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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

LFW 09 – Qasimi – Let them eat Qasimi

The Old Sorting Office, New Oxford Street

Written by Sabrina Morrison

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Turner Prize

Enrico David, price treatment Roger Hiorns, search Lucy Skaer and Richard Wright are the lucky shortlisted ones on the Turner Prize’s notepad this year and it’s been noted that the Prize has gone for less shock and awe than usual, buy information pills resulting in a more thoughtful set of works on show. You will probably have at least heard of Roger Hiorns via his incredible work coating an entire flat in blue crystals.But it’s not about the fame of course. From Tuesday, you can go along to the Tate Britain and see for yourself.

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Booker Prize
Announced Tuesday

The 2009 Booker prize shortlist is full of big-hitters, in the form of Sarah Waters (The Little Stranger), JM Coetzee (Summertime) and A.S. Byatt (The Children’s Book), as well as historical fiction from Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall) and lesser known authors Adam Foulds (The Quickening Maze) and Simon Mawer (The Glass Room). If you’re not sure what to read next the Booker shortlist is always a good place to get ideas outside of lists of the 100 Greatest Books of All Time. If you’re quick enough to have read them all already, look out for the winner announcement on Tuesday to see if you, in your wisdom, agree with the judges’ decision.

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Grayson Perry’s Walthamstow tapestry

Grayson Perry is trying his hand at something other than ceramics with his “Walthamstow Tapestry”, an amazing, detailed piece of work a bit like a Bayeaux Tapestry for 2009. They cared about war, we care about shopping, it seems. Perry examines our consumerism but has also made something that is anti-consumerist: a one-off object that is the opposite of fast fashion or instant gratification.

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Dance Umbrella

In recent years we’ve all rediscovered how amazing it is to watch and do dancing that is more involved than shuffling from one foot to the other while hoping that person over there will notice you. A big part of this change, other than Strictly of course, is Dance Umbrella. The influential dance festival-makers annual season kicks off this week, with the theme “African Crossroads”. They are staging performances and “days out” where you can get a little taster of lots of the shows going on around London over the next few weeks.

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Origin London Craft Fair

There’s something special about an item that’s been made with love by another human being and not just generated by a machine or made under duress in a sweatshop. All the 300-odd artisans at this craft fair at Somerset House make beautiful pieces that are worth treasuring or just getting inspiration for your own Autum projects from.
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Goodone clothing is a classic example of super-apt naming. Only ‘good conscience, online good clothing’ would be a more fitting term. The clothing brand based in the fashion mecca of East London designs quirky pieces all girls want to wear, discount sourced from recyclable materials that everyone’s conscience can appreciate (must be why they are stocked at Fashion Conscience, approved that emporium of ethical fashion). Everything is that most coveted of all must-have clothing qualities- individually hand-made and therefore one off, not to mention, kickass and street-cool.

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Recently short listed for the ‘Re-new Designer of the Year’ Award. Goodone are aiming to shake up people’s expectations of ‘recycled’ clothing, with designs that are not obviously second-take or old-hat. Instead Goodone offer fresh, modern pieces made through reusing existing fabrics (aptly coined upcycling). By working closely with other retailers and designers, the Goodone team are able to provide (and champion!) a way of creating sustainable fashion from other people’s ‘waste’. Good not just in the quality then, but in heart, you can see what I mean about perfect naming. ‘Rubbish’ has never looked so good.

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Featured in street-bible i.D magazine, Juice magazine and shown at London Fashion Week through collaboration with NOKI NHS at Fashion East. Goodone certainly seem to cater to their target audience; fashion conscious, ethic conscious, bright young things set to change the world.

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It’s no surprise then that shop-gods Asos have snapped up some pieces for sale from next month. One glance at Goodone’s online shop currently and our drool glands are in overflow, so it’s no wonder that Asos have jumped on the game. The team design on-trend 80s bodycon dresses in black and white (made from recycled Breast Cancer T-shirts and to raise money for the same charity). As well as futuristic t-shirt dresses with playful coloured breast detail – these are pieces a girl would drop dead for in Topshop – and that’s meant as a compliment! Coming in several different colour schemes, some including extra designs, there’s definitely a dress to suit everyone, with slouchy jumper bodycon to cross-over long sleeved designs. It’s all very reminiscent of youth-hero Christopher Kane with the fluro and the bodycon, and we
like it.

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There are basics-a-plenty in store. The WWF hoody is a highlight, taking on the world in a boxer-esque manner in neon-fluro-brights. The panelled-body is another case in point, providing solid clothing we can move in, perfect for those ethical rallies and climate change demonstrations! These guys aren’t afraid to design wearable clothes – its street style gone ethical and completely in tune with what we want. Take a look at the knot back tee and the diamond slouch dress and you’ll see what we mean.

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It’s not only Asos who have pricked their ears to Goodone. Japanese-version-of-the-BBC, NHK, have been following the gang around with cameras to make a soon to be aired documentary entitled ‘Inspirational European Lives’. It seems then that these East-Londoners with hearts of gold are going to get the rewarding recognition their endeavours deserve all too soon. Watch this space and keep checking Asos for their stuff!

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Despite last year’s reports of the economic sky falling and gathering clouds sending buyers scurrying for safe ground, website one designer stood defiantly against the whipping winds of change, scanning the skies for a little golden sunshine. And gold he found….caves of the stuff!

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Designer Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi found refuge in the troves of religious iconography, mosaics and relics housed in the massive hull of the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibit Byzantium. Al Qasimi explains the concept behind the armor-like boleros and rippling sheaths, “It’s based on Byzantine women who have been woken up from a crypt and hauled on to the catwalk”. Wish I looked that good when I woke up, not to mention after a 2,500 year long catnap! What he has awoken is an appetite for unabashed opulence.

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Qasimi presented a legion of angular gold boleros crowning regal sheaths in tomato and turquoise along with luxe ivory jodhpurs. His glazed, ‘Midas touch’ eyelids and halos of jutting jackets transformed models into saintly icons. His integration of geometry in this collection was inspired by 84 yr old Iranian artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian who encorporrates mirrored mosaics and reverse-glass painting in Islamic geometric patterns.

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Qasimi enlisted the skills of British jewellery designer Scott Wilson, who has worked with groundbreaking designer Hussein Chalayan, to collaborate on the project. One of the most enticing of which were the bejeweled (and interchangeable!) spats.

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The bubble of Byzantium existed in the Dark Ages, in may ways not disimilar to tremors we’re experiencing these days. While the Roman Empire disintegrated around them, plunging Europe into the Dark Ages, the rich island nation of Byzantium continued to pour money into the arts by commissioning religious works . While the safety and priveleges enjoyed by some evaporated to be replaced by a constant state of danger and uncertainty, others simply exchanged one set of miseries for another. A fitting era to look to for clues. “I wanted to create something optimistic to lift us from all the financial doom and gloom,” said Al Qasimi.

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Byzantium continued to advance the arts in a cloak of spirituality when the lights went out in the rest of the world and it helps to remember that there would have been no Renaissance without it.

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Currently in talks with leading department stores to produce a capsule evening-wear line aimed at Middle Eastern women we can just imagine Dubain princesses licking their lips for these Faberge dresses.

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One person whose eye it pays to catch is that of Dazed and Confused creative director Nicola Formichetti. The style whisperer has already slipped Lady Gaga into a Qasimi creation for her new video and has tempted vocal vixen Florence Welch, from Florence and the Machine, into a new look by the designer.

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Qasimi’s elevated tastes, if not perspective, never disappoints. So while we nibbled on foil-wrapped chocolates in the cavernous Old Sorting Building it was hard not to believe that luxury and limitless optimism were still kicking around out there somewhere.

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