After the safety of school, stuff facing the real world can make artists feel a bit lost – this is why the working artists at the Core Gallery started ‘DIY Educate’. Starting from Saturday 26th February, this there will be workshops, prostate critiques and lectures to help with the practical aspects of art life.
‘I came out of five years of education with a BA and an MA, but I still didn’t know where to begin when it came to knowing how the art world works,’ says Rosalind Davis, co-director of the Core Gallery. A lot of people who graduated university with an arts or humanities degree are likely to identify with this sentiment; while art school is good for finding your voice, it’s not so good when it comes to teaching you about running a business. This is where Rosalind, and her fellow Core Gallery artists, hope to be able to help.
The Core Gallery was set up in April 2010, and puts on exhibitions by emerging curators. ‘We want to be a dynamic, exploratory space,’ says Rosalind. Their DIY Educate programme kicks off this spring, focusing firmly on ‘what they don’t teach you in school’: how to apply for an exhibition, how to sell your work, how to approach a gallery. The workshops will also go over how to find grants, or how to find an arts-related side-job to keep food on the table. One-on-one tutorials are also part of the package, with esteemed painter Graham Crowley offering his honest opinion for starters, with more names to be added. ‘There will also be peer critique sessions, and the opportunity to exchange ideas in a friendly place’, says Rosalind, emphasising how the most important thing is to create a space where artists feel nurtured.
‘Lots of art school practice is about the concept and processes of art, and there is less focus on the business side,’ says Rosalind. ‘But artists can be shy about marketing themselves, and they will often need encouragement.’
I ask Rosalind why the business side this isn’t covered better in school, and she says it’s difficult to say, but part of the reason may be that artist teachers in university may not be that great at promoting themselves either. She lectures about the business side of art herself, but she thinks it should be a mandatory subject to better prepare students for what’s to come.
DIY Educate will include talks by curators and artists, plus practical workshops. Membership costs £18 per year, granting free or reduced price access to events. Non-members can attend too, paying full price. DIY Educate is a not-for-profit programme that receives no independent funding, and Rosalind hopes to be able to expand offerings as things get going.
The programme kicks off this Saturday, 26th February, with a peer critique sesson followed by an artist and curator dialogue. On Tuesday night, 1st March, there will be a ‘nuts and bolt’ workshop on how to be an artist.
‘We plan to have one of these ‘nuts and bolts’ workshop every other month or so, plus a series of art workshops through the spring and summer,’ Rosalind explains. Initially the gallery plans to have two tutorials a month, but this could grow as more artists join Graham Crowley in offering them.
All images courtesy of Core Gallery and its resident artists.
The DIY Educate website is here – find the Core Gallery in Deptford: C101 Faircharm Trading Estate, 8-12 Creekside, London SE8 3DX
Illustration by Joana Faria
If I ever meet Jean Pierre Braganza in person, buy I might give him a little squeeze. His A/W 2011 show on Friday leaps right into my top 5 – and I’m writing this at the end of a very long and pretty stressful Day 3.
One of my favourite things during fashion week is getting to see interesting buildings that I never knew existed and wouldn’t normally take the slightest interest in. Braganza’s show was to take place at the ‘Show Space‘ – part of one of those centuries-old hotels with Baroque interiors and branded soaps. Me and Amelia skipped the queue and sneaked inside to find the most beautiful chandeliers and lots of OTT dressed punters. The actual room in which the show was to take place was equally as decadent, save for the make-shift catwalk that looked like it could topple at any second – and the tiny gap down the side of said catwalk through which we all had to squeeze. ‘I predict a bottle neck’ I thought as we entered, and my premonition came true on the way out.
A little wait ensued while it was ensured that every inch of carpet had somebody to occupy it, so I took a few snaps of the room and got a bit excited about the juxtaposition of this past interior and Braganza’s future aesthetic.
On with the show with bangin’ beats and gorgeous models wearing more gorgeous clothes. Masculine tailoring appeared first, dynamically cut and decorated with a transfixing splatter pattern in tonal greys. This pattern was set to become a theme, appearing in both menswear and womenswear. After only a few pieces I instantly thought that Braganza’s collections are always meticulous and polished – rich, full fabrics are combined with unique cuts and expert craftsmanship – the entire collection was technically faultless.
Models appeared one after the other, pausing a third of the way down the catwalk so we could all get a good look. I like this set up – much better for pictures (and I’ve really struggled with pictures this season – bloody A/W and it’s sea of dark colours).
Branganza took the collection forward concentrating on luxe materials that have high aesthetic value: rich and heavy knits, leather and mohair; add a science-fiction influence and you’ve got a real fashion forward collection.
Geometric cuts featured patches of contrasting materials. Nautical stripes in monochrome contrasted with the smoothness of jersey; gents wore Cuban heels with their military tailoring with contrasting sleeves. Braganza has an incredible ability to combine leather architectural pieces with beautifully elegant silk frocks – sounds hideous on paper but as a collection it was completely coherent.
I usually can’t get it up for a predominantly black collection, but with Jean Pierre Braganza’s vision of the future I most certainly can. Bursts of lipstick red shook things up a bit: a gent’s suit with a synched back and skinny trousers that finished with points; embellished onto a mind-blowing shift dress; on short skirts. But it will be Braganza’s black that I remember this collection for: leather sleeves for gents and cutaway dresses in leather with a hint of bondage that oozed sex appeal for the ladies. Eyes peeled folks, this is what the future looks like.
