Friday, May 28, 2010

Joanna Cave: Treasure Trove

London correspondent Nicole Dalamagas uncovers hidden treasure

Like Greece itself, whose bustling cobbled streets and white-wash buildings hold the perpetual stamp of the ancient world, Joanna Cave’s jewelry is a quirky fusion of playful contemporary design and archaic inspiration. Each piece captures the simplicity of her Grecian heritage, mirroring the dreamy, turquoise waters and rich, dark brown soils of the Aegean islands. Her du-jour classics revolutionize ancient ideals; twisting something natural and pure into something more tactile and sculptural, adorning women’s ears, wrists and fingers with unexpected drops of sheer modernistic cool.
Even the process encapsulates this: her ultra-chic designs are complemented by her choice of eco-friendly and recycled materials that bear the inexplicable charm of ethical craftsmanship. Yet for Cave, the ingredients of this process are more than just a careful consideration of materials. “The process involved in creating a piece is the combination of silver, a feeling, inspiration, and the imagination of the female body,” she explains. Cave then becomes the ultimate craftswoman: welding high end glamour with organic themes, fusing intricate detailing with subtle simplicity, adding a touch of creative individuality and a dash of urban cool.

On the picturesque Cycladic island of Ios, enveloped in Mediterranean bliss, Cave was brought up by her Greek mother and English father, who became a chief inspiration, both creatively and ethically. “My dad actually studied art, he is an artist, a painter who also owns a shop with designer jewelry. He influenced me a great deal by encouraging me to paint and use my imagination, he also always wanted me to be active and never waste my talent, to fight for good causes and look after the planet. He was also the person who supported me most when deciding to become more ethical and sustainable in my production.” His influence is imperative to each design.

All her jewelry is crafted by hand, using ethically-sustained and recycled materials, “I use mostly recycled silver in my designs. I melt an existing piece of jewelry and use the silver to remake a new piece. I believe in a piece of jewelry holding its own story and personality, but more than anything I believe that the world is full of unwanted pieces that need a new lease of life. If I didn't use recycled silver I would have to buy silver that's been extracted from the earth through mining which contributes to a huge environmental destruction. The working conditions for people working in mines are also very harsh and dangerous.”

By recycling silver, Cave embellishes her fashion-forward followers with more than just glamour and sophistication, but with the treasured story of our natural history. Their bodies become an existential plane of traditionalism and true moral value. This idea of memory and the respect for life has been something Cave has valued from a young age, "(I remember) sitting with my grandmother by the fireplace one Easter evening... listening to stories about the past, about people alive and gone, I remember thinking "how extraordinary life is, how it moves and evolves and people come and go" I remember feeling appreciative of the moment sitting there with her.”

After attending an international school in Athens, Cave studied jewelry design in London’s prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Here she assisted a number of designers, including Scott Wilson and Tanya Griebel. Her notebooks from her student years in London are filled with her artistic inspirations, taken from anything from some far-away country’s folklore art to a tree down at the end of her street to an old children’s book or a piece of vintage wallpaper. Her muses are just as vast and diverse, including “My friend Miranda for her elegant chic, and yet timeless style, and my Aunt Pruedence for her truly fantastic personality and the way in which she lives."

She leads the most spiritual yet modern life, recycles, up cycles, has a compost and basically lives in the most eco friendly way from anyone I've ever met.. also last but not least artist Louise Bourgeois for being so dynamic in every way.

Her latest collection has been inspired by geometric forms and romantic symbols, and patterns evoked from the natural world. Fans can expect delicately cut out drop earrings, such as ‘Anoush’, ‘Agnes’ and ‘Pilar’, charming necklaces, such as ‘Fish’, which features three ethically sustained pearls and a golden fish-shaped pendant, and “Isabel’, with its four gold rings carrying four pieces of colored silver carved into abstract shapes. The pearls used are ethically produced high quality ‘Japanese Akoya’, respecting natural and social fair trade guidelines and the silver is 90% recycled sterling silver sourced by people who enjoy their job and are paid fairly.
Cave’s other artistic endeavors have involved creating pieces for prestigious fashion designers’ Deux Hommes collection and designing a room in the style of her signature jewelry for the Fashion House Hotel in Athens.

A collaboration with her good friend Eleanor Dorian Smith, the fashion designer behind the label Partimi is also on the horizon. Fans can expect “a collection of accessories combining forces and using 'ethically sourced materials.” Hitting shops for SS2011, this collection will no doubt be a sell out. In fact shockingly, despite the simplistic beauty of Cave’s pieces, in terms of both their aesthetic grace and their ethical worth, her prices remain affordable to everyone - for Cave, ethical fashion should not be elitist.

Her collections are sold in the UK, in London and in Brussels, as well as in her current home, Athens, but you can also contact her to request a design. These pieces are truly as remarkable and individual as the designer herself, whose wise words I will leave you with now: ”Be yourself no matter what.” NICOLE DALAMAGAS

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smythson Passport Cover: Sail through airports

The Devil Wears Prada may have brought “Cerulean” blue in to the popular consciousness, but there was no specific push by the fashion industry to put it into your wardrobes. Now, Smythson of Bond Street, the fabled London-based stationer and purveyor of luxury travel accessories has introduced a Cerulean leather collection. Inspired by the azure seas of the Aegean and the bright blue houses on Greece’s finest beach resort, Smythson has crafted the items in vivid blue, baby crocodile print leather.

