Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Scarlet Johansson in Iron Man 2: Once bitten

In the absence of anything else remotely interesting to post on right now, I bring you Scarlet Johansson in spandex.

This is what she will be wearing when she teams up with Robert Downey Junior to fight baddies in Iron Man 2. Which kind of gives you the impression that while it might be the flattering option, she got the bum deal when the invincible body armour was being dished out. Unless Stark Industries has diversified into womenswear. Three guesses where they'd put the warheads in their Iron Woman suits.

Readers of the Iron Man books would no doubt have a clue as to the role Black Widow plays in the story. With a name like that it's not hard to work out that she's probably got a nasty bite.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Adidas Originals behind the scenes: You can't buy cred

I can just about forgive Ian Brown for being involved in this whole Adidas Originals street party campaign thing. He is, after all, the sportswear king - he was probably born wearing a tracksuit top.

Kazuki, I'll forgive him too. Those plaid three-layer jackets he's come up with (he's wearing one in this video) are among the best things I've seen sporting an Adidas logo.

When I think about it, what I really dislike so much about this initiative, and Nike's NSW streetwear equivalent, is that it's so good. But only because they've unashamedly ripped off the idea of reinventing and technically updating streetwear classics from the likes of Visvim.

Using their considerable financial muscle, they've persuaded Kazuki from Fragment Design to add that touch of refinement they've been so clearly lacking.

But can you buy credibility? If so, how many "cool" faces does it cost? How many shots of skateboarders and graffiti and rooftop parties?

I don't personally think Adidas could ever spend enough. In fact the more they spend in reinventing themselves, the more annoyed I will become. Even if I do like that jacket.
And while I'm on the subject of Adidas, what the hell is that Star Wars line? Are they having a laugh?

Visit the link for interviews with all the other stars involved in the Adidas advert.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Porsche in the US: Sixty years and a dead movie star

Talking of design classics, here's a Porsche Spyder. This is one of the cars owned by Steve McQueen, and also the one James Dean killed himself in, but we won't hold that against it.

My attention was first drawn to this car years ago, in a photo of Steve McQueen. Only the back of the car was visible in the shot, with McQueen sitting on it. But that was enough to send me off on a mission to track down the make and model.

It didn't take long, to be honest. The Spyder is a legend in car building. That is all down to Ferdinand Porsche and his decision to expand into the US market, because Europe didn't have enough money to buy his cars after the war.

After the first Porsche rolled onto the docks at New York in 1950 it was only a matter of time before a Hollywood movie star killed himself in one.

Then Steve McQueen got himself one.

And it's testament to Porsche that the Spyder is still turning heads 60 years after Porsche first set its wheels down in the US.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Jielde Signal: Lamp rescue

You might think you are looking at a lamp. You would not be wrong. But this is no ordinary lamp.

For starters this is a Jeilde Signal lamp - possibly the most endearing piece of interior lighting I have ever come across. Unchanged in design since the day it was thought up by a Frenchman named Jean-Louis Domecg and a piece of design history.

The Jielde started life as a spotlight for the workplace - the kind of thing you would use to illuminate  your workbench while undertaking a bit of industrial mechanics.

Before long it was the standard lighting choice throughout France, and it's still produced to this day in the original factory in Lyon, each piece given its own individual serial number.

But all that is not what makes this lamp special. That would be down to the day trip to a village just outside Oxford we undertook to collect it. Where the worst saleswoman in the world subjected us to an hour-long tour of some of the most expensive interior illumination created by man.

At the very end of this tour, in the corner of a former dairy, surrounded by Sebastian Wong Spun lamps and next to an industrial studio light, perched our Jielde.

It felt like I was rescuing it.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Bleak as Belgium and twice as wet

I wouldn't usually offload my troubles on here but this week has been a shocker.

This has been mainly due to Orange and their apparent inability to transfer numbers to the correct phone.

And work, which I'm not going to talk about. Apart from to say that if your paper was late this morning it was probably because of me.

So after a week like that there was only one thing to do this morning - get the bike out. The sun was shining, spring was on the breeze, and I set out with a sigh of relief and my shades on.

Somewhere between Great Wakering and Rochford, probably around Barling, I thought to myself, 'this must look a lot like Belgium,' flat as you like, bleak, a bit grim.

Just to reinforce the point it began to rain. Which made it seem even more like Belgium. I've never been, but I'm guessing it must rain a lot.

And then it really came down. I'm talking torrential. Roads turned into rivers. I started to worry about the camera and the phone and the water resistant merits of my Rapha gilet. Then it rained even harder, and I thought 'sod this,' and aborted the ride.

As I cut back through the streets of Southend, I looked skyward, not for the first time this week, and said: 'Thanks very much.'

Roll on next week.

Ian Francis Exodus show at Lazarides: Ta ta then

Ian Francis's first show at Lazarides could well also be his last, (at least in the London gallery) seeing as he's moving to the United States.

But a fine show it is, as these pictures demonstrate. He's got that whole intricate detail with a load of messy bits thing going on very nicely. This is a style I have tried and reliably failed to emulate in my art ever since I saw my first Micallef.

Which reminds me, I must pick up that paintbrush.

Via slamxhype

Friday, 26 March 2010

Orlebar Brown beach shorts: They look even better on girls

I don't know if the lady in your life has taken to wearing your Orlebar Browns. Mine hasn't.

But if she did you can now get her a pair of her own, which would actually fit her. And probably look quite good.

But if you do, it's probably best not to mention the fact that a couple of the styles have been named after a dog. She might get the wrong idea.

GT Gutterball fixed gear bike:

Back in the day GT was a BMX brand to be proud of. It was up there with your Skyway and Hutch in the style stakes.

These days it's stocked in Halfords. How's that for a fall from grace?

Still, they haven't done a bad job with this fixie. The Gutterball is everything you need to cut through the traffic with a messenger menace and your Hoxton quiff flapping around in the breeze - nice primer grey, a lack of obvious branding, colour coded rims.

It's like you could have knocked it up in your shed.

And it's even got brakes.

Via Freshness via Carnival

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Nexus VII Porter satchel: Something for the sarnies

Because I'm not a girl, I don't often get excited about bags. But if I was in the market for one, I would be salivating over this Nexus VII Porter satchel right now.

Like your standard old school Grange Hill affair but with a shoulder strap and a couple of handy pockets on the ends just to relax the whole look.

And all in leather! With brass bits! And a name tag!

Your packed lunch never got a better ride.

Via Slamxhype

Engineered Garments: No ironing required

Engineered Garments is another little label getting a bit of following these days. The brand has captured the moment quite nicely with the diffused workwear things it's got going on.

And you can't go wrong with a bit of plaid these days, that's for sure.

But the best thing is that this stuff looks best when it isn't ironed, which has got to be a bonus in anyone's book.

The SS10 collection is just starting to turn up in the stores. Here's a few of the better bits.

Note the fishtail parka? What did I tell you? They're everywhere.

You can find it at Oi Polloi and End

Yuketen cordovan leather shoe horn: pre-order

So you've got the shoes, now get the horn. Yuketen will be releasing these cordovan leather shoe horns for the autumn / winter collection in a selection of five colours.

The great thing about these is that they would do just as well as a key ring.

A finer shoe horn you are never likely to find.

I will be offering a very limited number of these shoe horns on Openzedoor. They are available for pre-order with an expected despatch date of around early September. Pre-orders will secure a 20 per cent discount on the $103.50mrrp.

Please use the contact button on the nav bar above (top right) to email me with your interest. You will then be notified and payment requested when the shoe horns are in stock.

Closing date for pre-orders is April 2 2010.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Steve McQueen: Style legend

Here's a few shots of Steve McQueen kicking back at home with the missus, having a cuddle, aiming his gun, and even here he still looks the part.

You can see why he's been such a style influence all these years - those are some nice outfits he's wearing, every bit the American beach house look.

I'd have that house for sure. Maybe update the kitchen and the TV, but all the same. I wouldn't mind his Porsche 550 Spyder either.

But put the gadgets and the clothes and the guns aside, and what really made McQueen such an icon was his manner. Like he couldn't give a toss.

And that's the definition of style, to me.

And to that end, Steve McQueen, I salute you. Even with your guns.

More Life pics of McQueen on the Sartorially Inclined blog.

iPhone: Like a black hole for your time

I was a bit disappointed when I got the email from upstairs, which basically said "we no longer deem you important enough to have a work mobile phone."

Cost implications aside, which if you want to get picky about it, amounts to a pay cut, I initially took the loss of the work Blackberry as an attack on my very existence. A further erosion of my employee benefits. Then there was the paranoia - was this move intended as a precursor to my iminent departure?

Who knows. But one thing is for sure. If I never see another Blackberry Curve in my life it would be too soon. Those things are the spawn of the devil. Built for people with thumbs the size of matchsticks, and programmed with a life of their own and a hotkey to 999 whenever they're put in your pocket.

