03.02.2017 | Fashion | BY:

‘Make-Do and Mend’ embraces resourcefulness, strangeness and redemption, celebrating with the unconventional beauty and spirit at the heart of the beloved Christopher Kane brand.

The SS17 campaign features model of the moment Jean Campbell, with photography by Alasdair McLellan; its story telling pictures show the figure of the outsider, an idea of a new primitivism and the transmutation of clothing – making something out of the humble and discarded, but with a throughly Kane kinda elevation.


“Combined with the resourcefulness of the forties, that feeling of ‘Make-Do and Mend’ and in that movement from the city to the countryside, there’s also an element of the supernatural and the ancient – from the sophisticated to the spiritual. This reminded us of where we grew up, just down the road from Carfin Grotto, the Roman Catholic shrine that is the Scottish version of Lourdes’’ said Christopher Kane of the new campaign. Perhaps it’s that same enduring, mystical element of Kane’s vision that has rendered his version of crocs so seductive… seriously. Whatever his magic touch is, with Kane you know you never have to compromise.

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Getting to know: Ganor Dominic

15.01.2017 | Fashion | BY:

Ganor Dominic is the shoe world’s new rising star, known for appealing tothose that have a “penchant for the experimental”. Designs include two-way sequin boots and exaggerated gripped brogues, and with the likes of Carine Roitfeld and Lady Gaga already amongst her fans, you can expect to see much more of the designer this year. Twin gets the lowdown.

What is your first memory of footwear?

It was my grandmother’s collection of vintage heels from 60’s. Every time I visited her, me and my sister would go to the shoe drawer and try everything on.

Describe your aesthetic.

Sculptural, minimal with the emphasis on the 3D elements. I also like multifunctional things and try to implement this in my designs by adding removable details or material that changes colour.


Who do you design for?

What connects all Ganor Dominic customers is passion for avant-garde unusual objects, they love art and what to stand out from the crowd.

Where do you draw your inspiration?

Initially for the debut collection in was classical sculpture. Now I try to develop this theme and experiment with colour.

Do you have a signature style?

Yes, it’s Apollo pumps with 3D printed marble face under the sole.

What is your favourite pair of shoes of all time?

Ganor Dominic Chronos brogues: they come with three removable front panels, so you get 4 different shoes in 1.


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12.01.2017 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Following on from a recent exhibition of photographs by Steven Miesel, LOEWE presents a collection of surrealist works by artist Ouka Leele.

Exhibited at Gran Via location in Madrid, the brand’s oldest store, the exhibition is a tribute to the surrealist Leele, who still to this day lives in the capital. In the 1980s Leele was a key figure associated with ‘Movida’, an explosion of countercultural energy that transcended film, music and painting.

‘Peluqueria’ (hairdresser) which consists of 19 images are now on display at the lower level of LOEWE Gran Via, sees the imagery juxtaposed against the matte black walls with stark spot lighting. The iconic shots have also been printed onto accessories, also available to purchase online.

Hairdresser: 11th January 2017 – 26th February 2017.
LOEWE, Gran Via, 8.

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Add Them To Your Radar: Nude London

30.12.2016 | Fashion | BY:

Founded by life-long friends Angelina and Julia the RTW brand, The Nude London exudes a whimsical femininity with a collection that consists of feather-light chiffon dresses, printed blouses and sharp tailoring. We catch up with the friends-come-business partners to chat about launching a new label and the power of female friendship.

Tell us how you first started?

We have known each other since childhood and have always been inspired by femininity and beautiful dresses. Each one of us has lived all over the world: Tokyo, London, Paris, Moscow and have drawn inspiration from there. Eventually, we wanted to create that effortlessly cool feminine look with our brand.

How would you describe your aesthetic? 

Very girly and elegant with a sexy twist.

The Nude London 5

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Travelling and the amazing inspiring women we meet along the way.

Is there anyone you have in mind when designing?

Our heroine is the modern day woman who is not afraid to express herself, she loves being a woman and dressing in a feminine way.

Who would you love to dress?

Vanessa Paradis and Lily-Rose Depp.

The Nude London 1

Which is your favourite piece, or pieces, from the collection?