The passport holder is the ultimate must-have for this Summer 2010 travel season. If you have already gone through the unique, if somewhat lengthy, experience of having your monogram designed by Smythson’s for your custom stationery, then you can easily have that monogram applied.

This chic accessory will give you the extra fashion edge to sail through Immigration at any airport and dismiss any scrutiny of your Custom’s Declaration with an icy “That’s all!” worthy of Miranda Priestly herself!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gaultier Bronzing Powder: Eat Your Heart Out, George Hamilton!

This year, April showers have only brought May showers and the pre-summer base-tanning season is off to a very sluggish start. If you like a healthy glow by Memorial Day, then you may have to resort to some alternative methods like tanning beds or Brazilian spray tans. If you’re like me, you’re schedule and your fear of harmful UV exposure may not allow you to indulge in such luxuries. Luckily, I have a safe and easy way to cheat your tan.

Jean Paul Gaultier Monsieur’s Bronzing Powder provides the perfect shade of bronzy tan that works equally well on people whose complexions have rosy and golden undertones. This matte finish powder imparts the perfect glow when applied lightly or a deep, dark tan that would turn George Hamilton’s head when applied more heavily. The small square flip-top compact fits easily into the cigarette pocket of your favorite blazer or dinner jacket. Get your tan on and knock ‘em dead!

Monday, May 24, 2010

MANIC TROUT: Swimming upstream

Fiona McCoss cuts to the chase with jewelry designer Sierra Bailey

Vintage has never been more modern. Twenty-first century fashion has been revamping the old and the dusty, bringing back the early, classic decades and the more vibrant retro era into the next season. This a temporal amalgamation of mixing the past in with the present has seen Sierra Bailey step up her game, from collecting memorabilia on childhood trips to staking her name in the jewelery world with her dramatic and inventive pieces.

Based in New York, Manic Trout, as her brand is named, took off after Bailey’s entrepreneurial skills in college set her up for marketing her own handmade creations. From selling to dorm mates to customising for clients, Manic Trout embodies what it is to be vintage and one-of-a-kind. Bailey works with unique finds, buttons, crystals, beads and chains – anything with quirkiness and individuality; she loves creating pieces with bold colours, which make her designs not for the standard, plain Jane.

Sierra Bailey’s passion does not end at jewerly design, however. She also is a dab hand with a paintbrush. Having gone through art school and having computer graphics as a platform upon which to launch her creativity, the founder of Manic Trout also sells her large abstract paintings on wood and canvas. For lovers of fashion and unique one-of-a-kind jewelry Manic Trout is making sure everything old is new again.

MILITARY HELMET BAG: Joseph Ungoco enlists

On my recent travels through the South’s major airport hubs, I have been delighted to make the acquaintance of numerous men and women serving in the US armed forces. While the dress uniforms of the various branches are instantly recognizable by most of us, the “new” camo is slight more confusing. Each branch of service – Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines – has its own versions and each version comes in both regular and “digital” versions, meant to disappear on digital media.

My personal obsession is the Army digital camo in the “three color desert” palette and, of late, my constant companion is my Army surplus helmet bag.

This oversize tote features short handles, an adjustable shoulder strap and backpack straps that can be tucked in and hidden for a sleek appearance. You can also customize yours with name tapes that you can order online. Mine features the regulation last name tape and one with my Secret Service Code Name!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Poland Fashion Week: Agata Wojtkiewicz

Considered one of the 40 biggest designers in Poland, Agata Wojtkiewicz put on a colorful showing at this season's Polish "Fashion Philosophy" Fashion Week. Classic colors with the occasional standout splash, outfits were tailored to fit, destined to be worn.

For the confident woman with a taste for form fitting fashion, Wojtkiewicz's specialty is cocktail, evening and bridal wear, creating a collaborative feel with each and every client that walks through the door. From accessories to styling Wojtkiewicz aims to create pieces that reflect a woman's personality with an individual sense of style.

Text: Angela Gilltrap

Poland Fashion Week: Agatha Ruiz De La Prada

One can never accuse Agatha Ruiz de la Prada of creating mournful collections in depressing colors. The larger-than-life Spanish designer was a guest at Poland Fashion Week this season gracefully showing her latest collection. Vivid colors in lamé and felt strutted down the catwalk to Olivia Newton John's '80s classic "Zanadu" — a fitting tribute for these flashbacks-to-big-shoulder fashion.

Hearts were everywhere — heart framed sunglass, metallic hearts on pink skirts — in the background, in the foreground, it would seem love was all around.

Inspired by artists such as Picasso, Warhol and Chillida, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada's signature tunic and legging combos abounded with ruffled skirts and textured dresses. The piece de resistance... a muffin-type tiered dress in pinks and blue. Not exactly work wear, but who says fashion always has to be serious?

Text: Angela Gilltrap

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poland Fashion Week: Eymeric Francois

French designer Eymeric Francois closed day two of Poland Fashion Week as one of several international guests invited to show this season. His "Fashion Until Death" collection embraced gothic chic (particulalry fitting in our vampire obsessed world).

Black lipstck with severe up dos accompanied figure hugging evening wear in deep purple, black and white, an ode to 50s style showing throughout.

As with previous collections, the corset was a keystone in Francois' creations. Broken up into four sections, Francois used lace, velvet and fetish leather to create conversation-starting numbers.

