Saturday 11 April 2009

Sat 11th April: Super Nova

Last night I ran down to the Southbank to catch thecocknbullkid perform at the free afterparty for the Ether Peaches night. She rocked the ballroom of the The Royal Festival Hall to an audience of the city's jazzieslty coiffed and finest attired Circus tranny set. But she took to the stage in an outfit that showed them all up and carried the gauntlet of Peaches costume changes from the previous performance. The seamstress behind both act's stage outfits is the one and only Nova Dando. She really is a Super Duper Nova, making specialist pieces for many musicians alongside her own womenswear line, styling work and art direction. So I was thrilled when she showed me this on her camera phone! Last week she called in some of my archive pieces for the new La Roux video. Here you can see that she used my necklaces to full effect integrating the clothes to the set, the waistband on the chair and the cummerbund pinned deftly to Elly's t-shirt (teamed with a Fleet Ilya belt). You can also see some green in the background which is a giveaway of what is to come..............the set for the video was designed by Alun Davies and is apparently going to go under some lengthy ingenious CG..............can't wait to see the final edit!!!!

Friday 10 April 2009

Friday 10th April: Profile: Sophie Gittins Part 2

Do you collect footwear paraphernalia? (vintage lasts etc?)

I have lots of vintage lasts (including one that has been turned into a clock), shoe horns and an old fashioned glass shoe repair sign. It’s nice to be surrounded with objects like that to act as a reminder that it’s an old-fashioned craft.

Who would be your dream client?

I would love to design for Thandie Newton as she doesn’t confine herself to one ‘look’ and isn’t afraid to experiment.

Do you collaborate with other designers?

I recently did some shoes for New Gen designer Hannah Marshall which was exciting. I also briefly dabbled with silversmithing when I was younger so in the future would love to work with a jewellery designer to come up with some interesting buckles and fastenings.

In your opinion who is doing the best footwear right now? (high end or high street?)

I think the craft that is going into high end footwear now is leaving the high street behind to some degree. The construction techniques which are being applied are failing to be copied successfully in detail to a high street shoe, which is a good thing for the Industry. In terms of designers, I love Pierre Hardy as every season he instills his shoes with originality and wit.

Thanks to Sophie for taking part in this interview and sending such lovely photos.............who needs theselby?!!!
For more information go to :

Friday 10th April: Profile: Sophie Gittins

What were your favourite pair of shoes when you were a child?

Funnily enough my favourite shoes weren’t actually my own - I endlessly coveted my mum’s wedding shoes which were buttersoft pale cream/nude leather with plaited straps from Bally. She gave them to me as soon as I could fit into them and I save them for special occasions.

Are you are footwear fetishist like Imelda Marcus? (ie. do you have a large collection of your own?)

Not as much as people would probably expect. I have some beautiful shoes that I love but I don’t buy many pairs any more, I have to really want a pair and it has to coincide with an event so I can justify it to myself!

What is your favourite shoe design of all time?

There’s a shoe by Andre Perugia which was inspired by Georges Braque which takes the shape of a fish – it’s such a fantastic style even though it was designed in the 30s it still looks avant garde today. (I’ve attached a photo – he’s a genius!)

How do you design? Do you sketch first or play around with materials?

I tend to do a mixture of both – I’ve always sketched first but you can come up with more interesting shapes, folds and details when working with materials that it’s too hard to visualize when sketching.

Friday 10th April: Good Foot Friday

As the deadline for "Fashion Fringe" applications is looming (May 1st) I wanted to just announce the 1st year of a new Accessories section to the award, supported by Jimmy Choo's Tamara Mellon. The scheme set up by Colin McDowell is one of Britain's initiatives to find and fund new fashion design talent. Last year was the launch of the special shoe section to the sponsorship program. One of the finalists has just shown her 1st collection at fashion week and her name is being touted around the industry as the "one to watch". So I have followed in just those very foot steps and hunted down Sophie Gittins.

