Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Porta's Listen...The Monocle Weekly EDITION 14

-29 March

The team are back in London for this week's edition of The Monocle Weekly and welcome a champion of the Lebanese Slow Food movement, Kamal Mouzawak, to the studio to talk culture, politics and of course cuisine. Picking up on recent events in the aviation industry, we throw some light on air safety and speak to former pilot Donat Etienne in Brussels. We also hear from our correspondents Ivan Carvalho and Steve Bloomfield who tackle the issues of luxury watches and the African economy respectively. In culture this week Rob Bound plays us his choice track and Alain de Botton reads a sneak preview from his new book. All this, and the usual studio discussion from host Tyler Brûlé and our editor Andrew Tuck.

-29 March

Tyler Brûlé
Editor in chief

Kamal Mouzawak
Owner, Souk el Tayeb

Robert Bound
Culture editor

Producer: Alexander Mills
Sound Engineer: Chris Sharp
Editor: Aleksander Solum

I haven’t missed an episode yet, genuinely enjoying the mix of news, culture, business, politics, design, music, etc. all expertly produced into a very accessible 30-minute-or-so package presented by the magazine’s editor, Tyler Brûlé (who is a pretty big ponce, as demonstrated by this FT article). Definitely something to subscribe to (on iTunes), published every Sunday.

You can listen to the broadcasts at The Monocle Weekly website or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Angels Woman...Sophie Madeleine - Love Life Ukelele (2009)

Sophie Madeleine

There comes a time in a true originals career where they become more than the sum of their influences. Sophie Madeleine's star is in such an ascendant, and we are witnessing the results of some maverick fusion.

Steeped in an inherited classicism (she had a music-lover for a father,) she absorbed the greats of the last century - from Cole Porter to Gershwin, Bacharach, Beatles and beyond.

Shades of Feist and Aimee Mann haunt her delivery, whilst she shines a light on the love song in a way that is at once candid, secretive and strange.

Her voice has an authority beyond her experience, and her sound wraps up a hundred years of music and sends it into orbit for a new century to witness. Remember this name Sophie Madeleine is going to be around for a long time.

Sophie is one of the first people in the world who can claim to be a "Master of Song" after graduating from the MA Songwriting Course at Bath Spa University.

Sophie Madeleine - Love Life Ukelele (2009)

Nothing goes with a warm, sunny day quite like the sound of a ukulele, which makes Love.Life.Ukulele by Sophie Madeleine ($5 and up) the perfect soundtrack for the next few months. Packing intelligent, relationship-focused lyrics set against peaceful, laid-back ukulele arrangements, this album is a perfect way to prepare for summer. Standout Tracks: “Take Your Love With Me,” “Hurry Locomotive.”


"She has a lovely voice."

more on...

Monday, March 30, 2009

New Modern Classic...Summer style, man-to-man

Tyler Brûlé
is Monocle’s editor-in-chief and chairman.
Brûlé was also the founding editor of Wallpaper* and writes the Fast Lane column in the FT Weekend.

I could tell spring officially arrived last week (both on the calendar and outdoors) because Fast Lane’s inbox made that dramatic shift from a place for comment to a forum for fashion advice.

Last Saturday’s cloudless skies and warm temperatures in Paris and London prompted many men and the odd woman (on behalf of a husband or boyfriend who clearly was a balmy weather embarrassment in the knitwear area) to send urgent messages seeking shopping leads on everything from footwear to travel blazers.

Two weeks ago I was hoping to make my semi-annual pilgrimage to see Alberto at A Gi Emme (my favourite men’s store in Europe) in Como but the sun on the slopes in St Moritz was more persuasive and I didn’t manage to make the journey south. On Monday I’m heading to Tokyo but not before doing a brief tour of Paris, which is an increasingly more interesting place for menswear than London. In between meetings I’m hoping to go to APC, Kitsuné, Officine Slowear (the umbrella brand that houses Incotex trousers, Zanone knitwear, Glanshirt and Motedoro jackets), Pierre Hardy for desert boots and Old England for outerwear.

In Tokyo there’ll be a visit to Loopwheeler for sweatshirts, Tomorrowland for a jacket fitting, Beams for T-shirts and Soph to torture myself because I could buy everything but sadly none of it quite fits. And back in London I’ll pay a visit to Albam, Oliver Spencer and then find myself frustrated by the lack of decent men’s wear shopping in western Europe’s biggest city.

For those seeking advice for their summer wardrobe then I hope what’s below will fill in the gaps. And I do realise readers still suffering through winter on the far side of the Baltic may not be feeling springy this weekend, so you might want to clip and save this for a sunnier day.

Socks: I’ve pretty much given up on most brands and find myself stocking up with Japanese brand Tabio, either at their Omotesando Hills branch or, occasionally, in London.

Footwear: I’m rarely out of desert boots and usually have a pair of Pierre Hardys clamped to the bottom of my feet. For sneakers it’s hard to beat the simplicity of Common Projects. For travel I usually opt for canvas Vans.

Underwear: I recently sampled some trunk-style briefs from Swedish label Acne – and on my next trip to Stockholm I might go for a restock. For value for money and quality, I’m still a big fan of Swiss food retailer Coop’s own label undies, or Calida.

Denim: APC has long been my staple choice for denim because they never get overly tricky and tend not to mess with their cut. Acne also does a good job if you stay away from the odd finishes and effects.

Chinos: Every season I’m seduced into trying some other company’s attempt at making the perfect twill trouser and they’re never even close to Venice-based Incotex. They get the leg silhouette just right and also ensure that wearers never suffer from SAS – saggy ass syndrome.

Shorts: This is very dangerous territory as too many men venture into the shorts department still thinking they’re either riding a tricycle or they’re still in college. If you’re north of 25 you must avoid all the tricks (drawstrings, dangly bits, too many pockets et al) and go for a very no-nonsense, trim pair of shorts that hit you just above the knee. Incotex get it right here, too.

A summer suit: If you’re not going for something bespoke then the best options are Tonello (mostly found in Italy), Piombo (ditto) or if you’re of slim hips and shoulders there’s plenty on offer at all of Japan’s leading men’s stores – United Arrows, Beams, Ships and Tomorrowland.

A summer blazer: For the past three summers I’ve visited Tomorrowland and had them make a variety of wool and cotton blazers for me. This season I’ll probably pick up something from Piombo and Montedoro. And I just tried a navy blazer from Zegna.

A good travel blazer: This has frustrated me for years so I just collaborated with Daiki Suzuki and Woolrich Woollen Mills to launch my own. It’s going to be available in navy or olive and is made from US military standard rip stop cotton.

Polo shirts: While I’m not big on logos I think Kitsuné’s fox is quite fun. Otherwise it’s hard to do better than Drumohr and Napoleonerba.

Dress shirts: After five years I’m still stuck on having my shirts custom made by MCR at A Gi Emme.

Sweaters: Sea Island cotton John Smedley’s and Uniqlo’s cotton/ cashmere sweaters are hard to beat.

Outerwear: Always a weak spot but for spring/summer I have my eye on a trench coat from APC, cotton jackets from Engineered Garments and something for downpours from North Face Japan’s special black label.

Tyler Brûlé is editor-in-chief of Monocle
More columns at www.ft.com/brule

Special Thanks to Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009

Porta's Look!...Margaret Howell S/S 09

"White space, graphic windows, new logo, basic and utilitarian, selected colour ... These are the elements that have influenced our design and product development over the past twelve months."

Spring/Summer 09

The Look
A strong sporty influence was mixed with classic pieces, British holiday chic and some strong mannish tailoring

Key pieces
A mossy leather trench was cut beautifully and worn open over a simple white shirt dress, while big knickers stood out on more sporty looks with sheeny hooded jackets. A nautically hued dress with dirndl skirt added a sense of the seaside

Moss green, navy and monochrome shades offered a conservative take on colour, while the odd spot of red livened things up

Sheer fabrics were used in a new take on the shirt dress, while Lycra and technical fabrics featured more on the sports luxe side

The Margaret Howell store on Wigmore Street was quickly transformed on Thursday into slick catwalk space for the Spring Summer 09 show and was soon filled with some of London’s top fashion press. The clean classic lines that Margaret is so renowned for had us all making mental shopping lists of what to buy when the collection hits the shops next February!

Ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 09

Margarett Howell S/S 09

client: Margaret Howell
published: Spring/Summer 2009

Venetia Scott - Photographer

Marteinn - Model

Lovisa Ingman - Model

Margarett Howell

Margaret Howell started a "home business." After her graduation from college, she sewed a handful of men's shirts in her apartment and showed it to department stores. She received enough orders to start her business.

A year later (1971) she launched an accessories range and by 1972 she already a full range of menswear and womenswear.

