I went to London College of Fashion last night to hear news of a shiny new collaboration with Kering aiming to explore sustainable fashion. Kering chief-executive Francois-Henri Pinault eloquently shared how the company is aiming for quantifiable sustainability targets by 2016, but what I really wanted to know is how does someone like Christopher Kane benefit from Kering's commitment to this issue? In the drinks reception round the corner later, Francois-Henri (pictured) told me that with all the artistic talents they work with, Kering's dedicated sustainability team help source the most environmentally respectful permutation of what a designer is looking for. He says that 20% of Gucci's handbag production is already executed without using metal in the production process, something he is rightfully proud of. One of the biggest messages of the night was the sharing of progress in this field, and how by 'authentic communication', the values of what's being passed on may benefit many. Even when discussing Kering's plans with LCF's audience and students earlier, it was refreshing to see someone of his fashion stature talk about how important the synergies are in this process. And however much Kering has to convey to students, they very much hope to equally embrace what the students can bring to the fore.
In keeping with our monthly tradition of giving a guest creative free reign over the SHOWstudio Tumblr, we're excited to announce that new media artist Claudia Maté will be staging a Tumblr takeover, starting this Saturday, 1 November!
The Spanish-born, London-based artist's portfolio features a myriad of online projects where she experiments with different programming languages and 3D software. Maté is best known for her work on Cloaque.org with Carlos Sáez, a seamless Tumblr-based collaborative collage, or ‘digital landfill’. Engaging with new ideas about our visual culture and the language of the internet, Maté’s other projects range from Sweet Finances!, an installation exploring the artistry of commodity markets, to her David Bowie GIFs, created in response to the V&A exhibition.
Be sure to follow her week-long curation, featuring a selection of animated photographs and drawings, from Saturday, 1 November. While you wait, head to Tumblr now to revisit past takeovers by the likes of stylists Simon Foxton and Anna Trevelyan and artist Peter de Potter.
Our Subjective series is back! This week Nick Knight sits down with supermodel Kristen McMenamy to discuss shooting Steven Meisel's famous Grunge and Glory editorial in 1992.
McMenamy recalls the quiet outdoor location ('I think we might've had to chase off a few farmers in the background') and explains why it marked a pivotal moment in her career; 'I was like, I can't be a woman so I'm going to fuck myself up. I cut my hair… like, I can't be a top model, I'm gonna be anti, and that's the first shoot where I was really glorified for being that way.'
She also describes the significance of the shoot within the fashion industry - 'For American Vogue and Grace Coddington to do that? It was big huge thing. You don't realise it at the time' - and speaks about her relationship with Meisel: 'I love him. He's made me feel the most beautiful… I worked with him in the eighties, I'm still working with him!'
Watch the exclusive interview now and stay tuned for more as Subjective continues!
Mild frustration that these fake fur mittens by Nasir Mazhar come up too short due to my nail extensions, although I could adopt the clenched fist stance shown by MACHINE-A's Rei Nadal (pictured) who pulls no punches when it comes to her own choice of threads. Still, they are a worthy candidate for the V&A's fashion archive, and that alone makes them a prize acquisition.
New images for MISBHV AW14. Really obsessed with the WARSAW section of the campaign.
Coinciding with Noritaka Tatehana's SHOWcabinet exhibition, Floating World, SHOWstudio's Niamh White spoke to Julia Hutt about the significance of Tatehana's work within the history of Japanese craft.
Hutt, who is curator of Japanese art at the Victoria & Albert Museum, discusses utilitarian objects as works of art, Edo period design, and the traditional use of black lacquer: 'its beauty and importance is such that it must survive, especially as it is so deeply rooted in the art and culture of Japan.'
Read the full interview now and stay tuned for an essay by V&A research assistant Lucia Savi as our Floating World project continues.
Today we're shooting with our contributing head of fashion film Marie Schuller. Commissioned by the London College of Fashion in response to Rem Koolhaas' Venice Architecture Biennale, the film has been a collaboration between Schuller and MoMu curator Kaat Debo. It features a 3D printed dress that has been created by Tobias Klein, Alexandra Verschueren and Joris Debo at Materialise. The film will be released on SHOWstudio on 6 November 2014 alongside three others as part of the upcoming 1914 Now project.
