Wednesday, November 06, 2013

the road.......

Last night I was scrolling through Instagram, it's kind of like a bed time story for grown ups right? Anyway, I stopped on a picture of a blogger whose pictures I follow and spied a copy of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. My eyes swung to the pile of books on my bedside, the must read pile that seems to grows bigger every day. And there it was; a copy of The Road.

I slipped it out from its position in the pile, like a crazy game of book jenga, and flipped it over - I always read the blurb before I start reading anything, like I'm looking for clues to what I'm about to experience.

Then I started reading. I stopped about three hours later, somewhere near 1am, and as I closed the last page I felt this unnerving feeling settle over me.

The Road was published in 2006 to critical acclaim and took out the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2007, (yes I'm a little behind in my reading), and I can see why. 

There is something about the simplistic stripped back use of language, the short sharp paragraphs, the dialogue that feels more like thoughts running through someones mind then actual conversation. It's raw and open and it drags you in and along for the ride.

It's also terrifying. The Road, with it's post-apocalyptic world, could almost be a warning. And in a way it is, but for me the warning is not so much about a barren and scorched landscape, as it is about humanity. And love. And tenderness. And needing to not forget what those things mean.

Sometimes I think the power of words, simple words, to elicit emotion is often forgotten. We're so overwhelmed with images and sound and three word slogans, that real words get lost.

They're not lost in The Road.  

If you haven't already, read it.

kb xx

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

his and her no more.......

I think I might need help.*

Over the past few weeks I’ve bought three new shirts. A blue denim, a black acid wash denim and a red and blue tartan in case you were wondering, and they all came from the menswear department.

What started as a bit of sartorial expression, an over-sized shirt here, some slouchy pants there, has morphed into a outright infatuation. And now I barely give lady-land a cursory glance before pawing through the racks of button up shirts and trousers searching for my new favourite.

It’s even infiltrated what I thought was the untouchable domain of shoes. I want man shoes. I want loafers and brogues and chunky sneakers. We’ve conquered the shirts and the pants, so shoes is the next logical step right?

Where once I stared at the likes of Nicholas Kirkwood and Brain Attwood, (often with a little drool dripping down my chin - hey I’m only human), now I’m more likely to spend my spare time at Mr Porter, with my eyes firmly fixated on the likes of John Lobb. Have you see these patent leather slippers??. Or Armando Cabral. Oh those brushed suede tasselled loafers.


Maybe it’s the boxy over-sized unisex silhouettes that have stomped down the runways these past few seasons, see Celine, Comme des Garcons, Stella McCartney, Yohji Yamamoto, Loewe - need I go on?

Where once the wearing of menswear may have been a subversive bucking of trends for us women-folk, it’s now made it’s way front and centre and shopping in man land just ain’t no real thing anymore.

Maybe, just maybe, the rules that previously bound us to our respective sexes and the garments assigned to them have become so blurred, thanks in part to those illustrious designers above no doubt, that we don’t have to divide our fashion between his and hers anymore.

Maybe that’s why I’m digging all that shiny patent leather and brushed suede on my feet.

Is this the real democratisation of fashion?

What do you think?

kb xx

*I'm kidding. Seriously.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

rei kawakubo and creativity.......

“The voice of the designer has never been so important in disseminating brand values. Cynically put, he (or she) who shouts the loudest, gets heard the most. Yet whilst Kawakubo’s refusal to explain herself has often frustrated her public, her silence has given her voice more power and resonance than any other fashion designer in the industry today,” 
Hans Ulrich Orbist on Rei Kawakubo

Sometimes I wonder if the cliche of celebrity has made brittle that which we call fashion. As Mr Hans Ulrich Orbist says, those who shout the loudest are heard the most. And I wonder if this is to the detriment of what is at it's core a creative industry, where surely the talented and not the loudest should rise to the top.

But then I remember the likes of Rei Kawakubo. In an interview with System magazine for the Autumn/Winter 2013 issue, an exclusive extract of which you can read on BoF here, Kawakubo talks about the creative process in designing a new collection, in this case SS14. 

"I break the idea of ‘clothes.’ I think about using for everything what one would normally use for one thing. Give myself limitations. I pursue a situation where I am not free. I think about a world of only the tiniest narrowest possibilities. I close myself. I think that everything about the way of making clothes hitherto is no good. This is the rule I always give myself: that nothing new can come from a situation that involves being free or that doesn’t involve suffering." 
Rei Kawakubo

As fascinated as we are with the clothes themselves, and we are, we are equally as fascinated with where a designer draws inspiration from. Perhaps it stems from a desire for the consumer to forge a deeper connection with a collection, a designer, a brand. But how does one form a connection with a designer that attempts to break the clothes, before rebuilding them with seemingly no reference to their past? It's a interesting concept and a thought provoking question. Anyone who has viewed Comme des Garcons SS14 collection, or in fact any before that, can attest to the process that Kawakubo describes above.

While I'm of the thinking that inspiration for the creative process can come from anywhere, Kawakubo's point about nothing new coming from a situation that doesn't involve suffering rings true in every since. What's that old saying about necessity being the mother of invention?

In an industry increasingly controlled by celebrity, and fame and a huge marketing machine, all of which can become incredibly overwhelming; it's not just refreshing, it's cleansing for the soul and palette to read about Rei Kawakubo and her creative process, and to see it in action on the runway. And for just a moment, we can be reminded where creativity can take us when we don't try to conform it to expected ideals. When, instead, we look for something new.

What do you think? 
kb xx