Chanel
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FASHION FILMS TO FEATURE AT ASFF

The BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) has teamed up with London College of Fashion to establish a new fashion film strand at this year’s event, showcasing READ MORE...
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PPQ DOES THE MODERN DAY TIARA

For spring/summer 2015, PPQ presented clothes to wear to 'the coolest party of the fashion season', finished with high gloss hair taken to a creative extreme READ MORE...
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'KNITTING FOR JULIET' COMPETITION LAUNCHES IN ITALY

Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
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NICHOLAS ROSE'S FULL COLOUR LIVING

It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
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LFW: BACKSTAGE AND BEYOND AT PAUL COSTELLOE

think we could all use a dose of soft, pretty and innocent right now. Paul Costelloe brought his unabashed femininity to the runway READ MORE...
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CARMEN DELL'OREFICE TO OPEN SINGAPORE FASHION WEEK

Carmen Dell’Orefice...if this is what being in your 80s looks like then I'm looking forward to it! The legendary model, who once declared to Vanity Fair, “If I die, it will be with my high heels on”, is set READ MORE...
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#UNLOCK ART FILM SERIES ENDS ON A HUMOROUS NOTE

The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
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March 21, 2013

Macaron Day Overload!

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The master of macarons, Pierre Hermé, created this fresh and unusual recipe of mint, apple, cucumber and rocket for his July offering for the Les Jardins 2013 collection

Leave it up to Pierre Hermé to bring us National Macaron day - that's Jour du Macaron in its originating country of France - in association with Relais Desserts. This is its 8th year running annually on March 20th and it's not just about celebrating the beloved macaron and the beginning of spring, it's to support a chosen charity, and this year it's Vaincre la mucoviscidose, the association for beating cystic fibrosis, in France. The idea is that participating patisseries in France and abroad will offer their macarons in exchange for a donation to the charity - that's a great way to truly enjoy your macaron guilt-free. 

In addition to Paris, the cities I've found to be officially participating are Toronto, VancouverNew York and Budapest, and although I can't find a website for London, surely Pierre Hermé (in Selfridges) is supporting a UK charity; last year it was Ambitious About Autism. And the young pastry chef we know from Masterchef Australia, Adrian Zumbo, joined in these last two years but this time is in Kuala Lampur teaching his craft, according to his twitter

I spent the day perusing the participating patisseries for the most mouth-watering and craving-inducing images of macarons and it nearly killed me:

PARIS

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Dalloyau's candied ginger and apple 

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Christophe Roussel's macaron skewers (oh my god) and Variation de Moment (Changing Moment) of lavender and apricot

TORONTO

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A sunny approach to sweet treats at Butter Avenue - love those minis!

 

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Ruelo's varied selection includes some adventurous options, such as Black Truffle 

MacaronDay_Rahier

I'll have to investigate whether there's some pistachio chopped up on there next time I visit Rahier

  Jadore

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J'adore Cakes Co. does a pistachio rosewater macaron, two of my favourite flavours, which makes J'adore a high priority on the list to visit this summer

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Moroco Chocolate just may have the most beautiful boutique in Toronto, and they create personalised macarons

NEW YORK

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Macaron Parlour likes to experiment with flavours including candied bacon - why not! - as well as Earl Grey tea and black sesame. 

BUDAPEST

It appears as if this is the most celebratory Macaron Day going in terms of centralising it into a ticketed event and bringing Hungarians together in one space to indulge in macarons. The images I found in their site's gallery may not actually be from Hungary, I recognise one from a New York cafe's site, but rather they're a collection of images people were encouraged to send in - unfortunately they were posted without credit. If one is yours please let me know!

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Thanks to Yashesh!

March 15, 2013

Fashion Week Favourites: Paris

MiuMiuMiu Miu 

In the end, Paris gave the colour and texture lovers what we wanted, and for those who can never get enough black, there was of course a ton of that as well; Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Ann Demeulemeester and Comme Des Garçons will always have options for you. Miuccia Prada has guaranteed a polka dot revival for fall thanks to the unabashedly vibrant, Lichtenstein-esque Ben-Day dot patterns at Miu Miu which she clashed with tight horizontal stripes on tights, bags and fantastic, fitted long coats with off-centre plackets with big buttons (is it still considered clashing when it works so well?). And I'll bet we'll be seeing a lot of necks tied up in scarves which is good because I've got a box of neckerchiefs that are desperate to be relevant again. 

Here's what else jumped out at me from Paris: 

TsumoriChisato

Tsumori Chisato presented a chic version of her fun, vibrant, and surreal approach to clothes - this time a marine theme that looked handpainted ran through the collection

Valentino

Valentino drew upon Dutch influences for their laser cut and beaded collars, Delft-like prints and tulip embroidery that adorned somewhat austere dresses and capes

Celine

The clean and elegant cuts, tactile fabrics and soft tones of Céline make for a great palette cleanser. Add a bit of appliqued texture and slightly exaggerated shapes and you get a luxe classic that never feels old. 

Cacharel

Cacharel is a personal favourite of mine; regardless of who's designing the Paris house is always about youthful, feminine clothes that are chic, and I have a feeling that combination will be endlessly appealing to me no matter how many calendar pages flip by. Prints are a big part of the brand's DNA and for fall we have tapestry-inspired florals and a hummingbird motif that brought a classic anorak to life; hopefully others will take note and wake up this winter staple with options beyond the drab, plain tones we're usually offered (whenever khaki is a trend I die a little). 

IsseyMiyake

Happy coats at Issey Miyake! And happy models, too (those who were capable of accommodating the 'True Smiles' request, anyway). A colour-blocked rethinking of plaid in tonal shades energised with fine diagonal stripes made for coats that would brighten any damp and gloomy day - get them to the UK stat!

Chanel

While not a colour fiesta at Chanel, with 80 outfits to choose from we're guaranteed to fall in love with at least a few tweed or boucle creations. Will we be seeing second-skin thigh-hig leather 'socks' come September? How about winter wig hats? Karl Lagerfeld always brings a bit of fantasy beyond the daydreams he prompts of winning the lottery to afford the clothes. 

Lanvin

Colour seeker or not, Alber Elbaz made the darkest of palettes light and beautiful for Lanvin with flower and insect appliques, easy yet sophisticated cuts and wordy necklaces and medallions that (mostly) expressed nice things like 'Happy' and 'Love'. I'd feel both of these if I were wearing Lanvin. 

Photos: Style.com

March 09, 2013

Candy Hearts, Cakes and Elle Fanning by Will Cotton

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Headpiece by Will Cotton, based on Alexander McQueen

This was initially supposed to be a Valentines post...obviously that did not happen. It was too soon after my first post of Will Cotton's works anyway, and that is a lot of sugar to consume at once (no complaints here though).  New York magazine's spring fashion issue featured a cover and spread of Elle Fanning as Will Cotton's latest muse, wearing designs from the spring runway accessorised with sweets and icing against candy land backgrounds that are blowups of Cotton's paintings. I haven't actually seen Fanning in any films so I have no opinion of her as an actress (though I hear she's talented), but I do like her as the human embodiment of sweetness in Cotton's paintings; it rings genuine. (Those Fanning girls really buck the child actor stererotype, don't they?)

Cotton reworked the clothes into "something even more perfect for the environment", adorning them with all kinds of dainty designs made from icing, and 'Cottonised' a brand new Reed Krakoff bag by shoving a couple of big squishy cakes into it!

You can watch the behind-the-scenes video featuring Will Cotton and Elle on The Cut:

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Elle pipes the icing corset Will Cotton created to be worn over a Dolce & Gabbana bodysuit. Cotton made the earrings and headpiece, too. 

Elle_will_1Elle Fanning wears a Marchesa gown in front of Will Cotton's Pastoral, 2009

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Will Cotton hand piped this Erdem dress with icing to create sugar appliques

Elle_will_4Eyes by Will Cotton, based on Dior

Elle_will_11Will Cotton based this dot candy detailed bag on a Fendi design

Elle_will_13This Thom Browne skirt reminded Will Cotton of a tea tray, so he decorated it with petits fours "because what a nice thing would that be?"

