Friday, 31 August 2012

Major Retrospective on the Life and Work of Fashion Designer Valentino to Open in London

A major new exhibition celebrating the life and work of Valentino will be on display at Somerset House in London between 29 November 2012 and 3 March 2013. 

Valentino: Master of Couture’ will focus on the haute couture created by the Italian designer during his 50-year career. On display will be over 130 hand-crafted designs worn by women such as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren and Gwyneth Paltrow. Highlights will include the vintage dress worn by Julia Roberts when she won an Academy Award in 2001, Jackie Onassis’s wedding dress from Valentino’s 1968 White Collection, and Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece’s pearl-encrusted ivory silk wedding gown from 1995.

Featuring dresses from the couture catwalk and red carpet events, as well as designs commissioned by private clients, the exhibition will bring together a comprehensive collection of couture, much of which has never been seen outside the Valentino atelier. 

“Each of these designs has a beautiful story,” says Valentino. “The atelier crafted each so diligently by hand, taking hours, sometimes days to complete. The details are incredibly intricate, though outside the runway shows and events, the dresses have rarely been seen, so to be able to showcase these designs at Somerset House, where they can be seen in great detail by the public, is very unique.”

The exhibition design has been created by design team Kinmonth Monfreda, long time collaborators of Valentino, and realised in collaboration with Valentino and Giancarlo Giammetti. The exhibition has been curated by Alistair O’Neill for Somerset House with Patrick Kinmonth and Antonio Monfreda.

The first room of the exhibition will delve into Valentino’s life featuring previously unseen personal photographs, couture invitations, and images of Valentino at work and play from his personal archive in Wideville, France. The Embankment Galleries will be transformed into a couture catwalk where each visitor takes the place of the model walking along a 60-metre runway to view the ‘audience’, all of whom will be dressed in Valentino Couture. Descending the stairs from the catwalk, visitors will be able to see Princess Marie-Chantal’s wedding dress made with 10 different kinds of lace. Beyond this will be a room dedicated to Valentino’s current passion, the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum, which will allow visitors to explore Valentino’s legacy even further through interactive and multi media content. In the final room, visitors will be able to see behind the scenes at the atelier through a series of specially made films that show in minute detail the artistry of the couture techniques that go into making a Valentino gown.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Urban Fabric: Building New York's Garment District

New York City’s Skyscraper Museum is currently displaying the exhibition ‘Urban Fabric: Building New York's Garment District’ until 20 January 2013.

The largest concentration of skyscraper factories in the world, the 18 blocks that were the heart of New York’s Garment District, once supported more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs and produced nearly 75% of all women’s and children’s apparel in the United States. The rapid development of the district (the area of west midtown from 35th to 41st Streets and from Seventh to Ninth Avenues) occurred almost entirely within the boom decade of the 1920s, when more than 125 stepped-back loft buildings took the pyramidal forms dictated by New York City’s new zoning law.

Most of the high-rises were built and owned by immigrant entrepreneurs who had begun their climb from clothing manufacturers, to builders, to real estate moguls. Some made and lost fortunes as boom turned to bust in the 1930s’ Depression, and their names (Lefcourt, Adler, Bricken, amongst others) have faded. The work of a handful of little-known architects (all Jewish, like their clients) responsible for nearly a hundred buildings within the district is highlighted in the exhibition.

For followers of fashion, particularly in New York, ‘Seventh Avenue’ means Fashion in the same way that ‘Wall Street’ means Finance. The architecture of the Garment District shaped the urban stage of Seventh Avenue: the high-rise lofts and showroom towers housed myriad small manufacturers, patternmakers, cutters, sewers, pressers, and finishers, as well as the executives, designers, and models for the leading labels. From these factories clothes were shipped to department stores across America or rolled on racks to Macys or Gimbels close by. Within the anonymous architectural infrastructure of zoned massing and speculative development, decades of enterprising creativity and human toil flowed out onto the streets of the city.

