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creative direction & photography
Shini Park
created for
Tu at Sainsbury’s
model JOLINA PEPPINA (WILD LONDON MODELS) production PARK & CUBE stylist SIMON SCHMIDT assistant ZANA WILBERFORCE
Embroidered dress – Tu.

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Ladder-lace top – Tu.

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Behind every Women of Substance there is a wide-eyed girl, pivoting shyly on the heels of her muddy sneakers, cumbersomely picking at Sophie’s World curiosities in her mind while entertaining a rudimentary to-do list that will eventually keep her occupied for, what, the next few decades. I know this, because my mother is perhaps the strongest woman I know, and my absurd certainty on feminism (and surprising indifference to the general cause*) and wild pragmatism is to attest to years of nipping at her feet.

It doesn’t even cross me to think that a man could do what I do better. Or worse, for that matter.

When the Sainsbury’s Tu x Graduate Fashion Week samples arrived at the office for consideration there was no question that the collection was the uniform of girl with messy hair, that rolls her eyes at Dorito-coloured fart balloons and sighs at the ‘state of the world’, who eventually grows up to lead – a nation or a household full of mongrels in a foreign land. Whichever she damn wishes.

*I’ll come back to this later. **
** Will I, though? I haven’t yet had a chance to voice this out in a manner that justifies my existence as a female adult, supposedly strong and also representative of some social niche given the boxes I tick (Interracial marriage, immigrant, born of world’s top five patriarchal nations, blogger-cum-not…etc) But if my upbringing taught anything about actions and words, I won’t be wearing no wordy Dior t-shirts anytime soon until my actions prove it so. What I will eventually want to address though, is feminism based on merit over preferential treatment. So, back to *.

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dungarees & top TU heels CHARLES & KEITH
Boiler suit – Tu. Earrings – Cadenzza.

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Above: Embroidered dress SAINSBURY’S TU sunglasses REJINA PYO. Below: top & culottes SAINSBURY’S TU
slippers DEL RIO carpet LRNCE

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Created for
Sainsbury’s Tu

From single-handedly sustaining the pot-noodle industry to eating said noodles daily with chopsticks made of Windsor & Newton watercolour brushes (numbers 00 and 0 are best for grip and precision) on account of leaning tower of pizza boxes and various unwashed crockery, I have lived the ‘uni life’. Thoroughly, might I add. This very site – now my livelihood – was in fact a love child between Chronic Procrastination (who may be the love of my life) and myself, thick into second year of my BA course. Which, just like the tuft of window moss I passionately nursed right around the same time, or learning how to knit, were anything BUT conducive to my higher education. The common denominator for all this being: deadlines.

…for we all remember the penny-pinching days of living exclusively on instant noodles and PB (J too if lucky) sandwiches.

Top – Sainsbury’s Tu GFW collection. Trousers – Rodebjer

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The lucky graduate
i.e the one who secretly worked her ass off to the demise of her procrastinating peers
Ladder lace detail top – Sainsbury’s Tu

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By the time my graduation show rolled by, all I had to show for the four years was a crude, ill-executed prototype of – to my defence – a grand concept that was meant to get me a D&AD award, if not an Oscar, with a side of Would sir like to see my hand-knitted SpongeBob, or a DIY moss garden, OR MAYBE MY FASHION BLOG? Of course, no amount of grovelling and showing off of various love-children would win me a job. So, hats off to Genevieve Devine of Northumbria University who was awarded the 25th Anniversary Sainsbury’s Tu Scholarship Award and a rare opportunity to start the relationship with the public through an accessible collection backed by a strong patron.

Here’s first glimpse of the Tu x Graduate Fashion Week collection (already in stores), comprised of historical workwear* silhouettes in natural fibres and punctuated by sweet embroidery details that hint at a carefree summer days and simpler times when I could coast by, dodging deadlines and knitting the crap out of things.

*Oh the irony…

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art & creative direction SHINI PARK
assistant photographer SIMON SCHMIDT created for MOET & CHANDON

I love me. I really do, apparently – I listed all the symptoms into a search bar (Did you mean “Kanye West”?) and took a Buzzfeed test and everything. It’s legit. Dr Google says so. I, Shini Park, love spending time absolutely, completely alone.

With champagne, preferably.

I’ve written, time and time again, that my husband and I are keen observers of the Because-Why-the-Frick-Not day. We’ve done the ‘perfect date’ out, more times accidental than not, for reasons including but not limited to: the fact that there is sink full of dirty dishes at home and none of us remembers whose turn it is to clean, when the #Brexit landlady announces she would visit sometime during the day, or that time when I found a £5 note in an old coat and thought I’d treat us to a three-course dinner, a movie and some very expensive lingerie. Point is, we don’t need a reason to dig out champagnes flutes – every time I wear socks that match is a happy un-birthday, every time his spreadsheet runs without errors that’s a #MoetMoment. We are very happy. And highly cynical.

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#MoetChandon

Bustier – ASOS. Skirt – Baum & Pferdgaten. Heels – Prada. Sofa – Sofa & Chair Company.

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Moët Rosé Impérial ‘Emoëticons’

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What we also are, are a pair of hardcore introverts. Ones that can only charge batteries by being completely alone in a quiet room, surrounded ideally by inanimate objects, preferably also occasionally hugged by a machine with arms made of wood. Do you have anything fun planned for Valentine’s Day? Someone asked me in an email a few weeks ago. Why yes, I do. I took a bottle of Limited edition Moët Rosé Impérial ‘Emoëticons’ to the other room, painted on every surface but my sketchbook, and stuck Moet Stickers (Also available as app in iOS and Android) on my body while screeching to Ciara’s My Body (to the dude’s despair). My best use of a Tuesday in February, maybe EVER.

#MyKingly

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Created for
Smythson

If you too, for a large part of 2007 and maybe even a slice of 2008, spent most of your waking hours lusting after a canvas tote bag, then come in for a cuddle. We did it, comrade, we started the efficiency revolution! A canvas tote bag wasn’t just a canvas tote bag – it was a political statement (I had one that said ‘Puppies not Politics’), an inflatable magic pocket, a bottomless Mary Poppins/Hermione’s handbag that had undergone an Undetectable Extension Charm. There were months when I exclusively carried a tote bag, keys and coins jangling under various half-eaten Pret sandwiches, amongst acrylic paint tubes I picked up at the Uni shop. As a ‘flaneur’, it was a must-have item, because the point of it was that it collected evidence of an entire day’s worth of curiosity (knick-knacks).

Fast forward a decade, bag trends have come and gone, all the shapes and sizes. I now mysteriously have enough canvas tote bags to make soup from, but it still stands that none of my bags have proved as practical. I mean, have you tried shoving an aubergine into an Olympia Le Tan book clutch? (Actually, don’t say that on a date.) Enter Smythson, whose pale blue featherweight notebooks I have time and time again poured my heart, ideas and indecipherable scribbles onto, with the new Kingly Tote. The new butter-soft leather bag is an embodiment of their delicate yet resilient stationery, which comes in black or the legendary Nile Blue of the brand’s shopping bags. Stop, drop and roll it up, stick a loaf of bread in there next to your gym clothes (microwave pizza for me), whip it out when the airline nags your about excess luggage weight. Viva la revolucion!

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Acrylic paint
Galeria



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Artist at heart
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Four years of art school will teach you a thing or two about transporting odd-shaped/sized books and equipment but at the end of the day nothing works better than a sturdy tote.

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Top – Jaeha. Skirt – Celine
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at
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I don’t know this (yet?), but I’ve been told by reliable sources (i.e most friends on my Facebook wall) that the Kingly makes a stellar mum bag. To keep mum things, apparently, like snacks and broomsticks if you’re Korean. I kid.

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Coat – Joseph. Shoes – Yuul Yie

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Coat – Emma Charles. Shoes – Yuul Yie

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Dress – Exhibit. Trousers – Joseph. Tote – Smythson Kingly. Heels – Celine.

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Top – Finery. Leather trousers – YearOne- (Similar)
#MyKingly
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Market smarts
Layer a bunch of anemones on top of a freshly baked bread loaf from Pavilion, and finish with a light sprinkling of change. Bacon butty optional.