The On|Off venue this year isn’t the best, medicinesale I have to say. Located at Mercer Street Studios, medicine it’s absolutely tiny, information pills roasting hot and there are fewer seats than usual. Having been awarded an invitation with an orange sticker on, mind, I was ushered to the front and glamourously made my way inside. I don’t know if I’m just getting on a bit, but there seems to be a helluva lot of people at fashion week this season. For this, the Jena.Theo show, the room was full to bursting (I’m not sure what the HSE would have to say about some of the goings on in these pokey venues) but this design duo thoroughly deserve the mass attention they are getting.
‘Hilary’s here! Hilary’s here!’ began the whispers, and a gap on the front row, directly across the aisle from me, was created. At fashion week it could only be one Hilary they were so frantically trying to seat – our Hilary Alexander, who looked gorgeous in a feather-trimmed top. As the show was about to start, a tiny photographer with a lens the length of my arm positioned himself on the floor, right in my shot, between me and Hils. I was livid. I asked him politely to move the hell out of my way (another trend this season…) but he failed to take any notice. Sigh.
Look, here he is:
Despite moaning about the venue being tiny, I do adore the addition of an enormous screen at the back of the catwalk, which made for stark and interesting photographs and emphasised the pieces – a wondrous addition here with Jena.Theo’s exaggerated silhouettes.
On with the show, and extremely tall models emerged wearing all sorts of sculptural shapes. I really like Jena.Theo’s aesthetic – it’s contemporary (futuristic, even) but also wearable for the fashion-forward woman. The models really stood out in-front of the blinding LED screen; curved silhouettes had a Japanese influence with enormous sleeves and garments that gave out at the waist.
There was a definite unfinished aesthetic at play – ma, maybe, like the great Japanese couturiers. Hems were raw and luxurious silks were layered on top of each other. There wasn’t much in the way of colour – a splash of denim for an over-sized cape was a welcome break from this pretty much all black collection, but I guess that’s Jena.Theo’s style.
I especially enjoyed the additions of leather, particularly on one patchwork piece that I’ve since deemed my fave. Black stripes across models faces added a sinister twist, but flattering shapes that emphasised curves and bare flesh allowed this collection to remain sexy and sophisticated. Capes were like sexed-up graduation gowns, while a huge padded jacket would sit happily in a Yohji Yamamoto exhibition.
A fantastic outing for this twosome, I can’t wait to see what direction they take all this in. I’m now off to drink the Chambord from the goody bag and smother myself in Elemis for ladies (I’m actually not, I’m off to another show, I just wanted to give them a plug).
Also got slightly distracted by what Dame Hilary might have been scribbling, so took a few cheeky shots of her notebook…
The first time I saw Prophetik, buy information pills I just didn’t get it. It was Jeff Garner’s debut show, medications and I had come straight from some kind of Hannah-Marshall-if-it-aint-leather-and-black-it-aint-going-in show, pharm and I just couldn’t handle Prophetik’s pretty aesthetic. I’m pleased to say I’ve since changed my mind, and after researching Jeff’s label and reading about him in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, I couldn’t wait to see what he’d come up with this season – romantically titled ‘Artistic Wonderment’.
It was so lovely to see our ACOFI pals from Forward PR on the way in looking all professional (the last time I saw them, Laura was throwing shapes behind the bar and Nick was dancing with the wall). I was seated next to the owner of a boutique whose name I cannot remember, but who had an adorable baby on her lap who, at eight months, is apparently already into fashion. I think they gage the little one’s reaction on whether she cries or smiles (I do the same myself) and I’m happy to announce that said baby smiled with glee through the entire show – encouraged by the beautiful sounds of Benjamin Ellin‘s orchestra.
The room at Fashion Scout was packed, due in part I guess to the attention Jeff received for designing Livia Firth’s stunning Golden Globe gown as part of her ‘Green Carpet Challenge’. The beautiful Peace Silk floor-length dress evoked romance and elegance, two characteristics that have become Prophetik’s signature.
This season, Jeff’s been inspired by the court of Louis XV, when art became frivolous and dressing became romantic. An enormous collection featured gorgeous ripped silks and organic velours, as well as 100 year old quilts, transformed into men’s blazers and worked into dresses, handed down by Jeff’s own great grandmother Lola from Tennessee.
Acclaimed violinist Analiza Ching set the show in motion, frantically playing as she strutted up the catwalk to join the rest of the orchestra. Traditional dress shapes were transformed with said patchwork elements, low cut at the front and some models bearing flesh while other long-sleeved corseted numbers were influenced by Elizabethan dress. Pale models with metres of hair appeared one after the other in a earth-based colour palette of oatmeal, violet and burgundy, and the women bunched their dresses up at the front as they walked in that maiden-like way.
The show-stopper at the end was an incredible all-white number (I can see potential brides fawning over this one) with hand-sewn ostrich feathers abundantly attached onto white organza layers. My other faves were a sweeping number in pinstripe heavy fabric, with a corseted top and a frou frou trim; a cropped corset with military elements, blouson sleeves and stiff Baroque cuffs, teamed with a bunched hemp skirt; and the men’s patchwork jacket (apparently made from Jeff’s own bedspread as a child) finished with gold jewellery and a pocket watch.
LOVED the shoes, darlings: a collaboration with LA sustainable shoe label CYDWOQ; gorgeous vegetable-tanned leather pointy numbers.
Jeff’s aesthetic sits side by side with his sustainable ethos – it’s earthy, romantic and never boring. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be wearing a floor-length patchwork jacket with gold buttons come Autumn, but much gratitude to hunky Jeff for bringing a bit of fantasy and fairy tale to this week of shows.
