Building Block has delivered once again with their AW 2013 collection. Los Angeles sister duo, Kimberly and Nancy Wu, has launched yet another line to add to their seamless and beautifully crafted curation. Their latest offering is again a fusion of handsome leathers and considered disciplined design. Their signature wooden building blocks also make the cut, of course. There exists a particular drawcard in the collection, in the unique form and functionality of the Wooden Sphere Clutch. Its execution and innovation of use are to be commended. In a similar and rightfully considered vein as the rest of the collection, the integration of natural elements, namely wood and leather, are spot on. The clutch includes a seamless magnetic closer and rubber handle with smooth black leather exterior. Measuring 12.5cm in height by 25cm in width, it stands as a statement piece. With the intent of magnifying essentials and editing out excess, Building Block finds continual inspiration in returning to square one. And for this reason, I am happily along for the ride. Photography courtesy of Kimberly and Nancy Wu.
During this week’s London Design Festival, London based design brand Minimalux have announced the launch of a range of new minimalist products. One such announcement was of their natural vegetable tan leather sleeves for the iPad, iPad mini and iPhone. This is the result of a collaborative project with leather goods specialists, MES. Traditional hand skills and saddlery tools are used to make these tough, durable leather sleeves. Each one is hand stitched with strong beeswaxed linen thread, hand burnished and hot stamped with the Minimalux mark. The leather is untreated other than a light coating of mink oil to protect it from moisture, allowing it to age naturally and develop a rich dark golden colour. Admittedly, not the cheapest of accessories, but there’s no denying these are high end, beautiful sleeves.
Although Fashion Month had run its course through London and to Milan, there’s one collection that still pulls me back to New York: Lacoste. People often disregard its capability, or should I say Felipe Oliveira Baptista‘s capability, in terms of design aesthetics due to the lodged image of the brand’s well-known polo shirts. But it is the understated collections that hold so much of Lacoste’s spirit. Spring Summer 2014 is like a ballad to its preceding Fall Winter 2013. Structures were broken down into flows with crisp contours covering hem lines in the first few looks. Those lines then widen as the collection progresses, becoming strips of sheer that reveals the skin underneath. Eventually, at the end of the collection, the garments become completely translucent. By engulfing the whole body and showing it to the audience, in a way, it’s showing the most important element of sportswear: the body. Needless to say, Lacoste Spring Summer 2014 is one of my favorite collections so far. It’s poised, simple, clean, and wearable. And by that, it’s asking the consumers to re-evaluate the brand for its designs, and not its popular image. Photos Courtesy of Style.com
And so Fashion Month has just begun with its start in New York City. When talk about minimalism in fashion, one can’t help but think of Helmut Lang and his legacy. Although the designer departed from the house in 2005, the new duo of Nicole and Michael Colovos makes sure that the same aesthetics are still carried throughout. For Spring Summer 2014, the conversation of the garments seems to be Hello sports, please meet minimalism. The collection was shown with a strong number of black and white pieces, all slouchy and much less structural from their previous collection. The monochromic show was broken by sheer fuchsia dresses, with prints that reminisce of Piet Mondrian, held up with only two thin straps. In a way, that fragility gives an elegance to a much less formal vibe. Comfortability was what the Colovos strived for and that can be seen apparently from the start to the end. Helmut Lang S/S14 sets up a strong promise for the upcoming fashion weeks and I’m excited for that. Photo Courtesy of Style.com.
Recently I have been on a search for a beautiful new minimal backpack to serve my everyday needs, but at a reasonable price. A search that is not as easy as you may think. Of course, I have come across many bag designs over the years, many of which however, have been discontinued. Just yesterday, I discovered Derbyshire based accessories brand, C6. Their range of accessories includes this beautiful and protective minimal backpack, ideal for laptops and various tablets. Available in two sizes; Large (37cm x 50cm x 25cm) and Small (32cm x 45cm x 25cm), the backpack is also available in two colours; Black and Olive. The large black version is particularly appealing and currently tops my wish-list. Further backpack suggestions are always welcome.
The Australian label Bassike is well known for their structured collections that emulate both minimalism as well as the carefree attitude of beach living. In their Spring Summer 2013 Women’s Campaign, each piece appears well tailored while looking relaxed; chic in the minimal palette and elegant in forms and material. Reputed for using high quality in material and an emphasis on local production, Deborah Sams and Mary-Lou Ryan, the duo behind the label, always design with comfort in mind for both sexes: The beauty of bassike is its appeal to men and women whose easy-going style still requires an element of subtle luxury. Bassike’s very specific aesthetic is influenced by the contrasts of loose australian beach style and the integrity and simplicity of japanese design. Draw-string and dropped-crotch pants have not looked any more stylish on women with Birkenstock sandals. This collection Bassike has taken relaxed luxury to another level.
