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Monthly archive

June 2010

Birthday celebrations, low key style


For Jake’s all male birthday celebrations yesterday we sat in his garden eating the best pastries E5 can offer and drinking coffee, while looking at the variety of abrasive and ridiculous cards people had made for him.

Then we watched England’s pitiful football humiliation on the world stage.

In the evening Jake, Holden, Tolero and I went for supper at St.John Bread & Wine. It was  very civilised indeed. Then drove across town with the roof off my Saab and Sticky Fingers on the stereo to meet Morrissey in the Dorchester hotel. For the next few hours Mozza proceeded to wrestle Jake openly in the piano bar in between bouts of questions to the rest of us. It was an hilarious and surreal accompaniment to the roster of Black Russians that rounded of the weekend neatly.

I might elaborate but on a countdown to style Diane Abbott for a magazine cover a 3pm. We did have a plan. Think it’s gone west.

Here’s one we made earlier, as they say on Blue Peter. Do you like it? Never got used dagnabbit. Stubbs out.

X-Factor Crowd originality failure.

Been on X Factor this week. Not as a contestant, obviously, but as Style Consigliere to my boy O’Leary. On Monday he looked as smart and dynamic as Thomas Crown in the office clip at the beginning of the (first) film,  in pert Burberry trousers, tassel loafers and Start shirt with contrast collar. So pert around the arse in fact, its been an on set talking point, (which was our brief I believe). Tuesday he wore Margiela pleated smart strides and Spencer Hart shirt and tie. The man looks sharp as a sushi chefs Global grapefruit knife. Which is frankly more than can be said for the hoards of contestants.

Mens style is my remit, so lets have them up. When did the decree get pronounced that three out of every five young men in the UK shall wear a check shirt? It’s ridiculous, I thought they went epidemic a couple of years ago, and was on the wane. Not so. Check shirt over kill is utterly rampant. I’m going to start a check shirt amnesty in the media. Lumberjack chic on a load of Essex wannabe boy bands, and everybody else too makes for an odd vista. The TV crew are as bad, they’re all wearing them with ubiquitous TV combat shorts.

World’s biggest boy band to date in Docklands today.

The fact that on the street in Hoxton ‘taches are also extremely popular, usually teamed with battered work boots is delivering a sort of fey Canadian urban workwear trend. Lumberjack overkill must end soon.

Plunging V necks are also a firm favourite with the more trend led, chest proud style merchants. Not convinced. King V is of course Simon, who pretty much owns the genre.

The Two Ronnies, style icons.

Further more, nerd glasses chic is officially dead and buried, as it appeared that they were being distributed free on the Docklands light railway by the number of hapless jokers  wearing them.  Sometimes two and three handed in one crew. One  act had gone for a nerd lumberjack barber shop quartet stance, all four of them wearing both check shirts and nerd bins. They looked like the black Four Ronnies. Absolutely comical mass irony, without anyone being ironic. Cant post images, so will have to think of some accompaniment to liven this up.

Other style hi/lo points included from the girls a zombie slapper from Lithuania, a tarty orange Thundercat, and a mother and daughter Robert Cavali-esque dinner party hostess look, delivered with quite breathtaking confidence on the hot ashfelt of a Dockland’s carpark. Girl style isn’t really my crusade, so shall level best alone.

Am gonna use this survey of bad and obvious mass style as a starting point.

Style&Error Amnesties, Style&Error Manifestos and Style&Error Vigilante features all to be launched later this summer when the individual grants come in from the British Fashion Council. God Bless Harold Tillman.

Stubbs Out.

Manifesto 20th June: Loafers

Loafers are one of life’s special indulgences. On a shoe level, they’re part of what separates us from the bovine commuters and the rubber soul prols. They’re also about as fancy as you can get on your feet without getting into cross dressing. The style above is by Fratelli Rossetti (click) and are part of their ‘Glove’ range.

I’ve loved loafers since I got a pair off the market down Keynsham in 1982. I thought I looked very Wham!/Continental at the same time. They were worn with very skinny market jeans. Proper urban aspirational styling. Nothing has changed.

A couple of  proper loafers.

Trying not to ‘bang on’ further, here are a clutch of good loafer styles that are in the boutiques now. Click on caption for designers site.

Gucci snaffle loafers.

Note these are all Italian brands.  Italians do loafer best. Russell & Bromley and Cleverley are two British exceptions, but today lets keep it strictly Roman.

Not sure if this Manifesto thing working or not. Anyway, loafers are currently on the Hoxton Tapas menu of trendy elements that the young are getting into. Fair enough, but few Bibbles go for good ones it seems. The pivotal factor is what ya team them with. Teeny weeny rolled up skinnies is the Bibble choice. Was looking for white or cream myself and ended up trying some Uniqlo ones as happened to be in there with a client. Been listening to Exile On Mainstream non stop for a week, so the jeans are more ‘honky tonk’ than I might normally go for, but still a bit Riviera.

Just been out in the real world for the weekend, and on a style and culture level, things are pretty pretty depressing.

Stubbs off.


Appear to keep forgetting this site is supposed to be about style, and getting sidetracked by banging on about life in stead. A young, thrusting web bird told me this caper is all about a concise and consistent message, which is a worry as am delivering neither. Am  gonna develop  and publish some direct style editorial to see if it works. They’re gonna be called the Style & Error Manifestos.

Above is a slither of mens style my team and I were working on. Caramel suit that the boy Fenn is sat down in is Gucci AW 2010, shoes by JM Weston, shirt and tie by Emma Willis. There ya go, some style coverage, and rather sharp too, no? OK, think my video M.O might need to be revised too. Not sure how many S&E fans are out there, so not that bothered really, just getting head straight on a few matters.

Below is my stylish new floor, mainly so my sister can look at it and tell our Mum. Oh shite. Talking about life again. Note clothes rails  loitering in the garden. Thats what rails do if left to own devices.

Anyway, expect a roster of S&E Manifestos in the next few months as I work out this new mens styles way of working. Gonna keep the life bit in as what they call colour.

Stubbs out.

Come, Been and Gone

I saw the Michael Clark Company’s ‘Come, Been and Gone’ (click) this week. Twenty four hours before sitting in The Barbican for this dance production, I’d been on the pitch at Old Trafford for the penalty shoot out at the end of Soccer Aid, by contrast utterly random and basic in it’s excitement. Come, Been and Gone was an incredible experience. One so compelling, it removed my conscious from the relentless mediocre information stream of modern living. 

I was taken there by a friend of Clark, Jake Walters (click), the photographer who shot images for the project. The work is inspired by David Bowie, but also includes elements by Dave’s pals Lou and Iggy, amongst other significant musical creatives. I’m a devoted fan of Bowie, but have only rarely seen dance performed, so was viewing as a relative layman.  That’s what is telling about Clark’s performances; even if you don’t know the first thing about dance, it’s very apparent that you’re regarding the work of a genius.

A series of sets unfolded including modern, mental, classic and sexually provocative dance all played out to a clever edit of songs.  An unreleased track by Wire, the rigorous Mass Production by Iggy Pop and All The Mad Men by Bowie each with a fresh dialect of movement. It’s a while before you engage in what you’re seeing without your brain sporadically thinking mundane thoughts. Gradually the dancing, visuals and music talk to you in an abstract manner. Your position as watcher in The Barbican falls away. It’s a multilayered encounter, as paintings by Peter Doig are lowered on wires, and at one point we’re treated a section of video of Bowie singing Heroes while Clarks dancers flow and articulate below. Dave wears a crucifix in that video, one notes, mesmerised.  

Heroes video still.

The Bowie style references are deft, not obvious or pedantic. The whole composition is very accomplished on that level; Not all about Bowie, not all obvious tracks or iconic hairstyles. The costumes by Stevie Stewart (of Bodymap) are interpretations of  the artists verve, in dance costume form and in no way slavishly Bowiesque. The set design and lighting were also excellent.

The penultimate piece is performed to Aladdin Sane, and the dancers are clad in liquid orange-sun-silver graduated metallic cat suits reminiscent of excerpts from The Man Who Fell To Earth. It was everything you’d want from that epic song, blissfully eloquent and expressive. So much for your conscious to absorb, it made me rush a bit.  I did think actually I cant take a great deal more of this before something gives, as the shapes and expressions sort of surge and explode in your brain, the whole thing becomes ecstatic. 

The last piece is the relentless rock pounding of Jean Genie. All I can do is run round a park listening to this in comparison to what Clark’s crew do with it. (Note. Don’t dwell on the video of  this on the companies site, it looks silly in comparison to the real work, and almost what stalwart cynics might guess modern dance affairs might look like).  The whole work is hugely entertaining. Other than dance brilliance and style, Clark has an impudent sense of humour. For example elements such as a syringe and abyss adorned cat suit a dancer wears for Velvet Underground’s Heroin. Words flash up for split seconds; sexual language mixed with words like ‘fudge’, ‘sack; and ‘dudel’ are very Clark and very cheeky.  

Clark made a number of appearances himself, which pleased the audience and me. It’s gratifying to see the head that all of this madness and beauty springs from. He takes the piss a little, but still has miraculous expressions at his disposal.  He finally danced on wearing a droopy yellow smiley face baby grow. It was on the floor when Jake and I visited his dressing room to say hello and congratulations. The room was littered with mad fascinating bits and pieces of peculiar detritus, dislocated completely from the chrome curtained splendour of the Barbican.

He talked intensely about sound details and lighting, and the new bits they’ve added.  He was talking to a bloke about how to put the show on in the Turbine Hall of The Tate Modern. It’s this summer and the public will be able to watch the company rehearse. The different venue will change how the work functions; the company will roll with that, constantly evolving. Go and see it. It’s mental and amazing. Michael told us how one of the company had lost her husband a fortnight ago, but was dancing on. They work extraordinarily hard and even at this pinnacle of their art, are poorly funded.  What money comes in, goes back into production. The dancers don’t get paid much at all.

When we left The Barbican, it was raining, dark and late. Silk Street was deserted.  Except a for small girl/woman sat in a pool of light and dryness at the bus stop. She looked up and smiled at us without thinking. It was Oxsana, one of the company, wearing clogs and tight jeans. She was lively considering the performance she’d just given. She was cheery considering it was her who had lost her husband. One wonders would the Barbican audience believe the girl they just marvelled at in a spectacular vision on the stage would be waiting in the drizzle long after they’d got safely home or to late supper? The whole damp vista was a world apart from the money sodden and vastly attended Soccer Aid affair the night before. It seems the public at large place a far higher value on Al Murray, Jamie Theakston and Alan Shearer playing ‘fun’ football than our most talented creatives experimenting brilliantly with the work of legends like Bowie. Soccer Aid was for charity, and its not fair to judge on that level really, so I wont. Life isn’t particularly fair, but on occasion you experience something truly remarkable that stays with you deep down, and I’m not talking about a celebrity penalty shoot out. 

Stubbs out.

Michael Clark Company (click)

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