My top five fashion films of this season

My top five fashion films of this season

“Gucci and Beyond” by Glen Luchford for Gucci

The film fits Gucci’s retro style and evidences that humour can work as a strong marketing tool for luxury brands. I think it is interesting that a brand like Gucci takes on film culture; it is a way of connecting to consumers and making their consumers feel like they understand them in a different way to their norm by using 1960s science fiction films like “Star Trek” and “Creature of the Black Lagoon,”.

 

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“Want It All” by F. Gary Gray for Nike

I like this film because it uses immersive film tools such as showing the entire film in one continuously moving shot, which seamlessly moves between the present and future. The fast-paced film squeezes the trials and errors of the boy’s journey to success which symbolises Nike’s core values around determination, confidence and perseverance.

 

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“Movement: W-Base” by Sandra Winther for i-D x New Balance

I like how this is shown as a documentary-style film. Presented is a Tokyo-based bike crew and they are followed as they defy the expectations of Japanese culture and explore the country by BMX. I find it really interesting how you can uncover subcultures through film.

 

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“Hourglass – Past” by Daniel Arsham for adidas Originals

This film features Arsham as a child, in the present day and as an older man and shows him reflecting on his memories of being caught in a hurricane as a child. The significance of the event on his work as an artist is conveyed as he creates exhibitions composed of elements of his childhood. The film balances and flickers between the suspense of an approaching storm with moments of contemplation. This really draws in the viewer and forces them to question the nature of time. I like the intimacy of dialogue and environmental settings.

 

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“Practice” by Harley Weir for Grace Wales Bonner

This film expresses a powerful exploration of movement and sound and shows how the contrast in music enhances the power of music in defining moods and atmospheres and feelings. The move between reality and fantasy is really intriguing.

 

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My top five fashion campaigns this season

My top five fashion campaigns this season

Raf Simons starring Luca Lemaire; shot by Willy Vanderperre

I love anything that looks remotely orient-inspired retro dreamland and elaborate styles of Eastern-Asia so this instantly jumped right out to me. Chinese Neon lanterns and signs with “New Order,” were hanging around the set, a reference to the original Blade runner film and dystopian environment aesthetics.

 

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Missoni starring Kendall Jenner and Filip Roseen; shot by Harley Weir.

I like how the styling evoke a sense of mystique and glamour which is enhanced by the contrast between the vibrant and lucid clothing and the simple and calm environment. The striking campaign confirms the brand’s ability to constantly reproduce their bold zigzagging knits, patchworks and twisted multicoloured yarns.

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Burberry starring Adwoa Aboah, Alfie Husband, George Husband, Richard Theodore-Aboah, Kwame N’Dow, Montell Martin and Mae Muller; shot by Juergen Teller.

This campaign caught my eye due to it being refreshingly unpolished and a contrast to typical Burberry refined and luxurious looking campaigns. I like how the notion of a ‘gang’ still runs through though. It is playful and the models appear happy and in a state you could find them in everyday which appeals to their growing younger market. The pops of neon add a modern twist.

 

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Gucci illustrated by Ignasi Monreal.

This campaign conveys surrealist illustrations with influences of the Renaissance and Surrealist art movement. I like how Gucci has transgressed typical fashion campaigns and has approached a different form of presentation in the style of painting and fine art.

 

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Loewe starring Vittoria Ceretti; shot by Steven Meisel

I love the surreal style of this campaign which shows Vittoria Ceretti obscured by luscious and juicy fruits. The propaganda type message of the images are symbolic of an uncontrollable desire to consume fashion. I like that brands feel comfortable to take stances like this and show their political, ethical and moral positions in an industry such as this.

 

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Perfume making seminar

Perfume making seminar

This week in one of my seminars, Emmannuelle Moeglin of Experimental Perfum Club came in and conducted a workshop teaching us the basics of perfumery and learning the fundamentals of how to make perfume. The workshop was really good for gaining an understanding of how scents work together and a better vision of my personal and other people’s scent profile.

I learnt that perfume is built in layers and that it consists of a top-note, a mid-note and a base-note. The top-note is the intrigue which provides the person smelling with an instant impression and a hook. This for example is likely to be a citrus scent and makes up 30% of the fragrance. The mid-note is the signature which carries the most significant characteristics. This is generally floral, aromatic or spicy scents which makes up 40% of the fragrance. The base-note is the depth which lingers the longest and is the root of the scent. This is typically oriental, woody or musky scents and contributes 30% of the fragrance.

The raw materials of fragrance are catagorised into distinct smells which are known as olfactory notes. These are the building blocks for creating and describing fragrances. The most common ones are: Citrus, Green, Fruity, Floral, Aromatic, Spicy, Aqueous, Oriental/Amber, Mossy, Woody, Leather and Musky.

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Nottingham Contemporary exhibition

Nottingham Contemporary exhibition

Weekends at university are actually very long and can be incredibly boring if not many people are around. I have three days of my week in uni which leaves four days of the week with not else much on during the days. I want to explore Nottingham more and its quirky places, so I took myself off to the Nottingham Contemporary to have a look at its current exhibition. The ‘From Ear to Ear to Eye’ exhibition was on and it presented sounds and stories from across the Arab world. I was really intrigued to see an exhibition on Arab culture because I am a very culturally inspired person and I’d love to learn more about this particular culture.

The exhibition traces the lives of different places across the Arab world in the form of installations, sculpture, photography, video, sound and smell. A range of perspectives and voices are presented that question peace and violence and experiences. Essentially, the exhibition is a vehicle for the power and significance of listening and uses sound and music as tools to powerfully offer new angles and insights of the world which so often is presented to us through horrific imagery of human disasters.

A large portion of the exhibition has sensory work distilled throughout it such as sound and fragrance. This is an attempt to evoke a journey and to trigger the part of the brain that memory and perception is located. Some of the photography are reworked scans of childhood and parties and the countryside that offer a fragmental and psychedelic reflection in dream like collages of happy memories before exile from Iran.

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This part of the exhibition played music as well as releasing fragrance to transport and capture you in multi-sensory ways.

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One of my favourite parts of the exhibition was the last room that was full of a series of prints with various inspirational quotes along with images.

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I particularly like this print, due to its quotation. I feel that it is interesting and a positive piece of art because it places females in a stronger and more powerful stance which is not a typically common way to present and view females in Arab society.

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London perfume research

London perfume research

Last week I went back home to London for a uni field trip to carry out some research and investigate current trends and patterns within the perfume industry. My current project is all about developing a fragrance brand and creating a brand story and consists of research, ideas, brand development and final outcomes. The module focuses on how brands tell stories in order to influence and persuade their consumers.

The majority of the research I conducted was in Covent Garden and Selfridges. For each perfume brand store I went into, I asked the shop assistants all about the current or originating stories that encompass their brand and product. It was also very interesting picking up on similarities and trends in how brands are pushing forward their products and their engagement with consumer desires and needs. One significant trend was layering fragrances in order to enhance personalisation and customisation. Millions of people own and wear the same fragrance, but only a small amount of people will layer and combine multiple scents to make it unique to them and personal. In L’Occitane, consumers can select a collection by smelling without knowing what collection it is, so that the scent is their natural preference and unique to their personality and then they can chose which perfume they want from a further collection of the family of the fragrance. In Jo Malone, layering a mixture of fragrances is very common to create your own individual scent. In terms of layering, brands are also attentive to the ways in which they can ensure scents remain on the skin for as long as possible so they are looking into layering different products underneath the scent to enhance the quality and longevity.

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Another common trend I found was linking to nature and the use of rocks in their visual merchandising. Miller Harris’ new scents ‘Tender’ and ‘Scherzo’ were presented in a display of rocks as well as Proenza Schouler’s new fragrance ‘Arizona’. When talking about Arizona with the promoter in Selfridges, she said the story is all about disconnecting to reconnect, a free state-of-mind and the scent is about enhancing nature with its rare ingredient of cactus flower.

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It was also interesting to talk to Tom Ford shop assistants and hear about the male market. Men are insecure about beauty regimes because they think that it detracts from their masculinity. Instead of referring to his new skin care range as cosmetics, Tom Ford refers to it as ‘tool’s in the hope of making more men feel the best version of themselves and comfortable about using and purchasing skin care products. Their new fragrance ‘fucking fabulous’ has been banned in Arab countries due to its ‘inappropriate name’. The store has had big waves of Arab customers coming to purchase multiple bottles of the perfume, which costs £210, to take back to their home countries and assumingly sell illegally for much more money.

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Penhaligon is a wonderful store to step into. Each fragrance has a story that is somehow linked to the brand origins and heritage. The bottles encompass the brand story as well, tying the entire brand, and visual communication as well as emotional and factual, together.

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Prominent insights:

To summarise my findings, the significant insights that I discovered were layering scents to create personalisation and individuality, an emphasis on nature and the natural world and fragrance helping to restore mind-sets.

