April 29, 2010

The Power of Print

Looking at textile prints I came across again Alexander McQueen's Spring 2010 collection. The look for my up coming collection is clean, simplistic tailoring, inspired by couture of the 1950s, utilising structured and built up trapeze and hour glass silhouettes. 
I wanted to explore using a range of high energy intense prints to really bring the designs to life. I think this collection is a really fantastic example of the power of print in a collection, and what a bold edge it can give designs. 
Image credit- style.com

April 28, 2010

Pat mcgrath- makeup magic

Pat Mcgrath an innovator in make up artistry.
I'm a particular fan of her partnerships with Galliano for the Dior Couture shows, the exquisite makeup, individually crafted to offset each fanciful design- ohh the grandeur of high fashion!
I think my favourite example would be the Dior 2007 Autumn/Winter Couture show.

Image credit- make up pics,
2007 Fall Dior Couture show pics- style.com

April 25, 2010

African Wax Prints

A part of West and Central African Culture, African wax prints are created by two, deeply engraved rollers with a mirror image of the pattern on each. The rollers imprint the design with hot wax onto either side of the cotton fabric, so it has two right sides. The fabric is then immersed in a dye bath were they dye ( usually indigo) penetrates the areas not covered in wax, creating an intricate pattern. 
Companies such as VLISC, operating out of Holland add to the traditional African wax print by adding colours and patterns to the base designs.
A Dutch wax cover, is a wax print were one or more coloured patterns is added , they can be of varying designs and 'cover'  though not completely, the wax print.
A Dutch wax block print includes one or more colours that are fitted into the design , regarding the outlines of the original wax print and adding to the image. 
A Dutch super wax print is the high quality wax print and uses a densely woven cotton. Specific designs are used for this product range, it features 3 colours that are added, two of them feature a natural crackling affect, revealing the wax print underneath, and the third a solid colour. 

April 20, 2010

Amazing Haute Couture- Dior, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Givenchy

Amazing Haute Couture
The metropolitan Museum of Art New York held an exhibition from December 1995- March 1996, entitled Haute Couture, showcasing the finest creations from the most famous of designers, these are just a few of the pieces that were on show.
Givenchy (left) 
1966 evening dress, Ostrich feathers on dark brown silk broadcloth.
Balenciaga (right)
1965 evening gown, Ostrich feathers on light pink dotted tulle. 
These ostrich feathers have been shaved off, stripped and dyed, then placed one by one to the backing fabric. Carefully arranged they are sewn down upward, against the grain so they stand up and out. 
Such as technical and time consuming technique of construction,so typical of haute couture, but the result a truly layered and complex garment, that looks unlike anything else.

1960's evening gown, silk and net embroidered with crystals and feathers. The individual Ostrich filaments and feathers have been sewn down one by one to create a tier over the waist, combined with hand sewn couched silver and crystal embroidery, ever so elegant.
Yves Saint Laurent
1969-70 evening dress.
Beige silk organza backing fabric, features singularly hand sewn Bird of Paradise feathers, attached one by one. Have you ever seen a dress anything like it, totally unique and original- jaw dropping design.

1991 evening coat, white and black Ostrich feathers and Mongolian goat hair intricately placed to create volume, rhythm and movement. 

Koda. H, Martin. R, 1995, Haute Couture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

(released in conjunction with the exhibtion)

April 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

It seems as though the world has had 'Alice Fever' since the release of Tim Burtons Alice in Wonderland in Early March. Stella Mcartney did an Alice necklace and bracelet, costume jeweller Tom Binns collaborated with Disney Couture for an Alice inspired line, even OPI jumped on the bandwagon with a limited edition of Alice nail polish colours. So here i go, one of my all time favourite Fashion editorials, an oldy by a good. Shot by Annie Leibovitz for American Vogue 2003, with model Natalia Vodianova. 
Each shot features Vodianova in a stunning Alice blue designer gown, along with it's creator, shot in a scene inspired by that of the movie, complete with a quote. 
A collaboration of masters in fashion, film, media, photography and modeling- this shoot was always going to be amazing, I find it immensely creatively inspiring.

Tom Ford
Nicholas Ghesquiere
John Galliano
Olivier Theyskens
Marc Jacobs
Karl Largerfeld
John Paul Guiltier
Viktor & Rolf
Cristian Lacroix
Donatella Versace
Image Credit-TrendLand

Leona Edmiston Winter 2010 Launch

Leona Edminston launched her Winter 2010 collection this morning at the Quay Restaurant in the Overseas Passenger Terminal down at Circular Quay in Sydney. Seventeen days before the creme de le creme of Australian fashion hit the catwalks in the same location at Rosemount Australia Fashion Week, Edmiston has decided that a sedately sit down lunch in which the models strutted their stuff amongst the audience as they devoured a delightful lunch & sipped on champagne, was more in line with her brand story. Though nothing gets my adrenaline pumping and creative juices (excuse the pun) flowing like a high energy catwalk,  I adore the idea of quaint little sit down lunch, how refined and sophisticated, not to mention how personal. I think this was the perfect way to showcase Edmiston's quirky yet feminine designs.
Image Credit- Fashion review 

