Tag Archives: London

Letter Detailing Queen Elizabeth Romance Sold

On Saturday, one private collector walked away from an auction at Chippenham Auction Rooms in southwest England with a rare handwritten letter from Queen Elizabeth. The letter, written nearly seven decades before by the, then—Princess Elizabeth, recounted the early years of her meetings and romance with the man who was born a prince of Greece and Denmark.

The love story that now sees the couple in their nineties, with great-grandchildren, has weathered many a storm. While the letter does not feature detailed accounts such as the time she threw her shoe at the Duke of Edinburgh in a fit of rage, it does give us a first hand account of how the relationship first began. Sold for £14,400 ($20,750, 18,475 euros), the letter was written to author Betty Shew for her book Royal Wedding as a wedding gift.

“The first time I remember meeting Philip was at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, in July 1939, just before the war. (We may have met before at the coronation or the Duchess of Kent’s wedding, but I don’t remember),” the future monarch wrote.

“I was 13 years of age and he was 18 and a cadet just due to leave. He joined the Navy at the outbreak of war, and I only saw him very occasionally when he was on leave — I suppose about twice in three years.

“Then when his uncle and aunt, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, were away he spent various weekends away with us at Windsor. Then he went to the Pacific and Far East for two years as everyone there will know.”

She said the wedding ring was to be made of Welsh gold and her fiance designed it himself.

“I don’t know the history of the stone, except that it is a very fine old cutting. It was given to me not long before the engagement was announced.”

She told of how Prince Philip danced with her at two London nightclubs and spent six weeks with the royals at Balmoral, their Scottish private retreat.

“We both love dancing — we have danced at Ciro’s and Quaglino’s as well at parties,” she wrote.

“We first started seeing more of each other when Philip went for a two-year job to the R.N Petty Officers School at Corsham — before that we hardly knew each other.”

 

Report: Damien Hirst Art Leaks Deadly Gas

British artist Damien Hirst is extremely provocative and divisive but apparently some of his work might also be deadly or at least sickening. The notorious works of art (basically dead and variously sliced up animals preserved in giant tanks) in question at London’s Tate Modern gallery have evidently been quietly reeking…literally. Scientists testing a new sensor for the remote detection of formaldehyde gas (a known carcinogen) in the 2012 exhibition found levels well above those legally permitted, it emerged last week.

According to an AFP report, the findings were published in the monthly journal Analytical Methods. The scientists insisted they did not believe their findings showed there was a risk to the public at one of Britain’s most popular attractions, visited by 5.8 million people in 2014.

“It has been found that the tanks are surrounded by formaldehyde fumes, constantly exuded in the atmosphere (likely via the sealant), reaching levels of five ppm (parts per million), one order of magnitude higher than the 0.5 ppm limit set up by legislation,” the journal abstract states.

One work that emitted high levels was “Away from the Flock”, a 1994 exhibit showing a lamb preserved in formaldehyde solution in a glass and steel box.

Gas was also detected around “Mother and Child (Divided)”, a 1993 work which comprises four boxes containing a calf and cow, each bisected, although the exact level was not written in the journal article.

Unrelated to Hirst’s preserved bloody works, the scientists found similar results in the Summer Palace in Beijing, particularly around some artworks. No levels were given in this case and the study’s authors suggest the results could be blamed on new lacquer painted on old works. This illustrates that formaldehyde is found all around us, particularly in applications of lacquer and the like in furniture. Typically, only prolonged exposure is harmful.

“Tate always puts the safety of its staff and visitors first, and we take all necessary precautions when installing and displaying our exhibitions,” a spokesman for the Tate Modern said.

“These works contained a very dilute formaldehyde solution that was contained within sealed tanks.”

Later in the week, Hirst responded on his website to the study, which was led by Pier Giorgio Righetti at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy.

“We do regular testing and our experts tell us that at the levels reported by this journal, your eyes would be streaming and you would be in serious physical discomfort. No such complaints were made to us during the show —or at any other shows or sites featuring the formaldehyde works. We don’t believe any risk was posed to the public.”

In a statement, Righetti said the research “was intended to test the uses of a new sensor for measuring formaldehyde fumes and we do not believe that our findings suggest any risk to visitors at Tate Modern”.

Naomi Campbell Launches New Book

We last saw her in the hit TV series Empire, learning the hard way that power never comes with happiness. She is stepping back into the spotlight to promote her new coffee table book Naomi that acts as a catalogue of her meteoric success and will be released on May 1.

Her career that spans more than 30 years (has it really been that long?!) takes up two volumes and rightfully so. Volume One, will be a pictorial portfolio while Volume Two will feature autobiographical text. While the latter will be more personal, with Campbell’s own anecdotes, personal notes, photographs of friends and collaborators that have been taken from her own archive, the former will be slightly more fashion centric.

Volume One will showcase the work of famous photographers such as Patrick Demarchelier, Jean-Paul Goude, Peter Lindbergh and Mario Testino amongst others. The casing of the book, published by Taschen, even features the contoured artwork of Allen Jones, as if the list isn’t impressive enough as is.

Attending a launch for the book at Burberry’s London cafe Thomas’s this week, Campbell, who has a long history of working with the British heritage brand, said: “To be able to celebrate with my family and friends like Christopher Bailey and Benedikt Taschen, and so many people from my industry that have surrounded me for over 30 years was a great honor.”

Only 1,000 copies of the book, which can be pre-ordered from taschen.com for $1,750 until May 1, when it will retail for $2,500, have been printed, and according to the publisher they are selling fast. Taschen is also releasing 200 art edition copies, currently available for pre-order for $3,500 until May 1, when the price will rise to $5,000.

Campbell isn’t the first fashion icon to mark her impressive career with a coffee table book — Gisele Bundchen also teamed up with Taschen at the end of last year to honor her 20 years in the industry with a similar photo book venture. The 1,000 copy run of the $700 publication sold out before hitting the shelves, thanks to the pre-order system. Fellow supermodel Kate Moss arguably started the trend back in 2012 when she released “Kate: The Kate Moss Book”, a retrospective of her 25-year career.

 

This story was written in-house, with an AFP wire story as the primary source.

L’Eternal Printemps by Rodin Set for Auction

Created by the French artist in 1884, the “L’Eternal Printemps” (French for “Eternal Springtime”) will appear at auction for the first time May 9 at Sotheby’s in New York with an estimated opening bid of $8 to $12 million.

Carved from single block of marble, this graceful two-figure work was modeled during Ronin’s intense period of activity for The Gates of Hell, evoking the inappropriate euphoria of two young lovers despite the tragedy being played out on The Gates. Its appearance in May will be the first time in two decades that a Rodin marble sculpture will appear on the market. It is thought to be one of 10 such sculptures, all on the same subject.

In February 2016, Rodin’s cast of “Iris, Messagère des dieux” broke auction records when it sold for $16.7 million at Sotheby’s in London.

Dine Naked at The Bunyadi, London

If it has always been a fantasy to eat in the buff with complete strangers, get ready to strip at The Bunyadi, a pop-up naked restaurant where customers are more than welcome to remove all clothes and get comfy.

Opening this summer in central London at an as yet undisclosed address, the naked restaurant already boasts a 4,000-person waiting list. Meal-goers are invited to remove all articles of clothing (yes, that includes your underwear) and change into a gown; punters can then choose whether to keep or remove the gown at their table. Privacy is maintained by bamboo partitions on the restaurant floor, closing off diners in intimate space and keeping prying eyes at bay. Members of staff are also expected to be minimally clothed.

Named after a Hindi term for ‘base’ or ‘natural’, The Bunyadi’s concept goes beyond food. The idea to free diners from the “trappings of modern life” and focus on the bare essentials means that dishes are cooked over wood fire and served in handmade clay crockery – over candlelight no less. The cutlery will also be edible and vegan and non-vegan options will be available.

Diners intrigued by the concept but not quite brave enough to go the whole hog can be rest assured that keeping your clothes on are also an option at the non-naked section. Join the waiting list today at thebunyadi.com.

 

This story was written in-house, with an AFP wire report as the source. There are as yet no images of what the restaurant actually looks like.

 

 

 

Spring/Summer 2016: 4 Celebrity Collaborations

It’s always fun to learn of celebrity collaborations with notable brands. Here, we take a look at some of the most anticipated lineups for Spring 2016 you’d want to include on your shopping list.

Rihanna for Manolo BlahnikManolo-Blahnik-Rihanna

Rihanna isn’t showing signs of slowing down when it comes to collaborations. This spring, she adds yet another exciting project to her busy fashion plate with famed luxury shoe designer Manolo Blahnik for a capsule footwear collection entitled “Denim Desserts”. The collection includes six models: ankle boots, stilettos and thigh-high boots. The embroidery and beading featured in the designs, are inspired by the award-winning singer’s many tattoos.This very limited-edition collection goes on sale from May 5 in Manolo Blahnik stores in London, New York and Hong Kong.

Sonia Rykiel & Robert ClegerieSonia-Rykiel-Robert-Clergerie

One of Robert Clergerie’s most iconic designs makes a come-back from the 1980s with the help of Sonia Rykiel. The closed-toe wedge sandals with an ankle strap that sealed the brand’s success got a breath of fresh air with bejweled, striped and sequined designs. Fans looking to embrace the iconic style of the ‘80s can do so in June when the updated designs head to both brands’ stores.

Liberty London for Uniqloliberty-london-Uniqulo

Uniqlo has quietly edged into the top spot for designer collaborations after working with some of the industry’s best – think Pharrell Williams, UNDERCOVER and Jil Sander. This season, in celebration of Liberty London’s 140th anniversary, the Japanese chain brings a selection of charming floral prints by the English label to bloom on 20 Uniqlo designs, including T-shirts, dresses, pants and lightweight down jackets for women, men, children and babies. The range is out now in stores and online.

Kendall & Kylie Jenner for Neiman MarcusKendall-Kylie-Jenner-Neiman-Marcus

Kendall and Kylie Jenner have taken over the world one Instagram post at a time, and now they’re about to take over our wardrobes too. The capsule collection of chic, high-end pieces designed for Neiman Marcus as part of the label’s “#OnlyatNM” program sees moto jackets, shorts and maxi dresses designed by the powerhouse sisters, and is available in the luxury label’s stores or online at neimanmarcus.com.

 

Focus: Art Collective TeamLab

TeamLab is an artist collaborative that brings together creative professionals from disparate disciplines to realise visionary art projects. Founded in 2001 by Toshiyuki Inoko, the team has grown to more than 400 people, including architects, artists, composers, computer graphics animators, editors, engineers, graphic designers, mathematicians and programers.

A multi-tasking outfit, TeamLab operates out of its Tokyo-based office. It offers creative solutions and innovative ideas through products such as interactive software and mobile applications, and of course, its artworks. Calling themselves ultra-technologists, the members contribute their unique expertise to create signature cross-disciplinary artworks that blur and push the boundaries between art and technology.

TeamLab had its first exhibition in 2011 at Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery in Taipei. Since then, interest in its artworks has grown steadily. TeamLab has exhibited in other parts of the world, such as at the Singapore Biennale 2013, at Pace Gallery in New York in 2014, and in Europe at events such as Expo Milan 2015 and Art Paris Art Fair 2015. Earlier his year, TeamLab was also shortlisted for the ‘Best Emerging Artist Using Digital and Video’ award at the Prudential Eye Awards, and exhibited new works at START Art Fair 2015, presented by Prudential and held at Saatchi Gallery in London.

Interactive Digital Art

Installation view of Harmony and Diversity for the Japan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

Installation view of Harmony and Diversity for the Japan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015

TeamLab creates digital art. This is different from video art, which runs from beginning to end in a finite pre-choreographed sequence, and when exhibited, is played in loop that remains the same each time it is presented. Video art is also independent of the audience’s actions. In contrast, the digital art that TeamLab creates is neither pre-taped nor replayed. Rather, it is a computer program that is able to run endlessly, and what is seen is dependent on the audience’s interactions with the artwork.

In making its digital artworks, TeamLab is deeply influenced by what has come before in Japanese art. It has coined a special term, “ultrasubjective space”, which refers to “the logical structure of the spatial awareness of ancient Japanese”. Although Japanese paintings are often considered flat in contrast to Western paintings, TeamLab sees it as an equally logical perspective to view the world. This is an underlying principle in the making of its digital artworks.

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

 

Japanese Culture and Way of Life

In August 2014, Pace Gallery New York presented TeamLab’s first exhibition in America, aptly named ‘Ultra Subjective Space’. On display were six artworks including five large-scale digital monitor pieces, as well as the immersive digital installation ‘Crows are Chased and the Chasing crows are Destined to be Chased as Well, Division in Perspective – Light in Dark’. This was spread out across seven staggered screens, showing Yatagarasu, a three-legged crow in Japanese mythology, flying through the screens, leaving in its wake what TeamLab called “spatial calligraphy”, a digital trail of the crow’s movements.

Another work in the exhibition, ‘Cold Life’, was equally inspired by Japanese culture. Based on the Japanese and Chinese character 生, pronounced sheng, meaning life, the strokes that made up the character morphed into a tree – a fitting commentary on the magical power of nature. It was also a technological marvel in its Ultra High Definition (Ultra HD) display – four times the resolution of Full High Definition (FHD) – to show off the technical intricacies that made the work possible.

Dance!@ Art Exhibition at Miraikan

Dance!@ Art Exhibition at Miraikan

There is inherent pride in Japanese culture that comes through in all of TeamLab’s works. For the Singapore Biennale in 2013, the work ‘Peace can be Realized Even without Order’, drew from the traditional Awa Dance Festival. The artwork, exhibited at the Singapore Art Museum, featured a group of male dancers in holograms wearing printed kimonos playing instruments. When a visitor came into proximity with a dancer, he would stop moving and making music, which in turn made his neighbouring dancers do the same. Soon however, the dancing and music resumed. Peace, represented by the convivial atmosphere of merry-making, would be restored.

It is not only from cultural forms that TeamLab takes inspiration for its works, but also the Japanese way of life. For the Japan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, which opened in May this year and will close at the end of October, two works are shown: ‘Harmony’ and ‘Diversity’. In ‘Harmony’, screens are placed horizontally at knee and waist levels for visitors to walk past, transporting them to the rice fields of Japan. This simulation allows the visitor to experience the change of seasons throughout the year. The artwork effectively communicates the delicate and harmonious relationship shared between people and nature.

Complementing the focus on Japanese food, in ‘Diversity’, images of food items from Japan are placed against a computer-generated waterfall. Visitors are able to transfer these enticing pictures, together with details about the delicacies onto their smartphones, taking away the experience of the artwork with them. It is an innovative way to share information about a distinctive part of the Japanese way of life.

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

Play! TeamLab Future Park at Miraikan

Nature in Japanese Art

The imageries that TeamLab uses are for the most part derived from nature, including water, birds, flowers, insects and trees. TeamLab is particularly taken by the depiction of water in traditional Japanese paintings, which it remains faithful to in their digital artworks. Speaking to Art Republik, Takashi Kudo from TeamLab noted that the way water is traditionally depicted in Western art and Japanese art are vastly different. For example, while the former may hint at rain through the subjects’ use of umbrellas or the glistening of a wet rock, the latter uses curvilinear lines to represent rain itself.

In an exploration of the Japanese way of portraying water, TeamLab created ‘Universe of Water Particles’, a waterfall made of digitally created water particles and lines. It has been exhibited at different locations, including the Dojima River Biennale 2013 and Art Stage Singapore 2014. In March this year, the work was projected on the façade of the Grand Palais by invitation from Bogéna Galerie, as part of Art Paris Art Fair 2015 in March.

Installation view of What a Loving and Beautiful World at Shake Art Exhibition

Installation view of What a Loving and Beautiful World at Shake Art Exhibition

Flowers often take centre stage in TeamLab’s artworks. ‘Floating Flower Garden – Flowers and I are of the Same Root, the Garden and I are One’ is a work by TeamLab that is made up of an explosion of flowers. The colourful work features over 2300 flowers, each with an accompanying insect. As each visitor enters the space, flowers that are “disturbed” by the intrusion float up and hover in a dream-like flower halo. As the visitor moves away, the flowers float back down to occupy the space that he or she has left. If there are many visitors in the interactive kinetic installation at a time, then the flowers move to form one big dome that surrounds all of them. This will be shown at the 20th anniversary instalment of the Maison&Objet Paris fair in September.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

TeamLab often makes variations of a work. For instance, there is ‘Flowers and People – Dark’ and ‘Flowers and People – Gold’, which show shifting fields of flowers in two colour schemes. As one walks through each installation, the flowers goes through their life cycles, budding, blooming and finally withering away. Similarly, the works ‘Ever Blossoming Life II – Dark’ and ‘Ever Blossoming Life II – Gold’ present the predictable life cycle of flowers, one with a dark background and the other with a gold background. Surrounded by responsive screens of animation, the viewer experiences a simulated Zen garden that responds to his or her movements.

Besides recreating nature in controlled environments, TeamLab has worked directly in the great outdoors where the digital worlds it creates co-exist with the natural world. In an upcoming project for 2016, ‘Resonating Trees – Forest of Tadasu at Shimogamo Shrine’, a light show will be installed among the trees that line the way to the World Heritage site of Shimogamo Shrine. With the approach of people or animals, the light that each tree is bathed in will change its colour, bringing attention to the presence of other living beings in a serene and poetic commentary on the ecosystem we all live in.

Sights and Sounds

To facilitate its immersive environment, TeamLab adds sounds to its visually captivating artworks, giving the audience a multi-sensory experience. In ‘Resonating Spheres and Night Fish’, currently on show until December at the Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa, Japan, spheres of light on the walls and ceilings change their colours upon touch, accompanied by a change in sound, which is unique to each colour. As this happens, the other spheres also react to the shifts, and momentarily emit the same colours and sounds as part of a chain reaction.

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

Flutter of Butterflies Beyond Borders, interactive digital installation for START Projects at Saatchi Gallery, 2015

TeamLab has a long-time music collaborator, Hideaki Takahashi, who has produced soundtracks for many of its works, including ‘Resonating Spheres and Night Fish’, as well as ‘Floating Instrument’ back in 2010, ‘Flowers and People – Gold and Dark’ in 2014, and most recently ‘Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – Dark’, ‘Floating Flower Garden – Flowers and I are of the same root, the Garden and I are one’ in 2015, among others. The music serves to envelop the visitors and helps them to transition from real world to the alternate realities that TeamLab creates.

Inspiring the Next Generation

As innovators, TeamLab is far seeing not only in the works it realises, but also in the potential for their works to connect and inspire people. In particular, the artist collaborative has its sights set on grooming the younger generation through introducing them to new ways of learning, playing and eventually, in the future, working. A key idea is the importance of working in collaboration with others rather than in isolation.

Back in Japan, TeamLab’s first major solo exhibition at home opened at Tokyo’s National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, also known as Miraikan, in November 2014. The exhibition had two sections that displayed 18 artworks from the artist collective’s oeuvre: ‘Dance! Art Exhibition’ and ‘Learn and Play! TeamLab Future Park’. The latter featured children-friendly artworks. The exhibition was a huge success, with nearly half a million visitors coming through the museum’s doors. ‘Learn and Play! TeamLab Future Park’ was a first step in the artist collaborative’s forward efforts to provide a platform for children to see the fun in being creative, an indispensable quality that TeamLab believes is not encouraged, let alone groomed in an education system they believe places emphasis on rote learning.

Nirvana at Shake Art Exhibition

Nirvana at Shake Art Exhibition

One artwork, ‘Sketch Town’, was a three-dimensional town built on the two-dimensional drawings of cars, buildings and the like from children, allowing them to see “in reality” the fruits of their imagination. Furthermore, the children’s drawings were also made into paper-craft patterns that they could then take home to turn into three-dimensional models. Another interactive installation, ‘Sketch Aquarium’, worked on the same idea, and to make it more interactive, the children could touch the sea creatures they drew to feed them or make them swim away.

Coming Up

The momentum that TeamLab has gained over the past few years shows no signs of slowing down. At START art fair from 10 to 13 September, TeamLab showcased as part of START Projects. This marked the first time the artist collaborative exhibited in London, and a book documenting its oeuvre launched at the same time.

Altogether, TeamLab showcased three works: ‘Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together – A Whole Year’, ‘Dark, Ever Blossoming Life II – Dark’ and ‘Flutter of Butterflies beyond Borders’. As with other TeamLab works, the visitors’ movements have an impact on what happens on screen.

Flower and Corpse Glitch at Shake Art Exhibition

Flower and Corpse Glitch at Shake Art Exhibition

In addition, the artworks will interact with each other as well. The butterflies are free to flit through the other two works that are on display, creating a single immersive experience. The butterflies’ flight paths are altered by the visitor’s direct interaction with it. Kudo explains that if one touches a butterfly, for examples, it dies, as it might in real life, where human interaction with nature has the potential to nurture and equally to harm. The butterflies’ movements are also influenced by what happens with the other movement-sensitive artworks in the same space.

TeamLab is daring and ahead of its time in the execution of their artworks through ground-breaking vision and advanced methods. While TeamLab’s artworks seem avant-garde, they are also accessible. Combining the traditional with the contemporary – and at times the futuristic – TeamLab has pioneered a new model of art-making that pays homage to and preserves its country’s artistic heritage by presenting it in a way that is entertaining and exciting. More importantly, it is encouraging a new way of thinking and working for the next generation – a legacy that any artist can be proud of.

Peace can be Realized Even Without Order at Singapore Biennale 2013

Peace can be Realized Even Without Order at Singapore Biennale 2013

Story Credits

Text by Nadya Wang

This story first appeared in Art Republik.

Interview: Sang Woo Kim

A sense of purpose plays a crucial role in helping an outsider settle into a foreign environment. Think of a youngster, a second generation South Korean living in London, modeling for British luxury house Burberry. It was obviously designed, at least in part, to be scorned by your average fashion devotee. Yves Saint Laurent who once quantified that “a good model can advance fashion by ten years.”  That same sort of dynamic applies in the case of Sang Woo Kim, where fashion works like a frivolous panacea for the well-being of creative types.

The observant are likewise mindful that Diesel’s recent Spring/Summer campaign doesn’t just feature a pursed-lips Joe Jonas and model Trevor Signorino. It also stars the South Korea-born Sang, who has become an unconventional poster boy for forward-thinking labels, thanks to his unique Asian features.

