Friday, 31 December 2010

Jolly Good Year!

Wishing everybody a chirpy, healthy-wealthy, 
Jolly Good Year with the striking “Wings golden” timepiece 
by Dutch designer Frank Tjepkema, aka Tjep
from the amazing 'Clockwork Love' series.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

fashion's Picasso

“Infanta” gown, 1939 photo © R.J. Horst, Wise Gallery, NYC
The impact of Spain's culture and history on the country's
legendary artists of the twentieth-century such as revered
Picasso, Dalì and Mirò also played a vital role in 
Cristóbal Balenciaga's vision shaping his original 
creative approach and work.
Hailed as the “fashion's Picasso” by Cecil Beaton, Balenciaga
was in fact one of the few couturiers using his own hands 
to draw, cut and sew the models showing sheer 
artistry in his unique masterworks.

Flamenco-inspired evening dress, 1951 photo © Henry Clarke/Vogue
This winter Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York is 
proudly hosting “Balenciaga: Spanish Master”, the very first 
exhibition devoted to the prominent dressmaker who, 
together with Coco Chanel, transformed the way women 
dressed altering the silhouette, broadening shoulders 
and totally redefining the waistline.

Evening dress with red stole, 1952 photo © Frances McLaughlin-Gill/Vogue
Conceived by Dominican-born stylist Oscar De La Renta
who himself began his career in fashion design working for
Balenciaga's Eisa branch company in Madrid, the exhibition
showcases more than seventy items of clothing and accessories
thanks to the unprecedented collaboration between the 
House of Balenciaga in Paris providing most of the 
garments and the American Spanish Institute.

Evening dress, 1967 photo © Balenciaga Archives, Paris
The curator is Hamish Bowles, Vogue's European Editor 
at Large, who in his teens made a fantastic bargain buying 
a Balenciaga 60's vintage dress on the cheap (the time 
in which the Spanish couturier was dressing Lady Pauline 
de Rothschild, countess Mona Bismark and the women 
of 'beau monde') is even the catalogue's author.

Balenciaga's baroque embroidered dresses, 1957 photo © Kenny Komer
Cream-colored gala dresses, photo © Kenny Komer
Real masterpieces on display, some of them exhibited 
for the first time, from the amazing silvery 1939's  “Infanta” 
gown to the sumptuously embroidered evening and wedding 
dresses of 1957 via the matador-inspired pink boleros of 
1946 or the flamenco-inspired black suits of 1951 and 1961.
Works of art and decorative arts from Spain are part of the 
exhibition supporting the curatorial claim to create a cogent 
vision of Spain's influence on its masterful designer.

Matador-inspired pink bolero, 1946 photo © Kenny Komer

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

2010 style facts_part 2

Sunset at Worthy Farm during the 40th anniversary edition
of Glastonbury Festival (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Our trip down the 2010 memory lane goes on browsing 
through the year's facts and figures highlighting the 
fashion-related ones of the second half of the year.

Anna Dello Russo in Jil Sander's floral dress, photo by Jonathan Frantini
July_trendsetting Anna 

Anna Dello Russo created a media frenzy reaching a celebrity
status like only supermodels did: she spent 25 years working
as fashion editor for Vogue Italia before moving to Vogue Nippon
but she prefers the focus to be on what she wears rather 
than her invisible behind-the-scenes daily work.
She actually turned dressing into performing art by modeling 
for Giles Deacon's debut show at Ungaro as well for the
Lanvin for H&M grand launch and also gracing covers and 
editorials of a dozen magazines, printing out photographs of 
herself in ten best-loved outfits of hers across a limited 
edition range of t-shirts for, running her own 
website and signing her 'Beyond' signature fragrance.
What a hive of activity after being pretty well invisible for decades.
Moral of the story: it's never too late to become a star...
when you have what it takes!

Stock image

August_fully-grown shopping habit

Online shopping has fully-grown over the year and keeps
expanding despite the economic slowdown (or maybe 
thanks to it). During the last few months online sales 
reached approximately 10% of all retail sales in USA 
while in Europe they're expected to hit 115 billion €s by 
2014 with an astonishing growth rate of 12% per year. 
Of course much of the growth is seen through
seasonal timeframes such as Christmas, Mother's and 
Valentine's Day yet traditional retailers don't have to 
worry: plenty of buyers will still be shopping in store 
like on London's Boxing Day sales rampages.

chart created by: Ross Dawson, disegn by Danil Alexandrov

September_power to the people

Crowdsourcing briskly became business new frontier 
providing user-generated solutions in different areas 
such as data sharing, distributed innovation, 
marketplace services and crowdfunding.
Fashion brands are putting more importance on their 
customers using it to gather new ideas or to better 
fulfil customers needs and you can easily spot 
different, enthralling options.
The empowered web community finally has its say, 
whether it's customising stock items, designing or 
creating products itself or investing in others creations.  
Italian's WMATY shoe design contest or t-shirts design
platforms such as Springleap, Threadless or Shicon;
the consumer-driven trending ones like Style Hop and 
Polyvore or crowdfunding models such as Fashion Stake, 
Catwalk Genius and Cameesa to name a few are 
shaking up the fashion world like peer-to-peer 
file sharing altered music depletion.

Lanvin H&M poster campaign, photo by David Sims
October_the year's smash hit

Lanvin's designer Alber Elbaz aroused fashionistas in turmoil
when the celebrated French brand's flagship store opened 
on NYC Madison Ave. and moreover for the anxiety-provoking
Lanvin - H&M joint capsule collection.
Couture-like outfits catered to everyone through the Swedish
high-street retailer went quickly sold-out in all countries 
with an extraordinary customer reaction.
Shoppers mobbed H&M stores while bloggers and fans 
clapped hands in glee boosting up heed and revenues.
The Stockholm based company keeps going on its venture 
to launch once per year a joint capsule collection with 
a famed designer as a winning marketing strategy.

Mr. Bernard Arnault sitting in front row at Parisian
catwalks with actress Charlize Theron, photo AP
November_the handbags war

Historical French luxury brand Hermès reacted with 
dismay discovering that LVMH's Chairman and CEO Bernard 
Arnault soundlessly acquired a 17% stake in the historical family 
firm: they claimed Arnault built up his stake using a shadowy, 
 yet legal, derivates system masking the buyer's identity.
The so called 'handbags war' was declared at the end 
of a year in which Hermès experienced a 20% surge 
in sales despite the sector's slowdown.
As you know Mr. Arnault made his luxury goods empire 
buying Moët & Chandon, the world's biggest champagne 
maker as well fashion houses like, among many others, 
Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Céline, Fendi, Kenzo, Givenchy.
Indignant at being the object of suspicion the big boss said 
he was friendly and keen to protect the French label from 
Chinese interest, a statement Hermés snapped back 
as “pure invention”. The tussle's going on as business 
rivals and the Paris stock market watchdog 
both brands activity.

Mrs. Carine Roitfeld, photo by Karl Lagerfeld

December_Carine's unpredicted mise à pied

In a shocking move ten days ago Mrs. Carine Roitfeld affirmed
she will step down as French Vogue editor in chief saying 
that she thinks “it's time to do something different”.
A beacon of style whose powerful connections in the top
fashion community happened to cause her some troubles
in terms of impartiality as an editor not to mention the
shocking of being banned from Balenciaga last season. 
Rumors of doubtful truth (no Wikileaks reports though) 
are currently circulating about the way Roitfeld
asked fortunes for extracurricular consultancies 
as well how she allegedly borrowed Balenciaga's 
preview pieces switching them to Max Mara.
Some say she was fired for not abiding by LVMH group's
request which apparently complain the too few brand's
credits in this month's Vogue issue threatening Condé 
Nast with the complete withdrawal of LVMH ads 
from the next: as to say her or us!
Mrs. Roitfeld will leave the magazine at the end of January,
she's rumored to join her longtime collaborator Tom Ford 
in his new womenswear venture but you may never know.
Anyway I wish her good luck, whatever floats her boat.

Monday, 27 December 2010

2010 style facts_part 1

A dancer performing during the 16th Asian Games
opening ceremony in Delhi (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
As this year approaches its last few days it can be
interesting to take a look back on style-related facts
happened during the previous twelve months.

Giles Deacon's precollection in Florence, photo by G. Gazia
January_ Pitti W_woman precollection

Florence played host to the fifth edition of Pitti W, the woman
precollection event coincidently with Pitti Immagine Uomo 
fair, showcasing special guest Giles Deacon's AW collection.
The British designer presented amazing couture outfits bearing
his own signature prints at Richard Ginori's headquarters, the
world famous fine porcelain makers, receiving a high favorable
outcome. Such an entrancing experience.

Alexander Lee McQueen, photographer unknown
February_the untimely demise

Alexander Lee McQueen's suicide in early February shocked
us all casting a long shadow over the whole year and beyond.
His incredible vision, the unique craftsmanship of his creations
as well as his spectacular shows will unquestionably live 
on even under Sarah Burton's worthy direction though 
we'll never cease to mourn his premature death.

