Post-Punk Sartoria: A Certain Ratio Pick Their Six Greatest(?) Fashion Moments

 

 

 

In the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson (played brilliantly by Steve Coogan), refers to A Certain Ratio as “Joy Division with better clothes.” Whether those words were actually ever said in real life, it still perfectly summed up the band’s position in the post-punk hierarchy.

Though over the years their dark, brooding Anglo-disco/funk earned them essentially permanent cult status (the title of their debut album, The Graveyard and The Ballroom, perfectly summed up their aesthetic), it was an extremely loyal cult—whose devotion apparently remains undiminished to this day. And ACR will always have one of the most tellable stories: on the occasion of their first US gig, at NYC’s legendary Danceteria, Madonna opened for them.

 

 

After an 11 year recording hiatus, the band that the Guardian‘s Dave Simpson once called “James Brown on acid,” returned in 2008 with Mind Made Up. They eventually signed to Mute in 2016, and released a 40th anniversary box set in 2019—which was followed this June by the new single “Always in Love,” their first in 12 years. And on September 25 will at last arrive their anxiously awaited new album, this one amusingly titled ACR Loco. A raft of guest musicians includes Gabe Gurnsey of Factory Floor and Mike Joyce of The Smiths, and the record also notably features some of the last vocal work by exalted Primal Scream singer Denise Johnson, who passed away suddenly in July.

And to fete the release of their 11th album, on the 25th ACR will play it in its entirety at Manchester’s Hope Mill Recording Studios, for a virtual event pithily titled An Evening with A Certain Ratio. An ACR Soundsystem DJ set + Q&A will accompany. Tickets can be purchased here.

But looping back around to the celluloid Wilson’s comment about the quality of the band’s sartorial acumen, ACR have indeed been both venerated for, and rightly questioned about their fashion choices over the years. So we asked them to pick six particularly natty moments, and to (mostly) also remember who actually snapped the notorious photo. It was worth it for the image of them in full Brazilian football getups alone.

 

 

A Certain Ratio’s Six Greatest Fashion Moments

 

Demob Suits (pictured above)

Photo by Kevin Cummins, 1979 

We used to buy all our clothes from second hand or charity shops back then, and for years we never bought any new items of clothing. Most of the stuff then was post WWII, and just before this photo was taken, we used to buy demob suits, which were double breasted suits with baggy trousers issued to soldiers after [leaving active duty]. This photo was taken shortly after our full demob look, and slightly later it developed into more of a military look. Donald was more into the lumberjack style at the time and looked more like Billy Cobham than Billy did. This photo was taken at our old rehearsal room we used to share with Joy Division behind the Rialto in Salford.

 

Khaki Shorts + Shirts

Unknown Photographer and Gig (Possibly the Electric Ballroom), 1979

This is Simon in our khaki shorts and shirt outfits that we were famous for at the time. Contrary to popular belief, Tony Wilson did not choose the outfits for us, he just let us loose in Laurence Corner in London before a gig at the Electric Ballroom; we went on a shopping spree, and did the gig in these outfits. Tony also didn’t apply Tan-fastic to us, it was actually a couple of girls we met in the ladies’ toilets who did that. The venue wasn’t open, and the reason we were in the ladies’ toilets was because the mens’ toilets did not have mirrors back then. Little did we know that the venue had just opened and these girls walked in while we were applying fake tan and saw us struggling. They asked, “would you like us to help you?,” to which we replied, “of course.”

 

 

Manchester’s First Boy Band?

‘The Flight’ Photo Sessions, Photo by Daniel Meadows, 1980

This is the photo of Donald that was taken as a series of single shots for the sleeve of the “Flight” 12” single. We all had to go to Tony Wilson’s hairdresser to have our hair done, which was a real uncomfortable experience, because we usually had our short back and sides at a barbers for about 50p I think. The hairdresser blow dried our hair, which we really didn’t like, and we spent ages trying to undo his styling. Then to top it off, it was tops off for the photos in true Salford style. Tony thought Donald should remain clothed and loaned him his scarf, camo jacket and some sunglasses. He ended up looking like a really cool freedom fighter from the ‘70s, and we all ended up looking like Manchester’s first boy band.

 

 

Brazilian Football Club?