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Elle wears a Marc Jacobs dress in front of a version of Will Cotton's Insatiable, 2008

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And you thought your purse was messy. Will Cotton stuffed cakes into this Reed Krakoff bag!

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Elle wears Reem Acra in front of one of Will Cotton's gingerbread house paintings

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An ink on paper rendering of Elle in a Louis Vuitton romper by Will Cotton

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Elle lounges on sugar crystals wearing Valentino's 'glass slippers'

Photos: NY magazine/The Cut

February 26, 2013

Fashion Week Favourites: London

DuroOlowu

Duro Olowu returned to London this season to show his scrumptiously chic A/W collection (he's been showing in New York for the past two years). One of my most favourite designers and a very warm-hearted man to boot, through his clothes he shows us seemingly endless ways to wear texture, colour and print at its most joyful, and those ways are becoming more and more refined and sophisticated without stifling one bit of his infectious exuberance. I can only imagine how special you would feel wearing one of his garments. (When I met Duro last autumn his lovely wife was with him and looked fantastic wearing one of his exquisite jackets.)

Sisterbysibling

Look beyond the no-pants, high top trainer, face-eating-muff styling by Katie Grand and you'll see some very gorgeous knits from this sister line of the knitwear house Sibling, appropriately named Sister by Sibling. (Sometimes I feel the need to explain why catwalk presentation can be odd, for the non-fashion readers. Like my Dad. "Why isn't she wearing pants? Who goes out without pants?" "No one, dad. But you notice the sweater, right? And the hat?" "No, I'm wondering why she's not wearing pants." "Never mind, Dad.") Anyway, massive scarves in a gorgeous slubby texture are appealing in a primal way - don't we all seek that kind of assured comfort in the cold? The short sleeves of the fair isle and rosette sweaters balance their chunkiness and make for a cute shape. And they may even look good with pants. 

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I love the sporty look of  Clements Riberio's striped cashmere sweater with the floral mini, and the slightly punky hair that keeps it from looking too preppy. These outfits stood out from the earthier muted tones that dominated the second half of the line up. 

 MichaelvanderHam

Michael van der Ham's usual choppy asymmetry was only to be found in the zig zag of the models' hairstyle this season. The patchwork mashups were (mostly) gone, with the outfits more finished and refined. And if the models look to be even more miserable than usual (actually, with the exception of one, these were the least sour looking of the bunch) it's because van der Ham's inspiration was a 'tough girl - moody and dark.' Ok. But some actually looked like they were in pain. 

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Pringle of Scotland has pared down their knitwear range to focus on their signature styles, the loveliest of the bunch being the pure white gilet and skirt in an ottoman rib knit that makes you want to run your fingers over and over just as much as wear.

OrlaKiely

I always look forward to the Orla Kiely presentation in what has been her fashion week home away from home for the past several seasons, the Portico Rooms at Somerset House which she would transform into her preferred fantasyland at the time, and always on the Friday. Sometimes there would be live models (which of course I loved, they pose for you), sometimes there would be cardboard cutouts, and other times it was superimposed paper girls on the walls. I've skipped the past two seasons because fashion week takes a heck of a lot of energy, and I just haven't had it for the past year. So I was surprised to find out that Orla moved out of Somerset House and instead set up office, literally, for her fashionable, anachronistic secretaries to show off their new knit dresses, embroidered cardigans and smart handbags between typing and taking phone calls. 

Photo source

Click the image to watch the video of the girls at work (at fashion156.com):

Orla_show

Another reason I love the presentation format:

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Sophia Webster showed her new range of shoes in pastel birdhouses in a pastel forest

BoraAksuPhotos: Bora Aksu

I so look forward to inspecting the intricate details of Bora Aksu's clothes up close in the exhibition hall, post-show. The Turkish designer's signature approach involves techniques with the textiles to create all kinds of interesting textures, and mixing knitted elements with both delicate and rigid materials, like chiffons and lace, and hard leather. You can see some details from a past season here.

