Sunday, March 23, 2014

Colors are Heating up with Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang, Via Vogue
Last week we introduced you to a designer, Le Mindu, who is using some really unique colors to shake up the runway but Le Mindu isn't the only one pushing the edges of fashions with usual materials. Alexander Wang recently set his models down the cat walk in heat reactive clothing's that changed hue as the temperatures of models body and the air surrounding them rose and fell. The cool faces and stern walks of cat walk models we see in all those runway pictures belie the hot lights, tight quarters, and frantic behind the scenes efforts that keep a fashion show running smoothly. His pieces, many with intricately cut textural patterns, glow with shifting color, reveal more about the environment of the catwalk show than the simple veneer of theatrics. 

Wang's recent show, which was themed around the idea of “extreme conditions and survival," used the high tech fabrics as well as reference to outdoor wear with a mix of urban utilitarianism. But the colors themselves also have a utilitarian aspect to them. Much like the color change of poisonous animals in the wild, Wangs color could be seen as broadcasting information about the wearer to onlookers. In an age full of over sharing and selfies and a general sense  of always being in the public eye the colors embrace the visibility in a whole new way. 

Because Thermochromic clothing is not just peaking its head out on the runway anymore. Sports clothing is also embracing these heat changing colors to give athletes a whole new visual experience of their workouts. Radiate Athletics has created an application which lets the wearer watch the colors of their shirt change as they work out. Starting with a white shirt, heat sensitive colors intensify with peak muscle performance. So you get instant feedback as to just how hard your body is working. The shirts even show you where and which muscles are you working with each exercise! 

Images from Radiate's KickStarter Page
These clothes, on the runway or just on a run, allow us to speak about our world and our bodies using color. They reveal things to ourselves and others that would otherwise have been invisible.  Color can be powerful. Would you be comfortable displaying this kind of information to everyone you passed?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Haute Couture Color

Photos Credits Valério Mezzanotti
Originally a hair stylist,  Charlie Le Mindu, has forged a career in fashion out of ever shocking, weird, and over the top design.  The 26-year-old,  Bordeaux-born, London-based designer pairs unusual materials, flamboyant colors, and prolific wigs with a studied knowledge and faith based in the lessons of fashion past.  He says "In this day and age, maybe because of grunge and all that, people think it's sexy to look like a mess. And it is. But sometimes we need to look to the past. Not copy it, but just take it as an example."

Photos Credits Valério Mezzanotti
In collaboration with latex design house Très Bonjour,  Le Mindu splashed onto a black lit runway at this years Paris Fashion Week. His Spring/Summer 2014 collection was titled Luminescent. Using synthetic hair that glows florescent under black light his show lit up the runway with a rave of colors rarely seen in every day life. The collection is something of mermaid punk mash up with jellyfish-like tentacles and gravity defying shapes  that float down the run way. 

Le Mindu grew up the child of a Spanish Gypsy and a French Drag King in the wilds backstage as his mother performed at gay night clubs in France. After an introduction to hair dressing in the French country side,  Le Mindu moved to Berlin at  age 17 where he was soon cutting hair in a different Drag club every night and developing his signature wigs.  From there he moved to East London and continued to style hair while developing his own cheveux-centric fashion line in 2009. 

His catwalk shows, far from being presentational, liberate fashions inner monsters and lets them prowl down the run way in livid abandon. Haute Couture, much like Fine Art, is often criticized or glanced over by others for being useless, self indulgent, or posh. But even if they are all those things they are also inspiring, exploratory and experimental. His color choices are too extreme for many, and few but Lady Gaga would wear his work out on the street, but just because his work is wild and pleasantly deviant doesn't mean all the lessons learned from pieces need be applied whole hock.   The experimentation,  especially to these extremes, can help us find solutions to design problems faced in other fields

Exposure to design outside our comfortable zone of useful and everyday also exposes us to materials and colors we might not have considered before. The colors are both highly visible and full of energy. So what application can you think up for one of these unusual materials in other areas? How could these colors influence one of your projects? Lets us know below!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Neutrals and Textures win at the Oscars

43 million people watched the Oscars this year! That is more than have tuned in for 10 years. So since we all know who won what and even who wore who. We wanted to talk the big color trend on the red carpet this year. Textured neutrals definitely won the day with a disproportionately high number of dresses on the carpet this year fitting that category. Here are our favorites.

Lupita Nyong'o wore this cool blue white Prada beauty which manages to look both delicate and substantial. Its a great color to remember for the future when you need something fresh and just a tease away from white. It makes a great contrast to Lady Gaga's more structured lavender creme Versace.

White came in every hue and pattern at this Oscars, in fact it read like a texture encyclopedia. Portia de Rossi, whose wife Ellen Degeneres hosted the event, wore a lacy Naeem Khan in stark white which  paired well with her fair complexion; Naomi Watts in Calvin Klein's roughen white, Kate Hudson's Atelier Versace was smooth and shimmering, Kristen Bell choose a not quite ruffeled but ribboned Cavalli, Jessica Biel wore a glittering slivered Chanel, and Jenna Dewan Tatum's Reem Acra dress took care of feathered and beaded. Just look at all of those ways to use white!

But not all was just white out on display warm cremes and cool greys also graced the scene. Cate Blanchett's tufted Armani Prive was highlighted with petaly white; Angelina Jolie wore a opalescent grey and expertly draped Elie Saab; Sarah Paulson's Elie Saab was made of unicromatic buttery lace, and Jennifer Garner's tiered Oscar de la Renta showed off light grey is all its clean simplicity.

All images via Reuters
And while everyone else was chasing glory in white or light pastel neutrals  Gravity star Sandra Bullock turned up in  this royal blue Alexander McQueen, a color befitting her stature that night. Tell us your favorite color from the carpet!