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  • 05/03/13--14:32: Tim & Tilda's dreamscapes

  • One of high-octane duos of fashion editorials strikes again:
    world famous photographer Tim Walker teamed up with
    androgynous style icon, Anglo-Scott actress Tilda Swinton
    in a staggering editorial for the May issue of W magazine
    where W smartly stands for the magazine bringing ”the Who,
    What, Where, When and Why in the World of fashion”.

    Walker is one of the most visually influencing fashion
    photographer whose fascination with photography began
    in Condé Nast's very own library in London where he
    worked on Cecil Beaton archives as part of a yearlong
    work experience. After graduating, he worked as a
    full-time assistant to Richard Avedon in NYC before
    coming back to London where he shot his first fashion
    story for Vogue developing a charming, magical
    aesthetic that led him to realize his first 
    short movie 'The Lost Explorer'.

    Tilda keeps on her ”dance with fashion” in the co-signed
    surreal fantasy called ”Stranger than Paradise” in which
    gorgeously constructed images make reference to the
    inestimable art collection of British poet Edward William
    Frank James who's known for his early patronage of the
    surrealist movement (he supported Salvador Dalì and
    René Magritte who took two different portraits of him).

    Tim & Tilda created a phantasmagoria of beauty and
    style mentioning to some of Edward James' protégés,
    surrealist masters such as Dalì, Giorgio De Chirico,
    Remedios Varo, Man Ray and Leonora Carrington
    (see also 'tribute to the last surrealist' about her).
    ”The beauty of surrealism is in original gestures, unique
     juxtapositions and an unchecked flight of fancy” Swinton
    declares about the otherworldly pictures creating 
    an enigmatic sense of transport and vertigo.

    Tim Walker works with London-based, Danish born
    stylist Jacob Kjeldgaard on a regular basis for 'W'
    dressing Tilda with garments (just scroll the selected
    pics in vertical order) by Vera Wang, Francesco
    Scognamiglio, Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci, Acne
    Studios, Rick Owens, Maison Martin Margiela and
    Haider Ackermann. She expertly interprets clothes
    and moods for her part transmuted into different
    mystical creatures strongly evoking the magical
    realism of surrealistic paintings.

    ”Ceci n'est pas une moustache” Tilda wrote about
    the image in which four centipedes crawled up her
    face for hours before they took their meaningful
    positions of eyebrows and moustaches letting us
    imagine how hard teamwork lies behind a 
    fantastic fashion story. 

    > all images © W Magazine/Tim Walker, styled by Jacob K <

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  • 05/05/13--14:04: simplicity as a virtue

  • Broadly experienced British designer Margaret Howell
    knows what women want: she started making men's
    shirts to her own designs back in 1972 opening her
    namesake wholly-owned first shop in 1980 when she
    began to develop womenswear, too. ”I find men's
    clothes interesting in their stucture, feel and functionality.
    I started by designing men's clothes, and then found
    that women wanted them” she cannily declares.

    Margaret debuted at London fashion week in 1995
    establishing year after year her label's reputation:
    Margaret Howell has five outlets in the UK, eighty
    in Japan as well as a shop in Paris, employing 350
    people worldwide thanks to her simple vision which
    is strongly inspired by menswear. ”I've always
    wanted clothes to be the way I drew them, 
    relaxed and lived in, a natural look.”

    1 > 3 campaign images © by Koto Bolofo, styled by Margaret Howell
    You may think her style is too basic yet each single
    garment is accurately done: bearing the subdued
    mannish flavor I'd like to wear by myself, her clothes
    ”are meant to be worn in the real world, where good 
    design is about living with thoughtful style” she says
    and I fully agree with her sense of authenticity.
    A 'true to life' selection of fabrics and comfortable
    shapes mark a style that's neither sporty nor 'casual'
    but simply cool and cozy, providing the right look 
    in every moment of the day.

    ”I'm inspired by the authenticity I can find in nature,
    people and places, and I think it is the same quality
    I look for in the materials I choose. For example, the
    feel of hand-woven Harris tweed and the irregular
    slub of Irish linen. I feel passionate about landscape,
    and its connections with such fabrics and the skilled
    people who weave them. I like to work with manu-
    facturers who understand and share this passion

     for make and quality of fabric...” she acknowledges.

    The womenswear s/s 2013 collection's muted campaign
    shows newcomer models Harriet Taylor and Elias
    Cafmeyer in the delicate black & white images taken
    in Ireland by South African born, Paris-based photographer
    Koto Bolofo who's known for his keen eye for lively,
    dynamic images as well as for fine portraiture while
    the lookbook reveals the straightforwardness of an
    enduring style subtly pulling the threads of British
    tradition. As Leonardo da Vinci put it down:
     ”Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

    lookbook images from 'Margaret Howell' label's website

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    The plot of 200-year-old German fairy tale 'Rapunzel',
    the girl locked in a tower by a witch who used her
    ultra-long hair as a rope for a prince to climb up and
    rescue her, has been widely used and parodied in
    various media but never better than for Byron Lars
    Beauty Mark's spring 2013 collection.

