Friday 16 December 2011

Friday 16th Dec: Art Against Knives Auction

Last night I had the privilege of attending the Art Against Knives Auction held at the Hackney Town Hall Hotel in the Court Room which was the perfect location to house such an event! After a champagne reception to view the works, we sat down for a 3 course feast prepared by the award winning Rebel Dining Society. Dinner was served on paint palette platters & limited edition crockery signed by AAK founder Oliver Hemsley. We then picked up our paint palette voting paddles and got stuck into the sales hosted by Ed Rising of Sotheby's. He jumped up on the bench and conducted the proceedings pointing at us until he got the maximum price to raise the most funds for the charity. Amongst the pieces up for grabs were original paintings by Antony Gormely and Tracey Emin ........ prints by Rob Ryan and Wolfgang Tilmans ......... and dresses from Marios Schwab, Mary Katrantzou and Hussein Chalayan. I wanted the William Broome paper cut panda bear and Over It & Co screenprints for Dels Gob Shop launch but alas couldn't keep up with the bids from an audience including the likes of Bianca Jagger opposite us. It was a room of lush people all brought together by Katy Dawe who began the enterprise with Oliver and has formed a loyal following of support within London's creative community. The photographs from their own exhibition FYI of young Hackney artists were slotted into the lots so the talents that take part in the project were billed alongside the established name pieces donated. As each one came up, Katy talked us through the story behind each portrait which gave an insight and background into case studies of how the funds are used and how the new sums raised would be carried forwards. To have the opportunity to buy an exclusive art work without paying gallery fees and know that the cost is going directly to help local young people out of disillusioned futures is an idea that is going to run from strength to strength. Congratulations once again Katy and Oliver.

To buy yourself a piece of AAK artwork, head to the new Box Park in Shoreditch where they have just opened their first store................. and buy one of my AAK t-shirts for your Christmas shopping here.

(top to bottom: Will Broom, Over It & Co, Rob Ryan, Suzy P, Dinner, AAK badge on a Christopher Shannon shirt, Patternity & Tom Ryling, Versace Minx nails on Craig Lawrence, Mary Katrantzou's dress, Marios Schwab's dress, Christopher Kane's dress, Ed Rising, Barbara Grispini with Katy and Marios, Katy Dawe)

Thursday 15 December 2011

Thurs 15th Dec: Circus Christmas Market

Myself, Susie Bubble, Atalanta Weller, Cooperative Designs, Katie Eary, Fannie Schiavoni, Noel Stewart, Yunus & Eliza, Scott Wilson, and Braille will touchdown at Circus for a fashion trunk show extravaganza this Saturday and Sunday with a cafe and deli run by Lily Vanilli............ come to get some one-off designs from the designers themselves and have a rummage thru Susie's closet gold mine........... and a pick up a decorated hula hoop and have a lesson from Marawa The Amazing......... (accessories above by designer whose name I don't know, sorry)

Circus 11
14th-18th Dec 2011 10am - 8pm
The Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3LX

Friday 16th Dec: i-D Christmas Tree - Report by Emily Beard

Matthew Williamson
Craig Lawrence
Kelly Angood
Piers Atkinson
Fred Butler

i-D magazine are decking the halls like no one else! They have invited their favourite creatives to customise a Christmas bauble for their tree. Each will be revealed one by one on their site in the run up to Christmas, with a lucky email subscriber winning the full swag of decorations at the end.

Thurs 15th Dec: Behind the scenes of Fred's New Year Card - report by Emily Beard

Every year Fred teams up with Mishkin to create a card to bring in the new year. For a blast into the past see the cards from 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Here's a peek into what went on behind the scenes to create this year's piece...

Photography - Amy Gwatkin and Anna Leader AKA Mishkin
Spectrum tube and props - Fred Butler
Fred’s Assistants - Jess Bennett, Emily Beard and Keely Hunter
Special thanks to model Amrit

Thurs Dec 15th: Mandi's Basement Christmas Party with Gwendoline Christie

If you squint a little and imagine you are in Mandi's Basement lit only by icicle fairy lights you can begin to decipher these dark photos to see Gwendoline Christie, NOKi & James Long, Princess Julia and Bishi with my 2.5 ............. all guests for Mandi Lennard's Christmas Party which ended in a conga line of fashion designers, musicians, photographers and stylists snaking their way round her festive decorated office complete with snow white tree. To get the Argos catalogue number for the acquired artificial tree and see more photos of the revellers in a more revealing light, head over to the following articles: Mandi's Colette Blog, Madeleine Ostlie's blog, i-D Online
This was my first party of the season and a baptism by fire which I'm not sure will be surpassed by anything to follow.......... with refreshments by Bistrotheque including a hot cider cocktail inspired by Patrick Wolf's new favoured MIWADI rum ........ tangy tacos followed by passion fruit and pineapple sorbet ......... and Christmas tunes mixed by a rota of the Ponystep dj rosta. When the conga came to a close the fall-out shimmied up the road to celebrate the 8th birthday of The George & Dragon where the dancing continued to The Lovely Jonjo in residence for the night ......... HAPPY BIRTHDAY G&D!