Having graduated from Cordwainers with 1st class honours and experience at Chloe, Sophie was shortlisted for the Fashion Fringe award and hyped by Vogue. Since this time she has put together her debut collection and collaborated with Hannah Marshall for her A/W show (which you can see in this snap from the factory).
The other 2 images are from Sophie's mainline of architecually accented feminine heels inspired by "Weiner Werkstatte". This also flows through in graphic print and even the name of each style taken from a different designer of the original movement. Each shoe is also embossed with a bumblebee logo chosen by Sophie as an emblem of achieving the all of us new designers embarking on entering the luxury market at a time when it is classed a discretionary purchase! But it looks like Sophie is on exactly the right path so this motto will no doubt ring true in time...................

I have asked her a few questions so these will follow in a couple more posts...............

Thursday 9 April 2009

Thurs 9th April: They're Nice

One of my favourite blogs (and I'm not alone!) comes out of the creative hub of HudsonBec who are a prolific duo that have instigated up a number of obscenely successful projects. Like two circus clowns juggling plates on sticks, these guys run an art direction studio, curate exhibitions, run workshops, videocasts, produce prints & publications and have an online shop with commissioned merchandise. Not content with this slasher balancing act, they earnestly set up "ifyoucould" - a platform for designers to come together and collaborate. Here I have opened a couple of pages of the new diary from the project, which features artwork by a different illustrator on each page. As usual, the visual concept is to answer the question "if you could ....." with the theme of this latest offering being " anything tomorrow, what would it be?"
Well if I had to answer that question, I would like to invest £10 on the first hardcopy version of their blog, which they have put together to feature highlights from their past posts with additional in-depth interviews and articles. To accompany the book launch this week, the blog has been redesigned to house the archive. Here are Alex and Will at their Redchurch Street headquarters. I always plague people to send me an image of their workspace as an insight into their world, and unsurprisingly most practitioners are not always forthcoming! But luckily this conscientious couple answered my request so you can all see who the busy bees are behind the enterprise. Its very cute that their poster says "We've Been Good" .............. that's quite evident but they are probably too busy to see the unconscious irony of the words they chose to pin up!

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Weds 8th April: Piece of Pocket

The auction took place last night raising the bar to 9k which will be betted against when it travels to NYC for a 2nd bid in the Summer.................good going for the nominated charities!

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Tues 7th April: BARBIE @ DSM

For anyone that didn't go ( to the preview of Mattell's Barbie madness at Dover Street last is a little snapshot of the installation by Hillman Studio..............
After the Marque quilt auction, I headed to the Uniqlo event at Somerset House (thanks to Odd design for the invite) and literally 80% of the London fashionistas there, were carrying a Barbie Doll goody-bag...............I think they should set up an website for them to do swaps............Im sure not everyone was content with the distribution of thier designated design..............?

Barbie’s 50th anniversary celebrations continue with the opening of a dedicated space in Dover Street Market curated by Henry Holland. Adjacent to the main storefront and visible through the windows, a play on proportion sees an oversize sculpture of Barbie applying her lipstick, seemingly coming out of the floor, reduce the enclosed adult Barbie merchandise to appear miniature. It is only upon entering the space, you realise the true dimensions. Figurative sculptor Martin Smeaton is working as part of the team from Andy Hillman Studio to design and bring the window element to life.

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” Coco Chanel, Barbie by Assouline

Tues: 7th April: In Vogue!

Got home last night to the new Vogue on my doorstep complete with my patch in the news section...........score! Shame the picture editor didn't credit it but heh, im not complaining, the colours have reproduced so can even see that its fluorescent which usually gets totally lost in print..........yeah! Lets hope the auction goes well tonight...........

Monday 6 April 2009

Mon 6th April: Piece Of Mind

Tomorrow is the auction for the "Piece of Mind" quilt project which I first blogged about in December when I made my section for the assembly. Last week I was asked about why i did it for I wish I had looked up my original post and used that, as it is far more articulate than what I actually came up with for the interview question! Since I was initially asked to contribute, a whole hearty 85 other artists have supplied a square so i can't wait till tomorrow to see how it has all been sewn together!

