Category Archives: Asia

➤ The Blitz Kids WATN? No 28, Stephen Linard

drakes-london,Stephen Linard,British tailoring, haberdashery,Drake’s,Michael Hill,luxury shops, Clifford Street , London

Former Blitz Kid and St Martin’s fashion graduate Stephen Linard: today he is a designer with Drake’s, the gentlemen’s haberdasher, seen here at a staff preview for the opening of its first shop just off Savile Row. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

❚ WACKIEST AMONG THE 80s BLITZ KID RACERS was Stephen Linard, the Essex boy who nevertheless graduated from St Martin’s art school with a first-class degree in menswear 30 years ago this summer. Modelled by six of his hunky clubland pals, his collection titled Reluctant Emigrés featured swishy draped greatcoats, pinstripe trousers and city shirts that all evinced an Edwardian air of immaculate tailoring while declaring edgy details with organza and contrast patches. Amid the women’s outfits shown by most of the other fashion graduates, Linard’s chic street-savvy lads had a gasp-out-loud impact, as commentator Suzy Menkes noted after the show. The influential South Molton Street shop Browns immediately wanted to develop the range, but Stephen decided instead to sell his original garments to a short-lived synthpop band called Animal Magnet. “I needed the money,” he says now in a shocking confession of short-termism.

A hugely original and resourceful talent, Stephen was feted by the fashion press upon graduation. His high-visibility fashion leads were key among the 15 sharpest Blitz Kids who shaped the New Romantics silhouette from Covent Garden’s Blitz club — Stephen Jones, Kim Bowen, Lee Sheldrick, Helen Robinson, Melissa Caplan, Fiona Dealey, Judi Frankland, Michele Clapton, David Holah, Stevie Stewart, Julia Fodor, Dinny Hall, Simon Withers and über-wag Chris Sullivan were the others. Most significantly, Linard advertised his bizarre imagination by changing his appearance on an almost daily basis, from his foppish Fauntleroy dandy, to the Endangered Species outfit made from animal skins, to the Bonnie Prince Charlie tartans copied for his character in Worried About the Boy, last year’s TV biodrama on Boy George, who became a soulmate the moment Stephen walked into Billy’s club, where the Swinging 80s were hatched in 1978.

So… where is he now, the dignified Stephen Linard pictured this month sporting a three-button, three-piece linen suit in a faded shade of indigo, and handmade in Venice? Well, since 1989 Stephen has been on the design team at Drake’s, the respected men’s haberdasher which has just opened its first shop at No 3 Clifford Street, just off Savile Row, the global epicentre of serious tailoring. Those with fond memories of Bowring Arundel & Co — for whom Stephen’s late father once supplied handmade leather goods — have welcomed the arrival of the new shop.  Though Drake’s was founded in 1977, the firm has never had its own retail outlet.

Michael Drake, a former head of design at Aquascutum, was its co-founder (and incidentally, “my grandmother’s nephew,” Stephen said). He began making the finest accessories, from cashmere scarves and printed silk handkerchiefs to knitwear, shirts and the elegant neckwear that has made Drake’s the largest independent producer of handmade ties in England. It enjoys a prodigious export market, by designing collections for international luxury shops and collaborating with such style-leaders as the Japanese fashion label Commes des Garçons.

drakes-london,British tailoring, Clifford Street,London, Michael Drake, handmade ties, haberdashery,Adam Dant

The young Linard by artist Adam Dant: lining this antique vitrine at Drake’s new shop is a busy tableau of life at the firm’s Clerkenwell factory. At lower left we see a youthful portrait of the designer alongside some of the handmade ties in fine Shantung silk Drake’s is renowned for. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Today the creative director Michael Hill encourages his designers to refresh the seasonal ranges with new textiles, both for readymade production and for bespoke handcrafting at Drake’s workrooms in the artisan quarter of Georgian Clerkenwell. A revival of bespoke suit-making has seen a new appetite for accessories in raw shantung and Indian tussah silk — its slubbed texture playing well with both formal suits and casual jackets — as well as traditional madder silk from Macclesfield in Cheshire, where Stephen is a frequent visitor ensuring that exacting standards are met.

A stylish touch to Drake’s new strategy has been to recruit the impish graphic artist Adam Dant, whose witty drawings adorn the shop and the stylishly written Drake’s website. In particular it commissioned him to create one of the Hogarthian “mockuments” which won him the Jerwood Prize. Rather like flowcharts, these reveal the inner workings of an institution and its people, and Dant’s depiction of Drake’s Clerkenwell factory provides the lining to one antique vitrine, formerly property of the Victoria and Albert museum and now in Clifford Street, displaying shantung ties and enormously long (in the Italian style) knee-socks.

Included among Dant’s portraits of colleagues who are said to have influenced Michael Drake is Stephen Linard’s and it echoes an emblematic photograph published in i-D magazine in which he wears a Yohji jacket and jaunty Confederate Army leather cap, “bought in Anchorage airport in the days when I was rich — bathtubs filled with champagne”. This is a reminder of the period 1983–86 when he lived in Tokyo designing for Jun Co, the fashion giant, on a salary which, he liked to boast, exceeded the prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s. In the mid-80s, to be an English designer brought you popstar status in Japan, as those fellow Blitz Kids Stephen Jones and Lee Sheldrick also discovered.

drakes-london,British tailoring, Clifford Street,London, Michael Drake, handmade ties, haberdashery,Adam Dant

Close-up of the portrait: Linard is one of many talents associated with Drake’s who have been captured by the artist Adam Dant. His reference was a photograph dating from 1983 — note the ornamental bath tap. Courtesy of Adam Dant and Drake’s

The 1983 look that inspired the portrait: Stephen Linard sports a leather Confederate Army cap $15 from Alaska, and Yohji Yamamoto jacket £250, over giant-collared Yohji shirt £120. Artfully placed on his left lapel is a silvered bathroom tap £60 and faucet brooch £40, both from a jewellery collection for Chloe, Paris. Seen here with Lee Sheldrick (rear) and Steve Strange at the Worlds End fashion show in Paris that October. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

Long before he joined the “Japanese invasion” effected by Britain’s emergent new wave of streetwise fashionistas, Stephen had gained the admiration of the international fashion glossies. With 1983 came his collection Angels With Dirty Faces, inspired by the Bogart-Cagney gangster movie set in the 30s depression. It was both pretty and poignant and it sold worldwide. That year, the snappiest magazine of the day, New York, headlined a special fashion section The British Are Here, and selected as the UK’s five leading lights Jean Muir, Zandra Rhodes, Katharine Hamnett, Vivienne Westwood — and Stephen Linard, “one of the most creative of the young designers”.

Linard designs from his heyday: bias-cut tea dress, $100 in Bloomingdale’s, from his 1983 Angels With Dirty Faces collection, here photographed by Tony McGee for New York magazine. Right, Neil Tennant wears a Reluctant Emigrés topcoat by Linard in the Pet Shop Boys video for West End Girls (Parlophone 1984)

Stephen’s clothes had always been sought after by his popstar contemporaries from Spandau Ballet, Boy George and The Slits, to U2, Womack & Womack, even Cliff Richard and Johnny Mathis, and ultimately to the great god David Bowie himself. (Stephen had to turn down the invitation to go on location to appear in the Ashes to Ashes video in 1980 “because I was on a disciplinary warning at St Martin’s over attendance”!) His Reluctant Emigrés collection enjoyed a curiously long life and in 1984 we see Neil Tennant lording it in one of the black linen topcoats in the Pet Shop Boys video for West End Girls, their first single which went to No 1 in the UK and US.

Many Linard looks have been coveted by the fashionistas but, as with so many gifted designers, let’s say a head for business came second to his eye for fashion. The timing of funds hit the rocks in more than one of Stephen’s creatively successful ventures, and decades ago he complained loudly that the St Martin’s fashion department didn’t do enough to equip graduates with basic business skills. (This, we are assured, has since been addressed by the college.) In the end it wasn’t surprising that he accepted the offer to join the Drake’s family, which seems to have dealt him a lucky hand.

One tip for wearing the perfect handmade tie? “Never tuck the smaller blade through the ‘keeper’— the loop on the back of the large blade. Much more stylish to let it flap free. Like undoing the button-cuff on your jacket, to show you don’t care.”

drakes-london,British tailoring, Clifford Street,London,Augustin Vidor, Michael Drake, handmade ties, haberdashery,Stephen Linard

The new shop in Clifford Street: Linard joined the Drake’s design team in 1989 whereas sales assistant Augustin Vidor is currently an intern. Photographed © by Shapersofthe80s

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➤ Bin Laden raid becomes Twitter’s CNN moment

Osama Bin Laden’s compound,Pakistan, Google maps
➢ Search for “Osama Bin Laden’s compound, Pakistan”
on Google maps

Sohaib Athar, ReallyVirtual, Bin Laden raid, Tech Crunch, Twitter

Sohaib Athar aka ReallyVirtual

➢ BBC NEWS REPORTS: The raid that killed Osama Bin Laden was revealed first on Twitter. An IT consultant, living in Abbottabad, unknowingly tweeted details of the US-led operation as it happened last night. Sohaib Athar, 33, wrote that a helicopter was hovering overhead shortly before the assault began and said that it might not be a Pakistani aircraft.

