Monday, 17 December 2012

Maharishi - meaning greater vision through fashion.

After reading Andrew Bolton ‘The Supermodern Wardrobe,' V&A Publications, 2002  I have come to examine the relationship between the ‘body and clothing’ and the ‘clothed body and the larger environment’ in issues surrounding identity, personal space and the environment for the future of urban metropolis.

Supermodern clothing I feel is represented in four elements of urban armour, urban camouflage, urban identity and urban nomad/wearable technology. I will explain and show how modern designers are producing garments defined by contemporary urban metropolis in clothing that is functional and equips the body with practical applications.
‘Urban armour’ of the Supermodern wardrobe is built upon warfare and battlefield metaphor in defending body against urban lifestyle in creating a space around the body which is secure and defensible around the individual. Some examples include the 1998 Metropolis jacket by CP Company which has an inbuilt smog protector and large hood which will protect against wayward stares and make wearer feel in-control. Vexed Generation was founded by Joe Hunter and Adam Thorpe in response to increased use of surveillance cameras and being unable to control when one is being viewed, their solution is clothing which wraps around the body eliminating sex as well as taking in realistic lifestyle application in making utility clothing to defend the wearer against the stare of the camera, therefore feeling secure. This psychological protection of concealing wearers face can also be seen by Takizawa’s detachable hood in which wearer has pleasure of looking intimidating as well as functioning like a mask in being able to see but not be seen, therefore feels more secure in urban surroundings.
CP Company

Vexed Generation

‘Urban Camouflage’ of the Supermodern wardrobe takes it influence from camouflage print of the forces but instead uses disruptive pattern camouflage of blacks and dark blues in becoming able to blend in with shadows of tall buildings and become less conspicuous in a crowd. Designer Walter Van Beirendonck takes this to couture styling with tailored suit while Blechman is more formal in its approach of camouflage creating reversible jacket in 1998, one side woodland colours the other urban metropolis colouring.
Walter Van Beirendonck


‘Urban identity’ is defined by the Supermodern wardrobe in being able to control and feel secure in transitional spaces that we as a population have to work through for example material named carboguard has been developed which is a material comprised of carbon yarn woven with cotton and nylon which works by blocking out magnetic waves that we become subjected to in transitional urban spaces such as airport, railway etc. Designer Kosuke Tsumura uses this analogy of protection and upheaval needed in urban metropolis by creating garments that could function as housing in being able to equip the body in what it needs whilst still being mobile. Lucy Orta 1992 collection ‘Refuge Wear’ also takes upheaval into consideration by creating multi functional clothing that can transform according to individuals immediate needs, such as coat into a tent and sleeping bag into trousers and vice versa. Jennie Pineus head cocoons takes the issue of identity in urban environment one step further by being able to shut out your larger environment and still be mobile but in your own personal space, which offers protection to wearer in times of urban upheaval.


Lucy Orta

Jennie Puneus

‘Urban nomad/Wearable technology’ is related to the Supermodern wardrobe as shows the correlation between consuming new technologies alongside new fashions in functional clothing that enables the wearer a balance between self sufficiency and interconnectivity. The nomadic worker needs supermodern garments that can equip the wearer with all the conveniences of traditional office whilst manoeuvring urban metropolis efficiently. Communication scarf is part of French Telecom Starlab i-wear consortium which is a scarf but inbuilt with hands free phone, screen, keyboard and camera. As part of designer Yeohlee Teng Autumn/Winter 1999/2000 collection clothing was 100% air conditioned via fabric that had coated membrane, a high degree of suppleness, water repellence with a very high rate of water vapour transmission rate therefore ’it breathes’ this enabled the wearer to become fully multipurpose in moving through transisitional spaces and protects against any inclemency’s in the weather so wearer is always ready and protected.
Communication Scarf

Concluding the wardrobe of the future urban metropolis is defined by the fact that as technology advances and our needs and expectances develop in correspondence to this so does our clothing in being able to protect and equip the wearer with practical lifestyle applications needed to be able to correspond to advancing urban metropolis.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Ultimate backpack

Damien Hirst has collaborated with Olsen twins fashion brand 'The Row' to create collection of backpacks that blur the lines between high fashion and high art. The backpacks are their signature black crocodile patent leather which are elegantly designed for the truly fashionable traveller and Hirst has added his distinctive spots and assortment of prescription pills surely making them the most expensive backpack ever. Yours for £34,000,Yes Really!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The fashion gold goes to ...

