If you’re following Blink London on insta then you’ll know I am holidaying in Bali right now. More to come on that- but what my hols also means is that I have had a minute to get stuck back in to my badly ignored blog. No excuses, but things have been pretty darn fabulously hectic at Blink Towers for the past few months. I have not been practicing what I preach about making sure you set aside a regular time slot to keep your blog posts rolling and for that I am sorry (not sorry cos there’s been amazing stuff afoot!).
Well, taking an evening out from my holiday to indulge in my passion for fashion, beauty and lifestyle, at my trusty laptop, cocktail by my side, surf crashing just beyond the open french doors is no great hardship- and I promise to keep the flow of news, excitement, information and inspiration flowing again!
I am getting my blogging groove back on with a focus on beautiful back views, and not just for the wonderfully appropriate post title opportunity. As a designer I have found myself taking more interest in back details of garments than the fronts recently, and more specifically split, slashed and open, plunging backs. I wanted to share some great inspirational images with you, all swiped from Pinterest with hugest love, thanks and appreciation.
The open back has been getting lost of catwalk love in recent shows, is a great streetstyle looks (backwards shirts are part of this too) as well as spotted in exquisite vintage styles. Here are some of my favourites for you to enjoy, and for more just hit up Blink London on Pinterest.
Streetstyle from Pinterest and TheyAllHateUs
Rochas Resort 2017, from Pinterest
Dior model Kouka at Paris fashion show, February 1962 swiped from Pinterest
Balenciaga, swiped from Pinterest
thesartorialist.com, swiped from Pinterest
B.H. Wragge, photo by Norman Parkinson for Vogue 1965, swiped from Pinterest
For more fashion inspiration, just take a look here.
So, as 2015 draws to a close, our thoughts turn to the year ahead. We have already seen what fashion’s biggest labels think we should be wearing for Spring Summer 2016, as well as a little preview of Autumn Winter 2016 through the pre-collections which have just been shown. Elle.com shared insight in to what inspired some designer’s Spring 2016 collectionswhich is lovely to look at against what actually hit the catwalks. The fashion forecasting houses are way past 2016 already of course, as are most fashion designers, but before we shoot too far in to the future there are some very interesting changes afoot in the world of fashion which we have been pondering…
Missoni pre-fall 2016, from image Vogue.com with thanks
Where is Raf going and what is going to happen at Dior? How long can Gucci sustain their new geeky chic direction and what else does new creative director, Alessandro Michele, got up his sleeve? How will Balenciaga‘s appointment of Demna Gvasalia, formerly of Vetements, impact on the brand’s aesthetic? Will we all be 3D printing our own clothes any time soon? How will the high street compete with the growth and diversification of the online shopping experience?
Gucci pre-fall 2016, from image Vogue.com with thanks
And perhaps most importantly of all, what on earth will the Kardashians do next to in order to keep hold of our undivided attention? Well, I think their impact on the global psyche was very well reflected in the utter fashion mayhem caused by the H&M x Balmain collaboration. Crikey, that Olivier Rousteing knows how to work his celebrity smothered intagram account with supreme skill, featuring his Kardashian/West/Jenner bezzies on a regular basis. Not that long ago the general high street fashion shopping populous would most probably been totes unaware of Balmain as a brand, and now they are knocking each other to the ground for this collab collection in a mosh pit style frenzy!
Kendall Jenner modelling Balmain x H&M. Image swiped from Pinterest with thanks
Well this leads us on to another interesting question. Who on earth can follow up that H&M collaboration? The joy of these collabs is not lost on me. I am a proud repeat wearer of several bits bought from the Stella collab, the Marant collab and the Margiela collab (although no one was injured in my purchasing of those items). I came across this interesting article putting some odds on potential designers who may or may not be under official H&M consideration. Who will you put your money on?
For more fashion inspiration to get your brains swirling just like ours, look here. If you’re after shopping news in particular, then you should look here.
