The fitness industry has come a long way since it started out all those years ago and dutifully following our lifestyles we have seen many changes throughout the centuries with the most notable being LYCRA.
As one of the most important textile innovations of the 20th century, Lycra started life in 1958 and has not only revolutionised sportswear but can take credit for its incredible importance to the fitness industry and credit for the delivery of multiple advances and innovations since its creation.
Boasting its quick-drying and ultra-lightweight benefits and the ability to be stretched over 500% without breaking, whilst still recovering to its original length, it is stronger and even more durable than rubber – making it the perfect match for sportswear and remaining unchallenged to this day.
But before Lycra there was…..
Well not much else as far as sportswear goes.
And if we go back far enough we can see the trauma that many woman who wished to partake in sports had to face.
With modesty still remaining the most important expectation at the time it was conventional that the typical dress was still worn throughout activity and full dresses in rigid fabrics typical of the time came in several layers that covered their full body, giving no allowance for breathability.
Go back far enough and you see how even the corset was an expected part of sports attire… Imagine working out in a corset?
Now although many women were not encouraged to do sports as it was seen as ‘unladylike’ and the type of sports at the time did not require ladies to exactly ‘work up a sweat’ we can still see how incredibly restricting this must have been for the wearers.
Luckily in the 1950’s we start to see some small changes within the industry thanks to the introduction of nylon into the commercial market; and with it bringing innovations in colour, ridding us of the tea-rose pink typical of the time and bringing new life to our garments.
Finally then Lycra made its way on to our scene and bought with it a sudden change of heart reminiscent of the 1960’s. Women were sprung upon with new fashionable ideals which expected us to transform our bodies via diet and exercise – showcasing the ideal fashionable figure without the aid of foundation garments.
There was a lot of convincing to do at first of course as many who had been sold for years on the idea that ladies shouldn’t be partaking in exercise whatsoever, were suddenly told the opposite and being shunned if they did not hold a gym membership.
Whether out of laziness or being stuck in their ways the fitness industry had a lot to do to coax those girlies off their little un-toned bottoms and into breaking a sweat…
Until at least the 1970’s and roll on Jane Fonda and the other leotard clad fitness gurus hell bent on empowering woman by fighting for the fashionable slim but toned body and promoting exercise as the fashionable method of figure control. It’s also around this time that we finally see the arrival of the first sports bra. Hooray! Courtesy of American designers and jogging partners Hinda Miller and Lisa Lindahl, 1977 brings us the very first jogging bra with its goal to “stop woman’s breasts bouncing as they exercised.”
Lycra is very much the material to beat and has been the foundation of us ladies getting that beach body. The future will undoubtedly bring us some exciting new developments in fabric and clothing technology that will surpass what we have currently, but in the meantime aren’t you just glad we have Lycra?
I've always been fascinated by the word ugly.
“U.G.L.Y you ain't got no alibi you ugly eh! Hey! You ugly!” chant Daphne and Celeste in the subconscious of my mind -If you're as ancient as me (yes 27 is ancient in the fashion world) then you may remember these two from the early 2000's, prancing around and shouting derogatory terms at an imaginary ugliness.
I hear these words and yet I cannot relate, because I'm unsold on what constitutes as 'ugly' and what/who exactly is and isn't?
They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
They say that it is the imperfections that make us perfect.
They say that 'attractiveness' is personal, learned and developed by specific preferences as an infant.
I am a strong believer in associated beauty due to my innate love of freckles (an affection that grows stronger with each passing day) rationalised by the fact my mother is camouflaged head to toe in them.
Freckles for me are the pinnacle of beauty and I simply can't relate when they are referred to as unattractive.
For that reason I have always been skeptical when I am told something is in or out by the fashion Gurus.
That being said there is and always has been an unwritten rule of beauty within the fashion world and this holds particularly true in the intimates section. There's only so far you can go with the outlandish, garish and just plain wrong when it comes to lingerie because fundamentally lingerie is not there to make a statement or to deliver an opinion but more so exists primarily to compliment a figure or to deliver an added sense of allure to an outfit.
Lingerie is rarely created to attract attention or as a stand alone garment and so when we are flooded with pieces that are catwalk friendly and in all respects traditionally 'ugly' perhaps we cannot be blamed for a little wariness or assuming it has little concern for functionality or fit.
So I tread carefully this time, accepting that the fashion industry is without question the most temperamental of all design industries and await dutifully as the pendulum swings.
As a trend detective I have become accustomed to this feeling and although I came prepared sometimes nothing can quite ready me for coming face to face with the 'UGLY.'
To make sense of it all I'll start with the statement that Lingerie is comparatively 'Melbourne' in that there always needs to be a degree of simplicity and elegance in it's aesthetic. It's either modern, fresh and clean cut or old with a deliberate moth eaten look acquired from a vintage rummage sale.
'Melbourne' is a city yes, but a city that has acquired it's own associated, unique stye. It follows simple rules; a clean cut modern architectural look where anything oversized is basically a winner and a modern black vs greyscale palette that oozes elegance – basically if you look like a modern day kitchen then you can officially count yourself within the hipster crowd...