We particularly love the Queen Mary dress, but this season we also branched out into outerwear and the coats are just so cool and comfortable!

Visit more here:

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Introducing PRITCH London

27.12.2016 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Calling all wanderlusters, the leather experts at PRITCH have now launched their latest line, PRITCH Adventures. The new range offers luxe travel wear, consisting of oversized sweatshirts and classic track pants in a colour palette of black, white, olive, baby blue, sapphire blue and deep red. Like the RTW PRITCH London range, this line has thoughtful detailing, which sees the finest leather combined with super-cosy jersey that is perfect for your winter getaways. Perfect for glam, post-holiday lounging.

Tell us about your background.

I was born in Moscow and raised in between Saint Petersburg, Germany, Malta and United Kingdom. At the age of 5 I started drawing and by the age of 7 I started to do fashion sketches. By the age of 14 I figured that I want to start my own fashion brand. Since then I never looked back.

You specialise in leather, what is it about this material that you love?

I feel like leather is underestimated as a material. Not enough is done, possibilities are endless. It is also a very challenging material to work with, that requires attention to detail. You only have one chance with it, as you can not stitch it twice.

How would you describe your brand aesthetic?

Embodying today’s duality between elegance and edge. PRITCH London’s distinctive signature is transformation and the art of combining various leathers and luxurious textures in one piece. Each PRITCH London garment is designed with multi-functionality and transformation in mind, easily layered or transformed with removable elements. Inspiration behind is contrasts and edges.

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Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?

I am in love with the Hybrid Bomber from our current AW16 collection for a casual day out or a fancy evening with friends. And my from now on “must travel in” piece is the “Jet-setter travel set” from our newest “Pritch Adventures” travel wear line.

You have launched PRITCH Adventures, what inspired this?

My constant adventures around the world, passion for travelling and lack of comfortable and sophisticated pieces to wear while I travel.

What do you have coming up for 2017?

I’m not even sure where to start. I have collaborations with well-known and up and coming artists, new partnerships, a mens capsule collection, kids travel wear and so much more!


Visit the Pritch London site here:

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A little bit of chaos

12.12.2016 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

Meet the latest offering from the Chaos crew: personalisable iPhone cases. Having designed those custom made luxe silk tracksuit bottoms for Cara Delevinge and Margot Robbie, Chaos have nailed personalisation and haven’t looked back.

Founded by fashion editors and stylists Charlotte Stockdale and Katie Lyall, the brand’s line of phone accessories ranges from cases to alphabet charms, emblazoned with statement slogans, to graphic motifs (we love the pills) and initials.

Chaos Blah

Available from their site:, as well as Dover Street Market, Selfridges and Order before the 15th December to receive in time for Christmas.

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Getting To Know Emerging Designer Gotal Ryam

30.10.2016 | Fashion | BY:

The Central Saint Martin’s graduate, Gotal Ryam creates clothing that is at the intersection of fashion and art, RTW and couture. Having realised her dream of becoming a designer, she was brought to London from Paris and hasn’t looked back since. Having launched her e-shop this week, we catch up with this fashion designer to watch.

Tell us about how you started in the industry?

Following my move from Paris to London, I ended up in Soho where my interest in fashion peaked. My desire to draw beautiful garments led me to Central Saint Martins where I studied fashion drawing; finally last year I decided to launch my own collection.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I would describe my design aesthetic as Pret à Couture, a mix between Pret à Porter and Haute Couture.

You describe your line as a mix of fashion and art. As an emerging designer which designers and artists do you look up?

Thierry Mugle, Célin, Azzedine Alaia.

Who is your customer?

The modern and independent woman with a taste for fashion who is equally at ease in trainers as well as in highend pieces.


Tell us about your AW16 collection, what was the inspiration? 

The collection is called Geometric shades from RBK it has been inspired by the geometric aspects of Origami. This collection is made entirely of wool. It is the first collection that I wish to dedicate to my mother who has given me a taste for fashion and who embodies timeless style (RBK stands for Rebecca, my mother’s name).

Which is your favourite piece in the line?

The coat, Khamta – it is essentially a piece that I created by asking myself, what coat would I like to wear this season. It represents the various aspects of my personality – both boyish and quirky. Its design is a patchwork – a mixture that I believe represents the person that I am today.

What do you love most about your job?

Creating something new!


Check out Gotal Ryam’s e-shop

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Rosh Mahtani x Anna Quan

25.10.2016 | Blog , Fashion | BY:

Rosh Mahtani, founder and designer of London based jewellery label Alighieri, has collaborated with Ozzie designer Anna Quan which sees them together explore the boundary between jewellery and ready to wear. Their collaborative collection includes jewellery intertwined with a shirt, shirtdress and palazzo trousers along with a selection of jewellery by Alighieri for Anna Quan. We caught up with Rosh to discover more about this collaboration.

Tell us how you started off in industry?

I studied French and Italian literature at university – my final year was focused on Dante Alighieri, and the Divine Comedy. After I graduated, I knew I wanted to do something creative; I felt a little bit lost, and kept reading the text. I couldn’t help but imagine the characters, the feelings and descriptions in golden objects; that’s when I started making one piece of jewellery for each one of Dante’s 100 poems. Creating Alighieri was a way to pursue photography, writing, and designing alongside business and strategy.

Why Dante?

So many reasons! His work is so visual, firstly; he was the first person to portray Hell, Purgatory and Paradise in such a human way. But more that, his journey is so universal, it really captured me. It begins with him, lost in the middle of a dark wood. His fears, his anger at being exiled from Florence, his love for an idealised woman (Beatrice) are at the crux of his work, and I suppose I wanted to translate these feelings in my own way, as they were so relatable to me.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I call my pieces Modern Heirlooms, because I love creating imperfect objects that tell a story. Imperfection and vulnerability are at the heart of the aesthetic, and that’s why I like to shoot the imagery using film. It’s all about the happy accidents; I work very much on intuition.

How did the collaboration with Anna Quan come about?

Anna is based in Australia and we were following each other’s work over Instagram for a quite while, we swapped an earring for a crisp white shirt over the ocean, and we met last Christmas, when I was on a bit of a disastrous road-trip in Australia! We had breakfast in Sydney, and talked about giant golden buttons on her perfectly tailored shirts, and billowing trousers. It happened really organically.

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Why do you think the partnership works?

We have quite a similar aesthetic in some ways, and a genuine obsession with each other’s work. I live in oversized white shirts and tailored trousers. It’s also a great juxtaposition because Anna’s designs are so perfectly executed, the tailoring is immaculate, and it was fun to have that as a canvas to add a scraggy and imperfect detail. We work really well together (often over 3am Whatsapp conversations!) We’ll think of an idea and just get the ball rolling. DHL plays their part too!

What qualities do you admire about her?

Besides her obvious talent for creating clothing that makes you feel really special, the giant oversized cuffs, for instance, I really admire her work ethic. She never stops, and is also incredibly grounded and modest. She’s a very savvy businesswoman which is really inspiring to be around.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’d like to keep growing Alighieri as a brand; it’s been the best and most rewarding ride, and I’d like to create more than just jewellery, as I think of Alighieri as a way to tell stories. If I can keep doing what I’m doing now on a bigger scale, with a bigger team, I would be very happy!


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Garage Sale: Hate Suburbia

20.10.2016 | Art | BY:

Hate Suburbia is the latest book on the architecture and image of the suburban garage by NY-based sculptor Olivia Erlanger and London-located architect Luis Ortega Govela. Out today, the book showcases the history of the space and exposes the humble garage as a model for spatial occupation that continues to define us today.

Containing a foreword by Octave Perrault, a conversation between Apple’s Steve Wozniak and Gwen Stefani, and a round-table between four prominent entrepreneurs based out of garages, the book takes a wide-lens view of the garage as both a physical space and as an incubator for the cultural process.

Hate Suburbia 7

Hate Suburbia is available at the Architectural Association’s bookstore:

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Golgo’s first London exhibition · FLESH · BLOOD · SUBSTANCE ·

18.10.2016 | Art | BY:

· FLESH · BLOOD · SUBSTANCE · is the debut London exhibition from Mexican artist Golgo. Running now and until the 12th November 2016, Andreas Hijar aka Golgo shows his own personal interpretation of life and death through a series of canvases focused on the combination of anatomy and symbolism. This is a common theme seen through his work, as his interest centres around the human body, its functioning and its decay.

