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>> The title of the post is how the imaginary postcard would have gone if I had gotten my wish to stay on… and on… and on… It will surprise nobody that I’ve returned from my too short first-time trip to Marrakech in Morocco longing to go back.  The natural oohs and aaahs that the intensely vibrant yesteryear city incites are fully warranted.  I’ve just had to wait a while to experience it.  Despite my tardiness to the joys of Marrakech, I’ll still be rounding up my three day stay, with much thanks to Black Tomato Travel, with a hefty post once I’ve sorted through the bajillion of pics we took.

05_STOLEN_MOMENTS_Yves_Saint_Laurent-4Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech in 1969

For now, I’m keeping it short and sweet.  Let’s kick it off with “Love”, the theme of Yves Saint Laurent’s greeting cards, which he would create out of collage every year to send to close friends and clients to ring in a new year.  Their designs are on displayed at the Galerie Love Saint Laurent within the beautiful Jardin Majorelle, which Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé rescued in 1980 and used as his Marrakech bolthole.  It felt like a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting the beautifully landscaped gardens on Rue Yves Saint Laurent, a tranquil world away from the dusty bustle of the Medina, where Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered when he died in 2008.  Except instead of feeling sombre like you would at a grave, it was celebratory of Saint Laurent’s love of this garden, carefully restored, cultivated and maintained by Berge and Saint Laurent, and of his overall love of this mysterious city, where he felt the creative freedom to dive into an extremely colourful oeuvre in the 1970s, furiously sketched out in felt tips, and fuelled by his tight knit circle of muses wafting around.

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The exuberant and often witty graphics that Saint Laurent designed as greetings cards, exploding with colour and fun, moments of frivolity captured in his turbulent emotional life.  The beautiful merchandise in the Boutique Majorelle (no normal souvenir shop) – took inspiration from the cards and so it is I came home with a pair of embroidered leather slippers, spelling out LOVE, the only emotion I was ever going to feel for this city.

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>> You know how I said I wasn’t one for recommending Christmas gifts and that I’m not into pushing out offers, competitions and special promotions?  Well, I’m eating my words.  I’d only do it for a special few and Sharmadean Reid, all-round awesome founder of WAH Nails definitely falls into that category.  I remember writing up copy on ye olde Dazed Digital about Reid back in 2008-9 just before she had opened her salon.  A picture of a fresh-faced sassy stylist accompanied the text just as she was on the cusp of starting what would be nail art revolution.  Now she’s conquered Topshop Oxford Circus, put out two books extolling the virtue of cool nails along with a cool attitude and now she’s busting out with mega hit ranges at Boots and basically well on her way to nailing it as nail art queen bee .  All on her own terms of course.  It’s very easy to crush hard on the likes of Sharmadean and Alex Brownsell of Bleach as they carve out their own alternative paths in what is a crowded and cut throat beauty sphere.

Back to the offer at hand.  I do believe spreading the word about a steal when I see one.  WAH London Ultimate Nail Art Kit is down from £85 to £40 for a one week flash sale at Boots.  It comprises tutorial cards, eight nail polishes, four nail art pens and all the usual manicure gear.  It taps into my kit loving past – be it Fimo, friendship bracelets or hair beading – as long as there are instructions written in a friendly tone, I’ll be there conscientiously following every step and getting immense satisfaction out of ensuring that the kit remains as intact as possible so as to not ruin the shiny veneer of full-kit perfection.  Likewise, I sat down with my WAH London Ultimate Nail Art Kit and proceeded to try three different combos of WAH’s signature leopard print with varying degrees of success.  I promise you these are my first stab, no practise attempts and I *think* they’re just about passable, if a little on the painterly side.  I’ll perfect ROARING WAH Leopard over Christmas holidays when I’ve had consumed too much animal fat and roast potatoes and the only thing I can face looking at are my non-pudgy fingers.  Can’t wait.

WAH London Ultimate Nail Art Kit available now at good old Boots for £40 for one week only, down from £85 (and you’re essentially getting £115 worth of kit) 

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>> When Gmail did that very clever tab separation thing and everything “important” would be Primary and all that junk that you used to have to huff through would be put aside under the disposable labels of “Promotions”, “Social” and “Updates aka the tabs that you will never ever look at again because it’s all supposedly a lesser extreme degree of junk, I rejoiced.  Only momentarily though.  Because then actual important stuff would get into those tabs and every once in a while, a real email from a real important person as opposed to an automated bot would also end up there.

Therefore sporadically, I’ll have a peek at “Promotions”, “Updates” and “Social” just to double check that I haven’t missed, say an email from Dame Judi Dench asking me to come to tea (still waiting for that invite Judi…) or the like.  The other day under the Promotions tab, I struck email gold.  Or blog gold.  I saw something cool, colourful and a little bit like Henri Matisse’s excellent cut-outs work GIF-ing away at me and the email read “Get your hands on some silky psychedelic goodness.

