To kick off the new year, The Feminist Library will be hosting a variety of talks, workshops and story-sharing as part of the recently launched Women’s Studies Without Walls — an initiative set out to encourage further exploration into feminist issues through learning and sharing skills, experience, and information. This weekend’s events will focus on the topic of ‘The Personal is Political’ and will feature film shows, feminist fiction writing workshops, women’s self defence classes and a wide range of open discussions.
WSWW commences this Saturday followed by a weekly series of evening events at the Feminist Library. For further information or to view the full program visit feministlibrary.co.uk.
Commemorating its tenth anniversary this year, the London Short Film Festival provides its genre with the same compelling spotlight as its lengthy, blockbuster counterparts. Showcasing the best of the UK’s independent film scene in venues all across town, from the ICA to Curzon Soho, the festival has divided the work of the nation’s rising talents into according themes such as Fucked Up Love, Femmes Fantastique and Youth Of Today.
Screening this Saturday, I am Dora by Jemma Desai is a special highlight. A collaboration with designer Claire Huss, the project is an ongoing personal study of fellow female identification, and the flaws and misunderstandings that come with it. This edition will focus on the legacy of Sylvia Plath. “Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously near to wanting nothing,” Plath wrote in 1955, and the weight of her words are studied in two versions of Lady Lazarus — Sandra Lahire’s 1991 film and the Mad Men episode — plus an ‘In Conversation’ discussion between Desai and psychotherapist Sandra Hebron.
Alongside this intriguing project, the short film compilations, documentary screenings and special events like Club des Femmes presents… The Art of Conscience: A Pussy Riot Fundraiser are all the more reason to get your cinematic fix this week.
The London Short Film Festival runs until January 13.
Taking its title from the concept of traditional women’s magazines constantly degrading us due to lack of designer wardrobe/überly attractive partner/perfected physical appearance, KnockBack Magazine is an A5-sized package of feminist fun.
Having launched its debut issue with the tagline “The magazine for women who aren’t silly bitches on a diet”, the publication with tongue in cheek humour and razor sharp wit is currently on its sixth issue.
Twin caught up with contributions editor Hilary Hazard to talk about modern feminism, independent zine making and the joys of not taking life too seriously…
As a self-described “anti-Cosmopolitan”, how did KnockBack Magazine come about and what is the mantra behind it?
KnockBack (KB) was started because there weren’t any magazines talking to us. Sure we wear high heels and mascara, but we also have ideas and think being mean about someone because they look bad is worse than looking bad. We value good manners and good times and we were bored of being patronised by women’s media. We also wanted to show that ‘light hearted’ doesn’t have to mean ‘idiotic’ we can do low-brow and intelligent and good looking. We can, and we did.
What does feminism mean to you today?
I really don’t know anymore. I thought I had it down and it was just about respect but then a proper feminist kicked me in the shin and now they make me nervous.
KB aims to occupy the middle ground between political feminism – which is all female circumcision and rape statistics* – and women’s pop culture, which is all deodorant and celebrities. They are the two extremes of the female experience, KB is the happy medium.
*not a million miles from the comment I made just before getting kicked in the shin.
Issue themes have ranged from Hardcore to Smoke and Mirrors. How do you decide on the concept of each issue and what is the process of producing an independent zine like?
We use the themes as a guideline to be ignored in the face of something better. The process is a slow one, everything has to be perfect (it isn’t) and everyone has to work hard (we don’t). The problem with working independently, with no advertisers, deadlines or money, is that when we have meetings we also have bottles of wine and parties and lie-ins and days off and roast dinners.
Who are your feminist icons?
Jane Bussman (author of The Worst Date Ever), Tank Girl and my Nan, because they’re fearless and funny and they work hard. My Nan got alopecia when she was 27 so spent her whole life bald as a melon. When we were kids we’d wait until she was in the shower and then steal her wig so she had to chase us while we ran away screaming. She is a tough old broad, but she is also confident and content and that’s a massive challenge for modern women, even skinny ones with pretty hair. Most women spend their whole lives thinking they’re fat and ugly and comparing themselves to people who are thinner and prettier, my Nan just got on with it.
Jane Bussman is a comedy writer who went to Uganda because of a handsome US aid worker and subsequently wrote a book that somehow manages to bridge the gap between comedy and horrific war crimes, corruption and a child army (which is a f*cking big gap). And I like Tank Girl’s shoes.
We find feminist icons in women who are cool to each other and are proud to be women and are good at it. The KB hero is Tina Fey (Liz Lemon), because she’s funny and she loves sandwiches.
Who is the typical KB reader?
Students doing PhD’s in women’s studies, and the editor of The Spectator.
There is always a humorous tone to KB, is this an attempt to put a bit more fun back into the publishing industry?
It’s partly because funny women are something we set out to celebrate, and we really don’t take ourselves seriously at all. But also if we did straight down the line feminism stuff then only feminists would read KB, this isn’t for them, they’ve got forums all over the shop. Plus we’re funny women and it’s ours so it would be weird to make it serious.
