Saturday, 30 November 2013

Half-baked Halbwelt Kultur

Half-baked Halbwelt Kultur

 Otto Dix's portrait of Anita Berber 
(Currently turning in her grave) 

Last night I went to see Halwelt Kultur at the Jermyn Theatre. I went with great expectations and came home with them shredded.

Trite, and lukewarm amdram to the choirgirl end, it would have been passable as a sixth form end of year show. A cheap (OK, not so so cheap £20 if you want to pay with a card) dull history lesson that failed to scratch the surface of Berlin's Weimar. The (non)action was supposedly staged in chronological order, how strange therefore that Rosa Luxemburg was stuck after Berber in the 1920s (she was murdered Jan 1919). Let's not get started with the cliched faux lesbian titillation...

Clean and neat, the all-female cast members were poorly directed, perhaps there was no direction at all. Singing as prettily as possible was never the point at a Weimar cabaret, charming though some of them were, the original 'Berlinerin' would have spat them out after eating them for breakfast.

Blandly staged conjuring zero atmosphere, the only danger came from needing to go to loo in the middle of the show since the exit was next to the stage. Neither German realism or Neue Sachlichkeit touched the stage or cast, generally debauched as a saucy sketch show at Butlins. If you want a history lesson there are livelier books.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Take a Dr. NO Break

Something to Ruin You ;-) XXX

(Photo credit and shop unknown, if YOU know I would love to be informed Dr.NO)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Hermes for Free?


Photo: Hermes Catwalk A/W2007

The impossible is going to be happening at the end of May. There might not be such a thing as a free lunch but at the end of May you can experience the craft of Hermes - FOR FREE.

Hermes craftspeople will be showing off their knowledge and skills and answering questions.

Anyone who went to Hermes LEATHER FOREVER exhibition will tell you how fascinating it was to watch, up close, the making and hand-finishing of such classic Hermes bags such as the Kelly or the Constance.

21 to 27 May 
10:00-18:00 Daily

Duke of Yorks HQ
King's Road,
London SW34RY

How much?
Admission Free 

See you there!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Wear Something Surreal

Be your own special creation this week and wear something 


Hermes horse-bit worn as a belt buckle with an Hermes Quintessence scarf and 1960s embroidered tunic

Picture - Dr. NO NEWS

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Hands-Up Hermes A/W 13

I love Hermes, but I'm just throwing this open for debate: 
How many think that crocodile skirt is on backwards? 

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Free Art and Art for Free?

Part of the 'Don't Ignore the Issue' Series 

Free Thoughts on the Matter

1. Books, art and music have been virtually free for generations, all one had to do is go to the library, museum or switch on the wireless. All this 'topical' talk over whether music/books/film/art should be free is an ongoing debate between artists that already have the means and those that would like to pay their (exorbitant) rent for their slum cell but can't afford to.

 2. Food and housing and silk scarves should be free but since they're not and musicians/artists have to pay for them like everyone else, so...

3. The cultural and media industries as a business made billions for their selves using a handful of highly visible artists.Very few artists have ever made a living from their work. Why should the majority suffer for the fake lives of the few?

4. Artists may take an outside point of view of society but they are not outside of it, they are part of it.  Unless everyone does their job and then gets paid according to how pleased their 'customer' is why should artists.

5. When people value things, they pay for them, when things are valuable, they look after them. How many Banksy rats and other paintings were scrubbed-off or covered over before they were worth a fortune?  Now councils, auction houses and private owners fight over them.

6.  Paying only as a donation is paying someone's wages as a 'tip' or gratuity. Basic living, minimum wage first.  Many professions use tips to signify customer appreciation.  Tips should be an optional extra (and go straight to the worker who earned the tip).

7. Historically, there has always been been a division between artist workers and keen amateur.  The amateurs should not be allowed to set the agenda for those who need to work for their living.

8. People have always paid accordingly. Buskers and street performers put their hat outside of busy places like theatres for people to throw coins. Inside theatres, people have paid up-front for something they have traveled miles to see in particular.

9. Artists and writers that do free art, do art that is free. Favours and internships aside (for now) it's just so much clearer to know where one stands from the start.

10 Let's get priorities straight, live for free and pay for art!

NB: This article has been written by me and published on my blog for the purpose of giving to you for free. However, if you publish it elsewhere without my permission or acknowledgment, I may be mortally offended and may well sue your ass off

