Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ricky Swallow

I’ve been wanting to go see Ricky Swallow: The Bricoleur exhibition at the NGV Ian Potter Centre since I heard that it opened in mid October last year. So I guess it was better late than never, as I finally went and saw it, on it’s last exhibiting day (today!).

I realised walking though his works, that I was a complete fool to leave this exhibition till the last day. I found this amazing sense of affection towards his pieces. They seemed to tap into and touch the need to cherish and care for them, and ultimately care for the things that we care about. Swallow seemed to be highly concerned with the concept of death, but more so in the tribute of it, and the element of time mixed with emotion that is imbedded in life. His works are immaculately and sensitively carved from wood or cast bronze, and with beautiful attention to detail. The use of a technique that you feel has experienced time through its construction, also a complement to his concepts. What I really enjoyed about this exhibition is that Swallow seems to pay homage to the luscious and tender Still Lives of the Dutch Masters through clever symbology, while still harbouring strong sentimental values of his own, and current society. While never being overly confronting, Swallow’s works seemed to invite the viewer into the work. Letting the subtlety of its meaning reveal itself in our (the viewers) own time.

It is difficult to articulate the sense of compassion and appreciation of his works after this exhibition. So here are some of my favourite pieces from the exhibition:


p.s. Don’t worry if you missed-out on the exhibition at the NGV, Ricky Swallow’s website is wonderfully extensive; with photographic documentation of all his works. And while it is not the same as seeing them in person, you can still enjoy his techinique.

Images sourced from:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pierre Cardin

It seems that this week some greater fashion power is trying to direct me to Pierre Cardin's works.

Firstly, I desperately wanted to look at some of his works after being reminded of them through Andre Courreges' graphic spot inspiration.
Secondly, I was looking for a travel guide, yet found myself somehow discovering a whole book on the world of Cardin.
Thirdly, I was flipping through some magazines in Borders, and POW! a Whole feature article on Cardin in the current Oyster.
.... and Finally.... my obsession proven to be out of control.... I bought a pair of stark white leather zip up booties! How Mod!

Pierre Cardin is a highly talented designer, with one of the most successful business minds in the industry. Originally working for the infamous Christian Dior. Cardin contributed to the development of Dior's "New Look", while also developing the collarless suits for The Beatles.
Cardin's work seems so driven to conquer the future, with it's sculptural and powerfully strong silhouettes and cut. His disregard to the natural form of the body, allows his works to excite and even entertain the viewer/wearer. Cardin has been quoted to only " existing through [his] work and [he has] never enjoyed looking for enjoyment." Well if that is the case, his body of work is beautifully interactive, energetic and is highly enjoyable to view.

And with a world of work like Cardin's, why would you want to live in any other!

Images and Quote Sourced from:
Langle, Elisabeth. Thames and Hudson. Pierre Cardin, Fifty Years of Fashion and Design.
"I have always liked existing through my work and i have never enjoyed looking for enjoyment."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

"Sheer Feminine Loveliness" from Paragon Shoes

Nowdays, who doesn't like looking at one crazy pair of shoes! They could be 20 inches high, with absolutely no posibly way to walk normally in them. But we still love to look.
The Melbourne Museum is currently showcasing a small exhibition of shoes from the Melbourne Manufacturers; Paragon Shoes. With pieces taken from over 100 years, the archive highlights the exceptional style from each era. Paragon Shoes has been the most significant shoe manufacturer in Australia for the 20th Century, and this exhibition celebrates their strong craft and ability in making fashionable and quality shoes for Australian women.

Exhibition: Paragon Shoes
Where: Melbourne Museum, in The Melbourne Gallery, Nicholson Street, Carlton Gardens.
When: Now till September 30 2010.
Cost: Free on consession/student pass, Adult: Fee


André Courrèges

Like any designer, it is important to find your own aesthetic, and your individual style. André Courrèges defiantly set out to find his distinct taste when in Autumn of 1961 he set up his own Couture House (after previously working for Balenciaga).

Courrèges’ love for cycling, racing and sports has had a huge impact on the way in which he designed. The functionality and ultimate ease of wearing his creations powered his inventiveness. Courrèges is a designer who I see has a strong link with the Op Art movement of the 60s, not only in the visual aesthetic, but also in the ability to ‘play’ and interact with the viewer (or wearer). His sharp use of bold graphics within the anatomy of the garments draws attention to the relationship and interaction one has with clothes. Much like the interaction the viewer has to the endless voids created by op artists of the time. Courrèges’ unique aesthetic aided in redirecting fashion out of the 1950s, into more playful, youthful and functionally cleaver pieces of the 60s.

….I find his works pure joy!


Images and Info: V. Guillaume, 1998, Courreges, Assouline Publishing, New York

Friday, February 19, 2010

Growing Illusions

Bridget Reily’s works always seem to astound me, and attract me. I have been a huge fan of her paintings and drawings for more than three years now. And it feels that each year, I grow to appreciate her more and more.

Her cleaver and hypnotic transformation of 2D surfaces into 3D endless voids, almost seems trivial. As the simplicity of her approach; an intelligent use of contrasting simple graphic shapes is so powerfully effective. The viewer is immersed into a space with no limits, as the lines, spots or shapes disappear into the apparent black-hole situated in the painting.

What many people may not know about Reily, is that she was very instrumental in developing the current Copy Right, and Intellectual Property Laws which protect many artists today. During the 60s, her highly graphic works alongside the sudden surge in fast-fashion, caused many of her pieces to be excessively reproduced within the design industry; without her permission. Causing Reily to fight for her intellectual property and thus establishing Copy Rights.

In my opinion, Reily has true artistry not only in her modern aesthetical style, but also in her ability to bridge Art and Design successfully.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh My Gosh, Poka-Dots!!!

I love this by ensemble by Josh Goot.
Being a huge poka-dot, spots, and graphic fan, I get extremely excited when I see these prints in fahsion.
I feel that highly condensed dots are a very sophisticated print for a repetitive shape that is notoriously so so much fun!
I also love the link which this shirt makes between the 60s graphic art movement of Op Art (Optical Art) and the wonderful Bridget Reily with fashion.

Enjoy (click the image to enlarge!)

Image: from the current Grazia, p.77

Monday, February 15, 2010

Endless Desires

Exhibition: The Endless Garment, The New Craft of Machine Knitting
Dates: Febuary 12 till March 21, 2010
Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne
Cost: Free
Exhibiting Artists: Issey Miyake, Walter Van Beirendonk, Sandra Buckland, Sibling, Nikki Gabriel, Ricarda Bigolin, Mark Fast, Freddie Robins, Roland Barthes, Yoshiki Hishinuma, Cooperative Designs, Saverio Palatella,

The highlight of this exhibition (for me) was not my anticipated Issey Miyake or Sandra Buckland, but actually the smaller names in the Design field.

Mark Fast’s extensive representation in this show allowed for a strong and coherent understanding of his design philosophies, matched with a complementary body of work. I enjoyed his strong conceptual ideas concerning the tension between body, structure and fabric, and more importantly how each interplays with one another to create an intimate relation with the wearer. Each of his displayed pieces was highly successful in their visual translation from the concept to the garment.

While the more outlandish designs from the Sibling were another surprise highlight. With great visual layout, their section was as exciting as it was cleaver. With a bright pink grandma style jumper, completely embroidered in a gradient of beaded rats, to another covered by cheetah print. I liked this playful approach to the technique of knitting, which is so commonly linked to old world crafts and never really art. Their whole display became brighter and bolder with the aid of their video, which was even kookier than their work!

It was also a real treat to be able to see some of the controversial works of Antwerp based artist Walter Van Beirendonk. His philosophies are as challenging as his work, and I especially love his courage in design. He is never afraid of colour, print or controversy.

My favourite pieces in the exhibition where by the Melbourne Designer Nikki Gabriel. They seemed to have a strong ethnic and tribal feel to them, but it came through with such refinement and consideration to design. The construction of her pieces where simply incredible to me, and I enjoyed looking at them as much as I wanted put it on!

Overall this exhibition certainly delivered its message of how current and modern the technique of machine knitting is. Through showcasing exciting and daring pieces as well as the highly considered concepts that are intertwined within the technique.


Drawing: by Helen Pappas 2010
Images sourced from:;ID=ukv51cxh9odb

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Lost Treasure: Alexander McQueen-MENSWER

While the fashion world seems to be powered by women’s’ hunger for clothes, men too have begun to develop quite an appetite.

Menswear has become more and more apart of fashion, to a point where it now plays an integral part in the contemporary design arena. Through challenging gender and questioning socio status, menswear is a world of fashion that has only newly been explored. I believe that menswear has so much exciting potential, and it is an area with I strongly believe should be more seriously considered and pursued.

In the resent news of the late Lee Alexander McQueen, his menswear collections always seem to challenge an aggressive masculinity with the refinement of his tailoring skills, and the beauty of embellished adornment. His most recent collection is my favourite to-date. The morbid repetition and psychedelic print of skulls and bones is wonderful. It creates a blend of both current graphic art and a link to psychedelic 60s prints which is also reflected in the cut and shilouette of the collection. McQueen also plays with the Tromp L’oeil effect of water pouring over the body, a cleaver and witty complement to his dark visual aesthetic.



Mourning A Lost Treasure: Alexander McQueen

It is simply devastating to hear that such an incredible man as Lee Alexander McQueen, has passed away. He has never been shy to shake-up, shock and distress the fashion world with his outstanding creations. A truly passionate and deeply inspiring designer, with a visionary sense for design and masterful technique. His influence will be irreplaceable. But like the infamous couturiers before him, such as Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobel Balenciaga, McQueen’s gutsy showmanship has crafted a new course for twenty-first century fashion.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Bizarre Romance

Magazine: i-D, Fall 2009, The Inside/Outside Issue, no.303
Editorial Title: Slap me on the Patio, page 170
Photography: Tim Walker
Styling: Jacob K
Artwork: Linder Sterling

Boarders is Great! I stand there, in the magazine section, simply flipping through and reading all those mags I simply just can't buy! ... and I stand, in awe, page after page of exciting fashion photography, news and reports. I'm not "Just Looking!" I'm really Just lusting! Lusting after all these treasures I wish to own. And this photo-shoot was too good to put back on the shelf! I wanted it, and I wanted to own it!

I love that it is more than just a shoot, it is a collaboration of fashion, and a collaboration of art and editorial. Richard Nicoll has collaborated with artist Linder Sterling on a collection of corsetry and suspenders. While Sterling in turn, has colaborated with the photographer in creating these artistic photos for i-D Magazine.
I really love the layers of collage over the photos, it's so fun and light, with that bold charm and suggestive cheekyness! Really, just such a wonderful shoot!