Tuesday, 11 December 2012

V&A | Fashion Festival | Hywel Davies & Mary Katrantzou

So as I mentioned in my last post I took a visit to the V&A's Fashion Festival last Saturday. (I didn't mean to leave it so long until this post, but I've been having some blogger difficulties which have been solved thanks to Eerika's wise words!)
Basically the V&A hosted an amazing day of events devised by Creative Voice (the V&A's youth collective) aimed at 16-24 year old's, the day involved some fantastic talks by some people at the top of the fashion industry and the opportunity to gain some career advice from some noted people.

The main event I was interested in was Mary Katrantzou - in conversation with Sarah Mower, but I thankfully managed to get there early enough to also get the see the lecture taking place before hand by fashion journalist Hywel Davies. As you know I'm not a fashion journalist student but, I do believe that there's something to learn from everybody's insights and the advice that he shared with us was very useful indeed!
Lately, including the advice which we received on our trip to WGSN I have really become aware of the importance blogging can actually have. I have been blogging for almost two years and I must admit that starting this blog was now in Hindsight a pretty good idea (and even through time's of no followers and no readers, I'm happy I stuck it out), admittedly I still don't have to most strenuous list of followers; but I have noticed that in general there is a better reaction to the more 'today I'm wearing blog'. Yes, I do feature some style posts myself, but I do prefer to place more pressure on the 'lifestyle', if you could call it, side of things. I also want to take this time to say a massive thank you to every single one of you who read my blog, it is greatly appreciated!

So, to get back on track, Hywel shared some very wise words and frankly I couldn't believe, what with all the fashion journalism students in this city, the lecture theatre wasn't full to capacity. I can imagine some of the stuff Hywel shared is valuable words for a person wishing to pursue a career fashion journalism. He spoke of having the ability to create articles that the customer would want to read, not what you would want to read. And, that you should make carefully considered choices when choosing who to work with admitting, that often (I am wrapping it up bluntly here) its not what you know, its who you know; that the best jobs don't come through interview but through recommendation. This is a point that you often hear through the grape vine, but to hear it from somebody who has been there and done that, makes it slightly more credible.
He also made an interesting statement about just how picky Central Saint Martins can be when picking its student to fill its 20 places on the BA(Honours) Fashion Communication course, of which he is the Fashion Communication and Promotions Pathway Leader, saying that if a application has a spelling error it goes straight in the bin; backing his comment up with the fact that a fashion journalist could be sitting at a catwalk in Paris and be expected to send off their article in response to the show straight away using their mobile and then it will be uploaded directly onto the site. Now, if you ask me that's pretty fair enough, you wouldn't expect to see Fashion Journalists sitting at shows next to their English teacher, who can check their work before they send it.
He also, made a statement that if you can't spell silhouette, Fashion Journalism probably isn't the one for you.

Then I took my seat back in the lecture theatre for Mary Katrantzou - In conversation with Sarah Mower; we had to leave, and queue outside to come in again. Slightly annoying, but at least the people in-front of us were a bit shy and I grabbed front row seats, which was awesome.
Mary (who is Ambassador for Emerging Talent for the British Fashion Council) and Sarah spoke about how they met while Mary was a student in CSM studying MA Textile Design. Mary described how she 'felt goosebumps all over her body' because of what she saw on every single page of Marys Sketchbook, that her work was 'in such depth and such variety I couldn't believe it' and also decribes Mary as 'a rebel at CSM'; as Mary explained that when she was studying 'digital printing was taboo and that screen printing was acceptable, and the way that you were taught'.  Mary describes herself as 'a strong colourist' explaining that textiles is 'very versatile, you can do anything' and that 'it was at that point that I also became more interested in placing that [her textiles] into a fashion garment, looking at the 3D form.'   

Mary also tried to explain how she designs her clothes, having previously studied architecture and planning a career in interior design, 'I used to almost feel like I'm guest designing in that medium, so I would take a vase from one room, and a carpet from another room, and a sofa from another room, and I would interior design my own room and then work it around the female figure, and use that collage as a guide to then paint that image from scratch. So its a time consuming process, but it allows me to create something that is entirely unique.'

Mary and Sarah's conversation was incredibly insightful, and they even mentioned how Mary, who admitted that this was until very recently, used to sleep in her studio on a lilo under the print table! They also had a very interesting discussion about internships and the pros and cons of no longer being able to keep an unpaid intern for longer than four weeks. Mary explained that having interns is vital, and that they play an important factor int he working of a studio, that she now keeps a budget for keeping great interns on and would always prefer to hire an intern full time (as she explains she has with many of her current employees) if they are really great that somebody else. I'm slightly torn when it comes to the whole internship situation, I have done some myself like most students have, but I think that so long as you are being treated fairly and appreciated, internships are an invaluable way to gain experience. And if I was doing an internship that I was really enjoying, I would like it to be my own decision whether or not I stay there longer that four weeks. 
But then, I have been lucky enough to have had some really enjoyable internships with some incredible people, and I have heard some pretty shocking stories about how some interns have been treated at some companies.  

I am going to conclude this post with some pictures of Mary Katrantzous Spring 2013 ready-to-wear collection for those of you who may not be so familiar with her work. (The pictures are from style.com) The garments are amazing, and I have also included a review at the bottom for you to read.
Enjoy and thanks for reading!

September 16, 2012 LONDON
By Tim Blanks
There was once a certain kind of child who would collect stamps, or gather the money that relatives brought back from foreign travel, and dream about what each piece of paper represented, where it might have been, who had touched it on its journey round the world. For that child, a stamp, a banknote were small passports to an exotic otherness. Or maybe they were instruments connecting cultures. That's how Mary Katrantzou thought of them. She loved the stories they told. As borders changed and currencies became obsolete, stamps and banknotes lingered as tokens of the past, literal souvenirs of the values of other, lost cultures.

All the romance, melancholy, and beauty of those ideas were swept up in Katrantzou's latest collection, an absolute fashion tour de force. She's already proved she can make a ravishing print out of almost anything, and she has applied those prints to some extraordinary silhouettes, but form and content blended so effortlessly today that this felt like the point she'd been aspiring to since she started. It helped that stamps and banknotes have an innate two-dimensional symmetry that loans itself to abstraction in accessible shapes. And Katrantzou's shapes today were noticeably direct: A-lines, shirtdresses, shifts, and sheaths, offering ideal canvases. A stamp's serrated edges, for instance, provided a striking geometric border down the leg of slimline trousers. And the whorls and spirals of a banknote provided a luxurious pattern for a pantsuit in midnight blue brocade, especially when shot through with darkly sparkling Lurex.

That particularly stunning outfit crystallized just how refined Katrantzou's eye has become at abstracting pure form from her inspirations. But she has also mastered her materials to a quite ingenious degree. The finale featured one-of-a-kind pieces that paired metallic brocades and Swarovski crystal mesh printed with banknote designs. The process was almost impossibly complex, but the result was pure poetry, suggesting the golden shimmer of Byzantium. At the other end of the scale, Katrantzou worked with denim for the first time. Those pieces came at the beginning of the show. Suffice it to say they were scarcely denim as we know and recognize it.

Alex Fury's show notes referred to "the pure cultural capital" generated by Katrantzou's alchemical transformation of her subject matter. The soundtrack made the point a little more straightforwardly when, at one point, cash registers rang out. How often will this collection be defined in the next while by one word: ker-ching
Taken from:  http://www.style.com/fashionshows/review/S2013RTW-MKATRANTZOU

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