Well 2012's Fashion designer of the year is Stella McArtney. I think her role with designing the Olympic teams kits had an instrumental effect in her raising her domestic profile it is those designs that cemented the theme of Britishness in the public eye. She also won designer brand of the year award for a label that this year has been worn on every red carpet and copied on every high street surely highlighting her role in the fashion industry as one of trendsetter.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

British designer of year 2012

Mary Katrantzou

British Fashion Awards are being held tonight and the nominees for Designer of the year fall to Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Stella McArtney.

My winner is Mary Katrantzou ever since her debut collection in 2008 she has bought fashion to a 3dimensional structure with her use of silhouette and her use of digital print in creating a story in her garments. It is her mix of colour and print that combine in a theatratrical explosion of aesthetical charm.

She won emerging talent in Ready to wear 2011 so surely the next progression is winning Designer of the year, she has become a well recognisable name with her collaboration with Topshop and her style of print and hyper real colour is strikingly unique.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Margiela and H&M - Hits 15th Nov!!!

Surely H&M can do no better than its latest line of designer collaborations, Maison Martin Margiela is due to launch its collection in just two days time. Unlike other collaborations when specific items have been designed for the high street brand this time Margiela is offering a complete overview of the most representative items from Margiela archive in updated shapes and materials. The collaboration contains over 100 garments from male, female, accessories and shoes. I'm looking forward to seeing deconstructed style on a budget, as well as an excessively oversized silhouettes.

Shop at H&M online from Nov 15th.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Kohei Yoshiyuki – The Park, 1971-79

As part of the Liverpool Biennial the Open Eye Gallery plays host to photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki series ‘The Park’ which documents the busy nightlife in Tokyo parks in the 1970s. The images are shown in a darkened room where you are given a torch to view each photograph the effect this has is making the context of the pictures become more personal it is as you are a peeping tom looking on the different scenes. The images are explicit in showing different groups and couples engaging in sexual activity and as you are viewing in darkened room by torch it adds tension to the black and white images. They exhibition had a sinister feel which the context of the images show and was exasperated by the setting in which to view. You also feel aware of your role as the spectator because some images show people looking through bushes at people engaging in sexual activity and you in turn are doing the same at them in a voyeuristic examination of their privacy causing a blur in the role of spectator.


Friday, 9 November 2012

The history of publicizing fashion trends.

Fashion is about speed and accessibility, the documentation of the latest fashion is paramount as will only become a trend when the information is available to mass public and they can disseminate and encapsulate the fashion therefore making it the latest fashionable trend.  

The reporting on fashion can be traced back to 1770 when the first printed fashion plate was published in ‘The Lady’s’ magazine. The illustrations alongside printed descriptions of the fashion drawings helped accelerate trend to change seasonally, as the new trend was promoted people could copy the style, it was starting the growth in importance of material culture as more people wanted to wear the latest fashionable trend.

Example of fashion plate from 1880 published in ‘The Lady’s’ magazine titled ‘Paris Dress’- France was seen as dictators of fashionable wear, the puffed shoulders, tight waist and pronounced décolleté were latest trend. As well as the lifestyle indicated to in the fashion plate of elegance and upper class style people inspired towards which is symbolised by playing of the harp. 