ICA London, Photographer Unknown, 1985

Did you get the yellow tee and shorts memo? We were into Brazilian music and liked the Brazilian football team’s colours, as you can see. Andrew Connell, who went on to form Swing Out Sister, always wore a Brazil shirt during this period.

 

 

Daft Funk

Photo Shoot by Paul Husband, 2018

We had our photos taken at a friend’s workshop, he collects old Cold War military equipment. We found these welding masks and signs, and this is our Daft Funk look.

 

 

Also Starring Barry Adamson

London Islington Assembly Hall 2019, Photo by Richard Stickley

How do you make ACR look super cool? Simple: invite Barry Adamson on stage with you. This is him joining us for his song “I Got Clothes,” which we reworked for him—this is the only time ACR and Barry have played this version live. Barry and Martin must have spoken beforehand about which hats to wear. The photo also includes our beautiful Denise with her classic tambourine pose and in all black with her Adidas Gazelles.

 

Yayoi Kusama Just Designed a Champagne Bottle For Veuve Clicqout

 

 

 

It’s hard to imagine any artist throughout history anywhere near her age who has so dominated the cultural zeitgeist as has Yayoi Kusama these last several years. Indeed, having turned 91 in March (and probably celebrating very well, as Japan did not impose a formal coronavirus lockdown), she has spanned the globe with sold-out exhibitions, mostly of her fantastical Mirror Rooms—which we experienced at the Lille3000 art festival in France in 2019—and has deftly crossed pop cultural lines in the process.

Her latest? A colorful collab with French Champagne house Veuve Clicquot, for which she has applied her signature aesthetic to the packaging and bottle of the brand’s prestige cuvee, La Grand Dame. The box itself features her signature polka dots in radiant orange, matched by a drawing of her also signature floral sculptures.

She has dramatically and romantically titled the project My Heart That Blooms in The Darkness of The Night, which is not just an off-the-cuff attempt at verbal opulence. Rather, the flower is meant to symbolize life, love and peace…and so it is particularly poignant at a time when more than 900,000 people around the globe have died from coronavirus this year, and a heightened level of divisiveness rules the global conversation.

 

 

The flower is also meant to mirror the strength and delicacy of La Grande Dame cuvée, the current vintage of which dates to 2012. Ideologically, of course, Champagne has always stood for optimism and overcoming challenges—considering the losing side is not known for popping a cork to follow defeat. Of course, we welcome all the optimism we can get right now, and certainly would love nothing more than to be celebrating a victory over the many forces of darkness and destruction that have beset us on all sides in throughout 2020.

If it even need be said, it also just looks beautiful—especially the limited edition packaging of the bottle tucked into a custom created flower sculpture, which reminds us of nature’s embrace, both cosseting and yet ever primal. There were only 100 made, but the chance to own a Yayoi Kusama sculpt for just $30,000 is not to be taken lightly.

Those satisfied, however, with merely owning a bottle of La Grande Dame cuvée in the strikingly designed Kusama box can grab one off the shelves in early October for just $195. But, surely, you’re not actually going to drink it.

 

New Ferragamo Podcast Finds Jessica Alba, Isabella Rosselini Paying Reverent Tribute to Founder Salvatore

 

 

 

Fashion may be stuck in neutral at the moment, as business offices are mostly still closed, and nightlife remains all but entirely shutdown. Simply put, people don’t have all that many reasons to get dressed up right now.

For our part, we surely can’t wait until the day that we can slip on a pair of gorgeous pumps again, and step fabulously into a room full of fabulous people. But in order to calm our worries about the future of fashion, it seems like it could just be worth taking a look back at the past, to remember just how we got here. And speaking of stylish pumps, Ferragamo had actually started us down that historic path by introducing its engaging new TRIVIA game back in April. And now they’ve launched a branded podcast, debuting today, August 31, which will take us even a little deeper.

Indeed, founder Salvatore’s glittering autobiography Shoemaker of Dreams was first published in 1957, just three years before he was taken by cancer at just 62 years of age. (His wife Wanda, who died in 2018 at 96, then built the business into a global empire.) Said book is now the inspiration for Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino’s feature-length Ferragamo documentary of the same name, premiering September 6 in the Out of Competition portion of this year’s Venice Film Festival, which takes place September 2 – 12.

