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69 posts categorized "Fashion"

25 August 2014

The Bompas & Parr effect: Day-glow ice-cream and cooking with lava

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On Monday 22 September 14, we'll be hosting another Inspiring Entrepreneurs event in our Conference Centre, run by our lovely Business & IP Centre team. It's also available as a free webcast. The theme this time is 'Movers and Shakers': companies that have disrupted the status quo in their sector. We've got founder and CEO of Moshi Monsters, Michael Acton-Smith OBE (expect a games-themed blog soon) and Sam Bompas, the co-founder of Bompas & Parr.

When I looked at their website, I was absolutely blown away by their creativity and ingenuity. Their brand is so playful. I'm driving everyone in the office mad by raving about how much I want to eat their glow-in-the-dark ice-cream. I love how they can move between fashion, products and experiences so freely, responding beautifully to any creative brief they're given. Here are some of the projects they've been working on, in their own words. Fancy coming to hear them speak?  You can book your tickets here.

Glow-in-the-dark Cornetto, Leicester Square, July 2013
The world’s first glow in the dark Cornetto, created for a film premiere of The End of the World.

Glow ice cream Bompas and Parr

Jellies for any event
Bompas & Parr supply a customised jelly service – they even have a jelly technician! They offer innovative and bespoke moulds, created in their in-house workshop.

Jelly 2 Bompas and Parr

Jelly Bompas and Parr

Jellyscape Bompas and Parr

Cooking with lava – Syracuse, USA, June 2014

Go into the kitchen of a top steak restaurant and you’re likely to find a £18,000 Josper oven, favoured by chefs for its searing 300°C cooking temperature. At Bompas & Parr they didn’t think that was anywhere near hot enough, so last month they headed to Syracuse University in upstate New York, where Professor Robert Wysocki has over-clocked an industrial bronze furnace and is busy working up an expertise in creating artificial volcanos and streams of man-made lava.
Prof Wysocki and his team have done 100 lava pours so far, for artistic and scientific purposes, but have never actually used the lava’s 2,100°F heat to do something as ubiquitous as cooking. See what happens when super-heated liquid rock meets an icy crevasse and a 10oz ribeye.

Scent of darkness - It's Nice That Magazine, March 2012
London’s smells represent an invisible architecture, shaping and enhancing our experience of the city’s urban environment. Certain odours created intentionally or not act as sensory landmarks, hardwired into your brains. Bompas & Parr traversed London between sunset and sunrise to chart the scents of the city at night. London’s aromas were composed as perfumes and shipped to Thomas Brown who photographed them with stylist Lyndsay Milne for Its Nice That.

London Smells Bompas and Parr

Tutti Frutti Garments by Kit Neale – Sold by Opening Ceremony, A/W 2013

Earlier this year Bompas & Parr worked with printmaster Kit Neale on the staff uniforms for the Tutti Frutti installation at Kew Gardens. Kit Neale’s prints intermingle obscure and forbidden fruits like the durian with more familiar fruits like bananas and pears, with the images sourced from Kew’s archive. The collection garnered so much interest it was put into production for Opening Ceremony launching in time for a fruity Christmas.

Tutti Frutti Bompas and Parr

 

06 August 2014

Hello Frances, Goodbye Kissley

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Hello Frances Taylor...

Wow, it doesn’t seem like a year since we wrote our last joint blog and I said goodbye to the Library for a while to go off and have my lovely daughter Holly. I'm going to be taking over our creative industries programme and, of course, this blog. The good news is that Kissley isn’t going to be leaving the Library: she will be promoting our exhibition and events programme: Gothic literature, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, anyone? The autumn events programme is shaping up fantastically – look out for a very creepy, spooky LATE.  Where better to get scared at night than in a huge library?

It’s been so lovely to come back and hear about all the great projects Kissley’s been working on.  Her highlights must include Spring Festival, YMC fashion show, creative writing workshops and her Artsthread x British Library competition on Comics Unmasked.  I’ll be picking up where she has left off – it’s great to be back!

