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July 12 2014

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3 posts tagged "Hermione de Paula"

Tait Takes the Dorchester

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Thomas Tait and models

Thomas Tait and models

“I can’t afford to go home,” designer Thomas Tait admitted yesterday at the Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize awards in London, referring to the cost of a return flight to his native Montreal. Not to worry. A few minutes later, Tait received the evening’s top honors and his ticket, as it were: the £25,000 inaugural prize—bestowed by an industry who’s-who of judges including Manolo Blahnik, Bronwyn Cosgrave, Giles Deacon, and Daphne Guinness—and a chance to stage an event (and presumably, order room service) at the Dorchester Collection hotel of his choice. While Tait and his fellow finalists, Louise Goldin, Mary Katrantzou, Hermione de Paula, and Chau Har Lee, all share a penchant for craftsmanship, British Vogue‘s Alexandra Shulman, another judge, stressed that function was as critical as form when it came to picking a winner. “There is no point making precious objects that nobody can do anything with,” she said of the possibility of rewarding a collection for its sheer artistry. Tait, who trained with Montreal design darling Denis Gagnon, keeps a utilitarian edge to his careful cutting, creating a compelling tension between the body and the forms enveloping it. (In a nice bit of symmetry, Gagnon celebrated his ten-year anniversary yesterday with an exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.) Juror Yasmin LeBon was particularly gushy over Tait’s work: “It is gorgeous and brilliant to wear,” she said definitively. “I want more.”

Photo: Ian Gavan / Getty Images

Meet The 2010 Dorchester Collection Prize Semifinalists

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“Everyone involved in this was my A-list first choice,” Bronwyn Cosgrave declared of the panel of judges she assembled to select the five short-listed semifinalists for the first Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize at London’s Dorchester Hotel. That sentiment, one hopes, extends to said semifinalists, too. But Cosgrave could be forgiven for a little enthusiasm for the judging side of the table: It included Daphne Guinness, Manolo Blahnik, Giles Deacon, milliner Stephen Jones, Yasmin LeBon, Vanity Fair‘s Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, and ES fashion director Gianluca Longo. Despite the varied group, “it was a remarkably smooth decision process,” Blahnik said. “We saw the number of applications and hung our heads. But it turns out that we were largely unified despite our different personal aesthetics.” His co-panelist Guinness (pictured above with her fellow jurors) agreed heartily. “I take refuge in the arts,” she said. “It was wonderful to have us all agree so easily, so that I could realize that I am not crazy and my values are shared.”

The semifinalists are the English knitwear designer Louise Goldin; the Greek-born, London-based Mary Katrantzou; Hermione de Paula, who created a surprisingly dainty collection called “I Heart Elizabeth Berkley”; the sculptural footwear designer Chau Har Lee; and Thomas Tait, from Canada. The unifying factor—maybe the only one—is a commitment to craftsmanship and a preference for the conceptual (even, occasionally, at the expense of commercial viability).

But Guinness, for one, was all in favor. “Craftmanship needs to return,” she declared. “I am always overjoyed to see students who love to stitch their own seams. We need better things, not more. We should not pollute the world with meaningless, unused things when we can make and support things of rare and precious beauty.” As the only international fashion prize set to roam to a different fashion capital each year—at the site, not by coincidence, of a Dorchester Collection hotel; next year’s will be in New York—the award should do just that. The winner, to be announced in November, takes home a £25,000 prize and a free event at any of the Dorchester Collection’s properties.

Photo: Courtesy of the Dorchester Collection

At London Fashion Week: Archive Fever

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Legacy was in the air on Monday in London, as Claire Waight Keller showed her latest collection for Pringle of Scotland. Kilts and cashmere and sheepskin—the signposts of Scots style—got a new airing. Waight Keller is fluent in her archive. Shwetal Patel, meanwhile, is standing the whole idea of an archive on its head. Rather than seeing an archive as something handed down, Patel, with his new label The Creative Archives, is trying to build one from scratch. His line comprises Italian-made silk and wool-blend scarves (pictured) printed in patterns designed by fashion students—Patel takes applications from young designers at Central Saint Martins, the Royal Academy of Arts, etc.—and is sold at boutiques such as Browns. Speaking yesterday at his stand at the British Fashion Council’s Exhibition, Patel said that he foresees expanding The Creative Archives to include other items, too, like little black dresses. “It’s sort of like a collector buying the work of young artists,” explains Patel, who was a co-founder of the handbag line Pauric Sweeney. “It’s about cataloging the talents of a new generation and preserving them for the future.”

He’s not the only one commissioning. Browns has also collaborated with emerging designer Hermione de Paula on a range of tees and silk tunics in her signature prints. The pieces are available at Browns Focus now; de Paula, meanwhile, showed her Fall ’10 collection yesterday at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout space. In addition to her eye-catching prints, de Paula focused on creating patterns that tricked the eye into seeing silhouettes that didn’t quite conform to the shape of the garment itself. A voluminous dress arose out of a dress that was actually body-contoured, for example. It was a great look—one, as they say, for the archives.

Photo: Courtesy of The Creative Archives