Here We Are!

Burberry continues the tradition of the open house they´ve been having every season since last September. This time they moved from the Makers House to the semi-refurbished building of Old Sessions House, just outside the Farringdon Station in Clerkenwell. The prominent landmark of the 18th century, the former courthouse-turned-restaurant and members´ club rarely opens its doors to the public. It is currently in the midst of transformation.

This time the brand´s new collection is embraced by the vast photography exhibition depicting the true quintessence of the British life and character.
‘Here We Are’ brings together the work of over 30 of the 20th century’s most celebrated social and documentary photographers. The list includes the well-known names, such as Shirley Baker and Ken Russell, Karen Knorr capturing Belgravia in 1979, Charlie Phillips showing around in his local Notting Hill neighbourhood, Brian Griffin´s unconventional way of portraying the British businessmen, Burberry´s latest collaborator´s Alasdair McLellan´s photography work and many more…

My personal favourite was the photo presentation by the Russian fashion designer and photographer Gosha Rubchinskiy of models styled in Burberry´s latest collection.

The exhibition is stretched over three floors winding throughout the rooms of Old Sessions House, Burberry´s new show venue. “Here We Are” is divided into themes which reflect different aspects of the British way of life. The semi-renovated building was quite a sight in itself.

And of course, there are clothes! You can´t forget that Burberry is a very British fashion brand, creating the clothes these everyday moments can be captured in. The main trends include red military-inspired jackets(I used to have one of these a few years ago made by an English young designer with crazy leather sleeves), the long black military-inspired woollen coat which I completely fell in love with, a lot of tartan fabric, large selection of see-throughs, multiple versions of knitwear and long woollen socks.

However, note that the models and mortals pictured on the social photography are not (always) wearing Burberry.

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The exhibition is free and open till 1st of October 2017.

 

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LFW Roberta Einer California Dreaming

Central Saint Martins´ old headquarters building got revamped for Roberta Einer´s newest collection showcase. For her SS18 preview, it was completely Californiacated with the help of palm trees, cushions, warm lighting and some thematic music on the background.

Just as you would expect, the inspiration for this collection derives from California – its surf and skate culture in the 1970-80s, the era of punchy slogans and colourful graphic design.
Roberta´s bright and shimmering work is in tune with her signature style, loved by many. The maximalist luxury ready-to-wear designer finds her influence in the works of Joseph Szabo, Hugh Holland and Jay Adams – it is the never-ending summer and the pools are drained for showing off the skating skills. When the youth rules and the only thing matters is to be cool.
Raymond Pettibon´s posters speak the same language as the slogans on the oversized jackets, slip dresses and the accessories. Childlike illustrations are mixed with the punk rock aesthetic.

As ever, there are the oversized, richly embellished bomber jackets, little sassy skirts draped to glamorous effect, baggy T-shirts accentuate the crop tops crocheted of bugle beads, contrasted with wide-leg palazzo trousers and embroidered slip dresses. Asymmetry as the trend of the season can be noted. Motif-wise it is all about the waves and the palm trees.

The texture is always the key in Roberta´s work, ranging from the well-known bead embroidery to the layers of chiffon, Swarovski crystal embellishments and leather applique.
The designer once again teams up with Swarovski to show off her textile ingenuity. The new collaboration is with Vans on shoes, with sneakers embroidered in bead patterns and slogans.

The models look relaxed and at ease in these clothes. The laid-back atmosphere oozes girl-power and the team spirit.

Roberta Einer´s Mediterrannean melancholy

Talented young designer Roberta Einer has been the “One to Watch” since called so by NEWGEN in December 2015. Her newest collection for Autumn/Winter 2017/18 proves that she has a lot to offer.

Always inspired by a certain place, this season she travels to Mediterranean in winter. Portuguese poster art and Fado music, alongside Art Deco architecture and structural Forties cuts, hand-painted prints of nature studies, combined with her signature crafted supersized sequins and Swarovski crystals embellishments.

