Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Highlights F/W 2012 London

London Fashion week was all about color and prints this season. A lot of them showed an ethnic inspiration. The collage trend was caried on in bright clothes consisting of pieces of different fabrics.

Soft vs Hard

Acne, F/W 2012, London
Acne has gone through an immense evolution. Founded as a denim brand, Acne now has raised the stakes and can easily compete in the high range. The soft color palette was inspired by artist Hanneline Rogeberg. The oversized jackets, blouses and coats granted the silhouettes a strong look.

Collage Genius

Basso & Brooke, F/W 2012, London

Chrisopher Brooke and Bruno Basso profit from a unique collaboration. Brazilian Basso is responsible for the amazing prints and British Brooke designs the silhouettes. According to the duo, the prints were based on paintings by French impressionist Matisse, but to me they remind me of the surrealism of Magritte.

Double the trouble

Felder Felder, F/W 2012, London
Designing a collection with your twin sister, the Felder sisters aren't the only ones who had the same idea. The Row, by celebrities Marie-Kate and Ashley Olsen has become immensely popular. Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy aren't twins but their label Rodarte betrays an exceptional alignment of minds. Just a few examples of how well a colab between sisters can work.
This season, Daniela and Anette Felder have distanced themselfs from their rock estehetic. Never has there been a more earthy and soft Felder Felder collection.

Graphic Punk

Louise Gray, F/W 2012, London

More bold prints in Louise Gray's Fall/Winter collection. Ethnic influences go hand in hand with punk elements. There are also some references to cubism.

New Serenity

Dion Lee, F/W 2012, London

The most exciting London debut this season came from an Australian designer. Dion Lee is a master in construction and usage of fabrics. These are often hi-tech like the light-reflecting textile he uses for his dresses. One to watch this Aussie!

Next in line: Milan!

The Mere Alchemist

Monday, February 27, 2012

Highlights F/W 2012 New York

It has begun.
I am of course talking about the fashion weeks. This month the Fall/Winter Collections for 2012 are being presented in the fashion capitals. The big apple kicked off the festivities on the 9th of February. After a week of shows, presentations and parties New York has passed the torch to London. The London fashion week took place this week alongside the Milan fashion week and the height of all this fashion madness will begin this tuesday in Paris! For now I'll sum up my personal highlights of the NY fashion week:

So wearable

Theyskens Theory, F/W 2012, NY

Our own Olivier Theyskens doesn't need to proof himself anymore. His elegant, subtle view on everyday wear has convinced women of every generation.
Sheer fabrics are mixed with woolen or leather pants. Coats are again longer and radiate the class of the 1940's.

Promising Debut

Brood, F/W 2012, NY

For Brood's first collection comfort and youth were the keywords. Creative director Serkan Saries drew inspiration from sportswear for these versatile clothes. I think the marbled prints are fabulous.

Femine Luxury

Farah Angsana, F/W 2012, NY

Farah Angsana managed to create a very elegant collection. Wrap dresses, coats and evening gowns were predominant and anything but plain. Luxury can be a virtue.

Snow queen

J. Mendel, F/W 2012, NY

Furs and soft lines made for an icy yet sweet collection at J.Mendel. What made the pieces interesting were the contradictions in the silhouettes. Knits and metallic fabrics were combined. Once you're able to melt an ice queen, the fire might consume you.

Crazy or Genius?

Jeremy Scott, F/W 2012, NY

The most daring show was definitely Jeremy Scott's. References to pop art and 90's kitsch (think Koonz) were present. If I had to put a label on it, it would be 'candy punk', were the chaotic build up was placed next to candy cane colors. The craziness in the styling made for an even more theatrical atmosphere. Despite all of that, the clothes were pretty wearable when combined with other pieces.

Androgen beauty

Proenza Schouler, F/W 2012, NY

Even though the designer duo at Proenza Schouler consists of two male designers, they don't oversexualize women. The female is a strong femme fatale who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it. Both male and female get a righteous place in this collection.


