Shoes or Foes?

7 May

Designers are recentely a bit in cage because of fashion system crisis: they were told they need to slow down with their extravagant creations, trying to link themselves to a major number of clients, so more and more often their clothes are getting wearable, many times they re-invent collections inspired to previous ones by the same brand declining in different ways fashion statemens clients appreciated the most (buying concretely in stores).
Anyway, they’re still keeping a free-zone in which they can work as real artists, creating objects exactly as they had in mind, avoiding worries about “next phases” (anyone will buy it?): accessories, in particular shoes.
Let’s see what happens when designers’ imagination gets wild and leaves their heads directly aiming to reach our feets!

Alberto Guardiani lipstick heels

Balenciaga fall/winter 2010-2011

Cinderella inspired glass design heels by Åsa Jungnelius

LEGO Converse Chuck Taylors

Marloes ten Bhomers’ radical sculpture-shoes

The Alexander McQueen Spring 2010 shoes, Sea Creatures inspired

Marc Jacobs “backwards heels”

So, here you have just few examples of Beautiful Killers, that are pure joy for eyes and at the same time cause of extreme suffering for our poor feet and (not to forget) for our wallets (Alexander Mc Queen’s ones overcome 4000 $)!
Besides even many professional models seem to have quite a few problems handle with these creations…

What do you think? Can you “suffer” these fashion crimes or you’d like to see in shops just normal, wearable, practical, common (and maybe a bit boring) accessories?
Well, I guess you’ll easily get my opinion if you “carefully” analyze the adjectives I chose for the previous sentence!


United we stand, divided we fall: collaborations in fashion industry.

2 May

Collaborations between different brands are the way forward now in a rapidly changing fashion landscape.
Everyone from high-street retailers right through to smaller are collaborating with creatives from all disciplines in an effort to bring a bit of true individuality, exclusivity and authenticity back into fashion. Besides, this kind of cooperation between forces having same interests (selling their creations to as many clients as possible) but sometimes very different targets (e.g.: haute couture VS fast clothing clients) seems to give strenght, adding attractiveness, to a fashion world which is suffering the effects of the post global economic crisis.
What people want now? A nice price. The “nice price” gets fashion, but it’s not something simply temporary.
This attitude is taking the form of an earthquake hitting the fashion market: Topshop arrives in New York, in the middle of Soho, Zara opens shops very quickly all over the world even in places far from the fashion crowds like New Delhi or Bombay. As it seems, Zara (inditex Group) has a large number of designers at work everyday to be able to offer their clients new lines 12 times for year: big names of fashion maisons, once very snob, will have to reconsider this phenomenon to reach the success of fast fashion, so called for its abilty of proposing new clothes (almost) continuously.

Perfect example of a successful collaboration between big names and fast fashion is H&M, who recently put at work designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Victor & Rolf, Jimmy Choo and many more.
Here you have the wonderful spot created by H&M for the arrival in stores of the line conceived by Karl Lagerfeld, which ironically jokes about what the common posh chanel haute couture target clients of Lagerfeld could think about this “joint venture”.

“Why have a garden when you can have a forest?”

H&M reached infact, during the first session of 2009-2010 exercise, a net income of 3,74 billion of  crowns (386 millions of euros), overcoming the result of 2008 of the 45% and surprising the analysts.
This is the reason why the group is planning to open 73 new stores soon (mostly in the UK, China, Norway, Denmark and  Deutscheland).
The reason of this success? Collaborations, absolutely!

Fake it until you make it pt. II

18 Apr

We already talked in this blog about notorious it bag Birkin by Hermès, one of the “most desired” accessories for fashionistas at every age. This time I’m gonna show you another unusual approach to get to have one (again, waiting for a real one): painted on your shirt!
The idea came to two young venetian students who started by chance to create some ironic t-shirts just for them and their friends representing their icons in a slightly ironic style and that then created a brand named Scandalousinnuendos (quote from a literature essay). This is how the two students describe their attitude to this line:

We really can say that everything started from a game, and as a game it’s going on (even if we admit we got some satisfactions like the fact that some vjs from Mtv wore our shirts).

Some of their favourite subjects are fashion-world inspired: queen of Vogue America Anna Wintour, girls’passion for diamonds and, last but not the least…Birkins!

So, as diamonds and Hermès bags are a privilege for happy few, these young designers decided to put them directly on our t-shirts, in order to let us proudly wear them in everyday life…you know how they say: “well pleased is well served” (especially in these hard post-crisis times).
Their link to potential costumers is once again the web, as they sell their creations exclusively through myspace and their success is mostly due to a word of mouth advertising thanks to different blogs looking for new trends to share with their visitors.

