Archive for the 'profiles' Category

Vionnet, the revival

August 27, 2009

The Vionnet exhibition opens in Paris at Les Arts Decoratifs, exhibiting from June 2009 until January 31, 2010. I would love to go and be up close to one of her creations; Madeleine Vionnet is a fashion genius. What I admire about her work is that it removes itself from the conventions of fashion, and becomes much more about the engineering and actual intricate design of a dress. The end result is beautifully engineered and aesthetically freeing. Although her name is less recognizable today than rival Coco Chanel, I think that has to do more with Vionnet’s focus and dedication to her craft rather than of herself as a commodity. Her talent was indisputable.

I was so excited when I heard that they were reviving the house of Vionnet back in 2007, although being the fashion industry, it was surprisingly, hardly publicized.

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This article from Vogue promised something optimistic, but the opportune moment fizzled quickly after barely a year. Too bad, I thought the collection by Sophia Kokosalaki was amazing, a great homage to Vionnet and relevant to today’s high-end market.

Then a quick search in Google and I found Vionnet Resort 2010, a taste of what is to come. And, it’s a great collection – the same, but very different. They are taking the brand in a different direction – a little less pure, a little more edgy. I’m thinking glam-rock goddess. I am interested to see what comes of this, and if they will be able to sustain this new Vionnet during these tough times for fashion.

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Inspired! / Angel Chang

May 4, 2009

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For my inaugural Inspired! post, I decided to focus on inspiration as it comes through at a cross-meeting of influential ideas and material goods; not one or the other, but both, and I didn’t have to look far, as I decided to look to one of the designers who most inspires me.

Being human in nature, we always respond to visual stimuli, making pretty clothes a lure and fascination. It is almost too easy to make pretty clothes now, but yet we still respond with the awe and greed that has become the fuel for our society to be mass consumers. One of the designers I greatly admire is ANGEL CHANG because she has not only found the answer to this issue, but is trying to do something about it with a line that aims to bridge fashion with technology. Her eponymous collection makes me want to do something more for fashion other than make pretty clothes, and that is why I find her so inspiring. I have admiration for people who aim to make a difference in a way that moves forward and may not be readily accepted as a deviation of the norm (most interpretations of “haute tech” conjure up images of neon spacesuits, 80s fashion fads, and distaste – not exactly ready-to-wear for a woman who wants to look fashionable, not ridiculous).

A few pieces from her collections:

From her bio: “Angel Chang is a New York-based fashion designer who creates versatile dressing solutions for worldly women on the go. Her namesake collection, ANGEL CHANG (founded in 2006), grew out of a vision to offer women wardrobes that could actually “do things”—beyond just looking good. The collection’s use of innovative materials—including color-changing prints, light-up fabrics, and self-heating linings—was a first for the American luxury designer market. As a result of these pioneering efforts, the company received the coveted Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award and the prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative Award within the first year of launching.

The collection’s initial aims were to inspire innovation within the fashion industry and to simultaneously stimulate deeper collaborations with technology companies. Each design was created in collaboration with a range of experienced technologists to offer women versatile designs to compliment their fast-paced and multi-faceted lifestyles. The ANGEL CHANG collection will continue to balance future novelty with everyday practicality as the label grows into a global fashion lifestyle brand.”

What is fascinating to me is that her work incorporates textile design techniques and traditional inspiration with technology, so she really is fusing two worlds. Each piece has something unique and artistic about it – I would expect nothing less of a label that is in the luxury realm, so fashion and art must be in equation, which they are. I love reading about concepts and inspiration behind tangible items, so having a concept for each piece as Angel Chang does on her website resonates with me, and allows further for material goods to be seen as having meaning, utility, and worth (not just the $$ kind).

I encourage everyone to read her manifesto, available for download in PDF format here. This is where it first clicked for me that fashion isn’t just aesthetics and identity. Angel Chang is, however, the only designer off the top of my head who is doing this kind of work – technology-infused fashion for the luxury ready-to-wear market, although other companies are dabbling in it I’m sure. To me, this type of market is more than just a niche; it’s a segment for the more advanced consumer that will one day transition to the mainstream (at least, that’s the hope these “haute tech” designers have, that their influence reaches beyond press and interest, and into actual sales and people wearing their clothes on the streets).

As a young, emerging designer whose ideas have helped shaped mine, Angel Chang is a designer I try to keep up with. Many designers find inspiration from the fashion greats, the 20th century designers who, for the most part, have built fashion empires that are now run by business execs and are no longer bringing fresh ideas to the table beyond aesthetics. I like to find inspiration with young and vibrant creatives, as they have the ability to bridge worlds in a way that previous generations don’t.

FOR MORE…
Angel Chang will be on the new Bravo series THE FASHION SHOW, premiering May 7. I will definitely tune in that, if only to see how her ideas translate to the cutthroat entertainment-focused nature of reality TV.

Visit www.angelchang.com. For updates, she also has a Facebook page.

Have a good week! Thanks for reading.

Thieves Spring Summer 2009

January 15, 2009

I just recently discovered this line by Sonja den Elzen, Thieves. I love the design philosophy. These are great clothes, innovative while still wearable. Forward without being flashy. I think that the colour has a lot to do with this. My general rule is that to avoid excess flash, colour goes best with simple silhouettes and pared down detail, and interesting silhouettes and details look best with neutrals. That’s my personal design rule. I like interesting minimalism.

Another added bonus, on top of great looking clothes: they’re made from sustainable fabrics!

The website does bug me a little bit though. The text is very small and hard to read :|.

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