Saturday 11 July 2009

Sat 11th July: Andy MacGregor - Artist and Model

Remember this face?  The last time I featured the Blue Steel antics of my studio-mate Macgregor, was his gravity defying stance in corn fields for Hermes.  This season he has switched brands to lead the campaign for Aquascutum Ltd S/S 2010.  He is SO secretive about his sideline in modelling that we have to be super sleuths to keep tabs on this incidental career of his.  For instance on this occasion we worked together on a props job for items that had to be sent to Spring Studios.  One night we put address labels on all the pieces, and the very next morning I hear from a source within the Spring studios that he had been seen in the building.  How curious I thought, surely the courier had dealt with our delivery.  But the two were unrelated.  He had failed to mention that he would be in the same building MODELLING for this campaign.  Well, he was spotted and grassed up instantly, so that'll serve him right keeping it all on the down-low!  Nothing escapes us, especially when we intercept the phonecalls from the agencies wanting to option him.  We've decided that next time it happens, we will demand 40% commission for our time!  So watch this space.  With Vogue Italia, Vanity Fair, CDG, Paul Smith, Hermes and now Aquascutum under his belt..........who knows what luxury label trousers he'll be needing to hold up next season?  Here is the official blurb on this line from the current Esquire magazine:

Aquascutum Ltd., the British brand’s younger (and now less expensive) line looked razor sharp. Graeme Fiddler, head of menswear design, has worked wonders to make the range directional and modern, but utterly wearable too.

The brand’s unimpeachable heritage is highlighted by the fact that lots of the clothes are recreations of pieces from the archive, while other pieces bear a hint of colonial style in the form of a discreet African print. The results are spectacular, as demonstrated by Aquascutum’s non-model model, artist Andy  MacGregor, an illustrator and set designer.
Photos:  Emma Summerton
Styling:  Edward Enninful

Currently taking bookings for Andy MacGregor:  
Bright Young Things 0207 837 4070

Friday 10 July 2009

Friday 10th July: Susie Bubblicious

A question I heard the other day "Why Does Everyone Want To Be A Stylist?"  Who knows, but I'm sure the incentive gifts aren't a deterrent!  Yep, the back to back week's of press days probably fill up quite a swag bag of designer goodies.  Grrr!  But there are a few shining lights who deserve treats for being genuine ambassadors and not just to plug and promote products.  Susie Bubble was one of the first writers to discover my work (props to Pernet too!) and has been a constant support.  Despite having to run Dazed Digital, her eponymous blog, freelance work etc............she also generously agreed to be my referee.  So I have thanked her in my usual secret squirrel sly way by stealthing into Dazed to drop off the gift without anyone seeing.  Quicker than the speed of heliocentric light the meteorite of fredbutlerstyle hit her desk and as if by magic it appeared on her blog with the same degree of speed.  So here are the pics from yesterday which is a great document of the delivery..............

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Thurs 9th June: Live Forever: Elizabeth Peyton

Here is a photo of  the beautiful ADi by Elizabeth Peyton and she is the reason I have come into contact with the artist as they are not only friends but ADi has also been a subject for her work.  Infact, last time I was in NYC and staying with ADi this show was on at The New Museum which is only round the corner from her flat but I ran out of time and missed it!  And here I am missing it again.  I was unable to make it down to the press preview at Whitechapel so writer/stylist Naomi Attwood went along to cover the show for me...............thankyou Naomi..............

Naomi for Fred Butler Style . . . . . . 
 The Whitechapel Gallery is a lovely wide, white space. It feels very calm and hushed and although you’re quiet and on your best behaviour, you can relax and enjoy great long private streams of consciousness while you stare at the art.  Like all successful galleries, it’s a breathing space for your mind. 
The exhibition in question, a few floors up consists of one room of drawings (not sketches but detailed pencil or pastel versions of Elizabeth Peyton’s famous paintings) and a large collection of her works in oils. 
Peyton is described in the Gallery’s literature as ‘a painter of modern life’ but it’s fair to describe her as a figurative painter, all the work depicts people she admires; whether or not she knows them, and the artist is often quoted as saying that she can only get inspired about painting someone she feels a connection to.
It might be one of her friends, like Ben, or Tony Luing, one of her heroes from the art world like David Hockney or Andy Warhol or other inspirational figures, like academic Susan Sontag.  

