Friday, 25 September 2009

Philip Preiswerk: Fantastic Flamboyance

Following his graduation from Central Saint Martins I have read about Philip Preiswerk...his sculptural dresses have recieved rave reviews.  However, the pictures apparently don't do justice to the real thing.  I saw his work at the Red Bull Fashion Factory's graduate show and was blown away.  By one dress in particular...a high shine asymmetrical black pleated fantasy dress.

When I returned from London Fashion Week I was asked if all of the clothes were completely for show and unwearable.  Whilst I answered no, not all, some of these are.  However, like pieces of art they are things of beauty to be appreciated...if for their skill and impact alone.  I would love to see this translate into more wearable pieces...a mini dress with distinct moulding across the shoulders or a bandeau dress holding an unusual shape with clever wiring?  I'll be looking out for him...I'm sure this won't be his last collection and I can't wait to see the next.  I did attempt to take pictures for you but was blown away and so paid no attention and they aren't that good but I've sourced some for you...

Images taken by Chris Moore as seen on from a previous show

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Working Girl

Today was my first day in a new job.  I am general dogsbody for Design by Janine, a dance specialist, for whom I will be doing all sorts of jobs to make sure the handmade one-offs are completed and reach the clients.  I like to think of myself as a 'designer's assistant'.

This is not exactly what I trained to do at university but the more I think about it the more grateful I am to have a job at all.  After all, I know Janine and so was offered the job without application or interview...I have previously done work experience there though and so I have already proven myself.  Yet, whilst I got work so easily, thousands of people across the country are struggling.

The thing is I was one of those people, and in terms of the job I wanted out of university still am, and it pains me to hear of thousands of people applying for mediocre jobs at McDonald's or to be Christmas staff at department stores.  Whilst people seem to think further education is the answer I don't believe it is.  This problem is not going to be solved in the year that you do a masters...or maybe even the three in which you do a degree.  I say this because a tiny percentage of graduates I know have a job doing what they dreamed of before university.

Working is not easy lately...even if you want to.  At the Job Centre about a month ago though I did hear one man say "dude I'm just gonna go chill out and have a joint" so at least not everyone that's unemployed is competition. So good luck to anyone out there searching...hope you wish me luck too.  Not only in my current job but in finding the job of my dreams.  Let's be honest, if you lose track of those dreams what do you have left?  Though in the meantime I'm part of making some very beautiful things...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Miss Led brings street art to fashion

Miss Led has been dubbed "the first lady of Street Art" as the only woman ever to win the urban street art competition 'Secret Wars'.  This lovely madame graced the Red Bull Fashion Factory with her presence during London Fashion Week's 25th anniversary, giving guests an insight into her work and how she goes about it.

She grabbed my attention in particular, whilst other illustrators in the room sketched out exactly where they wanted things and went about painting bit by bit Miss Led's work developed, from one long sweep of grey to the hair of two people (we thought it was one) and then into an entire picture.  Both funky and elegant the image matched Miss Led herself, who looked quirky and beautiful each day...though I'm not quite sure how she risked getting paint on such lovely clothes, I would have been covered!

Her work has a fairytale, whimsical feel to it.  Delicate wth an eccentric element it is far from the graffiti that many people envisage when thinking of street art.  Sublime.  My friend and I were interested to see the art work flow over onto her body with a curving peacock feather on her shoulder blade...very similar to the one my friend has curling round the inside of her knee.  Check out Derek Bremner's pictures of her at work at the Fashion Factory (which is the source of the image used in this post!), Miss Led's website or her flickr page.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Sod's Law

Inevitably, for me anyway, Sod's Law doesn't only mean if something can go wrong it will.  It means everything will go wrong, usually on one day to cause extreme inconvenience.  That day was Sunday.

I journeyed to London to attend the Red Bull Fashion Factory as a guest to "The Hub", a place for 75 creatives to get exclusive glimpses at the new trends, participate in Q&A sessions with important people, draw, paint and generally hang out.  It didn't really go this way on Sunday.  Not much was going on apart from people filming us and taking photographs.  Needless to say, my friend and I felt rather on show.  So we left.

Following this some other things happened, including a perplexing trip to the Natural History Museum...I was naive and expected actual skeletons rather than "casts"...and I tripped over almost everything including perfectly flat surfaces.

On the tube from London Bridge to Oxford Circus, heading for a burger and a shake at the Diner off Carnaby Street, we discussed Sod's Law in reference to seeing people you don't want to see.  We noted that whilst London is a big place you have a tendancy to bump into people you know...only when you don't want to see them. After walking in the wrong direction for a while we  arrive at the Diner an hour later than expected...and see someone I know.  A boy I find rather attractive...but that has a girlfriend.  I was also a feeling a mess.  Typical.  I grumbled as he disappeared to the toilet and then he left, not noticing me even once.

I couldn't believe I had experienced the quintessential Sod's Law moment within an hour of discussing how it exactly works.  I was baffled.  Then I broke a lamp.  Simply snuffed out the light by catching it with a ketchup bottle.  I broke into hysterical laughter and suddenly everything we had experienced throughout the day seemed like one big story to tell.  A story that is way too long for a mere blog post.  Though I can share my friend Katie's disasterous attempt at eating a rather large burger, which actually played part in the odd day that we had...

Friday, 18 September 2009

"I don't like the person I have become."

I answered the phone today and was greeted by a very lonely voice.  Of course my friend assured me that nothing was wrong...for 20 minutes.  Then she admitted to viewing her ex boyfriends Facebook.  His comment in regards to becoming single again: "Shit happens."

Clearly yes, shit does happen...often in the form of Facebook.  In the dating world Facebook can be the answer to all your prayers or the worst hell imaginable.  I cannot count the number of people...ok lets be honest women...that have declared Facebook to be the devil.  For several reasons in particular:

1. Everyone knows, and usually comments, on your breakup when "Single" pops up by your name.  What's worse is that at one point that was accompanied by a broken heart, I'm not sure that still happens.  I believe Facebook realised the cruelty in this.

2. You are, of course, friends with your ex and can then see every event, link, wall post or picture that comes up.  Therefore you can see that they're having a good time without you.

3. Pictures of your ex boyfriend with a new girl appear...often accompanied by funny funny people commenting things like "Awww."  For your information when you are also friends with his ex girlfriend this is not fucking wise.  In fact, girls have been known to become overwhelmed with nasty thoughts about girls they previously loved.

4. Suddenly your ex is in a relationship with someone else.  'Luke Smith is now in a relationship with Sarah Taylor" (also known as 'that girl' by many) pops into the news feed accompanied by a picture of the happy couple.

Argh.....and if that isn't enough to make almost every girl want to tear their hair out (even if they no longer like this boy) many girls begin then to dislike themselves.  A dear friend of mine, who was always completely secure in herself, admitted to losing who she really is.  This is not a rarity.  These aspects can make a girl jealous, insecure, unwanted, generally massively screwed up.  The reason for this is be unhappy without a boyfriend is not a good way to be.  Suddenly you're the girl you poked fun at whilst at know the one, they go one boy to the next or constantly crying when drunk and running out of parties.

So on the phone she declared: "I don't like the person I have become.  This girl isn't fun, she mopes around, she's either a recluse or shes blindingly drunk.  I don't like this girl, she's not who I want to be."  Well I'd like to say I have a solution but I don't.  One thing I do know is that in a break up Facebook is pretty evil.  So don't look at his Facebook, don't go on Facebook at all or even delete your account if it's causing that much trouble.  Just please God don't sit looking at that broken heart, at their smiling faces or his friends comments about how wonderful things currently are.  Go cold turkey and get back into the real world.  Especially if you're friends with me...because with a phone calls notice I can be waiting with some chilled white wine and a spare bed for sleepovers after a night out.

So what did YOU think of District 9?

Last night I went to the cinema with the boys...I didn't even doubt their film choice.   I did wish I had some female company to discuss the film with because whilst Neill Blomkamp's District 9 is most definitely science fictionit actually gives a picture of what real life is like.

Set in Johannesburg, an alien ship arrives and remains suspended over the city.  Cutting into the ship the government finds a mass of malnurished aliens, referred to as 'prawns', who they house in District 9, a highly militarised slum within Johannesburg.  Twenty years later the film sees the prawns discriminated against, forced to give any technology bearing their mark simply because the humans don't understand it.  In particular amazing alien weapons, which can only be activited by someone with their genetics.

This leaves the prawns abused, weaponless in a society consistently using weapons against them, ready to be evicted to a concentration style camp called Disctrict 10 240km away from Johannesburg.  Wikus, an agent from MNU (Multinational United) has the job og evicted the prawns, finding any 'illegal' elements such as nests of eggs and weapons along the way.  Not understanding a tube he finds he attempts to open it, spraying himself with alien fluid that infects him and causes him to begin the transformation into a prawn.

Wikus becomes highly valuable as the only human to successfully blend their DNA with that of the aliens, allowing him to utilise their weapons.  On the run from government experimentations Wikus meets alien Christopher, who was intending to use the fluid to power the mothership back to their home planet.  They team up with the promise that Christopher can cure Wikus.

I would have explained it in a shorter way if apologies.  To me, the film highlighted the fact that society has a way of shunning or abusing what they don't understand.  There was almost a sense that the aliens were like immigrants...lacking in resources, suffering, most definitely not always embraced by the country to which they move.  These undertones were very clever and combined with an awful amount of fighting, weapons and gore made for a very good "boy film" the boys I went to referred to it.

As we left they all chattered amongst themselves and then turned to me..."so what did YOU think?" they each asked with this big grin on their faces.  I can't say I didn't enjoy it because I did...though the gore from the transformation completely turned my stomach at times and the shaky hand held camera work (which in any film just annoys me because it makes it difficult for me to watch)...but I believe I enjoyed it for entirely different reasons to them.

I didn't see the prawns as aliens but as misunderstood refugees that society was unwilling to accept, let alone help them learn what is right and wrong in order for them to integrate with society.  I read into it a lot more than the boys, maybe I should just say there's lots of blood, guns, bombs, government action and aliens...boys you'll love it.  I will advise women though to not eat food whilst watching it and to make sure there is another intelligent female there to discuss the almost uncomfortable comparisons made with real life.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

"But I'm only a baby..."

Since moving home I have realised that I appear to be surrounded by small children and people expecting even smaller children.  As someone that doesn't relish the thought of how wonderfully natural giving birth is this is a strange concept to me.  What is even stranger is the fact that these children seem to like me.  They want to cuddle, to get kisses, to play and usually to cover me in their mess.  This is fine of course, I expect it, I just don't get why as I feel I am missing the maternal gene.

One thing I do understand is the concept of discipline.  The fact that children over a certain age are not allowed dummies, should not put shoes on the sofa, should definitely not pick the new puppy up by its tail or think it's ok to escape out the back gate at my Gran's house...forcing her to chase after them before they hit the brook that is a short distance away.

Children are remarkably good at ignoring what they don't want to hear though.  Also at turning the word no around on you...

"Caleb get out of the dogs bed." - "No."
"Marnie don't run you'll fall over." - "No." (Closely followed by Marnie falling over.  And then Caleb.  In quick succession.)
"Jay why don't you eat that dinner nicely." - "No." (Jay also likes to cover her eyes to make sure that you know she's going to try her best to pretend you're not even there with the spoon..."

My brother Caleb (3) on his first day at nursery school last week:

The newest line though, that all children seem to be picking up on, is "but I'm only a baby."  Commonly used when they don't want to walk, talk, listen, feed themselves or give back the 'bedtime' dummy that they stole.  Isn't it funny though that they are never a baby when it's time to go to nursery school, to a friends party, run along the street miles away from you ignorant to your shouting, or indeed when any 'grown up food' (in my moms case posh cake and expensive low fat yoghurt) is spied on the fridge.

