mardi 17 novembre 2015

My Brighton Fashion Week

By  Melina Matthiessen

"Brighton Fashion Week offers a fresh approach to promote sustainability within the fashion industry. Our aim is to encourage as many excellent quality innovative sustainable fashion brands to showcase at the event as possible and showcase the very best in sustainable fashion. We also work with new designers at the start of their careers to adopt ethical practices in their work

By Jeff Mood 

I took part in the Brighton Fashion week showreel competition, the brief was "from waste to beauty" which is my motto regarding fashion. For me creativity dwell in the ability of turning a 1£ material into something that look like a million! 

The only golden rule was  that all the materials you use must be 100% recycled, pre-loved, or marked for disposal. 

By  Melina Matthiessen

So I submitted my piece "glorious junk" This kimono is designed between tradition and modernity.  It is a traditional silk japanese fabric  with printed flowers and birds that I embroidered over with beads.  But it also refer to the kawaii and hyper japan of manga words with  hand-stitched moshi monsters.   I styled it with my colourful rubber dress that I worn for the Vaslpar advert. 
This dress is made out of thousands of piece of coloured rubber. The fact that is not fabric make an amazing motion while twirling. 

By Jeff Mood 

This pagan Goddess of glorious junk look  is the quintessence of the different ways to work with upcycling materials: from  recycled waste put together to customised second hand pieces including  donations of reclaimed pre-loved objects by friends, combining a japanese kimono between tradition and modernity and a rubber dress for a postmodern tribal look.  

By Jeff Mood 

Then the  kimono is designed between tradition and modernity.  It is a traditional silk japanese fabric found in a flea market  that I redesigned with a new cut, and adorned with embroidered flowers and birds  that I embroidered over with beads themselves claimed back from junk jewels. I created a whole stole with hand stitched  plastic moshi monsters toys figurines found in the car boots sale area of Bricklane on the Sunday market adding a kawaii,  hyper japan manga dimension to the traditional garment.   Even the thread have been given to me from a friend having to move from London.  

 For a lot of pieces,  I don't have a  preexisting design in mind.  Everything come from necessity, I start from what i had and what i find. Half my time is spent obsessively trawling for junk, and the other half, obsessively putting it all together. I feel like an hermit crab who doesn't build his shell from scratch but take over abandoned one and make it his own by adapting it.

By Maclom Tam 

The hyper-japan kawai lolcore necklace is made out with moshi monsters of the sunday market and the headpiece is a covered helmet and a broken football metallic part use as the structure covered by reclaimed fabric and and Indian mobile  found at Brick Lane market.  

t has been a very long day as we needed to be at the All saint Church for 9am so leaving at 6am from London (knowing that the night before I was performing for the birthday of an advertising agency), moving from  fittings to rehearsals,  judging, interview, hair and make up sessions, waiting…
Backstage Picture by Fiona Essex 

Luckily, my two models  Veronica Jean Trickett and Grace Elizabeth Kemp were amazing, also being performer they immediately got the narrative and put all their energy in the rehearsal.  

By Jeff Mood 

My boyfriend was also very helpful.  In the performance the visor were a key props but I just had time to grab my kitchen scissors so he spent our to customise them with glitters, carrying them everywhere to allow them to dry.  

By  Melina Matthiessen

The infernal  trio before make up session (just 4 hours sleep for me!) 

The narrative of the performance was inspired by the mythological story of the Three Parcae.  They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal and immortal from birth to death. Nona, who spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle. Decima, who measured the thread of life with her rod, Morta who cut the thread of life and chose the manner of a person's death.

backstage picture: the model and the designer, who is who?  

backstage people: more difficult to sort out than a tail for a bridesmaid! 

By  Melina Matthiessen

But it also refers to the story of fashion and the process of design where the designer create the garment, unroll the thread in order to stitch, and cut in order to finish the garment. 

So first, the three performers arrive on stage, the main one is hidden under a tent I created from a mosquito net and covered with beads and scraps of fabrics.  Then the main performer is revealed, as a designer I had some element of the costume directly on her to make the garment complete (I find important that the process of the dressing up is not hidden in a backstage but choreographed and part of the performance itself). 

Then the well named Grace walked majestically unwinding a ball of wood and tying the thread around the finger of the front row involving physically the audience that create the zigzag in an interactive way. She was wearing my Grayson Perry dress exploring cross-dressing  made with Vanessa Murrel for last year "Loudest Whisper" exhibition. (see the article) I didn't have the occasion to showcase it again so far. 

By Jeff Mood 

By Jeff Mood 

By  Melina Matthiessen

By Anthony Lycett 

By Malcom Tam 

By  Melina Matthiessen

By  Melina Matthiessen

Then, Veronica moved forward to cut the thread in order to make her way to the end of the catwalk, destroying the ephemeral art installation. 

By Jeff Mood 
The performance provoked a vivid reaction from the audience, thunderous applause and crackling of photographers' flashes.  

By Jeff Mood 

In the crowd my boyfriend could hear to drag queen talking together 
-I love the hat 
-It is a turban darling 
and my boyfriend who know all the secret of my creation thinking in his head "no it is a cricket helmet". 

some press link about my performance at the Brighton fashion week:

It seem that my designs were visually striking as they are making a lot of front cover of article about Brighton fashion week! article here 

Even if they spelt my name wrong and make a funny interpretation of my performance they are still nominating me as one of the 10 emerging designer to watch out after Brighton Fashion week! full article here 

lundi 9 novembre 2015

Made in China

China is a fast developing country full of contradiction and style is the reflexion of this quest of new identity between tradition and modernity.  

I went to China for the wedding of my friend Yueer Zhang and also to discover the culture of this fascinating country.  Yueer's mother is also a very famous costume designer in China. She has an amazing studio in Nanjing composed of 3 garages space with one workshop and 2 storage rooms.  I think the discovering of her studio was the best part of the trip, seeing all this fabrics, all this accessories, thousands of beads and sequins, my heart was beating so fast and I was feeling very emotional! 

The magical moment is when Yueer's mother generously told me: "You can take what you want". I wasn't need to be told twice, and frenetically filled two full bags of pompoms, colourful tassels and embroidered lotus flowers forgetting about the 23kg limit of my Air France luggage.  Yueer gave me a duchess satin base dress which was her bride maid first wedding and I locked myself  in my hotel for a day and a half to create a costume.  I can't really switch off with work and being so far away is such a good occasion to make a costume and create work internationally.  

Visiting a lot of Buddhist and Confucius temples,

I  observed  a very interesting  performative element you can buy and tie a ribbon to tree near temple  as a offering or a prayer.  That create lot of decoration on the tree with the accumulation of lucky charms and  talisman that are suppose to  bring luck, good fortune and prosperity.
So on the costume, I played on the accumulation of tassels  as if I was a tree in a temple.  

Golden fortune Chinese tree 

I also wanted to show that the" made in China" is not always a negative thing.  Actually, China is full of very gifted tailor with a lot of hand made tradition using quality fabric so I wanted to celebrate this historic know-how.  Between a samurai and a geisha, the final outfit is  inspired by chinese Opera costume but with a post modern ethnic touch.  

For the shoot it was very hard to find the location in Nanjing. The day before we spotted a nice lake with a red temple on the background from the car, but coming back our when we came back we just keep going around in circle for the all day as we couldn't ask for our way as no one spoke English. By the time we found it, we were loosing the light and had to come back the next morning for a better exposure.  

behind the scene picture, in Selfie land people love taking picture of themselves in front of anything! 

Chinese people are very attract by  luxury western brands. They see big logo as a safe haven investment an are no so much into experimental fashion and  alternative independent designers
 You can find the same standardised  shopping mall with Dior, Chanel, Prada Louis Vuitton or Gucci. 
at the Forbidden city by Anthony Lycett 
I made this jacket as a wedding present for my friend with my vision of Chinese style before I actually get there. I wanted to create a combination between western and oriental style.  In the country of selfie, this jacket draw a lot of attention with a lot of Chinese people wanted to get their picture with me! 

at the Forbidden city by Anthony Lycett 

at the Forbidden city by Anthony Lycett 

For my wedding friend, I wanted to borrow a traditional theatre costume in her mother storage.  I wanted to embrace Chinese culture but I didn't realise Chinese dress more in a western way for wedding so they were wondering why i was wearing a theatre costume.  (Maybe as if you will turn at ceremony in England dressed in a Shakespeare period costume).

Lost in the city by Anthony Lycett

Some people people were saying "Congratulation" to me as they though  I was the bride.  Is was as if we has reverted role; the western was dressed chinese,  and the chinese were dressed Western.  

Lost in the city, By Anthony Lycett 

At Yueer and Jim weeding 

mardi 3 novembre 2015

Into the wild

In the frame of our project "into the wild" in collaboration with Anthony Lycett we did a road trip accros UK to the Ile of Sky in Scotland.  

