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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Dans La Vie: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review

On Saturday 18th February at Fashion Scout's Freemasons' Hall the Japanese designer Rira Sugawara of Dans La Vie presented a vibrant and fun A/W 2012 collection, bursting with Pop Art references.

Written by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Mitika Chohan

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Mitika Chohan

I have a huge soft spot for collections with art historical references. Print designer Rira Sugawara of Dans La Vie, who showed her A/W 2012 collection entitled Exciting Encounter at Fashion Scout on the second day of London Fashion Week, certainly delivered on that front. Aided by the mention of 60′s American pop art in the invitation the first image that sprang to mind after the first few models with brightly coloured wavy short hair strutted their stuff on the catwalk was Andy Warhol’s Marilyn prints. This made a lot of sense when only after the show I checked the Dans La Vie website where indeed it says that Andy Warhol is Rira Sugawara’s main inspiration.

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans la Vie AW 2012 photo by Amelia Gregory

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Kris Keys

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Kris Keys

An ex Art History student the designer behind Dans La Vie managed to beautifully combine an array of pop art and art historical references in her complicated, busy and bold collage prints: Jasper Jones’ ‘Target’ painting from the late 60s, Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Brush Stroke’ and ‘Explosion’ prints, as well as offcuts from Japanese prints were only a few of the ones I managed to recognise. Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ – another Warhol reference – and cherubs, used before on print designs for previous collections – also made a reappearance.

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans la Vie AW 2012 photo by Amelia Gregory

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Ailish Sullivan

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Ailish Sullivan

Jasper Jones’ purple and orange circle from the ‘Target’ painting was not only replicated on the clothes but was also turned into a striking and witty fascinator, which I thought was a great idea.

Dans la Vie AW 2012 photo by Amelia Gregory

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta Crepax - Illustrated Moodboard

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Rosa and Carlotta Crepax – Illustrated Moodboard

Dans la Vie AW 2012 photo by Amelia Gregory

Head to toe printed suits were belted with short or long coats created out of what appeared to be a thin vinyl material, which brought in an element of kitsch and reminded me of table-clothes in sunny summer gardens. So in the same way that American pop art mixed high and low culture Dans La Vie covered intricate prints with references to pop art artworks – which have now become high art – with a cheap looking, plastic material.

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Deborah  Moon

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Deborah Moon

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

I am not usually one to notice trends too much, but since only a few days before attending the show I had stumbled across a piece in British Vogue about bold, brightly coloured clip-on hair pieces being all the rage at the moment, I could not help thinking the use of fluorescent hair strands in purple, green, pink and orange was bang on trend – well, at least according to Vogue. Of course the reference to Marilyn Monroe when the popular film My Week With Marilyn, starring Michelle Williams, is screening in cinemas gave the show extra points for being current, something I believe Rira Sugawara strives to be, as previous collections featured imagery from world events happening during that time.

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Carne Griffiths

Dans La Vie AW 2012 by Carne Griffiths

I was crouching immediately next to the photographers for this show and I can honestly say its energy and tempo raised on my arms a hair or two, so I am thrilled to have become aware of Dans La Vie’s existence and I am really looking forward to see what’s in store for the seasons to come. Up until then I will be probably trying to figure out what exactly Rira Sugawara meant when she wrote that the Exciting Encounter in her collection is ‘between 60′s American pop art and the spiritual character of Kuukai, a Japanese High Priest‘ – obviously I get the first bit but I am not so sure about the second, even though I find it fascinating.

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

Dans La Vie AW 2012 photo by Maria Papadimitriou

All photography by Maria Papadimitriou and Amelia Gregory.

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