... in fashion

Best cycling jacket ever

12 Jul 2010 | 208 words | amsterdam cycling fashion rain urbanism

Usually i do not promote products on this page, but i am so happy with my (relatively) new cycling jacket that i make an exception here. My new kättermusen einride jacket is more or less perfect for a cycling jacket:

The einride jacket (which is for some strange reason marketing as a mountaineering/trekking garment) has the perfect cut for cycling including a hood that that protects your head against the rain without impairing your field of vision or your ability to move around your head. but the best thing is the fabric: instead of some highly engineered synthetic fabric the jacket is made from super densely woven cotton. Apparently the fabric, called EtaProof was developed during the second world war:

At that time the fabric was developed for British Hurricane pilots who often were forced to bail out with the parachute or make an emergency landing in the ice-cold Atlantic. During the nineties, Stotz & Co. adapted the fabric to the newest standards and turned it into EtaProof. Today this high-tech product made of pure cotton…

The stuff is not exactly rain proof, but it feels super nice and gets you dry through 15 minutes or so of rain. in other words it’ perfectly suited for Amsterdam summers…

Looking at the crisis from inside the belly of the beast

One of the more notorious/famous places in São Paulo is the boutique department store (Villa) Daslu. According to wikipedia ‘the boutique is known as the ‘fashion designers mecca’ of Brazil as it houses more than 60 labels plus 30 store-in-stores and is the place where Brazilian socialites, ranging from multi-millionaire soccer players to conglomerate bigwigs shop for the latest accessories and clothing’. Leged has it that Daslu is the only department store in the world where you can also buy helicopters (although that seems to be a bit of an exaggeration, in reality you can (could?) buy fractual ownership in helicopters operated by HeliSoultions) though the store.

Yesterday Kai and I decided to pay a visit to Villa Daslu to have a look at this icon of Brazilian upper class lifestyle. To our surprise/disappointment/excitement we found relatively little of the expected abundance. Instead large parts of the building stood empty looking as if they had been hastily abandoned and the few shoppers to be seen were easily outnumbered by the staff.

Large sections of the 2nd and the 3rd floor as well as some of the showrooms on the 1st and the 4th floor (including former Chanel, Gucci, Dolce & Gabana outlets) were completely empty, with all merchandise and most of the display-furniture missing. Strangely the management of the store did not even try to hide these empty spaces (one employe told us that they were ‘changing the concept of the store’ but in the absence of any sign of construction this seemed a bit implausible). As a result we were more or less free to stroll though the deserted parts of the building and take pictures of the emptiness (more pictures in this flickr set):

Moving through this half deserted temple of luxury shopping was easily one of the most surreal experiences i have ever had. This was reinforced by the fact that in other parts of the building the staff carried on as if everything was completely normal.

While i would certainly hope that this situation is illustrative of the effects of the economic crisis on the über-posh lifestyle of the Brazilian upper class this is probably not the case (it seems that the herd has simply moved to other pastures on the other side of the river). Instead it appears to be more likely that this situation is the result of the recent legal troubles of Eliana Tranchesi, owner and founder of Daslu who was recently sentenced to 94 years in prison and fined €434 million for tax fraud and smuggling. Apparently the aftermath of this verdict is slowly eating away this once iconic symbol of São Paulo’s immense economic inequality from the inside.

Bonus: one other option that i had considered for spending queens-day was to make a quick one day trip to brasilia (inspired by these incredible photos of the construction of brasilia by Marcel Gautherot). guess that will have to wait until next time…

Update (23.04.2012): The January 2012 edition of Time Out São Paulo contains a short article about the demise of Daslu (‘Death of a showroom‘) that uses two of the photos i took during my visit.

Santa muerte / Swine flu

06 May 2009 | 85 words | fashion religion popular culture mexico pandemic

The always entertaining big picture has an edition with pictures from the non-event of the century: ‘the 2009 swine flue outbreak‘. i particularly like this picture depicting ‘a woman, wearing a face mask as a precaution against swine flu who holds a skeletal figure representing the folk saint Santa Muerte during a ceremony in Mexico City:

Bonus: check out this picture with a woman wearing a face-mask & a megadeath t-shirt at the same time. i would doubt that she is aware of the irony…

I am freezing my head off

13 Dec 2008 | 22 words | fashion

It is cold outside and there was a little bit of a misunderstanding about the meaning of number 2 with the hairdresser:

This is ridiculous...

13 Apr 2008 | 35 words | amsterdam fashion civilisation

Came across this tiny dog in a faux-gold and transparent plastic bag in the cafe of de Balie in amsterdam yesterday. Makes me wonder if they sell them in animal or in hand bag shops.

Most beautiful armband ever

20 Oct 2007 | 45 words | fashion amsterdam

Spotted on the arm of some lost Italian lady who strolled into the opening of the video vortex exhibition at montevideo inquiring for directions to envy. The tiles are almost the same as the ones of the mah-jong set i own:

makes me slightly envious.


26 Aug 2007 | 276 words | art amsterdam exhibition fashion netherlands photos

This weekend the el hema الهيما project by mediamatic finally opend. The idea behind it is to create an arabic identity for the HEMA store chain (brand) which is about as Dutch as it can get.

The project had gotten quite a bit of media attention as HEMA had been so stupid to threaten to sue mediamatic for trademark infringement some 4 weeks back (which is more of less the best free publicity you can get). The whole thing is really well executed (much respect to the whole team that worked on it over the last two months). They did not sell anything on the opening night on friday (much to everybody’s dismay) and when they finally started selling the merchandise they almost got run over by hordes of dutch people who acted as if t-shirts (and condoms, chocolate, towels and underwear) with arabic script are something that that never existed before:

Just try to image the opposite scenario: Arabs going crazy over t-shirts with latin script on it (hint: does not really happen unless you are taling about expensive brand names). today when i passed by mediamatic there was a line stretching almost 100m outside of the shop. seemed like they were selling the first european iphones or something.

While the t-shirts are really nice (although the my favorite one does not even have text on it) my favorite part of the whole installation is the little arrow on the celing in one of the corners that indicates the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca (‘qibla’ / قِـبْـلَـة‬). Makes me almost want to have one for my flat….

More pictures (from the fashion show) here

People are not going out anymore so they are staying home looking in the mirror...

14 Jul 2007 | 132 words | banking lebanon fashion war advertisement

Have missed this when i was in lebanon in april, but nat pointed this out the other night. the first national bank of lebanon has launched a plastic surgery loan programme (‘Beauty is no longer a luxury….’):

the BBC is reporting that this whole thing is a reaction to the tense political situation in Lebanon:

“We like to look our best… There are people who see this loan as their life raft,” Mr Nasr said.

Local media say the tense political climate and fears of another devastating war with Israel have not curbed Lebanon’s infamous urge for cosmetic enhancement, with demand increasing up to 20% since 2006.

“People are not going out anymore so they are staying home looking in the mirror,” industry representative Dr Nabih Sader told the Daily Star newspaper.

The world is our culture

30 Jul 2006 | 50 words | advertisement stupidity fashion

If you ask me this is the most arrogant, most pretentious & most stupid advertising slogan i have come across in a long while …

… never liked the brand anyway (except when i was a 14 and i do not have fond memories of that period of my life).

A2K make it happen

One of the strange things here at the iSummit 2006 in Rio de Janeiro are the excessive amounts of hotel staff that seem to have no other function than to stand around and smile. seems like that after 2 days of conference somebody finally found something more useful for them to do and made them attach ‘a2k – make it happen’ stickers to their dresses:

Aren’t they looking absolutely fabulous like this?

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: