“Really, I just wanted to make small, beautiful things,” writes artist-programmer Jonathan Harris in a recent story about ruts, how to get out of them and so much more. The piece is an inspiring medium-length read for this month of new beginnings, with such gems as the Bob Dylan quote, “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” To see more of Harris’ work, visit his site Number 27.
Filson’s durable, made-in-the-USA bags and accessories have inspired legions of city-dwellers to incorporate totes and other carriers formerly reserved for outdoorsmen into their daily wardrobes—ourselves included. In this sneak peak film, Cool Hunting takes an inside look at their new factory and global headquarters in Seattle. From the Alaskan adventurers who started it all to the workers whose impressive attention to detail keeps the brand on top, the short celebrates true American style. Watch it here.
We already love the eclectic mix of antiques, decor and other ways to beautify your home found at downtown space Storefront, the brainchild of set designer Coryander Friend. So when we found out Friend will present the premier Parachute Market this Saturday, June 22nd (12-7pm) and Sunday, June 23rd (12-6pm), we knew we had a new winning activity to fill our weekend.
Much like how Storefront is a wellspring of priceless homey treasures—such as a Danish couch, a giant Best Western sign, and a “jet-powered surfboard—the quarterly design fair will offer furniture, objects, fine arts and sculpture, as well as new and vintage fashion. All brought to you by “it” artist types of Southern California, such as purveyor of vintage fashion Richard Wainwright.
This first installment’s theme, “Psychedelic Summer,” helps channel your inner (and outer!) hippy. A reference to postmodern design as well as releasing your trippy side, participating inaugural vendors include Light in the Attic records, vintage clothiers A Current Affair, AQQ Design, furniture designers Lawson-Fenning and Tanya Aguiñiga, and Jim Olarte. And that’s not even touching all the foo d-makers who will be serving up delicious snacks.
Limited-edition VIP tickets get you into a Parachute Market preview dinner fundraiser with Inner-City Arts on Friday, June 21st featuring dinner, as well as an open bar, plus gift. Pick up tickets for all days from Brown Paper.
So drink up, get groovy, and replace that Ikea furniture!
Most of us spend a lot of our time staring at our computers at our offices, and Bri Emery of DesignLoveFest, is bringing some life to our desktops for FREE! You may not be allowed to put real wallpaper up in your office, so that’s why you should “Dress Your Tech” with some digital wallpaper! Bri Emery is a design pro and we love reading her blog everyday – from style posts to DIY projects to business advice (she runs a boot camp class called BlogShop that teaches anyone and everyone how they can jazz up their blog with Photoshop) – she’s a lady that knows a whole lot. We are currently rocking “You Got This” desktop wallpaper for a little end of the week Friday encouragement, but we also love this “Boom” design.
Boom. Happy Friday, all!
Michel Pastoureau begins his book Black: The History of a Color with a Biblical quote:
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void. Darkness was upon the face of the deep… God said, ‘Let there be light”.
The color black has been a part of our collective pysche since the beginning of time. With a thorough text and a beautifully curated set of images, Pastoureau, a Historian at the Sarbonne, examines how over the centuries, the meaning and influence of the color has fluctuated in relation to culture, art and dress.
Prior to the year 1000, black was easily accepted as clothing. But in the early Christian period, black became less a color for everyday life and took on an association with the devilish and infernal. In medieval times, black was symbolic of wealth, royalty and luxury, before swinging back to the gloom and depression of the Romantic Period (think Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven). In the 20th century, black and white film, photography and print elevated black once again.
As acceptability and perception have shifted over time, today we see black as a dual personality: the proper, businesslike, modern, sleek color of the little black dress and the business suit is the same as the dark, rebellious, dangerous color of the gothic and the undergound. Black reflects the duality of human values in our modern society. Much like Pastoureau looks at broad historical periods to identify how perceptions of black have changed over time, designers are also required to look at trends in society each season and determine how to use the color black in a collection. Keep your eye on the runway during fashion week and you’ll start to see exactly how this translates into fashion.
Aside from a very condensed version of design process on Project Runway, most people aren’t familiar with all of the steps that go into creating a finished look – especially a finished denim look. As part of our series of Explained posts on The Habit, we’re going into the details of the denim design process. From wash development, to perfecting the fit, to creating a sample and finally hitting retail, there are many steps in creating a pair of jeans. But before any design can begin to take shape, a designer has to be inspired.
Gathering inspiration is a constant practice, and it can come from anywhere – great photographs, the texture of fabrics, a stylish person, artwork, music, architecture, nature – really anything that we see or feel in the world around us. Designers are required to be sponges, soaking up as much of this inspiration as possible.
When the beginning of a calendar season comes around, the design team is tasked with putting together a “collection”, a cohesive group of pieces that represents our vision for the line, yet also carries market appeal. At that point, usually more than a year in advance, we have to focus in on our favorite bits of collected inspiration to draw out major trends in fabrics, silhouettes, washes, and colors for the given season. We check our tastes against macro trends in society, and look at what’s on the runway, what is chosen for magazine shoots, and what trend services are saying. We can then pull a series of images that support the product and design direction we’d like to go in for the line. Out of habit, we gather these images into an inspiration board, which serves as a constant reference as we start to create specific looks.
Even after we have a sense of what the product will look like for the season, inspiration continues to play a key role throughout the entire process. We are constantly looking at blogs, magazines, tumblr accounts, trend services, and the world around us to reconfirm that our inspirations for the current line are hitting the mark. When all is said and done, the goal is for the product to hit stores right as the trends are starting and never too late.
