41 posts tagged "Central Saint Martins"
It’s that time of year again…no, we’re not talking about holiday cheer and cozy family get-togethers. We’re referring to the menswear collections, which will kick off in London on January 6. Today, Lulu Kennedy’s young designer platform Fashion East announced its Fall ’14 men’s lineup, which will feature returning talents Liam Hodges and Tom Ryling, as well as newcomers including jeweler Roxanne Farahmand, shirt-maker Massimo Casagrande, and Nicomede Talavera (left), a Central Saint Martins graduate who will present his ready-to-wear collection with the initiative. And this season the menswear platform, which was founded in 2012, will have a little extra kick, thanks to a new collaboration with Red Bull Catwalk Studio. Given the jet lag, sleepless nights, and general feeling of exhaustion that tend to accompany fashion weeks, we hope the sponsorship means complementary energy drinks.
Curator Alistair O’Neill only met the late Isabella Blow once. He was at an art opening with designer Julien Macdonald, one of the late, great Blow’s charges, whom he studied with at the Royal College of Art. “Isabella was wearing a famous Philip Treacy hat, which is in the exhibition. It had feathers around the eyes, which covered her nose and her mouth and her forehead,” he recalled. “I spent the evening talking to her and was completely fascinated. But all that I could concentrate on were her eyes, because I couldn’t really see her mouth. I could only just about listen to what she was saying, and I was just mesmerized by this image of these eyes being framed by the feathers. The combination of her intelligence and her laughing was really intoxicating,” he continued. “I’ve never forgotten that.”
On November 20, O’Neill, along with Shonagh Marshall and Central Saint Martins, will aim to bring the editor, patron, and muse’s work and wardrobe to life with the opening of Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at the Somerset House in London. Before her tragic suicide, in 2007, Blow was a pillar of London’s emerging fashion community. Having worked everywhere—from British and American Vogue to The Sunday Times to Tatler—Blow is credited with discovering such designers as Alexander McQueen (as the story goes, she bought his entire graduate collection after it walked down the Central Saint Martins Runway in 1992), milliner Philip Treacy, Jeremy Scott, and Hussein Chalayan, as well as models Sophie Dahl (whom she once described as a “blow-up doll with brains”) and Stella Tennant.
Aside from being a steadfast supporter of young talents (Treacy and McQueen both lived with her at one point, and she not only gave the designers financial and editorial support but also fed them ideas from her wealth of historical knowledge—fashion and otherwise), Blow, who came from a complicated aristocratic background, was known as a great eccentric—both in her behavior and her dress. Her infamous wardrobe comprised the most extreme pieces by all of the conceptual up-and-comers she helped along the way. And, of course, Treacy’s hats were her screaming signature. Following her death, her sartorial collection was to be sold at Christie’s to settle her estate, but Blow’s friend Daphne Guinness swooped in at the last minute and purchased every piece, because that’s how Isabella—or Issy, as she was known—would have wanted it.
O’Neill, however, did not want to simply paint Blow as an eccentric. “I thought it was important to distance Isabella from those literary ideas of the English eccentric, because they’re often quite tragic,” he explained. “And I’m not sure Isabella was fully tragic—she was quite brave, and very funny. She had a very bored and black humor.” Furthermore, Blow always wore her outfits—whether it be a metallic McQueen corset or an ensemble crafted from brightly hued garbage bags—in a deeply considered manner. “Isabella used her clothes, her hats, and her accessories as a means to modify and transform herself,” said O’Neill. “She had a great eye for silhouette, and her hats were almost a means of plastic surgery for her face, without going under the knife,” added Marshall. “She said they can lift you, they can make you look different, and I think that was something that she really indulged in.” Continue Reading “Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric” »
It has been a year of firsts for Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of Marques’Almeida. After being awarded NewGen sponsorship, the Central Saint Martins grads presented on the official London fashion week schedule for the first time during the Spring ’14 shows in September. And this week, the duo—best known for their raw and unexpected denim looks—made their inaugural trek to Los Angeles as part of the British Fashion Council’s traveling London Showrooms. In between press appointments and a trip to In-N-Out Burger, Marques and Almeida sourced inspiration from famed vintage emporium Wasteland—and they invited Style.com to tag along.
