Sunday, 30 December 2012

Fo(u)rward Thinking for Twin Magazine blog

This week, contemporary artists Alexandra Baumgartner, Beatriz Crespo, Florence Reidenbach and Su Ling Gyr are displaying their own personal confrontations with femininity at the GYNAECEUM exhibition in Berlin.

Curated by Tippi Ling, the installation is set in a 1920s apartment — a rather fitting location considering the exhibit’s questioning of female confinement to the domestic space.

Baumgartner’s collages will explore themes such as social constraints and the decay of the human body, whilst Crespo’s paintings examine the daily rituals in women’s lives. Reidenbach’s combination of folklore and fantasy delves into the creation of feminine identity, whereas Gyr analyses notions of beauty throughout history with her multimedia approach.

GYNAECEUM is not just a beautiful ode to the female artistic talent of today, but also an empowering retrospective on just how far we’ve come.

Read the full article here.

Ben Gorham of Byredo on Poetry in Perfume and Transcending the Industry Framework for A Shaded View On Fashion

Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,

Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall and covered in tattoos, perfumer Ben Gorham doesn't strike one as the conventional type. Then again, neither are his fragrances. BYREDO, which only has 12 stockists worldwide including a flagship store in its place of origin, Stockholm, certainly does the 'niche' in niche perfumery more than justice. 

Thriving on a Swedish minimalist aesthetic, the look of each fragrance is uniformly sleek and modern—or perhaps it is down to the fact that the creations don't need fussy packaging or advertising to sell themselves. Since 2006, Gorham's brand has put forth fragrances that focus on the quality, not quantity, of raw materials used, nonetheless resulting in wonderfully complex constructions. The latest are Black Saffron, an oriental composition based around the costly spice and omnipresent element of his Indian upbringing, Bullion, an interlacing of pink pepper and black plum with a symphony of rare musk and wood ingredients, and—in tune with 2012—Apocalyptic, a wood fragrance composed of fire iron, black raspberry, oak moss and birch.

In the following interview, Gorham discusses his transition from Fine Arts student to head of his own perfume label and the challenges that come with it, collaborations with the likes of M/M (Paris) and what otherwordly territories he hopes to demistify through fragrance next.

The name BYREDO is derived from an Old English term for evoking scent and the first creations were made DIY in your own home. Did you want to bring romance back into this multi-billion pound mass industry, or was it just an instinctual decision?

I think there was always an element of romance or poetry in my approach but in terms of choosing the name it was a very practical process. I wanted something that reflected the nature of my project but was also unique. Plus I was able to register the .com which was extremely important seven years ago!

You speak about "bringing together the best of old and new" in your brand. What are the advantages of the old perfume industry and the one we have today, respectively?

The advantages of the old perfume school is that it was focused on very beautiful, unique raw materials as opposed to today's industry where I find beautiful perfume ideas are buried under seventy or eighty raw materials. The new part in BYREDO has been the compositions and the simplicity of the fragrances, as well as the approach to product and distribution.

Is having only a small number of stockists the idea of rarity increasing desirability; should there be a certain aspect of elitism to perfume?

The choice to work with a few select stockists was more based on their ability to sell the ideas of the products that I created, and those stockists were actually very limited. I wasn't strategic enough to connect the idea of rarity to desirability but it was always very clear for me that the elitist view of the perfume industry did not apply to BYREDO. My idea today is really that these products are for anybody who can appreciate them.

How was your reception within the industry as a Fine Arts graduate without any formal training?

There were some challenges in the beginning and many questions in regards to my lack of pedigree. But I think the products spoke for themselves and it's really been the one thing that's transcended the industry's traditional framework.

What has been the biggest challenge of creating perfume?

When I initially started there were technical limitations because of my know-how. Today, it's more in terms of running a decent-sized business which comes with its own complications.

You have done collaborations with Fantastic Man, Acne and M/M (Paris). Fashion, art, perfume — how do they all in your mind correlate to one another?

In terms of collaborations I thought it would be interesting, since I lacked a background in perfume but had a very specific idea, to invite other people into that creative process. Both Fantastic Man and Acne were built on that idea. M/M (Paris) has been more of an ongoing partnership, they are very much helping me clarify my idea. I am extremely fortunate to be able to work with such talented people.

What is the one smell you would like to capture in a fragrance which has not been done yet?

It used to be apocalypse, but now that I have done it I am more interested in space, outer space.

What is the new fragrance you are working on at the moment?

I am very much about the smell of gardens and landscapes right now. It is an ongoing project I hope to finish by the summer.


Read the full article here.

