Saturday, 10 March 2012

University Outfitters

I have a somewhat romanticised vision of going to university next autumn, not least because I envisage my teenage self spending my days reading Wilde by the river, running errands on a vintage bike, singing in the college chapel, rowing, performing in every drama society play possible, dining begowned in the Great Hall and scribbling essays in the medieval library. All of that, of course, in suitable university attire: rugby shirts, blazers, cable/aran knit jumpers and plenty of velvet skirts. Jack Wills and its younger sibling Aubin & Wills have already provided substantial contributions to my collection of the above (as if you didn't know that already from my blog); there's a reason the former calls itself University Outfitters... For me, it all started with this video:

From then on, my collection of handbooks, almanacs and clothes has spread across several shelves in my wardrobe... I am especially fond of those old films and collections, although I love what Aubin & Wills have recently accomplished as a brand - especially the latest almanac and the Aubin Cinema. And yes, that is a young Jessica Rose Brown Findlay (of Albatross and Downton Abbey fame) in the film! I must be world's best stalker as I found out her name afterwards and knew she was destined for great things...

Shirt, Jack Wills
Aran jumper, Jack Wills (similar sold by Aubin & Wills)
Skirt, gift
Cable knit jumper, Ralph Lauren
Brogues, vintage

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Bethanien: inside the Berlin Print Workshop

 Outside, it's rather Hogwarts-like, except for the graffiti splattered on the lanterns and parked bikes as opposed to broomsticks. Originally an old hospital, the building now houses one of Berlin's less well-known art centres: the Bethanien print workshop. The stunning architecture seems so alien - by the end of the week, we have become accustomed to dreary tower blocks that appear fired at daily with neon spray cans... Inside, we are welcomed by a guide, who takes us around the numerous rooms of the workshop. The Bethanien is a labyrinth of creativity - each room offers something different, and we mutter excitedly amongst ourselves as we spot something new to examine - be it a colourful hand-printed plate, a treasure chest of tiny letter stamps, or an elaborate off-set lithography machine that looks like it could eat someone. The team of printmakers, artists, designers, craftswomen and men all carry on in the most professional manner, as if a congregation of gaping art students in their cramped workspace is nothing out of the ordinary. Some do not even glance up, busy inking up a metal plate or preparing a screen for screenprinting, others stop and offer a curious look or even, in one man's case, an utterly fascinating presentation on making paper out of pulp (before it all went wrong because of the pressure of us all staring). My favourite section is decided as soon as I go in: the book binding (or "Buch Binderei") area. Then again, I will be a literature student in the making come October...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Berlin in the Snow

Lesson number one in Berlin: everything happens in duos. Thermals, woolly jumpers, tights, socks, gloves and scarves were all coupled up with loving partners; every inch of my blue self entirely covered up. This balancing act of pairs waltzing on the dancefloor of my shoulders had nothing to do with looking pretty - I must confess the last thing on your mind when you are spending an entire day outside in minus twenty degree weather (or colder) is whether your socks match or your nails are painted. However, in spite of feeling less-than glamorous trawling around in my dad's enormous black waterproof boots (the only suitable footwear at hand), layering up meant that, most of the time, I was relatively warm and could devote myself to taking photos... 

The temperature was too cold for it to snow, but the areas away from the roads still had a wonderfully thick blanket, which muffled our footsteps as we explored the silent city. Allow me to explain the oxymoronic phrase: despite it being the capital, sometimes it felt oddly lonesome as there were almost no people in sight! Perhaps the cold lured people indoors, leaving only us, mad as hatters, running loose among the graffitied walls interspersed with ancient monuments. This diversity really struck me because it felt like two worlds colliding; only in Berlin have I seen an entire settlement titled "Trash City" (title self-explanatory when you saw the piles of decaying sofas and dustbins) in close proximity to a Gothic church. It was a strangely magnetising world, even if slightly deserted.