Tuesday, 31 December 2013

happy turn of the year

image credit: Chris Helgren/Reuters
The leaf of a Japanese maple tree coated with ice makes
me think of a joyful hand waving goodbye to 2013 in the
superb image taken by Thomson Reuters' editor-in-charge
of North America Pictures Desk, photojournalist Chris Helgren,
soon after a freezing rain storm that recently hit Toronto and
the shores of Lake Ontario. I guess it's better to make no
resolutions when we all know that New Years' ones are easier
to break than to keep and they'll be probably abandoned 
by February; anyway I pledge myself to do my best to 
keep this blog running throughout its fifth year. 
Best wishes from the threshold of the new-born year to y'all!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

upside-down glamour

Let's get dazzled before the year comes to an end
with the stunning images from the December issue's
editorial of Schön! magazine called 'Fortune Cookie'.
Schön! was established in 2009 as an online mag
briskly becoming a deluxe glossy printed publication
which is currently based in London and distributed
in 43 countries although mainly focused on 
USA, Europe and UK.

Schön!'s creative team wittily advise to ”fasten your
seat-belts for this awe-inspiring editorial...” whose
mind-blowing pictures were taken by 'Pinch', nom de
plume of well versed Canadian photographer Martin
Tremblay, from Montreal, Quebec who ”...turns the
world on its head, playing with your minds and 
defying the laws of gravity as he does so.”

”A stroll through Chinatown becomes an adventurous
quest, where the laws of reason are twisted. Be careful
not to lose your mind when flicking through the full
editorial in our latest issue!” they warn readers.
'Fortune Cookie' comes from an excellent teamwork
highlighting the skills of all the artists involved.

Tremblay is credited with art direction and photography
(assisted by Guillaume Lépine) while 'PJ Concept', the
duo formed by Pascal & Jérémie, signed the styling
fully in accordance with their motto: ”Bring back the fun
in fashion” with pieces by Givenchy, D&G, Pink Tartan
and Marie Saint Pierre to name a few; but also make up
and hair artists fully deserve to be mentioned, 
in order Marie-Laure Larrieu & Joëlle Boucher 
and Geneva Cowen & Stéphane Legros. 

Das ist schön!

> all images © by Martin Tremblay, styled by Pascal & Jérémie
for Issue 23 of Schön! magazine <

Friday, 27 December 2013

Selma according to Ku

...I've seen it all, I've seen the dark
I've seen the brightness in one little spark...

nugget excerpt from Björk's ”I've seen it all” in 'Selmasongs'

Johan Ku - the Taipei-born knitwear virtuoso whose
chunky knits combined with glimmering textiles
I greatly appreciated two years ago (here) - recently
unveiled his Gold Label s/s 2014 collection called
'Selma' at Mercedes-Benz fashion week Tokyo showing
his take on the contrast between fantasy and real life
and how his sculptural style has come a long way.

Wholly inspired by the leading character of Lars Von
Trier's 'Dancer in the Dark' movie that was awarded the
Palme d'Or at Cannes Film Festival in 2000, the collection
depicts Selma - who was masterfully played by Björk (best
actress award)
- and mainly the way she escaped from 
her harsh daily life slipping into daydreams, 
sort of elaborate musical theater shows.

In the movie Selma gradually loses her eyesight and she's
eventually caught, put on trial and condemned to the gallows
through false accusation. Ku declared he was moved ”by the
sentiment of one 'who is innocent yet misperceived'. 
This collection makes use of a mix of materials to depict 
the blur of vision as well as the differences in 
perception depending on distance.”

I'm amazed at how gorgeous the details of his 3-D garments
look, promptly calling to mind the cover image of 'Selmasongs',
the OST of the movie: translucent glossy materials, electric
graphic prints and kaleidoscopic collages of small plastic
shards and pieces of fabric that skillfully symbolize Selma's
blurred vision. Outstanding mosaic-patterned outfits and
netted knits of iron rust and black, handmade fabric treat-
ments and small metal parts printing. Kudos to Ku!

> all images © by Fashionsnap.com <

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

wasp-waisted greetings

Xmas time comes around making me homesick for rest after
a quite tough year yet I won't bother Santa asking for mental
repose and good cheer: I will simply unplug for a while not
without sending my best wishes to all of you by way of this
gorgeous Xmas tree shaped in a classic couturier's dress
form. Conceived for a woman who has both Christmas and
fashion in her heart (who's in all probability bored with the
usual-tree-mistletoe-gingerbread triad) by New York-based
Hammacher Schlemmer retail company ”offering the Best,
the Only and the Unexpected for 165 years” through unusual
products looking like marvelous gizmos. May you be blessed
with the gladness of the season, I'll be back in a jiffy!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

where cultures come to clash

'She', acrylic on linen, 2011
The collision of cultures shapes our world much faster
than continental drift and there's a gifted Afro-American
female artist who depicts their clashing through an Eastern
originality that always questions cultural and racial idiosyn-
crasies by exploring the influence of gender, sexuality and
popular culture on individual identity uniquely sampling,
juxtaposing and mixing traditional and voguing icono-
graphic elements as a versatile visual DJ.

'The Oobie Kids', 2010
'Sneak Attack (You aren't playing fairly at all)', 2010
artwork from the Blackface series
untitled 1 (female), 2003
Born in Washington D.C., Iona Rozeal Brown is a graduate
of San Francisco Art Institute and Yale University and truly
”one of the most 30 influential contemporary black artists”
as in the claim of present-day Frist Center exhibition in
Nashville, Tennessee, titled ”30 Americans”, a thought-pro-
voking showcase that's mostly drawn from renowned
Miami-based Rubell Family collection. Iona became
fascinated about the gung-ho Japanese youth emulating
American hip-hop culture by changing clothes, hairstyles,
and even darkening their skin to be in tune with it.

'Sacrifice #2: it has to last', 2007
'Don't cry... it's the rhythm, the Grace of the tsuru, 2013
'Live!' ink and gold leaf on wooden panel, 2013
She soon took possession of the old Japanese technique
of woodblock printing combining it with paint: many of her
artworks parody seventeeth and eighteenth century
Japanese prints with occasional hints to Shunga,
Japanese erotic art. Brown turned the traditional pale
complexion and makeup of Japanese typecast figures
like samurai, geishas and kabuki actors in blackface
seldom including collaged or overlaid hip-hop 
features such as fluffy fur, strands of pearls, 
garish jewelry and tattoos.

artwork from the Blackface series
'Blackface #62', 2005
'Off the dome: don't front, you know we got you open', 2006 
Her hibrid, cross-cultural, usually large-scale portraits 
with a peculiar Afro-Asiatic-American analogy have a inner
sense of proudness not exclusively evoking Japan but
also India, Korea and even Middle Eastern mores subtly
highlighting the voracity of consumerism chewing up
timeless traditions all around the world. Iona's exclusive
take on the concept of melting pot is quite astounding
and it's able to cast an edgy light on our understanding
of racial and cultural identity. The whole body of her
pictorial work aims at nullifying cultural divide by
untangling the roots of identity through a unique,
authoritative style I'm deeply in love with.

Iona Rozeal Brown, left, in a photo © by Jati Lindsay
all artworks © by Iona Rozeal Brown

Monday, 16 December 2013

see me, feel me, heal me

The world of fashion has always been the place of
unfailing experiments with new materials or to discover
new ways of transforming the existing ones, achieving
amazing and sometimes totally unexpected results.
Olivia Howick is a fashion design technology graduate
of London's College of Fashion specialized in embroidery
and embellishment ”with a passion for transforming
unexpected materials into luxurious fashion embellishment...”
who turned humble PVC hose pipes into gorgeous textures.

Olivia's womenswear graduate collection, called 'Medicate
Me' (that's why the title sprang up), ”...demonstrates the
collision of contemporary and traditional approach to
medicine, through the exploration of Native American
culture and scientific advances. The collection draws
upon a textile tradition and transforms it to demonstrate
a clinical aesthetic...”
she declares introducing 
her eye-catching, tactile outfits.

Olivia is an experienced illustrator making highly detailed
graphic works as well as a textile developer who gained
a considerable knowledge of embroidery interning with
Alexander McQueen, Leutton Postle and Erdem.
'Medicate Me' replicates the traditional craftsmanship
of embroidered ornamentation through colorful beadworks
made of dyed PVC tubing paired with amaya-stitchings
on screen printed fabric wisely accessorized with rubber
beach sandals and sunglasses (in collaboration with 
Sarah Jane Cook of Spangled, aka Sjstylee)
Let's get spangled, then medicated!

> all images © by Max Barnett <

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Protø3Dype creativity

Eugenia Alejos is a young Spanish fashion designer who's
probably best known for her illustration works and namely
the fabric collages she came to exhibit at home and abroad.
She's a multidisciplinary talent who's quite at ease with
different media also working as senior kids designer for The
National Geographic Society, as a stylist for Funnytastes
and as illustrator for international journals 
cleverly revealing her inbred creativity.

Based in Madrid where she graduated from the High School
of Fashion, Eugenia established her eponymous label ”always
working on the concept of three-dimensionality through 
new materials. Years of constant change, awkwardness and 
a curious search for human 3D and identity” she states.
A designer who loves to research before starting a project
looking for innovative techniques and materials; she came to
specialize in new fabric technologies in Portugal taking new
challenges to investigate the future of clothing.

Alejos' latest collection, smartly called ”Protø3Dype”, keeps
on exploring three-dimensional sculptural shapes in which 3-D
printing and laser-cutting on high density leather are the key
features: impressive garments and overgarments playing with
volumes and shapes that highlight her own futuristic vision.
She also designed the striking accessories complementing the 
avant-garde collection; white strapped shoes, handbags and
triangle-shaped jewels and eyeglasses showing her prowess
as an all-around designer. ¡Eugenia va a llegar muy lejos!

> all images © by Cristian di Stefano <

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Bea Szenfeld's Haute Papier

You know how often fashion meets geometry and
therefore paper through origami-inspired creations made
by several designers by cutting, bending and shaping it
into structures and dresses redolent of the iconic pleats,
folds and tessellations of the old Japanese art form and
that's why this blog has a 'paperfashion' tag.

Bea Szenfeld is a Polish-born designer living in Sweden
since her salad days; graduated from Beckmans College
of Design, the famous art school founded in Stockholm
by Anders Beckman and Göta Trägårdh back in 1939,
she made a name for herself thanks to her distinctive
take on vintage style and preowned materials.

Having worked for Stella McCartney and Tommy Hilfiger,
Bea is an experienced designer who dares to think and
act with humor producing remarkable collections always
looking for innovative results through her untamed idea
of style. Her latest 'Haute Papier' s/s 2014 collection has
been showcased last summer at Stockholm fashion week
showing paper made dresses and carefully crafted three
dimensional creations with tender animal shapes.

Szenfeld did not avail herself of 3-D printing devices
building her paper structures by hand glueing each single
piece together to create bearskins and cute teddies as 
well as lions, gorillas and elephants or bouquets of roses;
showy creations worn by models upon nude undergarments
to emphasize their shape. It goes without saying that these
are not clothes to wear outside the runway but through them
Bea proves to be adroit at designing whatever she wants to.
She'll certainly make the papers!

> all images © by Kristian Löveborg/ASFB <