Sunday, 30 December 2012

ode to our brainiac lady

uncredited archive image
Oldest living Nobel laureate, Italian neurologist Rita Levi
Montalcini, passed away today in Rome at the age of 103
while studying. Daughter of a Jewish engineer, Adam Levi,
and painter Adele Montalcini, she decided to attend the
faculty of Medicine in Turin despite her father's concern:
shut out by Mussolini's anti-Jewish laws she managed to
conduct her research in a makeshift bedroom lab before
moving to Belgium, joining later on the Allied troops as a doctor.
In September 1946, she accepted a position at Washington
University in St. Louis remaining in the States for thirty years
although the initial invitation was only for one semester.
Parallel to her work in North America, Rita Levi Montalcini
continued to follow different projects in Italy on behalf of the
National Research Center, National Institute of Health,
FAO and several scientific societies.
She received the Nobel Prize in Physiology together with colleague
Stanley Cohen in 1986 for the discovery of nerve growth factor,
a protein involved in the development of the nervous system,
opening up a whole field in understanding how cells communicate.
In addition to career and academic researcher, Rita has always
been known for her battles in favor of women: in the 70s she
actively participated in the regulation of abortion and established
an educational foundation to help African women to emancipate
themselves. She was undoubtedly Italy's greatest pride and joy,
a woman of heart and mind like no other, who worked hard until
her last days, always elegant in her close friend Roberto Capucci's
tailored coats, high-heeled and coiffured like a real style icon.
"I'm not afraid of death, I'm privileged to have been able to work
for so long," she said, "if I die tomorrow or in a year, it's the same:
it's the message you leave behind you that counts, and the young
scientists who carry on your work." Bye-bye ”Lady of the cells”.

home is where the heart is

Make your heart at home with Brazilian unisex 'Vish!'
label: founded five years ago by two London-educated
creative directors, journalist and stylist Andreia Wachelke
and designer and illustrator Luiz Passos, Vish! aims ”not
only to create clothes, but to create fashion. And not just
any fashion, but products and proposals appeal of 

cool, fresh and copyright” they smugly declare.

”Sharing in common a taste for creative lifestyle, the two
creators have joined their repertoires in complementary
fashion and design in search of a challenge - turn ideas
and wishes into clothes that reflect the lightness 
of that lifestyle” the brand's statement reads.

Vish! latest s/s 2013 collection, actually the twelth, is
called ”Home is where the heart is” and fully shows the
duo's penchant for fresh, uncomplicated looks with delicate
floral prints and jacquards ”born from meticulous hand 
drawings as numbered illustrations that ensure the unique 
aspect of the product released with limited edition”.

A floral galore with flowers on sleeveless shirts and simple
cut dresses, upon table towels and walls to recreate a nesting
feeling through ”the special love for the place where we feel
at home”, a safe and warm refuge where there's 
”no hurry, silence calms and dusk lasts for hours...”.
”Home is where the heart is” provides a slow but sure
sense of comfort at the end of quite an edgy 
and unsettled year. Let's make a Vish!

> all images © by Hugo Toni, styling by Henrique Tank <

Thursday, 27 December 2012

folk dancing renaissance

Madame Peripetie, the smart moniker of Polish photographer
Sylwana Zybura I always keep an eye on, never fails to astonish
me for the quality of her work: I'm nuts about the images she
signed for ”Travelling Maurice”, the s/s 2013 hat collection 
by East London-based 'Moody & Farrell'.

Despite the name, 'Moody & Farrell' isn't a brand owned and
run by two partners, yet a combination of milliner Eloise Moody
and her deceased grandfather names, Michael John Farrell,
who was a keen hat wearer and her own guiding light.

Eloise started in fine arts and theatre before establishing the
label which grew working on bespoke hats for private 
clients as well as TV and movie commissions.
She recently resolved to realize seasonal ready-to-wear
collections such as her latest ”Travelling Maurice” 
taking her woodworking skills to a higher level.

Informed by ancient English folk dance, the collection shows
”straws, plaited cords and wood handwoven to evoke the  
relics of complex dances and celebratory garb” as its
statement reads, subtly emphasized by the vivid touch
of Peripetie through a graceful work on light from
above contrasting with modernistic red iridescences and the
elaborate hairstyles by make-up and hair artist Marina Keri
perfectly matching with Moody's handmade frameworks.

There's nothing like a compelling synergy between artists
to quench our thirst for beauty!

all images © Moody & Farrell/ Peripetie, hair & make-up by Marina Keri

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

happy Kwanzaa!

image credit: Celebrate Green!
Kwanzaa (the name comes from a Swahili expression reading
”matunda ya kwanza” meaning ”the first fruits of the harvest”
and referring to the first African harvest celebrations) is a
week-long celebration created back in 1966 by Dr. Maulana
Karenga to honor the African heritage in Afro-American
culture the first day of which coincides with Boxing Day.
The choice of Swahili language highlights Kwanzaa's
pan-Africanism and its core values of unity, collective work
and responsibility, creativity, self-improvement and faith
and was not created to give people an alternative to their
own religion or religious holidays so we can freely celebrate
it along with Xmas. Check the celebration's official website
to know more about it and its proud begetter (though he 
will never claim it as a personal achievement).
'Heri za Kwanzaa'!

