The Blog

MUSIC MONDAY: PORTICO QUARTET

This weeks Music Monday is the post-jazz band Portico Quartet.They will be playing in London in November at the village underground.

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Vine on board, which saw them moving into electronica and alt rock territory. With live drum looping, twanging electric bass and spine-tingling sax melodies. Full of mystery and drama, Portico Quartet still take the listener on an unparalleled journey and live they pack a heavy punch. This is a rare London appearance from an award-winning band we wait with anticipation to see where they will take us!

07 Oct 2013 filed under Music and tagged with , , , , ,

Designer Profile: The P.

The P. was founded in 2011 under the line of Prët-Ā-Porter conceptual designs with dramatic materials that add artistic value to each piece. Created by sisters Patricia and Maria Castillo, The P. emphasises both detail and passion, inspired by their home country of El Salvadoras well as the love of fashion as an artistic path of expression.

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-Can you give us a bit of background on your brand, when you started it and why?
I studied Fashion Design at Instituto Europeo di Design Milan, Italy; after a few years of working at some fashion companies, as a stylist for advertising campaigns and as an art director for TV producers I decided to start my own label and apply my studies and my experience throughout the years in something more personal. Along with my sister Maria Castillo and her studies her experience; we joined creativity and business and in 2011 theP was born.
theP was established as a creative need to share our passion for design, forms, geometry, lines; for us the brand is a constant research of finding balance and beauty, creating its own conceptual aesthetic that wants to be shared to the world.

-What inspires your work?
I am inspired by dots, lines, geometry and its forms, art, architecture, design and I do feel an incredible fascination for music, photography, independent films.

-What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
Perhaps for us the most difficult aspect would be to run a fashion brand in a country where there is no fashion industry and to expose your brand you need to work twice as hard to get other markets to hear about you, like what you do and feel you.

-Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
I enjoy working on sketches, developing ideas, creating concepts, the process of patronage, cutting, and prototype and to see how fascinating the result of all the work is on the final piece. I do love to unify ideas for the concept of the photo shoot for lookbook, campaign and branding for new collections.
The thing I enjoy the least is to do administrative tasks, line sheets, but I do know those things are important too!

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-Is music important in your working day, what is on repeat at the moment?
Yes I love music, by nature I am a melancholic person; I enjoy listening to folk, jazz,classic music, piano, a little bit of indie folk, French and Italian music from different kind. At this moment I am listening La Collectionneuse of Charlotte Gainsbourg.

-If you had a chance to do it all again, what advice would you give to a younger you?
I think the most important thing I would say to others will be … to be sure of what you want, what you believe in, what you are passionate for and with that in mind; work very hard to achieve your goals and not to be afraid of anything or anyone.

-What is your guilty pleasure?
I definitely say Chocolate!!

-Where is your favourite city/place?
I am an old soul almost all the time, I feel attracted to most European cities like the ones in Italy, I love their architecture and their charm that makes your feel like you go back in time. I also likeLondon and New York for the great energy perceived in every corner.

-Who inspires you?
I am inspired by Japanese Designers, I feel that their conceptual aesthetic and its precision it´s simply fascinating!!

-Wolf or Badger?
I would say my sister and I are wolves!!! Fearless and protective…
I am also sending a photo theP´s latest collection; this photo campaign is my favourite, as in that exact moment a strong breeze came into the set and the photo ended so spontaneous and natural.
These are the links of the Making of! Collection 2013, L´objet Eternel.

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25 Sep 2013 filed under Designer Profiles and tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Designer Profile: Carlotta Actis Barone

Born and raised in Italy, Carlotta Actis Barone launched her brand at London Fashion Week in September 2010. Her strong signature is tasteful and bold, conveying statements and messages through intricate shapes and symbols. She takes pride in giving her clothes a voice of their own so the wearer is a representation of femininity but also a carrier of the message.

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-Can you give us a bit of background on your brand, when you started it and why?
Hello! Actually I sort of found my self ‘trapped’ in having a label.
Basically when I graduated I didn’t want to set up my label straight away, of course it was in my wish list, but as a long-term project.
So I started working for other brands and I thought to keep building up my career that way.
Nevertheless shortly after my graduation I was scouted by a fashion agency that told me they saw my work on line, and they would have been happy to sponsor entirely my collections and to put me in London Fashion week. What could I argue with that???
The contract with the fashion agency expired after 3 seasons, but of course by that point I was all set up to stand on my own legs and carry on my brand so, Here I am!

