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!
Today, to coincide with our Prosthetics season, we've been shooting and 3D scanning Annelie Gross's Defects collections of objects. Alongside capturing stills of the pieces, we've also been complimenting their focus on distortion by using the Xbox Kinect to scan them, creating awkward, interrupted interactives. Check back in the coming weeks for the launch of this exciting project...
Today's Prosthetics shoot continues! Dancer Karene B's body is being distorted both by Annelie Gross's sculptural artifacts and our raw 3D scan footage. Here she is modelling the Kyphosis back brace and the Scapula arm sling.
We're in the process of 3D scanning Annelie Gross' Scoliosis piece, which distorts the body from the waist. We're trying out some new technologies today - here's a screen grab of us 3D scanning our model in the studio using the Xbox Kinect...
Today, we're working with the hugely talented Annelie Gross to produce a new project to launch alongside our upcoming Prosthetics SHOWcabinet. We're working with Gross' Defects collection of objects, which she produced for her final project at LCF. The artefacts were inspired by her background growing up in a family of orthopedic technicians and prostheses constructors and play with fashion's fascination with distorting the body.
Her pieces are being modelled by the gorgeous Karene B who will be using her dancing skills to show off the objects' full effect on the body.
Jon Emmony is recording the looks on the body by using the Xbox Kinect as a 3D scanner. This captures a live mesh of the model and pieces that will then be exported. Stay tuned for more details and images soon!
Last night the wonderful Oriole Cullen popped into SHOWstudio to take part in our Lanvin live panel discussion. A real bank of fashion history, she noted that Alber Elbaz's incredible beetle print could have been a modern interpretation of a traditional technique that saw beetle shells embroidered onto opulent evening wear. Look at this incredible image she's just sent through!
Inspired by her work with Reptile Youth, Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie selected rising artistic talent - and SHOWstudio discovery - Rei Nadal to direct the video for the band's latest release. Inspired by the pointed lyrics of 2013, the full nine minute video unpicks themes of dissent, anger and unrest using the signature dark yet romantic visuals that Nadal promoted on her Tumblr. As we launch an exclusive 9 minute version of the work, Bobby Gillespie tells us the ideas and inspirations behind the dynamic new video...
'I discovered Rei after my wife Katy England came back from a meeting with Nick Knight who showed her some Tumblr blogs he was grooving on. Rei was the main one Nick was enthusing about. There was a film she made for a band called Reptile Youth that I thought was great in terms of the images she had chosen and the way they were edited. Seeing this film gave me the idea that we maybe shared a similar aesthetic. I got in touch with Rei and we met up and had a good talk and I played her some music and we started sending each other our favourite Tumblrs/blogs and we took it from there.' Read the full interview here.
Here at SHOWstudio we love it when people push the boundaries of how fashion is presented, so we are thrilled that Fred has decided to present her Autumn/Winter collection - tongue-twistingly titled 'Wham Bam, Tangram Famalam' with a public pop-up space in London’s Seven Dials that combines installation, fashion film, space design and consumer retail - the aim being to 'redefine the role of seasonality and exclusivity within contemporary fashion today'.
The collection is inspired by the strong geometric shapes of the ancient Chinese Tangram puzzles, as well as Fred's love of the Spectro-Magnificent Rainbow Palette. Alongside signature bespoke showpieces, you can get your hands on bold printed iPad, laptop and iPhone cases, silk scarves, clutch bags, totes, tees, greetings cards and stickers alongside British manufactured necklaces, earrings, key-rings and bracelets. Fred's also introduced precious metals for first time this season, so be sure to check out her small range of luxury Jewellery.
To visit Fred's pop-up for yourself head over to 53 Monmouth Steet, WC2, in Covent Garden's Seven Dials!