Dress up like a dandy seemed to be Paul Smith’s motto for his A/W 12 collection.
Plush sapphire blue velvet trousers, iridescent dégradé burnt orange and grey dresses, as well as boyishly tailored pea coats and blazers defined a collection that stayed true to Smith’s self-described signature of ‘classic with a twist’.
Tweed and plaid prints paired with low slung, front-pleated trousers and silk draped tops kept the feel of the collection more feminine rather than borrowed from the boys, while the injection of colours such as deep fuchsia, emerald green and garnet punched up the chromatic factor for coming winter months.
Paul Smith may be a permanent fixture on the London Fashion Week schedule, but he sure knows how to keep things fresh.
For over three decades, Margaret Howell has been designing clothes for the quintessential British woman. This A/W 12 season, she provided a twist on traditional tweed, wool berets and menswear tailoring.
Inspired by Britain’s winter landscape, Shetland wool and a modern interpretation of traditional materials, Howell created a collection of silk and cotton button-downs, pleated drop-waist dresses and traditional outerwear in the form of sheepskin jackets and belted trench coats. Held in a colour palette of navy, charcoal and moss green and accessorised with black leather penny loafers, each look was a perfect incarnation of the casual Britannia woman.
With a wearable collection tweaked with intriguing construction details, Howell proves that traditional doesn’t have to mean tedious.
In December, Topshop launched their iPhone app allowing customers to search and shop from the comfort of their phone. And the virtual world continues to grow apace with the innovative store announcing that throughout London Fashion Week, they will be streaming shows via their app live from the Topshop Show Space .
Brands that will be part of the streaming include Topshop Unique, Mary Katrantzou, Meadham Kirchhoff, Peter Pilotto, Louise Gray and Michael Van Der Ham. There’s also a film specially created for Topshop by Nick Knight and starring Karlie Kloss, behind-the-scenes videos and a make-up tutorial.
So if you can’t stand the crush of the shows make sure you tune in live, wherever you are.
With a week’s worth of womenswear and menswear shows kicking off today, a new crop of fresh design talents will be making their London Fashion Week mark.
For this season, expect to see the collections of David Koma, Holly Fulton, J.JS Lee, J.W. Anderson, Michael van der Ham and Simone Rocha on the runway, as well as Christopher Raeburn, Thomas Tait, Nasir Mazhar, Sister by Sibling, Huishan Zhang, James Long, Lucas Nascimento, Tim Soar and Palmer//Harding presenting their unique designs in installations and exhibitions.
Helping them flourish in the fashion capital is the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN initiative, founded in 1993 and sponsored by Topshop. The scheme offers young creatives a platform to showcase their designs at Somerset House, as well as offering financial and business support.
With past recipients including Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Meadham Kirchhoff, the future is looking more than bright for this next generation of fashion talent. After all, there’s nothing like a new kid on the block to shake things up.
Kathryn Ferguson is one of a new breed of filmmakers who cut their teeth in fashion film. Over the past four years she’s moved from making shorts for designers such as Richard Nicoll and Katie Eary to experimental films such as Máthair, a visually startling exploration of her Catholic roots.
Having curated Birds Eye View Film Festival’s Fashion Loves Film strand at the BFI, on Friday Ferguson launches new festival FASH/ON Film with the British Fashion Council
With multiple projects in the pipeline, Belfast born Ferguson is undoubtedly a name to watch. Twin spoke to the filmmaker about her work so far…
What was the initial impetus behind you picking up a video camera?
I first picked up a camera in 2005 during the final year of my Fashion BA at CSM. I was frustrated with the flatness of two-dimensional imagery and wanted to try experimenting with creating immersive visual worlds combining moving image and sound.
How easy did you find the transition between working as a stylist to working as a filmmaker?
My passions pre-filmmaking had always lain heavily in photography and art direction. I dabbled in styling as a way of supporting myself throughout my BA but as soon as I made my first film Tingel Tangel, an experimental dance film featuring Paloma Faith, in 2005 I was sure it was film I wanted to pursue. However at that point I didn’t have the skills or know how to progress. In 2007 I decided to submit this early film to Birds Eye View Film Festival and to my surprise it was chosen for their UK Shorts strand at the ICA. This acknowledgment by them inspired me to throw myself 100% into filmmaking. During this time I made lots of experimental short films leading me to apply for a Masters in moving image at the Royal College of Art in 2009. My time there saw a transformation in my work and as a result have moved further from fashion and more into experimental film. I find film a totally thrilling medium to be working in as the boundaries are limitless. My initial step into moving image via the world of fashion has quickly evolved into a heady desire to tell stories via the medium of film whether it be documentary, music video, short films and beyond.
