Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lady Gaga and the love/hate relationship

I have a love/hate relationship with Lady Gaga. On one hand she is amazingly fashion forward, outrageous and creatively inspiring. On the other hand she is an idol to so many young girls (and boys) and I think some things she does is taken too far and she is sending the wrong message to these kids. Wow, I almost sound like my mother!

I was watching her new video of ‘Alejandro’ and I was stocked by how adult some of the scenes in it are. Also the fact that she is barely wearing anything (which isn’t new for her or for music videos in general) is a little too much for me. However, when she is actually wearing more than a strip of flesh coloured Lycra, she looks fantastic and so unique. (The chorography of the male dancers is amazing as well just on a side note) The same goes for her video clip with Beyonce and her tiny g-string; way too much information!!! But otherwise great styling.

There is no denying Lady Gaga is a very smart woman who has done very well to standout in a hard industry of sameness (just like fashion really!) and I completely respect her for that. I also think it’s great that there is someone mixing it up and being controversial, I just don’t wish to see her bare bum all the time.

Images: The Hollywood Gossip

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lee Lin Chin

Lee Lin Chin is the SBS World News Australia presenter and was also the host of a fabulous 10 minute program call ‘Fashionista’ on Saturday nights that highlighted of the happenings of the Australian fashion industry. Lee Lin Chin is an amazing fashion icon and for me a true modern Wonder Woman. Not only is Lee Lin Chin incredibly talented and good at her job (even I enjoy watching the news when she’s on!) she is also well known for her daring but graceful fashion sense. Each night is a different ensemble with matching glasses and crazy hair for the audience to enjoy. She is clearly a woman who likes to make an effort to be chic yet different but she also knows how to dress well to suit her personality and shape. I found this great quote from Lee Lin Chin that also reflects my feelings about fashion and dress.

"I rarely use that word: fashion. Fashion implies what is the trend and I don't think of clothing in those terms. What we wear should be dictated by how well it suits us. Your personality, your temperament and your figure."

Lee Lin Chin has quite a cult-like following on the internet including a fan of Lee Lin Chin page on facebook and a whole blog dedicated to what she wears presenting the news each night called Chinny Style (all photos are from this blog). It’s hilarious but utterly fantastic and certainly worth a look.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Jean Patchett

If I could have any fashion model in the entire world dead or alive pose for a photo in any of my designs it would be Jean Patchett without a doubt. Jean Patchett was a model during the 1950's and her face especially her mole and her fabulous figure is the definition of fashion photography in the era. Vogue photographer Irving Penn who worked closely with Patchett described her as 'a young American goddess in Paris couture.' Apparently Jean Patchett has had more covers than any other model ever! Her career spanned 15 years and there is endless beautiful and iconic shots of Patchett that I spend hours pouring over. Again it comes down to the sophistication and the elegance of these photographs that I adore and inspires me. Patchett looks so grown up and in control yet womanly and sensual. It is everything I am trying to convey in my final year collection.

Images: Flickr

Monday, June 7, 2010

Grace Coddington

If you have been following my blog you will remember I insisted on you seeing The September Issue. I hope you have as it’s a really great documentary but also it heavily features today’s fashion icon; Grace Coddington. Grace is the Creative Director of American Vogue and one hell of a creative stylist.

Many people think American Vogue is so successful because of Anna Wintour’s hard hitting driving force but I don’t think that American Vogue would be half as good without Grace’s AMAZING editorials and creative thinking. Funnily enough Grace and Anna started at Vogue on the same day in 1988 and have since had a very respectful love hate relationship. As you have seen in The September Issue, Grace is really the only person that will stand up to Anna and fight for her work and what she wants.

Grace, born in England, began her career in the fashion world as a model. She won the Vogue Young Model Competition at 18 and had a very successful career modelling during the 60’s despite being involved in a car accident that left her face scared. When Grace was 27 she was offered a position at UK Vogue as a junior stylist and became well known for her magical and unforgettable narrative editorial images. As creative director at American Vogue, Grace’s work is inspiring. Her shoots are always elaborately detailed that transport the viewer into her fairy tale. She always creates a story that progresses through the shots.

