Q notes 7: Black in Fashion

If you can spare the time, Michel Pastoureau’s Black: The History of a Color will take us from the beginning of recorded history through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and on into modern times. He argues quite credibly, that up until Sir Isaac Newton’s experiments in optics in the 17th Century, proved that colours were made by “breaking up” white light, and that black wasn’t even on the spectrum, people DID think of black as a colour.

It’s a fascinating and accessible read, with lots of lovely images from various types of Art through the ages – I never thought it would be so interesting to find out about how artists and artisans mixed black, or worked to dye cloth a deep black, and how the meanings that Europeans attached to black would swing back and forth.

Funnily enough Pastoureau’s book took me back to a Coursera course I just completed: Magic in the Middle Ages. Not just the connection between Black, the devil and witches, but also how Islamic magic contributed to European/Western rediscovery of Greek science writing, which inspired Newton and as a result modern science.

Other links:

Blogger Manrepeller talks about black as a fashion uniform,

Dazed has a brief history of the shade in fashion,

Bourncreativ discusses several modern meanings  of black as a colour; and

This Jungian Life Podcast goes deeper and explains the psychological meanings associated with one particular type of black, Nigredo

Interweave’s Ten Tips for working with dark yarn.

Stay safe and healthy.

Museum weather

 

Jil Sander. MAA Frankfurt
Jil Sander. Present Tense. Museum of Applied Arts, Frankfurt.

You may be out and about in Germany, and find it too warm to be outdoors too long,

If so, check out a few museums while you’re at it. If you’re in Frankfurt, check out the Museum of Applied Art’s exhibition (above) on Jil Sander.

 

Anni Albers bauhaus weaver
Anni Albers 1930-1933 / source: Josef Albers, k20 museum

If you’re in Dusseldorf, pop in to have a look see at the Anni Albers (master weaver who started out in the Bauhaus) retrospective at the K20 museum. Runs til September 9, 2018.

If you’re in Hamburg, a leisurely stroll through the Museum of Art and Design’s (MK&G) current exhibition: Mobile Worlds,

exhibition concept … questions the Eurocentric order of Western museums: Rather than classify objects according to epochs, geographies, art and non-art, the exhibition focuses on the global movement of objects, people and ideas past and present and the associated intertwining of cultural forms and worlds of life. This perspective reflects the social, cultural and political complexity of post-migrant society.

 

And if you’re in the South West, consider visiting the Jewelry Museum in The Goldcity, Pforzheim. Not only does their collection take one through five thousand years of jewelry, but they currently are showing “Jeweled Splendors of the Art Deco Era. The Prince and Princess Sadruddin Aga Khan Collection.” Who can say no to looking at Art deco? Runs til January 2019.

 

Keep cool and stay hydrated!

594E3AB9-C24A-45F6-B49F-0CFE4AF59E8A If you see this symbol on shop or café windows, it means you can fill up your water bottle for free.

Everything knit is on trend

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What can I say? Just about everything knit is on trend for fall.

But let me take you on a journey:

From Daniela Gregis’ handmade, cuddly patched-together hats, bags and scarves to Celine’s more polished vests and pullovers in unusual but warming shapes

 

To Chanel’s poncho sweater-dress. Anything goes. And why not?

Chanel poncho dress a/w 2018-19
Chanel a/w 2018-19

Diversity in German fashion

Fran Summers Vogue Germany 072018

I ran into this Vogue cover today, and of course had to take it home. Not just because it is simply stunning, but also because it is actually quite rare for a black model to get the cover of Vogue Germany. While Vogue in the US and the UK are considered quite groundbreaking in pursuing diversity in Fashion, Vogue Germany hasn’t so much.

After a bit of digging, I found out how rare this is, and yet, there’s still a ways to go.

A Brief History of Diversity of Vogue Germany Covers

Vogue Germany existed briefly toward the end of the Weimar Republic (1929-1930). It came back to Germany in 1979, following the brand’s acquisition by Conde Nast and the following worldwide expansion. The German language edition serves German-speaking Europe: Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Iman (above, left) was the first black model to grace the cover in June 1982. Of the fifteen times a black model has been on the cover (alone, in a collage or a group of models), Naomi Campbell (middle) is the clear winner, with 5 covers to her name. Special mention to Jamaican model Lois Samuels (right), because although she appeared with a group of models, she actually indirectly influenced the Cover title!

Every few years or so, Vogue Germany will have a black model on their cover. After Iman, came Jennifer Beals, Beverly Peele, Naomi Campbell, Lois Samuels, Kiara Kabukuru, Alek Wek (though sadly inside the fold), Arlenis Sosa, Lais Ribeiro, Liya Kebede, Yasmin Wijnaldum and now Nigerian Mayowa Nicholas. The first asian cover model was Ling Tan (November 1998). Not a lot, still nothing to sneeze at.

I’m hoping future covers of Vogue Germany will show how diverse German society has become in the last few years…

 

photosource: Condé Nast/ vogue.de

Met Gala: Heavenly Bodies

I look at the Met Gala fashions first and foremost because it’s fun. Tom and Lorenzo always has a great look-through at the Met Exhibition: “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” and the Gala guests. And because as Amanda Heath (née Hallay) of Ultimate Fashion History says, “Fashion is not an Island, it’s a Response.” So I was really curious to see what Fashion was responding to Society.

 

(photo source: Tomandlorenzo.com)

Now while the catholic church has given way to an amazing outpouring of creative Imagination in the arts, it cannot be ignored that the church was a suppressive force in the sciences at one Point: Galileo Galilei, anyone? I thought for sure that the Italian astronomer would get a sartorial clapback on the red carpet. A sequined ‘Eppur si muove‘ to send sharp-eyed watchers to search out the meaning (Galileo challenged the geocentric world view of the time, and proved that the sun is the actual centre of the solar System). Almost 360 years later, he was vindicated in 1992.

So honourable mention to Kim Kardashian on left, for coming as the sun (although she may not have been aware of the Galileo Affair)!

I thought the connections or controversies between Religion and science (in particular astronomy)  would have been right there, because there are so many  hot topics in Society these days. Further honourable mention to Zendaya Coleman for channelling Joan of Arc, a teen girl who was hearing voices (and possibly also hallucinating). Because in the age of #metoo, who doesn’t need to find their inner warrior maiden?

 

joanofarc_julian_bastien_page_met
Joan of Arc, 1879, Jules Bastien-Lepage (French, 1848–1884)
Oil on canvas; 100 x 110 in. (254 x 279.4 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Funnily enough, my favourite depiction of Joan hangs at the Metropolitan in New York, it actually portrays her as a real person, getting on with her life as a country girl when her visions hit – you can see her discarded spinning wheel on the ground there as she gets overwhelmed by her visions. Carol at watchmepaint goes into the fascinating detail about the painter, the painting and his subject.

At this year’s Met Gala, most of what I saw was opulence as distraction from all the Things we as a Society are going through. That’s why I have to give props to Solange Knowles for bring that weirdly fabulous sci-fi creation that at first glance calls out to space travel, androids, and the like. Yet it’s not as farfetched as one might think…

irisvanherpen-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-Solange-Knowles
Solange Knowles in Iris van Herpen

This dress, by Dutch designer Iris van Herpen is actually called ‘Cathedral Dress’ and was constructed using 3-D printing techniques. It’s from a van Herpen Collection called Hybrid Holism and was inspired by:

“…Hylozoism, the ancient belief that all matter is in some sense alive. van Herpen is intrigued by … possibilities for a future of fashion that might take on quite unimaginable shapes.
Fashion that might be partly alive and growing, and, therefore, existing partly independent from us, which in turn allows for a new treatment by humans: instead of discarding the fashion after use, we cherish, value, and maintain it in its abilities to change constantly.”

-source: www.irisvanherpen.com

This look is therefore talking about the future of imagination and fashion. I sure hope we get there…

 

Long live stripes

I thought for sure, that stripes were over. I was pretty sure that stripes would settle back down in that corner where classics go to have a cocktail and catch their breaths, while Polka dots would have their Moment in the limelight. But there’s a saying in German:

“Totgesagte leben länger”

which basically means that there’s life in the old dog yet. And that means that I’m seeing those spots, alongside and stripes. But stripes of a different ilk.

Source: Vogue.com

Which makes me think of

Source: Ravelry.com

The Albers Pullover by Julia Farwell-Clay; Mitred Magic by Amy Polcyn; Liz Cardigan by Jesse Mozlan (a sweet pattern that’s currently free on Ravelry); and Bristol Ivy’s Arbus from her new book ‘Knitting Outside the Box.’

