Amelia’s Magazine | Yves Saint Laurent : Retrospective : Petit Palais, Paris


A couple of weeks ago, order I was sifting through work emails and idly wondering how my forthcoming weekend was going to shape up; it seemed to be taking on the familiar pleasures of the default setting – drinks, lazing around Shoreditch Park, catching a gig or two, having a coffee at Columbia Road flower market; the same old same old essentially, and then an email dropped into my inbox that quickly made me revise my plans. It was from Ben, an old friend of Amelia’s Magazine from French-Music Org, and Liz from Brittany Tourism who were both involved in the French music festival des Vieilles Charrues in Brittany, and wanted to know if Amelia’s Magazine was interested in coming along to check it out. Being a champion of all kinds of festivals, both in England and abroad, but at the same time staying true to the ethics of not flying wherever possible, I was pleased to see that the festival encourages all non-flight forms of travel, and had a good deal with Brittany Ferries worked into one of the ticket packages that also includes transfers to and from the festival. I had a quick look at the line-up, which included performances from Phoenix, Midlake, The Raveonettes, Fanfarlo and Julian Casablancas. Then I checked my ipod and saw that apart from a little Francoise Hardy and Charlotte Gainsbourg, it was woefully lacking in French music and decided that this Gallic version of Glastonbury could be my guide to France’s vibrant music scene, especially seeing that Chapelier Fou, Revolver, Indochine, Fefe and the brilliantly named Sexy Sushi were all headlining. So that was that. All I needed to do was grab my trusty pillow and I was off to France! A few hours later, after a bumpy ferry ride that unfortunately took place on the windiest day of the year, I found myself in the picturesque town of Carhaix, home of the festival, and about 45 minutes inland from the coast.


Sune and Sharin of The Raveonettes give us a shock and awe performance.


Watching The Raveonettes with my friends – wet and bedraggled but happy.

It was straight to the festival and to the front of the crowd to watch The Raveonettes do a typically kinetic set of howling, fuzzy guitar riffs, liberally sprinkled with lots and lots of noise. Just how the audience like it. The Danish duo, made up of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo are a dark force to reckon with and played an incredibly tight set, featuring songs from their fourth album, In And Out Of Control. I hadn’t see them play before and I came away thinking that the bands waiting in the wings such as Pains of Being Pure At Heart, Crystal Castles and Vivienne Girls still have a long way to go before they steal the crowns off of these two. Later I managed to get in some talk time with Sune who refused the offer of dinner with his bandmates in favour of shooting the breeze over mugs of vodka cranberries for a whole hour. (Interview to come in the next few weeks)

The next day, when I was a little less exhausted from twelve straight hours of travelling, and no sleep, I was able to properly explore the festival and see it through renewed eyes. Truth be told, it was refreshing to find myself at an overseas festival. The crowd were relaxed, extremely friendly (stand next to any random group of strangers and within a few minutes you will be conversing away happily in a garbled mix of Franglais) and the FOOD (and drink)! It doesn’t matter how many boutique festivals are springing up over England, festival des Vieilles Charrues trumps us with champagne bars all over the site (to be sipped insouciantly while you watch French rock gods Indochine) and food tents which can provide you cheese plates and fruits de la mer to go with your choice of wine. It being slightly earlier in the day, I was trying out the regional cider which was so tasty it practically made me weep, and made my way over to watch the Fanfarlo set. Unexpectedly, this was probably my favourite performance of the festival. Having toured constantly for the past year (watch the mini documentary on their website which painfully documents their incessant and exhaustion-inducing schedule), the performances of the songs from their 2009 release Reservoir have taken on a whole new level. Each band member seamlessly flitted between a myriad of different musical instruments; no-one ever held onto a guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin or musical saw for more than a few minutes before doing some musical-chairs. I’m not sure how well France was aware of Fanfarlo, but the full audience loved every song they played, and noisily demanded an encore – which unfortunately they didn’t get, but then, the band do only have about twelve songs in their back catalogue.


Fanfarlo talk about life on the road and divulge the little known fact of lead singer Simon’s childhood love of ham radios.


Traditional Breton music. Everyone knew the dance moves but me.

Night time gave me a chance to flit between the bands playing. I watched Midlake, the indie Texans who are fast gaining popularity over on this side of the pond, serenade the audience as the sun set, their hazy Americana sound drifting over the breeze and through the fields. Then it was a hop, skip and a jump to watch Sexy Sushi, the raw Parisian rap of Fefe and – I didn’t see this coming – some traditional Breton music involving some old men, a couple of accordions and a lively crowd who were all versed in the dance moves that accompany the traditional folk style. Then the midnight hour was upon us and the audience was heading in droves to watch Phoenix, who are clearly the prodigal sons of France. I’ve heard before that some of the French don’t appreciate the fact that Phoenix record all of their tracks in English, as opposed to their mother tongue, but there was no such bad feeling in the crowd that stood around me that night, sending waves of love and adulation towards the stage which prompted lead singer Thomas Mars to briefly lie on the stage in slightly dazed wonder at this epic night.

It was frustrating to have to leave on Sunday, as I missed performances by Pony Pony Run Run, Julian Casablancas and Etienne De Crecy, but work commitments dictated an early departure. Nonetheless, I had such a great time that I am already planning next years Festival des Vieilles Charrues (which will be the 20th anniversary of the festival). Brittany was the perfect setting for such a chilled festival, and a welcome addition to the festival calendar.


Yves Saint Laurent, buy information pills illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

When in the fashion capital, sildenafil to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, information pills the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?

Categories ,Belle de Hour, ,Catherine Deneuve, ,Christian Dior, ,france, ,Hollywood, ,India, ,Le Smoking, ,Marilyn Monroe, ,matisse, ,Morocco, ,paris, ,Paris Jet Set, ,Petit Palais, ,Pierre Berge, ,Piet Mondrian, ,Pret-a-porter, ,Red carpet, ,Russia!, ,Silhouette, ,Trapeze, ,van gogh, ,YSL, ,Yves Saint Laurent

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Amelia’s Magazine | Yves Saint Laurent : Retrospective : Petit Palais, Paris


Yves Saint Laurent, illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck

When in the fashion capital, to miss a much talked about exhibition that focuses on the ‘prince of fashion’ would be a crime. Two years on from Yves Saint Laurent’s death in June 2008, the Petit Palais Museum in Paris hosted a magnificent showcase of his work, his life and his history and I went to check it out.

A queuing time of one hour and a ticket price of 11 euros later, I arrived at the beginning of the exhibition which was a history of himself and through to ‘The Dior Years’; a fascinating look at how he was recognised for his beautiful fashion sketches and taken onboard by the famous couturier. Spending much of his time at Dior doing mundane tasks such as decorating, doing the paperwork and designing accessories, Yves Saint Laurent continued to submit his own sketches for new collections which, in time, lead to him being appointed to succeed as designer after Dior, who died suddenly at the age of 52 from a heart attack, promoting YSL sooner than expected and at only 21 years old.


Tribute to Piet Mondrian, 1965, illustrated by Lesley Barnes

The exhibition moved through to his first collections including the famous ‘Trapèze’, which were not approved of as he had hoped and slated by the press who didn’t think too highly of his beatnik designs.  A long line of mannequins, donated from the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent, modelled his wonderful safari jackets, skin tight trousers and the famous Le Smoking suit, which were so perfect and impeccably designed. As the first French couturier to produce a prêt -a-porter line, his rise in fame is recognised with yet another dozen or so mannequins showcasing his ‘silhouette’ designs and a room dedicated to the film Belle de Jour, starring Catherine Deneuve and many of his garments. Film clips of the beautiful actress wearing his suits and dresses lit up the room alongside his very desk where he worked on his fashion drawings and paperwork as he left it and of course, those famous glasses of his which added such a personal and almost emotional touch to the whole exhibition. An almost pitch black room beside it showing beautifully constructed evening gowns and video clips of his inspiration, ranging from old movies to photographs of Marilyn Monroe and pieces of art such as Van Gogh, Mondrian and Matisse. Leaving this, several areas full of his more exotic work which had taken inspiration from the far flung places Yves loved to visit such as Russia, India and Morocco to name but a few, showed a different, refreshing side to his talent. 


Le Smoking, illustrated by Abi Daker

As his prêt-a-porter line became more and more popular with the public, despite it’s initial reputation, YSL became considered one of the ‘Paris Jet Set’ which, although glamorous, created a worrying relationship with alcohol and drugs and a lack of interest in the production of his work. Despite this sad self destruction, his work was evidently still as fantastic as it was years before. A room decorated in red carpet and full of his best evening gowns, named as ‘The Last Ball’ shimmering underneath the spotlights and producing a lot of gasps and ‘wows’ from visitors, proved that his talent was ever-growing despite his sad personal life. Moving on to his final designs, ‘The Collision of Colours’ which were slightly different in that they were modern, classic and slightly more tamed than the extravagant previous collections, the exhibition came to a close with a few words about his last movements.  


Velvet and satin evening dress, 1983, illustrated by Emma Block

With the historical photographs, films and words alongside real life evidence of his blossoming talent from assistant to famous couturier, the exhibition was personal, thorough and highly favourable of this talented French designer whose contribution to the fashion industry is colossal. After a total of 307 of prêt-a-porter and haute couture designs and around two hours of wonderful education, I walked away feeling that I could definitely go back for another visit and would hope that any visitor to Paris would make time to go and be amazed too. He may be gone in person, but his talent lives on in memory and those who took over. If it is good enough for the fashion capital, who’s to say otherwise?

Categories ,Belle de Hour, ,Catherine Deneuve, ,Christian Dior, ,france, ,Hollywood, ,India, ,Le Smoking, ,Marilyn Monroe, ,matisse, ,Morocco, ,paris, ,Paris Jet Set, ,Petit Palais, ,Pierre Berge, ,Piet Mondrian, ,Pret-a-porter, ,Red carpet, ,Russia!, ,Silhouette, ,Trapeze, ,van gogh, ,YSL, ,Yves Saint Laurent

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Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Ascher Scarves


Prangsta, ailment illustrated by Joana Faria

Now, ask here’s a treat. Hopefully you caught Georgia Takacs’ wonderful insight into the awe-inspiring world of Prangsta Costumiers last week: the celebrated (if somewhat unconventional) Alice in Wonderland-esque bazaar in New Cross.

Now I would never in a million years suggest that readers of Amelia’s Magazine come to the site just to look at pretty pictures, rx what with our bursting-at-the-seams stock of fabulous writers, but in order to bring a little sunshine and entertainment to a so far grey Wednesday, feast your eyes on some glorious images and illustrations from Prangsta.

Georgia, who wrote the article, took part in a shoot with the team there, capturing the many faces that pass through the doors and even more of the craft-packed corners of this wonderful find. So here they are. I’m convinced you could look at this place all day and never get bored – I hope you agree!


Illustration by Krister Selin

The latest shoot focuses on a somewhat macabre Snow White, shown with an array of weird and wonderful friends:






Illustration by Rachel de Ste. Croix


Prangsta, story illustrated by Joana Faria

Now, medical here’s a treat. Hopefully you caught Georgia Takacs’ wonderful insight into the awe-inspiring world of Prangsta Costumiers last week: the celebrated (if somewhat unconventional) Alice in Wonderland-esque bazaar in New Cross.

Now I would never in a million years suggest that readers of Amelia’s Magazine come to the site just to look at pretty pictures, what with our bursting-at-the-seams stock of fabulous writers, but in order to bring a little sunshine and entertainment to a so far grey Wednesday, feast your eyes on some glorious images and illustrations from Prangsta.

Georgia, who wrote the article, took part in a shoot with the team there, capturing the many faces that pass through the doors and even more of the craft-packed corners of this wonderful find. So here they are. I’m convinced you could look at this place all day and never get bored – I hope you agree!


Illustration by Krister Selin

The latest shoot focuses on a somewhat macabre Snow White, shown with an array of weird and wonderful friends:






Illustration by Rachel de Ste. Croix

Prangsta also worked with ethereal fashion photographer Ellen Rogers, and the result is astonishing. Rogers’ photographs make heavy use of photographic techniques from long ago, evoking (for me at least) images of Marlene Dietrich in Hot Venus and the eery portraits of death popular in the Victorian age. Whatever they evoke, this marriage of Prangsta and Rogers is incredible.




Photographs by Ellen Rogers

To read the original article about the wonderful world of Prangsta, click here.


Image courtesy of Ascher

On Tuesday I went to see a beautiful collection of scarves from Ascher London, order presented in a suite at Number One Aldwych. Marking their first collection of scarves in thirty years, the collection consists of some brand new designs sitting alongside classic designs from the Ascher library, reworked in new colourways.

Ascher was founded as a fabric house in 1947; their fabrics graced the catwalks of an amazing list of couturiers including Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Schiaparelli, Lanvin and Mary Quant. A husband and wife team, Lida designed and Zika printed the fabrics.


