Friday, April 30, 2010

♥ Couture

I have always been a couture lover, I find them like the most inspirational runways of all, they're like a dream, coming out of fantasy/luxury world. The work you can admire in each piece it's amazing. You can see all the craftmanship and love sewn into a dress, tailor suit, headpieces, shoes, anything. But unfortunately, haute couture is extremely expensive and has a limited amount of customer, is very closed and it's only accesible to billionaries in the world, or princesses, able to afford more than $100.000 into a single dress.

Oscar De La Renta, who designed for Balmain Couture for nine years (1993-2002) said that couture has become irrelevant. "Couture isn’t necessary, even to promote the brand. Customers are smart. They know that a $10,000 wedding dress will look as beautiful as a $1 million wedding dress. Maybe it will not be finished the same way inside, but who will know?", he added. People from the fashion industry is affirming that they don't need to do a couture show/collection, which is very expensive to make, to promote their label and that's why they have pre-fall, resort, daywear, etc.

So is haute couture its dead throes? I guess that's something I can't answer. I think it's a matter of time. Right now they say that the only women buying it are the ones from the Middle East and Russia. "For this very moneyed class, it’s less about the luxuriousness of wearing exquisite handmade to-order creations and more about conspicuous consumption and making museums out of their closets," says Journal.

"Analyzing" what De La Renta said, I think that couture has been unique and appreciated by the amount of work they put in every piece, the exclusivity of it, the richness of the fabrics and embroidery, plus a thousand things more... I think all of that should be appreciate and not compared to ready-to-wear clothes, because both have their function and value. It's sad. McQueen died, Izzy too, Lacroix and now couture has an uncertain future.

We'll see what's gonna happen, hopefully it will remain alive and we will be able to see more of this uniqueness. Here are some photos from Vogue Italy with pieces from Spring 2005 Couture.

Christian Dior Haute Couture.

Christian Dior Haute Couture.

Valentino Couture.

Christian Dior Haute Couture.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

McQueen's death

Almost 3 months after Alexander McQueen killed himself, the british police got all the results from the blood tests made. Paul Knapman, a coronocer, gave the results to the designer's close friends and family. He said that a "significant level of cocaine", sleeping pills and tranquilizers were found on his blood, which they took after they found him hanged in his apartment on February 11th. Also he added that one of the reasons for the suicides was that "the balance of his mind was disturbed".

It's sad to read this. I'm not over his death yet and I think I won't. Pressure from work, his mother's grieve, plus all his background as a self-destructive person took him to a desperate time and he took desperate measures. The coroner said that McQueen had a history fueled by cocaine. Also he wrote his suicide note on the back of the book "The Descent of Man", this one included instructions for his burial and ended: "Please look after my dogs. Sorry, I love you. Lee". And as I type and read this I feel like crying.

McQueen was a anxious and depressive person, he was also suicidal, he tried to killed himself with an overdose twice in 2009 and maybe he was just asking/crying for help. Maybe everyone saw this coming and no one was strong enough to convince him not to do it. He will always be missed. There's no doubt that he was/is unreplaceable. He left an empty spot in fashion and art and it could only be filled by him.

Another sad entry on this tragic ending for a the greatest designer this world would ever know.

R.I.P Lee

Grace Jones by Chris Levine

Artist Chris Levine photographed Grace Jones, known as the queen of androgynous and fashion. Grace is one of the greatest women alive. She's a singer, actress and also a model, she's half jamaican, half "american". She's 61 years old and she's still looking gorgeous and makind a statement everytime she performs at a stage.

Along with Annie Lennox, she was a very influential woman back in the 80's. She became famous as an actress in the U.S, keeping her fame as a singer in Europe. There's many things to say about her, but in my case I felt in love with her for one song ("La vie en rose") and because of her fashion sense. "Met her" many years ago, while I was watching an haute couture fashion show from Philip Treacy and instead of playing music from a cd or a dj, Grace Jones was performing live at the catwalk, I went speechless!

Since that day I've being paying attention to everything she does: new songs, photoshoots, performances, etc. And she's always renovating herself but as the same time she keeps a signature look, like her "flat top" hairstyle.

"Stillness at the speed of light" is Chris Levine's latest exhibition. He's a light artist, who works with 3D, lasers and LEDs to create contemporary and almost futuristic pieces. For this specific expo, he focused on portraits and videos. Both artists met through Philip Treacy. "I met Grace standing on stage at the Royal Festival Hall and told her that if she stood on this cross on the floor all light would break loose from her head. Luckily my theory worked and it looked awesome", said Levine. And that's how this project came to life.

The exhibition is on show from April 30th until May 15th at The Vinyl Factory Gallery in London's Soho.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The future of Emanuel Ungaro

Everyone's aware of all the mess happening in Emanuel Ungaro after they failed with the collection presented two seasons ago in which Estrella Archs was the designer and Lindsay Lohan the artistic advisor. As many fashion critics said it was a deadly collision of fashion culture and celebrity culture. The problem here was giving her that position and in a house renowned for being a couture brand, what must people considered as an insult.

