style brick road: May 2014

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Hot Winter

Yet another retail season has come, yet another amazing H&M collection.

My definite favourite name out of the high-street names previewed their Autumn/Winter  2014 collection for press, stylists, bloggers and and the rest of the fashion scene in Croatia & Slovenia. This was the first time the venue wasn't the showroom itself - it was a lovely café named Velvet, placed in the heart of Zagreb. Judging by the amount of fashion events held there in this past year - it's definitely a fashion spot. And I absolutely understand why everyone wants to have the press there - it has a spirit of freshness and simplicity, yet you're constantly surrounded by its amazing arty atmosphere. It's nothing unexpected since the owner is Saša Šekoranja, the best florist of Croatia.

But enough about the amazing space, let's chat about the collection - it was the Paris-shown Autumn/Winter collection by H&M's high-fashion diffusion line - H&M Studio. There was a selection of runway pieces exhibited - only the ones that will be coming to Zagreb's store, and that's probably the thing I loved the most. Unlike the usual H&M collection presentations, only 4 racks of clothes were there for people to look through - just about the right amount to see the showier pieces that represent each part of the collections. The furs, the sequins, understated elegance... It was all there. It was also interesting to see how they modified the runway pieces to their retail equivalents - the maxi stripy sequined gown turned into a short sexy shift, while the orange turtleneck's sleeves became a bit more streamlined. It were all tiny adjustments, but they definitely proved (once again) why is H&M the best designer of the high-street bunch - they do get inspired by the high-fashion trends, yet they aren't afraid of showing a bit more, a new side that's having a test. For instance the red latex-looking trousers - you would never see such an obnoxiously eccentric piece in a Zara collection. At least, not before Givenchy does them in their collection. I wouldn't want for you to think I unconditionally hate Zara or love H&M - it's just the fact I respect the Swedish chain a bit more. 

My first though about the menswear part of the collection was how it was all to opaque for my taste, but as I mentioned – this part of the collection is not about the crazy prints on cheap fabrics nor about the first-impression pieces. Their statement is thought out through the fabrics, the interesting cuts and innovative resolutions in the silhouettes or the techniques. It truly is a designer point of view, not a retail chain one. I always love to talk about investing into classic pieces while having fun with the one-season-show stuff like a printed bomber jacket, and it seems the designers from the H&M menswear design team agree. There were no novelty pieces, no 'take-my-photo' kind of clothes - it was all clean, sophisticated with a lot of style and a touch of modernity. I will definitely pick up some of the pieces like the trousers-sweatpants hybrid I'm already dying for. 2 words - CAN'T. WAIT.

I wore a Polo Ralph Lauren striped tee, H&M black jeans, Reebok LA sneakers and a vintage blazer I re-tailored into a sleeveless one

Monday, 26 May 2014

A Nighthawk

Being an insanely nocturnal person has been taking its toll this last few weeks. Writing essays, making presentations and studying for exams getting together with re-watching all episodes of my favourite TV show Masters of Sex upon the beginning of the 2nd season (hello 1 hour episodes) resulted into a big old lack of sleep. Sometimes 4 hours per day really won't cut it, but the feeling of a rushing need to create and do something is just unbeatable. 

That's probably the reason why I connect so much to the work of the great American artist Edward Hopper, whose heavily nocturnal motifs which meet true-type realism techniques is something I would easily call my artistic aesthetic. Though I respect abstract artist, as some kind of a layman - realistic artistry always makes my art bug tingle just a little bit more. Hopper wasn't one of those artists that lay all of their cards on the table - talking about inspiration was never his thing, yet many theoreticians created all kinds of stories behind his work. Probably the best known painting he created is Nighthawks, an oil canvas painting portraying a bar scene from a passing-byers perspective. A painting that ticks all of the boxes - technique, composition, majestic use of colour and a perfect finish, all became his trademarks very soon in his career. Capturing both the spirit and the fashion of the time was something that came very easily into his brush, but probably never intentionally - because it could never look so effortless. Illustrating the most visual decades of the 20th century, the time between 20s and 50s never looked more beautiful.
Once again, on an absolutely subjective note, I tend to fantasise about the artwork I would love to own. And although I'm well aware it sounds both very childish and just about small-town-y as it gets, Edward Hopper's work has always been on top of my list. It's that kind of easy-going, aesthetically pleasing visual effect that still makes you stare, ending in a feeling of both anxiety and please. It seems like although I consider myself an unconventional fashion lover, I'd end up in the pretty side of the art spectrum, if someone ever created one.
And when people asked about Hopper's inspirations and thoughts behind his work he simply answered: Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world.
Simple as that.

A more contemporary artist that shares Hopper as one of his biggest references is Nigel Van Wieck, a pastel & oil painter that cites himself as a figurative artist working in the tradition of American realism. Exactly the spirit of the traditional American realists at the beginning of the century, his realism speaks both through the techniques and themes - it sets a story, a more-dimensional scene that communicates through layers. Characters, props and a play on perspective - though sharing the idea with Hopper, Van Wieck is more explicit - not because he uses nude objects, but because he depicts the stories in a more extroverted way. His showing of the 90's sums the whole popular culture in a some-may-say-basic image of a red-headed lady on the Subway, a painting named 'Q train'. Not to get all cheap, but yes - also on my wishlist.

Then when it came to interpreting art through my own fashion, this time I used the photography part just a bit more. Thanks to the amazingly patient mother of mine (Hvala Suzy! :D), I got what I wanted - a dark, yet simplistic idea of space, of changing perspectives and multiple dimensions. In a fashion sense, I used probably the most conventional of my wardrobe - to depict the spirit, and put me in a story of some sort. Still working on the plot, but do enjoy the visuals...

Nigel Van Wieck's work:

I wore Zara trousers, blazer & oxfords, H&M shirt, hat & necktie and Daniel Wellington watch