Phoebe English x Marie Kristiansen: Breathing life into a collection

I wrote about Phoebe English almost 2 years ago and if anything, I like her style even more, especially the videos for her collections. Her collaboration with director Marie Kristiansen resulted in hauntingly beautiful footages that really isn’t just about the garments but rather the performance of living them.

The designer explains, “The A/W 2013 film is designed around the main themes I was working with for the collection – x-rays, layers of transparent surfaces and functional detailing. The eye masks were derived from a desire to hide and protect the models whilst they were being displayed in a show environment; this was reinterpreted in the film with the protagonist being displayed on a plinth.”

The S/S 2013 video is similarly brilliant with the designer and director exploring various techniques of filming to convey the concept of the collection. English said, “The collection played on the themes of doubles and pairs, so we did some parts where the garments jumped and interchanged into different colourways. We also played around with light and slow motion movement to show the glass beads in the collection. We worked with light and shade as the collection is mainly monotone, looking at photography by Arthur Tress. When we have worked on films previously we have often explored different voyeuristic perspectives, so this time we took the theme a bit further and Marie shot alot of the detail through binoculars.”

These videos breathe life into English’s collection and they are way more captivating than runway shows.

x Sybil

Yohji Yamamoto: This is my dream (Documentary)

Yohji Yamomoto, a master of cuts and design. Someone I consider an artist more than a fashion designer. Someone who does not regard fashion and trends but is passionate about the tailoring and construction of clothes. I am so excited to share that we will be able to find out more about his private life with a documentary film which recorded the entire creative process of creating his Y-3 collection (a label birthed from a desire to merge Yamamoto’s craftsmanship with Adidas).

Expect to find out more about his artistic motivations, his love of music, and his aesthetic vision and more!

See the trailer of the documentary here.

“The documentary tracks Yohji Yamamoto and the global team working on the collection, casting, styling, show production, PR and communication for a short period of time during the Summer and early Autumn of 2009. Beginning with the finalization of the collection and styling for the show in Tokyo, followed by his arrival in New York City to oversee the final touches for the presentation of Y-3’s Spring/Summer 2010 collection, the documentary turns an intimate eye on Yamamoto during fittings, model castings, guitar-playing, philosophical musings, and interactions with his staff and the global team bringing his ideas to life. “- fibre2fashion

X Alex

(Image from eukicks)

Poignant, haunting, beauty

Thanks to the Yohji Yamamoto exhibition at V & A Museum, I’ve discovered more of Yamamoto’s creations, beyond his runway collections and Y-3. The latest of my discovery is Dolls, a film written, edited and directed by Japanese director Takeshi Kitano. Kitano, himself, is a fascinating character and I consider him a true artist. Unlike most Kitano works, Dolls is about love and features dazzling landscapes of the four seasons, an uncommon use of mise-en-scène for Kitano. The film has been praised for its cinematography (Katsumi Yanagishima) and features costumes by Yohji Yamamoto.

Yamamoto’s use of colours in the film was a surprise to me. After all, he has been known for his incessant use of black. The effect was stunning and breathtaking. Kitano mentioned in an interview that Yamamoto’s costumes shocked him; they were not what he expected but it was also these costumes that enabled him to review and reshape the film’s storyline. In Kitano’s words: “We were faced with a reversal of the normal process. Normally, costumes are made in such ways that they match the film. At certain points, we had to make adjustments to locations and continuity to match the costumes.”

If not for its incredible cinematography and costume, watch the film for its storyline. The idea of violence, love, self, tragedy and so many other beliefs are challenged in a simple plot. Kitano’s storytelling is unique in this film which uses Bunraku, a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, as the overall concept. The film opens with a Bunraku play, Monzaemon Chikamatsu’s classic story of doomed lovers, Meido No Hikyaku (The Courier for Hell); poignant and haunting, it’s a beautiful scene.

X Sybil

(Images from Dolls’ official website)

Fashion biennale X2

I was surfing a while back when I found out about the term ‘fashion biennale’. Apparently, it has existed for years ( though probably less than a decade). Sure, I have been to fashion festivals and biennales with art installations but I’ve not heard of ‘fashion biennale’.

Maybe it’s something new that has evolved from fashion festivals, or perhaps it’s simply a lack of exposure on my part, but there is such a lack of coverage of these fashion biennales that if I blinked, I would have missed the entire event.

So far, I have found only two such events- Arnhem Mode Biënnale and the Nordic Fashion Biennale.

The events include exhibitions, conferences, lectures, bazaars, temporary shops etc. and they sound so exciting!

