Friday, January 14, 2011

Trendwatch 2011: Asian Inspiration

Dear all,

I have started blogging today in an unusual way for me: I have uploaed all the pictures first (ad yes there are many). Difficult to do, it took me some time, because I think the Asian inspiration is immense in our day to day lives so it was almost impossible to grasp everything I wanted to. As you will notice, there is no food (yes, weird for me) included in this blog, otherwise I would have never managed to finish and to post it for you.

The idea for the blog entry of today came after reading a magazine on the 2011 trends. After what Kenzo did in the 70's with the "Jungle Jap Style", the Asian influence is this year extremly strong, being present on runways ad in daily life situations.

Coming back to the pictures I have posted, if I just briefly skim through them, there is a strong sense of colour to be noticed. Colour, colour, colour! Isn't 2011 just wonderful? Just look at the amazing ad campaign of Louis Vuitton for the SS11 season here and you will love it! But apart from the colour, you can see that most of the inspiration can be linked to nature and to a certain state of mind, one which is relaxing ans spiritual and embedded in tradition. You can see passion and seduction in any form of art, ancient knowledge and wisdom, grace and, most of all, the purest way of love.

As I looked through the collection outcomes of some designers, I came to the conclusion that their Asian influence relied mostly on countries such as China, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, so I started looking at what could haveinspired these designers but also at what other aspects of our lives are made wonderful by ths influence. Here's my short (trust me, I could have gone more in depth) selection:

Asian fan - Photo:

I have started with the fan because this is such an useful object on hot days, but we never see its functionality directly, but rather go behind the meaning of a fan: it can be a weapon - one for seducing or one for killing. Because I have no interest in any violence, I have chosen further on pictures of the Korean fan dance, a dance which is called "Buchaechum", which is performed during many celebrations. The women are wearing the traditional Hanbok and creating various images with the fans. I recommend you look it up on YouTube, if you haven't seen it until now.

Korean fan dance - Photo:

Korean fan dance - Photo:

Korean fan dance - Photo:

Korean fan dance - Photo:

The Japanese Culture has also some arts and procedures which are now present in our Westernized worlds as well. One of them is the tea ceremony. I admit, you don't get tea like in Japan, but it has become more and more usual for people to go out and have a tea with their friends. Bucharest also has seen more and more tea houses open during the past years. It's a wonderful way of socializing while enjoying great flavour in a cup. And drinking tea means also taking time: for yourself and your companion.
Another type of arts is Origami, the art of paper folding. This has been a great inspiration to the fashion world, as we have seen the folding technique used for many garments. I am also the proud owner of a red origami-shirt from Zara. As for the Zen gardens....shhhh...start meditating!!! It will do you good after a full day at work!

Tea ceremony - Photo:

Origami dragon - Photo:

Zen-garden - Photo: own collection - Berlin, gardens of the world, Marzahn

The influence of Asia reaches also to interiors and exteriors of houses, to decoration and architecture. Here you can observe the exterior of a Korean hose and garden. After that, there are two pictures, one representing an asian-inspired bedroom and a very couture-like asian-inspired bathroom. These have little to do with the initial way of living, but they are picking up Asian symbols to create an Asian universe.

Entrance through a Korean gate to a Korean house - Photo: own collection - Berlin, gardens of the world, Marzahn

Korean House - Photo:

Asian Style Bedroom - Photo:

Asian couture Bathroom - Photo:

Exteriors and decorations influenced by Asia are usually very festive and remind people of joy and festivals. A well known object like this is the lampion. Less is known about the fact that the lampion is also inspired by nature, by a fruit called Physalis. This fruit was initially used by traditional Asian Medicine.

