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  1. by Alexander Fury .

    Pitti Immagine #80: Boys and Girls

    On the flight to Florence I was seated next to two hard-nosed suited and booted types, albeit clad immaculately pressed-then-intentionally-creased shirts and roll-hemmed chinos with three inches of ankle exposed. They resembled Italian mafiosi on an extended Riviera holiday. Ironically, their business was suiting and booting rather than cement shoes - the only mafia they belonged to was the fashion mafia (not that that isn't a deadly breed when it wants to be). Their conversation was entirely fashion-focused - but rather than expounding the delights of Givenchy's latest or indulging in idle gossip, it was all hard facts and figures. No black, we're pushing navy; red and green stripe or blue with white; these are the colours for S/S 2013.

    That underlines what Pitti Immagine is really about - business. Big business - billions of dollars in fashion revenue flowing through the thousands of stands that cluster in the Pitti Immagine pavilions. The Immagine part, however, is what the press come to see - the guest designers, the specially-devised spectacles innovatively cooked-up to enliven the somewhat staid trade fair. Navy suits may be in for the mass-market, as my neighbour on the plane asserted, but they're nothing for fashion journalists to write home about.

    This season, that Immagine comes from two American labels - Band Of Outsiders, and Rodarte, who stage their site-specific shows over the next two days. Scott Sternberg presents the Band Of Outsiders mens and womenswear, including the 2012 Resort collection, and Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte show a specially created collection to close the fair in style on Thursday.

    More to come very shortly. This evening's entertainment is a performance titled 'Vestirsi Da Uomo' (Dressed Like A Man) devised by Olivier Saillard of the Musée Galliera, turning the spotlight on a group of menswear firms but with a definite feminine twist. Fitting given the focus of Pitti, it feels.

  2. by Alexander Fury .

    Agathe's House - Pure and Innocent

    We've seen the dollhouse inspiration of our title expressed throughout this two-day shoot, but perhaps less immediately evident has been the influence of cult eighties film Café Flesh, another key reference for this collaboration between Nick Knight and Dinos Chapman's. To underline that source, however, we have drafted in glamour model Dani Thompson to give a sexy slant to the 'twisted childhood' concept of the developing editorial. Here, Dani models vintage lingerie, a custom 'rat mask' by Gary Card, and towering Mugler heels that owe more than a passing nod to the wares of Fredricks of Hollywood ('Alien Hookers' was a phrase I tossed out after the show). A sweet contrast to Dani's sexy, Lily Donaldson epitomises innocence in a broiderie anglaise dress from Rodarte, pointy-point Manolo Blahnik slippers, and sweet clip-on bow and Peter-Pan collar combo. Although that bow is latex, and the collar's a Vuitton leather number. Maybe not so innocent after all...

    Comments

    1. Daniel
      17:53 2 Sep 2013
      THank you for the kind and generous words on your proiuevs post Wayne! We do have CDs available of our Tonight Piaf show (all the songs as presented in the stage play). You can place an order by emailing me directly at jrabuATshawDOTca include how many CDs you wish to order, a phone number and the mailing address. We mail the order out and you mail a payment cheque when you have received the order-the old honour system! The CD's are $23 including tax and shipping, delivery takes 10 days to 2 weeks.Thanks again!Cheersjoelle
    Comment
  3. by Alexander Fury .

    Fashion East S/S 2012 Line-Up Announced!

    However childish it may be to state, there's always something incredibly satisfying about being able to crow 'I told you so' - especially when it comes to fashion, where spotting talent first sometimes seems like the most important thing, and hot new designers have the shelf-life of a ripe banana (and with more than a few taking a slip on their own skin).

    Fashion East has been the first (hopefully peel-free) step for many a fashion star, and for S/S 2012 we can add Maarten Van Der Horst to their number - a name we sat up and noticed back at his graduation show in February. Then again, there's a process of elimination going on - he was graduating from a coveted slot on Louise Wilson's Central Saint Martins' MA (we're talking kill-your-grandmother coveting here, just to clear), and the entire audience was abuzz with his name after the presentation. For me, Van Der Horst wasn't just a stand-out from the Saint Martins show, but one my favourite collections of the entire A/W 2011 season. Kudos, Lulu Kennedy!

