Must Read Links

A generous handful of must read links for your long Easter weekend.
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☛ I picked up 2 vintage berets last month, but I’ve totally stalled out on how to wear them. Retro Chick comes to the rescue with 3 Ways to Wear a Beret.

☛ Salvatore Ferragamo threw a beautiful fête at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor. Dita Von Teese, Devon Aoki, and Marissa Mayer were in attendance. Sadly, my invitation was lost in the mail? Via Women’s Wear Daily.

☛ A 1908 vision of women’s liberation. Scary back then. Awesome to our eyes. Bonus: free fudge. Via The Appendix.

☛ I have this ongoing project: cleaning out my closet. It’s kinda become my second hobby. Turns out I’m really good at buying clothes and not wearing them. If you’re anything like me, look for these 9 signs you shouldn’t buy that item of clothing you’re trying to talk yourself into buying. Via XO Jane

☛ Helmets are cute and all, but they are one of the least important cycling safety measures, according to British Cycling policy advisor Chris Boardman. Via Road.cc

☛ Vanity Fair at its best: a juicy long read all about Hollywood’s Top Stylists. “Are the top Hollywood stylists cold-eyed deal-makers, or vulnerable freelancers, dependent on the whims of designers and stars? ” Via Vanity Fair.com

☛ Now that the weather is warming up, you’re probably thinking about how to transition out of your winter-cycling wardrobe. Shaye has illustrated thoughts she would like to share with you. Via Simple Recipes for Disaster

☛ Best friends Katy and Katie tackle this dubious Anthropologie hack. “I hate word hack. I hate it.” Definitely a must watch, but be prepared to cackle like a crazy lady. Via Just the Tips

Bike Pretty at SPIN London

Bikes?  Check.  Good coffee?  Check.  Pretty things, nice people?  Check.

We took a spin (har har) through SPIN London last weekend, a biannual event now in its third edition, and came back with this summary of our favourite bike pretty products, people, and moments to share with you.

Starting with none other than…

1. Michaux Club.  A former technical designer, Bike Pretty muse Rachel Bonney set the bar high when she launched her cycle-minded bag line Michaux Club in 2011.
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Hey that’s her!  Check out that smile, and smart merchandising. 

But she doesn’t make just bags.  A new version of Michaux Club’s stellar Lightsaber bar tape debuted at SPIN, replete with neat double rows of perforated holes that reveal the reflective material underneath – a concept that began with Rachel’s Zodiac bag series.

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Three colours!  Wow.  Is it obvious our vote lies with the gold?

…so your bars will glow ominously in the dark.

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I loved glowsticks on halloween as a kid, so this takes me back to happy memories of trick-or-treating. Except on my bike. Everyday. And who doesn’t wish everyday was halloween?

Rachel also featured some snazzy tassel keyring charms in the same colour palette as the bar tape.

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Tinged with reflective 3M silver, they really bring the hi-viz whimsy.  I liked them so much I bought two (one for me, one for Melissa, natch).  It goes great with my vintage Bonnie Cashin for Coach satchel, pictured above right (via Michaux Club’s instagram feed).

 And with another extra-special satchel, that you’ll hear about soon.

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2. Otto London. Londoners will likely be familiar with this line of urban ponchos, which come in an array of colours.  In my bike pretty world, there’s two kinds of capes: those to wear in an absolute downpour, and those to wear on a regular basis, to help block wind chill whilst maintaining a sense of movement and ease on the bike.

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Despite the fact that I live in London, I’m often in the latter type.  And this denim version of Otto’s signature style ticks all the right boxes.

The dark material is versatile and weighty, giving it just the right amount of swing.  And it’s treatable, too, with otter wax or any other water-proofing process, for the repellant-inclined.

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Functional details like the two-way zip, internal handlebar straps and zipped chest pocket make it perfectly suited to cycling, and conveniently hidden when you’re not. All in all, I felt just like Anne St. Marie in Balmain, circa 1955.

And what’s not Bike Pretty about that?_________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. Hovding. We’ve all seen those slow-mo vids of the much-hyped Hovding Airbag for Cyclists, circulating on design blogs across the internets for what feels like years.  But did you know Hovding’s design is proven to be three times more effective in a crash than leading industry helmets?  Protecting the noggin is a very Bike Pretty concept indeed.

Styled on the Euro-predilection for layered scarves, Hovding Marketing Manager Patricia Müller modelled the paisley version for us here.

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Scandinavian genes.  It’s a real thing, guys.
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4. Lflect.  If you’ve gone internet-hunting for pretty solutions to hi-viz in the past few years, chances are you’ve come across L-Flect’s Chanel-inspired chain.

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What you may not have seen is the rest of adorable designer Elena Corchero’s (pictured here) line, which includes a vast array of other like-minded, witty-chic accessories.

