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Fashion


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New Forms of a Dress


Fashion photography, once thought frivolous, has become art’s rising star with a new visual language

New Forms of a Dress


Fashion photography, once thought frivolous, has become art’s rising star with a new visual language

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

New Forms of a Dress

January 16, 2019 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Image above: Miles Aldridge, Home Works #3, 2008

At one time, not so very long ago, the only place to see a fashion photograph was in the pages of a magazine or possibly stuck to the wall of a teenage girl’s bedroom; but things have changed, with museums holding major exhibitions, galleries and auction houses selling fashion images, and publishers constantly releasing new titles devoted to fashion photography. Removed from its original context (the magazine page), fashion photography has become art’s rising star.  

The art world has become more receptive to the medium as museums have moved from high art to an all-embracing visual culture. For a long time, fashion photography was seen as exclusively commercial. However, contemporary photographers don’t necessarily conceive of their work as fitting into one single category or medium. 

In the 21st century, boundaries between editorial work, advertising work and personal work are now blurring. Digital media have changed the way photography is reported, consumed and shared. With the explosion of street-style blogs, Instagram and Pinterest, fashion photography has become the new visual language. 

And where the previous generation of visual icons such as Nick Knight, Paolo Roversi, Peter Lindbergh, Ellen von Unwerth and others set a new bar decades ago and still are, a new generation of photographers, Blommers and Schumm, Solve Sundsbo, Daniel Sannwalkd, Coco Capitan, Viviane Sassen and Erik Madigan Heck, are taking the lead and shooting fashion and beauty in such a way as to challenge the standardized ideals of fashion and beauty.  

They reject the notions of the hyper-sexualised body and celebrity driven fashion visions that represented the naked consumerism of the 2000s. Their fashion subjects are distorted and twisted, and the clothing has become a form of draping rather than dressing. Such a visual evolution has been mirrored by the rise of designers such as Demna Gvasalia and stylists such as Lotta Volkova across brands like Vetements and Balenciaga. 

Ultimately, as clothes horse has become character and the body has gone from being prop to plot detail, fashion photography has become a lens through which to see new ways of thinking about and discussing race, politics, gender, age and more. 

Handpicked by curator and art historian Nathalie Herschdorfer, Beyond Fashion at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place, features 100 of the finest photographic fashion works by more than 40 of today’s leading photographers, along with a selection of films accompanying the still images. (Until February 24, 2019). (taikooplace.com)

Nick Knight, Snakes for Alexander McQueen, 2009

Nick Knight, Snakes for Alexander McQueen, 2009

 
Erik Madigan Heck, Comme Des Garçons, 2017

Erik Madigan Heck, Comme Des Garçons, 2017

 

Images: © Miles Aldridge (1); © Erik Madigan Heck (2); © Nick Knight (3)

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Vanguardian Angel


Innovative Dutch designer Iris van Herpen continues to explore what tomorrow’s fashion may look like

Vanguardian Angel


Innovative Dutch designer Iris van Herpen continues to explore what tomorrow’s fashion may look like

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Vanguardian Angel

December 19, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Since starting her own label in 2007, Dutch designer Iris van Herpen has been presenting her complex fashion theory through wildly progressive, boundary-pushing creations. In Paris, she released her couture collection for autumn/winter 2018 under the banner of the science-themed Syntopia. Exploring the relationship between the organic and the inorganic, and developments in biology and technology, Van Herpen combines traditional weaving techniques with cutting-edge digitally designed weaving on coats and dresses. Laser-cut wool is woven with leather through parametric file technology and the Mimesis mini corset dresses showcase the soundwave patterns of birds, using unusual materials such as mylar, black cotton, red organza and transparent black acrylic sheets. For the show, Van Herpen collaborated with artists Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Studio Drift, who created a spatial kinetic installation called In 18 Steps, which consists of 18 delicate glass wings that abstractly represent all the different stages of flight. 

Images: Yannis Vlamos

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Holding Court


Zuhair Murad redefines elegance with his depiction of imperial Russian style

Holding Court


Zuhair Murad redefines elegance with his depiction of imperial Russian style

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Holding Court

December 19, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad has long been renowned for his extravagant court style. His autumn/winter 2018 couture collection was released in Paris and showcases a sense of aristocratic opulence with his depiction of imperial Russian style. Taking inspiration from a variety of Russian icons, from Elizabeth of Russia (famed for owning 15,000 gowns) to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Murad is committed to redefining contemporary elegance in this collection. In Russia, one tradition is that femininity is layered with military elements. Besides the royal touch, the collection also displays a rigorous, masculine flavour. The boyar-inspired jackets are decorated with royal eagle motifs, badges and corded detailing. With golden silk threads and matching short trousers, the dress coat in khaki duchess satin becomes a great example of blending ornamentation and functionality. For a long time, this brand has been a favourite of celebrities. In 2016, Chinese actress Ni Ni wore a white Zuhair Murad dress at the Cannes International Film Festival. The beautiful piece, with its deep V and split hemline design, grabbed a great deal of attention – for all the right reasons. 

Images: provided to China Daily

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In the Wind


Acclaimed Danish designer Henrik Vibskov continues to push the sartorial limits

In the Wind


Acclaimed Danish designer Henrik Vibskov continues to push the sartorial limits

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

In the Wind

November 21, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Previously the drummer of rock band Luksus, Danish designer Henrik Vibskov is committed to creating a fantasy world filled with outlandish, surrealistic elements. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2001, Vibskov has become an eminent designer who pushes as many boundaries as he can. After winning the 2011 Torsten and Wanja Söderberg Prize, which is awarded annually to “an active Nordic designer or craftsman”, he has risen to prominence as a leading figure among Scandinavian designers. Deeply influenced by his rocker experience, he believes that fashion should be a broader concept that includes music, dance and much more.

During Paris Fashion Week for the men’s spring/summer 2019 collections, Vibskov delivered his latest collection, with the theme Due to Sudden Weather Change. Inspired by the wind, which humankind uses in various ways, it details the designer’s idea that wind can be both a friend and a foe. Vintage-like “soap-opera” sweaters, Madras button-ups and other runway pieces are prime examples of his unique aesthetic standards. About the new collection, Vibskov explains that it’s a visualisation of how people can work with the wind – rather than against it. 

Images: Li BoHan

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Vestiaire Wear


In less than a decade, Vestiaire Collective has become the go-to for online sales of second-hand fashion

Vestiaire Wear


In less than a decade, Vestiaire Collective has become the go-to for online sales of second-hand fashion

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Vestiaire Wear

November 21, 2018 / by Kitty Go

Fanny Moizant

Fanny Moizant

There was a time when eBay was pretty much the only viable re-commerce platform around. But what if, in the years before 2009, you were a fashion lover who wanted to buy or sell top-quality designer clothing or accessories? Aside from eBay and its notorious unreliability for high-end goods, there was the inconvenience of buying from individual bloggers or (millennial shocker!) brick-and-mortar second-hand shops.

For Fanny Moizant, one of the six founders of online designer resale boutique Vestiaire Collective, it was that inconvenience of buying from bloggers that nudged her to start the online luxury consignment app, which currently has more than seven million users. “The lightbulb moment for us was that the girls with fashion blogs couldn’t maintain wearing new outfits every day and had to sell what they wore on their blogs,” explains the French tech entrepreneur, who moved from Paris to London in 2013, then to Hong Kong last year. “I was personally interested in buying, but the correspondence and payment was very inconvenient. I had to send an email, then a cheque or money transfer… It was a pain. So I decided to bring fashion people onto one platform based on trust, with a smooth trading process.” 

Moizant wanted the opposite of a timed bidding system like eBay’s. The app has a suggested selling price, but the final price is determined by the community after discussions (aka bargaining) between buyers and sellers. Bidding is market-driven, where people can strike a deal as soon as both parties agree on a price. The app makes buying and selling easy – members don’t have to keep checking back like auctions or eBay. To emphasise how fast buyers react to desirable stock, Moizant firmly says, “A good product with a good price goes without bidding.” Vestiaire Collective collects anywhere from 25% to 40% commission on sales.

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In terms of positioning and perception, Vestiaire Collective is the most luxurious and fashion-forward of the re-commerce sites. There’s something for everyone, from Zara (“super-special exception”) to exclusive Supreme drops, along with classics like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hermès. The app currently has more than a million products online and accepts 35,000 new consignments every week. “This isn’t just a luxury website; it’s for everyone who loves fashion,” explains Moizant, who’s wearing a second-hand striped Chanel T-shirt and current-season Celine palazzos, which she will be selling online soon. “We want to show a panorama of fashion that reflects contemporary style of mixing high and low. Who wears head-to-toe Hermès? Some members are from the industry or in media, and many more from other careers or lifestyles – but the common thread among all our users is their passion for fashion.”

Moizant and her partners have also identified a changing attitude towards the consumption, value and ownership of fashion items. Aside from being a trading platform, the app serves a new generation who values sharing and usage more than possession, who is addicted to newness, who doesn’t own a lot for various reasons, yet who has one eye on value and another on style. Vestiaire Collective ran a survey among its members and discovered that “buyers and sellers have a value mentality more accurate than ever,” explains Moizant. “When they buy something [at retail], they have a resale value in mind. Investment dressing used to be cost-per-wear, but now it’s ‘How much do I recoup if I spend $1,000?’”

She continues, “Vestiaire Collective facilitates a new and inspiring way of consuming fashion. You want new things, but you have to let go of others. We are closing this circle. This is not just a way of recycling, but slowing the pace of consumption, because it is going very fast – way too fast.” 

Vestiaire Collective remains a closely held private company. It has raised more than €100 million (including US$20 million from Condé Nast in 2013); according to Moizant, funding was “never a problem.” 

Being French was never a problem either – and in fact, has proved to be a great advantage. Although 65% of the business is generated outside France, its homeland is still the single biggest buying-and-selling market. 

“In this particular industry, a Parisian image gives undisputed credibility and heritage to any luxury brand,” elaborates Moizant. “It’s a good thing – and we are proud of our French DNA.” 

The company’s next biggest markets are the UK, Germany and the US, with “developed Asia” (Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia) quickly gaining more market share. Moizant also claims that China, Korea and Japan have grown organically for the company without any PR or marketing effort. Welcome to the future, where fashion is now at your fingertips. 


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Fanny Moizant’s Top Selling Tips

1. Use the app and read instructions carefully. Detailed photos and presentation are very important. 

2. Don’t try to hide defects, because our curation team will definitely see them when they receive your goods for vetting.

3. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask yourself how much you would pay for your item. If you do, you’ll understand rejection (if any) and become a successful seller.

Images: provided to China Daily

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Imaginary Visions


How the East inspired Yves Saint Laurent

Imaginary Visions


How the East inspired Yves Saint Laurent

Lifestyle > Fashion


 

Imaginary Visions 

November 7, 2018 / by China Daily Lifestyle Premium

Yves Saint Laurent conjured literal, literary and imaginary visions of Asia to distinguish his high-fashion creations. He reinterpreted the sumptuous cloaks of Indian sovereigns, while Imperial China inspired the autumn/winter 1977 collection. And though he hadn’t visited Beijing at that point (he ultimately made his first trip in the 1980s), he remarked: “Beijing remains a dazzling memory. The China that I had so often interpreted in my designs was exactly as I had imagined it. I have already dreamed about it so much.” He was fascinated by Japan, too, and a superb uchikake kabuki costume and a selection of prints representing courtesans bear witness to this passion. As the first temporary thematic exhibition since the opening of the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris in October 2017, Yves Saint Laurent: Dreams of the Orient brings together more than 50 haute couture designs inspired by India, China and Japan. The world has got a lot smaller since, but the aesthetic ambition still feels large and dreamy. 

Images: © All rights reserved; Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris © Yves Saint Laurent

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