Wednesday, 29 February 2012

leap-year birthday anniversary

Rossini's anniversary celebration day by his native town of Pesaro
Today, February 29, was the leap-year birthday anniversary
of Italian composer Gioacchino Rossini who was born into a
family of musicians on the Adriatic coastal town of Pesaro
220 years ago. The so-called 'Italian Mozart' wrote 39 operas
and a legion of songs, chamber music and piano pieces in
his bright-eyed, song-like style. His best-known opera,
'The Barber of Seville' is constantly performed all around
the world ever since its premiere in Rome in 1816!
 Buon Compleanno Rossini.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

labyrinthic web

The best way to build up a fashion design career, no doubt,
is to get a fine arts degree in fashion by means of a highly
regarded school which, apart from teaching the craft, could
provide a network of possibilities to top-drawer alumni.
It's true that we all live in a brandname society yet to create
a personal label is even harder and it takes full commitment
and hopefully a financial backup but none of the above won't
work without talent and an inspirational environment.

That's exactly where Beatrice Korlekie Newman or simply
'Korlekie' comes from: the young gifted Afro-British designer
newly graduated from London College of Fashion has
already made waves with her refined idea of elegance
strongly shaped by traditional crafts (mostly 
knitwear and hand-weaving techniques).
Her fall-winter 2012-13 collection called ”Labyrinthic Web”
came to be showcased in the unconventional setting of the
exquisite Raphael Gallery at the Victoria & Albert Museum
together with LCF's MA fashion design technology graduates.

Amazing intricate handworks inspired by her Afro-European 
background and the beautiful beading and embroidery of
African clothes in a great parade of leather cord dresses,
knitted leotards and jumpsuits with lace and lurex fishnet
fringed suits displaying quite an alluring elegance.
No wonder her clothes are already been sold on acclaimed
online stores such as Pickurberry and the ever-present
NJAL: her skills make Beatrice a unique 'graduateacher'.

> all images from the designer's website <

Monday, 27 February 2012

the Artist's the winner

”The Oscar goes to... the Artist!”
Tonight, for the first time in more than eighty years a
silent movie won five Oscar statuettes at the
Hollywood's Kodak Theatre 'Academy Awards' ceremony.
It's simply astounding how in the digital era of computer
generated effects, dynamic surround sound and 3-D
a silent, square-framed black & white movie 
could be so highly rewarded.

The drop-dead gorgeous French silent movie by
Michel Hazanavicius is quite a visual masterpiece
about the wonders of filmmaking, a beautifully
made romance teaching moreover a fantastic lesson
of style with amazing replicas of upscale clothing
of the end of the 1920s. The era of Prohibition,
speakeasies and charleston is actually part of
a broader dewy-eyed trend currently spreading
out on both sides of the ocean which is emphasized
by Woody Allen's and Martin Scorsese's latest
movies or by the 'Broadwalk Empire' and 'Downtown
Abbey' tv series, not to mention the nth remake of
Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby'.

The movie had already won hands down big prizes
such as Best Actor at Cannes for Jean Dujardin
(even the unofficial Palme D'og canine trophy for Uggy, 
the scene-thief Jack Russel terrier) and six
César Awards in Paris on last Friday night for best
picture, director, cinematography, score, art direction
and actress for Bérénice Bejo, the Argentine-French
film star who received the Oscar nomination 
for best supporting actress.

Hope you enjoy the bewitching black & white images
from the multi-awarded movie with photography by
Guillaume Schiffman and costumes by Mark Bridges
under the artistic direction of Gregory S. Hooper
that are too good to be true.
Those were the days of the flappers wearing
sleeveless, full skirts 'robe de style' dresses or
boyish step-in panties with cloche hats 
and veils, bob cuts and pearls.

I'm amazed at how a silent, b/w movie could be golden
once again and how much today's audience attunes to
its language (to tell the truth in Liverpool a few people
asked their money back after ten minutes claiming that
they weren't properly advised of the movie's muteness)

astonishingly proving that a good story doesn't necessarily 
needs colors nor dialogue. Simplement fantastique.

all images © La Petite Reine-La Classe Américaine
Jouror Productions-UFILM-France 3 Cinéma-Studio 37, 2011

Saturday, 25 February 2012

glittering weekend

M•A•C Cosmetics, the prominent professional makeup brand,
will soon roll-out the 18-piece ”Love & Water” collection made
in collaboration with China's foremost fashion photographer
Chen Man featuring limited edition mineralize eyeshadows
emblazoned with the yin-yang design that will be 
globally available from next week.

The glamour campaign visual shots were taken by the 
Beijing-born photographer who has already established herself 
as a top-notch name in style, beauty and fashion photography 
through her own approach to ”a new kind of Chinese 
beauty” with a gripping, fantastical imagery that 
debunks all stereotypes of Asian beauty.

1>3 Chen Man for M•A•C campaign shots
the appealing ying-yang emblazoned eyeshadow
Chen did a wondrous work with lighting in a constant play with
color and even with post-production overlays to achieve a smooth
3-D effect and colorful details that emphasize every nuance of
beauty, skillfully highlighting the cosmetics creamy and soft
textures. Let me wish you a glittering weekend through 
the sheer magnetism of these unique pictures.

the trailblazing photographer on duty
> all images © M•A•C Cosmetics, Chen Man <

Friday, 24 February 2012

from fringe to stardom

'Fyodor Golan' is the name of the London-based womenswear
label established by Latvian designer Fyodor Podgornijs and
Israeli with German and Moroccan roots designer Golan
Frydman who briskly shifted from the fringes to the top
of fashion eventually debuting with their on-schedule 
show at London fashion week a few days back.

I came across the talented duo when they scooped up last
season's Fashion Fringe Award: the prize actually came to
provide the ongoing support for the young designers to
put their brand on the international stage highlighting
their avant-garde attitude and their high-level work.
It's small wonder that their collection has since been picked
up globally fostering the 'Fyodor Golan' brand evolution.

True to form to their gothic and romantic aesthetic the duo's
fall/winter 2012-13 collection, inspired by Russian paesants
and aristocracy before the 1917 Revolution, Art Deco and
insects, showed a wide variety of fabrics and materials.
Models walked the runway wearing silver nose rings and
oversized necklaces in a skilled combination of sophistication
and tribalism while the superbly tailored garments showed
contrasting textures, handcrafted decorations 
and countless gripping details.

Fyodor and Golan demonstrate to deserve their own place
in contemporary British fashion with an edgy collection that's
obviously not to everyone's taste yet impeccably conceived
with silhouettes evoking fragility and strength at the same
time like the diaphanous constructed dress inspired by
insect wings. Quilted leather, fur and the bone-chilling beauty 
of Mongolian velvet intensify the collection's panache.
We will certainly hear from these talents again!

> all images © - Getty Images <

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

style comes in threes

Athanaelle Paul, Queens-based stylist
New York fashion week came to an end a few days back
showcasing as always much more to see on the streets
than just the designer collections (over 300 in eight busy
days) at Lincoln Center, Milk Studios and other venues.
Last year we had a curious peek through the back door
while this time we are literally on the outside.

Queens makeup artist Sharmeen Azmudeh
Angola's Miss Universe Leila Luliana da Costa Vieira Lopes
 I went crazy about the carefree portrait triplets by 
Carlo Allegri and it's just happenstance that 'allegri' 
is actually the plural form of 'happy' in Italian.
Carlo is the acclaimed Bermuda-born, Canadian photographer
(whose name betrays Italian origins) based in Toronto who
passionately pursued excellence in photography for over
twenty years covering worldwide countless editorial and
commercial assignments for top-notch news agencies.

California Bay area's stylist Lil Debbie
London-based stylist and creative consultant Marian Kihogo
Formerly a newspaper and wire photographer, Carlo developed
throughout the years a waggish portraiture technique he calls
'Guerrilla Portrait', a lit portrait shot chopped down in three
different segments. Last week Allegri covered as usual 
New York fashion week taking his vivid portrait of the event
as well these whimsy portraits outside Lincoln Center 
that fully show the personal look of stylists, makeup 
artists, celebrities and fashion groupies.
When style comes in three.

Ohio fashion journalist Amanda Gabriele
> all images © Carlo Allegri/Reuters 2012 <

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

needle, thread & ink artistry

'Happy Red Fish' is the witted name of an Amsterdam-based 
imaginative studio that mirthfully exlores the endless 
realms of creativity working with different type of materials 
making use of needle, thread, paint and ink as well 
as a zany sense of humor.

Operated by independent artist and designer Hagar van 
Heummen, a married mother of two children dearly loving
photography, children books and old toys who came to
experiment a new approach to art by working with
bodkins and threads to produce riveting handmade
collage-embroideries with a distinctive twist.

Often using printed canvas as a background, Hagar
never loses her thread creating needleworks with 
a reassuring feeling and a bit outmoded look 
subtly mixed with upbeat details such as the 
red triangular hats worn by young and older 
girls in her ”thread & ink” series.
She's a blogger too, sharing her daily life inspirations
and the peculiar works of art she creates ”with 
love, affection and full devotion”.  Attagirl!

> all artworks & pictures © by Happy-red-fish 2011 <

Monday, 20 February 2012

HoH's blithe autumn

image credit: AFP
Did I tell you how much I love the cheerful disposition of HoH's
woman? HoH stands for 'House of Holland', the RTW label
established by Henry Holland following his graduation from
London College of Communication with a BA in journalism
and a brief experience as stylist whose irreverent 'fashion
groupies' slogan tees marked him out as a prime mover.

