Duro Olowu, impressed with a Vibrant Mix of African Prints

14 Dec

Duro OlowuDuro Olowu

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Since arriving on the London fashion scene in 2004, Nigerian-born Duro Olowu has impressed the right people with his vibrant mix of African prints, seventies tailoring, and unlikely color combos. A high-waisted patchwork boho dress—known as the “Duro”—put the brand on the fashion map and became a cult item in 2005 after being discovered by American Vogue editor Sally Singer and Julie Gilhart of Barneys.

Duro Olowu

Short Biography

Duro Olowu was born in Lagos to a Nigerian father and Jamaican mother; he grew up in a multicultural and big family (he’s the fourth of six children), where any art expression was encouraged. As a child, he passionately loved fashion: his first inspirations were fabrics and prints, shapes and volumes of dresses seen on African women.  His Jamaican mother was his first style icon. “My mother was an individual. She embraced my father’s Nigerian culture and would always mix things up. She’d wear costume jewellery with a Gucci scarf and a skirt made by a local tailor. When she got dressed it was instinctual, it wasn’t too drawn out. And I think that’s a valuable lesson.” 

My mother used to find the tailors who carried sewing machines on their shoulders and get them to make patchwork shirts and furnishings from local fabrics mixed with others she picked up on holidays abroad. She was a big influence on how I see color and print.

In the 80s he followed his parents’ wish: he studied in London and took a degree in Law, then went back to Nigeria; soon after, apart from being a lawyer, he started working in fashion. He returned to Europe, and spent a year in Paris at the beginning of the 90s, working as a freelance illustrator. He tells: “Paris was wonderful but really what it taught me is that fashion needed to be a business as well. It really showed me that the way you presented things and projected things and your vision were super-important for the future.”

Duro Olowu Fall 2007

Duro DressThe “Duro” dress

fall 2007

fall 2007 1

When he went to London again, he met his soon-to-be first wife Elaine Golding, a shoe designer; they launched a brand – Olowu Golding – and opened a boutique: “We were working hard but we were doing things we wanted to do.”

After splitting up with his wife, in 2004 he launched another brand with his own name, totally self-financed, and opened a new boutique: the first dress he designed in this period would set his future success.

In 2005 Sally Singer, who was Fashion News/Features director at Vogue at that time, spotted a dress in the Olowu boutique and fell in love with it: wide sleeves and Empire waist, it was made of colourful and printed fabrics in different combinations. “It’s a very joyful dress, effortless, comfortable, and sexy without being in-your-face,” he explains. When buyers from important New York stores eyed this dress on the journalist, a mania started: everybody wanted the dress promptly called “Duro”.

Duro Olowu Fall/Winter 2012

Duro Olowu, Ready to Wear, Fall Winter, 2012, New York

Duro Olowu, Ready to Wear, Fall Winter, 2012,

Duro Olowu, Ready to Wear, Fall Winter, 2012,

In January 2008 he married Thelma Golden, curator and chief director of Studio Museum of Harlem, in New York: the bride wore a dress designed – of course – by Duro. 

Even if he says he doesn’t design for celebrities, many of them love his style: among the others, Michelle Obama, supermodel Iman and Iris Apfel.

He takes care of all the styling in his shows and often works, as a stylist, with the German photographer Juergen Teller.  

Duro Olowu Fall/Winter 2013

Duro Olowu Fall 2013 RTW

Duro Olowu Fall 2013 RTW

Duro Olowu Fall 2013 RTW

Duro Olowu Fall 2013 RTW

Duro Olowu Fall 2013 RTW

He fights against the progressive racism in the world of fashion, where very few models on the runways are black: “The fault lies with the designers – their ignorance and their racism. Yes, it’s true that a lot of agencies don’t bother sending non-white models – my casting agent told me that I’m the only one who asks specifically for non-white models – but things will only change if the designers take a stand and ask for them.” 

In 2005 he was appointed New Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, just one year after launching his own brand.

Duro Olowu spring 2015

Duro_Olowu_spring 2015

Duro_Olowu

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Duro & Iris 

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 http://www.duroolowu.com/

 

opera-thelma1Thelma Golden wearing one of her husbands design

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info: Vogue Italia & Herald Tribune/ Suzy Menkes

Albert Maysles documented Grey Gardens & Iris (Apfel) and inspired Steven Meisel

7 Dec
albert-mayslesAlbert Maysles, ph. Grant Delin

Intro

Albert (born November 26, 1926) and his brother David (January 10, 1931 – January 3, 1987) Maysles  were an American documentary filmmaking team. They have shot over 30 films including Salesman (1968) , the famous Rolling Stones film Gimme Shelter (1970) and Grey Gardens (1976).

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Grey Gardens

Grey_Gardens_(1975_film)_poster

the-beales-of-grey-gardens

Big And Little Edie

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Grey Gardens is an astonishingly intimate documentary, about Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale (1895–1977), known as “Big Edie”, and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (1917–2002), known as “Little Edie”, who were the aunt and the first cousin, respectively, of former U.S. First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The two women lived together at Grey Gardens for decades with limited funds in increasing squalor and isolation.

The house was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe and purchased in 1923 by “Big Edie” and her husband Phelan Beale. After Phelan left his wife, “Big Edie” and “Little Edie” lived there for more than 50 years. The house was called Grey Gardens because of the color of the dunes, the cement garden walls, and the sea mist.

Throughout the fall of 1971 and into 1972, their living conditions—their house was infested by fleas, inhabited by numerous cats and raccoons, deprived of running water, and filled with garbage and decay—were exposed as the result of an article in the National Enquirer and a cover story in New York Magazine after a series of inspections (which the Beales called “raids”) by the Suffolk County Health Department. With the Beale women facing eviction and the razing of their house, in the summer of 1972 Jacqueline Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill provided the necessary funds to stabilize and repair the dilapidated house so that it would meet village codes.

“Little Edie” is ‘discovered’ as a cult fashion Icon.

In 2010 the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. 

 

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 Albert Maysles new Documentary  ‘Iris’

iris-apfel-portrait_bruce-weber_Iris Apfel, ph. Bruce Weber

Stylishly eccentric characters are familiar terrain for the documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles — he is, after all, the man who captured the cult fashion icon Edith Beale dancing through the decrepit rooms of Grey Gardens in a lush fur and silk head scarves. Nearly 40 years later, Maysles has turned his lens to a very different, more uplifting pioneer of individual style. In “Iris” Maysles follows Iris Apfel — interior designer, businesswoman, champion of flamboyant dress. The 93-year-old Apfel’s story is full of color — from her design projects at the White House to her line of bold accessories for the Home Shopping Network and a retrospective at the Met — and Maysles’s exploration of her creative trajectory is up close and deeply personal.

albert-maysles-iris-apfel Q & A with Iris Apfel and Albert Maysels at premiere of IRIS
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Vogue Italia, May 1999, ph. Steven Meisel

Inspired by “Little Edie” & Grey Gardens

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Sandy Powell; styling Tim Walker editorial, an Interview & the Book that Inspires her (Part two)

30 Nov

Sandy Powell

Sandy Powell OBE (born 7 April 1960) is a British costume designer who has been nominated ten times for the Academy Award and won 3 Oscars and she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire(OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to the film industry.. (read the story of last week to know more about her)

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The Lion King by Tim Walker

 Photography for LOVE magazine #10

Styling: Katie Grand & Sandy Powell
Hair: Julien d’Ys
Make-up: Lisa Eldridge
Set designer: Rhea Thierstein

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Interview with Sandy Powell

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The Book that Inspires Sandy

book cover

Gypsies by Josef Koudelka

Gypsies

Gypsies

gypsies

gypsies

Gypsies

Gypsies

gypsies

 

http://www.abebooks.co.uk/book-search/title/gypsies/author/koudelka/sortby/3/
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Sandy-Powell

Sandy Powell, ‘Costume is More Interesting than Fashion’ (Part one)

23 Nov
 Sandy Powell

Sandy Powell OBE (born 7 April 1960) is a British costume designer who has been nominated ten times for the Academy Award and won 3 Oscars and she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire(OBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to the film industry.

Biography

Inspired by her Mum, who made clothes for her and her sister. She taught Sandy to sew at an early age, making clothes for dolls and taking more and more of an interest in the fabrics and shapes. Eventually she started to make her own clothes.

She studied at Central Saint Martin’s for a theatre design degree, but costume was where her heart was. During the Summer, after her second year, she saw dance classes with Lindsay Kemp (British choreographer) advertised and went along. The class didn’t go very well but she introduced herself to Kemp, had tea with him, showed him some of her designs and the two became friends. She started to work in the theatre world and decided not to return to Central. Sandy ones remarked that studying can work for some people, but that it wasn’t right for her.

Caravaggio 

Caravaggio costume design

Caravaggio costume design

For a year she worked as an assistant to a costume designer who worked for multiple theatre companies, after which she started to get her own  commissions. When she began thinking about working in film, she met up with Derk Jarman (British film director and stage designer) who advised her to get some experience before taking the step into movies. The solution? Costume designing work on music videos….

Having gained design experience on the music videos, a year later Derek Jarman asked Sandy to design the costumes for Caravaggio  (a film directed by Jarman). He also took her around the set and introduced her to the crew members and explained their roles. The budget was very low so there was a lot of costume making with a team. Every cast and crew member helped out on the film process – on all aspects.

Sandy credits Jarman as being her biggest influence and inspiration (she designed four films for him in total).  

Tilda Swinton as Orlando, ph by Karl Lagerfeld   Vogue, July 1993

Tilda Swinton as Orlando photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue, July 1993 2

Tilda Swinton as Orlando photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue, July 1993

Tilda Swinton as Orlando photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for Vogue, July 1993

The movie Orlando directed by Sally Potter was her next project. The film travelled from the Elizabethan era to modern day and Sandy said that, for a costume designer, was “a dream come true”. Later she mentioned that she may have been still a little stuck in Jarman’s larger than life theatrical world and this seeped into Orlando.

Sandy thinks about a script in terms of whether it’s a film she’d like to see. A film she’d pay money to see. Having read the script, and enjoyed it, then there is a meeting with the director and, if offered the job, research begins. She uses books, including the photography book Gypsies by Josef Koudelka, which was given to her by Jarman and has been used as inspiration for nearly all her films.

After finding reference images, the aim is to meet the actor. Then she will look at fabrics rather than drawing designs. Sandy uses fabric as inspiration for costumes and tries out shapes on the stand (dress form). Then she will make rough sketches that are only intended for her and the maker – not for presentation to the director! The costume will appear through the fittings and invariably the original rough sketch will change. She will create costume illustrations after the costumes have been shot on.

Interview with a Vampire was Sandy’s first studio film after having made numerous low budget films.

Velvet Goldmine 

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Velvet Goldmine

Sandy really worked hard on getting the job for Velvet Goldmine, her first film with Todd Haynes. The film was set roughly in 1974, when she had been fourteen. She describes that period as very influential for her and she designed the film from her memory. There was very little money and a number of clothes were borrowed from people, including a fur coat from Roger Daltrey’s wife.

Next came Shakespeare in Love, Sandy’s first Oscar win. (Her first BAFTA win came from Velvet Goldmine. This was in the same year as her win for Shakespeare in Love – she was competing against herself!) Slight mentions were made of Sandy’s determination that none of her costumes (for any film) look brand new. They will always be “distressed” in some way – whether broken down, painted into, or merely looking as though they’ve been worn a few times before. Just to make the costumes look real.

Shakespeare in Love

Dame Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I sheakspeare in love

costume Judi Dench

shakespeare in love 2Costumes Dame Judi Dench as Queen Elizabeth I Shakespeare in love
Shakespeare in Love
 
shakespeare in love, lord wessex

 Far From Heaven was the next movie. This was a film that was very concerned with the colour palette. Numerous meetings took place where colours for each scene were discussed in fine detail.

Then we came to Sandy’s first (of six) films with Martin Scorsese, Gangs of New York. There was some acknowledgment of Scorsese’s great appreciation for costume (with a period film he always feels a new costume on set – he knows how it should feel) and his infamous film knowledge that led to Sandy being given an entire film to watch for a stripe on a collar.

Gangs of New York

Gangs Of New York

Sandy’s second Oscar win was for The Aviator by Scorsese. This was the film that had the biggest lighting complications for the costumes. Scorsese wanted the early 1920s section of the film to be shot using the colour processes accessible at the time. It was important to test what the colours would look like on the screen. There was one occasion where there was a problem regarding the colour. Cate Blanchett’s dress came out on the screen as a sludgy green when it was intended to by mustard yellow. How was this fixed? The colour was changed in post-production for every frame Blanchett was in. It was joked that this was the most expensive dress in film history.

The Aviator

The Aviator

Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn, The Aviator 2004

Gwen Stefani as Jean Harlow in The Aviator 2004.

The Aviator‘The most expensive dress in film history’ (sorry for the bad quality)
the aviator

The next year Sandy was nominated again for an Academy Award for Mrs Henderson Presents. But it took five years before she won her third Oscar, this time for The Young Victoria .

Creating the massive amount of costumes needed for this movie (58 changes for Emily Blunt alone) is something Sandy is seemingly unafraid of. After the initial sketches, she and her team shop for fabrics, commission hats and gloves and surge the internet to find the best dealers for period jewelry. “I like doing the jewelry,” she  explains. “It’s one of my favorite bits. We do it at the end of the film when we’ve got all the clothes. Victorian jewelry isn’t that difficult to find…and a lot of the dealers were willing to buy it back after we’d used it.”

The Young Victoria

The Young Victoria

The Young Victoria

The Young Victoria

Young Victoria

The Young Victoria

 For The Tempest (2010) and Hugo (2011) Sandy was also nominated for Academy Award.

Hugo, cute knitwear…

Hugo

Hugo

Hugo

Hugo

BAFTA nominations: Orlando, Interview with the Vampire, Wings of the Dove, Shakespeare in Love, End of the Affair, Gangs of New York, The Aviator,  Mrs Henderson presents and Hugo.

BAFTA Film Award won: Velvet Goldmine and The Young Victoria

 sandy-powell2010
  
info:  Damn, that’s some fine tailoring & WikiPedia
http://dtsft.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/sandy-powell-on-costume-design/ 

Leigh Bowery inspired Designers, Photographers & a Painter (Part two)

16 Nov

 

Leigh Bowery, ph. Nick KnightLeigh Bowery, ph. Nick Knight
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Leigh Bowery was an Australian performance artist, club promoter, actor, pop star, model, and fashion designer, based in London. He is considered one of the more influential figures in the 1980s and 1990s London and New York City art and fashion circles influencing a generation of artists and designers. His influence reached through the fashion, club and art worlds to impact, amongst others, Meadham Kirchhoff, Alexander McQueen, Lucian Freud, Vivienne Westwood, Boy George, Antony and the Johnsons, John Galliano, the Scissor Sisters, David LaChapelle, Lady Bunny plus numerous Nu-Rave bands and nightclubs in London and New York City which arguably perpetuated his avant garde ideas.

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Leigh Bowery inspired them all:

Fashion Designers

Leigh Bowery - Alexander McQueen
Leigh Bowery – Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen  
Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen
Leigh Bowery - Alexander McQueen
Leigh Bowery – Alexander McQueen
alexander-mcqueen
Alexander McQueen
Leigh Bowery - John Galliano
 Leigh Bowery – John Galliano
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 Trojan, Leigh Bowery – John Galliano
John Galliano
John Galliano
John Galliano 2
John Galliano
Trojan& Leigh Bowery - Junya watanabeTrojan & Leigh Bowery – Junya watanabe
junya watanabe
 Junya Watanabe
Junya watanabe
Junya Watanabe
Junya Watanabe
 Junya Watanabe
Leigh Bowery-Martin Margiela
Leigh Bowery – Maison Martin Margiela
margiela
Maison Martin Margiela
Maison Margiela haute couture fall 2013
Maison Martin Margiela 
Martin Margiela
Maison Martin Margiela
Leigh Bowery - Martin Margiela
Leigh Bowery – Maison Martin Margiela
Leigh Bowery gareth pugh
Leigh Bowery – Gareth Pugh
gareth pugh
 Gareth Pugh 
gareth pugh
Gareth Pugh
jean paul gaultier
Leigh Bowery – Jean Paul Gaultier
Jean paul gaultier
Jean Paul Gaultier 
Leigh Bowery - Michael Clark
Leigh Bowery – Michael Clark
Photography by Sølve Sundsbø
Photography by Sølve Sundsbø
 
 

 Artists

boy george as leigh boweryBoy George 
beth-ditto-leigh-boweryBeth Ditto
 

Lucian Freuds Paintings

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 Leigh Bowery & Lucian Freud
Leigh Bowery 1991 by Lucian Freud 1922-2011
   
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Leigh Bowery by Lucian Freud
 
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Books

 Leigh Bowerybook cover

With the Australian artist Leigh Bowery (1961-1994), this catalog devotes itself to one of the most colourful border crossers of the London club, fashion, and art scene of the 1980s and 1990s. Bowery made his sexuality a means of aesthetic expression, and he consciously used his own body in his excessive abundance as an artistic media. His costumes, masquerades, and travesties investigate the concepts of fashion and the body at the boundaries to the most diverse social fields. Bowery employs his own physical bulkiness as the starting point of an extroverted body cult in which the concepts of ugliness and beauty, social standardisation and border crossings intersect. The result was an art figure which influenced in various areas. Bowery thus inspired Lucian Freud to one of his most fascinating nude paintings.He was discovered by the London art dealer Anthony d’Offay in 1988 and this was the start of a cooperation with the Photographer Fergus Greer who would accompany him until his early death in 1994 resulting from an HIV infection.

Editor: Kunstverein Hannover, René Zechlin, Ute Stuffer
Artists: Leigh Bowery

http://www.artbooksheidelberg.com/html/detail/en/leigh-bowery-978-3-86828-033-3.html

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Leigh Bowery: The Life and Times of an Icon

book cover

The definitive biography of one of modern art’s most provocative vanguards Leigh Bowery was one of the most controversial and avant-garde performers of his generation. In this fascinating biography, author Sue Tilley, one of Bowery’s closest friends, lays bare the extravagant life of the trendsetting entertainer. From Bowery’s groundbreaking costumes and performance art, to his notoriety in London’s 1980s nightclub culture, to his role as a favored model for painter Lucian Freud, Tilley’s engrossing portrait offers insight into the outrageous world of 1980s modern art and the man who came to embody it. This ebook features a new postscript by Sue Tilley and an illustrated biography including rare photos from the author’s personal collection.

http://www.amazon.com/Leigh-Bowery-Life-Times-Icon/dp/0340693118

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Leigh Bowery Looks

book cover

Leigh Bowery is back. In just a few years, Leigh Bowery Looks rose to the status of being the definitive and indispensible guide to the unique looks designed and, in these photographs, worn by Bowery. This paperback version shows one of Britain’s most heroically ambitious yet underappreciated designers and performance artists. Bowery remains an inspiration to many contemporary fashion designers, though few are willing to admit it. Leigh Bowery Looks contains 300 photographs of Bowery–an extraordinary body of work that was the outcome of his collaboration with British photographer Fergus Greer between 1988 and 1994, the year of Bowery’s death. Here the range of Bowery’s many looks is most evident, as are the ways in which he has influenced the world of fashion today.

http://www.violetteeditions.com/books/previously_published/Leigh_Bowery_Looks.html

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Leigh Bowery

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Robert-Violette_147

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http://www.violetteeditions.com/books/previously_published/Leigh_Bowery.html

 

ole_christiansen_leigh-bowery-webLeigh Bowery, ph. Ole Christiansen
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