So I hear that Brad Pitt is the new face of Chanel No. 5 and the iconic scent’s first male spokesperson. A question comes to mind: if the epitome of Eurocentric/American masculinity is used as a medium to question gender norms and conventions, is he biting the hand that feeds him? More importantly, did Mrs. Jolie-Pitt have a hand in convincing him?
Category Archives: fashion
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Visual communication is inescapable and we have accepted this situation. Ads are part of the visual clutter that encompasses urban living and brands are looking for a piece of the most important real estate there is: your brain.
Some of the brands that have made their imprints run the challenge of reinventing themselves to stay relevant, to widen their reach and to remind people how great their childhoods were because of this one particular brand.
Disney today release a new Joy Division inspired version of Mickey Mouse’s ears for the band’s Unknown Pleasures from 1979, designed by Ian Saville. With this logo, a new generation of Disney fans witness a reinvention of the popular mouse-ears silhouette meanwhile arousing the nostalgia of those who are, ahem, mature enough to know, recognize and appreciate record art. I will be ordering one because for the mouse ears.
Confusing Pantone for a baked good is a mistake that can easily be forgiven, if not by your waistline. Indulging in colour is a paralyzing fear that can easily be overcome with effort and patience. After all, not everyone is going to look good in 2012′s Pantone of the year: 17-1463 Tangerine Tango.
Orange coaxes feelings of happy mornings and as well as a ride through Spain in late summer when the orange trees are in bloom from Valencia to Madrid. It’s a particular colour — only the bold dare to wear an orange angora sweater or invest in an orange Lamborghini. It is a difficult hue but leave it to the experienced to teach us mere mortals a lesson. Is it the new red?
December has slapped us in the face with no apology. Being cooped up in a suburban box for most of my waking hours should not be an excuse for the lack of action on ‘the Gallery.’ (I am quietly willing this nickname to get catchier every time I use it.)
With the season of gift-giving in our midst, a list is in order and better yet, a list of gifts that I would like to receive. They are the only gifts worth giving unless you prove me otherwise.
This SIWA Backpack by Naoto Fukasawa is made in Japan. The material is wash-suki paper which is quite deceiving because it is resilient, waterproof and become softer with the wear and tear of commuting. Ideal for the urban nomad in everyone. $250 at Mjölk.
The iPad has been a game-changer since it was introduced to the market in 2010. Carrying one everywhere has been a constant for the person who is always on the go. Once you’re home, wouldn’t you like to have your sidekick come home to a nice cradle? I have been crushing on this iVictrola for iPad designed by Matt Richmond. It’s like the composite creature in Mary Shelley’s novel without the monster stigma. There is an old repurposed Magnavox horn from the 1920s to be used as the speaker with a handcarved walnut base. If you’re lucky enough to run into one, I know who has two thumbs and would like to find one under his tree. This guy. $985 from Design Within Reach.
Since it’s the holidays, we think about our friends and loved ones and how we can spend more quality time with them. It is all about being efficient with time and being always prepared for last-minute parties or dinners (maybe some that might have slipped one’s mind until about an hour before the appetizers). The Mini Cooper Coupé 2012 is a present that will keep on giving. Impromptu visits to the parents, aunts and uncles are on my list of resolutions. Please help make this possible. Starting at $25,950 at MINI.ca.
If there is one thing I love, it would have to be photography. The masters Henri-Cartier Bresson and Ansel Adams have a pretty fierce grasp of two heart strings right here (points to left side of chest). It is amazing what one can do with a piece of equipment, suspending one moment in time, to be relived over and over. It is magic, really.
Talking photography means talking about hardware. All the camera manufacturers in the world seem to quicken the pace at which their goods are produced and distributed, satisfying gearheads with every shipment to the nearest retailer. I’m not one to think of the good ol’ days because let’s face it, nothing gets accomplished and that is waste. However, there is also the adage ‘Haste makes waste.’ Could we apply it to today’s pieces of technology?
What is fascinating right now is the nostalgia that younger people have for a technology whose tail-end they caught: film or analog photography. Lomography has picked up with the sales of plastic cameras that take pretty funky images. Stores catering to the 12-25 set like Urban Outfitters carry cameras of the same nature. There IS an interest in film. Still.
So far, the camera that I have my eye out for is a compromise between analog and digital: the Fuji X100. I am certain that I am not alone. The camera is a beauty. Let’s not get too much into the specs but the camera physically is loosely based on rangefinder cameras from decades ago, only digital. The buttons are all manual (but with their automatic counterparts, for the lazy) unlike other digital cameras that have been designed and released thus far in the last couple of years. It may be the best compromise, so far with the convenience of digital and the regal appearance of a Leica. (A fundraising event is slowly getting organized for the 2011 holiday season. Let me rephrase that: for my 2011 holiday season. Cheques accepted but PayPal is best.)