Rose Pom Pom, designed by Ascher studio, was featured prominently in a collection of dresses in Christian Dior’s 1954 collection

Fabric shortages during the Second World War lead to a rise in the popularity of colourful headscarves as an easy way to liven up dull uniforms. During the 1940s Ascher took advantage of this trend, initially reproducing nineteenth-century prints in vivid new colourways.


A selection of scarves from the Ascher archive

Later, they became the first studio to approach and join forces with artists to produce scarves from illustrations and paintings, boasting another impressive list of those involved: Matisse, Derain, Berard, Moore, Cocteau, Nicholson and Sutherland.


Image courtesy of Ascher

Sam Ascher, grandson of Lida and Zika, talked me through the current collection along with some vintage scarves and artwork from the Ascher archive. This included a rare opportunity to see some original and never-used ink illustrations by Cecil Beaton, complete with his handwritten instructions outlining the repeat pattern.

All of the scarves are made in Italy using luxurious silk twill, silk chiffon, cashmere and modal with hand rolled edges and the quality is immediately apparent.

Screen printing (rather than digital printing) allows the designs to be reproduced exactly, so that each design is as perfect as if it had been hand-painted. Some multi tonal scarves are produced using up to ten screens, ensuring each of the artists’ original brushstrokes is retained in perfect detail. There is definitely no cutting of corners where Ascher is concerned.

The collection look book features an illustrated guide of How To Wear Your Ascher Scarf. Names like The Sports Car and The Parisian Loop conjure up images of glamorous femme fatales racing around the Home Counties in classic cars. The whole collection captures the optimistic glamour and elegance of the post-war era.


Images courtesy of Ascher

One of the scarves designed by Henry Moore is described in the look book as Bridging the gap between fashion and fine art, Aschers designs are described as equally at home in a frame or worn on an evening out.

The designs were celebrated with a retrospective at the V&A back in 1987 and they are still held in many museum collections, evident by the two Henry Moore wall hangings on display, which I was told had been unexpectedly sent over by the Tate that morning.

All photography by Naomi Law, unless otherwise stated

Categories ,Ascher, ,Cecil Beaton, ,Dior, ,Givenchy, ,Henry Moore, ,How to Wear, ,Lanvin, ,london, ,London Fashion Week, ,Mary Quant, ,matisse, ,Number One Aldwych, ,S/S 2011, ,Sam Ascher, ,Scarves

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Amelia’s Magazine | Alan Taylor, MAN: London Collections: Men A/W 2014 Catwalk Review


Alan Taylor S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova

London Collections: Men might be the clumsiest branding known to man, but the MAN show does you no favours either. Not only do you find yourself saying aloud ‘I’m going to the MAN show’, but check out #MAN on Instagram shortly after the collections and you’ll get all sorts of unsavoury images mixed with Bobby Abley‘s pink fur or Craig Green‘s psychedelic prints.

I haven’t seen either of the above nor Alan Taylor‘s actual catwalk presentations before, so I was pretty excited about this showcase of London’s most innovative menswear designers. Irishman Alan Taylor was up first. Since starting his own label in 2011, Taylor the tailor has quickly asserted himself as one to watch.


All photography by Matt Bramford

This particular collection was inspired by Henri Matisse and Taylor’s love affair with modern art is well documented. Irish tweeds became the canvas and bursts of solid fluorescent panels became the art. Enlarged overcoats and blazers created the silhouettes – natural colours maintained Taylor’s commitment to his heritage. Most pieces were modernised with the aforementioned vibrant coloured panels – Matisse-like shapes in green and purple transformed sharp tailoring into unique and contemporary looks. Contrasting pieces like a floor-length black overcoat constructed from a heavy, shimmering fabric peppered the collection.

Taylor’s staple kilts featured alongside contemporary Oxford bags and jackets with a-line hems, proving that elements of womenswear can actually work in menswear without making the wearer look like an utter berk. Finally, zingy fluorescent accessories: leather gloves, bags and shoes, added yet another dimension to this outstanding outing.

Categories ,A/W 2014, ,Alan Taylor, ,catwalk, ,fashion, ,Fashion East, ,LCM, ,LCMAW2014, ,London Collections Men, ,Man, ,matisse, ,menswear, ,review, ,tailoring, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with fashion designer Olivia Rubin

The last time we met Peaches, shop she was attending a friends party in Brick Lane, about it and on down-time from her live shows. Relaxed, visit this site mellow and low key, I had no idea that this super-chilled woman in front of me would put on the most spectacular and extravagant stage show that I have ever seen. But that’s just what she did one month later under the warm night sky of Benicassim, mesmerising the audience that she presided over in her Grand Dame role of sound sculptress; one part circus ringleader, one part mad professor. Combining state of the art technologies with her minimalist electro music, she created sounds and visuals on lazer harps, glow in the dark rods that moved micro-tonally, had her backup singers beamed across her clothes and generally raised the bar of musical creativity. So just a regular night for Peaches then. Recently, she took part in a Vice and Intel collaboration otherwise known as The Creators Project, an initiative designed to connect young people through a common passion for creativity and technology, to riff about her constantly evolving concepts and ambitions. Other artists involved in the project include Phoenix, Mark Ronson, Interpol, Spike Jonze, UNKLE and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Here’s a sneak peak of Phoenix, who we always have time for:
http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/creators/phoenix

More interviews can be found on TheCreatorsProject.com, an interactive portal and anthology which will house a selection of eighty-four original videos and featuring work and interviews from the most creative artists across the globe, including discussions with innovators working in indie film, futuristic architecture, avant-garde electronica and fashion. These include Brazil’s Muti Randolph, China’s Peng Lei, the U.K.’s United Visual Artists, and the U.S.’ Radical Friend.

The last time we met Peaches, more about she was attending a friends party in Brick Lane, cheap and on down-time from her live shows. Relaxed, more about mellow and low key, I had no idea that this super-chilled woman in front of me would put on the most spectacular and extravagant stage show that I have ever seen. But that’s just what she did one month later under the warm night sky of Benicassim, mesmerising the audience that she presided over in her Grand Dame role of sound sculptress; one part circus ringleader, one part mad professor. Combining state of the art technologies with her minimalist electro music, she created sounds and visuals on lazer harps, glow in the dark rods that moved micro-tonally, had her backup singers beamed across her clothes and generally raised the bar of musical creativity. So just a regular night for Peaches then. Recently, she took part in a Vice and Intel collaboration otherwise known as The Creators Project, an initiative designed to connect young people through a common passion for creativity and technology, to riff about her constantly evolving concepts and ambitions. Other artists involved in the project include Phoenix, Mark Ronson, Interpol, Spike Jonze, UNKLE and Nick Zinner from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Here’s a sneak peak of Phoenix, who we always have time for:
http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/en-uk/creators/phoenix

More interviews can be found on TheCreatorsProject.com, an interactive portal and anthology which will house a selection of eighty-four original videos and featuring work and interviews from the most creative artists across the globe, including discussions with innovators working in indie film, futuristic architecture, avant-garde electronica and fashion. These include Brazil’s Muti Randolph, China’s Peng Lei, the U.K.’s United Visual Artists, and the U.S.’ Radical Friend.


