Thursday 27 August 2009

Roxy Heart by Zakee Shariff launch pop up store @ Beyond the Valley- 26th August

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of previewing the FW09 Roxy Heart ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ collection, which launched with a pop up store within hip central London boutique, Beyond the Valley. As I arrived in Newburgh Quarter (the small area of shops and bar’s hidden behind London’s infamous Carnaby Street) I could see cheeky triangular arrows leading the way to the entrance of the pop up store. Recognising these triangles from the invitation (pictured above) I eagerly followed their path (see pictures below).
Once inside Beyond the Valley I was directed into the gallery space which was covered from top to bottom in what I would later discover to be Zakee's signature Multi Tri print, which also featured heavily throughout the collection. Comprised of approximately 15 garments Zakee’s range for Roxy Heart is simply stunning with several cute separates and some iconic hero pieces, such as the ‘Cat II’ leather jacket in midnight red (pictured below).
Taking inspiration from nature, in particular the four elements; earth, water, wind and fire, I found Zakee’s collection to be really fun yet chic, playfully combining superior cuts and fabrics with illustrations of mountains and seascapes on the actual garments themselves (pictured below).
Another of Zakee’s inspirations for this collection is the Steve Miller band’s 1976 hit album ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ which inspired the designer to create an illustration of an eagle as an emblem for the collection, to be featured on several garments such as the heavily embroidered ‘Alice’ jersey top (pictured below).
Other stand out pieces were both the ‘Niel’ top and ‘Ellie’ dress (worn on the night by Zakee herself) which featured the signature Multi Tri print. Bringing a sense of luxury to the collection both garments were made using silk and were cut so beautifully that I’m confident they would flatter any figure. A personal favourite from the collection has to be the beautiful chunky knit ‘Jacko’ cardigan which featured the eagle emblem in addition to a smattering of stars down both sleeves. Available in navy blue/yellow and grey/pink colour schemes this is one item I have definitely got my eye on.
All items mentioned pictured below. With free flowing beer and champagne all night there was a really great crowd and atmosphere despite the rain. And to top it all of there were hundreds of posh cupcakes on offer which had been lovingly decorated with the Fly Like an Eagle emblem.
Additional pictures of event below.

All in all a great evening out and a great show from both Roxy Heart, Zakee and Beyond the Valley who surpassed themselves with such kitsch branding throughout! The highlight for me other than viewing the collection was meeting Zakee herself and two lovely fellow bloggers Marlboro Martini and Platform Princess who write the Cigarettes and High Heels blog.
The Roxy Heart pop up store at Beyond the Valley is open until 27th September.
Invitation and cut out/lifestyle images courtesy of Roxy Heart.

Kate Moss for Topshop FW09 collection

For decades I have long been a fan of the legend that is Kate Moss. I have always shied away from writing about her in the past as I was so enamoured with her in my youth that even now I’m tempted to write a gushing essay about not only her beauty, but the tangible presence that I feel as a fashion lover, enthusiast and consumer- she brings to each and every one of her shoots, which is why I feel that she is a British style icon who will always be a household name.

My love for Kate Moss aside, originally I was sceptical about her collaboration with Topshop back in 2007, but after watching each collection from a safe distance I feel that she has gone from strength to strength. What started as a fashion collaboration not more than two and a half years ago has seen one of the biggest names in fashion partner with one of the UK’s leading high street retailers, Topshop. It is also Kate’s widely publicised friendship with Topshop owner and retail guru Sir Phillip Green that has caused so much media attention and endless speculation as to what they will produce together in the future.

Today sees Kate launch her 11th- yes 11th collection for Topshop and it is by far the best. Great for any British woman aspiring to have the laissez-faire style and nonchalance of Britain’s most celebrated supermodel. As with every collection, Kate has drawn upon the eclectic style that she has become famed for and has cited her extensive wardrobe as a source of inspiration for her range.

