Sunday, June 28, 2015

London Collections Men - Top Talent

Several years ago, LC:M was just a day posted onto the back of London Fashion Week. Today, LC:M (short for London Collections Men) is a recognised brand. It has its own four-day event, which has underscored what many people concede to be fashion´s sacred mantra: There is no men's style like London men's style.

From the polished dandies (including Gandy) of Savile Row to the uber cool kids in East London (Hoxtonites) to the youth quake in Notting Hill (Bloomsbury set), this city resonantes with talent when it comes to men's fashion. The event is also highly profitable as well. "Sales of men's clothing in the UK rose by 22% over the last five years totaling £13.5 billion in 2014," quoted the chair of LC:M, Dylan Jones. During this current cycle, it was also noted that the UK and international menswear sector is currently growing faster than womenswear, for the first time in apparel history.

According to Caroline Rush CEO of the British Fashion Council, there are now 77 shows, 67 percent more than the inaugural event in 2012, and double the number of attendees. In other words, LC:M has really taken off and is set to rival the majestic Milans offering.

The week was very intense, even for seasoned fashion followers, but did include several moments of inspiration and cutting edge contributions. Highlighted below are some of the best in show:

CRAIG GREEN


Craig Green's show pulsated with emotion and creativity. His show was jarring in so many ways, and people were left puzzled by the sheets of fabric attached to large sticks, which all but obscured the models that were carrying them. In fact, he was making a statement on how fabric can conceal the body. He also tapped into the big citrus colour trends: there were top to toe looks in juicy oranges, yellows and green, including his now trademark karate uniform and wide leg trousers.

This season, he had long fabric ties dangling all over the body. There were odd details like nipple tassels that reached to the ground, meant to demonstrate ´the power that lurks in a breast.´ It was notable for being a true agender collection.

J.W. ANDERSON


Jonathan Anderson's charming personality came through in spades in his colourful, joyful show, where men wore very cool Mary Janes. The androgynous collection also included cuffed judo trousers and kimono-esque blazers, which we also saw at Craig Green, but these had a more wearable vibe.

HOUSE OF HOLLAND


Despite having just delivered a 67 look resort collection (more than double what most designers show), Henry Holland still had the energy to debut his first menswear collection at Selfridges on Sunday. "I looked at my childhood and all the things that I loved and basically it involved good food, football and fun," he told LCM press of his inspiration. "I also thought how a House of Holland boy would dress and I went from there." That manifested in 90's rave clothes with slogans such as "I just want to enjoy myself," clashing rainbow and grid patterns, and neon pops on denim. It was all was youthful, energetic and unrelentingly fun.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN


Alexander McQueen also gave a fresh new jolt to traditional Savile Row tailoring: Sarah Burton audaciously put an embroidered sea faring motif on a suit. There were a lot of nautical references beside bold and asymmetrical prints. Fashion folk played guessing games over which celebrity would rock the look on the red carpet. (We thought it would suit the increasingly fashion-forward Pharrell.)

WALES BONNER


While it's hard to play favorites in a field so full of talent, we have to talk about breakout star Grace Wales Bonner of Wales Bonner, who was also recently chosen for Victoria and Albert's "Fashion in Motion" series. At her Saturday show under the Fashion East umbrella at ICA, the crowd were more than accepting of her lastest installation. The collection's starting point was the journey of Malik Ambar, a poor man in Ethiopia who became a wealthy ruler in India. The clothes mixed African and Indian references, ranging from cotton and linens in earthy tones, to more luxurious fabrics like velvet and silk. It was a stirring collection, solidifying Grace Wales Bonner as my personal favourite and one to watch.

BURBERRY


There were a lot of lace shirts. Then, I saw a giraffe followed by a lace trench coat. This unexpected collection was all shown under the open skies and rare sunshine at Kensington Gardens. The perfectly organized show sent goose bumps everywhere thanks to musician Rhodes accompanied by a 24-piece orchestra. Christopher Bailey also spliced in some ladies wear from the resort collection, sported by its latest look book model, Ella Richards. There was the usual star-studded front row, but the collection still took center stage. Fresh looks from a new fitted tailoring line called the "Chelsea" stood out via captivating jackets and trousers, as did fantastic cashmere sweat pants.

Who Are The Antwerp Six?

The Antwerp Six is a group of influential avant-garde fashion designers that graduated from the Antwerp´s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the eighties. At the academy they were taught by Linda Loppa. The fashion collective presented a distinct radical vision for fashion during the 1980's that established Antwerp as a notable location for fashion design. The breakthrough occurred in 1988 as the group rented a truck and set out for the London fashion fair with their collections and have put this city on the fashion map ever since.

After that they all went their separate ways and became famous individually with their own very distinct style and trademarks. Having done all of this they set an example for their continuators (such as Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho, Kaat Tilley etc.) at the Flemish academies, and they set the - very solid - fundamentals for the further growth of fashion in Antwerp.

Since 2002 Antwerp has an actual, literal fashion centre: The Mode Natie (or fashion nation). In this exceptional building in the heart of the city, right next to Van Noten's 'Fashion Paradise' their is a fashion school, a fashion museum and the Flanders Fashion Institute and recently also the biggest boutique of the Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto.