Love them or hate them you can't deny Francois' craftsmenship, fashioning an entire dress out of white zippers, another out of belts.

Interesting, evocative and destined for the pages of fashion editorials around the world, Francois delivers fantasy meets extravagance.

Text: Angela Gilltrap

Monday, May 17, 2010

Fashion Week Poland: Joanna Paradecka

Day one. Show one. Joanna Paradecka sent a Dr. Suess inspired collection of kooky yet wearable ready-to-wear women's down the catwalk in front of a small, yet enthusiastic, home crowd from Lotdz, Poland. Burnt orange shift dresses with geometric cuts kept the designs fresh and flighty with heavier Fall fabrics in taupe and tans mixing with lighter chiffons to provide a practical yet feminine asethetic.

Exaggerated shoulder lines, mid-thigh hems and a myriad of stripes in stockings, clothing and accessories were signature looks in this Warsaw-made collection. Perfect for the fashionista with attitude, each piece is made from 95% recycled fabrics creating an authentic retro-vibe. A particular stand out, was Paradecka's take on men's dress shirts. Manipulating a gray mid-thigh length shirt to produce a comfortable understated chic with an alluring and unexpected plunging back.

The last women's wear collection for this seasoned designer this endearing offering marks the end of an era as Paradecka embarks on yet another project, creating an entirely new brand out of her workshop in Zabkowska Street, Warsaw. Keep an eye on this designer.

Text: Angela Gilltrap

Friday, May 14, 2010

Zoe Twitt: International flavors, Urban style

Fiona McCoss talks all things exotic with women's wear designer Zoe Twitt.

Originally from Australia, this 26 year old designer has cracked the international fashion scene, finally settling in New York to make her assault. Having grown up around the world, she has been exposed to different, exotic cultures which unavoidably have inspired her creativity, setting her up for life to produce and market some of the most seamlessly, exclusively hand-made garments available in the industry.

Her Winter2010 collection features a quirky and inventive use of cut out shapes and zips, revealing subtle peaks of the female form beneath. Knits, sheers, and the ever New York friendly "black," embellished shoulders with natural gems and stones to offset the moody tone with a sparkly, natural feel–not too false or flashy, but in keeping with Twitt’s sophisticated, urban style densely incorporated into next season’s line. Velvet tunics, slashed leather leggings and Italian wool-silk jersey– this designer has combined every material into an amalgamation of perfection.
She took the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions, revealing her dreams, inspirations and how her life and unquestionable talent has set her up for unending success.

You've had the privilege to travel around the world as a child, which country would you say was your favourite, or most inspirational?

I was very lucky to have been able to travel so extensively while I was young and still developing in so many facets. To be able to absorb the colors of the cultures and the textures of the exotic fabrics and the history of each culture's fashion is the best gift ever. There is such a wealth of art out in the world and so many worldly explorations both modern and historical that artists can draw from. I feel like that was the best gift my parents could have given me and I still feel like there is such an abundance of knowledge and inspiration I don’t use and haven't yet touched on.

I suppose I was mainly inspired by Asian culture and history, particularly the sense of ritual and tradition in wedding dress. I was also inspired by the colors in Jaipur. The silks are fantastic. When I was 15 I spent two weeks in Thailand and designed a few pieces to be made by a tailor there using their colorful Thai silks and some fashion magazines for inspiration. The textures were magnificent! When I was 14 I lived in southern India and became enamored with the jewelry of the region. I love anything ceremonial. I love Chinese antique pieces too. This is all a glimpse into what I'm working on for spring 2011...

I also notice the differing street clothing around the world and how the culture affects the trends. I think different things inspired me at different times and my style was ever-changing. I was constantly finding a different rhythm and sometimes I was trying to make a statement to people. Style doesn't need to be consistent. You can express almost anything just by what you wear. I studied the semiotics of theatre when I was at university and I think this is an overarching important inspiration, too.

At the tender age of 26, you are very young to have cracked the fashion industry. Would you say your age has played to your advantage or disadvantage?

I think the age thing is a double-edged sword. I look extremely young and there have definitely been times that people in the industry have looked at me and at first glance they have assumed I am fresh and know very little. I like surprising them.

The other edge of that blade is that if you do not start when you are young you are not considered fresh. It is like acting in that way, people want you when you're young and if you do not succeed young, like Alexander Wang or Zac Posen, then you really feel like you've failed. I hear this from designers all the time.

Having progressed from one side of the arts to another, what made you make the switch from acting to designing ultimately? Would you ever go back to acting?

I literally woke up one day and decided I wanted to design. It had always been in my mind but it never seemed like the right time. I think at some point you have to just dive in without looking down. If you look down you will get spooked; especially right now when things are a lot more of a gamble. A lot of labels are just in survival mode right now, so it definitely has been an interesting and challenging time to begin.

I would still work in acting again. I love it so much! To date, I have no time for that but if I have a free moment in the future, then I hope something presents itself.

Would you say you have a muse?

I love designing for the woman's body. I am a woman and I want to feel confident! When I design I think about what flatters the woman and how she wants to feel in the clothing. I think she wants to own her sexuality while not being constricted by anything physically. This is why I favour stretch. I use an Italian wool/silk blend jersey for the basic pieces and adorn them with zippers or other details.

So my muse would be the woman’s body. There are some people whose style I love but from them I take more of an inspiration of "mood." While creating "Dark Heart" I was listening to a lot of Bat For Lashes and Goldfrapp (her second album) so there are definitely nuances of the occult. That inspired the crystals which are sort of spiritual but have a sense of rock and roll to them.