Besides, I had been regarding the gradual iPhone take-up of my peers with more than a little envy. Here was a slick, cutting edge device that not only made calls and received emails - it let you look at websites as they were supposed to be seen, told you what the weather was like in Mongolia and played music. And while the Blackberry would let you do all that if you got a degree in Blackberrying, the iPhone was simple.

Now I have one. Which is why you might have noticed my blogging dropping off over the past couple of days. Because it sucks your life away like nothing I have ever known. I've added my stocks, synced my iTunes, looked up websites. Downloaded a game party pack. I don't even play games

Then there is the problem solving, which so far has taken hours in only one area - my ringtone. I can't transfer my Gizmo ringtone over because I can only use purchased songs as ringtones. But I can't use a song I've purchased because I can't connect to the iTunes store (an error has occurred). Don't ask my why I should even need to do that anyway.

Then there are the headphones, which are, to put it mildly, embarrassing. Like putting cloth seats in a Porsche. What was Apple thinking?

But faults aside, when you've had a Blackberry, even a turd with buttons would be an improvement.

CP Company goggle jacket: It could be you

From its origins in the Italian Mille Miglia road rally to Saturday afternoons on the terraces, CP Company's goggle jacket has become outerwear legend.

Over the years it has been brought to us in all manner of incarnations and using some of the finest fabrics known to man.

This time round it's the turn of that veteran among fabrics, linen canvas, with some iridescent nylon to liven it up a bit. So it will crease a lot but probably outlive you.

And because CP Company is feeling full of the joys of spring and generous to boot, you have the chance to own one.

Just follow the link to enter the giveaway here.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Yuketen Country Loafers: Unboxing

I've been busy with the video function on my camera again, this time to film the unwrapping of my beloved Yuketen Country Loafers. I feel privileged to have even been able to buy these - they sold out almost instantly and it was only by chance that I logged on to the Inventory just as they were put up. The only advantage I have found so far to working in the evening.

I was going to get the US10, because that's my size in Nikes. But that had sold out so I went for the 9.5 and they slip off my heels. So there are now two lots of insoles in them, but I'm guessing they'll soften up and grip my heels better anyway.

If you ever come across Yuketens for sale don't sleep on it - buy them. You won't regret it. But measure your feet first.

Engineered Garments madras scarf: Picnic basket optional

Following on from my post on the Visvim stole, a square of cloth that would probably cost more per square cm than a bar of gold bullion, we have Engineered Garments' summer scarf offering.

Now first impressions might well have you comparing these to table cloths, and you would be justified in that conclusion. But there is something quite endearing about these colourful pieces of madras fabric.

Obviously it would be a bit like overkill with a plaid shirt, but I can see myself rocking one of these with a plain t-shirt. And whenever I fancy stopping off for a picnic, I can whip it off and voila! Instant ground coverage.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Brandwatch: From Sunspel With Love

I love discovering new brands, especially when they're associated with James Bond. Granted, we went through a shaky period style-wise from Roger Moore to Pierce Brosnan. What secret agent would be seen dead in a Casio watch or Brioni?

But the arrival of Daniel Craig got things back on track. Much has been made of his Tom Ford wardrobe for Quantum of Solace, but it is Casino Royale which really ratchets up the sartorial points, if only for using niche independent brands. Specifically in terms of his polo shirt.

This timelessly classic, perfect-fitting number was manufactured by Sunspel, a British brand which has been making underwear and t-shirts for 150 years.

They also made the t-shirts for Christian Bale in the Dark Knight.

It's like they've got a 'By Appointment' crest for boys' heroes.

Aside from the movie associations, Sunspel seems to have kept an otherwise low profile and has made a point of remaining independent throughout its history.

This is actually a good thing dress-wise, because the last thing you want to be accused of is trying to dress like 007, even if you are.

But I'd be no good as a secret agent. Sunspel has been off my radar for so long I'm probably the last person to know about it.

I'm going to try to forget the associations with Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green label, and the other collaborations of a more questionable nature.

Thanks for the nod, GQ.

Thom Brown for Supreme: The oddest collaboration

I would never have put Supreme together with Thom Browne. It just doesn't seem right, a skate label getting into bed with a name I thought was more known for formal wear, and not the slickest formal wear at that.

But then Supreme does have a history of odd collaborations. It has committed some unspeakable style crimes with the North Face and lived through it, after all, and there are a few other dodgy associations.

The saving grace of these shirts is that they do seem to look quite nice. A bit tight maybe, but that's going to be a good thing when you consider the usual loose fit of Supreme's shirts. And besides, the Oxford weave and button down collar are a classic.