I’ll put up my hands and admit that as a girl, healthmedications not yet a quarter of a century old, remedy talking about music is utterly intimidating. Yet I try. At some point in my life I’ll make a concerted effort to dance about architecture too. There is an endless wealth of information on bands that have already been, that I am never, ever going to be able to catch up on. Yet I try. As a music fan (enough to write about it), I’m embarrassed to admit that I only really discovered my, now, all time favourite band, Talking Heads within the last five years. I know, shoot me down. My convoluted point is that, as much as I try and piece it together, I can only imagine what The Slits releasing ‘Cut’ meant to the females and general youth and music fans of 1979. Yes there was a sex bomb fronted Blondie, intriguingly androgynous Patti Smith and unconventional Kate Bush, but an all female, punk rock band that posed naked on their album sleeve and generally didn’t give a f***. No one saw that coming and their influence has reverberated ever since.
Fast forward then 30 years and their new album, Trapped Animal, has been unleashed to a society that is certainly far from sorted. But can the music still have the same punch? The garage approach of Cut has inevitably given way to a slicker product all round. That same mixture of reggae rhythms, scratchy guitars, anger and mischief abounds. Rather than sounding like a band thirty years past their prime, as could be said of many a reunion album, there is a freshness that means you could be mistaken for thinking you’re hearing the latest South London council estate collective. This could be explained by the new multi-generational line-up that features Sex Pistol Paul Cook’s daughter, Hollie. You also get the impression that frontwoman Ari Up has as much energy as her fourteen year old self that met original member, Palmolive, at a Patti Smith gig.
Lyrically, the album doesn’t stretch the boundaries of the concept of rhyming but you wouldn’t hear Girls Aloud bemoaning of “Men who want us to be their mother/Men who hate us because of their mother.” Where the Pop Idol-ers are concerned with their “cappuccinos to go-o”, Up and her girls are hollering about ‘Peer Pressure’, “issues with child abuse” and eschewing the shackles of a nine to five: “We don’t pay rent with a passion, and we don’t wanna follow fashion.”
The fact that foul-mouthed Lily Allen launched her career on the wave of reggae-tinged pop is no accident. The Slits invented the model for anti-establishment, men-bashing, unselfconscious pop and even though this new offering will never live up to Cut standards, it’s a welcome return of punk’s finest.
Helping to keep the pressure on governments across the world, health activists in Australia held a mass action last week against Hazelwood Coal Power Station, erectile one of the dirtiest in the world. The climate camp held a day of planning and workshops, nurse followed by the day of action where a group of over 500 people placed a ‘Community Decommission Order’ on Hazelwood to switch on the renewable energy transition.
Twenty-two people were arrested on the day and, with the Governments lack of conviction, it seems many more are ready for the same sacrifice. As one secondary school teacher put it, “not such a big sacrifice in the scheme of things.” Looking at pictures and reports as well as listening to the radio report, it looks like a well planned day of disobedience. Affinity groups such as the Wombat Warriors, Radical Cheerleaders and Climate Clowns show great initiative. Apparently the police wouldn’t let “bikezilla”, a massive 8-person bike, join the protest though. Shame.
I caught up with Louise Morris, one of the organisers of the action to get her account of the action and see what’s in store for climate action in Australia.
How long have you been involved in the protest movement in Australia and was there a catalyst for getting involved?
I’ve been involved in campaigning in Australia for over a decade, starting off with the campaign to stop the Jabiluka Uranium mine in Kakadu National park and spending many years as a forest activist and blockader in Tasmania (as a result now one of the Gunns 20) and Western Australia.
I decided to devote my time to climate campaigning in 2006, as the realisation set in that no matter how many pieces of forest we saved through campaigning and blockades etc – if climate change is not dealt with, the climatic conditions forecast will spell the end for all the places we have campaigned for and protected over the years.
I grew up in mining towns in Western Australia, so am very aware of the sort of environmental and social scars the mining and logging industry inflict. My decision to work on climate issues has been heavily based on the mitigation angle. I am a strong believer in trying to solve a problem, rather than trying cope with the problem as best we can through adaptation measures. This has led me to focus strongly on coal issues and to work within the grassroots realm of climate campaigning. I really do think it’s in the grassroots community movement that we have the most power.
What was your personal experience on last weeks action?
I was one of the key organisers of the Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables weekend. My experience ranged from having to deal with the police in the lead up to the event and during the event with their complete over-reaction to the whole affair, talking with people who were prepared to be arrested and acting as media spokesperson for the group.
My experience of the action and watching other peoples reaction to the day was extremely positive.
This action was the first of it’s type for the Victorian Climate Movement. For the past few years people have lobbied, rallied in cities etc but never actually taken action at the site of the pollution and been prepared to be arrested.
We had 500-plus people from all possible walks of life turn up. A lot of families, older folk and a massive representation from the quite mainstream ‘Climate Action Group’ demographic that is strong in Australia. We had 22 people manage to scale the security fences and police lines that were put up prior to our action. In that list of arrestees are doctors, teachers, electricians, stay at home mums… the list goes on.
Our state government tried to label us as eco-terrorists in the lead up to the event. This failed dismally, as our lead up media campaign was very solutions focused (just transition to renewable energy) and we were very open in our aim of civil disobedience… this combined with images of the people who were at the action, got out to the wider world of so many kids, families, professionals and respected members of the community were taking action. We have had a lot of support from the public and arms of the mainstream media.
The feeling post this action is that people are ready for more peaceful community driven direct action, and more people are prepared to get arrested to push the government into some real action on climate change.
How did the mainstream media and the public react?
In the lead up to this event we put a lot of thought and energy into talking about our message of switching on a transition to renewable energy and switching off coal. Part of this outreach included a public meeting at the town of Morwell, which is the heart of coal country in our state. This was a ‘robust’ meeting but we got great feedback from everyone who came about the transition message and we were supported by unions representing coal workers that we were pushing for a just transition to renewable energy.
