Wednesday, May 30, 2012

darkened by the heat of passion

I recently planted some dear little tulip bulbs in my garden (at precisely the wrong time of year, my father has helpfully pointed out) and shortly afterwards was struck by a troubling thought  - do I like tulips? Thank heavens for the internet which has reminded me; I do indeed.

House of Worth, "Tulipes Hollandaises", silk and metal cape, 1889, The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art

Maker unknown, Kimono, 1910-1930, Japan, Machine-spun pongee silk woven with stencil-printed warp threads,  
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Cover of "The Tatler", 5 May 1954, designed by Sigrid Hunt, The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Monday, May 28, 2012

the classics

Sorry for the ages-long gap in blogging. I am in a bit of a fashion funk at the moment, but anyway here is a nice reminder that it's not all bad:

Evening dress (1958) by Madame Grès, silk jersey, New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

There's a good little piece here on the links between classical art and fashion. In particular the wet drapery of classical sculpture is echoed in many of Grés' extraordinary designs.

Unknown artist, "Muse Terpsichore" (Roman copy of Greek original), marble, 2nd century AD, 
State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

I spent a while looking for a good example of wet draping in sculpture before settling on this one of Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance. In the sculpture the 'fabric' suggests movement and the form of the wearer's body below. Conversely, Grés' silk creation seems to do the opposite, the dress conveying a sense of deep stillness - as if hewn from marble, I guess.

And just because I can't bear not to share this image, here is another example of fabric in sculpture:

Raffaelo Monti, "Veiled Lady", c. 1860, Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gail Sorronda S/S 2013: Oh My Goth

If there's one story that'll break this little patriot's heart this week (well, a patriot as far as fashion is concerned), it'll be the tale of Tim Blanks (i.e. the world's best reviewer of contemporary fashion) and Bryan Boy (Celebrated person of some sort. This isn't about him.) being denied entry to Brisbane designer Gail Sorronda's presentation.

My god, are we trying to make ourselves appear provincial? The horror, the horror.

What makes things extra awful is that Sorronda is one of the most interesting local designers around at the moment. I would love to know what Blanks would have made of her collection, "Oh My Goth". (Not that Blanks has been particularly prolific in terms of reviews so far this week. Hey Australian Vogue, not getting your money's worth much?)

Quite the departure from her beautiful and austere black and white collection last year, Sorronda's palette this time around was all like:

Sweet but not saccharine. And though I'm no great lover of polka dots, Sorronda's manage somehow to avoid being too twee.

And quite frankly, at this point any respite from moody symmetrical florals is okay with me.

Photos stolen from

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Romance Was Born S/S 2013: BERSERKERGANG

Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett presented their Spring/Summer 2012 collection on Monday this week, the product of a deal Romance Was Born inked with Marvel to gain exclusive access to the comic book behemoth's archives. Being nought but a lowly blogger, I was unable to wrangle an invite to the show this week, something I sorely regret as they clearly know how to put on a show.

In keeping with RWB's previous collections  - and especially fittingly given the Marvel connection - the show was driven primarily by print designs. Ben-Day dots were especially effective in referencing the comic book theme while remaining attractive and wearable:

Elsewhere the prints worked best when slightly abstracted, one piece bringing an unexpectedly baroque flavour to proceedings:

Romance Was Born has never had any trouble attracting column inches - the mainstream media loves a wacky designer about whom they can write tedious "What's all this crazy fashion stuff about" articles. Case in point.

The question is, do these sort of clothes sell? I for one hope so because when Romance Was Born are good, they're electric.

That said, there was some pieces in the collection that didn't pull their weight.

The inspiration for the collection being what it was, RWB were wise to mostly avoid designs that might bring to mind halloween costumery of the cheap and nasty variety. But a couple of pieces felt a a little too "Sexy Spiderman" for my liking.

And as for this piece:

Well, I kinda feel like The Blonds have a lock on this genre:

And given the impeccable fit of the New York label's garments, I'm not sure that the comparison is one that works to RWB's favour.

Photos stolen from