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September 1 2014

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60 posts tagged "Daphne Guinness"

Isabella Blow: Beyond the Eccentric

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2. Isabella Blow, 2002 (c) Diego UchitelCurator 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.

Alexander McQueen and Isabella blow

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” »

Michael Kors: “Fashion Is An Athletic Competition”

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Michael KorsToday, Michael Kors will join the ranks of Karl Lagerfeld, Dries Van Noten, and Oscar de la Renta when he accepts his Award for Artistry of Fashion from the Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Though the man, who has created one of fashion’s largest empires with his namesake American sportswear label, hardly needs an introduction, Hilary Swank will be on hand at the Lincoln Center luncheon to properly present him with the honor. Style.com caught up with Kors to talk about fashion as a sport, triple shoulder pads, and more. And no, in case you were wondering, even a pro like Kors is not ready for fashion week. “You know, we are never ready until five minutes before the show,” Kors told us. “But that’s the way it is.”

You’ve been designing for over thirty years. Do you still find fashion exciting?
This morning, I was watching that swimmer Diana [Nyad] who is 64 years old, and she really had the endurance to keep trying and keep persevering. Fashion is an athletic competition and you have to have endurance and you have to stay excited about the idea that things are always changing. The world always changes, therefore fashion changes. I am excited about the fact that no matter how many years I have been doing it, you never know all the rules. You never know exactly what the game is going to be because the game is always changing.

What have been the most interesting changes you have seen in fashion during the course of your career?
There are three changes that have rocked fashion and continue to do so. Number one is the internet. Fashion became accessible quickly and 24/7 to anyone who was interested all around the planet. Clothes used to be very specific by country. The introduction of the Web was like when the Berlin Wall fell—it took down the barriers around the world in fashion. Number two, the rules have totally been thrown out the window. No one would have thought that people would be going to parties and fashion shows in February wearing sandals, or that they would wear sequins in the office during the day. Plus, the idea of “dressing your age,” has been totally diminished. In today’s world, if you have amazing legs, you might be a 60-year-old and wearing a short dress. Or, on the other hand, you might be 16 years old and instead of looking girly, you look sophisticated. The biggest change, though, is probably the democratization of fashion. When I started, you had to be wealthy and fashion-obsessed and live in a big city to really feel that there was anything in the fashion game for you. Today, it’s all about a certain taste level, a certain point of view design-wise, and it’s not about the price tag.

You are getting the award from FIT, where you attended school. What was one of the most challenging moments from your time there? I did not grow up sewing. There was no sewing machine in my house. The idea of sitting down and trying to be really exacting at the sewing machine was like an I Love Lucy episode—me sewing turned into Lucy at the chocolate factory. On the other side of the coin, I had been sketching since I was really small. When I arrived at school, they were trying to teach us really rudimentary things [about sketching] and I was like, “I have been doing since I was a 6-year-old.” I was either left back or a genius. I was never in the middle while I was in school. That’s for sure. Continue Reading “Michael Kors: “Fashion Is An Athletic Competition”” »

Daphne Guinness Sings the Blues

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Artist, producer, muse—all words that describe Daphne Guinness. But soprano? Well, there’s a bolt from the blue. Last night, Guinness unveiled her first single (on vinyl, no less), “Fatal Flaw,” at Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio in London’s Belgravia neighborhood—a fitting setting for the reveal, as Knight actually filmed and live-streamed Guinness singing opera last year. (The shoot resulted in five short films that were played in the windows of the French department store Printemps.) Yesterday evening’s event also served as the opening of SHOWcabinet, an intensely personal display case within the SHOWstudio gallery (consider it like an old-time curiosity cabinet) where artists present objects that have mattered throughout their lives.

Guinness is the first to take a turn in Knight’s SHOWcabinet, and the pieces on view indeed tell the story of her life: an ornate armored glove that she created over the span of five years in collaboration with Shaun Leane, a beloved Gareth Pugh leather cage jacket, and some works from Percy Bysshe Shelley and Shakespeare—her constant companions over the years.

Here, in an exclusive interview, Guinness and Knight speak with Style.com about why she decided to bare her soul—and her vocal chords.

