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JH ENGSTROM EXHIBITS: "FROM BACK HOME"

Iconic Swedish photographer JH Engström is currently exhibiting 'From Back Home' in Berlin, a collection of images tracing his childhood memories back to the province of Värmland READ MORE...
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REVIEW: 'TREAT PETITE' BY FIONA PEARCE

There's something so irresistible about miniature food, the treats we love made into tiny packages you can just pop into your mouth - virtually guilt-free! READ MORE...
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GEMMA, LILY & LINDSAY'S PHOTO BOOTH FUN FOR DIOR

"Three friends taking pictures of themselves in a photo-booth as they go off to Glastonbury festival''. This was the brief John Galliano (remember him?!) gave to Nick Knight READ MORE...
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12 STUNNING PHOTOS THAT CAPTURE THE WORLD

As an amateur photographer, I'm fascinated by the universe of possibilities we can explore in creating images with our digital camera - why limit ourselves? I read a debate a while ago READ MORE...
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'FROM ARCHITECTURE TO FASHION IN 8 SECONDS'

Since 2007, Montreal photographer Nicolas Ruel has been refining an in-camera double exposure technique, where with a quick swivelling motion of his device, a second plan is overlaid on a main READ MORE...
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LULA GOES TO JAPAN

Lula is about to pretty up Japan even further this October with its unique mix of memoir, philosophy and fantasy, as interpreted by editor Kazuo Sazuki READ MORE...
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May 15, 2013

Everlasting Sprout AW13: "White Scary"

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My eyes popped out when I saw Everlasting Sprout's magical pastel knits in 2009, my introduction to the Japanese knitwear label now solely designed by Keiichi Muramatsu, and I've been watching keenly ever since. I'm not the only one outside of Japan with a massive crush on Everlasting Sprout - established by Muramatsu and Noriko Seki in 2005 - though you'd think I was if you went by the lack of information and coverage of the brand outside of the country (the same can be said for any Japanese brand that isn't Commes, Junya, or Issey, which is unfortunate). WWD.com extends a further reach to international fashion weeks and has covered Everlasting Sprout three times, then Style.com finally reviewed a collection last year for SS13, but so far it's a one-off, though that possibly couldn't be helped, I can't find any evidence that Muramatsu actually showed at Tokyo Fashion Week in March. (And even his own website is spotty with visual coverage of his career, many collections appear in name only - we want all of the pictures!) But there is a new collection for autumn and that's what you're looking at. It's called White and Black, I found it on his website and was relieved to see he's still at it. And surprised to find that the Sprout girl has grown up beyond the experimental spectacle of the lampshade skirts which now seem a universe away, and which were far more difficult to reproduce for the mass market. One can forgive taking a turn toward the commercial, especially when it's this beautiful, but hopefully those complicated and wonderfully wacky knits that seem to be the purest expression of Muramatsu's passion for knits will resurface in future collections. 

Muramatsu likes to write little poems with accompanying line drawings to introduce his collections:

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Black and white. 

White spreads. Black cuts through. 

White clean. White scary. 

Black is serious. Black wriggles.

 

 

 

 

Keep in mind this is a translation. But I think we can get the gist? (Still not sure why white is scary but it makes me picture a kid out for Halloween as a ghost with a white sheet over his head. That's probably not what he meant.) Anyway, the tweeds are absolutely gorgeous and look very expensive though they tend to be more reasonably priced when compared to similar garments from the big luxury brands, and I love the styling of the outfits which bring the fun and irreverence of Everlasting Sprout to the collection. Leave it to Muramatsu to make black and white so textural and exciting:

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Photos: Everlasting Sprout

November 03, 2010

Anrealage's Totally Unwearable Beauty

England10-2 'Does this dress make me look fat?' Yes, and that's kind of the point, at least peripherally.

 

Usually, unrealistic interpretations of how women should look draw criticism. We should all be tall, skinny and eternally wrinkle-free, etc. But in the case of Kunihiko Morinaga, the Japanese conceptual designer behind the label Anrealage, the impossible manifests in ways that challenge conventional notions about the human body and how we dress it. We're too stunned for harsh words.