Chinese lampions - Photo:

Physalis fruit - styled as a lampion - Photo:

And yes, it is nature, such as the physalis fruit, which finally inspired most of the designers which prepared Asian-related garments for 2011. It was actually a lot of fun picking out some of the models/garments and searching nature-related art which could have been the reason for these creations. And I found what I was looking for!
Korean lily - Photo:

Chinese brush painting - Photo:

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2011 - Photo:

Feng Shui Asian Painting - Photo:

Vera Wang 2011 - Photo:

Asian flowers painting - Photo:

Dries Van Noten Spring 2011 - Photo:

Asian bamboo inspiration painting - Photo:

Dior dress - Photo:

Red plum blossom - Photo:

Haider Ackermann 2011 - Photo:

I think the magazine which I skimmed through did a mistake: it is Asian Influence and it was here in the last years and it is here to stay. We can not call it a trend, but rather a way of life. Are you willing to embrace it?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Trendwatch 2011: Colour Blocking

One of my 2011 resolutions which I posted on the "Life and Luxury" Facebook page was to be colourful and happy all the time. Admit it, you feel better in spring in summer because of all the light outside and of course due to the colours which fashion/luxury brands choose for their collections. So you can only imagine my joy when I opened a magazine yesterday to check out the trends for 2011. I must admit I am not the person to get dressed or hair-styled by a trend: I like to feel good in my skin and the best fashion for me is the one that fits me best. But this trend for 2011 might just make me change a bit. I loved it when I saw it repeated over and over again by Anna Wintor in "The September Issue" and I love that designers have really been inspired to use this process in their 2011 collections. It's the colour blocking I'm talking about and I hope you will like it too.

Colour blocking is a technique which can be found in many "segments" of our daily life, so I chose some which I found very interesting and easy linkable to fashion and luxury (except one).

I started with arts. One of the painter who was (in a positive way) obsessed with colour blocking was Mondrian. It actually became part of his signature. The second painting I chose is by Irena Orlov, and it's in this list due to the simple fact that I like it. I would imagine an autumn dress with that print (who knows, maybe I do a DIY piece for the next AW season). The third painting is by Mark Rothko, a painter who inspired chief designer of Jil Sander, Raf Simons, for his collection.

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I chose scrapbooking as second way to use colour blocking, because people who do scrapbooking usually use the technique without even being aware of it. And I recently did some scrapbooking myself when I created the 2011 calendar which I then gifted my parents.

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Tjird way of colour blocking is in your home: get over the dull white or monochrome walls and be creative. The second picture here is really inspirational: the wall is not only "different" because black really is an unusual colour to paint a wall, but it is also functional, being painted like a blackboard.

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Selfridges comes to show us how colour blocking is really boosting sales and is OUT THERE, in our daily life. Here are two wonderful examples of visual merchandising colour blocking.

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Last but not least, luxury and fashion brands alike have adopted this colour-blocking look for their 2011 collections. Here are some examples: first is Gucci, with really glossy, shiny, silky materials. Alexandre Hercovitch, the Brazilian fashion designer, chose a diffrent approach of the same technique: geometrical figures and pastel colours (second picture down). Last inspiration, and one of my favourites, comes from Prabal Gurung. He also plays with geometry, but has stronger accents through the neon colours. Extremly fantastic! Extremly funky!

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Colour blocking is hopefully here to stay, as it is a favourite of Anna Wintour,...and as you all know, she is Vogue, fashion is what Vogue the maths!

But colour blocking creates eye-catching contrasts, strong graphic statements, instant focal points and, of course, art! Enjoy your art-filled environment of 2011!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Russian Inspiration

Looking outside at the snow covered trees and at the snow falling down from the skies, but being also in a warm place, I can only think of Russia, of cold Siberia and warm blood, of cold blue eyes and warm red lips. If we look at a previous number of Vogue or Harper's Bazaar we see inspiration everywhere from this wonderful and misterious country. We see passion and boiling blood, love for wonderful things such as good fur or great food, eternity caught in drops of amber, stories from our childhood, grace, and a striking desire to BE.

Not just because Europe is filled with its rich layer, but because of what Russia is, it represents Luxury for me. And, because there is Russian blood flowing through my veins, I played a bit around with warm and cold inspiration related to Russia...just because I think it fits on a snowy day like today.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 Resolutions

Dear all,

welcome to 2011! Hope you had a great party and a wonderful start in the new year. I'm curious to know about your resolutions, in case you have some. For me one of them is called Christian Dior! Have a wonderful year ahead!

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