Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Olsens spoke to Style.Com about the future of fashion, and it's very interesting.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen spoke to Style.com recently as part of the latter's Future Of Fashion series, and it is a fascinating read. The talented sisters talk through their design process, the American garment industry, new media and the role their celebrity plays in The Row's brand identity. I truly admire these two ladies (not only for their style) but for how they have turned their childhood fame into a valid, well thought out and highly appealing design business with The Row, Elizabeth & James two more labels. Rather than play the celebrity game and buy into the Hollywood vacuum they instead channelled their success and wealthy into realizing a vision for womenswear. The original interview is long and worth a read, but below is all the excerpts I found particularly interesting.

Specifically on The Row, where does the design process start for you?
A: It all starts with the fabrics…Then we go into kind of silhouette development, so we start figuring out our silhouettes, what we’re liking, what we’re leaning towards, an evolution of the previous season, certain pieces, so it really starts with this stylized proportion. Then, through that process, we start our pattern making off the silhouettes that we’re liking and the consistent themes that we start finding, the shapes. So we start twisting the fabrics and then we start trying different fabrics and patterns. And once we have all the fabrics, we have about three weeks to produce the collection.

Do you have an ideal customer in mind for The Row?
A: I think a lot of different women pop into my mind, just because we were raised by a lot of very chic women and just constantly working…so I think we do think of a lot of different women. What’s great is that it really is an ageless collection. I think 30 to 60 is the core of our customers, and it’s someone who’s really educated on the fabrics and the fit. That’s the information that’s trickled back to us and it’s kind of what it is.

There’s a feeling that a lot of designers, older designers, only make clothes that work for a 16-year-old model on the runway. But you guys are 24…
A: 25 in June.
…and you’ve deliberately set out to appeal to a broader cross section.
A: When we first started the T-shirts and the dresses, we tried it on bodies that were our bodies and we tried it on our parent’s bodies and our friends’ parents’ bodies. So that was kind of an important process that we took in the beginning, as to why something works on someone older, why it doesn’t, why it works on someone young, and why it doesn’t, and to not get rid of a customer base.

Click through for the other parts of the (long) interview.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Let's Get Active

Lately I've been feeling inspired by all things outdoorsy and active. We even went down to The North Face and Kathmandu stores in the central city the other day to get our fill of striped zip-neck thermals, puffy jackets, seam sealed waterproofing and enticing spider-silks. It was pretty great. Also great is this surprisingly good editorial from the new US Vogue, paying homage to some iconic images of Americana.

Editorial: Vogue US June 2011 "America the Beautiful" Karlie Kloss and Arizona Muse  by Tonne Goodman and Craig McDean
Other images from Life Archive and Tomboy Style

Ballet As An Inspiration

I've been loving ballet a lot lately - a combination of raiding all the Life photo archives, seeing Black Swan, still being obsessed with Chloe's spring collection. Luckily I got to go to the actual Ballet on wednesday night to see The Stravinsky Selection as performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It was such a treat, and an amazing blend of contemporary and classic in three sections (the second of which featured costumes designed by Karen Walker).
George Balanchine's School of American Ballet, NYC 1936

Stravinsky Selection by The Royal New Zealand Ballet - Part One


School of American Ballet NYC, 1974

Stravinsky Selection by The Royal New Zealand Ballet - Part Two, with costumes by Karen Walker

Chloe Spring 11

George Balanchine's School of American Ballet, NYC 1936

Stravinsky Selection by The Royal New Zealand Ballet - Part Three "Petruchka"

School of American Ballet NYC, 1974

George Balanchine's School of American Ballet, NYC 1936
Source: Life, RNZB, Style.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Inspiration This Week

It's been a busy past week and only going to get busier before deadline! So apologies for the minimal blogging, I've barely been home lately. However here is a selection of what's been inspiring me lately - featuring raw finishings, functional details, a little bit of the nineties (Gwyneth!), Celine and Katie Grand.
by Katie Grand

 Celine from Jack & Jil

Gwyneth in Great Expectations

 The Face Fall 1999 "Just Like John And Yoko" by Katie Grand

Celine Spring 11 & Fall 11
Sources: Katie Grand, Style.com, Jak & Jil

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Colour Blocking 101

Colour blocking is one of my favorite trends right now - not only is it accessible and easy, it's also a lot of fun to wear and play with. It also looks great in editorials, which provide plenty of inspiration. Admittedly I own quite a lot of colour and barely any black, so have not found it hard to pull together colour-on-colour looks lately. However brights and en-masse colours can be very intimidating - in fact I had one reader request a Colour Blocking 101 post with tips on how to master this style of dressing. So here we are! I've tried to explore a few different ways of approaching the trend, from multi-coloured brights, to tonal looks and the gentler form of pastel-blocking. Also important to be thought about is what garments to wear. I'm of the opinion that the simpler the garment the more successful it is in colour blocking - think cotton trousers, plain knitwear and classic tshirts. Clean shapes and plain fabrics help creating "blocking".

