>> My first port of call when it comes to Graduate Fashion Week isn’t necessarily the fashion design students. It’s the University of Salford course of image making and styling headed up by Christine Ratcliffe. The photography that emerges from this progressive course can hold its own up there with images in style titles and mainstream publications, so much so that for the past two years, they’ve branched out from their stand at Graduate Fashion Week to exhibit in the nearby Herrick Gallery. If you had wandered in on the night, you would not have thought these images came from barely graduated 21 year old BA students. Then again, it’s their youth and energy that contributes to these images that express the things that somehow affect you deeper at that age – isolation, not fitting in, confronting sexuality, feeling both wanted and unwanted. All of those elements bristle in bedrooms and bucolic landscapes and are captured with a grounded sense of reality.
A quick glance through the Tumblrs and the collective course blog Uossaim and you might be thinking that you have seen this all before and that the root of all that film-derived grain and lo-fi styling of course leads back to Corinne Day or Nan Goldin. But truth isn’t a trend. It resonates no matter what generation of photography, and matters whether it’s a picture of a boy in a Man United shirt or a girl sitting on a hay bale obscured by her hair. Ratcliffe seems to have a knack of coaxing layers and nuance out of her students and the result is a group of young photographers and stylists, who go beyond fashion’s framework. It’s how a fashion image can go deep without losing out on aesthetics. Long live Uossaim!
“To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s mortality, vulnerability, mutability. precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.” Susan Sontag, On Photography
Lauren Jade Kelly
>>I was going to make it my mission to do a rainbow-themed post on an annual basis but time has flown by and it’s been three whole years since I expressed my love for all things seven coloured. This time round though, I’ve beefed up the meat on my rainbow wardrobe with not one but two technicolour dream coat/jackets thanks to the appropriately named ‘Hendrix’ coat from Peter Pilotto’s S/S 15 collection and a Comme des Garcons A/W 13jacket featuring artwork by Dan Michiels found for a song in Tokyo’s Rag Tag . I’ll repeat what I said three years ago – why indeed wear just the one or two colours when you can have seven or more on jostling around on the body? Incidentally many a rainbow-based image has spilled over from the art and illustration world to set the mood. Can you taste the rainbow… ?
P.S. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (with Jason Donovan…) was the first ever musical I saw on stage on a school trip. Coincidence? I think not…
Devin Troy Strother. Rob Pruitt x Cory Arcangel x Walead Beshty x A Sad Face x 0 Michael Jordans
Devin Troy Strother. Don’t Get Lost in the System
Peter Pilotto jacket, Auria swimsuit, Ostwald Helgason skirt, Coach Colourblast Swagger wristlets
Uncle Milton’s Rainbow in My Room toy
Helmut Smits. Rainbow
Lynnie Zulu – she’s just done a watermelon-icious collaboration with Monki
Hattie Stewart‘s current new exhibition ‘Adversary’ at the House of Illustration
Comme des Garcons jacket, vintage shirt, Dion Lee skirt, Supersweet x Moumi shoes, Coach Colourblast Swagger wristlets
Installation by Gabriel Dawe
Installation by Edwin Deen
As part of an ongoing collaboration with Coach
>> The ‘A’ with a ring in the denim label Wåven (pronounced like ‘woven’) is vaguely significant. Wåven’s founder and roots may be British but that Scandinavian touch is what marks this brand out as an affordable denim brand with a difference. Anika Islam’s family has been in the denim business for over thirty years in South East Asia and after studying economics at Edinburgh and putting in a two-hour stint at Central Saint Martins and deciding it wasn’t for her, she went about setting up Wåven, spending a fair amount of time on getting the product and concept right, hence the minimal Scandi-feel of the imagery and the product. The result is a branding experience – both on the website and in their temporary pop-up store in Soho – that feels like it’s been around much longer than its brief two seasons.
A solid and considered denim line for both men and women, that comprises not just jeans but tops and jackets (their S/S 15 Britta A-line coat is a standout piece) coupled with price points that is between £35 to £70, means that Wåven’s debut season saw them being picked up by ASOS, Urban Outfitters and from next week onwards, in Selfridges‘ prestigious denim floor. I’m no denim expert but in my mind, there are few equals to Wåven, in terms of price and quality, as Islam and her team seek out the best denim that can be bought in scale to reduce costs.
On Thursday, I stopped by Wåven’s pop-up space on 3 D’Arblay Street in Soho, where they’ve got a jeans customisation workshop going on for the duration of their tenure until the 10th June. From £4-£10 a patch you can go get your Wåven jeans personalised with plaids and different shaded denim patches downs. We can thank Junya Watanabe for the proliferation of patchwork denim, and I’m still deathly faithful for my hardy Junyas but as a price-conscious alternative with a greater flexibility in fits and washes, Wåven’s patchwork denim is worth seeking out. In any case, the pop-up gives people an opportunity to try out Wåven’s range in-person, as this fast growing denim start-up will probably be settling down with a more permanent presence soon.
Customised Wåven jeans worn with Muveil breton top, Miu Miu jacket, Purified loafers and Miu Miu sunglasses
>> I’ve been on a vintage Courrèges fixation for a while now, which means I should be jumping for joy over the recent news that present day Courrèges, under ownership of former ad execs Jacques Bungert and Frédéric Torloting, will be revived under the creative direction of Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant, who had their own label Coperni Femme. All the better to go with that Mod spangly bulbous make-up collaboration with Estée Lauder right? And yet despite my love of Courrèges and what that name stands for, the news does vaguely puzzle and perturb me.
Once again, we have another set of names thrown in to the ring of ‘Maison Madness‘. And yet another promising young label is put on the pyre and sacrificed. Rather than slogging it out to build something great on their own, they’d rather attempt to revive a once-great name with ready made investment. I don’t blame Meyer and Valiant in the least. The assurance of investment into the duo as talented designers is too much of lure to resist and of course, the name name Andre Courrèges is a great one. What the duo did for the short lived Coperni aesthetically lined up with the clean lines and space age hinting fabrications of yesteryear’s Courrèges. And I don’t doubt Meyer and Valiant will come up with the goods. But will their employers have enough foresight to realise that rebuilding a moribund ready to wear house can’t be done in season or two? Wouldn’t it have been better to attempt to build 21st century’s answer to Courrèges rather than flog a name that won’t actually mean much to most of today’s audience?
Yeah, yeah, broken record Susie. Play that one again. I don’t say any of this lightly. I have a deep deep love for Courrèges. And the vintage pieces that I’ve got my eye on (thanks 1st Dibs…) are going to burn a deep deep hole in my pocket. Wouldn’t it be much better if these once-great couturiers were left in the past, with their legacies still intact and admired, through preservation of memory and garment? And then we can be free to go forth and forge a future with new designers that have their own names above the door?
Courrèges’ collaboration with Estée Lauder – not sure whether to display or use these cosmetics…
Choice selection of vintage Courrèges pieces on 1st Dibs