A Quick Turn

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I've missed a gazillion shop openings in London that have crowded the past few months, which means missing rounds of vodka/gin/rum mixers (whatever drinks sponsor is doing the rounds…) and cupcakes/mini fish and chips/Tesco Value crisps.  These are the times when a Style Bubble under-study/correspondent would sort of make sense but then I remember that I'm a control freak and that I would reduce him/her to babbling tears. 

Instead, I'm trying to catch up on all the goings-ons slowly but surely.  First on my list came via hairdresser Charlie le Mindu who told me that a vintage store had popped up on Kingsland Road.  Whaaa?  Which end?  Near Evin Cafe?  Near WAH Nails?  Near that empty bit just after Pho Mile?  Turns out said vintage store was just there, across from the Geoffrye Museum (still have not made it inside and I haven't a clue why…).  House of Liza popped up in September and has been making quiet treads, selling threads collected by the owner which started from a private collection of vintage Jean-Charldes de Castelbajac and Stephen Sprouse and now includes pieces by Kansai Yamamoto, Jil Sander, Comme des Garcons, Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier.  In particular I found that they have a lot of JPG Junior pieces that are anything but kiddy like.  Colour also dominates the selection that is extremely edited and definitely ripe for the Dalston crowd who perhaps want a little more out of their vintage than simply picking through mountains and mountains of clothes.  I'd level House of Liza at the same level of vintage editing as Vintage Academe with a bigger emphasis on 80s-90s key designer pieces and of course, it's slightly closer to home turf for me. 

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This pailette and chain knit Azzaro piece hits all levels of insane… and sadly pretty far from the tame Azzaro of today…

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Their Tumblr blog gives a few picture and fashion encyclopedia clues to what House of Liza has on offer…

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I came away with a vintage Moschino shirt where naked redheads play with hearts and flowers… obviously Miu Miu weren't the first to tread the naked lady printed shirt ground…

I may as well slot in a few of my favourite things that have headed my way such as this Monki cape which allows my arms complete movement unlike a lot of 'poseur' capes where you're not allowed to do things such as carrying supermarket baskets… as I said before, me THINKS their e-store is coming soon in 2011…

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I can't think of anyone else except for Jessica Rabbit when I look closely at the print…

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Another wardrobe newbie are these Jas M.B. leather 'waders' or leather leg-warmers attached to a suspender belt which I bought from Feathers in a feverish state (I've never zoomed so fast down to Knightsbridge…).  I hadn't a clue that Jas M.B. had ventured outside of his bag/wallet remit (his camera bags are high on my Christmas wish list now that I've downgraded to a smaller cam…) but I'm glad he has chosen the less conventional 'wader/leg-warmer' route rather than the predictable leather jacket path.  I can attest that the leather is buttery soft and the fit hovers at the right level of looseness.  I think the ones with the belt are sold out but they also come sans belt as leg warmers.  Layering devices such as these leather contraptions can only mean plenty of fun times with outfit experimentation. 

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I had a round of good/bad luck with Swedish designer Carin Wester as I was sort of hell bent on wearing this long sleeved A/W 10-11 red gown for the H&M x Lanvin shindig but when I ordered it, alas the fit was not quite right on my strange bust area.  Ironboard chests don't always do you favours so the dress went back even though I was ready to confront my fear of red with it's perfected flow.  On the flipside though, these peep-toe wedges with a handy fold in the middle of the shoe arrived from Sweden and I just can't stop doing this (see pics below) to it.  I think I might whip them out at airport security if I once again get my suitcased investigated (I have a tendancy to be THE one hauled into security…) and show them what these shoes can do.  They might chuckle and perhaps speed up the search process and let me off the hook…

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Maripol Treat

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Book reviews seem to be slipping down lower and lower down the list but even if I am a little late with this one here, I feel like I'm timing it well with all the gifting antics that will ensue for the next few weeks.  'Little Red Riding Hood' by New York photographer, designer, art director and all-round New York ledge Maripol, landed with a sweeping visual thud a few months ago and I've been absorbing it ever since, unable to find the words to express what's so fantastic about this tome, a predicament that's prevalent with a lot of coffee table books I own.  You just want to say "You have to see it, touch it and get engrossed in it." to see what the deal is, which is in effect, a lazy review.  

