Sunday, February 1, 2015

Simone Rocha Spring 2015

Simone Rocha's Spring 2015 collection and debut at St Andrew’s Church in Holborn was truly a testament to her dedication towards texture and romanticism. You will undoubtedly be familiar with her work by now praised as a must see designer at London Fashion Week and her featured in the prominent publication Dazed & Confused as modeled by reality star and model outsider Kendall Jenner. What excites me most about Rocha aside from her overall success (especially as it's associated with youth) is that she's truly marching to the beat of her own drum and purely focused on creating clothes to dress herself and the women around her. In a way, she represents the ideals of what fashion means to me. Her designs are a reflection of freedom of expression through clothing and textiles and appear inextricably linked with her evolution and identity. All this has worked out for her and she has been touted as 'the cool girl' of the fashion world, seemingly untouchable and equally unstoppable. Since the Meadham Kirchhoff debacle I can't help but feel impending dread and apprehension surrounding any designer I cherish in this economy. writer Maya Singer seemed somewhat disdainful when acknowledging the prominent use of marabou throughout the collection used to embellish everything from the bust to hemlines. I don't know why she took that sort of tone- perhaps she had a bad experience on a farm involve fluffy baby chicks or ducks. Killer ducks attacking and mauling her leaving the air shrouded in a veil of duck down. If you've kept up with my blog for a while now you'll have noticed I love marabou and particularly fluffy marabou earrings produced by Melbourne based label POMS. So naturally I was ecstatic to find its inclusion in clothing as well as accessories by a higher profile, British designer. I know I'm more than a little slow to comment on what was presented more than four months ago but coursework and exams during November typically leaves me with a large backlog of things to write about. Since I've been eying off a number of Simone Rocha designs on various online stores it seemed fitting that I talk about it now.

Delaying this post also fortuitously coincides with the hype surrounding Valentine's Day and renewed debate amongst fashion circles about whether red and pink can be worn together. Personally I find "style rules" to be a nuisance obstructing creativity or blocking it altogether but as I understand it, not everyone wants to evoke an edgy 1950s housewife aesthetic. It requires a certain kind of dedication to achieve hair that big- let alone find a coordinating headscarf and pair of suitably sassy sunglasses. The air of rebellion or likeness to Thelma & Louise (1991), as well as evocation of Rochas Spring 2012 (I'm still pining over those sunglasses btw) has me swooning. The culmination of all these sources of inspiration has led me to obsessively think about 'walking out on all commitments' looks. As well as proto-feminism and the idea of strong women written into historical settings or those individuals who struggle to overcome the systemic nature of the patriarchy.

Rocha's use of sheer was notable in comparison to previous collections but tastefully decorated with a heavy dowsing of floral. While it may seem counter-intuitive to combine feminine florals with suggestive sheer English majors and lovers of literature alike will be well versed in the metaphors and 'flowery language' of eighteenth century romantic poets and likes of William Shakespeare. These threads of female sexuality are continually weaved throughout the runway presentation culminating in scalloped trench coats and finally metallic show-stopper dresses. Despite a more summery colour palette there is still a brooding undertone evident in all of Rocha's work, highlighted here by windblown locks and sheer veils. It's amazing that there are so many different contexts in which these clothes can be viewed simply evoked by the shape, silhouette and colour of the clothes and yet there is no one fixed meaning or set of influences. With that is the number of different ways these pieces can be worn and incorporated into the daily lives of women around the world.

Photos: Yannis Vlamos /

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Out of the Fire

It seemed serendipitous that on the same day I saw Oyster Mag's starkly light and yet sun drenched Beauty Daily that I find a matching editorial from Australian Vogue in their December 2004 edition. Don't ask why I have something so old and outdated (it's collage fodder OK?) just enjoy these artfully shot photographs and be thankful I didn't cut it up. What becomes apparent is the contrast of dressed up versus dressed down. Both share a common element of femme fatale figures and the allure of hidden sexuality but I feel Oyster has softened this motif especially since this publication is associated with youth. Whereas Vogue has opted for a high fashion approach, is firmly established and has built its reputation on premium wares and the unattainable. I like both for very different reasons. Oyster's grainy images and experimental approach encapsulate the uncertainty and discovery associated with twenty-something year olds. By contrast Vogue has a more dramatic angle and there is something somewhat self-indulgent about the characterization of their model.

1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13- Oyster Beauty Daily January: 3182 Hair by Ashleigh from Shibui for KMS California. 2, 5, 9, 11, 12- in the mood for love, Australian Vogue, December 2004.
6- Gibson Fox.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thom Browne Spring 2013

It's Summer, there are fire bans daily and warnings to keep alert for bushfires and I still refuse to shed my shades of sombre black for anything else. Aesthetically I cant my room to explode into colour and texture but have the creativity and expression of a traditional French Mime... oh dear. Well in keeping with that theme on monochrome black and white and all the variations there of, it gives me great pleasure to introduce Thom Browne who transformed his collection and runway experience into more of a performance featuring a fanciful background of ballerinas in tight and rigid hoop skirts. these very ballerina dancers which I speak of also had ooky spooky black and white striped tights and towering cone heads signalling to the mother ship. I think it made for an interesting way of handling fashion to say the least and did give a suitable introduction to the pieces for the season. The models themselves were dusted in Victorian-esque white foundation which was then capitalized on by black lipstick and eyeliner.

I love the cute little blouse shown above- it strangely matches possibly the largest bun ever created. Or not. I don't really know how to feel about bouffants because when you live in your own little bubble they seem perfect but when everyone else is in a state of shock because you have towering circular hair then it drains away all the magic and splendor they once had. Black and white check prints have been resonating with me recently since I found some of my father's old cotton shirts I saved from becoming rags for the shed. There is still a lot of life in them, but I kind of want to create something new from them. One thing I do know is cotton doesn't keep the same bold structure as shown above which is a shame. The tulip shape skirt isn't too over dramatic or attention-seeking and the poise of the model's arms is pretty perfect. The thick, interwoven finish at the hem, sleeves and collar is just a small and finer detail but it does add to the overall attractiveness of this look.

There's a whole plethora of really wonderful patterns you could practically pour into a pool and swim about in. Little motifs of whales have me dreaming of aquatic activities, along with this awful heat. Power clashing has been taken to a whole other lesson but the tones are gently shaded from one grey to another. For someone who is obsessed with patterns as she ever was, this is nearly a godsend. Black and white is tipped as the trend of the season so it's even more astonishing that the little heard of Thom Browne managed to cotton on to the trend a season early. I think the straight-forward monochrome of black and white also let's them take centre stage once you get passed all the crazy dancers on stage too. If I had to throw a tea party to best represent this collection of course it would involve many crochet doilies, only the fanciest teas possible and a slight chance of dancing paraphernalia.