Last night the new Versus Versace was launched in New York with an unconventional fashion show. Creative Director Donatella Versace and J.W. Anderson were visible from backstage where they prepared the models, while live performances from Angel Haze, Dead Sara, as well as Twin favourite, Grimes, intercut the runway. The whole event was interactive, streamed live, uploaded to Instagram.
Donatella Versace commented that the event was about bringing together everything she loves. “This mix of music and fashion captures the essence of Versus Versace, a label for a new global tribe,” she says. The collection itself plays with the original Versace DNA, reworking it into new pieces with sharp silhouettes and iconic motifs. With collaborations and limited edition pieces, Donatella Versace hopes to make this a new home for fresh talent and creativity.
J.W. Anderson is just one of the first guest designers who will, in turn, show us their take on the Versus Versace spirit. “The idea behind the collection was about a modern, sharp, Versus Versace, with a focus on the shared wardrobe,” says Anderson, “a man in a woman’s wardrobe, and a woman in a man’s”. The result is pieces that toy with gender and sexuality, pieces that should be worn with an attitude of fearlessness. The capsule collection will be available online from June 15, in addition to exclusive behind the scenes footage of the making of the collection.
Look at your calendar. Today is March 8th. For over 100 years, today is when women across the world come together to celebrate and shout about women and issues affecting women.
Author and journalist Kira Cochrane was the Guardian’s women’s editor from 2006 to 2010. She also edited an anthology of Guardian feminist writing, Women of the Revolution, which is out on paperback today.
Twin caught up with Kira to talk about how things have changed for women…
What did you discover about feminism and the way it’s changed from editing Women of the Revolution?
Looking at the history of feminism over the last forty years, what’s interesting is how many of the issues essentially remain the same, even if they’ve shifted and hopefully improved in the meantime. In the Seventies there was huge concern about sexual violence, abortion rights, equal pay, political representation, and there still is today. Also, the attitudes we have to challenge – in ourselves as much as anyone – stay similar, and there’s something powerful in realising that. One of the pieces I love in the anthology is by Jill Tweedie, from 1971, when she writes that women have to fight “the continual and largely unconscious compulsion to be nice”. I think that message is as relevant as ever!
Can you remember your first meaningful contact with feminism? When and what was it?
It was really the example of my mother. I grew up in a pretty non-political household in Essex – I don’t think my mother’s ever referred to herself as a feminist, and we didn’t have political conversations or anything like that – but it was a really political situation. My father died of a heart attack when I was two, my brother was run over and killed when he was eight and I was six, my younger brother was born with serious learning disabilities, which mean he’ll always have to be looked after, and my mother had a major rift with her family, and stopped talking to them almost thirty years ago.
She’d left school at sixteen, and I’ve watched her, throughout my life, work exceptionally hard to look after me and my brother, as a single mother, often working minimum wage jobs (in the days before there was a minimum wage – so we’re talking REALLY minimal!). That provided a pretty awe-inspiring example of female strength. It impressed on me just how powerful women can be, and also how important it is for us to have financial and emotional independence, and a society that values women’s work, while supporting people of both sexes, all backgrounds, when they’re hit by circumstances beyond their control.
What are the main issues affecting women’s rights today that particularly provoke you?
What still really shocks me is the high incidence of rape and sexual assault – and the low incidence of convictions on those charges. I’m as enraged as ever by that.
Have you perceived a change in the way women will identify as feminist in recent years?
Over the past five or ten years it seems the number of young women identifying as feminist has soared – there have been so many great feminist voices appearing online, and I think they’ve underlined how relevant, how current, all these issues still are. I think there was a moment, back in the Ninenties, when there was huge talk of us living in a ‘post-feminist’ age, and women were embarrassed to call themselves feminists, worried they’d be seen as hairy of armpit and dour of personality, but we seem to be beyond that backlash now. I think now too, when we ARE hairy, we’re hairy and proud!
Why is International Women’s Day important?
