Paris Fashion Week – Who Says Paris Is Best In The Springtime?

You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Paris in the winter — during Fashion Week of course! It may be cold and rainy, but Paris is always beautiful, and buzzing with excitement at a myriad of fashion shows, expositions and parties that even us mere mortals of the public can attend. And, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to brush elbows with celebrities and fashion world icons who jet-set over from the prior Fashion Weeks in New York, London and Milan.

The Fall/Winter Paris Prêt-a-Porter Fashion Week is the most prominent trade event for the fashion industry, when Fall fashions are rolled-out as a season preview for the world’s biggest retail buyers who’re scrambling to place their orders for fashion, handbags, jewelry, shoes, hats and cosmetics. Unlike other large industry convention hall tradeshows, Fashion Week is orchestrated citywide at some of Paris’ most prominent points of interest.

This year from February 25th to March 4th, top designers and fashion design students staged fashion extravaganzas ranging from the pinnacle of good taste to the surreal. Among the selected sites, were the Louvre, Jardin des Tuileries, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Musée de l’Homme, le Champs-Elysee, le Tour Montparnasse, place du Trocadéro, Théâtre du Châtelet, and La Sorbonne.

Winter Paris Fashion Week 2007 took place February 26 through March 4, and featured everyone who’s anyone in the designer world, including long-time Parisian favorites Chanel, Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Christian Lacroix and Givenchy.

Ah, the drama! Aside from the expected eccentric styles and surreal shows, more than a few eyebrows raised when an animal rights protestor stormed the catwalk nude in response to this year’s apparent return to use of fur as a luxury material.

London designer Stella McCartney (daughter of Beatle Paul McCartney), then made headlines for her “fur-free” show, showcasing warm alternatives to fur, with models clad in taffetas, satins, knitwear and cashmere.

Emanuel Ungaro’s Peter Dundas got everyone ready to hit the discos with his collection designed to celebrate night clubbing. Decked-out in plenty of bling and leather, the models strutted and slinked down the runway.

The most controversial show of the week had to be that of Viktor & Rolf. Dutch design partners Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren, are renowned for elaborate, wildly-imaginative shows. This year, they invented awkward contraptions that the models had to balance delicately, which were fitted with lighting and music as a kind of “personal fashion show.” The designs were somewhat gothic, reminding one of the movie Van Helsing. The poor models were also required to were stylized wooden clogs, which clip-clopped loudly as they paraded carefully down the runway.

Expectedly, there were WWII and ancient war themes in many of the fashion collections this year, incorporating tall boots, leather, fur, fatigue green, body armor, medallions and epaulettes. Even Jean Paul Gaultier revealed models wearing Scottish tartans with stylized Mohawks, as if going into battle.

Also during Fashion Week, the exclusive Paris boutique Colette, celebrated its 10th anniversary by inviting 10 art curators to spotlight a talent gallery-style on one of it’s walls. It was a fabulous way to show off it’s ultra-trendy collection of music CDs, shoes, handbags, branded water and accessories. The boutique is also renown for glamorous parties, art exhibits and dance classes, and definitely worth a visit when you’re in Paris.

Speaking of accessories, Nokia decided to unveil its Nokia 7373 Special Edition fashion phones by designer Giambattista Valli at Fashion Week, at the “Dress-your-Nokia-in-Giambattista Valli” Party. For the label-conscious, this is a must-have phone. Each one comes pre-loaded with a “behind the scenes” video for a glimpse into the life and inspiration of the designer, along with a selection of Valli graphics and the exclusive ring-tone, “Rhodium.”

Next year is sure to hold more fun and surprises. For sure, Paris in March is the place to be!

Pop Art Paintings

Pop Art is an artistic movement that arose in the mid 1950s. It was mostly created and developed within the art-loving cities of New York and London. The inspiration for pop art paintings was essentially rooted in western Capitalist society and they therefore reflected the rapid progress of production and consumption during those years. The combination of pop and art does not represent a single artistic style but it is a term that collectively merges several works of art that were created between the mid 50’s and the mid 60’s by a few artists in order to reflect society’s ideals in an ironic and critical way.

The pop art artists of that time were creating in a lot of different areas such as: movies, theater, fashion, plastic art, music and paintings. Classic Pop Art Paintings include Andy Warhol’s ‘Cans of Campbell Soup’ and ‘A Shot of Marilyn Monroe’, plus Roy Lichtenstein’s ‘Drowning Girl’ and ‘Whaam’. Both of these artists remain incredibly acclaimed and popular till this day.

Pop art paintings are characterized by a choice of subject borrowed from the culture of modern society and are often painted in bright industrial colors. Artists such as Warhol extract the every-day object from its normal, daily context and transform it into a symbolic icon. They do this by blowing up the images, coloring them with bright luminous paints and mechanically duplicating them and placing them next to one another – almost like manufactured products in a factory.

As bland, kitschy objects are reproduced to become the main subject of artwork, the line between art and reality becomes more and more blurred. The artists use irony to attack our modern consumerist society, and even more ironically have themselves created images that are now wide-spread, reproduced products all over the planet.

Pop Art Paintings these days, often portray music and movie icons in bright and industrial colors, mirroring the effect used by Warhol and the other painters of this artistic style. The images of these popular icons can be extracted from famous movie scenes or iconic photographs. Some artists now create paintings and portraits of this style from personal photos, which make for great original gifts for others.

Vivienne Westwood – From Punk Albums to Fashion, Leather Jackets and Orange Hair

Punk and New Wave are largely terms used in the music industry to describe album genres and musical styles, but Vivienne Westwood changed all that from around 1971 onwards. Over the course of the next forty plus years she would go on to change the face of fashion, help to popularize the punk movement and establish herself as one the world most highly regarded fashion designers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Vivienne Westwood was christened Vivienne Swire originally and grew up in a little village in Derbyshire before heading south with her family and spending a term studying fashion at Harrow School of Art. After an early exit from art school she found herself as primary school teacher at a number of school in Brixton, but didn’t lose her love of art and fashion, as she made and sold jewelery at Portobello Road Market.

The name changed to Westwood thanks to her marriage to Derek Weswood, but the relationship ended when Vivienne moved in with Malcolm McLaren. The couple soon opened a shop together selling Teddy Boy clobber made by Vivienne, the main stay of the place that began life as Let It Rock on Kings Road. However, this soon changed in favor of punk style as the punk era transformed London of the 70s.

From 1981 onwards her runway shows have consistently shocked, and humbled the fashion world as her style progressed punk influences to more historic looks and creative styles, including tartan.

As the years passed by Vivienne Weswood has become increasingly vocal in her political thoughts. This aspect of her media communication has spilled over onto it’s own website stage called Get A Life. With a massive focus on the promotion of aspects of culture and environmentalism, the website has become a collection of thoughts on climate change and society at large.

However, she is by far still best know for her fashion, which has turned into an internationally recognized empire, which includes her Gold and Red Labels, perfumes and her World’s End shop that has become the eventual name of the original Let It Rock. Whether she’s producing leather jackets, flowing and historically charged gowns or a ridiculing garment of monstrosity, Westwood is never dull.

With an OBE in 1992 and the addition of Dame to her name in 2006, Vivienne Westwood has the attention and admiration of fashion followers from the lowest to the highest climbs. Stunningly bridges any class gaps she is a uniting force under the banner of culture and art. Recognized as Fashion Designer of the Year consecutively in 1990 and 1991 by the British Fashion Council, she is as much admired by her peers as she is by her adoring followers. With London Fashion Week shows for her Red Label still inspiring the fashion world, she is still a force to be reckoned with when it comes to what she does best, attention grabbing fashion design and catwalk shows.

Some Tips for a School Fashion Show

School fashion shows can be quite fun if done properly. If done the wrong way, however, it could end up being one boring affair which is only occasionally enlivened by the people laughing at a humiliated model. What you need are some tips to help you.

1) Think of a theme – When putting up a school fashion show, it is always helpful if you use a theme. A theme gives a fashion show a sense of organization and people would be able to relate the fashion to the theme. There are various types of themes to choose from:

a) Season – Basing your school fashion show on the season is always popular. You could design and model various outfits that correspond with the time of year. This would also give you an idea of how to decorate the venue. Basing your school fashion show on a season can help you unleash your creativity and make your brain cells work. How can you balance the freedom of creativity with the confinement of the theme? This will definitely help you improve your skills.

b) Literature – Another great idea for a theme is literature. You should think about basing your school fashion show on a great piece of literature. How about basing it on the book The Great Gatsby? Ever tried creating fashion pieces for Frodo? This can be fun as you will be bringing the visions of authors to life. Basing your school fashion show on a piece of literature can also be a bit easier than other themes since most authors actually have pretty detailed descriptions of the clothes their character wear. This is especially true for fantasy novels. Cloaks, anyone?

2) Music – The music sets the mood for the whole fashion show. It strikes the subconscious of the watchers and thus, determines how much attention they will be paying your school fashion show. This means, of course, that you need to choose the correct sounds to accompany your school fashion show.

You need to choose music that grabs the attention of the spectators enough to mesmerize them. However, you do not want the music to distract the spectators from the school fashion show. The best type of music to use would be instrumental. This is because instrumental music can set the mood for the show without distracting the viewers with familiar lyrics.

3) Lighting – Proper lighting effects are always essential if you want to have a great school fashion show. Together with the background music, the lighting effects give the audience a general emotion to feel. How do you want them to react when they see a certain ensemble? You can make them react as you want them by simply combining light and sound.

4) Spontaneity – Students hate predictability. Because of this, the best thing that your school fashion show could have is a surprise. You need to show your students something unexpected and completely new. In doing so, you will be able to grab their attentions and keep it. By being spontaneous, you will keep spectators guessing as to what will come next. This will keep their eyes on the school fashion show and off their watches and mobile phones. If you can make the audience forget about the gadgets on their pockets, then you would know that your school fashion show rocks!

Making Money From Art & Literature – Online

Is it possible to make money from art & literature online?

If you’re an artist, do you know who’s developing and presenting contemporary art & literature?

If you’re a online cultural organisation, do you know who your key competitors are?

By looking at Alexa, Best of the Web, and other sites – as well as from our own perspective – we’ve picked out five key sites bridging the gap between capitalism and contemporary art & design.

These are sites that use socialised internet tools like tagging, comments, and blogging; sites that are wholly or predominantly based around the development and publication of contemporary art and literature; and sites that are developing and presenting new work. Above all these are sites that are making a living either directly or tangentially through their activities.

We Make Money Not Art

The name says it all – headed by Régine Debatty, this blog started in 2004 to investigate ‘how often companies that develop and manufacture technologies actually meet the hackers and artists who have a more playful or activist approach to them. Do these two different worlds collide? If yes, how does it happen? If no, why not? Would it make any sense to try to change that non-communicative situation?’.

One of the most linked-to blogs, with an Alexa rating of 34,431, over 30% of its audience in the US and a regularly updated list of contributors, the site doesn’t actually generate revenues as a direct result of its advertising but rather via Debatty’s fees from writing and speaking.

Ad!dict

Based in Belgium, members collaborate on themed projects & share work via online profiles. Divided into a number of different areas – the addictlab, for example, allowing more experimental interaction – there is tremendous potential here to get involved in a wide range of new projects, either based on the themes or through interaction with other users.

This is one site that has spread its net wide in terms of a business model, supplementing revenue from retail of books and magazines with cultural funding, contextual advertising and business partnerships. However, with a net presence that seems to have been around since before the first bubble, there’s no question that this is a powerful force.

Stereo Publication

This is one organisation that falls down more on the design side than the pure art side – an on and offline magazine, they make their money through retail sales and luxury editions of their high-quality magazine.

A little like We Make Money …, Stereo claim not to be making money out of this activity – they say they are a non-profit organisation who are setting out to design new ways of developing magazines that are more creative. By including an online work-in-progress section for developing new projects, the processes are more visible – a low Alexa score does nothing to harm the fortunes of the group, who continue to turn out new work on a timely basis.

Born Magazine

Born have been around forever, and provide consistently high-quality content as well as some offline events. Their focus is art and literature, leaning towards new media.

This is where we see a quite different model – Born is financed through sponsors and through donations. This is a more organic, cultural model – and again, shows that with low overheads it’s possible to have a long-running art and literature magazine.

Magwerk

Finally, having moved right to the other end of the spectrum from We Make Money …, Magwerk are as close as you can get to a traditional publisher. Publishing a suite of lifestyle magazines including art and design, fashion, and music, these magazines are published as if they were physical, employing the kind of page-turning design you can now get for free on Formatpixel.

It may no longer be innovative – but it’s certainly making money. With full-page adverts from high-quality luxury goods companies, solid business partnerships and sponsorship, Magwerk are definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Summary

We asked if it was possible to make money from art and literature online. These five organisations show that not only is it possible – they make it look easy!