To learn more about the event, here is my blog post from Dec 04 (and my Dazeddigi entry with accompanying image from the site).

I have been able to put my patchwork penchant to perfect use with a new charity project for Shelter, UK and Bowery Mission, NY. Graphic design mavericks Marque have requested cooperation from international creatives to come up with a square to contribute to a complete work of art. Quilts assembled from each "piece of mind" will be exhibited and then auctioned with the profits going directly to the cities respective charities tackling homelessness. What a fantastic idea, to get the creative community collaborating by hand-making an artwork. To put love into each piece and extend this positive energy by financing solving a global epidemic that we are each powerless to change on a personal level. I'm so chuffed to have been asked to get involved. Here is my square which was painstakingly sewn and painted by my latest placement student Laura Gostling who has finally finished her 9 weeks. Laura, you have been an absolute star and will be sadly missed!

Dazed Digital ask some of the designers and artists involved in the project "What they contributed to the quilt and why?"

Fred Butler
'A 3-Dimensional patchwork made of 16 tiny squares that are joined by flaps. It is a black satin base with multicolour and iridescent painted sections. Its a cheery fun thing, like all my work. I walk past the same homeless man every morning on route to my studio. It depresses the hell out of me. I can't believe he gets through each winter night, living open to the elements. That's just London, New York has a much harsher climate (where the Bowery mission is based). f I can put positive energy into making something for this project, hopefully it will transmit that vibe out to the greater unconscious. (I sound like a hippy here but heh, patchwork blankets are quite hippy so please let me off!)

Private View and Auction of
A Little Piece of Mind

A Little Piece of Mind
Tuesday 7th April 2009
Auction at 8pm

Show open to public
10—15th April 2009

Londonewcastle Project Space
28 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP

404Design / Airside / Alexia Cox / Alice Rebecca Potter / Amy Butler / Westminster Fibers / Andrea Kornhes / BCMH / Begg / Bettina von Kameke / Boudicca / C.P. Company / Caroline Broadhead / Cath Kidston / Christian Bradley West / Daisy de Villeneuve / Damien Poulain / Davy Jones / Eley Kishimoto / Elton & Jacobsen / Elvis Robertson / Frauke Stegmann / Fred Butler / Gavin Turk / Giles Deacon / Graeme Black / Hector Pottie / Homework / Hussein Chalayan / IIona Marx / Janine Trott / Jean Paul Gaultier / Jo Wood / Jonathan Ellery / Jose Manuel Hortelano / Kaffe Fassett / Westminster Fibers / Kate Moss / Katey Jean-Harvey / Kinder Aggugini / Lenard Smith / Liberty / Lisa Smith / Lizzie Finn / Luella / Marc Jacobs / Marcel Zyskind / Melissa Price / MTWTF / Myla / Natasha Marshall / OK-RM / Oliver Spencer / Orla Kiely / Paul Smith / Peter Stitson / Poppy de Villeneuve / PPQ / Pringle / Rachel Speed / Rankin / Remi/Rough / Richard Nicoll / Richard Shed / RMJM / Ross Phillips / Rupert Sanderson / Russell Bell / Sarah Blick / Sibylle Stoeckli / Silberfischer / Six Eight Seven Six / Slow and Steady Wins the Race / Sophia Kokosalaki / Squint / Stella McCartney / Stephen Jones / Stone Island / Swarovski / Temperley / Timothy Everest / Tom Dixon / Topshop / Troika / Urban Outfitters / Value and Service / Village Green / Vivienne Westwood

Here is my square as modelled by Arhcie the Whippet when he was in residency at our studio. Photo Chloe Bell

Sunday 5 April 2009

Sun 5th April: Sunday Silliness

Thanks to Petra Stores for reminding me how mind-blowingly joyful this video is with costumes by Bryony Birkbeck (who also waves the Brighton graduate flag). Its from 2007 and looks as fresh as the blossom on the Spring tree outside my window today..........ENJOY!