The New York Easter Parade started as a spontaneous event in the 1870′s and had continued ever since. From the 1880′s throught o the 1950′s, it was one of the main cultural expressions of Easter in the United States. In the mid-19th Century, churches began decorating their sancturies with Easter flowers. As the practice expanded, the floral displays grew even more elaborate and those who attended the churches incorporated these values into their dress. By the 1880′s, the Easter Parade had become a vast spectacle of fashion. It was an after-church cultural event for the well-to-do decked out in new and fashionable clothing. People from poorer classes would observe the parade to learn the latest in trends. As the parade and the holiday together became more important, dry goods merchants and milliners publicised them in the promotion of their wares. Advertisements of the day linked an endless array of merchandise to Easter. By 1900, it was as important in retailing as the Christmas season is today. Continue reading →
Beautiful, flamboyant, daring, provocative and fiercely independant French artist Niki de Saint Phalle emerged in the 1960′s as a powerful and original figure in the highly masculine international arts world. After moving to the United States as a child Niki’s teenage years were spent being a fashion model, appearing on the covers of Life magazine and Vogue. After eloping with author Harry Mathews when she was 18 she began to paint, experimenting with different media and styles. A nervous breakdown in 1953 was overcome by her painting and her subsequent move to Spain introduced her to Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi’s influence opened up many unimagined possibilities and Saint Phalle continued to paint then took up collage, work that often featured images of violence.
My new studio is based in Room 236 of South Block, a 50 000sq.ft, four storey studio complex in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City. Developed by Wasps Studios (www.waspsstudios.org.uk) and designed by award-winning architects NORD (nordarchitecture.com), there are 96 studios in total for visual and applied artists, cultural social enterprises and creative businesses. All four floors in South Block have been designed with their own distinct character and every studio is of high quality with fantastic natural light. The studios are pitched at a range of levels to suit the different needs of the artists. My studio is huge and it is home to the Fashion Foundry designers, giving us access to all sorts of industrial sewing machines and other fabulous items of machinery! And it was through my buddies in Fashion Foundry that I learned about the MAKlab!
Fashion Foundry is a new iniative, led by the CEO (www.culturalenterpriseoffice.co.uk), to support up-and-coming Scottish fashion talents. The designers will be introduced to business and creative mentors to help grow and sustain their own labels. Ten of Scotland’s most promising fashion designers have been chosen from thousands of entries to take part in the creative business iniative. The scheme, which has been given £150 000 of funding from Creative Scotland (www.creativescotland.com), Wasps Studios (www.waspsstudios.org.uk) and Scottish Enterprise (www.scottish-enterprise.com) will allow the designers access to subsidised studio space at Wasps South Block in Glasgow. Wasps Studios is a charity that provides affordable studios to support artist and arts organisations. They currently house 650 artists and 22 arts organisations at 19 buildings across Scotland. Six of the Fashion Foundry designers will be based full time at the Glasgow studios, while the remaining will continue to work from their own spaces. I am very pleased to say that I have been selected for Fashion Foundry and Pea Cooper Millinery will be moving into her new studio space in a few weeks time! I’m delighted to be part of such a prestigious scheme as the quality of other candidates was really high. At the press launch last week I got to meet my fellow Fashion Foundry colleagues and even got to meet Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Cultural and External Affairs!
The islands of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra make up the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. The islanders have long been known for their excellence of weaving but up until the middle of the 19th Century, their cloth was only used on their crofts or sold at local markets. This all changed in 1846 when Lady Dunmore, widow of the landowner of Harris, the Earl of Dunmore, chose to have their clan tartan replicated by Harris weavers in tweed.
Catherine Murray, Countess of Dunmore
The results proved so successful that Lady Dunmore began to devote much time and effort to marketing the tweed to her wealthy friends further afield and as a result of her enthusiastic work sales and trade of the island cloth were soon established with merchants across the country.
The Queen has reigned the UK for 60 years and in her public engagements throughout that time she is seldomly without a hat! Being called upon to design for the Queen could possibly be the highlight of a designers career but it could also herald the most daunting moment of their life.
Couturiers and milliners will be contacted by the Queen’s dressers and asked to provide sketches. Frequently, they will recieve no further detail-no hint as to the nature of the event, or even the time of year the outfit will be required for-making it very difficult to supply something precisely to her requirements.
Born on this day 1904, Salvidor Dali was a prominent Spanish Surrealist painter best known for the striking and bizarre images in his work. Aswell as painting Dali collaborated with a range of other artists in a variety of media from film, sculpture and photography. He had a passion for luxury and an affinity for partaking in unusual and grandiose behaviour. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, much to the dismay of his critics. When I heard it was his birthday today it reminded me of my dissertation at college when I was studying Millinery. It was called ‘Surrealism in Fashion’ and I thoroughly enjoyed researching the topic.
Hades magazine is an international online fashion publication dedicated to providing a high-quality approachable platform to showcase emerging talent. Working with a team of budding entrepreneurs and artists, they aim to explore, seek out brilliance and leave no corner of the underworld uncovered! The magazine is published quarterly and the first issue features some of my S/S 12 collection and me being interviewed.