Obviously, in an ideal world, there would be no need to have a single day set aside for women, but given the issues still facing us, it’s a great opportunity for conversation, activism, performances, campaigning. I became women’s editor of the Guardian in 2006, and there seemed a lot of activity back then, but nothing compared with the explosion of events taking place this year.
What will you be doing on International Women’s Day?
I’ll be interviewing people for a feminist piece I’m writing, and then attending whatever events I can around that. On Friday and Sunday, I’m appearing on panels at the Women of the World festival on London’s Southbank, and I’ll be trying to see as much as I can there too, because it’s a great programme they’ve put together.
What artists/writers/musicians do you admire for promoting female creativity and issues?
So many! Not all of them would define themselves as feminist, but on the art side, Cindy Sherman, Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, Susan Hiller, the Guerrilla Girls, Alice Neel, Louise Bourgeois, Gillian Wearing. I went to New York last year, and made a small pilgrimage to see Judy Chicago’s great feminist work, The Dinner Party, on long-term display at the Brooklyn Museum. That’s some proper Seventies feminist goodness!
In terms of writers, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Carol Ann Duffy, Jo Shapcott, Maya Angelou, Zadie Smith, Muriel Spark, and Paula Fox. I remember being profoundly moved by Andrea Dworkin’s memoir Heartbreak, and I had never really understood the true meaning of the phrase ‘mind-bending’ until I read Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House last year. That last book is extraordinary, as is Jackson’s short story The Lottery, and her final novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
When it comes to musicians, I’d say Nina Simone, Dinah Washington, Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, The Breeders and Tina Turner. I love the way Beth Ditto has spoken about her feminism, and I still love the anger and energy of Liz Phair’s 1993 album Exile in Guyville all these years later.
And then there are the women filmmakers – too many good ones to mention them all, but Nicole Holofcener for making truly grown-up films, Kim Longinotto for making intensely powerful documentaries, and Claire Denis for making really startling, beautiful work.
Which writer would you point young women curious about feminism in the direction of?
I’ve spoken to a lot of women recently who had never really encountered feminism, who have absolutely loved Caitlin Moran’s How to be a Woman, and found it a brilliant introduction to all sorts of ideas. I also think it’s worth checking out Jessica Valenti’s books; Female Chauvinist Pigs by Ariel Levy; and Living Dolls by Natasha Walter. And one of the reasons I had for putting Women of the Revolution together in the first place was to create a book full of serious ideas, and excellent writers, so that people could discover them and decide who they wanted to read more widely. So many women who have inspired me are in there: Susan Brownmiller, Nawal El Saadawi, bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Joan Smith, to name just a few.
What are you working on next?
I have about 1500 ideas for feminist articles, so I’m just working my way through those – also, plans for another feminist book, and a couple of novels, so it’s a question, as ever, of working out what there’s time for, and then seeing what sticks!
KIRA COCHRANE is the editor of Women of the Revolution (Guardian Books, £9.99) out today. She is a features writer for the Guardian and co-edited the anthology of women’s journalism, Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs. @KiraCochrane
Trust Nike to make working out hip and fun. For their new collection, Made By Nike, they’ve enlisted quirky blogger/DJ extraordinaire and Twin friend Bip Ling, to talk about her love of boxing.
The project, worked on by Twin’s Creative Director Becky Smith, uses the Tumblr format in order to make shopping an easy click and buy experience. Meanwhile the pieces, a slick collection of purple hued, grey and black sportswear could easily make it into our everyday wardrobe for some added sports luxe.
Twin caught up with Bip to talk about her involvement…
How did Nike find out you were a fan of the brand? Through my blog bipling.com
You’re known for your fun style, what was it that appealed to you about the Nike Made For You collection? I think every day is a stylie day, so when working out why not get into a stylie style.
Can you remember your first pair of Nikes? My Indian grandmother Didas bought me Nikes when I first learnt how to walk. They were white with a blue Nike swish swoosh and with Velcro.
What are your top tunes to listen to while you work out?
I like to listen to Drum and Bass when I work out. It seems to give me lots of energy; it’s great fun to listen to when I punch the peanut ball in the gym and also for runs outside. Makes me feel like I am Sonic the Hedgehog.
1. Big Tings by Drumsound & Sion Bassline Smith feat. Skibadee
2. Dr Feels Good by Original Sin
3. Aztec by Spor
4. You’re Mine by Potential Badboy Deat. Yush
5. Feelings by Shy FX & T. Power
6. Big Bad & Heavy by Leviticus
What’s been your most fashion moment since starting your blog?
I’m not entirely aware of when a fashion moment occurs, but I do love living in the moment.
What would you do if the Internet disappeared for a day?
Learn how to sing.
Tell us another thing about yourself that nobody knows?
I really enjoy eating black pudding.
Last but not least, can you give us any boxing tips?
Punch with your core strength.
Punch with a smile…
and style. hahaaaa lol.x
Do you remember your first pair of DMs? Twin’s Editor Becky Smith certainly does and still dons them now and then for an instant flash of Nineties nostalgia. For the second in their series of #firstandforever stories in collaboration with Dr. Marten’s, online magazine Le Cool, asked Becky to relive her first love – a pair of black DM boots.
Read Becky’s story here and reveal your #firstandforever tale here.
In the second part of our look back over the past year, Twin’s fashion team name their stars of 2011 and who to watch out for in the next 12 months…
Celestine Cooney – Fashion Director
My favourite show of 2011 was Simone Rocha Spring/Summer 12. I fell in love with the whole collection, it felt so modern and was executed so perfectly with the combination of traditional lace with sheer tulle and rubber. The use of colour in Spring/Summer 12 was also really inspiring with bright pink and a lucid green popping in a collection of black and white.
I think Simone Rocha is a star in the making. I find what she is doing and the collections she is producing, incredibly exciting.
Naomi Miller – Fashion Editor
I loved the Celine collection for Spring/Summer 2012. It was very chic, the couple of knitwear pieces they did were beautiful and so innovative.
Obviously it’s been an incredible 2011 for Sarah Burton, but I’m also stoked for Olivier Theyskens for putting Theyskens’ Theory on the map this year. I also loved the Thomas Tait show – and loved the styling with the sneakers!
As one year passes to the next, Twin thought it time to pause and reflect. And who better to kick off our New Year rewind than Twin editor, Becky Smith…
So, 2011 was a mad mix. From the Kardashian’s, who spread throughout the globe like a new herpes type of disease, becoming the most googled thing in the UK, to the riots, which were basically extreme shopping. There was structured reality courtesy of TOWIE, Made in Chelsea and Desperate Scousewives. WARNING – this can bring on early dementia and is to be avoided unless hungover. There was also 4D TV – total bollocks – and the Beckhams posing the big question, has Victoria finally worn us down into believing she is credible? Not to forget the Higgs Boson. Does anyone actually know what this is?
To sum up the best and worst of 2011, here are a few of my favorite Portmanteaus: Après-olution: relaxation that follows the ritualistic but often quixotic making of New Years’ resolutions.
Occupy-movement: New mode of urban habitation which has replaced loft living. All the best people are now doing it, though most only stay a night or two.
Bunga bunga: Phrase associated, for largely unknown reasons, with Silvio Berlusconi’s sex parties. I think I get it though.
Lottoroticism: The arousal and satisfaction of excitement within or by oneself as one imagines what they would do if they hit the lottery. I think I feel this every year.
Planking: See here. The act of balancing yourself in a horizontal position on top of unlikely objects. There are strict rules for proper planking: the planker must be lying face down, completely still, with his or her hands by her sides – I can’t help but think of the economy right now.
And so, to 2012. The events I’m looking forward to are: Becoming a Mumpreneur: A woman who combines running a business with looking after her children. Actually, this is a lie. I don’t have children or plan to.
Flying Cuddle Class: When two airline passengers buy an additional seat so that they can recline together.
And above all…
Mamil(s): A middle-aged man in Lycra
Mullet dress(es): A woman’s skirt cut short at the front but long at the back.
Having co-hosted our Issue V LFW launch, Theory creative director-extraordinaire Olivier Theyskens is the focus of Tom Allen’s beautifully-directed black and white film for Twin.
