Trying to navigate the mass of festivals in the UK is completely mind blowing. More than ever the little island on which Topshop was born (yes that’s Great Britain) has so many incredible festivals popping up across its shores that it’s hard to see which ones we should be considering for our precious weekends away. Foodie? Raver? Poetry-lover? Regardless of your festival preference we’ve done a little research (with the help of some festival-fans around the office) and picked some of the most exciting events happening this summer. So get ready and start booking those tickets!
THE OMG-EVERYONE-AWESOME-IS-PLAYING ONE: FIELD DAY
25 May @ Victoria Park, London
Solange. Animal Collective. Daughter. Kurt Vile. Basically everyone achingly hip in music right now (bar Frank Ocean) is playing. Plus it’s a mere £50 and a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station. London hipsters unite for this might be the most exciting line up that has yet to grace Victoria Park. Make sure not to miss a good dance out to Egyptian Hip Hop and the cooler than cool, King Krule. As for style, watch out for some serious fashion lovers here with kimonos and wide brim hats galore and more high tops than you can shake a stick at. Also, there really is a beauty to a festival in which you can probably get the last tube home!
30 August – 1 September
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
We won’t lie to you but here at Topshop HQ most of our Monday morning blues are washed away by a few plays of Talking Heads’s Take Me To The River so we were naturally overcome with excitement when it was announced David Byrne himself would be playing this year’s End of the Road festival. Our obsession with this musical-champion aside, End of the Road festival is worth a look. It’s less about raving it up and more about chilling it out with some glorious bands on the roster. The lovely Belle and Sebastian take a headline spot alongside Sigur Ros and there’s a little bit of new in the form of California cool kids Warpaint who are back with a vengeance. Set in the lovely Larmer Tree Gardens of Dorset we’re thinking maxi skirts and embellished gilets will be the style must-haves for this set of festival goers and we’ve already looked into a camper van for our journey south!
THE SOMETHING FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE ONE: LATITUDE
18th – 21st July
Henham Park, Suffolk
Mad about German electro? Adore the ballet? Enjoy a bit of spoken word? Interested in cabaret? That’s right, you can rave it up with Kraftwerk, be mesmerized by the Ballet Boyz, hear Carol Ann Duffy get all poetic as well as rocking out to some naughty dance skills from Soho’s finest burlesque dancers all in one festival. (I know, our minds are blown too). Suffolk’s Henham Park is probably the most unique combination of artists in one spot, Latitude festival really covers all the bases. There’s glam camping for those who need a shower and something a little more substantial than a yoga mat to sleep on and there’s even a gourmet restaurant on site from the folks at Giant Robot. Oh, and did we mention there’s multi-coloured sheep?
Well, we couldn’t not mention it right? As usual their line-up is comprehensive to say the least. See into the early hours with Crystal Castles and Hurts, throw your hands up and sway into summer with Haim and Laura Mvula or get right into the front for a serious throwback with legends The Rolling Stones. Everyone says you have to do it once and with a relentlessly amazing line-up year after year there’s no way of regretting nabbing a ticket. Yes, walking from field to field may be a bit of a schlep and yes, there’s probably very little chance you’ll get a good view of the The Rolling Stones but it’s Glastonbury! And that means seriously good times.
Okay, so it’s not just food but Wilderness Festival has a special place in our hearts for it’s amazing roster of chefs and restaurateurs that offer talks and tasters dedicated to their lives in eating. Think Ottolenghi and his rose water specialities; Russel Norman waxing lyrical on the beauty of Polpo; Mark Hix on his fascination with oysters – our mouths are watering as we write – The Wilderness Festival has filled a gap in the festival market that we didn’t even know was there. It’s our festival wild card! Taste buds aside there’ll be blissed out tunes from Empire of the Sun and Martha Wainwright as well as performances from the talented bunch at Shakespeare’s Globe and talks from the mind-expanding folk at Intelligence Squared. Culturalistas, take a breath, this is the festival your dreams are made of.