    The Fashion East line-up for S/S 2012 also includes fellow MA grads Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of Marques'Almeida, and the womenswear-turned-menswear-turned-womenswear-again stylings of James Long. After that graduation show that merged together pastel nylon frills and multi-hued Hawaiian shirting (think the bastard love-child of the Beach Boys and the Bolshoi ballet - or maybe 'Queen Mother meets Club Tropicana in Palm Beach', as I said on the night) Van Der Horst is the one I'm really excited to see. Watch out for that name - oh, wait, I've said that before…

  4. by Alexander Fury .

    Gone to the dogs

    Any primary school child can tell you that there's nothing more British than a bulldog - well, how about three of them? After shooting Manflu's singer Aza last month for the cover of the debut issue of The New British, Nick Knight and New British editor Kez Glozier returned to the studio today to capture her trio of canine co-stars. The cover itself will only be revealed when issue #1 of The New British hits newstands later this year.

  5. by Alexander Fury .

    Viva Models 'Untouched'

    It feels appropriate that, to celebrate Viva Model Management opening in London, the agency chose to turn the focus onto their enviable roster of talent. That was the idea behind the exhibition 'Untouched', which opened last night at the Rochelle School in East London. The exhibition showcases portraits of just about every girl on Viva's Books - from new, up-and-coming names to the likes of Natalia Vodianova and Raquel Zimmermann: faces we're more used to seeing splashed across billboards or gracing multiple magazine covers. The idea behind this exhibition, however, was something much more low-key - the images were all taken straight-up, with no artificial lighting, hair or make-up. The final black-and-white images are a fusion of reportage, portrait and fashion photography, the latter evident in the stance and assurance of the models themselves. After all, fashion is the one thing that ties together this otherwise diverse and disparate collection of beautiful women.

    Recent comments

    1. jodieparkhouse
      01:50 29 May 2011
      God I love Raquel.
    2. KaWai
      19:46 7 Jun 2011
      Skin textures, fine lines and blemishes make interesting photos.
    Comment
  6. by Alexander Fury .

    ANDAM Finalists Announced!

    Fashion is obsessed by youth - not only on the catwalk, but behind it as well. Witness London's NEWGEN scheme, giving a leg-up to, well, a new generation of fashion talent each season which in the past has included the likes of Christopher Kane, Erdem, Marios Schwab and latest grad Mary Katrantzou. Not to be outdone, the French fashion establishment have their own counterpart in ANDAM, equally dedicated to the development of new talent - a €200,000 prize being awarded to a single exceptional recipient, who is then offered a coveted slot on the Paris fashion week schedule. Previous recipients have included Gareth Pugh, Giles Deacon and Hakaan Yildirim. Today came the announcement of their six finalists for this year's hefty prize - and amongst the new, there are some rather more familiar names. Adam Kimmel, for one, is a menswear designer who has been creating acclaimed and highly-influential collections since 2002; the Paris-based Commuun label, by Kaito Hori and Iku Furudate, has been in business since 2005 (and bagged ANDAM back in 2007); and Jeremy Laing has been a NYC fashion week must-see for five years. On the flip side, Matthew Harding is a fresh Central Saint Martins graduate (class of 2010), Yiqing Yin graduated from the ENSAD decorative arts school in Paris in September 2009, and Anthony Vacarello's re-imagined Robert Palmer girls and wicked way with a metal staple (see image above) has only been pounding the Paris catwalks for a couple of years. Something old, something new - we'll have to wait until the end of June for the winner to be chosen, and until next season to see what said winner does with the cash and the flash of a Paris showcase for their talents. Slightly closer, in time and to home, this season's selection for London's NEWGEN scheme will be unveiled on 7 June at Somerset House. I was honoured to be included in the selection panel this season, but my lips are sealed as to the recipients until the official announcement in just over a week.