· FLESH · BLOOD · SUBSTANCE · is the autopsy of my spirit, a reinterpretation of science and soul, an exploration of our concrete presence and inevitable disintegration. This group of work is the fragmentation of my personal approach towards the reasons behind the malady of ageing, changing and existing as substance. Oils, red and blues took the place of scalpels; with them I glanced into the viscera of the corporal and the essence behind the fluidity of extinguishing vitality. Here lies what I feel and perceive as the vacuum of ever changing life and intrinsic end.” – Golgo


Golgo also continues to produce as an individual creator at his Black Blood Studio, allegedly founded in Mexico City in 1666 and now located in Los Angeles. Golgo employs a wide range of techniques including oil, ink and aerosols. His pictures exploit the popular imagery associated with medieval Europe, playing with the notions of spirituality, corporeality and pain. They also expose the futility of any attempts to draw a line between art and science, as they demonstrate that these areas of knowledge complement rather than conflict each other.

The exhibition runs till 12th November 2016 at Lazarides:11 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1HR.

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Darling Days, A Memoir by iO Tillett Wright

12.10.2016 | Literature | BY:

iO Tillett Wright has many strings to his bow; the activist, speaker, writer, photographer, host and now author has proven himself to be a creative that not only pushes the boundaries, but well and truly breaks them – rejecting gender norms, and speaking out about it.


Brought up in the vibrancy of eighties downtown New York, Wright was at the intersection of punk, poverty, heroin, and art. His life also featured his creative showgirl, and all round “erratic glamazon” of a mother, Rhonna. It is no surprise then, that Wright’s debut book, Darling Days, A Memoir, is a culmination of the rebellion and love that he was exposed to and felt from an early age. At the heart of the book, it reveals the relationship between this formidable mother and a tearaway kid, sharing the bond they have which was defined by freedom and control, excess and sacrifice.

Recently released with Harper Collins, this debut book has predictably received critical acclaim. Buy your copy

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The Art Deco Arts Club

26.09.2016 | Culture | BY:

The Bermondsey Arts Club & Cocktail Bar is the epitome of Style Moderne in Southwark, run by art school graduate George Garnier. It may be a former public lavatory but it’s been through some gentrification and is undoubtedly now the most luxe lav in the area, with bespoke brass furniture and a statement marble-topped bar that oozes Art Deco glamour.


Not just a pretty façade though, BAC also offers delicious cocktails and spritzers, from the Eldersour to the Rossini from 6pm till late, Tuesday through to Saturday. Try their infamous jazz nights on Wednesdays to really get the Gatsby-esq party started.

Find it at Former Conveniences, 102 Tower Bridge Road, SE1 4PT. Opening times: Tuesday-Saturday, 6pm-2am.

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Patterns & Prints with Jessica Russell Flint

16.08.2016 | Art | BY:

Merging classic British heritage themes with vibrant colours and statement designs, London-based designer, Jessica Russell Flint loves nothing more than vivid and eccentric prints. Initially studying Geography, Flint then went onto attend Central St. Martins to explore her creative side. It seems the change has done her good, as her label – which consists of home wears and accessories from scarfs to eye masks – is now available in over 40 stockists. We meet with Jessica to talk about her background and love for colour.

When and what was the catalyst for your decision to study at Central St. Martins?
I worked in advertising originally for about eight years, and whilst I loved the environment and the people, I was always frustrated about being creatively unfulfilled. A lot of it was keeping clients happy and so much of the process was broken down by other people’s decision making. I was always drawing on the side, my family are all very creative and I grew up with pens and paper instead of toys for entertainment.

I decided to do an illustration course at St. Martins on the side to understand more of the technical aspect of the design process. When I finished there I began blogging my prints, and people started to buy them from me. So I set up a website and went from there. Slowly I introduced products featuring the art I had created and the brand started forming. I did my first tradeshow in 2014 and it went well. Initially going from selling cards in Paperchase to stocking ranges in the Conran shop, Harrods and Wolf & Badger. It’s really satisfying to see where I’ve come over the years and how the style is continually developing.

make-up bag

How would you describe your style?
Scratchy! Brightly coloured. Illustration mixed with pattern.

