THE FIRST PROOF
Every experience has a visual and experiential representation through photography, illustration, product, video, digital, and physical environments. THE FIRST PROOF is another look at the formation of these experiences, focusing equally on creation and creator. It serves as an analysis of the creative inputs and outputs, and its influence.

Observations on fashion, art, design, and creativity. 

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Wednesday
Oct182017

Adidas Originals by Hender Scheme

From the website: "Adidas Originals by Hender Scheme was born out of the exploration of the relationship of performance and lifestyle footwear. Hender Scheme takes iconic Adidas Originals silhouettes from their past and present and through attention to detail, and meticulous design creates a collection which unites them - transcending eras and celebrating artisanal practice in footwear design and execution."

About Hender Scheme: "A Japanese footwear and accessories label based in Tokyo, Japan founded by designer Ryo Kashiwazaki in 2010. Hender Scheme is notable for reproducing popular sneaker models, such as Nike’s Air Force 1 and Air Jordan IV, entirely by hand in premium leather as part of its Manual Industrial Products (MIP) line. Aside from sneakers, Hender Scheme also produces an array of high-quality handcrafted leather accessories such as belts, bucket hats, folios, laptop sleeves, notebooks, and keychains. Kashiwazaki has explained his motive, intending for the leather reproductions as an antithesis against the mass-produced nature of sneakers by handcrafting them, as well as opposing the throwaway culture surrounding shoes with the unique aging properties of leather."

There are three styles: $900 for the Superstar HS silhouette, $950 for the Micropacer HS, and $1,000 for the NMD R1.
 
The line is comprised of various neutral tones, and the advertising captures this in a graphical and way that mimics the palette. What is compelling about the creative approach to the images, the avoidance of stereotypical performance images and focus on color and geometric form. They take direction from the unexpected - visuals of architecture, dance, and beauty advertising. The pictures are active and sensual without being obvious.
 

More:

http://henderscheme.com

http://adidasoriginalsbyhenderscheme.com

Shop: Mr. Porter

Wednesday
Oct112017

Creative Director Debuts S’18

We review the designer debuts for S’18. There are a few inputs to judging a new creative’s work - the history and codes, the previous creative director's impact, and where the brand and industry stands today. Those key influences determine how far they can innovate, not just personally but from a business perspective. Our thoughts, in order of success:
 
Chloé / Natacha Ramsay-Levi
Ms. Ramsay-Levi was previously at Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. She follows a slew of designers who have held the position at Chloé -  Martine Sitbon, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Phoebe Philo, Hannah MacGibbon, and most recently Clare Waight Keller.
 
It looks like Chloé will continue with a new and reenergized person after a successful run with Clare Waight Keller. This was the debut of the season, no doubt. Was it groundbreaking, no. That is ok; it was a starting point that bridged codes and previous creative direction.  If one ever wonders how to make a house their own, this would be it. The brand codes of femininity and lightness were intact. There was no reversal Ms. Waight Keller’s work. But with the introduction of masculine and tailored elements, it felt youthful and new. There was a great balance. The Chloé girl felt a little tougher, a little more street. Certain moments echoed her previous positions (specifically the Ghesquière era Louis Vuitton) with the proportions and material combinations, but there were also moments that reminded us of great ideas from Karl Lagerfeld era Chloé. Ms. Ramsay-Levi will evolve, this is her first position as a creative lead for a brand and she shows great promise by building on a good thing. Because the brand isn't broken the important element isn’t what it looks like but how it feels - this felt confident. 
 
 
Jil Sander / Lucie and Luke Meier 
This couple has worked at the biggest and the best - collectively this list would include Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Supreme as well as establishing OAMC.
 
The quiet nature of the Jil Sander brand never left. Even under Raf Simons and Rodolfo Paglialunga, minimalism was maintained. With Lucie and Luke Meier, these codes remain intact with tailoring, shirting, suiting. But there was a lightness; it did not feel like uniforms. There was also a thoughtfulness to the inspirations which is lacking these days - the bible book bags, the fringe that echoed tzitzis, and monk-like sandals. It was a good start. The brand DNA of is about precision in detailing, fabrication, and silhouette. Jil Sander is not about trends and embellishments, and that takes guts and clarity to stay steady in a Gucci-fied world. Is there an audience for such quiet thoughtfulness? We hope so. The collection was a refreshing contrast to the pile on of details seen everywhere else. 
 
What they can do is take cues from Mr. Simons’ approach - modernity and quietness come in many forms, and so does the definition of femininity. Take a look at Jil’s Sander S’11 and F’12; it doesn’t have to be restricted to shirts and suits to tell the Jil Sander story or to enforce a sharper image of femininity.
 
 
Givenchy / Clare Waight Keller
Probably the most anticipated transition of the season. It is interesting to think about two brands and one designer - Chloé and Givenchy, and Clare Waight Keller. She had a very successful six-year run at the former, but she is up against twelve years of Riccardo Tisci’s success of the latter.
 
One of the core elements that Mr. Tisci injected into Givenchy was a connection to streetwear. It isn’t that he abandoned the richness in technique, he made some impeccable and intricate clothes when revisiting the couture collections under his direction. With Ms. Waight Keller, the streetwear approach is all about to change. It is going to be hard to imagine Givenchy ever partnering with an athletics brand under her direction. The closest connection was with the infusion of denim into the collection, a very big trend for the season.
 
It is important to discuss Chloé and Givenchy. Chloé in Ms. Ramsay-Levi’s hands got tougher, and Givenchy in Ms. Waight Keller’s more feminine. Oddly, both brands now focused on the same woman. They look to be interchangeable. Was there anything wrong with the Givenchy collection? There were no big mistakes. But it did lack punch. If a woman walks into a shop and sees both these collections, who would she buy? Maybe a little of both, or maybe Isabel Marant instead. That is unfortunately how safe this was.
 
Going back to Mr. Tisci, if there is one lesson that Ms. Waight Keller can learn is codes no longer exist for Givenchy - the Alexander McQueen period at the brand tried. Mr. McQueen kept closer to what is expected, and it didn't work. Archives do not matter here anymore - a lesson to be learned from Balenciaga as well. It is ok to rewrite the rules. She is going to have to push harder to find her voice at Givenchy. Would anyone ever have imagined Doberman printed sweatshirts and skirts on men at Givenchy? What Mr. Tisci also mastered is the ability to put on a show which becomes an event, this is now a part of the brand’s past that Ms. Waight Keller will have to contend with.
 
How well this collection does at retail is going to be the deciding factor. There is a more relatable quality to the accessories and clothes, specifically the women's collection. Does that make a vision? Not quite, but money talks. 
 
As for the men's portion of the presentation, we now have someone to fill Hedi Slimane’s shoes.
 
 
Cavalli / Paul Surridge
Talk about a reversal in direction. Peter Dundas and his seventies boho inspirations are completely stripped away. Things must have been troubled at Cavalli that they needed a palette cleanser this extreme.
 
Roberto Cavalli is Paul Surridge’s womenswear debut. He comes from a menswear background and has worked at Prada, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Jil Sander, and Z Zegna. The surprise here was the tailored and streamlined approach. The degree of change was attention-grabbing. It is the Narciso Rodriguez iteration of Cavalli. There is the power and sexiness of a very modern woman. The ostentatious components were sent packing. The only element that connected this to Cavalli's past are the prints which worked well with cleaner and more uncomplicated silhouettes.
 
Is the Cavalli clientele ready for something that doesn’t border on bad taste? We certainly hope so. Some brands need to take leaps to move the eye and change perspective, and that Mr. Surridge did, but it will be a re-education of their woman and a widening of Mr. Surridge’s vocabulary that will make this gamble succeed. We hope he is given the time to do just that.
 
 
Carven - Serge Ruffieux
Mr. Ruffieux is another designer with a connection to Lucie Meier and Raf Simons at Dior. He started with the Resort '18 season at Carven, but this is Serge Ruffieux's first presentation.
 
Let’s start off this review by saying, what is Carven? Carmen de Tornasso, aka Carven, isn’t a name that most people remember. Known for embellished sportswear with a travel inspiration is as much of codes that can be deciphered from history. But again, does anyone remember what these mean to the name? What is most remembered is Guillaume Henry’s recent youthful revival. He took sportswear and interpreted this in a modern contemporary way. It was of-the-moment. There was a sense of fast fashion, but it worked.
 
