Bidding a peaceful adieu

BREAKING NEWS: Earlier today, Raf Simons hands in his resignation as Creative Director of Christian Dior

When you hear this news, multiple questions flood the mind; ‘What drove Simons to make such a rash decision?’ , ‘Who could possibly be the successor?’ & ‘How would this affect the future of fashion?’ Could it have been the stress that Raf just couldn’t handle or was it due to company relationships?

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Sourced photograph: David Sims/guardian.co.uk

Some suggest his move to focus on his own label, whilst others suggest he just couldn’t handle the pressure. Due to what was stated in an interview conducted by Cathy Horyn for System Magazine, Simons discusses that he doesn’t have the physical time to allow for his creative flow he that he so eagerly craves.

“When you do six shows a year, there’s not enough time for the whole process. Technically, yes — the people who make the samples, do the stitching, they can do it. But you have no incubation time for ideas, and incubation time is very important. When you try an idea, you look at it and think, Hmm, let’s put it away for a week and think about it later. But that’s never possible when you have only one team working on all the collections.” – Raf Simons

A quick history: Raf Simons, born 12 January 1968, began his creative career with an education in furniture design and later in 1995, established his own menswear label. June 2005 Simons was appointed creative director of J.Sander, where, in my opinion, is where his creative flow really took growth. After the dismissal of Galliano in his role of creative director at Christian Dior, Simons was quickly appointed as his successor (Womenswear only). He kept to the traditional elements of the brand whilst simaltaneously allowing popular culture and modern society to ever so slightly influence his creations.

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While only designing for Dior of just three and a half years, Raf Simons has not gone unnoticed.

.The classic silhouette (originated from Dior’s 1947 collection ‘New Look’) with a modern twist:

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Jennifer Lawrence at the Oscars 2013. Wore a couture Dior gown. The Classic silhouette of the small waist and wide hip was honoured by Raf in is designs. The modern twist is apparent in the layering of the trail and tight fitting derrière, a modern day phenomenon, which creates a sight of feminism and sexuality, something which the public lust over – especially in todays society where celebrities are considered ‘role models’.

. Groundbreaking accessory designs 

From previous education in furniture design, Simons designs jewellery and shoes as if they were furniture for the body.

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From Left to Right: 1.RTW.FW13/Pascal Le Segretain-Getty Images 2. RTW.SS14/Agence France-Presse -Getty Images. 3. RTW.FW13/vogue.co.uk

Very structural and captivating. Simons manages to incorporate modern technologies and use of materials to design structural and futuristic accessories. By juxtaposing futuristic designs with classic silhouettes enables Simons to let the brand grow.

So what is next?

Raf’s statement of resignation holds a few indicators:

 “It is a decision based entirely and equally on my desire to focus on other interests in my life, including my own brand, and the passions that drive me outside my work. Christian Dior is an extraordinary company, and it has been an immense privilege to write a few pages of this magnificent book”

Although Raf Simons designs may hint towards the future, he does not hold facts of the future. The future of the brand, its next creative director and Simons next move is ambiguous to all. But what would the fashion industry be without a little mystery and excitement?

Ella Elysia x

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The Louis Vuitton, Series 3 Exhibition. 

Last week I attended a private viewing of the “Louis Vuitton Series 3” Exhibition at 180 Strand. The event was hosted by Susie Forbes , principle of The Condé Nast College of Fashion and Design. As part of the Condé Nast alumni, I was privileged enough to be invited. Wearing a handmade Chinese embellished coat (vintage) as a dress paired with a modern heeled biker boot, I travelled in style with blogger, Joesphine Vermilye (Click here) .

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                My Invitation

The Series 3 Exhibition is a chance for the public to experience the deep and imitate mind of Nicolas Ghesquière. The exhibition itself is a maze, entwining rooms of multi-sensory installations that will only exhilarate the viewers mind. The most Intricate train of thought is exposed through diverging mediums. Exhibiting the inspiration, craftsmanship and creative activity from all aspects of the brand. One is allowed to fully submerge themselves into this futurist province.

From the very first room, a geodesic dome – an odyssey in time and space. As you travelled through this silent space, the viewers own mind is loud with thought; as if the audience themselves were in a mind – visually being able to distinguish the structural element of ones mind, explaining the connotations and connections a conscious makes. The first step to being a creative genesis.

Personally, two rooms of this mesmerising exhibition really stood out to me – in which I thought were curated in a way to physically control the viewers mind. The Master Mind and The Accessories Gallery.

The Master Mind further exhibited Nicolas Ghesquiere’s creative process and inspiration. In the Centre of this domed room hovered an open trunk – creating an impression that his ideas and thoughts were spilling out and being projected on the surrounding walls. By doing this it emotionally connected with the audience as one felt involved in this process, a thought which was carried through in every part of the exhibition. Giving such a strong impact, almost claustrophobic, I felt dazed, as if there was not any room for my own thoughts. The viewers mind is being completely controlled. The Louis Vuitton ethos is so strong, there is no other alternative one can experience.

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Rooms of darkness. Illuminated objects and videos guide the way to each room and give a focal point. Then came The Accessories Gallery. 

“I’ve always loved designing accessories. For me, accessories never stand alone, there has to be a common thread between them. They’re am integral part of each outfit, either clashing or complementing it. They share the same sentiment and movement as the garment. A silhouette is a complete make-up of all these elements” – Nicolas Ghesquière.

Bright white. A blinding sensation of pureness. White figures standing alone. Accessories possessing all the power and energy. A brand originally known for luxury trunks and leather goods taking control of an entire room. The deep colours and cuts of the accessories stand alone against the white structures which they are placed. It truly gives the audience a chance to examine what the brand built its name upon.

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If you haven’t already popped in to 180 Strand, I strongly recommend that you do. The exhibition is like no other.

It is a true performance.

Ella Elysia x

‘CHECK IN’ AT CHANEL

Karl Lagerfeld has done it again, the classic Chanel collection transformed and exhibited into a sight of brilliance.

With the sense of urgency tampering with your heart rate, the music enforces a beat imitating the rush and chaos of a check-in we all have experienced at an airport. The models counteracting this extremity with the causal strolls towards and around the desk, something which highly reflects away from the reality of check ins. The repetitive sound gave a chance for the audience to really view and examine the collection. A collection of elegance and self worth. A collection allowing for comfort and conforming to a first class etiquette. A collection, I can confidently say, the audience dream about wearing.

Travelling to various destinations has become somewhat fashionable, making one cultured and experienced with life. Karl takes it upon himself to draw the attention to the act of travelling and the etiquette one is expected to contain whilst participating in this act of character building.

Featuring SS16 collection's Sunglasses. All images sourced from Vogue.co.uk

Featuring SS16 collection’s Sunglasses.
All images sourced from Vogue.co.uk

Paparazzi capture celebrities life on a daily basis, including how and where they travel, evaluating how they look before and after a flight. The use of parading the collection’s sunglasses exemplify this, as if to shield the light from photography flashes from the eyes. I feel Lagerfeld scrutinises this to an extent where it is almost gives a slight comical feel. The act of vanity as one dresses to travel between destinations. The airport has become the new location to exhibit fashion.

As models strutted to the gate, No.5, it gave the audience the impression that they themselves, were also in the first class departure gate. By integrating the audience within this showcase allows for the viewers to become completely involved and almost take on a role or character that would be waiting for their flight with Chanel Airways. Giving the audience a chance to emotionally connect with the environment they are in and therefore the connect to the collection itself.

Casual yet Classic - Photos sourced from Vogue.co.uk

Casual yet Classic – Photos sourced from Vogue.co.uk

Stripes have been present on many of the high end designers collection this season. So watch out, the vertices and horizontals juxtapose to create a vision of interest, captivating, a confusion to guide the eye around the body. Personally, I love the stripe trend, however, one has to understand their body before they can truly understand what type of stripe is flattering to them – Fortunately, for Karl’s models, they would look good regardless.

Every fashion week, I look forward to Chanel. We are promised, whether we approve or not, to receive not just a showcase of a collection, but a show. It is one of the most highly talked about show of every season. It provides the audience with a comment to what is important in todays society as well as being classically classic. Only a genius could achieve this every season. This genius is named Karl Lagerfeld.

I’d love to know what you thought.

Ella Elysia x

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AMY – The girl behind the name

A contaminated mind of reflection and self worth.

Sitting in the most central position of the cinema, I came to the conclusion that this documentary was to make the viewing audience feel something, experience the mental and physical destruction of fame whilst simultaneously giving elements of hope coincided with anti-climatical behaviour.

“Everyone fell under her spell. But tragically, Amy seemed to fall apart under the relentless media attention, her troubled relationships, her global success and precarious lifestyle.” James Gay-Rees

The film AMY directed by Asif Kapedia and produced by James Gay-Rees is a sight of excellence. By visually reading the lyrics of the singer-song writer, Amy Winehouse, allows one to truly understand what Amy was attempting to convey, something which she was always successful in achieving.

Watching the media swarm her every move. The strobe lighting the audience experience as the paparazzi capture every inch of the pavement she walks on. Asia Kapadia cleverly gave the blinding view point from Amy herself and reflected this onto the audience, to almost make them feel uncomfortable watching it, letting them only sympathies for only seconds at a time. A really true brilliant skill of cinematic film.

The audience sits there viewing the credits in complete confusion and reflection. Us who remember and were even fans of the great singer-songwriter let the media eat her up. It brings the focal attention to the impact the media can have in todays society. It is too late for Amy, but will we see a change for public figures now?

“As riveting as it is sad, AMY is a powerfully honest look at the twisted relationship between art and celebrity – the lethal spiral of addiction” Peter Bradshaw – The Guardian.

If anybody is considering waiting for this breathtaking documentary to be released on DVD or public television – I would strongly advise against, see it in cinemas now, the experience and effect of the devastating story will not have the same potency.

I would love to hear what you guys thought of AMY, did you have the same thoughts?

Ella Elysia x

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Strong, Modern and In Control – Emilio de la Morena

Emilio de la Morena is a luxury womenswear brand created in 2005. Within just ten years, the brand has built an increasingly commercial customer base resulting in the brand being sold worldwide.

Having just attended the Emilio de la Morena catwalk at London Fashion Week A/W15 (#FROW), I have had the urge to write about this Spanish genius. The cut and silhouette of many garments exemplifies the designers previous studies in sculpture as the garments fall as if they understood the shape of a woman’s body. Truly brilliant.

The A/W’15 Collection had pieces I could only wear in my dreams. The use of material was a pleasure to the eye. The fluidity of the velvet forms juxtaposed with the sharp and clean cut hem lines and silhouette, thus creating a balance and harmony between fluid and solid. During the Renaissance, wearing fabrics, such as velvet, gave a suggestion of power and wealth, accordingly giving a valuable reputation to whoever may be wearing it. Emilio describes his ideal client to be…

IMG_0679“first and foremost strong, modern and in control. She knows her own mind and is not afraid to stand out; nor is she scared of expressing herself in a vibrant and bold way. She loves playing with her personality and uses dress to express the many layers of her character, always managing to strike the right balance between elegantly refined and provokingly sexy. This woman is in control of her life both emotionally and economically, she lives in or close to a major metropolis, spending most if not all her time in the city. It is important that the work she does stimulates her. Whatever her chosen field, it will be one that she can really commit to. She will be at the centre of the work that she does whatever the industry and whatever the level. Don’t mess with this woman; she will have you wrapped around her little finger in no time.”

I cant speak for every woman out there, but I strive to be this woman that is described.

