A Sporting Life: Roger Federer

A sporting life Roger Federer 

A Sporting Life – taking on the challenge to put together sports and style (not exactly natural bedfellows), and making a plea for outdoor sports

Let me start by saying that I did not see this blog post coming. First of all, what could I possibly tell you about Roger Federer that you didn’t already know? But then again, I don’t make the news here on the blog, never have, but rather put my own spin on the subjects I am passionate about. Secondly, I will be honest and get it out of the way: I have never been a Roger Federer fan (and I am not the only one). Yes, I love tennis. Yes, tennis is like a second nature to Federer. Yes, he is probably the best tennis player of all time. Yes, I admire his talent, his sportsmanship, his unique ease and elegance of play, his class on and off court. But I will always be a Nadal fan through and through.

To make things more clear: Our almost two-year-old son loves football. Better said, he loves to hit the ball and have either my husband and I as goalkeeper. He often scores, too. No kidding. He was a late walker and we already find it so funny that he could hit the ball with such effect and precision (while holding my hand or his father’s to keep his balance when standing) before he could even walk by himself. So, yes, one could say he loves football. I am not happy about it. Sure, I will encourage him to channel his energy towards his talents, whatever those might be, but if he suddenly turns his attention towards tennis, when it comes to sports, that will make me very, very happy. A couple of months ago, during the Australian Open, I put a racket in his hands. He took a look at the players playing on tv and made a move with the racket. The moment was captured on camera, of course (in case there comes a time when he will be asked to document his earliest tennis memory), and sent to family and friends. He has a few tics. If he takes his bottle with water from one spot he returns it to the exact same spot. He arranges his football for seconds in a row, not one single mm more to the left or to the right, before hitting it. Can you see where I’m going with this? Yeah, I jokingly call him Nadal whenever I see him do those things. And, yeah, that big of a Nadal fan I am (here is some of my reasoning for it).
A sporting life Roger Federer 
BUT. My admiration for Federer has recently shifted. He has just won the Indian Wells after he defeated Rafa in the fourth round and Stan Wawrinka in the final. And, of course, there was the Australian Open win against Nadal back in January, his fifth Australian title, five years after his last major tournament victory, breaking his own record of 17 grand slam titles. What a final! Two ageless champions, both Rafa and Roger making a come-back and setting an extraordinary example for everyone, through their great rivalry, through displaying the best values of sport. A match for the ages. And what a win! Truthfully, I didn’t take it lightly. But the way Federer turned the score around in the final set was something that only Nadal was usually capable of. Roger that.

Suddenly, there was this new side of Federer. A new way of his to play tennis. He seems to enjoy it more. He seems that the only one he wants to defeat is himself (that’s a Nadal quality alright). He seems to move with even more ease and unnatural naturalness on the court. I certainly like his game more than in his early years. It wasn’t however only this phenomenal come-back that made the difference for me. It was all the years leading up to it. Because Federer never went away, except for those few months of last year due to injury. He has always been there, ranked among the first players in the world. Often reaching the semifinals and finals of all the big four tournaments. And that is what is so damn remarkable. That kind of perseverance, not necessarily the number of victories, is what I admire the most in a sportsman. But I admit, the recent Australian title sealed it for me. Going for it when he was probably the only one who believed he could still do it. That’s a champion.
Related A Sporting Life entries: Rafael Nadal / Jean-Claude Killy / Nacho Figueras / Björn Borg

photos: 1-Craig McDean for GQ / 2-World Tennis Magazine

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Interview: Ocean + Main

Interview ocean and main 
Interview Ocean and Main 
You know when you discover a brand for the very first time and you immediately want to not only wear the clothes, but meet the owner, too, and also find out the whole story behind it? That’s the feeling I got when I spotted Ocean + Main online less than a fortnight ago. A brand that does things like turning ethical clothing on its head. Like sourcing the fabrics that the fashion industry tosses away and re-purposes them by turning them into luxurious caftans and tunics. Like using zero water in production. Like making everything locally, in Los Angeles. Like being a small company, making limited edition garments in order to make a small difference in our big world. Like not sacrificing style and quality in order to do things mindfully. Like being born out of the desire and courage to follow your dream.

As soon as I discovered Ocean + Main, I reached out to the founder and creative director, Mary Price, to learn all about her journey to create the perfect caftan and to carve out a lifestyle dictated by her own rules and passions.
Interview ocean+main

“I think my woman is a bit of a free spirit, and age is inconsequential. She loves travel and is mindful of the planet and the people in it.”