  7. by Alexander Fury .

    Crazy for Le Crazy!

    Ever since I first saw Miuccia Prada's all-out homage to Josephine Baker shimmy onto the catwalk over in Milan last September - all finger-waved hair, cocktail-frocks and speakeasy-style Jazz shoes in the colours of a twenties lithograph - I've been hankering after a good old-fashioned bit of Parisian showgirl razzmatazz. Last night, I got my fill - Le Crazy Horse have pitched up in London, bringing a particularly Parisian brand of érotisme to the stage of Notting Hill's Supperclub. But this was cabaret with a difference: rather than the tired, trite Moulin Rouge clichés of frilly knickers and hammy can-cannery, Le Crazy Horse gives an avant-garde spin to the traditions of this fine French art-form.

    True, the Crazy Horse girls are naked, but they are more often than not 'dressed' in projections that engulf the entire stage. At other times, they've been dressed in the more conventional sense by some of the finest couturiers in Paris - Emanuel Ungaro, Azzedine Alaïa and Jean Paul Gaultier, no less. The latter sent out Crazy Horse dancer Psykko Tico high-kicking in a tufted tulle frock to close his Parisenne Punk haute couture show back in January, while the hand of another Frenchman, Christian Louboutin, crafts six pairs of towering scarlet-soled stillies for every one of the show's dancers.

    Although the Louboutins got a full work-out, the Gaultier couture wasn't much in evidence last night. The most the dancers wore were smatterings of beads, or the re-tooled Queen's Guards ensembles that opened the show, but revealed more flesh than they concealed (the routine isn't called 'God Save Our Bare Skins' for nothing). If it sounds a little old-fashioned - the sort of thing a few sleazy City Boys may like to indulge in before seeking rather fruitier delights in the capital's seedier nightspots - think again. This was a polished, poised and utterly mesmerising show that unfolded to an enthralled standing-room-only audience including designers Todd Lynn and Philip Treacy, models Alice Dellal and Jacquetta Wheeler, and none less a British institution than Ronnie Wood. A welcome dose of high-octane high-camp Parisian frivolity in London town. Jean Paul Gaultier probably said it best: 'I'm Crazy about Le Crazy!'

    Le Crazy Horse Paris is at the London Supper Club from May 25 2011. For tickets see www.suppergoescrazy.com

    Comments

    1. someonegreat
      14:11 27 May 2011
      ah! Such a fan of Le Crazy! Nice to see a French institution making it over the channel!
    Comment
  8. by Alexander Fury .

    Reporting live from the world of Walter Van Beirendock...

    It is a very strange experience examining the archives of Walter Van Beirendonck - namely because you can see, in his fervent and fertile creativity, seeds of inspiration eagerly seized upon by many other designers (and we're not just talking high-street). But putting inter-designer borrowing - or, indeed, all-out plagiarism - to one side, the fashion industry has always been known for a somewhat magpie approach, filching inspiration from a myriad of sources and fusing the seemingly disparate into exciting new hybrids - thus the 'X meets Y' spiel that has become a cliché of contemporary fashion journalism.

    However, with Van Beirendonck, those X and Y components are, arguably, less disparate and more polar opposites. And that's all part of the thrill. Van Beirendonck's visions are entirely unlike anything else in the fashion lexicon, meaning ideas he originally concocted five, ten or even twenty years ago still seem fresh, exciting and even a little shocking.

    Over the past day and a half, we've seen latex fetish meeting Marvel superheroes, leathermen meeting cyborgs, cyberpunks meeting muscle-marys, and many a bear meeting, well, many a bear (in every meaning of the word). Throw in Maharajah jewellery, lashings of Lycra and a palette that doesn't know the meaning of the term monochrome, and you have a pretty good idea of the Walter world Nick Knight and Simon Foxton are seeking to capture, through both still and moving image, in this marathon two-day whirlwind trip around Van Beirendock past, present and - overwhelmingly - future.

