Friday, 30 November 2012

Arena's geometric tailoring

We all know how pattern cutting forms the necessary core
of dressmaking, a must to be thoroughly assimilated by every
student, even the ones with inbred sensitivity to proportions
and sewing or drawing skills. Once basic blocks are created
you can adapt them in innumerable ways and you have to
deal with geometry, mayhap exploring new creative ways, 
exactly what London-based rising designer Arena Page 
had been doing intensively.

Arena was born in Russia, graduated in fashion design
from the University of Huddersfield and sharpened her skills
pursuing an MA at London College of Art, developing a
new working process to go along with her strong penchant for
tailored garments (”You can't go wrong with a beautifully
cut jacket or blazer” she remarks) through a 
characteristic 'less is more' approach.

> lookbook pictures © by Panos Damaskinidis <
The famous Möbius strip, the continuous single sided
surface ”with a twist”, came to inspire Arena's exploration
between art and geometry who, thanks to a 3-D modeling
computer program, started generating solid surfaces
subsequently flattened into 2-D patterns to build on her
clothes in a design process toing and froing from 3-D 
to 2-D in, as Showtime wrote, ”a true celebration 
of creative pattern cutting”.

Showtime as you may know, is the University of the Arts
London’s online gallery featuring up–and–coming artists
and designers which ”supports, promotes and celebrates
emerging artists by offering graduates from across the
University an opportunity to be seen by potential employers,
industry-insiders, curators, gallerists and collectors”.

Page's AW 2012-13 collection flirts with geometry and it's
aptly called ”Simple complexity, complex simplicity” showing
sophisticatedly feminine outfits with impressive cocooning
structured felt dresses and striped ensembles with emphasized
shoulders. She entered the fashion arena at a steady pace and 
we'll certainly hear from her soon. It's rumored that she's about
to start a project with Irish-born talent Úna Burke: to know
how much I like her leather armor-like garbs check up on
her own tag. Wonders will never cease.

> catwalk pictures © by Christopher Moore ltd. <

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

'as sweet as pie' style

Seamus Lim, better known as Seamus Juno, is a fashion
illustrator and graphic designer working and living in
Singapore who's deeply concerned with his own clothes,
a young man about town who came to develop a fresh
and fuss-free style that may be perceived at a glance
as easy though filled with optimism and grace.

Seamus grew up in Kuala Lumpur, graduated from Dasein
Academy of Art with a diploma in graphic design even though
fashion is the true love of his life: ”I've always wanted to learn
about fashion but I ended up studying graphic design and
realized that it's kinda cool actually to see fashion from another
point of view...” he declared to I.M., the first crowd-sourced
mag of Malaysia founded back in 2009 to provide an online
platform for young creatives to share their works.

Latterly, Seamus created dainty yet powerful illustrations for
the s/s 2013 collection by Jonathan Liang, one of the most
promising designers in the Malaysian fashion world so it's
small wonder that Liang called him to illustrate his 
label's no-frills approach to prêt-à-porter.
Both Seamus' style and Liang's creations look authentically
simple emphasizing the easiness of feminine forms free of
emebellishments through a common effortless sense of style.
Quite an intimate yet influential new freedom of expression.

> all artworks © by Seamus Juno for Jonathan Liang, 2012 <

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

butoh's quintessential elegance

Less than one month has passed since my latest post
about the Oriental-inspired fashion trend which has been
widely celebrated both in runway shows and fashion
editorials yet it shows to be still fast on track extending
across the new year. The sophisticated and culturally
rich tradition of Far East clothing is an everlasting spark
plug for designers and stylists that, whether it's reinterpreted
as customary or groundbreaking, each time adds an
incomparable sense of quintessential elegance.

Dazed & Confused December editorial takes inspiration
from traditional Japanese butoh, the range of activities
and techniques for dance, performance and movement.
Involving playful or grotesque imagery, butoh is traditionally
performed in white body make-up with slow hyper-controlled
motion which is subtly evoked as ”a serene spirit that moves
suddenly and powerfully, as every fractured step counts...”

The imperceptible movements of butoh dancers and their
sublime mien are handily recreated through gorgeous items
selected from spring 2013 collections by Givenchy, Prada,
Haider Ackermann, Gucci and Balenciaga by Nicolas
Ghesquiere to name just a few, by London-based stylist
and Dazed executive fashion editor Cathy Edwards who,
assisted by Emma Corbetti, put together the butoh-inspired
looks skillfully rendered by renowned Swedish 
fashion photographer Julia Hetta.
A Far East feast for our thirsty eyes.

> all images © by Julia Hetta, style by Cathy Edwards/Dazed & Confused <

Monday, 26 November 2012

let's shoot grandpa!