The Arnhem Mode Biënnale which held it’s third edition last year ( 2009) includes participants like Lanvin, Boudicca, Sandra Backlund, and Hussein Chalayan. They also showcased emerging fashion talents who had only recently finished their studies or are about to graduate.

Image from Arnhem Mode Biënnale 2009

The Nordic fashion biennale held for the first time in 2009 caught my attention with its location – Reykjavík, Ísland.

Just look at all that snow! The hot pink cyclindrical container looks totally out of place and that’s the beauty of the contrast.

Publicity poster

Designs showcased

My favourite photo of the lot. To imagine being in that environment gives me the chills. WOW. (pun unintentional)

I wish there were more photos of the Nordic Fashion Biennale though.

Sure look forward to the next edition. Absolutely love the mix of art and fashion! I would love see a fashion biennale right here in Singapore. I wonder what are the chances…..

X Alex

(Images from Arnhemmodebiennale2009 and nordicfashionbiennale )


If you haven’t already read the story of how Pixar started, I recommend you read The Pixar Touch by David A. Price.

I found the entire book inspiring. Everytime I read it, I get a little high on adrenaline and I marvel at these mens’ immense amount of energy and their exceptional devotion to their vision. I feel like I should be getting off my seat and doing something that is in that very same spirit.

Don’t get it wrong, I’m not trying to advertise the book, I’m just sharing that weird jolt of energy that runs through me at the mere thought of ‘ Pixar’. So it makes total sense that I will make a visit to the Pixar exhibition that is held at science centre currently.

It was fantastic. I guess I was kind of expecting computer print outs of the different design stages of every of their work, but what I saw was hundreds of artworks. You may argue that these are not artworks per say, but what else do you call pieces of drawings done by oil paint, acrylic paint, markers, pastels, charcoal, pencils, etc.? There were even sculptures! ( or figurines, whatever you call them).

The journey begins!

It’s just gorgeous! Where else do you get to see the pre-finalized look of Woody in Toy Story. I lost count of the number of times I went ‘ Wow’ ‘That’s so tiny, how did they manage to paint that with, what?! Acrylic paint!’ ‘ I wonder how long this took them to complete’ ‘This would look great in my room!’

2 of my favourite pieces!

It struck me then that even though animation is about technology, it isn’t about technology alone. In it, there is also a whole universe of creativity, of skills, or hard work. What a long way animation has come from the hand drawn Disney cartoons.

Still, the charm of Disney cartoons is amazing. Found some amazing Disney Couture accessories when shopping with Sybil last week.

Kidada for Disney Couture Wrap Bracelet – Alice Blue

Kidada for Disney Couture Beauty & the Beast Rose Bangle

Lastly, Sybil’s favourite ‘We’re all mad’ pendant!

Tom Binns for Disney Couture Alice Heart Mad Necklace

X Alex

(Images from regencies and images of Pixar exhibition by self)

Sex and the City 2

Sex and the City 2 has been in the cinemas for a few weeks now. Caught it with Sybil about 2 weeks  ago.

The wardrobe has been a far cry from the dramatic, almost theatrical wardrobe we saw in part 1.

For me, despite the vibrant ‘Abu Dhabi’ background and shockingly bright colours and prints,my favourite part of the show was the brief flash back to their past- how their wardrobes were like then and the stark contrast of what they are like now.

(Top )Left- Right: Samantha, Miranda (Then )
(Bottom ) Left- Right: Carrie, Charlotte (Then )

Left- Right: Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, Charlotte (Now)

I guess a big part of it is knowing that everyone has a past which includes fashion faux pas, ugly hairdos and experimental make up.

The second part probably encompasses that ‘fairytale ending’ where every girl will grow up to be a sophisticated well-heeled lady.

Looking at myself now, I guess I’d say I’m somewhere in between their then and now pictures. Not so bad that someone will take one look at my clothes, gasp and take 3 steps backwards, yet not so eye-catching that you’ll stop in your tracks, give me a second look and go ‘wow’.

Between me and Sybil, her dress sense is definately more evolved. From her power suits to her casually shapeless looks, I think she has a way of mixing her wardrobe while my look depends mainly on the amount of time I have. I think to me, comfort is the most important factor while she can trot around in her 3-4″ heels all day. We sure have come a long long way from our baggy jeans days from a decade ago.

Isn’t it comforting to know that friends go through the same process of wardrobe changes?

Hopefully this blog will be a record of how our wardrobe, writing styles, thinking processes change over time.

To end off, here’s a picture I took of a sign board in a GAP store today.

in absolutely no reference to SATC)

How cute is that!

X Alex

( Images from, “Sex boo’ image taken by self. )

%d bloggers like this: