DC Commission of Fashion Arts & Event, Dupont Underground, and National Cherry Blossom Festival, hosted the first underground fashion show EVER in Washington DC's Dupont Underground - an old subway stop that's been converted into an art space. I attended the show and had a front row seat. I'm still writing down my full review so I will come back and add it later. For now, just know, I loved a few of the designers, but unfortunatly, they didn't give us a programme so I don't have their names! You can see me in this video as I take notes and pics. I really loved one designer - she did a lot of two piece sets, focused heavily on head-to-toe looks whether they be matching patterned shorts, top, and shawl - I have some pictures here of her designs. Def wearable pieces. I will come back with names later! For now, here's what I got!
What does silence look like?
What does silence sound like?
What does silence feel like?
Italian photographer Filippo Minelli explores the dynamic silent beauty of nature in his series “Silence/Shapes,” a collection of landscapes which were shot in abandoned or empty spaces in Europe. He expresses the essence and spirit of silence through the medium of smoke bombs which give visibility through an abstract form.
He glamorizes abandoned European landscapes with a set of vibrant colors which mimic his subjects temperament. Minelli has given the mystery of silence a shape and the smoke bombs seem absolutely fitting. These are my favorites from the series. To see more visit his website here.
Decoration, Frames, Artwork, Animal Artwork, for sale, Liz Ash, Art Installation, Fine Art, Canvas, Prints, Decor, Home, Animals, Goodbye Animals, Custom, Made-to-Order, Up-and-coming, Collection, Artist, 2016, Endangered Animals, White, Black, Frames, Collage, Cool, New, Now, Turtle, Bear, Lion, Elephant, Rhino. Fall 2016 Best of Animal Art.
Resort 2017 runways were packed with amazingness and, to my dismay, a lot more non-amazingness. After perusing approximately forty shows and collections, I decided I'd do an edit of my favorite looks across different designers. Overall, I'd say the season was characterized by a balance between more playful and fluid pieces with serious structures and complicated detailing.
Antonio Berardi's resort collection was gushing with a modern feminine poise and grace. Mirroring the designers "split" background (British and Sicilian), his collection illuminated looks that balanced passion and sensuality with strict and precise detailing. (pic 1-8).
Balmain's multihued macrame, intricate crochets and body-con mini's straddled fluidy and cascading drapery (pic 9-15).
Elizabeth & James kept it essential and I truly appreciate that about their collections. Minimal and retro yet still drawing the balance between flowing skirts and more fitted knits (pic 16-19).
Fendi's playful balance of feminine ruffles and military tailoring was on par with Lagerfeld's usual (pic 20-22). The macro netted coat adorned with furry (wish was faux) blossoms, butterflies, and bugs was for sure a WOW factor. Betting on this as a celeb-coveted piece (pic 22).
Hermes came in with its ever-alluring head-to-toe wearability, sophistication and classiness. The resort collection's color palette was inspired by 17th-century Dutch flower paintings and the clothes women wear daily. I'd say Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski has made Hermes' most intelligent and beautiful Resort collection yet (pic 23-27).
Last, but not least, and to my delight, Versace was on it this season. Chalk it up to the change in management (CEO) or maybe Donatella's spending less time in the sun, regardless I am LOVING it. This departure from - excuse my language - gaudiness to a new found balance of linear silhouettes made of a sexy mix of sport and chic is brilliant. Inspired by the Americana and road trips, the clothes reveal a patriotic color palette and the use of colorblocking/stripes (28-end). Brava!
These are just a handful of selects from a few shows. And it looks like sneakers are here to stay ... for the next few seasons anyway. At least this generation of feet will not have half the problems our foremother's did :p.
Photos from here.
My favorite sneakers for Spring Summer Fall Winter. For ways to wear see Liz Ash Pinterest.
These unique still-life polaroids were taken by Andy Warhol between 1977 and 1983. He referred to his Polaroid Big Shot camera, which he purchased in 1970, as his “pencil and paper.” I love how he became so obsessed with certain symbols - guns, knives, Campbell soup cans, dollar signs, etc - and then used those symbols repeatedly throughout his career. I mean, I knew the Warhol banana before I knew the person Warhol. It reminds me how important the Mere Exposure Effect is in present day branding, personal and corporate. The more we see the same image, or hear the same sound, the more we become familiar with it and tend to like it. It’s like those songs you’re not sure you like at first but then once you’ve heard them 30254894 times, you’re like ‘hey, this isn’t all bad.” Granted, that doesn’t always happen, but it’s interesting to think about. If I post the BEAU MONDE logo 30254894 times, will you like it then? Or, maybe you’ll hate it? But at least, you’ll remember it, right? Who knows?
Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919) was a great biologist, naturalist, professor, philosopher, physician, and artist, who was obsessed with capturing and illustrating the organic symmetry, order, and organization found in nature. You may recognize his work from "Kunstformen der Natur” (“Artforms of Nature”), a book of lithographic plates which constructs and portrays animal and plant architecture. During his career Haeckel produced over a thousand engravings based on the watercolors and sketches he made in his travels.. One hundred of those engravings were used in Artforms of Nature. The plates/pages reveal microscopic organisms juxtaposed with highly developed plants and animals with a geometric and visual soundness that is both breathtaking and poetic. His exquisite form mimics the very orderliness he sensed in his natural subjects. Illuminated is Haeckel's monistic notion of the unity of all things and a oneness of the world in its most diversified forms.
Drawn to the point where fashion replaces the body with something abstract – an idea or ideal instead of an organism, Anne Sofie Madsen’s designs are built on contrasts and ambivalence.
The woman is both inviting and out of reach. She is streetwise and ladylike, boyish and feminine, at the same time. Resulting in designs that straddle between fanciful fun and a serious intricacy of detail.
“I like to challenge and push the boundaries for everyday wear and at the same time it is really important to me that the garments are in their own way functional and wearable. It’s not about garments for princesses in a fantasy world, but I do wish to bring magic into reality and preciousness into fashion," she comments.
I love her collections. And her exploration of the Girl as trope and a cultural deity is spot on. By the Girl I mean the one you see on the cover of magazines - our modern Mother...but she is not human. Superficially, magazines airbrush images to the point of abstraction; moreover, what is meant to look real is in fact a complete fabrication and illusion. Could the Girl be an symbol of capitalism in our post-modern era? I think Anne Sophie Madsen is exploring this in her collection subconsciously. A skeleton printed on a dress makes us question what lies beneath the Surface.
Anne Sofie Madsen graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and trained under John Galliano in Paris, before moving to London to work for Alexander McQueen as a Junior Designer. In 2011, she started her own label and presented her first collection at London Fashion Week in February. The following season she opened Copenhagen Fashion Week and has been showing there ever since.
Madsen won Danish Fashion Award and GenArt’s Fresh Faces in 2012 and was chosen to exhibit with Italian Vogue during Milan Fashion Week the same year. In 2013, she won the prestigious DANSK Design Talent prize. In 2014, the brand presented its first fashion show at Paris Ready-to-Wear Fashion Week.
Images and biographical information from here.
The six animals in Goodbye Animals: Goodbye Sea Turtle, Goodbye Bear, Goodbye Rhino, Goodbye Gorilla, Goodbye Elephant, Goodbye Lion.
Fragments of Inspiration:
Fashion, Street Style, Art, Dance, Photography, Color, Mood, Monochromatic, Technology, Nature, Cool, Love, Styling, Style, Wardrobe, Concepts, Conceptual art, Fit, Form, Function, Quotes, Words, Celebrity, Now, Newness, Current, Trending, Trendsetters, Street, NYC, London, Tokyo, Portland, Miami, City, Space, White, Black, Gray, Blue, Instagram, Twitter, Liz Ash, Branding, Brand Bibles, Drawing, Graphics, Graphic Design, Fashion Design, Production, Organization, Visual Aesthetic, etc.
Blackshaw, whose concentration is Embroidery, graduated with honors from the Manchester Metropolitan University just last year (2013). The British artist specializes in hand embroidery, digital print, and fashion illustration, and creates collections of textile fabrics. Inspired by audacious colours, bold patterns and a range of artists, she describes her work as "remixing ideas and spontaneously blurting them out on to paper and fabric." While I have not seen any of her textile work in person, I am in love with her lively croquis that seem to navigate the space between serious fashion-designer and abstract fine artist in a novel and bright way.
