Aesthetica
New Ribbon
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WeSC & ALTEWAI SAOME LAUNCH HIGH END STREETWEAR

Following the wrap-up of Stockholm Fashion Week is the launch of a new collaboration between two Swedish fashion greats, skate/street brand WeSC and design duo Altewai Saome READ MORE...
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MADE LONDON RETURNS TO MARYLEBONE

The Design and Craft Fair, MADE LONDON, returns to One Marylebone 24-26 October to present the very best in contemporary craft and design. Showcasing over 120 READ MORE...
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SEA LIFE COMES TO TORONTO AT RIPLEY'S AQUARIUM

It's called Ripley's Aquarium of Canada (as opposed to Ripley's Aquarium of Toronto which would follow the format for their US locations), which is not helping the general READ MORE...
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LCM: BACKSTAGE AT ORLEBAR BROWN WITH TONI & GUY

I'm taking you backstage again! This time at Orlebar Brown's Covent Garden shop where the SS15 collection of tailored beach and resort wear was shown both in in the shop, and to the delight READ MORE...
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SHOWSTUDIO ILLUSTRATES THE MEN'S COLLECTIONS SS15

Each season Showstudio invites their favourite fashion illustrators to create their own unique view of the collections, then they present each series READ MORE...
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BOOK REVIEW: LAND/SEA VOL.1

I opened the cover of a new landscape photography periodical I had just received called Land/Sea and began browsing the photos and words as I walked into my kitchen READ MORE...
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LC:M BACKSTAGE AT MATTHEW MILLER WITH TONI & GUY

Yes, this is a men's fashion post. And it feels right. This season's London Collections: Men was my first ever thanks to an invitation from long-term London Fashion Week sponsor Toni & Guy READ MORE...
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July 18, 2014

Sibling Gives the Jacob's Tin a Fashion Makeover

SIBLING

Designer collaboration is the way forward for brands who want to inject style into their products, and now baked snack maker Jacob’s has teamed up with British knitwear design trio, SIBLING, to create a limited edition cracker tin that will fit nicely in any fashionista’s kitchen cupboard. (I kind of love the idea of food brands working with high-end designers to bring their packaging into another realm.)

SIBLING, who are well known for their strong use of colour and love of traditional knitting techniques, have used their unique knitwear designs as inspiration for their redesign of the traditional Jacob’s Cream Cracker tin.

Twenty of the limited edition leopard print tins are now on sale on eBay, with all proceeds going to FareShare, the UK’s largest food redistribution charity. 

I had the opportunity to interview SIBLING Joe Bates (wearing the great hat, right) about the project and his own work:

TSL: Sibling is an 'in the know', unique, high fashion brand; not the typical choice for collaboration for such a ubiquitous company such as Jacob's - someone there knows their fashion! When you were first approached with the idea did you see it as an opportunity to introduce Sibling to a wider market?

JB: SIBLING are always keen to reach as broad an audience as possible. We get approached by many companies to collaborate so we have to be very careful who we choose to partner with. Jacobs came with a fun proposal that made us smile....so choice made.

TSL: You referenced Jacob's packaging colours for your striking argyle and leopard print tin design - was this combination an obvious choice or did you try other patterns and textures first?

JB: Colour is a fundamental to the SIBLING DNA, we embrace it wholeheartedly so utilising the Jacobs livery was not a challenge we couldn't meet. The patternation was based on our usual play on historical and traditional knitting, then we put that together with a bit of rebel spirit.

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TSL: What is it like designing as a trio?

JB: Lovely, it means there's always someone to confer with which makes it great for expanding ideas very quickly. 

TSL: I hear Sibling are big snack fans - what is your favourite Jacob's snack? 

JB: The Cream Cracker of course, the original and the best. 

TSL: Where do you take inspiration from for your designs?

JB: Most often the inspiration will start from a single image. Being very passionate about reportage photography means that it is normally a single photographic portrait that will really fire things off. 

Sibling_finale_ss15TSL: What is your favourite piece you’ve ever created?