The development of photography and fashion photography towards the end of first decade of twentieth century accelerated the access and information about fashion available to mass public, now there was an exact representation of the latest trend available for people to look upon instead of a drawing. Fashion trends were being showed in Vogue as early as 1914 by photographer Baron de Meyer he used backlighting and soft focus lens to capture the fleeting atmosphere and style of the clothing as shown on the models.
Example of Baron de Meyer in Vogue 1919 – The latest trend was of barrel line which was long tubular skirt with boyish bust of square line, was of time when Poiret inspired orientalism was seen in fashion.  In the image you can see how soft focus was used to create atmosphere of refined elegance.
Fashion photography took a backseat during the war years and after the Second World War France’s fashion industry was recovering after four years of Nazi occupation in which no documentation of fashion was circled out of France and with rationing still in place in Britain fashion was not seen in its opulence that was renowned for before the war.  
To help rebuild Paris fashion industry and show French latest fashion a touring exhibition named ‘Theatre de la Mode’ started in 1945 till 1946 in which visited London, Barcelona, Stockholm, Copenhagen and America. It consisted of precise miniature mannequins of copies of Spring/Summer collections of 1945, the mannequins were dressed in couture clothing designed by renowned designers such as Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Molyneux and Balmain as well as milliners, shoe and purse designers. The exhibition raised the portfolio and audience of the French designers and was a resourceful way to show the latest fashions without use of excess material which at the time was in short supply and would have been seen overly opulent as public was still recovering from war torn years.



Nowadays fashion is documented and spread so fast by the accessibility of live streaming from fashion shows, in 1976 ‘Video fashion news’ was created which was the first video version of fashion magazine in which front row seat access, backstage gossip all enabled the latest reporting of fashion trends to the mass public. Now fashion is consumed by public in such a high speed way that we don’t have to wait for the seasonal trends to be featured in magazines we have access immediately and designers are recognising this with their increase of their own online presence being seen.
Fashion is still about reporting the latest trend but now we the public can do the reporting.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Face: McQueen cover 1998

I wanted to share with you all a copy of 'The Face' magazine which I bought at car boot it is 1998 edition McQueen special. It was after McQueen A/W London Fashion Week collection which was inspired by Joan of Ark he wanted to evoke the passion and independence of Joan of Ark into women, the finale involved model dancing in ring of fire as symbolism of Joan being burnt at the stake.

He collaberated with Nick Knight for The Face cover and photo shoot entitled 'This is Britains emperor of style and his Joan of Arc. At work, rest and pray.' Inside the magazine he explained the image he created with Nick Knight in hand written response -:


Deep inside of me I have no regrets of the way I portray myself to the general public. I will face fear head on if necessary but would run from a fight if persuaded. The fire in my soul is for the love of one man but I do not forgot my women whom I adore as the burn daily from Cheshire to Gloucester

Alexander McQueen,98

This was his Joan of Arc -

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Surrealism impact on fashion

Surrealism inspired

The Surrealism art movement began in Paris 1924 and was officially announced that had finished in 1969. In that period I aim to show not individual artists contribution to the movement but instead the resulting impact on fashion and style influences which can still be referenced in 2012 fashion.
The Surrealists aimed to banish taste values by recording inner visions by automatic drawing techniques which were a mode of pure expression free from political or society constraints. Their work was shrouded in mystification as the imagery had no recognisable predecessors where it could be compared to instead the Surrealists were opening up their minds exempt from any aesthetic concern. This can be compared to fashion in the sense that like Surrealists, fashion aims to not be immediately recognisable; it is unique each season to the designer it works by encouraging the spectator to become involved with the garment in individual process in creation of identity. Fashion like surrealist art actively encourages the dislocation of taste barriers and actively creates own aesthetic values.
Andre Breton, ‘Amid the bad taste of my time I strive to go further than anyone else in such a manner as to leave nothing to be desired from the viewpoint of comfort.’ This can be seen by Surrealists technique of conjuring the uncanny by using everyday objects but in a way which was not their original function to mystify and create paradox of how spectator views object in correlation with the text we use to describe object. Surrealist artist Meret Oppenheim explores this in her 1936 ‘Fur breakfast’ which is cup, saucer and spoon covered in gazelle fur it immediately removes the original aim of cup and saucer by fur so creates dislocation of object from meaning as well as offering paradox of desire and repulsion to the object. This is referenced in fashion by Hussein Chalayan 2000 collection ‘Afterwords’ where he rethought fashion as kind of portable architecture therefore removing the original aim of fashion as an aesthetic covering of body but instead giving new innovation in form as a means of transportable furniture.  Like Surrealist art innovative fashion designers aim to offer new meanings and form to existing conventions of how we perceive and view objects.
Meret Oppenheim

