Deborah Bowness
New Ribbon
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'FUR: AN ISSUE OF LIFE AND DEATH' EXHIBIT OPENS

Fur. The mere mention of the word makes many cringe. In western urban culture, it's a contentious topic that divides us into two groups: those who deem fur fashion READ MORE...
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RED HOT: EXHIBIT OF GINGER MEN IS NOW A BOOK

Earlier this week, I was in the comments section of a blog I frequent, and someone had posted a photo of a shirtless, young guy with red hair sticking his tongue out cheekily READ MORE...
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A MODERN CHRISTMAS AT THE SLEEPER HOUSE

The Sculptured House, also known as the Sleeper House since 1973 when it featured in Woody Allen's sci-fi comedy, Sleeper, is so cool it's painful. An elliptical curiosity in concrete and glass perched on Colorado's READ MORE...
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FASHION FILMS TO FEATURE AT ASFF

The BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) has teamed up with London College of Fashion to establish a new fashion film strand at this year’s event, showcasing READ MORE...
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'KNITTING FOR JULIET' COMPETITION LAUNCHES IN ITALY

Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
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NICHOLAS ROSE'S FULL COLOUR LIVING

It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
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#UNLOCK ART FILM SERIES ENDS ON A HUMOROUS NOTE

The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
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November 16, 2014

'Red Hot': Exhibit that Rebranded the Ginger Male is Now a Book

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Earlier this week, I was in the comments section of a blog I frequent, and someone had posted a photo of a shirtless, young guy with red hair sticking his tongue out cheekily. People were asking who he was, but no one knew. Then a press release for a new book lands in my inbox, and there he is on the cover. RED HOT 100 is a coffee table book following on an exhibition of stills and video celebrating red-haired male beauty, with the hopes of rebranding the image of the male ginger, which often comes with negative stereotypes attached. I thought it might be nice for the man behind the concept, Thomas Knights, a natural redhead himself, to know that the posting of his cover model on that blog inspired other readers - men and women - to contribute photos of their own favourite hot, red-haired men. (Hello....Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor? Yes, both natural gingers.) When I left the thread it was about a dozen deep, and all of the comments were positive. 

ThomasknightsKnights (pictured right), a fashion photographer and music video director with an accomplished portfolio featuring work in Vogue Italia, Dazed and Confused and Marie Claire, experienced these negative perceptions growing up, and with no red-haired male public role models to persuade him otherwise, he felt ashamed of his red roots. He devised his video and photography concept to redefine the image of the red-headed male. Knight explains, "We have been conditioned to think ginger men are ugly and weak. I wanted to flip this on its head and present the redheaded male as the ultimate alpha male."

The book's press release refers to Western culture's tendency to put the ginger female on a pedestal (we're all familiar with the fantasy of the foxy redhead), leaving their male counterparts out of the limelight. No other hair colour experiences a gender inequality in the same way. Just a couple of years ago, not a single London agency had a red-haired male model on their books, and red-haired actors were extremely underrepresented in TV and film. However, with the popularity of the RED HOT campaign and celebrity ambassadors like Prince Harry, Damian Lewis and Eddie Redmayne, public opinion does seem to be changing. (Let's hope so. Back in 2008 I wrote a piece in response to a rise in 'gingerism', you can read it here.) 

RED HOT 100 is available to buy in hardback for £49.99 at redhot100.com, as well as Conran Shop and Amazon.

RED HOT is proud to work with the Anti-Bullying Alliance which works to reduce bullying and create safer environments in which children and young people can grow, play, and learn; and The Diana Award, a charity set up as a legacy to Princess Diana to encourage, empower and engage young people from all walks of life. 

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November 12, 2014

World Interiors News Annual Awards 2014 Winners

WIN_1Gamsei by Buero Wagner, emulates the ambience of a Bavarian beer hall through amphitheatre-style benches against opposing walls, thus eliminating the common separation of bartender and guest. 

The latest design awards to be handed out have come from World Interior News, the digital resource for the latest interior design projects and innovative products from across the globe (and a very nice thing to find in your inbox). Their list of winners recognises the designs that made the greatest impact on the cultural landscape over the past year. As expected, they are pretty cool. (The down side of being aware of such innovations is it may have us scrutinising the spaces we occupy each day and longing for what they could be!)

Continue reading "World Interiors News Annual Awards 2014 Winners" ۼ/a>

November 10, 2014

Sound, proven and practical reasons to wear sunglasses in winter

 

Mykita-women-sunglassesThe other day my friend in Toronto sent me a photo of a pair of sunglasses she had tried on, wanting my opinion. Yes, it's now November, but neither of us thought anything odd of buying an accessory meant for sunny weather at this time. And the city can get more than its share of 5-foot-high drift-making blizzards and white-outs. So why no second thoughts? Well, I'll let you in on a secret: there is sun all year round. Yes, it's true. And it can actually be more harmful in winter than in summer with regards to our eyes. 

Met Office warns that diffused UV rays reflected off of the snow can mean that whilst participating in winter sports you are subjecting your eyes to twice as much UV light. They advise us to wear polarised sunglasses or goggles to reduce the amount of UV light reflected by the snow reaching and damaging the eye. 

But it doesn't snow all that much in the UK, does it? (Let's forget about those two winters of recent memory that shut down the country.) And it's gloomy probably half the time. However, it might come as a surprise to hear that up to 80% of the sun's UV rays penetrate light clouds, so even if it's cloudy it's important to protect ourselves. 

Well, I'm already on it. I wear sunglasses year-round, even on most rainy days, because I have very sensitive eyes prone to squinting, and they tend to water even when it's gloomy (proof of those rays getting through). And thanks to my ever-present sunnies, I have, countless times, been stared at as if something insane is sitting on my face. I have even been asked if I "have a black eye under there?" (That was a serious question). And more commonly I get "Crazy night last night?" Yes, I'm hung over. Always. 

And if you're concerned about aging (who isn't?), sunglasses will protect the delicate area around the eye which should help avoid visible premature aging. There's a reason SPF is recommended year-round. 

If eye health isn't your concern, well, sunglasses are just cool. Don't you always feel pulled together and well-styled wearing your favourite pair? For some, that's reason enough. 

To get you thinking about a pair for winter style with a high level of UV protection, the new range of Tag Heuer sunglasses from SunglassesRUs offers something different. Reflex Original sunglasses are the first in the world to offer hingeless design, with special elastomers on the titanium temples to ensure comfort as it adapts to your movements, while keeping the glasses in place. (I need this. Mine slip off my nose constantly but I haven't abandoned them because of their cost; I have a rule that anything pricey doesn't get replaced for at least three years and I've got one more to to go. Next time I will be sure of the fit before committing.) Back to the Tags. The sunlenses are also aerodynamic and offer optimised UV protection, and unlike most sunglasses, they also feature adjustable end tips and nose pads that conform to your shape, so you get a customised fit.

 

  

Tag-heuer-sunglassesThere's yet another benefit to wearing sunglasses at a time where the non-believers would least expect it. When it's snowing. See how this guy below is able to still look cool and collected while he walks about in flurries? Those shades aren't just sitting pretty for fashion, they are serving their owner by deflecting those seemingly innocent, fluffy lakes from landing in hostile, wet clusters in his eyeballs. If he wasn't wearing them, he'd be shuffling down the street dodging snowflakes, all squinty and awkward and the day would just be blown. And for women, wearing mascara, I don't even need to tell you how invaluable these deceptively heroic guardians of beauty really are. They'll keep you from looking like this.

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So let's all take care of our precious eyes by having good UV protection shades as part of our essential outdoor kit, whatever the season. If you do, it will really help me out. I'm tired of getting weird looks!

