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Photography

Vibrant Makeup Mirrors Sweet Frozen Treats in Max Siedentopf’s ‘Pleasure Portraits’

January 25, 2023

Kate Mothes

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

All images © Max Siedentopf, shared with permission

London-based artist and creative director Max Siedentopf has a knack for portraying more than meets the eye in his distinctive portraits. A series titled Pleasure Portraits looks forward to summer, featuring the distinctive pastels and jewel tones of ice cream bars alongside subjects whose decadent makeup mimics the hues and embellishments of their paired confection.

No stranger to fashion and makeup artistry in his collaborative, creative development role with the Italian brand Gucci, Siedentopf cast models who were ornamented with gems, baubles, and vibrant patterns. In this playful study of duality, there is a twist of irony: despite the association of frozen treats and the sunny colors of summertime with pleasure, Siedentopf’s subjects sit inert and gaze expressionlessly at the viewer in a similar format to passport photos.

Siedentopf is currently preparing a few upcoming exhibitions, fashion campaigns, and a forthcoming book of photographs. Follow updates on Instagram, and find more of his work on his website.

 

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A series of side-by-side photographs pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

A side-by-side photograph pairing of an ice cream bar (left) and a model wearing makeup that mimics the colors of the ice cream.

 

 

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Craft Design

Mila Textiles Reimagines the Balaclava in Vibrant Beadwork and Embroidered Visages

January 3, 2023

Kate Mothes

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

All images © Mila Textiles, shared with permission

Masks have long been associated with myriad cultural functions from ceremonial rites and dramatic performances to defense and protection from disease or inclement weather. For London-based designer Kamila, who works under the name Mila Textiles, ski masks—also known as balaclavas—provide a fitting canvas for elaborately embroidered, wearable compositions.

A 19th century military staple, balaclavas saw a sartorial rise in 2021. The practical knitwear item takes its name from the Ukrainian port town of Balaclava, a key battle site during the Crimean War of 1854, and in the 20th century, the garment became a trope in movies and television depicting burglaries and heists. Kamila’s colorful reinterpretation of the mask relaxes these associations. “I want my work to make my audience feel happy, forget about their stresses for a bit, and chill,” she tells Colossal.

Kamila draws inspiration from her local environment, sharing that “living in London means I am constantly surrounded by events, museums, and galleries where I can take pictures of anything that gives me creative ideas.” The vibrant hues and textures of coral and marine life are another influence, especially in the context of cartoons. “I try to include creatures in my designs because this brings comfort to me, almost as cartoons would,” she says. Bright colors are paired with beads and layers of thread to produce playful patterns around the wearer’s eyes.

In addition to balaclavas, Mila Textiles produces meticulously embellished bags and pouches featuring faux fur and patterned fabrics. New items are listed in the shop on her website, and you can follow more of her work on Instagram.

 

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

Two photos of an individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

An individual wearing a balaclava embellished with beads and embroidery.

A detail of beadwork and embroidery.

 

 



Design

Dramatic Flares and Organic Swells Burst from Robert Wun’s Avian-Inspired Garments

December 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

All images © Robert Wun, shared with permission

The Spring Summer 2023 collection from Robert Wun harmonizes the natural and technologically futuristic. Featuring billowing pleats and bursts of ruffles, the operatic garments reference birding or the act of watching avian creatures in their habitats, an outdoor activity that today is sometimes supplanted by digital viewing opportunities.  The collection evokes the graceful, voluptuous silhouettes of swans, cranes, and crows through full skirts erupting like wings mid-flight or pant legs that fall like feathers at rest. 3D-printed titanium jewelry augments the bird-like aesthetic, with single feathers structuring sculptural eyepieces.

SS23 follows another avian-inspired collection, AW21, which honors Wun’s grandmother who died a few years ago. He shares about the pieces in an interview:

It was about playing with material that looked like metal to create the illusion of wearing armour, but it’s actually made out of fabric. The swallow bird detail is because it’s my grandmother’s favourite bird from Hainan Island, China, where she’s from. Through the armour, there’s a softness of a pleat that cuts into a swallowtail shape, so there’s always that mixture between strength and something as delicate and light as a bird’s tail.

Born in Hong Kong, Wun is now based in London, and you can find more of his designs on the brand’s site.

 

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

Two photos of models wearing a sculptural bird-like garments

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

Two photos of models wearing a sculptural bird-like garments

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

Two photos of models wearing a sculptural bird-like garments

A photo of a model wearing a sculptural bird-like garment

 

 



Art Design

Thousands of Used Tea Bags Assemble in Ruby Silvious’s Delicate Full-Size Garments

December 2, 2022

Kate Mothes

A child's dress made from tea bags.