Within a simple framework of line drawings appears a multi-dimensional, layered presentation of living textures (from glitter to beads to thread) creating a tactile and visual tension in all her works. Actual photographs of models heads/faces ground us in reality and yet her raw and sharp way of clipping them seems to foreshadow the whimsical, stunning world which we see from the neck down, where the modern shapes of her garments are adorned with funky, re-mixed patterns, hand-embroidered elements , and bright colors.
Dramatic yet comedic; complicated yet simple; serious yet whimsical; realistic yet abstract; Blackshaw seems to balance stylistic polarities with the skill and finesse of a well-versed pro. Her illustrations reveal a well-defined sense of drama, depth, and passion that draws us in and swallows us whole. We enter the world of Elyse Blackshaw where nothing can be taken too seriously and yet everything makes perfect sense.
All images used with permission from Elyse Blackshaw.
Conceptual neon artist, Olivia Steele uses neon lighting to imbue spaces with ironic and spiritual meaning. A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Steele’s installations employ a traditional commercial medium to make intimate statements that make the viewer question the world around them. Steele, a resident of Berlin and London, juxtaposes her neon statements with iconic imagery to further jar her viewers beyond the everyday. The wide range of interpretation her work presents is endless, a refreshing change from the overbearing gallery canvas. Contrast, Contradiction, Symbolism, Semiotics, and Neon..what’s not to love?! Oh, and did I mention, she is a total babe. See more of her work here.
WUNDERKIND FW15 Collection
WUNDERKIND is the wunderchild of German-born artist Wolfgang Joop (1944). If you're unfamiliar with his name, remember the "JOOP!" brand? He was responsible for its creation.
In 2004, Joop unveiled WUNDERKIND. The Collection launched with a small FW show in Joop's native Germany. That same year Joop was invited to introduce the collection internationally at the CFDA awards show in NYC. By 2006, Wunderkind was in Paris Fashion Week. And the rest - as they say - is history...
I love the shapes most of all. While my closet consists predominantly of monochromatic garments, I really vibe with WUNDERKIND. The form of each piece and the way it lays on the body is sophisticated and yet the palette of patterns bring a playfulness and fearlessness that I can't help but be inspired by.
WUNDERKIND's FW15 collection seems to have nailed down its styles and silouettes - the belted blazer, the belted half-vest, the trouser, the full skirt, etc. - which is an accomplishment in itself.
Designers and brands today are way over assorted. Too many styles and shapes create too much ambivalence; an over assorted store, or designer's collection not only reeks of fear, it has a muddled artistic argument. Yet, Joop shows us none of that; he's got the confession and the argument nailed down; he's trimmed the "fat" with the precision of a plastic surgeon. His statement pieces show confidence, intelligence, and an anti-commercial vibe. Most of all that sort of "live in the now" message. LOVE
Images from here.
My current obsession: Jason Brinkerhoff.
California-born Brinkerhoff and his Untitled nudes take us into a world of surreal and convoluted beauty, where swooping lines of charcoal, fuzzy clouds of color, and distortions (cuts and substitutions of body parts) explore art’s exploration of western femininity, and western femininity itself. De Kooning’s brushwork and Klimt’s modest nymphs lie side by side with the deconstructed physiognomy of Picasso.
Before 2011, the self-taught painter from Menlo Park had never had his work on display. Nobody knows what he did, apart from collecting non-professional photographs and accumulating old fashion magazines that were displayed in 2012 at the Chelsea gallery ZieherSmith. His works take form on aged paper and pages of antique books, as if his language, that rather resembles the process of street art, were challenging history, searching for its position within it. Employing diverse materials, he captures not only the seduction latent in select poses, but also the sensuality of dynamic line work in graphite, ink, colored pencil, wax pastel and acrylic.
“Jason obsessively reworks his images; often times producing hundreds of drawings inspired by one simple pose in a Picasso painting. It’s as if he is curating an image, drawing from historical references, or from his own point of view, allowing all of these histories to co-exist.” - Matthew Higgs (Director who discovered Brinkerhoff)
I'm not sure if it's his subject [the nude woman - in all it's history], or his technique that could almost be Dada-inspired, or the fact that he is so humble as was making art alone in his home with no real intention to become a famous artist, that gets me most. But, regardless, I'm in LOVE.
See more of his work on his website here.
A few days ago, I was walking down the street in Brooklyn and I stumbled upon a book from PHILLIPS Gallery from the early 1990s. It's got some amazing artistss in it - some I've heard of, others I have not - rare work too. Anyway, I found Andrea Zittel.
She is brilliance.
Four years after graduating from RISD (undergrd & masters), Andrea Zittel set up A–Z Administrative Services, a company aimed to streamline domestic objects and everyday rituals. Zittel made conceptual objects - essentially furniture - and gave them to a group of volunteers who then recorded their experiences of using them. Each object was designed to be as multi-functional as possible. [This is why I think I am so obsessed ... it relates to my current pulse of art/fashion/music.]
Zittel explains, "For me, making objects is as fundamental as eating and breathing-and so is theorizing about the way that world works, or at least how it could be better. There is probably some part of me which still thinks that by finding a better system of order for the kitchen junk drawer, I'll also figure out how to stop pain and suffering in the world at large."
Davis Ayer, originally from Austin (Texas), is an American fashion photographer based in California. His list of inspiration includes: all things analogue, the “recent past,” and nostalgia for the era before he was born, “which is a world that doesn’t exist anymore” he writes. His recent series titled ‘Acid Washed Dreams' was taken from the White Sands of New Mexico.
His photos remind me of memories. They explore perspective and perception. Ayer rarely focuses on a model’s face, her head turned away from the camera, shadows or hair covering, or blurred out all together. In this way, the photo becomes less about her and more about us — the viewer. Our interpretation, but also our relation.
“Shooting film forces you to be patient, and really learn what you want in the frame“, -Davis Ayer
Maybe we are her - standing there: alone in a deserted landscape, looking at the sky or the ground, thinking of the past or the future ? And then we are her thinking of the moment when we are looking at the sky or the ground thinking of the past or the future. Where are you now? What are you doing? What were you doing yesterday at this time? Last week?
How does one capture human perception and perspective? Our perception of “now” and “then” and of our thinking of “now and then” in the future? We never view the present in the present with the same lens, or in the same way, that we view that moment when it’s the past. This is what Ayer’s photos bring up for me. Our vision of ourselves (and the world around us) in time and space — always blurred — always changing with time…
All images from here.
To be honest, I wasn't very impressed with much from designers Pre-Fall 2015 collections. I would like one or two looks/pieces but that was about it. Thank Goodness for Chloe. Honestly, I could wear it all.
It’s tempting to imagine that Clare Waight Keller came to her inspiration for this season’s Chloé collection by accident: Playing music alphabetically off iTunes, David Bowie's Best of Bowie serendipitously gave way to Kate Bush's The Sensual World, and lo and behold, a collection was conceived. That probably isn’t what happened, but however it did, Waight Keller was onto something, drawing a line between Bush’s rural, gypsy romanticism and Bowie’s urbane, androgynous glam.
You could imagine either artist, at a certain point in his or her career, donning one of the designer’s silk poet-sleeve blouses or throwing on a cape-like coat in a madcap combination of shearling and Mongolian fur. There was a nigh-on louche opulence here, witnessed in everything from the touch of Lurex on a pair of fantastic, low-slung boot-cut pants to the Aubrey Beardsley-esque prints and the nub of longhair pony on a bag or miniskirt. Nowhere was that opulence better exemplified than in a diaphanous gown of Lurex-dabbed printed silk: Slit vertiginously, the dress was largely comprised of ribbons of the silk that had been sewn onto a sheer backing, and it conjured nothing so much as butterfly wings. Very sexy butterfly wings, it must be noted—and that sensuality operated throughout the collection as a whole. Chloé is usually associated with a kind of virginal, gamine look, but Waight Keller chucked it this time—some of these clothes were intensely womanly, others rather boyish, and a good deal of them were borderline feral. Lolita was missing this season. But she wasn’t missed.
Images/blurb stolen from Style.com :)
I love Georg Simmel. Georg Simmel was a German sociologist, philosopher, and critic. He wrote about fashion in a sociological sense. Here's one of my favorite quotes from his essay “Fashion”:
“Fashion, as noted above, is a product of class distinction and operates like a number of other forms, honor especially, the double function of which consists in revolving within a given circle and at the same time emphasizing it as separate from others. Just as the frame of a picture characterizes the work of art inwardly as a coherent, homogeneous, independent entity and at the same outwardly severs all direct relations with the surrounding space, just as the uniform energy of such forms cannot be expressed unless we determine the double effect, both inward and outward, so honor owed its character, and above all its moral rights, to the fact that the individual in his personal honor at the same time represents and maintains that of his social circle and his class. These moral rights, however, are frequently considered unjust by those without the pale. Thus fashion on the one hand signifies union with those in the same class, the uniformity of a circle characterized by it, and uno actu, the exclusion of all other groups” (p. 308, as cited by Edles & Appelrouth, 2010).
