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Photography

The World’s Largest Freshwater Lake Becomes a Magical Landscape in Photographs by Kristina Makeeva

December 3, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Kristina Makeeva, shared with artist’s permission

Photographer Kristina Makeeva creates captivating scenes centered around Lake Baikal. The lake, located in Russia, is the largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, holding nearly a quarter of the world’s fresh surface water. Makeeva takes advantage of its vastness in forming otherworldly images that seem totally separate from the built environments most of us reside in. “The first time I visited Baikal, I had no expectations, and yet what I saw and felt kept me awake for the three days I was there, Makeeva tells Colossal. “I was exploding with inspiration. Now, having traveled to many countries around the world, I still think of Baikal as one of the most beautiful places.”

Makeeva uses Lake Baikal as both the stage and the star in her striking photographs. Often, a single figure centered in the image poses in a manner that draws attention to the surprisingly vibrant colors, shapes, and textures in the frozen landscape. The photographer frequently outfits her models in ruffled tulle dresses with impossibly long trains or minimalist white suits that call to mind astronauts or acrobats. Makeeva explains that depending on the shoot, she either brings models from Moscow or hires local models to work on location, or the models are integrated into the frigid landscape in post-production if their costumes are tricky to travel with.

The artist explains that after a childhood in Moscow’s “grey and boring suburbs”, she is eager to incorporate the magical energy of fairy tales and fantasy into her photographs. “As I travel and read more, I’ve been able to add an element of cultural understanding and context to some of my favorite fairy tales,” says Makeeva.

I always have a movie playing in my head. As a photographer, you still need to do your homework if you want to create something unique in that location. So I immerse myself into history, landscape, and pictures. It’s important to have a special inventory list. As weather conditions play a major role in shoots, we will often order special clothes and dresses that fit with the landscape. We envision and look at several dresses in advance of a shoot. And, of course, we also buy thermal clothes for the model so that she’s as comfortable as possible in the climate.

In reflecting on the end results of her meticulously researched work as an artist, Makeeva tells Colossal, “How I feel about my art and how others feel is often very different. This is natural because our experience of art depends on our life experiences. As a rule, I try not to title my photos, so that everyone is free to interpret my photography however they’d like.”

To take a look behind the scenes of Makeeva’s photographic process, watch a short feature on her work produced by SmugMug, and see more of her finished works on Instagram.

 

 



Craft Design

It Was Better Tomorrow: Fashion Designer Benjamin Benmoyal Creates Powerful Silhouettes Using Recycled Materials

November 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Hulking silhouettes are enlivened with vibrant multi-colored stripes in futuristic garments by fashion student Benjamin Benmoyal. The fabric for the collection, titled “It Was Better Tomorrow”, was woven on a loom using discarded video and cassette tapes intermingled with recycled yarns and Tencel (a wood pulp-derived fiber).

In an interview with Dezeen, the French-Israeli designer explained that he was feeling pessimistic about the world after his compulsory service as an 18 year old in the Israeli army. “After high school I was completely lost in my life, I failed many things and needed to prove to myself I could do something that would push me, physically and mentally, to the limits,” Benmoyal said.

In enrolling at the renowned art school Central Saint Martins and creating this collection, Benmoyal sought to channel optimistic energy and harken back to the utopian outlook of the 1960’s. He also drew color inspiration from international travels and artists he admires, such as James Turrell. The collection was included in the multi-art show Designing in Turbulent Times this autumn. See more from Benmoyal on Instagram. (via Dezeen)

 

 



Design Food

Edible Apparel by Sung Yeonju Turns Vegetables into Cocktail Dresses

October 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Tasteful dress” gets a whole new meaning in Sung Yeonju’s edible apparel. The Korean artist’s ongoing series, Wearable Foods, combines relatable materials with digital editing to form cocktail dresses, shorts, and blazers. Gracefully draped scallions, polka-dotted lotus roots, and subtly striped banana peels become unique ‘fabrics’ suited for a night on the town. Watch Sung turn produce into fashion in the behind-the-scenes video below. (via Trendland)

 

 



Art Craft Design

Sequined and Baubled Masks by ‘Damselfrau’ Fascinate with Mysterious Beauty

September 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Self-taught artist Magnhild Kennedy (previously), who works as ‘Damselfrau’, uses found and vintage materials to create elaborate masks. Mesh netting, sequined appliques, ribbons, beads, and pompoms come together in Kennedy’s wearable artworks, which she documents and shares on Instagram. Leaving space for her eyes, the artist otherwise completely obscures her face and poses against a blank background with patterned fabric draped around her shoulders. The artist declines to attach specific meaning or intention to each creation, instead leaving the interpretive experience up to the viewer.

