Karolina Persson took next season’s favourite powder pink and spruced it up for colder climes. Her incredibly clever collection featured a round shouldered coat that had been quilted to resemble a chunky knit. Further garments played with this tromp l’oeil effect, emphasising cables with print and stitch. It was a great collection to end on. Graduates of the Swedish School of Textiles never fail to impress.
All photography by Amelia Gregory. Watch a video featuring all of the designers below:
Turkish designer Gül Ağış presented her brand Lug Von Siga S/S 2014 collection in the upper halls of Freemasons’ Hall at Fashion Scout on the second day of London Fashion Week. What we saw was an elegant and varied collection that featured evening dresses in luxurious fabrics such as silk crepe, leather and knitwear, as well as some more sportive outfits. The colour palette ranged from black and white to beige, caramel and coral red. Just by looking at Gül Ağış’ S/S 2014 collection one could easily discern influences from her rich cultural and historical heritage. Exposed bellies, see through fabric around hips and low fringed waists all brought to mind images of exotic belly dancers. Three dresses with laced, swirly patterns also reminded me of doilies used as decorations on tables and sofas of Anatolian houses.
But, as it often happens at fashion shows, reading the press release revealed an extra, unexpected layer of meaning and intention to the collection. This season Gül Ağış was inspired by populations around the world recently going back to tribal attitudes to express their anger towards the state of the world and the nature of their governments. More specifically she was inspired by the 2013 protests in Turkey started on 28 May 2013, initially to contest the urban development plan for Istanbul’s Taksim Gezi Park. Prints of tribal masks, which are often used in transitional situations and rituals, appeared writ large on tops and dresses. A mask protects, empowers the wearer spiritually and also gives anonymity, so that one can be aggressive and break the rules; thus here this powerful symbol was used beautifully to illustrate the insecurity towards the future felt by the Turkish people.
OPI shatter nail polish collaboration with Olivia Rubin by Novemto Komo.
I do like a press day where you can get your hair and nails done, price so despite my lack of time I decided to swing by South Molton Street yesterday to visit Olivia Rubin, who was greeting all visitors personally – what a nice touch. No high falutin’ designer here, plus she was very good about my review of her A/W 2011 catwalk show, which mainly banged on about the high celebrity quotient.
Anyway, I decided to grab the opportunity to try out the new OPI shatter collection produced in collaboration with Olivia Rubin and for sale in exclusive colour combinations at ASOS and other stores soon. It’s a great idea because Olivia is known for her bold use of animal prints and this looks a bit like a leopard print from afar.
Olivia Rubin shatter nail polish collaboration with OPI. Nice bright colours as always.
Did you know that OPI takes its name from the dental company whence the first nail products sprang from? Back in the early 1980s George Schaeffer took over a dental supply business called Odontorium Products Inc, and quickly realised the potential for transferring the technology behind acrylic dentures into the crafting of false nails. Not very sexy eh? But that’s the way it rolls in the beauty industry. Happily, OPI do not test on animals.
Olivia Rubin’s elegant nails.
Hmmmm, my not very elegant hands.
Since then they’ve built a huge nail brand, famed for its brightly coloured nail polishes with fun names. OPI technicians have been helping out backstage at various fashion shows during LFW, and they take care of famous pop personalities such as Katy Perry and Alexandra Burke, who have their very own nail technicians on hand at all times, except, that is, when they are sorting out my stubby sausage hands. My nails were done by Alexandra Burke‘s *actual* nail technician, get in. She won the X Factor a few years back in case you were wondering.
Here’s a pic of my paws: the effect is really most captivating. I can’t stop looking at them!
The shatter nail polish is apparently all the rage, though in my backward way I had never heard of it and sat there transfixed as Alexandra’s right hand man painted the second coat onto my nails and it mysteriously cracked in front of my eyes: the chemicals reacting to the first coat below. After that he used a very cunning product called Drip Dry Lacquer Drying Drops, which drops on top to dry nails almost instantly. Clever, these dentist types. The shatter nail lacquer comes in black and silver to create fun effects on top of other colours.
After that I decided to get my hair blow-dried by a lovely girl called Isobel from Rush Hair salon: love that vintage dress she’s wearing. I do wish that I could make my frizzy hair look so sleek and glossy myself, but I have to admit that it’s way more relaxing to get someone else to do it for me!
It was really nice to see the new Olivia Rubin collection up close, to feel the satin silks and admire the screen prints which she does herself. I particularly liked the fine gauge knit jumpers featuring Olivia’s signature brick and speech bubble ‘prints’ and she’s also done some lovely shoes in collaboration with Dune.
Keep an eye on this one because she’s a savvy business lady, and for sweet idiosyncratic dresses and tops she’s right on track: Olivia Rubin is now stocked in 50 stores across the UK and globally.
Do the shatter polish y’all.
Olivia will be finishing off the next collection over Easter, and her OPI collaboration should be available soon. I look forward to trying out Overexposed in South Beach, which joins Suzi Loves Cowboys and Wing It! from LFW goody bags. Now I’ve just got to find time to paint my nails more often myself.
Having already done a preview interview with Brighton University graduate Ong-Oaj Pairam I was pretty excited to see more of his collection, which was inspired by Drew Barrymore in ET. But whilst the moon shaped invite may have promised great things in terms of reference the final outcome was not what I expected, by a long shot. Original inspiration be damned, this was a sweet collection of party dresses with a slight 80s vibe. Models wore their hair loosely curled and brushed to one side, shirt dresses were pulled in tight with skinny belts, and delicate lace butterflies bounced around on waists and hemlines. I particularly liked matching embroidery and print that appeared in spikes of red and blue across a twosie shorts suit and on both shirt and pencil dresses. Drew Barrymore may well have grown up to to be this well dressed, but this was not how I remember her back in the day.
Ong-Oaj Pairam S/S 2014. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
On Thursday night Andels Hotel hosted the Gala Graduate show of the Academy of Fine Arts, otherwise known as the Gala Dyplomowa, featuring top graduate fashion talent. We were ushered to the top floor of the hotel where the warehouse has retained its original huge proportions, big enough for a catwalk and plenty of seating. An utterly fabulous venue, and very convenient too…
Here, in alphabetical order (cos that’s the way it rolls) are the designers that showed:
Adrianna Grudzinska showed Polacz Kropki (Slow Up) – swing dresses and pleated separates in shades of camel, mushroom and peach.
Kobieta Symetryczna featured sharp tailoring in white, black and beige with highlights in red slashes by Aleksandra Kmiecik, who also shows on the main schedule. I saw parts of this collection last season and you can read my review here.
Eco designer Dominika Naziebly also showed at the Golden Thread Awards: my favourite was wheeled out once again, a stunning red puffball dress. This season she also showed on the Off Out Of Schedule catwalk, review to come shortly.
Zip details and drop crotches were the order of the day at Elzbieta Kapczynska-KC, with a collection titled Zbroja Miejska.
Not speaking a word of Polish, I can’t be entirely sure, but I think that Olga Mieloszyk won the main award. Her Oranzeria collection was amongst my favourites: beautiful and wearable womens and menswear with intricate frills, panelling and pleated details in shades of orange and browns.
All photography by Amelia Gregory.
The show ended with a beautiful selection of sculpted evening dresses in sweetie shades by Karolina Glegula, except I am not sure I wrote down her name correctly: I did my best by squinting at the screen behind the catwalk since there was no information in written form to take away.
So I was quite excited to see Inbar Spector‘s A/W 2012 collection at Fashion Scout’s venue, Freemasons’ Hall. I was certain that I was going to have my dose of the extraordinary, which I very much craved after a couple of less than thrilling London Fashion Week experiences the night before. I was not disappointed: I felt a smile forming the moment the show began. The models, beautifully styled by Hope Von Joel, walked slowly towards the photographers’ pit accompanied by a great soundtrack mixed by Todd Hart.
There was a lot of continuity from S/S 2012. Inbar Spector displayed again her amazing skills in constructing, twisting and knotting generous amounts of silks in soft pastels on metallic faux leather laser cut bodysuits and dresses. The slightly 80s disco metallic bodysuits seemed to me to match perfectly with Todd Hart’s mix, which featured heavily electric keyboard sounds from that decade.