...Then all of a sudden Melbourne's hipsters are shaking hands with the 'Gormans' who appear to have suddenly invaded...
(Because pictures speak a thousand words... the 'Gormans' basically is a style that kind of looks like this...)
So as I make my way to this years MODA in Paris (after using a marker pen to draw two large lines across my face in an effort to obtain my Cara Delevingne eyebrows of course) I am not quite ready for what is about to hit me when the 'Gormans' invade the lingerie scene too.
Extravagant like a drag queen and as grotesque as a circus show, this new season is all about the shock tactic; a tactic that has already achieved it's goal I conclude, as I hear gasps echo throughout the room.
I'm incredibly intrigued initially as I see many notable brands steering away from conventional paths and attempting incredibly daring looks. Designers unleash their inner beast and artistic flare whilst key retailers who have traditionally played it safe over the years contend in an equally fierce fight.
I note unflattering shapes with maximal finishes, displayed in colour palettes that are grotesque and as garish as you get. Lavish Greens, trashy Blues and burnt Yellows flood the market and sit against popping candy Pinks and devilish Reds that tarnish them.
Embroidery is a solid choice and is shown via placements, an unusual choice due to cost but a strong alternative to simple flocking which also makes an appearance, I may add, and appears in an attempt to over complicate designs.
It is a royalist outlook that springs to mind here and through the efforts of heavy decoration on top of heavy fabrics such as Satin and Jacquards we feel a rich and sensual vibe. Ancient royalty meets a flamboyant and nostalgic ambience weaving itself within the fibers of design.
Chanel famously spoke the words “when accessorising always take the last thing off”. Well not here.
When prints appear they come strong and full of fruitfulness. Bright and brash they clash with stripes and polka dots and throw in a lobster or two for good measure.
It's all very eclectic. All over the top. And all styled in a garish manner.
So by this point I've worked it and realise that the aim is to simply Attract attention.
Attention through any way, shape or form, through any means necessary.
We do however need to read between the lines as although this trend boasts an eccentric attitude it also breathes a care free intention (It's not all drag queens with whistles and bells on) that is elegant and relaxed, proving that the royals really can mix with the bohos.
I take an awkward step and then I'm back to basics.
I see black again and I feel safe.
Lingerie sales rely highly on aesthetics and black is always going to be a golden ticket. Melbourne too is always going be black, whatever the Gorman's say.
I ponder to myself if this is in effort to gain exposure or whether I'm missing something.
Ugly garments may attract attention yes but then if it's all about 'attraction' and little about traditional aesthetics, then what?
Shock, risk and chance are what is driving the industry forward nowadays and if creating deliberately ugly garments is suddenly a thing (with the predetermination of the uglier the better) then we better accept that ugly is the new beautiful.
And any exposure is as good as it is bad...
... I do of course kind of like it, because it means that customers are no longer satisfied by the ordinary. They are willing to try new things, be a little more daring and request a higher standard within their wardrobe.
Which is great news for us designers and risk takers out there.
So let's bask in the glow of all this extravagance and enjoy it whilst it last.
Let's paint the town red and then splash some green on there too.
Because whoever said less is more?
Need more help? Let these pictures speak a thousand words...
Amidst heavy embroidery, decoration and fruitful, eye catching prints we play the gawker as we watch the ugly and it's attempt to attract attention. By any means necessary; they beg for attention through the good, bad and the ugly... because there's no such thing as bad publicity.
Inspiration An Eccentric baseline with a Bohemian finish. A Rich and Sensual outlook with a strong sense of Maximalism and Nostalgia to suit.
Colours Ugly colours unite/ Green is prominent against Ochre shades/ ‘Pop’ yellows make an entrance amongst hints of deep blue & devil red.
Fabrics Heaviness is key and exaggerated by a royalist outlook. Satin, EMB, Jacquards and flocking, play on soft and flexible.yet heavy designs.
Brands Retailers choose green to reinvent key collections & Start-ups express dramatic uniqueness. All brands risk attempts to draw attention.
The very first thing I do in the morning is look out of the window wistfully to check the weather is suitable for my morning run...
That at least, is the belief I am trying to sell you.
I'd love to pretend that I'm not secretly praying for rain so that I can spend another 30 mins in bed... Despite my insistence that my morning routine is not complete without some form of physical activity. But you see -I've already been sold that idea myself, along with the belief that spending all day in my sweats is perfectly acceptable.
We should all embrace a lifestyle dedicated to health and fitness, they insist. Because reach back only 60 years ago or so and it didn't even really exist yet alone be deemed as acceptable. In fact sports for woman in general was not really an everyday thing until at least the 1970’s when Jane Fonda and the other leotard clad fitness gurus appeared. Oh we were so deprived back then...
Fast forward to modern day of course and we are greeted with a new wave of enthusiasm for the industry; the marketing campaigners hell bent on promoting exercise as the fashionable method of figure control and empowering women by encouraging us to aim for a fashionably slim but toned body, embracing what we already have and what we had in the 70's.
Luckily the fitness industry no longer has so much to do to coax us girlies off our little un-toned bottoms and into breaking a sweat because we are already there; making healthy lifestyle choices and waiting in our gym gear eagerly to attain our body bliss ideology.
