Sunday, 25 March 2018

Jasper Conran's Graceful Geometry and Luminous Colours

 Jasper Conran's vivid, monochromatic colours and bold silhouettes at his AW18 show in London. Photograph (above) by Kseniya Segina for DAM. Cover picture by Elli Ioannou
As one of Britain's leading designers and part of a family design dynasty started by his father Sir Terence Conran, Jasper Conran has worked across all aspects of design including fashion, the theatre and interiors. His streamlined and richly-coloured Autumn/Winter 2018 show was one of the highlights of last month's London Fashion Week. His latest collection has a spare yet graceful geometry highlighted by luminous colours, writes Antonio Visconti. Photographs by Kseniya Segina

Brilliant colour and flowing
silhouettes at the AW18 show
JASPER Conran is one of the founding members of London Fashion Week which originally started life as London Designer Collections. He trained at Parson’s School of Design in New York and produced his first womenswear collection in 1978 when he was 19 years old. Since then, Mr. Conran has also designed costumes and sets for ballet, opera and theatre productions and continued to expand his range to include menswear, homewares collections, fragrances and designs for eyewear and luggage. The designer has also opened L'Hôtel Marrakech in Morocco, in a beautiful riad that was once an 18th Century palace, at the heart of the city's Medina.

This fashion season his brilliantly-hued AW18 show was set against a cool, white background at London's Claridges Hotel. The blocks of monochromatic colour in yellow, orange, bright pink, electric blue and green had a contemporary yet dramatic flair. The colour and inspiration for the designs have painterly origins in the work of artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Howard Hodgkin. Long, pleated skirts in bright hues were teamed with sporty tops and three-quarter length coats or textured knits. Fluid gowns with cap sleeves fell gracefully to the floor in a mix of contrasting dark and vivid shades. Voluminous but form-fitting around the neck and shoulders, the flowing, long dresses had dashes of brilliantly mixed colours such as silky orange and bright pink (see above) and deep hues of cobalt and violet (see below).

A rich palette in cobalt and violet enhanced the sense
of a painterly collection.
Well-cut dresses and jackets had a spare yet graceful geometry. Navy blue outfits contrasted with ensembles in buttery yellow and others in pink, green and orange. A creamy-white short coat, knit top and skirt provided a palette-cleansing lightness and clever contrast to the luminous colours. Trainers matched the outfits and the low-slung shoes enhanced the sense of the clothes movement and freedom.

A high-necked sweater in grass-green managed to look both stylish and comfortable and made a captivating contrast to another version in daffodil yellow with a well-cut, overcoat with wide lapels flung over the top, in exactly the same sunny colour.

The collection had its sporty edge enhanced by snappy, zip-up tops, textured knits and windproof smocks. The combination of skillful use of colour and the mixture of different folds and pleats and silhouettes added to the sense that Mr. Conran is a master of his metier.

An elegantly monochromatic creation in deep indigo captures Vogue's editor at large Hamish Bowles attention in the audience along with milliner Stephen Jones.
A daffodil yellow knit and coat made for a burst of bright sunshine in the Autumn/Winter 2018 collection.
A grass green knit added to the panoply of bold colours in the collection.
A dark navy, textured knit made a bold contrast to the silky, glowing long gowns.
 Zip-up tops with hoods added to the sporty motif running through the collection.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Splashes of Colour Enliven Paris' Winter Whites at Victoria/Tomas

An indigo velvet jack on the runway at Victoria/Tomas looked warm enough to wear outside in a snow-covered Paris. Photograph and cover picture by Elli Ioannou
Wearing a wintry wardrobe of layered whites, Paris opened the last of the Autumn/Winter 2018 fashion weeks. It's the final stop on the frenetic month-long schedule that started in New York and London and moved on to Milan and the French capital. Engulfed by a sub-zero cold snap, the city's rugged-up fashion pack scurry between shows across town. The new collection of young French label Victoria/Tomas was presented in the dark corridors of YoYo beneath the Palais de Tokyo, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photography by Elli Ioannou

A vivid blue gathered jacket and pleated
skirt light up the dark corridors
of  YoYo
FREEZING outside in a snowy Paris, the show of young French brand Victoria/Tomas was held in the dark, concrete corridors of YoYo, underneath the Palais de Tokyo, once occupied by the Cinematheque francaise. However, the dim surroudings covered in graffiti, were still a respite from the cold and the sombre hues of the new AW18 collection were enlivened with dashes of dark red, celestial blue and pink. The collection, created by Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins, was the couple's second runway show in Paris, after their debut in September last year, on the official ready to wear women's calendar. The life and love of a couple was the inspiration for the new collection.

The daywear offerings included softly-gathered jackets and knit, pleated skirts with stripes, velvet puffer jackets, checked dresses and coats with houndstooth pockets, leather jackets with large, colourful ties and camel coats with ruched sleeves and waists. The checks and plaids that dominated many runways in London, were also part of the Victoria/Tomas collection, including a long overcoat in red with touches of green, blue and black, long shirt dresses gathered at the front and a draped denim jacket worn with a plaid skirt. This season, the duo also added evening wear with silk dresses in pink and black featuring voluminous sleeves and gathered hems.

A check shirt dress with gathered hem
 and jacket with hounds tooth pockets
The brand was originally founded by Victoria Feldman and Tomas Berzins in 2012, four years after they met in Paris while studying fashion. They showed a capsule collection of handmade leather garments in 2013, and were the youngest finalists of the Hyeres Festival of Fashion and Photography.

Before starting their line, Tomas Berzins worked in New York at Alexander Wang before returning to France to launch the label with Victoria Feldman. They both aim to put together collections for the contemporary woman that lives and works in an urban, city environment. The pair work as a team and appear to have a rich, creative dialogue. They have been together for ten years and got married more than a year ago.

While Tomas Bezins says he is inspired by the work of Tim Burton and the world of skaters and hip-hop, Victoria is interested in art and experimental fashion. Together they want to create artistic, sculptural clothes with a brilliant palette that enlivens their designs. The new collection embodies those aims with its dynamic yet comfortable silhouettes and mix of neutral tones like camel with bright colour.
 
Tap on photographs for a full screen slideshow
A long, houndstooth overcoat with an easy volume reminiscent of the Eighties and dramatic, black leather ties.

Dashes of vivid yellow added a new look to a black leather jacket worn with a long, pleated skirt with contrasting stripe in blue and yellow.  
A red and black knit dress and cardigan made a dynamic combination with its stripes and squares.


Large, check pockets and sleeves give a lively edge to a dark, navy winter coat.

Tones of camel in knitted top and a velvet, ruched sleev jacket made a more natural foil to the brilliant palette of the rest of the collection.
Designers Tomas and Victoria added evening wear to their collection this season, in the form of pure silk dresses with voluminous, graceful sleeves and gathered hems in pinks and blues and black.

A draped and distressed jean jacket with a check shirt and plaid skirt made for a comfortable yet artistic ensemble for daywear.

 A pink, boxy wool jacket with large pockets is worn over a more delicate concoction in pink and teal silk.

Dynamic fuchsia jacket and trousers made for urban life in big cities.
Checks and plaids dominated the runways in London and they were a key part of the Victoria/Tomas collection.

 The neutral tones of a camel coat are made both more contemporary and romantic by the ruched sleeves finished with flair.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Japanese Designer Yuima Nakazato's Cosmic Couture

Yuima Nakazato in Paris with a model wearing a long coat created with the designer's new technology and recycled parachutes. Cover picture of and photograph (above) by Elli Ioannou
Japanese couturier Yuima Nakazato was inspired by the Space Age and interstellar travel for his new cosmic haute couture collection shown in Paris last month. The designer continues his exploration of new production technologies and recycled materials to create unique clothes that can be updated and worn for generations, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Photographs by Elli Ioannou

Bomber jacket made using Nakazato's
riveted pieces of laser-cut,
discarded materials
YUIMA Nakazato likes to create futuristic collections that explore new technology in fashion. Astronauts, space travel and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey all inspired his new work. This season, the designer used recycled materials such as airbags and parachutes that are laser-cut and put together without sewing. Instead, they are riveted together with the couturier's special, patented snap connections. The designer uses these modular components to create clothes that fit each contour of the wearer's body and can be quickly and easily repaired or altered in colour and shape depending on changing fashions.

This season, the young designer used other discarded industrial materials to create supple, A-line coats and dresses, banded tunics and stylish bomber jackets. The space theme was also more literal with several models wearing white spacesuits, gleaming, domed helmets and panelled dresses with satellite images of earth. The new collection is part of Nakazato's continuing exploration of fashion and technology. Called Harmonise, the collection was shown last month during the Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris at the Elephant Paname. While the overall look of the show draws on space travel, Yuima Nakazato also went deeply into the technology that is actually used to create garments for astronauts. The designer spoke to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency ( JAXA) about their ongoing research into creating the perfect spacesuit.

