Friday, December 16, 2011

On Trompe L’oeil


Mae West lip Sofa, photo credit: hitomimatarese

Mary Katratrantzou Fall 2008 Graduate Collection, photo credit: ozenweb

Prada Fall 2011 Mary-Jane shoe boots, photo credit: MTV

One could only wish, at the Christmas time, that it has been a surreal year -  that one has spun in a dress with giant pendant prints by Mary Katrantzou without breaking the neck, has strode on the Mary Jane shoe boots by Prada like a school girl, and has sat on a shocking pink sofa shaped like the lips of actress Mae West. Surrealism in fashion was debuted by Schiaparelli in 1927 and has been taking on new forms (or deformations) ever since then.

Schiaparelli’s bowtie sweater does not seem avant-garde after 80 years, but its acceptance then could be imagined in the way that the shoe boots by Prada are tolerated today. Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada both had truthful eyes for trompe l’oeil, and both experimented playing with beauty and ugliness, earning a side-by-side comparison at the Costume Institute of MET next year.

A fresh form of trompe l’oeil is the play with print and texture in the Fall 2011 collections by Christopher Kane and House of Holland.  Crochet is, all of a sudden, more gratifying and less granny when printed on leather.  André Breton said: it is true that we would not dare venture so far. But if even crochet could be charming again, perhaps fashion will, with years to come, dare venture further and further. 

Schiaparelli sweaters in 1927, photo credit: chrissystyles

Schiaparelli skeleton dress, photo credit:  twentythirtyforty


Comme des Garçons by Rei Kawakubo, AW 2009, photo credit: wallpaper
 Chirstopher Kane AW2011, photo credit: myfashionlife

House of Holland Fall2011, photo credit: Instyle UK

 Markus Lupfers, a dream trompe l'oeil dress for 2011 Christmas, photo credit: asos

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Very Gaga Thanksgiving

She said, she would go to school with her hair combed for a long time when she was little, her friend would say, why do you need to make up your hair? Only girls come to school, nobody will look at you. She said ,"I want to look like my mother".

Reference: ABC show "A Very Gaga Thanksgiving"

 Photos from: NYT

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You can’t judge a book by its cover

You have worn your favorite bands on T-shirts. You have put your favorite stickers on cars. Now there is a chance to carry your favorite books on clutches and minaudières. Olympia Le-Tan, daughter of renowned French illustrator Pierre Le-Tan, launched her label in 2009, crocheting covers of Catcher in the Rye and Lolita on bags. Utilizing no other than felt pieces from the handbags, Le-Tan and Spike Jonze made a stop-motion short: Mourir Auprès de Toi (French for “to die by your side” ).

Set in Paris’ iconic Shakespeare & Co, the short film knits through the bookshelves a simple yet adventurous story between Macbeth the skeleton and Mina Harker from Dracula. Soko’s voice for Mina Harker, even of one short line, added a perfect dose of obscurity to the story and there is no better song than her “Hump and Jump” for the tracking back of the film. 

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Can you judge a clutch by its flap?

Reference: i-D Slate

Friday, September 30, 2011

Gravity the Seducer


Every since Aganovich made their debut “Let’s Murder the Moonshine” in 2005, Aganovich & Yung back then, their runway show has been poetic, conceptual, and abstract. Sandwiched between well-known brands in fashion weeks in Paris and London, Aganovich, a newcomer full of theoretical inspirations, does not disappoint. From Italian Futurist F.T.Marinetti’s essay, to words from Jose Luis Borges stenciled in the bottom of runway board, Nana Aganovich translates the ideas into color palette, drapes, and texture.

Aganovich does not want to be labeled a “conceptual designer”. After all, to be conceptual and to be labeled conceptual is an oxymoron, isn’t it?

Ladytron does not like to be labeled either, to be labeled “electroclash”. None of the members of the quartet discusses meanings of their lyrics. Although disappointing, the songs are left imaginative -- abstract to be exact. Ladytron’s video and stage outfits present an eccentric and dark compassion, thanks to Aganovich’s dresses. When will Aganovich’s show have models striding electro pop with a collection entitled “Gravity the Seducer”?

Reference: Aganovich interview


 Aganovich SS2012

 Aganovich Spring 2012

 Aganovich dresses worn by Ladytron

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Super flat ballerinas

Sea blue in Vancouver on the Pacific Ocean and Venezia on the Adriatic Sea, who would have known that it is the color in the mind of Marianna Giusti, the creative director for AGL’s next collection. While still in high school, Marianna had the luxury of having her sketches picked up by her father, made into prototypes and included in the collection – a designer was born then.

Started from Montegranaro Italy in 1958, three generations has inherited the art of shoes in AGL and three sisters now head the design team. The family, with its insistence on traditional craftsmanship and also modern technology, has brought purify, femininity, and audaciousness to its signature super flat ballerinas.

Perhaps it is the stunning architecture and history in Italy that provokes every bit of sensibility, the artisans at AGL create their work, with the most sumptuous “nappa” leather, from the state of the art facility to the world.



Monday, July 11, 2011

Objective exhibitions?

Dresses from Madame Grès  (1903-1993) on display at the Musée Bourdelle in Paris.

Photo credit: Trendland

Is fashion exhibition worthy? If only the crowds in the museums answer the question. This summer, crowds are going to the openings in Musée Bourdelle in Paris for the Madame Grès exhibition, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for the “Savage Beauty” show, Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris for Hussein Chalayan, Pushkin Museum in Moscow for an “Inspiration Dior” exhibition, and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Jean Paul Gaultier show, … and the list goes on.

The moving exhibitions in museums around the world is straight forward – putting the dresses in the museums, better yet, juxtaposing them against relevant sculptures or paintings. Funding for these exhibitions, however, could be a complex subject. The director of Montreal Museum of Fine Arts insisted that the show in the museum had to be independently curated and funded; indicating that an exhibition mounted by a fashion house can hardly be objective. London’s V&A museum also adheres to a scholarly approach to fashion, as noted by its senior fashion curator, Claire Wilcox: “for me, objectivity is the key”. But Ms. Debo, the director of MoMu in Antwerp does not see problems of self-funded fashion exhibits in museums as long as there is an agreement of the collaboration.

After all, can a museum be just a showcase?

Reference: NYTIMES

 Balenciaga's religion influence
  Balenciaga's Francisco de Goya influence
 photo credit: fashionsconcretecatwalk

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nostalgia is Denial (Midnight in Paris Spoiler Alert)

One person's golden age is another's dreadfully boring present. The golden age, to the protagonist in “Midnight in Paris”, which he enjoyably bumped into, exists in the exciting Gatsby-like parties in the 20’s where he meets the Fitzgerald’s, Hemingway and Picasso. Sadly but inevitably, the golden age, to his almost lover, is in her own past with Edgar Degas and Gauguin in the 1890s. This is the problem of being thrown back in time, but of course, not a problem Salvador Dalí and Man Ray see.

“Nostalgia is denial, denial of the painful present”. The nostalgia shops have long been fashion’s favored references. The 70’s has been the contemporary’s golden age with its platform shoes, color blocking, and high-waist short shorts. The 20’s flappers with their sheath dress and bob hair had their own time of comeback too. It is perhaps inevitable that fashion in the present is never going to be as interesting as some age in the past.

Woody Allen, who still writes his screenplay on a typewriter, does not hide his nostalgia. If Woody Allen’s present that he deniably depicts will be looked back at as references, what fashion trend in the present would be intriguing enough when the golden age of fashion is searched for in the future?

Costume designer Sonia Grande searched the world's antiques