Images: Imaxtree

From top left: LAMB, Douglas Hanant, Gen Art

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Image: island*atelier
How about making yourself beautiful while being surrounded by beauty at the same time?

I have always found this to be an intriguing combination.  Kafu, the brainchild of Glen Wilks, a contemporary, mixed-media artist and hairdresser with more than 20 years experience, combines the relaxation and beautification process with that of a fully-fledged art space.  Glen exhibits his own work as well as works by local and foreign artists in the space.  You can browse and purchase any of the pieces on display or simply enjoy the ambiance.

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Images: Sally Hansen
Giving the trend of nail wraps which we wrote about here some serious fashion cred, comes this news that designer Prabal Gurung, who collaborated with Sally Hansen on  his show’s nail look for a couple of seasons, has worked with the company to produce two designs based on his Spring 2012 collection.  The patterns, named Sweet Marble Floret and Good Morning Glory respectively, are lifted straight from the runway and feature the collection's psychedelic purples and graphic prints on fresh white backgrounds. 

The limited-edition Prabal Gurung for Sally Hansen Salon Effects sets are currently in on sale nationwide.

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Image: Anthropologie
As a part of its mandate to feature innovative designers, Anthropologie is carrying a limited number of designs by Pipit, a label launched by Dustin Horowitz in 2007, under its Made in Kind initiative.  The scheme also includes contributions from Florence Balducci, Hi There from Karen Walker and O By Organic.

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Images: Imaxtree

From top left: DKNY, Ohne Titel, Reed Krakoff

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Image: Frédérique Dumoulin/Issey Miyake
We were amazed when we first saw it and it seems we weren't the only one.

On Tuesday, Issey Miyake and Reality Lab's 132.5 line, which we wrote about here, won the Design Museum of London’s coveted Fashion Prize, beating such luminaries as Sarah Burton's wedding gown for the Duchess of Cambridge and the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" Costume Institute exhibit.  The winning outfits from Miyake’s studio as well as the other innovative ideas from the award’s seven categories which include architecture, digital design, furniture and graphics, are currently on display in the museum's Designs of the Year 2012 exhibition until July 4.

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Image: Coach
Coach's image and prestige have taken a knock over the last few years, so it's actually nice to see them trying to counter that problem with this Hugo Guinness collaboration.  The limited edition collection featuring the artist's hand-cut linoleum prints, includes wallets, totes, a sunglass case and an iPad case.  See more here

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Image: Jason deCaries Taylor
I recall when I was a child and before ecological preservation was such a hot-button issue, tourists would often take samples of coral reefs as souvenirs.  Once people realised the irreparable damage that was being done to these delicate eco-systems, that practice gradually fell out of favour and was eventually legislated against.  Unfortunately in some instances, action was taken too late to make a difference and, when combined with the natural, often damaging effects of hurricanes and storms, some reefs have never returned to their former glory.

Jason deCaires Taylor, an eco-sculptor, is on a mission to change this.  At Mollinere Bay off the West Coast of Grenada, you will find 65 sculptures over an 800 square metre area.  The bay suffered severe hurricane damage a few years ago and the artificial structures are intended to act as a base for the development and preservation of the indigenous marine life as well as providing an attraction for marine tourism thereby reducing traffic to natural reefs.  Taylor's permanent installations are site-specific and intended to act as artificial reefs on which coral can develop and ecosystems thrive. The sculptures, which are designed to last for hundreds of years, are made with environmentally-friendly materials which promotes coral growth and have inert pH properties.   

All of the sculptures are beautiful, but the human figures are the most haunting and evocative.  The sculptures change over time with the effects of their environments and Taylor hopes that "taking art off the white walls of a gallery" will offer the viewer sense of "discovery and participation".  The artist sees the transformation of the sculptures as a metaphor for the future of the human species.

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Image: Very French Gangsters
Loving this eyewear from Very French Gangsters, an eyewear company founded by Karoline Bothorel-Bolzinger which sells prescription glasses and sunglasses for children from ages three to ten.

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Image: Shopbop
Printed jeans are really having a moment and who better to embrace this trend than the pattern maestro herself, Diane von Furstenberg.  She has collaborated with jeans makers Current/Elliott to produce a limited edition of six styles for SS2012.

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Image: Baguera
I love the look of Baguera's Vectory Clutches.  Made of pleather, acrylic and metal, they come mirrored or in neon gradient colours.  See more here.

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Image: JCrew

The second annual collaboration between J.Crew and the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund leads off today with winner Joseph Altuzarra's collection for that company and it has been generating huge amounts of interest, possibly because images of the line have not been disseminated widely (until now), resulting in publications like Vogue having to stage their own looks for the media.  Described as "French Preppy" because the Paris-born, New York-based Altuzarra unrepentantly pulls from French design (and of course J.Crew is the leader in all things preppy), Altuzarra's seven-piece capsule collection includes denim skirts, sweaters and gingham shirts and dresses.

The runners up for this year's award, Pamela Love and the Creatures of the Wind, have also produced collections with J.Crew which will be released on May 14 and  June 11 respectively.  The collection from Pamela Love includes boyfriend jeans, belts and jackets while that from Creatures of the Wind includes twinsets, floral summer dresses and Oxfords.

Altuzarra's collection is available online from today and at J.Crew's Fifth Avenue flagship on April 23.  Have a look at some of the individual pieces after the jump.

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Image: island*atelier
I recently came across this gorgeous flat which was designed by UK-based interior design firm Renaissance Co. which operates from its studio in Portsmouth and takes commissions across the South of England.

