TOGA AW21

Japanese brand TOGA launches their AW21 campaign, built around the three concepts: “simplify, expand, flatten”. The focus on simplifying the line with two-dimensional forms made using three-dimensional techniques introduces a variety of unique pieces that carry the cool, and dynamic essence of the brand.

A virtual runway presentation filmed and directed by Anders Edström emphasises the message behind the line. The plain white wall background and dark flooring draws the attention directly to the designs. Models walk in and out of the frame like pedestrians, their footsteps reverberating off the walls. The camera zooms in on the clothing and lingers on the ruffle detailing, the expanded fabric, and mirrored accessories.

Designer Yasuko Furuta utilised techniques by contemporary artist Tomoo Gokita to accentuate the curves and lines of the body. Thus the shoulders, sleeves, and ruffles of dresses which are seen in some of the designs, are a reflection of some of the figures and bodies in Gokita’s paintings.

Watch the full virtual show below:

TTSWTRS Presents The Earth Series

Location: Planet Earth. Existing on a galactic plane, at 0o latitude and being made up of a collection of a crust, mantle, and core, which holds large bodies of water and life. This is where well-known Ukrainian brand TTSWRTS takes their inspiration from for their new SS21 collection: The Earth Series. Their aim? To discover the concept of the future of clothing.

The Earth Series takes inspiration from a hypothetical future that involves space travel and the possibility of inhabiting new plants. A world where visual culture – fashion and clothing, becomes the main mode of communication. Arguably, we have already begun using fashion as a way to transmit ideas about our identity, but TTSWTRS takes this a step further. The centrepiece of the designs is the concept of a ‘second skin’, which is embroidered with inscriptions and images that involve a series of mantras, sayings, and symbols. The pieces are made to highlight the human body and its duality; it decentres the body whilst also maintaining the essence of one’s identity.

The line includes unique pieces developed in collaboration with other creatives: the Naked Landscape coat was created together with photographer Kseniia Kargina and the Earth, Mars, and Venus hoodie was made alongside American designer and illustrator Jeremey Harnell. The materials and fabrics used range from silk, micro modal, net, and denim, with a predominantly white, beige, and black palette. Each piece of clothing captures the essence of the earth in its entirety.  

But where does this series fit in in the discourse of fashion right now? Founder and designer Anna Osmiekhina commented: “I would describe fashion now in 3 words – Mirror. Protection. Addiction. For me, fashion is the most honest form of contemporary art that helps me accept myself. What a wonderful time we live in when everyone can manifest themselves in any way they want.” 

TTSWTRS being founded in 2013 has maintained a high level of success, through the brand’s unique focus on utilising beige imitating naked skin, basic colours, and tattoos. The Earth Series is another instalment of the brand’s push to focus on wider ideas and conversations, and incorporating this into clothing.

Anna goes on to share her hopes for where she hopes to see TTSWTRS transcend to and where she hopes the fashion world will be in the future: “I would love to see how every detail of the current era has changed: the perception of fashion, communication, the emergence of new communication types, and people’s manifestations. The Art reflecting on current times. Its Speed. And of course the value of resources. The value of Water, Air, and Earth. I would like to participate in this direction to reflect the time and help others to be more open and sincere, to be more loved. To help in self-acceptance. And if suddenly garments are not useful in the near future, I would like to design natural phenomena.”

To view the full collection, visit ttswtrs.com

CHANEL: Introducing The LIPSCANNER App

The future of make-up is here. The Chanel Lipscanner app utilises new AI technology to allow consumers to find the right Chanel lipstick that matches any colour that is scanned. Finding the perfect nude is made easy now and can be scanned from a magazine, a poster, a pair of shoes, or even a friend’s lips – the possibilities are almost endless.

This app is a result of a collaborative over several months between the CX Lab and the Chanel Make-up Creation Studio. The scanner is intuitive, with a rapid response enabling its users to find the perfect lip colour instantaneously.

The technology is advanced, with a vast analytical capacity that is built on the basis of tens of thousands of facial images. And it doesn’t stop there – the lipscanner also takes into consideration the skin tone and shape of the users lips, ensuring the match is just right.

With the incorporation of Chanel’s virtual try-on application, the lipscanner works to further expand the brand’s presence in the digital realm. To find out more and explore the app, visit Chanel.com

‘Automatiste’: An AI x Art Collaboration Presented by Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti

Award-winning, LA-based art, and tech duo Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti have collaborated with Chinese gender-neutral luxury brand Mithridate to create Automatiste. The multimedia showcase will be part of Mithridate’s SS21 presentation at London Fashion Week on 22nd February 2021. This marks the second collaboration between the brand and the duo after their 35-minute immersive performance instillation “I’d rather be in a dark silence than” (2020) at London’s Serpentine Galleries.

Automatiste takes root in the French adjective which describes the Surrealist Automatism, a method of art making which suppresses the conscious mind, allowing the unconscious mind to have great control. The piece will work to provide viewers globally with an immersive experience, with portals that explore the richness, danger, beauty, and raw nature of the subconscious. The production will weave through the digital world through the AI integration, used to represent the chance operations and inner-workings of the mind.

The art piece is a full production incorporating performance art, interactive film, augmented reality, poetry, and web design amongst a plethora of other forms of media. The team is spread across countries and cities, including LA, Shanghai, Istanbul, London, Washington DC, Baltimore and Rome.  

Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti commented, “We cherish being trusted so fully by Mithridate, and that trust is bleeding into the rest of our phenomenal team, who are all pushing the boundaries with their own contributions to make an experience that we all believe will mark a new chapter in the history of fashion, art, and technology. We want to show that digital-only doesn’t need to mean second rate and everyone shouldn’t be sitting around waiting for the ‘real thing’ to happen again. This is the real thing. It’s thrilling to us that anyone with internet access can take this journey with us, share digital space and be introduced to Mithridate’s collection through our art.”

Other featured artists include musician Tony Cruise, XR artist Aaron XR artist Aaron Jablonski, 3D artist Curry Tian, and Immersive Kind Studios. The amalgamation of some of the most advanced technology used in fashion to date, and the raw artistic energy: Automatiste is a showcase that utilises the power of technology as a means to an end, and not an end in itself.

To view the boundary-pushing work, visit automatiste.mithridate.uk

Mansur Gavriel: “Tulipano”

Hailing from modern luxury house Mansur Garviel: ‘Tulipano’ is the brands newest signature silhouette. The design is inspired by the tulip, the fresh flower that symbolises the season of new life: Spring. The details of the bag are intricate with a structure that unfolds just like petals, whilst still maintaining optimum functionality.

The bag is elegant, sophisticated, yet practical – made for the modern woman. The soft and supple feel is attributed to the luxury textiles, including a calf and suede construction.

Tulipano is compact yet large enough to hold everyday essentials, aligning with the contours of the body; this makes the bag perfect for both style and comfort. The bag is offered in a variety of colours: Snow, Prato, Cedro, Elettrio, Arranico, and Black.

Tulipano available for purchase beginning 17th February 2021, retailing for $695 (£500). To find out more, visit MansurGavriel.com

Puma x Black Fives Foundation: Celebration Black Pre-NBA History

At the beginning of February, Puma announced a multi-year partnership with the Black Dives Foundation in support of Black History Education reform. Black Fives Foundation is a certified 501© non-profit who’s aim since being funded in 2002 is to research preserve, showcase, teach and honour the pre-NBA history of African Americans in basketball.

Puma is determined to stand by athletes, ambassadors, and partners by amplifying their voices and actions across different platforms. As Black Fives Foundation continues to carry out their mission, Puma will work to support the continued education and preservation by supporting the launch of an interactive, multi-use online museum; the museum will display its archive of historical artifacts and content.

The Virtual Vault will include an online portal that will allow visitors to experience, engage, and be enlightened by the illustrious history. The contents of the vault will include vintage equipment, ticket stubs, game gear, images, scorecards, and more.

“I’m proud and honored to partner with PUMA toward making a meaningful, long-lasting difference in expanding Black history education to include the pioneering African American teams, players, and contributors who helped pave the way for today’s game,” – Claude Johnson, Founder and Executive Director of the Black Fives Foundation.

In addition to this partnership, Puma will be giving back to the Harlem, NY community with partner ‘AfroBrutality’, a black-owned lifestyle brand that focuses on bringing diversity and inclusivity to athleisure wear. This will be done in conjunction with current and former athletes, surrounding activism in sport through their #REFORM platform.

To find out more about the partnership, visit https://partners.blackfives.org/hello-puma.

Stüssy “Laguna Beach” Eau de toilette

In collaboration with Comme des Garçons Parfumes, Stüssy has created a fragrance that is an amalgamation of the mood and lifestyle of California’s Laguna Beach. The eau de toilette is a combination of natural marine freshness, moss, and atlas cedar mix with white solar flowers. This woody concoction presents a mellow, cool, and laidback scent representative of its muse.

Both brands have a longstanding partnership that is been built upon their strengths as individually influential brands. Stüssy was formed in the late 80s’ and was inspired by the Southern Californian surf scene which had swept through and influenced much of the culture at the time; the casual clothing, laid-back attitude, and overall mindset. This campaign is reminiscent of Stüssy’s roots and the photography led by Tyrone Lebon, is bright and colourful, featuring a model clad in a zebra-print bikini.

‘Laguna Beach’ is now available worldwide at select stores, including select Dover Street Market locations, and Comme des Garçons shops.

Visit doverstreetmarket.com and stussy.com to shop the eau de toilette.

Alexander McQueen Pre-SS21 Couture

The Alexander McQueen Pre-SS21 Couture campaign is the embodiment of ‘make-do-and-men’. The pieces are sourced and created in kitchens and back gardens of the team at Alexander McQueen in conjunction with a professional in-studio team. The collection includes an array of garments – with prom style pleated dresses, a tuxedo-style jacket with a silk-wrapped bow and a feminine colour palette consisting of albion pinks contrasted with black.

All the creations were mocked up, and the sketches were gathered by the embroidery team then printed onto organza panels. Once the panels were completed, each member of the team took one home to work on each design.