Sold.  A few clicks down the line and I found out more about ELOI, a very new silk scarf label set up by Paige Russell, an artist based in Austin, Texas.  These “deranged technicolor ramblings on silk” are all based on Russell’s construction paper cut-out collages that owe much to the likes of Stuart Davis, Sonia and Robert Delaunay and of course Matisse, but only by method and perhaps colour combinations.  The subject matter of her collage work definitely comes from Russell’s head, as she peppers her designs with odd characters, psychedelic fun and in her own words, “doses of crazy”.

From selling 2-D artwork that hang on walls, Russell has ventured into the world of silk scarves.  It’s a crowded one for sure as every day on average, I receive five emails about new scarf labels.  There needs to be a real point of difference to stand out and ELOI is definitely has that from the designs to the visuals.  Russell started off with five designs where dripping eye balls, flora and fauna and abstract monsters are rendered in the brightest of hues.  She’s just released four more scarves with curious names like “Narcissus”, “Footie Garden” and “Sheebean Queen”.  They’re designs that shy away from the requisite that silk needs to merely just be pretty.  They’re awesome looking of course but they’re not needlessly girly as is often the case with a lot of silk scarves.

Good thing Google didn’t send ELOI into my dreaded Forums tab, which is definitely the out of sight, out of mind forgotten email fodder.

ELOI’s first collection 1-5: 

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download (1)Paige at work in her studio

ELOI’s second collection 6-9:

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In the spirit of being all grown up and hanging proper “art” on walls, I’m seriously contemplating commissioning Russell on a piece as her own illustration and graphic artwork is so brilliant.

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UK peeps clicking on to the blog will be wondering why an ultra polished me with super pro make-up is peeping out from the sides of the page where the ads normally are, it’s because specifically for Style Bubble, I’ve worked with Nars to explore their new Audacious Lipstick collection… in the only way I would know how to – to pile on the colour and run with the idea of wearing lipstick shades from head to toe.

Longtime Style Bubble readers will know that I’m normally beauty averse., not “beauty” per se but beauty products, or the sheer abundance and technicality of it all.  I don’t “get” a lot of it and keep my own routine to a minimum so as to not disrupt the sensitive skin status quo.  The realm of beauty starts to interest me when colour is involved – as in the high impact stuff that you can instantly see.  With my lack of deft skills, my default route to colour tends to revolve around the lipstick, and specifically Nars’ jumbo crayon lip pencils which I discovered a year and half ago on a shoot and have since been a loyal devotee.

For brand founder François Nars, it all began with the lipstick in 1994 when the acclaimed make-up artist created a range of 12 richly-pigmented lipsticks in soft-touch cases.  The brand has of course expanded to a full make-up range since then but for their 20th anniversary this year, they have returned to their lipstick roots with an “Audacious” 40-shade collection which delivers a pigment-rich and a mega saturated finish.  Looking at the forty shades in Nars’ Audacious collection, named after women who have inspired François Nars, I was up for playing around with their super intense shades with a special shoot that matches up lippy to outfit, based on the coincidental fact that there does seem to be an array of deep reds, plums and pinks running throughout the AW14-5 collections.

The Audacious collection runs the gamut from neutral nude shades to deep deep aubergine.  I picked out six contrasting shades to use on the shoot to match up with outfits that, like I said, were somehow serendipitously in tune with your classic lipstick shade umbrellas like reds, pinks and plums.  When I was browsing lookbooks to pull in outfits, it was actually surprising how many similarities you could draw between shade and outfit from the shocking pink of Michiyo matching up with Thakoon’s hot pink accents to tangerine Geraldine tallying with a pre-fall skirt by Roksanda Ilincic.  And you know how I love colour co-ordinated matchy-matchy ness…

On set, Anna Priadka, Nars’ stylist was incredible in schooling me on all kinds of nifty tricks that means the Audacious lipsticks are versatile, beyond their saturated and moisturising characteristics.  We tried out techniques like using a darker liner on the edge of the lip with a paler shade inside (aka the “Chola” lip) or playing up the matte and glossy qualities.  Without the help of a clever make-up artist, the Audacious lippies  are excellent as a single stroke (as in, no multiple dabbing) straight-from-the-stick kind of lipstick, that withstand even my dubious application technique (often involving a moving vehicle and a smudged mirror).  I may not necessarily be “audacious” in my own beauty norms, but once in a while, it’s nice to be able to team up with the pros and let them show me the light.

