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...
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.
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!
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, 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!
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.
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!