Last Friday night I met Uma Wang, one of the most promising contemporary Chinese fashion designers, whose work I’ve been following for over a year. Currently in New York for forty days, courtesy of the CFDA, Wang is learning the ropes of the American way of doing business at companies like Theory and Google. We caught up over coffee and cola at Café Gitane inside the Jane Hotel in the West Village. It was her last day at the Theory’s headquarters in the meatpacking district, and Wang was glad to unwind after a week of sitting in on meetings and watching Theory’s design team in action.
We are happy to share our newest limited edition covers by Sruli Recht. They are made in Recht’s studio in Iceland from shark skin in edition of ten. All text and logos are etched by laser. Each one is individually numbered. You can purchase them from our website.
Yoko Ito, the designer behind the Japanese brand Individual Sentiments who cut her teeth at the now defunct Carpe Diem, has launched a capsule footwear collection called IS. Made in Italy, the line will be available in select stores this fall. All we got from the reticent designer was the rather cryptic, “IS has the same concept as Individual Sentiments and follows the need of a geographical specialization and technique.” Guess we’ll let the products speak for themselves.
Yesterday evening we visited the opening of The Smallest Traveling Store in The World, a mini-guerilla shop by the Belgian design duo A.F.Vandevorst. The store-within-a-store took up residence at Patron of the New, a multi-brand boutique in Tribeca, New York. This is its first stop in the U.S. after being featured at places like The Dover Street Market and Selfridges in London.
Filip Arickx, who designs for the label with his wife An Vandevorst, was at the store and took a minute to walk me through the concept. “The store grew out of our initial guerrilla shop called AKTION, which we launched in Antwerp in 2009, and then moved around Belgium. We used Facebook and Twitter to tell our fans about the locations,” he said. Initially the couple did not think that much would come out of the project, but they quickly began getting inquiries about recreating the guerrilla store outside of Belgium. However, the logistics proved cumbersome and instead A.F.Vandevorst came up with the idea of creating a space that reflects their design ethos but is also easy to transport and install.
Last week Geoffrey B. Small, an American designer who lives and works in Italy, presented his new collection in Paris. Small works outside of the confines of the fashion system and he is a civic activist, so when he puts on a show it’s usually because he is engaged with a political issue that is too important to keep inside. In other words, his shows are cri de coeur.
You might doubt the sincerity of political motives of a fashion designer, but consider that a fashion show is a means of expression. As Ann Demeulemeester once told me, designers and artists are not politicians or lawyers – but their work can also address the world.
During my recent visit to Italy, I caught up with my favorite scarf makers, Faliero Sarti. Here is a look at the highlights from their F/W 2012 collection. The scarves and shawls looked impeccable as usual and Federico Sarti explained to me some interesting fabric treatments and weaving techniques. It turns out that one of their best sellers, the double sided fabric of cashmere, wool, alpaca and linen is made not by bonding the two fabrics but rather by weaving the two simultaneously. In other words, it comes out two-sided out of the loom. This season their famous 70% cashmere/30% silk scarves have undergone boiling and felting treatments, resulting in sumptuous textures. I also loved the hand-dyed scarf (no two are alike) whose fabric was subjected to enzymes that artfully disintegrated it in some spots.
It’s an open secret in the fashion world that New York offers little in terms of creative design and much in terms of hype. But there are exceptions, the label InAisce being one of them. Its designer, Jona (last name undisclosed), was happy to offer us a preview of his new collection for men and women, called Pilgrim, that he will debut next week in Paris. Indulge in your nomadic dreams.
We reviewed the newest Deborah Turbeville’s book, The Fashion Pictures, in the first issue of SZ magazine. This week I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a selection of Turbeville’s photography is on view at Staley-Wise gallery, hidden above the hubbub of Broadway in SoHo.
The exhibit consists of twenty-one prints that transport you to another time and place. Beautifully haunted spaces are occupied by beautifully haunting models and it’s hard to believe that most of these photos were commercial work for US and Italian Vogue in 70s and 80s.
We covered the brilliant creations of Iris van Herpen, the Dutch haute couture designer who makes her otherworldly creations using 3-D printing, in the first issue of StyleZeitgeist magazine. Here is a video of her beautifully haunting show in Paris that took place this past summer. The clothes take on a completely different dimension when shown in motion.
Lumen et Umbra, the under-the-radar Italian label known for its deceptively simple menswear, introduced their first collection of womenswear in Paris earlier this month. Issei Fujita, the Japanese-born designer who has been working in Italy since 1999, has transferred the same understated complexity of his men’s garments into tops, skirts, pants, and jackets for women. Intarsia, a technique for embedding visual details into the knitwear by inserting different threads, was the idea behind some of the designs. Fujita studied Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings of the muscle groups, which he then implanted on the back of the cardigans and the front of his knit tops.