Saturday 16 July 2011

Sat 16th July: London’s New Fashion District Destination - Dalston (originally written for The Metro)

My first experience of Dalston was exactly 10 years ago during an internship at Dazed & Confused magazine. I was sent off on a 243 bus to assist Peter Jensen and the office blocks of Old Street soon morphed into the untouched factory buildings of East London. I was innocently fascinated with the colourful hub-ub of the multicultural mix of this market district. Over the last decade every London creative has taken this route and many settled in the enclave initially founded by a few fashion designers. Fine artists, graphic designers and photographers are adopting any garage space up for grabs whilst stylists are buying houses for live/work set-ups. Kingsland High Street is now a living and breathing extension of the catwalk with the city’s fashion movers and shakers going about their daily routine. In amongst the co-exisiting businesses of Cockney cobblers and Jamaican Jerk chicken shops are London’s tastemakers soaking up inspiration for next season’s trends.
With the influx of creatives assimilating in to the local community, cafes and galleries are cropping up in unassuming nooks and crannies. The first definitive destination on the map was Dalston Superstore, which has just celebrated its 2nd birthday. The airy New York style venue that houses an eatery / discothèque and exhibition space has proven so popular that its original chef has set up her own deli down the road “A Little Of What You Fancy”. Elaine’s fan base and following found her opening night to be a better attended event than some of the most memorable fashion week parties. A cross spectrum of faces representing who’s-who from the industry, turned out in support – which leads me to the first of five recommendations from Dalston based designers. New Generation / Fashion East recipient Simone Rocha suggests the scrambled eggs and roast tomatoes. Meanwhile Lyall Hakaraia (couture designer to celebrities such as Madonna and Cindy Crawford) muses:

“My top choice on the menu is the flourless chocolate cake. My daughter and I always fight for the last mouthful (I always end up winning). Yum!”

However, in addition to patronising new enterprises, the network of creatives are equally loyal to the Turkish restaurants established in the area. Nearly all the names I interviewed noted their favourite sweet and savoury spots including Creative Director of Halston, Marios Shcwab:
“Turga Baklava for chocolate baklava, Mangal on Arcola Street for Aubergine salad”

Whilst Simon Costin (Set Designer and curator of The British Museum of Folklore ) opts for:
“UMUT 2000 Ocaksasi restaurant, for onions stewed in pomegranate juice”

Fashion designer Peter Jensen has a great tip for his favourite Turkish delicacy:
“I call it the one pound sandwich because that is how much it cost when we moved here 10 years ago. Its from Mangal on Stoke Newington High Street, I think it now costs £1.30. They also make the best chicken soup”

The Mangal on Arcola Street made famous by Gilbert & George’s lunchtime pilgrimages from Spitalfieds was the restaurant adjacent to my next “need to know” retreat. The Arcola Theatre has recently left its namesake home and relocated to Ashwin Street in the ground floor of the studio block inhabited by Gareth Pugh. This dogleg lane enclave is a cluster of cultural hideouts as discovered by acclaimed Canadian knitwear designer Mark Fast:
“Travelling on the trains at the Dalston junction Station is like being on a moving installation and seeing the back roads in a whole new perspective. I encourage this journey…….. also the old war bunker where they have art installations… it is quite an intruiging and claustrophobic experience”

In the same setting as the bunker and newly planted Arcola Theatre, resides CafĂ© Oto as recommended by Art Director Shona Heath. Next door to this is The Print House Gallery favourited by Simone Rocha for its recent Harry Malt exhibition. It would seem that if you search out these emerging spaces, chances are that you may also spot one of UK’s prevalent fashion talents on the same visit. This crossover of artists practising in proximity to cultural happenings is endemic of the populated neighbourhood particularly with case in point of Marios Schwab’s favourite club night at “Vogue”. The commandeered fabric shop (not the magazine!) is a venue to the most unabashed fun and uninhibited dressed revellers on a weekly basis with various themed nights. It just so happens that it came about from Lyall Hakaraia deciding to open the doors of his own eccentric parties for the public to join in. When Lyall isn’t sequining a corset for Paloma Faith upstairs, he is setting up the decks for NYC Downlow’s Dj’s downstairs. Since the inception of setting up this celebrated stellar schedule of tune spinners, Lyall also now curates an annual Fair:
“The Royal Dalslton Hotel is a temporary performance and art space that takes over my whole house. What’s great is that I get to work with incredible East End artists who turn a four story building in Dalston into an Art Hotel.”

If your scene is less Studio 54 and more CBJB’s, then head 5 minutes back down Arcola Street to one of the city’s most exciting new live gig venues “The Shacklewell Arms”. A formerly low-key local pub that had Easteners and football on the telly is now under new management from The Lock Tavern which has the street in roadblock with fix-wheel bike riding music buffs. Journalist Hanna Hanra had the launch for her music magazine “The Beat” there which gave me a shock to see Scottish womenswear designer Louise Gray in the DJ booth where I was once used to seeing reggae legend Rodigan.

However, the transfer of ownership has been sensitively sympathetic to its original surroundings without changing any of the interior’s quirky fixtures or fittings. The only radical shift is the sheer number of significant creatives attending the gigs for the new wave acts and relaxed atmosphere. One such patron being ex Oki’Ni John Skelton who set up concept store LN-CC in the basement of the near by studio block inhabited by Christopher Kane and Emma Cook. With a new gallery space unveiled in-store, it is now possible for you to check out an exhibition, buy a piece of exceptional unique design, pick up a vintage monograph and then cross the road for an album launch at The Shacklewell Arms.

For all these attractions and goings on, I have taken to calling Schaklewell Lane “Fashion Street” (in jest). It feels that since the demolition of the sidewalk at Centre Point, the new cross roads for bumping into a friend by chance, will almost certainly happen here!

