Review: Azzedine Alaïa, The Couturier, London exhibition

London’s Design Museum brings homage to the Tunisian fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa with the exhibition “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”.

Deemed as a “must-see” by Elle magazine, it showcases pieces designed throughout different stages of his life: from early 1980’s, when he established Maison Alaïa, until 2017, the year he created his last collection – Summer 2018 – before passing away.

The designer was considered a rebel in the fashion world because he never conformed himself to the rule of producing collections for every season of the year.

He created when his imagination was stimulated. At some point during his career, around 1995, he stopped presenting his collections to the large public for a few years.

Perhaps it is this liberty he took of designing only when he felt like he should, allowed him to put all the effort and concentration into celebrating women with his timeless pieces.

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Wrapped forms by Azzedine Alaïa

The acclaimed designer once said: “My obsession is to make women beautiful.”
Every piece he produced is a reinforcement of this statement. With fascinating materials clinging to the right body parts, impeccable finishes and dramatic details such as very low backlines, is impossible not to make any woman dressed in one of his pieces feel beautiful.

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Wrapped forms by Azzedine Alaïa

The exhibition, which was co-curated by Alaïa, is beautifully laid out. The clothes appear very statuesque, probably an intentional arrangement inspired by the fact that he started as a sculptor before he became a couturier. The play between lights and shadows give you the impression his creations have a life of their own.

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Exploring volumes by Azzedine Alaïa

It was inspiring to see the evolution of his art. Alaïa’s older designs were very sensual, hugging the body and acting as a second skin as if conceived for Aphrodita herself. His newer work, although still provocative, evolved into a tranquilizing fluidity. Especially striking was his 2017 collection, which seemed to be made for warrior princesses.

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Sculptural tension by Azzedine Alaïa

The exhibition is open until October 2018.

Juxtaposition: Turning a period home into a contemporary piece of art

Scrolling through Instagram posts, it is only natural to pine over luxurious houses and their extravagant interiors.

Many of us are guilty of it, all those interesting designs and brave splashes of colour.

I have been researching just how interior designers such as Kelly Wearstler and Nina Campbell create such spectacular spaces.

Juxtaposition is often used by placing objects and themes together to create a striking contrast in a home.

Having a traditional period property and not have a contemporary interior, is a myth, there is no reason why homeowners can’t transform something old into something new.

Victorian homes are full of unique character, open to elite design activities and they can be decked out with exclusive artwork.

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In a recent interview, interior designer Louise Ives-Wilkinson said it was about mixing accessories and not being afraid to try things.

To start the decorative process, it is about making spaces open and bright, so get rid of the patterns and busy designs and make way for neutral colours.

Colours such as greys, whites and cream are becoming extremely popular and rightly so, it can give a room that clean finish to it.

Neutral colours can make a cluttered room feel open and spacious without the need of knocking through walls.

Many homeowners can be reluctant to change the features of Victorian homes, which is understandable but why not but show them off and restore them?

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BBC Creative produces embroidered advertising campaign

To advertise the 2018 World Cup, BBC Creative produced an advertisement in which every scene is embroidered.

Behind the brilliant idea of creating a tapestry and turning it into an animation is the creative duo made of Xander Hart and Edward Usher. The brief they received was simple: focus on the historical significance of the World Cup.

Edward Usher admits in an interview for the Drum where the duo explains the process that went into the commercial that: “The World Cup is a hugely uniting moment for the nation”. And it is easy to see the impact of this highly acclaimed football tournament from their vibrant animation, which shows important figures such as Zinedine Zidane made out of thread.

The animation, directed by Nicos Livesey, presents a colour palette reminiscent of Russian culture, a colour palette that plays beautifully on the rhythms of the adjusted Russian folk song “Ochi Cherney”. But it isn’t “too Russian”. Xander Hart tells the Drum: “We wanted to keep it kind of contemporary”. And they did so by making an animation out of an enormous tapestry which records key moments from previous World Cups.

The reason why they worked with  thread is because they wanted to produce something long-lasting. In the same interview, Edward Usher says “We decided that we wanted to make a real tapestry because we thought it would be amazing to have something that would last”.

The duo created something durable not only for the screens, but also for the public to see in flesh. According to Creative Review, a 7 meter tapestry showcasing events from past World Cups together with this year’s tournament will be made public.

Airbnb introduces fresh typeface that “combines character, function, and scale”

Airbnb has teamed up with international type foundry Dalton Maag to create Cereal, a new typeface in six weights, which aims to enhance “readability” through its website, app and print materials.  Airbnb’s brand identity is extremely typographic, which can be experienced through various mediums including their print platform ‘Airbnbmag’ and advertisements. Airbnb stated they wanted a typeface which they could craft themselves, allowing them to reflect their brand identity, company mission and beliefs.  By creating their own typeface, it would give them a “consistent voice across all mediums and platforms we support”.

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Airbnb

The typeface is named after a campaign launched by the Airbnb co-founders in 2008. It prevented the company from closing, Airbnb says. It involved designing and selling collectible, branded cereal based on Barack Obama and John McCain in the run-up to the US presidential election. The name also represents their values and sentimentality; it takes you back to the initial days when breakfast was a part of Airbnb’s brand name.

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Airbnb

The company aims to solve legibility issues through their new typeface. Cereal is a sans-serif typeface, available in six different weights – light, book, medium, bold, extra bold and black. Airbnb wanted to pay particular attention to UI design as type often get reduced in size when in UI and if the weight is too light the type can almost disappear and certainly become unreadable.

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Airbnb

Airbnb Cereal will begin to make appearances in the next few weeks across smartphone apps, the Airbnb website and sub-sites such as its newsroom, followed by print materials.

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Airbnb

 

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Airbnb