Archive for July, 2009

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim Overview

July 31, 2009

See, I knew there was a reason I got into fashion as a career. Many may have laughed, said it was a bit girly, but when your boss tells you to write up a review of a show like this…

Clockwise from top-left: White Sands, Luli Fama, Ed Hardy, Caffé Swimwear

Images © Getty Images

Held annually in Miami by IMG Fashion, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim is, according to Christine Neault, IMG’s Senior Director of Fashion & Brands, ‘the industry’s premier platform to showcase swimwear collections from around the world.’ Already in its fifth year, the show is continually growing; this year around 10 new designers exhibited their collections, including Crystal Jin, Vitamin A and V Del Sol.

Unsurprisingly, floral prints featured heavily across all collections – soft, watercolour pastels as seen at White Sands provide a pleasing balance for the rich, saturated hues of Ed Hardy. Christian Audigier’s infamous brand was, for many, a highlight of the show – his signature tattoo-influenced designs adorned many of his pieces, with the remainder utilising abstract, 80’s-inspired block colouring or classic neutrals.

Elsewhere, Tibi’s slightly 90’s homage saw asymmetrical and cutaway styling along with classic two-pieces, whereas Luli Fama’s slashing effects and one-piece ‘monokinis’ show just how little one can get away with wearing in the world of swimwear.

The 2010 show was also the first time that the organisers used their new interactive application, allowing those who were unable to visit the show personally to view it remotely via their iPhones. Available for $0.99 at Apple’s App Store, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim application features a full overview of each collection, in both video and image form.

I love my job.

James

The ‘Klashnekoff Appreciation’ Post

July 30, 2009

In 2004, as 50 began his carbine-round rise to superstardom and the Dirty South started grabbing attention, I switched my musical focus to UK rap. Following what was happening stateside grew increasingly tedious. US rap became greedy and predictable and, much like a child with ADHD, obsessed with anything new and shiny, regardless of substance or merit. Later, when Lil’ Jon, the embodiment of lazy, MTV media hype, was propelled into pop culture for shouting a series of simple affirmatives, I decided enough was enough.

Buying narcissistic MC’s CD’s, only to hear them battle an invisible opponent, or affirm some self perpetuated macho image, or say how much more money they have than me for 35 minutes, was no longer the one. I started looking for music that was a little closer to home, not just geographically, but lyrically and conceptually. I needed something that would tickle my teenage sense of rebellion. Through Dre I quickly discovered an MC from Hackney called Klashnekoff and bought his debut release, The Sagas.

Sagas (which when I last looked on Amazon was on sale for £25) changed my whole outlook on rap music. There was a ferociously rebellious and yet conscious energy at its heart, the kind all good rap music has, and it wasn’t tied up in Wu-Tang gangsterisms or Post-Civil Rights protest, a la Public Enemy. Its organic sound, sorely lacking from rap music at the time, made Klashnekoff’s descriptions of claustrophobic urban life, modern relationships, hate, promise and death seem all the more heartfelt and real. Even Murda, a song described by Klashnekoff himself as ‘very obvious’, has more lyrical depth to it than most rap artists’ albums.

For me, The Sagas Of Klashnekoff set the bar for UK rap, a bar that hasn’t been raised since. So, with news of a new Klashnekoff album on the way and an impending interview with the man himself after recording of said album is finished, I thought I’d take time here to reflect over his career so far, and showcase some of his biggest tunes, and most inspirational pieces to date.

Enjoy.

Kristian

The Jump Off

July 29, 2009

Its been a while since I threw a bit of art work pon blog for you philistines!

More to follow this week, pinky promise…

Been playing about with Artrage recently. Very nice piece of kit, if you like painting but don’t fancy the overalls – this is the program for you.

Jump Ink

Carrying on from with the silhouette theme, I inked a cliff scene, but found it looked very bland. Too much white, not enough depth to the piece as you can see for yourself.

Jumper

The use of the oil paint on ‘Rage really added texture to the picture, while subtly highlighting the silhouette. I’m not one for sunset pictures, so I pushed the warm colours to the bottom of the picture. A colder palette to reflect the coldness of ones heart.

Business is business britches!

Dré

Is the future of fashion design to be found in collaboration?

July 28, 2009

A quick look at some of the most prolific fashion publications and blogs reveals huge numbers of collaborative efforts between labels and other creatives, from artists and illustrators to architects and musicians. Adidas x Maharishi, Trickers x Comme des Garcons, Melissa x Zaha Hadid… that little ‘x’ is popping up on my RSS feeds more and more these days.

But does this surge of collaborative work represent a democratization of design across disciplines, perhaps as a result of the freedom of information and communication of modern times, or is it symptomatic of the fashion industry’s increasing lack of inspiration and connection with everyday consumers?

Personally, and call me a cynic if you want, I think it’s the latter. Take the aforementioned Adidas x Maharishi Forum Mid shoe:

Let’s be honest, they’re not exactly revolutionary are they? Nice though they might be, they’re not exactly that different from the original Forums, apart from the conspicuous Maharishi logo. (I’ve used a blue colourway to give the fairest comparison!)

As an aside, I personally think that high-end labels’ attempts to tap into the casual sportswear market have been nothing less than disastrous, collaboration or not. When Michelle Obama was pictured wearing a pair of $540 Lanvin trainers back in May, the fashion world was up in arms, telling anyone who would listen about how they’re a cult favourite with fashionistas everywhere… I felt like I was the only one thinking “Yeah, but they’re disgusting?!” I mean seriously, $540 for these?

Y-3 got it right I suppose, by creating an entirely new label as opposed to a half-assed attempt at making high-end design accessible. H&M is probably deserving of a mention here too, with their exhaustive list of collaborations with everyone from Karl Lagerfeld to Jimmy Choo.

I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong… it’s not to say that labels shouldn’t experiment and bring others in, but come on, shameless attempts to hook the punters by slapping on two logos and an exorbitant price tag is a bit of a joke. Stick to what you’re good at, that’s what I say.

James

Sharky Major – Stratford July 2009

July 27, 2009

A couple of pics from Saturday. His interview with Grime Forum soon come:

Watch out for Sharky’s new mixtape coming soon!

Kristian.

DoBeDo Exhibition

July 24, 2009

This landed in my inbox today, thought I’d share…

DBD

31 July-6 August 2009 at Cordy House.
Private View: Thursday 30 July 7.00- 10.00pm

Artists:
Beatrice Brown, Chardchakaj Waikawee, Isaac Murai- Rolfe, Jack Day, Jenny Endom, Lewis Wright, Matilda Thulin, Matthias H. Risse, Max Fowler, Naima Karlsson, Phoebe Collings-James, Rena Fujimoto, Tom Ryan, Tyrone Lebon

“With the intention of uniting a new generation of emerging artists, ‘Know Your Place’ is the first in a series of group shows. The exhibition will encompass a variety of media such as photography, installation and painting.

To ‘know one’s place’ is an expression that can be traced back to the Middle Ages, which implies to behave suitably for one’s position, rank, or status. Although roles in social hierarchies may have been eroded over time, the implications of authority remain dominant. Striving to challenge preconceived values and counteracting these roles is an underlying current throughout the works in the exhibition.”

James

Bi-Polar Reviews: Public Enemies II

July 23, 2009

Sequels rarely live up to expectation, with this in mind we present part two.

Did you miss the first half? i suggest you click.

If you are like me, a fan of Michael Mann, while watching Public Enemies you will get the sense that you have seen an awful lot of this before. One man, one goal, one way etc etc. The subject of Mann’s new film is the pursuit of one John Dillinger and his subsequent pursuit of stardom. As Dillinger’s reputation increases, Mr Hoover’s impatience escalates. Cue Melvin Purviss, humourless, calculated and utterly determined to catch his man.

Bale N Depp

The players behind this film attract such great expectations. It’s Bale. It’s Depp. It’s Mann. It is these high expectations of the picture, that ultimately result in it’s undoing.

The film that has been marketed as a biopic, should be presented to the audience as such. Where Public Enemies fails is in its presentation of Dillinger. We are supposed to empathise with the main protagonist. Yet the ambivalent, cool demeanour of Dillinger presented on screen, distances the character from the viewer on an emotional level. If you didn’t know about John Dillinger before entering the cinema, you certainly won’t know a whole lot more walking out. The film feels like a footnote to an intricate story, settling on the cat and mouse game between Dillinger and Purviss.

C n M

This cat and mouse game is however, projected to us in beautiful high definition. We get the crispest hi-res images, coupled with the frightened Parkinson’s camerawork so prevalent in action sequences post-Private Ryan. The in-your-face digital photography, which worked brilliantly with the post-modern Collateral, seems slightly anachronistic in an era of fedora’s and trilby‘s.

Mann dedicates himself to making Dillinger looking more dapper than ever, and that’s the problem. It looks the business, but has no depth, nothing to say, no new shtick. It just feels like a homage to the better films that shaped the genre. The digital Bonnie and Clyde, with digital technology that clearly isn’t there yet.

BnC

The violent aesthetic of Bonnie and Clyde embellished the message it wished to convey, to an ever growing younger audience in search of anti-establishment moralities on the big screen. The movie was a powerful entity, sparking the arrival of New Hollywood cinema. With Public Enemies, you get the feeling that although it is violent in parts, it is more interested in what the violence does to people physically rather than mentally. The realistic nature of what happens when a gun shot makes impact in glorious high definition. Here violence serves as spectacle rather than narrative development.

