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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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April 16, 2014

Clothes Under the Hammer: Great Fashion for a Good Cause

RONNIE POSTER NEW NEW NEWWW

If you're in the north east and fancy a night out of great fashion you can take home, come along to World Headquarters in Newcastle for Clothes Under the Hammer on May 7. A large collection of top quality men’s and women’s vintage clothing as well as wedding attire, coats and jackets and one off-items donated by independent boutiques will be up for auction to benefit the West End Refugee Service. (I happened to have donated a few pieces myself, including unworn - yes really! - pieces by Marc by Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang and Derek Lam. ) 

For a £3.00 donation you can gain access to these wonderful fashion finds and support asylum seekers and refugees living in Newcastle. Tickets are available online here

The event also includes a fashion show, street dance performance and a short film screening from the West End Refugee Service. 

It’ll be a fun night - the bar will be open! - so come on down and indulge your sartorial and charitable spirits. 

 

April 13, 2014

Me.By Me.: Celebrating Our Unique, Individual Style

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Last month I was treated to a preview of the new Me. By Me. campaign for TK Maxx in their Covent Garden store in London. It was a really colourful, upbeat party with smiling faces everywhere, the vibe reflecting the positive, sunny energy of the campaign. Have you seen the TV adverts? They feature real people, actual TK Maxx customers who are not professional models. An endearing self-consciousness is detectable and the message promoting unique personal style rings true. It's a refreshing concept as it's just so rare. Models act like models, they're never meant to come off as real people, and the Me.by.Me. campaign shows that some genuine character over the copycat, aspirational approach to selling fashion can be very motivating. Rather than seeing a model who has impossible legs, and impossible skin, and impossible hair and buying the clothes or bag she's wearing as a means of trying to get closer to that image, Me. By Me. gives us people of all ages whose personalities shine through the outfits and make us feel that we can look great as we are, that we've already got the whole package and hey, a few new bits will help us express ourselves and make us feel really good. 

This is the full advert for the TK Maxx Me. By Me. campaign: 

It holds your attention all the way through, doesn't it? I love it. 

So who are these real people? TK Maxx chose eight UK shoppers to help represent the brand and inspire others to celebrate the wonderful things that make them unique. They joined a diverse group of 12 TK Maxx real-life customers plucked from obscurity whilst browsing in stores spanning the UK, Ireland, Poland and Germany. They were taken on a trip of a lifetime to Cape Town, South Africa, where for 10 days they were encouraged to experiment with style and take part in a series of fun and experimental activities to help unlock their Me. By Me. mind-set. With no scripts or storyboards, the cast were given free rein to shape the direction of the campaign and experiment with a wide choice of clothing and accessories from stores to create their defining looks. 

Below are some of the TK Maxx customers from the advert, all from the UK. From top left is 82-year-old photographer Martin Gordon from London who doesn’t plan to ever retire; Pia Sarkar, a 25-year-old student and lover of 50s music and bright lipstick from Brixton; 62-year-old Olga spotted in London, who fabulously models TK Maxx’s swimwear; and Justina Bailey, a 28-year-old a graphic designer and self-confessed creative nerd with a quirky dress sense from London: 

TK-Maxx-Me-by-Me

In the spirit of uniqueness, some of the great food and drink we were treated to at the Me. By Me. party at the Covent Garden TK Maxx:

TheSwelleLife_TK-Maxx-Me-by-Me

You might be wondering why I have such a rabid enthusiasm for the project. Yes, the advert is a joy to watch and puts a feeling of summer in my head. But I'm so excited about it all because it's not empty marketing smoke and mirrors; the concept of celebrating individual style follows through into real life in my own city of Newcastle. At the event for the opening of the campaign, we were given gift cards so we could pick out some clothes and put together outfits we like for ourselves. I had to run off for my train so I didn't have time to look through the Covent Garden store and would have to do my shopping locally when I got back. I'll be honest, I was a bit deflated not being able to do it in London, assuming that the selection at home would pale in comparison. Little did I know that the TK Maxx in Newcastle had moved amidst renovations to the mall where it was originally located, to a massive new space on Northumberland Street which now had a whole new look and a serious commitment to fashion. I found the new store and when I came off the escalator I noticed on my right a section marked 'Gold Label', and I was hoping this was what I thought it was. And yes, it was a high-end designer section and I couldn't believe what was there. I'm not going to name names because each store varies in what they receive - and therefore worth checking regularly - but I'm talking 'fashion week' brands. Big ones. You know them and you want them, and here were those otherwise unattainable items - at massive discounts!  The pile on my arm started to grow higher and higher, and then on my way to the fitting rooms I found a ton of really cool plaid flannels - I love how they were grouped together and required no rummaging - and I barely made it on in without my arms collapsing.

