Monthly Archives: May 2010

Giles Deacon Joins Ungaro

Giles Deacon’s pr announced last week that he has joined French House Emmanuel Ungaro as creative director. Deacon’s first collection with the label will be unveiled in October. Let’s hope he provides a better creative input that Lindsay Lohan. Well we won’t really have to hold our breaths on that score.

Monsieur Deacon is a busy design bee. Following his Paris show back in February, sponsored by label.m (one of Toni&Guy’s babies) the two have furthered their affiliation with a range of three bags – free with label.m purchases. I’m thinking the biggest one would make a cute sports bag, one that would be equally as bright and cheery on the beach.

Giles Deacon and label.m collaboration

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Love Your Lido

While cutting through cool blue water, looking up to a cloudless sky and feeling the sun beat down on my white bits, I had to ask myself ‘am I really in Hackney?’ That was of course answered 20 minutes later, when a gun shot shattered the silence. Putting Saturday’s incident aside however, the London Field’s Lido is a little slice of heaven in Hackney.

London Fields Lido

Turning up at midday on the hottest day of the year to an outdoor pool may not be the brightest idea. But after only five minutes of queuing I was past the breezy staff and shuffling among the crowds for a spot to lay my towel.

Even at its busiest, don’t be fooled by the throngs of people snaking around the reception area. Many folk are of the poseur variety and have no intention of actually dunking more than a toe in the water. Thus, the lounge areas are packed but the pool is surprisingly empty. I managed 25 lengths in the medium lane without having to overtake, slow down or splash water on anyone to cut a clear path.

London Fields Lido

There are usually three lanes or more, a swimming lesson roped off and a sizable chunk left over to kids in armbands. There was also a guy in my lane who walked the entire length, pretending to swim and turning around halfway when the water got too deep. Whatever floats your boat mate, but move into the kiddies pool next time, eh?

You can change inside or out – and the same goes for showering. Lockers cost 20p and entry prices depend on if you’re a Hackney leisure member or not but range from £2.50 to £4.10.

There are two cafes serving drinks, coffees and Lebanese snacks, which makes a welcome change from a vending machine or poolside burger and chips.

The lido does have a whiff of leisure centre about it – this is not an infinity pool teetering on the edge of a cliff in Greece. But the perks of its council heritage are lifeguards, clean chlorinated and heated water and an efficient customer service system, which suits me just fine.

And despite this, reclining on a towel, peeking through your toes at the aqua pool, it really is easy to forget you’re in Hackney.

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Springfield Park – An Urban Oasis

Half of my friends will hate me for posting this. And half will love me. Springfield Park in E5 is a hidden pocket of lush, green, zen peaking out the top of Hackney.

Springfield Park

This is the view as you zoom through the park gates from Clapton. A lake dripping in thick green willows, quacking ducks and daffodils if you’re lucky. No, this is not Hereford. Hackney.

The park is perfect for running, as the top half of the park is flat, with a drop off leading down a hill towards the canal. Walthamstow marshes recline in the background – a wide, open panoramic vista. At the top of the hill wooden benches have been placed within little box hedges, where couples, and the odd tramp sit watching the sun set. Ok, and drinking cider. But discreetly. Better than noisy groups glugging white wine. I promise. 

The canal at the bottom is a gentle hive of activity – barges, rowers and brave dogs glide along. On the far side, narrow walkways weave out into the marshes which offer a few hours exploration if you’re running in a group. At night, on a full moon, take wellies and wade through in the luna light. Super beautiful. 

Back in the park, five free tennis courts are where I spend Sunday mornings, well OK I’ve spent one Sunday morning (so far) practicing my racquet skills. And you rarely have to wait for a court. Yes I said free. Oh dear, why am I posting this?

After all the running, serving and rowing, Spark Cafe in the pretty white house at the top of the hill serves fair trade tea and coffee, natch (well this is practically Stoke Newington), homemade vegetable curries, organic fry ups and fresh juices. Inside on the big wooden tables if it’s cold and outside on the grass if it’s not. A great place to expel a hangover, even if you’re not making use of your trainers.

Sorry to all the friends who already know about Springfield and now hate me for sharing our local secret. To everyone else, I’ll see you on the courts.

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JCDC at Selfridges Wonder Room

Thursday night was the launch of JCDC ‘s ‘Encounter Of The Fifth Kind’ at Selfridges concept space – the wonder room. Vodka jelly shots and cupcakes with radioactive colour frosting were order of the day: a spot-on backdrop to the extra terrestrial themed show.

Jean Charles De Castelbajac, visionary French designer, has curated his own show, which includes five window displays, stationary, T-shirts, bags and plates scrawled with lessons for living (Having too much fun can cause serious addiction). I concur.

