Sunday, April 23, 2017

Fashion meets Art: Guy Catling

The scenery is black and white, frozen in time…captured only by the lens of the camera. The world of times gone by is revived with the addition of bright collaging by graphic designer Guy Catling. Images on their own that may appear dangerous, harsh, deserted or mechanical come alive with vibrant florals and geometric prints. 

By choosing imagery that includes warzones or locations of loss like the Twin Towers and then inserting prints like a colorful floral, the collages seem to speak to a more peaceful world that still embraces beauty in the midst of horror. Or perhaps another interpretation could be that there is a hope that grows and exists beyond the confines of reality’s harshness.

The photos of men in floral or geometric coats seem to question the notion of masculinity, or at least the serious demeanor the men were initially trying to convey. Or maybe, Catling isn’t trying to make political or cultural statements with any of his work, but instead simply offer intriguing images. 
Regardless of their meaning or lack thereof, the juxtaposition between the harsh imagery and the soft prints is captivating, drawing in the viewer to the unexpected pairings. 
Like Capling’s collages, fashion often pairs the unexpected. This spring, collections often featured their own forms of collage with different colored, textured and printed fabrics. 

 Designer Duro Olowu put fabric collaging front and center with dresses that include as many as five prints. Though varying in color and design, the various florals come together to create bright and optimistic dresses. 

Using a different approach to collage, shirts and dresses take on a geometric form as contrasting fabrics are used to construct the pieces at Emanuel Ungaro.



The traditional is reinterpreted with collage as seen with the use floral against the solid khaki fabric of Thakoon trench coats. 
 The use of collage is seen in the pairing of the various fabrics of the shirt and skirt, but also in the detailing of the coat and vest. With touches like a floral breast pocket, cuffs and sashes, the basics are brightened with the unexpected.

As a wearable collage, the textured lace of the empire waist Alexander McQueen dress is contrasted with floral embroidery.

Many designers like Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen also embraced the use of the hard and the soft by using strong materials like leather against softer floral fabrics and embroidery.

The unexpected pairings allows the style to cross boundaries. Biker goes boho with flowing florals against a black leather jacket.

The masculine and feminine often found its way into designs in ways such as the traditionally masculine suit jacket or duster paired with splashes of feminine fabrics and colors.  
 For instance, Phillip Lim’s white suit-like designs find inspiration in menswear while also embracing the use of collage by hinting at a surprise of feminine color with embroidery or small pieces of fabric.

Whether trying to make a statement, or simply find a way to add a splash to your next outfit, your style can reach new heights with a little bit of collaging.

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 
Art Photos: Guy Catling

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The New Power Dressing

Though it may be cliché to say that a man in a uniform has a certain allure, it's often true that the combo has the ability to make a girl’s heart swoon. 
Perhaps this is why Josephine fell for Napoleon, who was making a name for himself in the French military in the early 19th century. Or more than his dashing good looks in the uniform, it may have been the power behind the uniform that caught the stylish Josephine’s eye. After spending time in prison during the Reign of Terror and seeing her first husband guillotined as a part of this period of the French Revolution, it was as if Napoleon swooped in from the battlefields to save her. 

The strong shoulders, brass buttons, elegant braiding and tassels…these details come together to help create the iconic military jacket. Dsquared2 took a cue from Napoleon and the French military in the Spring 2017 collection with details like these.

Power dressing takes on a whole new meaning with the blending of military symbols and glam 1980s material girl. Coincidently, the 1980s were a period that showcased women breaking boundaries as they left the home to climb the corporate ladder. 
This dynamic pairing on the runway showcases a new way to power dress in a way that crosses the boundaries of time.

"Napoleon Crossing the Alps" by Louis David, 1801-1805

You can take a page out of Napoleon’s playbook and Madonna’s closet by pairing your military inspired blazer with acid washed denim and leopard accents.


No matter what life throws your way, you can be dressed to conquer it. 

Runway Photos: Vogue.com

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bonjour Spring

As spring's arrival pushes away the remnants of winter’s chill, the promise of sunshine, flowers and a warm getaway abounds. The vacation destination of choice…France. 
As poppies and sunflowers bloomed on the spring runways of and Jean Paul Gaultier couture and Dolce & Gabbana, it seemed like the French countryside was calling. So why not take a moment to imagine a French holiday? Rather than stay within the city limits of Paris, the best getaway may be hitting the road to discover smaller towns and the country's natural beauty
Such an adventure into the open French air makes a picnic basket, Madeline-style straw boater hat and floral dress pre-requisites for the full experience. 
The trip itinerary? Heading south to Provence. Though outside the Parisian city limits, the effortless chic seen on the sidewalks of the world's fashion capital can translate to the Provencal countryside with poppy-adorned chokers, belts, halter tops and shoes.   
 Who said the country can't be chic? Overalls and cowboy boots are definitely not on the packing list for this trip. Instead, off-the-shoulder blouses, breezy pants and feminine detailing. 
Cruising along the open road through Provence with the windows down and Carla Bruni playing on the stereo, you won’t even need perfume as the scent of lavender fills the air. Not only does Provence boast the beautiful red poppy as a part of its landscape, but also lavender. 

The lavender doesn’t play a solo role on this natural stage, but often finds accompaniment by bright yellow sunflowers. As the melodic voice of Carla Bruni moves across the airwaves and the sunflowers nod their heads, it's almost as if they move in time with the music and not just the warm breeze. 


Provence may or may not be on your holiday wish list this spring and summer, but it's still fun to dream of the flower-filled countryside. No matter where you're headed, why not say, "Bonjour," and step into the sunshine?   

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Love by Moonlight

The moons shines softly through the leaves as a soft a breeze dances through the trees and fireflies flicker in the darkness. The fireflies are not the only thing sparkling, but so too are the fairies that call the forest home. 
The enchanted forest of Fairyland beckons us from the runway of Dior's Spring 2017 couture show with its lush set, floral accents and sheer fabrics. The show is like the pages of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" come to life. 
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.” 
"Scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Edwin Landseer, 1848
The classic 16th century Shakespearean play is full love, laughter and mishaps. But the problems that arise in the twists and turns of the story are nothing a healthy dose of love potion can't remedy. 
As the young couples navigate the landscape of love, we can easily imagine the leading ladies, Hermia and Helena, donning the flowing gowns from Dior's 21st century runway. 

Whimsical accessories like feather and floral headdresses would be perfect for the fairy queen, Titania. 

"The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania" by Joseph Noel Paton, 1849
“Are you sure
That we are awake? 
It seems to me
That yet we sleep, we dream” 
The magic of Shakespeare's Fairyland does not merely exist on the pages of his story or in the confines of a stage, but also exists in the world around us. As spring breaks forth this season, we can wake from our dreams to see the buds of life's next chapter blossom before us.   

Runway Photos: Vogue.com 
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