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Image: Fran (on left) and Kissley posing with our Comics Unmasked cut-out

Goodbye from Kissley Leonor…

Dear Readers,

It’s been a pleasure sharing with you all the cool stuff happening at the British Library. Here are my highlights. One million Flickr images of our collections made free for anyone to use, remix and repurpose.  Here are some of the gems I found:

Gems and Precious Stones
Image: Gems and Precious Stones of North America, KUNZ, George Frederick, shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 7105.ee.14.", "British Library HMNTS 7106.i.12." Page 85

My Little Chinese Book

Image: My Little Chinese Book, POST, Mary Audubon, shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 11645.e.57.", page 12

Hastings albums tapirImage: The tapir sent from Bengkulu to Calcutta in 1816.Shelfmark: Add.Or.4973

Songs of a Savoyard
Image: 1890 Songs of a Savoyard, Gilbert, W. S. (William Schwenck), shelfmark: "British Library HMNTS 11651.k.42.", page 102

Spring Festival. It was great to see so many new people working in film and fashion come to the Library and discover our collections. We welcomed some great speakers including screenwriter Tony Grisoni and fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart. And we danced. Dancing is always a good thing.    

Our Made with the British Library suite of videos highlighting how people have used the Library. From an illustrator to a record producer, author to entrepreneur – I love these inspiring stories. 

Over and out
x Kissley

19 June 2014

What to wear next summer: YMC SS15 London Collections: Men

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Our front entrance hall never looked so cool when British label YMC (You Must Create) showed their Spring/Summer 2015 line for London Collections: Men last Sunday. I sure do love men in pink. Here are my favourites:  

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A playful finale: bucket hats with built-in goggles.  

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YMC designer Fraser Moss is exploring our vinyl record collection and vintage magazines to create a new design. Follow me at @BL_Creative for updates. 

Our collections are an amazing source of inspiration for fashion designers. Henry Holland was spotted in our Reading Room researching old Tatler issues for his debauched debutante line and E. Tautz designer Patrick Grant gave a talk on how historical resources inspire his designs as part of our Georgians Revealed exhibition.

We also host events on topics such as trend forecasting, intellectual property and how to generate PR for fashion designers who are looking to start, run or grow their business. Plus we have over £5million worth of market research and business information that's free to use. FREE. Sign up for a Reader Pass and get in here!

10 June 2014

YMC opens London Collections: Men at the British Library

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For the first time the British Library is playing host to major fashion event London Collections: Men with British label YMC (You Must Create). 

Our sweeping front entrance hall with its marble staircase makes the perfect fashion show venue. When I met founders Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins last year, I floated the idea past them and now it's happening!

"As a British brand, YMC feel particularly proud and privileged to show our Spring/Summer 2015 collection at the British Library. This iconic building has a such a unique ambiance and is like entering a cathedral of knowledge and literature representing the history of the United Kingdom and beyond," says Moss.

For nearly 20 years YMC has been developing modern, functional and understated clothing. Menswear is their main business but they also have a small line for women (I love this dress). They are a major player in the three-day LC:M programme which showcases over 60 emerging and established brands - from Fashion East's Craig Green to Paul Smith.

LC:M also aims to emphasise the rich cultural landscape that contributes to the inspiration and success of menswear so it's very fitting that the opening show is taking place at the British Library, where the creative industries are constantly finding inspiration in our collections. YMC's designer Fraser Moss is exploring our vinyl record collection and underground magazines for a new design. We've welcomed E. Tautz designer Patrick Grant to our stage for a talk on Georgian menswear and Henry Holland was spotted in our Reading Room researching old Tatler issues for his 'debauched debutante' A/W2014 line.  

Is London the capital for men's clothing? I think so. Follow #LCM and you'll see just why.  

YMC LCM 15 June 2014 invite
YMC invitation inspired by British Library stamp for manuscripts. 

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04 June 2014

From the high end to the street: Fashion inspired by comics

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Our current exhibition Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK comes at a perfect time when comic book art is more than ever inspiring fashion designers. Today's guest blog comes from Geraldine Wharry, Founder and Creative Director of Trend Atelier

Geraldine Wharry_Trend Atelier

When I first collaborated with the British Library Business & IP Centre for a trend forecasting event in September 2013, I presented the key fashion trends for 2014 in womenswear, menswear, textiles, graphics and accessories. One of the trends was “Cartoon Reality” and showcased the resurgence of comics and superheroes influencing designers and makers. The trend fit within a larger concept called Pop!, a whimsical and edgy design direction filled with bold colour juxtapositions and graphic statements.

Fashion and comic book art share an exciting relationship. Comic book illustrations have fueled the imagination of many fashion labels, from high-end designers such as 3.1 Philip Lim and Tom Ford, to high street brands Topshop and ASOS. I call this the “Pow Wow!” effect. In the 1960s, Pop artists who delved into comic art and illustrative drama such as Roy Lichtenstein came to influence Donna Karan, Moschino, Viktor and Rolf and Yves Saint Laurent.

Whilst researching the trend, I came across such a large amount of visual content, stylized editorials, and quirky garments created in the last few decades that it’s clear the relationship between comic book graphics and fashion has reached a tipping point. Comics and superheroes have become a perennial source of print and pattern inspiration in fashion, revisited season after season and acting as a complement to core items such as whimsical polka dots, logos and graffiti art.

It’s only natural comic art would influence fashion designers as they are always on the hunt for captivating imagery. With bright colour palettes often used against black and white lettering, this makes for impactful visuals, which designers use on garments as their canvas. The layout of comic book pages with their exaggerated fonts and messages also inspire stylists and fashion editorials in publications such as Vogue.

1_Action by Jack Adrian and Mike White_Craig McDean Vogue USA May 2008
Left: Action 1976-77, by Jack Adrian and Mike White. Action, used with permission from Egmont UK Ltd. Right: Photographer Craig McDean for Vogue USA May 2008 via Loyal KNG

Head to toe looks showcasing comic art are now often seen worn by style makers and photographed by Street FSN or other renowned street photographers such as Tommy Ton and le 21ème.

Street FSN
Via Street FSN 

The designers who are currently building our fashion landscape also grew up with comics and superheroes. They instinctively reference their teenage years, children’s books and favorite superhero movies, all embedded in their visual consciousness. This is clearly seen in collections by designers like Jeremy Scott who often uses comic book imagery such as monsters seen in his Autumn/Winter 2014 collection.

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Left: Jeremy Scott A/W14. Right: The Trials of Nasty Tales, 1973, cover art (c) Dave Gibbons and Richard Adams  

The sexually seductive nature of female superheroes also inspires designers of the likes of Tom Ford to create alluring silhouettes with references to comic book splashes of colour and text bubbles as seen in his Fall/Winter 2013 collection.

Tom Ford Fall Winter 2013_Torrid Erotic Art 1979_Erich von Gotha_Robin Ray
Left: Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2013. Right: Torrid Erotic Art, 1979, (c) Erich von Götha - Robin Ray

On a deeper level, the relationship between comics and fashion goes beyond the idea of using the style as a purely graphic source of inspiration. Comics can be subversive vehicles for sexual and political statements, which is precisely the focus of Comics Unmasked. As it stands, subversion is fashion’s second name.

Throughout history, the designs that stand the test of time are the ones that challenged our perceptions of gender and body image as well as channeled designers’ sense of humour and whimsy. Fashion if anything else, is about making a statement, in between shocking the audience and creating awe. Designers use clothing as a powerful tool of expression to surprise, seduce and turn the shocking into the beautiful.

Name the punk era and Vivienne Westwood in the 1970s, Balenciaga and his cocoon shaped jackets in the 1950s, or Yves Saint Laurent’s popularization of trousers for women, and you will find in each one of these examples a deeply subversive spirit aimed to provoke change.

