Saturday 6 June 2009

Sat 6th June: Dean Quinn at CSM

Ive been trying to pin Dean down since Thursday to get an interview for the blog.   Having just got his degree collection back from being marked, he invited me in to his studio at CSM for a close up inspection.  I have to say that I'm going to be so sad when the campus moves as I love spotting the students emerging for a cig decked out in their ridiculous regalia.  So i thought that it might be a special moment in time to capture it in its essence before its turned into a bouji appartment block.  

The circulating crests of bugle beads came about as a happy accident from a faulty measurement when arranging them in flat lines.  The flashes of light that reflect from this staggered surface terrain was inspired by sun shining onto skin through a blind in Bladerunner.  The fiercely spliced silhouette explained as the "Dean Shoulder" was designed by exposing and stacking shoulder pads.  Inside the jackets of his 50% hand-sewn collection, is a complex network of tape to hold each piece in place so it lies flat to the body.  
Dean's first ever foray into fashion was making a dress for his GCSE art project which was lost on his conservative highschool.  But he sought out a mentor and travelled from Ireland to intern with Zandra Rhodes in London when he was still only 16.   There he was put to work painting pattern designs and found out about applying to Central St.Martins.  Fast forward 8 years and he has just won the Womenswear Award at the press show for the BA course, presented by Mark Fast.  In fact it transpired that today is actually his birthday!  You can't ask for a much better birthday present than that!  But with the unprecedented press interest that he has received in the last 4 days, who knows what else is round the corner?   Keep your eyes peeled for these tailored treasures reappearing...........

Sat 6th June: The Twits

I was under the impression that Tweet was an American R'n'B act who sang about masturbation but apparently the word is now more commonly synonymous with Twitter.  Thc act of writing an update of "What Are You Doing?" is know as a "Tweet".
Ever the trail-blazer, I appear to be a good year late on this one and just jumped on board the bandwagon when given the nod by NoDaysOff.  When they aren't methodically recording the progress of the nextdoor building demolition.......they are also busy designing incredible artwork for album covers (remember the Roisin Murphy "Overpowered" in a Sandra Buckland Dress accessorized w/Nazir Mazhar).  Here is Paloma Faith who is the latest artist to have been granted their magic touch and the posters have just gone up round town..........which I have snapped on the street to tide us over until I get more content direct from NDO HQ.  (hint hint guys!)

Friday 5 June 2009

Friday 5th June: Totem 49 @ Kemistry

So here it is!
Damien Poulain's hard work came together for the unveiling of his new show "Totem 49" at Kemistry.  Charlotte Street was alive with people buzzing in and out of the gallery likes bees excitedly circulating the graphic honey comb trap.   
I got to finally see which one is which, and appreciate the finer details e.g "Britney Spears Shaved Head" is painted with the word OOPS!  So that'll be both commentary on a lyric and how she probably felt at that time!  That is a good example of one of the more humorous pieces which made my shoulders move violently up and down with chuckles.  But some were slightly darker and made me a bit sad.  "Shell" was the petrol logo with a sea bird sat ontop dripping with a coating of a black oil slick.    The sequence of characters is set out in an accompanying book which he commissioned a poet to explain and elaborate on the selected studies.   So you can dip into this delightful limited edition catalogue to read the individual profiles and reasonings.  
Damien also painted the front of the building with the face from the polkadot Comme Des Garcons totem ...............

"TV TEST CARD"  - a personal favourite!
"KLAUS NOMI' - one for spadger!
"JCDC"  "V&R"
The exhibition is on until mid July so you have time to check out the carved reclaimed skirting board and dado rail joys!