The Great Newman – Stella McCartney fashion film

The Great Newman – Stella McCartney fashion film

Stella McCartney has launched a new film for her latest collection, The Great Newman, directed by creative duo Suzie Q and Leo Siboni, the Parisian’s behind Givenchy and Saint Laurent campaigns as well as music videos for Yung Lean. Conveyed is a a story starring Stanley Weber that raves in comic farce and magical illusions. The story follows notions surrounding where the incredible is credible; the unimaginable, imaginable; the impossible, possible. Set in an empty underground neon-lit Chinese restaurant, Tomohiro Kiuchi is searching and auditioning Weber for an entertainment act for his restaurant. The humorous story follows an unfortunate and ill-fated magician on his pursuit of and search for acknowledgement, who wears Stella McCartney’s Charles tuxedo, the brand’s Miami beach-inspired prints and McCartney’s signature Glueless sneakers which further emphasises the satirical tone of the film. With a sparkling disrespect and contempt as well as impassiveness, each of the magician’s appearances commands a new Stella Menswear look from her latest collection.

Talking about the inspiration behind the concept, Suzie and Leo said that they’ve “always loved the aesthetics of magic; the vintage side to it and also the surrealism involved as well as the proximity with the art of cinema. Playing with the idea of making the audience ‘believe’ and mixing that with a bit of comedy already present in the brand was a great challenge!”

I have a particular love and interest for anything film, whether it is fashion or music or whatever artistic form it comes in. I think this film is very clever in achieving the hard challenge of humour simultaneously to primarily having the purpose to promote a clothing collection – it is important to use the right tools to hook viewers. I like the style of the story and the environment; cultural concepts in my opinion are very visually immersive and interesting and are a unique way to cross with and present subjects such as this.

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Damn Good Advice (for People with Talent): How to Unleash Your Creative Potential by George Lois

Damn Good Advice (for People with Talent): How to Unleash Your Creative Potential by George Lois

Damn Good Advice (for People with Talent): How to Unleash Your Creative Potential by a master communicator George Lois, is a succinct collection of intelligence and insight derived from Lois himself as well as other famous persons and influences. Distilled amongst the advice are wonderful anecdotes and examples of work from Lois himself. In this book, Lois pursues and talks about boundless thoughts and beliefs and philosophies that can modify world culture by provoking and inciting modern culture. Damn Good Advice is small enough to keep in your handbag or coat pocket and is bursting with pictures (expected from a talented art director) and is rather swift and comfortable to read. The book includes 120 pieces of guidance, outbursts and thought provocations. It feels like you are reading and looking at a sequence of public posters and signs which makes the advice easier to read through and remember. I got the impression that Lois’ personality is egotistical yet charming and humorous from his style of writing along with the illustrations that correlate with is thoughts. His presence bounces excitedly from page to page.

I feel that Lois’ advice was divided into two categories in which he uses his own work and experiences from his own life to illuminate and emphasise the points he is passionately trying to make and ‘sell’. There is a lot of weight on ‘trusting your instinct’ and how to express and believe in your ideas when you are pitching them to clients and believing in yourself and your talent when clients and industry peers say you are wrong which leads you to need to solve problems. The “Even a brilliant idea won’t sell itself” advice which is number 37, desperately expresses that in order to sell your idea to clients you need to be so passionate that you appear like you are fighting bees. This also became extremely transparent from the 114 piece of advice, which insists that your message is more important than the product itself. Your message and your story needs to grab people’s minds and leave them hung up on it. The other category is to ‘never give up and never see your mistakes as failures’. Lois stresses that mistakes are not failures, they are just like hurdles and stepping stones along the way that guide you to realising and finding what the big idea is. I took from this that we should never give up learning and that creative people who have closed their minds and secluded themselves are futile and won’t achieve success. The worst thing you could do would be to give up on yourself and let yourself down in a way that you have control over.

From reading this book, I can tell that Lois has clearly worked hard for what he believes in over the years which has been starkly motivated by his cultural upbringing and first-hand view of the imperfections and large inequalities of the world around him, leading him to take a political stance and generating his urge to protest and provoke.

Advertising has unquestionably reformed since Lois’s prime. He holds high-sounding views of the causes of this and accuses the rise of the internet of being at fault. “What happened finally is these terrible, conglomerate, no-talent, so-called marketing monoliths started to buy up agencies and you have five or six or seven agencies running the world, and if you’re part of them you’ll never be a creative agency, it just doesn’t work,” he says. “You can be an ad agency and you can have really perfect talent and you can grow, but you gotta be careful because at a certain point you become big and you become splintered, and someone comes to buy you and you sell out”.

