16 October 2017

The Wise Words of Peter Saville

It's difficult to think of an album designer who has exerted such personality and such a distinct aesthetic as Peter Saville has. Borrowing from Russian constructivism, the New Typography of Jan Tschichold, and Italian futurism amongst other movements, the intrinsic aesthetic that he creatively conjured became a transformative style in itself; as NME writer Paul Morley said of Saville’s covers, “you were tempted to applaud whenever you saw them”. Saville co-founded Factory Records in 1979 and designed album covers that ranged from Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures to New Order’s Power, Corruption & Lies, many of which transcend 'iconic' status and sit pretty at the top of the design hierarchy. With an aesthetic stamp that's highly fetishized in fashion, references to his work are in abundance; from the work of Raf Simons (and now Calvin Klein) to the classic Yohji Yamamoto campaigns. The impact of his design work has seeped its way into neighbouring fields of the creative industries so here, I present 10 examples of his words bearing as much might as his work.

9 October 2017

Blame It On The Benjamins: Margiela Tabi

In the autumn of 1989, on a neglected playground somewhere on the very edge of Paris, Martin Margiela staged a show like nothing that had come before (or has come after): the seating plan was first come, first served; the models were stumbling; the runway was uneven. The critics loathed it and the industry loved it. Gracing the feet of the models were the shoes that have become one of fashion’s most iconic footprints – Margiela’s interpretation of the split-toed Japanese tabi sock, the Tabi boot. Further emphasising the shoe's footprint, Margiela drenched his models in red paint, having them leave a path of red Tabi prints against the white catwalk; "I thought the audience should notice the new footwear. And what would be more evident than its footprint?" Margiela chimed in. Following my first installment of Blame It On The Benajmins which focused on books, I've listed the five Tabi styles I wouldn't hesitate to purchase in a budget-less (and quite frankly preferable) parallel universe.


2 October 2017

SHOWstudio Lanvin S/S 18 Panel Discussion

Last week, I returned to SHOWstudio to discuss the Lanvin Womenswear S/S 18 show. Post Alber Elbaz the house has moved from creative director to creative director, with two in two years – first Bouchra Jarrar and now ‘e-couture master’ Olivier Lapidus. Chaired by Lou Stoppard, I was also joined by Central Saint Martins' Honor Rose and Maya Menon, Polimoda's Irene Frosinini and University of the Creative Arts' Roisin O'Hare to talk about how Lanvin can find its place in the digital landscape, the concept of the brand becoming the 'French Michael Kors' and Lapidus' first collection at the helm of the oldest fashion house in France.

25 September 2017

Lessons to Learn from Fabien Baron

In his role as art director, Fabien Baron was the man behind some of fashion’s most iconic campaigns and brand logos over the past 30 years. With his knack for instantly recognisable typography and striking imagery, Baron now wears multiple hats, including those of creative director, editor, photographer and designer — sometimes all in the space of a week. However, despite the disruption caused by digital media, Baron believes that the fundamental aspects of an art director’s role remain much the same, but must be reapplied to fit the needs of today’s market. Below, fashion's most famous art director shares five lessons for success today.

18 September 2017

Living La Vida Flora

Over a five-year period travelling South-East Asia, photographer Dina Lun has documented enough exotic plants to fill the whole garden of Eden and then some. Fully embracing the tropical variety of the region’s horticulture, the Russian-born photographer's latest series is a visual delight in which colour, composition and an innate simplicity take centre stage. The resulting work is a detailed exploration of the wild varieties of plants that she came across whilst travelling and how this was in keeping with the wild nature of the broader environment, people and happenings in these areas. With greenery aplenty and a knack for juxtaposing the fragility of flowers against extrinsic backdrops, plants serve as Lun's willing models, each with their own character, quirk and beauty.