Urban Fabric is guest-curated by Andrew S. Dolkart, the Director of the Historic Preservation Program and the James Marston Fitch Associate Professor of Historic Preservation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Photographgs courtesy of The Skyscraper Museum

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Zaha Hadid Architects’ Arum Installation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012

This year’s Venice Architecture Biennale theme ‘Common Ground’ intends to show how the work of the major protagonists of contemporary architecture (often regarded as independent individual creations) is in fact based on historical lineages of collective research. This is also true of the work of Zaha Hadid Architects, as it is well known that the Iraqi architect’s early work was initially inspired by Russian Suprematism

Zaha Hadid Arum Installation Venice Biennale 2012, Photograph courtesy of Iwan Baan

In Hadid’s ‘Arum Installation’ and exhibition at the Biennale, the London-based architectural practice wanted to show that (apart from the dialogue with the work of contemporary competitors that existed all along) their recent work connects to a rather different historical strand of research. The more their design research and work evolved on the basis of algorithmic form generation, the more they learned to appreciate the work of pioneers like Frei Otto who had achieved elegant designs on the basis of material-structural form-finding processes.

From Frei Otto, Zaha Hadid Architects learnt how the richness, organic coherence and fluidity of forms and spaces could emerge rationally from an intricate balance of forces. Furthermore, they expanded Frei Otto’s method to include environmental as well as structural logics, and moved from material to computational simulations. 

Zaha Hadid Arum Installation Venice Biennale 2012, Photograph courtesy of Sergio Pirrone

One particular area of research intended to be explored with the ‘Arum Installation’ is the domain of light by articulating weight shells in combination with tensile structures. The Arum shell is an installation made from pleated metal, surrounded by the documentation of its research, including key reference projects of the preeminent precursors in this line of research. Alongside the installation and documentation, the architects have chosen to display works by Frei Otto, Felix Candela, Heinz Isler, and Philippe Block.

Zaha Hadid Architects’ ‘Arum Installation’ will be on public display until 25 November at Room 1.9, Corderie dell’ Arsenale.

Photograph courtesy of Iwan Baan

Photograph courtesy of Iwan Baan

Photograph courtesy of Iwan Baan

Photograph courtesy of Iwan Baan

Photograph courtesy of Sergio Pirrone

Photograph courtesy of Sergio Pirrone

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Glenn Martens Debut Womenswear Collection for Autumn/Winter 2012

Originating from Bruges, in Belgium, Glenn Martens studied Fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Upon graduating top of his class in 2008, he moved to Paris after being recruited by Jean Paul Gaultier’s team to work as junior designer for the women’s pre-collection and for the label’s G2 men’s ranges.

In 2010, and after a period as first assistant to designer Yohan Serfaty, Martens decided to start working independently on various projects in partnership with several European brands (including Weekday and Honest By Bruno Pieters), and in February 2012 he launched his eponymous label with an inaugural womenswear collection shown during Paris Fashion week. Characterized by graphic tailoring woven into elegant architectural shapes, the collection received overwhelming praise by journalists. Vogue Italia described it as “a spectacle of volumes rendered even more captivating by a play on the layering”, WWD summed it up as a “unique debut effort that brims with potential”, and Interview Magazine noted that “couture-level attention to details exemplify a refined approach to easy, feminine dressing”.

At The Style Examiner, we concur that Martens’s inaugural collection is an extremely promising one. What on an initial view come across as seemingly slouchy clothes are, on closer inspection, garments created out of very proficient and elegant pattern cutting and multi-layering of luxurious fabrics in a process that seeks inspiration in architecture to reinterpret traditional proportions. We have no doubt that Glenn Martens will most certainly become a womenswear label to watch.

Monday, 27 August 2012

London College of Fashion Announces Exhibition ‘Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion’

The Fashion Space Gallery of London College of Fashion (LCF) has announced that it will display the exhibition ‘Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion’ between 12 September and 3 November 2012. The exhibition, which launches LCF’s 2012/13 programme of exhibitions and events, intends to examine the cultural significance of contemporary eyewear. It will feature over 200 frames – some never seen in public before – loaned from public and private collections, eyewear companies, fashion houses and bespoke makers. 

Iris Apfel, image courtesy of Eyebobs

On display will be iconic frames by British companies like Cutler and Gross, Oliver Goldsmith and Anglo-American alongside world-renowned brands such Ray Ban, Moscot, Cazal, and Stevie Boi (who counts Lady Gaga and Nicky Minaj as fans). Other featured brands include Kirks Originals, Alain Mikli, A Morir, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, Carrera, Chanel, Christian Dior, Linda Farrow, Gianfranco Ferré, Mercura, Mykita, Paloma Picasso, Pierre Cardin, Pierre Marly, Polaroid, Police, Prabal Gurung, Prada, Pucci, Silhouette, Tatty Divine, Theo, Thierry Lasry, Viennaline and Versace.

The exhibition will chart the history of eyewear via archival imagery incorporated into a timeline by Emily Alston. The exhibition design will depict eyewear’s historical development from the mid-twentieth century until the present day, emphasising its role within fashion imagery and popular culture and exploring how celebrities, actors and personalities have adopted spectacles and sunglasses as part of a signature look. To showcase and analyse the luxury status of eyewear, the exhibition will showcase a giant pair of frames by Nairobi-based artist Cyrus Kabiru and will also feature catwalk collaborations and new experimental prototypes by Bernhard Wilhelm, Erdem, Giles, Thomas Tait, Jeremy Scott, Chloe McCormick and NODH, Edward Gucewicz, Emma Montague, SPIT Design and Studio Swine. Frames include pieces not yet available such as American label Eye-bobs collaboration with fashion doyenne Iris Apfel, to be launched in 2013.

Spectacles circa 1950, courtesy C.W. DIxey & Son

Framed! Contemporary Eyewear in Fashion’ will be the first in a series of exhibitions organised by LCF to explore different objects and concepts often overlooked in the context of contemporary fashion exhibitions. While these objects have fluctuated at the edges of the fashion system, this series wishes to demonstrate the integral role that they play in the history and development of the industry. These exhibitions will also explore how their visibility and varying status serve as indicators of the complex relationships between cultural tastes and values, advances in design and manufacture, fashion imagery and patterns of consumption. 

Andrew Logan in Cutler and Gross eyewear, image by Madame Peripetie - Sylwana Zybura

Andrew, Charles and Ray Goldsmith at the Dorchester Hotel eyewear trade show in 1966, image courtesy Oliver Goldsmith

Giles SS12. Eyewear by Giles for Cutler and Gross

Givenchy Pre-Fall 2012

C-Stunners Photographic print series by Cyrus Kabiru photographed by Amunga Eshuchi, published by Ed Cross Fine Art

Caline Frame by Theo © a.six

Eyelashes Frame by Tatty Devine

Neo by Mykita, courtesy Mykita

Phoebe by Mykita, courtesy Mykita

Kirk Originals

Moscot Shop at 119 Orchard Street, New York (1932)

Police advertising campaign featuring Bruce Willis (1999)

l.a.Eyeworks advertising campaign featuring Andy Warhol, photography by Greg Gorman, 1985, courtesy l.a.Eyeworks

Polaroid promotional poster (1956), courtesy Polaroid

Cutler and Gross eyewear factory in the Cadore region of Italy, image by Stephanie Rushton

Frame by Spit Design, photography by Teerapon Techapnichgul of SPITdesign

Chief by Emma Montague © Gabriel Thomas

Bob Frame by Theo © a.six

Cass, courtesy A Morir

Courtesy Studio Swine

Giles for Cutler and Gross

Jeremy Scott Hands for Linda Farrow Projects

Thierry Lasry x DC Comics x Colette