We love hearing the sniggers coming from the stationery department right now. Can only mean one thing. Lazy Oaf haven't lost their touch when it comes to delivering hysterical cards. From small beginnings hand printing t-shirts in her dad's East End garage eleven years ago, Gemma Shiel's super cool pop graphics label has built a huge following of loyal 'oafs' and 'oafettes', including us. Slightly odd, never for a moment dull and always borderline too rude, the world of Oaf still has us laughing.
We're all partial to a bit of gift-wrapping geekery here, but Lucy is truly the gift-wrapping queen. Her parcels always a work of art; she even sets up a gift-wrapping station in her house come Christmas. But look at this. Our new crafting obsesssion. Rosette Art by Cathe Holden: Instructions and Papers for Beautiful Rosettes to Share, Wear, and Display. We think we might just manage to steal the crown with this at our disposal...
Seems our current thing for all things Danish just doesn't want to die. Our latest squeeze, Pernille Corydon, do that special Scandi thing in a fine line of bling. Just the right amount of pretty and delicate, stylish and simple. Oh and we do always fall for a star!
Dreaming of far off places? Let this lovely lot from womenswear newcomer Rabens Saloner take you there. In spirit if nothing else. And frankly we're happy with that because this is a collection that says I've been to far-flung exotic places but I'm perfectly capable of slotting into everyday life.
Maybe it's because designer Birgitte Raben Olrik divides her time between Copenhagen and her most beautiful house in Thailand. We can see inspiration from both. Oversized striped mohair jumpers, super cool gold lurex slouchy chinos and a pallette of pink and grey lend the laid back Danish feel while the loose fitting linen pieces and tie dye silk have jetted in from some dreamy sun drenched location.
Sneakers people. Only the most classic of them all. All American heritage. British made. Here's introducing the classic 670 in grey/ navy and red/navy, plus the 577 now in brown.
It's quite a skill. Dressing without trying to. Or at least appearing not to. It's something we all know the French excel at so we're most pleased to now have Paris Street Style at our disposal. The work of French journalist and personal stylist Isobelle thomas and photograher Frederique Veysset, this great little book gets to the bottom of that elusive je ne sais quoi. Expect pages of inspiring and beautiful photos of real people wearing their real clothes - from trendy to timeless, yet always simple and unfussy - plus plenty of guidance on pullig off that I-just-threw it-on-in-moments-flat look, without having to try too hard.
Dr Bronner makes soap. Magic All-One soap. Organic, fair trade, biodegradable, sulfate free and vegetable based pure castile soap for 18 different uses. Suitable for washing face, body, clothes, pets, muddy vegetables and even for brushing teeth, these soaps have been certified as safe to eat by the US Department of Agriculture (though why whould you?). Dr Bronner himself is no longer with us but his eccentric philosophy (transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides anyone? Planetariums as the 'All-One' temples of the future?) remains printed on each and every bottle.
Possibly the prettiest, daintiest china we ever did see just arrived courtesy of Bodo Sperlein, a London agency designing on behalf of leading Japanese porcelein manufacturer Nikko. The collection goes by the name of Macaroon. Most apt when you consider the blush colours, soft edges and the fact they look way too good to put to funtional use. Yup these little pots and plates, cups and jugs are to be treasured and admired, spared for high days and holidays, accompanied by a box of Ladurée we think.
We're celebrating this year with Vader's Little Princess, the most amusing follow up to Jeffrey Brown's breakout bestseller Darth Vader and Son. This time, poor Vader's parenting skills are put to the test as Leia grows from a sweet little girl into a rebellious teenager intent on leaving the house wearing only a skirted metal bikini. The perfect gift for your favourite Star Wars fan.
DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL WORKING DAY?
I start by responding to emails from around the world from our distributors, retailers and/or consumers. Then Pete and I will assess the situation regarding orders to ship during the day -- orders from distributors, retailers and/or webshop orders. Then it is off to the factory to check on production and take care of hems for customers.
WHEN AND WHERE ARE YOU MOST PRODUCTIVE?
At my home office in the morning before heading to our studio.
WHO OR WHAT COULDN'T YOU WORK WITHOUT?
I find myself depending on my iPhone and Dropbox quite often.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
Interacting with consumers. Talking with them about durable products and the value in buying things that last versus cheap, disposable items. The all-important "cost-per-wear" idea.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Pete and I tend to look back on our childhoods in California during the 1970s and the punk rock ethos prevalent back then. We didn't know it as teenagers, but the honest, do-it-yourself and be-yourself spirit of the punk movement had a lasting impact on us. We realize that it is important to have a specific point of view and to not try to be all things to all people.
TELL US SOMETHING WE'RE UNLIKEY TO KNOW ABOUT TELLASON DENIM?
One aspect of Tellason that we're most proud of and feel that we do not talk about enough is the fact that all three of our Cone Mills White Oak selvage denims (12.5, 14.75 and 16.5 oz) are exclusive to us and that we developed these fabrics with Cone to fit specific wear and aging profiles. We believe that it is important for the consumer and retailer to know that our Ladbroke Grove fit in 14.75 oz denim will be the same a year from today as it is today.
WHAT PROJECT, COLLECTION OR ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
We're really proud of the aforementioned Cone White Oak selvage fabrics we developed and are also very pleased with our distribution in Japan. If you would've told us two years ago that we would be sold in 100+ stores in what is arguably the world's most sophisticated denim market, I wouldn't have believed it.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED?
Be nice to people. If they're a consumer, understand that they have 100s of choices when it comes to buying pants and that they deserve your respect and time if they're considering yours. If they're a supplier and they deliver the product or service you asked for, pay them. If they're a retailer, realize it is a partnership and it is in both parties best interest that Tellason sells well in their shop.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN THE FUTURE?
Buy a house on the island of Anguilla (BWI) and live there a couple of months per year. The rest of the time, let friends use it for free.
WHAT IS THE TELLASON TEAM'S GUILTY PLEASURE?
Sounds silly, but we love the tacos de carnitas dorados at La Taqueria in San Francisco and take great pleasure in taking any carnivorous visitors to eat what we believe is the finest use of swine on the planet.
AND FINALLY, TONY PATELLA'S TOP 3 SAN FRANCISCO MUST SEE/DOS?
I can't name only three. Here is a rambling, incoherent list:
Tacos de carnitas dorados at La Taqueria
Espresso at Four Barrel Coffee
Beers at Toronado
A visit to the the Ferry Building farmer's market
Dinner at Delfina
A journey across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands
Dinner at Sushi Ran in Sausalito
A Giants game at AT&T Park
Oysters in West Marin
Pints at the Pelican Inn in Marin
California Academy of Science
Menswear shopping at Unionmade