Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Brides In Japan Are Turning Their Traditional Kimonos Into Extraordinary Wedding Dresses

It's not uncommon for modern Japanese weddings to combine Shinto wedding traditions with various elements of Western nuptials. Traditionally a Japanese bride would wear a furisode long-sleeve Kimono, but some brides are modifying their garments to add their own unique spin on the traditional Western wedding dress. 

By folding the sleeves down and tying them into a decorative bow at the back, their Kimonos are suddenly turned into elegant strapless dresses. The best part is that because the alterations are all superficial, the wedding dress can easily be turned back into a Kimono. So instead of having a wedding dress that you wear once and then leave in the closet to collect dust forever, why not try something different?

Montreal’s Hit Mugler Exhibition Is Heading To Paris

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is to host the hit “Thierry Mugler: Couturissime” exhibition that wound up its six-month run at Montreal’s Museum of Fine Arts last September. The display, to open on October 22nd - groups some 150 garments made between 1977 and 2014, most never exhibited before, as well as a wealth of unpublished archival documents and sketches.

The retrospective, on the founder who now calls himself Manfred, explores his role as a couturier, director, photographer and perfumer. The show was initiated by curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot at a time when French fashion designers from the Eighties are very much in the headlines. On Wednesday night, Mugler’s contemporary Jean Paul Gaultier is to stage his last couture show after 50 years in fashion, as reported. In tandem with the Mugler expo, the Arts Décoratifs plan to mount a companion exhibition on the Eighties, spanning graphic design, advertising and fashion.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

5 Things To Know About Chanel’s SS20 Cistercian-Flavoured Couture Show

Later in life, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel never referred to Aubazine, the austere Cistercian abbey where she grew up, as an “orphanage”. Instead, she called the Catholic nuns who raised her “aunts”, whom she recalled as “good people, but absolutely without tenderness”. While it was an unhappy childhood, she appeared to have soaked up the stark simplicity: whitewashed walls with black doors, white shirts and black skirts. That simplicity came to define the haute couture spring/summer 2020 collection, designed by Virginie Viard, and informed by a visit the designer had paid to the medieval abbey. Here, everything you need to know about the latest Chanel show.

Pastoral Matters

Under the dome at the Grand Palais, Virginie Viard recreated the cloister garden at the Abbey of Aubazine, the orphanage where at age 11 Gabrielle Chanel was deposited by her father, with her two sisters. Chanel spent seven years of her life with the nuns, wearing white blouses and black skirts. Upon her visit, Viard fell in love with the rustic, unkempt charm of the walled garden and felt compelled to reimagine the scene, complete with red-brick paving, a water fountain and a clothes lines pegged with vintage white linen tablecloths – inspired by the sewing the orphans undertook every evening. “What I immediately liked was that the cloister garden was uncultivated. It was really sunny. The place made me think of the summer, a breeze fragranced with flowers,” she said. “What interested me in this decor was the paradox between the sophistication of Haute Couture and the simplicity of this place.”

The Monochrome Set

Life at the abbey no doubt shaped a young Gabrielle Chanel’s tastes – the stark black skirts and white wimples of the sisters walking through the courtyard likely informed her elegantly austere palette. The collection was almost entirely monochrome, with the odd soft pastel exception, from houndstooth skirt suits and streamlined dress coats to bouclé ivory and sequined gowns. All looks were accessorised with white opaque tights layered with folded white ankle socks, intended to evoke the naive look of pupils. “I liked this idea of the boarder, of the schoolgirl, the outfits worn by children long ago,” said Viard, who also slipped flat pleated skirts, white smocks and bibbed or Peter Pan collars into silhouettes.

Wimple Street

The nun’s wimple headdress and habit informed necklines and collars throughout the collection. From white swooping panels atop ankle-length evening gowns, to dramatic flared collars on suiting and delicate tulle layers nestling on top of sequined strapless dresses, this was a smörgåsbord of neck adornments that suggested old-world romance.

Forget-me-not Fancies

The stained glass windows and paving stones from the abbey formed the starting point for embroideries, the geometric loops in the windows suggesting interlocking Cs. So too, the garden’s flowers – from pastel-hued pansies to herbs from the kitchen garden. Needlework was an essential skill for the orphans: they sewed hems on sheets for their trousseaux. Such a history of craftsmanship was hinted at here, though elevated to exquisite heights by the Chanel petites mains.

And The Bride Wore...

A belted, knee-length, crêpe-georgette button-down with pin-tuck pleats, crystal buttons and a triple Peter Pan collar in tulle, complete with a veil embroidered with branches of wisteria comprised the final bridal look. Those white tights and ankle socks also featured too. Viard cited the hemline as pure modernity.

Kim Jones Pays Tribute To Judy Blame, The “Unsung Hero Of British Fashion”

Since the start of his uprising in menswear, Kim Jones has paid open homage to the influence of his elder statesman in London counterculture. Today’s Dior AW20 menswear show – a pertinent tribute to the stylist, jeweller, art director and visual iconoclast, Judy Blame – was preceded by a deft twist on the Dior logo, with a safety pin added to the ‘O’ of the house insignia. In an accompanying video, Jones referred to Blame as the "unsung hero" of British fashion. The recognition of the Dior show will surely upend a further layer of Blame’s peerlessly cult status.

Rewind to the evening of 11 March, 2019, when London’s fashion demi-monde descended on Union Chapel, Islington to celebrate Blame’s life. The evening crystalised into a perfect kiss goodnight to a momentous talent. Judy Blame’s honorary eulogy was discreetly funded by Jones, reflecting the inspiration, mentorship and loyal friendship that they both shared.

In fact, Jones and Blame's shared interest was vast, extending beyond clothing and accessories into nightlife, art and the environment. The central tenet of Jones’s work – that there exists no distinction between the street and runway in fashion, only a shared, cross-class division based on taste – is divined straight from Blame’s unwritten fashion creed. Blame’s playbook always prized meaning above money. His work was tirelessly driven by ideas. He wove AIDS and ecology seamlessly into editorial during the incendiary work he styled for titles such as The Face and i-D in the 1980s. The Dior AW20 collection will form part of an ongoing latticework of projects – including a forthcoming book – to help protect and prioritise the legacy of the house of Judy Blame.

Blame died on Monday 19 February, 2018, aged 58. Although his passing felt premature, he managed to cram an awful lot of living into those years. He was born Chris Barnes in Surrey and soon moved to an ex-pat community in Madrid, when his father’s work positioned the family in Spain. His artful instinct was ignited while truanting from school and spending endless hours lost in the Museo Nacional del Prado, instructing himself on the rudiments of taste, which developed young and certain.

He arrived back in Britain as a 16-year-old during Punk’s annus mirabilis; a time which he held close throughout his life. In the last Stoke Newington flat Blame lived in – for which he paid three years’ rent in advance, thanks to a previous Kim Jones collaboration (then at Louis Vuitton) – an original poster from a frenetic The Pop Group gig was given pride of place above the living room fire. It bore the legend: “We are all prostitutes.”

Relocating to London as a teenager, taking a job in the cloakroom at the blossoming Charing Cross gay club, Heaven, Chris Barnes was renamed Judy – in honour of Garland – by the glam-rock couturier Antony Price; and Blame, for giving back whichever coat best suited the patron, not necessarily the one they came in with. Blame’s creative hand was already hard at work, too – making his editorial debut in Tatler at the age of just 21, as a young jeweller and designer to watch.

Blame played as hard as he worked. He built a network through pivotal 1980s nightclubs, which bounced to the reverberating fashion beats of New Romanticism, before shifting to the line-in-the-sand moment of Buffalo, rounding off the decade with the utopian mania of Acid House. He absorbed it all, fashioning imagery that reflected the exact mood with a lightness of touch and necessity of purpose, every bit as vigorous and invested as the art he’d absorbed at the Prado.As a stylist, Blame’s CV is littered with iconic moments.

