Tuesday, 29 April 2014

totemic metallic futuristic

I'm indeed amazed by the ongoing commitment to
innovation and when I saw the shimmering dresses
of the 'Totemic' collection by London born and based
fashion and textile designer Sadie Williams I suddenly
grasped their breakthrough quality.

Sadie is a Central Saint Martins 2013 graduate with
distinction who ”currently works freelance for companies
wanting to capitalise on her strength in innovating
fashion-aware textile and print design”
she declares
having sharpened her skills working part-time at 
JW Anderson, Marc by Marc Jacobs and with accessories 
designer Katie Hillier but she also makes short 
stop-frame animations for fashion companies 
together with her brother Joe.

Sadie Williams is briskly making a name for herself thanks
to the advanced technique she developed by heat-pressing
layers of neoprene with metallic yarns and tracksuit fabrics
achieving a stiff quality with amazing embossed effects.
'Totemic' shows simple A-line silhouettes referencing
designer dresses of the 1960s with leather panels sewn
or appliquéd and hand collaged heat-transfer prints.

”I really love the graphic, masculine print arrangement
found in biker clothing, helmets and panelled satin racing
she told the press, ”I incorporated leather elements 
into my collection as a nod to bikers.” It's small wonder that
the sparkly structured collection has been nominated in
the fashion category for the 'Designs of the Year 2014'
awards organized by London's Design Museum under
the witty claim ”Someday the other musuems 
will be showing this stuff”!

> all images © by Sadie Williams' website <

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Dagda's free-thinking outlook

Focused on top quality wool and refined embroidery,
London-based emerging label 'Dagda' creates wearable
art for both men and women in a surreal, ironic style
without peer. Launched two years ago by a collective
of three designers, Polimoda-educated Thomas Derbyshire,
Luca Niccolini and Claudia Ceccantini who left Florence to
London soon after graduation and grown in pick-me-up
Brick Lane, 'Dagda' quickly made waves through frisky
handcrafted pieces inspired by mythological figures.

'Dagda' - the name comes from the God-father-figure of
Celtic culture protecting the clan - shows its unique approach 
collection after collection together with the unrestricted
freedom to explore shapes and materials skillfully playing
with proportions, colors, layers and patterns. 'Dagda'
unveiled the fall-winter 2014-15 womenswear collection
through gorgeous images which were amazingly 
created by a bunch of young gifted artists.

The stunning colorful pictures were taken by 20-something
Eleanor Hardwick, freelance photographer and multidisciplinary
artist from Oxfordshire - actually Tavi Gevison's Rookie magazine 
staff photographer, a real virtuoso who also illustrates, writes
reviews or DIY tutorials, curates playlists and makes comics
and videos - who teamed up with visual artist Ben Giles
with his lively surreal illustration style and hair and make-up
artist Ammy Drammeh in creating an unearthly young woman
lost in time, not in meaning, subtly highlighting 
Dagda's textures, details, fabric combinations 
but most of all its independent spirit.

> all images © by Eleanor Hardwick, styled by DAGDA <

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

our first Fashion Revolution Day

Tomorrow will be the first ever 'Fashion Revolution Day',
an event established as ”a metaphorical call to arms” to
generate change within the fashion industry while comme-
morating the 1,133 people brutally killed (over 2,500 were
on April 24th 2013 when the Rana Plaza factory
complex producing on the cheap for global fashion brands,
burned to the ground in Dhaka, Bangadlesh's capital city.
”Led by a board of industry leaders, campaigners, press
and academics from within the sector and beyond”
'Fashion Revolution Day' shouts out its ”enough is enough” 
bringing together those who ask for a change.

The annual event conceived by Carry Somers together with
Orsola de Castro will increase the level of public awareness
keeping the most vulnerable in the fashion supply chain as
well as unmindful customers to the forefront showing the world
that change is possible and it can start by simply asking the
brands who made their clothes. So let's take the advice
becoming curious about who made the clothes we wear and
how they were made, ”from who spun the threads, to who
sewed them together, to who grew the cotton in the first place.
Your clothes already tell a story about who you are. Now
they can tell a better one”, FRD's statement reads.  'Fashion
Revolution Day' asks people to wear their clothes inside out
to modify the way they look at the garments they wear, to
catalyze change and reconnect the broken links in the
supply chain. All we need is a revolution, let's join it!