Mary, why tunics and caftans? Why not something else?
Caftans and tunics have an enduring appeal to me. They conjure up visions of exotic holidays, bohemian villas and air perfumed with jasmine. Their effortless ease speaks to relaxed, artistic life unencumbered by convention. Maybe by making them, I’m hoping to achieve that lifestyle! There is a bit of nostalgia in my choice. As a child growing up in Hawaii, my Mother and her friends left a lasting impression, floating effortlessly across the lanai; exotic, free, and happy in their flowing caftans. I also find the universality of the caftan incredibly appealing. Every period in history, every climate and every culture has their take and I love scouring thrift stores and flea markets across the globe in search of each society’s version – kurta’s, banda’s, muumuu’s, kimono’s, yukata’s, abaya’s, dashiki – the list for inspiration is endless.

What are the core tenets on which the idea behind ocean + main is based? And what does the name ocean + main stand for?
The name ocean + main is both figurative and literal. First, living near the ocean is a huge inspiration. I love being in it, around it, near it and, most importantly, saving it. As we use no water in production, we aren’t further polluting the oceans waters by dying, treating and manufacturing more fabric. Second, the collection can be worn both at the ocean and on main street. And third, all our garments are made in downtown Los Angeles on Main Street. So, the collection is actually inspired by the ocean, and literally made on main street.

Who do you design for?
I think my woman is a bit of a free spirit, and age is inconsequential. She loves travel and is mindful of the planet and the people in it. She wants clothes that suit her lifestyle and makes choices that are on-trend, not trendy. At the beach, she wants to look chic and have a bit of sun coverage. On the street, she is comfortable in her own skin and dresses with her own perspective on life and style.
A philosophy that translates well into the values of ocean + main. What are the perks and challenges of a socially conscious brand?
One of the great perks of being a socially conscious brand is it hones your strategy and informs every decision you make. If an action doesn’t serve your overall mission, you can let it go. The down side is there is still a perception that being socially conscious comes at the expense of quality, luxury and style. I think that is changing, however. It feels like a moral imperative today for any business to have a socially conscious pillar to their strategy. It’s not only the right thing to do, the customer today expects it. We have reached a saturation point of consumerism and availability of options that buying one more thing doesn’t provide the retail therapy it once did. Many consumers are looking for an experience more than they are looking for things today and when those customers can buy into a brand’s philosophy, they are buying into the experience. When we can “buy good” and “do good” for ourselves, others and the planet, it feels like a win-win.

Who and what inspires you?
I’m inspired by anyone who is living a truly authentic life, regardless of their vocation. You know when you meet someone who is just in their lane? They are doing exactly what they were called to do and they are completely genuine about it? That inspires me. As far as what inspires me, I feel like I’m inspired by something new everyday. It may sound like a cop out, but I’m inspired by nature, art, photography, travel, a conversation with a friend. Just about anything can spark a new thought or idea.
Ocean and Main lookbook 
What are the pros and cons of starting a fashion company in Los Angeles, away from the fashion capital of New York? And how does living in Los Angeles influence you creatively?
I think there is no better place to start a business than LA. Los Angeles is so alive with creativity, collaboration and support. The barrier to entry is much lower than NY, from the cost of living to the accessibility of raw materials, manufacturers, and other entrepreneurs and experts. Everyone’s door is literally open and the attitude is always “you can totally do that!” I once read, “NY is a place for making it. LA is a place for making things.” Truer words have never been spoken and I wish I knew who said it so I could give them proper credit.

What’s in store for ocean + main? Are you planning to extend your range of products?
We will definitely expand into other apparel categories that remain true to the ocean + main ethos. Look for new dress options and even possibly the ‘man tunic’.

What drove you to the fashion business in the first place?
I’m a bit of a numbers nerd and I’ve always leaned towards the creative. It may sound surprising, but fashion is a great place to blend the two.