  9. by Alexander Fury .

    Charge of the Van Beirendonck Brigade!

    Pop colour, exaggerated silhouettes and mind-boggling prints - they're all in ample supply as we shoot the first batch of outfits created by stylist Simon Foxton from Walter Van Beirendonck's archives. The plan is to capture over thirty looks across our two days of shooting, after which Nick Knight will painstakingly 'stitch' the shots together to create a monolithic frieze showcasing 'the world of Walter'. Multicoloured and multicultural, true, but the final images will veer away from cartoonish pop references into something slightly darker and more confrontational. In our pre-shoot meeting this morning, Knight commented that Walter's clothes 'always seem to be coming right at you' - and that's certainly the idea as our Technicolor army take to the studio floor in these first shots to establish the mood and motif of the images. Those final friezes will feature in both the MoMu catalogue accompanying the retrospective exhibition of Van Beirendonck's work set to open this September, and also the next issue of fashion tome GQ Style. And, as if that wasn't enough, a travelator is winging its way across London to help us capture these looks in dynamic motion! More of that very very soon...

    Comments

    1. CarrieScott
      19:38 23 May 2011
      Pure energy!
    Comment
  10. by Alexander Fury .

    Miu Miu Musings - The Pace of Fashion

    As many of you may have picked up from Object Fetish films that draw parallels between Louis XIV and Loewe (not to mention my personal predilection for distinctly Ancien Régime furs and furbelows rather than clean, mean Minimalism) I'm a bit of an eighteenth-century buff. So I was very pleased to be invited to a salon discussion - shades of Germaine de Staël right there - the third such event arranged by Miu Miu, and the first staged in london. Transforming the Miu Miu Bond Street store into a 'lounge library', a selection of fashion thinkers - including Suzy Menkes, the new fashion editor of The Telegraph Lisa Armstrong, Grazia's Paula Reed, blogger Susie Bubble, former SHOWstudio.com editor in chief Penny Martin and fashion filmmaker Ruth Hogben alongside my good self - sat down yesterday for an evening's discussion around the title 'The Pace of Fashion' with host Shala Monroque and moderator Imran Ahmed of the Business of Fashion. The speed of contemporary fashion is something that has been on everybody's minds: with not one but two whole new seasons, pre-Fall and Resort, suddenly registering on every designer's radar's as must-haves both creatively and commercially. With Resort set to kick off in three weeks with another global round of laid-back presentations (maybe not quite so 'laid back' when the likes of Chanel ship out hundreds of editors to the French Riviera to set the right tone for their Croisière show) the time felt ripe to take stock and perhaps questions where fashion is really going with such a need for speed.

    Later this month, the 'Miu Miu Musings' video chronicling this intimate discussion will launch on miumiu.com

  11. by Alexander Fury .

    LiveStudio - Walter Hugo: Construction Commences!

    Artist and photographer Walter Hugo is the next creative to take up residence in our LiveStudio, as part of the SHOWstudio Shop exhibition Practice to Deceive. In fact, he took up residence on Saturday to construct his gigantic camera obscura - with a little help from his friends. Blocking out every chink of light in our daylight studio, Hugo's hardwood room-within-a-room will be the stage for the latest step in his portrait series Reflecting The Bright Lights, Capturing a Moment in Silver Nitrate. On Thursday 12 May 2011, we will be live-streaming the painstaking process of Hugo capturing a selection of London luminaries on film (or rather, on glass plate). Tune in to watch this incredible window into photographic processes past...

  12. by Alexander Fury .

    Pressed for time

    Our last few weeks have been hectic to say the least, but we've finally had time to sit down, kick back and review the dozen or so A/W 2011 press days we've been whirling around.

    'Dozens' is the word that leaps to mind when thinking of Karla Otto - namely the dozens of designers this PR powerhouse represents. For me, Marco Zanini's Rochas was a highlight - of the season as well as this press day. There's a quiet insistence to the aesthetic path Zanini's been mining, subtly underlining and building on his designs season after season. It took me a while to get into his mind-set, but this season was a no brainer. I loved the elongated-toe slingbacks in lipstick-red crocodile, the cocooning coats, the bubbly brocade gowns and the lashings of astrakhan. Graeme Fidler and Michael Herz's Bally was also a stand-out, with neat leather-lined coats and some clever twists on that block-versus-stilleto heel debate (Fidler and Herz fused them together, FYI). I also loved Loewe. Then again, I've been a fan of Stuart Vevers' incredible accessories for over a decade. I may sound like a doddering fashionista grandpa, but I remember the days when Mr Vevers sprayed priceless (or at least, highly-priced) intrecciato leather with neon paint, created a sterling silver record-case so heavy no-one could lift it and cobbled a cool 15k of electric-blue crocodile into a briefcase Patrick Bateman would have killed for. That was during his career opener at Bottega Veneta, but his output at Loewe - multicoloured handbags bristling with leather pom-poms, a furball of fox as a vest and some tissue-fine nappa knotted into pussy-bow blouses - show that same tongue-in-cheek sense of chic.

    RelativeMO are another PR pit-stop rammed with designers - running the gamut from new names such as Phoebe English (barely out of Central Saint Martins that one) to established highlights like Giles Deacon. Oddly enough, this season there was an aesthetic connection between the two - I couldn't help but link English's hair and leather-pailette frocks with Giles' floor-length skirts and leather-wrapped corsets bristling with goat-fur. Apparently, Giles and team made an emergency call to Toni & Guy before the show for twenty-off pairs of GHDs to straighten all that goat by hand. That's twenty-first century haute couture, right there.

    Over in the east end, there was more fur frothing at A.I. PR - from menswear dab hand turned womenswear new blood J.W. Anderson. Anderson's been obsessed with girly boys, but over the past few seasons he's turned his hand to boyish girls too. This season was his most compelling and convincing argument yet - priestly collars in latex affixed to paisley-swirled silk shirts, mohair harnesses over crepe blouses and floor-length pleated kilts - all for both sexes, with studded and embellished hiking boots. Gorgeous.

  13. by Alexander Fury .

    Look Six: John Galliano

    The penultimate look from today's hazy shoot is inspired by John Galliano. This off white bias slip, crusted with crystal, was originally created for a Lilliputian-scale bride at Galliano's S/S 2006 collection, and is here modeled by our smoking stalwart Sara. Taking on the softer side of sexy the dress is coupled with a stunning headpiece made of clouds and wishes (or rather, feathers and fishing-twine) by milliner to the stars Stephen Jones. Marian has taken this dreamy effervescent mood and translated it into a peachy keen nail edged in feather light clouds of tulle, inspired by the lingerie-looks and elegiac visions of Galliano's much-acclaimed spring collection. Vintage Galliano at its very very best. Join us over on the live stream as the sun sets over London for the last looks of the day...

    Comments

    1. UD
      15:52 24 Apr 2011
      Allure
    Comment
  14. by Alexander Fury .

    Nailed - Live Shoot TODAY!

    Here are images of the models starring in today's Nailed shoot: Isabel Hickman and Sara Blomqvist (the latter on the Autumn/Winter catwalk of Marc Jacobs) We'll be streaming live from 10:00 BST today, but now's a chance for us to give you a speedy synopsis of the shoot's concept. It's deceptively simple - to decorate nails with manicure supremo Marian Newman's interpretations of the inspirations and decorative motifs from our favourite Spring/Summer 2011 womenswear collections - and the classic gesticulations and poses of smoking seem the perfect means by which to show off these cuticular creations to their best advantage, with Nick Knight capturing the results in a series of fashion films.