For design minded individuals, it can be difficult to find a quality stereo system that doesn’t look like a prop from a sci-fi movie.
We recently met the folks behind Q Speakers Ltd, which offers a sound system made from 100% real hardwoods, with clean lines and a contemporary design appropriate for anything from a dorm room to a mid century mansion. The unit offers 360 degree sound coverage from a 90 watt amplifier, built in bass woofer and stereo speakers, all mounted on an aluminum frame. Plug in any iPod or smartphone and the sound will easily fill a room up to 800 square feet. We can’t help but agree with their tagline, “Music looks better in Wood.”
The idea for Q came from New Zealand audio engineer and designer Grier Govorko and his sister Thea, a film industry vet, who wanted to put their experience in design, production and music to good use. The speakers may not be made in USA, but that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have the same dedication to craftmanship and quality. Every speaker is made from a unique piece of oak, maple or walnut, “thinned, planed, cut, mitered, glued, sanded and finished” over a 12 hour process. In their own words, it’s “like slow food – takes longer but tastes better.” We think one would fit perfectly in the design office.
If you are more of an on-the-go person, but like the idea of mixing of music and wood, thinksound makes a line of wooden earbuds that mix portability with a similar attention to design.
If you have had any doubt as to McQueen’s influence on the creation of fashion, look no further than this exhibit. Appropriately stationed at the Met, Savage Beauty is more art than anything else – no need to work in fashion to appreciate the gravity of these works. Guests wind through room after room of McQueen’s designs, spanning a career from his first collection as a graduate student, through his time at Givenchy, up to his final couture collection under the McQueen label.
The signature motifs of his work are on full display: inspirations from the natural world, unconventional materials, altered silhouettes and shapes, and the shocking techniques he used to make people “fear the women he dressed”. Also evident is the enormous pressure he created for himself, each collection setting an expectation of shock, spectacle, and beauty that kept the fashion community constantly wanting.
The curator, Andrew Bolton, has arranged the exhibit in 6 distinct sections, each with it’s own thematic feel and sound derived from McQueen’s frequent inspirations, under the through-line of Romanticism. In Bolton’s own words, “McQueen doggedly promoted freedom of thought and expression and championed the authority of the imagination. In so doing, he was an exemplar of the Romantic individual”.
The Romantic Mind - The first section of the exhibit showcases the impeccable construction and craftmanship McQueen learned while working as a tailor on Saville Row. Highlight: The “bumster” pants and gowns, which were lowcut in the back to exhibit what he considered the most attractive part of a man or women, the bottom of the spine (and the accompanying cleavage of the rear end).
Romantic Gothic – Murky mirrors bring you inside an Edgar Allen Poe poem (McQueen referred to himself as the Poe of Fashion). Perhaps the darkest section of the exhibit contains his elaborate leatherwork inspired by bondage costume, and extensive use of bird feathers. Highlight: The centerpiece of the show is the Cabinet of Curiosities, a room containing some of the iconic pieces of several collections, the most elaborate accessories, and filmed segments of his most famous runway moments.
Romantic Nationalism – Drawing on his Scottish heritage and British identity, his exploration of tartan is on one side and regal attire on the other.
Romantic Exoticism – It’s a walk into a life-sized music box to view the fine detailing of his embroidery, which stemmed from his exploration of Japanese, Chinese and Indian culture. Highlight: A Japanese inspired straight-jacket robe with a giant windowbox hat.
Romantic Primitivism – Largely containing work from the collection Irere, which told the story of a shipwreck and consequent landing in the Amazon jungle. Highlight: The film by John Maybury shown on a screen on the ceiling depicts a model swimming in silk and water, and originally played as the backdrop of this runway show.
Romantic Naturalism – Inspired by nature, a constant throughout his work, these pieces utilize everything from feathers to flowers. Highlight: Take special note of the iconic armadillo boots, made famous by Lady Gaga.
The Exhibit has been immensely popular, so consider going at an off time, in the morning or during a weekday. The museum cattles people through the exhibit during rush times, and you will not be able to take in the whole exhibit or see the pieces up close. Savage Beauty closes on August 7th. See more of the exhibit on the Met’s blog.
Today we’re reviewing Skinnygirl Margarita. Just kidding! But seriously, it’s actually not that bad…
If you are in a bit of a tougher mood this weekend, Bulleit Bourbon is a proper small-batch Kentucky Bourbon that’s perfect for mixing. The brand traces its roots back to the 1830’s, when a Louisville barkeep named Augustus Bulleit created the original recipe, but the brand disappeared for over 100 years until his great grandson revived the label in 1987. The brand is now largely run by LA’s own Hollis Bulleit, the next generation Bulleit who currently serves as spokeswoman. Bulleit is aged in oak barrels, and with 30% rye content, it has a smoky, smooth flavor with hints of vanilla. It retails in the $20 range. In case you didn’t get your fix during last weekend’s Kentucky Derby, they have a great Mint Julep recipe on the website. Just be careful - it’s 90 proof and after a couple of these you’ll need to find a ride home. Like all Bourbon – which the U.S. Congress declared a “distinctive product of the United States” in 1947, it is distilled and bottled here at home.
We really love the design of the bottle. It takes classic elements like a flask shape, raised glass detailing, and antique font style, and makes it modern with a plastic and cork stopper and miminalist labeling. You will probably notice it the next time you are at the bar.