My morning was made all the more lovely by our wonderful collections artist Velwyn (who illustrated so brilliantly the London Collections this season) and who dropped off these delicious chocolates and a beautiful collage.
Thank you so much Velwyn.
I accept Kat Davey's ALS ice bucket challenge and nominate my beautiful children Emily, Ella and Calum Knight. Please donate at http://mndassociation.org/
More in the series of 'lovely things I get sent'. I was incredibly surprised and very flattered to get these personalised Stan Smiths Beats monogrammed slippers. Thank you Adidas.
A couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of interviewing Steve Strange, a joy and a revelation in itself, but after the interview Steve introduced me to his friend, the artist Mark Wardel. Mark had a cast of David Bowie's face from the seventies from which he had created this beautiful and extremely lifelike mask of the Aladdin Sane Bowie image. To my delight and total surprise a week later, a box appeared on my desk that contained the 'Pin-Ups' version. Life is wonderful at times. Thank you Mark.
I often get really lovely things sent to me at SHOWstudio.
Today's lovely object was Steven Meisel's Miu Miu campaign catalogue.
I will post the wonderful things I get sent on the blog to share them with you.
Our Lou prays that we can have a SHOWstudio office pet
Terry Jones, a diamond geezer!
Back in the late 1970s and in direct response to Punk, Terry Jones, then the art director of British Vogue realised that the most exciting fashion was actually happening on the streets of London and not on the catwalk, bravely he resigned and started a magazine called i-D.
Terry invested his time, his passion and his money into creating a magazine that reflected simply and clearly fashion at its most pure, the fashion of the street. In the late 1970s and early 1980s London streets were vibrant and bursting with fashions way more extreme, inspiring and audacious than anything in the mainstream of fashion. They were the catwalk of the world.
Terry Jones saw this and through i-D allowed the rest of the world to see it too. A gesture so clever, insightful and altruistic which in many ways reflects Terry's whole attitude to life. His clear love and devotion to and of his wife Trish is also the love he expressed for all of us, making us all feel part of their family and is in part the reason they are loved back by so many people.
In i-D they created a platform for a totally new generation of fashion image makers, designers, stylists, journalists and models, who they encouraged and championed. In so doing creating the one of the most important magazines ever.
NB: Yesterday, The British Fashion Council gave Terry and Tricia Jones the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 2013 British Fashion Awards
My good friend Matthew Williams sent me a link to Jon Rafman's work.
Just wanted to share it with you as I feel its an exciting example of a new aesthetic.
After returning from my holidays, I found a suprise gift from the lovely Ruth Hogben waiting for me. Unwrapped was the most beautiful teapot, which will be sure to make an appearance in our up and coming Live panel Discussions. Thank you Ruth!
I have asked the wonderful Ruth Hogben to work on the films for the Met show Punk, Chaos to Couture. At 1.30 in the morning Ruth sent me this, the many different layers on her Final Cut Pro time line, which shows the complexity of some of the films she is putting together.
Impressive, beautiful and exciting.
3D scanning has been a central theme of SHOWstudio's content and vision.
I have been creating sculpture from 3D scans for at least the last decade and working with an amazing man, Kev Stenning, from Rapido 3D who can push the parameters of this new medium further than one could imagine.
I have scanned, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Lady Gaga, Liberty Ross, and Daphne Guinness to name just a few.
Our second project to ever launch on the fledgling SHOWstudio was called Sweet and was 3D scans of Jane Hows recreation of her favourite pieces from the collections recreated completely from sweet wrappers.
I fell in love with this new way of creating imagery, that combined scanning and photography, but looked like nothing I had ever seen before.
The 3D scan showed the model as a surface as if they were egg shells delicate and precise.
What I loved most was that the scanner could not tell if a reflection was a solid object and wether that object was coming towards it or receding away from it.
Confusing the computer became a game and I indulge in as often as I can, and confusing this one made it create forms that followed a logic unknown to anything I had seen.
The result is beautiful.
Models that fragment and tear, twist like the metal of a tin can and inhabit space in an entirely new way.
The next project on the new SHOWstudio was JWalk, a project investigating Motion capture.
Mo Cap as it is referred to, involves putting a person in a special suit where every articulating part of the body is attributed a small reflective disk and the information from those disks is captured and used to create lifelike human movement. Often used to represent lifelike fighting in video games.
However, I put J Alexander in a motion capture suit and captured his "Naomi Campbell walk".
J Alexander , for those who don't know, is the go-to man to teach the latest 'just discovered working behind the tills in a supermarket' and now Stephen Meisel's latest Vogue Italia favorite, girl to glide and not stomp down the Paris runways.
He is also the wonderful cross dressing presenter in Americas Next Top model.
And at the time it was my desire to combine both the 3D scans from Sweet and the motion capture of JWalk to create a virtual model.
SHOWstudio is the laboratory for new ideas, however some ideas take longer than others to come into reality and not just stay in my mind.
13 years later and many, many 3D scanning projects later, I have at last managed to create my first virtual model.
She is, in fact, the wonderful Ming Xi, one of the most brilliant models I have worked with, and the campaign is for the Chinese Store Lane Crawford.
At the end of January SHOWstudio is moving from Mayfair to Belgravia. Here is the new space. We just need to build a beautiful cove and paint everything white. Very exciting.
John O was a lovely man.
John O was a lovely man and my black and white printer in the 1980s.
There were two brilliant printers then, John O Driscol and Brian Dowling. John O printed black and white and Brian colour.
I worked with John O on all the early Yohji Yamamoto campaigns and then on Martine Sitbon and then Jil Sander and on all my portraits.
John O could print in ways that no other printer could or had ever attempted. Using hand cut masks he managed to create prints that looked so beautiful and complex you would think they could only have been possible in Photoshop, 10 years before Photoshop was invented!
