Friday, July 29, 2011

Haute Culture in Toronto

As it is a long weekend here in Canada, one of our plans is to visit a new exhibition that will be opening tomorrow at the Art GAllery of Ontario.

Haute Culture features a selection of 300 works produced by the Toronto-based collective of Jorge Zontal (1944-1994), Felix Partz (1945-1994) and AA Bronson (born 1946).

Curated by Paris-based independent curator Frédéric Bonnet, Haute Culture: General Idea is the first comprehensive retrospective devoted to the collective. The exhibition is organized around five themes, each central to the trio’s production: “the artist, glamour and the creative process”; “mass culture”; “architects/archaeologists”; “sex and reality”; and “AIDS.”

Featuring rarely seen large-scale installations as well as paintings, sculpture, videos and magazines, inviting visitors to explore the Canadian artist collectives legacy a legacy that continues to inspire many contemporary artists working today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

On Target With Missoni

I must admit that I am a bit slow off the mark with this one, but here goes! The next big brand that Target is partnering with to bring a bit of savoir faire to the masses is the Italian stalwart, Missoni!

I have always been a fan of Missoni’s bright colours, their swirls, zigzags and near hallucinogenic florals. Instantly recognizable as Missoni, the brand ranks up there with Pucci, for individual patterns and designs which are highly evocative of the glamorous jet-set.

The line will debut September 13, 2011. The Missoni for Target collection will include over 400 pieces of men's, women's, and children's clothing, not to mention home décor even a bicycle.

“It’s been a fantastic experience, “says Angela Missoni, “one we are eager to share with families across the United States.”

"Quality has always been one of the key aspects of Missoni, along with knitwear, pattern, and color," Margherita Missoni explains. "It's this artisanal quality that was so important to my grandparents."

While waiting with baited breath and kicking myself that we do not have a Target here yet in Canada I can only wonder if the average Target Shopper in middle America will know who or what Missoni is?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stopping to Smell the Roses

One of the things that I like about travelling in Europe especially in summer is the fact there there are flowers and gardens everywhere.

From small window boxes of herbs in Estonia to wonderfully creative natural style gardens in the middle of London, I just had to stop and smell the roses!

I always think it important to cultivate plants and flowers as it does give one and others such joy on all sorts of levels.

The Tivoli- Copenhagen

The Royal Palace-Stockholm


Warnemunde - Germany


Monday, July 25, 2011

Technologically Brilliant Fashion

Shaun Samson is a California-born British-trained menswear designer who has just launched his own label in 2011. With a strong desire to pursue design, Samson moved to Los Angeles where he successfully completed his first AA in Fashion Design. He continued further studies in Manufacturing and Product Development under scholarship at FIDM. Furthermore he moved to London to pursue his education further at Central St. Martins, earning a BA and MA degree in Fashion Menswear.

Samson quotes that he designs ‘Men’s Modern Street wear.’ His design style is masculine, relaxed, and has an essence of the sartorial. He believes the modern mans’ wardrobe should be wearable, effortless and special.

While the menswear environment can often appear to be limited, Samson has experimented and manipulated fabric and materials to create new textures and a silhouette that will take some by surprise.

What I am loving about Samson’s designs is that he has taken such traditional British objects such as tartan travelling rugs and aran knits and crafted them into something totally unexpected.

He has experimented with and mastered techniques such as smocking and felting and used these to blend together different fibers into one continuous piece. The seamless transition from knit to fabric impresses me as I wonder how it was accomplished. This is technologically brilliant!

Samson recently won the International Talent Support award for Collection of the Year. The prize was judged by a panel including the likes of Viktor & Rolf, Antonio Berardi, Hilary Alexander and Mandi Lennard. His winning collection, was in Samson’s words about “the distinction of urban tribes – how each Scottish class has a distinct and unique tartan,” explained the designer.

“I kept the silhouette simple so that there was an ultimate focus on the fabric and the combinations of different materials.”

Not that I could pull any of this off, however definitely one to watch for the future!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In the Country with Dior

To escape the frenzy of his fashionable life in Paris (which he bemoaned at times) Christian Dior used to escape to an old mill he had renovated in Milly-la- forêt, outside of Paris.
He had long dreamt of establishing a permanent country base to which he could retreat to after the showing of each successive collection which virtually left him a total wreck. “I want to escape. I am hoping for a sudden catastrophe—even a fatal one—that will prevent the Collection from being shown. I want to die.”

Friends had told him they had found “a ruin in a swamp,” near Milly-la-Forêt. The house (an old mill) called Le Moulin du Coudret suited Dior perfectly and it was here that he would live out his happiest and most satisfying moments.

Decorated in a style completely removed from his other houses this was where the real Dior came out and where he rested and entertained for his own pleasure.

Working weekend by weekend with equal enjoyment on the house and the garden, he channeled the river, drained the swamp, cleared the undergrowth and reclaimed the small, plain buildings that had been stables and barns.

“I wanted my first country home to look both lived in, and livable in,” he wrote. He intended the garden to look like “the peasants’ gardens which decorate the sides of the roads in my native Normandy.”

There were white walls and shutters and big country cupboards, a Directoire wallpaper screen, pretty porcelain and sloping ceilings. In the guest salon, the mill’s original machinery was left in place between the piano and the drawing board where he worked on sketches for his next collection.

Several times in his life Christian Dior had lived in the country, and he had discovered, to his own surprise, a deep satisfaction in cultivation.. It was because of the garden, says Christian Dior archivist Marika Genty, that the designer loved the mill so much. “He was at his happiest moving around the property and chatting with Ivan, the gardener, who became a great and special friend.”

Thursday, July 21, 2011

SPF in the Sun

As most will know that in the United States and Canada it has been unbearably hot, with a heat wave embracing most of the continent.

Of course one would like to be at the beach, with just the right amount of protection against those harmful rays of the sun!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Work in Progress at Lacroix

None of us need to be reminded of the closing of Christian Lacroix in 2009. Lacroix ever the artist and showman whose talent we will never doubt saw his costly haute couture line send his business to the creditors. Since closing Lacroix has been busy with a stint at Pucci, and various other endeavors including interior decoration, stationary design and coin design.

So, it came as a bit of a surprise when hearing of a 2012 Fall Winter collection for men. Ok, while not designed by the master himself, the house has re-launched (via licensing) with Sacha Walckhoff the founder’s assistant of 17 years, overseeing design. Previously Walckhoff had heavily contributed to just about every department of the brand.

Recently at Lacroix’s flagship boutique in Paris’ left bank, a full runway show was presented albeit, a humble one. The interior, currently going through renovations, had bare walls and floors, and felt like a chic squat party. On the outside, a simple sign hung stating “Lacroix: work in progress.”

The offerings for men sent down the catwalk were a far cry from the Lacroix we have grown to love. These were wearable, elegant designs, with elements of the founder’s signature touches coming through in discreet touches such as linings, small details and collars.

A fully functional line of clothes appeared for the man about town, with wonderful small references to the house’s heyday. Overall this was a highly polished and elegant collection. Although jackets and trousers were a little short for my liking, I am sure with some discreet tailoring these would be perfect!

“This season, we had time to work with artisans,” Walckhoff stated at the end of the show, “and focused on traditional techniques and finishing.”

A little early for Lacroix to have a catwalk show? “It’s a crazy I know, but it felt right, especially in this space,” he said. Couture, or even womenswear, yes, that might have been too early–but menswear didn’t seem to infringe on Christian’s territory. “The past is the past. This is simply a new chapter.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

They're Turning This into This!

You have to hand it to the Russians! Ever since the fall of communism, they have embraced many of the things that we take for granted in the old west as the norm.

However I do wonder if this so called progress does filter down to the average Russian in the street. What do they think when they see the hordes of tourists, the luxury boutiques and a growing affluent middle class?

In St. Petersburg they are embarking on ambitious new plans to welcome new tourists via the re-development of some of the waterfront. Plans are underway to turn the city of Peter the Great into the Russian equivalent of Fort Lauderdale or Miami.

Currently over 500 hectares of land has been reclaimed and several new terminals around a new basin have been built with construction on the rest of the project due to commence soon.
When Marine Façade is opened, it will be the largest dedicated cruise port of call in the world,” said Mark Ittel, a partner with Bermello Ajamil & Partners, a Miami-based architectural firm that designs cruise ports around the world.

Europe’s new gateway to Russia is to offer bay side hotels with 2,000 rooms, a convention center, apartments for 35,000 people, shopping, entertainment and office complexes, two metro stations, and a high-speed highway to whisk visitors to St. Petersburg’s airports. Like many mega construction projects in contemporary Russia, the completion date has been set for that magic deadline year, 2020.

I can only hazard a guess as to what the occupants of the Soviet era apartment blocks that currently overlook this hive of capitalism will think of their new neighbours?
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