-What inspires your work?
Inspiration and beauty is all around us, but I like to dig dip in our surrounding and find ‘meaning’ in everything. I mean I don’t want to play Socrates , I just like to investigate in our society and bring to life through my clothes my thought about different issues.
So my first collection was based on feminism, then slavery, then the fight against fur trade and so on.
Don’t worry I’m not a sad, depressing chick. I just want to get my voice heard through my creations, and I merge elegance, beauty and joy, with my research on imageries and matters possibly a bit more serious.

-What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
Well running a label means taking care of all the business aspects of it, and I have got to say I’m not very good with numbers and marketing.
I am not by myself, but my team is small and obviously I have to overlook every single step of the process, so I have to admit I struggle with that… but hey! You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do right?

-Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
Researching, drawing and sketching are what I am best at! And I love it, pattern cutting and fabric sourcing I enjoy the least… I do it, but I get as much help from my collaborator as possible for it.

-Is music important in your working day, what is on repeat at the moment?
Well don’t laugh, at the moment I’m listening to a Parisian radio called Latina!! Only Latina music presented in French… I know I’m weird.
I guess it’s a comfort thing; I used to listen to this radio when I worked in Paris, it was a very happy moment of my life, and so this channel brings back good vibes.
Usually I only listen to radio in general, I’m too lazy to download lot of stuff and my I tune is very repetitive! Hence I rely on the experts’ hands of the DJs… but I literally love EVERY kind of music (except maybe heavy metal) and depending on the mood I browse through the channels.

-If you had a chance to do it all again, what advice would you give to a younger you?
To start earlier. I only started Fashion professionally in my late 20s, as I did not find my true drive in life yet so obviously things are delayed now. If I could speak with that 19 years old girl I would tell her to give up ancient literature and to focus on a real job! No seriously, I don’t regret anything I’ve done so far, the good and the bad things, as they all lead me through the path that brought me hear today, but ‘finding myself’ a little earlier wouldn’t have hurt.

-What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching ‘Deal no Deal’, ‘Come dine with me’…and all sort of trash TV! Don’t ask me why, but I get properly excited when I know it’s about time they go on air!  Oh well…you can’t always be so deep and focused right?

-Where is your favourite city/place?
London! It gave me so much I can’t do anything but love ‘her’ back! (Yes London is a true Lady in my mind) And there are so many hidden mews and places, especially around the river, that keep surprising me every time even if I saw them a thousand times.

-Who inspires you?
Great women, like Rita Levi Montalcini, Margherita Hack and my mother.

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-Wolf or Badger?
A bit of both I guess! I would love to always be a fearless wolf, but I end up been a quite armless badger most of the time.

19 Sep 2013 filed under Designer Profiles, Designers and tagged with , , , , , , , ,

WEEKEND PLANS: FINAL SUMMER WEEKEND

# 1River Banquet!

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What: Southbanquet
Where: Riverside Terrace In front of Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX
When: Saturday 31th of August and Sunday 1st of Spetember at 7 pm
Why: Join the Southbank Centre to share an alfresco meal of ethically sourced food to mark the end of summer. For one weekend only, enjoy the pop-up feast on the terrace overlooking the Thames. The meal is cooked by Thomas Hunt, former River Cottage chef, founder of the eco-collective The Forgotten Feast and official chef of Feeding the 5000.

# 2Dirty, dirty dancing

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What: Dirty Dancing – the live cinema experience.
Where: Secret Location, East London, More details with ticket purchase
When: Friday 30th of August, Saturday 31th of August and Sunday 1st of Spetember at 6 pm
Why: Join Jonny and Baby in a secret east London location where the Future Cinema crew recreate a 1960s Catskills resort for a weekend of hip-swaying antics. If you need to live vicariously and boost your summer lovin’, you’ll be happy to know that this year’s outdoor screening extravaganza, is the ultimate teenage fantasy-fest: ‘Dirty Dancing’.

#3Smokey Tails
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What: Alfreco BBQ Pop-Up
Where: The Container Yard, 119 Wallis Road, E9 5LN
When: Thursday to Sunday, 1pm to Mindnight, while the Summer lasts
Why: Visit London’s coolest new pop-up bar brought to you by created by leading Detroit DJ Seth Troxler who presumably – given the perfect timing of Smokey’s arrival – is also a part-time meteorologist. A riverside hideaway, a wooden-decked sun-trap boasting exquisite smoked meats, sublime salads, knock-out frozen cocktails, independent guest ales and mighty fine deserts.