But as we slip on our joggers, yoga top and fashionable trainers and bounce towards the door on our way to the office (that's right office, not gym) convinced that we haven't a clue what this new 'Athleisure' thang is all about, all the while bombarded with daily inspiration quotes like 'skinny is the new strong' and tag lines such as 'fit is the new beautiful'; we forget the subconscious impact this, marketing has had and not even realizing that sportswear has gradually crept into our everyday lives.
So far this whole 'Athleisure' trend doesn't seem to be a bad discovery and neither are the motivational quotes that boost it... It's just contagious.
All of a sudden it's completely normal to wear sportswear garments everywhere and phrases such as "après sport" or "gym-to-the-office" gradually earn their place along side 'Pret-a-Porter' and 'Avant-Garde'.
Ok so wearing yoga pants in the office? This I hadn't prepared myself for and I definitely didn't go out last Saturday night in my trainers (eep!) it's a good thing that the offerings are as feminine and elegant as the come because otherwise I don't know how we would quite get away with it!
But at least my initial fear of the shell suit returning has subsided and it is only my imagination that appears to be running wild, along with my legs.
The change is all down to the modern day attitude and the overwhelming focus on looking good in yourself everyday.
We start to realize it's not just a fashion trend but also the new way of life and that we cannot simply rely on style anymore. Because even when the garments aren't particularly functional they still prove popular. In many cases proving they are not technically 'sports' garments at all... they just have the outlook.
People only need to appear healthy; wearing their priorities along with their hearts on their sleeve. Screaming 'Hey look at me, I'm going to the gym, I care about my body' -whilst they twizzle around on the office chair.
And we surely have an exciting future ahead as previous years statistics show year on year growth as sportswear rockets!
Of course, the trade shows have prepared themselves accordingly; Moda Lingerie & Swimwear announces is dedication by launching a new trend area dedicated to ‘athleisure’ with a fantastic response from industry buyers who have reacted with enthusiasm; having dubbed the new launch as 'a reflection of the contemporary consumer demographic seeking apparel for active lifestyles and wellness'.
Many brands show record successes, pushing the industry forward and showing no signs of slowing down; Anita active being clear winners of the industry last year showing us that plus size in sportswear was certainly a gap in the market (aren't we all gutted we missed the boat on that one!). Sportswear is also newly becoming an interest to even small boutique owners that now seem to be expanding their offerings and taking the risk.
With all of this it seems that SS17 is the year to be investing in sports and I see the trends going in two main directions...
SEX APPEAL -combining both sports & lingerie via black leather effects, zips & chains for a bedroom look and fabrics with erotic intentions. Whilst lamination and hot fix are not as strong in development for other luxury items they are clear runners in sports.
NATURAL -soft yoga styles for comfortable everyday looks using ecologically sourced fabrics and bringing a casual ambience. Back to basics construction via a return to cut and sew methods and generally moving away from moulded cups and strong padding.
Whichever side of the coin, overall It has to be visually attractive as well as functional and it has to make a statement.
The statement that we care about our fitness levels and that we want to appear physical as well as just attractive.
But that's not only it... because now you cannot simply rely on style; It is in fact YOUR body that does the hard work... The garment is just the paint on the walls of the temple.
But no worries If you're not quite ready to get on the treadmill yet. Here's a little love from V.O.E attached -to help improve our physical attractiveness...
Your body is the temple so your clothing should just paint the walls. Yet let's not bypass all the fun! Experimental styles show there's more to sportswear than the expected, leaving the gym as it scores a place on our streets. Athletics is a lifestyle choice and becomes part of our whole life, even our leisure time; because image is as important as your wellbeing.
Inspiration A mix of sports and loungewear with added allure. Regardless of practicality and beyond aesthetics it aims to sell an overall message.
Colours Black on black forms gradients. Leatherette creates fluidity. Gold & Shimmer adds glamour; whilst skin tones brings us back to earth.
Fabrics Leather & Glisenette effects for a bedroom look combat suitable eco fabrics designed to be natural. Sheer mesh adhere's to both roles.
Brands Start ups get a kick start & promising future. Celebrity endorsed & designer labels expand ranges. Success rockets for existing key players.
“You're beautiful the way you are” -I hear these words as they pass straight from one ear and out of the other.
There's only so many times you can hear your own mother's attempts to raise your self esteem without responding with a more honest sigh of disbelief and consequently raising your eyebrows.
The majority of us have heard these words before and the majority of us choose to ignore them.
Because it's hard to see beauty in ourselves sometimes and in a world where 'skinny' is the ultimate basis for attractiveness it can be easier said than believed that there is genuine lust for anyone deemed as Large; making it an even more difficult pill to swallow for those girls that fit into this category.
I hate the word Large. In fact I hate the label Large in general. The word Large whether intentional or accidental has been cast in association with all things negative and it's something that we've seemingly allowed to happen over time. The definition suggests hefty, too much or over weight and when used in any context with relation to weight is often deemed as a defect or even a failure of womanhood... Like we just allowed ourselves to give in to food or woke up one day and decided we don't give a shit about our appearance any more... “oh, she's let herself go!” -They cackle. Large is unattractive? So being Large implies you clearly don't care about your appearance and therefore have no feelings... so it doesn't matter if we slate you, fatty! ...Oh but of course this is unless it's breasts we're talking about and then it's a whole different story. Because large breasts are the optimum of beauty and what we should all inspire to have (as long as they sit above a 20” waist of course.)
So in a world where the ever looming word 'fat' is ready and waiting to hurt and label us it's no surprise that our industry is ultimately affected by this. And now that my rant is over I can get back to applauding a recent shift Iv'e noticed in the industry.
There appears to be a new lease of life in the erotica section of lingerie; where considerations for all shapes and sizes are not only available but also popularized. We of course welcome it with open arms. Because there are some beautiful bodies out there... and guess what? Some of them are bigger than a size 6.
But It's more notable than a simple shift in mentality. Because It's definitely where the market is headed and we are witnessing a growth and room for expansion as the garments prove increasingly popular.
In fact there's an obvious calling for plus size in general which is seeping throughout intimates on a whole as brands showcase desirable ranges and proudly announce this refreshing new change via a strong message that Big is beautiful.
We see a plethora of start ups answering the call as well as some old time favorites carrying the torch.
Curvy couture, curve&co and Curvy Kate have all released some gorgeous collections that require special attention as well as others such as Scantilly, Simplybe and my own personal favorite Miss Mandalay.
And then we have the pioneers of plus size themselves! The stunning size 16 Ashley Graham whose legs and thighs... Well can I just say and I quote “she can wrap them around me anytime.” Tess Holiday, another stunner and a size 26 is launching her own new label after incredible success in her modeling career and Elly Mayday size 14 whom is not only bravely fighting her battle with cancer but also incredibly fighting for her place in the mags. Other mentionable's are of course Australian star Robyn Lawley size12, America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson size 16 (I almost feel guilty listing their size because it doesn't really matter) and even Zach Miko filling in for the boys.
Fabrics also catch up and adhere to the markets requests, by making promises of highly technical lightweight fabric more suitable for plus size.
Delicate laces become stronger and Intricate holes appear in EMB.
All strong enough to carry that bigger size.
More notably; The widths of these fabrics are increasing too, which although may be due to lace being targeted evermore so to the outerwear market but is a helping hand for those brands who usually struggle to find lace with widths large enough to develop big cup sizes.
Then there's the market in general and the overall new acceptance of the sex industry on a whole. I believe there was a book a few years ago that shot to success and made the whole BDM thing acceptable in everyday conversation. Fifty shades of something or other??
Coco De Mer have made a fortune from this new 'acceptance' and sex is all of a sudden everywhere...
I mean hey, even the queen is honoring Lovehoney.com with a top award for their businesses success.
My point, I guess is that It's refreshing to see the erotica section finally adhering to it's 'wider' audience (apologies -no pun intended) and I just hope this side of the audience continues to grow.
The future is bigger, brighter and bountiful.
And so as we continue to grow in size as a nation and the sex industry naturally grows alongside it, we should grow alongside it also and celebrate accordingly.
Celebrate the curvy girls who have the edge and promote the brands that kit them out.
Celebrate ourselves and our own bodies! -I'm sure our partners wouldn't mind #needisaymore.
All the time being selective and adhering to our natural bodies types -because Looking good in lingerie is a hard skill to master.
It's all about confidence and we mustn’t forget good taste (there is definitely a right and a wrong way to do this and you can easily overstep the line) at its core It's all about 'The art of seduction' and you can be sexy without revealing all.
Meanwhile I'm celebrating in my own way via research and development (snore) and by cataloguing my thoughts via the trend board attached.
As we continue to grow in size as a nation a call out for plus size in the sex industry naturally grows alongside it. Yet we mustn’t forget good taste in a new market desperate to be explored. See boundaries pushed immediately with full force via a simple cross over from sexy to sultry.
Inspiration Plus size models shout “it’s ‘OK’ to be a little bigger!” Demonstrating the art of seduction. Be confident in your skin and in bondage.
Colours A distinct story of black on black with added touches of earthy golds. Bright floral colours make a shocking appearance for attention.
Fabrics PVC in softer textures that dominate manmade synthetics. Natural fibers however are comfortably key. Oh and how can we deny lace?
Brands Offer designs in larger sizes appealing to a wider audience. Yes master offers a variety of tropical prints; a new direction for sexy attire.
How to hibernate in style.
I walk in the front door and immediately before I have even taken my shoes off I am stretching my arms out towards the top drawer containing my nightwear.
I have never been one for staying in and have never been a lounger but recently I have noticed a shift in my own pret-a-porter priorities; A new lustful passion for nightwear and even more so for my nights in.
Never one to stay in and sit in front of the box or 'waste' an evening in my own company; I have noticed a change recently whilst reaching my late 20's and it appears that my own desire for comfort has increased and is continuing to do so rapidly.
Admittedly as soon as I clock off these days all I can think about on the way home is the luxury my skin will feel once I can get out of my work clothes!
Basically I am struggling to admit (to myself) and have realised that... MY IDEA OF A GOOD NIGHT OUT…is in fact... a good night IN.
