Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween spookiness

It's Halloween tonight, the night of trick-or-treating, of ghouls and
ghosts, of pumpkins and witches, goblins and trolls so let's make
a start on it with Dina Lynnyk's 'Creepy Kids'  that smartly shows
how we'll look tomorrow before the first cup of morning coffee.
Jokes aside, it's riveting the way Dina built up her blood-curdling
photo shoot: she actually conceived and directed it, styling with
Maria Migotina and working by herself on post production 
while photographer Roma Pashkovskiy smartly 
accentuates its heebie-jeebies.

Dina is a young fashion designer and illustrator based in Kiev
that soon after her graduation from the National University of
Design and Technology started her career in fashion and
was awarded the Harper's Bazaar Fashion Forward in 2011,
a project aimed at supporting young Ukrainian fashion talents
while putting the country's industry on the world map.
She made a name for herself through surreal fashion collages
and interesting collections under the label 'It's me by Dina
Lynnyk' showcased at Mercedes-Benz Kiev fashion week.

Dina skillfully combined pieces from Jil Sander, compatriots
Anna October, RCR Khomenko and Bevza, D&G, Balenciaga
and Vivienne Westwood to name a few, succeeding in putting
them on the background because what we notice at a glance
are the ghostly white eyes and the colorless complexion of the
zombielike models (hair and make up are by Helen Khodos).
Have a frightful night, happy Halloween!

> all images © by Roma Pashkovskiy/Dina Lynnyck <

Monday, 29 October 2012

a cracking work of art

Fifty blue plastic snails slowly climbed upon Milan's
duomo roof earlier this month invading the city landmark,
the gothic cathedral that took nearly six centuries to
complete, in the striking artistic intervention called
'Re-generation' by Cracking Art Group.

Cracking Art Group is a ten-year-old collective made up
of six international artists (from Belgium, Italy and France)
whose name comes from the catalytic reforming process
which transforms the raw liquid mixture of hydrocarbons
into full range naphta, the basis for several 
products including plastic.
”Cracking is the gap of the contemporary man, struggling
between the primary naturalness and a future more and

 more artificial” they came to write in their statement
”cracking is that kind of process which converts the
natural into the artificial, the organic into the synthetic.”

By selecting recycled plastic, the group wants to retain
control of the dramatic process while evoking the
strict relationship between human, artificial and
environmental nature linking themselves into a
conceptual formula able to challenge the actual rules
of contemporary art and that's why they created and
placed 50 huge snail sculptures on the roof of the
fourth largest cathedral in the world as well as to call
attention to its much-needed restoration.
”By perseverance the snail reached the ark” 
to cite Charles Spurgeon.

> all images © by Cracking Art Group <

Sunday, 28 October 2012

samurai chic warrior code

”First intention, then enlightment”
from the Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai

Years ago I managed to put my hands upon a copy
of the 'Hagakure', meaning Hidden by the Leaves,
the spiritual guide for members of feudal Japan's
warrior class, the samurai, soon after watching
Jim Jarmusch's movie 'Ghost Dog'.

Penned from 1709 to 1716 by Yamamoto Tsunetomo,
it was published only in 1906 soon becoming the most
controversial (and often mystified) Japanese book and
even if some of the commentaries in it sound eerie,
outdated and male chauvinistic, it comprises powerful
quotes about the bushido, the samurai warrior code.

Hagakure came to inspire a stunning editorial signed by
French photographer and creative director Fabien Baron
with stylist Karl Templer for the October-November issue
of Interview Magazine, the American magazine founded by
Andy Warhol back in 1969 and relaunched in 2008 by
Baron and Glenn O'Brien, in which Canadian model
Meghan Collinson (BTW, all my gratitude to her steadfast
fans for the dedicated tumblelog where I pinpointed 

the pictures) is dressed to kill in the true spirit of Far East
honoring Japanese traditions while evoking the Orientalist
trend for winter 2013 we saw on the runways (here).

