Sneaker Time

fullsizeoutput_2791Tom from Crepe City shoed us in. My niece led the way up urban stairs of concrete and steel into a cavernous room made of similar hard stuff.  Music boomed so loud we had to shout at one another to be heard.

IMG_0316A sea of black hoodies, baseball hats, rucksacks and box-fresh super trainers adorned the majority of attendees at this Crepe City convention.  I followed H’s Inter Jordan All Stars past rows and rows of sneakers for sale and asked for some explanation, some clue as to what all the fuss was about.

IMG_0354 “The thing is, the Yeezys for instance – they’ll launch a new style in store, but the queues will start the day before so the chances of getting a pair at the retail price of £150 is slim. The fact that they’re limited in production ultimately increases their value for re-sale. That’s what this is all about” she informed me. “See?”  I glanced at the trainer she held up for me to appraise.  The price tag attached read ‘£750’ – a punishing price to pay for your inability to be one of the first in line on launch day.

IMG_0321I remained intrigued as we wandered on past the special Back to the Future Part II self-lacing Nike Air MAG trainers and other £3,000 pairs to be envied, admired, and coveted by some, if not all sneaker enthusiasts.

I shamefully looked down at my Ecco Terracruises. “H, I bought these for £12.99 in a charity shop the other day: I feel a bit embarrassed.”
‘It’s okay Auntie Sarah, they’re actually so rare that nobody knows what they are” she said with a wry smile.
I burst out laughing, loving the fact I have a niece with such wit.

IMG_212646C32E07-1At a sneaker-friendly watch stand – finally comfy sofas and a free nailbar.  I sat down and took full advantage; neon pink with a lavender heart, mindful of mother’s day ahead.

To my right a girl sat with two watches decorating a heavily tattooed arm. “I had an original one of those in the late 70’s” I said pointing to her gold Casio, “We all did. Wish I’d kept it now – be worth a fortune.”
“Really!” she said.  “This is the waterproof one, I wear it all the time and nothing ever happens to it – just keeps on going.”

IMG_0349Heading towards the exit we passed a gentleman wearing a pair of Adidas Hardcourts. “I’ve come from Sweden especially to be here today” he told me. His newly-met companion shifted from one of her SB Dunks to the other, smiling at him admiringly.

I turned to H. “I think I get it now. Time for lunch” I said, walking out into fresh air and sunshine; E Bay on my mind.

Thanks to @hayles45 for manicure photo.

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Farmaceuticals

img_4357There was a time, not so long ago, when the word that a new restaurant in town had opened, had you hot footing it down there to steal the ashtray and collect the matches while dining on all the alcohol you could possibly manage and shooting the calorie counter up to eleven. The naughtier and more generously appointed the dish the better.

As the years have gone by however the courses, as opposed to the prices, have gotten smaller: We had nouvelle cuisine morphing into bacon and egg ice cream, and eventually just bits of air floating about in a clear glass dome on a plate.

So, just when the menus of hip and happening restaurants had become so absurd and gone beyond you even asking for the chef’s recipe book for Christmas – solely for coffee table decoration – we finally pulled ourselves together and decided what was interesting was what actually might be good for us to eat.  Good in a kind of ‘I am superhuman, I live in the Noughties (are we still in those by the way?) I am immune to any new disease mankind may throw at me.  Bring on the kale! Bring on the bizarre South American herbs! Bring on the sense of worthiness/smugness I will obtain just by looking at this food on my plate!’

Farmacy, one of the latest restaurants currently fascinating London town fits this particular bill.

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Kenzo Tiger

img_3979I woke surrounded by Tiger print.  Red and pink Tiger print.  Had it all been a dream? A glance at the receipt and an inspection of photos on my phone said otherwise.

A delightful invitation to a preview of Kenzo for H&M had me planning every minute of the week (not to mention a year in advance) beforehand with my plus one.  For a diehard long term committed fan of the H & M annual fashion designer collaboration, this one had special resonance: An opportunity not to get up at 5am and queue for days to be first in line, plus the fact that Kenzo, one of the 80’s designers has a special place in my heart.   Always just beyond reach of my shoulder padded purse in those heady days, would H&M work their magic on this designer brand’s less acute following in the last couple of decades and up the ante again?

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Frieze!

img_3756I tweeted H: ’Unfortunately it’s sold, so I can’t get it for you.’
‘Where is his nose?’ came the response. I ignored the question, after all a bust of this Hellenistic King from mid century BC was bound to come a cropper at some point in the last few centuries.

Frieze Masters hosted this fine piece of art along with many others of repute and fame, their makers well established in art history vernacular. From Picasso to Bonnard, Dali to Louise Bourgeois, these were all artists we can agree on as having made it. The elite hush of this particular part of Frieze held a reverence indicative of solemn recognition and certain provenance, to say nothing of sky high prices.

Across a cooling October park lay Frieze London.

I headed to the bathrooms, noting that Julie Verhoeven was performing a piece of her art there entitled ‘The Toilet Attendant … Now Wash Your Hands’. One of many works this year with a message cloaked in humour.

A blue strip of carpet led to the ladies, a pink to the mens. Once that initial confusion was dealt with I entered to the usual set up save a few trolleys dotted about laden with the tools of a loo attendant’s trade.  I spied the artist suitably dressed in the latter’s regalia.

‘I just want you to know, I’ve washed my hands’ I said.
‘But did you put the loo seat down?’ she asked, ‘It’s amazing how many people don’t.’ ‘Well, that could be because they’ve become confused by the blue and pink carpet. Perhaps you would find that if you went into the mens all the loo seats would be resting in situ between visits.’
‘Ha!’ she replied. ‘Maybe.’

Through the fair I wandered, stopping in my tracks for some pieces, marvelling at them, rendered mute by others such were the thoughts and feelings provoked.

I heard my name being called:  An old acquaintance from the 90’s, and art collector. I told him about Julie’s work.  ‘Did she ask you for a pound? Is that how artists are making money these days?!’ he laughed.

The question’s answer is potentially the same as it was in mid century BC as it may be in 50 years; a benefactor, menial work or connections – the way the pendulum swings dependent on our appetite for and willingness to appreciate another narrative to our daily lives.

Frieze Art Fair until 9th October, Regent’s Park, London.

‘Tonight Matthew I’m going to be … Kris Jenner’

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Stars in one person’s eyes is quite enough to be dealing with, but the entire Kardashian/Olivier Rousteing fan club descending on H&M in London is quite another. I’m not sure how ‘Kris Jenner’ these shades make me look, but one thing’s for sure the company I was keeping yesterday made it quite clear that I couldn’t pass for Kendall.

I’ve done over half of these designer at H&M collaborations over the years from Madonna to Wang but the reaction and response to yesterday’s Balmain collection in the Managing Director of H&M UK’s own words was ‘Unprecedented.’

I’d started off slow.  7am found me at Westfield White City where there were not one but two enormous queues, and the coveted wristbands that give you a time slot to shop for 10 minutes had all been handed out already.

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Fierce

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Fan and all as I am of Ms Moss’s style, the much reported hologram of her in the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition seemed in fact a bit of a let down once you got to it.

It paled, literally and figuratively speaking into insignificance once one had done the rounds of the rest of his fierce and fantastical work.

“I met him a couple of times” I said to my friend B.  “The first was a Q & A he did either here or at the ICA in the early Nineties.  I remember it so clearly because I was wearing a pale green coloured moleskin suit I’d designed made-to-measure, and it was its first outing.  It was at the time when he was frequently lambasted in the press for being ‘Misogynistic.’”

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Meeting Mr Turk

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“Oh yeah. I know Gavin, he’s a friend of mine – great guy” said Pinky as I related having met him at a recent night out in Shoreditch.

“He knows a good biscuit, that’s for sure” I said slicing into an Eggs Benedict weekend brunch.

I’d been invited to come on down to a pop-up jewellery shop at Boxpark on Thursday night.  Locating the event – sparsely populated but with the suspended air of more exciting times to come – I introduced myself to the founders of True Rocks – Emily and Dawn.

I got out my trusty Lumix and snapped away whilst we chatted.

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“Oh, here’s Gavin!” Emily cried as a mammoth bearded gentleman made his way through a now increasingly crowded kitchen-at-a-party type space.  I slipped one of his Rich Tea necklaces over my head.

“What was behind all this?” I asked the artist of said piece.  “What were you thinking when you created it?”

“I wanted to do something about buying biscuits – cheap biscuits.  I was interested in that exchange.”  I looked at the necklace – a delicious treat in rose gold.  The concept contained a dollop of quintessential British humour I felt.  I wanted to know more, but first I had a burning question.

“Tell me something.  Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea and think I won’t bother writing that down because it’s so good I’ll remember it?”

Gavin interjected: “I know what you’re going to say next! Yes, I keep a piece of paper and pen by the bed.  But the thing I’ve decided is, it’s not the final idea itself that’s important (often looks rubbish in the morning) – it’s the thought process that led to it.  Essentially – what’s more interesting is how you got there.”

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I looked into his green eyes (or were they blue?) – made more so by a double shiner (malevolent muggers), green sunglasses and the bushiest beard I’d seen in a while. “Does your other half like that?” I asked with a nod to it.