How exactly is fashion a great place to blend the two?
Many people think of a career in fashion as simply ‘glamour, travel, play with clothes’. In actuality, that is only about 10% of your job on the merchandising, designing and buying side. A good merchant and designer has to employ many different skills, and a strong sense of analytics is invaluable. Number skills are important in everything, from calculating the amount of fabric you need to buy to projecting and managing your inventory. It is always helpful to understand the cost of running your business and how to analyze it. Without those skills, or a strong partner who has them, it makes success in the industry an uphill battle.
Ocean and Main lookbook  
You spent years as a designer and buyer for luxury brands like Neiman Marcus and Jigsaw London, and eventually grew weary of the fashion system and your place in it, the tremendous waste in the industry being one of the factors that prompted you to start your own company. How do you see the future of fashion? Because so many of the people I admire and who I come in contact with prefer mindful shopping and meaningful brands, such like yours.
Sadly, I don’t think mass consumption is going away anytime soon, but I do see a huge shift in the industry. People are shopping differently and customers are truly democratizing fashion. They are starting to dictate, as they should, when and how fashion is delivered and they are forcing every fashion house to take a hard look at their established practices. For commodities, consumers shop for price. For something unique, they want an experience or a compelling story, and that’s where ethical brands can make a difference. I think it is a hugely exciting time for anyone who is ready to embrace the change.

How much talent, how much hard work and how much luck would you say that is involved in a successful fashion brand?
Hard work is certainly number one. Like in anything, luck and timing play a massive part. Did I mention hard work?

What advice would you give someone with their own idea or dream?
Be still and listen to your heart. It knows best. Always.
Interview Mary Price ocean and main

Mary Price, founder and creative director of Ocean + Main

What does style mean to you?
True style is both timeless and effortless.

You’ve been working in fashion for many years. How has that influenced your personal wardrobe?
By fashion-girl standards, I am a huge disappointment! Having the latest and greatest used to be important and I did accumulate a nice collection from designers I respect and admire. Today, I’m practically an ascetic monk. Traveling so much forces you to simplify and I’ve pared down my wardrobe to a few key pieces. If it doesn’t fit in a carry-on, it doesn’t go, so I only buy pieces I know I will really wear. I also find a simple wardrobe frees up my creative energy to channel into my passions like ocean + main.

You love to travel, and travel is also an important part of your work. Which is your wardrobe item with the most beautiful story attached to it?
Years ago, I was in Milan during an unusually chilly March. I went into the venerable 10 Corso Como and bought an amazing jacket from a young upstart label, Helmut Lang. It was one of his first collections and I wore that simple, one button single breasted jacket all over Europe that Spring. It is still in my wardrobe today and remains in heavy rotation. It inspires me every time I wear it not only because it reminds me of an incredible time in my life, but also reminds me that well made, great design never goes out of style.

You feel your best dressed in:
When I’m not in a tunic or a caftan, you can find me in boyfriend jeans and tee.
Ocean and Main lookbook 

“I love the feeling when you spend an entire day outside in beautiful weather doing something active, and you fall into bed completely spent, like you used every minute of the day and just breathed it all in.”

What is your one favourite thing to do in Los Angeles and which you would miss if you lived anywhere else in the world?
That’s easy. The ocean.

One thing you can not start the day without: One cup of coffee and at least 10 minutes of quiet time to reflect on my day or meditate.

Where would we find you when not working?
Paddle boarding, an art museum, a yoga class, the beach, on a hike, or dinner with friends and family.

Latest book you’ve read, latest film you’ve watched:
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Moonlight.

What makes you happy at the end of the day?
I love the feeling when you spend an entire day outside in beautiful weather doing something active, like paddle boarding or a long hike, and you fall into bed completely spent, like you used every minute of the day and just breathed it all in.

photos: Ocean + Main

Posted by classiq in Fashion, Interviews | | 3 Comments

Shirt Stories: Claire Thomson-Jonville

Shirt Stories Claire Thomson Jonville 

You always notice the person wearing a great shirt. A classic that, for me, holds just as much appeal as a perfect pair of jeans. Shirt Stories is about others who feel the same, women and men, and who wear it well.

I first noticed the white shirt and the attitude. Then I read her advice, part of an interview for Filippa K: “Work hard. Stay humble.” Even if I had known nothing about Claire Thomson-Jonville (the editor-in-chief of Self Service magazine, one of the fashion industry’s leading publications), that would have been enough to feel inspired by her. Especially that she is more of a trouser girl, tuxedo for evening, in her own words, and the foundations of her wardrobe are well cut pieces that suit her, in grey, beige, navy blue and black mainly. However, the white shirt seems to be one of her pure necessities of life, too. Classic, tomboyish, relaxed chic. It serves her and her life philosophy well.

