CAMILA CHAMELEON





“I love my turban because it makes me a muslim, a sikh, a beach bum, a nut-case and a hippie, altogether funky fresh, a walking fruitcake: proud to be me.”




One the most high-profile, dynamic and admired children’s charities
in London, Kids Company, was founded in 1996 by the  formidable psychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidjh. I have been aware of her since almost the creation of the charity and have always admired her relentless and admirable work for children who have suffered trauma through abuse and neglect, and who have effectively been re-parented and returned to society as functional young adults.





A former refugee herself who grew up in Tehran, Batmanghelidjh is well-known in Britain; her advice is much sought after by politicians and her opinions by the news media. A painting of her hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.





But additionally to her dedication, tremendous skills and relentless fight for a most noble cause, she is also highly recognisable for her trademark eccentric and flamboyant outfits – which she possibly uses as an ‘armour’ against the dangers her job involves – and has become something of a fashion icon; layers of bright, colourful fabrics with clashing patterns, billowing floral robes and of course her signature fingerless gloves, dramatic earrings and printed turbans are the outfits Batmanghelidjh turns in minutes every day using exotic fabrics, sofa trimmings and patchwork quilts.




“I wear them with joy brooches the kids make out of cardboard. I don’t wear pierced earrings, because disturbed toddlers pull them off your ear, so my lobes are graced with antique clip-ons and they never match”, she declares. “It takes me probably five minutes to get dressed. I don’t think about it at all… But the way I dress matches my psychological energy, so when I get up in the morning I think ‘What colour do I want to wear today?’ and I just bung it on really quickly and get out. I don’t worry about what people think at all… And it’s instantaneous – I instantly know what fabrics go together and what doesn’t – and it’s just instinctive.”




So here is one of A-Gent of Style‘s heroines and, in every sense of the word, a very colourful character who fearlessly swathes herself in an explosion of fabrics and whose warmth and humanity never fail to radiate and shine through.
Everytime A-Gent sees her beaming smile and her joyous outfits in a magazine or on television, it is a reminder that life is beautiful, as is she.












































UNEARTHED MARILYN



 






“What do you wear to bed? A pajama top? The bottoms of the pajamas?
A nightgown?” So I said, ‘CHANEL N°5,’ because it’s the truth… And yet, I don’t want to say ‘nude.’ But it’s the truth!”

– Marilyn Monroe –




A recent discovery unearthed from Chanel’s archives has produced a sound clip never heard before of Marie Claire editor-in-chief Georges Belmont interviewing Marilyn Monroe in 1960 for her film “Let’s Make Love”
where the Hollywood siren famously revealed in her iconic breathless voice that all she wears to bed is:

CHANEL No. 5!

 



Chanel, under the aegis of Kaiser Karl, has acquired the recording which will be part of the brand’s advert campaign this Christmas.

Fifty-odd years after Ed Feingersh took the black-and-white shots, the mystique and legacy of Marilyn still lives on thanks to this magical, posthumous clip.

A-Gent of Style particularly liked the clever montage with its great build-up and suspense. Groovy tune too.

Bon week-end!











THE ENCHANTING WORLD OF KLAUS HAAPANIEMI






Do some of these products look vaguely familiar to you?



If the answer is yes, it’s probably because you have seen in stores such as
John Lewis, the Conran Shop or Skandium the Taika and Satumetsä dinnerware made by Iittala – the Finnish design brand specialising in design objects, cookware and tableware.




These homeware ceramics were created by Finnish illustrator and artist
Klaus Haapaniemi whose designs are instantly recognisable through his phantasmagorical and whimsical imagery. Haapaniemi mixes his homeland folklore and Arts and Crafts, nature, paganism, fantasy, fairy tales and mysticism and instills his designs with his own quirky twist that conjures up a magical and ethereal world populated with wild animals, creatures and monsters.




Haapaniemi, who originally graduated as a graphic designer from the Lahti Institute of Design, Finland, has now become one of Britain’s most in-demand illustrators in advertising art, fashion and clothing fabric prints; his portfolio includes collaborations with Diesel, where he started as a print designer, then fashion label Bantam for which he moved to Italy to ultimately become their creative director and illustrator, and various projects with Levi’s, Cacharel, Marimekko, D&G, Iittala, Stella McCartney and Christian Louboutin.

He has also decorated the Christmas windows at Selfridges, drawn Christmas story-books with celebrity writers such as Madonna’s daughter Lourdes and David Hasselhoff. In 2008, he won the Graphic Designer of the Year award.









Project with Isetan Wonder Christmas 2012

Collaboration with Christian Louboutin


In November 2010, after moving to London, Haapaniemi launched a new home and fashion textiles brand called Klaus Haapaniemi together with the art director and concept designer Mia Wallenius – whom he met in Italy where she became senior art director at Gucci – under which he has designed his first signature collection including textile products in pure and luxurious materials combining traditional weaving techniques with modern prints and sophisticated colours.




He has now extended his brand to furniture, fashion, books, events and exhibitions and often work together with other designers and studios to create limited edition design pieces and bespoke commissions.



Collaboration with  Christian Louboutin

Collaboration with Christian Louboutin


A-Gent of Style
was delighted to hear that this summer Klaus Haapaniemi was opening his very first flagship shop in London. And what better location that Shoreditch’s Redchurch Street, the hip street that can boast Shoreditch House,
Conran’s The Boundary and Maison Trois Garçons as its residents and also the newly opened Lee Broom showroom, round the corner on Rivington Street.



Having two design-junkie friends living in the area, A-Gent of Style took the opportunity to visit the shop last week and was given a very warm welcome by Mia who very kindly took the time to help A-Gent with his research.




The showroom and shop showcase the whole brand’s products: scarves
(hand-printed silk, satin or fine wool), throws and shawls (lamb’s wool and silk), cushions (woven silk brocade, linen, embroidery, heavy woven tapestry or hand-printed) but also ceramics (cute cats or owls that can be used for storage or just decoratively), prints (beautiful silkscreens printed on coloured heavyweight papers and all signed as limited-edition) and some pieces of furniture such as upholstered, circular poufs.




Mia told me that, a few months ago, Haapaniemi launched a collection of rugs inspired this time by the summer and representing flowers, fruits, bees and pollination. Hand-dyed and made of tufted wool in Varanasi, India, the series of three designs feature the cosmic vortex and unity of the natural universe. The muted colour palette is inspired by earthy Nordic Arts & Crafts textile designs.




A-Gent of Style loved the simple, organic and elegant way the shop was designed: low-level, reeded joinery that skirts around the shop, gorgeous dark green/teal paint
(A-Gent’s favourite colour) and beautiful, delicate bobbin-shaped poles in natural timber on the shelves.








Isn't this whale adorable?

Isn’t this whale adorable?




This has got to be A-Gent's favourite item; love the colour and pattern

This has got to be A-Gent’s favourite item; love the colour and pattern





Gorgeous detail on the shelves that looks like a door plate and handle plate

Gorgeous detail on the shelves that looks like a door and handle plate








I love everything about this cushion pad: the shape, the blue and the contrast stitching

I love everything about this cushion pad: the shape, the colour and the contrast stitching

 

This rug is an incredible piece of craftmanship

 


 

Stunning piece of marble

Stunning piece of marble on the desk

 



A few gems hidden away in the office that Mia let A-Gent of Style see.

A great, big door handle made of wood

A great, big door handle made of wood

 

One of the walls upholstered in hand-woven silk fabric. Stunning

One of the walls upholstered in hand-woven silk fabric. Stunning

 

New rug

 

Another new rug design

 

This scuplted mural is made of brass and was used as the focal piece of a functioning bar designed for Design Week

This sculpted mural is laser cut copper and brass and was used as the focal piece for a functioning bar specially designed for London Design Week. Magical





A-Gent of Style was also let in on a secret: Klaus Haapaniemi will be launching soon a range of wallpaper. So stay tuned!




Next time you are in Shoreditch, make sure you stop by Klaus Haapaniemi and let yourself be enchanted. Or make a special trip there, you won’t be disappointed.

In the meanwhile, here’s Klaus Haapaniemi enchanting animation for Finding Wonder Christmas, Isetan, Japan.







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