Michael Angel, F/W 2012, NY

Master of digital prints, Michael Angel has further established his unique approach to fashion in this collection. His prints are interesting and very different than those of his contemporaries. Symmetry is no taboo in the organic design. Colors go from greys to vibrant blue and green.

Next up: Milan, London, Paris!

The Mere Alchemist

Friday, February 10, 2012

Just Antony

Approximately 14 years ago 'Antony and the Johnsons' was born. A band build up around the person of Antony Hegarty. Often referred to as just 'Antony', the British singer who has lived a good part of his live in the U.S.A. has become a concept in the alternative music scene. Not only his incredible voice but also his unrelenting generosity in lending its unique sound to other artists has contributed to his fame. Collaborations with other musicians are indeed numerous. Lou Reed, Björk, Rufus Wainwright, Boy George, Hercules and love affair, Joan as police woman and Marianne Faithfull are some of the artists who he worked with. 

Next to these musical collaborations, he also conceived some soundtracks for movies.V for Vendetta, a 2005 movie by James McTeigue, featured 'Bird gehrl'. For the biographical picture about the life of Bob Dylan I'm not there, he did a cover of the famous 'Knocking on Heaven's door'. A couple of times, he even made a movie appearance. Once in Animal Farm by Steve Buscemi, singing 'Rapture' and once in Wild Side by Sébastien Lifshitz singing 'I fell in love with a Dead boy'. 

Antony & the Johnsons, 'I fell in love with a Dead Boy', Wild Side, 2004

Antony Hegarty's transgender sexuality and his eccentric appearance have been subject to both criticism and awe. He has emerged as a symbol and protagonist for the free experience of sexuality. Antony speaks not only to the transsexual and gay community but to everyone who experiences sexuality and identity 'differently'. He encourages a tolerant view on the world. 
Respect for femininity, but also transformation, death and (destructive) love are themes that often emerge in his music. 'Cripple And The Starfish', my personal favorite, accurately portrays the emotions lived through in an abusive relationship.

Antony and the Johnsons with Metropole Orchestra, Cripple and the Starfish, Amsterdam 2009

Antony and the Johnsons' oeuvre is quite limited, with only four lp's in their name. The first album carried the name of the band and didn't get too much publicity, although it's my favorite. The release of their second album 'I'm a Bird Now' in 2005 got them the Mercury Prize.
In 2009 his third album 'The Crying Light' rose to the first place on the European charts. A lot of the songs are a comment on the critical condition the earth is in. For example, 'Another World' can be seen as a cry for a global change in the attitude towards and the preservation of nature.

Antony and the Johnsons with Metropole Orchestra, Another World, Amsterdam 2009

Like his presentation on stage and his voice, his musical compositions are very theatrical. The abundant use of strings and changes in pace and volume make for some dramatic moments. 

Antony's interests extend beyond the mere realm of music. In 2008 he wrote a song to accompany the collection of Prada during the season's show. A year before that he collaborated with one of my other favorites, Hussein Chalayan, for the making of a 'fashion film' called 'Readings' for the Paris fashion week.

Music: Antony Hegarty, Fashion: Hussein Chalayan, Video: Antony & Nick Night, 'Readings', 2007

The shattered and fragmented nature of the music could have inspired him for the last album that came out in 2010, Swanlights. The title song on this album has a likeness to the composition for 'Readings'.

Antony & the Johnsons, 'Swanlight', 2010

To me not only Antony's music but his whole persona touches on subjects that are important and often overlooked in this society: The soft, tender, vulnerable, feminine side of society: The undefined, the vague, the non-judgmental. 
He proves that rebellion, protest and change don't have to go hand in hand with violence or aggression. He's a martyr, not male, not female, just human.

The Mere Alchemist

Antony in concert with Metropole Orchestra

Antony & the Johnsons