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.

1920s Jazz Age and fashion

Sparkle, fun and excess – this is what ´20s people were craving for, what they longed after the war and what the economy of the day allowed.

The exhibition at London Fashion and Textile Museum looks back nearly 100 years ago at the glamorous time when women´s rights expanded for the first time after the WWI and the ankles started flashing in the decade-long celebration of life. Women´s style of dressing changed unprecedentedly. Jazz music also played an important role in the decade, as well as fashion – allowing more comfortable dresses for dancing, as well as the whole idea of movement, energy and self expression. The clothes were designed to move and shift and allow the movement while wearing them.

The display looks back at the glittering haute couture, as well as everyday ready-to-wear, alongside large display of accessories, ranging from fans to cigarette holders, gloves and headbands.

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The photographs by James Abbe: Photographer of the Jazz Age, depict portraits of the well known ladies of the time reflect the realistic look of that time. Although on illustrations depicted always so slender, the real life women of that time looked rather healthy and far from the anorectic models.

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Of course, the bitter economic crash followed at the end of the decade, due to the overspending, but it was a decade to remember. The ´20s of this century are just a few years away, lets wait and see how this decade will turn out!

1920s JAZZ AGE Fashion and Photographs exhibition at London Fashion and Textile Museum open till 15th January 2017.

Retreat

This exhibition of a textile designer Kaire Tali´s works looks back at her two years taken off from the usual busy everyday life to reflect and re-evaluate her goals.
Perhaps this break was caused by an outside reason, this is not stated, however I quite like the idea of switching off for a while and taking a sabbatical for a period of time and I think this is becoming more popular in our busy everyday world.

Kaire Tali is a long time successful Estonian textile designer and one of the starters of the applied arts council of Katarina Guild.
„Retriit” is the designer and artist´s personal emotional journey manifesting in the comeback.

Her papier maché torsos wander into the realm of paper sculptures, while having a play with style and aesthetical garments that you can look at, but not wear, or at least this is how they “spoke” to me while looking at the displays.

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The exhibition stays open till 10th July 2016 at Tallinn Design and Architecture Gallery.

Paris´ best hidden secret

Waking along walls of human bones with a slight smell of mold in the air. Bones of people who once were rich or poor, powerful or simple, lie mixed with one another, symbolizing human equality – if not earlier, then at least after death. Literally under the beautiful city of Paris there is another secret town with about 300 km of secret passages that have streets running parallelly under the ones on the ground, often bearing same names. Parisian catacombs are former quarries, dating back to Roman times. Strictly regulated stone digging went on until the prohibition at the beginning of 19th century. At the same time several Parisian cemeteries were severely overcrowded, starting to cause diseases to their living neighbours. It was then decided to turn the catacombs into common graveyard and transfer the bones underground. Additionally the underground space has been used for other purposes, such as covert during the Second World War. A small part of the catacombs have been open to public already since mid-19th century.
Public entrance can be recognised only by a long winding queue in front of it. Other than that it´s just an unremarkable black door of a random small house with a spiral staircase leading underground as you enter. The corridors are cut off with prison doors that trigger paranoid thoughts of getting locked up for good. However, excitement beats claustrophobia, urging to continue deeper and deeper underground.
“Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la mort.”
Bones of approximately six million people are laid out as straight wall of 18-27 meters in width, next to the side of a kilometer long passage. All of the bones are systematically grouped according to the cemetery where they are from. The first impression is quite appalling, but it is easy to get used to the surroundings. After a while you tend to forget that these bones ever had in fact belonged to people and this seems to be just part of setting.

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Most of the catacombs are closed to public. Despite it being illegal there are several secretive bands forming a subculture of cataphiles. Those are the people deeply into discovering catacombs through and through, having carefully mapped out the entire area. There is a danger of getting lost underground without knowing the passages. In the shadows of the night cataphiles crawl underground using drains and ventilation shafts. Although it is easy to imagine people holding extreme rituals, the main interest of cataphiles is just discovering secret passages, having underground picnics or throwing raves. Some of them even live there.
In 2004 police in Paris had discovered a fully equipped cinema with a small couscous restaurant in a large and previously uncharted cavern. It looked like an underground amphitheatre, with terraces cut into the rock and chairs. The whole thing ran off a professionally installed electricity system with several phone lines underground. There was a selection of movies from 1950s film noir classics to more recent thrillers. None of the films were banned or even offensive according to the spokesman. Three days later, when the police returned to investigate further, the place was cleared out with all of the phone and electricity lines cut off. On the floor they found a sign “Do not try to find us”.

Looking at Parisian catacombs from the style perspective, Alexander McQueen´ s sculls come to mind. Particularly his men´s AW 10/11 collection that was directly inspired of the catacombs with graphic prints on the suits.

Recently Riina O had a lookbook shoot collaboration with Belle Sauvage. Some of their AW 15/16 dresses suggested they had also used catacombs as one of their inspirations.

Parts of this story were published in Estonian newspaper Eesti Ekspress.