JB: The most recent is the finale piece from S/S15 SIBLING menswear catwalk show. It's a giant raffia piece, a real show stopper in red raffia, it was representative of the feeling of being 'cock of the walk' when you're dressed to the nines in your youthful rebellion stage. 

TSL: Who would you most like to wear your clothing?

JB: We have a litany of celebrities who have worn SIBLING, in fact some of our real heroes, Debbie Harry bought a SIBLING dress when she played Manchester, you can't top that in our book. 

TSL: Any words of wisdom to share with aspiring designers?

JB: Work hard and be nice to people. 

What great advice. Thank you, Joe! 

You can buy your own Sibling-designed Jacob's cracker tin here, and keep up with Jacob's at #SnackHappy.

FareShare is a unique charity fighting hunger and its underlying causes by  providing food to more than 1,290 local charities and community organisations across the UK, including homeless shelters, children’s breakfast clubs, women’s refuge centres and luncheon clubs for the elderly, helping to feed 62,200 people every day. 

February 15, 2014

All Rhodes to London

Zandra-and-safia-Z-chair-900x667Zandra Rhodes with People Tree founder Safia Minney

British designer Zandra Rhodes is a favourite amongst fashionistas for her unbashed love of colour and print, prolific and enduring fashion career, and her revolutionary contribution to textile design - and you can't not love her bright pink hair! Here is a conversation journalist Millie Davies had with the fashion icon at her London home:

We meet Zandra Rhodes in her fabulous London penthouse, an oasis of colour nestled a stone’s throw from The Shard and atop of her self-founded London Fashion and Textile Museum.

More than 50 years into her illustrious career, the fuchsia-haired veteran designer Zandra Rhodes is as busy as ever. “I only flew in from California this morning”, the 73-year-old fashionista lets slip as we discuss her latest collaboration.

The acclaimed textile designer has recently partnered with ethical fashion house People Tree to launch a bespoke range, ‘Happy Woman’. With her fabulous fingers in many pies, what sparked Zandra’s interest in this particular label?

“At first I simply thought it was a great cause and that People Tree did a very good product. And then of course having gone to India with the founder of People Tree, Safia Minney, it led me along to realise what a good cause it is. And one to keep plugging away for.”

Famous in the international world of fashion, Rhodes has shown an interest in sustainable clothing before, lending her name to the Pick Your Cotton campaign. She’s also collaborated with some of the biggest names in British retail heaven, in partnerships with Marks and Spencer, Topshop and MAC.

Talk turns to Zandra’s instrumental fashion museum; it hosts workshops, archives and its very own fashion school. Its latest Artists Textiles Exhibition was opened by the acclaimed museum director Sir Nicholas Serota and the Bermondsey building offers inspiration to a new generation of fashionable types in the capital.

What’s Zandra’s view of the success of the museum? “Well I definitely think it’s had an impact on making the textiles more visible,” she candidly offers.

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Zandra shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Currently dividing her time between her two bases, London and San Diego, she cites travel as a way to channel her creative energy. And whilst most of the fashion elite will be flocking to London for front row seats at next week’s London Fashion Week, the iconic figure is jetting back to the States to raise awareness for a women’s cause.

“I’m doing a show called Go Red for Women and it raises awareness that, actually, women have strokes and heart attacks more than they get breast cancer.”

As an advocate of women’s issues, how does Zandra think women fare in her industry?

“I think women have a harder road all round in whatever they go into.” She reflects. “The only thing I would say is – pointing it out can cause you more trouble.”

Having exhibited hairdos in a myriad of colours, most recently a brilliant pink, Zandra insists that artistically she would never be led by a favourite colour; rather, “one designs in whatever one needs.”

With the People Tree collection sporting fun, bright, and 100% organic cotton frocks and blouses, it’s a safe bet that sombre tones never featured on the drawing board.

