Ch-ch-changes, as Bowie would put it, are afoot at Paris College of Art.
At the PCA Atelier, the school's boulevard Voltaire location in Paris' 10th arrondissement, there is a subtle tension in the air as the end of the semester approaches and the graduating class prepares for its moment, the Golden Thimble Award which will distinguish one designer as the crème de la crème. More than any other year, this moment is bittersweet, as the seniors prepare to bid farewell to their studies, and the rest of the school anticipates the changes brought on by its planned expansion. Come next fall, students will enjoy the PCA Design Center on rue Fenelon, a 2,550 square meter facility complete with new expansive spaces for studying, collaborating and exhibiting. This move serves as the opening line of a new chapter in this school established in 1921 as the Paris Ateliers and which has weathered world events and changes in the creative world with the elegant ease of a grande dame. "Today, we wish to underscore our evolution from an elite study abroad program into a fully independent college of art and design, and embrace our unique and independent identity," says Dr. Linda Jarvin, Dean of "PCA", as it is known informally. This sentiment is shared by former Jean-Paul Gaultier President Donald Potard, who is the Fashion Chair of the school, as he adds "the addition of the Design Center, and building upon our tradition of excellence we will make Paris College of Art the undisputed international leader in Fashion Design education in Paris.”
In less than a week's time, Juliana Fadl, Diana Christie, Maram Aboul Enein, Alysha Dalamal, Sayana Gonzalez-Agtseribbe and Alexandra Lloyd will be presenting their final collection to a jury of fashion professionals presided by Chambre Syndical guest designer Yiqing Yin - currently making headlines at the Cannes Festival as festival President, Audrey Tautou, stepped out in one of her creations for the opening night. But for the young competitors, such public displays are still a far-off dream, and their immediate concerns are confined within the walls of the 16 bis boulevard Voltaire. Only one will walk away with the Golden Thimble, but this seems almost besides the point as we meet these young designers working in their atelier on their models.
Immediately striking is the individuality that emanates from six collections. Although each has their own work space within the atelier, zoning is not spatial, it's conceptual and even on a table overflowing with semi-finalized works, it isn't difficult to tell where one stops and the next begins. And in a moment where fashion is becoming an increasingly open and world-spanning game, a strong aesthetic identity is the key to grabbing attention of fashion insiders and trendsetters. Tune in on May 21st to view these collection and discover more about the 2013 Paris College of Art graduates.
- Lily Templeton
Nicholas Kirkwood has dazzled women for years with beautifully designed shoes of all shapes and sizes. Now men can enjoy creations from the German-born designer as Kirkwood has officially launched his new mens shoe collection.
Some might actually wonder how somebody can design up to 150 pairs of heels for solely one collection – expect lots of flashy wave-patterns and shapes for his upcoming women's summer shoes – next to his numerous design collaborations, including Karl Lagerfeld for Fendi recently, and still find the time to work on a new line. “My biggest wish at the moment would be to start a men's line,” stated Kirkwood last season, during his last Spring-Summer 2013 presentation. “I just started to work on it, so we'll see. In any case, they're going to be for the boyfriend of the girl who wears my shoes.”
And Kirkwood was not kidding: his new men's line matched so well to his modern Cinderella footwear, that women would actually feel comfortable sporting these masculine shoe creations as well. The designer's signature style, his architectonic shapes, clear lines and geometries, were interpreted through a small yet promising selection of men's chelsea boots, derbies, oxford shoes and loafers.
The use of calf leather -brasilato to be more precise- suede leather, pony skin, and eye-popping grosgrain emphasized the unique look of Kirkwood's statement pieces. The came the subtle detailing -the white line bordering the soles of shoes were reminiscent of his past women's collections, that had the same detailing on the bottom of the heel. Colors were flashy enough to impress without overloading the shoe. Kirkwood played with hints of gold and copper, flashy yellow, shiny ruby red, next to colder shades of Forrest green, purple and baby blue.
Kirkwood showcased just the right blend of classical shoe shapes and edgy detailing. We're pretty sure that even his female fans will place some orders on a pair of zigzag printed or delicately studded loafer.