Hussein Chalayan

Salvador Dali the infamous Surrealist artist I feel has had the greatest impact on fashion designers it was his 1936 ‘Aphrodisiac Jacket’ which showed his engagement with consumer culture by acknowledging fashion as art he adorned a dinner jacket with liqueur glasses in a juxtaposition of the sensibility of jacket with destruction of character caused by the emptiness of the liqueur glasses in comical effect. He worked in unison with surrealist fashion designer Elsa Schiparelli in creation of iconic ‘Lobster dress’ in 1937 and ‘shoe hat’ in 1938 it was their combination of art and innovative fashion which secured fashion as status of art.
His influence can be seen in Agatha Ruiz de la Prada Autumn/Winter 2009 collection by referencing Dali 1936 ‘Giraffe on fire’ and his ‘Venus de Milo with drawers’ you can see the direct influence Dali work had on Prada designs in the use of drawer symbolism.
Giraffe on fire

Venus de Milo with drawers

Agatha Ruiz de la Prada

Diane Von Furstenberg paid homage to Dali in her Spring/Summer 2012 advertising campaign by her use of lunar landscape and displacement of models face with circular transparency. Her influence can be seen in Dali 1934 ‘The atavistic vestiges after the rain.’
The atavistic vestiges after the rain

Diana Von Furstenberg
Other designers which can cite influence by Surrealism are Viktor and Rolf in the way they deconstruct the silhouette in creation of new forms. Dolce and Gabbana in 2009/10 had collection named ‘Heart Elsa Schiparelli’ where gloves were designed as hats and belts in the rejection of original aim and recreating in bizarre way to offer new uses of gloves. Stephen Jones headwear can be related to surrealism by his use of juxtaposition of objects in creation of hats which have peculiar objects balanced in new aesthetic manner. More recently Mary Katrantzou in 2012 fall collection by her use of colour and printing techniques.
Ultimately fashion and surrealism are linked by the ‘idea that the spectator must complete the work of art and expose him/her self to the possibility of experiencing a new reality in the process.’

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Fashion glistens towards the East

Fashion glistens towars the East

The East is growing at a rapid rate of consumption with China leading the way. China is developing from an export orientated economy into a consumption driven economy, mainly due to urbanisation and with that comes a new surge of young money. The new clientele consists of young fashionistas who have an interest in the heritage luxury brands of the West, they are cash rich and now due to relaxed legalisation of tax laws and increased travel they are visiting the West to experience the fashion and culture.

Eastern fashion is based heavily around religious beliefs, cultural obligations and tradition it stretches back generations in representing their culture. Western designers are using the culturally well known Eastern motifs and redefining in fresh, modern way in new designs to embrace the growing Eastern clientele. There has been an explosion in colour of fuchsias, oranges and yellows brightening up the catwalks into an Eastern sun set. Lighter, luxurious materials are being used such as silk and sheer linens, they work best in layering of fabrics creating a gliding effect in movement. 

Eastern fashion has had an influence over Western designs for many years Paul Poiret in 1910 was the first to bring Eastern fashion to a Western audience with turbans, Indian style trousers and his famous lampshade tunics.
Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2012 collection had a polished touch and expensive character behind the clothes, garments included fur collared fitted jackets, dazzling jewels and ornate embroidery of detailed dresses and trouser suits. The collection had Eastern influences which could be seen by the styling choices with the aura of the collection being one of refined, polished wealth.