““Embrace the audacious in everything, especially your lipstick color, it’s liberating, exhilarating, empowering.” François Nars

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NARS-161Nars Audacious shade Janet – Thakoon dress and wrap, Burberry coat (my own), Sophia Webster shoes (my own)

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NARS-228Nars Audacious shade Rita – House of Holland skirt and top, Tome satin top, Tabitha Simmons shoes (my own)

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NARS-302Nars Audacious shade Greta – 3.1 Phillip Lim coat, Jonathan Saunders dress, Emma Cook x Topshop boots (my own)

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NARS-347Nars Audacious shade Geraldine - Michael van der Ham jumper and Roksanda skirt

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NARS-421Nars Audacious shade Anna - Tome dress, Claire Vivier sunglasses (my own), Whistles shoes (my own)

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NARS-470Nars Audacious shade Jeanne -  Erdem dress and Mother of Pearl coat

This is a commercial post courtesy of Nars… just in case the ad wraparound wasn’t a dead giveaway.

Advertisement

When Mary Katrantzou was designing her SS 14 “Shoes” collection, unbeknownst to people at the time, her first collection for adidas Originals was just coming to fruition in the research stage.  Looking back, that passage of trainer dresses in that collections makes a whole lot of sense as similar prints have made their way into the newly available collection with adidas that just dropped into adidas Originals stores and onto Mary Katrantzou’s website over the weekend.  “It was very serendipitous as adidas approached us when we were doing this collection based around the shoe.”

The result of this one year process of Katrantzou delving deep into adidas’ archives in Nuremberg in Germany was that she took adidas iconography like the trefoil and worked it into blown up prints of running shoes from the 1970s and 80s, honing in on the laces, outsoles and the spikes on a shoe – all digitally rendered in a way that is by now signature to Katrantzou.  Her mainline collections might be on an experimental trajectory that is taking Katrantzou away from print but this adidas Originals cements what we know and love about her work.

“It’s like a resurfacing of print!” said Katrantzou.  “I like that I’m at a place where I can do certain things that are different from what people initially knew of my work and I like that I have the flexibility that I can bring without feeling it’s not relevant.  It gives you a bit of freedom and given that I’ve only been designing for six years, I’m still evolving but that doesn’t mean the path of print is cut off from me.  It’s about where is it relevant and when it right and for adidas, it was absolutely right!”

What drew Katrantzou to collaborating with adidas was the fact that, their fashion collaborators have all created very distinct products that are true to them be it Raf Simons, Rick Owens or Stella McCartney.  It’s no surprise that Katrantzou focused on print as opposed to performance, especially as it’s an adidas Originals collection, designed to be worn by anyone as opposed to having a specific functionality in mind.  “The sportswear element was less bout how well the materials performed but more about what is the iconography that signifies adidas,” said Katrantzou.  “I know what they do with performance and what their capabilities are.  adidas’ objective for me was to design a collection under Originals which can be worn by anyone.  Something that fits within the aesthetic of adidas but also a true collaboration between myself and the brand.”

Katrantzou delivers on high octane surface factor as well as on a collection that is perhaps the most “fashion-y” of adidas collections we’ve seen.  The dresses, t-shirts and bomber jackets at first glance look like they could have sprung out from under Mary Katrantzou’s sporty umbrella and I doubt you’re going to be seeing the collection sweating under the gym lights.  What adidas gives Katrantzou though is the mechanisms and know how to create impactful product within a price bracket, which she can’t do herself.  The prices aren’t rock bottom cheap but are a fraction of Katrantzou’s increasingly embroidered, almost demi-couture pieces and Katrantzou aficionados of which there are many, will find the collection an exciting prospect.

“It’s an opportunity to offer something that will have a much wider audience,” said Katrantzou.  “When we came back from Nuremberg, we counted on the way back from the airport to the studio, over 70 people wearing adidas, which is shocking.  It’s something that I wouldn’t be able to do within my own collection.  It’s a vehicle to be able to say, “Yes, you can buy this!”

For Katrantzou, the collection is yet another impressive milestone in what has only been six years of designing and it’s a project that has been chosen strategically at an exiting moment when the brand is on the precipice of further expansion.  “I’m not somebody who believes in collaboration for the sake of a collaboration,” said Katrantzou.  “It has to challenge you or you have to be learning something new.  We’ve been approached by different companies by lots of different things and in the end you decide to do the things that excite you the most.”

0E5A0149adidas Originals x Mary Katrantzou Track ZX 5000 shoes 

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0E5A0004adidas Originals x Mary Katrantxou tank dress, fitted t-shirt and Bomfared Equipment shoes

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0E5A0034adidas Originals x Mary Katrantzou mesh top and skirt worn with Dries van Noten shoes and Junya Watanabe biker jacket

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0E5A0094adidas Originals x Mary Katrantzou bomber jacket worn with Mother of Pearl dress and Marc Jacobs shoes

P.S. I’m starting to think I need to put together a This Collab is Dropping into Stores Google Calendar for everyone to peruse because they’re coming in so thick and fast at this time of year.  Would you be interested, somewhat interested or not interested?  Which one?  Which one?