Archives for Vivienne Westwood

The V&A Presents Fashion In Motion: Phoebe English

LUXURY BRITISH, women’s and menswear label Phoebe English will be the next designer to feature in Fashion In Motion, this October at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Fashion In Motion will highlight the precise beauty of six years of Phoebe English’s collections. Made in England, the Phoebe English, label deploys lost and rarely used garment construction and fabrication techniques, embodying the mark of the maker.

pe1Phoebe English AW17 Presentation. Photograph: Polly Brown

The fashion collections will be centred within set designs, produced to capture the imagination and involve the viewer, setting the label apart from trend led, mass-made fashion design. The collections are aimed toward a balance between design and craft. A pop up shop of selected garments, specially crafted pieces for the V&A and unique exclusive works to be sold at V&A promotional prices will feature as part of the show.

English says, “Taking part in Fashion in Motion has a particular significance to me, as the V&A was the museum in which I decided to follow my interest in fashion. It is the building where my love for clothing and design were contextualised into a tangible practice and pathway”

After debuting her first fashion collection and graduating from Central Saint Martins with an MA from their Fashion Programme, English won several awards including L’Oréal’s Professional Creative Award, the Chloe Award and the Ungaro bursary. This collection was also picked up by luxury fashion shop, Dover Street Market London.

pe3Phoebe English AW17 Presentation. Photograph: Polly Brown

In 2013, The Centre for Fashion Enterprise awarded English a mentoring and sponsorship as part of the coveted Venture Programme. And two years later, Forbes listed English in the 30 under 30, influential Art and Style category and her menswear line, Phoebe English MAN, was awarded the NEWGEN Award by the British Fashion Council.

Inspiring designers, students and researchers, the V&A  is home to some of the UK’s biggest national, fashion collections along with unique and comprehensive collections of world fashion spanning the last four centuries.

V&A fashion curator, Oriole Cullen says, “Phoebe English is a designer for whom the presentation of her work is an integral part of her design process. For each of her collections she creates intriguing and beautiful scenarios in which to showcase her designs. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with Phoebe as part of the V&A Fashion in Motion programme, particularly as she has previously used the Museum as a source of inspiration for her collections”

pe2Phoebe English AW17 Presentation. Photograph: Polly Brown

Catwalk shows from leading, international fashion designers bring their collections to V&A Fashion In Motion, to show fashion garments moving and animated, as they should be seen. Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacriox are some of the designers previously showcased at the museum.

by Pierra George-Robertson

Featured Image: Phoebe English, Autumn Winter 17 Presentation, photo: Polly Brown.

Fashion In Motion: Phoebe English opens October 20. Tickets are available online. Admission is free.
The exhibition will be shown in the Raphael Gallery, Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London, SW7 2RL


Danish Designer Martine Jarlgaard Introduces her SS17 Collection

THE epitome of nonchalant Scandanavian elegance, Danish designer Martine Jarlgaard  has released her SS17 collection. In keeping with the label’s minimalistic aesthetic, the collection adheres to a muted palette composed of predominantly black, cream and grey shades.

Classic pieces – the jumper dress, high-waist trousers and off-shoulder blouse for example – are subtly distorted, creating a slightly oversized silhouette which is enhanced by refined cut-outs, gentle ruching and the delicate, origami-like folding of fabrics. Crisp crepe and fine cotton materials attain the perfect balance between style and comfort. The result is a beautiful simplicity which is highly sophisticated yet subtly sensual, and all the while entirely wearable.

Martine Jarlgaard SS17 © Martine Jarlgaard

Jarlgaard exceled at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen – her graduate collection was sponsored by the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and later featured in the Italian Haute Couture Fashion Week. She went on to work for Vivienne Westwood and has since designed for All Saints and headed Female Apparel at Diesel also. In 2014 she moved to the British capital, where she established her own eponymous label and has earned the support of the Kering Centre for Sustainable Fashion for her efforts towards developing sustainability and ethical practice in the industry.

Martine Jarlgaard SS17 © Martine Jarlgaard

The label uses a combination of organic, recyclable materials and excess luxury fabrics which mostly derive from Italian mills. Each piece is thus truly high-quality and when fashioned into the timeless elegance that is Danish style, Jarlgaard hopes that they will be worn for seasons, and indeed years to come.

Martine Jarlgaard SS17 © Martine Jarlgaard

by Hannah Bergin

For information concerning stockists visit Martine Jarlgaard’s website, here

Dress Up Story: Vivienne Westwood exhibition opens in Savannah

Westwood exhibSSDress Up Story – 1990 Until Now at SCAD, Savannah, Georgia.

AN EXHIBITION  of work by British designer Vivienne Westwood Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now, has opened at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia. The show is curated by André Leon Talley of American Vogue who is a SCAD  Trustee and a student mentor there.

Garments on display range from Dame Vivienne’s Spring/Summer ’91 collection Cut, Slash, and Pull up to present-day collections.  Dress Up Story features more than 33 garments designed in collaboration with her creative  partner and husband Andreas Kronthaler.

