyns had found a Korg and got into Devo. Perhaps it all sounds a little strange, but it was very fun and definitely dance-able with much toe-tapping taking place at the front of the crowd.
Toe tapping wasn’t enough for the tango-ed front man, however. Seen below giving it his all in front of a video-projection by Adham Faramawy, he rampaged his way into the first few layers of crowd, shouting into audience members faces and daring everyone to dance. Many were glad to take him up on his offer, and things got a little messy in the front row.
After getting all hyped up by Cleckhuddersfax, it was unfortunate that we had to take our leave. Ahh, well, I suppose Fashion Week is about cramming in as many parties as possible and, to be honest, I think I’d seen quite enough nipples for one evening…
The Greengaged event organisers (left to right) Sophie Thomas (co-founder, erectile thomas.matthews), price David Kester (CEO, Design Council), Sarah Johnson of [re]design and Anne Chick (Director, Sustainable Design Research Centre, Kingston University)
As the girls were busy planning their outfits and getting their hair done I grabbed my notepad, A-Z and sandwiches and off I trundled in seek of the Design Council. I won’t bore you with the details of my nightmare journey, but all I will say is that London Transport and I have been the least of friends this week. My galloping through Covent Garden and colliding with dawdling tourists payed off and I eventually arrived at my destination to be greeted with a sticky name badge, coffee and biscuits. I poured myself a quick fix and pulled up a pew in the rather minimalist, swish function room (what else was I expecting?!).
Simon Terry of Anglepoise
With pen and paper poised I sat and listened attentively as the first speaker opened the lecture on the sustainability of Product and Fashion Design. As the managing director of the lighting and manufacturing company Anglepoise, Simon Terry stressed the importance of that “a product should be a pleasure to use” not purely an aesthetic beauty. When addressing the query of how they as designers of the future can help to change the conscience of a consumer Terry spoke of the term ‘world view.’ Within this he outlined that it is not possible to make a consumer conform, instead you must enter their awareness (or world view) through their own agenda.
Cressida Granger, founder of DeWeNe a product design company mirrored these thoughts with their motivation in creating designs consumers ‘need’ not purely desire. Designs are based on utility and function over the ‘look’ of a product, very different to her background career with lava lamp company Mathmos. ‘Hook and Go’, one of their more popular product lines works with the current climate of shopping bag reduction, using a recycled steel trolley with wheels to transport shopping. Carrying up to 8 bags (32 kilos) of produce this design aims to reduce our carbon footprint, decreasing the need to use the car around town.
Hook…. and go
A future addition is the ‘eco cooler’ worked on by David Weatherhead of the Royal College of Arts. Working with a terracotta dish and bowl, water is dispensed into the dish below which then evaporates and acts to cool the contents of the bowl. Designed for the preservation of our fruit and veg, Granger hopes that this will encourage consumers to use smaller fridges, thus dramatically cutting down our demand on energy. Keen to work with an ethically friendly product line, Granger has set up two places of manufacture, allowing the customer to decide for themselves what is high on their agenda. The cheaper option is made in India and imported, whereas the more expensive same design is constructed in Wales by the social project Crafts for All which employs people with physical and mental complaints.
The eco cooler by David Weatherhead
Closing this talk was Tom Fishburne of the Method product company. The brainchild of an American product designer and scientist, this product line has only recently cropped up on British shores. They have quite a charming story behind the birth of their cleaning product company…. once upon a time Adam (the scientist) considered why we are encouraged to use registered pesticides (which in turn pollute) when we clean? Meanwhile the product designer was shopping and realised the disgusting array of nasty shaped and coloured cleaning products and began making thoughts on how to develop these. I am a little sceptical of the story (it is a bit cheesy and convenient) but, there is no doubt Method have found a gap in the market with 95% of current cleaning products refusing to bridge into the 21st mentality of green products. Non toxic and sourcing natural ingredients is absolutely the way we should be cleaning.
The natural ingredient Method product line
In much similarity to the ideas expressed by Terry and Granger, Fishburne spoke of the need of how to shape clients. You can’t make the consumer consume less, instead you have to make them smarter. They are certainly achieving this, with product lines established in John Lewis, Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and of course online.
Carianne Laguna may look like a fresh-faced intern entering a building standing among lofts owned by fashion models in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood. However, unhealthy the 28-year-old is Vice President and General Manager of Blackheart Records, viagra a label that rock legend Joan Jett helped create in 1980. Laguna, drugs who resides in Brooklyn, tirelessly commutes to her office, where she signs new artists to the label, including punk acts like Girl in a Coma and The Cute Lepers. Not only does she spend days promoting artists, but she manages the “I Love Rock N‘ Roll” rebel. In the music industry – where few women take behind-the-scene roles in impacting listeners, Laguna does it all with a toothy grin. Yet, she wouldn’t have been crowned queen of indie music management if it wasn’t for her family.
The Cute Lepers
Her father is Kenny Laguna, a music producer who, in 1980, began managing a 17-year-old Jett. Despite Jett joining a band when she was just 15 and befriending Sid Vicious, 23 music labels turned her down, causing her manager to sell demos from the trunk of his car. Consequently, the duo started Blackheart Records, one of the first music labels owned by a woman. Jett would go on to sell millions of albums, becoming one of rock’s top-charting females in history. Laguna, who grew up traveling around the world as Jett performed for thousands, would later carry on her father’s legacy. She graduated from the University of Colorado in 2001, where she took several internships to fully understand the business of music. “When I got to Blackheart Records, I said ‘I’m going to do this, but I would like to sign a lot of new bands that are in it for the music and not the fame,’” she says.
