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  • 06/08/14--13:52: a walk in the woods

  • Today has been a sweltering day - actually the opening
    day of what promises to be a long hot summer - we reached
    35°C in the afternoon with sweat tops, huge rectangular
    sunglasses and step-ins popping up all around the small
    town where I was visiting a nice little fair about social
    economy. Soon after a shower, I'm going to freshen me
    up all the more by taking a slow walk in the woods thanks
    to Dutch designer Esther Dorhout Mees who took 
    living wood as a source of inspiration.

    The label 'Dorhout Mees' was established by expert
    designer Esther Louise Dorhout Mees after years of
    working for well-known brands such as Bruuns Bazaar
    and Tommy Hilfiger launching a conceptual yet wearable
    refined style. ”The base of all collections are prints, silk,
    wool and delicate knits combined with the use of wearable
    unconventional materials. Fascination of the constant
    connection between body and material, covering and
    uncovering of the female body is always the starting point.
    Contradiction in structures, silhouette and textures 
    are the essence of the collections” the designer states.

    'Dorhout Mees' keeps on going its game of contrasts in
    the latest fall-winter 2014-15 collection, 'Passage', a
    collection ”for women who show their strength through
    their vulnerability.”
    Introduced by a line by young American
    born writer, poet, essayist and philosopher Criss Jami that
    goes: ”To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnera-
    ble, to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength”
    Esther Dorhout Mees emphasized the similarity 
    between humans and plants.

    ”How can you tell if it has had a good or a bad year by the
    annual rings of a tree. A bad year is a delicate moment. A
    fragile and difficult period, but when the tree grows through
    it, it becomes part of the core of the trunk and gives power
    from within...” she declares introducing her signature game
    of contradictions: organic forms facing hard contours, smooth
    and shiny fabrics together with rough textures, straight lines
    with folds. I'm nuts about a breathtaking pair of 3-D printed
    shoes that look like carved from blocks of solid wood while
    the handmade accessories, clutches, belts and bracelets,
    have a real wood finish.
    A breath of fresh air from northern woodlands.

    > all images © by Dorhout Mees website <

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    All eyes are on Canadian-born young talent Thomas Tait
    since he won the first LVMH Prize: with a three-year
    technical degree in womenswear from Collège LaSalle
    in his hometown Montreal, Thomas then enrolled in
    women's wear at London's Central Saint Martins 
    graduating in 2010 as the youngest student ever to 
    complete CSM's womenswear MA making his runway 
    debut at London fashion week as part of the 
    College's 2010 graduate show.

    ”Thomas Tait's ready-to-wear demonstrates a unique
    combination of structure and fluidity, lending a clear
    aesthetic to the garments and footwear he conceives
    for his eponymous women's wear label”LFW's website
    states adding that ”Thomas rose swiftly to prominence
    in London and important critics immediately championed
    him because of the directional refinement and considered
    detail that is integral to his designs.”

    Tait showcased his RTW s/s 2014 essential collection
    last year on the last day of London fashion week skillfully
    blending evening and sportswear: the basic palette made
    of ivory white, neutrals and warm gray with pops of bright
    yellow, aquamarine and salmon pink highlights the purity
    of lines and shapes through feminine sporty outfits paired
    with lightweight elegant dresses and trapezoidal, a bit
    see-through blouses with lots of interesting details such
    as track suit hoodies reworked as collars, oversized cuffs,
    swish drapings and feathered hemlines. So it's small
    wonder that Thomas Tait has been recently chosen as
    the first winner of the lucrative LVMH Prize 2014 for the
    'Young Fashion Designer of the Year' by eight of the
    French luxury conglomerate's creative directors, who,
    due to the competition's extraordinarily high level,
    decided to award two special prizes, 
    but that's another story.

    > all images © by London fashion week's website<

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    Let's meet again (after more than three years, though)
    the delicate feminine style of Croatian-born, Australian
    designer Karla Spetic who wanted to become a fashion
    designer ever since her chidhood fullfilling her dream in
    Australia where she launched her namesake label just
    two years after graduating from Sydney's Fashion
    Design Studio (as mentioned here).

    Karla declared that her greatest challenge is producing a
    collection every season: she doesn't search for inspiring
    sources, she always looks at the world around her aiming
    at capturing what's beautiful (she adores unusual color
    combinations, floral patterns and prints that briskly 
    became her distinctive features) through simplicity 
    and a convincing unpretentious style.

    Karla unveiled her AW 2014-15 'Crossroads' collection in
    which she enlightens basic black & white outfits with 
    bright pink and lime green combining I-shaped longuettes 
    with cropped tops or black bodysuits with sleeveless sheer
    dresses in a game of transparencies, half the way between
    petticoat and tutu, and cozy knitted cardigans. 
    Karla's delightful tongue-in-cheek élan at its best.

    > all images © by Bowen Arico, style by jamesrncampbell<

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  • 06/14/14--12:57: mind-blowing knickknackery

  • ”That's for sure a fresh take on recycling!” I said to
    myself stumbling across the impressive portraits of
    richly adorned she-warriors wearing suits made with
    objects of everyday life. Fully amazed by their strong
    stylistic approach keenly investigating the idea of power,
    its ambiguity and attractiveness, and the thought of losing
    personal identity, I waded through the jaw-dropping
    images conceived by Marie Rime.

    Born in Charmey, Switzerland, young gifted photographer
    Marie Rime graduated from the Ecole Cantonale d'Art
    (ECAL) in Lausanne, the beautiful town on Lake Geneva's
    northern shore where she currently lives and works, soon
    making waves with her conceptual approach to portraiture
    and her carefully constructed masks and costumes.
    Her striking photo series actually began as an art school
    project briskly evolving into a wider exploration of the
    concept of power and hence the status of women.

    Two of Rime's photographic series made last year
    and called 'Armures' (suits of armor) and 'Symètrie de
    Pouvoir' (symmetry of power) show eye-catching visuals
    made with a quirky set of ordinary objects [strange how,
    while browsing through them, I was listening to Matmos
    live from Barcelona's Sónar Festival, the 'sampladelic'duo 

    from San Francisco whose 'songs' are often played using 
    objects as unconventional instruments]. 'Armures'
    represent women wearing armor-like creations produced
    with daily life stuff that ”are the starting points of a
    reflection of the relationship between power, war and
    ornament. These women loose their identity and 

    become the carrier of their clothing” Marie states.

    The 'Symètrie de Pouvoir' series shows Rime's exploration
    of power, ”its means of representations and their relation
    to symmetry. The butterfly has been chosen for its natural
    symmetrical state. These have been painted and placed on
    the top of portraits and thus creating a multi-layered 

    image that shows the excess of decoration” she declared. 

    Marie won the people's choice award at the 29th Interna-
    in Hyères, France, with her theatrical outfits and colorful
    geometries made by using the most common household
    objects such as party straws, toothpicks, tweezers, board
    games pieces or with fake buttefly wings of different sizes
    whose brightly colored scales provide otherwordly 
    textures concealing the wearer's individuality.

    > all images © by Marie Rime<

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    'Ioana Ciolacu' is a RTW womenswear label based
    in Bucharest, Romania, whose creations blur ”the
    lines between femininity and masculinity, with an
    emphasis on tailoring, a personal use of materials
    and custom developed techniques” as its namesake
    founder, London-based Romanian designer Ioana
    Ciolacu Miron, proudly states.

    Born and raised in Iaşi, Ioana is a fashion designer
    with a background in architecture and art, a former
    graduate of Bucharest's University of Architecture
    and Urban Planning, she gained her BA in fashion
    design a year later from Unarte before getting a
    scholarship at London College of Fashion in 2013
    where she's currently attending a womenswear
    MA course and where she's sharpening up her skills
    while gaining self-confidence both as a designer
    and a businesswoman.

    Ioana Ciolacu continues to explore the relationship
    between the static nature of buildings and the fluid
    structure of outfits and blurs the line between luxury 

     and street walk in each of her collections”, the label's
    statement reads introducing ”a signature style of
    architectural input”. Called 'Paradox 2.0', the label's
    latest AW 2014-15 collection skillfully investigates
    the idea of a contradictory statement by juxtaposing
    fabrics and prints on extremely feminine shapes
    applying men's wear tailoring techniques for the
    jackets. I have to confess that I came to rearrange
    all the pictures in order to keep a close eye on Ioana's
    exquisite garments in truth altering the significance of
    the round-shaped images (thus beggin' her mercy).

    > all images from Ioana Ciolacu's website<

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  • 06/20/14--08:31: in a state of mindfulness

  • I always knew the acronym AWOL in its original meaning,
    Absent Without Official Leave, but now Singaporean
    practiced designer Alfie Leong - the mastermind behind
    'A.W.O.L.' and 'Mu' labels - gives a new signification with his
    'All Walks Of Life', referring I presume, to the different type
    of women who fall in love with his youthful idea of clothing.

    Leong graduated in 1998 from Raffles LaSalle Int'l School
    of Design soon setting up his own label to create by 2004
    a company called 'The Little Voice Pte Ltd' with its two
    labels, Mu and A.W.O.L.: the first offering unique yet
    affordable looks in a genuine East meets West style,
    while A.W.O.L. embodies refined yet extremely wearable
    garments in a very contemporary design. Alfie Leong
    believes in fashion as a way of life in which everyone
    deserves to make his voice heard, regardless of gender,
    race, religion or age, producing cozy garments meant
    for people from all walks of life merging ”the boundaries
    between creativity and practicality fusing a diverse world
    inspirations and cultures...” as the label's statement goes. 

    All my doubts about meaning went AWOL when I
    stumbled upon the label's fall-winter 2014-15 collection
    called 'State of Mindfulness' that has been showcased
    together with the collections by three other emerging 
    Singaporean talents at Seoul fashion week's brand
    new venue, the Dongdaemun Design Park designed
    by archistar Zaha Hadid, and lately at the Audi Fashion
    Festival, one of the most iconic lifestyle events in
    Singapore that brings under one roof exciting Asian
    designers alongside world-class fashion houses.

    Playing with volumes, layerings and drapings, Leong
    brings into being original designs and shapes for his
    all-purpose outfits with riveting silhouettes, enveloping
    necklines and a striking combination of sophisticated
    fabrics and technical materials, graphic patterns and
    functional details subtly highlighting the label's expertise
    in draping techniques. Optical dresses, shiny puffer and
    comfy patterned woollen coats, cropped jackets in
    which zippers help create the shape are accessorized
    with gloves and stunning hats and fascinators of different
    materials, from feathers to metallic bands. 
    I'm indeed mindful of A.W.O.L.'s distinctive style.

    > all images © by Fashion Snap<

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  • 06/23/14--08:02: Dutch winter in Paris

  • 'Léo Paris' is the name of an interesting womenswear
    label obviously based in the Ville Lumière founded by
    young designers Matthias Medaer and Leonneke Derksen,
    both graduates of Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts,
    one of Europe's leading fashion insitutions. Born in the
    Netherlands, Leonneke is the brains of the label who
    went to New York to work for Sea-NY before moving to
    Paris where she toiled for Balenciaga, Cacharel and
    Carven before joining forces with Medaer 
    in their own Léo Paris.

    The label's fourth collection for fall-winter 2014-15 started
    with the idea of going back to Leonneke's roots who envi-
    sioned a quintessential Dutch winter landscape through
    rusty tones, leafless trees and icy patches on the road.
    ”Inspired by old Dutch primitive paintings we searched for
    Van Gogh landscapes and scenes of Vermeer's portraits
    to find a small village right outside Paris, called Chevreuse,
    that struck us as an ancient Middle Ages town (...) The
    first input for the clothes were typical Dutch embroidered
    canvasses that my family resourced at flea markets that
    are worked into sweaters” Leonneke declares adding that
    she was also inspired by the decor of the 'True Detective'
    tv drama series and by the images of twenty-something
    Chicagoan surreal photographer Kyle Thompson whose
    work is mainly composed of self portraits, often taking
    place in empty forests or abandoned buildings.

    The elegantly bucolic/melancholic mood of both the
    collection's lookbook (titled 'From the dusty sun') and the
    campaign - shot by renowned French-Belgian photographer
    duo Hannah and Joel - recaptures a bygone era free of the
    hurly-burly of modern society that emphasizes the Parisian
    label's polished silhouettes with absorbing printed shirts
    and sweatshirts, covetable jackets, knits and skater skirts.
    Could winter look more attractive?

    > all images © by Hannah and Joel <

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    Today's the day of Richard Quinn's floral abundance:
    the young designer to be with a natural aesthetic who
    conceives his creations like the canvas of a painter
    comes from London, namely from Central Saint Martins,
    the one and only college with a fashion course deemed
    seasoned enough to stage its own show during
     London fashion week.

    Fashion print graduate Richard Quinn proves to know
    how to create something bold by pushing his design skills
    forward: his BA final capsule collection, recently showcased
    together with all of this year's graduates at the degree show,
    is actually a completely revised tailoring project from his
    second year at CSM, a carefree take on couture that has
    been wittily hailed as ”cracked couture” by BA fashion
    course director Willie Walters. Richard's still a neophyte
    yet he gained a noteworthy experience interning at Dior 
    in Paris and Richard James in Saville Row while studying
    to dare to submit eye-catching dresses with frayed 
    edges, some of them courageously ripped in half, 
    with large floral motifs and broad stripes 
    made with strokes of cobalt blue.


    Quinn clearly aimed at producing a subtle hand painted
    look by carefully balancing pure white tones with the
    screen printing in order to make his freehand drawn
    flowers and the glued calico ones on top to come out.
    That's why I'm nuts about the photo shoot carried out
    for 1 Granary - blog and magazine run ”by the students
    of Central Saint Martins” - by a gifted crew made by
    photographer Nikolay Biryukov together with stylist
    Marina de Magalhaes(in truth, thanks to her website
    where I took the gorgeous pics) with make up artist
    Marina Keri and hair by Fumihito Maehara.
    Kudos to all of them!

    > all images © by Nikolay Biryukov, style by Marina de Magalhaes <

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    I'm eventually back after two hard-pressed weeks,
    too tired of the to and fro to keep on blogging as
    usual, yet the striking collection by Slovenian designer
    Peter Movrin - the only son of a butcher who grew
    up dreaming to become a fashion designer deeply
    inspired by the glossy issues of Vogue his grandma
    bought him during short trips to Trieste - makes
     me gladly resume my 'regular' work.

    Movrin graduated from the University of Ljubljana,
    Slovenia's capital city, briskly making waves with
    conceptual unisex pieces and a great work on shapes
    and details. He achieved his childhood ambition to
    become a designer at first studying fashion textile
    but was soon drawn to design developing a highly
    personal style and a noteworthy craftsmanship by
    combining traditional techniques and materials,
    juxtaposing and treating natural and synthetic
    fabrics often by means of heat and chemicals.

    The young designer's MA degree collection, called
    ”Lu Gedigte Perlaopis”, probably a play on words, is  
    ”a very tactile monochromatic collection, where
    through the manipulation and deformation the
    garments become hidden jewelry pieces...” Peter
    declares adding that pearls ”were one by one meti-
    culously squeezed into the garments by my own
    fingers. It takes forever, but it's so beautiful. The
    collection's basic premise is that clothing should be
    regarded as adornment for the body, as precious as
    jewelry, thus transcending the norms of the fast and
    furious ready-to-wear. A quintessential bourgeois
    artifact and a pearl necklace can produce an effect
    much like that of a body mutilation and a scar, which
    is the most intimate adornment of them all. While
    researching the Ethiopian tribes' practice of body
    scarification and decoration, the polished sculptures
    of Constantin Brâncuși kept popping up” he states
    referencing different sources of inspiration.

