Friday, 24 September 2010

MAN S/S 11

Backstage At Man S/S 11

Martine Rose
It was back to Covent Garden's Royal Opera House for the MAN S/S 11 show, where backstage was a hive of activity. With cameras flashing as an excited buzz of chatter echoed from the ceilings, the models brandishing Martine Rose's eccentric designs lined-up in preparation for her LFW runway debut. Entitled "Cut and Paste", the energetic and adventurous collection is a bold collision of classic tailoring and sportswear influences.

Drawing heavily from a fusion of "90's punk nonchalance Vs Hip-Hop style from the same era", the collection is a vivid palette of kinetic colours while the designer's continued love affair with techinical fabrics are utilised to the max throughout. Stand out pieces from the collection were hats incorporated with retro CD covers and tough army style parkas which were given a luxurious makeover in creme brocade.

Having presented your collection in some form or another at LFW for the past five seasons, how does it feel to finally present your clothing on the runway?
Oh God, it feels amazing! It just feels so great to finally complete the story. I mean, I loved presenting and everything but after a few seasons of experimenting, it's so great to finally expand and to look at trousers for instance and say "This what I think they should look like..."
But yes, over all I loved it!

What's your design background? What led you to menswear?
Well I started off with another label with some friends of mine which was both womenswear and menswear. But whenever I'd design for women, it would just end up looking like menswear! So I think I'm just naturally drawn towards menswear-It's just something I feel comfortable with.

How important do you think initiatives such as the MAN show are for upcoming menswear designers? Do you think the British Fashion Council are on the right track or do you think it's about time London has its own Men's Week as opposed to just one day?
I think it would be great it we could have a men's week, of course and I really hope it happens in the future. But I do think it's great that we get this amazing opportunity with MAN, I think London is one of the few countries that actually do provide opportunities by supporting designers from grassroots level. I mean, it's an expensive business and it's impossible to put on a show by yourself. So with their support, it makes such a huge difference.

Overall, where do you think menswear is headed in the future?

That's a good question but it's something I think I'm probably not qualified enough to answer- So I can only speak on my own behalf. I know for myself and I guess for the guys who would wear my stuff, just to be brave, to have fun and to keep it honest with what they would normally wear.

Felipe Rojas Llanos
Closely following Martine's Rose's sterling showcase, was Felipe Rojas Llanos' troupe of models who took to the runway sporting designs from his brand new "Legion" collection. The sleek and sophistication line once again brought to the forefront this recent Central St Martin's graduate's penchant for sculptured silhouettes. The collection is collision of time eras with a futuristic blend inspired by The Legion Of Superheroes comic which is set in the 30th century, colliding with the schoolboy look of the 1960 British sci-fi film, The Village of the Damned. Think light, shiny fabrics in greys, whites and blues marriaged together to create tailored pieces of the upmost luxury. Overall the look is minimal and fresh, yet touches of rebellion from sheer semi-transparent t-shirts to dramatic, billowing gowns, add a certain edge to the collection.

You were born in Chile and raised in Sweden before moving to London. Have you lived anywhere less over the years? Has such cultural diversity impacted on your designs in any way?
I lived in Paris for a year, though I hated it! No, I do think there's definitely a cultural impact on my designs. Obviously Sweden has a very Nordic-Japansese design culture as I would like to call it, and it's influences such as this which play into my designs.

Do you think it's less or more difficult for a menswear designer to establish themselves in this country than it is for womenswear designers?
Definitely because womenswear is much wider. Though I think as with any product, it's all about your brand and your image- if you stand out, you will make it.

Do any iconic designers from the past inspire you in any way?
Yes, with every collection. With this one it was mainly Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. But typically I'm inspired by designers from the 1950's and mainly by womenswear, especially regarding shape. With what we do, we like to have fun with it and to create something that's very wearable.

What are your style tips for men this upcoming season?
To have fun, to be experimental with fabrics, to embrace colours and above all, to be elegant.

New Power Studio
With a reputation for providing the unexpected, Thom Murphy's outing for New Power Studio S/S 11, did not disappoint. With a casual aesthetic based primarily of buttoned up shirts matched with slouchy tracksuit pants, the show began quite modestly before unleashing designs of a considerably more eccentric disposition. From models donning horns as necklaces, to jackets made of mop hair to an urban dance troupe draped in tissue paper scarves; le pièce de résistance of the collection was a rubber glove coat (complete with live child accessory) which closed the show, much to the crowd's amusement.

You started out as a stylist. Did you want to be a designer beforehand or was it just the next natural step to take?
I guess I always did want to be a designer to be truthful. I mean, I enjoyed styling -I did it for seven years- and I worked with some really good photographers and some really great magazine. But I really like the idea of product and how it can go anywhere unlike styling which exists only in the magazine. With product, you look at who is going to buy it and where it's going to go.

More and more designers are utilizing digital media, from Burberry streaming their show live to J.W. Anderson's shopping initiative with oki-ni. You yourself have released a number of promotional films. How important do you think this is in the fashion industry?

I think it's quite important. There has been a massive burst of this type of thing recently. Years ago, if you were to send someone a YouTube video, nobody would really look at it but now it's really normal for people to do this sort of thing all the time.

Tell me a bit about the background to your films, what's the inspiration behind them?
I worked with a director called Terry Hall, who I met and we did a sort of music video. Then the last one we did had very "Shopping Channel" theme. We started it as loads of fashion videos were being made and thought, how do we shoot the clothes in not an obvious sort of way? So that's where the "Shopping Channel" joke came from and where we got inspiration for all the cheesy sets and the whole "light entertainment" feel which we basically twisted. Everything is always lots of different things-thrown together.

Your designs are often touted as sportswear. Is this an accurate description? How would you define your style?
Well the boys that I normally use are quite sporty and I do use a lot of sportswear details, but in the last collection, there was definitely a lot more tailoring involved. But I do think it is sort of a feel. I grew up as a casual in the 80's and we used to wear sportswear then and we were sort of the first generation who wore sportswear as fashion. I think the clothing have less to do with actual sports now then in the past.

What are the plans for the future?
Now? Sleep! No, just to carry on really. At the moment I have a great team and I love working with them. I just want to continue going up and up, but at the same time, keep a level of consistency.


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