Mint Condition- Vintage hot spot

A lover of vintage clothes Mint Condition would  surely feature in my utopia. Quint little shops in Rozelle & Mona Vale the genuine vintage articles from dresses and jackets to bags, belts, shoes and buttons are sourced by owner Wendy Doughty during her buying trips to New York. You'll find everything from smart casual wear, to party hearty jaw dropping dresses, old favourites or the perfect outfit for that 50's soiree.  Best of all these items are in fantastic condition, clean, and fantastically priced, you are sure to find a bargain!! There's a couch for the grumbling boyfriend, and helpful non-pushy staff who are more than happy to leave you browse the racks. A vintage shoppers delight, if it's clothes of a time gone by your after, Mint Condition should surely be your first stop.

134 Victoria rd, Rozelle 2039, Sydney NSW
Shop 3, 8-18 Waratah st Mona Vale 2013, Sydney NSW

April 14, 2010

Mexico City Mercerdes Benz Fashion Week

Earlier this week Mexico's finest in Fashion hit the runway, Gianfranco Reni was talk of the town when he unveiled his jewel encrusted gas masks.
Other looks included heavily embellished dresses, tassels, feathers galor,and applique. It was was a quirky high impact collection,  proving less is not always more.

April 11, 2010

Coco Chanel

"A Girl should be two things: classy and fabulous" 
Coco Chanel 
To me Gabrielle Chanel emitomises high fashion, so talented, a pioneer, her work was beautiful simplicity at its best.

Rene Gruau

Fashion illustrator Rene Gruau, an amazingly talented illustrator he was the man behind the 1947 Miss Dior campaign(above), and worked with numerous other fashion houses including Balmain, Fath, Balenciaga, Givenchy and Rochas. He also illustrated at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
I find his images really evocative of high fashion, they're edgy and high impact whilst being simplistic, with great use of colour.

Images- Rene Gruau 

Real men wear paisley

A 1960s suit from renowned tailors Cifonelli, this suit was created from the reverse of a 19th century paisley shawl. Masterful creation you can see how the pattern matches up perfectly at the centre front opening so that's it's barely visible. Too the pattern carries over from the collar across the chest of the bodice, even the piping on the welt pockets is lined up perfectly.
Such attention to detail, so precise, it really makes for a beautiful suit as the eye is carried fluidly through out the single breasted jacket and high waisted pants.
Owned by the metropolitan museum of art.
Image- Steele. V, 1997, Fifty Years Of Fashion, Yale university Press, New Have, p. 56.

April 10, 2010

Balenciaga AW 06/07

This was Nicolas Gresquiere's 3rd collection at Balenciaga and my all time favourite! I felt it really echoed the couture of Cristobel Balenciaga, yet maintained a modern edgy vibe.
The fabrications used for the collection were inspired by those Balenciaga used in the 1960s. They were especially re-created for the collection, and included wool boucle tweeds. I think they create the real air of elegance the collection evokes.
The tailoring and structure in this collection leaves me in awe, beautiful strong silhouettes,sleek clean designs. I also adore the used of colour, blacks whites and neutrals interjected with bold pinks and mustards.
Images- vogue.com

Searching for inspiration to create African Safari prints for my up coming collection, I came across these in a book that looks at couture textiles of the 1950’s. Here are just a few of my favourites, I adore the use of neutral earthy tones, rhythm and movement!


All these prints are from the book- Shih. J, 1997, Couture Fabrics of the 50's, Schiffer Publishing, Atglen.

If you are creating prints and are after inspiration this is a really great book, it has a variety of samples from flowers to geometrics, and also is fantastic if you're looking at colour schemes.

April 6, 2010

Galliano for Dior, every year I wait with baited breath for the latest of his fanciful creations; this years S/S 2010 haute couture collection inspired by all things equestrian, was as everyone one before, a theatrical exstravaganza.

Taking a keen interest in haute couture, and particularly of late as part of a research project the 1950’s era, I couldn’t help but notice how Galliano’s latest creations echoed the essence of Dior’s couture through out the late 1940’s/1950’s.  

Image credit- 2010- vogue.com, 1940/50's De Rethy. E, Perreau. J, 1999, Christian Dior; The Early Years, Thames & Hudson, London

Richard gray- artist

This is a birthday card my friend gave me a few years ago that I came across the other day. I love the richness and intensity of the colours; its such a fun and theatrical painting.

It’s a 2002 image for Christian Lacroix Couture, done with gouache, by Artist Richard Gray. Gray studied fashion at Middlesex University in 1990 and has collaborated with designers including Alexander Mcqueen, Agent provocateur and Givenchy. His work has been widely published in magazines, books and he has been a part of solo and group exhibitions.

His work is really edgy, and vibrant with an almost comical twist. Great inspiration for colour schemes or illustrations, I’d defiantly check Richard Gray out!! Here's a little taste of his work..

Image credit- http://www.art-dept.com/illustration/gray/