• On the Radar Photomonth
    30th September 2010

    Photomonth

    AUTHOR Zoe Hodge
    PHOTOGRAPHY James Mackay
    The digital era has technically removed the anticipation and suspense out of photography; the creativity of development seems to be a dying art. Digital, has also removed those split second decisions regarding shutter speed, aperture diameter and ISO speed, but in return it has given us a real-time visual slice of our world.

    Photomonth, an annual collective of photography exhibitions and events, begins today, continuing through October and November. Acting as a reminder of the meticulous expertise required for a manual camera Photomonth also recaps the endless possibilities of a digital camera.

    Beginning with a series by James Mackay, who presents a poignant display of images from Burmese prisons at the Amnesty International head office. Focusing on the detainees, who are frequently imprisoned for minor offences and often from ethnic minorities, raises the question of whether the Burmese government orchestrates ethnic cleansing. With international reporters denied entry into the country and a jail sentence of up to 30 years for capturing the country through a lens, Mackay risked his freedom to gather these precious images.

    In contrast, an interactive event takes place on 11th October within Spitalfields, where willing participants are set on a treasure hunt tasked with unravelling cryptic clues. Once they have solved the clues and arrived at their destinations they must depict their answers in a photograph. The winning results will then be exhibited in the Old Truman Brewery.

    Photomonth presents work from numerous angles, from the politically infused to the simply beautiful, utilising a variety of photography methods. An asset to London’s cultural timetable.

    Click here to visit the Photomonth website

  • On the Radar Save the Postcard Auction
    29th September 2010

    Save the Postcard Auction

    AUTHOR Penny Brewer

    In aid of Flying Start

    After many a holiday resulting in soggy and scribbled postcards at the bottom of my beach bag, I no longer bother. I can never be selfless enough to compromise beach hours and sun time in search of stamps and post cards.

    A recent survey reveals I’m not alone, only 1 in 10 holiday goers now send postcards, chosing instead to text, email or Facebook. In a bid to save the great travel tradition and to raise money for ‘Flying Start’ (a British Airways’ charity in partnership with Comic Relief) the BA inflight magazine High Life has invited celebrities to design postcards for auction.

    Renowned British Artist Tracey Emin (whose postcard is pictured above) is one of many celebrities backing the ‘Save the Postcard’ campaign. “My father would send me postcards from every place he went, so I could share the magic of his journey as the postcard landed on the floor. I am a big postcard sender, mainly pictures of cute kittens or little animals. In this day and age, when so many people text and email, I am asking you to revive the tradition of the postcard.”

    Here are some of my favourite designs from 'Save the Postcard'

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    David Bailey

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    Savannah and Sienna Miller

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    Gordon Ramsay

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    Giles Deacon

    The auction begins this evening at 5:30 until 1st November. Click [url=www.bahighlife.com ]here[/url] for more information and to place your bid! All proceeds will go towards helping to transform the lives of vulnerable children living in cities across the UK and some of the world's poorest countries.
  • On the Radar Coco Chanel, The Life and The Legend
    16th September 2010

    Coco Chanel, The Life and The Legend

    AUTHOR Penny Brewer

    By Justine Picardie

    Above the Chanel boutique at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris Coco Chanel’s apartment remains preserved pristinely and immaculately since her death in 1971. It was here in 1997 that journalist and critically acclaimed author, Justine Picardie, first interviewed Karl Lagerfeld who told her there was a lot of Chanel’s story left untold consequentially inspiring her to write a book about the legend and the life of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel. Going beyond simply documenting her lovers and fashion, but exploring her childhood, traveling on her journey, understanding her influence, comprehending her political interest and communicating her passion and her bravery.

    Over tea in a discreet and intimate room in Claridges the elegant and articulate Justine sits demurely explaining Coco Chanel’s life to be “The most huge and extraordinary jigsaw puzzle, she lived through 3 generations, she lived through so much. Her life spanned two world wars, the Belle Epoque, the jazz age, the Wall Street crash, the depression, the Fifties, the Sixties, mini skirts, the death of JFK…I wanted to follow the real trail not just the whispers.”

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    She also shared stories of her research, spoke of her own journey; so fascinating and vivid she’s practically penning another novel as she speaks. Her investigations took her to extraordinary places, Scottish castles, French convents and secret privately owned archives. She recalls one particular visit to the Ritz in Paris, an account told with a sincerity and intelligence of a woman not easily perplexed and never fooled but clearly on this occasion spooked.

