Oh hai. I'm emerging briefly from the stuffy, overcrowded library to inform you all that posts will be thin on the ground over the next month or so. By thin, I mean Abbey Lee Kershaw thin. Blame the 48 (at the very least...) films I have to watch, essays and presentations on Expressionist literature and Vampirism, impending exams, and scouring the city for Summer employment. Do hire me, please.
Monday, 29 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
You know those days where you're absolutely spent? I've got a serious case of exhaustion to contend with what with essays on Marlene Dietrich to pen, tux-purchasing to plan, Yvan Rodic/Facehunter's visit on Thurs to get to and ensuring I have clean clothes to do all of the aforementioned (harder than you'd think). I'm sitting here listening to Missy Elliott's masterpiece - Work It and wishing, willing even, that I had the energy to go dance tonight. While that might not be happening in the least, that doesn't prevent me from formulating potential sartorial choices...
And I've found just the match. By and large, the very idea of sportswear just seems alien to me. I get that it's comfortable but it's just never held much appeal for me (though, must admit I sometimes lounge around the flat in nothing but trackies and baseball tees *gasp*) for everyday wear - no matter how casual you deem college to be. Finnish designer Fernando Korpi, however, has me re-assessing the situation. His semi-luxe sportswear in a palette of black and vibrant primaries could have me changing my mind. And if not, there's always the remainder of his AW10 collection which features pieces of a more dandy disposition...
Describe the Fernando Korpi aesthetic.
My style as a designer is bright and colourful, yet well-considered. We focus on high quality fabrics and ready-to-wear garments.
What about your fashion/design background? How did you come to establish Fernando Korpi?
I will graduate this Spring with a BA in Fashion Design. The best way to get employed in the fashion field in Finland is to go the route of the independent entrepreneur and employ yourself.
You were inspired by a style bible for your AW10 collection? Can you describe this book and how it inspired your designs?
The book is guidebook to classic menswear and offers a variety of dressing tips for different occasions. It's filled with detailed pictures which were the source of my inspiration. I was impressed with the skillful tailoring techniques and history of menswear. I hope this interest shines through in the collection.
The AW10 collection covers everything from vibrant sportswear to quite colourful (for an AW collection) more formal-wear. Was it your intention to develop a collection that would cover all areas of the modern man's wardrobe?
The Winter of Finland is very long, dark, and depressing. My intention was to brighten it up by bringing some colour to it. The AW10 collection is indeed divided in two parts: casual streetwear and more formal dandy-esque clothing (collar shirts etc.). My collection offers a wardrobe for different occasions - just as in the book Gentleman - A Timeless Guide to Fashion by Roetzel Bernhard.
Sunday, 21 March 2010
It hardly comes as a stop-the-press surprise, but I do love when designers' collections are inspired by films. Case in point - Idol Radec's SS10 collection which harks back to the original Summer-time blockbuster from renowned director Steven Spielberg - Jaws.
Idol Radec is a tripartite design team (consisting of David Hickman, Nick Thomas, and Scott Barclay) established back in 2006. Their aesthetic is chiefly of the surfy, Californian disposition - think lots of lightweight cottons in neutral tones on shaggy-haired models, with an undercurrent of old-school Hollywood glamour - think good suiting. Considering Jaws brings both of these elements together in one big 70s shark-themed splatter-fest, it's perhaps the perfect filmic touchstone.
But even it weren't film-referencing, this collection is due attention. Composed of slim-fit tailoring, jeans and blazers, it puts puts a uniquely sharp spin on the traditional definition of 'beachwear'. The colours are season-appropriate (sand beige, matte black, white and ash grey) whilst refraining from the blindingly bright territory so many designers seem to deem fit for clothing of the warmer months. Just because the sun is shining does not mean you're required to dress like you're on Prozac, unless of course that's your thing.
They've also created the below 50s-esque jacket which is - not to sound too trend-oriented/fashion-y - key for this season. Gimme.
Oh, and to further the fashion x film symbiosis, a film accompanies their collection. Featuring babes of both gender and a boat-ride, this is well worth a watch.
Photographer Jack Coleman Styling Katie Buckner
Thursday, 18 March 2010
It's that time of year again - the weather becomes gradually more tolerable, the mood of the general population improves with onset of the Spring/Summer season, and, of course, it's time for locking myself indoors in order to tackle countless essays and assignments. And, while poring over theories on Last Tango in Paris and its politicisation of sexuality is far from boring, it's a far-cry from devouring fash mags.
Having been offered the opportunity to preview the new issue of OWN magazine, I was eagerly awaiting its arrival so as to flee from the confines of Microsoft Word and delve into its clean-cut aesthetic. It's here, and has been, undoubtedly, worth the wait. While I'm a fan of wordy mags and easily read - cover-to-cover - something as inappropriate to my own lifestyle as Elle, it's refreshing to find a publication, like OWN, that effectively blends informative articles with inspiring editorials and an overall slick design. No wonder, then, that this a Japanese-produced read.
^ OWN Magazine No. 9
^ Kazuyuki Kumagai
From a kind of photo-profile of the work of Japanese menswear designer, Kazuyuki Kumagai (easily my new menswear fave), to a feature on an Italian-style, Osaka-based café, OWN aggregates all facets of style with the result that everyone from the fashion aficionado to interiors obsessive is more than satisfied.
^ The Day Before editorial feat. AJ and Peter at FORD. Photog: Tetsuhara Kubota. Styling: Shala Rothenberg
Even the editorials seem to reflect the pure aesthetic of the magazine with an emphasis on sharp but simultaneously subtle styles. Take note, too, that gender-bending is at the core of the magazine with each issue's cover composed of an eye-catching shot of a female model bedecked in the finest men's clothing (issue 9 features Yves Saint Laurent AW09) - a welcome alternative to certain publications' collective penchant for semi-naked actresses.
^ Yves Saint Laurent Men's Fall 09 feat. Ana M
^ Profile - Darla Baker from Elite
While the mag is subtitled "New Men's Originals", it's just a worthwhile read for women as for men which, I think, makes it original, and well above the rest.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
While many of my favourite menswear designers are trying their hand at womenswear for the first time (Damir Doma, Tim Hamilton etc.), it's good to see established womenswear designers have caught on, too. Former apprentice of fetish-clubwear-loving enfant terrible Gareth Pugh and loved by Roisin Murphy and Diane Pernet amongst others, Gemma Slack has extended the reach of her dark, sometimes eery and affecting, other times graphic and arresting, to include menswear. AW10 marks her first foray, a small yet strong collection with a distinctly vampiric bent. Here's to many more.
What led you to make your menswear debut this season?
I was just quite interested in venturing into menswear, but most of the clothes are unisex, really. I think there's a much broader crossover these days - clothing and dress-sense aren't as gender-lead as they used to be. Also, a lot of my male friends were complaining that they couldn't wear my collections.
There seems to be an androgynous, semi-military vibe going through the collection. What inspired your menswear looks?
The whole collection, womenswear included, was inspired by themes within Bram Stoker's Dracula. The idea of being suspended between two states of being and realities. The masculine vs. the feminine, the dichotomy of the Victorian world and reality - the blurring of lines.
Did you find the process of designing menswear was simply a matter of translating your usual design process to the male form or did it prove more complex than that?
Whatever project I'm working on, I generally start with the ideas and concepts, be it menswear womenswear or sculpture. Then, I allow the ideas to evolve. It's only in the later stages that the final 'product' is realised. So, in one sense I was translating my usual process, however, when I began the development there was a lot of consideration of the male form and certain new aspects were a welcome challenge.
You interned most notably for Gareth Pugh, would you say the time you spent there was formative in terms of your own aesthetic?
Working with Gareth had, of course, an influence on my own work - he's a great designer. In terms of aesthetic, I learnt a lot whilst I was working there which does translate into my own work, but the reason I went to work for him was because of a similar vision. I think my work has evolved in a different direction since then, and that we're both now striving for different aesthetics.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things to do as a film student is apply Freudian psychology to the most arbitrary and random of objects/persons/places. A firm favourite (pun intended) is identifying phallic symbols; from an innocent cigarette to a mere lipstick, everything - according to our good friend Sigmund - can be considered as a signifier for a penis.
This filmic collaboration between NY-based artist Collier Schorr and menswear designer Tim Hamilton features the more athletic pieces by Hamilton and a rather large rope which ostensibly hangs from a ceiling. Were I writing this entry as an article for Film Quarterly I could probably go as far as to venture saying that the struggle to climb the rope is symptomatic of the young man's struggle to overcome impotence. But, thankfully, I'm not, so let's just enjoy the clothes...
For more on Hamilton do check out the v. handsome Horst's no holes barred interview with the designer himself.
Just a gentle reminder to enter the insanely easy competition to be in on the chance to win a 50ml bottle of A*Men by Thierry Mugler. Courtesy of Arnotts, you need never smell less than positively delish. For full details follow this link.
EDIT: Congratulations to Conor Farrell who correctly answered that Mugler busied himself with ballet before bringing a good dose of sci-fi to the world of fashion. Winner was selected using Random.org.
Monday, 8 March 2010
The next four weeks will see me contend with four fat essays, two major balls (the formal kind...), and the rather pressing problem of zero tuxedos. This may seem over-dramatic to many of you, but, firstly, you have no idea how important these essays are, and secondly, if I'm essay-researching I can't find the requisite time to source a bitchin' tux for the Film, Music and Drama dept.'s Film Noir ball.
Granted a tux is a wardrobe staple but, resigned to the thought the Dublin market wouldn't proffer much choice for my taste, I've kept putting the prospect of purchasing one to the back of my mind. You know what would be so much more convenient? If I could pull off one of the trench coats from the latest (and, brace yourselves, last!) Topman collaborative project. I mean, what film noir detective sans trench is worth his salt?
In the vein of previous designer collaborations (the white shirt and trousers projects) Topman have enlisted some of some smaller-scale menswear designers to re-create the classic coat. For a noir nut and self-professed outerwear-obsessive, this is for me perhaps the most exciting project. Miharayasuhiro (J-designers really understand the importance of a well-designed site, check it out), Tim Soar, stylist Alister Mackie, B Blessing, and Topman Design (naturally) have all lent their respective visionary touches to the trench with covetable results.
^ Tim Soar. Love the loose cut and no-fuss aesthetic of this one but it deviates too much from the original trench for me.
^ B Blessing.
^ Topman Design. The hands-down winner as regards innovation, esp. love the way it's belted.
^ Miharayasuhiro. Classic and perhaps even conservative. Still, the slightly darker than beige hue had me from the get-go.
^ Alistair Mackie. V. reminiscent of Burberry Prorsum for me. Still, love the shade, not so sure about the too-slim fit and short length.
Images from Ftape
Friday, 5 March 2010
A lot of descriptions on the "About" page (or equivalent) of brand websites are so often lacklustre and hopelessly generic. Not so for Macha Jewelry, which prides itself on its aesthetic of "quiet rebellion". Isn't that kind of great? I think that's what I aspire to; a sartorial combination of the subtle and yet interesting and unexpected. Founded by Irishwoman and former fashion designer, Bernice Kelly, and now based in London, the brand proffers rough-around-the-edges but undeniably beautiful pieces for men and women. We talked Barbour, lost-wax casting and bespoke.
Who and what is Macha Jewelry?
Macha was set up as a reaction against the corporate fashion world I used
to work in. I created and own the brand, and aside from some amazing
interns, do pretty much everything myself. It's a 'back to basics' Fine
Jewellery brand, influenced by the rawness and humility of home (Macha
comes from the Irish name for Armagh) with the emphasis on modernising
Describe the Macha aesthetic...
I guess Macha pieces have a kind of rugged elegance, and a sense of
nonchalance, for both men and women. I love that they revive some kind of
distant memory in people when they wear them, and inspire new connotations
after some time. A journalist recently wrote that 'Macha emphasises
rawness over polish and flash for previously worn appearance', that pretty
much hit the nail on the head.
You've used blackened finishes and wax casting. Tell us a bit more
about the techniques you employ to create your men's collection...
Pieces are hand crafted in a traditional way using a hand saw, a series
of files, and a soldering torch.
When I find the time, and inspiration, I carve intricate pieces from wax
and have them cast into the appropriate metal. This type of 'Lost-wax casting' is an ancient art, widespread in the 18th century, only very
small amounts are made at a time, and everything is touched by hand. It's
great to be able to bring handmade back into the marketplace.
What one item of jewelry is key for men/should men wear?
The 'Keith' bracelet is a classic essential. Hand woven over a full day at
the Macha studio. Oh, and the Exile ring is a magnificient reminder of
history, inspired by an 19th century carving knife.
Tell us a bit about the bespoke service you've recently launched...
After many years designing for clothing brands where styles are dictated
to the people by the brand, it felt natural to be open to ideas (and to
keep sane in an often solitary business).
It's so nice to make something that's not totally about you, and to have
these opportunities to produce a collaborative style.
The idea is that anyone can go to the Macha store online, and find an idea
thats interesting for them as an individual. They can ask a question
about any bespoke product to start the discussion with me. After settling
on a piece they would like to purchase, I create a listing in the
Bespoke section that they can buy online. Each customer is then helping
to drive the brand forward in some small way.
Who/What inspires your design?
Actually, there's nothing better than a classic for me, a western film,
Star Wars, a practical old chair, brands like Barbour and Savile Row
tailoring, Southern American blues, odd places and events I visit like
Marfa in Texas, the Twinsburg festival in Ohio, some good old fashioned
entertainment! And of course all of the people that cross my path.
Info on stockists here. Photos by Dan McMahon.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Though I never thought the time would actually come, it seems Spring is finally rearing its much more benevolent head in Dublin. On Monday we actually enjoyed a blue sky for longer than an hour (!). Madness by Irish climactic standards.
To usher in the season I'm donning semi-sheer shirts, opting for lightweight trousers in place of dark waxed jeans, and swapping overcoats for Jimmy Dean-esque bombers. If you're not quite on the same wavelength just yet, Arnotts have provided a little encouragement which should see you some Spring/Summer good-spiritedness. Up for grabs, courtesy of one of Dublin's most design-savvy department stores, is a 50ml bottle of A*Men by Thierry Mugler.
Since this arrival of the Spring season sees my sanity return somewhat, I'm making this all terribly easy. All you need to do to be in with a chance to win this heady and yet appropriately unheavy fragrance of bergamot, coffee, vanilla and musk is answer the following question...
Prior to revolutionising fashion Mugler busied himself with which of the following pursuits?
A) Blogging B) Ballet C) Bed-making
I did say it would be ridiculously easy. Email your answer followed by your full name and address to cillian[at]male-mode.com by Friday March 12th.
Monday, 1 March 2010
With all the Topman-sponsored platforms for designers that have emerged in London these past few seasons, it's been easy to forget one of the best. Vauxhall Fashion Scout sponsors a selection of emerging designers each season to show or exhibit their work at one of the city's most architecturally breathtaking (and Pelayo-approved) venues, the Freemasons' Hall on Great Queen St.
Last season I had the pleasure of sitting second row for Satyenkumar's showing of his ethereal, candy-coloured SS10 collection, and just last Wednesday I was lucky enough to delve into a realm of fables and culture-clashing courtesy of CSM-grad and Swedish designer Orschel-Read. I'd been kind of captivated by Orschel-Read's AW09 Mourning for Orland collection prior to this, so the whole affair was doubly exciting.
Inspired by the beauty of female birds, the early work of English textile designer William Morris and the ceiling murals of Stockholm's Storkyrkan Cathedral, Orschel-Read produced a veritable fashion feast which mixed the quiet femininity of soft-hued prints with the more robust tailoring inspired by the traditional uniform of the Japanese samurai. Detail was abundant as garments were lavishly embroidered, the palette was juxtaposition of soft fleshy tones with those of a more earthy kind and the silhouette drew inspiration from the importance of menswear tailoring while also giving a nod to a casual sportswear sensibility. Being nosey and an avid fan, I had to ask a few questions...
This collection mixes militaristic tailoring with feminine hues/prints. Would you consider this fusion of the masculine and feminine key to the collection?
A certain balance between masculine and feminine is something that underpins much of the Orschel-Read brand, not only the AW10 collection. This is an exploration of a concept that Virginia Woolf discussed in her 1928 novel Orlando - that there is no divide between men and women. There are differences, but many more similarities.
Any interesting stories/anecdotes regarding the production of the collection?
One of the themes of this collection was 'hidden detail'. As the collection went on the details became more and more hidden. In addition to all the under-collars being embroidered and the pockets being hidden inside of pockets, there are many hand-stitched details that can not be seen without taking the garments apart.
Describe the Orschel-Read man.
The Orschel-Read man has impeccable taste and is highly aware of his personality and how he expresses himself through his appearance. He is a true gentleman with a certain shy sexiness. He has a keen eye for detail and for quality.
Not to mention Gaga's a fan. The otherworldly jewellery is by Marie Parsons.
Images by Luke Nugent and Paul Morgan