Laguna did just that, all while proving herself. “People tend to dismiss you if you’re a girl,” she reveals before groaning at how few females are leaders in the music business. “People think it’s just a fabulous thing to look as young as an intern, until you have to be taken seriously.” After many frustrations from Devil Wears Prada archetypes, she chose to keep moving without ever looking back. She takes a deep breath before gushing about her love of finding overlooked musicians and giving them a chance. “It just makes me feel good that I’m spreading their music. That beats out all those days when people would look down at you just because they had their own hang-ups.”
Just like her father perfected, Laguna is still applying the DIY method. From designing all the artwork, to selling merchandise during Warp Tour, Laguna isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. At times, she would even pass out Cds in bars, restaurants, and any place that plays music. Yet, it’s this technique that’s going to help save the suffering music industry. “This is a great time for indie labels and artists to get their art out there,” she explains. “A lot of people are discovering bands on the internet. You have to hit all the networking sites and play live as much as you can. There’s just no better way of finding new music.”
Speaking of upcoming hits, Laguna happily shared some exclusive news, including of Girl In A Coma and The Dollyrots going to the studio this fall. If that isn’t enough, she also revealed that Lana Davies, daughter of The Kinks founding member Dave Davies, was recently signed to the label and will be recording soon. It’s certain that as long as this bubbly brunette keeps challenging the all-male club known as the music industry, good music, with a woman’s touch, will always prevail.
Appointed with the responsibility of covering London Fashion Week’s opening show – Dublin born and well established Paul Costelloe, there I had dreamt about providing a fabulous and detailed write up complimented by stunning pictures taken with my Canon 5D camera that I’d managed to get in without a hint of a bag search. I was rather perturbed, click as you can imagine then, to find that my review button didn’t work, which meant I couldn’t delete any photographs. From a FULL memory card. So whilst I struggled trying to get it to work, the show started. As guests including Erin O’ Connor and Hilary Alexander enjoyed the show, I went into panic mode in a desperate attempt to fix it. The poor guy sat at the side of me, clearly unsettled by my constant rummaging in my bag with beads of sweat pouring down my face, slid as far across the bench as he could. Before I knew it the show was over, I’d looked up 3 or 4 times, and the delighted audience were clapping while I clacked my teeth and painfully giggled at the irony of Fashion Week’s head sponsor – Canon.
This opening show whizzed by in seconds, or so it seemed, but what I saw of it through the tears in my eyes looked fabulous. With a colonial and uplifting soundtrack, models were adorned in sharp tailored suits (the designer’s signature) nipped in at the waist with a hint of military (just enough, not overdone) first in neutral beige and navy and then in stunning vibrant yellows and hot pinks. Shape here was key – hoods and shoulder emphasis was a fine element and reinforced the female silhouette – as did a combination of a-line and tulip skirts. The third segment displayed even more military flavour along with elegant yet discreet floral patterns. The shoes, supplied by ALDO, were understated and complimented each of the looks.
You’ll be glad to know that my camera is still under warranty, it seems to be working, and I’ll be covering shows later in the week. I do hope I can redeem myself.
Images courtesy of www.catwalking.com
FELDER • FELDER are German twins Daniela and Annette Felder. They first launched their womenswear line in 2007 whilst studying at Central Saint Martins.
A folksy guitar track begins the show, web complimenting the altogether floaty and feminine look of the first few dresses to hit the runway. High neck lines add to the modesty of these dresses whose natural spectrum includes greys, website like this beiges, sickness mosses and mints. Waterfalls of ruffles flow across the body of each dress, which hang loosely from the tighter fit around the top. Multiple chiffon layers give weight and movement.
The hues soon turn darker, pebble moving to slate, and ruffles move on to shoulders and skirts. As the music moves to an electro beat we are surprised by a pale teal coloured dress that reveals a bright aqua flash within its ruffles. More shocking is the entirely turquoise piece, a definite ‘neon pastel’, the hot new hue that everyone’s banging on about.
The music begins to pound as a track from The Duke Spirit breaks out of the sound system and Felder Felder fall in to their stride showcasing a more rock chick look. This is an area that the duo became confident in with their AW08/09 collection that featured black fur, gold studs and leather. For SS09 leather embellishments, short shorts, cropped jackets and cuffs translate their harder edge to become more wearable in the more temperate months. Chiffon overlays soften the look.
This bandage dress was the real stand out piece of the collection. In an interesting turn, dresses began to emerge on to the catwalk that were made up of shimmering oyster bands of fabric. Much clingier, these dresses accentuated the body and glittered like scales as the models moved. The tops of these dresses were tighter, cut more in the style of a biker vest, again falling into the rock chick category. Bright coral chiffons provided another splash of colour in this segment.
With this show I was left in two minds about Felder Felder’s direction. I felt the loose silhouettes with frills over the front were unremarkable and perhaps included to fulfil a feminine sensibility associated with the Spring season. However, I enjoyed the self assured woman who later appeared in Felder Felder’s work summoned in by edgier styling and bolder colours.
Watch the show for yourself here.
10.15am may not be early in the real world, mind but in the world of London Fashion Week (especially on Thursday, ailment this is day 5 of 6 for gawdsakes!) 10.15am may as well be dawn. Skip that, I’m sure most fashionistas were still partying at dawn with ‘Mr Diamond-head’ or ‘The Turban Woman’. But, well, you get what I mean.
By Thursday I was already scraping the bottom of the little pot of Benefit ‘EyeCon’ that had come in a goody bag earlier in the week. With eye bags suitably smothered I yawned all the way to the Royal Academy of Arts for the Romina Karamanea show. I was greeted by a very small crowd of hard-core fashion enthusiasts and a helpful girl who told me the show would be starting at least half an hour late. Late? But this is the first show of the day! Oh well, I suppose the later the start the more hung-over LFW visitors they were be able to round up.
When we were eventually allowed to take our seats I was excited to see the whole first 4 rows decorated with goody bags (surely a reward for all those dedicated enough to get out of bed), each one complete with a bottle of Sabai Wine Spritzer and a packet of vodka filled chocolates. Hair of the dog, anyone?
But of course, goody bags aren’t enough to prise a gal out of bed. No, the crowd was eager to see what Karamanea, a St Martins graduate who has worked with leading designers such as Clements Ribeiro, Robert Cary-Williams and Preen, had to offer us. And with the knowledge that Karamanea impressed the late, great Isabella Blow (she reportedly took a shine to an ‘origami dress’ from the SS07 collection) we were expecting a lot.
The feel of the show was utilitarian, yet sexy. Karamanea has admitted in past interviews that she is influenced by the functionality of the Bauhaus movement and this showed in her SS09 pieces. The clean simplicity of cut brought uniform to mind, indeed it often felt that we were being presented with visions of ‘uniforms of the future’. I don’t really want to reference Star Trek, but I might have to…
Karamanea’s sculptural style that had been apparent in her origami creations of old came to the fore once more in her new works with almost absurdly boxy shoulders. The often harsh shapes were tempered down, however, with varying techniques. The occasional flash of neon blue found its way underneath garments, whilst sunglasses and Doc Marten boots punkified outfits to give a youthful edge. A very of-the-moment translucent softly flowing tangerine dress even cropped up in the collection.
More flowing shapes were evident which, twinned with geeky brogues and shades, gave the look of a studious bad girl or an art teacher with a naughty past.
Slightly less forgiving than the more flowing silhouettes were the tight playsuits, which I imagine the average woman would steer well clear of for fear of the dreaded camel toe.
Front row fashion is, of course, one of the other spectacles of Fashion Week. Romina Karamanea’s show saw one guest robed in a rather revealing yellow dress, only hiding her modesty by covering her head with the biggest, pinkest hat I have ever seen. I captured her below in some sort of hat stand-off between herself and a model sporting a large black mesh visor. Which one will win in the style stakes?
Karamanea’s jewellery was note-worthy, with plastic neck pieces that almost looked like ammo straps. High waisted shorts also found their way into Karamanea’s collection, yet another clue that we can be sure that they will feature heavily in our SS09 wardrobes.
The styling of the models was definitely a hugely interesting part of the show. With hair that was slicked back at the sides but flowed in waves down the back (a look that nodded to Alice Dellal, surely) the girls looked cool and androgynous. Femininity was never girly; even the chosen heels were the brogue-ish Rosie shoe from B Store, their clever sculpted heel adding to the modernist feel. Clever uniforms accompanied by a sound-track that included a tune that told tales of motor cycles setting you free, this truly was a show for the bad girl with brains.
I really enjoyed viewing Karamanea’s daring pieces and the whoops of appreciation that came at the end of the show meant that I definitely wasn’t alone. I look forward to see the shapes she will create in the future.
Watch the show for yourself here and here.
In 2005 Helen, page Myra and Cathy, online three graduates from the London College of Fashion, decided to join forces (and the first two letters of each of their names) to become Hemyca. With their first show at London Fashion Week, we were promised a ‘Dream Of Time’, and the show was chimed in, quite literally, by the trilling, ticking and whirring of clocks.
The ‘Dream of Time’ soon transpired not to be a dreamy Alice in Wonderland style flight of fancy, but rather the modern dream everyone shares of having more time; with models in sharp tailoring marching business-like around the catwalk. Pleats a-plenty softened and added interest and made sure the sillhouettes were anything but straight-laced.
Catching our eye on the front row of this show was the (now almost legendary) Mr Diamond Head. I wonder if he was a fan of the Hemyca high-waist?
Well, the high-waists in this collection really caught my eye, with the ensemble below being a particular favourite. Simple and smart, with an elegant attitude, the wide, loose trousers flowed beautifully as they moved and looked hot teamed with the racer back white vest. Inspiration for this collection had apparently come from the idea of a broken clock and garments were printed with illustrations along the same theme. The ensembles were topped off with wire mesh hats by Monique Luttin.
Just as I was becoming comfortable with the show and enjoying the interesting shapes before me, I was a little bit shocked by some rogue brightly coloured pieces creeping in. ‘Neon Pastels’ is a palette that we’ve been warned to expect from SS09, and many designers have showcased lemon sorbets, candy pinks and aquas with aplomb. Hemyca, however, had concentrated on the ‘neon’ side a wee bit too much, sending a couple of warm canary yellow pieces down the catwalk. This was later followed by a cold, acrid lime coloured dress. The colours felt confusing, as I can’t imagine the two sitting together very well on a clothes rail. The miss-match felt like a curdle in the collection.
I also can’t claim to be a fan of Hemyca’s use of bright blue tartan. My only explanation for the inclusion of the two tartan pieces was perhaps an over-exposure to Henry Holland. I can’t fathom, however, why yellow ruffles had crept in to one of the tartan dresses. The result was an unfortunate cheapening of some actually well cut dresses.
