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The Secret Lives of b

The cult boutique delves into the lives of future icons for the first issue of b Magazine.

Despite being purveyors of some of the most forward looking designers today, Savile Row’s b Store has almost been about more than just clothes. Co-owners Matthew Murphy and Kirk Beattie’s interest in art, architecture, music and books has led to innovative alliances involving all manner of creatives. From Yamataka EYE’s psychedelic visuals to acclaimed set designer Shona Heath’s installations, b Store has been merging art, fashion and a particularly British sense of humour seamlessly for a number of years now. In addition to promising a “chic and sophisticated” S/S 10 showing for its b Clothing range, September 23rd sees them dipping their toes once again (after the success of their Pop-In Paper last year) into the thorny world of magazine publishing with the launch of the first issue of b Magazine.

Created in collaboration with creative director of the b Clothing line, Jason Hughes and editor, Dal Chodha; b Magazine feels like a natural evolution of the b aesthetic onto printed paper. Like the similarly lavish ACNE Paper produced by Acne Jeans, b Magazine makes good on the concept that brand magazines can act as far more than advertorial, instead being granted a certain amount of editorial freedom, whilst staying true to the b ethic. Agrees Hughes, “Because we are not governed by advertising, that allowed us to be inventive. In order for the magazine to work, it has to offer a new perspective. But this wasn’t a project about reinventing the wheel but operating within the traditional format. And the content would make it different.” So gorgeous editorials styled by Hughes and Sam Ranger are complimented by a delightful look inside the homes of b favourites like designer Peter Jensen and artist Francis Upritchard. Says Chodha, “The idea of looking at people at home is a very British thing. But the main point of interest were the people, rather than what their house looked like. We were trying to infiltrate people’s lives and jobs.” “We wanted to reflect the values of the store with the magazine,” states Hughes, “It supports emerging and young talent. We also like that it goes beyond fashion.” To this end, there is a striking portfolio of up-and-comers shot by Aitken Jolly, from actress Anna Brewster to Fashion East’s newest alumni, Michael Van Der Ham and illustrator Kez Glozier. Explaining how he cast the portfolio, Hughes says, “We wanted to choose people who were doing stuff but off the radar. These people have a vision and they are going to continue exploring that, regardless of current zeitgeist.”

All told, it’s a handsomely produced labour of love with much more promised for the second issue due to be out next year. Characterising the working relationship with Murphy and Beattie, Hughes opines, “It’s an extremely organic working relationship. There’s mutual respect and they are very open-minded. There’s a constant dialogue to do what you do with a high level of creative freedom. They’re never bored and they want to see that newness. They get really excited from seeing things moving forward.”