No shortage of conversation occurs after experiencing a film like HER. High waisted pants, well-worn mustaches, dependency on technology, the future of video games, all make the conversational check list. And while all are valid and worthy of discussion, the film’s design aesthetic is what really sets it apart. It’s safe to say Spike Jonze is the consummate creator of art(y) films, and there were no punches pulled with HER. The set, the wardrobe, his view of a future Los Angeles are all done so well, and perhaps more important, feel natural.
Jonze enlised the help of Geoff Mcfetridge to build a world that’s artificial, yet realistic. With much of the landscape consisting of a blend between Shanghi and L.A., the Los Angeles creator took ques from designers past. In addition to creating the drawings inside the offices of Theodore Twombly along with the computer interface and handheld device graphics, and the films credits, Mcfetridge was also responsible for the elaborate transit map that’s found in the back ground throughout several scenes.
The retro aesthetic was inspired by Massimo Vignelli’s 1970s New York Subway map. Vignelli, originally from Italy, came to America and attracted attention for his work designing signage for the D.C. metro and New York subway, the latter eventually hiring him to design the system’s map. Although Vignelli’s map met mixed (unfavorable) reviews from New Yorkers for its diagrammatic approach and lack of scale geography, it remains a favorite amongst graphic designers and modern lovers alike (it still draws significant bids on eBay and the like). And like Vignelli, who worked on just about every type of design that exists, Mcfetridge’s modernist approach spans the life of the film, woven into its fabric. But it’s a glimpse at L.A.’s future transit system where the most influence can be felt with its broad use of geometric shapes and vivid color.
So now that HER is soon to be available online, you’ll have one more detail to search out, one more box to check. For a look at similar design work, visit Champion Studio.
In 2009, Unionmade opened their doors. Located in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, it didn’t take long to get attention. And deservedly so. By many accounts Unionmade, with Todd Barket (of Gap fame) at the helm, can be given credit for bringing the menswear scene west. In a city with a significant lack of the brick & mortar found out east, there was high demand for a place that carried a large selection of good, well made things under one roof. Unionmade fit this bill, offering a full roster of quality infused brands whose relationships would later develop into collaborations, setting the selection completely apart from any coast.
Today the brand list tops 100, and includes all the crowd pleasers such as Alden, Barbour and Filson, but while great, these aren’t why you shop here. The rest of the lineup is choked-full of goods from England, Japan, Italy, and of course good ol’ America. The Sunspels, North Sea Clothings, Drakes, Kapitals and Boliolis are all on the team and ready to play. And the collaborations we mentioned run deep, so a lot of what you see isn’t going to be easy to find elsewhere. I paid a visit to Unionmade when they opened in ’09, and make it a point to visit whenever in town, and I’m always impressed.
Now just over four years later, Unionmade continues to carry the torch, and is expanding, again. After first out growing and expanding the S.F. store, they opened two additional locations, one in Los Angeles and another in Marin (just north of S.F.). Both the second and third locations carry the aesthetic and branding that made the first store so successful. The sights are now set on a fourth location, again in Los Angeles. The new outpost will be seated in the Grove shopping center and is sure to do well – the Grove may be one of the busiest places on earth. The new location will be large enough to carry most of what you’ll find in S.F. and has the same vibe. If you’re nearby, pay a visit.
Check out Unionmade at The Grove: 189 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles.
In the last couple years, it seems there’s been an influx of centennial celebrations by companies making just about everything. This is a good thing. It not only means that there are a decent amount of companies which still exist stateside, but that they’re continuing to produce good things. Spiewak is amongst this contingent.
With 110 years under their belt, Spiewalk has continued to produce high-quality outer wear for dockworkers, the armed forces, city and public workers alike. Their jackets and their stories continue to be inspirational. While the word iconic isn’t amongst my favorites, there isn’t a better word to describe a lot of what Spiewak has created. The infamous WWII Navy deck jacket, snorkel parka and one of the first double-breasted pea coats all fall under the Spiewak label.
Kicking off the new year in good form (and temperature appropriate timing), Spiewak is set to premier their latest collection at Pitti Uomo in Florence. With Maurizio Donadi of Levis & RL fame at the helm, the New York native label is taking a new approach and creating a collection suited towards today’s lifestyle, while maintaining quality consistent with products past. Additionally, a Golden Fleece collection is slated to launch in the near future, which will take cues from its 1920’s predecessor and consist of pieces from the company’s archives.
Visit Spiewak for the full story and a glimpse at the complete collection.
Images via: Spiewak
In short, 2013 was a good year. New people, new places, great experiences. While there was a lull in posting to this forum, there was no shortage of creative outlets. This past year has opened the door to what should hopefully be a great 2014, full of even more memorable moments. I made a point to live life a little more this year, and I feel proud to say that I think I managed to pull it off.
These photos are a collection of my favorites images and moments from throughout the past year. It’s always fun and interesting to look back at photos, especially considering nearly everyone travels with a camera of some kind in tow and visual catalogs life’s experiences. I’m no exception. I hope you enjoy and have a great new year.
The holiday season has always been a bit weird to me. Since I’ve always lived in a large city and been surrounded by hordes of eager shoppers, carolers, santas, and all things holidays, my view and opinion may be a little skewed. For the better part of the last decade I’ve elected to spend Christmas alone on the East coast, or alone in some capacity in my hometown, Chicago. I touched on this in a post last year, and again, blame Home Alone.
Changing things up this year, through some persistent persuasion, I’m headed West for the holiday and will be kicking around L.A. Not being in a cold environment during Christmas is probably one of the strangest things I can think of, so it’s bound to be interesting. Nonetheless, we’re locked and loaded, palm trees and 80 degrees it is. To everyone else out there, I hope you have a safe and happy holiday, thanks for tuning in.