You know what I really like, but rarely admit to liking? Nice stationary. Basically, anything from notepads to pens are pretty great. And while that may be odd, I’m cool with that. Sure, I knock out at least four tweets a week mocking the Monocle reading menswear fraternity – and occasionally this wanders into the territory of derision relating to their stationary choices – but truth be told, a good notepad is hard to beat. Well, that’s if you’re excluding booze, drugs, women and all that other stuff. But within the realm of general day-to-day requirements, which aren’t the aforementioned three, my Confidant is the whole thing that ensures I sort of keep a grip on things. It hosts all manner of things – from to do lists to sketches – and the quality is in point.
There is a lot to be said for the importance of Spring collections. Fall can appear a far more serious season what with layering, protection against the elements and the predominantly darker colour tones. The premise of a Spring collection gives for more inspiring, expressive and brighter themes. It’s all too easy to overlook the fact that clothing can and should be fun, especially as we mature.
I’ve been around since the first day of Billionaire Boys Club/Icecream in the UK, having stood in line outside The Hideout (Rest In Power) and dropping a G on Season 1 items. I still have a great fondness for the Diamond & Dollar Sign, and Moneyrolls all over prints for example. The Billionaire Boys Club Vault collection was a dignified nod to the older fans of the brand, serving to remind us that our faithfulness had not gone unnoticed as well as schooling the new followers.
Seeing the AW14 collection at Jacket Required re-established my admiration for the brand. I admit it’s been a long while since I wore anything Billionaire Boys Club or Icecream related, the Ice Girl t-shirt by Rockin’ Jelly Bean perhaps or was it the season zero logo t-shirt (read: holy grail)? Just as I concede that I’m past wearing large graphic t-shirts (especially ones adorned with tits and vulgar words), Billionaire Boys Club unveil their SS14 collection and standing out like a sore thumb was the Billionaire Boys Club Bandiirad T-Shirt. Featuring the OG Pirate Helmet Logo with crossed swords, evocative of the Supreme x Neighborhood graphic perhaps, but having said that it’s inherently a SK8THING design. Looking more in depth it wasn’t as extraneous a piece as I first thought. This season’s collection is described as follows -
“Billionaire Boys Club heads to the coast of Africa for Spring 2014. Starting in Somalia and bearing towards South Africa, the collection delivers sun faded colors, tribal patterns, and pirate motifs. Drawing elements from the African climate, the season features heavily distressed garments to emulate the harsh effects of sun and sea. The collection presents shirts designed with solar activated prints, knits with varying scales of nautical stripes, and utilitarian cargo pants. Mismatched layers of long tunic knits and printed woven shirts are adorned with intricate Basohto blanket-inspired patterns. Raising the Billionaire Boys Club Buccaneer flag, Billionaire Boys Club stakes its claim in international waters this Spring 2014.”
For me, this t-shirt opened the door to a new adventure with Billionaire Boys Club. The stand out item for me is the Billionaire Boys Club Captain Jacket. This heavy cotton down shirt jacket features two large front pockets with engraved helmet silver buttons and a velcro “Billionaire Boys Club” strap on the left pocket. The back of the jacket features the OG Pirate Helmet Logo designed by SK8THING in an high quality print. Might need to plunder some in order to get enough doubloons for the jacket, however I think I have just enough pieces-of-eight for the t-shirt. The t-shirt will run you £50 and the jacket a cool £130. Both are available at the pop-up store in London, and the BBCICREAM.EU webstore here. Savvy?
On a day when Forbes announced their latest Billionaires list, and amid news of growing unease between Russia and the G7 of major industrialised powers over the Crimea region, I’m in need of something uplifting. And in somewhat humorous fashion, both figuratively and literally speaking, I’ve found what I was looking for. Yes, the auction for Pharrell Williams’ Vivienne Westwood hat worn at the 2014 Grammy’s has ended. The winner s***y (0) won with a bid of $44, 100.00 (after fifteen bids). I’m still chuckling and slightly bemused, but, what’s important is this from the eBay auction – “All proceeds benefit From One Hand to Another whose mission is to help change the world one kid at a time by giving them the tools and resources to meet their unique potential and empower them to nurture curiosity by learning through new technologies, arts, media and motivation!”
I’ve checked out the FOHTA website and suggest you do the same. It’s a focused and specific non profit founded by Pharrell Williams in 2008. Although this particular organization is US-centric (at least at this time), it’s an outstanding blueprint for artists from all regions and countries to follow. I would back and support this a million times more than any X Factor or The Voice bullshit that do nothing but exploit desperate people for the financial benefit of the show’s creators and associated media corporation bosses. Sure, charity singles have been released (and subsequently canned), but the The X Factor brand for example has also appeared on clothing, jewellery, perfume, make-up, toiletries, bedding, gifts, confectionery, soft drinks and even pizzas. It’s the lowest form of high grossing entertainment (alongside reality TV in all it’s guises) being passed off as a bit of fun.
I would welcome details of charitable donations and community support given by these programs. It wouldn’t so much as shut me up or put me straight, but rather restore my faith in the TV/Media industry and their morals. I would still argue that more could be done of course.
Also in the news were last night’s Oscars winners. Sadly Pharrell’s “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 was beaten by “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen for Best Original Song. It’s a good song and not one we’re gonna hear dozens of times a day for the rest of eternity like “Happy”. So fair play. You can find out more about FOHTA here.
Dries is consistent. And within a creative field, consistency without stagnation is one of the greatest challenges. To re-invent the wheel biannually is not difficult – there are plethoric sources of inspiration in the modern world – but to do so, whilst ensuring that each collection is as well-considered and executed as your last, is a great feat. Van Noten’s collections have evolved steadily since those halcyon days when the Antwerp Six first announced themselves to the world – which would fundamentally alter our perceptions and expectations of couture. Of the six, however, Van Noten has maintained a level of relevancy that his contemporaries have struggled to match – save, perhaps, for the mercurial Ann Demeulemeester.
Born to the owner of a menswear shop – the son of a tailor – Van Noten’s career path is perhaps unsurprising. Perhaps, it is not so much his path which has been surprising, rather his unique approach to design and business. Eschewing haute couture, advertising and the saturated minimalist aesthetic; Dries has carved a path that is truly unique to him.
Curated by Pamela Golbin, Dries Van Noten: Inspirations provides an exploration of the Belgian designer’s creative process; from inspiration to product. The exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs draws together art, film and couture which has informed the unique Van Noten aesthetic. It is not a fashion retrospective, per se, rather an insight into the mind of one of the most creative designers of the past 50 years.
“Dries Van Noten: Inspirations” will run from March 1st to August 31st at The Musée des Arts Decoratifs; 107 rue de Rivoli, Paris. If, however, you cannot go – this New York Times video gives you a great feel for the exhibition.
photography by Guia Basana