Mister Freedom — history and design in harmony

Following on from the hot 2010 trend for American workwear that we blogged about, transplanted French designer Christophe Loiron has started a new style digression with his California-based brand Mister Freedom‘s Spring 2011 collection, Les Apaches.

Taking inspiration from Parisien hoodlum kultchur of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Loiron’s really gone to town on this homage to his home country’s organic street style. The attention to detail is astonishing, not least this beautiful, specially-commissioned shirt box, painted by Patrick Segui. Expect the influence of the Les Apaches collection to be felt on UK high streets next year — minus the packaging!

Winter design classics – Mary Maxim sweaters

With snow a cert for the Christmas period and chunky knits a hot high street trend, what better time to celebrate a classic design of the fashion world, the Mary Maxim sweater?

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Herb Lester Associates

Guardian Guide creator Ben Olins’ latest project, in partnership with Jane Smillie, is the self-effacingly great Herb Lester Associates, who have produced a number of gorgeous, fold-up maps designed by Montana’s Michael Newhouse.

You Are Here is a pocket-sized guide to London’s best spots for freelancers to hold meetings and work, May We Help You? details the captial’s best specialist suppliers, and their latest, Wish You Were There, is a look at the city’s hottest shops and entertainments, circa 1960-1966. The maps are available for £3-4 each here.

Creative influencers

Here’s a really well made short documentary on how trends and creativity become contagious, focussing on New York’s creative influencers (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment). Just read that back and I’ve managed to make it sound really wanky. It’s dead good honest.

Still state of the (street) art

Filmmaker, author and photographer Henry Chalfant, the director of much-loved early-1980s hip hop street art documentary, Style Wars, has just launched a new website that is set to feature his astonishing Big Grafitti Archive. Henry’s portfolio features countless breathtaking shots that effectively helped to communicate grafitti art to the rest of the world, and he plans to make the Big Graffiti Archive available as a DVD set. That’s one for the OG Christmas list, then. Click on the image above to check the subway car in all of its glory.

Another ingredient in the crucible of hip hop, New York’s street gang culture, is explored in Rubble Kings, a new documentary from director Shan Nicholson that’s currently on the film festival circuit. Check the trailer below…

Custom belts: art you can wear — from concho to emo

As you’d expect, yer average High Street emo kid has absolutely no idea of the ancestry of their nattily studded fashion belts, and why should they? Adding studs and jewels to leather belts appears to have crossed over from Mexico to American ‘Western’ wear back in the 1920s. The vaqueros’ penchant for affixing conchos and studs to their garments (all the better to reflect their wealth) had picked up native American influences by the time the style hit such mainstream retailers as Miller of Colorado and Montgomery Ward in the 1930s.

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Lifetime Collective’s unexpected new video

The du jour brand for hipsters. Lifetime, started as a DIY basement outfit and have steadily progressed to creating full collections. Watching this video shows they still haven’t lost their edge. It’s nice when brands mess with clichés.

Fashion and politics — the final frontier?

Stylish shoes by Big Nose George

We’re used to badly-dressed politicians making bold statements. Think of Harold Wilson, a scruffy Gannex macintosh and his ‘white heat of technology’ speech. Or Tony Blair, looking like a dummy out of a Burton’s window display, declaring that he was going to be “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”. Both of these examples were endlessly satirised, which begs the question, would voters take politicians seriously if they were more fashion conscious?

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Brilliant Dutch World Cup 2010 T-Shirts

Lacoste: The Element Of Style

A visual history of the brand by Olivier Margot, this book is available in five different polo-shirt-like canvas covered colourways. Swish.

Can’t hang wallpaper?

If wallpapering has always filled you with dread, an easy, unique and eco-friendly way to finish-off a room is to use vintage magazines or newspapers. Here’s a feature wall we made earlier, using half a dozen French fashion magazines from the 1930s picked up at a car boot sale, scissors, a pot of PVA glue and a wallpaper brush. Total time spent: 90 minutes. Total cost: £8. Result: boudoir-tastic!

‘Vintage’ clothing — the trickle-down effect…

One of the major trends in retail clothing over the past decade, and a widespread success, has been reproduction ‘vintage’ clothing. This movement kicked-off in Japan, moved back home to the US and can now be found in its most commercial form on every UK High Street — most notably in the ‘fake Japanese’ brand Superdry and in the current Gap range.

The ‘real’ thing: Brooklyn’s premier vintage emporium, the curiously-named 10ft Single by Stella Dallas, is a Japanese-run affair, selling nothing but American clothing.

The cultural journey

From the mills and shop floors of ‘blue collar’ America, to Tokyo’s most exclusive boutiques, back to high end Fifith Avenue retailers, and down to the UK High Street is a real cultural journey that says a lot about the way the attraction of ‘the other’ and, indeed, how the ‘schmata’ business itself works in the 21st Century.

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Sew cool

The craft contingent (the Creativity & Coats crew) at F+ were most intrigued by this amazing sewing maching – the Leitfaden. Not only does it project the sewing pattern on to the fabric, it has an in-built inking system to match the colour of the yarn to your fabric… we kid you not, all you need is a swatch of the material! Designed by Monika Jakubek and Anna Müller the Leitfaden (which we think sort of translates as thread leader/manager) doesn’t even look like a sewing machine, more like a spaceship. There’s a matching table and wireless pedal to boot. Yum.

Parkour Flip Book – Extreme Animation

This works brilliantly, it’s fresh, captures the dynamism of the pastime and it’s just about torn paper…

Another iPad concept – this time for Marie Claire and by our friends at Ceros

Curious one this, in that Ceros is a Flash-based platform and the Flash is like Kryptonite or at least Lex Luthor to the iPad.

Alberto Seveso

A man of few words, he lets his illustrations do the talking. 

See more of his work here.

Ateliers Ruby Helemts

I never thought a motorcycle helmet could be a beautiful thing, until now. More images on the website here…

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The Devil Wears Prada – this sh*t just got real!

This looks fantastic! The September Issue is a no-holds-barred documentary taking us behind the scenes of American Vogue. So far so dull, until you meet the terrifying legend that is Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour! Obviously, the commissioning of this documentary had absolutely nothing to do with the runaway success of The Devil Wears Prada. Even from the trailer below though, Anna makes Meryl’s fictional alter ego seem a little tame.

Full description after the jump…
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