Friday, 12 October 2012

Walter Van Beirendonck SS13 'Silent Secrets'

Walter Van Beirendonck is not a household name. In fact, if you are reading it for the first time, it's hard enough to read, let alone say on a daily basis - FYI, is it pronounced BEER-REN-DONCK.
He is a fashion designer, influential and very talented. After all, he has been creating fashion/art since the eighties.

I first learnt of Van Beirendonck when I looked into the 'Antwerp Six', and he soon became my favourite designer, and a huge influence on my own work.
To give a brief overview, and trust me, I wrote a whole chapter on my dissertation on this - so I could ramble on for hours, the Antwerp Six refers to a group of designers who graduated from Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts between 1980-1981. All became well known in the industry, mainly for their avant-garde approach, radical stylings and compelling collections. This was something new, something different.
They put Antwerp on the Fashion map in 1988 when they collectively took to London Fashion Fair and presented their works.

The infamous Six are made up of; Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk van Saene, Dries van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, and Walter Van Beirendonck.
(Martin Margeila is often mistaken for being one of the Antwerp Six, due to his success from around the same period.)

Since then Walter Van Beirendonck has grown stronger and more influential - being cited as one of the main trend-setters in men's fashion, and even being stocked in some of the 'big players' worldwide, such as 10 Corso Como (Italy) and United Arrows (Japan).

Van Beirendonck's collections often take influence from politics, or world issues - I realise a very vague description, and always, always, a nod towards sex. He has used the humour of sex, a cheeky *wink wink* throughout his career. Fetishism is known to be one subject that interests him, something which recurs in many different ways throughout his fashion timeline.

The latest collection 'Silent Secrets' shown on the catwalk in Paris for Spring Summer 2013 is no exception, although it does not scream 'fetish' at us in the way his fun loving 'Sexclown' collection of 2008 did, or even from as recent as Fall 2012, in 'Lust Never Sleeps' where latex, rubber and gimp masks showed a more sinister side in to this intriguing subject.

However, it is clear from the harnesses shapes filtering through his latest work that fetish sex is still making an impression on Van Beirendonck, a source for his creative ideas to flow from.
The harnesses appear not just literally- made by ropes tightly pulled around the models body, but by cleverly printed T-shirts, modern society's most casual garment possibly saying - I may be bound but I am unrestricted?, and draw-cords through light jump suits and bomber jackets, concealed and contorting the fabric rather than the body.

I found myself looking at this collection is a slightly different light. I wasn't shocked. And that in itself shocked me. Van Beirendonck has surprised me with new levels and ways of looking at sexual fixations through his work, and often made me smile with his bold colour clashes and no-nonsense sloganeering. This collection is a peek-a-boo rather than a full sex show in comparison to some of his previous works.

A lot of his work has been saleable before, it has not just become more commercial or better cut, but this struck me as one of the most formal presentation's I have seen (through a computer, because I am yet to be that lucky I can watch with my real eyes.... On that day I might explode.) The light colours and fabrics used in contrast to a dark check of the overcoats and blazers almost makes some of the shorts appear as old-fashioned undergarments. Did this naughty young man get caught with his trousers down (and possibly in a harness), run away, grabbing his top hat on the way out of the door? His sock braces exposed for the world to see. 

Although this might sound like harmless fun, there is something quite dark about the mix of beautifully cut dress shirts and suits when mixed with rubber gloves or outwear which almost looks like a lab coat.
A complete juxtaposition seems to take placed on every model, a fight between the repressed and the expressive. A pure white and pastel toned, playful take on what can be a secretive world of dark corners behind closed doors - a world of silent secrets.

Images taken from

Monday, 8 October 2012

Monday Funday #2

Wake up!

Wondering what happened in the night?...

Limber up for the week ahead...

Put your face on...

Always dress to impress...

(If in doubt - shell suits are always in style.)

Have a cheeky coffee...

Work extra hard.
 Or just raid the stationary cupboard....

And if your still feeling disheartened, remember, tomorrow is one day closer to the weekend...


Images from the following sites:,, pinterest,,

Friday, 5 October 2012

Gareth Pugh's SS13 collection (It's given me scarlet fever)

When I first heard that Gareth Pugh's Spring/Summer 13 collection had seen the London-based designer emerge into a fully fledge 'runway designer', (though I am unsure what that means exactly) I panicked. Not in a 'OMG it's the end of the world as we know it', but a 'Whhhy? why would he do that?!' self indulgent way. My panic stems from the fact that my initial love for Pugh's work was because it felt raw and edgy. Yes, I just used the word edgy.

Ever since the iconic 'rabbit' outfit from the Fall 2006 RTW collection, Pugh has had my attention (lucky him). That very first collection was exactly what I wanted to see as a student - An English eccentric putting something dark and delicious on the catwalk. Everything from the puffed up pom-poms....

to the cascade of gold tinsel that made up this coat....

It all seemed like a dream collection to me. He seemed to rebel against everything my tutors were telling me at the time. I could do exactly what I wanted, no it wasn't too over the top. In comparison, my drawings were minimalist and commercial!

Since then I have always looked forward to seeing what he would come up with next. As a lover of colour it surprised me how much I appreciated the use of black, white and grey shades over the years, with injections of colour - such as the blue in his Fall 2011 RTW collection - being presented like a gift for which I felt truly grateful.

