Folklore in Fashion

Focusing on comfortable fabrics and ethnic patterns, designers such as Valentino and Marc Jacobs sent a slew of folk-inspired pieces down the S/S runways during the recently passed fashion weeks.

Folk is often associated with a certain type of traditional music from the 19th century, which often encompassed a crowd of people playing their own instruments outdoors and just enjoying the moment and atmosphere with those around them. When talking about fashion, you can though forget all that; the folk trend now takes inspiration from the ancient traditions and cultures. It’s romantic, exotic and ethnic; with embroideries, patterns and beadworks. To bring the cultural history to the wardrobes of the 21st century women, all the details need to be perfectly balanced with the form and function, with contemporary construction.

From the catwalks to the streetstyle, the world all over is featuring the rise of folk-inspired vintage prints and silhouettes arising from different cultural influences.

Chiara Tiso 
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Style Suggestions: Rainy Days

When comes fall, comes rain. City life or country weekends, we’ve all been at the crossroads of aesthetics and function. This season we’re charging our wardrobes with the pieces that leave the struggle behind and head out, dancing in the rain.

Ring COICOI, boots Burberry, red trench Coach, dark coat and the bag Stutterheim.

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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Art/Fashion in the 21st Century

Fashion weeks have just finished and along with the many trends for next season, one could see a lot of references to art on the catwalks – from Prada‘s murales to Cèline‘s Brassaï, up to Louis Vuitton – and there would not probably be a better timing to present Art/Fashion in the 21st Century, a book that investigates on how fashion and art have been closer and closer during the new millennium. Written by Mitchell Oakley Smith, Alison Kubler and Daphne Guinness, the tome offers a perspective through 238 illustrations on the relationship between artists and designers and how they open and share their own field to the other.

The five thematic chapters the book feature several designer profiles, avant-garde projects and special interviews with leading figures in the art-fashion crossover. Acne Studios, Balenciaga, Chanel, Hussein Chayalan, Jean Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Issey Miyake, Prada and Juergen Teller are just few of the names in the book. Leafing through the book is like taking a trip inside the two most creative areas to understand how they can inspire each other and where is the limit between one and another.

Francesca Crippa 
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Story of a Classic: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Many great songs have been inspired by an unlikely source, we suppose. Though, probably no other of them has been inspired by such an unlikely source, that is, a very girly brand of deodorant. Yes, the inspiration for the title of Nirvana’s biggest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, a powerful, angst-driven Rock anthem that shook an entire generation out of their decade long slumber of 80’s caricature-like rock stars, came from a cosmetic product named “Teen Spirit”.

At the time the band was very much still crafting their sound, preoccupied with their indentity, what they should and should not be doing as a band, with the biggest predicament being how to remain genuine, true to themselves as artists, while being able to appeal to the masses. Bringing a range of almost polar opposites together in the quest for their unique aesthetic – such as soft and hard, slow and fast, heavy but melodic and angry but poetic – they managed to achieve exactly what they set out to with their second album Nevermind, where “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was featured. Drawing influence from other great Rock bands that had preceded them, and although again almost polar opposites, Nirvana kind of became an amalgam of the Beatles and Black Sabbath, which is exactly what Kurt Cobain once said to his band mates jokingly, in order to explain what he was going for musically. Additionally, by using the slow-hard dynamic exploited massively at the time by The Pixies, another group Nirvana had been deeply influenced by, they put together one of the greatest Rock albums of all time.

As for the title of the album’s biggest hit, the story goes something like this. Kurt’s girlfriend at the time used a deodorant named “Teen Spirit”, triggering a mutual friend of theirs, Kathleen Hanna, to create a somewhat historic piece of graffiti as a prank. “So one night we went out and we were all fucked up. It was me and Kurt and Kathleen Hanna. Kathleen had some spray paint and she spray painted ‘Kurt smells like teen spirit’ in Kurt’s room,” Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters lead vocalist and guitarist, Dave Grohl recalls.

A silly gesture that was made to tease Kurt, came to be a slogan for an entire generation.

Andreas Stylianou 
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The Art of Taking Tea

Few things seem more whimsical, luxurious or delectably enticing than a London afternoon tea. Fueled by a love of exotic blends, scones, unconventional cocktail accompaniments, overdressing and sandwiches I’ve uncovered five of the most beguiling afternoon teas you can enjoy in the English capital.

The Quirky Option
Tucked away behind the bustle of King’s Cross is a retro, art-filled and music loving venue that excels at being different. Drink Shop & Do serves up a Bellini accompanied afternoon tea that makes you wish you’d worn a few more of your grandmother’s pearls (and thought to curl your hair). It consists of simple sandwiches on vibrant bread accompanied by steaming sultana scones and homemade cakes that inspire you to be a domestic goddess. Homely, perfectly 50’s and wonderfully quirky (with wooden floors, a retro piano, cake laden counter and giant origami), this is afternoon tea with a DIY twist.

The Sweet Tooth Option
For a decadent, traditional and thoroughly friendly experience make for the Langham. This iconic London hotel, frequented by Oscar Wilde and a favourite of the BBC crowd, is ideal for those with a soft spot for the sweeter (or should that be finer) things in life. While being soothed by the melodic tunes of the hotel pianist you’ll dine upon glitter and rose adorned cakes designed to match the season and teas that are more than a little flavorsome.

The European Option
The Wolseley is an Art Deco hideaway that blends marble opulence, vintage elegance and a perfectly classic afternoon tea to create an Old World experience and keep the European café tradition very much alive. In this venue, watching loyal patrons pass a leisurely afternoon in their finery, hours simply slip away.

The Get Out of Town Option
Few things feel as fanciful as sitting by an open window, overlooking the fast flowing Thames, as the leaves begin to turn and you dine on macaroons the colour of a London sunset. Sinking further into a rich leather couch in The Bingham, a Richmond institution, you feel a million miles from the bustle of the city and, filled with lighter than air sandwiches and cheesecake that’s rather moreish, find it a tad difficult to suppress the urge to wander through water meadows. City meets country indeed.

The Designer Option
For something more fashion-focused make for the hallowed halls the Berkeley for Pret-a-Portea. Aimed at the London fashion set – who rarely conduct meetings over anything but afternoon tea (or cocktails) – this offering has a bit of a twist; the sweet treats are styled after key fashion looks of the season. Think Burberry trench cookies and Mulberry orange cake handbags – classic culinary bliss with a rather feminine feel.

Liz Schaffer 
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Costa-Gavras Does Not Like Happy Endings

Near the end of their talk at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last Tuesday night, host Paul Holdengräber leaned back in his chair and turned to Costa-Gavras. “One could say you’re quite interested in unhappy endings.” Gavras, the famed French-Greek filmmaker known for political thrillers like Z and Missing, revealed his distaste of the Hollywood tradition. “The little guy always wins,” Costa-Gavras said. “You go home feeling well and go to sleep feeling well. But that’s not real life.”

The talk was part of the Onassis Cultural Center’s Profiles series. Gavras’ new film, Capital, which opens at the end of the month in New York, takes Gavras’ hatred of political oppression into the financial realm. The movie explores the evils of capitalism, via a bank executive who lands in the CEO chair and immediately starts courting stockholders, firing underlings, and fucking up his family. Money, he explains to his distraught wife, makes people respect you. Unlike Wall Street, the little guys here not only don’t win, they get crushed. To research the film, Costa-Gavras poured over the financial pages, talked to bankers, and dove deep into economic history. One banker told him, “Democracy is a placebo. We belong not to the people, but to the most important stockholders. Because if we don’t do what they want us to do, they change us.” Fitting, then, that the first movie he ever remembered watching was Erich von Stroheim’s Greed.

Gavras has spent his life using film as a tool to expose political injustice. But now, at 80, he wants to make a musical, though he doesn’t know what about. (“If I knew,” he said, “I would have made it already.”) At one point in the conversation, Holdengräber asked Gavras, given his oeuvre, if he saw himself as a political filmmaker. “I don’t. I never accept the idea of ‘political film’. I think that all movies are political. I never say to myself, Ok, now I will make a political movie. That’s ridiculous. I say, this story interests me.”

Lane Koivu 
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Style Suggestions: Autumn Colours

With the Autumn breeze blowing through, let your wardrobe be inspired by the colour palette surrounding you.

Bordeaux: coat Marc by Marc Jacobs, sunglasses Matthew Williamson, shirt Erdem, pants Tory Burch, necklace Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry, shoe Sigerson Morrison.
Orange: coat Stella McCartney, bag Globe Trotter, skirt Rag&Bone, sweater Maison Martin Margiela, shoe Chloé.
Lilac: dress Marc by Marc Jacobs, earrings Lizzie Fortunato, bag Fendi, boot Sergio Rossi, eyeglasses Charlotte Olympia, eyeshadow Tom Ford.

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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A Suit Story

Whether it’s your every day attire or you only wear it for special occasions, a suit needs to be well-tailored. Quality and fit should be on the priority list. A suit in itself is a statement and once we make a statement, it should be a strong one. President’s, one of the brands on The Blogazine‘s to-watch-list, is a brand that takes the art of suits seriously.

With knowledge passed down through the generations, President’s crafts their full collections in the heart of Tuscany, a few kilometres outside of Florence. Even though entirely crafted in Tuscany, the brand is in constant search for quality and travels the world to find what they search. For the Autumn/Winter 2013-14 collection, President’s went to one of our sartorialist friends, Loro Piana. From the exquisite fabric, a blue 100% wool Super 120, to the genuine horn buttons as a last fine detail, the suit is constructed with care and the hours of work put into the tailoring of it can be seen through the slightly transparent rib stop in 100% Japanese nylon.

