I've never been much of a print man. Block colour and simplicity tends to be what I'm drawn to, hence a love of Jil Sander and Uniqlo. As this year moves on though, I'm more and more interested in print with historical value and charm. From the fun pizazz of the tropical images by Versace for H&M collaboration to paisley prints seen all over the catwalk (championed by J.W.Anderson), I think this Autumn may be the time for me to bust out a busy design. I already own two plaid suits and have a floral shirt from Ted Baker, but I think I may need to add something else this season. To help me hone my ideas, I've pulled together my favourite images from the past few months.
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
So often in photoshoots with Daniel, we practice the shot on each other before commencing. I have folders and folders full of photographs of him and rarely have the time to edit or even pull them out. This afternoon I decided to clear out my hard-drive and came across some nice shots. The one above is an outtake from our shoot with Antonio Guerra in London this Spring - as I seem to have developed a new obsession with Gif images (perhaps a revival of the MySpace years), I decided to put this selection together.
Below is the final image which is now displayed in my first exhibition in Paris at Jim Haynes. Photos from this coming soon...
Visiting Jim Haynes is always a pleasure. Every time I go, I'm bound to meet an interesting new guest staying with him, have some of the best coffee in Paris and get caught up in an engaging conversation of some sort. Sometimes you just need a base to come back to, realign and get your head straight. For me, Jim's place is neutral ground.
Last week after setting up my exhibition 'Parallel People', I took a break to rummage around his bookshelves that are filled with rows and rows of hardback art books and old magazines. If you know me, you'll know this is my idea of heaven. I came across an anniversary issue of Esquire magazine from December 1983 which was so thick it was almost more of a catalogue than a magazine. Normally I'd consider myself more of a GQ man to be honest. My experience with Esquire is limited but whenever picking one up I always feel very aware that they're targeting older business men probably vote Republican in the US and have more money than style. Feel free to call me out, as I've said my experience with it is limited.
This issue was a far cry from that. There's the old joke that men would read Playboy for the articles in the 1960s and 1970s - if this is true, then Esquire would've been a real contender. Opening the magazine filled with articles from the previous 20 years, the list of contributors was astounding (hello Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer!). I kept flipping and quickly realised I'd been sitting devouring the pages for over an hour. This issue was FULL of incredible journalism. A fascinating piece on the work of Alfred Kinsey, a reflective feature on Malcolm X and a biographical article about Tennessee Williams were all included. There was also a distinct lack of fashion as we know it today - it was all about journalism, less about photography. If people were this engaged on an average level for a simple magazine, perhaps it does show a dumbing down of culture today?
My secondary interest in vintage publications has got to be the old advertisements. My background in marketing means communications of most forms interest me, but seeing the obscure and often complex messages in old magazine adverts is fascinating. One for English Leather Musk (the name is a little odd in itself) describes the wearer as being a shy/confident man who let's his fragrance speak for him. Hmm. I wonder how many people actually read the text from beginning to end.
The second ad was slightly more poignant given that Steve Jobs has just passed. I remember the old Apple computers with black screens and white text from primary school and this model is not far off. What's most interesting is the tagline: "Soon there'll be two kinds of people. Those who use computers and those who use Apples". Not a far cry from the "I'm a Mac" campaign.
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Ever since learning the ropes of the dark room I've had a heightened desire and appreciation of film photography. Although digital is fast, convenient and today's SLR quality is spectacular, there really is no substitute for the grain, texture & potential error in film. Since my studies, I've not really been able to get my hands on film other than my polaroid and some 35mm snaps, but it's always something I've spoken about picking back up. As the majority of work I've done in the past few years has been street photography, film hasn't factored in. Daniel and I always discussed how great it would be to throw some film into the mix but what with time and cost issues, it's still never transpired.
This month I met my desires face on as this photographer was shooting street style in Jardin de Tuileries. I stood back for a minute and observed. Although the process was slightly slower, he worked pretty swiftly - so much so that he left before I could get his card. If anyone knows what blog he runs or where to view his work I'd love to know.
Saturday, 22 October 2011
My desire for a new backpack is growing on a daily basis - obviously it's time to invest. I've narrowed it down to five of my favourites, mostly based on a colour that will coordinate easily and aesthetics that are both practical and smart.
I can't resist a strong olive green colour and this utility pack by Inventory has it spot on. A friend ordered this from the Canadian mens brand last month and seeing it in person really makes the difference. It's built to last.
I've been a fan of Ally Capellino for about a year, since seeing her samples at Capsule in Paris during fashion week. The chocolate brown colour is rare as is the mix of canvas/cotton/leather.
Possibly the least practical of them all due to the double buckle fold-over top. It's also one of my favourite styles as it's made with a waxed cotton that has been washed & weathered perfectly.
I tend to be drawn to minimal designs and many of the other bags have just a few more pockets or ties than I would prefer. I don't love the colour, but I do love the singular fastening. Simple and chic.
Filson is all about authenticity, durability and practicality. I can't argue with that and think the size and shape would be perfect for my camera equipment.
