Thursday, 24 November 2011

Les Arts Decoratif

More goodness to share from my little Paris trip. I had been recommended to visit Les Arts Decoratif my first night in the city especially an exhibition of jewellery design drawings by a famous royal jeweller possibly on there. I thought  I wouldn't be able to fit in a visit in my short trip but on my way to the White Swan runway show at Les Coulisses du Mariage, I managed to accidental stumble upon it. This seems to happen in Paris as there are loads of amazing things concentrated in one area so you don't realise how close you are until you're on top of it. It also helps when on that part of the afternoon I had gone out without my little map and I think my jewellery sensors must have picked it up and directed me towards it in what might have described as a "groovitational pull".

The museum is a treasure trove for fashion and jewellery. Although it was a bit of a tease arriving a short while before closing time I did a bit of  a whirlwind reccy ready to go back and explore it in more depth on my next trip. I didn't even get chance to look for the jewellery drawings so I don't know if that was on but there's plenty left for me to go and check out. There is an exhibition of  400 masterpieces from jewellery house Van Cleef & Arples starting in Sept next year. Also, another massive bonus is it is free if you are 25 and under so I didn't mind I only had a limited look.

I have to say the museum shop was absolutely fantastic. Whether you're studying something creative (at any stage from school to a PhD and beyond) or just have an interest in anything to do with decorative art and design the bookshop was THE place for all resource books and inspiration. The retail shop was design led with a wide selection of products with a price range to match. The inventive display related brilliantly to the museum so it really was like an extra exhibit but with pieces you could buy featuring contemporary jewellery, accessories and home ware in wonderful sculptural glass shapes.

One thing I was sad I didn't see is the exhibition in the study gallery on animal themes used in design, which I didn't find out about until I got back. However these fellas did soften the blow somewhat.

As photography is not allowed in the exhibitions I did have to become friends with a big n' burly, moustachioed guard to snap these even though they were in a communal space. It was probably quite amusing to anyone watching when we both couldn't understand what the other was saying to explain. Let's just say it was a very odd game of charades but at least I didn't get my camera confiscated.

I was lucky enough to catch the Hussein Chalayan exhibition which finished a few days ago. the museum had given 'Carte Blanche' to the designer resulting in surreal scenes of mannequins, twirling gowns, sculptures and videos.

I was most taken by the modest but beautiful sketches, like this one in green ink used for the guidebook to the exhibition above. I'm reading Hywel Davies Fashion Designers Sketchbook at the moment and I think at a time when fashion can so easily be copied it's great to be able to see the ideas and processes behind designs. Even though we may "know" who made the original, to see the development behind it really does help with understanding it's value and appreciate the creativity of the brain it's come from.

Entering a low lit cave of a room the golden treasures of the jewellery collection shone along the walls. I wish I had been able to take some pics in there but that was a definite "NON!" I managed to scribble a few drawings to try and remember some things and a list of names to go and research.

Among the beautiful jewels there were a few cased "diagrams" of pieces featuring all the components and processes laid out, showing the fine work that goes into these mini-master pieces. I wish they had made more of a feature of these, they were right on the bottom by your feet but the room was really full so space was precious. There were also little collections grouped by materials so it was a good introduction to jewellery. I hope some lucky school kids get to go on lots of trips there ready to inspire a new generation of artisans. I would have loved lying on the floor drawing the pieces in my "museum giftshop" sketchbook and colouring them in with a mini box of crayons. I'll have to remember to pack them next time...

Saturday, 12 November 2011

[C] Kult

[C] Kult was a two day event last weekend held in Galerie Joseph, a beautiful exhibition space in the heart of the Marais, Paris. The event was to showcase up-and-coming designer's collections, and attracted young talent from around Europe.

Alicia Antosyzczyk

Alicia Antoszczyk was using a waterproof, but breathable fabric for her modern designs. I liked
the addition of the jersey lined pockets, if you're wearing a waterproof item chances are the weather is less than perfect and I always like somewhere cosy for my perpetually chilly mitts to warm up.

Jewellery designer Kamila Wasilewska is another fan of using minerals in their raw state. I liked her angular geometric metal rings.

Artist and fashion designer Klara Mec limited her colours using fabric textures as her impasto paint to form her garments.
I'm a big fan of single colour layering, in particular this black dress which I think would pair well with my black pan leo collar.
Clara Mec

Inspiration behind Clara Mec deisgns

Her work is uncompromisingly brave and bold, but beneath the theatre and fantastically wild styling the pieces themselves can easily become exciting additions to a wardrobe with good construction and interesting texture in a way that reminds me of early Westwood.

Heureka's slick designs had a bold, feminine pallette in the colours of cosmetics, a powder nude and lipstick red highlighted with photo-prints of lipstick like bullets with flashes of their gold casing.

I was really impressed with their fantastically practical but lovely looking laptop bag/purse combo with detachable strap.

Here's Cissi demonstrating it's functional features;

a bag of two halves

carry me...

Such a fab item and not an obvious looking "laptop case", as a useful hand bag in itself, but
perfect for when you want to ditch your laptop but don't want to empty out your purse and swap bags. Like the mix and match colours too as you can have interchange the nude and red! (Also
comes as a decent sized but simple purse in the same idea, which I think would be useful for separating a growing collection of travel/train tickets/loyalty/library cards for when you quickly just want the bare essentials in a single neat purse.)

More red and nude, but this time a girlish peach also paired with black in the lovely designs of Milde based in Berlin, using fair trade, organic and vintage. For me the collection had a feel of a modern fairy tale, a combination of young and playful but with an adult edge behind it.

Blouses had old-fashioned stitched collars, a black jumpsuit was made with a deep cut out back, but lightened up with a sweet and girly peach silk bow peeping out and cute dress shapes were found in materials like red leather dying to be worn layered with a roll neck top, toasty woolly tights and mary-janes.

This was summed up a heavy red cape that could also be worn as a skirt, which I think is a great way of justifying a cape purchase as I find them a bit challenging for every day.

Get your mileage from the easy to wear skirt whilst still having a fun option of cape-age when in the mood/suitable weather conditions-perfect!

Now here is Siob.she. I'm glad they made the trip to Paris, as I'd not seen them in their London base and the backdrop of a foreign country made their British style more apparent as I feel they sum it up brilliantly. I feel an affinity to them, as any young woman who has grown up mixing their mum's old clothes with high street purchases, something which is now considered the norm for most, but in early years as a young teenager in a small town baffled some, "what do you mean, it's not NEW someone's worn it before???" (looks disgusted).

All of this lead to a favourite vintage dress becoming the "go to" for day or for night suitable for a variety of occasions. It fits perfectly and is in that particular pretty shade/print/fabric that suits so well and will be worn forever until (tragically!) shrunk in an accidental machine wash, mysteriously lost in a house move or literally fallen apart beyond any more repair.

gorgeous vivid colour

flattering feminine shape

The pieces in Siob.she's collection all have this vintage feel, through certain careful details of fabric choice or print, skirt length or shape of sleeve but are undeniably modern and refreshingly new.

The delicacy of the raw fabric edges on some pieces also allude to this fragility of an irreplaceable vintage find that demands that little extra care or attention due to it's age, or previous wear.

More vintage aesthetics, from Dutch designer Sanne Jansen the sweetness of this collection collection conjours up young newlyweds from the 1950s.


"Slow fashion, for him and her", the concept was to make a garment every month building a collection over time with wearable pieces made to last and transcend seasons.

Rather like a young couple setting up a home, building a life (and a wardrobe) together bit by bit.

In contrast to the instant hit of mass production and fast paced fashion where seasonal items are available wayyyy before necessary, the items stay available for as long as the material does so you build up items as and when you need them.

It was a great place to meet the designers, see their work and also buy pieces directly from them with really good prices for such well made, thoughtful pieces. There's definitely a few I've got my eye on...

Monday, 7 November 2011

White Swan fashion show at Les Coulisses du Mariage

I returned late last night from my mini trip to Paris for the White Swan Runway Show from the contest organised by Carnet de Mode with Madame Figaro. It was held at Les Coulisses du Mariage wedding exhibition and featured my Panthera Leo white collar as a contemporary piece of wedding jewellery.

Literally meaning something along the lines of "Behind the Scenes of Marriage" the event was held in the beautiful mansion La Maison des Polytechniciens (read it's history here).

As my work was already done I could just sit and wait for the show, so backstage I kept myself busy taking photographs to share the event. So here is my post from behind the scenes of the fashion show.

entrance to the exhibition

black starry carpet

filling up with people waiting to see the show

The "Venus" dress my necklace was to be worn with by Swedish designer Camilla Wellton.

des chaussures

robes de mariƩe
a cloud of tulle!

hair and make-up

the textured Swan feather eyebrows were created using silicon and white make-up

gravity defying hair

more prep

Lily in a Grace Jones debutante style
plan of the show route

maximum accessory

queueing for the runway

tv and photographers

and here's a little vid of my piece in the show!