> all images © by Fashion Revolution Day, photos © by Keiron O'Connor <

Monday, 21 April 2014

crowd-pleasing parade

photo © by Tina Fineberg/AP Photo
Let's get into the joyful mood of New York City's Easter Parade,
the annual festive strolling taken on Easter Sunday along Fifth
Ave. Started as a spontaneous event around 1870, probably
to honor Lenten holidays, it became increasingly popular
drawing thousands of people traditionally dressed in fancy
new clothes, funny costumes, homemade Easter bonnets
and crazy ladies' hats as well as parading lots of cute puppies
dressed to kill. Strollers, street performers, tourists (among
them a bunch of close friends of mine)
, onlookers and photo-
graphers filled Fifth Ave. from 50th to 57th streets yesterday
in the outlandish parade displaying stylish couples, young
and old people donning their Sunday best as well as the fine 
craftsmanship of the Milliners Guild ”an organization of millinery
small business owners, milliners, and millinery students who
specialize in the design, production and promotion of
handmade headwear”. Crazy, therefore inspiring.

both images © by Peter Foley/EPA
above: photo © by David Handshuh/New York Daily News
below: photo © by Peter Foley/EPA
above: photo © by Tina Fineberg/AP Photo
below: photo © by David Handshuh/New York Daily News
above: photo © by Tina Fineberg/AP Photo
below: photo © by David Handshuh/New York Daily News

Saturday, 19 April 2014

scouring NYC for eggs

Monica Pirovano, 'Untitled'
Let's celebrate Easter once again with the famous Fabergé
Big Egg Hunt, ”a public art display featuring an interactive
contest designed to raise awareness and funds for charity.”

Benjamin Shine, 'All-Ways New York'
Franklyn Project for Bleecker St. Arts Club, 'Green Eggs and Ham'
Two years ago London was quite generous with the FBEH
that came to raise over $ 1.5 million in the record-breaking
edition. This year, over 260 large egg sculptures have been
designed by international artists, graphic and industrial designers,
architects and brands to raise money for children in New York
through the 'Studio in a School' project which brings visual arts
to the city's public schools and conservation efforts through
Elephant Family saving the endangered Asian 
elephant and its habitat.

Sarah Flint, 'Origami Egg'
Emma Clegg, 'B'
After  the two week hunt, all the eggs are nesting together at
the Rockfeller Centre™ exhibition waiting for next Tuesday's
live auction (while the online auction via Paddle8 is already
. A colorful parade of one-off artworks for all tastes and
made of different materials: from iconic NYC street signs to
origami-like manipulated suede as well as varnished wood,
metal, marble, porcelain and fiberglass. The charitable event
is quite a unique eggsperience, one of the best Easter 
has to offer. Happy Easter weekend!

Morphos, 'Untitled'
> all images from 'The Big Egg Hunt' website <

Thursday, 17 April 2014

¡Adiós Gabo!

Gabriel García Márquez in a portrait © by Tullio Pericoli, 1990
One the greatest living writers is no longer with us:
Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez,
affectionately known as 'Gabo' all across Latin America
as well as in Europe where he worked as a foreign
correspondent in his youth, passed away today in
Mexico City. His background in journalism came to
provide the bedrock of his phantasmagorical writing
culminated with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982.
As long as I live, I'll never forget how much I loved
the magic realism of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude',
I became totally absorbed in the Buendia family's
saga, my mind ran wild as never before and it truly
came to shape my imagination. ¡Adiós Gabo!

comforters from the Soviet era

I was truly impressed by the work of Estonian all-around
talent Marit Ilison showcased this February at London
fashion week's International Fashion Showcase and I'm quite 
glad she has been selected as one of the ten finalists of
the 29th edition of Hyères. Marit, a fashion design graduate
from the Estonian Academy of the Arts, made a name for
herself through a multifaceted conceptual approach made of 
site-specific installations, fashion projects, costume design
and music (she's the drummer of the Väljasõit Rohelisse
”amateur” band which takes its name from a short novel
by Soviet sci-fi writers, the Strugatsky brothers, called 

 'Roadside Picnic', 'Väljasõit Rohelisse' in Estonian).

image 3 © by The Stimuleye, background by Mathilde Nivet
Based in Tallinn, she gained a significant experience in
pattern-making and tailoring working in London, Antwerp,
Copenhagen, Berlin and Paris creating her garments all
by herself by hand but her cross-disciplinary flair is open
to all perceptional experiences (she came to make use of 
fibre optics in her 'Lúmine' collection). ”As I work conceptually,
I see my projects coming together over a long period of time,
there are small bits like puzzle pieces that eventually evolve
into a big picture, I don't look for inspiration, ideas come to
me...” she declared to Vogue Italia introducing her method
of working ”I always select the materials with highest care
and when it's for ready-to-wear, I test and wear it myself
before taking it to production. I like using natural materials
like cotton, wool, silk and viscose, but sometimes I also
stumble upon wonderful man-made materials that 
meet my high standard in touch and quality. 
It's always about the good feeling!”