    Byron Lars is the recognized American designer who
    has been creating womenswear under his own label
    since 1991 when he started making at home a few
    samples on a domestic sewing machine to show them
    around to stores: they were good enough to catch the
    attention of his soon-to-be business partner who
    allowed him to start his career with a small sportswear
    collection promptly establishing a body-conscious 
    style that earned critical and commercial raves.

    Yet Byron felt that designer labels' garments had
    exorbitant prices so he created a more accessible
    line to widen his audience, exactly the Byron Lars
    Beauty Mark, or BLBM: ”I wanted it to be more about
    the clothes and less about the hype”, he declares,
    ”initially a cotton Lycra shirting based offering, 
    BLBM has now enjoyed eight years of success.”

    Rapunzel, or better, the iconic image of her hair 
    flowing around, has been extraordinarily interpreted 
    by cosmopolitan photographer Noah Chen who points
    out that the contemporary Rapunzel doesn't need a
    prince to save her because she is independent and
    the master of her own destiny (eventually getting
    rid of her hair). Chen, the mastermind of Eyework
    Studio, is a skilled freelance fashion and advertising
    photographer who was born in Taiwan and raised in
    Belize graduating from KIAD, the Kent Institute of
    Art & Design, in south east England. Based in China
    since 2004, he commutes between Shanghai and
    Shenzhen working as an image creator specialized
    in 2-D and 3-D digital imaging.

    Chen highlighted the textured pieces of the BLBM
    collection through gorgeous pictures subtly balancing
    the focus on shapes, proportions and juxtapositions
    as well as on the powerfully evocative mood.
    Designer's trademark carefully constructed pieces
    such as flowy A-line dresses, daytime frocks and
    sculpted silhouettes are paired in a clever mixing
    of textures, materials and techniques with perfectly
    tailored suits and boho-inspired playful prints.
    Let your hair down and have some fun!

    > all images © by Noah Chen-Eyework Studio <

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    It was love at first sight with the absorbing costumes
    realized by designer Katarzyna Konieczka who was
    born in Gdańsk, northern Poland, graduating from the 
    International School of Costume and Fashion Design.
    Katarzyna is an avant-garde fashion designer and a
    gifted costume maker who conceives her creations for
    the stage and catwalk shows subtly enhancing the
    character's personality through the design of her
    own clothes and accessories.

    She created strongly evocative female characters
    of all ages building up shapes, patterns and textures
    able to make a powerful visual statement at a glance:
    I dare say that more than one script could be inspired
    by her 'creatures'. Each single costume has been
    obviously devised as a one-off piece, using various
    materials and techniques developed by herself in a
    comprehensive show of Katarzyna's artistic capability
    and her grasp of historical costuming.

    Her textured clothes and her stunning headpieces
    made with beads, pearls, glass and macramé are
    very well rendered in the dazzling images taken
    by Polish born, Munich-based freelance photographer
    Sylwia Makris who actually worked as a sculptor prior
    to find her way to photography, in the beautiful
    settings of stylish-decorated Villa Antonina in Sopot,
    the seaside resort town on the Baltic Sea.

    The dark gothic theatrical aesthetic of them give rise
    to different scenarios providing unique suggestions
    through time and places: young women appear like
    tarot female Popes or sorceresses wearing wondrous
    headpieces or futuristic sculptural dresses while
    little girls are caught napping and sleepwalking
    or playing with a eerie zombie-horse.

    Katarzyna's work marks the substantial difference
    between fashion and costume design: she designs
    not only jaw-dropping outfits and accessories, she
    actually designs characters and their emotional
    worlds in quite a nifty way. Utalentowany!

    > all images © by Sylwia Makris/Konieczka Costumes <

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  • 05/09/13--06:30: goodbye knitwear legend
  • Missoni in his studio portrayed © by Keith Trumbo (part.), 1980
    Ottavio Missoni, the legendary Italian designer who
    established the iconic brand with his wife Rosita back
    in 1953, passed away serenely today in his home 
    near the city of Varese at the age of 92.
    Universally known as Tai, Missoni was a great man of
    sports (a gorgeous b&w picture shows him running the
    400 meters final race at London 1948 Olympics) who
    came into fashion by accident as he liked to say: her
    wife's family owned a textile factory producing knits
    and shawls so they set up a small knitwear shop that
    grew into the very first Missoni label's collection,
    'Milano Simpathy', in 1958. Missoni's trademark knits
    became extremely popular for the multitude of colorful
    patterns - stripes at first being straight lines the only
    pattern their knitting machine was able to make -
    strongly influencing the world of fashion ever since
    the early 1970s. Tai was quite a a very modest and
    good-humored man and a truly innovative designer
    (one of the few wearing his own creations in everyday
    life, though) and we miss him so much; luckily his vision 
    lingers on through the work of the Missoni family. 
    Ciao grande Tai!

