Phantom Thread

Last night, I started to read The Glass of Fashion, a book by Cecil Beaton which was published in 1954. And the book conveyed me to a bygone time in which high fashion was art, not industry.

Why did I have a strong urge to pick up this book was because I wanted to linger in a particular era which was portrayed in a film, Phantom Tread. The life portrayed in the film was a small slice of the 50’s post-war Britain. And it was indeed, a very privileged one. …

 

The film, which Hubbie and I saw at the Barbican Cinema, was simply exquisite. It was beautifully shot, the storyline was original and the acting was superb. I loved everything, absolutely everything in it. And of course, Daniel Day-Lewis, he was divine. The fact that he has left his acting career behind after the film makes my heart bleed! Does it mean I will never see his inimitable smile, which is elegant yet impish, ever again? I am still heartbroken.

Another thing I pined for throughout the film was how I desired to time-travel to the era in which the film was set. Even though my mum, who experienced the reality of the post-WWll, may not agree with me, I did find the time very desirable.

The reason why I liked it so much was because everything appeared to be real and tactile. The life then was conducted more elaborately and properly. General things, even trivial things such as drinking tea or putting on clothing, appearred to be done with more care and joy. And respect and appreciation towards labour and service seemed to be more just and courteous.

What is luxury? I wonder. Nowadays, we are surrounded by objects which claim themselves to be “deluxe”. From fast food to fast cars, the notion is widespread and abundant. Despite it, I just can’t help feeling that we are decidedly poorer. I ponder why.

If I could, I would love to bring back Cecil Beaton and hear what he would comment about the state of luxury in the present time. He may have a fit or worse a heart attack but also he would give damn accurate (& savaging) digs at it too…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

BOB Best of Britannia @ Clerkenwell

When my best friend, Fei Wang, invited me to join her at an exhibition, Best of Britannia on St John Street near the Smithfield Market, I was a little sceptical. Wouldn’t it be another trade show alike of 100% Design? I had possessed more than enough home-making paraphernalia at home, therefore, I didn’t have much interest nor enthusiasm for whatever the show in that kind of nature.
Then, my another best chum, Letizia, endorsed the show as a must visit. Therefore, there I was, meeting up with Fei at Barbican Underground…

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The earlier rain was cleared and the sun came out to greet the London commuters on their way home.

The venue was on St John Street – a stone’s throw from the restaurant St John which was celebrated for their hedonistically carnivorous cuisines.
We received wristbands at the registry and proceeded along the exhibits.

The first one we encountered was a speed boat…

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A sleek James Bond-esque craft was an exhibit by Fletcher Boat.
I didn’t know much about speed boats (or any boat!) but this vessel looked like an ultimate boy’s toy.
With this “Stop me if you dare” kind of bodywork, I could imagine an aging multimillionaire rock star sitting in the cockpit with a scandalously young blond hot chick sitting next to him looking nonchalant and bored.

The boat was followed by wheels of all forms and sizes…

Old Empire Motorcycles

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And Moulton Bicycles

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Irresistibly glamorous offerings by Morgan Motor Cars

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Being a tom boy, I used to make model cars and the Morgan 4-4 was one of them.
I painted my Morgan with British racing green and was mightily pleased with it.

Wow, this is their famous three-wheeler…

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Morgan Super Sports.
This 3 wheelers is not considered to be a car but a “cyclecar” – classified as a motorcycle. Whereby, the owner is exempted from paying the British tax on cars!
Then, how about the notorious Congestion Charge? Will it be exempted because it’s not a car?

Being a self- confessed brogue mania, I couldn’t resist visiting a stall of  Joseph Cheaney & Sons

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Amongst mainly men’s shoes, I found three pairs of ladies brogues…

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I did love the pair with  Co-respondent style.
I must try one at their shop in the Piccadilly Arcade soon.

Then, we stopped by a stall of Harry Brompton’s Alcoholic Iced Tea

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I was handed a glass of the iced tea with a piece of lime in by a friendly exhibitor. The tea was incredibly moreish.

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It was sweet but was delicately flavoured, therefore, it wouldn’t spoil any food if they were to be consumed together. I would prefer this iced tea to the Pimms in the summer. Or I would love to drink it with my gourmet burger any day.

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I loved their logo too. The air of nostalgia, that was what I was impressed with.
Don’t you agree that we are surrounded by too many mediocre & vulgar logos nowadays? Let’s try bringing back happiness & beauty back into our life by supporting good products and honest manufacturers.

Another exhibit I was impressed was by Michaux

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They produce well-designed cyclist bags targeting female cyclists.
The bags are made with water-proofed canvas with leather trimmings. A clever use of leather straps secures the bag on the cyclist’s back whereby she / he is allowed to focus on the traffic.

The exhibitor demonstrated how it would work…

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The dots on the bag would work as reflectors. How clever!

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I would definitely want one for myself! I loved the black one she was wearing.
Before that, I would have to dust off my Brompton and put some air in the tyres  however. I had been a reluctant cyclist ever since I was hit by a careless black cab. Stop being a chicken and get back to a saddle, shouldn’t I?

The bands in the courtyard offered non-stop entertainment to the visitors and exhibitors alike…

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While wandering around the venue, Fei & I came across a trio of striking looking gentlemen…

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Their relaxed yet observant demeanour impressed us and eventually, Fei approached them to introduce ourselves.
It turned out that the three of them were artists / designers and their installation was exhibited at the venue.
Learning insights from creative minds like them would be always fascinating and rewarding and I asked them to keep in touch when we exchanged our name cards.

Best of Britannia was one of the best creative events I had visited so far.
The venue size was perfect for an in-depth interaction between exhibitors and visitors. And the exhibits were fairly diverse and interesting.
Even though I had no chance to sample them, yummy looking artisan foods & drinks were on offer in the courtyard and even well-behaved dogs were allowed in too.

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Therefore, why don’t you visit the exhibition tomorrow? It will be a fab day out, I promise…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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