A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: fashion

MASTERSTROKE // robert mapplethorpe

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ABOVE: ‘Self-portrait’, 1980 (gelatin silver); ‘Self-portrait’, 1983 (gelatin silver); ‘Self-portrait’, 1980 (gelatin silver). BELOW: ‘Patti Smith’, 1979 (gelatin silver); ‘Marianne Faithfull’, 1974 (gelatin silver).

 

BELOW: ‘Deborah Harry’, 1978 (gelatin silver); ‘David Hockney’, 1976 (gelatin silver). BOTTOM: ‘Isabella Rossellini’, 1988 (gelatin silver); ‘Lucy Ferry’, 1986 (gelatin silver).

 

I wish I had a chance to post this before the exhibition closed but life just got in the way. Perfectly timed with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the renowned work of Robert Mapplethorpe: the perfect medium was on show at the Art Gallery of NSW. He was a controversial figure who pushed boundaries and his art was ground breaking. His black and white photography is legendary but it was inspiring to see some of his work that I wasn’t familiar with. Being a designer, it was also nice to see some of the graphic examples from gay publications he collaborated with.

An enclosed room housed the more erotic images as well as his published books – X, Y and Z Portfolios. This three part book series details homosexual sadomasochistic imagery (X), floral still lifes (Y) and nude portraits of African-American men (Z). I loved the sculptural and evocative florals, shot in bold colour with a meticulous play of light and shadows. He was famous for celebrating the human form and his involvement in New York’s gay scene cultivated this, but his contemporary images also caused outrage.

His artistic methods and personal life are also detailed which is fascinating. Robert was friends with famous artists and musicians who he photographed regularly, including his muse Patti Smith. I idolised these icons so I couldn’t go past sharing them here and imagining the story behind each setting. Robert Mapplethorpe had an amazing but tragically short life, although he lives on in his pictures and as he would say ‘perfection in form’.

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INSTA-JAM // 2016 countdown

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I know it’s like wishing time away but I think we all agree that 2016 has been a very interesting year that has been punctuated by loss and turmoil. Now that the end of the year is counting down, I’m looking forward to a new year of hope and beauty. I’m sharing some moments from my Instagram as a reminder of brighter times and moving into the future. Wishing you all a peaceful, fun holiday break and may 2017 shine!

DEAR DIARY // the big design market

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In perfect timing for Christmas, The Big Design Market was on at The Royal Hall of Industries over three days this weekend in Sydney (Melbourne is on 2-4 December). Starting in Melbourne in 2012, this is the first year it’s come to Sydney and I think it’s debut was a success. Showcasing the best of local and international art, craft and design with over 200 stands of unique, exclusive products. There’s an emphasis on ethical production, sustainability, quality, originality and good design. This shopping mecca caters to all ages with a huge choice of everything you could ever need – or just really, really want!

There’s also a limited number of showbags on offer with a selection of pieces from the designers involved. Another innovative extension to the stalls are the creative workshops hosted by stallholders and renowned designers such as Sibella Court, Beci Orpin and Home-Work. With free kids activities and areas to sit and relax, it’s an enjoyable day out for the whole family. You may need to refuel for energy, so there’s plenty of delicious food and drink from all your favourite local taste-makers.

STYLE FILE // collette dinnigan

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‘Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced’ at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is the first exhibition to showcase the breadth of her work and design process. Featuring distinctive pieces from the archives grouped in a series of themes, the vignettes are offset by a video wall with continuous footage from catwalk shows. She is an internationally acclaimed Australian fashion designer with a career spanning more than 25 years and a celebrity following. Photographs from editorial spreads and campaigns reiterate the label’s feminine designs and romantic aesthetic.

The highlight for me was the vision and creativity behind the scenes which is on display with a variety of moodboards in different colourways. It was interesting to see how inspiration was born from artistic influences, cultural travel, vintage details and natural elements. At the end of the exhibit you get a chance to play and sketch your own designs on paper cutouts which are then displayed in an illustrated Parisian backdrop. Overall it was an escape into the fashion world and an insight into the stages of how ideas evolve and transform into a collection.

STYLE FILE // isabella blow

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The embodiment of a fashion fantasy, Isabella Blow’s incomparable style is celebrated in the exhibition ‘Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life’ at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. As an English stylist, editor and muse she nurtured and supported many designers such as Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy, Hussein Chalayan and Julien Macdonald. A true visionary, she saw their talent and wore their designs and now you can see complete outfits of her clothes, hats, shoes and jewellery.

This exhibit is a beautiful tribute from her friend Daphne Guinness who purchased Blow’s collection and has now shared this personal story about the woman behind the clothes. You can feel the true bonds with her fashion friends, clearly reflected in the number of Alexander McQueen pieces on display along with Philip Treacy hats. Her devout friendship with McQueen is touchingly on show with a video of them on the grounds at her Gloucestershire estate, where a young McQueen learns to handle a falcon while a fabulous Blow in all her finery walks across the fields.

Her sincerity is accurately shown in this quote. “Fashion is a vampiric thing, it’s the hoover on your brain. That’s why I wear the hats, to keep everyone away from me. They say, ‘Oh, can I kiss you?’ I say, ‘No, thank you very much. That’s why I’ve worn the hat. Goodbye.’ I don’t want to be kissed by all and sundry. I want to be kissed by the people I love.” A woman who loved the fashion world but truly adored the creators who had become her friends.

DEAR DIARY // the finders keepers

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The Finders Keepers markets just keep getting better and better every year. They started in 2008 and are now held in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide. I went to the opening night in Sydney for the Autumn/Winter event, held in the historical Australian Technology Park in Eveleigh. The spirit behind the markets is to promote and support small, local businesses while endorsing conscious consumerism to the shoppers.

It has created a community that independent artists, makers and designers showcase their amazing pieces at individual stalls. With talent from all over Australia, it’s a great environment to discover talented artisans that you can meet in person. There is always a variety of homewares, fashion, lifestyle and food products to try and buy. It has a creative, festival atmosphere complete with live music, bars and food trucks – a fun day out and a great inspiration!

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