Spanning three floors, it's hard to believe this flat is home to a family of five, far less one with two boys under the age of five.  Designer Abigail Hobden is adept at using neutrals to create a calm and serene environment without making things feel too sterile.  The largely white-and-grey palette is saved from becoming monotonous by careful use of accent colours throughout the space and, despite the feminine touches, it manages not to feel too girly.  A sense of irreverence is maintained through the artwork and accessories including album cover art and Banksy prints in the children's nursery. 

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Image: Orla Kiely
One of my perennial favourites Orla Kiely has released her spring/summer 2012 clothing collection. Featuring dresses, skirts and even swimwear in sweet sherbet colours and simple, clean lines, the clothes are young, fun and lighthearted. See more at ther website here and after the jump.


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Image: Kim Wendt
Trust the Scandinavians to lead the way once again.  Vittra Telefonplan, located in Stockholm, Sweden is a free school organisation which was founded on the vision of creating a place where the physical space of the school would be an important tool in the development of its students.  To facilitate this, a team of architects at Rosan Bosch created a most unconventional space where structured classrooms are no longer used.  Instead there are five main learning spaces: the cave, the lab, the campfire, the watering hole and the showoff, each with their own specific uses intended to support the school's goals of differentiated learning.

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This silicone whisk from Ding3000 is functional, space-saving and gorgeous to look at.  Inspired by a pack of straws, the whisk can be collapsed by running a band which doubles as a hanging fixture along its length.  It is designed to be simple and sculpturesque, to function and be practical without compromising on design.

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Image: Anthony Hartley
I love the tactile lines and bright colours of this oak cabinet by Yorkshire-based designer Anthony Hartley which is reminiscent of the Volumptuous sideboard we featured here.  Launched at Tent Week (which is part of London Design Week) in September 2011, Hartley produces each piece by hand. 

The pieces shown here and after the jump are part of his Edna collection.  Housed in a cabinet of oak, the cabinets feature multicoloured laminated plywood drawers which are hand-sprayed and lacquered to create a glossy finish.  The body is placed on splayed metal legs which give the furniture a retro vibe. The shiny finish on the frontage is continued on the inside ensuring that no aspect of the piece is overlooked. 

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Image: island*atelier
Bermudian jewellery designer Alexandra Mosher has started to experiment with jewellery on a larger scale.  Made from copper which is moulded to the body, this beautiful breast plate is made from overlapping, articulated pieces and is held to the body by ribbon or leather straps

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Images: Magis
Marcel Wanders, who we featured here several months ago when he collaborated with Marks & Spencer is on a Christmas collection, has once again collaborated, this time with Italian plastic furniture specialist Magis, to produce this sleek armchair known as the Cyborg.  The chair is available in two versions: one completely made of polycarbonate and one with polycarbonate legs and a contrasting wicker back (pictured after the jump).  I particularly like the pairing of these two unexpected and contrasting materials.

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Images: Imaxtree

From top left: Wes Gordon, Theyskens' Theory, Libertine, Monique L'hullier, Theyskens' Theory, Tess Giberson 

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Images: Carlsten Thostrup
The Tie Desk from Swedish designers Elin Carlsten and Elisabet Thostrup is a stylish way to hide your clutter.  Shown at the 2012 Stockholm Furniture Fair, the Tie Desk is a modern writing desk which opens like a box.  The closure detail is reminiscent of ones found on journals, portfolios and envelopes that closed by wrapping a cord around two flat buttons.

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Images: BZR Shop
Pretty dip-dyed tights from the BZR shop on Etsy.

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Image: via Notcot
I could have used this the other day.  After walking around feeling like a gaoler for months, I decided to purge my keys and get rid of ones I no longer use.  This gadget would have made the whole process a lot easier and less painful.  Called the Free Key and designed by Eric von Schoultz, it pretty much does what it says on the box.  Pressing the lock icon leverages open the end and lets you slip the keys on and off as needed.

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Image: FLIP
Next up, is this fun, brightly coloured seating made for children.  Called the FLIP chair, the modular seating can be used in a practical manner or on its side, upside down and in any number of permutations and combinations as a plaything.  While also made to resemble an animal, compared and contrasted to the Turtle/Turtle we posted on earlier today, the FLIP has infinite number of uses and possibilities. Used alone or together with one or more pieces, the FLIP encourages active play in children. The chairs may be used indoors or outdoors and are available in six standard colours but may also be customised in a colour of your choice. They are made of durable foam and do not have any sharp corners or edges. The chairs are also stain resistant and easy to clean.

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I'm featuring two posts on children's furniture-cum-toys today. First up is Turtle/Turtle, which is billed as a minimalist toy, children's seat and decorative interior object. Intended to compliment and act as a companion piece to the Eames' elephant which was designed in the 1940s, Turtle/Turtle was originally made as a one-off prototype to be auctioned off to benefit the World Wildlife Fund. Now, a small production run is being made available to the general public using Kickstarter, the crowd funding platform. 

See more here.

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Image: via Philippe Starck
The city of Bordeaux in the south-west of France has undertaken a new initiative to encourage the use of it is many cycle and pedestrian areas.  They asked the residents to imagine the city bike they would most like to rent, and then collaborated with French artist and designer Philippe Starck to create the Pibal City Streamer.  These bike-scooters are intended to increase the mobility of the locals and revitalise the bike parks throughout the city.  The design will be produced by Peugeot and will be available on loan to residents.

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Images: Imaxtree

From top left: Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Karen Walker, Dennis Basso, Narcisco Rodriquez, Karen Walker

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