Here is some of her remarkable work including a favourite editorial of mine from the infamous American Vogue September issue 2007.

'It's a mad cap world' American Vogue Feb 2009

'French Open' American Vogue October 2009

'In the mood' American Vogue September 2009

'Paris Je T'aime' American Vogue September 2007

'Brief encounter' Feburary 2010

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The tutu

Researching and finding inspiration for a collection takes you down many different paths that seemingly don’t relate to each other yet all fit into the same mood or theme. This week’s path led me to the tutu. That’s right, the tutu. I am not foreign to the ballet world or the concept of a tutu as I have studied ballet for many, many years, worn many a tutu and in fact currently work in a ballet store. It was just a pleasant surprise for me to be drawn towards the iconic garment that is the tutu. I love the silhouette of the tutu and the contrast between the tight fitting bodice and the volumous flat skirt. I grew up dreaming to be a prima ballerina because she was so elegant and timelessly beautiful in her amazing tutu and perfect pointe shoes. I would like my collection to be viewed the same way, a series of stunning garments that make the wearer as beautiful and timeless as a prima ballerina.

The Australian Ballet Company has a great video on their website about the tutu and its origins which I recommend you have a look at. One of my favourite costumes of all time is the pleated black tutus from the ballet Divergence. The tutu is actually made out of industrial air conditioning mesh. Imagine trying to sew that!!

Divergence Tutu

Divergence Tutu

Photos: The Australian Ballet Company

Monday, May 31, 2010

Richard Serra: Industrial Sculptor

Richard Serra is a minimalist industrial sculptor who has been in the industry for over 40 years. I love Serra's work and find it highly motivating and inspirational because he creates beautiful shapes and curves out of unconventional materials. The first time I came across Serra's work was while researching the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and its amazing architecture by Frank Gerhy. Both artists use metal as the primary material in their work and they both create lovely soft smooth lines with such unusual materials. While Gerhy’s work is very abstract and ‘new’ I find Serra’s work is more organic, clean and also very warming. How does this all relate to my collection? I want strong clean but creative lines in my collection and I love the multi layers of steel which I have used with layers of fabric. Here is some of Richard Serra’s lovely work.

'The Matter of Time' in the Guggenhiem Museum Bilbao

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Haider Ackermann

Colombian born designer Haider Ackermann is a favourite of fine at he moment. After graduating from the Antwerp Fashion Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium, Ackermann started his self named label in 2001. Since then Ackermann has slowly been building his name and reputation as a drape artist and a master of leather. His drape is extraordinary because it's structured so a lot of his work is very edgy but beautifully fluid. I especially love the way the collars loop and fold and seem to continue forever. They also make your eye travel around the whole garment and take everything in. After looking at Ackermann collection I was invigorated to look back at the collars in my collection and see if they could be pushed further.

Haider Ackermann Fall 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Glamour women and Scarlett Johansson

The cover story in the May 16 2010 Sunday Life magazine of the Sydney Sun Herald is titled 'The Glamour Stakes'. I just happened to come across this article while reading the paper and I thought it was a good discussion of what I feel my collection is about. The author, Carol Dyhouse talks about glamour being an empowerment for woman and an opportunity to add a bit of fun to life. The article uses actress Scarlett Johansson as an example of seductive glamour. A strong woman who is self-assured, playful, sexy and smart. Dyhouse also speaks about the 'dark' side of glamour and while it is a relevant subject she argues that women choose to be glamorous not confined by it. It's definitely worth a read if you can find it.

Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2009 Cosmetics

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2010 Cosmetics

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2010 'The One' Fragrance


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nigella Lawson...a domestic goddess

Nigella Lawson is transfixing. For some reason whenever her show comes on the TV I can't help but watch. I am not really a fan of cooking shows and I while I don't mind to cook I would never actually make anything she is demonstrating. I think I watch because I am amazed at how comfortable she is in her own skin and her ability to charm and entice the viewer in an instant. Nigella is certainly a voluptuous woman and I think it's great that she is seen as a sex symbol in a era where size 0 is considered the only way to be beautiful. I also see Nigella as a modern 1950's housewife which kind of goes against the wonder woman idea but also compliments it. Nigella has made home cooking and being domesticated sexy. She is a hard working woman who has made millions from her best selling cook books, world renown TV series and her kitchen range. Nigella is a modern Wonder woman of sorts just a different way.

Nigella Lawson

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


As a young girl I loved Barbie. I loved being able to dress her up, choosing her outfits with matching shoes and bag and even choosing between taking her Barbie Jeep or the Barbie Porsche for her hot date with Ken. While there is a lot of controversy about Barbie especially her unrealistic body shape and measurements, I see Barbie as a modern Wonder Woman. Barbie is a role model for many young girls around the world and deservingly so. She is an astronaut, an American president candidate, a world cup soccer player, a prima ballerina, a doctor and much more. While I know that Barbie is a fictional character she inspires young girls to dream big, to believe that they can be anything they want to be and look good doing it! Yes, she is a sex symbol and yes if she was a real person she would be anorexic but she is an amazing modern Wonder Woman.

Astronaunt Barbie 1965

Presidential Candidate Barbie 2000

Army Barbie and Ken 1993

Images: Barbie Collector

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vivienne Westwood: Design Inspiration

I first became aware of Vivienne Westwood's work when I attended the opening night of her retrospective at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra many years ago. I knew who she was and what her work was like but it didn't really hit me how amazing her designs and creativity was until I saw them in front of me. I like her later work more than the early punk garments, especially her gowns with a historical reference. My design aesthetic has some of the same elements as Westwood in that she loves to play with volume and drape. Her ability to transfer a traditional tailoring technique to an innovative and create design is remarkable. I aim to be able to say by the end of this year, I can do the same, but I feel that's a little way off just yet.

Vivienne Westwood 'Propaganda' dress Fall 05/06

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Beyonce's video clip of 'Single ladies' was on TV today and it reminded of me how much Beyonce is a modern Wonder Woman. The little black leotard costume Beyonce wears in the video clip is so simple yet so effective and not a lot of women could look as amazing as she does in it. I admire Beyonce because she embraces being a curvy woman and makes the most of it. I also think she is a great role model for young girls and all women in the way the conducts herself in the public arena, her songs are empowering and she clearly loves being a independent woman.

Beyonce in 'Single Ladies'

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wonder Woman

For my final collection I am wanting to create a collection for the modern Wonder Woman. Previously on my blog I have looked at women who I see as modern wonder women but I haven't actually investigated who the original Wonder Woman is and why she is so important.

William Moulton Marston created the comic character Wonder Woman in the 1940's as a role model for young girls. There were no other female comic hero's at the time and Marston, a physiologist and inventor on the polygraph, wanted a strong intelligent female character that would inspire and educate girls.

The character of Wonder Woman is an ancient Greek Amazonian princess and warrior, Diana who was bequeathed with super human strength, vast intelligence, the ability to fly, great beauty and a loving heart. Not to mention a very sexy costume that highlights her curves in all the right places.

Basically Wonder Woman is the perfect woman. She is the whole package; smart, strong, beautiful, loving and she can fly! Just like Marston created Wonder Woman in the 1940's to inspire, I want to create a collection that makes women fell just as powerful and amazing as Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Smoke Photography

Smoke Photography is an amazing art form I stumbled across while looking for images of smoke. Smoke has always intrigued me and before you ask, no I am not a pyromaniac and I have never smoked. The delicate patterns smoke creates is visually stunning especially from a candle or match that has just been blown out. Smoke photography captures this moment perfectly and enables the patterns to be fully viewed and appreciated. I can imagine the smoke to be fabric and I wish I could create such beautiful curves and lines in my design work. They provide endless inspiration.

Images: Smashing Magazine

Friday, May 7, 2010

Shocking pink and Schiaparelli

So one of the colours I am using in my up coming collection is magenta. I have always found it to be a bold exciting colour that takes a strong and courageous woman to wear it which fits perfectly with my collection. After a little investigation I found that magenta was made popular by Elsa Schiaparelli for the very reason I am using it in my collection.

'The Italian artist who makes clothes' was how Coco Chanel described Schiaparelli and indeed Schiaparelli very much regarded herself as an artist. She was greatly inspired by the surrealist movement and collaborated with many of the movement's great artists, especially Salvador Dali. Schiaparelli believed that women where naturally elegant and stylish so she designed to draw attention. Everything was deliberately designed to be outrageous and amusing, which is why in 1937 Schiaparelli introduced the colour 'shocking pink' to the world. A vibrant bold brilliant pink that would become Schiaparelli's trademark colour.

Shocking pink Schiaparelli tag

Schiaparelli's 'Shocking pink'

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Alber Elbaz for Lanvin

I know that I already said that if I could ever work for one designer it would be Christian Dior (I know he's dead and all that but a girl can dream) but it would be very VERY closely followed by Alber Elbaz from Lanvin. His drape work is breathtaking and it looks simple and elegant. I am experimenting with drape at the moment which is proving to be fun but difficult (as always) and I am just in awe of how easy Alber makes it look. His work is bold and strong yet still soft and feminine, just how I want my drape to be.

Lanvin Spring 2009

Lanvin Spring 2009

A new direction for the blog

OK, so this blog is going to be taking a new direction and reflect more about my design process for my final collection in my last year of a fashion and textiles degree. I will be reworking some old posts and I have also changed my blog description to represent the direction the blog is going in. I will probably ramble on a lot about random things but apparently that's what its all about. So here goes.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The iconic Hermes Bags... Kelly and Birkin

A woman knows she’s made it if life if she owns a Hermes Kelly Bag or a Hermes Birkin Bag. These bags are an iconic elite status symbol that can be recognised from a mile away by their signature padlock and key. They are both exquisitely hand crafted by one artisan from start to finish taking between 25 to 65 hours each bag.

Created in the 1930’s the Kelly bag is the more formal, grown-up of the two. It is a very tailored, sophisticated bag that looks like a small briefcase. It is a bag you would take to a business meeting, a dinner or a night out on the town. It is named the Kelly bag after the gorgeous 1950’s actress Grace Kelly. The story goes, after her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco Grace Kelly used her favourite Hermes Handbag to cover and hide her new pregnancy from the press. There was so much media coverage and hype surrounding both the pregnancy and the infamous bag that Hermes decided to name the bag, the Kelly bag.

The Kelly Bag

Grace Kelly and the infamous Hermes Bag

The Birkin bag is almost the opposite of a Kelly bag. It’s informal, spacious, casual and young. Where the Kelly bag is an occasional bag, the Birkin bag is an everyday bag. It was also named after a famous actress, Jane Birkin. Apparently on a flight Jane Birkin’s overloaded large handbag broke and her belonging scattered in front of the president of Hermes, Jean-Louis Dumas who was on also on the flight. A few years later in 1984 Hermes launched the Birkin Bag inspired and guided by Jane Birkin. The Birkin bag has the longest waiting list of any luxury bag, over 6 years unless of course you are someone like Victoria Beckham who apparently has over 100 Hermes Birkin bags.

The Birkin Bag

Coco Chanel

Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel is truly a fashion icon. She was a woman sure of herself and her style and founded one of the most well known and respected French fashion houses. Chanel’s liberation of women during the 1920’s was revolutionary. She freed women from the corset and introduced them to the concept of casual sportswear which borrowed fabrics and elements from traditional menswear. Chanel’s style was simple and uncomplicated which women embraced during WWI because it was more practical. The legendary perfume Chanel No. 5 was launched in 1923 which continues to be a best seller even today.

During the 1950’s after WWII, Chanel introduced her version of a woman’s suit. Chanel didn’t believe that Christian Dior’s New Look range celebrated a woman’s natural form and decided to create her own Chanel suit. Chanel also recognised the power of her personality and how this could influence the brand of Chanel. Packaging was fundamental including the iconic interlocking double C logo.

Karl Lagerfeld took over as head designer of Chanel in 1983 and each seasons reminds us of the heritage of Chanel.

Coco Chanel

Chanel Shirt 1935-39

Chanel evening dress 1926-27

Chanel Day dress 1924

Chanel Spring Couture 2010

Chanel Spring Couture 2010

Chanel Fall Couture 2009

Chanel Ready-to-wear Spring 2010