Sexual Humorous by Taeseok Kang for A Shaded View On Fashion

Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,

Everyone seems to have their own reaction towards and way of dealing with sexuality, from the blushingly coy to unapologetically extroverted. Former sculpture/jewellery design student and LCF graduate Taeseok Kang created a handbag collection based on the subject.

"The concept was sexual displacement from human body parts. Every single bag relates to an expression of my sexual identity, and the obsession with sexual imagination," he says. With artificial hair and leather being Kang's fabrics of choice, this translates into designs ranging from the quirky Wig Bag to the more bold Booby Bag. "Some people will need courage in order to carry the more overtly sexual bags," the designer admits, but those with a good sense of humour will probably be more than happy to tote a Taeseok Kang around town.


Read the full article here.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Digital Dadaism from Matt Wisniewski for District MTV

Using Tumblr and Photoshop as his version of a colour palette and paint brush, Matt Wisniewski is something of a 21st century-style Dadaist, minus the anarchy. Desolate winter forests stretch as vast landscapes across the face of black and white portraits, whilst side profiles become fantastically distorted through swirls of breaking waves. Things that should not fit together, strangely and beautifully do in the work of the Brooklyn-based artist.

"I don't care at all about a blend of human and nature. I just play around with combining things and it just so happens that a head provides a nice discrete canvas. I use a lot of painting, drawings, really whatever I can find," Wisniewski is quick to admit however. It seems then, that behind his complex imagery, there lies a more instinctual, subconscious and ultimately emotional way of working. An interesting anecdote for those that argue the 'coldness' of digital artwork is incomparable to the physical medium of canvas and paint. "Realistically, I don't see any reason why future tools couldn't match the feel of their analog counterparts. For collage, digital tools open up a lot of possibilities that just can't be accomplished with traditional cut and paste methods," Wisniewski says.

Having used Photoshop since his early teens, the Philadelphia-native reflects on his work as becoming increasingly refined, but not without a price. "From experience I tend to experiment less; there is sort of a downside there from my perspective. Previously it would take forever and it would look awful, but it would be fun and I'd have a new idea out there. I still do that sometimes but it's harder when you know how it's going to turn out," the web developer adds.

Having created series' with titles such as Wreckage, Five Minutes to Live and Cold Embrace, one could read a variety of apocalyptic theories into his work, but the artist himself appears to have a deep and forgiving love for the process of creation. "I've done some terrible collages. But it's out there, and I couldn't destroy most of it even if I wanted to. Some of my most popular work would have been deleted by now if it was just sitting on my computer," he explains. Instead, as Wisniewski reflectively says, "Once I'm done working on something, it doesn't really have anything to do with me anymore. I had my fun, now everyone else gets to have theirs."

Read the full article here.

Claire Barrow 'All The Good Old Drunks' for District MTV

For most people the word alcohol conjures up memories of a stumbling, drunken stupor. For Claire Barrow, it translated into a collection of finely illustrated and hand painted silk shift dresses, rubber pieces, Pollock-esque cigarette trousers, and of course her signature, the leather jacket. This season she produced them bearing ghoul faces and otherworldly creatures, applied with a swirly brush stroke that in itself denoted an intoxicated experience. "I was looking at all the old good drunks, like Charles Bukowski. The regality of alcohol packaging directly inspired all of the prints," the designer said backstage at her S/S 13 show and official London Fashion Week debut, presented as part of the Fashion East lineup.

Barrow's unique vision, be it this season's inspiration or the Surrealist movement and promiscuity for her graduate collection, has not gone unnoticed. There are the pieces she created for Rihanna's Loud tour on one hand, collaborations with the likes of Joseph and Underground on the other. What marks Barrow's work as especially refreshing is the handcrafted aspect of it all, a return to a punk, DIY aesthetic, but with an added finesse. There may be the raw, in your face energy and attitude about her creations, but at the same time an appreciation for something more delicate. An ode to art forms of the past and a certain sensibility that is often overlooked in the genre of safety pin earrings and slashed trousers that her aesthetic is often associated with. In the same way that Barrow doesn't fully commit to either womenswear or menswear in her collections, neither does she allow herself to be pigeonholed into a certain category of fashion design.

"I like the aspect that at this point, having just graduated, I am really in touch with what I am making, it is all very hands on," says the 22-year-old, who completed her Womenswear degree at University of Westminster. That approach extends to her carefully painted name on the back of every leather jacket, giving each design the feeling of being produced by an exceptionally talented friend, rather than a fashion brand. Her intimate mode of creation presents a comforting antidote to the ever-quickening pace of the fashion industry's mass production methods. Barrow sums up the raison d'être of her young label by passionately stating, "This is my artwork. It's great to see people wearing something that I have had such close contact with". 