When it was first disclosed that Kate was using her own wardrobe as a base for her designs I like most people wrote her off and waxed lyrical about models trying to be designers without the intrinsic skills of both design and cut which are honed to perfection by professional designers who have learnt their craft. However when you actually read or see interviews with Kate and hear her referencing some of her favourite garments, they are mostly one off pieces that are from thrift stores or vintage shops which encapsulate the fashion and spirit of the 20th Century throughout the decades. Taking this into consideration I believe that Kate is actually doing something really great for British fashion and let’s face it our failing high streets. It would have been all too easy for Kate to create a diffusion line with one of her celeb fashion friends such as Stella McCartney or Karl Lagerfeld, so for her to team up with such a renowned and well loved British store to bring great pieces to the masses is something which cannot be snubbed.
For the highly anticipated new collection Kate offers high voltage glamour at high street prices. Interestingly Kate references the ‘flamboyant ‘80s’ as her inspiration for the collection; however as a huge fan of the 1940s I would say that the glamour depicted is more reminiscent of the Noir heroine. From the beautifully iconic black and white campaign photography you get the sense that there is more to this collection and that Kate is playing the role of heroine in her own film. For example my favourite of the campaign images is that of Kate in the Jacquard bandeau dress in gold (pictured left). This is a very evocative image as it bears a striking resemblance to the iconic scene in Gilda (1946) where Rita Hayworth is performing a striptease in a Buenos Aires casino bar.

Brimming with vintage inspiration Kate uses a variety of fabrics from chiffon, faux fur and wool to create a range which brims with elegance, sophistication and sexiness. Key pieces include the delightful Butterfly dress, which retails at £65.00 and the tribal looking Butterfly long scarf which retails at £40.00 (pictured left).

My favourite piece from the collection is the limited edition Double Layer dress (pictured right). For me this £120.00 dress is a stand out piece inspired by the late 1920s-30s and features beautifully constructed beading on the outer slip of the dress. For me this is a runaway winner as it reminds me very much of the fashions described by one of my favourite authors F.Scott Fitzgerald in his 1926 novel ‘the Great Gatsby’, which could well have been the inspiration as I know (very ashamedly) that Kate also rates Fitzgerald among her favourite authors.
The new collection by Kate Moss in on sale today!
All imagery courtesy of

Wednesday 19 August 2009

'Beautiful Losers' screening at the ICA

Earlier this week I found myself running full pelt from Charring X station to The Mall where I was predictably running late for the ICA screening of ‘Beautiful Losers’. Directed by Aaron Rose and Joshua Leonard this documentary film charts the journeys of a number of likeminded creative’s who emerged on the American art scene in the early 1990s.

‘Beautiful Losers’ depicts a group of relative misfits who explored subcultures such as skateboarding, graffiti, comics, and punk using this as a base to create art work that reflected their lives and childhoods. ‘Beautiful Losers’ subtly reflects on their journeys from obscurity to the moment they gravitated towards to Alleged Gallery in New York where they found a well connected promoter and enthusiast in gallery owner and director of ‘Beautiful Losers’ Aaron Rose. Inspite of many not having received formal art training with the help of Aaron their work would go on to redefine the culture of modern art.

With this very intimate documentary it is clear to see that each of the artists have an incredible and lengthy relationship with Rose both as individuals and a collective which is perhaps why they were so open on camera. The documentary shows each member of the collective revisiting places they hung out as kids and places that inspired them.

I really loved this documentary film and the energy that the artist’s creativity brought to life and also to the audience as everyone I spoke with after the screening felt really inspired and went away feeling as though they wanted to do more; to create art for themselves as the ‘Beautiful Losers’ had done. To them it wasn’t about the trappings of the New York art scene or the press, it originated as a way for them to express themselves and to make a very modest living doing something they loved.
For weeks I was very excited about seeing ‘Beautiful Losers’ as I knew that it depicted a group of friends and artists from the early 1990s and already in my head I had visions of them living similar disengaged lives to those depicted in Larry Clark’s cult 1995 film Kids. As Larry cast Kids, with non acting youths from the streets of New York I knew that ‘Beautiful Losers’ would capture the same sentiments, ideologies and feeling of teenage angst. Another reason I drew such parallels was because Kids was co-written with Harmony Korine, who of course was in ‘Beautiful Losers’ as one of the most successful of their group dabbling in cinema, screen writing and art.

A stunning and inspirational story, very heart felt in parts and definitely worth watching.
‘Beautiful Losers’ is available to buy on DVD from 24th August.
Image courtesy of Beautiful Losers official website, clip courtesy of YouTube.

Monday 17 August 2009

'Jerusalem' at the Royal Court Theatre

Last week I had the good fortune and great pleasure of going to see Jez Butterworth’s new play Jerusalem at the Royal Court Theatre. Although two members of our party could not make it on the night due to chicken pox and work commitments respectively we all still had a great time out in force to support family friend Danny Kirrane.