Ann Demeulemeester

Ann Demeulemeester (1959, Waregem, Belgium) graduated from the Belgium's prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp in 1981. Soon after, she stormed the runways as part of the avant-garde “Antwerp Six,” and brought an arty moodiness to fashion. She currently lives in a Corbusier-designed home in Antwerp.


Demeulemeester launched her line in 1985 and soon it became known as an experimental—yet wearable—line. She has consistently attracted clients who like a little artiness in their wardrobes. The designer mixes and matches different fabrics and then slashes, rips, and tears them, often in a moody palette of brown, gray, and black. But she has been known to tap into a cheerful femininity from time to time as well. 


But Demeulemeester’s signature is a slouchy masculine look that references her longtime muse Patti Smith.The singer has sometimes created special spoken-word poetry for Demeulemeester’s runway soundtracks. Patti Smith 's lyrics, from the other side, had often an influence on the prints as well. Currently, she is working on a clothing line inspired by Jackson Pollock. Ann Demeulemeester has also worked with the artist Jim Dine.


Walter Van Beirendonck

Walter Van Beirendonck (Brecht, 4 February 1957) is a Flemish fashion designer.He graduated in 1980 from the Royal Arts Academy in Antwerp.His breakthrough was the British Designer Show in London in 1987 as part of the Antwerp Six.


Since 1983, he has his own collections under the label Walter Van Beirendonck. Walter has been inspired for his designs by art, music and literature, all mixed with ethnic an nature influences. His unusual color combinations, innovating cuts and a strong graphic influence are characteristic for his collections. His continuous statements about the fashion world, earth, nature, contemporary life and society are collected in prints and slogans.


Walter Van Beirendonck is considered to be one of the main trend-setters in men's fashion by the professional press. In 1997, he designed the costumes for the U2 ´Pop Mart Tour.´ In 1999, he was awarded the honorary title of "Cultural Ambassador of Flanders". In 2001, he was the curator for the exhibition Mode 2001 Landed-Geland in Antwerp. Since recently he is also the Artistic Director for Scapa Sports.He has also a children's collection, called ZULUPAPUWA, for JBC (a Belgian fashion chain of shops). As you can notice, every collection carries a well-defined name.

Walter Van Beirendonck works besides the collections, reguarly on projects: designing costumes for theater, ballet and film, curating expositions, designing objects, think-thank for commercial projects and products, image-making for pop-groups, illustrating books, designing commercial collections...


Dirk Van Saene

Dirk Van Saene, born in 1959, studied at the Academy in Antwerp. After he graduated he opened his own store; Beauties and Heroes where he sold his creations. With his fellow Antwerp designers (the Antwerp six) he went to London for a fashion show and this is when his success started. In 1990 Van Saene organised his first big show in Paris.


Van Saene is know for his imagination, he loves to trick and amaze his audience. He is compared to other designers not willing to follow the trends. He loves originality and buying his work, people can be sure getting something original. This is shown in his work, one design can be chic and couture while another can be deconstructive. Van Saene also won some prices, even early in his career. In 1983 he won the ‘Gouden Spoel’ price in Belgium.


Dries Van Noten


Dries Van Noten, born in Belgium in 1958 started his career after graduating in 1980 from the Antwerp Fashion Academy. Before going onto producing his own collection, Van Noten freelanced for some years. In 1986 he had his breakthrough with the presentation of his menswear in London, this year he also joined together with 5 other Antwerp designers, they are known as the Antwerp six. After this success he opened his own boutique in Antwerp with his women and men’s collections. Three years later he gave up his little boutique and moved his store to a five-storey department store. Because of his major success Van Noten started opening stores all over the world; Paris, Milan, Tokyo , Hong Kong.


His designs are know for there informal mix of western and eastern or folkloric fabrics. Van Noten always had a passion for fabric, this is why he makes his clothes by hand. If you by a Van Noten piece you can be certain it is authentic. This famous designer gets his inspiration of his city, Antwerp where he lives and works. He states:"One of the big luxuries of being in Antwerp is that I can easily walk in the city. In Paris and New York I am more recognized." Watching people on the streets he says is his biggest stimulation.


Van Noten, who at the milestone of 50, won the award of International Designer of the year 2008 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.


Dirk Bikkembergs

Dirk Bikkembergs was born in Cologne, Germany in 1959 where his Flemish father was stationed. Originally Bikkembergs was interested to attend law school because he found lawyers "so chic", although he chose studying at the Royal Academy. He graduated in 1982 and his career flew off in the year of 1986 when the 6 headed for London, and became 'The Six". But before going to London he had already won the 'Canette d'Or' award for Best Young Designer in Fashion, which  allowed him to create his own men's shoes collection.
 

Inspired by his youth, many of his lines reflect military basics on a deeper level, combined with the tough fabrics that he often uses. Interestingly enough his first women's collection was, apart from size, identical to his menswear.Being a very dynamic designer, he is rarely seen in one place for more than a week, travelling from one fashion metropolitan to the next.

