Noon Solar. Just in time for holiday wishlists... a line of solar bags that look great. I am currently debating whether to order the black Cortland Tote.... and they were smart enough to put the solar panel on one side so you can easily choose whether to face it outwards, or have it face your body and look like a sleek leather tote... well a tote with "entire exterior and interior constructed from Bavarian sourced, chrome-free, naturally tanned and dyed, full-grain cowhide leather and naturally dyed hemp cotton blend" to be precise. It looks like the perfect size for a 15" macbook pro... close ups below of the bags and the technology within... read more about the solar power and battery pack here. Also a great potential gift for the men in your life... their Logan Satchel in brown. Isn't it about time someone put solar panels to aethetically appealing use? (Yes, i'm thinking of you, ugly solar backpacks.)
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I can't stop giggling. The latest Barney's Babble Live cracked me up... only Simon Doonan (Barney's Creative Director) can get away with asking things like whether these "sequins are made of tofu by blind lesbians" seriously... and then look at Julie Gilhart (Barney's Fashion Director) and as seriously as he discusses her future relationship with Prince Charles (her future *green* husband) he asks her "Do you have a composting toilet at home, Julie?"... and tells her how he can feel the sheep (as sheep dances by) in the ecological wool scarf. All with a little green gnome sitting between them. OH, and the intro and exit music feel straight from one of those claymation rudolph/snowman films of my childhood... so cute.
Anyhow, stepping back ~ Barney's has gone green this holiday season, and i've been swooning over their fonts and catalog layouts... and then further browsing the awesome Green Holiday catalog, i ended up watching the video ~ both of which include everything from Arbor skateboards and this great green Goyard Matellier Depuis Recyclable Canvas bag of all natural materials and a recycle logo, to the new Loomstate for Barneys Green line, Phillip Lim's organic dress, and more. So see below for my favorite pages of the catalog, and some of the graphics from their mailers, gift cards, video and more.
Swims. First impression? Are these the tuxedos of crocs? Can i really go puddle jumping with these and protect my nice shoes (that aren't heels.)? Love the photography! and web design! (particularly the way you access the gallery with the little stack of images on the far right. And then from there, i actually started reading... The Swims story is an interesting one of Johan, who grew up in norway and never let go of the galoshes that his grandfather had passed down to him... and as he moved to paris and new york and even put in his time at Parson's he realized that there was a need to develop Swims, the "modern galoshes". Being a socal girl, i have never gotten quite caught up on the vocabulary of people with "real weather"... apparently Galoshes are "overshoes that slip over the wearer's indoor footwear but is made of waterproof material to protect the more delicate materials of the shoe as well as the wearer's foot from cold and damp".
Fun detail other than great packaging... the "ballerina" version for ladies leaves trees where you step... and see some of my favorite images from their catalog below as well as close ups. And i know these are one of the trend blog post subjects that are everywhere this week, but they were so cool and no one covered the great photography aspect, so i couldn't resist.
Day 29 of our ambitious gift guide features the eco friendly Tope* Wallets of db clay. We've reviewed and shown you the great packaging previously, and after a few months of use, the boys of NOTCOT are still using them, and they are certainly a nice alternative to leather, and for those who like the subtle yet detailed, the Puzzle collection that just launched featuring 500 unique hand printed wallets! You can see some of my favorites in today's gift guide! (Oh, and as always, click the pictures to find out more info.)
On unexpected things ~ i've been having a lot of conversations with mid-20 something guys about high priced watches, particularly those who didn't grow up with them, and the desperate coveting of high end watches as status symbols, followed by the implication that that watch would get them some. And i've been mocking them all, but after this weekend - OK, i take it back, maybe the watch thing *can* work. The unexpected stand out from this Oakley weekend is definitely the Oakley Minute Machine. It caused some amusing drama at the after party, and perhaps that IS the best marketing strategy, after all that now even i find myself curious about it... well the Oakley Minute Machine Diamond Dial Edition ($3,500) anyhow (left watch)... although the Black face Titanium Edition ($1,195) is tempting too (right watch)... then there is the Unobtanium Edition($995).
Freshly back in LA, and slightly scared to wear my Tom Fords... as i told you earlier, i just spent two nights up in Half Moon Bay with the Oakley crew at their golf tournament, where i got to check out the Rolling O Lab. Now, i already showed you the *fun* side of the O Lab, here's the fascinating rolling research lab in a trailer... it will really bring out the hands on science geek in anyone. I tried to get pics of all the fun bits to share with you... but here's the cliff notes version before we get into the show and tell: if something blasts you in the face, most glasses will stab you in the eye - Oakley lenses just scratch slightly... if you lay down and drop a nearly 2 pound pointed weight on your glasses, you will have something sharp sticking out of your eye - Oakley lenses just get a dent... if you point lasers through the lenses to emulate your vision, the Oakleys actually meet at a point as they should - the others (and we put our random glasses on) were all over the place meaning your eyes are overcompensating (so THAT's why some glasses give you headaches quickly)... ok ok there's more, and it was all rather fascinating to me, so please don't mind the ranting... see pics below - of inside the lab, and also the GIANT corona bottle that was at the first hole.
I've been off t-shirts lately, we've been inunddated with them to the point that our closets can no longer handle it and its getting pretty wasteful! BUT the trend of in your face, bold, large fonts on tees to state your cause of the moment has been coming back in a huge way, and there are some pretty nice options out there. (Or perhaps i've just been more conscious of them since the Social Atelier launch) - I just noticed these Katharine Hamnett ones in Domino and the "MAKE TROUBLE question everything" Chomsky tee is terribly tempting as a holiday gift to everyone i know. Other favorites are Clean Up or Die (with skull!), STOP and THINK, EDUCATION not MISSILES, WORLD PEACE NOW, CHOOSE LIFE, SAVE the Rainforest, SAVE the SEA! Anyhow, you get the point, i don't need to keep screaming them at you (do i?) ~ and sure its pretty easy to just grab a sharpie and go at a plain tshirt for a similar impact, so i'm really showing you the Katharine Hamnett line because i also love the way she's shot the shirts on playful models (although a bit borderline AA) and has a sleek website. See more of my faves below!
Toy Me has some fun new pieces ~ from their newest collection the ones that grabbed me are the macho arm, robotino, and the sunglasses to hang your sunglasses from (at first they almost look like the tabs from soda cans)! The mini rayban wayfarers and even aviators are far too cute, definitely a fun add on gift if you're gifting sunglasses this holiday season. Close ups below... and if Toy Me seems familiar, maybe you're remember those sweet Hunting Trap bracelets and Tank Cufflinks!
Oooooh. Robin over at Bittersweets has outdone herself with this latest creation. (For a refresher, we've written about Bittersweets a few times over the years, and even featured her opening and also showcased her products in the gallery)... this Vampress is the diamond ring variation of our favorite pairs of Baby Vamp Rings (see my favorite picture from NOTed featuring them after the jump). There is a slight issue with the wearing the two thin bands and keeping the jaws perfectly aligned ~ a minor issue that is instantly solved by having them holding a diamond... so the holidays are around the corner! Buy one for your Vampress.
Ok, this is going to be a bit backwards, but i needed to share this product discovery from the A+R launch dinner before the dinner itself. I've long loved the deep resin works of Brooks Salzwedel from my discovery of his belt buckles back in sept of 06 to further exploration of his intriguing and mesmerizing larger resin "paintings" of sorts (and the smaller ones in found tins, etc) in august 07. Well as it turns out, Andy (the A of A+R) loved them as much as i did, and got in touch with Brooks who is also a Silverlaker, and the buckles did amazingly... and as the story goes Rose (the R of A+R) even helped Brooks get into the GenArt Fresh Faces this year, where his work was incredibly well received. So although A+R is stocked with so many things i love (it was like being in the NOTCOT store, if there were a NOTCOT store, it was incredible, but more on that later)... these teeny tiny new necklaces caught my eye. There was that moment of literal - OMG. Are those...?
And here you have it, the latest - in fact the FIRST - pieces of jewelry from Brooks Salzwedel, which Andy and Rose had *just* put out tonight... incredibly intricately cast metal woody pieces with the classic Salzwedel depth in resin. And in those teeny tiny logs, are even tinier little trees, which are truly the coolest things i may have ever seen (and i see a lot.) So if you feel so inclined, these may not make it into any store or website for a while, but you can contact A+R for more info... just please don't buy these specific little logs! I need to go back and beg them to let me buy them... once they figure out how much they are. Many more images below (please don't mind my super quick mid-party shots) - including one of the belts gorgeously displayed on logs in the storefront. And click to see more of Brooks Salzwedel's Buckles and Art.
*Drool* The last thing i expected this sunday night was to find myself desperately wanting to see one of these new North Face 485 Collection coats in person... but i'm pretty blown away by the images and concept so far. The Tagline for the collection is "Artistic design meets extraordinary performance." This mix of sophistication and multipurpose usage (look good AND survive that freak blizzard) has quite possibly completely raised the bar for coats in my closet.
From their site: "The North Face presents 485, a premier outerwear collection that breathes and urban, artistic spirit into trusted quality and technical construction. Let these sophisticated silhouettes accompany you from extreme outdoor environments to sidewalk settings." These are a mix of Primaloft, Goretex, and down ~ delivering warmth and comfort while waterproof and breathable... not to mention how sleek they look! More images below. Love the whole jet black with red details for the tag, etc inside... mmm. (oh wait, just noticed on the paragon sports site that they have other colors... their choice in the other colors is making me question things slightly...) via Uncrate
Leave it to Phillip Wood of CITIZEN:Citizen to give me exactly what i needed once i got into the madness that was the Paper 24 Hour Department Store... my prescription of Design Therapy. Although i must say i STRONGLY disagree with the Bx that says i should take it ONCE yearly, i'm more of a daily overdoser ~ and if you're here, i'm going to assume you are too. Why else would i have NOTCOT? and NOTCOT.org? (and TasteSpotting and notcouture too! There really isn't enough design therapy out there.)
So, are you curious what's in my bag of The Brand Pharmacy Design Therapy? See below for pics of the bottle of pills... the pharmacists at work... and more info of what this really is... and some pics of CITIZEN:Citizen's fab booth of ironically luxe goodies... and a never before seen piece!
Why, yes, this IS yet another option for your reusable grocery shopping bag collection. From one of our favorite designers, Alissia Melka Teichroew in collaboration with her husband, Jan Habraken (of WATdesign), and Charles and Marie come this line of canvas shoppers with bags printed on them... So far they have shown off pics of Blue Tote/Pink Clutch and Pink Tote/Blue Clutch, but they just gave us an exclusive sneak peek of the one that is coming in a few weeks... Caramel Tote/Silver Tote! Which certainly seems to be a fun one to shake up some of that supermarket check out monotony.
P.s. does Alissia sound familiar? That might be because you know her inside out martini glass and diamond rings we posted about earlier. And if you're needing some reminding or a quick catch up on the many reusable bag posts, see below.
Oakley's line of wearable tech has evolved once again... and its certainly improving! If you recall, i reviewed their O ROKR and Thump 2 almost exactly a year ago, and i was pleasantly surprised when a white boxed beta of the Split Thump showed up today. They've really cleaned up the design quite a bit, and it is now possible to be far more 007 like with these... removable t-rex arm ear buds (with an adorable little classic oakley pouch for them, even with a divider in the middle to keep them from destroying each other) and the external buttons have been incorporated into the logo (which has been enlarged and aesthetically looks far better on the glasses)... and they are sounding better as well. Bottom line? These glasses can actually look like normal sporty sunglasses when you aren't listening to music, giving you the flexibility the others lacked. Anyhow, take a look below for the unboxing, close ups, and a some photo comparisons between the Thump 2 and the and the Split Thump.
Oh, and if any of you are thinking ~ but wait some of the big tech blogs hated it... i just reread all those posts, and they have been following their predecessors who all hated the concept to start with - and its so sad that some of those sounded like whiny poor techy ipod lovers who probably aren't huge fans of outdoor sports. But anyhow, i might be in a ranty mood... these are definitely making my potential gift list... although it says "coming soon", i've heard that these will definitely be shipping in time for xmas.
