Fashion Time Travel

Taking a (Mary) Quant-um leap through history using a wardrobe as a time machine. Kind of.

 

It's the final day of LONDON FASHION WEEK, with PARIS FASHION WEEK following next Thursday. Beautiful clothing and beautiful people sharing their styles and giving a sneaky glimpse into the new collections influencing the trends next Spring 2017. 

60s Style references always pop-up on the catwalks, here are the originals looking impeccable at Les Arts Decoratifs in FASHION FORWARD.

60s Style references always pop-up on the catwalks, here are the originals looking impeccable at Les Arts Decoratifs in FASHION FORWARD.

I felt the need to share my experience of the gorgeous garments I managed to see on my trip last month to the Capital of Chic.

Gorgeous little black & white sailor suit is Paris perfection!

Gorgeous little black & white sailor suit is Paris perfection!

Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris is one of my favourite Museums and their Summer exhibition Fashion Forward was a real showstopper. Celebrating 300 Years of Fashion, it showcased garments from as early as 1715 all the way through to 2015.

 

The garments were used as a snapshot into life in that time, following a timeline and explaining social aspects as well as snippets about the early evolution of the Fashion Industry.

“Voted “Beauty Queen” by the journal L’Illustration in 1896, Cleo de Merode (1975-1966) was a famous ballet dancer at the prestigious Opera of Paris. Numerous photographic portraits show her wearing a similar jacket in black velvet embroidered with jet pearls.”

“Voted “Beauty Queen” by the journal L’Illustration in 1896, Cleo de Merode (1975-1966) was a famous ballet dancer at the prestigious Opera of Paris. Numerous photographic portraits show her wearing a similar jacket in black velvet embroidered with jet pearls.”

Key moments from fashion history, cherry picked and displayed side-by-side

Key moments from fashion history, cherry picked and displayed side-by-side

 

Theatrical Tableaus gave us a feel for the original setting and lifestyle these people had, whilst modern projections in black and white showed the movement of the clothes flickering across walls with a graceful sweep featuring dancers of the Opéra de Paris.

The highlight for me was the room of breathtaking vintage gowns from my favourite designers, Schiaparelli, Chanel, Fortuny and Vionnet. 

Still at the height of sophisticated elegance, showing that truly well made and thoughtfully designed clothing will stand the test of time.

It makes me ask, what will our own wardrobes look like in a few decades time? Will they still contain anything we have in them today?

Something I'll think of next time I'm browsing for some new items...

London Couture at the V&A

 

I spent last Saturday at the Victoria & Albert Museum's "Study Day" of lectures in celebration of the new publication London Couture. See a glimpse of the beautiful new book here .

                London Couture 1923-1975 British Luxury

                London Couture 1923-1975 British Luxury

The lectures were given by contributors to the book tackling various subjects on London Couture's history:

 

 

 

Amy de la Haye, London's Court Dressmakers

Firstly Amy de la Haye set the scene to give us an idea of who these early couturiers were. Courturier was a legitimate career for a married Edwardian women, or a road to independence and success for a divorcee. Kate Reily was an example of a shrewd business woman using her creativity and cunning to keep up to date with the thirst for the latest fashions.

Even though Reily's original designs were highly praised, the British customer only had eyes for Parisienne models. In attending the show, Reilly would be obliged to purchase at least one model, but to get the most from it, she would send two buyers to view the new designs. With the idea that two heads were better than one. they would dash back to the hotel to sketch what they had seen to reproduce for their own customers on their return.

 

 

 

Born with Silver Scissors

We learn of prestigious dressmaker, Madam Clapham of Hull who made a point of not paying her apprentices as she wanted girls from "good families". She felt that those from a wealthy family who could support them, they would be a better class of trainee. Sadly this excluded many talented individuals born without a pair of silver scissors in their hands, unable to learn by working full time for free.

This is still affecting the fashion industry today. Many designer brands have been criticized that their unpaid intern-ships are elitist,  allowing only a lucky few from privileged backgrounds to gain valuable experience with them to get the best start with their careers. 

 

                                               c.1937 Hand embroidery class - 1  Collection  London College of Fashion - College Archive 

                                               c.1937 Hand embroidery class - 1 Collection London College of Fashion - College Archive 

 

Edwina Ehrman, A Brief History

Edwina tells us of the shift in dressmakers of the 20s and 30s. The new favourites were young men like Norman Hartnell with a creative approach and an understanding of the glamorous lifestyle of their clientèle.  

 

A Shift in Dressmakers

These men socialised with their patrons, a complete contrast to the couturiers that pre-dated them who were so intimidating to wealthy out-of-towners they would often turn to department stores rather than seek out an illustrious dressmaker and face their scrutiny.

Norman Hartnell with his models in 1930 courtesy of Getty Archive

Norman Hartnell with his models in 1930 courtesy of Getty Archive

Even the term "Designer" was now coined to appeal to a wider audience, thanks to the Incorporated Society of London Fashion Designers aiming to boost trade overseas during WW2. I learned more about IncSoc at The Imperial War Museums "Fashion on The Ration" exhibition, hopefully I'll share in another post soon, but here's some more info courtesy of wiki:

 

In March 1942 The Board of Trade invited the IncSoc members to design:

The iconic CC41 label, also known as "The Two Cheeses" there was also the double 11, much rarer and introduced to signify a finer quality item. Look out for these when out vintage shopping! 

The iconic CC41 label, also known as "The Two Cheeses" there was also the double 11, much rarer and introduced to signify a finer quality item. Look out for these when out vintage shopping! 

 

"34 utility garments suitable for mass manufacture in order to demonstrate how high-fashion elegance could be achieved within the strict rationing restrictions"
The designs were featured in Vogue magazine,
"Known as the Couturier Scheme, the project had a very high profile in the press at the time with a fashion show held to launch the clothes"-wikipedia

 

 

                                                                          Pages showing Edwina's chapters in the book  London Couture

                                                                          Pages showing Edwina's chapters in the book London Couture

 

Parallels can be drawn to modern high street giant H&M's collaborations with elite houses and designers like Margiela, Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfield bringing their signature style to a mass market on a global scale. (You can view previous H&M collaborations here). The most recent collaboration with Balmain has even seen their sell out pieces fetch more in online auctions than original Balmain garments!

Balmain x H&M another hugely popular collaboration between couture and high street giants which hit stores in November

Balmain x H&M another hugely popular collaboration between couture and high street giants which hit stores in November

 

"Revealed this morning in all its embellished, whipstitched, skintight glory and, as expected, there's not one item that hasn't got wish list written all over it."

Vogue Magazine on the most recent, highly anticipated collaboration of Balmain for H&M

 

 

Joyce Fenton-Douglas, The Ancillary Trades

H&M fans have complained that the retail prices of the Balmain collaboration are too high, going into hundreds for some of the more embellished and leather pieces, which is a big step up for a high street chain with average prices usually at £14.99. However even a few hundred is still a fraction of the thousands that the official couture collections from Balmain can cost when bedecked in the finest materials. This is something Joyce Fenton-Douglas brought up when talking about the Ancillary Trades.

            Reville Rossiter trompe l'oeil tassel detail from a couture garment from 1919

"WOW" Factor

Couture dressmakers relied (and still do) on the Ancillary Trades for specialised skills, such as pleating, embroidery and embellishments. Rather than just the finishing touches, these can be the most desirable aspect of a whole design or be the structural basis for a garment.

These can provide the instant wow factor that gives you the fist sign that this is a special, more luxurious item.

 

 

 

Secret Skills

This charming video below was brought to our attention in the lectures. It shows the Australian maker Harry Nairn hand cutting, shaping, dying and assembling all the individual parts of a silk flower in his own workspace at home. 

Couture houses would historically send "matchers" to the addresses of specialised makers. These girls would seek out matching flowers, trimmings or other embellishments in the very particular shades or styles necessary to co-ordinate with the fabrics for the garments.

The names and addresses of the top artisans would be their best kept secrets to give them the winning edge against competitors.  Although flattering, this was unfortunate for these highly skilled individuals, trying to maintain a living by providing an already niche service.

Harry Nairn who makes intricate artificial flowers. We see him cutting out petals, colouring them, shaping them with a heated metal tool then crimping petals. We see a pink rose taking shape as Harry moulds the petals around wire.

A Sign of Superior Quality

Joyce did highlight the fact that today's top couture designers will still work with modern artisans for these embellishments, utilising very labour intensive techniques. This gives them the maximum impact for the catwalk as well as distinguishing them from the follow-on designer copies which although can often get a close general look, will never be able to feature these specialist skills which take such a long time to produce in the originals.