Does London play a part in influencing your style?
Definitely. We live and work in East London and the people this side of town are definitely not shy in expressing themselves. From the graffiti to the urban dress and little boutiques and bars, it’s definitely a place to pick up ideas!

Where do you find your inspirations?
All the time, everywhere, from magazines, antiques (especially those old pieces of China with illustrations and etchings), statues and old books. They are amazing for getting new ideas. I love Pinterest for patterns and how to style shoots. Holidays help! Often relaxing somewhere I will feel inspired for a new design.

Who are your favourite illustrators?
Egon Shiele is one of my favourite artists in the whole world, he’s more an artist than an illustrator but his style is very illustrative and his lines are so beautiful.

Do you have any new offerings in store?
We’ve just launched quite a few new products from tech cases to umbrellas and cashmere. But we are so excited about the launch of our new bag range, which will be part of our SS17 resort collection. We are shooting this next weekend at the Clerkenwell London (boutique and restaurant) and we have a great team of stylists and models. Very excited to launch this range in the New Year!

Where can we buy?
Currently we stock in over 40 boutiques and shops in the UK. Aside from our website our biggest stockists are Harrods, Hoopers and the Conran shop. But we’ve got some great new stockists from January.

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All Eyes On ELLERY

04.08.2016 | Fashion | BY:

In its biggest collaboration to date, Australian label ELLERY has got together with Specsavers to produce a capsule collection of opticals and sunglasses.

Founder Kym Ellery launched her brand in 2007, and it quickly gained recognition from the fashion crowd for offering beautifully cut clothing that combines a feminine outlook with a nod to the androgynous. Her thigh-skimming yet flared trousers have become a signature silhouette, and now Ellery has turned her creative hand to the world of optics.


Gemma wears ELLERY 12 glasses (SKU 30474741)

The campaign, which is fronted by fellow Perthian Gemma Ward, showcases 14 pairs of glasses and six pairs of sunglasses all at super affordable prices, from $199 to $249 for two pairs. Ellery took inspiration from the movie classics – Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, Susan Sarandon in Thelma and Louise and Woody Allen himself – to produce a range where retro meets contemporary. Shapes include cat eye, graphic oversized square and round silhouettes in a colour palette of classic black, marbled charcoal, tortoiseshell, cobalt blue, bottle green, gold and brushed gold.


Kym Ellery wears ELLERY 13 glasses (SKU 30474758)

For Kym Ellery, designing this debut collection allowed her to explore the sartorial role that eyewear plays in the style of its wearer. She says: “Eyewear is a crucial part of personal style, and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to create a collection of frames with Specsavers…When designing, I focus on creating modern classics for intelligent women and this eyewear collection is no exception.”

Main image: Gemma wears ELLERY SUN RX 03 glasses (SKU 30474802)

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Slater’s Sex Skateboards

27.07.2016 | Fashion | BY:

It seems that Louis Slater, founder of British skate label, Sex Skateboards, has combined his two loves. You name it and Slater has sexed it up, offering not only skateboards but tees, hoodies and artwork (in the form of defaced high end fashion ads and style magazines) all featuring his sex logo. Here, we spend five minutes delving behind the decks.

When did Sex Skateboards start?
March 2015.

How did it come about?
I spray painted the sex logo on a T-shirt and thought it looked cool as fuck.


What’s your favourite mag that you’ve defaced?
I don’t have one, Vice used to be good. I’ll paint on owt, I like very expensive adverts that cost the company loads of money, I get a kick out of that.

You sell hoodies and tees as well as skateboards. Do you plan to extend the range?
Yep the new range is in the pipeline and will hit good shops soon. Loads of new shit, you’re gonna have to wait and see, it’s all kicked it up a gear.

Where can we buy?
Right now the website, and soon to be announced select retailers worldwide.

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Summer Screen

Film 4 Summer Screen at Somerset House

16.07.2016 | Film | BY:

Running from 4th – 17th  August 2016 Film 4 presents the annual Summer Screen at Somerset House. The open-air film festival which will present a mixture of cult classics, contemporary movies and premieres is the largest outdoor screen, with full surround sound. What’s more turn up a little earlier to enjoy sundown DJ sets inspired by the screenings to set the mood for the film.

