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French or Italian?
Thursday, 22 December 2011 05:16

In the world of fashion two giants stand tall – the Italians and the French. Asking which is better would be pointless however. Both are world class for unmatched quality and style.

A better question might be: what is the difference between them? The Italians have unassailable names like Gucci, Armani, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana. The French heavyweights include Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton or Jean Paul Gaultier.

Perhaps the real answer is to look at the way each approach fashion, rather than comparing brands or focussing on individual products. We found this 4 minute video which presents much the same view.

Shopping for opinions in the alleys of Venice.

The experts seem to think the Italians seem to go for highest level quality of product while creating something unique. The French approach is focus on style and future trend, using the best materials for the new look they wish to create. Which end result one prefers is a matter of personal taste, but there's no doubt both methods are phenomenally successful.

It's a guy thing
Friday, 16 December 2011 16:43

It's a fact that lots of men enjoy fixing things. I do anyway, so I picked up a Swiss Army knife. I've loved them for as long as I can remember. As a child I used to look at them in shop displays and imagine owning one. Twenty years later I finally decided to do something about it.

I didn't want something crammed with every gadget under the sun – just the standard tools plus scissors and a serrated saw. The smallest which fit the bill was a Victorinox model called the Huntsman.

victorinox huntsman swiss army knife
The Huntsman is small enough to clip to a keychain.

Here it is sitting on my Wacom tablet. The universal reaction from friends was "Cool – you have a Swiss Army knife. Can I see it?" Those cheerful red plastic handles reassure just about everyone. I haven't received any MacGyver comments yet.

Victorinox do other penknives with many more features but they're much bulkier. Excess weight was the reason I didn't get something like a Leatherman. The Huntsman is light enough for a pocket, non threatening, no extra tools that wouldn't get used.

This is the best little gadget I've ever bought. So far it has dismantled a broken wardrobe, pruned the garden hedge, opened cans, letters and cardboard boxes, rescued a picnic when nobody brought a bottle opener, replaced a fuse and tightened a loose hinge on my sunglasses. It's so useful I wonder how I managed without it!

Linking requests
Monday, 12 December 2011 19:12
belts and briefcases UK

We've gotten a few email requests about links, so we created a link to us page with some free icons for any webmasters who wish to link to us. The page can be viewed here and also through the link to us button in the left column under our Facebook and Twitter buttons.

We've also temporarily taken our article library offline while we're making some changes behind the scenes. It will be back up again soon.

La Biennale, Venice
Thursday, 08 December 2011 23:42

The sun was shining and the weather was fine at La Biennale 2011 last month. We've been back in England for a few weeks now, but only just got around to transferring the photos off the camera (it's been a busy month.)

La Biennale is an international arts exhibition that takes place in Venice. The Venice Film Festival is the most well known attraction of La Biennale, but that's only part of it. The festival also covers contemporary art, dance, music, architecture and theatre as well as cinema. Here's a few photos of the many paintings, sculptures and photography on display.

la biennale painting 1

la biennale painting 2

la biennale sculpture

la biennale textiles

la biennale photography

La Biennale is a very big deal in the cultural art world. There was far too much to see and do in the short weekend we were there. We took hundreds more photos, but putting just half of them online would make this blog post ridiculously long. Countries from all over the globe exhibit their artistic works there and attendance this year was over 440,000 visitors.

A brush with Hollywood
Sunday, 04 December 2011 03:00

We took a day off from running the shop and attended the official premiere of a film called Little Deaths. The launch was held at the Renoir Cinema in Russell Square and the invite kindly arranged for us by a friend who worked on the movie.

Little Deaths is about the dangers of social isolation, obsession and the invisible line between reality and fantasy. The search for a missing woman leads to a tragic event in the distant past, and a dangerous question of what defines a person's identity.

man on stairs
Image property of Carbonark Films.

man and woman sitting
Image property of Carbonark Films.

Little Deaths sat in development for quite a while – I had seen rough cuts of it at people's houses during post production, but that didn't compare to finally seeing the finished product up on the big screen. Congratulations to everyone involved who put years of work into making the film a reality.

We all found out during drinks afterward that some distributors attended the premiere, so hopefully it will be picked up for public release very soon. Good luck guys!

Visit the Little Deaths official website here.

little deaths film poster
The film's launch poster.
Bigger is better
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 00:21
belts and briefcases UK

After some feedback comments that the product images in our categories could be bigger, we tested a few larger sized thumbnails and ended up really liking the new look.

As a result we've started enlarging every product image in our shop – it makes quite a difference! We're going through each shop category one by one, but there won't be any interruption to shopping while we're doing the updates. Everything will remain available regardless of whether the category you visit has the new larger images or still has the old smaller images.

The new SSL certificate for our checkout area is also installed. If you're shopping at Belts and Briefcases, rest assured that your personal details are secure and protected with 256 bit SSL encryption.

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