In terms of media – we ran a pretty tight messaging strategy around the fact that this is a community driven event that is calling for a switch from renewable energy and this requires that we switch off coal.
At first we got very little interest, but as the word that people were going to partake in peaceful mass civil disobedience got out, the interest grew. On the whole, we got a pretty fair run in the media in the lead up to the event. A lot of time was spent explaining what civil disobedience was, as Australia has not had a strong activist culture in recent years. Once again the core message that we were calling for a switch from coal to renewables, with a just transition was central in a lot of the willingness of commercial media to hear us out.
Obviously on the day of the action some of the conservative media ran the ‘rowdy protester’ line and showed the fence shaking but considering the sort of coverage we usually get in the mainstream Australian press, I think we have seen a shift in how community protest and civil disobedience is being covered. That said, the large representation of families and ‘ordinary looking folk’ really did help that.
Do you think Australia is ready for a broader movement relating to climate change and what do you think the comparison is to movements across the world?
Yes. We had our first climate camp last year in Newcastle [NSW] and from this it was decided that in 2009 we would have state based events, of which the Switch off Hazelwood event was one. The reasons for this were many, including the fact that Australia is so geographically large that it’s not feasible (financially or environmentally) for people to trek across the country to come to a single climate camp.
For the next 3 months there will be Climate Camp style events across the country from South Australia, New South Wales to Western Australia. The interest and willingness is there for a movement that is prepared to take action at the site of the big polluters and put some targeted pressure on government and the big polluters who are shaping the climate policy.
In terms of the broader movement relating to climate change there is definitely a lot more scope for more varied forms of action and campaigning. We are currently organising a bunch of movement building events and workshops using the lessons learnt from many countries and campaigns, including elements of the Obama community mobilisation strategy.
Comparisons are hard to make as we live in a massive continent with quite a sparse population, in comparison to many other countries who have strong climate movements. We also have a populace that has been alienated from the concepts of protest, civil disobedience and strong social movements from previous (and still current) governments who have demonised such things as ‘Anti-Australian.’
As one of the organisers of the action, what have you learnt from the process?
Honestly, the importance of networks, community and talking to people face-to-face to get them involved and part of creating the event they want to be a part of. Another lesson we always learn from these events is that people need to have fun organising and being part of events like this – best way to keep them coming back and get more people involved.
The Affinity Group and Working Group model was central in making a lot of elements of this event work. From the public meeting, the promotions, independent media to the action itself.
What’s next for Climate Camp in Australia?
There are still a number of state based Climate Camps to come in the next few months across Australia after the ‘Switch off Hazelwood – Switch on Renewables’ event. The next immediate one is in South Australia and after that is the one at the Helensbugh coal mine in NSW. So much more Climate Camp action is on the cards. And here in Victoria we are looking ahead to what is next in the lead up to Copenhagen as a national climate event.
Looks like a lot going on in Australia, shame it would have to be a carbon intensive flight away, that or a 6 month cycle mission, hmmm.. now thats an idea.
MATT AND KIM are a destructive dance duo hailing from Brooklyn, pilule NYC. There are very few bands that can always guarantee you a real good time with one single push of a button, but Matt & Kim never let me down. Ever. We caught this Brooklyn duo live back in June and they knocked our socks off.
Yeah, there are tons of happy-go-lucky bands with that high-energy, high-on-life exuberance, throwing shapes and keeping their toothy smiles fixed, verging on the robotic and the slightly scary. But there’s always the inevitable grating after a few listens as the cheer morphs into a cheesy mess of slobbery, over-enthusiastic group hugs and high-fives that leave you backing away into the safety of Morrissey‘s comforting drones, vowing never to venture away again. Promise.
The weird thing is, Matt & Kim are super cheesy, but they seem so genuinely fun and unaffected that it’s tough not to abandon any self-concious hang-ups and just leap along with their carefree charm. And if their new tracks are anything to go by, they show no sign of quietening down and getting all mature on us.
As the jaunty keys and sharp, tapping sticks that start ‘Daylight”s introduction trip and pop, the call and response of “We cut the legs off of our pants/Threw our shoes into the ocean/Sit back and wave through the daylight/Sit back and wave through the daylight” gets louder and fuller, there an immediate hit of teenage nostalgia. It’s a reminder to never grow up too much and when that alarm rings to get you out of bed in the morning – it’s time to wake up.
Watch the duo having fun in their DIY-esque video here:
‘Daylight’ is out on 28th September on Fader Label/Nettwerk.
Obstinately avoiding the typical artistic “nude” and the potential sexist connotations of the form, medicineSheila Wallis’s Threadneedle Prize-winning “Self-portrait” does feature the artist without clothes, medical but avoids rendering herself as a sexual object. Instead the artist describes herself as appearing to be a “small, look naked creature” rather than a coquette.
The painting feels very real as opposed to a being a fantasy of female sexiness. She gazes back at the onlooker with a slightly knotted brow but, despite being aware of the attention, doesn’t seem either to play up to it or to be exploited by it. She is vulnerable but remains in control through the action of painting herself. Perhaps a deciding factor in seeing the painting without sexual connotations as a female viewer is knowledge of the gender of the artist and that she is also the subject of the painting; it’s easier to enjoy a nude for what it is without the overtones of an artist/muse relationship.
The prize is voted for online by visitors to the exhibition, at the Mall Galleries. This year’s exhibition was strong and there was a theme of interaction between man-made structures and nature. For example, Jennifer Godlieb’s eerie “Lurker” (below) seems to depict a gasometer set in a future time when cities are devoid of people and all is overgrown and transformed into a spookily beautiful Scandinavian forest. The message could be an environmentalist one: despite the messages about “saving our world” from climate change, eventually Mother Nature will reclaim all our efforts.