Chinese silks provide the basis of covered-up layers and
wrappings emphasizing the male vs. female effect through
an androgynous aesthetic of impressive volumes in which
hard angles and hyperbolic shoulders underline 
the concepts of assault and defense.
Paraphrasing a quote from the Hagakure, I dare say
that style is something that cannot be attained 
except by piling effort upon effort.

all images © by Fabien Baron, styled by Karl Templer

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Eid in Dubai daycations

Bab al Shams desert resort walkway
Dubai comes alive with the Eid Al Adha tomorrow,
the Muslim "solemn festival" also known as the
Feast of Sacrifice, a significant 4-day holiday
(in truth a religious holiday begins on the sunset
 of the previous day, so right now) that this year
feels shorter falling on the two-day weekend
but you could bet that everyone has 
a plan for these days.

taking close-ups of sand designs
popped up desert hyacinth (Cistanche tubulosa)
watching camels go by
 I have to admit I feel an acute nostalgia for my days
there that made me rummage through dvds of old
personal pictures: during Eid the city really goes into
festive overdrive and you have to take into account
a wide range of dizzy activities (open-air or indoor)
to while away with close friends and relatives.

taking snaps of the crimson sunset
visiting heritage buildings in Sharjah
hubby & me casting shadows in Al Ain oasis
I enjoyed several Eid 'daycations' while living in the
Emirates visiting heritage sites, doing mall hopping,
having a dinner cruise along the creek while staring
at the fireworks; 'going green' visiting parks and
gardens or driving to Al Ain, UAE's ”garden city”
as well as camping on the red sandy dunes of the
desert or simply unwinding at a resort or sunbathing
on Jumeirah beach while reading a good book.

palm squirrel-watching in the parks
the ever-present shopping lure
reading on the beach
Whatever you're going to do, Eid Mubarak!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

start making sense

You all know how much I love budding young designers
and the more innovative they are, the more I love to back
their fresh approach. I must confess my fondness for the
streetwear inspired, sporty and offbeat aesthetic of
Liverpool-born designer Carly Ellis who shows beyond
doubt to be self-confident and energetic, plenty 
of snazzy ideas and oh, so Brit!

Graduated from London's University of Westminster
in 2010 with a thesis collection titled ”Boom!” that was
right away acclaimed as a considerable success and
shortly featured in many publications including Vogue
Italia, besides granting her permission to move to 
New York to follow Parsons MFA course in fashion 
design and society.

Carly is proudly part and parcel of Parsons New School
of Design's first class of graduates, spring 2012 and came
to showcase her latest collection in the 'first eighteen'
runway show at Milk Studios ahead of New York 
fashion week.

Called ”The moment before it all makes sense” referring
to the idea of staring at an image on the screen before it
is fully processed or the one of a sudden failure that
creates an accidental art form (sort of technological
serendipty), the groovy collection shows neon-colored
posh designs with geometric patterns and stripes smartly
reinterpreting tribal reminiscences to shape 
a gorgeous indie attire.

collection campaign shot © by Alis Pelleschi,
style by William Edwin Wright
Carly decided to match some of her vibrant outfits with
futuristic shoes from the first capsule collection of
Jeffrey Campbell for Karmaloop, 'Paradigm', for the
Parsons' 'first eighteen' show in a perfect combination
of bold colors and graphic prints. 

image credits: Amanda Hakan

A youthful collection in which as well vivid ropes, belts,
plastic rings and necklaces (co-designed with product
artist Richard Darlington) emphasize how much young
designers are hot on accessories and she appropriately said 
”the accessories are just as important as the clothes.”
Carly's definitely someone who knows the ropes!

> all lookbook images © by Anthony Friend/Carly Ellis <

Monday, 22 October 2012

making women's voices heard

Italy was proud to welcome the very first exhibition abroad
of Iranian female painter Afarin Sajedi, a woman artist who
exclusively portrays women and their own wretched
condition to stress the need of a change in her
homeland's prevailing mentality.

It's true that the role of women is constantly on the increase
inside the Iranian society (female graduates often outperform
men and that's the reason why lately many universities
announced that BA and BCs courses will be 'single gender'

from now on ”to create balance”) so the equality of 
rights between women and men is still to come 
in the Islamic Republic.

Born in the southwest central city of Shiraz, Afarin moved
to Tehran to study at the Azad University where she
completed her degree in graphic design making a reality
of her love for painting strongly influenced by the history
of art, the Italian Renaissance and the Vienna Secession,
Gustav Klimt and the Jugendstil.

Women faces revealing through their eyes (which are
often covered with round glasses in order to emphasize
the need to express themselves) what's in their heart
and mind when they leave the security of their homes
to enter the world outside with small fishes symbolizing
the fluidity of feelings and the strong desire to 
swim free as they wish.

