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In what could cynically be regarded as an inevitable move, for the first time IKEA has looked to the East for inspiration, combining its traditionally Scandinavian aesthetic with that of China to come up with the limited-edition Trendig collection.  The collection will be available in stores only for a few months, but is being regarded by the company as the starting point for a new trend as the company begins to look farther afield for fresh inspiration.  

We have mixed feelings about the result which seems to be a caricature of Oriental culture.  Claiming to feature materials and motifs commonly found in Chinese design, the company states that the line was produced as a genuine cultural collaboration between designers and artisans in Sweden and China but includes references to table tennis, koi and (in a strange cross-pollination with Japanese culture) the maneki-neko or lucky cat.  The Trendig collection will be available in stores from today January 31 just in time for the Chinese New Year.  
Raul Herrera Téllez of Arquiteknia has designed the Maria Chair, a dish-like wooden chair resting on steel legs.  The seat is made of gently-curved wooden slats which are interwoven with fabric or raffia.
Orange Bay Company's now has a new location for its vintage clothing which is adjacent to the original store and creates an entirely separate shopping experience.Outfitted by Green Island Restoration, the space is a study in contrasts with glamorous touches such as chandeliers competing successfully with re-purposed pallets and rough-hewn wood.  The boutique is divided into different shopping areas for ease of browsing: shoes, women's clot hing (including a room solely dedicated to trousers) and a fast-growing section for men's clothing. 
The Squid Cabinet is a study in contrasts with its modern and traditional shapes being offset by a punch of neon colour.  From Moloform, the storage unit features asymmetric drawers and cupboards that are perched on top of eight apparently randomly grouped turned legs. For the less faint of heart, the Squid Cabinet also comes in white. 

It may be a high street retailer, but we applaud H&M's attempt to promote and support new designers.

We are looking forward to the announcement of the winner of the 2014 H&M Design Award  tomorrow as we were incredibly impressed with last year's winner Minju Kim. This year, contestants were given €5,000 to create a line and for a chance to show their wares at Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week.  The winner will receive a €50,000 cash prize and have pieces from their collection sold at select stores next fall.  Above and below are some images from the finalists' portfolios.

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, launches its first children's line today, January 25. Using the women's 2014 resort collection as a springboard, the debut is a whimsical display of colour, print, and texture and it features several items which correspond to the main line.  The collection includes forget-me-not print dresses, bell-shaped skirts and cobalt-blue cocoon coats.   Mini Preen will be sold at Selfridges in London and Mon Petit in New York.
Image via The Cut
Maison Martin Margiela mixed tattoos, sequins, metallics and prints in its couture show this week.  Some dresses were reminiscent of bolts of cloth complete with the selvedge on display.  Prints were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright or featured images by Picasso and Pail Gauguin.  MMM's Tabi boots have been updated in bronze.

Vivienne Westwood has created a capsule handbag collection called the Ethical Africa collection which launches on ASOS today. Both socially responsible and stylish, the affordable range includes brightly coloured totes, duffles and backpacks which have been handmade by communities of women in Nairobi, Kenya from such diverse materials as recycled canvas, leather offcuts and recycled roadside banners.
Image via The Cut
Beautiful sheers and pleats from Vionnet.

Image via The Cut

Stephane Rolland showed gowns (on the rare occasion that trousers were shown, they were cut generously so as also to appear to be a skirt-like) with exaggerated shapes this week.  The collection had a futuristic feel with shiny breast- and shoulder-plates and spiny embellishments.

Image via The Cut
Jennifer Lawrence is the poster girl for Dior at the moment but there have been complaints that the synergy between her and the label with regard to her recent showings on the red carpet is less than ideal. Perhaps the more youthful looks that the house showed this week which referenced the glittery column Lawrence wore at last week's SAG awards will be a better match.  After being distracted by the intricate footwear for the first few looks, we were able to appreciate the delicate layering, a-line shapes and laser cut-outs that came down the runway.

Image via The Cut
We've only ever featured ready-to-wear shows here, but in a break from tradition thought we would highlight some of the couture shows this year.

Up first is Lagerfeld's show for Chanel which alternated between emphasising and de-emphasising the waist.  Some silhouettes looked wasp-like with their constricting middles while others featured drop-waisted, blouson dresses.  Sporty elements were thrown in for good measure and we saw models wearing trainers, sequinned cycle shorts, elbow and kneepads and fanny packs.  

Given our great love of Camper shoes, we were surprised to discover we haven't featured the brand here more often.  It has taken this collaboration with Rachel Comey to bring them back to the blog after a five-year absence.  The partnership for Spring 2014 has resulted in these gorgeous rubber sandals in red, white or black.  The sandal features an embroidered floral motif made from raffia which is worked through an eyelet-like design found on top of each shoe.  The mixed materials help to elevate the sandal above and beyond the conventional and will be available from April in stores and online.

With a strong Eastern vibe, including a mix of African and Indian elements, is the latest resort collection from Cynthia Rowley.

Stella McCartney recently released images of her pre-fall line and while the clothes were fairly interesting (we liked the graphic faces which adorned a few of the pieces as well as the oversized polka dots), the items that really caught our eye were the lace-less oxford shoes sported by the models in almost every shot.  The style which is quickly becoming one of the more ubiquitous of the season, acted as the perfect counterpoint to the structured, masculine pieces.
Image: Artek

Great fluid lines on Artek's Armchair 41 Paimio which was designed by Alvar Aalto in 1932.
This chunky yet stylish cutlery set was developed by Nendo in collaboration with metalworkers from Kobayashi Kogyo.  Inspired by prehistoric tools and roughly hewn weapons of the past, each piece is smooth and shiny where held, but rough and textured elsewhere to mimic a crudely carved object.
Simple but functional is the colourful Poke stool by typography designer Kyuhyung Cho who was inspired to create furniture for adults which retains a childlike spirit in its form and function.  The stool's four rounded legs and eight holes make it stackable when its legs are slotted through the holes of another stool.  When stacked, the stools rotate to create a geometric-like sculpture.

The Poke is made from Finnish birch and oak and is sealed with a hard-wearing lacquer to create a solid and smooth surface. The stools are being produced by Innermost and will be available for purchase this spring.
Our second collaboration of the day is from Peter Pilotto whose enormous line for Target will hit stores in a few weeks on February 9.  The collection is big on bright colours and pattern mixing - two of Pilotto's staples.  Items range from dresses, tops and skirts to swimwear, sneakers, bags and even sunglasses.  The designers Christopher De Vos and Pilotto used the swimwear as the starting point for the collection and built the looks around that category.  Lookbook and individual images can be seen after the jump.
Images from flamboyant designer Jeremy Scott’s debut line for Moschino have been released online via Instagram of all things. A mix of pseudo-conservative and street styles, pieces include signature chain-trim embellished shift dresses, a cow-print top coat, Moschino- branded accessories, oversized slogan and varsity tees.  The clothes, which are rendered mainly in black and gold with the occasional red thrown in, are flashy and irreverent. 

Our favourite item from this year's unusual Christmas present list, was this Samba Foosball Table from Anthropologie.   Each table is made by skilled artisans from a village just north of Dakar from leftover wood from fishing boats known as samba.  The recycled wood still features the original patina that draws from its seafaring past meaning each table is a unique creation with a price to match. 
Image: Damian Libert
This set of serving spoons and forks by designer Marlon Darbeau is an interesting combination of metal and wood.  Called Dish Out, the sleekly modern set which was originally shown at Design Caribbean in the Dominican Republic, consists of a stainless steel bowl secured to a polished mahogany handle.
This stunning bamboo chair looks more like a piece of art than furniture.  Designers Tejo Remy and René Veenhuizen wanted to create a beautiful, comfortable and, most importantly, sustainable chair.  Strips of eco-friendly bamboo were bent to create the main frame using long-established Asian plaiting methods.  The resulting design is both lightweight and sturdy as well as being pleasing to the eye.

Marta is sustainable coffee table and stool set created by Italian designers Giuseppe Vinci and Pasquale Onofrio and presented in Turin during Partatissima 2013 by the studio/workshop Izmade, which specialises in the production of sustainable furnishings and accessories.  The top of the table and stool are made from MDF and are supported by red tubes which are normally used in heating but which here have been bent and interlaced to create a strong support.
When you think about life in the Caribbean, knitwear and woolly jumpers don't immediately spring to mind, but up-and-coming Trinidadian designer Aisling Camps is hoping to change that.  The loose, open weave of her clothes (produced under her eponymous label) will ensure that you will still stay cool while looking hot.

Image: Shopbop
A stylish update to the traditional market basket is the Nevis Pinart Tote from Anya Hindmarch with its woven texture, colourful embroidered pattern and frayed edges along the front pockets and opening.  The bag also features a leather base and double handles. 

These porcelain and ash wood side tables from Kristie van Noort are a remarkable melding of two materials.  The side tables have been treated with the same pigments and processes as are used for ceramics and the result is a beautifully natural blending of colours and textures.

Spare and minimal, Stem is a wooden coat stand created by Italian architect and designer Matteo Gerbi.  Shown at the London Design Festival 2013 and produced entirely in England by local artisans, the piece has contemporary appeal and a sculptural feel that can adapt to any space.  Born of a childhood memory of workers in the Italian countryside who had the habit of hanging jackets and hats on the long handles of their tools, the stand consists of a cubic base into which eight circular beech wood pegs have been inserted at different heights for interest and practicality.  

Another slim profile table is Ripple by designer Benjamin Hubert (who's been featured here before) and Canadian manufacturer Corelam as part of an internal studio research project into lightweight construction techniques.

The table's unique corrugated plywood construction makes it incredibly lightweight.  Made of three-ply birch aircraft plywood which have been sandwiched together in layers, the table uses less material than a standard timber table and is light enough to be easily picked up and moved around.  Despite its seeming fragility, the table can support a surprising amount of weigh with its impressive strength-to-weight ratio being enabled by an innovative production process of corrugating plywood for furniture through pressure lamination.  Ripple is pleasantly minimal in its design language. The top surface consists of corrugated plywood overlaid by a flat sheet and the A-frame legs are again a sandwich construction, this time of two corrugated plywood layers.

Image: Master & Master
Czech Republic design firm Master & Master have created these stackable trestle tables. Stable and lightweight, the table top is secured in place by plastic backplates. The table legs are powder coated steel and come in several colours including Ultramarine Blue and White.