The Central Saint Martins MA Fashion show at London Fashion Week has sparked so many brilliant stories and fashion legends. Remember when Isabella Blow bought Lee McQueen's collection in its entirety, saving up to buy it piece by piece and taking him with her to the cash point each week? Or how about when Mrs B bought John Galliano's graduate collection Les Incroyables (above) to put in the window of Browns? Or when Galliano himself bought all of Kim Jones' collection to put in his archive? So naturally I'm really excited that SHOWstudio is now selling one-off items from the MA 14 class. Buy some fashion history here...
The team at SHOWstudio have been thrilled to be involved in the making of the new issue of 1 Granary. Our own Nick Knight shot an editorial for the magazine, which is made by the students of Central Saint Martins and focuses on detailing all the exciting work that goes on at the college and the adventures of alumni. You can see all the images here.
On a personal note - I was so pleased to be invited by the title's contributing editor Greg French to, alongside SHOWstudio's former fashion director (and my dear friend) Alex Fury, feature in the magazine. The article details Alex and my experiences of working at SHOWstudio, our outlook on working in fashion and our early influences. It was lots of fun to spend a few hours being silly with Alex and I hope our comments are both fun and informative.
Today in the studio we're shooting new product shots of Peter Saville and Julie Verhoeven's brilliant erotic wallpaper, Forget-Me-Not. The paper was commissioned as part of our SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition at Somerset House back in 2009. It is a personal favourite of mine and I have actually bought a couple of rolls to put up in my own apartment. Where to paste it?! That's the question.
It's apt that we're thinking about Julie today as the artist has a new exhibition opening later this week! Julie Og Jimmy Go Dogging is a collaborative project between Julie and Jimmy Merris. It was instigated by curator Lars Sture and promises to offer 'a simultaneously humorous and disturbing portrait of everyday life.' How exciting!
If you find yourself in Bergen, Norway at any point from 29 August and 26 October 2014 be sure to drop by. Details here!
Oh - and if you've got a few minutes it's well worth revisiting SHOWstudio graduate Penny Martin's brilliant interview with Julie, launched on the site way back when!
The odd-one out! This great green chair - an artwork by Charlotte Kingsnorth - is leaving the studio! Doesn't it make our old silver chairs look dull? The chair was brought in by Niamh White for our Ugly film screening, which featured a mini pop-up exhibition of all things grotesque and gruesome. Revisit our Ugly series here!
Lovely Daphne Guinness just swung by the studio, looking mesmerising as ever, to have a gossip about her new video, which just dropped exclusively on SHOWstudio, and celebrate the launch with a drink (tequila for her, champagne for the team). Congrats Daphne! Check out the David LaChapelle video here!
Oh look! It's our lovely video editor Raquel filming model Kenta in new pieces by C.E! You'll shortly be able to buy the collection from our Shop. Lucky you. Here's a fun interview I did with Sk8thing to get you in the mood.
I am thrilled to be in Finland for Pre Helsinki, a fashion event supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in collaboration with a range of Finnish creatives. Finland has a rich history of beautiful design work, from the iconic Marimekko 'unikko' print, recognised across the world for its joyful simplicity (and aptly celebrating its 50th birthday this year), to the output of younger, upcoming creatives like Satu Maaranen, who won last year's fashion design prize at the 2013 Hyères festival. While here, we've been privileged to get to see some of this work up-close. A highlight was visiting fashion designer Vuokko Nurmesniemi's house, which was built by her late husband, acclaimed designer Antti Nurmesniemi and is perhaps one of the most wonderful pieces of sixties residential architecture in existence. 83-year-old Nurmesniemi was kind enough to regale us with stories from her long career in fashion, discussing how she's influenced everyone from Raf Simons and Issey Miyake to a whole generation of young Finnish designers. Nurmensniemi's work, both at Marimekko and at her own label Vuokko, was truly revolutionary and ahead of its time and helped establish the reputation of Finland as a design centre in the fifties. Nurmensnimi pioneered dresses made out of one piece of fabric, large prints and clean, futuristic shapes and freed women from corsets and general design fuss. What an icon!
My schedule also included a visit to the Marimekko textile printing factory, which allowed me a peek at the brand's wonderfully-named 'Colour Kitchen' where they dream up their iconic hues. While watching the bold prints come to life, it was impossible not to reflect on how progressive and exciting the brand was when it debuted cheerful androgynous shapes and unconventional patterns in the fifties and sixties, designs that set new parameters of taste. It's great to see that the brand is now championing new design talent, as Maaranen herself was working in the factor as a freelance designer.