Since this show, presented on October 2009, what would happen with Emanuel Ungaro has been a mistery. Gossips surrounded the house, controversy, worst reviews ever, etc. Now I just find out that the designer Estrella Archs is leaving Ungaro "to continue developing her own brand", as her spokesperson confirmed. But of course, she quit before they replace her.

Ungaro's owner was spotted with Giles Deacon, so rumors said that he's gonna be the one in charge of designing for the brand. Which it won't be bad since Giles has an amazing fashion point of view and he always has great designs and great runways. His pieces are unique and he a good sense of humor, making his collections fun to watch.

I used to like Ungaro a lot. Around 2007 when Peter Dundas was his creative director/designer, creating clothes that look updated and responding to people's most loved trends. He made the brand stood out and that's exactly what's missing right now. I know that controversy gets people's attention, but a fashion brand should be recognized by its work, not for how messy it is.

Here are some photos from Peter Dundas' collection for Fall/Winter 2007.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mixed Use Tower... in San José!?

A few months ago I was shocked when I read this article about an amazing construction planned to be constructed in Sabana Sur... Yes! In our country!

Little by little Costa Rica has some development, at least from an architectural point of view (not the same with fashion and culture). Moho Architects, a spanish firm, proposed the construction of this tower which will rise in San José's skyline, driven by a progressive enviromental strategy for the region.

It has a mixed use program of day and night activities which will include commercial and retail spaces, business centre, offices, conference rooms, hotel floors and a casino. It would have 25 floors and a restaurant with a panoramic views over the city.

As described, "the tower splits and creases independently as it rises into the sky. this 'head split' configuration, permits natural lighting, while sky courts filled with vegetation punctuate at intervals the tower and mitigate the hot climate. the development will take advantage of a number of sustainable energy strategies and key to the energy performance of the building are its wooden brise-soleil facades, designed to filter solar gain and to encourage daylight to permeate the complex. the tower is intended to be a paradigm for passive environmental control, providing an alternative to the more conventional models of sealed and air-conditioned glass stumps. the layered facade cuts air-conditioning load and the plan encourages daylight, reducing the need for artificial lighting. the project is currently in the schematic design phase and is expected to be completed in 2012".

This kind of projects make me feel sometimes that there's hope for this country. There's potencial, but still there's many changes that need to be made. What I really liked about this project is that Moho is proposing a different building, very interesting, with an amazing shape and, besides all this aesthetic characteristics, is thinking about the enviroment, something that is really important in our country because of the conditions and our natural resources.
I just hope that this project won't stay as just images and files on a computer. I think that if we want to stop being a forgotten country we have to start to open our minds to new proposals, to new shapes, to new kinds of constructions that will put us back on the map.

Monday, April 19, 2010

La Moda Animada

Elle España ran a spread this April in collaboration with Disney artists depicting some of the most famous fashion designers as animated characters. Of course they chose the most famous from both sides, fashion and animation.

It was impossible not to fall in love with this spread, as a kid I grew up watching Mickey and all of the Disney characters. And now, many years after I find them mixed with the thing I love most: fashion.

It's a great spread, for many it might be childish, but as a fashion designer and fashion lover I found this collaborations so fresh and nice to see. As many time I've said, fashion can not be separeted from the world, not from everything that is happening in life. Nowadays we can see how movies influence designs, for example the collection Stella McCartney created for Disney Couture or like Valentino's designers getting inspiration from Avatar.

I guess that's what I love about fashion, it can be mixed with so many things from around (arts, film, cartoons, architecture, psychology, everything!). Fashion must be concious of what's happening, taking from it the good and the bad things, answering to people needs and feelings.
This illustrations were created by Ulrich Schröder, who's a freelancer for Disney, doing merchandising artwork and covers for the Dutch Donald Duck. He also worked at Disney Paris, supervising all the merchandising and promotional materials.

I just can't love more this editorial! It's funny, it's current! It gives a twist to Elle and also give a breath of fresh air in all this crisis period that fashion's going through.

Karl Lagerfeld
Getting to his Chanel store at La rue Cambon as a wolf, being escorted by the lil' pigs and surrounded by Lilo, Stitch and Pixar characters.

Dolce & Gabbana
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana at their atelier working on a new collection inspired by western and by Minnie.

Donatella Versace posing for the cameras.

Jean-Paul Gaultier working with his muses Clarabella and Minnie in Paris.

Sonia and Nathalie Rykiel at Café de Flore, one of the most famous cafés at Saint-Germain.

Marc Jacobs working backstage with his signature look: white shirt, skirt and boots.

Alber Elbaz, Lanvin's designer, at his rue du Faubourg-Saint Honoré, supervising one of his creations.