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Retro-inspired shoe clips, pins, reflective-threaded knits and more filled her SPIN stand.

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I love a mustard-hued glove.  With a subtle, detachable hi-viz bow; even better.

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My BP vote lies with the 3M reflective kiltie, and the hi-viz polka dot T-shirts.  I think the latter concept could be spun off into any manner of dotted materials and products, however.  Corchero should just go dotty.

Always a good look, if you ask me.

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5. Tracy Neuls Bike footwear line.  Nominated for the London Design Museum’s 2014 Designs of the Year exhibit, Neuls’ capsule range of bike-oriented styles combine her signature quirky sensibility with resilient materials and subtle hi-viz details.

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Our favourite is the George Chelsea Boot, pictured here at Spin in two materials: vegetable-tanned leather that only gets better with pedal-scuffed age (taupe on right), and the black suede style on the left.

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Glass beads are melted onto the surface and then coated with resin, lending a supple granular aspect to the surface that ultimately yields a versatile, lo-fi take on these babies that lit up fashion week streets of recent seasons.  Suffice it to say Neuls’ design will probably stand up to the elements, and your bike, much better.

Not to mention eliminate the shedding problem that comes with glitter footwear.

Photo courtesy of Tracy Neuls. 

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6. Tokyobike. Let’s face it: bike shops are not usually an aesthetically pleasing experience.  East-London based Tokyobike breaks that tacit rule however, and their SPIN stand was no exception with its reliably minimal, multi-brand offering.  Plus, it led to another Karina T. Jones sighting, which is always a thrill.

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Their thoughtful palette of SAHN helmets paired well with Tokyobike’s eponymous frame line.

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And you know we love a pastel helmet palette.

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7. Festka custom-built road frames. Specifically, this one embellished by artist Jan Kalab.

There are no words.

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and of course, our favourite Bike Pretty star of east London, Jenni Gwiazdowski of London Bike Kitchen!

Posing with another *ace* Festka frame:

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The next edition of SPIN takes place 5th-7th of December 2014.  Hope to see you there!

There’s a Bike in It: 5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent press

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Karlie Kloss & Liu Wen for Coach, S/S 14 ad campaign, New York.

“Wait, what’s that in the corner there?  It looks like a wheel…the wheel of a bicycle! Mere inches away from a seriously pulchritudinous situation…”

This happened so frequently during my recent life *ahem* perusals of the early Spring magazines that my natural bike pretty antennae went into high alert mode.  I starting keeping a mental note of the bike pretty-ness of it all, figuring I’d share once I had a sizeable list en tête, or when a truly “ah-ha!” moment struck me. Well.  Lucky for you guys, that moment arrived last Friday, returning on the London overground with a flat tire, a tired boyfriend, & no patch kit (grrrr) after a trip to the deep east to watch dogs run around in circles (don’t ask).

Let’s be real: it’s not often that I find myself on public transportation.  So it was with palpable delight that I found myself rewarded for my flat tire with a shot of retired Olympic track cyclist Victoria Pendleton on the front page of the London Evening Standard, a copy of which lay discarded on an adjacent seat.  Grinning ear-to-ear atop an upright bicycle in a white lace dress, matching brogues and boater hat – e.g., epitomizing the bike pretty ethos if ever - Victoria seemed to be saying “….WEEEE, BIKES!!” er, “Kelly, get to it.”

And when you start hearing voices when you read the newspaper an Olympic champion stares back at you in fashion-earnest, one sculpted track-cyclist leg revealed and ready to kick your butt, you do what your gut tells you. So. 

5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent International press:

1. Don’t be afraid to Cycle in a Maxi-dress.  Via Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton, on the cover of the London Evening Standard, 21 March 2014.

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A promotion for UK charity Sport Relief, the shoot aimed to recreate the bicycle scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with a bit of a role reversal.

Pendleton plays both Katherine Ross and Paul Newman in one as she tows Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev through a lush English idyll.  And in a maxi-dress, no less, one lacking the functional thigh-high slit of Ross’ original.  Skills, people.  BP skills, to be precise.

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Photos: Rupert Peace.  Want Pendleton’s outfit credits? Scroll to the bottom here.

2. Never underestimate the power of a versatile Printed TrenchVia leggy all-American model Karlie Kloss in Coach’s S/S 14 ad campaign.

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Like Miu Miu and Sonia Rykiel before them (#respect), Coach boosted their spring campaign by putting Kloss on a bike.  She’s basically perfection in a reptile-print wisp of a trench, the styling incorporating a signature-yet-subtle bike pretty coordination move matching the eyewear frames to the bicycle [frame], and bag.  Win win, Reed Krakoff.  Way to leave on a high note.

