Friday, 30 May 2014

designer(s) for tomorrow

DfT stands for 'Designer for Tomorrow', the fashion talent 
award conceived by Düsseldorf-based Peek & Cloppenburg 
company and its online shop Fashion ID to provide a visible 
platform ”supporting young and rising designers in an ongoing 
way” as they proudly state. American designer Tommy Hilfiger 
is the patron of the 2014 edition and lately he came to pick out
the Top 5 'Designer for Tomorrow' along with a world class
jury of fashion experts: the DfT 2014 nominees met for the
first time last week at the Direktoren Haus in Berlin during
the preparation day. Let's take a peek at their work.

'The Broken' is the collection by South Korean designer Young
Kyun Shin, a London Central Saint Martins alumnus who declares
that ”designing for the strong bold woman, I am using interlacing
lines and jagged edges cut from leather and light fabric, coupled
with tough metal, wool and lace to create strong visual contrasts.
The unconventional combination of unusual materials.”

'Cocoon' is the appropriate name given by designer Sylvia
Roustcheva, fashion design graduate from the New Bulgarian
University of Sofia, to her collection which ”is inspired by a cozy
cocoon wrap where you can stay by yourself. A soft and warm
place that embraces yourself and is listening to your inner voice.
It is about draping knitwear and playing with material opposites
like wool and silk in oversized silhouettes and exaggerated

 forms” her statement message reads.

Currently studying design and pattern-making at the ESMOD Intl.
University of Art and Fashion in Berlin, Julia Winkler entered the
DfT's finalists with 'UTQC', standing for 'Until The Quiet Comes',
a collection that ”combines elegance with abstraction. I draw my
inspiration from the album UTQC by electronic music producer
Steven Ellison. The clash between psychedelic music, optical
illusions, the human unconsciousness, hallucinogenic optics
and concepts of a dream world is its fabric epitome, 

reinforced through use of the moiré effect” Julia
 writes introducing her elegant striped looks.

Matteo Lamandini is an Italian fashion design student of the
Istituto Marangoni with a seditious post Saville Row approach
designing joyful men's jackets and high-waisted tapering trousers
by juxtaposing huge tartan designs with diagonal glen check
and micro pied de poule motifs ”the inspiration comes from the
Zoot Suit movement, born in America in the 40s”, Matteo declares
”from young guys who protest against the society dressed
sumptuously with tailored outfits - something they have been
considered wasteful for. Concerning drapery I used 'Tartan',
'Scozzesi' and 'Finestrati' inspired by the artist, Sol LeWitt.”

With her 'Poetry of Dissection', Irish designer Maria Lola Roche,
a fashion design student of Dublin Griffith College, explores her
”fascination with the form that all humans exist in from birth till
death - a form that contributes to our identity and embodies the
abstract. The visual focus was on certain parts of the body, in
particular the ribcage. Exploring the ribcage's negative and
positive space inspired me to create this contemporary collection”

she states. The grand final will take place in Berlin next July as
a side event of Merceds-Benz fashion week where the Top 5
collections will be unveiled: congrats to all the young 
designers, may the best win!

'DfT' 2014 Top 5 designers, left to right: Sylvia Roustcheva,
Julia Winkler, Matteo Lamandini, Young Kyun Shin, Maria Roche
all images from 'Designer for Tomorrow' website and fb page

Thursday, 29 May 2014

'Gamut': minimal with a flow

Norwegian designer Damien Fredriksen Ravn is a devotee
of punk music living and working in Antwerp, northern Belgium,
where he graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts after
his fashion foundation diploma from the Scandinavian Design
College in Randers, Denmark, who briskly developed a Nordic
essential style deftly mitigating his punk-at-heart nature.

Damien - a longtime collaborator of the 'Underground' brand
making authentically British rock'n'roll inspired shoes ”with
a sense of irreverence at heart” - is a kicking designer with
a penchant for subtle contrasts whose punkish attitude is
emphasized by the use of hi-tech materials juxtaposed with
silk velvets: Damien combines latex, neoprene, nylon and
breathable 3-D spacer fabrics (he works closely with Belgian
textile company Marcel Liebaert producing technical fabrics)

with time-honored craftsmanship and handworks skillfully
reinterpreting ”classics like the cape and the little black
dress with surprising choice of materials, in a beautiful
and wearable way...” as ELLE Denmark's May issue goes.