Monday, 18 February 2013

Kane and Very Able

Christopher Kane Autumn Winter '13


Kane's show consisted of mostly (and most strongly) of dresses but otherwise a collection of diverse ideas. Fragmentation is usually a disaster at fashion shows (they're called collection you know ;-)) but not today. I don't always want to know the a designers starting point for his/her collection but rather let the finished pieces 'speak' to me personally. Kane nearly always manages to make 'ugly' work, sometimes ugly is so refreshing in a world of the beautiful ones. Some of the most 'ugly' pieces sang to me whilst the mildly-interesting just muttered. Like Maya, the shapeshifter (from '70s sci fi TV series, Moonbase Alpha) semi-transparent beauty one minute, and semi-alien, warrior-queen the next, Kane (once again) pulled it off. Silhouettes were altered by extreme texture or imposing shape and, then there were dissected bodies, showing the beauty of human nature. Camouflage prints abounded, working best when not adorned by needless 'road-kill' (and I'm not strictly anti-anything except perhaps eating a cow that neighs). Ready for action, these beauties would have blended into the shadows of a dark city-scape, night or cloudy day, not attention grabbing, but passing many fleeting admiring glances as they appeared and disappeared into their surroundings and only occasionally frightening the horses and those of a more conservative, sensitive disposition.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Mulberry Return to Designing for Grown-ups

Mulberry Autumn Winter '13

Mulberry's designer Emma Hill has created a collection for grown-ups at last. A more authentic take on British eccentricity rather than the die-trying-to-be-different efforts that marked past seasons. Tweeds and plaids were quirk -happy together as were the swishy skirts over cropped trousers for that didn't seem the victim of a stylist forcing the issue (well it's cold in the castles we all live in da Kingdom). Colours that recall British racing green to match the Bentley, chestnut-brown to blend into the estate come conker-comp time on a bed of black, birthday-suit pink and off-white with the rare sparks of winter-sunshine yellow. Skirts as outerwear and leather capes looked modern and practical, fur collars and gorgeous gloves entirely essential. For once, luxury prices reflected desirabliity and wearability of Mulberry's accessories too.   No neon tiger-prints or stars on metallic leather but eye-catching nevertheless, the hand-held bags accompanied every outfit sent everyone running to check which model was which for pre-orders. Well done chaps, jolly good show!

Monday, 28 January 2013

Luxury Brands: What We Getting for Our Money?  

Photo Chanel Couture 

With the sales almost over and hopefully all the bills paid, if we have any money left over our minds wander to the new season (if we don't have any money we have our fantasies of what we would buy if we could). Depending on how we shop we can flip through a magazine, browse the Net, window shop, peruse the rails of a department store on the way to meet a friend in the coffee shop. Whether or not we have the money, our usual first thought is check out the big designers, for inspiration and form a check-list for our own forthcoming seasonal fashion-ability, if for nothing else.

However, not all products from major designers are made equal or share the same star status as the final gown on this season's catwalk. We are funny creatures and although we might desire to wear a backless, leather and lace, full-length evening gown to the supermarket on a Saturday morning, what we are more likely to invest our money in, are logo-ed jeans or tee-shirts, or a pair of monogrammed flats or a canvas shopper. That tee might look the same as we could actually buy at the supermarket, along with tins of tomatoes, but in fantasy, it's as far away as pomme frites are from chips. It's as though the tee-shirt announces 'my mega-bucks, evening gown is at the dry cleaners', it says 'I may be in a supermarket but normally I shop in Bond St or on Madison', it says 'I love shopping but not for tomatoes'. Okay it doesn't, it says, 'I went to Bond St as a tourist and bought a souvenir ' or 'my BF went to designer X but all I got was this lousy tee-shirt. I must remember to dig out my Medusa-head, Versace vest sometime and show you all!

Most large brands have different tiers of products. Lifestyle and commercial lines are relatively cheap to produce and tend to 'advertise' the brand, these are usually mass produced with very little to do with artisans, quality control of those products, whether a tee-shirt or a canvas bag, is about the placement of the logo followed by durability (people who buy logos, buy them to wear) but as we all know the mark-up is huge, they are not called the 'commercial' lines for nothing. Then there are the main line classic pieces that are created so that they don't frighten the more shy souls away. Although they are not out of the ordinary in design, they are more labour intensive, as skins and materials are carefully selected, quality control is high and things are often hand-finished and checked many times before hitting the stores, these pieces are not only intended to be worn they are expected to last, these are usually described by your ever-helpful sales-associate as 'classics' or if they're desperate 'investment pieces'. 

Then there are the catwalk, fashion, directional or seasonal pieces that are so scrutinised and written about they have to be able to seduce, and encourage discernible gasps of awe. Quality control is usually stringent but they are created more to put the design in design-er and retrench the mega-profile of the luxury nature of the brand. And then...drum role please... there are the exceptional pieces that have to make even jaded regular customers and fashion insiders gasp, whether by an exceptional exotic skin or decorative aspect, there will be so few examples of these pieces you will be lucky to see one in a flagship store. If you can obtain one of these 'pieces' either the 'only 3 ever made' or 'made to order' backless, leather and lace, full-length evening gown with fresh water pearl and onyx beading or a white crocodile and sterling silver evening minaudiere buy it, these are the real investment pieces, however much it costs is probably how much it cost to produce, and don't bother with the supermarket for a year, food is fattening and tomatoes are so over-rated.