Read the full article here.

Black Lights for Twin Magazine Blog

This weekend, Twin’s art editor Francesca Gavin opened up her exhibit The Dark Cube at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. An experiment combining static art and UV light, the literally ‘glow in the dark’ experience applies neon colour and an innovative viewing experience of every artwork from Kasper Sonne’s Untitled (carpet) No. 3, which is given a colour kick thanks to luminescent paint, to Scott Treleaven’s painting The Body Electric, with five of the piece’s six floating bodies immersed in a neon orange glow for a further intensification of its dreamlike feeling. Like all good things subject to limited availability, the exhibit runs until next Monday.
Twin spoke to Gavin about modern-day psychedelia, electronic nature and teenage memories of Camden market’s Cyber Dog…

From disco to rave, UV lighting has had quite a history in it its own right. What made the time ripe to do this exhibition now?

I think it’s to do with our relationship with technology. Many of my exhibitions in the past have explored that relationship – how we look at screens, the psychedelic experience of going on the internet. This is actually my least high tech exhibition but I think that this now old fashioned technology feels very relevant in terms of contemporary feelings about the world of wires, electrics and Wifi around us.

How did you go about choosing which artists to display?

A few artists I know had worked with UV in the past – Jeremy Shaw, Jeremy Deller and Thomas Dozol. Many I had worked with before, others I had seen work that I felt would fit. It was very organic. A number of the artists – Oliver Laric, Anne de Vries, Juliette Bonneviot – were part of that Berlin post-internet scene which I felt really connected to the idea.

What was the process of putting it all together like, for example where there any changes in vision throughout the project?

In a way it was like putting on an exhibition in the dark! It was impossible to know the results until I turned on the black lights and saw the works glow. A lot of the artists were making things partly in normal light and at night with hand held small black lights. It felt quite risky compared to a normal exhibition when you just have to work with the hang and hope the screens work okay!

A large part of the exhibition aims at literally looking at things in a different light. Would you say that it is a reaction against the times of our short attention span digital generation or is it something else?

I think because we are so used to seeing the entire world through a screen that the process of looking at objects, at images, at things in real time is really important. Arguably something with political undertones. Thought it was fascinating see many of the hundreds of visitors who came during the opening on Nuit Blanche immediately want to engage with the work through their camera phones. UV also ends up being an interesting metaphor for the electronic nature we give to the world in our screen culture.

On a more personal note, what are your own fondest black light memories?

I grew up near Camden market and when I was at the end of my teens it was the early days of techno. My sister was going to free parties and was part of the whole Spiral Tribe scene. Very hardcore. She was obsessed with reflective materials and circuitry. We used to go to this T shirt stall in a sort of cave-cellar there by a label called Cyber Dog (which over the years turned into a crazy huge techno mecca) and I bought a shirt with a circuitry star on it that glowed in UV… For a brief moment it was the epitome of cool.

What future projects do you have lined up?

No shows lined up quite yet – I’ve done three this year which feels like a lot! Possibly an exhibition at a project space in Belleville in the spring. And of course the acres of writing for Dazed, Twin, AnOther, Sleek and the rest.

The Dark Cube is on display until October 15th at Palais de Tokyo.

Read the full article here.

The PFW Lookback Part II for Twin Magazine Blog

In Part I, we covered what the one and only C trio (Chanel, Christian Dior, Comme Des Garcons) churned out, but from Haider Ackermann’s dreamy midnight-coloured collection to Marc Jacob’s retro mania, Paris Fashion Week still had a wide array of other intriguing collections to take in. Read on for Twin’s final list of favourites this S/S 13 season…

Stella McCartney
Considering the fact that she has collaborated with the likes of Adidas, no one does sporty quite like Stella. Energetic bursts of neon orange peaked out underneath a sheer silk sweatshirt whilst black and white printed strapless jumpsuits and oversized shirt-dresses were given an easygoing slouch thanks to a dropped waistline, all topped off with surprisingly wearable Lucite platforms. McCartney described the collection as “a conversation between a man and a woman” and thanks to the relaxed and loose-fitting silhouettes, there was something there for the elegant tomboy in every one of us.

Haider Ackermann
This S/S 13 season, man of the moment Haider Ackermann gave us something to dream about. Sheer silk and lace were wrapped around the body with the designer’s trademark fluid draping, in nighttime sky colours of ivory, midnight blue, black and a shimmering dark grey. A first was the use of geometric prints and polka dots, but even these rather atypical elements were melded into the harmonious collection. It’s safe to say that there are countless more breathtakingly beautiful collections like this one to come on Ackermann’s horizon.

After an eighties, sci-fi flashback, this season saw a more formal Balenciaga woman come to the forefront. Nicolas Ghesquière may have constrained his colour palette to mostly black, white, nude, and charcoal colours but thanks to ruffled thigh-high cuts and plenty of upper midriff exposure, the sex appeal was as much there as ever. From the first pair of front-pleated, high waisted trousers to the last coated guipure lace dress, it  was a testament to the fact that even without the futuristic drama, Ghesquière is more than capable of getting, and keeping, our attention.

Louis Vuitton
Marc Jacobs has become the designer of Paris you can count on for a complete fashion 180, and this season was no exception. In an ode to Diane Arbus, Marc Jacobs sent his Sixties styled models in pairs of two down the escalator and runway, matched up in Vuitton’s signature damier print. The silhouettes were streamlined, the hemlines decade-appropriately short and the fit body skimming. The main inspiration of the collection may have been from another era, but Jacobs managed to successfully reincarnate the look for 2013.

Read the full article here.

The PFW Lookback Part I for Twin Magazine Blog

The S/S 13 season was eventful to say the least: Twitter feuds between Hedi Slimane and NY Times fashion critic Cathy Horn, Ready To Wear debuts at the houses of Saint Laurent and Dior, and between it all, some wonderfully accomplished collections.
Twin looks back at which collections made us say je l’adore.

Presented in a setting of solar panels and wind farms instead of a crystal landscape, Karl Lagerfeld went a bit more down to earth this S/S 13 season. A-lines, bolero jackets and rounded silhouettes with floral embroidery  in every colour under the sun were topped off with oversized pearl necklaces. Like its staging, the collection was the perfect mix of technological linearity and natural materials and forms.

Christian Dior
Raf Simons may have already shown us his haute couture offerings for the house of Dior, but nonetheless there was still a great anticipation for what the Belgian designer would bring to the Ready To Wear table. The answer? Expert tailoring mixed with modern femininity. Pleated office attire was given metallic panels, sequined evening gowns a sheer overlay and nude shift dresses an exposed neon lining. With so much love for detail, it’s hard not to give Simons a congratulatory thumbs up for his efforts.

Comme des Garcons
In fabrics of toile and velvet, Rei Kawakubo crushed, sculpted and draped an intriguingly beautiful collection. Save for a flash of royal purple or fire red, the collection kept mostly to CDG signature colours of black and white. While the surrealist-style crowns designed in collaboration with artist Graham Hudson and linear white make-up may have given the models an otherworldly look, there was still something beautifully fragile about the body — and person — in these clothes. As with all things Kawakubo, this collection is definitely worth a second look.

View the full article here.

A Sauvage x Dr. Martens for Twin Magazine Blog

Dr Martens is shining a more polished shoe these days, thanks to the brand’s collaboration with menswear designer A. Sauvage.

The  two-years-young label created a more elegant take on what is perched atop those famous, light air cushioned soles: colours of midnight blue, white and black, in fabrics ranging from patent leather to woven kente silk.

A very street venture for the Mayfair-based label and a rather high-end approach for the punkish footwear brand, this unisex range is a prime example of what happens when you think outside of the (shoe) box.

Read the full article here.

The Beauty Love-In for Twin Magazine Blog

Don’t think the collaborations were just left to the fashion industry — collections between beauty brands and creative visionaries are now popping up left, right and centre. Twin rounds up our favourite new arrivals in the cosmetics world…

M.A.C Illustrated

These days, the exterior appearance of your bag is just as, if not more important, than what’s inside. So why resort to flinging your favourite lipstick, mascara and eyeshadow into a dingy, dirty and outdated old case? In a bid to rescue us from boring cosmetics carriers, M.A.C teamed up with illustrators Julie Verhoeven, Francois Berthoud and Nikki Farquharsson for a range of bags bearing each artist’s signature stylings, be it art deco, graphic or abstract. Mission accomplished.

Karl Lagerfeld X Shu Uemura

In the past, Lagerfeld has been known to use Shu Uemura’s eyeshadows to colour in his fashion sketches. Now, unstoppable Karl teamed up with the Japanese brand for a 17-piece collection of make-up, false eylashes and of course, the brand’s trademark, an eyelash curler. All emblazoned with the Karl-ified mascot donning a Rei Kawakubo-esque haircut and the Uncle’s signature high collar and tie, its a kooky take on Uemura’s high-quality products.

NARS X Andy Warhol

NARS took Warhol’s love of glitz, glamour and decadence as a starting point for a Swinging Sixties bright cosmetics collection. The brand even extended their love for all things Andy to a recreation of his self-portraits and flower paintings in their eyeshadow palettes. Instead of simply slapping a name onto their products, NARS clearly made a genuine dedication to the artist with this project. The ode may solely consist of shimmer sparkles and neon brights, but Warhol wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

M.A.C X Carine Roitfeld

The former editor of Vogue always had her laid-in smokey eye makeup down to pat, so a collaboration between the stylish image maker and a company renowned for their high-quality eye shadows was only a stone’s throw away anyhow. Expect shadow and blush palettes to recreate smouldering Roitfeld eyes and defined cheekbones, vampy red nail varnishes and to top it all off with a seductive French pout, barely-there nude lipsticks.

View the full article here.

The Ryan Lo-Down for District MTV

After a rocky start which included dropping out of his BA Fashion course at LCF during the first term of his final year and a "more difficult than anticipated" navigation through the fashion industry, now, it seems, there is nothing that could possibly keep Ryan Lo down.

Aside from being shortlisted for the G-Shock Spirit of Toughness Award, features in the likes of LOVE Magazine and artistic collaborations for the Serpentine Gallery's Dreamy Awards, there is that not-so-small thing called Fashion East in the 22-year-old's life. "The second time I went back to college and graduated, I said I wanted to do Fashion East. When it finally happened, it just felt like a dream," Lo says, the astonishment in his voice still hinting at his slight inconceivability of it all. Born and raised in Hong Kong before moving to London at age 16, he recounts his way into fashion as something that "happened spontaneously, one thing led to another". Yet one can't help but get the impression that his career path is the result of predestination rather than pure coincidence.

His first on-schedule show as part of the Fashion East line-up this London Fashion Week was a reminder of why he, despite only being three collections into his own label, is a name to be reckoned with. Lo's S/S 13 range— a colourful mix of lace, polka-dot print and corseted gowns — presented a sexier take on the designer's signature technique of tight smocking. Not only is he bringing an intriguing textural aspect to the stereotypically 'cashmere twinset' genre of knitwear, there is also a refreshing intelligence behind his designs.

"I design for a woman who is between intellectual and ditzy. I'm interested in the idea of broadening that conceptual range instead of it just being 'pretty'," Lo explains, adding that for him, designing is "all about femininity". "There is something epically powerful about being womanly, a kind of sexy, non-sexy" he says. This female prototype especially becomes evident in the subversiveness of the young talent's multifarious designs. His graduate collection toughened up traditional female prototypes, A/W 12 took his aesthetic for a more tomboyish, youthful spin. With this collection, despite its strong doses of pink, Lo again seemed to be questioning and exploring. Rather than reinstating and taking at face value preconceived notions of what today's modern woman wants to wear. But all theoretical interpretations aside, in the end Lo humbly admits, "I just want women to be themselves". 

View the full article here.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Jean-Pierre Braganza Interview For A Shaded View On Fashion

Dear Diane and Shaded Viewers,
Jean-Pierre Braganza has been a fixture on the London Fashion Week schedule for nearly a decade. Focusing on futuristic digital prints, geometric structure and strong tailoring, the Canadian designer manages to take subjects ranging from faeries to cyber wolds and turn them into a range of wearable yet unique garments, gathering a steady following of devotees along the way. In the following interview, Braganza discusses the inspiration behind his upcoming S/S 13 collection, the beauty of darkness and Freudian theories of creativity...