WestwoodSS7Garments on display at Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now

As well as clothing, the  exhibition features accessories and fashion show footage that showcase Dame Vivienne’s innovative pattern-making, “instinctual use of fabrics and distinctive technique”. The exhibition also investigates her “masterful application of colour and features the unique fabric patterns and materials that capture both fashion culture and British history”.

Well-known as an political activist, Dame Vivienne’s work explores the issues of its time, ranging from her central role in the punk rock revolution in London and contemporary political movements such as  the anti-fracking, climate change and Occupy movements. “My clothes are more subversive than they’ve ever been,” says Dame Vivienne. “In a world of conformity, they offer a real choice.”

WestwoodSS2Embroidered jackets by Vivienne Westwood on show at Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now

The exhibition organisers argue that her oeuvre remains a poignant representation of contemporary life, she skillfully deconstructs and arranges symbolic cultural elements into new and surprising creative designs.

Curator of the exhibition André Leon Talley took inspiration from an eccentric British celebration, describing the exhibition as “A post modern romp of a weekend party where the swells meet the activists, where the rogues go vogue, and the vogues go rogue.”

SCAD is based in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong and in Lacoste, France. It’s courses can be accessed online through SCAD eLearning, the diverse student body consists of nearly 12,000 students from across the United States and more than 100 countries.

WestwoodSS3More looks at Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now

Selections from the SCAD Museum of Ar’’s Earle W Newton collection of British and American paintings, hung salon style, create a backdrop for the garments.  Dame Vivienne said, “Our costumes are romantic and theatrical, inspired by history. We know the characters they belong to. Whoever chooses to wear them re-creates the clothes in her own image making them classics. She inhabits a parallel world – like this one but more ideal. Andreas and I have been designing for 25 years, living and working together. It’s our story. We always dress up.”

“The SCAD Museum of Art continues to deliver innovative and dynamic art experiences that inspire students and visitors of all ages,” said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace. “SCAD is honoured to celebrate Dame Vivienne’s illustrious work.”

WestwoodSS6Installation view of Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now

The exhibition offers a insight into the creative process of one of fashion’s most provocative minds, offering a cross-section of Westwood’s history and major fashion accomplishments from the last 25 years.

Daily admission to the exhibition is free for all SCAD students, faculty, staff and museum members. The exhibition is open to the public with the cost of museum admission.

by Caroline Simpson

All images courtesy of SCAD

SCAD Museum of Art, 
601 Turner Blvd. 
Savannah, Georgia
The exhibition runs until September 13, 2015. For ticket information, please go here
A reception for Vivienne Westwood Exhibition: Dress Up Story – 1990 Until Now will be held on July 9, 5:30-7 p.m.

Well Covered: an Interview with Shauna Dennison of Cole & Son

  • Shauna Dennison, creative director of Cole & Son


WHEN it comes to interior design, there are few things as essential and easy to personalise as what you put on your walls. Enter the world of bespoke wallpaper, which is an ancient tradition. Records indicate that paper was first used as a wall decoration in 200 BC by the Chinese, who affixed rice paper to walls. By the 16th century, the Chinese had imported wallpaper to Europe, where it become highly popular and much in demand as a wall covering. In fact the wallpaper-making trade became so well-established in France that in 1599 a guild of painters and paperhangers, called the “dominotiers” (also referred to as the PDC) was set up.

Heritage brand Cole & Son is one of the oldest wallpaper companies in the UK. Founded in 1875 by John Perry, who was the son of a merchant from Cambridgeshire, Cole & Son has enjoyed a long and storied reputation with its specialty wallpapers donning the walls of almost every major castle and historic house in England, including Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.

In the 19th century, the Cole & Son headquarters were originally located in Islington, north London, an area which was well known for printing companies at the time. Cole & Son became famous for its stripes and other signature patterns, and later for re-introducing the pan coating process as well as the process of flocking, which imitated cut velvet.

In 1941, Cole & Son was purchased by AP Cole, proprietor of the company Cole & Son (Wallpapers) Ltd, with showrooms and offices at Mortimer Street in central London. AP Cole also took over the designs of another company,  JC Crace & Son, which provided wall coverings for many stately homes, palaces, castles, and theatres, including the Palace of Westminster, and in turn, gave the company the rights to the most significant collection of wooden printing blocks in Britain.

Nowadays, Cole & Son possess an extensive archive of over 1,800 block print designs, 350 screen-print designs, and a vast collection of original drawings and wallpapers. The company has worked closely with a number of fashion designers and other creative professionals on design collaborations and continues to supply wall coverings for historic homes and important landmarks through the UK.

We recently sat down with Shauna Dennison, creative director for Cole & Son, to learn more about the company, the art of wall coverings, and to learn more about the heritage of this significant, but easily overlooked, industry.

Wallpaper-making is a highly specialist profession. Why did you decide to enter this field?
I actually did a degree in textile design, as at that time wallpaper wasn’t very fashionable and it was all about printed fabrics. As wallpapers gradually became fashionable again, and printed fabrics less so, it was an easy transition to make. It is still about surface pattern – just applying to paper rather than cloth.