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November 06, 2014

Keira Knightly on Fairtytale Fallacies, Heroines and Her Mum's Foreboding Red Lipstick

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 "For the princess to be waiting to be rescued by some dude...I never really got that." Keira Knightly, you have my attention. I like Keira. She's witty, self-deprecating, and a great actor. Kind of an anti-celebrity. She even got married under the radar in a modest and quiet affair. And she just happens to be gorgeous and looks incredible in clothes. So she was the perfect cover choice and editorial feature for Net-a-Porter's weekly online fashion glossy, EDIT

I hardly ever write about celebrities and generally I loathe the trend (that seems to now be the norm) to put actresses on fashion covers (Vogue, I'm looking at you!), booting the models out. I won't bother explaining; you'll either know exactly what I mean or you won't. But Keira is an exception. And this video is a clue as to why:

 

You can see the heroine-inspired editorial and read the full interview here

 

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‘Trussell Cans’ at London Delis Will Help Open More Foodbanks

There's a great new way to get food to people in need, and it's very easy to support. Trussell Trust, the charity that works to combat food poverty in the UK, is “selling” empty food cans at delis and at food markets around the capital and online to raise money to support foodbanks that provide people in need with emergency food and vital signposting services. The charity’s new Trussell Can campaign, devised by its agency partner Stack, taps into foodie culture in order to raise awareness and help increase the number of regular donors for The Trussell Trust.

Food lovers who ‘buy’ this can for £3 and then give it back to the deli will donate their payment directly to The Trussell Trust; the Trussell Can then returns to the shelf to allow other food lovers to do the same, making the project 100% sustainable. Mark Ward, Head of Fundraising, The Trussell Trust said: “People enjoy the immediacy of donating food to our foodbanks. It makes sense that when families need food, you give food. But many people don’t realise that we also need financial donations to help us provide foodbank services, both food and access to advisory services, within reach of everyone in the UK. With the Trussell cans we want to replicate the direct-ness of donating food and turn it into the money we so desperately need."And participating delis are happy to do their part. Renata Giacobazzi, partner, Giacobazzi's Delicatessen in Hampstead says, “This is a brilliant initiative that will make it easier for our customers to help others in need.  I think the physical act of picking up and "buying" a can really brings home what you are contributing to and how something as small as buying a can make a big difference.”

Stack also created a 90 second film (above), designed to promote the campaign’s digital alternative to donating. Trussell Cans are available online at trusselltrust.org/thiscan where people can regularly donate Trussell Cans every month, which translate into regular monetary donations. One-off donations are welcome, too. 

The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open new food banks across the UK. It has set up 420 foodbanks in the UK, but it’s not enough when 13 million people in the UK live below the poverty line. The charity’s goal is for every town in the UK to have a foodbank.

In 2013, foodbanks fed 913,138 people nationwide and, of those helped, 330,205 were children.

Liz Wilson, CEO, Stack said: "We've chosen to remind people about families going hungry when they are in a foodie environment that's all about pleasure and indulgence for their own family." 

So, keep an eye out for the Trusell Cans when visiting your favourite London delis, or donate right now online at trusselltrust.org/thiscan

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A Modern Christmas at the Sleeper House

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The Sculptured House, also known as the Sleeper House since 1973 when it featured in Woody Allen's sci-fi comedy, Sleeper, is so cool it's painful. An elliptical curiosity in concrete and glass perched on Colorado's Genessee Mountain, it was built in 1963 by architect Charles Deaton who said of his inspiration, "I found a high point of land where I could stand and feel the great reaches of the Earth. I wanted the shape of it to sing an unencumbered song." If envy is taking over, you might be interested to know that we all have something in common with Deaton; none of us got to live in the Sculptured House! Heartbreakingly, he ran out of money before the interior was completed and his family didn't get their dream home. (Was it any consolation they were saved a very time-consuming school run every morning?) In fact, it was not actually used as a home until 2006 when, after sitting with its insides unfinished for nearly three decades, it was purchased and lived in. Until 2010 when the owner defaulted on the mortgage. The agony! It was sold at a foreclosure auction later that year.

That brings us to today. It was recently used to show off the range from Modern Christmas Trees and make us all wish we had a protruding disc-like roof to reflect the suspended tree's brilliant blue (or red) circular light show. It's nice to see this exceptional home finally serve its intended purpose. And it was Deaton's daughter, Charlee, who was, perhaps fatefully, commissioned to design the interior. It was completed in 2003. 