In contrast to the fairy-castle appearance of Godlieb’s post-human architecture, Zachary Peirce’s painting of “Pripyat, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone 1” bleaches the colours out of the natural landscape, leaving washed-out pinks, bruise purples and a colour the same yellow tone as human skin. A slight touch of green appears murky and poisonous. In the background there is a building that appears to be melting: the black outlines drip down the canvas into the overgrowth. Here the impact of humanity’s failings on nature has created a dirty, deserted area without any of the peace of Godlieb’s twilight scene.
Peter Wylie’s brutalist tower block “Goldfinger four (with Le Corbusier flaking paint from Villa La Roche)” is actually still occupied but the exterior of the worn old concrete monster offers little comfort. The golden windows that presumably inspired the title do seem to imply little pockets of cosy humanity lurking within.
Dotted across the image are pieces of flaking paint taken from a Le Corbusier building – perhaps the remains of a previous, shining image, gradually chipped away to reveal the reality of high-rise communal living? Le Corbusier’s use of concrete has led to some grim surroundings for those living there and it has been noted that as a material it wears much worse in the wet conditions of Britain compared to the sunnier climes of the South of France.
The buildings in “Goldfinger” block out any glimpse of sky and look like they belong in the pages of “1984”; but it’s unclear what commentary Wylie is making beyond the appearance of the building. How do these designs impact of the lifestyle of those who live in them? As in the other works, people are invisible but here they are not absent. I didn’t feel comfortable making assumptions about whether this represented a dystopian future or present because of the possibly classist assumptions – these buildings are usually destined for lower-income people. Can high-density urban estates ever live up to the utopian dreams of those who design them?
As the crowd waited perched on sofas, leaning against walls as we huddled round the catwalk Dolly Jones announced the winners: Mark Liu, Henrietta Ludgate (who was championed by Amelia’s Magazine earlier this year as a one to watch), MIA and Lalesso (both of whom you will have noticed were mentioned earlier in reference to winning the PURE awards in June).
After the announcements, the catwalk begin to sounds of bouncing pop and the models began to work the room. Each designer sent two designs down the catwalk, as teasers for their entire line. I would have loved to have seen more of the collections. Especially as the majority, if not the entirety, of what was sent down the Innovation catwalk was jump-off-the-catwalk-and-onto-my-back wearable.
To accompany the catwalk, the Ethical Fashion Forum provided recycled cardboard handouts detailing the reasons behind each designer’s selection. Mark Liu for developing a pattern cutting process that minimizes the amount of waste material produced by each garment, helping to “pioneering Zero Waste Fashion”. This made me think instantly of the “A-POC” line by Issey Miyake or taking it out of the acronym; the A piece of cloth project. From which the wearer is able to create endless items out of a single well-cut piece of fabric. Myakke is said to be continuing to develop this idea after becoming concerned about the impact of textile waste on the environment. It’s great to see young and established designers tackling the industry’s waste problem and turning it into a conceptual wearable idea. To compliment Liu’s pattern cutting he uses organic fabrics, low impact dyes and water based pigments. The two dresses, sent down the catwalk, were reminiscent of Peter Pan or an elfish child as they hung playfully off the models. Perfect for a summer’s day in the park.
Henrietta Ludgate worked with Osman Yousefzada after graduating from St. Martins and is now starting her own label. Ludgate’s philosophy lies in the maintenance of British craftsmanship. All the materials are sourced from British Mills and the collection is made entirely in a traditional Scottish crofting village. Her dresses really intrigue me being a combination of what appears to be felt and fleece. The pieces (not shown on the catwalk, but worn by members of the audience) had a similar feel in their shapes as Matthew Williamson’s graduate collection at St Martins. The new collection contained a wearable jersey dress with interesting piping detail to structure the back. Alongside a maxi dress which appeared to be an extended bankers shirt.
Lalesso creates women’s wear out of traditional East African Fabrics, which translate perfectly for a Saturday spent walking around town and sitting in parks. The bold floral patterns were instantly eye catching.
MIA’s recycled fabrics and traditional Malawain textiles produced a refreshing take on up-cycling old urban sportswear into summer dresses.
The Innovation competition is importantly drawing attention to the numerous ways new designers are tackling challenges of sustainability that the fashion industry faces as a whole.
MIA is tackling craftsman’s jobs lost through the abundance of cheap second hand clothes on Malawi’s market stalls by employing local people in the process of up-cycling. All profits are put back into the community support, as well as buying equipment and training to maintain market access and community livelihoods. Furthermore (thanks again to the cards handing out by the Ethical Fashion Industry at the show), Lalesso recently founded SOKO – an ethical and eco fashion production plant in Kenya. Offering opportunities for other design companies to produce collections with the profits and increased job market to benefit communities in Kenya.
The Ethical Fashion Forum and Innovation are proving not only that designers are environmentally aware when making their clothes and considering waste. But importantly they are using their businesses to recreate jobs and a skill based workforce in local communities effected by both the waste and desire for Fast Fashion. The 25th London Fashion Week began yesterday in its new haunt of Somerset House. Turning up to register, stuff there was the expected photo crush as numerous street style photographers selected those most fashionably dressed to stand before their lens. Not surprisingly London Fashion Week has been a lesson on how to be scarily on trend. Leather studded Jackets check. Harem pants in black and multiple prints. Check. Statement shoes check.check.check. Big Power Shoulders. Check. The most amazing outfit –outside the catwalk- was on the front row at Ashley Islam (more to come on this collection later). Sitting next to Michelle Williams from Destiny’s Child immaculat in Vivienne, what is ed was a rather beautiful man with an Anna Wintour bob,
complete with a dress made from nails. This often disregarded material was transformed into the ultimate disco dress, that tinkled out of shows.
