Saturday, 22 March 2014

On the Pulse of Fashion

After all the catwalk shows it's time to look ahead and try to figure out what's coming up in terms of shapes, colours and fabrics. Bear in mind fashion trends are becoming increasingly fluid, so this is my own edit and interpretation of the collections for Autumn/Winter 2014-15. 


Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and Valentino
Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and Valentino


For me, it's not only about expressing feelings and ideas but also about the simple pleasure of wearing something elegant and beautiful wherever life may take you. Having said that, I have to start with otherworldly pieces, significant in their message of transformation, mystical transcendence and love. 


Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and J. Mendel
Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci and J. Mendel


Maybe we're starting a period of spiritual maturity so much needed in a world stricken by political upheaval. Love is definitely the answer against self-centred attitudes and short term vision, it's important to consider future generations and what we're building up for them. 


Valentino, Lanvin and Balenciaga
Valentino, Lanvin and Balenciaga


Let's not leave everything to politicians, do we really care about all those we come in contact with, despite living with so much speed? It's impressive the amount of people who rush in the morning literally running to catch the next train, often bumping into each other, without realizing it would be enough to get up ten minutes earlier to avoid causing stress. 


Balmain, Gucci and Emilio Pucci
Balmain, Gucci and Emilio Pucci


If we were fortunate enough to grow up receiving love it's our responsibility to share it with the world around us. Caring is the best protection against aggressive attitudes just as coats are the best we can wear to shield us from cold temperatures. Looking at next season's collections, there are plenty of amazing pieces with colourful fur either as an adornment or second skin. In terms of colours, midnight blue, yellow and dark red seem to be key.


Etro, Vivienne Westwood and Gucci
Etro, Vivienne Westwood and Gucci


It's impressive how some designers still manage to connect with their creative energy despite the pressure to produce so many collections per year. Matthew Williamson has created an amazing black and white dress and other designers were also inspired by this timeless colour combination.


Givenchy, Mathew Williamson and J. Mendel
Givenchy, Mathew Williamson and J. Mendel

Night and day, darkness and light, contrasting forces are always dynamic and when balanced in sync can take us beyond fixed viewpoints. The burning heat of passionate energy was tangible during Roberto Cavalli's show, when the catwalk was literally on fire, in a magical circular display.


Roberto Cavalli, Prada and Givenchy
Roberto Cavalli, Prada and Givenchy

There's no time to get stuck in activities that are not fulfilling but focus in whatever we find ourselves doing with the same carefree attention of an artist. Maybe the future is not about fighting to succeed but to surrender. But my selection wouldn't be complete without a bit of sparkle... 


Emilio Pucci, Antonio Berardi and Matthew Williamson
Emilio Pucci, Antonio Berardi and Matthew Williamson


It's impossible to finish this catwalk edit without the party vibe. Shimmering fabrics and figure hugging pieces are simply fabulous to go out and have a good time. "Can you dance to my beat?"  




   

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Fashion Editorial Week

New York Fashion Week may be under way but the most newsworthy events in the industry didn't occur on the catwalk but inside the glossy pages. The close-knitted relationship between retailers and publishers has been gaining momentum for a while, reaching its pinnacle with the publication of the highly anticipated and somewhat controversial Porter magazine.

Porter Magazine, Lucy Yeomans and Natalie Massenet
Lucy Yeomans, editor-in-chief of Porter magazine and Natalie Massenet, Net-a-Porter's Executive Chairwoman 


From Vogue's Fashion Night Out to online shopping inside magazine websites, this is a win-win situation as they feed off one another. Retailers such as Top Shop and My Wardrobe have also hired women who were previously working in the publishing industry. But this is the first time in history that a global luxury retailer - Net-a-Porter.com - publishes a glossy magazine.






The sky is the limit for Massenet who is certainly one of the most powerful voices in the fashion industry at the moment. The new magazine is not overtly focused on shopping (although its iPad version will be) and features are toward the front for a change. 






We can also expect the most talented individuals in the field such as Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, who photographed the cover. But, apart from being global, without the restrictions of being confined to a particular country, what does it offer in terms of content? 

Aimed at "stylish intelligent women", there is not much indication about thought provoking features. Nowadays, magazines are incredibly superficial without much to read at all. It would definitely be worth producing a truly global magazine in terms of content too, featuring different cultures, lifestyles and other creative areas by qualified and conscientious journalists.


