Monday, February 23, 2015

Emilio de la Morena AW15 - London Fashion Week

Last season Emilio de la Morena took his muse to Ibiza. This season he follows her fearless, high-octane glamour to unlikelier terrain to explore questions of femininity and identity. There are key intersecting themes at play. One relates to the design process: how to look at the same thing in different ways. 

Emilio de la Morena continues to be inspired by the art world and on this occasion it's Picasso and his harlequin. In early work, his harlequin is decorative and almost fauvist. In later work, he's cubist and later still, increasingly abstract. De la Morena applies that approach to a theme that has recurred across his work: namely the interplay between femininity and strength. Accordingly, fabrics, silhouettes and palette include the familiar and the innovative soft stretch velvets, lace and jacquards featured in some of the most successful looks of earlier seasons and here de la Morena puts them to new use alongside shimmery diaphanous jerseys and luxurious brocades in refined cocktail and evening silhouettes. 

Couture construction techniques and fabric innovations create structure and provide an easy, powerful glamour. Dresses - knee-lenght and longer - feature corsetry and soft draping, body con silhouettes contrast with exuberant flared, full-circle skirts. Coats are typically oversized. Fabrics and ornamentation transform a menswear silhouette into an opera coat.

The palette is typically opulent, metallics dominate, dull god, gunmetal, bronze and steel - and midnight cerise and purple feature. The rhomboid pattern that characterises the harlequin's costume appears in soft, criss-crossing curves as patchwork and ornamentation.

A contrast between strength and structure on the one hand and a much softer femininity on the other recurs throughout the collections. It's also something de la Morena sees in the work and process of photographer Poly Tootal, who is nominated for the Hyères Fashion and Photography Prize in 2015. For AW 2015 she collaborates with a runway installation that places femininity and strength in the forefront of her bleak landscapes.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Xiao Li AW15 - Keep healthy, Avoid Fashion!

I fist discovered Xiao Li when I attended the Royal College of Art MA graduation show. 

She graduated with an MA in Womenswear Knitwear and graduation collection didn't leave industry insiders unresponsive. She went on to sell her creations at Opening Ceremony and 10 Corso Como in Beijing and Seoul and she has also been recently nominated for LVMH Young Fashion Designer Award. The designer made a splash with her 3D, oversized knitwear pieces combined with new innovative manufacturing techniques. 

Her most recent collection signed "Keep healthy, Avoid fashion!" taps into the never-ending problem that the industry is facing: fast fashion vs. beautifully crafted design, but also goes a step further and makes a statement on the genetically modified produce we find on the market (GMO!OMG! knitted graphics and messages are to be noticed throughout the entire collection). 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Untamed Skin - The Romanian Blouse

"Untamed Skin - The Romanian Blouse" shows the origins of the exquisite Romanian blouse - an untamed, yet delicate garment, traditionally worn close to the skin of its wearer and handcrafted from natural textiles and pigments and patterns. 

Fashion designers Alexandru Nimurad and Alexandra Abraham and jewellery-designer Vika Tonu developed their collective clothing, accessory and jewellery collection around the blouse as an organic structure, honouring its distinctive local background and visual history.

The seductive Romanian blouse became fashionable in the interwar period when Queen Marie of Romania began wearing it as a symbol of belonging. The blouse was made famous by Matisse and fashion luminaries Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, Emilio Pucci and more recently Tom Ford.

For more information about the exhibition please visit the Romanian Cultural Institute's website: