Posts tagged Print
Firecracker Press

By happenstance I found myself at a print fair back in June put on by The Firecracker Press. While I was there I realized a few things: Pyro makes the best pizza in St Louis (seriously), exploring areas that appear to be out of your comfort zone is a completely worthwhile endeavor and the print world is a mysterious creature which I want to know more about.

A few weeks later I headed back for a tour of the company's design and print studio. My knowledge of print is extremely limited but I'm pretty mesmerized by it. It's one of those magical things that is all around but often goes unnoticed. I'm really interested in the way fonts are put together and used to form a brand's identity. I always thought those sorts of things were done (and dreamt up) in far away places atop towering skyscrapers set within big city skylines.

Not so.

The Firecracker Press is based on the outskirts of downtown St Louis in a completely inconspicuous neighborhood. Walking by you would never guess that within its discreet walls sits a collection of antique printers used to bring together modern design with techniques long forgotten. 

 

Eric Woods founded The Firecracker Press back in 2002 to bring together his love for graphic design and traditional forms of craftsmanship. The enterprise truly does exactly what he set out to accomplish. At a time when cheap design is available in abundance it's refreshing to see an organization creating in a way that is more time consuming, thoughtful and labour intensive. The invention of print was revolutionary but nowadays printers are often reserved to offices and university libraries. With so much moving online it's easy to overlook the importance and significance of printers. To see antique ones being brought back to life and serving their original purpose through restoration is inspiring. 

The Firecracker Press create completely bespoke materials using old printing techniques that have been cast aside by most others in their field. Equipment that would normally be viewed as out-of-date is restored and brought back to life. The studio is like a working museum that fuses functionality and commerce with history. 

The company is big on humor. Many of their pieces touch on the everyday idiosyncrasies of life. Dirty diapers. Dutch ovens. Dancing naked in the summer with the fan on. These are all topics referenced in their most recent collection of greeting cards. They are simple yet sweet and capture the imagination of any onlooker that is open to having a cheeky laugh.

They also do a great selection of items that focus on St Louis.

If you're passing through the city, or even if you're a local resident, visit one of their two locations on Cherokee or North 14th Street. There are tons of quirky cards and notebooks to be purchased and prints to make a statement on your wall. 

All the items serve as a great reminder of the diversity and talent that can be found in the most unexpected places of our city.

Massive thank you to Missy at The Firecracker Press for inviting me down. 

CÉLINE

Trust, I know this post will not win any awards for originality but nevertheless I felt the awesomeness of Céline's summer collection needed to be addressed. It was an explosion of colour and bold graphics. The long lined white wife-beaters with black painterly swirls surely make for the easiest DIY ever and one that even I might not be able to mess up. I wonder what this collection will do to all the girls that have embraced minimalism so whole heartedly with Philo as their leader. The bold primary colours were grounded by sturdy blacks and whites so at least that might ease the pain of the transition?

The reserved aesthetic that I normally associate with the Céline woman was thrown out the window. I normally picture her as being a bit of a free will with a penchant for the creative fields but now I see her as more joyful and comedic. It's like she literally crawled out of a cheery abstract painting.

To conclude, I'd just like to explicitly state that this is, by far, my favourite spring/summer '14 collection. And, I don't even care that I'm officially a massive cliche. 

Photos via Céline



// DRIES VAN NOTEN //

Forget about pretty pastel florals for spring 2014 because Dries Van Noten has singlehandedly turned the popular print on its head. His version are dark and moody, set against a grey or black background they are rich and opulent in nature. These look much more inviting to me than any ditsy Liberty print ever has.

Van Noten's collection was a mishmash of cultures. There were Asian inspired prints next to rich embroidered tapestries that looked as though they came straight from a Middle Eastern cavern. Rich shiny gold was paired with plain calico and linen. It was as if a peasant child had accidentally stumbled upon the trunk of a rich traveling sheik and was playing dress up. 

I loved that plain white t-shirts and marl grey sweatshirts were included in the otherwise rich collection. Favourite pieces include the black silk bomber covered in large dark tulips and the sleeveless top with shells lining the neck.

Photos via style.com.

Dries Van Noten Spring 2014
Dries Van Noten Spring 2014
Dries Van Noten Spring 2014
Dries Van Noten Spring 2014
Dries Van Noten Spring 2014
Ashish FW13
Ashish, sequins, denim, patches, overalls, london fashion week
Ashish, sequins, denim, patches, overalls, london fashion week

As much as I loved the workwear and keffiyeh print inspiration at the Ashish show, it was this single denim patchwork dress that truly captured my heart. I love the multi-coloured fabric swaths and the slouchy oversized shape. If I had to pick one piece from Ashish's autumn/winter collection to have this would definitely be it. With that said, the rest of the collection was equally alluring. Mixing something as tough as workwear with sequins is a brilliant and unexpected pairing. As always, I'm madly in love with Ashish's creations. The mega blown out hairdos also has me wishing that I had a permanent member on staff to do my hair in the morning. Why am I so lacking in volume?

Ashish, sequins, London fashion week
Ashish, sequins, London fashion week
Ashish, sequins, London Fashion Week
Ashish, sequins, London Fashion Week
Ashish, London fashion week, sequins
Ashish, London fashion week, sequins
Ashish, London Fashion Week, Sequins
Ashish, London Fashion Week, Sequins
Ashish, sequins, Horse face jumper, overalls, denim, patches, grey sweatshirt
Ashish, sequins, Horse face jumper, overalls, denim, patches, grey sweatshirt
DREAMY FLORALS AT AMINAKA WILMONT...

The first dress that cam sauntering down the catwalk at the Aminaka Wilmont show had my heart buckling. The peachy lavender shades were beautiful and the shape of the dress so flattering. I love the tiny thin belt that sits at the waist and the twisted detail at the hips. My favourite looks from the show were the ones that incorporated this melted flower print seen above - it's so dreamy and soft. I love that Aminaka Wilmont takes such a feminine print but puts it on edgier pieces. The little white biker jacket with the grey printed short dress was one of my favourite looks from the collection - it's definitely something I'd wear head-to-toe.

Massive thank you to Mercedes and Sarwah for inviting me along.

NATALIE JOOS
Natalie Joos at Paris Fashion Week

There are a handful of women in the fashion industry that I admire. Among them are the epic mothers of fashion journalism, Suzy Menkes and Hilary Alexander, as well as more recent greats like Tamu McPherson and Caroline Issa. Each woman is carving their individual place in the fashion industry and retaining great amounts of integrity and class while doing it. I like that.

One person who has recently landed on my fashion radar is the multi-talented Natalie Joos. She's a casting agent, author, photographer and consultant - a woman of many talents, no doubt. She also has a kick butt blog that I love. It's called Tales of Endearment and it chronicles all her adventures and has beautiful photos. Natalie is one of the stand out subjects of street style during fashion week thanks to her bold outfits and infectious smile. She always looks so upbeat and positive - an excellent reminder that fashion should always be fun.

BURBERRY & WANG SITTING IN A TREE...

Topshop Unique AW12

The allure of the Topshop show is bizarre. Surely, there should be the least amount of excitement around it. It is, after all, a collection that will be sold on your very own high street. So the pieces that come floating down the runway need to be wearable and relatively inexpensive to produce. The margin for error is huge. Throw enough money at a collection and it's bound to be incredible but will anyone be able to afford it? When you have to make clothes that you can produce on mass scale... well, that's where it gets interesting.

There is always a huge amount of buzz around the Topshop show. First of all, the venue is 'off campus' (if we're referring to Somerset House as campus, that is) so it's more difficult to access. If you don't have a ticket there's no point in showing up. The security is intense and the organization runs like clock work. Have a seated ticket? You're quids in. You'll be enjoying the most delicious nibbles and sipping on juice while watching the hottest of celebrities walk in - through a separate entrance no less (a genius move as it eliminates a paparazzi frenzy outside). Lucky enough to nab a standing ticket? It's still worth showing up, just make sure you get there early. If you're at the front of the line then you're likely to get in. This is a show that starts on time and treats its guests well.

PHOTOS: Poppy Delveigne being photographed inside pre-show. Carrie Harwood outside the venue with a cute bunny ring and Oliva Palermo getting struck by the paparazzi.

Let's be honest though. While organization and the way a PR team treats its show-goers is undeniably important - the true success of any collection is judged on what we're all really interested in... the clothes. 

As soon as the show ended I let out a giant sigh and said to the person sitting next to me, 'It's like Burberry and Alexander Wang had a baby!' A few minutes later when I regrouped with Shini and Susie by the door Sandra came walking over... 'Oooo, something felt very Burberry about it' one girl said. 'Yeah, but Burberry mixed with Wang!' cooed Sandra. Huh? Major déjà vu moment... clearly we were all on the same page.

It did feel reminiscent of Burberry (the colour palette) and Wang (the cool - 'I want to be her' - models off duty vibe) but in an amazing way. It felt grown up and sophisticated like the Topshop girl had just entered her late twenties. Maybe that's why it spoke to me so much - I felt like the collection was designed for me. Every winter I struggle with outerwear... I don't want to wear another cocoon shaped coat or a plain parka. With this collection Topshop has single handedly made the ankle grazing coat wearable again.

Not only that. The prints were delectable and understated - the little two-tone patterns with x's were my favorite. The knits were big and chunky but flattering - the sort of items you could throw on with a pair of skinny jeans (or slouchy jeans, or pencil skirt, or anything) and look effortlessly put together. There was a navy one that looked exactly like what I've been missing from my wardrobe plus an army green one that resembled animal skin (how did they even do that?). A velvet jumpsuit, leather dungarees, crossed back fastenings (I am all about back details right now) and oversized bags that resembled Phillips Lim's pashli (which I've been dreaming about for about 2 years) worn just tucked under the arm as an oversized clutch.

If I had to pick a single favorite item it would have to be the red and black checked dress with black harness layered over top.

Sure, there were a few pieces that weren't quite to my taste. I can't imagine, for example, wearing a pair of knee length wide shorts or a dress with the side cut out. Who's to say I won't change my mind by next autumn? It's always good to have your boundaries pushed. To those who say it doesn't quite fit with the 'Topshop clientele' - well, the show closed with a slew of little barely-there dresses. You know, the type you'd be likely to spot at clubs across the country on 16-24 year old girls. At first I thought they weren't for me, but actually... layer a long sleeved t-shirt underneath and pair with those to-the-knee boots (ohhhh, those boots... Topshop if you don't make those on mass scale I will actually die of sadness) and it's far more fashion focused. This collection will be successful and not least because there's something in it for everyone, from your gran right down to 12 your old niece.

Massive thank you to Liz and Susie at Topshop for inviting me along. I had a blast. xx

p.s. all my photos from the show are now on Facebook. Complete with psycho musings on each look. Enjoy.