Fashion Archive

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    Excited though we may be about the veritable extravaganza of fantastic art and design which is London Design Festival beginning this week, we couldn’t allow ourselves to let the capital’s equally deserved celebration of Britain’s creativity, London Fashion Week, slip by unnoticed. Today will see the final round of shows from the five day fashion marathon, so as fashion’s elite escape on the Eurostar leaving a fine veil of lost sequins and discarded freebies scattered across Somerset House’s courtyard we thought it was the perfect time to bring you a round-up of our five favourite offerings from Britain’s much applauded fashion designers. Without further ado then, here they are…

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    It’s surprisingly easy to forget just how rich British heritage is when the glossy window displays and ad campaigns with which we come face-to-face on a daily basis only skim the surface of a long and arduous chain of production. And increasingly it’s fashion brands that we have to thank these days, for plucking gems of craftsmanship from the British provinces where they usually hide away and dragging them out into the spotlight for us all to be proud of.

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    When it comes to campaigns, COS very, very often get it right. To usher in the new season with all of their usual pizzazz, they’re recruited the likes of furniture designer Fredrik Paulsen, men’s fashion critic Charlie Porter, creative director and co-founder of Apartamento Nacho Alegre, restaurateur David Waddington and graphic designer Zak Kyes. Quite a line-up, no? The five men are considered to be pioneering culture across a broad range of disciplines, so in a celebration of their personalities each was photographed in his home city with one of his favourite things (a fact that makes Nacho’s shot with his dog all the more charming).

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    Early morning, prising your eyes open, you reach into your clothes drawers and pull out those cycling shorts. No, it is not sleep deprived eyes tricking you, they really are that small and you really will have to squeeze your resistant limbs into them. Some can pull it off; those fully covered lycra bodies speeding on their bicycles, but let’s face it, under a dress or fitted jeans, that extra padding ain’t so svelte.

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    I used to work in Mayfair for a while, a period of my life I chiefly remember for prohibitively high lunch costs and an introduction to what plastic surgery actually looks like in real life. But its combination of high fashion, history and wealth throws up its fair share of interesting buildings and the new Paul Smith shop designed in conjunction with 6a architects is sure to join that roster.

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    Has a Margaret Howell look-book ever looked anything less than astonishingly appealing? I don’t think any other fashion brand has come close to making clothes look so tantalising as they have over the years. In typical Howell fashion, the latest collection has been revealed in a stunning series of monochrome shots of the clothes half-made in their studios, or finished and draped on to suitably moody models.

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    Stop right there – we need to talk about Julia Noni. If it’s not a name familiar to you, she’s the photographer creating images which, in a sea of fashion editorials, jump immediately from the page with a startling, cinematic beauty to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. From her electric use of colour – opulent jewel tones set against pale foliage in a photo-shoot with Jeneil William for the September issue of Vogue Germany – to the ethereal otherworldly juxtaposition of models against still life images in On a Clear Day for Vogue Japan, her inimitable style means her photography is immediately identifiable in only the best way. Watch out, world.

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    Seetal has come a long way since being an exceptional Central Saint Martins grad. She now runs her very own studio which does everything from styling to screenprinting workshops, from menswear design to creative direction. What they really specialise in however is textile design – and what textile designs! Seetal has a serious talent when it comes to designing some of the most beautiful, well-informed repeat pattern you may ever have come across. No wonder she’s got the entire fashion world queueing up to collaborate with her. Her bookshelf is, unsurprisingly, injected with fashion, style and a big ol’ dose of craft. Enjoy!

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    Roll up roll up one and all. To celebrate this prolonged summer of clement weather (it’s not often we get to say that) we’ve restocked the Company Of Parrots shop with all our most popular products. The last lot sold out super fast and we know we left some of you disappointed, but put all that heartache behind you because now you can get your greedy little mitts on the very finest T-Shirts we have to offer. That means more cheerful multi-coloured suns, more dancing couples and yes, more of that cheeky little chap we use as our logo. There’s also more totes in stock too so you can carry the It’s Nice That smile and Company Of Parrots parrot about your person all the time. Chop chop though, these guys are hot to trot and once they’re gone, well, they’re gone!

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    Brace yourself London – it’s time to get techie. For the first time ever the O2 Campus Party heads to the capital next month for a whole week of talks, events and workshops based around the idea that “the internet is not a network of computers, it’s a network of people.”

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    Never one to follow the crowd that Miuccia Prada. On first watch, Real Fantasies, a short produced with long-term collaborator AMO to advertise the Fall Winter 2013 collection, looks like nothing short of a bad dream about a dystopian society which has been thrown into a time-warp and then emerged the other side only to be cut into tiny pieces and stuck back together again. What’s more, it’s oddly transfixing. The disjointed music, two-dimensionality and surrealist influence all come together with an absurd kind of harmony which shows the collection in its absolute best light.

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    Back in April we sent out a call for all you creative types to start sending your beautifully designed envelopes to the new Paul Smith store at 46 Beak Street, and send them you did, in droves! As of today, you’ll be pleased to hear, Beak Street’s door are officially open and not only do the envelopes take pride of place on a wall for customers to examine at their leisure, but we were honoured to be invited to co-host the opening party last night.

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    So many beautiful things we don’t know where to begin. The new collection of jewellery from “illustrator, designer and general maker-of-things” Kaye Blegvad is stunning. Adorning necks with diving gulls or staring eyes, fingers with strands of laurel, posies or moonstones and wrists with tiny, tiny hands, they are beyond wonderful and we want them all.

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    Take the coolest photographer right now, put him with the coolest shop there is, and then let them shoot a collection they’ve made all about one of the coolest men who ever lived, Elvis Presley. I’d like to have been in the boardroom when they were discussing this new collection: “Gimme more rhinestones! I want some love hearts! Where are those cheeseburger motifs?” You name it, if it looks like it could have been on a shelf in Graceland then it’s inspired this collection. Getting Jamie to photograph it was genius; his knack for transforming otherwise run-of-the-mill kids into superstars using just his lens is second to none, and with the help of the trendy clothes, the transformation is ten-fold.

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    Inspired by Mary Poppins’ seemingly never-ending bag, Royal College of Art student Jule Waibel’s post-graduate project Enfaltung, meaning unfolding, was based around a range of garments created using intricate folding techniques. Incorporating the concept of collapsible structures into her design process, Jule toys with ideas of dimensionality to create clothes which expand and contract with the movement of the wearer, placing emphasis on transformation and growth. She uses Tyvek, a lightweight waterproof, tearproof synthetic paper to make her pieces, onto which a gradient is printed before the garment is made. Even better, you can watch a time-lapse film of the whole arduous process below. As she explains, “the project celebrates the beauty to be found between geometry, transformation and play.” I’d say she’s done Mary Poppins proud, wouldn’t you?

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    In an overwhelming ocean of fashion photography full of carefully polished pretty girls taking care not to dirty their clothes, French photographer Fanny Latour-Lambert’s work is like a little wooden fishing boat bobbing happily along doing its own thing. Her careful combination of models who look like actual people getting a bit grubby and trying to catch rain in their mouths, in places that are neither urban and gritty nor fairytale dreamworlds, explains exactly why the super young and very talented photographer has already been published in Vogue Italia, L’Officiel Hommes and i-D. She might well be treading a delicate line between styling, direction and seemingly improvised brilliance, but she is doing it it with aplomb.

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    We’re more than happy to admit that we are enduring fans of Patternity and all that they conjure up – it’s an admiration we made manifest in a feature in the Summer 2013 issue of Printed Pages. So when we found out that they were collaborating with clothing brand Chinti and Parker on a knitwear collection inspired by images of buildings and interlacing architectural structures, we were right up there on the bandwagon.

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    Barriobajero are Silvia Bianchi & Ricardo Juárez, two creatives working at the forefront of experimental creativity across a whole host of disciplines. The Stockholm studio art direct, design, style and curate, producing work that’s predominantly defined by web culture; from the proliferation of streams of disparate imagery to the rise of digital textures. In fact they’ve compiled a tasty riso-printed book that explores these textures in physical form, taking strange metallic waves and CGI marble and solidifying them in good old-fashioned ink.

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    We’ve all been there, arriving at a hotel for an every-expense-spared, luxury-free holiday bought with some newspaper coupons and a pocketful of spare change only to find that there’s no mini bar, the beds are wrapped in plastic and you can practically see through the walls into the next room. Before you know it your profanities are being overdubbed with white noise, your genitals pixellated and obscene hand gestures blurred beyond recognition. Alright, so that doesn’t happen in the actual real world, but it does in Danny Sangra’s. Watch and learn…

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    London’s V&A has long been curating exhibitions which showcase otherwise overlooked elements of British history, and their latest offering is no exception, placing the huge outburst of creative energy which took place in London’s club scene in the 1980s at the very centre of the museum’s focus. Showing 85 outfits, from Katharine Hamnett’s slogan tees to Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s era-defining Pirate collection, the show looks at the way 1980s club culture, from New Romantic to High Camp and Goth styles all moved out of underground culture to infiltrate mainstream fashion, with London at its core.