A dress with an off-the-shoulder drape and a tiered skirt was hand-made with toile that was dip-dyed. The dress was then taken apart and then reassembled, the skirt had to be dipped upside-down in order to maintain the pink hem. Majority of the tests and experiments were conducted once again at home, and the final results were created by a professional team.

The double-layered tuxedo jacket is inspired by oversized 1950s couture bow, re-imagined and interwoven into the jacket, using the same pink, black and white colour palette. An oyster ruffle dress with a high neck and a scalloped back, with an undulating pattern achieved by stitching row by row until the pattern indicated a change in circle size, achieving the degradé scale effect.

The final piece is a asymmetric floor-length dress with an exploded skirt volume in washed calico silk organza, embroidered with designs from a sketch book. The finale piece of the collection made by the Italian Alexander McQueen seamstresses in their kitchens. Sarah Burton and her team worked to feature sketches previously created before the pandemic.

To view the full campaign, visit AlexanderMcQueen.com

Gucci Presents ‘Winter in the Park’

A strong reconnection with nature, the outdoors, and a celebration of unique pieces in a metropolis: Gucci presents ‘Winter in the Park’. Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s Creative Director reimagined a natural space in the city, with a combination of autumn leaves, frosted grass, and grey skies, alongside London-esque metal railings, benches, and amber lamps. The atmosphere sets the scene for the presentation of the pieces which are reminiscent of the 60s and 70s’.

This digital campaign features four of the House’s adored creations: this includes the GG Marmont soft leather matelassé bag, seen previously in Michele’s first show for the House. The Jackie 1961 which is the updated version of the famous hobo model that was presented by Gucci in the 60s’ is also the main attraction. Accessories in the campaign include the Dionysus Bag, which was first presented at the Women’s Fall-Winter fashion show in 2015. The bag has a double tiger-head closure detailing which is a direct reference to the Greek God Dionysus, who in the myth is said to have crossed the river Tigris on a tiger sent to him by Zeus.

These pieces are worn by the likes of singer-songwriter Celeste, fashion designer, television personality and author Alexa Chung, and actor Vanessa Kirby. Each woman dawns a different style all suited to their personalities, taken from the Gucci Epilogue collection and from the House’s Beloved Lines accessories. Photographer Angelo Pennetta perfectly captures the harmony between the outdoors and the clothing, encapsulating the beauty of the clothing and vitality that can be found in an outdoor space during the winter.  

To further explore the campaign, visit Gucci.com

Louis Vuitton Men’s AW21 – Livestream Fashion Show

Louis Vuitton’s Men’s AW21 premiered on Thursday 22nd January, a showcase that featured a selection of pieces spearheaded by their artistic director Virgil Abloh. The show begins with a title sequence, the phrase “A Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light” appearing on the surface of Swiss mountains adorned in snow. The 13-minute video features an array of alluring visuals alongside reworked streetwear combinations.

Saul Williams narrates the beginning of the show, with a spoken word poem backed by an ethereal violin and harp duet: “In this white wilderness, the construct of purity is sullied with every step”. The wide shot switches to a hallway like structure, with models that move in a pedestrian yet choreographed. The combination of streetwear and cooperate suits creates an interesting flare. Pieces include a slouchy button up paired with a grey fedora and green silk scarf, and elbow length leather gloves combined with a fitted waist coat.

The cacophony of music, movement, and clothing draws the audience in throughout. As the music transitions into a faster-paced jazz ensemble, the shot switches to an open space with emerald granite structures under stark white lighting. Williams calls out the names of influential figures in literature, politics, film, music and more as the models continue to walk in and across the room. Yasiin Bey (also known as Mos Def) takes centre stage and performs a song, changing the pace to a more upbeat and somewhat frenzied tone. The camera shows flashes of accessories such as an iridescent silver suitcase and an airplane bag covered in Louis Vuitton’s signature brown pattern. The video closes out with Yasiin Bey in his illuminated green suit slowly fading out of view as the overhead lights shut off.

The show is more than a fashion show – it is a full artistic experience from start to finish.

To view the full collection, visit LouisVuttion.com.

Alexander McQueen and Jonathan Glazer: First Light

Alexander McQueen presents “First Light”, a film in conjunction with English filmmaker Jonathan Glazer and Alexander McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton. The film combines the gritty scenes from the River Thames overpass with the stripped-back clothing and accessories from the campaign. With the tagline “Back to London, coming home” and under Glazer’s directing, the film draws on the peculiar and the striking. 

Debuting Alexander McQueen’s 21’ Spring/Summer collection, each scene shows the meeting point between the sophisticated and the rugged through a culmination of panned and still shots. The musical score is intense with bass and synths that reverberate throughout. Each shot is a hodgepodge, a collision of clothing hailing from different time periods that are brought together to create something new and refined. 

The womenswear collection includes pieces like a deconstructed dress with a strapless corset and an exploded skirt in layers of blush and tea rose tulle. This corset dress is featured in the film and worn by model Celina Ralph, who is caught in a cinematic shot, falling back slowly into a bed of mud. The menswear features a black biker jacket with zip detailing, a vest in white cotton jersey and biker trousers with zip detailing, reminiscent of the biker fashion of the 60’s. 

“Shape, silhouette and volume, the beauty of the bare bones of clothing stripped back to its essence – a world charged with emotion and human connection.” – Sarah Burton. 

To discover the collection, visit AlexanderMcQueen.com 

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Colville’s Authentic Vision

Collaboration as the core of creative vision: Colville founders Lucinda Chambers and Molly Molloy discuss the cultivation of an authentic vision with Marte Mei and Viviane Sassen for Twin. 

There is never just a single solitary eye in fashion. No isolated roving thoughts, or an action not inspired by another. Colville might be named after a street in London, but its name feels drawn from the family of collaboration, cross-pollination, creative inspiration. 

Founded by Lucinda Chambers and Molly Molloy, there are so many creatives, resources, ideas at play it feels like more than two: it is a river of thoughts, streams pulling in and rolling through.

In anticipation of their most recent collaboration with Marte Mei and Viviane Sassen, we spoke to the four respective collaborators about the freedoms of sharing visions and the interconnectivity of the creaive landscape.

If 2020 has taught us anything, do you think it is the vital importance of collaboration and creative cross-pollination?

Lucinda Chambers

I think I have always felt the joy of collaborations, not just during this time. I truly think no man is an island and it is one of the greatest pleasures to have a criss-crossing of minds, hearing others’ point of view and expressing ourselves creatively.  Also, as I get older, I let go more, not needing to hold on to my ideas or my way of doing things. I enjoy the freedom of collaborative work, and I feel very fortunate to have identified amazing collaborators to take the journey, and some have found me!

Molly Molloy

Absolutely, I think the incredible moments that happened for me during the first lockdown were the ideas and collaborations that came out of it. We worked with people all over the world to knit squares for blankets that we will eventually auction next year for a women’s refuge here in Milan. It was moving to involve so many people and to read the letters they sent along with the squares. I also took part in a group talk with BoF and many other designers, everyone coming together in a think tank to exchange ideas and make changes. These and many other projects we started during this year have reinforced our vision of collaboration. This was something we all talked about at the beginning of Colville: we all have collaborative natures and it just makes the creative process fresh and inspiring.

Marte Mei

I think 2020 has showed us how fragile our systems are. The interconnectivity of our global economy but also as a species within the ecosystem. Hopefully it has also showed people how much we depend on a healthy ecosystem around us, and how much we depend on that as a species to survive. 

Viviane Sassen

I believe the vital importance of collaboration and creative cross-pollination is something of all times.

How can fashion cultivate authentic visions in a creative climate in flux?

Lucinda Chambers

Now more than ever creativity flourishes. You must be authentic these days – people’s money is precious. They want to know where it is going and what the journey was. There are so many good stories out there and I think things are being scrutinised in a way that’s never happened before, and that’s a good thing. So, the more authentic you are, the better tale you have to tell.

Molly Molloy

To quote Louise Bourgeois “Tell your own story and you will be interesting”. I think what stands out are designers being authentic and working from their hearts and creating what they believe in.

Marte Mei

Fashion to me has always been about making something that triggers a new vision, sets a new tone or creates new examples. In the context of this project, it was all about freedom about coming together as a woman-only team. We also worked very local and with low carbon emissions and a very small team. The shoot took place in Amsterdam, the clothes were sent do us by mail, and nobody had to travel for the job apart from biking to the studio. I hope that becomes the new norm of creating within the industry. 

Viviane Sassen

By embracing true and original creative minds and give them a platform. Like Marte got through her collaboration with Colville!

How has this image series come about, and do you think it expresses a convergence of unique viewpoints that come together as a greater whole?

Lucinda Chambers

Molly contacted Marte Mei. We have worked with her from the very beginning of Colville. One of the beautiful things about Colville is the friendships we have all made along the way, for years now, way before we dreamt of having our own company. We have gathered around us a band of really dear and important friends who are creatives. Collaboration and giving everyone a voice is something that is very important to us, always has been. It’s about relationships, friendships and respect. In that sense we feel that Colville is a real collective. A meeting of the minds. 

Molly Molloy

Marte has worked with Colville from the very beginning, I worked with her creatively in the past and Lucinda and I love her vision, use of colour and sensitivity to what surrounds her. What’s amazing about letting go of control is what it brings back to you and how it surprises you. We didn’t give Marte or Viviane any constraints, they created something together that was for us completely unique and took the clothes somewhere else. It was an incredible privilege to work with two such inspiring women.

Marte Mei

To me, the process felt like a chain reaction of appreciation and admiration. Both the textile design collaboration, the set design, the image making, all felt like an overlapping patchwork of creation without clear borders. I found that really special in the way that Lucinda and Molly approached me for the textile design. They asked if I wanted to create a special follow up of an artwork I’d made in the past. I find it fascinating that they acknowledge potential within that sculpture from paper and wood, to become a piece of clothing. To see their brand as a space without borders, entering the field of art and going beyond their set team of designers by having me as an outsider creator woven into their collection. 

Viviane Sassen

It was a super organic collaboration; I have known Marte for years and we’ve worked together so many times – she’s one of my muses so to speak. The whole process of working on this project together was very intuitive and smooth and a lot of fun. It is also a matter of mutual trust and understanding, that makes for a good collaboration, and Marte and I absolutely recognize that in each other. 

What does fashion and photography come to learn from another?

Lucinda Chambers

I think they are totally intertwined. As is art and fashion, theatre and fashion, music and fashion. Fashion can be expressed so beautifully through photography. Fashion and in particular clothes are the tools we use for storytelling. The narrative and dialogue that fashion and photography has can create something wonderful, standalone images or a drawn out tale. Clothes facilitate that. And they can also be the inspiration, the beginning of the photograph.

Molly Molloy

They are ever evolving together, it’s so exciting when you see the two combine in original and unique ways, it’s such an incredible feeling when you see a shoot that’s inspiring, it will stay with you for years if not ever. It’s like moving image and sound, the two go hand in hand and can really evoke emotion. 

Marte Mei

I think that it was a revolutionary experience for me as a former model, to take on a different role within the dynamic of the team I really look up to. Having designed the textile, and the set design, but also modelling within the project. On a personal level I still think there is a lot to learn in being comfortable within that role of being both the creator as the subject of creation. For instance, when we were working with the clay on my body, I wanted to just trust the image of Irena within applying it to me, so when she asked for my opinion to guide her, it was hard for me to switch between having a creative vision to the outcome of project but also being subjected to her creative expression in the project and onto my body. 

Viviane Sassen

I’ve always perceived my fashion photography as a great way to express myself; to play, to experiment, and to collaborate with other creative people. I also work as an artist and that is a much more solitary process, so I love working as a fashion photographer too, as it enables me to work together in a group, have a mutual goal, and create images together with others who are often super inspiring. In that sense, I feel I’ve learned so much from collaborations with stylists, designers, models, hair & make-up artists!

What does fashion and photography come to learn from another?

Lucinda Chambers

I always learn from Molly and everyone really, we have an incredible team, Danny, Alice and Luisa.  I think I’ve learnt from Molly to try things out even if they are out of my comfort zone, out of my field  of vision, to give things a go and see where it leads or takes you. Also not always getting my own way and that’s fine. I’ve learnt to let go. And to like vegetables more.

Molly Molloy

I’m learning every minute of the day being a founder with Lucinda we are both on a huge learning curve having our own business and bringing people in to Colville that constantly keep it evolving and exciting. 

Viviane Sassen

I really love watching Marte work, the refined gestures she makes and the thing(s) she creates, both while modelling and while working on her own art; it all comes from the same source, the creative energy which is within her. I recognize her inner drive to create beauty, and I admire her sense of colour, texture, and shape. It’s a true joy to watch her work evolve and refine over time!

What was the last thing that made you feel inspired?

Lucinda Chambers

Well, everything really, but probably the leaves on the pavement tonight coming home, I wanted to collect them all, the colours, shocking reds and yellows, blowing around. Beautiful.

Molly Molloy

Heavy Metal by Osamu Matsuo, I hadn’t seen it for a while and forgot how beautiful it is!

Marte Mei

Nature is a limitless source of inspiration to me, being inside due to corona and wintertime limits the possibility of going outdoors, so for me this is a time for reading and thinking. 

Viviane Sassen

A few documentaries I recently watched about climate change, and how some new technologies and (futuristic) solutions will be able to help humankind towards a better, more sustainable future.

Explore the collaboration here

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Wales Bonner launches AW20 Campaign “Lovers Rock”

A dedication to dancehall – the fashion, the community and the music: Wales Bonner’s campaign is titled ‘Lovers Rock’; an ode to the work of British-Jamaican photographer John Goto. Photographed by Liz Johnson Artur, this line includes distinct pieces that hark back to the lively culture of the British youth in the 1970s: the donkey jackets, repurposed 1960s Saville Row tailoring, and moleskin double-breasted blazers adorned with found buttons. 

Based on the British-born music genre ‘Lovers’ Rock’, which was a style that used the softer notes of reggae to create this passionate sub-genre. The romantic musings that were found in the dancehall scene and the underground blues parties created a convivial connection between black and Asian communities; this is shown through the integrated Adidas and Wales Bonner collaboration. An eclectic mix of colours can be seen in the Adidas freizeit in crimson, ochre and emerald green. 

There is a heavy emphasis placed on Caribbean culture in the campaign, with mod jackets in two-tone tweeds and windowpane check mixed with crocheted sportswear silhouettes. The hand-knit beanies crafted in raw Scottish shetland wool, courtesy of Stephen Jones, reflects a strong Rastafarian presence. The military influence is also felt, with the inclusion of a tobacco gabardine cadet jacket and a navy twill pea coat fastened with Jamaican gold brass buttons. 

From the turtlenecks layered with tailored jackets, the ankle-length skirts matched with dark tights and knitted sweater vests, this launch is a love letter to the vibrant culture in 1970’s Britain.

To discover the full collection, go to WalesBonner.net

 Wales Bonner AW20 campaign, by Liz Johnson Artur

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Designing for the future, Less is More

Celebrating transparency and craftsmanship within the industry, the International Woolmark Prize 2021 nominees inspire hope for the future of fashion at time when innovation is needed more than ever.

This year’s theme, ‘Less is More’, focuses on slow, conscious and responsible design. Buzzwords these may be, but this year’s crop of design talent are showing how to put ambitious principles into action. The nominations brings together a group of bright young designers who have built innovative new models from the ground up.

Twin talks to Bethany Williams, Casablanca, Kenneth Ize, Lecavalier, Matty Bovan, Thebe Magugu about putting sustainability first and creating a green hype cycle.

Matty Bovan, United Kingdom

We have always tried to be sustainable, and to question where we source materials and artisan makers. We make everything in the United Kingdom and try and source as much as we can from the UK and even more locally, Yorkshire where we are based. We use deadstock fabrics, deadstock yarns, and end of line pieces alongside stock service fabrics. This is very important to myself, and my business, in a world where we have such huge amounts of materials and garments made every day – it’s important to rework and make something special.

I am very interested in upcycling, whether this be vintage pieces, or end of line, damaged fabrics; it excites me to be able to transform something under an artisan process. We rework all leftover fabric we have each season, alongside any excess yarns we have, nothing is ever disposed of and always reused in some way. Constantly experimenting with craft and process is very important to me and helps aid me in transforming materials that others may disregard. We use screenprinting in-house, embroidery and hand-dying to rework. 

We are in a great place in fashion, with people asking more questions about who is making what we buy, who is putting love into these pieces. Traceability has always been very important to me, and I have always found it key to understand who we work with and where they are in the world. I try to work with artisans with hand skills. I try to make and treat a lot of textiles in-house. I like the touch of the hand on everything that comes under Matty Bovan. 

mattybovan.com

Thebe Magugu, South Africa

If the current state of the world is enough to go on, I think it’s critical for anyone working in creative output of any kind to consider their sustainability practices. We are effectively destroying the world and sustainability is all our pledges to try to counter that destruction as much as possible. 

I am very proud of the fact that most of our resources and production are made locally in South Africa. I am excited about the continuation of problem-solving through fashion, and the growing consciousness our industry is having towards its role in solving those problems. This is very particular to the younger generation especially.

thebemagugu.com

Lecavalier (Marei-Eve Lecavalier), Canada

As a young generation of creators, we were put in front of a reality that fashion production and consumption was creating a lot of waste. My creativity comes also from a place where I want to make special pieces by reusing discard materials, there is so much material available out there and it is our duty to find new ways to be creative with it. I’m really proud that I have created a unique technique to weave discard leather. There is still so much for us to explore in terms of new weaving technics but also to explore of different fabrics. I’m looking forward to an era where the craftsmanship and savoir-faire will become more present. Fashion has always been about the garment, it’s not only a product and it’s not only hype.

lecavalier.studio

Casablanca (Charaf Tajer), France

I think it’s important we all play a role in sustainable practices. The fact that we go from the idea to the creation of the garment is very special for me. My most proudest is that I am continuing the techniques of French classic fashion traditions. The whole process of creating the print and the fabrics. In terms of my own designs, I am optimistic about bringing more joy and gratitude through the clothing to people’s lives. I am optimistic that there is going to be more diversity and more acceptance towards people from different backgrounds. I think we have experienced a small part of the ongoing evolution that will create a better a future.

casablancaparis.com

Bethany Williams, United Kingdom

Growing up my mum has always been very socially and environmentally conscious, and very caring, so this has been something that has been of interest to me from a young age. I want to create beautiful things but I always want to create something with a purpose, something that can support and protect the maker and the supply chain it is a part of. Each item we produce is made from recycled, deadstock, or organic materials and made in the UK and Italy. I feel it’s really important to have produce locally or close to home so that you know exactly where your garments are made and who exactly is making them.

I think our most recent collection titled ‘All Our Children’ is what I’m most proud of. Not just because of the outcome of the final collection of garments but also the groups of creatives and like-minded people that worked on the project alongside me. I really like the network of amazing people we are building through each collection and how positive and supportive the network is that we are surrounded by and look to grow and add to this network each season.

I’m always really excited to develop my skills and look forward to introducing new techniques each season, alongside the research into and introduction of new social manufacturing partners. I hope to expand my knowledge of social manufacturing, supply chain, and craft, and strive to share this at every opportunity to help drive change within industry. I feel the presence of change starting to happen within the fashion industry, and I’m optimistic that this will continue and build momentum towards a more environmentally and socially conscious system, however there is a long way to go yet.

bethany-williams.com

Kenneth Ize, Nigeria

My love for the traditional Nigerian design textile culture of Aso Oke. Historically Aso Oke weaving created fabrics that were used to create everyday clothing that lasts for centuries and can be passed down from generation to generation. However, we started seeing less and less use of the textile except in occasion wear. With my brand I hope to bring the use of this textile to the forefront. 

I’m also very passionate about the weaving villages we empower, and I hope to do all I can to continue to push opportunities for them to grow and develop

In a collaboration with Nigerian Product design firm nmbello Studio, we were able to redesign the loom. The old loom had never been redesigned or updated, the weavers had complained about the discomfort they felt while using it. By redesigning the loom we were able to birth new life into the industry as a new generation of weavers have come forward with an eagerness to learn and push Aso Oke weaving into a modern era.

