Friday, 28 February 2014

floaty frocks for streetwise girls

London is universally known as the cradle of inventive designers
who dare to jump with both feet into the cutthroat world
of high-end fashion with a wealth of talent and knowledge: 
Michael Power is another Irish rising designer to watch
coming out from Central Saint Martins. No institution
can take more credit for the existence of gifted budding
designers than CSM so it's small wonder that the 
Academy's MA collections open the fall-winter shows.

”As tradition dictates, London's young designers move
within the wild - calling some of these garments
'showpieces' would be an understatement - but on a
business savvy London fashion scene that has a good
as abandoned the weird for the wearable, it's hard to
judge the MA collections without considering their

 commercial viability” Danish-born fashion writer
Anders Christian Madsen unerringly remarked
reporting on the runway shows for,
the award-winning website founded 
and directed by Nick Knight.

In a first for an Irish student, Dublin's National College
of Art and Design fashion graduate Michael Power, jointly
won (with Ondrej Adamek) the award for best collection
at CSM's MA fashion show at London fashion week with
his handcrafted womenswear collection. The winner of
'L'Oreal Professionel Creative Award' hails from the
Clonattin area of Gorey, Wexford county and interned
with Vivienne Westwood before completing his MA.

Inspired by Native American Hopi kachina dolls - the
artworks known under this name are in truth stylized
religious icons carved from cottonwood root and painted
to represent figures from the Hopi mythology and not
native-made dolls for children - Juggalos and the art
of French painter and sculptor Jean Dubuffet, Power's
dark tribal RTW AW14 collection showed handcrafted
dresses in which countless glass beads were trapped
between layers of tulle draped around the body.
Tomboyish models clomped down the runway in tall
covered boots wearing layered black sheer dresses
with elongated sleeves covered with graffiti-like
brushstrokes and markings and weighted with flexible
tubing in white, yellow and blue shades. 'Showpieces'
that lead to eagerly await Power's next steps.

> all images © by Giovanni Giannoni/WWD <

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

wrapped in textile daydreams

The periodically recurrent Afro-ethnic trend takes a
fresh new look through the curious melting pot of
patterns and shapes created by Christa van der Meer,
the young Dutch fashion designer who graduated last
year from the fashion dept. of the Royal Academy of Art
(or KABK) in The Hague after interning at Henrik Vibskov
in Copenaghen and A. Berg (by Sara Lundberg) in Berlin
and studying in a school exchange program at 

Investigating the relation between her love for portraits
and passion for clothing design, Christa came with a
remarkable graduate collection joining the two establi-
shing a distinctive nomadic identity by mixing disparate
elements of different cultures. ”I approached my silhouettes
as if they were portraits and my materials were to frame
the face” she declared revealing how drawing is essential
for her designing. Christa's unabashed illustration style
mixing photos and detailed fabrics designs, provides a
new brash, vibrant flavor both visually and emotionally.

Her multicultural wrapping looks suggest a street tribe
crossover aesthetic through exotic prints that skillfully
blend patterns and motifs: a collection which is plenty
of fresh ideas and offbeat experimentations in a constant
play of padded volumes, rounded or boxy, subtly highlighted
by the images of fellow KABK's graduate Lisandro Suriel,
a photographer/visual artist who shares with Christa 
a penchant for surreal and reverie.

all studio images © by Lisandro Suriel
all catwalk pictures © by Ron Stam

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Irish roots 'n' Celtic knots

Derek Lawlor is a renowned designer whose sculptural
jewelry pieces denote a perfect knowledge of forms
and materials pushing the boundary of knitwear with
his couture range artworks ”...demonstrating his artisan
approach and commitment to visionary design”
as he introduces himself.

A Central Saint Martins alumnus, Derek launched his
career with his acclaimed 2009 MA collection revealing
”his trademark cord working technique, in which wax cord
is applied to knit in integrated patterns, resulting in 

spectacularly graphic sculptural effects which transform 
the silhouette of the garment.”

Lawlor's latest collections represent a step ahead in his
ongoing exploration of the medium, his signature structured
cord working takes new life through fabric manipulation and
bold shades: the London-based designer of Irish descent
reinterprets the traditional Celtic knot design in his AW14
collection of gorgeous macramé neckpieces with intricate
repetitive looped design that can be luckily seen until the
27th February at 'The Barbara Stanley Gallery' - the only
London gallery to solely represent contemporary Irish
art - as part of 'RIAN A Journey Through Irish Jewellery
and Accessories' exhibition curated by Gemma Williams
in partnership with the Ambasàid na hÉireann
The Embassy of Ireland. I'd break my neck to be there!

> all images © by James Hazlett-Beard <

Friday, 21 February 2014

heritage meets innovation

If not a historic London mansion, what else could be
expected to host the new collection of a label on the
threshold of 200 years? Pringle of Scotland, the iconic
brand established in 1815 at the birthplace of the Scottish
knitwear industry, has always been driven by technical
innovation in the creation of knitwear as outerwear,
knitting cashmere since the 1870s when it began as
a luxury hosiery manufacturer. Credited with creating
the intarsia design universally known as the Pringle
signature argyle pattern, PoS became a classic 
British style icon.