Mr. Ruffieux's collection did feel sporty at times (the draped polos specifically), and the prints brought a sense of travel, and had moments that were tricky and bordered on Marni territory. What were standouts were the playful accessories and shoes - the ethnic tassel details and printed bucket bags are great. In totality, it was not enough to build on what Mr. Henry made. What is worth considering - more personal input as there are none to reference. Of all the opportunities to make a mark, this one is a clean slate which Mr. Ruffieux can take advantage of.
 
  
Emanuel Ungaro / Marco Colagrossi
Giles Deacon. Esteban Cortazar. Fausto Puglisi. Just a few names who have taken a pass at Emanuel Ungaro. And there was Estrella Archs and Lindsay Lohan. Has time caught up with the brand to let Marco Colagrossi succeed?
 
Mr. Colagrossi’s experience includes working with Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. Femininity and soft tailoring come to mind. Ungaro is a brand known for florals, prints, draping. Did he bring all of this this to his first collection, yes. The second half of the collection was lighter and fresher. He does have to keep in mind that the brand (an eventuality for Lanvin as well) is at a point where the audience may not believe that there is relevance. And in a season where there was a mash-up of floral and other pattern pairings, Ungaro didn’t take advantage or reinvent their signature. When bubbles shapes were coming back, they forgot that too. Is he up on what is top of mind? Timing is everything. He may have consciously played down these components Mr. Colagrossi needs to realize that license to take these design elements and run where ever he wants is what the brand needs.
 
The best solution is to go against the grain. Take a cue from Roberto Cavalli and move the direction to the opposite of what is expected. Learn from the success at Balenciaga. Don’t hold on to what is supposed to be sacred. And by doing so Ungaro will send a message that something new is happening versus a variation of what has already been created.
 
 
Lanvin / Olivier Lapidus
Let’s get straight to the point; this didn’t feel like fashion, it felt like clothes. Let’s also just state the big question, where is this brand going?
 
Alber Elbaz established a modern hyper-femininity. Bouchra Jarrar brought a masculinity. Mr. Lapidus was not much of anything. On paper, Olivier Lapidus has a pedigree with Balmain Homme and his tenure at his father’s Lapidus house. But that was long ago. He was appointed the position in August, and for anyone who watched the “Dior and I” documentary about Raf Simons’ arrival at Dior, there are clear pressures. Not minimal enough, masculine enough, feminine enough. What is his point of view? Result - it just wasn’t enough. And given how much time Ms. Jarrar was given, Mr. Lapidus needs to make everyday count.
 
Romance was a component of Lanvin. Bows, pearls, pleats, georgette, embellishment, and embroidery. If Mr. Lapidus wants to negate these details, that is ok. He reintroduced logos, a more commercial element which informs us that he is aware of what is happening at this time, though we have to wonder if it works for Lanvin. Is there a commercial value in this and will it excite anyone to return to the brand. The answer is no. Mr. Lapidus needs to dig deeper. With something cleaner and minimal it has to be strong enough to erase the images that his predecessors created. Spring '18 was not that. Imagine if his clean shapes were fully encrusted with pearls. Take the bows and exaggerate these to a shocking level on pants or blouses.
Sadly the problem is also business and brand. It is an obvious solve these days to find a new artistic director but what is the brand and business goal?
 
Can they just bring back Alber Elbaz? Imagine the news and attention that this will create?
 
 

Monday
Oct092017

Best Creative Presentations Women S'18

These are the best and most creative presentations of Women S'18.
 
Undercover
Who needs waterfalls when all you need are twins? The presentation felt like a scene out of The Shining. Models came out in pairs and holding hands while wearing designs similar in silhouette. With the dark and childlike music, it was a simple idea that made this so memorable - albeit moderately disturbing. 
 
 
Saint Laurent
An outdoor show with the twinkling Eiffel Tower as a backdrop. The best Parisian prop in the world. And Anthony Vaccarello’s collection was one the best of the season.
 
  
Opening Ceremony 
This wasn’t a presentation, but a performance and a story. "Oscar award-winning director Spike Jonze debuted Changers, A Dancy Story—a multi-layered ensemble, comprised of acting, writing, dance, poetry, and different sonic variations that fully utilize the experimental venue’s forte. Changers tells a story of the evolution of romance and relationships with a narrative told not through words, but through movement. As the show only runs for five days, we present a portfolio devoted to relationships (think of it like a companion piece) photographed by Brigitte Lacombe. As history has shown, we’re big fans of switching up things during fashion week—this year our editorial featuring the collection was no different. Instead of models, we enlisted the stars of Changers, longtime friends, family, and those closest to us, to bear their soul on the ups and downs of relationships." - Opening Ceremony
 
Gareth Pugh 
Who needs a runway when there is film? There was no presentation, just a very elaborate video and it was the best fashion film of the season, directed by Nick Knight in collaboration with artist Olivier de Sagazan, with Mr. Pugh as part of the show. Mildly disturbing but highly memorable. The clothes show up about halfway through. Each material type is given a unique cinematic direction. The flame prints just come alive as worn by dancers.
 
 
Dumitrascu
Takeovers of a public space is not a new concept, but effective nevertheless. Dumitrascu had what New Yorkers might call an "outlaw fashion show” at the Rambuteau station in Paris - a fashion flash mob if you will.

A post shared by DUMITRASCU (@dumitrascultd) on Sep 30, 2017 at 4:53am PDT

A post shared by DUMITRASCU (@dumitrascultd) on Oct 4, 2017 at 4:52am PDT

A post shared by DUMITRASCU (@dumitrascultd) on Oct 5, 2017 at 10:15am PDT

 
Moncler & Thom Browne, and a few Ballerinas
Both shows combined the traditional runway shows with performance. Moncler had disco ballerinas, while Them Browne had artists playing sleeping twins, unicorns, and creatures from a different planet.
 
 
 
And yes Chanel continues to become the leading theme park, this time with a waterfall.
 
 
Many will argue that the Versace supermodel closing was "the" moment this season. It was. But the point is to highlight how brands and creatives are finding ways to push themselves in expression. Gareth Pugh may not have had more views, but his vision is certainly thought provoking beyond Instagram bait.
 
Sunday
Oct082017

Best Collections Womens S’18

These are The First Proof’s selects for the best creative collections for Women’s S’18.
 
Mary Katrantzou
It is great to see growth with a brand, and this time Mary Katranzou stretch how she applied her signature prints to more volume. One of the best interpretations of one of the seasons best trends - the bubble. She also hit other trends but found a way to differentiate her approach.
 
 
Gareth Pugh 
Who cares if anyone will wear these clothes. Fashion needs to be challenged and needs new ideas. The fabrication and silhouettes were pure architecture. He creates memorable images in a sea of trend followers. There has been nothing quite like it since Alexander McQueen and Hussain Chalayan.
 
 
Christopher Kane
Like Katrantzou, Christopher Kane knows the balance of staying on trend but keeping them his own and not having them lead. Retro-future housewife doesn’t sound sexy, but the image he created of this woman was.
 
 
Maison Margiela
John Galliano keeps getting better and better. Maison Margiela is one brand that continues a great marriage of the original brand codes and Mr. Galliano’s aesthetics. The mundane (such as the trench) becomes something special in his hands. 
 
 
Céline
The show felt like Phoebe Philo was back to the beginning with Céline. Strong, masculine clothes but designed for a woman by a woman. While there was a lot of menswear influences which is a constant for Ms. Philo, it didn’t feel forced but delicately/softly reinterpreted.
 
 
Saint Laurent
Anthony Vaccarello is finding his place at Saint Laurent. It was an emotional moment for the brand with Pierre Bergé’s passing, and the nod to Yves Saint Laurent and his own overt sexiness was well balanced. It is the first time we feel that Mr. Vaccarello let go of a particular objectification of women and was having fun - not one exposed breast in the presentation. A few more presentations like this and no one may remember who was the previous creative director of the brand. Another reason for the industry to give creatives more time to find themselves. Rihanna has already been spotted wearing the white furry boots.
 
  
Haider Ackerman 
Trends? What is a trend? With Haider Ackermann there is no such thing. He follows his own timeline. Maybe it is influence coming from learnings at Berluti, but this is was the best-tailored collection of the season. Frills, ruffles, draping? Not here. Hundreds of saturated colors not needed. This was edited down to the essentials and an evident vision. And that is what makes a creative vision memorable.
 
 
Jil Sander
Lucie and Luke Meier had a tough hill to climb; the brand has lost some of the excitement since Raf Simons led creative. There was a strictness to their first outing that will create news. Taking the original Sander codes such as shirts, suits, tailoring, the duo took a sacerdotal approach. Maybe it was metaphorical, a cleansing. The purity was striking. If the tide turns towards minimalism of the early 90s, they will be right on time.
 
 
 
Louis Vuitton
Finally, Nicolas Ghesquière let go of certain self-created boundaries, templates. He is an incredible mixologist. Maybe he needed to look back at his past work to remember why he is a revered talent in the industry. The frock coats are something we have seen from him at Balenciaga, and that is fine. Those ideas were great then, they are great now. With the addition of a few new elements (athletics and sneakers) what he was able to do this season is take previous inspirations and make them feel fresh.
 
 
Image Courtesy: Vogue.com

Related: Top Men's Spring '18 Collections

Saturday
Oct072017

Artist Johan Deckmann 

@johandeckmann at @sueravitz - “Recognizing the power of language in both therapy and art, Johan Deckmann successfully forms simple phrases that compress information, feelings or fantasies into an essence, and a truth that has an effect that is very similar to therapy. ‘The right words can be like good medicine,’ Deckmann shares. While most of his book titles skirt between hilarious and poignant, underscored by their faded color and worn texture of 1970s era self-help guides, the readers are taken through a journey of self-reflection and soul-searching.”

"One of the most powerful aspects of Deckmann’s works is that every reader can relate to at least one them on a highly personal level, regardless of what cultural background, gender or age group. Titles such as “How to disappoint and just keep disappointing – Disappointment made easy” can resonate with anyone, but instead of remaining sinister, the work is made humorous by using the same language that you might find on a cook book or instruction kit. “How to burn out instead of fade away” might be most fitting for people that live in big cities under pressure, and, perhaps: “How to keep doing the same old mistakes and expect a different result” could be considered the most universally human of all one-liners." - http://deckmann.com/

#art #creativeinspiration #JohanDeckmann

 

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Friday
Oct062017

Editorial Excellence: Vogue Italia October '17

 
Diversity has been an ongoing conversation with fashion, heavily focused on race. We do not want to diminish that conversation. But there are other related subjects that are neglected - like ageism.
 
It looks like the model age is finally catching up with the average editor-in-chief's age.
 
It is a topic that has been growing for some time. From the success of the Advance Style blog to the recent news of Maye Musk being named a Covergirl, the time has come to breakdown the least obvious form of discrimination. There have been strides to addressed this, a few collection shows have featured models of varying ages. Dries Van Noten, Simone RochaVetements are examples. Miss Hutton, Vogue Italia's cover model recently appeared in Bottega Veneta's show and advertising. Allure Magazine recently had Helen Mirren as their September cover star with a discussion of the words "anti-aging":
“This word ‘anti-aging’ — we know we’re getting older. You just want to look and feel as great as you can on a daily basis. If people treat me like the age I am, I get absolutely insulted, really cross. I hate when people give up their seat for me. No, no, no. I don’t want your seat.”
Women over age 50 were better represented on the Spring 2018 runways than any season prior, although they remained the least visible category. Models in their 50s, 60s and upward were present at six New York shows, for a total of 10 appearances. That’s a slight improvement over Fall 2017’s six and Spring 2017’s eight.
It is great to see that the values Franca Sozzani built at Vogue Italia continue on. She was never concerned about addressing top of mind issues head on. With this issue of Vogue Italia, a lot of commentary has been about cover model Lauren Hutton’s actual age (Lauren Hutton is 73, and Iman who appears in a story is 62). But the day a cover or editorial such as this is no longer news about age is the day that fashion has made an impact on the world. 
 
These women have not gotten older, just wiser. Thank you Giovanni Bianco and Emanuele Farneti. And yes, these images are beautiful.
 
Model: Lauren Hutton
Photographer: Steven Klein
Fashion Editor: Patti Wilson
Hair: Ward Stegerhoek
 

Model: Iman Abdulmajid
Photographer: Luigi Murenu and Iango Henzi
Fashion Editor: Patrick Mackie
Hair: Luigi Murenu
Make Up: Yumi Lee

 

More:

Advanced Style

Fashion Spot Diversity Report

Maye Musk, 69, Is Now a CoverGirl

Franca: Chaos to Creation

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