One of the main reasons I came to Helsinki was to partake in the Aalto Arts Fashion Seminar, which took place in the middle of our schedule at Aalto University and was titled 'For Fa$hion's S@ke'. I was honoured and thrilled to be co-chairing the discussion alongside the seminar's guest curator Dan Thawley from A Magazine Curated By. Our lineup of speakers was second to none - milliner (and SHOWstudio favourite) Stephen Jones, LCF's brilliant dean Frances Corner, designer Lutz Huelle, sound designer Michel Gaubert and his partner and collaborator Ryan Aguilar. There was one notable absentee, the wonderful and fearsome Professor Louise Wilson, who sadly passed away last weekend. Naturally, we dedicated the talk to her memory, and kept in mind all the insightful, witty and cutting remarks she would have made had she been able to join us as we discussed how fashion has got so fashionable. The 3 hour plus discussion saw us navigate topics such as the difference between 'consumption' and 'fashion', the way Instagram has revolutionised both shopping and design, the accessibility of 'high fashion' and the paradox of 'affordable luxury'. It was a truly brilliant discussion and I'm thrilled that footage of it will be available on SHOWstudio shortly! A highlight for me was spending a part of the talk sporting Stephen Jones' brilliant 'Interview' hat, which features a mini screen that can display a hat of your choice, whether a bowler, top hat or cap. Truly the best example of wearable tech I've come across - move over smart watches!
All of us at SHOWstudio are saddened to hear of the death of Louise Wilson. Officially, Louise was professor of fashion design at Central Saint Martins, but in reality she was so much more. She was a visionary, an educator who never took the easy route and taught her students just enough to get them through a degree, but instead sought to completely upturn the way they thought, reprogramming their creative brains. By doing that Louise changed the lives of most of her students. She pushed countless figures across fashion to create their best work and find their vision through a mixture of wit, aggression and, frankly, unbridled mania. I studied under Louise. It was a privilege. She was utterly fearless and totally uncompromising - my favourite kind of woman. There are nowhere near enough words to describe the great debt the fashion world owes her. This interview with Hywel Davies from 2011 is a fine reminder of her passion and brilliance. Rest in piece Louise - you achieved so much.
Today, Saturday 1 March, French retailer colette launched Harlot & Bones, Amanda Harlech and Dominic Jones' collaborative jewellery collection. The campaign image for the gorgeous collection was shot by our very own Nick Knight and features Harlech's daughter, Tallulah Harlech wearing the turquoise stoned perfume bottle necklace from the collection.
Inspired by Edwardian mourning jewellery and vintage heirlooms, the line is a true collaboration of Harlech and Jones’ unique aesthetics. Imagined and developed through a number of mutual interests, including the arts and the natural world, the range includes beetle-wing motif pendants, rings and earrings presented on traditional shields and lockets and poison rings similar to those that have been used throughout history to carry perfume and keepsakes. Excitingly, Harlot & Bones will be a permanent collaboration, with one collection released each year. This range will be available to buy from our SHOWstudio Shop from March - get saving!
The great Mary Katrantzou just came by for a meeting with Nick Knight and the team! Stay tuned for an amazing upcoming project! While you wait revisit Mary's most recent collaboration with SHOWstudio - we made a song out of the sounds of her working on her S/S 14 collection!
Today, 27 November, the brilliant Iain R Webb gave us a guided tour of his new exhibition at Paul Smith's Albemarle Street store. From 1982 to 1987 Iain was fashion editor of BLITZ magazine (founded in 1980 by Carey Labovitch and Simon Teller). The title, which was known for challenging the establishment and championing diversity, helped kick off the careers of a range of creative stars, including Pete Moss, David Hiscock, David LaChapelle, our own Nick Knight and Iain himself - aptly all of whom have work on show in the exhibition.