He chose the gold lamé suit Martin Fry wore in ABC’s The Look Of Love video, reshaping the Sheffield romantics as a Soul Train review band. Fry repaid the compliment three years later by dedicating an ABC B-side Judy’s Jewels to him. Blame introduced Björk to Martin Margiela, Juergen Teller and his favourite make-up artist, Topolino. Together, they fashioned the cover for her iconic first solo record, Debut. Blame lent Kylie Minogue a countercultural edge, as she moved subtly away from Pete Waterman’s PWL Hit Factory; and he reimagined Boy George for his Pearly Queen years. As an art director for Massive Attack he took no credit. He’s rumoured to have spent the entire budget for Duran Duran’s Wild Boys video, for whom he was styling the extras, on street amphetamines.

It was with his great muse, Neneh Cherry, that Blame became heroic. Cherry was less a client, more a long-lost sister figure for Blame. They took the entire Buffalo subculture and sold it to the world via MTV on the back of Cherry’s 1989 hit Buffalo Stance. His effortless subversion of sportswear, knock-off jewellery, hand-crafted pieces and the raw sexuality of the designs of his forever favourite Azzedine Alaïa have become a cornerstone of womenswear that endures today.

Editorial god, styling guru, pop savant, craftsman, gossip and original punk rocker, Blame was as loved in life as he was in fashion. Tears were shed and laughter prevailed at the Union Chapel event; and there was one shared memory on which everyone agreed. That truly, he was one of the giants of fashion history as it raced into the 21st century. At Dior today, Kim Jones has ensured a new testament for Judy Blame’s litany begins.

Edward Enninful Joins A Judging Panel Of Industry Leaders For The International Woolmark Prize

Now in its eighth year, the International Woolmark Prize has helped shape the careers of fashion’s finest across the globe. Judges have included acclaimed industry commentators, models and designers, and previous winners have included none other than Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, who both won in 1954, the year after the prize was established (Saint Laurent was awarded the top prize for dress design; Lagerfeld for coats).

For 2020, it has been revealed that there will be a new award: the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation, to honour the renowned designer and prize alumnus following his death nearly a year ago. It will be awarded to a finalist who “showcases outstanding creativity and innovation” and will be presented by the editor-in-chief of CR Fashion Book, Carine Roitfeld.

The prize is awarded to outstanding designers in the industry who showcase the “beauty and versatility of Merino wool”. This year, after choosing from over 300 applicants across 47 countries, 10 finalists were decided upon. The British label headed by Samuel Ross, A Cold Wall, is in the running, in addition to the flares-obsessed Irish designer, Richard Malone. Each finalist was awarded £47,000 (AU$70,000) following the announcement in October 2019 and have been creating collections before the awards ceremony at London Fashion Week on 17 February, where an overall winner will receive £105,000 (AU$200,000) and a second designer will receive £53,000 (AU$100,000) for the inaugural Karl Lagerfeld Award For Innovation.

Judges on this year’s panel include Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue, Edward Enninful who commented: “I am delighted to be joining this year’s judging panel for the Woolmark Prize,” adding, “supporting young designers is something close to my heart and I think it’s important that the prize both acknowledges credible new talent and champions the wool industry.” Enninful will be joined by other industry greats including the designer Kim Jones, the journalist Tim Blanks, the model Anja Rubik, the journalist Hamish Bowles and the British Vogue cover star and academic, Sinéad Burke.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee is celebrated for his distinctly modern take on traditional Indian clothing. Born to a middle class Bengali family in Kolkata, Mukherjee initially planned for a career in medicine, but was drawn to the National Institute of Fashion Technology, which he attended.