I'll plod on and try though.  Maripol has given us a visual round-up of certain facets of her life through photographs, drawings, notes, collages and of course her famous Polaroids that track her early memories of growing up in Morocco to landing in New York in 1976, a pivotal moment that would send her on a path to becoming creative director of Fiorucci, opening her store Maripolitan, styling a young Madonna, art directing the likes of Cher and D'Angelo and all the while, becoming a New York luminary keeping company with the best of what the late 70s-80s underground and artistic scene had to offer.  A visual biography would be a lax description as you're not meant to find out semantics such as chronology or facts but rather you come away with a painterly impression of Maripol's creative endeavours and that particular period which has fascinated me since a) reading The Beautiful Fall by Alicia Drake and b) watching Maripol's friend Edo Bertoglio's film Face Addict (if you can't get hold of the latter, PLEASE try and read the former – it's a TREAT).   

This is all of course before my time and in the same way that I suppose that my generation (or younger) romanticise the underground cultures of the past, Maripol's blossoming period of the late 70s-80s in New York, I suppose is my rose-tinted weakness.  The unnecessary nostalgica is probably deplorable to those that lived through that period of time in New York when people partied hard to detrimental consequences.  Still, I blame the retrogading sensibilities that have been instilled in all of us and therefore have no choice but to look upon this book my Maripol as something of a dream fest.  It doesn't help that Maripol herself puts together a riotous selection of imagery that conveys nothing but the good times, an exhuberant and exhaustive haul of creativity and therefore paints a decidedly pretty picture.   It's hard not to give too much away but beyond these snaps, there's a whole lot more so if you can, try not to take the easy route out ("Oh yeah, I'll just gander at this through some girl's crap blog post…") and instead, enforce this on somebody's Christmas shopping list (or is that the easy way out?) 

Maripol's early life isn't dwelled upon too much as New York is the focal point where all her creativity gushes out but her family and roots in North Africa are clearly dear to her in the opening pages…

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I love the haphazard arrangement of photography, personal notes and illustration creating a deluxe scrapbook that you can flick through quickly or read slowly depending on the pages…

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As the book progresses, Maripol's sketches for costume/fashion design become more and more loose, free and less-exacting as though the ideas were executed quicker, requiring less pre-emptive thought and more ACTION, a lesson that I need to learn sometimes…

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Weirdly enough, without knowing that Maripol had put slinkies on Grace Jones as jewellery, I too went through a phase of wearing metal slinkies as cuffs…

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Maripol worked with the director Jean-Paul Goude a lot… including this Orangina commercial.  What happened to using progressive stylists on soft drinks commercials, eh? 

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Love this centre spread where there's a translucent page that goes on top of another sketch of this China Doll dress…

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There are also smaller-sized booklets inserted into the book where Maripol arranges her designs…

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Maripol also worked on the film Downtown 81, which didn't actually get properly released until 2000… which took its toll on Maripol because she had to edit, restore and look at this footage repeatedly over a long period of time, staring at a subject who is no longer alive.  At this point in the book, she also takes the opportunity to say this statement that I've heard in varying forms over the last decade… "New York 30 years later has lost this frankness.  Fanatic mayors and a city orientated on financial gain alone will always try to kill this artistic spontaneity that is the spirit of New York." 

The tide might be changing but you wonder whether the verve will ever be reignited? 

