Tuesday, 30 April 2013

tied & tickled

Shanghai-based designer Qiu Hao, one of the most
significant in the Chinese new breed of fashion creators,
received a massive round of applause on the second
day of Shanghai fashion week with a spellbinding
show introducing his eponymous label's 
AW 2013-14 collection.

I was taken aback by the slender shapes of his minimal
'Serpens' collection two years ago (previous post here)
and the unique way he combined different materials while
altering their appearance: he's used to stretch knitted silk
as well as to heat and wash wool at high temperatures.
This time he used both sides of black fabrics as a
metaphor of contradiction and, for the very first time,
incorporated Swarovski elements into some of the looks.

The almost black & white collection tickles my fancy
with powerful examples of modern tailoring and sublime
shapes: oversized coats with sleeves tied around the
waist or across the chest in checked wool, wrapping
cloaks worn over a-line skirts or skinny trousers in
wool, cashmere and glossy leather. I simply adore
Qiu Hao's approach to tailoring that subtly injects
new life to typical English style.

 > all images © by Shanghai fashion week <

Monday, 29 April 2013

about identity & style

French photographer Kate Fichard makes known
her idiosyncratic talent in street portraiture taking
thought-provoking pictures of people camouflaged
with meaningful objects symbolizing their 
culture and way of life.

In her image series called 'Totem de Vie', Kate turns
each subject into a living totem, a symbolic figure with
an hidden identity whose spiritual connections are
depicted through the everyday objects he/she chose
to be concealed with. Each item has obviously an
intimate meaning to the wearer and their combination
allows viewers to decipher the individual characteristics.

Drawn from nature as well as from man-made articles
such as musical instruments, garden and fishing tools or
kitchenware, Kate's living totems are skillfully assembled,
they're puzzling and easy to interpret and they represent
a stunning exploration of one's potential and qualities as
an individual. Born in Paris with British origins, Kate
studied photography at La Cambre in Brussels, Belgium,
she graduated from l'Ecal in Lausanne, Switzerland, last
year soon making waves with her pictures even 
through polished advertising images.

The 'Totem de Vie' series came to inspire also the image
(the post's opening one) Kate realized for the summer
Festival d'Aix, the Provençal chamber music show, in
which she combined an old gramophone with ten different
instruments, flowers and stuffed little birds widening 
the notoriety her style fully deserves.

> all images © by Kate Fichard, 2012 <

Saturday, 27 April 2013

rocket in my pocket

image credit: Betsy Seeton/Solent News & Photo Agency
The cute little face of Jasper, a ground squirrel who
made himself at home in the pockets of photographer
Betsy Seeton's jeans while they are hung out to dry,
peeks the world outside in a ballyhooed picture.
Betsy is a private investigator for the defense on Federal
cases who also advocates for animal and human rights
and an all-around artist with a gypsy soul who dares to
imagine a better world: writer, painter, blogger and
passionate shutterbug, Betsy is currently living in Denver,
Colorado. She made a name for herself thanks to gripping
portraits of her cute little buddies, two pair of Rocky Mountain
squirrels and chipmunks who gladden her life on a daily basis:
”My goal through the use of a camera lens is to bring their
world into focus to expand our own. I also want to share
my belief that all life matters. I posit that if the human race
embraced that single concept -- all life matters -- we'd be
closer to peace on this beautiful and glorious, but quite
messed up planet.”  Have a perky weekend!

Friday, 26 April 2013

the fine teatime elegance

Find yourself a cup and sit down while reading this post:
an elegant English teapot is right in front of you disguised
as detailed, neutral toned garments with a couture attitude:
young fashion designer Bona Kim was in fact inspired for
her graduate collection called ”Go to the Fine Teatime” 
by the prime object of afternoon tea ritual, the teapot, 
which is one of the omnipresent design element in 
the domestic environment, after all.

I bet you know the famous Zen haiku that wisely reads:
”strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the  
comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company” and it
utterly goes with Bona's approach to high-end womenswear
that subtly combines the exclusive craftsmanship of 
couture with a personal sophisticated aesthetic.
As a longtime and shameless tea drinker (afternoon tea
is actually a daily solace) I like her starting point as well
as her detailed creamy-white belted pieces, her work on
shapes and fabric textures smartly evoking the translucent
craquelure of fine china in an extremely homogeneous set.

Bona Kim made known her ”Go to the Fine Teatime”
collection at London College of Fashion on completing
her MA in fashion design and technology, womenswear,
showing her personal identity as a designer through
fine details such as handmade embroideries with metallic
threads, solid decorations and bold accessories.
The budding designer deserves a bona fide endorsement;
each single teapot-inspired piece can be commercially
developed into subdued wearable garments.
I do hope to see Bona's debut collection soon, anyway,
as English dramatist Sir Arthur Pinero said, 
”while there is tea, there is hope!”

all images © by showtime.arts.ac.uk

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

the Ice Age of fashion

Transforming water into stable structures while working
on shapes and transparencies is not so new in fashion
(e.g. Iris van Herpen turned water into crystal in her 
s/s 2011 collection) yet young fashion student/designer
Hsi-An Chu surprisingly did it working with silicone.

Her 'Freeze' 2013 collection, conceived during her MA
in digital fashion at the University of the Arts in London,
is all about the natural phenomenon of water turning
into ice, the myriad of crackle patterns on the surface
and the different layers of translucence assumed.
She smartly declared she had a sudden inspiration while
wondering which kind of sound a rabbit can make plodding
on a thin slate of ice, soon starting to interpret her
goad through silicone which is very ductile: it can be
shaped into any form being less or more rigid depending
on density and proportions, hence ideally suited 
to imitate frozen water and icicles.

The in the offing Taipei born designer played with the opacity
and transparence of silicone subtly suggesting the feeling of
seeing through a frozen surface both from inside and outside,
creating overlapping layers of fabrics with a streaked 
and patterned appearance on slim silhouettes with 
fringes or emphasized shoulders and sleeves.
All shapes look like they've been constructed to spotlight
the unique quality of Hsi-An Chu's 'below zero' silicone.

> all images © by Karoliina Barlund from the designer's blog <

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

sharing stories at night

Tonight's the night: World Book Night is a celebration
of books and reading through which more than 20,000
volunteers, book lovers of all ages, gift carefully selected
and specially printed books to share the unique pleasure
of reading with those who have yet to discover it.
Each year WBN distributes half a million books in order
to reach potential readers in prisons, hospitals, care
homes, sheltered, supported and social housing, the
homeless and through partner charities all over UK
and Ireland but also in USA and Germany.

The special book event that not surprisingly coincides
with St. George's Day, the date of both birth and death of
William Shakespeare (1564-1616), is actually about people,
communities and connections; about reaching out to others
and touching lives in the simplest of ways, through the
sharing of stories. I hope it will soon become a truly 'world
event' spreading the sublime passion for reading person
to person, and moreover, supporting local bookshops 
in their day-to-day struggle to survive.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Bela's unconscious affair

Let's begin the week with the inspiring images of gifted, 
versatile photographer Bela Borsodi whose fashion pictures 
are always gripping and with a unique sense of humor.
Bela made a name for himself thanks to his frisky
insights into the nature of objects in his never-ending
quest for artistic reinvention.

He is interested in what fashion can communicate and
he deals with it for fashion's sake, always with the ability
to depict and challenge its playful nature through his
cheeky visual narrative full of the fantastic array of
characters he creates taking clothes, bags and shoes
and putting them in a different context.

Born in Vienna where he studied graphic design and
fine art before working as a photographer, Bela moved
to New York focusing his skills on still life photography
working on exclusive advertising and editorial projects
through his original approach. Last year he created a
thought-provoking editorial shoot called ”Unconscious
Affair” for n° 142 of Document Journal magazine,
”an ambitious NYC fashion and culture glossy with a  
global perspective” that aims at documenting the 
variety of aesthetics and backgrounds sharing 
a similar fascination with beauty.

Bela investigated the human form working with fellow
Document partner, stylist Sabina Schreder, sublimating
the unconscious affair of fashion and art by combining
real-life models, Canadian-born Anais Pouliot and Copenhagen
native Maria Palm of Trump Models, with saucy illustrations
creating trompe l'oeil effects in a constant dialogue between
shapes and proportions, perspective and poses.

”When I work on an editorial, I might have a good idea of
where I want to go with it but often the experience of
executing it, of going with it, living with it, is really the thing
that's most exciting for me. (...) I get my best ideas by
imagining things that don't exist yet” he declared in an
interview by Rankin's biannual magazine Hunger TV.

> all images © by Bela Borsodi, style by Sabina Schreder <

Friday, 19 April 2013

latex Friday nite

I must admit I've never experienced the feel of an all-latex
garment yet I'm not surprised to spot it in body conscious
fashion collections once in a while: basically a symbol
of the underground and alternative culture, latex rubber
is undoubtedly hot and eye-catching on the runway and
not necessarily associated with fetish.

Besides, the exploration of original new ways of molding
and elaboration on skin-tight garments are quite interesting
such as the new collection by front-running Spanish latex
brand 'MADRUBB' (Madrid Latex) which came to unveil
a colorful s/s 2013 collection called 'LXVE TO LXVE'
that is to say ”Love to live or live to love?” in which latex
definitely blurs the line between fetish and fashion.

Playful and energetic second-skin outfits in extremely
attractive hues such as white, bubblegum pink, mint green,
orange and jade evoke the unique joy de vivre of summer.
Yet the 'LXVE TO LXVE' collection surprises with an unique
innovation: embroidery in latex, a truly exclusive technique
that elevates the garments to the 'latex couture' category.
In a completely handcrafted work, MADRUBB embroiders
crystals and paillettes in dresses and gloves 
acquaring a glamorous effect.

The collection is elegantly sexy and it goes without saying,
not for all, yet most of the outfits look comfortable and not
so unworldly: their unique appeal is skillfully emphasized by
Madrid-based fashion photographer Dany Diez who focused
his camera on the perfect body of model Adriana Gonzalez
revealing how much a synthetic product, actually polymer
particles dispersed in water, can be full of life and 
freshness, stylish and inevitably so sexy.

> all images © by Dany Diez/Madrid Latex <

Thursday, 18 April 2013

a trio of FOUR

”Now, if 6 turned up to be 9, I don't mind”, don't be
misled if I quote Jimi Hendrix, yet if six was nine
four may be three as in the Hungarian womenswear
collective label 'the FOUR' which was founded by a
quartet of design students: two women, Anett Gálvölgyi
and Anna Zsófia Kormos and two men, Ádám Baranyi
and Márton Miovác, back in 2010.

They started as a small creative group at MOME, the
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest
co-working on different projects sharing the same view
on high-end fashion through four distinct styles actually
complementing each other in a meeting of minds.
As far as I know, Ádám, the most glamorous of the
quartet with a penchant for glitzy Italian fashion, is no
longer enrolled in the label's board despite its name.

Anyway, the FOUR's key movers are still attending
the MOME completing their master degree in fashion
and textile design; last year the trio spent a semester
in Paris at the École supérieure des arts appliqués,
l' École Duperré, thanks to a scholarship while Anett
and Zsófia started co-operating with IVANKA design
studio and Concrete Factory.

Their latest 'Vibrant Spirit' spring/summer 2013 collection
shows garments with a sophisticated and sporty urban
allure through which the designers give a convincing
demonstration of their talent balancing oversized and
slim shapes skillfully emphasizing the contrast between 
traditional and technical fabrics. Modern tailoring is
expressed through asymmetric jackets with brocade
inserts, sleeves with bulging cuffs, shorts and miniskirts
mixing sportswear details with everyday wear.
A trio of wunderkinds.

> all images © by Balázs Máté, styling by Andrea Gönczy <
via We Are Selecters

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

fantastic bioplastic

'Re-generation' is a stunning green project by Equilicuá
realized in collaboration with visionary designer Leyre Valiente,
a conceptual exercise of biomimicry made with the purpose
of exploring the existing relations between sequential 
shapes and models that are present in nature 
and their close relationship with maths.

The small Asturian company, actually a laboratory of ideas,
was founded in 2005 by Maite Cantón and Marta Sarralde to
raise awareness on ecological products and the responsible
use of natural resources: all their thought-provoking projects
aim at bringing the culture of innovation to all the people in
a reasonable and non exclusive way, ”minds are like 
parachutes, they function better when they're open” 
is the innovative brand's clever motto.

Equilicuá found in Valiente the ideal partner to develop
the organic, biodegradable raincoat inspired by the shape
of butterfly larvae (a form that the Madrid-based designer
explored in her own 'haute couture meets art and sci-fi”
which is made of bioplastic obtained 
from potato starch, wicker and corn fibers.
Actually the rods creating the larval-shaped hood 
are made of corn fiber and wicker and the raincoat
can be folded and carried as a shoulder bag.

The 'Re-generation' raincoat is part of a broader project
called 'Fantastic Bioplastic', a range of products that
contribute to minimal global warming compared with
petroleum-based plastics requiring less energy to be
produced but Equilicuá is also working hard to create
a new product line from milk protein, ”something that
will be amazing” as they proudly declare.
Equilicuá wants to convey to the new generations the
idea of a sustainable approach regarding Mother Nature
as a flawless working example.

> all images courtesy of Equilicuá and Leyre Valiente <