But I wish i'd known the future of my social life before investing so heavily in garments that look ridiculous now due to their unwearable and down right uncomfortable nature.
If it looks good it doesn't matter that I develop frost bite… I guess.
“Why on earth did I buy that?” I say to my former self who's priorities were clearly far less concerned with what my present self is currently obsessed with: Comfort.
But however lame it feels inside, as I continue down this path towards a hermit style queen it is clear that I have no intention of slowing down soon. I fully intend to build on my collection and whilst I continue to experiment with nightwear styles… I continue also to invest.
I actually have a whole drawer dedicated to nightwear now. Something that i'd never envisaged for myself. And it's actually rather exciting!
On another note… I always thought of it as perhaps an age thing and that I personally was just getting older... but apparently not.
It is clear that the increasing interest in nightwear is global; with a continuous interest and growth apparent nationwide.
The nightwear market has seen exponential growth in the recent years and with new start ups appearing all the time, it's growth shows no sign of slowing down soon.
So what has caused this shift?
Is it due to a growing trend of staying in?
Are we just following the next generation of cotton wool kids or are we all just enjoying staying in more?
Did a 'onesies' even exist ten years ago? Because I can't remember a time without it.
Whatever the reason there's no fighting it and overall this is fantastic news or our industry!
We sometimes forget that "Lingerie is more than just bras" and that we can look sexy in an elegant silk pyjama piece just the same as we can an AP garter and nothing more.
And so although (we hate to admit it) is nightwear in fact becoming MORE popular than lingerie?! Is the future less Kinky and more Kimono?
It is clear that as individuals we are beginning to experiment more with nightwear and with that change we notice it becoming more and more of a necessity within our wardrobe.
The eccentrics of course can't resist pushing the boundaries and are wearing their robes in anyway they see fit! Showing off the beauty of a garment that shouldn't be imprisoned inside our four walls.
Wearing your Olivia Von Halle pyjamas on the street? Why the hell not!
To adhere to this change the trends of course are screaming an obvious mix of lounge/nightwear and sleepwear garments that are seen ever more frequently on the catwalk; With bedroom looks becoming the most popular 'look' amongst ready to wear labels and classic fabrics such as cashmere being reintroduced amongst many designer ranges. It is clear that comfort has never been so important.
Designers also continue to experiment with ultra-elegant effects playing with extremely lightweight pieces that drape around the body effortlessly and barely even exist.
Transparency is key in this area although not always the most practical of pieces they are surely the most luxurious, adding an undeniable dash of bedroom allure through the beauty of a barely visible piece.
Hint: Check out Biovanie knit & skin New York as key players!
It is clear that classic lounging looks are becoming stronger and bolder with emphasis on looking good all the time... even when just lounging at home…. Is there really no escape from the duty to be stylish???
Luckily the way to approach this is to simply play it to its strengths. We also sometimes forget that the front door can knock at any time and that just because we have locked the door it doesn’t mean the outside world has paused.
So it is important to acknowledge the importance of nightwear as a garment and welcome it lovingly into our arms.
You see, by embracing it, we can own it. And the perfect way of course... by making a statement.
I wanted to give you all an extract from my current trend direction 'Cocooning' (please see below.) Because ALTHOUGH it may not be the season any more and we may finally be out of the 'winter' months (fingers crossed) there's still nothing better than a good night in. And To make sure you're never caught in the cross fire again I am here to help you hibernate in style!
If you would like to hear more details on the current nightwear trends, which brands are kicking ass or the future of this trend then please get in touch!
Additionally if you have any thoughts on nightwear trends or feel there's a new start-up nightwear brand that deserves a special shout out and some VOE attention it would be great to hear from you!
Good night lovelies!
let's all stay in tonight…
Growing into a generation of cotton wool kids the trend of ‘staying in’ is becoming revolutionary and expanding fast, with many brands responding to the new aesthetic with ease... steering towards lingerie that is more suited to loungewear and comfort driven everyday garments.
Inspiration In the beginning. Start a fresh. Amoeba looking, cells and organisms. Remind me of. The intricacies of nature. Cocooning animals.
Colours Palettes become more 'tonal' in general with Softer tones skin variations. in pastel shades that fade into one another thoughtfully.
Fabrics Circular EMB on bra cups as the feature, extra soft Modal cottons and lightweight silk. Lime lace and floral prints for an eccentric touch.
Brands Adhere to the new aesthetic offering loungewear options: Hanro offers soft sexy styles, Simone Perele showcases extra lightweight silk.
So here we have it September! Marking the start of my ultimate favourite season with style!
Autumn is by far the most significant season and i've been lucky enough to experience it twice this year, once in England and then again in Australia, YEY!
I love autumn. I mean REALLY love it.
Everything looks so much more captivating in an Autumn gaze, The trees flutter their leaves to the floor and the sky welcomes us with a warming that is ambient rather than overbearing.
Oh and the colours are beautiful!
SO, as it's September I felt it was only fitting to write something becoming of the season, struggling for inspiration I was soon to be gratefully spoilt rotten thanks to Netflix who granted me my wish and delivered me a very interesting documentary titled 'the September issue.'