Italian designers tweets
March_let's tweet again

Twitter, the popular microblogging service which experienced
massive growth over the past couple of years with more than
100 million new accounts opened, throughout 2010 has
been hugely embraced by celebs and fashion designers
who posted words and pictures, mainly through a mobile
device, allowing followers to hone in on runway news,
trend tips, invitation to events or behind-the-scene tittle-tattle.
Le tweet c'est chic.

AFW, photo by Oleg Katchinski/
April_the Spitalfields alternative

London's Alternative Fashion Week yields a genuine alternative
for truly innovative designers to present their work directly to
the public and the fashion industry. Running for a full week
with 15 shows a day, the Spitalfields event promoted 
by Alternative Arts provides the vital stepping stone 
between the graduate shows and the mainstream fashion 
industry raising environmental awareness and actively 
supports recycling and ethical sourcing.

Chinese girl professionally posing outside the Expo, photo by Aly Song
May_the largest world's fair ever

“Better City - Better Life” was the theme of the World's Expo
2010, held in the city of Shanghai, China for six months and it 
was the largest yet most expensive international exposition
to be staged. Over 73 million people visited its pavilions 
with a record attendance of 250 countries partecipating: 
Italy showcased 265 innovation projects focused on next 
urban development but even textile enterprises 
promoted their own expertise giving appointment to 
next edition which will be hosted by Milan in 2015.

Male models dressing up for Thom Browne's catwalk in Paris, AFP photo
June_the Big Four and eager acolytes

Each of the 'Big Four' Fashion Weeks is renowned for 
shaping clothing styles: New York for sportswear, London 
for cutting-edge, avant-garde designs, Milan for its 
top-of-the-line voguish looks and Paris for haute couture outfits.
Berlin Fashion Week and it's prodigal son 'Bread & Butter' 
street & urbanwear trade fair is the forerunner of the newest 
internationally oriented Fashion Weeks venues which 
achieved higher significance over the last few years, 
like the ones from Amsterdam, the Scandinavian trio 
made by Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen, as well 
Hong Kong, Tokyo and São Paulo, Brazil.
I merrily took a glance throughout the year even at Rio,
Johannesburg, New Delhi, Moscow, Jakarta and Reykjavik
Fashion Weeks: each and every one with a full schedule 
of catwalk shows, trade fairs, presentations, lectures and 
parties attracting a broader audience, significant designers 
and brands, buyers, press and... bloggers.


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Day dilemma

I woke up this morning assuming today to be Boxing Day,
but does it really is? As far as I know it's the day
following Christmas but my thesaurus says:
”strictly, the first weekday after Christmas Day”, 
so what being Sunday?
A clarification would be strictly genteel.
Meanwhile enjoy my black cat Gigio watching You Tube's
superstar of the year, Maru, the adorable tender-eyed
Japanese Scottish fold cat of Miss Mugumogu: he's a sensation!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Xmas eve at the circus

I don't want this post to be just emotional wish-wash 
yet I'd like to convey my Christmas Wishes through 
the fetching images of “The chichi BonBon” circus 

Hope you like them as much as I do, the emotional impact
made by glimmering red hues and melodramatic posing 
in Sayuri Bloom's playful outfits wholly gives back 
the frumpy atmosphere of the travelling company 
of acrobats, clowns and trained animals touring 
the land as well as of festivities.

Jamari Lior is an all-around brainy artist whose images
could not be taken without her knowledge in psychology
and antropology earlier than in fashion and photography.
A model and photographer from North Rhine-Westphalia,
Germany, she studied media science and antropology 
in Germany, India and Netherlands before starting 
her own career as a photographer in 2007.

Jamari or “Ja-Lee” to many of her friends, is able to bring
her vision to life even by digital or graphic retouchings
which help her swell the traditional boundaries of fashion
photography while boosting up her pictures' uncommon élan.

Whoops of joy and delight, actually what
I wish to you all over Christmas!

all pics by Jamari Lior, 2009

Thursday, 23 December 2010

fashion imagery and beyond

Madame Peripetie [peripəˈtēə; -ˈtīə| noun formal: 
a sudden reversal of fortune or change in circumstances,  
esp. in reference to fictional narrative] 
is the artistic moniker of Sylwana Zybura, 
the Dortumd, Germany based Polish photographer 
whose images took my breath away.