After this acidic hiccup the rest of the show carried on as before, demonstrating Hemyca’s love of interesting shapes. Cocooned hips made their way back into the Hemyca catalogue (a hark back to their last SS collection, entitled ‘Secret Garden’), with some lovely jumpsuits. Yes, jumpsuits again! Seen at Olanic and Jacob Kimmie, amongst others, there’s no doubt these will be part of the idealised 2009 wardrobe. And if I’m going to have to struggle in and out of one of these bad boys every-time I need the loo then only the black, bodice topped Hemyca jumpsuit will make it all worth it. Seriously, I heart it.
On the subject of wearability, that old conundrum the playsuit made yet another appearance on the LFW runway. Of course it looked amazing on the Amazonian model with legs up to her armpits, but how it would translate on the average woman? I just don’t know.
With their last offering, Hemyca showed us that they can also do full on glamour. A beautiful, billowy, draped dress flowed down the catwalk, embellished with strings of jewels and metallic pieces reminiscent of a watch’s inner workings. Cog like embroidery over the back was a delicious, delicate touch.
I know I will be keeping an eye on Hemyca, as I really love their interestingly structured garments. I do hope, however, that in the future they will stick to their more restrained colour palette. Either that, or take control of their own colours and not feel pressured by trend forecasts that predict ‘neon pastels’ or way too much tartan.
See the show for yourself here, or take a peek backstage here.
We’re rather taken with London based Turkish designer, cialis 40mgBora Aksu, physician here at Amelia’s. Not only was he featured by us way back in issue 1, but his ongoing collaboration with fair-trade fashion pioneer People Tree has got him into our good books AND our forthcoming issue 10. Needless to say, we were looking forward to see his Spring/Summer 09 collection debut at the British Fashion Council Tent.
It looked like the designer has been partaking in one or two viewing sessions of The Sound of Music as we were greeted by a girl in a white dress and satin sash as the show began. Okay, so the sash was pink, and not blue, but girlish dresses did seem to be amongst Aksu’s favourite things for next Spring/Summer.
The femininity presented at Aksu’s show was not all young and frilly, however, with wonderfully tailored pieces (cropped jackets, high necks and puffed sleeves) giving an assured and womanly aspect to the collection. The head wear veered between youthful oversized bows and grown up Sunday-best hats (both by milliner Misa Harada).
Aksu’s colour palette was spot on for the season; with frosted peaches, pistachios and lemon tones gracing the runway at the start of the collection. With talk of pastels (from candy colours right up to neon hues) being a big part of our warmer-month wardrobes next year, Aksu’s collection looks set to be bang on trend. Personally, I’m a little hesitant to go all out sugar-sugar with my own attire next Spring, so I was relieved to see daring combinations of purple and black further in to the show.
The striking thing about many of Aksu’s creations was the Art Nouveau style embellishments that drew attention to the contours of the wearer. Ribbon like piping ran across the garments, mapping out curves and acting like the leading in a stained glass window; it was a technique that allowed Aksu to bring in panels of new colour and texture.
There has been much talk of ‘the modesty dress’ this London Fashion Week, the term referring to a trend for enveloping unforgivingly skin tight body-con dresses with billowing translucent over dresses. The double dresses were seen at Issa, Graeme Black, Aquascutum and, of course, on the Bora Aksu catwalk. Aksu’s take on the modesty dress involved anything from pink chiffon capes cinched in over dresses to Grecian style draping of fabric pieces that concealed choice areas.
The stand out piece, for me, was a bubbly black party frock. A bustier front over a body of black mesh was both modest and sexy in it’s half revelation of back and shoulders, but this simplistic top soon burst out into an eruption of petal-like layers in the skirt. The movement of this skirt was flighty and fun, being especially voluminous at the back. Can you spy my favourite frock at the rear of the model queue?
Romantic and whimsical, Aksu’s fairytale collection was the epitome of Spring/Summer 09 style. In a show backed by floaty folk and violins, ruffles and pleats took centre stage and won our hearts.
Watch highlights of the show for yourself here. And look out for our profile of Aksu and People Tree in our forthcoming Issue 10!
Soft pastel patterns, pill ruffles and high-waisted shorts filled the Trinity Building near Regents Park last Sunday as Poltock & Walsh featured their Spring/Summer 09 collection at London Fashion Week. Think French Riviera in the 1930′s, which is what designers, Fiamma Poltock and Katie Walsh used as inspiration to create this line of elegant, wearable womenswear.
High-waisted shorts seem to be back for yet another season, and Poltock & Walsh paired them with silk three-quarter length blouses and jackets. The shorts were slimmed for a flattered silhouette, but the tops used ruffled sleeves and square cuts to enhance shape. While the overall appearance may be a bit simple, they’ve accessorized it with just the right block belts to give it enough excitement to perk my interest.
The ruffles and enhanced shapes continued to be the trend in their lively cocktail dresses. Cut graciously to show off the legs, some were slimming to show off curves, and others hung freely for a looser fit. I also caught a glimpse of print designs in blue and yellow pastels, inspired by the Art Deco movement of the 30′s.
The duet met while studying fashion design at Kingston University and formed their label in 2006. Although fairly new, they already have quite a portfolio with a successful showing of their Spring/Summer 08 collection at Style 360 during New York Fashion Week. They have since returned to the homebase of London for Autumn Winter 08/09 and this latest show. Already discovered by Vogue as one of the new designers to keep an eye on, they are sure to be a hit in the seasons to come. Their collection is available for purchase at Sefton if you fancy splurging for the look of Poltock & Walsh.