02-Sang-Woon-Kim-MF

Gucci cotton jacket, cotton shirt, cotton pants, leather belt; stylist’s own tie

A better question: why are labels like Kenzo, DKNY, Vivienne Westwood and Dolce & Gabbana giving shine to an outlier like Sang? The hip factor of how progenies of the Asian diaspora have integrated themselves has clearly leveled the playing field.

Growing up in London after his parents emigrated when he was still a toddler, Sang’s career began on the front-lines: he joined Prada as a public relations intern in South Korea. Working in this position quickly dispelled any idealized notion of glitz and glamour.  He realized that to make it in the industry involved lots of hard work, and a commitment to professionalism on a daily basis.

03-Sang-Woon-Kim-MF

Louis Vuitton wool knitted top, silk pants, silk scarf

It also got him noticed. Evidently, the 22-year-old doesn’t look like the typical runway model, even by Asian standards. Yes, he’s tall and lanky. And his lack of muscle definition renders him the perfect muse to self-classified avant garde designers. But his resting expression is that of a perpetual annoyance that looks like the physical manifestation of a fisheye app replete with caricature-like single-eyelids and impossibly defined cheekbones.

Here is a pensive young man with slicked back hair who spends balmy days studying at Central Saint Martins (CSM). He excelled at painting and still considers himself, first and foremost, an artist by refusing to be pigeon-holed as a human mannequin. The Goldsmith Fine Art student channels his inner-being onto canvas using colors, giving expression to his personality. It took a while to rediscover his schoolboy skills but Sang enjoys every moment, taking advantage of his new lifestyle and contacts to showcase his other portfolio. And part of the reason he acts the way he does – the attitude, the nose ring – is to exasperate the haters. If no one is going to give you a hard time, then why bother.

04-Sang-Woon-Kim-MF

Louis Vuitton wool jacket, silk shirt, wool pants, silk scarf

“Although I’ve always been seen as ‘different’, I never felt different,” he says, gesturing emotively like he usually does, while his words are ironically laced with self-depreciating Brit charm. It is equal parts nature-versus-nurture, and equal parts millennial self-assuredness. Indeed, he has a distinctive face, to say the least, and it was an X Factor that got him one a foot into the door of London’s Select Model Management. “I have to thank my parents for the way I look,” he jokes, mentioning that his father returned to South Korea when Sang was a teenager due to work commitments.

There are some who are unconvinced, and he shrugs off the occasional racism on what is now his home turf of Hampton as something that comes with the territory. And he feels it’s kind of the point. “The best thing about being at university was that students would mingle freely and converse without any preconceived prejudice,” he explains. “We had absolute freedom to express ourselves creatively.”

05-Sang-Woon-Kim-MF

Louis Vuitton, leather jacket, silk shorts

When he travels, you can add cross-culture cacophony, considerable jet-lag, and advanced dehydration to the formula. As he moves from one “adventure” (a word that he uses often) to another, he gets caught up in the flow of meeting new people and new experiences.

Evidently, where others would quail with apprehension or throw up their hands in despair when segregated as a minority, Sang sees the challenges as good opportunities to learn and grow, and to emerge a self-actualized individual who isn’t about to be blatantly demographed and rejected as a matter of principle.

What prompted your start in modelling?

I studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM) and many of the fashion students were friends who asked if I could be a model for their projects and assignments. Normally, they’ll buy me coffee or lunch as ‘repayment’, which I gleefully accepted! This became a regular occurrence and a friend of mine, who was a photographer, urged me to walk into a modeling agency. Everything else happened quite naturally right after.

06-Sang-Woon-Kim-MF

Louis Vuitton silk shirt, silk scarf

You have very unique facial features? Do you think they will affect your career in fashion in the long run?

I’ve lived in London since I was six months old when my parents migrated to London from South Korea. Naturally, I was an ethnic minority and looked different to most of my friends and peers, but college was a creative hub where people strived to be different. I do not know what the future holds, but there were never any expectations of what I needed to achieve at such a young age. Hence, my only concern is living in the present. This is the very same mindset when I got my start and it has served me well.

Growing up in London, did it help with being connected to the scene?

Being able to converse and maintain relationships with right people has been important. It wasn’t done intentionally because the individuals that I’ve maintained relationships with are my genuinely friends, regardless of whether they are in the fashion industry or not. The only advice for any aspiring model is just to be true to yourself. Also, treat people with respect and do not take anything for granted. Every opportunity is a blessing in disguise. It’s the experience and journey that matters.

How did your love of painting come about?

To be honest, I’ve loved painting ever since I can remember. It’s always been a part of my life so I cannot imagine living without it. Modeling is hardly my lifelong goal as I’ve always wanted to be an artist who thrives in difference disciplines such as drawing and photography. I’m just luckily that fashion modeling came about without me having to think about it. The fact that it blew up into something bigger than I can ever imagine is a plus. The challenge in the future is to achieve similar success as an artist, which will be challenging and exciting in equal measures.

07-Sang-Woon-Kim-MF

Dolce & Gabbana cotton T-shirt, cotton pants, woven belt

Art and fashion seems to influence one another, if you have the option work on a project combining the both, what would it be?

I would love to work and collaborate with my university mates. It is so refreshing and exciting to see them branching into the industry and working in the same field in different capacities. I would love to create an ecosystem for all of us to be able to work and collaborate constantly on different projects.

You are one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion world. Was it hard getting to where you are? Is there pressure to keep evolving?

I like to believe that I don’t view myself as how the ‘fashion world’ sees me. For sure, I am very fortunate and appreciate of the blessings and opportunities that came my way. Have I actually accomplished anything? It’s debatable. There are clearly more important things in life than what I’m doing. It gets difficult when people see you differently. I guess that has always been the struggle because when your physical identity is constantly on display, yet the voyeurs don’t actually know you, there will be preconceptions of what you’re like as a person. I don’t feel any unhappiness as a result of this, simply because they have no right to judge me. I don’t need to conform to what society tells me to do. I’ll be perfectly contented if it all ends tomorrow as I’ll be on the lookout for my next adventure.

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Gucci silk jacket, cotton shirt, silk pants, leather sandals

The shelf life for a model is relatively short, have you considered what you want to do after? 

I feel that there will not be an ‘after’. The modeling happened incidentally while I was living life the only way I knew how. As I said, it’s about what happens now and not dwelling on the past or overthinking about the future. The present is literally a gift. It’s the only time when I know that I’m alive in this world, and that’s important to me.

What does your family think of your prissier vocation?

They are happy that I am living the life that I wanted. I don’t really know (or want to know) what they actually think of my job per se. As long as they are happy and they know that I’m happy, that’s all that counts. I would say they are ‘proud’ of the fact that I’m earning my keep in this manner, because I look just like them [laughs].

Story Credits
Text by Jason Kwong
Photography by Nil Hoppenot/Silver Lake Photography
Styling by Steven Doan/Wilhelmina One
Fashion Direction by Titien Wang

This article was originally published in Men’s Folio

Insight: 4 Urban Estates to Discover

As prime real estate becomes scarce and a reverse influx of people are moving from the suburbs back into the city centre. Many cities around the world are redeveloping their abandoned industrial sites into highly sought after developments. These up and coming neighbourhoods are now some of the go to places for art, culture, food, shopping and residential real estate.

Through massive redevelopment projects, London and Sydney are leading the way. However, there are a few smaller cities hosting incredibly designed projects. With their own rich and diverse history, Portland, Oregon and Tallinn, Estonia, should not be missed.