The windows took eight months to curate and will be on show for two months – until the end of June. I had a dream last night about the Donny Darko-esque mannequins all pitch black, huge glowing eyes and tall pointy ears that look out over Oxford Street. Amaze.

Also on sale, £30, is JCDC’s T-shirt collaboration with Joseph Corré of Agent Provocateur and Humanade, in memory of Malcolm McLaren. The slogan reads ‘Friendship is my spaceship’. You’ve got to love anyone with those sentiments. Maybe don’t tell my best mate though, not sure how keen she’d be on me likening her to a UFO.

JCDC and Joseph Corree

I’m a sucker for lego, so I particularly love this watch collaboration with ODM:JCDC ODM Watch Collaboration

Overheard: Nineteen year old (alien?) girl in the Selfridges toilet talking to her friend ‘so what is this launch then?’ ‘oh you know, JCDC’ ‘who’s that then?’ ‘oh just some shit fashion label’. Fear not, I kicked her ‘accidentally’ as I reached for the hand dryer.

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When One Pixie Met Another

Hot on the heels of designing for Moschino, Brit popstrel Pixie Lott has unveiled her collection for Lipsy. Featuring a ‘Pixie Festival’ range and a ‘Pixie Party’ range. There is lace, animal print, iddy biddy shorts and some long vests for layering. I caught up with her at Kensington Roof Gardens to peruse her wares and ask her a few sports and style questions…

How would you describe your style?

I wear a lot of black and like to mix up designer and high street finds. I love wearing heels out in the evening, but being so hectic I tend to stick to flats in the day. I always have quite ‘big hair’ and like to accessorize with big flowers and head bands.

Who is your style icon?

Brigitte Bardot and Eddie Sedgwick are my ultimate style icons. But I’m reading a book about Audrey Hepburn at the moment and she was so classic and elegant I definitely look to her too.

What sort of girls do you think will be wearing your collection for Lipsy?

I hope my designs will be bought by girls of all ages – as they are cute and flattering on the figure. They’re definitely for girls with curves and for girls who like to have fun with fashion. I hope people will enjoy adding their own personal touch with handbags, shoes, interesting make-up or fun hair styles. The great thing is, you can style any of the garments up for day or night – except maybe the little black hot pants!

With the festival season coming up, what’s your secret to staying looking glam?

Festivals should be about having fun and embracing the mess. For me it’s all about mussing up my hair, getting involved with facepaint and dramatic make-up and wearing clothes that are clashing and playful.

What’s your favourite piece from the Lipsy collection?

This lace dress I’m wearing now (pictured). It’s quite vintage looking and I think it’ll style up amazingly with leather sandals or chunky welly boots if it rains!

You can see from your music videos that you’re an accomplished dancer, what do you do to keep fit?

From the age of 11 I was singing and dancing every day at school, and I think it’s really important to keep fit. Exercise makes you feel better, is good for your body long term and gives you more energy. But unfortunately I hardly have time these days to do as much as I want. Luckily with all the running around I do I manage to stay pretty active without needing to hit the gym.

For your ‘Gravity’ video you perform some contemporary dance, did you have to go back and take any classes to get you back up to speed?

I literally learnt the piece of choreography the day before and just went on set and danced it! I wish I had time in my schedule to dance every day, I really love it.

At the Pixie Lott for Lipsy interview, we ate cupcakes, sugar covered sweets, ice cream with chocolate buttons and hundreds and thousands and admired the lone flamingo wandering the grass in the Lipsy/Pixie Lott festival mock up. Pixie was a tumble of thick blonde hair, huge Bambi eyes, flawless skin and bare feet. Very Disney Princess.

The Pixie Lott for Lipsy collection is out now and available to buy online at http://www.lipsy.co.uk and also in Topshop

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Tanked Up

I pedaled down to Street Studios in Dalston on Friday to have a little snoop on a Nike/Tank Magazine collaboration. Scheduled to come out later this year in Tank Magazine, the shoot was celebrating The N98 Muse, (the national 98 Track Jacket), which is Nike Sportswear’s key piece for spring summer ’10.

Originally inspired by the Nike kit worn by the Brazilian national football team who wore the tops apres game at the World Cup in 1998. The top takes its heritage as an icon of sport and brings it up date for today. The colourways are brilliant bright blues, greens, yellows, purples and pinks – hitting the SS10 trend for bold colour. Tick.

Nike – with the help of some fashion friends, a handful of lithe athletes and the lovely people at Tank – has taken the N98 top from its original place on the medal stands and given it a place on the street.

The shoot took five of London’s most exciting new design talents – Julian Smith, Sibling, FelderFelder, Hannah Marshall, Tim Soar and Katie Eary and matched them up with hot, young Olympic hopefuls Jodie Williams, Harry Aiknes Areety, Ashlee Nelson, Charlotte Purdue, Danny Care and Martyn Rooney.