Daphne, who knew you were a singer, and a soprano no less. Did you have any formal training?
Daphne Guinness: I wasn’t trained at all—I just made the song up, by mistake actually. If anything, I probably trained myself by listening over the years. I have a four-and-a-half-, nearly five-octave range. I probably should have had extra lessons as a child, as I am certain my family heard my potential, but I didn’t. I was in the choir as a schoolgirl, but really, it is all self-taught.

Why music now?
DG: After children, I had a break in my top range, as my diaphragm dropped because it naturally stretched out. I couldn’t make that jump to singing smoothly. Holding a note is a very difficult thing—you have to use your whole body to achieve a perfect pitch. So my singing languished a bit, but it has always been there. I know it sounds ridiculous when I say I am not a fashion person, because of course I am, but music has a complete effect on me, and the time was ripe to reacquaint myself with it. I suppose I am known for being very visual, but I realized that, for me, it’s all about sound.

Nick Knight: What is interesting is that very few people know that music and sound are really a fundamental part of you. But I do think there is a lot of crossover in the senses, especially with sound and sight. For instance, when I am creating an image, I am actually subliminally looking for a tone or sound, which I don’t hear, but see. So when I get a great picture, in fact I am hearing this perfectly harmonious sound. It’s almost like I am tuning one of my pictures like an instrument. So there is a lot of swap-over between the senses. Unfortunately, we are so conditioned to use one sense for one thing, when actually it is a whole mixture of senses at play in an artistic process. Continue Reading “Daphne Guinness Sings the Blues” »

Steel Cut: Katie Gallagher Jewelry

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RISD grad Katie Gallagher is slowly making a name for herself with her gothic, body-con label that caught the attention of Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness just a few seasons ago. At her most recent show in New York, it was her new jewelry offerings that really struck a high note. The capsule collection of black and steel earcuffs and handlets, made in collaboration with jewelry designer Megan Isaacs, was intended to “make parts of the body into ethereal shapes,” explains Gallagher. (One of our favorites is the statement handlet, pictured above.) It’s her first foray into jewelry, and luckily, it looks like there could be more where that came from. “I think it would be special to collaborate with jewelry designers that I admire and that fit the concepts of my collection from season to season,” she reports. Also worth a mention: The young designer is beefing up her offerings with a new diffusion line, called Katie by Katie Gallagher. The range, which features core separates like tank dresses, sheer jackets, and leggings ($150-$250), is intended for customers looking for a more accessible and wearable way to try Gallagher’s aesthetic on for size. The jewelry collection ($170-$280) and secondary line will be available early next month when she launches her e-shop on KatiebyKatieGallagher.com.

Photo: Chris Swainston / Courtesy of Katie Gallagher

Daphne Guinness Auction Blows It Out Of The Water, And More Of Today’s Top Stories

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For Daphne Guinness, half a million pounds may be chump change. But the fashion icon said she was “overwhelmed” by that number, which was the amount of money she raised at her auction for the Isabella Blow Foundation. The top-selling item was a portrait of Guinness (pictured), taken by Mario Testino, which went for £133,250 (a new record for Testino photos). [Vogue U.K.]

The bond between Hermès and Actes Sud has just grown a little stronger. The French publishing house will put out a series of booklets about eight artists who completed residencies at the luxury fashion house as part of the Fondation d’Entreprise. The books will go on sale October 3 for $45. [WWD]

The Rolling Stones are still going strong after 50 years. To celebrate their half-century anniversary, the rock band has asked Shepard Fairey to update its famous tongue logo with a new design. The graphic, originally done by John Pasche, was first used on the Sticky Fingers album sleeve in 1971 and was meant to represent the band’s anti-authoritarian attitude. [Rolling Stone]

The men’s shows have moved on to Paris for the last leg of the season. You can find complete coverage of all the top shows from Calvin Klein and Prada to Burberry Prorsum on Style.com. But Buzzfeed.com came up with its own take on the menswear happenings. FYI, you may not want to take rule number two, “shrink polo shirts in the dryer”—or any of them—too seriously. [Buzzfeed]

 

 

 

Photo: Mario Testino