Saturday, September 28, 2013

3D PRINTABLE LEATHER: 
THE FUTURE OF FASHION

The Chouara Tannery in Fez, Morocco (source: flickr)


As a proud carnivore who lives in blissful and intentional ignorance about the origins of leather and the welfare of the billions of farmed animals that are eventually slaughtered for handbags, shoes and meat, the use of man-made fabrics was, in my mind, a cheap and nasty way for designers to cut costs and opt for a non-breathable, fragile substitute to real leathers. Animal leathers have always symbolised quality and durability over synthetic materials despite the waste, animal rights violations and abuse that is perpetuated with the demand for leather and meat. After watching a TED talk introducing the novel idea of printable meat and leathers using the same technology to print human organs, it seems like this revolutionary idea will be the tipping point towards future of fashion.

The creation of bio-fabricated leather by tissue engineering advocate Andras Forgacs – animal-free leather that is made from cells of animals without any slaughter – is an environmentally responsible move towards sustainable materials without the flesh waste. Imagine how the fashion industry alone could be changed if real animal leather could be printed by the roll instead of being sourced from farmed cows, sheep, ostriches and crocodiles, and this insect-bite, disease free, consistently-formed product could be the result of science labs, not abattoirs. As an industry historically known for a disdainful attitude towards animal rights and the environment, the move towards government-subsidised 3D printable leathers could signify a win-win situation for animal activists and designers alike. Creating animal-free leather products that are affordable and attractive to the ordinary consumer may be, one day, the civilised choice in a resource scarce economy.  

Watch the TED talk by Andras Forgacs here:

Friday, March 22, 2013

THE DIOR REVIVAL

Dior Couture Fall 2010

Gone are the days of Rene Gruau’s iconic illustrations painted, scribbled and dramatised into remarkable couture and fantastical gardens in Alice in Wonderland grandeur translated into enormous theatrical clouds of fabric petals blossoming under the glass dome of Le Grand Palais. Every show had been a small glimpse into the expansive fantastical imagination of John Galliano, where models were temporarily transformed into creatures in a surreal dream, sashaying in flowing, billowing handmade creations.

Dior Couture Fall 2010

With Raf Simons as the new Creative Director at the House of Christian Dior a new refined subtly has so evidently replaced the theatrical extravagance that was unparalleled by other couturiers during Galliano’s reign. Now, the shapes have become relaxed, delicate and slender to focus on form and detail: the collections are less creatively overwhelming and instead cleaner and revitalised.  The Dior vision is no longer explicitly stated; the outlook is now simple, quiet and calm.

Dior Couture Spring 2012

Unlike Galliano who allowed us to escape reality through dreams in wild and wonderful costumes, Simons’ dreams are based in real life. Each look may be simplified, but they are certainly more wearable – and sellable - off the runway. The embroidery is as intricate however understated, and while the colours shine as bright as before there is more of a feeling of practicality and relativity in each piece.

Dior Couture Spring 2012

Can Simons ever replicate the creative genius of Galliano? Only time will tell. This new world of possibilities is just opening.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

IN THE MOOD TO...

take a leisurely stroll into a quiet arcadia


When the week-long 40 degree heat waves hit I give myself no choice but to dress like a peacock in full blown colour, hide away from body-heat emitting crowds and seek refuge in the quiet and calm of an art gallery and museum somewhere. There aren't that many choices  in terms of culturally mind-enhancing, epiphany-inducing galleries so I took a leisurely stroll around the WA art gallery and museum on the edge of Northbridge to see the exotic butterflies and paintings. Taking ridiculous numbers of photos is not my forte but here are the handful that I remembered:








Tuesday, January 8, 2013

STYLE: WHAT IS THIS FUNNY WORD?

A quick sketch by me


I was on the Sartorialist the this morning looking at this photo and skimming through all the comments (both incredibly defensive and mercilessly vicious) and a simple but curious thought was triggered through my mind: what exactly is style?

We throw around the word 'stylish' (and I put this in inverted commas because the word is so transient you can't really categorise it) so easily to a point that it is an overused all-encompassing everyday adjective to describe anyone who looks like they've walked out of a designer store head-to-toe in a super expensive, super chic outfit; in other words, someone who dresses in a branded garment and believes that designers at the top dictate what style is and how clothes can be worn is 'stylish'. This to me is a very narrow-minded view of what I think is 'stylish'. Wearing designer goes not guarantee that you will be stylish. Think of all those top designers that create low quality product lines that are splattered with a humongous label across the chest or monogrammed all over, shouting the label but nothing else? Designer in its pure sense has nothing to do with a label; it is about innovation, quality and design, not about promoting the image of luxury on a plain cheaply made screen-printed promotional t-shirt.  

