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London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Exhibition Review: Eley Kishimoto Collaborations

Eley Kishimoto launch a series of collaborations applying their iconic FLASH print to various products in a temporary exhibition at Shoreditch Studios. Oh, and there was the small matter of an impromptu talk with Mark Eley and Neville Brody…

Written by Naomi Law

After their popular ‘Pattern Lab’ presentation in February, I’ve been keen to see Eley Kishimoto’s offering this Fashion Week.

‘Flash On Week’ is presented in association with London Fashion Week, London Design Festival and the Anti-design Festival. The exhibition at Shoreditch Studios showcases a collection of products that have all been adorned with the iconic Eley Kishimoto ‘Flash’ print.

The print was first used on garments in the Spring Summer 2001 collection and has since crept across all manner of products. A shot taken for their look book with a Flash fabric backdrop spawned the idea of producing the pattern as wallpaper. This led to crockery and glassware, followed by numerous collaborations with electronics and automotive manufacturers.

‘Flash’ has evolved into a sort of anti-monogram – distinctive and widely-used, but only recognisable as Eley Kishimoto to those familiar with the label, as there is no hint of a logo or branding.

Mark Eley says that Flash has ‘created a dialogue that perhaps would not have been reached simply through fashion’. It is a seasonless, non-gender-specific print that can seemingly be applied to anything whilst still looking fresh.

Playing with the scale and spacing of the motif adds another dimension – larger Flashes resemble lightning strikes, whilst smaller forms provide a kind of optical illusion as the motifs seem to reverberate against eachother.

Shoreditch Studios is housed under disused railway arches hidden behind Curtain Road, and provided a suitably atmospheric space to display the monochrome collection. I loved the exhibition build – everything in the otherwise dimly lit room was displayed on huge ‘Flash’ motifs under spotlights.

The first product in the display was a Cinelli Supercorsa bike, which EK had bedecked in ‘Flash’ in their typically subversive style – disguising the signature details of this classic frame (any bike aficionados reading probably already know this refers to chromed lugs and fastback stays, probably the first and last mention of those you’ll find at London Fashion Week).

The bike is displayed with a short film from the Bicycle Film Festival, (which will be running from October 13th- 17th at The Barbican) and matching jersey and cap.

Next up Eley Kishimoto joined forces with Noble Macmillan on an edition of 500 British-made leather journals. These feature three sections of plain, lined and squared paper, gold and silver ribbons and Flash printed covers and end pages.

Also given the Flash treatment were cases from Incase for MacBooks, iPads and iPhones. Sadly I’m lacking any of the gadgets these have been for, but they will apparently be in stores soon.

Glasses from Duvel showing Flash at the smallest end of the scale.

Just as we were about to leave, we were told that a talk was about to begin and decided to hang around. I think there were only around ten of us sitting at the back of the space, waiting for four empty chairs in front of us to be filled. After a few minutes, who else should casually stroll in than Mark Eley, announcing that he would presenting ‘more of an informal conversation between friends’. I wasn’t the only member of the audience wide-eyed with surprise.

The group consisted of Neville Brody (a.k.a. The King of Graphic Design), Martin J Tickner (Sleazenation) and Jack Dyson (Wired). Neville Brody instigated the first Anti-design Festival this year, and this dominated most of the conversation that followed. The festival has labelled itself ‘a response to 25 years of cultural deep freeze’, with events taking place in eleven venues around Shoreditch from September 18th – 26th. Find out more about the festival here.

All photography by Naomi Law


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