What can we expect from the next upcoming issue?
A long wait, a snazzy cover and some jokes (but not as many as we’d like because half the team had babies or got married and everyone’s too exhausted to stay angry).
Last but not least, what are some KB words of wisdom to live by?
If it’s not funny, don’t do it, if it’s not free don’t eat it and f*ck cupcakes.
As part of the continuing 2012 Olympiad festivities, this week London’s Southbank Centre is hosting Poetry Parnassus; a celebratory gathering of poets, rappers, storytellers and singers from around the globe. Scheduled are over a hundred events and activities, (many of which are free) generating Britain’s largest poetry festival to date.
Made-to-order poems will be available for the “literary-starved” at the Poetry Takeaway, whilst the Emergency-Poet Ambulance will be on call for private poetic health consolations, offering remedies and prescriptions in the form of ‘curing’ poems, verses and lyrics.
Numerous spoken and written word artists from over two hundred countries will be participating in the festival, fronting reading-marathons and recitals as well as discussions on political topics that are often the inspiration and stimulus behind their work.
Poetry Parnassus is on now until Sunday 1st July at The Southbank Centre, London. For tickets visit southbankcentre.co.uk
After nearly two years hidden among the miscellany of rundown shops and hip bars of Dalston, LN-CC have proved themselves as one of London’s most exciting fashion destinations.
Always innovating, LN-CC have released a short film to celebrate S/S12 drawing to a close that features key pieces by Ann Demeulemeester, Haider Ackermann and Damir Doma.
Twin caught up with assistant buyer Jack Cassidy to talk present and future LN-CC…
How long have you been part of the LN-CC team?
I’ve been with LN-CC since August 2010, which was before we launched the website in September and store in November.
What were your favourite pieces from last season?
This season I’m mainly wearing pieces from Jil Sander, Damir Doma, Comme Homme Plus and a selection from our Japanese brands.
What can LN-CC fans look forward to next in store?
For AW12 we have picked up some new brands that I am really looking forward to arriving. For women’s Lucas Nascimento’s collection is very interesting – especially all of the interesting knit techniques and fabrications. So is the tailoring and outerwear from Kolor which is new for AW12 and we are the only UK stockist.
Accessories wise, the footwear from Cherevichkiotvichki is fantastic and new for us this season. All of the leather is tanned by a long and natural process – using tree bark rather than chemicals and the skins are finished in a small tannery in Tuscany, Italy. The leather is shave numerous times to achieve the faded look and the perfect colour season and is a rather unusual thickness (similar to molding or saddle leather). We’ve also got lots more accessories, men’s and women’s brands that we are pleased to have on board – it’s shaping up to be a great season.
Who would be your up and coming must buy?
It’s hard to say but I think Haider Ackermann is a great brand to be buying right now – his draping, tailoring and palette are very strong and his aesthetic is incomparable. But if it has to be up-and-coming I would say Lucas Nascimento. I think his attention to detail, quality and execution means that (despite being a young label) if he continues to develop his aesthetic he is heading in the direction of establishing a solid high-end brand.
What’s the soundtrack to working at LN-CC?
At the moment it’s Phil Manzanera as we are in the run up to launching a special release with him. The Zsou – Written in dust/Wild Honey release that we launched a few weeks ago also gets a regular play.
What are your top Dalston haunts for day and night?
Most of my time in Dalston is spent looking for somewhere new to go for lunch and then reverting to regular haunts such as Mouse De Lotz, DeBeavoir Deli and Bardens.
Describe LN-CC’s customer?
We tend not to define our customer or think to much about who they are. But we do see them mixing the mainline brands with the smaller and more street wear-inspired Japanese or London designers as that is the way we wear the product ourselves. We hope too that they have an interest in the different areas of LN-CC such as the clothing, books and music.
Sharmadean Reid is a one woman wonder. The Wolverhampton-native is the owner of Wah Nails, London’s quintessential heaven of nail art which launched in 2009, as well as editor of Wah Zine, sportswear editor of Arena Homme Plus and consultant to brands like Nike.
Wah have taken their magic as far as New York and Tokyo and most recently, Sharmadean authored The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art, a guide on how to recreate the salon’s 25 most popular designs at home. Whatever the endeavour, Reid’s story has been one of continuous success.
Twin sat down with the multi-talent to discuss what defines a Wah Girl, accessorising with nail art and past beauty faux pas…
What was the idea behind setting up Wah Nails? The idea came from just wanting a place to hang out with my mates where I could have anything I wanted on my nails. Nothing would be a fuss and nothing an issue. I wanted uptown meets downtown. There is still no salon I’d want to hang out in except for Wah.
Where do you rank the importance of nail art in accessorising a look? The first accessory in any look should be an attitude. Nail art is dope and there’s something for everyone. It should be the cherry on the cake for the outfit.
What was your intention with The Wah Nails Book of Nail Art? My intention for the book was to allow girls all over the world the chance to dive into a little bit of London. I remember being a teenager in Wolverhampton and devouring anything that was cool and London. I wanted to give that experience to other young girls. I also wanted a smash hits annual vibe. Like a snapshot of a time and a place. This is 2012, these are the girls, here’s the nails, this is what’s up.