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Photos: fredbutler.blogspot.co.uk

And undoubtedly the most joyful of presentations come from Fred Butler where you instantly feel validated for your enduring childhood attachment to colour and your desire to celebrate it now in a big way. Which Fred does every day. This season Fred took a more commercial approach and set up a pop-up shop (complete with Fred Butler-esque cupcakes by Pomp de Franc) to allow guests to interact with the goods.

Fred does a film each season and I use them for a little daydreamy escape whenever things are too gloomy in this world of ours:

 

Photos from Style.com unless otherwise credited

February 23, 2013

Fashion Week Favourites: New York

RedValentinoRed Valentino continues with their youthful silhouette that seems made with a modern day Marie Antoinette's daughter, Marie Thérèse, in mind. This time the dresses took a folksy turn, inspired by the fairytale Hansel and Gretel, presented against an illustrated backdrop of treats Will Cotton would appreciate.

In the sea of black that tends to be half of New York fashion week shows, London is always a breath of fresh air as there is no city uniform for the designers to cater to. (I'd still take any of the clothes of course. Except maybe those shiny dresses geared toward the Real Houswives set.) However, New York is still full of fresh and vibrant offerings, many of which present off the catwalk in spaces that allow for more creative and engaging context. 

The most appealing collections visually, for me, are always those that combine structure, colour, print and texture to create something that feels exciting and new. (Writing that just triggered the Love Boat theme in my brain.) 

NEW YORK

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Toronto's Calla Haynes, based in Paris and showing in New York, tells us we shouldn't be afraid of colour, and that this collection is about 'being happy'. I knew I loved Calla. Jcrew_1

 

 J. Crew is really stepping it up, earning their place amongst the luxury at NET-A-PORTER.COM with this Marrakech-inspired, jewel-adorned collection

McQ

This exquisite McQ belted dress combines structured, chunky ribbed knit with what looks to be felted bell sleeves and skirt, possibly angora and cashmere? (Why are there no reviews published yet?) Whatever it is, the progression of the McQ line in the past two seasons has raised the stakes of sister lines, possibly even further than Prada did with Miu Miu. 

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Swimwear and resortwear designer Mara Hoffman applies her signature look of vibrant prints in flowing fabrics to a range of cooler weather outfits - what a way to bring the sunshine year round!

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Alice + Olivia's simple navy turtleneck lets this wonderfully full tropical print skirt stand out

  NormaKamali

Norma Kamali's iconic Sleeping Bag coat from 1974 provides the reference for this quilted 1950s style party dress and cosy patchwork coat. I love that she's made a padded dress appear light and airy. 

AnnaSui

Anna Sui's heavily styled and layered outfits can be a lot for the eye to take in all at once; these two looks present the designer's head-to-toe texture and print approach in a more cohesive way.

Photos: Style.com

February 08, 2013

Floral Friday: The Flowers of Spring Haute Couture

Florals_diorRaf Simons takes Dior back to the garden for Haute Couture SS 2013

With Haute Couture, we get to see florals rise up from the 2-D of print and pattern and 'pop' as embroidered and appliquéd blossoms so delicate you need to whisper, or so lush you want to run around in them. Flowers figured heavily at Dior (my favourite collection of the 22 houses, I think, who showed) and Chanel (of course they did, you don't waste the hands of Lemarié) while they texturised a selection of looks at Giambattista Valli and Valentino. The haute couture flower is so exquisite in its craftsmanship that it transcends trend and exists as simply a thing of beauty to admire, forever. 

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Giambattista Valli appliquéd swelled-bellied and cinched-waist dresses, and accessorised with bronzed bouquets

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Valentino Haute Couture SS 2013

Since we're talking about the specialness of haute couture, I can't not mention Valentino without also drawing attention to the dresses detailed in piping. This kind of handwork has featured in many Valentino collections when the man himself was at the helm, and now Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli have taken the technique to extraordinary lengths. According to Tim Blanks as per the notes received at the show, the tulle cage-like cape below - over a dress of layers of organza embroidered with birds and butterflies - is scrolled with crepe piping that took 500 hours of hand-rolling to produce. And that was just one of several piped creations that took the catwalk. Blanks added that one roller apparently developed carpel-tunnel syndrome during the production of the collection. That's not suprising, but what is, is the fact that it was only one person! I'd say it was well worth it, but then it's not my gnarled hand we're talking about, is it? 