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  • 05/10/13--10:08: shades of Pakistan
  • above: an old man carrying cotton sacks in Peshawar,
    photo © by Mohammad Sajjad/AP
    below: drying up previously dyed fabric in Lahore,
    photo © by Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images
    The beauty of Pakistan lies in its unique natural
    wonders: in the sky high snowcapped peaks of
    Himalaya, the lush green fields of the valleys, its
    mighty rivers and lakes or in the sandy dunes of
    Thar and Cholistan deserts as well as in the
    mysterious remains of ancient cities flourished
    in the Indus valley, yet its beauty is evident even
    in the tiniest details of everyday life where every
    shade of color is fixed by tradition, ethnic 
    identities or religious beliefs.

    above: textile vendors in Karachi textile market,
    photo (part.) © by Steve Evans, CC
    below: dyeing fabrics in a factory of Lahore,
    photo © by K.M. Chaudary/AP
    Pakistan means ”the land of the pure”, although as a
    nation is only 66 years old, as a civilization it's almost
    5,000 years old. Following Britain's withdrawal from
    India, the country was created in 1947 and named
    after Punjab, Afghan border, Kashmir, BaluchISTAN,
    the lands where the population was predominantly
    Muslim and it's now one of the world's largest nations.

    above: folk artist performing on Independence Day in Quetta,
    photo © by Arshad Butt/AP
    below: mosquito nets on display in Rawalpindi,
    photo © by Anjum Naveed/AP
    Pakistan has a very long tradition of growing cotton,
    spinning and weaving as well as natural dyeing
    techniques: I get such a buzz out of seeing the beauty
    of the colorful textiles sold in bazaars and roadside
    stalls overloaded with huge cotton satchels and
    vibrant threads, overwhelmed by the lovely hues
    of kurtas, saris, beaded tops and shawls and the
    fineness of traditional embroideries and hats as
    living symbols of a culturally diverse country where
    even mosquito nets are brightly colored.

    above: young boy reading Holy Qur'an in a Karachi mosque,
    photo © by Athar Hussain/Reuters
    below: a man trying on traditional hats in Peshawar,
    photo © by Mohammad Sjjad/AP
    Textiles are a major part of the Pakistani economy, the
    textile sector enjoys a pivotal position in the country's
    exports employing more than 14 million people, yet
    Pakistan has almost zero share of branded and high-value 
    fashion and sportswear textile in global markets, despite
    a strong public demand for such products in Europe and
    the US which is actually being fulfilled by its competitors,
    namely India, China and Bangladesh. Astonishingly,
    Pakistan gets about $10.2 billion of its $12.5 billion
    textile export revenue from 20 countries, however it
    accounts for merely 5.7% of the total textile imports
    of these 20 countries (source: The Express Tribune).

    above: detail of a machine-embroidered Phulkari
    below: traditional Swati stitching in close-up
    Pakistan is obviously the birthplace of superb woven
    fabrics such as the Phulkari, a traditional style of folk
    embroidery born in the Punjab region where it stands
    for ”flower work” with its geometric motifs in floss silk
    or hand-woven cotton; traditional Shisha mirrors;
    Sindhi and Swati embroideries. Swat is the name of
    the war-torn valley seized by Taliban militants where
    former Princess Mussarat Ahmed Zeb strives to revive
    the heritage of the Swati embroidery ”one stich 
    at a time” as she points out.

    Princess Mussarat Ahmed Zeb, photo © by Julie McCarthy/NPR
    The brave princess works to preserve the region's
    traditional culture while empowering local women:
    she taught hundreds of them ”to stand up, avoid
    charity, earning with dignity” helping them in starting
    up a small company where workers are the shareholders,
    LaDore, gathering their vocational skills to recreate
    unique needleworks on gorgeous homespun fabrics 
    rekindling their cultural heritage and showing to the
    world that they have talent and dignity.
    That's where beauty and hope walk hand in hand.

    detail of one of LaDore's wool embroidered tea cozies

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  • 05/11/13--10:29: nothing but flowers

  • Mother's Day is approaching and it's customary for
    my blog to mark an occasion like this with flowers
    celebrating it like a thanksgiving for spring sharing
    the pictures I took in the last two weeks during long
    walks through town and on its outskirts.

    Thanks to last winter's generous downpours, flowers
    are everywhere, from backyards and gardens to traffic
    islands and riverbanks, in a profusion of colors and
    scents with butterflies and insects constantly 
    on the prowl for fresh blossoms.

    Showing my appreciation for mothers, all mother
    figures and mothers-to-be, let love in and enjoy 
    a lavish Mother's Day weekend!

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  • 05/13/13--13:39: rock me like the '80s

  • Emma Mulholland made her debut as a fashion
    designer two years ago as one of four TAFE students
    (the Technical And Further Education Commission  
    of New South Wales) chosen to present a range 
    at the Australian fashion week.