Most importantly, the shopping experience at TK Maxx is one that really does leave your choices up to you. As you walk into the store you may notice, or not, that there are no styled mannequins in the window or on the floor. No signage showing willowy young models in dreamy fashionland to unwittingly emulate. No dictating how you should look this season, no obvious trends packaged up to lead you into buy something that's not really you. The racks are quite electic yet cohesive as they are grouped by type of garment while representing a vast array of brands and - current - styles, and what stands out and comes into the fitting room with you will be something you already know you like. I looked through the racks for all the 'me' clothes and found tons. See - Me. By Me. It works!

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At the Me. By Me. launch we were treated to a chat with Carolyn Mair (right), a renowned cognitive psychologist in the UK. With a keen interest in fashion psychology, she is developing the first MA Psychology in the Fashion Industries and MSc Psychology in the Fashion Industries programmes which will run at The London College of Fashion from September 2014. Carolyn will focus on the importance of psychology in fashion and help students to gain an understanding of human behaviour in a fashion context. We had a fascinating discussion about the impact our clothes have on how we feel about ourselves and I would have loved to talk to her all night, she's so lovely and insightful. 

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I found success with most of the clothes I took into the fitting room (we had to separate my bounty into two groupings) but decided to take home a pair of jeans from one of today's most popular jean brands, they're skinny and a turquoisy teal (I cannot have enough blue skinny jeans); I'm wearing them as I write this, they're so comfortable and fit perfectly. I also got two 'going out' tops because although I'm not out constantly I do find I'm lacking in clothes that are suitable for a night on the 'toon' (that's Geordie speak). But as I'm Canadian and not a Geordie I'm much more casual (ok that's not fair, there are casual Geordies, my friends don't even own sparkly tops and dresses); however, you don't want to be so casual that you look like you're not out for fun. These two tops are perfect for my subtle going out style. I was just under the amout of the gift card when I made my way to the cash with my three items, and then I saw some high-end designer activewear and my eyes fixated on a really great jacket in shades of grey and a mix of fabrics, it was right in line with the activewear I've been oggling from New York Fashion Week. I scooped one up and tried it on in the queue and added it to the pile. (I'm also wearing that right now, it's so comfy and will come in handy for a lot more than going to the gym.)

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In the end, my four items totalled £128. The RRP was several times that so I was totally thrilled, a big bonus on top of having new clothes that I really loved and work for me. 

I'm so glad I was asked to be a part of this with TK Maxx. I do almost 100% of my clothes shopping online because of convenience and selection, but after this experience I knew I'd be checking back in regularly to see what gems have arrived before I do any clicking - a typical store has over 50,000 in stock and receives 10,000 new pieces every week. That's another thing - TK Maxx has brought in brands we wouldn't otherwise have in Newcastle. We only have a few high end shops, I think you could actually count them all on one hand (and maybe even have a thumb left over), and they only carry certain brands. But it's not just about finding high-end gems; the entire floor is stocked with desirable clothes from all price points. I love the surprise of finding which designers will appear next, and discovering new labels in other areas of the store. And not forgetting the cherry on top - saving money! And I have to mention that the racks were very neat (no mess like you tend to find on the high street) and the fitting rooms were very clean as well, not strewn with discarded clothes and hangers. And the selection was simply fantastic. Newcastle needed this. Did I mention I'm impressed and I can't wait to get back? (Well since originally writing this draft I have been back. Last weekend I took a friend who was visiting and needed jeans, and she found the perfect pair plus some tops. And I found the perfect replacement to a raincoat I no longer like because my style has changed - my old one has a bow in the back and I don't do those anymore. My new find is more utilitarian and just so cool that I actually don't mind if it rains now. Almost.) 

You know what? I've yet to make my way to the second level to browse the housewares. This adventure is just beginning....

March 19, 2014

Nicolas Ruel Goes 'From Architecture to Fashion in 8 Seconds'

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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 subject, creating a new dimension. Ruel uses this process to capture an unseen urban look of the world, and to date this body of work - called 8 Seconds after the shutter speed used - spans an impressive sixty cities in forty countries. As you can see below, Ruel presents a very unique tour of the world's most fascinating places, demonstrating a knack for transferring the energy of the city to the viewer; the result is quite exhilarating and you don't want to stop looking. 