    Movrin's post-romantic approach, his innovative take
    on draping through delicate inner beading, the accuracy
    of each single detail and the constant play between
    sheer fabrics, leather and wool, huge floral motifs and
    earthy tones, are emphasized by the stunning images
    taken by renowned Ljubljana-based photographer
    Maya Nightingale together with make up artist
    Špela Ema Veble and flowers by Dafnis studio.
    Slovenian charm at its best.

    > all images © by Maya Nightingale <

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  • 07/10/14--14:18: is space the place?

  • Young Chinese designer Ge Bai, MA womenswear
    fashion graduate from London's Royal College of Art
    specialized in knitwear, conveyed a subtle Sci Fi
    character to this year's graduate collections: models
    with rose-shaped goggles on walked the runway
    wearing well proportioned knitted outfits in 
    Mondrianesque color combinations of black and 
    white with neon yellow and pastel pink.

    An original color blocking tale with gripping silhouettes
    and cuts; gorgeous knitted coats and combos subtly
    referencing the 1960s in which 3-D printing techniques
    and bright colored silicone flowers fastened on knitted
    lace are paired with black piping and huge floral motifs
    in what seems to be the first step of a conscious style.

    So it's small wonder that Ge Bai has been selected by
    public vote as one the 50 semifinalists of the MUUSE
    x VOGUE Talents - Young Vision Award whose winner
    will be invited to design a capsule collection under the
    MUUSE label and will appear in a feature story on Hurry up, you can cast your vote until noon
    GMT tomorrow, July 11, to help pick out the 'people's
    choice' award winner. Both the Grand Prize and the
    online readers' poll winners will be announced 
    in August during Copenhagen fashion week.

    Best of luck to Ge Bai and all her young fellows!

    backstage images (first and last) © by Jamie Stoker
    all lookbook images thanks to MUUSE x VOGUE Talents

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    Ashley Miella's graduate collection took my breath
    away at first glance: I saw in my mind's eye three
    hooded Wiccan witches who don't fly on broomsticks
    but walk at leisure pace through the woods on posh
    high-heeled shoes sprucing up their charming powers
    through long flowing silk layered gowns, stunning
    jackets with leather inserts and gorgeous neck pieces.
    Yet Miella's 'Crusade collection' has nothing to do with
    witchery; it's all about movement and energy.

    Ashley graduated last year from AUT University, in
    Auckland, New Zealand, with a BDes in fashion
    showcasing her 'Crusade collection' at the AUT
    Rookie, the University's end-of-year graduate show,
    a display of future talents from New Zealand, an
    event able to fire up the career of the most gifted
    ones: Miella has been actually selected for a
    scholarship for a master course in fashion design
    at IED, Istituto Europeo di Design, in Milano through
    the 'Design for a Better World' contest and her work
    can be voted or reviewed in the Creative Diary
    website. Let me introduce her collection 
    literally using her own words.

    ”From the beginning my goal was to have a theatrical
    collection, so performance, momentum and drama
    were important for me. Inspiration for 'Crusade' draws
    from other-worldly warriors on a quest which focuses
    more on the role of protector than on the violence of
    battle, and the resulting victory or defeat. (...) The
    collection responds to an idealistic interpretation of
    the journey to individuality, freedom and liberation.
    The energy and momentum associated with Crusade
    is brought to life through the silks used in the wrap
    skirts and pants. I also explored ways of adding
    volume using pleats to create these pieces” 
    she declared.

    ”I experimented with laser-cutting leather which
    I have used in Crusade's intricate neck pieces.
    I used a lot of leather in my collection, including
    a hair on hide for one of the jackets. I looked at
    creating organic, sculptural shapes for the jackets
    and the use of leather helped me achieve this.
    The hats in my collection reference warrior-like
    headwear, and again the use of leather helps
    reinforce the structured silhouette”
    Ashley states
    but because of its theatricality and dynamism,
    Crusade ”needs to be seen in motion with the
    flowing silhouettes of the silks contrasting with
    the structured leather pieces (...) Crusade
    conveys a sense of purpose and explores an
    idealistic internal journey of self-discovery.”

    > all images © by Frances Carter<

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  • 07/17/14--12:44: mad as a hatter

  • My beloved readers' eyes must miss nothing while
    scrupulously patrolling the narrow boundary between
    art and fashion design and I bet the spooky creations
    of a young 'mad hatter', Romanian-born fashion and
    accessories designer Dinu Bodiciu, will make 
    them squeal with delight.

    The London-based designer, a graduate of London
    College of Fashion who previously completed a BA
    in graphic design in Bucharest and worked as a
    costume and stage setting designer for independent
    theater companies, focuses his search on the
    interaction between body and garments and made
    a name for himself with his mask-like hats. Dinu
    always plays with shapes and materials: his latest
    couture headwear collection, called 'There is no
    name', is perfectly balanced between experimentation
    and play with gripping visual illusions made working
    with a range of materials from synthetic 
    resin to human hair.

    ”I hope people can find my designs uncanny rather  
    than futuristic”Dinu declared stressing the nature of
    his unearthly head/mouth/eyepieces with translucent
    squared or octopus-shaped forms which all at once
    reinterpret the whole concept of head covering and
    couture millinery or whatever else you like to call it.
    What will Dinu pick out of his own hat next time?

