Sunday, 30 October 2011

the day after Caturday

image credit: Roberto Paglianti
Once again the amazing walled town of Lucca,
in central Tuscany, is swarming with thousands
of people visiting the annual 'Lucca Comics and
Games', a landmark event in the comics world
that lately opened its doors to role-playing and
games. A cosplayers' paradise with hundreds
of gals and boys all dressed up as their fave
characters roaming the old cobblestone 
roads in a colorful, jolly parade.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

boundary-breaking knits

You know how much I adore knitwear and the chunkier
they are the better they are, that's why I've always
been very keen on award winning designer and
knitwear virtuoso Johan Ku.

The Taipei-born, UK-based designer who began his career
as a graphic designer at the age of 17 before establishing
his own design studio in 2005 briskly made a name for
himself through bulky, sculptural knit masterworks.

> images by <
Ku's s/s 2012 collection is called ”The Two Faces” hinting
at the fact that the garments change color in the dark
glowing blue and green thanks to special yarns like lit
by Wood lights emitting long wave UV radiation.
A sharp-witted spin on the collection's seduction yet just
a stage effect for the sake of appearance rather than use.

Actually I'm not interested in the glimmering-in-the-dark
feature of last Japan Fashion Week show yet, as always
with Ku, in his ability to cross the border between fashion
and art with his own sculptural shapes and unique textiles.

Ku's knits are sublime, the consummate mix of natural
and man-made fibers (he succeeded in developing
brand new threads together with homeland Taiwan
yarn makers only after great efforts)
as well as his
signature sculpture-like silhouettes simply rousing.
When it comes to knitwear, Johan Ku stands alone.

> all images except n° 3 © by Michael Steinebach <

Thursday, 27 October 2011

poetic X-rayed stitching

Something magic happens when the traditional art
of embroidering clothes meets the emotionless medical
images produced by X-rays passing through parts
of the body and their consequent clash in the
one-of-a-kind artworks made by Matthew Cox.
I bet I wouldn't stop myself from touching them to feel
both rough and smooth textures literally reading with
my fingertips, a sensation the pictures barely describe.

The Philadelphia-based artist embraces a whole variety
of media producing several thematic works but I'm nuts
about his imaginative blend of X-ray images and embroidery
stitches where poetry and creativeness are nicely balanced.
”For me, stitching has a nurturing aspect and acts as care 
giving or healing to the injured, a traditionally feminine
sort of action, while X-ray itself can be considered 

 masculine and unemotional...” he wrote on his 
website page about his redefinition motivation.

”Redefinition of the intention of materials has
increasingly become the common ground between

 the different objects that I make” he stated.
Matthew Cox studied at Parsons School of Design
in New York and Otis/Parsons College of Arts
in L.A., his work is featured in the New Orleans
Musuem of Art collection, the city he periodically
lived in over the last twenty years, and has been
awarded the Pew Charitable Trusts Fellowship
in Arts in 2008.

His stunning artworks will be on display 
on the first days of December at Pulse Miami,
the contemporary art fair providing through its
annual editions in New York, L.A. and Miami
a unique platform for galleries to present
renowned and pioneering artists that came
to set an art market experience both dynamic
and inviting: exactly like Matthew Cox's
cutting-edge works.

> all images by the artist's website <

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

happy Diwali days!

Ahmedabad, Gujarat - image credit: Amit Dave/Reuters
A young woman surrounded by clay lamps on the eve
of Deepavali, the Hindu festival of lights better known
as Diwali, an official holiday celebrated for five days
from today in India and many other countries.
Let a smile light up your face.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

don't ask him

... Don't ask me
Cause I don't know
What's it all about
They scream and then they shout
Don't blame me
I told you so.

P.I.L. 'Don't ask me', 1990

”Don't ask me about inspiration... image is a simple 
way of saying complicated things” is the welcoming
statement of Chinese designer Qiu Hao's website
letting guests know that he's a bit irritated to be
questioned about what inspires his work.