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Maripol opened her store Maripolitan in 1984… love how these sketches are a complete antithesis to the high calibre rendered technical drawings of conventional store designs…

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This part of Maripol's jewellery legacy I did hap upon when rubber bangles, peace sign penants and smiley faces were very much in my life… too much actualy.  By 1998, I had a glut of this transient jewellery that I ended up chucking away… shame on me. 

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The rest of Maripol's styling/art directing trajectory is history as her most well-known feat is of course styling Madonna in the early days…

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This is her vision of fashion's future… not unlike Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Romain Kremer designs that came later… 

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I love this IN/OUT list she made in 1987, which for me nicely closes the hey day period and looking at the list, it seems to me that Maripol has grown tired of the scene that she reminisces over. 

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There are so many points of inspiration to take away be it from Maripol's designs, styling, her words or the people that she captured on film and her own self as well, that I'm glad in a way that she didn't make it into a biography where text and narrative swamps the imagery that tell a far more upbeat and positive tale. 

Instead, as a closer to the book, Maripol has a conversation with Marc Jacobs that goes over some of the narrative in a "Let's look at the good old days" sort of way.  It also brings in Jacobs' own past as a club kid who started going out aged 15, hanging out at Fiorucci, going to Studio 54, the Mudd Club and Hurrah and together, they go over similar experiences of witnessing spontaneous creativity and the state of change that New York nightlife underwent.  Which leads nicely onto Marc Jacobs' S/S 11 collection.  It definitely went off in all directions, riffing off the 70s in a number of ways – YSL's colour combinations, Missoni-esque knitwear and sending out Bianca Jagger and Guy Bourdin vibes.  Furtheremore though, there's also an inherent 'New York' energy in the collection that of course always pervades Jacobs' work but for S/S 11, it harks back to a 'New York' nightlife period when disco ruled and as a city, NY took over the mantle as the centre of cool.  It's a precursory period to the one that Maripol paints in her book but still as I read the closing conversation between Jacobs and Maripol, you can't help but think that he takes pleasure in reminiscing over the New York of yesteryear and perhaps that does play out in his work.  I also exited that show getting the same joyous vibes as I did when I had finished flicking through Maripol's book.  Gazing dreamily at the past can be a tiresome and counter-productive activity, but when there's so much joy to take in (in the form of wicked colour combinations, oversized hats, voluminous skirts and one particularly fetching candy pink satin trouser suit…), I'm not going to deny myself the pleasure. 

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Fell into the Gap

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Some of you have already been Tweeting me about it and have asked me for a succinct explanation.  This post is also one for the family who do check the blog from time to time to make sure that I'm still alive.  Seeing as I've also seen my printed self up in some of the stores and on the streets too, it seems a bit odd not to acknolwedge it here.  So here goes.  I'm not sure what is the correct protocol for announcing things such as…

"Hey err… so I'm in the Gap's Holiday campaign!"

Oh right.  That wasn't so bad.  Not that I have anything to hide but it was always going to be a pleasantly bizarre announcement to make, rounding off what has been a funny old year for Style Bubble and for myself.   

Actually, my parents reacted with complete nonchalance, not because they don't know what the Gap is but because in their eyes, it really is a "And so what?  Did David Cameron call to congratulate you?  Did The Times want to speak to you?"  Things like Prime Ministers or anything to do with the government and The Times rank highly in their books.  

Therefore I'm going to follow their lead and decidedly not be all squealy about it and you, as readers are also free NOT to do the coo-ing "Oh Congratulations!" thing.  Instead, I'm just going to be genuinely grateful and that needs no jumpy excitement at all.  In all honesty, all I did was accept the ludicrously good offer of

a) being shot by Craig McDean

b) being styled by Karl Templer

c) being in a wholesome Gap Holiday campaign whilst being an unwholesome Brit who isn't really conventionally attractive in the way that I think all Gap ads seem to convey (that's not self deprecation btw – merely truthful observation)

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d) having Gap donate $10,000 on my behalf to my charity of choice.