But out of the two, I reckon Thom Browne is going to get the most benefit out of this. I mean I wouldn't have even looked at any of its stuff before. In fact this collection aside, I probably never will.

Via Slamxhype

Friday, 19 March 2010

Jeff Koons: How he does it, the video

The question you will be asking after watching this video, is what actually defines a genuine Jeff Koons piece of art. Obviously anything wheeled off his production line is bound to come with a certificate of authenticity, but as far as actually creating the pieces goes, it doesn't look like the man himself actually has a lot to do with it.

Just like Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami and Andy Warhol before them, this is artwork produced by a team, in a similar manner that a printer might run off a set of flyers, but on a grander scale.

And if he hasn't produced it, and any number of his employees have, does that still make the artwork his?

Which really must get you wondering why anyone would pay the sums that this stuff goes for.
Especially when you can get a perfectly good inflatable lobster from the cabin on the seafront for a fraction of the price.

But I am torn by this glimpse into Jeff's upmarket sweatshop. Because I would like to work there, as I said in a previous post.

I bet it's a right laugh.

Visvim Epoch stole: I didn't want one anyway

For every cloud there is a silver lining, as the saying goes, and that couldn't be more true than in the case of this Visvim stole.

On the one hand there's the sheer frustration that this is available only through Visvim's website, which should make it accessible to all. But it isn't, because this being a Japanese brand with a philosophy of making their products impossible to obtain, the stole is only available for delivery within Japan. To the people who are geographically in a position to visit the store in person.

On the other hand, think about it logically. Summer's round the corner. The last thing you want wrapped round your neck is a scarf, no matter how light and airy it claims to be.

I'm guessing this scarf is a rather luxurious chequered flag, given the motorsport theme of this season's collection. And you could probably buy an F1 team with the money it costs.

Consider yourselves the winners on this one.

Lady Gaga and Beyonce video: Mental

It seems I'm not the only one who has pondered the true sexuality of Lady Gaga. Ever since she appeared on the scene, some 12 months ago, the rumour mill has been working overtime debating the fact that there could actually be some meat and two veg nestled between those silken thighs. It's her nose, you see. It just doesn't look like it should be on a woman.

This is evidently an issue which has reached the House of Gaga itself. And she has chosen to scotch those rumours by means of a legs akimbo shot as part of her new video.

The irony of this being that she looks more like a transvestite in it than ever before.

But then Gaga doesn't do anything if it can't provide the shock factor, and this latest release has remained true to type.

First she's mixing it up with some butch ladies in the nick, then Beyonce turns up in a pussy wagon I'm sure I last saw in Kill Bill, and before you know it there's been a mass murder.

As far as I can tell, none of this has anything to do with the song.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Adidas Originals SS2010: Party on

Adidas doesn't do things by half when it throws a party. Top of a building in London, sweet soul music pumping and no sign of anyone throwing up in the corner.

Just beautiful people as far as the eye can see, bedecked in the latest creations from the Brand With the Three Stripes and doing all sorts of acrobatic stuff, like running, because they can and because they just got given some new trainers.

You know what it's like. One minute you've had a couple of lagers and the next you're challenging your mate to a 100 metre sprint. Happens all the time.

This is all taking place on a street called Originality, which must be just around the corner from Jumping On The Bandwagon Avenue. Find it on Google Maps.

Look a bit closer and there's even a few familiar faces. I suppose it helps make up the numbers, although who let Noel Gallagher in is anyone's guess.

Someone should call security.

Kate Beckinsale: Sexiest Woman Alive. Officially

What the hell is Kate Beckinsale doing wriggling around on a kitchen worktop in her smalls? It's amazing what these video producers can get a girl to do for the camera. And this is a mother for crying out loud! Married!

Kate is Esquire magazine's Sexiest Woman Alive, which is no mean feat given the amount of women who are actually alive. I wonder if she is feeling at all humbled by this title.

She doesn't seem too bothered by it. More interested in transporting seamlessly from one location to another in varying degrees of undress.

Like a bloodsucking vampire, I suppose.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Common Projects tote: Shoulder friendly

I think we're safely within acceptance of the manbag these days. Over the past few years they have become so common an accessory that no one blinks an eyelid. I've even got a couple myself.

But the sporting of such an item brings with it a new type of frustration - that caused but the creases the aforementioned manbag is inclined to leave on one's clobber.

The answer seems to lie with the tote. None of those crease-inducing shoulder straps here, just a couple of substantial handles. And when it comes in a cool black leather like this one by Common Projects, why would you want anything else for transporting your packed lunch?