30 Aug 2013 filed under Weekend Plans and tagged with , , , , , ,

WEEKEND PLANS: NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL

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The only weekend plan you need this bank holiday is Notting Hill Carnival. Join the largest street festival in Europe to celebrate Caribbean music, dance and masquerade. Enjoy traditional Caribbean food and drink, serving crowd favourites such as jerk chicken, fried plantain and rum punch. Music lovers will be spoilt for choice with Calypso, Soca, Steel Pan, and Static Sound Systems playing Reggae, R&B, Funk, House and Dub-step. The Sound systems you should definitely keep in mind are Good Times, Sancho Panza and KCC which always deliver the party tunes. The Carnival Bands will take to the roads from around 9am on Sunday 25th August and the same time on Monday 26th of August on the streets of Notting Hill, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The whole weekend will be filled with carnival parties and here is the pick of our top three.

#1 - Winterwell goes to carnival

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What: Winterwell first time at Notting Hill
Where: Westbourne Studios, 242 Acklam Road, London, W10 5JJ
When: Sunday 25th of August – 5:00 pm to 1:30 am
Why: Come join Winterwell for some serious ‘Booty and The Beats’. While it’s their first Notting Hill Carnival after-party, you can rest assured knowing that the Winterwell party truly is one of the places to be, as their exciting line up of music, eclectic dress code and venue location makes it stand out from the pack. The line up includes DJ Cheeba, Bad Zuke, Menendez Bros and many more. So rush and get your costumes ready.

#2Krankbrother!

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What: Krankbrother Carnival Afterparty
Where: Park Royal Studios, 1 Barretts Green Road, London. NW10 7AE
When: Sunday 25th of August – 6:00 pm to 6:00 am
Why: Are you bored of being stranded in West London with nothing to do after the Notting Hill Carnival? Well fear not, krankbrother are coming to the rescue. They are throwing the ultimate carnival after party, in West London’s best warehouse space – Loft Studios. This party is to be a 12 hour marathon running from 6pm – 6am, with 2 arenas of music both in the incredible upstairs loft space, and the basement space underneath. Dance the night away with the amazing line up, accompanied by loads of rum and BBQ. You just cannot miss it!

#3Carnival Sunday Session with Miguel Campbell

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What: Carnival afterparty at Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green
Where: Paradise, 19 Kilburn Lane,Kensal Green, London, W10 4AE
When: Sunday 25th of August – 7:00 pm to 3:00 am
Why: Finish the vibrant day with an unforgettable afterparty in a gastro-pub in Kensal Green. Situated in the action packed hub of the chaotic West London celebrations, Paradise will be turning dining room to dancefloor, dusting off the soundsystem and playing host to some of the finest electronic artists of the moment, including Miguel Campbell.

Happy bank holiday!

23 Aug 2013 filed under Weekend Plans and tagged with , , , , ,

DESIGNER PROFILE: NOE UNDERGARMENTS

Noe Undergarments began with twin sisters from Kauai who had a passion for intimate apparel to create beauty through sensual expression. They believe that style is not only expressed by a finished look but embodied in what goes on first: the undergarment. The designs grew from their travels, a combination of simple sophistication and free-spirited raw style to make a collection worn from the bedroom, to the city streets or to the tranquil beaches of Hawaii.

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- Can you give us a bit of background on your brand, when you started it and why?
We are lovers of lingerie, we love feeling sexy, we love wearing pieces that make us feel confident and we wanted to create a label that embraced these qualities and made undergarments that was as special as the women wearing it. Since we were in our teens, we have dreamed of starting a lingerie line… we always loved how something you can wear that is so small and often discrete can make you feel so sexy, confident and beautiful! We started really talking about the idea a few years ago and we can’t believe we’ve launched our first season Autumn / Winter 2013 and already showing showing our second season Spring / Summer 2014.

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NOE Undergarments is about creative expression through intimate apparel, encouraging confidence by bringing the visible rise of innerwear to the forefront of a woman’s personal style. The brand is found on the beauty of opposites attracting to create combinations that one would not expect… mixing of quaintness with rawness, masculinity with femininity, softness with roughness and fluidity with structure. We grew up on the simple island of Kauai, living in bikinis and cover-ups for most of our existence… you will notice this “freedom” with our designs, we have no restrictions except that of unneeded frills or elements, we keep things very progressively simple.

