Started on the 11th April 2011 - Blogging from a 20 year old Fashion Student

Monday, 17 September 2012


Burberry, an iconically British brand has just shown at London Fashion Week. The designer of this collection, Christopher Bailey has continued to adapt the standard "Burberry Trench" by mixing classical tailoring with lustrous modern fabrics. Something which many designers (especially those concentrating on a more structured silhouette) seem to be doing.

This collection showed a mix of cocoon coats, capelets and a finale of rainbow coloured trenches, with accessories to match. The classically English look has been given a twist, with bright pops of colour (fuchsias, emeralds, golden yellows) the brand seems all the more luxurious.

Established in 1856, Burberry's main focus was on outdoor attire, however, the trench coat soon became a staple piece, winning the affection of many high up on the social ladder. The pieces in this collection, although made modern through the use of fabrics and colour, are still reminiscent of the early designs. Especially the long capes and capelets, which were popular in the 19th Century with the Army and Police force especially. Burberry has certainly preserved it's aura of the militia within it's designs today with details such as fastenings, epaulets and cuffs.

Although, certainly for this week, all eyes are on British designers as they are celebrated at London Fashion week; Burberry is said to be in financial trouble as the luxury brand issued a warning revealing that its sales had dropped significantly in the weeks leading to September ("the company's worst figures since the financial crisis begain in 2008").

However, this obviously hasn't hindered the designs from this British fashion house, Burberry continues to evolve aesthetically along with so many other great British designers!


A model and student from Houston, Texas, Madeleine Angus is quickly becoming someone to look out for! Scouted at just fifteen years old, she is now immersed in the world of fashion and modelling!

EF: Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself!
MA: The high fashion modelling industry is pretty non-existant where I'm from in Houston, it differs greatly from places like New York and a few European cities. I am in my last year at high school, my life is getting a little hectic! It's pretty tough balancing school and modelling but the experiences make up for it.

EF: How old were you when you first got scouted? Do you remember your first job as a model?

MA: I believe I was fifteen; I was walking into a grocery store with my mom and a local agent (who scouts for agencies in Asia) approached me. I had braces and was at that awkward gangly stage, to a point where I was used to being stared at in public, so I blew her off! I knew I didn't look anything like those girls in the magazines. 
   I didn't really see modelling as an opportunity until I was sixteen. My first job was a photoshoot with an amazing photographer from Houston! I remember feeling so natural in front of the camera; which was weird because I'd never done anything like it before. When I tell clients that those were some of my first pictures, they don't believe me! 

EF: Describe a typical day at work?
MA: Currently, because I'm in high school, I don't get to work often. It's hard turning down jobs because I have a math test the next day, or a paper due. I just have to work when I have the time! 
   I recently worked in Milan this summer, I would go to castings all day, but on days when I had a job I'd come home exhausted! It was full on. I wouldn't really say there's such thing as a "typical day" in modelling - it's so varied!

EF: What would your ideal shoot be like? Theme/Styling/Make-up?

MA: Japanese styling is everything to me. It's so cool how stylists for Vogue Japan, among others, are able to put together the most obscure look with it still coming together perfectly. They definitely have a unique eye.

EF: What's the most obscure shoot you've done? Any horror stories?
MA: I've had orange eyeshadow literally thrown on my face and neck. It was pretty funny riding the metro and bus with makeup half wiped/half smeared on my face! This was in Milan, and I noticed that no one really cared - they were used to weirder things! 

EF: Where's the furthest you have travelled as a model?

MA: Milano! But now that I've been home, I only want to travel further and longer! Just one summer wasn't enough. We'll see!

EF: Is modelling your chosen career path or are you looking to do it alongside other things?

MA: I wouldn't say I've chosen it as a career, but I just want to see where it takes me, mainly just out of curiosity, it's a hectic industry. I do want to study Communication Arts and Advertising so I'll have to learn how to balance the two.

EF: Do you aspire to be like any other models?

MA: I definitely think so, but really, I think it's just down to luck. Being at the right place and the right time; having the right person say, "wow, I love your look" can make a model's career! The one thing that's important to me is that I don't want modelling to change who I am as an individual... I want to remain my own person.

EF: I feel like modelling incorporates acting to a certain extent, what character from any film would you most like to emulate in your day to day life?

MA: You're absolutely right! It's impossible just to sit there wearing the clothes and still be captivating enough to photograph in the first place. It's like playing dress up, and I think that's why I love it so much... You get to be someone else for a bit! 
   I would choose to emulate Lisbeth Salander ("The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo") because I have a total girl crush on her and Rooney Mara (the actress who plays her). She's so badass and independent, which is something I really admire in people. If you can be yourself and say "fuck it! I don't care what other people think!!", then I will probably want to be your friend!

EF: Any clothing item you wish you could've sneaked home from a shoot?

MA: Oh plenty!! Miu Miu glitter shoes to be exact! SO. INSANE.

EF: I have to ask everyone this! Who are your favourite fashion designers?
MA: Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, Miuccia Prada, Alexander Wang.

EF: Who are your least favourite?

MA: Kanye West. I really like his personal style, however, why he didn't venture into menswear first is totally beyond me!

EF: Last fashion/beauty item you bought? Where from?
MA: The last thing I purchased that I really remember was Embryolisse cream from a pharmacy in Milan. It's great, can be used for anything really!

EF: Please name 5 celebrities/designers you would love to invite to a dinner party (dead or alive)? Reasons for choosing them?

MA: Miuccia Prada, Daphne Groeneveld, Anna Dello Russo, Riccardo Tisci, and Choupette Largerfeld (Karl's cat). Theyre also so eclectic (the cat included! ha!). I actually ran into Anna Dello Russo at a party in Milan, literally!

EF: Has modelling brought you any opportunities you're glad to have received? 
MA: I'm so grateful for all the opportunities I've received! I've made connections with a lot of people that I absolutely love and admire. Travelling as much as I have (and hopefully will do again) wouldn't have been realistic if it weren't for modelling, I have it to thank for that also.

EF: Now a few quickfire/random questions! What's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen?

MA: I don't know really, but in general, I think people are really beautiful. Everything that composes a person, their personality, voice, laugh, appearance... It all really matters in the end, when you're not with a certain person you really remember all of those aspects.

EF: What do you think is your greatest extravagance?

MA: Probably my phone and the internet, haha!... It keeps me in touch with everyone back home and around the world! 

EF: What excites you about the future?

MA: How unpredictable it is! I don't know where I'm going to be even three months from now, and that is really quite enthralling.

EF: What is most precious to you?

MA: My friends and family. You really find out who your friends are when you go away for long periods of time. My family has been beyond supportive in everything I do and have done. I can't even put into words how grateful I am for that. 

EF: And lastly, what era would you love to have lived in, fashion wise?

MA: I think the future, if that counts! Because people right now look back to reflect on fashion trends of the past and think, "wow, what in the world were they thinking?!" - I'm just curious what future generations will look back and say about us.

Thank you very much for letting me interview you Madeleine! It was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

"Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" @ the MET

This exhibition, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), outlines the lives of two designers from different eras throughout their careers as fashion designers. 

The works of Miuccia Prada (born in 1949) and Elsa Schiaparelli (1890 - 1973) are shown side by side, clearly outlining the similarities (yet often different opinions) within the styles of garments by the two designers. 

The seven themed galleries show the parallels between Schiaparelli and Prada's designs, and their process of design:

"Waist up/Waist down" - the orchestrated conversations between the two designers illustrate in this gallery that Elsa Schiaparelli lived in an era where women would go to tea ("cafe society") and so wanted to look good sitting down especially; so she designed outfits where the waist up was overly decorated and embellished. She did this by accentuating the shoulders and emphasising the bust. 

This is then compared with Miuccia Prada's designs where she experiments with a more subtle style, with garments decorated from the waist down - "instinctively, I refuse that women have to be beautiful from the waist up... so many things happen from the waist down, sex, giving birth, being connected to the earth...". So, in turn, this gallery expresses the difference in ideas and values that these women have/had, while at the same time, comparing the fact that they liked to emphasise certain parts of the body for different purposes. 

"Ugly Chic" - this gallery was centred around the two designers experimenting with ways of making the classic "frumpy" silhouette look chic, done through use of luxurious fabrics and textile design. Schiaparelli's designs were created to make the wearer feel beautiful, but this was fuelled by a constant striving for acceptance from her mother, she wanted to be regarded by others as beautiful also. Miuccia Prada, on the other hand, has often said that she feels fashion shouldn't be about making a woman look sexy, it isn't about how a man regards a woman, fashion and clothing is about making the wearer feel good about themselves.
   Prada didn't necessarily introduce the idea of ugliness in fashion, she simply didn't want to conform to the traditional ways of representing women as beautiful "objects". 

"All my life I have been working against the cliché of beauty and the necessity and obligation of being sexy"
-Miuccia Prada

"Hard Chic" - Fashion is usually a representation of the designer's style, thoughts and way of thinking, however, both Miuccia and Elsa wanted to prevent their personal thoughts and beliefs from being shown to the world through their garments. Schiaparelli unleashed her innovative designs to the world, for example, her trouser skirt was seen as extremely provocative item of clothing when she was first seen wearing it in London. 