The subjects of my paintings - she declared - are dignified
despite the problems caused by age or living conditions
and to some extent they reflect my own feelings when 
I paint. (...) In order to break down certain barriers 
you have to pay a price which, at times, makes you suffer.
In my case it was the lack of freedom of expression, 
some drawings of mine were rejected and I was forbidden 
from producing images of women for book covers 
when I worked as an illustrator.”

Afarin Sajedi took part in the collective exhibition curated
by Dorothy Circus gallery's founder Alexandra Mazzanti
at Palazzo Valentini in Rome called ”Inside her eyes”
showing works of five women artists, five different female
realities, so distant from each other both in terms of culture
and influence, five distinct insights ”linked by a thin thread
of blood and passion” including Kwon Kyungyup and
Natalie Shau who caught my eyes for the 
breathtaking level of their work. 

portrait of the artist via

Friday, 19 October 2012

unduly devoted to style

image credits: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
You have probably recognized Patrick Mc Donald,
aka 'Dandy': writer, tv celebrity, fashion consultant
and scene-stealer who established himself as a
real fop always dressed to the nines and 
wearing mind-blowing hats.
Born in Germany to American parents, Patrick
moved to California, went to prep school in Hawaii
and eventually settled in NYC where he worked for
Fiorucci, Barney's, Fabrice as well as for couturier
John Anthony soon becoming one of the most
known socialites in town, the younger male
counterpart of Iris Apfel and Zelda Kaplan.
You can run into him at parties and posh social events
such at the Bergdorf Goodman's 111th anniversary
celebrated a couple of days ago at the Plaza Hotel:
a man who follows no trends marching to the beat of
his own drum that's ideally suited to wish you a
buoyant weekend devoted to style.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

contemporary white

Let's dig again into the dynamics that make a modern,
edgy collection spring from age-old traditions: in our
postmodern society, the self-conscious use of earlier
styles in the arts is often turned into a cultural symbol
to communicate self-identity and character.

South Korean designer Eun-Jung Lee who studied at
the University of Fine Arts in Seoul before graduating
in fashion design in July this year from Esmod Berlin,
has to thank ancient Greece and the broader principles
of classicism for the inspired graduate collection she
aptly called “Contemporary White”.

Strongly influenced by the gymnastic silhouettes in
Olympic uniforms and the timeless poise of Roman
togas, the collection shows outfits worth of modern
vestals with stiff sporty jackets and draped chiffon
tops, asymmetric cuts, contrasting fabrics and colors
with amazing leather inserts as well as long pleated
skirts impressive like columns.

No wonder Eun-Jung Lee's modern take on classicism
has been selected to show at the latest London fashion
week where it came to prove how much a time-honored
tradition can work wonders for contemporary fashion.

> all images via Muuse <

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

worthwhile reinvention of tradition

You know how I could go mad about gifted new talents,
so when I spotted Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse's graduation
work I was utterly dazed and confused.
Stefanie is the young and dexterous fashion designer
capable of combining high-tech solutions with dainty
handcrafting putting into practice the richness of her
homegrown traditions in clothing through a 
post modernistic approach.

She recently graduated from London's Kingston
University with a superb project she called “Luctor
et Emergo” (I struggle and distinguish myself, literarily
translating from Latin) which is the proud motto on
the coat of arms of her native province of Zeeland,
the westernmost of the Netherlands.

Zeeland's coat of arms shows a lion emerging from
water being the large part of its territory below sea
level (the defense system against flooding made of
dams, floodgates and surge barriers can actually be
listed as one of the seven modern wonders of the
world and nearly equal in scale to China's great wall)

and that was the starting point for acknowledging 
her region's generous heritage.

Stefanie reinvented traditional knitted garments and
bonnets with large triangular flaps skillfully using a
combination of craftwork and modern-day methods
such as laser cutting (she made a name for herself
creating last year a sumptous dress from plywood)

or mixing fine fabrics and other materials like MDF
and perspex to put up stunning sculptural headpieces
that at a glance make me think of Iris van Herpen
and Úna Burke works.

Nieuwenhuyse had the chance to prove herself last
month at the Vauxall Fashion Scout show in Covent
Garden's Freemasons' Hall captivating the audience
with her chunky knits and labor-intensive silk and
leather outfits marking her rise to prominence.
Check the Behance network to fully appraise her
spellbinding knack for fashion design: 
you'll love her ways and means, too.

> all images © by Ezzidin Alwan/Stefanie Nieuwenhuyse <