The Gap Want campaign is also donating a $1 to all the collective charities for every Facebook Like on their campaign app page where you'll find me spinning lines such as "Style is like the wrapping paper of my life". 

I willingly entered into cheesy territory that was marked by lines like the one above, a dose of airbrushing as well as the fake snow blown at me in the middle of a heat wave in New York.  It's pleasingly cheesy though given that it is a holiday campaign, a concept that is probably better done in the US than it is here and admittedly there is a lot of giving, wanting and general goodwill that has no place to go other than slightly cheesy ville.  My chosen charity was Shelter England and yes I am going to feel like the rejuvenated and made-over Ebenezer Scrooge for a good chunk of time yet because I've done this bit of philanthropy.  I have some lengthy reasons for why I chose Shelter but the important thing is that I've already had word that the money is being put to good use.

For now… I'm even going to heed my *ahem* words of "Play down the crazy, dial up the cosy*…" and wrap up in the warmth of giving, sharing, wanting… and err… more giving.

*Sorry I'm never going to be able to spell it with 'z'.

Susie

Sunspel for Me

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I'm one of THOSE species now – thinking ahead to what seasonal veg I should be cooking with for dinner when the other half comes home and buying him basic tees when I think his white ones are looking a bit tired and not 100% whitey-white.  Pass the sick bucket if you please. 

I promise there is some sartorial pleasure to be had though from this gross domestication process.  It might be a trickle of influence streaming from Steve's blog or that I've seen such a glut of fashion that somehow appreciating things such as a basic white t-shirt is all of a sudden, a magical delight.  When I popped into Opening Ceremony last week whilst in New York, in amongst all the cool brands that were there, I got most excited about a grey jersey t-shirt by Japanese label Filmelange.  In London, it's Sunspel that's currently winning the basics/undies stake.  Redchurch Street is becoming domestic goddess haven for me.  I might come out of the Tea Biscuit building having been in a meeting, feeling accomplished and then decide that I can retreat into homey mode by popping into Caravan and looking at Chandelier drops, buying a nice loaf of bread and homemade jam at Albion and then going into Sunspel for some bright whites that of course Steve needs to go under his shirts.  Where's that bucket again?

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Sunspel is probably best known for two things really… Nick Kamen stripping down to some Sunspel boxer shorts in a 1985 Levi's ad and Daniel Craig wearing a Sunspel tee in Casino Royale.  The actual pedigree of Sunspel is a bit more weighty than macho manly icons though.  Sunspel started off as Thomas A Hill Ltd. in 1860 and later became Sunspel and is now based in Long Eaton in Derbyshire where everything is still made.  The cotton and cashmere blends dubbed Q14, 74, 82 and 00 are part of Sunspel's trademark in creating long-lasting tees, polo shirts and men's undies.  The more relevant part of all of this blurb though is that menswear and now womenswear designer J.W. Anderson was recently appointed creative director and has now broadened Sunspel to include womenswear for S/S 11. 

Ah.  The Redchurch Street habitual doting girlfriend shopping jaunt gets slightly more exciting and self-serving.  I will soon be able to procure myself some striped tees and vests, elasticated crop tops and boxer skirts for myself to lounge around home in or leave the house safe in the knowledge that I have a breathable fabric foundation on beneath all my layers.  I don't really have a set routine for buying my own basics, veering between Uniqlo and COS for certain things but Sunspel adds a slightly different offering that might also nicely eradicate the need to visit American Apparel (if they should disappear in a 'poof' of defaulted loan payments…).  Is this in general going to make aesthetician's eyes pop out?  Perhaps not.  Take it as a sign of the times that I'm getting happy over a cotton t-shirt and elasticated boxer skirt. 

That said, there was a particularly amazing cotton loose onesie that I saw at the Sunspel S/S 11 rail during press days that hasn't made it into the lookbook here.  I'm sure J.W. Anderson will be finding some ways of opening Sunspel up to slightly more adventurous roads. 

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