Incorporating velvet and other materials with the same motif puts Emilio’s psychological desires into physical existence. Referring back to his previous studies of sculpture, again, if you look at the renaissance, sculptures such as Michelangelo’s Pieta has draping that resembles the same fluidity as that of velvet.

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Michelangelo’s “Pieta” in comparison to draping velvet.

Pieta is classed to be highly respected as it contains themes of religion and therefore linking the importance of flowing and soft material to be of a higher class. Mary is also associated with colours of blue and red. In Emilio de la Morena’s collection, the velvet material contains deep colours, again, associating the garments with high power and importance. The show as a whole was very simplistic and understated with very dominating music, giving the viewers a chance to only focus on the garments and not an overwhelming scenery or performance.

Personally, I think that by the brand displaying this subtle hint to power within their garments, ties in with the current issue of feminism, which is so prominent in todays culture, suggesting this brand supports this movement, thus providing it with a culturally aware and respected forefront.

Emilio de la Morena manages to manufacture clothing that is sensual and sexy, yet giving it a degree of innocence. This balance is hard to achieve, yet is shown to be so effortless.

I recommend watching the finale video on full screen. I apologise for the poor photography and filming skills.

Ella Elysia x

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Dior Impressions

Impressionism was an art movement in the nineteenth century. By painting en plain air, gave the artists the freedom to paint exactly from the scene, providing the idea that the world around them is rapidly changing, consequently contributing to the impasto painting technique. Many artists were inspired by impressionism, thus giving further influence to other designers.

Impressionism emphasises on an accurate depiction of light, nature and its changing qualities, accordingly giving Christian Dior inspiration for many of his designs, especially his Haute Couture spring/summer 1953 collection, named ‘Ligne Tulipe’.
The bunches of wildflowers Christian Dior evoked in his S/S 1953 collection -(figure 1) inspired Raf Simons, who reinterpreted them in his first two haute couture collections (A/W 12 and S/S 13) – ( figure 2). Both collections relate back to Manet’s painting ‘Poppies’, 1873 – (figure 3).

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Figure 1 (right). Figure 2 (left).

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Figure 3. Manet’s painting ‘Poppies’, 1873.

“ After woman, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world” Christian Dior. 1954.

Christian Dior, attempts to incorporate women and flowers in the same sphere of existence. Due to doing this, beauty is established through the picturesque qualities of nature reflecting on the woman herself. The colours, prints and embroideries of the 1953 collection, evoke the impressionist landscapes and fields of flowers dear to Renoir and Van Gogh.

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Figure 4. Christian Dior, 1953

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Figure 5. Black tulip dress. Christian Dior. 1953

The complimentary neck line within the collection “Ligne Tulipe”, frames the neck and shoulders leaving the face as the focal part of the body, suggesting the face is, the flower and therefore the beauty within this impressionist inspired line. The Dior silhouette, takes form of the tulip, then curves down into a tiny waist line and stem-straight skirt – (figure 4).

Symbolic to the tulip, the flower is a representation of elegance and grace, much like the depiction of women in which Christian Dior wanted to convey. Christian Dior then began to reverse the flower, where the design would flower out at the feet making an inverted tulip form – (figure 5 ).

This impressionist inspired design also influenced other collections. Dior’s A/W 11 collection by John Galliano (figure 6) is a clear example. The materials that the garments are made from allow the movement and fluidity that is required from the impressionism movement, as if the collection has been designed to be ‘en plain aire’.

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Figure 6. Dior’s A/W 11 collection by John Galliano

1953 satin and silk dress

Figure 7. Christian Dior. Autumn/Winter’54

This gold silk garment (Dior A/W 54) exploits the material as it reflects the surroundings, giving the dress a sense of ever changing movement, resulting in the impressionist ideas coming to life. The collar of this dress is also symbolic of the tulip flower as it frames the face to contain the beauty within – (figure 7)

Christian Dior’s classic silhouette, where the waist is narrow and the bust and hips are wide and full, is still present within modern fashion – (figure 8 ). This strapless white garment with a gauzy white skirt is strongly influenced by the impressionist painting by Degas’ ‘The Ballet Class” painted in 1871 – (figure 9)

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Figure 9. Degas, “The Ballet Class” 1971

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Figure 8. Sarah Jessica Parker wearing Dior in 2012.