 

 

The story traces Salvatore’s remarkable journey from Naples shoe apprentice, to young Hollywood hotshot footwear designer, to his return to Florence, where he birthed his namesake brand / aforementioned empire. And the podcast will feature famous Ferragamo friends Stanley Tucci, Jessica Alba, Michelle Monaghan, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and Caitriona Balfe, to name but a few, each completely reading one of the 22 chapters of the book. We must admit, we are especially looking forward to the Isabella Rossellini episode, for reasons that hardly even require explication.

It’s actually a notably clever idea, offering up both a captivating narrative, and a welcome degree of substance to go along with it—and most urgently, certainly, as the podcast landscape has become one of so much rambling, disinteresting narcissism. And as with the book itself, it’s dedicated, as Salvatore would say, “To all those who must walk.”

But especially those who can do it with style.

 

 

Fendi’s Zoey Deutch ‘Peekaboo’ Campaign is a Hit of Joy in Very Somber Times

 

 

Like hotels and restaurants, fashion can surely play a crucial role in healing our battered collective psyche, which has already endured five months of isolation and perpetual news of yet more casualties of the coronavirus. People haven’t been traveling, haven’t been eating out…and, very visibly, have not been dressing up to go out.

Luckily, our friends at Fendi are coming to the rescue with an uplifting new campaign for their already beloved Peekaboo bag, a Silvia Venturini Fendi design first introduced in 2019. Starring an ethereal Zoey Deutch (who happens to be the daughter of director Howard Deutch and actress Lea Thompson), her infectious smile lights up the screen, as the lush strains of The Horrors’ opulent synth-goth track “I See You” fill the air—and frontman Faris Badwan dreamily croons “I can see your future in it / I can see it there.”

Zoey beams at eager paparazzi on the sidewalk, before a photo session in the studio finds her…”peeking” into her own Peekaboo bag, leaving us to wonder just what she might be hiding in there.

 

 

“I love that the bag opens up in a deep ‘smile’ to reveal the interchangeable inside pockets,” she says. “It is comfortable yet classic. Chic, while also able to carry everything you could need. And I have been known to want to fit everything—and more—in my purse. I definitely need four. Obviously.”

Of course, just seeing anything that isn’t accompanied by the words “this was shot in my apartment” is hopeful in itself. But Ms. Deutch seems particularly thrilled with how the Fendi session played out.

“It was one of my favorite shooting days ever,” she enthuses. “There was a lot to get done in a short time, but everyone was in such a great mood. Good people, great energy and amazing bags…what could be better?”

And isn’t that just the sort of positivity we need right now?

 

Naomi Campbell Invites Carla Bruni For a Chat on ‘No Filter With Naomi’

 

 

At one time filling endless column inches with the goings on of her really super supermodel life, Naomi Campbell has stormed the zeitgeist once again with the launch earlier this year of her now wildly popular No Filter With Naomi YouTube series. It debuted April 6, just weeks after the worldwide lockdown, when everyone was fresh with panic and dread. She struck a nerve with her honest  about her previously not widely publicized germaphobia.

It has since evolved into a show where she gathers up the women of Cooldom and Awesomeville for a chat about what it means to be perpetually awesome. This has meant virtual link ups with the likes of  Christy Turlington, Sharon Stone, Karlie Kloss, Anna Wintour, Serena and Venus Williams…you get the idea. But after a short hiatus, she returned on June 23 to deal with the very serious matters at hand, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. So the guest list morphed into civil right activist Opal Tometi, activist/poet Cleo Wade, trans actor Indya Moore, and the like.

But we are all very much in need of music to calm our savaged souls—and so were beyond excited to hear that today, August 25, No Filter With Naomi will feature none other than ethereal songstress and former First Lady of France Carla Bruni. The latter has a gorgeous new single, “Quelque Chose,” and a full album coming in September—and we just can’t get enough of her right now.

Check out the episode here.

 

 

Dazzling Up Tradition: Fabergé Launches New Capsule Collection w/ Designer James Ganh

 

 

 

Since 1842, Fabergé has obviously been one of the most stories high jewelry houses, whose iconic creations have been collected equally by royals and celebs. But seeking to join 21st Century the zeitgeist of high-profile collabs, they are launching a new partnership with James Ganh this September, making him their first ever “Featured Designer.”