This chic laconic bag has been created by London based designer Katharina Eisenkoeck. The piece is crafted from high quality leather and intended for your laptop and not much else. Here is how designer explains her vision: It is hard to find well-made, simple, and non-fussy bags without the usual extra pockets and gold or silver additions. Hence the laptop bag was designed against the movement toward excessive decoration. The challenge of determining the simplest solution possible was playing a major role in this project. It was crucial to create a minimalist and functional shell through sharp lines, a subtle colour, and smart proportions. I love the versatility of the piece – you can use it as a backpack or a tote. The shade and thinness of the bag resembles a simple manila folder, which adds to its understated beauty.
Based in New York City, artist and designer Doug Johnston has been focusing since 2010 on a process of coiling and stitching rope into a variety of functional and sculptural objects. From this new bag collection, photographed by Brook&Lyn, each piece is handmade and hand-formed one at a time in Johnston’s Brooklyn studio. The rope works are made from sewing thread and braided 100% cotton cord, stitched on my vintage industrial zig-zag sewing machines. The fabrication technique was learned from the crafting community and adapted for my sculptural and formal explorations. His work spans the disciplines of art, design, architecture and music – Johnston has conducted explorations in the varying worlds of installation, fiber art, sculpture, photography, collaborative performance and even architectural metal fabrication. Such a multidisciplinary background obviously informs everything he makes, helping him create thoughtful and functional pieces that have become widely sought after.
Slightly bias in this plug, but Melbourne based designer Alpha60 should need no introduction. Originating from Canberra, the brother-sister duo has been styling the fashionistas of urban Melbourne since 2005. Their collections feature bold tailoring with beautiful details and a minimalist palette. Their newest Spring 2013 Collection is a continuance to this testament. The SS13 Collection is an evolution, as with all of their work to date, of their passion for details and fabric through the expression of technique. Alpha60 has flourished into a unique, inimitable label known for its fresh take on classic styles and cute, reflecting a sophisticated quirk unique to the brand. The lines, folding and cuts of each of these pieces have a timeless-ness that seems to also embody an urban edge that is so quintessentially Melbourne. Alpha60 are not content to smell the roses and with a portfolio than spans international borders and features some impressive creative collaborations, they are a force to watch. And wear, of course.
Devon-born and London-based fashion designer Charlie May (of the blog Girl a la Mode fame) launched her Autumn/Winter ’13 collection in the beginning of the year, giving continuity to her signature minimalist, androgynous style. The collection plays with solid, pure colors and instances of sheer transparency, gravitating stoically from pure white to pure oxblood, going through blacks and grays. In counterpart to the contained color palette, May plays with layering and materials, adding texture and depth to her pieces. The collection is bold and equally ethereal, two interesting contrasting sentiments. The collection’s styling and makeup, achieved with the strong red lip look, add an impeccable finish to the whole. I’m quite enamored with the featured long white dress myself!
Matthew Ames is an American fashion designer, graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. With a minimal aesthetic much comparable to Christophe Lemaire, Ames started his own brand in 2005 in New York. In 2011, the designer took a break for a tutorship at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For Spring 2013, Matthew Ames came back to the fashion scene with a collaboration with Weekday simply called Prairie. Prairie is a loose-silhouetted collection whose garments show off a certain ease both to the mind and to the eyes. What’s exciting about the collection is the excess use of denim, a fabric of casualty. Nevertheless, different shades of blue denim embrace every stitch – presented through square pockets, mandarin collars, deep slits, and asymmetrical cuts – giving an elegance to the collaboration. Ames said: It’s about focusing on what is integral to the design. It’s something quiet, but powerful. Photos Courtesy of Weekday.
Practical. Functional. Minimal. These elements were what inspired Ivania Carpio, the multi-talented force behind Love Aesthetics to develop her own design collection with BlackBlessed‘s Capsule Collection. With a sharp and clean aesthetic, the Pant-Skirt, the Jacket and the Bag, were results of Ivania’s desire to make life work for her that exudes her personal style and lifestyle. What I love about this collection is the intent behind each piece. All the elements are about the everyday life of running after a child, riding a bicycle, getting errands done, or just simply what you bring with you when you leave the house. Having a single bag designed to fit different needs for different occasions sounds more complicated that it actually needs to be and Ivania has a clever, minimalist solution with The Bag and its detachable straps that turns a clutch into a backpack. The silhouette of her collection reminds one of Calvin Klein’s sophistication and Acne’s simple practicality. Yet with the comfort and functional ease of these pieces, Ivania’s personal style of clean and minimal shines through. I, for one, am looking forward to her next collection of such beautiful, functional designs.