Iris van Herpen's designs are often poetic meditations on materials in a state of flux. From capturing the finest drops of a splash of water wrapping around the body, to interrogating the poisonous beauty of refinery smoke or mining the dynamic forces of repulsion and attraction between magnetic forces, her garments interrogate the behaviour of the elements, often following them through a transition between two absolutes. It is not surprising then that she was selected to collaborate with Dom Perignon to mark the end of their Vintage 2004, and the 'rebirth' of its Second Plenitude as P2- 2004.
Van Herpen responded to Dom Perignon's 'Metamorphosis' with a sculpture that was revealed last night at Hus Gallery in London. Concealed within a black lair, she presented the Cocoonase. Speaking of the piece, she said “The name Cocoonase references the butterfly which softens her cocoon shell before she goes into her next stage of metamorphosis. This piece of art houses Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004, symbolically nestled inside of the cocoon structure, and its fine ribs and lines represent a one-way passage out. Cocoonase acts as a shield that protects the Dom Pérignon bottle as it prepares for its metamorphosis.”
Appearing at first be a solid titanium shell or fossilised trilobite, the piece began gradually to undulate, as though breathing. It was was submerged in ferrofluid, a black liquid that can be manipulated when exposed to strong magnetic fields so that the sculpture's tendrils would spontaneously and randomly ripple. The effect was an uncanny Kafkan creature existing in a constant state of liminality, anticipating its eventual emergence.
If you have the chance, seek this sculpture out.
Following on from the success of last year's SPEZIAL exhibition in Hoxton - a showcase of adidas footwear from a host of different collectors including Noel Gallagher, Robert Brooks and Goldie, and curated by long time three stripe devotee Gary Aspden - last Thursday 23 October 2014 saw the opening of a second, bigger and better SPEZIAL exhibition as part of Design Manchester 14. The show accompanies the launch of adidas Originals X SPEZIAL, an archive inspired capsule collection of clothing and footwear curated by Aspden.
As well as including hundreds of shoes from avid collectors and celebrity fans alike, this year's showcase also included deadstock collected by Aspden and a team of sneaker fanatics from a fabled shop in Buenos Aires stacked high with vintage adidas. Their journey was documented in Soul Searching in South America, which premiered exclusively on SHOWstudio.
A must-see for all sportswear obsessives, the adidas SPEZIAL exhibition ends on Sunday 1 November 2014. We asked curator Gary Aspden a few questions about the motivations behind this fan-centric celebration of the adidas brand.
SC: You've likened this exhibition in Manchester to a 'homecoming' for adidas, could you expand a bit on your ideas about the relationship between adidas and the North?
GA: Whilst adidas is popular in most places there is a particularly deep love and affinity for the brand in the north of the UK. The 'brand with the three stripes' has been intrinsic and adopted by northern cultural movements for over four decades. adidas was popular with the Northern Soul fans of Wigan Casino, the Perry Boys of Manchester and the Scallies of Liverpool, as well as being hugely popular with Acid Ravers and nineties Indie kids. It was adopted by a number of great bands from this part of the world too - from New Order to Ian Brown, from Oasis to Echo & the Bunnymen, from The Verve to The Coral and The La's...
SC: How do these ideas sit alongside the collection you brought back from Buenos Aires?
GA: The concept of these exhibitions is that the content is for the fans by the fans. adidas support the idea financially (with all the proceeds going to charity) but we don't borrow anything from the company's archives. It is ultimately a showcase of people's passion for adidas. We always said that if we were to do the exhibition again we wanted it to have new content. The discovery of the shop full of deadstock adidas in Argentina gave us a great opportunity to document the lengths people (us!) will go to to find rare pieces of vintage sportswear. I feel this documentary (which was launched exclusively on SHOWstudio) gives context and has added gravitas to the physical exhibitions.
SC: In what ways has this exhibition built on the first one last year in Hoxton?
GA: We were invited by Malcolm Garrett to include the SPEZIAL exhibition onto the roster of the Design Manchester 14 festival that he curates. Malcolm loved the idea that the exhibition works on so many levels - it is an incredible showcase of product design but due to its cultural and sporting connotations its appeal is very broad. From what I have seen of the north of the UK (particularly Manchester and Liverpool) it has the highest concentration of adidas collectors on the planet. Whilst these people love trainers they would never describe themselves as 'sneaker heads', as it is an American term that represents something that bears little relation to their culture. The popularity of adidas in the UK is born out of a host of localised subcultures and that is something I personally have a lot of time for.
In Manchester we have invited a number of these local people to exhibit. Hoxton last year had just over 500 pairs - in Manchester we have over 800 pairs. We haven't used as many of my personal collection as we did previously because of the quality of contributions from the other collectors and ultimately there are limitations on space/shoe capacity/budget. We also have a new Kevin Cummins photographic exhibition which adds a new dimension to the event. We have produced a limited edition exhibition book and are once again giving proceeds from the exhibition to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Once the Manchester exhibition finishes on 2 November we begin preparation to take it over to Paris where it will open at No.42 on 13 November - again working with local collectors.
SC: What is it about adidas that provokes this avid need to keep collecting?
GA: As adidas's popularity expanded globally in the seventies and eighties much of what was produced was handled by licensees who manufactured adidas products locally. As a consequence there are a lot of random licensee manufactured products out there and despite the company having thousands of old catalogues there is no definitive history of the company on a product level. We found some vintage running shoes called ZX390 whose soles were completely disintegrated in the store in Buenos Aires. When we got back we asked adidas Germany to resole them and it turned out that they didn't know which midsole to use as they had no record of this style in any of the old catalogues in the adidas archive for reference. The brand's history really is like a bottomless pit. Aside from all that I cannot think of another clothing/footwear brand that has the same number of bona fide design classics in its back catalogue which is another reason I love it.
SC: And of all the pieces in this year's exhibition, any highlights?
GA: Too many. There are some incredibly well preserved vintage shoes in there. There are also a one off pair of hand painted Stan Smiths from the Chapman Brothers which they donated to an exhibition called Platform Six. These were auctioned off to raise money for Stonewall and me and my friend Mikey managed to buy them.
This SPEZIAL exhibition also ties in with the launch of the first season of the adidas Originals x SPEZIAL range that I have designed. To showcase the range there will also be a photographic exhibition. Kevin Cummins has shot a group of musicians, actors and sports people wearing the clothing range and these photos are presented in the space alongside the cases of vintage footwear.
During a Giles Deacon spectacular at Kensington Palace the night of Wednesday, 22 October, Lindsey Wixson walked the show in a breathtaking GILES silk and Lurex Jacquard gown with woven leather corset and Swarovski embroidery, topped off with Stephen Jones' showstopping Pac-Man headpiece from his Spring/Summer 2009 collection. Having just landed from New York, the famed milliner was spotted backstage delicately placing it on Wixson himself, before leaving for another flight to Tokyo. Part of a series of 'Georgian Fashion Remix' happenings, illustrating the subtle ways that historic references are woven into contemporary collections, Liz Collins' video shows the moment Pac-Man arrives at the Orangery within Kensington Palace's historic grounds.
Edited footage of Alex Bilmes' In Fashion interview is now available to watch! The Esquire editor sat down with SHOWstudio's own Lou Stoppard to discuss men's style, women's magazines and why editors are all 'frustrated show-offs.' Bilmes also defends his past controversial comments on women as 'ornamental', as well as the magazine's attitude to women in general. 'We interview a lot of famous women and I feel Esquire takes them more seriously than anyone else does.'
Watch the condensed interview now and don't forget to explore the rest of the In Fashion series, including our chat with Bilmes' former boss, GQ's Dylan Jones.
This week's Subjective interview is here! Nick Knight continues his investigation into contemporary fashion imagery from the perspective of the model. His latest subject is Naomi Campbell who discusses shooting with Peter Lindbergh when she was just seventeen.