Thursday 4 June 2009

Thurs 4th June: CSM BA HONS Fashion Show - Dean Quinn

This year I went along to the CSM Show to see the collection by Dean Quinn.  I met him in November in New York when he was interning for ThreeAsFOUR.  Whenever I hear another British accent there, Im intrigued!  So I was excited to see his own work, especially his degree show!  With absolutely no idea what he made, it was a relief that I genuinely loved it.  My "woops" were not in vain.  When it came to the end of the 40 selected designer's press show, 3 awards were announced.  CHECK IT OUT..........Dean won the womenswear award!  I couldn't believe it!  My intuition is bang on.  Firstly with Michael Vanderham at the MA show and now Dean at the BA.  In truth, its actually no credit to my instinct...........its more a case of the stable on Forsyth Street NYC.......those who come in and out have a disposition to going there in the first place and secondly pick up the magic that is abundant in the atmosphere.  
I managed to blag backstage (in a mute bashful way with a bossy mum/Kim Howells pushing me forwards) to get a photo of Deans's work up close.  He held up one of his intricate blade beaded skirts smiling still stricken with sheer shock from his award announcement.  The camera went dead so I don't have the shot to share!  But its in my mind and erasable forever there.  So here I have borrowed Alex Fury's image from SHOWstudio.  After the show Annalisa Dunn (Cooperative Designs) astutely commented that the tendency to cram in too many ideas created weak collections..............whereas one idea executed beautifully sang so much stronger...........this is exactly what Fury wrote take heed to this advice those of you in your 2nd year!

"My favourite from the internal show was undoubtedly Dean Quinn, and even on second viewing his monochrome collection again made me (and a number of others) sit up and take note. Quinn sliced his tailoring with a savage bent, restricting his palette to black and white and his decoration to glass bugle beads, thickly crusted across his tight trousers and brief skirts. With so many designers trying to pack a million ideas into these six-piece presentations, Quinn's focus served him well. As a statement of intent, this collection was spot on - and rightfully scooped one of the evening's coveted L'Oréal Professionnel awards."

Alex Fury

Wednesday 3 June 2009

WEds 3rd June: Damien Poulain, "Totem 49"

During a breakfast culture-catch-up time, I opened this week's issue of Design Week and here is what was looking off the page back at me.  I stopped breathing and in dyslexic frustration tried to scan the blurb to find a credit.  There it was "Damien Poulain" - graphic design wizard.  Just take a squizz at this congregation of cheeky chappies that he has created for a new exhibition "Totem 49".  This is quite possibly one of the best images that I have seen in recent times and I couldn't wait to get to work to email him and find out more.   Damien has responded perfectly to my brief of submitting snaps from his work in progress so we can see how it all come about. .................. 

Q:  What was the concept for the characters?  I can recognise a Victor & Rolf harlequin and see in your sketch that is says Gareth Pugh...........can you please just quickly explain the idea behind the collection.........

A:  Yes, indeed, there are some fashion icons (the ones that inspire me) but the collection also tackles politics, music, art, beliefs, technology etc.. I wanted to recreate new religions based on contemporary symbols, icons, beauty. The idea came up when visiting museums, as we are confronted by ancient religious sculptures, divinities or totems and we don't really know what they mean. I thought that this could be adapted to our century's new idols to create new icons/totems that you may or may not relate to depending on your interpretation of them.

I still have no idea of the scale of the pieces that he has hand painted on reclaimed wood, so its going to be a really nice surprise when I go!  Its opening tomorrow, so go to check out these crazy creature comforts at Kemistry.  They are going for sale as a collection rather than individual pieces.  I'm considering getting an invigilating stint at the gallery so i can sneakily pocket one when no one is looking.  Somebody, somewhere out there did that with a certain Anthony Gormley exhibit.............on that occasion the light fingers were not actually mine...........but it did plant a seed!*

June 2009
Totem 49 Exhibition
Solo show at Kemistry Gallery, London.
4th June to 18th July 2009.