The Prose Studio Collection of bold oil slick printed dresses was first down the catwalk. The feminine fluent dresses billowed around the models, falling down from the neck, along the arms and tacking tightly in at the waist to fall once more to the knees.
Remember blowing paint across water’s surface to create marbling patterns when pressed onto paper? Prose Studio’s harem pants felt as if the fabric had been dipped into the solution and hung out to dry. The drapes of the pants were delicately covered leaving the leg fabric bare.
The collection finished with a free flowing printed white tunic over white marbled dripped leggings.
Next up were Michela Carraro’s deconstructed geishas complete with rags tied into bondage shoes, big 80′s shoulders remain on the catwalk alongside constructed sheer blouses.
What was being offered was a re-invention of a feminine suit, capable of expressing personality rather than smothering it underneath a shapeless blazer. This was a collection representing the intriguing daywear as represented with the gallantly bold, bordering on the garish printed trousers, under tucked beneath the swashbuckling floating blouses held together at the front with delicate stitching. Completed with the bandaged shoes, the piece formed an illustrious silhouette when framed by photographers.
Third was Joanna Wanderpuije’s elegant collection of modern shapes complete with the return of the perspex stars from the A/W collection, for S/S the stars are attached to the hips of the cotton skirt. Plenty of well cut shorts and printed tanks for effortless lux.
Leather bra tops – continuing previous seasons’ trends for underwear as outwear- hardened the collection appearing under a cropped print jacket nestling above the high-waisted cream trouser. A splash of colour was provided with the up-pleated tunic dress. The collection was incredible wearable with Wanderpuije’s prints elegant in their application and beautifully sculpted from material.
Fashion provides the opportunity to dive into new worlds, peer into another’s imagination. It can function similarly to illustration and convey a sense of being in the world and by being idiosyncratic tap into the public consciousness. The last piece from Yang Du‘s collection was one distinctive outfit from the Louis Vitton-esque rabbit ears combined with bold blue and white striped constructed-to-be-slouchy oversized dress.
The outfit instantly burned into the retina, this was something to wear as unemployment rates soar, it’s warm and it’s bright. This was fun fantastical fashion and I loved the oversized knitted bag that followed the models down the catwalk as if a rather petulant child.
As with all three previous designers, at Yang Du it was all about the detailing; tunic dresses were altered with cut away bra holes overlaid with fringing. Grinning cartoon faces contrasted wide blue knitted stripes, tight tight dresses were sent down with bold geometric black and white prints. Not forgetting the head adornments.
A great start to London Fashion Week, a mix of eccentricity and wearable shapes with most importantly the clothes bringing a smile to one’s face.
Yet another diverse and inspired collection, the first model appeared wearing a silk muzzle with a graphic pattern. These unusual face decorations featured prominently in the show. Printed, bejewelled, moulded from the shape of the face – it was clear they were making a statement. “It’s my reaction to climate change,” Bernard told me afterwards. It’s a provoking image we’re accustomed to seeing – during the SARS crisis and more recently with the swine-flu pandemic. Chandran has translated this evocative image and created masks of beauty.
Dresses were striking, bold statement pieces, in hues ranging from ochre to pewter. Folds and flaps created geometric silhouettes, showcasing Chandran’s skills as a craftsman, and revealing a possible Hussein Chalayan influence.
Other pieces consisted of simple shift dresses enveloped by folded, dynamically-cut fabric, creating exaggerated shoulders and wing-like forms, apposing the contours of the female form.
I loved this glittered interpretation of the bustier. Fashion-forward women only, need apply:
Patterns on masks and clothing had been translated directly from objects that surround Bernard in his day-to-day life. A stunning linear print in amber and black had been taken directly from “a basket that people give [Bernard} flowers in!” Bernard recalled. Looking again at the print makes sense of it – it appears almost photographic.
Another key look was the Chinese coolie hat, worn by a handful of models. Bernard in interesting in their form. “I like the way they fold, the way they are created – which can be said for a lot of my work,” Bernard told me. “The way an envelope folds, for example – like here,” as he gestured to a photograph on the wall backstage of a structured, geometric dress.
The more feminine consumer need not worry, as the show also included elegantly draped smock dresses and sumptuous blouson skirts, in chiffon, with organic, natural prints. These pieces were the most surprising considering his A/W 09/10 collection was so bold and striking. “Sometimes you just have to,” Bernard laughed.
There were so many different looks in this collection. It may sound as if the pieces were too disparate but this was not the case, as one after the other complimented each other, almost magically. Take the structured dress with exaggerated hips, fast becoming Bernard’s signature, juxtaposed with the softer sheer fabric pieces draped effortlessly over the models; juxtaposed with the hooded smock reminiscent, again, of an envelope; the prints and tones of each piece somehow beautifully transforming into the next.
Soul singer Estelle is a huge fan of Chandran’s work, shunning major fashion houses to wear his looks at awards ceremonies, so it was no surprise to see Destiny’s Child’s Michelle Williams and Beverley Knight wide-eyed on the front row. A Bernard Chandran woman is a glamorous, confident, ostentatious creature. It’s time this design hero took centre stage on-schedule. Sort it out, BFC!
All photographs and text by Matt Bramford
In the uninspiring BFC tent situated in the beautiful Neoclassical courtyard of the totally inspiring Somerset House, click Turkish-born Bora Aksu presented his Spring/Summer 2010 collection yesterday. He drew a huge turn-out, website like this and the buzz surrounding this designer is palpable.