The exhibition is made up of a variety of elements including original photography styled by Iain, which helpfully gives a wonderful insight into how BLITZ magazine was put together, as well as collages fashioned using Iain's signature Xerox technique! Additionally, a key part of the exhibition is a set of Paul Smith denim jackets that have been customised by Iain in his usual idiosyncratic style using tulle and bright sequins that he has collected over the years. The jackets reference BLITZ's 1986 Designer Denim Jacket competition, which saw Iain ask 22 designers - including Smith himself, and Vivienne Westwood, Leigh Bowery and Bodymap - to re-imagine a Levi's denim jacket. Iain's new customised Paul Smith jackets feature denim patches made from swatches of Levi's fabric supplied for the 86 event! On a side note - if you're keen to see footage of the amazing BLITZ Designer Denim Jacket show head down to the V&A's Club to Catwalk exhibition. While you're there you'll also see some of Iain's old House of Beauty and Culture shoes that feature in one of the images above.
In a wonderful nod to eighties icons and a playful celebration of the passage of time, Iain has designed some new pieces for Smith that feature collage portraits of BLITZ cover girl Scarlett Cannon, who famously graced the magazine clad in an Hermes headscarf. Aptly, one of the pieces on offer by Iain and Smith is a head square that features Xerox images of this shot. Additionally, Scarlett has been rephotographed by Pete Moss specially for the exhibition wearing the new headscarf! You can also buy a one-off knitted balaclava inspired by one of Iain's favourite, and most acclaimed, fashion stories, No Nukes is Good News.
Today, Webb told us that it was essential that the exhibition, whilst being a celebration of the rebellious spirit of the eighties, didn't feel nostalgic. Indeed, a strength of the exhibition is how strongly the imagery stands up in its own right even today. This is - as the images on show prove - down to BLITZ magazine's core focus on putting across ideas and artistic messages rather than merely documenting trends.
So, be sure to take a trip down to Albemarle Street to see the wonderful exhibition in the flesh. It runs until 13 December 2013. Additionally you can buy Iain's As seen in BLITZ book - which features all the images on show in the exhibition from our Shop!
It's a sad day in the studio. After 4 fun-filled years our wonderful technical supervisor Neal Bryant is leaving us. I think I speak for everyone at SHOWstudio when I say that Neal has been a dream to work with - he is a force of calm and reason (a valid asset in a studio filled with creatives!). I don't know what we will do without his focus, optimism, creativity, trouble-shooting skills and audio guru tips. He will be sorely missed by the whole team and all our visiting panelists (many of whom are now heartbroken). What will we do without you? Goodbye Neal.
Yesterday, 31 October, the wonderful Amanda Harlech was in the studio to work on her Punk film with Marie Schuller. Appropriately, given that it was Halloween, Harlech was covered in fake blood! Stay tuned for her film...
Keen followers of our Collections live panel discussions will be aware that the eclectic chairs our panelists sat on during the talks were kindly lent to us by the studios of a range of acclaimed artists. Our visiting experts can be seen perched on seats belonging to Henry Krokatsis, Conrad Shawcross, Tobias Klein, Wolfgang Tillmans, Anj Smith, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Barry Reigate and our very own Nick Knight. While I can often be seen reclining on the white chair the late great Lucian Freud painted Leigh Bowery on! Particularly of note is Henry Krokatsis' quaint paint-splashed stool, which once belonged to the brilliant David Hockney - Krokatsis inherited it when he moved into Hockney's old studio!
Visit all our on-demand panel discussions to see if you can spot all the different chairs! Here's Distric MTV's William Oliver looking great on Krokatatsis and Hockney's stool during our Prada discussion, and here's Ponystep's Richard Mortimer rocking out in Tim and Sue's rocking chair during our Moschino chat!
Recently at SHOWstudio, we've been thinking a lot about the rise of 'slow fashion'. By that I mean, old-school luxury, things like bespoke tailoring and logo-less classic pieces - great coats, immaculate trousers, crisp white shirts. That's the appeal of Celine and Balenciaga, or even relative fashion newbies like Victoria Beckham. These designers seem like a real antidote to the bright prints and showy accessories - you could call it 'fast fashion' - on show on some other ready-to-wear runways.
That's why it made perfect sense that Selfridges - a retailer that's always one step ahead of the curve - opened Selfridges Bespoke, a new bespoke tailoring department in November 2012 to offer their clients timeless garments with a perfect fit. At the helm of the service is renowned Savile Row master tailor Henry Rose, who creates women's and men's suits from his workshop on the second floor of the store, right in the middle of the Womenswear Designer Galleries. Rose has an incredible tailoring pedigree. He opened his own workshop at the tender age of 19 - his mother had to sign the legal documents as he was so young - and went on to work with Peter Moore, Nutters, Haywards, the Helman Bros, Edward Sexton, Lew Fuirst, Bobby Valentine and Robbie Stanford. It was during his time working with Haywards that he began to get involved with dressing the celebrity circuit. He made suits for the likes of Kirk Douglas and John Mills - apt given that his introduction to Stella McCartney, who he worked with for 10 years between 2003 and 2013, came when she asked him to make the kilt jacket for Guy Ritchie and Madonna's wedding.
