Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The House of Viktor & Rolf

Article by MillaX for Fashion Sanity
I am someone who sees fashion as an art. Like architecture, fashion is an art of both aesthetics and function.
I tend to like designers who lean on the side of aesthetics. The more experimental and artistic ones. The ones that push the limits of creativity and weave narrative and idea into a wearable piece of art.
That is why I love Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, Courreges, St. Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Phillip Treacy and Viktor & Rolf.
To me dressing is an opportunity to express my ideas through my appearance.
I first got hit by the work of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren in 2005 when I spotted a stunning ivory satin dress with the words "I love you" written on red quilted cursive draped on a radiant Cate Blanchett on the cover of Harper's Bazaar..Then in one of the editorial spreads, there was the enigmatic, ethereal and unexplainably beautiful Tilda Swinton in the most improbable yet delicious coat I had ever seen.
This coat was a bed with pillows, bedsheets and comforter turned into a couture coat. Surrealism at it's best.
Viktor and Rolf have been staging the most theatrical and interesting fashion shows for a while now.
For their "Ballroom" collection a tribute to the glitzy art of ballroom dancing, they had couples of handsome men in white tie and tails waltz across the runway under chandeliers after the models strutted in star-spangly confections while Rufus Wainright crooned.
For their "Bedtime Story" collection where that bedding coat was shown, Tori Amos sang a lullaby at the piano in her haunting voice, in her silk pajamas.
Their "Russian Doll" Collection played on a tremendously interesting concept.
There was only one model slowly spinning on a revolving platform. Then the designers systematically layered piece upon piece of beautifully embroidered garments made of mostly of jute, playing on the matrioshka concept.
In the installation exhibit presented at the Barbican Art Gallery, this atmospher of dreaminess and surrealism was exponentially amplified since the exhibit did not only present the actual garments in an audiovisual format along with the projected video of the actual fashion shows but in a parallel installation showed the same garments on antique Bebe Bru dolls made to look like the original models all in different rooms of an enormous doll house that is the center of the exhibit and lends it a precious and playful beauty.
The most defining pieces of all of their dramatic collections including "Blacklight", "Atomic Bomb", " Bedtime Stories", "Flowerbomb", "On Strike", "Harlequin" , "The Fashion Show" with its complicated scaffolding as intrinsic part of garment, "One Woman Show" with its vocal homage to Tilda Swinton, their muse, "No" and "Blackhole" Collections were all painstakingly and faithfully reproduced to scale on beautiful dolls in rooms representing a chronological timeline.
No word is more representative of their work than dreamlike.
Their clothes and shows are perpetual Dali-Lewis Carroll-Carlos Fuentes dreamlike states that echo the subconscious. The beauty, the anger, the sensuality and the primal fears that all of us experience while we dream, rendered in real life in silk and satin and bluescreen rolled into impeccably constructed wearable paintings.

This is the poster for the exhibit ... It was all over the London Underground.

This is a view of the imposing doll house, the centerpiece of the Exhibit...

Doll in dress from the Hyeres Collection

Dolls in reproductions of pieces from the "The Fashion Show" Collection.

All images courtesy of the Barbican Art Gallery, London.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blogging PR: V for Vagina

So like I have not written in a week because I have been CRAZY busy packing for my insane relocation to London-town ( leaving August 11th) and actually having a blast in my last days here...
Last weekend was Pride here in San Diego or as I like to call it, MY Xmas. The parade Saturday was awesome and Sunday me and my friend and now my very own Team Milla- Celebrity Personnal Assistant ( he will be moving with me to London.... Now, I am EXACTLY like Anna Nicole minus the dismal taste level, substance abuse issues and pets...PA, 60 year old obscenely wealthy suitor and all) went to the festival to see Kathy Griffin perform.Then we met up with my sweet, adorable pookie Tomek and we had a blast walking on the OB pier and hanging out.
We have been working really hard at organizing everything so I don't leave a mess.
Yesterday night we actually had a Project Runway watching party here and Alyosha came over and fixed his extra special White Russians.
By the time we got to watching the show, I was pretty pissed.Not angry pissed, drunk pissed.
The challenge this week was to create a cocktail dress with environmentally friendly fabrics with the caveat that the models had input and did all the fabric and notion purchasing.
Why did most of them only buy like 2 yards of fabric when most models are like 6 feet tall? I swear you'd think that, because several of the dresses barely covered their coocheal area.
I am so over really short dresses. Really on anyone. It is kind of gross and if I was cool with examining other chicks 'ginas, I would have become a gyno. I seriously pass.
I was kind of stoked that Natalie Portman was the guest judge. I love her. Here is a young woman with class, poise and style and a celebrity who actually has an IQ in the triple digits and carries herself with dignity and not like a crack whore. Just imagine, a young celebrity that graduated from a decent university! Plus she actually has acting talent... So, I love me some Natalie Portman.
So let the bitchfest begin...

Sprout ( I call him that because he is such as Stephen Sprouse wannabe) got lucky!! His model brought his a fabric in a beautiful vibrant pink and he actually did something I liked with it.. I kind of love the neckline and it is not so short as to be gynecological. It kind of has a whiff of Lavin-ish going on...
This was a cuti-sh dress It had an Audrey Hepburn-y vibe although I would have liked like 3 more inches on that hem
I am SHOCKED there were no French Maid or cancan dancer comments made in reference to this dress.
What does Miss Chichi Rodriguez wear to the Spring Fling dance? This dress! No, little latin boy wearing a dress, you are not a drag queen.... you are a drag PRINCESS!!!
This was one of my favourite dresses actually.. I LIKED the orange/ grey combo and I think it is very industrial and contemporary and modern... kind of cool and Braniff-y...I love that is was floaty and fresh. And thank God!Something other than a micromini!
I am liking what this guy does more and more... it is elegant, simple, pretty and flattering.... I KNOW I picked the right final four.
What is it this season with the Depends as a fashion trend? Diapers are not cute on anyone over 2, me thinks....
This is a cute dress. It was well made and the aqua and cream is pretty.
I am not a big fan of pouffy collar treatments and ruffles but on this dress, it's not so bad. since the colour is so minimalistic.....It was the right amount of drama for that particular dress. I LOVED the lenght on this one.
I love her but the dress was not very well executed. I had problems with the fit and construction of the garment. That is disapointing because she is one of my top favourites.
That thing literaly looked like a pile of steaming shite. It was bloody awful. What was she effing thinking?
That dress would have been BRILLIANT as a full lenght gown. As is? She looks unbalanced and like she forgot her pants.
I do not know if this dress deserved to win but the silhouette was cute and the contruction creative and elaborate. I LOVE grown men and women fashion designers who dress like sk8ter punk bois and grrls. Maybe because while unemployed that is what I've looked like all last year...I don't know... it cheers me up....I think 40 year olds in Affliction, Morphine Generation, Chuck Taylor's and bondage pants is a very NOW zeitgeist.....
What I am happy about is that he won the challenge because I picked him as one of my top 4 and I HATE when they let me down. So far I have accurately picked the final 3 for 3 Seasons...

I am on a roll! This girl did a GREAT job... This dress is classy, elegant , minimal and sales-floor ready. I mean this dress could be Zac Posen and be selling at Nordstrom... and that is a REALLY good thing.
Yikes....If Leanne's is a delightfully scatological tribute to the turd, Wesley's sewed an ode to diarrhea. This thing was so terrible, it edged the other one's repulsiveness.

I don't know... the people this season seem to be kind of extreme...I really liked this challenge and Natalie Portman looked absolutely radiant....
Ms. Cream-Filled Berliner should start taking notes....
She looked like a Vegas ho last night...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Blogging Project Runway: Back on the Saddle Again

So lovely and delightful readers and Project Runways devotees, Season 5 kicked off with a bang worthy of a Canadian-born pornstar... (hilarious how one of Canada's most famous exports are pornstars along with hockey players, comedians and le syrop d'erable)...
Geezus, the new crop of designers are a diverse and interesting bunch... very salad-. like which is very appropriate considering the reloaded challenge.
I always call dibs on my front runners from the first episode, usually based on academic credentials and industry experience as well as relevance to present zeitgeist.
So my top 3-4 for this Season are (*drum roll*) :

1) Korto- A native of Liberia and a graduate of an unspecified fashion school in Ottawa. The girl has an obvious Afro-licious aesthetic but absolutely impeccable craftsmanship.She also appreciates and designs for regular folk and is influenced by designers with their feet firmly planted on planet earth such as Tracy Reese and Randolph Duke. Both huge commercial and mass market successes at varied price points and diverse markets. What's not to love?
2) Joe- I loved that his work has internal narrative. He's out of Parson's and has a lot of industry experience.
3)Terri- I loved her originality and attention to craftsmanship and her experience in retail might help her have a better idea of what people actually want to wear.
4) Suede- He comes from a GREAT program-Kent State- and although predictable, his first effort was aesthetically pleasing...
Now for the in-depth dissection...


This was kind of blah. Not mind blowing, not God-awful but serviceable.
I actually really loved this... I loved the braided macrame top made out of mop heads. It was original, elegant and extremely well done. One of the best of the bunch.
This was pretty. Not mind-blowingly original either but pretty and wearable.
I HATED the silhouette of this dress. It was like a potato sack with a fugly exaggerated pointless collar. It really did not make much of an impression. At least not a positive one.
I kind of loved this!!! It was literally Sweet! in a Strawberry Shortcake, Hello Kitty! kind of way. I loved that she used marshmallows in her design and the matchingly adorable Harajuku-eque silhouette.

This was wearable and cute. But not memorable.
Holy Rio Carnavale Batman! This look is a little bit too ornate for my taste, but there are those people who love that flowerpot on top of your head, Cavalli/Versace type of aesthetic...It was fun and whimsical though.
Another blah but serviceable dress...
I kind of loved this colour, the use of the fly swatters and the asymmetrical silhouette... this one was pretty cute...
The silhouette of this outfit was nothing to write home about but I loved the fact that he had a theme and an internal narrative. That is the same way I design...
This was my favourite dress of the whole bunch. GREAT silhouette. Impeccable craftsmanship. Great use of colour and the perfect balance between being innovative by using the produce and being safe and wearable. Wonderful!
Probably my second favourite. Great use of the material and nice, flattering although not history making silhouette. I really liked it though.
I am SO with Austin Scarlett on this one. Hideous with a capital vomitous and a middle emetic were the only fitting words to describe it. This guy is such a bad Stephen Sprouse knockoff, he makes my head spin.. ok more like the bad chimeric amalgam of Sprouse, the Caten twins (Dean and Dan) from DSquared and Christian Siriano. And that is like not a good thing at all. I love them all one by one, but put them all together and it's kind of like what happens after you drink Long Island Iced teas, Jaggermeister and Jello shots.
Oh my sweet Lord... this was so horrid and squalid and creepy and like the Charmin Mega Roll got caught to the back of your lab coat while working at a Level 4 biocontainment facility after you got done using the potty and then proceeding to clean the entire bathroom in some sort of sick OCD ritual... EEEEWWWW.

I kind of disagreed with the judges as far as this dress being the winner. I loved how much thought she put into the dress and how creative she was with the challenge, but the end result was not that aesthetically pleasing or all that well executed either.

This season promises to be seriously entertaining . It seems that they have run out of interesting and even of product placement challenges so they are repeating themselves. Which might not be that bad a thing. I hope that I can follow the show now that I am moving to the UK, otherwise I will go nutso.

And to the people at Bravo : DO NOT USE FLASH ON YOUR WEBSITE PHOTOS. Flash is a piece of CRAP because you cannot copy photos.Not to speak of the KAJILLION bugs associated with the codes for the program.
The bloggers are HALF of your show. We need to grab those pictures easily to illustrate our blogs. If the Barbican and several important designers have given me press packs and hi-res working files of photos and think my blog is worthy and legitimate press, get over yourselves and make the pics accessible to the bloggers. We are your best source of free publicity. Thank you!