A documentary based on Vogue.
I'm still not quite sure how I feel about Vogue. When I see it on the counter or stacked within the shelves of the 'fashion' column I always feel a little bit uneasy.
My initial reaction is to grab and dash… “it doesn't matter that it costs more than a book” I think to myself.
It doesn't matter that it weighs a brick and i'll have to carry it around in my back pack for the foreseeable either.
But then in my consideration I weigh up the fact it will be out of date a mere few weeks later so what does it matter?
I have boxes full of past vogues back home, dating back to pre 2000's -they have stayed with me for the past 15 years at least so I have to admit some kind of attachment I guess.
But iv'e stopped purchasing them and since grown away from it all during my traveling lifestyle.
But back to the documentary which actually should have been titled 'Anna Wintour.'
I got to learn all about the importance of 'the September issue!'
Fashion aware friends out there will all be too aware of the importance of this issue.
As It is known as being the most important of the year.
There's always a massive fuss made over it.
I think that must be something I have in common within fashion... We both love Autumn.
The doc itself was pretty interesting and discusses the industry in depth.
It also looks at Anna Wintour.
As a character.
I don't know what it is about her that fascinates me.
Im incredibly proud that she is of English heritage for a start. And to be dubbed as the 'most powerful woman in America' is a massive compliment to the UK as a country.
Her voice is incredibly British. Very 'London.'
And it's her voice that almost makes her fashionable.
You take her seriously when she speaks.
Which makes me light up inside.
Let's celebrate our English accents for making us so powerful!
Her aggressive nature aside, she does captivate me.
And although she is fierce I don't find her unapproachable.
She has a certain softness in her face that to me does not resemble the painful glassy stare she has been accredited for.
I admire her passion and I have the oddest desire to be her.
But then at the same time I also hate and pity her.
For promoting fur (as it goes against everything I believe in) AND for being so 'aloof' towards her colleagues who obviously work their ass off to be part of the industry and please her.
Additionally I hate her for being 65 and looking that incredible!
Can that face be real?
But I quickly loose my senseless desire to step into her boots when I realise the true life she lives behind the glassy stare.
It may be all 1st class and glamour.
But it's not fun.
The industry is not fun.
The fashion industry is painful.
To be the face of a world where you can be so painfully critiqued at any moment. Ready to be pounced on the second you slip. Having to constantly keep up appearances, remaining the ice queen and never NOT working.
You'd be better off being the actual queen.
Atleast then you didn't choose your own fate.
Atleast she lives in a palace.
I agree with the ice queens comments on how people who fight for fashion are those that don't understand or are frightened by it and that these 'people' are usually the ones considered the 'social out cast' who simply fight what they don't understand.
But fashion IS scary and the pioneers of fashion ARE terrifying.
Anna terrifies me and I'll admit that.
I'm not sure what the future will be for fashion.
As it's going in an awkward direction as it is…
I mean Anna can't live forever.
And magazines are 'so last season.'
Trends are dying out… so what will become of Vogue?
And what about the September issue? Will it exist when the trends have died?
Maybe trends, fashion and Anna will all die together?
And with it the end of fur coats and exclusivity.
As her very daughter states in the doc: When it comes to fashion, well there's just 'more'
And that's just it. There is MORE.
One of the most (if not the most) dominant considerations in the world of Art & Design.
As a trend forecaster and designer I am invariably dictated to by colour.
It is a Love/Hate relationship.
The power it has impresses me and as I continue to search for new and exciting Pantone that brings new life to fabric or change the message of an image, I still fear the comedown at the sheer scale of choice, which can leave me feeling exhausted for days.
It is always my greatest battle.
I know what I want when it comes to the structure of a garment and I know how I want the fabric to feel. The outlook, the patterns, the general aesthetic... all a breeze in comparison to the choice of colour.
When I was 14, I painted my bedroom walls several different contrasting colours. This was because one was just not enough.
But then I do appreciate minimalism.
And I gaze with owe at bridal pieces with so much beauty that stand so overbearing but all in white.
The designers who can stick to a single colour palette are usually the most alluring.
Their lives and choices look easier and I envy their will power deeply.
I love colour. And the Psychology behind it.
The way it can affect the mood of a painting changed in our view by the ambience that engulfs it. Or the way a garment is received.
It is still mesmerising to me and it is important to understand it, to learn colours, to indulge in their meaning and listen to the effect they have on us in every day life. The emotions they can bring out in us and the way a simple hit of it can effect the feeling towards a design.
They say it is weather that effects our mood. I believe it is colour.
It changes our environment.
When the sun beats down on a hot summer's day and the glow of sunshine lights up a scenery, it brings us joy in what we see as well as the warmth we feel. Its telling in how a standard photo can become immediately vintage just by adding an 'old school' filter.
In an attempt to learn the language of colour it is important to first begin with the basics...What colours mean and what they represent.
The definians of colour theory are many and can be as easy 'as a sunday morning' or as complex as the english dictionary to understand.
Newton began exploring colour in the 17th century and put together a plethora of findings dedicated to the understanding of colour theory.
>The refraction of white light through the use of a prism to create a rainbow in which he was the first to understand and give an in depth explanation of.
