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  • An Uncooperative Approach

    Apart from having a name that is impossibly fun to say, Ai Weiwei known for being the most provocative voice in contemporary Chinese art.

    A throne in the side of the Communist government, Ai’s critical voice has made him a household name, as the recent success of the new documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, attests.

    His questioning nature, intolerance of injustice, and rebellious streak have won him fans across the globe, as has his work, which flits adeptly between sculpture, installation art, architecture, film, and photography.

    One of the exhibitions that helped established his reputation was the now famed 2000 show, 不合做方式展, or the more acerbic “Fuck Off” in English. Although the literal translation of the phrase is the rather charming “uncooperative approach”, the more abrupt English title was thought to be more engaging for an international audience.

    The exhibition was conceived as a counterpoint to the Shanghai Biennale, the city’s highest profile contemporary art event, offering the flip side to the whiter-than-white government controlled review of the country’s contemporary art scene.

    Taking the theme of the exhibition literally, Ai’s contribution to the exhibition included a series of now famous photographs titled “A Study of Perspective” in which he gives the finger to a whole host of international landmarks and seats of power – from the White House to the Forbidden City.

    Ever an iconoclast, Ai also presented a series of images of him smashing a Han Dynasty Chinese vase, which we have animated here.

    Ai’s rebellious approach is one that is often found in fashion, and while international relations between Japan and China are far from rosy, his is a spirit shared by Undercover designer Jun Takahashi.

    In fact, a recent set of wallets from Undercover feel like they could have been part of that famed exhibition, held over a decade ago.

    shop UNDERCOVER

    Paul Smith on Bikes

    Paul Smith’s love of cycling is no secret.

    In the next two installments of Inside Paul’s Studio, which we introduced here, Paul talks about the assorted cycling curios that can be found in his amazing office.

    shop PAUL SMITH

    read PAUL SMITH ON FASHION Interview

    NOVÖ

    NOVÖ, the word that designer Christophe Lemaire has used to inspired a collection and a mix, is taken from French rock critic Yves Adrien’s 1978 manifesto Novövision, which predicts the revolution of machines in music.

    For Christophe Lemaire, NOVÖ has been a chance to explore the more youthful side of his design work and to create a new streetwear aesthetic that mirrors the industrial sounds of the early-80s.

    Christophe said the following while talking recently to Dazed & Confused:

    "I’m very happy with this project because it addresses a younger consumer. Now I tend to erase too obvious references to music with my own line but for this specific collection with Bean Pole I thought it was interesting to bring something edgy, creative – and very referenced – to casual streetwear."

    "I started fashion when I was DJing, when I was young – then I had to choose between night or day! I tried to combine both but it didn’t work. Somehow, especially for menswear, I always found more style in the music scene than the fashion scene. But you British know about that. I found it more inspiring to go to a gig than a fashion show. It has a much more instinctive approach to style and musicians dress more ‘free’. And therefore more authentic. In my design work I always integrate references to music and I was much involved with fashion show production and music, of course. I still play music from time to time, make compilations or radio programmes."

    You can listen to Christophe’s mix NOVÖ, which is part of our ongoing MIX SERIES, here.

    shop CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE for BEAN POLE

    An Eye for an Eye

    A man with a keen eye for an image, Jun Takahashi has clad his Tokyo Undercover boutique in a vast collage of eyeless pictures.

    We have written previously about Takahashi’s use of collage in his design work. The medium has a certain lo-fi charm that resonates with the D.I.Y. punk roots of Undercover, but this the scale of this project that is remarkable.

    It is also worth mentioning that the collage has an unsettling and subversive air, which is a product of the designer’s unique vision.

    We are expecting the first autumn/winter delivery of Undercover within the next fortnight.

    shop UNDERCOVER

    INCOMING: LVC | Thom Browne | Bean Pole + more

    All live on Monday afternoon / Tuesday morning.

    shop LATEST PRODUCTS

    Fifty Shades of Grey

    Today suave American label Thom Browne announced the introduction of Thom Grey, a diffusion line that focuses on lower prices and more youthful fits. After the rumoured H&M collaboration a few months back we’re glad to see Thom going down a different route, maintaining the high production quality while widening his range.

    We’ve already started harassing our buyer to place an order. We will, as always, keep you posted.

    In the meantime, our first AW ‘12 Thom Browne delivery will be live on Monday.

    A Good Vintage

    Those clever guys at Kenzo have done it again with a superb set of Vans that, like a fine wine, will only get better with age. Called the “Grape” pack, the trainers are printed with a colourful vineyard print that is typical Kenzo.