The originality of Ruel's work  struck Thierry-Maxime Loriot, Curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, who then asked him to set up a photo shoot in Jean Paul Gaultier's atelier in Paris. Ruel has been chosen to appear alongside famous artists and fashion photographers to showcase his work in the travelling international exhibition devoted to the French couturier, The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, during its stop in London at the Barbican Art Centre from April 9th to August 25th, 2014. In this context, Ruel's double exposure technique pays tribute to the duality that prevails in the world of Jean Paul Gaultier.

"Nicolas Ruel has a young and refreshing eye that is very different from most photographers. His pictures have an artistic tone that goes beyond simple fashion photography. The quality of his work compares to the same level as those from Andy Warhol, Pierre and Giles or David Lachapelle that we selected for the exhibition," says Loriot.

Watch Jean Paul Gaultier speak about the exhibition and its stop in London, as only JPG can (email subscribers can click on the post title to watch this on the blog):

 

Here is a glimpse of Ruel's fashion work:

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And now a mini tour of some of my favourites from Ruel's 8 Seconds project, of which there were a ton:

LONDON

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Tower Bridge, 2007

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Time, 2011 

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Canvas, 2009

GENEVA

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Prologue, 2010

BEIJING

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Maze, 2009

PARIS

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Pont des Arts, 2013

Nicolas_Ruel_ boudoir_paris

Boudoir, 2013

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Les Éclusiers, 2009

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Apparat, 2013

TEL AVIV

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Equation, 2012

TOKYO

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Trend, 2009

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Fast Forward, 2009

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Dori, 2009

MELBOURNE

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Pace, 2009

AMSTERDAM

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Centrum, 2013 

TORONTO

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Zenith, 2008

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Témoin, 2012

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Yonge, 2012

MONTREAL

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Palais, 2013

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Place de L'horloge, 2013

 

SYDNEY

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Martin Place, 2009

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Look Right, 2009

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Avalon, 2009

Photos © Nicolas Ruel 

Source: v2com

March 06, 2014

London Hat Week Kicks off at Atelier Millinery

L-R Scarlett Engineer, Rebecca Peters, La Touche, India Bennett [5]Left to right: Scarlett Engineer, Rebecca Peters, La Touche, and India Bennett

I love hats. Proper millinery ones. I don't wear them so much anymore, but they're fun and they break up the visual monotony on the streets. Britain loves hats, too, which anyone in the world knows if they've watched a royal wedding on tv. To celebrate, London Hat Week begins today at the event's official hub, Atelier Millinery, an independent hat shop in Kingly Court, Carnaby. LHW will explore every aspect of making and wearing hats in the city which is leading the worldwide revival of millinery. An exciting schedule of events will be hosted by partners across London during the week, many of which will be free of charge. LHW will run from 6-12 March.

Visit Atelier Millinery to preview the ‘My Favourite Hat’ exhibition featuring the inspiration of some of London’s most famous hat personalities, and special discounts and retail promotions will be offered at hat shops and showrooms throughout London and online, making it the perfect time to find out if you're a 'hat person' or treat yourself to a brand new style.

November 20, 2013

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

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Starting today, Somerset House, in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, presents Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, a major fashion exhibition celebrating the extraordinary life and wardrobe of the late British patron of fashion and art. Tickets can be purchased from the Somerset House website.

For more about the exhibiton and Isabella Blow's fascinating life in fashion, visit Not Just a Label and Daphne Guiness' Guide to the exhibition on Vogue.co.uk. (Daphne owns her late friend Isabella Blow's entire fashion collection, purchased after her death to stop it from being sold at auction and dispersed.)

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Isabella_Blow

July 24, 2013

Fashion Film Festival to Launch at London Fashion Week

SMC Silent Cinema 1Derek Zoolander would make his best 'prune' at hearing this news. 

St Martin’s Courtyard will be transforming into an open air movie theatre to showcase Silent Cinema, a Fashion Film Festival. A full sized cinema screen will pop-up for three nights during London Fashion Week in September showing iconic fashion films for free, a rare opportunity for the public to enjoy a Fashion Week event.

The St Martin’s Courtyard Fashion Film Festival will open on Sunday 15 September with a salon fashion show in the courtyard followed by the first screening, and will run until Tuesday 17 September. Choose between tongue-in-cheek fashion comedy Zoolander, fashion industry favourite Grey Gardens, or catch a glimpse behind the scenes of American Vogue in The September Issue.

Silent Cinema is beautifully simple: you wear wireless headphones to watch great films on a full size cinema screen. 100 free tickets are available for each screening through a prize draw. If you’re not one of the lucky ones to win a pair of tickets, be one of the first to arrive on the night and there will be a number of tickets available for each screening on a first come first served basis.

