Saturday, 26 November 2011

New Beginnings

Hi All,

I've started a new blog, The Visual Essay, I got sick of The Boy from Newcastle name. Instead of working with the same old blog, I wanted a fresh new start. I hope you find the chance to read my new blog.


Thanks all!

James

Monday, 20 June 2011

Menswear: Milan Day Two

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(From left: Trussardi 1911 & Moncler Gamme Bleu)
Day two of menswear and there was a different energy forming already. Tomas Maier opened the day with a political agenda at play for the latest Bottega Veneta collection, inspired by the revolutionary wave of the Arab Spring. Of course the traveller & rocker looks kept emerging, today from Diesel Black Gold, Emporio Armani, McQ & Salvatore Ferragamo. On a more refreshing note, the new energy at from Umit Benan at Trussardi & Alistair Carr at Pringle of Scotland gave these once diming labels a new shine & outlook, though more on Carr later. Benan presented his debut collection at the Piazza della Scala, incorporating a playboy lifestyle to his customer. Give Benan another six months and he'll be at the top of his game.
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(From top left clockwise: McQ, Diesel Black Gold, Ermanno Scervino, Emporio Armani, Missoni, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta & Calvin Klein)
If there was one concept that seemed to rule the runway today, sport & leisure. Italo Zuchelli gave his interpretation focusing on the fabrics to deliver a sleek minimal look for Calvin Klein. At Missoni, it was playing with the house prints on tracksuits in a traveller-like attitude. The best of sports themes of the day came from Prada, Moncler & Vivienne Westwood.
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Pringle of Scotland:
With the change in creative establishment at Pringle in the past month, Clare Waight Keller having moved to Chloe and fresh out of the Balenciaga waters Alistair Carr stepping in, it was going to be an interesting change. The sci-fi/punk sportswear approach was immediately enforced into the collection, a dramatic change from the more sober luxury you would expect at Pringle. Change is good, it can be hard and only the best can do it- Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld, Miuccia Prada, Nicolas Ghesquiere have proven to be the masters of seasonal change. The best pieces came from the slim fitting vests in a neon colour-blocking, layered tee's in a static neon print, ribbed sweaters with the touch of colour on the hem, and the elastic leather boots that were part of a collaboration with Puma. It may take time for others to adjust to the change, but I for one am loving it & Carr, and cannot wait to see what he delivers for his womenswear collection in September.
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Moncler Gamme Bleu:
We've had cyclists, hunters and now into his fourth collection it's fencers. Thom Browne is a man who is making the idea of athelticism fashionable in menswear. Clearly their was a futuristic message at play, as Browne played the theme music to Star Wars as models walked down the runway. Even the first look I couldn't help but think of a stormtroopers uniform. From their the designer gave us all-white suits (one matched with a pleated skirt), bombers & pants in nautical stripes, grey plaid suits with groin-hugging straps and a black formal suit with parachute pants. Browne continues to put on a great show, as I imagine he'll do the same next week in Paris for his own menswear line.
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Vivienne Westwood:
Just one more year until the London Olympics, and there is one British designer who seems to be gearing up for the games. For her latest collection, Vivienne Westwood wanted to play on the formal ceremonies that are apart of the spirit of the games- the opening, closing & award ceremonies. The opening looks were a range of tee's with different prints from greek paintings to depictions of infamous photo of Mark Spitz/Michael Phelps wearing their medals. From there, the looks became more formal in a variety of suits that looked like they were made for a bulky athlete. Not the usual designer you'd select to create the uniform for Britain, but maybe Westwood is up for the challenge as I could only imagine she would make something truly tremendous for the British.
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Prada:
What makes Miuccia Prada such a great designer, her likes are not what form her taste when creating. Her dislikes are also what make her a designer, an artist, and for spring what she loathed the most was golf. Not your typical golfers were on display, a combination of Florida vintage shirts, Jagger-like neck scarves, and hyper bright jeweled loafers. It was simply cool, taking out the vulgarity of prep and making it refreshing. Since I imagine my Prada shoes may never arrive, maybe I can aim for these in the following several months to come.
(Photos: Style.com & WWD)