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Weds 14th Dec: Robert Storey Studio

I first found out about set designer Robert Storey when I took part in a TEST fashion film screening last season at Somerset House when Thomas Giddings showed his film "Lavender" for which Robert had built bright orange frames to plant in a field of purple blossom. Since this time I have been blogging his work by proxy via his collaborations with Quentin Jones on her animated fashion films and installation at Darkroom Store. Now I discover that he is based in a studio round the corner from mine and has emerged from the same set design training stable, having assisted Shona Heath. ...........but originally hailing from a fine art sculpture degree at Central St. Martins.
When writing up the British Fashion Awards, I commented that there could easily be an additional award for art department and here is the proof. The sector of the industry has grown substantially since it first became an actual valid position and career with the likes of Simon Costin and Michael Howells. The initial talent gave way for their assistants to take over surplus jobs when the work rolled in and now a third and fourth generation are rising up and many of the names I have been profiling on here......... Emma Roach, Rhea Therstein, Alun Davies, Helen Macintyre, Andy Macgregor, Gary Card, Jiggery Pokery, Andy Hillman, Alex Cunningham, Rosy Nicholas, Kyle Bean ................. its a close community of fastidious, work-a-holic, kleptomaniac imaginative fantasists living out their childhood dreams.
Robert's latest commission (see above) reminiscent of a vintage wooden toy is for a static display at Nicholas Kirkwood's Mount Street flagship store. Here are the technical drawings and final set up snaps of the three metre high colourful geometric structures. From building at his East End studio full of flats to the windows of a West End boutique, the plinths have been designed to house Kirkwood's trademark feminine playful shoes lit with neon strips............... all featured on his brand new website just launched to house his archive of editorial, advertising, still life, installations and moving image.............. click over to have a look and keep up to date with his upcoming projects on his blog.
(All images c/o Robert)

Monday 12 December 2011

Tues 13th Dec: Hannah Martin Studio Visit

Every day my inbox fills up with email alerts from PR's about what celebrity is wearing which designer at whatever award ceremony ......... or messages "Dear Mr. Fred Butler we have an exciting new line in stockings we would love to send you to feature Ho-Ho-Hoisery". GREAT!!!! Fantastic! Exactly what I want to share with my readership - how did they know? Hashtag Irony.
So it was with great pleasure that I took a phone call from Nathan at Hannah Martin HQ inviting me to their studio in Hatton Garden to have the opportunity to show me their new work and get to know each other. Firstly how rare and genuine to have a friendly voice reaching out to you and secondly what an amazing invitation to be able to physically experience this fascinating institution, trade and young designer operating in this world.
On Friday morning I hot-footed it down to the epicentre of London's jewellery district where Hannah has her studio to be at the heart of the homegrown industry she cherishes and consciously supports with commissions. It is integral to her design process to utilise the knowledge and hereditary of the practise still running in the capital, to maintain the demand and help hand over the enterprise to the next generation. Hatton Garden in London was once the hub of the international industry where specialist sculptors had their own unique skill-set for certain facets - literally. I had no idea that stones are cut in particular styles and attributed to different practioners .......... or that it is very much a closed door world which is why Hannah's new documentary is a fascinating insight. With rare access to film inside the smoky sanctuary of smelting and smouldering casting furnaces and foundries , this clip reveals footage of how Hannah's prototypes are moulded and cast before the lengthy process of sanding and polishing. That is only a fraction of the complete life cycle of a finished article..............
The most recent article to break out of the cocoon of such a careful craft is a letter opener designed specially for Wallpaper magazine's second Handmade issue for which a handful of designers are asked to create unique products. This is the perfect example of how Hannah works in that it started life as a piece of brittle resin wax which she laboursly carved and finely shaved down to this streamline angular triangle form. It is a humble classic piece of equipment that she has totally turned on its head to become a product that could be mistaken for an actual accessory. I tried putting it on my wrist before a demonstration of how it functions for its primary purpose.......... as it fits perfectly into the aesthetic of her Shamen series of pyramid jewellery. The collection is now available at the Design Museum shop alongside the letter opener which is great news as her wares are typically high end incredible one of a kind bespoke pieces. Once I slipped on this triangle ring I didn't want to take it off again so I can now fully appreciate how becoming one of Hannah's customers can become an addictive form of retail therapy! The attention to detail, care, consideration and personal touch is all life-affirming in the hope that mass market homogonous production is not going to drown the foundations of the design world. It's great that jewellery is accessible but its also nice to know that a vital skill is being kept alive in our inherited wealth of knowledge in the artform. To champion this further and perhaps cajole Hatton Garden to open up in order to guarantee its future, this clip by Rodney Wooldridge and Pacu Trautvetter peels back the layers exposing this fascinating middle earth.
Here are snaps from Hannah's studio walls of the inspiration imagery and sketches that she compiles to start shaping each collection. Every time she finds a new muse and myriad of disparate but related sources to fuse together as an imaginary character to embody the range of pieces. Some elements are drawn by hand and transformed in CAD whilst others are sculpted straight out of plasticine by hand and finely tuned with the necessary number of finer stages in execution. The result is a classic selection of samples including cuff links and earrings which Hannah adamantly only sells in one unit as an idiosyncratic feature as much as the fluid lines in the actual article itself. Her entire archive has been photographed and documented on her website so you can trace back every element and explore each story and piece................ get lost here......... and keep on your radaar for more exciting projects in the new year ...........