mardi 24 avril 2018

Silk Series at Old Spitafields market

On February 21st Old Spitafields Market launched The Silk Series, a new cultural initiative curated by ethical fashion designer Mei Hui featuring 28 stalls of fashion, art and lifestyle from East London’s most exciting creatives. A long-standing East London designer, Mei-Hui has joined Ten Ten (a creative organisation founded by Nuno Mendes and Stephen Machintosh), and will bring together a diverse group of new traders that sit at the intersection of fashion, art and lifestyle. 

by Richard Kaby 
“Our aim is to re-establish that unique connection between traders and consumers, creating a more rewarding and personalised experience.  Old Spitalfields Market’s Silk Series provides established and upcoming East London designers a gateway to London’s diverse national and international audiences. The Silk Series is a window into new approaches to style, new attitudes to design and the boundless energy that is being generated by East London’s art scene right now”, says Mei-Hui.
To kick off this cultural initiative, local artist Sue Kreitzman was exhibiting her work during the launch week of Old Spitalfields Market’s Silk Series. With a deeply rooted cult following, this self-titled “Wild Old Woman” definitely brought the wow factor via her visceral, colourful, joyful art, which borrows from the cultures that enrich East London.

by Richard Kaby 

This is the only way I want to live my life, walking my beautiful cat around Spitafields market wearing an elastic band dress that took me 2 weeks to make surrounded by art & colours

Of course this lifestyle is not sustainable in itself and I have to work very hard on the side to afford theses parenthesis of art, bubbles of enchantments , you can be a dandy and live just art for the sake of art.     
Cornelius Brady by Richard Kaby 

I really challenged myself for this event, having a stall, organising a catwalk and doing a performance at the same time! 
I presented 6 new pieces of wearable art that I made recently, I won't say it is a collection as each piece is individual and they are not linked by a common theme.  Got 5 friends generously modelled for me, with a last minute addition, as one of the model came with her friend, in my shows, everyone get involved, people don't really get the choice! 
It is not like  polished Fashion Week show, the spirit is "F**K it, I'll do it myself, it is more a punk renegade show.  Models change in the public toilet, make up is down outside on a picnic table and the catwalk is the street.  The show just exist by the will of some people coming together  and willing to create something out of a daily routine.   

by Richard Kaby 
Mei Hui as the new idea to bring back a designer marketplace to Spitalfields ( silkseries) as historically Spitafields was full of small of independent  artisans and crafts.  
Spitafields like the all east end, have been gain by rampant gentrification, independent café have been replaced by big chains or make up store, and became really corporate. It is time to bring back the art and the  independent makers for Spitafields not to become like Camdem where cheap tat for tourist has replaced hand made products.
Fabulous Make up artist Steffy Shaw doing glittery tribal make up on my models and matching perfectly my pink & purple My little pony necklace,picture  by Richard Kaby 

wearing ice cream headpiece By Humans of London 

During the colour walk I performed my elastic band dress costume for the first time. 
Like most of my design it came from an opportunity I seized.  A charity shop manager in Walthamstow messaged me telling me they got a ugh donation of elastic bands and they didn't know what to do with them. Immediately I got my boyfriend to drive the car to the charity shop and got 3 massive bags of hair bands.  

work in progress, see what you have done so far and not what remains to do!

He took me 2 entire weeks to make this dress, I didn't think about step back and see the overall picture, otherwise I would have been discouraged by the amount of work. Lot of my dress are unique because no one is crazy enough to sit for 2 weeks, not being paid and stitch hair band one by one. People says I am very patient, paradoxically enough, if I am very patient with my work and could literally sit for 10 hours doing the same thing as I enter in another temporality, I am very impatient in life, things need to go quick, I hate waiting, queuing, losing time… 
For the first time people were not surprise when I said "this took me 2 weeks to make", people replied: "ONLY?  I thought it took you more than that".  

fashion show & performance assisted by Alice Edwards.  

During the performance, I was going to random people and knotting hair bands in their hair, creating a very intimate link with strangers.  Actually I realise touching someone hair is something very private but the fact I am wearing a costume give me a kind of legitimacy to enter this personal space.  It is a very mothering gesture, like when your mother do your hair before you go to school.  
It reveals people's secrets "I haven't washed my hair, ""be careful with my wig".  
But this intrusion has generally  been well accepted as people could keep the hair band and go home with a piece of the dress, a memory of this wonderful day.  

"I'm so happy on this Colour Walk because I feel I'm doing what I was made for. I'm wearing an outfit which took me 2 whole weeks to make from hair bands, which to me is wonderfully absurd. I'm surrounded by people I admire and respect, and lots of friends came along to help me realise my vision by wearing my creations. It's a struggle being a freelance artist but events like these make me feel that maybe there is real meaning to what I am trying to do."Interviewed by Humans of London 

"This Colour Walk has been the first time I've worn something really extravagant without feeling that people are looking at me in a weird way. I'm aCentral Saint Martins BA Fine Art 3rd year student and I'm from Paris. In France we're good at wearing clothes that are very chic but not ones which show a lot of our personality, because you tend to feel judged for looking different there. In London you feel free to show the person you truly are through your clothes, and everybody accepts you, which feels really generous. 

"My outfit is one of Anne Sophie Cochevelou's designs. She chose it for me and I found it suited me perfectly. I love that when you look closer you see that it's all made out of found objects. Wearing it has made me feel really strong and empowered and proud. I haven't felt at all ashamed or ridiculous. I feel I'm wearing haute couture clothes, that I'm a princess for a day.

"I don't want to be on the campaigning front line for the rest of my life because it can chew you up, and now I know that art and spectacle can be even more powerful than waving placards. So self-expression has become really important to me. It doesn't even feel like 'dressing up' any more. Most of us here feel that it's when we're NOT dressed to express ourselves like this that we're really 'in costume'.

by Richard Kaby 

My Boyfriend made me the wonderful surprise to bring my cat to the Colour Walk

Amazing article by @Craftandtravel about her first experience of the Colour Walk. I felt the same thing the first time I joined this group surrounded by a benevolent and inclusive energy, far from being a elitist fashion event, everyone is welcomed.  the dress code could be "come as you are…as long as you look fabulous" 
I couldn't say it in better words as it is written in the article,  it is all about finding your tribe.  

read full article here 

"It’s nigh impossible to pick out a favourite, everyone had curated a look that signified something about them and that therein lies the beauty of fashion: wearing what makes YOU feel good. In my mind I assumed I’d turn up and discover a clique of people who all looked amazing but were probably so tight as a group they’d be chatting away with in-jokes and me a newcomer would be there smiling but feeling very awkward. I could not have been more wrong."

For the first time in 2018, in Colour Walk was combined with Silk Series to support local creatives selling their art and enjoy wearing colours with everyone.  

Out of 3 bags of the hair bands I got from the charity shop, there was 2 bags of small hair bands that I used for the other outfit and one bags of more primary colours bigger version.  
Inspired by Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, and Niki de Saint Phalle creating a kind of colourful snake which follow and magnify feminines curves.  
Fortunatly because they are bigger it only took me a day to make the dress compared to the 2 weeks of the small hair band version.  

sketch by Sue Harding 

It was great to have a stall and be able to catch up with everyone, killing two birds with the same stone! 
With Gavino Di Vino by Richard Kaby , different type of greens but same love for colours! 

details of my stall By leah lefevre sandomirskaya

Lot of colours walkers bought from my stall and it felt great to be supported by my community. 

with Louise Joelle, picture by Sue Kreitzman 

with Sue Kreitzman & Yosif Yosifov at Modigliani private view at the Tate 

I also wore the big hair band dress at Modigliani & Picasso private view invited by Maryam Eisler, I felt I was matching some of Picasso paintings very well, art on the wall and in the room! 

by Richard Kaby 

Before the launch I actually got a stall at Silk Series on Valentine day. It was freezing cold, I took the wrong bus, I made only one sale and actually forgot to put it in the box so had to post it to Norway to my customer afterwards… but Sue Kreitzman as always was here to support! 

