Warm chestnuts and Havana Club rum at Fashion Popcorn #3

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Upstairs at The Crown, E3

Upstairs at The Crown, E3

Live. Think. Create. This coincidentally appropriate mantra loomed large over the stairs which led to our Fashion Popcorn at The Crown yesterday evening, Dec 1.

Despite unseasonal snow, and more seasonal sickness (all our speakers were under the weather!), we went ahead with our interaction-themed ‘salon’, with the smaller crowd facilitating some great conversation, which was all the better for input from all in the room.  

Gathered around a table in The Crown’s gorgeous dining room-turned event space, fuelled by some lovely Havana Club cocktails, we commenced the evening stringing popcorn together to make tinsel. This might seem bizarro, but in fact was a hand-made interpretation of crowd-sourcing, with each guest contributing to the final product – over 2 metres of seasonal tree-decorations!

It also proved a great ice-breaker for those who were new to the fold, and – fuelled by yummy nibbles provided by Geronimo Inns – a fashion film showreel spliced by Roma Vaccaro ticked away as conversation organically turned into a very informal fashion film presentation and talk, to which all had something to offer.

Loosely theming the evening around the idea of interaction and delight, discussions on geo-location and RFID chips in clothing, soon moved onto the interactive Diesel music video-meets-catalogue for SS10 ‘A Hundred Lovers’, introduced by Stephen Whelan at our Bristol salon, discussing how this answers some of the questions around a seamless content to purchase experience, as well as the integrity of the piece owing to its incorporation of artists and creatives – rather than models – in the video.

We also viewed the film of the Ralph Lauren 4D experience, premiered wrapped around the outside of the brand’s flagship stores in  NYC and London a few weeks back. On the one hand, this created an apparently democratic accessibility to the Ralph Lauren brand, with anyone being able to be part of its brand experience without even having to step into a shop; conversely, although the screening – projected on Lauren’s Bond Street store – opened it up to many more people, cynical observers might note that it is still a brand out of reach of the majority (although the perfume – spritzed over the enraptured crowd – isn’t).

 And, thanks to Kin Design, we also previewed a film of the Carri Munden interactive  ‘photobooth’, in which visitors could play with the Cassetteplaya CGI- and Native American-inspired symbols, overlaying their own portrait picture. This created an animated GIF, uploaded to Cassetteplaya’s I  CAN HAZ UR EVERYTHING online pages. We were interested in the contrast of Carri’s ancient world yet techno creative play, and Jocie Howe’s tech-inspired but ultimately hand-made experience.

A key discussion point was the contradication of our apparent unquenchable thirst for the new, the next, the most technologically advanced, juxtaposed with the desire for analogue and hand-made experiences, and how these might mesh.

The question the sea-change shift of press vs blogs to press and blogs – arguably once the manufactured vs hand-made, but now blurred –  raised questions around information fatigue, not due to the constant overload of messages so much as how hard it becomes to know what is honest in the digital landscape.

We now not only have to contend with having unattainable celebrities to aspire to, but seemingly ‘normal’ people too, in the form of bloggers. Uber-blogger Susie Bubble in the GAP Want campaign being one such example.

So you have the brushstrokes of talking points, but, as guest Caroline Healey commented, we really felt we barely scratched the surface, with plenty of fodder for our next Fashion Popcorn salon. While the numbers were dramatically diminished by the snow, in fact this meant a truly informal, democratic platform for everyone to have an opportunity to speak, to the extent that blogger and Fiasco editor Abimarvel jumped onto the laptop to find the GAP Want film for us all to watch.

Oh, and our cousin Amy, of Cyclodelic, and photographer Andrea Vladova ran a fashion consequences tableau against the backdrop of her glittering golden bike. Each guest was asked to scribble their sentence of consequence – can’t wait to hear how this story maps out!

So the next Fashion Popcorn, which we think will take place at the end of January (somewhere around payday!), will continue in the same vein – a very informal get-together, to which guests should come armed with questions and, ideally, something to show and tell. We very much hope to see those of you we got to know on December 1 will be able to make it again – will keep you posted on developments!

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