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art & creative direction SHINI PARK
assistant photographer SIMON SCHMIDT in collaboration with SMYTHSON

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words and photography SHINI PARK guest of CHANEL & BARRIE
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In what I can only describe as fickle (AF. Excuse my French) and fundamentally confusing times that is managing to spur a notoriously apathetic generation and an ENTIRE GENDER to be hot and bothered, my visit to Barrie Knitwear in Hawick, Scotland comes as a balm.
There is an air of enduring timelessness to Barrie, suppliers of Chanel knitwear: a distinct lack of fuss or noise, save for the gentle whirring of machines and crisp snip-snaps from thread cutters sprinkled across a well-lit assembly hall. The main objective: the craft. It’s a no-brainer. It’s evident in the sculptural jumper worn by my guide (whom I end up awkwardly hugging/petting in the end, because CASHMEEEERE), in the knitted brows (see what I did there) of the men and women mounting the rib panel stitch-by-stitch, and the multiple quality control stations that punctuate the entire process.

It has been quite a journey to reach this point, my guide tells me, however. In 2012, Barrie’s holding company had hit a financial bind and was forced into administration, which is when Chanel’s subsidiary company Paraffection (meaning “for love”) had given a hand in the name of savoir-faire. This poignant purchase has since aided the mill in securing scores of jobs, serving the Hawick community, and resuming some 140-year heritage and expertise. In a sense, arguably it’d been a natural acquisition, given that Chanel had been working with Barrie for thirty years’ prior on producing twin-sets and the perennial two-tone cardigans that is still a staple of the brand. No stitch was to be dropped (aren’t I just full of puns today) in Barrie’s cause for highly finessed knitwear production.

Photos – Shini Park

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…filled with the cosmopolitan, high-rolling glitterati that famously adorned the Ritz.

Chanel’s Metiers D’Art returns to Paris for the brand’s sixth and final collection of 2016, right back to the hallowed lobby of the recently renovated Ritz, where Coco Chanel famously lived from 1937 throughout World War II, and died in 1971. While a centre-piece of French pastries and cookies needs no excuse, the show – served up in three sittings at lunch, tea and dinnertime, was filled with the cosmopolitan, high-rolling glitterati that would have visited the Ritz in its heydays.

Weaving in between the tables, dancing with the occasional ‘stranger’ (who turns out was a dance duro), the models wore midi-skirts with deep V-neck tops to match, bubble-capes and hair veils decorated with roses. As look number 42 sauntered by, I recognised the golden tunic that was merely a sketch and a swatch panel when I’d visited Barrie just two weeks past.

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Catwalk Photos: Chanel

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State-of-the-art knitting machines are used to achieve precise and complex designs

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A stitch-by-stitch pattern is constructed based on sketches from Paris.

While final design input is made by Chanel, Barrie’s technical know-how is trusted in composing the best creation method.

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An artisan scores a clean-cut button hole on a Chanel two-tone cardigan

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Below: Once knitted, the panels are washed and softened – but no chemical products are used (Only the water from Teviot river is to to praise!) This process is not operated by a timer, but by an experienced technician who determines the doneness with his hand.

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Rib panels are mounted onto the needles, stitchby stitch, which requires precision and experienced hands to ensure the quality of knit meets Chanel’s exacting demands.

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All Chanel knitwear is made in the ‘fully fashioned method’, which results in neater seams.

Above: a steady hand boldy shears through a cardigan in its final stages.

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In the design room, I make a bee-line to a wall tiled with Karl’s sketches (I tend to dart off the leash at Chanel factories…), feeling a little naughty as I glean hints of the upcoming Metiers D’Art collection. The nonchalant hand-written annotations by the Chanel design team illustrate how the production process is a well-versed collaboration between the two studios. These rough sketches are then used by Barrie technicians to construct the pattern, stitch-by-stitch, using a highly mathematical application that look like impossible pixel-art to me. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that there can be as many as four Chanel collections, in varying technical complexities, in development and production at any given time. I can’t even do my laundry while the water is boiling.

It’s a gruelling process. Assembling one piece can take up to 40 steps, involving state-of-the-art Shima Seiki machines from Japan, as well as some near-extinct industrial beasts from the 70’s. But the star of the process is the hands, and that’s ultimately what the Chanel customer pays for: the meticulous and rigorous care of highly-skilled artisans.

As a parent-company, Chanel endorses the pursuit for the ‘best’, and this resonates through Barrie as every trainee, technician, craftsman, work towards indisputable quality and quiet over-achievements. And this, especially in a landscape of dubious origins and sub-par quality products (and politicians), is something sure worth paying for.