Don't get me wrong, I'm just toying with the bright idea
that sprang to mind to Lu Qing, a boutique co-owner in
China's southern Guangdong province: while she was
unpacking a shipment of new clothing her grandfather
Liu picked up a few pieces starting giving advice on how
to mix and match them suddenly prompting her to turn
him into a cross-dressing model to his heart content.

Called Yuekou, the Tmall female fashion online store
was established in May by five recent collage graduates,
one of them is Miss Lu, the granddaughter of 72-year-old
Liu Xianping who was eager to be clothed in short skirts
and red tight stockings as well as to wear wigs in order
to get a true preppy look providing furthermore 
styling ideas by the dozen.
His evident self-reliance in front of the camera together
with his slender figure and his long slim legs bestowed
on him the aura of a style icon on the spot, significantly
increasing the usual level of Yuekou's sales.

The young at heart granddad who worked as a teacher and
a farmer wasn't embarrassed at all wearing outfits designed
for young girls with plenty of pink shades, lace and frippery,
he was simply having fun with his relatives co-directing the
photo shoot that suddenly went viral becoming 
an internet sensation to their suprise.
Mr. Xianping joyfully demonstrates how China has changed
throughout the last decades as well as, to paraphrase a
smart sentence by an unknown writer, her granddaughter
proves how grammar is important, for instance commas
save lives: “let's shoot grandpa” is a far cry 
from “let's shoot, grandpa“!

> all images © by HAP/Quirky China News/Rex Features <

Sunday, 25 November 2012

red shoes against violence

Today's the day to fight violence against women being
November 25 the 'International Day for the Elimination
of Violence Against Women' designated by UN to raise
public consciousness of domestic and other forms of
violence. From the beginning of the year, only in Italy
we mourn the loss of 107 women, for the most part
killed by their live-in lovers, men who mistake 
love with bare possession.

That's why the Italian cities of Genoa and Milan put on
display 'Zapatos Rojos', an art installation by Mexican artist
Elina Chauvet made up of hundreds of feminine red shoes.
The installation was produced for the first time three years
ago in Ciudad Juárez to visually represent all the women
who lost their lives on the border between Mexico and
U.S. and briskly became a symbol to give voice 
to all women who are victims of abuse.
Let's say NO to end violence against women!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

street 'n' stylish

Sainer, 'Laziness', oil & acrylics on board, 2011
I'm always amazed when I cast my eyes over graffiti
and spray art noticing at a glance when a street artist
has knowledge of fine arts and s/he's able to show
her/his know-how in art history.
I mean, it's not only a matter of energy or the bursting of
old clichés through eye-catching drawings, yet a matter
of canniness and understanding that, more often 
than not, comes from a classical instruction.

Sainer, 'Primavera', from 'Urban Forms Gallery', Łódź, 2012
That's why I really dig Polish artist Przemek Blejzyk, aka
Sainer, and his striking approach to illustration, his sort
of 'physical poetry' as well as the way he combines
detailed painting with his street frame of mind, always
at ease whether he's making a huge fresco upon tall
buildings or working with oil and acrylic paints on canvas.

Etam, 'The journey', oil & acrylics on canvas, 2012
Sainer is also the co-founder of Etam Crew, the team
he created together with associate writer and street
artist Mateusz Gapski, aka Bezt: they both studied painting,
serigraphy and poster design at the Academy of Fine Arts
in hometown Łódź before starting in on their groovy collabo-
ration. I've just selected the works with a 'fashionable' vibe
but you'd better visit their weblog to be clued in to the hilt. 

Friday, 23 November 2012

high-flown baroque expectations

The homecoming of the enfants terribles of fashion
editorials, top-notch stylist Damian Foxe and photographer
Andrew Yee, the celebrated duo behind Financial Times'
How to spend it” multi-award-winning monthly magazine,
marks a new occasion for rejoicing and be 
transfixed by sheer beauty.

The tight-knit duo strikes back jointly signing the magazine's
latest visual editorial under the title ”Ornate expectations”
subtly emphasizing the intricate ornamentation of baroque
by juxtaposing grandiose dresses with the world of interiors.
The lavish art-inspired outfits we came to delight 
in Milan and Paris in March (here) are skillfully 
combined with fancy antiquities.

Among unique pieces of furniture, canvas wall murals and
silver-plated goods, the drooled-over embroidered calfskin
dress by Balmain, Valentino's showy tulle dress as wel as
the silk brocade dress by Giles and the printed silk dress
by Dolce & Gabbana patently look gorgeous than ever.

Indulge yourself in the peculiarly ornate celebration.

> all images © by Andrew Yee, style by Damian Foxe <

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

from the fountainhead of style

A primeval empire, utterly consigned to oblivion, the
forgotten empire which was the birthplace of human
society, came to inspire Barcelona born and based
designer Xavier Forà who, in a mix of fantasy and
history, invented his own women of Atlantis.

