Friday, December 17, 2010

To respect, but to reinterpret

Anybody appointed to revitalize a 70-year-old fashion house that has been through hands of various owners and designers would be under great pressure. Rodolfo Paglialunga, a former designer at Prada was told to re-launch an idea of fashion that is contemporary, without forgetting the outstanding aspects of its history, the history of Vionnet.

Madeleine Vionnet's trademarks—handkerchief hems, halter-necks, and form-fitting silhouette captured the most beautiful aspect of classical Greek aesthetics: the body and movement. The code decided by the new owner—drapes, asymmetry, and geometry—however, are easier to be deciphered than to be reinterpreted.

In the fashion world of 4D technology, live-stream filming and more experimental marketing tactics to come, generating excitement whilst staying true to the legacy may be a daunting task. If any narrative and commentary beyond the clothes themselves better underlie the inherent authenticity of the fashion house, I think Madeleine Vionnet’s very own perspective of fashion may provide a rooted standpoint for interpretation: “There is something superficial and volatile about the seasonal and elusive whims of fashion which offends my sense of beauty.”

References: NYTIndependentpsfk

Vionnet's handkerchief dress, 1920

 Vionnet Salon in Paris
Madeleine Vionnet
Vionnet under Rodolfo Paglialunga

 Carey Mulligan in Vionnet

Friday, December 10, 2010

A trench of four cities

Although certainly not at the same scale, and perhaps not even in the same genre as the films that the Fashion Film Festival includes, 4 x 3.1 presents a modest debut of Phillip Lim’s collaboration with young artists.

The opportunity to collaborate with Lane Crawford was presented to Phillip Lim, which was no less than a quick entry prelude to the flagship store in Hong Kong under plan for 2011. As chief executive of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Ms. Wen Zhou, who started 3.1 Phillip Lim at age 31, sees Hong Kong as a hot spot for opening the first location in China—a good reason to choose a Hong Kong based photographer Victoria Tang, daughter of the founder of Shanghai Tang, to shoot one of the quartet.

“There is a real mysterious aura that comes from a woman wearing a trench”, said Phillip Lim. The white trench, with feminine bow detail—a trademark of the designer, wonders through the streets in four cities: HongKong, Beijing, Paris and NYC. If only the white trench could make into a film with a mysterious heroine character, designed to fit with the distinctiveness of the clothing line (Rodarte for Black Swan as the most recent endeavor), it could be more memorable.

Reference: Dazed, WSJ

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Drawing fashion

“Drawing Fashion” show (Nov3-Mar6 2011) at Design Museum in London

Back when the covers of magazines were not glossy with processed and polished headshots of celebrities, the marketing approach of fashion industry was centered on visual luxury and the form of art. Depicting from a turban by Paul Poiret to the simultaneous fashion by Sonia Delaunay, Lepape graced Vanity Fair and Vogue till the 30’s; Gruau’s Dior advertisement brought the “New Look” of the 40’s; and Antonio Lopez shows fashion the energy and movement of life in the 70s.

There are too many magazines printed now in a desperate attempt to keep readers’ interest, said Colin McDowell, who curates the “Drawing Fashion” show at Design Museum in London. Lacking the creative collaboration between fashion designers and the artists (The recent attempt of fashion and art team up at MoMA PS1 seems more appropriate for fast fashion at an amusement park.), the next New Look may have to wait much longer to come.

Lepape for Poiret

Lepape for Sonia Delaunay


René Gruau for Dior

Antonio Lopez: Joanne Landis Carnegie Hall Studio
New York Times Magazine (1967)

"Shanghai" exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Loss of Innocence

Following his Loss of Innocence collection, Kinder Aggugini was guilty as charged to inaugurate Macy’s designer collection February 2011.  Watch out Frankie Stein, you and your Monster High buddies no longer have the darkest outfits on the block.

Kinder Aggugini has taken little pretty children’s dresses, opened them up at the seams and inserted darker fabrics. He may have had Leigh Bowery’s performance on the mood board when choosing the macabre and juxtaposing fabrics.

Will Frankie Stein’s cut-out fabric be too unbearable for the lightness of the princess’s dresses? Or will the doll spring dresses be too innocent for the Monster High society?

Kinder Aggugini's S2010 collection
Photo credit:

Monday, October 25, 2010

SUPER: “One year later”


Blazer buttoned, tie straightened, maroon beret fixed. The ensemble of the Halloween costume pays tribute to the person who writes nothing but stylish films.

Yiba Jaba
What’s the secrete, Wes Anderson?

Mr. Anderson
The secret?

Yiba Jaba
Yeah. You look like you’ve got it all figured out.

Mr. Anderson
I don't know. I think you just gotta find something you love to do,
then do it for the rest of your life.

From Spoke Art's show in San Francisco: Spoke Art
Best blog anniversary gift from Spoke Art: 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tradition, Innovation and Translation

The fashion of tomorrow has always seemed more lovely than the fashion of today to the “king of fashion”, Paul Poiret  in the 30s. Poiret would find the upcoming show in Barbican endeavoring to convey the same type of loveliness. The oxymoronically titled exhibit—Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion—opens in London this week featuring designers including Issey Miyake, Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe, etc.

The galleries are arranged into four sections: In Praise of Shadows; Flatness; Tradition and Innovation and Cool Japan.

Do not expect a delivery of Japanese tradition as interpreted in Paul Poiret or Alexander McQueen or Quentin Tarantino who employed the language of orientalism. The non-Japanese designers inspired by the kimono create theatrical possibilities of visual effects, but the translation seems, insistently, a bit word-for-word. Rei Kawakubo’s monochromatic black may not indicate much Japanese revitalization. In her ingenious world however, Kawakubo is holding a Hattori Hanzō sword of creation and fighting the battles she wants to fight.

Reference: interviewmagazine

 Paul Poiret's kimono inspired dress, and kimono coat
Björk in McQueen's kimono
Photo credit: xolondon

 Quentin Tarantino in tuxedo-kimono

Irving Penn's queen Amidala in kimono