Monday, 21 November 2011

A Slightly Gothic Victoriana-inspired Retrospective

Hello! Just a break away from my exploration of different Japanese Designers with my 'Slightly Gothic Victoriana-inspired Retrospective' - Sincerely. what else was I going to call it? Though in many cases 'Victoriana' would be the wrong word to use, and I should have probably dropped it in favour of neo-victorian.
Anywho, I have had an alright, if a little tiring day. Looking forward to a German Speaking Exam (if you had not noticed, there was a sarcastic ring to that) and trying to remember where I left the very detailed scene-by-scene plan for the play I am writing. *Sigh*

So, moving swiftly back to the subject at hand, my neo-victorian outfits. Alright, so the first one looks more like a costume, but the other three are what I would call Victorian Inspired day-to-day clothing. Sort of. I would wear the third one to an evening somewhere, but probably not to Town. If one dresses up all the time, then one will feel less special when dressing for special occasions.
So what is this outfit? Well, a black straw hat from Peter Bettley, an essential if one is really going for a Victorian Look. A Lady would never leave the House without a hat. Which is funny, because I have done just that in the next two upcoming outfits, but as I have already said, they are more 'inspired by' than attempting to be truly historically accurate. The Jacket I am wearing in the photo was a birthday present from my friend, Jemma. At first I was worried it was not going to fit me, but thank heavens, if worn with quite a light layer underneath, it does. This light layer was a 'Phase Eight' poet blouse in ivory with a drawstring collar. The skirt is a simple black practise skirt, and can be worn with almost everything.

This Second of my Four Outfits is completely different. More whimsical, with a cloak and no hat, could possibly be considered as even having Medieval vibes. 

I am wearing an emerald green cloak from 'Void' an alternative clothing shop in Nottingham. Not that I would go in there without my friend, Jemma. Alone, it would make me feel slightly uncomfortable... and stand out in the wrong way. Not sure where the white glove came from and I was only able to find one. The Dress is also emerald green, vintage and adopted from my Grandmother, with gold bow buttons. Lastly, the same skirt as in the first outfit, and a gold scarf around my waist.

This third outfit was an entirely velvet concotion: full-length black gown adopted from my Mother (previously seen in my red&black piece) and the new coat of which I had spoken in my last post. The detail on the sleeve of it is absolutely gorgeous, though you can unfortunately not see it in these pictures.

I am less sure of what my aim was with this one. It really is a sumptuous combo, managing to be surprisingly warm, and stylish at the same time.
Yes, I am all in black and, in some of these photos, it does make my skin look rather pale (which it is. I tend to avoid tans as far away from the Summer as the end of Autumn is)

Actually, although I did not believe it would be so beforehand, this may have been my favourite of these outfits. I also thought that the burnt orange of the tree's leaves with the dew-covered green of the glass and the completely white and empty skyline, worked well with the impression I was trying to give.

Pray, take no note of the trampoline in the background of this photo. It is far enough in the background anyway for it not to be a real issue.

This outfit has been described by a friend of mine as 'a cross between a Charles Dicken Character and something from a fairytale' and by another as, simply, 'Pirate-like' though I hardly see the latter. It has a few steampunk vibes too.

It is made up of a green jacket (intended to be worn with the green dress of two photos ago) a Laura Ashley white blouse, the same black practise skirt, a belt, a string of pearls and a Kangol Hat.

Thank you for reading. Comment. Which was your favourite outfit? Remember to check back soon.

Ciao, ciao, ciao!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Japanese Fashion Pt. 2 >>> Issey Miyake

Hello! Me again - who else would it be anyhow? I hope you have all had a wonderful week and a lovely day. I made the most my day, spending all morning at my Drama Club, then all afternoon in Town, where my Maman eventually purchased a gorgeous coat from 'British Heart Foundation' for me. *Smiley Face* Update on the top ten countries: Italy has been knocked out of the top ten to be replaced by Germany.

On to today's post. I am continuing my exploration of Japanese Fashion with Issey Miyake though, admittedly, some of the designs will not be his. From 1999 to 2007, Naoki Takizawa was creative director and (since he opened his own brand) Dai Fujiwara.

Issey Miyake

  • Born on 22 April 1938 in Hiroshima. As a seven year-old, witnessing and surviving the atomic bomb on August 6, 1945.
  • Studied graphic design at the Tam Art University in Tokyo, graduating in 1964. After graduation, he worked in Paris and New York. Returning to Tokyo in 1970, he founded the Miyake Design Studio, a high-end producer of women's fashion.
  • In the late 80s, he experimented with new methods of pleating. This resulted in the creation of a new technique called 'garment pleating'
  • Issey Miyake’s style is best known for its blend of flowing fabrics and designs of Eastern style with the technology and modern sensibilities of Western style. Using a wide array of both natural and synthetic materials, Miyake likes to be seen as an artist rather than a designer, developing new ways to utilize both function and form in his designs.
The Following are different Issey Miyake lines:
  • Issey Miyake - Main collection line, subdivided into men (since 1978/85) and women (since 1971)
  • Issey Miyake Fête - Colourful women's line that "draws on the technological innovations of Pleats Please" (since 2004)
  • Pleats Please Issey Miyake - Polyester jersey garments for women that are first "cut and sewn and then pleated - normally, fabric is first pleated and then cut and sewn (since 1989/93)
  • HaaT - Women's line, designed by Miyake's former textile designer, Makiko Minagawa. (since 2000).
  • A-POC - Custom-collection for men and women. Tubes of fabric are machine-processed and can be cut into various shapes by the consumer. (since 1997)
  • me Issey Miyake - Line of "exclusive one-sized shirts that stretch to fit the wearer" (since 2001)
  • Issey Miyake Watches - Men's and women's watches.
  • Issey Miyake Parfums - Line of fragrances for men and women.
  • Evian by Issey Miyake - Limited edition bottle designed by Issey Miyake for Evian water.
  • 21-21 Design Sight (a play on 20/20 vision)
  • The Miyake Issey Foundation

Here is my analysis of the latest collection: Issey Miyake Spring 2012, and the first collection for Yoshiyuki Miyamae.
It was beautiful, detailing the life of a flower as a metaphor for the life of a woman, done in an enchanting way.
Naturally, the head-dresses gave a great deal in helping guess the theme in question, to the point that even the dense would have had a problem not recognising the core inspiration.
On the other hand, there were a great many more subtle references. "The fagoting on seams, representing the veins on a leaf." or the slits on clothes symbolising a bud bursting.

 Bud, stem, petal, blossom, bloom... these were the key stages represented and, when I chose my top ten looks from the collection, I did remember to choose a variety rather than (for example) nine nude ones and one purple.

As the collection progresses, the delightful materials seemingly floating down the catwalk, the colours got brighter, radiating into yellow. This continued, cooling into ice blues then finally burning into an infusion of purples, vibrant oranges and pinks then chocolate browns.

The looks went from breezy and lady-like to chic, sporty looks with tight leggings, glazed over with bright, and tribal, patters. The hats always very origami-esque... as are a great many Issey Miyake Designs.

    I realise that if you have just been reading this, and looking at the pictures I have used, you may get the impression that Issey Miyake is always very colourful. Although it is true that his designs are often a lot more vibrant than other japanese designers, he does do a lot of black and white shades too. In fact, his 2011 Autumn/Winter Collection was entirely monochrome.

    Anywho, thank you for reading. Please comment, and tell me which of the Issey Miyake looks is your favourite. I would be interested to know. Remember to check back regularly and, if you are from Italy, tell your friends to take a look and you might be able to knock Germany back out of the top ten - who knows? :)

    Wednesday, 16 November 2011

    Japanese Fashion, Pt. 1 >>> Rei Kawakubo

    Salutations to my not-so-numerous number of fans! Yes, I have not posted in fifteen days. *Small smile* but 'en revanche' I have a few little numbers ready for your enjoyment, written by yours truly. Who else? In a few days (or weeks, depending on the time available) I hope to do a little piece on eyeliner, and everything that may or may not entail. However, that which I wish to do now is a piece called Japanese Fashion, Pt.1 Oh, and in a few days, I shall also do a Fashion Piece on each of the ten countries where I have the most views... and this can honestly change at any moment... as well as putting together an outfit, again based on these countries. So, who are in the Top ten so far? The three who are pretty firmly at the top are the UK, France and the USA with, fighting for the other seven places, Spain, Poland, Russia, Canada, New Zealand and, in the danger zone, Egypt and Italy. Oh, and as I am writing this, I have just had my first noticeable views from Bulgaria... which will hopefully not get too high. I would have no idea what to come up with as an outfit - though I would

    love the challenge!

    Anywho, here we go again. I will kick-start my exploration of Japanese Fashion with, a personal favourite, Rei Kawakubo for 'Comme des Garcons'

     And, just for all of you who are sitting there thinking 'Who on Earth is she?' (you probably should not be reading this sort of blog) I shall give you some basic background info.

    • Born on the 11th of October 1942 in Tokyo, making her a Libra - like me!
    • Utrained as a fashion designer, but studied fine arts and literature at Keio University. Kawakubo worked in textiles and began working as a freelance stylist in 1967.
    • In 1973, she established her own company, Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo and opened up her first boutique in Tokyo in 1975. Starting out with women's clothes, Kawakubo added a men's line in 1978. Three years later, she started presenting her fashion lines in Paris each season, opening up a boutique in Paris in 1982.
    • Her Designs have inspired, among others, the Fashion Designers Helmut Lang, Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester (I know people who thought Kawakubo was a hard name to spell. This designer is the one also known as, the brilliant belgian fashion designer's whose name I can not spell and, when I am tired, can certainly not pronounce.

    Now, I do not wish to stereotype, but Rei, like many other Japanese Fashion Designers, does have a liking for the monochrome... and unwearable pieces.

    Comme des Garçons specialises in anti-fashion, austere, sometimes deconstructed garments. During the 1980s, her garments were primarily in black, dark grey or white. The materials were often draped around the body and featured frayed, unfinished edges along with holes and a general asymmetrical shape. Challenging the established notions of beauty she created an uproar at her debut Paris fashion show where journalists labeled her clothes 'Hiroshima chic' amongst other things. Since the late 1980s her colour palette has grown somewhat.
    So, although interesting, this Spring/Summer 2012 collection was not exactly far off expectations when it was presented on the 1st October 2011 during Paris Fashion Week.

    It was a collection influenced by different stages of life: Birth, Marriage, Death and Transcendence. This is apparent through the use of Duchesse Satin, a typical choice for a wedding dress, to represent the Marriage Stage, and even the densest of observers could not have failed to observe the wedding dress-like shapes and forms. There were also more oblique, so to speak, references. Not everybody would have picked up straight away on the pointy-headed robes like those worn by church dignitaries during Seville's Semana Santa, or the white flowers, as in 'a body laid out in white flowers'

    Were there hints of the 60s? In line with the current Fashion. If you do not think so, then pray take a glance at the white boots.

    Finally, was there a little of the Cristobal Balenciaga in all this. Not particularly in terms of clothes. Although there may be a similarity in silhouette with some of his designs, I do not think Cristobal was really this avant-garde. ;) No, I reference Cristobal Balenciaga, a deeply religious man who elevated the craft of couture to the level of spiritual quest. He believed he could find salvation in the perfect sleeve. It was probably coincidence that sleeves were the signal detail of the Comme collection (they were long and wide, falling almost to the floor)
    Missy Rayder in 'Comme des Garcons' June
    2004. Photography by Richard Burbridge.

    2008 collaboration with H&M
    Ok, so now I have briefed you quickly on the ins and outs of this latest collection, I shall turn matters to past collections, photo shoots and looks, letting these fabulous photos do the talking (well, with a little comment for each but, knowing it's me, it is not going ti get much better than that)
    Thank you for reading. Tell your Friends. Spread the word.
    Spring/Summer 1995
    (The year of my Birth!)

    Comme des Garcons 1990
    Comme des Garcons 1982
    Comme des Garcons 1997
      So... remember to check back regularly. I promise to try to post more often >> and things should get better from January onwards. Since, next year, I will be trying to aim for one hundred posts throughout the year.
    Oh, and comment. I answer every comment I receive, even the negative ones, and am happy with anything.


    Tuesday, 1 November 2011

    Autumn Vibes

    Floating my Boat

    An eclectic mixture of things that have been leaving a smile on my face this Autumn. The last in my three-part exploration.
    • The Little Velvet Dress (or in my case, the floor-length velvet evening gown too)
    • Hats! Hats! And more HATS! The stranger, the better.
    • Landing a speaking part in a Local production of 'The Three Musketeers' during next Summer for four and a half weeks across July and August.
    • Brooches > Whether Fantasy buttons and strings, semi-precious stones or diamonds, this is the perfect way to accessorise. More to come on this Subject.
    • Knee-length, sophisticated tutu skirts. In elegant black or whimsical lilac.
    • This Lanvin Fall 2011 advert. I find it so absolutely charming.

      • Petrarchan Sonnets
      • Green = Emerald Green, Olive Green, Chartreuse... Green and Brown. Chocolate and Mint.
      • Sous le ciel de Paris (Juliette Greco)
        Un ano de Amor (Luz Casal)
        Parlami d'amore Mariù (Tino Rossi)
        Que sera sera (Doris Day) > As well as all of the simply breathtaking dresses she wears.

      • Knee-high boots. In any colour. In any style.... but always (on second thoughts, I am for freedom of expression. Do whatever you wish to do) on display. Tuck trousers in.
      • Colourful, impractical and whimsical Scarves - wrapped around your neck, waist, head, leg (but if it's an Hermes, only around your neck). Heck! Experiment to the max.
      • Ladylike Fashion. Strings of pearls, modest necklines and skirtlines, neat hairstyles and gorgeous gloves. Flattering to so many people and, worn on teenagers, rank with a certain sophisticated irony.
      • Central Heating > You only realise how much you depend on it when it isn't there anymore, the day you wake up with a frozen nose and blue toes.
      • Mika's outfit in his Kick-ass video. *Love* Both of them! Somehow, on the way up from the street, he manages to change his outfit and clean his face. Oh, and Mika's new album in February! *Die*

      • BBC iPlayer, allowing late night comedy programmes to be available at all hours, and all through lazy Sunday Mornings.
      • Daydreams. Helping you to realise that whatever happens in life, whatever goes wrong, you will always have something to trust and believe in - imagination.
      • My Birthday
      • Florence Welch.
      • Spain > Upcoming Spanish Exchange.
      • Mary Katrantzou. The clothes just keep getting better.