Olanic‘s collection took inspiration from the British summertime, stuff or lack of it as is often the case. The unpredictability of Spring/Summer09 resulted in a collection of geometric shapes blown sideways. The weather theme was further worked upon within the fabrics, a collaboration with Scottish textile companies. Designed by Niki Taylor the fabrics used abstract weather symbols executed in clashing colours.
Summery colours of pink, green and blue, were mixed with muted tones more associated with the rainy days a British summer is famed for. Simple silhouettes of shift dresses, blouses and shorts were given a breath of fresh air with subtle details. These simple shapes were adorned with plaited necklines, shoulder wing-tips and fabric bows.
The jumpsuit, which seems to be a firm favourite with designers for next summer, was reworked into an elegant evening wear piece. Only revealing its shorts form when the model strode down the catwalk. Sequins were sprinkled over a ladylike bustier, a pair of leggings and a cropped tux jackets. Other highlights included balloon tapered trousers in silk styled with an upside ballet wrap draped top, both in jewel colours.
Olanic almost trademarked punkish Edwardian overtones were also present, the blues and greens gave way to red and black. Vertical striped spray on trousers, striped tux jackets and a marching band style red cape sashayed down the runaway in quick succession.
Creating highly wearable designs (often ignored in fashion), Olanic showed an accomplished collection which will only strengthen the label’s ‘one to watch‘ status.
I know it’s been long since Bestival, advice but I’ve literally only just finished cleaning the mud off me. Seriously. Okay, viagra dosage maybe not. But it did take a long time and I have also sadly reached the conclusion that perhaps I am not as young as I used to be because it took me a good three days to properly recover from three days of fun, mud, music and random happenings. Still, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to buy my early bird tickets for Bestival next year.
So, after my copious amounts of fruit smoothies and milk thistle tablets to get me on the mend, I can finally positively reflect on what was a bloody awesome weekend. After a comic session of wading through the mud-river that was the road to the campsite and then setting up our tents in an equally hilarious manner (to any onlookers not hiding in their tents) we gave up hope of ever being dry and warm, and sat and got drunk on rose boxed wine instead.
Friday night started off poptastically perfectly with Alphabeat, and continued with Chromeo. We were gutted when Sam Sparro and Black Kids had cancelled, however. Something about the BBC Introducing stage being too muddy – um, what? Why not cancel the whole festival then? Bloody squares. (I later found out that Sam did do a set to a small crowd at the X-Box tent, but with no way of communicating this to the crowds, we all missed out.) Anyway we tottered along to CSS instead who were awesome, (although I think the sound technician was on acid) and then we headed to the Bollywood tent for a DJ set.
Saturday was never going to be dry so we decided to hide in the Restival section instead and after a few games of Shithead, we were treated to some brilliant poetry performances from Hammer & Tongue. Seriously, if you live in London or Brighton or somewhere where they perform regularly, check them out. It’s a night you won’t forget.
Why I even bothered wasting my time going to see Amy Winehouse on Saturday, I don’t know. Hot Chip were awesome and well worth pushing our way to the front for, but after that we had over an hour of waiting for Miss Amy should-go-to-Rehab-immediately Winehouse to pratt about on stage and manage to sing about 4 recognisable songs. It was pretty funny at the time, but looking back, it meant that I was so knackered after standing around in the cold I had no energy left to dance.
Miracle of miracles, it didn’t rain on Sunday and we made the most of it by finding all the places we hadn’t been to. Bramble FM was a highlight – a seemingly imaginary radio station which appears at all the festivals and gets the crowds dancing around in a circle or cheesy tunes – true story. And actually, it was awesome fun. Which is what festivals are all about – being just plain silly sometimes.
We kept our blood pumping after a brilliant set by Six Nation State by heading to the ‘come dancing’ tent and showed ourselves up by being the only ones dancing to RnB. After the organisers realised that no true festival goer lowers themselves to enjoying RnB music, let alone dancing to it, they started a dance lesson, teaching us the ‘cha-cha’. That got everyone on the dance floor and after working up a suitable sweat, we watched a powerful performance by thecocknbullkid.
As it had finally stopped raining, we actually managed to have a meal outside our tent for the first time all weekend, and refuelled we headed to the main arena, having a bit of a boogie in the X-Box tent (Bournemouth clubs come to Bestival – hurray! – please note the sarcasm) and then checked out the Cockney Knees Up tent, which was supposed to have some drag acts on, but was actually just a bunch of transvestites dancing around to eighties music. Not really what we were looking for.
The Rizla arena was awesome, and we ended the night in true Bestival style by meeting some randoms and bringing them back to our tent for pointless conversation and more alcohol.
Getting off the island was less than pleasant – after a muddy session of packing up our tents we struggled with our backpacks up numerous mudslides and eventually made it back to land of solid ground.
Monday 22nd Museum of Brands, online Robert Opie Collection: Until 31st May 09
2 Colville Mews, off Londsdale Rd, W11 (£5.80, concs £3.50, kids £2) Robert Opie‘s 12,000 original items from his collection moves to Notting hill after seventeen years in Gloucester. Think back to the good ol’ days of vintage postcards, Skippy chocolate bars, cadburys toffee buttons. O.k. you may not be old enough to get too nostalgic but the collection of toys, posters and magazines ensure even the most cynical will get doey eyed at the past as consumer culture is revealed decade by decade. In short, this is a retro lover’s heaven on earth.
(Adults £5.80, Children (7-16) £2.00, Family £14.00, Concessions £3.50. Group discount 10% (groups of 10 or more, pre-booking appreciated).
The Gallery at BFI Southbank, London, ‘The all seeing Eye’: An installation by Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry: until 16th November
BFI Southbank, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XT
A mesmerizing video installation by the inventive French duo Pierre Bismuth and Michel Gondry, celebrated for their Oscar award winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The installation consists of a well furnished apartment involving a central camera revolving around a room where the room spins, armchairs, magazines, houseplants, rugs, mirrors and a dining table appear only to disappear during successive rotations until the apartment is stripped bare. First conceived and shown in Paris in 2005, this new version of The All Seeing Eye has been commissioned and specifically conceived by Bismuth and Gondry for the Gallery at BFI Southbank. A series of films selected by Pierre Bismuth and Elisabetta Fabrizi, BFI Head of Exhibitions, on the theme of erasure has also been included.
Thursday 25th Transition Gallery, ‘Mime 1′ Mimei Thompson: Until 5th October
Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Rd, London E8
Recent RCA graduate Mimei Thompson‘s work depicts dark, mutating cosmic worlds, populated by clouds, probing eyeballs and cartoon brains. Surreal portraits including alien beings connects the real with imagined worlds, evoking questions such as death, decay and regeneration.
Jaguar Shoes, ‘Horse Tears’: Matthew Hodson: Preview Show
32 Kingsland Rd, London, E2: 25th September: 7pm till late
Why not join us to the preview show of Hodson‘s weird, melancholic and rude illustrations and comic books? Hailing from a small village in Yorkshire Dales, Hodson was soon drawn to the mean streets of London, although he still retains a soft spot for wind, dogs and trees. Although he adopts a simplistic style, do not be tricked into thinking all his work is as sweet as pie-With contemporary references and dark undertones, Hodson allows us to be kept on our toes.
Saturday 27th Paradise Row, ‘The Day Nobody Died’: Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin: Until 26th October
17 Hereford St, (off Cheshire St) London, E2 6EX
In June of this year Broomberg and Chanarin traveled to Afghanistan along with the British Army units on the front line in Helmand Province. What results is strange abstract passages and patterns of black, white and variegated hues – all modulated by the heat and the light invites us to question the nature of violence, culture, politics and morality.
Hamiltons Gallery, ‘Bokuju Kitan/ Marvelous Tales of black ink’: Nobuyoshi Araki: Until 19th October
13 Carlos Place, London W1K 2EU
Born in 1940 Nobuyoshi Araki’s photography, heralded as Japan’s foremost contemporary photographer blurs the line between art and pornography. He selects 88 images from over 30 years worth of Kinbaku work (bondage art) and hand-painted calligraphy on each photograph. His erotically charged pieces are both lyrically beautiful and steamy, without being brash. Phwaorr indeedy!
It doesn’t take much for the East End glitterati to migrate West, generic so a good old fashioned strip show had them flocking in their dozens last night. The reason: the opening of the latest Coco de Mer store in South Kensington in conjunction with London based design duo Fleet Ilya.
Fleet Ilya are son of Russian sculptor Ilya Fleet (see what he did, physician there?) and London gal Resha Sharma. Together they are a ‘taboo-breaking accessories label’ who create stunning, pilule exotic, erotic leather goods, from luggage to, er, strap ons.
The lusty store on Kensington’s chic Draycott Avenue wasn’t too difficult to find. The pummelling music (Studio 54 meets Miss Chuckle Cherry) and flashing lights instantly drawing attention, and quite a crowd of bemused onlookers too. It was hardly Fort Knox: ‘Hi, we should be on the list’
‘Oh, really? Oh, just say who invited you, that will do.’
I think if my companion had said we were pals with Coco (de Mer), we’d have been granted access.
Inside the store
Inside was quite the occasion. The music loud, the lights low, packed to the foundations – punters spilled out into the street or into the changing rooms just for a gasp of air. Canapés were creatively supplied by Passion Organic (an apt title for even the caterers) and pink champagne was aplenty – so much so that just another glass and I might have been tempted to slip into a harness myself. Not that I was without action – whipped and tickled as we all were.
Clockwise from top left: a Coco de Mer girl; the Dj; Coco de Mer lingerie; A Fleet Ilya harness and corset; An erotic bust, part of the store’s merchandising; Fleet Ilya girls
At the beginning tension was high, you could feel it, and it was down to some very liberated male and female performers with sizeable attributes to get us in the mood for an outrageous romp. Fleet Ilya’s ladies wore constructivist themed black soft leather conical bras, off white corset style belts, brown ponies tails at the rear and harnesses with a nod to equestriana. They carried whips, wore handcuffs and brandished other quintessential bondage paraphernalia. A rotund gent, clearly a professional in the art of erotic movement, gave what can only be described as an eye-watering performance, which I’ll keep censored so you can use your own imagination, but the baying raucous crowd certainly enjoyed his fruitful achievements.
Models show off Fleet Ilya in the window
The model who ‘spoilt’ us with his one man strip show
CdM aint no Ann Summers – it’s a tasteful exploration of erotic merchandise and has something for everyone. If you’re not in the market to make a hardcore purchase, then, well, shame on you frankly – but you could be tempted by something from their decadent soft furnishings range, or a discreet title from their vast collection of literature – maybe Tickling or Flogging or The Complete Guide to Cunnilingus. Just suggesting.
