Amelia’s Magazine | Simon Ekrelius introduces Monochrome, his new A/W 2014 collection

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by Slowly The Eggs aka Maria Papadimitriou

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by Slowly The Eggs aka Maria Papadimitriou.

Last week Simon Ekrelius showcased a preview selection of garments from his pared down A/W 2014 collection, titled Monochrome. Inspired by iconic model Lee Miller, this season the Swedish designer has focused on a sleek and eminently wearable silhouette, which features innovative fabric treatments and his razor sharp signature tailoring.

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by Megan Thomas

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by Megan Thomas.

When did you first discover the muse for your latest collection, Lee Miller?
Many years ago when I read into Man Ray‘s life and realised that Lee was very involved with his work and the solarisation technique.

simon ekrelius 1

simon ekrelius 2

How did this translate into elements of the Monochrome collection?
Indirectly I wanted to translate the feeling I had for her relationship with photography, perhaps a longshot for some but my idea was to describe her in the time now if she would be alive. So I cut lines all over the body, which were then sprayed and painted. Many of the constructions retain a certain mood, as does the palette and the structure of the fabrics. She created something very subdued through photography; very beautiful and simple. She was stuck in my mind for a long period and now was the right time to bring it all up.

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by Sangita Kumari

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by Sangita Kumari.

What are the key materials and processes used in these garments?
There is wool, cotton, silk, poly blends and nylon. The crème coloured cotton canvas and the black cotton satin has been painted and then sprayed with acrylic.

simon ekrelius 3

simon ekrelius 4

What are your favourite pieces in the collection?
The wool coat with pleats, the spray painted pieces, the black silk organza blouse and dress, the grey pieces, the black shiny and matt jersey dress and the jumpsuit with lighter vertical lines.

simon ekrelius 5

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by xplusyequals

Simon Ekrelius A/W 2014 by xplusyequals.

Who do you hope will wear these garments and why?
Kate Moss, Tilda Swinton, Lily Cole, and Cate Blanchett: because I know they would carry my pieces perfectly.

You can read our previous interview with Simon Ekrelius here.

Categories ,A/W 2014, ,Cate Blanchett, ,Kate Moss, ,Lee Miller, ,Lily Cole, ,Man Ray, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Megan Thomas, ,monochrome, ,Sangita Kumari, ,Simon Ekrelius, ,Slowly the Eggs, ,Tilda Swinton, ,xplusyequals

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Amelia’s Magazine | Napsugar Von Bittera: London Fashion Week A/W 2014 Presentation Review

Napsugar Von Bittera By Sangita Kumari

Napsugar Von Bittera by Sangita Kumari.

Hungarian designer Napsugar Von Bittera put together a pop art inspired presentation at Fashion Scout, with models posing around and against set pieces which included a gargantuan packet of popcorn and a giant lollipop. Models wore louche up-dos, red lips and cut out heels with red socks peeping through. Laser cut leather in deep blue, black and white was crafted into highly wearable dresses, jackets and swing skirts with zip detailing.

Napsugar AW 2014-blue jacket photography by Amelia Gregory

Napsugar AW 2014-black dress photography by Amelia Gregory

All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Categories ,A/W 2014, ,Fashion Scout, ,Hungarian, ,Napsugar von Bittera, ,Sangita Kumari

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Amelia’s Magazine | Aware: Art Fashion Identity at the Royal Academy

this web Little Rich Girls, capsule 2010″ src=”” alt=”” width=”480″ height=”654″ /> Yinka Shonibare MBE, abortion Little Rich Girls, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

In 2009, the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition exploring contemporary art, Earth: Art of a Changing World featured a selection of artists engaging with the physical impacts of Climate Change. For 2010 the Royal Academy turned it’s attention to the subject of identity and clothing in Aware: Art Fashion Identity. Broken down into three segments; Storytelling, Building and Belonging and Confronting, the exhibition endeavors to examine the possibilities provided –as explored by artists and fashion designers- by clothing to reveal and conceal our cultural and physical identity.