Hailed as the 'New Nordic Talent of the Year 2014' at the
ELLE Style Awards event held in Copenhagen (where ELLE
Denmark joined forces with MUUSE for the very first time),
”Ravn was chosen for his innovative use of modern materials
and couture-like volumes achieved in the form of a sculptural
evening coat and dress.” I bet he's going to have a long busy
summer being invited to design a capsule collection under the
MUUSE label while he's currently teaching fashion design at
the Warsaw Fine Arts Academy, running his own label, making
bespoke pieces in his atelier and freelancing in Belgium!

Damien Ravn's s/s 2014 collection, called 'Gamut', draws
inspiration from the entrance decor of 'La Maison Cubiste' at
the Salon d'Automne of 1912 by Raymond Duchamp-Villon
and André Mare and the Expressionist architecture of the 
Amsterdam school showing almost monochrome pieces
conceived as building façades playing with volumes,
pleatings and foldings worn over black nylon socks and
Underground's double platform Penny Loafer creepers.
Each single garment is cut out of a single pattern on 90 or
45 degree angle paying close attention to thread directions;
pockets are incorporated (some patterns are more than four
meters wide and superbly folded) while sleeves are tailored.
Nifty Scandinavian looks in full flow with peculiar 
punky hints from a genuine talent to watch.

> all images © by Eric and Nicolas Danhier <

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Kofta's platonic solids

It's quite hard to turn my thoughts to troubled Ukraine the day 
after the grisly murder of Italian independent photojournalist 
Andy Rocchelli, 30, who was covering today's presidential election 
for Cesura Lab so talking about fashion might seem out of place 
more than ever. Take it as a sign of hope and good will, besides, 
the pursuit of youthful creativity as life itself must necessarily go
on: here's another gifted Ukrainian designer, Konstantin Kofta
a former student of London's Central Saint Martins, 
who's focused on beauty and experimental design.

Based in Kiev, Kofta is a designer who thinks outside the box, 
he ”created his own label, Kofta, which combines seemingly 
contradictory elements outside the traditional canons of fashion 
industry...” his artistic statement reads, Konstantin ”believes that 
the perfect is hidden in the sacramental places away from an 
ordinary vision littered by common standards. Designer strives to 
fuse unusual components to acheive distinctions that add to 
person's lifestyle rather than just to the wardrobe.”

Kofta's latest collection as usual looks like a 3-D art installation:
called 'Platonic Solids', the AW 2014-15 avant-garde collection
explores sculptural shapes based on solid regular forms with
congruent faces. ”There are five perfect three-dimensional forms”
Kofta declares ”collectively these are known as the Platonic Solids
and they are the foundation of everything in the physical world.
Literally the entire Periodic Table of Elements is based on these
same five forms!”. Kofta devises bags and shoes using rough skin,
unusual shapes and unique scents ”to create a totally new vision of 
the attire as a whole. Kofta combines rural and urban perceptions
and embraces the unintentional and the unexpected, which 
provideinspiration fur current and future collections.”
A simple, geometric yet extremely significant look.

> all images from Kofta's website <

Friday, 23 May 2014

riding on the ”Shanghai Express”

Let's take a travel through time ideally boarding the old
Shanghai  Express train ferry thanks to luxury accessories
designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal who ”began designing
from her love of fashion and the art of corsetry”
as she
states. ”Charlotte took her passion to Cordwainers, the
world-renowned college for footwear and accessories in London. 
Here she was able to explore her interests alongside technical 
training in the art of making beautiful shoes...”

Soon after graduating, the young designer founded her
own label, 'Charlotte-Olympia', mostly a shoe label which
is carefully spreading out its wings designing trés chic
leather handbags. The label became synonymous with
classic sophistication and great attention to detail - each
single shoe is crafted by hand in Italy using the finest
materials and comes smartly signed with a gold spider's
web on the sole - now developing four seasonal collections
a year, including ”Encore”, a collection of signature
silhouettes available all year round and the recently
launched ”Tailor Made” bespoke service.

Charlotte-Olympia's latest collection takes us on a colorful
journey through centuries of Chinese culture in a profusion
of red tones, textures and shapes: called ”Shanghai Express”
being inspired by ancient dynasties, the fall-winter 2014
collection shows gorgeously exclusive pieces such as red
lacquered, hand painted shoes referencing Ming vases,
Han ankle boots, peep-toe pumps and ballet flats with 
embroideries, dragon and water lily-shaped heels
embellished with aplliqués and glaring sequins.

Charlotte Olympia is definitely a designer who loves statement 
shoes, her creations drive a wedge between shoemaking and
wearable art: she can turn a retro look into a modern, up-to-date
fancy and she's now measuring her talent drawing leather
clutches and handbags that are quite posh even when they
look like traditional paper fans or boxy takeout containers.
Mighty grand!