Each designer was tasked with reimagining the N98 Track Jacket for their athlete, and the results were beautiful and dynamic in equal measure.

So, what did the final garments look like? Well, it was an exclusive after all and I don’t kiss and tell, so you’ll just have to keep your eyes on the prize and buy Tank magazine (no I’m not being paid by them to blog this, truth be known I’m dying to go into gritty detail on the garments, but my moral compass is switched on and therefore I must zip my lips).

In the meantime here is a little sneak peek:

Jodie Williams having her make-up done by Jose Bass prior to bringing Julian Smith’s (stunning and empowering) creation to life in front of the lens. Anyone who has ever doubted the effect of a disciplined, active lifestyle and its effects on the body, just wait to see Jodie’s pictures – the girl has the body of a young goddess.

Although immediately nervous in front of the lens, the athletes came alive as soon as they started moving – obviously more comfortable being energetic and active than poised and awkward.

Also interesting was to see the fashion designers as nervous and humble about their creations as any ordinary folk stepping up to reveal work they’d put time, energy and soul into. Sorry to smash any prima-donna preconceptions. Felder and Felder, are however, just as enthralling as you’d expect from two striking, blonde identical twins moving as a pair the entire afternoon.

It was pretty exciting to see sportswear enjoying a high fashion moment. And rather than being paraded on models, placed on the people the items are originally intended to enhance and flatter – sportsmen and women. Kudos to Nike for simultaneously managing to be cutting-edge without losing the essence of their brand – as technical, sporting innovators. And for the record, the athletes looked every bit as dynamic, expressive and multi dimensional as any professional model shoot I’ve seen.

So, while Nike was powering forward and changing how the world relates to apres game sportswear, I thought I’d take a dip into the stylists rail – Ashish, Mark Fast, David Koma et. al – surely any brand as busy as Nike wouldn’t notice If I just slipped off with a little number by Mark… I jest. Damn that moral compass.

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Wild Cat

Puma isn’t really a sports brand that’s tickled my fancy before. I don’t instantly associate it with innovative technical apparel, like I would Asics but neither would it be my go-to for sporty lifestyle pieces, that would naturally be Nike or American Apparel. But, fresh back from the Autumn/Winter 2010 press day I feel there are a couple of garments that are worth a mention.

1. Urban Oversized Tank £20 (pictured below)

For Autumn/Winter 2010 Puma is doing dance wear. Like many other sports brands dabbling in this genre, it still has a long way to go in terms of hitting the mark technically. (I used to be  dancer, so can appreciate good support, a cut that flatters and accentuates dance lines and fabric that breathes, doesn’t chafe and feels comfortable against the skin). However, what this top does have going for it is it’s super lightweight and is made from paper thin cotton that hangs in all the right places. It’s got over exaggerated arm holes for layering over sports bras, t-shirts or leotards. And it has a racer back will give full moveability in the arms and create an attractive line around the shoulder blades. This top isn’t trying to contend with the big name dance specialists like Bloch or Capezio, it’s just simple and easy to wear. The design has an urban tie-dye feel which I think will keep those Pineapple Studio kids happy. Vogue has flagged it up in the current (June) issue too, and so expect to see a lot more of it as the season goes on

2. Lo/Mid Housten St range £40/£45 (pictured below)

Hello crazy. That’s what your friends might say when they see you in these kicks. They look like an animation that’s walked off the page, all cartoon brights, drawn on laces and pen like lines separating the traditional upper patterns. The Um Bongo colourways (including lilac, aqua and white) will bring a welcome change come A/W – it’s almost a shame they’re not available to buy now. Do wear with indigo denim if you’re under the age of 30, don’t wear without a healthy dose of irony if you’re anywhere over, or you risk looking like a bit of a video game playing, middle youth pleb.

3. I will find out the name of these shoes and post shortly. (Pictured below)

I know what you’re thinking. We’ve gone from neon flecked sports top, to Bart Simpson’s sneakers and now we have moleskin two tone ankle boots. Puma has pushed the boat out with variation for A/W. This cute shoe also comes in black. The upper is baby soft, with a highly polished patent toe and foot surround. The silhouette tapers in at the ankle thanks to a neat lace formation and then slouches out so airily it makes me feel like the shoe is letting out a sigh around the bottom of the leg.  These will look amazing with dark denim and a shearling coat.

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Also at the press day was a preview of the Alexander McQueen/Puma collaboration. There are apparently designs ready for the next few seasons, which is pretty funking exciting. I’ll post some pics soon as my uploader won’t work right now. Plus, that deserves a whole post of its own.

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