It’s an intimate and lasting insight into his much-adored and critically-acclaimed work for the New York brand. With conversation ranging from his interpretation of style to the influence of art on his designs, Olivier also touched on his long-standing love of New York- as youthful aspiration, creative melting pot and, most recently, home. Having lived there for the past year, his S/S ’12 collection with Theyskens’ Theory was a love letter to the essence of effortless downtown style. Rendered in a romantic, urban palette that could have been lifted from the photos which adorned his childhood bedroom, and embodied by a succession of utterly wearable, highly desirable pieces, there is no doubt that Olivier’s vision of contemporary femininity will continue to capture hearts and minds everywhere.
Watch the film and read his story in his own words as part of Twin Issue V.
For Twin V we’ve gone to the roots of female creativity and taken a look at the growing young talent working right now. Twin spoke to Grace LaDoja, whose ambition and hard-work has singled her out from her peers. Grace’s eyes and ears are firmly locked on the youth culture pavement. The filmmaker has been documenting youth sub cultures since her first job at 17 and it was her childhood in London that shaped her world.
“Growing up in a three bedroom house with eight other kids around me I learnt if you don’t get up and do something you’ll be unnoticed,” says Grace. “In London you are surrounded by everything culturally relevant. I sucked it all up. I wasn’t the stereotypical black girl living in north London. I was into different music, different scenes on every level. I started running with the things surrounding me. I didn’t even skate but I was fascinated by the scene.”
As part of her first job at sneaker community Crooked Tongues, Grace flew around the world shooting films for brands like Adidas, Stussy and Etnies. Finally a year ago she set up her own production company LaDoja and Sons and has since worked with brands like Nike and Swatch as well as making documentaries such as London to Paris – a film about the cycling scene.
“I love youth culture and I want to document what’s happening now. In the same way as people look to the Eighties and Nineties I want to give kids in the future something to reference from this era. Eventually I’d love to make films like Spike Lee and Martin Scorcese, telling the story of what’s happening.”
“We live in a generation where everyone’s someone and wants to be their own boss. I feel proud to be where I am. I’ve got a space with 15 people working in there and we’re working with big brands. I’m doing something I love and I’m making money. I’m not faking it.”
Love tennis? Tomorrow Twin teams up with Nike to take over their relaunched 1948 Shoreditch space. To mark the Wimbledon Women’s Final, we’re celebrating female creativity with a series of one-on-one collaborative events. Watch the women’s tennis alongside exclusive performance from poet and musician Kate Tempest in a sound clash with the Bruccheri Strings, enjoy collaborative creative clashes between cake maker Lily Vanilli and illustrator Kate Merry as well as a live fashion shoot with photographer Letty Schmiterlow and stylist Alice Goddard.
Spaces are limited, but to come along to this very special 1 x 1 event which takes place from 1 – 6pm at 1948 email: email@example.com
Soap is one of my grand obsessions. I generally shower once a day with a great block of it and have been known to take up to two baths in addition to my shower. I am a cleansaholic. And if I had a to choose just one item to take to a desert island (cliched though that thought may be), the one item would be soap (although mascara would come close!). My favourite destinations to shop for soap are Liberty‘s beauty hall and Fresh (I love their milk soaps). But a rather magical soap brand has recently come to my attention and it is called Dr Bronner. Dr Bronner is probably one of the only beauty gurus to have been locked up in a mental asylum and go on to found a beauty brand. This was just one of the things that endeared me to it! He’s long gone now but his soaps – liquid and solid- remain and they are rather fabulous too. Not only are they vegan and organic and free from the harsh detergent ingredient Sodium Laureth Sulphate but they smell delicious – almond and rose are my favourites. They are incredibly gentle with a sparse and soft lather that is not in the slightest synthetic and foamy. What’s more, the company gives between 30% and 70% of post-tax profits to various charities and donates 20p from the sale of every soap bottle in the UK to the charity War Child. It’s a truly ethical and caring enterprise, but equally importantly a really pleasurable product to use in the shower or bath. From Waitrose, Whole Foods, Planet Organic and Fresh and Wild.