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What’s Your Applique?

We love this silhouette by Schiaparelli from FW2016 so much that we’re bringing it back one year on! The applique motifs are still fresh and recreated on a jacket would make for sumptious and classic chic. Have you tried it?

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Fashion Your Niki de Saint Phalle Demons

When critically-acclaimed artist Niki de Saint Phalle died in May 2002, we were shocked by the lack of retrospective analysis and dialogue around the pioneering body of work she left behind. It was only after several years had passed that retrospective shows began to emerge.

Fortunately, in the last six years, some of the best art schools in the world have been producing lots of talented women curators.  This means that, at last, the art world is beginning to change.  The narrative, analyses and contexts of female artists, their perspectives and stories are finally de-mystified and freed from the “is she physically attractive enough (if she’s not socially connected) for us to promote her work?” tradition.

In fashion, it has taken the first female designer at Christian Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri (appointed Creative Director in July 2016), to address these questions on the international stage last week asking openly the provocative question on her slogan t-shirt, “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (citing Linda Nochlin, 1971) and dedicating her collection (SS18, pictured here) to the inspiration and narrative of Niki de Saint Phalle’s art.

Just as most artists suffer emotional abuse or neglect in their early years, (for instance, Louise Bourgeois and Yayoi Kusama), so too did Saint Phalle. In her many illustrated poems, she wrote, “As in all fairy tales, before finding the treasure, on my way I met dragons, witches, magicians and the angel of temperance.”

For anyone familiar with Dante or RD Laing, they know that ‘dragons’ are not just attractive watercolours in a bedtime storybook but experienced as very real agencies in adult mental health. Of course, the western cultural tradition has been to put women who experience hallucinations and hear voices into workhouses or set them alight.

Maria Grazia Chiuri evidently identifies with these questions of female cultural anonymity and deprecation through the work of Linda Nochlin and Niki de Saint Phalle. The beauty of Chiuri’s creative expression here is that her thoughts are made performance in the theatre of fashion. This is a sign of progress as it allows the anonymity and silence at the heart of this collection to be seen, discussed and worn.

In the photo shown above, the porosity of the skirt shows us the vulnerability of boundaries expressed in Chiuri’s fabric. The green dinosaur represents the demonic symbol that can ambush the artist’s mind at any point and the fishnet top echoes a similar porosity and susceptibility to disruptive influences. The shattered mirrors covering the cavernous walls, floor and ceiling of the catwalk environment symbolize the perceived fragmentation of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Self. The effects of the artist’s suffering and the open manifestation of its symbols in this fashion house’s collection can be seen clearly and this, we believe, is a step in the right direction. It has taken a woman designer to bring this dialogue into high fashion where other designers may have kept the underlying complexes oblique. For an analysis on ‘autistic sites’ and destructive chaos in the fashion industry, see our essay in Sandy Black’s most recent book.

For further dialogue, why not link up with us and the Royal College of Art and London College of Fashion at the Freud Museum this week for their Fashion & Psychoanalysis conference taking place on  14th – 15th October 2017?

Here’s Vogue’s analysis of the Dior SS18 show.

 

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Patchwork Rainwear

Have you visited your local textile recyclers (ours is here) to collect some waterproof fabrics to make your own Patchwork Rainwear? With all the rain on its way, it’s one stylish solution worthy of our Slow Textiles Routes or invest in local and employ a local seamstress to create a professional version for you. We recommend our resident Textiles Hub London award-winning seamtress, Annalisa Middleton. Feel free to request a meeting with her via our form.

 

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Edeltrud Hofman Refashions Old Silk Stock

It’s summertime and we’re still loving Masayo Kishi’s silk blouse collection made from deadstock. Timeless fashion from deadstock silk…silk for summer, silk for winter! DISCOVER MORE!  Maybe you feel inspired to create your own? You can always ask for help from our resident Textiles Hub London award-winning seamtress, Annalisa Middleton. Feel free to contact her through the form.
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Deadstock Re-Fashion

It’s summertime and we’re loving Masayo Kishi’s silk blouse collection made from deadstock. Who knew the label is called Edeltrud Hofmann? Discover MORE!

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Upcycled Menswear

Today we’re loving American designer, Emily Bode’s upcycled menswear collection. She’s the new Jessica Ogden for men! DISCOVER!

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Bode SS18

Today in the studio we’re loving Emily Bode’s new menswear collection.  Discover more!