Jeremy Scott: when the concept gets over the wearable.

28 Mar

What we’ve seen so far in this blog: young designers willing to reach a massive number of clients for their creations by being competitive thanks to low prices or proposing innovative works and notorious historic brands like Hèrmes trying to add a new playful side to the perception of the maison by its costumers.
Now it’s time to analyze “fashion jokes” from another point of view, the one of the designer-artist who just wants to create what he has in his mind, not caring so much about reaching “the crowds”.
Perfect example of this attitude is american designer Jeremy Scott, known for his high octane and outrageous designs favoured by pop stars and celebrities.
Started in 1997, Jeremy Scott’s line is an example of lowbrow culture transformed into high art. The designs of its lines change drastically every season with the evolution of Scott’s personal thoughts and whims.

Karl Lagerfeld referred to him as “the only designer who could ever take over after him when he leaves Chanel” and while Scott can’t be considered “common people’s favourite designer”, his influence on fashion world is getting more and more important.
Many of his clients are infact notorious celebrities, who can afford both prices and high extravagance of Jeremy Scott’s creations. Just a few names: Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Gwen Stefani, Beth Ditto, Agyness Deyn, Lady Gaga (and many more others).
His designs incorporate unconventional looks, including one-legged pants, fast food as inspiration for dresses, and pop icons such as Mickey Mouse. He has been referred to as the Jeff Koons of fashion because of this use of iconic pop cultural references.

Jeff Koons ; Jeremy Scott

Jeremy Scott is also known for many collaborations with influent names of fashion and luxury world like Swarovski, Christian Louboutin, Stephen Jones, Linda Farrow, Happy Valley New York, Longchamp, Ksubi and Yoox.
In 2003 Scott started a succesful collaboration with sport brand Adidas, with a line called Jeremy Scott for Adidas for which he creates “originals by originals” features apparel and footwear and pieces as his high top with a wing extending from it have become an instant best seller and a cultural Icon for Adidas. Jeremy has also worked closely with the foundation for the late artist Keith Haring for which Jeremy did a shoe and track suit using Haring’s graphic art work with Adidas for a special project called AdiColor.

So, what can we learn from Jeremy Scott’s experience? He delivers a good humour irreverence with his collections and we can either admire or hate his audacity, with which he seems to say: be able to laugh about fashion! After all, isn’t fashion “just” a show?
Jeremy Scott always put on a great show as his collections always come out strong, with a huge part of creative drama in it, that makes fashion show designer’s personal tableau, with a story to tell.
This american designer give people “stories” that he exposes on catwalks, his models are all actors of his plays. If you buy something, don’t you wanna know what’s the idea behind it? This is what Jeremy Scott thinks.
Will this idealistic approach to fashion survive mala tempora of economic crisis? This is something that just time will be able to show!

Karl Lagerfeld & Naco-Paris: if you can’t beat them, join them!

16 Mar

Karl Lagerfeld is a fashion guru. A mastermind and creative genius in his own right. He has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects, most notably as head designer and creative director for the fashion house Chanel. Lagerfeld helms as well his own label fashion house (Karl Lagerfeld) and the Italian house Fendi.

The internet community put an enormous focus on one of his “bags” in 2009, when the designer was spotted in Nice carrying this canvas eco-handbag…very far from Chanel unreachable style! The “Who Bag?” is designed by Naco-Paris, underground French fashion designer. Fun fact: Naco-Paris won a court case against Chanel over the use of the Chanel logo (that he used a lot in many different ways in his creations, as you can see in the following photos).
One minute they are in court together and the next Karl Lagerfeld is wearing a Naco-Paris design…and not viceversa!

The designer of Naco-Paris

The press calls him “The only designer who doesn’t like fashion!” or “Fashion’s Robin Hood”. Since 2001 he’s been developing “unisexwear” collections based on his personal universe, underground, unusual and filled with a lot of artistic references.
His line of clothes presents an ultra-modern aesthetics, mixing minimalism and punk attitude in order to denunce the luxury industry’s craze for consumption.
As many others brand new designers, his success is mostly due to the internet word-of-mouth advertising: the pic of Karl carrying the bag gave the brand a huge fame that broadcast rapidly thanks to networks like myspace, facebook or web sites collecting photos of young “outfiters” from all over the world wearing the creations of Naco-Paris.
Enjoying this way an international reputation, Naco-Paris is now sold in the world’s most famous “fashion cities”: Paris with Colette, Arty Dandy and Victoire, London, Berlin, Hong-Kong, Milan, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Dubai, Beirut and his collections also lead to a general craze in Japan, where they are widely distributed in cult boutiques of Tokio, Osaka and Nagoya.

ps. anyone interested in buying this extremely ironic handbag? Available now through for 50 €.

The treachery of images.

12 Mar

+   =

This René Magritte inspired t-shirt is by 5Preview, italian born label which owes its success to myspace. Here you have an estract from an interview to one of the label’s creators:

5Preview was created by chance in january 2008. For many years I worked for another label where I learned a lot. Then one day I made a “do-it-yourself” article for a magazine about making prints on shirts. I put on myspace a pic of one of my shirts and I suddenly got so many requests about where they could find tees like that! So i needed a brand name and a logo, and it was pure minimal inspiration. The major intent was the one of making a starting collection of 5 pieces (this is the reason of “5 Preview”, the preview of an entire collection!). 5Preview got much attention from medias, magazines like Dazed & Confused and SUINO first talked about us, then many more others like Glamour, Vanity Fair and GQ published photos of our clothes. Slowly 5Preview became known not only in Italy, Japan and UK, but also in Scandinavia and North Europe thanks to a collaboration with svedish label WEEKDAY.

A growing success so, up to the distribution in shops all over the world, enthusiasm by the media, celebs and rockstars. All their t-shirts are tailor-made, rigorously white and hand printed, with an irreverent and debunking attitude towards the logos and the surrounding reality, all with an ultra-cool minimal aesthetics and a powerful immediate impact.

Now let’s dig deeper in artists’ inspirations. Why these t-shirts? Why the minimal black&white look? :

To avoid a “cheap” product, like the effect of shirts by Henry Holland a couple of years ago. Nowadays the consumer got so much to chose…That comes to my mind anytime I go to Starbucks and I JUST would like a normal coffee (no soya milk, no fatfreemilk, no fatfreesoyamilk and so on). Why do we have to complicate our lives by giving to much possibility of chosing to the clients? My world is in black and white, I dress like that and people around me dress like that too.
My ideas came from a deep research and from what I see around me: concerts, streetart, “quotes” from toilets’ walls, performances by unknown or famous artists (right now I’m totally into Hopper and Pettibon), street markets. I make photos, drawings and then I put all together and I reclean it. I cut, I try to make it minimal. This is what I do!

So…what do you think about the idea which gave life to this line?
This is just a sort of introduction to 5Preview’s world, I’ll talk about this brand more very soon in this blog! Stay tuned!

Vogue Fashion’s Night Out: everyone is invited!

9 Mar

“The city of Milan decided to participate to an extraordinary global event to reaffirm the centrality of fashion for the city and to support, in this hard time for economy, the whole sector, important voice of italian’s economy.”

This is how Letizia Moratti, major of Milan, announced last year the participation of the city to the Vogue Fashion’s Night Out, an international project that had place simoultaneously in many capitals like London, Paris, New York and Mumbai the night of september the 9th. What was the purpose of this event? Make common people feel closer to the fashion world.
Mission impossible? Not at all!
That night boutiques, shops, big stores and any kind of selling points prolonged their opening hours and stylists, fashion editors, models and celebrities were there, ready to show themselves available for fashion advices and much more.
“About fashion, Milan certainly got a predominant global position. That’s why Vogue Fashion’s Night Out wants to give consumers the possibility of freely entering in shops and meeting designers and celebrities in order to render fashion world more accessible and less elitarian. Major Letizia Moratti, by supporting this project, confirmed once more the importance of fashion for this city”, underlined Franca Sozzani, chief director of Vogue Italia.

Among the initiatives, the production of “limited edition” lines of clothes and accessories and the sell of benefit tees signed by designers and celebrities present at the event.

So, here we are once again: fashion élites now want to (or at least they want to look like they’re willing to) meet the “masses”, trying to create a sort of link that let people feel that what they see in magazines is real.
Touch it, feel it, meet it, talk with it, appreciate it and then…buy it! And most of all, the moral was: do not fear US!
Luxury shops usually scare lots of people, who just give a look at shopping windows trying not to instaure eye-contact with perfectly dressed, snobbish shop assistants. That night those same shops were full of curious crowds that maybe will come back in future, after having understood that Devil may wear Prada, but Prada shop (& co) is not Devil!
I personally attended this event and I met many celebrities just taking a walk down Via Monte Napoleone or Via della Spiga and then stopping by for a while to have a drink at Armani’s or Versace’s…and “normal people” could get in there too!
The event had an enormous success, this is why next year it will be reproposed… As soon as I get some news about next year edition I’ll certainly write about it!

ps. That magic night I also managed to take a picture with Anna Piaggi , one of my idles, casually met in Via S.Andrea. I love Fashion Night Out!