The Taicang, Suzhou-born gifted designer studied
interior and space design before launching his first
RTW line wittily called 'Neither Nor' in 2001 and
opened with partner QiaoQiao the first Shanghai's
ONEBYONE boutique in 2003.
Qiu Hao got a MA in womenswear from London's
esteemed Central Saint Martins and came back
home to establish his own label, QIUHAO whose
2008 knitwear collection won the prestigious
Woolmark Prize. Last year he received the nomination
for the ”Breakthrough Designer Award” from the
Global Fashion Awards by WGSN just before
starting to work on his b&w luxuriously minimal
AW 11-12 collection called 'Serpens'.

Taken by French, Shanghai-based photographer
Matthieu Belin for Surface Asia magazine, the
pictures show Qiu Hao's stark and slender shapes:
”I always want to stretch the body, my shapes
are influenced by snakes, who are long and lean

 but you can play around with” he said to the
dynamic Asia-Pacific publication which is actually
the New York-based Surface magazine sibling.

”I stretch knitted silk so that it looks like a broken
net, or wash and heat wool at high temperatures
to change its appearance” he added while giving
an explanation of his pure lines and tailored cuts,
but please refrain from asking about his inspiration!

> all images © by Matthieu Belin/Qiuhao <

Monday, 24 October 2011

how to grow a frock

Ruffled shirt made for a London's Science Museum exhibition
Are you ready for the new frontier of bio-couture?
'BioCouture' is a fascinating idea of experimental
fashion, in truth a fashion project briskly turned into
a biomaterial project, conceived during a serendipitous
chat between Suzanne Lee, author of the book
Fashioning the future: tomorrow's wardrobe
and Dr. David Hepworth, biologist 
and materials scientist.

Scar bodice, Hasselt's ModeMuseum exhibit, Belgium
Suzanne Lee is a senior research fellow at London's
Central Saint Martins as well the director of the
'BioCouture' project which investigates the use of
microbes to grow a textile biomaterial, a sort of
vegetable leather spun by bacteria, to literally
grow a fully-formed dress out of a vat of liquid.

Bio biker jacket
Certain bacteria spin nanofibrils of pure cellulose
during fermentation, slowly forming a dense layer
that can be molded onto a 3-D shape or dried and
flatted before being cut and sewn into garments.
The microbial-cellulose material looks uncannily
like human skin, can be readily dyed or printed
and it goes almost without saying, 
safely composted after use.

Bio denim jacket
'BioCouture' pioneering research discloses a
myriad of unthought possibilities, we can barely
imagine what other uses the cellulosic material
might have yet these experimental prototypes
(not commercially available 'cause the whole  
research is still ongoing) are really mind-blowing.

Bio bomber jacket
Suzanne and her academic fellows are currently
outlining their collaborative investigation that
uniquely connects fashion design, synthetic biology,
chemical engineering and nano-technologies.

Start on imaging to grow clothing: future is now.

Microbial-cellulose garments details
> all images from <

Saturday, 22 October 2011

well-being wishing

A few days ago I stumbled upon this jolly face
smiling at me from a wire fence corraling pinewoods
and I swiftly decided to use it to wish a cheerful
weekend: may you have a very jolly time!

Friday, 21 October 2011

stem the flow

Brisbane talent Gail Sorronda keeps on in her attempt
to stem the rising tide of overused gaudy clichés by
strengthening her label's costumary black & white
dualism I came to admire last year in Milano (here)
presenting her new s/s 2012 collection properly
called ”Stem the flow”’ at RAFW.

A gripping black & white 'newstalgie' showing 
floating shirt dresses in natural fibers inspired by
the bulbous shape of liquid and its own flow in
a clever exploration of fluid forms true to her 
dark-romantic aesthetic. ”From the beginning I
designed using only white and black (...) 