With an eclectic combination of movies there’s something for everyone, from comedy and musical to horror and sci-fi. This year will see the UK premiere of the critically-acclaimed Things To Come which sees a philosophy teacher battle through the death of her mother, getting fired and having to deal with a cheating husband. As always, the Summer Screen will close with a UK premiere, this time it will be a Sundance hit, Captain Fantastic, directed by Matt Ross, which follows the heartfelt story of a father whose idealistic parenting comes under attack when tragedy forces him to bring his family back into the real world. Classics and contemporary films showing include Trainspotting in homage to its 20 year anniversary, Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown with its killer soundtrack, Dracula and Ex Machina to name a few.

Film4 Summer Screen runs from 4th – 17th August, 2016. Ticket prices start from £16.00 plus booking fee. Doors open at 6pm, DJs from 6.45pm and films start at approx 9pm.


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Okka Block & Okka Found

07.07.2016 | Fashion | BY:

For a one stop shop that will take you around the world, Okka Block has got you totally covered. Offering a range of homewears, accessories and fashion sourced from the very best artisans in Morocco and India, we caught up with its founder, the stylist Hope von Joel, to discover more…

Tell us about Okka Block…
Okka Block was started from my love and need for wanderlust. I’ve travelled extensively over the last few years, but these countries really inspired my love of textiles and tribal stuff – India, Guatemala and Morocco which is where I took much of my inspiration. The warm coloured streets, the food, smoke and smells, the beautiful traditional clothing and lifestyle and the vibe really stuck a cord with what I believe works in interior design and accessories. The bold combination of colours, the warm tones, the exotic plants and amazing hand made accents really make it exciting.

I first started buying stuff a year or so ago with the idea in mind of selling them back in London. I am working on the new website at the moment and mostly selling through our Instagram until it launches. Have a look it’s a colourful treat.

Where are the items sourced?
Items are sourced here, there and everywhere. I travel all the time and have an eye for beautiful things. Carpets and pillows sourced from the deep Atlas Mountains at 4am after a several hour drive into a local market surrounded by donkeys with my great friend Patrick. Beautifully adorned and jewelled traditional banjara skirts are from the ladies of northern India. Then there are the embroidered bags and tops from the ladies in the hills of Guatemala. The busy bustling markets of the nestled into tents adorned with treasures. Embroideries depicting flowers and multi-coloured pom-poms make my heart sing.

What do you love most about it?
I love that every piece is individually sourced by me for its individuality, uniqueness and quality. I have a story for nearly every item; each has been lovingly packed and transported back to London. Everything is then photographed individually and sold as seen.

Do you have any favourite products at the moment?
I’m totally in love with the rainbow stitched kantha blankets and the massive Moroccan rugs in the amazing colours with sequinned embroidery. The rugs are originally for marriages and are a real statement.

Do you think being a stylist has an impact on what you offer?
Definitely – I have a strong style and know exactly what I like in fashion, interiors and design. I just buy what I love.

Do you have any more exotic trips planned?
More trips for sure, to Mexico, Guatemala and Uzbekistan hopefully this year.

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Marianna Goulandris

All Eyes On Marianna Goulandris

04.07.2016 | Fashion | BY:

With a background in luxury swimwear, Greek designer Marianna Goulandris has recently turned her hand to luxury jewellery. Consisting of refined yet statement-making gold pieces, her debut collection has caught our magpie eye, and is destined to inspire all other who encounter it. Recently, Twin had five minutes with the woman herself – here’s what was discussed:

What made you want to move into jewellery design?
It was a natural transition from swimwear. Starting a company so young you grow and change and what turned out being a hobby on the side ended up becoming full time! The continuity of heritage and ancient Greek influence is also strongly shown in the jewellery.

How would you describe the collection in five words?
Quirky, chic, glamorous, gold, luxury.

Who is you customer?
It often ends up being a confident woman who is sure of what she likes. She can immediately target the piece she likes and wears it then and there.

Which is your favourite piece from the collection?
I love my spiral earrings that come in small and large size.