    Emma made her solo debut at MBFWA, the Mercedes
    Benz Fashion Week Australia last April showcasing
    her s/s 2013-14 ”Spring Break” collection suggesting
    a trip down memory lane with looks that instantly bring
    back the 1980s through a cheerful ”surf chic” aesthetic
    with the typical trans-seasonal spirit of Down Under
    fashion subtly featuring the shift from winter into spring.

    Bomber jackets with Arctic-inspired prints with penguins
    and whales and a polar bear wearing sunglasses are
    mellowly paired with summery outfits in clashing colors
    and chirpy prints with techno pop references, see-through
    inserts and paillettes of different size and shape.

    The whole collection is stunningly accessorized and
    it represents a gorgeous collaboration between Aussie
    talents: Emma worked with jewelry designer Ryan Storer
    (known for his bedazzling Swarovski encrusted ear cuffs)
    who created silver spike earrings while star-shaped Perspex
    pieces and neon colored rubber neckbands were specially
    designed for her by Isobel Badin. The teamwork became
    even more groovy in a Style Me Romy's issue involving
    photographer Zachary Handley and hair pundit Alan White
    for ghd who realized mind-blowing spray-painted extensions
    contributing to make Emma's statement debut.

    all studio imagess © by Zachary Handley for
    all catwalk pictures © by MBFWA

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    Today's story begins in the desert outside the Banyan
    Tree Al Wadi, a gorgeous resort surrounded by rolling
    dunes close to the town of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE,  
    where gifted 'true Brit' sisters Alice and Matilda 
    Temperley are shooting their latest fashion campaign. 
    I've lived by the desert for a couple of years and
    I utterly know how beautiful is to camp out in it
    overnight waiting for the rose-pink light of dawn to
    brighten the sandy landscape so I can grasp how
    exciting their far-off adventure can actually be.

    > images 1-2 © by Matilda Temperley <

    Alice and Matilda are styling and shooting pieces
    from the House of Temperley's bridal and scarves
    collections while taking images of the mainline winter
    collection which is based on birds of prey (falconry
    is an Emirates' long-lived fad, after all)
    in their own
    untroubled version of Hitchcock's 'The Birds', yet the 
    Temperley London's spring-summer 2013 collection
     made a profound impression on me.

    Alice Temperley is the well-known London-based
    designer trained at Central Saint Martins who
    finished her studies with a Masters degree at
    the Royal College of Art specializing in fabric
    technology and print who was appointed Member
    of the Order of the British Empire by HM the
    Queen in 2011. Alice designs 13 collections a
    year for several lines: Temperley London, her
    mainline launched back in 2000, Temperley Bridal,
    ALICE by Temperley and Somerset, an exclusive
    range for UK department stores John Lewis,
    named after the birthplace of the talented duo.

    True to form, Temperley London's s/s 2013 collection
    is simply amazing: timeless, feminine designs
    combining meticulous details and embellishments
    with the label's distinctive British peculiarity and
    a French Riviera chic subtly evoking late 1950's
    leisurewear through variations on the sundress,
    full-skirted silhouettes, lace embroideries, openworks 
    in a constant play between sheer and solid in a radiant 
    palette of scarlet, powder blue, navy, white and black.
    A collection, it's plain to see, plenty of inspiring
    romantic ideas to foster over consecutive seasons:
    sublime workmanship and Alice's know-how 
    in digital printing do the rest.

    ”While constantly being expanded in breadth,
    the House of Temperley always stands true to its
    philosophy; appreciating what women want with
    creations that exist outside of the trend of the
    moment and always flavoured with a sense of
    Alice's individual 'magpie' style” the luxury
    brand's website states; a credo that's fully
    expressed by Matilda's outstanding pictures.

    Matilda is a visual artist and a skilled freelance
    photographer who previously pursued a career in
    tropical infectious diseases working in East Africa
    for years (she documented the unique tribal cultures
    of the Omo valley in a gorgeous reportage called
    'Abyssinian Dreams')
    . She shoots most of her sister's
    creations but she actually made a name for herself
    with breathtaking insights into marginalized groups
    and societies with her 'Human Zoo' series of portraits
    of unconventional types, from contortionists and 
    performers to present-day freaks.

    The rolling hills of Somerset county meet the rolling
    dunes of the Arabian desert to appeal Temperley's
    devoted fans worldwide: the company operates four
    stand-alone stores in London, Los Angeles and Dubai
    plus the brand new boutique of Doha, Qatar.
    'Cool Britannia' at its best!

    > all catwalk pictures and details © by Fashionising<

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  • 05/17/13--10:59: up north, on the farm

  • Iceland, despite its size, in recent years came into
    its own as the cradle of several 'creative industries';
    the arts are constantly flourishing turning the small
    island country into a cultural destination full of vim
    and vigor that also prides itself on a distinctive
    Nordic approach to fashion. 'Farmers Market' is
    a design company founded by textile designer
    Bergþóra Guðnadóttir with her husband, musician
    Jóel Pálsson, in 2005 which is strongly tied to the
    local art scene and draws inspiration from the
    island's unspoiled environment and traditional
    Icelandic organic materials, primarily wool.
    Bergþóra graduated from the Icelandic Academy
    of the Arts in textile design, soon starting off her
    own label with a small collection of woolen clothes
    but shortly after she got the chance to become the
    head of the design department of a notable local
    outdoor brand where she hugely improved her skills.