A new commission from Yinka Shonibare focused on cultural perceptions of the origin of a cloth usually associated with Africa. Under closer examination, these perceptions turn out to be false. Shonibare’s ghostly installation reveals that the origination of the batik pattern thought to be synonymous with Africa, is in fact Holland. The Dutch pattern makers sold the fabric em masse to Africa, only after a European buyer could not be found.

Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, 1965, A film by Albert and David Maysles of Yoko Ono’s performance of Cut Piece at Carnegie Recital Hall, New York, 21 March 1965, 16mm black-and-white film with sync sound, transferred to DVD, running time 9’ Courtesy of the artist

After entering the Royal Academy via Burlington Arcade and walking up the stairs into the main exhibition space. The audience moves through the three sections in a circular motion; first encountering Storytelling (announced by the presence of an embroidered kimono by Grayson Perry) then Building and finally Belonging and Confronting. The audience departs Aware: Art Fashion Identity via the two of the exhibition’s most interesting works – both of which are nearing 30 years old.

Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic’s performance pieces lay bare the artifice and cultural constructs which lay at the heart of both fashion and art identity. In the 9 minute video, Marina Abramovic and Ulay stand naked in a gallery doorway, forcing visitors to confront the physicality of the naked body, stripped of it’s adornments. Meanwhile in a video opposite Yoko Ono sits quietly on a stage whilst members of the audience snip her free from the garments of femininity. An exciting introduction to these two artists, it is a shame that more of their work was not included.

The limited inclusion of performance art is a lost opportunity, specifically because the three included pieces (Marina Abramovic Yoko Ono and Cindy Sherman) lend themselves vividly to the concept (i.e. the relationship between our cultural and personal identity and how we are perceived by others) this exhibition was starting to explore.

GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity
Royal Academy of Arts, 2 December 2010 – 30 January 2011, Marina Abramovi?, Imponderabilia Performance 1977
Galleria Comunale d’Arte, Bologna © Marina Abramovi?. Courtesy of Marina Abramovi? and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. © DACS 2010
Photo by Giovanna dal Magro

Cindy Sherman’s Paper Doll, an early video piece from the acclaimed artist, which lasts for 2.30 minutes, was located within the first room of the exhibition. In Paper Doll Cindy Sherman questions the accepted popularity of a toy heavily steeped in gender stereotyping: the paper doll. In the piece Sherman reduces herself into an inanimate object whose sole purpose is to decide what to wear depending on that day’s activity. At the end of the film, a hand removes the clothes displaying the doll’s nudity and places her back in her box. An intriguing piece of work, this singular nod does nothing to encourage the exploration of Sherman’s overture, including Untitled, a series of stills in which the artist explored the creation of a particular type of femininity after the rise of the movie.

Cindy Sherman, Doll Clothes 1975, Stills from 16 mm film on DVD, © Cindy Sherman / Sammlung Verbund, Vienna / Sprüth Magers Berlin London

Throughout the exhibition, Aware: Art Fashion and Identity makes rapid nods to artists and fashion designers alike – a single McQueen stands in the corner. Devoid of its context and standing alone within the white walls of the RA the identity of the dress becomes lost. When viewed within an entire collection, this beautiful object becomes a brutal critique on historical and modern notions of femininity.

Alexander McQueen, Autumn Winter 1998: Joan, Photo © Chris Moore, Courtesy of Catwalking

An enjoyable exhibition, though the art appears to be spread too thin and the outcome of which is that interesting ideas are left hanging or barely graspable unless you enter the exhibition with prior knowledge of the artists or fashion designers previous body of work.

The final section of the exhibition explores ideas surrounding Belonging and Confronting. Sharif Waked’s Chic Point places the daily humiliation the Palestinian man undergoes at Israeli checkpoints onto the catwalk. The photographs included at the end were taken by the artist, visualising the moment when clothes cease to become clothes and mutate into something – whether imagined or not – fearful and different.

Sharif Waked, Chic Point, 2003, DVD, running time 5’ 27” Courtesy of the artist, Photo Sharif Waked

Coco Chanel suggestion that we “look for the woman in the dress and if there is no woman, there is no dress” is taken up by Hussein Chalayan’s latest commission. In Son of Sonzai Suri, the fashion designer uses the 300-year-old Japanese tradition of Bunraku puppet theatre to lay bare the hidden puppeteers at the heart of the fashion industry.

Hussein Chalayan, ‘Son’ of Sonzai Suru, 2010, Installation shot from GSK Contemporary – Aware: Art Fashion Identity, Commissioned by the London College of Fashion and the Royal Academy of Arts, © The Artist, Photo: Andy Stagg, Courtesy Royal Academy of Arts, London

Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes with the video pieces of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono. With the decision to close the exhibition here, it appears that the critique of identity and femininity stopped in the 70’s. It could have been an interesting experiment to juxtapose 70′s performance art against the catwalk shows of Alexander McQueen or Maison Martin Margiela.

The past few months have been fantastic for those interested in fashion, with a splurge of fashion related exhibitions across the capital, get to the Royal Academy quick before Aware: Art Fashion Identity closes on the 30th January 2011.
Royal Academy, 6 Burlington Gardens, London

Categories ,6 Burlington Gardens, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Aware: Art Fashion Identity, ,Belonging, ,Cindy Sherman, ,clothes, ,India, ,London College of Fashion, ,marina abramovic, ,Mumbai, ,politics, ,Royal Academy, ,The Body, ,Yinka Shonibare, ,Yoko Ono

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Amelia’s Magazine | MT Warning on the making of Midnight Dawn with Taylor Steele

MT Warning by James Grover

MT Warning by James Grover.

Mikey Bee (aka MT Warning) was playing a solo show in Australia, when American film-maker Taylor Steele happened to be in the audience. Intrigued by the performance the film-maker approached the musician with a different way of writing songs. “How would a song sound from a man sinking into the ocean?” Together they pushed the idea of a song telling a unique tale while being part of a visual story, the result is MT Warning‘s debut album (out March 24th) and a series of engrossing videos and live visuals, created in partnership with Taylor. The video for lead single Midnight Dawn is one such film, Mikey Bee takes up the story;

We needed a beginning to the new album ‘Midnight Set‘. We were in the middle of the album that we felt was going to be a story of a day and a lifetime, so we decided to soundtrack the sunrise. Taylor (producer/colloaborator) gave me images of people waking up all over the world, pre dawn, some waking, some still going from the night before. I liked the idea of the community of headspace that exists in those hours between the middle of the night and the sunrise, it’s quiet, but there’s lots of people going about their creative business. It was also the hours that the whole album was recorded, so a natural fit.,

MT Warning Illustration by Sangita Kumari

MT Warning by Sangita Kumari.

In the footage was surfer Dave Rastovich playing a kora and I put it on loop and started jamming to it, the first strummed chords played out as I picked up the rhythm and the lyrics came really fast. I wanted a ‘call to arms’ feel, but in a set back way: the excitement of an adventure and the conviction that you will overcome what the day might throw at you. To persevere even though we know that we are made up of very little importance, the important thing is to keep going on whatever path you’ve chosen.

MT Warning boat

MT Warning river

When we came to the video, we wanted to show a journey. The idea is that we often think we are travelling as best we can, but often we are carrying a whole lot of shit that we really don’t need. We struggle with it, we are addicted to it, we leave no space for ourselves. To show that we found an old boat and filled it with junk, lovely junk and started in what looks like a desert, the middle of the journey. That thing was so heavy it really took all my strength to get through the day, literally feeling the pain of carrying too much shit.

MT Warning path

MT Warning bridge

The tempo, theme, lyric and video for the song all are there to represent that part of a journey where instinct kicks in and stamina is an accident, you are constant, you hear voices, you see only the lowers of your eyebrows and you just keep on going. I like a story that starts there and then unfolds.

MT Warning‘s debut album ‘Midnight Set‘ is out on 24th March 2014. You can find MT Warning on iTunes here.

Categories ,Dave Rastovich, ,interview, ,James Grover, ,Midnight Dawn, ,Midnight Set, ,Mikey Bee, ,MT Warning, ,Sangita Kumari, ,Taylor Steele, ,video

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Amelia’s Magazine | Alexander the Great : a Folk Operetta

Alexander The Great by Amelia Grace

Alexander The Great by Amelia Grace.