What is often overlooked is that style has nothing at all to do with fashion, it is simply an expression of the way a person puts on clothes in the morning in a way that they like. The clothes themselves become irrelevant; the expression alone gives the outfit 'style'. It is something completely innate. Style is something that stands out from the crowd, a way someone puts an outfit together regardless of what is trendy, or popular, or socially acceptable. It is the confidence to put taste and courage into clothes. 

What do you think? Would you agree? Disagree?

Friday, January 4, 2013

THE YEAR IN PICTURES

Another year passes just as another wrinkle indents my face. 


I thought it would be nice to glance at the past just as the new year as come into bloom. 2012 began with being accepted to study Politics and Law in Paris and having the great opportunity to live in the most beautiful city in the world for a semester. During my breaks in between classes (and consequently during the Paris Fashion Weeks) I would scamper off from Saint Germain de Pres to take photos outside whichever show was on, photographing my favourite designers, editors and photographers. By chance  I met Tommy Ton (whose blog I have been following for years) outside the Jean Paul Gaultier Headquarters during Couture Week and was photographed by him for style.com. After Couture week I was invited to the beautiful Talbot Runhof show in March during the Ready to Wear Paris Fashion Week to attend my first Paris show and met the designers backstage.  It was at this point I was so lucky to have also met so many incredible bloggers and photographers, and soon realised their enormous influence in the fashion industry. Coming from one of the most isolated cities in the world, this was my Mecca in pure, wonderful, Disney-dreams-coming-true bliss. 

Going back home always brings a wave of nostalgia for greener pastures, so one way to keep my toe dipped in the fashion pond was to create this blog late 2012. It is still a fairly new experiment and (proving to be a very addictive) hobby. Now I have big plans for 2013 - after 2012, it's only going to keep getting better and better, right? The adventure continues! 


Me photographed by Tommy Ton for style.com outside the Jean Paul Gaultier show during Couture Week. 
Me taking pictures of Tommy Ton and his assistant taking pictures!
Being photographed by the blogger, All The Pretty Birds, outside the
Grand Palais for the Chanel Couture show
My invitation resting on my lap at the Talbot Ruhnof Ready to Wear show during Paris Fashion Week
Beautiful Vogue cover postcards given by a friend for Christmas
One of my favourite shows this year: Meadham Kirchhoff SS13
Source: Dazed & Confused
A photo of one of my lucky finds in a small city store. This is one of the coolest sheets of
Christmas wrapping paper I have ever bought.
A photo of my shoes for my first blog post that I took after painstakingly rearranging
them in a balancing act. Unfortunately the first post was deleted, but the photograph remains!

Monday, December 24, 2012

LET'S RUN AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS

Around Christmas is the time where I begin to really appreciate handmade items where you can see and feel the effort put into every single stitch and fold. So a couple of nights ago, by chance, I was lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive opening of the Alexandra Lyon Jewellery (click for a link to the facebook page) Summer collection by emerging jewellery designer, Alexandra Lyon, where I was in awe of all the incredible jewellery pieces on display. The label is still very new though it has enormous potential. The inspiration was the circus, which you can see in the femininity and delicateness yet boldness of form and texture and colour that dominates the whole collection. 


Each piece had been handmade with such effort in almost painstaking detail, with so much care put especially into those asymmetric and textured statement pieces that were photographed below. The necklaces alone are layered with chiffon, glass beads, gems, lace, sequins in delicious hues and strung together quite cleverly. I couldn't find anything generic or faddish about these pieces; they are all incredibly original. Will she be the next Michelle Jank?


Here are some photos I took during the evening:








Friday, December 21, 2012

GRAB YOUR BANANAS!
THERE’S A MONKEY ON MY NECK


There’s nothing worse than absorbing unnecessary heat by wearing black in the middle of a 40-degree-maximum summer and then looking like a roast pig at a funeral for the rest of the day, so I prefer to stick to the brighter side of dressing up. This summer, I’ve become obsessed with all things tropical. You ask me why? I say why not! Since I won’t be living a heavenly lifestyle on a South Pacific island paradise any time soon, I may as well start dressing like I will be so I can live a blissfully disillusioned life back in reality. That is my brilliant plan.

From left to right: Surprised chimpanzee necklace (which is actually a cheap gimmicky necklace from a store that sells Mardi Gras costumes, but it was too cool to not buy), hand painted lion fish earrings, hand painted macaw earrings – all from ebay; bright orange stilettos from tiny store in West London; bright orange snake skin clutch sneaked through customs from Bali; red seed bead necklace and green gem necklace, both stolen from Mum. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

IN THE MOOD TO... 
celebrate the 30 degree Australian summer while the rest of the world freezes.