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Photos by JC Buck, BlackBikeProductions.com, unless otherwise credited 

October 30, 2014

Fashion Films to Feature at Aesthetica Short Film Festival

ASFF_Handprint Mary Nighy courtesy of White Lodge and ASFFA still from Handprint, directed by Mary Nighy. Photo courtesy of White Lodge and ASFF

The BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) has teamed up with London College of Fashion to establish a new fashion film strand at this year’s event, showcasing inspirational collections, stories and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the creative process at designer stores.
For the first time at ASFF, visitors will be able to experience the glamour and style of fashion films produced by top names such as Vivienne Westwood, Swarovski and Louis Vuitton, starring figures from the fashion world including Lily Cole in Lorna Tucker’s Red Shoes, inspired by Westwood’s Climate Revolution. Sponsored by London College of Fashion, the new strand establishes a place for serious discussion about fashion film – its responsibility to society and impact upon visual culture – and also provides a rare chance to see sensational fashion content.

This year's ASFF features a masterclass with fashion filmmaker and curator Kathryn Ferguson. A member of the British Fashion Council Fashion Film panel, Ferguson has worked on productions for Selfridges, Chloe and Lady Gaga and will draw upon her extensive experience to dispense industry tips from the sector. Also joining ASFF this year, as part of its hosted networking sessions, is costume designer Wendy Benstead, who has worked extensively with Jessie J, Paloma Faith and Kimberley Wyatt as well on advertising campaigns for companies such as Baileys, Film 4 and MTV.

The fashion film programme is complemented by ASFF’s second new strand, which presents an international platform for the representation and exploration of advertising films. Films will be shown by leading agencies including Partizan, Solab and White Lodge and will be contextualised in an introduction to the inaugural screenings on Friday, 7 November by two filmmakers from Ridley Scott Associates and Sara Wilson, stylist & photography manager at Jigsaw.

This stylish collection of films reflects a continued interest of Aesthetica Magazine in recognising the creativity and innovation involved in the fashion and design industry. The publication has often highlighted important exhibitions such as Hello my name is Paul Smith, at the Design Museum, and The Future of Fashion is Now, at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. ASFF’s new fashion film line-up creates a timely focus on this genre as creators are playing with its identity and redefining its possibilities.

ASFF 2014 runs 6 - 9 November across the city of York, a gorgeous city well worth visiting. For more details and tickets visit the festival website www.asff.co.uk.

 Matin Lunaire Clement Oberto courtesy of Oversteps Production and ASFFFrom Matin Lunaire, directed by Clement Oberto. Photo courtesy of Oversteps Production and ASFF

ASFF_Tribe, Jan Macierewicz, courtesy of Studio DT Film and ASFFFrom Tribe, directed by Jan Macierewicz. Photo courtesy of Studio DT Film and ASFF

October 23, 2014

Chanel Revue Film a Stunning Mini-Epic Retrospective

(Email subscribers: click the post title to view the film)

Trevor Undi has outdone himself in the fashion film genre. Sure, Chanel offers the most dazzling and copious fashion subjects, but what to do with so much history, so much detail (the details!), so much artistry? Well, you pack in as much amazingness (normally I hate that word but here it actually fits) as you can in each second of a four-and-a-half-minute film. And you set it against an orchestral score composed by Gabriel Yared. This exuberant retrospective showcases intimate behind-the-scenes footage, detailed artistry, revisits memorable campaigns, international events and spectacular archival footage from the House of Chanel.

Chanel is a brand I will probably never be able to afford (fate is nodding its head in agreement somewhere). Normally I begrudge a brand a little bit for that and reserve my gushing for something more accessible as I don't like to go all nuts over something I can never have. But Chanel is the exception; what their artisans create in their ateliers is magical, it keeps the tradition of couture craftsmanship alive and thriving, and therefore I see the house's shows and imagery as records of this exquisite legacy. (Sure beats seeing it as a giant tease?)

