Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Kris Tate and Tata Cristiane.

I came across Kris Tate's work today on tumblr and I love her style! The way she combines brightly coloured geometrics with monochrome animal photographs is amazing and falls perfectly in line with WGSN's cosmic folk trend, she also gives a nod to the fantasy folklore trend with animals in her artwork wearing 'hipster' clothing.

Kris Tate- https://www.facebook.com/kristateillustrations

Kris Tate- https://www.facebook.com/kristateillustrations

I am aware that I seem to be talking about WGSN a little/a lot, but below is the collaged AW 13-14 collection of Tata Cristiane entitled "Le Troisième Oeil" which I, of course, stumbled across on WGSN!

With the title "the third eye", this collection refers to the invisible eye which is thought to provide perception beyond ordinary sight. Although this collection possesses a different meaning to the other popular eye imagery of AW13, shown in Kenzo and Concept Korea (see blog entry on the evil eye), "Le Troisième Oeil" demonstrates the popularity of the eye on AW13 catwalks.

Based simply on aesthetics and the way the lookbook has been presented Tata Cristiane's collection looks exciting, fresh and vibrant with a brilliant contrast between photographic imagery and repeat patterns.

Animal personification revival!

In one of my recent blog entries I briefly looked at the upcoming WGSN trend entitled 'future folklore'. The over-imaginative illustrations in this trend featured mythological creatures and animals impersonating humans, creating characters that could have walked out of a nightmare or surrealist painting.

I have been doing some further research into this trend and have found that personifying animals by dressing them in human clothing seems to be increasingly popular among artists and illustrators. 

Popularity of animal personification peaked in the Victorian and Edwardian era. Questionable taste levels, obsessions with taxidermy and book publications such as Lewis Carroll's 'Alice in wonderland'(1865), 'The tales of Beatrix Potter'(1901 on-wards  and 'The wind in the willows'(1908), all led to a fascination with the notion that animals could take on human characteristics. This could also be due, in part, to the substance abuse which was so common in the Victorian era- Laudanum, opium and heroin were all widely prescribed to cure everything from headaches to kidney stones. It is highly likely that animal personification was a product of the drug induced imaginations of Victorian creatives- Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde and Lewis Carroll(no surprise there!) were all known to be drug addicts.

This theme is continued in a well know painting by Cassius Coolidge(1903) who was commissioned to paint a series of artworks featuring dogs playing poker, hardly a canine trait!

Cassius Coolidge 'Dogs playing poker'.

While researching this blog entry I came across the  photographs below which were taken from the 'Grand Ole Bestiary' on etsy.com (a bestiary, also know as a bestiarum vocabulum is a compendium of beasts made popular in the Middle Ages). Animal heads have been added to Victorian portrait photography, transforming the once serious photographs into humorous examples of animal personification. 

Grand Ole Bestiary- http://www.etsy.com/shop/GrandOleBestiary

Illustrators and painters are also jumping on board this human/animal revival ,painting animals in formal dress and occasionwear. Ryan Berkley and Yago Partal are two of the many illustrators who seem to have this trend perfected, Berkley in particular adds so much character to the animals in his illustrations through the garments he has chosen to dress them in.

Yago Partal- 'Zoo portraits' http://www.zooportraits.com/

Ryan Berkley http://www.etsy.com/shop/berkleyillustration

While googling animals dressed as humans, I evidently spend far too much time on google, I came across a complete contrast to this trend. Although still focusing on surrealism, Gesine Marwedel uses body painting to turn the human body into an animal. As with the Victorian portrait photography it takes a second glance to understand how these photos.

Gesine Marwedel- http://www.gesine-marwedel.de/gesine-marwedel/english/

Gesine Marwedel- http://www.gesine-marwedel.de/gesine-marwedel/english/

With the increasing popularity of this kind of surreal animal imagery I decided to do my own take on this trend for work. In one of my recent factory visits to Manchester it was highlighted that companies had been asking to see artworks depicting animals taking on 'gangster' characteristics. This was said to be a move on from the recent geek theme where all animals in imagery used in apparel seemed to be wearing glasses.

Below are some of my favourite 'ghetto' animals found through researching this idea. My favourite has to be the hip-hop rhino and hippo.

When creating my own designs I had to take into account that they were to be used as knitted jacquards and unfortunately this meant that I had to keep the designs quite simple- surprising how much more difficult it is to create a simple design than a complex one. The designs need some further work and I need to create some different colourways but I think they could look quite effective on a knitted jumper.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Kenzo inspired tiger takeover...but what animal will be trending next?

As everyone, even people who don't really "do" fashion, will have have noticed Kenzo's tiger jumper has caused a  frenzy on the high street for big cats. From jacquards to embroidered applique and prints Kenzo lookalikes seem to have taken over the high street with every high street brand doing their own take on this design!

I think My favourite has to be the Topshop jumper with the tiger embroidery over the green giraffe print, this design gives a nod to Kenzo while still retaining some uniqueness.

I guess the big question now is...what next? What animal will take over for AW13 and SS14?

Swans could be a possibility, there are definitely a lot of birds on the catwalks and this trend is workable for both AW and SS. With Just Cavalli's leopard print swan in his resort SS14 collection swans could be set to increase in popularity.

Giraffe prints, particularly monochrome giraffe prints, seem to be gaining popularity both on and off the catwalk-Burberry and Mulberry both featured Giraffe prints in their AW13 collections.Judging by the Resort SS14 collections the monochrome trend from SS13 is set to continue, could a black and white giraffe print be a contender for replacing Kenzo's tiger?

Dichoric glass and Minjae Lee

In Preparation for when I finally start attempting to make necklaces, I figured I'd buy all the things I need first(procrastination in denial), I have bought some of this amazing dichoric glass from etsy.com. I love the patterns and the iridescent colours and think that pieces of this glass could look amazing attached to a basic metal collar.

In my spare time, i.e the hour I get for my lunch break, I seem to have got into the routine of googling graphic illustrators. I can honestly say that there are some amazing artists out there whose talents and creativity I am unashamedly jealous of. I really need to get into the habit of working on some sketches and illustrations in my spare time, although I do this as my day job and sketch/paint for the freelance prints I do fro Black Cherry, I really miss creating artworks that are personal and just for my own enjoyment.

Below are some graphic illustrations by Minjae Lee, a South Korean artist I had the good fortune to come across on my daily google today. I am absolutely fascinated with the way he juxtaposes intricate patterns and hand drawn photo realistic sketches. The usage of monochrome figures and contrasting pops of vivid colours is something I have always strived to use in my own work and I love the way Lee has used this technique. His illustrations are truly inspirational and unique while still managing to be quite editorial.

Fantasy illustration

Above is a recent trend prediction board from WGSN for AW14/15. Taking inspiration from folklore, mythology and fantasy creatures this trend is an opportunity to play around with graphics and let your imagination run wild creating characters that wouldn't be seen in everyday life. Although this is quite an advanced trend prediction I think it would be useful for me to use this theme as a personal project to get myself started on creating screen print artwork.

As research for this fantasy trend I have been looking at images on society6. Below are some of the illustrations that caught my attention. I like the idea of animals in human clothing and love the surreal look this creates.

The boxing panda, centaur with headscarf and goldfish bowl head lady are all favourites of mine.

Below are some surrealist paintings from artists including Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. As with the above selection of images I love the female nude with a teacup for a head, this is something I would like to look into.

Rainer Taepper (below) is a perfect example of an artist who has created illustrations based on this fantasy theme his nudes with animal heads are amazing and I can see them working really well as t-shirt prints. Another idea I may have to experiment with, I'm building up quite a list here.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Pre SS14 collections.

Clover canyons resort 14 collection takes inspiration from Cuba and its African and Spanish colonial heritage. Mirrored prints consisting of Spanish tiles; Cuban cigars; exotic fruits and brightly coloured florals make this collection vibrant and exciting and work well alongside the black and white graphic element of these prints. Although Clover Canyon is an American brand, the high level of detail in the print designs would sit perfectly next to British designers like Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto.

My favourite piece in this collection has to be the jumper shown below with the graphic print of an old Cuban woman with a coloured headscarf and a Cuban cigar, this print adds so much character and humour into the collection and is an excellent conversational piece.

Despite my recent complaining regarding Cavalli's Just Cavalli collection I actually quite like the designs featured in his resort SS14 collection. He continues the oriental theme featured in his AW13 designs but uses completely different imagery to create a fresh, light feel. I love the image reference to Hokusai's wave painting and how he has combined the imagery with the snakeskin. 

Hokusai's wave painting

My favourite piece in this collection is the leopard print swan, I love the idea of using different animal skins as a fill pattern and intend to try creating some of my own sketches around this idea.

The hand sketched detail in this swan reminded me of the work of Emma Shipley, an MA Textiles graduate from the Royal College of Art who launched her label at London Fashion Week in 2012. I first saw her work at Premiere Vision 3 years ago and have been fascinated ever since. It's so rare to find someone whose designs are entirely hand sketched and knowing how much time and effort has gone into the creation of these designs adds to the beauty of them. As Cavalli has done in the swan artwork, Shipley uses animal skin prints but in other natural forms like leaves and florals, I love this idea and can't wait to create my own artworks inspired by this.

When I finally get chance to start creating some designs for myself I want to have this level of detail in all of the artwork.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Cosmic folk!

 A perk of my day job is the company's subscription to WGSN. I can see all their latest trend updates and apply them to my freelance work and hopefully, once I get started on them, I can apply this trend research to the designs for the market stall I am so desperate to set up.

One of the recent print/graphics trends on WGSN is cosmic folk: a brightly coloured futuristic combination of tribal, folk and geometrics, whats not to love!

With the festival season drawing near folk-inspired prints are increasing in popularity on the high street. Urban outfitters has a whole range of bags inspired by European folk art and tribal rave designs.

Since my final year project in University I have had a fascination/obsession with eastern European folk art, Polish wycinanki cutouts in particular. So I have been desperate to get my hands on a folk inspired bag, being a penniless design assistant however means I can't afford urban outfitters prices so I trawled through etsy.com trying to find the perfect bag et voila....

This dreamy rucksack also doubles up as a satchel, it's literally the best bag I have ever owned!
I got this bag from littlepurser on etsy, below are some of the other bags from their online etsy shop:

Japanese street style and the evil eye trend

While creating the oriental designs for my recent Just Cavalli brief I came across japanesestreets.com which documents the alternative Japanese street fashion. 

I love the creativity these street shots express, Japanese street style seems so fearless- people don't shy away from mixing patterns and wearing "quirky" things. I would love to be this experimental in my wardrobe choices.

I'm really interested in getting some more printed t-shirts in my wardrobe, they're so easy to just throw on with leggings/jeans and a chunky necklace.

Trend alert: Evil/All seeing eye

Kenzo's AW13 collection introduced an eye print and since the arrival of this on the catwalk so many high street brands have followed suit.

Left to right: Creatures of comfort, Concept Korea, Kenzo.

Not only has the eye symbol been a success in both catwalk and high street fashion but also in jewellery, tattoos and nail art.

The symbolism of the eye is used throughout many countries and is consistent in it's meaning- protection. In these cultures excessive praise is considered to incur the wrath of the evil eye. In Turkey the evil eye pendant is attached to anything that might attract greed, envy or ill will. The idea that too much fame/success may bring about one's downfall could explain the recent fascination with the evil eye, particularly in celeb culture. So many album covers and editorial photo shoots reference the eye symbolism, leading people to speculate whether the celebs striking this pose are members of secret societies like the Illuminati.

Although the evil eye is known to symbolise protection it also has strong associations with freemasonry and the Illuminati(the Illuminati's 'all seeing eye' can be seen on US currency), the evil eye can be linked to Egyptian symbology where an open eye was used as a symbol for Osiris and son Horus, it can also be linked to the Jewish Hamsa(a hand with a protective eye in the centre). It is these associations that have meant that the eye symbol is sometimes viewed as representing control of knowledge,manipulation and power. 

Freelance work update: Cavalli torture!

Left:Just Cavalli Fall 2013 , Right: Parts of my designs based on the Just Cavalli collection.

This last month has been horrific in terms of work, freelance work in particular. 
After being given a brief to interpret Just Cavalli's Fall 13 collection(shown above left) any creativity I had seemed to posses instantly dried up making it extremely difficult to complete the project. The level of detail in Just Cavalli's work is unbelievable and trying to interpret that in my own way without the designs looking like an imitation of the originals was difficult to say the least. I managed to get it into my head that this brief was impossible and the more I tried to create the designs the more challenging the task became.

Fortunately I was told this week that I have sold 2 designs from my tribal collection in Milan and 1 design from my Peter Pilotto collection in Barcelona- This news seems to have provided me with the motivation I needed to finish the Cavalli brief ( Parts of my designs are shown next to the original Just Cavalli collection above). It's extremely reassuring when someone buys one of my designs as it proves to me that I'm not wasting my time with freelance work, which is how I've been feeling lately. I was particularly encouraged with the design sold in Barcelona as this was taken from the first freelance brief I carried out and I'm excited to see what garment shapes all the designs are used on and what companies they were sold to.

Top: 2 tribal designs sold in Milan, Underneath: Peter Pilotto inspired design sold in Barcelona.

I have already been presented with my next brief which, Oh joy, is more Cavalli!
Fortunately this brief is to create designs around Roberto Cavalli's Fall 13 collection which is less garish than his Just Cavalli collection; I am actually quite looking forward to getting started. 

Below is a link to my Pinterest board where I've started to collate my research. I'm looking forward to trying to paint the dark baroque florals that feature in these designs as I'm not used to painting florals it should present an interesting challenge.