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Menswear: Milan Day One

(From left: Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana & Jil Sander)
Menswear kicked off yesterday for the spring/summer 2012 season in Milan, and day one was filled with such strong looks inspired from rockers to the artisanal. Corneliani opened the season playing around with a desert traveller inspiration, which followed into a more refreshing collection from Ermenegildo Zegna that played on a softer element to a similar concept. Onto a more rockier vibe, as Ennio Capasa delved into a rockabilly element for his latest collection for Costume National, refiguring the look of the casual suit with collars replaced on shirts and given a lapel. As always, John Varvatos kept to his rock n roll signature, this time been inspired by seventies iconic bands like the Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zepplin, and Neil Barrett toned down the futurism & upped the neo-punk cool to deliver yet another successful collection with his signature fresh-proportioned piecs. Sadly Dolce & Gabbana seemed to be the once collection that fell flat from its usual strong appeal, as Domenico & Stefano used meshing as their main source to create a range of suits & sportswear looks.
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(From left: John Varvatos, Neil Barrett, Ermenegildo Zegna, Costume National & Corneliani)
Of the numerous collections showcased through the day, three stood out from the rest- Raf Simon's looks for Jil Sander, Christopher Bailey's boys at Burberry Prorsum and Umit Benan's designs, the new menswear force to emerge in recent years.
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Jil Sander:
Inspired by artist Mark Leckey's infamous video 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore', which explores the underground club culture of Britain in the eighties & nineties, Simons delivered a darker vision incorporating a stronger gothic/futuristic element to his clothes that I have not seen from Simons before. There were suits with highwaisted shorts, shirts with tabbed collars showing over black jersey sweaters, python iPad cases strapped around the chests, multi-coloured knitted sweaters that from a distance looked like static, clear PVC jackets, black pinstriped PVC coats and three-buttoned sport jackets given a boxier silhouette in a triacetate-looking material. Like Lecky's work, Simons' collection challenges a similar void, where the uninhibited are simply misunderstood & embracing new cultural influences in our society. Maybe it's time to embrace a new aethetic to the way we dress, otherwise we are simply dull.
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Burberry Prorsum:
Christopher Bailey always seems to be at the top of his game when it comes to creating the 'It' coat of the season, and if he has his way it's going to be a parka. The parka is back in demand, which was first highlighted in the fall collections from Joseph Altuzarra. Bailey's jackets were given a more artisan vibe- a little tribal & a little south-west American. The parkas Bailey wants us to wear are a little more frumpy, but in a good way like the coveted shearlings of eighteen months ago. I for one love a good parka and I love these ones, especially the cropped version. Though the message Bailey wants to reflect from his designs is not so visual, its more ideological- taking a step back from fast-paced attitude the industry is building itself around. Bailey would know a lot about fast fashion, with his direct-demand scheme of buying the clothes immediately after the show been a huge success for the company. These clothes a pretty-darn good looking, even I wouldn't mind wearing one of those raffia bobble caps and the ikat print shoes.
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Umit Benan:
I'm a huge fan of Umit Benan. His clothes are unique, practical and cool. All eyes are on this young designer, having made his mark on the industry in just a few years proving to be the main force in menswear to be reckoned with. As of last week, Benan was named the new creative consultant for legendary fashion house of Trussardi. Big shoes to fill, that I can only imagine he'll suceed at. Onto the collection, and after are similar eighties inspiration last season, the designer moved away from the wall street Bateman-esque character to focus on a legendary fashion figure of the decade, Nino Cerruti. Cerruit's suits had that d├ętendu touch to them- loose shirts, wide pants and over-sized jackets. Benan's take on the Cerruti suit ranged from pinstripe blue, all-white, geometric red print and denim-on-lemon. Each look had it's own character, as Benan wanted the collection to be like a bunch of Cerruti's grandsons sitting down to a Saturday afternoon lunch in their grandad's vintage-cool-feeling pieces. If this is what Benan has to say for his own line, I cannot wait to see what he produces for Trussardi the next day. His clothes are not about creating a theme, their about fitting a lifestyle.
(Photos: Style.com & WWD)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Rodarte at Pitti: Pure Couture

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I've been so excited to see what Laura & Kate Mulleavy would deliver for their special Pitti collection, and here it is. Inspired by baroque sculptor Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, in particular the artist's work 'The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa'. Of the ten wonderfully sculptured gowns, the peach number with the golden breast plate forming on the front is the stunning piece I have ever seen from the sisters. The religious connotations in the work are so overwhelming, I can't help but feel a slight reflection of catholic saint Joan of Arc. Well here it is, leave your comments below on what favourite number is.
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Photos: Grazia