"I am married to fashion and will remain faithful."

He became very popular amongst youngsters when he launched his 'Bikkembergs Sport' fashion line, including the t-shirt with the famous footballer which lead to designing for the football team 'Inter Milan'. Thanks to his "sport-couture" he is the first designer who received permission to do a show in the FC Barcelona stadium 'Nou Camp'.


Marina Yee

Marina Yee was born in 1958 in Antwerp, Belgium. After taking a course at the Institute of Fine Arts St-Lukas in Hasselt she started her 'fashion' education in 1978 at the Royal Academy in Antwerp. She graduated in 1981 and when she went to London in 1986 with her collection she proved herself one of the notorious six.
 

Her professional carrier varies from leather collections for men and women (with Dirk Bikkembergs), to prize winning individual collections to theatre costumes. In 2003 she started her own workshop in the centre of Antwerp. Her work reflects spirituality, respect and design. A very typical element that characterizes her collections is that she often commemorates and reconstructs old clothes (from flea markets and such) as an answer to fashion and her never ending consumer-attitude.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Martin Margiela Documentary - The Artist Is Absent

“I knew he could do something great,” says Jean Paul Gaultier about famously incognito designer Martin Margiela in The Artist Is Absent, a new documentary about the Belgian couturier. But rather than take Gaultier’s word for it, you can see Margiela’s greatness yourself in the whole 12-minute film now streaming online.

Originally screened at the Tribeca Film Festival, the short traces the history of the celebrated designer, from his deconstructionist days in the ’90s to the end of his reign in the mid-’00´s.


Ikea Joins Forces With Walter Van Beirendonck

Starting June 2016, Ikea will sell a collection of interior design articles created by Belgian fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck, part of the famous Antwerp Six. He will be the first in a line of fashion designers that will collaborate with Ikea.

"Create beautiful and affordable products together"

"We were really looking forward to a collaboration with Walter as his way of using materials and graphic patterns is fascinating to see. The same goes for the stories his fashion collections tell about life itself", Ikea main designer Marcus Engman said. He revealed the collaboration during the IKEA Democratic Design Day in the Swedish city of Älmhult.


Engman added IKEA wants to "work with inventive, passionate people from all over the world, people with a shared vision on democratic design to create beautiful and affordable products together. We are curious to see what these collaborations will lead to in the world of interior design. We are happy to announce a collaboration with some of the most interesting contemporary fashion designers."

Not only Walter Van Beirendonck will collaborate with IKEA: Katie Eary, a men's streetwear designer based in London, and Swedish Martin Bergström will also join the furniture store giant for a collaboration.

Van Beirendonck has created five different prints based on the "Wondermooi" (Beautiful) theme, about people who live in the clouds, Watch his explanation about the collection here:


Graduate Shows 2015: Royal Academy Of Fine Arts Antwerp

At the Royal Academy Of Fine Arts in Antwerp there have been several success stories over the years, not the least the “Antwerp six”. So, each year the expectations are high to view what the graduates of the school have produced. During the Fashion Show of 2015 many awards were given to the Master students that have now completed their studies and will continue out in the fashion world. For the students as well as the teachers, the experience at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts has been evolutionary and taught the students to harbor and express their creativity without losing touch with the production aspect, according to the words expressed by Walter van Beirendonck, who is in charge of the fashion department of the Academy.


Color and patterns were transcendent to the silhouettes without dominating the looks in their entirety. However, the fun twist to the story was how many pieces seemed almost anachronistic, out of time. There were 1960s references and a sophisticated adaptation of the 1980s fitness revolution. Nevertheless, the pieces had a nuance of suave effortlessness that was fresh to the eye.




The collections’ key element could be written – however cliché it might sound – in one word; “Love”. The collection“The Dear Elso Letter” from designer Laure Severac was inspired by love, especially the nostalgia for knitting with her grandmother. The inspiration explains the collection’s ethereal feel and the combination of abstract with structured pieces to illustrate the abstract feeling of love, yet lived with a specific moment in mind. Designer Miriam Laubscher presented pieces with a layered color-blocking effect, bringing to mind Yves Saint Laurent’sMondrian dress but in a totally new spin, still establishing it as a work of art. Designer Joeri Van Campenhoutelevated his looks with delicate appliques of feathers and small trims, resulting in a demure approach that caused a dramatic effect. The graduates seemed to be in sync with contemporary approaches that use small means to create a larger effect and push fashion forward with an interesting concept for future endeavors.


We Access The World Of Ann Demeulemeester

Ann Demeulemeester has been dreaming about the kind of adventuress that Arthur Rimbaud, the nineteenth-century poet hero of her men's Spring collection, might have come across during his self-imposed exile in Africa. Demeulemeester even has a bio for her.


Isabelle Eberhardt was a Swiss writer who traveled extensively in North Africa in the late nineteenth century. She usually wore men's clothing, because she had more freedom of movement that way. In one photograph from her brief life, Eberhardt is dressed as a sailor. "I had to invent her," Demeulemeester said, minus the Indiana Jones hats, one hopes. But, in Eberhardt's case, truth truly was stranger than fiction, and that made her a dream muse for the designer.


The creature Demeulemeester created was part androgyne, part decadent, a poetic hybrid of East and West. As she did with her men's collection in June, Demeulemeester imagined a European wardrobe "infected" by the tribal dress her explorer encountered. That might start with something subtle like a striped, tailored blazer with tassels dangling off its buttons, or a trenchcoat de-structured till it was a soft kimonolike wrap. In the middle somewhere, there were slouchy openwork knits and a jacket over-embroidered to look utterly exhausted.


Then came the more exotic pieces: the black silk tulle caftan with a trim of beads, the embroidered waistcoat with a trail of fringes. A sheer asymmetrical top and skirt appeared in an ombré that evoked a dust storm. With the spectral pulse of Harold Budd on the soundtrack sounding like mournful desert winds blowing through abandoned casbahs, Demeulemeester delivered one of her most seductive dissertations on la femme perdue.


Top 10 Fashion Moments:

1. Black, black and more black.
2. Witchy, wide-brimmed hats.
3. Lots of sheer.
4. Slender long skirts.
5. Sleek fringing.
6. One-shouldered dresses.
7. Tasselled buttons.
8. Extra-messy hair.
9. Draped long layers.
10. Stompy black shoes.

With very special thanks to the team at Ann Demeulemeester / Haider Ackermann  BVBA 32 for  exclusive privilages afforded to us during the shows.

We Access The World Of Haider Ackermann

He was one of the earliest names in the frame for the Dior job and we couldn’t help fantasising about what  Haider Ackermann's work would do for one of Paris’ grandest fashion houses at his show this morning.

There is always an anger to this Columbian-born, Galliano-trained designer’s collections that is both alluring and a touch intimidating - dark colours, deconstruction and roughly pulled up hair imply an inherent aggression that he won't consider playing to anyone else's tune - but today there was such beauty in the anger that his status as one of Paris' most valued talents is absolute.


But for all its moody, cerebral rumblings and exquisitely conceived ideas, it also simply gave you that feeling in the pit of your stomach – so valued during Fashion Week and yet by no means a given: "I want that."

He began with three trouser suits: black shot with purple, with gold and with magenta - the jackets, with their collars raised and their shoulders subtly exaggerated, tucked into the mannish trousers. The models walked in slow unison to classical music that set a calm tone for a collection that was full of ideas and triumphantly unique, it's slower pace all the better to appreciate it all.


Rich silk and brocade dressing gown coats fell off the body over sheer hessian day coats over metallic lamé vests and sheer chiffon blouses. There was a brilliant use of colour: an emerald tux came over olive silk trousers - featuring low crotches or tapered tidily to the ankle - under peacock blue chiffon hooded tops with an ethereal train floating behind: turquoise and blue; ochre and green – they weren’t colours that should go well together but they did, beautifully.


Leather jackets with cutaway sleeves or missing panels at each rib pulled in more floating chiffon creations. Hooded and veiled, they fell to floor-length skirts that were fitted over the hips and then slipped away to full trains behind – Ackermann can tailor the lightest fabric and the sturdiest - and he lets them hang in perfect unison so you just want to keep watching to see what else he might do.


There were sequin checked coats and shapely evening jackets that were expertly draped diagonally and then knotted at the front – waiting lists start here – and Natasha Poly closed the show in shimmering silver lamé pleats held on by wide matching braces. It was modern and glamorous, wearable and absolutely new – a definitive triumph of a show.


With very special thanks to the team at Ann Demeulemeester / Haider Ackermann  BVBA 32 for  exclusive privilages afforded to us during the shows.

Giorgio Armani Is Published

Fans of Giorgio Armani will have a new object of affection next week, as a new Vogue publication, Vogue on Giorgio Armani, celebrating the designer is released.

Penned by Kathy Phillips, international beauty director for Condé Nast Asia Pacific, the tome charts the designer's trajectory from his childhood in Piacenza, to the existence of his eponymous international powerhouse - via the creation of the Armani jacket of course.


"The more I worked on this book the more I thought that Giorgio Armani was a modernist, not a minimalist. He really thinks of the now and of the future. Obviously the man has an awesome legacy and his publicity machine is such that you would think that everything possible had been written," said Phillips. "However, I feel that his capacity for thinking in a modern, visionary way is quite extraordinary. To meet him is to realise that those ice-blue eyes miss nothing. You really have to see Armani in the light of other greats like - I would say Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Cardin and Jeanne Lanvin because he, like them, has done something to move the history of fashion on - to change the structure of the way we dress."

Vogue on Giorgio Armani is published on July 4 by Quadrille.

Is Fashion As Gay Friendly As It Seems?

This week, DKNY campaign stars John Tuite and Carlos Santolalla became the first openly gay couple to be signed to a major agency as a duo. Nicknamed Jarlos by their 22,000 devoted Instagram followers, the boys announced their history-making contract with New York’s Fusion on the social networking site. But considering fashion’s status as one of the most gay-friendly industries on the planet, why is this such a big deal? While the list of openly gay designers is seemingly endless  (Yves Saint Laurent, Gianni Versace, Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier and Valentino, to name a few) perhaps surprisingly, models are encouraged to stay well and truly in the closet.