    Farmers Market debuted with a small range of hand
    knitted sweaters for both women and men with a few
    pieces for kids utilizing local wool that grew into a
    line of multifunctional clothes and accessories
    employing other raw natural materials such as silk,
    leather, cotton and linen, developing a characteristic
    style that subtly combines classic Nordic design with
    chic modernity. ”We place ourselves on a junction.
    A place where heritage meets modernity, the national
    meets the international and the countryside meets the
    city. We find this an exciting place to explore”
    declared introducing FM in an interview with Anna
    Moiseeva for Reykjavik Fashion Festival where the
    label's catwalk show featured live music and a king-size
    waterfall in the background that suddenly jogged my
    memory to the interactive installation by Rúri, one of
    Iceland's most prominent artist, called 'Endangered
    Waters' in which she came to 'archive' the images 
    of Icelandic waterfalls threatened by 
    increasing dam building.

    Yet the core of the show was represented by the array
    of genuinely styled woolen garments for men and women,
    the natural fabrics they're made of and the timeless appeal
    of well-crafted items suited both for outdoor activities
    and city life. ”We believe that sustainable fashion and
    recycling is not just a passing trend, but a key to the
    future. As our brand name suggests, we focus on using
    natural materials for our designs. Synthetic fabric
    is kept to absolute minimum and only used for fabric
    strengthening, water repellence or an occasional
    decor deemed necessary by the designer” 
    Bergþóra and Jóel affirm.

    Farmers Market's fabrics aren't only sourced locally,
    they include merino wool from Australia, yarns from
    Italy as well as Indian raw silk; they like to work with
    people who share the vision of creating beautiful,
    high-quality products while maintaining the highest
    ethical standards towards humans and nature.
    But the label's pièce de résistance is actually the
    Icelandic wool which is uniquely soft, warm and
    water-resistant, in some sort a symbol 
    of national identity.

    RFF show images (4-5) © by Eva Björk Ægisdóttir
    all other images from Farmers Market's website
    The collection fully shows FM's elegant knitwear,
    superb woolen sweaters and belted cardigans,
    plaid-like and leopard coats, berets and shawls
    seldom with fur warmers through gorgeous, warm
    and I dare say friendly images of a farmhouse family
    subtly emphasizing the label's signature style as
    well as the natural 'country comfort' feel peculiar
    to the island of fishermen, farmers and... 
    talents to watch.

    Farmers Market's founders, image © by

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  • 05/20/13--13:43: going overground

  • DZHUS is the conceptual womenswear label founded
    by young Ukrainian designer and stylist Irina Dzhus,
    an underground talent that goes overground at a brisk
    pace shaping her new architectural approach to
    fashion. Struck by the 'avant-garde statement' she
    made with her structural/experimental 'Technogenesis'
    collection, I'm still delighted with the results 
    of her tailoring research.

    DZHUS' design concept is based on the interaction
    and transformation of modules to produce ”intellectual
    clothing”: her latest AW 2013-14 ”Overground” collection
    aims at conveying a sense of monumental majesty
    through geometric shapes and specifically textured
    fabrics mimicking building materials like nets, crinkled 
    metallic or folded paper-like fabrics subtly referencing
    architectural forms and industrial objects.

    ”I analysed shapes and structures of monumental
    constructions and tried my best to embody their
    principles in the silhouettes and cut of my designs”

    Irina declares illustrating her experimental apparels
    ranging from rust and grey to terracotta and blue
    with copper and white touches showing structured
    outfits wittily accessorized with wide zips, squared
    buttons and monolithic concrete bracelets made
     in collaboration with MEL Design.

    'Overground' will be featured in the upcoming June
    edition of 'Be Next', the design contest founded by
    the Georgian charity fund 'Societe Anonyme' to
    help young designers from Georgia, Eastern Europe
    and the Caucasian region ”to overcome the barriers
    they face in the process of establishing themselves
    on local and international markets”
    I bet it won't go unnoticed!

    > all images © by Olga Nepravda<

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    To celebrate ”The Year of Spain in Japan”, an initiative
    to boost the country's profile held exactly 400 years after
    the first Japanese ship reached the Spanish shores,
    a creative exchange between famed Spanish fashion
    house Loewe and Japanese ”techno couturier” Junya 
    Watanabe created capsule collections for both men and
    women called ”Loewe by Junya Watanabe Comme 
    des Garçons” including clothes and handbags.

