Sales Also Have A Past

Just when we’re leaving Christmas behind us, sales time rolls around. It is the time most eagerly awaited by all of those people who are dreaming of taking shops by storm and strolling down the streets with five bags in each hand, in the purest “Pretty Woman” style, but at bargain prices.

Sales weeks are so rooted in consumer society that few people ever ask themselves the origin of this time of delirium and ecstasy in the shops. But everything has a beginning, and in this case, it all started in the city of New York — where else?

During the Great Depression that the United States underwent, the most important retail shops joined together with Macy’s (the most famous department store in the United States, a place where sales are practically a religion) and they created a group of companies called Macy’s Inc. The first president of this new conglomerate, Fred Lazarus Jr., revolutionised the 30’s and sales in New York. He faced the following challenge: What do you do with all of the season’s clothing in stock that you haven’t sold over the year? The answer seems simple, now that everyone is so used to lowering prices to sell a lot. But his idea of creating specific days for selling leftover clothing at a lower price was a visionary proposal in his day.

This strategy spread throughout the world, and nowadays this is the period when many people have a chance to get that look that they have been dreaming about all season long.

Here are a few looks that you can purchase now in our stores with the best sales!

Jersey "Holly", Dress "Mirelle", Bag "Cooper", Shoes "Katia

Dress "Harrison", Skirt "Ann", Shoes "Katia"

Coat "Winngs", Shirt "Lingui", Trousers "Nugen", Shoes "Angel B "

Jersey "St-Ives", Shirt "Torrington", Shoes "Random"

Coat "Wolf", Shirt "Flyers", Scarf "Pottasium", Trousers "Imperial", Shoes "Random"

Design Panoptikum

Are you thinking of going to Berlin this winter? If you are, and you like the kind of sightseeing that doesn’t show up in conventional guides, then you must visit the museum Design Panoptikum. It’s a unique place where you can enjoy looking at the strangest objects you’ve ever seen, all of them belonging to Russian artist Vlad Korneev.

What will you be able to see there? All sorts of utensils, some functional and others less so; what they have in common is a strange design that makes them seem like props for a science fiction B movie. You can see highly unusual medical equipment, vending machines that talk, a life-size Power Ranger, a doll giving birth, etc. A gallery that seems like it could have been taken from Plan 9 from Outer Space. Ed Wood, director of this classic B movie, would have given one of his angora sweaters to have visited this unique place, located in one of the most interesting cities on the European cultural underground scene.

Vlad Korneev didn’t create this space to make money—he was just looking for an alternative to the museums in the German city that make their living off of nostalgia. In order to finance the museum, the artist rents the hall for film shoots, but none of his retro futuristic objects are for sale. You can look, but not touch, and you can’t take it with you, either!

Pictures by DesignPanoptikum

Colour Blocking Strikes Again

This trend, colour blocking, seems to be back for the coming season. It is the art of combining strong, intense colours that in theory would seem impossible to combine, a challenge that brings excitement to the wardrobes of the daring.

This trend is nothing new, in the 60’s and in the 80’s it already had passionate advocates, and now it’s back with the same intensity of colour, although perhaps with a bit less geometric delirium in its patterns.

In the 60’s, many of the mod squad made this look based on the combination of very electric blocks of colour fashionable. British fashion designer Mary Quant contributed to popularising this trend, taking inspiration from the creations of the painter Mondrian, but using more provocative colours. Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot, and Nancy Sinatra were her muses, and together they took colour blocking to the streets during the days of swinging London.

Picture by Cassius Cassini

In the 80’s, this trend came back strong. Colour blocking was characteristic of new wave bands like The B-52, iconic singers like David Bowie, and it was a religion in cult films such as Slava Tsukerman’s Liquid Sky.

The spring and summer of 2012 will be full of colour, thanks to this type of look. Some guidelines so that you can do it in style:

Don’t wear more than three different colours. The most characteristic colours for this look are orange, electric blue, red, and green. Use more intense colours in the area that you want to make stand out, and as far as accessories go: shades of gold go very well with this style. Check out our pick of the colour blocking trend from the Pepe Jeans AW11 collection and get started early!

Music and Christmas Spirit

Musically speaking, Christmas has two names for more selective tastes: Phil Spector with his A Christmas Gift for You, and The Beach Boys and their The Beach Boys Christmas Album.
Phil Spector made his Christmas album par excellence with the aid of performers such as The Ronettes or Darlene Love, as well as his impressive wall of sound.
The album came out on November 22nd, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The depressed atmosphere in the country at that time meant that this album was not an instant hit, but little by little it earned the status that it deserved. Its cover is an exaltation of Christmas: big wrapped presents with some of the members of the groups singing on the album inside them, like The Ronettes and The Crystals. They all have a thoroughly 60’s look, with classic Christmas knit sweaters in the typical Christmas colours: red and green.

The Beach Boys have always been associated with California beaches and big surfboards. But in the winter of 1964, they put out a Christmas album that was as big as the biggest waves at Malibu. Brian Wilson, the band’s composer and leader, took his inspiration from Phil Spector’s album to create it. The boys from the band appear on the cover in classic American college sweaters in pastel colours, tapered trousers, and shoes with pointed toes. They show that you can decorate a Christmas tree with a lot of style and no snow in sight.

And here is a little advice for receiving your presents from the Three Wise Men, every year: wait near a chimney, with a Christmas tree close by, wearing a ski sweater and listening to “Little Saint Nick” by the Beach Boys or Darlene Love’s “Winter Wonderland” very loudly.

Christmas films and fashion

Christmas films are full of good wishes, and some of them stop at that, going no further than the memory of a winter’s evening. But then there are others that come to form a part of the collective imagination, classics that go beyond the screen, to pervade winter looks.

It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946, Frank Capra)
The Christmas classic par excellence, with James Stewart showing a dark side that had, until then, been unthinkable in him. His onscreen image took a turn with this film and he stopped being the “good boy” of film. It’s an optimistic fable that deals with the everyday problems of average citizens during a time of crisis. James Stewart spends most of the film wearing a herringbone three-quarter-length coat with a scarf draped over the lapels, a white shirt, and a medium-width tie. A typical look for post-war middle-class Americans. His co-star in the film, Donna Reed, dresses in the typical style of the perfect American wife and mother: a knee-length shirtwaist dress.

The Apartment” (1960, Billy Wilder)
Christmas is the background for Wilder’s great comedy. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine star in this film as an office worker and an elevator operator, respectively. Lemmon’s character is wearing a dark suit with a short jacket, a white shirt, and the narrow tie that was typical of the time. MacLaine wears a wonderful suit with a fitted jacket and a wide shirt collar overlapping the lapels. To toast at Christmas time, she gets her fur coat out of the closet (which is sure not to be false, since she is having an affair with the head of the company, unfortunately for Lemmon).

Home Alone “(1990, Chris Columbus)
Written and produced by John Hughes, an expert in making teen films, this film made Macaulay Culkin a child star. Children and teenagers all over the world dreamed of being him and staying home alone— preferably in New York, of course. Culkin’s look in the film is the classic skiing style, which is very fashionable this year: knitted caps, jackets with Christmas designs on them, and plenty of sheepskin. In this film, we saw that you don’t have to be in Aspen to wear a sweater with a deer knitted on it. The mountain comes to the city!

Aaron Hobson and Google Earth

This mountainous landscape accentuates the desolate atmosphere of this winding track

A children's playground sits empty apart from two horses seen grazing nearby in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Photographer Aaron Hobson has revolutionised the concept of photography based on everyday life using the meduim of Google Earth.
It all started when he was looking for locations in Los Angeles. Because he did not know the city well he decided to get to know the different areas by taking a virtual tour using Google Street View. He was amazed at the vast and valuable archive google had, and began to spend hours “travelling” to the remotest corners of the world. Looking for snapshots that appear normal, but have a certian special magic inside. So without even picking up a camera, Hobson has created a collection of 15 images that have been named “Cinemascapes”.

