Amelia's Magazine | Illustration Exhibition: Capital Letter Full Stop

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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Illustration Exhibition: Capital Letter Full Stop

La Viande Gallery, 3 Charlotte Street, London EC2 3DH , 24/09/07 - 01/10/07 From 11 to 6 PM

Written by Angelica Pena-Acosta

For her third and final collection sponsored by Topshop, symptoms find Ann Sofie Back stepped into a boldly daring yet boundlessly commercial new style, as seen yesterday at a packed out Bloomsbury Square.

Swedish born Back, famed for her propensity towards the unexpected and deconstructed, introduced a new shape for S/S ’08. Relying heavily on the insertion of shoulder pads, Back has created a simple, angular form which is at once both feminine and austere. Shoulder pads are no longer the reserve of 80′s power-dressing, here, they are used to manipulate body shape in a curious way that steers clear of overt sexiness.

Models took to the catwalk in an assortment of oversized squared-off tops and dresses to a thumping soundtrack of vintage rock. In keeping with previous collections, Back kept to a subdued pallete of grey and ivory – only this time enriching it with intermittent flauntings of hot coral pink and deep purple. Hair was unkempt and free-flowing while faces remained bare and icy-cool.

Embellishment remained a key theme with reflective sunglass lenses covering the front of a black dress or bag, adding movement and facets of light to an otherwise nondescript outfit. Her unwavering commitment to structure and composition places Back at the forefront of futuristic fashion, a bold new world also inhabited by Martin Margiela and Jil Sander, who are clear influences for this collection. She’s in good company.
Glasgow’s Deryck Walker drew quite a crowd at the rather labyrinthine Royal Academy of Arts this Monday. Part of the increasingly popular On/Off schedule, site there was bustling and shuffling abound once doors opened. The theme seemed to be futuristic tailoring; less Balenciaga ‘Tron’, sick more angular classics, much of the collection was surprisingly wearable perhaps down to the overwhelming amounts of black and white. That’s not to say that this didn’t make any nod to the obscure.

Straightforward boxy black suits with Deryck’s trademark crisp white shirts, suddenly revealed three dimensional geometric ‘sculptures’ from the back, hanging from the fabric like built-in accessories. These ‘windmill art installations’ as he calls them, lifted the collection and injected a touch of fantasy and theatricality into some otherwise standard structures. The accents of leather and the occasional peek of knitwear added variety and the glittering black molded hats by bespoke milliner Justin Smith were beautiful, a nice touch especially on the boys.

This was Deryck’s first swing at women’s wear, keeping the shapes masculine and sharply cut was a nice move, androgyny is always a good way to go and the slim fit suits, (again in striking monochrome) were beautifully cut. Dresses also made an appearance, some incorporating straight, hard-lines and making reference once again to the boxy, angularity of his menswear. The whole collection had a slightly icy feel to it, those sharp edges almost transforming the fabric into armour. Warm and cuddly obviously isn’t his thing but who knows, come spring/summer we may just welcome a bit of slick tailoring amongst the inevitable onslaught of floaty and floral.

The magical pastel explosion at http://www.bassoandbrooke.com/ was without a doubt a hit for next season. Beautifully draped dresses were combined with sportswear pieces blurring all boundaries between formal and casual. The designers cleverly broke all the rules in subtle ways.Vibrant pastel prints with graphic designs, and abstract patterns and splashes of colour gave an original twist to the classic tailored coats and dresses in rich wool and silk.

The evening gowns combined sections of flowing drapes with tight belts sculpting a feminine silhouette. Weighty raffia wrapping around the body resembled a whipped cream cake from heaven, and light georgette and shiny silk generously flowed in flounces reminiscent of ancient Romans. Some of the flowy dresses were complemented by structured, cropped black jackets, adding a sharp contrast component to some of the looks.
The palette, a rainbow of vibrant pastels, was combined with some elegant black and white numbers, all in printed motifs. One of the best touches of the collection was the idea to loose the sharp divide between eveningwear and sportswear, and thus included parkas and hoodies with detailed embroidery and on luxurious materials such as silk and heavy wool. Perhaps contrary to my expectations of a louder statement from Basso & Brooke, the collection followed this season’s general tendency towards the commercial, but fortunately they still managed to keep a good degree of originality and innovative details.

There was much expectation and hype around Steve J and Yoni P’s SS08 collection, hospital as they purposely chose not to disclose any hints as to what to expect from the collection: on the recycled paper invite only the print of a carrot and a cabbage. What were we to expect this time from the talented duo?

These two Korean designers have spread their wings: and fast. From their success last collection inspired by Tibetan imagery and street nomads, mind Steve J and Yoni P managed to come up with a quirky and beautifully made collection full of textural volume and colour contrasts. They drew inspiration from African agriculturalists, but this naturalistic concept was reinterpreted in an innovative and humorous way with the inclusion of contrasting futuristic elements.
The womenswear seemed to take life with organic shapes that metamorphosed from tiny pleats and gathers into twists and turns of fabric flowing rhythmically throughout the fitted silhouettes. Natural cottons and silk on neutral beiges and greens were highlighted by bright yellow and orange details on more plastic textures. Hand sewn details typical of African craftsmanship were included throughout the collection, knitting and embroidery in particular. The accessories are also to look out for: sexy knee-high gladiator sandals on white and bright orange and hats with feathers soaring up to the sky.
The menswear was particularly playful, with relaxed cuts in rich natural fabrics and lots of fun details: huge wooden buttons, parachute straps and plastic buckles all put together in the designers’ typical ‘beautiful chaos’ philosophy. Contrasting colours and textures dissected the top and bottom of many of the suits, with earthy colours and natural textures on the jackets and bright yellows in shiny plastic fabrics on the shorts and trousers. Overall, a delight to watch, I was glad London is still home of some of the more experimental designers.

Glorious weather, pharmacy a cracking line up and one of London’s most picturesque locations, Field Day in Victoria Park on Saturday could have been a ‘festival’ to rival any other. It could have been.

The reality was poor sound systems, tiny tents, unnecessary line up clashes and terrible, overpriced food. Not to mention excruciating queues for beers, surmounted only slightly by attending with a very tall friend.

Field Day’s organisers can take some pleasure in providing some very exciting artists to enjoy, whilst dry humping strangers in queues or gagging at the gruesome toilets. New York based stompers Chromeo were the first act to induce some electricity to the day with a vivacious blend of dance and disco and decidedly thrilled their fashioned followers. Hot youngsters Pull Tiger Tail didn’t disappoint either, with pop infused tracks that stick in your head and keep you on your toes.

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Personal highlight, however, was the haunting, melancholic tones of Natasha Khan and accomplices, aka Bat For lashes. Floating casually from one chilling song to another – Sarah, Prescilla, Horse & I, Natasha’s is a voice that delivers and keeps it’s grasp. The crowd made barely a sound, so much so that you might have heard a pin drop, if it wasn’t for vulgar house music raping the atmosphere from a nearby stage. But with the sun setting slowly behind the stage, it was easy to overlook.

Unfortunately, that’s about all I had time to see. My thirst for cold beer on a such a scorching day disabled my planned efforts to tart from one stage to another.

Justice’s closing set does deserve a mention and provided some redemption for the organisers, although after seeing some excellent musicians it felt a little hypocritical to get too excited over 2 guys and their decks, and cutting biggest hit ‘We Are Your Friends’ off early at the end wasn’t a great move.

With more rigourous planning and better facilities, Field Day could easily establish itself as a highlight on the London music calendar – that’s if they’ll take the risk, and the neon-clad punters decide to give it another chance.

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It is definitely worth having a wander though the funky illustration exhibition that’s just been opened at La Viande Gallery, information pills just off Old Street. “Capital letter full stop” is less about grammar, rx and more about brilliant drawings, collage, painting and mixed media illustrations. The collection of work is inspired on ‘sentences’, but the content is far from wordy. The six talented illustrators showing their work at the exhibition are clearly experimenting each in their own personal style, hence their varied individual outcomes.

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Samuel Bell’s brightly coloured collages are a real treat to the eye, with subtle three-dimensional qualities, beautiful execution and vibrant colours; an amusing sequence illustrates the city adventures of the rainbow-coloured cat. David Callow’s pencil drawings are quite magical in displaying detail and a sense of spontaneity at the same time.

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A fun piece of work was the DIY illustration by Holly Leigh Harvey, an interactive illustration where you can pin up the cut-out drawings and coloured shapes on a grid of points; yes we all had a go.

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Debbie Powell presented a pretty selection of paintings of New York City; even though the mix of intentionally naïve style and subdued colours is not particularly experimental, in her case it is effective. Omar Hraib’s reworked record sleeves included pencil drawings, paint and ink, all part of a nice pastiche work. Last but not least the other-worldly graphic work of Dan Morison, of spotless finish and full of fun futuristic visions, it’s easy to loose yourself in his visual universes.

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(There we are enjoying the free booze… Sophie, Amelia & Angelica… Lovely)

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