Saturday, November 30, 2013

Meadham Kirchhoff Spring 2014

I feel that as far as keeping up to date with current affairs and stuff I have been an utter FAILURE and disappointment to you, dear reader, but in all fairness I was kept pretty busy with lots of assignments and stressed out of my mind last semester and could not find the time to discuss ringlets of tangerine hair, mustard yellow stockings and little nods to 1950s squeaky toys in the finer details and accessories of the most recent Meadham Kirchhoff collection. As you will probably know fashion geniuses Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff have also collaborated with Topshop in a 80-piece extravaganza of epic proportions, but that shall be discussed in due course. 

For know I would rather focus my attentions on their effort for Spring 2014, or as I would like to call it, the clothing Courtney Love would wear if she ruled 20th Century French Versailles. Proper paid fashion journalists are referring to it as 'a cheerfully ahistorical mash-up', so I think my description came pretty damn close. The clothes themselves reference their earlier Spring 2014 collection with similar cues towards hair held in tight ringlet curls and subtle hues of blush but the noticeable change is the replacement of pastel blue, pink and dull baroque gold with Wednesday Adams black, red and mustard yellow. There is again an incredible attention to detail when it comes to the ornate ribbons surrounding the custom made shoes and slippers, as well as luxuriously long evening gloves and collared blouses held together with a single ribbon.

I'm not much of a hat person when it comes to my own personal style because usually I am too lazy or my head is slightly too big to feel comfortable, but I was intrigued by the amount of detail on the brims and underside of the hats. The lace combining the best of crocheted doilies with haute couture and the whole thing left me feeling very nostalgic for Jean Paul Gaultier's S/S 2007 without referencing Greek mythology or high priestesses. I've tried a few times to wear my hats tilted at such an angle and feel it's impossible in practical terms, but it kind of matches the dead roses scattered across the stage and adds contrasting sinister tones to what would otherwise be a very sweet but plain and one-dimensional collection. But it's not that, there is depth and the sum is greater than its constituent parts. 

The collection is toughened by the use of intersecting black leather with dainty tulle, as well as a bold colour palette which lends a tough edginess and sense of empowerment to the collection. I thought the leather jackets were a nice touch when worn with Peter Pan collar dresses and seemed to make the corsets and bodice dresses somehow more warrior-like, and the models wearing each outfit more multifaceted rather than a cardboard character. What really stood out to me, as always, was the intricate laser cut shapes and patterns imprinted on thin sheets of lace and emphasized with black embroidery stitches- only possible with modern techniques and 21st century fabrics making the historic references ephemeral. The heart-breaking clincher is that no manufacturer will be able to replicate this level of technique, so it will be eons before I ever get to wear such delicate dresses myself but I remain vigilant and on the prowl for my opportunity to stage my own summer in Versailles fashion shoot, complete with ornate fan. Someday. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Bad Girls

I can't possibly hope to deliver the Fall Vibes mood board you are all yearning for, not with the hot oppressive blanket of summer heat and chirping of cicadas acting as a constant reminder the weather is not going to get any colder. But these icy cool images of rebel girls in equally chilly black and white comes pretty damn close to that feeling of scintillation that inevitably comes with the changing of the seasons so you'll all have to make do. I tried to mimic some sort of spiritual floatiness or close to an amateur photo shoot inspired by the renegade ways of best friends Thelma & Louise. Even with all my free time during the holidays, it's a bitter sweet reminder of how difficult I find it to stay close with my girl gang from high school. And you know what? That really sucks sometimes, because although I never shared everything I obsessed over sometimes I think they secretly did love all the weird crap I was into.

1a- 60s women mugshots via, b- Bikini Kill via, c- Vintage Versace campaign. 3- kittenwaves: renata draws a shoujo titled “my girlfriend is a badass”. 4. 5. 6. 8a-
60s women mugshots via, b- unknown, c. 9- unknown via. 11a, b- March 1965 - Cynthia, Maureen and Pattie enjoying Cokes and tea at the Edelweiss Hotel while waiting for their men to finish filming a scene outside the hotel, c- 60s women mugshots via.
2a, b, 7, 10- MARY ELIZABETH & MAXINE ANASTASIA- Lucia O’Connor-McCarthy Photography.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Simone Rocha Spring 2014

Immersing myself in all things fashion, creative and pop cult is usually my first port of call as soon as exams finish, so the day after my last exam I bought my first copy of Lula and was delighted to find an interview with Simone Rocha in the covers. A few weeks earlier I had seen her featured as part of Australian Vogue but was largely unimpressed reading about a collection I had already reviewed one month earlier and very little discussion about the designs themselves and more focus on Rocha's professional life. What a total yawn- I skimmed the article and carefully dissected runway images and backstage shots for my growing portfolio of magazine cut outs for collage creation. But Lula was able to extract information personal information without being too intrusive, and allowed the designer to speak freely about the cohesion between each collection and her characteristic, slightly quirky designs.

Spring 2014 heralds a new era with nods to the aristocracy and refinement in the Simone Rocha narrative creating clothes more suitable for sipping tea with the queen. The most noticeable change is the use of colour- black, white and cream dominate with a sparse use of forest green replacing the popping neon tones of last season. However this seems more visually striking in other ways because it allows the viewer to examine the great depth of detail and texture shaping subtle floral motifs, ruffled hemlines and lace detail. All of these cute elements are projected onto familiar chic coats, sheer blouses and blossoming skirts with the addition of nude knee high pantyhose- something more akin to your grandmother's collection of hosiery suitable for wearing to church on a Sunday. All of these details become slightly subversive when experimental skirt design mimics that of a frail curtain hiding secrets behind it or when selective cut outs act as small windows of skin on the thighs. 

The interview opened my eyes to just how personal the clothes are for Rocha and how they are a reflection of her own fascinating personal life and style. I hadn't realised or it wasn't blatantly obvious to me that she was bi-racial, having a Chinese grandmother in Hong Kong and an Irish grandmother both of whom slightly influenced Simone's personal style and experience. It particular hit home for me being half Chinese myself and I tend to spend a lot of time vicariously living through my boyfriend and sitting tea at his grandma's house when we're both looking for refuge after shopping and waiting for traffic to thin out.

I also (
finally) learned the secret connection of brogues and footwear between all of her collection- stemming back to Rocha's days as a teenager running around in London with teen boys simply not understanding her statement style. This particular anecdote struck a chord as being somehow connected to the Enid Coleslaw story of Daniel Clowes Ghost World, or perhaps the story of an alienated teenage girl is just universal to everyone's experience when dabbling in strange and unique fashion, trying to push past superficial barriers as a teenager.

As per usual the selection of quirky and customized patent leather brogues blew everyone away and leaving many minds calculating their grocery bills for the next few months and wondering whether they could make room in their budgets if it meant being able to wear enviable footwear. Not that I advocate starving in order to look good, it's just Simone Rocha shoes are dizzyingly expensive when you still live at home with your parents and need to get a proper part time job.

The footwear was made to match the more refined, respectful approach of the season as hinted by the rows of tiny pearls decorating the loafers alongside and the trademark perspex heel- like a match made in heaven. I'm continually surprised that although there are billions of knock-offs copying perspex heels, none have come anywhere close to capturing the essence of the original design Simone Rocha has pioneered. Or maybe they just don't get the whole creative decisions behind the shoe and don't respect those lofty ideals and would rather create tacky hot pink and black gaudy creations in the vain of Jeffrey Campbell boots. Whatever. 

While I am intrigued by the narrative Simone Rocha has created through her eponymous brand, I haven't seen nearly as many fashion bloggers wrapping themselves in this seasons coats and skirts when compared to the success of last season's neon yellow and tangerine daisy embroidered organza. The youthful charm and naivete isn't as explicit in this collection, which may be attributed to the strong influence of Rocha's Chinese and Irish grandmothers. She speaks freely of the people in her day to day life being a constant source of inspiration and the clothing she makes made for family, friends and even her staff.
It feels like designing her own brand first without working as an underling at any other brand enabled Rocha to have a clearer sense of the clothing she wanted to make and a stronger sense of her own creative identity and vision. Her work is purely a reflection of her interaction with the world through fashion, and she does it so well it's nearly heart-breaking. She's a firm favourite on everyone's lips and the current golden girl of the fashion world- I can't wait to see what she whips up next in her magical workshop.