In 1981, she opened her first retail outlet in London. She expanded globally and finally in 1995, she made her debut show at London Fashion Week on-schedule show.

For those of you who needs an inspiration, Margaret Howell has been in business for over 3 decades, and it all started with a few white men's shirts which she made herself while at home!

Margaret Howell is well-known for her understated clothing. Functional with superb tailoring, she has been a commercial success from day one.

more on...Margaret Howell

"All in all, if you can pull off plain and interesting or are in need of some silent basics, Howell is your heroine and this is the collection for you."

New Modern Classic...Mismo Canvas Collection Bags


Firmy based in Danish deisgn, Denmark’s Mismo continues to refine the idea of daybags as “personal companions.” By using natural materials and keeping the details to a minimum, Mismo’s offering looks to become a part of your day to day - classic functional bags with durable construction.

Mismo’s latest “‘Canvas Collection’ features professional and everyday bags crafted from heavy-duty plain-woven canvas and hard-wearing full-grain leather trim, and is available in a select range of exclusive colours.”

The “Canvas Collection” is available now from Oki-ni and Stormfashion.

Danish company Mismo have produced a line of bank bag like totes which cost as much as they hold.Our mistake! The pricing is in Swedish Kroner putting it closer to 235$US. A much more reasonable sale. Lucky for us, we can choose between three looks.

Available now from Tres Bien.

More views of the luxury priced Mismo M/S Shopper Tote Bags after the jump.

Delays - Everything's the Rush (2008)

About Delays

Hello all, Whilst it may appear that we've been quiet of late, behind the scenes that has been far from the truth. We have recently parted company with Fiction Records and we wish them every success in the future.
As you know, all that matters is the music, and we're already in the studio demoing for the next album. You can hear some exclusive first tastes of where we're going on the player above...Rhapsody (demo) and Unsung (demo)
Wherever you are, we thank you for all your support and all your messages. We hear you. We're Delays

Southampton, United Kingdom (2001 – present)

Delays are an band formed in Southampton, UK. It gained its final lineup of Greg Gilbert (lead vocals, guitars), his younger brother Aaron Gilbert (synth/programming, vocals), Colin Fox (bass, backing vocals) & Matthew ‘Rowly’ Rowlinson (drums) in early 2001 (the band was called Idoru at the time, and changed their name to Delays in 2002) Their debut album, Faded Seaside Glamour was released on Rough Trade Records in April 2004. The album contains singles Nearer Than Heaven, Hey Girl & PlayLong Time Coming, the latter which charted at #16 in the UK, and is still their most widely known song. The Lost in a Melody EP was released late 2004 and accompanyed the 4th single off the album, Wanderlust. They gained much exposure for their supporting role to the Manic Street Preachers in their Past/Present/Future Spring 2005 tour, after which they took some time off to make another album. You See Colours was released in March 2006, and the lead single Valentine instantly became a favourite at UK clubs, not to mention the reaction it gets from the audience when they play it live. Also Hideaway was released as a single.

The ‘fans only’ limited edition (2000 copies) Love Made Visible EP was released on Fiction Records (of Polydor Ltd.) in Autumn 2007.

Delays - Everything's the Rush (2008)

Dropped by Rough Trade after 2006's You See Colours, Southampton's Delays have returned to the melodic pop of their debut, Faded Seaside Glamour, with added orchestral colour. The dizzy, euphoric racket is occasionally brought earthward by lyrics that hint at darker troubles, such as the addled rock star of Pieces and frequent references to fracturing relationships. Greg Gilbert's vocals, too, sound more road-scuffed than before, though this doesn't prevent things occasionally getting too gooey. Still, it's impossible to resist Touchdown's incitement to teenage rampage - "Fuck the neighbours, turn this up/ We fought the war and won the cup" - and the album's overall impression of a band revelling in their third chance.

"Pop song mastery uniquely honed to perfection "

- The Fly

"This album dazzles with wide-eyed Wonder "


"Epic, skyscraping - Indie-pop has never been so glorious and sweeping "

-The Mirror

"Irresistible, Widescreen, Technicolor "

-Evening Standard

"Glistening pop"

- Q Magazine


Studio albums:
Faded Seaside Glamour (2004)
You See Colours (2006)
Everything's the Rush (2008)*recommanded

more on...delays space

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Porta's Eyes...Monocle’s Top 20 Retailers

If you do anything that involves retail, design, advertising or just getting stuff sold, we must recommend that you pick up a copy of the April 09 issue of Monocle Magazine. This issue has a focus on retail with articles that highlight the state of the retail market and where in the world we can seek inspiration.

-Issue 22

The opening piece of the retail section conveys similar thoughts that we’ve published in these pages - that at the end of the day, we’re not really that surprised by the retailers that are going under:

The problem with using a drop in GDP as a catch-all excuse for a sorry retail market is that it glosses over the simple fact that most businesses that have had to close completely, cut back or curb their ambitions have been heading this direction even when times were good.

Some who disappeared from our streets died of natural causes - old-age (simply losing the will to fight) or chronic illnesses (labour issues and multiple personalities). Others met more savage ends at the hands of ruthless intruders who attacked them in their own backyards.

More still succumbed to the painful private equity plague that sliced, shaved and chopped till there was nothing left on the bone and consumers failed to recognise the brand they rather liked until it fell victim to a business plan drawn up by a 26-year-old who had never even spent time on a shop-floor during his or her college years, let alone visited the country where said acquisition took place.

They follow up with a justified swipe at the British retailers who have collapsed:

Woolworths and its pick’n'mix counter is no more; society wedding list favourite General Trading Company and Whittard tea merchants are among those who have run into trouble. Who cares? It’s a fair question: many of the shops closing down on London’s high streets were well past their sell-by dates and will be missed by few.

But it’s not all criticism, the magazine has several articles on how to make improvements - and much of the inspiration comes from Japan. The Top 20 Retailers piece is a great read:

01 Demasié in Barcelona for beautifully packaged confectionery and great interiors.
02 Roden Gray in Vancouver for its rough interiors but very gentle staff.
03 Folk and Oliver Spencer in London for Made in Britain menswear and good service.
04 JR Leder in Berlin for bespoke men’s leather bags made at the back of the shop.
05 Monmouth Coffee Company in London for loving what they do and knowing their beans
06 Rough Trade East in London for its handwritten recommondations and outstanding vinyl and CD selection.
07 Truck Furniture in Osaka for when you want to re-engineer your life.
08 Ciclic in Barcelona for its recent renovation and overhaul of art titles, international DVDs and hard-to-source magazines.
09 Eslite in Taipei for every form of printed matter available 24 hours a day.
10 Isetan food hall in Tokyo for the breadth of choice, sensory overload and uniforms.
11 Odin in New York for its ever-surprising and eclectic mix of menswear for any season.
12 Frédéric Malle in Paris for its limited-edition perfumes and focused vision.
13 James Perse’s Beverly Hills branch for its activewear range, laid back but attentive staff and indoor/outdoor interior.
14 Svenskt Tenn in Stockholm because the older we get the better we look in Josef Frank.
15 Hakusan in Tokyo for its perfectly designed ceramics and bijou, museum-like setting.
16 Johnny Farah in Beirut for comfortable house shoes and a handcrafted ethic.
17 Bi Rite in San Francisco. The type of business you’d be proud of if you had the idea to do a neighbourhood grocery store.
18 Pierre Hardy in Paris because their desert boots are best.
19 Lisn in Kyoto and Tokyo’s Aoyama for the best incense, smart staff and packaging.
20 Aspesi’s Milan emporium for its airy rooms, cheeky merchandising and consistency.

Monocle Magazine

Friday, March 27, 2009

Porta's Eyes...IT'S NICE THAT


We’re less than a week away now from having Issue 1 back from the printers and distributing it out to everyone so it’s almost your last chance to pre-order! As mentioned before all pre-orders will come with a free Print Liberation poster and will be dispatched next week before it’s available in any shops.

Check out the latest images on our Flickr.

Check out the Publication Page for more details and to pre-order.Documenting the production of the first publication from It's Nice That. Launch April 2009.

Documentation of the first publication from It's Nice That.

Issue 1 will feature work from, among others Peter Callesen, Bryan Dalton, Karl Grandin, Happypets, Myoung Ho Lee, Oliver Jeffers, PES, Alex Trochut, Julien Vallee and Felice Varini. It will also include interviews with Jacob Dahlgren, Hort, Michael Hughes, Riitta Ikonen, Hugo & Marie, Andy Rementer and Roel Wouters as well as features by Andreas Konrath, Tao Lin, Rob Ryan, Stewart Smith and Ian Wright

Full Spec
275 × 210mm portrait
4pp cover + 128pp text
Printed 4 colour throughout
Printed on Redeem by Fenner
Printed by PUSH

Launch April 2009. For all the details as well as information on ordering please visit the website–