I am most optimistic about the economic empowerment that is the bedrock of my atelier. We are currently building a factory to house many of our local artisans, creating more opportunities for local textile designers and establishing a more structured industry within Western Africa.

kennethize.net

Find out more about the International Woolmark Prize here.

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Laura Morgan on making sense of the world

Mansur Gavriel is bringing love and community to 2020 with a new campaign to mark the launch of the brand’s latest collection.

Featuring artist and model Laura Morgan and Twin cover star Dilone, alongside LGBTQ activist ​Jari Jones​ and social media maven Parker Kit Hill, the ‘Love Forward’ celebrates individuality and creativity.

In an exclusive interview for Twin, Alexander McQueen muse Laura Morgan explores her love of fashion, and what’s getting her through 2020.

Laura Morgan for Mansur Gavriel ‘Love Forward’ campaign

What does fashion mean to you?
I think fashion is a lot more influential that people give it credit for. I’ve worked in front of, and behind the camera in the fashion and entertainment industry for 23 years. For me my work as a model is about trying to express myself as much as possible within the constraints of the business of fashion. To keep pushing in the hopes there will be some
breakthroughs. I know I am not alone in this process. I believe fashion has the ability to challenge norms, and stereotypes and bring what would have been marginalized perspectives into the mainstream. I believe it has the
responsibility to do so.

Laura Morgan for Mansur Gavriel ‘Love Forward’ campaign

Speaking of self expression, 2020 has been quite a year – what has been your outlet?

Art. It’s the only thing that helps me attempt to make sense of this world, and of the situation that is going on around and in us. I try to bring creative self-expression to everything I do. Be it an interview such as this, modeling, my art. In this precise moment I am concentrating on developing my art to be able to understand and communicate what I feel so passionately about. I remain close to the people I love and respect, and collaborate with other artists. I feel the reason we are in this situation in the world right now is because we believe in the prevailing idea that the individual is more
important than community. Humans are pack animals. We need each other to survive. The communities that have the longest life span are those who deem success by their relationships and not by the amount of money they make.

Where do you find your inspiration?
Life.

If you could sum up 2020 in one word, what would it be?
Disbelief.

What is the one thing that you are saying goodbye to in 2020?
Expectations.

Laura Morgan for Mansur Gavriel ‘Love Forward’ campaign

What do you hop to communicate through this campaign? And what does being a part of it mean to you?
Through this campaign Mansur Gavriel has chosen to work with an all-female crew and a range of models that reflect the diversity in society, rather than the very narrow one that most of the fashion world represents. This is really important to me.

Explore the full ‘Love Forward’ campaign here.

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The Architecture of Olfactory

Everyone has their first memories of Chanel N°5. It’s a scent you almost hear of first, whispered and revered.

Chanel N°5 represents ultimate aspiration. Sexy and undone. It’s glamour in the most heady sense of that word. And then there’s the first electrifying memory of a family member, lover or friend – it’s never yourself who wears it first. But you know the scent, you don’t have to ask. 

“One must start from the beginning: what does N°5 have to tell us? N°5 is not a simple fragrance. It is an idea. It is an equation that was built to stand the test of time. How can we embody this idea today?” asks Thomas Du Pré de Saint-Maur, Head of Global Creative Resources for Fragrance and Beauty at Chanel.

100 years later, and the parfum continues to captivate wearers. Tasked with reimagining the next chapter for this iconic scent is a significant and exhilarating challenge. And perfect for a figure such as Thomas Du Pré de Saint-Maur, who is adept at drawing inspiration from the past and imaginatively infusing it with the present. 

He explains: “I am driven by words, literature and art. I cannot live without reading. I cannot think without speaking. Literature stimulates the imagination; the images are there indirectly. As for art, and particularly Greek and Roman antiquities, it never ceases to trigger intense emotions within me and make me question my concept of modernity and universality.”

Behind the scenes for the new CHANEL N°5 fragrance campaign, with Marion Cotillard.

Historic and renowned, as a fragrance N°5 is modern, and timeless. It always was. When initially conceptualising the scent Coco Chanel asked for “an artificial fragrance like a dress, something crafted.” She sought “a woman’s fragrance that smells like a woman”.  Then, it was a marked departure from the singular floral, natural scents that traditional perfumers had sought to evoke. Today, it is the aspirational precedent. 

Who better to represent that precedent today than Marion Cotillard, a talent who lingers in your memory as if a fragrance herself – compelling, confident and Cotillard embodies a modern myth. 

In the latest campaign, Chanel offers a welcome moment of pure, fantastical escapism. Filmed in Saint-Denis, at the Cité du Cinéma and featuring “500 square kilometers of golden moon”, the CHANEL woman embarks on an adventure to the moon and back. The film, Thomas Du Pré de Saint-Maur explains “is decidedly resonant with the present. The song by Lorde, “We are on each other’s team” echoes this perfectly.”

Back to that first evocative note of Chanel N°5. The moment of olfactory revelation. It has always been about aspiration, about the dream of who one might become, who one could become. “The power of N°5 lies in its promise” Thomas Du Pré de Saint-Maur surmises, “which is namely the ability of every woman to make things happen for herself, if she chooses to put her heart and soul into her life.”

Discover Chanel N°5 here.

