Black may be an easy colour to wear, but design-wise, I always think it's a tough one to manipulate. Black textiles can hide intricate detailing, look dull under certain lights, or seem too shiny and cheap when they're in the wrong hands...
So I always pay attention when a designer is capable of creating complicated motifs on all-black pieces. Enter Sandra Backlund, the Swedish designer who launched her eponymous label of knitwear around 2004.
Well known on the avant-garde fashion scene, Backlund's purely hand crafted pieces were originally made-to-order for clients on a by-request basis from her personal studio base. But since presenting her Spring 2010 collection, she's launched out a bit by taking the label into commercial production.
And what great timing. Her subsequent Fall/Winter 2010 set (seen above) incorporates subtle, textural elements, shredding/tatting details and neat, origami-like folds.
Tthe sculptural jacket isn't the kind of thing to be worn on the average day around town, but nevertheless, it's just begging to be styled with a pair of sleek cigarette pants or a midi pencil skirt, finished off with some wickedly chic tassel heel suede ankle boots from Camilla Skovgaard.
NB Images courtesy Sandra Backlund
Around this time last year, I was files-deep into curatorial research and writing at the Museum of Art + Design, NYC, alongside Curator Lowery Stokes Sims, working on this super-cool, new exhibition that she was in the process of shaping.
The Global Africa Project was going to be major, she said, and I didn't doubt her one bit: I had already gone through thick piles of papers on art-world superstars like Kehinde Wiley, Esther Mahlangu and other wow-inducing visual artists who were definitely going to be in the show, and each day we kept digging up more information on stellar artists to include.
In my digging one evening, I happened upon the Alice Yard file and got excited and giddy with glee - this was an innovative contemporary initiative from Trinidad, and I'm from Trinidad! I suddenly felt like waving any red, white and black object I could find.
I knew Lowery was all agog over visual artist Christopher Cozier's work, and she also seemed very curious about Marlon Darbeau's designs ("Oooh - I don't know what the hell this rocking circle thing is, but it's cool!" she'd say), but I had no idea she was thinking of transposing the entire Alice Yard into the show as well...
Like the 'curators' and organizers of the yard, Lowery saw something unique, something special in their modern West Indian vernacular and in their explorations of contemporary design issues. The fact that the yard itself was also a work in progress didn't escape her; for the exhibition of their work to be meaningful, it had to be shown in the right context. Which was, of course, a context that involved the yard.
Jump, Aaron! Jump! This short video of Osborn Handmade Shoes co-founder/designer Aaron Osborn makes me feel all kiddie-like again.
As if I should be lacing up that pair of Denim Osborn booties to leap around the place with reckless abandon...
Thanks to Chloe and the folks over at Osborne Shoes for sending this over!
NB Images + Video courtesy Osborn Shoes
I first told you guys about this, back in May 2010, but I think it's time I told you - and showed you - more about The Cycle, Au Courant Studio's performance-art presentation!
- A Play in Five Acts, It's a mix of Fashion + Art, created with an eye towards the medium of Mas, and designed using sculptural forms and couture sewing techniques.
- We're set to rakishly roam through the streets of Port of Spain for Carnival 2011 on Monday March 7th + Tuesday March 8th, with an intimate group of our fashion friends, creatives, bold souls and the like.
- And we're inviting you to come along for the ride!
Are we a Mas/Carnival Band? In a sense, not at all... We're simply utilizing what's already there - that glorious street parade that is Trinidad Carnival - as a means through which to explore our concept.
As for the final designs and sketches shown above: Yup - done by yours truly, using wires, netting + mesh, beading, gold leaf + foils, and an array of other, unexpected materials!
I've been working through the concept for quite sometime now, and it's been torture trying to keep my fingers on my lips. From now on, I'll post updates on our process right here on Au Courant Daily; there's gonna be some cool imagery + colours coming up, so look out for that as well.
And thus, I leave you with fitting lyrics from Rapso performers 3Canal - Let the Session Begin!
NB All Images Copyright Au Courant Studio/All Rights Reserved.