(Thanks to all the designers who made time to give me quotes for the article. All images archive from my blog, except two from Shacklewell Arms by Anna Murray)

Friday 15 July 2011

Friday 15th July: The W Project - Power Players Dinner

The W Project hosted another magnificent meal where female creatives came together to do what they do best - share and discuss empowering knowledge in an open, uninhibited relaxed environment with delicious food for thought, mind and tummies! Guest speakers gave presentations of their inspirational life journeys inbetween interjectional courses of colourful plates cooked up by Lillie O’Brien and Justine Short from St. John Bread & Wine. Linda Hewson and Emma Gibson from Selfridges showed us how they scourer the world for emerging trends, the process of documentation to finally implementing them in store. The main focus of their message for the event was to follow your intuition as a creative and keep strong in sticking to your own inner true voice and don't be held back by fear from outside forces. This sentiment was echoed and reinforced by life coach and Nike Master trainer Sonja Moses who talked thru simple devices to de-stress and connect mind to body through breathing technique. I think her encouraging and uplifting pearls of wisdom may find her flooded with phone calls for further guidance!!! The third guest who also recruited the whole room to her incredible cause was Hannah Barry who took us on a history lesson from her first encounter of an artist's commune in Peckham to setting up shows, representing and runnng a gallery. She now heads various projects to promote public access to international art - in particular the Bold Tendencies showcase which in itself is a fascinating story.
As with each and every W Project event to date, all attendees left feeling revved up and raring to plough ahead with realising their individual dreams ........... and a little warm and guey with emotion from the rare experience of spending an evening in the company of a room full of like minded spirits..............
Unfortunately Erin O'Conner was unable to attend as host speaker but she will return to the next installment so keep your ear to the ground for more details.........

Thursday 14 July 2011

Thurs 14th July: Anna Lomax

I havn't had time to write a blog entry today ............ but here is a visual treat to distract you ........ in the form of Anna Lomax's latest manicure........... *fun*

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Weds 13th July: Bold Tendencies

A week after the private view of Bold Tendencies open air sculpture exhibition, we returned to see the sun set as we were too late on the night of the opening. The show curated at an annual site-specific space in a multi-story car park in Peckham is also home to Frank’s Cafe & Campari Bar designed by Practice Architecture (Paloma Gormley & Lettice Drake). This means you can sip on a Margarita, munch on BBQ'd Paprika corn on the cob, chargrilled Lamb chop or fresh mackerel whilst watching the sun disappear behind the metropolis skyline from this unsuspecting winning viewpoint. The only thing I will say ........ (*mum voice).......... wrap up warm this summer kids. I WAS FREEZING. But then, I was only wearing a Kimono.........

Floors 7-10, Peckham Multi-storey Car Park, 95a Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST London

Weds 13th July: Callum Turner for Burberry Brit A/W 2011

Fred Butler - Nape Of The Neck for from Elisha Smith-Leverock on Vimeo.

As a big fan of male model Callum Turner, I'm so excited for him to discover he is the face of the new Burberry Campaign!! Elisha, Kim and I cast Callum for my "Nape of the Neck" SHOWstudio Fashion Body film 2 years ago which you can see here including one of Elisha's snaps from the day............. see the original behind the scenes blog post here.
When Callum isn't infront of the camera, he can be found behind the decks of The Face club night he runs with his mum Rosemary and family friend Steve Strange. I snapped the pair together at the opening of the Stephen Jones exhibition at the V&A in Feb 2009 ........Rosemary having been part of the original Jones contingent. I cant remember how I first met Callum (probably clubbing!) but he's always a joy to see out and about - a proper English gent who encapsulates the new generation - which is why he is the perfect addition to the Burberry boy lineage.

Monday 11 July 2011

Tues 12th July: Emily Beard reports from Paris: Rainbows in Centre Pompidou

(Images top to bottom: Andre Lemonnier, Yaacov Agam, Verner Panton)

Tues 12th July : Emily Beard reports from Paris: Hussein Chalayan at Musees des Arts Decoratifs, Paris

'Fashion Narratives' is a new exhibition which chronicles Chalayan's career of 17 years. Visitors are greeted with a piece from his highly acclaimed graduate collection (a semi-decomposed dress), which sets the tone for the exhibition. Chalayan's impressive body of work is presented through a variety of mediums, with a generous amount of collection pieces, fashion film collaborations and archive catwalk footage.
All these elements come together in highlighting Chalayan's consistently thoughtful and innovative process.

'Fashion Narratives' will be at the Musees des Arts Decoratifs until 13 November 2011.

Monday 11th July: Behind The Scenes On Set of "Yellow" by Cocknbullkid - Directed by Daniel Brereton

COCKNBULLKID - YELLOW from daniel brereton on Vimeo.

From one director of a Metronomy video to another - Daniel Brereton (represented by Partizan) who I blogged about in 2007 when he filmed their early releases including the cosmic "Radio Ladio". This promo featured bright colours and props which is the signature style of this multi media artist working in both 2D illustration, 3D sculpture and directing. His latest pop venture is for Cocknbullkid's new release "Yellow" which uses splendid costumes specially made by Cesca Dvorak who you can see here in the green trousers. The two worked together to bring to life the storyboard of different characters in this choreographed clip for Anita's 4th single from her debut album.

See more of Daniels videos for Metronomy, Late of The Pier and Golden Silvers etc. here and his other projects at his blog. Head over to his Vimeo to watch the fantastic Connan Mockasin collaboration with Cesca on more colour-centric costumes.

"Yellow" - Cocknbullkid - Director -- daniel brereton
producer -- andy ryder
d.o.p -- marcus domleo
art director -- anna rhodes
costume -- cesca dvorak
editor -- jason rayton
stills -- Claudia Burlotti