Yes we know, the dates brutally co-incide with London Fashion Week so there’s no chance we’re getting any time off work (weep!) but if we did we’d be signing up to this beautiful little festival in a flash. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Portmerion in North Wales which it’s pretty much a fairy tale village come true. There’s even a castle to stay in for accommodation. (YES, a castle!) This is a festival for those of you wanting to completely escape the real world and head somewhere far away from anything “ordinary”. And with a musical and arts program that would make any festival-goer overjoyed, what’s not to love? There’s the haunting vocals of James Blake, the renaissance of Chic ft. Nile Rodgers (is that a Daft Punk Get Lucky inspired comeback we see?) and some of our favourite songstresses of the moment taking the stage… hello Laura Mvula and Lianne La Havas! This one is definitely worth the journey.
As the temperature creeps up us Topshop girls go on the hunt for for juicy, un-put-downable books to pore over and be swept away with whilst basking in the sun in our newest bikini. There’s a few that have peaked our interest this year – the much debated Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, the teenie-loving Hunger Games series– but it’s a very different sort of novel that has had us voraciously turning the pages this spring. Enter Laura Lamont: the country-bumpkin turned glamorous silent film star whose life unfolds amidst fame, fortune and the inevitable upsets on the way. It’s definitely not a fairy tale but it isn’t exactly tragedy either. (Our favourite character Ginger is as about as cheeky and goofy as they come!)
Emma Straub is the creator and pen behind Lamont and has proved herself a dab hand at spot-on, richly detailed storytelling. Carefully spanning decades of Lamont’s life, Straub muses on the complexities of fame through the eyes of someone who doesn’t feel quite worthy. There may be plenty of Fitzgerald style decadent misery here and a hint of quirky The Artist style fun but the novel and story still feels new. Whether you’re a fan of the Golden Age of Film or of really great new writing, we’re guessing you won’t regret picking up a copy.
We spoke to the Brooklyn based author, Emma Straub, about research, her favourite characters and not giving up on writing.
Where did you get the inspiration for Laura Lamont?
Not to sound too terribly morbid, but in the obituaries! I was working on something else at the time, and stumbled across an obit for the 1940s actress Jennifer Jones. It was a novel–it was that clear to me immediately. Dramatic, romantic, epic. I knew I wanted to write a book about a movie star starting right then.
Have you always been interested in Hollywood and it’s golden age?
I have always loved the movies, and was never prejudiced against black and white films in the way some children are. My parents and I once had a Hitchcock festival in our living room. So, yes! But I didn’t really know much about the studio system until I began to write Laura Lamont.
Where did you go to research and what resources did you use?
Why, to Hollywood, of course! I took a few short trips to Los Angeles and went on some studio tours, taking notes furiously, and then my husband and I did a a house-swap (itself a very cinematic idea!) for a whole month. That’s when I did the bulk of my research at the Margaret Herrick Library, which is run by the Academy of Motion Pictures, the body that gives out the Oscars.
Do you ever use real life people as inspiration for characters?
Yes, sometimes, when I truly couldn’t help myself. I was very careful not to read about Jennifer Jones in my research, because I didn’t want my main character to be modelled on a real person, but some of the ancillary characters are, absolutely. It was irresistible! Hollywood was full of very colorful people at the time.
We have a soft spot for the comedy actress Ginger in the book – do you have a favourite character in the book and why?
Oh, I have a soft spot for Ginger, too. Thank you for saying that. I’m also very partial to Irving. What can I say? I’m a bit smooshy about real love.
How long did the book take from start to finish?
I’m pretty quick, once I get rolling–it was about two years from idea to publication. Fast!
What tips would you give to young wannabe-writers?
Don’t give up. I wrote four novels that didn’t get published before this one. Don’t ever give up.
What’s next for Emma Straub?
Two things are happening in quick succession–I’m trying to finish my new novel before this summer, because I’m due to have a baby in August. So, sleepless nights?
A shocking colour palette, a love of surrealism and a taste for ‘90s style. Illustrator and visual artist Mat Maitland harbours an aesthetic that is completely distinctive and wholly memorable. We don’t often use such exaggerated descriptions but Maitland is 100% deserved of the hype. It was his move to Big Active Design agency and working with some of the most exciting names in music that brought him to the attention of the design world. Mark Ronson, Goldfrapp and Basement Jaxx have all featured as clients, not forgetting the king of pop, Michael Jackson himself. After the success of album covers – one earning him a position in Art Vinyl Top 20 Albums of the Year – he was roped in by the newly appointed creative directors of Kenzo, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, to design the advertisements and viral video for the brand. Maitland stuck fast to his surreal slant to create what we think it maybe the most exciting piece of work he’s done to date.