Friday, 21 October 2011
Running with the secondary theme of the season, ornithology (N.B. Manish Arora, Ingrid Vlasov), Steffie Christiaens created a collection of hidden depths and powerful imagery. Feathers featured repetitively in skirts and dresses but differing from the other designers, beauty and femininity is juxtaposed with futuristic shapes. Perspex glasses, blue lips and oversized metal jewellery transformed the Christiaens girl into a mystical alien from my private directors cut of Space Odyssey 2001.
After reading a few bloggers comment on this collection, it seems the overriding image that remains is a likeness to the style Lady Gaga. For me, I feel the collection is far more subtle and elegant than this association emplies. Once you look past the dramatic layers of mesh and metal, which in itself is intriguing, the more delicate elements can be seen.
The stalactite-esque white mini-dress manages to bring an 'I've just stepped out of a bubble bath' innovation and balances simplicity with intricacy perfectly. Although it stands apart from the rest of the collection, the 1950s inspired bikini in mustard yellow is a real highlight, wrapped across the chocolate skin of the model like silk. My favourite dress of the collection has to be the other white minidress, made with a raw, stiff, iridescent fabric which created swirls I can only liken to the eye of a hurricane.
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
After a coffee and catch up with fellow Glaswegian-in-Paris Kemi, we hit the photobooth. As you can't get the full luminosity of her outfit I also took her photograph for Les Garçons de Glasgow. You can see it here.
Kemi is a stylist and blogger of The Colour Kid, check it out here.
Friday, 14 October 2011
Last June, Les Garçons de Glasgow was nominated at the Scottish Fashion Awards against some pretty stiff competition. In spite of the obvious rivalry that could occur, everyone in our category was wonderful. From Philip Colbert (Rodnik Band) to Marc Psarolis (Duchamp), the post-awards dinner table was filled with compliments and supportive words, but noone more supportive than Canadian consultant Gayle McInnes.
Within our evening long chat, I got talking with her guest, illustrator Danielle Meder from Final Fashion. Danielle took it upon herself to up sticks, abandoning her large studio in Toronto and move to London this summer - a brave feat by any measure. After spotting a tweet about her attendance at #PFW this season, we arranged to meet.
Palais de Tokyo was top of my list for taking Danielle. Not only does it have one of the most comprehensive art book and magazine collections in town, but nothing can beat a bit of photobooth fun for a so-called first date - the results are above. From there, we headed to Balmain to document style. Of course, this meant very different things for us both. I found it fascinating to watch Danielle create her illustrations, working in such stark contrast to me. At the shows its all about quantity of photos - getting as many shots as possible. While I was running around going crazy, she became the ultimate voyeur. Sitting in a corner with watercolours, absorbing the style as it wondered past - a far less stressful way to document that's for sure.
What ensued over the next few days was the perfect fashion week accompaniment - from drinks at the Mykita 8 Party to the Amaya Arzuaga runway show. With her birthday coming smack bang in the middle of fashion week, it was a great way to celebrate in style.
To see the illustrations Danielle created at the Amaya Arzuaga show, click here.
Thursday, 13 October 2011
In a season where some of the major fashion houses have looked underwater for inspiration (notably McQueen, Chanel & Givenchy), the shows which stood out for me were the ones which looked to the sky. Manish Arora heavily referenced ornithology and as the week moved forward this reference could also be seen at Ingrid Vlasov.
At Vlasov the theme was incorporated with a little more finesse but a blatant statement was again being made. Used graphically on skirts, as corsage-like emblems on sleeves and luxuriously with feather covered skirts - clearly birds are the animal of the moment. Top marks for repetition of a top-hatted peacock on the pencil skirt which is pop-art genius; I'd be interested in the same pattern on a shirt and would perhaps wear this with a bird broach (only it this too had a top hat, of course).
In essence, Ingrid was channelling sleek simplicity and elegance. If removing the birds in their entirety, what you'd have is a very wearable number of dresses with clear cuts and accents including exposed zips and narrow belts. Lesson learned here: in tough economic times, cater to your core customer group. This sounds like a criticism which it certainly isn't. Other than the inclusion of some bulky baroque sunglasses which I don't see being picked up by many a lady-what-lunches, there were very few pieces which erred on the side of 'filler'. The most adventurous look for me was the blazer and pant combo, which just seemed to hit the androgynous nail right on the masculine head.
When reflecting on the prints, it should be noted the inclusion of baroque style - no matter how simplified it's been made. If you're afraid of the big bad Versace wolf, with it's gold medusa heads and stark religious iconography, but don't want to be left behind the fash-pack then this is the collection for you.
Award for least appropriate accessory has to go to the oversized bowling bag which seemed to have absolutely no reflection in the rest of the collection other than perhaps being used by a bird-vet (there must be a more professional word than this?). Having said that, I absolutely loved it and pulled my old one out of storage as soon as I got home. That retro 70s hold-all is making a comeback.
The show itself was very beautiful. With classical music floating into Le Grand Hotel on rue Scribe, the audience sat in the central hall surrounds a large square centre. As a photographer, it is perfection. A long enough walk to capture all the looks and 3 turns on the catwalk meaning varying angles is easy to get. I left a happy boy as I got my shots and some inspiration to boot...or should that be bag?