We have a new baby! Not a literal, actual being type human baby. We have a new Blink London business baby! Please welcome our brand new brand, Bella Illustrations. When you are looking at something rather lovely, feel free to say “Oh yes, that reminds me of those fabulous Bella Illustrations fashion drawings.” and as your friends look enquiringly at you, congratulate yourself on having the inside track on this new source for original and limited edition fashion artwork.
I must give my family kudos for inspiring me to launch Bella Illustrations because as a fashion designer, these are just the tools of my trade, but they assure me that these are things of beauty that deserve to be shared. Over the past 20 years I have been working out my best way of expressing my design ideas, and this is the result. These are drawn with absolute love, dedication and passion for the fashion world and my place in it. My favourite work days are my drawing days and so to have a legitimate excuse to have more drawing days is an absolute dream come true!
Bella Illustrations, original artwork
I’m offering some one off, unique, original fashion drawings that are mostly monochrome but detailed with skin tone to help the silhouette of the designs shine out. These above and below are on the Bella Illustrations Etsy shop right now, in our ‘Three Looks’ series.
Bella Illustrations, original artwork
I’m also creating some limited edition drawings which are inspired by vintage fashion looks. These are drawn up and then printed on to heavy cartridge paper. I then hand colour these with watercolours so actually each one is still quite unique- and there are only ever 5 of each drawing produced.
This one, with the embroidered bodice and full tulle skirt, is inspired by a 1950’s Balenciaga design. And the look below is also from the 1950’s but is a Dior design. The next may well be a 1970’s suit although I’m also being tempted by something far more historical like a 1920’s flapper dress or a heavily detailed Victorian frock…
Oh, and are you wondering about the name ‘Bella Illustrations’? Yes, I am Lucy to all of you and to everyone in my life- aside from to my family. Bella is a family nickname, given to me by by big brother. As this is a far more personal aspect of my business it felt natural to give it a far more personal name. I do hope that you like it.
Please take a look at my Etsy shop to see more of what I’m doing. It’s the only place online where you can buy my work. There will be more one offs and limited editions being added regularly, so keep an eye on things. I’m also creating some custom fashion drawings to order too (yay, more excuses to draw!!!). If you’d like to see more from Bella Illustrations, including some ‘artwork in process’ images, follow Bella Illustrations on Instagram too.
Last week we hopped onto the Eurostar for a whistle-stop day trip to Paris. Firstly let me say how much I love that train. However many times I use it, it remains a thing of magic to get on in one country and emerge in a whole new one. Secondly let me share with you the even more deeply felt joy we felt when we hit the Dries van Noten exhibition at Les Arts Decoratifs.
You may have already noticed via the blog, our instagram and twitter that we are huge DvN fans. This only served to enhance that. The love affair all started when I first came across his collection in my first fashion industry job at Whistles. Whistles were one of the first UK retailers to buy his collection and I was so entranced by the aesthetic and attention to detail that I immediately wrote to Andries himself, asking for a job. I may not have even made it to an interview but I did receive a very charming letter from him in return, explaining that they were a very small team and not recruiting just now. I bet they are not such a small team now, and that success is very well deserved. Enough of the love-in, lets share some of the images form the exhibition with you.
Dries van Noten ‘Inspirations’, the entrance
This exhibition catalogues a huge array of DvN’s collections, blended with his inspiration from art to archival fashion pieces. These are displayed together in wonderful 3D moodboard like arrangements, showing how his aesthetic journey takes place, as well as blending in work from iconic labels taken from Les Arts Decoratif expansive fashion archive. The exhibition is quite dark, drawing you in to the spotlit cases, but the environment is far from stark with huge blown out versions of Dries van Noten signature florals blooming from the walls and across the floors.
Dries van Noten at Les Arts Decoratifs
Dries van Noten at Les Arts Decoratifs
Dries van Noten at Les Arts Decoratifs
Dries van Noten vintage fashion floral inspiration
Dries van Noten, left, and right is vintage Balenciaga
Gold inspiration including vintage Chanel and Thierry Mugler
Dries van Noten at Les Arts Decoratifs
Dries van Noten, ‘Handmade’ film by Karel de Cock
Dries van Noten menswear inspiration
If you love fashion, textiles and art this is a must see exhibition. It was due to end on 31st August but appears to have been extended until November so there are no excuses!