    The collection has been recently unveiled at the Spanish 
    Embassy in Tokyo's Roppongi district with an exciting
    runway show revealing playful post-punk looks through
    CdG's urban-utilitarian aesthetic in a patchwork of
    Spanish leather and Japanese denim. This year also
    marks Loewe's 40th anniversary in Japan, the LVMH's
    Madrid-based luxury label which was originally
    established in 1846, currently headed by British
    designer Stuart Vevers, has been producing items
    for CdG's 2013-14 fall-winter collection that were
    showcased at Paris fashion week in March.

    Under Ververs' styling direction, the collection shows
    ultra-soft nappa leather cut and combined with denim
    to create easy to wear outfits with coats, jackets, pants
    and skirts with tartan and polka dots. Needless to say,
    the denim-leather tête-à-tête also characterizes the
    style of the upscale bags by Loewe that include the
    acclaimed brand's 'Amazona' tawed leather.
    Tote bags and pouches were also announced.

    The collection will be on pre-order at the end of May prior
    to become exclusively available in September through
    only 40 selected locations worldwide including London
    and Tokyo's Dover Street Market, the concept store
    conceived and directed by Japanese fashion legend
    Rei Kawakubo, ”...a kind of market where various creators
    from various fields gather together and encounter each
    other in an ongoing atmosphere of beautiful chaos...”

    as well as at Jeffrey in New York.

    Stylish punkish Jaspanish and so girlish.

    > all images © by Fashionsnap<

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  • 05/26/13--13:05: book as artwork
  • books cascading down the museum's entrance by
    Alicia Martín from the series 'Biografias', 2012
    An truly impressive literature cascade by Spanish artist 
    Alicia Martín hangs down from the window of the MARCA 
    Museum in Catanzaro, the chief town of the Calabria region 
    in southern Italy, greeting visitors of the ”Bookhouse. 
    The Book Shape” exhibition in which various forms of art 
    develop around one single element, the book.

    'Singularidad', installation by Alicia Martín, 2011-2012
    'Idiom', installation by Matej Krén, 1998
    above: 'Omphalos' by Matej Krén, 2005
    below: from the 'Still Lives 3' series by Maria Friberg, 2004
    In the most critical phase of its existence, when technological
    revolution presents us with the new Gutenberg era, book in
    contemporary art has never been so modern and the display
    at MARCA is probably the most comprehensive homage to
    this magical mean which has been keeping its features
    basically unaltered for more than 500 years.

    'Upper Cut' by Dennis Oppenheim, 2000-2001
    'Sulpicia' by Anselm Kiefer, 1999
    above: 'Entrapped Words' by Maria Lai, 1964
    below: Michael Rakowitz 'What Dust Will Rise', 2012
    Conceived and curated by the museum's art director Alberto
    Fiz - who declared ”The meaning of the book lies in its thinking
    shape. If it were simply a container of texts and images, it
    would have already been swept away. On the contrary, it
    still has a primary role as sensitive object that can create
    a symbiotic relationship with the reader and, at the same
    time, has the ability to organize the thinking...”
    - the
    exhibition includes 50 of the most significant artists
    questioning each other on the miraculous shape of the
    book, such a perfect object that Italian semiotician,
    essayist and novelist Umberto Eco 
    compared to the wheel.

    above: horse-shaped library by Mimmo Paladino, 2001
    below: from the 'Naples Library' series by Candida Höfer, 2009
    artwork by Jannis Kounellis
    'Library for the Birds' by Mark Dion, 2005
    Furthermore, books as well as archives and libraries are the
    focus of the contemporary artistic debate, from Kassel's
    Documenta to the Venice Biennale yet the MARCA's varied
    cross-exhibition deals with the regenerative power of books
    involving different languages and techniques while getting
    rid of the hypothesis of the artist's book, it rather focuses
    on an extension of the work of art where the book itself
    becomes sculpture, installation or environment in a
    riveting journey through contemporary art in which 
    the book is totally re-written.

    the MARCA exhibition's poster

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  • 05/27/13--14:02: third-hand charm

  • I confess I heard about Momo Wang, a gifted young
    London-based Chinese fashion designer, thirdhand
    but I fell in love with her work straightaway.
    Recently graduated from Central Saint Martins,
    Momo is briskly making a name for herself thanks
    to her colorful folk-inspired clothing that smartly
    refreshes and renews well-worn fabrics.

    Born in the small town of Jinzhou, in the northeast
    province of Liaoning, China, she moved to Beijing
    to study at the university where she decided to rent
    a small basement, bought a sewing machine and
    started making her own clothes fully expressing
    her love for folk art and tribe culture as well as her
    passion for collecting vintage patterns.

    Momo has the ability to perceive the inner beauty of
    second-hand goods, ”I see and feel their auras when
    they were first made and I'm determined to bring
    the aura back” she says describing her unusual
    approach to womenswear. Wang finds upcycling
    to be a creative challenge and she expresses all
    her knack reanimating found fabrics and previously
    worn clothes giving them new beauty and value.

