A first ever chronicle of the Dutch designer's storied career
by Paolo Ferrarini in Culture on 24 October 2014
The music industry has the White Album. And now fashion has an iconic black book, thanks to a beautiful new volume from Rizzoli chronicling the visual history of Ann Demeulemeester's contributions to the world of fashion. The Flemish designer has been a reference point for years, known for her sleek and essential touches—whether that's her black and white dresses or her devotion to form and construction. After graduating from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 1981, she became an influential part of the Antwerp Six, a group of creative minds (including Dries van Noten and Walter van Beirendonck) who have deeply influenced global fashion for more than a decade. Demeulemeester founded her label in 1985 but after almost 20 years of successful, recently stepped down.
The new tome tells her story and represents the perfect incarnation of her style. It looks and feels almost sacred, with pages so thin the images can be seen on both sides of each sheet; it's a truly delicate beauty. For this reason, every single page is printed only on one side, creating a uniquely singular reading experience. The size and weight of the book gently contrasts with the fragility and smoothness of the paper, while the almost total white of the inside is in opposition with the blackness of the sides and the linen cover. Text is kept to the essentials, limited to an introduction by Parry Smith (Demeulemeester's longtime muse) and a short final dedication by the designer herself. The book was designed by Victor Robyn, a Belgian graphic designer who has been in charge of realizing Demeulemeester's graphics for years—from show invitations to printed fabrics. The art direction is curated by Victor Robyn, Demeulemeester herself and Patrick Robin, her life and business partner.
The Anne Demeulemeester book is available for purchase now from Amazon for $65
Images by Paolo Ferrarini
Decorative toy concept embodies natural elements and draws on simplicity, thoughtfulness and whimsy
by Adam Stech in Design on 24 October 2014
Created by Czech design and architecture outfit Vrtíška Žák, WOO toys are a boy's dream come true. "We wanted to design something just for ourselves without any client. So we decided to design these three toys," describes Vladimír Žák. He and his partner Roman Vrtíška have run their design and architecture studio for more than 8 years, working mainly on commercial interior projects. "This is something which we really enjoy. We returned to childhood and designed miniatures of what we like. Of course, every boy loves all the vehicles and their designs," adds Vrtíška.
The result of their project—presented for first time at Designblok 2014 in Prague earlier this month—is a collection comprised of an airplane, a sailboat and a bulldozer. The toys, all an exercise of good form, simplify the main characteristics of the three forms. The designers teamed up with independent carpenters to manufacture their designs using solid wood, a luxurious finish and a natural curved surface veneer for all three models. The surface veneer—used for the sails, airplane wings and bulldozer belts—creates an elegant material contrast to the lacquered body of each toy.
The vehicles symbolize three natural elements of water, air and earth. The toys are conceived as decorative sculptures for older boys in the manner of Charles and Ray Eames' House Bird produced for Vitra rather than real play items for children.
WOO toys prices and orders are available upon request.
Images courtesy of Vrtíška Žák
Few brands are found in this venue that creates their own house spirits
by David Graver in Food + Drink on 24 October 2014
London's appreciation of a good cocktail can easily be traced back to 1891, but right now the craft resurgence is at a new high point: solid offerings continue to pop up across the metropolitan with an array of well-made classic and neo-classic drinks. And few represent the care and concern going into cocktail making quite like Hoxton's White Lyan cocktail bar. This pristine, minimal venue—helmed by celebrated bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana—offers something you won't find anywhere else: their own proprietary spirits. These branded house spirits are made specifically for and purchased directly from distillers, to White Lyan's specifications. The white spirits, in particular, are completely unique. But even their whiskey is blended and diluted with White Lyan's own water.
Chetiyawardana's vision meant quality control on all possible elements. "We knew we wanted to use our water," he explains to CH, "so that was a crucial difference too." Water is a defining factor in spirits production and to make a good cocktail, one must first start out with the best spirit possible. To take cocktail creation to that level, many individuals in White Lyan's sphere stepped up. "Over the years, lots of relationships were formed where people were very keen to do something very 'different' with us. When it came to White Lyan, I called all these favors in as there was finally a project where there were no boundaries or stakeholders to answer to, and thankfully, all of them said yes." Chetiyawardana says. "When we told them the concept they loved the idea, so we just spiraled from there." The project took three years to bring to fruition, but the team notes that it took many more years of previous relationship building for something like this to even get off the ground.
As for customer reaction, Chetiyawardana notes that "They don't always notice. We took away a lot of the standard pillars of a bar—including brands—to try and encourage guests to choose according to mood or their own genuine taste rather than marketing. Others love it. Some were worried we were undercutting quality but when you taste the products, I'd say we have some of the best around—and many attest to that too." All the cocktails are premixed and bottled. That means you won't see cocktail shakers, or even ice—the drinks have been refrigerated. You also won't find a perishable item. It's all about preparation—and it pays off.
Coupling those spirits with innovative recipes leads to a unique cocktail experience. While at White Lyan we imbibed a few new favorites. The "Civil Serve" featuring vermouth delivers a bit of (blueberry) vinegar to the nose, with elderflower immediately on the palate. It's a sweet, dry finish that abates quickly. White Lyan's "Pillow Manhattan" is a more subtle, less sweet and less fussy contemporary take on the classic rye concoction. There's no citrus and no flourish—it's more like what you'd want in your hip flask. Perhaps their most literal drink, the "Salad" tastes much like a refreshing garden medley and sports their own gin, lettuce, Herbes de Provence and a little red apple soda. Regardless of guest selection, it's a one-of-a-kind experience.
White Lyan is located at 153-155 Hoxton St., London N1 6PJ and is open seven days a week from 6PM to late.
Lead image and Chetiyawardana portrait by Jason Bailey, other images courtesy of White Lyan