This 80s aura helped us escape for a few moments back to a time when we were younger – and maybe richer. The theme to Inbar Spector’s show was indeed Escapism. She quotes ‘fairytales, manga, dreams and circus clowns’ as some of her inspirations for this season. She also makes a connection between the perforated faux leather elements in her clothes – which allow a lot of skin to show through so that one does not know where the real body starts and ends – and people being ‘ruffled’, like some of her clothes, by having plastic surgery and so escaping from the reality of their bodies.
Inbar Spector AW 2012 Lara Jensen headpiece by Love Amelia
Escaping or changing one’s identity or hiding behind something were relevant themes to another star in the show: the elaborately jewelled headpieces by Lara Jensen which fell in front of the models’ faces like masks. They certainly reminded me of lavishly adorned princesses and maidens from tales of exotic places, but I could not help thinking they also had an element of S&M to them, which again created a link to escapism. I think I was aided in this thought by the constant recurrence in the soundtrack mix of the song ‘Obsession’ by the band Army of Lovers.
Again similarly to what she has done in previous shows, Inbar Spector presented her collection building an impressive crescendo by starting with less theatrical pieces, gradually sending out more and more voluminous garments, finishing off with two numbers which were so heart stopping and exciting the audience could not help but clap, cheer and whistle in keen approval. When in the end a tiny, adorable Inbar walked down the catwalk holding hands with the model who was wearing her gigantic closing number, she was drowned by it in physical terms, but her potential and creativity seemed just as gigantic – and then some.
Karolina Gerlich was last to show at the Off Out Of Schedule shows on Thursday, with a confident collection based on the idea of a fantasy island where a perfect mix of cultures exists: hence references to kimonos in relaxed dresses with tie waists worn over blouson pants. Leggings and prints came with a camouflage/animal vibe, worn with sharp red heels. Asymmetric cuts brought together fabrics in a wonderful colour palette of coral, jade, cream and navy blue. I’d say this paradise owes a lot to the 80s – no bad thing in my book. Karolina Gerlich‘s logo is her favourite creature, a cute line drawn owl.
Karolina Gerlich S/S 2012. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Custo Barcelona has not registered massively on my radar beyond a vague knowledge that it’s a super colourful brand, but I must confess that the Custo Barcelona show, which opened the main schedule at Fashion Week Poland, was a fabulously fun affair. It was indeed a riot of pattern and colour, but according to my esteemed international colleagues this season it was far more restrained than usual.
Custo Barcelona S/S 2012. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Male and female models marched out two by two in matching outfits before breaking out alone. The collection featured a multitude of different fabrics layered on top of each other, and covered every possible summer garment, from sexy cutout patchwork bikinis to suiting and hoodies.
Shoes for women were particularly spectacular with spiked heels like the ridged back of a Stegosaurus, a touch echoed on the sides of swimsuits. The collection featured darling purse belts slung over hips and amazing digital prints that were hard to determine but possibly featured horses’ eyes encrusted with sequins. Embellishment abounded.
I’ve always been partial to a bit of bright and lairy menswear so I particularly enjoyed some of the fab Custo Barcelona suits, with crazy metallic stripes and amazing sunburst patterns.
Later on designer Custodio Dalmau himself joined us for a meal in a Polish restaurant. God only knows what he made of the outlandish behaviour of some of the international crew, letting off steam after a long day at the shows.
Custodio Dalmau of Custo Barcelona. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
But it’s time to wipe those tears off your keyboard. Not only has this traumatic event turned Ken into quite the eco-warrior and provided some great moments of Twitter comedy, seek but Amelia’s Magazine illustrators have responded, buy information pills providing the greatest collection of illustrations of a chainsaw-wielding Barbie you might ever see in one place.
Barbie was dumped by Ken after Greenpeace discovered that her maker, Mattel (and other toy companies like Disney), use packaging produced by a company called Asia Pulp and Paper, part of a huge conglomerate called Sinar Mas, accused of major deforestation in Indonesia. This deforestation is pushing critically endangered species like the Sumatran tiger ever further towards extinction.
This particular Barbie campaign actually only scratches the surface of an investigation into how global toy manufacturers are complicit in Indonesia’s deforestation problem. Watch this brilliant graphicy animation video for an explanation of Greenpeace’s findings:
Toying With Deforestation
It was a wise move to link the broad issue of deforestation in toy packaging and manufacture to the most famous toy (read ‘most mass produced gender-conditioning piece of plastic’) in the world. It even topped Creative Review’s ‘Nice Work’ list for advertising on the 10th of June. It’s a shame Ken hasn’t embraced his inner rebel enough to more openly blame Mattel rather than his ex over this, but I suppose that’s the job of Greenpeace. Ken is still finding his voice, as his heart wrenching twitter updates show, and I have a feeling he’s gradually unleashing the hitherto dormant revolutionary within. Equally shameful is the fact that the feminist within me finds images of Barbie wielding a tool instead of a handbag strangely satisfying. Let’s just hope that Barbie sees the light, joins Ken and decides to become an eco feminist or something asap.
The fact that we live on a planet where rainforest destruction and species extinction is contributed to in even the smallest way by the packaging for a plastic toy is, quite frankly, weird. How did it come to this? Despite a huge movement to increase our awareness of the environmental impact of fashion and food, toys haven’t been touched upon with the same momentum. And yet toys are associated with our most formative years, so an awareness of what goes into their production is essential.
One of my all-time favourite books is Mythologies by Roland Barthes. It was included in the Guardian’s recent 100 Greatest Non Fiction Books list last week, one of only three chosen for the culture category. It investigates the hidden political, economic and cultural ideologies behind everyday aspects of mass culture – from washing powder, to the burlesque dancer, to cars, wine, cheese and plastic.
The way I understand it, right from childhood we are taken further and further away from the process of making and creating. From day one we’re encouraged to be mindless consumers of complex finished products, emotionally and physically removed from how they were made, who made them and where the materials came from.
Barbie by Zofia Walczak.
This is something we could easily continue into adulthood, through the dreamy lifestyle mythologies in fashion and technology advertising. To me this Barbie campaign is an attention-grabbing antidote to this broader cultural issue, as well as a solid evidence-based environmental campaign.
You can check the Greenpeace UK blog for various ways to get involved, the latest of which involves rating and reviewing Barbie’s ‘dirty deforestation habits’ on Amazon (brilliant, do it!).
Having released her second album under the title Weyes Blood at the end of last year on Mexican Summer, collaborated with the likes of Ariel Pink and been a one time member of the experimental troupe Jackie-O Motherf**ker, Natalie Mering is no newbie to the music scene. As she joins Kevin Morby on tour and takes Europe by storm, we catch up with the formidable songstress and get a sneak peak into the genius music world she has created for herself.
Welcome to Europe Natalie! Have you toured this side of the pond before?
Yes I have, this is my fourth time across the pond for musical purposes. First tours were very noise/drone/experimental scene-centric. These last two have been my first foray into more indie shows.
Is there a particular country you’re excited about visiting?
Yes! Switzerland is especially dreamy, because I am a mountain woman and feel most at home at high elevations. I also love free human souls and dairy (Interesting people and grass fed milk cheese). Portugal is also a highlight because of the climate and general vibe-lots of great artistic minds there. I always have the best, most idealistic conversations about art and music with promoters from Portugal. The country seems a good 30 years lost in time. There’s a strange noticeable spark in how people respond to new music. I also feel close to their traditional music, Fado. It resonates with my soul and I think I’ve channeled its particularities unknowingly.
Weyes Blood – Be free – Urban Outfitters Performance
You released your second album ‘The Innocents’ last October on New York label, Mexican Summer. What’s your favourite track to perform?
I love performing ‘Bad Magic’ because it’s very demanding, emotionally and vocally. It tends to draw everybody in.
How would YOU describe your sound and style?
I’d say my sound is reminiscent of cathedrals-church with a bit of soul and R&B, soul church. Sweet Metal? There is a bit of darkness there, some doom, but its sweet and I try to play into the tradition of folk ballads. I have been very influenced by drone composers like Lamonte Young and Terry Riley, but also love a good psyche pop anthem. That said, there’s usually one note you can play through the entirety of any of my songs, a drone note that carries everything through. My favorite musical example of this is John Cale‘s infamous piano note played through the entirety of The Stooges ‘Wanna be Your Dog’. If I could sum up all my musical infatuations in one composition it may just be that. I have dreams about John Cale a lot, and the records he produced with Nico. He’s a wonderful drone man that built that bridge into popular music, and secretly I hope my style draws from that with a medieval twinge.