Who would you say is your most influential designer?

That's hard! Today I want to go with Martin Margiela. I have been staring at his work above my desk all morning. His work is sculptural and sometimes he has a sense of humour but also a sense of darkness and of theatre. That is what fashion should be-it should really belong to the artist. Margiela is not afraid to create truthfully. I think his work is very wearable, though I know a lot of people don't agree

Where do you see yourself and your ever expanding brand in 5 years time?

We are launching a more complete line of accessories next season. Then I hope to create more outerwear. I think diffusion is the way of the future. You have the ability to reach more people in a diffusion label. Next season there is more of a disparity between what we are creating. One line is diffusion with a high fashion concept for less, while the other collection is smaller and definitely has a sense of a couture collection. That is where my fun comes from! I also anticipate having a full collection of knitwear and gowns and perhaps some lingerie. That would complete my vision.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Catherine Angiel: The Edge

Sean Kiely talks shop with jewelry designer Catherine Angiel

When thinking about high-end jewelry, what comes to mind? Tiffany, Cartier, Choppard and Bvglari are just a few names that many consider to be the classicists of fine jewelry. For decades, New Yorkers have strolled the windows of Fifth Avenue, dreaming of the day they can own a piece of this luxury. What is strange, however, is that most of the recognizable names in this luxurious jewelry industry belong to men. Then along came Catherine Angiel, who did not just take down the walls of fine jewelry design, she busted through them with a sledgehammer.

Angiel isn’t you typical jewelry designer. While she was at the forefront of female jewelry designers, she didn’t attend design school, her pieces don’t retail for outrageous prices and her work experience includes drum solos, as her previous career was a drummer in a Rock 'n' Roll band. As one thing led to another in inspiration began to take control and before she knew it her love of music turned into a profitable design business.

“I’m really inspired by what evokes emotions in me, which is love, romance, music – and that’s how I get my ideas. I can be listening to a song and all of the sudden it will inspire me to create something, hence the "Dangerous" Collection, which is really Rock 'n' Roll inspired.” While music has had the most obvious impact on her opulent creations, the people in Catherine’s life have inspired her as well. “Love is also a fantastic Muse. I’m really inspired by my partner Martha – just her style and the way she puts herself together will give me some ideas.”

Angiel has created five unique collections - Dangerous, Androgyny, Renegade, Delicate and Glam – each evoking Catherine’s fun yet sophisticated spirit. Using distinctive elements and unconventional materials, Angiel creates jewelry bursting with personality, yet remains subtle enough for the red carpet and the mom pushing the baby carriage down the street. “I love working with unusual stones. Whether its black diamonds, or gray diamonds, I’m really inspired by things that are unusual yet can be brought into a classic type of design.” While her pieces might be considered to be dark, they are the perfect combination of a hard attitude and a soft soul.

Angiel’s designs are made for a wide array for clientele, and many times she works with her clients to make sure what they wear is exactly what they want, customizing pieces to any specific need. “I design for a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie. To me, those are powerful women in their own right, one being more demure, the other being out there and more edgy, but I still get that feminine, delicate, yet sexy twist.”

Angiel, like her clients, is a strong woman with visions of success. Celebrities like Megan Fox, Lindsay Lohan, Ashley Olsen, Sandra Bullock, Rhianna, Parker Posie, Mary Louise Parker, Rosario Dawson, The Pussycat Dolls and Sarah Jessica Parker have all been seen rocking pieces from Angiel’s collections.

One of the most important lessons Angiel has learned over the years however, is that often times the vision of success means remaining true to one’s self. “I know I have to do what’s in my heart, and I have to design what I’m feeling. It has to be less about ‘What does the client want?’ because when I design what I think the client is going to want and I don’t feel it, it’s the ring that doesn’t sell.” It is with this attitude that Angiel is seeing plenty of sales and noticeable press.

Of the highlights of her career, Angiel mentions the independent film The Guitar, in which her jewelry was exclusively used as a definitive element in the story telling of the movie. “(The producer) felt that our pieces really matched what the actress was going though in the movie. It worked in unison... and was a great match for the movie. It was truly an honor.”

While it seems that Angiel is well on her way to conquering women’s jewelry, her next move is taking on the men’s side. “There was a void for jewelry for men. It was either something plain or something vile. Men would love jewelry, if it were cool. Jewelry is supposed to be fun. It’s supposed to be expressive.” And expressive it is–her lighting bolt cuff links and cross necklaces will add a touch of edge to any outfit, with no motorcycle required. With the men’s collection already in motion, Angiel hopes to one day push the envelopes even further. “I love designing homes and gardens. I’m an artist and my pallet choices are precious stones and unusual metals, but to me art is everywhere. Anything that follows creation I would love to push my brand into.” If her boutique on Greenwich Avenue is any indication of her interior design capabilities, she will create some awesome places to call home.

In every ring, necklace and bracelet Angiel produces, her femininity with a punk edge shines through, providing clients with an individual sense of “something different and fresh... without any constraints.” While she might not have the brand name status of other designers in her genre, her pieces hold a name for them selves, and could help you build a name too. Angiel’s something shiny might not come in a little blue box, but it will get you some big attention.