The selling point of this camera is the old-school appearance but with the practicality its digital compatibility with our digital lives. At $1200, is keeping up appearances worth it? To some, yes. To others, no. The equipment that was once but a tool to capture images is now an image unto itself. It is like being caught between two mirrors facing each other, and the neverending hall of repeating reflections. Which is the original? No one really knows. The camera is only coveted until the updated version is available. Is that a waste? You decide.
A couple of weeks ago, tired from a full week of completing projects both at work and at home, I decided to do a little indoor gardening. The tropical plants, lucky bamboos of birthdays past and and whatever is left of an orchid plant after the bloom is gone were the subjects of the Friday night impromptu botany experiment.
Fifteen years ago, my grandmother gave me a plant that has not been repotted since. Imagine a 4 foot tall plant in a 6-inch plastic planter. It was an odd thing to behold.
“Why don’t I cut stalks from this plant and put them in water? I know roots will shoot. Let’s just see,” I thought to myself. the success story involves the first plant, roots and all, being potted the day before yesterday.
I never fancied myself a greenthumb but here I was, little plant in my hands, dirty with soil. I started thinking: “What’s an interesting plant to grow?”
I started thinking about my lithops when I was living in Montréal. Lithops are also known as living pebbles because they are the perfect example of biomimicry. Their camouflaged appearance has helped these succulent plants (ex. cacti) escape predation and getting eaten by the thirstiest of animals for the water stored in their leaves. They are ‘designed’ by nature to withstand the dry summers in Southern Africa, their native habitat.
I know I am geeking out, dear readers, but they are such strange plants and lithops just made me read more about them and other succulent plants. The best design inspirations definitely come from nature. Have you read Darwin’s “Origin of Species”? Go ahead. You’ll see how Alexander McQueen‘s Spring 2010 collection makes sense.
After a slow start to the evening, a planet named Venus happened. She beat Roberta Vinci of Italy as easily as one steps on an unwanted bug. Federer’s magic is still there though his critics would argue that he is a step behind at the ripe age of 29.
Tennis is a mesmerizing sport that, in my humble opinion, I would enjoy less without the sound of the fluffy yellow ball being momentarily whacked out of shape for a split second. Have you seen a screen shot of Agassi’s two-handed backhand? The ball is flattened on the bed of strings on his racquet. The sound, along with the rhythmic back and forth, hypnotizes.
Throughout the decades of the Open Era, technology has changed. Wooden racquets soon were traded for the lighter metallic variety. Some would argue that aluminum racquets paved the way for the faster speed at which the ball travels at any given point of a match. Others would say a fitter average professional player is to blame. Evolution of the game has happened.
The more obvious change to the game would be the way players dressed. Women in Victorian England played with long skirts and whale-bone corsets; white linen dresses with droplets of blood was a common sight a Wimbledon. Bless ‘em. Playing in dresses was just plain inconvenient.
It does not take an extremely attentive eye that the evolution of the way the men dress in tennis. Bjorn Borg, I am so sure, is the inspiration for Luke Wilson’s character in The Royal Tenenbaums. Here is my homage to men’s tennis.
Rebelling against the well-known adage can sometimes lead to trouble but for graphic designers, a book’s cover can hold significance.
The Penguin Classics edition of novels come to mind immediately when I think of a great book cover. The minimalist esthetic of the books is from the genius by the name of Jan Tschichold, a well-known typographer who had studied calligraphy and had a background in artisanat. His experience with papers of different qualities and weights gave him an edge over other typographers.
Tschichold was deeply influenced by the Weimar Bauhaus which steered him in the minimalist direction, after the first exhibition in 1923. A manifesto for Modernist design was written thereafter by the man, whose work was considered by Hitler a threat to the German people, after Tschichold’s arrest for ‘cultural Bolshevism.’ The printed word is powerful.
Working for Penguin Books has led to Tschichold’s immortality, at least in the shelves of bibliophiles and design-o-philes everywhere. There is even a WordPress template, the digital reincarnation of this very intriguing designer.
Penguin’s legacy in book cover design has led to collaborations with designers Ron Arad and Manolo Blahnik. Yes. You read correctly. Even classics like Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald and The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky have to remain current. As a literature enthusiast and design enthusiast, there is nothing better than having the best of the written word and design. Even better, a designer piece for less than $15. Manolo Blahnik has never been so accessible.