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The revolutionary Elsa Schiaparelli

Lately there has been a revived interest in the revolutionary Elsa Schiaparelli by designers around the world. Not many of them are eager to advertise it, because they want to avoid people accusing them of copying. But the signs are out there; the return to opulence (i.e draping, over-the-top hardware), handicraft techniques, experimentation with fabrics, eye catching playful prints and embroideries (lobsters, sea creatures, everyday objects, and other Instagram-ready images), and the list goes on…

An Elsa Schiaparelli Portrait

But who was Schiaparelli? Born in Italy in 1890, she was the first to show that fashion and art can coexist, and that when they do magic is created; her clothes are a great example of how Dadaism / Surrealism can inspire breath-taking fashion.  She revolutionised fashion by using traditional techniques such as the double stitch knit created by Armenian refugees, together with innovative fabrications and avant-garde pattern making. Through her privileged upbringing, her education in Philosophy, her rebellious and fantasy-prone character, and her mixing with artists, such as Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, Leonor Fini, and Meret Oppenheim, and by socialising with the it-crowd, she learned how to see things differently, and how to re-imagine clothes.

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Brand Britain: Will Brexit damage it?

It is official, 51.9% of British voters want to leave the EU. They ignored warnings of “economic meltdown” and years of uncertainty, ignored the experts who they obviously do no trust, and decided that their country will be better off outside the Union. But what we have learned is not only that half the population in the UK has lost its faith in political institutions and those in charge. We have also learned that the majority of the old voters mistrust anything remotely suggesting a lax attitude towards national borders (majority of 65+ voted to Leave), and that on the contrary, young voters are more positive with the idea of an open world even if this means the gradual loss of sovereignty and national law creation (75% voted Remain). On a more positive note, some people did learn that their vote does count and once dropped inside a ballet box it will be considered ‘A’ vote…

Depending on which side of the argument you are on, you will be perceiving the outcome of Thursday’s vote differently. The drop of the value of the GBP, the knee-jerk reaction in stock markets across the planet, and the decrease of footfall, and the reduction of spending documented by MasterCard, will be seen either as a blip, or as the beginning of the end. I am not here to debate this, as I am sure many experts, with better knowledge than me, will flood the internet with their interpretations. However, what I would like to discuss here, is something very important that no one has picked up. Something I believe will influence our industry both in the short term and the long term; will Brexit damage brand Britain?

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Fashion Revolution: #whomadeyourclothes ?

On 24 April 2013, more than a thousand people lost their lives, and over two and a half thousand were injured in what is now considered the deadliest clothing-factory disaster in history. The Rana Plaza complex in Dhaka Bangladesh, housed garment factories, a bank, and many shops. All commercial stores were closed when cracks appeared on the walls, but the garment factory owners refused to accept the telling signs, and ordered the factory to continue production, threatening the factory workers to return to work. The following day the building collapsed.

Courtesy of fashionrevolution.org

It was the day we all realised, that in the very long and complicated process of garment development, brands do not always know how and who is making their clothes. It took a long time for a few well-known international fashion brands to establish whether they had placed orders with those factories in Bangladesh. Even when their labels were found in the rubble, the brands struggled to discover the contracts or determine their relationship with the factories in question.

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Iconic Movie Outfits Vol.2: 1980s-2000s

In this second part of my analysis of key stylistic moments in cinematic history, I am looking at the films of the 1980s-2000s. Of course there were quite a few important movies produced these years, but unfortunately, there was a lack of interesting multi-layered female characters.

In the 1980s, it felt like women took a back seat and macho testosterone took over. Thus, there were fewer movies made with a female central protagonist. You can maybe blame the neo-conservatism of the times, and the continues pissing competition between the East and the West, or the narrow-mindedness of the then studio producers. Things did improve over the years but we are still nowhere near the great female characters of the 40s and the 50s. As a reaction, in this second part, I pay homage to the cute, the real, the dynamic, the unique female characters of the big screen of this era. I reference those characters that encapsulate the different and varied characteristics of the female psyche.

The 1980s

The Breakfast Club (1985)

Five students, each one from a different school clique, meet in detention and slowly realise that they are more than their stereotypes, and that they have much more in common than they thought. Although costume design is way too safe and stereotypical, Molly Ringwald’s outfit of oversized pink t-shirt and wrap fringe-edged paisley skirt is pure class. Strangely modern…

Courtesy of Universal Pictures

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