Sunday, September 12, 2010

Magnus & Bella

Magnus Jarlson and Isabella Day are making a ring for me at the moment. They specialise in bespoke jewellery that is designed to the specification of the client. I've asked them to make me a ring that features leaves in the arts and crafts style and I'm expecting a prototype in the post at some point in the near future. It's very exciting!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Is there anyone who loves clothes who didn't have a slight yen to meet Lee McQueen? Even if I had met him I couldn't have uttered a word because his work was wonderful. It wasn't just the clothes that were stunning, quite a few of the shows were unexpected and intriguing. You can read about McQueen as a designer with an eye for complete detail rather than a simple outfitter on the Design Museum's website.

His final walk has been posted on Youtube and the BBC has placed some photos onto their news site. It simply remains to say goodnight Lee Alexander McQueen and thank you so very much. Thank you.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Lee Mattocks

I just want to link to this blog post about Lee Mattocks at Inspire the Starling. I popped into an MA Fashion Artefacts show at the Mall Galleries on Pall Mall (in central London) this week. A lot of the work was interesting but Lee Mattocks' bags repeatedly drew me back to take another look. This type of repeated examination is always a clear sign that I particularly like an artwork or garment and although taxidermy is an odd attraction it worked spectacularly well in the context of the pieces. I felt it was far more original and unusual than any of the other work on display so take a look at the link.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Thinking about beauty yesterday has left me considering the difference in the fashion photoblogs that are on my RSS feed. The Sartorialist favours a very polished style of dress. When he takes photos they tend to be of people who have spent a lot of time perfecting their faces and bodies as well as their clothes. Styleclicker features people who dress far more casually and generally seem less preened. The clothes tend to be more accessible and less expensive. I think I like Hel Looks the most because I'm less likely to actually encounter the style of clothing that is featured on the blog. It has a really Scandinavian focus and that results in a set of photographs that endlessly fascinate me because the shape of the clothes are so unusual in London. I don't think Scandinavian clothing is admired enough or lauded for its difference to the clothes in our part of Europe. I can aspire to the clothes on The Sartorialist because I can't afford them, I can wear the clothes on Styleclicker if I can pull myself together to make my outfit work (and if I bought a proper full length mirror) but when I look at Hel Looks I can see something that seems a bit magical.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


When I was around 13 years old I had a conversation with my nan about supermodels and she told me that "models are quite plain looking people" and it's true. It would distract from the clothes if truly beautiful people were wearing them (which isn't to deny the simple perfection of the average supermodels face).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tanya Gold

This is an interesting article by Tanya Gold. You get the impression that she's attempting to write an anti-fashion article but are left with a sense that she doesn't understand that fashion and clothes are synonymous with each other. Most people wear clothes that have been fashionable or are fashionable that they chose because they liked them (well most people of my acquaintance). They don't go to the shop and choose something because it's in, they choose it because they want to wear it and the trend element is coincidental. Gold doesn't seem to be connected to that idea, she talks about Harvey Nichols and other clothing shops as if she was somehow compelled to buy and that indicates someone who had an addiction to shopping rather than someone who chose clothes to wear. In light of this central theme the other anti-fashion argument seems out of step with what she's expressing about herself. How is the addiction of consumerism linked with a girl dying in an accident on a train or a model describing her dislike of her job? The article doesn't make it clear, I suppose that's the point of something so anecdotal. In a sense it could be argued that the heels led to a train death or that the fashion industry results in bad circumstances for workers but no one writes about the atrocious pay of administrators in London offices and their working hours. Gold doesn't tackle in the context of normality and the norm is an expectation that young women (and men) are the dogsbody in all working environments. Nor does Gold seem to be calling for 6" heels to be banned because they're a health and safety risk so she's invoking the example of the train only for its dramatic effect. In her mind the fashion industry kills people, it is worse than all other industries.

I too dislike 6" heels and it's annoying when the shoe shops only seem to sell shoes that I wouldn't want to walk in but the compulsion to buy those shoes when you already have many pairs is the real focus of this article and that's not the fault of fashion. Sometimes it's necessary to resist things we like (or don't like) to do because we live in a culture that allows us access to many unhealthy things.

Gold says that "You can get so fat they don't actually want you in their clothes." The question is who she's referring to because it's true that a lot of designer clothing is made in small sizes but mythologising this to the extent that you can't name the job title of the people who are restricting the size of clothing isn't a critique that I can engage with. That's not the quote that makes me sad though because when Gold states "I can look at the clothes on the catwalk now and laugh at their imbecility. They are not for me" it is sad. Tanya Gold is writing off a design industry, not simply the consumerism that accompanies it but the hard graft of craftspeople and designers that conceived original work that is displayed on catwalks. Sure not every designer does this, some are extremely derivative but again that's not a reason to tar an entire industry with the same brush. This is a sad, unexamined article and it's a shame because it contains snippets of truth that should be discussed more.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Recently I've been thinking about our relationship with garments in portraits. It seems that they are usually viewed as objects of significance, an example of wealth and status, an indication of broader trends within the fashion of an era. How do you separate a representation of a garment from the context that an art historian or curator of paintings places it in? Perhaps we can start to think about these images in the context of clothes that are worn rather than objects that were owned. This is easier said than done because we live in a society that values possession so much. Most people when thinking about garments, when looking at adverts for designer clothes, see something that they like and contemplate what it would be like to own rather than wear such an item. There are schemes that allow you to borrow designer garments and accessories for an evening or two but these exist because the items are out of people's purchasing capability. This focus on buying and possessing now makes it more difficult to consider the act of wearing clothes in the past. Status is always a pressing concern when examining portraiture because those types of paintings (as opposed to representations of religious, historical or fictional scenes common during the Renaissance or in the Pre-Raphaelite movement) are so often portraits of the rich or aristocracy but this should not dissuade people from considering the act of wearing such clothes or thinking of them as garments on bodies because even one off coronation clothes have been worn once.