Saturday, 27 June 2009

Copenhagen - part 1

Arne Jacobsen Egg Chairs in the Radisson Royal SAS lobby

This afternoon Hapsical arrived in Copenhagen for a short break, and we're already obsessed. We had been before about six years ago, but because we entertain an obsession in general with Scandinavia we thought it was high time we visited again. There are so many things we love about the Nordic countries (the landscapes, the people – mostly obscenely good looking tall blondes – the civilised way of life that isn’t madly rooted in consumerism and acquiring wealth, the cities, the fresh air, the beautiful light, the ultra-efficient public services, the lack of social divisions, and perhaps above all the general feeling of happiness and wellbeing), and Copenhagen ticks all the right boxes, meaning we’re already feeling really happy to be away from London for a while.

It cost no more than £5 each to get the train from the airport into the city (compared to the ridiculous £20 each or so charged in London for a similar journey on the Heathrow Express), and this (below) was the standard class seat which was better than the FIRST class offerings on most British trains... in fact, we’re pretty sure trains in Denmark don’t even have a first class, because they believe in giving the same high level of service to everybody which we really like.

We’re staying at the Radisson SAS Royal Hotel which is designed by famous 20th Century Danish designer Arne Jacobsen (one of our favourite non-fashion designers/architects). From the outside it is a monolithic tower block, in International Style (made famous by Mies van der Rohe’s Park Avenue skyscrapers in New York), although the interiors, designed and furnished by Arne Jacobsen, are less geometric and feature softer, organic shapes. We are totally, totally in love with this hotel and our Royal Club room because 1) there are amazing views of Copenhagen which we can enjoy from our beds 2) There are three Arne Jacobsen chairs in our room, the very chairs we spend hours fantasising over in design shops 3) The rest of the room is really nicely designed and all very high quality 4) Even the bathroom has windows with an amazing view 5) The AC actually works, unlike in most large hotels 6) The Wi Fi is FREE (since when has hotel internet ever been free? Love it.) 7) The lobby is also Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair heaven etc. etc. We can’t recall ever having stayed in a hotel that’s managed to get so many details right.

Arne Jacobsen Swan Chairs in our room.
Views from our room:

Tivoli Gardens:

Central Station:

When we finally tore ourselves away from the hotel room and the view we just wandered about, reacquainting ourselves with the city, reminding ourselves why at we times we entertain a serious fantasy of moving to somewhere like Copenhagen or Stockholm. By and large people are just so nice here compared to in London (not to mention the fact that *everybody* is startlingly tall, blonde, beautiful and well dressed), the air is so fresh and it’s so calm and civilised compared to London, the summer evening light is beautiful, the quality of life seems so high. As if you hadn’t realised already, we just love the way they do everything here (and indeed in other parts of Scandinavia), the way people live... it isn’t for nothing that Danes routinely top polls as the happiest people in Europe.

We walked up to Ørstedsparken garden (past the Henrik Vibskov store – closed for the evening; we will return), which is a tranquil, leafy park with a large lake in the middle. In Britain, a park like that in the centre of a city on a Saturday night would probably be full of teenage yobs drinking cider, listening to their music out loud, and junkies shooting up in the bushes, and then leaving the needles behind for children to come across, but here it was totally serene (and clean), and full of groups of friends having relaxed barbeque picnics, with candles and stylish Scandinavian tableware. And because this is Denmark, and people are less self-centred than in Britain, everybody had those portable/disposable barbeques, but on special little legs so they wouldn’t scorch the grass in the park, and everybody put their rubbish in the bin. Granted, more people live in London than in all of Denmark so it is hard to compare, but we just love that you can be right in the centre of the capital city, and yet find this totally calm park that people can just enjoy, as if it was there own back garden, in a civilised way. As we keeping on saying like a broken record, the quality of life here and the social wellbeing is quite extraordinary. We’re not even the biggest fans of socialism ideologically, but it seems to work so well here. People also really get fashion and style. We also can’t get over how quiet it is… the business of London is what makes it so vibrant and exciting, but at times it can get quite oppressive.

We’ve gone on quite enough now about why we love Denmark and Scandinavia in general, so we’ll shut up for now (until we probably start up again tomorrow…). We’ll post more when we get round to doing stuff tomorrow, probably with a more fashion-y angle, and we’re not neglecting this blog otherwise… Milan and Paris men’s fashion ss10 reports coming soon, not to mention more good stuff.

Enjoy the weekend everyone.

PS. Denmark is the home of Lego too! <3

Update: Click HERE for Copenhagen part 2 (opens in new window).

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Dolce & Gabbana and D&G Fall/Winter 2009 Ad Campaigns

Confession: Dolce & Gabbana clothing is not exactly our scene (although we always love the sheer richness and oppulence of their women's collections), but we really LOVE their advertising season after season, just because it is so glossy, and glam, and excessive, and sort of how part of us wants fashion to be. Usually it's controversial too (although they seem to have avoided homoerotic priests and glamourising knife crime this this time..), and overall it always brightens our day up a bit even if we don't like the clothes as much ourselves (not that that matters to Dolce e Gabbana, whose brands have a huge following).

We've reproduced the full Dolce & Gabbana women's and men's FW09 ad campaigns, as well as the D&G fall/winter 2009 ad campaign, because it's all fun and we love it...

Our only point of contention is Jesus Luz, who has surely only been included because of his fling/publicity stunt with Madonna, and whose face, to put not too fine a point on it, is somewhat unfortunate. Otherwise with the men's it's the usual 'gay mafia' theme galore, with plenty of David Gandy..