Friday, May 7, 2010

READ: Contemporary Indian Fashion

Angela Gilltrap takes a closer look at Contemporary Indian Fashion

International fashion can get a bad wrap. Stereotypes mixed with fashion snobbery can hinder some of the world's most fashion forward making it to the big stage. But there are innovators in every country and this book, Contemporary Indian Fashion, pays homage to those Indian designers pushing the envelope. Some of those featured you will have heard of, others are soon to become your new favorites.

Edited by Federico Rocca, colorful and informative, Contemporary Indian Fashion takes you into the vivid world of Indian haute couture. Catwalk still lifes mixed with fabric close ups highlight the intricate details, experiment textile techniques and innovative drapery used by these designers. A simple question and answer accompanies each profile with up to eight pages of photographs per designer. Manish Arora, Fightercock and Anamika Khanna are among some of those featured and it won't be long until you find a new favorite.

Contemporary Indian Fashion is guaranteed to inspire. Don't be the last to discover India's fashion forward.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Stylist Barret Wertz: Movin' on up

A freelance stylist at Antenna Magazine and stylist associate for the gorgeous Alicia Keys, Barret Wertz is based in New York and took the time out of his busy schedule, which includes styling upcoming Atlantic Records artist Ryan Star, to give us the lowdown on all things chic.

How did you become a stylist?

I dreamed of working on both the celebrity and editorial sides of the fashion industry. I moved to NYC five years ago and have worked hard and been blessed by getting to work with amazing people at many levels that share a similar brain wave. Now I'm happy to say I love working on both sides of the industry.

What do you love the most about being a stylist?

There is always something new, fresh and creative to be imbued with. Inspiration can be found absolutely anywhere. People in fashion are so lucky to be able and encouraged to express that so vividly and with such candor. I think that is a true gift and I feel honored.

What are your greatest challenges?

Keeping up! There is always something around the corner that's more creative and outrageous or more hidden and just-below-the-radar cool. So many amazing and awesome things going on in fashion all the time... To not be able to do it all is a major challenge all by itself. And also I'm freelance, so not sleeping in on a rainy Monday is pretty hard too.

What brands do you love to work with?

Well who wouldn't love working with the FW10 Men's Gucci and Prada collections... Those both certainly hit the nail on the head. Obsessed. I'm already looking forward to that shopping trip. But on the regular, I would say I love to work with brands that are smart and creative yet have a strong classic element to them. Everything from Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel to Levi's and John Varvatos. And they should have great PR people too of course.

What’s your fashion mantra to the masses?

Do whatever you want... As long as it gives you confidence and makes you feel good.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

SANDRA CORREIA: Consciously Corked

Fiona McCoss catches up with Portuguese designer Sandra Correia on the eve of her MoMa debut

Portuguese designer of Pelcor, Sandra Correia, will be showcasing her innovative creations in the MoMa this May as one of the lucky few whose brand will now be associated with one of the biggest and most impressive modern art galleries in the world.

Her range of accessories are not your everyday run of the mill. On the one hand, yes they are practical, fashionable and when necessary, impermeable – on the other, more interesting level, it is the use of medium that she has chosen which plays a pivotal role in her creativity and inovation.

Correia specialises in a rarely used material for the industry she is part of, uncommon to the regular art enthusiast, nonchalant passerby or fashionista: cork. Yes, like the cork used to stop wine.

The idea to incorporate cork into her designs is a family tradition. “My Grandfather worked on cork fields, my father is a cork based businessman and I am following the family path...but innovating with irreverence," she explains. "Expanding our family business to other areas like fashion accessories was a true challenge to designers, partners and other stake holders. But Cork is such a strong, flexible and surprisingly sophisticated material, that what was once an experience, became a successful business, and thus Pelcor was born.”

Its exclusivity is what makes the material so valuable in terms of the endless possibilities for creative license. “Cork is a very unique material – no piece is similar to the other. This makes cork a fascinating and very luxurious material. We also use other materials to mix with cork, all of them of the highest quality – leather, organic cotton, etc.”

Pelcor is also proud for its sustainability, being an eco-friendly brand.

With pieces already available to buy now in the MoMa store, Correia explains that there is more in the pipeline for her designs. “We might have other surprises coming up... but if I were to reveal them, they wouldn’t be surprises. To feature Pelcor Accessories in the MoMA is a very big deal. None of us at Pelcor, especially myself, would have imagined that we would be chosen to be part of their exhibition. But dreaming is one of my favorite qualities. So dreams I have plenty, and all of them worth fighting for.”

Consciously corked, Pelcor and their range of accessories are not to be missed.

YoungBlood: Traveling in style

Summer will soon be upon us. That means it's time to pack your suitcases and head for the open road. To help us look glamorous on the go, makeup aficionados, YoungBlood have come up with a great travel kit perfect for the busy fashionista.

Each kit comes with a miniature Kabuki Brush and a sample of Hi-Definition Hydrating Mineral Perfecting Powder. Don't leave home without it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

SEQUOIA PARIS: Editor's Pick


"The best thing about a bag is even on a fat day, it still fits."

Angela Gilltrap, UnitedEditors-at-Large

Monday, May 3, 2010

Seventy-Two Changes

Fiona McCoss uncovers the next big thing

Gracing the cover of Vogue Taiwan this month, is Mondopop star-turned-designer Jolin Tsai. Leaping onto the scene in 2009, Tsai’s range, Seventy Two Changes, showed for the first time at last season's NY Fashion Week and has since, been snowballing in popularity and demand.

After receiving such deserved attention, the 29 year-old designer and her debut range have been steadily growing by way of collections, lines, fans and followers; supplying pieces internationally to the style savy.

Having just opened a flagship store in Shanghai’s Times Square this past February, Seventy Two Changes – who teams up with chief executive officer and co-founder of L.A.M.B., Ken Erman – is planning to conquer more of the Eastern Orient with stores in Beijing and Guangzhou planned to open by the end of next year.

The ever changing lines are inspired by Jolin’s eccentric nature. Her quirky, urban take on fashion pushes the limits of seasonal styles and at the same time avoids the ever-too-radical-statements that fashion can sometimes menace. Rather, she offers a happy medium of stylish chic, accessible and affordable – a breath of fresh air as most pop stars go.

Her singing career is also continuing steadily; her musical creativity sits, as always, alongside her practical creativity, after all the inspiration for the brand’s name came from one of her most popular hit songs "See My Seventy Two Changes."

Following last year’s album Butterfly, the pint-sized pop star has been working to release a greatly anticipated follow up this summer to go alongside her expanding image as one of the new faces in the fashion industry.

Seventy Two Changes is available in the U.S. through and other select outlets.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


This year marks the 10th anniversary of New Zealand Fashion Week. Born in 2001, the event is being hosted in the elegant and luxurious marina in Auckland, the Viaduct Harbour Marine Village, where it will be exhibiting 5 days of New Zealand’s unquestionable national talent. From the 21st – 26th September, the NZFW will seize hold of the city, with designers, models, photographers and celebrities flying in from every corner of the world to attend this acclaimed showcase of Australasia’s emerging industry.

Last year the event hosted the likes of internationally recognised designers such as Alexandra Owen, Sable & Minx, United Constructions and Karen Walker, to name but a few – all NZ natives, who showcased an array of garments from classic-chic to futuristically urban. Having teaming up previously with sponsors MAC, GHD and Moet&Chandon, this event is aimed for the crème de la crème.

Innovation and imagination are sure to take the stage once again this year, undoubtedly topping last year’s efforts in a bid to make their 10th anniversary the biggest and the best so far.

Stylist Jamee Gidwitz: Brains & Beauty

Fiona McCoss catches up with NY's stylin' stylist Jamee Gidwitz

New York based, stylist and fashion editor, Jamee Gidwitz knows a thing or two about style. As other kids were skipping rope, her talent and passion grew from arranging perfume bottles into composed, still-life shots in the bathroom; sticking magazine cut-outs of sparkly jewellery onto her wrists and ears. Today, she remains one of the country's most sought after stylists and editors, working with rock stars, celebrities and countless fashion mags.

Having never studied fashion at school, her talent remains pure, raw and effortless. Far from lacking in education however, she graduated from Brown with a major in Semiotics and French, and in fact, Gidwitz has not thrown her Ivy League days behind her but instead capitalises on all the priceless life skills which she gained.

“My formal education definitely taught me a lot of discipline, which is what you need as a freelancer," says Gidwitz. "But I think my talent as a stylist comes from being curious, open minded and growing up around inspiring people and places."

She's a smart cookie this one; not just a pretty face. Gidwitz’s styling and marketing work has been published in Interview, Cosmopolitan International, German Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue and Elle Accessories, to name but a few, styling celebrities for red carpet events and gaining the title as Market/Style Editor for Harpers BAZAAR.

"I remember telling my mother that when I grew up I wanted to do windows of stores,” she reminisces. “Then I wanted to be the editor-in-chief of my own magazine that dealt with things I loved and felt were important: art, architecture and fashion.”

“With definitive dreams from the start, it seems this freelance fashion editor-come-stylist has worked herself up to become a respected and renowned name in the international fashion industry. “I didn't go to fashion school, but I knew about fashion. I always felt very strongly about fashion.”

With high-end editorial and celebrity styling ticked off her list — as well as marketing experience for one of the biggest fashion magazines in the world — Gidwitz will not be slowing down anytime soon. Always thinking about the next project with a head full of goals, her career is limitless.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Vessel by Lois Samuels

Sean Kiely talks school day inspiration with Lois Samuels

For twelve years of my life, I hated my school uniform. Now, some mornings I wake up and wish for nothing else but to have it back. I used to have so much more free time before I had to start thinking about what I was going to wear to an event a week before hand. Honestly, it can be exhausting. There is nothing worse that the feeling you get when you stand in front of your closet full of clothes and come to the realization that you have nothing to wear. However, The Vessel by Lois Samuels could be the clever solution to my reoccurring problem.

While the uniform versus individuality debate continues to brew, Lois Samuels has created a line of women’s clothing that is inspired by structured uniforms and menswear. What could have been a rack full of box dresses and suits without any shape is actually a brilliant collection, full of ease and simplicity, which fits strikingly on any woman’s body. This feat would not have been possible without Samuel’s distinct atheistic and unwavering point of view.

“I love structure and I sort of grew up in a society that the uniform was so important. Growing up, you go to prep school, you wear a uniform, and every weekend you have the same routine. When it comes to clothing, I love simplicity because it’s so chaotic in the real world that you want to go to the closet and pull something out and you don’t think too hard about it. I don’t like to think too hard about getting dressed.”

Those are strange words coming from a former model. A native of Jamaica, Samuels used her fond memories of preparatory school as inspiration for her first clothing line. A few seasons later, while still a novice in the fashion design industry, it seems as though she has found her niche.