Kate Moss magazine covers
Kate Moss magazine covers


But these are not the only news in publishing; Kate Moss, the woman the world loves to watch, decided to venture behind the camera as fashion editor for British Vogue, editing a fabulous shoot photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. "Perhaps not every editor takes her model out partying on the first night of the shoot" writes Alexandra Shulman on her editor's letter.

Daria Werbowy on Vogue UK March 2014 styled by Kate Moss
Daria Werbowy on Vogue UK March 2014 styled by Kate Moss


Kate Moss is known for not giving interviews and remains a mysterious figure despite being one of the most photographed women in the world. After turning 40 this year, her career shows no signs of slowing down and she continues to inspire others such as Dominique Miceli, director of Looking for Kate, an "unauthorised" documentary.


Kate Moss at Bailey's Stardust NPG exhibition
Kate Moss at Bailey's Stardust exhibition


She has also seduced the art world and graced gallery walls; the latest exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery - Bailey's Stardust - features an incredible portrait of her by the renowned photographer David Bailey. If you're in London or planning to visit the city in the near future, don't miss the opportunity to closely observe his amazing work. I leave you with "Kate Moss, Creating a Icon", a film by Nicola Graef.







Bailey's Stardust
6 February - 1 June 2014
National Portrait Gallery



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Sunday, 2 February 2014

Top Couture Style and SJP Shoe Collection

When browsing through the haute couture collections presented in Paris, it seems most designers are sticking to previously tested formulas. There's a fine line between having a particular style and still push it forward or simply getting sidetracked into a corner. 


Alexandre Vauthier and Atelier Versace
Alexandre Vauthier and Atelier Versace


The pressure to deliver figures has probably never been so strong and this undermines the creative process which needs space, openness and freedom to occur. So it is understandable in a way but also disappointing, after all fashion is meant to be in tune with the present moment. To go with the flow is the secret of longevity and this phenomenon is clearly seen in the music industry.


Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad
Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad


Stars who are able to survive the test of time have undoubtedly adapted their style as they progressed in their careers, we can think of Madonna or Beyonce, who wears both established and emerging fashion designers. She was probably the inspiration behind some provocative couture pieces showing off long legs as she usually does on stage.


Atelier Versace and Zuhair Murad
Atelier Versace and Zuhair Murad


The relationship between stars and couture continues to be as strong as ever: Katy Perry wore a Valentino gown to the Grammys only a few days after it first appeared on the catwalk show. It was a beautiful and almost poetic dress, embellished with music notes, but overall there was nothing particularly striking this season.


Valentino and Elie Saab
Valentino and Elie Saab


Movie stars can also find something to wear on the red carpet including the beloved Cinderella dress, beautifully crafted by both Giambattista Valli and Zuhair Murad. This style featured in the previous Ulyana Sergeenko couture collection attracting international acclaim when Zhang Yuqi decided to wear it in Cannes, but this season something else caught my eye. 


Giambattista Valli and Zuhair Murad
Giambattista Valli and Zuhair Murad


A black dress elongating the silhouette and accentuating the shoulders and neck line. Even though Paris didn't seem to live up to expectations, some collections were punctuated with amazing pieces as shown on the edited images presented here. I hope you enjoy my selection and it's impossible not to add a note about the latest shoe collection by Sarah Jessica Parker.


Ulyana Sergeenko and Alexis Mabille
Ulyana Sergeenko and Alexis Mabille


She embodied the inner struggles of single women in her thirties living in a big city, to such an extent that most people connect with her, even if in real life she has a rock solid marriage, which was able to survive her meteoric rise to fame with Sex in the City. But above all, we appreciate her individual sense of style on and off screen.


Sarah Jessica Parker shoe collection
Sarah Jessica Parker shoe collection


After wearing the most amazing designers in the world, she literally stepped into their shoes to create a capsule collection. They are as feminine and stylish as she is, but somehow she decided to play safe which is a shame. Still, I'm sure it will be a huge success!    




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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Scoop Fashion Edit

Scoop International Fashion Show returns to London to showcase selected brands in amazing gallery spaces. Since attending the first edition, the efforts to promote this trade show are visible, everything runs smoothly and there are more and more people around. 


The Soho Furrier and Melissa Curry
The Soho Furrier and Melissa Curry


But despite the extension in terms of space and success, somehow it was slightly more challenging to find extraordinary pieces. This trade show is particularly aimed at attracting buyers and developing businesses so this means safe options also need to be offered.



Pyrus and Les Cerises de Mars
Pyrus and Les Cerises de Mars


It will always be a mission to achieve the fine balance between what most people buy and directional fashion for the savvy customers. If we consider Burberry for instance, the core of the business lies in the accessories, the iconic trench coat and the basic everyday plain shirt with the logo on it. But it's important to remember that most people enter the shop seduced by the allure of Burberry Prorsum's collections. 