I like the darkness of black and the purity 
of white...” she said in a press talk.

Currently based in London, looking to develop
trans-seasonal collections, she showed once again
her 'form follows function' idea of fashion as well
as her taste for round hats and headpieces,
this time with multilayered tulle circled brims,
perhaps alluding to concentric water waves:
a joy from stem to stern!

> all images from the designer's website <

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Shiroma mon amour

Young Japanese designer Shiho Shiroma
showcased yesterday her s/s 2012 collection
in Tokyo's Midtown Hall during Japan fashion
week, the usual Nippon fashion event which 
runs through next Saturday.

Shiho Shiroma is a gifted emerging designer
born in 1981 who established her design office
four years ago before launching her own label
Shiroma” whose collection debuted on the
runway last year in Paris.

Her latest RTW collection shows lush, feminine
outfits with inventive cuts and a clever game of
draping and layering with springy skirts, tie-dyed 
flowing chiffons, abstract prints and graphic
patterns combined with sporty details such as
zippers, metal snaps and drawstrings.

Between tradition and what lies ahead, Shiroma's
woman is a contemporary heroine with the old
confident swagger of a manga character with
a penchant for draped sheer dresses.

catwalk images © by Yuko Isobe

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

strength from frailty

A strong sense of common ethnic and cultural identity
has tied up Italy and Greece ever since the classical period
which endured over two millennia and despite the intellectual
rivalry countless exchanges shaped the Mediterranean
communal civilization. This ageless link to a certain extent
formed Greek designer Angelos Frentzos' fashion career.

Born in Athens, he graduated from the local School 
of Fine Arts and Printing Design and started working 
as print designer for textile companies before 
teaming up with coeval designer Sophia Kokosalaki 
to create conceptual, experimental garments 
based on the so called 'new age' music era.

London's appeal and a will of his own to improve his 
skills brought Angelos graduating in fashion design and 
textile from prestigious Central Saint Martins in 1997,
when he began to draw up his debut women's collection
that was unveiled two years later in Milan Fashion 
Week represented by Breramode.

 'Angelos Frentzos' is now widely known as both a menswear
and womenswear label with a young couture statement,
a contemporary look able to respect and tell the 
Mediterranean tradition through simple silhouettes, 
an expert choice of fabrics and amazing all-over 
inked naturalistic prints.
Called 'Strangeaway Sunpetals' the whole collection 
bears a new-romantic flavor skillfully blended with 
the rock attitude the label is known for in 
a clever mix of strength and frailty.

> all images from the label's website <

Monday, 17 October 2011

Smartly Made Jewel Design

I'm good at knitting but it never crossed my mind to
make jewels from knitting or crocheting and when
I saw SMJD's trendy necklaces and bracelets I
suddenly got up the nerve to know more about.
Actually the acronym SMJD stands for Sarah Mesritz
Jewelry Design, the label the young Dutch designer
established last year following former projects 
and internships in Amsterdam and New York.

Sarah graduated in 2008 from the Academy of Fine
Arts in Maastricht and started challenging herself in
making head-turning jewelry using simple crochet
techniques: handcrafted hip pieces made with knitted 
and crocheted cotton rope sometimes combined
with chains or contrasting polypropylene cord bearing
a modern flair in a clever palette of velvet green, 
desert dust, Bordeaux red, icy grey and marine blue.

I'm in love with the idea of crochet in jewelry, a shrewd
cross between artisanal tradition and product design
and moreover with her AW 11-12 collection's lookbook
whose images were taken in Amsterdam capturing
natural female beauties, mostly students, 
in their own daily life.

Sarah's works will be on display (as well on sale)
in Eindhoven's OngeWoon, the unusual department
store offering a wide range of products during
the upcoming Dutch Design Week event.

I'd like to say ”stay tuned” and fly up there to dive
into it but you know, if wishes were yarns 
then beggars would knit.

> all images © by SMJD's lookbook <