Spring/ Summer knitting

daniela gregis striped pullover 222018
Daniela Gregis ss2018 striped Pullover

 

Have you started your knitting for spring/ summer yet? Or are you still gathering Inspiration like me?

So far, the dominant trends seem to be pastels, especially lavender, brights and rainbows on the colour front.

Patterns: stripes, polka dots and florals. Silhouettes: easy-going forms alternate with statement sleeves.

photo source: Vogue.com

 

We still have a bit of time to flip through the glossies before we make up our minds and head out to the LYS.

Glamour Feb 2018 Tracee Ellis Ross in Jil Sander
Tracee Ellis Ross on the cover of February 2018 Glamour

Here’s how the Jil Sander two-piece looks on a real Person (well, although Tracee Ellis Ross is built like an amazon… Interesting that it’s styled with Jeans. Wouldn’t that be way too hot for summer?)

 

via Daily Prompt: Dominant

Winter capsule knitting

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I just ran across a few reminders of capsule wardrobes (which also work in the wintertime).

The Daily Connossieur’ Jennifer Scott just previewed her 10-item wardrobe for winter. However, she lives in California, as far as I’m aware. So her wardrobe Looks lighter than what I want to snuggle into when icy winds are storming their way across Germany.

Huffington Post’s Capsule includes:

  • Oversized Cardigan
  • V-Neck Tee
  • Ribbed Turtleneck
  • V-Neck sweater
  • Black leather booties
  • Knit Vest
  • Tunic
  • Knit leggings
  • Wedge Sneaker
  • Knit Dress

How would that translate into handknitting?

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Veronika Cardigan from Very Shannon; Ana D’s crocheted Knit look ribbed sweater; Michele Rose Orne’s Vanessa V-Neck; the Magnum Reversible Vest from Karen Clements (also crocheted); and Lion Brand Yarn’s Knit Dress (because after Christmas, we really want the flat tummy) Photo source: Ravelry.com

Not all these pieces are spanking new, but they have a certain timeless Quality about them, don’t you think?

 

MOMA is doing a MOOC

moma fashion as design breton pullover prototype
Breton Pullover Prototype made by Unmade for “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” Photo by Luke Bennett

I vaguely remember the opening of the MoMA Exhibition Items: Is Fashion Modern? At the time, I thought, ‘What a pity that I’m not planning on being in New York to see this anytime soon.’

Well, now they’re offering a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), based on the Exhibition over at Coursera.org. Enrollment is open until December 25.

The Course is run by the exhibition’s curator Paola Antonelli along with her team from the Department of Architecture and Design at the musem.

Among all objects of design, our clothes are the most universal and intimate. Like other kinds of design, fashion thrives on productive tensions between form and function, automation and craftsmanship, standardization and customization, universality and self-expression, and pragmatism and utopian vision. It exists in the service of others, and it can have profound consequences—social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental.

Fashion as Design focuses on a selection of more than 70 garments and accessories from around the world, ranging from kente cloth to jeans to 3D-printed dresses. Through these garments, we’re going to look closely at what we wear, why we wear it, how it’s made, and what it means. You’ll hear directly from a range of designers, makers, historians, and others working with clothing every day—and, in some cases, reinventing it for the future. Studio visits, interviews, and other resources introduce the history and development of each garment and their changing uses, meanings, and impact over time.

-from the Course Description on Coursera

 

 

Fixing what’s broken

 

new textile economy ellen macarthur foundation
New Textile Economy Report of the Circular Fibres Initiative

We as knitters, makers and clothes-wearers also need to look at how we can help fix the broken Fashion system. There’s a new report out from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, not just restating the Problem, but giving suggestions as to how we can fix it:

 the report sets out four main ways to create “the new textiles economy”: phase out hazardous materials (including those that contribute to the microplastics problem); make better quality clothes and keep them in the system longer through rental models; improve recycling processes; and use renewable resources in manufacturing.

– Tess Riley, “The Ultimate Fashion Fail” in The Huffington Post

This may mean: using less acrylics (see how to Transition from acrylics); wearing what we knit longer; encouraging the use of recycled fibres alongside renewable fibres.

What say you?