It’s already understood that the projects of President’s are fueled with a passion for authenticity and excellence and even though Italy lies near to heart, President’s seem to have a fondness of the British gentleman as well. After a collaboration with UK masters of shoes, Solovair, the brand went English also for a wool suit with fabrics by Dugdale & Bros. The English company is historic when it comes to producing fabric for high-end clothes. The suit, also this one produced for the A/W13-14, combines elegance with a raw feel and perfectly fitted jacket. The pants are detailed with a welt pocket – a detail for the eye, or for the loose change money you’re carrying around.

The wardrobe of President’s remains on the edge between streetwear and the classical pieces for any contemporary man. From a standard pair of denims, cotton shirt and cashmere sweaters to suits for a guy with taste, this young brand succeeds to propose pieces that work season after season.

Lisa Olsson Hjerpe – Images by Matteo Cherubino 
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V&A – The Dinner Party

Good design is always a matter of innovation. However, its drive can change according to situations: sometimes it’s related to a product enhancement, sometimes to an unexpected imaginary suggested by a new form of styling, in other cases to a new perspective on interaction. In the latest Scholten & Baijing’s installation at Victoria & Albert Museum presented during London Design Week 2013, we have definitively found the sparks of an innovative work. Its title, “The Dinner Party”, perfectly reflects the intents of the two Dutch designers: injecting contemporary glamour to a traditional banquet, wonderfully set among the V&A empire boiserie (originally the Norfolk House’s Music Hall) by way of a mix and match of fluorescent colors and glossy food design.

Far from having run out their charm – and that’s still the main credit of the overall work -, tableware, seats and accessories had not been chosen according to any product innovation requirement. All the items, like “Color Platters”, “Color Stool” and “Color Wood” for the Japanese brand Karimeku New Standard, the “Color Glass Collection” for Hay and “Tea with George” for George Jensen, come from the designers’ portfolio and have already been previewed in recent Design Weeks.

On the contrary, the performative nature of the setting up was meant to engage through an inedited approach. Neither detached or contemplative, as it happens in all those design museums or festivals were pieces are staged through cases and platforms, “The Dinner Party” has proposed a scenario-related fruition of objects in use: cutlery on the plate, food had already been tasted, chairs distanced from the table… Thus, the suspension of timing, the identification of a specific context, and the absence of real users were supposed to provoke identification and generate an experience.

Nevertheless, the lack of a real immersive process didn’t shorten the distance between the stage and the public, and left people on the edge: a rope, in fact, marked the insurmountable limit of visitors’ movements in the room, and the make-believe assumption didn’t really mark the difference from the contemplative vision that museums generally impose to their visitors. It’s a pity, therefore, that the V&A policy rules prevented Scholten & Baijings from using real food as they had wished: in this case, in fact, synesthetic short circuits between vision and smell would have encouraged surprise and emotional participation.

Inaugurated in the same days as a multi-site installation across V&A halls, “God is in Details” succeeded to achieve what Scholten & Baijings has fallen to reach. Thanks to special Swarowski lens – the Swiss brand was the official supporter – this introspective project allowed the public to come really close to few pieces of the museum collection and observe in details the unforeseen perfection of these handmade chef d’oeuvre. Thus, engagement has been obtained not only through a magnified vision, but also thanks to the chance to overstepping the proximity boundary that culturally exists among museum collections and theirs visitors.

Giulia Zappa – Photos Giona Messina 
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Lee Miller in Fashion | The Book

Most of the people probably have heard about Lee Miller as a beautiful woman, muse and lover of Man Ray, a photographer and surrealist artist herself. But Miss Miller was more than that. By taking pictures she documented several critical phases of the World War II, and she made memorable fashion editorials, too. Her career started when she was very young, discovered by Condé Montrose Nast himself, who wanted her to be a model for Condé Nast. She lived in Jazz Age New York, in a creative and stimulating environment, which certainly contributed to her turning into a fashion photographer. By living between New York, London and Paris, Lee Miller was a free spirit, and she used to go around with Pablo Picasso, Paul Éluard and Jean Cocteau, just to name a few.

Even though she was recognized as “one of the most distinguished living photographers”, a great many of her images have still remained unpublished. Lee Miller in Fashion, written by Becky E. Conekin – a fashion historian, theorist and writer -, is a special view on her life’s story, seen through her fashion images. She used to portrait women’s indomitable spirit even during frightening times, being a precious resource for both fashion and global history. The main goal of the tome is to give people the chance of seeing not only the artistic and photojournalistic side of her career, but also her unique taste, by pictures and memos, illustrations and self-portraits. See for example the photo taken at Picasso’ studio, her posing topless at a surrealist picnic. All the images are held at Miller’s final home, Farley Farm in East Sussex, England.

Francesca Crippa 
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