Thursday, 29 January 2015

Surrealist Fashion - Guy Bourdin

Guy Bourdin -Vogue Paris May 1970

If you are in London and you are into fashion photography, then there is an exhibition you must see. Guy Bourdin: Image maker; from Man Ray’s protégé to artist in his own right, the exhibition covers 40 years of his career.

Bourdin's work took the basic function of the fashion photograph -to sell clothing, beauty and accessories- and made it into something rich and strange, he did this by establishing the idea that the product is secondary to the image.

What I like about his approach is that he preferred to shoot lesser products, like make-up and accessories (the fringes of fashion), to turn this into something rich and strange, he even managed to add hitchcockian suspense to his Charles Jourdan adverts.

Hurry, exhibition ends on the 15th of March!

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Monday, 19 January 2015

Here is how to Res/Rei.

Acetate is one of my favourite materials for eyewear. I keep coming across incredible kaleidoscopic textures, new and vintage, then there are the tortoiseshells, created as an environmentally friendly alternative to real tortoiseshell as our ancestors used to kill tortoiseshells to make frames out of their shells.
I think a lot of people like acetate for it's retro' feel and so many brands have based their whole aesthetic on acetate frames, even more have adopted a simplistic approach to this material; "we'll design a few nice shapes, cut them out, polish them and then assemble them". Not RES/REI. They used their skill, teamed up with the best workshops and the most renown acetate material manufacturer (Mazzucchelli in Varese, of course!). This is how this material is made.

Then RES/REI started experimenting with this material in their workshop, pushing the limits of its versatility by making it super fine, bonding different patterns, milling away the layers... And here are my favourite  experiments.

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Thursday, 8 January 2015

The beauty and strength of harsh environments

The Dolomites, once the Italian Alpine area where most of the eyewear in the world was produced, has now become the source of inspiration for a new breed of independent designers. What they are looking for are not the pretty, bucolic picture of sunny, crisp skies and green pastures. It's the essence of those mighty rocks, vertiginous heights, freezing temperatures, the beauty and strength of these environments that made an impression on brands like Hapter and Ottomila, and most importantly the spirit of exploration that is part of this world.

What inspired me to write this post was Channel 4's art docu on winter (as well as my origin, at the foothills of the Dolomites).

Cold winters and remote mountains are no longer a threat as they did in the past because we live a comfortable life; now we associate cold and snow to après-ski party time, bright colours and snow goggles. Instead Ottomila and Hapter have been looking at our atavistic human need for protection and shelter when designing their very minimal collection; only two or three very sleek styles, with a no frills, no nonsense retro sport look. Both brands manufacture at the foothills of the mighty Dolomites.

Ottomila: limited edition of 8000 numbered copies (Ottomila means 8000 in Italian). Crisp, completely flat, mineral lens. Leather or retro acetate rim sleeves. You must check out their tumbler for times-gone-by alpine looks.

Hapter M02M | Icons  range: a special fusion of surgical steel to high-end in contrasting fabric by Cerruti Woolen Mills 1881. Almost-flat, scratch resistant ZEISS sun lenses. The need to find shelter from nature is most poignant in this recent video.

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Monday, 5 January 2015

100% Royal College of Art

This year I will be following 100% Optical's Design Competition earlier in the development stages.  I will share with you the work of the finalists as well as some of the projects that didn't make the cut, as some of them are them really off-centre. Remember last year's projects?

The Eyewear Design Competition was organised in collaboration with the world-renowned Royal College of Art and entailed its students being invited to submit designs for eyewear under two main categories: Couture or Ready to Wear.

From an initial 55 entries across a variety of creative courses, three finalists have been selected for each competition category. Their work will be made up as prototypes by Algha Works in London and will go on show to several thousand eyewear industry professionals at 100% Optical in February 2015.

I will tell you more about each finalist's project soon, in the meantime here is a sneak preview of their work!

Honggang Lu - Ready to Wear

Ring glasses.

Elizabeth Lee - Ready to Wear

Light tattoo.

Alice Howard-Graham - Ready to Wear

Shadow patterns.

Xiao Xu Wu - Couture

Headpiece for the earless.

Sari Rathel - Couture

Eyes-to-head sequence.

Hannah Evans - Couture

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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Happy New Marsala!

The guys at Pantone have come up with Marsala, the most flattering Colour of the Year for eyewear, so far.

"Marsala enriches our mind, body and soul, exuding confidence and stability. Marsala is a subtly seductive shade, one that draws us in to its embracing warmth"

Leatrice Eiseman
Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute

Happy 18-1438 New Year!

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