Mary Katrantzou fall 2012 collection embraced the Eastern trend of colour, her beautifully crafted print dresses were in a range of bright, acidic colours. You can feel an Eastern influence by the vivid use of colouring and the hand printed design treatment of the dresses.
Givenchy Spring 2012 Couture collection saw the most recognisable characteristic of an Eastern influence by use of nose rings and drop earrings. Givenchy nose rings consisted of silver embellishment reaching to the wearer’s lips, coupled with gigantic embellished drop earrings. 

The Far East influence cannot just be seen by the style of the designers collections showcased but also in the budding front row presence at many shows, especially at Paris for the Chanel and Dior show where famous Chinese actress Lin Peng was an important guest.
Designers are not just influenced by the East they are setting up stores there as they recognise where their clientele is based and want to cater towards them. Maison Martin Margiela and Alexander McQueen opened stores in Beijing last year, whilst Gucci, Burberry and Hermes opening up shop since 2009. As well as more designers using eastern models in fashion advertisements to attract growing market.

Watch out for explosion of colours, glistening embellishment, sculptured layering and ethereal aesthetics as fashion turns East wards.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Decorative Arts and History museum, Dublin

Housed in the Army barracks of the Decorative Arts and History museum is a Charles Frederick Worth (1825-1895) late nineteenth century designed dress for the wife of Lord Mayor of Dublin from 1898 to 1900.

The designs of the time had a Parisian influence with lavish fabrics and took on historical influences with tight corset framing the wearer into hour glass shape which is then supported by crinoline stiff framework underneath the dress to hold characteristic full bell shape. The rear bustle worked by holding the lavish, heavy fabric so it could drape over the back which had opulent feel.

The overall effect of the dress was elaborate and decorative as seen in the baroque inspired corset with opulent beading. The dress was designed to be seen and represent their husband’s wealth.  
It is a good representative of late nineteenth century Parisian design which Charles Frederick Worth was famed for by his couture designs.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Ugly shoes the new craze

Ugly shoes the new craze

Next Spring 2013 if what we see on the catwalks is to come to fruition the shoe once seen as a sexy accessory has all gone Pete Tong. Flats are in but not the brogues we saw last season of polished leather giving masculine yet sophisticated feel but weird mixes of fur, plastic and futuristic sheen making next Spring seem set in never reaches of shoe envy.

Phoebe Philo for Celine has made comfy shoes the ones for the season, no longer tired feet from walking on pin point stilettos but shoes have furry lined bottoms in bright, garish Eskimo covered ballet pump style.
Prada’s two tongued plastic flats are the worst offenders for me. Firstly who likes wearing sandals that cut in between your toes and secondly they have plastic sheen to them which no doubt will make for a sweaty mix. Prada also shown wooden platform shoes with circular hole cut out of the platform that I like but it all goes bit strange with metallic ankle covering which looks like a sock wrapped around foot.

There's not much can be said about Marc Jacobs pilgrim style shoe, it looks like it been created by Amish on acid.

So for next Spring I don’t know if I’ll be following these crazy shoe trends I think it may be one left for the catwalk where fashion meets ugly.

National Gallery of Ireland

I recentley just visited Dublin and had a wander around National Gallery of Ireland the collection that I most enjoyed was that of Jack B Yeats (1871 - 1957) the Irish impressionist painter. His work is full of expression via his use of vivid colourings, bold brush strokes and romantic connotations. It was housed not in the main gallery section but in corridors running off inbetween rooms it made the collection have its own stance and not comparable to others work. 

About to Write a letter 1935

Men of Destiny 1946
The singing horseman 1949
Grief 1951

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Check out my article for 'ACE Liverpool' an Arts, Culture & Entertainment magazine based in Liverpool.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Science inspired garments

Designer Brooke Roberts merged her previous history of working as radiographer with her fashion design and pattern cutting skill to create garments inspired by CT scans and Xrays, she progammed knitting machines to specific patterns to create the garments. I love the merge of science and fashion in her garments in creaing futuristic print. I also like how the garments are knitted it is the mix of knitting and science inspired inspired print which I think is merging old and new techniques.