Derelict: This long disused home in Crotone, Italy, is captured in one of Aaron Street View images

Eerie: The mist lingers in this forest in Saint Nicolas de la Grave in the south western part of France

Aaron Hobs has re-touched the images captured by Google Street View, making corrections and adding effects to give them an artistic flair. Most of the selected images are isolated and remote areas. Through Google’s famous page, Hobson has searched for the right light, frame and composition … like any other photographer, except from the comfort of his own home. He then processed the images using a style that gave the collection its’ name: cinemascapes.

A scene from Viviens, France. Aaron says he wanted to show the splendour and beauty of remote areas that is not often seen

Locals gather in this residential street in Prejmer, Romania

Aaron Hobson is not the first artist to see the artistic possibilities of the application from Google. In some American villages, the people have performed music videos alongside the cars that film for Google Street View. Also the professional video makers have dabbled with Street View: The Canadian band Arcade Fire created a great experimental video with the Street View application for their song “The Wilderness Downtown”.

Dressed to Party

Party dresses are worn throughout the season, but when the end of each year rolls around, these items become more important in one’s wardrobe. Their history? They date back in time to the palace salons of the aristocracy. Democracy came to them in 1950, right in the midst of the Eisenhower era, when party dresses became a way to express individuality. Elizabeth Taylor made the type of dress that she wore in A Place in the Sun fashionable during that decade: a strapless Edith Head number. White tulle and satin were the star fabrics, and other divas such as Barbara Stanwyck, Shirley MacLaine, or Grace Kelly helped to popularise this classic of more elite parties.

In the 60’s, party dresses were narrowed slightly, seeking a more stylised figure. Tulle and satin gave way to silk, and necklines were less pronounced. Jackie O’s dresses were an inspiration for all women when it came to choosing the ideal outfit for a special event.

The hippie revolution also spilled over to 70’s party dresses, and they came to seek out a natural look, with a somewhat bohemian air. The colours most frequently used were light blues and greens. Farrah Fawcett’s style was one of those most frequently imitated, and it would receive homage many times, such as in Michelle Pfeiffer’s wardrobe in Brian de Palma’s Scarface.

The 80’s filled parties with shine, featuring dresses with shoulder pads, necklines with ruffles, and all sorts of eccentricities. It was the decade of excess in fashion, when almost everything was accepted. Films such as Pretty in Pink testify to that.

Starting in the 80’s, party dresses began to mix up the characteristics of previous decades, often adding a few novelties. This year, items inspired in the 70’s are what seems to be the hottest. Advice: take a look at Farrah Fawcett’s looks to find the perfect dress for New Year’s.

Keep your eyes open for next weeks Après Ski party looks!

Rhythm and Boots

Elegance and a desire to have fun are the features that characterise the mod movement, a youth culture whose heyday was in the middle of the 60’s. Its origins date back to the end of the 50’s, when working-class London boys could be seen hanging out in Soho clubs. They wore mohair suits and had impeccable haircuts, giving them an aristocratic air that had little to do with their real lives: the majority of them worked in factories on the outskirts of town. The night and all-nighters became their place for dreaming of a life full of glamour, music, and the occasional amphetamine. Modern jazz and class helped them to stand up to the hard times that the country was going through.

Their wardrobe has marked many later collections, as well as many of the items that form a part of young people’s wardrobes all over the world. The parka is one of the icons of this youth movement. The most popular was that of the American army, also called a fish-tail parka, because of its shape. Their wardrobes also habitually contained narrow ties, Sta-Prest trousers (which have a line that doesn’t go away when you iron them), Ben Sherman shirts, and Harrington jackets. For walking: bowling shoes, desert boots, and loafers with their characteristic tassels.

Mod girls wore A-Line skirts and jackets, which were very comfortable for dancing. Leather coats and gabardines protected them from the cold air of the London night. For moving on the dance floor, they preferred flats with low heels and a rounded toe. Their eyes were the focal point of their faces: false eyelashes, very fine eyebrows, and black eyeliner.

The soundtrack that went along with this youth culture came from groups like Small Faces, The Who, The Animals, The Yardbirds, or The Kinks. R&B to dance non-stop until night turned into day.

Not for Old Fogies

The flapper style has survived almost 100 years without losing the freshness and air of liberality that it was born with in the roaring 20’s.

The first flappers wore short skirts and a lot of make-up. They were crazy about jazz, smoked compulsively, and drank hard liquor, their faces framed by hair cut in a bob with bangs. This new type of woman challenged what had been considered socially appropriate female behaviour until then, giving rise to an aesthetic revolution for the women of the new century.

The flapper look arrived after World War I, when there was a big change in the world of women’s fashion, caused, among other things, by women entering into the workplace. Girls freed themselves, and to show this independence, they decided to cut their hair and dress more comfortably and simply, but without giving up sex appeal. That androgynous, boyish style revolutionised clandestine nightclubs during the Prohibition.

Clara Bow

Writers, artists, and actresses popularised the flapper style. The performer who was most faithful to this look was Clara Bow, also known as the It- girl, a reference to her androgyny; she had a magnetism that attracted both men and women.

The writer Francis Scott Fitzgerald, famous for his great Gatsby, was one of those to immortalise the flapper movement. In his book “Flappers and Philosophers” (1920), the bon vivant wrote about the youthful nonconformity of this new type of woman, portraying flappers as those girls who wanted to make the world their oyster and live fast. An aesthetic and a way of understanding life that is still current today.

Image by Classic Film Scans

Postmodernism: Style and Subversion

Until the 15th of January, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting the first exhaustive study of the art, design, and architecture of the 70’s and 80’s. It will focus on one of the most interesting phenomena of recent art and design history: postmodernism. This is a current that remains active today, and which is manifested in all of the most avant-garde artistic trends.

'Super Lamp' Martine Bedin © V&A Images. Painted metal, lighting components.

Frank Schreiner (for Stiletto Studios), ‘Consumer’s Rest’ chair, 1990 ©V&A Images Mild steel with chrome plating and plastic.

Postmodernism was initially born as a provocative architectural movement in the early 70’s, but it quickly spread throughout all of the most relevant cultural areas of the moment – design, art, music, film, fashion, and performance. Consumerism and excess became the essential characteristics of postmodernism.
What characterises this current most clearly is its attitude, which takes on as much importance as a work’s style and look. Transgression as a form of artistic expression. This essence has reached our day, splashing over into the new platforms for expressing oneself artistically: memes, viral videos, tumblrs…

Jean-Paul Goude and Antonio Lopez, Maternity dress for Grace Jones, 1979 © Jean-Paul Goude

Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown in the Las Vegas desert with the strip in the background, 1966 © Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates

Among the outstanding heads of this movement are the Italians Studio Alchimia and Memphis, two groups that brought together architects and designers who admired false copies and excess. They transformed everyday objects into avant-garde madness. In photography, outstanding artists such as Helmut Newton belonged to this movement. In fashion, there were Annie Lennox’s suits and those worn onstage by the group Devo. The paintings of Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol also fit clearly into the post-modern scene, and the flirting with androgyny of artists like Bowie and Grace Jones is also a faithful reflection of it. As far as film goes, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner is the perfect example of the post-modern influence.

Cinzia Ruggeri, ‘Homage to Lévi-Strauss’ dress, Autumn/Winter 1983-4 © V&A Images

‘Wet: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing no. 20’ September/November 1979, the 'Religion' issue. Edited by Leonard Koren. Design by April Greiman in collaboration with Jayme Odgers.