Tell us about the materials you have worked with for this collection and why…
I have worked with a lot more gold vermeil. I wanted to create a luxurious goddess collection with affordable prices!

Can you give us a clue as to what’s in store for next season?
Moving away from the Greek heritage and looking at other forms of good luck charms, not only the Greek mythological matti (eye).

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Well Heeled: DARMAKI

31.05.2016 | Fashion | BY:

DARMAKI is the London-born shoe brand that merges the masculine with the feminine. In its fourth season now, and stocked in top tier retailers globally, we catch up with its founder, Sultan Al Darmaki to find out more about the evolution of his brand.

Tell us about your label…
Well, let’s say that DARMAKI went through two phases: the first with a business partner, and the second when I took full ownership of the brand. The latter is when I feel that I truly managed to speak about who DARMAKI is through design, so I like to say I officially launched it in 2014.

How did your background impact your choice of career?
For cultural/traditional reasons, the idea of me studying footwear design was looked down upon. I was a young boy, born and raised in the suburbs of Arabia, which was more or less what I would like to call a sophisticated desert; it was a developing transitional area. I wasn’t really “allowed” to study footwear design, so I ended up studying marketing and PR, which I don’t regret doing at all.

What was your childhood like?
My upbringing was to a certain extent very bipolar; just like the London weather (which I love). There were a lot of “do’s and don’ts” for a man; and of course likewise for a woman. A man should be acting in a certain way, should have a prestigious government job, “should, should, should”… But with all of that there was that contradiction of a small feminine aspect that was injected in my life (which I couldn’t speak about in public when I was a kid). My mother would engross me in her world of fashion, of her dreams of an Arabian woman who managed to escape reality through an issue of Vogue, that she would get hold of a year after it was published, from a Canadian nurse who used to work at the one and only hospital in Al Ain – where I come from. Growing up, I was by default brought up by mother to enjoy the very rough masculine upbringing, but with a mix of a fantastic, feminine element, through Vogue.

Did this influence your brand’s USP?
DARMAKI is not an über feminine brand. It’s one part feminine and one part masculine. It has a strong “fem-masculinity” element in it through the rough fractured chunky heel or the thick soles… it’s a mix of both genders but in a very subtle, romantic manner.

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Why did you decide to launch your label in London?
After a year or two working for a corporate company back home – this was almost ten years ago – I was done. I felt I needed to do what I love and pack my bags and do what I want and not what society/culture expects me to do. With no education and little money that I had, I moved to London and spent two years flying back and forth to Italy, where I got hands on training in the craft of shoe making. It was by far the best work experience. So, over time, London became my home, and it felt very natural to launch my brand here.

Do you think London and its style has had an impact on your designs?
For sure! I think London has defined my style. That incredible exposure to the multifaceted subculture in London as a whole – one can never not be impacted by it. It’s so beautiful yet so rough in some sort of crazy way. In all honesty, I don’t think I would be where I am or I what I am as a designer if I was living somewhere else.

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Who is your customer? Do they have any key characteristics?
Contemporary men and women who are strong, independent and unorthodox. They are confident beyond any need for a sense of belonging to any one community; in a nutshell they don’t belong to a clique.

Describe your design aesthetic…
Grace Jones, David Bowie and Grace Kelly.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
As this is four season and we are already stocked at incredible retailers worldwide – from Boon The Shop in South Korea to Level Shoe District in Dubai – I would like to see that grow more within the next five years… Grow my tribe! I’d like to have the brand in stores that I love and respect, such as Barneys, Colette etc.

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The Couture Bridal Collection from Jessica McCormack

25.05.2016 | Fashion | BY:

The London-based jeweller Jessica McCormack has launched her Couture Bridal Collection, and with universal appeal, the range mixes the whimsical with the avant-garde, the cerebral and the innocent.

Consisting of six couture pieces, these can be created bespoke around different diamonds, from 0.20 carat to 20.00 carat. Each ring design carries the traditional sentiment that you must start with the diamond and then everything else fits into place. In McCormack style though, expect a touch of the contemporary to go with this traditional tendency.

“I want to create engagement rings that speak to the uniqueness of each woman. A ring that you wear every day is more than just a symbol of love. It is also a reflection of personality and history.” Jessica McCormack

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