You first knew that you wanted to do fashion when you started going to runway shows, but was there a certain moment or show in specific that set the ball rolling?
That show in particular, McQueen [pointing to an image of a spray paint covered Shalom Harlow during the S/S 1999 finale on his wall]. It was just groundbreaking. There was something about that particular time that spoke to me and made me want to do it. It was a genuine epiphany; I was studying Fine Arts at York University in Toronto back then. I was chosen to do a solo exhibition in the university hall, but on the day of my show, I found myself more concerned with what I was going to wear that night. I thought to myself, why am I so obsessing over clothes, it's about the artwork. Intuitively, something was telling me to jump boat. But I was very naive to, because I thought, I'd rather be a successful fashion designer than a starving artist. Turns out, it's all a big lie [laughs].
How has your outlook on the industry changed since your runway debut in 2004?
I recently, as in four seasons ago, stepped back. Really, in order to know where you're going, you must know where you've been, like Freud said. I really looked back and concluded that I am more evolutionary than revolutionary. I have rejected that categorising or packaging a season into one particular idea. But there are natural influences and there has to be a cohesion whether I like it or not. Every season has its themes but there are so many facets to the aesthetic of Jean-Pierre Braganza. I choose to constantly explore it in many different ways but always adhering to that idea of evolution. I started out as being rock 'n' roll through and through, even having played drums in a band.
What type of music was it?
Heavy industrial rock. It was such a nothing band though, just me and my mates in high school. But there's always a hard, austere edge to my work because of that heavy metal influence. I'm really harsh in my aesthetics, almost macabre, but you don't see it in the work. Visually, I do like the dark side of life, the aesthetics of the dark and the beauty of things like gargoyles, Renaissance periods and medieval times. There's beauty in anything — that's my philosophy. I get pissed off at bad design, I can't stand it and get very emotional about it, but then I do appreciate things across the spectrum. Regardless of how little creativity there is, I always try to see the beauty in everything.
On that note of past design periods, in your last collection you were referencing Victorian style. What was the idea behind that?
It was an aesthetic choice. I'm a history buff and never really did Victoriana before. God rest his soul, Lee McQueen did it very well, but I wouldn't want to adhere to a theme to that degree. I like to interpret things in my own modern way. The collection started out being very Victorian but as with the nature of my drawing or design, it's constantly evolving as I do it. Maybe it's my Achilles heel, but I don't think a theme should impose itself on the creative process. The process is there for a reason and for artists to develop ideas through it, but I would never want a thought, whether it's a theme or a story, to infringe on not creating something that is beautiful in my mind.
What else inspires you during the creative process?
My religion is Tool. I'm really obsessed with them. The imagery that that band comes up with hits me hard in the heart. H.R. Giger is another hero of mine, Dali of course, the list really goes on. At the moment, I'm delving into abstract art by the very talented Ukrainian artist Zinaida Likhacheva.
She is a beautiful, intelligent woman whom I admire, and our friendship resulted in a collaboration. I'm working on incorporating her unique aesthetic into my prints for S/S 13. She has become my muse and it's amazing to work with such a beautiful and intelligent woman. Her beauty helps my design process. This collection will definitely be for a more mature woman than my previous ones, so the silhouettes will be more accommodating for real women. I'm bringing back some rock elements to it as well, it's going to be  a bit more deconstructed than recently. To sum it up: abstract geometry for a modern woman.
Generally in your designs there is a fusion of structured tailoring with futuristic prints. What is it that draws you to this mixture of these almost opposite elements?
Maybe it's ADD, but I don't want to limit myself to one particular aspect of design or aesthetic. I appreciate everything in the history of art and would not want to ever just cover one sole affinity, one sole vision aesthetically or have an empirical vision. I prefer to be more broad in my analysis of the world and interpret a lot of artwork. That can send a mixed message, but I'm lucky because even though I don't feel like I have a distinct style, people do say 'Oh that's very Jean-Pierre' in my approach to design. But to be honest, I've become quite pessimistic in my view of design and art.
Why is that?
We live in a postmodern world that is cannibalising itself. I think we are regurgitating too many ideas, it's stagnant. The only thing that is progressing is technology. And with that there is limitations because we, and especially in my vocation, are limited to just the human form. I used to back in the day, but now I don't like pushing shapes and ideas just for the sake of it. I've evolved into a designer where it has to make sense, it has to have some relationship with the human. It's more about the clothing and finding that intelligence in interpreting something new, or something old and reintroducing it in a new way. That's the responsibility of fashion designers. Some don't really embrace it as opposed to others, but it's crucial to find the client that you design for and to respect them. I didn't from the start, I was quite a dreamer. I designed for the creative journey but then the outcome of that is quite lonely because maybe the odd journalist will think it's groundbreaking or cool but it's just that. That alone doesn't serve a purpose, especially for a guy like me who has created this empire on my own. I wasn't blessed with a silver spoon in my mouth so I had to build it up through blood, sweat and tears and a lot of that is through sales. If it's only groundbreaking, it just won't sell.
What are your thoughts on branching out into Pre-collections? In the retail sense it's quite important but at the same time, this cycle of fashion where you're expected to churn out one thing after the other is a bit insane.
Ideas get diluted and teams will get exhausted. You're absolutely right. It is a sick industry, it's a really fucked up scenario too, doing four collections a year is a genuine mind fuck, especially for a young label. But Pre does make sense financially and it's kind of a simple formula too. You're thinking of a new idea, you subtly introduce it and then in the main line, that's when you truly explore it. It's a bridge really, you amalgamate the bestsellers of the previous season and new ideas of the next season, making it more accessible to the shops. But for the moment, I'm raising my hands and saying I can only do so much. I think it's necessary and healthy to have a life outside of work, yet I'm a walking contradiction because I want it all and to do it all but at the same time still have a life. The truth is, one has to be sacrificed.
Marina Abramovic once did an artist's manifesto stating things such as: the artist should suffer. Do you see yourself as needing a strict space to work in or is it a more organic process?
I've always struggled and I think I always will. That's just the nature of any creative mind. There will always be a struggle no matter what, whether it's monetary of environmentally or really just emotionally. There will always be demons to address and that's kind of how I look at my career. If I weren't working I would just go nuts. And Freud's idea of sublimation, this notion of these inmates addressing their anguish and pain through being prolific in making art, I think that's really in a nutshell what I do. I'm such a workaholic and love doing what I do mainly because it's just me curing my malaise. Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable, as George Barnard Shaw would say. But there is a formulaic way, once the seasons kind of meld into each other and you just get into a routine. I'm fortunate or unfortunate to not have that infrastructure and discipline that some mega houses have. A label like mine is so multi-disciplinary, it goes across the board, we all do everything together and that's what I believe in. I create a seasonal family and just love interacting with them, giving them challenges and giving myself challenges and twisting things up. It's part of that process of building collections that I really love. Obviously I'm a benevolent tyrant, I micro-manage, but I do oversee everything. I'm always here, but it's what I love to do.