We spoke to Maitland about his most exciting jobs and whether he prefers working in music or fashion.
How did you first become interested in design?
As a kid I was obsessed with music and would save up for weeks to be able to buy records. I grew up in St Albans which was a little bit isolated from the cultural influences of London and record sleeves quickly became my first connection with design. In my 10 year old mind it offered endless interesting possibilities. It’s through record sleeves that I discovered a world of aesthetics, fashion, fantasy and dreams.
How were you discovered?
I was extremely young when I realized that I would follow a creative path. My spare time was spent avidly researching my passions as much as I could. Unsurprisingly, art was my favourite subject at school and my ambition from then on was to study design. After college, I got a job in the art department at Warner Music. It was my first experience of the business and it was an exciting place to develop my abilities. After 6 years, I left to join Big Active after becoming friends with its founder Gerard Saint. I suppose that in some ways this marked a turning point in my professional career. It was the perfect progression. Big Active attracts a wider range of opportunities combining various segments like music, fashion, advertising, illustration and film. I’m now Creative Director of the design company.
Where did you train?
I left school at 16 to study at St Albans Art College. I then did an HND at Croydon College for two years.
Do you have any trade tips for young designers?
I can’t really pinpoint one thing in particular. I’d say that being enthusiastic about culture in general is important. You need to be aware of every aspect of the art, fashion, music, illustration and film scenes (past and present). Each can easily nest within the next and you never know when you might be required to dip into that segment. It may sound odd, but these worlds are all closely interconnected and frequently play a part in how you approach and solve a creative brief.
What has been some of your most exciting jobs to work on?
Doing the Goldfrapp campaigns is always great. I love their music! Alison is intensely in tune with art, fashion and photography and has a clear understanding of what she likes. She’s not scared of experimentation and is an inspiring person to work with. I’ve worked on all of their albums (apart from Felt Mountain) and each one offers a sonically different universe which in turns requires a fresh approach. Beck has a similar response to the design process. The work we did on “The Information” was a highlight. Both artists don’t go for the formulaic which means that stylistically I was left with more interpretative room.
How can someone get involved in art direction?
I think the only way to become involved in art direction is to just start working. If you work by yourself or within a small company, art direction will become a natural part of your role, there’s no way of avoiding it as often you will need to harness a broader set of skills.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully doing more fashion jobs! I have developed a career as an image maker and have focused on fashion I love doing illustrations in that field. It can be pure magic.
Music or fashion – which is most fun?
It’s hard to choose, they are different. In my role as an art director for music jobs I am often art directing other image makers and illustrators, although sometimes I do everything – art direct, design and imagery. When it comes to fashion, my work is based on my illustrative style so it is very focused stylistically. I’d probably have to choose fashion, it’s my new love!
Watch the booming and blooming video Mat Maitland created for Kenzo below…
Girls who know their Topshop history will remember that we’ve championed models like Jourdan Dunn and Lily Donaldson long before they hit the big-time, so here’s a little intro to our four new faces so you can get to know them before everyone else does.
Perfectly pouty and oh-so-poised, Rosie Tapner is a true English Rose but with just the right amount of schoolgirl rebelliousness. She was scouted at the age of fifteen on an outing to the Clothes Show Birmingham with her classmates from Downe House boarding school, and it wasn’t long before she was opening shows like Chloe, and had an exclusive Balenciaga campaign under her belt. The sixteen year old high jumping champ was recently featured in LOVE magazine’s top new girls to watch, but we were already hot off the mark having shot the fair-haired beauty for our Spring Campaign, like, aaages ago.
Just get a load of those eyebrows. Bambi is our hot new Aussie girl crush, every bit as cute as her name suggests. With a laidback fresh-off-the-beach style and an innocent yet impish face, she’s the perfect summertime muse. The twenty year old Melbourne beauty (real name Stephanie Bambi Northwood Blythe) first came to international attention when she was spotted on a blog with her boyfriend-now-fiance, Ksubi founder Dan Single. Fast forward three years and she’s walked for everyone from Chanel to Rag and Bone, scooped campaigns for Calvin Klein and covered Vogue Japan and V magazine. Girl is on fire.