At the centre of this narrative is the binary opposite approach of which Mann is all too familiar. Mann proposes that Purviss and Dillinger, are two sides of the same character, albeit at opposing ends of the law. In previous Mann offerings, this juxtaposition revelled in the dualism of its characters. Remember that coffee shop climax between De Niro and Pacino in Heat?

paniro

In the case of Public Enemies, we are meant to believe that somehow Dillinger and Purviss are one and the same. Yet despite all the intimate cinematography, do we ever feel that we truly know them? The problem lies in Mann’s back catalogue. The underlying struggle of good and evil that run throughout the filmmakers previous works. While previous efforts effortlessly confront this theme, Public Enemies highlights the similarities between the two protagonists – yet rarely demonstrates them.

It’s not Heat, it’s not trying to be Heat…but maybe it should’ve.

Dré

Emek: The Thinking Man’s Poster Artist

July 23, 2009

Emek 1

What do the Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Pearl Jam and Queens of the Stone Age have in common? Well yes, obviously they’re all immensely popular bands, but they’ve also all had poster artwork done by Emek Golan.

Emek 2

Born in Israel in 1970, Emek was raised in a family of five artists, exposing him to artistic creativity at an early age. He went on to study art at California State University, and began his work with alternative rock bands in the early 1990’s, producing iconic pieces for the likes of Tool, Marilyn Manson and The Decemberists.

Emek 3

Emek’s oeuvre is known for being incredibly intricate and detailed; utilising pop culture imagery to convey a very subtle sense of political commentary, he manages to turn something as simple as a promotional poster into a comment on contemporary society. In 2006 The Oregonian dubbed Emek ‘the savior of rock-and-roll. Not the music, but the art” – it is easy to see why Emek’s culturally rich works have garnered such a following.

View his work online here.

James

Fusion Choir

July 22, 2009

These photos are taken from a shoot I did on behalf of Listed Magazine last month. One of the magazines’ advertisers, Savannah, is a music teacher and runs a small group called the Fusion Choir that she wanted to publicise. The group meets fortnightly at St Andrews Church and is open to all ages. Although the piece required only three pictures, I snapped a good 50-60 just because it was refreshing to see people singing together purely for pleasure, and I wanted to capture that.

Kristian

The ‘Lisa Shaw Appreciation’ Post

July 18, 2009

Lisa Shaw

A few years back I downloaded a house mix from an urban music forum that I posted on. Having accidentally deleted it and then worked like a devil to try and get it back, it remains one of the nicest house mixes I’ve ever heard; soft, sexy and perfect for the summer or a post-night out chill session. Download it here to see what I’m talking about (right-click, save as):

Mok – ‘These Things Between Us’ MP3

1. Afro-mystik – Rythym Is? (Marques Deep Remix)
2. Lisa Shaw – Always (Lovetronic Vocal)
3. Soul Khula – Musication (The Beard Mix)
4. Andy Caldwell – All I Need (CJ One Remix)
5. Nymphonix – Arms Around You (Andy Caldwell Vox)
6. Soulstice – Fall Into You (Miguel Migs Petalpusher Vocal)
7. Lisha – That’s Why I’m Here (Migs Deluxe Soul vocal)
8. Andy Caldwell – Brand New Day (Ronan’s Electro Kinky Dub)
9. Les Schmitz & Oliver Schmitz feat. Rookstar – Lets Bring It Back (3PM Mix)
10. Fred Everything feat Roy Davis Jr. – Next To Me (Vocal Dub)
11. Oliver Desmet & Chuck Diesel feat. Latrice Barnett – For You
12. Amma – Was It Real? (Andy Caldwell Mix)
13. Andy Caldwell & Jay J feat. Latrice – Give A Little (Andy’s Original Dose)
14. Mei Lwun feat. Gina Rene – Too Late (Original Mix)
15. The Beard feat. Amma – Keep Hoping (Andy Caldwell Remix)

The second track on the mix is by an artist called Lisa Shaw, and that song, Always (Lovetronic Vocal) is what put me on to her as a singer.

This song typifies a beautiful area of house music, one that I have always found completely irresistible. Her voice is wonderfully soft; captivating in its effortless style and elegance. In a time where ‘urban’ music in the mainstream consists mainly of sparse 808 beats, dance routines and young boys and girls singing in Auto-Tuned uniformity, music such as Shaw’s represents the antithesis; grown-up vibes with genuine sex appeal.

For those with Spotify, you can find her 2009 album ‘Free’ here; well worth a listen if this is your thing.

James