That's why Pringle introduced the new season with an
intimate presentation show at Savile House, the legendary
gents' club founded in London in 1868 ”by a group of the
most distinguished writers and artists of the time. Its home
is a fine 18th Century house in the heart of Mayfair, whose
air of elegant exclusivity reflects the uniquely creative
ambiance which is preserved in the Savile Club of today”
the Club's website appropriately informs.

PoS chief designer Massimo Nicosia experimented with
3-D printing and textile engineering pushing the limits of
knitwear and fabric development working side by side
with material scientist and architect Richard Beckett who 
applied his cross-disciplinary body of knowledge to
twinsets and melton coats. 3-D printed outfits have
previously appeared in haute couture collections, yet
PoS proudly claims that they're the first to bring this
technology in ready-to-wear.

”I wanted to explore a move away from the more sculptural
costume approach of such pieces
- Massimo Nicosia
declares referring to the haute couture printed pieces -
towards a more material, haptic-based approach.” 
PoS fall-winter 2014-15 collection incorporates laser-sintered
nylon fabric that's initially printed and then handwoven
into the knitwear through small hooks on the underside
or stitched on top of the wool acheiving striking knitted-in
or pop-up effects that can hardly be described by pictures.

Plushy looks with easy elegant silhouettes in which minimal 
sporty knit dresses go hand in hand with graphic 3-D bouclé 
and jacquard pieces: loose deconstructed sweaters, sheath
dresses, collarless coats, sleeveless tops, pullovers and
cardigans are adorned with slats of tiny diamonds, matte
sequins and 3-D argyle patterns. To the future and beyond.

> all images via Fashionising <

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

alien spooky flamboyance

Leyre Valiente is another Spanish accomplished
talent, actually a prominent member of European
next generation designers who made a name for
herself by molding leather like no one else creating
corset-like structured bodkins in her own couturesque way.

It's small wonder that she was selected by the EGO
platform by Ifema, Feria de Madrid, to showcase her
collections at the Mercedes-Benz fashion week Madrid.
Her latest ”Nostromo” fall-winter 2014-15 collection
shows outfits for a starship's crew (the name comes
directly from the USCSS starfreighter of the 1979 cult
movie 'Alien') ”a collection of futuristic lines that inter-
twine with biological textures and comprising clothes 

 to wear from morning to night” Leyre declares 
introducing her third collection under EGO.

Models walked the runway like the movie's seven
crew members in an eerie landscape of Xeno eggs,
hibernation capsules and neon light tubes in their
asymmetric uniforms made of quilted jackets worn
over opaline layered skirts in techno organza and
neoprene-like fabrics; graphic sporty looks enhanced
by activewear glossy accessories while gorgeous
black cow leather pleated and embossed evening
dresses - fully conjuring up the designer's Chimaera
creations - epitomize the skin of the alien passenger.
Spooky flamboyance.

> all images via Vogue Spain, unmentioned photographer <

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Cano's techno-baroque couture

Technology is probably more 'in' than fashion
nowadays yet it's more and more involved in
it driving tomorrow's garment design and
manufacturing process providing fresh blood
in terms of ideas and solutions once impossible
to acheive. Creativity and innovation merged at
the Samsung EGO 'Innovation Project', a contest
created during the last edition of Mercedes-Benz
fashion week Madrid to promote Spanish young designers.

Renewing its committment to new design values,
EGO sees fashion as the equipoise of creativity,
innovation, functionality and technology founding
in Andalusian gifted designer Leandro Cano Luque
the world-beater. Leandro took my breath away
ever since his 'Buffet' graduate collection (here)
followed by the sumptuously romantic 'Anima'
(here) but the 6-piece collection he showcased
today in Madrid bears groundbreaking features.

Leandro called his latest collection '0.83°' referring
to the every hour decreasing of post-mortem body
temperature to epitomize the creation of ”a series
of dresses that are inert in principle and come alive 

 through technology” he declares introducing his own
take on hypothermia that's stunning as I expected
it to be. '0.83°' is all played around the duality of life
and death, natural and artificial through volume and
color, traditional techniques and newfangled advances
developed with  Ricardo O' Nascimento, Laura Duncker
and Marta Verde Baqueiro such as the tiny ventilation
device allowing feathers to hover inside a transparent
plastic gown or the winding sleeves moving to the
rhythm of the wearer's heartbeat. Simply astounding!

Cano gives birth to a sort of living still life skillfully
combining his baroque-influenced couture aesthetic
with innovative mechanisms providing movements
reminiscent of breath and heartbeat. His signature
hourglass shapes are paired with an embroidered
leather bodice, a translucent cape or a metallic jumpsuit
with latex and wool appliqués in a gorgeous parade
of his trendsetting style: Leandro is just a 
heartbeat away from stardom.

> all images via Vogue Spain, unmentioned photographer <

Monday, 17 February 2014

cats take pride of place in our lives

Let's celebrate today cat's pride day with a gorgeous
selfie taken by a young male cat I was familiar with until
he ran away from my friend's house. 'Ciccio', Italian for
'Fattie', was - I wish I could say he is - a good-humored
cat with expressive eyes, lively opals subtly different
in shades ”windows enabling us to see into another
world” as an old Irish saying goes, whose upper lips
often swelled up giving him a curious human expression.

'Ciccio' has gone missing last October and I sincerely
hope he has found a new home but even if he chose
to live on the streets there's thankfully a lot of places
where stray cats are fed and taken care of here in
Tuscany: we do have our flaws, yet we pride 
ourselves on loving pets as they deserve.