Monday, August 20, 2012
The artist’s coat.........
Paris isn’t a traditional port city, but it certainly is a centre for social encounters and chance meetings. And nowhere could be more famous for this than the legendary Café de Flore. Situated somewhere between art history and contemporary fashion, the café became my hub during fashion week.
Wherever you sit at Flore, you will find that you and your coffee are surrounded by celestial-stars, whether fashion creators or consumers. And it was in this mix that I took my place and enjoyed breakfast before the shows.
Dining alone has its low points but frankly I enjoy the space, and as I discovered, can allow for unexpected meetings. Such as the unplanned breakfast with artists Greg Lauren and his wife Elizabeth, two young Americans who call both LA and New York City home.
They had made their way to Paris for fashion week and were presenting a collection of clothing from Greg’s experimental line. Extending his art practice into the world of dressing, Greg presented jackets that made luxury of recycled and found fabrics.
On invitation to the showroom I sought to illustrate the collection that played on the ever-present use of military iconography in our wardrobe. These casual jackets stitched with the history of battle became as potent as the costumes of superheroes. But like in Greg’s artwork the jackets subvert the violence and give the wearer those protective layers we still need.
As winter hits hard here in Melbourne I thought it was time to post these jackets finally illustrated. Like a flash back to a café encounter or a scene from a fading film, the collection by Greg Lauren appear like Rorschach tests here, and hopefully does justice to this artist’s work.
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Saturday, August 18, 2012
What comes out in the wash….
Fashion moves quickly, or should I say, people move briskly. So when sitting trackside at a runway in Paris, it can be hard to register this speeding spectacle, let alone illustrate it. Far too often the invited guests, location and even the journalists are all fighting it out for attention. It is my job to find some elegance amongst this rat race and capture it on paper.
At the Steffie Christiaens SS runway for 2012, the pace was startling. In fact, waiting in line offered a welcome change to see the pack slow down. This waiting in the wings - in this case on a side street near the legendary Opéra de Paris - allowed me some time to take in the crowd and atmosphere.
Despite this brief slow down, the show and its followers didn’t sink in till the following day, as I worked out the culture of launderettes in the Fifth. For where ever there is fashion there is also and without doubt: dry-cleaning, washing machines and dryers.
Here in a more down to earth fashion based world I started sketching out my memory of the shows the days before. Marking out the extreme silhouettes of the collections that had just made their way down the runway, while my own collection tumble-dried away.
So as the summer pieces of Steffie Christiaens currently make their way to the racks, I thought it was time to show a little insight into my process by posting a few pages from my Paris notebook. These are sketches that I use to make sense of a fashion world moving faster and faster, and a city that continues to captivate whether you are watching a runway or your washing.