Meihui Liu is a true "art matchmaker".  In the wake of the colour walk, babulous afternoon at the Townhall Hotel , meeting the incredibly talented Academy Award winner, director Tim Yip ( 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon') and learning about Tim's upcoming #CloudProject which will come to life this Autumn at #southbankcentre .. and all this in no better company than with Daniel Kramer, ENO's artistic director and as well as artistsDaniel Lismore Sue Kreitzman and #plastic.  

with the master of wearable art, Daniel Lismore, a true inspiration, idol and role model to me.  

vendredi 23 mars 2018

the Godiva adventure

This amazing adventure started nearly 2 years ago, it has been one of the biggest fashion project of my small career as a designer.  It has been a dream project as one of my goal is to develop partnership with brands  and develop the creative potential of the corporate world. 

In the making of The Godiva adventure 

The idea was to create chocolate couture, mixing two elements that are not supposed to meet, fabric & chocolates.  The first reaction of people when I mentioned the project was: "chocolate dress"?  but it is going to melt.  Well, it was not the actual chocolate like you can see at the Chocolate fair (Salon du chocolate) but more chocolate boxes & packaging.  

linking 2 of my favourite thing in the world, fashion and chocolate As far as I remember, I always had a sweet tooth and chocolate has always been an obsession. For me, it is associated with childhood and quality time with my family having chocolate with coffee after lunch on a sunday.   During the summer, when I  finished my holiday homework's my grandmother will give me a piece of chocolate as a reward. 

It started from a childhood friend who submitted the idea to her team. She knew I already made some dresses for brands, like Lego, an did this proposal to sell to one of their client.  It was validated and then the team changed and they abandon the project.  I didn't hear from them for about a year. And then  one day she wrote to me that they found another client to do the project and that is was going to happen, I  couldn't believe it.  
So it went through to the design stage, with meetings,  modification, feedback, approval by different members of the team.  

Then, it was time to realise what was on paper, which was the difficult part.  
Of course to make chocolate boxes dresses, you need EMPTY chocolate boxes.  When I started the process I got very lucky to received from the postman 200 full boxes delivered to my door.

 So the hard job was to make them empty.  It is like when you are young and you need to empty yogurt pot to make plastic binocular, but this time, you have to empty full boxes of luxury chocolates.  I gave a lot away, brought chocolates box everywhere I was invited , even gave some to food bank! 

I felt that was like a dream and the best job ever! and the great thing is I didn't put to much weight on! 

The joy of being self employed and be able to work from home in your flamingo 🌸 slippers on an amazingly magical project

The dresses are extremely detailed, each sequins for example is hand stitched one by one

I was lucky to have an actual Japanese Yumiko Yukawa to take care of the origami part, which I am sure for a Japanese person are not actually origami in the traditional sense,  being very neat and precise, she helped me embodying my vision.  

Because the deadline was really tight (the dress would take at least 5 weeks to travel to Guam) I asked some help from assistants & friends and the response I got was overwhelming, so much to do but it allowed me to send time with friends around a great project!

Esme Loughrey working on the crinoline & base of the dress 

Jaimee Freestone & Florent Bidois helping out on the structure 

the devil is in the details 

Obviously the boxes I just not glued on the dresses, I had to drills holes in the bottom of the boxes, then stitch them to the fabric base and glue the thread to make it more secure before closing the boxes

neckpiece & shoulder pads ornaments for the empress dress 
picture by Anthony Lycett

Obviously I wanted to include the chocolate elements in the dress but couldn't have the real chocolate as it would melt or go off.   It was very fascinating to work with the plastic presentation chocolates. They are made in Japan where they are specialist in making fake food for restaurants and brand, and looking so real in the textures and colours!  I had a friend bitting in on of them thinking they were real and I had to be careful to mix them with the fake one! 

The making of the dress was also documented on a programme for TV5 (video here). For example this skirt made with the paper brown gaudets, chocolates wrapping took, it alone more than a whole week. 

