Friday, 31 May 2013

Tokyu, ikebana for the head

Australian milliner Anna Shoebridge sketches out her
homage to Japan with her latest 'Tokyu' collection
celebrating the timeless influence of Japonism through
sculpted headpieces for all seasons: each item has a
famed Japanese name ranging from evocative words
like 'rising sun' or 'geisha' or the ballyhooed 'kawaii' to
the names of Tokyo's trendsetting districts 
such as Shibuya and Ginza.

The Melbourne-based milliner created her first collection
back in 2003 showing since the beginning her inbred
passion for contemporary art and design through inspiring
headwear pieces for all occasions in vibrant colors and
sculpted shapes. 'Tokyu' trans-seasonal collection
evokes ”cherry blossom season, warm sake, big city
lights and a hint of Kyoto rustic charm” by combining
feathers or silk flowers with French lace and veil bows,
swinging fringes and textures in fishnet 
paper straw and sinamay.

A perfect complement to the collection is the Harajuku
inspired nail art by 'The Super Rad Nail Sisters', that is
to say Rohani and Rosalie Osman whose art, as they
wittily state, is ”...for those who love a Miu Miu handbag
but respect a good sneaker” and the cute images taken
by renowned photographer Jo Duck, styled by editorial
and personal fashion stylist Lauren Dietze (I have to
admit the pics I selected don't do enough justice to their
work keeping a close eye mostly on Ann's gorgeous
headdresses) conveying the endless fascination of
Japanese aesthetics with a solid Aussie touch.

> all images © by Jo Duck, style by Lauren Dietze <

Thursday, 30 May 2013

thought-provoking folkish couture

Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian stylist, photographer,
designer and a true connoisseur of upmarket fashion
from the customer's point of view yet her own approach
to haute couture looks quite unfamiliar at first glance
and thought-provoking at the same time.

Born in Kazakhstan, she moved to St. Petersburg
soon after the fall of the Soviet Union where her
grandmother ”my beloved babushka” taught her
how to sew and make her own clothes. Mixing
Russian traditional features and French couture
influences, Ulyana established her namesake
label in Moscow in 2011 showcasing her debut
collection in Paris last year.

She's about to become one of the rising stars in
the Russian fashion firmament thanks to her
eclectic, eccentric and theatrical style that many
critics say is better suited to Hollywood than Paris
and it's absolutely true that not all her outfits hit
the nail on the head, nonetheless Sergeenko's 
couture s/s 2013 collection is plenty of interesting
motifs and delicate details, such as hand-painted
porcelain buttons and earrings, handmade lace
and crocheted embroideries.

The self-confidence of her approach and her knack
for mixing folkish sources ranging from Russian
fairy tales and inspirations like the America of Scarlett
O'Hara and the white mansions make her pieces
quite absorbing, emphasized by smart accessories
such as embroidered eyeglasses and beautiful tiny
bags with the dainty illustrations of Yuri Vasnetsov
evoking vintage cookie boxes. Sergeenko's collection
makes me think of a young girl amusing herself
digging through her mother's wardrobe 
to play the diva role.

> all images © by Nick Suhkevich <

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

fashion done right

Della is a socially responsible fashion label based in
L.A. that's changing the way people shop: founded by
designer Tina Tangalakis who studied costume design
at CalArts, the California Institute of the Arts, Della
involves directly a Ghanian community of skilled
and passionate workers. Four years ago, Tina took
part in a volunteer project in West Africa, namely in
Hohoe, Ghana, quickly becoming besotted with the
local culture and the warm hearts of the friends she
made there (a Gold Coast of the soul indeed).

Combining her background in business and design
with her love for art and humanitarian work, Tina
teamed up with a local whiz kid, Selorm 'Nii' Addotey,
with whom she built a close friendship before 
starting their business partnership.

Della outfitter provides jobs, education and skills training
to the people of Hohoe: every product is carefully hand-
crafted using authentic textiles sourced in the Volta
headwater employing more than 50 gifted women and
men who create unique garments and accessories
receiving a fair income and are empowered through
education programs via micro-financing, savings,
entrepreneurship classes and healthcare benefits (it's
estimated that over 250 people were positively impacted 

 last year as a direct result of Della's programs).

The label's s/s 2013 collection shows garish garments
such as zipped jackets, rompers, shorts and brallets as
well as a colorful array of handbags and travel bags,
from classic hobo bags to MacBook and iPad cases
in dazzling patterns. Della keeps the Ghanian culture
going supplying the opportunity for a better life while
doing business: as they proudly declare ”We're not a
charity; we are a business done - and doing - 'right'”.

> all lookbook images © by Della LA LLC, 2013 <

Monday, 27 May 2013

third-hand charm

I confess I heard about Momo Wang, a gifted young
London-based Chinese fashion designer, thirdhand
but I fell in love with her work straightaway.
Recently graduated from Central Saint Martins,
Momo is briskly making a name for herself thanks
to her colorful folk-inspired clothing that smartly
refreshes and renews well-worn fabrics.

Born in the small town of Jinzhou, in the northeast
province of Liaoning, China, she moved to Beijing
to study at the university where she decided to rent
a small basement, bought a sewing machine and
started making her own clothes fully expressing
her love for folk art and tribe culture as well as her
passion for collecting vintage patterns.

Momo has the ability to perceive the inner beauty of
second-hand goods, ”I see and feel their auras when
they were first made and I'm determined to bring
the aura back” she says describing her unusual
approach to womenswear. Wang finds upcycling
to be a creative challenge and she expresses all
her knack reanimating found fabrics and previously
worn clothes giving them new beauty and value.

Her latest collection is aptly called ”The Third Hand”
including a range of upcycled, colorful garments:
actually the collection started from her hometown's
flea market where Momo bought worn out clothes to
reconstruct them in new different ways. Inspired by
the 'third hand' concept of French philosopher
Jacques Derrida, her 12-piece collection shows
amazing details such as stitched patchworks,
hand-crocheted seams and embroidery decorations.
The gripping lookbook images were taken by
Beijing-based photographer Shuwei Liu in a rural
backdrop close to Jinzhou adding a lot of charm 
to her intriguing one-off pieces.

> all images © by Shuwei Liu <

Sunday, 26 May 2013

book as artwork

books cascading down the museum's entrance by
Alicia Martín from the series 'Biografias', 2012
An truly impressive literature cascade by Spanish artist 
Alicia Martín hangs down from the window of the MARCA 
Museum in Catanzaro, the chief town of the Calabria region 
in southern Italy, greeting visitors of the ”Bookhouse. 
The Book Shape” exhibition in which various forms of art 
develop around one single element, the book.

'Singularidad', installation by Alicia Martín, 2011-2012
'Idiom', installation by Matej Krén, 1998
above: 'Omphalos' by Matej Krén, 2005
below: from the 'Still Lives 3' series by Maria Friberg, 2004
In the most critical phase of its existence, when technological
revolution presents us with the new Gutenberg era, book in
contemporary art has never been so modern and the display
at MARCA is probably the most comprehensive homage to
this magical mean which has been keeping its features
basically unaltered for more than 500 years.

'Upper Cut' by Dennis Oppenheim, 2000-2001
'Sulpicia' by Anselm Kiefer, 1999
above: 'Entrapped Words' by Maria Lai, 1964
below: Michael Rakowitz 'What Dust Will Rise', 2012
Conceived and curated by the museum's art director Alberto
Fiz - who declared ”The meaning of the book lies in its thinking
shape. If it were simply a container of texts and images, it
would have already been swept away. On the contrary, it
still has a primary role as sensitive object that can create
a symbiotic relationship with the reader and, at the same
time, has the ability to organize the thinking...”
- the
exhibition includes 50 of the most significant artists
questioning each other on the miraculous shape of the
book, such a perfect object that Italian semiotician,
essayist and novelist Umberto Eco 
compared to the wheel.