Plastic inflatables as a material fly in the opposite direction of a shape that offers that svelt look and feel we endlessly pursue, so at first sight we ask, 'Why?' But Morinaga's designs aren't derived from that myopic ideal of looking long, lean and chic. In fact, in many of his previous collections, he ignored the body altogether. The 'clothes' were structured objects that had absolutely to do with the human form. Morinaga likes shapes. Basic, three-dimensional shapes like the sphere, cube and pyramid. He may be an avant-garde designer whose followers likely include the Kawakubo and Margiella set, but he never intended for anyone to try to wear his pyramind hoodie or trenchcoat cube. It's just not possible, no matter how broad the mind:

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Photo credit: Paul Barbera of Where They Create

When Morinaga does decide to welcome back established patterns and consider his creations as things people might actually wear, he does so beautifully, with couture attention to detail. His SS 11 collection is a hybrid of the two, in that you can actually put these clothes on, but very few would.

As much as I love feminine, figure flattering dresses with pretty details, I always give time to hearing someone's alternate view of our reality. Isn't it more fun and enriching to try to understand something so incongruent with our beliefs than to dimiss it? (But I hope Tom Cruise isn't reading this.)

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These angel wing sleeves really are divine. They also come in handy on long flights.

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The third one is more practical than it looks - you wouldn't have to wear a bra.

 

Show photos: WWD.com

October 28, 2010

Everlasting Sprout SS 11: Over the Blue

 
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My most favourite Japanese designer is Keiichi Muramatsu, the man behind Everlasting Sprout. My favourites are those exquisite pastel knitted corsets from a few years back, and although it usually renders the clothes unwearable, his sculpted knits like the lampshade dresses from two years ago are too enchanting and well executed to resist.

So his SS 11 collection, Over the Blue, is a wild departure from the fanciful incarnations of seasons past in that it's probably the most wearable one yet. This is what Muramatsu has to say about it:

What is the color of the sky beyond the square windows?
What is hiding beyond the clouds?
The sun is shining bright, the wind brings fresh scent.
Pleasant sound is in the air. The voice is fun.
Take a step, start walking.
Look up, break a sweat, live out a dream.
Cross the ocean, come through the sky.
Such a vista.

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How nice....

 

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Promotional image of a knitted airplane for Over the Blue

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You can view a video presentation of the collection here

Images from Everlasting Sprout

October 20, 2010

Tokyo Fashion Week Favourites, So Far

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Araisara

What I love most about Tokyo Fashion Week is the fun. There are similarities to some of what we've previously seen in the major fashion weeks (I often think Libertine, Creatures of the Wind and Rachel Antonoff from New York would fit perfectly in the Tokyo lineup) but there's always that little extra of Japanese flavour, a bit more daring, fearlessness when it comes to colour (what's there to be afraid of, anyway? is my eternal question), and things we would simply never ever see at the big four (or anywhere else for that matter) - see the last collage for that.

 

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Schoolgirl sweetness at Sunao Kuwahara

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Beautiful People used a shopping mall as their catwalk!

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I could do without the blue lips at Nozomi Ishiguro but it wasn't enough to distract from the charming layered pastel-tinted outfits

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Liz Lisa gives us what many associate with Japanese culture - an obsession with the candy cuteness of female childhood. She reminds me of Luisa Beccaria for 8 year-olds. (I think some of Liz Lisa's models aren't that much older!)

 

May 06, 2010

Tokyo Fashion Week: It Wasn't All Bad

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I read that the buyers and press weren't falling all over what they saw on the runways at Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo. What they were hoping for and where it fell short wasn't explained, but hey - if it helps, I liked a heck of a lot of what I saw, if this exceptionally long post is anything to go by! There were plenty of references to the types of styles we've just seen in New York, such as fur-trimmed 'proper lady' wool and cashmere coats, the lingerie-inspired, and 1920s - 40s shapes and cuts, but always with that distinctly Japanese cut and detail that's a bit outside of what we know beyond of Japan. And then there's the stuff that is just out of this world, which whether you like it or you don't, always makes for a nice change from the sometimes identikit collections we see at certain fashion weeks - these designers do their own thing.

 

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Matohu

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Araisara

HirokoKoshino 

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And last but not least, Everlasting Sprout, who never pass up the opportunity to make knitwear something unexpected. Like cat head hats. And their own little house with knitted roof shingles. The collection itself doesn't rank as one of my favourites but this one is one of my all-time loves of anything I've ever seen - see here.

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