>> I've had my official last BITE of summer today at my parents' barbeque and hopefully for you guys, my last bout of slacker posting, as the Bank Holiday weekend draws to a close and the dread of September rolls on.  To bid adieu to deckchairs, charred meat and too many beers in the sun, I thought I'd post a few of the photos, which Steve and I shot for Beach in the East to use on the Japanese e-commerce giant Laso.  What turned out to be one of the most exciting fashion pop-ups of the year has just ended its physical residency in Shoreditch but the BITE action continues on Laso, where 70s Californian skater vibes needs a fair amount of explanation.  Love it when Google Translate becomes a form of entertainment.  Examples of English-Japanese-English gems include… 

"Famous design highly original and fan cool."

"When the sunlight becomes soft, let's stick to fashion of the frame!"

"Comfort is distinguished."

"When you are wearing items of Beach in the East, I bathed in sunlight with all one's might."

"Atmosphere that mode drifts unusual."

"Cute personality group knit hat."

What with the highlight of my summer being my maiden trip to Los Angeles, I've gained a wider understanding and context to what Beach in the East was inspired by.  I feel like I understand the sartorial lingo of denim, sunnies, tees and sandals more having seen them in their natural habitat.  Thankfully a lot of the exclusive product created for Beach in the East need not hide away as the hours of daylight decrease.  Special trans-seasonal mentions to the Joe Duke jackets, the Shackleton print bags, the Thomas Tait cycling tops and the hand-dyed Frederick Maxwell Kingery denim.  Summer may be fading but BITE LIFE goes on hopefully.    

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IMG_9600Thomas Tait cycling top, Frederick Maxwell Kingsley skater shorts, Sophia Webster sandals

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IMG_9408Silverspoon Attire beanie, Joe Duke denim jacket, Peridot tie-front shirt, Rolla's skinny jeans, Reece Hudson clutch

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IMG_9908Frederick Maxwell Kingery dungarees, √™tre c√©cile t-shirt, Joe Duke denim jacket, Ancient Greek sandals

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IMG_9959House of Holland polka dot dungarees, √™tre c√©cile t-shirt, Shackleton rucksack

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IMG_9461Thomas Tait cycling top, Rolla's shorts, Shackleton rucksack, Ancient Greek Sandals

All sunglasses by Sheriff & Cherry

>> I've had a fair number of oddities come through the N7 hovel over the years.  Nothing will ever top the hollowed out pineapple with a piece of jewellery inside it, which arrived with a slightly putrid smell, but others have tried to take its tropical crown.  Last week, Acne winged over what is essentially a pricy emoticon on an orange hardcase acetate clutch.  Upon closer inspection, the Vanessa clutch with its slightly comical looking 😐 facade, is a beautiful leather lined case with a mirror inside, making it a hefty article to carry anything in.  According to Acne, it's a "modern take on the vintage vanity case" and is big enough to fit an iPad or all of your modern necessities, which in my case would be Samsung Galaxy Note phone (you'd be surprised how many evening clutches are strictly iPhone only), Oyster card, debit card and maybe a powder compact – no need to use my own smudgy mirror when you have a gleaming big one inside the case.

Better than being a functioning clutch though is the overriding indulgent preciousness of the case.  I'm probably not the only one who had a deep love for pretty boxes as a child.  I loved me a box.  One year it was my mother's velvet lined jewellery box.  Another, it was a shell covered box my nan gave me.  Even the most mundane of gift boxes were potential self-made treasure troves.  Inside them, they'd be filled with silly notes to myself, pebbles, stickers and other weird and wonderful trinkets.  I'd hide them around my bedroom, thinking someone might try and steal my "secrets".  I'd make a dramatic ceremony out of "stumbling" upon my own boxes, opening them up and imagining I was Alice in Wonderland discovering the "Eat Me" box.  Therefore rather than cramming this Acne Vanessa case with life's "modern necessities", I'd rather gently lay lovely artefacts inside, some of which are perhaps slightly useless in the scheme of real life.  I almost want to dare myself to rely on the contents of the case when out and about.  How to incorporate a roll of stripy washi tape or a set of eraseable pastel pens in a serious meeting about online publishing and content strategy?

Thumbs up too on Acne's choice to use the apathetic bored emoticon :|on this series of clutches (which come in a smaller Akoya size if 26cm x 21cm of acetate is too cumbersome for you).  It's an appropriate sentiment to carry around, considering how many real eye rolls, deadpans and eyebrow raises I do in a day.  Thankfully though, what's inside would naturally lift the | into a ).

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Myth quashed.  People DO talk to each other on the tube in London.  After seeing the Fashion East menswear collections, I got on the tube at Covent Garden and Holly Fowler came up to me to give me her business card.  I'm more than happy to kick it old school and find designers through face to face encounters.  A few months later, I finally managed to go and see Holly's studio and find out more about her mesmerising painted world.  