Born in China but now working in London, Ganh’s work has dazzled up the presence of such luminaries as Dame Helen Mirren, Elizabeth Hurley, and Kylie Minogue. And for this extraordinary project, he has created works in the vibrant colors of summer floral blooms (surely a timely notion, since we were all robbed of summer 2020). The resulting pieces build on the brand’s exalted heritage, while nodding to the modernity of its more recent aesthetic inclinations, and the House’s ethos of “A Life in Color.”

The Fabergé x James Ganh capsule collection (which he’s been working on in secret for the past year) flaunts an impressive array of wearable high-jewelry pieces, inspired by nature and art. And carved turquoise, regal amethyst, alluring tanzanite, and beads of romantic rose quartz make for just the sort of dazzle we need in such dark and joyless times. And the tone of restrained opulence means each is meant to easily transition from day to night—perfect for when we actually get to experience nightlife again.

“During the first five years of building my eponymous brand, I had maintained contact with Fabergé,” he explains of the House where he developed his style, “and in 2019 we started the discussion of how we can work on a special project together. It has always been a brand which celebrates innovative craftsmanship and young talent. So, in the spirit of Peter Carl Fabergé, the Maison’s founder, we embarked upon this journey.”

A bit of history: Peter Carl Fabergé, a pioneer and innovator, was considered a maverick when he introduced “workmasters” in 1882. Under his mentorship, independent craftsmen were given the freedom to develop their own characteristic style, with each of their finished pieces personally approved by Peter Carl, or one of his esteemed deputies, to ensure it met the House’s exacting standards. Today, Fabergé continues to work with a small number of modern-day workmasters; and there is an idea to expand this tradition in a contemporary format, by providing a platform to endorse future talent. This is how the concept of a “Featured Designer” was born.

 

 

James Ganh established his own studio in 2015 on London’s Old Bond Street. A Central Saint Martins graduate, at Fabergé he developed both the superior craftsmanship and the passion for seeing it through. His own work now is not only strikingly intricate, in keeping with Fabergé tradition, but also evokes a sense of freedom.

“Fabergé has inspired me throughout my studies and career,” he enthuses, “and it was an honor to have the opportunity to work with the Maison from 2012 to 2014. During this time, they helped nurture my artistic design and gave me the confidence to establish my own company. Fabergé creations [always] spoke to my heart and inspired my work. This is evident throughout the new capsule collection.”

No surprise, they’re priced accordingly: per set at $74,100 to $1,150,500, while individual pieces range from $33,150 to $317,460. Selected sets will debut in Fabergé’s boutique in Houston’s Galleria,  as well as at Harrods, both in September. Subsequent launches are planned for the Fabergé boutique in the Dubai Mall, and in “By Appointment” showrooms in London and New York.

Boys Keep Swinging: Ferragamo Debuts Tornabuoni 1927 Men’s Collection

 

 

 

Though sitting in overheated outdoor cafes doesn’t exactly call for a sweeping wardrobe overhaul, it doesn’t mean we have to entirely ignore that fashionable voice in our head, the one that’s been suddenly re-awakened by at least a partial emergence from our months long quarantine. Yes, we are going out again.

Now surely, what we really wish we were doing right now is sharing negronis on the rocks at La Terrazza rooftop bar above Florence’s Ferragamo-owned Hotel Continentale. But considering the utter impossibility of such a thing, we’re otherwise contented with the news that the exalted Italian fashion house is bringing Firenze style to us, with its new men’s accessories collection, evocatively titled Tornabuoni 1927.

 

 

The name itself is a joining of the famous via where their HQ is located, with the year that Salvatore Ferragamo returned to the Tuscan capital from Hollywood, to make a future legend of his eponymous shoe brand. And, as that moniker gives away, the line is decidedly imbued with a classical cool and distinctly Italian sort of understated chic.

The Tornabuoni 1927 logo appears on deerskin sailing bags, totes, and clutches, in refined black or white, as well as approachably priced nylon backpacks, waist bags, shoulder bags and totes, in red, white or black. Small leather goods include a wallet and credit card holder.