To guarantee one of the best seats in the house, you can book in advance for dinner and a movie at one of the St Martin’s Courtyard restaurants. Contemporary Thai restaurant Suda, British café /restaurant Bill’s and Italian enoteca Dalla Terra will all have headsets for al fresco diners.

A cinema experience wouldn’t be the same without treats to nibble on whilst watching the film. Enjoy Thai snacks from the Suda usherettes, posh sweets, ice cold beer and hedgerow fizz cocktails from Bill’s bar, and free gourmet popcorn for all.

St Martin’s Courtyard is Covent Garden’s newest shopping and dining destination with a unique mix of fashion, beauty and lifestyle boutiques and flagships and six international restaurants.  Many shops will be open until 7pm for a pre-screening shopping spree and many of the restaurants will be offering late supper deals after the films finish.

For a chance to get hold of a pair of tickets, visit www.stmartinscourtyard.co.uk/fashionfilmfestival and enter your details. Winners will be contacted one week prior to the screening. There will also be tickets available on the night. For live updates and further ticket giveaways, follow St Martin’s Courtyard on twitter @smccoventgarden.

June 09, 2013

Swedish Photography Berlin: Fashion Meets Art

DifferentDistances

Denise Grünstein’s focus is theme of women and nature, explored through a powerful and suggestive visual world conjured by the artist. 

The work of five internationally renowned fashion photographers from Sweden is currently on show at Swedish Photography gallery in Berlin. Artists Denise Grünstein, Julia Hetta, Martina Hoogland Ivanow, Julia Peirone and Elisabeth Toll explore and displace limits in 'Different Distances'. Their art is a game of balance between fashion and artistic photography, rooted in art history and personal experiences. 

JuliaHetta
Julia Hetta

Julia Hetta’s romantic and timeless images, published in magazines like Another, Dazed & Confused and Harper’s Bazaar, show an alternative world inhabited by mysterious and omniscient beings, evolving slowly in a place where the light is always soft, however permeated with a feeling of impatience. The colours are so saturated and the textures appears so real they make one want to step closer and touch them. 

MartinaHooglandIvanow
Martina Hoogland Ivanow 

Martina Hoogland Ivanow’s photographs give the onlooker the sensation of a presence both real and poetic, combined with a menacing and hypnotic aesthetic. She works for clients like Prada, Miu Miu, Philip Lim and Bergdorf Goodman. 

NIKE_jpg
Julia Peirone, Nike

Julia Peirone masters the art of capturing moments out of our control. Her images are revealing; for instance, her series of portraits of teenage girls uncover a self-consiousness during this awkward time of transition into womanhood.

 SWEDISH PHOTOGRAPHY_Lanzarote_2012_©Elisabeth TollElisabeth Toll

Elisabeth Toll, who works for French, German and Russian Vogue, says, "If there is no light, I can’t see anything". Her photographs are inspired by personal recollections, stories, impressions and sensations which she relives and shares with us. Exhibition curator Greger Ulf Nilson says, "These images spark my curiosity by their strong link to architecture and their dash of surrealism."

The exhibition is produced by Swedish Institute, Stockholm.

DIFFERENT DISTANCES is now open until July 20, 2013

SWEDISH PHOTOGRAPHY
Karl-Marx-Allee 62
D-10243 Berlin
+49 30 81473709
Monday to Saturday 12:00 - 6pm

May 21, 2013

Helsinki's Aalto University to Give Creative Currency Fashion Seminar & Show

AaltouniversityNäytös13 fashion show will showcase the prize-winning Aalto University's student collections from international competitions on Friday 24 May in Helsinki. The winning collection by a recent graduate from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Satu Maaranen, who won the Grand Prix at the French Hyères Fashion Festival in April, will be included in the show. A new men’s collection by last year’s Hyères winners Elina Laitinen, Tiia Sirén and Siiri Raasakka will also be presented. The collection was displayed for the first time in Hyères and will be shown at the Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

'This is the first time the Hyères Grand Prix has gone to students of the same fashion school in two consecutive years. It's possible that Helsinki will achieve a similar rise to the forefront of fashion as the Belgian Antwerp Six did in the 1980s. This is not a coincidence but "the result of perseverance and goal-oriented work", says Pirjo Hirvonen, Head of the Department of Design at Aalto University.