Taking cues from the structure of menswear then infusing a uniform core—using imported wools, light weight cottons, cashmere blends—Samuels has ventured into clothing that is undoubtedly classic, yet remarkably fashion forward. Creating garments that are wearable, comfortable, beautiful and completely uncomplicated has put her on the map as the go-to-gal for the outfit to wear on any day, to anywhere.

Yet, even with all the masculine qualities of her clothing, Samuels still remains that young girl who grew up to become a sophisticated lady, and her clothing shows it.

“Even though most times when you think of women’s wear that is a bit men’s wear inspired, you think of all this androgyny and this butch look, but I don’t see that in my pieces because when I wear the clothes I feel very feminine. It’s not like I’m trying to project this sort of masculinity that is hidden in me that I had to express in clothing. I just feel like clothing gives us some sort of strength and you feel powerful in some things.”

And power forward, she will. Relentless against the struggling economic climate, Samuels is determined to make The Vessel a brand everyone will want to own a piece of.

“I think at the end of the day people want to go back to basics. You want to invest in something that’s not a fad. I feel what I’m attracted to is timeless.” For Samuels, women’s clothing is just the beginning. Hopes to venture further into menswear (I’m dying for one of her jumpers!), robes, aprons and hotel and restaurant uniforms are clearly within grasp. In the words of the designer herself, “It’s all with time, blessings and luck.”

KEVA J: Stylish Swimwear

Fiona McCoss talks to swimwear designer Keva Johnson to see what's new in swimwear

Keva Johnson exploded onto the scene in 2005 immediately after graduating Apparel Design at Florida State University. Her innovative pieces which combine futuristic modern cut-outs with bold, Rastafarian hues and metallic colors, have graced the pages of numerous magazines and line the rails of boutiques and stores from Miami to New York. With seasonal collections already under her belt and a line of signature tees, “WHO THE HELL IS KEVA J”, accessories and handbags are next on her agenda.

Keva took the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions to give UnitedEditorsatLarge a humble and honest insight into her greatest motivations, inspirations and challenges.

Having a natural affiliation with creativity and fashion, designing seems the most normal thing for you to do. You have created lines of swimwear, signature tees and you are planning on releasing a line of accessories and handbags in the near future, which project has been the most challenging/rewarding?

I would say the swimsuits are the most challenging and rewarding. I feel like every collection I have to top myself! So it becomes that much harder. Trying to keep every suit different and not conform to the normal, everyday design selling out there. It’s been rewarding because the consumer response is what keeps me going. All the emails, editorials and celebrity clients have been amazing! My dreams are coming true, day by day. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Being of Jamaican decent, would you say this element of your background plays an important part in the design process?

I think my Jamaican decent plays a role in my design process. In my first collection, I was able to use the Rastafarian colors in different ways. I actually found suspenders with the red/green/gold colors and used them in a way to reflect my personal style. Its fun to be able to take certain elements from my culture and tie them in with today's current trends!

Do all your collections have the same thing in common, or does each creation represent something unique in itself?

All of my collections are different, but they have the same edgy flair! Every season I have a different theme/inspiration, but I always tie in my edgy style to the designs. My last collection was inspired by Africa. So the colors and the fabrics I used represented different elements of Africa, and the edgy designs brought it all together. My new collection is inspired by Barbie! So it’s all about being a girl and having fun. There will be lots of pink and ruffles, but with a chic edge!

You were voted "best dressed" in college; would you say your day-to-day style is reflected in your designs?

Yes! My everyday style does reflect my designs. I have my own edgy style, and I'm a huge fan of accessories. So I always try and incorporate those elements in my designs, being different and standing out. I love funky necklines and mixing colors.

New to New York, how would you say the city has changed the way you think, work and create?

I must say that being in New York has influenced me as a designer in so many ways. I feel like the lifestyle, the people and the atmosphere are totally different from Miami. You can walk down 5th avenue and get so much inspiration from the store front windows, the stylish dressing, or even the buildings. Being here has allowed me to grow creatively as a designer, and I love that. Like they say, this is definitely "the concrete jungle where dreams are made of."

What advice would you give any striving designers out there? Do you remember any tricks of the trade you were privvy to when starting out?

Well first I will say, it’s definitely not as easy as it looks. I was under the impression that I was going to move to New York and meet P. Diddy and live the life of luxury. But then reality set in. You have to be strong and stay focused. This industry will try to knock you down sometimes but you have to have that determination and will to succeed.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one item would you not be able to live without?

This is a hard one. If I was on a desert island, the one item I couldn't live without would probably be my blackberry. I live on my phone. I don't think I would know how function without it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Iodice: Bold designs for the everyday

Fiona McCoss dicovers Brazil's best kept secret

Founded initially as a knitwear company, Iodice has gone from strength to strength. The Brazilian design house, created in the 1980s by Valdemar Iodice, is one of the most prestigious in South America, internationally recognised for its “design and quality." Gradually developing from knitwear to denim, Iodice then combined his appreciation for the female form with his signature style, the silhouette.

In 2001, Iodice opened its flagship store on the renowned fashion street of Brazil’s capital. Covering hundreds of square metres the store offers three floors of pure luxury: ready to wear, women’s jeanswear, menswear and an exclusive line. Having conquered both Americas with showrooms in LA and NY, the brand is now to be found in 240 stores worldwide.