This rapid and rich film is bursting with so much beauty and fascinating closeups that beg for further investigation, so I went a little mental and looked at each frame of the film and captured the stills. There are so many that are worthy of a longer look that I had to create a second page. You can view the rest here

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Review: Meatporter.com

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I order meat regularly online. I also support my neighbourhood butchers. However, the shop closest to me is limited in its range of meats and cuts, so while I do drop in regularly to support the local independents, I tend to use online butchers to buy more adventurous options, and it's also handy for stocking up when times are hectic. So when I was offered a review of meatporter.com, an online butcher offering artisan, British farm-assured meats and poultry, I jumped on it.

When the box arrived I noticed how compact it was - no unnecessary over-sized packing or gel packs to dispose of - and the meat was cold, not cool, but properly cold. It contained two well-marbled, ribeye steaks; 1/2lb of unsmoked, rindless bacon; 9 luxury pork sausages, 3 large chicken breasts, and 2 1/4lb steak burgers. I can say that the quality of all of it was excellent, and I had no problem believing that their producers supply the top London restaurants. This is the same meat but much more affordable (though unfortunately no Michelin-starred chef turns up to cook it for you). Most notably, the burgers and steaks were especially juicy and flavourful, and the chicken got a good testing. I used it in a stirfry, a dish where I tend to overcook the chicken slightly because I have a habit of cutting up my veg while the chicken is cooking instead of doing all the prep before. (I always think I'll be faster this time.) But when it came time to eat I was surprised at how tender it was. So bonus points on the chicken. 

(Why don't I have any pictures of the meat? Because for some reason I didn't think of it when I opened up the paper, and when I cook I make a mess and go slightly mental trying to time everything and so I tend not to go near my camera, but now I feel a bit silly for not getting a shot. Trust me, it looks good.)

Another big plus for going with Meat Porter is that they'll deliver nationwide next day (make sure to order by 3pm) for free on weekdays, so you don't have to plan far in advance like you do with other sites that can take up to two weeks to deliver. (I've had that happen many times with others, and you don't know the earliest delivery date until you go to check out which is a real pain. And it's not free on weekdays either!) 

As for the actual ordering, the site is so clean and easy to navigate and you're not bombarded with pictures of meat coming at you from everywhere. In other words, it reflects the high end quality of the product. You have three options. You can build your own box using their list of meats and poultry (nice and streamlined, you don't have to jump around pages and risk missing something), choose one of three set boxes including Meat for a Month, or take one of the 'surprise me' options and see what goodies turn up (which also saves you about 10% off the cost of ordering individually). 

Meat Porter also offers venison, pork loin steaks and tenderloin, Barbary and Gressingham duck, lamb, and Gressingham guinea fowl. There's a lot of choice to keep your menu varied and interesting, yet it's a nicely focussed selection that makes shopping quick and easy. 

Will I order from Meat Porter? Yes I will, definitely. I'm looking at the site right now. I'm in the mood for shredded duck with Asian spices. 

October 21, 2014

LFW: PPQ Gets Glittery with Toni & Guy

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For spring/summer 2015, PPQ presented clothes to wear to 'the coolest party of the fashion season', finished with high gloss hair taken to a creative extreme by the Toni & Guy session team, resulting in a 'modern day tiara' of glitter-painted straight parts. (And I should note that only the model in the tinsel-tinged dress was actually dressed as these were backstage photos taken well before the show!) It was a truly original look of irridescent glitter held in place by gel, tinted by the dramatic deep purple lighting of the Mayfair club venue.

Although it takes a competent hand to execute with style, the idea could be borrowed to create your own version of the look for a night out. 

If you want to give it a go, here's how the Toni & Guy created their unique, sparkling tiara:

  1. Using a label.m Pintail Comb, part hair down the middle
  2. Spritz hair with label.m Blow Out Spray or label.m Volume Foam and once dry spray with label.m Hairspray
  3. Use label.m Titanium Pro 50 Styling Iron straighten hair and add label.m Shine Spray for an extreme gloss
  4. Mix irridescent glitter with label.m Gel and with a tint brush apply a thick coating 2 cm from, and on either side, of the middle parting

And be sure to wash it out before laying your head down on your pillow! (Or don't, you could pretend the tooth fairy visited you in the night.)

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