    We’re not sure if they are old or new world grapes, but we do know that the first batch of Kenzo Vans should be arriving with us soon.

    Refresh, Recycle, Reuse

    Not just another collaboration, this innovative project to produce beautifully designed goods from recycled materials brings together the world’s most recognisable brand, Coca-Cola, a New York music technology collective EOps and the English product designer Michael Young.

    Each party brought something different to the table: Michael brought the design nouse, EOps the technical know-how, and Coca-Cola, they brought the Coke bottles. 

    Following the slogan “Refresh, Recycle, Reuse”, the team have conceived and created a unique range of recycled bags and headphones that challenge conventional ideas that recycled products must be unsightly.

    The products are each produced using recycled polyethylene terephthalate, and if don’t think you’ll remember the words “polyethylene terephthalate” don’t worry, the material has a handy nickname, rPET, which makes it sound far more youthful and current than it inevitably is.

    shop EOps x Coca Cola x Micheal Young

    Raf or Rothko?

    Fittingly for a designer who has seen more changes than a fitting room over the past six months, Raf Simons's autumn/winter collection revolves around the idea of progression.

    After leaving Jil and then, after much speculation, joining Dior, the Belgian was the most talked about man in fashion for a time, but now we find him back in the familiar security of his own label, doing what he does best.

    His autumn/winter ‘12 collection, “Run Fall Run”, is his attempt to change the silhouette of menswear. Moving away from the traditional shirt-and-tie structure that has been the genesis of men’s outfits for decades, Raf uses oversized top layers and streetwear shapes to change the proportions of garments and therefore change their function. Think of a shirt as outerwear or a suit with shorts, he suggests.

    The central theme of progression and change is embodied by a group of superb pieces that mirror Mark Rothko's famous “multiforms”. Raf renders his multiforms in dip-dye, but the result is much the same. In fact, we've put together a little game, which we call Raf or Rothko, where you try and tell, as the name suggest, which work belongs to which man.

    (Answers below)

    As luck would have it, we also unearthed this never-before-seen 1964 photograph of Mark Rothko, plus guest, in his Hampton studio. Finally those puzzle pieces are falling into place.

    (A - Raf, B - Rothko, C - Rothko, D - Raf)

    shop RAF SIMONS

    LCF 2012

    London College of Fashion 2012 from Bunker London on Vimeo.

    LCF’s video to promote this years crop of graduates is perfect coffee break fodder.

    KENZO KENZO KENZO

    Kenzo, one of the most eagerly anticipated collections of the season, will be live on our site tomorrow AM. You can cut the tension in the office with a knife.

    Also, here is a video of Spike Jonze and Jason Schwartzman. Why? We don’t need a reason why.

    shop KENZO

    INCOMING: Kenzo | Alexander McQueen | Raf Simons

    Live from Monday next week. Stay tuned.

    shop LATEST PRODUCTS

    Inside Paul’s Studio

    The beating heart of his label, Sir Paul Smith is one in a million.

    In our interview with Paul from a few months back we attempted to convey the organised chaos of his office. Packed with nicknacks either collected by Paul on his travels or sent to him by admirers across the world, the room is an archive of affection, where people’s love for Paul is made physical in a raft of obscure and often handmade objects.

    We felt privileged to spend time with Paul in his office and now you can have your own guided tour of that space, thanks to Paul’s new video series Inside Paul’s Studio.

    While this first episode is a tantalising introduction, in episode 2 Paul talks about an object that left an impression on us when we visited but sadly  didn’t make it into our article - an exact scale model of the office itself.

    Paul is set to release more episodes over the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for more.

    shop PAUL SMITH

    60 / 40

    As you are now so once were we. With the established 60 and 40 year cycles of popularity recycling fashion and culture on an infinite loop, we are noticing that 1970s influences are filtering back into the collective consciousness and, by extension, menswear collections. 

    Our latest deliver from French label A.P.C. contained more than a couple of 70s references, and as the AW ‘12 deliveries flood into the studio we’re expecting to find a whole load more.

    Fittingly then, our eye was recently drawn to a collection of candid social photographs by Daniel Meadows of Britain in the 1970s. The subject of a new exhibition at the Ffotogallery, the images can either work as a source of inspiration for your autumn/winter wardrobe, or an opportunity to glance into Britain’s past, when collars were pointier and hair curlier.

    This is Not A Suit

    To welcome Adrien Sauvage's first ready to wear casual collection to oki-ni we would like to draw your attention to the designer's tongue-in-cheek short film from last year.

    Remember, “no cufflinks means no nonsense.”

    shop A. SAUVAGE



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