"Various theories along history suggest the existence of
a highly advanced antediluvian cradle of ancient civilizations.
Archaeological studies show that there are similarities between
towns that flourished in extremely distant points of the globe. 

 Pure coincidence?” he cannily asked introducing his
'Forgotten Empire' collection and his fount of inspiration.

Xavier studied at Felicidad Duce design school in his
hometwon, trained his skills in various internships and
came to develop a highly personal 'dress-to-impress'
style with haute couture features.
Extremely feminine garments full of aesthetic references
(he mixed ethnic and historical sources, such as handmade
embroideries and needleworks with fine Eastern-inspired
motifs reworked to create organic shapes and glamorous
skirts from Hollywood's golden age), creating dramatic
shapes and an offbeat synergy between primitivism and 
sophistication through a confident kooky style.

Xavier won the first prize in the ”Pasarela ON' contest
at MmOD Festival or Murcia Open Design, the micro festival
of fashion and design showcasing works by students and
recent graduates from leading schools of Murcia and Spain
that also featured 'Chimaera', the riveting collection by
Leyre Valiente I came to rate highly earlier this year.

I dare say Xavier Forà's visual trip to the legendary realm
of Atlantis gives evidence of a distinctive style that won't
sink in the perilous waters of keeping up with the Joneses.

> all images via Not Just A Label™ <

Monday, 19 November 2012

street style floral couture

Masha Reva, the Odessa-born Ukrainian talent I hold
in high esteem for her fascinating floral prints (here),
unveiled her latest collection in collaboration with the
Syndicate brand from Kiev  aptly called ”Botanical
Layers” and labeled as 'Masha Reva X SNDCT'.
Bearing the young designer's signature's fancy floral
prints, in which the accurate touch of a botanical illustrator
meets the digital layering of graphics editing programs,
the collection subtly connects Masha's couture-esque
aesthetic with Syndicate's original take on street style.

Syndicate is a new trademark of casual clothing with
an up-to-date attitude inspired by American heritage
as well by the minimalistic simplicity of Scandinavian
style which chose to work with eminent designers and
illustrators to ”treat street style in unique and fresh 
way” through limited edition collections.

Masha's flora galore looks exotic and traditional at the
same time, she interprets the ever-recurring botanical
trend for her part exploring a metaphorical digital garden
juxtaposing ”immersion in the rapid pace of contemporary
life, gadgets and social networks with a yearning for our
natural environment...” as she pointed out.

A limited edition of Masha's original prints will soon
be available yet I really dig the stunning accessories
(head pieces, masks and eyeglasses frames) she came 
to realize for the collection's photo shoot produced
together with fellow 'Synchrodogs' team.
Enjoy Masha's slant on nature theme.

> all images © by Synchrodogs/Masha Reva 2012 <

Saturday, 17 November 2012

pink flamingo day

image © by Thomas van de Wall

I'm mad about ”The Human Flamingo” by Gesine Marwedel
who apart from being a gifted artist in mural and body
painting as well in mehndi, the superb henna decorations,
is a rehab educator and a speech therapist who came
to graduate from the University of Dortmund in Germany.
During her studies Gesine spent several months in India
working with disabled and autistic children and backpacked
throughout the country sharpening up her artistry.
Her body works make me speechless, she's able to expand
the view of fellow Italian artist Guido Daniele who's mostly
known for painting hands and wrists (he also came to live
and work in India) to a larger scale creating beautiful
optical illusions by transforming models into 
landscapes and enchanting creatures.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

techno-goth on ice

When I shiver in the damp hazy cold of winter days,
I sometimes think about Arctic clothing musing on
heavy-duty garments to keep expedition members 
 warm and dry in the harshest weather conditions on 
earth mentioning at least anoraks, parkas and eskimos; 
yet if I consider Arctic fashion I can only
make reference to a few designers.

From now on I won't forget to include Latvian emerging
designer Jānis Šnē who, after graduating from Latvian
Academy of Art, showcased his ”Arctic” collection in
his hometown Riga during the latest fashion week that
came to present both men's and womenswear s/s 2013
collections, subtly highlighting the wave of Baltic 
talents we'll probably soon get used to.

Inspired by the sharp geometry of ice crystals, the collection
mixes gothic elements and sculptural decorations with unique
translucent details in a symmetrical minimalist take exploring
structures and shapes (with amazing icicle-like origami
embellishments) revealing Jānis' original vision.
He came to realize a short video (a short vimeo, though)
focused on the frozen landscapes inspiring his edgy clothes,
each and every one half the way between a costume 
and a wearable work of art.

I dunno how far Jānis Šnē will go, but I won't be surprised
to stumble across new gripping creations from his dark
and avant-garde creativity soon.

Riga fashion week backstage images © by Jānis Šnē
catwalk images © by Reinis Ziemelis via Creative Latvia