Monday, 9 May 2011

Latest SHOWstudio: Cinq A Sept

"SHOWstudio is based on the belief that showing the creative process- from conception to completion- is beneficial for the artist, the audience and the art itself."- Nick Knight

The latest film by Ruth Hogben shows the filmmaker working with LOVE magazine's editor Katie Grand showing the designs of Giles Deacon's Fall/Winter 2011 collection at Emanuel Ungaro dubbed 'Feral Lace'. There is something I find completely fascinating about this film- with the sexual attitude the models create or the jazzy soundtrack that creates an obscurity to the stories boudoir appeal. Features models Aymeline Valade, Anais Mali, Nyasha Matonhodze, Anais Pouliot, & Daga Ziober.

Chanel Resort 2012

Come six months ago, the Pre-Fall collection from Karl Lagerfeld was a much more quieter affair from his usual extravagant presentations. Never fear the man with the black shades is back in his most 'glitz-and-glam' setting yet, Antibes- where luxury is only seen as a staple for the type of class you'd expect present in this town. On another note, Antibes is only a two-hour ride from the infamous Saint-Tropez where Lagerfeld presented his previous resort collection. How much two hours difference can make culturally to the Riviera region, as drawing comparison between the two towns you can notice the fashion is treated to an audience who prefer a glamourous & conservative style. The resort collection, presented last week, found a succinct level between playfulness & maturity- opening in a range of lemon dress suits, and closing on relaxed evening wear in black & white. Highlights include- the black mid-calf dress with the multi-coloured tiling embellishment around the top & bottom; the asymmetrical satin gown, with the high-thigh slit & pleated skirt; and the black evening gown with the biker-gillet with star embellishment. The collection seems a little too conservative & crisp for my taste, I cannot help but feel that maybe the billionaire ladies could roll in the mud to loosen their uptight appearances. Maybe in Antibes, it's becoming to be seen in a dress suit rather then a bikini.
Images: Vogue.com

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Christopher Kane

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Photos: Vogue.com

Whether you may be a fan or not of Christopher Kane's work, you cannot deny that his designs create a sense of vulgarity and discomfort. For the past few seasons, Kane has been clashing textile elements, creating what I consider a discussion relating to his postmodern interpretations in design. The discussion- where are the taste levels drawn in the 21st century fashion? Looking at the Spring/Summer 2010 collection, where Kane used the checkered print in a colour palettes of light blue, baby pink & light chocolate creating an ideology of innocence & naivety, and clashing the strong sexual dominance of corseting, slits and cleavage evoke. It's probably the designer's most literal interpretation of his aesthetic, which has lead his work to becoming more direct within provocation and textile innovation. Kane's journey, or fashion evolution if you'd prefer, is still at a constant learning progress- with his latest spring summer collection incorporating coloured-gel strips that you might find similar to little girls pencil cases. It may be his strongest approach, as he finds a suitable level between commercial wearability & conceptual ideas an artist voices. If you are not familiar with Christopher Kane I urge you to learn more about his work with his own self-named label, as well as the work he creates at Versus under the wing of Donatella Versace.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Coming Back Yet Again.

So the posts are down yet again, and I'm going to try 'again' to make more of an effort to write more on the blog 'again'. Yadda, yadda, yadda.... Check out this awesome editorial in Numero this month, photographed by Solve Sundsbo, that was posted on Models.com yesterday.
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Also in the following days to come, I'll be starting to develop an essay on SHOWstudio. Keep your eyes out for it as I plan on talking hugely about innovation, creativity and originality.

The Met: Savage Beauty

After months of hype, and a royal wedding with the McQueen name attached, what we have all been waiting for has finally arrived- the opening night of fashion exhibition Savage Beauty, the tribute to Alexander McQueen, at the Met in New York. Unfortunately the exhibition has no global dates as of yet, but I can imagine in one more year we will get our own little show of the McQueen aesthetic in Melbourne.
Photo: Models.com
Onto the gala night, where all of fashion's icons, lovers and crazies appear in their form of star-studded glamour. This no ordinary red carpet event, this is where the avant-garde designs can mix within the Hollywood glamour. As of course this been Lee's exhibit we were going to see a lot of 'McQueen'- from the kilt-punk to armadillo shoe wearers. The best McQueen girl on the night, easily Daphne Guiness in her feathery gown- followed closely by Karen Elson in a less aggressive number and Gisele Bundchen with a similar attitude in her red strapless gown.
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As to the other girls who chose to wore something other then McQueen, the best came from- Diane Kruger in the high-slit Jason Wu gown (escorted by the designer, Zoe Saldana in a yellow/grey Calvin Klein gown (also escorted by its designer Francisco Costa), Alexa Chung in Christopher Kane, and Vanessa Traina in a fetish Louis Vuitton piece. Though all stunning, the best dressed of the whole night was Stella McCartney in her effortless black & white gown.
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Photos: Style.com