However it goes without saying, overfill it and you're going to be walking down the street with a noticeable lean. A bit like a spaz.

Available at C Store

Via Selectism

Mayfair Steamer Sectretary Trunk: An office in a box

So there I was, leading the expedition through the foothills of the Andes, in search of the lost gold of the long since deceased Wasamasa tribe when I was struck by a sudden urge to send an email.

"Stop right here and make camp!" I cried, "and Peeves, fetch my trunk containing my vast mobile office."

"What trunk melud?" replied Peeves.

And that was when I woke up.

But if I did ever feel inclined to venture into the wilderness, I would employ someone called Peeves to drag a Mayfair Steamer Secretary Trunk just like this, so I would be able to send my emails by the moth-flecked glow of the oil lamp, with all the accouterments required by a gentleman scribe on a mission.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Rapha Transit Elite sweater: Blink and you'll miss it

Further to the recent post on Rapha's Transit Elite jersey, handmade by natives in the mountains of Nepal, it looks like they are finally stocking them.

This creation in cashmere and merino has to be the ultimate in sustainable clothing production and is a fine example of the growing trend to focus on quality manufacture as quality brands seek to distance themselves from the rubbish on the high street.

The only downside to this preference for the handmade is the fact that you don't get a chance to really think about whether or not you want an item. This stuff comes in such limited production runs that if you sleep on it, the chances are it will be gone.

This jersey is a case in point. It hasn't been available for more than a few days and some sizes are already sold out.

So if you want one, best you move quick. It's guaranteed to make you feel good.
Get it here

Stussy house shoes (slippers): One for the lounge

You know the funny thing? I would probably get more use out of these Stussy house slippers than I would all my other shoes put together, given the amount of time I spend slopping around indoors.

Nice soft cotton with some kind of Stussy trademark embroidered message on the fronts, they'll no doubt wash up quite nicely, which is more than can be said for my suede moccasin slippers I'm presently rocking.

They look the part, but thanks to the fact that suede isn't exactly the kind of fabric you can sling in the washing mashine, they kick up like boiled cabbages.

Available at Stussy online, but just try finding them. That has to be the crappest online store ever. I wonder if they actually sell anything.

Via Freshness

Monday, 15 March 2010

Albam spring shawl knit: It's not summer yet

Alright I know this is grey again, but it is Monday. And as far as greys go it looks like a warm grey.

But the nice bits of this cardie are the details. You have the shawl neck, de rigeur in cardigan design for the past few seasons, and then there's the ribbing, and the elasticated waist band.

But the bits I really like are those buttons and the brown elbow patches.

In fact I don't even know why I'm showing you this Albam knit. It probably means that by the time I get round to buying one there won't be any left.

Available from Albam.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Original Fake SS10 Gore Tex Paclite

This one's got spring shower protection written all over it. Not a bad little reissue from Original Fake. I like it in the grey. Reminds me of the colour of the sky, just as it's about to absolutely chuck it down, as if you need to be told what that looks like in the UK.

Still, it's not going to suffer much from the London grime, given that the colourway could also be described as a nice shade of Tube soot. But that's got to be a good thing.

Dance like your mum did

Here's a nice little video starring that Zooey Deschanel who was in 500 Days of Summer and the Yes Man.

A few slick moves, and a routine I'm sure your mum would be more familiar with (that's the dancing not the bank robbery), so you can show it to her when she comes round for that dinner you've cooked her.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Riding into the slightly nicer weather

Back on the bike today after a week off riding with about my fifth cold of the winter. Perfect weather for a tap, too. Virtually no breeze and the temperature on just the right side of fresh.

Nice to see the drivers are still on form too. Must have been pulled out on about three times. And don't worry Porsche 911 number plate SRS 25 - I know where you live. And when I get the address I'm going to publish it on here.

Here are some shots from my turning point at Shoebury beach.

Rapha clobber:

Classic softshell
Winter tights
Bob shorts
Winter cap
Long sleeved jersey
Winter gloves

Friday, 12 March 2010

Fishtails in the spring

The great thing about fishtail parkas is that they look just as good over a suit, as characterised by the mods of the sixties, or worn with a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.

These days fishtails are a little less roomy than in days of yore. And with a fitted silhouette they have become a sharper option for coping with the spring showers.

All the decent brands seem to have a fishtail parka in their lineup for the spring. Here's a selection of the better ones I've found.

I might add to this. The one at the top is the fishtail I'll be rocking, from you know who.

This one's by Supreme ...

Nigel Cabourn ...