He had the patience of a saint and an unflinching determination that would mean all night printing sessions were a regular occurrence.
There is something magical about an old fashioned darkroom, everything bathed in the red light, the trays of chemicals and just watching the image appear from nowhere on the wet paper. Magical and in John O's lab totally wondrous even awe inspiring.
To allow us to view and discuss the images he would rest the wet prints on an angled viewing board where they glistened and sparkled as the water ran off them.
The deepest of blacks, jutted right up against delicate smooth dove greys. Wood smoke and jet.
Depth of tone that made your head spin.
He created prints that felt like that could knock you clean over, they had such powerful visual impact.
It is a sign of any great artist and craftsman, that his or her work physically reminds you of that person, and John O's prints certainly did.
Physically John O was big man, bearded with curly light brown hair and a big strong frame.
He was easy to smile and his eyes twinkled with mischief and delight. In all those years I can never remember him being sad or cross.
I can remember his singing and I remember his laugh.
He had a huge O. Winston Link print hanging in his darkroom, which he loved. It's the picture of the train at night, caught and rendered motionless by O Winston Links 100s of carefully positioned flash bulbs. Maybe it was the huge amount of effort and care this photographer had put into his work that touched John O, as it was exactly the effort and care he would put into creating one of his stunning prints.
John O always wanted to work for the best photographers and in the 1990s he moved to New York and printed for one of the greatest photographers of all time, Irving Penn. I know he would have made his new client really happy.
John O was a lovely man.
John Driscol passed away last week from lung cancer.
One of the questions I get asked the most is why did I start SHOWstudio, and I will always enthusiastically answer by talking about Fashion Film, new technology, showing the process and so on. However perhaps the most important reason was to be able to provide a place where I could collect around me all that I loved; the new and the different. Emerging and undiscovered talents that could have a place to grow and to blossom free from the distorting pressures of commerce.
Back in 2008 the then editor of SHOWstudio, the wonderful Penny Martin, introduced me to her new assistant, a peculiarly handsome young man who was still at the time working for the most refined of banking establishments, Coutts (as a way to fund his fashion education) and with a name that from the offset has a ring of grandeur to it; Alexander Fury.
True to the 'being thrown in at the deep end' nature of SHOWstudio one of the young Alex's first projects was a 3 day long live broadcast from Abbey Road studios, called Fashion Djs. Alex was to be introducing and talking about the acts, wether it was Stella Mc Cartney chatting by phone to Miss Piggy, Naomi Campbells top 10 or Gareth Pughs Day-Glo line dance. No rehearsal time, no script, just living off your wits. As soon as his first words flowed out across the fm airwaves, he shone. At the end of the 3 days and nights Penny took me to one side and whispered to me " he is a little star, you know."
Since that event Alex has gone on to be perhaps one of the most inspirational people I have the pleasure to work with. Our days usually start with Alex casually dropping into conversation, over a fondant fancy he favours for breakfast, some little jem of information, so obscure but so marvellous that it explodes in my mind producing a million new beginnings of ideas, anything from Baudrillard to Babe Paley. To say Alex has an encyclopaedic knowledge of fashion is really not to paint you the full picture. He can pull references for the the social etiquette of the " toilette of Marie Antionette", relate in one sentence Alexander Mcqueens shoes, the prow heads of Renaissance warships and domestic violence and tell stories of The Marchesa De Casati "who wore live snakes as jewellery and who was infamous for her evening strolls, naked beneath her furs and parading her chetahs on diamond studded leashes' as easily as most people can tell you about the weather. We often say people are inspiring but in the case of this particular young man, he is utterly in a league of his own.
A large part of Alex's job at SHOWstudio was to cover the collections. I remember really early on somewhat alarmed reports that the journalist from SHOWstudio was so overcome with excitement at one particular show he was actually applauding whilst standing on his chair. The news just made me think that that is exactly the sort of level of excitement fashion should provoke in people, so good for him I concluded and good for the designer in question too. With the show coverage I always wanted SHOWstudio to offer real critism of the fashion shows and precisely not the highly edited versions of sycophancy that are all to often seen in increasingly desperate attempts to keep fickle advertising brands loyalty.
There are of course a few times where Alex's directive from me to honestly speak his mind, has allowed his passion to get the better of his judgement and designers that were told they would "be better off dead so that they could at least have a grave to spin in" so bad has the show been, have all been calmed with me sending flowers and offering the somewhat harsh but neverthelees true explanation that at least when Alex offers a good review its the truth from his heart.
Both he and I believe firmly that fashion, like any art form, benefits from real criticism and designers like any artists want to really know how there work is percieved, there is nothing more frustrating and harmful than a lack of real debate, so I have always encouraged Alex to not pull any of his punches.
It can be no secret I am heartbroken to lose him but I will have to find a different and less selfish asseement of the situation. If SHOWstudio can provide the environment to develop and nuture talents such as Mr Alexander Fury, then every effort that I have poured into it is more than fully justified. I will never think of trying to replace him, that would not be possible, but instead, to allow the wave of brilliance he has created at SHOWstudio to attract more of the sort of people I love to have near me.
I am so enormously proud of him being given such an amazing opportuniy as he has been to work with Katie at Love Magazine and no one in their right mind would even dream of holding him back from that. Alex and I have projects that we will still work on but for now at least he is off to inspire and excite others. And to anybody else who has the chance to work with him, I would honestly advise them to realise how lucky they are and savour every moment,and relish every pearl of wisdom Alex will give.
There are in my own private sky a few really bright stars, Lee, John, Ruth, Gareth, all people who have lit up my imagination, Alex has been and will be shinning there too. Penny you could not have been more correct in your assessment of this young man.
I will miss you Alex.