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NYFW is pretty much done and the fashion world is about to descend on London for our turn. They will be leaving behind snow drifts for London’s blue skies (fingers crossed the weather holds!). They will also be leaving behind what has been a pretty safe set of looks for AW’15. Of course there have been some wonderful sparks of creativity, and those are what we are focussing on. New York is known for delivering wearable, commercial and easily adoptable collections, but there is an art in this that shouldn’t be overlooked (* although the London shows are obviously far more exciting, innovative, fabulous, brilliant). Here’s our second instalment of what we feel are the highlights of the shows seen so far.
Kicking things off with Marc by Marc Jacobs, currently creatively headed up by Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier so I think this can pretty much be considered a Brit label actually. Continuing to embrace their graphic, high contrast handwriting that delivers fresh takes on well known youthful silhouettes. The glossy and textural black patent feels rather late 60’s, early 70’s. In fact this collection seems to have a touch of the ‘Jane Fonda as activist’ about it, blended with a big dollop of 90’s too.
Next we look at Phillip Lim, which certainly falls into the category of commerciality- but it’s perfectly combined with just enough innovation for this to feel desirable and fresh. I look at this collection and think about how easily I could incorporate these into my wardrobe (in my dreams), but there’s something very admirable about working with that level of accessibility and yet not delivering something ‘meh’.
Leather is still hot, but looking fresh when layered with more textural elements. Actually it’s this mood for layering that features across many of the NYC shows and we really love how this takes the notion of minimalism and a linear silhouette to a more complex level.
There are some highly recognisable silhouettes here too (the MA1 pops up repeatedly across shows). There’s also a new ‘outline’ shining out- the softly rounded shoulder line, seen here in a highly wearable way.
There’s more to come from NYC so keep ’em peeled. If you’d like to read about more inspiration events in the meantime. take a look here.
NB (* I am obviously highly biased)
If I fancy a bit of high end retail therapy I have a special route that fulfills all of my desires. My journey takes me from Liberty, cutting through Hanover Square across to Bond Street, then into Bruton Street, a flit across Berkeley Square and into Mount Street, then a stroll up South Audley Street and the final destination is Selfridges. Its a walk past some of the highlights of international fashion, incorporating some of my favourite names. You can say hello to Martin, Stella, Marc and Matthew as you decide whether you are thinking new shoes, frock or handbag- or perhaps all three?
This week I used the excuse of avoiding Oxford Street and headed on my therapeutic route. When I reached Mount Street, I was struck by the store windows. Some of the brightest and boldest that I had seen- and a joy that they were bereft of ‘final price slash sale bonanza’ signs. Grand scale and lots of wattage seemed to be the order of the day.
Twitter came up trumps when we were intrigued to see that someone or something called ‘Little Doodles’ had decided to follow “Blink”. Upon some investigation we came upon a really beautiful website and blog. We do absolutely love stumbling upon a new source of inspiration, and we thought it was only fair to share that inspiration with you too!
Little Doodles are the creations of London based illustrator Kate Wilson. Whether it be the clasp of a quirky handbag being sported by a fashionista on the streets to the perfect cupcake in a patisserie window, the little details that often pass people by play the biggest influence on Kate’s work. Having worked for a range of clients including Marc Jacobs, Marie Claire, The Guardian and our favourite Parisian store, Merci, Kate’s illustrative subjects are diverse and wide ranging with all things bejeweled, nature, fashion and the cute and kitsch playing an integral part of her work. We particularly like her very fashionable animals…
Tell us about your current design crush
Oh so many different crushes at the moment! I’m being drawn towards hand rendered typography (the cheekily named book “Hand Job” by Mike Perry is wonderful) and pattern design at the moment. Jonathan Saunders and Mary Katrantzou being two of my favourite designers whose use of surface design is spectacular. Jewellery design is also a huge interest of mine so I’m constantly on the look out for pieces that are unusual. I’m loving everything at Kabiri and have long been an admirer of Solange Azagury Partridge.
Do you think creativity can exist in the fast fashion womenswear market?
Definitely, fashion is so fast paced that sometimes it’s hard to be creative when trends are so quickly picked up into the mainstream. But that certainly doesn’t stop wonderful designers to keep striving at doing something new.
Which comes first for you, personal style or trends?
For me it’s personal style. There’s nothing quite like reflecting yourself in the way you dress but inevitably I think trends filter in to this. Even if you do follow trends it’s always great to add your own little twist to them.
What are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
A variety of personal illustration commissions (I get a lot of requests for customized little birds!) as well as some freelance jewelery design which is always a nice departure when I want to have a break from the illustration side of work.
What or who are your longest standing design influences?
Paul Smith is always an inspiration to me (his book is sitting open on my desk as I type) because of the way he injects his own personality into everything he does.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I would say it’s quite personal and delicate. I’ve often been told that it reflects how I look (I’m of Kylie proportions height wise!) so I suppose everything I do is on a small scale. The thought of drawing on a huge canvas rather than a teeny sketchbook is quite daunting! I like to have a handmade quality to my work and love the idea that people want to keep it because it makes them smile.
When you can’t get your creative wiggle on, is there somewhere that you go to that’s guaranteed to get your creativity flowing again?
The V&A wins hands down every time. So much to see under one magnificent roof plus the courtyard in summer is the perfect spot for a bit of people watching in the sun.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Being able to do what I love as a job is incredibly fulfilling. I’m very lucky to be in the position that I get to indulge my creative side for work. The fact that it makes people laugh and smile makes me very happy indeed!
Who would you love to work with, past or present?
I’d love to collaborate with some more fashion designers, also I think everything Katie Hillier does is fantastic. I’m really keen on branching out into jewelery design so to see how someone like Elsa Peretti or Coco Chanel went about creating their pieces would be fascinating.
Any favourite websites or blogs, aside from “Blink” of course!
I love browsing through fashion and design blogs, it would be difficult to narrow them down! I actually really enjoy finding a beautiful blog, and then coming across it at a later stage after not reading it for a bit. It’s like rediscovering something special.
I feel most creative when…
I’m roaming the streets of London, people watching, picking up magazines, popping in and out of shops and then coming home with a head full of inspiration.
Thanks for the great interview Kate and please keep us posted on whats going on with you. We’ve added a link to the Little Doodles blog on our ‘recommended blogs’ section, so we’ll be regularly dropping in there too!