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    It’s not often that we feature fashion illustration on It’s Nice That, but that’s largely to do with the fact that in a sea of leggy models and oversize pink satin bows it’s not often that something jumps out at us in quite the way Lovisa Burfitt’s work does. The Swedish, France-based artist’s balance of graphite line and heavy watercolour shades is just expressive enough to give life to her characters without drowning them with too much over-thought. She draws other things than pretty frocks, too; her skeletal buildings are especially lovely.

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    Since Hedi Slimane took over from Stefano Pilati as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent early last year, he’s made a whole heap of divisive changes – not least shortening the name of the iconic fashion house to Saint Laurent – and his debut of the Resort 2014 collection this week stands as solid proof that he doesn’t intend to slow down any time soon.

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    Look out US fashionistas (sorry, I’ll NEVER use that word again) there are some new kids on the block ready to knock off your (cashmere) socks. gg-ll are Grace Glass and Lucas Lefler, graduates of the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design – in Graphic Design and Architecture respectively – two individuals with shared creative goals and a complementary array of skills. Together they’re producing the kind of luxurious fashion editorial and photographic campaigns that we’re always happy to lust over; think overexposed shots, carefully placed plants, geometric abstraction and a whole Pantone library worth of pastel shades. And with projects for Levi’s Made & Crafted, Duckie Brown and BULLETT under their belts already, we’re anticipating a stratospheric rise to the big time. The sky’s the limit!

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    Royal College of Art student Maiko Takeda is a breath of fresh air in the world of millinery. Her architectural headpieces resemble porcupine quills, ostrich feathers and tiny iridescent fish scales, all artfully woven together with logic and geometry in mind. Their likeness to elements of the natural world are apt, too, as the pieces react strongly to the light, wind and colours of the environment they are worn in.

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    Christopher Kane showed his spring/summer 2014 collection this week at London Collections: Mens, and by golly was it good. Influenced by 3D body mapping techniques, the designer took graphic prints of faces (and, ahem, some body parts) and blew them up in vibrant neon colours across shirts, hoodies and shorts to create yet another signature to be spotted on dedicated followers of fashion the world over. As for us, we’re just going to do a print-out of one of those fancy X-ray machines at the airport and staple it to our T-shirts (not really).

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    You can picture the scene, all of those stony-faced models crammed into that marble hallway and someone shouting: “Right, who here can sing?” and them all muttering and looking at each other in horror. Turns out those boys have got more going on than just razor-sharp cheekbones and hair softer than a unicorn’s underbelly, they can actually hold a tune too! This little film was made to celebrate the announcement of the Menswear Designer of the Year, which was actually won by Amish-inspired Thom Browne. Yeah, yeah, we know the whole Daft Punk Get Lucky thing is sooo three weeks ago, but this is genuinely worth a watch.

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    Now that graduate season is in full swing and many of you will be well on your way to leaving full-time education for good, we’re trying to find some ways for you to cushion the blow of being turfed out into the real world with nothing but a shiny certificate in hand and a gaping hole where your bank balance used to be.

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    Hey kids, how’s it going? Bet you’re enjoying the good weather out there aren’t you? We are too – in fact we’re enjoying it more than you because we’ve got some exciting, weather-related news that we’ve been hanging on to for ages, just waiting for the sun to rear its glorious golden head. You see way back when it was miserable and cold, we commissioned a few of our favourite illustrators to produce some beautiful, summery T-shirt designs for you all to enjoy when the warmer months came. So here we are with a whole stack of them, ready to wear out and about, perhaps with some shades on your face and a 99 in your hand.

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    I came across Dutch fashion designer Femke Agema flicking through an in-flight magazine on the way back from a recent trip to Amsterdam; one of the most enjoyable pre-take-off distractions I can remember. Femke’s work marries technical skill with some fantastical ideas as proved by her two most recent collections. For Elders, her 2013 spring/summer range, she took inspiration from our primordial emotional response to the onset of spring, “the simple joy we feel in being let loose into the wild to play in an environment overflowing with possibilities.”