Revival and Laurèl
Revival and Laurèl


In a way it's ironic, we have so much choice about what to wear but when looking around us, most people are very safe, preferring to blend in rather than standing out. There are many factors to take into consideration, from personality to lifestyle, but overall it's a shame we don't have a bit more fun with fashion and express our singularity.


Just in Case and Nocturne
Just in Case and Nocturne


Personally, I'm not into conceptual fashion at all, my favourite designers are Tom Ford and Frida Giannini, it's definitely about enjoying wearable clothes but without having a feel of déjà vu. Patricia Field did it brilliantly on the Sex in the City series, it's a real challenge to design wearable clothes but also interesting.


Pink Powder and Sunpocket
Pink Powder and Sunpocket


It would be more appealing to see more extraordinary pieces at Scoop, the problem of growing is that there's a danger of loosing the independent boutique kind of style. Global brands are almost anti-fashion, what is produced for the masses has no identity and the quality of the product is highly questionable. We definitely need to rethink our 'buy today throw away tomorrow' attitude.   



Scoop International Fashion Show
19-21 January 2014



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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy 2014!

It's that time of the year again, when we make new resolutions about all kinds of stuff. The wish list may be short or long but is it achievable? How many of last year's resolutions did we manage to fulfill? I always write them on the first page of my diary to make sure I go back to the list from time to time. 



Getty Images



It's all about making the most of life, like a good surfer, the main point is to keep the balance no matter how strong the wave is. Even if you find yourself landing flat on the shore or falling on the ocean without being able to breath, sooner or later the tide will change.

The fear of falling may be as overwhelming as the desire to be on top, but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter where you find yourself in; as Ernest Hemingway said "it is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end." 


Gemma Ward photographed by Corinne Day for Vogue UK, July 2006
Gemma Ward photographed by Corinne Day for Vogue UK, July 2006


This may seem like common sense but as David Bailey said on the presentation of his forthcoming exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, "common sense is not that common anymore." Today I've watched the Bling Ring directed by Sofia Coppola. She's remarkable when is comes to depicting the naivety of youth, it's all about having fun without malice or awareness of consequences.

This film, based on true events, reveals a dark corner of the fashion industry boosted by celebrity endorsements. This phenomenon has spiraled out of control to the point of becoming detrimental to an emerging generation who just wants to be rich and famous. The lack of common sense couldn't be any more evident.




   



But it's important to be aware that "fame or infamy are basic human reactions to desiring the simple thing we all want. To be told we are great, to be told we are needed and to be told we are loved." Nick Knight writes these words on the introduction to Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! book.

But do we actually tell people they're great? Do we tell them they're needed? Do we tell them they're loved? Certainly not often enough. And the world definitely needs more love among individuals, communities and countries. When the Dalai Lama visited New York he remarked: "millions of people living together and there's so much loneliness." May we all be able to enjoy paddling through the waves with grace and love! Happy 2014! 



Kirsten Dunst for Prada ad campaign and Rihanna for Balmain ad campaign
Kirsten Dunst for Prada and Rihanna for Balmain (ad campaigns)



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Friday, 13 December 2013

Be Inspired by Fashion Illustration

Considering our modern day hectic lifestyle and wide variety of hi-tech entertainment, it's quite impressive that some people still love the simple pleasure of drawing, allowing space and time in their lives to interpret the world of fashion through lines and dots. This is indeed an art form and now we can admire the most amazing artists with the first ever standalone exhibition from the Fashion Illustration Gallery


René Gruau
René Gruau
Text by Frieda Grafe, Interview with Gruau by Joelle Chariau, Foreword by Hubert de Givenchy
Rizzoli 1984


This brief exhibition features the world's most talented fashion illustrators from different time periods to the present day. René Gruau is a reference to David Downton, who has also a clean and elegant style. Downton is one of the most successful artists working today having drawn many celebrities, models in couture and contributed to prestigious fashion magazines.


David Downton
David Downton
Red Lips, Blue Eyes, 2013


It has been a long way since FIG's first inaugural exhibition in 2007 - 100 years of Fashion Illustration - which launched the book of the same name published by Laurence King. It's important to nurture talent and to cultivate an awareness of what has been done in the past and of what is being done today, this has been its relentless mission.


Antonio Lopez
Antonio Lopez
For Fashions of the Times, 1966


Each fashion illustrator has a unique signature style that can be incredibly inspiring. It can be as mesmerising as a good photograph and yet remains relatively limited to a niche of fashion aficionados. This is definitely an opportunity to reach more people, perhaps leading others to start drawing instead of just taking snap shots. 



Gladys Perint Palmer
Gladys Perint Palmer
Ungaro S/S 02, 2002
   


13 to 19 December
Christie's 
85 Old Brompton Road
London SW7




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Vogue Paris featuring work by René Gruau and Andy Warhol, Dec 1983 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Be Blown Away!

Isabella Blow is the epitome of the British fashion industry, edgy and subversive. She would express herself through fashion and now fashion brings her back to life in an amazing exhibition at Somerset House. As it happened with painters in the past, sadly she didn't live long enough to witness the recognition of her talent.


Isabella Blow, 1997 © Mario Testino
Isabella Blow, 1997 © Mario Testino
                                     

Diana Vreeland said "style is a way of life" and this is particularly true when we look at images of Isabella Blow wearing fascinating hats by Philip Treacy and exquisite pieces by Alexander McQueen. Just as Diana Vreeland, she could spot and nurture talent, having famously bough the entire first collection of Alexander McQueen, after attending his MA Fashion show.

"What attracted me to Alexander was the way he takes ideas from the past and sabotages them with his cut to make them thoroughly new." Isabella Blow 



Isabella Blow: Fashion Gallore! exhibition at Somerset House
Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! exhibition at Somerset House
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House)
 


Isabella was also instrumental in the early careers of other designers such as Philip Treacy, who after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1990 set up a workshop in the basement of her house. Walking through this exhibition, it's impossible not be be blown away by the incredible craftsmanship and conceptual richness of her personal collection. 

Interviewing Isabella after Philip Treacy's show, fashion journalist Tim Blanks asked "what is the essence of Philip's design?", to which she replied: "Magic." 



Isabella Blow: Fashion Gallore! exhibition at Somerset House
Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! exhibition at Somerset House
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for Somerset House)
 


The Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! exhibition, presented in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, features over 100 garments from her beloved designers. Her work as fashion editor and stylist for titles such as Tatler, The Sunday Times Style Magazine and British Vogue, is only a fraction of what she represents today, a legendary fashion figure.



Isabella Blow: Fashion Gallore! published by Rizzoli
Isabella Blow: Fashion Gallore! published by Rizzoli
Photography by Nick Knight edited by Alistair O'Neil with essays by
Professior Caroline Evans, Alexander Fury and Shonagh Marshall, £40
                                              

She is also known for discovering models Sophie Dahl and Stella Tennant and collaborating with major photographers such as Steven Meisel, David LaChappelle and Sean Ellis. But more than a patron of fashion, Isabella was also an inspiring muse, pushing others forward creatively as evidenced by La Dame Blue, a magnificent collection in her honour staged by Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy after her death. 

The fantastic feather dress worn by Raquel Zimmermann at the show finale is also on display at Somerset House. This is undoubtedly a must-see exhibition, just take time to appreciate the craftsmanship and creative brilliance of her collection and to capture her visionary style.



20 November 2013 - 2 March 2014
Somerset House









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Monday, 11 November 2013

Fashion Time Travel

If we look into fashion it's impossible to dissociate it from time, it's not just about capturing the zeitgeist but also revisiting different periods in history. It could never be depicted in a straight line but as circles intertwined between one another. Multinational luxury brands not only push future trends, they embrace the past promoting their unique heritage and Christian Dior is no exception.


Christian Dior 1953 by Mark Shaw
Evening dress, Autumn-Winter 1953, Dior Haute Couture collection
Photo: Mark Shaw


A new book published this month in the UK by Rizzoli - Dior Glamour written by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni - goes back to the heyday of his founder through the lens of Mark Shaw. It's fascinating to be able to travel through time into the almost mystical atmosphere of couture from 1952 to 1962, when the photographer worked closely with the House of Dior.


Christian Dior 1960 by Mark Shaw
Romance dress, Spring-Summer 1960, Dior Haute Couture collection
Photo: Mark Shaw


His unique way of depicting models within scenarios of particular significance would not only tell a story but also reflected the 'mood'. For instance, this photograph was taken in the home of Suzanne Luling, Christian Dior's extremely popular couture director. Her apartment was famous for its happening cocktail parties.



Christian Dior 1958 by Mark Shaw
Lola dress, Autumn-Winter Dior Haute Couture collection
Photo: Mark Shaw


This was an influential period in Parisian fashion which reached American readers through the strikingly intimate photography of Mark Shaw. His freelance assignments for Life magazine featuring Christian Dior's exquisite couture creations are now gathered in an amazing book, which publishes many photographs for the first time. 