After graduating in 1999, with three major distinctions, Mukherjee opened his workshop with a workforce of just three people. From there, he debuted at India Fashion Week in 2002, earning praise for his work from Women’s Wear Daily, who proclaimed him the future of Indian fashion. Subsequently, he won several design awards from the Mercedez-Benz New Asia fashion week and Lakmé Fashion Week, which gave him time to work alongside the studios of Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris. He was then stocked at influential London boutique Browns and given the distinction of being the first Indian designer to show at Milan Fashion Week.

In the years since, he has parlayed feminine, decorative and balanced designs into a self-made apparel company with a lucrative bridal business, as well as important Bollywood costume projects. Using indigenous crafts of dying and weaving fabric, incorporated with modern silhouettes, he has spearheaded a push by Indian designers into the broader international fashion market.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Lululemon’s Roksanda Collaboration Marries Function & Fashion

It’s pretty hard to believe that Roksanda x Lululemon is the first ever designer collaboration in the Canadian activewear giant’s 22-year history. Now on its second drop, the carefully curated 17-piece sophomore collection follows a sell-out first. Designed for “urban nomads”, classic Lululemon pieces have been given the Roksanda Ilinčić treatment with billowing sleeves and her signature colour juxtapositions. The results are elegant and refined; a far cry from flashy neon gymwear – or the all-black uniform seen in so many of London’s fitness studios. And alongside Lululemon’s usual bras, leggings and jackets sit a mustard yellow cape and technical satin skirt – albeit one with a reflective cord that doubles as a locker strap. “Everything we did had to have a certain purpose,” says Ilinčić. “It was a new way of working for me.” In short, this could be the future of activewear for the fashion-conscious woman.

Arriving as it has in mid-January, you would be forgiven for an eye-roll at yet another activewear collection, but athleisure-fatigue is something the designer has also taken into account. “The market is oversaturated, and we really need to offer something special,” she explains. “It can’t just be about function or beauty anymore. Women are demanding both, and want to connect emotionally with the garments they buy. Garments need to speak to who a woman is now. The experience you get when wearing a garment is essential now.”

For Ilinčić, the collaboration was an immediate yes. The result of many conversations between herself and Audrey Reilly, senior vice president of women’s design at Lululemon, technical fabrics and functional details meet high fashion with seamless results. It brings together iconic pieces from Lululemon and iconic elements from the Roksanda main line DNA, like colour blocking and voluminous shapes,” explains the designer. Reilly agrees. “Colour was a way into both our worlds,” she adds.

Where the partnership’s first collection was built around a palette of icy lilacs and mustard, the second drop is warmer, calmer and somehow even more refined. It goes without saying that colour comes naturally to Ilinčić. “I feel so confident with colour. I do it really instinctively. I choose colours with conviction and with belief, and I think you can feel that. I always try to surprise people with my colour combinations. They always have to be beautiful and evoke certain feelings and emotions, but always have an element of surprise. In this second drop there are some very tranquil colour combinations, like mustard and mulled wine, but then there’s a shot of green, something that’s completely unexpected. Sometimes I look at art books or nature, but most of the time I just follow my heart.”

Ilinčić's favourite piece? The sweeping Face Forward Cape, which comes in both black and mustard, a follow up to the £898 Infinity Coat from the first collection. According to the Lululemon website, it’s “designed for the office commute”, but she disagrees: “It looks as good with a couture dress as it does in the rain when you take the dog for a walk. It ticks all the boxes.”

Above all, the collection is a sign of women, quite rightly, asking for more from their clothing. “Performance is non-negotiable in all our designs,” explains Reilly. “Our base fabrics are built around touch, temperature and movement, and the next to skin cut and second-skin sensation and durability is critical, too – you should be able to keep a pair of our leggings for two years.” But, no longer do these hard-wearing properties come at a cost, aesthetically. “It’s designed for a woman of our times,” says Ilinčić. “Her life is busy, intricate, involved and has so many cultural facets. But above all she’s short on the luxury of time, and wants garments that will work for the whole day.”