A New Era

April 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

I love Vans, and I love print in any shape or form. So naturally the Vans Era, reborn in collaboration with Kenzo has both of those things. And although I’ve been keeping any opinions on Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon and Carol Lim’s collections for Kenzo (which so far I’ve had no complaints), this has put them firmly on my list of things I like.

Its a cheeky nod to the duos California roots, and a smart move for Kenzo, since it associates that effortlessly brand of cool that has for so long been wherein Vans appeal lies. They’re set to drop around mid May in stores such as Colette, Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, and (of course) Opening Ceremony.

Thank god Colette sells online…

I want it to be summer now, somehow I don’t think wearing shoes this bright in Melbourne during winter is appropriate.


White on White

April 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve always found the colour white to be the most amazing. Though people keep telling me it’s not actually a colour.

Regardless though, the cool thing about the colour white is that it reflects the colours around it. I have to wonder if Rei Kawakubo had this in mind when she created her “White” collection, which also reflected the passage of human life, celebrating the milestones of birth, marriage and death amongst others.

The collection was recently exhibited at the Cite de la Mode, all encased in inflatable bubbles, and demonstrates the progressive nature of some of Rei Kawakubos work. While I have to admit there have been some questionable moments through her career, this collection is a nice reminder that she still has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Here are some photos of a the exhibition as well as some amazing shots from the new I-D magazine of the come collection.

I do love i-D, they still manage to excite me when I see a new one.


Making Magic

April 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.

–Stanley Kubrick

The medium that is the film is one that the fashion industry has seized upon with a gusto normally reserved for trying to sneak into shows. So it is with this in mind I’ve decided that as a pet project, to accompany my other pet projects, I’m going to try and produce my own film. With the help of some amazing people of course. I’ve sorted out the star, and I’ve got the person who actually knows what they are doing (I believe they are referred to as the ‘Director’) waiting on standby. I will even have a whole new collection ready to go as well.
I’m not sure if being impressed by my own organization is a good thing…

The only hurdle so far is the song, and what I want it to be about. At the moment all I can see in my head is something that vaguely features seedy 70’s motel rooms and something vaguely reminiscent of that scene in Scarface where Michelle Pfieffer is dancing with Al Pacino.

Beyond that its a mystery, one that I’ll probably work out as I go. However in the meantime, here are the things that are so far making up the mood board….

Feeling this song for the background, apart from the fact that this film clip is just plain amazing, the song just keeps trumping all other contenders.

Gabriel (featuring Valentina) – Joe Goddard from DFA Records on Vimeo.

The Real Sartorialists

April 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Vestoj (Esperanto for ‘clothing’) is one of the newest publications to grace the world of fashionable media. And unlike some of it’s fluffier counterparts (cough*Grazia*cough) it’s not only really beautiful to look at, but lo and behold, it’s actually interesting. Published annually, Vestoj focuses solely on sartorial matters, bringing together academia and industry in a bid to combine academic theory, critical thinking and a bit of good old fashioned glamour.

Instead of looking at the collections and discussing the coolest new bag Vestoj is a forum for academic discussion, where academia, curators, and the fashion industry can actively communicate with one another. Existing outside of seasonal trends and with no regard to news-based articles instead promoting critical thinking and independent thought to cultivate an environment of absolute creative freedom.

“We write about the cultural phenomenon that is fashion in a manner that opens up for dialogue between theory and practice in order to raise awareness for fashion as a cultural phenomena and field of research and cultivate an even greater understanding for the discipline.”

Even better, to remain independent and free of “The Man”, the magazine will feature no advertising! Instead of buying a magazine only to discover the first thirty or so pages are ads, this one is all business with none of the bullshit. Or maybe all pleasure no business is more appropriate.

And because all great works need a manifesto….

