Saturday, 31 July 2010

Oh, my Dior!

This summer, to celebrate the re-opening of Dior boutique
in Shanghai, the historical French couture brand resumes
the collaboration with Chinese photographer Quentin Shih
who produced back in 2008 the acclaimed ”Stranger in the
Glass Box” series of images.

The fertile collaboration's round two entitled ”Shanghai
Dreamers” shows surreal, painting-style images in which
models wearing the latest couture collection (the boutique 
windows will display the very same items) are surrounded
by orderly clone-like rows of Chinese figures.

Shih, aka Shi Xiaofan, skillfully plays by digitally retouching
his subjects replicating their image in a pattern, jogging my 
memory back to Yue Minjun's paintings, to outline the rigor and 
uniformity of Chinese mass culture using stereotype characters.

The background's homogeneity makes the House of Dior
couture outfits stand out in juxtaposition showing off the 
stark contrast between the craved Parisian creations and the 
conformity of hackneyed Chinese old clichés.

Friday, 30 July 2010

home and faraway

Yesterday this humble blog finally received its very first 
Hong Kong visitor, guess after the China vs. Google quarrel 
came to an end (some friends and former fellow workers
living there previously failed in their connection attempts) 
so this evokes in me nostalgic memories of my time there.

Hong Kong is indeed the combination of different big cities
steeped in a unique, fascinating blend of Eastern and Western
people and traditions where I oddly felt at 
home and faraway at the same time.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

going sculptural

Knitting is one of the oldest textile techniques which
has never been on the wane across millenia and continents.
Today some forward-thinking designers create other-worldly,
elaborated dress-like works of art and body cocooning
knitted creations.

Knitting just got glamorous in these unique creations,
like the ones by Phuong Thuy Nguyen, Budapest based
designer of Vietnamese origins: her hand knitted
”Unconventional Body Objects” line may be awkward
but comfortable at the same time.

Taipei born designer Johan Ku has highly identifiable
signature designs with over scaled sculptural shapes.
His ”Emotional Sculpture” collection, originally created
back in 2004, has been awarded for its textural and
organic aesthetic. Currently based in UK, he came to
show ”Breakthrough”, a wide retrospective
at the Taipei Fine Art Museum lately.

Irina Shaposhnikova, young Russian designer graduated
at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, is well known
for her first knitwear collection which was featured 
in Russian Vogue even before her graduation 
as for the latest ”Crystallographica”.
Her knitting technique consists in chunky cable knits 
attached to an invisible nylon net to form marvelous 
window-like dresses.

”In No Time” collection was created by Swedish talent 
Sandra Backlund (previous post below) waving solid 
wool into delicate intricancies to highlight and transform 
the natural body silhouette with her knitted wonders. 
The INT collection included the acclaimed 
flapper dress made of clothes pins exhibited at
London's Fashion and Textile Museum.

Last Pitti Filati exhibition in Florence (see previous 
post here) displayed lots of knitwear trends and market 
related proposals inspired by these unique sculptural 
pieces and their own groundbreaking creators.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

leather feathers

HOVED photo by Arild Danielsen

Former shoe designer, Denmark's Teko Center educated,
Anne Holm Alexandersen from Kristiansand, Norway,
switched herself to a gifted leather accessories artist.

RYGG photo by Maja Marum Andersen

Her creations are simple leather collars or hair bands
yet they can be described as pure flights of fancy.
Entirely handmade these lavish ornaments are created
from small feather-shaped leather bits carefully assembled
to replicate wings.

 BRYWJE photo by Maja Marum Andersen

”I take inspiration from different textures, animals and nature
in general. My pieces come directly from my head 'cause 
I usually don't draw and plan things in advance, which is 
quite unfamiliar in the fashion industry...
Once the idea popped up I make a prototype, then wear it for
a day to test it out and by living in my own pieces I'm able to
experience a complete feel of the garment and therefore
evaluate how much its outcome would be favorable”...

 STORKRAGE photo by Maja Marum Andersen

Fanciful accessories you can easily 'dress up' a plain
t-shirt with and look awesome without feeling overdressed
at all, they can be purchased on Not just a label website.
Your whimsical accessory is just a click away, though.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

down-to-earth Sandra

Swedish designer Sandra Backlund established herself
in the fashion milieu as a visionary knitwear dressmaker.
A Stockholm Beckmans School of Design graduate, she
started designing and self producing stunning 'knitted
sculptures' collections.