Nothing happened as planned, because I just come back to a festival in Iron Bridges, and we had to go at 5am in the morning so I didn't have time to fix my two costumes.  When we start shooting in the purple heathers in the Yorkshire Moor (near Whitby)   the wind was so strong that it blowed away the costume, completely destroying it, turning the "Bateau Ivre" dress (The drunken Boat) turned into the Shipwrecked boat! But as we never gave up we decided to shoot the paint dress instead but by the time we got ready the light was nearly gone which givse this post-apocalyptic atmosphere to the costume, life on mars if it was a purple planet. 

by Anthony Lycett 

I made this dress from the abstract painter John Baldwin's canvas he gave me in create outfits. I created a first outfit (here on my blog) as a smaller experimental version. This time I used my favourite shape,  bustier and crinoline. The top and the skirt are constituted of several panel of different painting illustrating the different styles and use of colours & texture of the painter.

With the painter John Baldwin at the opening of his exhibition at Chelsea Art Club, paintings where on the wall and own clothes! (picture by Anthony Lycett

 I can say I am the most lucky designer as I have the honour to work with the best print in the world: some work of art.  While I was building the pattern I was very shy about cutting the different pieces, you can't afford to make mistake as if you cut to much of the work of art, you won't be given another one. It feel nearly as a profanation to cut in a middle of a painting that should be hang on a wall.  

But for me art should always be wearable as something magical is produced but the contact between the piece of art and the energy and the body that suddenly take another dimension.  
I was inspired by Victor & Rolf fashion show who transformed broken picture frames filled with fabric into haute-couture gowns  by taking them off a wall and draping them over models.

They said about their collection  
"Art comes to life in a gallery of surreal proportions. A dress transforms into an artwork, back into a dress and into an artwork again. Poetry becomes reality, morphing back into fantasy."

The day after, we drove to Scotland, after a 12h trip we arrived to a magical and remote area. I took half a day in the Artist Katie Tunn living room to fix the dress and give it back its original shape, I felt I had an art residency in the Isle of Sky! But when we arrived to the location it was raining and full of midges.  We waited in the car, half an hour, an hour, an hour and a half…

 We could only do this picture this day as we had to go back to London the day after and you don't do a 14h drive to come back for nothing.  We decided to get some snack at he closest shop (25min drive) and we came back the sun was coming out as if God was opening the sky! But when we arrive to the highly coveted spot, another photographer had set up his tripod saying he was waiting for the light for three hours (which was a lie as we were there before)  Anthony tried to negotiate and compromise so we set up next to him. When you think you overcome all the trials, there is always something more.  While we were shooting a couple of German came around and started taking picture of the costume and brought with us a swarm of midges.  Even  with the repellant, when I got change, they bit me all over my tommy and I scratched myself for more than a week. Now I can add another difficulty to the list: Rain, Wind, Cloud, Cold, Tiredness and MIDGES. But when you see the picture I think you can say "No pain, no gain" 

The idea for this dress came from a colourful beads curtain my boyfriend had in his house. For month I asked him if I could have it, but he said his flatmate will probably be not happy to see it disappear.  But one day, he came to my home with the box full of the beads and I was so happy! I made the chandelier dress.  I bought 6 pieces of foam that I cut like big triangle sandwiches and I covered up with sari and oriental fabrics to create a kind of geometrical octopus shape supported by the hanging beads like jewels cordages.

I spent my evenings embroidering the dress with beaded flowers, pompoms and pearls.  

picture by Anthony Lycett 
 When I was in Brittany I found this box full of letter fridge magnet in my little twins cousins toys.  Colourful letter fridge magnet are part of our collective unconscious.  As a child we all learn to read with them or living message in the kitchen.  In my work, I like object that are a common reference and arouse nostalgia.  So I decided to steal theses letter in order to make a necklace and a headpiece.  This "AZERTYUIOPQSDFGHJKLMWXCVBN" necklace is like a psychedelic calligramme. I didn't try to form words. Like in abstract art the meaning spring from the combination of shape and colours.  In the wake of Cratylism theory, I was more interested into the materiality of the letter rather than their literary meaning.
picture by Anthony Lycett 
 I made this scuba diving necklace for Sue Kreitzman.  The base is a bathroom mat I loved the plastic structure and the transparent bubble.  the little scuba divers are discover a magical under the sea world populated with sparkly fishes and mermaids!
picture by Anthony Lycett 

To finish on a high note, on of my favourite picture of someone wearing my creation. Anthony's Mum wearing my little pony head piece.  When the magic of childhood meets the beauty of old age. When photography can rewrite a forgotten story.  
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