It’s easy to see why. Bora’s style is elegant meets grunge, viagra buy decorative meets diverse. Inspired by a children’s story, Bora’s was a collection of confident charm. Monochrome, sequinned leggings were semi-concealed by free, floating lace dresses, making use of a pale pink palette. Ostentatious, almost cape like billowing sleeves, complimented basic mini dresses, and garments were accoladed by additional design quirks such as the bow and pussy-bow ties.
Tailored shrunken jackets with exaggerated shoulders (fast becoming a LFW S/S 2010 trend) were embellished with lace and severe gold appliqué, creating mysterious shapes off-set by neutral shirts and tulip skirts in pale tones, bordering on white.
Bora’s inspiration was most apparent through his use of romantic baroque prints in light pink and black. Used on accessories and corseted belts, these were married with softer fabrics such as organza. Dramatic, high necklines gave a nod to the Victorians whilst the hair was reminiscent of the French Revolution through delicate braiding and extravagant backcombing.
The collection grew in confidence, beginning with the aforementioned, almost apologetic pale hues and climaxing with more provocative pieces in black and silver. The air sizzled as these structured pieces, with the reappearance of the shoulder-enhancing blazer, had real sex appeal.
Vests and trousers were teamed for a sharper, masculine look, and featured organic and interesting knitted shapes, as if torn or ripped. These additional adornments hung between the modal’s neck and chest evoked images of the human anatomy. The model and designer laid bare for all to watch.
Bora Aksu’s signature style is ‘romanticism with a darker edge,’ which pretty much summarises this unique and considered collection.
All text and pictures by Matt Bramford
Written by Matt Bramford on Saturday September 19th, 2009 10:01 pm
Fashion and film have long been bedfellows, here but with the roaring success of Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio video blog, find and luxury brands like Chanel making their own mini movies, the ‘Fashion Film’ is finally stepping into the spotlight.
When she’s not working as an illustrator or playing in her band, Fables, Marnie Holland makes fashion films, teaming up with avant-garde designer Ziad Ghanem on film short, JME.
Specializing in performance pieces involving sculptural costume during her BA at Goldsmiths, it seems inevitable that Marnie would make the move into fashion films, and Ghanem’s theatrical, otherwordly clothing make the perfect muse.
Your collaboration with Ziad Ghanem is fantastic – is this your first film?
Thanks! I made films from all my performance pieces but it’s my first film with a vague narrative, yes.
How did you meet him, and end up collaborating on the project?
I contacted to him originally to work in his studio, which I did for a while, which lead to working more exclusively with the performance and choreographic side of his last show. But film is one of the main inspirations in Ziad’s work, so making a film was always something he’s wanted to do. After I showed him my work I was just in the right place at the right time.
What were your (and the designer’s) aims – to showcase the clothes?
No not as such, it was more to reiterate the brand. A lot of how it was constructed was taken from what’s already present in Ziad’s work – such as the Baroque, symbolism, melodrama, Romanticism and London as a character.
But also to focus primarily on the subject, which is part of the basic design process for Ziad’s clothes – tailoring the piece to the individual. Jme (the model in the film) has modelled many of the Ghanem collections and has a very alluring natural melancholy and stillness about his look; it was pretty much written about him!
Ziad Ghanem is known as the ‘cult couturier’ and for mixing street wear and couture –was that an element of his work you wanted to convey in the film?
Not consciously, or at least not specifically to reflect that nametag. I suppose the shifts between a couture silk cape, a PVC printed tracksuit and eventually desecrating the garment adhere to Ziad’s mixing of high and low cultural influences.
But it was the more that the ceremony of the transitions would lead the film narrative and the pieces would frame them. I like that the clothes characterize the changes and change Jme’s role.
Anyway in terms of mixing, Ziad is inspired by everything. Whatever you pick from his pieces or from his ideas will clash harmoniously; that’s his gift.
Could you describe some of the difficulties/limitations in translating fashion onto the big screen?
I suppose sticking to the point could be challenge. It’s a fashion film after all, not a Sundance entry. There’s a brand to look after. But it shouldn’t be difficult if the clothes inspire you.
Do you do everything yourself – e.g. planning, filming, editing, or is your work more collaborative?
Yes, with the help of camera/lighting extraordinaire Roman Rappak, who is, luckily for me, already an amazing filmmaker. Also Maeve Keeley and Athena Kleanthous who made everything run like clockwork.
Have you got any more projects with Ghanem in the pipeline?
Yes indeed. We’ll be making a short-film involving the whole collection in time for this year’s London Fashion Week.
Why do you think the fashion industry has started to wake up to the potential of fashion films, and what do you think their ‘role’ is, if any?
Because it’s there! It’s big swimming pool of promotional space to occupy. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a place in film, it certainly does. I’d say it’s a link that’s been brewing for a long time, SHOWStudio have obviously played the biggest role in that bridging. People also like to invest in a story. But mainly it gives people like me and Karl Lagerfeld something to do.
What (from fashion designers to film makers) inspires you, or is one of your key influences?
It changes daily unfortunately and I blame the blogging industry. In terms of film I had an amazing piano teacher who stressed the importance of rhythm like nobody’s business, to the point whereby everything you see and make has to be broken down and calculated in terms of its pace and rhythmic weight. I like directors and films that look like they’ve thought about that a bit. As for fashion, I’m not consistent; I just like clothes that talk about something bigger than clothes. I think Ziad, McQueen and Leigh Bowery have/had that covered.
What advice would you have for budding fashion film makers?
Make them; it’s very simple. Although I stole that from a very clever friend!
To see more of Marnie’s videos, visit her Vimeo page.
In the run up to London Fashion Week, we’ll be catching up with Ziad Ghanem. Keep an eye out!
Written by Lauren Smith on Wednesday August 18th, 2010 4:24 pm
All Photographs courtesy of New Museum, viagra buy except where otherwise stated
It is now time for the absurd to take center stage. Swiss-born“imperfectionist” Urs Ficher makes the gallery goer rethink his or her own reality and I am grateful to the New Museum for introducing me to this brilliant artist. Ficher is an artist renown for his non-traditional creations. Thinking the world as a populated center of objects that interact and create an artificial reality, his aim is to call the viewer’s attention to his singular inner realm; his interpretations of what this life is are conveyed through different types of installations. New productions and iconic works are aplenty and together compose a series of gigantic still life and walk-in tableaux choreographed entirely by the artist. I find myself exploring neither a traditional survey nor a retrospective but the culmination of four years of work. These new productions reveal the true scope of Fischer’s universe and I am enthralled by what I am discovering.
Above photograph courtesy of Vanesa Krongold
Fischer has taken over all the three floors of the museum. Illusion and reality are intertwined in the artist ‘s show thanks to a game of trading places and multiple reflections. Chrome boxes are arranged in a grid of monoliths that create a cityscape of mirrored cubes onto which the artist has silk screened a dizzying array of images. I think it’s perfect; It’s just how I’ve been feeling when walking about New York city – drunk from trying to take it all in! It is very interesting how the artist plays with bi dimensions; I am strangely attracted by some disregarded toys. Its all about combining the reality through dimensions, perspectives, and collage. The viewer is thrust into an uneasy place, trying to understand how to walk in this new world. The hyper real state of the objects are meant to represent your and my reality…
2009 Plaster, paint, bread 10 x 21 x 15 cm.
Urs Fischer presents an installation that turns the Museum’s architecture into an image of itself—a site-specific trompe l’oeil environment. In a maddening reproduction exercise, each square inch of the Museum architecture has been photographed and reprinted as a wallpaper that covers these very same walls and ceiling it is meant to portray. A piano occupies the room, appearing to melt under the pressure of some invisible force. Simultaneously solid and soft like a Salvador Dalí painting in three dimensions, this sculpture seems to succumb to a dramatic process of metamorphosis.
Marguerite de Ponty.
On the fourth floor, Fischer presents five new aluminum sculptures cast from small clays and hand-molded by the artist. Hanging from the ceiling or balancing awkwardly in space, these massive abstractions resemble strange cocoons or a gathering of enigmatic monuments. Fischer is an engineer of imaginary worlds who has in the past created sculptures in a rich variety of materials, including unstable substances such as melting wax and rotting vegetables. In a continuous search for new plastic solutions, Fischer has built houses out of bread and given life to animated puppets; he has dissected objects or blown them out of proportion in order to reinvent our relationship to them.
In 2007, in a now-legendary exhibition, he excavated the floor of his New York gallery, digging a crater within the exhibition space. Throughout his work, with ambitious gestures and irreverent panache, Fischer explores the secret mechanisms of perception, combining a Pop immediacy with a Neo-Baroque sense for the absurd. And I am glad a taste of it!
The exhibition Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty is ending on February the 7th, 2010. The New Museum is a modern building located in 235 Bowery Street, New-York.
Surreal ceramic tableaux by Malene Hartmann Rasmussen. Amazeballs, ambulance truly.
I loved the clear booklet Old Material* New Work** provided by the Royal College of Art Department of Ceramics and Glass. It really does make life so much easier when all the information is in one place, clinic smartly presented…
Loved Makiko Nakamura‘s Baronage Declasse (100 Years After the Party) – baroque styling meets the more surreal elements of pop art in these fun porcelain and lustre decorative objects, where rabbit faces pop out of dripping golden polka dot clocks.
Sarah Wiberley‘s Cameo Series of hand blown glass were just beautiful, in tall vases and squat shapes. She used the traditional motif of a bird flying away.
Louis Thompson also showed colourful blown glass back lit against the wall. He is fascinated by repetition, sequencing, collections and medical apparatus. Objects thus become as important in a collective as they do alone.
Sadhbh Isabelle McCormack created bold statement jewellery from a mix of metals and perplex. Her totemic pieces were designed to combine the skills of craft with computer aided design in a balanced way.
Malene Hartmann Rasmussen‘s surreal ceramic tableaux made me gasp in wonderment – her intention is to impose personal emotions and narratives onto container objects that traditionally have no feelings. She wants her work to seem skilled, elaborate and clumsy all at the same time and I’d say that this was achieved admirably. Beautiful and unique.
Chrystalla Achilleos‘ had created a wall installation called Strata: flowing glass forms made the most of the glass blowing process.
Silvia Weidenbach created bundles of ceramic jewellery in Made to Treasure and Pleasure.
Helen Moore ceramics were presented in beautiful graded wall installations. Here hopes to connect ‘the seemingly disparate facets of my own consciousness’… to create an ‘expanded understanding of the emotional and metaphorical capacity of colour within an analytical framework.’
Paul Stopler Flow. Photo by Ester Segarra.
Paul Stopler was standing next to his installation, and he offered me the aforementioned booklet as I admired his enormous cast glass vases up close. Thanking you kindly Paul, your work is stunning. The heavy glass changes subtly according to the light source.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kit Miles collided classical baroque with digital music for these bold graphical prints.
An exploration between the natural and manmade was also the basis for Hannah Sabapathy‘s collection – seen here on an architectural side table.
Ceramics and Glass took up most of the upper balcony at New Designers part one, pill curling against the railings in small exhibition spaces that brought home to me just how important it is to put together a really great eye catching main graduate exhibition: the Royal College of Art‘s small space did not show off work to anything like the standard that was seen at their own show and I would have easily passed by some of their most compelling student’s work if this was all I had seen. Luckily I did see Ceramics and Glass in situ at the RCA – read a full review of their show here.