I, however, have made a decision...I'm going to adopt this behaviour when in their company.  Next time they want me to read a story I'm going to say that I'm only a baby and therefore incapable of reading.  If they can turn no around on me then I'm definitely stealing this one.  After all, they're getting too old to believe that I can suddenly fall asleep immediately after finishing The Gruffalo for the third time in a row.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Wrap it up!

Moments after pressing publish on my last blog post I read an article on The Cool Hunter about their potential new venture with Mini Cooper...wraps to entirely cover your Mini.  So if I've made you feel out of date with a standard Mini rather than an electric version maybe this will interest you.  It won't make your car eco-friendly or save you money in petrol but it will completely revamp it.

Imagery from The Cool Hunter website demonstrating the possibilies from wrapping your car:

The Cool Hunter are also calling for designers/illustrators/art directors to submit potential designs to put towards their final 25.  Check out this article for more details.

100% eco-friendly, 100% Mini...

Whilst on the GQ website the other day I saw an BMQ advertisement calling for field testers for the new Mini E and I got all excited.  Considering I don't live in the London area and I don't have a driving license I'm not sure why.  I think it's because despite the fact they say it's an experiment I don't believe it'll stay that long as they can get the price right.  This is the first practical, entirely electric, zero emissions car.  This has got to be a good development.  I mean think about paying for petrol!  What more of an incentive could you want?

 The Mini E and its entirely electric engine:

There are some issues...a lack of backseats and the fact they'll only manage 100-120 miles per full charge...though this won't be a problem for commuters.  There's also the fact there'll only be 40 in the UK for testing...It's pretty amazing though that they've designed an eco-friendly car that's still 100% Mini.  In other words great fun to drive.  (Yes...despite not having passed my driving test I have driven a Mini!)  I'd get applying soon if you fit the criteria.  Check out details on the Mini E Field Test website.

Monday, 14 September 2009

New Romantic Way

A few years ago I was a dedicated follower of Laura Marling on Myspace and anticipatedly awaited the release of her album, Alas I Couldn't Swim, for one song in particular.  Alas, it was not on the album and in time I forgot about it.  Except this summer, whilst travelling around Europe, when I attempted to explain the song to my exboyfriend and found myself unable.

How odd then that today, weeks after the trip and on the very day when I had an epiphany about our odd friendship, I should suddenly begin singing a song.  New Romantic.

Now I'm feeling pretty mean.

"Are you sure shoulder pads are back in fashion?!"

Whilst discussing the multitude of shoulder related items in our wardrobes over lunch, my friend suddenly piped up: "I went shopping with my mother the other day.  She brought her first item in 20 years with shoulder pads and even as she was paying said "are you sure shoulder pads are back in fashion?!" I think you need to tell her because she doesn't believe me!"

You see whilst the younger generations pick up the shoulder pads in River Island (ready to be taped into blazers and tops sans shoulder pads) the older generation has seen this all before and, quite frankly, don't seem to understand how on earth it's been allowed to come round again!

Power Dressing at Balmain and Yves Saint Laurent:

According to the trend gurus at Viewpoint "53% of millionaires in 2020 will be women" and currently "52% of men in key European capitals say they live by women's rules."  Therefore, it's simply's all about power.  Power dressing is not a new concept so many people can see how exaggerated shoulders (whether billowing or sharp) form the basis to this trend.

Vogue assure that this trend, which was first spied at Christophe Decarnin's Balmain catwalk for Spring/Summer 2009, is going nowhere in Autumn/Winter 2009/10.  Embrace it ladies, shoulders are back!  Though, if you're scared, you could enhance them in a slightly more subtle way....think asymmetric one shoulders and bustiers.  Sound better?

Strong Shoulders at Zac Posen and Roksanda Ilincic:

All images taken from Vogue Online

Boots: Pretty Woman vs Pretty in Punk

As the end of summer draws ever nearer every woman begins to invest in a winter wardrobe.  In my case this inevitably means a new pair of boots called Asteria from Topshop.  I can't exactly afford designer boots at present but I fell in love with these high street beauties and that was that.  Until my Gran, over a cup of tea, quired: "Have you worn your new boots yet?"

I assured her that I had and she responded: "Oh right, it's only you know everyones wearing those thigh high boots now are you sure you made the right choice?"  Well, when your Gran in her 80's questions your fashion choice it's an odd experience, it doesn't matter that she keeps up with fashion trends.  You see this is due to the latest photograph of Victoria Beckham at New York Fashion Week.  Vogue has highlighted this rather risque trend but I can't help but notice a big contrast between this and the "tomboy" look.  If even Vogue can't make a choice between those seemingly Pretty Woman inspired numbers and biker boots with studs how are we supposed to?

The celebs are in the same predicament, so I suggest merely going with whichever you feel most comfortable in.  I may bridge over to the sexier side and purchase some over the knee riding boots, but it's doubtful you'll catch me in a skin tight heeled version.  As much as I love fashion I refuse to be dictated to....especially when I can't help but love my highstreet ankle skimmers.

 Victoria Beckham and Shakira slip into thigh highs at New York Fashion Week and the MTV Awards this week:

Whitney Port and Amber Valletta go for the less is more approach at the MTV Awards and the Kids Choice Awards last weekend:

All images taken from Grazia Online

Sunday, 13 September 2009

"As a man sows so let him reap."

Last night I recieved a text from a very good friend of mine. It read: "Am I the only one who wonders whether you'll ever get the feeling of butterflies in your stomach with a new boy? I haven't felt it in so long and honestly I miss it."

In response I assured her that she was not the only one. In fact, my dad had only hours previously told me that I would never meet anyone to rival my ex because I was in love with him. Now I do believe I never said those three little words, even admitted them to myself let alone to anyone else.

Today, for probably the thousandth time, I sat down to read The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde writes:

Cecily: I wish Uncle Jack would allow that unfortunate young man, his brother, to come down here sometimes. We might have a good influence over him, Miss Prism. I am sure you certainly would. You know German, and geology, and things of that kind influence a man very much.

Miss Prism: I do not think that even I could produce any effect on a character that according to his own brother's admission is irretreivably weak and vacillating. Indeed I am not sure I would desire to reclaim him. I am not in favour of this modern mania for turning bad people into good people in a moment's notice. As a man sows so let him reap.

With this post I wish to remind my dear friend that butterflies are not always what they are cracked up to be. For in my experience they inevitably are replaced with other feelings along the way...not all of which are good. I recall the ending of her last relationship, and indeed mine, as a prime example of why she should not rush into anything else. As many people in this day and age do she dealt with issues of her own, whilst attempting to nurse those of her partner. I believe the best way forward is to embrace such a challenging time, to be on your own and to enjoy it. For I am not in favour of this modern mania for turning emotionally challenged modern men into open and affectionate characters. We are, after all, only 21.

A Gothic Winter

With the impending release of both Dorian Gray and Twilight: New Moon, teamed with the Autumn/Winter 2009/10 offerings on the catwalk a gothic twist on street style seems eminent.

Street style is key in leading fashion at the moment, with blogs such as The Sartorialist highlighting the importance of what real people wear. The Victorian literary genius that is Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray still has the power to ring true centuries later, with people more than ever striving to remain young and beautiful. Similarly, Robert Pattinson has got the heart of every teenage girl beating with his striking looks and broody character. Not to mention the amount of adults I have seen clutching copies of the Twilight books.

All Images taken from Vogue Online

From Alexander McQueen's Dickensian mens catwalk, very dark 19th century London, to Bora Asku's womenswear collection, supposedly inspired by "the anonymous muses of many artists in the late 19th Century." A vampiric essence is seeping into our wardrobes...give it a few months and we'll see velvet teamed with ribbed woolen tights and oversized overcoats hanging over mens shoulders. I for one can't wait, everyone loves a bit of drama.