Sunday, 30 September 2012

latter-day Frida

¡Viva la Revolucion!
Sydney-born painter and illustrator Emma Gale pays
homage to lionized Mexican painter and timeless
style icon Frida Kahlo through a series of allusive
portraits adding a present-day glamour to her persona
by dolling her up with beaded black dresses with fur
or feathers and colorful patterns as well as with
blushing cheeks and short-trimmed hair fetching
an offbeat tribal impact.

I Have Wings to Fly
The NSW-based visual artist with a good grounding in
graphic and textile design whose website opens with
Frida's clever statement: ”The only thing I know is that
I paint because I need to” declares her love from the
beginning but what I really commend is the way she
turned Frida, 'la gran ocultadora' or 'the great concealer'
as she referred to herself in her diary (one of my few
real treasure books, though), into a sort of supermodel
by cannily removing the inbuilt eerie restraint 
of Kahlo's masklike self-portraits.

”I wanted Frida to reflect a strong, wanderlust persona
(...) She's more outlandish, edgy like in fashion mags,
with pink and green eyeshadow and lots of cheek-defining 
rouge. Her hair is cropped, cool and up to date. 
Frida on a catwalk?” Gale smartly declared introducing her
 riveting collages on paper and canvas painstakingly 
revealing the bold strokes and the accurate hand cut 
stencil techniques she utilizes.

Nomade De Luxe
Yesterday was the inaugural day of her latest exhibition
called ”Emma Gale - Crazy Sexy Cool” at Anthea Polson's
art gallery, one of Australia's largest commercial art galleries
promoting the best emerging and established contemporary
artists, which is astonishingly situated in the dramatic
beachfront location of Mariner's Cove, close to legendary
Surfers Paradise. ”Pies, para que los quiero si tengo alas
pa volar” or ”Feet, why I need them if I have wings to fly”  
Frida wrote in her page-turning diary in 1953 just before
the amputation of her right leg affected by gangrene 
and IMHO Emma has wings to fly, too.

Crazy Beautiful
all images © by Emma Gale via antheapolson a r t

Saturday, 29 September 2012

alive and kicking shop collection

'Madame Guillotine' designed by
Florence Estelle Girault, from Nantes, France
What's More Alive Than You™ is the
new Italian brand focused on the production of
fine shoes and handbags by involving artists,
designers, architects and fashion professionals
as well as young talents and college students
from around the world.

'The New World Symphony' designed by
Cristian Barato, from Dolo, Italy

above 'Guardando il Muro - Staring at the Wall' by 
Lucia Pontremoli, from Cividale del Friuli, Italy  
below 'Mix_Cut_Paste' by Giulia Signorini from
Vigevano, Italy
 Founded by Mario Innocente and Michela De Zuani
in the northeastern town of Padua, What's More Alive
Than You™ caught my attention since its inception 
two years ago for its participatory approach (here).
The intriguing motto and the whole idea of people
generated fashion design made me all agog to dig
into the fledgling brand's first creations.

'More Level' designed by Albrecht B. Angel
from Münster, Germany
Real works of art from the unique combination
of international design and Italian craftsmanship
came to life with striking results and now the s/s
2013 shop collection is about to be ”served”.
Premiered in September at Milano fashion week,
it will be available from the beginning of next year
only in selected stores in Italy and abroad and
through the website's e-shop.

'My Jaba Money' designed by Akiko Tanakshi
from Tokyo, Japan
Needless to say, each single product is entirely made
in Italy, mostly by hand, exclusively using vegetal-tanned
leather and natural cotton canvas and please do not
forget that the latest call for participating in the fourth
design selection for the fall/winter 2013-14 collections
will close next week. Hurry or you'll be late! 

'Ellis Island' designed by Filippo Mantone
from Rome, Italy
> all images courtesy of What's More Alive Than You™ <

Thursday, 27 September 2012

poolside glamorous lure

Manhattan-born photographer Slim Aarons first made
a name for himself with his World War II combat pictures
that, as he pointed out at a later date, taught him that
the only beach worth going ashore was ”decorated with
beautiful, seminude girls tanning in a tranquil sun”
so it's small wonder that he moved to California 
after the war becoming the photographer of 
socialites, jet-setters and celebrities.

The good-life-by-the-pool frame of mind inspired the
latest Tata Naka's s/s collection and its strong hints
to the 1960's (squared dresses with nipped waists,
pajama pants, pencil skirts and beehive hairdos)

through the label's signature sense of humor and
its blatant disregard for short-lived trends.
The name Tata Naka comes from the childhood
nicknames of Georgian twin sisters Tamara and
Natasha Surguladze, two Central Saint Martins
graduates who established the label back in 2000.

