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Friday, 23 September 2016

Creativity in all its glory

Darlings, there is nothing that excites me more than fashion and craftsmanship and although I have been around the block a few times (I know you’re thinking I don’t look a day over 25 - let me tell you, fibreglass fillers hide a multitude of sins!), I feel we are now in a moment where both are being celebrated simultaneously. Hurrah!

The recent collaboration between British heritage fashion brand Burberry and British luxury craft retailer The New Craftsmen, is one where both fashion and handcrafting come together in perfect harmony.

Held at Makers House, Soho, London, this fascinating showcase emanates inspiration and creativity from the very moment you walk through the quintessentially English courtyard. A sumptuous sanctuary that exudes an exquisitely calming scent with soothing ambient music, it’s a far cry from the hectic hurly-burly adjacent streets.

Upon entry to the ground floor of Makers house, a hive of craft activity and pop-up work stations await you, where you can witness craft in action. I watched beguiled. Book binders, sculptors and artists worked away oblivious to my presence; it was as if I were peeping into their very studios. The space seemed private and special, I had the privilege of a behind-the-scenes look (albeit a staged one), and an insight to their unique skill sets.

Out of the corner of my eye, I spied a green woven carpet with a familiar motif leading the way up a grand staircase – I was intrigued as to what awaited me at the top. On reaching the final step I was disoriented to find an elite FROW crowd directly in my line of vision (I prefer not to name drop darlings but let's just say one of the Delevingne sisters was within arm’s length). I stood in awe, immersed in the display, and then the penny dropped. I remembered where I had seen that motif… the Burberry SS17 collection, of course! Surrounded by the full collection dovetailed with video footage from the live show, I felt as though I were there amongst the exclusive buzz aside the runway.

The impressive nature of this installation has made me think. Today, we're constantly invited into the world of fashion brands, models, artists and designers. Practically anyone who hasn't been living under a rock for the past decade has succumbed to social media in some way, posting snippets of their private lives and thoughts – an intimate behind the scenes view of their character. But when those scenes are extended to more than just an image or tidbit of information, it has the ability to elevate our perceptions about the person or brand. And that is exactly what this showcase has done for Burberry and The New Craftsman. Moreover, the ingenious pairing of the two brands has highlighted an aspect of each that perhaps we never truly considered before.  A very clever move indeed!

Rather than simply presenting the final product, both luxury brands have chosen to commemorate the journey of its creation and the skills involved. Thus, amplifying the all-important finer details, and showcasing a process that should be appreciated. We see here, a new way of promoting creativity. Not just reliant on the media to speak to us, but to have real artisans demonstrate their skills and do the talking. After all, handmade production can be hard to come by these days, so let’s shout about it!  
 
 
 




 
 






 
 
 
 
This spectacular showcase is open to the public until the 27th September 2016. For further details please visit The New Craftsmen website by clicking here.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

It's what's underneath that counts!


Sweeties, don't you agree lingerie shopping today has become an aspirational whirlwind of luxury design and hedonism, where store interiors increasingly take on an indulgent appearance; opulent boudoir or luxury hotel for instance - in an attempt to transport the customer out of the everyday and into a fantasy world?

My fantastic creator, Proportion London have long recognised this trend, and developed a high-end range of visual merchandising product, to help their clients bring those lace adorned dreams to life.

Selfridges; Body Studio
 
The new and impressive Body Studio at Selfridges opted for Proportions free standing bodies and hanging forms from their CAPSULE and BOUDOIR ranges, which not only maximised the shop floor area but also punctuated the space with interesting and creative presentation groupings. Each piece of kit was carefully considered to suit the specific areas of the body studio.  
 

 




 
V&A exhibition; Undressed: A Brief History Of Underwear
 
In addition, Proportion London supplied the V&A Museum with body forms and mannequins for the 'Undressed: A Brief History Of Underwear' exhibition. The exhibition explores underwear design from the 18th century to the present day, considering the practical and personal, sensory and fashionable roles of protecting and enhancing the body.  
 
No stranger to the museums briefs (as in instructions not pants)! Proportion understand the importance of versatile and top quality presentation product. With over 200 examples of underwear for men and woman on show - some including custom-made items, they had to ensure their figures were the perfect fit and robust enough to stand under the spotlight and watchful eye of museum visitors for almost a year. Of course, for Proportion this was a comfortable challenge, but it is an achievement never the less.
 