- Elisabeta Tudor
NOWFASHION's Emerging Talent Prize goes to the fashion film:
NOWFASHION's Selection of 5 fashion films is:
- The Lesson, directed by Federico Iris Osmo Tinelli
- Tomorrow's Lovers, directed by Folie à Deux (Christian Blanchard and Steven Protuder)
- My Daddy Was A Military Pilot, directed by Julia Brütsch
- Headpieces for Peace, directed by Jessica Mitrani (Grand Prix ASVOFF5 Winner)
- Get Richard, directed by Justin Anderson
Just in time for Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013, Ladurée launched yesterday its newest product to satisfy your appetite, limited-edition macarons by Lanvin. The Lanvin and Ladurée collaboration offers bubble-gum flavored macarons in a package designed by the brand’s designer Alber Elbaz.
A spokesperson from Ladurée said, “We like to collaborate with designers who allow us to develop the idea of gift-giving. They promote our image of beauty and delicacy.”
Collaborations between sexy sweet things and fashion are nothing new; a few years ago, designer Alexis Mabille (who opens his first store in Paris this week) designed a Yule log for the famous patisserie Angelina. Karl Lagerfeld has dressed up champagne and Diet Coke. Early this year, Jean Paul Gaultier was tasked to be the soda’s Creative Director, 13 years after he dressed a Piper Heidsieck bottle in a corset, following a long list of Diet Coke bottle designers like Kenzo Takada, Sonia Rykiel and Roberto Cavalli.
Fashion and champagne collaborations make even more sense than fashion and diet drink collaborations; they give off an air of glamour replete with stilettos and fur shrugged off after too many glasses of bubbly. Past collaborations include Emilio Pucci and Veuve Cliquot and Christian Louboutin and Piper Heideseck. Edgier than champagne, but more calorific, are vodka bottles by fashion designers. Absolut vodka tops Skyy, with designers like Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, and Gareth Pugh as part of the venerable list. Chocolate in fashion, perhaps the most commonly seen over the decades, either as collaborations or part of a brand, include Armani and Gucci; Brit designer Giles Deacon once created a dress for the Cadbury Caramel Bunny.
For the least fattening, fashionable way to run from show to show without fainting, there is water in fashion (Perrier by Agnés B, Christian Lacroix Haute Couture for Evian). More recently, a lower-end fashion brand has teamed up with a food magazine: Banana Republic and Bon Appétit. Where does it end? Lady Gaga’s meat dress not withstanding, we have yet to see bulky foods teaming up with a fashion brand. It might be a stretch to see a high-end bucherie with Chanel, not least because Karl Lagerfeld has said in interviews that he does not like to eat much.
Macarons and high fashion, however, make perfect sense: the treats are easy on the eye, and small enough for an extended manicured finger to pluck gently off a box, or as the French traditionally eat their little sweets, to delicately slice with a small, silver two-pronged fork. Macarons look like gems and their bite-size won’t immediately ruin your lipstick nor your size 2 figure.
Ladurée has collaborated with several brands in the past, including Tsumori Chisato, Matthew Williamson, and Marni. What makes the Lanvin and Ladurée collaboration different is its flavor (bubble-gum--youthful, fresh) and its packaging, which includes childlike illustrations by Alber Elbaz. These macarons aren’t precious, they’re ‘fashion’ and they’re fun, and they fit Elbaz to a T: “Everybody knows I like to eat macarons,” said Elbaz, “and then this collaboration came up.” It’s believable to imagine him taking a bite.
The Lanvin x Ladurée limited-edition box of 8 macarons in 3 colors is available in France. It will be available on September 28th in the UK, US and Japan, on October 2nd in Switzerland, and on October 1st in other countries.
- Ria de Borja
Among the gilded helicopter-youth and the city's infamous periferia, the 20 million inhabitants of Sao Paulo and its metropolitan areas are experiencing social schizophrenia in its full scope - and yet, a bunch of artists and fashion designers find creative ways to fight against stereotypes. As a matter of fact, Brazil's booming economy enhances promising cultural projects – the Spring-Summer 2013 edition of Sao Paulo Fashion Week was no different. Under the banner “A gente transforma” (“We make a difference”), a design project that encourages sustainability and ethical progress, Sao Paulo's Fashion Week made a statement on social cohesion, by supporting homemade brands and making space for emerging talents. A new look that suits Brazil's cultural metropolis very well.
Farewell caipi and bikini!
Limiting Brazilian fashion to sensual swimwear and attractive Gisele Bündchen looks is ignoring the fact that Sao Paulo's fashion – even if unknown abroad – is surprisingly successful with its own ready-to-wear. Local all-stars such as fashion designer Paula Raia, and the creative designer teams of Neon and Cavalera run and sell their clothing lines solely on the American continent and yet manage to achieve international acclaim. "Professionals of the fashion industry are rather unfamiliar with Brazilian fashion, but we're really doing well in South America and in the United States!” explains Neon's eccentric designer, Dudu Bertholini. "It's tricky to sell our collections abroad; the export costs across the Atlantic are just too expensive. It's a commercial constraint, but on the other hand, our clients here are so faithful, that we're actually wondering if we really need to develop our brand elsewhere". Paula Raia, who kicked off the 33rd edition of Sao Paulo Fashion Week, confirms: “Of course, I want my ready-to-wear to be sold worldwide, but I am happy with my very own shop and atelier in Sao Paulo for the moment. I haven’t found the perfect store yet, maybe I am too picky, but I'm very protective when it comes to my designs and the work done by my atelier”. Her Couture worthy collection presented in the designer's own store, impressed with airy dresses in nude hues, adorned with suggestive transparencies, delicate folding and precious stones. “Every single gown is handmade in our studio, most of my customers come for fittings directly to my place”, continues the womenswear designer. “I simply love being close to the women who wear my clothes. It's necessary if you want to keep a strong signature style; I wouldn't sell my collection anywhere, just to make a statement abroad”.
Maybe it's this subtle French-likely arrogance, that made the success of Sao Paulo's local designers – edgy designers like Alexandre Herchcovitch and fashion Wunderkind Pedro Lourenço, who both show in New York and Paris, are the best examples for local talents gone global. Boy George, 80s glamour and oversize prints are Herchcovitch's main inspirations, while Pedro Lourenço opts for technical fabrics and sporty yet elegant silhouettes, announcing military cuts and flashy pink hues for his next Spring-Summer 2013 collection that he will present in Paris. Meeting his parents, Reinaldo Lourenço and Gloria Coelho – who are both acclaimed designers in Brazil – reveals a lot about Pedro's take on fashion and confirms the success of this creative trinity. The son's rigid yet feminine shapes and body-awareness are clearly elements that you can also find in his father's collections, while the technical accomplishment and experimental approach to fabrics might have come from his mother's influence. And yet, Pedro Lourenço – whether influenced or not by his peers – found a creative path on his own, adding a certain nonchalance from his own generation to his promising portfolio. Fashion in Brazil? A family affair!
Melting pot is the new black
"We cannot ignore the drastic social inequalities in Brazil, but emerging cultural forms, like fashion or design projects are making a difference, by questioning the country's bi-polar division”, explains Marcelo Rosenbaum, the artist behind the “A gente transforma” interior and jewelry design project, who also happens to be a popular television presenter in his spare time. "A lot of artists like to study the various cultures found in Brazil, referring to Hispanic, African, Italian, Native American or even Japanese and German origins. We like to play with these multicultural aesthetics, in order to redefine Brazil's identity”, says Rosenbaum. Multicultural influences that make a seamless transition to Ronaldo Fraga's Spring/Summer 2013 collection. A former graduate of Parsons in New York and Central Saint Martins in London, Fraga was an accomplished milliner before dedicating himself to ready-to-wear. In this context, his collection reflects the colonial history of Brazil in a slightly satirical way, without pinpointing the political message though: "The first monochrome looks are made out white linen - a little tribute to the gringos - then, throughout the collection, African prints and tropical motives adorn waxed cottons, in order to show the strong bind between Brazilian and African cultures”. Furthermore, handmade jewelry, made from Açai seeds by craftsmen from the region of Paraná, encourages the use of local, traditional handicraft. As a final touch to his collection and reminiscence to his past work, Ronaldo Fraga opted for flashy hat creations. “It's an ode to tecnobrega”, explains the designer. “A contemporary music of Northern Brazil, which mingles international pop songs with electronic beats."
