"The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness."

~ Massimo Vignelli

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Warby Parker x Karlie Kloss

June 10th, 2014

Karlie-Kloss-Warby-Parker_featimg

Karlie Kloss x Warby Parker

Summertime is full of little indulgences. We break out the shades and sandals, put the top down on our cars, eat ice cream to our heart’s content, and relax in the sun among food and friends. Just in time to help us with our warm-weather style is a brand new collaboration from Warby Parker and Karlie Kloss, of Victoria’s Secret Angel-fame.

Karlie Kloss x Warby Parker - Julia

Julia

The collection consists of three new styles, starting with the classic aviator Julia. I’m particularly partial to the Marple for its subtle, contemporary twist on the cat-eye shape. And with two frame finishes and five gradients to choose from, you can customize these to suit you perfectly.

Karlie Kloss x Warby Parker - Marple

Marple

A portion of each sale will go to Edible Schoolyard NYC, which provides kitchens and gardens to low-income public schools – and as with all other Warby Parker glasses, for every pair sold, the company will donate a pair to someone in need. Have I mentioned I love companies that are socially conscious?

Karlie Kloss x Warby Parker - Clara

Clara

View the complete collection and details at Warby Parker – and then just like Karlie, perfect your runway-worthy walk and your mischievous smile. They may be all you need to polish off your summer style!

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Themes from Paris Couture, FW12 – Part Three: of Forest Folk and Florals

July 13th, 2012

The final part of my three-part series on trends from the FW12 Paris couture shows concentrates on pattern and print. This season’s textile designs focused on wilderness as inspiration, and designers got in touch with nature via printing and other surface embellishments.

Forest Folk

Giambattista Valli’s collection was inspired by the creatures of the forest; that is, not foxes and deer, but wood nymphs and fairies – and his garments were a pagan bacchanal of ruffles, feathers and prints. At Givenchy, on the other hand, designer Riccardo Tisci brought a heavily tribal element to his collection; weaving patterns in heavy fabrics and leather, sheathing his models in long, somber clothing and doses of fringe.

FW12 couture trends: forest

Top row: Givenchy / Bottom row: Giambattista Valli / photos via Style.com

Florals

Florals continue to be a trend, and the FW12 couture collections expanded on existing motifs, rendering them not just in print but in elaborate surface embellishment as well. From exuberant florals to delicate blossoms, garments bloomed with life – a nice touch for fall and winter when the outdoors tells a different story.

FW12 couture trends: florals

Clockwise from top left: Chanel, Christian Dior, Zuhair Murad, Zuhair Murad, Valentino, Giambattista Valli / photos via Vogue.fr

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Themes from Paris Couture, FW12 – Part Two: of Sunsets and Solids

July 10th, 2012

Part two of my three-part trend report from the couture collections in Paris focuses on colour. Along with the classic black & white which we see every year, there were a few colours that showed up time and time again, and a palette that in particular stood out.

Sunset Appeal

Sunset on the Seine, Paris, Ile-de-France

Sunset on the Seine, Paris, Ile-de-France

Perhaps it was the trip to Paris I took last month, but it seemed that Giorgio Armani’s collection conspired to transport me right back to the banks of the Seine in late evening. Not every designer had such emphasis on the celestial ombres but sunset colours popped up continuously – periwinkle blue, peach, lavender and dusky rose. Armani even paired these colours in silk with a dark, dense velvet, grounding the outfits perfectly like land falling gracefully into shadow.

FW12 couture trends: sunsetappeal

Clockwise from top left: Armani Privé, Armani Privé, Armani Privé, Chanel, Bouchra Jarrar, Yiqing Yin / photos via Style.com and Vogue.fr

Solids

Navy was anything but basic on dresses in every material.

FW12 couture trends: navy

Clockwise from top left: Valentino, Georges Chakra, Christophe Josse, Atelier Gustavolins, Armani Privé, Alexis Mabille / photos via Vogue.fr

Reds went darker, replacing the bright reds of previous seasons with wine and raspberry tones.

