Festival of Colors: Holi Open Air

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, is an ancient festival celebrated in India at the arrival of spring, where people would cover each other in bright colored chalk to rejoice for the return of spring. Te ritual is also considered to be the symbol of good's victory over evil.

The joy and the colorfulness of this festival brought the idea of creating an European version of the celebration starting this year. The 29th of July marked the first edition of the Holi Open Air Festival in Berlin, with thousands of participants and sold out tickets. The festival will also take place in other major German cities, such as Hamburg (September 1st). Rumor has it that the festival will expand towards Koln, Munich, Ibiza, Barcelona and even Cape Town, but the dates are still to be confirmed yet. In the meantime, enjoy some amazing shots from this colorful event:

On the Riviera: Natasha Poly for Vogue Russia

Monday, 30 July 2012

Magazine: Vogue Russia August 2012
Editorial: On the Riviera
Model: Natasha Poly
Photographer: Ellen von Unwerth
Styling: Ekaterina Mukhina
Location: French Riviera

The warm weather outside calls for an escape to the French Riviera. What do you say, will you follow me? Natasha Poly looks stunning in Gucci gowns and Chopard and de Grisogno jewelry for her latest editorial in Vogue Russia. Photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, the editorial captures the glamorous life on the French Riviera between luxurious hotels, parties and fresh air. Looks nice, don't you think?

Valentino bought by Qatari Royal Family

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Iconic Italian Fashion House Valentino is the latest Italian luxury brand that has been bought by a foreign investor, after Cerutti and Gianfranco Ferre. The Qatari royal family, who also owns the British luxury department store Harrod's, supposedly acquired Valentino for about 700 million euros, although financial or ownership details have not been made official by the brand. 

What do you think about this constant estrangement of iconic brands from their founders or country of origin? Do you think that it could damage the brand in the long term? Do you think that there could be a change in the brand's direction and style following this change in ownership? I sure hope not, the current designers are brilliant and I really love their vision, it would be a shame to change something at this point.

Fashion Illustrations by JSK

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Taking a break from all those Fashion Week posts, today I'd like to show you some cute and quirky fashion illustrations and I'll continue with some travel photos (I told you that I went to Italy, right?). So stay tuned!

Freelance fashion illustrator and art director JSK is the founder and creative brain behind his personal brand Susu. Based in Sydney and Seoul, the brand brings a fresh air into fashion through an inspiration mix from these two exotic locations. The fashion illustrator started his Susu girls illustrations some time ago and he caught the eye of some major shops and publications. Nowadays you can see his Susu girls everywhere, from Bloomingdale's and style.com Korea to the Korean issues of Vogue, GQ, Allure or W. The signature style of the designer can be seen in the slim, long legged silhouettes with short dark hair. 

I really like how the illustrator manages to create such unitary images from a blend of styles and brands. Every piece seems to have been especially created to be in perfect harmony with the garment next to it. Also very interesting is how the illustrations are inspired from iconic pieces and milestones of the featured brands, like the SS 202 Louis Vuitton Carousel show or the pink Louis Vuitton bunny ears. Have a look for yourselves!

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week FW 2012: Jean Paul Gaultier

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

After all the sweetness and sobriety of the last two runway shows, I thought I should wake you up with some scandalous, genuine Jean Paul Gaultier! The FW collection was a bit all over the place unfortunately, showcasing not one but seemingly all of the designer's cult pieces in just one show - such as the corset cage dresses, the kimonos and kaftans or the fancy suits and top hats for menswear. Although it seemed a bit non-cohesive, the collection was designed under a central theme, the movie "Confessions of a Child of the Century", that the designer saw while he was in the jury for the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. 

Among the multitude of overworked looks, there were still some great pieces in the collection that I really enjoyed watching , such as the dress in the opening photo with a very interesting shoulder detail or the sheer black sparkly dress worn by Karlie Kloss. Here are the most interesting looks from the runway, including a few menswear looks here and there:

Backstage @ Giambattista Valli Haute Couture FW 2012

Monday, 9 July 2012

I saw that you really enjoyed my backstage post for the Valentino show, so I decided to extend it also the the Giambattista Valli runway! The backstage photos are even more interesting this time in my opinion, because you get to see up close the magnificent jewelry that was especially designed for this show and also the butterflies and nets that adorned the model's faces. 

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week FW 2012: Giambattista Valli

Sunday, 8 July 2012

I'm feeling very inspired by this type of slim and elegant dresses this fashion week season, so here's another great show full of magnificent dresses. Elegance and simplicity are the key, but this time the dresses come with a twist: the designer added ruffles, incredible floral patterns and statement jewelry created in collaboration with jewelry designer Luigi Scialanga. The result is a stunning collection in which the designer invites us into his secret garden of muslin and organza dresses with exaggerated ruffles. To continue the floral dream, the models's faces are surrounded by a soft veil and butterflies.

I think this is probably one of my favorite Haute Couture collections so far! I love the concept, the floral patterns are simply insane and the clothes fit perfectly. Among my favorite garments are the forest green dress in the opening photo, the pink floral suit worn by Ginta Lapina with a flower embroidered skirt, the knee length red dress with ruffles or the flower camouflage gown with ruffled shoulders. Here is my selection of the best looks from the runway:

Backstage @ Valentino Haute Couture FW 2012

Saturday, 7 July 2012

I thought it would be very interesting also to see the hidden part of Haute Couture behind all the glitter and cameras of Fashion Week's runways, so here we are backstage at the Valentino Haute Couture show. Catch a glimpse into the models' life while they are getting ready for one of fashion's biggest events of the year and have a look at some playful shots backstage. Enjoy!