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

When we steep a cup of tea, we typically toss out the bag once it has served up its brew, but for Ruby Silvious, this humble sachet provides the basis for a distinctive artistic practice. Known for her miniature paintings that use tea bags as canvases, she has expanded her use of the material by employing it as a fabric for larger-scale works that are inspired by her family history and an interest in fashion. “It gives me a chance to do large scale work, the antithesis to my miniature paintings,” she tells Colossal. “It’s only natural that my art has always been inspired by fashion. My maternal grandmother was a brilliant seamstress. I was only 20 years old when I migrated to the U.S. from the Philippines, and my very first job was at Bergdorff Goodman in New York City.”

Silvious began making garments in 2015, spurred by an ongoing fascination with the various methods of printing, staining, and assembling the deconstructed segments together. “I have accumulated bins of used tea bags,” she says, “not just from my own consumption but also from friends and family who have generously contributed to my growing collection.” She has made more than ten full-size kimonos, each requiring up to 800 used bags to complete. Pieces in her most recent series, Dressed to a Tea, average approximately 75 to 125 sachets, each one emptied out, flattened, and ironed before being glued together into shirts, slips, or child-size dresses. “Some tea bag pieces have monoprints on them, and the simpler designs are assembled with plain or slightly stained, used tea bags, giving them a more delicate and fragile look,” she explains.

A number of pieces from Dressed to a Tea will be on view in a weeklong exhibition at Ceres Gallery in New York from December 5 to 10. Her work will also be featured in a solo exhibit at the Ostfriedsisches Teemuseum in Norden, Germany, from March 4 to April 29, 2023. You can find more of Silvious’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A shirt made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.

Slips made out of tea bags.

Two images of a kimono made from tea bags, shown front and back. A child's dress made out of tea bags.

Two dresses made out of tea bags.

A kimono made from tea bags.

 

 



Art Dance Design

In the World of WearableArt, 88 Dramatic Garments Grace the Stage in a Spectacular Performance

November 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a costume made of shells

“Haerenga (Journey),” Christopher Davis, of New Zealand. All images © World of WearableArt, shared with permission

Every year in Wellington, dozens of extravagant garments explode onto the stage for three weeks as part of the World of WearableArt competition. The annual performance is New Zealand’s largest theatrical production that highlights vast creativity translated through fashion and costume from around the globe. Of the 88 works from 103 international designers in this year’s contest, many are interpretations of the natural world with dried grasses pouring from sleeves and sculptural dresses mimicking coral patterns. No matter the materials or aesthetic, all of the garments have a flair for the dramatic.

In the 32 years since the competition launched, WOW has featured more than 5,000 garments on its stages, and it’s worth a visit to the contest’s site to peruse the archive.

 

A photo of a costume with pink ribbons suspended from the ceiling

Estère in the 2022 competition

Two photos of costumes, one with feathered wings and the other with multicolor spikes

Left: “Apocalyptic Angel,” Sherri Madison, of the United States. Right: “Wild Things,” Saar Snoek, of the Netherlands

A photo of a costume with a full bird-like face

“Call of the Kōkako,” Stephanie Cossens, of New Zealand

A photo of a costume made with white, coral like forms

“Life,” Sun Ye, Ma Yuru, Zhou Honglei, of China

A photo of a costume made of white plastic

“Plastic Marriage,” Allison MacKay and Gabrielle Edmonds, of New Zealand

Two photos of costumes, one on the left with rippled features and the other with elaborate beading

Left: “This Is the Pyrocene,” R. R. Pascoe, of Australia. Right: “The Giant Purse,” Thao Nguyen, of Vietnam

A photo of a costume that splays outward from the body

“X-Ray,” Lyndal Linton, Brett Linton, Harvey Linton, of New Zealand

 

 



Art Design

Designed for Leisure, Sarah Ross’ ‘Archisuits’ Question the Inhospitable Environments of American Cities

November 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

All images © Sarah Ross, shared with permission

Among American cities, Los Angeles has a reputation for being particularly car-centric, and it lacks the infrastructure for walkability or a robust public transit system. This choice of design is inherently political, as it makes commutes and travel across neighborhoods more inaccessible for people who don’t drive.

There’s also the fact that public spaces available to pedestrians generally aren’t constructed with comfort in mind, an issue Chicago-based artist Sarah Ross sought to remedy back in 2005 with the satirical Archisuits. Absurdly shaped, Ross’s four leisurewear pieces bulge with supports that perfectly fit into the negative space of benches, fences, and building facades. The designs draw a contrast between the soft, bendable wearables and the cold, rigid architecture, which the artist describes as “an arm of the law, a form that uses the built environment to police and control raced, classed, and gendered bodies.”

Nearly twenty years later, the project retains its original relevance and has gained new urgency as the climate crisis requires mass reduction in car use and an overhaul in how we collectively conceive of public areas. Ross shares with Colossal:

The same issues are happening where people are criminalized for being poor, black, brown, or disabled in public space. In many places around the globe, there is a turn to the right a monopoly of power is concentrated into the hands of the very few. We continue to live in siloed, segregated worlds.

Find more of the artist’s projects that consider how politics inform spaces on her site.

 

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of a person wearing a blue bulging leisure suit that nestles into the built environment

A photo of four people wearing blue bulging leisure suits

 

 

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