“My very first experience with modelling was homophobic,” Tuite recalls. “The guy that scouted me online immediately told me his agency wouldn't sign me because they ‘don't work with gay men.’ Years later, the owner of that agency scouted me at an art show and I took the opportunity to tell her that I was very offended by what her booker had told me. But this woman, who is in fact a lesbian, backed it up and said that it was her own business strategy. In any other industry that would be a lawsuit, but because it’s ‘fashion,’ they get to call it ‘taste’ instead of discrimination.” Sadly, this seems to be the norm – “In NYC it's pretty common practice for your agent to tell you before signing to not be 'gay' and to 'act like a man' as if being gay demeans your manhood,” Santolalla adds. “There's also a very strong veil of homophobia hidden under ‘preference’... They say they want 'machismo' as if gay men aren't able to provide that. It's actually really reductive and sad.”

But why the discrimination, especially considering fashion’s penchant for homoerotic imagery? “It’s more convenient to hire straight guys to sell the image, and people are into that. The first rule of homoeroticism is that it's always hotter when the guys are straight,” argues Tuite. “It's a strange thing to think about, because obviously there have been plenty of same-sex model couples before us, but for social and professional reasons they couldn't necessarily advertise that.” It seems that the same arguments of fear over getting type-cast that stop actors and actresses from coming out also apply to fashion – it’s a risky career move to do anything that could make yourself more niche, and thus less likely to book jobs.

“The guy that scouted me online immediately told me his agency wouldn't sign me because they ‘don't work with gay men’. In any other industry that would be a lawsuit.” – Gay model John Tuite

“The real issue here, of course, is economics,” wrote Geoffrey Macnab for  The Independent on the topic of gay Hollywood, following Jodie Foster’s coming out speech  at the Golden Globes in 2013. “Gay and lesbian directors, producers, studio heads and supporting actors can be open about their sexuality as long as it doesn't get in the way of the work.” The subtext: modern cinema is built on clear cut tropes around sex and gender: if you’re an actor known for playing the romantic hero, or a bombshell actress seen as fodder for the male gaze, coming out could get in the way of that. The target audience of The Expendables franchise might shift slightly if its hyper-masculine, oiled up bro team (Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Statham etc) decided to come out of the closet.

The same is true in fashion, but for models, work is even more closely tied to their off camera lives and personalities than acting: more and more, their social media presences – a vital negotiating factor when it comes to contracts – are expected to be constantly updated, a 24/7 curation of their personal brand. As Premier Model Management founder Carole White explained in a recent interview social media “is changing how advertising is done; it’s changing how we evaluate how much a job is worth...Followers have become a currency.” The allure of personality is bigger than ever in the age of Instagram: you only need to look at someone like bleach blonde overnight superstar Lucky Blue Smith (and his 900k followers) to see how valuable a savvy social presence can be. There’s a pressure for gay models to keep their sexuality a secret, in case coming out could lose them work.

Only a few months in, and 2015 has already proved to be a ground breaking year in terms of casting with models like Hari Nef, Lineisy Montero and Bhumika Arora kickstarting discussions around gender identity and diversity (Nef has been a strong voice for trans representation in fashion,while Montero has been credited with bringing natural afro hair back to the catwalks and Arora has made waves as one of fashion’s only Indian models). The idea of ‘what makes a model’ is changing, and Jarlos aren’t the only LGBTQ models to being proud of their sexuality, no matter the potential consequences. Last year Cara Delevingne publicly offered support to National Coming Out Day, repping queer photo project Self Evident Truths with a statement t-shirt, saying “Don’t be scared to be who you are.” In March, Dazed cover girl Natalie Westling appeared in V Magazine in a lip lock with real-life girlfriend Carly Moore, no explanation needed.

When the reaction of both fashion fans and the general public to models’ statements of LGBTQ pride is overwhelmingly positive (Jarlos’s contract has generated an outpouring of support) there’s little reason for the industry to remain stuck in its homophobic ways. Jarlos are already seeing the positive effects of their actions. “The other day, this 19-year-old kid who's still in the closet told us that we were his first gay role models,” says Santolalla. “He found our Instagram by searching for ‘gay models’. That was pretty cool to hear, and it proves how important visibility is to bringing positive change.” Does the couple’s contract signify a tide change in the industry? “Hopefully,” says Santolalla, but “the idea that gay men aren't strong and powerful has to change in society's mind first.”


Emporio Armani to Launch Customized Vespa

All revved up: Emporio Armani  has teamed up with Italian two-wheeled motor-vehicles manufacturer Piaggio to launch the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani. The fashion label created a special version of the iconic scooter, which Piaggio introduced in 1946.

In keeping with the brand’s classic aesthetic with a contemporary twist, the new Vespa 946 Emporio Armani comes in a gray color palette with subdued hints of green, which are perceivable only under particular lighting conditions. The scooter is also finished with matte metallic details obtained through galvanic treatments, a brown leather seat, as well as high-tech electronic driving controls.


The name of the brand appears on the scooter’s side, while Emporio Armani’s iconic eagle logo is printed above its headlight. The Vespa 946 Emporio Armani, available as a limited edition, will be sold starting this month at retailers in major cities worldwide.

Donatella Versave Givenchy Campaign

Donatella Versave has addressed her decision to feature in an autumn/winter 2015 campaign for a fashion house other than her own. The Versace and Versus helmer was tapped by Riccardo Tisci for the new Givenchy campaign that was unveiled this week.


"I believe in breaking rules. Riccardo Tisci is extremely talented and above all my dear friend. We are family," she explained of her decision. "I want to get rid of the old system, work together, support each other and make fashion a true global community."

Her words echo the sentiment shared by many leading fashion designers, including Alber Elbaz, who told Suzt Menkes last month: "We are living in an industry that is always about the next thing: who is the next person? It should be more about collaborating, working together, taking the best of each world."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty Exhibition

On 14th March, the highly anticipated Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition arrived in London at theVictoria and Albert Museum. The remarkable exhibition is the only British retrospective of the groundbreaking designer, a man who skilfully influenced the discipline of tailoring while pushing the limits of art, fashion and technology to the delight of anyone interested in the world of fashion.


The show was first implemented by the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and since has been expanded and edited for its emotional London appearance. It features many rare pieces and examples of McQueen's work, with some lent by the likes of Katy England, House of Givenchy and the family of the late Isabella Blow.

Looking to capture the most memorable snapshots of his career, the exhibition is divided into sections that convey the essence of his remarkable catwalk shows over the years. The exhibition boasts more than 200 original items, charting McQueen's career from the early days (Highland Rape) to the height of his worldwide fame (VOSS). Utilising theatrical techniques, 3D holographic technology and film footage to complement the creations, this exhibition is fittingly ground breaking, flamboyant and inventive.


Lee (Alexander) McQueen’s voice lingers over the V&A’s Savage Beauty entrance like a haunting melody, his Cockney tones harking “I am going to take you on journeys you never knew were possible” he says, as exhibition goers stare in wonder at the dried flowers McQueen combined with ripped silk to create the iconic floral hooped gown that served as the highlight in his VOSS collection of 2007 “There is no way back for me now”.

It is this sense of journey, the notion that as you walk through its halls Savage Beauty is taking you on an exploration, that makes it unmissable. You see, first hand, the mind of an extraordinary creator

Highlights include the collection of overcoats and bumster trouser which populate the London addition to the exhibition. Therein lies pieces from the Highland Rape show donated to the V&A by Isabella Blow, to the fantastical Romantic Primitivism room which shows McQueen’s obsession with death explored through eaten-away silk gowns and decaying roses  next to the thick horsehair overcoats that featured in his Horn of Plenty collection of autumn/winter 2009.


The Cabinets of Curiosities is an area which brings together paraphernalia produced for McQueen by a host of his friends and collaborators and is among Savage Beauty’s most breathtaking. Combining horse bit mouth guards, refashioned for the designer by the jeweller Shaun Leane as well as gimp masks drafted in sumptuous leather and embellished with black pearls, the curiosities (curious in the darkest, most wonderful sense) bring with them endless opportunities to stop and stare. Their accompanying soundtrack is footage from McQueen’s most spectacular shows which play out on small TV screens (my personal favourite being the ´It´s Only A Game´ chessboard inspired runway show of 2005.


Set designs, revived for the V&A version of Savage Beauty by long-term McQueen collaborator Sam Gainsbury, allowed visitors the chance to experience the showmanship of McQueen first hand. A mirrored box, fashioned to reflect the glass box that served as catwalk during the 2001 VOSS show, showcases star pieces from the collection and at regular intervals, falls into complete darkness. As a result, the viewer finds himself starring into his own reflection – a clever trick McQueen himself would have delighted in.


Past the shock tactics and the ´gothic romantic´ themes, the intricate stitching work and McQueen’s unrivalled status as a master tailor can be marvelled at up close.The turkey feathers used by Phillip Treacy to create the spellbinding butterfly head dresses from the designer’s La Dame Bleue provide further moments of wonder in a hidden corner.


There is a real sense of sadness at work within this exhibition too as its creators, many of whom were once McQueen’s closest confidantes, seek to highlight the life of a talent which ended much too soon. Donations from stylist Katy England and milliner Treacy which appear throughout this show are a telling reminder that McQueen’s visions were always collaborative efforts.

For me, the highlight of the exhibition was the final room where the ethereal gown Kate Moss wore in Widows of Culloden (unveiled in 2006) had me gazing in awe as the holographic supermodel emerged from the darkness to dance before my eyes. The haunting theme from ´Schindler´s List´ ended the exhibition with a bitter sweet memory of Lee.


Savage Beauty is no regular fashion exhibition but a work of art which proves that fashion and art still continue to co-exist and compliment each other in every aspect of life, as we know it.

With special thanks to Sam Wilson at Alexander McQueen HQ London and Zoe Franklin, Senior Press Officer at the Victoria & Albert Museum London.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Nu Cosmetic Clinic: Anti-Ageing Procedures For Hands

Cosmetic surgery clinics have reported an 18 per cent increase in enquiries in the past 6 months of people having anti-ageing procedures on their hands.