Popular in the UK, America and beyond, Zandra continues to make an impact on global fashion. In her impressive career, she has produced multiple clothing lines, designed exclusive jewellery ranges and somewhat uniquely designed the set and costumes for the opera.

Having risen to success in the 1960s, does Zandra have any advice for present day aspiring designers?

“Only that no hard work gets wasted. And unfortunately you have to work harder and harder to get there right at the beginning.”

Zandra – who can add an OBE to her accolades - remains as big a name in British fashion as ever. As we leave the designer’s radiant home and emerge into the darkness of London’s streets, we can’t help but carry some of her sparkle with us.

‘Happy Woman’ is the new collaboration between Zandra Rhodes and People Tree.

January 29, 2014

New Year, New Home: 4 Design Trends for 2014

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A new year, a new you – a phrase that seems to lose all meaning when it’s rolled out on an annual basis as a platform for yo-yo diets and unsuccessful gym routines. However, when it comes to the home this year, it rings true. While there have been consistent trends year on year, some of which look to continue into 2014, there are also a number of emerging trends that will influence how we define our interior spaces. 

1. Cool Off With Deep Pastel Colours

Bright and bold is an effective way to punctuate the softer tones associated with minimalism in interior decor, like your whites and creams, and one of those big colours to watch for is turquoise. In a roundup of 2014 design trends, Elle Décor reported: “Turquoise showed up in upholstery, wall coverings, and on furniture. And we’re talking deep and saturated, not pale and wimpy.” This is the year for lovers of blue to truly indulge and expand their collections. 

2. All That Glitters Is Gold

Key colours need a cozy companion so decor pieces work harmoniously. Forecasters predict we’ll see an explosion of metallic colours in everything from statement furnishings like lamps and light fittings, through to ornaments, accessories and those small finishing touches in furniture hardware. Speaking to Lohud.com, designer Joanne Palumbo said: “I think that as the colors are going cooler in 2014, the metallics are going warmer, more towards the copper, aged brass, bronze finishes.”

3. Mid-Tone Soft Wood Furniture

Until recently it was deep, rich woods that were most popular, and now the trend is shifting back toward softer, paler woods. Decorator Lyn Peterson told the Lohud.com team: “We are not back to cherry and mahogany, but fruitwood-type finishes that are soft and lustrous. They anchor a room and give it gravitas while we play with other pieces.” A range of furniture made of lighter woods can be found at Furniture for Living. You can create rustic rooms or go with clean lines and use your blonde woods to create a sleek backdrop for contemporary accents. 

4. In With Personalising; Out With Coveting

Gone are the days of keeping up with the Joneses and attempting to duplicate a designer room from an interior design magazine, for example. Now, home decor is about those unusual, unique and chic items. Whether it's a one-of-a-kind piece, such as a family heirloom or a gem you've found at an antique market or during your travels, we're looking to create a space that reflects our own personality in a more intimate way. Which is how it should be, regardless of trends. 

   

November 01, 2013

Knowing your Wood Flooring

Oak FlooringLight oak plank warms this modern kitchen and gives it a quiet beauty

When we bought our house, we had the same issues so many new homeowners have, and that's very little time and very little money left over to make it as you want. Considering that so many newly purchased homes need total overhauls to erase decades-old decorating, we were lucky to have found a house that was essentially a blank canvas in terms of primed-only walls, re-sodded gardens, and all floors, carpeting, appliances and cabinetry were new. But I had one 'must-have', I wanted to replace the grey carpet that was put down in the living room with a wood floor. Actually, I wanted to rip that (so very thin) carpet out of the bedrooms, upstairs hallways and stairs as well, but there was that aforementioned too little time/too little money issue. The living room was a small but lovely space with high ceilings, crown molding, a modern fireplace and bay windows, so once that rug was out I could make it my own; the living room became my pet project. We were also first-time homeowners (not counting the condo we bought in Toronto which took so long to complete that we ended up in the UK before it closed), and so we were essentially rookies. Boy do I hate being a rookie at anything because you know that most of your decisions will end in some level of regret, and when it comes to homes, every decision has significant financial implications.

As well as painting the house, our decorator was also able to install the new living room floor. What luck! I thought, we really had no idea where to start with such things and were relieved he could take care of it. I'd always liked my mother-in-law's floor and so I asked for maple. I gave no specs and I wasn't asked for any either. He sourced some generic maple, probably from one of his buddies in the business, in all likelihood the cheapest he could find, and to this day I have no clue if what we paid was in line with what we got. What I do know is that it wasn't nearly as nice as my mother-in-law's floor but it would do, and it was far better than the grey carpet we started with. The installation seemed sound but it wasn't finished properly - where was the shine? - and I still resent the fact that he rushed me on the choice because he had other jobs to get onto. Many lessons were learned here and next time I will have done my homework and not compromise. 

So I'm doing a little research now. According to the National Wood Flooring Association there are 33 species of wood for flooring - yes, really! - many I wasn't even aware of such as Cumaru and Bubinga, until I read the list. (It's worth noting that the NWFA is the American body and their recognised species used for flooring may differ from those in other countries. The British Wood Floor Association doesn't give a list on their site.) That's a lot of wood to cover so I referred to Posh Flooring for some of the most popular solid wood choices that we're likely to consider for our homes. 

Here are the main features to be aware of with an example of what a floor in this species may look like - bearing in mind the various grades, quality, tonal variations in the grain, stain colours available, and that there are big differences between engineered wood and solid - so it pays to be thorough with your homework so you can make an informed decision:

Oak

MGSArchitecture_oak floorThis stained oak plank features beautiful light and dark contrasts throughout. Design by MGS Architecture.

There are so many looks when it comes to oak. Typically a heavily grained wood, it can look rich and rustic at one end of the spectrum and light and airy at the other. There's white oak, black oak, red oak (the name of the tree which has nothing to do with the colour), smoked oak, whitewash finishes, you get the idea. It stains evenly and one of its best qualities is that it is dent resistent, so if you're prone to dropping the remote at least once a day like I do, you might want to go for oak. 

Maple

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Wide maple planks warm this stark, minimalist kitchen. Design by Nicole Hollis.

Maple is a light-coloured hardwood that comes in two varieties. Heartwood is creamy white to light reddish brown while sapwood is pale to creamy white. It's dense and strong, offering excellent shock resistance and endures wear very well. It is typically seen in its natural state as it doesn't stain evenly, so what you see is what you get. But it will take a neutral finish. 

Walnut 

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Rich walnut floors anchor this colourful open plan home. Design by Portal Design. 

Walnut is an ideal choice if you want a naturally rich, chocolately wood, and the finishing process will only enhance its beauty. The grain is fairly consistent and it's one of the woods that will look even better as the years go by. It is highly light-sensitive and will darken over time if exposed, which can be a desirable effect, but best to be aware of this characteristic beforehand. It's also a softer wood than hard-wearing oak, for example, so you may want to keep it to areas with less traffic, kids and pets. 

Acacia 

Acacia_MazaDesignThe tonal variations makes this acacia floor particularly stunning. Design by Maza Design.

Acacia is an exotic hardwood, originating from Africa and Australia. It's becoming an increasingly popular choice for its rich beauty and unbeatable durability, making it ideal for high traffic areas that need to take wear and tear while retaining its looks. It's one of the best investments if you're looking for a floor that will last a lifetime. 

Bamboo

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Bamboo is perfect for creating a serene, harmonious space. Design by David Nieman Architects.

Technically, bamboo is a grass, although flooring made from it shares many characteristics with hardwood. It can be a more eco-friendly choice and it comes in that lovely, calming wheat colour we associate with natural bamboo. It's also available in dark shades that are more similar to walnut, but the process that achieves the darkening of the wood also softens it, so the natural colour is the best option if you're looking for durability. It also holds up well in humid environments and is less expensive than traditional hardwood. And of course it boasts that lovely fine grain!