Weyes Blood – Bad Magic – Official Video
You studied herbs in the New Mexico desert before moving to New York and settling into the music scene there. Was music something you always did?
Yes music was always first, even as a child. But back then I was more interested in theatrical arts. It wasn’t until I was 12 years old that I realized being an actress wasn’t nearly as interesting as diving into the sonic realms of music exploration. From that point onward it was my main purpose for being alive, no hyperbole.
Your parents are both musicians. Have they had an influence on your own style?
A bit. My Father’s favorite band was XTC, so he was always open to “the next wave” and innovative music. Being a new waver himself, he stayed interested in recent music and always wanted to know how rock n roll was evolving. But like any classic baby boomer he couldn’t really follow me into the 21st century, pretty much drawing the line at Radiohead. My Father and I went to a Radiohead concert together and we really bonded, but it took him a while to come around to my music. My mother is obsessed with Joni Mitchell so she was always playing in the house. ‘Court and Spark’ is permanently branded into my subconscious.
Your voice has a unique and haunting quality to it. Has it always been that way or something you grew into?
It’s always been low and raspy. I’ve grown into singing with more strength over time. There was definitely a time it was a source of embarrassment, but its something I’ve come to appreciate over time. It’s good for impersonations. I do love high voices, though, and my register as singer is definitely alto and below. Sometimes hearing my voice on recordings really freaks me out, I hear it so differently in my head I can’t imagine what it sounds like to other people.
What inspires you?
To keep it extremely concise: chaos, synchronicity, duality and empathy.
I love your attitude. You seem very focused and clear on what you want. Does that make working with other people more challenging when they’re not as serious as you?
Haha, well thank you. I can also be extremely unfocused and confused about what I want just like the rest of us. I guess I just force myself to take things across the finish line even if I’m having those feelings. And as far as dealing with challenges working with other people-it’s always been an issue, but something I’ve learned to get over. I don’t expect anybody to take what I do as seriously as I do, so I like to take most of the load myself and collaborate with people who are looking to go on a journey with me into my chasm of unattainably high standards. That’s one of the reasons I’m a solo musician-I honestly just wanted to be a girl in a band, a la Kim Gordon, for most of my life. I just could never find anybody as serious as I was about pursuing it-almost like a fanatical religion, I heightened music to a philosophy of life.
I love this one documentary about Sun Ra. The interviewer asks a member of the Arkestra if he minds not having a social life anymore because he has to practice with the ensemble all the time… he says so candidly, “music is everything, why would I want anything else?” I’ve always felt that way. As I get older I’ve stopped being so serious, I enjoy lighthearted half assed efforts into the music realm as a means of therapy after years of carrying the burden of taking something so seriously. It’s important to lighten up, but I always have a “spirit of excellence”. Whatever you’re doing, even if you’re trying to make some crappy music to make your friends laugh, is an important process to be enjoyed to its fullest extent.
I read that you starting recording with a 4 track in your early teens. Do you still record onto tape?
Yes! I love the natural compression of tape. It’s a magnetic universe I’ll never leave. Tape is infinite in its possibilities, and its natural compression is my favorite.
What’s your favourite part of the production process? The inspiration, the writing, the recording, the mixing?
The inspiration comes the most naturally-its like a lightning bolt, a spark, and I usually have to jump around the room a bit to deal with the excess in body electricity after I feel like I’ve had a good idea. Writing is more gruesome, choosing things-creating shape from the formless void. Recording is like purgatory, where you’re not quite sure if you’ll be able to capture the lightning bolt – sometimes I like to record first and improvise, keeping the “lightning” in the recordings. Mixing is basically downhill, but also a nitty gritty process. At that point if you’re not satisfied there’s not much you can do, so if you’ve made something good, mixing is an enhancer. If you’re still not satisfied, mixing is a never ending void. Production in a nutshell.