The highlights of the creations by students in the Degree Programme in Fashion and Clothing Design at the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture will be unveiled in the Näytös13 fashion show. In addition to the fashion show, the Creative Currency seminar on Thursday 23 May, brings together a group of international top professionals from different areas of fashion to Finland. This year, the audience of Näytös13 will include several representatives of international celebrated fashion houses.

The Creative Currency seminar focuses on finding a balance between creativity and commercialism amidst the challenges in place in the world today and those expected in the future. The challenges, opportunities and models for success in the constantly shifting fashion market are some of the other topics covered. The international speakers at the seminar include Jonathan Anderson, one of the best-known young designers in London, and the Artistic Director of Parisian Rue du Mail, the legendary fashion designer Martine Sitbon. Other speakers in the seminar include such influential figures in the fashion business as Yohji Yamamoto’s Art Director Marc Ascoli, and Sound Designer Michel Gaubert. Daniel Thawley, Editor of the highly-esteemed Curated By fashion magazine from Belgium, will act as the curator of the Creative Currency seminar and the moderator of the panel discussion.


Näytös13 fashion show:
Friday 24 May 2013 at 6 pm
Suvilahti Kattilahalli, Sörnäisten rantatie 22, Helsinki, Finland

Creative Currency seminar:
Thursday 23 May 2013 from 1 pm to 5 pm
Media Centre Lume, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Hämeentie 135 C, Helsinki, Finland

For more information and detailed programme see the university's site

March 28, 2013

Festival des Métiers: A Rendezvous with Hermès

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If you've ever wondered why an Hermès handbag, or any of their other goods, come with such a lofty price tag, Festival des Métiers will illustrate the reasons. The exhibition will showcase 10 different Hermès crafts at London’s Saatchi Gallery, 22 May – 28 May 2013. Working just as they would in the Hermès workshops in France, the craftspeople will be in situ at the exhibition for seven days making a wide selection of Hermès objects by hand.
 
This engaging public exhibition provides a fascinating insight into the traditions and values of Hermès in the crafting of fine objects; a presentation that encourages interaction by giving visitors the opportunity to meet and exchange with the Hermès’ artisans and experience first-hand their unique savoir-faire.
 
Festival des Métiers unlocks the poetic and unique crafts that are the essence of the house of Hermès, as their craftspeople reveal the mastery of their métiers. Visitors will see the famous Hermès silk scarf printed before their eyes and to rhythmic sounds of the artisans’ tools, handbags, saddles, fine-jewellery and other iconic objects from Hermès will be brought to life during the course of the exhibition. 

Festival des Métiers arrives in London from China where it has been exhibited in Beijing and Shenyang, and after London it will travel to Dusseldorf. The exhibition is presented in a contemporary setting designed by acclaimed designer Paola Navone. 
 
Admission is free and open to the public from 22 May – 28 May 2013 at the Saatchi Gallery: Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY. Hermès is an Education Patron of the Saatchi Gallery. 

A bit of history: Hermès was founded by Thierry Hermès in Paris in 1837, as a house of master harness-making and later saddle-making. Six generations of enterprising artisans have explored new markets and new skills. Now international in scope Hermès has continued to grow while remaining a family company, with a uniquely creative spirit that blends precision manufacturing with traditional craftsmanship. At the end of 2012 Hermès had 10 118 employees’ worldwide and 346 exclusive stores, and is active in 16 métiers.

March 05, 2013

Bil Donovan: Seminar, Masterclass at L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival

BilDonovan_TandCADAs part of the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival programme, revered fashion illustrator Bil Donovan will be presenting a business seminar and teaching a two-day masterclass. In his presentation Bil will talk about the role of fashion illustration in the contemporary marketplace and provide advice on fostering successful collaborations between artists and brands. His presentation will include a live demonstration of his work.

 “The role of fashion illustration in the contemporary marketplace continues to evolve beyond the scope of a single figure gracing a page in a magazine and is visible in markets as diverse as Branding, Package and Website Design, Animation, Merchandise, as well as in a thriving market called Lifestyle.”

The fashion illustration masterclass is an extraordinary opportunity to learn from one of the world's leading fashion illustrators, drawing from a live model. Lecturer in Fashion Illustration at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and Artist-In-Residence for Christian Dior Beauty, Bil creates artworks for clients worldwide.  He is the author of Advanced Fashion Drawing/ Lifestyle Illustration, and the illustrator of books including Edith Head’s The Dress Doctor, Prescriptions For Style From A to Z and Birds of a Feather Shop Together, Aesop's Fables for the Fashionable Set

The masterclass takes place March 22 and 23 and tickets are available to order through the L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival website

To see more of Bil's work you can visit his website (you'll be glad you did!)

 

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