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“COARSE: The Edges of Black Ingenuity” VIRTUAL EXHIBITION by JAWARA

One of the top young creatives for hair in the fashion industry has been international hairstylist Jawara Wauchope. His expertise in the avant-garde crafting of black hair resonates deeply with many creatives in and outside of the local industry.

In one of his most recent ventures, the hairstylist has partnered with his creative agency Art Partner for the launch of a virtual exhibition of some of his most iconic work entitled COARSE: The Edges of Black Ingenuity . Curated by the artist himself, the exhibition features images by top fashion photographers such as Tyler Mitchell, Kristin-Lee Moolman, Nadine Ijewere among others that document the intricacy of afro-hairstyles as an art-form. In each piece of his work the artist has managed to use hair to tell stories of a modern reality where black hair styles are seen through a complex artistic light as opposed to whatever stigmatized view that is usually put upon it. 

“It is my intention to use this platform to curate a storied journey of triumph through the power of our follicles. I was taught at a young age that “hair is strength” by my mother who hasn’t cut her hair in 43 years. I believe that the best way to convey this truth is through beauty,” he artist explained. 

Running from now until late December 2020, the virtual compilation of images from black hair as something way different than a cosmetic feature but enables one to think of it with commentary on gender, class, race and spirituality. 

Take a tour on the full virtual exhibition on ArtPartner.com 

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Prada’s Holiday Campaign: ‘A Stranger Calls’

Prada unveils their holiday campaign ‘A Stranger Calls’, which showcases their pieces through a black and white avant-garde narrative. Photographed by Steven Meisel and based on the works of best-selling author Candice Cathy-Williams, the campaign is not one to miss. 

The story surrounds four protagonists and one mysterious stranger, set in an isolated villa in Italy. All characters originate from the Prada Universe, starring Freja Beha, Maty Fall, Mao Xiaoxing, Rudolfs Valbergs and Merlijne Schorren. 

“Cinema suggests shifting focus and points of emphasis: here, details of Prada accessories are pulled into macro-scale. Like plot-points, or clues to an unknown mystery, they dominate the frame, drawing attention – before Meisel’s lens, they become characters in themselves,” reads the press release.

The spotlight is placed on the new Prada Cleo handbag which was debuted in the Prada Multiple Views SS21 show and featured in the Spring/Summer 2021 womenswear collection. 

The Cleo line utilises classical Prada styles to give way to pieces that perfectly coalesce classicism and futurism. The accessories include reworked traditional jewels in silver and gold with tourmaline, and the emblem appearing on a delicate chain, necklaces and chandelier earrings. 

“This campaign – and these Prada accessories – explore emotion, intrigue, attraction and, ultimately, desire.” – Prada

For more information about the campaign and the collection visit Prada.com

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Tekla X Laura Coulson – A new Breath across Connectivity

Collaboration: one of the greatest learnings of how to remain hopeful in a future uncertain. A vital tenet for Tekla since the start, the value of visions from a plethora of spectrums has given a freedom of expression from a broad playing field to the brand. Working with photographer Laura Coulson, whose intuitive imagery of the everyday holds an exceptional magic, a series of images exploring families and friends with those innate ties that can often never be expressed… but maybe captured on film. 

Speaking to Tekla, we talk about knowledge exchange, capturing a particular emotion and finding a common language.

What role does collaboration play with Tekla and your own creative expression? 

We like to collaborate with a variety of people whose creative work we find interesting, whether it is with a photographer or a designer, the collaboration itself is a process. You need to find a common language. It is always interesting to get together with other creatives and see things through their eyes to exchange experience and knowledge. 

What first attracted you to the photography of Laura Coulson? 

I’ve known Laura for ten years now and have been following her works ever since she started taking pictures. She has her unique way of seeing the world, which she projects into her creations. Her ability to see the potential for strong photography in any ordinary situation and capture a particular emotion, makes her images very honest. 

What do you think she managed to capture in these images she created with you? 

Laura’s idea was to capture the loving spirit of spending time as a family and friends, which we’ve shot during the late summer in London parks. I’ve found that this time has brought everything back to basics and made us refocus our attention on celebrating happiness in the here and now. Appreciating the little things we might have forgotten to enjoy, and I think Laura achieved that abundantly. 

How are these emotions captured intrinsic to what you stand for? 

I think the honesty and emotions which Laura encapsulates in her works is something we can relate to when it comes to the values in Tekla. 

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Alexander McQueen AW20 – “The Tall Story”

Alexander McQueen’s new addition to their line of luxury bags encompasses elegance and practicality. The Tall Story bags are the taller sister of the previously released “The Story” and includes bags with a contrast colour on the sculptural lining of the tote. First spotted on the Autumn/Winter 2020 runway, the sophisticated bag includes the Alexander McQueen seal on a leather tag. 

This tote bag is not only an elegant staple, it is also constructed with an executive interior and features pockets for a laptop, phone, and wallet. The foldable metallic handles make the bag easy to hold or hang over the shoulder via the supple leather straps. 

The Tall Story bags are available in black with oversized quilting and with a red lining finish. The line also includes a black stamped croc design and a handmade patchwork style. To view the full collection, visit AlexanderMcQueen.com 

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