Not strictly speaking a new girl on the block, the doll-like Dutch model has us so enamoured, she’s been in our campaign twice! We photographed the ethereal beauty first for our Spring 2009 when she was fresh as a tulip from Amsterdam, and despite now having racked up campaigns for Prada, Armani, Mulberry and Carven, she remains as fresh and angelic as ever.
The ultimate ice-queen with eyes that look like melted glacier drops, 18-year-old New Jersey girl Juliana Schurig waited until she finished high school before hitting the international catwalks, and boy did she make it worth the wait: last fashion week she walked an impressive 33 shows across the four fashion cities. Her ultra-cool look and don’t-mess-with-me glare made her a perfect muse for our Spring Summer campaign. She’s also the star of Moschino’s spring summer campaign, her unmissable flaxen locks catching the light in a 60s beehive. We predict big things for this all-American girl – watch this space.
From Kanye and Kim’s couple dressing to Hedi Slimane and Cathy Horyn’s very public fashion tiff, 2012 has been a year bursting at the seams with scorching style stories and fashion-forward tidbits. We’ve been considering the magical year gone by and thought we’d share our biggest (and favourite) fashion moments of 2012 with you. Read them and weep…
J.W. Anderson for Topshop
Okay, okay, we know we’re a little biased here but we have to say J.W. Anderson’s epic collaboration with yours truly really did go down incredibly well. From Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe wearing the sell-out knits, to a bouncing after-party at Madame Jo-Jos featuring sets from Jessie Ware and Disclosure, the JWAxTS collab has captured the hearts of fashion forward folk and style icons alike. Just last week we stole a peek at the second drop for Topshop and we have to say, it’s even better! Prepare yourself for the fashion collaboration of 2013.
The Cathy Horyn V Hedi Slimane Debacle
Fashion got its claws out last season when designer Hedi Slimane stepped back into the spotlight with his debut collection at Yves Saint Laurent and caused a little fashion ruckus. The celebrated New York Times critic Cathy Horyn was famously banned from the show but regardless of having no ticket, Horyn went ahead and reviewed Slimane’s debut show for YSL from images online and offered a resounding lukewarm opinion —much did the rest of the fashion critic world. Slimane didn’t take the news too lightly and fed back with a cheeky response from his Twitter page calling Horyn a “schoolyard bully and standup comedian.” The Telegraph’s Lisa Armstrong and The Business of Fashion’s Imran Ahmed also shared their sixpence and Twitter went mad for it. Let’s hope 2013, doesn’t have quite so many fashion feuds.
Cameron Silver’s DECADES
If you didn’t have this on your Christmas List, now is the time to jot it down for the next present-giving occasion. Vintage boutique founder Cameron Silver brought his fabulous and unique eye to fashion history in 2012 with the launch of his amazing book, DECADES. We reviewed it here and just can’t stop referring to it for all our style questions. Did we mention the photography?! Ah-mazing.
Michele Obama’s Wardrobe
Seriously, can this woman do no wrong? Mrs President just keeps bringing the much-needed helping of fashion to the White House and making politics all the more aesthetically pleasing.
Kate Bosworth’s Sings Winter Wonderland
Yes, another moment from yours truly, but come on! Did you see Miss Bosworth work that bespoke dress and how cute was her singing? We have to say Kate’s turn as a Michelle-Pfeiffer-inspired cabaret star had us dreaming of the perfect red dress all Christmas.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian Matching Fashion
Whether you love them or hate them, you’ve got to appreciate the time and effort that goes into this star-studded couple’s wardrobe choices. Whether it’s matching sports gear, duplicate all-white wear for a seat at Givenchy or their die-hard love for leather trousers, these two love looking good together. And rumour has it there’s a baby on the way, will they do three-way matching? We hope so!
Angelina Jolie’s Right Leg at the Oscars
It came, it saw, it conquered Twitter. What more is there to say?
Anna Piaggi’s Passing
The year wasn’t without it’s moments of sadness and for us it was saying goodbye to fashion icon Anna Piaggi. The Italian fashion writer who had scribed for the likes of Vogue and Vanity magazine plied her trade on the ever so chic Olivetti Valentine typewriter but was even better known for her exuberant and eclectic style. Piaggi was the epitome of maximalist dressing, pattern clashing and make up a la Louise Gray. She even made coloured hair cool before the likes of Tavi and Charlotte Free. Piaggi, we salute you!
Do you agree or disagree? What have been your top fashion moments in 2012?