I feel that the book waffles on a bit, but what book doesn’t! As much as I value the generous and skillful advice, on the other hand I am a person who can’t stand people who boast and brag about themselves and their achievements and their status in a way that demoralises others. Not that Lois is one of these people, but I feel that from the way Lois has written, he almost feels that he is the champion and leader of his profession. Nevertheless, this could just be the extent to which his passion elongates, and passion of course is what he is ‘advertising’. I feel that this quote from Lois perfectly expresses and reflects his misunderstood passion as an egotistical trait of personality, because I think his courage is contrasted with the courage of the current generation which live in a different society and have been through more extreme pressures in terms of education to achieve success and positive judgement and rewards:

“But the attitude of most people in advertising and in design studios today is … I don’t see people who are happy or passionate, or who are excited about what they’re doing. Everybody seems to be so careful about what they do, I just don’t see the right attitude about their work. They’re exciting, terrific young people, and they are thrilled when they hear me speak but they’re kind of flabbergasted that anybody is out there that has gotten away with doing great work all his life, because I have the courage and the talent to do it.”

 

Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules by John Hegarty

Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules by John Hegarty

Hegarty on Creativity: There Are No Rules is a handbook that was produced to push you to think of the world of creativity differently, to consider what drives creativity, how to master and sustain creativity and how to expand your creative ability out of the world around you. Each page includes a provocation that is meant to provide the reader with an impulse and desire and instinct to push themselves out of their comfort zone and to open their eyes to their unique creativeness and develop their confidence.

I feel that there is an immense amount of learning distilled into the blissfully concise 127 pages of stimulation and it even fits into your handbag or coat pocket. The provocations force you to stop and think about everyday things and stuff that applies to you that you are already capable of and carry out. There are numerous examples of “that is so simple why didn’t I think of that” truths that every creative individual needs to be reminded of every now and again. Hegarty provides the reader with multiple hints, tips and ideas on how to find and advance their creativity, ideas and careers, providing some examples of his own career such as conversations he’s had during interviews and pitching to clients. I think that Hegarty gives confident advice on how to remain persistent and what and not to do when trying to find inspiration. Each double page was a new subject, tip or idea and were balanced with sarcasm, wittiness and comical illustrations. I also like how Hegarty didn’t just express his tips in one way; he used different angles and perspectives in order to try to convey his messages, such as “The McCartney Syndrome” on page 115 and “Zag” on pages 42-44.

I found this read not only advising and helpful in making me realise that I can find inspiration in simple things that I did not comprehend before, but also psychologically targeting and moving due to the style and tone in which Hegarty writes. Although advising and didactic, it is calming and thoughtful with many rhetorical questions, tranquilising illustrations and simple and lingering phrases.

As well as absorbing positive remarks, I felt that there were a few downfalls. I was expecting something more personal and awe-inspiring suggestions instead of some of the very common and general and lazy takes on creativity such as “get angry’ and “reflect”. These are obviously part of the creative process but are just general and standard suggestions that could apply to anything and don’t suggest anything new that people haven’t heard of or experienced before.

Whilst some may feel that Hegarty was reinforcing the tale of creativity being a gift and that his advice is exclusive to those working in the creative industry, I feel differently because the type of advice he is giving is guidance that can be extracted from everyday things and subjects that apply to a range of people with common interests, such as “remove your headphones” and find inspiration from around you instead of “cutting yourself off from the world”.

The most prominent topics that stood out to me and provoked me the most were:

Nothing is original anymore: Ideas borrow and blend and bounce off each other so much now that it is arrogant to say your idea is original. Instead, you should refer to your idea as ‘Fresh’.

Storytelling: This is the most powerful form of communication because it’s what our ideas are constructed around and the story is the vehicle which delivers the idea in order to make it memorable and provocative.

Head vs. Heart: Feel rather than think. “what the heart knows today, the head will know tomorrow”. We are human beings. We are emotional and we respond to our emotions more so than logic. Let your emotions guide you because too much thinking risks damaging the creative process and the ultimate exploration of your imagination.

My favourite quote from this book: “When the world zigs, zag”.

 

Design in a Nutshell

Having studied History of Art at A-Level, I was particularly attracted to these short and briefly summarising 1-2 minute animations by Brainpickings on the major historical creative art movements. It is amazing to observe the progression of art movements and the confidence and individuality of artists to transcend boundaries and traditions. Lots of the subjects that came up I had studied in great depth and detail so it was a nice little trip down memory lane. I found this subject incredibly interesting and unique, despite it being a much harder subject to study than others due to it having no specification textbook and a lack of direction about what was supposed to be learnt to construct top-grade essays. I believe the subject is being re-developed and re-directed to make it more sufficient to teach and learn at A-Level now. I especially loved visual analysis and learning about the context behind creations of paintings and architecture. Fashion is directly influenced by art and architecture so it is vital that our knowledge of this area is maintained and developed. I also studied Fashion Design and Textiles at A-Level and the majority of the garments that I designed and physically made were inspired by art, paintings and architecture due to their incredibly unique angles, shapes, textures, colours and optical visuals.