Roberta´s maximalist luxury ready-to-wear signature style features already familiar oversized bombers, masculine shirts contrasted by elegant slip dresses, peculiar skirt hybrid, which is simultaneously high-waisted and low-waisted, cutaway at the back. The intricate craftwork of the embroideries is rather remarkable.

New innovations include prints, pleating and 3-D fabric manipulation techniques, as well as collaboration with Berlin-based footwear label Aeyde. The hand embroidery features the Mediterranean insects – moths, dragonflies and butterflies – rendered in Art Deco-style.

So much to look forward to!

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Haizhen Wang in Transit

Haizhen Wang is a London-based designer of Chinese descent, known for his avant-garde, modernist approach to elegance. Having graduated from Central Saint Martin´s in 2005, his origin has helped him to establish his brand globally in both Europe and Asia.

With his artisanal approach to the design process, inspired by architecture the result is masculine femininity with classical tailoring and bold designs.

His Autumn/Winter 2017/18 collection called “In Transit” is the response to the growing immigration crises around the world. The practically constructed trousers with multiple oversized patch pockets and padded jackets for extra comfort are pulled together with extra long belts, referring to the safety belts on planes. Embroidered and Swarovski-encrusted slogan badges reading “fragile”, “handle with care”  and “priority” feature on the clothing items.  Clear references can be seen towards luggage, travel and passage.

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The idea of transit was even further explored within the presentation, where models moved around the plastic-wrapped cardboard boxes as if in the bonded warehouse.

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Breathtaking Bora Aksu AW 17/18 – in memory of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

Once again, London Fashion Week is upon us and time to reveal some new trends for Autumn/Winter 17/18 and shows I had a chance to attend.

Bora Aksu is a London based Turkish designer, showing at London Fashion Week already since 2003. Having a recognisable style and distinct signature, his collections of clothes are flowy and have a romantic feel about them, while not missing the darker twist of intrigue and seduction. Having won the Newgen award several times, he remains on the official LFW schedule.

For his Autumn/Winter 17/18 collection Bora Aksu has gained inspiration from the suffragette movement of the early 20th century. He has been particularly infatuated with the extraordinary Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the goddaughter of Queen Victoria and the daughter of the Maharaja Duleep Singh.

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Princess Sophia Duleep Singh was one of the most stalwart and prominent figures of the early feminist movement, bold and fearless as she marched alongside Emmeline Pankhurst in protest outside parliament, refused to pay her taxes until women got the vote and threw herself in front of the Prime Minister´s car. She later became the president of the Suffragette Fellowship. Today it is strange to think that less than 100 years ago women in England were not allowed to vote, as the bill was passed in November 2018.

Bora Aksu´s clothes reflect the contrasts of Princess Sophia´ s life. The light pastel shades of lilac, baby blues and powder pinks are contrasted by thick black embroideries and monochrome dresses. The flat hats set the tone of the era.
The shirts´ collars, cuffs and ribbons bear hand embroidered words in pale shades, sending strong messages.

Utterly lovely collection with many pieces I am looking forward to be wearing myself.

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You Say You Want a Revolution…

…Well, you know, we all want to change the world.
(The Beatles, Revolution, 1968)

Records and Rebels 1966 – 1970 exhibition at V&A looks at different aspects of the time that affected the counterculture of the 60s in the UK and the USA.

Armed with a set of headphones, that change the tune automatically as you move through the rooms, one would enter the exhibition maze, running through the spaces analysing different aspects of the era. The time was highly innovative for the rise of the cultural revolution that embraced various topics, from music to design, politics and lifestyle. Inspired by Thomas Moore´s Utopia, written in 1516, people were looking for alternative ways.

The first section of the exhibition is looking at youth identity and “Singing London” as the centre for fashion, music, photography and art. Twiggy sporting Mary Quant miniskirt, famous works by photographer David Bailey, invitations to art “happenings”, the importance of the mainstream pop music of the time are featured.