    > all images © by Alexandra Boanta<

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    'Special Moment'© by Bubi Canal, NYC
    As you know, fashion has felt the fascination of exotic and
    faraway folklore ever since Sergei Diaghilev's 'Ballet Russes'
    debuted in Paris in 1909 becoming a prime source of design
    inspiration. Countless ethnic influences can be easily traced
    throughout the 20th century with different periods, from the
    Orientalist fad of 100 years ago to the 1970s and the latest
    African influences, in which ethnic style became 
    in effect a mainstream look.

    from 'Far' editorial © by Addminimal creative studio
        photo © by Dobrin Kashavelov

    from ”Multiethnic Gallery” editorial, Vogue Italia,
        January 2013 © by Paolo Roversi

    both images from 'Cocktail'© by Namsa Leuba
            for WAD magazine n° 53 
    The ethnic touch - provided by African multicolored patterns,
    block-printed fabrics, Ghanian kente cloth or by Asian silk
    clothing, indigo dip dyeing, mythical dragons, lush florals
    and fierce tigers - can actually spice up a look as in 
    jewelry as in fashion. Indian, Chinese, Japanese and African
    cultures widely shape the Western world's fashion industry
    (Mexican and Native American styles included) repeatedly
    setting enduring trends that know neither gender nor age
    strongly influencing designers, stylists and visual artists
    as well as editorials and photo shoots.

    © by Namsa Leuba from 'The African Queens' series,
           New York magazine, August 2012 
    Jean Paul Gaultier's couture s/s 2013, photo © by
    Manon Kündig's 'Bowerbird', © by Michaël Smits
        see 'finders keepers'
    Maison Martin Margiela's haute couture s/s 2013,
         photo © by NowFashion
    from 'Ancient Songs of Praise'
          © by Giampaolo Sgura for Vogue Japan, May 2014 issue
    Let's celebrate this weekend the never-ending charm of the
    ethnic mood through a selection (obviously personal hence
    incomplete) of
    beautiful pictures as a matter of preservation
    of indigenous cultures, traditions and techniques worldwide
    as well as the right key to blur even more the intercultural
    barriers we still have to deal with in our 
    multiculturally growing societies.

    from 'Ancient Songs of Praise'
          © by Giampaolo Sgura for Vogue Japan, May 2014 issue

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    Thankfully, lots of new fashion talents keep on growing
    up in war-torn Ukraine and their work is more and more
    part and parcel of the global fashion biz. Kiev-based
    young fashion designer, stylist and visual artist
    Yana Chervinska studied at the local National University
    of Technologies and Design graduating last year 
    soon after the creation of her own label lately 

    Chervinska's latest collection is a skilled exercise in
    shapes and colors, a compendium of her understanding
    of clothing through the glass of art and design history,
    namely the paintings by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood 
    (even if the beautiful model, Evgenia Migovich, to my
    eyes looks like a pop Alice in Wonderland coming
    back from afternoon tea wearing a hat as a souvenir),
    that emphasizes her innovative approach making visible
    the aesthetic research behind it: supple pale-toned outfits
    with sinuous lines, sculpted volumes, embroideries and
    pleats worn with gorgeous soft wizard-like hats and
    chunky coordinated platforms. A true statement 
    of simplicity and straightforwardness.

    > all images © by Yulia Zhdan, styled by Yana Chervinska <

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  • 07/24/14--13:06: don't worry, be happy!

  • I met the YÒUYÒU label thanks to a friend's advice:
    gifted Singaporean designer Max Tan (click his tag
    to look at his works) dropped hints that I would appreciate
    the brand's work which is marked by ”a quiet differentation,
    an understated sophistication” as their motto goes.
    YÒUYÒU is a ready-to-wear label aiming at bringing
    forward ”a fresh perspective to the day-to-day wardrobe
    of contemporary women, with foremost focus on design,
    quality and aesthetics, offering classic pieces styled with
    a modern twist” the designer duo behind it reveals.

    YÒUYÒU is the brainchild of designers Jac and Zhiying:
    ”Jac has a background in fashion design while Zhiying
    used to work in the Central Business District. They met
    when both of them landed themselves in the fashion
    industry and through conversations, found a lack of
    options for young working professionals to dress up
    for work, while retaining a youthful vibe and energy.
    Thus, YÒUYÒU was born...”

    YÒUYÒU's fall-winter 2014-15 collection, called
    'Don't Worry, Be Happy!” shows spry outfits in a basic
    palette made of black & white and bright blue with a
    touch of cool gray for few woollen pieces: tight comfy
    clothes ”designed with 'You' in mind” as they declare,
    ”for youthful or those who are young at heart, who seek
    a breath of fresh air in their day-to-day wardrobe.”

    A lively take on everyday fashion (you're 
    absolutely free to whistle Bobby Mc Ferrin's 
    eternal tune on the way).

    > all images  by Gavin Yeoh Photography<

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    'Mother', photo © by Kenji Mimura
    I went into a speechless rapture when I cast my eyes
    on the jaw-dropping artworks by young Japanese artist,
    painter and muralist Maki Ohkojima; not only with her
    fine paintings but chiefly with her murals. Born in
    Higashikurume city, western Tokyo Metropolis, Maki is
    a School of Fine Arts graduate who's been constantly
    inspired by Mother Nature developing through the years
    a sumptuous narrative style through her own 'off the wall'
    technique, a style she calls ”the mural beyond the frame.”

    The Big Monkey that ate the sun' on its wall
     'The Big Monkey that ate the sun' framed painting
    details from 'The Big Monkey that ate the sun'
    Making 'Monkeys shout and sing', photo © by Serge Koutchinsky
    colorful details from 'Monkeys shout and sing',
          photos © by Serge Koutchinsky
    Ohkojima is widely known for her paintings that sprawl
    out of their canvases and frames to decorate the walls
    around them in intricate hand painted tapestries of lush
    foliage, birds and animals: an abundance of wildlife,
    exquisitely detailed and sheer as an openwork. 
    When drawing her pictures, Maki always thinks that she's 
    merely drawing ”one part of a larger world and narrative” 
    as she declares, and that's why she goes beyond the canvas,
    making ”the land and the picture further connected, 
    and one piece of scenery, which I could not see 
    before, starts to emerge.”

    The Time Flying' Unknown Black Road with details,
          photo © by Kenta Yoshizawa
    'Starsong' detail
    Making 'In the Forest', photo © by Kenji Mimura
    'In the Forest' series on display, photo © by Kenji Mimura
    detail from 'In the Forest', photo © by Kenji Mimura
    Mother figures, tangled trees growing out of skulls housing
    wide-eyed and screaming monkeys and fairy-tale creatures
    that make me think both to Dante's Divine Comedy and
    the highly detailed works of Hieronymous Bosch, look true
    to life within the luxuriant setting yet her vibrant hues
    become darker in 'more Mexican' works like 'The Time
    Flying' Unknown Black Road (when it comes to murals
    Mexico's tradition can't never be ignored)
    with inky tones,
    spider webs, bones and applied solid birds. Ohkojima
    has traveled the world painting murals for the Wall Art
    Festival in Ganjad village (Dahanu Tehsil), Maharashtra,
    India where Japanese and Indian artists gathered in
    February 2013 to show the power of art and to make
    learning more fun. She came back a year later and
    found her murals alive and well: a proof that
     her art is far from being transient!

    A Tree Narrates the World', WAF, Ganjad
            photos © by Toshinobu Takashima
    'Let's Talk About the Story of Big Sky', WAF, Ganjad
          photos © by Toshinobu Takashima
    'Let's Talk About the Story of Big Sky', WAF, Ganjad
       photo © by Toshinobu Takashima
    'Big Sky' one year later, photos © by Toshinobu Takashima

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    A picture is worth a hundred words, nevertheless
    you've got to read the story behind it to grasp what
    you're staring at: here comes the hopeful story of
    young earthlings living in a dreary epoch but dressed
    to the nines by London-educated Korean designers
    Steve J and Yoni P who graduated from Central Saint
    Martins and London College of Fashion respectively
    to establish in due course the eponymous upscale
    label which is mostly focused on character printing
    expressing ”its unique wit and characteristic through
    high casual and contemporary taste embedded in
    fashionable outers, denims and silky 
    and feminine dresses.”

    'Steve J and Yoni P' provides a sophisticated take on
    streetwear through collections inspired by social and
    even political issues stressing the need for freedom
    in everyday fashion through gripping design ideas and
    a good sense fo humor. The label's fall/winter 2014-15
    collection, called 'Nevertheless Time Goes', has been
    conceived by the clueful duo as ”the story of a hopeful
    journey of young people living in a depressing era.”

    'Nevertheless' combines prints and patterns with florals,
    pinstripes and camouflage in appealing outfits: comfy
    patterned overcoats and biker jackets are worn over
    knee-length polka-dot dresses while faux fur is used
    for fleecy jackets, mittens and clutches in a palette of
    black and ivory, green and navy with touches of khaki
    and glitter. All images from Steve J and Yoni P's
    collection campaign from Seoul fashion week's
    website, uncredited photographer, alas.

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    Barcelona-based designer Miriam Ponsa takes us
    to an Arabian journey with her latest collection: the
    graduate of Southampton University, UK, whose
    collections are born and bred products of Catalunya
    - each garment is produced in local workshops
    strengthening ”values like endeavor, teamwork and
    authenticity are important to her as well as the recovery
    of traditional handicraft techniques”
    - emphasizes
    once again her distinctive approach as well as 
    her social commitment.

    Miriam Ponsa's s/s 2015 ”Dones Mulas” (mule-women)
    collection is also an outcry of dissent being inspired
    by the women porters of Melilla - the Spanish enclave
    in northern Morocco - who smuggle heavy loads of goods
    across the border in conditions of semi-slavery (some of
    them make 3 or 4 trips a day carrying up to 80 kg. tightly 
    wrapped around the body) and that's why hand woven
    slings, i.e., ribbons and laces play the leading role: ”the
    pieces are created using the arts of basketry, macramé,
    rug weaving, braiding and knotting. The knotted strings 
    symbolize the porters and the condition of slavery 
    they are subjected to” she explains.

    Clothes and backpacks of her mule-women are made
    from cotton 'Cotó Roig', 'Red Cotton', the project devised
    by two women, Rosa and Ángela, soon after the
    murderous accident in a textile factory in Bangladesh,
    to prevent cotton grown in Spain to go to Asian countries
    prior to come back exported in cheap quality garments.
    Cotó Roig provides sustainable homemade threads to
    Catalan tailors and designers controlling the whole
    process from farming to manufacturing without the
    exploitation of natural resources and vulnerable workers.

    Miriam's 'Dones Mulas' was recently awarded the
    '080 Award' at the14th edition of 080 Barcelona Fashion
    week, the annual event that highlights Catalonia's
    creativity showcasing the work of renowned 
    designers and budding talents.

    Miriam Ponsa posing with the 2014's '080BFW' Award
    all images © 080 Barcelona Fashion

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    Zita Bettina Merényi is a young Hungarian designer
    who developed an innovative technique which provides
    the ”sterile purchased fabrics a new aesthetic and
    functional changes” as she declares introducing her
    MA (in fashion and textile design) graduate collection
    at the renowned MOME, Moholy Nagy Mûvészeti
    Egyetem, Budapest's University of Art and Design.

    Her 'Provo-CUT' collection ”is a coat collection where
    I use soldering rather than tailoring lines which look
    like scars, reflecting on the long term and temporary
    traces of mankind on Planet Earth and on their own
    body, just like scarification tattos”
    Zita told the press,
    ”these scar lines generate very new forms, which 
    are plastic, sculptural and look beautiful 
    and strange at the same time.”

    Her efforts to weld together theory and practice led
    Zita to carefully build by hand (pretty impressive, huh?)
    all her experimental garments: instead of sewing together 
    sections of gray neoprene, Zita made use of heat to fuse
    the polymeric material into eye-catching oversized coats
    with protruding hems and fluid lines looking like rubbery
    suits of armor and was brave enough to make slits one
    by one - weeks of laborious, painstaking work, a sort of
    meditation she recalls - in long satin dresses with the
    soldering iron eventually painting their edges. 
    ”I injure the textiles but then I heal up the holes 
    with a layer of paint” she wittily says.

    Zita also used laser cutting in some long gowns to get
    more detailed patterns or dangling narrow strings in
    see-through looks, yet her carving technique creating 
    horizontal, vertical and diagonal textures subtly evoking
    body marks give a brand new feel to tech materials:
    definitely a scarless talent to keep a sharp eye on.

    > all images © by Zsolt Ficsór<

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    Glad to be back with the amazing creations of Robert Wun,
    a young Hong Kong born designer who settled down to
    London where he undertook a womenswear BA course
    at London College of Fashion graduating in 2012 with
    'Burnt', a collection of burning fabrics incorporating the
    asymmetrical defects seen in butterflies and moths which
    instantly became the hallmark of his design ingenuity.
    Robert briskly developed a sophisticated, a bit futuristic
    vision ”through innovative manufacturing yet with uncompro-
    mising attention to traditional values” as he states.

    ”The chaotic interplay between Nature and artificial forms
    is the centre of the design ethos through resourcing in the
    novelty of nature and the revolutionary forms of the artificial
    world...” he introduces his own approach to high-end clothing
    which is a constant play with proportions, curved lines,
    geometrical shapes and gorgeous details. Robert Wun's
    AW 14-15 collection, called 'Volt', is a tribute to Japanese and
    African tailoring that explores ”the discovery of energy and how
    it interacts and inspires us and our culture practices...” he told
    the press adding that ”Japanese and African are the two main
    resources regarding the silhouette and the ideas I developed
    are actually based on the admiration of those cults for the 
    sun as the main source of energy in the universe.”

    Visually striking, 'Volt' examines nature's inborn energy showing
    original garments plenty of tailoring ideas and details worn over
    incredible mannish platform boots in pony skin referencing ice
    skating boots while nylon tubes suggest the veins inside our
    body in two couture dresses aptly called 'the Vein Dresses'.
    Wun's manifest adeptness has been recently recognized by
    the world of cinema, he came to create lightweight suits for
    an advert directed by renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Wong
    Kar-Wai and was approached by the makers of 'Hunger Games'
    as the guest designer of 'Mockingjay', the third chapter of the
    story designed so far by Vivienne Westwood and Sarah Burton.
    Wun has definitely the style it takes!

    > all images © by Sebastian Abugattas<

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    Today's the day of a new Spanish talent to show clear
    signs of future success: born in Pamplona, the capital
    city of the Navarre region, Jon Mikeo moved to Barcelona
    to study at FD Moda, the Fashion Felicidade Duce design
    school; became finalist in different fashion contests such
    as 080 Barcelona Fashion and CreaNavarra; gained
    internship at the revered Santa Eulalia for his tailor training
    and came to receive a scholarship to sharpen his skills at
    London College of Fashion specializing in womenswear
    while making practice at Agi & Sam and Panos Yiapanis.

    Mikeo's graduation project, called 'Diecinueve Segundos',
    '19 Seconds', ”is born and defined by tradition, nostalgia
    and pain. An intimate, sophisticated and avant-garde collection
    that expects to catch the attention where volumes, embroideries
    and patterns play a sensorial role”, Jon declares introducing
    his dramatic garments: wide-brimmed hats and hooded capes,
    knitted cardis and trousers, sort of parachute dresses worn 
    over opera gloves with gripping details like tiny embroideries,
     fringed hems made of dangling wood sticks in a coulisses galore.

    '19 Seconds' provides a wistful feeling tangling up past and
    present in a convincing approach which has recently been
    lionized again: during China fashion week, Jon won the
    Hempel's international competition for young designers
    organized by Hempel Group with China Fashion Association
    as 'the best newcomer' and was lately hailed as the 'best talent'
    at the MODAFAD Fashion Awards 2014. Mieko is indubitably
    an out-and-out talent who's about to reach stardom 
    and I bet he'll do it right in 19 seconds!

    > all images © by Javier Ávila<

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    Young fashion jewelry designer Qian Yang, the mastermind
    behind the 'YQY Jewellery' label, graduated from London
    College of Fashion with a breathtaking collection all played
    around the concept of 'repair' through the Japanese art of
    'Kintsugi', the fixing of broken pottery with laquer or gold
    highlighting cracks and repairs as typical events of the
    object's life in order to embrace the flawed and imperfect.

    Called 'The Ceramics Repair Collection', the impressive set
    shows second-hand and already broken porcelain pieces
    repaired with 24-karat gold plated metal. ”It is a collection 
    full of fun and I added extra preciousness to these ceramic 
    pieces” Qian unassumingly declared, yet her gold-dipped
     porcelain figures look wondrous.

    > all images © YQY Jewellery, from the label's fb page<

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  • 08/28/14--12:47: Ooh, glossy lady

  • Valeska Jasso Collado is a young fashion designer
    born in Hamburg who entered London's University of
    Westminster attaining her MA with a playfully brave
    graduate collection which is wacky and glossy as no
    other, plenty of gripping shapes and where pleats are
    bolted with steel screws and chrome washers.

    Deeply inspired both by the eye-popping postmodern
    aesthetic of the Memphis Group design movement
    established in Milan in the early 1980s by architect and
    designer Ettore Sottsass conceiving furniture and interior
    design from the point of view that 'form doesn't automatically
    follow function' and by the work of ceramic artist Ben Fiess,
    Valeska's ccllection looks like a style utterance 
    focused on voluminous yet clean shapes.

    She gave birth to her sculptural, glossy silicon-lacquered
    garments in pastel hues and quirky geometric silhouettes
    by skillfully combining metal, foam and latex. She started
    using foam to build her playful shapes but was soon in need
    to find a stretchy fabric mate to make them shine and she
    came to choose latex. Helped by her father, Valeska carefully
    developed her foam-latex showy experimental outfits with
    futuristic huge hoop skirts and step-in saggy dresses where
    outsized pleats in contrasting colors are smartly 
    fastened with screws and bolts.

    A stimulating collection which is actually a feast for the
    eyes, thus it couldn't go unnoticed: only four weeks after
    the college's graduate show, Valeska was offered a job
    in Paris by Jacquemus where she now lives hoping to
    start working on her own designs, too. She will certainly
    develop more wearable garments in all likelihood 
    with more comfortable materials from now on.

    lookbook images © by Marek Puć
    graduate show images (3,4,7) © by Evie Parazite

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  • 09/01/14--12:43: make love not fashion

  • Berlin-based designers Karen Jessen, Anna Bach and
    Luis C. Zuniga are the masterminds behind Benu Berlin,
    a label which is considered the herald of eco fashion
    using exclusively upcycling techniques or materials from
    textile surfeit. Karen started off as a sustainable designer
    with the much lauded 'Diploma' collection turning worn
    shirts and jeans into 'street couture' garments building
    the basis of Benu Berlin's approach.

    ”We love to experiment with different techniques like
    braiding or macramé and to get inspired by the soul of
    every item; special stitching, washings and handcrafted
    details” the B.B. design team declares adding that ”all 
    the items are developed and produced in our manufactory
    at Benu Ranch. Even scraps turn into elaborate fabric
    manipulations and structures. Benu Berlin proposes a
    diagonal view on fashion by creating expressive textures
    from decomposed and disused materials the designers
    reintegrate into a cycle which otherwise would have 
    been disrupted in the ever accelerating process 
    of buying and throwing away.”

    > campaign and lookbook images © by Ryuichiro Louis Iijima<
    The eco-label's first ever RTW collection for s/s 2015, wittily
    called ”Make Love Not Fashion”, debuted on the runway of
    'Showfloor Berlin', the Berliner catwalk of Berlin fashion week,
    showing unique crafted pieces: old military apparel converted
    into lovely everyday garments, plissé made from discarded
    parachutes and structured leather creations in coral, lime 
    green and earthy hues. Benu Berlin definitely knows how 
    to turn sustainability into the latest fad!

    > catwalk images © by Mehdi Bahmed<

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  • 09/02/14--13:20: eco-friendly fantasies

  • The growing design philosophy of sustainability is far
    from being just a trend; more and more fashion designers
    are spearheading eco-conscious methods of production
    with minimal waste and environmentally friendly materials.
    London-based Korean designers Gyo Kim and Yuni Choe
    can be rightfully included: the gifted duo behind womenswear
    label 'Gyoyuni Kimchoe' skillfully combines sustainability
    with luxury showing their ”respect of life and nature creating
    modern sustainable fantasies and eco-friendly myths 
    out of inspirations from art history, narratives and 
    contemporary issues” the label's manifesto goes.

    Gyo Kim and Yuni Choe met in New York where Gyo Kim
    was studying fashion at Parsons School of Design moving
    afterwards to London for Yuni Choe to start studying at
    Ravensbourne College of Art; they both fine-tuned their
    skills at Central Saint Martins. Focused on sharp tailoring
    and dramatic draping, 'Gyoyuni Kimchoe'”produces
    experimental collections for women of unique personalities”
    through androgynous garments plenty of ideas and surreal
    details that utterly deserve the Fashion Scout's Merit Award
    for the spring-summer 2015 season: they will showcase a
    fully sponsored catwalk show at the upcoming London
    fashion week where their quirky outfits will patently 
    have an unalloyed success.

    all images © by GYOYUNI KIMCHOE
    from Fashion Scout & Vogue UK websites