The exhibition runs until 12th March 2017. For more information or tickets please visit their website by clicking here

Images courtesy and copyright to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London






BOUDOIR RE-STYLED
 
Freshening their BOUDIOR range, Proportion chose an on trend pallet of muted berries, luxurious fabrics and sophisticated rose gold and metal finishes. The range itself provides spectacular display potential for everything from underwear, swimwear and nightwear, through to stockings, tights and socks. Collection body shapes include, body bra and brief forms, padded bra forms, lingerie hangers and a variety of leg forms. All items are available in either sprayed fibreglass or upholstered in a wide range of coverings. Like all Proportion product, clients can employ their own custom finishes and details to make the collection unique to their brand,  
 


 
 
 
If you would like more information on this range or advice on how to make the most of your lingerie displays please contact my chums at info@proportionlondon.com

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Step inside my showroom...

As promised darlings, I can now reveal my newly re-styled showroom which excites me enormously! 

A few weeks ago, my chums at Proportion London and I got together and threw a fabulous breakfast soiree for the launch of MADEMOISELLE (Proportion's latest female mannequin range). Clients and friends came and admired the re-style and all of the product so perfectly presented in the art gallery like space. As we nibbled on French toast and drank champagne, it dawned on me that my stunning home should be shared with my friends across the world! So I hereby give you an exclusive tour (and also a cheeky selfie or two)!
Mademoiselle - the lady herself!


The MADEMOISELLE range exudes an incredible freshness with refined elegance. She embodies contemporary romance whilst hinting at a cool nonchalance - in short, she is my kinda gal! Adding to her prettiness, she is styled in crisp white with accents of luscious violets, cool blues and tranquil greens. The full range consists of ten dynamic figures, each position created with defined yet understated movement and delicately expressive hands, which capture eloquent mid gesture poses - enhancing her characteristics further. An abstract head with ghosted back features, plus a semi-realistic version are available on all figures, whilst sculpted hair pieces and a headless upholstered option complete the range.

headless mademoiselle in repeat


sculpt hair and realistic mademoiselle


a candid shot of me!


Mademoiselle's delicate and expressive hands   


Mademoiselle with wooden articulated arms - ideal for handbag presentation 


the Mademoiselle girls, en masse


another candid shot of moi

Mademoiselle, featuring sculpted hair and semi-realistic face
THEORY male and female mannequins stand tall on mirror boxed plinths - adding drama and contrast to the space. Finished in monochrome matt and gloss graphics, this range provides ultimate impact. The versatility of the collection can be mind blowing - for instance, by adding wig and makeup or having a headless version, the same range of figures can have endless looks. Genius! 

Theory male and female mannequins
Making a special appearance for a limited time only, is the thought provoking artwork and photography by Roger Miles and Fraser Carr Miles. Their work documents the decommissioning of my old factory home through a series of images and objects which capture the beauty and craft of mannequin production. The pieces are on sale, so if you have your eye on something make sure you enquire quickly!

Vintage style bustforms and harlequins showcased alongside Roger Miles artwork and photography

Roger Miles' cyanotype bust forms 

Capsule bust form range


Of course some of the all time favourite collections are on show, such as COMPONENTS, RAW, VINTAGE and BESPOKE, but what I would really like to show you is the revamped BOUDOIR range. This irresistible collection of bodies and accoutrements is designed specifically for the presentation of lingerie and hosiery type merchandise. And I think it looks especially stunning in its new sophisticated palette of rose gold, and muted berry colours. Simply divine!

Foot forms from the Boudoir range


upholstered bra forms with rose gold metalwork - from Boudoir


the loft has been transformed into a stunning boudoir space  - every girl's dream!   
Darlings, my door is always open, so do feel free to visit me and see the new showroom with your very own eyes. Just let me know when you plan to come over, so I can put the kettle on! 


Tel: 0207 749 1300


Showroom address:
65 Leonard Street,
Shoreditch,
London,
EC2A 4QS














Tuesday, 29 March 2016

The whims of fashion

Darlings – its been a busy couple of months I can tell you. New York, London, Milan, Paris – I’ve done the lot! Jetting around in Anna’s entourage, caught in her fragrant slipstream, attending show after show (front row of course), and posing for endless paps in the latest looks from the world’s premier designers. Exhausting!

But, oh my, did you see the looks coming through? The shows themselves were glorious: a sense of prettiness, a softening of silhouette, a profusion of frills, fur and frippery along with the return of accessories in general and most particularly, the 'IT bag'.

I’m coveting Gucci’s styling; extreme Royal Tenenbaum kookiness! Dreaming of Hedi’s take on 80s glamour at YSL, drooling over sweetheart necklines, velvet and fringing, an overdose of vibrant colour, endless patterns jarring under the jangling weight of jewellery – I can feel a new dawn breaking as fashions never ending cycle turns a ladylike corner.    

Consequently, i’m rethinking the mannequin I want to be. More elegant. With finesse, charm and grace. Coquettish and at the same time fragile! I want curves to wear the new feminine shapes but at the same time to be modern and ever youthful.
 
I hear on the grapevine Proportion London are thinking that way too. Rumour has it they’ve been in the sculpt studio with maestro Rob Patterson working on something beautiful. The only proof I have is this vague dreamy watercolour left in the design studio last week. What does it all mean? We shall surely find out as they launch their rethemed showroom next month.

Watch this space readers, all will be revealed .....

   

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Utopian Bodies - fashion looks forward


Darlings, we all know I’m a girl with expensive taste and there’s no disguising my love of fashion, appreciation of style and admiration of good design. Believe me, my bank statement exposes a multitude of said obsessions! But what is it about fashion that makes some of us tick, and what if, in an ideal world, there were possibilities, we had never encountered?? These questions were triggered by the creative duo; Sofia Hedman and Serge Martynov (curator and designer of Utopian Bodies exhibition), when they stopped by Mannequin Towers for tea recently (and of course, some jammy dodgers)!

Sofia and Serge set a brief and discussed the concept of ‘Utopian bodies – fashion looks forward’ exhibition  with Proportion London’s Account Manager, Ashley Backhouse. Excited by the prospect, the Proportion team of craftsmen began producing bespoke figures, some of which were to display unconventional and unique designs. True to the brief, tweaks and innovative amendments were made to some of the bodies: a flashing heart built into a mannequin and cutaway figures which appeared to make the clothing float in mid air.

Wanting to see this one of a kind exhibition with my very own eyes, I jetted to the Liljevachs museum in Stockholm this week. Overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence of the show and fashion in a utopian society. Each gallery takes you on a personal and unique journey while providing a thought provoking experience. To sum up my emotions I left stimulated, profound and much the wiser.  

Regardless of whether you are a fashion junkie or not, we all have a relationship with attire that plays a major part in our lives. Think of clothes as our outer shell, we wake up in the morning and decide what armor to wear that day - a protection if you like. Does this outfit portray me as how I want to be perceived? Does it represent my personality? Or the dreaded question - does my bum look big in this?!!! These are some of the questions we ask ourselves on a daily basis.

But fashion can delve deeper than just the surface and how it affects us as individuals. Take sustainability, technology, and society for example. What if garments could be produced without leaving a carbon footprint? or recycled from household waste? Maybe we could all look away from our phones and focus on our surrounding environment, simply by relying on our clothing to navigate us by a tap on the shoulder, instead of following a phone map?  It is innovations like these that make you re-think fashion and the importance it can hold in our lives.

Throughout this exhibition each gallery was inspired by a utopian ideal, which included innovation, technology, memory, gender identity and love. The show takes a look at the history, evolution and interpretation of fashion, with over 200 garments from luxury brands, high street retailers and Swedish designers, all presented in  beautifully curated space.

Sadly the exhibition ends on the 7th February 2016, but I am told it will be touring. I send out a clarion call for fellow fashion bunnies,  non-conformists, scientists, designers, children (there’s a fabulous craft area for little peeps to create patchworks, dolls and play fancy dress) to go see if you get the chance. This one will really set you thinking, and dreaming of how fashion can harness a better future….   

Initial meeting at the Proportion London showroom - discussing fabric and eating biscuits!  

Cutaway bodies being developed at the Proportion London workshop 

Costume toiles and fit session at the Proportion London design studio 

Fluid female mannequin with bespoke heart amendments

Sustainability gallery at the Utopian Bodies Fashion Looks Forwards exhibition


Sustainability Gallery - recycled dress

Dress with beading made from glass bottles

3D printed shoes

Hand carved wooden mannequin arms


Carved wooden mannequin arms in detail


Solidarity gallery

Veneer mannequin wigs

Solidarity gallery wall details

Craft and colour gallery

Close up of mannequin details in the craft and colour gallery

Maison Martin Margiela candy bag for H&M

Beauty gallery 

Gender gallery

Gender gallery

Gender gallery

Gender gallery

Change gallery

Change gallery

Change gallery 

Change gallery

Change gallery

Love gallery

For more information on this exhibition click here
For mannequins and bespoke projects please visit my chums at Proportion London