"I tried to make the men more human, and the women more powerful"
-Miuccia Prada

Just as the designers had become empowered by unleashing their thoughts in the form of their designs, they began to design for powerful women. When Schiaparelli had started to become known in the fashion world, women were only just dipping their toes into the pool of equality. Between the two world wars, Schiaparelli's designs evolved significantly. 
   This evolving of style has been mirrored by the work of Prada, as strong, tailored pieces have been a staple in the designer's collections for decades now - conveying a sense of powerful femininity. 

"Naïf Chic" - Naïf Chic, (or Naïve Chic) describes Schiaparelli's demeanour, before putting on her "armour", her outrageous designs. The element of acting, putting on a persona as certain clothes are put on. 
   In this gallery, both designers' collections are not only fanciful, but take on a lighthearted, innocent and childlike element. The strong theme of gardens and florals are seen throughout as both designers express a want to be free:

"we can't be imprisoned by fashion!"
-Miuccia Prada

In the orchestrated discussion, directed by Baz Luhrmann, the designers talk about allowing oneself to "take flight" and regress into a childlike attitude towards fashion as one gets older. The collection reflects this attitude well; "naïf chic", or "carefree fashion".

"The Classical Body" - Evening wear, a classic piece in any woman's wardrobe for centuries, was tackled by both Schiaparelli and Prada. Both designers used the same format of length, drapery, accentuated waists etc, however, Miuccia Prada felt that there can be no new ways of making drapery look modern.
   Schiaparelli was famous for introducing the bias cut into fashion as a way of creating a flattering gown, but with little architecture or seaming. As the fabric is cut against the weave, it allows more give, and therefore becomes a little more "stretchy" (depending on the fabric used). 
   Elsa Schiaparelli's Pagan collection was another opportunity for the designer to experiment with accentuating the architecture of the female body, whereas Prada looked at how the body was enhanced underneath the clothing. Bandeau's paired with skirts, soft fabrics and ruching are all reminiscent of underwear and slips worn underneath elaborate dresses - although very elegant, Prada's designs seem more effortless, less embellished.
   Another way Miuccia Prada began to adapt the classic style of drapery was to create pliable fabric, integrated with metal. Although extremely unwearable, Miuccia had invented a new way of drapery, by contorting the fabric with your hands. The ultimate piece of adaptable clothing!

"The Exotic Body" - Exoticism was traditionally influenced by both designers through the use of garish prints.
   Schiaparelli took influences from distant countries, other religions and adapted it to her clothing in the form of textiles and embellishment. By the time Prada was starting to embark on the theme of the exotic, it had already been done, by Schiaparelli and various other designers. She wanted to experiment with different, more abstract ways of showing cultures within fashion.
   Exactly as the title suggests, the Exotic Body "explores the influence of Eastern cultures through fabrics such as lamé, and silhouettes such as saris and sarongs". When I first saw the collections, however, I thought that the gold and drapery used throughout was quite reminiscent of Ancient Greek fashions, the lavishness of colour and texture. Wanting to display wealth. 

"The Surreal Body" - Schiaparelli, who worked in Paris from the 1920s to the mid 1950s, was closely associated with the surrealist movement (most notably for her "Tear Dress, "Bug Necklace" and "Shoe Hat"). - all likened to the works of artists such as Dali who conformed to the values of Surrealism).
   Schiaparelli believed that fashion was a form of art and so formed collaborations with Dalí, an artist who openly conformed to the values of Surrealism, and therefore was greatly suited to working with Schiaparelli. Together, they created pieces such as the lobster dress, skeleton dress and her famous shoe hat - and by doing so she successfully mixed the worlds of fashion and art together, supposedly so that everyone else would believe her, fashion is art.

Miuccia Prada, was similarly associated with Postmodernism (a form of surrealism). Due to her taking over her family's Milan-based business, Prada wanted to adapt and modernise a slightly old-fashioned business. Her use of Postmodernism (a style that progresses on from Modernism, whilst also tying in elements of the past). Prada, however, didn't want to associate her garments with being works of art. She sees it as something that's already been done, whereas to Schiaparelli and all her "fans", it was revolutionary.

"Designers are not artists... I think you just have to do your job, who cares about the title"
-Miuccia Prada

Fashion profiles on both designers are coming soon! Along with more exciting interviews! 
- Stay tuned x

-I highly recommend buying the exhibition's book-

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