Before the mammoth play of three hours and ten minutes even begun we all convened for a tipple in the theatre bar and were idly minding our own business when my sister spotted what looked like David Schwimmer (dressed incognito in dark hat and clothes) at the bar. After closer inspection it was indeed the David Schwimmer who seemed to be having great difficulty getting served at the bar. You’d think the staff would have noticed and been falling over themselves to serve him- but not on this occasion.

Once we were over the initial shock of seeing someone we’d all grown up watching for many many years on Friends in person we continued chatting excitedly about the play. Keeping a beady eye on David at all times we noticed that after about ten minutes at the bar (no joke) he casually walked over to join a huddled Derren Brown and Michael Sheen. What amazed us was how the three of them fitted in so well with the crowd, and looked completely at ease with no one daring to go and bother them.

Happy with our celebrity spotting the curtain call came and as we all turned to walk through to the auditorium a rather handsome and angular faced man walked right in front of me. Whilst I recognised him he looked just like an average guy and it was only when a simply stunning Keira Knightley also walked past me that I realised it was Rupert Friend accompanying her. Beside ourselves with the celebrity presence we took our seats and were slightly unnerved when Keira and Rupert took their seats a few people away from us in our row, with Derren Brown and Michael Sheen sitting directly behind them.

So excited waiting for the actors to take to the stage myself and my sister started being silly and were threatening the rest of our party saying that we would wave manically when Danny took to the stage. Whilst we thought it would have been hilarious for us, would have probably put Danny off somewhat so the responsible teachers in our group dissuaded us.
When the curtain rose and the set was revealed it looked amazing and like no other set I’d seen before. It consisted of an area of clearing in woodland complete with real trees (which meant real flies), where a waster named Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron lived alone in his caravan. Set in Wiltshire on St. George’s Day the play opens at sunrise with two local council officials looking for Mr Byron in order to serve him an eviction notice. Referred to as a modern day Pied Piper ‘Rooster’ is accused of supplying drugs to minors, which is something that he never refutes when mentioned on several occasions throughout the play. From the scene of wrecked furniture and beer cans we can see its the morning after one of ‘Rooster’s’ impromptu ‘parties’ where he entertains friends among them teenagers, who all get completely trollyed on vodka, cannabis and what looked to be stimulants, which they referred to as ‘whizz’.

Whilst I am totally biased, Danny Kirrane played a superb performance as the Xenophobe Davey, whom we meet about 10 minutes in when he joins Ginger and ‘Rooster’ on stage to rub Ginger’s face in it about what a great party he’d missed the night before. I felt that Danny and Mackenzie brought great banter to their characters and they had an obvious chemistry. Whilst he didn’t have one of the dialogue rich parts he had several great one liners throughout the play and made the audience giggle several times. One of my favourite lines came when Danny was talking about the BBC and how they shouldn’t bother broadcasting from Wales when he remarked; “I leave Wiltshire, my ears pop!". An aspect to Danny’s role that I really enjoyed seeing from him, yet found simultaneously alarming was his all too convincing portrayal of an abattoir worker.

In the final chapter of the play the group head back after a visit to the county fair where Danny looks brilliant in his ensemble of cut off combat shorts, heart shaped glasses and lion face paint! They interrupt when Rylance is being paid a visit from his ex with his six year old son in tow. It is clear from their exchanges that they do not see eachother regularly so ‘Rooster’ tries to offer his son some words of advice.
"School is a lie. Prison's a waste of time. Girls are wondrous. Grab your fill... Don't listen to no one and nothing but what your own heart bids. Lie. Cheat. Steal. Fight to the death. Don't give up. Show me your teeth."

Mark Rylance was truly phenomenal in this demanding role as ‘Rooster’ and really held the play together being present in almost all of the scenes. As the most experienced actor in the cast Rylance has had a distinguished film and theatre career both in the West and on Broadway and was former artistic director at the Globe for 10 years. Rylance’s performance was truly superb as he was so passionate and a pleasure to watch. He showed great commitment to character throughout which saw him drinking a hangover cure in the first chapter, which consisted of two eggs to two parts vodka among other ingredients. In many scenes ‘Rooster’ was joined by his sidekick Ginger, played brilliantly by Mackenzie Crook. Throughout the play he was consistent and delivered some very funny lines. He was the perfect supporting role to Rylance’s ‘Rooster’ and made himself one of the standout performers.
Mark Rylance and Mackenzie CrookAll in all a really great way to spend three odd hours and I would give it my highest recommendation. Look out by a surprise appearance from Barry Sloane who played Niall in Hollyoaks thrown in to the mix as a local baddy who has in it for ‘Rooster’.
Jez Butterworth's previous plays for the Royal Court include The Winterling,The Night Heron and Mojo.
Jerusalem is showing at the Royal Court until 22nd August, and I’ve heard a cheeky rumour that due to overwhelming demand Jerusalem will have a West End run in January 2010.
Imagery courtesy of the Royal Court Theatre and Google.