*Obviously Im joking.  I wouldn't actually steal.
Although the notion is becoming a bit of a reaccurance in the musings on this blog.
I feel like that character from the Fast Show........."Im a little bit oooh, little bit way.........wouldn't trust me with that no no"

Tuesday 2 June 2009

Tues 2nd June: Craig Lawrence Part 2

Whilst at a recent sponsorship seminar Craig, Piers Attkinson and I had a good old rant about being bogged under by blog interviews and not having time to actually get round to designing...............before we had time to set the world to rights, I was immediately thinking up questions to ask Craig myself !.............

Ha, ha, sorry Craig!  He has very, very kindly relinquished to my request to get a glimpse into his wooly workings..........listen up Swarovski, the boy is a genius............

1)  You have a magic wardrobe of knitted jumpers that I love.  What was your favourite jumper/knitted item when you were a kid?

it was one gran knitted, green with rows of red apples and then 1 on the top row eaten, me and my bro had both had one.

2)  When I was at primary school there was a girl who knitted her own jumpers.  That blew my mind, I could just about manage a scarf with the intervention of the WI knitting circle.  Can you remember the first thing you knitted that was actually a wearable piece? 

it was my salmon pink scarf i knitted at my grans, it was my favourite and i never washed it, but i lost it on the train on the way up to london, sucks!

3)  You are known for pioneering "knitting" with unconventional materials.  What is your absolute dream material? 

i would love to knit with leather again and crystals as well, perhaps pink crystals!

4)  Your last collection was inspired by cocktails.  Can you give the readers a recommendation of making and decorating your favourite tipple?  

ok so the last one i made was watermelon daquiris, grab a big chunk of watermelon, put 4 spoons of sugar in, with half a lime, as much rum as you can handle, then blend with half a bag of ice, its amazing and not really that expensive, double fun!

5)  A dress from your graduate collection featured on the front cover of Another Magazine modelled by Tilda Swinton.  Who else would you like to see wearing your work / who is your favourite dressed person?

beth bitto's hot as well, she wore a pink ball ribbon dress in may issue of dazed, then i'm really not sure................ apart from girls aloud

6)  What was the last unsuspecting inspiring thing that you saw?

actually, the recyling bin bags, they come in so many different jazzy colours

Images courtesy of:

Monday 1 June 2009

Monday 1st June: Craig Lawrence

Its that time of year again.  Colleges are frantically getting their graduate shows together and I can't wait!  Tomorrow is the Central St. Martins show which is a little bit scary because I can't believe its been a year since the last one!  I remember rushing down to catch Craig's show and being blown away seeing his collection (as I said at the time - a moment in history).  That sense of pride has snowballed over the year as he has had such an incredible 365 days!  The red ribbon dress modelled by Tilda Swinton on the cover of Another Magazine was just the cherry on top of the cake.  There is the inspiration for those of you about to can be done!

Here are some BEAUTIFUL back stage images from the degree show by Kenzie Burchell which I have only just seen.  Its such a joy to revisit, so I wanted to share it!
Here's to the upcoming shows which I'm jumping around with excitement to see.  I'm even presenting the textiles award at the Brighton Uni show, how hilarious!  So please let me know of others I need to far I have tickets for Kingston Fashion,  LCC Surface Design, and Westminster Illustration............ (thanks to previous placement students, you know who you are, I'm on your case!)

Sunday 31 May 2009

31st May: Primavera Day 3

We had a minor technical glitch from our man on the festival frontline.   But we're back on track for Dan Wilton's first hand/claw encounters from Primavera.  Latest installment of phone pic action "New Zuul tattoo yep".  
Thanks for the update!   (Don't worry I will be reimbursing your phone bill!)
Wish I was there to catch Aphex under the Mediterranean rays.  :  (  But hey, at least the sun has put his hat on for London this weekend otherwise it would be doubly gutting.

Next in line on the European adventure trail for the blog is photographer Anna Leader who is punting into Venice for the opening of the Biennial.  Lets see what she finds............perhaps tattoos could be an interesting take on that particular festival too!  For the 53rd Biennial, Steve McQueen is representing for Britain by showing a film in the pavilion but details are under wraps until the unveiling on June check back to see what's going on.......