The new cosmetic surgery trend, which sees women having dermal fillers and laser resurfacing to reduce the signs of ageing, has been dubbed the banishing of 'Madonna Mitts' after popstar Madonna, 55, who has 'anti-aged' almost every part of her body but often resorts to fingerless gloves to cover her hands.

As the years pass, skin on the hands thins, causing veins to become more prominent and liver spots to appear. While make-up can disguise tell-tale signs of ageing on the face, it's more difficult with hands, which is why it's often said that hands are the best indicator of age. As our hands are exposed to the sun more frequently than other parts of the body and a failure to apply sun cream to hands as regularly as we do the face makes them susceptible to sunspots and accelerated aging.

Before
After
Hand rejuvenation is becoming increasingly popular, with dermal fillers volumising and smoothing the skin, encouraging the production of collagen to provide a youthful look. Laser resurfacing of the hands is also on the rise thanks to its ability to improve sun-damaged skin and reduce the appearance of sunspots.

Nu Cosmetic clinic offer a treatment to rejuvenate the hands and have seen a surge in enquiries.

Their procedure takes fat from one part of the patient's body and injects it into the hands. It is done while the patient is awake and is designed to give long term rejuvenation benefits to the hands. While make-up can disguise tell-tale signs of ageing on the face, it's more difficult with hands - which is why it's often said that hands are the best indicator of age

'Your hands are a difficult part of your body, there's not a lot you can do with them to help reduce the ageing process as they're always exposed´ Nu Cosmetic clinic specialist plastic surgeon Mr Borghini quoted.

The procedure- where filler is injected into the skin- takes around 30 minutes to be completed and claims to give instant results. 'It is common for women, as they grow older, to lose weight in their hands, which means that veins and wrinkles can become more evident. Prolonged exposure to the sun will also speed up the ageing process.

Treatment
And while treatments like laser resurfacing to target the signs of ageing, or traditional fillers to make the hands appear fuller and healthier, can offer effective results, these can really only ever offer a temporary solution. A more long terms solution is fat transfer, a technique which is fast becoming one of the most popular for hand rejuvenation purposes. The procedure uses advanced technology to produce a pure and effective fat graft, which means that fat can safely be taken from one area of the patient’s body, such as their thighs or stomach, and injected into the hands.

The fact that the procedure is minimally invasive is also an important factor. Many patients have careers which do not allow for them to be away from work for long periods of time. Fat transfer is a walk-in, walk-out procedure and one which is performed under local anaesthetic, so patients can undergo treatment without too much disruption to their lives.

It is expected to see procedures such as this continue to grow in popularity, as women decide to invest further in different aspects of their appearance, later into life.

Nu Cosmetic Clinic: Buttock Implants

In order to achieve a curvier derriere, many individuals choose to undergo buttock implant surgery. Nu Cosmetic clinic performs this body contouring procedure within their professional and well-established practices. I recently spoke with  Mr Gabriele Borghini, specialist plastic surgeon with the group who advised me of the fundamentals of  the buttock augmentation procedure.

Implants are often used in plastic surgery to reshape and augment body parts like the female breast and the calf. Likewise, gluteal implants can improve the shape of patients’ buttocks. Not only do you look better, you’ll have more self-confidence and be more approachable, thanks to your shapely new figure.

The most popular question is if an implant can leak. Breast implants which are filled with saline or silicone can leak, but the implants used to augment and shape the buttocks are made of solid silicone which cannot break or leak any fluid into your body.

Patients are also quick to ask what the implant feels like after healing. The augmented rear end has a firm but natural feel, about like the feel of a person has who been working out with weights or exercising hard for many years. Moreover, you actually do not sit on the implant because it is placed somewhat higher than the bones on which you actually sit.


When undergoing butt augmentation with implants, patients will be presented with a variety of options. Some of these include shape (round and oval); filling (cohesive silicone or solid silicone); and surface (type, smooth or textured). The norm is to use the smooth, round, solid silicone butt implants. Another important factor to consider is incision location. The three locations include: toward the top on both sides of the upper buttock; toward the bottom in both of the gluteal creases, where your “cheeks” meets the top of the thighs; and down the center of the sacrum, which is a vertical incision down the buttocks crease.

There are other variables, such as size, shape, and skin quality, that need to be considered before making any determinations about which butt augmentation procedure is best for you. If you are thin and wear a size two to four dress, you may not have enough bodily fat to spare for the fat transfer butt enhancement method; therefore, in order to create a new, curvier rear, you would have to receive butt implants.

When evaluating the shape of the buttock, we divide its anatomy into three sections; the upper buttock, the mid-buttock and the lower buttock. Each area needs to be evaluated and addressed separately to provide the best gluteal harmony.


When a gluteal enhancement is done, the implant is mainly augmenting the upper buttock and the upper portion of the mid buttock. It will not fill out the other areas. In the majority of patients, a careful analysis of the middle and lower buttock needs to be made. Complementary procedures may be required in order to improve the overall shape.

Surgery Options

Although the buttock implant operation is fairly straightforward, there are many technical aspects to the procedure that may be done differently depending on the surgeon’s training, experience, and philosophy. This type of operation involves placing an implant that is made of silicone (either cohesive silicone gel or solid silicone) in the buttocks to improve size, shape, and contour.

An experienced surgeon will know how to place implants through a single, well-hidden incision that, when healed, nobody will ever see with the single exception of your proctologist. In most cases, the implant is placed under the layers of buttock muscle and fat so it’s there to stay. Plus, there’s no danger of breaking and leaking because the implants are made of semi-solid silicone. After all, you sit on not the implants, but on the bones designed to support your weight. The actual implants are placed up higher in the buttocks.

Virtually all buttock implant patients say the new, curvy rear, along with its “wow” factor is worth it. Once healed, buttock implant patients love filling out new styles and really love filling out a bathing suit. Plus, you’ll have more self-confidence and be more approachable, thanks to your shapely new figure.

5 Butt Implant Options;

To understand your options and the operation, here is what you should know:

Implant Selection: The implant is either round or oval, the so-called “anatomic” implant. Like breast implants, the implant comes with either a smooth or a textured surface. Neither the shape nor the surface texture of the implant makes much of a difference in the outcome. The content inside the implant can be either solid silicone or cohesive silicone gel, with the solid silicone the most commonly used. The solid implant is excellent since it cannot rupture, spill, or deflate. It is normal to use the smooth, round implant. The decision regarding which type of implant will be used is heavily influenced by your surgeon’s preference and philosophy. The augmented buttock has a natural feel and can be somewhat firm to the touch. It basically just feels like you have been working out for a long time.

Incision Location: Once you and the surgeon have decided on the implant, the next task is to decide on the type of incision. The buttock implant incision can be placed in several locations:

Toward the top on both sides of the upper buttock. Although the scars can be hidden in your undergarment or bikini, it is not recommended since the scar can be quite visible when you are nude. Moreover, two incisions are required. Or,
Toward the bottom in both of the gluteal creases, the areas where your “cheeks” meets the top of the thighs. That choice will leave you with two scars that also can be quite visible. Or finally,

One incision, which is placed down the center of the sacrum. That’s a small 4 to 6 cm (about ¼ inch) vertical incision down the buttocks crease. This is believed to be the best location because it is extremely well-hidden and not even your closest friend can find it. (He or she won’t want to be looking in that area). Furthermore, the sacrum approach only involves one scar. The only drawback is it may have a higher infection rate than the other incisions due to its location close to the anus. However, an infection is usually cured with antibiotics and wound care.

Above or below the muscle: Once we know the type of incision, the next step is to decide on the placement of the buttock implant.This again will heavily depend on your surgeon’s preference; many nice results have been attained with either position. What it really depends on is the person’s anatomy. Surgeons have seen many implants that were placed above the muscle and later looked like a sack of potatoes. That may take place in patients who have a very droopy buttock or poor skin tone. It is preferred to place the implant within the muscle. That accomplishes several things:

First, it gives the implant more support and prevents it from moving too far down the buttock.

Secondly, it gives an extra layer of coverage so the implant feels more natural to the touch and has a nicer shape.

Finally, the added tissue coverage protects the implant from infection. If the implant were placed above the muscle and the wound became infected, more than likely so will the implant. In this scenario, the implant would have to be removed and left out for three months before inserting it again. Of course, every surgeon has his or her own philosophy and preference.

To liposuction or not to liposuction: The final decision will be whether or not liposuction should be combined with the implant procedure to add further contour to the buttocks.Most of the patients who were have the operation have flat buttocks, but some also have a role of excess fat in the upper-outer part of the buttock. This can look flat from the side but wide and flat from the back. 

The Operation Itself: Buttock augmentation is an outpatient procedure that takes about an hour to perform. If liposuction is being done, then it may take an additional half hour.You must be placed face down for the operation. A 5 to 6 cm (about ¼ inch) vertical incision is made in the well-hidden buttock center crease, the sacrum. The dissection continues on either side of the sacrum until the buttock muscle is reached. At this point, the muscle is incised and with careful dissection, a pocket is created for the implant within the muscle. Surprisingly, there is very little bleeding. The implants are inserted into the newly created pockets and the muscle closed over the implants. The midline incision is then closed in layers. If liposuction is going to be done, it is performed through separate incisions.


Your New Look

After your butt implant procedure, you will need to wear a support garment for approximately two to three weeks. This will help the skin redrape properly and provide support to the augmented buttocks. Final results are noticeable three months after surgery. At this point, most of the swelling will be gone and the implants will be settled in their normal position.

At first, you will notice a definite difference in the gluteus contour, but because you are swollen, the buttock will appear very full, and will have a boxy appearance. You may also notice the implants sit quite high on the buttock. It will take at least three months for all the swelling to go down and for the implants to settle into their normal position. You may experience occasional temperature changes and numbness over the buttocks. But that will also improve over the next three months. You may feel a little timid and scared when sitting down, but remember the implant is much higher on the buttock than where you normally sit, so don’t worry!