above: horse-shaped library by Mimmo Paladino, 2001
below: from the 'Naples Library' series by Candida Höfer, 2009
artwork by Jannis Kounellis
'Library for the Birds' by Mark Dion, 2005
Furthermore, books as well as archives and libraries are the
focus of the contemporary artistic debate, from Kassel's
Documenta to the Venice Biennale yet the MARCA's varied
cross-exhibition deals with the regenerative power of books
involving different languages and techniques while getting
rid of the hypothesis of the artist's book, it rather focuses
on an extension of the work of art where the book itself
becomes sculpture, installation or environment in a
riveting journey through contemporary art in which 
the book is totally re-written.

the MARCA exhibition's poster

Friday, 24 May 2013

Spanish leather meets Japanese denim

To celebrate ”The Year of Spain in Japan”, an initiative
to boost the country's profile held exactly 400 years after
the first Japanese ship reached the Spanish shores,
a creative exchange between famed Spanish fashion
house Loewe and Japanese ”techno couturier” Junya 
Watanabe created capsule collections for both men and
women called ”Loewe by Junya Watanabe Comme 
des Garçons” including clothes and handbags.

The collection has been recently unveiled at the Spanish 
Embassy in Tokyo's Roppongi district with an exciting
runway show revealing playful post-punk looks through
CdG's urban-utilitarian aesthetic in a patchwork of
Spanish leather and Japanese denim. This year also
marks Loewe's 40th anniversary in Japan, the LVMH's
Madrid-based luxury label which was originally
established in 1846, currently headed by British
designer Stuart Vevers, has been producing items
for CdG's 2013-14 fall-winter collection that were
showcased at Paris fashion week in March.

Under Ververs' styling direction, the collection shows
ultra-soft nappa leather cut and combined with denim
to create easy to wear outfits with coats, jackets, pants
and skirts with tartan and polka dots. Needless to say,
the denim-leather tête-à-tête also characterizes the
style of the upscale bags by Loewe that include the
acclaimed brand's 'Amazona' tawed leather.
Tote bags and pouches were also announced.

The collection will be on pre-order at the end of May prior
to become exclusively available in September through
only 40 selected locations worldwide including London
and Tokyo's Dover Street Market, the concept store
conceived and directed by Japanese fashion legend
Rei Kawakubo, ”...a kind of market where various creators
from various fields gather together and encounter each
other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos...”

as well as at Jeffrey in New York.

Stylish punkish Jaspanish and so girlish.

> all images © by Fashionsnap <

Monday, 20 May 2013

going overground

DZHUS is the conceptual womenswear label founded
by young Ukrainian designer and stylist Irina Dzhus,
an underground talent that goes overground at a brisk
pace shaping her new architectural approach to
fashion. Struck by the 'avant-garde statement' she
made with her structural/experimental 'Technogenesis'
collection, I'm still delighted with the results 
of her tailoring research.

DZHUS' design concept is based on the interaction
and transformation of modules to produce ”intellectual
clothing”: her latest AW 2013-14 ”Overground” collection
aims at conveying a sense of monumental majesty
through geometric shapes and specifically textured
fabrics mimicking building materials like nets, crinkled 
metallic or folded paper-like fabrics subtly referencing
architectural forms and industrial objects.

”I analysed shapes and structures of monumental
constructions and tried my best to embody their
principles in the silhouettes and cut of my designs”

Irina declares illustrating her experimental apparels
ranging from rust and grey to terracotta and blue
with copper and white touches showing structured
outfits wittily accessorized with wide zips, squared
buttons and monolithic concrete bracelets made
 in collaboration with MEL Design.

'Overground' will be featured in the upcoming June
edition of 'Be Next', the design contest founded by
the Georgian charity fund 'Societe Anonyme' to
help young designers from Georgia, Eastern Europe
and the Caucasian region ”to overcome the barriers
they face in the process of establishing themselves
on local and international markets”
I bet it won't go unnoticed!

> all images © by Olga Nepravda <