At the time of the 'Selfridges Bespoke' launch, SHOWstudio helped promote the initiative by exclusively launching Four Tell, a fashion film by Kathryn Ferguson that - alongside celebrating International Women's Day by featuring four inspirational women, including Zaha Hadid and Bella Freud - showed off Rose's expert cutting skills. We also pulled in their front-of-house expert Jack Tobin, who also works as a freelance fashion consultant, to speak on our signature live panel discussions where he dissected the cutting skills and commercial savvy of designers across New York, London, Milan and Paris. Hear him in action discussing Victoria Beckham, Prada, Saint Laurent and Mary Katrantzou.
Having spent hours considering the benefits of bespoke, and the importance of perfect fit when it comes to tailoring, I approached the process of getting my own suit fitted with trepidation. Choosing a suit felt as important as choosing a husband - it would be with me for life after all! Seduced by Raf Simons' first couture collection for Dior and - though I'm slightly shy to admit it - intrigued by the allure of Hedi Slimane's skinny tuxes at his Saint Laurent debut, I opted for a black evening suit, lined with inky green. The trousers were to be slim and slightly cropped and furnished with a braid up the side, while the jacket would be sleek and fitted. Finally, the waistcoat was to be simple and snug - what's the point of getting a bespoke suit if not a three-piece?
As always with bespoke, the wait for the suit was long and required several visits to Rose's Selfridges base. You develop a close relationship with your suit during this process. You watch it grow from a fantasy, real only in a series of measurements noted down by the tailor, to a series of chalked, half-constructed pieces, to a glorious final look. The process of fittings and re-fittings and final tweaks can be intimate. But, just as you're letting a tailor in on your deepest darkest secrets (your measurements and actual body shape), they're also letting you into their strange world, full of heritage and tradition. This is a world of 'snob's thumbs' and 'crushed beetles', a place of immense history and skill - real fashion secrets and tricks. I found that Rose's eye worked at a super-human pace, he saw inaccuracies and errors that no normal shopper, no matter how great their love of fashion, could have noticed. 'Swing your arms...drop your shoulders', he'd say, as I stood before him at fittings, looking not at the style in general but the minute details, the button holes, the cuff lengths and the waistband. Rose is not interested in trends, but perfection.
My finished suit is a true masterpiece. Already, pulling on a pair of jeans off-the-peg or a ready-to-wear shirt feels alien. Once you go bespoke you can never go back it seems!
For more information on Henry Rose and Selfridges Bespoke visit www.selfridges.co.uk/bespoke and www.henryrose.co.uk
Here at SHOWstudio we love celebrating strong, creative women. Our Selling Sex exhibition from 2012 took issue with the continued gender imbalance in the arts. Made up exclusively of female artists, who each looked at sex and nudity, the exhibition examined a woman's version of a woman and asked how it differs from a man’s. Is an image of a nude woman empowered in the hand of a female artist? Does it resist traditionally constructed gender roles? Does it mock a voyeuristic male gaze? Similarly, our Fashion Fetish film and essay series unpicked the contentious and provocative fusion of fashion with fetish and displayed work from female contributors including Ruth Hogben, Daphne Guinness, Liberty Ross, Aimee Mullins, Asia Argento and Dasha Zhukova.
So we were thrilled to see MATCHESFASHION.COM and Rika magazine explore similar, and important, themes with a new exhibition of beautiful portraits, which were unveiled at a party last night hosted by MATCHESFASHION.COM founder Ruth Chapman. The Iron Girl series features 28 portraits of strong, creative women including Josephine de la Baume, Dree Hemingway, Julianne Moore, Mimi Xu and Julija Step. All the portraits were shot by two other fearless fashion females, Helena Christensen and Jen Carey.
You can check out all the portraits over on MATCHESFASHION.COM now, or by snapping up issue 9 of Rika, which will be available in September. Additionally, to celebrate the launch of the project, MATCHESFASHION.COM has also released an exclusive Iron Girl sweater, which is now available onsite!