February 28, 2013

Candy Dining

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If you love pastels, then what better way to embrace them than to decorate with them? The dining room is a great place for using pastels as they can create a beautifully serene atmosphere. Pastels look fresh and sweet, but you must be careful not to overdo it otherwise it can look sickly.

Modern Pastel Dining

Use sleek furniture in minimalist shapes and metallic accessories with mint, lavender and dusty blue walls and soft furnishings. For a modern look, stick to one colour and use the similar tones throughout. Alternatively, have a predominantly white room and make a subtle statement with a pastel table or chairs. Use the same colour in the curtains of your dining room to bring the room together, and try voile or sheer materials for a pretty, feminine look. Using monochrome and varying tones of grey with pastel also creates a striking look that really makes the pastel pop.

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French Country Pastels

The French conjure an association with pastels thanks to the soft colours of their macarons which often provide a reference for interior colour schemes. French patterns such as the fleur de lis, and the rococo and baroque styles, look gorgeous in pastel shades and are used in French country decor. The French aren't overly fussy and like to mix opposites in their interiors, so to really get the feel, mix pastels with dark or bright colours, or both. A variety of textures - wood, porcelain, fabrics, glass - will give the space a rich, homey feel. 

Retro Pastels

This is where we pastel lovers can go really over the top. Pretty florals, polka dots, gingham, stripes and retro shapes can all come into the mix with a vintage pastel dining room. Think about the 1950s aesthetic with pretty coloured glasses and matching cutlery. A bunch of meadow flowers as a centre piece, cartoon birds and a retro style clock all contribute to a pretty feel to the room. Combine complementary pastel colours and shades to really make an impact. Everything from leather to linen to wood is available in pastel shades so you could have everything in your dining room pastel-ised. However, be careful not to go too over the top and include natural materials such as a wooden oak dining table painted white or left in its organic finish to ground the room. You can buy wooden dining tables from Top Furniture who are based in the UK.  

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December 03, 2012

LM Series: "Does Size Matter? Growth and Sustainability in Contemporary Art"


This is the fourth installment of the LM Series, documenting the discovery of new and wonderful, world class, art and food during 'Le Méridien at Frieze' at which I was a guest in October, hosted by Le Méridien Piccadilly in London.

The starting point of Le Méridien at Frieze was an intriguing panel discussion amongst influential art world leaders, part of the Outset Le Méridien Talk Series which took place in the ballroom at Le Méridien Piccadilly. The question of the day was articulated by Outset co-founder Candida Gertler who asked, "Does size matter? Is it right to keep going? And how do we resist the next big step? Will we be able to sustain it or will we self-destruct in a spiral of ambition? And so the debate began. Le Méridien's Global Cultural Curator Jérôme Sans moderated Frieze co-founder Amanda Sharp, Tate Modern's Curator of International Art, Mark Godfrey, Serpentine director Julia Peyton-Jones and Gagosian managing director of Europe Gary Waterston. In response, each panelist drew upon their own unique circumstances they face in moving their respective gallery or event forward, sometimes at odds with another's view, illustrating how subjective and contextual the topic of whether size matters really is. And that's what made it fascinating. The video above shows highlights from the discussion. (And beyond the compelling topic the film is very well done so I definitely recommend taking a look!)

I wanted to add, that at the dinner that evening at Le Méridien Piccadilly Terrace Bar and Grill (a five-course masterpiece by chef Michael Dutnall with inventive cocktail matchings by master mixologist Boris Ivan - and yes, I kept up, it would be a sin not to), I had the pleasure of sitting across from Jérôme Sans. We had a chat about the topic of the day, and I was so delighted to see right there in front of me how fired up (still) M. Sans felt about the very point of art becoming lost in the quest for growth simply for the sake of it, that someone as accomplished in the art world as he, had not lost sight of what really matters. Art is meant to move people in some way, and if it succeeds, why send it out the door a minute later to make room for something else? And why are we pushing for so much art to be produced? Which made me gush with admiration, even moreso, for what Le Méridien is doing for art, not as a commodity but as an enrichment of culture and ultimately, the individual. It's not all about what happens at Sotheby's.

