With a gimlet eye for the latest and newest, LUX’s Cool Hunter and Digital Editor Millie Walton reveals what is grabbing her attention this season
Experimental isn’t a term one associates with London’s upmarket Belgravia, but that’s where you’ll find the new concept store 50m (so-called after the 50 metres of clothes rail that runs along the inside walls). Created by artist collective Something & Son to support new design talent and tackle high shop rents, the store functions as a space for emerging designers to showcase and sell their work at a more affordable cost. The designers also receive mentorship from leading figures in the industry. Paul Smyth, co-founder of Something & Son, says its aim is to “create a store where people don’t simply consume stuff, but can meet designers, hang out with friends, cooperate and collaborate”. Find the likes of menswear designer Bethany Williams and jewellery studio RÄTHEL & WOLF.
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Lithuanian artist and illustrator Egle Zvirblyte describes her work as a “bright, juicy, punch-yourface explosion with existential undertones”. The aesthetic is comic-strip meets pop-art graffiti, bursting with colour, humour and movement. Look through the artist’s portfolio and you’ll see the same characters often reoccur as if it’s all one big story with the next chapter spontaneously popping up in unusual places. Earlier this year, Egle created six huge installation works for Inis Oírr (a small island off Ireland’s west coast) as part of the Drop Everything annual contemporary cultural biennale, and she’s currently planning “a collaborative wall in London” with typographer Oli Frape. Keep your eyes peeled for larger-than-life, eccentric-looking characters dressed in 1980s fashion, cigarette-smoking tigers and bananas in shades and high heels. It will be hard to miss.
Petra Lilja Design Studio
The Swedish studio led by designer Petra Lilja specialises in concept design, curatorial work and exhibition design, with a strong focus on sustainability. For a recent project around the themes of ‘utopia’ and ‘dystopia’, Petra sourced material while ‘plogging’ (walking or jogging and picking up plastic rubbish). “It’s amazing how little we value a material that takes thousands of years to disintegrate,” commented the designer. The studio often collaborates with other designers to create intriguing objects such as the Rephrasals project with Aalto+Aalto, which explored the possibilities and expressions found through a method of associations and chance.
Posturing is a fashion photography book with a twist – or several. Dreamt up by fashion curator Shonagh Marshall and Wallpaper* photo editor Holly Hay, it celebrates the body as a sculpture in contemporary fashion photography. The images are aesthetically intriguing, with a focus on the shapes created by limbs rather than the garments the models wear, and are accompanied by a series of interviews discussing the current state of the fashion industry. “I noticed a shift in the way contemporary fashion photographers were positioning the body,” says Shonagh. “There was a move away from the glamourised, sexualised body of the celebrity-driven 2000s.” Welcome a new age of perception.
Hockeysmith’s music is the very definition of heady: a blend of woozy electronic beats, unorthodox rhythms and smudgy vocals. Based in Cornwall, Hockeysmith (AKA Annie Hockeysmith) takes inspiration from the arcane landscapes, occult folklore and local rave scene to create a breed of darkly textured electronic pop that’s impossible not to dance to. You feel like you’re throwing yourself across a strobing dance floor even if you’re lying on your bed at home. Sound frightening? It is a little, but it’s also a lot of fun – and has been described as ‘Kylie Minogue on acid’. I’m currently obsessed with the track Go Baack.
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