Fleet Ilya aren’t just about erotica – their Classic and Concept lines deal in luxury leather goods including oversized luggage and accessories. There wasn’t much of this on show this evening but it’s definitely worth looking out for and you can see a full range of their products on their website – but only click into the Restraint area if you can handle it…
The Coco de Mer girls
The Fleet Ilya girls
Pictures by Matt Bramford
Back in the mist of time now, stuff well…namely a fortnight ago, viagra order Sarah and I had a rather arty night of mischief and mayhem. First we ventured to the ‘Drawn to each other’ event where I got to go back to A level art years. After drawing various colourful characters with charcoal and also getting my portrait done, see we were in the mood for another dollop of fun. So we went to 93 feet east where ‘Laser fingers’ had an event called ‘Do you want fries with that?’ Unfortunately we didn’t get a serving of fries but we did get to view some cool zines and talk to some art collectives.
My first pit stop was Middleboop , a graphics collective headed by Gordon Reid and Simon Stroud. They describe themselves as ‘two designers who enjoy moaning about the state of art, design, film and music at the moment.’ If you’re a graphics-head check out their blog and let them know what you think.
Next I talked to ‘Laser Fingers’ Collective who organized the whole affair. The team from Hertfordshire consists of Sophie Buckle (Graphic Design) and two illustrators, Nikki Hemmings and Ella Tamplin-Wilson. With a colourful array of designs and fresh faced illustrations, they are creating quite a buzz within the art collective scene.
sarah having fun with a ‘laser finger’ pizza box
derv modelling a felt sandwich badge by ‘laser fingers’
Unkle Baxta is a fashion design label and this girl loves what she’s doing as she pipes her creations are ‘original, unique and they look boss!’ It’s not exactly my cup of tea but if you’re into your bold designs, and indie rock prints have a peek.
One zine that caught my eye was called ‘the smell of the wild’ by Gareth Brookes. Delicately drawn and with poetry recording the ageless beauty of the countryside, the zine both tickles and delights. It sure is worth the £1.50. Gareth Brookes also contributes to the banal pigs publications.
Another favourite was Sally Faulkner‘s beautifully naïve zine, English Grub-filled with pastel coloured sprinkled cakes and whippy ice creams. Just graduated from Kingston Uni, and with a recent illustration in the Guardian Magazine; she is definitely one to watch.
So all in all a good night! After all this creative mingling-it was time for a tipple at the bar.
Starting their catwalk show with a video piece of models contorted into letters of Annalisa Dunn’s and Dorothee Hagerman, label name. Cooperative Designs set the tone for their soon to be paraded original designs .
To celebrate their offerings Anna Lou of London and Laura Lees held a party in the heart of the West End. Needless to say that the muttering of a party had a sizable group of the Amelia’s lot heading West.
We were welcomed by a tasty cocktail – it had things like ginger and berries in it, patient as well as Courvoisier cognac, which was new to me. Problem was it took an age to queue for a beverage, as the guys behind the bar were those cocktail professional types that throw everything around a bit before they pour it. Obviously though, the drinks were not supposed to be the main highlight.
The fashion pose
The highlight for me was a guy who had turned up with a shaved head covered in diamonds. Though completely impractical (I can imagine your chances of getting mugged on the way home would increase dramatically), it made him look like a disco ball – and nothing says party like coming as the disco ball. I now know that if you want to get you spotted, covering your head in something really shiny is a good way to start.
Try and spot the diamond head man
Being music editor, it didn’t take me long to take notice of the DJ. He was pumping out a nice mix of James Brown and DJ Shadow, my only problem being his occasional experiments in scratching – a technique that should really just be left to world DMC championships nowadays. The crowd was also obviously far too cool for dancing, although as the liquor began to diminish there was a little more movement on what I assume was the dancefloor.
I think it’s fair to say fun was had all round, even if I personally left a little puzzled as to what the whole event was all about.
Jumpsuits, mind playsuits (surely a double whammy of all-in-ones spells a HUGE trend for next season), shift dresses and tunics were Tabard shaped. Not since the animated cards of Alice in Wonderland did a pack of cards look so appealing. Peek-a-boo sides lead the eye down to embroidered embellishment in metallic shades, that Scott had harnessed during his time at legendary label Biba, adding extra decoration to the sharp clean lines. Scott also used heavier embroidery, with beads and tassles, as focal points on the front of tabards, giving these designs a military-esque feel.
Once again, as seen at many shows, bright colour took a back seat to neutrals and more muted shades. Scott took this to a more extreme level than I had previously seen, harnessing creations in only three colours. White, Beige and Black were the colours to march down the catwalk under Scott’s watch. Laudable in his use of boring beige, Scott gave the much lambasted colour a style injection complimenting it with shimmering gold. This restrained use of colour flattered the structured shapes.
The sophisticated collection had a real summer in city feel to it. Helped by a ‘beep beep’ traffic noise song featuring on the playlist (much googling has not revealed what song this is, if anybody knows please do share). With many of the looks suitably for office wear, well fashion offices anyway. That said some of the more structured tabard shapes may prove a bit difficult to make the skip from catwalk to high street. Easier to wear looks, included the knee-length more relaxed all-in-one’s and tunics worn with 90′s style cycling shorts.
Steve J and Yoni P who hail from Central St Martins and London College of Fashion respectively, pharmacy have been consistently causing a flurry of excitement in their past three seasons at LFW. Bagging a Best Menswear Award (CSM BA graduation show 06), stuff Samsung Fashion Design Fund (07/08) and opening their diffusion range at Topshop; has only gained them more attention. Yet it is their trademark style of modern quirkiness, case with luxurious fabrics and tailored cuts that has ensured their individuality remains intact.
