London’s Docklands. Those two words used to strike fear in my heart. I once worked for a television network in the Docklands, and the only transport link to our studio was the dreaded DLR (Dockland’s Light Railway). This computer-controlled light railway was stationary as often as it was moving, for reasons as inexplicable as “leaves on the track”. God, I miss England.
But with opening of the Jubilee Line several years ago, transport links to the area are much improved. Ditto for local housing.
Stella McCartney cares. No, really — she does. Stella cares for us so much that she decided to create her own 100% natural skincare line that doesn’t mince words. Care by Stella McCartney came about from the designer’s desire to have radiant, youthful looking skin without resorting to petrochemicals and silicone. This rock star’s daughter and internationally acclaimed fashion designer wanted rich, luxurious skincare products that would “sit proudly on her bathroom shelf”.
As we enter the environmental age, it’s interesting to witness changes in design and function. What will we create? What will we recycle? What will we do away with? Let’s consider that icon of Victorian living — the lampshade. Traditionally made from cloth, lace, glass — lampshades aren’t just old hat, they occasionally look like them, too.
In the future, according to Philips, LED bulbs will be so well designed that they’ll eradicate the need for any lamp covering whatsoever. Just check out some of these eye-catching designs. You can “adjust the color, brightness and tone of a bulb with simple, intuitive hand gestures, such as touching or twisting”.
Finns have a unique sense of humor. Anyone’s who’s seen Aki Kaurismäki’s masterpiece “Drifting Clouds” knows what I’m talking about.
The concept of transforming used materials into funky new products is not a new one. However, Helsinki-based SECCO’s tongue-in-cheek take on post modern design had me at their homepage, which reads like a Dr Seuss story: “SECCO was born in the Electronic Waste Age in Wasteland, in a small village in a valley between the Rubber Hills. On the horizon, you can just make out the giant Computer Mountains where the river of Qwerty springs. At the edge of the forest that surrounds the village, you can find the LP-Towers reaching towards the white clouds. From the top of the towers you have a breathtaking view across Wasteland…”
You know what I won’t be doing in three days time? Celebrating my least favorite holiday of the year — the highly irksome Valentine’s Day.
The annual amassment of cheap Chinese-made teddy bears and heart-shaped chocolates at my local supermarket turn my stomach, not my heart. Apart from all the waste Valentine’s Day generates – it’s the second largest card-sending holiday of the year – it’s plain cheesy.
After successfully completing my 30-day plant-based experiment, the masochist inside me was whispering: “go Raw”. Sure, there’s nothing like a crunchy sugar snap, ripe avocado or a bowl full of arugula drizzled with olive oil balsamic. How hard could it be?
On the hard side, if you ask me.
I know I’d miss steamed Brussels sprouts, lightly blanched asparagus, roasted pumpkin — or in fact, any warm vegetable. So, imagine my delight when recent studies supported my gut instinct (or lack of guts, depending how you look at it): that there are health advantages to eating a combination of raw and cooked vegetables.
It’s day 5 of my plant-only experiment, and I’m becoming acutely aware of what I put into my gob on a daily basis. I am definitely eating more fruits and vegetables — but because they’re not as filling as, say, large chunks of animal protein, I feel like I’m constantly snacking. (Oh, and I almost messed up yesterday by inadvertently adding natural yogurt to dilute my green goddess salad dressing. But stopped myself just in time. I know the cows will thank me, but I’m not sure if my waistline will.)
Which leads me to an interesting point — being healthy and vegan. During this 30-day period, I’m determined not to overindulge in the three “S”s: sugar, soy and seitan.
Take one clean, modern space, add a luxury product line, throw in some celebrity clientele and until recently you’d be on your way to a successful beauty boutique. But now there’s a new factor to consider: green. Or, if you have an appreciation of the French language like Renata Helfman, vert. Helfman, a make-up artist to the stars, recently opened her high-end luxury retail store on trendy Abbott Kinney in Venice, California, visited by Molly Sims & Alicia Silverstone. Specializing in all-natural planet-friendly organic products from around the world, Vert also boasts educational seminars and workshops on all things green.
What have we here? Another ethical clothing label? Not that I’m complaining. Having just written an article on child labor in the cotton industry, I’m all for organic cotton clothing. And if it takes a celebrity-filled opening at a trendy clothing store to get noticed, so be it. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
I’m gaga over nude’s modular, sleek and sexy packaging. That there’s stuff inside of it is a frankly a bonus. The hottest thing to come out of the UK since Kate Moss, nude is the brainchild of Bryan Meehan, the man behind the Fresh and Wild organic food stores — the UK’s answer to (and now owned by) the U.S.’s Whole Foods.
nude’s skincare line features cleansers, water, moisturizers and treatments, which are made from primarily organic, luscious ingredients such as “cupuacu, manketti, baobab and avellana to provide essential fatty acids, nutrition and hydration for soft, supple skin”. I personally recommend the Age Defense Intense Moisture, which contains buriti oil to provide antioxidant protection and smells like teen spirit (at least those teens that smell like vanilla). Airless packaging limits the need for preservatives and, needless to say, none of the products have been tested on animals.
You may have heard of Kyle MacDonald, the guy who traded a red paperclip for a house on Craigslist. It was last year’s light news day darling: “We’ll leave you with an incredible tale of… blah, blah.” Well, after 14 trades, Kyle now owns a house in the town of Kipling Saskatchewan (wherever the hell that is). The point is this: that guy missed the point. The paperclip is a thing of beauty. If you ask me, he should have held on to it.
Luckily for us, the visionaries at Seattle-based Teague Design saw the inherent beauty of this everyday object. Born from an innovative internal program designed to nurture creativity, the paperclip lamp debuted at the Seattle DWR Lighting Exhibition and after gaining recognition internally shone at the Korean Gwangju Design Biennale, a festival which puts 21st century design trends under the spotlight.
Forget the weather, the perky sales assistants and Griffith Park — believe it or not, the thing I appreciate the most about L.A. (compared to my former home in London) is the fashion aesthetic. I occasionally look back with fondness on trotting around Soho in my Gucci stilettos, Joseph trousers and Liberty pashima, but seriously, I heart California casual. The slouchy, sun-kissed ensembles of tanks, tees, jeans, leggings and the odd hoodie are comfort epitomized. Team up that said ensemble with a $1,200 bag, designer shades and a Kitson shopping bag and you could pass as bona fide member of the young Hollywood set. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos