Live Now Sans Couture - Nick Knight / Amanda Harlech / Alexander Fury

10:15 - 20:00 on August 1 2014 BST

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  1. by Alexander Fury .

    John Galliano

    'In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, A stately pleasure-dome decree'. These were the Coleridge lines inscribed on John Galliano's invitation: evidently John was our Kubla, and for Winter 2008 he pitched his pleasure-dome in a vast hanger on the outskirts of Paris. Xanadu, I'm not sure - but the evening was very heaven. The theme was evidently Galliano's favourite stomping-ground of the 1930s, but Galliano was by no means resting on his laurels. By grounding this vision within a narrative context of the golden age of Hollywood, namely a Cecil B. de Mille-cum-Josef von Sternberg extravaganza, it gave his extraordinary imagination chance to soar. It rested on the orient, in every connotation: Chinoiserie, Japonism, the Great British Raj, all in rich, heat-infused colour straight from the subcontinent. These combined with the visions of Gustave Moreau, Paul Poiret and the wanton exoticism of the Ballet Russe, were whisked in the Galliano blender and poured as bias-cut fabric across a bevy of models emoting for all they were worth.

    It was wonderful to watch it unfold. Galliano's astounding eye for colour was given free reign, utilising the brittle, subtle palette of black-and-white film costume in unusual combinations such as eau-de-nil with vermillion, navy with brilliant raspberry and a host of fascinating sugar-almond pastels which never cloyed. On a more fundamental level, the manner in which he made fabric move, from the sinuously draped and wrapped tiers of bias-cut evening dresses (suddenly fresher and lighter than they have seemed for a decade) to trapeze and pyramid coats, flounced gossamer blouses and wonderfully flattering dhoti-trousers, was stunning. It was this feel for textile, Galliano's intrinsic, intuitive knowledge of cut, which marked these out as some of the most technically astute clothes in Paris, and therefore the world.

    With every inch of the venue a set-piece, from rotating turbanned busts encrusted with glitter to chiarascuro air heavy with musk, it's hard for some not to get swept up in the histrionics of these set-pieces and feel that perhaps the clothes can take second place. Then again, some nights - like tonight - Galliano nails it. The exquisite Michael Howells set was intrinsic to the clothes, underlining the subtle nuances of his aesthetic, and nothing seemed excessive: the show is Galliano's proscenium arch, his platform to display his vision, and trying to reign that in would be like mounting a Boucher or Fragonard in an Ikea frame. Namely, a travesty.

  2. by Alexander Fury .

    Colin McDowell on John Galliano

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    Back from the glory of Galliano, I had the immense pleasure and priviledge of hearing Colin McDowell's always-astute views on the show first hand.

  3. by Alexander Fury .

    Marios Schwab Showroom

    Besides the shows, Paris Fashion Weeek is rammed with showroom appointments, both for Paris-based designers and Brits abroad. After a sensational London show, Marios Schwab's showroom on the Rue de Richleau was an obvious stop to make. The fretworked surfaces of his laser-cut grograin dresses, figure-hugging jersey and beautifully tailored cropped Melton spencer jackets and elongated coats were even more wonderful close-up, when we could wrench them away from buyers that is. This also gave us ample opportunity to examine how savvy Schwab is at making such an extreme visual statement work at retail level without compromising his unique aesthetic.

  4. by Alexander Fury .

    Jeremy Scott Showroom

    No trip to Paris would be complete without a trip to the Jeremy Scott showroom - at least for me. His show this season was packed with typical Scott irony, playing on his favourite themes of luxury and distinctly American excess. Gold-card intarsia knits, dollar bills and cherubs were splashed across garments, but the fabrics - silk jersey, satins and beautiful merino wool knits - had a new touch of geniune luxury. These padded mid-calf silk jackets, flaring dramatically from the waist, were a definite highlight, and I must admit I ordered this 'LUXURY' sweater without a second glance at the price (or my credit limit).

  5. by Alexander Fury .

    The walk through at Lanvin

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    The haze of fog from which the models emerged at Lanvin may have been slightly disconcerting, but luckily they were dressed in a vision that was crystal clear. Alber Elbaz is evidently feeling dark: the tent was black, the runway was black, and the clothes were - yes, predominantly black. But there was as always far far more to this than meets the eye.

    What better way to epater le bourgeoisie than to twist their own sartorial rules on their head, Elbaz evidently reasoned. With that in mind he looked back to old-school gloved and heeled femininity, the collection revolving around resolutely traditional standards of overcoat, trouser-suit, cocktail dress, plisse blouse, clutch firmly clutched, jewels at the wrist and throat. Indeed, a more classic, modest wardrobe could not be wished for. The colours too were purposely banal: every shade of black, a little taupe, french navy and a touch of glitter for evening, madam. Yet as with Belle De Jour, Elbaz's veneer of convention hid a seductive core. There were touches of subtle perversity in the contrast of shiny shiny patent leather and fur, chiffon pleated to expose slithers of nude flesh, and the deshabille eroticism of a fallen shoulder strap, single bared arm or blouse tugged to expose a strikingly naked shoulder.

    Halfway through, as Roxy Music's 'Same Old Scene' began, we realised we had seen the scene before. Elbaz's elegance referenced every chic woman from the thirties through to now, but his talent was in interpreting these traditional codes of female allure without a whiff of nostalgia. Through his work for Lanvin, Elbaz seems on a mission to utilise tradition to craft an entirely new way for women to dress, deconstructing ideas of decoration so that exposed seams and reversed darts stood up like fins to define the silhouette and act as post-modern flourishes, embroidery seemed slightly unravelled and golden sequins had a burnished, dirty glitter. His talent is in introducing these ideas to long-established modes of dressing and making them not only palettable, but achingly desirable. If Galliano's vision represented the glory of the past and Stefano Pilati's the uncompromising promise of the future, then Elbaz's consumate rendering of modern woman is exactly where fashion should be right now.

  6. by Alexander Fury .

    FASH BASHED!

    Henry Holland's inaugural House of Holland 'Fash Bash' last night managed to drag East London in pretty much its entirety to the flash environs of Argyll Street's Movida for a party stretching far into the wee small hours.

    Mr Holland was of course on hand to oversee the shenanigans (it was his shindig afterall), and fitting with his winter collection, both he and the guests were clad in more HOH-clan tartan than you could shake a tam-o-shanter at (there were quite a few of those too). All in all, it was very much a family affair: Holland not only provided the outfits, he also took to the decks with Agyness, while other HOH collaborators including Katie Hillier, Tom Giddings, Matt Irwin and Gary Card took it in turns to spin.

    Slated for the last Wednesday of every month until June 2008, last night's packed-to-the-rafters turnout suggest it'll be a sparkling success. Maybe West is the new East?

  7. by Alexander Fury .

    Wonderland on the road

    Ross and I are currently braving the unseasonable chill on our way to the Wonderland shoot. We'll be blogging and recording live from 11, but here's an idea of what to expect: these are the water tanks our model Alice will be negotiating later today.

  8. by Alexander Fury .

    The dry run

    With our live feed starting in just a few moments, I took the opportunity to inspect Helen Storey's wares in their final forms. The soluble polymer 'fabrics' used for each and every garment have been fretted, sliced and punched to resemble everything from ostrich feathers to sequins to embroidered tulle and even denim. Although every garment will be photographed 'dry' today, only half will go on to meet their watery graves: the other half of Helen's 'Wonderland'collection will go on to a further exhibitions in Sheffield and Belfast later this year.

    Comments

    1. GalileosUniverse
      11:03 28 Mar 2008
      A real nice treat to be able to see such a craftsmanship and passion !!! ... love the palette !
    Comment
  9. by Alexander Fury .

    Establishing shots

    Testing lights and shot angles around Helen's printed fringe dress ('Mabel'is her official name, according to Helen), you start to get a real sense of the aesthetics of the coming shoot. Backlit and silhouetted to emphasise the translucency of the polymer fabric, this gives some idea of the way the 'dry' images will look and feel, and still giving a sense of dramatic deep-sea chiarascuro. The scale of the water tanks, meanwhile, are a subtle indication of the spectacular but as-yet untested underwater shots which are still somewhat of an enigma to us all. Or, well, to me at least...

    Recent comments

    1. Sandrine
      12:12 28 Mar 2008
      Who's your model? And where is she?
    2. alex.fury
      13:37 28 Mar 2008
      sorry for keeping you in suspense Sandrine! our model is Alice Dellal - you can maybe make out her profile in our silhouetted 'live' shots, and you should be seeing and hearing a lot more from her later today...
      love,
      Alex.
    Comment
  10. by Alexander Fury .

    Make up artist Hannah Murray talks waterproof mascara and running eyeshadow for Wonderland

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  11. by Alexander Fury .

    Tailored to perfection

    'She says her trousers are melting to her legs!' is not a soundbyte you often hear on a shoot, but Wonderland is no ordinary project! Here, Alice strikes a pose in the final look of our dry shoot. After Helen's transparent leopard opera-coat and turquoise fishnet mermaid gown, she gave us a sample of the formidable tailoring she was renowned for during her fashion career. Although this equally sharp, soluble example is slightly less commercially viable (unfortunately).

  12. by Alexander Fury .

    Helen's Story

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    I grabbed Helen Storey at a rare quiet moment during shooting to talk about her experiences of the Wonderland project, the shoot, and how she feels about seeing her collection vanish before her eyes.

    Recent comments

    1. TorErik
      15:47 28 Mar 2008
      can't hear what Helen says..
    2. alex.fury
      22:16 29 Mar 2008
      sorry - ross, our intrepid interactive head, is going to try and adjust some of the sound on Monday so you can hear Helen crisp and clear.
      love,
      Alex.
    3. s
      20:27 12 Mar 2012
      still not fixed. derp.
    Comment
  13. by Alexander Fury .

    Lights, camera, H2o!

    It's odd being on the other side of the camera, even when you're just the test shot. From my perch behind tank #1, here's a fish-eye view (excuse the pun) of Nick and his assistants Ruth and Andy setting up the first underwater shot for 'Wonderland'.

    Comments

    1. Mustafa
      20:29 17 Aug 2012
      I can not thank you adequately for the posts on your web site. I know you’d put a lot of time and eforft into them and hope you know how much I appreciate it. I hope I’ll do exactly the same for someone else at some point.My blog is about .
    Comment
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