Thursday, December 22, 2011

2012 If not the End of the World, what then?

Ahhh don't worry people , we are too busy for the world to end, at least so is this industry. No aliens, UFO's, Global Warming or any other world-ending calamity could stop these people of thinking at least 6 months in advance. 

 So what do we expect from 2012, what is more to come?
VS Logo
1. The american lingerie company Victoria's Secret will open their first flagship store in the UK on New Bond Street, London this upcoming Spring.
 2. The italian label teams up with H&M and will prepare an amazing collection, which will be available in store worldwide starting with the 8th of March 2012. 'Castiglioni is popular among cool fashion girls who like clothes that pop and have that touch of quirk—luxe boho, offbeat and a nod to arts and crafts.'

3. V&A's series of future exhibition this year will be once again more than intriguing :
Lady Gaga's Monster Ball tour (2009-10), set design by Es Devlin. Photograph by Es Devlin.

Transformation and Revelation: Gormley to Gaga. UK design for performance 2007–2011

17 March 2012 – 30 September 2013

 Ballgowns: British Glamour since 1950

 19 May 2012 - 6 January 2013

 4. Besides the amazing exhibitions that the V&A  Museum will host next year, they will also organize some really exciting Evening Talks with Angela and Margherita Missoni, Anna dello Russo, Henry Holland and Balenciaga (author Miren Arzalluz and V&A Senior Curator Lesley Miller will present the man behind the label, Cristóbal Balenciaga and the roots of his Parisian success). All of which I already have tickets for.  All events will take place at the end of January and throughout February 2012.

Angela and Margherita Missoni
Photo Credits : 
Anna dello Russo Photo Credits:
Henry Holland Photo Credits:

So we have plenty of reasons why we can't wait for 2012 to begin. And plenty of reasons to hope that the World will not end by then. And this is only the beginning.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Alice in Temperland

OOOOOOH Happy DAY! Just got a phone-call from the booking department at the V&A, saying that they still have some tickets available for the Evening Talk with Alice Temperley, on Tuesday, the 13th of December. My response .... LOVELY! Let me get my card out!

I loved her SS 2012 collection , it was on my TOP 3 list, she is just an amazing designer and she has managed to keep her british style in every piece of garment she creates. Also with the occasion of 10 full, hard-working and wonderful years since she has been active in this whirlwinding industry, she recently launched a book, which is for sale at the V&A shop and also online : Alice Temperley : TRUE BRITISH. This book is on my Christmas Wishlist since a while now, I am filling up that basket and waiting to place the order soon .
Alice Temperley holding her new launched book Alice Temperley: True British 


Photo Credits:  Alice Temperley and husband Lars von Bennigsen
But coming back to the evening talk with Alice... the public got some interesting insight on her life as a person and as a designer. She shared childhood memories and talked about the beginning of what was to become Alice Temperley, a truely british brand, known all over the world. She was very open and took all questions that the public placed on all subjects , from the manufacturing of her clothes, to the people that wear her collections.

Alice Temperley during the speach (right hand side)
So what have we learned about her, that Wikipedia didn't capture?
First off, everyone knows that Alice Temperley graduated from Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins. But one of thequestion from the public was ... if Central Saint Martins helped her make connections in the industry, or how did the school help to start off her career. The answer was : CSM helped her gain alot of knowledge on the production stage of the collections, she declares to have 'taken advantage of their knit- and printrooms as much as she could'. But the one that helped start her career, make the right connections and meet the right people was the Royal College of Art , which organized alot of projects and competitions for students and the winning ones would get to work for influential people in the industry.

Another person asked where her collections are being manufactured. The response came 'Everywhere!', the brand has connections across the whole globe ; for instance the accessories are  made in Spain and Italy; the embroideries are being made in India, the designer mentiones that 'Mumbai is the best place' for that; the knitwear is made in Hong Kong and tailoring and some other parts of the collection is fortunately still being made in England.

There was also a question regarding Alice's openness towards a collaboration like the recent Versace for H&M collection, if she would like to work with any high-street company for an affordable collection. The answer was 'Yes. I am just waiting to find the right person to work with.' So if we are lucky we might see a Temperley for H&M collection soon, or Alice by Topshop , who knows? The designer also mentioned the fact that she had a very successful collaboration with the chain-store TARGET in the U.S around three years ago and is willing to do something like that in the future.
Temperley collection for TARGET U.S Photocredits :
The image of the brand was consolidated and made known without putting in the big money commercials. At first it was a word of mouth marketing that lead to finding the right ambassadors for the brand. Alice says that happily 'the right people started wearing her clothes' and that having the right ambassadors for your company is crucial in the fashion industry.

Allthough it all sounds like a very glamorous and beautiful job , the designer mentiones the fact that it is alot of hard-work, alot of things can go wrong if you don't have a trustworthy relationship with your supppliers , the logistics are very complicated and you are always pressured by deadlines and timeframes. You have to bring everything together and also deliver it at the right time. The most frequent problems she encountered were delivery related.

Alice Temperley also talked about how the company managed to foresee and survive the recession and what measures they took. They had to fire people from every department and they were only taking orders from customers, who could guarantee payment in time. Some drastic measures were taken, but the brand is stronger than ever and currently produces four collections per year : Autumn/Winter, Cruise, Spring/Summer and Pre Fall.
The waiting line for the signing of the book after the evening talk at the V&A

Temperley Fans
Alice Temperley signing off her book
Alice Temperley signing off her book

Monday, December 5, 2011

Introduction into Postmodern Fashion at the V&A

Saturday the 3rd of December I attended V&A's afternoon event on Postmodern Fashion, hosted by Kristin Knox, Claire Wilcox and Lucy Norris.

The speech started with an introduction on the origins of Postmodern Fashion from it's early 70's until now, presented by the young fashion blogger, journalist and author Kristin Knox. She is the 'brain' behind the very successful blog The Clothes Whisperer, author of 'Alexander McQueen: Genius of a Generation' and she recently published 'Culture to Catwalk'.

Her speech was full of information and covered all areas in which Postmodernism was present. She talked about 'art being selfaware and self-critical', about youth subcultures, 70's and 80's PUNK Era and about EAST meets WEST in fashion design. Everything that the West designs, East takes and deconstructs and makes it alot easier to perceive and comprehend.

Terms like 'Bricolage', 'Deconstruction' and 'Pastiche' were explained and exemplified to better understand the postmodernist trend.


What does that mean ? It basicly means items which have a totally different purpose put together to result in a garment/accessory/shoe and so on. "to make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are at hand (regardless of their original purpose)". The best example is the following :
Vivienne Westwood - Let it Rock-  Chicken bones T-shirt 1971


Deconstruction is used as a rebellious method to protest againt tradition and linearity. Designers which use this form of expression basicly dismantle and disassemble garments and put them back together having a different meaning. It is a deconstructive , reconstructive process to give another angle and point of view on the way a garment is being perceived. Designers like Alexander McQueen, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawaukubo from Comme des Garcons, Maison Martin Margiela are using this concept in their collections.


Now that makes me think of pastry or pie and after some careful reading and researching I am not at all wrong. A pastiche is indeed a pie made out of many different ingredients. Now in whast percentage dfoes that relate to fashion is another thing. Pastiche in fashion is basicly a garment created in immitation of an original work . The example shown here by Kristin Knox was McQueen's 'Highland Rape' collection from 1995.
Alexander McQueen Highland Rape AW 1995                            The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745

'The highland rape collection was described as ‘aggressive and disturbing’ by the press. McQueen maintained the rape was not of the individual models themselves who looked brutalised on the runway, but the rape of scotland. The theme of the collection was based specifically on the Jacobite rebellion, McQueen conceded he had studied the history of scottish ‘upheavals’, Highland rape was about England’s rape of Scotland.'

For the second part of the speech we were introduced to Mrs Claire Wilcox, who is the Senior Curator at the V&A Department of Textiles and Dress and who also with great success devises the amazing V&A event 'Fashion in Motion', for which tickets need to be booked months in advanced as they get sold out in minutes! She talked to us about the exhibition she hosted , which was dedicated to Vivienne and told us the stories behind her life as a designer and a rebel.

The famous store on 430 New King's Road was opened by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren more as a 'memorabilia' for the 1950's clothing and music. The name of the store in 1971 was LET IT ROCK and then was changed into TOO FAST TO LIVE, TOO YOUNG TO DIE in 1972, when Westwood's attention was redirected towards bikers and rockers outfits. Mrs. Wilcox says that Westwood had a very 'academic approach to everything', meaning everything she was doing was very carefully studied and analyzed. She started hanging out in all the bikers and rockers bars to watch them behave in their natural habitat, to understand everything about the clothes, attitude and spirit behind them.
The store reserved it's right to sell their products to the 'right kind of people'. If Vivienne didn't think you would know how to wear some of her clothes she wouldn't sell it to you. You had to have that special kind of rebellion and open-mindness they were looking for.

In 1974 the store changed it's name once again to SEX, which was more than clear and transparent and very descriptive towards what was being sold inside. Westwood's attention now is drawn to very provocative, sexy, fetish type clothes. And once again she started studying the people in that particular industry, she started hanging out watching prostitutes and strippers on the streets, and in bars. She wanted to know everything.

1977 store is being once again rebranded into SEDITIONARIES and finally in 1980 it changes to 'World's End'. This store was described as an 'oasis' for the lovers of that style. 'The country was a morass of beige and cream Bri-Nylon and their shop was an oasis'. Marco Pirroni , Adam and the Ants

'A haven for the disenfranchised which in turn , helped to create the phenomenon known as punk rock' Malcolm McLaren.

The entire philosophy behind Vivienne Westwood's collections is based on the idea of 'using culture as a way of making trouble'
Vivienne Westwood wearing her DESTROY T-shirt

Then we got to see some of Vivienne's collection over the years. most of which were inspired by her reading the National Geographic magazine like the 'Nostalgia of Mud' FW 1982-3 , Punkature SS 1983 and Witches FW1983-4 collections.
Nostalgia of Mud Catwalk invitation

For part three of the seminar , Lucy Norris from, who works as a fashion journalist and trend consultant, presented us the legacy of postmodern fashion.

Now concluding the 2 parts postmodernism is based on the power of the individual and the rebelling against meta-narratives. Lucy covered all aspects of postmodernism in her speech, everything from social, religious and spiritual expression to fashion. That being said she also pointed out some annoyingly 'BIG TRUTHS that society has us believe', which are indeed very untrue!

Postmodernism in short but very suggestive images:

Plato's Atlantis Collection - Alexander McQueen

Marc Jacobs wearing Prada Womenswear line

transsexual model Lea T and Kate Moss kissing on the cover of LOVE magazine

the ueber - hip club of the 70's BLITZ Club in Covent Garden London
Used Magazine

Hussein Chalayan Memphis inspired collection

Jeff Koons 1955 Michael Jackson and Bubbles ceramic

David Bowie vs Pierrot
And to finish off in a very bright and funny mood, not that the presentation wasn't interesting enough, Lucy Norris showed us a video on youtube of the FW add campaign for the french fashion house LANVIN, in which the model play XBox Kinect and dance to Pitbull's song 'I know you want me'.
Check it out here:


Now if that is not postmodern , then what is?