Running her own company she came to produce ten
made-to-order collections (her knitting techniques were
too advanced for her to contract out their manufacture)

previous to this spring/summer  2010 which is the very
first mass-produced.

photo credits: Peter Gehrke

Obviously this new collection has the same geometric
esprit and the typical Backlund's iconic knitting techniques
but a better wearability, mini silhouttes to enhance the
natural body shape with variations through ribbed motifs,
angles and folds.

Monday, 26 July 2010

turning water into crystal

Iris Van Herpen is an extraordinary young designer, she came
to present her spring/summer 2011 collection preview called
”Crystallization”  as part of Amsterdam Fashion Week while 
the whole collection will be on display during next 
London Fashion Week in september.

The collection's theme is the transformation of water into steady
structures like crystals being Iris fascinated by the mistery and
transparency of water and this practice is not only translated
visually but even in the design process.

Iris Van Herpen has been able to make us see what others don't:
the invisibile lines hidden in transparent liquid became symmetric
revealing their structure like freezing water into icy crystals,
as to say from chaos to structured precision.

The result is breathtaking: visually stunning works of art 
with strong Alexander McQueen's echoes (actually Iris worked 
with the late, brilliant McQueen in the past) and there are 
parallels between her own collection and the much lamented 
British designer's last.

Inspiration for her new collection can also be found in her
collaboration with Benthem Crouwel Architects who designed
the new building for Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum, 'The Bathtub”.

A triumph of sculptured dresses, outstanding handcrafted pieces
made of Ecco leather worked with innovative 3D printing techniques
like .MGX by Materialise, the world's leader in prototyping, for
'solid water' unique garments.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Saturday, 24 July 2010

the gifted draftswoman

Let me introduce you to the handsome works of Montreal
based illustrator Mrs. Isabelle Arsenault which amazingly
met my eyes a couple of days ago.

”Early retirement”, 2007

 from ”My Letter to the World and Other Poems” by Emily Dickinson, 2008

Graphic design graduated she soon applied her skills to
illustration with perfectly witty conceptual works, expressive
figures and subtle color palettes with a grapich yet painterly
elegant style.

Isabelle contributes to magazines and newspapers across
US and Canada, received significant awards as the prestigious
Governor General's Literary Award for Illustration and published
several books in different countries, most of all for children.

Her distinctive flair, with a personal charming French rétro
aesthetic (no wonder her major influences being 
Beatrice Alemagna, Frederique Bertraud, Gérard DuBois, 
Dominique Globet and  Jean François Martin among many 
others, of course) made of soft, earthy tones for editorial 
drawings is fully able to burst in brighter, happy shades 
when it comes to children's illustrations.

Check out her website - here - to explore Isabelle's unique
world and the unabridged showcase of her designs, sketches
and collages as well the latest updates or works in progress
like the cute ”Spork” character.

Friday, 23 July 2010

drenchin' in Delhi

New Delhi came to host the official Pearl's Delhi Couture
Week showcasing the country's best designers creations.
It's true that couture in regards to Indian fashion primarily refers 
to bridal apparel, but the tradition for luxurious dressing has 
deep roots in royal India with its intricated woven sarees and 
kurtas often adorned with precious stones.

This year's exhibition marked the celebrated comeback of
Rohit Bal after a serious illness with a highly impressive
show, extravagant as the designer himself.

Rohit Bal, born in Kashmir, moved to New Delhi where he 
graduated from St. Stephen's College before joining the NIFT,
National Institute of Fashion Technology, and started
designing traditional men's wear.

Rohit shows loads of personality, sophisticated design skills 
and he easily gets inspiration from different areas such
the traditional craftmanship India is known for and the 60's
French Haute Couture making himself able to combine 
traditional and modern worlds.

Rohit, who is known for his creative gestures and he's often called 
the ”bad boy” of India fashion industry, made his purposeful 
rentrée with a collection called ”Khakasrtani - Colors of Ash”,
as symbolic as it gets, to celebrate the 20th anniversary
of his fashion career.

Intricate, timeless embroidery works on jackets paired with
voluminous skirts, some of them flamboyant with Rabanne
and Ungaro echoes, Taj motifs, silk and layers of chiffon where
red and blue creations stroll aside with natural, delicate dresses 
and bride-to-be suggestions.

The catwalk was designed next to an indoor pool and the 
grand finale saw the models ethereally plunging into the water with 
their white skirts floating fanlike at their waist  before inviting
the designer to join the collective sort of Gangetic ritual.

photo credits: AP/Mustafa Quraishi