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The Commercial Life of Gwen Stefani

When an iconic artist returns after almost a decade (eight years to be precise), it is risky, always potentially polarising and involves an entire education and re-education process. Gwen is an icon, a pioneer and a genius – her solo career has always been tastemaking and risk-driven which is why playing it beyond safe for her comeback has not only polarised opinions but generated legitimate debate (although maybe not enough).

So let’s go back to the strategy. Age is obviously a key factor in this on an emotional level, rather than a physical level – as Gwen herself hasn’t aged in 20 years. Baby Don’t Lie is co-written by Benny Blanco and Ryan Tedder, which truly does justice to its mainstream potential. This clear strategy for mainstream chart success from a song that isn’t traditionally boundary breaking is coupled by two guest appearances on the Maroon 5 album and the new Calvin Harris record (plus judging The Voice) – there is clearly no doubt that Gwen is seeking guaranteed chart domination with this record. Let’s hope it happens. This now only begs the question of what the rest of the album will offer – here’s hoping for a fine balance between beautifully produced commercial pop and the daring and pioneering pop and cohesively artist vision that LAMB and Sweet Escape offered.

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Re-Imagining Louis Vuitton’s Iconic Monogram

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One of the finest traits about Louis Vuitton as a brand, and the reason why I love working with and supporting the vision is because Vuitton loves to collaborate. Whether it is Marc’s creative capsules inspired by Stephen Sprouse or a partnership with Murakami or Yayoi Kusama, even the way that Teller and other photographers are heroed by the brand – it’s part of the ethos and identity.

So, when Georges Vuitton (son of Louis) created the monogram in honor of his late father in 1896, he also created an icon in its own right which has been re-worked and re-imagined for decades, both legally and illegally. Now, over a century later six visionaries in their own right have taken the legend of the monogram and made it their own in ‘The Icon and the Iconoclasts: A Celebration of Monogram’ for the brand’s 160th birthday.

Christian Louboutin, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson and Rei Kawakubo were given free rein to create limited edition accessories and bags using the famous monogram print…and here are the results.

The designs are available for purchase on Louis Vuitton’s website from today. Lagerfeld’s designs will be available from this weekend.

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Baz Luhrmann for CHANEL No.5

CHANEL just unveiled the Baz Luhrmann directed No. 5 campaign film featuring Gisele Bündchen and Dutch actor Michiel Huisman. A decade later, this follows on from Baz’s Nicole Kidman CHANEL No.5 campaign from 2004.

Bündchen plays a surfer, a mother and a model – the new epitome of the CHANEL woman. The soundtrack? “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease covered by Lo-Fang.

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A$AP Rocky – Multiply

A$AP’s brutal honesty in this track and video are setting the standards. For political reasons, this is all that I am going to say, but watch the video, note the visuals, the nods to brand authenticity in the lyrics and enjoy the artistry.

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Indie Trip-Hop Trio Mont Oliver

Introducing Danish indie trip-hop trio Mont Oliver, consisting of Jakob Hammershøj, Niels Christian Sommer and Mads Bernt Pedersen. The trio delivers a cinematic raw percussion trip hop infused offering akin to the quality and sonic energy that we’ve seen from Dev Hynes. Vocals are provided by trio member Jacob Hammershøj.

The EP will be released for free on 17th November for free download via Fake Diamond Records, in the meantime stream the title track above.

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