    Her latest collection is aptly called ”The Third Hand”
    including a range of upcycled, colorful garments:
    actually the collection started from her hometown's
    flea market where Momo bought worn out clothes to
    reconstruct them in new different ways. Inspired by
    the 'third hand' concept of French philosopher
    Jacques Derrida, her 12-piece collection shows
    amazing details such as stitched patchworks,
    hand-crocheted seams and embroidery decorations.
    The gripping lookbook images were taken by
    Beijing-based photographer Shuwei Liu in a rural
    backdrop close to Jinzhou adding a lot of charm 
    to her intriguing one-off pieces.

    > all images © by Shuwei Liu <

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  • 05/28/13--14:23: fashion done right

  • Della is a socially responsible fashion label based in
    L.A. that's changing the way people shop: founded by
    designer Tina Tangalakis who studied costume design
    at CalArts, the California Institute of the Arts, Della
    involves directly a Ghanian community of skilled
    and passionate workers. Four years ago, Tina took
    part in a volunteer project in West Africa, namely in
    Hohoe, Ghana, quickly becoming besotted with the
    local culture and the warm hearts of the friends she
    made there (a Gold Coast of the soul indeed).

    Combining her background in business and design
    with her love for art and humanitarian work, Tina
    teamed up with a local whiz kid, Selorm 'Nii' Addotey,
    with whom she built a close friendship before 
    starting their business partnership.

    Della outfitter provides jobs, education and skills training
    to the people of Hohoe: every product is carefully hand-
    crafted using authentic textiles sourced in the Volta
    headwater employing more than 50 gifted women and
    men who create unique garments and accessories
    receiving a fair income and are empowered through
    education programs via micro-financing, savings,
    entrepreneurship classes and healthcare benefits (it's
    estimated that over 250 people were positively impacted 

     last year as a direct result of Della's programs).

    The label's s/s 2013 collection shows garish garments
    such as zipped jackets, rompers, shorts and brallets as
    well as a colorful array of handbags and travel bags,
    from classic hobo bags to MacBook and iPad cases
    in dazzling patterns. Della keeps the Ghanian culture
    going supplying the opportunity for a better life while
    doing business: as they proudly declare ”We're not a
    charity; we are a business done - and doing - 'right'”.

    > all lookbook images © by Della LA LLC, 2013 <

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    Ulyana Sergeenko is a Russian stylist, photographer,
    designer and a true connoisseur of upmarket fashion
    from the customer's point of view yet her own approach
    to haute couture looks quite unfamiliar at first glance
    and thought-provoking at the same time.

    Born in Kazakhstan, she moved to St. Petersburg
    soon after the fall of the Soviet Union where her
    grandmother ”my beloved babushka” taught her
    how to sew and make her own clothes. Mixing
    Russian traditional features and French couture
    influences, Ulyana established her namesake
    label in Moscow in 2011 showcasing her debut
    collection in Paris last year.

    She's about to become one of the rising stars in
    the Russian fashion firmament thanks to her
    eclectic, eccentric and theatrical style that many
    critics say is better suited to Hollywood than Paris
    and it's absolutely true that not all her outfits hit
    the nail on the head, nonetheless Sergeenko's 
    couture s/s 2013 collection is plenty of interesting
    motifs and delicate details, such as hand-painted
    porcelain buttons and earrings, handmade lace
    and crocheted embroideries.

    The self-confidence of her approach and her knack
    for mixing folkish sources ranging from Russian
    fairy tales and inspirations like the America of Scarlett
    O'Hara and the white mansions make her pieces
    quite absorbing, emphasized by smart accessories
    such as embroidered eyeglasses and beautiful tiny
    bags with the dainty illustrations of Yuri Vasnetsov
    evoking vintage cookie boxes. Sergeenko's collection
    makes me think of a young girl amusing herself
    digging through her mother's wardrobe 
    to play the diva role.

    > all images © by Nick Suhkevich <

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    Australian milliner Anna Shoebridge sketches out her
    homage to Japan with her latest 'Tokyu' collection
    celebrating the timeless influence of Japonism through
    sculpted headpieces for all seasons: each item has a
    famed Japanese name ranging from evocative words
    like 'rising sun' or 'geisha' or the ballyhooed 'kawaii' to
    the names of Tokyo's trendsetting districts 
    such as Shibuya and Ginza.

    The Melbourne-based milliner created her first collection
    back in 2003 showing since the beginning her inbred
    passion for contemporary art and design through inspiring
    headwear pieces for all occasions in vibrant colors and
    sculpted shapes. 'Tokyu' trans-seasonal collection
    evokes ”cherry blossom season, warm sake, big city
    lights and a hint of Kyoto rustic charm” by combining
    feathers or silk flowers with French lace and veil bows,
    swinging fringes and textures in fishnet 
    paper straw and sinamay.