“Denim kind of found us,” Marques said of their now signature medium. “We were so obsessed with the early nineties, when it was like the code of dressing always had to involve a really nice worn-out pair of jeans or a jean jacket. We thought it was the foundation of cool.” The nineties is a decade that Marques and Almeida (who cut their teeth at Vivienne Westwood and Preen, respectively) reference often, explored through the lens of i-D and Kurt Cobain. “We started with the whole grunge movement and watching Nirvana documentaries. It was a lot more oversize, boy shapes,” Marques continued, later adding that they abandoned the era once “grunge became a trend.” Their latest reference is the noughties (i.e., the 2000s). “It was all about being sexy in a very obvious way,” she said.
The stop in Los Angeles was important for the designers, who produce their collection mostly in London. “Although we’ve never been here, we’ve always felt this weird connection,” Marques mused while browsing the store, which is just miles from some of the biggest denim factories in the world. But being based in London has its advantages. “We don’t have this preconceived idea of what jeanswear should look like. [In L.A.], we’d end up doing the five-pocket jean just because they have the machines to do it,” Almeida admitted. “We knew nothing about denim until we started, and we learned a lot through experimenting,” offered Marques. As Marques’Almeida stands poised to grow—and recent acclaim, as well as stockists like Opening Ceremony, seems to demand it—their future looks bright, and not just because of the SoCal sun.
Less than two years after graduation from Central Saint Martins, London-based design duo Kim Trager (the bearded, Danish one) and Lowell Delaney (the statuesque British blonde) are embarking on a third season. And they’re armed with a few pieces that seem set to become house classics. Not bad for a partnership that began when they both landed in the knitwear department “by default.” “It’s not what either one of us ever wanted to do; we hated the idea,” recalls Delaney. “Now, we know that it’s a way of creating fabric, which is the best thing ever. You have total control. Actually, you have to be a little insane.”
Considering the up-and-comers are already stocked at Joseph and Matchesfashion.com, insanity seems to be working for them. And true to form, this season’s storyline is a little nutty. Trager Delaney’s heroine shuttles from the Black Forest in Germany to orphan-hood, convent school, rebellion, and misadventure in the seamier side of Hollywood, until she finds redemption in the arms of a handsome, older prince and the high-gloss world of artists, thinkers, and material comfort. It bears hearing out, though, because on the rack, the narrative becomes beautifully uncomplicated. Highlights include a white bomber jacket in laser-cut, woven suede, halter dresses with velvet trim, rebooted cargo pants, roomy silk shirts with slit backs that allow them to be worn tucked or un- and tied in front, and a black jacket with a custom baroque print. This piece, upon closer inspection, reveals key elements from our Spring femme’s life, right down to a goat and an Adonis on a raft. And the teal bomber? “That’s our Tom Cruise,” says Delaney. “Beautiful but a little spooky.”
Huishan Zhang might have graduated from Central Saint Martins only three years ago, but the 30-year-old designer has already made a lasting impression. Currently gearing up for his third season at London fashion week, Zhang, a native of Mainland China’s Qingdao, has proven his capacity to innovate and produce quality garments—and he’s followed up with commercial viability and high sell-through rates at retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Browns, and Harvey Nichols. In addition to being short-listed for the coveted Dorchester Fashion Prize last month, Zhang is also the first contemporary Mainland Chinese designer whose work has been acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. And his achievements have propelled him into the fashion limelight, making him a promising talent who bridges the divide between East and West.
For Spring 2014, Zhang will showcase a thoughtful hybrid of couture-like influences (the manipulation of fabric from Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grès’ sculptural fashions) with the traditions of ancient Chinese mathematics. “There’s been a lot of brain work this season!” exclaims Zhang, who’s given us an exclusive sneak peek at his forthcoming collection. “Haute couture and Chinese arithmetic are both very precise, sharing a type of perfection.” Specifically, Zhang will feature smocking grids and trigonometric shapes that mold to the female form. He was also inspired by Man Ray’s double-exposure technique and penchant for surrealism.