More recently, we see alternative music groups collaborate with high fashion brands to create thought-provoking street wear. The best example being South Africa’s Die Antwoord and co- founder/rapper/illustrator Watkin Tudor Jones (also known as Ninja) whose subversive futuristic rap is paired with Basquiat-inspired characters and street punk styling. The group and its impactful graphic streetwear fronted Alexander Wang’s T campaign in 2012.

Waddy Jones from Die Antwoord_Punk Memories, Escape 9 by John BagnallLeft: Waddy Jones from Die Antwoord. Right: Punk Memories, Escape 9, by John Bagnall (c) John Bagnall

Cartoon comic artists and fashion designers have created a great dialogue and creative exchange. We classically saw cartoon heroes on jersey t-shirts and the growing influence of street style on high fashion in the last 50 years has made it possible for cartoon graphics to gradually make their way onto silks and organzas. The subject matter moves effortlessly from paper and celluloid to fabric as its canvas.

As street style and bold graphics continue to influence the high fashion, this trend is set to grow from strength to strength - so stay tuned. For a full view of the cartoon research and sources used for this article visit my Pinterest Cartoon Reality Board. 

Geraldine Wharry and Trend Atelier are hosting Fashion Forecasting: Trend hunting and gathering on 24 June 2014 in our Business & IP Centre. Get the tools you need to identify the fashion trends for 2015/2016 - find out the more here.

 

01 May 2014

Spring Festival 2014 videos

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Enjoy these videos highlighting our Spring Festival celebration of fashion, film and design. 

For those who weren't able to join us for the popular Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age talk - you can watch the entire talk in three parts below!

Spring Festival highlights: Inspiring stories, vinyl & film

Using The British Newspaper Archive to tell stories on Twitter; exploring our vinyl record collection plus award-winning screenwriter Tony Grisoni and Bafta-nominated director Jamie Stone on film.  

 

Spring Festival highlights: Fashion, film and glitz

Fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart and editor of Clothes on Film Christopher Laverty on vintage fashion, film and Boardwalk Empire. Plus The Vintage Mafia take over the Library for a night of Jazz Age glamour with Alex Mendham & His Orchestra. 

 

Part 1 - Puttin on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age - Fashion historian Amber Jane Butchart

Fashion extraordinaire Amber Jane Butchart transports us to the glitz and glamour of Jazz Age Hollywood and the costumes that took London by storm. She draws on the Library's collection of vintage magazines.

 

Part 2 - Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age - Clothes on Film creator Christopher Laverty

The ever dapper Christopher Laverty examines the flamboyantly dressed 'Dandy Gangster' as portrayed in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

 

Part 3 -  Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age - Q&A

 

 

 

03 April 2014

Spring Festival highlights and all that jazz

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Spring Festival 2014 is officially finished and we had a fabulous time! Here are some photos from the most popular event Puttin' on the Glitz - Fashion and Film in the Jazz Age which began with a talk by the ever so stylish Amber Jane Butchart and Christopher Laverty and ended with roaring cocktail party. 

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Amber referring to the Library's vintage magazine collection. I don't know anyone who looks as good as her in a turban. 

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Chris is obsessed with the costumes in HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Here he's detailing the show's exquisite suit tailoring - see how the pattern on Nucky Thompson/Steve Buscemi's jacket is perfectly lined up? Nice. I think Chris himself looks like a character from the show! 

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'Always well-dressed, not always well-behaved' - our fabulous cocktail party hosts - The Vintage Mafia.  

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Alex Mendham & His Orchestra provided the jazzy tunes. They were wearing authentic suits from the 1920s. 

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Darling, of course we danced The Charleston! 

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Ladies getting their hair and make-up done by Pretty Me Vintage.

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A lovely couple in Hanson Leatherby's studio. 

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Lots of ladies in pretty hairpieces.

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Dancing shoes! That's me in ASOS gold brogues and my colleague Pam in Vivienne Westwood getting silly in The Mighty Booth. 