Walking into the Korean Cultural Centre in West London on 16th September, I was greeted by a charming floaty voice and harp. Along with Japanese rice snacks, this created a relaxed yet classical ambiance. With this mood we were taken to our places.
the harp playing woman with no head
The duo interpreted sculptural elements such as metals and structured blocks into a cool modern look. Being influenced by Danish abstract painter Asger Jorn; they used simple colours such black and white, orange, pinks, blues and whites, with silver and gold as an accent colour.
Neutral whites initially dominated the catwalk, with tailored tops accompanied by geek glasses and bulbous headgear playing with proportions.
some creams cropping in
Pencil skirts teemed with see-through tops followed.
Little-bow peep and bow head bands also played a big part in the collection. English wool with Italian silk mixed together to juxtapose the casual and luxurious was also used along with architectural transparent dresses.
.. and back to the simple staple black numbers
Along with black simple hugging dresses, neutrals such as peach and pink popped up. Intricately draped pleating gave pieces a dreamy quality. With models hugging oversized Japanese bedtime toys, this only made the audience swoon.
Three sets of ballet dancers dressed in blue and white with oversized bride veils stood on top of white blocks. Each cutting the string which held the veils in place, they individually tottered and spinned onto the catwalk performing graceful fluttery movements. Their performance emphasized the fragility and quiet classicism of the collection.
Next came more architectural works of metallics and draped pleating. Origami-esque folding, baby doll dresses, fitted pencil skirts with pleat front jackets followed.
On talking about the collection Steve J and Yoni P have said that were inspired by ‘the surrounding environment, particularly constructive architecture and the linear, almost endlessly repeats of design details in both buildings and supporting structures.’ The catwalk was positively teeming with unique pieces as well as off kilter accessories such as oversized glasses, bows, butterflies and bulbous head dresses. Combining architectural metallics and see through dresses with soft colours and detailed pleats ensured that the duo delivered a collection full of charm, wit and whimsy.
Featuring silk trimmed with leather, and chiffon dresses paired with geometric gray and blue graphic prints, the collection has a futuristic feel to it. The color palette combines soft neutral tones with blacks, grays and blues, coinciding with those colors found in cement, metals and steel.
The most striking design of the show I found to be the shoes. Binding only to the heel, this leather and wooden device left the sole of the foot completely exposed to the ground below. I question how this would work out on the street, but for the purpose of the avant garde look this design duo desired, this so-called shoe definitely exemplifies the collection.
Robots In Disguise are perhaps not the best way to start an evening. They are usually a band I try to avoid, more about but I was making the effort to try and get a good spot for These New Puritans – who I’ve been desperate to see all year. Robots In Disguise play a set of mediocre, there yet still somehow quite grating, electro/indie/mash-up. The best bit was the guy (or girl) in the big robot mask.
After a break for refreshments, it was time for These New Puritans to take to the stage. Two things that stood out immediately were the overly cool expression the female synth player was sporting (making her look like the most bored person ever) – and the chain mail shirt the lead singer had donned for the occasion. Not only was it fun to look at, but I can also imagine it to be quite practical when walking home through unsafe areas late at night.
They begin their set with the brash intro to ‘Swords Of Truth’. Their sultry vocals, and gothic strut should seem pretentious and dislikable, but something allows them to get away with it. They’re the pinnacle of what so many modern bands aim to do, but they do it the best – so it’s okay.
The highlights of their set were tracks like ‘Elvis’ and ‘Numbers’, which revert against their attempts to be so freakin’ avant-garde. There are moments where they create new wave genius, and the 3-minute psych out feedback marathons in between actually do build the intended suspense. As a live show their music and musicianship would struggle to be beaten, but their stage manner is at times slightly cringing.
I thought it would be almost impossible for me not to really, really enjoy a Young Knives gig. That was until I saw them play a set of less than stand out album tracks. I know they must have grown tired of playing the same tracks over and over, but they’re the most popular songs for a reason. People like the songs, that’s why they’ve come to see them live.
In all fairness, I missed about 5 minutes of the beginning of their set – but literally the only song I recognized was ‘The Decision’. Unless they filled the first five minutes with an impressive mini mix of ‘Terra Firma’, ‘She’s Attracted To’ and ‘Weekends And Bleak Days’. It was necessarily a bad gig, it just seems like they’ve given up on pleasing their fan base.
After watching a slightly disappointing Ossie Clark show, adiposity I felt I really needed to see a collection that stepped out of the chiffon and floral-patterned safe zone, cost and started London Fashion Week off with a much needed bang. Much to my delight, this came in the form of design duo Horace, who I have to say, managed to impress me the most on Sunday afternoon.
According to their press release, the story behind Horace’s spring/summer 09 collection is ‘a futuristic tribe living in the heat of the desert.‘ With an adventurous teaming of soft black leather and studs with laddered knits and linen, what has transcribed is an interesting punk rocker meets Arabian villager type collection, which was just the edge our senses needed on a Sunday afternoon.
Designer’s Adam Entwisle and Emma Hales have used a neutral palette of blacks, whites, greys and creams, to create a range of oversized vests and jersey tops alongside figure skimming leather bottoms and socks to create an unusual, but striking collection of day to evening wear.
I wasn’t surprised to find out the label had caught the eye of Kate Moss and Agyness Deyn, as the clothing effectively captures that unique element of effortless chic for which both the models are renowned.