Twin catches up with fashion designer and artist Claire Barrow to talk about her new exhibition, and how fashion can help to fight prejudice during these uncertain times.
How did the collaboration between yourself and Galeria Melissa come about?
I was approached from them a while ago but the installation idea started to take shape towards the end of last year. Melissa‘s shoes are completely recycled, waste free and 100% animal free so I’m really into that. It’s been on my wishlist for a long time to work with larger company with great ethics like theirs and I’m also really into what they do with collaborations. Ow, and the smell of the PVC is really good (all the shoes smell like rubber and strawberries.)
What was your starting point for the project, and what were you inspired by?
I wanted to combine performance and sculpture that also used digital in some way, so I think it started there then the idea grew and it become human size sculptures and digital projections of people performing next to them. I just wanted to do everything at once. So we have digital, music, film, performance, costume, movement.
So, the piece addresses the ‘judging’ of people, and the initial ideas you have of someone before they even speak. So, these ‘people’ (sculptures) will never get the chance to communicate but how can the performers work with them to make them feel animated. Then the fact that the ‘real’ people aren’t really there, but digital also signifies our online communication with friends, feeling less lonely but not seeing them IRL. We are all on our phones and computers too much now that I don’t want to miss that out in my work. I try to use the everyday and this is our new reality.
What were your design references for this piece? Was there particular reason that you were drawn to use pearls and a muted palette?
I’ve been trying to not use references in my work to much unless I have to explain my idea’s to someone else in the team as I would like the ideas to come from somewhere inside my head or from a drawing I have done. My subconscious will have maybe seen references in the past, or that day on Instagram, but then it will be a distorted version that sticks. I took a lot from my own life and childhood for this project.
I took a train ride over Christmas time past the old British Steel in Teeside, (a steel works that closed a few years ago leading to the loss of thousands of jobs, which is just stood rotting), and the light was so beautiful and metal so glittery I sort of took it from an imagined version of that then also the idea of ‘high glamour’ too, so jewellery and make-up and sparkle. So I chose the pearls and muted palette and crystals in like, ‘powdered’ down version of primary or secondary colours. Different types of camouflage feature heavily too.
What are your hopes for the exhibition, and what are you most excited about?
It was brilliant to work with the team on the video. I cast Sameena who was in the Daniel Wolfe film ‘Catch Me Daddy’ a few years ago and hasn’t acted since. So it was an honour she actually said yes to me!
It’s the first time I’d worked with Joseph Bird to who’s a reasonably new film director and also Taigen and Ken (Bo Ningen) on the music. I’ve been meaning to work with them for years we were just looking for the right project.
The five characters all take on different roles but very much improvise and added their own ideas to each part. I had designed the costumes and given anecdotes from my own experiences to show them which helped form the characters.
And finally, in such uncertain times, what role do you think fashion has in challenging assumptions and prejudices more widely?
Design wise I think the most interesting work is coming from people who don’t limit themselves to being creative within the fashion system. I don’t see anything particularly progressive happening with bigger brands currently but maybe this will change during times of extreme political unrest if they feel it necessary.
It’s like, they need to stand up for injustice but also to fix problems within their own companies such as material wastage and paying workers fairly. That’s why it’s brilliant to be associated with a large brand like Melissa whom are dedicated to keeping everything recycled and looking after their staff in Brazil.
For AW17, Molly Goddard brought audiences into a sumptuous banquet, where models sauntered around the Tate Modern show space in signature tulle dresses. This collection offered a veritable feast – aesthetically and literally within the presentation – where creamy pinks and reds mingled with azure, a bold use of metallic silver flashes and delicate embroidery throughout.
This collection showed Goddard at her most diverse to date, walking trousers and cropped, peplum inspired jackets as well as the silhouettes she has become famous for. We can’t wait to see where she takes her brands over the course of 2017.
Flowers, friendship and the work of Hilma Af Klint were at the root of Paul Smith‘s charming Spring Summer 2017 collection this London Fashion Week.
With a considered floral base serving as the contemporary canvas for his latest wares, the much-loved designer presented look after look of effortless, oversized suiting, voluminous dresses and graphic accessories which, quite literally, bloomed before the eye.
While the silhouette may have been maximal, the styling was far less so, with the bold pieces themselves needing little in the way of overworking. A riot of colour, shape and texture ensured that while the concept of flowers and spring is not a new one, Smith’s treatment of it couldn’t have been fresher.
Just in time for London Fashion Week, Miu Miu is offering customers the chance to personalise their bags with a large selection of free-spritited badges. Calling the project ‘CustoMIUzation’, it is a novel and interactive idea which enables shoppers to truly make a piece of the brand their own.
The choice of how to customise the madras leather and denim bags is completely at the discretion of the customer, with the patches on offer including the now iconic Miu Miu stars, varsity-style motifs as seen on the AW16 catwalk and adorable wording such as LOVE, KISS and FOREVER.
The process of adorning each bag will be carried out by a dedicated artisan, flown in especially from Italy, and take around 30 minutes to complete. With up to 12 badges to add, one suspects that the majority of the time will be spent deciding on the look to go for. As ever, Miu Miu has kept exclusivity at the forefront of their minds, and as such, there will only be a limited number of bags available. So don’t delay…
Miu Miu ‘CustoMIUzation’ will take place from the 16th September at the Miu Miu New Bond Street store for a limited period only.