This is an outfit I put together yesterday for a lunch date with a couple of close friends in the city. I’m wearing a vintage jungle print (with stunned-looking cougars included) top from The Kilo Shop in Paris, Portmans skirt, blue suede Zara shoes (Elvis would be proud), Valleygirl fluorescent yellow jelly bag, and green & pink mirror sunglasses. That’s right: no two layers of stockings, no enormous wool coat, no thermal underwear. I do not miss European winters. 

Me, giving ridiculously freezing cold, pneumonia-causing  European
winters the (wrong) finger.
My wonderful friends, hiding in the reflection of my sunglasses
Being a poser, yet again.
Like quilted plastic heaven, I just can't get enough of that yellow
rubbery goodness.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

THE SOVIET INVASION

Russian designer, Vika Gazinskaya. Source Tommy Ton

It never struck me to ever go into a lot of research into other fashion industries outside the well-known New York, Milan, London and Paris fashion weeks until now. I have always had a vague awareness of various fashion weeks around the world, in more hidden but no less extravagant cities but they passed beneath my eyes with not much of a glance. However, in a sudden spark of luck I came across a Russian fashion blog about  emerging fashion designers from the Russian and Ukrainian Fashion Weeks leaving their mark in a largely Western dominated industry and I knew I had to learn as much as I could. What is it that drives these designers? Is it the absence of luxury during a Soviet childhood or the richness of their heritage that drives these designers to push the boundaries? Does their history influence their designs?

They may be widely recognised in their own countries, but the Russian and Ukrainian designers seem to gain little attention from Western media unless they showcase their collections in London, Milan, New York or Paris. It seems like they remain largely out of the spotlight until the decision is made to move to one of the four fashion capitals of the world. But with the emergence of ready-to-wear designer Vika Gazinskaya and couturier Ulyana Sergeenko in Paris, and spotlight on Russian editors Miroslava Duma and Elena Perminova, the Soviet Invasion is finally beginning. 

So here's a little introduction to some Russian and Ukrainian designers I find outstanding:

Ulyana Sergeenka Fall Couture 2012
Ulyana Sergeenko Fall Couture 2012
Ulyana Sergeenko, a well-known Russian art-collector turned designer, is incredibly new in the industry with just one exquisite and fantastical Couture collection in Paris but has already commanded the attention of the top editors in the industry like no other emerging designer. Perhaps it is foolish to compete against such established couturiers with little know-how, but Sergeenko's fixation on luxury and design and ability to surround herself with a highly skilled team has gained her respect fast. The black lace dress above is the piece I love the most out of the (in my opinion) mainly period-clothing looks. The above style.com photos are of her first and latest collection. Check out her blog here; there's a lot more substance to this designer than meets the eye.

Spring Summer 2013 collection by Vika Gazinskaya
Spring Summer 2013 collection by Vika Gazinskaya
Spring Summer 2013 collection by Vika Gazinskaya
The above four pictures are snippits from Vika Gazinskaya's (click for link) first read-to-wear collection which I absolutely adore. Like Sergeenka, this is her first collection showcased in Paris but her career has already lasted five years in Russia. Her designs are not only innovative and sculptural, but mix humour and sophistication charmingly into each piece. The inspiration behind the collection was clearly 'the weather', in particular, her sketched memories of the skies she while travelling through the air.

The 2013 Spring Summer collection by Ukranian designer Litkovskaya
The 2013 Spring Summer collection by Ukranian designer Litkovskaya
Ukrainian designer Lilia Litkovskaya (click for link) showed one of the best collections during Ukrainian Fashion Week in late October this year and is one of the fastest growing designers in Ukraine. Her inspiration of fragility and female sexuality was quite interestingly and impressively expressed through punched leather and geometric shapes. 

A La Russe Spring Summer 2013
A La Russe Spring Summer 2013
A La Russe Spring Summer 2013
A La Russe (click for link) is an ultra feminine and incredibly luxury Russian fashion house with creative director, Anastasia Romantsova, at its head. This brand is by far my favourite; all the looks are elegant but also wearable too. And don't the shoes remind you of Roger Vivier for Dior during the Christian Dior's New Look reign?

These 4 designers are the ones I found the most interesting so far, but do you know of any other Eastern European designers I should be looking at? Let me know!



Saturday, December 8, 2012


IN THE MOOD TO... 
turn eyes into mirrors so we can see ourselves from another’s perspective.


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