- What inspires your work?
Primarily our design inspirations come from our travels as well as the influence of living in both unrestricted tropical locations and man-made city jungles. We grew up on the uncomplicated, humble island of Kauai… the minimalisms of our designs are stemmed from this mind-set. Combining this simplicity with forward fabrications and modern structure in our designs brings in the city’esque influence… a perfect yin and yang.

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- What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
The biggest challenge of running your own label is wanting to do everything! We are total perfectionist and feel like we need to do everything so often that puts us working long days and having sleepless nights! However, we enjoy it… when your mindset is this way… it can drive you crazy or you can embrace it and love the outcome! We’ve really tried to embrace it and we do love the outcome.

- Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
We love creating… designing and making beauty! This is why we started NOE Undergarments, we wanted to make beauty. The actual process of putting pencial to paper and drawing designs is our favorite creative step. Narrowing down ideas is the hardest aspect of the creative process. We’re constantly inspired … honing in on concepts is challenging. Also, we design the collection together so at times it’s like a marriage…. You have to give a little and then take a little. This also balances us out… again, the yin to the yang.

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- Is music important in your working day, what is on repeat at the moment?
Music is very important to us… it keep us going, sets a mood and makes us dance and smile! Right now as we’re doing this interview we have the Alabama Shakes playing. We go from listening to Bob Marley, Gregory Isascs to Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Rhianna… a wide spectrum!

- If you had a chance to do it all again, what advice would you give to a younger you?
Don’t take things personally!

- What is your guilty pleasure?
Hmmmm… would double chocolate chip cookies and a Latte for breakfast be a guilty pleasure? Well, that would be it! We OBSESS over good coffee and love chocolate.

- Where is your favourite city/place?
Favorite city—New York
Favorite place—Kauai, Hawaii where we were born and raised!

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- Who inspires you?
Women who are confident and not afraid to be imperfect.

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- Wolf or Badger?
Wolf…. For sure!

21 Aug 2013 filed under Designer Profiles and tagged with , , , , , ,

MUSIC MONDAY: MKS

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This sunny Music Monday we are bringing you the old/new Sugababes: we love them!! Mutya Buena, Keisha Buchanan and Siobhán Donaghy were last seen on a stage together 12 years ago, the first of four Sugababes lineups. MKS, as they’re now known, have put aside all the previous disputes and are back performing their crowd-pleasing biggest hits from their 2001 debut, One Touch as well as new material.

The first single, the darkly classy ‘Flatline’ is has got a retro feel and plenty of their trademark harmonies. Their new album is set to come out in the early 2014, so there is plenty to look forward to. For now, check out the music video for their newest single….

19 Aug 2013 filed under Music and tagged with , , , , ,

WEEKEND PLANS: A WICKED WEEKEND

#1 -Hackney WickED

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What: Hackney WickED art festival.
Where: Hackney Wick & Fish Island, London, E9
When: 16th-18th August
Why: The energetic east London arts festival returns with three days of art, music and other events including exhibitions, open studios, graffiti jams and workshops in the E9 area. Catch the more daytime-friendly exhibitions and shows spread across the East, and keep an eye open for some unusual night events.

#2Chop Shop

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What: Chop Shop ‘Soft Launch’
Where: 66 Haymarket, London SW1Y,
When: Until 2nd of September
Why: Check out Chop Shop, a “butcher shop-inspired” restaurant that’s just opened its doors in St James by way of a very stealthy ‘soft launch’ that’s going to run until 2nd September, when it officially opens. Treat yourself to a choice of steaks and chops, which you can mix and match with different sauces and sides.

#3Chimerica

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What: A new thrilling play ‘Chimerica’ in Harold Pinter Theatre.
Where: Harold Pinter Theatre, 6 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DN
When: Friday August 16th – Saturday October 19th
Why: Enjoy a unique theatrical experience with Lucy Kirkwood’s thrilling play ‘Chimerica’. This is a thoughtful, complex portrait of New York photojournalist Joe Schofield’s search for the subject of his most iconic picture: a lone Chinese protester who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5 1989. The play raises weighty issues but is also a gripping theatrical thriller that holds the audience enthralled till the end.