Humphrey ‘Huck’ Astley is a poet-singer-songwriter and author of the three-part album and stage show ‘Alexander the Great: a Folk Operetta‘ – here he describes the process of embarking on such an ambitious project…

How did you get involved in a Folk Operetta?
Alexander the Great is essentially a concept album, but I was wary of calling it that. I did however want to hint to people that it was more than just a bunch of songs, and I toyed with calling it a ‘narrative album’ before settling on ‘folk operetta‘, which is a term I found on Wikipedia! (I later discovered Anais Mitchell‘s folk opera Hadestown and almost died of embarrassment, though I’m not a big fan of the album.) To be honest, I’m using the term fairly liberally – I’m not a folk singer, and I don’t know anything about opera! But I like to think that I borrow a penchant for story from one, and a penchant for drama from the other. Little did I know, when I conceived the thing, that the title would be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy and land the work on stage!

Alexander the Great - a Folk Operetta

What was the process of creation, how many people are involved and how long did it all take?
The album took about a year to write, on and off, after some false starts and a brush with extinction, and was finished in late 2012. Literally weeks after I’d written the last song, my friend and colleague Sebastian Reynolds got in touch saying he’d been selected for The PRS for Music Foundation‘s development scheme New Music Plus UK and that he needed a music/theatre crossover project to pitch, and that hadn’t I written an opera or something? So we applied, and got the funding! We’ve since formed The Xander Band, recorded the first two acts of the operetta in EP form, and been working on the stage show with The Cambridge Junction, with whom we were partnered.

huck and the xander band by Sangita Kumari

Huck and The Xander Band by Sangita Kumari.

What can the audience expect? What are the highlights?
They should expect to be taken on a journey – sonically, visually, thematically, geographically. I should point out that it’s not about the historical Alexander – it’s actually a kind of queer runaway myth of two young friends and their fall from grace in Dixie – though it does reference the Ancient Greeks. The story is a classic rites of passage about a young man’s transition through innocence and experience and finally independence, and it’s partly based on my own adventures in the South with my old band The Handsome Fee, so it’s not a complete fantasy!

Alexander the Great - a Folk Operetta live

Where can people see Alexander the Great?
It made its debut at The Cambridge Junction last weekend, then plays at the Rosemary Branch Theatre London on Tuesday 3 June and The Old Fire Station Oxford on Thursday 12 June.

What next for Huck and co?
We’ll be recording the third and final act as soon as possible, then grouping it with the first two and releasing all 12 tracks as a complete album with some kind of illustrated lyricbook – which will probably be a whole other project in itself! Then we’ll be going on tour…

You can hear music from the first 2 acts on band camp here, or if you like what you hear why not see the operetta for yourself on its final two tour dates.

Categories ,Alexander the Great, ,Amelia Grace, ,Anais Mitchell, ,folk, ,Folk Operetta, ,Hadestown, ,Humphrey ‘Huck’ Astley, ,london, ,New Music Plus UK, ,Rosemary Branch Theatre, ,Sangita Kumari, ,Sebastian Reynolds, ,The Cambridge Junction, ,The Handsome Fee, ,The Old Fire Station Oxford, ,The PRS for Music Foundation, ,The Xander Band

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Amelia’s Magazine | An interview with Tom Brosseau – introducing new album Grass Punks

Tom Brosseau, Green Punks by Kerry-Leslie

Tom Brosseau, Green Punks by Kerry-Leslie.

LA resident and folk troubadour Tom Brosseau hails all the way from the enigmatic sounding Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Grass Punks is his first solo release in 5 years and his 7th studio album to date. It draws on universal themes of emptiness, false dreams, loyalty, betrayal and perseverance to paint a subtle picture of a life where sweetness is shot through with pain. The album title was taken from a phrase belonging to a San Diego based artist who would perform her soft, low voiced poetry over cafard melodies on the piano.

Tom Brosseau

How did music infiltrate your life from an early age, and what are your fondest memories of this time?
My uncle Jon played the piano, and he played it well, a lawyer-pianist, though pianist, that was his métier. Still plays. Check out one of his albums, Some Ragtime, Blues, Boogie & more.
The radio provided me a broader spectrum of music: Oldies, Country & Western, Rock, Pop. My hometown, Grand Forks, North Dakota, had the university, UND, so I grew up listening to college, which introduced to me contemporary singer-songwriters, like Suzanne Vega, Iris Dement, Traci Chapman, and Alt-country, like Son Volt, Grant Lee Buffalo.
MTV was very important to me, the supreme form of musical expression, especially the early days, when the videos and the tone of the songs were in good tandem, like “Tom’s Diner” and “Rockit”. Then there seemed to develop this tradition of incorporating film footage or photos within the video, mild aggression, and sometimes something burning, like Shock the Monkey by Peter Gabriel, The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get by Morrissey, Sunny Came Home by Shawn Colvin, Nearly Lost You by Screaming Trees. After that, I stopped watching MTV.
The most influence on me, though, was the actual music I learned and sang during school and at church. For instance, at Calvary Lutheran we had sheet music to the John Jacob Niles song, “I Wonder As I Wander”, and because the melody was so haunting, the final “wander” of the refrain had such a lilt to it, this effect seemed to push the song past the church choir room walls, into another realm, and me, into another time and space. Music and singing- my uncle Jon’s playing, the radio, MTV, church- I thought of as truly a magical thing.

Tom Brosseau by Lisa M Dalton

Tom Brosseau by Lisa M. Dalton.

When and why did you decide to live in Los Angeles, and how has this influenced your music making?
I moved to California in early 2001, by way of the Sundance Film Festival, where I held seasonal work in the Logistics department. I was a liaison to the festival volunteers, ran packages of whatever sponsor products from here to there, set up “no parking” signs, cones, blockades. I met a gal there, who also held seasonal work, an SDSU film student, and kind of fell hard for her, traveled back with her after the festival ended to where she lived. That is how I got to San Diego.
But also, I moved by way of the wind. I mean, I was just out there in the world at that time in my life, a young man, like a loose leaf, and like how a leaf then trembles before it is carried away by the wind, this is how I landed in California.

Tom Brosseau Grass Punks album cover

What was the process of making the Grass Punks album?
I had composed a good deal of songs in between Posthumous Success and the making of Grass Punks, so when Sean Watkins and I got together, and because we weren’t bound by anything- not time, not money, because there was no deadline, there was no budget- we began every session with one song, and one song only, working on the arrangement of that song at the kitchen table of Sean’s house, near the 101 Highway, Hollywood, California. Cradle Your Device, the track that kicks off the album, was in fact the first song we recorded. It’s a one string song when I play it solo, but sitting at the kitchen table at Sean’s, playing him this tune, by the second pass he had already come up with a complete, distinctive part on his acoustic guitar, which, on the recording, the way he picks his guitar in relation to what I’m doing on my guitar, sounds like something off a Washington Phillips record.

YouTube Preview Image

Tom Brosseau – Today Is A Bright New Day.

You’ve toured and worked with an amazing roster of musicians, do you have any stories you could share from your time on the road?
I think I have mainly kept my eyes open, my mouth closed when I’ve traveled with some of the folks I’ve traveled with. Probably if you were to ask some of these artists their impression of me they either wouldn’t recall I was ever there or they’d say, “Yeah, quiet kid, stuck to himself.” I’m afraid what I could offer here would be more on the shorter side of an anecdote or less, eye-blink observations, interesting only to me. Allow me to remain silent, spare your readers the banality;-)

Tom Brosseau by Sangita Kumari

Tom Brosseau by Sangita Kumari.

Are there any great unsung American folk artists we should know about (but probably don’t)?
Bradley Kincaid.

Tom Brosseau by Ruth Ferrier

Tom Brosseau by Ruth Ferrier.

What are you most looking forward to when you return to the UK?
The travel, people, the food.

Grass Punks by Tom Brosseau is released in the UK on Tin Angel Records.

Categories ,Bradley Kincaid, ,Cradle Your Device, ,Grand Forks, ,Grant Lee Buffalo, ,Grass Punks, ,interview, ,Kerry-Leslie, ,Lisa M. Dalton, ,North Dakota, ,Posthumous Success, ,Ruth Ferrier, ,Sangita Kumari, ,Son Volt, ,Sundance Film Festival, ,Tin Angel Records, ,Tom Brosseau, ,Washington Phillips

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