“Just quietly work away and focus, and your turn will come. I think there are a lot of egos and noise with social media and everyone wants to be famous and, for me, that’s a turn-off. I am naturally drawn to people who are quietly working hard. That would be my advice – just quietly work, persevere with what you’re doing”, she stresses out once again in a recent conversation on matchesfashion.com. I’m with her.
Shirt stories Claire Thomson Jonville

Related Shirt Stories entries: Francisca Mattéoli (interview) / Robert Redford / Charlotte Rampling / Ralph Lauren / Heidi Merrick

photos: Lena C. Emery for Filippa K

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The Poster Art of Hans Hillmann

The poster art of Hans Hillmann -Shadows

Hans Hillmann poster for Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959)

One of the pieces of film memorabilia in our home that I cherish the most is the Metropolis poster designed by Schulz-Neudamm, which is unequivocally included on every possible list of the best movie posters in the history of cinema. I pay great attention to film posters and I love, for example, spotting them hanging on the walls in movies (used as a way to pay homage to influencing films or filmmakers or for whatever other reason), like in the case of Vittorio de Sica’s 1948 Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves) – not necessarily the Rita Hayworth poster that is center-state at the beginning of the film, but the office Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) works for, with its walls covered in movie posters.

Unfortunately, it does not happen very often these days that a current movie poster catches my eye and makes me want to watch the film – with an arresting image and pithy tag line – without my knowing absolutely nothing about it beforehand. The kind of great movie poster that adds something to the experience of the movie – accompanying it rather than simply attempting to sell it. Poster art is a medium designed to speak to the public before the film does. The window to the world or story waiting for you to discover.
Hans Hillmann poster art

Hans Hillmann posters for (left) The Fire Within (La feu follet, Louis Malle, 1963) and (right) Los olvidados (Luis Buñuel, 1950)

But I did come across one such poster last year and that was the one for The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. I was not surprised to find out that the inspiration behind it was the stark and striking work of the great German graphic artist Hans Hillmann, whose talent was immeasurable. He created more than 130 film posters in his career, including designs for landmark films such as Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai, Robert Bresson’s Pickpocket and Andrzej Wajda’s Ashes and Diamonds.

The number of iconic film posters that bear his name is astonishing, and Hans Hillmann’s style was as much a signature as that of the directors he often collaborated with, such as Luis Buñuel, Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean Cocteau and Federico Fellini.

I have gathered here some of the work I wasn’t familiar with until recently, like that incredible poster for John Cassavetes’ Shadows.
Hans Hillmann poster art

Hans Hillmann posters for (left) Storm over Asia (Svevolod Pudovkin, 1928) and (right) Rashōmon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

photos via The Criterion Collection | Museum Folkwang/Deutsches Plakat Museum and Hans Hillmann estate

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Play It Again, Sam

Jesse Kamm trench SS 2017 
Spring. Sun. Trench. Style reloaded. Repeat. It happens every single year. When March arrives, one of the first things that spring into my mind is: “Trench weather, finally!”. And you have to be quick to enjoy it while it lasts, because summer will catch you by surprise before you start to feel like yourself again wearing proper clothes after a long and cold winter (and before the blazing temperatures of summer hit and make you forget about style again).

So I am committed to make the most of it and wear my trench coat everywhere. “Never leave the house without it”, says designer Jesse Kamm (the piece in the image is from her spring collection). I rarely do in spring. I wear it to the park, to the film, to a meeting, to the plane, on a road trip, to a tennis match, on a countryside dirt road. You name it, I’ve done it. Too dressed up does not exist when it comes to this versatile and timeless item. There are so many ways to play it down. And you can count on the trench to always play the right card for you.

About Jesse Kamm, I have previously written about her, and, in the meantime, I have come to appreciate her and her work even more than before (for example, the only social network she’s on is Instagram, and that counts for a lot in my book). Not only does she live by her own rules and strong values, but she runs a sincerely admirable company from start to finish – and she does it all by herself (from sales, to delivery, to PR) from her home studio in California, refusing to collaborate with fast fashion chains. Made in California, supporting local manufacturing, using high-quality, well-constructed textiles like modal, American-grown cotton or deadstock fabric whenever she can. Jesse’s philosophy is that business should be of a specific size and scale — bigger isn’t better. But when it comes to style, the scale goes considerably up for the brand Jesse Kamm.

photo: Jesse Kamm

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