Friday, 27 September 2013

in front R(ick) OW(ens)

Nothing has changed yet nothing's the same after
Rick Owens' spring summer 2014 collection show
yesterday in Paris: the renowned American designer
made use of real people, namely brawny black women,
to create an unforeseen runway show. Selecting from an
American group of stomp performers, Owens conceived
a lively choreography to showcase his signature aesthetic
subtly combining street style, goth and sportswear in
a conceptual take on the she-warrior theme. Sturdy
models/dancers stare the camera ferociously like New
Zealand All Blacks during the 'Haka' war dance wearing
back-zipped leather jackets, vests and tunic tops over
bike shorts in a stark color palette made of black, white,
graphite and sand accessorized with head scarves and
bulky snickers as the getup of a new kind of woman,
savagely fierce and in control. Some say that Owens is
established enough to do what he wants as well as to
run the risk to call attention more on the stepping than the
clothes and that's so true but believe me, this show is really
innovative and I dare say it could be the turning point in
changing the perception of models and their body. As
we can see, the idealized female form is actually changing
and well-built women are more and more coming into view
within the world of fashion: far from being a fringe biz,
clothing for real women creates powerful identities
stimulating open-minded designers like Owens in doing
their best. Check out the label's website to see the whole
show in front row view: it's well worth it!

> all ”catwalk'” pictures © by Fashionising <

Thursday, 26 September 2013

jungle exxxotica

Fasten your seat belt 'cause you're about to be deeply
imbued with an energetic cocktail of the exotic by
Ehssan Morshed Sefat's ”Jungle Exxxotica” womens-
wear collection which is clearly brought to the fore 
by the gorgeous images of Antwerp-based 
photographer Michaël Smits.

The Swedish-born designer of Iranian origin showcased
his collection during Antwerp's Royal Academy 50th
anniversary show following his graduation from the
4th year. Ehssan previously studied at 
Eindhoven's Design Academy.

Antwerp is used to the sprouting of young creative
minds and, as one of Europe's fashion capital cities,
is prepared for anything yet the vigorous blast of
colors and textures of Ehssan's jungle ladies came
as a bombshell. No wonder ”Jungle Exxxotica” won
the RA award and it will be on display in Paris 
at the RA showroom.

A wide range of exotic (or supposed to be) motifs
were skillfully mixed to create a large and heteroge-
neous collection which is truly eye candy and plenty
of suggestions:  Brazilian motifs, palm trees and hemp
leaves or the label of a well known Cuban sugar-cane
distillate provide impressive collage prints while animal
skins, patched leather, printed Lycra and chunky 
knits run the gamut of exotic through 
shapes and combinations.

> all lookbook pictures © by Michaël Smits <
The whole mood of the sundry collection is highlighted
by the visual strength of accessories such as bamboo
sandals, huge sunglasses and towel headpieces.

It's a jungle out there and it's quite impressive!

> catwalk images © by Antwerp Fashion <

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

East End talents

Claire Barrow's
New names in fashion design usually come from London,
often from the East End. Fashion East is the name of the
pioneering non-profit initiative based in Tower Hamlets
borough in the highly evocative Brick Lane established in
2000 by Lulu Kennedy, also known as the ”fairy godmother”
and the Old Truman Brewery, East London's arts and media
quarter, “to nurture young designers through the 
difficult early stages of their career”.

Each season, FE champions three womenswear and three
menswear designers supporting them in developing a fully
produced runway show at London fashion week. Young
talents ”are also given mentoring, guidance and in-house
PR throughout the season” from Kennedy's team; moreover,
the selected designers are taken to Paris to hold sales
meetings with top international buyers.

2 > 5 by Ryan Lo
Fashion East designers for spring/summer 2014 season
are: Claire Barrow, Ryan Lo and Ashley Williams.
Claire Barrow, who studied at the University of Westminster
and the Cleveland College of Art in Middlesbrough,
showcased a collection for both women and men with
printed undyed cottons with raw edges and Barrow's
quintessential hand-painted leather jackets accessorized
with two-tone sunglasses and daggling earrings.

Hong Kong born Ryan Lo turned Barrow's occult punk
into pink: cute and sugary creatures with fluffy ears and
tails wearing frothy frocks in a range of girlish patterns
and contrasting fabrics, namely tulle, tweed, lace and
brocade. A note of tongue-in-cheek humor, 
a bit saucy maybe yet delightful.