In an interview with Yatzer, Kennedy explains that she grew up in an artistic household, and describes her start as a mask-maker as “a fluke”: in the 2000’s she began making masks as a fun thing to wear when going out to clubs with friends. Over the last decade, Kennedy has continued to explore the seemingly limitless possibilities of the mask as medium, and teaches herself new sewing skills to add to her repertoire of techniques. The artist explains to Yatzer that she draws inspiration from domestic environments: “I’m inspired by people’s homes and how they live with their objects around them. I often feel like I’m decorating a space, more than making a mask.”

You can see more of the artist’s ever-expanding collection of masks on Instagram and view select editorial commissions on her website gallery.

 

 



Design

Enamel Pins Turn International Architectural Destinations Into Pocket-Sized Accessories

September 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Pagoda House, Tel Aviv

The husband and wife duo behind Drop-a-Pin have turned their love of architecture into an enamel pin business, transforming some of the world’s most recognizable buildings into miniature, 2-D renditions. The Drop-a-Pin duo explains that, thanks to their professional training as architects, most of the buildings they’ve turned into pins are ones they were familiar with. The pair spent the last five years traveling around the world to document buildings they love.

From Nakagin Capsule Tower in Toykyo to the Geisel Library in San Diego, each pin conveys the facade, silhouette, and color palette of the buildings that inspired them, while keeping a clean, minimalist look. “We developed a simple method we learned at the university in a course called Basic Design,” the team explains to Colossal. “The first and only law is to maintain the minimum number of lines necessary so that the building can still be identified. Once the lines in the design could no longer be erased, we reached the destination.”

Drop-a-Pin is currently raising funds on Indiegogo, where you can place a pre-order for the pin design of your choosing. See more of their designs on Instagram.

Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles

Pantheon, Italy

Villa Savoye, France

Clockwise from top left: Guaranty Building, Buffalo NY; VitraHaus, Germany; Notre Dame, Paris; house on Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Geisel Library, California

Eames House, California

Nakagin Capsule Tower, Tokyo

 

 



Art Photography

Fantastical Photographs of Opulently Dressed Models in Castles and Mansions

August 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Swan Lake” (2014), all images © Natalie Lennard

Photographer Natalie Lennard, who works as Miss Aniela, creates lavish scenes centered around elegantly dressed models. While each image might seem, at first glance, like a straightforward luxury fashion shoot, further inspection reveals surreal details. A canary yellow tulle gown morphs into birds, and ocean water splashes out of a painting frame.

Miss Aniela’s fantastical scenes are created using a combination of on-site shoots with practical effects, along with extensive post-production and even bespoke C.G.I. (as for the 20,000 fish forming the dress worn by a deep sea diver model in “She Shoal”). The photographer explains that all images are shot on location with the model posed and lit in-frame. “Sometimes I do not know whether the image will be largely ‘raw’ and not require overt surrealism added,” Aniela shares, “until I go through the process to feel what is right for each piece.”

The U.K.-based artist has been working as a fine art photographer for 13 years, getting her start with self-portraits as a university student. In some works, she incorporates direct references to paintings from the art historical canon. Aniela has been working in her current style since 2011, and shares with Colossal that she has noticed a rising interest in her work from art collectors, as the lines between fine art and fashion are increasingly blurred.

You can explore more of Miss Aniela’s immersive worlds on Instagram, and go behind the scenes of production in her explanatory blog posts. Fine art prints are available via Saatchi Art.

“What He Bequeathed” (2016)

“She Shoal” (2019)

“Poster & Plumage” (2016)

“Enter the Golden Dragon” (2018)

“Thawed Fortress” (2015)

“Gilt” (2016)

“Scarlet Song” (2013)

“Away with the Canaries” (2013)

“Pokerface” (2015)

 

 



Art Design

Sculptural Metal Jewelry by Ewa Nowak Helps Wearers Avoid Being Tracked by Facial Recognition Technology

August 26, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Several methodologies have been tested to try and thwart growing facial recognition technologies, however perhaps none are as elegant as Polish designer Ewa Nowak’s metal jewelry. Her project, Incognito, was born out of her own uneasiness about the global state of privacy, and was tested using Facebook’s DeepFace algorithm to ensure its success.

The implement is worn like glasses, with arms reaching around the wearer’s ears. Two round pieces of metal cover each cheek, and an elongated piece extends upward between the eyes, creating a trifecta of polished objects that help deflect software used IRL in security systems and public cameras, and online through social media.

Incognito recently won the Mazda Design Award at the Łódź Design Festival. You can see more of her projects, including a reflective mask also used as a way to keep one’s anonymity, on her website and Instagram. (via Plain Magazine)

 

 

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins