Tucked down a side road in Dalston, in a 6000sqft basement is Late Night Chameleon Café. Known by the acronym LN-CC the self-proclaimed ‘retail concept’ opened its doors this month.
The store is the brainchild of former Selfridges and Harrods buyers John Skelton and Daniel Mitchell who enlisted Twin favourite, set designer Gary Card to create the rabbit-warren interior.
A cylindrical corridor leads to the three fashion rooms showcasing the best of cult fashion design. In one room Damir Doma, Rick Owens and Ann Demeulemeester are ready-styled on mannequins or hanging from suspended rails. Emerging brands like Nonnative and SASQUATCHfabrix are in another while in the third room Raf Simons sits alongside Lara Bohinc and Mawi.
There is a fourth ‘Celestial’ space full of rare art, fashion books and records. All the favourites are here and then some: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Phyllis Galembo, Maison Martin Margiela and Harmony Korine.
But it’s the details that set this boutique apart from other retailers. The brands are carefully handpicked, cleverly edited and curated so that the space feels more like a gallery than a boutique. Built-in benches encourage thorough perusal of the records and art books. Oh and did we mention the changing rooms are on wheels?
LN-CC is a shopping landmark in the making; book your appointment now.
Hair experts call it Ombre colour, and it’s the latest trend to grip trendsetters and celebrities alike since the pastel colour hair around about a year ago (first seen at Giles SS10). Basically it is dip dyeing hair and Nicki Minaj, Alexa Chung, Drew Barrymore and lots of others are having their ends dipped in a contrast colour. We love it.
Since the Seventies artist Cindy Sherman has successfully used her own image as her canvas without revealing her true identity. Though the artist is her own sole subject, her photographs are a world away from atypical self-portraiture.
A consummate performer, over the years Sherman has cast herself across the gamut of female identities – from Playboy centrefold and clown, to ageing American socialite and B-movie star.
For her latest turn at Spruth Magers in London, Sherman’s image is again central, but hidden. This time under a fresh array of bizarre costumes and ridiculous personas. Departing from her usual framed photograph format, she has embraced digital techniques, casting her eccentric characters onto large toile style murals, reminiscent of French parlour wallpaper.
Sherman’s surreal universe is populated by dowdy middle-aged women with broken ankles, and naked female warriors whose comedic appearance is at odds with the bucolic backdrop. Disturbing AND funny. This show is not to be missed.
Cindy Sherman is at Spruth Magers London from 12 January- 19 February spruethmagers.com
When Allen Ginsberg first performed his epic hallucinatory poem Howl in 1955, it was seen as the desolate cry of an awakening counterculture. A 3600 word hymn to drugs, jazz, love and lust that defined the Beat Generation.
“Angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night, who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz.”
Ginsberg evoked the atmosphere of William S. Burroughs’ Junkie and laid the perceptual path for Jack Kerouac’s On The Road (picture above). But long before their literary apotheosis these Fifties radicals were for him, simply, “a bunch of friends looking to get published.” During those early days Ginsberg often photographed his contemporaries – young dispossessed men that would go on to define the subterranean era.
This January, a selection of Ginsberg’s images will be exhibited at the National Theatre in London. While the exhibition charts the infaltration of the Beats into the mainstream literary consciousness, it’s also a healthy reminder of the potency of youth.
Angelheaded Hipsters: Images of the Beat Generation is at the National Theatre from 24 January – 20 March 2011 nationaltheatre.org.uk
It’s your last chance to see Graham Little’s virtuoso drawings at the Alison Jacques Gallery this weekend. His pencil on paper portraits inspired by old fashion magazine shoots are beguiling and romantic. Taking inspiration from the pages of vintage Vogue and Harpers, Little breathes a painterly quality into what were once glossy photographs. In doing so, he transforms fashion models into timeless beauties.
Little’s muses are all about muted colours and thoughtful gazes, proving that even in our crowded visual world we can still unearth new stories and narratives from archival images. These softly feminine women live in a world outside of fashion and time. Catch them before they disappear.
After high profile fashion pairings such as Lanvin for H&M and Valentino for Gap, perhaps it was only natural that beauty companies too should want a piece of the collaborative action. Cult and cultured Aussie beauty brand Aesop were one of the first – teaming up with clothing brand A.P.C to create a special hand washing detergent earlier in 2010. Then came Marchesa and Le Metier De Beaute who produced a capsule collection of palettes and lipglosses; subtle and subliminal, the perfect accompaniment to a Marchesa evening gown.
Now, there’s Marcel Wanders for MAC, a capsule collection, only available online (maccosmetics.co.uk) that takes make up packaging design to the next level. The beautiful baroque curvilinear packaging stands in marked contrast to the minimalist Nineties design of regular MAC products. These items look like glossy black chess pieces rather than an aesthetes’ make up arsenal.
Wanders claims he was inspired by Vermeer and, Girl With a Pearl Earring and as a result some of the colours are curiously naturalistic. For example there are light gold and golden nude lipglosses that add very lucent party season sparkle to your face. “Designing beauty packaging immediately made me think of the painterly connection,” says Wanders of his work. Indeed the suitably artistic brush roll (£60) is one of the standout items.
Whilst we love Wanders for MAC – it’s doing something truly innovative with product design, more collaborations are on their way. February 1st sees Milly for Clinique hit counters (a palette designed by the cutesy floral NYC brand), and later in spring there’s Tibi for Bobbi Brown, another niche fashion brand allied to a beauty monolith. For now, December, it’s all about Marcel Wanders for us.
Photographer Bridget Fleming spent the summer of 2009 on her bike, cruising downtown Manhattan with friends, camera in hand. What started as a series of video clips destined for a short film reel, became the project Downtownfrombehind.com – stills of cyclists, shot from behind.
“Shooting from behind gives both street and subject the opportunity to share the limelight,” says Fleming. “I guess it’s a less self-indulgent portrait for the subject and an opportunity for the audience to see and feel the New York streetscape.” All of her shots are planned and many of her subjects are friends,or, as the project grew, friends of friends, chefs, designers, architects, musicians and stylists.
She continues: “In most cases subjects are driven by time of day, and light, as I work my way through downtown. More recently I’ve had people ask to be included in the project, that, and I’m working on several bigger group shots with larger organisations.” Fleming, it seems, is The Sartorialist on wheels.
To tell the story of the last forty years of fashion is no mean feat. And yet, in Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, curator Olivier Salliard has done just that, conveying fashion’s changing moods, trends and attitudes with ease. Now in its second instalment, Les Années 1990-2000, the show is a master class in display. Mirrors guide the eye from collar to cuff, and onto the next collection, garments float on mid-air mannequins and captions take the form of labelled leaves of translucent paper artfully strewn across the museum floor.
Arranged via aesthetic rather than chronology, viewers move from Belgian deconstruction and Japanese minimalism, to Martine Sitbon’s grunge. The first instalment of the exhibition (which is now closed) kicked off with Yves Saint Laurent’s 1971 collection ‘Liberation’, commemorating the birth of pret-a-porter. Les Années 1990-2000 goes on to explore the rise – and delightful abandonment – of function in fashion. Exit through the gift shop via the drama of Alexander McQueen and Viktor & Rolf.
Histoire Idéale de la Mode Contempraine, vol. II: Les Années 1990-2000 is at Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris until 8th May 2011 lesartsdecoratifs.fr
Images courtesy of Guy Marineau and Philippe Brazil. Words by Sarah Smith
The interface between literature and perfume has never been exploited fully by perfumers until very recently. Perhaps it was only natural that Frederic Malle, who has always described himself as a perfume ‘publisher’ and his noses as authors, would be one of the first to exploit the connection. His latest fragrance ‘Portrait of a Lady’ (nose: Dominique Ropion) is just the sort of elevated, elegant and cultivated oriental that the heroine of Henry James’ 1881 novel, Isabel Archer, might have worn as she undertook her grand tour of Paris, Florence and Rome. Malle describes the smell, a composition including rose essence, cinnamon, clove, patchouli and incense as, ‘aristocratic’. And it certainly has an archness, a transcendence, a haute couture poise about it.
Compare and contrast with Byredo’s ‘Baudelaire’, inspired directly by the olfactive ambience of LesFleurs Du Mal, which has juniper berry, black pepper, incense, leather, patchouli and black amber in its saturnine pasticcio. Like Malle, Byredo’s Ben Gorham comes across as something of a bibliophile – he has a scented candle in his collection called ‘Bibliotheque’ with peach plum, violet, leather and vanilla numbered in its accord. A gorgeous scent to waft around in the environs of your old books.
Frederic Malle ‘Portrait Of A Lady’ is £115.00/50ml from Les Senteurs (020 7730 2322), lessenteurs.com and Byredo ‘Baudelaire’ is £115.00/100ml from Liberty (020 7734 1234), liberty.co.uk