What do you think of the backstage life? I think it's as exciting and interesting as on the runway and definitely much more adventurous! 

Photos: vogue.fr

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week FW 2012: Valentino

Friday, 6 July 2012

A perfect match for yesterday's ethereal fashion show from Elie Saab is of course the FW Valentino collection, designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri. This fall season seems to be under the dominance of countenance and sobriety, the dresses are long-sleeved, the colors are mostly dark and the hemlines reach onto the ground up to the tip of the shoes. The silhouettes are slim and elegant, well-defined, but yet they guard a note of mystery because of the play of contrasts - sheer versus opaque, embroideries and appliques versus simple monochrome fabrics.

The collection is exquisite, very elegant in its ink blue-colored simplicity but well-balanced overall with some rich fabrics and patterns and flamboyant details like the embroideries. The garments are impeccably tailored and the level of craftsmanship is incredibly high, imagine that for example some of the embroideries have had 900 hours of handwork preceding the presentation! 

My personal favorites were the ink blue dress worn by Frida Gustavsson in the opening photo, the ink blue dress with sheer sleeves and a black embroidered panel on the front worn by Kasia Strauss, the nude pleated dress with light floral details worn by Ruby Aldridge or the Ginta Lapina's jumpsuit. Notice the tree of life embroidery on the back of one of the golden jackets, it was one of the collection's motifs. I'll let you discover your own favorites now, with my selection of the most interesting looks from the runway!

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week FW 2012: Elie Saab

Thursday, 5 July 2012

After all the geometric shapes from the Dior show, it was time for something less earthy and more dreamy, like the Elie Saab collection. The designer drew his inspiration from the Ottoman Empire with kaftan-inspired dresses and gold and silver appliques.The floor length dresses keep the usual style of the designer, they are very fluid and the shapes are very flattering, creating a long and slim silhouette. I love the simple cuts and the play between sheerness and sparkly, lace is such an amazing fabric for this kind of play on substance. The color palette is perfect for autumn - tones of black, silver, gold, baby blue and light pink and a touch of turquoise for a pop of color. 

If I had to chose my favorite items, I would say it's nearly impossible because all the dresses are so beautiful! What I do know though, is that the second black dress, the dress in the opening photo and the first turquoise dress are definitely among my favorites. Here is my selection of the most interesting looks from the runway:

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week FW 2012: Dior

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week started a few days ago and all I could think of during the past days was what the debut collection of Raf Simons for Dior would look like! The House of Dior has passed through a rough patch after the John Galliano scandal last year, so when Raf Simons was chosen to be the fifth designer of the House everybody had high hopes that Dior would regain its lost glory. Raf Simons had a great past to live up to and the weight on his shoulders was even bigger considering that his debut collection would be an Haute Couture one. 

As the great designer that he is, Raf Simons managed to do the impossible: in just 3 months he created a fabulous collection bringing a modern spirit into the traditional Dior cuts and shapes. He revived the mid-calf full skirts with big pockets and the bar jackets of Dior's 50s period by giving them a more geometrical shape and created very interesting garments by turning mini-ball gowns into tops worn with cigarette trousers. While explaining his historic/modern approach for the collection, Raf Simons said that he "wanted it to be linked to the codes of Christian Dior, but to make it dynamic, modern, energetic". I think he definitely succeeded!

The Dior show was presented in a private House on avenue D'I√©na in Paris and the design of the rooms was thought as an homage to the House's founder. Christian Dior cultivated flowers in his country garden, so the designer decided to line each room of the house with a tapestry of fresh flowers: white orchids, yellow mimosas and blue delphiniums, the colors that would appear on the catwalk during the show. The result was breathtaking! Among my favorite looks are the grey tweed mid-calf dress, the simple strapless silver, pink, blue ad green top paired with black cigarette pants and the ballgowns towards the end of the show, especially the red one in the opening photo and the one with the full skirt with a blue flowers pattern.

The collection was awaited with an enormous sense of anticipation, one could just see that by the number of designers and celebrities attending, everybody was curious to see where Dior was going. To name just a few of the guests: editors such as Emmanuelle Alt or Carine Roitfeld, designers Alber Elbaz, Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace, Riccardo Tisci or Diane von Furstenberg, celebrities such as Marion Cotillard or Princess Charlene of Monaco.

"I haven't been this excited to see a show in a long time. Today I'm going to
 see something I've never seen before." Emmanuelle Alt, editor-in-chief Vogue Paris

I'll let you judge for yourselves if all the anticipation was worth it:

Graffiti Art

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Hey guys, long time no see! Things have been hectic around here for the past two weeks, so I didn't have time to keep you updated, but now I'm back so the all the goodies and stories can start! On my agenda for the next two weeks: Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week (hehe can't wait to start writing about this!), my trip to Italy in the region of Umbria and a few other events I took part in during these couple of weeks. Pretty busy, so let's get started shall we?

I'll kick off with a couple of shots of the new graffiti wall in the British Council yard, that was specially designed for an event that took place last week: the Night of the Cultural Institutes. The theme of the graffiti is sports and it was inspired by the London 2012 Olympic Games. I really loved all the bright colors and the funny and playful silhouettes. They blended in perfectly with some witty quotes from famous British sportsmen and the wall was an eye catcher during the event. I also had my turn with the spray paint, it's not as easy as you would believe it! Here's a glimpse of the work in progress:
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