Artisan Social Designer: industrial-inspired craft

From art schools opening tapestry and glass-blowing departments, to fashion houses’ soaring collaborations with artisans, craft seems to be on the rise again. Suddenly, nostalgia for ancient gestures seems to offer an alternative to dehumanized production and frenetic consumption, both in fashion and in art.

Artisan Social Designer is a new fashion label and design gallery that bridges old-school craftsmanship and a contemporary aesthetics – and presents and sells each item like a work of art. Launched early 2011 by artist duo Naïs Calmettes and Rémi Dupeyrat, the garments, presented alongside objects by other artists, all share the same philosophy: updating classical skills for a contemporary result – no ‘crafty’ look allowed, said Ms Calmettes, “artisanal doesn’t need to be synonymous with hippy, or a rough result.”’

The clothes are made following a different technique, embroidery, macramé, weaving, intricate knits, and even the odd architectural method readjusted for clothes. Yet the silhouettes are streamlined and minimalist. “We’re children of the industrial production era, and it’s a minimalism we’ve learned to love. That’s the aesthetic we’re bringing into the garments.”

Yet, radically opposed to the lifestyle encouraged by industrial production, each garment is made in unique pieces or sold in series of 5 to 10. “We just stop when we’re bored,” says Naïs, “we believe the craftsman should work like an artist rather than a machine.” Each piece is numbered, signed and comes label-free but with a certificate of authenticity – similar to the way photos and art series are sold. “This should encourage viewing each item as unique and cherishable.”

While in Paris, don’t miss the space’s next exhibition “2011 Hivers”, which opens on December 22nd. The show is themed around winter, featuring artist duo Ernesto Sartori and Mélanie Vincent.

Photographer: Clément Dauvent; Stylist: Inès Fendri; Hair: Armand Fauquet at Artlist; Make-Up: Elsa Durrens at Artlist; Model: Adeline at OuiManagement; thanks to ‘Le Petit Oiseau Va Sortir’.?

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A cathedral of abundance

When Andreas Murkudis recently followed the westward caravan of galleries from Mitte to Potsdamer Straße, no one seemed surprised. His imposing new store is the only commercial store around, but then Murkudis has always liked to leave the paths well trodden. Visiting his former premises always felt like entering a mini-museum than a retail store. The new space feels more like a cathedral of lavishness, with an interior (by local architects Pierre Jorge Gonzalez and Judith Haase) that balances lofty architecture and minimalist product presentation. The intimacy is gone, but the wares are still selected by the Murkudis eye, discerning as ever.

Andreas Murkudis, Potsdamer Str. 77-87.


Berlin fashion presents itself in ΠMagazine

Fashion created in Berlin has long become a popular staple of any self-respecting Avant-garde fashion temple, from New York to Tokyo and Online. But what is it that defines the Berlin fashion scene? In fact, Berlin designers are creating things so versatile, that you can do a whole magazine full of fashion editorials featuring only Berlin labels. Which is exactly what Œ Magazine has set out to do. Initiated by Arne Eberle, who runs the agency Æ, and stylist Rainer Metz, the magazine is published twice a year, bringing together the latest from Berlin designers, as well as stylists and photographers, under the artistic direction of Maven. Continue reading “Berlin fashion presents itself in Œ Magazine”

Daphne Guiness muses on being a muse

Daphne Guiness at ASVF Film Festival. Photo ©Morganistik

The eccentric heiress has been a muse and an inspiration for designers like Tom Ford, Karl Lagerfeld, Valentino and, most famously, Alexander McQueen since the early 90s. The style icon whose legendary wardrobe – a treasure trove of couture pieces – is the subject of a show at New York’s FIT Museum, recently delved into the realm of film making, as both producer and actress. She exec-produced Sean Ellis’ Oscar-nominated 2004 short, “Cashback,” and produced and also starred in Joseph Lally’s “The Black and White Maze of the Painted Zebra,” and in two new films by the avant-garde film maker, “The Murder of Jean Seberg” and “The Secret Life of Marguerite Duras” that pay homage to her own heroines. Unlike other muses, Guiness seems uncomfortable with the epithet. She sees herself rather like “a bee” that goes from one designer to another and interprets their style in her very own way. The platinum-and-black streaked hair beauty, who wears those McQueens heels like no one else can, spoke to sleek about her love for cinema and couture.

sleek: Do you ever think about what you wear in terms of being regarded as a contemporary muse?
Daphne Guiness:
I am completely un-objective about myself. It does not cross my mind. I live in the present, therefore I am not always reflecting upon myself. I am in it for the process and the team. The people I work with are my family.

sleek: You famously saved Isabella Blow’s wardrobe from turning into morbid memorabilia and always supported the work of Alexander McQueen…is it your way of preserving the energy and creativity of the persons you admire?
There were many personal reasons, not all of which I will expand upon now, which compelled me to ensure Isabella’s collection remained intact. With the help and trust of her sister Julia, who is a great friend and a hero, Isabella’s collection it is now safe. What I am trying to preserve is the context and the time in which these pieces were conceived. Isabella’s clothes were not only art, but also her diary. They have survived the last 20 years. This is my opinion. I felt strongly that if I did not act, than no one would. I will cherish Isabella’s and Lee’s clothing forever and not in the morbid sense, but because I have spent many happy times with them and I feel so blessed to have had such wonderful friends. I want to restore their shining creative souls to the constellation of which they rightfully belong.

sleek: You recently presented your first two feature films by Joseph Lally for ASVOFF 4. What is your relationship to Lally and his movies?
If anyone knew, they wouldn’t believe it! I have a feeling I was separated at birth with Joe. He is a dear friend, collaborator and one of the most interesting people I have met.

sleek: What does it take to get a start in the film industry?
Courage. Just do it, get started. You do not need money – only intention, passion and imagination to create a world. And have fun!