MA in applied linguistics, Sylwana got her BA (Hons) 
in Fashion Photography from the University of Applied 
Sciences and Art in Dortmund and works as a freelance 
exploring the boundaries between fashion and sculpture 
in her own characteristic surreal way.

photos 1-3 from “The sun is often out” for Neo2, April 2010
She might be not the only apple on the tree of fashion
photography though she developed a highly conceptual
yet personal style with post punk reminiscences and
continuous hints to art history which deserves much
admiration. Her expert work with volumes, fabrics and
patterns is completed by her genuine vision of fashion,
mocking artistic and market conventions while
emphasizing the illogical and laughable.

No wonder her opulent website shows this quote from
Alice in Wonderland: “If I had a world of my own, everything
would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because
everything would be what it isn't. And contrarywise; 
what it is it woulldn't be, and what it wouldn't be, it would. 
You see?”

4-5 from “Warriors in the dark” Nico Int'l, 2009
Madame Peripetie collaborates with emerging fashion
designers as well in experimenting with short stop-motion
movies. Her typical works in which top-notch fashion
looks are reinterpreted through her Dadaist lenses have
been featured on Neo2, Kinki, H and Indie Magazines,
Vision China, Beijing Art Magazine, Masterskaya Russia.

6-7 archive pictures

Could someone possibly resist the beauty of her pictures?
Off with his heads!
all photos © by Madame Peripetie/Sylwana Zybura

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

venturing in style into unknown waters

You can master the art of body embellishment only if you
fathom the kaleidoscopic nature of ornament and decoration
switching materials and shapes accordingly to trends and
styles with plenty of jewels, from bizarre knick-knack 
to the most precious stones.

Muqliza Imroni, the Indonesian jewel designer who founded
Sou Brette brand in Jakarta back in 2005, has a strong
confidence in jewelry to be timeless and protean as in its
own nature: her creations are so distinctive, playful and
eclectic yet feminine and modish and they fully reflect 
her attitude to design, her calculated sense for elegance
like in her latest “Unknown Waters” collection.

Sou Brette's reverie is strongly inspired by “Sadko”, 
the Russian Sinbad medieval seafarer and his epic voyage, 
the collection shows striking circular shaped resin necklaces,
bracelets and rings with faux pearl inlays, watercolorist
marble print cotton covered ropes paired
with brass and gold.

Sou Brette uses all sources available to create new distinctive
signs proving that first-rate jewels don't always go hand in hand
with expensive materials as well that she's particularly suited 
to venture into the 'unknown waters' of fine jewelry.

photos by Albert Judiyanto

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

blossoming talent

Guess you know I have a strong inclination for young 
designers, newcomers and gifted fashion graduates able 
to leave their own mark ever since their debut graduate 
collection, exactly like Natalie Rae Richardson did.

”My inspiration came mainly from Ryan Berkeley's illustrations,
each illustration really dicated a lot about each look, colors, 
details, silhouettes” said the final year student of 
interview making reference to the illustrator's 
antropomorphic colorful works.

Her riveting collection shows soft tailored outfits with 
American 80's hints, dropped shoulders and loose fitting 
shapes blending embroideries with fashion forward 
hand-dyed elements to fully match Berkeley's 
original illustrations palette. 
Pastel tones are juxtaposed with rusty brown hues, 
a cobalt blue oversized 'Gazelle' coat with handworks 
mimicking the animal fur is simply awesome.

As an animal rights activist since early age, Natalie cared 
to use organic, fair trade fabrics and ethically sourced hand 
embroidering techniques during the production process.
For her its all about ethical/sustainable fashion 
and style, of course.

All photos by Sean Michael

Monday, 20 December 2010

Elliot's spirit of clothing

I always thought that some clothes have an energy of 
their own, essentially the ones featuring bespoke tailoring 
attributes, classy fabrics and able to express the designer's 
hallmark and when I first saw the “Spirit of Clothing” 
AW11 collection from budding Australian designer 
Elliot Ward-Fear I suddenly got that feeling.

A playful cohesive collection showing structural highly feminine
silhouettes made by clever cutting with slid down sleeves, sharp
placed lines and amazing paneled pieces featuring collars and
cuffs among which a sassy sleeveless cutaway jacket.

I also adore Elliot's sort of European taste for quality fabrics 
like the caramel-brown boiled wool of his seamed dress and 
his layered outlooks. Quite intriguing even the smart candy
pink short jacket with ruffled skirt and his deconstructed 
chalky tennis dress with pink insertions.

Elliot Ward-Fear's label, “the self-titled brand” by the latterlly
TAFE New South Wales graduated, seems to hold all the
cards to boost its name contrary to the 10 inch wooden
platforms that led models to tumble down in his RAFW
debut show. Ward-Fear ain't fear of heights.

lookbook photos by Thom Kerr styled by Sarah Babcock
behind the scenes by Thom Kerr via