> all images © by Vogue Germany's Julia Malysch <

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

far away, on Lake Chad

It is certainly not the first time that interior textiles are
interpreted through a fashion point of view yet the Russian
edition of AD - Architectural Digest, the illustrious international
magazine about architecture and design - has found quite
an elegant way to showcase this season's designer fabrics
for interiors as well as to take headwrapping to a new level.

A bright vivid photo shoot taken for AD magazine's editorial
by first-rate photographer Olga Tuponogova-Volkova who,
after completing a professional course with Moscow-based
photographer Joris Van Velzen, started developing her own
vision of modern art and photography working for five-star
international magazines such as Vogue, Glamour and Instyle
to name a few, briskly earning a reputation as an expert.

Crossing the far-flug corners of the world, the impressive
editorial is called ”Far away, on Lake Chad” evoking the
shimmering wetland in the landlocked country in central Africa,
south of the Sahara, through an eye-catching combination of 
patterned creations in denim, silk, wool, cotton, flax, mulberry
and viscose with gorgeous wrappings and turban-inspired
shapes with tiebacks, foam cubes and polyester fibers. 
Isn't it amazing?

> all images © by Olga Tuponogova-Volkova, style by Natalia Obukhov <

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Ivana Pilja's futuristic fashion nostalgia

Watching the moving sculptures of Serbian designer 
Ivana Pilja, we enter into an amazing new world of thoughts:
a Belgrade's College of Design graduate, Ivana worked as a
designer for sport and streetwear labels before establishing
her own label characterized by a futuristic edge 
echoing Japanese fashion and origami.

Inspired by Australian performing artist, actor, model, club
promoter and fashion designer Leigh Bowery - one London's
influential figures of the 1980s and 1990s and namely by his
design collaborations with Scottish dancer and choreographer
Michael Clark -
Pilja's fall-winter 2014-15 capsule collection
shows theatrical black garments, actually avant-garde sculpted
creations whose futuristic appeal is highlighted by the graphic
lookbook conceived by Valentina Brostean, Torino-based
illustrator, designer and painter who teamed up with 
photographer Nikola Sokolov to depict her architectural 
costumes like cards of a dark, enticing game of style.

”Leigh Bowery will forever be a forerunner and driving force
behind creative innovation and rebellion. Now, years later,
Serbian based avant-garde designer Ivana Pilja takes the
wheel and, with Leigh's inspiration and influence, prepares
to lead us into the new frontier of avant-garde fashion
she writes on her fb page adding that ”each
piece it's own individual work of art that are just as fashion
forward as that are theatrical and that can only be
 described as ”futuristic fashion nostalgia”.

> all images © by Nikola Sokolov, art direction by Valentina Brostean <

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Chanel Cruise in Dubai

Mr. Karl Lagerfeld in Dubai, photo © by Olivier Saillant
A huge leap in putting Dubai (and why not, its unquenchable
thirst for luxury) on the world's fashion map happened just a
few hours ago on a private artificial island off the Jumeirah
coastline called Al M. Woszek Rap where the first ever Chanel
fashion show took place gathering international media, local
fashionistas and selected celebrities (including one of my
fave style icons, Scottish actress Tilda Swinton).

The historic Parisian Maison came to showcase the latest
Cruise 2014-15 collection: the Cruise presentation is the
iconic brand's annual event wandering each May through
the world's most glamorous cities and today Chanel brought
it to Dubai. "In addition to be a key hub for our fashion
business in the Middle East, Dubai was chosen because it 

 inspires travel and evokes the true spirit of Cruise” Bruno
Pavlosvsky, Chanel's fashion activities President declared,
adding that ”the show will feed the public's 
imagination around our brand.”

I was pleasantly surprised by a picture of legendary designer
and photographer, Chanel's creative director Karl Lagerfeld,
holding a flag on a sunny beach that instinctively made me think
to Pablo Picasso carrying an umbrella to shade Françoise Gilot
in Robert Capa's famed image. As expected, the double-C
brand's design team went for gold drawing inspiration from
Dubai's gold souks and its unique skyline sending down the
island's sandy runway models wrapped in woven gold suits,
floaty harem pants, flowing black tunics partly inspired by abayas
layered over leggings and diaphanous dresses plenty of influences
from the MENA (Middle East North Africa) region such as kaftans
and babouches and even Chanel's signature quilted bag comes
shaped as a gas tank (actually more a hint to Abu Dhabi than
Dubai). Gorgeously unique, like both Chanel and Dubai.

images 2 > 11 © by Karl Lagerfeld for the collection's press kit
> backstage and details © by Olivier Saillant <