Category Archives: DESIGN FOCUS


Architecture and structure was at the forefront of the Lutz show for SS12. Lutz cut into fabric like one would cut through a plaster wall- creating lines and holes to reveal the body in unexpected places. Knife pleats, off-kilter seams were set to a running theme of graphic prints inspired by dripping paint.

The German designer went to Central Saint Martin’s College in London, then moved to Paris to the house Maison Martin Margiela. In 2000, he decides to launch « Lutz » with David Ballu. The first collection is presented at the studio of Fabrice Hybert, attracting the attention of press and boutiques such as Maria Luisa and L’Eclaireur in Paris and Lift in in Tokyo. Lutz is awarded the « ANDAM » Award – biggest Fashion Award worldwide – in 2000 and again in 2002. Key pieces are acquired and shown by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Musée Galiéra in Paris and the Goethe Institute in Tokyo. Lutz’s approach to fashion has been described as « decontextualisation ».



Elle Magazine selected new fashion talent to promote during Paris Fashion Week. The rising stars such as Belle Ninon, Natali Brilli and Barnabé Hardy have already  been supported by the Ministry of Culture and Communication. Their projects were helped with financial advances from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Balenciaga and the IFCIC (Financial Institute for Cinema and Culture).

Select garments from each designer were presented in wooden delivery crates conveying how fragile the pieces were. The crochet dress from Maison Rabih Kayrouz, a jersey garment hanging beautifully was a real standout piece, as were Gustavo Lins and Lefrance-Ferrant.

Maison Rabih Kayrouz

Barnabé Hardy


Taking opulence to new levels was Paris-based Gaspard Yurkievich, showing his SS12 ‘Counterpoint’ collection in the astounding venue of Le Grand Hotel on Right-bank Paris. Yurkievich joined the world of prêt-à-porter with his first women’s collection in 1998, before branching into a career in menswear and footwear back in 2003. With ‘Counterpoint’, it was a true spectacle to note womenswear and menswear were in equal measure.

For women, Yurkievich has a new take on prep; smart button-down collars and tuxedo shirts are given flair with eye-popping citrus colours. Butter-softness was brought to the table with mauve, peach and spring-fresh makeup. Menswear irked on the sensible side with navy and beige, but were interjected with panelling and inspired button fastenings.

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Have you ever not been able to communicate yourself properly? Forget beating around the bush, bumbling and mincing your words- jewellery designer Ingrid Verhoeven’s name tags have ‘I never do anything unusual’, ‘I prefer red wine’ and ‘I like more than you think’ written on them. For a more direct approach.

If you’d like to reveal to that certain love interest what type of person you are- you could also try the ‘Choices of Life’ bracelets daubed with ‘Married Woman’, ‘Girl with Bright Future’ and ‘Career Girl’. Verhoeven also makes some interesting silver trinkets evoking old film slides and spilled ink.

Verhoeven name tags’Choices of Life’ name tags

Verhoeven name tags’Choices of Life’ bracelets


Yudashkin dazzled his way through Paris Fashion Week for SS12, sending models down the runway in shimmering silk and evening gowns dripping in jewels. Dramatic floor length tuille dressed swept the floor in a myriad of pale shades- pastel blue, dusky pink and ash grey. However, this is no saccharine romance collection; street-smart styling of sharp suiting, clean-lined blazers and city shorts are all poised for the workplace. Angular white shirts are tucked neatly into floral print pencil skirts, balancing an otherwise severe look out with flattering feminine chic.



Haughty, militarian chich rode high at the A.F. Vanderhorst show for SS12. Cropped soldier boy jackets with asymmetric buttoning and frogging were paired with dandyish capes and flowing robes. Gothic fairytale style headdresses made of jet black feathers, stood tall to add impact to the miliatrian look whilst golden embelishment on more wearable pieces glistened in comparison. The collection did not lose momentum, with sharp notes of further symmetry seen adding drama to skirts and dresses in light beige. At the finale, the models bowed as if they were demomstrating knightly respect, which fit perfectly with their regimental pieces.


Fashion house of the unexpected Issey Miyake drew us into another world where nature met science fiction, into Yoshiyuki Miyamae’s first SS12 collection ‘Bloom Skin’. Models walked down the catwalk in a flurry of popping colours to ambient music of chimes. Often when Modernity is a central theme, designers let their imagination go a little too wild- but Miyake contained his excitement well to produce a collection both wearable and directional.

Purple mesh panel leggings were offset with draped white shirts to reference relaxed sporty stylings. A variety of other neons were muted down with stone beige, canary yellow and sea blues.

Models wore intimidating bird-head shapes in striking orange and bubble-like headdresses, with hair slicked back into an inverted bun akin to alien creatures from a science fiction movie.

The theatrics of the show were a big talking point; poles were lit up like Star Wars light-sabers poles and bolts of blue strobe lighting scattered the runway- taking this collection well into the future.


Manish Arora unveiled a very exotic look for fashion week SS12; the jewel coloured dress was a central theme- sometimes heavily encrusted with sequins, sometimes with a bold bird’s feather prints. The ethic colourful theme was offset with futuristic metallics that glistened with fine embroidery, the models looked like birds of paradise, as they marched the runway to a mechanical back beat. Bold neon stripes were painted onto the face, and long hair was slicked back from the forehead, creating new age drama.


Fornasetti, design house loved by so many, was the creation of the late artist, craftsman, poet and printer Piero Fornasetti. Born in 1913, his work transformed the art scene of the 20th century by following the path of ‘Tema e Variazioni’- Themes and Variations. Revered for his application of two dimensional art to three dimensional form, he adapted drawings to real life objects and surfaces such as furniture, theatre sets, books, magazine covers and interiors. Butterflies, fish, coins, the sun and clocks are all familiar images seen in Fornasetti design.


Probably the most defining moment of Piero’s design career was his adaptions of the opera singer Lina Cavalieri famous during her time of 1874-1944. Piero’s son, Barnaba Fornasetti is now head of the design house and recalls Piero’s love of the singer’s image “After seeing an old print of her face, my father believed that Cavalieri’s face had perfect symmetry and was the ultimate beauty. She was loved by everyone in her time, but was also quite misunderstood’. There is a series of 500 adaptions of her image on Fornasetti’s designs and furniture, 300 of which are seen on their famous ceramic plates.

 Above: Fornasetti saw himself as a decorative artist, with a boundless imagination for art- seen here in a selection of his Lina Cavalieri variations

The Fornasetti brand is also versatile in that boundaries and limits can be pushed; “this is art that can be applied anywhere. We simply work on design, print and variation” Barnaba says, and indeed the house does produce all manner of interior furnishings such as cabinets, mirrors, tables, wallpaper, ashtrays, tables, lamps and the list goes on. The brand has a flagship store Spazio Fornasetti in Milan but also works on bespoke orders and projects. Bringing such a heritage brand into relevance for the 21st Century was not a matter of compromise however, and respecting the original tradition of his father’s work ensures the brand remains iconic. He explains “I’m not obsessed by being modern. I don’t push for modernity, it’s something that comes naturally”. Barnaba has now brought the brand into wallpapers, rugs, ceramic vases and now, a home fragrance collection.

A bold use of colour and texture is the backbone of the brand’s palette, with emerald greens, strong metallics, gold leaf, silver leaf and black all used freely. Attention to detail is equally as important; for example- tiny illustrations of delicate sea creatures covering a large cabinet, are each painted by hand by Fornsetti’s ateliers based in Milan. Other hand-painted items include plates with playing cards, knights and castles painted on them. The heat used to mould the plates changes the way the paint reacts, so the artists ensure they paint the plates one individual set at a time. The outcome is that each set of plates is entirely unique.   Fornasetti newly developed line of interior perfumes, fragrant candles and incense were created after Barnaba became interested in the idea of a scent for the home. He turned to Olivier Polge, master perfumer at International Flavours and Fragrances (IFF) for this new collaboration. Barnaba quotes “We always look to join other creatives outside of our field. Creation is my field, but we needed someone to bring a new feeling to the project”.

The partnership was the start of a long line of scent collaborations, with the scents deriving from Polge visiting the Fornasetti house in South Milan. The house was built by Piero’s father and where Barnaba lives today and the pair went on an exploration of the woods used within the home interior, Fornasetti designed objects, as well as the wild flowers and herbs in the house’s garden. The result of the research amounted to an ultimate Fornasetti perfume, the ‘Otto’- with top notes of Thyme and Lavender, with touches of Cedarwood, Orris, Tolu Balsam and other exotic essences. The house proclaims the scent as being ‘the olfactory portrait of a brand that is timeless, and that transcends gender and fashions’.

Above: the development of the ceramic perfume containers was handed to Ceramiche Dal Pra, Nove, Vicenza (Italy)


The adaption process of the modern woman was at the forefront of Valerian Hughes’s mind in creating his SS12 ‘VH’ collection. Staple wardrobe basics such as draped vests and pleated trousers were offset with feminine 1950s silhouettes such as clinched waist and A-line flairs. Purity reined colour and texture with fresh whites and dazzling silks, reminiscent of leaving the house on a Spring morning. Bolder silhouettes such as boxy jackets and denim skirts punctuated the soft palette, allowing the wearer to move chameleon-like from serene city girl to smart severity.

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