One model is wearing the Heart dress, made from the iconic Coeur collection.  A crinoline inspired by Christian Dior 50's dress shape, adorned with iconic coeur boxes of different size and decorative chocolates with gemstones,  an essence of classical French Haute couture with a twist.  The heart dress is the most romantic and glamourous design with its laced bodice

The half opened boxes on the skirt is an invitation for the customer to take part into the Godiva experience.  

The Origami dress, inspired by the Thierry Mugler design and Japanese art of folding paper, is an edgy futuristic cocktail dress, with hand made origami covered by Godiva discovery gold paper and golden foil that give the organic texture of mineral crystals to the creation.  Each cones is decorated by brown shiny rhinestones placed one by one.  

The show piece, from tradition to modernity, is like a golden tree taking its roots in Godiva previous collection with traditional design ,with a mermaid tail skirt where the scales are made of folded brown gaudets,   leading to a explosion of the new gold discovery design.  A complex structure looking like an intertwined Godiva brow satin ribbon adorned with imitation chocolates and golden beads.  The bodice recalls the pattern of the iconic coeur collection with a mix of satin and brown leather.  

The standing Empress dress is composed with a scrumptious bustier representing an open Godiva chocolate boxes, adorned with an extremely detailed neckpiece and shoulder pads with hand stitched decorative chocolates.  The long skirt is adored with hand sewed golden sequins. The bustles made with a mix between the old and new gold collection recall a Marie Antoinette style shape and convey a royal dimension to the piece.  

Adding to the fun, you can become part of the Godiva creation by having your portrait taken standing behind the dress as if you were wearing it.  

Working from home, my whole flat got filled with the dresses, chocolates boxes or material for the project, for 3 months, I was eating Godiva, sleeping Godiva, living Godiva!

For the second batch of dress I got a none very helpful assistant in the studio who thought this coutre pieces where trees to climb on!

As a jewellery & hat maker, accessories are really important for an outfit and they definitely has been the fun part to make!

The "hand in" day was one of the more exiting and stressful day of the project, after 3 months of intense work it was the moment of true and time to see if the dresses would fit in the crate made to measure.  
We took nearly 3 hours to pack carefully each part of the dresses & accessories.  We lay them in my courtyard and the neighbors that passed by where quite hallucinated by what was happening . 

I got quite emotional when the van left the building, I suddenly felt very empty... and my studio too! 

A months latter, I was flying to Guam and be reunited with my creations. After 24h trip in buisness class, I landed on this paradise island that people know more for "rocket man" threats than its dreamy landscapes.  

The company took very good care of me, I was accommodated on a very nice hotel and rehearsed my opening speech in the infinity pool.   

Set up and last touches on "Lungining" the nickname the technician gave to the mannequin.  

The fashion show exhbition was organised for the launch of The Godiva Gold Discovery Collection takes the iconic Gold collection to a new level. It was designed to appeal to people who seek the latest experience, the most cutting edge flavours, the most attractive gifts and indulgences. 

The 4 dresses which combine state-of-the-art fashion and Godiva’s iconic chocolate boxes where displayed at T Galleria by DFS, Guam from 1 October to 30 November 2017.
The customer could interact with the models wearing the dress and take instant photo at the Chocolate Fashion photo booth. 

Multi tasking: I also did the make up and the hair of my models.  

signing autographs on Godiva boxes, for one evening, I really felt like a celebrity! 

Because I had to make two of the 4 dresses for a window in Belgium (the iconic coeur and origami one) and deadline was a bit less tight I took the opportunity to organise a photoshoot in the typical chocolate boxes village in the traditional Cotwolds in Burton on the Water.  

by Anthony Lycett

by Anthony Lycett

by Anthony Lycett

The amount of journalists attending the event was insane,  I constituted a small press review of article relating my collaboration with Godiva, 

I find it at the same time so random and exiting to be in the local News of the Pacific Island, now more famous in Guam than in London.  Some article are in Japanese and I have no idea what they say! so international! 

Guam visitor Bible 
The Guam daily (full article here) 
Frontier Magazine (full article here
TR Buisness (full article here) 
Pacific Daily new (full article here) 
Guam visotor's bible 
The adventure continues as the dresses are now in Singapour airport and will keep travelling! 

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