Friday, 30 March 2012

one hour dark side

Rome's Colosseum in the dark, photo © by G. Marcoaldi/WWF Italia, 2011
It's time again to switch off the lights for sixty minutes
tomorrow night at 8:30 during Earth Hour 2012,
the global WWF climate change symbolic moment
of action occuring once a year since 2007 when
the event started in Sydney where 2 million 
people turned their lights out.
WWF reminds us that each one of us has the power 
to change the world we live in, that the use of 
renewable natural resources is fully sustainable 
as well as that great results can be achieved 
when people come together for a common cause.
Flick off your lights and enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

thinking outside the box

Fashion talents from Down Under are on the rise and their
design creativity quite in full force: a couple of weeks ago
12 hand-picked final year design students came to show
their own creations at L'Oreal Melbourne fashion festival
(LMFF) in the 'Graduate Showcase' event and I was 
truly amazed by the work of Anna Langdon.

Anna is undoubtedly a talent to watch thanks to her joyful,
unconventional approach to patternmaking and design,
a frame of mind she learned at the renowned 
Fashion Studio at Sydney Institute of Technology.
”My college encourages us to think outside the box of
current trends and available materials in order to mantain
raw originality...” she declared admitting that she likes
” have fun with what I design so others will 
enjoy it too...” and she's absolutely right.

Anna Langdon's AW 2012-13 graduate collection called
”Kitschfolk und Kindheit” is maybe a bit too bright to look
like a fall-winter collection yet it's a bold and exuberant
blend of Tyrolese motifs combined with Australian
fauna-inspired prints with really interesting shapes,
quirky knitted pieces, gripping patchworks and 
a mesmerizing black worsted woolly evening 
gown with a copper filigree inspired by ancient 
Arabic ornamental art.

The collection's innovative style is altogether rendered by
the dazzling images taken by Brisbane-raised photographer
Thom Kerr with Chris Leger as stylist that fully describe 
Anna's aesthetic she summarizes as ”experimental and 
unusual, glamorous and gaudy, tripped out but well cut, 
I aim to challenge the accepted parameters of 
fashionable-beauty through my work.” 
I swear we'll hear from her soon!

> all images © by Thom Kerr, style by Chris Leger <

Monday, 26 March 2012

Mr. Finch's stuffed narrative

”My name is Finch, it's actually my surname... everyone
calls me it and I like it. I live in Leeds, not too far from
the beautiful Yorkshire Dales (the National Park created
back in 1954) I actually have no formal training in
anything I make and apart from a short art course I did
many years ago I've learnt all I know myself....”

The artist so unassumingly introducing himself is 
Mister Finch, the gifted textile artist who creates 
by hand unique storytelling stuffed sculptures of 
humanized animals using scraps of thread, fabric 
and paper as well fine embroideries.
”I've called my business Mr. Finch so it's clear from the
start that I'm a man and one that sews. We are a bit 
thin on the ground but we are out there!” 
he declares at once with a certain pride.

Finch works alone making with his hands fairytale
creatures taking inspiration from nature as well as
from British folklore, ”, insects and birds
really fascinate me with their amazing life cycles and
extraordinary nests and behaviour...” he explains
through his website and blog pages where we 
can keep track of his poetic world.

Finch loves to collect miniature metal chairs and to
hoard things in glass jars ”'s a joy to hunt for things
for my work... the lost, found and forgotten all have
places in what I make. Most of my pieces use recycled
materials, not only as an ethical statement, but I

 believe they add more authenticity and charm”
he says and he's absolutely right because the
worn-out look of the components he sews together
give peculiar characteristics to his stuffed artworks.

”Velvet curtains from an old hotel, a threadbare
wedding dress and a vintage apron become birds
and beasts, looking for new owners and adventures
to have. Storytelling creatures for people who are
also a little lost, found and forgotten...”

I'm amazed at how charming and inspirational
they all look. Bravo Mr. Finch!

> all images from the artist's website <

Sunday, 25 March 2012

messenger of stillness

”Fabric and silhouette is the foundation of my design
and I focus to create pieces that are simple, but yet
of expression and personality” stated Atifa Rasooli,
the gifted Danish designer who came to launch her
womenswear debut collection showing a steady
balance between tradition and innovation.

Inspired by the quite winter days in Copenhagen with
their pleasant stillness and humbleness as well by
Japanese silhouettes, the designer's debut AW 12-13
collection called ”I am the messenger of stillness” 
shows extremely cool outfits whose nomadic starting 
point makes a match with hints of poetry through 
almost monochromatic and minimalist pieces 
evoking a hushed and somber mood.