Illustration by Lisa Stannard

With big names like Lily Allen, advice Agyness Deyn, Kelly Osbourne and Sophie Ellis Bextor all under her belt, designer Olivia Rubin has certainly made a name for herself on the London fashion scene. Her collection Olivia Rubin London, and it’s diffusion line Oli Rubi, prove that she is a rising fashion upstart, and is ready to take the rest of the world by storm! Check out our Q & A with her below…


A/W 2011

Your A/W ’10/11 Collection, as stated, was inspired by “all things eerie, mystical and dark” and used images from Hardy’s nineteenth century romantic classics. But was there a significant moment, image, or occurrence that persuaded your inspiration to become clear to you, or was it a gradual realisation? 

I was initially drawn to the Mulberry AW09 campaign – that was the starting point for research. I combined this with thoughts of Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Return of the Native’ and gathered images, colours and photos for research that had a darker, more ethereal quality. ?


Miro, illustrated by Abi Daker

There is, undeniably, a feminine quality to your work, particularly in the silhouettes, which you said empower the female form. But what do you think your line’s main ‘aim’ is, in regards to women wearing your designs? Does your line have a certain aesthetic? 

The collections are meant to flatter a women’s figure whilst retaining an individual edge. The prints are key to creating an alternative look – I try to steer clear of creating looks that are overly girly!  ?

A recurring theme in your designs is giving them a particular name. Your S/S 10 collection featured dressed named after world famous artists such as Gaudí, Matisse, and Opie. Further, your A/W 10/11 collection features women’s names, such as Sylvia, Darcy, and Belle. Are the names derived from your inspiration for each collection, or do they come from a different process?
All the names relate to the theme of each of the collections. SS10 focused on modern artist movements so it made sense to name each of the dresses after a famous artist. The same goes for AW10 – this time I focused on old fashioned women’s names. It turns out that two of the best selling dresses of the season are both my grandmas’ names’ – Ada and Dorrie! ?

Your Belle Tunic and Darcy ‘Bug’ Dress feature the A/W Bug print that you designed, adding an air of vintage to the looks. Where did the image of the bugs come from, and how did you go about in creating the initial print? 
I bought the most beautiful insect brooch from Portobello Market and thought that they would look great in a print. I ended up doing a small scale overall bug print so that the bugs are only noticeable from close up. I am also in the process of creating an exclusive bug dress that features all over bug embroidery and beading – it is going to be a really special piece!  ?

Your diffusion line, Oli Rubi, features your bug print, as well as various other prints. With a diffusion line, consumers still have that distinctive Olivia Rubin aesthetic, but at the same time, don’t break the bank. Do you feel as a designer and businesswoman that it is important to address this point of view, considering the current economic conditions? 
It is massively important to me – I love fashion but want to be able to buy an amazing, unique dress without spending over £500. All my silk mainline collection is priced under £350, while the ‘Oli Rubi’ line starts form £60. ‘Oli Rubi’ was introduced more as a casual printed jersey range – I wanted to make my prints more accessible to a day to day wardrobe.  


Kandinsky, illustrated by Lisa Stannard

Finally, I threw some quick fire questions at Olivia:  

Do you prefer sketching designs or constructing them? 
Sketching  

What do you like the most about designing clothes? 
Coming up with new ideas – I’m always thinking of ideas for up and coming collections – that’s what I thrive on!  

Describe your person style in three words
Individual, colourful, chic  

What does fashion mean to you in three words? 
Life, style, passion  

What advice would you give those that would like to get into fashion design? 
Work experience is key-the more internships you can put onto your CV while you are studying at university the better! 

In short, Miss Rubin is yet another designer to watch out for. With her one-of-a-kind prints and diffusion line Oli Rubi, her unique style will transcend any budget!


Gaudí, illustrated by Abi Daker

You can follow Olivia on twitter at @OliviaRubin 

Categories ,Abi Daker, ,Agyness Dean, ,bugs, ,fashion, ,Gaudí, ,Julian Opie, ,Kelly Osbourne, ,lily allen, ,Lisa Stannard, ,london, ,matisse, ,Mulberry, ,Oli Rubi, ,Olivia Rubin, ,Portobello Market, ,prints, ,Return of the Native, ,Sophie Ellis-Bextor, ,Thomas Hardy

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with legendary fashion illustrator David Downton

David Downton is one of the most prolific living fashion illustrators, sickness and by far my favourite (no offence, healing contributors!) His loose, dosage visionary style seems so effortless and radiates elegance and beauty. Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, it wasn’t until he attended Paris couture shows over a decade ago that he really began to explore fashion illustration. Since then, he’s created images of the world’s most groundbreaking fashion and its most beautiful women. From Dior to Dita Von Teese, he’s captured the essence and spirit of women and fashion like no other image maker before him. His images are everywhere, in books, in magazines, on billboards, on the walls of illustration students’ bedrooms and hell – even M&S tote bags.

This month sees the launch of Downton’s first solo book – Masters of Fashion Illustration. Inside, it explores the work of the greatest fashion illustrators of the twentieth century as well as a good look at his own work. You’re in for a treat here – page after page of lavish images celebrate the genre, featuring the greats of fashion illustration as well as looking at the influence of other artists and designers.

In the run up to the publication of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I spoke to David about his illustrious career and the new book…

Hi David! I’m worried about asking all the questions you’ve been asked already… but… How did you become a fashion illustrator?
In a way, I was ‘mugged’ by fashion. I was fairly well established as an all-round commercial illustrator – who occasionally took on  fashion commissions –  when the FT sent me to Paris to draw at the couture shows. That was in July 1996 and I felt like I’d been given the keys to a magic kingdom.

How do your pieces come together?
Surprisingly slowly. I keep working until it looks effortless, which means doing a lot of drawing. I am looking for a kind of controlled spontaneity.

