Throwing in a bit of cultural inspiration

I don’t know about you, but one of the things that fascinate me the most is experiencing a little bit of other people’s cultures and seeing how this influences fashion, architecture and music. One of the things I enjoyed the most when John Galliano was still Creative Director for Dior were his collections inspired by different aspects of history and culture:

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Galliano’s goth Haute Couture collection from 2006, inspired by the French revolution of 1789. Image from Buzznet

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Dior Haute Couture collection of 2007 inspired by armour. Image from Buzznet

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Dior Haute Couture dress inspired by Marie Antoinette. Image from Source

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Dior Haute Couture collection inspired by Japanese culture. Image from MaltaStar.com

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Dior D’Trick collection from 2004, inspired by Marlene Dietrich. Image from Boheme Noir

Occasionally, you still find a designer here or there that does use their travels as inspiration for their next collection and it’s quite evident. I’m not normally a big fan of the Louis Vuitton brand, only because their bags are carried everywhere and seems to mainly consist of bags using the same brown monogrammed leather which gets tired, no matter how many times they try to update the shape of the bags that use them. Sure quite a lot of people like the easily recognisable design of their leather, but I’d rather the bags I carry be recognised by their distinct style and design than for the brand name. I was pleasantly surprised when browsing The Purse Blog and came across the post about the LV Noefull MM.

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Louis Vuitton Noefull MM in Indian Rose, US$1770 (£1030) from Louis Vuitton

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Louis Vuitton Noefull MM in Grand Blue. Available to purchase online from from Louis Vuitton

The only thing that really draws me to this bag is that it comes in pink and blue and the use of the Japanese ikat flower reminds me very much of the sakura or cherry blossom which is one of my favourite flowers. Added to the fact that, in the case of using the signature monogram, it isn’t as easily apparent as the brown leather and the other thing is this is a combination design of two of their best-selling bags – The Noe and the Neverfull. The Noefull, when in its full shape, resembles the Neverfull, but the drawstrings can also be tightened so it resembles the Noe.

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The Noefull MM in Indian Rose with the drawstrings drawn

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The drawn Noefull MM in Grand Bleu

There is also a zip-around wallet too for that little extra pop of colour and pattern if you prefer to carry block/neutral coloured bags, but like the floral design of the Noefull collection.

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Noefull zippy wallet, £645 from Louis Vuitton

I also had the privilege of scoring a free ticket to a gig on Friday night to see a Scottish folk/rock band, Mànran. I’m relatively naive when it comes to local bands, I hadn’t even heard of Emeli Sandé until my friend came back from attending one of her concerts and even then it took me some time to discover her music!

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Emeli Sandé’s debut album Our Version of Events is now available. To hear it, visit Emeli Sandé’s myspace page

I can’t be talking about experiencing new cultures, now can I, without talking about the culture I’m currently experiencing and living? Scottish culture is so diverse and interesting, a lot of its history is preserved and there’s so much to learn. I think many people don’t even realise that Scottish people don’t identify themselves as being English as some countries tend to think, or even that there’s a country above England! One of the things that fascinate me is the less-used language of the Highlands, Gàidhlig, which the government is trying to preserve and encourage children to learn in school. I was slightly sceptical about going to see a band that I’ve never heard of before for a genre I didn’t really understand, but I thoroughly enjoyed the music and would heartily recommend it to anyone who wants something different to listen to!

The best thing about smaller bands is they’re more than happy to meet and greet fans after the gig and sign CDs and whatever else you want. I was pleased to find these guys are really humble and were happy to talk about their music and didn’t seem as if they were in any rush to go home (the gig finished at 10:15pm at night) and were glad to meet people interested in their music.

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My CD and ticket signed by all 6 members of Mànran after the gig at Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

They came onto the music scene in 2010 and had played a song for the BBC Hogmanay party that same year. Since then, they’ve been steadily gaining a fan base, and it is their style of music (think Scottish ceilidh-style music with a good beat) and mixture of instrumental, English and Gàidhlig songs parts of Scottish culture still lives and is being promoted. What I also found interesting was the use of both the Irish uileann pipe as well as the Scottish bagpipe in quite a few of their songs. It was definitely interesting to hear the combination of sounds between the two pipes in the same song.

Their newest album The Test is now out through their online store, or you can listen to samples from their debut album Mànran from Amazon UK.

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Mànran’s second album, The Test. Available now from their online store

Here’s a video of one of the songs they played that night called Puirt. This was one of their performances at HebCelt in 2012:

Do you have any cultural inspirations to share?

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