”Everything imaginable and unimaginable is created
from stillness. Stillness is where all creations begin.
I'm the messenger of stillness which is about bringing
back the strength of humble appearance with hidden
nobility” Atifa declares on her website and the  
impressive b/w images by photographer Erika
Svensson styled by Annestine Bae skillfully
enhance the collection's pervading tone.

> all images © by Erika Svensson, styling by Annestine Bae <
I can't wait to see what she'll do next since Atifa's
essential style and her dark aesthetic conceal a
strong-minded nature that will certainly put on 
display new dramatic ideas because, you know, 
still waters run deep.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Chaplinesque Caturday

Darling Birba, one of the family pets in my building
acting on the premises as the bowler-hatted 
tramp which has been Charlie Chaplin's 
trademark character for over 25 years.
It's obviously a mocking retouched image I couldn't
resist to play with at the end of the last Caturday
before daylight saving time begins.
The good old practice of adjusting forward one hour 
will guide us towards summer benefiting outdoor 
activities while reducing evening usage of electricity.
Enjoy the one-hour-longer weekend's ending.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

water is life

image credit: Justin Falls /Daily News-Record/AP
Today was World Water Day as the UN General Assembly 
established since 1993 as a means of focusing attention 
on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the 
sustainable management of water resources.
Future population growth, urbanisation, development
pressure on land and water, climate changes and
energy cost increase are all briskly leading to a
severe water scarcity and that's why we must
revise our consumption habits reducing our
water footprint on the thirsty planet.
Daily News-Record photographer Justin Falls
took this gorgeous close-up picture of water drops
on a leaf in Harrisonburg, Virginia, reminding us
that the situation is far more urgent than world
leaders are admitting. Do not water down your
will to conserve water for everybody's sake!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Shiroma first

Tokyo Shibuya First's 'Bellesalle' hosted the MB fashion
week first of three shows in a row of the up-and-coming
designer Shiho Shiroma introducing her AW 2012-13
”Progressive” collection consisting in round-shouldered
shapes for coats and jackets looking cozy without being
oversized as well the label's signature all-over digital
abstract prints in a wide array of outfits draping 
loosely and gracefully.

The collection is improved by fancy textured knitwear
pieces where woven fabrics are embellished with knit and fur 
details: I'm quite amazed by Shiroma's take on knitwear 
because she mixed hairy threads with chunky braids 
or smooth fabrics achieving a dazzling effect.
That's what actually caught my eyes last season.

Varsity and sporty clues are skillfully spread all over
the collection juxtaposed to sheer summery-looking
dresses in lavish combinations.
Shiroma's latest collection looks extremely wearable 
and endowed with loads of personality, ideally 
suited to a self-confident young woman truly 
comfortable with her femininity. 

> all images © by Onnie Koski via <

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Alice, the underground Lolita

Alice Auaa is known as a high-end Japanese 
'Gothic Lolita' fashion label founded in 1995 by Kobe-born
designer Yasutaka Funakoshi who started with a 
combination of new wave and goth clothing presenting
his underground dark style ”through a decadent
and surreal filter based on the color black...”

Through the years the Osaka-based brand grew
considerably appearing both in the Osaka and
Fukuoka Asia collections showcasing a wide
array of body-conscious silhouettes with elaborate
decorations that deservedly led to its fashion week
debut yesterday evidencing the label's advancement
from its post-punk roots to a more convincing 
and structured type of fashion.

Alice Auaa's AW 2012-13 dreamy collection walked
the Tokyo runway on ”my own private garden” theme
showing a neo-Victorian look with models styled as
Tim Burton's characters with shoulder-length
backcombed hair and long plaits wearing capes
and redingotes, crinoline, white laces with belted
bustiers in a gripping duality of light and shadow
and a cute black glossy gown with a squared 
skirt worn over split sole ballet shoes.

> all images by MB Tokyo Fashion Week <
Alice proves to acquire by the growing such a powerful 
dash adding sophisticated pizzazz to its signature style.

Monday, 19 March 2012

neon old school

“Yellow is the new pink” declared preeminent trend forecaster
Li Edelkoort a couple of years ago in a public talk highlighting
the color's upward trend. Known for its optimism, yellow 
(as gold) lightens and welcomes providing a good, 
energizing humor that has been proved to be contagious.
Alba Prat is the Berlin-based Spanish designer who caught
my eyes last year with her 'Digitalized' collection among
a broader geometry-inspired trend, who came to reveal the
latest additions to her accessory line aptly called ”Neon Old
School” to outline its influences from 'the good old days'.

Showcasing a glaring line of knapsacks, large and squared
book bags as well as shoes, toques and scarves (the scarf's
actually the only item reminding the previous collection 
for its geometrical texture) revisiting the mood of a 
bygone era when children went to school with leather 
backpacks and unique knitted accessories handmade 
at home by the family grown-ups, namely by 
their grandmothers, through neon yellow.
Alba skillfully mingles the nostalgic retro look with new
materials reviving the bright spirit of our salad days.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

the sweetest weekend

image credit: Khan/Reuters
We all have had the bitter during the week but now comes
the sweet with the inspirational image of Bánh Chung rice
cakes ready to be boiled at Tranh Khuc village outside Hanoi. 
The traditional cake is a true delicacy of the highly
rated Vietnamese cuisine yet what I like the most is 
the way it's carefully wrapped between lá dong leaves
as tight as possibile into perfect square shapes.
Wishing to all of you the sweetest weekend
you had always craved.

Friday, 16 March 2012

mythical creature style

'Chimaera' is the dicey name of a riveting collection
signed by up-and-coming designer and visual artist
Leyre Valiente who chose the fire-breathing female
monster of Greek mythology with a lion's head upon a
snake-tailed goat's body to give the gist of ”our nature, 
hidden, terrible, magical” as she wrote introducing it.

As you know the mythological beast came to symbolize
an illusory hope or a wish impossible to achieve yet
Leyre's work is all but chimeric: an audiovisual
communication graduate from Universidad Rey 
Juan Carlos, she's in her last year of fashion design 
at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED) in Madrid, 
had a significant experience as costume designer 
and interning for brief periods at Yono Taola, 
Alexander McQueen and Loewe and plans 
to set up her own label.

images 1 > 3 © by Michael Ostermann
The Chimaera collection shows simmetrically stitched
armor-like garments made of pleated black leather
shaped as a carapace to hint at the mutant creature
beneath the human being while knit fabrics and
skin-toned silk imitate dragon wings, constructed as
shields with cords sewn beneath the fabric and stitchings
made as scars suggesting the series of emotional
experiences, lasting traumas, fears and 
desires marking the cruel creature.

”...the monster is different and superior. That is why
it produces fear and the need of having it under control.
Made equally of dream and nightmare. It seduces and
attracts because it is strange and mysterious, ethereally
intangible. It is splendid, hypnotic, although being fearful.
It is part of this world as good and evil, but it is quite
above it and can fly overhead with its dragon wings.
(...) Its soul is dark because it has seen the light.”

The cunning images digitally mixed with graphics
made by Vienna-based photographer and visual
artist Michael Ostermann as well the ones taken by
Davinci White fasten a baleful sense to the outfits
strongly enhancing their dramatic look.
According to legend sighting the Chimaera was an
omen of storms and shipwrecks yet this collection
looks more like the harbinger of a bold prodigy.

images 4 > 7 © by Davinci White, editing & direction by Leyre Valiente

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

knitwear's endless versatility

I happily met another talented designer who can wholly be
regarded as an evangelist of sculptural knitwear, a young
creative craftswoman adroit at wrapping, twisting and
fringing as well as experimenting with a wide range
of materials who eventually focused her skills on 
the handmade techniques of macramé. 

London-based knitter-designer Eleanor Amoroso
creates unique garments with a peculiar dark aesthetic,
a graduate from University of Westminster, she actually
made waves with her handcrafted graduate collection
launching her label last year after an apprentice period
at renowned Charlie le Mindu and Gemma Slack's
studios (where I bet she gained both technical
knowledge and inspiration).

Her latest AW 2012-13 collection shows dramatic
handknitted sculptural pieces and accessories made
through fine macramé techniques aptly juxtaposed
with flowing fringes in the experimental manner of
designers I much cherish such as Iris van Herpen
and Sandra Backlund (check their own tags to 
see their works if you haven't yet).

Handcrafting's alive and kicking thanks to designers
like Eleanor who cunningly turn fine wavy materials
into bold silhouettes pushing the boundaries of technical
expertise and always reinventing and celebrating 
the endless versatility of knitted garments.

> all images from the knitter-designer's website <