 

Beatrice Behlen, Clients

The women who can tell these extra special pieces from the inferiors are the subject of Beatrice Behlen's talk. We learn of the rarity of these couture clients which the industry relied on and the relationships they had, often choosing only one particular couturier. Being polite and prompt payment made a client very liked and appreciated.

The couturier would send sketches of the design to their clients for their approval receiving back comments such as "Like V.much" or  "Nice, but what's the Price???"

The couturier would send sketches of the design to their clients for their approval receiving back comments such as "Like V.much" or  "Nice, but what's the Price???"

 

Textile Timeline, The life of Lady Fox

Beatrice was even able to trace the life of one such client, Lady Fox, using society columns alongside the garments she had procured to see her defining style as a textile timeline to her life. As an early adopter she knew her stuff and designers would rely on patrons like Lady Fox to invest in their work.

The term "working wardrobe" came up quite often in these talks. For these women it was part of their lifestyle to have these clothes, fit for the purpose of each area of their lives, whether it was salmon fishing in the Highlands or cruising along the Dalmatian Coast. Although extravagant in our terms the cost of these pieces meant they would fit well and be made of the best natural materials or heritage fabrics, returned to year after year so they would  have to last well.

 

 

Timothy Long, Constructing Couture

Timothy told us how he originally delved into the world of couturier Charles James after discovering a collection of his garments wrapped up on mannequins in an archive he was working in.

Without formal dressmaking training Charles James had a unique approach heavily influenced by his millinery experience. We learn that to create his amazing garments, James would create hand sculpted abstract forms more like a block or last than a mannequin. By using these to create a garment it would have unexpected and new shapes, fitting the body in a different way than conventional dressmaking which relied on padding and corsets to fill and fit the body into a desired shape.

Charles James “Butterfly”, 1954  . © Getty Images

Charles James “Butterfly”, 1954. © Getty Images

Charles James also used hidden architecture but with alternative materials for a new spin. Structures were formed by heating plastic to mould and form the unusually shaped skirt  as seen in his famous "Clover Leaf" dress formed into the four portions of the leaves. 

Charles James "Clover Leaf" Dress from 1953.

Charles James "Clover Leaf" Dress from 1953.

To gain insight into the internal structures of these magnificent shapes they even used technology such as hospital scanners to discover the secrets used by the celebrated dressmaker. 

Fashion to Transform

Although he had  a temperament and hands-on approach of a passionate artist, James was also an incredibly technical designer. The women who bough his garments were in love with how they made them look and feel. Charles was a pioneer in understanding how fabrics worked, using them in new ways to accentuate a women's body with a fanatical amount of study going into investigating and harnessing the powerful effect of materials. James was famously quoted in saying;

"Make The Grain Do The Work"

 

These garments were thoughtfully engineered, and this combination of vision and technique along with the support socially from Cecil Beaton and the wealthy friends of James' Mother gave him both the exposure and clientèle for his unique designs.

                                                                 A Charles James design repeated in a later variation  . © Getty I  mages

                                                                 A Charles James design repeated in a later variation. © Getty Images

 

Exciting & Contemporary

Timothy showed us how Charles James used the same designs again and again, taking patterns from many years previous to make a new version. It is proof that if something works well for the body, it always will and the lasting beauty and desirability of great design. This is why gowns by designers like Charles James have held such appeal and can be worn today looking as exciting and contemporary to a modern audience. This was celebrated in the exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, of which you can take a video tour with the curators here:

 

 

Jonathan Faiers, The Timelessness That Ran Out of Time

For all the appeal of couture as a sight to behold, the "London Look" was never going to last and this was explained by Jonathan Fairs. The "uniform" which was relied upon to give strength and order to British society during the Second World War was no longer required. 

 

Using examples from the media coverage of couture in the mid 20th Century we can see how although beautiful, the elaborate gowns and traditions they represented were out of place in this post-war era.

Evening dress by Rahvis, for British Vogue, June 1947    Photo by Clifford Coffin

Evening dress by Rahvis, for British Vogue, June 1947

Photo by Clifford Coffin

Beautiful Ghosts

One iconic editorial photographed by Clifford Coffin shows elegant models poised amongst the bombed out structure of a London mansion, intended to be "still standing strong & untouched" by the war but instead they appear as if haunting the desolate space as  beautiful ghosts of the past.