Less fashionable, but certainly just as innovative, is the artistic collective Davila, that turns the periferia – suburbs of Sao Paulo – upside down by creating a cultural platform in the neglected neighborhoods of the city. The movie director and photographer Rafael Ambrosio, a founding member of the group, uses fashion in the broadest sense of the term, by selling self-designed t-shirts in order to finance the bimonthly cultural events of his collective. The project Davila – which means “from the village”, as a nod to the suburbs – was born in 2008 and is the brainchild of various local groups of urban art, including graffiti and breakdance. "We simply wanted to bring together artists from the city and suburbs and give them a place to perform and show their work," explains Ambrosio. "As of today, our only way to fund these events is to sell our self-designed Davila-printed t-shirts, as we don't receive any help from the state. The income is meager, but it's enough to set up the event itself, so I'm rather confident! Despite of this, I realized the impact that a simple t-shirt could have on people: it brings various artists together and thereby creates a strong identity. Six letters that unite people from everywhere, to show that art is not only a matter of money, it's a social issue”.
Eco warriors set the tone
Osklen's designer Oscar Metsahvat, already brought the organic-trend to Brazil last winter, with his collection "Eco Warrior" and “Rio +20”, the recent United Nations convention on sustainable development just confirmed the trend once again: sustainability is here to stay! Fashion under the banner of ethical values and political-correctness turns out to be an interesting asset for a country with a booming economy and culture like Brazil's. The artist Marcelo Rosenbaum realized the potential of this new world wide state of mind and proposes a reflection on sustainable production: "Everybody talks about the changes we should make in terms of sustainable development in the textile industry, but we often forget that this form of sustainability already exists! This said, we must discover how to use it", tells Rosenbaum. Thus, he set up his design project “A gente transforma” in the region of Piaui, northeastern Brazil, where he worked together with 40 artisans of the community Queimada Várzea – one of the poorest in the region. Rosenbaum and his team thereby achieved an intriguing collection of interior design objects, solely based on materials and tools available on the spot, in order to support local handicraft and avoid usual supply and production chains that are not only expensive, but also harmful to the environment. "I wanted to support traditional handicraft in the most neglected parts of Brazil. These people have incredible skills, but they never had the opportunity to practice them for an international audience, like they do know. I want to breathe fresh life into Brazilian handicraft, by building up ateliers and setting up a proper business plan for them – it's not just a one-shot-project for charity, we plan for the future, and we want to stimulate the local economy”. Thus, from carnaúba straw, natural rubber and recycled tires, Rosenbaum and his atelier created simple yet sophisticated design objects and jewelry, that were recently exhibited at the 2012 edition of Design Week Milan.
In terms of ready-to-wear, we find a similar ethical approach in João Pimenta's clothing line. Since 2003, his collections rely on traditional tailoring, twisted with local craftsmanship. For his latest spring-summer 2013 show, Pimenta was inspired by the Brazilian epiphany feast, under the sign of religious kitsch: "Most of the pieces of my new collection are made out of natural fibers, by craftsmen from Minas Gerais. Going back to traditional know-how is not only favorable to nature, it is a necessity step in preserving the country's cultural identity."
Text by Elisabeta Tudor
Pictures by Giovanni Staiano
Jessica Michault, editor-in-chief of NOWFASHION interviews Didier Grumbach, president of the chambre syndical de la couture on the subject of Couture.
"Qui êtes-vous Charlie Le Mindu?"
Lady Gaga and M.I.A love him! Why? Because Charlie Le Mindu is a risky designer who experiments with the matter of hair to create clothing collections and whimsical wigs. His vision expresses something that is both beautiful and bizarre. For Charlie Le Mindu, women dominate the world and are the future.
An interview with Charlie Le Mindu, high hair styling designer.
A project by Rafael Jimenez & Artdicted.
Directed by Astrid de Cazalet & Richard Mothes .
Topic and Interviews by David Herman.
Produced by Super 8.
Caption by Mario Casarella.
"Qui êtes-vous Armand Hadida?"
Armand Hadida sees fashion as the basis of music theory. It's a set of personal expressions, based on color, materials, shapes and silhouettes.
For him, there are no borders where there is tenderness, will, vigor and passion.
An interview with Armand Hadida, founder of the concept store "L'Eclaireur" and artistic director of the Tranoï tradeshow.
A project by Rafael Jimenez & Artdicted.
Directed by Astrid de Cazalet & Richard Mothes .
Topic and Interviews by David Herman.
Produced by Super 8.
Caption by Mario Casarella.
"Qui êtes-vous Manish Arora?"
Manish Arora sees the importance in finding a balance between realizing your dreams and fantasies with fashion and creating clothing that can be used by consumers.
He reminds us that one must never forget one's origins.
An interview with Manish Arora, fashion designer.
A project by Rafael Jimenez & Artdicted.
Directed by Astrid de Cazalet & Richard Mothes
Topic and Interviews by David Herman.
Produced by Super 8.
Caption by Mario Casarella.
"The Louvre as a giant catwalk"
Jessica Michault's France24 segment from June 15th 2012 on cruise collections and Ferragamo at the Louvre.
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Isabelle Huppert described her photograph by Helmut Newton where she gently holds the front of her dressing gown closed as it slips down her shoulder, revealing the left side of her chest and the upper part of her left nipple, hair unkempt, no makeup, eyes staring into the camera, “It’s really a photo to jump into bed.” Many of Newton’s photos were not so coy; they involved a highly stylized and starkly sexual slant. The viewer sees the act of foreplay, but the mind is 2 steps ahead of the eyes: one is not led towards the bedroom but is already on the bed, whether a man tilting a glass of wine towards a woman’s lips while looking at another woman, the trio in cocktail attire; Charlotte Rampling half-naked and tied in string, flexing her leather-clad muscles; or even - within the context of all his works on display - a photo of a woman’s hands with a cooked sprawled chicken, one hand bejewelled, the other gripping its anus. Nude women bound, toting large guns, resting listlessly against a refrigerator, dead or dying by the pool and guarded by and stepped on by a German shepherd- these unconventional, sometimes violent topics, especially risqué in the popular publications they were published in, were key in Newton’s portrayals of women and their bodies. (He was sometimes called, “King of Kink”.)
The photographer’s works in the 1960s for the magazines Queen, British Vogue, and Elle were true to the fashions of the time, with short swingy dresses and mod colours. Some photos display movement but most are still; there is drama and emotion. Traces of impressionist, expressive aspects in his works lessen in the mid-1960s, when he signs on with French Vogue for the second time. The Newtonian oeuvres begin to emerge: sexual, visually striking, sometimes cold, and explicit. In the 1970s, women who had escaped traditional social confines and boldly used their sexual power - apparently the photographer’s favourite subject - become trademark Newton. Men seem to be an accessory; in photos of couples where the woman is clearly a man’s plaything, the woman holds power -if not in an overtly dominant manner, at least in a passive-aggressive one. In the 1980s, when excess and show-ism are more openly accepted, Newton’s works are par for the course in fashion photography. His portraits contain the grit and boldness for which he is already known.
The exhibit does not include the photographer’s more thought-provoking photos, such as the one where a naked woman stands unhappily, objectified amidst a movie with military officers (telling of the photographer’s past- he fled Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s to escape the persecution of Jews); or the one with a 1-800 number and a woman with her legs spread as if in an ad for prostitution; or a nude woman in an unkempt bedroom, pinching her nose violently with her head tilted backward, presumably due to drugs or sickness.
What we see in the exhibit is the focus of his works through the decades: fashion and glamour. His women were models and most of them displayed their behinds in lavish parlours. Most importantly, they were liberated: if some of them were blindfolded, bound, on the floor, or dead, they enjoyed being that way.
Helmut Newton, Mars 24 – June 17 2012, Grand Palais, Galerie sud-est
-Ria de Borja
Images courtesy of Fondation Newton
Spring is here to stay! Needless to say that the Arab Spring, initiated by Tunisia last year that spread over North Africa in a rush, set fire to the powder of the country's creative minds. The 4th annual edition of Fashion Week Tunis was held at the Acropolium of Carthage, a historical building and cultural institution that overlooks the city of Tunis, thereby providing a stunning setting for the fashion shows. Last year already, although the 3rd edition took place shortly after the January 2011 revolution, the organizers and designers were not to be put off by the political turmoil and actually used the euphoric post-revolution energy to make a creative statement.
Dorra Bouzid – reputed journalist and founder of the first afro-Arab feminine and feminist magazines (“Femmes et Réalités” / “Faiza”), who was personally decorated by French Minister of Culture and Communication, Frederic Mitterrand, back in 2010 – was amongst the audience of Fashion Week Tunis and proved herself as a fierce supporter of local artists and fashion: “Needless to say that journalists like me and artists in general had a hard time being censored during the regime of Ben Ali – we're therefor more than glad that we had our revolution and that his corrupt government no longer exists. This said, the current government is far from being what we expected. I feel like we went from one evil to another, but yet I'm confidant that Tunisian people will continue to go to streets and make a difference. In this context, young creative minds, such as fashion designers, are important as they form the voice of our country and therefor build our very own avant-garde”.
Under these circumstances, the revolution itself became a catalyst for the local designers, inciting them to show their work by being a mirror of society; to the delight of fashion bloggers like Louis Philippe de Gagoue, who sees in this trend a step forward towards bolder fashion. In this context, young Tunisian designer Ahmed Talfit, who recently graduated from ESMOD Tunis in 2011, presented his provocative second collection. After his first entitled “Nuclear Bomb”, that not only winked at the impact of the revolution, but was also referenced to Japan's Fukushima disaster, Talfit comes up with a strong second collection that was formed straight from the streets of Tunis, reflecting current socio-political questions. Talfit's woman is on a pedestal, wearing a tiara made of the shattered glass of the Tunisian Revolution or sporting a transparent Dishdash and is thereby representing the continuous emancipation of secular Tunisia – a picture that moved the cheering audience. Two-tone bodycon dresses come along with geometrical patterns, that emphasize the feminine curvy silhouettes, while brocade, satin and ruffles add a romantic touch to the heavily structured looks. Most notable are the mentioned accessories and embellishments: the glittery detailing that suggest sequined applications are made out of numerous pieces of broken glass collected from the streets of Tunis, right after last year's riots. “The Tunisian woman is a source of inspiration to me. I study her body, her behavior, and her desires trying to express all of this through my clothes. Some might call it deliberately provocative, but I simply want to show that art has no limits, even in Tunisia”, explains Talfit after his show.
Less eloquent, but still pleasantly refreshing were his fellow designers Ali Karoui and Seyf Dean Laouiti, both paid homage to feminine extravaganza with a hint of rock'n'roll attitude, through experimental yet glamorous looks, referencing contemporary bling and Galliano-worthy drama. But the local designers were not left amongst themselves; this year again, neighboring artists of all calibers supported Tunis’ emerging fashion scene. Young Casablanca-based designer Amine Bendriouich, who has made a name for himself with his sarcastic and witty take on fashion. His new collection “Winter in Afrika” is, according to the designer, a cheeky wink to the diktat of seasons in fashion that are - fulfilling an economic purpose, rather than following a real need. Beside the first interpretation, the designer points out another meaning: “People didn't even have the time to celebrate the fruits of the Arab Spring when they found themselves already dealing with the Theocratic Winter”, explains Bendriouich. “After one year struggling with the fear of theocracy, some people start to loose hope, but the most important thing is that they know that if a revolution was possible once, it is be possible twice and even more. It solely depends on their will”, adds the designer.
Last but certainly not least, everybody's darling Salah Barka who teamed up with jewelry designer Ferdaws Saadi, summed up the current socio-political phenomenon in Tunisia by analyzing the revival of religion within fashion. According to the designer – who chose to dress bearded male models in a contemporary, eye-catching way – the main purpose of his collection is to state that fashion shouldn't be restricted by personal believes, according to the designer “believe in whoever you want, but do it with style”. Sandra Fakhfakh, fashion buyer and owner of the boutique “SISI store”, dedicated solely to Tunisian designers, such as Salah Barka, brings it straight to the point: “The current government doesn't fulfill the expectations of our freedom loving citizens. We now have the impression that we have to fight for rights that we already acquired decades ago! But our creative minds won't give up to this, on the contrary, it keeps them going.”
- Photos by Tim Grenard
Ukraine, like most of the former soviet countries is a rather schizophrenic nation. While protestants gather in the heart of the city of Kiev to speak out against the ongoing and palpable tensions regarding the Tymoshenko affair and Yanukovych's government playing the “three wise monkeys” game, young designers express their commitment to their country and their independence in their own creative way, by participating in Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days. Behind this four-day event held at the Olimpiyskiy National Stadium of Kiev, you'll find two masterminds pushing the boundaries of Ukrainian culture: fashion journalist Daria Shapovalova and her partner Kazbek Bektursunov, who initiated MBKFD together with the aim of supporting the creative minds of Ukraine and promoting Kiev as a valuable destination for fashion devotees. A personal commitment that they've been maintaining with success – this Fall 2012 season of Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days was no different.
“It's important for me to grow within my country. Especially because I draw a lot of inspirations from its traditional customs. This time, it was all about our kitschy Ukrainian New Year's eve: the shimmery organza and fringes that change colors like multicolored fireworks or Christmas trees”, states Anna October one of the promising designers who held a runway show at MBKFD. While playing with more feminine, Lolita-ish silhouettes for the upcoming summer season, the 5th collection of young designer Anna October for Fall 2012 was indeed all about the appealing contrast between rigid, nearly austere silhouettes and jolly iridescent details. Off the catwalk, designer Ksenia Schnaider decided to replace the conventional runway show by a short film presentation entitled “Working Class” , with a controversial take on social assimilation emphasized through the repetition of analog paired outfits within the setting of an office building and protestors shouting leading the energetic soundtrack.
Sasha Kanevski on his end opted for a presentation instead of his usual runway show. The 28-year old designer, who sharpened his claws at Kiev's University for Technology and Design, drew his inspiration from smart biker-wear and impressed by setting his mens and womenswear collections into an apocalyptical Chernobyl-esque atmosphere. A thick fog accompanied by an eerie soundtrack embraced Kanevski's sleek and utilitarian outfits: sporty silhouettes, such as a khaki colored asymmetrical cinch dress and a flattering fabric-patchwork dress out of felted wool and alpaca mélange, come along with waxed cotton parkas and cycling shorts with oversized biker pockets, worn with a beret for the men and with high heeled nubuck boots for the women, made by shoe designer Ali Saulidi. Furthermore, none other than Bob Basset – the mask-designer reputed for his collaboration with Givenchy for Mens Spring 2011 – created a military inspired gas mask for Kanevski's collection. “I produce my clothes here, it's important to me, I want to show my support for local manufacturers”, explains the designer when asked if he relates to Ukrainian made fashion. Are collaborations with a bunch of designer, like Kanevski's, usual for young designers from Kiev? “I'm friends with a lot of designers from Kiev, but we all have a different style. I'm not sure we're all going in the same direction regarding design, but what I can definitely say is that fashion has become more and more popular in Ukraine lately. Everybody wants to be a part of it. I think we should all try to jump on the train and make the best of it in order to push our own industry.”
Aside from the runway shows and presentation area, part of Shapovalova's and Bektursunov's aim is also to give Kiev citizens who long for a broader knowledge of fashion media and its culture, a free educational platform in the form of multiple lectures held by foreign professionals during MBKFD. This season, Vogue Italia's Elena Bara talked about the impact of new media on a classical print magazine, while Adriano Sack, executive editor of Interview Germany, held a lecture about the “Online vs. Print”- phenomenon – and with the infamous Yvan Rodic aka Facehunter contributing with his knowledge of languorous street-style photography, no need to say that the lecture rounds were as informative as they were merry!
A few streets away from the Olimpiyskiy National Stadium, a well worth-watching cultural gathering point can be found: fashion store “Puré”. Founded by the eccentric Tatiana Kremenj, who also sells her very own menswear brand “Lecter” in her store, the former basement of a residential house was turned into an eye-popping fashion concept store. A worthy blend of international and Ukrainian designers come along with a wide range of accessories and a notable selection of fashion magazines. “I started with selling only British brands at the very beginning. Then I met a few local designers and we're proposing a mix out of international and national ready-to-wear”, describes Tatiana. The mascot of her store and brand is the gloomy fictional character Hannibal Lecter, there is no wonder that Petrov and his workshop Bob Basset created the scary mask creations that decorate the store. The founder of the brand confesses: “It's nice to see so many positive reactions regarding our work whether from big houses or unknown young designers. We started by collecting garbage materials or just found objects and we somehow put them together. Back in the day, we had to experiment a lot, as it was not easy to find the appropriate tools and materials during the communist regime, as you can imagine.”
Last but not least, we spotted two noteworthy young designers at Puré, who had our full attention: Yaroslava Khomenko and her brand RCR Khomenko, illustrator Dina Linnik both have a unique way of playing with surface and prints. While RCR Khomenko is all about thrilling colorful “Disneyland” inspired playful gowns, Dina Linnik's first collection introduced at last MBKFD, was about the mimesis of clothing prints with their surroundings. Now Linnik is going another way: “I focus a lot on fashion collages and illustrations. I tare picture pieces apart from fashion magazines, crop the pieces in different sizes and mix them together in a trompe-l'oeil way. The portraits look pretty much normal from a distance, but once you have a closer look you recognize the twist”.
- Elisabeta Tudor reports from Kiev
- Photos by Valerio Mezzanotti
Emerging British menswear designers now have a unique opportunity to increase their presence and show their work in Paris. Nineteen brands exposed their Fall Winter 2012/2013 collections at Le Loft during the Menswear fashion week in a great setting with music, a great atmosphere and fantastic menswear brands and J.W. Anderson brought us more experimental materials.
On display were nature inspired prints in 100% organic materials from Matthew Miller. Hinsworth also presented a eco-friendly collection of pieces created using recycled matter covered by hi-tech fabrics.
Christopher Raeburn showed his fun and functional jackets while Agi & Sam, an up and comer that ensures environmentally respectful items, de-structured the MA-1 bomber. Martine Rose de-structed the MA-1 bomber and brought us a collection of reinvented classics with modern cuts while William Richard Green’s collection of white, black and orange used minimal cool designs inspired by the late 80’s and 90’s while Lee Roach’s clean silhouettes reflected modern style.
KTZ’s plaid and gold fittings worked well for this season as the same influences were seen in the house of E.Tautz. Accessories were also out for the looking from the likes of Bernstock Speirs, Christopher Kane, Lou Dalton, Mr. Start, Omar Kashoura, Shaun Samson, Sibling, Junky Styling, Christopher Shannon and James Long.
A showroom that is sure to convince of all of the UK’s creativity in the world of menswear.
New York label Tibi thrives on osé contrasts, from colorful minimalism to a boyish take on Charlie’s Angels chic. It is hardly surprising that its founder and designer, Amy Smilovic, has crossed the ocean to handpick fresh muses.
Milovic is currently working a collaboration with British it-girl and Wonderland magazine (http://www.wonderlandmagazine.com/)editor Julia Sarr-Samois, and Swedish star blogger Elin Kling, whose blog Style by Kling (http://stylebykling.nowmanifest.com)has led her to design a collection for H&M.
Although the totality of the project has yet to be revealed, Amy sent us a peak of a shoot featuring Julia wearing Tibi Fall 2011, shot by Brooklyn-based photographer Reed Young (http://www.reedyoung.com/).
The behind-the-scenes images feature Julia running about in New York, hopping from studio to cab, wearing a notable shearling & leather bomber jacket, in her trademark, garçonne style. More to be revealed shortly.
“I always think a woman should dress in contradictions – youthful and sophisticated, masculine and feminine, bold and muted colors” says Amy Smilovic.
-NowFashion Editorial Team