Monday, 24 December 2012

snow embroideries

I must confess I'm at ease with my sunny and somewhat warm
Xmas days yet I understand the desire of a bright blanket of snow
during the holiday season so let me celebrate the festivities with
the breathtaking drawings by snow artist Simon Beck
sort of monumental embroideries from a winter wonderland.

Simon's art catches my breath through his time-consuming
and fatiguing technique: he simply walks ”in heavenly peace”
in soft snow up and down the slopes and even upon frozen
lakes with his snowshoes on to draw perfect geometrical
designs that can be seen and photographed from different
vantage points all around providing astounding 3-D effects
in accord with the constant changing of shadow 
and light up in the snowy peaks.

Needless to say, each single step must be perfectly marked
the first time 'cause snow can't be easily wiped down, that's
why in shallow snow he seldom uses different kind of shovels
in order to create less or more detailed patterns to shape his
unique yet ephemeral installations that soon will be 
covered by overnight snow or blotted out by gusty winds.
Simon's art is short-lived by definition lasting only in pictures
and videos and however you look at it, this distinctive 
feature makes his work even more poetic.

Most of Beck's activity takes place in Les Arcs ski resort,
in French former duchy of Savoy on the border with Italy,
where he spends most of the winter and, as far as I know,
he might be there today huffing and puffing in the thin air
of the Alps and carving his unique snowy 
trompe-l'oeils while Santa's coming to town.
To Simon and each one of you out there, 
my warmest Christmas wishes!

The snow artist at Les Arcs frozen lakes, Savoy valley, France
all images © by Simon Beck

Saturday, 22 December 2012

today gold is all that glitters

Doomsayers have been proved obviously wrong,
the end of the world prophecy was bullshit and the
first day after winter solstice happened to 
be a bright sunny day.

Today marks the shortest day hence the longest 
night of the year with the sun at its lowest point
in sky shining like gold: strolling along the river in my
hometown I was overwhelmed by the glut of golden
hues glittering as to manifest how's great to be alive.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

in case of doomsday

'Mayan That's all Folks!' logo ©  by David Bates,
Mountain Grove, Ontario, Canada via
As you know, according to eschatological beliefs based
on the Mesoamerican long count calendar, tomorrow will
be the end of the world or, at best, the onset of an impending 
doom but I do hope it will only be another winter solstice.
Ciao and thank you all, just in case.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

the marionette canny mockery

You know how much I love the appearance of new gifted designers
and Yvonne Kwok is definitely one who makes me wow!
Yvonne Kwok is 'the Dutch name' of the design talent of Chinese
descent from Utrecht, extensively Yvonne Poei-Yie Kwok, a fresh
graduate from Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) with a liking
for the work of Viktor & Rolf (she interned at the acclaimed 
label in her final year) who dreamed about becoming a 
fashion designer ever since her salad days.

image taken at Modefabriek © by Branko Popovich
Yvonne chose to study at the technical school for fashion and clothing
in Hilversum after secondary school, had an internship with designer
Mada van Gaans where she decided to move further joining AMFI;
she showcased her graduation collection at the academy's Transit
event, the day when graduates from all departments present
themselves to the world of fashion, right before being awarded
the 'De Lichting', the well-known prize celebrating young Dutch
fashion talents, always on the prowl for ”the next big thing” 
and proudly supported by G-Star RAW.

The collection's theme, ”we dance like little Mary's swaying to the
symphony of destruction” emphasizes ”the battle with the mental
disorder caused by the restrictions within the fashion system
where pressure plays a major role. With reference to the
marionette 'a person who's in the service of someone else'
I want to make a mockery of this subjet” she declared introducing
her playful collection inspired by marionette dolls and carnival,
a time in which ”the social hierarchy of everyday life is suspended
and the equality between people is lifted”, full of collared outfits,
pleated skirts with amazing cuts and subtle punk hints: quite a
statement collection in which contemporary design and handwork
techniques walk hand in hand with up-to-the-minute trends.

I was taken aback by her sharp approach, love the way she mixes
materials and shapes pairing neoprene and cardboard with 
sheer fabrics and knits playing with cords and big golden 
brads skillfully blending pastel and coral hues.
”The translation to my collection is a bombastic use of color. 
Warm tones combined with bright accents and pastels are inspired 
by the colors of organs” she said explaining her search for quick 
ways to optimize decorating as a reaction to the fashion 
system ”because self-reflection is jeopardized by the lack 
of time, which for me is ultimately the essence of fashion”
Could she really be wrong?

all lookbook images © by Denise Boomkens
all catwalk images © by Peter Stigter/AMFI

Monday, 17 December 2012

feel my heartbeat

”Repetition is based on body rhythms, so we identify with 
the heartbeat, or with walking, or with breathing” declared
illustrious German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen whose
musical theories eschewed the traditional schemes of music
writing to establish a degree of change and that's what
Berlin-based Spanish designer Alba Prat tries to do tuning her
latest ”Syn Chron” s/s 2013 collection on her own heartbeat.