Showman, John Galliano, at his show finale in Paris Fashion Week.

(Thanks to Carlos Villalobos for posting this pictures)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Drama Queen

Talking about beautiful faces and amazing girls... I found the latest photoshoot featuring Tilda Swinton, my one and only. Of course credits must be given to Glen Fuchford, photographer, and to Katy England for the styling.

This is one of this entries that doesn't need much text or description about. Tilda is an unique actress, such a photogenic woman that she can be used for portraits, fashion spreads, movies, videos, ad campaigns, EVERYTHING! She's so versatile that we can see her posing nude or in haute coture and she can pull both looks off.

"Stepping out of a tiny lift, with her short red hair, green eyes and lunar-white skin, Tilda Swinton is looking more than ever like The Woman Who Fell To Earth"

I guess Dazed say it better! Maybe that's the closest I would ever get to describing her. She leaves me speechless!

Naked Young Lady

I must confess that I'm a little obsessive when I like something... It's simple. It's love or the opposite, hate. In this case I'm obsessed with pale models (and with models as you can see in my last entries).

I love magazines with new proposals, maybe that's the reason why it was so shocking for me knowing that W Magazine was going to make a turn on their ideals and image. Dazed always comes out with something that I found so interesting and amazing, or maybe something that shocks me and makes me think a lot (like the breast cancer shoot from a few years ago). So this time it's not shocking or sad, it's just beauty, in its pure way: nudity.

This shoot, simple and pale plus a shocking pink hairdo and pretty revealing clothes, makes of Hannah Holman a one of a kind beauty.

There are some great models here in Costa Rica (Leonora Jiménez, Annabella Prins, Leda Artavia, Natasha Flemming, etc) with a high potencial that can almost be compared to the one's we can see in fashion magazines from outside the country, all they need is a chance to get photographed, a chance to model in a decent runway, good styling and of course they need people to believe in them.

Lately all of the entries have some kind of criticism, but I'm just trying to make a point here and to support what is think is right and to criticize what I think it's wrong and right now I'm pissed with this country. Maybe someday people would open their minds to something more risky and new, and maybe they will have the culture necessary to appreciate what fashion is.
(Soon I'll write a "deep" entry about this that "annoys" me)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rolls-Royce ♥

I've always been a car lover... And nothing better than the luxury brands such as Rolls Royce, Maserati, Ferrari, Bugatti, Bentley and all of those who drive me crazy.

The luxury goods business is very wide, includes cars, yachts, technology, hotels and of course fashion (bags, shoes, jewelry). People day after day has a different point of view when buying any kind of good. Is a better investment to pay for something exclusive and more expensive, than paying for something that is massive like Zara. With crisis hitting many fashion houses we can see how Hermés or Louis Vuitton are still alive and also increasing their sales.

So the same theory (and it's a fact now!) applies to the car industry. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a British manufacturer of luxury automobiles based in Goodwood, England. They've making history since their start back in 1903. Always being recognized for the quality, design, luxe and exclusivity in each a every piece that makes a Rolls-Royce.

That's why it's impossible not to fall in love everytime I see a Rolls-Royce. Feels the same way as when you see an amazing dress out in a runway or when something is amazingly created, taking care of every detail, wowing everywhere it's used. I think I could make a whole speech about this cars and how much I love them and how beautiful is their aesthetics. But as we all know, a picture worth a thousand words... So here's some amazing photos by one great photographer/designer: Hedi Slimane who is also in love with Rolls-Royce.

They speak for themselves. They captured beauty, sexy, elegance, sobriety, design, luxe, time, texture, sculpture... It's everything capture by photography!

Friday, April 9, 2010

6126 by Li.Lo

More than a fashion entry, this one's about one of my guilty pleasures: Lindsay Lohan a.k.a Li.Lo. We all know about the mess created for one of the last seasons in Emanuel Ungaro, by I really think that it wasn't all her fault. I'm not going to defend her, but once again there's a celebrity "designing" a collection. And once again I can help but wonder: do they really design everythinr? Or, they have just a bunch of slaves/fashion designers creating beautiful pieces in the shadow of someone famous?

No matter what everyone says or what Lindsay does, I think she's so pretty. She has this cute face plus an amazing body, but that's not gonna sell me the idea that she's designing for 6126. Her first collection, which was in a 100% composed of leggins and now she's expanding to all kinds of clothes (jackets, pants, vests, shorts, leggins, etc).

Oh well... There's some nice pieces in the whole 6126 new collection. They are very Li.Lo-like. Is what we could see her wearing. So check it out and create your own opinion about it. I just think it would be fair for the customer to know who's designing what they're buying. And yes, she looks fucking HOT! ♥
The collection has 280 pieces, between $60 and $1000 and includes edgy and draped mini dresses, leather, chunky cardigans and lots of embellishment. Her isnpiration was “the iconic Marilyn Monroe and the timeless, confident glamour she represents.”