D&G is every bit as visually excessive too... lately this has become a much stronger individual brand in its own right, moving away from products merely marked with the D&G logo... Also interesting how Dolce & Gabbana have recently been injecting Italian sex appeal into heavy-framed nerd glasses...

Images all from Dolce & Gabbana website - hence the "next" button watermarks on them. Sorry!

Photographer: Clarisse d'Arcimoles

Non-fashion post: we just love London photographer Clarisse d'Arcimoles' idea of unearthing old photos of herself, family, friends etc, only to then re-take them with the subjects as they are today, but with similar outfits, settings, composition etc. Aside from being a great idea, and being very humourous, her series raises questions about mortality, change, and our relationship with the universe we inhabit in a gentle, beautiful way.

Apologies for the bad presentation here.. each set of images is meant to sit side by side, but our silly narrow format (looking to change this soon) meant they were too tiny to see like that, so we had to rather messily put them on top of each other. Visit her website to see the works how they should be. There's good stuff on her Flickr too...

Monday, 22 June 2009

Resort Report - part 2

1) Balenciaga

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Nicolas Ghesquière showed a strong and interesting resort 2010 collection at Balenciaga. We enjoyed the prints, the variations in cut and volume, the fit, the shoes.. it all felt very Balenciaga and very Ghesquière, and there was a lot of experimentation for a resort collection. The unforgiving shorts, in a sort of peachy satin, were the only false step in this otherwise aesthetically pleasing and well cut collection.

2) Givenchy

Images from - click to see entire collection.

We may not be the world's biggest fans of Riccardo Tisci's work at Givenchy, but he pulled together a very sound resort collection which checked lots of the right boxes for us... there were plenty of chic and elegant options (he even managed to make a difficult shade of radioactive green work), well cut and well draped, and a refreshing minimalism (even when the busy prints featured) pervaded. Tisci also took the opportunity to launch a slightly lower-priced capsule 'Redux' collection of key Tiscci/Givenchy pieces (see top images), namely various simple and chic white and black studded options.

3) Versace

Images from - click to see the entire collection.

The Versace resort 2010 collection felt very fresh and summery: we liked the stylish prints, which were bright and classy, and the sharp tailoring was very chic. The new, slightly pared-down direction Versace has been taking lately still seems to be working well.

4) Oscar de la Renta

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Oscar de la Renta showed a huge, 53 look resort collection with no restraints placed on the full-on glamour and elegance. There was a strong Parisian theme, indeed some outfits were very Chanel-esque, but at the same time it all felt charactersically 'de la Renta,' from the beautifully draped evening gowns, to the highly chic beach and daywear options. Everything was rich and oppulent, but never overtly so; in a word, (very) classy.

5) Lanvin

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Alber Elbaz's resort 2010 collection for Lanvin had that characteristic Elbaz/Lanvin elegance and luxuriousness to it, with plenty of strong day and evening options. A bright, Mexican inspired theme added a fun, summery edge to proceedings, but everything was still very much rooted in Lanvin's typically chic Parisian look.

6) Christian Dior

Images from - click to see entire collection.

The 40s/50s glamour was on full blast at John Galliano's resort 2010 collection for Christian Dior, to the extent that at times it almost felt like certain outfits were film or tv costumes for the period. That is not to belittle the elegance of it, or the masterful construction (you expect no less from Galliano), it's just we felt just a few more contemporary touches wouldn't have gone amiss.

7) Zac Posen

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Zac Posen showed a collection that was both fun and stylish, with the recurring giant bow motif adding a sense of drama and playfulness to glamourous evening wear and smart day outfits. The prints (not pictured) and the acid brights added real energy to a collection which overall felt modern and fresh.

8) Gucci

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Frida Gianni showed a very glamorous resort collection for Gucci, characterised by that sort of very Italian, very Gucci, jet-set look. There was razor-sharp tailoring and glam summery prints (not pictured), with the colours consisting of subtle neutrals, bright whites, blacks and injections of blue (we particularly liked the deep midnight blue Gianni used to good effect, and the odd shot of electric blue). It can be quite a harsh look, but we rather like it within the context of glamorous clothes for the (nouveau) riche and sexy, and Gianni seems to know exactly how to please the Gucci customer which is no bad thing.

9) Donna Karan

Images from - click to see entire collection.

We really enjoyed Donna Karan's resort 2010 collection, which was fresh, summery, and chic. Almost everything was very elegant, and there was skilful cut and draping going on, while at the same time it felt, if not cutting edge, modern and relevant, and full of stylish options.

10) Anna Sui

Images from - click to see entire collection.

It was the bright prints contrasted against grungy, heavy black boots that really caught our attention at Anna Sui. It may not be the newest of ideas these days, but we thought Sui executed it very well, and overall produced an enjoyable and pretty edgy collection, with plenty of good options.

11) Giambattista Valli

Images from - click to see entire collection.

As ever, sophisticated elegance was the name of the game at Giambattista Valli, and for resort 2010 he didn't disappoint, showing a range of meticulously elegant and restrained day and evening outfits, including beautiful cocktail dresses and sharply tailored suits. Overall a very chic and classy affair.

12) Louis Vuitton

Images from - click to see entire collection.

Marc Jacobs showed off some strong options in the Louis Vuitton resort 2010 collection, complemeted by stylish prints, good cut and sort of updated St. Tropez vibe... jury's still very much out on those boots though..

Click HERE for Resort Report Part 1, which includes Yves Saint Laurent and Prada.