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    It’s kind of a bold move to photograph a collection of shoes and more often than not just avoid photographing the actual shoes altogether. The result, however, is an absolute delight. With the combined talents of fashion designer Kostas Murkudis and the art direction of Studio Quentin Walesch, this otherwise potentially drab campaign has been spiced up into a delectable leg-fest. They’ve managed to single-handedly make legs of models and children look a little alien, and have also achieved the unthinkable – making a flip flop campaign very cool indeed.

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    It’s not often we feature a fashion shoot on It’s Nice That, but when we do, they are pretty spectacular. Edie Campbell (away from her usual light hues) dons jet black hair and the smokiest eyes I’ve ever seen for a US Vogue’s June 2013 shoot in Morocco, shot by well known photographer Peter Lindbergh. There is a loose story line following a lone traveller through Morocco and is rather unlike other fashion shoots, mainly due to the charming compositions detracting your gaze away from the clothes to the surrounding environment of mosaic tiles and desert landscape.

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    This year, third year students at Sweden’s Beckmans College of Design were offered the enviable opportunity of working with some of their country’s most prestigious fashion houses to collaborate on a project that saw them sharing seasonal inspirations and creating new designs based on the different ethos’ of the brands. In the spirit of Acne, one of the companies involved, they produced a tasty bit of print to accompany the collection that showcases the clothing as well as giving the fashion students a chance to collaborate with their graphic design contemporaries. Nobody let me work with any prestigious fashion houses when I was studying, but I’m sure even if they had the results wouldn’t have looked this good. But then I can’t sew.

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    It should be written in the do’s and don’ts of art and design blogging that stylists should never be forgotten. We often post about great fashion photographers and designers but leave out a crucial chunk of info as to who actually made that shoot so beautiful. So here’s Matthew Josephs, one of the most up-and-coming stylists of today.

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    Given that Condé Nast own Vogue and Vogue more or less controls global fashion, it seems only right and proper that the publishing giant should have its own fashion school with which to nurture and develop the future stars of its industry. So that’s exactly what they’ve done. The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design opened its doors last week, launching with a ten-week long Vogue Fashion Certificate as its inaugural offering. There’ll be more to come, without doubt, but it’s exciting to see a brand like Vogue taking its first steps into the educational arena. Look out LCF and CSM.

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    How the jiggery did we not know about this super project from Paris-based Korean designer Yvette Yang which has been going for SIX years now. For every season since 2007 Yvette has produced a Fashion-Font which turns the trends of that particular set of collections into a typeface. The hand-made results are fascinating, reflecting the whims of our sartorial overlords in a quirky, communicative and novel way.

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    Each day as Ali walks to work he passes a cafe where photographer Zoe Spawton works. One day, noticing how he wore consistently spectacular outfit, Zoe began photographing him and blogging about his sartorial choices. Not sneering or patronising, this blog is quite simply celebrating an elderly man full of character who does not just take genuine pride in his clothes, but has a true eye for style.

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    Barbara Hepworth has inspired countless creatives down the decades, the latest of which is fashion designer Peter Jensen. His new spring/summer womenswear collection directly referenced the “organic, feminine shapes of her work” and for its British launch last week, it was shown off amidst her sculptures at the the wonderful Hepworth Wakefield Gallery.

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    If fashion designer Markus Lupfer is to be believed, trendy men everywhere will be breaking out polkadot kilts and sweaters with marching bugs on them this summer. I’m all for it. Looking ahead to AW2013 Markus predicts a more restrained selection of gentleman’s skirts paired with camouflage shirts, surfing mice and an agile crab. At least that’s what we’re taking away from this promo video from illustrating whizz Rose Blake and animator Andy Baker that features a colourful array of inquisitive animated wildlife interacting with a rather sombre pair of grey models. Look out for the mouse with the hosepipe tail, he’s a real mischief-maker…

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    You love a dance-off, we love a dance-off, heck everyone in the world loves a dance-off truth be told. But this is a dance-off with a difference and is a fitting launch for the Diesel + Edun Studio Africa project we got all excited about last week.

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    We’re only just getting back to normal after the absolute barrage of fashion photography that’s been swarming around the internet in the last few weeks due to London and then Paris Fashion Week. Neither street-style, high-end editorial nor too trendy, this fashion photography has got a special quality to it that makes it stand out by miles from the rest. In his behind-the-scenes shots of shows, Erik Wåhlström manages to capture models pulling funny faces, chomping on bananas and just generally being normal human beings. His friendly, warmly-lit style makes him an absolute hit with some of the best magazines out there — it doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty spectacular at still-life shots too.