FW12 couture trends: raspberry

Clockwise from top left: Valentino, Givenchy, Georges Chakra, Giambattista Valli, Zuhair Murad, Iris Van Herpen / photos via Vogue.fr

Acid yellow showed up in less prominent quantities but was a fresh addition, adding brightness to collections that otherwise focused on darker, more somber colours.

FW12 couture trends: acidic yellow

Clockwise from top left: Jean Paul Gaulthier, Valentino, Christian Dior, Atelier Gustavolins, Atelier Gustavolins, Versace / photos via Vogue.fr

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Themes from Paris Couture, FW12 – Part One: of Shimmer and Shine

July 9th, 2012

Last week was Paris couture fashion week for FW12, and I had a chance to go through all the photos from the shows over the weekend. Here’s the first of my (three-part) take on the themes, or trends, that I noticed:

Designers explored different kinds of shine in their collections; whether it was through little pinpoints of light, or a more ethereal glow.

Diamante

Delicate glitter has been strong in past seasons and continues to dazzle, especially in dark blues and in classic black & white; the blues are among the most lovely looks – as if you were to gaze up at a midnight sky in the countryside.

FW12 couture trend: diamante

Clockwise from top left: Armani Privé, Valentino, Chanel, Christophe Josse, Valentino, Armani Privé / photos via Style.com and Vogue.fr

Luminescence

Shiny and sheer fabrics and Chanel’s stunning opalescent weave surround the body with a cocoon of effervescent light. In the fall and winter seasons we could use a little lifting of our spirits, and these are certainly buoying.

FW12 couture trends - luminescence

Clockwise from top left: Chanel, Elie Saab, Elie Saab, Atelier Versace, Yiqing Yin, Alexandre Vaulthier / photos via Style.com and Vogue.fr

Check in tomorrow for more!

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Oh La Lagerfeld! Designer Creates One-of-a-kind £29k Collar

June 20th, 2012

Karl Lagerfeld collar

Pictured above is a £29,000 metallic leather (according to Vogue UK; to me it looks more like suede in the photo) high collar with 40 carats worth of black diamonds, and an enormous 22.33 carat emerald set in the middle. The collar will be displayed as part of the Masterpiece London Fair’s diamond exhibition, entitled Brilliant, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, after which it will be sold with a portion of the proceeds donated to charity. It’s quite obvious the writer for the UK’s Daily Mail dislikes the piece, describing it as “seemingly inspired by a pet collar”. What do you think? I’m familiar with Lagerfeld’s aesthetic and I love the work he does for Chanel, but I can’t help thinking that if I were to design a collar worth an exorbitant amount of money it should at least look as exquisite as the price tag makes it out to be.

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A New Silk Scarf: The Octopus

May 16th, 2012

Octopus scarf

I’m fascinated by octopi; their bulbous heads, the patterns formed by their suction cups, the way their many limbs can fill up a visual space with fluid, sprawling, powerful movements. Some things just make great visual subjects for art, and octopi are among them. In my first project working with gutta on silk I made an octopus the protagonist and set him in a watery home surrounded by coral reefs and silvery schools of fish. Here are a few photos of the process.

Silk stretched in frame

A silk scarf is stretched over a wooden frame and brushed with water to get rid of any folds or creases in the silk.

Octopus sketch

The design is sketched on paper before being traced onto dry silk with a light pencil. The silk is then put back onto the frame and the lines are drawn over with gutta, a water resistant solution which blocks paint from spreading past the outlines.

Coral texture applied with salt

Salt is applied onto wet paint to provide the coral reefs with a mottled appearance. The salt draws moisture towards it, and different sizes of salt grains can be used to create different effects.

Coral texture

The salt is brushed off when the paint has dried, leaving a more saturated colour wherever a grain of salt was placed.

Fish step 1

To provide the fish with a silvery shaded effect, black paint watered down to a light grey is applied to select areas of the fish.

Fish step 2

The desired colours are added when the grey shading has dried.

Painted scarf

The completed scarf. All that remains is to steam the silk to set the colours and remove the gutta.

Octopus scarf

After steaming, the fabric posesses the soft sheen characteristic of many silk scarves and the colours have increased in vibrancy.

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Diet Coke Launches New Jean Paul Gaulthier Bottles

April 16th, 2012

As a followup to my previous entry, Diet Coke Europe and Jean Paul Gaulthier have unveiled the fruits of their collaboration in two videos – one a short showcase of the new bottle designs, and the other a fun and wacky promo showing a bit of the behind the scenes action. As brash and bold as the Karl Lagerfeld bottles were, I really like the sophistication of the JPG designs. And his promo (and the music) make me smile. Thank goodness this is no longer the creepy JPG from his “Serial Designer” videos, but a gleeful peek into the designer’s nutty personality. Well done!

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“The Serial Designer”: Jean Paul Gaulthier for Diet Coke Europe

March 21st, 2012

I’ve been taking a little break from cooking up new recipes. It’s not because I no longer enjoy cooking, but because the others in my house haven’t been home much lately and I’m getting sick of eating everything myself! I don’t know about you, but after four days in a row of double portions of chocolate cake experiments I don’t want any more, no matter how delicious they are. I know, it’s a tough, tough life.

So to change the direction a bit, here’s the latest ad campaign for Diet Coke Europe, for which Jean Paul Gaulthier replaces Karl Lagerfeld as creative director. As much as I think he’s a talented designer, I find the ads, a series of three two-minute episodes, progressively creepy. In them, he plays the slightly sinister, Diet Coke-fueled fashion mastermind who sneaks up on hapless marionettes and drags them kicking and screaming into their fabulous new outfits. At the end of each segment, each marionette is asked if they plan to press charges – and they all decline, saying things like “Heaven knows how Jean Paul has transformed me into a real woman!”

Given the fashion industry’s history of treating models as easily manipulated, objectified mannequins I find the subtext a bit distasteful – and at the least, not very well thought through. Moreover, the series spends more time showcasing JPG than it does promoting Diet Coke, which almost seems like it was thrown in as a product placement afterthought. But don’t take my word for it – here are the three videos so you can decide for yourself!

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It’s Time For Spring!

March 20th, 2012

Spring Equinox is today! And with warm, almost-summer temperatures and clear, sunny skies people in the city have already begun to populate patios and frequent their favourite ice cream shops. Due to the early warm weather we’re enjoying, I’m guessing that spring and summer product sales are going pretty well for our retailers. So, you’ll probably want to get into stores before the good stuff is gone! And if you need some motivation (seriously, is the beautiful weather not enough?) to go out and explore the stores, here are a few of the best fashion Spring/Summer video campaigns to get you inspired.

Bold graphic shapes, long flowy silhouettes and lots of attitude at Prada

Rhythmic lines, metallic shine and art deco at Gucci

Candy sweet stylings, sorbet colours and broderie Anglaise at Louis Vuitton (behind the scenes)

Late night parties with snakes and fiercely dressed robotic mannequins at Lanvin

And last but not least, campaigns that transport you to a gentler time and place:
Emporio Armani (shot in Hong Kong)

Valentino (shot in Mexico)

Chanel (RTW, behind the scenes)

I hope your first day of spring this year is sunny and wonderful!

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Orange for optimism, Red for passion: Pantone 2012 Colour of the Year

January 11th, 2012

Tangerine Tango - Pantone 2012 Colour of the year
It’s no mistake that Pantone’s 2012 Colour of the Year combines two of the strongest colour trends. One has been the most enduring on runways over the past few seasons, and another the most embraced and iconic. The name of this colour, to be precise, is Tangerine Tango (otherwise known as Pantone 17-1463), a red-orange which works perfectly for cosmetics and is easier to wear than a true orange. This would also make a stunning, fresh accent in home decor and furnishings.

For more information:
Pantone press release
RGB & CMYK colour information, Adobe palette, and inspirational images

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