Being Ferragamo, of course, the accompanying campaign was shot in a moodily lit manor house somewhere in the Florentine hills—making the collection all the more irresistible. And after about 20 weeks of lockdown, we can say without hesitation that we’re most definitely in need of a bit of Italian elegance right now.

 

Designer Tom Dixon Announces ’24 Hours in Copenhagen’ Project

 

 

Having already topped the list in pretty much every other survey about quality of living, the five Scandinavian nations just placed 1,2,3,4 and 6 in a recent Asher Fergusson study of the 35 OECD members, to determine which were the best countries to raise a family (the US landed 34th).

So, yes, if we could, we’d be in Denmark right now, where the death rate from coronavirus was about 1/15 per capita of what it was Stateside. Which is precisely why they’re definitively getting back to the business of culture, very much evidenced by the announcement of Tom Dixon‘s upcoming ’24 Hours in Copenhagen’ event.

 

 

The exalted British designer is that rarity in his profession, having risen to the level of “cultural icon,” with his work now featured in London’s Victoria & Albert museum, MOMA New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He actually launched two new collections in the City of Light earlier this year, pre-quarantine, during his ’24 Hours in Paris’ program; and with Europe now emerging from the coronavirus lockdowns, he will be taking a similar show to Denmark’s capital this September 4.

There he will officially launch even yet more new collections: SPRING Silver Pendants, GLOBE Lights, PUCK Barware, MILL Salt & Pepper Grinders, SWIRL Vases and Candles, FAT Chairs and Sofas, and PRIMAVERA Marble Table Tops. All very good news for our own home design efforts, certainly, considering how much time we’ve been spending inside over these last several months.

 

 

‘The relationship between the UK and Scandinavia has been long, complex and sometimes bloody,” Dixon expounds, acknowledging those long gone centuries of “edgy” relations between the two. “The connection between Tom Dixon and the Nordic countries has always been warm and positive, with the superior design culture of Denmark proving to be the optimal landscape to explain our design ideas.”

As part of the program, there will also be a series of events, including a breakfast celebrating the 30th anniversary of Dixon’s S Chair; a new collection photography session at design, art and photo studio Tableau; a dinner at tile studio Made a Mano, with comestibles by Nitai Shevach, chef at Dixon’s Coal Office restaurant in London; and a performance by designer/musician Johannes Torpe. You know, the sorts of things we always did before the COVID-19 crisis made it all go away.

Dixon, for his part, is just happy to be getting on with it again.

“It’s with great pleasure that we will travel to Copenhagen for 24 hours to present some of our absolute newness, that no one else has seen yet.”

 

Fashion Gets Busy Again: L’Agence Launches Seductive New Footwear Line

Images by Jacopo Moschin

 

 

Post-Millennial fashion darling L’Agence has, since 2008, been definitively winning over the style cognoscenti—Kai Gerber, Karlie Kloss, Jennifer Lopez—who are drawn in ever higher numbers to its “California lifestyle with French attitude” ethos. And this summer, the label will at last be launching a footwear collection that, if we might say, is the epitome of contemporary, laidback glamour.
Of course, one wonders with all the financial challenges facing the industry, significantly accelerated by this persistent pandemic—forcing so many to work from home—just why anyone would launch a shoe line at this time. CEO Jeff Rudes (who is also the founder of iconic denim label J Brand) seems undaunted.

 

“As a lifestyle brand, shoes were a natural progression for us,” he offers. “The design was the shoe to wear with jeans and complement the entire collection. Although the market is suffering, we know there are opportunities during difficult times, and so it was [actually] perfect timing for us.”
They are debuting three silhouettes: Éloise, a classic pointed-toe pump, Lolita, a minimalistic mule, and Amélie, an understated loafer. Another style, the Madeline—which is a Mary Jane heel—is slated to be introduced with ready-to-wear this October. The collection will be available exclusively at L’Agence.com and the L’Agence boutiques located at Melrose Place, Madison Avenue and SoHo NYC. We also highly recommend spending time on their Instagram, for quick but effective style inspirations.
N.B. – L’Agence has also been active during the pandemic by decisively giving back to the community. The brand has been partnered with LA Protects, producing and donating masks; and has been supporting the Children’s Defense Fund, whose mission it is to advocate for the rights and needs of all children—especially urgent in these times of such financial insecurity.