In 2008 HoH held its first solo show on the main London
fashion week schedule to critical acclaim thanks to a pop,
colorful urban style pandering the mindset of a young 
woman which ...”is cool, confident and savvy and 
wears labels without letting them wear her.”

True to form, HoH's latest AW 2012-13 collection has been
showcased under the title ”Ride it” (the show's houndstooth
i-phone cover i-nvite was too brainy) at LFW last Saturday
in a variety of patterns in bright primary colors fully
emphasizing the brand's ”bold, colorful, 
irreverent” signature style. 

The 1970s sportswear-inspired collection includes nicely
tailored garments with oversized houndstooth prints,
moving geometries and metallic accents, all designed as
the designer says ”with a London girl's aesthetic in mind.”
Drop-dead gorgeous and brave.

> all catwalk images © GoRunway/InDigital <

Sunday, 19 February 2012

age of guiltlessness

image credit: Sara Reverberi
Inspired by the the innocent gals crowding American illustrator 
Henry Darger's works, London-based Turkish designer 
Bora Aksu unveiled his fall-winter 2012-13 collection 
of flimsy demi-couture pieces last
Friday at London fashion week.

Bora came to set up his eponymous label upon graduation 
from Central Saint Martins briskly developing a distinctive 
signature style he simply describes as 
”romantic with a darker twist”.

His creations skillfully reinterpret the unreal world of Darger's 
magnum opus, 'The Story of the Vivian Girls' and its gender-crossing 
aesthetic through a governess dress code in which accentuated 
waistlines are paired with delicate decorations, pleated tulle 
inserts, lace and brocades mostly in powder pink and gray 
tones with touches of burnt orange.
Sophisticatedly starry-eyed.

all catwalk images © Daniele Guidetti

Friday, 17 February 2012

bye-bye night-bird

photo © by Jason Kempin/Getty Images
What a farewell it was: New York's oldest style icon Zelda Kaplan
died yesterday at the age of 95 while sitting in the front row
(her usual place at fashion and art shows, get togethers 
and parties) at her friend Joanna Mastroianni show.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1916, Zelda was indisputably
the oldest night-bird of NYC and one of the most known 
socialite of the States, so famous to become the 
subject of a documentary called ”Her Name Is Zelda”.
She'll be remembered not only for her stunning sense of fashion
and her youthful spirit yet also for her humanitarian efforts:
she made several trips to Africa supporting women's 
rights causes. Bye-bye warmhearted, elegant Lady.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

ingenious 'sculptailor'

'How to Blow Up Two Heads at Once', © 2006, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
Yinka Shonibare, MBE is a well-known British artist (MBE
stands for 'Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British
Empire', a title he added to his professional name even if
it sounds a bit lofty) that recently made waves with 
his cannot-go-unnoticed ”object of wonder” 
'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' in Trafalgar Square.

'Gay Victorians', © 1999, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
'Reverend on Ice', © 2005, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
Yinka was born in London and raised in Lagos, Nigeria's
chief city, returning to Britain at the age of sixteen to 
study Fine Art at Byam Shaw College of Art and later on 
at Goldsmiths but sadly contracted a long term physical
disability that although forbiding him to carry out the
work himself, didn't deprive him of his unique vision.

'Air', © 2010, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
'Food Faerie', © 2009, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
The all-around artist, resourcefully at ease with sculpture,
painting, photography and installation art, counts on a team
of assistants to explore the interrelationship between Africa
and the Western world skillfully commenting on cultural 
history, the legacy of colonialism and the broader 
concept of identity construction.

'Leisure Lady with Pugs', © 2001, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
He constantly challenges the concept of cultural authenticity
by blurring the boundaries of stereotypical Western ideas
about fine arts and traditional arts but I confess I'm nuts
about his jaw-dropping colorful sculptures made of lavish
fabrics and textiles that at a glance reminded me the ones
assembled with worn out clothing by Nick Cave 
yet with a different conceptual twist.

'Five Undergarments and Much More', © 1995, Yinka Shonibare, MBE
'Earth', © 2009 Yinka Shonibare, MBE
 Yinka covers headless mannequins and sculptures with his
African-looking, vivid prints and patterns (actually Dutch
wax-printed cottons the artist personally buys from London's 

 Brixton market) earnestly pointing out that they're not 
authentically African and that misconception is what he really 
likes inasmuch he looks at culture like an artificial construct. 
The artist's latest exhibition surprisingly bearing the Italian 
title ”Addio del Passato” is currently running in New York's 
James Cohan Gallery while many selected works, mostly 
paintings, are on display in the Gallery's Shanghai offshoot.
A 'sculptailor' deserving ginormous fame & fortune.

'Addio del Passato' current exhibition at James Cohan Gallery
 > all artworks & images © Yinka Shonibare, MBE
compiled from the artist's and James Cohan Gallery's websites <