Read the full interview here.

KnockBack Times for Twin Magazine Blog

Taking its title from the concept of traditional women’s magazines constantly degrading us due to lack of designer wardrobe/überly attractive partner/perfected physical appearance, KnockBack Magazine is an A5-sized package of feminist fun.
Having launched its debut issue with the tagline “The magazine for women who aren’t silly bitches on a diet”, the publication with tongue in cheek humour and razor sharp wit is currently on its sixth issue.
Twin caught up with contributions editor Hilary Hazard to talk about modern feminism, independent zine making and the joys of not taking life too seriously…
As a self-described “anti-Cosmopolitan”, how did KnockBack Magazine come about and what is the mantra behind it?
KnockBack (KB) was started because there weren’t any magazines talking to us. Sure we wear high heels and mascara, but we also have ideas and think being mean about someone because they look bad is worse than looking bad. We value good manners and good times and we were bored of being patronised by women’s media. We also wanted to show that ‘light hearted’ doesn’t have to mean ‘idiotic’ we can do low-brow 
and intelligent and good looking. We can, and we did.
What does feminism mean to you today?
I really don’t know anymore. I thought I had it down and it was just about respect but then a proper feminist kicked me in the shin and now they make me nervous.
KB aims to occupy the middle ground between political feminism – which is all female circumcision and rape statistics* – and women’s pop culture, which is all deodorant and celebrities. They are the two extremes of the female experience, KB is the happy medium.
*not a million miles from the comment I made just before getting kicked in the shin.
Issue themes have ranged from Hardcore to Smoke and Mirrors. How do you decide on the concept of each issue and what is the process of producing an independent zine like?
We use the themes as a guideline to be ignored in the face of something better. The process is a slow one, everything has to be perfect (it isn’t) and everyone has to work hard (we don’t). The problem with working independently, with no advertisers, deadlines or money, is that when we have meetings we also have bottles of wine and parties and lie-ins and days off and roast dinners.
Who are your feminist icons?
Jane Bussman (author of The Worst Date Ever), Tank Girl and my Nan, because they’re fearless and funny and they work hard. My Nan got alopecia when she was 27 so spent her whole life bald as a melon. When we were kids we’d wait until she was in the shower and then steal her wig so she had to chase us while we ran away screaming. She is a tough old broad, but she is also confident and content and that’s a massive challenge for modern women, even skinny ones with pretty hair. Most women spend their whole lives thinking they’re fat and ugly and comparing themselves to people who are thinner and prettier, my Nan just got on with it.
Jane Bussman is a comedy writer who went to Uganda because of a handsome US aid worker and subsequently wrote a book that somehow manages to bridge the gap between comedy and horrific war crimes, corruption and a child army (which is a f*cking big gap). And I like Tank Girl’s shoes.
We find feminist icons in women who are cool to each other and are proud to be women and are good at it. The KB hero is Tina Fey (Liz Lemon), because she’s funny and she loves sandwiches.
Who is the typical KB reader?
Students doing PhD’s in women’s studies, and the editor of The Spectator.
There is always a humorous tone to KB, is this an attempt to put a bit more fun back into the publishing industry?
It’s partly because funny women are something we set out to celebrate, and we really don’t take ourselves seriously at all. But also if we did straight down the line feminism stuff then only feminists would read KB, this isn’t for them, they’ve got forums all over the shop. Plus we’re funny women and it’s ours so it would be weird to make it serious.
What can we expect from the next upcoming issue?
A long wait, a snazzy cover and some jokes (but not as many as we’d like because half the team had babies or got married and everyone’s too exhausted to stay angry).
Last but not least, what are some KB words of wisdom to live by?
If it’s not funny, don’t do it, if it’s not free don’t eat it and f*ck cupcakes.