Many of these locations were once very important areas in the city, that had, until recently, seen better days. With lower prices in these central locations, young entrepreneurs have started to move in and renew the area with help from their local government. From tech start ups in London to coffee houses in Portland. This wave of regeneration shares similarities across the globe. As more and more money pours into these areas, the quality of the property and the expectations of it’s inhabitants improves.

London

London has gone through its fair share of regeneration over the past several decades. From Notting Hill in the west, to the Tate Modern changing the entire South Bank, to the upcoming Battersea Power Station, bringing new life to South West London. Arguably though, the biggest and most drastic change has been to East London. Stretching around the City, to Canary Wharf and the Docklands, large scale residential and commercial projects have drastically morphed this dying industrial centre into one of London’s most sought after postcodes. Low costs and central locations have meant that once derelict warehouse, breweries and factories have been revamped and renovated into luxury flats and homes. While luxury skyscrapers have risen from foggy swamp lands.

Within walking distance to the City and located in the Borough of Hackney, Shoreditch and Hoxton remain the most popular and successful examples of gentrification within East London. Small Victorian lanes play home to boutique shops, trendy cafes, chic eateries and international hotels. A bustling tech and art scene has seen a return of the creative types from around the world and inspired some of the finest examples of modern design in urban living, Europe has to offer.  A return that has been hundreds of years in the making, establishing East London as one of the most attractive places to invest in property in the city.

According to Knight Frank, the London property agency, Shoreditch in particular has seen prices increase 46% over the past 3 years. Investors looking for the most luxurious of urban living, should look no further than what Shoreditch does best. Converting listed properties into stylish residences, paying homage to their former selves.

Property: Ravey Street, London
Guide price $8,675,700 (£6m)

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Refurbished in 2001, this three-story designer penthouse has been extended twice, including adding two upper floors, combining contemporary architecture with warehouse elements. This includes a glass box on the sixth floor, with the added benefits of a second kitchen and entertaining area.

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A sixty-foot raw concrete staircase, one of two, rises up to the glass box. With 360 degree views of London that can be enjoyed indoors, while sliding glass doors lead out to a south facing terrace featuring a Jacuzzi, pond and barbeque. In sticking with the industrial feel of the building and materials such as glass, steel and raw cement were used. Uniquely offset by oak, limestone and walnut to create visually unique and impacting penthouse.

Portland

With an abundance of impeccable coffee shops, art galleries, posh food carts and farmer’s markets galore, Portland, Oregon has undergone a vast renewal. First starting in the mid 1980’s and then with the viaduct removed in the 1990’s, Downtown Portland was opened up for commercial and residential use. Now it’s slowly starting to embrace its industrial past, in a new light. The most sought after area in downtown Portland is the Pearl District. It’s namesake, said to come from Chinese seafarers that hid pearls beneath cobble-stoned Twelfth Street is a designers dream. Incredible warehouses converted into luxury townhouses and high-rise condominiums now line the once barren streets. A true urban tale of regeneration, where brick mingles with its modern glass counterpart.

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One of the most liveable cities in America, Portland has outperformed most of the U.S. in the real estate market. Nearing 8% year-on-year growth, Portland offers incredible value with excellent high end properties to be acquired.

Property: 633 and 637 NW 11th Avenue
Guide Price $2,650,000

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Built in 1908 and spanning 3,888 sq. ft., this historic building now showcases one of the most luxurious town homes in Portland. Originally a warehouse for the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway and located in the heart of the Pearl District, minutes from NW 23 Ave. This evolving property was created by famed designer Jeff Lamb and features three bedrooms, two baths, two half baths, three fireplaces and four private parking spaces. With floating glass stairs, crimped metal ceilings, exposed brick and exotic woods, it’s the epitome of modern, urban design.

Tallinn

Nestled along the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland lies the capital of Estonia, Tallinn. With it’s mixture of medieval, Soviet and modern architecture, Tallinn is a feast for the eyes for design enthusiasts. Dating back to 1154, Tallinn was extremely important as a trade city, connecting Western and Northern Europe with Russia. Today the city is enjoying a renaissance. After claiming independence in the early 90’s, the country and Tallinn most importantly has become a tech and business powerhouse in Northern Europe. Companies such as Skype, TransferWise and Playtech originate from the capital.

In the centre of the city, a stones throw away from the Old Town UNESCO world heritage site, sits The Rotermannn Quarter. Developed during the 19th Century by Christian Barthold Rotermann as an industrial site with multiple factories, mills and plants, the quarter today has gone through a major regeneration. Branded as Rotermann City, the area now hosts a number of converted historic buildings and new construction following a contemporary design.

With property prices increasing above the 8% mark, Tallinn has seen an incredible recovery from it’s previous lows during the recession.

Property: Rotermann City R18
Guide Price $693,026 (639,500 Euros)

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The newly designed R18 development at Rotermann City features 48 apartments ranging between 506 sq. ft. and 1,615 sq.ft. Apartments on the upper floors feature 12 ft. high ceilings with rooftop terraces overlooking the Old Town and Baltic Sea. It was designed by famed architects Hanno Grossschmidt and Tomomi Hayashi. There’s underground parking, exclusive shops and restaurants within one of the most sought after areas in the city.

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Currently Apartment 22 features four bedrooms spread over 1,367 sq. ft., a sauna and a 1,087 sq. ft. terrace. The apartment embodies aspects of old world charm and modern Estonia.

Sydney

Travelling south, just 4km from Sydney’s Central Business District, you reach Alexandria. A mainly light industrial use area, the neighbourhood is full of old factories and warehouses. At it’s peak in the 1940’s, there were 550 factories manufacturing everything from bricks to aircraft. Due to it’s central location, Alexandria is going through a renewal process that is blending the old with the new. Named after the British military victory at Alexandria in 1801 during the French Revolutionary Wars. Today the inner city suburb is full of creative types, carving out their own niche part of Sydney. The most famous destinations being the artsy café’s and markets such as The Grounds. Started by Caroline Choker, the interior designer and co-owner who turned the pie factory into something straight off the streets of Brooklyn.

Much like the commercial side of the neighbourhood, the residential properties have changed drastically over the past decade and it shows. Alexandria’s 10-year growth was 141.1% ‘til summer 2015 according to Domain Group senior economist Dr. Andrew Wilson. High-rise apartments sit side by side Victorian and Art Deco style homes, while once busy warehouses are now loft conversions.

Cheap prices a decade ago brought in investors who couldn’t afford the city’s more expensive neighbourhoods, but still wanted the proximity to the city. Initially commercial space was the first to go. Businesses started relocating there and then restaurants, shops and houses started being renovated. Not only is Alexandria near to the CBD it is also well connected to the airport and a short walk to Sydney Park.

A similar story pertains to Newtown. Located 4km south-west of the CBD and near the University of Sydney, Newtown has seen its streets rejuvenated and its property prices grow substantially because of it. Originally set forth as a farming and residential area when founded in the 19th century. Row houses or terrace houses were built to accommodate residents. Many of whom would later be immigrants from a war torn Europe. Today a melting pot of different nationalities, students and professionals, Newtown has seen it’s once run down buildings renovated into beautiful and historically significant homes. From Newton Station, to King Street and surrounding areas, you’ll find the largest concentration of theatres, art spaces and live music in Sydney. According to Property Value, median home prices grew 26.50% in Newtown in the past 12 months.

Urban renewal projects have a lot of similarities no matter where they are in the world. They are chosen for their central locations and cost. The architecture is a blend of industrial and contemporary, while their residents come from backgrounds just as diverse. The popularity of living in urban renewal projects has grown exponentially over the past several years. With that popularity has come, not only an increase in quality, but also an increase in price. Today, as more and more areas are regenerated, these are by far the best places in any city to see the greatest returns on your investment, while also being an exciting place to live.