Iodice’s most recent collection, his FW10, is another example of the brilliance of the creative director. Incorporating the sophisticated simplicity of tans, whites, blacks and sheers, asymmetric lines, draped fabric and plunging necklines; the dresses encompass the essential idea behind the brand: chic perfection.

Beaded necklaces accompany the garments, sitting heavy and proud on the waif-like models’ necks, which adds boldness to the designs. This season we witness, once again, Iodice’s bias towards the sensuality of the female form as his collection features figure hugging body cons, accentuating the silhouette he so appreciates.

However, it is not only the above-the-knee for which he cares; elegant floor length gowns in tie-dyes, emerald greens, blues and blacks are classically reinvented and restored into staples of FallWinter2010. Ultimately Valdemar’s vibrant addition of the bright greens, pinks and purples gives his FW10 line a fun, carefree vibe; perfect for the carnivalesque atmosphere of Sao Paolo, Brazil and indeed for all of us looking for a touch of spice.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

POLAND FASHION WEEK: FashionPhilosophy

UnitedEditorsatLarge will be crossing the pond and heading to Poland Fashion Week for the unmissable, annual spring event that will span, across the second weekend of May, 7th-11th. The country is still in mourning for the recent loss of their President and First Lady, Mr. Lech Kaczynski and Mrs. Maria Kaczynski, who lost their lives earlier on this month, however, the event will go on as planned with commemoration.

Poland Fashion Week is held in Lodz, the countries fashion capital – Poland’s version of Milan or London as it were – famous for its eccentricity, vibrance and unique architecture. Among other events the city hosts the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography and numerous ballet exhibitions.
FWP FashionPhilosophy seizes hold of the city of Lodz for 5 whole days, and guests are invited to witness the new unfolding of fashion. Blossoming buds of brilliance emerge from Eastern Europe onto the catwalk and creative inspiration floods every pore and sense.

This year Kenzo Takada, renowned Japanese designer and perfumer, has been named guest of honor, and to name drop some more, Patricia Gucci, granddaughter of Aldo Gucci, will also be attending the foreign fashion festivities in conjunction with the promotion of her new book. Homegrown designers Bies Katarzyna and Natalia Jaroszewska, for example, as well as other European designers will be showcasing their collections on the catwalk in front of an ever eager audience. Front row seats will be a must, don't miss out on our coverage from co-founder and fashion editor, Angela Gilltrap.

Peter Pilotto: In Print

London correspondent, Nicole Dalamagas takes us into the colorful world of Peter Pilotto

Ladies, banish your little black dresses to the back of your wardrobe, 2010 is the year of colour.

Too long has fashion's gloomy front row dressed in adequate attire for a funeral procession; with prints as edgy as Schwab, a cool-rating that's creeping up on Kane and body-con fits that make a Leger dress look like your Grandma's over sized sweater, it is no wonder that Peter Pilotto's colorful designs are gracing the bodies of every buyer, editor and stylist in sight. Even Michelle Obama has been caught wearing one of his explosive prints.

Pilotto and his partner, Christopher De Vos, an ex-Vivienne Westwood designer, combine their creative genius to staggering effect: Pilotto provides a unique textile base overlaid with stunning nature-inspired watercolor prints which De Vos then drapes and crafts, bandaging every curve to build an enviable silhouette. The duo, who met at Antwerp's Royal Academy of Fine Arts in 2000, assume a more scientific approach to design; together they fuse high-end couture with ageless sophistication, mixing microscopic, hyper-real prints with draped lightweight chiffon, silks and knitwear that fit to perfection.

Spring-Summer 2009 marked their third London catwalk show, of which they were awarded New Generation sponsorship, supported by Topshop. The London label's mastery with pattern and color was evident in their abstracted firework prints, mimicking the reflection of fireworks on a rippling ocean; twisting something chemical and manufactured into a naturalistic, classical scene that is pure Peter Pilotto offbeat style.

Like many current designers, Pilotto is one of those whose thoughts have turned, this season, to the massive, fundamental events of natural history, developing prints from the digital manipulation of photos of fur and reptile skin, creating silk tufted tops tipped with paint to resemble erupting volcanoes ,and building chunky embroidery from geometric plastic paillettes.

Autumn/ Winter 2010 will undoubtedly be the season when the multi-cultural design duo (Peter is half Austrian/half Italian and Christopher is Libyan born and of Austrian ancestry), finally break through from the early adopters into a more mainstream crowd. Their show at London Fashion Week featured inspirations from art installations by Jan de Cock, the paintings of Francis Bacon and the texture and fit of leather.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Tanner Hall" Premier: Fashion & Film

Last night’s premiere of Tanner Hall brought out the big guns in support of writer/directors Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana Von Furstenberg. A vivid peek into the private world of an all-girls boarding school, Tanner Hall is a coming-of-age story based around four central characters, teenage girls navigating life, love and friendship.

Premiering at the 15th Anniversary of the Gen Art Film Festival presented by Acura, it stars Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson, Amy Ferguson, Tom Everett Scott, Amy Sedaris, and Chris Kattanooney. Stars such as Diane von Furstenberg, Caitlin Moe, Evan Ferrante, Miss USA, and many others walked the red carpet in support.

Tickets and information on the films can be found at

Diane von Furstenberg

Rooney Mara & Tom Everett Scott

Tatiana Von Furstenberg

Photo Credit: Rob Loud