Fast forward to his latest SS13 RTW presentation and I am finding that there is something a little more polished, and dare I say it - commercial - about his pieces.
There is almost a stark minimalism, as seen across many of the shows this season, to some of his pieces, but then almost as soon as that thought entered my head, a cacophony of ruffles and textures sweeps down the catwalk one after the other.

My first viewing left me with mixed emotions, but now I simply can't put into words how much I wish I could buy every garment.

I mean, how often do you see a pair of trouser which ripple into pools around your feet?

Or a neckline which instantly reminds you of Queen Amidala? (sorry, Star Wars reference for all those who aren't geeks).

Not to mention how good these tasselled sleeves would look in my own re-enactment of Michael Jacksons 'Why' video!

Or a bold choice of colour, beautiful cut and layering - balancing out a sharp neckline with billowing hemlines.
(Which has really given me scarlet fever).

And so, panic over.
Whether it's the fact that now I am little older and am ready for some perfectly executed ruffles, or that Pugh hasn't lost whatever 'it' was, I am still a fan.
Hat's off to you sir. *Designer high five*

Images taken from

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Anna Dello Russo for H&M - Goldtastic!

It's a mere 2 days until you can get your hands on the new range by Anna Dello Russo for H&M. The editor-at-large and creative consultant for Vogue Japan has created an eye-catching (to say the least) range of accessories to inject colour and life into this winter's wardrobe. The range includes jewellery, sunglasses, bags, and one hell of a hat (see it all here).

If you haven't yet watched the video for this, prepare to be blown away...

YOU NEED A FASHION SHOW (warning it will be stuck in your head, and you will find yourself humming it in a few days whilst walking round the supermarket. I do not take blame for the weird looks you will get) - the anthem to the film to accompany this collaboration pumps it's way thorough the Della Russo's top ten rules of fashion.
My favourite rule has to be....

Somebody wearing your same outfit? Wonderful, you did the right choice

The video sets the tone perfectly - positive vibes are exploding out of it, instantly brightening up your day. I can imagine just taking the clutch into your hand, adorning yourself with the charm necklace, or slipping your feet into the golden boots will put you in just the right mood to dance off down the street. Imagining yourself in your very own trashy music/fashion video, and now doubt wishing that a giant golden boot / giant golden scissors / oversized bracelet seat would appear just round the corner, to complete the look. Just me? I think not...

The colours are well selected - bright without looking cheap. A hue hitting the exact tones we normally only see in real turquoise stone, an intense sunset orange, rich emerald, and gold upon gold upon gold.
The jewellery is over the top, yes, I don't deny that, but just looking at it makes me want to put it all on at once so I am positively dripping with golden links and polished gems.

Whatever your personal opinion on this, ghastly or glorious, you can not deny that Dello Russo has created something exciting to brighten up these drizzly October days (if you're in the UK).

Personally, I will be taking on the opinion 'more is more' when it comes to this range. And when I strut down the street I will be the epitome of Anna Della Russo line 'nothing succeeds like excess.'

Monday, 1 October 2012

Monday Funday #1

Just realised it's Monday morning?

Weekend left you feeling like this...?

Or this...?

Don't panic.

Wear something jazzy....

Dress tactically for work...

Maybe don't go this far...

Go out and have some fun...

 Kick Monday's ass...

And remember...


Friday, 28 September 2012

Hello World

Hello, my name is Olivia Grace... just saying that makes me feel like I should have a primary school style sticker on my chest with those words written in felt tip. Anyway, OH GEE comes from my friend shouting my initials at me for attention. Not a fascinating story I know, but true all the same.

I’m a fashion designer, currently working for Lavenham Jackets (as designer), creating all sorts of fancy pieces from quilt, and this is my first blog post ever. Wooo.

I honestly think there is just too much going on in my head, and I need somewhere to store some of it. Lucky you, you get to peruse my thoughts and ideas for the day or week, and see if anything grabs your attention.

I will be blogging about anything I spot in the fashion or art world that interests me, and therefore may interest you. I tend to have strong opinions on these things (actually, on everything), and find some very peculiar things on my hunts for inspiration. My sense of style can change quite dramatically on a daily basis – although I am a Magpie, so prepare yourself for glitter and gold to frequent these pages.

The only feature I can guarantee right now is 'Monday Funday'. I plan on posting a selection of creative, inspirational, or just plain funny images to start off the week. First thing Monday. Because lets face it, we all need something to make us *lol* (promise I wont use that a lot) when Monday comes around.
Other bits will include street snaps (though I am not a photographer, so don't expect the next Scott Schuman), how to style tips, up and coming designers, reviews and my wonderment at anything I spot whilst perusing the streets of Suffolk/London/Brighton/wherever I happen to be that week.

I think the thing I am most looking forward to, but also quietly dreading (just in case the big bad internet turns on me), are feedback and comments. I really want to know what people's opinions are. I love hearing my friends views, and I guess this is an extension of that. So get interactive and let me know if you think something or someone should be taken down by the fashion police (because they really do exist.... right?). I would never write anything to intentionally offend, or just for shock factor, and I would hope that you, as the reader, would do the same. As my Nan (and everyone else's) used to say 'if you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all'.

I’m not going to promise it’s going to be life changing, but hopefully it will make you smile. Or think. Or smile and think.