Property: 21 Trade Street, Newton
Guide Price $1,154,670 – $1,224,676 (AU$1,650,000 – AU$1,1750,000)

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Built in the 1880’s, this two-story Victorian terrace home stands on a 2,260 sq. ft. block and consists of three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The property features aspects of the original architecture with modern amenities. Paved alfresco dining embodies the rear of the property with a Jacuzzi, while the front has an iron laced façade on a tree lined street. Inside you’ll find wooden floors, open fireplaces and wide French doors leading to large bedrooms and spacious balconies.

Story Credits
Text by Robbie Wilson

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

QE2 Birthday Bash: 4 Best London Hotel Suites

Now holding the title as the longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth II is set to celebrate yet another milestone in her life. Starting from April all the way through to June, Britain will be partying it up in the most regal way possible for the Queen’s 90th birthday. The celebrations will be located in the Queen’s home base of London and is set to attract tourists from around the world. From May 12 to the 15, Home Park in Windsor Castle will host a pageant dubbed The Celebration that pays tribute to the reigning monarch. Each night will see a 90-minute performance by more than 900 horses and 1,500 horses and performers just for her.

If you were one of the 30,000 people who managed to snag a ticket of two for the event, then you would certainly need to find some accommodation in London. It being her Majesty’s birthday and all, we thought it would only be appropriate for you to live it up like the royals do and nothing less than the best will do. From the perfect bathroom to the finest views, we scoured through the luxury hotels of London to bring you the perfect suites to cater to your every need. We bring you our four picks of luxury hotels and their finest suites fit for a queen.

The Goring HotelThe-Goirng_The-Royal-Suite---Drawing-Room

From the Apsley House to the Victoria Albert Theatre, Westminster Abbey and even Buckingham Palace, The Goring is a stone’s throw away from every major attraction near the Palace. The most luxurious room at The Goring? Well, it happens to be The Royal Suite. This two bedroom, two-reception room suite that offers you some impressive views of London. Glamour is mixed with history in here as every room is decked out with interesting elements from all around Britain. With the help of The Gainsborough Silk Company from Suffolk, the suite is decked out in silks that were commissioned by designer Russell Sage, including one that was originally woven for the Dining Room of the Titanic. Guests can feel cosy in an opulent yet comforting environment.ROYAL-SUITE-MASTER-BEDROOM

With large French doors in every room, guests can enjoy a view of the sunset and the rooftops of London, all from the balcony that runs the entire length of the top floor. My personal favorite aspect of the hotel is the Pintrest-worthy shower that is said to be able to fit six people, which has a near life size portrait of Queen Victoria to keep you company — Royal audience, anyone?The-Goring-Hotel-Royal-Suite-Bathroom

The antique four-poster bed from one of the great houses of Britain is another piece of British history that awaits in the Master bedroom. Proving that the little details go a long way, other antiques such as a Georgian decanter, wooden tea caddies and Nailsea Glass paperweights are also on display.

The CorinthiaRoyal-Penthouse-Lounge-Corinthia-Hotel-London

The Royal Penthouse, that sits on the roof terrace, is one of the many penthouses that The Corinthia. With a panoramic view of London, its no wonder that this is an editorial selection to which we return regularly. Featuring two floors that are connected via a private internal lift, the accommodation seems more like a home than a hotel. From the expansive entrance hall, to the living space, study and oval dining room that can seat 10, the penthouse seems to be made for luxury, with its palatial theme.Royal-Penthouse-Master-Bedroom-(crop)-Corinthia-Hotel-London

Make your way up the grand staircase and you will be greeted by two bedrooms that house king-size beds, with continuing doors that allow you to open-up to two further bedrooms. Apart from the honey onyx and Skros marble of the bathrooms, there are many other features, fixtures and amenities in the penthouse that would make it perfectly suited for a royal encounter. Forget walking down to the spa when you have a private spa suite of your own. It even has a walk-in wine cellar, meaning that you would be able to select only the finest that The Corinthia has to offer right there in your suite.Royal-Penthouse-Main-Bathroom-(landscape)-Corinthia-Hotel-London

The Connaught

From London’s Mayfair district, we bring you The Apartment. This suite spells opulence from the moment you walk through those grand hand-carved doors. The dominant theme that runs through the space is the use of shades associated with royalty. From a personal butler who will be on hand for your every need, to a welcome bottle of Krug champagne, suitably chilled, upon your arrival, guests can expect to be pampered during their stay.

Should the suite be too small for your stay, then simply occupy the whole sixth floor as an exclusive nine-bedroom suite. Timing is never an issue here, with your personal barman, daily breakfast and personal trainer available at any time you choose. In fact, forget about time at all. Even the check out is without a time limit. If that doesn’t impress you, then watch the tour of the suite below, and you’ll be convinced — we know we were.

The LanghamThe-Sterling-Suite-Media-Room

The Sterling Suite at The Langham is another that boasts a private lift. Located at Portland Place, the private lift entrance is one of the two entrances to the secluded Lobby of the suite — which is perfect if you happen to have an Idris Elba, Chris Evans or Angelina Jolie stay at the hotel. Apart from the two main bedrooms with en suite bathrooms, standalone bathtubs and dressing areas, the suite also features a luxurious drawing room, a dining area as well as a Home Theatre lounge for guests.The-Sterling-Suite-Master-Bedroom

The Drawing Room, which sits at the heart of the suite, features a unique dual-tone piano, bespoke fireplace and Butler’s bar. The Master Bedroom, which is described as the pièce de resistance, is made up of a Master Salon living area, Master Bathroom and spacious Dressing Room. Attention to detail is an important part of the suite with hand-painted chinoiserie on silver leaf panels, verre eglomise glass with gilded age details and gold and silver leaf hand-painted finishes as well as marble and antique mirror work. Joining the hand-blown Murano glass fixtures is a 24-hour butler service that will cater to your every need.The-Sterling-Suite-Master-Bathroom

Victoria Beckham Opens First Store in Asia

Hong Kong is now the second location of Victoria Beckham’s brick and mortar store outside of her native home. Amidst the luxury brands, swanky five-star hotels, the store in the heart of the Central district is seen as a way for the designer to tap on the Asian market.

As fans waited eagerly outside Friday morning, Beckham was seen doing the final checks on the store in the Landmark building. Designed by London-based architect, Farshid Moussavi, the store is a collaboration with Asian fashion retail brand Joyce that already carries her collections.

On why she chose Hong Kong as the follow up to her first shop in London’s Mayfair district, the designer said, “I know Asian women really understand luxury, good quality and appreciate when garments are made well — and my clothes are”.

While some are doubtful over the success and future of her store in Hong Kong due to the worst retail sales decline the city has seen in 13 years, others are more optimistic. “I think she’s going to be very popular here,” said hedge fund manager Sally Zhang, 30, after browsing in the store Friday.

“Compared to other shops, which are too fancy, not fit for the office, this one is quite different,” said Echo Xu, also a hedge fund manager. Along with opening her store, Beckham will also be attending the amfAR AIDS research fundraiser in the city along with Uma Thurman on Saturday.

Focus: Television Centre, London

London residential developer, Stanhope Plc is redeveloping the headquarters of BBC Television which was initially constructed in 1960. Parts of the building’s iconic design and façade have been Grade II listed—considered by the Secretary of State (for Culture, Media and Sports) to be of special interest warranting every effort to preserve it—and will be retained by the new development.