We find weird trends pop up on NotCouture ~ or we notice certain types of pieces becoming more and more prevalent and then simply bubbling up in our consciousness.... first there were the Fingerless Gloves, and as the seasons progressed we just kept finding them everywhere! Lately the thing that keeps finding me are these folding sunglasses. I used to think that glasses that folded into strangely compacted slightly flattened cigar cases were reserved for reading glasses... but its been interesting to see that Rayban adapted their 1952 classic Wayfarers to be folding... Ralph Lauren has foldable wrap around sunglasses... and John Varvatos has the hybrid Transitional Readers - yes, folding reading glasses that automatically darken to become sunglasses. And they all have cute cases for these too... although they don't look all that guy pocket friendly, more purse friendly? Perhaps its for the wives to carry for them. Anyhow, unsure of whether this has been an ancient design trend and i'm just noticing, or if its make a strange comeback. I'm quietly tracking them on NotCouture, so feel free to add any nice ones you find as well.
It's not exactly easy to find luggage that shows your character while still being not only subtle and gorgeously designed but also functional... particularly when it comes to slick leather travel gear. Just stumbled upon (ok, well got an invite to their Melrose grand opening party, and naturally got distracted browsing the site) Dussault's fall collection ~ and although you may be more familiar with their hoodies, jeans, and tees and their Gene Simmon's Moneybag collection... it was really their leather carry-ons and messenger bags that grabbed me. From afar, these bags look like rugged leather duffle rollers, which i'm sure will age nicely with everything it could possibly bump into, and upon closer inspection you will notice that they have skull and money bag patterns pressed into sections of them as well as the calligraphic Dussault D's for zipper pulls. The classic leather wallet with moneybags imprinted also just makes me smile ~ can't you imagine a banker on wall street pulling one of these out of his bespoke suit pocket? It's all about the subtle details that make you look twice. Close ups below...
Ok so when i get on a reusable bag trend... and try to stop... it's hard! Because now everyone who finds new reusable shopping bags is sending them over, and i just have to share one more with you. Kristopher Dukes just had these Flip and Tumble bags show up in her inbox, and seeing as they're not exactly couture... she's passed them on to add to my growing list of reusable options. From a design perspective i needed to post these because linhchi and i were just thinking the other day... wouldn't it be easiest just to have an attached pouch? just cram the whole bag in it? Like a Popple! And then here we have Flip and Tumble doing just that... they describe it as a sock ball... i think of it as a Popple bag. And for those who are either so old they forgot what a Popple is, or those *gasp* who are too young to know about them... i dug up an original 80's Popple advert on youtube that's embedded below for your viewing pleasure.
I know, i know, you must be near reusable bag overdose... but its EVERYWHERE. So since we've started, i'm just tracking them all when they seem interesting. Latest that got sent in (you can also see more and more reader finds in comments on the various posts as well as over at .org) ~ Method (yes the beautifully packaged, omop, etc guys) has gotten in on the action with their use of GiveGreener.com. You spend 20$ on Method Products, and you can write/email in to receive a free not so subtle tote... in fact they even say "Get Greener: BE SEEN BEING GREEN with method's reusable market tote". So is it really about saving the environment some waste, broadcasting that you're doing it, or both? Their version has been designed by "eco-lifestyle expert Danny Seo" ~ with playful retro typography ~ and 16 ways to look good and feel better on the back. It even zips up into a light blue pouch.
I guess you could say i have a preoccupation with the state of reusable grocery bags, and while i was out tonight i couldn't help myself, and gave in and purchased a 99 cent Target zip up bag, as well as the new insulated Whole Foods bag for $2.99. Also thrown in for comparison is the standard Whole Foods 99 cent bag (the matching version at target was around $1.49 i think - and i've also seen variations of these same ones from various grocers). The other one from the same manufacturer that i have at home is the 6 wine bottle version (basically the standard with braces to hold your bottles apart). So, from a shoppers perspective it looks like Green Bag has got quite a hold on the corporate reusable shopping bag market. And they are great! Just not quite as pocketable as the Baggus and Envirosax we were discussing earlier. One of the nicest things about these other than the super reasonable price points ~ these are the reusable's equivalent to a standard paperbag ~ a bit sturdier, and love that they have a plastic insert to keep the bottoms strong. These are great in the back of my car and for odd shaped items. As for the target one, i couldn't resist the adorable bird on a target tree design they had. Isn't it cute? And the tag reads: Reusable Shopping Bag "Reuse to Reduce". Due to the zip up nature of the bag, no sturdy flat bottom for this one, and not quite tiny enough i'd want to keep it in my purse.