The Bonnie Cashin era excluded (gah, double-kisslock pockets!), I had heretofore never been much of a Coach fan.  This shot of Karlie wiped any suburban mall-bred memory of khaki C-logo jacquard from the proverbial slate, however, and I found myself scoping out the latest bags (#dangerous) and imagining outfits in my head around several styles.

Converted, for sure.

3. DUDE, definitely Bike in Heels.  It’s so much easier than walking.  Via Coach (again!), and their rather brilliant #coachfromabove social media campaign, featuring their recent footwear collections.

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Clockwise from upper left: Coach S/S 14 | Coach’s F/W 14 Ophelia heel via @jenpinkston of The Effortless Chic | Coach’s Marah flat  | Coach via Andy of Style Scrapbook

Hmm, the marketing team over at Coach must include a Bike Pretty fan (or several), amirite? Or maybe they’re tapping into the bike pretty inclinations of an ever-increasing number of stylish NYers, braving the streets on wheels via the Citi bike program…or maybe both.

Either way, their footwear campaign shots, surreptitiously planted on the website amongst customer-generated media of fans sharing shots of their Coach footwear from above, feature the label’s more practical yet pretty styles perched on pedals.  Pretty preening footwear perched on pedals. Say that three times fast.

Scoping the #coachfromabove hashtag also led to this lovely post on the same topic…and this fun if gratuitous shot below. What, there’s bikes in it, ok?  Via Style Scrapbook.  Trip to Amsterdam, anyone?

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4. Ride a Bike in Paris. At least once in your life.  Via Vogue Paris, February 2014, Sur les Quais editorial, styling: Claire Dhelens, photography: Lachlan Bailey. 

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“I own the île Saint-Louis.” Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

Admittedly, this is not exactly a BP tenet.  But certainly something to add to the bucket list, if you haven’t done so already.  As a longtime resident and now frequent visitor to the city of lights, I can say with conviction that cycling in Paris is a wonder.  Riding around London, I often fantasize about her lorry*-less streets, and manageable number of buses to circumvent.

Really, it feels just like this.  And at BP HQ we love a bike in editorial, so had to share these shots from Vogue Paris’ February 2014 issue.

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“Don’t mess with my dog. Or my wheels.”  Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

5. Embrace Bike-Commuting and its unique style challenges.  Via everyday London commuter Jess Bowie in The New Review magazine’s Cycling Issue, 23 March 2014.
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Photo: Immo Klink.

Despite its late-to-the-game title, writer Simon Usborn’s “The Rise of the Female Cyclist” piece in last weekend’s issue of The New Review magazine (The Independent on Sunday) proved an inclusive read, chock-full of insightful quotes by Caz Nicklin of Cycle Chic fame, London Mayor Boris Johnson “[we need to] de-Lycrafy the bicycle” and this food for thought from everyday commuter Jess Bowie, 29, pictured above;

“I’m loathe to say it but often women care more about how they look, so might think cycling will make them a bit more disheveled.  But if more of us do it, and female commuters look out the bus window and see women like them on bikes, it would definitely help.” 

Which is a pretty good segway: don’t miss Melissa’s upcoming post on ModCloth about stylish bike-commuting.  Watch this space!

…and Happy Weekend!  I’m off to stylishly lean against my handlebars like so SPIN London. See you soon!

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S/S 14 campaign, Golden Goose Deluxe Brand® Venezia (I know: Geese? Venice? Whaat? Alas). 

*Lorry = British parlance for what is referred to in American English as a semi-truck.

Oh hey, so, Vivienne Westwood Rides a Bike

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“Hey, Viv!” She’s read the gospel (she wrote it), and she knows that cycling in heels is The Only Way.  

Grande dame Vivienne Westwood (DBE) in her own designs, photographed by Alasdair McLellan for The Gentlewoman, Issue no. 9, Spring and Summer 2014.

They say you should never meet your heroes.

Impossibly mammoth expectations, coupled with the inevitable bumbling awkwardness of it all converge into a monster that will forever haunt you, an experience you’ll relive time and again both in your own head and aloud with others.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, David Bowie encounters, and general declarations of Bowie-hero-love seem, to this writer at least, cited more often in the press than any other.  Marilyn Manson once said something along the lines of meeting Mr. Stardust, a personal hero, “He complemented my suit, and I felt like a little schoolboy.” There was artist Dawn Kasper’s brush-with-Bowie experience (read ’til pg. 3) at the 2012 Whitney Biennial.  And painter Elizabeth Peyton spoke of Bowie and his accompanying 2013 V&A retrospective, “…I thought the tone of the show echoed how we all feel about him – total love and gratitude for his existence.” (The Gentlewoman, Issue no. 8, Autumn and Winter 2013)

Cue Vivienne Westwood.  I have never met the woman per se, but the first thing I did when I moved to London was buy tickets to hear her speak at an event late 2012.  And it totally effed with my head.

Total love and gratitude for her existence is a sentiment I could get down with.

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Vivienne Westwood, off the bike. And effing with my head. An expert model of her own designs. #Winning 

Total love and gratitude is something I felt when, as a fashion design student at FIT with @bikepretty, I saw an exhibit devoted to her footwear designs in Italy, circa 2007.

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Footwear from the exhibit.  Naomi Campbell, watch out. 

Total love and gratitude is something I feel every time I scour ebay for secondhand castoffs of her designs, my heart swelling with every poorly-photographed asymmetrical seam, every oddball corset, every wonky tartan jacket that graces my search results, their many peplum hems draped just so.  In short, I’ve always looked up to the woman.  After that event however, I feared my opinion forever changed.

She ignored the moderator’s questions, choosing instead to speak about topics that she found more interesting, which included everything from saving the environment to making disparaging comments about her own design team – “They just copy designs from my archive” – or, my favorite – “They spend all their wages on childcare, which doesn’t make any sense to me.  Why not just quit work and stay home with the children?” Maybe you should pay them more, I thought. She proclaimed herself less interested in her line, and in fashion, than ever.  All artists today are crap. No one has any sense of history. And here’s my charity that you should all donate to, we’re saving the rainforest and it’s Really Important.

Several people got up and left the room.  My boyfriend cast a pained look at me and whispered, “Mais…elle est folle!” (he’s French) and said he’d wait for me in the lobby. I remained in my seat until the bitter end, and left feeling cheated, a bit dejected.  Folle, indeed.

Was this really the woman behind all those whimsically anarchic fashions of my dreams?  She seemed so graceless and arrogant.

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*Sigh.* Ms. Westwood on the cover of The Gentlewoman, issue no. 9, Spring and Summer 2014. 

In the intervening time since, I have often parsed the many alarming diatribes that surfaced that evening- and so it was with mixed feelings that I saw her as the cover choice for the latest issue of The Gentlewoman,* my favorite magazine.  I now take my Westwood with a grain of salt, thankyouverymuch.

But as I read through the interview, I found myself chuckling, gradually recognizing in Deborah Orr’s words what had eluded me those many months prior. The interview- *spoiler alert* – nearly mirrors my above experience.  Living through it again was like a cheerful slap in the face:

Vivienne Westwood is a punk! One of the originals!  And what could be more punk  than doing whatever the bloody hell you want?  E.g., subverting international press opportunities and public speaking events to serve as a platform for something you think the world really needs to hear about!

As Orr points out, Vivienne’s life and career “are already well documented, and she doesn’t need the publicity,” further noting “Westwood is not without arrogance, but that’s OK, because her high opinion of herself is backed up by her achievements, the mark she’s made on the world.”

Mmmm don’t get me wrong.  I don’t need to go hear her speak again.  But I will continue to stalk her work on ebay.  And ok Viv, you got me: that shot on the bike, in your own designs, in your own heels, with that plucky, smug environmentalist’s smile on your face, and at age 72 to boot?  That’s pretty punk rock, too.  Something to aspire to.

#BikeWestwood, I think I’m into it.

Turns out the Dame Commander even sent a model down the runway on a bike back in F/W 12. Check out these internet (#bikewestwood) diamonds:

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Vivienne Westwood’s F/W 12 runway show, Paris. Looks like she needs a seat adjustment, and the rest of us need some metallic silver opera gloves.

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Viv & model in a blurry campaign shot.  Anyone know what season this is?

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Stripes & stripes, a winning combination. Circa 2011.

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In London, January 2013, at a press conference to ban ecocide.

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With husband and design partner Andreas Kronthaler, at the 2009 film premiere of “The Age of Stupid.” She rode her bike down the red carpet, and in what looks to be an asymmetrical peg-skirted dress, no less.  So take that.

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*The Gentlewoman is a brilliant biannual publication that is probably the only fashion magazine worth reading, or anyhow, the only one that is refreshingly manageable to keep up with. They once put Inez van Lamsweerde on the cover in a fake beard. ‘Nuff said.

Sunday Escape – Night Rider by Marissa Kaiser

Enjoy this perfect dream of Summer cycling, featuring the lovely Soo Joo Park.

“The idea came from watching my boyfriend skateboard at night under the Manhattan Bridge,” explains Kaiser. “It struck me how easily skateboarders glide through the night lights, just floating in the air.”

Kaiser called on friend and cult-colorist Aura Friedman to recreate this season’s Technicolor hair trends with multicolored wigs mimicking the tonality of changing traffic lights, bright signage, and taxicab headlights. “I wanted to play around with these crazy neon and pastille palettes, but I also wanted to keep it pretty and not punky,” explains Friedman…

“We wanted a feeling of wonder, but also something cinematic,” adds Friedman, “almost recreating the feeling of the old Times Square, just like in Midnight Cowboy.”

Via Nowness

BRB, just realized that I need all the hair colors.