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You can faintly see the embroidered birds and butterflies peaking out from the 500-hours-of-handpiping 'cage' cape

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 The hand-piping in Valentino red. It's like fancy iron work but in crepe.


Florals_chanelChanel Haute Couture SS13

Chanel is generous with giving us glimpses into how their haute couture is made. Below we see the skilled hands at work at Lemarié, Lesage and Atelier Haute Couture Chanel as they create the collection 'Le Savoir Faire' for the spring-summer season. It's a three-minute video, but I think I could easily watch three hours of tulle ribbon being pulled through metallic threads:

Photos: Style.com

January 30, 2013

'Shoe as Art' Series: Jan Jansen

Jan-Jansen-Orchid1I've begun to make my way through this mostly hidden world of shoes that defy the conventional notion of what a shoe is, and I'm taking you along with me on this new 'Shoe is Art' series. We've already seen the make-you-smile designs from Japanese shoemaker Tetsuya Uenobe - who can resist a stuffed leather bear hugging your ankle as you walk? - and we're going to look at other shoe artisans whose footwear creations are so wonderfully unorthodox that they essentially turn your foot into a walking exhibition. They range from the unique-but-not-a-massive-stretch-from-what-we're-used-to-seeing-these-days designs, to some that are just so out there they stop you in your tracks and cause your face to contort just a bit. (That happened to me today when I saw shoes made of dead animals. I guess when we wear leather we're doing the same, but this pair went well beyond the socially acceptable use of animals in footwear - would you be willing to walk on an actual hoof?) Whether you would wear these mind-bending designs or not doesn't matter; but if you're open to the concept, you can catch an intriguing statement from the designer/artist. And if you do wear them, you get to deliver that statement to the world.

Today we're looking at Dutch shoemaker and designer Jan Jansen whose work I was introduced to by Tetsuya when he mentioned Jansen as an influence on his own designs. Not suprising, considering 'the master of shoe design' is one of the most revered figures in the world of shoes, having created some of the most iconic and innovative styles to date. Jansen has been designing unconventional - though still largely wearable - shoes since the 1960s, the styles of which are still as relevant and current as ever, owing to his obliviousness to outside inflences: "Im not a trendsetter. I'm years ahead of the trendsetters." Jansen is probably the most prolific shoemaker when it comes to rethinking the design of the shoe; he is constantly developing new constructions, though he will use the the same ones for years and create variations of some. 

Jansen has received numerous awards for his work, including the Kho Liang Ie Prize (1985), the Grand Seigneur (1996), The BKVB Oeuvre Prize (2002) and the Max Heijmans Ring (2006). Many of his works are displayed in museums and galleries in Europe, and still Jansen prefers to refer to himself as a craftsmen, rather than 'artist' which has been attributed to him by peers and fans. In 2007, Christie's auctioned the collection 'Jan Jansen, In His Shoes' - everything sold and all of the estimated selling prices were realised. And significantly, many of the lots were a single shoe. 

With the exception of those gorgeous Orchid shoes above which are a current design on the market, this is a retrospective view of selected styles from the past five decades.

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'Interchangeable 2', 1967. Metal frame mule with removeable patterned sock

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'Stir my Blue Blood', 1991

Jan-jansen-serpents-kiss-1'Serpent's Kiss', 1994,  is constructed of a python upper that looks as if it could bite, mounted on a platform and heel which Jansen has reinvented in wavy, ribbon-like stainless steel.
 
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For Snoecks', 2000. Suede, goat leather, patent goat leather, vulcanised sole. 

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Velazquez boots, 1979. These quilted satin platforms were made in collaboration with Fong-Leng to be worn with her red evening cloak, 'Velazquez'.

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'Build Me Up', 1972. Extreme platform slippers!
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Metallic green heels with silver piping and exaggerated back, 1996; the rattan sandal in nubuck, 1973.
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One variation of Jansen's iconic sandals with rattan frame, 1975. The original prototype in ochre was copied by Prada in 2006 without credit to Jansen, right down to the colour. 