Central Saint Martins collection followers might remember Holly's graduate collection from the 2011 BA show.  Browns carried on their tradition of picking up on graduate designers immediately and then asked Holly to create a small collection for them, transferring her painted motifs from stiff canvas to more wearable silk.  After stints at Louis Vuitton, Diane von Furstenberg and Zac Posen, Holly came back to London to get serious about growing her hand painted work and so came up with a S/S 13 collection, which then led to another exclusive collection for Browns, and also for Bergdorf Goodman and Capitol stocking her collection.  That's quite an impressive stockist trio for someone who admittedly "stumbled quite organically" towards her label and initially wasn't aware of seasons, lookbooks and the formalities of creating and selling a collection.  

That free flowing start to Holly's label almost runs parallel to her painting style.  Influenced by her CSM tutor Howard Tangye (looking looking forward to his Kickstarter-funded book Within), who often told her to stop and step back from a drawing, Holly's black ink drawings took on a spare and fluid spontaneity.  The lines remind me a little of Henri Matisse or Toulouse Lautrec but with an innate femininity that comes from her admiration of Cartier and Bvlgari jewellery.  It's that trompe l'oeil jewellery effect combined with dreams of maharajahs, bygone princesses and Wallis Simpson that inspire her regal shapes as well as her opulent motifs.  She also has an imaginary muse called Pamela.  That's Princess Pamela to you and I.  She's based on Holly's grandmother, someone who dressed up for every occasion and took pride in her appearance.  Holly illustrates a tale for every season based around the adventures of Pamela.  For S/S 13, Princess Pamela finds herself in the frozen aisle of a supermarket having lost her rings in amongst the lasagnes but then finding a golden crab with diamonds in its eyes.  And so it is a crab finds its way on a pink silk shift.      

From inspiration to the final garment, everything about the way Holly works is endearingly introspective and steeped in an imaginative dreamer territory.  Holly might chalk up the designs on the garments but the paintings are done free hand and so often, no two are exactly the same.  The danger in taking on large quantities for stockists, is ensuring that they all retain that freehand quality which is why in the future, she's also looking into the possibility of combining digial print with hand painted work to retain her handiwork signature.  It's that tactile hand painted charm, which has seduced those prestigious retailers and a set of bespoke clients in America, who have commissioned Holly to create a distinct garment for them.  Labour of love is an oft-used phrase but it certainly applies in Holly's instance as she talks in disbelief about being fortunate enough to be paid to paint.  It might take up to three weeks (that's working from 8am to 10pm everyday) to paint one single gown but Holly clearly revels in getting lost in these canvases that then take on a life of their own, swirling around the body as though the painting was animated.  

Holly doesn't want her work to exist in a strictly rarified plane though.  For Browns, her hand painted leather jackets, slippers and bags (complete with the most charming of painted silk linings) as well as shorter dresses she'll be creating for her forthcoming S/S 14 collection, means that anyone could be hooked into her work, even if they don't have a calender of "society" functions to attend.  I quite like Holly's dreamer inclinations towards princess ankle length gowns and stiffened flared out proportions.  As houses such as Valentino are showing, there's a way of making those longer lengths and demureness,  relevant and even subversive in some cases.  Princess need not be just be for dreams only.  They can exist in real life too.   

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Central Saint Martins BA 2011 Collection 

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IMG_9416First collection for Browns

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IMG_9459A/W 13-4 exclusive collection for Browns

>> Never had I see so many bras on show than when I was in LA.  Not in a lewd or overt way.  But they just showed up under sheer t-shirts, peeking out from underneath button-front dresses and blouses and revealed themselves in ways, that I'd feel a bit self conscious about, if I was walking down the road towards builder central near the Emirates Stadium.  In sun-drenched, vertical light-filled LA though, the combination of pretty lace bras and sheer fabrics on show somehow look completely natural.  Not that I'd want to necessarily restrict bra-peeking to one singular city.  Especially as I just found out that Goodhood in Shoreditch have started to stock New Zealand cult lingerie label Lonely.  There's a lot to love about Helene Morris and Steve Ferguson's Lonely Hearts brand with whimsical ready to wear that has made domestic and international waves through a lot of internet lovin'.  Their lingerie label Lonely though has taken on a life of its own, with their clean lines and pretty laces combined to create pretty sets that are truly too good to hide away.  See their Lonely Girls series of photographs, where bras and denim come together in harmony, bathed in natural light and framed by an attitude of "Bra?  What bra?  I'm just wearing my underwear like it's a t-shirt." and flooded with Lina Scheynius-esque vibes.      

Goodhood have bought in the Chloe collection consisting of the prettiest royal blue and mint soft bra Anouk sets and then more robust shades of grey and forest green in the longline multi-strap Sabel style.  The scallop-edged Cyd bra is also a winner.  Just need to work out what levels of bra-peeking/peeping the hardy streets of Holloway Road can handle.  

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Lonely Girls series…

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