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Just one of the great views within Le Méridien Piccadilly Terrace Bar and Grill

March 07, 2012

Forces of Nature: Steffi Crown & Angela Hooker

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I came to know the textile designer, Angela Hooker, in 2010 after I reviewed the Felder Felder SS11 show at London Fashion Week. Angela had collaborated with the Felders to produce the textile designs for some of their most iconic printed pieces, spanning two consecutive seasons. The London-based, Paris-born creative is now working with Steffi Crown,  a new high-end London fashion, swimwear and accessories brand which, despite its youth (it just launched in 2011) has already received praise in Harper's Bazaar as "Best Newcomer", named Madame Figaro's "Trendspotting Face", and has won celebrity fans including The Artist's Berenice Bejo and Missy Pyle.  Limited edition collections feature sharp geometry with a bit of playful flair, printed with a high quality digital process on the best silks, cotton, Lycra and stretch Napa leather sourced in France.

Angela speaks about her collaborations with infectious enthusiasm - she has an endearing passion and reverence for the fashion talents she works with, and a knack for finding such fertile alliances which spark what would seem to be an endless stream of inspiration.

This is a new collaboration for you - what's it like to work with Steffi Crown?

It’s exciting designing digital prints with Stephania Ayiotou, the designer of the brand. Stephania has a strong idea of what she wants to start with which makes our collaboration more powerful. From a creative point of view, this has been the most exciting project - she really pushes the boundaries and does not compromise creativity to look “commercial”.

Photo by Rob Jarvis www.robjarvisphotography.com
 

How did you meet Stephania?

I met Stephania in London two years ago, in a pop up shop near Notting Hill. A couple of months later she called me up from Cyprus and asked me to collaborate on a brand new fashion collection she was working on. I happily took the project on board.

She's very talented, fashion being just one of the ways she expresses herself...

Yes, she's a multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker, her directorial debut, Mad Dame, was selected at Cannes 2011. She is now shooting an exciting fashion film featuring her new collection which will show first in New York and then LA in July.

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Still from Stephania Ayiotou's 2011 film Mad Dame
 

Can you tell us about your creative process in designing textiles for the brand?

Before we start a print collection, Stephania will send me a detailed email that will include inspiring photographs, sometimes YouTube links of documentaries, for example, along with inspiring words  and photos. She describes what she likes about each one and how she feels it will relate to her collection. It’s a pretty complete brief, a very solid starting point.

Missy Pyle attends the 2012 DPA Golden Globe Awards Gift Suite on January 13,2012 in Beverly Hills,CaliforniaIs this an "opposites attract", complementary type of collaboration, or more of a "meeting of the minds"?

We have a similar approach to fashion; we are both inspired by the power of nature. That’s the main reason this collaboration is very successful for me. Nothing is more original than nature, I will never grow bored of this topic.
 
Stephania is also happy to explore the different possibilities digital printing has to offer, making the textile design process a lot more flexible and exciting.

Can you explain a bit about the digital print process?

Traditional printing, or screen printing, uses limited colours - a maximum of 18. However, there are no limitations with regards to colour and design in digital printing. The colours in digital printing are also more vivid, and you can print on more sophisticated, high-tech fabrics as well.

Do you have an especially favourite print from this collection?

My favourite print is the Midnight Garden.  The palette is inspired by the colours of a garden under the moonlight, and the pattern of the print is inspired by life in the underwater world, such as coral.
I also love the Black Lava jeans which are low-waisted and so easy to wear and flattering.

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Steffi Crown's Stephania Ayiotou with The Artist's Bérénice Béjo wearing the Midnight Garden scarf; Black Lava jeans. Above right is Missy Pyle, also from The Artist, wearing the Blue Coral Silk Chiffon Dress

How would you describe the Steffi Crown woman?

I believe the wearer of Steffi Crown is a modern woman, she will feel very unique and powerful and in harmony with nature.