Dior Glamour by Mark Shaw
Book cover: Dior Glamour Text by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Photographed by Mark Shaw, Rizzoli


When looking at his editorial-style images and rare moments of Christian Dior during fittings it's almost impossible not to see him as a pioneer. To this day, photographers continue to be interested in behind-the-scenes images and produce different narratives with a wide range of fashion props, technologies and locations. But Mark Shaw achieved such a fine balance between fantasy and reality that it's incredibly hard to beat, particularly today when images tend to be either hyperreal or surreal.



Spring Summer 2014 Christian Dior show
Spring-Summer 2014 Christian Dior catwalk show



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Sunday, 20 October 2013

Fashion Forecast

After hectic show schedules, designers can take some time off to unwind and have a well deserved rest. Months of hard work flash before their eyes in just a few minutes for the amusement or despair of an image overloaded audience. Videos, photos and words are uploaded onto the internet to cover countless shows featuring a wide range of brands and designers. 


Lanvin and Gucci
Lanvin and Gucci


Now is the time to go through all this information and make sense of what may lie ahead in fashion. Trends are increasingly fluid given the multiple style directions, nonetheless it's possible to identify some connections between the most well known brands and designers. One of this is Chic Shimmer embodied by glamorous women wearing scintillating fabrics, perfect for enjoyable evenings. 


Emilio Pucci and Tom Ford
Emilio Pucci and Tom Ford


But the most noticeable trend is definitely Flower Bed, which is not surprising considering spring is naturally the season when flowers bloom. Either as large prints, embroidered or three dimensional applications, colourful petals adorn the female body in a magnificent way.


Matthew Williamson and Giambattista Valli
Matthew Williamson and Giambattista Valli
    

Emotional feelings are often expressed with flowers so could this mean there will be more love in the world? When there's so much pressure to succeed and when success is measured in individual targets stirring up competitive aggression instead of cooperation, can designers sense a shift coming up?


Dolce & Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta
Dolce & Gabbana and Oscar de la Renta


Maybe it's just wishful thinking but everything starts with ideas anyway so you never know... Another trend is also about embellishment - Artistic Flair - which is a refreshing evolution of the artistic dress already seen in previous seasons. 

 
Mary Katrantzou and Prada
Mary Katrantzou and Prada


Karl Lagerfeld brought the creative spirit to the forefront of the latest Chanel catwalk show, where women emerged as if coming out of a painting box while Prada used Japanese manga style faces to illustrate her intricate pieces. 


Chanel and Roland Mouret
Chanel and Roland Mouret


Black and white continues to be a classic combination for Spring/Summer. Like the joy of touching beautiful piano keys, this trend is also about tactile pleasure, involving different textures and patterns. Incredible patchworks emerged on the catwalk, particularly by Alexander McQueen and Missoni.  



Alexander McQueen and Missoni
Alexander McQueen and Missoni


There's always an incessant attraction between polar opposites and this dynamic is as timeless as black and white photography. But in terms of colours, pink seems to be coming to the forefront of fashion trends next season, particularly soft tones.



Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren
Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren

Maybe we need a bit more romanticism and less focus on pure sexual energy so it's interesting to see the red colour of the previous season diluting into Pink. This is definitely an allusion to feminine power, it's the symbolic colour of baby girls and of the fight against breast cancer. 



Giles and Lanvin
Giles and Lanvin
  

The empowerment of women continues to demand a lot of effort to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe. It's all about using our heart more often and getting away from the predominant figure mentality, seeking positive emotions towards others instead of perceiving them as mere figures in complex Excel spreadsheets and web analytic tools. 



Roberto Cavalli and Temperley London
Roberto Cavalli and Temperley London
  
When browsing the new collections for Spring/Summer 2014, another easily predictable trend is the Safari Style. Just as flowers are an inspiration for Spring, summer is all about hot weather and holidays in warm climate countries. The connection to the earth is incredibly strong in the African continent and some designers have invoked this natural richness in their collections.



Donna Karan and Diane Von Furstenberg
Donna Karan and Diane Von Furstenberg

This is my selection of photos and trends for next season but the most important is to be able to mix and match what's inside our wardrobe according to our own personality and lifestyle. Let's not be carried away by so many voices across multiple media and advertising, we cannot buy happiness and can only rely on our own inner wealth... Be inspired by Empathy and Compassion in Society






  


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