13.2.07

As Requested

Sketchy, highly inadequate explanation of bits and pieces of the last post- namely, the names.
Paul Smith: Brit designer of the old school, has a penchant for making boy-style clothes for women. A little preppy, but I don't think I've liked anyone else's blazers as much.
Margaret Howell: again, Brit designer of the old(ish) school. She specialises in (as far as I can tell) shirts. Especially variations of white shirts. Her clothes are never crazy, loud or unwearable, and neither are they revolutionary, but I still love them.
Central St Martin’s School of Art and Design: Pulp's Common People name-checked this place (specifically, the sculpture programme and possibly because Jarvis Cocker went here) College located in London from which most Brit designers I know of seem to have spent their student years, including the above-mentioned Paul Smith, and a fair few of the names mentioned below (John Galliano, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Hussein Chalayan, Gareth Pugh and Alexander McQueen). Their student shows are usually worth watching (for me, that's via Vogue or YouTube when I can get that) for general student craziness, shock value, and (their alumni list is ample proof), talent too.
Gareth Pugh: last year's boy ingenue from Central St Martin's. Bases his outfits on 80s performance artist Leigh Bowery, as seen below. Looks highly impractical and flat-out unwearable, but I do like the fact that this man has fun with the clothes he makes. And I think he does make the occasional bit of conventional clothing (very well, too, from what I hear)
Christopher Kane: Central St Martin's latest boy ingenue. Has showed only one collection at (London) Fashion Week so far (Spring/Summer 2007, which happened in September/October of last year), which wasn't bad though I wouldn't dare to put it on anyone without the legs of a baby giraffe. More interesting than the tightness and shortness was the fact of his mixing neons with neutrals (see picture in the last post), I thought. I could possibly translate that to screaming yellow shoelaces on my beaten and abused old blue-turned-grey Converses since that's all the courage and experimentalism I have, but I'd still want to try it.
Vivienne Westwood: That's Dame Vivienne Westwood, the lady in the incredibly short cape and red hair above. Was married to Malcolm McLaren (and here comes the music angle), manager of the Sex Pistols, in the 1970s, and ran a boutique with him in London. I think the band actually wore stuff from her boutique, too. Also (and this is why I admire her) one of the few people working in fashion who is openly political, and puts that into her (very beautiful, if somewhat crazy at times) clothes. I actually can't think of anyone else who would launch a line of t-shirts with the slogan I Am Not A Terrorist, Please Don't Arrest Me on them, and make the lot cool. I mean, I hate slogan t-shirts as signs of intellectual retardedness, but I would wear one of hers. And not because it's one of hers.
Stella McCartney: daughter of the Beatle. Somehow I think it wouldn't have made too much of a difference even if she wasn't. Took over one ailing French fashion house fresh out of St Martin's, turned it around,then quit to start her own label before she was 30- made a roaring success out of that too, and I can see very well why. Her clothes are almost consistently lovely, though she does go a little overboard with the layering and deconstruction at times. Not often, though.
John Galliano: Head of design at Christian Dior. Equal parts genius and madcap, and really likes dressing up. Really, google him. The great interpipe can explain him easier than I can.
Alexander McQueen: Former head of design at Givenchy, former enfant terrible too (the younger Brit art and design lot seem to be a succession of those)- caused a bit of a stir with his student collection, I won't go into the details but he did quite a job (from what I've seen in pictures) with the shock value angle of things (the trousers he made for some early-on collection of his were called bumsters). He doesn't do the shock value so much any more, though- and his clothes are among the most exquisite things I have ever seen up close (one jacket. Don't ask how)
Hussein Chalayan: Designer with ethnic origins in Cyprus, easily one of the great innovators of the modern age. Takes inspiration for the clothes he designs from furniture and buildings among other things, but is still capable of making clothes that look exquisitely wearable even if they're not as mind-boggling. Finished off his last show in Paris with a dress (pictured above) that, using some insane contraptions featuring invisible levers and pulleys and other mechanical stuff, collapsed from being this big poofy-skirted old-fashioned dress, to the next thing to a modern shift. The model's hat changed, too- and she didn't move through the whole operation. I have to settle for putting up two pictures here, but the video of the dress transforming was one of the most amazing things I have seen in years and the kind of thing even my sick, cynical soul would give a standing ovation to if I'd been lucky enough to witness it live.
Biba: 60s London superstore that ended up defining the style of the city back then. Possibly the first store anywhere in the Anglophone world to make sure that the words cheap and cool didn't contradict each other. Opened in 1965, people went nuts about it for ten years and then it shut down in 1975- bankruptcy from selling the clothes so cheap, perhaps? Has now been revived (as of the last set of Fashion Weeks) as a premium-price label whose main function seems to be to feed off the old (and cheap) Biba's retro-cool image and people's nostalgia for it.
Barbara Hulanicki: the woman who, with her husband, set up the aforementioned superstore, working on the funda that you didn't need to be rich to look good.
Irina Lazareanu: the girl with that fringe in two pictures below. Is a model with seriously sharp personal style, and (it never hurts) a face and fringe, not to mention extremely skinny figure, that make her look like a live version of Emily Strange. I don't care for most models, but I do find this one's face rather appealing.

4 comments:

Yohan said...

Wow. I haven't heard of most of these people!

Blue Floppy Hat said...

I managed to include Beatle trivia, though :)

selina said...

nice summaries!
ive just found your blog and i just want to say how i love the way you'll state an opinion, rather than just reporting fashion (i cant stand slogan tshirts either !!)
keep it coming! x

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Ah, thank you :)

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