Friday, 31 May 2013

Westwood collaboration with Virgin Atlantic.

When I think of air stewardesses and their uniforms the words I associate are conformity, glamour, control, etiquette and environmentally damaging due to their air miles collected and carbon footprint, so now to mention Vivienne Westwood in the same breath as air stewardess uniform it becomes slightly confusing.

But Westwood has collaborated with Virgin Atlantic in designing the uniforms due to be launched in 2014. The men’s suit is a rich dark burgundy cotton two piece, while the women’s uniform is highly charged in bright red consisting of cinched in waist blazer and a figure fitted skirt which has hint of a bustle at back all very alluring and heralds back to the heyday of 50s air travel when it was perceived as a glamorous vocation for a woman to have.

However Westwood who is very passionate about the environment and who launched the Climate Revolution campaign is now endorsing air travel seems absurd, yes the uniforms are made of latest recycling technology but that doesn’t counteract the damage done by the air travel. Also Westwood who has always designed with a more punk attitude is now designing uniforms which are diametrically opposed to punk foundations is bizarre, the whole notion of a uniform is to belong to an organisation, to become institutionalised, to submerge the personality rather than enhance it, it is the widest extreme away from the normal Westwood aesthetic.
I cannot see the reasoning behind this collaboration by Westwood, I know the benefits to Virgin Atlantic as it endorses the airline with an air of fashionable kudos and also helps to enhance the reputation of air stewardesses as desirable and modern. Still I don’t know what benefit Westwood achieves unless she is aiming to make air travel industry more environmental and I don’t see how that is happening by just wearing a sustainable cotton uniform.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Bambi at Givenchy

I'm totally having label lust at the moment for Givenchy A/W13 collection - feast your eyes on bambi print jumpers and clutch bag. Perfect combination of rock and disney.

Friday, 24 May 2013

If I was a rich girl ...

If I was a rich girl

From top left - Laurence Decade studded boots - Christopher Kane silk skirt - Ostwald Helgason cheetah printed sweatshirt dress - Brian Lichtenberg Homies jumper - House of Holland crop top & tube skirt - Alexander McQueen bag - House of Holland floral tee dress - Damir Doma leather pleated shorts - Jill Sander dress- Jill Sander shirt - Lanvin contrasting leather trainers - Kenzo leopard print dress - Neil Barrett sweatshirt & skirt - Damir Doma trousers - Neil Barrett sculptured shirt.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

ALIVE: In the face of death, Rankin exhibition.

ALIVE: In the face of death, Rankin exhibition, Walker Art gallery, Liverpool, runs from 17th May until 15th September.

Recently I visited the Walker Art gallery in Liverpool where the renowned fashion photographer Rankin has an exhibition but unlike his usual work where he captures the faces of the famous and fashionable, this time he examines the position of death and how people who are going through terminal illness deal with their foreboding future. The exhibition also looks at death through the eyes of people who work in the industry such as portraits of undertakers, African mourners who are paid to celebrate the life of the deceased and even a portrait of a tattooist who mixes the ashes of loved ones into ink to be used in a tattoo.

The exhibition is a juxtaposition of the usual work of Rankin but in it there are glimpses of his fashion photography side, he after all was the co-founder of Dazed & Confused in 1992 which is known for combining fashion with culture and art in its photography style.

The entrance corridor leading into the main exhibition space is lined with portraits of blacked out death masks, the masks are in the shape of a skull but instead of taking on a deathly look they are made out of different objects such as flowers, glitter, jewels, coloured spots and face paint. I think they can be seen as Rankin using aspects of fashion photography by intending to make the face mask more jovial by the items used, such as glitter. The eyes in each of the death masks shine through, they bring a focus to the blacked out face and in the eyes you can see the image of Rankin photographing the sitter, I think by keeping the eyes bright and alive it highlights the shared vision of both Rankin and sitter.
A theme I noticed in a couple of photographs was butterflies, there was a death mask named ‘if I had wings’ made out of butterflies and another photograph was named ‘vanitas’ which showed butterflies breeding and coming out of a rotting skull. The image of butterflies can be seen as a visual metaphor for life after death, the birth of a new life at the end of an old, as the exhibition is examining the role of death in society this is an aspect of death of people having faith in the afterlife.

The portraits of people who have terminal illness or who have battled illness are striking by their unison, in all of them the eyes are alive and focus on you as you walk along the room. Rankin worked alongside the sitter in portraying them how they wished to be captured by doing this you can catch a glimpse of their different personalities. My favourite was a  photograph of Stevie Corry a 21 year old with the disease custinosis her image is in bright colour and shows her laughing and very animated in the face, I think it radiates her youthfulness and passion for life.
Another aspect of the exhibition looked at the opposite side of being a celebratory instead of celebrities being idolised and captured in the best possible light Rankin showed famous faces how they would appear in a traditional Victorian death mask, subverting the idea of the death mask. Celebrities included Robert Di Niro, Holly Willoughby, Jarvis Cocker, Abbey Clancey and Daphne Guiness among others, the photographs were displayed on a white wall in rows they looked like a structured collage, the wall had a spooky feel as many of the celebs were alive and normally photographed within a fashion setting.

I really enjoyed the exhibition I liked how you didn’t radiate to the celeb imagery but instead took the time to gaze at each individual photograph, you were interested to learn about the person being captured which you could do as under each image was a label giving a short bio, it gave the photographs an extra personal touch. Even though the subject of the exhibition was death overall I did not feel depressed or concerned walking around the exhibition space instead I felt the passion, personality and joie de vivre of each individual presented, the exhibition was alive with emotion.
If you’re visiting Liverpool in the near future I would defiantly recommend you going to visit, it is a free exhibition and runs until 15th September.

Sorry for the bad images, you wern't allowed to take pics but I sneakily did on my phone

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Punk takeover

All images from

Punk once worn by the subculture of society has now reached its fashion peak and is being celebrated by New York Met museum in an exhibition named ‘Chaos to Couture,’ it is examining punks impact on high fashion from the movements birth in the 1970s through to its continuing influence today. What’s new about this exhibition is that Punk has never been celebrated in a museum setting before for its relevance to high fashion, punk was started as a reaction against high fashion in wanting to be unique and cause a stir against the establishment by dressing in a way to provoke a reaction, it was an attitude rather than just clothing that created the punk aesthetic. Therefore I’m not sure if the original 70s punk subculture would appreciate being linked to high fashion, renowned fashion journalist Suze Menkes who attended the exhibition agrees she said, ‘it was a terrific and energetic movement, and I don’t think you get that from the exhibition.’
However the curator Andrew Bolton who also curated the Alexander McQueen retrospective which has been worldwide celebrated said, ‘the main thing I hope to engage is the idea that fashion is a very powerful tool and can be used to upset the zeitgeist, to be challenging and reflect key concepts sometimes.’

The exhibition contains some exciting originals such as Elizabeth Hurley Versace safety pin dress, Patti Smith and Sid Vicious stage costumes and a room dedicated to Malcolm McClaren and Westwood Seditonaires boutique 430 Kings Road, London. I would have liked to see how the boutique was represented as in the 70s it was a shop dedicated to shocking the public with its bondage wear, dark interior and punk music blaring.
From what I can gather the exhibition is separated into  different sections, hardware with Versace, Givenchy and Balecinga garments it means clothes that are made from zips, studs, chains things that could be found in hardware shop. Bricolage with Margiela, Gareth Pugh and McQueen garments, it is designers which incorporate fund objects into their clothing such as a McQueen razor clam dress.  Destroy with Japenese designers such as Issy Miyake, Margiela and Comme Des Garcons who use process of deconstruction to create a new aesthetic which challenges the norm similar to a punk aesthetic of being visually challenging.

The opening of the exhibition was celebrated by the annual Met Ball fundraiser which had a punk theme it was co-chaired by Anna Wintour and Ricardo Tisci whose couture for Givenchy has links to Punk by its melancholy and sombre attire. Here is a selection of the most noteworthy looks worn, Madonna went for a ridiculous 70s dress up with fishnets and chains it was Givenchy haute couture by Ricardo Tisci which just shows couture is at the extreme end of fashion. I loved Cara Delevinge and Sienna Miller nod to punk with Cara in a studded bodice and Sienna with a punk leather jacket both wore Burberry. Sarah Jessica Parker was in a Giles Deacon dress which had all the drama of punk with its wide brimmed opening revealing her knickers, also her Mohawk was an added punk flair which I thought suited the dress. Miley Cyrus was in a netted Marc Jacobs dress which I thought looked quite elegant and could be easily copied on the high street just make sure wear slip underneath. Ricardo Tisci also dressed Florence Welch but unlike Madonna who went for dress up she capsulated the drama of the punk aesthetic with a sheer bat winged gown.  

The influence of punk has already started to hit the high street with cropped tops, ripped denim shorts, netted tops and cycling shorts all about. I like the DIY aspect of punk how it is easily encapsulated you can acid wash your jeans to make them more punk, festivals this year will be streaming with punk influenced clothes such as studded bras, heavily buckled boots which can be seen in Topshop at the moment and the Rhianna line for River Island has a punk aesthetic. However for a more elegant night time look go for leather shorts with a manly blazer and worn with an embellished crop top, it is just a nod to punk but team with animal print shoes it is enough of a punk aesthetic without looking costumey.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Check it out - new blog

Dose of Vitaim F is a new fashion blog defintley worth a visit not just a fashion blog but also a boutique and a place for people to network in the industry.

Here is a link to latest post about summer trend of yellow - great inspiration for summer that is surely just around the corner.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Heels for the summer

Top row - £70 - £149
Bottom row - £69 - £70

Oh my gosh am I having shoe envy at the moment after stumbling across new shoe brand Mifani. Defintely a hit for the summer, they are all lovingly hand produced and at a top cost of around £150 they make for a fairly affordable shoe statement. I love the use of embellishment, they have a baroque esque vibe which is bang on trend for the 20s fashion look that is sure to hit the high street for the summer after Great Gatsby comes out. They have a range in stilettos, block midi heels, platforms and office court shoes so can be worn to most occasions - I love the idea of wearing a black court shoe which has heavily embellished heel to the office - instant feel good factor for the day I think.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Exhibition Review: The Phantoms of Surrealism

The Phantoms of Surrealism, Neil Coombs, 22nd March – 16th May, Theatr Colwyn, Abergele Rd, Colwyn Bay, North Wales.

 The Phantoms of Surrealism is a solo exhibition of new work by Neil Coombs based upstairs in a back room at Theatr Colwyn, the exhibition is supported by Arts Council Wales. The exhibition is made up of photos taken by Coombs at landscapes and locations set throughout the UK which he feels have a historical connection with British surrealism, the photographs are then rearranged into a repeating grid of 15 rectangles to form a ‘spirit’ or ‘phantom’ of that specific place.
Traditionally surrealism for me is all about capturing the spirit of the uncanny, the appreciation of uniqueness, respecting the power of dreams where images are created by first response without no adhering reason or for a specific cause. For me then this exhibition seems false to be named ‘phantoms of surrealism’ because when the photographs from each town are taken and then rearranged to form a kind of robotic face they lose their essence of surrealist because they are no longer just photos but are taken with a specific aim to create the said ‘phantom.’
All the phantoms are made up from iconic settings that adhere them to be from that place, such as the ‘phantom of Westminster’ is made up from snapshots of Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and the Union Jack flag – it just feels too well thought together  and gimmicky to be truly surrealist.

However the ‘phantom’ I enjoy the most is the one of Leeds it may be because I know the area but I feel it is the most genuine as is not made up of well known landmarks but incorporates a street vibe through use of graffiti and brick panelling, it represents the grime of an inner city.
All the ‘phantoms’ have a different robotic expression which is amusing to look at; they are displayed next to one another in a repeating sequence around the white walled room. They’re all available to buy at £400 I think if you have a connection to a place which has been shown you’ll have a greater appreciation of the ‘phantom’ but overall it did not reflect a surrealist aesthetic.

The Phantom of Birmingham

The Phantom of Cork Street

The Phantom of Dymchurch

The Phantom of Farley Farm

The Phantom of Leeds

The Phantom of Shepperton

The Phantom of Westminister

Friday, 10 May 2013

The Art of Window Displays

Window displays are the first point of contact between the public and a brand they act as an outwardly visual representation of the brands vision for that season or collection.

‘The merchandise in the display cases of department stores became the treasures of consumerist society.’ (Bonnie English, ‘A cultural history of fashion in twentieth century,’ 2007)
Personally I love to look at how window displays are created some of my favourite ones are where there is no direct link to the clothes, they are not shown in the window but instead a nod to the collection is seen to by the way the window is styled to project an atmosphere and how you would feel wearing the clothes.

It is a very subjective experience but I want a window display to inspire me and excite me into the shop, not by looking at a mannequin which is wearing a structured outfit which I then want to buy and recreate but by looking at the window display and feeling the brands image is authentic and relates to me.
Window displays in some cases can bring art closer to life to be enjoyed by an unexpected mass public, they are created with such an artistic flair that they stop people who would not normally be customers of that brand to just look and admire.

On the high street my favourite window displays come from Topshop who always set a scene to backup their latest collection, it is a scene in which you would love to be at. Also, Urban Outfitters a couple of years back there was a negative press surrounding their window display of black headless mannequins suspended throughout the window they were reported as upsetting the public, personally I think they were haunting but that is what Urban Outfitters clothes are known for being dark, sombre yet still having fun playful elements to them.

Here are some artistic examples of window displays I found on the internet to share with you

Louboutin - dancing red shoes reflect sex appeal

Louis Vuitton - cameras reflect how the bag is highly sought after

Manolo Blahnik - naked woman surrounded by shoes reflect sex appeal and can never have too many

Alexander McQueen - 3 mannequins reflect brands artistic stance

Mulberry - ice cream reflect summer fun

Topshop - Roundabout of mannequins reflect fashions constant moving

Yamamoto - Dress seen as in movement reflect nod to Yamamotos appreciation of shape and design