Newtons first drawings of the colour wheel have always and still continue to inspire me. The delicacy of the lines, the intricacy of his explanation, all beautiful and thought provoking. The demonstration of his colour theory in form of a circle is perhaps the most beautiful and has not only inspired me but has been a fascination throughout the world of art for Centuries. A piece of art in it's own right.
> Previously the theory of colour was explained through the amount of white light or darkness added.... The least amount of light allowing us to view a shocking red and the birth of a full blue from the darkest depth of black.
Its also worth looking at a book by George Fields that was published in 1835. Considered as one of the most useful books in relation to colour and dissecting pigments, It is interestingly related to chemistry.
It fills all requirements for a complete and concise book of explanation and is a fascinating tribute to its time, discussing the relationship between colours whilst focusing on their significance in paintings. George explores the chemistry behind colour pigments and he advises on which colours benefit a certain kind of story telling. If you want to get your message across he points out which colours should fulfil your requirements.
The book is also unique in that unlike the other books of its time that focus on colour in painting, showcases a large collection of pigments on the inside of its pages, which usually would have been left blank, in one way making it almost like a pantone reference book. Maybe one of the first. Which I believe is worth a hand out of appreciation.
One of my all time favourite colours is 'almost black navy blue' which to me represents a warmth in utter darkness.
I see it in the sky at night and in the metallic glare of black paint in a reflection. This corresponds with one of my all time favourite artists Caravaggio who played with hints of light on a completely dark canvas. His paintings show a dark ambience and the image is given through the use of its light to draw attention.
Another of my favourites is 'Ginger'. oh. I am in love with all things ginger.
The rough texture of a Ginger nut biscuit and the warmth of Ginger fur.
The colour makes me feel warm inside and can turn my mood in an instant.
Perhaps this stems from the love I had for a certain pet cat that dominated all the love in my life as a teen.
In that respect I definitely see the link between colour and emotion.
I could talk about colour all day and I could spend hours exploring the feelings and meanings behind the layered subject... But then I have a job to do. And if there's one thing I'm sure of it's that I'm delighted it involves colour.
`There is always room for healthy debate in the world of fashion and in beauty. And it has caught my attention the last few days... that for whatever reason there appears to be a recent twist in the story of our well known and much loved 'Selfie.' 'Selfies'.... gathering years of bad rep and (whether with choice or without choice) regarded to always be the optimum of narcissism, have over a period of time afforded the luxury of becoming.. just one of those things 'the kids do'... and earning their place as part of an acceptable social standard in our current cyber age.
Recalling the days (in delight) when I myself once scorned and tutted my opinion with phases such as.... 'Paaaaaaahh, what self obsessed little monsters are indulging in this fiasco!?' whilst breathing a sigh of relief at the current state of the world and human race... Later on to find myself in the bedroom mirror considering my perfect angle.
You cannot revoke the power of a selfie. And however narcissistic it can seem to the world outside your bedroom mirror there is something undeniably liberating about it.
We luxuriate in those comments that come flying back to us, admiring our new hair cut or the way our eyes beg to be alluring..... the angle of our cheek bones that makes us appear that tiny bit slimmer than we actually are or how the light captures our skin and sets off the tone just right.... There is definitely NO filter here, we promise our followers ;)
Lena Dunham. A personal eidolon of mine (not saying that I agree with everything she says or does but I do admire her and her 'i'll question the paradigms of idolism in the current media, whether you like it or not' kind of attitude) has caused a current small scale stir.
She's an interesting lass. I like how she gets it wrong sometimes. And I love watching her learning curve.. more recently however iv'e been glancing at her real life curves as she continues to live up to her recalcitrant behaviour and salt the earth with a new intriguing trend.
The lingerie selfie.
First impressions of this trend are that admittedly we have to agree the selfie is just one of those guilty pleasures we all have inside us. Whether we like to admit it or not. And this is just the next step up from that.
I am enjoying this new trend... In fact, regarding the industry. And watch with incredible interest whilst disbelieving that the new 'lingerie selfie' is suddenly a thing...
"This is fantastic news" I hear the lads cry..... un till the ones who have girlfriends quickly rethink and shun the idea as they realise.... "MY girlfriend in lingerie for the world to see? This is now acceptable? This is something i'm going to have to accept now to be part of the game within social media?"
Sorry lads. But it appears so.
Maybe there will even be a male version on the horizon soon after? (we all know there's no room for biased notions of gender left in this world.)
But then, maybe this is just a passing phase? I mean we did have the 'Morbid selfie' phase not so long a go in our past.... and the 'No make-up selfie' lasted for a good few days before eventually fizzling out (thank god.)
But this one. well. I kinda hope it sticks around...
Not only because of course I love lingerie but also for market research purposes.
For example... I now know that Lena is a fan of 'Lonely' lingerie (the set featured in the image above) And the brand are clearly a fan, hitting back with instant praise and the thank full message "We are so glad you exist Lena"
I have no doubt the lingerie industry is going to be highly appreciative of all this free marketing.
So how about all those liberated girlies showing their skin?
Is it self expression?
Is it self obsession?