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'High Tea', from Meubelcouture, meaning furniture couture. You're right, you can't wear it. It's not a shoe but a chaise longue, the structure of which Jansen based on his famous rattan frame sandal. If you tilt your head you can see that the seat features a face-to-face design in the leather. 

And another art work of Jansen's based on his shoe design is 'Cindy's Dance at Midnight', part of the permanent collection of the National Glass Museum in Leerdam, Netherlands. Using glass to translate his style from the traditional materials, the extreme yet elegant curves of this 'shoe' show off and mix the spectrum of the pinks and greens beautifully. (It reminds me of Cinderella, when the one wicked stepsister's attempted to scrunch her huge foot into the dainty glass slipper.)
 
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What's better than watching and hearing the man himself? This video profile below is just wonderful, taking us into Jansen's Amsterdam shop and studio to see and hear firsthand how he approaches the process of making his shoes: "We don't have a budget for the amount of leather we can buy or what the collection may cost. We just go by what we think is nice and beautiful." This approach is extremely unusual these days, but then Jansen has remained independent, passionate as ever, and answers only to himself. And his wife Tonny who double as as his muse, style tester and colour advisor. Jansen also shows us how a hand made shoe is constructed, and watch for the table in the window of his shop which stands on women's legs outfitted in his shoes, of course. Also part of his Meublecouture collection, titled Hommage to Rubens. 

January 23, 2013

Great Gatsby Fashion: Then and Now

The Great Gatsby's release in May is going to unleash a frenzy for 1920s fashion, much like The Artist,  Downton Abbey, Boardwalk Empire, and the 1974 film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, starring Mia Farrow, have. (It's hard to believe the 1974 film influenced fashion trends if this is any indication of taste at the time.) The lust for dropped waists, chiffon overlays and delicate beading really is guaranteed to explode this spring: the costumes for the film are a dream collaboration between Miuccia Prada, renowned film and stage costume designer Catherine Martin, and Baz Luhrman who directed the film. (Martin and Luhrman have been married since 1997, first meeting at college in their native Australia, and the couple have worked together ever since. I'll bet their dinner conversation is awesome.)

Fashionistas are going nuts now that Prada have released Miuccia's sketches of designs from the film, which are worn by Carey Mulligan who stars as Daisy Buchanan. Here are glimpses of four out of the 40 cocktail and evening dresses created, all of which are adapted from past Prada and Miu Miu collections:

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 I'm very curious to see how the orange fishscale dress translates in the flesh!

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Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrman's film adaption of The Great Gatsby

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Carey's character poster. Never mind the dress - my eyes are all over the art deco backdrop!

Let's go back to Mia Farrow as Buchanan, who was also in great company having been dressed by the great costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge, whose prolific and honoured career in film, television and stage spanned six decades. Aldredge won an Oscar and British Academy Award for her work in The Great Gatsby, and her designs from the film were adapted for a clothing line at Bloomingdales. 

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Yes, that is Sam Waterston on the left behind Mia. 

More fun facts about The Great Gatsby, 1974 (the third filmed version of the novel):

  • The rights to the novel were purchased in 1971 by Robert Evans so that his wife Ali MacGraw could play Daisy. She blew that when she left him for Steve McQueen, who was originally considered for the role of Gatsby. Not surprising that he didn't get it.
  • Mia Farrow was pregnant during shooting and so wore loose, flowing dresses and was shot in tight close-ups to conceal her growing belly.
  • Truman Capote was the film's original screenwriter but was replaced by Francis Ford Coppola who later claimed the director, Jack Clayton, didn't pay much attention to it: "The film I wrote did not get made."
  • Critics weren't moved to "stand up and cheer": Vincent Canby made this statement in his review of the film in The New York Times : "The sets and costumes and most of the performances are exceptionally good, but the movie itself is as lifeless as a body that's been too long at the bottom of a swimming pool." Owwwch.  And gross.

