Tag Archives: projects/exhibitions

So as it turns out, there’s more to Nike than trainers

Whilst out and about with the boyfriend t’other day, he started harping on about this Nike shop he wanted to visit.  I was reluctant, seeing as these visits normally see me slouched, bored on a neon pouf (it’s always a neon pouf) waiting for him to decide over light or dark blue dunks. However this one turned out to actually be pretty interesting, so much so that I decided to make it into a post.

So nestled under a railway bridge in the heart of uber cool Shoreditch is the 1948 Nike store, or retail space, if you will. It’s a shop selling the latest Nike collaborations and limited editions, but it’s also a gallery, event space and sports club (it has its own running club that convenes here weekly).

So while said boyfriend was drooling over some brightly coloured sportswear, I was checking out the ‘space’ itself.

The industrial interior is a fusion of bare brick and new corrugated metallic sheets, giving the place that whole urban feel, and there are floor to ceiling digital screens showing a film called ‘Live for London’ by up and coming film maker Tyrone Lebon (the very same cool dude that did the Topshop Trends film.)

That fantastic artwork is the produce of genius graffiti duo BestEver. And you may have noticed there’s a bit of a theme going on… well, this was around the time Wimbledon was on, hence… tennis. I learnt though, that the aesthetics of the place will constantly be changing to reflect various sporting events. The screens too, will also show things like football matches.

Other features include some funky bleachers and also a mezzanine area with magazines (including LOVE) to read, ipads on which to check out the 1948 Nike app and a meeting table to, er, hold meetings at… No, people do genuinely hold meetings here. You’re actually actively encouraged to come up to this bit and chill out. It’s great! We’ve come a long way since the days of being barked at in newsagents for flicking through the magazines…

Also check out John McEnroe’s and Maria Sharapova’s ‘canned air’, as per the old ad.

All in all, a great little place. Fun, even if you’re not a hardcore urbanite, like me.

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Chanel Mobile Art

Once upon a time, in 2007, Karl Lagerfeld commissioned a Chanel exhibition centred around that bag. The exhibition proved the iconic ‘2.55’ quilted Chanel bag to not only be a hit with fashionistas and celebrities, but apparently artists too.  20 of them – international, contemporary artists that is – were so inspired by the bag that they were selected to have their unique visions showcased in the exhibition. Now, this wasn’t just any old exhibition, it was one that managed to be displayed in the same exhibition space no matter what country it was in… What? Is this a  some kind of riddle or some wild feat of Derren Brown?  Oh no, it is simply a giant collapsible container, being used as an exhibition space. And by collapsible container, I mean, after each stint in a country it is literally dismantled and shipped to it’s next port of call.

Iraqi born British architect, Zaha Hadid is the brains behind this futuristic and spaceship-like creation. What I love most about the project is not the container itself, nor the Chanel exhibition inside it (although that does sound amazing), but the fact that the exhibition and its container are not mutually exclusive, rather the two together are a work of art.

Above pictures show some of the pieces inside the Chanel exhibition

It has toured the globe for 4 years as one giant metaphor for the way fashion spreads throughout the world, and after visiting Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York, the Contemporary Art Container has come to rest in Paris outside the doors of the the Arab World Institute. Karl has kindly donated the container to the institute who have now inaugurated a new exhibition – ‘Une Architecture’ that celebrates the work of its designer, Zaha, through a series of models, prototypes, sculptures, paintings and projections. The container will be in Paris until October 30th this year.

Karl and Zaha at the launch of the Chanel exhibition

‘Washed Up’ at Selfridges

So, as many of you will already know, Selfridges has recently partnered with several environmental and conservation groups and launched ‘Project Ocean’, a campaign to celebrate and raise awareness of the endangered oceans. ‘Washed Up’, as part of the project, is an installation exhibition featuring ocean-inspired garments and accessories, by a range of designers. For those of you who haven’t yet had the chance to visit, I will tell you about it, because it’s just brillo pads. (Who doesn’t like fashion for a good cause?!)

The ‘Wonder Room’, (a space in the store that’s dedicated specifically to luxury items) has been transformed into a surreal (and actually slightly haunting) beach scene, complete with a weathered wooden boardwalk and a scattering of dead, bleached coral, with the displays of encased mannequins dotted along the side.

According to Judith Clark, the curator, ‘the objects in the exhibition have been selected to reflect the changing nature of the ocean’s inspiring depths.’

Each section shows creations inspired by different aspects of the sea. The photograph below shows the display of ‘seaside dresses’ from the late 1800s.

Highlights of the exhibition are pieces from Alexander McQueen’s Atlantis collection, inspired by the beautiful mythology of Plato’s narrative….

Alexander McQueen: Atlantis

…as well as Gareth Pugh’s Fishscale Dress (the very one that Beyonce wore in her recent Run The World video)…

…and Hussein Chalayan’s S/S07 ‘Bubble Dress’ and ‘Airbourne LED Dress’ (unfortunately the photo doesn’t really do this one justice, as the dress actually glows with multicoloured lights)

Other notable creations included the array of hats… It was great to be able to see the infamous Philip Treacy lobster hat up close and personal (actually lent by Gaga herself to Selfridges). Also a big fan of Naomi Filmer’s crystal swimming cap.

Even for those that aren’t big on the whole fashion thing, this is a great exhibition: so insightful and thoroughly interesting. And apart from anything else, it’s free!

There are also various other Project Ocean-related activities throughout the store. A cinema room shows a short film on the horrors of shark fishing but there is also a whale rodeo (yes, really) to lighten the mood a bit.

You can donate to Project Ocean via various mediums, including buying from the slogan tees, bags and accessories collection.

Milia M: Winter 2011 Trunk Show

Last week I went along to up and coming designer, Milia‘s trunk show, held at a la mode boutique just off Sloane Square. While she already has stockists across several other countries, this was her first trunk show in London, and showcased her A/W 2011 collection, which will now be stocked permanently in a la mode.

I often find that new designers who flourish in summer with colourful collections full of diaphanous fabrics and unusual shapes, lose a bit of that panache, when they’re not sure how to see it through to winter. As a result, their winter collections end up being a bit boring. However, this is not the case with Milia, whose beautiful collection has all the obligatory winter black pieces, but is also peppered with deep hues of purple and blue, gold and emerald.

What I loved the most about this collection was the inspiration behind it. Milia told me that it reflects the nightscape of bustling cities, specifically Asian capitals like Hong Kong and Tokyo, where amidst the darkness, glimmers of neon light catch your eye. It is the magic of this event that Milia has tried to evoke within the collection. If you look carefully you can see every now and then some neon orange stitching which rather than look garish (as it might sound) actually really compliments the garment and turns it into something completely unique.

Some of the other items I loved for their originality. For instance, the wool and cashmere pleated, billowing maxi dresses (seen below, belted), the cropped pink silk tank top and the gold/khaki halter neck midi.

The darker items were no less beautiful or intriguing. The snake-skin biker jacket and the silver-sequined and leather pieces served to funk and toughen up the collection.

Milia herself, standing next to her favourite piece in the collection

‘Inspiration Dior’ – exhibition at Moscow’s Pushkin Museum

It’s often a wonder where the great fashion designers of past and present get their ideas, but Moscow’s famous Pushkin Museum currently holds all the answers. Its latest exhibition, ‘Inspiration Dior’, running until 24th July this year, is centred around what inspired Chrisitan Dior’s designs. It tells how he was heavily influenced by the work of various artists and showcases the creations that directly reference paintings by Cezanne, Picasso and other artistic greats. Visitors are given 2 for 1 experience – an art and fashion exhibition in one. 60 pieces of artwork have been borrowed from some of the most established galleries in the world and sit alongside 120 of Dior’s couture dresses.

So as this is Christian Dior, and not a sixth form college A Level art exhibition, it is a hugely opulent affair with podiums, show windows and video projections.

Just a shame this is in Moscow and not London, sigh.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Alexander Wang’s shop.

Oh what’s this? Another ultra modern / abstract art gallery in the middle of New York? No it’s only Alexander Wang’s bloody flagship store! Who even cares about his clothes any more when he does shops like this!

No, I do still care about his clothes.

There hasn’t been that much that’s jumped out at me from the New York shows, so instead I thought I’d blog about something that really has caught my eye…  LOOK AT IT.

Oh what's that? Just a FOX FUR HAMMOCK in the centre of the store (actually for customers to make use of)

And that? Oh just a big cage (for special installations / product collaborations)

I am total a sucker for this kind of thing, I love anything experiential, but shops have got to be my favourite because imagine something as banal as a shop, which has, for so long, existed purely for practical reasons. Whether it sells luxury goods or groceries, a shop is still just a place that houses the goods people want / need to buy. It has always been the items that are important, the importance of the building in which they sit, extends merely to the fact that it provides a convenient space for them to be displayed / sheltered / kept safe. For shop interiors to now have as much allure and excitement as the clothes themselves I think is brilliant! It makes shopping that much more exciting! I’m hoping in the future more high street stores will cotton on to this, imagine how much more amazing (if it’s possible) the Topshop flagship store could be with a theme or with an interactive element…

British Designers @ FashionCapital Boutique


A few posts ago I mentioned Bath’s plans to open a boutique that will reveal emerging fashion talent. Well, The British Designer’s@FashionCapital  boutique is now open and ready for business! I went along to the launch the other week and I can safely say it is a right hip little joint.

In keeping with the rustic aesthetic of Bath, the boutique is like a tranquil sanctuary of white washed walls, wooden beamed ceilings and the occasional bit of bare Cotswold stone. Kevin McCloud would be foaming at the mouth. The clean and minimal layout means there are only a few designers with a select few of their items showcased at one time, but this makes the place fresh and super stylish, and it achieves this feeling without being austere like some of the big time billies of Sloan Street. Although I only visited for the launch, I don’t think there’s any worry that this could be the kinda place where you’d feel awkward about the deafening sound of your heels on the polished floor … or that the shop assistant would cast you out, leaving you with no option but to cry to Richard Gere about it until he has a word…  Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, there’s no pretention here.

And as for the clothes – despite the fact that LFW designers are in one room whilst recent fashion grads and up and coming designers are in the other, unless you know the labels it’s actually quite hard  telling which is which – such is the quality of the grads’ work. The dresses by Vjera Vilicnik were beautiful and delicious! As in, I literally wanted to eat the colourful and intricately embroidered beading on an epaulette of one of her dresses. Hardly surprising when her objective is to produce ‘hand crafted, beautifully investigated and soul stitched’ pieces. Soul Stitched. Gosh.

Over in the corner were some striking and vibrant tribal looking dresses courtesy of &Co of Knock On The Door – an organisation which sources new designers and helps them create and showcase their pieces ethically, as founder, Charlotte Bramford explained to me.

Even for those that aren’t fussed about ethical produce (but pretend they are), something to bear in mind, is that the fabrics used for &Co’s dresses have been hand dyed by African community enterprises and therefore the patterns and colours vary from one dress to another – so how’s that for exclusivity? There’ll certainly be no embarrassing same dress sagas on the red carpet with &Co, we can be sure of that. Check out Knock On The Door here to be up on the latest emerging designers or to kick start your designing career!

Charlotte with the Knock on the Door collection – modelling one of the &Co dresses.

Knock on the Door Designer – Camilla Kennedy inbetween PPQ and Felder Felder