Georg Simmel articulates beautifully an idea that fashion is a social creation and serves as an indication of social class. Fashion is not just about clothing, it’s also about sending a message to those around you. Depending on how someone is styled, different inferences can be made about that person. Fashion changes quickly, so it’s fairly apparent when someone is wearing an “outdated” look. Outdated looks are often associated with lower social classes - however there is a difference to be made between hipster/vintage and "outdated" looks. Clothes also show wear, so when someone is wearing damaged clothing, this is an indicator of a lower social class as well.
I have an ongoing joke with my best-friend. We made up a hypothetical situation that we continually reference. Whenever we see someone wearing clothing with an "explicit label" like a shirt that says VERSACE or a bag with the Louis Vuitton logo all over it, we go up to them innocently and acting completely perplexed and fascinated.
[Tap, tap, tap on their shoulder, they turn around]
Me: "um...excuse me? I am so sorry to bother you but I love - I MEAN LOVE - your shirt [bag,jacket,etc]. It's so beautiful. Where did you get it?!"
Them (clearly surprised, annoyed, and looking at me like I'm from a different planet) "Um....are you serious?! It's VERSACE - see?" (Pointing at the logo/name on the shirt).
Clothing labels - such as the example above - indicate class more explicitly because they can indicate the cost of a garment. There is a reason some people want to wear them.
Simmel discusses how clothing simultaneously individualizes us and groups us. When we have the resources to choose our clothing (not everyone is privileged with being able to choose) we tend to select looks which we think match “our style” or mimic a style we hope to achieve. I have heard so many times when shopping, “I love this, it’s so unique!”. In my experience, many people try to separate themselves from the majority and assert their individuality. We forget, however, that the “unique” items we are buying are often produced in mass quantities and sold across the country to millions of other shoppers hoping to look just as “unique” as ourselves. As much as we try to be unique, it is nearly impossible to actually achieve this.
Just as there are many people looking to assert their individuality, there are also people who want to “fit in” with the norm or fit in with the look of a certain social class (think about the intermission/GIVENCHY joke above). These people recognize which designs (often labels) are associated with their look. Here, I am thinking about the girls from my high school who drooled over Deisel Jeans paired with a Petit Bateu tee shirt covered in a Northface fleece. (I went to high school in Washington, DC.) These girls had an unofficial dress code and if others wanted to achieve the privileged upper class look, all they needed was the outfit and others would assume they belonged. Hence, people walk around with their LV monogram Neverfull Bags or their CC Chanel Handbags, and participants should know the difference between the two wearers: one bag cost $5000 [Chanel], the other costs $600 [Neverfull]. Clearly, they are from two different groups or classes. I find it strange too, that they will most likely get along with another person wearing the same logo or style bag better than the average person because it is of that group to which they feel they belong, and would like the world to know they do. It's these subliminal clubs and cues that I find so interesting.
While clothing has practical uses (can shield us from the weather), fashion does not. Fashion is a different shade of blue; it is a different hemline, a different cut of jeans. Fashion has purpose, though. It is an indicator of class; it distinguishes us from others while simultaneously grouping us. And there is so much more, but I will save it for another day. Thanks!
Scrolling thru show after show of Pre-Fall 2015 Collections on Style.com, I had high expectations. There wasn't one collection - aside from Chloe - that felt "new," wearable, and inspiring. Am I the only one? Or, maybe, my expectations were too high. As they say expectations lead to pre-meditated resentments. So much easier preached than practiced, but, alas, I am stubborn as a mule in my efforts.
Here's a mixed-bag of outfits/looks that I was drawn too from a bunch of different designers: Adam Lippes, Burberry Prorsum, Cavalli, Just Cavalli, MSGM, Co, Cut25, Alexander Wang, Fendi, Christian Sirano.
Images from here.
May your coming year be filled with magic
and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and
Kiss someone who thinks
you're wonderful, and don't forget
to make some art-
write or draw or build or sing or
live as you only can. And I hope
somewhere in the next year,
you surprise yourself. -neil garman