The inspiration for the collection was drawn from the spacesuit research by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

The studies made by JAXA related to Yuima Nakazato's experiments with using units of fabric that are riveted together to fit each individual customer. This technology allows garments to be updated or changed in form and material according to new fashions or changes in the wearer's body shape. Yuima Nakazato calls the production process the 'unit constructed textile' that allows customisation of each garment to the size of the wearer. He has already experimented with 3D printing and body scanners to produce clothes that are a perfect fit. Mr. Nakazato's method is a technology the designer has been exploring for several years along with creating more sustainable fashion. The inspiration for the current collection was drawn from the exterior structure of spaceships and the spacesuit research by the team at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

White spacesuits with domed helmets
captured the Space Age theme 
Yuima Nakazato says it was also important for him to understand how vital a recyclable system is in space to sustain long-term stays with limited resources. This lead to the designer's research and development into using discarded industrial products originally designed to protect humans such as airbags and parachutes, from around the world. Mr. Nakazato dismantled and reassembled the materials using his digital fabrication method and the craftsmanship of his atelier in Tokyo's Shibuya district. He found the materials were able to be repurposed and used to created innovative fabrics. "Our system of putting the finished designs together allows the atelier to make updates to the garment in response to changing environments and the wearer’s body shape, significantly extending the lifespan of the piece to semi-permanent," explains Yuima Nakazato. "With this system, clothing can truly harmonise with each wearer and adapt to the world they live in." While the couturier has a strong vision of the future of fashion, he also looks back to Japanese tradition to inform his work, including kimonos that are reused and kept in families for generations. These precious pieces are not thrown away but repaired and kept for future use

"These are the garments designed for pioneers who dare venture into the new age. This collection is our message to the future."

The designer called the collection Harmonise because he wanted to bring the human body and clothing together in a new way. Yuima Nakazato sees mankind's growth reflected in our way of manufacturing and wearing garments. He uses outer space as a symbol of the future, dreaming of worlds beyond our own. Looking back to Neil Armstrong’s first footprints on the moon and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the designer is inspired by the 1960s, a time when we were fascinated with the future and exploring the universe in a way that is only now becoming a reality today. "We put together this collection with the hope of expanding the possibilities of mankind, even if it is a small step," says Yuima Nakazato. "These are the garments designed for pioneers who dare venture into the new age. This collection is our message to the future."

 Tap on photographs for full-screen slideshow
Yuima Nakazato likes to create futuristic collections that explore new technology in fashion.

Astronauts, space travel and Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired Nakazato's new work.

 This season, the designer used recycled materials such as airbags and parachutes that are laser-cut and put together without sewing.
Instead, the garments are riveted together with the couturier's special, patented snap connections.
The space theme was also more literal with several models wearing white spacesuits, gleaming, domed helmets and panelled dresses with satellite images of earth.
While the overall look of the show draws on space travel, Yuima Nakazato also went deeply into the technology that is actually used to create garments for astronauts. 
 
 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Poetry and Drama at Stephane Rolland's Haute Couture Show

  A pearly, winged creation at Stephane Rolland's haute couture SS18 show in Paris. Photograph and cover picture by Elli Ioannou

The dramatic and poetic haute couture show of Stéphane Rolland was held in the gilded Favart room of the Opéra Comique in Paris. The fluid and sculptural creations of the designer's Spring 2018 collection were embellished with gleaming discs as well as jewellery created in a new collaboration with Albert Boghossian, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Additional reporting and photographs by Elli Ioannou

Violoncellist Francois Salque plays during the
 StephaneRolland couture show in Paris.
FRENCH couturier's Stéphane Rolland new show opened in velvety darkness with the liltingly melancholic sounds of violoncellist François Salque lit by a single circle of light on the stage at Paris’ Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique. Singers from Les Cœurs Parisiens later appeared and heightened the sense of atmosphere. The music accompanied a poetic and subtly dramatic show of flowing, ethereal gowns in pale silky tones of pearly cream and white with dashes of gleaming, silver and crystalline sparkle. The fluid creations were silhouetted with abstract, sculptural forms, some in the shape of flowers or wings. The designer has said his favourite sculpture is the Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, a marble Hellenistic sculpture of Nike created in the 2nd century BC. Wings are a potent emblem in his work and his interest was first piqued when he saw the sculpture as a child at the Louvre and was enthralled by the surging sense of movement and the exquisite drapery.

Stéphane Rolland's new show opened in velvety darkness with the liltingly melancholic music of violoncellist François Salque

A fluid and silky dress with a flowing cape
 takes centre stage.
Today, the couturier also sculpts and sees it as an extension of his work as a fashion designer. Past collections by Mr Rolland have been inspired by architecture, sculpture or art, from Velasquez to Anish Kapoor. But this time the leitmotif was the meeting of different artists. Stephane Rolland says these artistic encounters expand and inform his work. He loved the emotion created by musician François Salque's recitals and wanted to include that in his new collection. The designer also formed a new creative partnership with jeweller Albert Boghossian after deciding he wanted to create something new and entirely different for this collection. Gowns were embellished with the intricate jewellery pieces. The collection's standouts are billowing capes and long, pleated skirts and creamy, floating satin gowns decorated with glinting, silver disks, like wearing a piece of mid-century modern design.

Silvery discs catch the light on
a flowing gown.
Softly falling, voluminous satin crepe was the other central theme of the show in tones of white, sand and amber. In contrast  to the fluid gowns, were tailored trousers, coats and shorts. Although architecture is often one of Mr. Rolland's starting points for designing a collection, this time he wanted to "let go" and create pieces that were more gentle in form and shape. The theme of the show was "art and nonchalance" and although there were pieces designed like sculpture he combined this ethos with more relaxed creations such as slimline, lamé pants, white leather shorts and tops paired with flannel, wide trousers and jumpsuits in white crepe. Simplicity and comfort were emphasised with long, voluminous coats in platinum lamé or black wool that had an androgynous look. The couturier has said he grew up surrounded by black-and-white photographs as his mother worked at well-known Parisian photographic studio, Pictorial Service. The sense of volume, contrast and movement Stephane Rolland noted in the photographs as a child were to become integral to his work later as a fashion designer and can be seen in this new collection today.

Softly falling, voluminous satin crepe was another central theme of the show in tones of white, sand and amber

Couturier Stephane Rolland at the finale of his show.
Mr Rolland had an early and fast rise in the fashion world, working at Balenciaga in his early twenties as creative director of menswear. By the time he was 24 year old he had launched his own prêt-à-porter business and worked at this for six years before becoming artistic director of another haute couture fashion house for a decade. He also worked as a costume designer and was nominated twice for the prestigious Molière awards, becoming an official partner of the Cannes Film Festival. In 2007, Stephane Rolland presented a couture collection under his own name and today is a full member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Mr. Rolland is one of just 14 fashion designers based in Paris and nominated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture as “Grand Couturier,” which also allows his fashion house's collections to officially be called haute couture.

Tap on photographs for full screen slideshow
The satin gowns are embroidered with the jewellery pieces made in collaboration with jeweller Albert Boghossian.


Stéphane Rolland also sculpts and sees this creative work as an extension of his work as a fashion designer.


The designer has said his favourite sculpture is the Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, a marble Hellenistic sculpture of Nike created in the 2nd century BC.
  Wings are potent emblem for Stephane Rolland's work and his interest was first piqued when he saw the Victory of Samothrace as a child at the Louvre and was enthralled by the surging sense of movement and the exquisite drapery.
Past collections by Mr Rolland have been inspired by architecture, sculpture or art, from Velasquez to Anish Kapoor. But this time the leitmotif was the meeting of different artists, including jeweller Albert Boghossian. 
The gilded dome and frescoes of the Opéra Comique in Paris where the show was held.
Stephane Rolland grew up surrounded by black-and-white photographs and they influenced his sense of volume, contrast and movement.
The collection included billowing floating satin gowns embellished with fabric flowers.


  The music accompanied a poetic and subtly dramatic show of flowing, ethereal gowns in pale silky tones of pearly cream and white with dashes of gleaming, silver and crystalline sparkle.


  The guests of the Stephane Rolland show at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra Comique.
The sense of volume, contrast and movement Stephane Rolland noted in the photographs as a child were to become integral to his work later as a fashion designer and can be seen in this new collection today.
In 2007, Stephane Rolland presented his first couture collection under his own name and today is a full member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
Mr. Rolland is one of just 14 fashion designers based in Paris and nominated by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture as “Grand Couturier,” which also allows his fashion house's collections to offcially be called haute couture.
The finale of the haute couture show by Stephane Rolland.


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