Fashion

The Clothes On Their Backs

Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy couture offerings this season were all about Asian influence. It’s little wonder, because Asia and all the rich facets of it’s culture are slowly permeating Western consciousness. Asia also has a major commercial influence, what with Prada joining the ever-increasing ranks of companies choosing to list in Hong Kong as opposed to their home markets.

This collection draws on a LOT of Asian influences (butoh, Kazuo Ohno, anime, embroidery, cranes, dragons… the list goes on) but I’m really interested in (as far as my incredibly amateurish, untrained eyes can see) the samurai and origami influences.

Japanese samurai circa 1870

When you go on websites that feature this collection and the insano, day-glo Philip Treacy headgear, the comments section is inevitably clogged with cries of ‘VIKING!’ – you can really see the influence of the samurai helmets.  Irrelevant note alert – One of my favourite places to go in the V&A Museum in London is the Japanese section to look at all the samurai uniform.  It’s all so intricate and well crafted.  Every aspect of the samurai uniform is carefully considered; every colour, every fold, every image has a cultural or practical significance.  Perhaps it’s this attention to detail that aligns it so well with Givenchy.

Samurai circa 1880

You can really see the samurai and origami influences in the sharpness and angularity of the shoulders.  The pink motif above looks like it could be a representation of a samurai helmet (or a backpack in the shape of a bug if you think about it in a Rorschach kinda way).  I love the pristine whiteness of this dress.  It’s like a fresh piece of paper begging to be folded into all sorts of magical shapes.

Origami samurai helmets

The headgear made so much more sense when I saw these mini samurai helmets made out of paper.  I know that it’s supposed to be based on robots… but I like thinking it’s an origami samurai helmet.  Let me have my wrongfooted delusion, ok?  Here is a link if you want to make a tiny samurai helmet and wear it on your finger.

I’m not very good at conclusions, so let me just say that the Givenchy collection is beautiful and batshit crazy.  Just the way I like it.

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Fashion

Round Up/Links Dump… eh… thing

I’m not going to lie – I’ve been a bad blogger lately.  Inspiration has been low and I’ve come to the end of the broadband contract, so the flat is internetless.  And cold.  But that’s beside the point.  Most of the blog writing has been done in a very dodgy internet cafe near my flat, populated with sleeping winos and people conducting very loud arguments via Skype.

But, and this is a big but, I do have some cool and interesting stuff in the pipeline, which shall be revealed in due time.  Here are a few interesting links to show you that I’m still connected to the world in some way and tide the regular readers (thanks guys…) over ’til I get my blogging mojo back.

- I’ve got a facebook profile – fancy being friends?

- Disneyrollergirl revealed!  There goes my claim to fame of seeing the back of her head at London Fashion Week in September…

- Free samples of Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream.  This stuff is amazing – the offer is only open to people in the UK and Ireland.  Go forth and be moisturised (or accelerate the rate of burn recovery if that’s what floats your boat).

I’m really looking forward to watching this at The Pavilion, Cork tonight. The Way of the Crowd is about the Wigan Casino, which was the epicentre of the Northern Soul scene.  When Paul Smith is one of the talking heads, you know it’s going to be interesting.  I’m also looking forward to seeing some flash dance moves afterwards.  It’s what I imagine I look like when I’m drunk – the reality is much crueler.

- The-Coveted vs.thecoveted drama; get informed and weigh in with your opinion.

- Friend of The Licentiate, Jo Linehan of S-oh S-ew! is competing to be one of Elle Magazine’s next fashion interns – go throw her a vote if you have a spare moment (maybe this way she’ll hire me when she becomes a Big Shot Editor Type).

- I noticed that my column from last week didn’t recieve the same amount of feedback as the others normally do.  The views are the same, so I’m wondering if it’s the subject.  Do fashion and politics mix?  Or is Margeret Thatcher too evil/sacred to comment on? Let me know what you think.  Click here to read the column if you haven’t got the foggiest notion what I’m on about.

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Licentiate Columns

Licentiate Column 26/01/11

I’ll listen to everything that I’m told, but I almost never listen to a) my father or b) political news.  Both are fond of grand pronouncements, hyperbolic accusations and statements resulting in a sense of self-loathing the likes of which The National Enquirer can only dream of publishing.

It’s fortunate that the one time I actually did listen to my father was in regards to politics – a double whammy that filled up my aural assault quota quite nicely, thank you very much.  He told me that the population of Ireland is close to the population of Manchester, but we have as many political representatives as country ten times Ireland’s size.  The result is a tin-pot government, unable or unwilling to pull itself out of the country’s present funk due to a lethal combination of corruption, ineptitude and a misguided sense of self-entitlement.

Ireland needs a Maggie Thatcher.  Calm down now, put down your pitchforks and Poll Tax paraphenalia, I’m not suggesting for a nanosecond that Ireland needs a woman who refuses people a fair wage, denies small children their calcium and plays with the power grid as if it was a tricky dimmer switch.

Margaret Thatcher was the Iron Lady, a politician that you could legitimately hate for legitimate reasons.  With her navy blue power shoulders and impervious helmet of hair, she personified the cold, steely, uncaring gaze of an impassive statue, unflinching at the chaos she was causing.  Our politicians bumble about more than the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers in a bouncy castle and retain the slightly greasy sheen of stress-induced sweating as if was going out of fashion (which it is).  The rumpled suits of Brian Cowen only add to his frazzled ‘Whoops, there goes the Central Bank!’ aura.  The shoulders of his suits are cut exclusively for faux-contrite shrugging or incredibly defensive prognostication.  Ireland’s politicians are every bit as as bad as Thatcher; their shambolic, pseudo-apologetic clothing is the only thing to dictate otherwise.

We need politicians to smarten up and fly right.  The adoption of Margaret Thatcher as a sartorial National Treasure in Britain despite the deep well of public hatred (she was photographed for Vogue by Mario Testino in 2008) should draw attention to the power of the right suit in the face of gross ineptitude.  We need a decisive leader who can take charge, preferably with a swift jab of an Aquascutum handbag and the flash of a well-turned out ankle (Brian Lenihan or Enda Kenny, I’m looking at you).

What we really need are some good politicians, but since that’s a near impossibility, we should just tart up the terrible ones that we have.  Give them some small veneer of public professionalism with the right clothing and attitude, and we’ll have reason to double our complaints.  Backcomb Mary Harney’s hair and cement with a pint of hairspray into the eponymous Thatch, pop her into a pair of suitable Ferragamos and presto!  We have a new Maggie.

A term coined appropriately at the apex of Reaganism and Thatcherism, ‘politics is showbusiness for ugly people’ still stands strong today.  And if that really is the case, then we’re all watching Eastenders – not Questions and Answers.

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Fashion, Photography

John Galliano – or is it?

What fashion blogette worth her salt doesn’t have Fashion Gone Rogue on her reader?  Everyone has their reason for clicking; their favourite models, labels, stylists and photographers are all there.  I’m not the biggest fan of editorials, but I do love their Morning Beauty feature – chock full of notable picks that you might not have seen the first time around.

Here’s part of a shoot from Vogue Paris’ Dec/Jan ’06/’07 issue – Dans la Peau de John Galliano, photographed by Peter Lindbergh, styled by new Vogue Paris editrix Emmanuelle Alt and starring Sasha Pivovarova as, er, John Galliano.  The resemblance is uncanny.

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Art, Inspiration

I Heart Shen Plum

I’m having a serious girl crush moment on the work of Toronto-based illustrator Shen Plum, whose line drawings are a mix of storybook perfection (anthropomorphic animals)and gorgeous, brightly-hued girls with prismatic rainbow accents

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Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O
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Pics 2-4 from Girls Girls Girls (hopefully nothing to do with the Motley Crue song)

Mournful but not morbid, ethereal without being wishy-washy and dreamlike without veering into cliched ‘fairy-Lula-girl-in-a-wood-with-a-floaty-dress-on-a-tyre-swing’ territory.  Just my cup of tea.

Shen Plum shows her stuff mainly in Toronto, but you can buy jewellery and other bits from her Etsy shop, prints from ES Illustration and super-cool badges from Stereohype, which are getting nicely settled into my wish list as I type.

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Inspiration, Photography, Subculture

I want to be a Teddy Girl

Before Ken Russell was shocking us with his films and I was astounding the world with my poor command of Photobucket (hence the higgledy-piggledy pictures), he was a photographer.  You could probably say that he was one of the first street style photographers.  His pictures were brought to my attention in a guest post by new Licentiate fave Vagabond Language.  His documenting of the working-class Teddy Boys and Girls in the 50’s are a source of endless inspiration.

Throw in a viewing of Nowhere Boy, where the young John Lennon mixes with all kinds of Teds and Julies, and an obsession is born.

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The Reading List

Fancy some swag?

 

I’m giving away a copy of the Isabella Blow bio ‘Blow by Blow’.  Written by the late, great stylist’s husband, the books is relevatory and revealing in equal measures.  Entering the giveaway is uncomplicated, you just have to be a fan of The Licentiate on facebook.  Click the link or the sidebar on the right, then leave me a comment on the facebook page telling me why you want the book.  G’luck.

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