Campbell sets the scene, describing the boardwalk 'pissing down with rain' and explains that her inspiration came from Josephine Baker: 'She came across as very manic, we were trying to get that feel.' The supermodel goes on to praise Lindbergh and Knight, saying 'There are four gents in this business: you, Peter, Paolo and Patrick!'
Campbell also discusses her close relationship with Azzedine Alaïa, having lived with him and worked as his fit model with when she first moved to Paris: 'I didn't know my dad… He's a father figure to me to this very day.'
Watch the exclusive interview now and stay tuned for more as Subjective continues!
Sadie Frost's fashion credentials just skyrocketed. She appears in a behind-the-scenes film for The Vauxhalls, a short film accompanying the launch of the new Vauxhall Adam Rocks Air, produced by Frost's production company, directed by British hairdresser James Brown and starring model Abbey Clancy. . As she starts talking about her ska and punk days, out of nowhere these images come up on screen. Turns out James Brown lived with Corinne Day for years, and his fastidious attention to detail that he picked up watching her on shoots helped him breeze through his first filmmaking endeavour.
Our love affair with London fashion designer and rising star Nasir Mazhar continues as we launch new apparel from his womenswear line at SHOWstudio Shop. You can now get your hands on a black lycra long-sleeve crop top and sparkly pink mini skirt from Mazhar's Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.
© Anj Smith, Apparatus, 2012, Oil on linen, 42.8 x 38.6 cm/ 16 7/8 x 15 1/4 inches
Collection: Amrita Jhaveri. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
SHOWstudio is delighted to announce that our upcoming exhibition is with painter Anj Smith. Opening 21 November 2014, the painter will create a 'wunderkammer' spilling with the vestiges, mementos, relics and artefacts that combine to inform her meticulously executed worlds.
Anj Smith's paintings do not succumb to easy categorisation. A single golden hair painted minutely, is as likely to appear as a rock face hacked from crude impasto slabs. While the composite elements in her works are not inherently magical or fantastical in themselves, when piled together in sheer layers of paint, they acquire a mystic quality as though extracted from hallucination, intoxication or psychosis.
Smith's painting Apparatus (2012) marks the centrepiece of the exhibition. Ethereal, androgynous and with rouged lips, her sitter's pallid complexion and soft features are crowded with facial hair, dark eye circles and blue veins. Smith's muse is exquisitely attired and has seemingly constructed an armoured veneer from found debris. Embroidered drapery is ornamented with obscure embellishments that have possibly been sourced from the surrounding wilds. Wriggling beetles and insects have been clumsily stitched into place alongside grasses, a jewelled Chanel brooch and a bonzaied corpse flower. Clawing bats nest in the hair amongst feathers, fauna and shells that are lodged precariously into place.
Smith's cabinet features a wide array of objects that have served as a reference point for her work. Richard Dadd's handwritten manuscript The Elimination of a Painter and its Subject-called the Fairy Feller's Master Stroke details the schizophrenic 'spirit' inspiration he received whilst recovering in Bedlam. Plant-inspired relics from Mediterranean temples jostle with antique pearls. 17th century Mughal masterpieces are juxtaposed with a capsule library and glittering figeater beetles fossilised in 70's neon perspex. Detritus, Smith's 2009 Liberty print, also features, alongside Philip Treacy's intricately hand carved Chinese Garden headdress and Yoshiki Hishinuma's waxed plastic wind coat. Amongst objects lent directly from Smith's studio are grains of Stromboli's black volcanic sand, a skull found on the Isle of Mull and a treasured painting of a monkey.
Smith will also release a limited edition etching to coincide with the opening of the show. The exhibition opens 21 November 2014 and runs through until 27 February 2015. Don't miss it!
We are deeply saddened by the news of fashion designer and icon Oscar de la Renta's passing this morning, aged 82. Our condolences and sympathies go to his family, friends and colleagues. The world has lost an incredible artist. Rest in Peace Oscar.