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Television Centre is located on a 14-acre site in White City, and forms an integral part of the massive White City Opportunity area, with a total investment of nearly £8 billion (US$12.5 billion). The regeneration of White City is a strong partnership between Imperial College London (the world’s 9th highest rated university), Westfield London, The BBC, Stanhope and Berkeley St James.

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Upon completion of the Television Centre which is estimated between the end of 2017 and 2018, the development will boast up to 950 new homes—432 of which are being delivered in the next three years—from studios to family homes with a range of new architectural designs and contemporary conversions. Residents will also benefit from a range of luxury amenities including 24-hour concierge, residents’ lounge, screening room, meeting rooms and 28,000sf gym and pool.

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Apartments in the inner ring are arranged around the famous Helios statue, and include the listed façade. Internally, the building has some exposed radial structural beams in the ceilings to provide a loft-like feel to the apartments. Apartments to the outer of this building comprise part existing and part new build homes to create apartments overlooking the private residents’ courtyard garden. Prices will range from £650,000 (over US$1 million) for a one-bedroom apartment to in excess of £6 million (US$9.36 million) for a penthouse.

The iconic structure will also incorporate a new Soho House—the globally famous members-only club with a roof terrace and swimming pool—and a boutique hotel with 47 bedrooms.

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There will be 500,000sf of new office space aimed at occupiers’ in the creative sector, and will see up to 5,000 people working from this new media business hub. BBC Worldwide opened their new headquarters in April 2015 with 1,200 people already working on site. The world famous television studios are set to continue the BBC’s legacy with programme making and live recordings resuming in 2017.

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Buyer Information

Property: Television Centre
Location: London, England
Developer: Stanhope Plc
Highlights: Grade II listed building, 950 new homes from studios to family homes, New architectural designs and contemporary conversions, Luxury amenities including 24-hour concierge, residents’ lounge, screening room and meeting rooms, Helios statue, Exposed radial structural beams in the ceilings to provide loft-like feel in apartments, Private residents’ courtyard garden
Price: Prices range from £650,000 (over US$1 million) for a one-bedroom apartment to in excess of £6 million (US$9.36 million) for a penthouse
Contact: www.stanhopeplc.com

Staff Credits
Text by Domenica Tan

This article originally appeared in PALACE Magazine.

British Library Celebrates William Shakespeare

To mark the anniversary of the bard’s death, the British Library announced it would be displaying the only surviving Shakespeare script that includes his own handwriting. Come April, visitors to the British Library and The British Library website will be able to catch a glimpse of the very human fingerprint of the world-famous playwright. Collectors will no doubt have an eye on acquiring this item but there is no word on its availability for sale.

The 164-line scene comes from the controversial play, “The Book of Sir Thomas More”. No this is not actually one of Shakepeare’s plays; you did not miss out on the discovery of a lost play!

Shakespeare is believed to be one of six hands who contributed to the relatively little-known play that revolves around how More (himself a prominent author and the Chancellor of England under Henry VIII) stopped a 1517 anti-foreigner uprising in London. Originally written by Anthony Munday between 1596 and 1601, Shakespeare’s contribution to the revised script was identified by his handwriting and vocabulary amongst other factors.

Though there is no evidence that the script was ever performed or published, the passionate speech about xenophobia shows that this is no modern phenomenon. Astute readers will recall that Thomas More is also the central character in A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt.

The manuscript will be available here and will also be on display at the British Library in London from April 15.

Dior: London Show May Unveil New Creative Director

The fashion world waits for no one. So if you thought you could catch a breather after Fashion Week, we have news for you. Fashion house Dior has already set a date for its next show in London and might have something special in store…

Taking place May 31 at Blenheim Palace, the show is making the news for one reason. Word has it that Dior will use the show to not only unveil its 2017 cruise collection but also the debut of Dior’s new Creative Director. Said to be taking over from Raf Simmons after his departure in October of 2015, is Jonathan Saunders.

Like Bouchra Jarrar in the days leading up to her new role at Lanvin, Saunders has closed his own well-known brand. Having left Pollini in December 2015, many are speculating that the event will be a perfect way to showcase not only Saunders but also his influence on LVMH’s luxury fashion brand. Dior’s show in London will take place two days before rival Gucci’s own display on June 2 at Westminster Abbey.

Fashion Week: 9 Models in the Spotlight

We shine the spotlight not on the clothes, beauty or designers; instead we take a look at the models to look out for in the upcoming seasons. Several have already made an impact in the world of fashion as we see their presence at almost every turn. Others are still flying under the radar and we can’t wait to see their talent showcased next season.

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

A favorite of designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Olivier Rousting, Kendall Jenner was a familiar face on the runways of Paris, Milan, London and New York. Other big names that picked the 20-year-old model were Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Chanel and Bottega Veneta. Another member of Taylor Swift’s squad, the other star model of the moment Gigi Hadid walked for fewer designers than Jenner. Selecting her shows carefully, the blue-green eyed blonde model was picked by Chanel, Balmain, and Sonia Rykiel and even closed the Fenty x Puma show.

Edie Campbell

Edie Campbell

Other models that were not far behind Jenner and Hadid in their catwalk appearances were Lexi Boiling and Edie Campbell. The models were seen on the runway, walking for Prada, Marc Jacobs and Fendi amongst others. There is one model who is dubbed to be the most in demand right now and she is none other than Mica Arganaraz. The Argentinian model, with a lean figure, messed-up hair and androgynous looks is another favorite amongst designers such as Hugo Boss, Marc Jacobs, Chanel and Chloé.

Mica Arganaraz

Mica Arganaraz

But the rising star who really got fashion month buzzing was Lineisy Montero. The young Dominican was already tipped as one to watch in 2015 after an exceptional season, and her success looks set to continue into 2016. With around 30 appearances across the four fashion capitals, she’s without a doubt one of the most-booked models of the latest round of autumn/winter collection previews — if not the most-booked model. Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Lacoste, Tory Burch, J.W. Anderson, Topshop Unique, Burberry, Prada, Moschino, Etro, Diesel Black Gold, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, H&M Studio and Loewe — to name but a few — all picked Lineisy Montero to show off their latest collections.

Lineisy Montero

Lineisy Montero

While notable names get our attention during Fashion Week, it is also a time for spotting new faces and observe the steady rise of up-and-coming models such as Alana Arrington, Ruth Bell and Paulina Frankowska. While not every designer books them, these models have indeed made their presence known. While Arrington opened Altuzarra’s show, Bell’s shaved head and masculine looks starred at Jason Wu, Burberry and Moschino. Polish model Frankowska also attracted attention with appearances at Prada, Mulberry, Deisel Black Gold and Marni.

Paulina Frankowska

Paulina Frankowska

Fashion Week: 5 Beauty Trends to Follow

The clothes were not the only things we kept a look out for during Fashion Week. Beauty looks and accessories draw just as much attention, and with good reason. Trends seen on the runway tend to have a major impact for the next season and if the beauty looks we’ve seen at the Fall/Winter 2016 ready-to-wear shows are any indication, drama is key.

We start with the crowning glory: The Hair. We can say goodbye to sleek hair, as designers chose big-attention grabbing hair. While Gucci in Milan featured voluminous hair, models at Rick Owens in Paris donned hair nests that some felt bordered on the conceptual. Other designers who went for the volume with the hair, was Manish Arora as he complemented his designs with crimped, wavy bouffant locks piled high.

Manish Arora at Paris Fashion Week

Manish Arora at Paris Fashion Week

Volume was not the only hair trend seen on the runways. This fall may see us take a break from the straightening irons with many such as Altazurra in New York and Giorgio Armani in Milan championing the curl. Fendi was another label to favor the look, with tight curls. One designer who put a different spin on the look was Vivienne Westwood where she pinned curls to the models’ heads for a subtle historical spin.

Fendi at Milan Fashion Week

Fendi at Milan Fashion Week

An instantly dramatic trend that some followed is that of the bleached brow. Varying levels of camouflaging and lightening were seen on the runways of Milan, London and Paris. While Armani chose to scuff out the brows of his models, Givenchy chose bleached eyebrows that seemed to appear invisible.

Irina Shayk for Givenchy's Fall/Winter 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Irina Shayk for Givenchy’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Fashion Week took a trek back in time to revisit urban grunge with the help from the extreme smokey eye. In Paris, Saint Laurent treated guests to a visually captivating beauty look with models sporting thick-winged eyeliner flicked up to the temple. Others such as Tadashi Shoji and Dries van Noten opted for a softer, smudgier interpretation that was still striking.

Saint Laurent from Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016

Saint Laurent from Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2016

The last of the beauty trends was the dark lips. Glam-goth was the name of the game at Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma show in New York as models walked down the ramp with black lipstick. Marc Jacobs followed suit though designers chose to lighten it up in London with deep red tones. In Paris however, Dior and Louis Vuitton sealed the deal with the former choosing a lacquered black lip.Fenty-Rihanna-NYFW-2016

 

All images are courtesy of AFP and Saint Laurent.

200 Years of Charlotte Bronte Celebrated in London

Should Charlotte Bronte have been alive in 2016, she would have been an impressive 200 years of age. To commemorate the anniversary of the author’s birth, the National Portrait Gallery in London has put up what it calls a small exhibition.

Till August 14, visitors will be able to learn more about the life of the woman behind Jane Eyre. The exhibition is centred around the famous portrait by her brother Branwell Bronte that features the author, her sisters Emily and Anne as well as his own ghostly shadow in the middle. Other items on display, include manuscripts by the author and a pair of her cloth boots.

“We wanted to illustrate her literary career and success but also her home life which perhaps is lesser known to some of our public,” Lucy Wood, an assistant curator at the National Portrait Gallery, told AFP.

Through her private correspondence, her drawings and her journals, the exhibition invites visitors into Bronte’s tragic personal life, marred by the deaths of her two older sisters and her own poor health.

Charlotte, Emily, Anne and Branwell developed rich imaginations since early childhood, helping each other’s spirits with poems, plays and novels.

“We wanted to bring her life to life because we are the museum of biographies, the museum of people and she is one of the most important people in British literature,” Wood said.

“We wanted to capture her life and celebrate that. It’s a celebration really.”

The exhibition runs till August 14 2016.

Restored ‘Flying Scotsman’ Runs the Rails

Some old-timers just never fail to pull through. The Flying Scotsman steam locomotive took off in London February 25 for its first journey after significant restoration by the National Railway Museum. Considered the jewel of Britain’s industrial heritage, this 1923-built train has garnered numerous fans over the years and is widely tipped to be the most famous train in the world. The fans came out in such full force for the famous revival that the train came to a standstill several times on its journey when eager viewers made their way onto the tracks.

The history of the train itself is quite tumultuous. It was retired in 1963 and almost scraped before it changed hands through multiple owners, including British billionaire William McAlpine. On hearing that the Flying Scotsman was set for sale in 2004, the National Railway Museum bought it over, partially thanks to public funds. It was the beginning of a 10-year restoration project that would bring the train back to the public in full capacity again.

“It’s a historic day”, said Paul Kirkman, director of the National Railway Museum. Indeed it was. As the white plume pulled away from King’s Cross Station at 0740 GMT with 300 passengers onboard, there was resounding applause from the crowd of enthusiasts who came to witness its majestic rebirth. And all this for the hefty labor of around 4.2 million Euros worth of restoration work. The BBC reports that some of those 300 passengers paid up to GBP450 for the privilege of making this historic trip.

“This celebratory journey marks a new stage in this steam icon’s long and colorful history, and is a tribute to all the people who have worked so hard to make this happen”.

The Flying Scotsman arrived  at 1320 GMT in York, a historic city some 280 kilometres (175 miles) north of London, before heading to the city’s National Railway Museum where it will stay until the beginning of March. It will then spend months on tourist trips and featuring in exhibitions. For railroad enthusiasts who have followed the train’s close-to-a-century’s long journey in history all the way, this is a blessing after a long effort.

This story was written in-house, with an image supplied by the AFP.

Kane and McQueen Define London Fashion Week

Scotland’s own Christopher Kane transformed the massive Turbine Hall in London’s Tate Modern Museum into his own runway for London Fashion Week. The designer’s collection could be best described as quirky. Several reviewers were far less kind as they felt it was less high fashion and more towards crazy bag lady.

Christopher Kane Fall/Winter '16 at London Fashion Week

Christopher Kane Fall/Winter ’16 at London Fashion Week

With Samantha Cameron, wife of the British Prime Minister in attendance, the designer paid tribute to his late mother by incorporating her penchant for wearing rain bonnets. This apparently explains the discarded plastic carrier bags that sat on the head of several models. The palette stuck to neutral tones, deep reds and greys, save for the lone shocking orange creation. Using corrugated cardboard, the designer crafted camel-colored coats while decaying woolly jumpers are held up with metal pins. The dresses in the collection saw the fabric trail into individual fraying strips.

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter '16 at London Fashion Week

Alexander McQueen Fall/Winter ’16 at London Fashion Week

Another designer to get the attention of the fashion world was Alexander McQueen, under the helm of Sarah Burton. After a more-than decade-long absence from London Fashion Week, the return of one of Britain’s famous sons showcased a mix of ultra feminine and edgy pieces. Continuing the trend from last season of shades of pink with butterflies and flowers, the designs also featured hints of leather in the form of bustiers and jackets. There was a princess like feel with the lace, silk and chiffons that appeared in crystal encrusted full-length gowns.

Contrasting collections aside, the designers certainly showed the fashion world what British style is always on point.

Images here are courtesy of Alexander McQueen and the AFP for Christopher Kane.

Korea Delivers at London Fashion Week

J J.S. Lee and Eudon Choi were among the first brands to display their collection for the Autumn/Winter 2016 season at London Fashion Week. Very modern, very eloquent designs gave a strong start to the whole event and left quite a high bar to follow.

For the female power dresser, J J.S. Lee created bold contrasts mixed in with designs that blend the traditional with the revolutionary. Some of designer Jackie Lee’s past influences were the art movements of Russian Constructivism and strong reds and stark yellows did call to mind the fervor of Russian Agitprop, while most of the hues were overall monochromatic or wild stripes and chequers. There were nods to Asian styles as well, with Mandarinesque collars, skirts pulled up high in the style of the Hanbok, and a red dress cut and formed like a Cheongsam. Trousers were mixed in under some of those skirts with clever layering. Exaggerated pussy-bow blouses, cozy wrap dresses and even leg warmers were all used to inject a fierce sense of direction into the wardrobes of next season’s fashionistas.

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Eudon Choi followed up by choosing colors with more reserve. Dark purples, greys, and blacks mixed in with light pastel colors giving a sense to the coolness of fall. Trousers had been slashed up to the shinbone to create a shimmy around the legs as the models walked. Also featured in the designs were asymmetric blazers with ruffled hems; evocative oceanic print; while others had bare shoulders on the side. Maybe a bit too lithe for the cold season, but hooded outerwear with outsized structured lapels did offer a bit of a concession there.

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With the start of London Fashion Week more new designers have come into the fray with their own specially tailored and innovative collections. These two picked up their skills in Seoul and later shifted over to London. The fashion world will eagerly await what they bring to the table next.