We look forward to the new collection and film! You can view and purchase the Steffi Crown SS12 collection at www.stefficrown.com

Steffi Crown collection photos by Rob Jarvis

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January 18, 2012

Artist Series: Pop Fantastic's Susan Canaday Henry

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Late last year I received a scrumptious surprise package containing two beautiful art prints from New York-based multi-media graphic artist Susan Canaday Henry. She knew just what to send - one was a lovely pastel-hued scene with a rendering in her own style of Marie Antoinette languishing on a chaise longue. I love the shades of blues, pinks and purples she used and would be happy to live forever in this room. (Especially if I had Ladies in Waiting as seen in the shadows. Oh wait, that would be weird, wouldn't it? I like to get dressed by myself. Maybe one to bring me tea and macarons every afternoon, that would work.)

The other is the Empress Wu Zetian, the only woman in Chinese history to rule as emperor.  The composition is gorgeously coloured in saturated blush, flame hues and crimson. Susan has outfitted her in long, dramatic stripes and an intriguing headdress. Her commanding presence against a backdrop of hazy dawn-lit mountains creates a portrait of power and serenity.

What  struck me first about Susan's works was the harmony of the beautiful colours in each, and what looked to be delicately hand drawn detail and watercolour layering in Marie Antoinette and painterly brushstrokes in  I didn't want Susan to give away any secrets but was curious how she created these images, and lucky for us she was willing to talk about it!

"The drawings all start as pencil/watercolor and then are oomphed digitally--- I think that's what gives them a sort of dreamy look.

"I get a lot of feedback that the colors in my illustrations are very bright, yet nuanced. I don't want to give secrets, but I think the watercolor base gives a weird glow to anything digital, and I aim to make sure you can still see the hand drawn beginnings of my illustrations. I think so much today is too digitized, too clean. I approach Photoshop like makeup: not too heavy, but enough to add distinction. And layer, layer, layer! Add to that a background in traditional animation (I studied a lot of Golden Age Disney, UPA & Warner Brothers at Pratt Institute) and numerous visits to the Metropolitan to gaze at classics... mix it all together, and these are the results. It took a long time to get comfortable with my style because there's a natural inclination to want to produce what is popular, but I've also found that this is what makes me unique, and have learned better to embrace it.

"The Marie Antoinette print really helped me with that. So many people responded to it, that I finally made it available as a print, and it's my best selling image. Marie Antoinette is my favorite, but so is the Empress Wu Zetian. Like many powerful female leaders, she has such a fascinating (and ruthless) story behind her rise. I am hoping to continue the portrait series of Empresses and Queens in the new year."

Susan is such a faceted, talented creative - and she's fun, too! - so  I'll be featuring more of her work on Swelle and talking to her about it.

If you can't wait - and you shouldn't! - see Susan's website Pop Fantastic which showcases her illustration and animation work. I just love her And, Darling...conversations films. Zing!

To see the range of Susan's art prints including Marie Antoinette and Empress Wu Zetian, you can visit her shop on Society 6


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Marie Antoinette art print detail by Susan Canaday Henry


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Empress Wu Zetian art print by Susan Canaday Henry

December 03, 2011

Floral Friday: Au Revoir, Francois Lesage

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The man responsible for much of the heartbreakingly exquisite beauty of haute couture has died.  Francois Lesage was head of Maison Lesage, the legendary embroidery salon in Paris where rare magic happens. He was 82.

It seems the craft was in his blood. His father, Albert, founded the family firm in 1924 when he bought the atelier of Napoleon III’s embroiderer, Michonet, who had also worked for Charles Frederick Worth. Subsequently Albert married Marie-Louise Favot, an embroidery worker at Vionnet. With that legacy how could he have followed any other path?