Ashley Williams, a BA in womenswear at the University
of Westminster, took ”Miami and shark conservation”
as she wittily pointed out, as a starting point to build
a beach-side collection with wide-brimmed hats,
minimalist denim, leather and spandex with cute
animal-shaped plush clutches looking as soft 
toys for grown-ups. East is East.

all images © by Marcus Tondo/ via Vogue Italia

6 > 8 by Ashley Williams

Monday, 23 September 2013

the day Maqroll died

Álvaro Mutis at the helm of Santa Eulàlia vessel
in Barcelona during the 'Premi Literari Nostromo', 2008
I can't miss the opportunity to mourn the loss of one
of my best-loved writers, Colombian poet and novelist
Álvaro Mutis who passed away this morning in Mexico
City at 90. Mutis wrote poetry for 40 long years while
his first novels began to appear only in mid 1970s as
an extension of his themes, scenes and obsessions
through his outstanding style combining Homeric
epics with the dark tones of Conrad. I actually fell
in love with his most-known character, Maqroll, a
solitary sailor searching for the meaning of life across
the untamed waters of the world. Once a French
friend told Mutis not to kill his character:  
”Maqroll will die when you die” he wisely
said and today's sadly that day.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Cabiria's exciting night

Eden Miller, the experienced designer who launched
her own label 'Cabiria' obviously inspired by Fellini's
movie 'Nights of Cabiria' and the director's love for
well-fed curvy women, made history as the first
plus-size collection to show at New York's fashion week.

Eden, who worked as a costume designer for more
than twenty years, was invited to stage a show by the
Fashion Law Institute, a non-profit organization sup-
porting gifted designers with a tiny yet loyal following
but who can't put on shows by themselves, in order
to display her knack for flattering fuller figures.

”When I first met Eden,” Susan Scafidi of Fashion Law
Institute told the New York Daily News, ”she was wearing
one of her dresses and my first thought was not 'nice plus 

line', but 'nice collection', I wish she made it in my size...” 
adding that she was actually ”thrilled that the
plus world is coming out of the closet”.

For the very first time, a plus-size runway show joined
the line-up of Mercedes-Benz New York fashion week
presenting Cabiria's 6-piece collection. It can be hailed
as a giant step for full-figured women: the show actually
represents the legitimacy of plus-size as a real branch
of clothing design and the gateway to superior fashion,
hopefully forcing clothing lines into plus acceptance.
”...It can be measured in the same way that other  
kinds of fashion can be” Eden declared. 

Cabiria's appearance will certainly give a further boost
to the plus sector, that's why the designer and her models
were all visibly excited, chatting and having fun throughout
the show: check out this short video by OMGinsider,
they were on cloud nine and they all look gorgeous in
the floral printed outfits of the small collection which
isn't shy about playing with patterns and color.

Well tailored garments with clever cuts and vivid prints
mixing patterns with a subtle vintage feel, so it's
little wonder that Cabiria made a major fashion week
to roll out the red carpet for plump women and that's
quite a significant achievement. I'm confident that
we'll see more shows alike in time to come.

designer Eden Miller, left, with model Maxey Greene,
all images © by Cabiria's blog

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

soft to shake

”In fashion sometimes you may need to Shock to Shake. 
When truly it's in remaining Sharp that you Shape” 
is the motto adopted by Dakar-born designer Omar Salam 
to impart his own credo: extremely crafted pieces 
made to move with the wearer's body.

Omar Salam is the designer behind the label 'Sukeina'
(Su Kei Na means bright light yet the label's name
comes from his beloved mother Sukeina who inspired
his early passion for sewing) which was established in 2008
following his seven-year-long experience with famed
French fashion house Sonia Rykiel.

Sukeina's s/s 2014 collection, called 'Porcelain', has
been recently showcased at New York fashion week
highlighting the designer's philosophy through volumes
and shapes skillfully exploring the idea of movement
in a constant play between soft and structured forms,
where form-fitting dresses are paired with flouncy
origami-like creations with delicate, sheer fabrics,
soft drapings and foldings with hard and smooth
edges in a minimal color palette that smartly accen-
tuates the flow of fabrics as well as 
the garments' elegance.

all images © by Tear-n Tan

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

been away too long

I've been away for a whole month and you may have
thought I was on vacation: to tell the truth I've been
quite busy for over three weeks almost completely
referbushing my pad, replacing the whole heating system
and therefore arranging and shifting furniture around,
painting walls, changing curtains and frames as well as
carrying all discarded items to the local recycling plant.
Meanwhile I've been dog sitting in the early morning
hours and sewing a flax jacket at night.

both images © by Barbara Walton/European Pressphoto Agency
Knock out activities that quickly drained my blogging will
yet my tasks were nothing compared to the hard work of
Thai lotus farmer Usa Mahmueangbon who runs with her
two sisters the lotus and water lily farm set up by their father
30 years ago in Saladin village, Nakhon Pathom, west of
Bangkok. Shrouded by colorful layers, the three sisters
wade into the shallow cultivated waters every two days
to pick about 1,500 huge, beautiful lotus flowers.
Beauty requires hard work.