 

The second part looks closer at the counterculture and alternative lifestyles, through psychedelia, underground literature and pirate radio. Psychedelic art is featured on the walls accompanied by some trippy tunes coming from the headphones. The music is the king in this section. It was sweet to see an older lady with a distinctively cool style flipping through the album covers of the time – music she probably grew up with and experienced first hand when it was launched. The exhibition must have taken her down the memory lane…

 

The third section explores revolution on the street, exploring the anti-politics with peaceful protests and anti-war statements in regards to the war in Vietnam. The revolutionary figures of Martin Luther-King and Che Guevara are on display. Among others are displayed the ideas calling for equality including gay rights´ activists and women´s liberation groups.

 

Next part of the exhibition concentrates on the design innovations of the time, exploring consumerism, fed by the rapid increase in personal wealth and the introduction of the credit card. The 1967 Montreal and 1970 Osaka World Expos look into the consumer innovations, such as home TV-s, futuristic furniture and fashion, featuring innovative Pierre Cardin dress. The television opened the window to the real-time news coverage of the Vietnam War and moon landings, shocking and enthusing the viewers.

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The fifth space is dedicated entirely to the Woodstock festival, being designed with a large stage and dramatic backdrop of large screens surrounding the room. One can absorb the atmosphere of the music festival by sinking into one of the bean bag chairs in the middle of the hall. The event that brought together 400 000 people to enjoy music and each others company peacefully despite the rain, was rather unprecedented at the time. Instruments, costumes and ephemera are on display.

Revolution exhibition photography 06-09-2016

The sixth and final exhibition environment looks at alternative communities living on the USA’s West Coast during the period as the birthplace of a revolution in communications. These alternative living communes explored sexual liberation, rejection of institutions and a ‘back to the land’ philosophy to the tunes of psychedelic rock music. They lived in parallel with a different sort of alternative community: the pioneers of modern computing. Both believing in the possibility of achieving a better world through sharing human knowledge more equitably. The Whole Earth Catalog, the American counterculture magazine published by Stewart Brand, served the purpose of ‘Google in paperback form’, according to Steve Jobs.

Revolution exhibition photography 06-09-2016

From global civil rights, multiculturalism, environmentalism, consumerism, computing, communality to neoliberalist politics, the world we live in has been vitally influenced by five revolutionary years: 1966 – 1970. The whole exhibition reveals and explores the origin of tendencies prevailing today and encourages a rediscovery of an imaginative optimism to envisage a new and better tomorrow.

You Say You Want a Revolution on until 26th February 2017.

 

English Medieval Embroidery at V&A

As embroidery is currently back in fashion, it is very interesting to see what were the tendencies some centuries ago. The Medieval embroidery exhibition at V&A looks closely at the old masterpieces, skillfully crafted to tiny details, hundreds of years ago.

It is rather remarkable how intricate handwork this is – so much that one may suspect it being painted instead. The smallest stitches are created by hand in varieties of colour, over the presumably long period of time. The exquisite attention to details is rather outstanding, giving glimpses of both Medieval reality and imagination of the time. From the grim torture of martyred saints to the scenes with baby Jesus and other saints, scenes are depicted with a meticulous precision that the sophisticated embroidery techniques made possible.

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Latin for ‘English work’, the phrase ‘opus anglicanum’ was first coined in the 13th century to describe the highly-prized and luxurious embroideries made in England of silk and gold and silver thread, picturing complex imagery.

From the 12th to the 15th centuries, England enjoyed an international reputation for the quality of its luxury embroideries, which were sought after by kings, queens, popes and cardinals. The exhibition will present an outstanding range of rare, surviving examples – both ecclesiastical and secular. Although documents show that many embroideries were made for secular use at the time, very few survive today as they were either worn out or became unfashionable and were discarded.

This is the largest embroidery exhibition of this kind in half a century, depicting over 100 pieces of work Medieval period of time. Sponsored by the Royal Embroidery specialists of Hand and Lock who carry the traditional craft into the modern day.

Opus Anglicanum: Masterpieces of English Medieval Embroidery at V&A till 7th Feb 2017.