What techniques do you use?
It really depends on the brief, my mood and what I am trying to convey. I love using Rotring ink, because it is such a rich black and Dr. Marten’s black ink, because it has a velvety, violet cast to it. I also use gouache, watercolour, oil stick, occasionally acrylics… really anything that seems appropriate or inspiring at a given moment.

What qualities do fashion illustrations have that photographs or film don’t?
A personal sensibility (very few illustrations are the result of a team effort). A sense of the moment, fluidity, dexterity. Drawings tell the truth without needing to be accurate. The camera is a gadget (and we all love gadgets), but we have been saturated by photographic imagery. It’s a point and shoot world.

Who has been your favourite subject to draw, portrait-wise?
In no particular order: Cate Blanchett, Dita Von Teese, Erin O’ Connor, Paloma Picasso, Lady Amanda Harlech, Linda Evangelista and Carmen. I’ll stop there, but the truth is, everyone I’ve drawn has been inspiring.

Which designers are your favourites to illustrate?
Lacroix, Dior, Gaultier, Chanel, Valentino…. the masters.

Which other image makers have inspired you/do you admire?
Again, too many to list fully. How about Matisse, Boldini, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Euan Uglow, Réne Gruau, Mats Gustafsson, Tony Viramontes, Abraham Ganes, Al Hirshfield and Bob Peak to kick off with?

How do your collaborations come around?
It depends – sometimes I think of a project I’d love to do and pursue it….  At other times it comes to me, either directly, or via my agent. There are no hard and fast rules, but I’m always trying to scare something up.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine, we love fashion illustration and Amelia’s next book will be a celebration of the genre. What advice would you give to our army of up-and-coming illustrators?
My advice would be simple; keep drawing. You can’t be too good at it. And when you’re not drawing, keep looking, training your eye. Be professional. Fashion illustration is a profession, as well as a passion. Most of all enjoy it; you have the whole world at your fingertips.

There seems to be a real revival of fashion illustration at the moment – magazines and websites are showcasing sketchbooks and commissioning more and more illustrators and exhibitions are popping up everywhere. Why do you think illustration excites people?
I was once working backstage at Dior and a model said “Drawing… wow, that’s new!” I thought, ‘drawing is now so old, it’s new!’ In other words, like everything else it’s cyclical. I think a lot of people just forgot about it. But, to be honest, although everyone talks about a revival, fashion illustration never really went anywhere. Perhaps you just needed to look harder.

Will you ever use a computer as part of your imagemaking?!
Never say never, as they say.

What can we expect from the new book?
It’s beautiful! Gorgeous! A celebration of my favourite fashion illustrators from the turn of the 20th century up until the late 80s, followed by a portfolio of my own work.

How did the book come together? Did you enjoy creating it?
I worked very closely with the designer, Karen Morgan, and loved every agonising minute of it! It was a big leap for me. I’d done 2 issues of my own fashion illustration magazine Pourquoi Pas? and I thought I knew what I was doing, nevertheless it was daunting to do a 240 page book in my ‘spare’ time. But it was a labour of love; I got to look at the the work of the artists I most love; I met  Tony Viramontes’ brother and  René Bouché’s widow; I had access to the Vogue archive. I have to say, the publishers (Laurence King) were brilliant, very indulgent and I think we are all proud of what we achieved.

So, what else do you get up to?
I have two teenage children (actually my daughter’s 20, now), so all the usual things. I’m a lazy workaholic. When I’m not working I am very happy doing ‘nothing’. I live in the countryside an hour from London; a long way from the world of fashion.

David will be giving a talk at the London College of Fashion on Thursday 9th December. Keep an eye on our listings section for details soon!

Masters of Fashion Illustration by David Downton is out now, published by Laurence King. All images courtesy of David Downton.

Categories ,Abraham Ganes, ,acrylics, ,Al Hirshfield, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bob Peak, ,Boldini, ,Carmen, ,Cate Blanchett, ,chanel, ,couture, ,David Downton, ,Dior, ,Dita Von Teese, ,Dr. Martens, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Euan Uglow, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Francis Bacon, ,Gaultier, ,gouache, ,Lacroix, ,Lady Amanda Harlech, ,Linda Evangelista, ,london, ,M&S, ,matisse, ,Mats Gustafsson, ,oil stick, ,Paloma Picasso, ,paris, ,picasso, ,Pourquoi Pas, ,René Bouché, ,Réne Gruau, ,Rotring ink, ,Tony Viramontes, ,Valentino, ,watercolour

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with legendary fashion illustrator David Downton

David Downton is one of the most prolific living fashion illustrators, sickness and by far my favourite (no offence, healing contributors!) His loose, dosage visionary style seems so effortless and radiates elegance and beauty. Beginning his career as a commercial illustrator, it wasn’t until he attended Paris couture shows over a decade ago that he really began to explore fashion illustration. Since then, he’s created images of the world’s most groundbreaking fashion and its most beautiful women. From Dior to Dita Von Teese, he’s captured the essence and spirit of women and fashion like no other image maker before him. His images are everywhere, in books, in magazines, on billboards, on the walls of illustration students’ bedrooms and hell – even M&S tote bags.

This month sees the launch of Downton’s first solo book – Masters of Fashion Illustration. Inside, it explores the work of the greatest fashion illustrators of the twentieth century as well as a good look at his own work. You’re in for a treat here – page after page of lavish images celebrate the genre, featuring the greats of fashion illustration as well as looking at the influence of other artists and designers.

In the run up to the publication of Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I spoke to David about his illustrious career and the new book…

Hi David! I’m worried about asking all the questions you’ve been asked already… but… How did you become a fashion illustrator?
In a way, I was ‘mugged’ by fashion. I was fairly well established as an all-round commercial illustrator – who occasionally took on  fashion commissions –  when the FT sent me to Paris to draw at the couture shows. That was in July 1996 and I felt like I’d been given the keys to a magic kingdom.

How do your pieces come together?
Surprisingly slowly. I keep working until it looks effortless, which means doing a lot of drawing. I am looking for a kind of controlled spontaneity.

What techniques do you use?
It really depends on the brief, my mood and what I am trying to convey. I love using Rotring ink, because it is such a rich black and Dr. Marten’s black ink, because it has a velvety, violet cast to it. I also use gouache, watercolour, oil stick, occasionally acrylics… really anything that seems appropriate or inspiring at a given moment.

What qualities do fashion illustrations have that photographs or film don’t?
A personal sensibility (very few illustrations are the result of a team effort). A sense of the moment, fluidity, dexterity. Drawings tell the truth without needing to be accurate. The camera is a gadget (and we all love gadgets), but we have been saturated by photographic imagery. It’s a point and shoot world.