That's why her latest collection is called 'Longing for sleep':
a keen reflection on the so-called 'kaamos' - a word only
exisiting in Estonian and Finnish languages to mark the
dark, cold months between November and January - through
gorgeous patterned, often oversized, woolen coats made
out of vintage Soviet blankets. They really meet the eye
despite being plain, no-frills and cocooning: as if 
to say that simple pleasures are the best.

all other images © by Maiken Staak, style by Marit Ilison

Monday, 14 April 2014

style takes the floor

Bolon, the international design company supplying flooring
to the contract market, was founded 65 years ago in
Stockholm when Nils-Erik Eklund had an idea ahead of
his time turning textile waste into rag rugs. Run nowadays
by Eklund's third generation Marie and Annica, the Swedish
flooring brand became under their direction, a design-led
company able to combine ”the conservative, traditional
flooring branch with the boundless creativity of the 
world of fashion” as they proudly declare.

With every new collection, our passion and commitment to
break down the traditional barriers in our industry remains
unweavering. For us, floors are much more than something to 

walk on. They're a palette of unlimited possibilities, a gorgeous 
blend of rock 'n' roll, design, fashion and architecture...” Bolon's 
statement reads. The journey from customary flooring to design
house began in 2003 when Annica and Marie took over the
family business soon discovering that Giorgio Armani 
was using Bolon's products!

> images Altewai.Saome 1 > 5, photo © by Viktor Flumé <
Bolon reached a significant goal in product evolution three
years later introducing the elliptic yarn and started developing
its own platiciser which is entirely based on renewable raw
plant sources but Bolon is becoming to be hailed as a milestone
in experimental fashion by collaborating with designers like
Missoni and Paul Smith. Recently, Bolon teamed up with
Alteway.Saome, the Malmö-based design duo made by
Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome (actually one of my fave
Nordic labels - check this and previous posts) who created
four handmade garments out of the bold flooring patterns.

It's getting me floored how versatile these woven vinyl textiles
are, Alteway Saome came to cut and sew them by hand and
were capable of creating volumes and shapes for stunning
showpieces in their signature style. The design collaboration
between Bolon and Alteway Saome will be developed further
in the upcoming months through a numbered edition of a
special carpet based on the Malmö duo's looks but Bolon
is currently on display in Milan in the exhibition called 'Bolon
Variations - From Material To Product' where the all-purpose
products of the Swedish brand have been used by the students
of the Istituto Marangoni to create gorgeous prototypes and
accessories such as bags, raincoats and shoes.
Resourcefully inspirational!

> images  Istituto Marangoni 6, 7, 8 via Bolon.com <

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Gabriel Lee's private performance

Focused on the silhouette ”in simple lines and bold
details” as he introduces himself, South Korean emerging
designer Gabriel Lee left his homeland for Sydney to study
fashion at Raffles College of Design and Commerce (he
received the Design excellence Award in 2009 for the most
outstanding major studio project) to make his debut on the
runway of Mercedes-Benz fashion week Australia in 2012.

Lee, who's carefully working to launch his eponymous label
in South Korea, Australia and other international locations, 
showcased his latest collection for s/s 2014-15 in Sydney a
few days ago: called 'Private Performance', the collection
has been inspired by representation of 'true beauty' in the
modern materialistic society. ”There are various types of
beauty, but at the tip of each type, there is always a pureness:
the pure beauty” he declares ”that pure beauty cannot be 
shaken or stirred, and it cannot forget its true colour. 
New and crazy things should not be praised as the 
new beauty instead of the true pureness.”

Lee's vivid collection takes its colors from the circus, ”especially
the neon yellow which is the main colour and green is the sub
colour. A faint grey colour was lightly mixed with overly light
appearing neon colours to gently suppress down the overall
colour palette. Several colours were mix-matched to blend
well with the main colour of the collection, neon yellow...” 
he states introducing his generous shapes with emphasized
sleeves and bold floral prints often adorned with pearls and
flower appliqués that highlight his own sporty-chic style.

> all images © by Shin-Hyerim <

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

FOMI's enlightening lesson

Ms. Afomia Tesfaye is the former PR executive (without
formal design training though with experience at top
fashion publications)
who showed beyond doubt how
fashion houses can ethically produce high-end goods
in Africa without compromising on quality and expertise:
three years ago she decided to leave L.A. to fly back
to her native country, Ethiopia, to develop a collection
of contemporary leather handbags, footwear and
accessories which are totally fair trade made 
in her mother country.

Ethiopia is not only the oldest independent country
in Africa yet one of the world's producers of fine
leather, so she started sourcing local materials
and craftsmen, exploiting her fashion taste and
the design skills she cultivated since girlhood when
she widely traveled as a diplomat's daughter.
Afomia brought into being 'FOMI', a colorful, elegant
collection of finest quality leather purses, clutches
and shoulder bags, gorgeous footwear and fancy
laptop cases with a contemporary appeal, 
trendy shades and sporty hints.

Let me voice my admiration for the UCLA literature
graduate turned into a designer of upscale fashion
accessories, I dare say a designer with a cause and
I really appreciate both her sophisticated style and
her life lesson: that means seeing fashion not 
as it is but as it should be.

> all images © by 'FOMI', from the designer's tumblr <