Twin Meets Francesca Belmonte

Francesca Belmonte’s sound is sultry, distinctive and unique, blending RnB, soul, club and electronica with an avant-garde twist. Having worked in the industry for years with trip-hop icon Tricky, Belmonte perfected her talent and is now going out on her own. Her recently released debut, Anima, gives us insight into her world with sombre vocals that are broken up by beats, synths and electronica.

Twin caught up with the singer/songwriter to talk melancholia, favourite lyrics and how it all began.

So how did you end up in Music? 
As a teenager I had a few friends with bedroom studios who were always looking for singers. I started writing poems from a young age but this was the first time I’d laid down vocals and ideas properly and I loved it. We would play gigs around London for fun and I realised very quickly it was what I wanted to do. I started working with more producers, experimenting and developing ideas. Then in 2008 when I met Tricky and my life changed. Within a week of knowing him I was on a two month European tour and then a month or so after that we were touring America. He invited me to sing and write in the studio which we’ve been doing ever since; and six years later he produced my record. I am interested in other things and I’d like to go back to school one day but music has always been priortity.

Why did you decide to go it alone after working with Tricky for so long? 
Because I began to get too comfortable. I had no idea what I was doing when I first started with Trick. I knew I was good enough and that I deserved to be there but I was a novice with a lot to learn. The skills and lessons I’ve learned along the way both professionally and personally have been invaluable but six years is a long time and I began to get restless. It would have been very easy to just stay there, stay on his tour, in his studio. It’s an addictive cycle; make an album tour it and start all over again and being his singer this cycle was provided for me over and over again and all I had to do was show up. It’s been an enriching experience but I needed to feel scared again, I needed a new challenge.

What would you say is the most important lesson you learnt from working with Trick?
To leave your insecurities at the door. I learned this lesson the hard way and I’ll never forget it. Very early on we were writing on the tour bus in Estonia. It was a good vibe and he suggested I tried this particular idea over a piece of music we were listening to. I was apprehensive and said ‘No I don’t think thats going to work’. And the session just stopped, it was like I’d just murdered a member of his family or something, I completely killed the vibe and there was no coming back from it. That doubt I had was an insecurity that had no place in that creative environment and I totally got it. Later on he wrote me a poem to explain why he was so upset about it which is the opening verse of a song I wrote called I Could. He says often, even now ‘You have to try, you have nothing if you dont try.’

Tell us a little about the name of the album, Anima. What does it mean to you?
I came across the word while reading about Carl Jung and firstly it jumped out at me because it looked so beautiful written down and sounded so strong and elegant. Then the more I read into it, the more it resonated with me. It means soul in Italian and being half Neapolitan I liked that nod to my heritage. In Jungian psychology it is the female element of the male psyche which was fitting having been Trickys singer, the voice behind a man for such a long time. There is also an ancient meaning my guitarist told me about a few weeks ago which is the idea that everything is living and connected from a human being to a rock at the top of a mountain. To me the word Anima is about femininity, strength and the two existing harmoniously together. To be a woman is to know your power and to excercise it while retaining that feminine strength and vulnerability which can be challenging in the world we are living in today. There’s too much pressure put on women of all ages to be sexy and fuckable and not enough encouragement to develop ones skills and unique abilities.

Your music has melancholic undertones. What draws you to this style?
It’s not something I think about, it just comes out that way. The album is often quite uptempo and dancey, but you’re right there are strong sad elements even in those seemingly more upbeat tracks like Lying on the Moon. I like sad songs, always have done so perhaps its just a cultivation of listening to a style of music which ultimately influences your art.

How would you describe your sound? 
Alternative blues, experimental pop. Always a tough question.

You have said in previously interviews that you are very proud of your lyrics. Do you have a favourite line that resonates?
It’s hard to pick one favourite line. I want to write more songs like Your Sons, ‘Your sorrow, your sons a hero, but what for? I’m not sure. Your young ones get called and march on, but what for? I’m not sure’. I like the Brothers and Sisters lyrics too , ‘He’ll be waiting round the corner, he’ll be standing up straight, you may notice some affliction. Can you see him whats he wearing? Were his wings beneath the coat? Did he talk of revolution? Did he sing of every note?’ I want to write more songs like that, focusing on strong imagery and mysterious stories. I’m most proud of the Stole lyrics though, they poured out of me and it was like a purging.

Francesca Belmonte’s debut album Anima is out now on False Idols. Buy here

 

Photography by Joe Quigg

London Fashion Week AW15 Highlights

As the fashion pack decamps to Paris for the next round of Autumn / Winter 15 womenswear shows, Twin revisits London Fashion Week – the off-guard moments, the new stars of design and the risk-takers who made us sit up and take notice.

1205

Back to Winter basics was the theme for designer and NewGen recipient Paula Gerbase this season, as her signature androgynous vision continued with structured tailoring, loose fit trousers and knitwear taking the form of longer-length dresses, high polo necks and a sleeveless knit tunic. Utility detailing worked against the neutral colour palette of chalky whites, navy and grey, as the Barbican’s glass roofed conservatory provided a leafy sanctuary and tropical oasis of calm during a hectic fashion week – a setting which blended perfectly with this effortlessly understated collection.

1205.eu

Charlie May

Turning her presentation into a live lookbook shoot – complete with photographer Yuvali Thesis and illustrator Clym Evernden capturing the moment – Charlie May invited the audience behind the scenes into her world of clean-cut modernism. Set in Mayfair’s art-deco inspired Beaumont Hotel, the collection presented an oversize silhouette as generous shapes framed the body in a mix of shearling, leather and rich wools – the emphasis was on tactile textures, quality cuts and winter seen through a fresh minimalist focus.

charlie-may.co.uk

Helen Lawrence

Experimenting with the concept of deconstruction of textural fabrics, the designer drew inspiration from the tape-wrapped sculptures of British artist Phyllida Barlow.

Creating a collection which included oversize silhouettes in lambswool and elastomeric yarn, raw unfinished holes were left in the garments, paired with heavy leather boots by Kult Domini, evoking a woolly 90s grunge aesthetic.

Set against a landscape of meteor-like rocks, her vision transformed Chelsea College of Arts into a post-apocalyptic playground, with the odd pop of gold bleeding through the romantic darkness.

helen-lawrence.co.uk

Christopher Raeburn 

We are sailing was a key reference for Raeburn’s nautical-inspired collection, Immerse, which continued the theme from his AW15 Menswear show, offering a bold exploration of the textures, shapes and colours associated with a life on the seas. A merino wool cape, puffer jacket, pea coat and duffel coat all reinvented the sailor aesthetic, in muted blues and life-jacket orange.

His shark print motif was in full effect across knitwear and jumpsuits while fur detailing and long ponchos injected a casually luxe elegance into his signature mix of modern technical outerwear. Shark-shaped bags and mittens gave things a playful twist. Aye aye captain.

christopherraeburn.co.uk

Joseph 

The basement of a Soho car park complete with silver foil blankets for warmth, provided the setting for Joseph’s take on desconstructed femininity – and the blanket association didn’t stop there. Across an almost nude colour palette, heavy knits and blanket fabrics seamlessly blended with silk, fur and cashmere to evoke an organic cozy familiarity, as hard oversize masculine cuts played against the softness, unravelling a seductive femininity – inspiration drawn from the work of sculptor Robert Morris.

In a collection which included threadbare knits with drop-stitching, fur tunics and blanket dresses, all worn with velcro strap sandals and thick woolly ankle socks, it evoked the feeling of coming in from the cold, with added comfort.

joseph-fashion.com

Sibling  

Do you wanna be in their gang? Yes please. The Sibling trio continued to put the fun into reworked classics, with an energetic collection which fused a myriad of textural styles, including signature cobwebbed knits, fuzzy furs, lyrically-splashed polished latex and a reinvented tweed two-piece in knitted lurex.

Drawing inspiration from the vibrant hues of the late Danish furniture and interiors designer Verner Panton, 80s neon pinks and sherbet oranges called for attention across colour-block knits, slinky knit dresses and skinny scarves, as detailing from beaded brooches and badges evoked those Saturday trips to Camden Market as a teenager, the one with only DIY on your mind. Slim and sexy silhouettes injected glamour into a collection which celebrated being too cool for school, complete with punk-edged mohawks.

The signature slogan sweater made its entrance too, paying homage to the show’s soundtrack by Blondie – Call Me it said, and if you saw one of Sibling’s girls hanging out at a party… you would definitely try to get her number.

siblinglondon.com

Ashley Williams 

From behind a key-hole underneath a neon sign that read “Ashley’s”, out stepped Georgia May Jagger and Alice Dellal along with a gang of cool cultish skater girls, transporting you back to the future, as 80s and 90s references signified a collection which celebrated subverting conventional dress codes. Taking inspiration from riot-grrl founder Kathleen Hanna, actress Chloe Sevigny and the 1985 Beastie Boys track, Girls, out came leather corsets (think vice and all things nice), heavy metal tees, neon pink cropped jumpers, fur bucket hats, vampish PVC dresses, leggings with knee holes, mini dresses decorated in patches, cartoon face print dresses and knit jumpers and skirts featuring graphics by Fergus Purcell.

This was in no way a bubblegum sweet collection, it was hard and fast for girls with a bold attitude who aren’t afraid to express themselves, defined by bratty slogans like “Improve Your Image. Be Seen With Me.” Now that’s confidence for you.

ashleywilliamslondon.com

Ashish

Who knew that stripper chic could be so covetable, as a troupe of sassy girls stomped out clad in a powerful and provocative collection which drew inspiration from Jane Fonda’s character Bree Daniels, in the cult 70s movie Klute.

Signature sequin embellishment took on a new form across pumped-up camouflage parkas, mini skirts and jumpers with fur trims, while stonewashed denim was roughed up for the streets, cut into dresses, jackets and lace-up jeans decorated with stud detailing. Boudoir-ready nighties with lace trimming sent the temperature soaring, along with lipstick-red latex boots and a patchwork fur slogan jumper which simply read, “Sex” – watching this collection, you couldn’t help but have it on your mind.

ashish.co.uk

Topshop Unique

There’s a new cocktail in town and it’s called ‘Topshop Unique’, as the fashion powerhouse blended one part outdoorsy daytime English heritage with one part slinky night owl, serving up a decadent mix of sexed-up kilts, vinyl miniskirts, dandelion print dresses with thigh-high slits, marabou trimmed dresses, embellished velvet frocks, Aran knits, retro roll necks and faux fur-lined duffel coats.

Mixing the conventional with the unconventional, this was a gilded happy hour full of posh girls from the countryside who come to the city to party (yah yah), kicking off their red square-toed velvet shoes at the end of the night. We’ll cheers to that.

topshop.com

Pamflet X Twin: New Season Reading

The new season starts with two nostalgic style-story anthologies from Sheila Heti, Emily Shivack and friends in Pamflet’s September reading roundup.

Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits and Leanne Shapton (Particular Books, £24) includes contributions from 639 women and feels like a companion American volume to one of our favourite books of all time, Luella’s Guide to English Style. Like Luella’s book, it’s a beautiful object, which is apt given the subject matter. Naturally I skipped straight to the famous names’ contributions first – friend-of-Pamflet Tavi Gevinson and voice of her/a generation Lena Dunham.

Tavi gives her thoughts on colours and their meanings and confirms what I always said of navy blue “it’s the best color for a peacoat”, while Lena Dunham solemnly pronounces “I just won’t go there with a gaucho pant…it feels like a rejection of everything great about having lady legs.” Amen sister. Zosia Mamet recreates authentic fashion mag poses from every decade in a black unitard which is brilliant. And Kim Gordon talks about her stage style and modelling for Saint Laurent Paris – this book is basically like eavesdropping on the cool girls’ table at the world’s most awesome party.

Despite the plush paper and sharp finish, Women in Clothes has an endearingly zine-y feel. There are whimsical illustrations, photocopied hands wearing rings, beautiful photographs of deconstructed garments, changing room selfies, anecdotes, essays, poems and transcriptions from Skype chats.

There’s a sweet repeated feature throughout the book called ‘compliments’ which is just that – transcriptions of overheard conversations between women where one is paying the other a compliment!

It’s immediately inclusive, like being a part of a loud, drunken conversation among close friends where everyone’s shouting over each other but you all understand exactly what you’re talking about because it’s shared and true and good.

I LOVE how all the amazing intelligent stylish women in this book, plus the likes of Mindy Kaling are claiming fashion as their own and proudly defending it and celebrating it – refusing to be intimidated either by the dictatorial glossy mags who want to shame you into feeling you can’t participate in brittle beautiful Planet Fashion, or the puritan killjoys who seem to think we should just slouch around in sackcloth because anything more pleasurable or pretty is superficial and stupid.

If anyone ever bleats on at you about how fashion and clothes don’t matter (not that this tends to happen in real life, just in the Guardian comments section) just wordlessly hand them this book and walk away.

Worn Stories is the result of a four-year project by New Yorker Emily Spivack (Princeton Architectural Press, £15.99), a teacher and a blogger who’s been collecting first person accounts of clothes from their owners. From the starting point of a visit to a garment factory in her introduction, she contrasts the mass-production mechanisms behind contemporary clothing manufacture with our personal experiences of choosing outfits and the context we ourselves give our wearables.

We all have a favourite item with a ton of memories woven into its history like a pattern. Here some famous and not-so-famous personalities share their own stories alongside photographs of their items hanging lonely and unworn. These are objects invested with much special significance and whether they’ve been worn once or worn-out, patched together these mini sartorial memoirs make a fitting tribute to the contributors’ wardrobe favourites. Hearing about LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney’s stage costume, Simon Doonan’s cycling shorts, Piper Kerman’s court suit, Greta Gerwig’s crush’s old shirt will have you searching through your cupboards for your own worn stories.

Print: Fashion, Interiors, Art by Simon Clarke (Laurence King, £30) is our glossy book of the month. Lushly coated in a wraparound jacket of hazy florals, this is an up-to-date guide to current print trends and a cutting edge sourcebook for eye-catching and innovative design and digital patterns.

Anna-Marie Fitzgerald and Phoebe Frangoul are the co-editors and co-founders of the London grrrl-zine and literary salon Pamflet. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @Pamflet. 

Parlez Vous Francais?

Recently, Twin crossed the channel and headed to the French capital to find out what’s hot in Paris right now. Between walking along Avenue Montaigne, shopping at Colette and eating macaroons at Angelina, we met with some emerging designers at their showrooms to find out about the AW14 collections. Now if you’ve not heard of these three brands before, take note.

Etienne Dereoux

Etienne Dereoux states that he doesn’t necessarily create with seasons in mind. Everything is more resortwear; “winter under the sun” if you will, and with the bright pink and blue hues his latest collection boasts, spending your time by the fire would be a complete waste of his garments. Dereoux studied fashion at the Antwerp Academy of Fine Arts and La Cambre School of Visual Arts before starting his eponymous label in Paris. There is a certain serenity to his pieces, fusing comfort and elegance in a contemporary sportswear fashion.

For AW14 a mix of vivid colours like bright fuchsia and royal blue are complemented by black and white and find themselves decorating clean-cut bomber jackets, wool cashmere coats, soft honeycomb knits or crocodile leather pieces. We were specifically drawn to his knitwear capsule collection, a collaboration with the heritage brand Le Mont Saint-Michel. Inspired by dance attire, the range includes mesh-like jumpers and fully- fashioned merino dresses that perfectly combine French savoir-faire and American-inspired sportswear. It’s a match made in fashion heaven.

etiennederoeux.com

Risto

Now you might not know the name, but you’ve certainly seen his designs before. As Head Knitwear Designer for Kenzo, Risto Bimbiloski is no newcomer to the fashion scene having previously worked at Jean Colonna, Thierry Mugler and Louis Vuitton. His personal label is inspired by science and technology giving us quirky motifs and intricate pieces that push the boundaries of knitwear entirely. A family affair, the brand’s collections are entirely produced by Risto’s own atelier, run by his mother in Macedonia and at his showroom we met his brother too. The Macedonian designer is also influenced by the traditional artisan techniques of the women in Ohrid, his hometown, so it’s safe to say this creative hasn’t forgotten his roots.

Come winter, the Risto girl will be seen in light green metallic dresses, high-waisted loose-fitting tailored pants in varied shades, and of course an array of knitted pieces from polo necks, cropped woven jumpers and cardigans covered in wool fringing.

risto.com

Calla

The Calla brand is international to say the least. Based in Paris, showing as part of Made in New York and Calla Haynes, the designer herself is Canadian, which gives the collections this nomadic essence; they won’t feel out of place anywhere. Even the materials are international, boasting silky lightweight fabrics from Japan and mohair from Italy.

Calla likes to create a story for her collections, delving deep into a narrative that expresses each season. For AW14 the Calla girl is a broken-hearted Parisian who ups and leaves for Memphis to become a country singer. This elaborate tale helped create the varsity jackets, oversized blazers, dresses and skirts the collection is full of. The chunky alpaca knits and mohair plaid are a nod to traditional Americana and provide the perfect juxtaposition of tomboy and feminine that the brand is known for. There was also many more graphic prints than previous seasons. One, is based on Lillybear, Calla’s fluffy companion, a Chow Chow who we met while she guarded the showroom. The Lilly motif finds itself emblazed on sweaters, cardigans, dresses, trousers and coats, in an array of colourways. It’s this fun and light-hearted take on fashion that leaves a smile on your face when wearing Calla.

calla.fr

Sorelli Presents: The Evil Rock N Roll Hollywood Cat

Juliana Sorelli, the young french director who we interviewed when she released her film Pretty Pretty, is launching a store in Hollywood. Technically the store has no name, only a logo, but lets just call it The Evil Rock N Roll Hollywood Cat. Located in a 1920’s blue house just off of Hollywood boulevard, it gives the impression of someone’s living room from that decade, one that has been taken over by a group of punks and jailbirds – an aesthetic also found in her film work. As well as Julianna’s own designs, which consist of custom made denim and leather jackets, embroidered sweatshirts and a basics range, the store will feature pieces by JFO, a new brand by Matthew Damhave who originally started the label Imitation of Christ, a new designer named James Flemons and his brand PHLEMONS and custom made jewellery from her friends. You can also expect to find photographic prints by Brad Elterman, books, zines and other smaller items such as pins, patches and records. In the future Juliana hopes to host events such as screenings, talks, shows and she even has plans of turning another room into a small secret gallery, so keep an eye out.

To celebrate the launch of her unique boutique, the Los Angeles based director has created a film titled Hollywood Lucifer. Watch it below…

sorellipresents.com

The Evil Rock N Roll Hollywood Cat – 1608 N Las Palmas Ave. Hollywood, CA

 

The Skin I’m In

The best thing you can wear is your skin. A phrase coined almost by accident by Italian bag designer Barbara Boner: “It just popped into my head without me even thinking about it,” Barbara says. “I’m now 37 and at a stage in my life where I am completely comfortable in the skin I’m in – What I would love is if all women had the self-believe and self-assurance to believe in this too. I like to think that I can communicate with my customer through my brand motto.”

In March 2009, Barbara launched her first collection; a series of animal skin fringed bags aimed at the nomadic woman and inspired by the excitement of adventure and travel from both her own experiences and those belonging to her gypsy grandmother: “She was a traveller with the circus in which her act involved driving a motorcycle around a ring of fire.”

As Boner continues to elaborate on her family’s curiously unusual story, I am intrigued to know more about hers…

You’re originally from Italy — when and why did you decide to make the move to London?
I first moved to London with my parents when I was four years old but we only stayed for a couple of years. Being in London is actually one of my earliest memories. I remember that I loved the parks, in particular I loved the squirrels – we don’t have them in Italy!

Four years ago I was living in Ibiza where I met my husband – he’s from London so that’s why I decided to move here permanently.

You are professionally trained in psychology — what effect has this had on your design work?
I try to see the woman wearing my bags through both women’s eyes and men’s. I think I have quite a strong masculine vision of things as well as a feminine one.

I also studied Latin and Greek so that trained my mind to think with concepts. With my work there’s always a theory behind things – an imaginary world that supports my brand and designs. I enjoy creating this world each season just as much as creating the bags.

Each of your collections are centred around an imagined inspirational woman — tell me about the latest for spring / summer 2013…
The woman I have conceived for this season is totally connected to her environment and nature, so much so that she can morph her human-self into an animal but also a plant – She is both flora and fauna.

Sum up your label’s aesthetic in 3 words…
Rebel, regal and romantic.

Thanks to a stylish celebrity following including the likes of Kate Moss, Poppy Delevingne and Olivia Palermo, you’ve become the ‘go to girl’ for fringed bags — why did you decide to focus on fringing as your signature?
My mother was a hippy and was always wearing fringing so when I created my first collection I decided to feature it in homage to her. Everyone loved that aspect of it so I thought ‘OK – you want fringing – I will give you fringing!’

Also for me it means freedom and movement; the Native Americans have used fringing for centuries to disguise themselves as animals and plants for hunting purposes. So yet again it’s bringing back this idea of nature, flora and fauna.

Who are some of your favourite women from both the past and present?
I’m a massive Kate (Moss) fan. I also love women of the 60s like Bridget Bardot and Anita Pallenberg. My most recent bag design is called the ‘Tura’ after Tura Santana who was an actress and one of the first famous exotic dancers – She was truly revolutionary for her time and has the most incredible life story.

All my bags are named after strong and powerful women: There’s ‘The Ginger’ (inspired by Sharon Stone’s character in Casino), ‘The Roxanne’ (thanks to The Police song) and ‘The Lilith’ (who according to a Rabbinic legend was the disregarded first wife of Adam.)

How do you juggle running a business and being a full time mother?
It’s been difficult because I moved to London, started my label, and got pregnant all around the same time. But I just went for it and made it work – it’s amazing what us women can do!

Where are you stocked?
My pieces are stocked in over 50 locations worldwide. In the UK I’m in Feathers, London and Coggles, York as well as my own online store.

barbaraboner.co.uk

 

 

 

Stoned

Imagine being able to own a piece of jewellery that feels as special as a precious mineral formation or a breath-taking sunset. Jade Mellor, a talented young Designer and Maker- not to mention prolific one woman trinket band – from North West England, creates covetable pieces of statement jewellery from her magical little workshop deep within the English countryside. With an inspiring creative perspective and care for material, Jade crafts each piece by hand to ensure they each have a unique history and emotional value. Her striking work’s inevitably received a lot of attention and has been exhibited and stocked globally – from London to Dubai to San Francisco.

Twin spoke to Jade about her work…

Your Hewn collection of rings is always expanding and intriguing. How do you develop the collection?
Each piece is an experiment to find new textures by pushing the materials. I love discovering new things that I can use and feel that working with raw minerals, and other natural materials, in each original piece, adds to their uniqueness.

What materials have you used recently?
Recently I’ve been inspired by the Galaxy. By using a fragment of a real meteorite it makes you question the journey it’s made through space and time. To use this in something that can be worn everyday excites me – it’s like carrying around a little reminder that there are bigger things around you.

Do you have to seek out the inspiration for each piece or does it find you?
Both, but it helps to have an enquiring mind. When I acquire a specimen to use you will see me holding it up, feeling the weight and placing it on my hand, imagining how it would work as a wearable piece. Looking at how it occurs naturally is also an influence. The way pyrite naturally forms in cubes jutting out at odd angles is so sculptural. I have shelves of books on minerals with amazing close ups and the vast landscapes they form in. I’ll also spend hours wide eyed sketching rare specimens in natural history departments and on outdoor adventures.

What other things influence you?
Sculpture is a massive influence on me, particularly the Neo Concretist movement and also artists like Louise Nevelson. With the Isosceles ring I was thinking of ancient Egypt, the geometry of the pyramids combined with the textures brought on by being blasted by sand dunes over thousands of years. This combined with the use of Lapis lazuli and gold in ancient treasure filled tombs also gave me the colour. I mixed a pigment inspired by this strong blue.

How do you go about making your ideas a reality in jewellery form?
When I get back to the workshop, I might make some drawings, looking closely at the structure and create some first-hand scribbles on how I want it to look as a piece. Photography is a great tool too; in order to understand the angles and textures.

There is a basic shape that I start with that consists of making a block shape with a hole in it, like the pebbles you sometimes find on the beach with a natural hole in them. They are nicknamed Witches‘ stones and have been used as talismans since our ancestors started paying attention to unusual finds like these. From this, and how I have set the stone, I will start to carve out and sand back on the piece to achieve the shape I want, followed by lots of graded polishing to achieve the finish. Because the gold pyrite cube had a ruggedness, I wanted the blue of the resin to have a glossy liquid shine like a polished gem stone or an exotic pool of blue water with the jagged edge of metallic bursting through.

What do you feel makes your pieces so special?
I make each piece individually by hand from start to finish so that they’re  totally bespoke; using sand, shells and stones from a day at the beach or a piece of crumbled masonry from home means each piece has a personal significance. They can trigger a memory of a journey or experience, and in creating a piece that is not only inspired by, but also physically includes them, expresses their preciousness.

Jademellor.com

Words by Kerry Flint

 

LANVIN AW’12

Ever since Alber Elbaz unveiled his inspirational new ad-campaign for Lanvin A/W 2012 earlier this month, the fashion world has become increasingly intrigued over the identity of its featured “models”. However, last week the Parisian fashion house released a short film presenting a series of out-takes – shot by legendary fashion photographer, Steven Meisel – along with recorded interviews revealing personal anecdotes and insights into the lives of these new campaign stars. Amongst this group of colourful individuals with an impressive collective age range of 18-81 years old, we discover a salt & pepper shaker fanatic, a frozen blueberry addict and a James Bond wannabe. Also starring is the legendary former-dancer, Jacquie “Tajah” Murdock, whom recently was also featured in our current favourite fashion blog, Advanced Style.

Lanvin.com

First Resort

From secondary season to fully-fledged collections in their own right, this past year’s fashion cycle has all been about the rise of resort. Offering the ideal transition from autumn to summer, as well as designers an opportunity to prolong their retail exposure, the season has once and for all stepped out of its main collection sister’s shadow.

From Chloé’s countryside romanticism to Givenchy’s downtown gypsy look, Twin chooses our favourite not-so-in-between collections of the season…

Alexander Wang

Wang’s aesthetic has increasingly matured since his prolific rise and this collection was a clear departure from those tank top and knit beanie days.

The designer still kept his downtown cool thanks to streamlined sleeveless puffa jackets and midriff-baring vests in patent and croc leather, but by offsetting them with front-pleated, pegged trousers and refined chiffon dresses, the looks went from everyday casual to New Yorker chic.

 

Celine

Every season, through the slightest tweak of a silhouette or colour alteration, Phoebe Philo manages to conjure up a new line of fashion must-haves.

Progressing from her sportswear influenced A/W 12 showing, this collection was a combination of relaxed silhouettes such as wide-legged trousers and leather jumper/jogger combos, but added that typical Celine elegance through geometric prints, clean lines and a largely black and white-colour palette.

 

Chloé

Chloé designer Clare Waight Keller headed to the country for this collection, but those expecting Little House On The Prairie type looks are in for a big surprise.

Instead Keller took the best inspirations of rural life – think pale skye blue and neutrals, ethnic prints and crochet patterns – and infused it into the brand’s laid back romantic DNA, resulting in lightweight harem trousers, smock dresses,  waist-tie tops and scallop-edged shorts made for a summer in the city.

 

Christian Dior

An appropriate mix of historical references and contemporary elegance, these looks found their strength in the house of Dior’s archetypal look.

Classical waist-cinching shift dresses and tops with peplum hems were paired with cropped straight leg trousers and romantic knife-pleated chiffon skirts, whilst leather accents gave the whole collection a strikingly modern feel.

 

Givenchy

Presented in a street style photography approach, Riccardo Tisci fused strong tailoring with paisley and geometric prints for an urban bohemian look.

Leather and motif-printed capes stood alongside more relaxed silhouettes of harem trousers and silk shift dresses for a look that was truly Givenchy, but as always, has something new to bring to the table.

 

Proenza Schouler

Round-shouldered tweed jackets and capes, bleached slim cut jeans, low-slung flares, satin tuxedo trousers and laser cut neon cocktail dresses – this season Proenza Schouler offered the complete wardrobe for their brand’s cosmopolite cool audience.

With colours ranging from cream to ultramarine to pistachio, this was a collection that could go from day to endless night.

 

Stella McCartney

McCartney’s multifarious resort showing included sheer overlay pleated skirts, fringe tassel lace dresses, golden brocade print cap sleeve and short as well as bubblegum pink blazer and neon orange kick flare trousers combos.

Accessorised with sunshine yellow pointed toe platform pumps and holographic clutches, this collection made us that bit more excited for the summer.

 

 

Theyskens’ Theory

How to turn the essentials into something intriguing appeared to be the question on Olivier Theyskens’ mind this season. His answer ticked all the right boxes: oversized blazers were given an oil painting slick appearance thanks to silver velvet and watercolour-esque prints, shimmering lurex T-shirts and jumpers gained nighttime appeal and the tried but true boyfriend jean was fitted with just the right amount of slouch. Who said basic had to be boring?

 

 

Grimes Fashion Tale

Claire Boucher aka Grimes is undoubtably the girl of the moment. Not only are her tunes ludicrously catchy without the cliche, but her personal style is such that girls want to be her and guys want to be near her.

For Twin’s Issue VI we tasked photographer Tara Darby, stylist Michele Rafferty and hairstylist Selena Middleton with shooting Grimes.

Twin spoke to Michele Rafferty and Selena Middleton about collaborating on the shoot…

Hi Michele, you styled Grimes for Twin’s Issue VI. What are the differences between styling people and fashion models?
It requires a different sort of approach than with models not harder just different. Respecting her integrity whilst still creating something that works, feels relevant and reflects your own style, your obsessions…

How did you envision the shoot?
The team was key, it always is, but my thoughts about Grimes’ look was that I wanted to get away from the ethereal thing she often seems to have going on. I wanted something tougher and cleaner, also a sense of fun. I wanted her to be the coolest, hardest girl at school. So she’s a kind of grebo skinhead mix! She’s the girl I would have been bunking off a maths lesson with.

I chatted with Claire about what she was comfortable with. She was really open, very aware of the importance of creating interesting images. She also knew her own mind. Her only request was that she be allowed to keep her tights on. She doesn’t shave her legs, which is very unusual and very impressive. She’s a very cool young lady.

How did you work as a team?
Obviously when everyone arrives at the studio the ideas are all discussed and brought together. Selena and I are very much on the same wavelength as far as references go and she brought it all together with the coloured hairpieces, different colours for each outfit change.

It’s fun to work with people that have the same kind of visual reference library and their own brilliant obsessions. I think Tara’s images are lovely and unique, they show another side of Claire/Grimes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stripe dress Open Back, Miharayasuhiro
Cherry red boots, Dr. Martens

Where did you take your cues from for the look of the shoot?
As above, but more solid refs; Shane Meadows’ This Is England, youth cult mixes, luxury labels brought down to earth with DM boots.

What’s your personal attitude to fashion and styling?
I love clothes, it’s a language. People say so much about themselves in the way they dress. I find that fascinating and fun and funny.

What are your earliest outfit memories?
My mum made all our clothes. We were always the freaks! I just wanted white nylon tights like the other girls. Obviously now I know my sister and I looked adorable.

What item would make it into to your personal capsule wardrobe?
White men’s 100 per cent cotton T-shirt.

Whose style do you admire now and forever?
A sweeping statement, but, Jamaican men, disaffected youth, old English men. I also love a uniform.

What’s coming up next for you?
Shooting a short film with Clare Shilland for Marni Menswear S/S 13.

webberrepresents.com

White school uniform shirt, John Lewis
Navy crombie, Celine
Cherry red boots, Dr. Martens

Hi Selena, where did you start with the hair for the Grimes shoot?
Well it was a collaboration between Michele Rafferty, Tara Darby and myself.  Claire Grimes is the future of music, and like all young cool kids she likes to experiment, so we all decided it would be a good idea to change her hair colour in every shot to work with the outfits. For me this is the best form of artistic expression, no boundaries just believing what your doing is right.  I think Michelle and I are very much on the same page, and as a team we worked to get the best possible image.

What are your must have products?
Dry shampoo and Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine.

What look do you love at the moment?
Anything modern with a twist.  I love a grunge bun with colour!

Do you have a style secret you can share with us?
After washing and conditioning your hair, tie your hair at the nape of your neck with some hairgrips.  Apply Shu Uemura deep-sea repair foundation and leave to dry.  Voila! Beautiful, natural beach hair.

What has been your best hairstyling moment?
Back in the day when I was assisting, I met Martin Margiela and also Martine Sitbon my two favourite designers, while working on the Hermes show. That was a pretty exciting day!

What’s next for you?
I have been art directing on a lot of projects which is allowing me to have more control over the work I produce.  You can be even more creative and it is great working with a strong team, I still love to share ideas with other people!

sohomanagement.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pink bandeau top, Prada
Blue skirt, Prada
Sunglasses, Celine

Top Image:
Blue school uniform shirt, John Lewis
Silver collar, Miu Miu
Blue skirt, Prada

Photographer – Tara Darby
Photographer’s assistant – Dave Hampton
Stylist – Michele Rafferty
Stylist’s assistant – Clementine Prendergast
Make-up – Annabel Callum
Hair – Selena Middleton

China Lady

Heavily manipulated images with an exaggerated sense of reality form the signature style of Chinese fashion photographer Chen Man.

Since shooting her first cover for Chinese avant-garde style magazine, Vision, Man’s work has gained increasing recognition. Having worked with brands such as Adidas and Nike, she’s most recently collaborated with MAC cosmetics. The Chen Man range, subtitled Love & Water, is described as a ‘bold, sensual and lyrical colour collection’, based around her fascination for love and water, represented by pink and blue.

The ascendancy of Man’s star coincides with China’s own  as a burgeoning economic powerhouse. In forging her own path, Man’s bold, innovative style has been credited with inspiring a visual revolution in China.

For her first UK solo exhibition, Mans photography collates modern Chinese city landscapes with ancient architecture, which provide a backdrop to explore the assorted themes of science fiction, consumerism and popular culture.

Despite the complex and myriad layers of post-production employed to control and manipulate the finished product, the natural beauty and poise of her models forces its way through her art. Otherworldly and eccentric Man’s imagery reflects an obsession with perfection and the impossibility of many beauty aesthetics.

The Chen Man exhibition is showing at the Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester until 7th April

chinese-arts-centre.org

Words by Dawn Daniels

PFW Round Up

To many, Paris is the city of love. More importantly however, it is the city of fashion, which could not have been made more clear than through the variety of awe-inspiring runway shows this A/W 12 season. Twin recounts our favourite collections of Paris Fashion Week….

Alexander McQueen

Oversized visor/sunglass hybrids, shaggy fur trimming and heeless, leather strap boots were just the tip of the iceberg when it came to Sarah Burton’s extraordinary A/W 12 collection for Alexander McQueen. As always, there was no shortage of craftsmanship and detailing. Victorian ruffle collars, rolled pleating, laser leather cutouts and delicate floral appliques and embroidery heightened the luxury of the alpine white, pale pink, rose lavender and fuchsia pieces.

Despite the collection’s at times very voluminous silhouettes, silver waist-cinching belts and shorter hemlines still let the sensual side of the McQueen woman shine through. With gravity-defying silk chiffon standing away from the body like a sea anemone, intricately reworked velvet bearing floral shapes and marabou feather hems, Burton even managed to add a touch of earth to an otherwordly collection.

Celine

Phoebe Philo’s vision of the Celine woman has always been a modern and streamlined one. This season, she added a dash of athleticism and bold colours to that equation.

The designer’s signature colour palette of black and white was amped up through the addition of azure blue, fuchsia, rose pink, aubergine and vermilion red, while oversized wool coats, double piping on front-pleated trousers and striped crew neck jumpers gave the collection a more casual feel. But in fabrics such as supple leather and fur, each piece still had that unmistakable touch of Celine luxury.

Chalayan

In this collection, intricate prints resembled the hasty stroke of a painter’s brush, and paint Hussein Chalayan did with colours including crimson, teal, camel, tenné, emerald, fluorescent orange and green.

The silhouettes were streamlined in the form of oversized single-button coats, tunics and shift dresses, but always good for the unexpected detail, he added large cutouts, as well as rectangular bands in contrast collars to cinch in pieces at the waist and bust, not to mention reflective silver lamé panelling, trousers and brogues. Whether artistic or futuristic, every piece bore the Chalayan signature.

Chanel

Considering the high value that Karl Lagerfeld has in the fashion industry, it was only a matter of time before he produced a collection inspired by precious stones. If the set design of oversize crystals jutting out of the ground wasn’t hint enough, this season’s Chanel colour palette was all about the emerald greens, amethyst purples, ruby reds, golds, antique silvers and sapphire blues.

Whether interwoven with the house’s signature tweed or sewn into the sleeves, pockets and breast of a flared wool coat dress, Lagerfeld’s chromatic approach this season only heightened the luxury of the gemstone, feather and lace-crafted pieces. Their point of inspiration may date back to the beginning of time, but thanks to a mixture of architecturally sculpted and relaxed silhouettes, every look was pure modernity. Topped off with crystal eyebrows and Perspex-heeled pumps, this collection proved (once again) why Coco and Karl are the perfect match.

Stella McCartney

If anyone still associated the name Stella McCartney with The Beatles before, then this collection broke that bond once and for all. Working with colours of black, cyan, hot pink, charcoal, dark brown and white, it was a milestone in her journey from famous daughter to design star in her own right.

McCartney’s time at Saville Row made its mark in the tailoring of padded hips, oversized, rectangular cuts, and rounded shoulders, giving every piece a strong sense of structuring while offsetting the more feminine elements such as foliage embroidery and curve-tracing colour blocking. Her tribute to English style didn’t stop there: cozy waffle knit cardigans and dresses worn over Oxford button-downs, as well as A-line skirts in fabrics such as tweed, wool, mohair, crepe paid tribute to McCartney’s heritage. Balance being one of her strong suits, hip-slung, wide-legged trousers, streamlined clutchs, and contrast-coloured pumps and ankle boots gave everything an urban twist.

LFW Round-up

London Fashion Week A/W12 stood apart from other seasons in asserting the city’s place firmly within the fashion week calendar. Not just because of the brilliant creativity that the fashion world has come to expect, but because of the strength of the homegrown brands on show.

From big names such as Burberry and McQ to the young guns like Mary Katrantzou, Simone Rocha and Christopher Kane, whose collections just keep getting better, London proved that it can be a commercial contender, without losing it’s edge.

STELLA MCCARTNEY

Showing a glimpse into her evening collection pre Paris Fashion Week, Stella did it in a way that obliterated the catwalk show and turned it into immersive theatre. The unwitting stage was a fashion fabulous dinner. Models, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow and Yasmin Le Bon confounded guests by erupting halfway through into a choreographed dance sequence of jaw-dropping craziness. The clothes, a tight collection of optical dresses, painterly cocktail numbers and tailoring, were shown as they should be, in the moment, working the party.

MARY KATRANTZOU

Mary Katrantzou’s collection was sheer artistry, from the trompe l’oeil prints of verdant maze gardens and clackety typewriters that drew the eye deep into the design, to the origami ruffles that fluttered off of collars and hems.

This was print done with structure and tailoring the Katrantzou way. As well as being brilliantly inventive, they were also eminently wearable, and are assured of a wide following.

CHRISTOPHER KANE

Christopher Kane’s show only further confirmed his eye-opening ability to draw on references and ideas like no other and make them fashion must haves.

There was gangster goth pinstripe skirt-suits and dresses alongside elegant chiffon dresses with applique black velvet flowers. The palette was darkly purple, black and royal blue and leopard print was done in the Kane way, injecting the print with a freshness that has tarnished over recent seasons. This was tough, feminine and most obviously from London.

MEADHAM KIRCHOFF

At Meadham Kirchoff the look was acidic with tribal crayon makeup and Seventies funky heels in silver, pink and gold glitter.

With the catwalk turned into a disco this was a larger than life collection of lamé, sequins, tinsel, fuzzy snakes and most importantly fun. But hidden amongst it all were the kind of separates sure to add zing to any wardrobe.

ELLIOT ATKINSON

At a salon presentation hosted by Colin McDowell at the Corinthia Hotel, Elliot Atkinson showed a collection inspired by medieval aristoracy wrought in modern urbanity. A palette of black, white and mustard was tailored to create a silhouette that was slim, fierce and undeniably elegant.

The Haute Roundup

Yesterday marked the end of the Spring/Summer 2012 couture shows. The proverbial creme de la creme of fashion, only allowed to show during this three-day short Fashion Week through a Chambre Syndicale De La Haute Couture membership – haute couture doesn’t mean high dressmaking in French for nothing – showed a degree of craftsmanship and attention to detail all across the fashion spectrum.

Twin recounts our haute couture highlights from Paris…

Alexis Mabille

Proving that haute couture doesn’t have to keep to a demure palette, Mabille punched up the colour factor with his neon designs. Inspired by photographs of Lisa Fonssagrives and Christy Turlington, the creations in fabrics ranging from metallic lame to guipure lace proved that even when it comes to couture, girls just want to have fun.

Bouchra Jarrar

Working with crepe de soie, fur collars and wide-legged tailored trousers, Jarrar’s collection was a take on casual luxe. A bit of tomboy and a dash of urban sophisticate resulted in a whole lot of effortless cool.

Chanel

No couture week is complete without Karl Lagerfeld’s latest mind musings. Taking the double Cs to a more ethereal place this time around (airplane runway, anyone?) resulted in a collection of beautifully hand-embellished pieces in icy blues, ivories and midnight blacks.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab is the go-to designer for anything feminine and delicate, and this season was no exception. Lace and crystal embroidery on nude, pastel pink and pale lemon high-waisted dresses and A-line skirts made being a woman that bit more enticing.

Giambattista Valli

It may only be Valli’s second showing on the haute couture circuit, but the Italian designer proves that he can hold his own among fashion’s heavyweights. With a plethora of expertly tailored feather, lace and embroidered pieces, he’s as couture as they come.

Jean Paul Gaultier

In a beehive and winged eyeliner tribute to Amy Winehouse, Gaultier sent out a collection that was every bit as eccentric and nonchalant as the late singer herself. Encompassing pieces such as back to black shirt-tail hem skirts, leather varsity jackets and silk kimono coats tied at the waist, Winehouse probably wouldn’t have wanted her couture any other way.

Maison Martin Margiela Artisanal

Leave it to the house of Margiela to put an unconventional spin on couture. Rope, braided bracelets and hundreds of pearlescent buttons were turned into  knee-length trench coats, colourful micro dresses, and slouchy blazer and pegged trouser combos, proving that recycled fashion doesn’t have to be drab.

Valentino

It has only taken a few seasons for Pier Paolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri to fully establish their trademark of girlish and graceful designs at Valentino. Marking a sweet end to haute couture fashion week, this collection of chiffon, lace and tulle in fine floral prints had a glamourised Charlotte Brontë/Jane Austen novel feel to it. Piccioli and Chiuri clearly have a talent for capturing fashion daydreams.

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