 

 

 

A New Era of Cool 

Outside the Biba store in 60s London

Outside the Biba store in 60s London

 

New designers were setting up their own ready to wear boutiques. Rather than the high price demanded by fine, fashionable garments, the 60s sought a new cutting edge of style where being made quickly was a bonus rather than a sign of inferiority. The quick turnaround meant it could be seen on TV and bought the next day. Instead of being confined to the high spends of the rich these new fashions were available for anyone brave enough to wear them creating new fashion muses and customers in a world outside that of the débutantes at their elite functions. 

 

Rule Breaking Youth

It was a free for all with young girls earning their own wage to buy their new clothes or even steal them in the famous Biba store where it was almost too easy to shoplift these must have exciting pieces, made for the rule breaking youth culture.

                                     A mad dash by Biba staff taking the fashion directly through the city streets as Biba changed premises

                                     A mad dash by Biba staff taking the fashion directly through the city streets as Biba changed premises

"Girls For Girls"

These women wanted to make their own future and forget the past. Biba founder, Barbara Hulanicki was the eldest of three girls, raised by her mother and aunt following the assassination of her diplomat father by paramilitaries.

 

Biba Founder, Barbara Hulanicki made the highstreet luxurious and exciting with her original designs and enticing concept stores

Biba Founder, Barbara Hulanicki made the highstreet luxurious and exciting with her original designs and enticing concept stores

 

Hulaniki described Biba as run by "Girls for Girls".  She explains in an interview with the independent Nov 2014;

“That’s why in Biba we only had women,

  “It was meant to be for girls in the street. They were earning money and they had nowhere to go. "

Biba-sales-girls-.jpg

 

Future of Couture

As in the overview from the corresponding lectures The V&As new book London Couture shows us many of it's historical aspects. For an industry which catered to the very rich and relied on highly skilled specialists we see how Britain firstly followed, then lead triumphantly, and eventually faded as the times changed and people's needs also.

But London is a thriving city of Fashion, so what can we learn from London's Couture past to use today?

ORIGINAL & BEST QUALITY

  • Ancillary Trades and original, specialised artisans are still necessary to create the finest fashion. Our leading British designers like Mary Katranzou rely on quality embellishments to set their designs apart from the follow on copies

 

INSPIRATIONAL

 

INVEST IN THE BEST

  • Good quality lasts: vintage fashion has become a whole industry in itself, with concessions in high street giants like Topshop and even huge standalone stores, with branches in multiple cities like Cow. These pieces have lasted, can we say the same will be seen of some of the the cheaply made clothes we buy in bulk today?

 

YOUR COUTURE

  • Although few of us can afford the luxury of couture, we can take a lesson from the way these women built their "Working Wardrobe".

With constant "Sales" emails from online shopping deals and (alarmingly!) low prices from competing retailers it's easy to be tempted to purchase without any consideration or too much consequence but each "cheap bargain" eventually adds up...

In resisting a few more of these it may result in affording a smaller, yet much more usable & better quality wardrobe to look and feel our individual best, which to me is a bit of British Luxury we all deserve.

London Couture: British Luxury 1923 - 1975 is available in the V&A and online  bookshop here. See below for a sneak peek:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FASHION TREATS LFW A/W15

London Fashion Week can seem a bit of a chaotic time. From the outside it could look like a lot of fuss over frivolity, peacocks parading for street photographers and avant garde outfits sailing down catwalks in outrageous styles and unnatainable prices. For me the whole point of going to fashion week is just the same as visiting a museum or gallery. It's chance to see the outcomes of everything the designer/artist has most recently been obsessed and in love with. Their fascinations, what they have been dreaming, eating, living, and now created as beautiful things we can wear

But the serious side of fashion means this is a crucial time for designers, their chance to promote and sell their creations to international buyers and gain press coverage for their work be seen and known. As Alexander Fury writes in Issue 1 of this Febs Fashion Daily; "There's one thing that frequently gets overlooked about the fashion business. Namely, it's a business...Hence I aplaud the BFC's new Business Pillar. It emphasises the industrious work behind fashion, which generates billions for the UK economy."