Sunday 2 August 2009

'Rankin Live' private view @ The Old Truman Brewery- 30th July

Earlier in the week I had the great pleasure of being on the guest list for the private view of Rankin Live at the Truman Brewery , E1. Needless to say for the entire week I was beside myself with excitement as I am obviously a MASSIVE fan of Rankin’s work, so much so that I spent the evening people watching as I didn’t feel I quite had enough time to pour over the hundreds of iconic images on display from Rankin’s extensive back catalogue.

Upon entering the exhibition space I was met with several huge warehouse sized rooms which were all painted white (as you’d expect) and were covered with a variety of Rankin’s best portraits. Trying to explain the vastness of the exhibition seems fruitless as the scale was unimaginable however suffice to say that 600 of his most famed photographs were on show, which is staggering as this does not include the images from Rankin live which are yet to be created and added to this monumental project... Just incase its still not clear how large the space is; it took about ten minutes after entering to wander around the maze of beautiful images and locate the place where it all happens; the bar!!

Once alcohol had been located and myself and my friends reunited, it was a great and rare opportunity to be in a room with hundreds of cool art kids and trendy fashion types simultaneously. After an impromptu reunion with an old friend, the gorgeous Iraina Mancini, everyone seemed to be heading away from the bar area towards the main exhibition room. As we moved closer I could see that a small stage had been set up complete with a microphone and a chair so I waited to see what would happen along with everyone else. A few minutes later out popped the man of the hour himself, John ‘Rankin’ Waddell and introduced his 12 year old son Lyle to the stage. Rather randomly Lyle began to sing acoustic covers of his favourite songs in what was obviously his natural singing voice; a rather sexy raspy sound (if I may say that about a 12 year old boy).

At first I must admit I was dubious to say the least as I don’t think anyone was expecting to listen to Rankin JR’s music that evening, but after a couple of songs everyone (myself included) got rather into it and the whole thing was very endearing for both proud father and son. A favourite was when he sang a song he’d penned himself which really showed his outlandish personality and was quite frankly hilarious. Between swear words and wistful observations (none of which have stayed with me due to prolonged beer consumption that evening), he came across as much older, wiser and cynical than his years and I feel that he is definitely a personality to watch out for in the future.

When the music ceased (due to Lyle’s loss of voice) Rankin popped back on stage to literally thank us for coming and that was that. The crowd dispersed and you could see the famed Tuuli (Rankin’s favourite subject and wife) congratulating Lyle and it was a really unexpected tender family moment that was lovely to see- and interestingly I think others must have felt similarly about the series of events as everyone kept a respectful distance.

With the main attraction over I threw myself into the party and spotted a few celebrities in attendance such Erin O’Connor, Nathalie Press, Sadie Frost, Amber Rose and a very dapper Jefferson Hack. The rest of the evening was a merry affair spent chatting with strangers and having a really great time. It was the kind of evening that you only get when you throw a bunch of crazy creative types together at let’s face it; one of the world’s premiere celebrity fashion photographer’s parties.

Among the great people I befriended were Levi, flanked by two lovely ladies (see below) - one of which unknown to me I would meet again a month later at the Junky Styling book launch (you’ll notice I am yet to write about this as I’m still struggling to find the words to describe just how dull a launch that was...) The other lovely lady (pictured below) was entertaining a few of us by balancing a pineapple within her hair, and the louder we laughed the more interest we attracted and let’s just say there weren’t enough pineapples to go around. Before you ask, I have NO idea where the pineapples came from! See below for other shots of the crowd...Before I left (one of the last to go I’m afraid) I made sure to grab a copy of Ranked which was an exhibition catalogue, come Rankin fountain of knowledge which was published exclusively to accompany this great exhibition. I would highly recommend visiting to all and if you haven’t applied to take part in Rankin live: Get involved!
Rankin Live is showing at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane until 18 September.
Logo courtesy of Rankin Live website.