11 September 2017

Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Bergé and a Moroccan Love Affair

Last week, Pierre Bergé – a visionary entrepreneur, a man of the arts, of culture and of strong beliefs – passed away at his home, aged 86.  He was an inspiration to all leaders in the fashion world, the driving force behind the governing bodies of the French fashion industry, and the man who formed an exemplary, all-encompassing partnership with Yves Saint Laurent. The pair first went to Morocco in 1966 and instantly fell in love with the place, bought a house there and returned regularly. It was a creative retreat for Saint Laurent – a place that fired his imagination and inspired his use of colour. It’s also where he and Pierre Bergé bought and restored the Jardin Majorelle, as well as the setting for new Yves Saint Laurent museum, mYSLm, which opens in a few weeks. As his presence will no-doubt be sorely missed during the upcoming opening processions of the museum, I revisit his interview last year with Amuse about the interchangeable love between himself, Yves and Morocco.

4 September 2017

Creating Curiously Out-Of-Context Clouds

Clouds have always had solid links to abstract reasoning; they can symbolise misfortune in certain contexts but also act represent the captivity of the imagination. To create these billowing clouds, Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde manipulates smoke, moisture, light and a speedy reaction. His technique involves using a smoke machine before releasing a dense mist into the air and reducing the humidity in the room to allow the smoke to take shape. The process is incredibly tedious and often comes with some technical difficulty – the room has to be cold and damp enough for the moisture to stick to the smoke, and then it has to be photographed within 10 seconds before the cloud simply vanishes into thin air.

28 August 2017

The Transmission of Knowledge and Culture in the Digital Era

Four individuals across different sectors of the same industry came together to discuss the overlapping and underlying relationships that envelop the fashion bubble. Charlotte Cotton is a curator of and writer about photography, Jo-Ann Furniss is a fashion editor and journalist, Ezra Petronio is the founder/ Editor-in-Chief of Self Service Magazine and Claire Thomson-Joinville is the Managing Editor of Petronio's Paris-based publication. Another addition to my favourite interview series, this interview appeared in the Self Service S/S16 issue, where the quartet discussed the effect of education on creation, the culture system, the role of magazines and the sharing of information. They trampoline off of each other's developed thoughts to look into transmission as an emotional notion, the scramble to make a business plan for social media, a nostalgia for the near-past and the behavior of images.

21 August 2017

Taking Spiritual Cues from George Harrison

During a trip to North India in 1968, The Beatles stayed at an ashram beside the river Ganges where they learnt transcendental meditation and wrote most of the White Album. It was one of their most concentrated spells of songwriting but the impact on each of the Fab Four had varying levels of longevity. Ringo Starr left after about 10 days, complaining about the food; Paul McCartney left a month later (but still continues to meditate daily) and John Lennon and George Harrison eventually quit as they needed to return home. The ashram was popualted by characters from across all walks of the creative industries, who had experimented with psychedelics and were intrigued by the possibilities of meditation to broaden the mind at a level that transcends that of a trip. The Maharishi caught on to this and began building an infrastructure using a mass marketing model to teach the transcendental meditation technique to willing Westerners as an alternative to drugs. George's spiritual journey continued until his untimely death, with his reference points and the sitar-heavy sound of a lot of his solo work evidencing that with crystal clarity. Here are ten tips from the man himself, as taken from this interview, on what spirituality meant to him and how to be Zen.

14 August 2017

Blame It On The Benjamins: Books

For the first instalment of a new series that I've aptly titled Blame It On The Benjamins, I've listed the five mighty tomes that I wouldn't hesitate to purchase if money was no object. Literally every book in my list served as accompaniment to an exhibition of the same name and for that reason, they're largely image-based with very little text. Whilst PDFs aplenty do the rounds of torrent pages and tumblr alike, there's nothing quite like the tangible real deal to pick up, peer through, put down and come back to at your choosing. Painfully limited printing runs have catapulted these books – and other niche fashion publications of a similar nature – into a new dimension of rarity, one which magnetises a price tag that's as weighty as the book itself. Better look out that library card.