Monday, 31 March 2014

tender monstrology

”Don't be afraid to fall down into the water, to sink
slowly into the seabed. Perhaps, there you will see
a light and find the entryway to a new world. Perhaps
your skin will turn into the bark of a tree, and you will
become invisible, one with the woodlands, so evil
spirits pass you by unnoticed...”

Don't get fooled by the incipit, this story has nothing
to do with Alice in Wonderland or Where the Wild
Things Are, it's the opening to 'Monstrology', the fairy
tale-inspired story/collection by Les', the label created
by Moscow-based young illustrator and designer 
Lesia Paramonova who caught my eyes ever since her 
debut collection (here) with its 'nature to wear' 
inception and its own peculiar mood.

”...You run through the mossy field like a black-eyed
roe deer. You run so rapidly that your legs are caught
by the wind. It lifts you into the air, and all the sounds
become a single hum. Six faithful keepers accompany
you. They are the guardians of this forest, the guides
of your soul” the narrative goes on suddenly getting 
us acquainted with its fabulous mentors.

Les' (which stands both as a diminutive of Lesia and
the Russian word for forest)
has been conceived like
a parallel world, as an invitation to look at ordinary
things from a different point of view deftly exploring
our interaction with nature through stylish garments
representing the access key to its mystical world.
'Monstrology' is about the transformation of six monster 
birds whose unusual features such as their furry spots
 became embroideries that are skillfully juxtaposed with
her signature delicate yet powerful floral prints. 
The collection looks like a compendium of 
Les' otherworldly, unique aesthetic.

> all images © by Alina Valitova <

Saturday, 29 March 2014

art Caturday

On Mona Lisa's lap
It was love at first sight with Zarathustra, the chubby
red cat that appears in countless masterpieces
throughout the history of art  ”to pep 'em up!” as
Russian visual artist Svetlana Petrova declares
introducing her fave model. ”Our name is Zarathustra.
We are a cat. According to our assistant (named by
ignoramuses as our 'owner') we are the best cat in
the world...” Zarathustra's fb fan page reads ”...and
we are also very very fond of Art. Our passion is to sit 

for the great artists. Only great artists can 
appreciate our generous body and sublime soul”
The St. Petersburg-based photographer made the
decision to Photoshop™ Zarathustra into a painting,
Rembrandt's Danae, just to see how it would look:
needless to say the result was astounding so she
started her ”Great Artists' Mews” online project
that obviously became a sensation.

above: posing as Rembrandt's Danae
below: reclined like Manet's Olympia
The artist's muse is a natural born plus model who
loves to eat shrimps, to evaluate the right size of
lobsters as well as to take on different listless poses
like all cats do (without looking so coquettishly
feminine, though). Svetlana started taking pictures
of her tubby cat with several paintings in mind yet
her double work - first behind the camera, then in
digital retouching - it's not easy at all and as she
points out ”sometimes it takes months to take the
right photo” for her gorgeous series of cat-enhanced
paintings. You may think this is art for 'mewseums'
only, but I really like it. Besides, finally I know 
why Leonardo's Mona Lisa is smiling!

measuring a lobster in Willem Claesz's Heda (part.)
all artworks © by Svetlana Petrova/Fat Cat Art

Friday, 28 March 2014

Bienvenue chez Heezin!

”Bienvenue chez Heezin!”, a brand new womenswear
label whose carte du jour includes a noticeably happy
approach to everyday fashion and truly feminine outfits
that look breezy and sophisticated at the same time. 

The mastermind behind 'chez Heezin' is South Korean
young designer Jung Heezin, a Central Saint Martins
graduate who made a significant experience interning
at Alexander McQueen where she drew prints and
working for three years for John Galliano as an
assistant designer for bags and accessory carefully
developing a fresh feminine preppy look that springs
from the blend of different fabrics, print and finishing
techniques and dramatic color variations.

The 'chez Heezin' label made its debut in Paris at
'Who's Next' last January - the prêt-à-porter trade
show's claim ”Who's Fresh” was particularly suited to
her cheerful style - with the 'Bienvenue chez Heezin!'
AW 14-15 collection that was showcased in her native
country only a few days ago during the F/W 2014
Seoul fashion week making the whole world of fashion
acquainted with her carefree frame of mind.

Heezin's fabric prints are all based on her drawings
(each printed image has a story behind it, though)
and she welcomes us all to her label's first collection
that skillfully mixes prints with house components such
as wardrobes, doors, knockers and keys with natural
elements like birds and a clear blue sky with a single
cloud pouring water on a gorgeous tangle of leaves
and flowers. ”This is just first step” she declares
making us eager to see what she'll do next.

photos © by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images AsiaPac via Zimbio

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

punk rock anarchy in mint condition

Here comes a riveting collection that subtly evokes
the anarchic thrill of early British punk rock by mixing
its signature paraphernalia, namely circle-inscribed
capital 'A' letters, black leather, studs and safety pins,
with soft volumes and drapings in wearable feminine
dresses. The 'anarchy-in-the-UK' touch gives a 
brand new flavor to the creations of rising 
Japanese label 'Mintdesigns'.

Established in 2001 by the husband-and-wife design
duo made by Mr Hokuto Katsui - who studied at
Parsons School of Design in NYC before moving
to London where he graduated from Central Saint
Martins just like his wife, Ms Yagi Nao, who previously
studied Art Criticism at the Doshisha University - the
womenswear brand briskly made an 'arty' name for
itself through a strong use of color, abstract 
designs and traditional Japanese techniques.

'Mintdesigns' recently unveiled its latest, fast-paced
fall-winter 14/15 collection at Mercedes Benz Tokyo
fashion week. Called 'Anarchy', the collection combines
soft volumes and tailored shapes with gridded prints,
black leather jackets, massive polka dots and even
Scots with the zeal and daring of a trailblazer.
The label's typical use of showy colors looks subdued
at first with several monochrome outfits but it came
at the end with its range of coral and magenta, 
mint green, salmon pink and clear blue tones.

Patterns of stylized human figures (the label's hallmark)
and entwined safety pins decorate coats and dresses
while bright studs embellish cropped biker jackets worn
over flowing skirts with polka dots, checked trousers 
and thick-soled brogues, two more hints to 
the collection's punkish roots.

> all images © by Kanako Furune/Fashion Headline <

Saturday, 22 March 2014

turning rags into works of art

La fille à la balançoire
Let this long week come to an end with a flourish
thanks to the awe-inspiring works by Caroll Bertin,
a self taught French textile artist who turns as if
by magic old shabby clothes and fabrics into childish,
humorous soft sculptures, art dolls or strange 
figures with a strong aesthetic sense.

L'échappée belle

Bateau de plaisance
Salle d'attente
Albert & quelques autres
The childlike simplicity of her sewed artworks subtly
recalling a bygone era when life was easier and
placid, makes her easily associated with Naïve art
yet she's quite modern and extremely personal in
turning recycled textiles, frayed old sweaters but
also shoes, bags, jumpers and trousers into easily
understandable storytelling works, fine characters
of an idealized world able to warm our brittle hearts.

Jeune fille en fleur
La corde à sauter
Nuit étoilée
Au fil de l'eau
La vie en rose
all artworks © by Caroll Bertin

Thursday, 20 March 2014

OC's perceptions of reality

What a glass of water perched upon an umbrella
or a floating woman face has to do with everyday
fashion? They just represent the latest step in the
popularization of art that the world of fashion started
doing at the beginning of the twentieth century and
especially since the advent of Andy Warhol who
brought art in daily life changing its perception
from academic to mass providing a new series of
meanings about consumption, popular culture and
the everyday. Art can be inspiring or provoking yet
it matters supplying fresh ideas and new ways of
thinking to the fashion's ceaseless renewal of styles
and Opening Ceremony proves to know it very well.

images 1-3 © from OC's online shop
Opening Ceremony was established in 2002 in
Berkeley, the renowned city on the San Francisco Bay
site of the UC campus - the hotbed of counterculture
in the 1960s - by a couple of friends, Carol Lim and
Humberto Leon, who decided to leave their jobs in
corporate fashion to open ”a single store on a quiet
street in downtown New York”. Twelve years later OC
is ”a global community with outposts in New York,
London and Los Angeles, a department store in
Tokyo, a wholesale showroom, an in-house clothing
line, a blog, an e-commerce site, a TV channel and
an annual magazine” they proudly declare introducing
the brand's multinational approach to retail.

Opening Ceremony's latest collection is aptly called
”Perceptions of Reality” being fully inspired by the
world of surrealist painter René Magritte: in collaboration 
with the Magritte Foundation 12 iconic paintings
from the Belgian master's catalog were reinterpreted
and even embellished in printed RTW garments with
shoes by five-star brands such as Manolo Blahnik,
Birkenstock and Vans. The witty claim of the 'OC &
Magritte' limited edition capsule collection that was
unveiled at London fashion week is ”No art history
degree required to rock these printed pieces.”

Magritte's dream-like vision and the distorted perception
of reality created by the juxtaposition of the ordinary
and the weird takes new life almost fifty years after
the artist's demise giving a brand new meaning to the
term ”wearable art” through a stunning collection 
that will be in stores next May.

images 4-8 © by Suleyman Karaaslan

Monday, 17 March 2014

she used to love me a lot

...I sat down beside her and she smiled
She said where have you been it's been awhile
She was glad to see me
I could almost read her thoughts
She used to love me a lot...

Johnny Cash, 'She Used To Love Me A Lot'

I was listening to this song from the lost 1980s Nashville
sessions by Johnny Cash, a ballad which is set to be finally
released on record next week while staring at the stunning
pictures of 'Luna' - the latest performance involving dance,
music, video, light, rain, snow, balloons and audience
participation by Seattle based choreographer and dancer
Anna Conner and her fellow associates - and they seem to 
work well together in expressing the mixed blessing of love.

Born in L.A., Anna is a graduate of Cornish College of the
Arts with a BA in dance who teamed up with performers
Julia Cross, Autumn Tselios and Kaitlyn Jane Dye in
'Anna Conner + Co' creating ”art that is honest, intimate
and speaks to the human psyche. We do this while striving
to guide and empower the audience through an artistic yet
sometimes unpleasant journey. The goal is to arrive at a
deeper awareness of ourselves and an awareness of the world 
that surrounds us...” the movement artists' statement reads.

As performers our tools are our bodies, our movement is
beautiful and our power lies in taking risks. Our creative
process involves improvisation, collaboration, research,
discussion and reflection, We are interested in showing
how we view the world. It can be a dark, heavy and delicate
place.” Their latest work, 'Luna', will be premiered in Seattle
next Friday at the Velocity Dance Center introducing their
equally ”dark and delicately violent work that illuminates
the individual roles we play in our societies. Are we followers
or leaders? The audience gets to decide this for themselves”

Anna revealed as well as some gorgeous shots by Berlin-born
young photographer April Staso who's currently studying
commercial photography at Seattle's Central Community
College in a triumph of dried flowers, rope, 
sheer fabrics and lace masks.

> all images © by April Staso <