“Yeah! Women either love or hate it. I’m compiling a list of those who want me to shave it off for money.  Maybe one day I will and donate the proceeds to my wife’s charity – House of Fairy Tales .”

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I finished my Verveine tea, and relating the evening’s events to Pinky. “It was nice wearing that necklace for the evening” I mused, admiring my brunch date’s newly hair free handsome face. “I hope they do the earrings.”

Lottie Bogotti

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Sometimes I like a bit of vintage. The thing is I’m not so keen on the accompanying mustiness and endless jumble of rails that one has to endure to find some treasure.

‘Lottie Bogotti’ is thankfully a different shopping experience.

I wandered in, seaweed strewn from the beach, wet bikini marks on my T-shirt from a recent swim and said Hi to Hannah and her daughter – whose name emblazons this cute little tienda in San Carles, Ibiza.

“It’s so hard to find a strapless top or dress anywhere, Hannah – I don’t suppose you have one, do you?” As always, one only has to ask and like a magician she pulls exactly the thing you’re looking for ‘out of a hat’ as it were.  Disappearing downstairs she returned with a brightly coloured stash of frothy Indian silk – impossible to describe – but just what I wanted. “Here, you can have this one – it’s got a hole in it so I can’t sell it – and it’s your colour!”  I headed to the changing room and slipped it on.

A gentle background of golden orange with a teeny tiny flowery print, its elastic shape fitted to my chest, flowed from there, hugged my hips and then frou frou’ed out shortly to just cover my derriere – very cute.

“It’s perfect, Hannah – thank you!” I exclaimed.  I got us some drinks and we sat on the two little stools inside, chewing the fat.  People started arriving, picking up this and that, holding up pieces to themselves in the mirror, trying on sparkly necklaces and asking to see different delicacies in the cabinets.

“You’re bringing me customers” Hannah said as I showed the shops’ namesake my camera and asked her if she’d take a few shots.  “But why don’t you make a film instead?” she asked.  “Well, that’s a really good idea, Lottie, but we don’t have time today. I’ve got no lights on my bike and I need to head home before it gets dark.”

“You cover a lot of ground on that bike – imagine how much you’d do if you had a car!”  “I dread to think, Hannah, it’s all I can do to keep up with myself on two wheels.”

As customers purchased everything from vintage clothing to Cowboy boots to heart shaped sunglasses and funky handbags, I sat there sewing up my latest love and bracing myself for the ride home.

Atzaro, you know how to do it

P1030308‘Twas between shows at the Atzaro Fashion Festival 10th Anniversary and I was taking a quick pit stop at Nick’s bar.  Well, not ‘Nick’s bar’ exactly, but he’d promised me a Caipiroska earlier in the evening and having worked as a bartender for four years here, I figured he knew his stuff.

P1030342We started to talk sayings.  “If a frog had a glass ass he would break it every time he jumped” Nick said.  “That was one my grandfather used to tell me.” I thought about it for a second as I looked at him mixing my drink. “That looks like a strong one, Nick, I’m not sure it’s going to make it easy for me to have this conversation with you.” “Don’t worry you’ll be fine, dude – I got you.”

He did indeed, and I made my way back into fashion land revived.  P1030315The music got louder.  Time to get a place down by the ‘runway’….but what was this?  I spotted a ubiquitous hat and had to investigate further.  “Excuse me – but is that a Pharrell hat?” I asked.  “Um, that’s the wrong thing to say – he’ll tell you he had it first” the gentleman’s lady friend said. “Exactly, I wore this hat in the ’80’s – it’s a Vivienne Westwood.”  “Wow – now that’s significant Vintage” I said, snapping a shot.

A drone whirred above me and I headed to the action as fast as my wooden clogs would take me. P1030240With shows from Podenco, World Family, Kurru Kurru and Felt by Natalie to name but a few, this was one Ibizan event that stimulated the fashion palate and created desire afresh for some of the delectable creations on show.

From sunset to dusk to a full golden spotlight on it’s glorious ‘runway’ Atzaro met the challenge head on over two evenings and produced one after the other sight for sore eyes. P1030338The audience was just as colourful as the collections and I got chatting to another couple:  Francisco de Barcelona and Maria informed me they’d been together for ’10 years’ but that they weren’t ‘jealous’.  I was still trying to work it out when he called after me “I need your telephone number!  When I go to Dublin then I’ll give you a call!” P1030261Past the ethereal Podenco dogs and sundry other interesting sights and I was finally back in the quiet of the restaurant at this classy hotel. “How’s it going, Nick?” I asked.  “Busy. Busy” he said.  “Tell me about it” I said, “But, as the saying goes ‘Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration'”.P1030294 Thanks to Rachel and the Atzaro team for a splendid time. Soundtrack tune ; ) : http://bit.ly/1nwKdFn