Style Suggestions: Mixing Street and Chic

Who would have thought mixing a baseball cap with a suit would be a fashion ‘do’ but this is a trend that isn’t going out of style. Mixing street and chic is all over the blogs at the moment and it is easy to pull off so here are some suggestions that will get you on your way.

Suit: Paul Smith, T-shirt: Raf Simons, Sneakers: Mr. Hare, Baseball cap: Rag and Bone, Sunglasses: Acne Studios

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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London Design Festival 2015

Armed with a new director and a whole new set of design challenges, London Design Festival takes over the British capital with an exciting programme of events that challenge – or perhaps perpetrate – the notion of design today. But while temporary events like the one in London, or even the Salone in Milan, continue to proliferate, can we still doubt their validity? Or should we just embrace their richness and exuberance? For once, we are not being critical about the purpose of such events, and are instead celebrating this year’s edition of London Design Festival with a selection of events you should not miss.

A major part of the London Design Festival’s programme is the presentation of Landmark Projects in various locations in London. Conceptual artist Alex Chinneck, renowned for elevating everyday structures into the extraordinary, created an installation titled “A Bullet from a Shooting Star” which takes the form of a regular electricity pylon but is given an unconventional design.

At the V&A, the classic stop on the festival’s tour and the core of its rich programme, a series of installations, exhibitions, talks and explorations will take place – from an installation by Grafton Architects to temporary exhibitions dedicated to British icons like Robin Day. The Somerset House, on the other hand, is an entirely new location for the Festival, and will be properly introduced with an exhibition of ten incredible international designers.

A number of large group-shows will take place across the city where
new and established exhibitors from the UK and around the world will debut their designs. These ‘Design Destinations’ are crucial for designers and manufacturers wanting to reach new markets and provide excellent platforms for new and emerging designers and makers to present their products and innovations – and perhaps also form the most viral and spontaneous way for the public to try and understand what contemporary design is. London Design Festival runs from 19 to 25 September 2015.

The Blogazine 
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New York Fashion Week SS16 – Trends

“Trend” is the ambiguous word that encapsulates the events of each fashion week. There are almost endless trends being presented at a each fashion week – many of which will probably never reach the streets – but for New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2016, here is a pick of the most prominent trends.

The Swinging 60s – The decade that brought us the mod style was spotted as an injection in many collections during New York Fashion Week. Style icons such as Edie Sedgewick were brought to mind when viewing many A-line shift dresses in a variety of prints and colors, like at Karen Walker, where it was in acid washed denim paired with oversized round sunglasses. However, the color orange was the comeback of the season, seen among others emphasizing a 1960s inspired romper from Edun. Orange may not be the new black, but in Spring 2016 it’s closing in.

The cold shoulder – From chunky knit sweaters as seen at Prabal Gurung to flowy dresses at Rebecca Minkoff or Derek Lam and tops at Mara Hoffman, it seemed as though nude shoulders in combination with a higher collar is the silhouette of the season. It generates a sensual feeling with little exposure and is therefore a perfect partner in crime for the layered effect.

The sleep-walker – Those of us who have ever had the nightmare of walking around town in our pajamas can relinquish the fear. Looks that could double as sleepwear were seen on NY runways – stylish and fashionable sleepwear but sleepwear it was nonetheless. At Diane von Furstenberg a slouchy suit reminiscent of a belted two piece pajamas was presented. By adding the right accessories and a more luxurious material, the creation could easily be worn night and day. At Tibi a one piece jumpsuit illustrated elegant and sporty comfort while still making a nod to the sand man in its beige color palette.

Victoria Edman 
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New York Fashion Week SS/16 – Prints

Spring in New York City is said to be something special – more so if you experience it though the lens of fashion. The trees in central park or the skyline seen from afar against a light blue sky are enough to create an imprint in any spectator’s mind. Prints that are so often seen on the runways during New York Fashion Week can therefore be understood as inspired renditions. The season of Spring/Summer 2016 was no exception.

Pretty as a Picture – Blurring the lines between art and fashion even further, the inspiration for a lot of prints at New York fashion week seemed to be taken from behind the frame applying both abstract art in a whole look, as seen at Altuzarra, painted botanical prints as seen at Jason Wu and Adam Selman, or small repeated frames in different colors next to each other giving a new twist to the term “color-blocking” as showcased by Victoria Beckham.

Bringing Back the Classics – The year 2016 seems to be the season of the classic stripe dominating every runway. Even though there were a few plaid options, it was stripes that could be found at several runways. Pinstripe, as seen at Givenchy, a mismatched combination of bold and small stripes as showcased at Phelan, or white transparent stripes that conquered the scene amongst others at Cristian Siriano and Giulietta. This take was a fresh, yet unexpected, update of a classical print and gave the all-white look a new edge.

Embracing the Logo – In the late 1990s, the trend of wearing your brand on your sleeve became hugely popular. Big logos or small ones; it didn’t really matter, as long as you showcased from where your outfit came from. Lacoste re-introduced this concept and while also making prints out of several flags. The trick however was being so obvious you had to look twice to notice the brand itself.

Victoria Edman 
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Fashion Continues to Blur Gender Roles

Transgender approaches, gender fluidity and blurred gender roles are all a part of the current fashion picture as well as being a subject of the political debate. The latest fashion brand to interpret and incorporate an open approach to gender roles is Acne. For their Fall campaign, the founder’s 11-year old son Johnny Johansson modelled their womenswear collection – perhaps as a consequence of the growing awareness of the need to shape more including and individual ways of defining identities and portraying our personalities. In fact, the Swedish brand is just one of many other fashion labels that have drawn attention to questions of gender through their campaigns and fashion shows. The history is filled with examples of brands that have contributed to the development of gender fluidity in the fashion world. For this Fall, Gucci, Proenza Schouler and Chanel, for example, sent men down the womenswear runway while Givenchy, Giorgio Armani, Saint Laurent, Raf Simons, and Moschino did the opposite and cast women in the menswear shows. Other notable examples are Givenchy’s Fall campaign for 2010, Barneys’ spring 2014 campaign and Jean Paul Gaultier’s shows, in all of which transgender models were included.

Fashion is both a tool for confirming and breaking gender roles – a truth Marlene Dietrich taught us when she dressed in depression-era tuxedos and hats. The world of fashion is by it’s nature a progressive one, always moving forward – sometimes more rapidly than the the rest of the society. Gender breaking and redefinition are therefore nothing new to fashion, but it has grown to become more and more mainstream, to now be included in campaigns and shows of many of the biggest brands. Alessandro Michele, the new creative director of Gucci said that his choice to dress male models in womenswear is a recording of what is happening around us, a strong affirmation for freedom that is beyond labelling. We are just wishing the rest of the society could see that and develop alongside fashion.

Hanna Cronsjö 
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Teaching Fashion, Learning Life

The fashion system is driven by visionary personalities, but even the most visionary minds need stakes and limitations in order to create novelty, and to do so they must know the various implications that fashion has with culture, society, politics and history. The idea that creativity should be free and pure is a concept now obsolete and no longer valid, in a scenario where information, changes and stimuli travel at a supersonic speed. Fashion schools aim to provide students with the tools to deal with the complexities of the fashion system. The centres that form fashion professionals are varied: technical schools, field courses, academies, universities; a world of possibilities where it is difficult to move, especially if you are young and not yet sure of the direction you wish to take in the future.

For this reason, BoF has recently drawn up a ranking that evaluates the best fashion schools in the world. Global Influence, learning experience and long-term value: these are the three precepts followed by BoF, which also launched a platform for Fashion Education, offering a true ‘course’ that can prepare you to get into the fashion world. But the experience of learning something as volatile and, at the same time, concrete, as fashion, is far more complex than simply reading some notes. The fashion system is made of different forces, both positive and negative, which the academy must bring up and question. An inevitable mission is to teach not only the ‘how‘ of a process, but to make students aware of the many ‘whys’, the variables, the unforeseen; this, to push their critical thinking skills, help them, if not force them sometimes, to be curious and positively dissatisfied, to convince them that the only way to achieve results is by raising bars and pushing boundaries.

The main challenge for fashion schools is to adapt teaching methods not only the avant-garde proposals from industry, to train professionals prepared to work on the future, but also to shape the environment and the way in which students grow. Digital media are in the hands of young people, learning opportunities and sources are widely available, it might seem possible to get a faultless preparation without the need for direct contact. But this is not what design is about: the school environment is fundamental because It becomes a crossroads where different personalities come together and collide, guided by the experience of professionals and teachers aware of the shape of the industry. To achieve these objectives, it is essential the presence of both academics and professionals who work in synergy, in order to promote contact between theoretical disciplines and practices. The smooth transition between these two poles is synonymous with safety in the use of references and awareness of the market, two fundamental characteristics for new professionals.

Fashion schools are fundamental in their ‘physicality’, because they are places in which something more than mere learning happens. They are places in which creativity gets support from a wide preparation, in which students challenge themselves continuously. Students are taught to never arrive to a final solution: this makes them attentive to the needs of the hyper-fluid contemporary society, capable of shaping their mindset according to the project, but never forgetting their values, their belief, their style.

Marta Franceschini 
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What will the new season bring?

As we slowly move away from the summer we also move towards the promise of the next warm season. For the next few weeks, we will see all the trends for the upcoming Spring and Summer of 2016. It’s fashion week time, and we are wondering what can we expect from the fashion capitals of the world. Well, Copenhagen and Stockholm have already shown their cards. The Scandinavian cities introduced structured safari and a play with layering different materials. For New York, London, Milan and Paris, the world is still waiting for what’s to come. Here are a few predictions based on the previous seasons.

Print – Floral: Despite its exuberance the floral print is a safe bet, and also something that is designers favour season after season, particularly in spring. Lately there has also been an elevation of the use of botanical prints by different applique techniques, giving a promise of something that could be explored further.

Color – black, white, red and blue: In spring fashion all the colors of the rainbow are used. However, lately there has been a preference for these four colours in particular. Aside from black and white, red and blue have lately become pillars in a Summer wardrobes for many seasons and several designers, in a nautical theme or as colour blocks, with beige being another color linked to summer.

Influences – Time Warp: For the upcoming season the influences are surely moving from early 90s towards the end of the decade, with early 2000 playing their part, while the 1960s provide a timeless point of reference. In particular, designers seem to focus on the graphic 1990s look of more vibrant colors and nostalgic prints. However, the minimalistic tendencies seem hard to let go of, so structured and clean looks may still be around for 2016.

Silhouette – Volume: Created by layering or by a voluminous garment in itself, volume is most certainly still present each season and it is a simple twist that creates drama and eccentricity in a look.

Even though certain themes often recur on the runway, given the fickle nature of fashion, we are happy to see what the novel surprises will be – so let the games begin.

Victoria Edman 
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Style Suggestions: Back to Work Accessories

Its that time of year again and it is never an easy one so make an entrance when going back to the office with chic accessories to match your summer tan.

Bag: Saint Laurent, Glasses: Ray-Ban, Necklace: Marni, Perfume: Byredo, Phone cover: Saint Noir

Styling by Vanessa Cocchiaro 

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Remembering Robin Day

If you were asked to choose the most iconic chair in the world, odds are that the choice would fall on one of the greatest classics – Eames DSW chair, Harry Bertoia’s Side Chair, Verner Panhon’s all-plastic moulded chair or Thonet’s revolutionary bentwood chair. And yet, the most iconic chairs may not be those that populate our everydayness – pieces that silently define how we relate to objects through memory. When his Polypropylene chair was first released in 1963, Robin Day may not have imagined that it would both leave a mark on the world of design as the first mass-produced, injection-moulded chair in the world, as well as capture the collective memory as one of the most widespread, ubiquitous yet unobtrusive objects, that almost everyone has, at least once, used.

“In my long years of designing, the thing that has always interested me is the social context of design and designing things that are good quality that most people can afford,” Day observed in 1999. “It was always my mission to mass-produce low-cost seating, because I do think that clarity and what we call “good design” is a social force that can enhance people’s environments.” That ethos, perhaps, was reflected the commissions he would work on throughout the years, becoming an expert on public seating design, as some of his most memorable projects included seating for the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall or London Underground, the latter two still in use today.

This year marks the centenary of birth of Robin Day, born on 25 May 1915, creating the perfect opportunity to examine his legacy as one of the most important British designers, in a series of events and exhibitions, that culminate in a special installation staged at London’s V&A Museum in the occasion of this year’s London Design Festival. While Day was known for his experimentation with at-the-time novel materials and inventive use of technology, the installation – titled “Robin Day Works in Wood” – is focussed on objects and furniture design made of wood. Juxtaposing his designs with personal objects, the exhibition will be set in a specifically commissioned installation created by Turner-prize nominated collective Assemble. Taking the form of a ‘forest’ – as a reference to the landscape of Day’s childhood – the exhibition will remain on show until 27 September 2015.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation 
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The Best of Stockholm Fashion Week

With Stockholm Fashion Week fresh in mind, we have summarized the best collections from the upcoming designers who showed their work on the Swedish runways. The one who thought this would be a minimalistic bonanza in black, white and grey was wrong. Sure, some collections represented the typical Scandi chic, but many designers have shown the opposite, making us reconsider the terms with which we talk about Swedish (and Scandinavian) fashion today.

The brand Edwin Trieu was founded in Stockholm three years ago by designer Edwin Trieu. He combines Scandinavian and Asian fashion aesthetics resulting in contemporary pieces for modern women, that is both wearable yet unexpected. The philosophy behind the pieces is also a modern one, with the goal of making clothes that can transit from day to night and last for several seasons not just in terms of quality but also when it comes to the look.

Under the label Swedish fashion talents, several young and promising names showed their collections on Stockholm Fashion Week. Arethé Stockholm, Emelie Janrell, Inez-NY, Isabella Idberg, MLTV Clothing, Simon Ekrelius and Sofia Eriksson are seven brand names to keep in mind. They are all representing their own unique design aesthetics but share the same passion for turning their their visions into actually wearable clothes, and have what it takes to become the next big names.

It was the first time showing on Stand for Stand, but the brand sure made an impression with a collection completely made of leather, and it wasn’t just pants and jackets sent down the runway. For this season the designer Nellie Kamras has taken her design aesthetic to the next level by challenging the traditional leather shapes and focusing on creating pieces that you might not expect to be made of leather. The kimono is a great example of such a piece, and a collection favourite.

Giorgi Rostiashvili might have been the most talked about designer during the week, and there is a reason why. His collection was well executed, feminine but with an edge that turned the pieces from good to great. Still doing his master at the Royal Academy in Copenhagen and already awarded with the ELLE and H&M’s scholarship for upcoming talents, the future seems very bright for Rostiashvili.

Another brand to watch is certainly By the No., founded by the designers of V Ave Shoe Repair, Lee Cotter and Astrid Olsson. The duo are once again tearing down the barriers between fashion and art in their own, clean yet fascinating way. Their ambition is to find and develop hidden patterns and generate shape and movement – well, their mission seems completed.

Hanna Cronsjö 
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