Read the full article here.

A.P.C. + Nikesday for Twin Magazine Blog

A.P.C. has teamed up with Nike for a collection of casually cool kicks.
The brand founded by Jean Touitou in 1987 has garnered a cult following thanks to its minimalist but covetable styles. Putting a French spin on the sportswear brand’s timeless Dunk and Air Max styles, the collaboration brings a more sophisticated touch to the wardrobe staple, thanks to muted colours such as navy, ecru and brown, plus suede paneling.
Following the A.P.C. mantra of the most desirable wardrobe items being those that whisper instead of shout, we say strike while the iron is hot.
A.P.C. + Nike launches tomorrow and will be available exclusively through A.P.C.‘s retail stores and online shop.

Read the full article here.

Louise Gray x Topshop for Twin Magazine Blog

Originally from Fraserburgh, Scotland, Louise Gray has managed to make herself stand out amongst the sea of young designers in London thanks to her eye-catching designs and punky fun attitude.
From towering mohawks and geometric prints for A/W 12 to her quirkily clashing dresses for S/S 11, the designer’s creations always manage to be a refreshing addition to the RTW circuit.
Gray’s latest project is a clothing and makeup collaboration with high street giant Topshop. “I’ve captured the woman I emulate in the show and the idea that individualism and expressing yourself through fashion is cool,” she says. This concept translates into a range of fully sequined shift dresses, jogging trousers and T-shirts, alongside lipsticks, blushes and eyeliners in fluorescent hues.
Whether you prefer to dress down each standout piece with casual basics or decide to go for a head to toe Louis Gray look, take a cue from the designer herself and simply “have fun with it”.
Louise Gray for Topshop will be available on August 23 in stores and online.

Read the full article here.

En Vogue With Van Vogue for Twin Magazine Blog

With attitude by the bucketful and insanely catchy songs like 212, Azealia Banks has undoubtedly left her mark on the music industry. It looks like she is no less short of conquering the world of fashion as well.
Already counting the likes of Karl Lagerfeld as fan and having performed at Chanel’s pop up store party in Tokyo, the rap star can now include the house of Alexander Wang on her list of fashion collaborations. For the new Fall 2012 T by Alexander Wang campaign video directed by Daniel Jackson and styled by Alastair McKimm, the 21-year-old performs her latest songVan Vogue whilst decked out in the brand’s casually cool threads.
It seems that the world can’t get enough of Azealia Banks right now and with projects and tunes like this, it’s easy to see why.

Read the full article here.

Avicii x Ralph Lauren Denim Supply for Twin Magazine Blog

Ralph Lauren is a brand that has always been synonymous with traditional Americana style. However, thanks to its Denim & Supply diffusion line and the resulting collaboration with EDM recording artist Avicii, the household label shows that an urban aesthetic is just as much part of its repertoire.
The 22-year-old DJ not only stars as the face of the Fall 2012 collection, but has also created an exclusive remix of his new single Silhouettes for the accompanying campaign film.
Showcasing an effortlessly relaxed style throughout, the brand proves that it can do contemporary just as well as classic.

Read the full article here.

Keeping It Cool Sevigny Style for Twin Magazine Blog

If anyone can make the Seventies look modern again, it would have to be Chloë Sevigny.
Clad in psychedlic print silk shirts, boyfriend cut blazers, mirror-appliqué minidresses and chunky loafers, the queen of indie cinema and quirky fashion stars as the face of Miu Miu’s A/W 12 campaign and short film, shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott. It may be Miuccia Prada’s fine tuning in cut, fabric and colour or just simply the fact that the 37-year-old actress can pull off anything and everything she wears, but despite its references there is not an ounce of retro stiffness to this collection.
Backed by the nonchalant tunes of American pop duo Phanotgram, the accompanyng video exudes the same wonderfully laissez-faire attitude of coolness. Having previously fronted the brand’s S/S 96 campaign, it becomes clear that even 16 years on, Sevigny’s still got it.

Read the full article here.