    "I ended up staying in the bedroom at the Ritz where Chanel died. Not the Coco Chanel suite which is rented out for lots of money, a very small room on the Sixth floor on the Rue Cambon side, quite a modest room by Ritz standards… I'd switched the lights off and I was lying there dozing. Then something odd happened with the lights. They went on and off and on again without me touching them. I switched them off again. Then suddenly this bulb from a crystal wall sconce hurled itself towards me on the bed. I sat up and said “ok, I’m listening!"...Then…nothing. I made a pledge then I would be true, that I would do everything I could to honour the truth and Chanel… In the morning a chambermaid came to the room. I told her it was very strange here last night and she said "Ah, did Mademoiselle come?"

    Following trails and scouring archives previously unfollowed, undiscovered or unauthorized Justine has created the penultimate biography of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel featuring previously unseen exclusive photographs and illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld himself. It seems that an intuition, the grace of good luck and thorough research has uncovered a world of both magic and sadness, where nothing is by accident or coincidental.

    Coco Chanel, The Legend and The Life is not only a well researched and beautifully written biography but an historical memoir of a previous era.

    Coco Chanel, The Legend and The Life is published by Harper Collins and is on sale at Amazon now, click here to buy. Justine Picardie will also be hosting several illustrated talks over September and October, visit her blog here for details.
  • On the Radar 100 Days of Resistance
    15th September 2010

    100 Days of Resistance

    AUTHOR Penny Brewer

    Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Lee

    Imagine, 100 days of positive thought and active change? Imagine 100 days where if you speak up you'll be heard?

    In an provocative and inspiring collaboration Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Lee Jeans are inviting you to stand up and speak out!



    Take a photo, write a slogan, create an image and show your active resistance. Each day a submission is selected and will be shared online at www.ar100days.com.

    The project began on the 8th September and runs over 100 days. At the close of 100 days, the 100 chosen images will become a part of a London exhibition dedicated to the project.

    Vivienne Westwood Anglomania and Lee are actively encouraging communication and individuality through this online installation. The Dame herself explains how “The principle idea of Active Resistance is that you get out of life what you put in and that real experience of the world involves thinking...“It is not enough to follow world politics, see films and read the prize-winning best seller. This is superficial, you need to go deep in order to understand who you are, what the world is and how things could be better. This involves culture which can only be acquired by self-education: human beings should mirror the world.”

    For more information on Active Resistance please visit www.activeresistance.co.uk and to submit work visit www.ar100days.com.

  • Love. Want. Need. Causse - A Hand In History
    14th September 2010

    Causse - A Hand In History

    AUTHOR Cloudia Charalambos

    Leather Gloves

    More than a hundred years ago three French brothers created an atelier of handcrafted, leather gloves in the tiny French town of Millau, known endearingly as ‘The glove capital of France’.
     
    Causse was established in 1892 when Paul, Henri and Jules Causse opened their factory with the ambition to produce collections of gloves with unparalleled quality and design. The brothers learned their craft cutting patterns in the glove factories of their town.

    It took years of patience and meticulous precision for the craftsmen and women of the Causse factory to master a perfect and seamless technique; some patterns required more than a hundred procedures to create just one piece.

    By 1935, the company was supplying gloves to the greatest names in French fashion including Hermes, Chanel and Vuitton and selling products in the world famous department stores of America. In 1950, now in the hands of the 2nd generation of the family, Jean Causse thrust new life into the company. He began a series of innovative experiments into fabric technology and created the first prototype for a high-tech driving glove. It caught the eye of the world famous Michelin tyre company with whom a forty year partnership was forged. The seventies saw further reinvention with a fashion and sportswear offering, marrying the original techniques of assembly with more progressive expertise whilst never losing sight of the excellence now expected of the brand.  
     
    The Causse house today explains that “The very specific know-how has been passed on from generation to generation; so have the tools. Modest but precious, some of them have been in the company since its origin in 1892; including the cutter, scissors, boxwood straight edge or ‘charlemagne’s foot’ (spud knife with a blunt edge)’. The same for the seamstresses, sewing machines and ‘fuseaux’, they were already in use in the 1900’s.” It is this specialist knowledge and outstanding heritage on which the brand prides itself, in 2006 it was awarded with the ‘Living Heritage Company’ label by the minister of industry for ‘maintaining exceptional know-how’.
     
    And now in the care of artistic directors Nadine Carel and Manuel Rubio, who have accolades from ‘ANDAM’ and the ‘Empreinte (maker’s mark) of the Year Awards’, Causse continues to scale heights with collections in museums around the world and a showcase store in the heart of Paris. Great classics are revisited and brought up-to-date with the addition of contemporary detailing; laces, knots, buckles, animal print - always unusual, always refined. They describe it as ‘A Voyage to the heart of know-how and luxury’.
     
    Now the only remaining glove-maker in Millau, Causse employs thirty five people and produces 25,000 pairs of gloves each year in its workshops.  They may have one hand steeped in history but the other is resolvedly reaching for the stars.
     
    Causse is stocked exclusively at Browns