    Underscoring our chosen aesthetic themes, models will be dressed in key pieces from each designer's collection - Mary Katrantzou's lampshade skirt, Stephen Jones' fabulous feathered mane for Ungaro and a gem of vintage Galliano couture being my personal highlights.

    Of course, those fashion choices perhaps indicate that these nails will be no ordinary French-tip number. Marian Newman has employed every trick of haberdashery, upholstery and even carpentry, to render the ordinary nail into an extraordinary work of art on every fingertip. I just hope our fashion selection can live up to Marian's boundless creativity.

  15. by Alexander Fury .

    Victoria Beckham and Theyskens' Theory Press Days

    Press day season is well and truly upon us. As I didn't brave the trip to NYC this season, I was especially interested to see two offerings from over the pond: Vitoria Beckham's latest offering, and Olivier Theyskens' first catwalk collection for Theory. Both lived up to everything you'd expect from their respective designers: consistency, after all, is the name of the game when it comes to New York fashion, especially if you want to outlast the grand old dames of the Seventh Avenue scene (I'm looking at Oscar de la Renta and Ralph Lauren right now).

    Beckham has pitched herself high-end - haute couture high, actually, with echoes of Jacques Fath in her pinched-in pencil-skirted frocks with cowls of asymmetric drapery around the neck. This time, easy pleats were also reminiscent of Madame Gres, and a few expansive but still sensuous tent dresses had an air of Vionnet. If that was a retro moment, the accessories were bang up to date: that is, pure, stripped of all extraneous details, and innately luxurious.

    The same was true of the Olivier Theyskens collection for Theory - a refreshing change from his unabashedly feminine and occasionally indigestibly saccharine offerings for Nina Ricci and Rochas. This was back to Theyskens' gothic roots (he is a Belgian after all), with sweeping, floor-length Van Eyck silhouettes for coats and skirts, sleek tailored blazers and tonnes of black. A neat detail much remarked in the press was the 'V' Theyskens sliced out of the nape of his suits, allowing the jackets to slouch nonchalantly off his models shoulders. A styling tick? Nope - it gave these pieces an ease that will undoubtedly translate to big bucks at the tills. That doesn't sound terribly Theyskens, known as he is for grand entrances with six-figure price-tags to match, but as part of NYC fashion it makes perfect sense.

  16. by Alexander Fury .

    British Designer Collective at Bicester Village

    Ironically, considering the money lavished by the industry in frocking up on any occasion (one of the main reasons, I suspect, that the fashion show hasn't died out in the digital age) there's nothing the fashion world loves more than a bargain. The pull of vintage back in the nineties was the possibility of someone lavishing praise on you only to find out you were wearing vintage Poiret picked up in a casbah in Marrakesh for forty pence.

    Thus the almost universal appeal of Bicester Village, and the fact that the latest British Designer Collective opening boasted a heavyweight welter of fashion journalists from the legendary Colin McDowell, to LOVE's Victoria Young and Isaac Lock, to the bloggerati of Disney Roller Girl and Fashion Popcorn, and of course my good self. What's more, Thandie Newton made an appearance to cut the metaphorical ribbon and open the pop-up store's six-week run for the assembled fashion press and British Fashion Council head honchos (alongside Bicester Village itself, the BFC spearheaded the launch of this space for the second year running).

    Of course, this wasn't just a chance to nose around Bicester Village itself - the British Designer Collective gives young designers and leading London labels alike a new retail outlet, and a new customer base. Hence, Marios Schwab jostled with Richard Nicoll, and Jonathan Saunders with Holly Fulton - quite literally, actually, as the lady herself was present and correct in one of her own floor-length Deco print dresses.

    The shop itself resembled nothing less than one of London's more chi-chi and forward-thinking boutiques, although with all the merchandise marked down 30% or more. That included the wearable - Saunder's colour-block print t-shirts or Fulton's vivid shift dresses, for example; and the avant-garde - a few of Marios Schwab's crystal-encrusted numbers from A/W 2009 managed to cross the fine divide between high art and high fashion, and still remain highly desirable.

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