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Dior constantly references the art movement, impressionism within his brand. Through the use go his A/W’13 campaign gives a strong link to “lunch on the grass” by Edouard Manet (1863).

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Christian Dior (left) poses his garden. Claude Monet (right) stands beside his pond of water lilies. These photographs reveal the similarities in mind and beauty within both of their designs.

Christian Dior is such an influential designer that due to his intense relationship with impressionism, many other designers create designs based around this art movement. The colour white appears frequently in this particular art movement, as it references light and movement. White is evident in multiple collections within the Spring/Summer’15 fashion weeks, concluding that an ‘all  white’ trend has stemmed of impressionism.

Ella Elysia x

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Christian Dior. Trend: Find the future in the past

Christian Dior’s Spring/Summer’15 collection was a continuation of his previous couture show in which he associated historical clothing with a twenty-first century twist. Raf Simons describes that he was “interested in the process of finding something extremely modern through something very historical” which is evident to see he succeeded in.

“It was an idea of confronting what people now think is an aesthetic that is modern – it felt more modern to go to the far past, not the ‘modernised’ look of the last decade” – Raf Simons.

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The traditional ‘Robe a la Française’ and Raf Simon’s reinterpretaton in the Spring/Summer’15 collection

By modernising eighteen century clothing allows the collection to be more accessible to a wider audience than Raf Simons’ previous couture collection, although they had the same notion. Bodices became skirts and jackets converted into blouses to give the formality an additional contemporary feel. Raf Simons took the traditional Robe a la Française, and created a cotton bodice to further modernised historical dress, providing a practical, yet traditional garment, whilst simultaneously keeping the eighteenth century inspired print.

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Flight Suit a la Français

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Christian Dior by Raf Simons. Spring/Summer’15

Similarly, the ‘Flight Suit a la Français’ uniform from the eighteenth century was refashioned by removing heavy masculine material (washed silk satins and thick calf leather) to light velvet and silks to give a feminine authority amongst the clothing. The coats became minimalistic versions of their former selves with a modicum of embroidered embellishments.The models wore the ‘Court coats’ of the eighteenth century with white skater’s shorts which consequently in turn contributed the historical modern look.

Due to Raf Simons starting this trend in his previous Haute couture collection and continuing the process to the ‘ready-to-wear’ allows the assumption of the ‘Trickle Down’ theory, where couture and expensive garnets influence ready to wear and furthermore high street collections.

Christian Dior was a large supporter of femininity, yet within the eighteenth century, females did not have rights which is so vital to be a female in the modern context. The twenty-first century debate is largely on the topic of feminism, (highlighted by Emma Watson’s speech for the United Nations ‘HeForShe’ campaign, which has brought this topic in to the public’s eye) thus, by clashing together authoritative uniforms of the eighteenth century and reconstructed them to a feminine yet practical design allows the link to be made for authority females within the twenty-first century. Chanel’s Spring/Summer’15 collection also highlights this campaign where the models protested down the catwalk, leaving a large statement within this area of conversation.

“White is pure and simple and matches with everything”
Christian Dior

Keeping to the trend of minimalism, Christian Dior’s collection largely contains clothing of pure white, where the focal point can remain on the cut rather than having a destruction on the print.

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All White. Christian Dior by Raf Simons. Spring/Summer’15

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All white. Christian Dior by Raf Simons. Spring/Summer’15

This was evident in many Paris Fashion Week collections, where white minimalism is key, such as the Celine and Anya Hindmarch’s collections.

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All white. Celine. Spring/Summer’15

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All White. Ayna Hindmarch. Spring/Summer’15

Ella Elysia x