Luckily he fell in love with beautifying textiles with threads and beads and has helped keep this highly skilled art alive, through the work of the Maison as seen on the best of haute couture (not without help from Chanel who saved the Maison by buying it), and ensuring new talent is nurtured through his Paris school, Ecole Lesage Atelier de Broderie. What a dream vocation. (A fellow Canadian named Sarah Crowley got her dream and moved to Paris to study at Lesage a few years ago, you can read about her time there and see her own beautiful designs at Glimpse Creations.)

Below is a delight of an interview with Lesage from 1987 from Fashion Television:

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Christian Lacroix's exquisiteness was greatly owed to Lesage

June 23, 2011

Interview with Trine Marie Skauen: Making Up the Male Model

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Last year I interviewed the fantastically talented makeup artist and art director Trine Marie Skauen (read it here). We saw her candy-spackled eyes, fresh glossy looks and avant-garde creations - but what about the men? Making the male models camera-ready is a bit more of a mystery, and one that you likely won't mind me exploring further!

The Norwegian all-round creative works in tandem with her fashion photograher fiance Marco DiFilippo, and together they travel the world creating extraodinary and beautiful images for magazines, advertising campaigns, video and an array of projects. (I think we've found two nominees for the 'coolest life' award.)

Here Trine answers some questions and gives up a glimpse into what's involved in making up and grooming male models, and what she thinks of it:

TrineHow do you approach making up men when you don't want them to look 'made up'?

I would say I work more or less in the same way when approaching ideas for men as I do  girl models. I do research and make mood boards if necessary. If the client wants him to look "natural" then it is more about the skin, making it look fresh, lips not dry, and covering acne and red spots. Then a "messy" styled hair.

Are there many opportunities to do more creative looks on men, especially when the target audience is men? Do men want to see the avant garde in their fashion magazines?

No, I don't think so, the majority of clients want "good looking" men in their campaigns. The differences are mostly if he should be slick, smooth or the urban, messy, cool guy. Like the cool Diesel / Levis guy or the slick Armani guy.

When it comes to magazines, I cannot speak for the men out there, but I believe most men probably like the cool, handsome "normal" guy; they can relate to that type. They probably read GQ, Vanity Fair etc. When it come to the more avant garde magazines like Numero Homme, which I love, the target group is more narrow.

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This photo of the 'boy in the bow-tie' prompts the question 'How far do you go with the grooming for a shot where clothes are not the focal point?'

Sometimes I use foundation, creams or also oil, and we go as far as it takes us! It depends on the look. This image is from a test shoot and we just used a some normal cream, if I remember it correctly.

Ok, I'll come right out and ask - did you have to do his armpits?!

This guy actually had his armpits as you see, I did not do any cutting or shaving. We usually ask the agency to tell the models about the body hair. But the request is usually more along the lines of "don't shave for three days."
Or we shave him on set if it's a clean look. I've been lucky with the body hair until now - no clients have asked for shaving or cutting other places then the head! I sometimes have to cut the hair a little bit, but I don't really like that since I am not a hairdresser you know, I don't want to butcher the poor guy!
 
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Reader Lauren wants to know "How receptive are the guys to having makeup done?"

When it comes to my job and putting makeup on models, they are used to it. They know they have to come to a shoot and just let us do what we want.

But I also see more and more boys using cosmetic products, they just want to look good. If they have acne or red spots they can use some foundation or concealer, some use balm on a dry lip, some use a little powder. Ok, it is not so many of them...yet. The trick is to make it look as "natural" as possible. I also like when men take care of their nails and hands.

Do you have a preference for working with guys or girls in terms of the makeup? And also the behaviour, is one generally more pleasant to work with or is it an individual thing?

The behaviour is individual, but I must say the most fun guys we work with are Brazilian, they are so easy going and fun. Overall, all the boys we have worked with were great, we've never had a problem. Some are just more stiff then others.

As for preference, it depends on the client and the model and project. I like both.

InterviewSignoffLogo Thanks, Trine! You can learn more about Trine Marie Skauen and Marco DiFilippo's production company and view their work at their website www.tmstudio.me

 

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All photos by Marco Di Filippo. Makeup and art direction by Trine Marie Skauen

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