You studied at the RCA (Royal College of Art) in London. How has your training and studies influenced your career and vision at Cole and Son?
My time at the RCA allowed me to determine exactly what area of surface pattern I wanted to move into – fashion or interiors. It was there that I worked with some interesting and creative people and organisations within the interiors world (Liberty, Timney Fowler) and this cemented my career direction. As for my “vision” this is something which has evolved over the years, from when I was a child, really. I had a creative upbringing, so looking at design from many different angles has helped make me the designer I am today.

What inspires your designs when you create different collections?
That’s a very difficult one to answer. As a designer it is vitally important to keep your ear very close to the ground and simply being very aware of the world around you is very important. Design on a wider level is about how you live your life and global western trends like the rise of the coffee shop for example, reflect a lifestyle habit which, as a designer, is important to recognise. As far as wallpaper designs go, anything can spark an idea – travel photography, exhibitions, books read, films and of course the rise in digital media, pinterest, blogging etc gives us a wider access to what else is happening in the world.

What have been some of the highlights of your career with Cole and Son so far?
As a lifelong fan of Fornasetti it was a privilege to work with them on the Fornasetti II collection. I also feel lucky to have been at Cole and Son while it was still a working factory and witness some of the old production methods, such as hand flocking and panning. Sadly this aspect of the business is no longer with us on site, although we continue to use artisanal manufacturers around the UK to produce some of our oldest patterns.

What part do you think wall-covering plays in the aesthetics of someone’s home?
I think the part it plays is growing rapidly. When I was a child, wallpaper generally was seen as a background effect, usually used to co-ordinate with curtains and upholstery. Nowadays it stands up in its own right, and has pretty much overtaken printed fabrics in the home, as the ‘statement’ piece.

How do you balance your own point of view as a designer with the heritage of the Cole and Son?
Quite easily really. As I mentioned, I was lucky enough to join Cole and Son while it still manufactured its own product and for me, design and manufacturing go absolutely hand in hand.

That, along with the huge collection of archive documents made it a very interesting place to come and work. Everything in this world comes from somewhere and something, and the most modern designs today wouldn’t be here if they hadn’t had their own predecessors. I respect and recognize the importance of having a very visible heritage as it gives our product a kind of authenticity. And not least, it is an incredible resource to use. Quite often some of our more contemporary papers started out as very old historical designs. It’s all about how you “see” them and how you can visualise what they can become.

Cole and Son has created ranges with Vivienne Westwood and Fornasetti. Can you tell us something about what it is like collaborating with equally design-focussed brands?
It is always very exciting to work with designers who are experts in their field and can bring something new to the table. It is very much a symbiotic relationship which encourages both parties to think outside of their own particular “box”.

Are there any more collaborations planned for the future?
We are always looking for interesting partners as it keeps us fresh as a design company. However there must always be a balance between collaborations and developing your own brand style. There will undoubtedly be collaborations in the future … watch this space!

Cole and Son has a very loyal customer base, do you believe your market is insulated somewhat against the challenges presented by the digital age?
We do have a very loyal customer base, but that is expanding very rapidly to include a huge variety of customers. Yes, we have a traditionalist market which is incredibly important to us but we also have a growing younger and trendier market, who also look to us to deliver something they can aspire to. Digital technology is a tool – whether it be media or production capabilities – it is the message or design we are putting out which is the most important thing for us and our customers.

What do you see the future holding for the high-end wallpaper-making companies?
I would like to think that they will continue to hold their place in the design world. Heritage is becoming an ever more valuable commodity in the eyes of the consumer, but alongside this, you have to keep moving forward as a business and as designers. So long as we can continue to be innovative, imaginative and forward thinking, we hope that people will always want to buy our product.

We notice that Cole and Son has limited social media, is there a particular reason for this?
Cole & Son arrived rather late at the social media party, only launching fairly recently. Social media is an area that is growing organically, with customers seeking Cole & Son out across various platforms. It is important to us that any coverage or views shared are entirely authentic – we don’t court or sponsor social media or blog coverage. The sharing of lifestyle and interior images benefit the business hugely, with inspiring images posted on Pinterest or Facebook often sparking an increase in sample requests and sales of featured items. Being able to view our designs in real situations and seeing the creative and diverse way in which a wall-covering can be used in different environments is also an inspiration to us as a business.

What is Cole and Son’s approach to digital and e-commerce?
Cole & Son have a website and an iPad app. These are a showcase of our product, allowing customers to view by style, colour or collection. There are ongoing improvements to both but we feel that this online showroom is key to inspiring customers, as well as servicing our trade partners. We place importance on showing our designs in an interior setting, displaying wallpaper in context, rather than just presenting a pattern.

We offer a sampling service, where customers can buy samples online to view in their own environment. Roll sales however are only available via our network of retailers. This means customers have access to expert advice and assistance in choosing a design, discussing expert hanging, and giving them the opportunity to touch and feel the product. Wallpaper is a tactile product and needs to be seen and touched to be fully appreciated, so as much as digital can be a support, there is still the desire to handle the product.

by Jessica Quillin