Inspiration "mood boxes" in Topshop's NewGen area of Somerset House

Inspiration "mood boxes" in Topshop's NewGen area of Somerset House

With all this in mind, I'm happy to say that the joy of fashion is still being upheld. The escapism, fun and enjoyment you can gain from what you wear keeps us creative and individual. This is what makes it such a lucrative business. Enough with the mundane, the sensible option, the reality of life. We can have that any-time. Here are some of the designers I saw with the theme of enjoying life and the freedom of wearing your favourite things, evoking a time of innocence, excitement and curiosity. So let's  pour ourselves a bowl of (designer) sugary cereal and enjoy...

 

First up is Sadie Williams. I loved her collab for & Other Stories so it was great to see some of her catwalk pieces up close in their scrumptious textures. Indulge in softly metallic stripes reminiscent of luxurious Tunnock's teacakes and playful shapes assembled on diaphanous fabrics these were sophisticated, wearable versions of collages we might have pritt-sticked and glitter-glued out of sweetie wrappers at playtime.

Sparkling textures from Sadie Williams

Sparkling textures from Sadie Williams

Sadie says her own childhood was hands on and creative, with a DIY  attitude encouraged by a mum who loved textiles. You can tell from the way these pieces seemed free and light, unaware of anything else apart from the enjoyment of colour, shape and texture.

These combinations of woven fabrics and futuristic flashes was like seeing a scrap box of snippets of salvaged fabrics curated with a magpie's eye. It makes sense that her mum also had a bric a brac stall, from these combinations of old and new stating her influences as "early constructivist Rodchenko and folky shapes" and with an auntie like Venetia Scott, Sadie really makes it work to feel fresh and desirable for a fashionable fan-base.

Space Age plants for Sadie William's showroom

Space Age plants for Sadie William's showroom

Walking on a Sugar High! I was addicted to these PEZ shoes- a fantastic idea dreamed up by Camilla Elphick. 

My eye was immediately draw to Kirsty Ward's new collection as I wandered the corridors of Somerset House. Kirsty studied her Womenswear degree in my own old uni city of Manchester before her MA at London's Central Saint Martins. Her latest offerings featured sugary shades with baubles and beads reminiscent of strawberry bon bons and twists of licorice.  "I like to make pieces that the wearer will love, with thought going into every last detail. I also love to mix jewellery with clothing - blurring the line where one stops and the other starts."

 

Kirsty Ward has also collaborated with another favourite of mine- William's Handmade, to make her neat but usefully sized and shaped bags to put the fun into functional with their embellished leather cubes in the same sweet palette.

Here are the rest of William's own bags in her new collection shown at London Fashion Week. These portable pouches, and takeaway totes are an everyday version of the asymmetrical  silhouettes and jukebox inspired steamer trunks from her big luggage pieces I first fell in love with a few years ago.

Casual leanings, these smart bags will always put you at ease wherever you take them.

Casual leanings, these smart bags will always put you at ease wherever you take them.

Williams Handmade, fun, functional and beautifully made in quality materials, bags to fill a niche in your wardrobe.

Williams Handmade, fun, functional and beautifully made in quality materials, bags to fill a niche in your wardrobe.

If Warhol was doing Pop Art in the Thirties...  getting an appetite for Cleo Ferin Mercury's "Diner" scarf.

If Warhol was doing Pop Art in the Thirties...  getting an appetite for Cleo Ferin Mercury's "Diner" scarf.

I would have to combine this scarf from Cleo Ferin and and a pair of Termite shades for the ultimate brunch outfit.

The Factory set might also be wearing some of the amazing shades on offer from TERMITE, mixing materials for fabulous frames in modern shapes with a 6Os sense of psychedelia.

The Factory set might also be wearing some of the amazing shades on offer from TERMITE, mixing materials for fabulous frames in modern shapes with a 6Os sense of psychedelia.

So it looks like there's plenty of fun to come with the next Season's offerings from our designers. Let's enjoy having fun with fashion a little bit of what you fancy and a LOT OF WHAT YOU LOVE!

INTERWOVEN EDITORIAL for ELEMENT MAGAZINE

See the whole issue here

    Interwoven

    Fashion Director Karen Jones Russell
    www.representedby.ME

    Photographer Euan Danks
    www.euandanks.com

    Assistant Stylist Mariel Osborn
    www.representedby.ME

    Hair & Makeup Michael Richmond
    www.representedby.ME

    Models
    Laura Catterall @ 12+ Models

    Clothing Credits:
    Annie Oakes
    Helen O’Donovan
    Jade Mellor

    Makeup Credits:
    Makeup Kevyn Aucoin
    Nails Priti NYC
    Hair Kerastase

    Summer Celebration Ring

    Let's Celebrate!

    confetti_party_cake_3.jpg

    Confetti Cake! Recipe can be found on Best Friends For Frosting.

    My dear friend Natalie recently asked me to make her a ring for some summer parties she was going to. The dresses she had bought for these occasions were mostly a black background with splashes of gorgeous bright florals, perfect for dancing outside on balmy summer evenings, sipping champagne cocktails under colourful paper lanterns...

                                                                             Photo by Tanja Lippert Photography via   Bridal Guide

                                                                             Photo by Tanja Lippert Photography via Bridal Guide

    These studio fragments selected for their corresponding colours look just like the bits of rock left at the bottom of a sweetie jar! 

    These studio fragments selected for their corresponding colours look just like the bits of rock left at the bottom of a sweetie jar! 

    To stand against the black Natalie wanted something in a happy, sunny, summery yellow, and we added flecks of colour in hand picked shades that would also highlight the floral details in the fabric.

    confetti hand.png

    Scattering confetti in celebration!

    The finished ring, the coloured and metallic fragments appear like scattered confetti!

    confetti sky.jpg
    yellow contemporary jewellery resin bright colour hewn ring jade mellor art piece.JPG

    If you would like more information on having your own special ring made, get in touch! I'll be happy to answer your questions!  :)

    You can email me at info@jademellor.com

    Dries Van Noten, Paris Exhibition

    Paris is a city that takes fashion seriously. They respect the couture houses which have established themselves over decades, creating or even engulfing a designer's career (go and see Yves Saint Laurent if you haven't already, as indulgently beautiful a film as it could be). Speeding through the tunnel on the Eurostar, the evidence was there before I'd even sipped my Earl Grey, looking at the cover of their Metropolitan magazine.

    I may have snaffled a copy because the journey went so quickly I didn't get chance to read it all!

    I may have snaffled a copy because the journey went so quickly I didn't get chance to read it all!

    On my wish list to see whilst I was in Paris was the Dries Van Noten exhibition at the musée des Arts décoratifs.  Happily I got to spend a good chunk of time there as it really is a feast for the eyes, I felt totally saturated by the colours and rich textures by the time I left.

    This is the first exhibition devoted entirely to the Belgian artist's work, shows us his inspirations and processes allowing us to peer into the mind of the designer. As well as the fashion collections the exhibition has sourced some amazing paintings and pieces to demonstrate the broad references the designer draws upon.


    There are many paintings by famous fine artists featured alongside the garments giving a sense of the depth of the ideas and a sense of creativity that goes into the collections. The use of portraits was interesting as clothing is such a personal thing. Selecting your most worn/favourite outfit and displaying it on a mannequin in a gallery could be just as personal and revealing (or more so) as with sitting for a portrait.

     

    You can see directly how the styles and techniques of the artists have influenced the fashion work and what makes them more than just clothing. The way they were displayed as well is an all encompassing world of colour and patterns that grows over walls, floors and ceilings so with each section you are immersed completely. With this exhibition the aim really does seem to be an experience in Fashion as Art.

    I loved the way they used these life-size photographs of Francis Bacon's studio. The paint splattered surroundings bleed into the mannequins associating them with their freedom of expression and creativity.

    Happy Museum Week! Whether near or far, go and see something new, old, or a mixture of the two and be inspired!

    Walk the Line: Printing and Fashion

    Last Week's Thursday Late at Manchester Art Gallery allowed us to take a closer look at a particular item in the collection. The extensive costume collection from Platt Hall has started to venture out of the wardrobe and into the art Gallery on Mosley street. Displayed with a selection of Pre- Raphaelite paintings, the flowing fabric draping over the heavenly bodies of the women is seen in real life in the gown by Mariano Fortuny.

    I've always loved this painting by Charles-August Mengin. It depicts the greek poet Sappho who lived around 600BC, from the story that she threw herself into the sea for an unrequited love.  Apparently  it appealed to the Parisian men attending the salon exhibition at the time, but I think the expression in her face is what makes it. SImilar to nudity in fashion photography today like a Dazed & Confused shoot of Kate Moss with her top off.