An observation on the difference of the corporate check out culture between Target and Whole Foods. When i was at Target and purchasing the bag, she just throws it into a PLASTIC bag and hands it all to me... doesn't even think to put my stuff in the bag. When at Whole Foods, the insulated bag i was buying was in the cart... and she asks me whether i brought my own, or i'm buying that one ~ and proceeds to load my groceries into my reusable bags. [I'd link you to places to purchase these online, but i can't find links!]
I can't remember if we were mildly obsessed with saftey pins before NotCouture, or if the safety pin naturally became our logo and then we kept noticing it everywhere. But regardless, saftey pins are truly popping up everywhere lately... i supposed it matches the whole psuedo-punk/glam trend with all the studded burberry, etc. But i was surprised to come across this new collection from Vivienne Westwood Hardcore Diamonds where she takes on safety pins and paperclips.
I'm sure you've heard by now that Diesel has branched out into fragrances: Fuel For Life... its been hard to miss their campaign this season! Well we are super stoked to be giving you this weekend exclusive about the new Fuel For Life FACTORY! Where you can use their flashy online customizer to design your own zippered leather jacket for your bottle of Fuel For Life. With a range of colored leathers and logos for the front and back and even the zipper pull leathers to customize... you have quite a few choices to make. And only 20,000 of these bottles will be produced, so starting on Monday, you'll have your chance to build and buy your own, but until then you can explore the current Fuel For Life site with interactive experiences to keep you busy and ads to watch until then. (Screenshots of all below!)
Ok with all these reusable bags floating around... from designer ones to simple ones to crazy patterned ones... here's a quick little review from what all of us at NOTCOT have learned so far... and what we love, and don't love... when we use them, and when we don't. Would love to hear what you do with them as well, and what kinds of things drive you nuts about them. Because with a simple project brief like "design a new superusable reusable grocery bag"... it seems strange that most of the solutions seem like nylon versions of things from the past. What advances could we add to them? What little details would you love to see in a reusable grocery bag? Are reusable grocery bags the new t-shirt? The next thing everyone needs a drawer full of ~ in every color and design for every mood and occasion?
Baggu Bags. These clean simple bags sure are getting popular lately! They've been on most of the design/trend blogs, and we've even had them on NotCouture when we first launched - they are #478. Dan and i had the pleasure of having coffee with founder Emily Sugihara last week (she's freshly relocated back to California, and is testing out the norcal lifestyle) ~ and we all got on so well it ended up being a few hour long "quick coffee"... she's an adorable, fascinating, fellow 24 year old ~ grew up in Del Mar ~ put in time at Parsons getting a masters in Fashion ~ interned with Proenza Schouler, worked at jcrew, bebe, etc... and then finally realized it was time for a change. So putting her keen fashion design skills to work on something a bit more everyday ~ she and her mother have taken on the reusable grocery bag market ~ not only helping make our grocery shopping a bit more clean and brand-free, but also help cut down on all the plastic we've been using ~ also she and i are on the same page that having a home/wherever you are office, is far more fun than a traditional day job!
I know, i've been ranting lately that there are SO MANY options, and it feels like people have suddenly "discovered" the concept of reusable bags... but these are pretty slick and understated (finally!)... and for the gents ~ her folding design actually does fit in a guys tight jean back pocket. So no more excuses for the non-purse toting ones. I have a hands on review/comparison post coming up next, but just wanted to let you guys know how fun our meeting was first!
Also ~ any interest if we were to team up and do some limited edition understated NOTCOT designed Baggus?