Your work, such as Máthair is very experimental – can you talk about some of the techniques you use in your work? Máthairis the film that I feel really defines the area in which I am now most interested. Previous to the RCA, my work had mostly consisted of commissioned based fashion and music projects. The RCA was a fantastic experience as it forced me to work beyond an aesthetic and come up with my own brief and ideas. This was quite challenging to begin with but once I got going I decided I wanted to make a film about my mother but still adopting the visual style I was drawn to which is often creating worlds via montage / collage. I wanted the film to be a mix between the real and the hyper real. The reality of my catholic upbringing in Northern Ireland juxtaposed with an imagined hyper real fantasy version.
Máthair 2011, film stills
Máthairclearly draws on your own Irish background and ideas of faith, but what other ideas or cultural references are you drawn to in your work?
I feel my work seeks to create a sense of immersion and ecstatic experience through narrative and non-narrative experimental film. Taking influence from my background working with fashion designers creating experimental films to encapsulate their seasonal collections, I have developed a strong interest in the relationship between dance and movement, particularly around the tactile surface of fabrics in motion. Through a series of works that glean ritual and quasi-religious encounters, my practice combines elements of performance, religious iconography and symbolism, acknowledging early abstraction through the medium of film.
However, I’m becoming increasingly interested in women’s issues and now feel that my next series of films should be reflecting the female voice. There needs to be more stories about women told by women.
A lot of exciting work is happening in fashion film, particularly by women, why do you think they’ve become so important both within the fashion industry and film?
I think it’s an incredibly exciting time for film in general, especially as so many women are finally picking up a camera. I’m really interested in how the female protagonist will be represented in fashion film. Generally speaking up until recently the majority of films have been through the male gaze so it will be fascinating to see how women will be portrayed when their image is predominately created and shot by female directors. Fashion film is a fantastic medium for young designers to showcase their work without the crippling costs of the catwalk and marketing campaigns. It gives them a voice and a way to reach out to the world via the internet. As it is still a genre very much in its infancy I am interested in its future development.
Tingel Tangel, 2005, film still
Lady Gaga / Dazed Digital, 2009, film still Richard Nicoll S/S10’2009, film still
How has your own work evolved since your early films?
My early films were visual experiments. I came from a world, i.e fashion, where image making is driven by an immediacy to create. Now that I’ve moved into other areas of filmmaking I finally feel like I can slow down and concentrate on making films that interest me on a more personal level.
I still feel like I’m only on the first step of my film career. I am very conscious of wanting to tell stories and I’m definitely moving more and more towards both narrative filmmaking and documentary. High aesthetic used to be the driving force in my work and now I’m very keen to start making films where it’s secondary to a storyline or other people’s stories. Máthair was the first step in that direction for me. Real people fascinate me, I want to tell real stories but with my own take and aesthetic being applied.
You’ve worked for BEV and are about to go on tour with the British Council – why is it important to you not to be working in isolation as a filmmaker? My work with BEV was driven by a desire to work with women in general. As a festival, they supported me by showing my first film which is really what kick started all of this in the first place. I’m very keen to work with other women and truly believe films about women made by women are the way forward. I also find the work I am doing with the British Council thrilling, as I will travel the world working with filmmakers and creatives. I think travel is the best way to open your mind and I am sure it’s going to inspire me. Filmmaking as a practice is very immersive and my work as a curator for BEV, the British Council and more recently The British Fashion Council means I meet other people whose work I appreciate and I get to talk to them in depth about their practice. I also really enjoy working with others whether it’s in a teaching / lecturing role or a project collaboration. I feel being out in the real world conversing with people informs my work as much as experimenting in an edit suite.
What is FASH/ON Film all about? FASH/ON Film is a new initiative I’ve been working on with the British Fashion Council for the past few months. We’ve been talking about it for a few years in fact but now is the first time everything has come together and been made possible. It is an initiative that will bring together both emerging and established filmmakers and fashion designers via a series of curated film screenings, Q&A’s, feature film premieres and film mentoring schemes.
What are your ambitions in terms of filmmaking?
My long-term ambition is to tell stories. For me 2012 is the year I plan to take the next step towards this ambition. I am currently writing a treatment for a long format documentary film with fellow female filmmaker Elisha Smith-Leverock. We met in Paris at a film festival in October and spent most of the night talking heatedly about women’s issues. We have been working closely on this since and now I feel it’s on the precipices of being realised.
Sicilian born Marco Glaviano is most famous for the beautiful women who have posed for his camera. Throughout his prolific career, he’s photographed more than 500 magazine covers for publications such as American Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Elle, and is responsible for many of the iconic images of models such as Cindy Crawford, Eva Herzigova whose sex appeal summed up the Eighties.
Glaviano was also a leading pioneer of digital photography and his was the first ever digital photograph to be published in American Vogue in 1982. For his first ever UK exhibition the focus is purely on his camera’s love affair with the supermodel; the sweat, sex and hair that bewitched a generation.
Marco Glaviano: Supermodels is at The Little Black Gallery, 13A Park Walk, London SW10 0AJ until 24 March littleblackgallery.com
For Fall 2012 at New York Fashion Week, Jil Sander’s more affordable little sister Jil Sander Navy presented a collection of modern brilliance.
While having elements of the sporty couture look that has been present at Jil Sander for the past three seasons, mixed in were more smartly tailored pieces; shirtdresses, wool overcoats and contrast collar shirts in a palette of salmon pink, tomato red and lashings of navy blue.
Accessories provided the quirks that differentiated this from the haute minimalism of the Jil Sander mainline and gave the collection a more everyday wear feel. Chunky platform shoes, luxe leather backpacks, grosgrain bow belts and Alice bands created a look that was prim Princess on a school day. Emminently wearable, elegant and feminine, but of course in the Jil Sander way.
Scarlett Hooft Graafland is an explorer. Whether it’s travelling to remote parts of the world to take images of extreme communities, or simply blurring the borders between straight photography and sculpture the Dutch photographer pushes into new territories. Having lived with Eskimos in remotest North Canada for four months to rural China her photographs mix the surreal and the sublime.
Twin spoke to the 38-year-old about her work…
How long have you been a photographer? I’ve been a photographer for eight years. Before I used to take photos but not in such a serious way, those pictures were more documentations of sculptures I made. It was only later that I started using photography as the actual work, the “end product”.
What kind of photographer would you describe yourself as? I would rather describe myself as a visual artist who makes photographs. I trained as a sculptor, first at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague, later at Parsons School of Design in New York. Inhabiting the border between straight photography, performance and sculpture, my photographs are records of highly choreographed live performances made in remote and often surreal landscapes. Many times I refer to a more profound cultural discourse of my surroundings.
Your photos are so otherworldly, what locations have you travelled to to make your images happen? I’ve traveled to many places, most of the time locations that are hard to reach, like a small Inuit settlement in arctic Canada, the salt desert in Bolivia and high in the Norwegian mountains where the herds of reindeer live. I also spent time in the south of China, this was a challenge language wise.
Are they of spontaneous moments or do you plan them? I like to do some planning before, but most of the time, once you get to a place, the circumstances are different to what I had in mind. Also the fact that I am dependent on the local community has some impact on the actual photo, how much they want to help me, where we can go, how close we can get to the reindeer for example, a lot of unexpected situations I have to work with. Also the weather is an important factor, sometimes I have to wait for days, in a few cases weeks, for the weather to clear up. So a lot of improvisation.
Is it difficult as a female photographer going to remote places? It can be difficult, I had some tough situations. But many times I happened to meet really nice people, people who were willing to help. I also try to go to places where I have some contacts, through friends, friends of friends, that really helps. And mostly I use my intuition, who to travel with, where to stay at peoples houses etc.
What inspires you? I like to find places where people live close to nature, places where it is hard to survive and where the power of nature is strong. It is fascinating to me to see how people live with old traditions, and to be able to live with them for some time, to experience a little that way of life. I normally stay for a few months at the time to get a better understanding about the living circumstances, the culture, etc. And this knowledge can also have some impact on the photos I make.
My work is rooted in a Western tradition, but it also enters all sorts of engagements with new traditions, other cultures, remarkable locations, and fascinating people. I have gradually built a nomadic oeuvre that is intercultural while also displaying a strong unity of style; temporary in its individual landscape interventions, but long-term in its engagement with the world.
What’s the most amazing thing you’ve seen as a photographer? I don’t know the most amazing thing, but living with a semi nomad Inuit family on their sled and traveling on the sea ice for a few weeks was an amazing experience. It was in springtime, when it did not get dark and in the middle of the night the light was kind of magic. In that time I made the work “My White Night”, a dog sled carrying a big “moon” through the winter landscape.
Where next do you want to travel to? In March I’m going to Bolivia, to the Altiplano. I’ve been there many times already and it’s an amazing place! I work together with a Bolivian artist, Gaston Ugalde, and it’s very special to travel with him and his crew through the highlands in a Landover with piles of materials on top of the roof.
Do you have an upcoming exhibition or publication? The 16th of March is the opening of the show ‘Almas Saladas’ at the Museo Nacional de Arte in La Paz, Bolivia, together with Gaston Ugalde. Also I am working on a book right now about all my works made in the Altiplano, that will come out in April, published by W-Books.