 - Tonal Blocking vs Multi-coloured. Both of these look equally good, the first requires sticking to a similar palette (such as varying tones of yellow, see image below). The latter features contrasting and complimentary colours of different hues and is what has been popping up all over the magazines and runway. However I quite like the relative simplicity of a look made up with tones of the same hue. It takes commitment but it's easy to pull off and looks considered and decisive.
Numero & Glamour 
Jil Sander Fall 11 & Karen Walker Spring 11

 - Keep it simple. Two to three pieces at the most, all of which are relatively simple in shape. It's not called Blocking for nothing. Simple shapes let the colours stand out - you generally don't want fussy ruffles with this. Trousers are great for this, as are boxy skirts of mini or mid-calf length. I like high necklines when it comes to colour blocking - a high crew neck creates a great frame for the colour going on in the upper body.

- Sensible garments. Since you're wearing colour and lots of it, it's a good foil to all the fun to make sure all the pieces are on the functional side. Trousers or coloured denim paired with a classic tshirt (AS colour do great ones in a large array of colour) and a simple sweater or coloured shirt. Think androgynous classics to offset all the frivolity and colour going on. Light, simple fabrics like cottons, wools and nylons tend to work best. Anything with too much shine or lustre can be a bit too fussy and luxe for this (although dull, matte silks can be beautiful).
Jil Sander & Karen Walker Spring 11

- Play with pastels. If brights are a bit scary, ease into colour blocking using paler tones like pastels and dusky pinks and blues. They can look equally good and a lot less jarring than an outfit of brights. You can also get away with more layers when working with pastels and a neutral or too. It also creates a slightly faded, dated feel that can work really well.
Dries Van Noten Fall 09

The Gentlewoman Issue #3

- Have fun with it. It's colour after all! Accept the fact that people are going to notice you and just enjoy yourself.

Where to get some colour from:
- Glassons
- Black Box (Ksubi Kolours are in now)
- Opshops are a great place to get some charmingly dated coloured trousers or sweaters.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Look: Sherie Muijs Spring 11/12

A great collection also usually has a good deal of hanger appeal stemming from well thought out colours, fabrics and proportions. Sherie Muijs' spring collection features all of these (and more) thus looks wonderful when seen hanging all together as it was at Showroom 22's Media Open Day this week.

Colour Blocking Is Fun For All

Interview love to colour-block and they also managed to do it with an original feel. Colour-blocking usually works best when kept simple and bold.

Click through for a couple more.

Zambesi Spring/Summer 11/12

I got to check out Zambesi's spring range yesterday and it was a delight to see a surprising amount of colours, whites and blush hues to lighten things up for summer in both the womenswear and menswear. The whole collection had an athletic, utilitarian vibe stemming from fabrications like canvas and cotton mesh and design details like raglan sleeves and patch pockets. I loved a slouch back detail that featured on pieces in both the mens and women's lines - really clever and created a cool silhouette. Sequins, lustrous fabrics and soft rounded collars injected a vintage femininity into the mix. Also, I must mention the quite awesome pair of wide legged suiting trousers reminiscent of Oxford Bags that feature for both men and women. So so good. Especially in the blush.

One of my favorite pieces were these shorts which have incarnations for the ladies and the men. Not only are the short and comfortable, but the patchwork suiting pair is definitely all the right kinds of weird.

Everyone who has seen the range so far has gone on and on about the awesome flatform sandals, and you can see why.
Click through for plenty more.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Showroom 22 Media Open Day: Spring/Summer 11/12

In the midst of a long day at uni today, I got to spend my afternoon at Showroom 22's bi-annual Media Open Day seeing all their spring collections in an intimate (although pleasingly full) salon show. The sweet prints from TwentySevenNames were a great highlight, as were Kathryn Wilson's brilliant flatform shoes, Ingrid Starnes' elegantly nostalgic pieces and Sherie Muijs' whole rail. It's a cruel irony that winter truly hit today, and here we were lusting after light spring pieces.


Sherie Muijs

Ingrid Starnes


Kathryn Wilson
Click through for plenty more.