She has also reproduced a number of pop stars in loving brushstrokes. According to Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Gallery, Elizabeth revealed that she often paints from photos as small as the palm of her hand, torn from magazines or cut and pasted from the internet. I absolutely love this black and white one of Sid Vicious, which gives a fresh view on the iconic photograph.  

In some of the other jewel-bright painting we see Brit heroes such as Keith Richards or Jarvis Cocker and Liam Gallagher sharing a cig. Although all the subjects are instantly recognisable in their portraits, you view them very much through Peyton’s particular lens. Girly, lipsticky boys and tough looking girls; - including this self portrait, and the fact that none of the sittees look straight at her, their eyes unfailingly cast down or to the side, as if Peyton had managed to capture them in a natural, unposed state, caught unawares in a world of their own thoughts. 

Iwona Blaswick compares Peyton’s work to Rembrant and its true that her composition and perfect colour schemes betray a very accomplished painter indeed despite her fan-based subject matter. However, I think the comparisons to Nan Goldin, Corrine Day and Wolfgang Tilmans (all of whom she either knows or admires) are more apt.

The paintings are all so personal and each contain a mini story within their four luminous edges, that by displaying a collection of her favourite things, Peyton lays herself bare, just like the photographers who document their own worlds. 
One difference between Peyton, and say Corinne Day is the fact that the images are sweet, rather than seedy. After looking at a really good photo by Day you should feel slightly dirty, as if you’d been spying through someone’s bathroom keyhole or flicking through their private diary. With this artist, the overall sense is far more one of childlike innocence, and heartfelt tribute. After all, what bigger compliment can you pay someone you love other than immortalising them in oils? 
Live Forever is on till 20th September. 
Naomi Attwood

Weds 8th June: Laura Mackness - To Conclude

So here ends a day of Laura Mackness musings, magnificent knowledge and magic designs.  I love, love, love her MA collection and can't wait to see it in editorials and wonder what is coming next.......................I'm not proficient with dress terminology so here is the official downlow on the collection to leave you with........
Using a palette of baby pink, tan nude, black, grass green and canary yellow, the 26-piece collection promotes a streamline silhouette. Made entirely from double-knit wool jersey of the highest quality, the collection borrows couture finishing techniques, with each of the dress' hems finished with grosgrain ribbon. The minimalist designs are accented by witty prints, all hand-drawn by Mackness, including basic shapes, eyes and hands, trouser plackets, pocket details and knee patches. Keen to add another texture to the garments and ensuring prominence, each of the prints are flocked, as are Mackness' accompanying accessories.

Weds 8th June: Laura Mackness Part III The Interview cont...

6)  You also like the work of audio artist Christian Marclay who used to cut up records to make sound collages.  What would be your desert island disks and which other records would you like to mix them with (in a "Hits"  mashup style?)      .........i love Britney VS. Shakira Vs. Bee Gees..........

 I have been thinking about this a lot, I have to admit one of my most loathed questions is “What’s your favourite music” simply because I can never answer the question. I change my mind all the time, at the minute I am enjoying re living my childhood a bit and one song that always sounds good to me is ‘Kid Creole’, ‘Me No Pop I’. We used to listen to this constantly on holiday when we were about 11 or 12 years old (actually the whole Best of Kid Creole album is great). Another song that I was listening to at around the same time is ‘Chaka Demus and Pliars’, ‘Murder She Wrote’, this also still sounds amazing and is great for summer time and as such would be perfect for a desert island! Another one of my favourites is ‘Cypress Hill’, the ‘Black Sunday’ album is the best and if I had to pick one it would be ‘A to the K’, I remember my cousin guiltily playing it to me when I was far too young to be listening to it, it was like being allowed into a secret and rather mischievous world. One more that even though it is old I have only just found out about is ‘William Shatner’ doing ‘Rocketman’, this is a pure stroke of genius! And also I forgot ‘Betty Boo’, ‘Where Are You baby’. I love that song. All pretty retro I guess, but then I think a lot of the time with music it is the memories and the feelings that they bring up that mean more than the music itself.