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A handsome couple. I think men should always wear a flower in their jackets...

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... and women should always wear flowers in their hair. Isn't she gorgeous?  

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The Vintage News interviewing Amber. They use cameras from the 1920s/30s that really work!

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And why not put a vintage car on the piazza?

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Ain't this guy cool? 

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What we drank: French 75, Mary Pickford, Manhattan

Short film coming soon - follow me at @BL_Creative.

All photos by Luca Sage

21 March 2014

Costumes in film: dark Hollywood glitz, that green Atonement dress, Barbarella's PVC bodysuit

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Dear Readers,

Spring Festival is only a week away - don’t miss our Inspiring Filmmakers event with screenwriter/director Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), art department researcher Celia Barnett (all eight Harry Potter films!), production designer Tony Noble (Moon) and up and coming director Jamie Stone (Orbit Ever After). More info and tickets here

Today’s guest blog on film costumes is written by students from Central Saint Martins Fashion History and Theory course.

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard (1950) was one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the 20th century. Directed by Billy Wilder, it tells the tragic come-back story of fading silent movie star, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and the troubled companionship she finds in Joe Gillis (William Holden), a struggling screenwriter. The costumes were designed by Academy Award winner Edith Head.

A real icon of the silent-film era, Swanson fit the role of Norma perfectly. References to Swanson’s film career are dotted throughout the film and her personal photographs decorate Norma’s fictional mansion. Head later said that she had drawn on Swanson’s expertise and authenticity when designing her costumes.

The costumes epitomise the darker side of mid-century Hollywood glitz. Head’s designs for Norma resembled Christian Dior’s New Look of the late 1940s, combined with hints of Jazz Age glamour. Norma's signature look is leopard print. The first time we meet Norma, she is dressed in a sweeping house gown trimmed with leopard and topped with a leopard turban. Later, we see her dressed head-to-toe in leopard fabric whilst lounging by the pool.

The dramatic final scene reveals Norma dressed in what is arguably her most significant costume: an off the shoulder glittering evening gown with a jewelled snake bracelet coiled around her arm and sequins sprinkled over her bare shoulder.  - Jihane Dyer 

 


Atonement

Ian McEwan’s Atonement, tells the tale of forbidden love and family conflict before, during, and after World War II. The novel, published in 2001, was adapted into a film in 2007 by director Joe Wright. Both works harmoniously introduce us to the confident aristocrat Cecilia Tallis (Keira Knightley), her sister and aspiring writer Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) and their housekeeper's promising son, Robbie Turner (James McAvoy).

Nearly a character itself is Cecilia's iconic, green silk gown. Costume designer Jacqueline Durran, (Pride & Prejudice, 2005 and Anna Karenina, 2012) created the provocative dress with a flowing bias cut that transforms within different scenes. Durran added slits to allow for movement in that intense sex scene. The knot that decorated the front of the dress is a nod to a classic 1930s design and was used to symbolise Cecilia's virginity. In 2008 Durran won a Bafta for Best Costume Design.  - Angelina Todd


 


Barbarella

The 1968 cult classic Barbarella starring Jane Fonda takes us on a futuristic fantasy journey in her shag pile spaceship to seek out missing scientist Durand Durand. While the plot remains a fairly simplistic sequence of Fonda getting herself into danger, it does lead to a showcase of incredible outfits.

Based on a comic book tale, Barbarella required costumes that embody a glamorous vision of the future and also represent a sense of comic surrealism. French costume designer Jacques Fonteray, took influence from the work of Spanish fashion designer Paco Rabanne who was known for his of use innovative materials. As a result, costumes were made from PVC, Perspex and chain mail. Rabanne was personally involved in creating a green dress made of linked plastic tiles, which gave Fonda an almost reptilian-like appearance while still carrying a 1960s silhouette.  - Hannah Beach

 

For a full line-up of Spring Festival events visit: bl.uk/spring