The first clip focuses on Gothic Revival; a pinnacle moment in art history. Society felt that more meaningful buildings were needed and more churches were required due to the growth of the Church of England. Significant elements within the architecture included tall spires, pointed arches, cluster columns, quatrefoils and repeating patterns to signify statues.

The second clip talks about the Arts and Crafts movement which emerged as a rebellion to the negative impact of mass-production and the Industrial Revolution. An important area of the 19th century art movement focused on labour and poverty and political subjects. This was known as realism and artists depicted figures that were victim to the hardships of society. This movement championed underappreciated crafts people who created the industry which supported society’s growth and sustainability. Its morals and ethics are still present today.

The third clip speaks about the Bauhaus, an art school that allowed students to unify art and technology and to re-align society. One particular Avant Guarde concept in architecture is ‘Form follows function’. The design of the Bauhaus derived from anxieties about the soullessness of manufacturing and its products, and in fears about art’s loss of purpose in society. Creativity and manufacturing were driving apart, and the Bauhaus aimed to unite them once again, “rejuvenating design for everyday life.”

The fourth clip looks into how Modernism emerged from a disillusionment with history after the World War and changed perceptions in all areas creative expression. It looks at how it was applied to all forms of creative expression and looking at the world differently and how it is as you see it. Modernists were intrigued by emerging technology and how to create a better society using ‘Form follows function’.

The fifth clip focuses on American Industrial design which, after The Great Depression erased consumer demand and disposable income, set to out rebuild society and reignite people’s appreciation for objects by making things that previously didn’t need to appear attractive now sleek and desirable such as the fridge and the radio. Lots of art that was produced symbolised societal fears instead of optimism. Style soon became as important as function and consumers began to desire new innovative products as the common feel became aspirational and hopeful as the American Dream was re-born. This movement transformed America functionally and culturally

The last clip centers around Postmodernism and how it criticised modernism for failing to renew and restore society and forging a better world. This movement looked at how less was more and how art needed more than one method of style to appear more interesting and more challenging and more provocative. Postmodernism was liberating and unsettling and connected the world like never before.

Sending smells by digital technology

I listened to a very interesting conversation out of the Basenotes podcast series about idea of sending smells digitally and the uses and problems that may arise from this. The panel discussed various elements within this subject including whether the ability to send a smell would be useful and if a scent can be recorded digitally and therefore re-sniffed, would it lose some of its beauty and specialty? The panel consisted of a diverse range of contributors. Grant Osborne spoke throughout the discussion, who is the founder and editor of Basenotes. Among the group was Lila Das Gupta who is a London based journalist with a distinct interest in all things olfactory. She is also an organiser of the Perfume Lover’s London meet-up group. Callum Langston-Bolt was also part of the panel, who had worked for several years in fragrance after having a job in a perfume shop while studying English. Liam Moore contributed, who is the editor of the Award Winning ODOU Magazine. Finally, Isabelle Schoelcher was part of the panel; she is a French-Persian actress and scent obsessed.

The conversation commenced with a discussion surrounding the ‘O-phone’ which was developed by students at Harvard university. It can send smells from one device to another. This stimulated an intriguing talk about how sending smell messages could be put into realistic action and how the possibility of sending taste could eventually exist too. Stemming from this was the concern about how an incredible and remarkable idea can actually be sufficiently executed. The literal re-creation of a beautiful and transcending scent is unlikely to be produced perfectly and instead transmitted smells won’t mirror the actual smell. For example, the scent of a rose perfume would smell more like a rose air-freshener instead of the high quality and heavenly smell of a perfume. How can smells be integrated into other ways of life such as the cinema in addition to sound vibrations and visual senses? Would people actually buy into this technology when the efficiency of the outcome is unreliable? This argument was however countered with points inclusive of how any new production of technology always has imperfections and is underestimated. This subject of sending smells digitally has similar set-backs as the internet itself did before it exploded. It was an initial novelty that eventually became massively lucrative, so could the notion of sending smells via technology fall under the same scenario?

A significant point of discussion encircled the idea of capturing smells the same way you can capture moments with photography. People love to reminisce over personal and amazing memories via their visual senses, so could this be developed and revolutionised by integrating the sense of smell to allow people to revisit memories and moments as realistically and literally as possible? Counter to this aspirational concept, the panel also discussed how there is both beauty and sadness about capturing something ephemeral. There is sadness and specialness about not being able to recreate smells as it may not be as beautiful if it is kept.