fashion

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?

Raf Simons

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

LV in LND

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

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

Christian Dior – The ‘New look’ to the S/S’15 Collection

“A dress is a piece of ephemeral architecture, designed to enhance the portions of the female body.” Christian Dior.

Christian Dior, Bar Suit. 1947

Figure 1. Christian Dior, Bar Suit. 1947

Christian Dior, from his start collections in 1947 to Christian Dior by Raf Simons collections in the more recent years, all embody the shape and movement of the female body. By embracing and harmonising the shape of the feminine body allows the silhouette to encompass a clear cut ‘classic beauty’ for the body, where the waist is narrow and bust and hips are wide, allowing to conform to the ‘perfect partitions of the idealistic body, dating back to Vitruvius’ ideas from 1st century BC. Christian Dior’s first ground breaking collection in 1947, titled “New Look”- (Figure 1) enabled women to “return to the idea of civilised happiness”(Christian Dior). Due to the war ending in 1945, Dior unequivocally turned the views of rationing, uniforms and restriction to a dress code of lightheartedness and seduction, which Dior was previously familiar with in his childhood. His aim was to extract women out of uniform and ‘practical’ clothing, which was needed in the war period and renew the abandoned traditional dress of elegance.

“I wanted my dresses to be constructed, moulded on the curves of the female body whose contours they would stylise. I accentuated the waist, the volume of the hips, I emphasised the bust. In order to give my model more hold, I had nearly all the fabrics lined with percale or taffeta, renewing a tradition that had long been abandoned”
Christian Dior

At the time, this collection was considered by some controversial as it took back the freedom that women had earned whilst the happenings of the world war were taking place. Women were viewed as equals due to the need of a female to replace a man, and his requirements, however, Dior removed this right when the “New Look’ collection was realised due to his desire to return back to tradition.

The “New Look” innovation proceeds to inspire Raf Simons, as he reinterprets the legendary curves of the clothing in his latest collections, including his Spring/Summer ’15 line.

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Christian Dior by Raf Simons. Spring/Summer’15

This dress evokes the traditional silhouette of Dior. Due to the cut of waist provides the emphasises on the width of the bust and hips, creating a feminine form. Raf Simons, has used ideas from Dior with consideration to a modern context as the materials used are more practical to a woman of the twenty-first century. The cut-outs allow for the classic silhouette without using a corset or thick materials such as taffeta, which restrict movement and comfort.

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Christian Dior by Raf Simons. Spring/Summer’15

Due to modern technology, a futuristic twist can be presented on a garment of classicality. The shape of the heel demonstrates the advanced modern technology on today, which allows balance and strength on such a curve.

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Christian Dior by Raf Simons. Spring/Summer’15

This collection of garment evokes the modern day “bar suit” from the “New Look” collection. The cut of the material is essential in the jacket as the curve isused to accentuate the bust, nip in the waist and heighten the hips. Although being high structure to the form of this suit, the modern day has been taking into consideration as the skirt length is shortened, allowing higher practicality.

Watch the Spring/Summer’15 catwalk below:

Ella Elysia x

Alexander McQueen – VOSS

Alexander McQueen’s, 2001 Spring/Summer collection, VOSS, offers a commentary on the relationship between the beautiful and the grotesque. McQueen states that his “collections have always been autobiographical…They were to do with [his] childhood, the way [he] think[s] about life and the way [he] was brought up to think.” With the perception that McQueen’s collections reveal truths about his own personal life, one can examine his collection to learn and define the designer.
Voss is a municipality of Norway, which is renowned for its host of species, particularly its bird-life. This closely links with the materials used in many of Alexander McQueen’s garments therefore suggesting reasoning behind the collection’s name.
“One of McQueen’s greatest legacies was how he would challenge your expectations of beauty” . Through this statement, one can make the presumption that, VOSS, was in fact, all about beauty. Alexander McQueen presented the catwalk as a theatrical piece, where elements were included to distract the viewer away from the attention of the model, but rather upon self-reflection. The first model on the catwalk was Kate Moss, who wore a beige dress, with cascading feathers starting from the shoulder and white fabric wrapped around her head, symbolising bandages.

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Kate Moss

Michelle Olley

Michelle Olley

Alexander McQueen described the dressings as a representation of surgery – surgery to change ones appearance. Due to the first garment presented as being a direct reference to beauty and appearance, McQueen is able to achieve a focal point for the collection. At the end of the show, McQueen’s desired message of acceptance was exposed through the dramatic revelation of Michelle Olley, whom lounged across a lace sofa, whilst surrounded by moths.

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Witkin’s photograph, ‘Sanatorium’

This was inspired by Witkin’s photograph, ‘Sanatorium’. From my perspective, moths represent vulnerability, as they are a creature of the night and therefore are highly influenced by the power of the moon. The moon is a symbol of femininity but also madness. This could refer back to the meaning of McQueen’s collection, suggesting that females can reach stages of mental illness in their search to perfection. This collection also prefigures his own battles with mental health, (mixed anxiety and depressive disorder), consequently leading to his suicide in 2010.

Alexander McQueen took inspiration from many mediums. The 1963, Alfred Hitchcock film, ‘The Birds’, influenced a garment where taxidermy eagles were plunging down onto a petrified female.

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The eagles could have many symbolic meanings, which McQueen allowed the viewer to establish themselves. I took this garment to represent entrapment and the lack of control an individual holds over themselves. Eagles represent freedom and power. By giving the sight that the eagles are in control of a human, could signify the lack of freedom one feels, (linking in with the location of a psychiatric unit) consequently leading to a lack of control they have over themselves. By having such a strong symbolic garment, may possibly be an expression of McQueen’s own personal feelings of anxiety and depression, from which he feels lack of control in his own mind.

One of the most famous garments within the collection, is the scarlet feathered evening gown,) worn by Erin O’Connor. This garment consists of an ostrich feathered skirt, dyed red and black, with each feather individual sewn together by hand. The bodice is made from 2,000 microscope slides, signifying how one puts the models body under a microscope (close examination and scrutiny). They are painted red, representing blood. McQueen states that “there’s blood beneath every layer of skin” suggesting that humans have multiple layers, physically, but also emotionally.

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In view of above, McQueen’s designs for this collection foreshadow his own battles with mental health, whilst simultaneously giving the critics an inquisitorial outlook of what they consider beautiful.

Hope you found this helpful.

Ella Elysia x

Hello

Paul Smiths exhibition, ‘Hello, my name is Paul Smith’, gives me a great chance to introduce myself. Hello, my name is Ella. This is my very first post of my first blog. I’m not really sure how this whole blogging world works, so bare with me if it’s not quite right just yet. If you hadn’t noticed, this is a fashion blog, so Paul Smith’s exhibition in the design museum, London, creates a gateway for me to express my deep love for him. Anyone who attended, I’m sure would agree with me that he is such an inspiration as a character and as one of our own British designer’s. Being a proud patriotic person who is fascinated with fashion, this exhibition, as you can imagine, was captivating.

Entering all the rooms felt like a  map of his mind. Although at first sight, the way the exhibition was arranged did not make logical sense to me, I came to realise how the mind of Paul Smith worked and how he become inspired for his creations. I entered a black screened room with a mirrored ceiling (the above picture).Flashes of colour and patterns reflected off each wall and surrounded me; something that was so simple but felt surreal. Individuality. Something Paul Smith was obsessed with. From the visual aspects of his shops to his designs. His office was crammed and full of objects, objects that seemed so random to anybody else but him. Objects which he collected from his travels across the globe – things that “interest[ed]” and “amuse[d]” him.

IMG_1871 “The office is the equivalent of my brain.” – Paul

Paul Smith expressed that he had desk which he had never sat at because it is totally covered in things. – This started to sound like the clutter of my bedroom, things that I have hoarded over the years but will not let them go. I say I’m expressing myself; my mother has a different story… laziness. “From all the things accumulated in my office, one idea will form and will be the inspiration for a new collection” – Paul Smith. This exhibition was great to understand how and where designers are inspired. I’d love to know what you thought about the exhibition.

 Ella Elysia x