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Muse of the Month: Fabien Baron

Having reached almost two years of blogging, keeping always true to what I love to talk about, I've decided to add something new. Each month I'll be writing about someone I admire, who fuel me whether it be creatively or to reach high professional goals. Maybe you might admire them as well or you might not know them and learn something new.
Since I am currently studying Advertising, and hope someday to end up like this man, for May my muse of the month is Fabien Baron. Ever wondered who might come up with the idea behind an editorial or campaign? Don't be mislead by the idea it may be a fashion editor, it's most likely to be an art director that is apart or outsourced by the publication or fashion house. For those who may have heard of Baron, your most likely to know he has been behind Calvin Klein's controversial images. On top of that, his credentials include creating campaigns for Balenciaga, Burberry, Miu Miu, Hugo Boss & Michael Kors, as well as creating some of the unique editorials for Vogue Paris & Italia. Baron's real publication baby is Interview, where he is the Editorial Director for the magazine. He is not just one of a kind for his ideas, he is one of a kind because he is the only art director/editor for a top publication. I hope one day to end up like this man, and maybe even one day gain some experience with his agency 'Baron & Baron'.

Current (May 2011) cover of Interview:
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Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The New Models on the Block of F/W 2011

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Emily Baker-
If there was one model that seemed to appear in every show this season, it was Emily Baker. The 17 year old, New Zealand born model shone the brightest throughout the whole month, booking all the top shows from New York to Paris, as well as opening for Emilio Pucci in Milan. Her face reminds me of another top model in the ranks, Lara Stone. Everyone still enjoys Stone's alien-like appearance, and I can only imagine that this will continue through Ms Baker. Prepare to see much more of this girl in the following months & years.

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Aymeline Valade-
There is a saying, 'Better with age', and that has proved to be the exact attitude that has helped with Arizona Muse, Saskia de Brauw, and now this season's new face Aymeline Valade. The french model was first noted at last season's Balenciaga show, which then landed her the print campaign for Alexander Wang (who seems to be a big fan). This season was by far a strong one for the model, having opened both for Wang's show in New York & the highly-privileged position at Louis Vuitton. Keep an eye on this girl, as she has the potential to make it big.

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Codie Young-
The past two years, Australia has delivered some fresh faced potentials to the fashion industry- Julia Nobis, Bambi Northwood Blyth and now 'doe-eyed' Codie Young. Having already made an impact with a number of editorials & a cover under her belt from Vogue Australia, it's time this model took to the international circuit. Her season started off big in New York, with larger steps that followed with an opening spot at Marni in Milan to then appearing with the biggest names in the business at Chanel in Paris. I'm a big fan of Australian models, and that has nothing to do with the fact that it is my own nationality, as they have the strength, character and beauty to pull off anything. Just look at Abbey Lee Kershaw, Gemma Ward, or Catherine McNeil, notice how well they have done.

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Kate King-
Like Australian girls, Canadian models have made a big impact to the fashion industry within the past few years with the likes of Daria Werbowy, an editorial favourite for many publications. The new face to come out of the country, Kate King, who has the face that will have men fall at her feet. Like Emily Baker, Ms King was almost seen at every show this season. Her portfolio includes- Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent, Missoni, Prada, Alexander Wang, the opening slot at Moschino and a breathtaking moment at Haider Ackermann, at least for me. This girl has big potential.

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Josephine Skriver-
When I look at Josephine Skriver, I think of some of the past fresh face models who rose quickly to the top in a matter of months- Jac Jagaciak, Joan Smalls, Daphne Groeneveld. These girls had an immediate force, scoring numbers of editorials and shows, much like what is bound to happen to Skriver. Something tells me we might even see her in a few campaigns from the likes of Balenciaga & Prada, as well as a few editorials to come from Vogue Paris & Italia. Her future is burning bright, especially at the young age of 17. The next six months will prove her future stance.