Who has been your favourite subject to draw, portrait-wise?
In no particular order: Cate Blanchett, Dita Von Teese, Erin O’ Connor, Paloma Picasso, Lady Amanda Harlech, Linda Evangelista and Carmen. I’ll stop there, but the truth is, everyone I’ve drawn has been inspiring.

Which designers are your favourites to illustrate?
Lacroix, Dior, Gaultier, Chanel, Valentino…. the masters.

Which other image makers have inspired you/do you admire?
Again, too many to list fully. How about Matisse, Boldini, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Euan Uglow, Réne Gruau, Mats Gustafsson, Tony Viramontes, Abraham Ganes, Al Hirshfield and Bob Peak to kick off with?

How do your collaborations come around?
It depends – sometimes I think of a project I’d love to do and pursue it….  At other times it comes to me, either directly, or via my agent. There are no hard and fast rules, but I’m always trying to scare something up.

Here at Amelia’s Magazine, we love fashion illustration and Amelia’s next book will be a celebration of the genre. What advice would you give to our army of up-and-coming illustrators?
My advice would be simple; keep drawing. You can’t be too good at it. And when you’re not drawing, keep looking, training your eye. Be professional. Fashion illustration is a profession, as well as a passion. Most of all enjoy it; you have the whole world at your fingertips.

There seems to be a real revival of fashion illustration at the moment – magazines and websites are showcasing sketchbooks and commissioning more and more illustrators and exhibitions are popping up everywhere. Why do you think illustration excites people?
I was once working backstage at Dior and a model said “Drawing… wow, that’s new!” I thought, ‘drawing is now so old, it’s new!’ In other words, like everything else it’s cyclical. I think a lot of people just forgot about it. But, to be honest, although everyone talks about a revival, fashion illustration never really went anywhere. Perhaps you just needed to look harder.

Will you ever use a computer as part of your imagemaking?!
Never say never, as they say.

What can we expect from the new book?
It’s beautiful! Gorgeous! A celebration of my favourite fashion illustrators from the turn of the 20th century up until the late 80s, followed by a portfolio of my own work.

How did the book come together? Did you enjoy creating it?
I worked very closely with the designer, Karen Morgan, and loved every agonising minute of it! It was a big leap for me. I’d done 2 issues of my own fashion illustration magazine Pourquoi Pas? and I thought I knew what I was doing, nevertheless it was daunting to do a 240 page book in my ‘spare’ time. But it was a labour of love; I got to look at the the work of the artists I most love; I met  Tony Viramontes’ brother and  René Bouché’s widow; I had access to the Vogue archive. I have to say, the publishers (Laurence King) were brilliant, very indulgent and I think we are all proud of what we achieved.

So, what else do you get up to?
I have two teenage children (actually my daughter’s 20, now), so all the usual things. I’m a lazy workaholic. When I’m not working I am very happy doing ‘nothing’. I live in the countryside an hour from London; a long way from the world of fashion.

David will be giving a talk at the London College of Fashion on Thursday 9th December. Keep an eye on our listings section for details soon!

Masters of Fashion Illustration by David Downton is out now, published by Laurence King. All images courtesy of David Downton.

Categories ,Abraham Ganes, ,acrylics, ,Al Hirshfield, ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Bob Peak, ,Boldini, ,Carmen, ,Cate Blanchett, ,chanel, ,couture, ,David Downton, ,Dior, ,Dita Von Teese, ,Dr. Martens, ,Erin O’ Connor, ,Euan Uglow, ,fashion, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Francis Bacon, ,Gaultier, ,gouache, ,Lacroix, ,Lady Amanda Harlech, ,Linda Evangelista, ,london, ,M&S, ,matisse, ,Mats Gustafsson, ,oil stick, ,Paloma Picasso, ,paris, ,picasso, ,Pourquoi Pas, ,René Bouché, ,Réne Gruau, ,Rotring ink, ,Tony Viramontes, ,Valentino, ,watercolour

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Amelia’s Magazine | Portfolio: an interview with illustrator Yelena Bryksenkova

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Ada Zanditon A/W 2011 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

The wonderful New England based illustrator Yelena Bryksenkova has for many years been one of my favourite contributors to Amelia’s Magazine, during which time she has created so many wonderful delicate and highly detailed illustrations that are always perfectly adapted to whatever subject she is given. It’s no surprise that she has been wooing fans across the globe, so I am absolutely delighted to introduce her as a featured Portfolio Illustrator on the soon to be relaunched Amelia’s Magazine website. I caught up with Yelena to find out more about the way she works and much more.

Bio Photo Yelena Bryksenkova

I’ve been a long term admirer of your work, having featured you in my 2010 book, Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration: how did you discover my website and why did you start to contribute?
I discovered you even earlier, when I was working at a magazine shop in Baltimore that carried publications from all over the world. I was still a student then and whiled away the long hours at the shop reading magazines and copying down contact information from the mastheads. I was instantly drawn to Amelia’s Magazine – the exquisite covers, the way every page overflowed with photographs, drawings, interesting articles – it was clearly made with love and unparalleled creative energy. And it was from London. I worked very hard on an illustration which I entered into your competition themed Everything is Connected, and that, to my amazement, is how I made it into the final print issue of the magazine. It was the very first time my work had been printed anywhere, in fact. After the magazine went online, I continued to contribute when I could, and in the process became acquainted with the very friendly and talented community of illustrators in the UK.

Bernard Chandran S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Bernard Chandran S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

One of my favourite things about your illustrations is your amazing use of pattern. Where does this love of detail stem from?
Detail seems so personal and deliberate to me; it’s like a secret shared between the creator and the beholder who cares to look closely enough. I’ve always enjoyed looking at Indian miniature painting, or closely examining the lacy collars in Tudor court paintings. Nowadays drawing painstaking detail and patterning feels meditative to me, but I think it stemmed from my student days, when I discovered that a pattern can nicely mask some awkward drawing mistakes!

Ekaterina Kukhareva S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Ekaterina Kukhareva S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

I also adore your elegant females – which artist or type of art has had the biggest influence on the way you draw people?
I often look at the work of Serov, Sargent, Renoir, Vuillard, Matisse; I will never get tired of paintings of quiet repose, everyday moments. Women brushing their hair, reading, arranging flowers, drinking tea, lost in their private thoughts. Stylistically, the way I draw people was most likely shaped by looking at the works of J.W. Waterhouse and Edward Gorey, as well as fashion illustrations from the 1920s.

Studio Yelena Bryksenkova

Studio Yelena Bryksenkova

What time of day do you find it easiest to work and what are your must have requirements when you sit down to create some art?
Traditionally I am a night owl, although I am finding lately that I get a lot more done if I start working first thing in the morning. Before I sit down to work, my desk (and often the whole room) has to be tidied up – otherwise my mind feels cluttered, I get stressed out and impatient with my work – and I need to have a large mug of tea always on hand.

Pollyanna Band by Yelena Bryksenkova

Pollyanna Band by Yelena Bryksenkova.

How did your agent find you?
I’m not sure, I think they saw my work in the Communication Arts Annual and had been following it for a while before reaching out.

Lug von Siga S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Lug von Siga S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Do you have a specific approach when you tackle a fashion illustration that is different, say, from an editorial illustration?
Aesthetic appeal is important in editorial illustration, but I must also consider its clarity of concept and succinctness; it must go hand in hand with text. Fashion illustration is all about creating a story and arousing an emotional response to clothes, so there’s more opportunity to be creative. I begin by thinking about the kind of woman the clothes evoke and what kind of dream world she lives in, styling her pose, accessories and even setting based on that.

Orla Kiely S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Orla Kiely S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Where does your obsession with the image of a small elephant come from?
I think the first time I really took this image to heart was when I was about 17 and I read Haruki Murakami‘s short story The Elephant Vanishes. But upon further recollection, I found that the elephant has been in my life from the start: when I was very small, one of my favorite children’s books was Excuse Me, Elephant by the Polish author Ludwik Jerzy Kern. It was about a boy named Pini and his porcelain elephant Dominik, who comes to life. Now the elephant is a kind of talisman I’ve adopted; I think of it as a harbinger of good tidings.

Pam Hogg S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Pam Hogg S/S 2014 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

Why did you decide to leave New York for New Haven and what has been the best thing about making the move to a more rural setting?
For someone who is very romantic about cities and places in general, I never dreamed of New York and I knew from the start that it isn’t my kind of city. But I did dream of being a New Englander, so I took the first opportunity that presented itself and moved to Connecticut, with the intention of eventually continuing to move deeper into the Northeast. As the home of Yale University, New Haven is collegiate and cozy, small enough to get to know but in such a way that I could never get tired of wandering its charming streets. It’s also so conveniently located that I can take day trips – for work or leisure – by train to New York, Providence and Boston (a city I love and do dream of), as well as many other corners of this beautiful region.

Tata Naka S/S 2012 by Yelena Bryksenkova

Tata Naka S/S 2012 by Yelena Bryksenkova.

What is the best part about researching a new illustration? 
Often I get assignments on a subject I know nothing about. After the initial anxiety about the seemingly foreign and uninteresting, I begin to read, and before long come out something of an expert on the matter and having found some detail that resonates with my emotions or aesthetic sensibilities and that will help me make it mine. All it takes is that detail, and once I pull on the thread, a whole image begins to unravel. It’s very exciting, because it’s such a natural way to learn something new and I find that in life I have become more willing to look for that detail in places and people, rendering me incapable of boredom!

Cheapside Hoard by Yelena Bryksenkova

Cheapside Hoard by Yelena Bryksenkova.

What are the things that make you feel most emotional at present and how do you respond to them?
I recently read Anna Karenina in just a few long sittings and after crying for two days I started working on an imaginary book cover, which I have yet to finish because real book cover commissions took over my life. The autumn weather makes me emotional; the heat and humidity of summer is over and the bitter New England winter hasn’t begun, so I go on nighttime walks in perfectly cool, clear air and I just feel happy, warm and cozy and glad to be alive. This calmness is good for productivity and in turn the presence of meaningful work feeds back into that satisfied feeling.

Izzy Lane by Yelena Bryksenkova

Izzy Lane by Yelena Bryksenkova

Izzy Lane by Yelena Bryksenkova. (illustrations for Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.)

We were very sad when you could not make it over to the launch party (for my fashion illustration book) due to adverse weather conditions: when did you last travel to the UK and what was the occasion?
My dad lived in Gloucester for a time, and my mom and I visited him; I must have been about 14. I was devastated when the snowstorm thwarted my hopes of visiting London again a whole decade later, but I’m determined to try again, and soon. I have developed so many friendships and professional relationships across the Atlantic and I pledge to meet all of you in person one day!

Sketchbook by Yelena Bryksenkova

Are you still creating beautiful sketch books and if so can we see a sneak peak of a recent one?
Unfortunately I’ve had little time lately to draw in my sketchbook. The last time I drew in it  was on a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Eloise Jephson, CSM graduate by Yelena Bryksenkova

Eloise Jephson, CSM graduate by Yelena Bryksenkova.

What is your favourite way to relax and unwind?
My best friend lives about 1.5 hours away in Rhode Island, and I love to visit her after getting all of my work done, so that the time off feels truly deserved, and I can wind my spring for the next stretch. And I even enjoy the journey, because a long, comfortable train ride listening to music and looking out of the window is another great pleasure in life. I love to take long walks and sit in cafes with tea and a good book. This year I’ve been going up to see the Boston Ballet, which is a very relaxing and very magical experience. And of course, lots of good (and bad) TV.

I can’t wait to showcase more of Yelena Bryksenkova‘s beautiful work on my new website, coming soon x

Categories ,Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, ,Anna Karenina, ,Communication Arts Annual, ,Connecticut, ,Edward Gorey, ,Everything is Connected, ,Excuse Me Elephant, ,Fashion Illustration, ,Haruki Murakami, ,illustration, ,interview, ,J.W. Waterhouse, ,Ludwik Jerzy Kern, ,matisse, ,New England, ,Portfolio Illustrator, ,Renoir, ,Sargent, ,Serov, ,The Elephant Vanishes, ,Vuillard, ,Yelena Bryksenkova

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Amelia’s Magazine | Royal College of Art MA Degree Show 2011 Review: Textile Design

Emma Lundgren by Natasha Waddon
Emma Lundgren by Natasha Waddon.

Textiles were displayed amongst product design at the Royal College of Art 2011 degree show – fitting, health as many textile designers showed practical applications for their textiles on cushions, trunks, tables and more.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Shipley
Emma Shipley had produced an intricate print collection from fine pencil drawings that captured the patterns of nature… and some curious beasties. I’d love some of this on my wall… Follow Emma Shipley on Twitter.