In truth, the captivating collection is inspired by the work
of German all-around artist Carsten Nicolai (also known
as 'noto' or 'alva noto') who turns scientific reference
systems into audio-visual intallations subtly combining
sculpture, light and sound to create his own code 
of acoustic signs and symbols.

I've been exploring the works of the recently graduated
designer (she studied at Berlin's Universität der Künste
following a previous degree in environmental science)

ever since her womenswear label's inception.

Following Nicolai's cold and minimal vibe, Alba recorded
her own heartbeat in two different situations and used
special software to visualize it in abstract forms creating
the basis of her prints to define the collection's twofold mood.
”One is more elegant and calm while the other is rather
sportive and bright. The recording for the first print took
place in a quite situation. Through the graphic representation
of its spectrogram, I created the luminous digital print.
For the other, I recorded my heartbeat directly after doing
exercise. The transformation of the audio file into bits, 
the most basic digital data, is used to create 
the jaquard pattern” she explained.

All played in fading tones of red and blue paired with black
and white, 'Syn Chron' channels Nicolai's soundscapes
through minimal shapes and striking patterns highlighting
Alba's conceptual approach which is shaped by the
spirit of data visualization as well as by pure talent.

> all images © by Alexandra Waespi via Not Just A Label <

Saturday, 15 December 2012

cozy Caturday

Luna, sleeping away, 2009 © by ms_katrine's photostream
I've been noticing a slowdown in daily visitors (while the
number of pageviews is still encouraging) so what 
about posting a cute Caturday picture?
I bet you'll love it as I do: Luna, the lovely kitten 'sleeping
away' in a small guitar case, was posted on Yahoo!'s
Flickr™ back in 2009 by Miss Katie D. or Ms Katrine,
as she's known within the online photo sharing community:
it has been lazing around somewhere in my MacBook
(not as cozy as the stuffed guitar case, though) ever 
since, so I think the time has come to share it.
Have a cocooning weekend!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

spider-inspired singularity

As you may remeber, in Greek mythology Arachne was
the skillful weaver who dared to challenge Athena to a contest
in a foolish conceit on her own skills in weaving and embroidery; 
beaten, she was eventually transformed into a spider by the
raging Goddess and her story stands as a lasting warning 
to take care to not dispute with the Gods.

Polish designer Malgorzata Dudek is not afraid to take a new
challenge with Deities after her clever homage to Swiss surrealist
H.R. Giger, indeed called 'Giger's Goddess' (here), came 
to put her sculptural works on the fashion map.
True to her signature dark couture, Malgorzata, who moved to
London to be fully released from creative restraints, premiered
her 'Arachne' s/s 2013 collection at New York fashion week
showing amazing hourglass shapes and flower-like ruffles
in structural nettings and laser cut-ups. Black bodices, suits,
corsets and gowns are conceived with great attention 
to detail and made with high craftsmanship.

As a convinced vegetarian, Malgorzata is committed to make
use of recycled and cruelty-free materials for her gripping
creations that fully show her expertise in classic tailoring as
well as her trend-setting vision on fashion: no wonder she
briskly earned the tag of ”the next Alexander McQueen”.

> all images © by Sebo Klimek, styling by Ise White <

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Right now, in this unique moment in time:
twelve past twelve of December the twelfth,
year two thousand and twelve, actually the
last chance to express a heartbeat by
repeating the same number. Cheers!

Monday, 10 December 2012

fine young cannibals

Maria Escoté is certainly a gifted Spanish fashion designer
with a peculiar approach but I must admit I wasn't too impressed
by her previous collections that looked overdressed yet her
latest conversion to pop makes me change my mind: now
I have a soft spot for her playfully young spring-summer 2013
collection smartly called ”Sweet Cannibals”.

Born in Barcelona in an artistic milieu (the city itself is a
boundless chest of treasures), her father a painter, her mother
a fabrics restorer, Maria enrolled in the fashion design academy
interning at Antonio Mirò before moving to London to study at
iconic Central Saint Martins and established her own label
focusing on made-to-order outfits with a discernible 
bias toward drawing.

The collection was unveiled in Madrid at Cibeles fashion week
showing a free-spirited urban-tribal style sourcing from art,
streetwear, books and posters with prints playing the leading
role in a clever mix of wild animals and tropical flowers, polka
dots and rectangles with echoes of African art in tight looks
with miniskirts, skinny pants and biker jackets in black 
and red, gold and silver with fuchsia sparkles.
A compelling take on the eighties!

> all images via the designer's website <