    A perfect complement to the collection is the Harajuku
    inspired nail art by 'The Super Rad Nail Sisters', that is
    to say Rohani and Rosalie Osman whose art, as they
    wittily state, is ”...for those who love a Miu Miu handbag
    but respect a good sneaker” and the cute images taken
    by renowned photographer Jo Duck, styled by editorial
    and personal fashion stylist Lauren Dietze(I have to
    admit the pics I selected don't do enough justice to their
    work keeping a close eye mostly on Ann's gorgeous
    headdresses) conveying the endless fascination of
    Japanese aesthetics with a solid Aussie touch.

    > all images © by Jo Duck, style by Lauren Dietze <

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  • 06/02/13--07:15: color-matching fellowship
  • image credit: Mehmet Karaca/Solent News
    Mother Nature proves to be the greatest color
    matching system through this camouflaged
    color-co-ordinated duo sporting identical shades
    of green: a green chameleon and an Eastern
    Dappled White butterfly (Euchloe ausonia) perched
    on his head make a perfect match in the breathtaking
    image taken by photographer Mehmet Karaca in his
    hometown of Kahramanmaras, Turkey, who was 
    enthralled by the unlikely pair. Mehmet, aka Lisans,
    is a skilled 28 years old lensman whose macro
    images of insects, chameleons and praying mantis
    are widely known for their beauty and accuracy.
    As Pedro Calder‪ó‬n de la Barca wrote, ”Green is
    the prime color of the world, and that from 
    which its loveliness arises”.

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  • 06/03/13--14:00: clothes as accessories

  • Japanese thirty-something designers Keiko
    Miyakoshi and Kohrogi Hitoshi founded the
    Osaka based ROGGYKEI label in 2006 inspired
    by the concept of ”clothes as accessories,
    accessories as clothes” through an innovative
    fusion approach that came to put their brand's
    name on the map earning at once 
    attention and esteem.

    ”Clothes as accessories, accessories as clothes;
    as designers we strongly believe this. Sometimes
    they emphasize each other and occasionally convey
    a deep fascination with the other. When worn there
    is no border between them, clothes can be a part
    of an accessory, accessory can be a part of 
    clothes by coexisting” they declare.

    ”We believe that fashion is a mirror reflecting ourselves
    and a way of expression to show our personality, as
    well as a communication tool with our society. (...)
    But fashion shouldn't be categorized like that. 
    There are infinite possibilities coming from our 
    fashion and we keep searching for them”.

    ROGGYKEI's AW 2013-14 collection, called 'New
    Horizon II', puts on display the duo's avant-gardism
    through futuristic pieces skillfully combining black
    and white with vibrant shades of blue using different
    materials such as leather with technic and metallic 
    fabrics, needless to say, with gorgeous accessories
    like suede long gloves, bulky cuffs, black leather 
    clutches and stunning squared leather bags with
    a hole in the center. Unmistakably Japanese.

    all images © by Akira Yamaguchi, style by ROGGYKEI
    from the label's Tumblelog

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    The title tells it all: this one's a gripping collection
    intended to show respect and admiration to those
    elders who keep experimenting with their style in
    a joyful manner (Ari Seth Cohen, the mastermind
    behind fabulous 'Advanced Style' weblog, docet)
    Realized by London College of Fashion womenswear
    design student Felicity Gransden, the playfully 
    ironic, colorful collection is aptly called 
    ”Never too old to play dress up.”

    Felicity puts on display an eclectic, top-to-toe
    glamorous style inspired by her grandmother's
    love for color, dazzling textures and prints that
    joyfully explores, as she explains; ”...the idea
    of personal identity and how clothes are used
    everyday to express feeling, personality and
    individuality. Particularly looking at this in terms
    of age and how age affects style and the 
    ability to express oneself visually.”
    To show her perusal of age's effect on style,
    Felicity had the lovely idea to make the collection's 
    lookbook with a tea party photoshoot involving
    'advanced' fashion ladies, namely Mmes. Kate
    Stephens, Clare Waters and Trudy Gomez:
    ”inspiring characters for whom, despite their age,
    everyday is an opportunity to play dress up.”

    Women who ”have the confidence and audacity to
    be completely themselves and only themselves,
    why be anything else?”
    she asks wholeheartedly
    calling to mind 90-something style icons like Iris Apfel
    and Ilona Royce Smithkin whose love and passion
    of expressing themselves using color pushing the
    boundaries coming with age and stereotype,
    shaped the idea of creating the powerfully 
    colorful, tongue-in-cheek collection.

    As a statement of individual style, the collection is
    plenty of handmade items: hand knitted garments,
    hand mixed dyes including already colored silks,
    in which ”...the soft, bubbly, fluffy uneven texture
    of the hand spun wool is juxtaposed with the slick
    shiny face of metallic lamé”
    in a continuous game
    of textures and colorways with intriguing bomber
    jackets, knitted or in electric blue lamé with ruffled
    sleeves, graphic prints and bulky accessories.
    For those who think getting old means 
    loneliness and grim.

    > all images © by Dan Sakal, styled by Gianfranco Colla<

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