Emma Lundgren by Sophia O'Connor
Emma Lundgren by Sophia O’Connor.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Emma LundgrenRCA MA degree show 2011-Emma LundgrenRCA MA degree show 2011-Emma Lundgren
I loved Emma Lundgren‘s Scandinavian inspired collection of brightly coloured costume and accessories. Think traditional Sami costume meets the rainbows of the Northern Lights. Lapland reworked for the modern age. Follow Emma Lundgren on Twitter.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Yunshin Cho
I liked the striking surface patterns of Yunshin Cho‘s print, based on the skeleton of a ship. It reminds me of wood laminate and 50s design classics. But her website on her business card doesn’t work… hopefully soon?

RCA MA degree show 2011-Rachel Philpott
Rachel Philpott chose a more avante garde approach: cotton covered with glitter and folded into intricate origami shapes. I don’t know how she did it but it was pretty amazing.

Thorunn Arnadottir by Natasha Waddon
Thorunn Arnadottir by Natasha Waddon.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Thorunn Arnadottir RCA MA degree show 2011-Thorunn Arnadottir
Thorunn Arnadottir chose that favourite contemporary source of inspiration the QR code, beading it into this amazing dress. Follow Thorunn Arnadottir on twitter.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Lauren Barfoot
Dresses printed by Lauren Barfoot hung wafting in the light breeze near the window – dominated by orange and purple shades these designs were inspired by Matisse and Fauvism. She’s well up on Twitter. Go follow her.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Kit Miles
Kit Miles collided classical baroque with digital music for these bold graphical prints.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Hannah Sabapathy
An exploration between the natural and manmade was also the basis for Hannah Sabapathy‘s collection – seen here on an architectural side table.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Jonna Saarinen
Jonna Saarinen of Finland brought a Scandinvian sensibility to her Hundreds and Thousands print collection that was display to great affect on picnic ware and table cloths. Follow Jonna Saarinen on Twitter.

RCA MA degree show 2011-David Bradley
David Bradley explored printing and pleats in some extraordinary dresses. Best appreciated for their technical expertise close up.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Kitty Joseph
Kitty Joseph created saturated colour prints in Colour Immersion.

RCA MA degree show 2011-Marie Parsons RCA MA degree show 2011-Marie Parsons
Lastly, Marie Parsons used traditional stitched quilting as the basis for her final piece – a brightly coloured trunk that juxtaposed digital embroidery and laser cutting of latex on hard and soft surfaces. Her collection was influenced by East End building sites, Mykonos Town and Paris flea market finds.

The RCA Graduate Show continues until 3rd July so I highly recommend that you check it out soon, and get on board with my other write ups.

Categories ,2011, ,50s, ,baroque, ,Beading, ,Colour Immersion, ,contemporary, ,cushions, ,David Bradley, ,digital, ,Emma Lundgren, ,Emma Shipley, ,EmmaEvaCaroline, ,Fauvism, ,finland, ,Graduate Shows, ,Hannah Sabapathy, ,Hundreds and Thousands, ,Jonna Saarinen, ,Katherine Joseph, ,Kit Miles, ,Kitty Joseph, ,Lapland, ,Lauren Barfoot, ,Marie Parsons, ,matisse, ,Natasha Waddon, ,Neon, ,Northern Lights, ,origami, ,print, ,Product Design, ,QR code, ,Quilting, ,Rachel Philpott, ,rca, ,Royal College of Art, ,Sami, ,Scandinavian, ,Sophia O’Connor, ,Stitching, ,Textile Design, ,textiles, ,Thorunn Arnadottir, ,traditional, ,Trunk, ,twitter, ,Yunshin Cho

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Amelia’s Magazine | Kitty McCall: Creating Colourful Interior Textiles

Kitty McCall tropicalia washbags
Designer Catherine Nice is the brains behind Kitty McCall, a brilliant new interior textiles brand you should know about. Her work is inspired by the boldness of artists such as Matisse, Gauguin and Rousseau, featuring glorious patterns that will enliven any room. First discovered at Tent London 2014, I decided it was high time I caught up with the talented designer.

Kitty-McCall-artist-photo-AMELIAS-MAGAZINE
Your brand was named for your grandmother, what influence did she have on you?
She was great! She only started painting quite late in her life but she had a great eye for detail and colour. Every year I would send her a painting or drawing and she would always have something positive to say. I would say she contributed hugely to my interest in Art and design.

Kitty McCall tropicalia print
You have said that colour is the most important part of design: how do you put colours together and manipulate them into a final piece?
Colour is one of the most important things in my work as it helps spark my creativity and really helps me shape my ideas for a finished piece. I’m a hoarder of magazines, fabric swatches and generally anything that can be of used to inspire future design. When putting colour together I often use paper cutting and collages to get a feel for how they work together. Once I know the palette I match them with the Pantone colour system to ensure printing will be accurate.

Kitty-McCall-tropicalia-pouf Yeshen Venema Photography
Where did you study and what was the most important thing you took from your course?
I studied at Birmingham City University. I learnt never to stop absorbing ideas and to always take a moment to take in the world around me. It’s amazing what inspiration you can miss when you’re not paying attention to the every day. Having an interest in all areas of design also helps keeps the mind and ideas fresh.

Kitty McCall tropicalia letters
How did the idea for big fabric letters come about and how are they manufactured?
When my daughter Ruby was born I wanted some letters for her room but everything I found was a bit too pink or pretty, so I decided to get some made in my printed fabrics. Each Letter is hand made by a very talented lady I know!

Kitty-McCall-paradise-birds Yeshen Venema Photography
What relevant jobs did you have before setting up Kitty McCall?
After university I spent 6 years learning my craft as a print designer for a successful commercial studio.

Kitty McCall tropicalia cushions
Why did you decide to set up your own brand and what has been the hardest thing about doing so?
I wanted to have more control over how my designs were used. The hardest thing is probably working by myself, as you have to be your own critic in everything you do. When working in a studio environment, with a number of talented designers, we can be each other’s critical eye and spot what’s missing or not working in a design, so I always found this a helpful tool. I overcome this hurdle now by trying to take time to come back to designs, and see them with fresh eyes! It means the design process is a little longer but by doing this I can ensure I’m always happy with every finished piece.

And what is the best part about running your own brand?
Complete creative freedom and flexibility in my hours.

What are your hopes for the future of Kitty McCall?
To work on more collaborations with fellow designers and brands!

Categories ,Birmingham City University, ,Catherine Nice, ,Gauguin, ,interview, ,Kitty McCall, ,matisse, ,Rousseau, ,Tent London, ,Tent London 2014, ,Tropicalia

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