Or is it just another call for all eyes on me attention?
Is it just another 'effyourbeautystandards' campaign?
Is it healthy?
Should we be exposing our bodies for all those predators on the net to see?
Not forgetting that these days its very possible for our curious future employers to find us on the net with ease.
Not forgetting that what gets uploaded... sticks around. You cant rectify that one. And if its self inflicted, well, sympathy's not guaranteed and not expected when it all gets out of hand.
But nevertheless its great for me. Lingerie is my passion and when I see that passion shared I cannot help but smile inside.
I am intrigued. And for now I guess we'll just have to see how this one plays out...
But hey, what ever happens lets just hope to see some Gossard wearing girlies out there ;)
Well I guess I should start from the beginning right?
Why 'Visions of Excess'?....
“Among all things that can be contemplated under the concavity of the heavens, nothing is seen that arouses the human spirit more, that ravishes the senses more, that horrifies more, that provokes more terror and admiration than the monsters, prodigies and abominations through which we see the works of nature inverted, mutilated and truncated.” -Pierre Boaistuau 1561
I would like to say that when it came to deciding upon a name for my branded self and all together 'Vision' of my company that the development was a long drawn out and painful process in which I spent days and agonised over words and ideas that would really scream my artistic style, design handwriting and altogether image of myself as a designer.
As soon as I decided it was time to get myself out there and *create my cult* the name in which I would take on to sum up the ambiance and mood of my house immediately formalised without a second thought.
Because iv'e been obsessed with a certain book and quote ever since the very first day I read it more than over a decade again now.
The words alone sum up everything I want to say. They collectively describe my style and expression and beg for a deeper analysis of their meaning.
The book "Visions of Excess' has been dying to become part of my creativity ever since I can remember.
Throughout university I yearned for the day I could incorporate the ideas behind it into a project that I could throw myself into head first and really explore the depths of creativity I could generate from the ideas written within the pages.
However, no project ever seemed to really fit and I was unable to find an outlet big enough to do it justice.
The closest I ever came to it was in my final major in which I explored the basic ideas of emotion, psychology, melancholy and obsession with the human form, its beauty and then deformity.
But I quickly went off on a tangent and the project became more about ambivalence and the meeting of hard and soft surfaces which without regret was a lot more fitting for its environment.
So I waited and waited.
Then I got it tattooed on my wrist.
This was to sit as a reminder that one day it would be my image. My Brand. My Outlet.
Now four years later on I feel the time is right to finally immerse myself in something big....
To explore my talents and to really establish myself as a unique designer who not only offers beauty and uniqueness in design but also technical ability.
I want to explore the mechanics of garments....
Using diagrams and historic ideas that question life and our growth as humans.
Mathematics, Engineering, Literature, Poetry, Architecture and Philosophy.
To scream a style that showcases beauty and femininity in intricate and delicate forms through simple line drawing.
A mechanical drawing against flowing colours that have no start or finish, like an accidental spill of watery colour upon a blank canvas. Or a mistake on a page. Leaving the workings and fundamentals on the page. Denying the rubbing out of pencil marks.
Ink should spread clarity but should be questioned. And the form should be vivd.
The quote itself which I have my strongest link to is originally from the beginning of a book named 'Histoires prodigieuses' which was written by Pierre Boaistuau and published in 1561. -BY the way.....This guy was a genius.
The period in which it was written was fitting for the age and the quote describes the publics curiosity with the monsters of their time... the 'freaks' of the carnival, the birds of ill omen and the superstition that came with the dark ages.
It was a time of 'public calamities' which merited a fascination with anything unknown and misunderstood, generating a fear and quick dismissive nature towards anything that could read danger.
The basis behind this idea still applies today and has done for centuries.... our ongoing need and search for fear is an obvious example. Its why we pay to ride the roller coaster. Or hide our eyes behind our partners shirt as blood is spilt in our favourite horror movie. Admittedly some people don't like to be scared. But everyone craves adrenaline. And almost everyone feels divine whilst it explores their veins. A leap of faith, a bungee jump or a mischievous act. It brings us close to death. One of the most powerful feelings we can endure as humans. One of the two strongest emotions we can have as a living being (no surprise which the other one is? ...I could write about that topic indefinitely but i'll save it for another post I guess ;) Hey)
To rummage even further.... the french George Bataille who is the collector of ideas and author of the book was himself considered a great amongst literature and even more so surrealism.
He is a big influencer here.
As is the world of surrealism.... cue 'Salvador Dali.
Surrealism is a big part of my work. I want to explore nature in its purest form. But then I want to tear it down to its basics and engineering. To then build it up again through surrealist eyes. Making it something new and beautiful and contagious.
Others such as Caravaggio and Leonardo da Vinci's mechanical anatomy drawings (most notably his famous 'Vitruvian man') regularly inspire my work and I hope to make their influences clear throughout my design approach and execution.
I dream to show case this through drawings and in print. I hope to breathe life into my artwork and see it move against a living body. Artwork in form of print to showcase my signature style. My visions in their excess.
When there is no room left for the 'original' we have to steal from some of the greats I suppose ;)
And i'm hoping that my work will do them justice.