We like to make sure we’re bringing you a great variety of inspiration, and with that in mind, I briefed “Blink”s newest recruit, intern Caroline Leaper, to look into a location that is proving to be an important point of reference for Designers right now. We decided on Egypt and Caroline did an incredible job looking into all the ways that this wonderful, ancient culture is impacting on fashion right now. This is the first installment, and part two will drop a little later so don’t forget to check in with us this afternoon too. Now, over to Caroline…
by Caroline Leaper
Polished to jewel-status at Chanel, worn with armour-like metallics at Balenciaga, or billowing in city-ready crepe chiffon at DKNY – the way to wear Egyptian blue this season is top-to-toe.
Azurite pigment looked almost powdery when applied to fluffy knitwear at Stella McCartney, while off the catwalk, the rich colour was translated into statement pops, paring down the impact with neutral separates. Some of the best looks came when the wearer embraced an entire palette, turning their look into a tonal scale with a whole host of blue hues.
The trend extends to accessories too, the rule here being to set the palette off with gold hardware. Young British designer Sophie Hulme’s cerulean leather satchel would surely brighten up even the dullest winter day.
AW'12 collection images from Balenciaga, Carven, Chanel and Hakaan. Images from Go Runway, with thanks
AW'12 collection images from DKNY and Stella McCartney. Images from Go Runway, with thanks. Streetstyle from Pinterest, with thanks.
left: Sophie Hulme, image from Net a Porter. right: Stella McCartney embellished cuff, image from Stella McCartney with thanks.
GRAPHIC EYES The boldest beauty look for Winter 2012 takes direct influence from Queen Cleopatra. Eyeliner is no longer restricted to the lash line and has sketched its way up the lid, in some cases as high as the brow bone. The new season’s geometric update came as make-up artists like Pat McGrath and Val Garland experimented with black liquid eyeliner, creating everything from full boxes to minimal corners, squaring-off the eye area for an innovative and impactful catwalk look.
Mac Cosmetics for Aquascutum, image from Style.com
Mac Cosmetics for Erdem, image from Style.com
Mac Cosmetics for Mary Katrantzou, image from Style.com
PYRAMID CUTS Whether stones are sliced or metals are molded, one of the most popular cuts in jewellery this season is the pyramid. House Of Harlow’s entire winter range is peppered with sleek prisms, while Urban Outfitters and New Look each offer a textural take on the trend. Emilio Pucci‘s brass and glass cocktail ring offers an antiquated, sand-blasted look, rough luxury at its finest.
top row from left: Emilio Pucci brass pyramid ring (image from Polyvore), Urban Outfitters pyramid stud earrings, House of Harlow pyramid cuff. Bottom row, from left: House of Harlow pyramid pendant necklace, House of Harlow triquetra cuff, New Look pyramid and stone bracelet. All images from the brands own websites, with thanks
Balenciaga is always a collection that challenges preconceptions about fashion, beauty and femininity. With this collection, Nicolas Ghesquiere was inspired by 1930’s ballet costumes created by the label’s founder, Cristobal Balenciaga, for a production of Ravel’s Bolero. You can see flashes of the inspirational source in this collection, but more than anything we love the softness in stark contrast with strict structure, pastels against black and fluid against graphic cut outs. And what about that amazing footwear!
Pretty much from the July issues, the monthly fashion magazines change focus and start to look at the new season ahead. As a designer, this is a really exciting time to start finding new and inspiring imagery. Yes, we’ve all pawed over the catwalk coverage, but there is something very different about looking at the editorial shots. One of my first tears for the new season (stashed safely with my growing pile of images that I may well need when building mood boards for consultancy projects) is from the July edition of British Vogue. Karen Elson just looks ethereally beautiful. The colour level of the shot is soft yet deep, with a heavy dose of rosy golden hues that look perfect against the deep green. As the niece, granddaughter and Aunt to beautiful red heads, I’ve always been drawn to the lovely combination of pale skin and red locks. It also feels quite late 70’s sophisticated, even though the rest of the shoot is far more relaxed/ Western inspired.
Karen Elson, shot by Tom Craig in Vogue, July'12. Balenciaga top and YSL dress.
Upon closer inspection, it turns out that this was shot by Tom Craig, who I had the pleasure of meeting the other day, in a nice turn of synergistic events.
According to fashion, Summer is history and Autumn is where it’s at…
Yes, we are in that frantic seasonal change over that leaves you feeling slightly out of step with reality. The stores are almost sold out of Summer sale stock and the shelves are rapidly being replenished with the first deliveries of Autumn. In many cases, these deliveries are not really what we in fashion fondly term ‘Buy now, wear now’. If they were there would be more summer dresses and a some gorgeous bikinis for the optimists amongst us who hope that July, August and even September might be scorching. These new season deliveries are in fact full of chunky knits, long sleeves, heavier weights, tweedy textiles and even the odd fur trim. If, like us, you are rather suggestible, you’ll actually be considering investing in that fabulously cabled, angora blend, long sleeved, high necked sweater- even though it could induce heat stroke if you wore it now- because it might just be sold out by the time you may actually really need it in, say, October.
Here are some of the gorgeous new season looks that we shot in store windows over the past week…
Balenciaga at Selfridges
If you’d like to see more retail inspiration, just click here. Enjoy!
The final interview of the year, and dare we say that we may have left the best until last? No, we couldn’t possibly say that. It would be rude to the rest of our interviewees- but maybe this one is about the most ‘up and coming’ or the ‘most fashion exciting’…
The subject is the wonderful Felicity Brown. We first spotted her work at February’s LFW when her inaugural collection was shown as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout. We fell in love again when we saw her work at September’s Fashion Week as part of the NewGen designers. Have a look at our post on this great selection of talent, including the brilliant Felicity Brown.
Prior to launching her own collection, Felicity had designed for Alberta Ferretti, Loewe, Mulberry and, most recently, Lanvin. That’s an incredibly impressive CV to build up in a few years since graduating from the Royal College of Art. Her work seems to combine a certain fragility with a really modern feminine aesthetic that is utterly unique; as is Felicity’s working arrangements- she splits her time between her studio in East London and a wonderful atelier in the desert of Dubai.
Many thanks to Felicity, Henry and the team who made this interview possible. We are very grateful for the time that you gave us.
For you, what is the most important aspect of being a designer?
Having the amazing opportunity to create my own ideas.
How do you start developing a new season’s look?
I bury myself in lots of books and mountains of fabric
What project are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
I am currently working on my A/W 2011 collection that’s very Bedouin inspired. It is looking a little wild right now and maybe a little too uncut but so far I am happy with it.
Which comes first for you, your personal aesthetic or general trends?
What is currently inspiring you?
I have been looking at Central American masks. They are not pleasing to the eye but there is something appealing in the expression created out of all the contrasting elements.
I love the way that they mix up completely opposing things, like the way they fill the hair with crazy different elements and the extreme expression of the mask. They are so bizarre, so odd, I really like them.
Do you think that ethical and sustainable issues are at all relevant to what you do?
I wish they were but its currently only a wish because of the nature of the dresses, we are a small production. Its all very cottage industry at the moment.
But everything that has been made is hand made, from paper stenciling to hand dying and printing. All done in old traditional techniques giving the garments that look.
What or who are your longest standing design influences?
I admire Lanvin and Balenciaga
How would you describe the Felicity Brown aesthetic?
Any style secrets?
Keep it unfinished
Who would you like to collaborate with, past or present?
I would love something incredible like a day in Picasso’s studio and as for present, I would like to work with someone from a different discipline, like a painter.
What would you like your business to achieve in 5 years time?
To stay strong and true
Pencil and paper or computer and mouse?
Do you work differently in your Dubai and London studios?
Yes, in London you take it all in and absorb where as in the desert you can concentrate- it’s so still.
I feel most creative when…
When I’m buried in fabric.
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