  1. All articles must relate to sartorial issues. We are interested in people’s relationship to their clothes, and fashion’s relationship to identity.
  2. We must bridge academia and industry. We will place academia and industry side by side, and give equal significance to both. We will place the academic in an industry context and vice versa in order to increase the understanding and collaboration between these two fields. We will work for the greater good of our discipline.
  3. Fashion must always be taken seriously. We must never be afraid to have pretensions. We are as interested in the minutiae of clothing as we are in the grand themes of fashion. We will see the trivial in the substantial and the substantial in the trivial, and ensure that all is given equal importance.
  4. The tone must be inviting. We must never be excluding in language or approach. We will use humour to draw readers in and themes that many can relate to.
  5. Text and image shall be given equal importance. We must always integrate word and picture and guarantee that there is an ongoing dialogue between the two.
  6. Everything shall be questioned—nothing is holy. We must challenge the status quo. We must always ask why.
  7. We must always remain independent in thought and action. We must actively encourage critical thought and never be satisfied until we have examined every theme intrepidly. We will keenly promote criticism and draw attention to the paradoxes within the fashion world.
  8. Advertising is forbidden.
  9. The reader’s intellect must be as gratified as their aesthetic sense. We will encourage creativity as well as an intelligent discourse. We will take nothing for granted.
  10. We will have an interdisciplinary approach. We will take care to examine each theme from various angles and make certain that we represent other lifestyles and ethos than our own. We will work from within the fashion world, but maintain an outsider’s perspective.

Getting Closer

April 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Because sometimes you need to see these things close up to really appreciate them. And because lets face it, about as close as we’re going to get at the moment. (Though I could just be speaking for myself…)

Balenciaga by Nicholas Ghesquire AW 2012

Balenciaga by Nicholas Ghesquire AW 2012

Balenciaga by Nicholas Ghesquire AW 2012

Dolce & Gabbana AW 2012

Dolce & Gabbana AW 2012

Jil Sander by Raf Simons AW 2012

Jil Sander by Raf Simons AW 2012

Prada aw 2012

Prada AW 2012

Delfina Delettrez AW 2012

Delfina Delettrez AW 2012

Lanvin by Alber Elbaz AW 2012

Lanvin by Alber Elbaz AW 2012

Lanvin by Alber Elbaz AW 2012

Thanks to DazedDigital for the pictures.

Pre-Industrial Thinking in a Post-Industrial Age

April 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

So…. I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainability (always dangerous) and how I’d like to run my own practice one day. I’m not the first, or the last person to point out that the fashion industry sucks. Yes there are some designers who do some amazing stuff, and some of them even manage to not trash the environment or exploit people at the same time. Prada’s practice of labelling every garment with where it was produced is a good example, it lets the consumer know where it was made, and more importantly where the craftspeople who have given them this beautiful new thing came from.

Of course it helps that the bigger houses have huge budgets and ateliers of craftspeople to help them produce their work, but for an emerging designer, especially one in Australia where our local production industry is so abysmal most of us will end up going to Indonesia or China, producing our products in a way that is both ethical and sustainable is practically impossible.

If we stick to the current business structure that is.

It was a book on the industrial revolution that started the wheels in my head turning. Before we discovered steam engines and the potential for mass production, objects were produced locally by artisans. The flaw in this ‘cottage industry’ was that your ability to expand was negated by the size of your local population.

But now the world is no longer defined by location. With the internet we have a global community, one where people can buy things from anywhere in the world with the push of a button. There is the argument that it’s not the same without seeing it in the flesh, and sometimes the sizing is wrong, but if people are willing to by someones homemade Twilight fan art (I’m looking at you etsy.com) then I don’t see how with a few tweaks we couldn’t return to a form of local industry with widespread distribution.

An ideal model would be something more akin to a gallery. The product is displayed, you can pick it up, try it on in your size, and if you want it you can order it. No changes to the design (this isn’t a dressmakers) but as the designer the production, quality, conditions it’s made under, could all be more closely controlled. Instead of churning out a new collection every season, there could be an evolving product range. Sure you aren’t going to make inane amounts of money working this way, but the current methodology is no longer sustainable, or acceptable.

Naysayers could argue that the impact of postage and shipping would negate the whole local production aspect, but surely the impact of sending a few garments across the world is negligible compared to producing and shipping thousands of poorly made t-shirts from China to wherever they’re going? Not to mention the environmental cost of the growing and production of the materials. Or the ethical cost of the conditions a lot of such products are made in.

Better yet, imagine having a studio in each city where the products are made. The materials could be locally sourced, and the garments produced there as well.

The only person who seems to have adopted this sort of business structure is Bruno Pieters (formerly of Hugo Boss) with his HonestBy label, something I’ve previously covered (you can se his website here). What he has done is admirable, and worth looking at, for he has truly struck upon the future of how product based industries need to run if we are going to survive.

Mostly I guess the biggest problem lies with the consumer, for the product wouldn’t be available without the demand to justify it. Maybe it’s time we stopped justifying that new t-shirt or dress because the old one is falling apart, or we just don’t feel the same way about it as a few months ago, and start investing in what we purchase.


Earth Laughs in Flowers and Chapelle Takes Pictures

April 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

David LaChapelle, he of the ubiquitous muscled, airbrushed and hyper coloured perfection that defined much of his work, has bought us his first foray into fine art photography with an exhibition entitled “Earth Laughs in Flowers” which along with the photographs was inspired by the below poem Hamatreya by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
La Chapelles goal was to portray the fragility of humanity (isn’t it always?) and the transience of possessions. Not to meantion a look at some of the less appealing but no less dominant facets of society such as avarice and greed. He succeeds, the style reminiscent of the classic still lives of the old masters, but the subject matter is contemporary, the flowers wrapped in plastic or amidst piles of broke mobile phones, balloons, and other detritus. The food is wrapped in plastic, or shattered, and instead of the loaves of bread found in renaissance art, theres a slab of what looks like a supermarket chocolate cake.
Moot point, it’s pretty cool, and a whole lot smarter than I’m sure some critics would have expected. And despite the lack of babes in briefs (check out his fashion photography if you aren’t familiar with it and that will make sense) there is still plenty to like about it.
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bulkeley, Hunt, Willard, Hosmer, Meriam, Flint,
Possessed the land which rendered to their toil
Hay, corn, roots, hemp, flax, apples, wool, and wood.
Each of these landlords walked amidst his farm,
Saying, “’Tis mine, my children’s and my name’s.
How sweet the west wind sounds in my own trees!
How graceful climb those shadows on my hill!
I fancy these pure waters and the flags
Know me, as does my dog: we sympathize;
And, I affirm, my actions smack of the soil.”
Where are these men? Asleep beneath their grounds:
And strangers, fond as they, their furrows plough.
Earth laughs in flowers, to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;
Who steer the plough, but cannot steer their feet
Clear of the grave.
They added ridge to valley, brook to pond,
And sighed for all that bounded their domain;
“This suits me for a pasture; that’s my park;
We must have clay, lime, gravel, granite-ledge,
And misty lowland, where to go for peat.
The land is well,—lies fairly to the south.
’Tis good, when you have crossed the sea and back,
To find the sitfast acres where you left them.”
Ah! the hot owner sees not Death, who adds
Him to his land, a lump of mould the more.
Hear what the Earth say:—

          “Mine and yours;

          Mine, not yours.
          Earth endures;
          Stars abide—
          Shine down in the old sea;
          Old are the shores;
          But where are old men?
          I who have seen much,
          Such have I never seen.
          “The lawyer’s deed
          Ran sure,
          In tail,
          To them and to their heirs
          Who shall succeed,
          Without fail,
          “Here is the land,
          Shaggy with wood,
          With its old valley,
          Mound and flood.
          But the heritors?—
          Fled like the flood’s foam.
          The lawyer and the laws,
          And the kingdom,
          Clean swept herefrom.
          “They called me theirs,
          Who so controlled me;
          Yet every one
          Wished to stay, and is gone,
          How am I theirs,
          If they cannot hold me,
          But I hold them?”
When I heard the Earth-song
I was no longer brave;
My avarice cooled
Like lust in the chill of the grave.

Where Am I?

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