How would you describe the typical Wah Nails girl? The typical Wah Girl mixes fashion and street, loves gold and doesn’t give a shit what other people think. She is the last girl on the dancefloor, doing it – doing something, is chill, yet trill and in control.
You have done collaborations with the likes of Minx and Models Own. What projects are planned for the future and how would you like to expand the Wah Nails brand? I really want to do a product range. Keep the brand on bathroom shelves.
Last but not least, what are your own past favourite beauty looks and faux pas? My favourite beauty look growing up was gelled kiss curls, they’re coming back now. My faux pas was shaving my eyebrows!
The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art is out now and available here.
Kate Tempest stomps all over words. When the rapper, poet and playwright spits, people listen, her words cut like a knife and hang over you like a thunder storm. A Shakespeare from the South London streets who takes what she sees and tells it as it is.
We think you ought to know that her debut play, Wasted, is currently at the Roundhouse this week, and the restless Tempest has published a dvd/cd/book of her poetry called Everything Speaks in its Own Way. If you haven’t already witnessed Kate Tempest, then it’s time for your initiation.
Everything Speaks in its Own Way is available from Shakespeare and Co in Paris and at gigs and online from katetempest.co.uk Wasted is at the Roundhouse until 19 May roundhouse.org.uk
The Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute’s new exhibition focuses on two icons of classic design separated by disparate eras: The late Elsa Schiaparelli, creator of the ‘Tear’ dress and associate of the Surrealist movement, and Muiccia Prada, a politics graduate whose coveted Postmodernist creations are made for women’s brains – not their bodies.
Their collaborative exhibition: Schiaparelli and Prada – Impossible Conversations, comprises of signature pieceswhich are divided into seven themed galleries, including Hard Chic and The Surreal Body. The designers’ ensembles are collated and video installations are included which depict simulated conversations between the women with a view to highlight similitudes and contradictions in their work.
Accompanying the exhibition is a photographic book of the same name, which enriches the narrative of the show by including a miniature booklet connecting the designers generational disparity. Photographs, articles and quotes intimate additional ‘impossible conversations’ between them.
The exhibit and book not only illustrate an interdependence between the historic and the contemporary, but they also provide a delightful glimpse into the agency of two dissenters who have consistently undermined conventional edicts of elegance and sophistication in all of their staid, and unimaginative manifestations by creating an alternate, yet beautiful array of fresh palettes and concepts.
Schiaparelli and Prada – Impossible Conversations is showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute in New York until 19 August 2012.
Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations is published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Lizzie Garrett Mettler’s blog Tomboy Style is a Mecca for lovers of brogues, fedoras, and blazers. With its mix of images from icons of mannish dressing such as Jane Birkin to modern day tomboys opening up their enviable wardrobes for us to see, Tomboy Style is a stylish vindication for every woman whose ever shunned a dress in favour of a sharply tailored suit or a heel in favour of a flat.
After two years of documenting her tomboy style, Garrett Mettler has published a delicious book of her favourite images from the blog. Twin caught up with her to ask a few questions of our own…
When and why did you start your blog?
May 2010, right after I started to notice a shift in the word. It all of the sudden seemed to be attached to good style all over the place.
What’s your earliest tomboy style memory?
Throwing all of the dolls out of my room at age two.
Who is your go to designer for tomboy style?
Oh man, just one!? Today I’d say…Margaret Howell.
What item of clothing wouldn’t we find in your wardrobe?
An ‘it’ bag.
What’s your default tomboy style uniform?
Skinny jeans, a men’s button-down, smoking slippers.
If you were wearing a dress, what would it be?
I wear dresses a lot actually, but they’re usually more architectural or masculine, like Helmut Lang and Phillip Lim, more of a Roitfeld-inspired look.
When it comes to your style heroines, who makes the final cut?
Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Charlotte Rampling.
What have you learnt from doing your blog?
That there’s quite a few other women that feel the same way I do about the intersection of style and tomboys.
What’s on your wish list?
I am moving into a new house, so right now, all I can think about is furniture.
What’s next up?
Research for the next project!
TOMBOY STYLE: Beyond the Boundaries of Fashion by Lizzie Garrett Mettler is published by Rizzoli New York. tomboystyle.co.uk
For Bethan Cole’s celebration of tomboys inspired by this book see Twin 6.
Jeweller Noemi Klein has collaborated with maverick artist and tattooist Liam Sparkes to produce a bold collection inspired by Sparkes’ distinctive ink style.
Emerging from a shared love of medieval imagery and religious iconography it’s a richly illustrated collection that fuses Sparkes’ drawing with Klein’s artisanship. Their choices of imagery, such as feudal castles and pagan ram’s heads, hint at a pre-industrial age of artisanship where metal work had a raw quality and items such as signet rings, practical significance.
Noemi Klein X Liam Sparkes collection is available at No-One, 1 Kingsland Road, London