 As for mixing them I really don’t know where I would start, I love that sort of thing but I am afraid my musical ear is not that great.  Would love to know what a bit of Kid Creole sounds like mixed with William Shatner and Cypress Hill though!

 7)  Which brings me to the subject of Bad Taste............

a)  what is your definition of Bad Taste defined by one design?  

I take issue with evening dresses and red carpet dresses at the best of times, I always think the simpler, more stream line the better. Therefore it has to be a design in this ilk that has offended me. I am afraid Zac Posen is the guilty culprit. There is a dress in the finale of his S/S 2008 collection that I just cant get me head around, it is big and puffy and I am led to believe inspired by clouds. I just fail to see how something like this has a place anymore, but that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. 

b)  What is your definition of Bad Taste as Good Taste defined in one design?

I am sure that crown has to go to something Moschino though I am not sure I can pin point one specific design, there are too many that are just too good. Just for example the dripping chocolate cake bag (1991) is pure genius!

8)    I absolutely love the print on the knees of your leggings, as if they are a bit cheeky, peering out from underneath the hem of the skirts.  Knees are definitely over-looked on the runway!  What brought you to focus on that body part?

The knee patches came about quite naturally, a progression from elbow patches I guess. It also worked quite well as when the model is standing still it adds something to the dress makes it longer and changes the shape of the hem. I also love the way that the colour of the leggings shows when she walks and the line is broken up. You are right about the knees being neglected though; maybe I should make it my duty to give them the attention they deserve?

 9)    Your muse is a more extreme version of yourself.  The eyelash necklace is quite a statement piece!  What is the most insane accessory you like to wear and where did you get it?

 I was quite surprised at myself with that piece, it is quite crazy. I am afraid I don’t wear anything that crazy myself. Going back to your first question, I really like quite everyday things. I love, love, love watches; after my BA which featured an arm band covered in watches (all bought from a stall in Dalston for £1, they worked for about an hour) I went through a phase of wearing three or four watches at a time. I like to wear normal things I guess but in a different way, my favourite at the moment is I wear a ring (that my mum gave me which is too small for me) on a very, very long chain. It’s nothing special but I like that the chain is too long and so the ring hangs where it wouldn’t normally.

 10)  You were lucky enough to do the CSM MA when it was still at the Charing X site.  What will be your most missed/lamented memory of that building?

Its hard to put my finger on one specific memory, there has been so many (I also did my BA there). One thing that I always think is that it is kind of like a home as in I feel like I belong there, there are very few places that I think you feel like that about. In a way I have done a lot of my growing up and progressing in the walls of that building. It will always be a special place and I think that it is a great shame that it is moving.





Weds 8th June: Laura Mackness Part II The Interview

1)    You have sighted Erwin Wurm as an influence on your MA collection.  He liked the idea of adopting everyday materials and objects in his art and I can see that you have integrated lollipop sticks into one of your dresses.  What other un-expected items have you experimented with and what is your most prized pound-shop purchase?

 I love using everyday objects, hence my love for Erwin Wurm’s work. I didn’t really use any apart from the lollipop sticks in my MA collection. However it is something that I worked a lot with in my BA. One of my favourite projects was made entirely from existing knitted pieces of clothing and blankets, and another was made using loads of jumpers.

As for my most prized £1 shop purchase? There have been many but my most memorable visit was back home in Leicester. There is a brilliant bargain shop called Home Bargains that sells the most bizarre assortment of stuff! My boyfriend and I often go in to see what random things we can get our hands on, on one occasion we decided we would set ourselves a challenge to buy each other presents for the modest sum of £2, I think mine was a policewoman doll and a rather rude balloon kit and James’ was a tin of beef in gravy and a Robbie Williams video. Life doesn’t get any better than that! 


2)  He is also known for saying that humorous work falls prey to not being taken seriously. 

a)  Were you ever concerned with that in this fickle fashion world? 

 I was and have always been concerned about this, but then it seems to be what I am good at and there is something to be said for being able to make people smile. I have also always been reassured that my work should be taken seriously. I don’t particularly think the fashion world should take itself to seriously anyway.

 b)    What is your most favourite stand out hilarious design from history? 

I guess I have to say the knitted extravaganza that Bruno wore on the red carpet recently, if only because all my friends insisted that it must be one of my creations (sadly it is not). I don’t know apart from that, everyone takes it far too seriously now so we very rarely get treated to something funny or even whimsical. Bjork’s swan dress which she wore to the Oscars in 2001 is of course an absolute classic.


2)    There is a surreal element with the trompe l'oeil detailing; I love the drawn-on fly and zip!  If you could invent a modern equivalent to the lobster phone, what would be your dream bizarre house-hold item?

I think that it would definetly have to be something to do with shoes. I love the way that shoes look, the way that they always come in a pair, how odd it is for one to be on its own and how much one shoe can vary from another. Two of my favourite art pieces have shoes in them: Meret Oppenheim’s ‘My Nurse’ (1936) as it is so strange and alien to find shoes in the place of your food, and how right yet wrong they look there and Fischli and Weiss’ shoe sculpture from the series, ‘Equilibres/Quiet Afternoon’ (1984-87). I guess in a very strange and ideal world I would have shoe everything, shoe phone (I know this already exists, but I would love one), shoe lamp, shoe kettle, shoe shower, shoe taps, shoe plug, shoe toaster, table and chairs made from shoes (these would be balanced very much in the style of Fischli and Weiss)


 3)    You have acknowledged Elsa Schiaperlli in your inspirations.  She invented shocking pink and I have read in a review of your work that you used 'bon bon pink' which I thought was a perceptive descriptive hue.  If you could have a colour named after you, what colour what would it be and what name would it have?

Pink really is my favourite colour, I never thought it would be but it really is. I never wear it myself and I don’t think I even own anything pink, but I just love it, I would love to have pink hair, one of my favourite images and one which I always have on my wall is the Juergen Teller photograph of Kate Moss with pink hair. I especially like the shade that I used in my collection. It is quite hard to name pink as people already have there own very definite idea about it and it is already very pigeonholed as being girly and pretty. I like a much dirtier grubbier pink than this, like the girly pretty girl has been playing out in the mud in her pink dress and has come back with it looking much improved. So I thought, corrupt pink (a bit too punk), impure pink (no), pigpen pink (not sure anyone would want to wear this) in the end I decided that Odd pink was more descriptive of me and everything that I like, though I am not one hundred percent sold on this, or maybe just Mack Pink. I think you may have encouraged me to muse about this for the rest of my life.

 5)  Jean Paul Goude had also had an imprint on your style which is something I really connect with.  I went to his lecture at the V&A and he said that he would like to get his hands on Janet Jackson.  If you could re-invent a celebrity with styling, who would you like to work the Mackness Magic on?

 My favourite celebrity at the moment is Katie Price aka Jordan, I find her fascinating. I guess I would love to re-style her but then I kind of like what she wears, it’s very her! I like Love Foxx too, I saw her performing once with eyes painted on her eye lids so that when she closes her eyes they look open, It was at the time I was researching for my collection and had just found an image of exactly this, so we are obviously on the same page!

I also saw Jennifer Saunders once, my childhood hero from Absolutely Fabulous though she was lovely and looked great I was slightly disappointed that she wasn’t actually Eddie! How fantastic would it be to get your hands on that wardrobe, all that Moschino and Lacroix!

Weds 8th June: Laura Mackness

I am very, very excited about this post.
As readers may know, Im not shy of a superlative or singing shining praise.  But Ive been sitting on this one for quite a while.  Infact a very, very long time.  Febuary to be precise, when Laura graduated from the CSM MA with distinction.    I went to the static show to see Michael's collection but couldn't help looking over my shoulder, hypnotised by the Siren blinking eyelashes flirting with me, enticing me over.  Not Laura's eyelashes!....... but the ones she created as a giant necklace which was just one of the stand-out pieces from her stand-out collection.  
I wanted to get a good grasp of what was going on with this scrumpdiddlydumpcious collection, so I went about my usual research.  As it turned out I didn't know any of her inspirations and got lost down an Erwin Wurm hole and couldn't get back out.  But fortunately I finally managed to compile some questions to equate worth to Laura's discerning designs.   She has put together some fantastic answers, so before I upload it are some scans from her sketchbooks to keep you going...............

Tuesday 7 July 2009

Tue 7th June: Kyle Bean Part IIg

So here is Kyle's camera I was talking about.............and numerous other electrical appliances.  He used these within his display at the exhibition to show his films with actual screens installed inside the cardboard casing.  The other items had been turned into light boxes (as you can see in my snap).  There was not a wisp of estranged glue on any of these magnificent maquettes.  I take my hat off to Kyle's model-making and the answer to his deftness is that he started when he was a kid!  A-ha!  Musicians buy their offspring instruments, skaters buy their kids boards, break-dancers get their kids body-popping before running...........think I'm going to invest in a mini glue-gun and cutting mat if I procreate!
To see more (and there is a hell of a lot more!) check out Kyle's website...

Tue 7th June: Kyle Bean

I was sent a very smart hard copy invite to the Brighton Graphic Design and Illustration BA Show so I thought I better return the gesture and head down there on Thurs eve.  This year, their venue is in "The Rag Factory" just off Brick Lane which I think was originally Tracey Emin's studio (?!).  Its a beautiful higgldy piggldy space with scraps of different colour gaffa tape randomly decorating the wood panelled floor.  BUT the art on the walls by the class of 2009 was so sick it was impossible to get distracted.  There are many mentionable candidates but here is the one that made me stop and laugh and gaze in awe for a good 15 mins.   Not only is the content witty and clever, the execution is also scarily sophisticated for a degree student.  I have spent years perfecting model making from card and here is someone that seems to already have it nailed without even leaving school.  One year I worked out the pattern of a pentax camera for a paper prop which took a LONG TIME and I felt very proud.  Well, that was blown out of the water when I saw Kyle's work.  (I'll post that work later but you have a glimpse in this snap of his desk)
So here is the winning project for me.  A Russian Doll type stacking system (made of card) of Mobile Phones following a time-line of design.  Genius!  Here is Kyle's description as I wouldn't be able to do it justice:

"I was working on the 'mobile phone evolution' project alongside the 'disposable technology' gadgets. They are both projects which are a response to our relationship with modern technology. Whilst the mobiles highlight how quickly technology has miniaturised since the 1980's, the disposable gadgets are a comment on how technology becomes obsolete very quickly, due to consumerism."

And here is one of his stop-frame animations ....................there is another amazing one of a tree made from little Ikea pencils with leaves growing from pencil sharpenings.......

Monday 6 July 2009

Mon 6th June: No words


Mon 6th June: Bold Tendencies

Last Tuesday I got to see the sunset from a very different perspective than my usual North London vantage, infact it was the polar opposite from Peckham.  Gallerist Hannah Barry has curated a sculpture exhibition on the roof of a multi-storey car park.  The works are site specific and a few employ the use of the sunlight that directly hits the space.  Here are Sam Nia's live-edge screen-printed perspex sculptures which seem to change colour as you walk around each facet.  Once the sun has disappeared behind the London Eye, the sculptures light up and take on another glowing dimension.  
The show is on till Sept 30th so make time to get in the elevator to the top floor of this NCP to check out the next generation of sculpture................