Posing in an mock swimming pool that seems
to come directly from a dated tv series being
completed with a palm trees backdrop,
water-effect flooring and required water depth
sign, the Tata Naka models wear havely printed
outfits with in-house designs echoing Matisse
and Gauguin in a joyful array of free-spirited
summer frocks.

Ice cream shades ranging from pink and pistachio
green to yellow and aquamarine as well as finest
fabrics and handmade embellishments enhance
the cheery mood of the collection cooked up for
a young woman who's able to create her own
distinctive, glitzy style.
The ageless tongue-in-cheek Tata Naka style.

> all images © by Fashionising <

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

the abode of beauty

Princess Hafizah in the ceremony prior to her wedding
The week-long wedding festivities following the
superb marriage ceremony of Brunei's Princess
Hafizah Sururul Bolkian with civil servant Pengiran
Haji Muhammad Ruzaini will come to an end tomorrow.
I was enthralled at a glance by the sheer beauty
of bride and groom attired in exquisite dresses
as well as by the royal wedding's grandeur.

images 1 & 2 © by
Brunei or Negara Brunei Darussalam, the
Abode of Peace, is the only sovereign state
on the island of Borneo, a Muslim Sultanate
ruled by HH Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkian,
one of the richest nations on earth proudly
owning the second highest human development
index among South East Asian countries.

The drop-dead gorgeous silk wedding dress
of Princess Hafizah embellished with precious
stones and gold embroideries was designed
by couturier Bernard Chandran but don't be
fooled by his French-sounding name, Bernard
is a versatile haute couture designer from Malaysia
where he made waves since 2003 when he won
the 'Designer of the Year Award' from MIFA,
the Malaysian International Fashion Alliance
and later on he was bestowed on the honorary
title of Datuk, equivalent to the British Sir.

Chandran, a former graduate from Paris American
Academy, is known for his creative tailoring and
unusual cuttings; he's also a tv celebrity and an
active brand ambassador who has been eventually
hailed as the country's 'King of Fashion'.
He recently devised a new concept store in Kuala
Lumpur called Area 27, a multi-label store-cum-hip
that will redefine high street fashion from October
the 15th presenting  popular designs 
and unique objects of desire.
Malay beauty and talent walk hand in hand.

images 3 > 5 © by

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Milan's takes on the Orient

The latest Milano fashion week came to show a romantic
profusion of Far East-inspired garments with rich prints
and embroideries in a sweeping trend that seems to
embrace most of the forthcoming spring/summer 2013 
collections. The influence of Asia lingers on through
outfits based on judogi, kimono and pagoda shapes
in vibrant color shades for blatantly feminine
statement pieces.

images 1 > 4 Etro
Etro showcased a romantic collection strongly inspired
by Orientalist paintings that Veronica Etro interpreted
through her own atlas of style fine-tuning her silhouettes
on Chinese cheongsams, one-shouldered dresses
made out of a single swath of fabric like Indian saris
with amazing hand-painted flora and fauna designs,
polychrome embroideries and obi-like belts.

images 5 > 8 Emilio Pucci
Emilio Pucci's designer Peter Dundas was instead
inspired by the beauty of Vietnam skillfully mixing
traditional Asian with military motifs and techniques
such as quilting and beading as well as detailed
golden tattoo embroideries.
Rummaging and rearranging some of the historic
Florentine house's glut of archive prints, Dundas
showed his idea of femininity through an inventive
style blending bomber jackets, pajama pants 
and see-through dresses.

images 9 > 12 Fendi
The 87-year-old fashion house Fendi came to display
the less Asian-oriented collection, yet many echos can
be found throughout it: the kimono circular-cut sleeves
as well as the cleanness of shapes and geometrical
inserts. Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi lay
great stress on its handmade and seamless features 
(astonishingly fabrics are joined together by heating
them to the point of melting then pressed 
like in electrical welding).

images 13 > 15 Prada
all pictures © by
Prada showed her unique take on the Orientalist trend
turning her attention to Japan evoking the ritual of
kimono dressing with elaborate foldings and wrappings
while reinterpreting the look of the 60's.
Flower appliqués, origami-like daisy shapes or cherry
blossom digital prints enhance both the Duchesse satin
and the impalpable fur. Miuccia proved once more to be
a trailblazer, e.g. with the flat judo socks bound 
with leather bows or the geisha-worth decorated 
chunky platforms.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

DIY taiga style decor

Unfortunately, when I'm outside of my usual spots
the wi-fi signal on my laptop becomes really choppy
or goes out of whack at its worst  (I know for sure
how in Italy the Internet is far to be fully developed
thanks to a ruling class almost unaware of its real
significance) therefore sometimes it's hard to work
up a good post as if I were living in outer Siberia.