    I've always loved this painting by Charles-August Mengin. It depicts the greek poet Sappho who lived around 600BC, from the story that she threw herself into the sea for an unrequited love. Apparently it appealed to the Parisian men attending the salon exhibition at the time, but I think the expression in her face is what makes it. SImilar to nudity in fashion photography today like a Dazed & Confused shoot of Kate Moss with her top off.

    Delphos Dress 1908 - 1912   Mariano Fortuny

    Delphos Dress 1908 - 1912 

    Mariano Fortuny

    Self portrait by Fortuny

    Self portrait by Fortuny

    Described as a Renaissence man, Fortuny was the son of accomplished painters and repertoir included architecture, interiors & stage design, fashion, painting, photography, lighting and textiles design. The Delphos dress we discussd in the gallery late was inspired by ancient Greek art and his method of the beautiful intricate pleating was his own secret. Art nouveau beading would trim the dress, for decoration and also to weight the fabric. The construction is what makes this dress so timeless, with detail such as a laced sleeve making it make contemporary so that his designs are still worn on the red carpet today. It really is worth investigating more of his work, the more I find out the more amazing it is and not just from a fashion/design history perspective - it is all still very desirable. Sighhhhhh

    Dress details

    Dress details

    Fortuny label

    Fortuny label

    The group discussion was organised by Connie Witham. Hopefully there will be some more fashion related chats like this as there are plenty of amazing garments in Platt Hall in Rusholme that are worth appreciating in depth with details that are easy to miss on a quick look round.

    Careful-it's sharp! Removing the shiny surface to get through to the fuzzy papery layer meant that the ink would stick here and transfer onto the paper.

    Careful-it's sharp! Removing the shiny surface to get through to the fuzzy papery layer meant that the ink would stick here and transfer onto the paper.

    After discussing the dress (and quite a few other things) with the group we headed to another part of the gallery where artist Adam Quinn was holding a printing workshop. I didn't think I would have time to make one as I was heading to meet friends but I'm a big fan of printing and hadn't used this technique before so I made a quick drawing in the foil card using an H.B pencil, scalpel and an unknown attachment on my Swiss Army knife. The theme was portraits so I used an image of one of my pyrite Hewn rings.

    thick squidgy ink-similar consistency to nutella! (erm n.b do not put on toast bleauch!)

    thick squidgy ink-similar consistency to nutella! (erm n.b do not put on toast bleauch!)

    Inked up 

    Inked up 

    It was very satisfying working the gooey black ink into the lines in the drawing. The rest was wiped off the shiny metallic areas so that the pressure of the rollers would force it out of the lines and onto the dampened paper.

    Removing the excess ink-messy business

    Removing the excess ink-messy business

    artist Adam Quinn rolling our prints.JPG
    the resulting print!

    the resulting print!

    My finished "self portrait"

    My finished "self portrait"

    up on the new studio inspirationy wall of things and stuff along with a collar from the V&A and my fave fashion week outfit by Simone Rocha

    up on the new studio inspirationy wall of things and stuff along with a collar from the V&A and my fave fashion week outfit by Simone Rocha

    Eva New York

    My pieces have made it all the way from the North West of England over to New York City. EVA is a forward thinking boutique in downtown Manhattan, situated on the Bowery steps.  

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    An established venue curated via the pioneering eye of Stephanie Pappas  for 12 years, "EVA has acted as a retail launching pad for both established and young designers in New York City, offering exclusive pieces from designers such as Henrik Vibskov (Denmark), Acne (Sweden), Alexander Herchcovitch (Brazil), Olivier Theyskens (Paris), Bruno Pieters (Antwerp), Marjan Peijoski (London), Pamela Love (NY), Mandy Coon (NY), C Neeon (Berlin), and Anne Sophie Madsen (Denmark)."

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    '"EVA manifests the innovative spirit of Now and Next through its smartly curated selections from new and emerging designers."

    eva new york jade mellor grey bangle.JPG

    "In keeping with EVA’s modern ethos, the boutique’s expansive interior is a dynamic, shapeshifting space--an idealized, minimalist environment that invites clientele to explore art alongside fashion.  EVA has housed photography by Mick Rock, paintings by Tony Ward, a sculpture installation-cum-video by Bland, and an interactive furniture installation by designers ffiXXed commemorating Pleasure Principle and Friends Shop at EVA." 

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    Shop the pieces here: EVA Shop