I can't not mention Midnight in Paris, the Woody Allen film in which a nostalgic screenwriter (Owen Wilson) inexplicably finds himself inserted into 1920s Paris, first at a party with The Great Gatsby author F. Scott Fitzergerald and his wife Zelda. The costumes, by Sonia Grande, are scrumptious. It's about as close to time travel to one of the most exciting eras in art, literature, fashion, music and philosophy in Paris as we can get. (They even go briefly back from then to La Belle Epoque!)

January 05, 2013

Organise + Beautify Your Space with One Piece

Storage

I must have had clutter solutions on my mind when I chose the theme for my most recent product Ideabook for Houzz.com: Fabulously Decorative Storage. Before we left England for the holidays in Canada, I spent many hours getting the house ready for a friend's parents who were going to be staying there while we were away, and I became painfully aware of just how much clutter we'd accumulated. We couldn't deal with all of it in time so we hid it, hoping that they wouldn't open the tallboy sideboard in dining room, or the bombe sideboard in the living room, or any of the bottom three drawers in the kitchen... I haven't had a report of an appliance manual/children's drawings/miscellaneous plastic things avalanche enveloping them, so I assume they resisted the urge to see what's in there. Most of it is paper that we have to sit down and sort out - fun! - and a lot of it can be shredded or recycled. But there are so many things that, despite their apparent uselessness, have to stick around for a while longer. The good news is there are ways to deal with them that don't have to involve ugly plastic storage bins. Or lots of yelling (just me?)

The 20 products I chose for this Ideabook are storage solutions that will actually enhance your decor while helping hide a little, or a lot, of clutter. From small, shimmery bowls that will obscure those annoying little bits that can't seem find a home, to a filing cabinet that will instantly make your home office a happy place - yes, even a metal one! - there is hope for us clutter magnets yet. The products above are some of my favourites from the Ideabook. Some are way beyond my budget but they plant ideas in our heads (hence the name of the book), while others are really affordable, such as the harlequin print Circus Sack from Danish designers Varpunen which I just love; I see a trio under my living room sidetable holding and hiding everything from magazines to DVDs to Wii controllers. (Here's a tip: don't keep anything in a room that doesn't belong there and you'll have much less clutter. Note to self: shipping materials do not belong under the couch.)

If all of this organisation talk has inspired you to start the year with less mess, you can get more helpful ideas from these articles: 

Of course you do realise that if you read all of these, then you really have no more excuses! 

FYI - you can always see my latest product Ideabook in the Houzz widget in the sidebar!

 

November 27, 2012

Make Mine Multi-Faceted

 

I know what I want for Christmas. Forget diamonds, I'll take my facets in the form of water-based blue resin, please. (I wasn't going to get diamonds anyway but it's still a compliment.) I've been looking for decor pieces that are different from anything I have. My living room is in need of a minor transformation, and I like to buy things that aren't just space fillers but unique and beautiful and the kind of piece I won't be looking at in a year saying 'I am glad I am no longer the person who thought this was a good idea.' But these things of enduring significance tend not to come cheap, so it's a slow process building that collection. (If bookmarked web pages and blogs count as a collection, I'm already there!)

These Faceture vases, which I think are better without flowers - the way the light catches the facets is beautiful enough - are made by Phil Cuttance, a New Zealander who manipulates each object's form with a turn of the hand before casting, making every piece genuinely unique (you can see how he does this in the video above). Phil says:

“I like the idea of people knowing where products come from, and what goes into making them. I think a lot of products are now seen as ‘throw – away’ as they are made on a mass scale, in places far away from where they end up, and out of sight. There was time when people commissioned a local maker or craftsman to make an object, which gave it an inherent value. I like that model.”

Yes, us too! The vessels and the rest of his Faceture series, which includes lamps and sidetables, are sold at Australia-based shop theminimalist.com.au, my new obsession. The lamp is just awesome, but I like the slender design of the vessels so much that, for me, the the sidetable's chunky approach can't compare. (It's still cool though!)

This small vase is a limited edition colour called Summer Mint. That totally has my name on it.

Fracture_minimalist

Faceture
The vases in two sizes, lamp and side table. I want to touch them for a long time.

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