16 Aug 2013 filed under Weekend Plans and tagged with , , , , ,

Designer Profile: Language of Flowers

Language of Flowers is a new luxury British woman’s t-shirt brand founded by design duo and best friends Stephanie Smart and Alexandra Bayley. The focus of the brand is on quality and affordability and their debut collection has a relaxed feel using modern cuts with a romantic twist. The brand is aimed at fashion forward, free thinkers with a love for life!

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- Can you give us a bit of background on your brand, when you started it and why?
In a nut shell, we are two best friends, Stephanie and Alexandra, whom together have created our new laid back and luxurious fashion label, Language Of Flowers. Our debut collection is a range of tees & tanks, all designed and illustrated by hand and screen printed here in London. Stephanie had just left the world of finance with her creative juices flowing, when she had a flash of inspiration from one of the books she was reading and soon afterwards, LOF was born!

- What inspires you and your work?
LOF is inspired by the Victorian era in Great Britain, when people were forbidden from expressing their feelings out loud, instead communicating with each other through the gift of flowers. Every flower you see illustrated on our tops is symbolic and has its own meaning, having been documented in dictionaries from that period. We design for ourselves, anything you see in our collection are what we would like to add to our wardrobes.

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- What is the most difficult aspect of running your own label?
Probably getting the timings right – it has so far proved such a giant learning curve for us! Every day we find out something new about the industry and what we can do to make our next collection better.

- Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most, and least?
Stephanie: I enjoy watching our ideas come to life! Getting our thoughts down onto paper, it’s still surreal for me to see it all come together through our beautiful illustrations. I’m a bit of a hustler by nature so so far I’ve really enjoyed putting it all together and seeing the end product on a tee that people desire and want to buy. Least favourite is paying all the bills… Running your own fashion label with no outside investment can get expensive!

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Alexandra: My most favourite part of having LOF is designing the illustrations. If I could just escape to the countryside and draw every day, I’d be the happiest girl in the world! My least favourite bit is working to a deadline, but luckily Stephanie and I, in addition to being best friends, have skill sets that perfectly compliment each other so we are always their to motivate and encourage each other when its needed!

- Is music important in your working day, what is on repeat at the moment?
Yes absolutely! Admittedly, neither of us have particularly mature music tastes but we’re unashamedly proud to admit that we both love commerical, cheesy songs. Last year, Carly Rae Jepsen’s, Call Me Baby was on constant repeat… Our current song of choice at LOF HQ is Daft Punk’s, Get Lucky!

- If you had a chance to do it all again, what advice would you give to a younger you?
As it’s only our first collection its hard to say, you may have to ask us again in a couple of years! But our initial thoughts are these: Always be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions and look for inspiration in everything around you! Do your research, make sure you get your dates right and make your deadlines without a last minute panic.

- What is your guilty pleasure?
Hundreds of miniature Laduree macaroons, not just delicious but also our colour palette inspiration.

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- Where is your favourite city/place?
To be honest, we’re happy with any destination in the world, as long as, it’s with our loved ones. Of course; a beach, plenty of sunshine and a cocktail or two would be the ideal. Basically, anywhere we can wear our LOF tees!

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- Who or what inspires you? We both have amazing family and friends that have always believed in our creativity and encouraged us to do more of what makes us happy! Ultimately, we are not only business partners but best friends and that in itself inspires us to build a brand we can be really proud of!

- Wolf or Badger?
Stephanie: Wolf, obviously!
Bayley: Badger

14 Aug 2013 filed under Designer Profiles, Uncategorized and tagged with , , , ,

MUSIC MONDAY: RODRIGUEZ

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This Music Monday celebrates the work of Sixto Rodriguez – a legendary American folk musician based in Detroit, whose inspiring story has moved many fans across the world. For several decades the musician believed his first two albums, released in the early 70s, had failed to resonate, however, his music has gained a huge following in South Africa, where the fan-base also thought their star had committed suicide. When he was discovered to be alive, he was heralded a hero – his rich music was finally played live to rapturous, arena-sized crowds.

Under the cover of a black Fedora and a smokey haze, the former man of music mystery Rodriguez took to the Wilderness Festival stage on Saturday night. The audience listened carefully to his croaky speaking voice as he spouted political messages such as “more women should run for political office. The story of Rodriguez is poignantly told in the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ which has drawn thousands of fans across the seas and finally helped get the legend the recognition he has been owed for so long. For all of you, who did not get a chance to see him during the weekend, here is a little taste of what you were missing.

12 Aug 2013 filed under Music, Uncategorized and tagged with , , , , , ,

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