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White Swans: Young Designers Envision a Monochrome World
Posted by richard | October 31, 2011

Whoever said you shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day never met today’s crop of fearless young fashion designers.

A recent contest invited emerging designers from around the world to show what they could create using an all-white palette — and the results are mind-boggling.

From bags to shoes to jewelry, corsets, dresses, BDSM accessories and even mittens, the entrants in the White Swan competition showed astonishing creativity. As you might expect, there’s a fair bit of bridal-oriented pieces, but that’s just the start. The diversity of concepts and use of unusual fabrics (like a tutu made from bridal gown scraps, or a gown made from a parachute) is breathtaking and should give you a fair glimpse into the future of fashion around the world.

The White Swan competition drew more than 250 submissions, and 25 winners were chosen by online voting (which, sadly, produced weak numbers). There was also a set of jury prizes, and those chosen will get a public showing next weekend at the annual Les Coulisses du Mariage bridal show in Paris.

White Swan — which was a sort of rebuttal to last year’s Black Swan-themed fashions — was conceived by Carnet de Monde, which showcases young couture designers, in parternship with Le Figaro.

Below we offer a few of our favorites from the contest, but there’s plenty more to look at on the competition’s website:

Delphine by Cliff Lee, France
Hand-pleated dress long in front, short in back.
Breathing Coral Polyp by Malgorzata Dudek, Poland
Layers of silk chiffon structured with spiral metal boning.
Inspired by the Great Barrier Reef.
Dancing Swan by Michael van der Meide, Netherlands
Unique dress made from 1951 American parachute cloth.
Bouquet d’Organza by Princesse Prune, France
From the AW 2011-12 jewelry couture collection, Auto-Portrait.
Tulip skirt by Tristan + Trista, USA
Distressed chiffon layers arranged to mimic the petals of a tulip.
Two Halves of One by Marie Dean, Italy
Macrame weavings in cotton, silk, linen and straw.
Love and Peace by Lily Griffiths, France
Lace headbands with rose and crystal adornment.
Gone With The Wind by Larisa Katz, Netherlands
From the art couture label’s summer 2012 collection.
Necklace by Naomi McIntosh, UK
Slinky-like flexible necklace in polished acrylic.
Camilla Mikama, Finland
Viscose/elastane dress with puzzle-piece cutouts.
Ice Queen by Claire Garvey, Ireland
Hand-beaded gown with feathered headpiece.
Caged Spine by Anna Osterlund, Sweden
3-piece white denim suit held together with shoelaces.
Angel by Dora Kelemen, France
Giant knitted cover-up from the Hungarian conceptual artist/designer.
Tutu by Ek Bacharack, South Africa
Handmade from discarded bridal tulle scraps, attached to a corset base.
Inspired by nightmares following viewing of Black Swan
Lace mask by Ek Bacharack, South Africa
See above, from the SS 2012 collection Hypnagogic.
Madeleine handcuffs by Fraulein Kink, Germany
White fur cuffs with gunmetal chain and closures and ribbon bow.
Black Swan by Edyta Jermacz, Poland
Dress made from raw silk pieces stitched to transparent body..
Ashita by Joanna Hawrot, Poland
White muslin dress inspired by Japanese fashion.
Shirt in Pieces by Iris Loeffler, Germany
Deconstructed shirt dress inspired by menswear.
Draped dress by Heureka, UK
Draped jersey with three-dimensional structure.
Dila corset by Khatuna Tskhakaia, France
From the Parisian stylist’s collection Georgie.
Man’s shirt dress by Lena Ivanova, Ukraine
Designed like a man’s shirt worn backwards, with print frills like a swan’s tail.
Ur by Dorit Loffler, Germany
Silk and merino wool mittens and hat inspired by early farm workers.
Have a Perfectly Frightful Night!
Posted by amy | October 31, 2011

This wonderful shot is from a 2010 e-greeting sent to customers by UK retro label What Katie Did. And yes, we’ve been waiting all year to use it!

Visit WhatKatieDid.com to see more of their fun Hallowe’en promo shots. And, as always, if you’re going out tonight, dress for the occasion!

Belles Images: 2012 Aubade Calendar
Posted by richard | October 31, 2011

If they produced nothing else all year besides their annual calendar, the good people at French lingerie label Aubade would still have countless fans among fashion and art lovers everywhere.

The 2012 Aubade calendar — the company’s 14th annual keepsake — is as exquisite as always, and an unequaled collection of tastefully seductive images in polished black-and-white. With the exception of the exclusive Pirelli calendar, it’s hard to think of anything similar that rivals Aubade’s annual showcase.

Printed versions of the calendar are gifted to Aubade customers at their European shops, and can be downloaded from the company website later this fall.

Shot this time by photographer Thomas Paquet, the calendar features the most alluring and inventive styles from Aubade’s Fall-Winter 2011-12 lingerie collection (plus one swimwear shot). It also includes the most recent set of the label’s legendary “Lessons in Seduction” (example: No. 118 — ‘Let the hunt begin’).

Keep checking this link on Aubade’s website to see when the 2012 calendar becomes available. In the meantime, here’s a look at the full set:

Posted in Aubade

With autumn’s chill settling in, it’s hard to ignore what’s ahead. Shan knows how you feel. For 25 years, the Laval, Que.-based company (which counts Céline Dion, Katy Perry and the newly married Kate Moss as fans) has been helping to outfit pasty-but-stylish northerners for that essential rite-of-winter: the frantic migration to warmer climates.

Perhaps surprisingly for a company that specializes in couture swimwear, this is Shan’s busiest season, when customers in Canada and Russia — their second biggest market — are packing their bags and getting ready to escape the imminent cold.

And this year, travelers sporting the Shan label while lounging by the pool will have an extra reason to feel proud of their fashion choice: the Canadian brand was named Designer of the Year at last summer’s Mode City expo in Paris, beating out more than 600 premium labels at the world’s most prestigious showcase for couture lingerie and swimwear.

For Shan, the recognition came after more than two decades of carefully developing its own niche within the crowded luxury swimwear market, and focusing on product quality, technical execution … and stylish looks that make any woman stand out on a crowded Caribbean beach.

Shan is credited with coining the term “resort wear” — that mid-season range of elegant caftans, beach cover-ups and casual daywear pieces that have become an essential component of a winter holiday wardrobe. Expanding fashion options for the glamorous traveler seemed like a natural evolution for Shan a decade ago, and the trend quickly caught on in Europe as well.

Chantal Levesque, the label’s founder and designer, says Shan’s exceptional story — a trendsetting couture swim label from Canada — helped it earn the prestigious Mode City award. The label’s relentless focus on “raising the bar on quality” didn’t hurt, either.

“I think the fact that Shan designed and executed 100% of its product in Quebec in 2011 and saw it distributed in more than 25 countries makes it a completely unique scenario within our industry,” Chantal (below) told Lingerie Talk.

Shan (the name is a modified version of Chantal’s name, spelled with an “S” to favor international pronunciation) has always focused on the needs of a nomad clientele that doesn’t want to compromise on image. Shan’s collections are “versatile, comfortable, easy to travel with, and stylish,” says Chantal, who spends half the year criss-crossing the globe to meet buyers and see other cultures. “It’s important to maintain a nice look — even if you’re living out of a suitcase.”

Their top seller (also their most expensive) is their bra-turned-swimsuit, the balconnet top (below) with removable strap and padded underwire. “Technically, it’s a bra … in a swimsuit,” says Chantal. “It’s a very good reflection of Shan’s values as a brand.”

Being named Designer of the Year won’t change the company’s DNA, she adds, but it will open more doors as Shan looks to grow its international presence in new markets such as the Far East.

At the same time, Shan plans to expand its product line with new offerings in lingerie, homewear and accessories such as sunglasses. But “the heart of the brand will stay in swimwear,” she adds.

“Lingerie is an intimacy product, but swimwear is very technical because everyone sees your body. People want to be comfortable in what they’re wearing. People will always come to the stores for the right swimsuit.”

With so much on Shan’s horizon, it might just be a winter to look forward to after all!

Have a look below at some popular pieces from Shan’s 2011 collection. You can find Shan in numerous luxury boutiques and resort retail locations around the world.

Posted in Shan, Swimwear
Josie Natori for Target: The Countdown Begins
Posted by richard | October 27, 2011

When Target debuted its whopping MIssoni for Target collection last month it caused traffic jams, crashed the retailer’s website and nearly brought the internet to a standstill. You’d think people hadn’t seen clothes before.

Don’t expect the same kind of pandemonium when the exclusive designer collection Jose Natori for Target arrives in stores on Sunday, but a lot of savvy stylistas will have the day marked on their calendars nonetheless.

The Natori collection consists of 11 pieces of lingerie, sleepwear and loungewear, and it should be an instant hit with teens and younger urbans who crave — but can’t otherwise afford — Natori’s distinctive and very artistic Asian fusion prints. Nothing in the Josie Natori for Target collection will cost more than $35.

The collaboration marks the latest step in the Natori brand’s transformation from a pricey couture label known primarily for its exquisite silk kimonos into a full fashion brand with numerous product lines and distribution points. In the past couple of years, the iconic label has introduced RTW, swimwear and fragrance collections and even a home accessories line.

And last year it literally put the shimmy back into lingerie wardrobes with the wonderful (and affordable!) Josie by Natori spinoff label of funky urban intimates.

You can keep up with what’s happening in the expanding Natori universe, by following the new JosieGirl blog. In the meantime, here’s a look at some of the pieces you’ll find in the Josie Natori for Target collection on Oct. 30.

Posted in Natori
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