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  1. by Alex Fury .

    Hot Couture - welding together the latest Katrantzou creation

    It may seem odd for Rob's blacksmith-style techniques to be used in the construction of clothing, but in actual fact it has a number of historical antecedents. The nineteenth-century crinoline (albeit named after the French word for horsehair, 'crin') was constructed as a cage, often from sprung watch-steel, as was the bustle of the 1870s, originally based on a cushion but quickly adapted into a metal lattice to achieve the exaggerated silhouette. Those may seem like arcane items of costume, but there are contemporary counterparts - Vivienne Westwood's A/W 1994 On Liberty collection showcased an exaggerated posterior, created by cage-like hemispheres of wire fastened to a girdle. The globes were created by the father of Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood's husband, forged in the Tyrol and inspired by the metal lattices used to secure flowers on graves. Not too different to Katrantzou's own grand plans for a floral lampshade skirt, then. Keep watching today as the structure takes shape before your eyes.

  2. by Alex Fury .

    Mary Katrantzou LiveStudio now today and tomorrow!

    For all those eager viewers readying themselves for our Mary Katrantzou LiveStudio session - it's taken an unexpected twist! Mary herself can't be with us today, but instead Rob Hall will be welding a piece in preparation for Mary's session tomorrow. Yes, you read that right, welding: Katrantzou's LiveStudio piece is a take on the signature piece of her S/S 2011 collection, the lampshade skirt, sported by none less than SHOWstudio.com fashion obsession Anna Dello Russo during the latest Paris collections. Those had less heavy metal than this new incarnation, obviously, but the final twist on the theme will be revealed when Katrantzou herself joins us live tomorrow from 10:30 GMT. Today, we'll broadcast the intricate and painstaking process of Rob welding together the components of Mary's lampshade - with the rather unconventional extra step of fitting that superstructure to a human body too - live from 11:00 GMT

  3. by Alex Fury .

    Feiyue pops at Selfridges London

    The pop-up, it seems, is the most fashionable way of garnering a new audience for a brand. A few weeks ago, Hermès popped-up in East London - hardly the place you expect to see a proliferation of its signature orange carriers or neatly-tied scarves - and, in a neat echo, on Monday French trainer brand Feiyue 'popped' at London's Selfridges (in fittingly French style, accompanied by a baroque banquet of brie and Bordeaux).

    A cult name in France since its launch in 2006, Feiyue (pronounced Feî-ué) has its roots in 1920s Shanghai. Patrice Bastian, the label's founder, found the soft, unstructured canvas sneakers when travelling in Asia - he loved them so much, he ended up buying the brand. 'I was a sneaker addict for many years - in every country I visited I used to buy their native sneakers, and when I lived in Shanghai I had a big crush on these shoes.' Evidently Bastian's taste is in synch with the times - the label now boasts the likes of Orlando Bloom and Lily Cole as fans.

    In Bastian's eyes, Feiyue is more than a sneaker brand - thus collaboration with edgy artists and musicians, something Bastian feels emerges from the anti-corporate, creative background of the label's owners. 'It's always good to work with other people because they help to reinvent the sneaker - it's something that feeds us, and feeds the brand'. Sometimes, those ideas can come from the fashion establishment - French luxury stalwart Celine put their name to a Feiyue sneaker (in a first for the house, rather democratically priced), and the very idea of the label 'popping' in Selfridges, a bastion of British luxury retailing if ever there was one, shows an interesting integration between sneakers and style.

    That said, the in-store space itself is far from establishment. Selfridges' theme for the Christmas period is "play," and Bastian said 'that made us at Feiyue think about building blocks and interactivity, and the idea of the ipad - giving customers the opportunity to create their own shoes.' Thus a custom ipad app has been developed especially for the shoe's first appearance this side of la manche, giving customers the chance to create their own unique design - and offering one lucky sneaker-freak the chance of having their shoe made up at the end of the period.

  4. by Alex Fury .

    Martine Sitbon interviewed live tomorrow!

    Our next In Fashion live interview takes place tomorrow afternoon, with an exclusive one-on-one with cult French designer Martine Sitbon. A fixture of Paris fashion week since the eighties showing under her own name, as head designer of French stalwart Chloe and now under the Rue du Mail label. Under all labels, the Sitbon signature is evident - a hard rock edge and trademark mix of day and evening that has snared her a considerable cult following, including Hollywood heavyweights such as Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and Gwyneth Paltrow.

    Martine Sitbon will be interviewed live by SHOWstudio.com Fashion Director Alexander Fury from 12:30 GMT tomorrow.

  5. by Alex Fury .

    Stephen Jones' Glamour on a Budget Live Stream now over!

    Today's unique LiveStudio session with master milliner (and apparently rather excellent television presenter) Stephen Jones is now complete - after our model Laura sported Stephen's final foliate creation as the perfect fishing touch to her spring John Galliano outfit. The footage of Stephen's 'Glamour on a Budget' residency will be launched on-site in the new year!

  6. by Alex Fury .

    Stephen Jones LIVE - the set-up!

    Set-up has begun for our latest LiveStudio residency from Stephen Jones - and friends! DJ Princess Julia is lined up to spin some tunes, we have a commercial break scheduled, and Stephen has brought a fabulous John Galliano trench and shoes from Paris for our model Laura to wear while showcasing just one of his creations. We'll be live-streaming the last few minutes of Stephen's set-up from 12:00 noon, and then the show will kick off in earnest!

  7. by Alex Fury .

    Window shopping-stopping action from Prada

    We're slightly obsessed with these magnificent Prada christmas windows here at SHOWstudio.com - the latest interpretation of the central idea of Mrs Prada's S/S 2011 collection, 'minimal-Baroque' (can't you just hear the thud as thousands of students, designers and mass-market manufacturers pin that pithy aphorism to their mood boards?). Here, the sharp, clean Prada aesthetic - womenswear, menswear, the omnipotent and potent Prada purse - is framed in ornate Florentine excess to form a still-life, of sorts: terribly appropriate given our own Florist exhibition, and definitely enough to make you stop window-shopping in your tracks.

    This Friday, Prada's little sister Miu Miu gets a new grown-up shop of its own on the corner of Bruton Street and Bond Street (a fatal stone's throw away from our own HQ). We'll be tweeting and blogging from the opening cocktails.

  8. by Alex Fury .

    The Duchess of Windsor's Exceptional Jewels at Sotheby's

    A marginal obsession of mine is the Duchess of Windsor - christened by the late Queen Mother as 'that woman' and viewed as either villainous or vilified according, it seems, to each individual's reading of her actions. Wallis Simpson, née Spencer, née Warfield, was either an innocent bystander, drawn into a web of political intrigue and possibly used as an excuse for Edward to renounce a throne he never really wanted; or an evil harlot, both American and a Divorcée in a period when either was enough to render one a social pariah, who ensnared the Golden-haired Prince of Wales with her sexual wiles and forced him to surrender his beloved Britain, empire and all, to be enslaved by her. As is often the case, the truth probably lies somewhere between the two: Wallis was a double-edged sword, a two-faced coin, and continues to inspired fierce debate and interest. Hence the pull of Sotheby's latest sale - with the rather unwieldly title 'Exceptional Jewels & Precious Objects formerly in the Collection of the Duchess of Windsor' - viewing over the next two days at Sotheby's Bond Street following a worldwide tour, and going under the hammer tomorrow evening.

    It's striking, but perhaps expected, that these jewels still seem sharp and contemporary today. The one thing - possibly the only thing - that is never disputed is the Duchess of Windsor's enduring status as a fashion icon. Her chic, often gracing the world's best-dressed lists, was dubbed 'Cocktail-shaker chic': an apt jazz-age (ish) description for the clean, crisp and fuss-free lines of her clothing. These were first created by interwar couturiers such as Molyneux and Mainbocher - the latter designed her startling blue wedding trousseau - and in later years by Dior's Marc Bohan, Balenciaga and his disciple Givenchy. The Duchess kept her clothes simple as foils for her spectacular jewels - a Prince of Wales triple-ostrich emblem in purest diamonds, for example, a mogul emerald the size of a duck-egg worn as an engagement ring, or a panther perched atop a 150-something carat Kashmir cabochon sapphire. That trio was just a fraction of the 306 lots offered by Sotheby's in 1987, when the Duchess' jewels made a breathtaking £31 million - still the most valuable single-owner jewellery collection ever sold.

    The twenty lots that make up the latest Sotheby's sale mix famed pieces with more unusual and less-known items, and include pieces used by both the Duke and Duchess - engraved gold cigarette cases, bejewelled suites of evening buttons and a photograph of Queen Mary surmounted by precious gems. The high profile pieces, however, are the gem-encrusted items taken from the Duchess' personal collection - a heart-shaped diamond brooch given to commemorate their twentieth wedding anniversary, the articulated panther bracelet (unusually purchased by the Duchess rather than the Duke), and the shoulder-span flamingo, set by Cartier from a necklace and four bracelets belonging to the Duchess. This practice of dismantling older jewels to create new and exciting creations was a leitmotif of the Duchess' collection, reminiscent of her reported intention to have the whole of Buckingham Palace redecorated in hyper-modern thirties style by Syrie Maugham. Perhaps such disregard for British history also gave rise to the apocryphal that the Duke presented her with Queen Alexandra's emeralds, which the Duchess summarily had re-set to appear less dowdy.

    However, despite stories such as that, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's relationship was extremely sentimental - and their sentiments were often expressed through jewels. Engravings abound, whether in jokey phrases such as 'No excuse for going in the wrong direction' scrawled across an oval gold watch/compass/sundial, or the simple 'Wallis from Edward, 1947' inscribed inside a solid-gold evening clutch. The most striking example, however, is the Duchess' gem-set cross bracelet - a chain spectacle-set with diamonds and suspending nine crosses. Each cross commemorated a trial or tribulation in their life together, with inscription to match - they were her 'crosses to bear'. Hence the 'X-ray Cross' and 'Appendectomy Cross' were presented following Wallis' spells in hospital, and one simply engraved 'The King's Cross' commemorates (and perhaps apologises for) a lover's tiff. The 'Abdication Cross', of course, needs no explanation.

    Why is this collection notable? Besides the incredible quality of the stones and the fact the pieces could still easily be worn (albeit with an armed guard or three), these jewels are steeped with history - not only the history of one of the most photographed and written-about couples of all time, or that of the greatest love-story of the twentieth century, but indeed the political history of the monarchy, Great Britain, and the the world at large. That long-winded title, it seems, is bang on the money: these are truly exceptional pieces in every sense of the word, and this is a once in a lifetime chance to see them up-close.

    'Exceptional Jewels & Precious Objects formerly in the Collection of the Duchess of Windsor' is on view until 16:30 GMT on Tuesday 30 November. The auction will take place at 19:00 GMT.

  9. by Alex Fury .

    Stephen Jones LiveStudio now WEDNESDAY 1 DECEMBER

    Our Stephen Jones LiveStudio session, originally scheduled for tomorrow, has now been moved by just one day, and will begin at 12:00 Noon GMT on Wednesday 1 December 2010. The excuse, however, is easily the most fabulous we have ever heard: Mr Jones is in Paris fitting hats for the upcoming Galliano Hommes collection (the kind of delay you only get with talent of Jones' calibre). We can also reveal the title of Stephen's session: Glamour on a Budget. Think haute couture meets Blue Peter, and plenty of incredible millinery come Wednesday!

  10. by Alex Fury .

    Alice Hawkins A/W 2010 fashion film launched!

    Click here to view film
    The idea for our latest fashion film editorial for the A/W 2010 season - created by photographer and filmmaker Alice Hawkins - came to us in a flash at the Paris shows. Watching these polished, preened and terribly, terribly French women stride down the catwalk at Loewe, Yves Saint Laurent, Celine and the rest, one couldn't help but think - who is her British equivalent? Are we a nation without an aspirational female role-model encapsulating that slightly too impeccable upper-middle-class chic of the late sixties and early seventies? Then it struck us. If Séverine Serizy is the French ideal, her English counterpart must surely be Margot Leadbetter, heroine of the seminal British sitcom The Good Life.

    We turned to acclaimed photographer Alice Hawkins to crystallise this idea, and Hawkins in turn turned to a bevy of real-life British women, photographed in their homes in Kimi O'Neill's selection from next season's finest. Aptly titled The Good Life - after all, that's what these women are living - Hawkins' film is an affectionate and tongue-in-cheek portrait of our quintessentially English class-consciousness, framed by next season's key sartorial statements. A heartfelt homage to social climbers everywhere.

    Comments

    1. someonegreat
      14:56 26 Nov 2010
      THIS is stupendous!! So stunning.
    Comment
  11. by Alex Fury .

    Sneak Peek - New A/W 2010 fashion film launching tomorrow!

    It always seems an odd affliction of fashion that designers showcase cuddly knits and winter-warming furs just as spring begins to break, while the skimpy swimsuits and chiffon frocks of summer are often accompanied by a chilly autumnal breeze whooshing up the model's crepe de Chine slip-dresses - well, during London fashion week at least (make that London Fashion Week circa 1997, given my dated slip-dress reference).

    Our latest fashion film editorial, however, feels entirely seasonally appropriate - earlier this summer, we commissioned the fantastic fashion photographer Alice Hawkins to create an exclusive fashion film for us, inspired by the bourgeoisie, jolie madame mood of the Paris collections.

    Needless to say, Hawkins pursued this theme in her own inimitable fashion, providing a compelling cinematic counterpart to her famed fashion and portrait images. Aptly titled The Good Life, her most recent contribution to SHOWstudio.com - and our latest fashion film editorial for A/W 2010 - launches tomorrow morning at 11:00 GMT.

  12. by Alex Fury .

    Exclusive! Acne Fashion Film for Cruise 2011

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    From transsexual-targeted ranges to presentations inside Princess Margaret's apartments via silver-crusted denims and high-profile designer collaborations, Swedish label Acne is known for continually treading its own path - after all, the name of the label is a neat acronym from 'Ambition to Create Novel Expressions'.

    The latest creative expression from Acne is 'Concrete Island', a fashion film created by Michelle Jank and Collider films showcasing Acne's 2011 Cruise collection, exclusively presented online on the SHOWstudio.com blog. The premise sounds simple, but the results are anything but, captured in mind-boggling 360-degree by dozens of cameras simultaneously, combining still imagery with a mesmerising sense of perpetual motion to a dizzying, elating effect. The collection itself, for both men and women, revolves around evolutions of simple drapery, classic suiting and t-shirts elongated into minimally-chic sleek evening dresses.

    View the new Acne Cruise film created by Michelle Jank and Collider Films above

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