Thursday, October 23, 2008

Spike Lee on JC Report

Spike Lee Did The Right Thing
September 24th, 2008 | London

Everyone seems to be trying to Do The Right Thing by following in the steps of cult director Spike Lee with oversized baseball jackets, colorful prints and nerdy glasses. New York's biker culture has already revived the locally born cap-and-glasses look for practical purposes, but, across the pond, Lee's 1989 urban flick has become an instruction video for London's fashion hungry set—on both the catwalk and the street.

Set on a sweltering day in Brooklyn, Do The Right Thing was a bit of a turning point for Spike Lee, but it has taken almost two decades for the film to have a substantial effect on the fashion scene in the UK. When 21-year-old Kesh debuted her autumn winter collection at London Fashion Week in February, she did it to the tones of MARRS' "Pump up the Volume." But it wasn't just her music that showed a fondness for late '80s/early '90s aesthetics. The multitalented youngster—who fits DJ, photographer and editor of Nu Rave magazine SuperSuper on her resume—also borrowed her color palette and oversized silhouette from New York's early hip-hop heads. Kesh's XL sweats were teamed up with quilted shorts and baseball jackets and her tops had giant NYC apples stitched on them.

Before Kesh, however, there was Cassette Playa. With massive prints covering oversized tops, fluorescent trousers and shiny Nike sneakers in patent leather, designer Carri Mundane made a strong impact on London's fashion and music movement. Her pixel prints might be inspired by vintage Nintendo games, but there is also an obvious nod to Grandmaster Flash and DJ Kool Herc. Meanwhile, House of Holland, which started as a label for neon rhyming slogan t-shirts, has graduated onto the London Fashion Week calendar with fully fledged collections and highflying models (including Henry Holland's best friend Agyness Deyn).

Kesh, Holland and Mundane are already closely associated with London's streetwear scene but the connection to the music business is obvious if you look at gigs, photo shoots and music videos. Nu Rave artists and bands such as Klaxons, Santogold and M.I.A frequently don Cassette Playa, while Kesh has found a transatlantic connection with super-producer and flashy Kanye West—who, with glasses, hat and sparky t-shirts, already looks like an extra from Do The Right Thing. Way to do it right.

—David Hellqvist

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