He only became aware of the significance of his tweets after President Obama announced details of Bin Laden’s death. Mr Athar’s first posting on the subject came at around 1am local time (9pm BST). He wrote: “Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event).” Minutes later he was tweeting: “Go away helicopter — before I take out my giant swatter :-/ ”

Osama Bin Laden ,helicopter raid,Tweet,Sohaib Athar,
➢ Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology correspondent, BBC News: I turned on the radio at 0700 this morning and heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. I immediately picked up my phone and tweeted this fact — only to be bombarded with messages saying this was now very old news. In the age of Twitter you have to be online all night to keep up with events.

“Twitter just had its CNN moment,” as one American website put it, comparing this event with the first Gulf War, where millions suddenly woke up to the fact that cable news was the place to observe a war unfold in real-time. Such is the power of this network that it has become the key resource for older media trying to stay ahead of events.

➢ Tech Crunch reports on the man who for two hours unwittingly live-tweeted the raid on Bin Laden — and reveals a local claim that it was “training accident scenario”

Barack Obama, situation room, White House, Bin Laden raid,Hillary Clinton

Straight out of Sorkin’s West Wing — Barack Obama and his national security team watch the mission against Osama Bin Laden unfold in real time in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden far left, Hillary Clinton seated right. (Official White House photo by Pete Souza)

➢ Bin Laden raid video ‘sent from helmets’ to Obama

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➤ Index of posts for March

depeche mode, Remixes 2,electro-pop,

Three faces engraved by a life in rock: Depeche Mode’s Andy Fletcher, Dave Gahan and Martin Gore have between them survived depression, addiction, mental instability, attempted suicide, divorce and fatherhood

➢ 2011, Adam Ant reveals his terrifying years in purgatory

➢ Martin Kemp’s live tutorial via bass cam

➢ 2011, Clarke and Wilder pile in for Depeche Mode’s ultimate remix album

Mick Karn, Peter Murphy, Dalis Car, pop music

Mick Karn and Peter Murphy: teamed as Dalis Car in 1984

➢ Mick Karn takes a last journey in Dalis Car 2

➢ Anna’s Army — how the English-born editor of Vogue became her own global brand

➢ Crazee or crazed? David Lynch’s view of Duran’s live concert from within his hellish cave

➢ 1932–2011, Liz Taylor — Hollywood glamour to a T

➢ 2011, Despite sniffy critics, ultimately Duran’s best album since their glory years

➢ Smartphones become UK shoppers’ essentials

➢ 2011, Spandau and Duran square up for battle just like the old days

➢ Gary Kemp puts his neck on the block — Spandau ‘the best live British band of the Eighties’

➢ Haunting video catches grim carnage of the Japanese tsunami

➢ 1981, The day Duran’s fortunes really took flight — 30th anniversary of Planet Earth

➢ Kid Creole’s in pink so he’s ready for the funk

Duran Duran, 2011, All You Need Is Now, YouTube, live stream, pop music

Duran Duran earlier this year: US and European tours, plus a live concert stream. Picture courtesy duranduran.com

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➤ 22 territories tune in for tonight’s Duran Duran concert live on the web

David Lynch, Duran Duran, Unstaged, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes (DD videograb)

Rehearsals at the downtown Mayan theatre, LA: David Lynch, Roger Taylor, Nick Rhodes

❚ TONIGHT WEDNESDAY MARCH 23 audiences around the world can tune into Duran Duran’s live online concert in 1080p HD, enhanced by film-maker David Lynch in Los Angeles. It is being streamed live on Wednesday at 7pm Pacific Daylight Time / 10pm Eastern Daylight Time (UTC−04), which is Thursday 2am in the UK (02:00 UTC).

View at the band’s YouTube channel /DuranDuranVEVO where, if you miss the live broadcast, the YouTube blog says you can catch highlights on their channel immediately following the event. The full 90-minute show will also be repeated for UK audiences at 8pm Thursday, according to the sponsor Amex’s Facebook page.

John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran, 2011, March 23, March 24, 02:00 UTC, David Lynch, Mayan theatre,All You Need Is Now,Vevo, YouTube, Unstaged, American Express, live concert, webcast, streamingThis webcast launches the second season of Unstaged, a music series sponsored by American Express in partnership with Vevo. Guitarist John Taylor said: “It’s not going to look like any concert film has looked before.” He said that viewers will be able to switch between the high-definition main stream and alternate “Lynchian” artistic viewpoints. Lynch insists that he won’t be directing the band themselves, but creating abstract visuals in what he describes as an “experiment”, one where he hopes there will be “many happy accidents”.

Duran’s official website lists these 22 territories (based on YouTube licensing agreements) which can view Unstaged as a live stream tonight at 02:00 UTC:
Argentina, 
Australia, 
Brazil
, Canada, 
Czech Republic
, France
, Hong Kong
, Ireland, Israel, 
Italy
, Japan, 
Korea, Republic of 
Mexico, 
Netherlands, 
New Zealand, 
Poland, 
Russian Federation, 
South Africa
, Spain
, Taiwan Province of China, 
United Kingdom
, United States.

➢ Shapersofthe80s reports on Duran Duran in America — plus media verdicts on the new album All You Need Is Now
➢ How to unstage Duran Duran — A conversation with David Lynch at the Huffington Post

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➤ Haunting video catches grim carnage of the Japanese tsunami

➢ VIEW: Full three-minute aerial news footage as today’s tsunami races through the fields of Fukushima (BBC News website)

Japan, tsunami, Fukushima, news video,NHK World

Fukushima district: waves of black sludge carry buildings over fields of crops

➢ VIEW: Extended NHK World raw footage at YouTube of the same tsunami over-running dwellings at Fukushima
➢ VIEW: Even more appalling nine-minute tsunami sequence “as live” on NHK World
➢ VIEW: Shorter CNN clip as tsunamis hit Fukushima
➢ VIEW: Russia Today’s added helicopter view of successive giant tsunamis
➢ VIEW: Another YouTube version of the same tsunami over-running dwellings at Fukushima
➢ VIEW: Edited video package includes tsunami sequence at Guardian Online

❚ THE MOST DISTRESSING news footage of the day is this prolonged aerial sequence as an NHK news team pursues the grim rampage of the tsunami crossing the coastline of Japan to devour the farmland beyond. Nothing so visceral and horribly mesmerising has unfolded effectively in real time since 9-11 when we watched the wretched victims inside the Twin Towers trying to escape the flames.

Sendai, Japan, earthquake,map,USGSHere the flying camera witnesses the murderous progress of the tsunami through the Fukushima district after being triggered by an enormous undersea earthquake 80 miles offshore. A series of ferocious 20-ft high waves surge up the beaches to grab burning houses, boats and cars, shred them and speed all in a waterborne avalanche across the fields. We watch a river being engorged and surmounted within seconds, while the captive boats and swirling sludge career on towards motorists and pedestrians who we can see from above will be next to be consumed. It is heart-rending.

All along the seaboard, villages have been flattened, railway trains swept away, an oil refinery reduced to a hellish inferno, and you know thousands must be dead. Then came an eye-opening video, as if more proof were needed of the sheer might of water. The news footage below was shot at street level in Kesennuma City in north-eastern Japan where the camera operator risks joining the furious black torrent thrusting lorries and debris through the streets with incredible speed and force. The only course of action when a tsunami is announced is to head inland for high ground as fast as you can. Worth knowing when we, as fortunate observers of today’s horrors, take our next holiday anywhere in the Pacific.

➢ VIEW: More distressing scenes of the entire town of Tagajo in Miyagi on the rampage as a man videos his neighbours fleeing from the advancing debris
➢ VIEW: Submerged street scenes as the tsunami sweeps whole vehicles through Kesennuma City

Japan, tsunami, Fukushima, news video,BBC

Kesennuma City: the unstoppable torrent sweeps vehicles along streets

➢ Update March 13: Unimaginable series of satellite photos at the New York Times contrasting Japan’s coastal towns before and after devastation by tsunami

Sendai, Japan, Arahama, satellite photos, tsunami, devastation

The Arahama area of Sendai, Japan: satellite photos taken a year ago and yesterday by GeoEye. At the New YorkTimes website you can move the blue slider to and fro to appreciate exactly how uninhabitable is the wasteland left by the tsunami

➢ British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal: “More than 500,000 people have been evacuated and are being housed in temporary centres”

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