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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Finnish Fashion Part 2

Written by Jonno Ovans

The ICA has always struck me an odd gig venue; with it’s white lights and shiny floors, viagra 100mg symptoms but on Friday 22nd May, pilule something exciting was rumbling in it’s deep dark underbelly and I went home prepared to eat my hat…
I didn’t know too much about Comet Gain before the gig, viagra 40mg and expected them to be over-shadowed by the rest of the line-up, but they held their own in spectacular fashion with their unique blend of Northern Soul and lo-fi, to create a danceable but refreshing rock n’roll.

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The Bats

Putting age before beauty, the Bats were on right before young whipper-snappers Crystal Stilts; the most magical inhabitants of New Zealand since hobbits. Having been around since the early 80s and having released a string of consistently good records they seemed to have avoided become publicly known and are quite the cult institution. The crowd at the ICA, myself included, are, blown away by their awesome crashing and soaring folky rock, with Crimson Envy going down like a treat. They have the look of the modern day Pixies (kinda old), with a sound that veers towards early Yo La Tengo or Low.

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The Bats

Whilst loving the Crystal Stilts’ debut album, I’m always sceptical of hype bands, but Crystal Stilts most definitely deserve their hype. From the first note, their post-punk, melancholic wall of bassy noise and murmur vocals enrapture the audience. Their single ‘Love is a Wave’, the second song played is a butterfly in the stomach shoe-gaze fest of blurry noise and the rest of the set follows to form.

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Crystal Stilts
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It is perhaps over easy to compare Crystal Stilts to My Bloody Valentine and their shoe-gaze peers, (it seems that a lot of Brooklyn bands at the moment are being shoehorned into a neo-shoe gaze poor fit) and whilst an element of that is present; mostly from Jesus and Mary Chain‘s Psychocandy, Crystal Stilts are more indebted to the Velvet Underground in their sustaining of a glorious continous noise, and the tuneful grumble of Brad Hargett’s voice is not dissimilar to Lou Reed. Whilst having roots buried in a deep and fruitful musical heritage, Crystal Stilts manage to create something unique to themselves. A band not to be missed.

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Crystal Stilts
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Photos appear courtesy of Roisin Conway and Cari Steel

Last week I wrote about skate brand CTRL, what is ed and Finnish streetwear is making us giddy all over again with Daniel Palillo, viagra a Helsinki based designer who has recently hurtled into the fashion world. His designs are distinctively relaxed, salve and when I interviewed him he said simply that he likes that “people actually wear the clothes”, citing street style sites as a really positive influence on fashion.

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Daniel’s designs are curious, seeing an emphasis on ease and comfort coupled with often a dark and strange aesthetic. The focus is on oversized silhouettes, cut-outs and graphic prints, and there’s a lot of interest in wearability. I think it’s a hard thing to couple both notions of fashion and comfort without sacrificing one for the other, and it’s a delicate balance to strike.

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Daniel’s designs, like the CTRL boys, extract the relaxed and unselfconscious element of sportswear as well as making them stylish and progressive. Daniel says that “it’s important for me to feel cosy” and I think it’s an enjoyable philosophy in terms of an aesthetic, seeing clothes that look familiar and worn, but simultaneously edgy.

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In a post-Beckham universe with the media heralding the triumph of the metrosexual male, skinny jeans, brogues and hair gel, it’s refreshing to see a designer who sends his models down the runway in beaten up pairs of sneakers. Daniel believes that “clothing should be more than a collar shirt and chino pants”, instead making way for the wardrobe for the moody younger brother who has emerged from his room, tousle-haired and sore-thumbed from too much videogaming, only to head off down the street to cause some trouble somewhere. The graphic prints recall 90s videogames like PacMan and Frogger, juxtaposed with relentlessly modern silhouettes. His Spring/Summer ’09 collection was inspired by ice hockey players and sailors, but equally he says his ideas can be generated by the epic act of hitting search into Google Image.

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This younger brother has got a black side, though. The sense of familiarity is complicated by the movement into the darker realms of nightmarish fairytales, aliens, ghosts and monsters of the videogames themselves. It’s a darkness that Daniel says is influenced by Finland itself, maintaining “we are very pessimistic people here. It’s dark for all the winter, so I guess it affects the way we work.”

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I think the pessimism is countered by something else, and a lot of people have found the tragicomic element of Daniel’s clothing one of the most extraordinary facets, as with the print of the eerie skull with a bouffant hairstyle, an example of two totally non-sequitar ideas that are difficult to respond to with any clarity about how it makes you feel. This is an idea reflected in his interest in playing with proportions of the human body, with his models often striking unnatural poses that impress the sense of distortion from the garments themselves.

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The humour certainly throws the melancholy into focus, and he says that “thats definitely the way I look at life. You can find so many funny things in the saddest things in life”.

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