Pardon me, I'm just fooling around and as far as
I know they probably enjoy faster connections up
there in high northern latitudes, for sure they can
be proud of Olga Kostina, the talented pensioner
who showed her artistic and recycling abilities
by adorning the facades of her house hammering
30,000 equal-sized plastic bottle lids to the walls.

Olga came to create a new vivid landmark in her
rural village of Kamarchaga, in the wide Krasnoyarsk
Krai region bordering the taiga forests of Siberia,
producing colorful geometric patterns and delicate
portraits of the animals leaving nearby nailing
down each single cap on a texture of traditional
macramé motif. Reuters staff photographer
Ilya Naymushin who's documenting daily life
in northern Russia with remarkable pictures,
arrived on the dot to glorify Olga's work.
Art matters and it's never unintentional!

> all images © by Ilya Naymushin/Reuters via Designboom <

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Erik & the Neiman Marcus™ ladies

Mary Katrantzou's oustanding garments suddenly
brought back memories of the bewitching images
taken by Erik Madigan Heck, the gifted young
fashion photographer who came to highlight 
her demi-couture clothes through dramatic 
depictions sourced from the history of art 
(check over his tag to watch 'em).

Erik began shooting fashion in his early twenties
through his own illustrative style that has been thereby
labeled as ”blurring the boundaries between photography
and art”. Though describing himself as ”... a romantic
conceptualist in search of resonant decrepitude” whose
”work remains in between a paradoxical bravura and
 delirious state of historical melancholy”, he's adroit at
creating mixed media artworks falling in between the
realms of fashion and fine arts as well as to the nuts
and bolts of portrayal photography (each single shot
is carefully crafted to the client's needs and mostly

 souped up in the darkroom).

Heck is the youngest photographer to interpret the
renowned Neiman Marcus' fall campaign ”The Art
of  Fashion” which was shot in the past by legendary
lens artists such as Annie Leibovitz, Richard Avedon,
Helmut Newton and Paolo Roversi to name a few.
Neiman Marcus as you may know, is the Dallas-based
luxury specialty retail giant established back in 1907
whose first weekly fashion show was premiered
twenty years later (while pioneering a number of 
innovative techniques despite the nationwide 
financial turmoil, a genuine lesson even now).

”We wanted to pair up this season's exquisite
fashions with a true creative visionary”
Neiman Marcus' vice president Eddie Nunns
about Erik Madigan's choice. Fall/winter outfits
from high-end international brands are featured in the 
gorgeous images and luckily two original prints from 
Heck's NM portfolio will be auctioned next month to 
support the 'Two x Two for Aids' charity for amfAR 
and the Dallas Museum of Art's contemporary 
art acquisitions fund: hope they'll 
fetch a six-figure sum!

> all images © by Erik Madigan Heck/Neiman Marcus, 2012 <

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

never-to-be-missed Mary

Mary ”the queen of prints" Katrantzou showcased
on Sunday night at the Topshop's Showspace in
Bedford square during London's Fashion Week
her latest spring/summer 2013 collection.

The Greek native designer who came to spellbind the
fashion scene ever since her first appearance with
her mesmerizing hyperrealistic sense of style made
of highly evocative bold digital prints, 
catches us by surprise anew.

Once again Mary's simple shapes provide the ideal
canvas for a stunning tapestry of colorful images,
this time altering vintage stamps and banknotes
(actually pre-euro Greek drachmas) plenty of
symbols and motifs as storytelling relics of a
bygone society in her own signature style.
Mary's able to reintrepet the ethnic mood like
no one by transforming everyday objects into 
a compelling travelogue.

Surprisingly, the indented edges of postage stamps
supply an evident geometric border to graphic outfits
while elaborate guilloche patterns envelop the figure.
Worthy of mention, the evening dresses shimmering
under the lights in their sophisticated metallic brocades
and Swarovski crystal mesh are printed with paper
money designs whose intersecting horizontal and
vertical lines create a captivating endless ornament.
Ravishing and inimitable, pure and simple.

catwalk images via
detail images © by GoRunway