In 2001 Prada opened the New York Epicenter, designed by Rem Koolhaas, a space that redefined shopping as cultural entertainment. A boutique, an exhibition space and a meeting place, the first Epicentre created a new benchmark for the luxury industry. Mr. Koolhaas channelled Ms. Prada’s vision of an open space to the public when actual shopping experience was ancillary to the cultural value of the space itself. Ten years on, when commercial activity has invaded both public spaces and cultural institutions, the Epicenter offers the possibility for public functions and exhibitions to reclaim the territory of shopping. The entire length of the ground floor of the space allows for a rapid change of the environment with wallpapers.
Marcela Gutierrez is the latest artist to contribute to the Epicenter with her work titled Stain (2011). Inspired by illustrations adorning classic bodice-rippers and pulp fiction paperbacks, ‘Stain’ features super-sized close-cropped watercolor portraits of Prada models in a swirl of color that border on the lurid. The collage is comprised of fragments of original paintings by illustrator Marcela Gutierrez recombined in a full-wall composition.
2×4 is a multidisciplinary design studio in New York City founded by Michael Rock, Susan Sellers and Georgie Stout in 1993. Spanning print, technology, multimedia and environment, 2×4 now focuses on projects related to art, culture and design worldwide.
Partner Michael Rock and 2×4 have worked in close collaboration with Prada and OMA/AMO for over ten years on projects ranging from special wallpapers, print material, fashion show environments, web experiences, films/animations, and events. In 2009 2×4 helped realize the Prada book, a special book cataloging Prada’s work over the last 30 years.
Ten Wallpapers for the past ten years/ A selection
NOTORIOUS WOMEN, 2006
GUILT INC., 2005
NEW MASTERS, 2009
ALMOST BLUE, 2010
MASKED/HOODED WOMEN, 2007
Always up for a celebration! Tuesday night, Browns Focus and Illesteva hosted a party to celebrate summer on last time, after all sunglasses are for all year round. The party coincided with the end of London Fashion Week, too. Great fun to swap stories and comments on what happened during the shows. And now we are all in Milan.
Nicole Farhi inaugurated her new store on Conduit Street on Monday evening. The store is quintessentially Farhi: her minimalism is palpable throughout, yet a forward twist is perceptible. Nicole stayed true to her codes, making her design relevant for our times. At the party I had a chat with Massimo Nicosia, who now heads the menswear design team. He told of the challenges of channelling a vision, respecting a design ethos and moving a brand forward all at the same time. It goes without saying that those challenges are what make his job interesting. Massimo has an ongoing dialogue with Nicole and that is the foundation of their creative process. I find it fascinating discovering what moves designers, especially those talented ones who have to draw a dream that belongs first to the person whose name is on the label and ultimately to the clientele that will wear those clothes.
My fascination with clean lines and simplicity led me to discover Torsten Neeland. Torsten has designed ‘Cocoon’, a timeless thermos that also has a very utilitarian aspect.
Cocoon was conceived for a Chinese manufacturer; a project that has been very productive, pioneering and challenging. For China, the perception is of cheap goods, quality problems and a blatant disregard for intellectual property. The project reflects on the changing culture in China towards Industrial Design and manufacturing.
The design process went through 25 stages until the thermos was ready for production after a development that took two years. It is the smallest detail that counts and simplicity is very often a result of a complex process.
Cocoon is available at Mar Mar Co, 16 Cheshire Street E2. Mar Mar Co has designed the Air Box packaging that, not only protects but also compliments the product.
I have mentioned several times how I value irony in our industry and I must say that Kinder Aggugini has plenty of it. Tuesday’s show was a celebration of Kinder’s sense of irony that was translated into a beautiful collection, reminiscent of the 90’s. I believe that it is a rare ability to create modern yet timeless, clothes that are nonetheless easy to wear. Kinder has the ability of combining all these qualities. His collection tells the story of a girl who morphs into a sophisticated lady who proceeds to wear pretty dresses, but still hangs on to her boots and studded leather jackets. Aggugini is one of London best fashion assets.
My friends at Clare Tough created a collection for this Winter that evokes a familiar feel of the 60’s and 70’s but remains firmly facing forward. The design direction is now under Claire Millar, a master in reinventing knitwear pieces, giving them a subversive feel. Playing with materials is not Claire’s only talent. Her understanding of the codes of knitwear and its place in fashion history is what sets Clare Tough’s design aside. A bouclé tailleur, a conservative staple in any woman’s wardrobe, is subverted when worn with a contrast texture and structured with leather accessories. Modern and practical like a trench coat. And as someone has said, knitwear is the new trench.
Irreverent, hilarious, ironic. Mademoiselle Agnes created one of my favourite TV shows, Habillées Pour… screened on CANAL+ in France. I admire her frank opinions on our industry and her unique irony, a quality that is sorely missing in fashion these days. I watch her show religiously every season.
LALALA Productions, founded by Mademoiselle Agnes herself, produced Signé Chanel, a behind-the-scenes documentary on life at the famous fashion house in the weeks leading up to the showing of its Autumn/Winter 2004-2005 collection.
This episode of Habillées Pour L’Hiver was shot earlier this year. The conversation between Karl Lagerfeld and Mademoiselle Agnes on who will replace John Galliano chez Dior is fantastic.
Hermès won a major victory Thursday in its battle against LVMH after a court cleared the French luxury group’s plans to create a holding company that will lock in descendants of the founding family for 20 years. Let’s hope that Hermès will stay independent.
This is the A/W 2011 campaign created by Nick Knight.
Emma Griffiths has a unique style. I admire her undertones of medieval warriors mixed with the feminine cuts of her silk dresses. The movie that features the E.G. Spring Summer 2012 collection speaks louder than thousand words.